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Economics

Awkward: Trump’s Wall Is A Progressive Policy

in Economics by
trump

‘This Congress is going to be the busiest Congress in decades — maybe ever.’’ With these words, President Donald Trump urged fellow Republicans in Congress to help him halt illegal immigration by supporting his plan to build a United States-Mexico border wall. But a wall that isn’t erected by the private land owners bordering Mexican land owners isn’t a wall. It’s government spending. And if government is spending, someone else is footing the bill. That someone is you and me.

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The Trump Rally: Stocks Fly High As Confidence Surges

in Economics/News/Politics by

The election of President-elect Donald Trump last month has awakened, what some people are calling, the “animal spirits” of capitalism. Anyone with a 401k or money in the stock market could tell you that things are going very well at the moment. The election of President-elect Trump and conservative, pro-market Republican majorities in the House and Senate represents a turning of the page from eight years of growing tax burden, government spending, and red tape. The Trump Rally, as some pundits are calling it, has resulted in the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping 1,600 points since 2016’s election day. Such a large jump — well up into the nineteen thousands — has many market watchers discussing the prospect of the Dow breaking 20,000 points. The result has been nearly two trillion dollars in wealth generated for the tens of millions of Americans with money in the stock market.

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Did The Free Market Kill Coal?

in Economics/Politics by

Would you like to know my secret to turning my environmentalist friends into stalwart defenders of the marketplace? The answer is simple: coal. You would be amazed by the reversal in rhetoric witnessed right before your eyes, typically accompanied by a big dose of schadenfreude aimed at Appalachian people. The “free market killed coal” adage apparently qualifies as ironic humor in leftist circles. Never mind the tens of thousands of families, hundreds of communities, a plethora of near-bankrupt school districts, and so many others left behind in the wreckage of coal’s decline. They’ll laugh as states who have endured generation after generation of poverty face choppy fiscal seas, forcing indelicate, hammer-doing-a-scalpel’s-job reductions in infrastructure, education, and health spending. None of these things seem to matter when it isn’t their political constituency on the destructive end of creative destruction. My instinctual reaction to this “meme-ification” of my home state’s suffering was anger. I wanted to show everyone how truly uncompassionate the left is about these sorts of things. But now…

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Work Force Participation Down Along With Unemployment

in Economics/Politics by

The latest jobs report is out for November 2016 and the media is in a frenzy over the fact that the unemployment rate has fallen to a nine year low at 4.6%. However, as anyone who has a passing familiarity with the voodoo science of statistics will tell you, numbers can be made to dance to any tune you wish and, contrary to popular opinion, they often lie. And while a 4.6% unemployment rate seems at face value to be great news for the economy, it is unwise to take anything from the government at face value and that holds doubly true for statistics. When you dig a little deeper into the actual numbers, though, a much more complex and much less vehemently optimistic picture of the US labor market emerges. For instance, the work for participation rate which gauges the overall percentage of the population that is actively engaged in the work force either through employment, the search for employment, or the application for unemployment benefits fell yet…

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A War Not Lost: The Conservative Plan To Defeat Poverty

in Culture/Economics by

In his far-reaching effort, known as “A Better Way”, to define a coherent, conservative legislative agenda, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan brought together the talent and put in the time to chart a path forward in the War on Poverty. For too long, conservatives have allowed the War on Poverty to be waged by leftists, bureaucracy, and those whose favorite part of the Constitution is the taxing and spending clause. The product of these misguided technocrats couldn’t signal a more resounding defeat. They’ve waged a battle in which success was measured by inputs rather than outcomes. Rather than focusing on helping people, they’ve chosen to pride themselves on the financial commitment, upwards a trillion dollars, that they’ve made to do so. When you take a step back from the trench warfare of politicized headlines and poll-tested talking points, conservative principles provide the ideal framework for combating poverty and lifting people up. American conservatism is built on the belief that every person is granted inalienable rights from God, a…

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Three Myths About Venezuela’s Opposition

in Economics/History/Politics/World by

Venezuela’s current political crisis has drawn much attention worldwide. The shortages, increasing violence, skyrocketing inflation, and the increasing militarization of its economy are all fixtures of Venezuela’s current national disaster. Opposition movements have naturally arisen in response to Venezuela’s squalid state, with the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) leading the charge against the current ruling class.  Despite the unprecedented awareness of Venezuela’s delicate situation, considerable amounts of disinformation abound both in mainstream media and social media coverage of these events. This article seeks to dispel many of these myths and misconceptions that concern Venezuela and its political opposition. The Venezuelan Opposition is Attempting a Coup Against the Current Government To carry out a coup, opposition forces must at least possess a high degree of political clout, military resources, and firepower. It could be argued that current president Nicolás Maduro, who does not possess the same type of charisma and popularity as his predecessor Hugo Chávez, is leading a government that, in theory, should be more susceptible to potential coup attempts. However, the…

