Happy Birthday Milton Friedman

Today is the 96th birthday of Milton Friedman who passed away in 2006. I remember vividly his passing as I was begining to really get into economics when he did. I heard of him but had no clue what he contributed. Now I know what a great man he was. I highly recommend the book “Milton Friedman: A Biography” by Lanny Ebstein. This book truely gives a perspective of who is was and what he contributed. There is always of course his own work, which can be found in “Capitalism and Freedom” and “Money Mischief.” Both I have read and both excellent. The first one is more for the normal person. The second is more for the economist or someone who loves all things monetary.

This is what the Cato Institute had to say:

“Prominent free-market economist Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, passed away on November 16, 2006 at the age of 94. Friedman was widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, which stresses the importance of the quantity of money as an instrument of government policy and as a determinant of business cycles and inflation. In addition to his scientific work, Friedman also wrote extensively on public policy, always with primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. Friedman’s ideas on economic freedom hugely influenced both the Reagan administration and the Thatcher government in the early 1980s, revolutionized establishment economic thinking across the globe, and have been employed extensively by emerging economies for decades.”

I think as we all think about where the world and our country is going, we should not forget the science behind Dr. Friedman. We were lucky enough to have his knowledge given to us through books and papers.

So Happy Birthday Milton Friedman and let us not forget what you stood for…


Published in: on July 31, 2008 at 10:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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Are we that different from Rome?

After watching the first season of Rome, that came on HBO, it dawned on me politics haven’t changed much in a thousand years. Rome, the series, was suppose to show the Roman empire for what it really was. If you look at a movie like Gladiator then you would notice that it is a more perfect view of Rome.

This is not a completely thought but I thought I would write it down and get some ideas out there. First, the United States like Rome for a very long time lived under the idea that the Republic is powerful and the senators ruled. If you would look at the United States, you would see that the President’s power has grown continually over the years. Our country is young and I am not saying that the President will take power and make the Congress unimportant but it shouldn’t be something we ignore. History is doomed to repeat itself if not studied well. Even when we look back in history and say who was the most important person in Roman history, most people would say Julius Caesar. The man who was assassinated as he was turning Rome into a dictatorship. They were unsucessful at preventing it but none-the-less, most people do not know who killed Caesar and more importantly do not know the people who first installed the Republic.

Next, we portray Rome to be fully of corruption and bribes but is it that different than pork spending and earmarks? Instead of doing it behind doors, we do ours in plain daylight and we are so good that everyone can know the exact amount of money you wasted and you will still be re-elected.

Finally, when we talk about monetary policy we notice that Rome fell into inflationary pressures as most modern governments do. As we know government prints the money and the more they print the more inflation goes up. In Roman times, they weren’t on a fiat standard because the gold you owned was in the coin. Instead they would chip off the corners of the coins. They were actually more restrained in this field than we did.

So I beg the question once again, are we that different from Rome? Most people know the Cato Institute but do you know why it is called that?

Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 5:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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July Porker of the Month: Rep. John Mica

I try to keep up with these as much as possible to help keep Citizens Against Government Waste in the news and the forefront battling earmarks. They have announced that John Mica, a Republican from Florida, is the July Porker of the Month.

Here is what CAGW has on it (including Rep. Mica view on earmarks):

“According to the Orlando Sentinel, on July 8, Rep. Mica said, “There’s no way in hell I would support banning earmarks … That’s our job, getting elected and making decisions. Yes, there are bad earmarks, like there are bad members of Congress. And what you do is get rid of them.”

CAGW’s 2008 Congressional Pig Book uncovered 11,610 pork-barrel projects worth $17.2 billion in the 12 fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills. Contrary to what Rep. Mica thinks, all earmarks are bad because they are congressionally targeted expenditures which bypass the normal budget rules and are unaccountable. The 2008 Pig Book included $3,000,000 for The First Tee; $1,950,000 for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service; and $188,000 for the Lobster Institute in Maine.”

The rest can be found here.

These are interesting articles on Rep. Mica and his Earmarks here.

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McDonald’s help in energy crisis…

Many different types of alternative fuels are coming into the market. I have some experience with the business of McDonald’s and know that for years they have tried to use the used oil that they use as fuel. Some years companies would by the oil from McDonald’s and other years they would have to pay for someone to take it away. More news on this front comes from Breitbart.com:

“Police in Manila are looking to convert their patrol cars to run on a mixture of diesel and used cooking oil from McDonald’s, officials and the company said Tuesday.

With oil prices at crippling highs, the project would convert cars in the Makati financial district to run on a mix of 40 percent diesel and 60 percent cooking oil, its police chief Senior Superintendent Gilbert Cruz said.”

The rest of the story can be found here.


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Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 1:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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Fun with Fannie and Freddie

I just cannot have enough fun busting on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This cartoon sums up my feelings.


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Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 2:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Marxist of the Week: Nancy Pelosi to save Starbucks

This from Scrappleface:

“Democrats in Congress today plan to introduce a bill to halt the recently-announced closing of some 600 Starbucks coffee stores, noting that the displacement of 12,000 Starbucks baristas would overwhelm government aid offices not prepared to handle so many clients for whom English is a second language.

