Month: August 2011

Warren Buffet Hypocrite

Writes Richard M. Salsman on Warren Buffett and Other Anti-Rich Capitalists:

Omaha-based billionaire investor Warren Buffet announced this week that he’d invest $5 billion in newly-issued preferred stock of troubled Bank of America (yielding 6%), not unlike the $10 billion he invested in the preferred shares of a shaky Goldman Sachs (yielding 10%) back in 2008. Neither bank would exist today absent the billions-of-dollars in bailouts they got from Washington (taxpayers) or the billions in cheap loans they got from the Federal Reserve. Buffet simultaneously complains that he and other rich Americans are materially under-taxed. But if he had any real integrity on such matters, if Buffet were to practice what he preaches, he’d send his $15 billion to the U.S. Treasury, via PayPal, here.  Yet he refuses to do so. Why?

Read the rest in Warren Buffett and Other Anti-Rich Capitalists.

 

Amy Peikoff Q & A On Privacy and Social Media

Professor Amy Peikoff did a short Q & A on privacy and social media for the Summer 2011 issue of Chapman Magazine. You can find it here, just click on the issue with “A Roaring 20″ on the cover, and use the online reader to flip to page 10.

Also don’t forget to check out her 2 hour special podcast, where topics include: Hurricane Irene, including our government’s reaction to it and global warming hype about it; David Letterman’s reaction to the jihadist threat; Steve Jobs’s retirement, Obamanomics vs. Reaganomics; Federal Raid on Gibson Guitars; Bloomberg’s decision to have no clergy present at 9/11 commemoration.

If you were unable to attend live and would like to hear this week’s webcast/podcast, click here for hour one, and click here for hour two, or you can access the files via iTunes

Scholarships to Study Free-Market Economics and the Philosophic Foundations of Capitalism

National University of La Jolla, CA has a limited number of scholarships available for three online courses that focus on free-market economics and the philosophical foundations of capitalism. These scholarships are being funded by a grant from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. The scholarships cover the full tuition for the courses plus the application fee to NU. Two courses (ECO 401 and 402, Market Process Economics I and II, respectively) use Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics by George Reisman as the required textbook. One course (ECO 430 – Economics and Philosophy) uses Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal as the required textbooks. These courses can be taken from anywhere in the world, as long as one has access to the internet. The courses incorporate live chat sessions in which the professor and students interact in a virtual classroom, much as they would in a traditional classroom.

The courses run for the next time in the summer and fall of 2012. More information about the courses on the web can be found here:

ECO 401 – Market Process Economics I

ECO 402 – Market Process Economics II

ECO 430 – Economics and Philosophy

To apply for one or more of these scholarships, send your name, transcript from your high school or university, and an essay of no more than 750 words discussing why you believe you deserve a scholarship and your future education and career plans to Dr. Brian P. Simpson.

Send them to bsimpson@nu.edu or 11255 North Torrey Pines Rd.; La Jolla, CA 92037. Please indicate which course or courses for which you are applying for a scholarship. You can apply for one to three scholarships, depending on how many courses you are interested in taking. Note that to receive a scholarship you will have to apply to National University and enroll in the course(s). If you have questions, please contact Dr. Simpson at the email address above or 858-642-8431.

“Baseline” Gimmick: “Cut” is in Reality a Lower Increase in Spending

Richard Salsman crunches the numbers at Forbes on the attempt to “cut” the size of the public debt:

[…] Even the most “radical” GOP plan, to “cut” $9 trillion, would boost federal outlays by 30% in the coming decade versus outlays in the past decade, while the most modest GOP plan, to cut a mere $2 trillion, would boost outlays by 55%. Yet Democrats lambaste GOP plans as “Draconian,” prone to trigger a “depression.”

By “baseline” federal spending over the coming decade, the CBO means the sum that’ll be spent even with no changes in current fiscal policy, whether in tax rates or spending schemes. As mentioned, the CBO says $45.8 trillion in outlays over the coming decade are effectively on “auto-pilot,” so any proposed “cut” is relative only to this huge number. As mentioned, Washington spent $28.3 trillion over the past decade, so embedded “baseline” spending of $45.8 trillion in the coming decade already entails an astounding increase of 62%. In the coming decade neither U.S. population nor real economic output would rise nearly so much.

[…] Why are today’s politicians, journalists and economists so complicit in deliberately misleading the public about the current and future state of U.S. finances? Why do they speak of “cuts” in future federal spending when the CBO routinely projects increases in the range of +30% to +65%? Check those numbers again, dear citizen: they’re positive, not negative. “Baseline budgeting,” which blithely presumes a perpetually-growing government, was first enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1974, in order to side-step White House efforts to “impound” (limit) federal spending; but that doesn’t condone the gimmick – or justify lying to the public. When people hear that Washington will “cut” spending by $2 trillion over the coming decade, they think that’s a lot of money and that outlays might be $2 trillion lower a decade hence – not higher by 50% or more. Even Boehner’s budget plan, like many others, backloads the “cuts” into later years; he’d “cut” outlays by only $23 billion in 2012, equivalent to less than three days of total federal spending at the current spending rate.  [Richard Salsman, Forbes,  Washington’s Budget “Cuts” Would Boost Spending 50%]