Liberty & Power: Group Blog
Jane S. Shaw
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the American people--rationally ignorant and attracted so often to the worst socialist nonsense--come through this time and permanently repudiate this bailout? The 228-205 congressional vote dropped the curtain on Act I of this rescue scheme. Let's skip Act II and go home.
Quote of the day from Oscar Levant. It makes me think of Sarah Palin.
"A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it."
David T. Beito
Writes Manuel Lora:"Ah, but there's also this; they won't give up: 'The Federal Reserve will pump an additional $630 billion into the global financial system, flooding banks with cash to alleviate the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression. The Fed increased its existing currency swaps with foreign central banks by $330 billion to $620 billion to make more dollars available worldwide. The Term Auction Facility, the Fed's emergency loan program, will expand by $300 billion to $450 billion. The European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan are among the participating authorities.'"
If you have additional ideas, let me know, as I am more than willing to update the letter to cover things I might have missed. Other feedback is welcome as well, either in the comments or by email.
Cross-posted at The Austrian Economists.
David T. Beito
David T. Beito
Like McCain, Obama endorsed the General Jack Ripperesque move of admitting Ukraine and Georgia to NATO (thus potentially obligating the U.S. to escalate to World War III in case of a border dispute with Russia) and a"surge" of more U.S. troops into Afghanistan. Obama's statements on U.S. military incursions into Pakistan made McCain look almost cool-headed by comparison (no small accomplishment).
Amy H. Sturgis
A list of my other podcast commentaries, interviews, and unabridged dramatic readings is available here with links.
Jane S. Shaw
Roderick Long’s link to the surprisingly favorable New York Times Magazine article about Auburn's philosophy department spurred me to leaf through the printed version of the “College Issue.” It’s decidedly a mixed bag, with the New York Times unable to avoid politicking. We learn about what a good teacher Barack Obama was and how the Naval Academy today is nothing like what it was in the bad old days when John McCain was there.
"The negative effects on children include increased aggression and noncompliance—the very misbehaviors that most often inspire parents to hit in the first place—as well as poor academic achievement, poor quality of parent-child relationships, and increased risk of a mental-health problem (depression or anxiety, for instance). High levels of corporal punishment are also associated with problems that crop up later in life, including diminished ability to control one's impulses and poor physical-health outcomes (cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease). Plus, there's the effect of increasing parents' aggression, and don't forget the consistent finding that physical punishment is a weak strategy for permanently changing behavior."
Two quick thoughts about this. First, I wonder whether spanking, like any other parenting technique, might work better (or worse) for some children than others. We often want a single policy for all children, but since children differ widely in temperament, personality, and so on, it seems likely that no single policy would be appropriate in all cases.
Second, it is interesting to note that modern psychology seems to be catching up with . . . Herbert Spencer! Spencer argued in his 1851 Social Statics that children deserve the same respect as adults and are equally protected by the law of equal freedom; one consequence of this, he thought, is that corporal punishment of children--or what he called" coercive education"--is as unjust as slavery.
David T. Beito
"The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.
"Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry."
Read the rest of the story here. Be sure to note Barney Frank's comments about how people are exaggerating the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
[Hat tip: Power Line Blog.]
Roderick T. Long
Roderick T. Long
[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]
So Barr disses Paul, and Paul responds by endorsing Baldwin. (Conical hat tip to Jesse Walker.)
On the one hand, this is more evidence of the strategically suicidal nature of the Barr campaign. (Which of course is fine by me: It falls, it decays; who would preserve it? But I I even want to push it!) Surely Ron Pauls support, or at least non-opposition, would have been an asset to Barr (hes aware that Ron Paul has a bit of a following, yes?), and he could easily have avoided pissing off Paul and the Paulistas the way he did.
But on the other hand, Pauls support for someone who says stuff like this doesnt exactly do much to allay my concerns about Paul.
SF and libertarian guru L. Neil Smith is circulating to friends the following response to a news item.
The news item: Paul McCartney has refused to cancel his concert in Israel, despite threats from Islamic militants, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The response follows comments made by Omar Bakri Muhammad, a militant Lebanese Islamic activist, in an interview. Mr. Bakri said, “If he values his life, Mr. McCartney must not come to Israel… He will not be safe there. The sacrifice operatives will be waiting for him.”
L.Neil's reponse: As you know, I'm a staunch, life-long atheist, and my opinion, after many decades of study, is that all religions are equally wacky.
However it is vitally important for all of us who consider ourselves decent to remember that is is not Islam that has targeted Paul McCartney for death if he plays a concert in Israel, it is a single individual who calls himself Omar Bakri Muhammad. Most of the Muslims I have met in my life -- and they have been many -- have been kindly, gentle, warm, generous people who love their families and have a marvelous sense of humor. One murderous cuckoo squatting in a minaret somewhere should not be permitted to influence our view of these people, a third of the world's population. How would you like it, my friend, if that same world were to judge you, not on on the basis of your own behavior, but on the inane rantings of an Al Sharpton or a Jerry Falwell?
