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Senate Voluntarily Cedes U.S. Sovereignty to the United Nations
Raymond Richman, 7/28/2015

David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee A. Casey, constitutional lawyers at Baker Hostetler LLP served in the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and GHW Bush. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, July, 27, 2015, they wrote:

The Obama Administration had help in its end-run around the Constitution. Instead of insisting on compliance with the Senate’s treaty-making prerogatives , Congress enacted the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act of 2015. Known as the Corker-Cardin, it surrenders on the constitutional requirement that the president obtain a Senate supermajority to go forward with a major international agreement. Instead, the act effectively requires a veto-proof majority in both house of Congress to block elements of the Iran deal related to U.S. sanctions relief. The act doesn’t require congressional approval for the agreement as a whole.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council endorsed the Iran deal. The resolution, adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, legally binds all member states, including the U.S. … The Security Council gambit has enabled the administration , without Senate consent, to bind the U.S. under international law.

The Republican leadership has to explain to the American people why it waived U.S. sovereignty in favor of world government. ...


Comments: 1

A Column This Week by Thomas Sowell
Raymond Richman, 7/24/2015

Thomas Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

His most recent books on economics include Housing Boom and Bust (2009), Intellectuals and Society (2009), Applied Economics (2009), Economic Facts and Fallacies (2008), Basic Economics (2007. Sowell's journalistic writings include a nationally syndicated column that appears in more than 150 newspapers from Boston to Honolulu. Over the past three decades, Sowell has taught economics at various colleges and universities, including Cornell, Amherst, and the University of California at Los Angeles. Sowell received his bachelor’s degree in economics (magna cum laude) from Harvard in 1958, his master’s degree in economics from Columbia University in 1959, and his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.

His column points out, as we have done on this site in several blogs, on the racist, anti-black nature of the federal minimum wage. Before the minimum wage was enacted under Pres. Roosevelt and before it was increased in the  1950s. black teen-age unemployment was in the single digits. He writes:

As the minimum wage kept getting raised, so did the unemployment rate for black 17-year-old males. In 1971 it was 33.4 percent and it hasn’t been under 30 percent since. It has often been over 40 percent and, occasionally, over 50 percent. ...


Comments: 0

Free trade in an Unfree Trade World is Economic Suicide For the USA
Raymond Richman, 7/23/2015

eorge Washington in his farewell address urged the US to “Avoid foreign entanglements”. How right he was. US foreign entanglements began with a vengeance under Presidents Wilson and Franklin D Roosevelt especially the latter. The Bretton Woods agreements which were negotiated by Harry Dexter White, as the U.S. representative, later exposed as a Communist spy, created the World Bank  and the International Monetary Fund.

Benn Steil, senior fellow and director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, founding editor of International Finance, a top scholarly economics journal, in his book, The Battle of Bretton WoodsJohn Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order (Council on Foreign Relations, (Princeton University Press, 2013), discussing the creation at Bretton Woods of the World Bank and the IMFwrites,

Together with the United Nations, they marked the beginning of Post WWII’s march toward global government and simultaneously the march toward state capitalism, a political mixture of a powerful state, socialist enterprises, and state-dominated private capitalist enterprises. Mussolini, a former Communist, and Hitler, a national socialist were the first world leaders to recognize the power of the new economic system. Both freed themselves from the ideology of Marxism and both recognized how a socialist state could dominate private enterprises and bend their will to the service of the state.

New Deal innovations included the minimum wage and the Davis-Bacon Act, two laws to advantage labor unions, which returned blacks to conditions worse than slavery by denying Blacks equal opportunities for employment since the unions at that time were nearly all lily-white.  Black rates of unemployed males are twice those of whites and in the 1st quarter of 2014 the unemployment rate of black male teenagers reached the astronomical level of 44 percent. Until 1950, blacks had lower rates of unemployment than whites. ...


Comments: 2

The Economics of the Greek Crisis and Its Economic Solution
Raymond Richman, 7/15/2015

Greece has been portrayed as a country living beyond its means and the recommended corrective action is for Greece to consume less, a policy of austerity. The world faced a similar crisis in 1930 and the Keynesian solution was for governments to spend more, not less. Greece could not spend more even though the Greek people voted against a policy of austerity because it does not have the money to spend more. It needs Euros and Germany will not lend it any Euros until it agrees to tighten its belt. It is caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Prof. Peter Morici of the University of Maryland has a solution for Greece. In a column published July 13, 2015 in the Pittsburgh Trib-Treview, he calls on the Greek Parliament to reject the $86 billion bailout, offered by Germany, dump the euro, and reintroduce the drachma.

Prof. Morici castigates German economic policy as mercantilist, which is true, writing that “Germany and its northern neighbors pursue growth strategies premised on exports – in particular, running trade surpluses.” This mercantilist policy is often called a “beggar-ones-neighbor policy. Germany has employed the policy not only against its Eurozone neighbors but against the USA as well. According to the US Bureau of the Census, Germany’s trade surplus with the US amounted to $74 billion in 2014. Its trade surplus with the world was $250 billion, exceeded only by China. Germany ran a trade surplus every year with Greece and many other Eurozone countries, principally its Southern neighbors from 2002 to 2014, including Portugal, Italy, and France. Mercantilist policies promote employment and prosperity in the trade surplus countries and unemployment and slow growth in the trade deficit countries.

Unfortunately, Greece does not have the wherewithal to return to the drachma. It would need money that has a known purchasing power, like a Euroloan of some billions of Euros.  But there is a solution. ...


