Former Texas congressman Ron Paul publishes a multi-page report once a month through his F.R.E.E. (Foundation for Rational Economics and Education) organization called “Ron Paul’s Freedom Report”. In the current April 2014 issue, he takes on the phony debate that happens every year in Washington over the budget and the so-called budget cuts being proposed. As Paul explains, these alleged cuts are nothing of the sort:
The budget does not cut spending at all, and in fact actually increases spending by $1.5 trillion over ten years. The Republicans are using the old DC trick of spending less than originally planed and calling that reduced spending increase a $5.1 trillion cut in spending. Only in DC could a budget that increases spending by 3.5% per year instead of 5.2% per year be attacked as a “slash-and-burn” plan.
The budget also relies on “dynamic scoring”. This trick is where the budget numbers account for increased government revenue generated by economic growth the budget will supposedly unleash. The claims are dubious at best. Of course, reducing government spending will lead to economic growth. But real growth requires real cuts, not this budget’s phony cuts.
As explained above, the cuts being proposed are merely reductions in planned budget increases. Republicans and Democrats are equally unwilling to suggest any real cuts. For Republicans, the problem is that they will not cut military spending under any circumstances. While Democrats refuse to consider any cuts to welfare or entitlement spending. A type of gridlock ensues over these issues and they get into a useless debate involving tiny decreases that still grow government spending overall (in this case, 3.5% instead of 5.2%).
There is a growing movement amongst leftists and “progressives” for the United States to establish a federal “maximum wage”. Essentially, this would mean that CEO and other executive salaries would be legally capped in some manner — whether at an actual dollar amount or forbidden from exceeding a certain ratio relative to the lowest paid workers in a particular corporation.
There are a variety of problems with forbidding executive salaries from rising above a set amount: not the least of which being that the reasoning behind the law negates the fact that CEO pay, just like any other wage or price, is a function of market forces. As such, a price ceiling on executive salaries will create a shortage of people willing and able to work such jobs.
The article linked below goes into more detail on how the proposition of the maximum wage is fallacious.
This is a clip from 1977 where Hayek discusses the fallacy of central planning in the area of “social justice”. The distributed nature of the knowledge needed in order to enact a just system of social order is simply not available nor obtainable by a single individual. No planning can be undertaken without such knowledge, hence it is fallacious to even discuss the concept of instituting an overarching plan for social justice. What seems just to one social group may not be just to another.
I may write a full paper on the topic in the future but Hayek, even in his old age, does a great job explaining it in this video.
Very good segment from Thomas Woods’ lecture “Applying Economics to American History”.
One of the main issues many people have with an unregulated economy is the issue of child “sweatshop” labor. Woods rebuts this popular complaint and exposes the underpinning fallacies from which it suffers.
Excellent video by Milton Friedman. The current tax system is broken, unequal, and hopelessly complex. Reform alone is not enough; the entire code must be scrapped and replaced with one that is simple, fair, and pro-growth.
A couple of days ago, 200 troops from the BLM were forced to back down in an attempted round up of cattle that were grazing on Federal land. The central question here is not being fought over some endangered tortoise, but over who has a proper claim to the land in Nevada. Bundy and his supporters have argued that they have a right to graze their cattle on the land, due to his ancestors having grazed the land since the 1800s.
Stefan Molyneux has a video on Youtube about this that examines the history of the law and it is a good treatment of the subject.