23 Nov 2018

“Liberty Classroom” Master Subscription BONUS for U.S. Residents

Economics, Education, Shameless Self-Promotion No Comments

Hey boys and girls, if you’ve always wanted to subscribe to Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom but have been hesitating to pull the trigger, now’s your chance. If you subscribe to the MASTER membership anytime during November 2018, then in addition to all the great benefits you get from Tom, I’ll send you any two (2) of the following books autographed to the person of your choice:

(For more details about each book, click the relevant link on the left margin of this post.)

Note, you must get the MASTER membership at Liberty Classroom to be eligible for my bonus, and you have to designate a U.S. mailing address for your 2 books.

At Liberty Classroom with the Master membership, you receive lifetime access to all of the courses, plus a whole lot more. (Scroll down the main page to see the extra features.) As far as the content I created for Liberty Classroom, you are getting my two courses on the History of Economic Thought, which cover the classical economists, the Marginal Revolution, and 20th century economics. The economists range from David Hume to Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk to Irving Fisher to Robert Lucas. Here’s a sample lecture from my mini-series on Bohm-Bawerk.

C’mon, you always hear people talking about “the Coase theorem” but you don’t know what it is. (Chances are, they don’t either.) Join Liberty Classroom to get the inside scoop.

Just be sure to use my link when you go to Liberty Classroom to be eligible for my extra promo.

Note, you’ll want to act now because Tom himself has a special BLACK FRIDAY pricing deal (there’s a countdown at the bottom of his main page).

21 Nov 2018

Murphy Triple Play

Bob Murphy Show, Shameless Self-Promotion 12 Comments

==> My recent LMR blog post on price inflation.

==> The Bob Murphy Show ep. 5 features Scott Horton on Waco, foreign policy, and Trump’s electoral strategy.

==> My latest IER post highlights the impact on state budgets from the new Capital Alpha carbon tax study.

18 Nov 2018

Driving Out the Canaanites

Religious 12 Comments

On a recent episode of the Tom Woods Show, Gene Epstein debated Elliot Resnick on the question of whether the state of Israel should give up any territory to the Palestinians. Resnick offered a Biblical defense of Israel’s right to the land, to which Gene said something like (I’m paraphrasing): “As libertarians, we can’t justify the ancient Israelites taking land from the Canaanites whose only crime was to be in the wrong place.”

(Incidentally, I am not trying to summarize the full positions of both men; click the link and listen to the debate if you are curious. They each said a whole lot more than the narrow exchange I’ve detailed above.)

This is a very complex subject–involving, among other things, the notion of Original Sin–but the following passage that we covered in my Bible study tonight is relevant. It’s from Deuteronomy 18:

9“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,e anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. 13You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, 14for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.

I added the bold to show that, in the eyes of the Lord, the nations being driven out of the Promised Land weren’t simply squatting. They were engaged in abominable practices, including sacrificing their newborns to the pagan god Molech.

(That foreign practice also sheds more light on the initially shocking episode when God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son–and then God stops him at the last moment.)

17 Nov 2018

Economists Overlook Problems With a Carbon Tax

Climate Change, Shameless Self-Promotion 49 Comments

My latest at IER. One of the analysts there said he thought this was the single best explanation I’ve given, for what’s wrong with the common “tax ‘bads’ not goods” argument. Anyway, I am using Tyler Cowen, Scott Sumner, and John Cochrane as foils in this piece. An excerpt:

Try a different example: Imagine if the IRS, rather than applying the federal income tax to all workers, instead only applied the code to workers who were between the ages of 30 and 50. And furthermore, the government bumped up the marginal tax rates, in order to squeeze the same amount of total revenue out of workers in their 30s and 40s, as they currently derive from the entire workforce.

Again, besides basic issues of fairness, such an approach would be grossly inefficient, because it would give a huge incentive for workers to rearrange their activities, sucking as much income “forward” into their late 20s and pushing it “backward” to when they were 51 or older. With marginal tax rates of (say) 85 percent for people in their mid-years, lots of skilled workers would put forth less effort at age 48 (say) because of the punitive tax. Society would thus lose out on their productive work, and the IRS would have nothing to show for it, either, since you can’t tax income that isn’t generated in the first place.

Now that I’ve warmed the reader up, consider a third example: Suppose instead of raising $100 billion annually through an income tax, the government instead tries to raise that same amount of revenue each year by taxing the carbon content of economic activities. This too would have an immediate impact on behavior, causing people to rearrange their affairs in order to minimize their exposure to the punitive new tax. Because the “tax base” of carbon-intensive activities is smaller than the base of “activities generating income,” in this respect a carbon tax is obviously more economically disruptive than a conventional income tax.

If you’re tempted to say, “But Murphy, the whole point is that we want to discourage carbon emissions but encourage working,” then you need to read the article. I get that.

11 Nov 2018

God’s Instructions for Israel’s Kings

Religious 18 Comments

Wow, even though I’ve read this before, I somehow never retained these passages where God anticipates that Israel will have kings. (Note that this comes *before* the passage in Samuel where Israel demands a king and God warns them of all the bad consequences this will entail.)

Anyway here is Dt. 17: 14-20:

14“When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

18“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.

09 Nov 2018

Soft Launch: The Bob Murphy Show

Shameless Self-Promotion 32 Comments

I am still waiting for iTunes to officially accept the podcast, and I’m about to get on the road. So at this point, I’m throwing caution to the winds and letting you guys take a sneak peak.

Here’s the website for my new podcast. Kick the tires and tell me if you see anything, especially places where I forgot to change the text from the website template.

You *should* be able to subscribe to my direct feed, but like I said, I’m still not synced yet with iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play. But, you can at least listen to the 3 episodes that are up.

Last thing: Please don’t publicize this, because I want to be on the main podcast sites before blasting this out to the teeming masses.

07 Nov 2018

Impressionist Does Robin Williams, Jack Nicholson, and even Ron Paul

Humor No Comments

My dad sent me this compilation. Pretty good.

07 Nov 2018

Catching Up on Contra Krugman

Contra Krugman, Shameless Self-Promotion 3 Comments

I realized *I* hadn’t listened to some of these, so let’s make sure I didn’t miss anything:

==> In Ep. 161 we tackle a question from a listener, on how to unwind the Fed’s balance sheet.

==> In Ep. 162 we’re live from the Contra Cruise, handling tough questions for libertarians (roads, kids, military defense).

==> In Ep. 163 we have Scott Horton on to discuss Trump and Saudi Arabia.