Protectionism – Can someone explain to me how that can be moral ?

Protectionism is the idea that the government can protect me from foreign companies that want to sell me something at a lower price that the government thinks is fair. As a result, I pay more than I would otherwise.

Professor Don Boudreaux published a letter to Wall Street Journal editor explaining why protectionism is immoral. Here’s his letter, quoted in full since it is an open letter to the editor,with the key paragraph expanded into bullet points: (more…)

Appeals court says devastation from New Deal is still okay; We lost a hero who also suffered at the hands of the New Deal

Did you know the enlightened wizards of the New Deal worked out a plan that raisin producers had to turn over a percentage of their crop to the government and not get paid for the raisins?

Yes, that was actually a plan developed back in the ‘30s.

Did you know that plan is still in place? Eighty years later?

(Cross posted from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

I discussed that a year ago – Economic destruction from the New Deal just keeps rolling on.

The lawsuit I mentioned back then involved farmers who were told to give 47% of their ’02 crop and 30% of their ’03 crop to the government without compensation.  The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled the farmers did actually have standing to sue the government. The case went to the 9th Circuit Court for consideration of their claims.

Guess what?


Lots of blame for the financial crisis of ’08 falls on the federal government

There is a huge amount of blame to be spread for the Great Recession that started in 2008. While the recession technically ended four years ago back in June of 2009, most people in California and lots of charities here are still feeling the effects.

I see exquisitely little discussion of how intentional federal policies created the distortions that led to the financial crisis. An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Phil Gramm and Mike Solon help explain why much of the blame belongs to the federal government:  The Clinton-Era Roots of the Financial Crisis.

To make this non-partisan, I’ll point out that the flawed policies from the Clinton administration were ratified, continued, and extended by the Bush administration. Not to worry, both parties have worked lots of overtime to earn their share of blame.

While you can argue on the proportionate blame between the two parties, I’ll point out that regardless of the allocation you determine, 100% of that particular allocation falls on deliberate federal policy.

Initial efforts to persuade private pension plans to fund low-income housing failed. The administration forced (more…)

Q: Did the New Deal end or extend the Great Depression?

A:  Extend.

That’s the conclusion of Dr. Lee Ohanian, Professor of Economics at UCLA, as explained in his video Did FRD End or Extend the Depression?


The primary reason cited by the Professor is artificial increases in prices and wages driven by federal policy, specifically the National Industrial Recovery Act. (more…)

Economic destruction from the New Deal just keeps rolling on

Did you know that in the 1930s raisin producers had to give a portion of their harvest to the government with the feds deciding what portion of the crop every producer had to turn over and what price they would get?

Neither did I.

Did you know that program is still in place today, 80 some odd years later?

Neither did I.

Did you know that in the 2002-2003 season (more…)

While pondering the wisdom of those who can prevent the next financial crisis…

…check out the wisdom of politicians and regulators evidenced before the last crisis.

(cross-posted from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

Read The Housing Bubble and the Limits of Human Knowledge , by Alex Pollock.

The fallacy in play today is that the regulators who didn’t see our current financial crisis coming (or helped facilitate it) are now wise & bright enough that they will be able to detect any future crisis far enough in advance to prevent them. It’s quite obvious that is the operating concept driving laws and regulations for several years now.

John Cochrane makes this point in his article Limited clairvoyance: (more…)

We need more capitalism. Not less.

That’s the title of an article from AgainstCronyCapitalism.orgWe Need More Capitalism, Not Less. More Freedom. Not Less.

From the article:

Never forget, the financial crisis which we are suffering through is not the creation of capitalism. It is not the creation of a free market. It isn’t because businessmen were too free in their dealings that everything fell apart the way it did.

The financial crisis was and is a failure of central planning.


Another explanation of Quantitative Easing and other performance enhancing drugs

(cross-post from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

Here’s the on-air confessional interview as it should have happened. Or perhaps it is an animated educational cartoon. You can decide for yourself:

Bernanke to Oprah:  ‘I’ve Been Doping for Years’.

This cartoon gives a superb explanation in 12 minutes of a major factor about how we got into our current economic mess.

The format is an imaginary interview with the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, Ben Bernanke, as he confesses to long-term doping of the economy.


You don’t want to cite Joseph and the years of abundance as an argument for central planning. It’s actually an example of coercive government power leading to slavery of the people.

An article in the Times of Israel, “The road to Egypt: job creators in the Ancient World”, has the subtitle Joseph’s rise to power is no blueprint for good government but rather a profoundly cautionary tale.

I’ve not studied the issues mentioned in the article, but want to put up a post as a marker for future reference.  I’ll try to come back to these ideas, but in case that doesn’t happen, or it is a long time until I do, the discussion will be here.

As a Christian, I don’t spend much time in the Torah. Okay, make that zero time.

Having spent a bit of study effort in the book of Genesis, I am familiar with the story of how Joseph used his God-provided experiences and abilities to care for his family.

Imagine my surprise to learn that during the famine years Joseph sold wheat in exchange for cattle and other livestock. When grain ran out a year later and people needed more food, they sold their land to Joseph, i.e. the government. When the famine ended, they had neither land to raise grain nor livestock to produce cash or food.  They were slaves. They knowingly went into slavery.


Rapping Economists debate how to improve the economy? Rapping? On economics?

Keynes and Hayek rap again.

As news reports indicate the Fed plans a half trillion dollar quantitative easing, it is a good time to revisit the Hayek and Keynes debate.  If you would like a rap explanation, check this out: “Fear the Boom and Bust”. Yes, Hayek presented in rap. has more where that came from.  For a debate between Hayek and Keynes in the 2010 context, check out another debate and rap.  It is the ‘Hayek and Keyes battle at The Economist’s Buttonwood Gathering’ selection.

The site also has a number of non-rap explanations on video.

Great stuff.  Explained simply.  In rap.

Keynes / Hayek raps available on MP3

The team at have made the Fear the Boom and Bust and Fight of the Century available on MP3. For free. If you enjoyed the video, you might enjoy the mp3.

The videos of the rap songs are also available for download. For free.

You can get them on the right side of their home page, linked above.

Rappin’ economists, round 2. Yes, rapping. Yes, round 2.

The great economists Hayek and Keynes continue their rap encounters. This time they go to a congressional hearing and wind up in a boxing ring.

Check out Fight of the Century at EconStories.

Some of my favorite lines: