World Politics

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Nov 9, 2009
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U.S. President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for giving the world "hope for a better future" and striving for nuclear disarmament.
The decision to award one of the world's top accolades to a president less than nine months into his first term, who has yet to score a major foreign policy success, came as a big surprise and provoked strong international criticism as well as praise.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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scribe said:
I can deal with someone in a cell for the rest of this life. I easily forget about them and their situation. I don't feel any sort of closure with an execution.
Having talked with way too many families of victims, I can tell you they never will have complete closure, however the survivors live without the ability to enjoy holidays or or family events - let alone the never ending court dates. They tell me what they think about the fairness of allowing the person who took pleasure in killing their family member. They hear how the murderers complain about "rights" the defense attorney claim have been violated and ask me why no one talks about the right to live that was stolen from their loved one. They hear at the sentencing hearings how a life sentence (when there has been no death penalty) is effecting the defendant and his family - limiting his (or her) ability to interact with their children, parents, or spouses >>> after these hearings I have been told about how they wished they could have at least one last talk with their loved one. In the end they tell me that it is clear to them that the courts and the public would much rather forget about them and their families than to deal responsibly with the person who destroyed their lives.

Most families may not feel closure but they may feel that society accepts the responsibility to provide justice for these heinous crimes.
 
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Anonymous

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scribe said:
I can deal with someone in a cell for the rest of this life. I easily forget about them and their situation. I don't feel any sort of closure with an execution.
Don't try and personalize this guy. He was a cold blooded killer in every sense of the word. His execution was not designed for you to feel closure. My guess is none of your family or friends were gunned down by this executioner.

I think, in this case, the punishment fits the crime.
 
Jul 24, 2009
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A couple of points

Scott SoCal said:
Many believe the economy to be a zero sum game and those typically are the wealth re-distributionists like our current administration. Confiscatory taxation is bad for everyone, top to bottom.
Can you give an example of someone who believes that the economy is a zero-sum game?

Your understanding of govt. taxation and spending is wrong too. How is taxing the upper income earners, and enacting social programs for lower income earners, `bad for everyone'? Works pretty well in Europe doesn't it? They mostly had rubble after WWII, now the standard of living is on-par with the US.

Incidentally, data collected by many institutions shows that for every dollar in tax cuts private spending increases only about $0.80 (because much of it is saved/reinvested, not spent in the economy). Not a good return. But every dollar the govt spends increases aggregate demand by about $1.50 . A govt. can therefore use tax-rate adjustments to influence aggregate demand in an economy leading to sustainable growth.

Maybe these `re-distributionists' are actually saving your ***?

P.S. Regarding your claim of 1st gen. wealth creation, the US has the lowest economic mobility in the OECD.

P.P.S. A good read to get up to speed on economics quickly, and the effects of various policies on society, I recommend `ABCs of Political Economy Modern Primer' by Robin Hahnel. Helps one avoid sounding like an ignorant rightie.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Don't try and personalize this guy. He was a cold blooded killer in every sense of the word. His execution was not designed for you to feel closure. My guess is none of your family or friends were gunned down by this executioner.

I think, in this case, the punishment fits the crime.
You are correct. I did not lose family or friends. I am guessing you did not either, which wouldn't put you in very good position to call for his blood. Since both of us weren't affected, I'll take my position on execution any day over yours.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
scribe said:
You are correct. I did not lose family or friends. I am guessing you did not either, which wouldn't put you in very good position to call for his blood. Since both of us weren't affected, I'll take my position on execution any day over yours.
Well, another topic for which we will have to agree to disagree.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
BroDeal - you really need to watch that interview with Andrew Bacevich. He's a former US Army Colonel, West Point, PhD from Princeton, combat experience in Viet Nam, Gulf War, etc. He's not some guy with an axe to grind against anyone, or for anyone. He just really has a very detailed grasp on what you're talking about.

Interesting point on Europe, Sprocket. I had a friend of mine who had lived in Germany and Belgium pretty much echo your statement.
Excellent interview Alpe. Thanks for the link. Man, so many things he said...I will have to watch and read it again I think.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
ihavenolimbs said:
Can you give an example of someone who believes that the economy is a zero-sum game?

