Wednesday , August 23 2017
Home / Tho Bishop
Tho Bishop

Tho Bishop

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

Articles by Tho Bishop

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

21 days ago

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

South Korea Rejects US Foreign Policy

May 10, 2017

South Korea Rejects US Foreign Policy

Tags
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.”

Read More »

Only Trump Has Been Honest About This One Issue

May 4, 2017

Only Trump Has Been Honest About This One Issue

Tags
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.

Read More »

How States Can End the Fed’s War on Fishing

May 2, 2017

How States Can End the Fed’s War on Fishing

Tags
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.

Read More »

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

Tags
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.

Read More »

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

April 21, 2017

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

Tags
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.

Read More »

Trump Betrays His Base On The Fed

April 13, 2017

Trump Betrays His Base On The Fed

Tags
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.

Read More »

Inflation-Hawk Lacker Was the Fed’s Fall Guy

April 11, 2017

Inflation-Hawk Lacker Was the Fed’s Fall Guy

Tags
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.

Read More »

Trump’s Goldman Guys Are Dangerous

April 5, 2017

Tags
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.

Read More »

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

March 28, 2017

Tags
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.

Read More »

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

March 28, 2017

Tags
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.

Read More »

Ludwig von Mises and Trash TV

March 27, 2017

Tags
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.

Read More »

Ryancare Died on the Operating Table

March 24, 2017

The beltway Republicans are scrambling now that it seems the Obamacare replacement package put forward for Paul Ryan and endorsed by Donald Trump can’t get enough support to get through the House. The failure of the American Health Care Act should surprise no one, as it is a piece of legislation that managed to please no one. The Freedom Caucus, made up of the “true believers” of the Tea Party, balked at its similarities to Obamacare, while more moderate members found the bill’s modest change to the ACA too radical for their tastes.
While the failure of the Ryan/Trump/Whatevercare represents a political defeat for the president and GOP leadership, it is probably a net-win for those who oppose socialized healthcare. After all, nothing could be more beneficial

Read More »

Ryancare is Failing — What Should Happen Next?

March 24, 2017

Tags
Free MarketsHealthU.S. EconomyThe beltway Republicans are scrambling now that it seems the Obamacare replacement package put forward for Paul Ryan and endorsed by Donald Trump can’t get enough support to get through the House. The failure of the American Health Care Act should surprise no one, as it is a piece of legislation that managed to please no one. The Freedom Caucus, made up of the “true believers” of the Tea Party, balked at its similarities to Obamacare, while more moderate members found the bill’s modest change to the ACA too radical for their tastes. While the failure of the Ryan/Trump/Whatevercare represents a political defeat for the president and GOP leadership, it is probably a net-win for those who oppose socialized healthcare. After all, nothing could be more beneficial to the Bernie Sanders-wing of the Democratic party than for the nominally “free market” Republicans passing its own brand of reform that fails to fix America’s insurance market. Much like the 2008 financial crisis, its collapse would absurdly be seen as a defeat for “capitalism” and be used as justification for even more government control.The unfortunate reality going forward is that more significant approaches to healthcare reform, such as the bill pushed by Senator Rand Paul and his allies in the House, are unlikely to find enough support in the Senate.

Read More »

Ryancare Failed — What Should Happen Next?

March 24, 2017

Tags
Free MarketsHealthU.S. EconomyThe beltway Republicans are scrambling now that the Obamacare replacement packaged put forward for Paul Ryan and endorsed by Donald Trump can’t get enough support to get through the House. The failure of the American Health Care Act should surprise no one, as it is a piece of legislation that managed to please no one. The Freedom Caucus, made up of the “true believers” of the Tea Party, balked at its similarities to Obamacare, while more moderate members found the bill’s modest change to the ACA too radical for their tastes. While the defeat of the Ryan/Trump/Whatevercare represents a political defeat for the president and GOP leadership, it is probably a net-win for those who oppose socialized healthcare. After all, nothing could be more beneficial to the Bernie Sanders-wing of the Democratic party than for the nominally “free market” Republicans passing its own brand of reform that fails to fix America’s insurance market. Much like the 2008 financial crisis, its collapse would absurdly be seen as a defeat for “capitalism” and be used as justification for even more government control.The unfortunate reality going forward is that more significant approaches to healthcare reform, such as the bill pushed by Senator Rand Paul and his allies in the House, are unlikely to find enough support in the Senate.

Read More »

The G-20 Was Never Serious About Free Trade

March 21, 2017

Tags
Free MarketsGlobal EconomyU.S. EconomyThere is much hand-wringing in the financial media this week after Treasury Secretary (and Lego Batman producer) Steve Mnuchin helped push the G-20 to remove its long standing language to “reject protectionism” from its annual statement. While the Trump administration’s embrace of anti-trade policies is a very real concern for the global economy, it is worth noting that the G-20’s desire for free trade was every bit as sincere as the UN’s commitment to human rights. What the G-20 members call “free trade” is really government managed trade, complete with complex multinational trade agreements that Trump is right to oppose.After all, if the G-20’s criticism of protectionism was worth more than the ink it was written with, then there could have easily long been an agreement dropping all trade restrictions — or at the very least anti-trade policies between member countries. Yet instead every single member of the G-20 engages in a variety of  protectionist schemes.

