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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

thomas sowell: establishment hack

In his rundown of all the Presidential candidates in his NRO article today, Dr. Sowell doesn't even mention Ron Paul. Yet this supposedly libertarian conservative has this to say about Fred Thompson:
"Fred Thompson seems to have the best policy positions and the best political track record among the Republican candidates"
I guess this bit at the end is his cowardly way of attacking Ron Paul without mentioning his name:
"As for the other candidates in both parties, the big question is why anyone takes them seriously as candidates to lead the nation at a time of huge dangers that terrorists will end up with nuclear weapons, whether from Iran or Pakistan."
Uhm...maybe because Dr. Paul will remove the main incentives for any attacks while securing our borders at the same?

Dr. Sowell can't see the Ron Paul Revolution freight train coming right at him - maybe his trademark glasses need some new lenses. Rather than offering any reasoned arguments about why Ron Paul should not be President, he childishly ignores the good doctor's candidacy. Despite his scholarly contributions in the defense of laissez-faire economics, I'm afraid Dr. Sowell's efforts at political commentary have exposed him as just another establishment hack.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

going back to the gold standard

I had a discussion earlier today with my co-blogger, jmc, about the gold standard. We were both wondering how a transition from our current fiat standard money to a commodity-based money might be managed. I pointed out that passing the Honest Money Act (HR 2756), introduced by Congressman Ron Paul, would be a good start. There's a good explanation of the bill over at Downsize DC:
Congressman Paul has hit upon the easiest way to end inflation, and the booms and busts that follow in its wake. Simply repeal the legal tender monopoly enjoyed by FRNs, and allow monetary competition. Not only would this help to end inflation and recessions, it would also limit the ability of politicians to hide the true cost of government through the inflation tax.
Text of the law can be found here and as Congressman Paul's website summary states, it would simply repeal section 5103 of title 31, United States Code.

Of course, that's only the beginning. Once Legal Tender laws are abolished, people would be free to use whatever medium they wanted for exchange. But what would happen to all the Federal Reserve Notes in circulation? I fear that the transition would be pretty painful because the currency has been so badly inflated over the years. I think that if the Fed slowly reduced the amount of money circulating, it could ease the pain, but that assumes the Fed could do a good job of it.

At the very end of The Case Against the Fed, Murray Rothbard spends several pages suggesting how the Fed might be abolished with a return to the gold standard. Basically, Rothbard argues that the Fed should be treated as a bankrupt corporation and be liquidated, with its gold stock being revalued to pay off its "debts". Using Rothbard's 1994 figures, this means that an ounce of gold would be worth $1555. Rothbard's plan is so simple it's hard to believe, but it's also hard to believe that his plan wouldn't cause massive financial disruption.

Frankly, I just don't see how we can move to a gold standard without a lot of pain.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

not my kind of town

I always have fun when I visit my co-blogger in Chicago, but sometimes the Windy City makes me sick. Radley Balko discusses the wretched state of the police in Chi-town:
An eight-month Chicago Tribune investigation of 200+ police shootings going back 10 years found that within hours of a police shooting, the police department convenes hastily-assembled, wagon-circling “roundtables” of law enforcement officials where police and witnesses are questioned but not sworn or recorded, where the officers involved are allowed to confer to get their stories straight before being questioned, and where the inevitable conclusion is always that the shooting was justified. From there, broader, show-investigations begin. Key witnesses go uninterviewed. Forensic evidence is ignored. And the shooting officer is inevitably exonerated.
Kudos to the Chicago Tribune for doing the legwork on revealing and compiling the details on this horrible state of affairs.