Your understanding of govt. taxation and spending is wrong too. How is taxing the upper income earners, and enacting social programs for lower income earners, `bad for everyone'? Works pretty well in Europe doesn't it? They mostly had rubble after WWII, now the standard of living is on-par with the US.

Incidentally, data collected by many institutions shows that for every dollar in tax cuts private spending increases only about $0.80 (because much of it is saved/reinvested, not spent in the economy). Not a good return. But every dollar the govt spends increases aggregate demand by about $1.50 . A govt. can therefore use tax-rate adjustments to influence aggregate demand in an economy leading to sustainable growth.

Maybe these `re-distributionists' are actually saving your ***?

P.S. Regarding your claim of 1st gen. wealth creation, the US has the lowest economic mobility in the OECD.

P.P.S. A good read to get up to speed on economics quickly, and the effects of various policies on society, I recommend `ABCs of Political Economy Modern Primer' by Robin Hahnel. Helps one avoid sounding like an ignorant rightie.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg2208.cfm


"In a throwback to the 1930s and 1970s, Demo*cratic lawmakers are betting that America's economic ills can be cured by an extraordinary expansion of government. This tired approach has already failed repeatedly in the past year, in which Congress and the President:

Increased total federal spending by 11 percent to nearly $3 trillion;


Enacted $333 billion in "emergency" spending;


Enacted $105 billion in tax rebates; and


Pushed the budget deficit to $455 billion in the name of "stimulus."
Every one of these policies failed to increase eco*nomic growth. Now, in addition to passing a $700 bil*lion financial sector rescue package, lawmakers have decided to double down on these failed spending pol*icies by proposing a $300 billion economic stimulus bill. Even though the last $455 billion in Keynesian deficit spending failed to help the economy, lawmak*ers seem to have convinced themselves that the next $300 billion will succeed.

This is not the first time government expansions have failed to produce economic growth. Massive spending hikes in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1970s all failed to increase economic growth rates. Yet in the 1980s and 1990s—when the federal government shrank by one-fifth as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)—the U.S. economy enjoyed its great*est expansion to date.

Cross-national comparisons yield the same result. The U.S. government spends significantly less than the 15 pre-2004 European Union nations, and yet enjoys 40 percent larger per capita GDP, 50 percent faster economic growth rates, and a sub*stantially lower unemployment rate.[1] "



"Mountains of academic studies show how gov*ernment expansions reduce economic growth:[4]

Public Finance Review reported that "higher total government expenditure, no matter how financed, is associated with a lower growth rate of real per capita gross state product."[5]


The Quarterly Journal of Economics reported that "the ratio of real government consumption expenditure to real GDP had a negative associa*tion with growth and investment," and "growth is inversely related to the share of government consumption in GDP, but insignificantly related to the share of public investment."[6]


A Journal of Macroeconomics study discovered that "the coefficient of the additive terms of the government-size variable indicates that a 1% increase in government size decreases the rate of economic growth by 0.143%."[7]


Public Choice reported that "a one percent in*crease in government spending as a percent of GDP (from, say, 30 to 31%) would raise the un*employment rate by approximately .36 of one percent (from, say, 8 to 8.36 percent)."[8]
Economic growth is driven by individuals and entrepreneurs operating in free markets, not by Washington spending and regulations. The out*dated idea that transferring spending power from the private sector to Washington will expand the economy has been thoroughly discredited, yet lawmakers continue to return to this strategy. The U.S. economy has soared highest when the federal government was shrinking, and it has stagnated at times of government expansion. This experience has been paralleled in Europe, where government expansions have been followed by economic decline. A strong private sector provides the nation with strong economic growth and benefits for all Americans."


You may wish to study Milton Friedman or perhaps read anything published by Thomas Sowell, starting with "Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy", Third Edition (2007)

You can apologize for the reference of ignorance any time you would like.


