The Locker Room

November 20, 2008

New Keynesianism and capital flight

Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:35 PM

Does anyone remember it was just over a month ago the day when the Dow fell over 700 points and the economically illiterate media shrieked that it was proof that the markets were crying out for a federal bailout? Others, including several economists, interpreted the results quite differently: that the markets were reacting to the prospect that a federal bailout was imminent. The markets' temporary rebound when the original bailout attempt failed seemed to support the latter interpretation.

The Dow closed that day at 10,365 points which is nearly 3,000 points higher than where it is now (at this writing, there has been another big selloff; the Dow is at 7,622 points, and S&P is at its lowest level since 1997).

We have witnessed a sea change at the Fed and in Washington with respect to the government's role in the economy, and if it has people thinking of the 1930s and the 1970s, there's a good reason, for we've seen a return to the failed Keynesian economic nostrums of aggressive government manipulation of the economy that perpetuated those decades' economic miseries.

First, the entire election-haunted political class favored an "economic stimulus" package for taxpayers below Evil income levels, then they favored a gigantic, superfluous bailout, then voters elected a "spread the wealth"1 socialist who excelled at making Marxist redistribution sound like low-tax Reaganism (I'm only going to raise taxes on a few of you; the rest of you will get a break), then more bailout rent seekers (from automakers to entire states) came out of the woodwork, and meanwhile, markets had to factor in the status quo surprisingly never challenged in the election by either party of massive tax increases at the end of 2010 when the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 sunset.


1. Socialists "spread the wealth" the way pickup trucks spread 'possums. They never, ever understand the idea that wealth is dynamic, that it can be created or destroyed, and that freedom allows its creation, while redistributory statism leads to its destruction.

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The Dumbest Generation

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:30 PM

You might remember George Leef reviewing a book by that title earlier this year.

George and his Pope Center colleagues joined the UNC-CH College Libertarians last night to host a presentation from the book's author, Mark Bauerlein.

Click the play button below to view a 1:15 clip of Bauerlein explaining why, as his book's subtitle explains, "the digital age stupefies young Americans and jeopardizes our future."

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Worthy reads for today

Posted by David N. Bass at 3:03 PM

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Re: The Parker pile on

Posted by David N. Bass at 2:47 PM


My advice for each segment of the GOP base: stop blame-flaming the other parts for '08. The factors involved are not as simple as some pundits (and former presidential candidates) make them out to be.

I agree the recriminations are going both ways, but since Election Day I've seen an illogical amount of animosity aimed at religious voters. Considering the economy was the top concern this cycle, and issues like abortion were on the back burner, conservatives should be looking more to the spend-thrift, big-government, scandal-ridden wing of the party than the pro-life wing for blame (unfortunately, those two demographics sometimes intersect).

James Antle gives a balanced perspective on the blame game here.

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Re: The Parker pile on

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 2:17 PM


The recriminations are going both ways. John Henke at The Next Right criticizes Mike Huckabee for going after libertarians.

HT: Max

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Another city in the red

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:22 AM

Asheville faces a $6.4 million budget hole.

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The Parker pile on

Posted by David N. Bass at 11:00 AM

Kathleen Parker in this column suggests that religious conservatives (what she calls the "the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP") are to blame for the GOP's shellacking on Election Day.

No, Kathleen, this, this, and this are a few of the more appropriate culprits.

I'm wary of commentators who blame loses (or prognosticate future doom for Republicans) based on one component of the party's base. That's in-fighting and a cop-out. Factoring in the cyclical nature of politics, this was simply the Democrats' year to win. Suggesting religious conservatives are to blame -- especially during an election year in which social issues played a virtually nonexistent role -- is an asinine argument.

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One fourth of companies to offer HSAs in 2009

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:47 AM

A new survey of employers on their plans for health insurance in 2009 found that 24 percent of companies plan to offer health savings accounts (HSAs) to employees as a way to manage health care costs, up from 20 percent this year and higher than 19 percent in a nationwide study earlier this year.

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Re: Ted Stevens

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:29 AM

David, it also reduces the Senate population of gone-native rent seekers. Maybe future Republicans will realize that governing like Democrats is their own bridge to nowhere.

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Ted Stevens is out

Posted by David N. Bass at 10:24 AM

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, a Republican, won't be going back to Washington in January, reports the AP. Stevens' defeat gives the Democrats a 58-seat majority in the Senate.

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Time to teach the grade-schoolers some manners

Posted by David N. Bass at 09:48 AM

For years, radical liberals (of the Daily Kos and variety) lobbed four-letter words and death threats at President Bush. Now, suddenly, these same commentators are wildly concerned about the hate and intolerance directed toward President-elect Obama.

The local tie-in would be the spat over graffiti on the free expression tunnel at N.C. State (Rick Martinez has some enlightening thoughts on that here). The comments scribbled on the tunnel were wrong, but the test of freedom of political speech is not whether one can tolerate agreeable sentiments but disagreeable. I guess liberals didn't find this disagreeable enough to call for a lawsuit against the perpetrators. I wonder why.

Now we have an AP story devoted to discussing the rise in "hate crimes" thanks to Obama's rise to the presidency. I don't recall an AP story about the Palin lynching being a "hate crime" since she is a woman. That's too much to ask, I guess.

In any event, Bill Croke has a good piece in The American Spectator today about the Left's obsession with verbal threats against the president-elect. In this case, the "threats" came from grade-schoolers in Rexburg, Idaho. From the beginning of the piece:

The day after Election Day some grade-schoolers on the bus were heard to be chanting in singsong "Assassinate Obama." When bored with that, they switched to "Assassinate Obama and Kate" (poor little Kate, whoever she might be, but her presence does illustrate the episode's trivial nature). Anyway, the bus driver overheard this, and some parents got wind of it secondhand from their kids. In short, the Madison County School District was notified. An official e-mail was sent to all administrators, teachers and bus drivers stating this behavior should be met with strong disapproval. News of the scandal reached a Twin Falls TV news station, which devoted a short segment to it. It seems that due to the kids' ages (six to eight) that the United States Secret Service wasn't interested. But Jill Kuraitis was. More

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Education and the "community"

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 09:01 AM

Don't read this New York Times commentary written by Sandra Tsing Loh (hereafter STL), a writer and apparently a performer of some kind.

I was struck by a phrase that STL used in her, well, let's be avant-garde and call it a "performance," not a "commentary."

Oddly, the first extraordinary boon for public education in America is the economic apocalypse. A 30-year-long habit of increasing privatization of our own little corners of democracy, of swiping the credit card to flee our public spaces, is dying hard. Even in Los Angeles, independent schools are feeling the hit as families who can no longer afford the $20,000-plus tuitions are transitioning to public school. Yes, they may be charter schools but, in a gradual move from competition to community thinking, it is a first step.
The phrase "community thinking" is a curious one. STL clearly means "collective thinking," because communities - all of them - have internal disagreements and debates. And disagreements and debates, while healthy for a community, are a form of competition, and STL obviously dislikes competition.

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Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:51 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Terry Stoops' research into the need for more career and technical education in North Carolina K-12 schools.

John Hood's Daily Journal pokes holes in some myths about college funding.

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