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Tho Bishop

Tho Bishop

Tho Bishop is a political consultant for Bishop & Associates in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Articles by Tho Bishop

The Next Generation of Currency Wars: Private vs. State-backed Crypto

2 days ago

Recently Russia announced that it will be unleashing a CryptoRuble, just a week after Vladimir Putin strongly criticized Bitcoin and other private cryptocurrencies.  When announcing the move, Minister of Communications Nikolay Nikiforov acknowledged that it was in part inspired by the aim of getting ahead of other governments:I confidently declare that we run CryptoRuble for one simple reason: if we do not, then after two months our neighbors in the EurAsEC will.In doing so, Russia is following the lead of another country that too has become hostile to private crypto, China. Last July the People’s Bank of China became the first central bank to announce it had developed a crypto-prototype that it plans to offer alongside the traditional renminbi.That the first forays into

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Gary Cohn is Concerned about Wall Street Clearinghouses – Blockchain is Already Fixing it

6 days ago

Gary Cohn, chief economic adviser to the President, voiced concern over the weekend about risk posed by Wall Street clearinghouses that became systemically important following the 2008 financial crisis.As Bloomberg reported:As “we get less transparency, we get less liquid assets in the clearinghouse, it does start to resonate to me to be a new systemic problem in the system,” Cohn, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said at a banking conference in Washington on Sunday. Cohn isn’t the first to raise the risk. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and BlackRock Inc. have argued for years that clearinghouses pose their own threats, shifting risk to just a handful of entities. The Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research has warned that clearinghouses used for

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How Trump Bailed Out Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve — For Now

10 days ago

On 23 August 2017, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB) gave a speech titled “Connecting research and policy making” at the annual assembly of the winners of the Nobel Price for Economics in Lindau, Germany. What Mr Draghi talked about on this occasion — and especially what he didn’t talk about — was quite revealing.Any analysis of the causes of the latest financial and economic crisis is conspicuously absent from Mr Draghi’s remarks. One gets the impression that the crisis came basically unexpected, out of the blue. There is no mention of the role of central banks, the monopoly producers of unbacked paper (or: fiat) money, played for the crisis.No word that central banks had for many years manipulated downwards interest rates — accompanied by an excessive increase in credit

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Questions Remain as the Fed Finally Begins to Reverse QE

September 20, 2017

5 hours agoTho BishopToday the Federal Reserve announced that it will finally begin the process of reversing quantitative easing. Following the process it outlined earlier this year, the Fed will start allowing assets (Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities) to mature off its balance sheet, rather than re-investing them as had been its prior policy. The current plan is to start with a $10 billion roll off in October, and increasing quarterly until it reaches $50 billion by October of next year. Considering the Fed’s balance sheet currently stands $4.5 trillion, the Fed is envisioning a slow, multi-year process. As Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker described it earlier this year, the goal is for it to be “the policy equivalent of watching paint dry.”Of course the

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Government Regulation and Crony Capitalism is Keeping Thousands in Florida without Power

September 20, 2017

Almost two weeks have passed since Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida, yet tens of thousands remain without power. With temperatures regularly eclipsing over 90 degrees, these outages are not only a grave inconvenience for Floridians cleaning up after the storm, but have proved to be deadly. Given the power of Irma, it is not surprising that it has left behind incredible devastation. Unfortunately it is also not surprising that it is a government-protected utility that has done the most to impede recovery. The pain and suffering currently being felt is the direct result of government policy and the perverse incentives of crony capitalism.One of the talked about examples of how bad policy is making things worse for Florida families are a variety of government

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Trump’s Historic Opportunity with the Fed

September 9, 2017

Today Stanley Fischer submitted his letter of resignation from the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, effective next month, the second such resignation of Donald Trump’s presidency. While Fischer’s term as Vice Chairman of the Fed was set to end next year, he had the ability to serve as a governor through 2020. Along with Trump’s decision next year on whether to replace Janet Yellen as the Fed’s chair, this means Trumps will have the opportunity to appoint five of seven governors to America’s central bank.
Given that the position holds a 14-year term, it is unusual for a president to have the opportunity to make so many appointments. As Diane Swonk of DS Economics noted, “It’s the largest potential regime change in the leadership of the Fed since 1936.”

