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Archive | July, 2011

Democrat Casino Mogul Steve Wynn on Obama’s “Weird” Job Destroying Philosophy

From Wynn Resorts’ CEO Discusses Q2 2011 Results – Earnings Call Transcript – Seeking Alpha:

Well, here’s our problem. There are a host of opportunities for expansion in Las Vegas, a host of opportunities to create tens of thousands of jobs in Las Vegas. I know that I could do 10,000 more myself and according to the Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Convention Bureau, if we hired 10,000 employees, it would create another 20,000 additional jobs for a grand total of 30,000.

I believe in Las Vegas. I think its best days are ahead of it. But I’m afraid to do anything in the current political environment in the United States. You watch television and see what’s going on, on this debt ceiling issue. And what I consider to be a total lack of leadership from the President and nothing’s going to get fixed until the President himself steps up and wrangles both parties in Congress. But everybody is so political, so focused on holding their job for the next year that the discussion in Washington is nauseating.

And I’m saying it bluntly, that this administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime. And I can prove it and I could spend the next 3 hours giving you examples of all of us in this market place that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our healthcare costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right. A President that seems — that keeps using that word redistribution.

Well, my customers and the companies that provide the vitality for the hospitality and restaurant industry, in the United States of America, they are frightened of this administration. And it makes you slow down and not invest your money. Everybody complains about how much money is on the side in America. You bet. And until we change the tempo and the conversation from Washington, it’s not going to change. And those of us who have business opportunities and the capital to do it are going to sit in fear of the President. And a lot of people don’t want to say that. They’ll say, “Oh God, don’t be attacking Obama.”

Well, this is Obama’s deal, and it’s Obama that’s responsible for this fear in America. The guy keeps making speeches about redistribution, and maybe we ought to do something to businesses that don’t invest or holding too much money. We haven’t heard that kind of talk except from pure socialists. Everybody’s afraid of the government, and there’s no need to soft peddling it, it’s the truth. It is the truth. And that’s true of Democratic businessman and Republican businessman, and I am a Democratic businessman and I support Harry Reid. I support Democrats and Republicans.

And I’m telling you that the business community in this company is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he’s gone, everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.

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State of the Culture: Amy Peikoff Interview with ARI’s Yaron Brook

Dr. Yaron Brook, along with business hero John Allison and philosopher Leonard Peikoff, are the leading voices today in promoting Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism: which advocates reason, individual rights and the virtue of selfishness (i.e., the pursuit of one’s long-term happiness). Listen to this full-hour Interview with Yaron Brook, President of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights and the state of the Culture at Don’t Let It Go…Unheard #22.

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Richard Lindzen: A Modern Day Galileo on Climate


Cartoon by Cox and Forkum.

Richard Lindzen is a professor of meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who thinks that man-caused global warming is real, but will hardly cause any change at all. The NY Times has an interesting article on him: A Climate Change Dissenter Who Has Left His Mark on U.S. Policy. Here are some choice excerpts:

 [...] [Lindzen argues that] the answer that emerges from most climate models is wrong because they assume the Earth’s clouds and water will amplify the rising heat. According to Lindzen’s calculations, the clouds should have the opposite effect, minimizing the warming effect.

In his paper, Rahmstorf added a “Personal Postscript”: “Can Lindzen seriously believe that a vast conspiracy of thousands of climatologists worldwide is misleading the public for personal gain? All this seems completely out of touch with the world of climate science as I know it and, to be frank, simply ludicrous.” In a reply, Lindzen skewered Rahmstorf in a footnote, arguing that the German scientist was “addicted to the use of words like ‘entirely,’ ‘fact,’ ‘irrefutable,’ etc. Such words are inappropriate to a primitive and immature science — which is what climate science is at present.

Richard Goody, 90, who taught meteorology to Lindzen at Harvard, says the critics of his former pupil are “focusing on his propensity to debate. He [Lindzen] loves debating. He absorbs an enormous amount of information, and he loves arguing with you about it. Since he’s so well-informed and so smart, he usually wins. This doesn’t endear you to a lot of people.” [...] Goody is quick to add: “But science is not about gentility. It’s about discussing the facts. He’s just doing what he should do.” [...] “This machine turns out a number for something that will happen 100 years in the future. Science doesn’t usually work that way. There’s not much evidence about the behavior of these climate models,” he said.