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Donald Trump Is No Hugo Chávez

in Economics/Politics by

The rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy has generated a strong degree of backlash among the chattering classes worldwide. No stranger to controversy himself, his campaign’s unconventional style has led various experts to draw parallels between Trump and the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. While both Chávez and Trump never shied away from throwing verbal haymakers towards their opponents, the actions that these men have taken in their respective political careers could not be any further apart. The age-old axiom of “actions speak louder than words” is now more relevant than ever in this discussion. These comparisons are not only specious, but they overlook important historical nuances that have separated the distinct political cultures of the United States and Venezuela over the years. A Tale of Two Wars of  Independence To understand the Chávez phenomenon, one must go back to Venezuela’s very foundation to get a comprehensive overview of its political underpinnings. Starting from its war of independence, Venezuela has exhibited very anti-liberal tendencies. Taking advantage of the disarray brought…

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Venezuela’s Economic Collapse: A Process 50 Years In The Making

in Economics/Politics/World by

In recent times, Venezuela has been the object of many headlines across the globe that detail its current economic predicament. Once Latin America’s most stable country, Venezuela is now experiencing a historically unprecedented economic and social collapse. How did such a nation awash with bountiful oil reserves and numerous decades of democratic stability stoop to such levels of misery? The conventional narrative typically points to Hugo Chávez’s arrival to power in 1998 as the main catalyst of Venezuela’s economic decline.  Quantitatively speaking, Chávez’s presidency was responsible for the largest economic downturn in the country’s history. Through an unprecedented number of expropriations, capital controls, and price controls implemented by the Chávez regime, Venezuela went from a regional leader to a veritable basket case. The aforementioned policies and their negative consequences remained intact under Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro. Despite the abundance of evidence demonstrating the Chavista governing apparatus as the clear culprit of Venezuela’s recent turmoil, there is much more to this story than meets the eye. History has shown that…

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Economics & History: Why This Connection Matters

in Economics/Philosophy/Politics by

In a recent article of mine, I debunked the red herring of  the “roads” argument that many modern socialists throw around. It turns out that lately this article has gotten some pretty lively responses from its critical readers. One such commenter was someone I might have expected to be on my side (politically speaking) as he was presumably a libertarian himself, but the road forked for us at economics. It seemed as if this gentleman was an adherent of the Austrian school (a.k.a. the fantasy football of economics), and he had a thing or two to say about my reasoning behind my aforementioned debunking. But before we get to that, it might be prudent to first scan briefly the shoal of my original argument: the modern socialist mantra is to call their capitalist fellows “hypocrites” for accepting such “socialist” elements of society as roads and a postal service. My rebuttal to that claim is simple enough in that these very elements of public convenience (as well as many others) predate socialism’s inception; therefore…

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Ayn Rand, Rand Paul, And Paul Ryan Walk Into a Bar…

in Economics by

The age of social media has given rise to an increasingly large group of people who believe that a couple sentences, or even just a few words posted on a picture constitute an effective argument.  While in some ways, political and philosophical debate is healthier than ever before, the over reliance on simplistic arguments is creating a “meme world” where an asinine idea can be conveyed in few words and posted in mere seconds.  Proper refutation, however; takes more than a few words. In the 140 character world of Twitter, these types of arguments exist almost exclusively.  This tweet from “Miss O’Kistic” has made its rounds in the online world: “Ayn Rand, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan walk into a bar.  The bartender serves them tainted alcohol because there are no regulations.  They die.” It’s the classic, “But if not for the state, how would we…” delusion.  People live in such fear over the possibility of government shrinking just one iota, that when confronted with radical reduction of government,…

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Yes, Socialism Is To Blame For Venezuela’s Collapse

in Economics/Politics/World by

We are routinely being sold on this idea that the solution to poverty is more government power and more regulation. Rarely are any connections made when catastrophic events occur as a result of these policies. Instead of considering the alternative – freedom – they continue to look for government-created solutions when they are the ones who created the problems in the first place. Make no mistake, Venezuela’s economic turmoil is a consequence of the government’s socialist policies. The major tenant of socialism is that a governing power makes all the important decisions on behalf of those whom they claim to help. Socialism operates on the presumption that the government will act the public’s best interests. Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders would have us all believe that his type of socialism is different because it would be “democratic” – unlike Venezuela’s dictatorship type of socialism.  “Tweets for Bernie” handle addressed an inquiry on this, falsely perpetuating Scandinavia as an example of how socialism works: Q: Why socialism works in Scandinavia, fails in Venezuela? A: Because Scandinavian countries are…

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Freedom Is Everything

in Philosophy by

Although there is very little on which we agree, Marxists and socialists have provided me with some excellent philosophical discussions.  One such person recently wrote this article in which he attempted to take to task the libertarian concept of freedom.  The piece starts out well enough as he does a decent job describing how libertarians view the concept: “What the libertarians mean by freedom is that the government does not interfere in the lives of private citizens.  If we were freed from government coercion, people would have a good life, because the free market would regulate our lives, and we would need no bureaucrat to tell us how to live wisely.” Nothing there that I take issue with.  The rest of the piece, though; is littered with logical fallacies and false conclusions.  His primary thesis is that if an individual must work in order to survive, then he is not free; true freedom is to choose leisure over labor.  Throughout, he draws on his personal experiences in education and…

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