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Must Reads For The Week 9/2/17

September 2, 2017

HURRICANE HARVEY OBSERVATIONS

“Price Gouging” = Political Rhetoric and/or Economic Ignorance!

Every time a disaster happens the term ‘price gouging’ is used to describe what happens to the pricing system when normal supply and demand is disrupted. The first rule of economics is scarcity. Man’s desires are unlimited while resources needed to satisfy these desires are scarce. This constraint of scarcity exists for any economic system, be it free market or any of the other centrally planned economic systems (socialist, communist, fascist, democratic socialist). The question we must ask is; which system best deals with this inherent constraint? In a free market, prices ration scarce resources to their most valued uses according to the subjective valuations of consumers. In a centrally planned economy, bureaucrats make the decisions on what is valuable and how scarce resources are to be rationed .

A natural disaster quickly shows how a free flow of prices conveys knowledge about where resources are needed most. Prices rising in the affected area constrains consumer demand for these scarce resources on the one hand and incentivize suppliers to bring scarce resources to the affected area on thee other. Prices coordinate supply and demand, and at the same time the coordination of supply and demand is revealed through changing prices. Price rise or fall incrementally during normal market conditions. But during disasters there are wide swings in prices.

The wild swing in prices allows political demagogues to prey on the economically ignorant. This free flow of market prices is called “Price Gouging”. Politicians win when they demagogue rising prices, and the people affected most by the disaster are hurt. Even though the people hurt most don’t realize it.

Here are some videos that explain the role of prices in a market economy.

Walter E. Williams.

John Stossel

Stossel vs. O’Reilly

This video proves Bill O’Reilly’s ignorance about economics. When he is losing the argument he cuts Stossel off and tries to play on emotion instead of logic. He then resorts to calling Stossel a ‘fascist’. These are the tactics of leftists.

People who are being charitable with their own time and money don’t need to be incentivized to “do the right thing” (supplying goods and services to the affected area). Rising prices incentivize, non charitable people (if that’s what you want to call them ), to supply much-needed goods and services to the affected area.

Gas Prices To Rise Even Faster As Tropical Storm Harvey Floods Texas, at usa.com. I heard a gentleman call into a talk show complaining about the rise in gas prices in his part of the country. He didn’t think the prices should go up since his area wasn’t affected by Harvey. This shows the economic ignorance of a vast majority of people in the country. At least 12% of the countries refining capacity is being disrupted by Harvey. Gasoline distribution infrastructure is also being disrupted. Economic law states when supply decreases against a fixed demand the price will increase. This increased price works to coordinate demand to the new reality of the decreased supply. This works to ration the scarce resource to its most valued use until supply can be brought back on-line. Allowing prices to rise allows the coordination of supply and demand to happen much faster than if prices were fixed by government.

Private Sector vs. Public Sector

Private Sector To The Rescue In Texas: Never Underestimate The Power Of The Private Sector To Rise Up To An Challenge, by Mark J. Perry, at carpediamblog. First responders are individuals on the scene at the moment something happens. Second responders are police, firemen or FEMA. In New Orleans people relied on Government to help them. In Texas people are relying on themselves to help each other. Big difference! Many people think order can only come from central planning from Government. They can’t conceive of order happening spontaneously by individuals voluntarily cooperating.

EPA Approves Emergency Fuel Waiver For Texas, at epa.gov. The best way government can help is to get out of the way. Since refineries are down, Texas will now be allowed to purchase gasoline that is banned for use in Texas by EPA regulations. But don’t worry the lifting of the ban will expire on September 15th. Why do we need such regulations in the first place?

Thanks To Markets, Houston’s Disaster Isn’t As Bad As It Might Have Been, by Christopher Westley, at mises.org. Excerpt from the article: “At the time of this writing, 26 Harvey-related deaths have been confirmed in the United States….. imagine what the death toll would have been if a similar storm slammed into comparable population centers in the Pacific Rim, Venezuela, or other outposts of the Third World. No doubt: They would be in the thousands…… What makes Houston different has to do with property rights institutions taking root and developing there over decades, making it a center for capital investment, because capital always flows to those areas where it is most secure. The continued increase in the quantity and quality of capital over time increases wealth, allowing its owners to afford better infrastructure and safety, relative to more benighted areas that attract less capital over time. To get an idea about the effects of decades of capital formation on Houston in 2017, consider the devastation that befell Galveston in 1900, when another Category 4 hurricane swept the Texas coast and claimed about 8,000 lives.