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Trump’s Historic Opportunity with the Federal Reserve

September 7, 2017

12 hours agoTho BishopAnd then there were three.Today Stanley Fischer submitted his letter of resignation from the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, effective next month, the second such resignation of Donald Trump’s presidency. While Fischer’s term as Vice Chairman of the Fed was set to end next year, he had the ability to serve as a governor through 2020. Along with Trump’s decision next year on whether to replace Janet Yellen as the Fed’s chair, this means Trumps will have the opportunity to appoint five of seven governors to America’s central bank.Given that the position holds a 14-year term, it is unusual for a president to have the opportunity to make so many appointments. As Diane Swonk of DS Economics noted, “It’s the largest potential regime change in the

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Seattle Seahawks Flee America for Medical Treatment

September 1, 2017

Baseball may still identify as America’s pastime, but every year consumers prove that football is the country’s true love. In fact, the intertwining of national identity and the NFL can often be troublesome, such as when the Pentagon pays the league to promote the military — or the large subsidies governments grant to help billionaires pay for new stadiums. Yet increasingly America’s best athletes in America’s favorite sport have to flee the country to get medical treatment, because of an opponent more dangerous than Ndamukong Suh: the Food and Drug Administration.On Monday, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll informed the media that five players on the team had left the country in order to receive Regenokine therapy. With linebacker KJ Wright just returning to the

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How Rand Paul Can Free Americans from the Fed

August 23, 2017

21 hours agoTho BishopEver since entering the Senate, Rand Paul has continued his father’s work in advocating for an audit of the Federal Reserve. This week, writing for the Daily Caller, Senator Paul renewed his efforts, illustrating how the recent era of unconventional monetary policy has made an audit all the more important:In 2009, then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was able to refuse to tell Congress who received over two trillion in Fed loans, and it took congressional action and a Bloomberg lawsuit to force the Fed to reveal the details of what it did in more than 21,000 transactions involving trillions of dollars during the 2008 financial crisis.  A one-time audit of the Fed’s emergency lending mandated by Congress revealed even more about the extent to which the Fed

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The Fed Gave Wall Street a Bomb, and the Taxpayers are Paying Ransom

August 2, 2017

4 hours agoTho BishopWhen Janet Yellen testified before the House Financial Services Committee last month, she faced grilling on a topic that hasn’t received enough mainstream attention: the interest being paid on excess reserves at the Fed. While the topic has come up occasionally since the program began in 2008, it is worth noting that Yellen was pushed by both Jeb Hensarling, the committee chairman, and Andy Barr, the chairman of the Monetary Policy Subcommittee. While ending this taxpayer subsidy to Wall Street is important, it’s also important to understand the dangers posed by allowing these excess reserves to be lent out of major financial institutions.RELATED: "Who Benefits from the Fed?" by David Howden

To understand what is at stake, recall back to 2008

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Five Takeaways from the House’s Yellen Hearing

July 13, 2017

22 hours agoTho BishopOn Wednesday, Janet Yellen testified before the House Financial Services Committee. Though the hearings lost much of their appeal when Dr. Ron Paul retired from Congress, the House Republicans have maintained a reputation for being far more hostile to the Federal Reserve than their colleagues in the Senate — managing to generate some worthwhile moments. While little news was made, with Yellen maintaining her support for generally low interest rates, there were some points made today worth noting.1) Republicans Continue to Push on the Fed’s Subsidy to Wall StreetStarting in 2008, the Federal Reserve has paid interest on excess reserves parked at the Fed. While this had never been done prior to the financial crisis, this policy has now become a vital

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What Derek Carr’s Contract Teaches Us about Wall Street and Income Inequality

June 23, 2017

Derek Carr has just signed the most lucrative deal in NFL history, receiving a five-year extension worth $125 million with the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders. At $25 million per year, Carr edges out Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (though Luck’s contract did reward him with over twice as much in guaranteed money). Carr also becomes a big winner in the Raiders’ taxpayer-funded escape from Oakland, with his contract scheduled so most of the money kicks in after the franchise moves to income-tax-free Nevada.While the structure of Carr’s contract offers another opportunity to discuss the “jock tax,” it also serves to illustrate a more important issue: why Wall Street wins whenever the Fed expands the monetary supply.After all consider this: while Derek Carr has

