Jeff's Identical Twin, Break from GB, New Background, and Kahn

Until now, I was not aware that Jeff had a brother. In fact, I discovered his brother is even more badass then Jeff himself. On top of being the lead singer, lyricist, and guitar player of one of the most influential bands in our history (Nirvana would not exist w/o them), he also has the world's greatest hair.  
 
I present to you, Jeff's brother: King Buzzo 
 
  

   
Fortunate for many GBers, I have all but abandoned GB. It's going to be this way for awhile. I'm too busy to grace you all (appropriate time for ya'll? )with my presence. I'm currently trying to hone my math skills by taking some classes way above my level. To get into a good economics grad school, you need to be just as good at calculus and stats as you are at economics. I got the economics part down, but the math needs some work.  
 
So until the semester is done, I won't be on here for more than 20 minutes throughout a week.  
 
If you go to my profile, you will notice my fantastic background. No more mullet man to melt the eyes. Instead, our very own Suicrat was kind enough to fashion me a kickass background. Whether he made it as a favor to me, or the GB community is uncertain. But either way, the world is a better place. RIP mullet man background.  
 
Lastly, the only reason I am surviving this semester. The Kahn Academy is easily one of the best websites. It's a site full of videos that teach you shit. The best part is that it's not random. For example, if you are learning calculus, he logically teaches it step by step starting with introducing limits, progressing to epsilon and delta, then derivatives, etc... 
 
Basically it's the same order as you will find in a college textbook. He's very explanatory, goes slow, and makes difficult concepts very easy to understand. If you ever need some outside help on one of his offered topics, try it out. It's totally free, and totally awesome.   
 
Here's an example:  
 
  
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The greatest reunion, the greatest rapper, and child porn

First of all, one of the greatest bands is making a return; SOUNDGARDEN. It's gonna be a helluva year with Faith No More, Them Crooked Vultures , and Soundgarden all playing live shows.  
 
Soundgarden is THE grunge band. I'll be getting tickets to at least one of their shows, regardless of how far I have to travel.  
 
Here's a taste of some Soundgarden: 
 
  

    
   
As for the greatest rapper, you need to know his background first. He comes from a town of 4,000, he drove a Chevy Cavelier, put flames on it, and then had an empty Co2 tank and pretended it was NOS to be cool. Also, he claims to be the boxing champion of Texas (not sure what that means), and was put in special ed classes in high school.  
 
Listen to "Love at first Site". Is this not the greatest music you have ever heard?  
 
Lastly, child porn. There has been lots of fuss about the screening that has been taking place at airports. While, it looks like there's a way to get around it: be under 18.  
 
New Scanners Break Child Porn Laws 
 

"The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children, the Guardian has learned. Privacy campaigners claim the images created by the machines are so graphic they amount to "virtual strip-searching" and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved."

21 Comments

Good literature for budding libertarians/austrian economists

I know a lot of people (not necessarily on this site) that are interested in ideas of sound economics and liberty. A major problem is that they have no idea what kind of resources exist for them to continue their intellectual journey. So I figured I would give some of my personal favorites that I have stumbled upon through my own journey.  
 
I have broken the literature up into subjects, which any learned individual should be educated in. These are the subjects in which libertarians have written extensively on, and it does no good to just be educated in one subject. A worldview needs to encompass all areas of life.   
  
Not all literature I am listing is written by libertarians, but there are many areas of many disciplines which are not opinions, but rather things we should just know.  These obviously don't come exclusively from libertarian authors. 

So let's get started: 
 
History 
 
-Conceived in Liberty: Volumes I-IV,  Murray Rothbard 
-The Real Lincoln,  Thomas DiLorenzo 
-Hamilton's Curse,  Thomas DiLorenzo 
-Founding Brothers, Joseph Ellis 
-Recarving Rushmore, Ivan Iland 
-History of Money and Banking, Murray Rothbard 
-The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes 
-33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask, Thomas Woods 
-Who Killed the Constitution, Thomas Woods 
-America's Great Depression, Murray Rothbard 
-FDR's Folly, Jim Powell 
-Crisis and Leviathan, Robert Higgs  
-The Panic of 1819, Murray Rothbard
 -The Origins of the Keynesian Revolution, Robert Dimand
 -Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War, Robert Ekelund Jr
 
Philosophy 
 
-Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature, Murray Rothbard 
-Constitution of Liberty, Friedrick von Hayek 
-The Road to Serfdom,  Friedrick von Hayek  
-Our Enemy the State, Albert Jay Nock 
-Against Intellectual Property, Stephan Kinsella 
-For a New Liberty, Murray Rothbard 
-The Ethics of Liberty, Murray Rothbard 
-Anarchy and the Law, Edward Stringham 
-Rights of Man, Thomas Paine 
-Democracy: The God that Failed, Hans Hermann Hoppe 
-Economics and the Ethics of Private Property,  Hans Hermann Hoppe 
-Liberalism, Ludwig von Mises 
-Socialism, Ludwig von Mises  
-Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman 
-Four Essays on Liberty, Isaiah Berlin 
-The Cambridge Companion to Kant, Immanuel Kant edited by Paul Guyer
-On Liberty, John Stuart Mill  
-Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes 
-An Essay Concerning Human Understand, John Locke 
-Two Treatises of Government, John Locke
 
Basic Economics 
 
-Man, Economy, and State, Murray Rothbard 
-Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt  
-Meltdown, Thomas Woods 
-What Should You Know About Inflation?, Henry Hazlitt 
-The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrick von Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Gottfried Haberler
-Give Me a Break!, John Stossel 
-The Fatal Conceit, Friedrick von Hayek 
-The Economics of Liberty, Various Authors, Edited by Lew Rockwell  
-What Has Government Done to Our Money?, Murray Rothbard 
-The Case Against the FED, Murray Rothbard  
-Deflation and Liberty, Jorge Guido Hulsmann  
-Profit and Loss, Ludwig von Mises 
-Economic Logic, Mark Skousen 
-Privatization of Roads and Highways, Walter Block
 
Advanced Economics 
 
-Human Action, Ludwig von Mises 
-Economic Science and the Austrian Method, Hans Hermann Hoppe 
-Power and Market, Murray Rothbard 
-The Ultimate Method of Economic Science 
-The Theory of Money and Credit, Ludwig von Mises 
-Epistemelogical Problems of Economics, Ludwig von Mises 
-Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles, Jesus Huerta de Soto 
-Prices and Production, Friedrick von Hayek 
-The General Theory of  Employment, Interest and Money, John Maynard Keynes 
-The Failure of the New Economics, Henry Hazlitt  
-The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith 
-A Theory of Full Employment, Y.S. Brenner and N. Brenner-Golomb  
-The Structure of Production, Mark Skousen 
-Capital, Interest, and Rent: A Theory of Distribution, Frank Fetter 
 
Fiction 
 
-Time Will Run Back, Henry Hazlitt 
-Animal Farm, George Orwell 
-1984, George Orwell 
-Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand 
-The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
 
 
I hate fiction, but some people can't take philosophy straight, so they settle with fiction. That's the only reason I threw Rand's books on here. Even though the message in Atlas Shrugged could be written on 2 pages as opposed to 1,000, it's a hell of a book written by a very bad person.  
 
I'll be adding more to the list in the future. Also, I may add the credentials of the authors as well. Maybe some short biographies will be included as well.  
 
But for now, this list should keep anyone interested in ideas of liberty and prosperity happy. 

48 Comments

The Case Against Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, the supposed idol of the Republican Party. He is known as the "Great Conservative" by most, and has been praised by many so called small-government folk for his massive reduction in government activities.  
 
But was Reagan really that conservative? Was he really the traditional, small government, tax cutting liberty lover that we have all come to adore?  
 
heh 
 
1) "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"  
 
Reagan was not responsible for "winning" the Cold War.  The Soviet Union collapsed because it was never a strong nation to begin with. In order to be a superpower, you must have power. In order to have power, you must have wealth. The Soviet Union had a pathetic economy. The president of the United States is irrelevant to the fact that the Soviet system was crumbling right from underneath them. Just as Bush cannot take credit for the lack of an event (no terror attacks since 9/11), neither can Reagan be given credit for a consequence which was not brought about by him.  Confusing correlation with causation is a problem in many different subjects, no less with politics.  
 
The Soviet Union used its small amount of wealth to build up arms to compete with the US. The threat was greatly exagerated considering that we knew their economy could not support such expenditures. If we were not in a military arms race, then the danger would not exist. If we were to enter an arms race, again, the danger would not exist because their system would collapse. Either way, the economic collapse was inevitable and  they were never the threat they were made out to be.  The truth is, the massive increase in military expenditures hurt everyone. It costed the US taxpayers greatly, and also hurt the Soviets population as well.  
 
Ad lastly, the Soviets DID intend on spreading communism and expanding their territories. This further extension was have brought about the collapse even sooner. If the US had stayed out of their affairs, the Soviets would have probably tried to aquire other territories such as  Afghanistan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia among others. No doubt this would have brought about their inevitabel collapse even sooner.  
 
2) Awful Foreign Policy 
 
Besides Reagan's battle with the Soviets, he also was responsible for other military interventions, all of which were done without the legally required congressional authorization. Reagan was involved with Lebanon, Grenada, and Libya.   
 
Oh, and did I mention that Reagan had supported Saddam Hussein through funding and the provision of intelligence and military training? This was the main cause for Iraq's coming of power in the mideast and their subsequent invasion of Kuwait. 
 
3) Increased the Federal Government 
 
Not only did Reagan increase government expenditures on national defense, but he also increased domestic spending as well. Between 1980 and 1986, federal spending went from 21.6% of GNP to 24.3% of GNP. Reagan had cooperated with the Democrats to increase domestic spending in exchange for being able to increase defense spending.  
 
Federal spending $590 billion in 1980, and had increased to $1.14 trillion by 1988, nearly doubling the amount spent. And again, despite popular opinion, this increase was NOT mostly defense spending. In fact, only $150 billion of that increase was directed towards military budgets, where nearly $400 billion was spent on domestic programs.  
 
4) Did Not Change the Role of the government
 
Even though he based his platform on it, Reagan did not shut down a single government agency. Not one. All he did was increase the agencies that existed.  
 
5) Did not Deregulate 
 
Reagan is credited for massive deregulation. Jimmy Carter was actually the real deregulator. The few deregulation acts that Reagan actually did get around to, were already in the process from the Cater administration.  
 
Neither did Reagan fight the welfare state which he was credited for. While he promised to fight for welfare reform, it never happened. In fact, by the end of his administration, Reagan had increased the Aid to Families with Dependent Children by 10%.  
 
6) Reagan's Tax Cuts 
 
Sure, Reagan was responsible for a massive tax cut in 1981. As a matter of fact, it was the largest in American history. But it was meaningless, and actually more harmful. when taxes are cut without cutting govrenment spending, the government either has to print money, which is itself a form of taxation, or it has to borrow the money, again just higher taxation in the future.  
 
Reagan kept repeating that supply-side economics would prevail. He thought that the increased production from lower taxes would create more revenue for the state so that it could keep spending. He was wrong. The result was high inflation.  
 
7) Reagan's Tax Increases? 
 
In 1982, Reagan was responsible for the greatest tax increase in American history. He increased taxes on tobacco, airports, communications, and in 1984 reduced Social Security benefits while at the same time increased payroll taxes. 
 
As another attack against businesses, Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act. This shifted taxes from individuals to corporations. Corporate taxation is double taxation because it taxes their profits, their capital gains, and then it taxes the dividends of their stockholders.  
 
To be fair, overall taxes throughout the Reagan administration had decreased from 18.9% to 18.4%. But as I said earlier, this minimal tax decrease was also accompanied by a massive spending increase, resulting in massive debt.
 
8) Iran-Contra Affair 
 
Reagan was responsible for the supply of heavy weaponry to Iran. It was paid as ransom for U.S. hostages in Lebanon. Of course, not only was this illegal for Reagan to do, but this supply of weaponss and in turn, wealth, funding terrorist organizations who kill thousands of people.   
 
What resulted was a massive cover up, and an unfortunate escaped impeachment (Oh, and the creation of all things terrorist). 
 