PS., Both Friedman and Sowell were very different philisophically early in their careers compared to later. Sowell actually was a Marxist when he was young.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Pushed the budget deficit to $455 billion in the name of "stimulus."
Every one of these policies failed to increase eco*nomic growth.
A careful analysis of words could reveal some interesting assumptions.

For one, I don't know if 'stimulus' should be interpreted as a policy to increase economic growth. The word 'stimulus' is used in times of economic trouble, like looming recessions or depressions, not when the economy is doing swell. Therefore, my understanding of stimulus - or public/gvmt investment in times of trouble - makes me believe that its intent is to absorb the shocks from decreased market demands. The idea seems to be to not grow the economy, but to protect it from shrinking, while at the same time cushioning those who have been/will be negatively affected by this faltering economy.

This is not the first time government expansions have failed to produce economic growth. Massive spending hikes in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1970s all failed to increase economic growth rates. Yet in the 1980s and 1990s—when the federal government shrank by one-fifth as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)—the U.S. economy enjoyed its great*est expansion to date.
Here the word stimulus is replaced with the catch-all phrase 'government expansion'. What does that mean? (Long overdue) investments in infrastructure, the military, education, health care, social security, the protection of the law, law enforcement?

Even if it were used as a stimulus, what were the economic conditions in the 30s, 60s, 70s, and what was the intent behind the interventions? Were they intended to create actual growth, or do something else, such as boosting trust in a faltering economy, protect the political stability of a country due to massive armies of unemployed, stabilize the economy from further decline etc etc.

You cannot blame Johan Vansummeren when he fails to win the TdF if his intent was to support his leader.

Cross-national comparisons yield the same result. The U.S. government spends significantly less than the 15 pre-2004 European Union nations, and yet enjoys 40 percent larger per capita GDP, 50 percent faster economic growth rates, and a sub*stantially lower unemployment rate.[1] "[/I]
Does a country need to be the champion of economic growth?

The competition derived from ranking economies - ranking seems to be a favorite US pass time in any case :) - becomes even more explicit with the mention of 'faster growth rates'. This means that when it grows (from 1%-1.5%), the US does it faster (in 1 year, instead of 1.5 years), this is not to be confused with no or low growth. Both statements (40% larger GDP AND 50% faster growth rates) have no bearing on the growth of other (non-US) economies. They all might have grown, even big percentage wise, but still not as fast and not as massively as the US's.

Less massive growth and/but/or (better) redistribution could also be a form of 'protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'. Economic growth alone seems to be a poor guideline for government policy-making.

For example, if the US were to be the champion of economic growth (and remember I am also teasing) it:

- has a rather non-existent railroad system.
- has a pretty lousy social safety net if you get in trouble
- has a less than desired health care system

"Mountains of academic studies show how gov*ernment expansions reduce economic growth:[4]


Now it's already reducing growth (from 4% to 3%)...

before it 'failed to increase growth': from 3% to an anticipated 4%, it stayed put at 3%. Given the state of the economy one is talking about, it could be quite an accomplishment. In other words, if the objective of 'stimulus' is to not let the economy enter a period of shrinkage/recession, it actually met its economic objective, and then we haven't even discussed what it did socially.

Public Finance Review reported that "higher total government expenditure, no matter how financed, is associated with a lower growth rate of real per capita gross state product."[5]
Here the article even mentions 'lower growth' while omitting its comparative term. Since it fails to complete the comparison (lower to what?), we can only make explicit the implicit assumption that government expenditure is loosely associated with lower growth rates compared to those with higher growth. That is again insufficient to prove that there is no growth (0%) or low growth (.5%), just that it isn't as high (China's 10%?).

Also troubling is that 'higher gvmnt expenditure is ASSOCIATED with lower growth. Again, careful with the words, it states ASSOCIATED (they are brought into a relation, but is not a necessary one) not PRODUCED/CAUSED, or even CORRELATED (mutual reciprocity).

