Economic Alchemy: Spinning Death and Destruction into Gold

Economist Paul Krugman, who writes a progressive political column for the New York Times sees some gold in the death and destruction in Japan. The rebuilding, he suggests, will be an economic boost. He admits it sounds like a “crazy” notion but points out that “…liquidity-trap economics is like that”. The observation is stupid on its face. Taken to its logical extension, if death and destruction have hidden economic benefits why not keep on destroying and rebuilding things? Only government elites and their advocates could come up with such cynically stupid ideas. The hidden costs, the things that could have … Continue reading Economic Alchemy: Spinning Death and Destruction into Gold

Oil Prices, Gas Prices and Government

Every spring it seems we hear the same old refrain about higher oil prices and higher gas prices. Government and media advise that the price of fuel at the pump is going up; there may be shortages in oil supplies leading to higher gas prices just as we head into the summer driving season. In the wake of this noise comes a chorus of calls for more government regulation of the oil industry and of oil traders, paying particular attention to “obscene” oil company profits and speculators. Cutting through the fog of political rhetoric and media hype, the fundamental issue … Continue reading Oil Prices, Gas Prices and Government

Unfit To Lead

Mu’ammar al-Qadhdhāfi is a thug. The Libyan kleptocracy is based on his personal brand of Islamic socialism through military force, utilizing tactics of terrorism and bribery. Financed by wealth stolen from its producers by nationalization, this philosopher-despot has spread money far and wide, although ensuring that his extended family and hired elite are particularly aggrandized. Possessing little taste personally for barbarous acts (according to Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, to whom I also owe the correct spelling of the thug’s name) Qadhdhāfi has proven skilled at hiring others to do the dirty work. Mercenaries recruited from poor African nations form … Continue reading Unfit To Lead

The Paper Ceiling

The economic bellwether to watch this year is the US “Statutory Debt Limit”. Also known as the “debt ceiling,” it represents the limit the government may borrow to continue funding operations. The present limit was set at $14.3 trillion on February 12, 2010. Congress is considering another increase to accommodate spending which could press against the ceiling by April or May. Given the reliability of government estimates this could happen sooner rather than later. Before 1917 Congress needed to specifically approve each debt issue. For efficiency, legislation was passed allowing debt to be issued funding government operations, provided total debt … Continue reading The Paper Ceiling