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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Saturday, July 30, 2011

TGIF: The New Fed

“Things are seldom what they seem.” –W.S. Gilbert, “H.M.S. Pinafore”

Nowhere is this more true than in government – which means we have to watch it closely. Unfortunately preconceived notions can make us impervious to events right in front of us and lead us to colossal misperceptions.

Take the Federal Reserve System. (All together now: Please!) Since the central bank controls the money supply, advocates of free markets and market-based money are understandably wary of its power to generate inflation. It’s inflated in the past and has the capacity to do so in the future. So attention naturally goes in that direction.

The problem is that while we’re watching for inflation, we might be missing the Fed’s real mischief elsewhere.

Read the rest of TGIF: The New Fed here.

Op-Ed: “Shared Sacrifice”: Obama's Demagoguery

The most offensive claim made during the debt-ceiling controversy is that there’s a moral equivalence between cutting government spending and raising taxes.
Read the rest of the op-ed here.

Default ... or Renege?

Via Don Boudreaux, Roger Garrison notes that one cannot choose to default.

As he wrote to Boudreaux:

You mention, though, that the government could “choose to default.” Well, if default means that you’re unable to pay, then “choosing to default” must mean that you “choose to be unable to pay.” Hey, that really does sound like government-speak. But I think a more accurate and more revealing term is “renege.”

Speaking for myself, reneging in this case would to some small extent liberate the taxpayers from an unchosen obligation, so it would not carry the moral taint that private reneging on debt obligations does

I've Figured It Out

The bond rating is a gauge of taxpayer docility.
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

How I Feel about the Government's Debt

From the incomparable Lysander Spooner:
This business of lending blood-money is one of the most thoroughly sordid, cold-blooded, and criminal that was ever carried on, to any considerable extent, among human beings. It is like lending money to slave traders, or to common robbers and pirates, to be repaid out of their plunder. And the men who loan money to governments, so called, for the purpose of enabling the latter to rob, enslave, and murder their people, are among the greatest villains that the world has ever seen. And they as much deserve to be hunted and killed (if they cannot otherwise be got rid of) as any slave traders, robbers, or pirates that ever lived.
If you like that, read Jeffrey Rogers Hummel 1981 article on why the U.S. national debt should be repudiated (pdf).

HT for the quote: Jeff Hummel

Monday, July 25, 2011

More on the Debt Crisis

A government that is too big to fail is too big.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Greatest Commercial Ever?

I can't resist sharing this classic Coca Cola commercial. It brings a tear to my eye. Watch the men's faces closely. The spot says so much -- far more than Coke intended, I'm sure -- without a word spoken.

HT: Roderick Long

Bryan Caplan on Pacifism

I highly recommend listening to Bryan Caplan's debate with Ilya Somin on the question of pacifism (i.e., opposition to war, not opposition to violent individual self-defense). Listen or download it here. I found the debate an illuminating discussion of theory and history, and -- admitting my bias forthrightly -- I believe Bryan carried the day. Some relevant matters did not come up -- such as the deep domestic effects of a national security state, the structural consequences of a military-industrial complex, and Public Choice considerations regarding rent-seeking and mission creep -- which strengthen Bryan's case.

In my view Somin's plea to "give war a chance" fails.

If you are interested in war and peace, you should listen to this debate.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Cory Maye Update

This just in from Radley Balko on Facebook regarding Cory Maye:
Wonderful news from Mississippi: Cory Maye was offered, and accepted, a manslaughter plea this morning. He was sentenced to time served. He'll be free and home with his family in a matter of days. More details to come.
Balko has details at The Huffington Post.