Quick Roundup 384

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Government Distortion of Price Signals

Brian Phillips does a good job explaining how government interference with prices impairs our ability to gather objective information about supply for the goods we need.

When the government subsidizes some product, it is essentially saying that that product exists in a higher quantity than it actually does. For example, filet mignon is more expensive than hamburger because there is less of it. However, if the government subsidized filet mignon so that the consumer only paid $2 a pound, consumers would react as if it existed in the same quantity as hamburger. Consumers who never buy filet mignon would be dining on it weekly. But the supply would not have changed--only the mechanism that rations that supply.
This is on top of the fact that all such activity is wrong, because it violates our rights, and results in theft from the productive.

Yaron Brook and Don Watkins of the Ayn Rand Institute offer a novel solution to the housing glut caused by federal interference in the housing market. And Craig Biddle commented at length on the novel aspect of said solution some time back.

Dr. Lewis to Appear in Israel

If you are in Israel or know someone who is, mark your calendars: Dr. John Lewis will be making two appearances there.

First, he will speak on "The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism: A Proper Policy" at the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 14.

Dr. Lewis will also lecture on "Israel's Moral Right to Exist" at Tel Aviv University on Monday, December 15 at 6:00 p.m. for the Tel Aviv University Objectivist Students club.

Distraction? For Whom?

This news article on the repercussions of the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevic for attempting to sell Barack Obama's now-vacant Senate seat is missing something big:
However, the scandal, which Fitzgerald described as a "political corruption crime spree," threatened to be a distraction as the Obama team assembles a new administration. Some Chicagoans planning to move to Washington with Obama could find themselves facing continuing questions about what they knew about Blagojevich's attempted shakedown. [bold added]
To be sure, this will be a distraction for Obama, the governor's behavior is quite brazen, and it is disturbing that Obama is possibly tied to this, but....

Recall the Clinton years, and how fixated the Republicans were by Clinton's scandals. Consider further how some political pundits "moon over ... transparency initiatives" [link added] when they should be working to end the welfare state that is making such rampant corruption possible. Or who "become outraged at such things as that infamous 'bridge to nowhere' -- and yet [fail to challenge] the massively larger larceny cum vote purchasing of the welfare state."

Yes. We must get to the bottom (top?) of this scandal, but at the same time, we must be mindful of The Man Who Floats Above It All. The conservatives who don't support the welfare state outright are largely out of ideas, and will grasp at whatever straws Obama hands them to build a case against him, just as they did with Clinton. Such a case must be made, if there is one, of course, but not as a substitute for principled opposition.

Nor must it occupy too much of our attention or energy. A politician can do plenty of harm while he's dealing with accusations that he is corrupt.

0 for 2!

Drat! Two interesting links I came across yesterday aren't working. One I'll save for another day since it's a blog, and what's the point of trying to help someone out by linking to nothing?

The other was entertaining (HT: Elizabeth). You could -- and hopefully can once this post goes up -- throw in the URL for your blog and have a computer program attempt to guess your Myers-Briggs personality type. My blog came up as INTP, whereas I have tested strongly as INTJ twice, nearly ten years apart.

And speaking of web malfunctions, have you noticed that GMail, and anything to do with Google Ads has been acting squirrelly lately, often requiring multiple load attempts or taking a long time to load?

-- CAV

This post was composed in advance and scheduled for publication at 5:00 A.M. on December 10, 2008.


: Added hypertext anchors.


Burgess Laughlin said...

> "The conservatives who don't support the welfare state outright are largely out of ideas, and will grasp at whatever straws Obama hands them to build a case against him, just as they did with Clinton."

You are right on target, as usual. Clinton haters, Bush haters, and now Obama haters are confessing their philosophical impotence. Individual politicians are indeed a problem, but a very minor one compared to the underling principles which cause our society to slip toward the abyss.

Gus Van Horn said...

What's worse is that many good people are misled into supporting liberals or conservtives, and end up becoming cynical with respect to principles and accepting of corruption as "the nature" of politics, forgetting about the Founding Fathers, if they ever knew about them.

Andrew Dalton said...

Worse still are those politicians and activists who oppose procedural corruption (bribes, nepotism, etc.) but offer fundamental corruption (the violation of individual rights, such as regulation of campaign speech) as the "solution." John McCain is the best example of this kind of "anti-corruption" crusader.

Gus Van Horn said...

You said it.

As bad as Obama might be, I'll take him, corruptionwise, over McCain's type of "solution" any time.

Elizabeth A. said...

ug, just now saw this Gus lol

Martin L. originally had the blog personality type posted and I was following up with my own - kind of funny. :)