Monday, December 31, 2018

Major League Baseball's Disgusting Deal With the Government of Cuba

This is how crony Major League Baseball plays footsie with communist Cuba.

MLB has cut a deal that will keep the bidding for Cuban players below free-market levels which will also result in MLB collecting taxes from Cuban players for the Cuban regime.

What Does Bussing Your Own Restaurant Table Show About Minimum Wages?

By Art Carden

With the New Year’s Day right around the corner, various outlets are reporting on workers who will “get a raise” with increases in the minimum wage going into effect in several states. But will people—potential low-income workers especially—be better off in the long run as a result of higher minimum wages?

Don't Do Didi

Martin Hill and Robert Wenzel in SF at Tadich Grill (2016)
Martin Hill of LibertyFight emails:
Hi Bob, have  you heard of the new ride sharing company "didi"? They're a billion dollar AI company and even bought out uber China. They are now operating in Mexico & Australia.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Lebanon Entering `Financial Crisis'

Beiruit skyline
Lebanon’s plight is turning into a crisis that could ultimately threaten the Middle Eastern country’s economic foundations, according to its finance minister, reports Bloomberg.

“The crisis today has started to transform into a financial crisis from an economic crisis,” Ali Hassan Khalil was cited as saying by Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency. “We hope that it doesn’t turn into a monetary crisis that will lead to the Lebanese losing trust in their country’s future and their institutions.”

Brother Of Saudi Billionaire Prince Alwaleed Re-arrested

Khalid bin Talal
Saudi authorities have reportedly re-arrested the brother of billionaire investor Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal just days after their father died.

London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the arrest of Khalid bin Talal.

Why 2019 Will Be Another Boom Year for Cigarette Bootleggers in New York City


The abuse hurled at the 860,000 cigarette smokers in New York City is about to intensify.

New York City is already the cigarette smuggling capital of the nation.

That's because New York state has a state tax of $4.35 per pack, and the city adds on another $1.50.

But the busybody freaks need to harass smokers even more, which means things are about to get better for cigarette bootleggers.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Trump Issues Executive Order Freezing Federal Employee Wages

By Robert Wenzel

Here's another goofy step by President Trump that doesn't address the heart of the problem--a massive government bureaucracy.

He just signed an executive order to freeze pay for federal workers in 2019.

Walter Block's Review of Niall Ferguson's "Civilization: The West and the Rest"

As a follow up to my post, Niall Ferguson Comparing Marxism and Fascism, where Ferguson's book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, is mentioned, Walter Block alerts me to a 2016 review of the book that he wrote and that was published at the MEST Journal.  

From the abstract:
Abstract Review essay of Ferguson, Niall. 2011. Civilization: The West and the Rest. Penguin Books, 403 pages. Why has the west done better than the rest of the world in terms of economic development? Ferguson (2001) offers six reasons: competition, science, property rights, medicine, consumption and the work ethic. This review agrees with all except for this emphasis on Keynesian consumption, but finds much more with which to disagree.
From Block's review conclusion:

Ocasio-Cortez’s Brain is Empty When It Comes to Economics, But...

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
In the clip below, Kennedy of FOX News lets it rip concerning the absurd statements of congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, especially her tweet claiming that accounting deficiencies at the Pentagon means that $21 trillion could have been made available for Medicare funding.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Hundreds of Students Call for Changes to University Econ Depts: 'Listen to Us. We are the Experts.'

More than 285 graduate students and research assistants from across the country signed a letter Thursday calling for changes within the field of economics in response to allegations of sexual harassment against Harvard Economics Professor Roland G. Fryer, Jr, reports The Harvard Crimson.

The letter was posted online at Medium by the organization "Advocates for Diversity in Economics."

The letter states in part:

Niall Ferguson Comparing Marxism and Fascism

The below clip is a solid interview of Niall Ferguson, New York Times best-selling author of Civilization: The West and the Rest. It includes a discussion of how and why millennials are so sympathetic to Marxism and what is going on at universities today.

He has argued that Western civilization’s rise to global dominance is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five centuries.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Cuomo is Proud of This: Minimum Wage Goes Up in NYC to $15 per Hour

Andrew Cuomo
On December 31, 2018 in New York City, a $15 minimum wage goes into effect for most workers.

This, of course, will do nothing but cause unemployment for those whose skills do not produce $15 an hour in revenue. This is basic economics 101. But the New York State propaganda machine is featuring videos of New York Governor Cuomo taking credit for this evil anti-work law.

The Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter of Adam Smith on Anarcho-Communists

The great-great-great-grandfather
UPDATE: Young women under the domination of the Marx-Engels patriarchy.

Oh you can tell this lady has a lot of her great-great-great-grandfather's genes--and they appear to have even mutated for the better.

Alice Smith is one of the most reason-driven, get to the core of the matter, witty, students of society and advocates for liberty that is on Twitter.

Below are her thoughts on so-called communists in favor of anarchy. And, also a bonus tweet. 

Communist Party Ally Raul Grijalva to Chair Key Congressional Environment Committee

Raul Grijalva
Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is giving long-time Communist Party USA ally Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) the chairmanship of the critical House Committee on Natural Resources. This position will give Grijalva significant influence over key economic and environmental decisions, reports Trevor Loudon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Stock Market Explodes: Dow Up Over 1,000 Points

Is this the save the jobs of Jay Powell and Steven Mnuchin establishment rally?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended with a gain of 1,086.25 points, or 4.98%, at 22,878.45. It was the largest point game for the Industrials ever,

The S&P 500  soared 116.60 points, or 4.96%, to end at 2,467.70. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 361.44 points, or 5.84%, to 6,554.36.

On a percentage basis, all three major indexes saw the strongest one-day gains since March 23, 2009.

Trump Campaign Economic Adviser: Trump Should Fire Fed Chair Powell "For Cause"

Stephen Moore
By Robert Wenzel

Oh, this is nuts.

It turns out that the supply-sider economist Stephen Moore is also an off-the-wall inflationist. He wants the money pumps on full blast and he wants that done now!

Moore said Sunday that the Federal Reserve is "the swamp" and President Trump needs to drain it By this he says he means that Trump has the power to remove Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and should do so.

Merry Christmas: All Auto Tariff Options Still on Table

President Donald Trump has “a lot of flexibility” in deciding whether and how to impose automotive tariffs, says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The commerce department is finalizing a report, due by February 17, on whether imported cars and car parts represent "a threat to US national security." Trump will then have 90 days to take action.

Two Names Emerge as Potential Replacements for Fed Chairman Powell

Janet Yellen and John Williams
By Robert Wenzel

There is no indication that President Trump will fire Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jay Powell despite Trump's recent barrage of criticism aimed at Powell for recent Fed interest rate hikes.

Indeed, legal experts are divided on whether Trump can fire Powell. Most seem to agree, however, that he could remove Powell as chairman and leave Powell as simply a member of the Fed board. Thus giving Trump the opportunity to name another chairman.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Council of Economic Advisors Chief Implies That Government Workers Don't Do Anything of Value

Murray Rothbard
Oh, this is good. 

Murray Rothbard is cackling and clapping from above.

From a Greg Mankiw post:
How the Govt Shutdown Affects GDP

Will the Chinese Economy Bury the US Economy?

By Robert Higgs


I am old enough to remember when almost everyone believed that the Russians were, as Khrushchev put it, going to “bury” us. Even leading economists such as Paul Samuelson were taken in by such nonsense. 

The Life and Work of Ludwig von Mises

Here's a treat for Christmas, a video of Jörg Guido Hülsmann's great lecture on the life and work of Ludwig von Mises.

If you can't find the time today to watch the video (below), it's
t's great to listen to on a flight when traveling this holiday season.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Dow Jones Plunges More Than 600 Points; Worst Christmas Eve Downside Action-- Ever

Following more tweets from President Trump attacking the Federal Reserve Board and Fed chairman Jay Powell, and unusual crisis actions by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, including convening today via conference call the Plunge Protection Team, the stock market has reacted with more declines.

Trump Slams Fed, Again!!

And it continues.

President Trump is out with another Tweet bashing the Federal Reserve Board for raising interest rates.

BTW, since Trump has intensified his tweets about the Fed over the last month, it has been good for the price inflation hedge, gold.

What Ronald Reagan Really Said About a Wall Along the Mexican Border

Ronald Reagan was inconsistent, to say the least, as president (See: Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy by Murray Rothbard) but he was damn good on immigration, Mexican immigrants, and the building of a wall.

Which brings up this tweet by President Trump:

The Top Ten EPJ Best Sellers in the Year 2018

1. Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person by Robert Wenzel

2. Marxism/Socialism: A Sociopathic Philosophy Conceived in Gross Error and Ignorance Culminating in Economic Chaos, Enslavement, Terror, and Mass Murder: A Contribution to Its Death by George Reisman

REPORT Trump is Obsessed About the Stock Market

Trump and stock market investors?
The Washington Post reports:
President Trump has kept an almost obsessive watch on the stock market as it has lurched lower in recent weeks, tuning in to Fox Business and checking in with Lou Dobbs, a host on the network.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Mnuchin in Panic Mode Calls Top Banksters From Cabo San Lucas Vacation Spot

UPDATE below: Mnuchin Sets Up Conference Call With Plunge Protection Team

In addition to doing his part to expand the trade deficit by vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a  report indicates that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is attempting to head off a Monday morning panic sell-off in the stock market.

