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Stossel Update

If you're a fan of John Stossel, there's a special edition of 20/20 Monday, March 29, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

I'll give out my "Give Me a Break" awards to the people, the institutions, and the insanity that I've targeted for ridicule over my last 30 years of reporting.

The libertarian content is typically buried within more sensational or popular items, but he's the only libertarian I can think of that has a consistent voice in today's media.

Arithmetic 101

BillOReilly.jpgSometimes I wonder at how deficient in basic math skills are our public figures and the talking heads. The other day (perhaps Tuesday) on his TV show, Bill O'Reilly was discussing the evil oil companies. Read more »

Chicken or Egg

Pat Buchanan on NBC's The McLaughlin Group this morning re: US involvment in the middle east:

Intervention is the incubator of terrorism.

As Good as a Politician's Promise

This week's Economist takes note of the perilous state of the US dollar, among other fiat currencies.

Two important factoids are offered to inspire thought on the matter:

1) "the price of gold has been rising, even though official inflation is low".
2) the present value of the US government's future obligations stands at $45 trillion.

No one should be allowed to read that second line without gulping. Read more »

Conservation of Labor

A common complaint against immigration is the loss of low-paying or unskilled jobs to the newly-arrived workers. What is rarely mentioned is that each immigrant also arrives with a set of needs and desires. These needs must be met by other workers somewhere (there are only so many jobs an immigrant can "steal" at a time.) Granted: some of these needs and desires will be met by imported goods and services - but the same can be said for the needs of long-time citizens. Read more »

Crime Control

In a NY Times Op-Ed today, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Daley, James Hahn, and Scott King take issue with The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. This act was approved by the House last year, and is now before the Senate.

...Congress is on the verge of passing legislation that would undercut the ability of local governments to hold the gun industry accountable for its role in flooding our cities with guns.

Do as I say, not as my friends do

The New York Post reports that "butt-banning Mayor Bloomberg" was seen "sitting passively at his table during a black-tie dinner while all around him smokers puff away on stogies".bloomberg.jpg Read more »

Tax Cut Non-Sequitur

I've always been an advocate of tax cuts. Reducing the amount of a bad thing, is a good thing. Leaving more of my income intact means I'll get to make more decisions about how to spend my money. And since few people know me better than I do, I'm more likely to be better off. Multiply this by many million people, and you've got the makings of a good idea. Read more »

Stossel Update

John Stossel's email list informs me that 20/20 is adding a new segment that is based on last week's "Top 10 Myths" segment:

"...Does cracking your knuckles give you arthritis? Is there a world population crisis? And do members of Congress not pay into Social Security? I'll tackle these myths and more."

I believe he will also have a "Give Me a Break" segment on homeopathy.

Friday, 10pm, ABC.

Stossel on 20/20

Anyone who caught John Stossel on 20/20 last Friday night, was treated to an excellent one-hour episode entitled "Lies, Myths and Downright Stupidity". In it he debunked his top 10 myths (and promoted his new book):

stossel.jpg10. Getting Cold Can Give You a Cold
9. We Have Less Free Time Than We Used To
8. American Families Need Two Incomes Read more »

DVD Movie Review - Open Range

Just out on DVD: Open Range - with Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall and Annette Bening. One thumb up (my thumb).
The premise is a few open range cattle grazers being threatened by the big, bad cattle rancher. I'll cut to the chase, then start rambling, then digress ('cause that's what I do). Read more »

The Economics of a 'No Brainer'

It's a great thing when you're confident in your decisions. You research a situation, you ponder the evidence, you wait for the right time, and then you act. It's even better when time lends support to your actions. Buying a home, only to find that home prices have soared, helps you sleep at night. Investing in the stock market, then watching as your profits grow doesn't feel bad either. Read more »

Reality TV Economics

PBS has recently been re-airing a series of TV shows that put a historical spin on reality TV. In each series a group of people volunteer to subject themselves to a few months of living in the past. In Frontier House, several families were placed in 1883 Montana. They had to grow their own food, build their own shelter, and basically eke out an existence. Read more »

Caught in a Pickle

Bob Herbert of the New York Times writes about globalization and the "exportation of jobs".

We've already witnessed the carnage in manufacturing jobs. Now, with white-collar jobs at stake, we've got executives at I.B.M. and Microsoft exchanging high-fives at the prospect of getting "two heads for the price of one" in India.

Won't Get Fooled Again

Op-Ed Columnist David Brooks of the NY Times writes:

...with the success of the Medicare reform bill. This week the G.O.P. behaved as a majority party in full. The Republicans used the powers of government to entrench their own dominance. They used their control of the federal budget to create a new entitlement, to woo new allies and service a key constituency group, the elderly.