And what if the state of the economy is shrinking, ie negative growth, do the same economic associations apply? Does that thus mean that government intervention reduces negative growth (from -2% to -1.5%) or does it actually stabilize negative growth (at -2% instead of going down to -3%)

The Quarterly Journal of Economics reported that "the ratio of real government consumption expenditure to real GDP had a negative associa*tion with growth and investment," and "growth is inversely related to the share of government consumption in GDP, but insignificantly related to the share of public investment."[6]
A Journal of Macroeconomics study discovered that "the coefficient of the additive terms of the government-size variable indicates that a 1% increase in government size decreases the rate of economic growth by 0.143%."[7]

Economic growth is driven by individuals and entrepreneurs operating in free markets, not by Washington spending and regulations.

And the 'free market' independently exists of the government? I could easily invert this statement and contend that 'economic growth is driven by state spending and regulations'.

It assumes that the free market is an institution that is dependent on the government for its current manifestation. Without:

-enforceable laws (validity of contracts, anti-slavery, establishment/protection of corporations as legal entities, protection of companies abroad, fraud, stealing, definition/protection/establishment of property)
-economic regulations (anti-cartel, customs, tariffs, safety standards, WTO agreements, patents, copyright)
- the autonomy of the state to create and destroy money (as a vehicle for exchange/trade)
-basic infrastructure (roads, aviation regulation, railroads, energy plants)
-basic education of the masses
-....and even economic participation (such as providing the monetary/infrastructural incentives for the private sector to develop an economy in a particular field, for which the market itself did not have the courage, the resources or the framework to start it up)

The government is intrinsically part of any economy, even the 'free market', in which it is supposed to refrain from intervening.

The U.S. economy has soared highest when the federal government was shrinking, and it has stagnated at times of government expansion.

This experience has been paralleled in Europe, where government expansions have been followed by economic decline. A strong private sector provides the nation with strong economic growth and benefits for all Americans."
And a strong government provides the private sector with the framework in which economic growth actually has any meaning, and more pragmatically, supplies the resources/infrastructure from which any economy necessarily draws, and hence benefits all Americans.

It's about finding the right balance...
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Bala Verde said:
A careful analysis of words could reveal some interesting assumptions....

It's about finding the right balance...
Do you mean a strong government or a large one? Please define meaningful growth for me. Are you arguing that spending legislation littered with 'ear-marks' is simply 'pragmatic' and better able to allocate resources?


I'm not arguing for "no government" just as the leftist are not arguing for 100% wealth confiscation. Free market capitalism leads to all kinds of problems without regulation (rules, protections, boundries) however over regulation creates carnage too. As you state, finding the correct balance is key.

But where does stimulus (or any govt spending) money come from? Does it not strike you as odd in these economic times the only job-growth sector is government? Is this sustainable? After all, where does government payroll come from? Are you not concerned with the size of this govt and if not, why not? Are you not concerned about economic decisions this govt is taking and if not, why not?

When government spends a nickel it has been taken from someone. Govt does not produce anything. There is as much corruption in govt with arguable less expertise than in the private sector. Politicians make decisions based on re-election considerations so to say there is no greed there and greed is only on Wall St. is just not true. So to say big govt knows how to spend your money better than you do is wrong, IMO.

You say;

"For example, if the US were to be the champion of economic growth (and remember I am also teasing) it:

- has a rather non-existent railroad system.
- has a pretty lousy social safety net if you get in trouble
- has a less than desired health care system"


Some of this is supply and demand. Americans love thier cars and Amtrak loses tax dollars every year. Does that mean we create a light rail system that is under-utilized? Social safety net? It's arguable. Do you want a nanny-state and all that goes with it? Are those that are truly in trouble or those that can not care for themselves really cast aside in greater numbers than other 'wealthy' nations? Less than desired health care system? Well, if you are talking about cost then you have a point. If you are talking about quality of care then I'll argue with that. Now, are there things that can be done to reduce cost? Yes. Is this administration willing to make constructive changes to work within the system we have to bring about effective health care reform? No, or not yet.