In a precautionary (panic?) move, Mnuchin spent Sunday on the phone speaking with the chief executives of some of the country's largest banks to avoid yet more stock market selling when Wall Street opens Monday, reports CNN.

Scott Adams on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
As I have written before, I believe that the socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the most dangerous up and coming political leaders.

She may be way off on her facts but her base doesn't care--she is kind of a lefty version of Trump in this sense.

Steve Moore’s Disappointing Performance

Stephen Moore
A Don Boudreaux letter to The Hill:


Stephen Moore’s defense of Trump’s punitive taxes on Americans who buy goods assembled in China reads like a defense-lawyer’s brief for a guilty client (“Trump will win the China trade war,” Dec. 18). It’s disappointingly devoid of serious analysis and marred with logical contradictions.

Top Ten 2018 Posts at EPJ

1. Donald Trump's Bill Paying Ways

2. The Embarrassing Error of the Empirical Economists

3. "You Should Be Afraid of Ocasio-Cortez"

4. 22 Days in Paul Krugman's Masterclass (Day 1)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Trump and Nixon and the 37% Stock Market Ride

By David Stockman

At Friday's close fully 60% of the Trump Bump in the S&P 500 has been liquidated. And we have some nice round numbers to show for it. 

The broad market index stood at 2140 just hours before the shocking 2016 election results were reported, and rose by 800 points from there to 2940 on September 21, 2018. That was a gain of 37% on top of the already massively inflated stock market than extant. 

It was also Peak Trump. During the last 40 trading days 475 S&P points have gone missing in a relative heartbeat, and there's miles to go before it's over. 

REPORT: Trump Discussing Firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell

Trump and Jay Powell

UPDATE below: Trump says Powell is going to turn him into Herbert Hoover.

UPDATE below: Mnuchin on his discussion with Trump about firing Powell

President Donald Trump has discussed firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as his frustration with the central bank chief intensified following this week’s interest-rate increase and months of stock-market losses, according to four people familiar with the matter, reports Bloomberg.

In other words, Trump is continuing with his unconventional style of leadership across the board.

The Top Twenty 2018 EPJ YouTube Videos

I am planning some major YouTube videos for 2019 but here are the top 20 videos of 2018.

They are a combination of videos with top views in 2018 and others that should have received more views.

Note: Some of them were recorded before 2018, but they keep chugging along.

Enjoy them on your holiday flights back and forth.

Friday, December 21, 2018

BREAKING Government Shutdown Coming

UPDATE below: What Will Shutdown and What Won't 

The US government will partially shut down at midnight ET after lawmakers failed to reach agreement on a deal that President Trump says must include $5 billion for building a wall on the southern border.

This is a developing story. Return to this post for updates.

UPDATE 1

The 150 Square Foot Apartment for "Only" $1375 a Month

This is what happens when you have aggressive rent regulations and building regulations.

Apartments get smaller and smaller, while the rents go up and up.

In the video below, "micro apartments" go for $1, 375 per month in downtown Los Angeles.

Krugman Spots the New Inflationists in the Age of Trump

Paul Krugman
The New York Times columnist P. Krugman is correct when he comments on the new inflationists in the Age of Trump.

In an essay titled, "Hard-Money Men, Suddenly Going Soft: Trumpism trumps everything, even Ayn Rand," he writes:
I have a confession to make: I have been insufficiently cynical about modern conservative economics...

Socialism Is on the March

Ludwig von Mises
By Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

When I met Ludwig von Mises, he was exactly as I had imagined him: kind, brilliant, dignified, beautifully mannered and dressed, a gentleman from what Murray Rothbard called “an older and better world.” His wife, Margit, had been an actress, and she had great beauty, intelligence, and presence as well.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

BREAKING: Trump Won't Sign Spending Bill

MULTIPLE UPDATES below to apparent Trump flip-flop.

This is a developing story. Return to this post for updates.

UPDATE 1

Senate Passes Stopgap Spending Bill That Would Avert Shutdown; Anti-Immigrant Conservatives Explode

The spending shall continue.

The Senate passed a stopgap spending bill on Wednesday night that would keep the government funded through Feb. 8.

The bill is expected to pass the House on Thursday and be sent to President Trump before the midnight Friday deadline when funding would start to dry up for various government agencies.

