Friday, October 21, 2016

New York Harasses Airbnb

Score one for the hotel oligopoly.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York has signed a bill that will impose steep fines on Airbnb hosts who break local housing regulations, creating a new law that could drive people from the short-term rental service, reports The New York Times.

Since 2010, it has been illegal in New York to rent out a whole apartment for fewer than 30 days. But some tenants and landlords have ignored those rules and have been using Airbnb to rent out their apartments for much shorter periods.

The new law allows the local government to fine hosts up to $7,500 if they are caught listing a property on a rental platform such as Airbnb.

“In typical fashion, Albany back-room dealing rewarded a special interest — the price-gouging hotel industry — and ignored the voices of tens of thousands of New Yorkers,” said Josh Meltzer, head of the Airbne’s New York public policy division.

Nobel Prize Economist Calls to "Democratize Capital (Like Funded Social Security etc) so that Profit Income is More Widely Distributed"

This is the damn strangest email in the Wikileaks Podesta emails dump that I have come across.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow, who apparently uses the email, was asked to comment on a New York Times book review of  Thomas Piketty’s book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”

He replied in a confidential email that called for massive socialization and intervention in the capital sector (my highlights)


From: Barbara Lewis []
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2014 9:54 AM
To: Sandler, Herbert Subject:
RE: NYTimes: Capitalism vs. Democracy

Dear Herb,

I know Piketty abit; he was my colleague at MIT for a couple of years, 20 years ago, and I wrote a recommendation for him when he wanted to return to France. Remember that he is Emmanuel Saez's co-author in a lot of research on very high incomes in US and elsewhere.

Somehow I missed the review of his book that is quoted by Edsall. I had heard that the book was coming out, and I have asked Leon Wieseltier if he would like me to review it for the New Republic. Piketty is very smart. I'm familiar with part of the argument he seems to be using (in fact I invented some of it 60 years ago!). Part of today's inequality problem could be reversible, part may indeed be deep in what is happening to advanced economies, and I hope Piketty can help with that. I have occasionally written that we may need to somehow democratize capital (like funded social security etc) so that profit income is more widely distributed. Apparently Dick Freeman agrees. On the whole I am very suspicious of "inevitability" arguments, but you don't have to interpret Piketty's data that way, even if he does. I hope Leon wants me to review the book, it would give me a chance to think more about this, which has always interested me.

We're still here.

I have never been impressed with Solow as an economic thinker, but I never realized he was this bad.

Thomas DiLorenzo has written:
Solow seems to have no conception of human action as a process of plan coordination, although he uses Austrian-sounding language at one point in discussing "coordination failure" in the marketplace.  He sees the job of the economist as the construction of obtuse mathematical theories to ostensibly explain this alleged "failure," but not to inquire how market participants act to overcome coordination problems. He doesn't appear to be the least bit interested in how markets actually work; only to "model" them as inherently "flawed" in order to stroke his own ideological predilections.

And Peter Klein wrote:
Robert Solow, in a glowing review of Piketty's book, states: "The key thing about wealth in a capitalist economy is that it reproduces itself and usually earns a positive net return." But this is nonsense from the point of view of microeconomics, entrepreneurship, uncertainty, innovation, strategy, etc. 

But a "democratization" of capital is bizarre. Dilorenzo is correct. He has no conception of human action as a process. And Klien is correct, his view of capital is nonsense.


Major New Web Attacks Across East Coast

Internet traffic firm Dyn is warning of new web attack after earlier DDoS attack which had widespread impact.

This is a developing story, return to this post for updates.


Internet traffic company Dyn on Friday warned of another cyber attack after earlier in the day websites and services across the East Coast were shut down.

"We have begun monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed (Domain Name System) infrastructure. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue," Dyn said on its website at 11:52 a.m....

Many prominent websites including Amazon, Twitter, Spotify and were shut down for two hours Friday morning by an earlier denial of service attack.

Dyn said the earlier attack started at 7:10 a.m. It affected Dyn's Managed DNS infrastructure, which is the system that directs users to the correct webpage.


 Among others hit by today's DoS attack: The New York Times, PayPal; Verizon, Comcast, Pinterest, reddit, Etsy, and Tumblr.

EMAIL Donna Brazile Disses Obama Economy

In an email to Hillary Clinton campaign Chair John Podesta from February 2016, released Friday by WikiLeaks, now-acting chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile assesed the Obama economy.

“I think people are more in despair about how things are — yes new jobs but they are low wage jobs,” she admits. “HOUSING is a huge issue. Most people pay half of what they make to rent,” she continued.


Where Buying Beats Renting

RankMetro areaMedian home priceMedian rentCost to buy vs. rent
1Miami, FL$259,527$2,000-53.2%
2West Palm Beach, FL$241,509$1,950-53.2%
3Houston, TX$176,513$1,575-52.9%
4Fort Lauderdale, FL$217,342$1,800-52.9%
5Charleston, SC$218,090$1,575-52.5%
6Baton Rouge, LA$158,405$1,350-51.7%
7New Orleans, LA$171,302$1,450-51.2%
8Syracuse, NY$122,040$1,400-51.0%
9Philadelphia, PA$141,176$1,300-50.8%
10Columbia, SC$124,733$1,125-50.6%
Source: Trulia

Trump Advisers Call For Deep Space Travel to the Planets and Stars in a Trump Administration...

...with your tax dollars, of course.

Robert Walker,s former chairman of the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee and former chairman of the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry and Peter Navarro is a business professor at the University of California-Irvine, and both senior policy advisers to the Trump campaign, write in
NASA’s core missions must be exploration and science – and inspirational! These are the fundamental underpinnings of a Trump civilian space program.

NASA should be focused primarily on deep space activities rather than Earth-centric work that is better handled by other agencies. Human exploration of our entire solar system by the end of this century should be NASA’s focus and goal. Developing the technologies to meet that goal would severely challenge our present knowledge base, but that should be a reason for exploration and science....

Creating the technologies necessary to meet these goals would push us into the forefront of technological development and benefit our economy for decades to come. However, NASA cannot be expected to do this kind of 21st century Apollo-like mission if it is forced to accept outdated operational structures, contracting procedures, and bureaucracies created in the last century...

Americans seem to know intuitively that the destiny of a free people lies in the stars. Donald Trump fully agrees.
Navarro, btw, is anti-free trade with other humans.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Citibank Crony Sent to Obama a List of Approved African American, Latino, Muslim and Asian American Candidates for Cabinet and Deputy Positions Before He Took Office

File under: Bankster approved Diversity

From the Podesta Wikileaks emails, An email from Michael Froman when he was at Citigroup and on then President-elect Obama's transition team to Obama.
Date: 2008-10-06 20:38
Subject: Diversity

Barack --

Following up on your conversations with John over the weekend, attached are two documents:

 -- A list of African American, Latino and Asian American candidates, divided between Cabinet/Deputy and Under/Assistant/Deputy Assistant Sectetary levels, as well as lists of senior Native Americans, Arab/Muslim Americans and Disabled Americans. We have longer lists, but these are candidates whose names have been recommended by a number of sources for senior level jobs in a potential Administration.

 -- A list of women, similarly divided between candidates for Cabinet/Deputy and other senior level positions. Please let us know if you have any questions.

-- Mike Froman

Below are the attachments:

"Climate Donors" for Hillary

Did you know that Climate Change cronies were a source of donations for Hillary?

From the Podesta emails:

 From: "Heberlee, Brent R" < 
Date: July 23, 2014 at 6:04:48 PM EDT
 To: "John D. Podesta (" <
Cc: Susan McCue <
 Subject: potential meeting with HRC at National Clean Energy Summit
Nat told me he mentioned to you the idea of him pulling together a small group of climate funders to meet with you and HRC at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on September 4. I thought the meeting would be a great way for CEP to attract potential new donors to the summit and for HRC to connect with politically active climate funders. It would also help Nat in his efforts to coordinate the work of other climate funders and bring in more capital to support the climate and clean energy agenda.
If you’re amenable to this idea, would you be willing to reach out to HRC’s camp to make the request? As a former CEP board member and annual summit participant, I thought you would be in the best position to extend the invite. Thanks.
P.S. Nat had a great conversation with POTUS today in Los Altos and it sounds like there is strong interest in convening a meeting of climate donors later this year. David Simas was also in attendance.
Brent R. Heberlee 
Attorney at Law
1666 K Street, NW, Suite 500 
 Washington, D.C. 20006 
T 202.887.1400
F 202.466.3215
D 202.887.1423  

