Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Motherly Policies

There are way too many politicians, economists, and religious leaders who believe the lives of ordinary people can only be improved through government mandates and forced structural changes to society. These scholars and leaders believe the best course of action for society is a course of action where everyone is forced to support laws, regulations, and rules that level the playing field for everyone. In the past, these busy bodies have mostly concentrated their efforts on their own country, but as the world flattens, they increasingly want to dictate their beliefs onto the citizens of countries which are not their own.

At the core, this desire to level the playing field is a motherly instinct to protect that has corrupted good economic policy and hurt the lives of many people in almost all parts of the world. This desire to mother is a sinful assumption that other people are not capable of making their own decisions about what is best for themselves.

Most people are not better off when they are protected by excessive regulation and laws because the price of protection comes at a high cost in freedom. It is quite simple nowadays to judge the results of a government policy by comparing outcomes to other countries and other societies in similar circumstances. Sadly, many influential leaders, including Christian leaders, refuse to acknowledge the fact that freedom has produced better results and improved many more lives than government regulation.

Brian Wesbury has made some very good points in regards to freedom and economics in his piece Policy and Economic Denial.

Selected Excerpts:

Nonetheless, there were continued signs that the world's intellectuals remain in serious denial about which policies create wealth and higher standards of living.

Mr. Collier's speech, according to Ip, "made a persuasive case that nowhere more than in Africa has geography undermined economic progress." Collier theorizes that small, landlocked and resource-poor countries can't keep up and lag behind. This is not a new theory, but it is still wrong-headed. Freedom, not geography, drives growth and wealth creation. Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic are all landlocked and relatively small, but are clearly not poor. On the other hand, many African nations have vast resources.

Now, South Korea's is twice that of Brazil's. By way of explanation, he noted that the average Korean has 13 years of school, while in Brazil the figure is six years."This idea that Asian economies owe their success to education is also wrong-headed. While education is important for individual success, if you happen to live in a country with high taxes, burdensome regulations, and unstable monetary policy, education and the entrepreneurial spirit are stifled.

But is it really true that, because of geography, African nations have no hope? And is it true that if government educates more people, wealth automatically follows? No. The Wealth of Nation's are not determined by geography or education, but freedom. While there are many who want to reject the teachings of Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Frederich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and others, denial does not negate the truth.

Brian Wesbury is the Chief Economist for First Trust Advisors in Chicago, IL.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Throughout the opinion-sphere, Israel is being declared a loser in their military action against Hezbollah. Political pundits must be watching a different game than me. From my couch, Israel is clearly dominating a game that has now reached halftime. During the first half of play, Israel rarely even needed to make a third down conversion. Second half adjustments by both sides may change the nature and eventual outcome of the game, but there is no reason to believe a comeback by Hezbollah is possible based on first half statistics.

So far in the game, Hezbollah has been completely unable to defend against the Israeli air strikes. Some of the Israeli bombs may have missed the intended target. However, since Hezbollah has been hiding amongst women and children, the only way to hit the target is to also hit the family of the target. Big media may take away points for collateral damage, but my scorecard counts the number of future terrorists that won’t be reproducing and playing in the second half of the game.

Israeli ground forces played a conservative first half by only taking and then holding small pieces of territory. Since the Israelis appear to be able to advance wherever and whenever they want using tanks and mortars to drive out Hezbollah forces, pundits claim they should have pounded the ball down the throats of Hezbollah during the first half and tried to put the game out of reach. However, Coach Ohlmert seems more concerned with keeping his team healthy for the second half than piling up points before halftime.

Hezbollah has been unable to mount any type of offense since the start of the game when they captured two Israeli soldiers. Thousands of the missiles they have lobbed into Israel landed incomplete. They haven’t once taken a piece of Israeli land or even been able to retake any of their own land until it was abandoned by Israel.

Syria and Iran, the feckless owners of Hezbollah, don’t seem willing to make the investment necessary to field a team that can compete with Israel. Iran could easily pour many more resources into team Hezbollah. They just aren’t willing to dump anymore funds into a losing team.