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Mises-Influenced MP Becomes Brexit Minister

June 13, 2017

Steve Baker, a Conservative Member of Parliament, was announced today as junior Brexit minister under fellow libertarian David Davis. Baker, who has referenced Austrian scholars such as Ludwig von Mises, Jesús Huerta de Soto and F.A. Hayek in the House of Commons, has long been a Eurosceptic and seen as a “hardliner” in future negotiations with the EU. Along with his opposition to the EU, Baker has been a vocal opponent of the Bank of England’s policy of quantitive easing, and the IMF.In his own words:I am afraid that the contemporary mainstream of economics is missing some vital information…As I explained, as Mises set out, as Hayek followed in his steps and as others have predicted, we risk a final and total catastrophe for our currency system.To conclude, we are in

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Could Donald Trump Save the Internet?

June 12, 2017

Ludwig von Mises dedicated a great amount of ink to the role that ideas play in shaping society. Not only does his analysis illustrate why it is so important to educate the public on topics such as economics, but also explains the enormous danger posed by widely accepted political myths. Examples include various false narratives such as deregulation caused the financial crisis, that American healthcare costs are driven up due to “capitalism,” or FDR saved America from the Great Depression. Of course these various fictions, which all enjoy the support of most of the “intellectual” class, all conveniently lead to policy prescriptions that justify ever greater government intervention into the economy and individual’s daily lives.In recent years another dangerous myth has

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Ludwig von Mises Understood “Meme Magic”

June 6, 2017

One of the most consistent themes through the works of Ludwig von Mises is the role ideas play in shaping society. As he wrote in Theory and History:Thoughts and ideas are not phantoms. They are real things. Although intangible and immaterial, they are factors in bringing about changes in the realm of tangible and material things.How those ideas are transmitted has changed dramatically over time: from reliance on the spoken word, to the spread of print, to the rise of television, and to today’s digital word. Even within each era new forms of communication have arisen. For example, print transformed from a privilege of noble elites, to a medium created for the masses. Today’s age of digital communication is one that is constantly changing, but there is one phenomenon that

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How Washington’s Reaction to Trump’s Budget Justifies the Rise of Bitcoin

May 25, 2017

Earlier this week the Trump administration announced their proposed budget for 2018. The plan bears some striking resemblance to Trump’s first budget attempt in three key ways: it contains some legitimate cuts to a number of government programs, it features increases to America’s irrational war budget, and all together it reflects a significant increase in government spending from current levels. It also has zero chance of passing in Washington, which may be the most significant aspect of the budget.As soon as details emerged, it was already being torn apart by a web of pundits, think tanks, and politicians. Not because it doesn’t adequately address America’s growing debt bomb, but because it promoted an “extreme” view of austerity. In spite of its refusal to address the

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Another Member of Mises Cuba is Now Missing

May 24, 2017

Mises Cuba has announced that Nelson Rodríguez Chartrand is missing. The organization believes he was taken by state security forces. In February, Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez, another member of Mises Cuba, was arrested by an undercover state agent along with fellow human rights activist Manuel Velazquez Visea. Since then, the two have been charged with additional crimes and placed in the notorious Melena II maximum security prison. Other libertarian activists on the island have been threatened and temporarily detained by Cuban officials.Chartrand, an attorney and fierce critic of the Castro regime, was last seen on Monday at 11 p.m. heading toward the Benjamin Franklin libertarian library. He never made it to the building, the same location where Hernandez and Visea were

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NFL Teams are Right to Blackball Colin Kaepernick

May 19, 2017

Twenty one quarterbacks have been signed to new contracts in free agency this year. Included in this mix are names like Kellen Moore, EJ Manuel, and Mike Glennon, who received a contract worth over $14 million a year this past March. Yet the most accomplished quarterback that was on the market has not yet been signed, or even visited another team. That player is Colin Kaepernick, and the difficulty he has had this offseason is a reminder that at the end of the day the NFL is not about wins and losses, it’s about dollars and cents.It wasn’t so long ago that Colin Kaepernick had the ball five yards away from taking the lead with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVII. At the time he was at the top of the football world. An athletic marvel

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It’s Against the Law to Paddleboard Without a Whistle

May 18, 2017

As a proud Floridian, I’ve always loved being on the water. In recent years, one of my favorite summer activities is going paddleboarding in Panama City Beach. There are few experiences more enjoyable than being out there in the tranquil water, surrounded by salty air, watching fish, rays, and the occasional dolphin swim past. Best of all, it’s obviously far cheaper than a boat, and offers more freedom than a kayak or canoe. Many Americans clearly agree, as the stand-up paddleboard (SUP) has become an increasingly popular hobby.Unfortunately it seems that every time I, and the majority of those who enjoy the sport, have been out on the water, we’ve been breaking the law.A few years ago the US Coast Guard dubbed paddleboards a “vessel,” and therefore must be treated like

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South Korea Rejects US Foreign Policy

May 10, 2017

South Korea Rejects US Foreign Policy

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War and Foreign Policy20 hours agoTho BishopSouth Korea has a new president: Moon Jae-in. Moon’s election is a major win for the Korean liberal party, who had been out of power for a decade. While Moon was likely helped by the corruption scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-hye, the darkest shadow had to be the growing tensions between the US and North Korea. From that perspective, Moon’s election is a strong rebuke against the US status quo.Lost in all the news last week regarding the House’s vote on replacing Obamacare was the near-unanimous vote to increase US sanctions on North Korea. This was simply the latest in a serious of moves by Washington to escalate a showdown with the unpredictable “hermit kingdom.”

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Only Trump Has Been Honest About This One Issue

May 4, 2017

Only Trump Has Been Honest About This One Issue

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Taxes and SpendingU.S. Economy8 hours agoTho BishopAbout a year ago Trump committed what some economic pundits considered his greatest gaffe, suggesting that the US may not pay back all of its debt. According to Serious People at the time, the very notion was “stupid and ridiculous,” “insane,” and a threat to “incinerate the world economy.”Trump was also entirely correct.As we’ve seen in the past few months, there is simply no interest in making necessary cuts in government spending. The fact the Republican Party has, since 2010, won control of the House, Senate, and White House explicitly on such promises hasn’t even changed the conversation. Instead, we have seen our new Republican-controlled Washington continue the long standing tradition of the GOP of being even worse on spending than Democrats.This was further demonstrated during the recent budget battle. Yesterday the GOP-dominated House authorized over a trillion dollars in new spending to fund the government through September. The budget failed to fulfill campaign promises such as de-funding Planned Parenthood, sanctuary cities, or significant cuts to the EPA. In the eyes of the Trump administration, however, the deal wasn’t a total loss — because they did secure increases in funding some of the president’s initiatives.

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How States Can End the Fed’s War on Fishing

May 2, 2017

How States Can End the Fed’s War on Fishing

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The EnvironmentStrategyU.S. Economy2 hours agoTho BishopOne of the Gulf of Mexico’s most iconic fish has also become one of its most politicized, the red snapper. For years now the prized catch has been part of a heated battle between federal regulators, the commercial fishing industry, and charter and recreational fishermen. The result has been fishing seasons consistently shrinking, even as snapper populations grow. On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced its shortest season yet: just three days.Why so short? Because the NOAA is punishing fisherman for catching more fish than they expected during last year’s 9-day season.Given these tiny windows being set by the feds, it would be natural to assume red snapper populations are dangerously low. This was certainly true at one point, in the 1980’s multiple studies concluded that red snapper populations were severely over fished. Since then, significant steps have been taken. Not only have federal and state programs reduced the number of fish that can be caught, but private interests worked with various government agencies to create a rich network of artificial reefs throughout the Gulf of Mexico.The result has been a dramatic turnaround for red snapper.

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ESPN is a Reminder That on the Market, No One Is Too Big to Fail

April 27, 2017

ESPN is a Reminder That on the Market, No One Is Too Big to Fail

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Free MarketsMedia and Culture7 hours agoTho BishopThis week ESPN announced they were laying off 100 on-screen personalities and writers, the latest round of staff cuts for the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports. Some of the issues plaguing ESPN are obvious, they are first and foremost a cable channel at a time when Americans are increasingly deciding to cut the cord. A bigger issue, however, is that they simply aren’t delivering a good enough product to maintain their domination in sports media. As such, their current struggles serve as a useful reminder of how even Big Business can face market pressure when they take their customers for granted.Ever since its inception in 1979, ESPN has dominated their industry like few companies ever have. While television is full of networks in constant competition with their rivals for eyeballs, ESPN has held almost a complete monopoly over sports fans. Channels like Fox Sports (now FS1 and FS2) and the late CNNSI have tried to leave their own marks, but the letters E-S-P-N are synonymous with sports in the US.ESPN today is famous for their broadcasting of sporting events, but starting out the channel relied largely on the success of in-studio content like SportsCenter.

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Florida Voted for Medical Marijuana, State Legislators Don’t Care

April 21, 2017

Florida Voted for Medical Marijuana, State Legislators Don’t Care

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Big GovernmentHealthThe Police State8 hours agoTho BishopLast year Florida became the 28th state to legalize medical marijuana when Amendment 2 passed with over 70% of the vote. Unfortunately, instead of abiding by the overwhelming voter mandate, the state Legislature is looking to impose severe restrictions on the industry. The move will hurt patients, while enriching a handful of licensed growers.Even before the state Legislature began writing rules, Florida’s Amendment 2 already had a far more limited scope than most medical marijuana legislation. Unlike the 2014 bill, which received a majority of votes but fell short of the 60% threshold, Amendment 2 listed ten specified conditions that qualified for medical cannabis. The legislation, however, left it to Tallahassee to figure out which products would be legal and how cultivation licenses would be handled. Time is proving this to be a grave mistakeThe Florida House has drafted rules that would keep it illegal for patients to smoke, vape, or consume marijuana edibles. Products such as CBD oil would be legal, but patients would need a prescription from a doctor if they’ve been using for over 90 days.

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Trump Betrays His Base On The Fed

April 13, 2017

Trump Betrays His Base On The Fed

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The FedU.S. Economy9 hours agoTho BishopAs Ryan McMaken, among others, noted this week President Donald Trump has seemed to pivot his attention away from his economic legislative agenda and more toward foreign policy matters. Given the legislative frustrations over Obamacare repeal, and his Goldman-led Treasury’s insistence on the sort of revenue-neutral tax reform that may have a hard time getting through a Republican Congress, Trump defenders could place most of the blame for this strategic shift to the political realities of Congress. Today, however, Trump has signaled a retreat from his campaign rhetoric on an issue he has complete control over: whether or not to keep Janet Yellen as Fed chair beyond 2018.During an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump was asked if Janet Yellen was “toast.”His response:No, not toast … I like her, I respect her. It’s very early. I do like a low-interest rate policy, I must be honest with you.In terms of his own self-preservation, Trump’s recent comments make perfect sense and reflect signals we have been receiving from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.It must be pointed out though that Trump made it perfectly clear during the presidential campaign that he understands the Fed’s low-interest-rate policy has very real consequences beyond Wall Street.

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Inflation-Hawk Lacker Was the Fed’s Fall Guy

April 11, 2017

Inflation-Hawk Lacker Was the Fed’s Fall Guy

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The Fed04/11/2017Tho BishopOne of the great Federal Reserve scandals in recent history seemed to resolve itself last week as Jeffrey Lacker of the Richmond Fed resigned for his role in the Medley Leak.  But as Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, (perhaps the best reporter on this story) points out, the finely scripted statement from Lacker shows that he was not Medley’s original source for the market-moving information.Lacker’s statement reads:During that October 2, 2012 discussion, the Analyst introduced into the conversation an important non-public detail about one of the policy options considered by participants prior to the meeting. Due to the highly confidential and sensitive nature of this information, I should have declined to comment and perhaps have ended the phone call. Instead, I did not refuse or express my inability to comment and the interview continued.When Medley published a report by the Analyst the following day, October 3, 2012, it contained this important detail about one of the policy options and I realized that my failure to decline comment on the information could have been taken by the Analyst, in the context of the conversation, as an acknowledgment or confirmation of the information.

