Sunday, June 3, 2012

Obama Gets Left Behind - Forbes

Come on now. Is Obama really a "psychopathic megalomaniac"?
I learned of Obama's problems today.  Not from Ron Paul supporters.  Not from Glenn Beck's Drudge wanna-be news site The Blaze. I read about Obama's psychosis from left wing Democrats.
Everyday I get emails from former members of Move On, a pro-Democratic Party group that was famously active during the build-up to the Iraq War in 2003. They're complaining about one man: President Obama.
In these emails, one thing is apparent.  When it comes to the left wing liberals, Obama is being left behind.
The left was mostly raptured into political heaven four years ago when they elected Obama on bended knee.  He spoke about things dear to their hearts: closing Guantanamo Bay. Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Getting tough on bankers.
Guantanamo is still open. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, but the military presence remains.  (Smacks of imperialism. That's something the left hates as much as libertarians do.)  Then there's the president's bit about getting tough on bankers. Where has the White House come down hard on Wall Street? Fuhgeddaboudit. This is New York!

Dreaming of a Superhero -

ON Friday night, the nation’s capital was under a tornado watch. And that was the best thing that happened to the White House all week.

As the president was being slapped by Mitt Romney for being too weak on national security, he was being rapped by a Times editorial for being too aggressive on national security.

A Times article by Jo Becker and Scott Shane revealed that the liberal law professor who campaigned against torture and the Iraq war now personally makes the final decisions on the “kill list,” targets for drone strikes. “A unilateral campaign of death is untenable,” the editorial asserted.

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It's become fashionable in the last few years to denounce "crony capitalism"—the sort of mutual backscratching that often takes place between government and business. "You give me political support, I'll give you a bailout."

It's wrong to call that "crony capitalism." There's nothing capitalist about it. Capitalism means the separation of state and economics. Under capitalism, the government has no special favors or protections to hand out, and so business has no reason to grovel.

But setting that aside, it's true that cronyism is rampant today, as it is in any mixed economy. The blame, however, rests not with business but with government. Because the fact of the matter is, if you want to survive in business today, you had better have friends in Washington.

Just look at what's happening to Apple. According to David Boaz:

Yes, Apple—praised to the skies for being an innovator and job creator by Washington politicians when that narrative serves their interests—has become the latest target of the political class.

According to Politico, the daily newspaper of lobbyists and political consultants, industry giant Apple spent a mere $500,000 in Washington in the first quarter of 2012, compared to more than $7 million Google and Microsoft spent on lobbying and related activities from January through March of this year.

Then Politico lowers the boom: "The company's attitude toward D.C.—described by critics as 'don't bother us'—has left it without many inside-the-Beltway friends."

"Don't bother us"? I say, amen. But Washington says, no way. The attitude on the Potomac is: "Nice little company ya got there, shame if anything happened to it."

Now, do you think Apple is going to spend more money on lobbying in the future or less?

Yaron Answers: Hasn’t Capitalism Produced Greater Inequality In Recent Years? — Laissez Faire

Yaron Answers: Hasn’t Capitalism Produced Greater Inequality In Recent Years?

Yaron Answers: Hasn’t Capitalism Produced Greater Inequality In Recent Years? — Laissez Faire

Still Not Theft: More On Fractional Reserve Banking — Laissez Faire

There's been a good—and surprisingly passionate—discussion of fractional reserve banking in the comments of Yaron's recent video. A lot of the comments are worth reading, but definitely don't miss this one from Ayn Rand Institute board member Harry Binswanger:

Anonymous apparently neither listened to Yaron nor read any of these comments. What kind of "counterfeiter" tells his trading partners just what his money is and represents?

Listen up anti-FRBers: what if every bank made each depositor, on opening his account, sign a waiver saying he realizes the arrangement and consents to taking the risk? And then what if every check printed by such banks carried notice: "This check is on an account in a fractional reserve bank; in accepting it in payment, you assume the risks involved." Or whatever language you want—flashing neon signs above the banks maybe? WHAT THEN? Where's your fraud, your counterfeiting, your double claims on the same asset?

So what are the anti-FRBers left with, given that this completely ends their claims of fraud? They are left with their ANTI-CAPITALIST economics: the claim that they know better than the market—that they can see that fractional reserve banking is dangerous but those in the market—bankers and their clients—cannot. If they actually accept capitalism, and if they grant there's no force or fraud, they must take the position: let the market sort it out.

Fractional Reserve banking existed and functioned here in the free banking periods of the 19th century. End of story.

Excuse my shortness of temper, but I have been answering the same benighted anti-FRB arguments for some 40 years now.

Meanwhile, for anyone interested in the economics of fractional reserve banking, I can't recommend strongly enough that you check out the work of Lawrence H. White and George Selgin. Selgin in particular has a number of fascinating blog posts on this issue: