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David Henderson: December 2008

An Author Archive by Month (21 entries)

A Weak Case for Free Trade

International Trade
David Henderson
Today's Wall Street Journal published one of the weakest cases for free trade it has ever published. The Journal, which is traditionally quite pro-free trade, published an op/ed by former Democratic congressman James Bacchus. In it, Bacchus talks up the... MORE

Jenkins on CAFE

Energy, Environment, Resources
David Henderson
My favorite Wall Street Journal columnist, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., has another good column today on how the Corporate Average Fuel Economy law hampers the Detroit-based auto companies (note: not the U.S. auto industry.) Jenkins points out that in an... MORE

Krugman's Tin Ear

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
I could just as easily have titled this post "Krugman's Achilles Heal." Basically, it's that Paul Krugman seems never to take account of the findings of public choice. Even a basic understanding of public choice would make him question his... MORE

Tom Friedman's Gas Tax

Energy, Environment, Resources
David Henderson
I think people make the worst cases for their policy proposals when they write or speak as if they think there is no credible intellectual argument against their position. A case in point is a column in today's New York... MORE

Krugman's View of Corruption

Economic History
David Henderson
In his column in today's New York Times, Paul Krugman claims that Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal was "clean" and avoided corruption. So clean was FDR's Works Progress Administration, writes Krugman, that "when a Congressional subcommittee investigated the W.P.A., it... MORE

Finally, Some Good Economic News

Supply-side Economics
David Henderson
From today's Wall Street Journal, an article titled, "IRS Audits of Large Companies Decline for 3rd Year in Row." The article goes on to say: According to 2008 IRS enforcement data released Monday, the IRS audited 15.3% of returns of... MORE

The Brains of TSA

Regulation
David Henderson
Lesley Stahl did a moderately good job on "60 Minutes" this evening in her story on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Why good and why just moderate? Good for two reasons. First, she actually interviewed a critic who pointed out... MORE

The Essence of Scrooge

Political Economy
David Henderson
We often hear the word "Scrooge" used to refer to people who oppose government programs for the poor. Yet a close reading of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol shows that this usage is in appropriate. In fact, early in the... MORE

Tales of Rationing

Price Controls
David Henderson
In yesterday's post, I stated: David Kennedy makes the claim that rationing was not used extensively in the United States during World War II. I think he's wrong. Read sometime about how people couldn't drive their cars due to gas... MORE

New Deal Panel, II

Economic History
David Henderson
I heartily second Bryan Caplan's endorsement of the Canadian TV show on the New Deal. Bryan focused on the economic content and I want to add my own thoughts to that, but beyond that is the amazing tone of the... MORE

Scary Words from Bernanke

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
This morning's Wall Street Journal quotes a 1999 paper by Ben Bernanke as follows: Roosevelt's specific actions were, I think, less important than his willingness to be aggressive and to experiment -- in short, to do whatever was necessary to... MORE

The Aristocracy of Pull

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
One of Ayn Rand's best scenes in Atlas Shrugged has her hero Francisco d'Anconia complete the statement of one of her villains with a surprise ending. Villain James Taggart states: We will liberate our culture from the stranglehold of the... MORE

Obama's Economics: Bad and Good

Regulation
David Henderson
On Meet the Press last Sunday, President-elect Obama showed some of his fuzziest thinking and some of his clearest thinking on economics. First the bad. In a discussion of the auto industry, interviewer Tom Brokaw said: As soon as gas... MORE

Smothers Brothers: The Missing Story

Regulation and Subsidies
David Henderson
For decades, I believed, as I think almost everyone who followed the issue did, that the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was yanked by CBS because of CBS's objection to the Smothers Brothers' edgy commentary about social issues. Various "public" television... MORE

Too Much Deregulation?

Regulation
David Henderson
In the latest issue of the Cato Institute's Policy Report, I have the lead article. It's title: "Are We Ailing from Too Much Deregulation?" In it, I quote from articles by Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Gosselin and Washington Post... MORE

Barney Frank Admits "Mistake"

Regulation and Subsidies
David Henderson
On CNBC this morning, Congressman Barney Frank was shown making his opening statement in the hearings on the bailout of GM, Ford, and Chrysler. He actually admitted that Congress had made mistakes and mentioned one such mistake. Perhaps, you might... MORE

Percent Job Loss

Labor Market
David Henderson
On CNBC this morning, the talking heads pitched the new job loss figures in the most negative way. They focused on the fact that the 533,000 jobs lost (according to payroll data) were the highest in years, but they compared... MORE

Shocking News

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
A news story in today's Boston Globe titled, "Auditors Fault Treasury Policing of Bailout Funds," cites a report by federal government auditors at the Government Accountability [sic] Office. The GAO criticized the Treasury for not making sure banks comply with... MORE

Many economists, including me, think that Larry Summers is quite bright. But how good is his judgment? In my most recent Forbes.com article, "Larry Summers' Judgment," I address this issue. I highlight two things: 1. His 1982 prediction, co-authored with... MORE

Are Government Subsidies to Higher "Education" Justified?

Economics of Education
David Henderson
This month's featured article on Econlib is George Leef's "Are Government 'Investments' in Higher Education Worthwhile?" In his article, Leef points out that one cannot use decades-old data on the private return to spending on higher education to draw conclusions... MORE

Our Response to Selgin

Monetary Policy
David Henderson
Early in November, Jeff Hummel and I had a paper published by the Cato Institute in which we defended Alan Greenspan from the critics who claimed that his monetary policy was the primary cause of the current financial crisis. We... MORE

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