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no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Comments on Comments #7

February 19th, 2008

This is not really a full-fledged “Comments on Comments,” because I’m working on limited content and a short week. I’ve got a few comments, and a few items which would otherwise appear in a “Catching up Around the ‘Sphere” type post:

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Discussing my vacation itinerary,Anna confirms my excitement for Jackson Hole’s legendary steeps:

I’m not a boarder, but I am a skier, and Jackson Hole is a wonderful place, especially if you like steeps.

I’m also fond of Colorado, but I have family there, so I’m more familiar with it. In general, I prefer the west, with the wide steep runs and better powder, to the northeast which is more slalom-like.

I would need to mount legitimate bindings on my skis if I were to consider using them for anything other than gaper runs in March. I got them used, on eBay, and they’re mounted with Demo bindings, which conveniently pop off your boot, when you least want them to. The only time I want my bindings to release is if my ACL is in jeopardy. I would, however, like to ski some powder if we get it. I don’t want to pay to rent a set when I’m out there, and I can’t carry both skis and my board on the airplane. Maybe The Highlander and I will swap skis for snowboard for a run or two, if the conditions are right.

I too, prefer the West to the East, although I had a great time at Killington, VT, with my father in 1997. Of course, we got 11 inches of snow on Friday night, so that helped, immensely. Tremblant, in Quebec was also very nice, but the conditions (zero degrees one day, 38 degrees the next) were reminiscent of the Michigan winters I’ve had to suffer all my life. We only get out once a year to somewhere great, so we’ve got this sort of running list of resorts that we all want to visit. Once we hit them all, we’ll probably put the favorites on a rotation, throwing in a new one every few years, for good measure.

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Regarding my ongoing criticism of George Reisman’s policy proposal, where I said, “Of course, as Reisman argues, no creditor lends money anticipating the future cash flows to be decimated by inflation,” Anna responds:

Actually I think they ought to. Caveat emptor and all that. We’ve had constant inflation since 1913… I think any savvy lender by now prices inflation loss into their interest rate.

They absolutely do price an inflation premium into the rates at which we can borrow money. This is at least part of what I mean when I suggest that in the absence of central bank manipulation, long term interest rates (e.g., for mortgages and the like) would be in the neighborhood of 2-3%, not 7%. Probably the most efficient way to increase homeownership would be to eliminate inflation via monetary policy. Sure, you can temporarily increase ownership by “stimulating” demand and creating asset-bubbles, but the long-run solution is to keep interest rates low and stable.

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An addendum to a previous post on Massachusetts’ failed attempt to implement universal healthcare. I noted that the sympathy-case, chronically ill, mother of five, below-the-poverty-level example would be asked to pay something like $40/month for her “insurance.” Of course, the outliers like this single mother deserve compassion, I’m not saying that she doesn’t. But her plight is as much a product of the system as it is a “market failure.”

For comparison’s sake, I’m a 27-year old male, active and in good health. I haven’t been to the doctor for a medical condition in years. I pay something like $40 per paycheck for my insurance policy, through work, although my employer picks up the balance bringing the total close to $250/month. At my age, and in my health, I’d be far better off buying A) catastrophic coverage and B) disability coverage, than I am forfeiting $3000/year on health coverage I don’t use. I’ve spent less money on doctor’s visits and medications in the past year than I have on health insurance premiums in the last month.

My case is, anecdotally, an example of a broken system crowding out otherwise beneficial solutions. Were I free to spend my health-care dollars in whatever manner I see fit, I could spend some of the money buying goods and services from a company which could profitably employ those people, lifting them from the depths of poverty. Or, I could give more to charities which would help the truly destitute. Until I have the freedom to spend $100/month on catastrophic coverage, instead of $300 a month on comprehensive coverage I don’t need, I won’t be able to help out.

When I have that choice, and I refuse to help, then and only then can you accuse me of being greedy, selfish, and insensitive.

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One of my Mises University classmates, Anthony Gregory, is afraid of Obama. So am I. For precisely the same reasons:

He actually terrifies me precisely because I find him rather likeable. When a radical libertarian finds something to like in a statist of this caliber, you know we are dealing with a dangerous politician.

I would still prefer an Obama presidencey over H-rod in a heartbeat, but Obama’s boy-next-door likeability puts him squarely on my “potentially the Antichrist” list.

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I am really digging Umair Haque’s project, which I think I first stumbled upon via FSK’s shared items… I’ve been reading this blog for a few weeks now. Here’s a relatively short and intriguing piece, for starters. He focuses alot on this idea of “DNA,” which I interpret as the fundamental structure of the corporation, the nation, the economy, etc. When a company’s DNA is fubar, it’s about to go belly-up. When a nation’s or an economy’s DNA is fubar, hold on. Tightly.

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Angelica is a self-professed “cheerful statist,” yet she exhibits at least some libertarian tendencies when questioning the seeming arbitrariness of the bacon-dog-bans in the DPRC.

What’s wrong with grilling food on the streets? The authorities never seem to give a straight answer even though the article (admittedly one with a very pro-dog slant) is thousands and thousands of words long.

Angie, the next time you apply your big, fat, statist apologetics to the policy problem du jour ask yourself the same question. What’s wrong with gay marriage? What’s wrong with individually funded and private retirement accounts? What’s wrong with allowing bar patrons to enjoy a fucking cigarette? Why can’t I engineer my Jeep to run on vegetable oil without running afoul of the law? What’s wrong with any number of things that are deemed illegal in any number of locales throughout the nation?

The appalling thing is, that it takes a ban on bacon-wrapped hot dogs in a city 3,000 miles away, to incite these feelings in you. You should be just as incensed, if not more so, by every one of the millions upon millions of rights violations that governments and their agents perpetrate on a daily basis. Maybe this will be your wake-up call.

If it is, and you’re ever in Detroit, I’ll treat you to a bacon-dog at my favorite little suburban hot-dog stand.

Comments

2 Comments

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  • Angelica says on: March 2, 2008 at 1:39 pm

     

    Well, you know, I love my poorly-regulated street food. But on the other hand, I also want the fine restaurants I patronize to get a little heat from food safety and sanitation inspectors once in a while. And I love my big gubmint healthcare (I live in Taiwan) and social safety nets are OK by me.

no third solution

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