I could go into this much deeper, but this post is long enough, and I have stuff to do.  If you have any spare time, please research the Iran-Contra Affair. It's very interesting to see how those with power are above the law. 
 
Conclusion 
 
Reagan is not the man he is made out to be. He was not a small government conservative, but rather a massive government imperialist who can partially be blamed for the current terrorist threat. 

39 Comments

The Case Against Thomas Jefferson

Alright, so this is the first of a new blog series I'm going to be doing. Each blog post will be called "The Case Against  [Insert President Here]". 


My goal is to show how so many presidents which people admire, really weren't as great as they seem. Of course, I'll be writing these posts from a liberty first perspective, so like everything else it will be very biased. However, I won't go on rants or make up random facts to help me case. I'll just do short snippets of facts which I will use to show how they hurt our nation and restrained our liberties. 

1. Thomas Jefferson

Many libertarians adore Thomas Jefferson. Why not? There are hundreds of libertarian friendly quotes you can pull from his essays and letters. But did he act upon these sound principles when he was given the power?

Here are some reasons why Thomas Jefferson should be considered a bad president:

- Illegally spent a massive amount of money. 

Jefferson was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. By way of executive order, Jefferson authorized this purchase without congressional approval. As Jefferson stated himself on the matter, he "stretched the Constitution till it cracked". This set a bad precedent by an executive using his power which was in no possible way enumerated in the Constitution. 

Another point to be made on this, was that Jefferson didn't pay the indians for the territory, instead, he paid for France's illigitimate claim to this land which was in reality owned by the indians. As a result, American settlers ruched into the new territory and killed any who stood their ground and forced countless more to be pushed farther out of their land. Also, Jefferson had no problem with condoning slavery in the newly expanded territories. 

- Jefferson nearly destroyed out economy and forced some into hunger.

In 1807, Jefferson created a policy which ended all foreign trade. Jefferson's embargo caused an 80% decrease in exports and massive unemployment soon followed. It was so awful, that people were literally starving. This is perhaps the only time in the US where people were forced into starvation solely because of a government policy. 

- Martial Law?

Jefferson obsessed over this embargo. The attempt to stop all smuggling of exports and imports became so insistent that people were searched, arrested, and imprisoned without any arrest warrants. Boats, carts, and even individuals on the roads were subject to these unconstitutional searches and arrests. 

- Was not a fan of free speech.

Jefferson was not scared to use lawsuits against people he didn't like. When newspapers would write unfavorable (and usually true) things about him, he would attempt to  sue for libel. 

- Wanted to "domesticate" indians.

Although not alone in his time, Jefferson thought very little of indians. He believed that if indians would not assimilate and accept white culture, they should be "moved" to empty land. He believed they should be continually pushed westward, which makes you wonder what he believes should happen when they hit the pacific. 

- Slave Owner

People usually try to cover this up and say that he did not own slaves. You can call them whatever you want, but he paid for humans. They were his property. 

While Jefferson had lots of good things to say, his actions were inconsisent with his thoughts. No libertarian, even no human, should ever think Thomas Jefferson was a good president. His curtailing of civil rights, his expansive and illegal government purchase of western territories, and his blatant disregard for basic human rights should automatically disregard any admiration for him. 



61 Comments

My Bachelor Partay

So it's 12:54 AM and I'm angry at Red Faction, so I'm going to write about last weekend. 


I'm getting married a week from Saturday, so my brother threw my a bachelor party. Since I don't believe that it's my last night single (I haven't been single for over 4 years), there were no strippers, clubs, or any of that shit. 

Instead, my wedding party just came out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere that my step dad owns. I live in Wisconsin, and there are some pretty awesome places to go that no one really knows about. We went to a pond which has a huge rope swing hanging from a tree and went off that for awhile. Then we just went back to the cabin, at some food, drank some beer and just chilled. 

The next day, we all went with my dog to a river and canoed for about 4 hours. My dog wouldn't get in the damn canoe, so she just swam next to the canoe for hours until she almost drowned. 

After that, we went to this awseome restaurant on the Mississippi river and ate tons of pizza. This, as you will soon see, ended up being a big mistake. 

