Sep 29, 2009

George Orwell on egalitarianism

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.

~ George Orwell, Animal Farm, Chapter 10

Sep 28, 2009

Barron's on state tax burdens

California has the nation's fourth-highest income tax (10.55%) behind Hawaii and Oregon (both with 11%) and New Jersey (10.75%). It also has the sixth highest overall U.S. tax burden, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. In contrast, Texas has the eighth-lowest tax burden and is one of nine states that don't tax earned income. The others: Washington, Florida, Tennessee, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada and Alaska.

~ Karen Hube, "Fleeing the Tax Man," Barron's, September 28, 2009

Eugene Fama on bubbles and the '29 and '87 stock market crashes

The way I look at it, there were two crashes in the last century. One turned out to be too small. The ’29 crash was too small; the market went down subsequently. The ’87 crash turned out to be too big; the market went up afterwards. So you have two cases: One was an underreaction; the other was an overreaction. That’s exactly what you’d expect if the market’s efficient.

The word “bubble” drives me nuts. For example, people say “the Internet bubble.” Well, if you go back to that time, most people were saying the Internet was going to revolutionize business, so companies that had a leg up on the Internet were going to become very successful. I did a calculation. Microsoft was an example of a corporation that came from the previous revolution, the computer revolution. It was hugely profitable and successful. How many Microsofts would it have taken to justify the whole set of Internet valuations? I think I estimated it to be something like 1.4.

~ Eugene Fama, "Interview with Eugene Fama," November 2, 2007

Sep 27, 2009

Escaping statism

Sep 25, 2009

Alexis de Tocqueville on centralization and war

All military geniuses love centralization, which increases their strength, and all centralizing geniuses love war, which obliges nations to concentrate all powers in the hands of the state.

~ Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume 2 (1840)

Sep 21, 2009

Ayn Rand on the humanitarian nature of capitalism

If capitalism had never existed, any honest humanitarian should have been struggling to invent it. But when you see men struggling to evade its existence, to misrepresent its nature, and to destroy its last remnants - you may be sure that whatever their motives, love for man is not one of them.

~ Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Michael Cloud on personal responsibility vs. paternalist government

People are not trying to escape liberty; they are trying to escape personal responsibility. And it is with that Judas bargain that government persuades us to sell our souls, piecemeal, to the lowest bidder.

~ Michael Cloud

George Orwell on man's ability to rationalize

The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

~ George Orwell

Ayn Rand on the Constitution

Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals - that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government - that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government.

~ Ayn Rand

Albert Einstein on unenforceable laws

Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.

~ Albert Einstein

Benjamin Franklin on trading liberty for security

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

~ Benjamin Franklin

Ludwig von Mises on the rejection of economic law

Princes and democratic majorities are drunk with power. They must reluctantly admit that they are subject to the laws of nature. But they reject the very notion of economic law . . . economic history is a long record of government policies that failed because they were designed with a bold disregard for the laws of economics.

~ Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, p. 67

Sep 18, 2009

Kevin Duffy on Barack Obama's economic IQ

Barack Obama may know how to give a speech or win an election, but he doesn’t know economics. Neither did practically every president from William McKinley to George W. Bush. Neither do most of the mainstream media, political pundits, and voting population who expect their government to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

~ Kevin Duffy, "Obama Knows...," LewRockwell.com, September 14, 2009

Sep 15, 2009

Leonard Read on education, integrity, and truth

The individual who practices integrity is teachable for, by definition, he is a Truth seeker.

~ Leonard E. Read

Sep 13, 2009

Ludwig von Mises on socialism

In the socialist commonwealth every economic change becomes an undertaking whose success can be neither appraised in advance nor later retrospectively determined. There is only groping in the dark. Socialism is the abolition of rational economy.

~ Ludwig von Mises, Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, p. 26

Sep 12, 2009

Lew Rockwell on the "great fakeroo recovery"

A year ago this month, the whole country was in agreement that we had been living an illusion for the previous ten years and that the prosperity we thought we were enjoying was not sustainable. There was no dissent on this point. Even Obama admitted it. Today, the illusion is even more egregious than it was, and yet people are once again embracing it as if it will not end.

The policy response to the downturn has been one of the most short-sighted and economically irrational in the entire history of mankind. Why did they do it? It's all about the politics of the short term. The entire economic structure has been phonied up in order to make a success of the Obama cult. This is the driving motivation, alongside the obvious desire on the part of financial and banking bigshots for a bailout.

~ Lew Rockwell, "The Great Fakeroo Recover," LewRockwell.com, September 9, 2009

Sep 10, 2009

Sir Walter Scott on Lying

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.

~ Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, 1808

Sep 9, 2009

Voltaire on the presumption of innocence

It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.

~ Voltaire, Zadig (1747)

Bill Laggner on large financial institutions

Everyone sits at the bailout trough in American finance.

~ Bill Laggner, Bearing Asset Management, September 9, 2009

Sep 8, 2009

Samuel Smiles on innovation

He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.

~ Samuel Smiles

Sep 7, 2009

Walter Williams on government lies about Medicare costs

At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee, along with President Johnson, estimated that Medicare would cost an inflation-adjusted $12 billion by 1990. In 1990, Medicare topped $107 billion. That's nine times Congress' prediction. Today's Medicare tab comes to $420 billion with no signs of leveling off. How much confidence can we have in any cost estimates by the White House or Congress?

~ Walter Williams, "Washington's Lies," Townhall.com, September 2, 2009

Sep 4, 2009

Herbert Spencer on paternalism and moral hazard

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.

~ Herbert Spencer, Essays (1891)

Sep 2, 2009

Glenn Jacobs on equal pay for equal work

We’ve all heard the phrase “equal pay for equal work.” Many of those who habitually repeat this mantra may not realize that it is simply a variation of the discredited labor theory of value (LTV), which is generally associated with Marxian economics. According to the LTV, the value of a product is related to the labor needed to produce it. The LTV prevailed in classical economics until the Marginal Revolution in the late 1800s. The marginalists proved that value is not the result of a product’s inputs, but the result of the subjective judgment of individuals.

~ Glenn Jacobs, "The Fallacy of Equal Pay for Equal Work," Freedom Daily, September 2, 2009

F.A. Hayek on egalitarianism

A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.

~ F.A. Hayek

Sep 1, 2009

Frédéric Bastiat on the legislator

[T]he legislator, according to the ideas of the ancients, bears the same relation to mankind as the potter does to clay. Unfortunately, when this idea prevails, nobody wants to be the clay, and everyone wants to be the potter.

~ Frédéric Bastiat, “Academic Degrees and Socialism,” [1848]