Aug 242011
 

Last night, Twitter was abuzz with something said by a Google+ user purporting to be economist Paul Krugman.

“People on twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage.”

It turned out to be a hoax, though. Krugman’s initial reaction is here. Dave Weigel’s cleanup is here. Krugman’s further comments are here.

It certainly seemed like something Krugman would say. After all, he has made similar comments in the past, as the unrepentant imposter (troll?) points out in his confession. Predictably (and disappointingly), the comments list was overrun with drive-by “Broken Window Fallacy, dumbass!” comments and immature grunts of the sophistication of “Hayek’s cool. Krugman drools.” It’s no wonder Krugman’s supporters have been having a hearty laugh at his detractors’ expense. We were duped.

Here’s what’s not being said, though. His supporters were duped, too. Evidence can be found in the state of the comment stream as of 3:30AM. (Yes, I did post comments. I was indeed duped. In my defense, though, my contributions were directed at pro-Krugman/Keynes commenters and not the hoax remark itself.)

It only seems fair to me that if Team Mises/Hayek loses points for attacking a straw man, Team Keynes/Krugman should lose points for trying to defend the fake remark as though it were a reasonable and substantive argument. So why haven’t I seen anyone else make this point? Are they out there, and I just haven’t seen them, or is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black (and hiding his can of black paint)?

Apr 182011
 

The PLCB (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) has a monopoly on the sale of wine and spirits in the state.

“A monopoly is a grant of special privilege by the State, reserving a certain area of production to one particular individual or group.” – Ludwig von Mises Institute

Consequently, the following line from an article about PLCB’s plans to “modernize” laughably stupid.

“They also want lawmakers to let them create so-called ‘loyalty clubs,’ to offer customers discounts.”

How the hell can customers be loyal when there’s no competition?! Is this a case of Orwellian political newspeak or further evidence that the PA government is dominated by economic ignoramuses?

This nonsense has to stop. Abolish the PLCB!

Jan 212011
 

The Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh is closing next year. Normally, this wouldn’t really phase me much, as I don’t have any interest in attending culinary school. I like to cook, but I’m more of a weekend warrior in that regard. I am, however, generally interested in local Pittsburgh news, so I read the Post-Gazette’s analysis of the closing.

Pretty standard fare, until you get to the bottom, which caused all of my hair to promptly fall out.

“As a for-profit institution, CEC has faced increasing pressure from the Obama administration and Senate Democrats in the past year. A proposed “gainful employment” rule from the Department of Education would deny federal funding to schools with graduates facing high proportions of debt related to their expected salaries. In 2010 a two-year associate’s degree from Pittsburgh’s Le Cordon Bleu cost $42,660. According to financial aid data for the 2008-09 school year, 47 percent of all students received federal student loans, worth more than $6.5 million to the school. Mr. Miller cited the “gainful employment” rule as a major factor in CEC’s decision to close the Pittsburgh school, and he predicted that it would soon affect other for-profit schools in the area.”

Let that sink in a moment. The school is closing because of pressure directly from the Obama administration.

Continue reading »

May 212010
 

Rand Paul (photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

Recently the Republican nominee for one of Kentucky’s senate seat, Rand Paul, dared to question the 1964 passing of the Civil Rights Act (or did he?). This instantly made him a Very Bad Person™ in the eyes of progressives (not that having Ron Paul for a father is winning many popularity contests). Paul seemed to be defending the austro-libertarian contention that government intervention against prejudicial discrimination in the private sector is antithetical to the natural rights to freely associate and freely use private property.

Frederic Bastiat (public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Frederic Bastiat wisely said in Economic Harmonies, “Government acts only by the intervention of force; hence, its action is legitimate only where the intervention of force is itself legitimate.” The question at hand is whether or not governmental force is justified in forbidding discrimination.

Continue reading »

Mar 222010
 

As the final vote for the Democrats’ health care reform bill got closer, the frantic attempts by Republicans to stop it reminded me of a rather apt G.K. Chesterton quote.

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.”

Despite having written that 86 years ago, Mr. Chesterton hit the nail very much on the head. I didn’t know if I should laugh or scream as I watched Republicans motivate their base in opposition to socialistic/corporatist expansion of government involvement in the health care market, as they perversely and hypocritically decried the Big Government nature of the bill in one breath, and panicked old folks with the specter of losing their Medicare coverage in the next.

Republicans fought hard against Medicare in 1965. Why are they now defending it? How long before they’re defending Obamacare? Truly, “Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob.”

Will the GOP ever have new ideas (e.g, those of Cato Institute, Mises Institute, or Acton Institute)? Or will they always be the party of welfare state stasis and warfare state expansion?

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