This is Downtown San Francisco as It Has Developed Under the Management of Crazed Lefties

The below clip was filmed at 38 Mason St in San Francisco, just a couple of blocks from the center of the downtown tourist district, which includes the upscale Westfield Mall, the Hilton Hotel and the Parc 55 Hotel, and just three blocks from where tourists jump on the Powell St cable car.

This is what happens when cronyism takes over a city. Despite SF being the residence of some of the richest people in the world, the city can't find enough money to have the streets properly policed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

BREAKING Federal Reserve Hikes Key Interest Rate

Fed chairman Jay Powell
As expected, the Federal Reserve, at a regularly scheduled monetary policy meeting of the FOMC, has raised by 25 basis points the interest rate it directly controls.

Interest Due on U.S. National Debt Starts to Explode

By Craig Eyermann
This past year is one that will be remembered for many things, but perhaps the one thing for which it may someday be best remembered is that it was the year in which the amount of interest that the U.S. government had to pay on its total public debt outstanding began to break all its previous records.
Visual evidence for that fact is shown in the following chart, which indicates the gross and net amounts of interest that the U.S. Treasury Department reports have been paid from 1997 through 2018 in each of its fiscal year-end Monthly Treasury Statements for these years.

As The Economy Begins to Weaken, Here is One Big Thing You Need to Know

FDIC deposit insurance covers the depositors of a failed FDIC-insured depository institution dollar-for-dollar, principal plus any interest accrued or due to the depositor, through the date of default, only up to $250,000.

If you have more than that in one account and the bank fails, you could be in serious trouble.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Denies Economic Reality

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin
For a very long time, I have been advising in the EPJ Daily Alert that the yield curve is a very powerful indicator of developing recessions when it turns negative.

Below is the chart that I have run in the ALERT. The dashed lines show the yield curve turning negative. The "R" markers indicate the gray shaded recession periods.

White House Announces Trump Headed to Davos With a Huge Posse

White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders has just announced that President Trump will attend the global crony fest, the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland next month.

The U.S. delegation, according to Sanders,

Impressive Visual Sophistication at the Wall Street Journal Matched With Economic Naiveté

A Don Boudreaux letter to the Wall Street Journal:

The impressive visual sophistication of your slide show “China: Emergence of a Trade Leviathan” is matched by its disappointing economic naiveté.

For example, you write that “China has demolished its rivals to produce much of what Americans consume.” Who, exactly, has been “demolished”? Certainly not the U.S. American industrial capacity is today at an all-time high and 15 percent higher than it was when China joined the WTO in 2001. Likewise, the inflation-adjusted value of American exports is today 91 percent higher than it was in 2001. (What about Europe? Manufacturers even in the relatively more restrictive E.U. countries produce 17 percent more output today than they did in 2001.)

WARNING: China Continues to Unload US Treasury Debt

Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasurys are at their lowest levels in nearly a year and a half.

Data released on Monday by the U.S. Treasury Department shows China’s holdings of U.S. government bonds fell in October, to $1.138 trillion. That is the fifth straight month of declines and the lowest total since May 2017.

The Inflationists Amongst Us: The Wall Street Journal Joins Donald Trump in Calling for Fed to Stop Hiking Interest Rates

Update below: President Trump reacts to the Journal editorial.

In a new editorial, The Wall Street Journal writes:
The right answer is to ignore the politics, inside and outside the Fed, and follow the signals that suggest a prudent pause in raising rates at this week’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting....

Monday, December 17, 2018

Manhattan: A Glorious Testament to the Reality of Emergent Order

By Donald J. Boudreaux

No place on earth energizes me as does Manhattan. Of course, all of New York City has real problems: murders, muggings, traffic congestion, rent control, Penn Station’s ugliness. Reporters, pundits, and politicians — left and right — never tire of reminding the public of Gotham’s woes.

Yet these woes don’t come close to being the main lessons to draw from the teeming, pulsing reality of Manhattan’s 1.6 million residents mixing with more than 2 million other people who daily come to this small island to work, study, and play. The main lesson not only goes largely unmentioned, it goes mostly unlearned. This lesson is that the daily, productive life of Manhattan is a glorious testament to the reality of emergent order.

Major Hedge Funds are Scrambling to Prevent Financial Wipeout

Here's another major warning sign that things are not looking good at all.

John Aidan Byrne at The New York Post reports:
The stars of the biggest hedge funds are losing their shirts as analysts fear a major financial wipeout is imminent.

From Ken Griffin’s Citadel, to Israel Englander’s MIllennium Management, one big name after another is racking up negative returns lately, amid bad bets in a saturated market.