Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Round up

I could not resist reading The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm.

The authors begin with this quote attributed to Mark Twain: "History may not repeat iself, but it rhymes." They go on to write,

To fully understand the panic of 1907, one must consider its context. A Republican moralist was in the White House. War was fresh in mind. Immigration was fueling dramatic changes in society. New technologies were changing people's everyday lives. Business consolidators and their Wall Street advisers were creating large, new cominations through mergers and acquisitions, while the government was investigating and prosecuting prominent exceutives -- led by an aggressive young prosecutor from New York. The public's attitude toward business leaders, fueled by a muckraking press, was largely negative. The government itself was becoming increasingly interventionist in society and, in some ways, more intrusive in individual life. Much of this was stimulated by postwar economic expansion that, with brief interruptions, had lasted about 50 years. ...

This morning's LA Times included "Southern California officials draw up wish lists for federal stimulus money." I have a hunch that similar activities are in full swing across the country.

But today's WSJ includes Philip Levy's "An 8.3% Deficit [today's] Is Plenty of Stimulus".

Fredric Bastiat is always helpful. He noted that "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

And, in this interview, Pete Boettke cites the race between the 3 S's: Adam Smith's prosperity from specialization, Joseph Schumpeter's prosperity from entrepreneurial discovery, and stupidity from the sausage factory.


And there is the Secretary of the Treasury-designate who "forgot" to pay his taxes. He'll be running the IRS?