Week in Review

Quote(s) of the week

We checked the U.S. Constitution for clarification. We were looking for a provision stating that the ‘U.S. Federal Government shall enter the mortgage finance business and use taxpayers’ money to rescue irresponsible lenders and dimwit homeowners from their own mistakes.’ It wasn’t there. But so what? If there is anything the government can’t do, we have yet to find it.” – Bill Bonner

“Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have.” – Thomas Jefferson

Retire Social Security

by Alex Epstein

“August 14 marks Social Security’s 73rd birthday–placing it eight years past standard retirement age. But, despite the program’s $10-trillion-plus dollar shortfall, no politician dares to suggest that this disastrous program be phased out and retired; all agree on one absolute: Social Security must be saved. While the program may have financial problems, virtually everyone believes that some form of mandatory government-run retirement program is morally necessary.”

“But is it?” more…

When did the idea of freedom become a political orphan?

by Steve Chapman

“This year’s Republican National Convention had a different theme for each day. Monday was ‘Serving a Cause Greater than Self.’ Tuesday was ‘Service,’ Wednesday was ‘Reform’ and Thursday was ‘Peace.’

“So what was missing? Only what used to be held up as the central ideal of the party. The heirs of Goldwater couldn’t spare a day for freedom.

“Neither could the Democrats. Their daily topics this year were ‘One Nation,’ ‘Renewing America’s Promise’ and ‘Securing America’s Future.’ The party proclaimed ‘an agenda that emphasizes the security of our nation, strong economic growth, affordable health care for all Americans, retirement security, honest government, and civil rights.’ Expanding and upholding individual liberty? Not so much.” more…

Paulsons Quick Draw

by Peter Schiff

“Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the man who said that subprime was contained and that the Bazooka in his pocket would never be used, now assures us that the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be costless to taxpayers. Despite the near euphoria that the plan has sparked on Wall Street, the move will go down in history as the biggest policy blunder of all time, and will be credited as a pivotal point in the financial collapse of the American economy. The ultimate cost to Unites States citizens will be in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars, perhaps more.” more…

America’s Economic Myths

by David Saied

“Mainstream economists and so-called experts have filled the minds of most Americans with many economic myths that are constantly reinforced by the media and repeated on the streets. These myths are erroneous at best, sometimes based on half truths. The majority of them are just false. We read and hear them every day: ‘inflation’ is caused by rising oil prices; consumption is the most important element for economic growth; low interest rates are helpful to the economy; government expenditures help “stimulate” the economy; there is an energy ‘crisis,’ and many others. We will examine the most common ones and proceed to explain the reality behind these myths.” more…

The Market Loves Linux (That’s Why It’s Thriving)

by Daniel Coleman

“Linux serves as a marvelous example of market processes in action: human beings with harmonious goals helping each other reach them. It has been developed through decentralized collaboration by programmers from around the world.” more…

In the news…

  • Russia will be conducting joint naval exercises with Venezuela in November, just after the US Presidential Election. Meanwhile, two Russian bombers have landed in Venezuela for training missions. We’ve been playing in their backyard, (Georgia), now they are coming to play in ours. This does not bode well.
  • Senator Bunning says “Paulson Acts Like Socialist, Should Resign”. And so should most of Congress. Republicans and Democrats alike. Especially the Republicans who are most despicable because of how they mouth support for the free market, but then proceed to sell it out just about every chance they get. At least the Democrats are kind enough to be openly socialist.
  • Ron Paul endorses 3rd Party Candidates, all of them. Join Dr. Paul and the Campaign for Liberty in rejecting the one party system!
  • “No victory in Iraq says Petraeus”, or so says the BBC. Despite the gloomy headline the article  speaks of a “fragile but hopeful” situation. This should serve as a reminder of how there is no such thing as “objective” reporting.

And now the numbers

DOW Jones Industrials – 11,421.99 (+201.03)
Wilshire 5000 – 12,764.88 (+62.30)
CSI 300 (China) – 2,077.85 (-105.58 )
BSE 500 (India) – 5,429.81 (-185.31)
MICEX (Russia) – 1,137.76 (-96.95)
BOVESPA (Brazil) – 52,392.86 (+453.26)
Gold/oz – 764.50 (-38.30)
Silver/oz – 10.795 (- 1.53)
Copper/lb – 3.194 (+0.0955)
Oil/bbl (Brent) – 97.58 (- 6.51)
Wheat/bu (CBT) – 7.1925 (-0.3225)
Corn/bu – 5.6325 (+0.1475)
Rough Rice – 19.20 (+ 0.30)
Dollar/Euro – 1.4232 (-0.0042)
Yuan/Dollar – 6.833 (-0.0045)
Yen/Dollar – 107.945 (+ 0.17)
Dollar/Real – 0.5623 (-0.0193)
3 Month Treasury – 1.47 (- 0.30)
2 Year Treasury – 2.20 (- 0.10)
10 Year Treasury – 3.72 (+ 0.02)
30 Year Treasury – 4.31 (+ 0.01)
Fed Target Rate – 2.00 (UNCHG)
U.S. Public Debt – 9,682,116,996,293.83 (+13,922,873,241.54)

You will by now have noticed the new section, “In the news”. The idea is that most of the material I put in this newsletter are somewhat off of the beaten path opinion pieces. That focus will continue, and in addition will be supplemented with news stories. The “In the news” section will provide links to factual pieces, and sometimes contain a short note about my take on the story.

Meanwhile, in light of the nationalization of the mortgage industry this week, I highly recommend reading F.A. Hayek’s book The Road to Serfdom. Though the language is at times difficult, Hayek explains how Germany came to embrace National Socialism, also known as Nazism, in the WWII era. In doing so he relates his experiences to then present day Britan. From my estimate the United States has made substantial progress down the troubling road that Hayek travels in his book. If you know of an accessible synopsis of this book please let me know so that I can share it with others.

And finally on a lighter note, the Broncos destroyed the Raiders Monday night. Whee! Cutler is looking good, and after a decade it looks like we might have an acceptable long-term replacement for John Elway! And what about the rookie wide-receiver Eddie Royal? What a game! With Brandon Marshall back this offense is going to be awesome. Bring on the Chargers!

And that’s it for this week. Have a superb weekend!

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