Why Houston Doesn’t Need Federal Flood Relief, – In Four Charts, by Ryan McMaken, at mises.org. Let’s not promise federal tax dollars to be assigned for rebuilding Texas. The funds will be subject to crony political distribution. And where ever there is a pile of Federal dollars there will be no shortage of people, who don’t need the money, trying to appropriate it. Excerpt from the article: “This isn’t to say real sharing and kindness are a bad thing. It’s excellent that private charities have already been hard at work helping with the cleanup in Houston. If one wants to insist that governments be involved, there’s nothing stopping other states from handing over funds to Texas directly. The federal government need not be involved at all

The Broken Window Fallacy Hasn’t Been Brought Up…. Yet!

Maybe we have won the war against ‘The Broken Window Fallacy‘. Usually after disasters like this we start to hear ‘experts’ talk about how the disaster will help the economy because of all the jobs created to replace and rebuild the things that were destroyed. I guess that sounds logical on its face, but if we remember our lessons from Frederic Bastiat we should look at what is seen, we should look at what is not seen. You will see the people employed in the rebuilding process. What you don’t see is what could have been done with all the resources, capital, time and labor used for the rebuild. The economy as a whole has less wealth because of a disaster. Everything that was destroyed has to be replaced just to get back to even par. If your car is destroyed. Not only do you not have a car, you won’t have what you could have purchased with the money used to replace your car. The economy as a whole, and you, are poorer by 1 car. The car was a useful good and was destroyed long before its normal replacement time. The broken window fallacy is simply the idea that consumption creates wealth. Production creates wealth. Consumption is the destruction of wealth.

Media / Politics

Fake News About Hurricane Harvey Is Why Americans Hate The Media, at thefederalist.com. This is just one example why the mainstream media has lost credibility.

Trump To Donate $1 Million To Texas Recovery, at cnn.com. I’m not a fan of people being public about their giving. Here is an excerpt from article: “President Donald Trump will donate $1 million of his fortune to recovery efforts in Texas……”

Hillary Clinton To Tell Audiences Her ‘Personal, Raw, Detailed and Surprisingly Funny Story’ In Nationwide Tour With Tickets Selling For Up To $1,200, at dailymail.co.uk. I wonder if Hillary is going to donate these proceeds to the recovery efforts in Texas? Or is she going to give some of he money donated to the Clinton Global Initiative for relief efforts in Texas? Oh! I forgot. Donations to the Clinton Global Initiative have dried up since Hillary lost the Election! Maybe Hillary and Bill will just have to give some of their fortune to the relief effort?

CARTOONS

From therightreason.net.

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Must Reads For The Week 8/19/17

August 19, 2017

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Speculates That Barcelona Attack May Be “Copycat” Of Charlottesville, at zerohedge.com. He really didn’t say that did he? Running into crowds of pedestrians with vehicles (preferably trucks) has been the new modus operandi of the terrorists for quite some time now (read here).

Before “Fake News”, America Invented “Pseudo Events”, by Ryan McMaken, at mises.org. Excerpt from the article: “Rather than attempt to supply a detailed look at who was at the event, what was done, and what the participants – from both sides – have to say about it, we are instead exposed primarily to what people in Washington DC, and the political class in general, think about the events in which they were not directly involved. This focus illustrates …. a bias toward focus on the national intellectual class rather than on events that take place outside the halls of official power. Note, however, that those quoted rarely have any special knowledge about the events themselves. Their opinions are covered not because they are knowledgeable, but because their quotations fit easily into a narrative that the media wishes to perpetuate.

Why Isn’t Communism As Hated As Nazism? by Dennis Prager, at Prager University.

