In Search of the Progressive Constitution

John Podesta and John Halpin have an opinion piece on Politico entitled “ [The} Constitution is Inherently Progressive.”  The authors seems to want to speak of the Constitution, but they do so only in passing and then in the most dismissive tone. Here is a brief example: So why do conservatives continue to insist that progressives … Continue reading In Search of the Progressive Constitution

California as the Canary in the Coal Mine

At least according to Representative Tom McClintock in a recent speech that shows a certain rhetorical skill: If we lose this struggle for the future of our country, you too someday will live in a California – only without the nice climate.  Bad policies. Bad process. Bad politics. Those are the three acts in a Greek tragedy … Continue reading California as the Canary in the Coal Mine

Sunday Morning Quotation – Jon Huntsman on Civil-Military Relations

Jon Huntsman in his excellent op-ed on foreign policy: We all share a respect for the courage of our military leaders and the men and  women in uniform. A president must — and should — give the opinion of our  generals the serious consideration it deserves. Yet the American people elect a commander in chief to … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Jon Huntsman on Civil-Military Relations

The American Nightmare

Today, Jonah Goldberg's account (in "The G-Fle")  of the frustration of an angry 33-year-old lesbian musician is both hilarious and insightful.  Here is a quote from the aforementioned woman, a self-described "tattooed gender outlaw who makes 'queer electronic punk music' and isn't sure when the next check is going to come in" : Like so … Continue reading The American Nightmare

Nancy Pelosi, Counterfactual Economist

Former Speaker (and aspiring economist) Nancy Pelosi is speaking about unemployment again as she works to drum up support for the American Jobs Act. When heralding the success of the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, she noted: Well, let me just say that as a matter of fact that the Recovery Act saved … Continue reading Nancy Pelosi, Counterfactual Economist

Options and Choices

An op-ed in today’s Times blasts federal funding of “Crisis Pregnancy Centers,” which are apparently organizations whose fundamental mission is to persuade women not to have abortions.  The claim of the author, Katie Stack, is that these Centers give out inaccurate, non-scientific information instead of the unbiased, scientific pregnancy/abortion counseling given out by Planned Parenthood. … Continue reading Options and Choices

The Real Death Panel

According to Reuters: American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials. There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White … Continue reading The Real Death Panel

In Search of None of the Above

It seems that in the months leading up to each presidential election, the same question arises: why no third party or, at the very least, a third candidate? Beth Reinhard ask “Where’s Ross Perot?” in the October 1st  print issue of National Journal. She reports the polling results of former Clinton pollster Doug Schoen: “Two-thirds said the … Continue reading In Search of None of the Above

Raise the Minimum Wage?

As you can see from this chart below, several states are slated to increase their minimum wages (and other states are contemplating increases): Isn't this a recipe for continued unemployment of many relatively unskilled workers and even job loss among those currently at the bottom end of the wage scale?  The economic literature has generally linked … Continue reading Raise the Minimum Wage?

Rate of Return on Bank Lobbying

This working paper is already getting substantial attention, and it's not hard to see why. They find that banks that lobbied more in the years leading up to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of 2008 received more money through TARP. What's particularly astounding is the rate of return, which they estimate at between $485 … Continue reading Rate of Return on Bank Lobbying

Amartya Sen as Paternalist

Amartya Sen is a great economist and social philosopher whose willingness to recognise a central role for market institutions in securing economic development and individual freedom shows considerable commonality with the classical liberal tradition. Sen’s commitment to the values that underpin a free society is, however, equivocal and indeed often points towards what classical liberals … Continue reading Amartya Sen as Paternalist

Left-Libertarian Economics’ Critique of Capitalism: Part Three

In my last look at left-libertarian economics, I argued that Kevin Carson's resurrection of the Labor Theory of Value adds no new information to standard, neoclassical price theory. Carson wishes to disapprove morally of profits but does not show that capitalists add nothing to the value of production. In particular, Carson acknowledges that capitalists contribute … Continue reading Left-Libertarian Economics’ Critique of Capitalism: Part Three