[...] Roger Pielke Jr., a political scientist at the University of Colorado, specializes in studying the scientific process. He sees the rough-and-tumble of the climate debate as an unstable brew of science and politics. “If we were to view science as a field where a lot of conflicts happen, then Lindzen is an expected part of the scenery. But if science is a community where there is only one acceptable view, then Lindzen stands out.” Pielke blames environmental groups for making climate a two-sided debate.

[...] In a paper he wrote earlier this year, he managed to lash out at his scientific critics, bureaucrats, politicians — including former Vice President Al Gore — and environmental groups before training his rhetoric on the public. “And finally, there are the numerous well-meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue. For them, their psychic welfare is at stake,” he wrote.

The paper gives the essence of his argument, which is that, while man-caused warming certainly exists, by itself it is small. It was roughly 0.7 degree Celsius in the 20th century. If the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles, which many scientists predict that it will by the end of this century, that will increase global mean temperatures by a little more than 1 degree, he thinks. “A hundred years from now, I don’t really know, but I don’t think it [the climate] will be radically different. The climate is always changing. It’s natural variability,” he said in an interview.

[...] “Now we’re seeing a doubling down, a desperate movement among professional [scientific] societies that have committed themselves to the issue,” he said. Asserting that groups such as the National Academy of Sciences or the American Meteorological Society are wrong about climate projections and proposed government responses doesn’t endear Lindzen to the nation’s science establishment. But he doesn’t stop there. He proposes to cut off most government funding because it rewards what he calls “alarmist” studies about climate change and discourages dissenting views. “There has to be a return to non-government support of science,” he told the Cato group. [A Climate Change Dissenter Who Has Left His Mark on U.S. Policy]

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How Ben Bernake Using The Power of the FED Triggered The Great Recession

Another great op-ed in Forbes by Richard Salsman on How Bernanke’s Fed Triggered the Great Recession:

[...] in 2008-2009 Bernanke did nearly let “it” happen again — a banking collapse, a depression, deflation — by bringing the U.S. financial system to its knees by roughly the same Fed policy adopted in the 1930s, followed by his blizzard of paper-money printing that has caused a dollar debasement unprecedented in U.S. history. The result has been a huge destruction of wealth, spreading fiscal chaos and stagflation as far as the eye can see.

How did Bernanke create this horrible morass? First, in 2006-2007 he deliberately inverted the Treasury yield curve, even while knowing it would cause a recession and credit-financial crisis. Second, he imposed on the reeling economy a $1.7 trillion flood of “quantitative easing” (QE), euphemistic for the hazardous policy of money-printing. His first policy caused economic stagnation, his second policy caused monetary inflation, and combined, his policies have generated “stagflation” — the corrosive mix last seen in the 1970s. It’s the direct opposite of the supply-side polices (pro-growth, sound-money) that made the 1980s and 1990s so prosperous.

How can we hold Bernanke accountable for this widespread mess? Consider first the economic stagnation. By training, Bernanke knew full well (and still knows) that an inverted Treasury yield curve — wherein the Fed deliberately keeps short-term interest rates above longer-term Treasury bond yields — invariably causes recessions and crises in the modern (fiat paper money) era.

He knows that an inverted yield curve severely and nearly instantly renders unprofitable most financial intermediation, which is the process of “borrowing short to lend long.” The normal case is for short-term borrowing yields to trade below long-term investment yields (an upward-sloped yield curve), which is profitable for credit intermediaries, given the positive yield margin. In contrast, the rarer case is for short-term rates to trade above long-term rates (an “inverted,” or downward-sloped yield curve), which is far less profitable or an outright loser for lenders, due to the negative yield margin.

Read the rest.

