The Latest

The American Imperium In Shambles: A Review Of Washington’s Blinding Incompetence In Afghanistan And Iraq

The American national security machinery seems incapable of dealing with the single thing it was built to destroy in the 9/11 period: Islamic terrorism. Instead its troops, special ops forces, drones, and intelligence operatives have destabilized and inflamed country after country, while turning a minor phenomenon on the planet into, as recent figures indicate, an increasing force for turmoil across the Greater Middle East and Africa.

Contra Club

The American Imperium In Shambles: A Review Of Washington’s Blinding Incompetence In Afghanistan And Iraq

The American national security machinery seems incapable of dealing with the single thing it was built to destroy in the 9/11 period: Islamic terrorism. Instead its troops, special ops forces, drones, and intelligence operatives have destabilized and inflamed country after country, while turning a minor phenomenon on the planet into, as recent figures indicate, an increasing force for turmoil across the Greater Middle East and Africa.

Irrational Exuberance On Steriods——The Correction Will Be A Real Doozy

In light of the current rare extremes in positioning, sentiment and leverage, the eventual denouement of the current bubble should be a real doozy. Note that in every respect one can possibly think of – with the sole exception of household debt – systemic leverage is at new all time highs (not only in absolute terms, but relative to everything, including the size of the known universe), and is likewise positively dwarfing anything that has occurred before.

Mind The CBO/Keynesian “Output Gap”: Its Fictional And Manipulated To Hide Failure Of QE

As I have said before, the handoff from Bernanke to Yellen was significant not just in terms of background but also in philosophy and viewpoint. Both were strictly academic statisticians (they call themselves economists) but there was an immense shift about QE. To be fair, there is some evidence that thoughts about QE had changed…

French Mercantilism At Work: Culture Bureaucrats Want To “Erase US Internet Companies From Existence”

We have previously reported on the French obsession with stifling competition to the vast detriment of the consumer, so as to protect established businesses with all sorts of legal restrictions. A prime example of this nonsense is that the French have made free shipping by Amazon illegal in France…….. Mercantilism has never died in France, and today it is imposed under the guise of the so-called “cultural exception”…..

The Fed’s Golden Goose Kills The Bear, Fattens The Rich, Shafts The Rest

median-income

What this means is that there is no such thing as a trickle down recovery. This brings me back to my original point that if we do not acknowledge that the market no longer has any relationship to the broader economy then we will fail to implement appropriate policies to stimulate economic growth. And by failing to do so we continue the devastation to the middle class. The continuation of the notion that the Fed guaranteeing rising stock prices will somehow boost economic growth despite 6 years of failing to do so is a complete failure by our policymakers……

Contra News & Views

RX For Growth: Revive Savings, Enable Start-Ups, Cancel ZIRP, Tax Consumption, Eliminate Wage Taxes

Replacing our current tax system with a consumption-based tax would create a more level playing field between consumption and savings. Ending the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest policies would eliminate their large disincentive to defer consumption. And eliminating efforts to buoy homeownership would get us out of the business of encouraging people to take on more personal debt in exchange for an investment that, thanks to the Fed’s monetary policy, offers weak returns……

Statist Economics At Work: The Colossal Waste Of George Bush’s Mandatory Ethanol Standard

A handful of organizations stand to benefit from the RFS such as corn and soybean growers, ethanol refiners, plant-based ethanol producers, and the politicians who get their votes. In fact, it appears that the string of delays for the 2014 standards occurred because the agriculture and ethanol lobbying arms were unhappy that the EPA originally proposed to cut the ethanol requirement for the first time in the mandate’s existence. But the RFS is a clear case of concentrated benefits to a handful of connected industries at the expense of the rest of America and the environment.

Debunking The Keynesian Foundational Myth: FDR Was A Charlatan & The New Deal A Statist Failure

Recent scholarship (including a highly acclaimed book, New Deal or Raw Deal, by FEE senior historian Burton Folsom) is thankfully disabusing Americans of the once-popular myth that FDR saved us from the Great Depression. Another example is a 2004 article by two UCLA economists—Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian—in the important mainstream Journal of Political Economy. They observed that Franklin Roosevelt extended the Great Depression by seven long years. “The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery,” the authors show, “but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.”

CNN’s Ferguson Selfie: A Disgrace To Journalism

In their stead were a half-dozen CNN reporters wandering the streets, recounting what was personally happening to them and their colleagues. Among the many exchanges between the CNN contributors was Van Jones and Don Lemon talking about the latter’s gas mask not being on tight enough, and reporters warning other reporters to stay safe. Jake Tapper, clad in a CNN jacket, narrated as he walked toward a flaming trashcan to confirm that it was, in fact, a flaming trashcan……

How Washington Recruits Terrorists: Drone Campaigns Targeted 41, Killed 1,147

A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.

When Spin Morphs Into Lies: The White House’s Blatant Massaging Of Obamacare Enrollments

“After touting 8 million initial sign-ups for medical plans, four months later they engaged in a concerted effort to obscure a heavy drop-out rate of perhaps a million or more enrollees by quietly adding in dental plan sign-ups to exchange numbers,” Republican Darrell Issa of California, chairman of the Oversight committee, said in an e-mail from a spokeswoman.