For example, Canada engages in staunch milk protectionism, which has led to US dairies asking Trump to retaliate against America’s usually hospitable neighbors to the north.

Read More »

Trump Should Follow Putin on Military Spending

March 20, 2017

Tags
Taxes and SpendingWar and Foreign PolicyLast week was a tale of two cities. In Washington President Trump followed through on his plans to escalate US military spending, proposing a budget that included $639 billion for the Pentagon — a $54 billion budget increase. Meanwhile, in Moscow, the Russian government has announced a 25% reduction in defense spending, the sharpest cut since the 1990s. This brings Russia’s total military budget for the year to around $50 billion dollars, less than Trump’s proposed increase.  Not only does this demonstrate the absurdity of the beltway’s desire to portray Vladimir Putin as the world’s most dangerous man, but it further highlights the irrationality of the Pentagon’s budget.

Trump has attempted to justify his spending binge by parroting the beltway-conservative line that the Pentagon was left to wither away under the Obama administration. Unfortunately the actual record shows this excuse holds up about as well as the former president’s peace prize, with the military budget being consistently higher under Obama than during the famed “military buildup” of the Reagan administration.It is also worth noting that in spite of politicians’ tendency to describe the Pentagon’s budget as “defense spending,” it would be accurately described today as its war budget.

Read More »

Will Trump Drain the Swamp with Blockchain?

March 17, 2017

Tags
Big GovernmentU.S. EconomyEntrepreneurshipEarlier this week Donald Trump took steps to streamline the executive branch. As the summary of the order reads:This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies.While this is being sold as the first step in fulfilling Steve Bannon’s promise to “deconstruct the administrative state,” it is important to acknowledge that we’ve heard such rhetoric before. The Obama administration also made nominal gestures to “consolidate, streamline, and improve” government agencies during its first 100 days, with then-OMB chief Peter Orszag being sold to the press as a “deficit hawk” who was “nerd sexy.” The meaningfulness of this executive order will depend entirely upon Mick Mulvaney, the man who now holds Orszag’s old office.Mulvaney also has built a reputation as a deficit hawk, and one of the few Republicans in Congress who understood that spending cuts had to include the Pentagon. If Trump, Bannon, and Mulvaney, however, are serious about changing business as usual in Washington, the administration will not be content in merely cutting a few staff positions or shutting down a few redundant programs.

Read More »

A Step Towards De-Politicizing Science

March 17, 2017

The Trump administration has released its proposed 2018 budget, and within it are some things worth cheering. Trump’s “America First budget” includes needed cuts to the regulatory state, defunds efforts to purchase more Federal land, eliminates funding for 19 minor government agencies, and makes significant cuts to a number of more significant ones — including the State Department, HUD, and Commerce. Unfortunately, the proposal also reflects the myth that America’s military is underfunded, calling for a $52 billion increase for the Pentagon and another $2.8 billion increase for Homeland Security. The budget also ignores America’s web of entitlement programs, the larger driver of the nation’s fiscal woes.
While the Trump budget, should it pass, would do

Read More »

Trump’s Budget a First Step Toward De-Politicizing Science

March 16, 2017

Tags
U.S. EconomyThe Trump administration has released its proposed 2018 budget, and within it are some things worth cheering. Trump’s "America First budget" includes needed cuts to the regulatory state, defunds efforts to purchase more Federal land, eliminates funding for 19 minor government agencies, and makes significant cuts to a number of more significant ones — including the State Department, HUD, and Commerce. Unfortunately, the proposal also reflects the myth that America’s military is underfunded, calling for a $52 billion increase for the Pentagon and another $2.8 billion increase for Homeland Security. The budget also ignores America’s web of entitlement programs, the larger driver of the nation’s fiscal woes.While the Trump budget, should it pass, would do little to change government spending as a whole, the targeted cuts would have a positive impact beyond the US debt clock. For example, the proposed cuts to the Energy Department, the EPA, and the National Institute of Health represent a significant step toward separating state and science.It should go without saying that scientific research is a vital part of civilized society, allowing for technological breakthroughs that dramatically increase the quality of life for mankind as a whole.

Read More »

NFL Free Agency and the Market Process

March 9, 2017

Tags
Free MarketsEntrepreneurshipPricesToday is the official start of NFL free agency, when teams begin filling their rosters with new players for the upcoming season. This, along with the NFL draft, is one of the biggest days for pro football’s “business season” which is followed as closely by most NFL fans as the games themselves. This time of the year, however, is not only a great subject for discussion at your favorite sports bar, it is a great illustration of economics in action.For example, free agency is a perfect example of how prices are formed on the market.In Human Action, Mises begins his section of Valuation and Appraisement with the following:The ultimate source of the determination of prices is the value judgments of the consumers. Prices are the outcome of the valuation preferring a to b. They are social phenomena as they are brought about by the interplay of the valuations of all individuals anticipating in the operation of the market. Each individual, in buying or not buying and in selling or not selling, contributes his share to the formation of the market prices.The truth of Mises’s words come to life during NFL free agency where 32 teams are consumers, and what they are buying are the rights to professional athletes.Each team must decide the value they place on the players available.

Read More »