We went back to the cabin and one of my friends brought some alcohol that was not beer. Now I don't get along well with hard liquor. I do bad things. But he brought some UV Blue and Mountain Due, and some Captain Morgan and Coke, 

I'm a small guy, 145 lbs. to be exact. Within 20 minutes, I drank half a bottle of Captain Morgan, no Coke. That was at midnight. Next thing I knew, it was 11 AM of the next day. I woke up, and there was carnage. Here's some things I noticed:

1) I was wearing completely different clothes, and no underwear. 
2) I smelt like puke.
3) The tire on my car was flat. 
4) My dog had puke all over her. 
5) A sturdy chair had been broken.

So apparently I puked 16 times that night. Yup, all that delicious pizza I had just eaten was all over the yard. Also, I guess I purposely aimed at my dog, and puked on her head. She will never forgive me. Also, my brother and one of my friends had to change me because I decided to puke right into my lap multiple times. And I guess I attempted a drunk dropkick onto the chair, to no avail. All it did was bust my ass and the seat of the chair which I have to pay for. No one knows why my tire went flat. 

And apparently, when I get drunk, I repeat a lot of lines from old movies. I kep saying "I have a drinking problem", and then would proceed to throw water on my face (it's from Airplane). Then I would credit my unfunny joke to some other random movie such as Office Space or Spaceballs. 

And lastly, I ended up with the worse hangover of my life, puking a total of 16 times the night of, and 18 times the day after. 

So that was my lame bachelor party. 
12 Comments

I Hate Unions

I was just reading The Fellowship of the Ring, when something hit me: Unions suck!


So here's the deal, unions always try to keep wage rates higher than market value. The obvious consequence is a surplus of workers, or unemployment. 


But then I started thinking about other possible consequences. Usually anti-union people say "Yo, even though these workers get higher wage rates, they get fewer hours." That's true. Typically someone might work 40 hours a week whereas a union worker may work 30 hours a week. But wage income in a week very well might be equal due to the higher wage rates of unions. 


Isn't that great!?!


I don't think so. Sure, having more leisure time may be "nice" for an individual at first glance, but is it really?


Let's look at some possible unintended consequences, from the employer's perspective. A factory was just unionized. Now instead of a 5 day week, it is only open 3 days a week. It has a fixed income which it can spend on labor. Even with the higher wage rates, the payroll has remained the same by simply cutting hours. 


But notice, production has now been cut by 2 days while maintaining the same expenditures as if production was not cut by these two days. That means production has just become that much more expensive. It also means that real wage rates actually have increased contrary to what the union worker will tell you. A consistent wage income does NOT mean that real wage rates have not increased. 


Since production is so much more expensive, it can now produce much less.


Less production of goods means less wealth in the economy. Less wealth means that these businesses will now have less money to invest in capital, and will likely result in a multiplied increase in unemployment in the future. 


In any market besides labor, this price fixing is seen as a bad thing. In Milwaukee they tried to try some price fixing on apartment complexes. Instead of a minimum price, they did a maximum price instead. The rent was fixed below market level so that the poor could get the apartments. What happened of course, was that there were massive shortages of apartments. 


Instead of helping the poor, they were made off. A black market was created, and bids were made on apartments so that only the absolute wealthiest would get them. It was a disaster.



But when it comes to fixing wage rates, they don't consider it a disaster, even when it results in the same. As for a black market in labor, can you say mexicans? 


The reason it isn't considered a disaster is because commodities can't vote in elections, people can. People know they are getting paid more, that's all they care about. They never consider the opportunity costs incurred both individual and in the aggregate.



Look at the opposite scenario. 


What if lower wage rates were set rather than higher. Now the business has set the wage rate below market value and increased production to 6 days a week. The weekly income is still the same as it has been. 


Now production has been made cheaper. More is being made for less and the economic pie is expanding. With some sound monetary policy, this could be the absolute best case scenario. If the money supply remains the same through this decrease in wage rates, production would be increasing but the money supply would remain consistent. This would infer that the real wealth of every individual would be steadily increasing, even those who took the wage rate cuts. 


More wealth is created while the medium of exchange remains the same. The result would be a higher living of standard for all and overall awesomeness. 


I hate unions. 

67 Comments