I posted this article to refute comments made by another poster so as to offer another way of thinking. I'm not an economist but I am a businessman. Policies enacted by govt have real consequences. I just believe in smaller govt, less largess, less size, less waste and less debt. Additionally, free market solutions within a framework make more sense to me.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
I posted this article to refute comments made by another poster so as to offer another way of thinking. I'm not an economist but I am a businessman. Policies enacted by govt have real consequences. I just believe in smaller govt, less largess, less size, less waste and less debt. Additionally, free market solutions within a framework make more sense to me.
I think there is a problem because there are not enough tasks that need to be done to employ civil servants; in Canukistan there are a lot of people who get above average salary, wages and benefits for lazily shuffling papers all day long; I'm not happy about it but I realize that if those peple were out competing for honest jobs it would be much harder to find employment in the first place and the wage would drop a lot too. Civil servants artificially keep the free market econmy afloat. in my humble opinion.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Laszlo said:
I think there is a problem because there are not enough tasks that need to be done to employ civil servants; in Canukistan there are a lot of people who get above average salary, wages and benefits for lazily shuffling papers all day long; I'm not happy about it but I realize that if those peple were out competing for honest jobs it would be much harder to find employment in the first place and the wage would drop a lot too. Civil servants artificially keep the free market econmy afloat. in my humble opinion.
Ok, but where does the govts ability to pay wages and benefits come from? Would a lower tax rate (resulting in fewer civil servants) help promote business expansion thus creating more private sector jobs thus lowering the size of govt (cutting cost)?

How does wasteful govt spending (in your scenario) really help the broader economy?
 
Jul 22, 2009
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You are missing my point; you can bring taxes down to zero and you have a nation of haves and have-nots; the haves need to placate the have-nots or risk the have-nots taking whatever is to be had from those that have- that would be the eventual result. Taxes are a way of spreading butter over the bread slice. A squadron of B1 bombers or F22 raptors represents an equal waste of tax dollars; but it serves the purpose of keeping the have-not nations at bay; so, consider an office of beauracrats or a judges star chamber the domestic equivalent of F22 raptor
 
Jul 24, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
I just believe in smaller govt, less largess, less size, less waste and less debt.
Your article, that you cut&pasted, claimed that the US has had higher growth rates than Europe. But what was the GDP/capita of Germany after WWII? Sweet FA. USA? The highest in the world.

How come they are now practically the same if the US has had such superior growth rates?
 
Jul 24, 2009
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Also, the article you linked to was by a clown that doesn't seem understand much about economics or finance. He doesn't seem to have any relevant qualifications either. It seems it is just a fluff-piece by a disciple of the Freemarketism religion.

And regarding Milton Friedman's contribution to economics. He was famous for his mathematical models but what happened when it came to real-world economics? You remember Chile under Pinochet right? Milton Friedman's `Chicago Boys' famously helped Chile to become the economic powerhouse that it is today. Oh wait...

Now I remember. Under the guidance of the Chicago Boys, Chile's poverty rate managed to reach the dizzying heights of more than 50% ! Pinochet actually kicked them out because the messed up the economy so badly.

What about when Freemarketism is forced on people in other countries, Indonesia for example. Freemarketism wasn't so popular there either, multinationals engorged themselves on Indonesia's natural resources but Suharto had to kill more than a million people who refused to convert to Freemarketism.

And there was also the New Zealand Experiment (there is a paper published with that name). After 10 years of deregulation, lowed taxes, down-sizing the govt, and freeing markets, the net effect? Net negative growth. Only a return of more progressive policies led to positive growth again. (I lived through this era which is why I'm so sceptical of the Freemarketism religion.)
 
Meanwhile, AIG's interim CEO, Robert Benmosche , is whining that his job is now too hard, and he can't get by on a government restricted salary that doesn't match the $10.5 million per year of his predecessor.

Supposed "brain drain" has made Benmosche and other poor execs working at bailed out companies earning $500,000 a year (minus bonuses) seek other work. These poor people apparently can't survive on $10,000 per week (or $260 per hour).

 
Alpe d'Huez said:
Meanwhile, AIG's interim CEO, Robert Benmosche , is whining that his job is now too hard, and he can't get by on a government restricted salary that doesn't match the $10.5 million per year of his predecessor.