The Process of Voluntary Exchange Tends to be “Civilizing”

By Don Boudreaux
Quotation of the Day… is from pages 373-374 of Benjamin A. Rogge’s 1967 essay titled “East-West Trade,” as this essay is reprinted in A Maverick’s Defense of Freedom, the 2010 collection of Rogge’s essays that is edited by Dwight Lee:
The process of voluntary exchange tends to be “civilizing” in its social impact on the parties involved, including a greater awareness of each other’s basic humanity and a reduction in sheer uninformed prejudice. This civilizing influence, combined with economic interdependence created by trade, tends to reduce conflict between the parties involved and to make for more peaceful relationships, both within a country and between countries.

The above originally appeared at Cafe Hayek.

WSJ Survey: Economists Expect Next Fed Rate Increase in December

A Wall Street Journal survey of economists has found that 81.4% believe the Fed will raise the Federal Funds rate at its December 13-14 monetary policy meeting.

The Austrian-lite view that last year's December rate hike would have to be quickly  reversed because immediate economic collapse was sure to follow that hike is proving more and more absurd.

The further view that the Fed would have to immediately move to negative rates after last year's hike suggests a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of the business cycle and the current economic environment.


Donald Trump's Anti-Free Trade Economist on “Stupid” and “Stupider”

Adam Davidson reports in the The New Yorker:
[Peter] Navarro first came into contact with Trump in 2011, after reading that Trump told the official Chinese government news agency, Xinhua, that Navarro’s first book on China was one of his favorites. The two men communicated occasionally after that, but only met in person during the Presidential campaign. Navarro told me he has spent much more time with the candidate lately, sometimes joining the small circle of advisers invited on his plane....

Navarro’s responses to critiques tend to be blistering and Trumpian. In an e-mail describing economists who disagree with him about trade, he used the words “stupid” and “stupider” to characterize their views. The next morning, when I asked for clarification, he wrote, “This is why I don’t trust you or want to discuss anything on the phone with you. Where did you come up with the ‘stupid’ thing? Were you recording me on our phone call without my permission?”

On the Right to Buy Tomatoes from a Farmer in Mexico

Bret Wallach
Mr. Wallach:
I close my recent “Elemental Case for Free Trade” with the following ethical argument: “if you work and earn income honestly, that income is yours to use as you choose.  You may use it to buy tomatoes from your neighbor or to buy tomatoes from a farmer in Mexico.  It’s your money.  It belongs neither to the state nor to any domestic producer.  Yet protectionist arguments rest on the premise that your tomato-growing neighbor has some positive claim on your income.  If you are prohibited from buying tomatoes from Mexico, or – more commonly today – penalized with a tariff for doing so, the state is insisting that domestic tomato growers have an ethical claim on part of your income.”
You disagree with my argument.  That is, you apparently believe that the state acts ethically if, in its efforts to increase sales made by existing domestic tomato growers, it penalizes you for using your own income to buy foreign-grown tomatoes.  Do you, then, also believe that the state would be acting ethically if, in its efforts to increase sales made by those same domestic tomato growers, it penalized you for using your own income to buy potting soil, fertilizer, and tomato seeds that you use to grow your own tomatoes?
If you believe that there’s nothing ethically objectionable about Uncle Sam penalizing you for spending your income in ways that cause the sales of some domestic producers to be lower than otherwise, surely you then have no objection to Uncle Sam penalizing you for growing your own tomatoes.  Nor must you object if Uncle Sam were to penalize you and other Americans for buying used rather than new cars (or, indeed, for putting off buying new cars by keeping your existing cars in good repair) – or for buying previously owned rather than newly build homes – or for growing beards rather than shaving daily (think of all the sales that Gillette loses because more men today wear facial hair!) – or for recycling aluminum cans and plastic cartons – or, indeed, for doing anything with your own resources that Uncle Sam judges to wrongfully reduce sales made by its favored domestic producers.
Do you, in short, believe that you have an ethical right to grow your own tomatoes with your own resources if you choose – a right that trumps other tomato-growers’ insistence that you instead buy your tomatoes from them?  If so, how do you square this belief with your insistence that it is ethically acceptable for the state to penalize you and others for spending parts your incomes on the purchase of imports?
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030
The above originally appeared at Cafe Hayek.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Importance of Austrian School Economics

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I participated in the October 19, 2016 “Libertarian Angle,” podcast sponsored by the Future of Freedom Foundation, with the Foundation’s president, Jacob G. Hornberger, on the topic: “The Importance of Austrian Economics.”

