Capitalism

Pat Buchanan: Comrade Obama?

Pat Buchanan's recent column Comrade Obama? contains much I agree with, keeping me liking and admiring him, even through I disagree with a few of his positions. This column accurately describes the current political landscape, and it's not complimentary to Barack Obama, Democrats, or Republicans. A few excerpts: Indeed, how do Republicans who call Obama a socialist explain their support for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare and the Earned Income Tax Credit? ... Since August, the Bush-Paulson team has seized our biggest S&L, Washington Mutual, and largest insurance company, AIG. It has nationalized Fannie and Freddie, pumped scores…
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Some Articles Worth Reading

Making Social Security More Harmful. From the Foundation for Economic Education. "Consider first that ever since Social Security was enacted in 1935 Americans have been told that their 'contributions' are being deposited into their own account to pay for their retirement benefits. ... The other fraudulent claim made about Social Security (again, from the very beginning of the program) is that employees pay only half the cost, with employers paying the other half." Banking Without Regulation. Another fine article from FEE. Could banking be done without regulation? It has been done in the past. The Election Choice: Unions. "Obama's pro-union…
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The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Present Crisis

Professor George Reisman contributes the excellent (and lengthy) article The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Present Crisis. I've had the distinct honor of attending a number of Professor Reisman's lectures at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and I'm slowly working my way through his monumental book Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. Here's a few excerpts from this article: "Laissez-faire capitalism is a politico-economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and in which the powers of the state are limited to the protection of the individual's rights against the initiation of physical force." Then…
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Our Economic Past — Equality, Markets, and Morality

Free markets may yield odd results and certainly unequal outcomes, but the greater opportunities and prosperity have made the tradeoff worthwhile for American society. From Our Economic Past ~ Equality, Markets, and Morality by Burton Folsom, Jr., posted at the Foundation for Economic Education.
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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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Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer saves us from covered wagons

On August 12, 2008, at a meeting of the Wichita City Council, Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer delivered remarks that I found ... well, I'm still trying to find the words that fully describe my astonishment. You can read my transcription of his remarks in this post: Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, August 12, 2008. The context of these remarks is that John Todd and I had just testified against the city establishing a tax increment financing (TIF) district that benefits a local developer. Mayor Brewer believes it is the city's firm duty to guide and subsidize economic development. His remarks on…
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Downtown Wichita Arena TIF District

Remarks to Wichita City Council, August 5, 2008. When I've been talking to people in Wichita, I find there is great confusion about the way that TIF districts work. This confusion serves to obfuscate what really happens with TIF districts: the TIF developers get to use their own property taxes to pay for things that non-TIF developers have to pay for out-of-pocket, or through special tax assessments on top of their regular property taxes. It is really this simple. To deny this is to deny simple arithmetic. Then, do TIF districts perform as promised? One of the troubling things I…
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Wichita and the Old Town Warren Theater Loan

Remarks to be delivered to the Wichita City Council, July 1, 2008. Mr. Mayor and members of the Council, we are potentially beginning a journey down a road where there are two classes of businesses in Wichita. There are business owners who seek to earn their profit through market entrepreneurship, that is, by meeting the demands of their customers and the marketplace. That's a difficult thing to do. An entrepreneur must sense customer demand and desires, and then commit resources to satisfying customers. If entrepreneurs are correct in their judgments and successful in their execution, they earn profits. There are…
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Everything you love you owe to capitalism

This is an excellent article by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. An excerpt: I'm convinced that Mises was right: the most important step economists or economic institutions can take is in the direction of public education in economic logic. There is another important factor here. The state thrives on an economically ignorant public. This is the only way it can get away with blaming inflation or recession on consumers, or claiming that the government's fiscal problems are due to our paying too little in taxes. It is economic ignorance that permits the regulatory agencies…
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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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