Archive for August, 2011

The other day, Greg Mankiw posted an interesting video on his blog.

In this video, Dr. Jeffrey Miron at Harvard discusses three common myths of capitalism.

  • Is being pro-business and pro-capitalism the same?
  • Does capitalism generate an unfair distribution of income?
  • Was capitalism responsible for the most recent financial crisis?

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Among the best things you can do living in Switzerland is hiking on a sunny summer day. Last weekend we drove to the Säntis mountain and climbed up all the way to Ebenalp (1’640m). Here’s a bunch of snapshots:

Unlike Germans, Swiss people love their flag...

...and seemingly they don't suffer from vertigo...

...or worry about falling rocks.

The view remunerates for the exhausting climbing!

Panorama view

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Seems like John Steward’s comment on media ignoring Ron Paul has actually caused some newspapers, magazines, and TV channels to recognize Paul as one of the top Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential election.

Yesterday, even Fox News broadcasted a full 15-minute interview with Congressman Ron Paul:

Fox News Video – Media Ignoring Ron Paul?

In a match-up with President Obama you are now basically even! Question: Why are you gaining such traction this year?

Because it’s a good idea and it’s the American idea. But I am fascinated with your word ‘unconventional’. Isn’t it strange that we can apply that term to freedom, liberty, the constitution, limited government, and a balanced budget?


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About four months ago, I wrote about which candidates are likely to play an important role in the 2012 presidential election. Much has happened since, so it might be worthwhile to revisit Intrade’s share prices:

Barack Obama 51.4 percent (previously 58.3)
Rick Perry 19.1 percent
Mitt Romney 13.0 percent (12.5)
Jon Huntsman 4.5 percent
Ron Paul 3.4 percent (2.1)
Sarah Palin 2.7
Hillary Clinton 2.3
Michele Bachman 1.7

We observe that President Obama has already lost about seven percentage points although the GOP is still far from having a clear candidate. This drop could be explained by America’s downgrade and ongoing high unemployment rates.

Among Republican hopefuls, Rick Perry has surged to become the new front runner. Mitt Romney’s chance meanwhile has not changed much. Ranked third and forth, Huntsman and Paul are still trying to get more attention and support.

With regard to other candidates we notice that some of those potential candidates that were relatively strong in April are already out of the race. Among these are Donald Trump (in April 4.8 percent), Tim Pawlenty (6.0 percent), or Mitch Daniels (3.2 percent).

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outsourcing

In a recent article for Project Syndicate, Jagdish Bhagwati, Professor of Economics and Law at Columbia University, criticizes common beliefs about outsourcing:

The Outsourcing Bogeyman

In short, everyone wins from outsourcing of services. Alas, few understand this.

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If there was any need for final evidence that US media is biased, here you are:

The Daily Show with John Steward – Ron Paul & the Top Tier

How did libertarian Ron Paul become the 13th floor in a hotel?

At least TIME Magazine presented a 4-page article on Paul’s growing influence on GOP politics:

The Prophet – by Alex Altman  (full text)

Ron Paul is that rare commodity in modern politics: a man of ideas, however unconventional they may be.

Though he represents a rural coastal district, Paul regularly votes against farm subsidies and flood insurance. He has never voted for a tax increase or an unbalanced budget. He opposed congressional medals for Rosa Parks, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa as well as aid for Hurricane Katrina victims, all on the grounds that Congress has no business meddling in such matters.

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two sentences

Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the United States Declaration of Independence contains two of the most important sentences in the English language:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

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After 125 posts it took me about a fortnight to write this new posting. Meanwhile, I thought about broadening the subjects this blog deals with. Future postings will again cover many topics in economics and politics but also discuss various other issues.

To begin with, I’d like to share this great video by Judge Andrew Napolitano who worries about the ongoing disregard for the U.S. Constitution:

If the Constitution means what it says, it compels freedom and openness, and restrains the government, and compels it to obey its own laws. If its provisions are not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, what is the sense of having a constitution in the first place?

Sadly, much of what President Obama has done during his presidency is not covered, not allowed by the Constitution. But even more disconcerting is the fact that hardly anyone bothers about the ongoing disregard for the supreme law of the land.

You might be in favor of public health care or the war on Libya. But even if so, you should not underestimate the importance of the Constitution. It is this very document that guarantees your fundamental rights. If the Constitution is ignored for public health care or the war on Libya, what guarantee do you have that the government will respect your personal rights prescribed in the Constitution?

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eat the rich

The other day while surfing the Enjoyment and Contemplation blog, I found this interesting video:

We’ve taken all of the profits, all of the salaries, all of the expenses, revenues and holdings of the rich and we’ve liquidated them. President Obama meanwhile is proposing we’re spending another $3.6 trillion in 2012. But […] we’ve destroyed the private capital […]. It’s all gone. We ate the rich. We ate everything they had. And we scraped through for one year.

Due to the plethora of data, I haven’t checked Bill Whittle’s calculation. But here is one closer examination of the biggest part:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey of 2010, the number of households with more than $250k of income is 2,372,000. Their mean income is $425,226. Multiplying the two numbers gives us a total income of almost exactly $1 trillion.

In other words, even if Congress was to take 100% of all the income of the so-called rich households (here defined as >$250k), that would only pay for less than a third of the total Federal Budget.

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About a year ago, Judge Andrew Napolitano gave a brilliant lecture on constitutional law at the Mises University.

In his speech he raises several important questions and answers them with regard to the U.S. Constitution:

Where does your right to think as you wish come from?

How did we get this way, how did we get a government which can only pay lip service to the Constitution?

Where in the Constitution is the Federal Government authorized to manage health care?

The latter was brought to Congressman James E. Clyburn who answered:

Most of what we do, Judge, most of what we do down here is not authorized by the Constitution.

Well, Napolitano expands on this telling statement:

When the Mustang Ranch in Nevada was taken over by the IRS for failure to pay income taxes and the government ran it, they bankrupted it […] and they ought to manage health care?!

How many ways are there to earn wealth? I can think of three. One is the inheritance model. […] The other is the economic model which is what most of us use. […] And the third is the intimidation model: Your money or your life? Which model does the government use?

You see, when you explain things like that people understand exactly what’s happening here.

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