This week’s podcast focuses on the relevance of Austrian Economics for understanding economic policy issues and for appreciating the workings of the market economy, in general, as emphasized in my recent eBook, “Austrian Economics and Public Policy: Restoring Freedom and Prosperity,” published in late August 2016 by the Future of Freedom Foundation.

For the Austrian Economists, one of the most essential attributes and characteristics of man is his creative and innovative intentionality, which is the source of all the transformative improvements in the human condition that supplies the standards of living that we so too frequently take for granted.

The heart of the Austrian analysis of the market order is that it is the only social system that recognizes and secures the individual’s rights to his life, liberty, and property, and requires all human relationships to be based on voluntary exchange.

The importance of this, as Austrian economists such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich A. Hayek have highlighted, is that is provides the institutional setting that facilitates the emergence of a market-based price system for economic calculation of profit and loss for the consumer-oriented guidance of production, and leaves individuals at liberty to use their own unique and distinctive knowledge in their own corner of the division of labor, so all may benefit from what some know that others do not.

The fundamental flaws in all forms of socialism, interventionism and welfare statism is that they not only deny individuals the liberty to live their own lives as they choose, but undermine the free social order that enables people to effectively and successfully interact and coordinate their diverse actions and activities for the material and cultural betterment of all.



Is Everyone Without a Job Considered Unemployed?

Bankster Mapped Out Virtually the Entire Obama Cabinet A Month Before Obama's 2008 Victory

It really is an inside game.

The New Republic reports:
The most important revelation in the WikiLeaks dump of John Podesta’s emails has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. The messages go all the way back to 2008, when Podesta served as co-chair of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team. And a month before the election, the key staffing for that future administration was almost entirely in place, revealing that some of the most crucial decisions an administration can make occur well before a vote has been cast.

Michael Froman, who is now U.S. trade representative but at the time was an executive at Citigroup, wrote an email to Podesta on October 6, 2008, with the subject “Lists.” Froman used a Citigroup email address. He attached three documents: a list of women for top administration jobs, a list of non-white candidates, and a sample outline of 31 cabinet-level positions and who would fill them. “The lists will continue to grow,” Froman wrote to Podesta, “but these are the names to date that seem to be coming up as recommended by various sources for senior level jobs.”

The cabinet list ended up being almost entirely on the money. It correctly identified Eric Holder for the Justice Department, Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, Robert Gates for Defense, Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff, Peter Orszag for the Office of Management and Budget, Arne Duncan for Education, Eric Shinseki for Veterans Affairs, Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services, Melody Barnes for the Domestic Policy Council, and more. For the Treasury, three possibilities were on the list: Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Timothy Geithner.

This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted.

Harassing Uber

Two Uber drivers are eligible for unemployment payments, according to the New York State Department of Labor, reports The Washington Post.

Levon Aleksanian and Jakir Hossain applied for jobless benefits after Uber deactivated their driver accounts last year. It is not clear why their accounts were deactivated.

Uber and other ride-hailing companies such as Lyft have said its drivers are contractors rather than employees. Labor unions are deperately trying to organizie the drivers, these two decsions will help.

The Post states that the New York regulator evaluates each case individually, so the rulings in Hossain's and Aleksanian's cases won’t affect other drivers. The decisions also only apply to their unemployment claims, not whether they are entitled to other employee protections. But union leaders are pleased.

“This is a significant victory for Uber drivers, and a game changer for all drivers in a race to the bottom due to Uber's economic policies,” Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said in a news release.

More like a significant victory for union harassment versus freedom to contract.

Uber has appealed the Labor Department decision.


Why The Hell Is Socialism Gaining So Much Popularity?