Don’t endanger free markets, Czech president warns

The Article of the Day from Reuters:

NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) – Massive government spending and tighter regulation would prolong recession, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Monday, as he urged U.S. President Barack Obama not to endanger the free market economy in his response to the financial crisis.

In a speech at Columbia University in New York, Klaus, a former Czech prime minister who championed the free market after the fall of Communism 20 years ago, said he never expected to see such extensive government intervention again in his lifetime as he now sees around the world. “I am therefore convinced that fighting for freedom and free markets, something we always appreciated here in this country (the United States), remains the task of the day,” Klaus said. One of the world’s most vocal climate change skeptics, Klaus said he looked forward to working with Obama, who will attend an EU-U.S. summit in the Czech Republic in April on his first trip to Europe as U.S. president. The Czech Republic holds the EU presidency for the first half of 2009.

Klaus, whose position is largely ceremonial in the Czech political system, said he hoped Obama would show “an optimum mix of continuity and discontinuity” with the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush. “I hope it will include not endangering the basic institutions of the market economy,” Klaus said, adding that his own country was resisting a trend towards massive government spending to stimulate growth. He said Czech banks were so far relatively unscathed by the financial crisis because they followed very cautious policies in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.

He cautioned against trying to solve economic problems by more government intervention. “The best thing to do right now would be to temporarily weaken, if not repeal,” business regulations on labor, the environment, social issues and health, he said. Klaus, who has written a book expressing doubts that climate change is man-made, was in New York to attend a conference of climate-change skeptics and he reiterated his view that “global warming alarmism” is a major problem. About 190 nations have agreed to work out a new U.N. climate treaty in December in Copenhagen to step up a fight against warming that the U.N. Climate Panel says will bring more heat waves, droughts, floods and rising seas.



Cuba’s Revolutionary Task

Today marked the 50th anniversary of Fidel Castro taking power and turning Cuba upside down. Since then the United States has had an embargo on Cuban goods. Some, like yours truely, argue that it has done nothing to bring down Castro. With the new administration, we can hope that there will be a change in policy towards the Cuban nation. This is so that we can put tourists and investment in this country, lifting people out of poverty and showing them what Capitalism is all about. Of course, many Cubans already know as many flee here all the time. This from the International Herald Tribune, which is a good story to sum up the last 50 years.

“Four months after they appeared in the waters between Havana and Miami, the four dead men remain nameless. At a morgue in the Florida Keys, they lie on stretchers stacked like bunk beds, their bodies chewed by sharks, their faces too putrified to be recognized.

The police suspect they were Cuban rafters. Nilda García thinks one of them might be her son – and the thought makes her weep. Fourteen years after she left Cuba on her own makeshift boat, she finds herself wondering once again: When will it end?

“How many mothers are going through this?” García said in an interview at her daughter’s apartment here as she awaited DNA results on the bodies. “How many more are crying for their losses? How many young people have drowned in this sea? How many?”

Fifty years ago on Thursday, many Cubans cheered when Fidel Castro seized power in Havana, and even now, the revolution attracts many fans – as evidenced by a Canadian tour agency advertising trips “to celebrate five decades of resilience.”

But the bodies speak to a different legacy. Here in South Florida, where roughly 850,000 Cubans have settled over the years, repeated waves of painful exile and family separation define the Castro era.”

We as Americans get too used to our living standard and government. These people fight and risk their lives for freedom, while we continue to elect those who move us closer and closer to socialism.


Published in: on January 1, 2009 at 11:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Has Technology made Government more or less powerful?

If there is anything that has been constant in the last few hundred years, it is technology. These technologies have challenged us as a society. You have seen with the current MySpace comments that supposedly caused a girl to kill herself and the kid who just killed himself on live camera. But in the Macro level, has technology given us more freedom or more statism?

First, governments who are communists and censor their citizens are having a hard time doing so now with the internet’s presence. They are able to access information that they never could have 50 years ago. The more free ideas that they are exposed to, the more change they will demand.

Second, governments can use more technology to track people. They can gain access to your phone, internet, text messages, and other things with or without a warrant. They use cameras in public, like in Britain, to watch your every move. You are told, by the government, that these are ways to protect you. Some argue that if you weren’t doing anything wrong, then it wouldn’t matter.

This brings a new challenge to property rights and privacy. What policies can we implement to keep the government in check? Is the Constitution a good tool for this?

I believe that technology will always allow freedom to lead first. You cannot chase innovators with bureaucracy.


Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 9:17 pm  Comments (3)  
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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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