One of the most prevalent myths about economic freedom is that it inevitably leads to monopolies. Ask people why they believe that, and the odds are high that they will point to the “trusts” of the late 19th century that gained large market shares in their particular industries. These trusts are Exhibit A for most people who hold this view. Ask them for specific names of the villains who ran these trusts, and they are likely to point to such people as Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller. They even have a label for Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and others: robber barons.
But a careful reading of the economic research on the “robber barons” leads to a diametrically opposite conclusion: the so-called robber barons were neither robbers nor barons. They didn’t rob. Instead, they got their money the old-fashioned way: they earned it. Nor were they barons. The word “baron” is a title of nobility, one typically granted by a king or established by force. But Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and many of the others referred to as robber barons started their businesses from scratch and were granted no special privileges. Moreover, not only did they earn their money and not only were they not granted privileges, but they also helped consumers and, in one famous case, destroyed a monopoly.
I’m sorry, but how credulous do people have to be to still believe the President when he says this:
Speaking at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Leesburg, Va., the president repeated a theme from his 2012 re-election campaign, that “our economy succeeds and our economy grows when everybody is getting a fair shot and everybody is getting a fair shake and everybody is playing by the same rules.”
“Because I believe that is a growth agenda — not just an equity agenda, not just a fairness agenda — that is a growth agenda,” he said.
“And that means that what you’ll hear from me next week, I’m going to be talking about making sure that we’re focused on job creation here in the United States of America,” Obama said.
There is no evidence he believes in a growth agenda, unless of course you are talking about growing the size of government.
Today I read this quote from an AP story:
It is not correct to say Sandy was caused by global warming, but “the damage caused by Sandy was worse because of sea level rise,” said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. He said the sea level in New York City is a foot higher than a century ago because of man-made climate change.
There’s just one problem with Oppenheimer’s statement. Sea level hasn’t risen a foot over the last century because of man-made climate change. It has risen some, but definitely not a foot. How do I know this? Because the total rise over the last century for global sea level rise is about 9 inches:
Not only has sea level not risen by a foot, but there is a natural component to this sea level rise. That’s because sea level has been rising for the last 20,000 years.
(Image from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise)
You can argue how much of the sea level rise was caused by humans, but you can’t honestly argue that a foot has been caused by humans over the last 100 years.
Michael Oppenheimer has to know this basic fact about sea level rise. He served as the chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, was one of the people who began the U.N. conferences that created the Kyoto Protocol, and is on the National Academies’ Board on Energy and Environmental Studies. So why he is breathtakingly ignorant about some of the basic science about climate change?
I’ve never been a fan or a critic of Joe Paterno, but the Freeh report about Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation paints a bad picture of JoPa.
In 1998, there was a police investigation into alleged child molestation by Sandusky. The state attorney declined to press charges. I can’t fault Paterno at that time. In 2001, however, a coach told Paterno that he saw Sandusky raping a child. First of all, the coach screwed up for not stopping Sandusky in the act, but Paterno screwed up for not stopping Sandusky then. This is inexcusable.
Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State," Freeh wrote in his summary of his report. "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky’s victims until after Sandusky’s arrest.
A lot of people thought that Paterno was a good guy. He might have been, most of the time. But in one of the more difficult circumstances he did nothing and let an evil man abuse children. That will be Paterno’s lasting legacy.
The Greeks are a bit touchy these days, especially with Christine Lagarde’s admonition for them to pay their debt. So it’s a bit amusing that she doesn’t pay income tax…
Interesting paragraph of the day. From Forbes:
In nearly every country surveyed, government leaders were less trusted to tell the truth than business leaders. However, European countries were far more likely than countries in other regions to say they do not trust government leaders at all to tell the truth. In fact, French and German citizens were among the EU markets with the lowest trust in government leaders, with 66% and 65%, respectively, saying they do not trust them at all to be truthful. We have already seen how France’s lack of trust in government leaders can influence a government overturn. Now, with Germany’s already vulnerable state, this lack of trust may have serious implications on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s tenure. And now that business has the opportunity to lead again, will they be able to take advantage of it?
I have never been to Yosemite, but I need to:
Here is Apple demonstrating Siri’s great power. What can Siri do? Help you identify rain and remind you to clean up.
Siri obviously isn’t worthless, but this commercial sure makes it look like it is.
Just for fun I’m going to assume that Law Prof David R. Dow is smart. But this article is awfully dumb. Really Dave, impeach the Supreme Court Justices if they overturn Obamacare? You know that a majority of Americans favor repeal…