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[VIDEO] The Morality of Profit

The free market needs and deserves a moral defense.

Source: Libertarianism.org

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Panama Papers Are About Government Corruption, Not ‘Tax Evasion’

 Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters)

Governments will seek to focus on general tax evasion charges to distract from evidence of corruption by public officials.

 writes: While contemporary governments have carved out for themselves significant authority in demanding citizens of their countries do specific things with their money, it doesn’t change the principle of self-ownership. Were private citizens to follow their money off-shore in the wake of this, would their governments demand to control their flight as well as their capital’s? It’s not just theoretical.

“A person’s money belongs to them, not the government, just as their bodies and their freedoms do.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has pushed the idea of seizing the passports of citizens who have too many interests overseas. Maybe he ought to support Donald Trump building a big wall after all—at least that’d be consistent and honest. Capital controls are restrictions of free movement much like walls are.

The euro tumbled to a nine-year low Monday as new worries flared over Greece, where a woman in Athens passed a currency-changing business. Associated Press

“The ‘Panama Papers’ are the largest leak in world history, revealing millions of documents related to the offshore accounts of politicians, former politicians, and billionaires around the world.”

Despite much of the media’s focus on tax evasion as the primary theme of the Panama Papers story, which embarrassed governments are happy to adopt as the primary theme as well, the question is one of official corruption.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) itself, which first published the data, says it reveals the holdings of “drug dealers, Mafia members, corrupt politicians and tax evaders–and wrongdoing galore.”

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Yet the numbers they offer tell a different story. According to ICIJ, 214,000 entities are described in the Panama Papers. They include the off-shore assets of 140 politicians and other public figures (including 12 current or former heads of state or government), as well as 33 people and companies that were “blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.” Yet The Economist counts 33 Forbes list billionaires to the 140 politicians in the Panama Papers. Read the rest of this entry »


Cato Book Found on Elon Musk’s Desk

musk-cato

Today, a Cato fan tweeted a photo of Elon Musk’s desk with a copy of the Cato book, The Dirty Dozen by Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy and Institute for Justice’s William Mellor.

Have you read it yet? Get your copy here!


‘The First Rule of Economic Fight Club is…’ Stephen Moore, Paul Krugman Meet for ‘Economic Fight Club’ at Freedom Fest

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editor-commen-deskI was fortunate to catch the majority of this debate live, via Periscope, watching it live on my phone’s screen (mostly just listening to the audio) and I agree with this description:  “All in all this was a very interesting discussion. Of course I was not convinced by anything Krugman had to say but I did think it was a good-faith conversation on a variety of topics.” I’ve not found the video online yet, but stay tuned, when we find it, we’ll post it. In the meantime, enjoy a sample of this account by PJ Tatler‘s Liz Sheld,

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“I have to give some props to Krugman for showing up, as he had to know this was going to be a tough crowd.  And this panel was one of the best I’ve seen at a conference — it was thoughtful and did not get hostile at all, while both Moore and Krugman addressed each other’s points.”

Liz Sheld writes:

One of the big spectacles at Freedom Fest was the showdown between Stephen Moore and Paul Krugman that took place this morning.  Moore founded the Club for Growth and was formerly on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. The former chief economist at the Heritage Foundation was billed as the “supply-sider.” On the other side of the debate was Krugman – New York Times columnist, professor of economics at Princeton, and Nobel prize winner. He was billed as the “Keynesian.”

The topic was “What happened to the American Dream?” or “How can we best restore the American Dream?”

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“I wish we had more of this and less grandstanding at our center-right conclaves.”

I have to give some props to Krugman for showing up, as he had to know this was going to be a tough crowd.  And this panel was one of the best I’ve seen at a conference — it was thoughtful and did not get hostile at all, while both Moore and Krugman addressed each other’s points. I wish we had more of this and less grandstanding at our center-right conclaves.