Privatize The Public Monuments, by Ryan McMaken, at mises.org. “Public” ownership via tax payer dollars means there will always be bickering because agreement on what should be erected is impossible. Private ownership means one person has the right to decide.

America’s Right To Self-Government Is Under Attack, at theburningplatform.com. The intellectual elite has always thought they can run our lives better than we can. The election of the outsider Trump has put them in a position they won’t accept. They have no real positions of power in the federal government but what they are really afraid of is they are about to lose political power. Political power is all about verbal sleight of hand. It is an illusion, a narrative if you will, created by propaganda and lies. Most people are figuring out that the media narrative is fake. Without the illusion, it is easy to see though the political game. I would say Trump is Toto pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz, but Trump isn’t that subtle. He is more like a pit bull creating such a ruckus ripping the curtain down, we have no choice but to look.

Why Do The Super Rich Promote Socialism, at economicpolicyjournal.com. Socialism (government intervention into the economy) does not redistribute wealth more evenly. Socialism allows wealth to be controlled by individuals at the top. There is no middle class. Only the haves and the have-nots.

“The Maduro Diet” – Venezuelans Suffer Drastic Weight Loss As Hunger Crisis Strikes, at zerohedge.com. This is where socialism (government planning of an economy) leads to. Why isn’t this a bigger story…….? Because it doesn’t fit the narrative of the media when it comes to socialist central planning.

We Have A  Single-Payer System, And It’s Killing Veterans Like Me, by Jonathan LaForce, at thefederalist.com. When Obamacare collapses and politicians talk about implementing a single payer healthcare system. Tell them the VA is a single payer system, that has failed. Why would we want to try the same failure on a much bigger scale?

Wasserman Schultz IT Staffer Indicted By Grand Jury On 4 counts, at zerohedge.com. Hmmmm!

FBI Reopens’ FOIA Case On Lynch-Clinton Tarmac Meeting After Getting Caught In Lie, at zerohedge.com. Hmmmm!

‘Inconvenient’ Fact: Morgan Stanley Says Electric Cars Create more CO2 than They Save, at zerohedge.com. Excerpt from the article: “The carbon emissions generated by the electricity required for electric vehicles are greater than those saved by cutting out direct vehicle emissions.”

Trans Juggernaut Wants Your Kids. Public Schools are Just The Beginning, at thefederalist.com. Excerpt from the article: “….”Nature…tends to strike back, with the likely victims in this case being vulnerable and impressionable youngsters who, as confused adults, will pay the price for their elders’ fashionable fantasies.” This is likely why the transgender movement is targeting the young: They are vulnerable and impressionable, prepuberty pose better as either sex and therefore look less terrifying than adult transgenders, and once locked into the trans body morph will never truly be able to escape. devastated people are prime candidates for exploitation by their pretend advocates. Also, locking in trans-policies now is a way to preclude debate before more extensive data and personal experience can fuel the inevitable backlash. Of course this is bad for kids, but it’s not about kids. they’re just pawns, as usual. It’s about politics.

Why Did The Democratic South Become Republican? By Prof. Carol Swain, at Prager University.http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-17/wasserman-schultz-it-staffer-indicted-4-counts

 

CARTOONS

From therightreasonlnet.

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Must Reads For The Week 7/29/17

July 29, 2017

Single Payer Food Insurance, by Robert Higgs, at lewrodkwell.com. The free market has no problem supplying the U.S. with enough food. In fact the free market does such a good we have an obesity problem in the U.S. Would a single payer food insurance program work better or worse than our current free market system as hampered as it is. Why would we want a single payer healthcare system?

How OPEC Became Irrelevant, by Olav Dirkmott, at mises.org.  OPEC  used to be able to cut production and drive up oil prices. Not anymore. The American shale industry has become profitable at prices in the 40-50 dollar range. Shale producers have filled the void created by OPEC cuts which has kept the price down.

Banks Are Scheming To Dominate A Future Cashless Society, by Shaun Bradley, at lewrockwell.com. Governments want to phase out cash. If every transaction becomes an electronic transfer governments and banks gain control over the wealth of each individual. A cashless society becomes exponentially less free.

