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Mr. Wynand

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  1. I received my ballot here in Seattle thinking I would finish it in no time at all. However, I can't decide on two votes. The first is to provide additional state funding to veterans by levying an increase in property taxes. (Yeah, I know taxes=slavery.) The second was to allow the city council to continue preparing and to replace an *unsafe* portion (Alaskan Way Viaduct) of a freeway with another *safer* portion. An earthquake in California destroyed a similarly designed viaduct in 1989, and in 2001, Seattle's viaduct was damaged by an earthquake and needed minor repairs. Here's the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaskan_Way_Viaduct Anyway, what is the objectivist position on these issues? The military is a legitimate function of government, but is it moral to vote for more taxes if you believe that soldiers should receive more money? I know that roads should be private, but is it moral to vote to raise taxes to avoid a potential disaster?
  2. It's a fitting quote to have in spanish-written newspaper because Francisco D'Anconia could just have easily said it in spanish.
  3. Has anyone seen it? I strongly recommend it if you haven't. Here's the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elephant_Man_(film)
  4. Possible spoilers: I haven't read the seventh book, but one of my favorite lines in the movie was from Dobby. Something like, "Dobbie has no master! Dobbie is a free elf!" as he fearlessly stands up to evil.
  5. This book was a great analysis of FDR's mindset and character. For example, when certain prices were set by the executive branch (if you can believe it), one day FDR decided to set gold (I think) at $21 an ounce because seven was a lucky number and 3 times 7 equals 21. Also, FDR won four presidential elections largely because he used patronage.
  6. There was from a union protest in Olympia, Washington. The signs say it all. My favorites are "human rights not corporate rights", "Egypt, help Wisconsin", and "I like [insert labor law here]. I don't like billionaires."
  7. Kind of reminds me of the story of the 20th century motor company in AS. Nicely done.
  8. What is the "social dictatorship culture" and why did that cause the protests?
  9. To what extent do you think that rising food prices have contributed to the recent protests in the Middle East? Was this (forgive me for the cliche) the "straw that broke the camel's back"?
  10. Sorry I wasn't more concise. The 1990's hyperinflation.
  11. Yes, apparently price controls were lifted on almost everything. Many anti-capitalists argue that this "shock therapy" (which encompassed some other reforms as well) led to hyperinflation. However, simple economics states that hyperinflation is a symptom of an extreme inflationary monetary policy (unless I am missing something).
  12. In my comparative politics class, we are studying the effect of "shock therapy" on Russia's economy. My professor argues that the hyperinflation was due to the liberalization of prices causing the price of normal goods to skyrocket. While the demand curve for normal goods may have shifted to the right, the price increase would only be temporary as more of these goods would be brought to market. The only other reason I can think of is that production of goods might have been very difficult due to some lagging elements of the soviet economy, leading to higher prices, but this just doesn't cut it. I know that the money supply increased substantially during this time. Also, my book for microeconomics states that the only possible reason for hyperinflation is manipulation of the money supply. So what do you think?
  13. I'm not sure if this was mentioned yet, but the social contract doesn't acknowledge the fallacy in the proposition that people "gave up" all of their rights when they entered the state. Not only this, but apparently, they gave up the rights of all of their descendants as well. Few people (excepting hardened statists) would voluntarily relinquish all of their rights upon gaining citizenship in any state. This fact would make forming a state very difficult under the social contract theory.
  14. There is nothing immoral about two individuals voluntarily associating. Both parties believe that they will derive personal benefit from the arrangement, or contract, because otherwise they would not partake. No matter how much the government intervenes and distorts market activity, which originates from individuals making contracts with each other, there should be no restriction upon voluntary contracts. As economist Thomas Sowell says, how much of known knowledge do the agents of the government have? 1% at most? The rest of the knowledge is scattered among the population, and it is obvious that a doctor knows more about medicine, or a farmer about farming, or a banker about banking, than anyone not in that profession. When the government steps in and bans certain types of contracts, they are really saying that you are to stupid to decide for yourself. Forget about the experience that both parties have! I should have the right to stop them, so that consequence X doesn't happen! Give me absolute power and I can forever prevent this potential consequence! I doubt that you would want to be the person to deny people the chance to engage in a perfectly voluntary contract. The federal reserve does a lot of damage, but as long as people are capable of deriving benefit from voluntary association, contract law will be needed to enforce agreements. The fed doesn't change this; it only makes it more difficult for some people to benefit from mortgages and other types of contracts.
  15. Honestly I haven't studied this issue very much, but I've seen these sob stories where 9/11 responders are suffering from cancer probably from the chemicals etc at ground zero. But does public employee insurance already cover situations like this?
  16. I haven't read any of those, but in The Human Condition Arendt says, "I fail to see on what grounds...liberal economists can justify their optimism that the private appropriation of wealth will suffice to guard individual liberties-that is, will fulfill the same role of private property. In a jobholding society [individual] liberties...are constantly threatened, no by the state, but by society, which distributes jobs and determines the share of individual appropriation." Arendt seems to think that a job is an individual right that can be taken away by society, and we know that employment is not a right. But her view on private property is even clearer with this, "Consideration of private ownership should be overruled in favor of the ever-increasing process of social wealth." Attack away.
  17. This reminds me of a twilight zone episode http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Obsolete_Man Mr. Krugman, you are obsolete!
  18. What do you think of her? I'm reading the Human Condition for a class, and don't quite know what to make of her yet.
  19. Those are great points. Correct me if I'm wrong, but after WW2, wasn't there a boom despite extremely high taxes? (The highest bracket was about 90%.) Could decent regulatory and fiscal policies have partly led to this?
  20. That's an interesting theory. Supply siders argue that people will hide their wealth to avoid confiscatory taxes. If the wealthy start releasing this wealth into use on the American market, perhaps an increase in the money supply would result. However it's difficult to say exactly how much money was "hidden" and where it was. Also the federal reserve inflated the currency during the 1920s.
  21. No sorry if I was unclear. I'm suggesting that the tax cuts generated the same amount of revenue as before because the 60% expansion of the money supply led to the 61% increase in revenue. When the tax rate was 73%, the revenue was 700 million dollars, but when it was cut, revenue increased to over 1 billion dollars. This appears to be a result of the inflation, but the fact that real revenue remained constant is still incredible. My question was is there anything else to account for this besides the standard claims of the supply-siders that lower taxes bring more (or in this case equal) revenues? (By revenue, I mean government revenue from tax receipts.)
  22. In the 1920's the highest tax bracket in the US was lowered from 73% to 25% (all other brackets were cut as well). Income tax receipts increased by 61% from around $700 million to over a billion throughout that decade. But what the supply siders neglect is that the money supply increased 60% during that period as well. Does this mean that real tax revenue remained the same despite the tax cuts? Or am I neglecting other factors, such as the effect of fractional reserve banking/trading on margin? And yes, I realize that taxation is theft. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  23. If the interest rate is the price of credit, then is it safe to say that lowering the interest rate below its market level creates a shortage in credit for the same reason it does with any other good when its price is artificially lowered? However, would raising it above its market level eventually cause a surplus?
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