Supposed "brain drain" has made Benmosche and other poor execs working at bailed out companies earning $500,000 a year (minus bonuses) seek other work. These poor people apparently can't survive on $10,000 per week (or $260 per hour).

i say"get out, before we throw you out!"
 
May 18, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Meanwhile, AIG's interim CEO, Robert Benmosche , is whining that his job is now too hard, and he can't get by on a government restricted salary that doesn't match the $10.5 million per year of his predecessor.

Supposed "brain drain" has made Benmosche and other poor execs working at bailed out companies earning $500,000 a year (minus bonuses) seek other work. These poor people apparently can't survive on $10,000 per week (or $260 per hour).

The key here is these are execs that were at the wheel of the collapse in the first place. So, how much brain is really being drained?

Bail out money should have been tied to replacement of upper management of these firms. This whole fiasco is a joke. Move along, nothing to see here.

LOOK OVER THERE! A kidnapped white woman! Teh horror! :cool:
 
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Anonymous

Guest
ihavenolimbs said:
Also, the article you linked to was by a clown that doesn't seem understand much about economics or finance. He doesn't seem to have any relevant qualifications either. It seems it is just a fluff-piece by a disciple of the Freemarketism religion.

And regarding Milton Friedman's contribution to economics. He was famous for his mathematical models but what happened when it came to real-world economics? You remember Chile under Pinochet right? Milton Friedman's `Chicago Boys' famously helped Chile to become the economic powerhouse that it is today. Oh wait...

Now I remember. Under the guidance of the Chicago Boys, Chile's poverty rate managed to reach the dizzying heights of more than 50% ! Pinochet actually kicked them out because the messed up the economy so badly.

What about when Freemarketism is forced on people in other countries, Indonesia for example. Freemarketism wasn't so popular there either, multinationals engorged themselves on Indonesia's natural resources but Suharto had to kill more than a million people who refused to convert to Freemarketism.

And there was also the New Zealand Experiment (there is a paper published with that name). After 10 years of deregulation, lowed taxes, down-sizing the govt, and freeing markets, the net effect? Net negative growth. Only a return of more progressive policies led to positive growth again. (I lived through this era which is why I'm so sceptical of the Freemarketism religion.)
Well, I lived through the 1970's with Nixon, Ford and Carter (whom I'd expect you woulddescribe as "progressive"). Inflation and interest rates through the roof and economists were forced to invent a new term to describe the economic chaos: Stagflation.

Yes, I believe in free markets. It's hardly a religion so you can feel free to tone down your rhetoric.

I don't claim to know everything but I don't think I qualify as an idiot either. If your position is for more "progressive policies" then lay out your case. I'd like to see where it works. BTW, sources to support your positions would be helpful.

You trash the article writer which is certainly your right. This "clown's" resume is here;

http://www.heritage.org/about/staff/BrianRiedl.cfm

Tim Kane (resume http://www.heritage.org/about/staff/TimKane.cfm ) wrote a "fluff" piece about Milton Friedman and you can find that here http://www.heritage.org/Research/tradeandeconomicfreedom/wm1259.cfm

Excerpts;

"Friedman was an optimist because he believed in an unfettered capitalist economy that could produce prosperity that would balance and often outweigh every horror of society’s latest social experiment. Over his life, fascism replaced plutocracy, communism replaced fascism, socialism eclipsed communism, and Islamism rose in the end. The drumbeat of collectivism—the submission of the individual to the state—was the 20th century’s most characteristic political feature, and each new form was nearly as appalling as the last. Even today, the world has not learned this lesson. The siren song of autocracy—the forging together of a nation, a religion, a race to increase its collective power—relegates society to near-perpetual adolescence."

"Friedman’s greatest legacy may be his demonstration that good economic policy strengthens democracy and, thereby, freedom. For instance, a monetary policy that creates inflationary pressure and high interest rates can lead to the breakdown of democracy, as factions battle for government relief.


"Friedman sensibly argued that economic policy should create a level playing field. In the area of monetary management, the Federal Reserve should attempt to maintain a stable price level, rather than fine-tune the economy to achieve certain output and employment results."


