Blog author: jcarter
Monday, May 2, 2016
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You Are $13,000 Poorer Because of Federal Regulations
Ronald Bailey, Reason.com

New study quantifies the damage to economic growth that the accumulation of regulations causes.

Frugality is Hard to Afford
A. Yesim Orhun and Mike Palazzolo, Social Science Research Network

We find that the financial losses low income households incur due to underutilization of these strategies can be as large as half of the savings they accrue by purchasing cheaper brands.

US Commission on Civil Rights Fails to Understand Religious Liberty Laws
Jane Clark Scharl, The Daily Signal

A nine-page dissent released by two members of the eight-member commission defended both the commonsense nature of the religious freedom legislation attacked by the majority and the motives of those advocating for such laws.

Are We Going in Circles Concerning Freedom and Economic Growth?
James Clark, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Economic freedom and flourishing may be correlated, but this does not tell us whether there is a direct causal relationship between them.

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Obama addressing students at his town hall meeting in London. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

There’s not a lot of agreement when it comes to the Great Recession and the 2008 financial crisis; either about what caused it or what ended it. In a recent speech, President Barack Obama blamed the “reckless behavior of a lot of financial institutions around the globe” and “the folks on Wall Street” for causing this economic slump. Who or what finally ended this recession? According to President Obama: President Obama. While reflecting on what his presidency will be remembered for, he said, “I don’t think I’ll have a good sense of my legacy until 10 years from now when I can look back with some perspective and get a sense of what worked and what didn’t. There are things I’m proud of … Saving the world economy from a Great Depression, that was pretty good.” Acton’s director of research, Samuel Gregg, was “startled” by the president’s claim.

In a new piece for The Stream, Gregg argues that far from saving the planet, the president and government “probably mucked things up.” While he agrees that banks’ recklessness were partially to blame for the financial crisis, government agencies and their poor policies had a bigger effect:

Back in December 2007, the Nobel economist Vernon Smith warned that the activities of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were buttressed by the assumption that, as government-sponsored enterprises with lower capital-requirements than private institutions, they could always look to the Federal government for assistance if unusually high numbers of their clients defaulted. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Smith underscored, had always been understood as “implicitly taxpayer-backed agencies.” Hence they continued what are now recognized as their politically driven and fiscally irresponsible lending policies until both were consigned to Federal conservatorship in September 2008.

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Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

In honor of the 2016 Wilberforce Weekend, the Colson Center for Christian Worldview sponsored and the Washington Times Advocacy Department prepared a special report on energizing and equipping Christian leadership in the spirit of William Wilberforce.

In the section on honoring the late Chuck Colson and his legacy, the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, co-founder and president of the Acton Institute, discusses the common bond he shared with the evangelical leader:

Here is what I wanted to say in conclusion, and that is that Chuck Colson was no fake ecumenist. Chuck Colson was not interested in the form of ecumenism, where people would politely talk with one another so as to negotiate away the truths of the faith so that we can talk about how we liked one another so much.

Chuck was a man of real faith, a real conviction and a real honesty. He was also a man who is captivated by Jesus Christ, and it is that that drew he and I together, along with people like Cardinal Avery Dulles and Father Richard John Neuhaus, of happy memory. That was his ecumenism. His idea of ecumenism was that as we move closer to Jesus Christ, we look around and find that we have also moved closer to each other.

Read more . . .

“I never saw a supply and demand curve in seminary. I should have.”

This was written by Virginia Congressman David Brat in an academic paper back in 2011, when he was still an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College. The paper offers a unique exploration of the intersections of economics, policy, and theology, promoting a holistic view of economic freedom and social justice united with Christian witness.

Brat, who holds both a Master of Divinity and a Ph.D in economics, has been in Congress for just over a year, and in a recent interview with Ben Domenech, it appears as though he’s retained much of that original perspective.

The discussion covers a range of subjects (economics, education, foreign policy), but one of the more striking bits comes when Domenech asks Brat about the decline of religion in American life and the corresponding erosion of local communities and civic institutions. Brat’s response is wide and varied, but he begins by noting that modern society as a whole is now in “uncharted territory.” (more…)

A few weeks ago in connection with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I looked at Lex Luthor as the would-be crony capitalist über Alles, and pointed to Bruce Wayne along with Senator Finch as the economic and political counterpoints to such corruption, respectively.

In this week’s Acton Commentary, Daniel Menjivar looks more closely at Bruce Wayne as representative of aristocratic virtue, the capitalist hero to Luthor’s crony capitalist villain. And while, as Menjivar concludes, “In cape and cowl he is a true hero, the Dark Knight. But in suit and tie, Bruce Wayne is the quintessential capitalist superhero, a shining example of corporate nobility,” Menjivar also notes that Wayne is an imperfect hero.

Threat Bruce Wayne“One clear fault is Bruce’s assumption that by simply fulfilling the material needs of the survivors he has done his part. This is most clearly evidenced in the character of Wallace Keefe, the very man that Bruce Wayne pulled from the rubble of the Wayne building in Metropolis. Wallace loses his legs in the aftermath of the battle, however, he refuses and returns all of Bruce Wayne’s checks,” writes Menjivar.
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Blog author: jcarter
Friday, April 29, 2016
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House Committee Votes to Require Women to Register for Draft
Associated Press

A House committee has approved an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that requires women to register for the military draft.

It’s time to rename capitalism
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

Maybe “capitalism” really isn’t the right word for the free enterprise system, the deep magic that has made America the richest, most powerful nation on Earth.

America’s Uneasy History with Free Trade
I. M. Destler, Harvard Business Review

We seem to be awash in opinions about free trade these days. From U.S. presidential campaign rhetoric to the recently signed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, it might feel like this debate has just started. But debate over trade is as old as the American republic, and it is intertwined with economic theories of competition and geopolitics.

Elon Musk, Crony Capitalist
Veronique de Rugy, Reason.com

The billionaire should spend his own money, not the taxpayers’.

chobani-ceoAs politicians continue to decry the supposed “greed” of well-paid investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs — promoting a variety of reforms that seek to mandate minimums or cap executive pay — one company is demonstrating the value of economic freedom and market diversity.

Chobani, a privately owned greek yogurt manufacturer, recently announced it will be giving a 10% ownership stake to its roughly 2,000 full-time workers, a move that could result in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars for some employees.

According to the New York Times:

Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who founded Chobani in 2005, told workers at the company’s plant here in upstate New York that he would be giving them shares worth up to 10 percent of the company when it goes public or is sold.

The goal, he said, is to pass along the wealth they have helped build in the decade since the company started. Chobani is now widely considered to be worth several billion dollars.

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