Correcting the Record

Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: Peter Wallison masterfully exposes the pitfalls in Rep. Barney Frank's proposal to create a "systemic risk regulator" (" Congress Is the Real Systemic Risk," March 17). But it's worth emphasizing that we already have an excellent regulator of systemic risks: the market. Because participation in any aspect of the market is voluntary, each individual – risking only his or her own assets – chooses how, and how much, to participate. The competition, personal responsibility, and inherent decentralization characteristic of the market keep systemic risks... continue reading
Editor, The New York Times 229 West 43rd St . New York , NY 10036 To the Editor: Yesterday you devoted precious front-page space to a report on the environmental costs of soft toilet paper (" Mr. Whipple Left It Out: Soft Is Rough on Forests," Feb. 26). While I have no reason to doubt that, compared with manufacturing less-fluffy toilet paper, manufacturing fluffy toilet paper requires more tree-cutting, I resent your puritanical presumption that we Americans should feel guilty about our taste for maximum comfort in the commode. And keep in mind that if it's acceptable to criticize consumer... continue reading
16 February 2009 Editor, Washington Post Book World 1150 15th St., NW Washington , DC 20071 Dear Editor: Regardless of the merits or demerits of the gold standard, Frank Ahrens – reviewing Liaquat Ahamed's "Lords of Finance" – ignores an important historical fact when he joins Ahamed in indicting that monetary institution (Feb. 15). When Britain returned to the gold standard in 1925, it did so at the pre-WWI pound sterling price of gold. But because of inflation during the previous ten years, this price of gold was about ten percent too low. The result was deflationary pressures. These pressures,... continue reading
18 February 2009 Editor, CBS Radio World News Roundup Dear Editor: You reported in today's 9 a.m. edition that the Department of Agriculture proposes to have meat processors put country-of-origin labels on their products. In this report you note that "Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said that the program is voluntary, but could become mandatory if meat processors don't comply." It's clear that if Mr. Vilsack were an armed robber he'd assure persons looking down the barrel of his gun that he seeks only voluntary compliance with his requests that they hand over their money and jewels – but also that... continue reading
Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: Peter Morici asserts that America 's trade deficit with China causes "a huge drain on the demand for U.S.-made goods and services. The absence of reciprocal free trade is an important reason the U.S. economy is in its current mess," ( Letters, Feb. 11). Untrue. Dollars the Chinese do not spend on U.S.-made goods and services are invested in dollar-denominated assets. These investments raise demand for U.S. output just as would more direct expenditures on goods and services. Consider what happens, for example, if... continue reading
Editor, The New York Times 229 West 43rd St . New York , NY 10036 To the Editor: Paul Krugman thinks that that the stimulus package is too small (" The Destructive Center," Feb. 9). He, like many others, portrays today's recession as a major catastrophe that can be controlled only with major interventions. But the facts do not support the belief that this recession is especially dire. Writing today in a newspaper that is far less sensationalist on this topic than yours – the New York Post – economist Alan Reynolds points out that "With one exception – the... continue reading
Editor, The New York Times 229 West 43rd St . New York , NY 10036 To the Editor: Floyd Norris takes a shot at explaining " The Upside to Resisting Globalization" (Feb. 6). His shot, alas, is a blank. While it's true that economies not integrated into the global economy do not decline when the global economy declines, this fact is poor consolation for the peoples in those economies. Their fortunes are not now falling simply because their fortunes never rose much to begin with. These people are today, as they have been for years, far poorer than even the... continue reading
Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: Ed Glaeser wisely argues that it's a bad deal to copy ideas from the New Deal – including that of subsidizing mortgages (" The GOP Has a Dumb Mortgage Idea," Feb. 5). As one of the most astute Americans ever to live, H.L. Mencken, said about the New Deal, "It is a puerile amalgam of exploded imbecilities, many of them in flat contradiction of the rest." And among the imbecilities that Mencken highlighted was the very one that Mr. Glaeser warns against. Mencken described... continue reading
Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: Dick Armey splendidly argues that we would all (save for the political class) be better off if the economics of F.A. Hayek were to prevail over that of J.M. Keynes (" Washington Could Use Less Keynes and More Hayek," Feb. 4). As Hayek himself observed in his final book, The Fatal Conceit, Keynes' economics is the product of impatience with long-run processes – an obsession with today and a disregard of tomorrow. This childishness makes Keynes' doctrines not only economically confused but also morally... continue reading
Editor, The New York Times 229 West 43rd St . New York , NY 10036 To the Editor: The title of Frank Rich's column Feb. 1 proclaims that " Herbert Hoover Lives." Indeed he does. But contrary to Mr. Rich's argument, Hoover 's ghost seems to animate President Obama at least as much as it animates G.O.P. members of Congress. In response to the economic downturn of the early 1930s, President Hoover signed the largest tariff hike in U.S. history (Smoot-Hawley); he tried to spur the residential real-estate market with the Federal Home Loan Bank Act; he sought to assist... continue reading