"When state spending and taxes rise, economic growth falls, as Britain discovered in the 1970s. There is a reason why France suffers a 9 percent unemployment rate and why its growth languishes at 2 percent per year. And there is a reason why Hong Kong, Singapore, Chile, and the United Arab Emirates have prospered, particularly relative to their neighbors. Friedman’s theories of economic freedom have been adopted, in practice, by virtually every state that aspires to be an economic power. Some countries have attempted to restrict the political consequences of economic liberalization by allowing economic freedom only. But as Pinochet’s Chile and Gorbachev’s Soviet Union can attest, this is risky and ultimately untenable—Friedman was right that economic freedom underlies other freedoms."

And there is this;

http://www.heritage.org/index/

The index measures and rates Economic Freedom (not saying it is the Bible but I find it interesting)

"Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state. In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.

How do you measure economic freedom?
We measure ten components of economic freedom, assigning a grade in each using a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 represents the maximum freedom. The ten component scores are then averaged to give an overall economic freedom score for each country. The ten components of economic freedom are:

Business Freedom | Trade Freedom | Fiscal Freedom | Government Size | Monetary Freedom | Investment Freedom | Financial Freedom | Property rights | Freedom from Corruption | Labor Freedom



An interesting discussion regarding Friedman and Pinochet;

http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/07/milton_friedman_and_chile.php
 
Jul 14, 2009
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Obama should be doing many urgent tasks that concern AIG,none or them should be worrying about 50 or 75 million dollars. Paramount should be for the government to get out of the insurance business. If the US government wants to start an insurance arm that offers AIG type products so be it, AIG is the wrong model and is the wrong business to "buy". The government does run many effective insurance programs, an example being the universal health care for active duty military and their families, with it's problems but it works pretty good. Obama stepping into a dozen high profile companies and mandating rates of pay and office practices is absurd and short sighted. The other companies that were source of national fear are already posting record profits and are not walking ,but running from government regulation. Obama stands to deliver a H1N1 warning speech and stirs fears throughout the US from all sides, am I getting a proven drug? and the other side I want mine right now! do they have enough?. Goldman Sachs showed the President who is really boss not only getting the drug but administering it to their employees, independent of the government. Obama has set out on a course for one thing and getting another. The biggest companies have told him no and they mean it. He said such a short time ago that health care for everybody was all he would settle for, well I guess he was wrong. He has his nose in the insurance business at every level and in every area of the industry. I guess making people feel better by manipulating a few exec's pay stubs is good for window dressing but it does nothing for the uninsured. He was benched in college for his tantrums while playing basketball, I think he may need to spend some more time on the bench.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Past any of the issues, my biggest problem with Obama is this: He likes to talk about doing things, but thus far has not shown the fortitude to go "all in" on achieving them. I voted for him, and at this point have to say that strong leadership is not what I have witnessed, but is what I hoped for. I am all for being thoughtful, but when it causes paralysis, you accomplish nothing.
 
Jul 9, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
Past any of the issues, my biggest problem with Obama is this: He likes to talk about doing things, but thus far has not shown the fortitude to go "all in" on achieving them. I voted for him, and at this point have to say that strong leadership is not what I have witnessed, but is what I hoped for. I am all for being thoughtful, but when it causes paralysis, you accomplish nothing.
I am tempted to agree completely, except that I think a lot of what seems like lack of movement is caused by an organized resistance and disinformation campaign such as the one that is bringing down healthcare reform.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Hugh Januss said:
I am tempted to agree completely, except that I think a lot of what seems like lack of movement is caused by an organized resistance and disinformation campaign such as the one that is bringing down healthcare reform.
I agree; big business has a lot of resources to lure a lot of undereducated folk with a few insideious catch-phrases. people do have a right to choose and to speak their own mind, it is unfortunate that they allow others to do that for them and just follow along like cows with a bit of rope in front. But I think the game has only just started; it may be that the obama administration is taking the time to get it right ( I certainly hope so) -
 
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