Libertarians are, first, last, and always, _individualists_. As we demand that the world view us as individuals, so we must strive to view the people of the world the same way. Group punishment and preventive law enforcement are not a part of our political vocabulary. Moreover, adopting the socialistic policies of, say a Hillary Clinton or a George Bush, only feeds their insatiable lust for raw power and unearned wealth. If 9/11 had happened on a libertarian's watch it would have been dealt with as the crime it was, rather than as an act or war, which it was not, under any definition of the concept. The remaining individuals criminals responsible for 9/11 (assuming they really were Middle Eastern terrorists, an assertion never proved) would have been run to earth, captured, tried, and punished. And we would not now be at war and plunging into a Depression.
I'm extremely glad Sir Paulie, in effect, told this cowardly threatener -- who sends young people out to die for him, exactly like American politicians do -- to shove it. But the creature was not speaking for Islam, and it is is not Islam that McCartney will be defying, but a single moral and intellectual toadstool.
P.S. If you think Islam and the Koran are uniquely evil or favor unbridled violence, I suggest you read your Old Testament a bit more closely.
Greenwald is always worth reading, not least for his wry observations on the growing right-wingopposition to this proposal. He welcomes their new-found resistance to unconstrained executive authority but points to their amazing hypocrisy on this matter.
Journalists, as usual, are doing their part to create an atmosphere of fear. Reports characterize the bailouts as “a bid to unlock the flow of credit” and make reference to “the frozen credit markets.” It’s hyperbole, don’t believe it.
Although certain financial institutions are undeniably in deep trouble–difficulties of their own making, we might add–the problems in particular financial circles should be kept in perspective. Note especially that credit markets in general have NOT ceased to operate. Moreover, lenders are extending credit in historically great amounts. To see this reality, however, we must break away from anecdotes in the financial press, which is eager to attract readers, and from fear-mongering by the political class, which is eager to seize more power, and examine the data that describe wider market transactions. For this purpose, the St. Louis Fed’s Web site is a useful resource.
Commercial and industrial loans of all commercial banks, which are reported monthly, have grown rapidly. The most recent report, for August 2008, shows outstanding loans of $1,514 billion, an all-time high. This loan volume is 15.5 percent greater than it was a year earlier, and 30.8 percent greater than it was two years earlier. Frozen credit?
Consumer loans at all commercial banks, which are reported monthly, have also grown rapidly. The most recent report, for August 2008, shows outstanding loans of $845 billion, an all-time high. This loan volume is 9.2 percent greater than it was a year earlier, and 16.5 percent greater than it was two years earlier. Frozen credit?
Even real estate loans at all commercial banks, which are reported monthly, grew rapidly until very recently. The most recent report, for August 2008, shows outstanding loans of $3,642 billion, only slightly below the all-time high (in May 2008). This loan volume is 4.1 percent greater than it was a year earlier, and 15.5 percent greater than it was two years earlier. Frozen credit?
Lest one suspect that I have cherry-picked my examples, consider finally the amount of all bank credit at all commercial banks, which is reported weekly. For the most recent week reported, the one that ended on September 9, this credit amounted to $9,406 billion, which is only slightly less than the all-time peak of $9,485 reached in the week that ended on March 26, 2008. For the past six months, total commercial bank credit has remained on a high plateau, well above the levels reached in previous years, when everybody seemed to think that credit was ample.
One might object that a leveling off, after a long period of steady, rapid growth does constitute a substantial change in credit-market conditions. True, enough. But we must also recognize that the rapid growth of credit during the years from 2001 to 2007 was scarcely a healthy development. In fact, this effusion of credit fueled the housing bubble and countless other malinvestments that now must be liquidated, because without a continuation of the very-easy-money regime, these projects cannot be brought to completion or, if already complete, operated without further loss.
That malinvestments must now be liquidated merely reflects the mistakes made in the past, induced by bad government policy at the Fed and other credit-related agencies, such as Fannie and Freddie. Of course, some of the necessary adjustments will be painful for the parties directly involved. But the huge bailout now being concocted in Congress will only compound the errors of the past by keeping some malinvestments on life support, deferring the day that lenders must write off bad debts, and preventing the entire financial system from returning to a semblance of economic viability without ongoing subsidies and bailouts that impoverish the taxpayers and threaten the entire economy.
For now, however, the important point to recognize is that the sky is not falling. Lenders continue to lend at high rates, and the economy continues to operate reasonably well. If people panic and allow Congress to exploit the hyped-up fears of the moment, however, much worse outcomes may be brought about, not the least of which is another giant leap in the size, scope, and power of the federal government–a direct threat to our economy and our liberties.
To quote John Stossel,"Give me a break!"
Cross-posted at Free Association.
Cross-posted at Free Association.