I always got into similar arguments with a libertarian relative — who also considered himself a good Catholic. From Ed at Gin and Tacos:
I am thrilled that the government regulates the living shit out of every aspect of my present endeavor, from mandating certified training for the mechanics to capping the number of hours pilots can fly in a day to putting the aircraft through regular safety inspections to regulating the process of air traffic control to resisting calls to privatize airport security. None of this is “free market.” It is the result of government meddling.
The good libertarian relies on the free market to solve problems on its own. Take a couple of hamburger chains, for instance. The one that makes bad food will go out of business. Customers won’t eat there! Thus the market, left alone, will punish those who fail to provide what people want. How cute. Let’s leave the airline industry alone – bust the unions, abandon all regulation, let the market set whatever wage it will, let the pilots be on for 36 hours at a crack – and let the same process go to work. Markets will force airlines to keep their planes safe, otherwise no one will pay to fly with them!
In order for the market to punish the backsliders, consumers must be made aware that Airline X is unsafe. Since we don’t have regulations and inspections, how will we know? Well, look up. We will know which airlines shirk on maintenance and safety when we see their planes plunging out of the sky. Here’s where my Mises Institute friends come in.
As market acolytes, I believe that they should volunteer to be on the plane(s) that serve the purpose of communicating this essential information to all of us. In the airline industry, the market’s way of telling us who is inferior involves a lot of people dying. The system works really well – let airlines be, see who fails, and punish them with one’s wallet – for everyone except the people on the plane.
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A great post at Pandagon.
Responding to a brilliant article by Camila Batmanghelidjh in The Independent, she says:
Whenever something like this happens, there’s a widespread tendency to shy away from trying to understand why, for fear that doing so will somehow come across as excusing those who commit violence, especially against their own communities. But refusing to understand the situation leaves us in an even uglier space. After all, the violence in concentrated in some communities and not others; the link between who riots and poverty is undeniable. (Not that some people don’t try, as one woman on Twitter complained to me that she’s totally seen expensive sneakers on the feet of a rioter, which apparently renders the entire problem of poverty in Britain moot. This, despite the fact that a pair of sneakers is not a job, it is not an education, and what it costs probably couldn’t even pay for a week’s worth of meals.)
Definitely go read. Both.
You know, I got thinking this morning. I spent GW’s administration studying constitutional law. It looks like I’ll be studying macroeconomics for the next couple of years, with a dash of what – sociology? – thrown in, watching London.
Who says there’s no silver lining?
But what was the biggest, most time and media and attention-consuming economic debate in this country in recent months? Was it which are the best jobs measures to get America back to work? Was it how many more rounds of easing should the Fed undertake?
No. It was whether to raise the debt ceiling or default.
Yes, there are many policy makers who either don’t understand these dynamics or are purely politically motivated. Some are cynically and solely driven to make the President look bad, with no regard for collateral damage. Others are acting on the belief that smaller government, and thus cuts and further austerity will allow growth to flourish, despite daily evidence that this is backwards.
If you are Ben or Barack, IMHO, you need to ignore them from here on in.
This morning, as my son was upstairs changing his clothes for day camp, I suddenly heard barking dogs in my alley. From the sound, i could tell that at least one of them was the neighbor’s pit bull, who while charming and affectionate, is also good at getting out of the yard and roaming the block. I worry about her because while she’s a good dog (generally), she doesn’t have an identifying collar and one of these days is going to be picked up by animal control. But there was another dog barking too: they’ve recently adopted a second bull, also friendly and affectionate, but he hadn’t figured out how to get out of the house.
Until today, as I discovered.
When I stepped outside to see what the commotion was about, i saw both dogs in the alley having a tug of war over something. When I looked closer I could see it was one of the most recent batch of feral kittens that live in my yard and my other neighbor’s yard. There was another one cowering behind some lumber.
“Get!” I began to yell at the dogs. “Get out of here, GO HOME!” The male dog looked at me curiously: he tried to obey, then turned back to the kitten, then turned back to me, then back to the kitten. Sam, my son, stepped out of the house.
“Kiddo, go back inside,” I said. “The dogs are being very naughty and have killed a kitten. I don’t want you to see this.”
“I wanna see!” Sam said, and since he wouldn’t go back inside, I brought him along as I marched up the street to knock on my neigbhbor’s door. As we passed heir yard, i noticed another dead cat, this one full-grown, in THEIR alley, and ANOTHER dead cat in their yard.
When I knocked, a bunch of kids answered. “Could you get your mom or dad?” I asked. “The dogs are both out, and they’re eating kittens.”
“I’ll go get her,” said one, and the bunch rushed off. A little girl remained. “We went to a bwock pahty yestahday,” she said. “they had a BOUNCE!”
“Oh yeah? That must have been fun,” I replied as I waited. A few minutes later the kids came rushing out to get their dogs. As we walked back to my place, I could see two dead kittens on the sidewalk in front of my house, just bitten to shit. Along with the dead kitten up the alley, that made five dead cats in one day.
Now, if you ask me about pit bulls, i will tell you that they are some of the best dogs around. Great with kids and adults; highly trainable; smart. Many, including the two my parents owned, are great with cats: my parents’ bulls raised two abandoned kittens as if they were dogs. But some of them… not so good with the cats. That’s why I reluctantly don’t let my cats out of the house. Not here in southwest.
So that was my morning: shoveling dead kittens into a garbage can.
The violence is especially concentrated, for now, in the poorest parts of London with a multi-ethnic population – some of the areas just a few kilometres from the Olympic Park, where in less than a year, there will be millions of visitors.
I was reading some odd blog from London a year or two ago. He was talking about how these poor communities were ripped apart for the new Olympic facilities. He was talking about the beautiful allotment gardens that showed years, maybe decades of work – bulldozed.
New York Times
Zeinobia [Egyptian blogger and activist who took part in the protests that forced ex-Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak from power] made a similar observation from a much greater distance, writing: “I am sorry but you do not loot to object the murder of a young man, you are using his murder.”
Some, including former London mayor Ken Livingstone, suggested that the Tottenham riot was an unleashing of pent-up resentment over the weak economy, high unemployment rates and historically deep budget cuts that are decreasing government funding for poor communities and grass-roots charities. He blamed a sense that young Britons are facing “the bleakest future.”
Renmin Ribao, China
“The Olympics will be hosted next year; the security situation in London, which has always been a first-choice site for terrorist attacks, will be even grimmer. British police now face two main problems. First, as the government cuts police funding in order to reduce the deficit, British police will carry out massive layoffs. With insufficient manpower and financial resources, they will inevitably be overwhelmed with problems in maintaining social order. Second, after the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, the credibility of the British police has declined and there is still a very long way to go in rebuilding the credibility of the police and restoring public support, says Qu Bing, Institute of European Studies, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.”
There’s more, on both sides.
For the American Dream. This is the result of those recent house meetings. Take a look.
Stock market down 17% in two and half weeks while the bond market has reduced the yield on the Ten-Year Treasury from 3% to 2.35%, and break-even five-year inflation has fallen from 2.1% to 1.7%. I think that is a very loud wake-up call for Mr. Obama–that it is long past time for him to stop talking about how surrendering to Republicans on long-run spending priorities will bring the confidence fairy who will then gift us with a strong recovery and start actually doing his job.