“These people can’t just walk out of Starbucks and get a job at a grocery store or a factory,” said House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA. “They would need ESL classes and cultural training to learn how to relate to ordinary Americans and function in society.”

Rep. Pelosi’s bill would subsidize the 600 money-losing Starbucks locations by giving away millions of taxpayer dollars in so-called ‘Venti Vouchers’ to residents of these hard-hit neighborhoods. If the effort fails to revive the flagging stores, Rep. Pelosi said Democrats would “seriously consider nationalizing the coffee industry to ensure the free flow of java at fair prices.”

We have officially moved to a welfare state. Congress is ready to bail out whoever they can. We might as well as move to Socialism. Everyone who loses their job this year should sent a letter to Rep. Pelosi to try and save their job.

HT: To Greg Mankiw here.

More in comments…


Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm  Comments (4)  
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GM and Ford in trouble

Bloomberg is reporting that booth GM and Ford could be on the verge of going bankrupt. Here is the information:

General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., the two biggest U.S. automakers, have about a 46 percent chance of default within five years, according to Edward Altman, a finance professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

The Z-scores for GM and Ford give both a bond rating equivalent to a CCC ranking, though GM is in slightly worse condition than Ford, Altman said. GM reported a $38.7 billion loss in 2007, the biggest in its 100-year history, and hasn’t posted a profit since 2004. The scores are based on the companies’ finances at the end of the first quarter.”

Is this really because of mismanagement of GM and Ford? or is it because they have been protected for years by tariffs and now can no longer be protected?


Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Book Review: Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History

Since the passing of Milton Friedman, I have worried that his pro-Capitalistic rhetoric and all he was able to achieve would melt away. Of course, it is too soon to be able to understand whether this will happen or not. To continue my education from the great Milton Friedman, I read “Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History” by him.

For those of you who wish that they took a class in macroeconomics in college or maybe are just interested in money this is a must read. For all others, they may find it hard to get through.

Friedman does a great job of covering topics like the Gold Standard, the Silver Standard/movement, bimetallism, the change to a fiat currency, pegging currencies, and inflation. When I studied macroeconomics, I felt like much of my education in money was incomplete. This book completed it. This book can get overly technical for the non-economist at times but learning about monetary systems is technical within itself.

I highly recommend this book and the continuing education of what Dr. Friedman has done for the current state of economic policy in the world. The one topic that Friedman covers that I think is important is the Silver movement. Most people learn about this movement in high school and the Wizard of Oz is based off of it.

My absolute favorite quote from the book was,

“As a result, the U.S. silver purchase program must be regarded as having contributed, if perhaps only modestly, to the success of the communist revolution in China.”



Published in: on July 26, 2008 at 4:33 pm  Comments (2)  
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FCC Approves XM-Sirius Merge

This from The Wall Street Journal:

“Even without a new radio, consumers will have new options. For example, a bare-bones plan of just 50 stations from one of the two services will cost $6.99 a month, compared with $12.95 for more than 100 stations currently. Consumers will also likely soon see a number of programming changes as the companies get rid of redundant programming.

For the companies, the deal will come at a steep price. They are expected to enter into a consent decree, with XM paying about $17.5 million and Sirius paying about $2 million, to settle complaints they produced satellite radio transmitters that exceeded FCC power limits and placed booster towers in unapproved locations.”

The Department of Justice was right when about 6 months ago they decide that it wouldn’t hurt the consumer. It will definitely help. As being both a subscriber to Sirius and XM, I can tell you they offer a great service and once you switch you will never go back. Of course in this deal the government had to get their cut.

My opinion is that the companies should not need the governments approval to merge, whether it be from the Department of Justice or the FCC.

In related news Business & Media Institute reports Howard Stern said this:

“I go, ‘That’s it!’” Stern said. “[I] go, ‘You know what Don, I’ve voted Republican and I’ve voted Democrat. I have vowed I will never vote for a Democrat again. I don’t give a [expletive] – no matter who they are. I don’t care if God becomes a Democrat.’ I said, ‘I backed Hillary Clinton, I backed Al Gore, I backed John Kerry. I am done with them.’”

He went on further to call the Democrats FCC Communists. We couldn’t agree more.


Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 1:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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AFP: 2nd Annual Dream Summit


For those that do not know AFP stands for Americans for Prosperity. This is a great organization that works towards the libertarian/conservative mind set. Last year, I went and met most of the Presidential candidates on the Republican side. Here is their mission statement:

“Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) is committed to educating citizens about economic policy and a return of the federal government to its constitutional limits.

● Cutting taxes and government spending in order to halt the encroachment of government in the economic lives of citizens and pointing out evidence of waste, fraud, and abuse.
● Removing unnecessary barriers to entrepreneurship and opportunity
● Restoring fairness to our judicial system by stemming the tide toward “over-criminalization” of economic activity spurred by over-active attorneys general.”

More of it can be found here.

So the new summit is going to be held at the Crystal Marriott Hotel. The speakers confirmed so far are Dinesh D’Souza, Steve Moore, Grover Norquist, Bob Ehrlich, and John Stossel. There are many more found here.

It is October 10th and 11th so if you are interested the registering link here.

I hope everyone takes a chance to go.