Author Archives

Archive of the posts written by author : Henry Oliner.

Why Has Inflation Not Followed Our Debt?

But these explanations leave me uneasy. Without the pain of excessive government debt is there ever an end to it? It seems doubtful that scarcity has been erased from economic reality. The absence of short-term firewalls has historically led to large reconciliations, and it just seems immoral to spend more that you can pay for. In 50 years gold has risen from $35 to $1517.99 an ounce (1/1/20), does anybody care? The dollar is strong, and the American economy is performing better than any other in the world, even if that only provides a low bar.

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John Coltrane’s America

“..this is not Donald Trump’s America or Elizabeth Warren’s America but ours and Walt Whitman’s and John Coltrane’s and Herman Melville’s and Toni Morrison’s, and that if we really love this country, then that can only be because we love the people in it, the ones who are with us still and the ones who have been, who are “not enemies but friends.”

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A Greater Display of Democracy

When activists complain of markets failing to serve our needs, they often are just unwilling to pay the market price and are seeking subsidies at someone else’s expense.  Progressives and socialists who insist on government control while speaking in terms of greater democracy are contradicting themselves; the market place properly regulated is the greatest display of democracy.

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Who Is Undermining Our Institutions?

I realize no one is a villain in their own eyes and that we can rationalize any means to fit the end if it is important enough.  Our failure to recognize the way we are seen by others and our own failures sacrifices any legitimacy.  Voters will tolerate mistakes, gaffes, and failures, but they will not tolerate contempt. 

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Is Combatting Anti-Semitism an Act of Anti-Semitism?

Whatever you may think of Trump, he has been the strongest unequivocal supporter of Israel since its independence and his recent executive order strikes a strong blow to anti-Semitism on college campuses.  To draw a conclusion from this that he is a tool of the alternate right requires a willing suspension of the obvious.

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The Unmaking of Reality

The American founders used reason to unleash freedom.  The Europeans used reason to crush it.  Reason without freedom constructs a reality rather than recognizing it as it  is and adapting to it.  Constructing a reality is a despotic enterprise.

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Recurring Themes

Politicians tend to promise benefits without paying for them, hiding the true cost in a maze of mandates, cross subsidies, proxies, and regulations.

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Gulliver’s Progressivism

“Such quacks—Swift called them “speculators” and “virtuosi”—rely upon a mystical grimoire, a “book of shadows” filled with spells, incantations, and rituals that will remake the world as if by magic. It’s not science, it’s enchantment. “

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Winning the Race to the Bottom

“Being poor is the worst kind of competitive advantage to have, and only two kinds of people pursue that advantage as a matter of national policy. “

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The Guilty Conscience of the Business Roundtable

No business is likely to prosper by neglecting its employees, customers, suppliers, or the community, but none of these ‘stakeholders’ can benefit unless the business can turn a profit and provide a suitable return to its shareholders. These actors who assume otherwise are either a)ignorant of business dynamics and the function of prices and profits or b) suffering from a guilty conscience and projecting their own moral compromises onto others.

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Historians Counter the 1619 Project

“Slavery required a culture that held labor in contempt. The North, with its celebration of labor, especially working for money, became even more different from the lazy, slaveholding South. By the 1850s, the two sections, though both American, possessed two different cultures.”

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Ignorance and Certitude

“I do not believe that only those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. Plenty of people who study history are entirely capable of making the same mistakes as their ancestors, and worse ones, too. “

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Addressing Presidential Power

Both sides refuse to re-examine the proper role of the presidency, and focus on the president in power.  It may seem unrealistic to return to constitutional norms, but the alternative seems to be an escalation of the bitterness of our politics.

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Public Choice Theory

“From public choice theory, we also know that government actors have an incentive to pursue shortsighted policies that create highly visible benefits to voters now and impose uncertain costs at some point in the future.”

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Who Are the Real Materialists

“It’s an understandable temptation, in the sense that changing, say, tax credits is far less daunting than repairing a culture. But then, who are the real materialists, if the answer to a cultural meltdown isn’t to address the human soul but to say, “Don’t worry, we can engineer it all through regulation and the tax code”?

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Glorious Disagreement

“But politics in a republic is almost never about unity. Rather, politics is the art of negotiating differences. Democracy is about disagreement, not agreement. When politicians say: “The time for debate is over” or “Let’s put politics aside,” they’re really saying “shut up” to those who disagree.”

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A Want of Modesty

“To the contrary, it’s because they don’t believe politicians recalibrating the tax code in the name of the common good will bring about the moral economy. It’s because they don’t believe technicians redirecting capital investment will work, or that it can be had with no costs or unintended consequences. Above all, it’s because they believe that trusting Washington to give us a new and improved capitalism by repurposing private companies to serve the priorities of the government rather than those of their owners requires a faith far greater than any ever demanded by the Lord.”

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The New York Time’s Deceptive Reporting

“Those of you with $1,001 in savings worth have more in the bank than the great majority of all Americans. That is not because Bill Gates and you hoovered all the money up — it is because a great many Americans do not save very much.”

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The Nirvana Fallacy

“Assuming some benevolent government will institute quick and perfect Keynesian business cycle corrections that maintain full employment, or that government provision or regulation will result in ideal outcomes in other markets, leads to unwise policy making—and to public displeasure with the outcomes of government.”

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Reason and Nature

“The conception of man deliberately building his civilization stems from an erroneous intellectualism that regards human reason as something standing outside nature and possessed of knowledge and reasoning capacity independent of experience. “

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