My op-ed on the depression-era tax revolt just appeared in the Wall Sreet Journal:
Many historians depict the Great Depression as a turning point when bitter economic realities finally led the middle class to break from laissez-faire tradition and demand bigger government. This is not entirely untrue, but it's only part of what happened.
In its initial phase, the Depression also spawned a powerful movement for smaller government that included tax revolts. These revolts were not only more widespread but often more extreme than any sponsored by the tea party.
Depression-era taxpayers had perhaps even greater reason to be angry than their modern counterparts. Property values plummeted after 1929 but tax reassessments lagged. Overall, taxes nearly doubled to 21.1% of national income in 1932 from 11.6% in 1929, according to a 1940 Tax Policy Institute report.
When corporate officers cook the books in such obvious ways, they often go to jail. When governments do it, everybody yawns. This has to be the most underreported story of the month. According to CNBC (yes. that's right, CNBC),
Inflation, using the reporting methodologies in place before 1980, hit an annual rate of 9.6 percent in February, according to the Shadow Government Statistics newsletter.
Since 1980, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has changed the way it calculates the CPI in order to account for the substitution of products, improvements in quality (i.e. iPad 2 costing the same as original iPad) and other things. Backing out more methods implemented in 1990 by the BLS still puts inflation at a 5.5 percent rate and getting worse, according to the calculations by the newsletter’s web site, Shadowstats.com.
A few days ago, tens of thousands of Mexicans in scores of Mexican cities participated in public protests against the War on Drugs and the use of the Mexican army as anti-drug warriors. The violence that has accompanied the Mexican government’s attempts to defeat the drug dealers during the past several years has claimed perhaps as many as 40,000 lives. Some cities, especially Ciudad Juarez, across the river from El Paso, Texas, have become virtual battlefields.
All of this would be sufficiently dreadful if it had accompanied legitimate efforts to suppress real criminals. But although the drug dealers have committed murders, robberies, and other genuine crimes, to be sure, the foundation of this entire “war” is the U.S. government’s attempts to suppress actions — possessing, buying, and selling certain substances — that violate no one’s natural rights. Not to mince words, the War on Drugs is completely evil, from alpha to omega. No one who believes in human liberty can coherently support it. That its prosecution should have resulted in death and human suffering on such a vast scale constitutes an indictment of every person who has conducted or supported this wicked undertaking from its outset.
In Saturday's referendum Icelanders rejected their government's plan that required Icelandic taxpayers to bail out foreign investors. The British and Dutch governments are not happy.
Iceland has a history of resisting outside domination, of which a notable example was the 1949 anti-NATO riot. U.S. troops finally left Iceland in 2006. Of course, Koreans and Japanese (and many other peoples) are still waiting for the U.S. military to leave their countries.
For a different perspective that emphasizes the role of communists, see the work of Por Whitehead.
The Libertarian Futurist Society has selected the finalists for the Prometheus Awards, which honor science fiction that promotes an appreciation of the value of liberty.
2011 Novel Award Finalists
* For the Win by Cory Doctorow (TOR Books)
* Darkship Thieves by Sarah Hoyt (Baen Books)
* The Last Trumpet Project by Kevin MacArdry (lasttrumpetproject.com)
* Live Free or Die by John Ringo (Baen Books)
* Ceres by L. Neil Smith (Big Head Press: also published online at bigheadpress.com)
Read descriptions of the novels here.
2011 Hall of Fame Award Finalists
* "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster (1909)
* "As Easy as A.B.C." by Rudyard Kipling (1912)
* Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)
* "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison (1965)
* Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988)
Read descriptions of these works here.
"If central bankers threw out all the data that was poorly measured, there would be very little information left on which to base their decisions."
- A former research director at the Fed, quoted by Bloomberg's Caroline Baum
It all started in Germany and was called the Methodenstreit (the clash over methods), an intellectual war over how the study of economics would be conducted - either by the logical deductive reasoning embodied by the "Austrian" school or by the mathematical methods embodied by those leading lights of the positivist German Historical School, such as Professor Gustav von Schmoller. The war ended in a complete victory for the latter and now, a century and a half on, the mathematical methods championed by Schmoller have swept the globe.
Click here to read the rest.