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When interest rates are kept arbitrarily low by government policy, the effect must be inflationary. In the first place, interest rates cannot be kept artificially low, except by inflation. The real or natural rate of interest is the rate that would be established if the supply and demand for real capital were in equilibrium. The actual money interest rate can only be kept below the natural rate by pumping new money into the economic system. This new money and new credit add to the apparent supply of new capital just as the judicious addition of water add to the apparent supply of real milk.
Henry Hazlitt
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posted 6 / 11 / 2014
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Nominations for Nanny of the Month.

Ugh. Why can’t government just leave us alone?

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posted 5 / 5 / 2014
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This Is What a Government Going Broke Looks Like
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posted 4 / 30 / 2014
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Low-level federal judges balking at law enforcement requests for electronic evidence

letterstomycountry:

We are seeing some judicial resistance against the tide of expanding search & seizure authority for law enforcement.  From the article:

Judges at the lowest levels of the federal judiciary are balking at sweeping requests by law enforcement officials for cellphone and other sensitive personal data, declaring the demands overly broad and at odds with basic constitutional rights.

This rising assertiveness by magistrate judges — the worker bees of the federal court system — has produced rulings that elate civil libertarians and frustrate investigators, forcing them to meet or challenge tighter rules for collecting electronic evidence.

Among the most aggressive opinions have come from D.C. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola, a bow-tied court veteran who in recent months has blocked wide-ranging access to the Facebook page of Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and the iPhone of the Georgetown University student accused of making ricin in his dorm room. In another case, he deemed a law enforcement request for the entire contents of an e-mail account “repugnant” to the U.S. Constitution.

For these and other cases, Facciola has demanded more focused searches and insisted that authorities delete collected data that prove unrelated to a current investigation rather than keep them on file for unspecified future use. He also has taken the unusual step, for a magistrate judge, of issuing a series of formal, written opinions that detail his concerns, even about previously secret government investigations.

“For the sixth time,” Facciola wrote testily, using italics in a ruling this month, “this Court must be clear: if the government seizes data it knows is outside the scope of the warrant, it must either destroy the data or return it. It cannot simply keep it.”

Judge Facciola is also a former prosecutor, making his hardline stance on warrants a refreshing change of pace.

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posted 4 / 30 / 2014
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Edward Snowden thinks of himself as a cyber-age guerrilla warrior, but in reality he is a self-publicizing narcissist. He did not find or expose anything illegal, nor did he exhaust all legal and constitutional options to express his reservations about the intelligence and security services. He did not attempt to limit any potential damage in making his point. He did not show that any agency activities were unreasonable in law. Let us not imbue his cowardice with higher motives. Let us not confuse his egotism with public service. Let’s not call his treachery by lesser terms. Let us be clear about the intent and impact of his actions. Let us be clear to the American people and their allies about the threats they now face from enemies inside and out, terrorist and criminal. For once, let’s say what we mean. Let us call treason by its name.

Liam Fox: “Snowden and his Accomplices”

This editorial is Exhibit A of a circle-the-wagons, defend the establishment, assuming-what-you’re-trying-to-prove argument in defense of a government so drunk on power it can’t distinguish between terrorists and the very citizens its tasked with protecting. The threats to our liberties imposed by our own government are far more imminent than any existential terrorist threat out there.

We need true conservatives (and true classical liberals) who are willing to reduce the size, scope, power, and authority of government in our lives. The biggest problem with our government isn’t that they have spied on us; it’s that they are even capable of it to begin with.

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posted 4 / 16 / 2014
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Peter Schiff - Bailing Out Banks Put Homeowners Underwater

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posted 4 / 7 / 2014
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We keep hearing about the Federal Reserve “tapering” its quantitative easing exercise in money creation. But a tweet from the St. Louis Fed says: “adjusted monetary base rises by more than $65 billion over the past two weeks to $3.963 trillion.” The sum of currency in circulation plus deposits held by banks at the Federal Reserve, this measure of money supply stood at less than $900 billion before the financial crisis. What will happen to prices in the economy once banks start lending this money out to customers?

WSJ

Did you get that? Our money supply increased from around $900 billion to almost $4 trillion in the last few years. This goes beyond tinkering—it has been and will continue to be hugely disruptive to our economy and standard of living.

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posted 3 / 26 / 2014
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9 Reasons Why Raising the Minimum Wage Is a Terrible Idea
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posted 3 / 5 / 2014
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There is quite a bit that we don’t know [about climate change] so you might want to gulp down an extra bit of oxygen before starting the next sentence. First, we don’t know that climate change is even happening; in the next instance, we don’t know whether it would be a bad thing or a good thing if it were, for it is quite possible that we will like it when Iceland is famous for her white wines; in the third place, we don’t know, if it is happening and if it is bad, that we, as in we humans, are in any way responsible for it, another possible culprit being the flaming hot ball of fire in the sky; and fourth, we don’t know that anything can be done about it.

However, one thing we can be pretty sure of is that if it is happening, and if it is bad, and if we are causing it, and if we can reverse it, then the last people on earth we should entrust with the responsibility of reversing it would be those statist functionaries who are clamoring for more power in the name of climate change. I would rather die in a rising ocean of inconvenient truths than to pass out the rest of my days smelting our old toothpaste tubes before an important bureaucrat in that big office building across the continent says that it is safe to throw them away.

Douglas Wilson

The conclusion:

The people who brought you trillion dollar deficits, the government education system, the spiraling chaos of Middle East politics, the roll-out of Obamacare, departments of motor vehicles everywhere, and a Federal Reserve honeycombed with crony capitalists, are now asking, on the basis of their record, a record that looks like the trail left by an F-5 tornado, to be put in charge of the weather.

And so I am afraid that if you take longer than a couple seconds to think about whether to be against this galloping folly, then you are a worthy recipient of everything you are about to get.

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posted 3 / 5 / 2014
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5 Things to Know About President Obama’s Budget Proposal
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posted 3 / 5 / 2014
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Public Sector Cuts Part-Time Shifts to Bypass Insurance Law

Well, golly gee.

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posted 3 / 3 / 2014
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Student Loans Entice Borrowers More for Cash Than a Degree

Wait—government injects into a market, skews the incentives and there’s unexpected behavioral changes? Who’d have guessed?!?

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posted 3 / 3 / 2014
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posted 2 / 25 / 2014
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Economists Debate the Minimum Wage

In this article, I explain why, even if the revisionist empirical studies are accurate, it still does not follow that the proposed hike in the minimum wage will be a boon for low-skilled workers. I also argue that, because critics have raised many troubling concerns about these studies, we should not accept them at face value. I conclude that economists should maintain the standard view that employers have a downward-sloping demand for low-skilled labor and that raising the minimum wage will tend to destroy job opportunities for many of those whom advocates of the higher minimum wage wish to help.

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posted 2 / 24 / 2014
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A few reasons the public might care about license-plate tracking
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posted 2 / 24 / 2014
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