“Shrinkflation” – How Food Companies Implement Massive Price Hikes Without You Ever Noticing, at zerohedge.com. Companies are putting smaller amounts of product in their packaging. We don’t notice because the package looks about the same size. We are paying the same price or a little more for less product. I noticed this a few years ago.

Seattle’s Minimum Wage Supporters Ignore The Facts, by Andres Syrios, at mises.org. Minimum wage laws hurt the workers the laws were designed to help. The passage of time always shows socialist policies won’t work. Although economic laws prove this before the fact.

Tracking The Great Escape From Cook County And Illinois, at zerohedge.com. The decreasing population of Illinois in general and Cook county in particular shows people voting with their feet. Big government makes things worse, not better.

Taiwan – Based Foxconn Will Invest $10 Billion In The US And We Can Thank American’s Trade Deficit For that Inflow, by Mark J. Perry, at carpediemblog. Trade deficits and trade surpluses don’t disadvantage anybody. Trade benefits both parties in the exchange or the exchange wouldn’t happen.

The Student Loan Bubble And Economic Collapse, at theburningplatform.com. The U.S. has $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. $120 billion is in default. 27% of students are a month behind on payments. These defaults will grow in number. The bubble will eventually burst, which is a good thing. Unless politicians use tax payer dollars to bail out big college.

The High Cost Of Free College, by Nathan Keeble, at mises.org. Tennessee is going to pay tuition for anyone who is seeking an associate degree from a community college. Do you think single payer college will work?

A Shocking Thing Happened To College Tuitions In 2016, at zerohedge.com. Is the college bubble reaching its peak? In 2016 college tuition grew at 1.9%. Since 1990 tuition has grown at 6% a year on average.

Us Congress On Pace To Be The Least Productive Legislature In 164 Years, at zerohedge.com. What does productive mean in this context? If productivity means passing regulations than I am happy congress is not productive. If productivity means getting rid of regulations (like Obamacare) than I’m not happy.

A Millennial Explains How Post-Modern Liberalism and Failed Parenting Led To The Snowflake-Ification Of A Generation, by Mark J. Perry, at carpedicmblog. Excerpt from the article: “Most millennials grew up with parents who did everything they could to provide their children with happiness and emotional well-being, at the expense of personal responsibility and self-reliance.” Protecting people from reality produces unrealistic people.

Who’d a-thunk It? There Are Ingerent Differences In How Men’s And Women’s Brains Are Wired And How They Work? by Mark J. Perry, at carpediemblog. Nurture or nature? Nature wins.

Declassified Memos Show Obama’s NSA Spied On Americans Way More Than You Thought, at zerohedge.com. Is anyone surprised that this happened. The question is; is this still happening?

FBI Seized Crushed Hard Drives From Home Of Wasserman-Schultz’ IT Aide, at zerohedge.com. These guys learned from Hillary Clinton. But wait there is more.  Arrested DNC Staffer Awan Retains Long-Time Clinton Associate Fro Legal Help, at zerohedge.com. The Democrat party had Pakistani IT workers on their payroll. Imran Awan was arrested at Dulles airport trying to flee the country. He was charged with bank fraud. There is a real crime here. The media has not covered this story. Why?

CARTOONS

From therightreasons.net.

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Must Reads For The Week 6/24/17

June 24, 2017

RESULTS OF GOVERNMENT CENTRAL PLANNING

McDonalds Is Replacing 2,500 Human Cashiers With Digital Kiosks: Here Is The Math, at zerohedge.com. Economic forces are always finding more productive ways of providing goods and services to consumers. Without intervention from Government regulations and Federal Reserve printed money this transformation happens at the proper time. It is an incremental process that slowly relocates less productive labor, capital, and resources to more productive uses. The problem with central planners, and in this case minimum wage zealots, is their ‘good intentions’ are bringing the future into the present before it supposed to be here. Eventually and gradually automation replaces labor, just look at economic history. As wages gradually increase it leads to an incremental move toward automation at a certain price. But when central planners force sudden and large increased in minimum wages, the transformations it causes are more costly and disruptive to the economy (people) than if the market was allowed to let changes happen at the pace set by the market (the market: what results when millions of individuals are allowed to make decisions on what they will produce, consume, exchange and save).

New Mexico Health Insurer Proposes 80% Premium Hike, usnews.com. Another example of intervention by central planners creating disruptions in the healthcare market (or what is left of the healthcare market).

Good Luck Getting Out Of The Subprime Auto Loan When Used Car Prices Crash, at zerohedge.com. Look at the problem created by central planners in the auto loan market. Transporting future demand into the present results in over production. This over production wouldn’t have happened under normal market conditions. Now that future demand has already been used up, there is not enough ‘present’ demand to match the over production. The free market allocates scarce resources to their most productive uses with as little waste as possible. Government intervention is chaotic.

Government As The Source Of Monopoly: US Airlines Edition, by Peter Klein, at mises.org. Monopoly cannot exist in a free market as long as entry into the market is not restricted by Government. The airline industry is heavily regulated which means customer service isn’t a top priority. Does anyone who has flown recently disagree?

Canary In The Coal Mine: Unfunded Liabilities Have Turned Illinois Into A “Banana Republic“, at zerohedge.com. Government caving into Unions for years has led to this unfunded liability nightmare. There is no incentive for Gov. officials to fight the unions when expiring contracts are up for renegotiation because it is the tax payer dollars they are negotiating with. Politicians have no skin in the game. Government employees retire in their 50’s and then collect 30 plus years of benefits. If you add this to the fact that these pension plans have been underfunded, you see the math problem they have created for themselves. Incentives matter. The private and public sectors operate under different incentives.

Moody’s: Modest Downside Could Spark $3 Trillion Surge In Pension Liabilities, at zerohedge.com. It’s not just Illinois that has the pension crisis. Public pensions all over the US are in trouble. Why? We covered it above.

Privatize The New York City Subway System, by Robert Fullner, at mises.org. Another example of a Government run system failing. There is no incentive for New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority to use scarce resources efficiently because tax payer money is always available to bail them out.

Philly’s Soda Tax Is Shaping Up To Be An Epic Flop, at phillymag.com. No shock here. A black market for soda is springing up just as the black market for cigarettes was created in NYC when they hiked the cigarette tax. The tax also has led to job losses at Coca-Cola since sales declined 32% (read here).

MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS

Hero Homeowner Holds Escaped Georgia Inmates At Gunpoint Until Arrests, at tammybruce.com. Good guy with a gun stops bad guys.

Judicial Watch: Obama NSC Advisor Susan Rice’s Unmasking Material Is At Obama Library, at judicialwatch.org. Insiders using the law to hide information! Documents from the Obama administration are now at the Obama Presidential library. The Presidential Act closes access to these records for 5 years after the President leaves office. With the millions of pages of federal law, do you think there are other places where insiders can hide records?

Major Free Speech Victory, SCOTUS Rules For ‘The Slants’ And Strikes Down Federal Trademark Restriction, at reason.com. The Obama Patent and Trademark Department lost this case 8-0. How many Supreme Court cases end up with no dissenting opinions? This was an attempt by the Obama administration impose their idea of political correctness on all of us. They hoped the defendant wouldn’t be willing to pay the monetary and psychic cost of fighting the unlimited resources of the Federal Government.  What a waste of time and money. But thank God they fought this.

Soros, Teneo And Donors To McCain Institute, dailycaller.com. Senator McCain may be trying to create a smaller version of the Clinton’s money laundering scheme, known as the Clinton Global Initiative.

Complete Idiotic Commentary From The Commerce Secretary, at economicpolicyjournal.com. Excerpt from the article: “The entire concept of the balance of payments, weighing trade deficits and surpluses, is absurd and at epicenter of economic confusion.” Trade policy is an area where Trump needs to get educated.

East Lansing Bans Apple Farmer From Market From Being Faithful Catholic, at thefederalist.com. An example of tolerance by politically correct bureaucrats.

CARTOONS

therightreasons.net

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