From my couch, things are looking pretty good for the home team!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Robbing From Our Children

Most members of the Democratic Party, and some Republicans, during the presidency of George W. Bush have opposed the reduction of Income tax rates, the deficit spending by our federal government, and Social Security reform. Their argument is that we [Americans] are robbing from our children whenever the federal government has to borrow money. Democrats are right to make this claim. Borrowing which doesn’t produce a string of income to pay for the cost of borrowing is always paying later for what is consumed now.

However, increasing the tax obligation of citizens is also robbing from our children whenever government funds are used for purposes not mandated in the Constitution. For the most part, our federal government just needs to reduce spending in order to stop robbing. Americans are unnecessarily over-regulated. We don’t need a rule for every situation. We do need the freedom to be able to make our own choices as long as we are willing to pay the price of our choices while not infringing on the freedom of others. Additionally, government programs are so inefficient, most people would be better off without the interference of the government, anyway.

But if our only choice is between government borrowing and higher tax rates, the best choice for the future of our children is for the government to borrow the money it needs. Perhaps some Democrats could explain to me how our children are better off if their inheritance is confiscated by the federal government before they ever get to touch a dime of the estate, or in the case of my children, the penny jar, that is rightfully theirs.

While they’re at it, maybe these same Democrats could also explain to me how Social Security is anything but robbing from our children since all of the benefits of Social Security that we will receive will be paid by our children. I have to agree with the Democrats. It really is time to stop using government to rob from our children!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Americans will die for liberty

Americans will die for liberty
By Andrew Gimson

Selected Exerpts:

We are inclined, in our snobbish way, to dismiss the Americans as a new and vulgar people, whose civilisation has hardly risen above the level of cowboys and Indians. Yet the United States of America is actually the oldest republic in the world, with a constitution that is one of the noblest works of man. When one strips away the distracting symbols of modernity - motor cars, skyscrapers, space rockets, microchips, junk food - one finds an essentially 18th-century country. While Europe has engaged in the headlong and frankly rather immature pursuit of novelty - how many constitutions have the nations of Europe been through in this time? - the Americans have held to the ideals enunciated more than 200 years ago by their founding fathers.

But lest these impressions of the United States seem unduly favourable, it should be added that the Americans have not remained in happy possession of their free constitution without cost. Thomas Jefferson warned that the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots. To the Americans, the idea that freedom and democracy exact a cost in blood is second nature.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Look at 1930

A Bit of History for Global Warmers


People sweltering from a heat wave in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. might find cold comfort in the fact that the temperatures of the past few days are not the hottest on record. That "honor" belongs to a summer 76 years ago -- decades before the controversy over "man-made global warming" began. "That summer has never been approached, and it's not going to be approached this year."

But Michaels noted that high temperatures are common in the middle of the summer. "Climatologically, the last week in July is the warmest week of the year on average, and when the atmospheric flow patterns get into anomalously warm configurations during this time of the year, temperatures will skyrocket," he said.

"Big cities are getting warmer -- with or without global warming -- because the bricks and the buildings and the pavement retain heat," Michaels added. For that reason, he prefers to compare temperatures in nearby rural areas. "There's been very little change" in those areas, "so we trust the record to be a reliable indicator of base climate."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Regarding Gibson

A few thoughts:

I never realized how many people hate Mel Gibson. I can understand not liking him. I can even concur with those who are denouncing what he said. However, the hatred towards Mel Gibson seems irrational to me. If Mel Gibson is hated so much just for making a movie about Christ, just imagine how much Christ was hated for how he lived and what he said.

Some people keep claiming that alcohol is a truth serum when discussing the Gibson matter. According to these self-appointed social experts, the true heart of a person is revealed through the consumption of alcohol. Really? Bars and night clubs are not exactly dens of honesty. Actually, truth and liquor go together about like hot sauce and ice cream. Someone who is drunk has the potential to make a slip of the tongue and reveal an offensive personal belief, but most drunks, most of the time, blabber the first thought that pops into their head, whether they believe it or not. Alcohol reduces inhibitions, but it does not reveal truths.

Roman Polanski fled the United States after being indicted for raping a 13-year-old girl, yet he still makes movies and receives awards from the filmmaking industry. Woddy Allen had an affair and then married the daughter of the lady who fathered his biological son and was also accused of molesting other children, yet he is still a revered filmmaker. Mel Gibson seems way too normal for most of Hollywood. All he did was say something stupid which has led to many, many, others saying things that are just as stupid.