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Trump’s Goldman Guys Are Dangerous

April 5, 2017

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Taxes and SpendingU.S. EconomyAs the Trump administration continues to try to figure where it wants to go with healthcare, his team at the Treasury is readying tax reform. Unfortunately, much like the Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s film Suicide Squad, initial optimism is facing the bitter reality of horrible early reviews.After all, during the campaign there was much to like from Candidate Trump. He campaigned on cutting both income and corporate taxes while eliminating the estate tax all together He frequently bragged that it was going to be the “biggest tax cut since Reagan” (reality of the Gipper’s record aside). Trump focused more on economic growth than the deficit and even though he wrongly supported tariff increases in order to “win on trade,” he frequently rejected the creation of new revenue mechanisms. Of course, on the campaign trail Candidate Trump also was quick to rightly bash the Federal Reserve, their partners on Wall Street, and the political establishment festering in the Washington swamp. After his election, he began to quickly partner with these very same forces. Most concerning was his leasing the US Treasury to Goldman Sachs with the appointment of Mnuchin and tapping Gary Cohn, who previously served as the bank’s COO, to chair the National Economic Council.

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Raiders Move to Vegas Gives Tax Payers Reason to Boo, Players Reason to Cheer

March 28, 2017

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Taxes and SpendingYesterday the NFL granted Mark Davis his request to move the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas. The move creates multiple losers: Las Vegas hotel customers who will see room taxes rise to pay for the $750 million in subsidies for the new stadium, the city of Oakland who still carries debt from the Raiders old venue, and the infamous fans that made up the Raiders’ iconic “Black Hole” who are losing their football team just after witnessing their first playoff performance in almost 15 years.Beyond the blatant crony capitalism of government-financed stadiums, there are many reasons to doubt the wisdom of the team’s decision. After all, unlike the Rams and Chargers move to Los Angeles, Las Vegas has no history of supporting professional football. The most significant attempt, the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL, only averaged 22,619 fans, ranking 5th out of the league’s 8 teams. Other attempts, including multiple Arena League teams and the short lived UFL, were financial flops. Of course, none of these products have the power of the National Football League, so perhaps this time will be different.At league meetings, a key part to selling relocation was the idea that fans of other teams would travel to Las Vegas to enjoy the city’s attractions along with the game.

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Raiders Move to Vegas Gives Taxpayers Reason to Boo, Players Reason to Cheer

March 28, 2017

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Taxes and SpendingYesterday the NFL granted Mark Davis his request to move the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas. The move creates multiple losers: Las Vegas hotel customers who will see room taxes rise to pay for the $750 million in subsidies for the new stadium, the city of Oakland who still carries debt from the Raiders old venue, and the infamous fans that made up the Raiders’ iconic “Black Hole” who are losing their football team just after witnessing their first playoff performance in almost 15 years.Beyond the blatant crony capitalism of government-financed stadiums, there are many reasons to doubt the wisdom of the team’s decision. After all, unlike the Rams and Chargers move to Los Angeles, Las Vegas has no history of supporting professional football. The most significant attempt, the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL, only averaged 22,619 fans, ranking 5th out of the league’s 8 teams. Other attempts, including multiple Arena League teams and the short lived UFL, were financial flops. Of course, none of these products have the power of the National Football League, so perhaps this time will be different.At league meetings, a key part to selling relocation was the idea that fans of other teams would travel to Las Vegas to enjoy the city’s attractions along with the game.

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Ludwig von Mises and Trash TV

March 27, 2017

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Media and CultureAccording to reports, Danielle Bregoli, the 14-year-old girl who became a popular internet meme this year due to a failed intervention on the Dr. Phil show, has signed a deal for her own reality television show. On a personal level, there is much to find offensive in Bregoli’s fame, in spite of her obvious marketing prowess. She is, after all, internet-famous simply for her improper English, toxic personal behavior, and apparent lack of respect for anyone around her. On an economic level, however, her rise is an interesting example of how capitalism rewards the interests of the masses, regardless of the opinion of the cultural elite.Criticism of trashy pop culture is, of course, nothing new. Ludwig von Mises, for example, felt the need to defend commercial literature from socialist criticism. In The Anti-Capitalist Mentality he wrote:What characterizes capitalism is not the bad taste of the crowds, but the fact that these crowds, made prosperous by capitalism, became “consumers” of literature — of course, of trashy literature. The book market is flooded by a downpour of trivial fiction for the semibarbarians. But this does not prevent great authors from creating imperishable works.The term “semibarbarian” perhaps describes Ms. Bregoli’s TV persona as accurately as the excerpt describes the success of “trashy” reality TV.

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