Saturday, December 27, 2008

Schiff: No Magical Cure for Recession

Peter Schiff in the Wall Street Journal today gives a good overview of our current economic situation and what will work best in the long term.

I completely agree with every thing Peter says, at least on overall economic theory and long term effects on the economy as a whole.

What I'd like to hear more discussion about is whether there are ways to minimize individual short-term pain without disproportionately sacrificing long term national economic growth. For those that have lost jobs or had to close their businesses, they don't want to hear that the economy will be better in a year or two if they just sit tight. I realize the economic reality for the country as a whole, but what are some conservative policy options that can best limit the pain for individuals hardest hit by the recession while having the least negative impact on national economic recovery and growth?

A secondary question that has been rolling around in my conservative mind is this: with the productivity lost by people being unemployed, is there a level of unemployment where it can be economically justified to increase government spending in the short term on something like infrastructure projects in order to better utilize the labor resources of the country? There are infrastructure projects that need to be done sooner or later; does it make sense to accelerate the schedule and do more now? I recognize their are costs to this approach, namely the government having to tax, borrow, or print money (which sucks money from taxpayers or investors, or increases inflation), individuals being delayed from finding another private sector job (or increasing skills to find a higher-paying one), the tendency for short-term government programs to become long-term ones, and the opportunity for pork and wasteful spending (if new projects are thought up just as a way to spend more money as a "stimulus").

A third idea that I've been trying to consider is the right monetary policy the Fed should employ. If you are a Milton Friedman fan, then you know that he blamed the Great Depression most of all on Monetary Policy. The Fed back then shrunk the money supply and primarily caused the huge number of bank failures (something like 50% of banks failed) and greatly deepened the recession. Friedman said that the Fed should have flooded the market with liquidity. That seems to me to be what the Fed is doing right now. I understand that will risk inflation once the economy starts to recover, but isn't that the point at which you could pull back on the money supply? You can't magically make the economy better in the long run by increasing the money supply, but can't you counteract the effects of the credit crunch and asset bubble bursts, and then counteract them again when the credit crunch eases and asset values start to recover?

I have seen several good articles and videos convincingly arguing against a stimulus program that simply calls for tax "rebate" checks or increased government spending, but I am having trouble finding any in-depth debate exploring other policy options in more detail.

Stein: "I'm more in `like` with my country"

Joel Stein from the LA Times fesses up on how liberals really feel about America.

He's more in love with Sweden. There's about 15 countries that he sounds like he'd rather have been born in, mostly in Europe. According to him, saying that America is the greatest country on earth is stupid talk.

Of course there's no recognition of America's lead role as the defender of freedom around the world for at least the last 70 years; of the countless lives America has sacrificed for the sake of freedom in Europe, the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan. There is no expression of thankfulness that we got to the atomic bomb before Germany or Russia did (think of how differently those 2 countries would likely have used that power). No gratitude that it was the U.S., not the Soviet Union that won the cold war.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

VIDEO: Failure of Keynesian Economics

Daniel Mitchell from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, and CATO:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

To Rebuke Or Not To Rebuke

A Florida church has made national news by sending an ultimatum letter to a lady to cease fornicating. See the background story here, the HotAir post here, and my comments here. (P.S. Allahpundit is an atheist and thus his interest in posting the story, if you can't immediately tell from his tone).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bush Interview w/ National Review

Byron York and Rich Lowry's talk with the President.

Very interesting to get the President's perspective on things.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Housing Market Plan

Good analysis of the housing market right now.

Real Climate Science

Here's an article about the 2nd annual ICCC.