Correcting the Record

Editor, The New York Times 229 West 43rd St . New York , NY 10036 To the Editor: Because Frank Rich sensibly claims that "the job growth the Bush administration kept bragging about ('52 straight months!') was a mirage inflated by the housing bubble," I'm mystified that Mr. Rich so unquestioningly supports stimulus spending (" Herbert Hoover Lives," Feb. 1.) Today's woes are the result of this bubble having burst. Many of the consumption and production plans made during the bubble period – plans made on the basis of out-of-whack prices – are now proven to be unsustainable. Workers and... continue reading
31 January 2009 Adam Davidson, National Public Radio Dear Adam: I enjoyed your and Alex Blumberg's Jan. 29 report on the resurgence of Keynesian economics. In your list of anti-Keynesian schools of thought, though, you missed an important group of scholars: the Austrian economists, whose most prominent exponent was F.A. Hayek. Unlike Keynesians and monetarists, Austrians reject the idea that recessions are due chiefly to aggregate demand being too low. Instead, Austrians focus on the time it takes to correct any misdirections of resources caused by distortions in the complex pattern of individual prices. Sadly, almost no one today has... continue reading
Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: Terence M. O'Sullivan alleges that "voluminous research" shows that legislatively mandated higher construction wages do not raise builders' costs because these higher wages "are generally offset by greater productivity" ( Letters, Jan. 30). Research – and economic logic – do indeed show that mandated higher wages are correlated with higher worker productivity. But contrary to Mr. O'Sullivan's argument, the reason is that firms prevented from paying wages lower than some regulatory minimum hire only workers capable of producing enough to justify the higher wage... continue reading
Editor, The Washington Times Dear Editor: Citibank will now reject delivery of a corporate jet. As you report, "Pressure to cancel the deal came from the Obama administration and amid a chorus of concerns from politicians who are worried about how banks that have received federal funds are spending the money" (" Citigroup won't accept new jet," Jan. 28). Overlook the sad fact that bailout money is being used to exponentially expand the scope of market activities over which government exercises direct control, and instead ask: Does no one see the sick hypocrisy here? A man who flies in a... continue reading
Editor, Washington Post 1150 15th St., NW Washington , DC 20071 Dear Editor: In "Three Crises In One," Robert Samuelson double-counts by identifying "the collapse of consumer spending" and "a trade crisis" caused by Americans now spending less on imports as two separate problems with today's economy (Jan. 26). When consumers reduce their spending they do so for imports as well as for domestically produced goods and services. It makes no more sense to distinguish reduced consumer demand for American-made outputs from reduced demand for foreign-made outputs than it does to distinguish reduced consumer demand for Ohio-made outputs from reduced... continue reading
News Editor, WTOP Radio Washington , DC Dear Sir or Madam: You report Jan. 25 that "President Barack Obama's ban on earmarks in the $825 billion economic stimulus bill doesn't mean interest groups, lobbyists and lawmakers won't be able to funnel money to pet projects. They're just working around it." This news is as surprising as January snow in Buffalo . As my colleague Russ Roberts points out, pork is as inseparable from government spending as it is from ham sandwiches. Sincerely, Donald J. Boudreaux Don Boudreaux is the Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University and... continue reading
Editor, The Wall Street Journal 200 Liberty Street New York , NY 10281 To the Editor: The headline of your report on Mayor Lawrence Morrissey of Rockford, Ill., spending time in Washington begging pooh-bahs there for money speaks volumes: "Wish List in Hand, Mayor Travels to Washington and Finds He's Not Alone" (Jan. 24). Mayor Morrissey's use of his time seeking government handouts is an ideal, if unintentional, tribute to a great son of Rockford , the economist Gordon Tullock. Forty-two years ago, in one of the most important papers published in economics during the 20th century, Tullock identified the... continue reading
Editor, Washington Post 1150 15th St., NW Washington , DC 20071 Dear Editor: Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner sides with those who worry, as you put it, that " Beijing has kept its currency artificially low to keep the prices of its goods cheap and generate trade surpluses. That has led to a global capital imbalance, as American consumers borrowed and spent and China became the United States ' largest foreign creditor" (" Geithner Says China Manipulates Its Currency," Jan. 23). And he threatens to act "aggressively" to stop this alleged wrongdoing. Overlook the reality that the only way Beijing... continue reading
Editor, WTOP Radio Washington , D.C. Dear Editor: Interviewed this morning in your report on how Uncle Sam will assume many of the insurance obligations for the Metro transit system, Rep. Jim Moran asserted that this assumption of obligations will "cost taxpayers nothing." How absurd. Government provision of insurance to Metro would cost taxpayers nothing only if it were certain that whatever insurance claims Metro files in the future will be lower in value than whatever insurance premiums Metro pays. But if this outcome were certain, each and every private insurance company would be jumping at the opportunity to insure... continue reading
Editor, Washington Post 1150 15th St., NW Washington , DC 20071 Dear Editor: President Obama's inaugural declaration that "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works" is further evidence that the wisdom and values that animated America 's founding generations are lost. If Thomas Jefferson thought as Mr. Obama does, he would have written in 1776: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their government with the unalienable right to be taxed, regulated, scolded, herded, harassed, and otherwise ruled in whatever ways... continue reading