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Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Economic Facts and Fallacies Sowell
Order on Amazon: Economic Facts and Fallacies, 2nd edition

Economist Thomas Sowell is the man. I first started reading his books back in January 2012 and this is the fourth book I read. I must say I enjoyed everyone of them! In this volume Sowell examines some of the economic myths and mantras by political pundits and debunks them with clear thinking, sound economic principles and actual statistics. In light of the sensitivity of some of the subject matter I appreciate Sowell’s tone of the book in which he bring to bear scholarship without inflammatory rhetoric. I think an economist that can write in a winsome manner (without being boring!) is a rare gift that few can pull off. Don’t expect the book to just knock on progressives—I found myself being challenged as well, especially with economic and political propositions that most people just assume is true. Especially insightful in this book is his discussion about government intervention in urban areas with affordable housing—and how ironically the more the government is involved the more it hurt the poor. There are many materials here that appear in Sowell’s The Housing Boom and Bust. I particularly enjoyed his chapter on the third world as well. Reading this book makes me realize how so little of economics must Americans grasp—and how that can be detrimental to one’s own interests and where one land in one’s opinion of government fiscal policies.

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The Housing Boom and Bust

 (Available on Amazon)

I learn tremendously every time I read the works of economist Thomas Sowell. This book is no exception. Here Sowell examines the recent housing boom and bust that happened in the late 2000s. Contrary to the opinions of liberal lawmakers and liberal pundits, the burst of the housing bubble is not a case of capitalism left unchecked; the book demonstrate that the boom and bust of the housing market is the result of government regulation and intervention. Sowell begins by documenting how zoning laws, open space laws and other host of regulations has the effect of rising costs of housing; the more ordinances a place has the more the cost goes up while places that has less arbitrary regulations tend to have lower costs of buying a home. The book also examine fiscal policies and government intrusion that forces financial institutions to make risky sub-prime loans; Sowell argues that this does no good to anyone, not to the ones who are borrowing (loses the house, ruining their credit, declaring bankruptcy), the lender (banks are not in the business of maintaining foreclosed homes), the market, other home buyers (the burden of costly risks of sub-prime borrowers end up being distributed to them) and tax payers. The book does a good job explaining the complexity of the market in clear to understand term. This book does a good job documenting how politicians doesn’t help and often the ones who are railing against business and banks for the housing bubble burst are themselves unknowingly the ones who are responsible for policies that led to the fiasco. Highly recommended!

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end the fed Ron Paul

 (Order it on Amazon)

This is a book by former Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul that focuses on monetary issue in the United States. And while it focuses on the specific situation in the United States Ron Paul does make the point in the book that the consequences of our bad monetary policy does have impact for the rest of the world. This book is critical of the Federal Reserve and argues that it is bad for our economy. It is not just merely an economic issue but Ron Paul argues that it is a moral issue as well. There is too much power given to the Federal Reserve with too little accountability and too much secrecy. To this day, the Federal Reserve has never been audited by the Congressional Budget Office. Some may object that the Federal Reserve does have Congressional oversight with the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board appearing before several Congressional committee; still, many questions are often not answered to Congress during these sessions. Still others might still defend the Federal Reserve as being a semi-private institution rather than a full government agency. Ron Paul argues in the book that the Federal Reserve has the worst of the Government and the Private Sector. In the end it boils down to the flawed economics of the Federal Reserve’s role end up causing the boom and bust cycle of today’s economy with messing with the supply of money. The printing of paper money and partial banking without any standard behind them is conducive to inflation. This is my first book by Ron Paul and I plan to read future works by him in the near future—he turns out to be more level headed than some of his followers I knew in college. Ron Paul does not believe that the Federal Reserve or the Government was behind 9/11, and does not unnecessarily demonize those in the Federal Reserve. I even appreciated the book sharing transcripts from Congressional hearings with different chairman of the Federal Reserve, be it Greenspan nor Bernake. The dialogue with Bernake about the housing bubble was the most interesting to me—Bernake totally didn’t see it coming despite Ron Paul’s concern. This was a year before the housing bubble burst. The book is also interesting for providing the personal background and influences driving Ron Paul—it also provides a personalize window into the connection of famous figures in the circle of Austrian School of Economics.

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In  Worldnet Daily, “Financial Fix? Abolish the Fed, says congressman; Paul: Constitution Requires coin based on gold, silver” writes that Ron Paul advocates several changes, among them the removal of the Federal Reserve Board. Though I have not come to any decision myself, I’m not sure if giving control to Congress would fare any better. 

Ron Paul argues that even the current Federal Chairman, Bernanke admitted in a speechthat the Federal Reserve was responsible for the Great Depression. Though I have not finished reading it, I believe the critical point was that monetary policy caused the Great Depression. However, this does not mean that only the Federal Reserve can make bad monetary decisions.

For me, the underlying issue becomes who can control monterary policy better. Ron Paul argues that because the Constitution gives Congress the power coin and control the value of currency, not a centralist-private bank interested in their own income. Although I have not looked into the constitutionality of this, based on Congress current track record with the economic stimulus package, I’ll continue to be quite skeptical that Congress could do any better.

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Gary DeMar has an interesting piece at American Vision’s Website that puts pollution that result from Transportation in perspective

http://www.americanvision.org/articlearchive2007/11-26-07.asp

Something to chew on and think about

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From the Trinity Foundation, for the year 2008

Visit this link to their site if you are interested: http://www.trinityfoundation.org/2006EssayContest.php

The topic of the 2008 Christian Worldview Essay Contest is the book
Freedom and Capitalism: Essays on Christian Politics and Economics
by John W. Robbins. Each person who enters the contest must
read this book and write an essay about it. The book is available for
$15.00 (retail price: $29.95) per copy, postpaid to U. S. addresses.

http://www.trinityfoundation.org/2006EssayContest.php

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