You know the presidential race is in full rhetorical swing when candidates are rallying people against a dangerous enemy of America. It’s time to play on the most basic of voters’ instincts: fear and hate. The enemy in question has a worldwide network with agents embedded deep in the United States. It gets money from oil. And it has a name that makes the media jump to attention. Yes, the next president must save us from … Exxon. You could substitute other Big Business names there, depending on the political climate, but this is the one today’s candidates are naming... continue reading
What’s messier and more shameless than candidates campaigning to save the economy? Media coverage of that economy – the one all the candidates want to “stimulate.” The media coverage that’s driving people’s votes. Despite journalists and politicians’ gloomy outlook, two-thirds of Americans say their own finances are “secure,” according to a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll. That’s surprising when you consider the media’s take on the economy, where the push is very real for a big-spending, “stimulating” candidate. Washington must “ride to the rescue,” as one Washington Post columnist put it. A perfect example: while two-thirds of Americans surveyed said... continue reading
Amy Robach, a daytime anchor at MSNBC, recently reported on the “Today” show that “everyone’s talking about a recession.” The Business and Media Institute found that the broadcast media mentioned the economy or a recession in 54 stories during the first two weeks of 2008. When I was a child, one of the most popular shows on children’s television was the “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.” In one of the segments, Bullwinkle Moose played Mr. Know-It-All. His opening line always ended with “Now what does that mean?” Perhaps it is time we asked the same question about recession. There are a... continue reading
Immediately after the Iowa Straw Poll last August, the noted and respected journalist George Will referred to the FairTax believers who supported Mike Huckabee as “those FairTax people.” He made it sound as if the people who helped Huckabee finish an unexpected second place among Republican presidential contenders were politically challenged, unfit to associate with the political elites. Jay Bookman, a columnist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , referred to the FairTax believers in his editorial on Dec. 23, 2007, as a “cult.” He called it “Huckabee’s Fantasy FairTax” as Huckabee was surging in the unreliable presidential polls leading up to... continue reading
The good news is that voters obviously have some desire for a better tax system. The flat has been promoted by presidential candidates as diverse as Jerry Brown (1992) and Steve Forbes (1996 and 2000). This year, the national sales tax is getting attention because of Mike Huckabee’s Iowa victory. The bad news is that the American people have not yet chosen to nominate a pro-tax reform candidate and we are still stuck with the internal revenue code. This is unfortunate since economists have long argued that America's multiple-rate, loophole-ridden tax code penalizes productive behavior and undermines national competitiveness. One... continue reading
Up or down? Nobody really knows, if you’re talking about the economy. There are tons of predictions about what will happen in 2008 – everything from “recession” from much of the media to market maniac Jim Cramer predicting “sunny skies.” Gas prices are supposed to go up to $3.50 this spring, according to the Energy Information Administration. Or even $4 by February, if you believe NBC. But the truth of the matter remains, nobody knows. Americans are worried, many believing that what goes up must come down. The economy is surpassing Iraq as the No. 1 issue with voters thanks,... continue reading
Views side by side : read A Mortgage Bailout? by Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein for another view, and BMI Adviser Gary Wolfram's Econ 101: The Problem with Bailouts . Last week President Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson announced that the major players in the mortgage credit disruption had come to a consensus on how to move forward. They pointed to a statement put out by the American Securitization Forum which represents the people who own and who service the vast majority of American mortgages. The General and Financial press sprung into action, labeled it a bail-out, and went on... continue reading
Views side by side : read MSM Misses on Mortgage Rescue by Jerry Bowyer for another view, and BMI Adviser Gary Wolfram's Econ 101: The Problem with Bailouts . The Bush Administration proposal to assist homeowners who face mortgage resets violates many principles of free market economics. It involves the government in picking winners and losers and it interferes with private contracts – a cornerstone of freedom. In addition, while it may help some individuals, the economy as a whole is not in need of saving. Fourth quarter growth should come in around 2 percent, and unlike the conventional wisdom,... continue reading
Once upon a time, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby went off on the road to Bali. Fifty-five years later, politicians are heading to Bali for sun, sand and socialism – and they want us to pay for it to the tune of trillions of dollars. The Financial Times reported November 28 that the United Nations expects “rich industrialized countries shouldering a cut of 80 percent” of emissions. In effect, eco-extremists want the U.S. to spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year. The U.N. position makes us pay and lets China and India almost off the hook, despite their growing... continue reading
The media have been concerned about the falling value of the dollar and what may be causing it. One example that hits close to home here in Michigan is that the U.S. dollar is now worth less than the Canadian dollar. This is akin to the Detroit Red Wings losing 8-0 to the Montreal Canadiens. But currency markets are much like the market for any other goods. If the supply of one currency rises relative to the demand for that currency, then its price will fall. How does this work in exchange rate terms? To follow with the Canadian example,... continue reading