M. Friedman Goes to Washington

by Chidem Kurdas Early in his career, long before he became a Nobel prizewinner and the household name for free market economist, Milton Friedman worked for the US Treasury. The following anecdote is from his 1998 memoir with his wife Rose, Two Lucky People.  This revealing example of how public officials operate illustrates, in Friedman’s words, … Continue reading M. Friedman Goes to Washington

President Obama’s State of Regulation

by Chidem Kurdas Barack Obama sounded a number of themes in his 2012 State of the Union Address this week, all underpinned by the proposition that socioeconomic ills can be solved by interventionist government in general and his administration in particular. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, giving the Republican rebuttal, effectively replied to the main claims. He … Continue reading President Obama’s State of Regulation

Why Public Policy Is Inconsistent

by Chidem Kurdas Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, says regulatory policy is working against economic recovery and as such is contradictory. His complaint is about the new bank rules, but in fact government actions in myriad areas are at odds with each other. Consistency does not appear to be an object in … Continue reading Why Public Policy Is Inconsistent

Menace to Savings and Small Businesses

by Chidem Kurdas As the old adage goes, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it. After the 2008 crisis it became fashionable to complain that too much trading is going on. There were calls in this and other countries to restrict financial transactions. And it happened. One example is the rule … Continue reading Menace to Savings and Small Businesses

The Intellectual Disaster of American Conservatism (Liberalism)

by Mario Rizzo I watched a rather good debate this morning on the ABC News program This Week. The participants were journalist George Will and Congressman Paul Ryan (on the “right”) and Congressman Barney Frank and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (“on the ‘left”). You can watch it now or simply read the transcript. The … Continue reading The Intellectual Disaster of American Conservatism (Liberalism)

The Real Culprit in Paternalistic Legislation?

by Mario Rizzo Christopher Hitchens, the great journalist and essayist, has died. Mr. Hitchens was not always right but he often was. I saw at the Cato blog a brief piece, posted by David Boaz, that Hitchens wrote on Mayor Bloomberg's Nanny State. (HT: Dave Johnson). It was in reaction to smoking restrictions, but could easily apply, more generally, … Continue reading The Real Culprit in Paternalistic Legislation?

Hayek on the Large Corporation (aka “Breaking up Big Banks?”)

by Mario Rizzo For those who enjoy trying to figure out what important thinkers might have thought about specific issues they never faced (and I am one of them!), the following letter I discovered will prove interesting and perhaps disconcerting to some. Below is a brief excerpt from a letter that F.A. Hayek wrote to the journalist and … Continue reading Hayek on the Large Corporation (aka “Breaking up Big Banks?”)

Fannie, Dodd-Frank and Barney Frank

by Chidem Kurdas Barney Frank  won’t run for Congress after his present term expires.  This May there were news stories about his  ex-lover getting a high-paying job at mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae while he sat on the Congressional committee that oversaw the government-sponsored entity.  Regardless of what voters now think of Mr. Frank, Dodd-Frank, … Continue reading Fannie, Dodd-Frank and Barney Frank

Energy Policy vs. Market

by Chidem Kurdas No matter how thoroughly public policy fails, there is no end to efforts in the same area.  Energy is a case in point. Reviewing the history of US energy policy in his new book, Columbia University legal scholar Michael Graetz writes: “The book  is, then, in one sense a story of failure…”  … Continue reading Energy Policy vs. Market

Malthusian Specter and Collective Action

by Chidem Kurdas In an article titled “Can Our Species Escape Destruction?” John Terborgh argues that collective restraint is the one hope for stopping overgrown humanity’s devastation of the planet. This is a scientifically-imbued version of a common view. When the United Nations Population Fund announced that on Oct. 31st world population will reach seven billion, … Continue reading Malthusian Specter and Collective Action