Friday, January 15

Mises Insitute

What Will It Take for Americans to Consider Breaking Up?
Mises Insitute

What Will It Take for Americans to Consider Breaking Up?

by Jeff Deist Listen to the Audio Mises Wire version of this article. It’s one thing for mass democracy to produce bad results, in the form of elected politicians or enacted policies. It’s another when the democratic process itself breaks down because nobody trusts the vote or the people who count it. But that’s precisely where we are. As things stand at this writing, last night’s presidential election remains undecided and looking ugly. At least six states are still uncalled, and both the Trump and Biden camps have their legal teams claiming victory. We may be in for days, weeks, or even months of legal skirmishes, all of which can only add to our intense political (or more accurately cultural) breakdown.  Today, perhaps 140 millio...
Want to Reduce the Trade Deficit? Cut Government Spending.
Mises Insitute

Want to Reduce the Trade Deficit? Cut Government Spending.

by Tate Fegley In 2016, then presidential candidate Donald Trump, noting the US trade deficit with China and other countries, stated, We “have a trade war, and we’re losing badly.” The US trade deficit (also known as the current account deficit) was $67 billion in August of this year, according to the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Does this mean the US is continuing to lose on trade? No. When it comes down to it, international balance-of-payments figures do not reveal much. The current account (which consists of the value of exports and imports of finished goods and services, factor services, and net unilateral transfers), as a matter of accounting identity, is necessarily offset by the capital account (which consists of the value of exports and impo...
Japan’s Ultraloose Monetary Policy Has Undermined Savings and Prosperity
Mises Insitute

Japan’s Ultraloose Monetary Policy Has Undermined Savings and Prosperity

by Gunther Schnabl & Taiki Murai Uncertainty over the corona crisis has raised the household savings in many countries. The closure of stores, restaurants, and borders has restricted people from spending money. The support of furlough, rescue credit, and the grant of tax-free bonuses by governments stabilizes incomes. Even in Japan where most stores and restaurants have remained open, the generous handout of around 950 US dollars to all residents increased the savings. Nevertheless, this is unlikely to reverse the long-term downward trend in household savings. Figure 1: Japan: Interest Rates and Household Net Saving Rate Source: IMF and Thomson Reuters. Net saving as a share of disposable income. The savings of Japanese households have dramatically declined since the 1...
Talk of “Unity” Is Both Hypocritical and Delusional
Mises Insitute

Talk of “Unity” Is Both Hypocritical and Delusional

by Gary Galles In Joe Biden’s address after being declared president-elect by news organizations, he promised to be a leader who “seeks not to divide but to unify.” Making that assertion after the campaigns we have seen, not to mention the light-years-apart treatment of the candidates, while Donald Trump is still adamantly disputing the election because of alleged Democrat malfeasance is, at a minimum, ironic. And it would be the height of hypocrisy if only a few of Trump’s claims of cheating are true. But we need to go further and recognize that even the possibility of Joe Biden uniting us is a delusion. Agreement on the specific ends we want to achieve is unattainable because our desires are mutually inconsistent. Our agreement is very limited on even very broadly defined issues, ...
Lockdowns Haven’t Brought down Covid Mortality. But They Have Killed Millions of Jobs.
Mises Insitute

Lockdowns Haven’t Brought down Covid Mortality. But They Have Killed Millions of Jobs.

by Mitch Nemeth During the early onset of covid-19 in the spring, government officials across the political spectrum widely agreed that government intervention and forced closure of many businesses was necessary to protect public health. This approach has clearly failed in the United States as it led to widespread economic devastation, including millions of jobs lost, bankruptcies, and extremely severe losses in profitability. Nor have states with strict lockdowns succeeded in bringing about fewer covid deaths per million than states that were less strict. Consequently, a few months into the pandemic, some governors weighed the competing economic costs with covid-19 containment and slowly reopened their economies. Of course, these governors did not mandate businesses reopen; ho...
American Voters: Don’t Look to Europe as a Model
Mises Insitute

American Voters: Don’t Look to Europe as a Model

by Daniel Lacalle The United States election campaign is focused primarily on how much the next president will spend and the measures to combat coronavirus. Both issues should point to one conclusion: unlike what candidate Biden wants to do, the next United States president should not copy the European Union. As we face a second wave of coronavirus outbreak in Europe, we know that the March measures and aggressive lockdowns were a grave mistake. The European economy is on the verge of a double-dip recession: the unemployment rate is at 8.1 percent compared to 7.8 percent in the United States but the European Union still has around 10 million furloughed jobs. Real unemployment, if we use the same calculation as in the United States, is closer to 11 percent. ...
Money Supply vs. Liquidity. What’s the Difference?
Mises Insitute

Money Supply vs. Liquidity. What’s the Difference?

by Frank Shostak In a market economy, a major service that money provides is that of the medium of exchange. Producers exchange their goods for money and then exchange money for other goods. As the production of goods and services increases, this results in a greater demand for the services of the medium of exchange (the service that money provides). Conversely, as economic activity slows down the demand for the services of money follows suit. The demand for the services of the medium of exchange is also affected by changes in prices. An increase in the prices of goods and services leads to an increase in the demand for the medium of exchange. People now demand more money to facilitate more expensive goods and services. A fall in the prices of goods and services results in a decline...
No, the American Republic Was Not Founded on Slavery
Mises Insitute

No, the American Republic Was Not Founded on Slavery

by Lipton Matthews Journalistic propaganda is a powerful instrument of indoctrination. Without evidence, foul ideas can easily penetrate mainstream discourse. For instance, recently it has become fashionable to posit that slavery is America’s original sin. To sensible people, this is a risible claim, because there is nothing particularly American about slavery. But revisiting the history of slavery in non-Western societies in Asiaand Africa would do little to change the minds of America’s critics. A more appropriate strategy would be to contrast the opinions of the Founding Fathers on slavery with those of leaders in other countries. Only after undertaking this task will we be able to judge America. In a larger historical context, asserting that some of the ...
Want to Make Drugs Less Lethal? Legalize Them.
Mises Insitute

Want to Make Drugs Less Lethal? Legalize Them.

by Mark Thornton Marijuana, i.e., cannabis, is now legal in eleven states for recreational use, thirty-three states for medical purposes, and another sixteen states have decriminalized it (usually fines for possession of small amounts). The upcoming election will see several legalization ballot measures, including recreational use legalization in Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey and medical use in Mississippi. South Dakota will have both medical and recreational legalization measures on the ballot and Oregon will have ballot measures that would decriminalize all drugs and another that would legalize psilocybin, i.e., “magic mushrooms,” for purposes of helping people with certain mental health issues. In the mid-1980s, at the pinnacle of the war on drugs, I wrote a paper fo...
The Seen and the Unseen of Covid-19
Mises Insitute

The Seen and the Unseen of Covid-19

by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. [From the 2020 Supporters Summit, presented at the historic Jekyll Island Club Resort on Jekyll Island, Georgia, on October 9, 2020. Read and see the full lecture.]  This is the intellectual level of the conversation [around covid-19]: You just want people do die. How do you talk to somebody like that? So, in order to do that, I’m going to appeal to the above midwit-level population and I’m going to remind people of the important lesson in Henry Hazlitt’s great book Economics in One Lesson. This is a book that’s sold millions of copies and Hazlitt’s one lesson, as we all know in this room, is that if you’re going to evaluate an economic policy, it’s not enough to evaluate the short-term consequences for one earmarked group. Any blockh...