Bernanke to be nominated for a second term as FED chief

Posted on August 25th, 2009 by bile
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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who led the biggest expansion of the central bank’s power in its 95-year history to battle the worst economic slump since the Great Depression, will be nominated to a second term by President Barack Obama.

Bernanke “has led the Fed through one of the worst financial crises that this nation and this world have ever faced,” Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery today at 9 a.m. in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where Bernanke is to join him.

“As an expert on the causes of the Great Depression, I’m sure Ben never imagined that he would be part of a team responsible for preventing another,” Obama said. “But because of his background, his temperament, his courage, and his creativity, that’s exactly what he has helped to achieve.”

Bernanke’s nomination for a second four-year term starting Jan. 31 requires Senate approval and was endorsed by the head of the Banking Committee, Christopher Dodd. The Fed chief will still face tough questioning from lawmakers who say he was slow to recognize the severity of the mortgage crisis and didn’t do enough to protect American consumers while leading bailouts of financial firms including Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc.

Obama decided to reappoint Bernanke because he wanted to keep together the team that had weathered the crisis, an administration official said. The official said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers all recommended Bernanke be reappointed.

“May whatever god you believe in have mercy on your soul.” –Q

This isn’t surprising in the least… but really… “expert in the Great Depression”… I don’t see it. “Responsible for preventing another?” I strongly disagree. He’s not to blame for the Greenspan and legislative policies that helped get us to this place… but he’s surely responsible for the Keynesianism on crack corporatism that he’s pushed for and implemented. He’s also to be criticized, as the article mentions, for the biggest expansion in central banking power ever.

As this video is called: Ben Bernanke was wrong

Why would you want the same people who caused this problem to be the ones with the charge to fix it… especially when their solution is a continuation of that which lead to the problem?

What happens to those Cash for Clunkers vehicles

Posted on August 2nd, 2009 by bile
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I don’t know that this has been verified but I’d not be surprised. During the great depression the US government paid farmers to burn and turn over fields and slaughtered hundreds and thousands of pigs in an attempt to keep prices up. It’s sad that in 70+ years they haven’t learned a thing.

AP: Libertarians seek a place in the New Hampshire sun

Posted on July 25th, 2009 by bile
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By ADAM GELLER, AP National Writer Adam Geller, Ap National Writer – 1 hr 12 mins ago

LANCASTER, N.H. – He fled the “People’s Republic of Massachusetts” to escape tyranny. Now he strides the campground in a plaid kilt and mirror shades, an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle across his torso, an immense Scottish sword sheathed between his shoulders.

Out here, though, the only signs of danger are the ones warning drivers to watch out for moose. Could it be he senses a threat we’re not seeing?

“Not expecting,” says the swordsman, who calls himself Doobie, grinning broadly. “Just ready.”

There’s no escaping the long arm of big government — even here at the far edge of a state whose license plate decrees that without freedom from oppressive authority you might as well choose death. But for Doobie and 500 others, this tent colony on this particular weekend is about as close to Libertarian Nirvana as they’re likely to get.

They’ve come for the Porcupine Freedom Festival, four days of beer, burgers and bonfires. But more importantly, they are here to carve out an enclave of less government and more liberty to do as they wish.

They are here to show a lost nation the way back to its political roots.

It hasn’t been an easy message to sell these past few years. Their group, the Free State Project, has struggled to attract followers. But now, with Americans thinking anew about the reach and role of government, Free Staters see at least the hint of an opening.

So this weekend, they drink to the future. Between swigs of a custom brew called Overregulated Ale, they ridicule the Federal Reserve, applaud the defeat of a bill that would have required the wearing of seat belts, bemoan higher taxes and restrictions on gun rights.

“We said bad things are going to happen and they happen,” Jason Sorens, a political science professor, preaching to the crowd clustered around picnic tables. “We say, we told you so.”