[Read the full text here, at PJ Tatler]

Since this was an hour-long debate, I’ll sum up some of the most interesting exchanges between the two economists. It didn’t take long before each was urging the moderator to pull up one of their charts. Charts really add some gravitas to the discussion. As they say on the streets, sh!t got real when the charts started coming out.

Moore pointed out that everything done by the Obama administration has thwarted recovery from the economic disaster of 2007-8. But to be fair, he included Bush along with examples of Obama’s mistakes: cash for clunkers, stimulus, bailouts, and tax increases, for starters.  He said that Reagan also inherited a bad economy but did the right things for a much faster turnaround. Moore said that we have 8 million fewer jobs under Obama than we would have had if Obama had taken Reagan-esque action.
Read the rest of this entry »


Analysis: What the Press Corps Isn’t Telling You About the Scott Walker Probe

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Associated Press

A First Amendment Education

The selective investigation of the political speech of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker‘s allies goes to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals next week, and with any luck the judges will vindicate a district court’s preliminary injunction that has shut down the probe. They should do so before the November election because this unconstitutional exercise is being exploited by Mr. Walker’s enemies to defeat him.

“Neither collaboration among independent groups nor communication between independent groups and a political campaign is illegal. On the contrary, it is speech protected by the First Amendment.

The latest media misinformation concerns emails that show Mr. Walker raised money for the Wisconsin Club for Growth. But raising money for Super Pacs and 501(c) groups is routine political behavior, as President Obama and Harry Reid routinely demonstrate.

“The prosecution brings to mind the abuses against the late Ted Stevens, who was convicted of corruption in office only weeks before an election because prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence. In Wisconsin the prosecution has used a secret probe and selective leaks to make legal fund-raising appear illegal.”

Prosecutors pursuing Mr. Walker have been pushing a theory of campaign-finance law that the state’s own campaign finance regulator, the Government Accountability Board, has admitted is unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent. The theory has also been rejected by the Seventh Circuit and by two judges in the Walker probe.

You’d never guess any of this from reading the anti-Walker press. Legal activity is made to look nefarious with loose references to terms like “coordination” that have precise definitions for what qualifies as political advocacy under the law. Read the rest of this entry »


Power to the People: Tea Party’s grassroots momentum smashes the business lobby’s monopoly on GOP fundraising

K-Street takes a backseat as a new movement disrupts traditional big business fundraising authority. Will corporate interests seeking to influence elections switch brands and align with Democrats?

The election of Tea Party conservatives like Rand Paul indicated the end of K Street's stronghold on the GOP. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

The election of Tea Party conservatives like Rand Paul indicated the end of K Street’s stronghold on the GOP. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

TIMOTHY P. CARNEY writes: How did the Republican Party become so splintered and so infused with hard-line conservatives?

Don’t blame redistricting. Don’t chalk it up to anti-Obama fervor.

Republicans have become an unruly bunch of scorched-earth conservatives because the Tea Party smashed the business lobby’s monopoly on GOP fundraising.

Here’s a story of where the GOP used to be:

Back in 2006, I asked a couple of conservative Republican congressmen to give blurbs for my book on corporate welfare. “My boss loves the book,” one of their top aides said, “but we’re not going to put his name on it.” Why not, I asked. “Who do you think funds his campaigns?” she whispered. “It’s not the Family Research Council.”

In short, the conservative congressman was happy to fight the good fight, but he wasn’t willing to upset Big Business because that’s where the checks came from — and no checks meant no re-election.

Back then, to raise money, Republicans had to go to K Street.
Call your former chief of staff who was now at a lobbying firm, have him host a fundraiser. Your ex-aide would show up with colleagues carrying $2,500 checks and with corporate clients handing over $5,000 checks from their political action committees.

Although K Street was the road to campaign cash, the party leadership was often the path to K Street. This helps explain the power dynamic in the pre-Tea Party GOP. Read the rest of this entry »