Veep Showdown

Mostly a snooze.

Palin is one long run-on sentence. Her, Palin’s, sentence construction, also makes it hard to follow her points. Due to her sentence construction. And running on, also.

Biden likes numbers. He claims McCain voted 20 times for something Obama voted for 6-1/2 years ago. Or 7. Which is 39% of 4-billion-dollar tax breaks to ExxonMobil that McCain voted for. Just like Bush.

So…I got nothing substantive to examine.

Palin is outstanding at being herself. She glows when talking about American principles and the privilege of representing the public.


Every Interest is Special

The term, “Special Interests” is in the standard cant of politicians. We’re told there are “Special Interests” at the root of every problem we face. Wall Street, Big Oil, Agriculture, Big Education, Abortion Rights, Unions, Climate Change, the Drug Companies, ad infinitum, have hired string-pulling lobbyists to pervert and corrupt our virtuous society.

Walter Williams adds perspective:


Who Will the Sky Land On?

All the headlines seem to be telling us the sky is falling. Economically, this time. I can accept that the sky might have come down a bit. But I'm not yet seeing anyone clobbered by chunks of heaven.

The Chorus of Doom is riffing on various forms of a “credit crunch”. A StarTribune story on troubles at Twin Cities auto dealerships sheds some light on the current availability of consumer credit:


Hayek’s Serenity Prayer

God, please grant me the ability to learn the things I don't know, the serenity to accept that there are things I can't know, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Quoted from: Art Carden at Division of Labor

Post Style: 

What’s the Hurry?

The current President is urging Congress to act immediately. A crisis of catastrophic proportion can be averted if we are united in quick and decisive action. Essentially everyone in Congress has reviewed the available facts, and agrees with a dour assessment.

The President has consulted with his top advisors. There is a plan to avert the crisis. It will be hugely expensive. We do not know how long the US forces must remain involved. Details are sketchy, but the measure before Congress can be fairly described as a “blank check”.

Iraq? Nope.

Wall Street.


Way Ahead of You, Barry

Although Barack Obama continues to campaign on the promise that he will "end this war," the American military has apparently beaten him to the punch.


That’s Engram, in this month’s installment of the best continuing meta-analysis on casualties in Iraq.


Can’t We Get a Loan?

Yesterday and today I’ve heard news “experts” tell me people can’t get loans these days. But yesterday’s mail included two credit-card offers. And today’s post brought me a home-equity loan offer.

These events seem contradictory. Which means somebody is lying, or at least overlooking something. Let’s apply some basic economic principles.


Communal Transit Thievery

One rhetorical device I like using in communal transit discussions is, “For every dollar a rider puts in the farebox, he is stealing two more dollars from someone who never rides.” That ridership numbers are sometimes higher than expected then comes as little surprise. It is as if people are being paid to take the bus.


Ending Homelessness Violates the Law

NRR headquarters sits in the center of a vast pool of compassion. In fact, compassion is stated government policy. “The City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County have passed a plan to end homelessness in our community by the year 2016. This 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, is also known as Heading Home Hennepin.”


NRP Must Die

The north side is the most troubled, most stigmatized quarter of Minneapolis. Over the past few months, activists and concerned folks from all parts of the city—troubled and not troubled—have convened two cookouts on vacant lots in the north side. Their intentions are not entirely defined, but I believe these people do mean well.

A local blogger has been to both, and has posted some reflections from the second cookout:


Mirroring Futility

Crisis is a Cost of Growth

Megan McArdle summarizes my resistance to one tenet of the Austrian School’s economic philosophy. The Austrians prefer “sound money”, with currency tied to gold and no fractional-reserve banking.

Picking Losers

A phrase used by libertarian-leaning thinkers is, “government should not pick winners.” It descends from the calculation problem.

An agency or bureau cannot possibly consider all the knowledge embodied in a market, and thus acts with at least partial blindness. They may get it right anyway, but more by luck than by smarts. Any errors are compounded and made persistent by bureaucratic inertia, politics, and rent seeking.


Raising Taxes

Tax Rates vs. Tax Revenue:
Tax rates are the percentage of wealth paid to the government. That percentage is can be an income tax or a property tax. Tax revenue is the total amount the government collects when everyone’s individual payments—determined by tax rate percentages—are added together. Tax rates influence individual choices, while tax revenue influences the government’s ability to fund its activities. Some argue that total tax revenue may be raised even while individual tax rates are lowered.

Shorts are Heroes

Al Jazeera asked five prominent economists - Does the [2009 bank liquidity] crisis signal the end of US-style capitalism?

Of the five, John Berlau, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), is the contrarian. In his reply, Berlau says:

everyone is bashing the short sellers but they are heroes—they were right and we should have been listening to them years ago.




The lefties have a nickname for John McCain. O.K., probably more than one. Here's one they can say aloud near nuns an schoolchildren: John McSame. Very witty. But is it accurate?

Steven Landsberg says no. Although not happy about it, he’s voting for McCain. Here’s Landsberg’s #2 reason for that choice:


Caffeinate Corporately

A daring adventure beyond the limits of the “Think Globally–Caffeinate Locally” mindset reveals surprising vistas. Corporate Coffee and Crazy Aunt Coffee are competitors, but they need not be enemies. It was, after all, Starbucks which moved the latté into our daily consciousness. CoffeeCorp made all those artsy-activist mocha mills possible.


To Which Side of the Mouth Should We Listen?

The talking heads amplify politicians who exclaim, “See, the greed-driven free market has killed us again. We need more regulation!”

Will Wilkinson says, “Hold on there, Senator Foghorn. I remember you justifying your job with the assertion that ‘free’ markets would not exist without a government framework of regulation and enforcement.”

Actually, Wilkinson says this:

There is Wisdom in TJICistan

As usual, I'm with Travis:

Q: Yes, but can we assume that Travis, as a libertarian / anarchist, is against government intervention?

A: Surprisingly, no, my stance isn’t that simple. The first point I have to make is that despite the above, I don’t understand squat about all of this. Which is much less than most of the folks involved, even if what we have in common is that none of us knows enough to really know all the details.


Kling on Overconfidence

At odd intervals I've been shown snapshots from a land presided over (or 1/2 presided over) by Arnold Kling. I think the NRR may need to build a permanent spur to EconLog. Here’s a quick glimpse:


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