Comments: 0

Economics Does Not Favor Free Trade; It Favors Balanced Trade.
Raymond Richman, 7/10/2015

Economists have been virtually unanimous in their belief that the policy of free trade benefits all trading partners since Adam Smith endorsed the policy of free trade in his famous work, the Wealth of Nations. At that time, countries were pursuing a policy of building up gold reserves by exporting more they import, a policy called mercantilism. A policy of free trade was a revolutionary idea at that time in opposition to the mercantilist practices of that time. But today, a policy of free trade is a suicidal policy for a country. The only policy that economic theory justifies today is a policy of balanced trade with the rest of the world which can be shown to be beneficial to all trading partners. About the only case in which free trade in an appropriate policy in the long-run is when both trading partners employ a common currency, there is free movement of capital and labor, and there are no trade barriers. These conditions hold among the States of the USA in their trade with one another.  

Under current economic conditions free trade is a suicidal policy as the recent history of the U.S. demonstrates. The U.S.A. has experienced chronic international trade deficits for decades, which have converted the U.S. from the world’s leading creditor nation to the world’s leading debtor nation, decimated its manufacturing sector, and caused the loss of millions of U.S. jobs in manufacturing. Prof. J. M. Keynes was a realist when he wrote that when a trading partner uses mercantilist practices to keep trade unbalanced in its favor, called a beggar-ones- neighbor policy, he would recommend that Britain take counter-measures. We suggest a counter measure that any nation could use under World Trade Organization rules, the Scaled Tariff, a single-country-variable-tariff, whose rate rises as the trade deficit increase and disappears as trade becomes balanced.  ...


Comments: 0

Nobel Laureate's "Emperor's New Clothes" speech about global warming
Howard Richman, 7/8/2015

At the July 3 Nobel Laureates conference on Mainau Island, 30 of the 65 attendees signed a media-reported letter urging action against global warming. Not reported by the media: the attendees listened to Norway's 1973 Nobel Physics Laureate Ivar Giaever give a truth-telling "Emperor's New Clothes" speech; also, the majority of the Nobel Laureates refused to sign the alarmist global-warming letter.

Giaever gave a great speech. His explanations were clear. His graphs were persuasive. He took the part of the boy in the Emperor's New Clothes folktale. The boy saw the Emperor parading around naked and cried out, "The Emperor has no clothes on!" Giaever was saying that the fraction of a degree differences in temperature upon which global warming theory is based are as invisible as the Emperor's new clothes. He said (6:45 mark):,,,


Comments: 4

Free Trade Policy Is Not Good Economics
Raymond Richman, 7/3/2015

As Prof. Milton Friedman has written, “Ever since Adam Smith there has been virtual unanimity among economists, whatever their ideological position on other issues, that international free trade is in the best interests of trading countries and of the world.” I disagree with my former mentor but that there are circumstances when free trade is a suicidal policy, as is currently the case with the U.S. A Keynesian, Prof. Alan Blinder of Princeton University, is quoted as having written as recently as 2007:  "Like 99% of economists since the days of Adam Smith, I am a free trader down to my toes."  This is a foolish observation since the trade deficits that the U.S. was experiencing when he wrote had converted the U.S. from the world’s leading creditor to the world’s leading debtor and caused the loss of millions of U.S. jobs in manufacturing. These statements reflect discredit on the economics profession which asserts that Economics is a science.  

There are circumstances in which free trade is a country’s appropriate policy, e.g., when the conditions for a free trade policy exist, namely a common currency and free movement of labor and capital. These conditions hold among the states of the USA so free trade is an appropriate policy for the USA. But where these conditions do not exist, free trade is likely not to be a good policy. Prof. J. M. Keynes must have been among Prof. Blinder’s one percent of economists who question free trade as an appropriate policy.. He wrote that when a trading partner uses mercantilist practices to keep trade unbalanced in its favor, he would recommend that Britain take counter-measures. ...


Comments: 0

What Is the Remedy When the Supreme Court Exceeds Its Constitutional Authority? (version 2)
Raymond Richman, 7/1/2015

The Constitution of the U.S. made no provision for judicial review of federal or state legislation. Articles III, of the Constitution of the U.S. created the federal judicial system, but made no provision for declaring unconstitutional Congressional legislation or Presidential actions. In the  case of Marbury v. Madison (1803), the Supreme Court  arrogated to itself the power to declare actions of the President and the Congress and the several states unconstitutional. But the power is not unlimited. The Court has no power to legislate as it has done in cases stemming back to Pres. F. Roosevelt when the President attempted to pack the Court. It has the power to interpret laws and the constitution when there is ambiguity in the letter of the law or conflicting legislation. The President and the Congress are entitled to challenge any excessive arrogation of power.

Amendments to the Constitution have weakened the States. The U. S. constitution created a republic with the federal government having limited powers with all rights not granted to it being reserved to the states or to the people under the 10th amendment. The first of the amendments to weaken the States was the 14th amendment ratified in 1868. Section 1 recites that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Of course, the Civil War denied the States the right to secede from the union. The 14th Amendment went further; it reduced the rights of states even those that had not attempted to secede. The Supreme Court in its making marriage between homosexuals indicates how much this amendment weakened the States, 32 of which have laws banning marriage among homosexuals. ...


Comments: 0

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  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

    Journal of Economic Literature:

  • [Trading Away Our Future] Examines the costs and benefits of U.S. trade and tax policies. Discusses why trade deficits matter; root of the trade deficit; the “ostrich” and “eagles” attitudes; how to balance trade; taxation of capital gains; the real estate tax; the corporate income tax; solving the low savings problem; how to protect one’s assets; and a program for a strong America....

    Atlantic Economic Journal:

  • In Trading Away Our Future   Richman ... advocates the immediate adoption of a set of public policy proposal designed to reduce the trade deficit and increase domestic savings.... the set of public policy proposals is a wake-up call... [February 17, 2009 review by T.H. Cate]