Read More…

Raise in minimum wage… increase in unemployment

Posted on July 25th, 2009 by bile
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I forgot to post this yesterday. So the federal mandated minimum wage raised to $7.25. Meaning that unemployment will go up for some of those in who’s labor is valued in the $6.55 to $7.24 range.

God Celebrates Unemployment!!

Well, not exactly, but on the “God’s Politics” blog, they are claiming that “people of faith” can “celebrate” the raising of the minimum wage. According to the People Who Claim to Speak for God, the free market “exploits” workers:

First implemented during the Great Depression, the minimum wage sought both to protect workers and to improve the economy by enhancing consumer purchasing power.  Some argue that the market should naturally determine wages based on supply and demand, yet we have seen how an unchecked market has led to exploitation of workers and an even greater disparity of wealth that is dangerous for the economy as a whole.  A minimum wage treats workers with dignity and keeps our economy on a healthy, sustainable base.

Of course, even this newly-mandated amount is not enough.  No, God is demanding even higher wages:

As the gap between the rich and the poor grows to a dangerous level in the U.S., we must encourage better pay for those struggling to survive at the bottom of this gap.  A leading minimum wage advocacy organization, Let Justice Roll, is asking people of faith to advocate for a wage increase to $10 an hour by 2010.  Click here to learn more about the “10 by 10” campaign and to urge your legislators to bring the minimum wage closer to meeting workers’ daily needs.

What they don’t tell us is that the minimum wage is another way of saying that anyone who is willing to work for less than what the government mandates should not be permitted to work at all.  The role that the minimum wage has played in destroying employment opportunities for black teenagers and other groups who are on the margins is well-documented.

This is an example of Bastiat’s “Broken Window Fallacy” in which people claim that destruction of property and employment actually is a “blessing” to the community.  The idea that it magically increases the overall purchasing power for the economy is an example of the Fallacy of Composition, which is part and parcel to the pro-minimum wage argument.  Of  course, the people at Sojourners simply baptize leftist doctrines and then claim they are from God.  I never have forgotten that Jim Wallis and others at Sojourners enthusiastically endorsed the Mao regime at the height of the Cultural Revolution.  In sheer numbers, Mao was the greatest mass-murderer in history, and Wallis stood behind the killings.

You can learn more here.

The role of ideal types in Austrian Business Cycle theory and how it relates to the 2008 recession

Posted on July 10th, 2009 by bile
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On Wednesday and Thursday I read Steven Horwitz’s working paper “The Microeconomic Foundations of Macroeconomic Disorder: An Astrian Perspective on the Great Recession of 2008” and Horwitz and Gene Callahan’s working paper “The Role of Ideal Types in Austrian Business Cycle Theory.” If you have the time and interest I’d recommend checking them out 40 pages combined, with references. The reason I’m bothering to post about them is that they both cover, in different ways, misunderstandings of the Austrian business cycle theory and it amazes me that after nearly 100 years in existance in one form or another there is still such a difficulty. It’s as if Krugman and others never even bothered to read Mises and other’s works. Perhaps they didn’t and that’s the problem.

However, it could be more than that. Perhaps written economic theory isn’t as far along as I thought. For years I’ve talked about how government indecisiveness on policy and the fact that there are large market players (ie the Federal Reserve) likely helped prolong the Great Depression along with other panics in which those two got involved. I figured those were well established theorys but it turns out that it was only in 2006 that Robert Higgs coined the term “regime uncertainty” and in the 90′s and 00′s ideal type of the “Big Player” by Koppl, Yeager and Butos. Perhaps it just took a while till someone actually wrote papers regarding those topics… but it seems odd that those concepts aren’t more established. Then again I could just be ignorant of their history. I’ve not done any addition research into them.

Why You’ve Never Heard of the Great Depression of 1920

Posted on April 24th, 2009 by bile
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Since tomorrow is the national End the Fed rally I figured this would be worth sharing. Good history to know when discussing the Great Depression of the 1930′s and of today.