Economics

Laissez faire in Washington? On what planet?

Sheldon Richman of the Foundation for Economic Education contributes analysis of the current economic situation in the article Government Failure. A few quotes: Laissez faire in Washington? On what planet? Governments at all levels have regulated the financial industry from the time of the founding. ... At the Division of Labour blog, economist Lawrence H. White asks: “What deregulation have we had in the last decade? Please tell me." ... What about greed? Here White also has something important to say: “If an unusually large number of airplanes crash during a given week, do you blame gravity? No. Greed, like…
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Drug Runaround: Solved by Universal Health Care?

A letter writer in the July 12, 2008 Wichita Eagle has issues with his health insurance coverage, and wants us to discard our present system in favor of universal health care coverage. Mr. Ronald Voth of Halstead (a candidate for the Democratic party nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives for the fourth district of Kansas in 2006) criticizes the health insurance company he uses. He doesn't say how he obtained this coverage, but if he's like most Americans that don't receive their health care from the government, he and his family probably have an insurance policy selected and paid…
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Where’s Leadership on Oil Speculation?

In the July 12, 2008 Wichita Eagle, Kenneth James Crist of Wichita blames oil speculators for ruining the U.S. Economy, writing that politicians should "do something positive to halt the rampant speculation in the stock market and oil futures that is really driving these runaway prices. All it really amounts to is tremendous greed on the part of a few, at the expense of the many." I wish that Mr. Crist had read Futures Markets by the economist Walter E. Williams before writing this letter. In this article we learn this: The futures market, which takes into account both the…
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Price Controls Will Harm Iowa

In the article Price Controls Create Man-Made Disasters we learn that although the Iowa attorney general has imposed Iowa's anti-price-gouging rule (Price-gougers beware, Attorney General says), the likely effect will be "shortages of needed supplies, long lines, delayed repairs, and, perhaps, increased incivility." The price system is very good at allocating scarce resources. That's certainly the case after natural disasters, where things as necessary as drinking water may be in short supply. Allowing the price of even essential items rise to high levels means that hoarding is discouraged, leading to more widespread availability of goods as necessary as drinking water.…
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Wichita’s Galichia provides what government health care doesn’t

A recent editorial in The Wichita Eagle (Dr. Bill Roy: Universal care is most economic, efficient) contains several mistaken impressions. One may be disproved by recent developments in Wichita. The writer states "It has never been a secret that a single-payer system is the most economic, efficient and fair way of providing universal care." Here's something interesting that I'm sure the author of this opinion piece knows, but somehow disregards. In Canada, home to the type of health care system the writer favors, many people come to the United States for care. In fact, Wichita is now providing service to…
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The Entrepreneur As American Hero

This is an excerpt of a speech given by Walter E. Williams on February 6, 2005 at Hillsdale College. The complete speech, titled "The Entrepreneur As American Hero," can be read here: http://www.hillsdale.edu/imprimis/2005/03/. At this juncture let me say a few words about the modern push for corporate social responsibility. Do corporations have a social responsibility? Yes, and Nobel Laureate Professor Milton Friedman put it best in 1970 when he said that in a free society “there is one and only one social responsibility of business -- to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits…
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The Candlemaker’s Petition

By Frederic Bastiat A PETITION From the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers, and Extinguishers, and from Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting. To the Honourable Members of the Chamber of Deputies. Gentlemen: You are on the right track. You reject abstract theories and little regard for abundance and low prices. You concern yourselves mainly with the fate of the producer. You wish to free him from foreign competition, that is, to reserve the domestic market for domestic industry. We come to offer you a wonderful opportunity for your --…
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Henry Hazlitt explains Frederic Bastiat, or, a broken window really hurts no matter what the New York Times says

This simple lesson from Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson explains so much, yet so little people realize and apply the truths explained here. Even trained economists like Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times, fail to recognize the truth of Bastiat's lesson as explained by Hazlitt when he remarked that "the terror attack [of 9/11/2001 that destroyed the World Trade Center] could even do some economic good." Part TWO THE LESSON APPLIED THE BROKEN WINDOW Let us begin with the simplest illustration possible: let us, emulating Bastiat, choose a broken pane of glass. A young hoodlum, say, heaves…
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Gambling study flawed. Ask casino workers.

Did you know that a study used to promote the economic development benefits of gambling in Wichita has casino workers paying for a large part of the social costs of gambling? There is a document titled "Economic & Social Impact Anlaysis [sic] For A Proposed Casino & Hotel" created by GVA Marquette Advisors for the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation and the Greater Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau, dated April 2004. One presentation concludes that the average cost per pathological gambler is $13,586 per year. Quoting from the study in the section titled Social Impact VII-9: Most studies conclude that nationally…
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The law vs. markets

One of the criticisms of raising the minimum wage is that it is Congress substituting its judgment for the market's in determining pay. While Congress can force an employer to pay an employee a minimum amount, it can't force the employer to keep the employee. In a similar fashion, the Mississippi Attorney General has forced an insurance company to pay for damage its policies didn't cover. He used a court of law to do that. What the court can't do, however, is force the insurance company to keep writing policies in Mississippi. State Farm, the nation's largest home insurer, announced…
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