King of Debt Takes the Reins

By Peter Schiff – Re-Blogged From http://www.europac.com

The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 provides the best recent precedent for the unexpected triumph of Donald Trump (in my opinion, the other post-war Republican takeovers of the White House –Ike in ’52, Nixon ’68, and W. in ’00 – did not constitute a real break from the status quo.) As many people expect great changes from Trump, it is worthwhile to look at what the Reagan Revolution actually wrought.

Both Reagan and Trump were better known to many as entertainers rather than politicians, both came from outside the Republican mainstream, and both engineered hostile takeovers of the Party. During the 1970s, the Republican Party was dominated by “Rockefeller Republicans,” the Ivy League-educated liberal Eastern elites. Reagan was the Western heir apparent to Barry Goldwater, the deeply conservative standard-bearer who went down in flames in 1964. In 1976, the brash Reagan had the nerve to challenge incumbent Republican President Gerry Ford in the primary, thereby weakening him in the general election, which he ultimately lost to Jimmy Carter. While Reagan was simply too conservative for the Rockefeller wing, Trump’s various positions are similarly inconsistent with much of the mainstream neo-conservative orthodoxy. Both candidates also capitalized on a weak economy as a catalyst to encourage voters to cross traditional party lines. Many of the rust belt “Reagan Democrats” came home to Trump.

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Robert Shiller Is Shilling for Socialism

By Peter St Onge – Re-Blogged From Mises.org

The Nobel Prize just gets cheaper and cheaper. Recent laureate Bob Shiller graces the New York Times with his latest rant that free-markets stink, bolstering his argument by making stuff up.

For starters, Shiller writes that America’s wealth “can be attributed” to regulation. Well, sure, it “can be attributed” to Zeus. Or sunspots. In the real world, America became the richest country long before the regulation age, and that position has been eroding ever since. Maddison (2007) estimates that by 1913 — before the New Deal regulatory explosion — the US was at $5,300 per person PPP (purchasing power parity), against $3,500 in Western Europe, $1,500 in Latin America, and $700 in the rest of Asia and Africa.

A similar pattern occurred in Europe, where the richest countries of the pre-modern age, Britain and Holland, used relatively free markets regulated by tort, while the rest of Europe mired hobbling markets with regulation and diktat. So, the story isn’t that regulation made the West. It’s that low-regulation economies soared ahead of the rest of humanity until socialists clipped their wings.

Indeed, Shiller doesn’t even seem to believe his own fantasy, writing, “The Thatcher-Reagan revolution a third of a century ago was a turning point away from market regulation, with mixed results.“

Here, the phrase “mixed results” is a red flag that the data doesn’t support his argument. Because Shiller would be kind enough to share the data if it did; it’s not very hard to look up GDP figures. And what do GDP figures tell us? That in Reagan’s eight years per capita GDP adjusted for inflation rose 3.5 percent per year. Compared to 0.7 percent in the previous eight years and 1.5 percent in the following eight years.

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