Sunday, October 30, 2011

Paul Ryan: Intellectual Giant Among Dwarfs in Congress

FA Hayek in his Road to Serfdom described how the worst among us choose to become politicians. Paul Ryan is a rare exception to this rule. That Ryan is the intellectual leader of the Congress is evident in this speech on "The American Idea" at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Why have we extended an endless supply of taxpayer credit to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, instead of demanding that their government guarantee be wound down and their taxpayer subsidies ended?" Why are tax dollars being wasted on bankrupt, politically connected solar energy firms like Solyndra? "Why is Washington wasting your money on entrenched agribusiness?"

Rather than raise taxes on individuals, we should "lower the amount of government spending the wealthy now receive." The "true sources of inequity in this country," he continued, are "corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless." The real class warfare that threatens us is "a class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Milton Friedman Schools Progressive on Greed

The Occupy Wall Street mob is probably best known for its attack on greed and capitalism.  Yet the arguments used by those few in the OWS movement coherent enough to articulate them, amount to nothing more than ideological fantasy. Uber-liberals, whether they take the form of Marxist indoctrinated students, union leaders, Democratic politicians, Journalists, or professional victims groups, live in an ideological bubble divorced from reality. In this 2-minute clip from the 1970s, pop media progressive, Phil Donahue, spouts the very same anti-free enterprise rant that we hear across the nation today. Donahue pleads about the plight of the poor, the many “have nots” versus the few “haves”, and income disparity. But Milton Friedman has a succinct response to the leftist rhetoric that seems to leave Donohue speechless, as if he has never before heard a critique of Liberalism.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Free & Slave States in 21st Century America

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has recently published a fascinating study that ranks the American states on their public policies that affect individual freedoms in the economic, social, and personal spheres. This study updates, expands, and improves upon the inaugural 2009 Freedom in the 50 States study.

For this new edition, the Mercatus Center has added more policy variables (such as bans on trans fats and the audio recording of police, Massachusetts’s individual health-insurance mandate, and mandated family leave), improved existing measures (such as those for fiscal policies, workers’ compensation regulations, and asset-forfeiture rules), and developed specific policy prescriptions for each of the 50 states. With a consistent time series, they are also able to discover for the first time which states have improved and worsened in regard to freedom recently.

>> Read the full report here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Economic Freedom in US Plummets

The Fraser Institute recently released its 2011 report on the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW). This annual report collects data on 42 variables in various areas of economic life to measure the economic freedom in 141 nations.

Unfortunately, the report shows the United States falling in its economic freedom ranking to #10 worldwide —far from its peak at #3 in 2001. As its authors state,

The world’s largest economy, the United States, has suffered one of the largest declines in economic freedom over the last 10 years, pushing it into tenth place. Much of this decline is a result of higher government spending and borrowing and lower scores for the legal structure and property rights components. Over the longer term, the summary chain- linked ratings of Venezuela, Zimbabwe, United States, and Malaysia fell by eight-tenths of a point or more between 1990 and 2009, causing their rankings to slip.

The full report is available for download on the Fraser Institute’s website here.

What is Economic Freedom?

Economic freedom is the key to greater opportunity and an improved quality of life. It’s the freedom to choose how to produce, sell, and use your own resources, while respecting others’ rights to do the same. While a simple concept, economic freedom is an engine that drives prosperity in the world and is the difference between why some societies thrive while others do not.

>> More on Economic Freedom here