New Republic: Ayn Rand Made Me a Communist

I am not a Randian. I am more of the Murray Rothbard school of politics. A school which though libertarian is noticeably, and famously (in some circles anyway) not Randian.

But I have respect for Ayn Rand and her Objectivist movement. I was honored to speak at the Crony Awards which were sponsored by the Atlas Society, an Objectivist organization last summer. One would be hard pressed to find a group of smarter people on average.

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Sanders Camp: Microsoft working with DNC in Iowa, Can caucus app be trusted?

Image: Twitter

The Sanders folks are wise to keep a particularly close watch on how votes are tabulated in Iowa, of course. But they are also right to concern themselves with the involvement of Microsoft in the Iowa caucuses. Could Microsoft influence the results?

It seems very unlikely. But one can never be too sure, particularly when going up against a candidate like Hillary Clinton in whom many very powerful interests have invested. Politics can be a darn nasty business.

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About half of retiring senators and a third of retiring House members register as lobbyists

Washington DC is a company town. In Washington money and power flow back and forth in a strange double helix of back scratching and back stabbing. We shouldn’t be surprised that people latch onto Capitol Hill. It’s a seductive place.

Willie Sutton was once asked, “Why do you rob banks?”

The reply, “Because that’s where the money is.”

A similar question could be asked of many a congress person, “Why don’t you go back to the area you once represented?

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How Laissez-Faire Made Sweden Rich

An excellent piece of history here. Sweden became an economic leader because of its long commitment to liberal markets and free trade. The wealth created from this free market situation (more free market than the US at the time according to the author) was then taken for granted and many believed that this wealth could be used to finance a cradle to grave welfare state. Turns out wealth needs to be generated on an ongoing basis and regulating commerce into oblivion is not a prescription for long term prosperity.

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“Nothing Is Moving,” Baltic Dry Crashes As Insiders Warn “Commerce Has Come To A Halt”

I remember the slowing of shipping prior to the onset of the “Great Recession” and the subsequent decline after that. It was a canary which sung right before the economic gas hit. The BDI is at 10 year lows right now.

How do we measure shipping flows? One way is with the Baltic Dry Index which measures the cost of overseas transport via oceangoing dry bulk shipping vessels. All that stuff in your house came from somewhere, and most of it came on the massive freighters the BDI tracks.

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Michael Bloomberg considers third party run

I don’t see it. I know he thinks he can bump chests with Trump and maybe win, and he sees weakness on the Left with Hillary and company but a real Bloomberg run would be pretty tough even with his ocean of money.

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How Liberals Are the New Autocrats

A message from your “betters.”

I always feel like the word “liberal” should be put into quotes these days. A classical liberal, of which I count myself one is for the Enlightenment, the actualization of the individual, respect for the individual in the face of state force, small government and a very limited bureaucratic class. In many respects what is called “liberal” in this country is mostly the opposite of these things. “Liberals” of the modern variety are very enamored with the state and the force it brings to create a vision of the world they like.

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Right after Rahm: Will Gov. McAuliffe raise human rights issues when he visits Cuban police state for “trade” deals?

I am sad to say that this time the prominent politician on his way to Havana is the Syracuse New York, Clinton operative who became Virginia (my home) Governor (barely) thanks in large part to money from Californian Tom Styer and former New York City mayor Bloomberg. Terry McAuliffe was elected by the crony class (largely) which surrounds Washington DC which would be happy to see Virginia turned into a new version of the wasteland known as New Jersey. (OK that’s not fair.

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Competition Cures Crony Capitalism and Drives a Meritocratic Economy

A very interesting examination of crony capitalism in Israel. Surprise surprise the political class there gets the pay and privilege too.

The author also points out a very key point. Industries which are protected by regulation tend to get fat and develop an insider, old boys club mentality. Where there is competition companies are lean and productivity and ingenuity are rewarded. This creates opportunities for newcomers who are skilled and work hard even if they aren’t in the “club.”

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The Big Short, the Fed, and the Market

If you want to know what happened in 2008, I mean really want to know, read this excellent (and short) book.

I haven’t seen the movie yet but I might over the weekend. One of the reasons I haven’t seen it yet is because I have heard that it pounds on the same old (false) reasons for the 2008 Crash, that being that somehow the market “failed.” That “greed” was the culprit, etc. etc. It’s what most people believe.

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Obama wishes that he was FDR, Thank God he’s incapable of doing what FDR did

To our liberal friends out there I ask for your indulgence. I have been thinking quite a lot about the presidency over the last couple of days and the power we have vested in the institution. (Or perhaps more accurately the power that has been taken by the institution.) 

Presidents always seem to want more power. Republican or Democrat this has been true. But I think this has been particularly true for our current president.

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Governments Are the Worst Polluters

We’ve made this point many times on this website. You know why the Colorado doesn’t flow into the ocean? Why Chernobyl blew up? Why BP felt it was safe (from a business standpoint) to drill 1 mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico? Why rain forests are being depleted around the world? Why the Aral Sea is no longer a sea? Why oceans are toxic waste dumps? Why nothing lives in the rivers in China any longer?

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Bill Gates says that capitalism cannot save us from climate change (He’s wrong even if global warming is a problem for humanity)

I won’t go into the details but I am reasonably informed about “climate change” or global warming, or whatever. I care about the issue. I once even moderated a discussion of a carbon tax on Wall Street. (The audience and panelists were generally pro-tax. I was the moderator only, I was not there to offer opinions.You know my position on taxation.) I respect many of the people who are concerned about climate change and who are working to address it in Washington and elsewhere.

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Death to Capitalism? Visitors to Marx’s Grave Balk at Fee

“It’s such a bourgeois monument,” said Andrew Carroll, a former cemetery worker, as he looked up at a severe-looking bust of Marx’s giant head.

“I turned around [and saw it] and I was like ‘Oh, come on.’ ”

I wonder how many times people leave something “special” at the grave.

And all fees go to the Libertarian Free Market Society of the United Kingdom. (OK that’s not true.)

But how fantastic is it that one must pay a fee to see Marx’s grave?

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