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Signs of the Times: Telling Statements and Factoids
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Signs of the Times: Telling Statements and Factoids

Why is it that elementary principles of economics remain overlooked in spite of glaring evidence that government policies don't work? Do political figures even understand what they are saying? Check out this collection of nonsense.

Every now and then I come across an item in the news that doesn't merit an entire column, but is nonetheless noteworthy. Check these out:

First, a few tidbits that call into question the current state of economic wisdom:

1. Headline in The Wall Street Journal: "Fed's beige book: 'Tight Labor Markets' Are Pushing Up Wages.”

You mean that the law of supply and demand really works? Gee, who woulda thunk it? I just hope that the Fed governors someday figure out the money illusion and realize that creating more monetary units can't increase prosperity.

2. A report on the desperate economic conditions in Venezuela in The Christian Science Monitor: "Food is becoming increasingly scarce in Venezuela, where citizens are digging through trash, relying on tropical fruit falling from trees, and in some cases rioting or looting in search of their next meal."

That is accurate reporting as far as it goes, but nowhere in the article was there a single mention of the cause of this tragic misery -- namely, "socialism." Such glaring omissions help to explain why so many young Americans are infatuated with socialism.

3. A news brief in the Monitor bore the simple headline “3.” That referred to the number of “pounds of cheese every American would have to consume to eliminate a glut of cheese due to overproduction.” Three pounds doesn't sound like much, but multiplied by the number of Americans it approaches a billion pounds!

Such an irrational imbalance between supply and demand only exists due to government price supports. Our tax dollars at work -- spent wastefully yet again. When are we going to learn that central planning doesn't work?

Image credit: Shutterstock Image credit: Shutterstock

The inanities in the political realm are lamentable, if not laughable, too:

1. In support of her state's new system that automatically registers people to vote when they get a driver's license and which she anticipates will add 400,000 voters to the rolls, Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill asserted, “it shouldn't be a big effort on anyone's part to register to vote.”

Pardon me for being contrary, but I would argue that certain people should not only have a hard time registering to vote, but shouldn't be allowed to vote at all. Who, you ask? Well, I would bar dead people (1.8 million listed as active voters), non-citizens (6.4 percent of whom voted in 2008) and citizens who are registered in more than one place (2.75 million of those).

2. In the sordid world of serving as a politician's press agent in Washington, it's hard to listen to President Barack Obama's press secretary without getting ill, but Republican spokespersons play the cyncial game, too.

Rep. Renee Ellmers' chief of staff, Al Lytton, resented the way that Americans for Prosperity made Rep. Ellmers the first incumbent Republican they targeted for defeat in a primary (and indeed, Mrs. Ellmers lost). Despite Rep. Ellmers supporting special interests by voting to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, Mr. Lytton lost all credibility by trying to transfer the special interest label onto AFP with his petulant whopper, “Perhaps AFP regrets Rep. Ellmers winning because she isn’t beholden to them—or any other Washington special interest groups like AFP.”

I'm sure Lytton won't have any trouble getting a job with a Democratic politician next year.

3. We all know that Andrew Jackson will be replaced by Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. How interesting that in our debt-besotted state, the one dead white male that Washington decides to bump from our currency is the only president who ever got the national debt down to zero, and a man who freed the American people from the noxious presence of a central bank. Perhaps today's Democrats want us to forget that there was a time when real Democrats were Tea Party Democrats.

4. This one is sad: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently declared, "I would sue any president that exceeds his or her powers."

I agree with the sentiment that Ryan expressed; Congress has been supine for too long. The problem is that, like so many other political declarations, this is an empty promise. If Ryan really believed what he said, why hasn't he sued Barack Obama?

5. Finally, here is an anecdote that is a real lulu, courtesy of Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media: A group called the Left Forum recently met in New York City to plot the destruction of the Republican Party.

Hey, no problem. This is America, and if partisan Democrats crave the extinction of the opposition party, that is their right.

The problem I have is that the guests in attendance included representatives of the governments of Cuba and Venezuela, the Workers World Party, and the Greek Communist Party. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but shouldn't the battle for political supremacy in America be settled by and among Americans?

Welcome once again to the crazy political world of 2016.

Mark Hendrickson is Fellow for Economic and Social Policy with the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

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