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John Allison on Job Destruction: Rule of Regulators vs a Rule of Law

Writes John Allison in Unshackle The Job Creators – Investors.com:

[...] As a longtime banking CEO, I know first-hand and with certainty how jobs are created — and it’s not by government bureaucrats waving magic wands. Jobs are created by private businesses, from the large multinational corporation down to the sole proprietor who mows grass and spreads mulch.

[...] In today’s economy, entrepreneurs and business leaders are eager to ramp up production, launch new products, open new branches and create new jobs. But what’s standing in the way of translating that eagerness into paychecks? Government policies that undermine the rule of law, create destructive boom-and-bust cycles, and generate massive deficits.

Under the rule of law, the legal system specifically defines unlawful behavior and gives fair warning of the punishment for wrongdoing. Instead, we suffer under the rule of regulators.

Every year, Congress and state legislatures concoct new schemes to clamp down on business freedom. Using real wrongdoers as a pretext, they declare the entire business world guilty without a trial and pass a sentence of perpetual supervision by an army of bureaucrats who halt progress until they get around to doling out licenses, permits, inspections and new rules.

The result is that businessmen live in perpetual fear of government reprisals.

Read the rest…

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Video: John Allison on Principled Leadership – Using Ayn Rand’s Values to Create Competitive Advantage in Business

The amazing, John Allison, who as chairman and CEO made BB&T Corporation the 10th largest financial institution headquartered in the United States, attributes the success of BB&T to the concept of Principled Leadership, based on an uncompromising commitment to fundamental values. In this talk, he explains how Ayn Rand’s ethical system can be used practically to create a competitive advantage in any organization.

Part I: Lecture

Part II: Q&A

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Books: Freedom and School Choice in American Education

Freedom and School Choice in American Education has just been released. In the book, leading intellectual figures in the school reform movement, all of them favoring approaches centered around the value of competition and choice, outline different visions for the goal of choice-oriented educational reform and the best means for achieving it. This volume takes the reader inside the movement to empower parents with choice, airing the more interesting debates that the reformers have with one another over the direction and strategy of their movement.

Features an important and somewhat controversial essay by C. Bradley Thompson on “Do Children Have a Right to an Education?”

 

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The Philosophy of the New Left

Writes C. Bradley Thompson: “In 1958 Mike Wallace interviewed the Marxist social theorist, Erich Fromm (author of “The Sane Society”). If you want to understand the philosophy behind the New Left and the world in which we live today, I recommend that you watch it. [...] Watching the Fromm interview helps us to understand why the Dustin Hoffman film, The Graduate, was such a hit in 1967. The culture had been prepared by Fromm, Marcuse, et. al. The famous line uttered by Mr. McGuire to Benjamin is straight out of Fromm: ‘I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. . . Are you listening? . . . Plastics.’ “

Watch the Erich Fromm Interview

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Republicans Going to War without a Weapon: The Budget Debate

Over at Forbes Yaron Brook and Don Watkins have penned a poignant op-ed on What’s Missing From The Budget Debate:

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget has come under severe attack for daring to curtail some elements of the entitlement state. Although we are certainly not defenders of the plan’s details — it doesn’t even cut spendingwhat’s striking is how easily its supporters have been put on the moral defensive, and to how devastating an effect. In a column typical of the attacks on the Ryan budget, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the plan “cruel,” “heartless” and “mean-spirited.” Ryan “has talked a good game about taking care of those in need,” but that can’t be reconciled with cutting the welfare state.

It was nothing new: Every attempt to cut entitlements has been denounced as unethical and immoral. But this time there was a new twist. The real motive behind the plan, critics say, is a philosophic opposition to entitlements — an opposition fueled by the ideas of the controversial philosopher Ayn Rand.

Rand of course was both an uncompromising critic of the entitlement state and a preeminent champion of laissez-faire. But whatever influence Rand might have had on Ryan’s goal — he credits her with inspiring him to go into politics — one thing is for sure: Her arguments have been conspicuously absent in the budget debate. Frankly, that’s like going to war without a weapon. Rand’s ideas are indispensable in the struggle to limit government: they provide the key to answering the moral argument for the entitlement state.

Read the rest…

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