July/August 2009

Volume 59, 2009


FDR's Lucky Timing

JUNE 10, 2009 by

It's not clear how any of FDR's 1933 policies could have accounted for a 17 percent increase in GDP, even if they promoted expansion, because they wouldn't have had time to ripple through the economy. It seems more likely that FDR had the good fortune to come into office near the bottom of the Depression, and enough adjustments in wages, prices, and other factors had occurred that the economy was ready to recover.

Keynes's Ghost

JUNE 09, 2009 by

The multiplier argument is founded on two key assumptions that turn out to be false. First is the notion that savings are not spent but rather are withdrawn from the expenditure stream. The multiplier's second incorrect premise is that government expenditures are "autonomous"; that is, government spending does not depend on current income.

What Is Seen and What Is Unseen: Government "Job Creation"

JUNE 10, 2009 by

How can Obama and his economic advisers know what kinds of jobs will position our economy to "lead the world" in the long term? Indeed, how can we expect anyone to know what kinds of jobs will be able to offer such a guarantee of wealth and security, considering the enormous complexity of our world?

Dim Bulbs

JUNE 10, 2009 by

In Praise of Tax Havens

JUNE 10, 2009 by

According to stereotypes, tax havens are little islands in the Caribbean, and indeed that's true of some of the world's premiere offshore centers. But to be more accurate, a tax haven is any jurisdiction that satisfies two criteria: First, its tax laws are attractive to global investors and entrepreneurs, and second, it protects its fiscal sovereignty by choosing not to enforce the bad tax laws of other nations, at least when they are trying to tax economic activity outside their borders. This means, of course, that individuals and businesses from high-tax nations have the option of using those jurisdictions as havens against excessive taxation.

From Good Samaritan to Robin Hood

JUNE 10, 2009 by

The clamor from interventionists against inequality morphs into a clamor for a larger and larger state. This path leads to the loss of liberty and a distortion of both democracy and justice. It distorts democracy because, by attempting to solve inequality, it removes limits to power and expands the field of state action. It distorts justice because the only way to solve inequality politically is for the state to have the power to treat individuals unequally. Thus the struggle to eliminate inequality ends up destroying the most important form of equality for an open society: equality before the law.

The American Land Question

JUNE 10, 2009 by

Widespread landownership long supported a kind of liberal-republican independence. Perhaps we should reexamine the nexus and ask ourselves how, in Donald Davidson's words, we "let the freehold pass," and whether that was really for the best.

Give Up? Are You Kidding?

DECEMBER 26, 2013 by

On the eve of the Battle of Trenton, December 26, 1776, Thomas Paine offered encouragement to his countrymen. We would do well to take his words to heart today, especially when it seems that liberty is having a rough time of it.

What the Drug Warriors Have Given Us

MARCH 27, 2009 by

The Shame of Medicine: The Depravity of Psychiatry

JUNE 17, 2009 by

Psychiatrists alternately deny and delight in possessing special professional skill at detecting future "dangerousness" that entitles them to the special power to incarcerate individuals they so stigmatize in prisons that masquerade as hospitals. The American legal system makes heavy use of psychiatric determinations of dangerousness, as a result of which vast numbers of Americans are deprived of liberty and, at the same time, of opportunity to demonstrate the injustice of their detention. Examples abound.

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