Professor Brad DeLong on Austrian Economics

Producer Charlie Deist tries to cram a semester of economics into one hour with Professor J. Bradford Delong He continues to look at the Austrian Business Cycle Theory, (see part 1), which holds central banks responsible for creating booms and busts by “pumping” cheap credit into the economy and subsequently “slamming on the breaks” when inflation results. Brad DeLong is a former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he is chair of the political economy major. He was also an early blogger, and is one of the most respected voices in the “neoclassical synthesis”—the hybrid of classical, Keynesian, and monetarist macroeconomics taught at universities throughout the world. DeLong has criticized Austrians for putting the blame for business cycles entirely on government. However, he too was concerned by Alan Greenspan’s excessive easing, starting all the way back in 2004, and during the lead-up to the housing bust.

Tune in to find out why DeLong considers himself a student of both Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes, and learn what it means to be a liberal in both the modern and classical senses.

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Dr. Tom Palmer on Self Control vs. State Control

With the inauguration of President-elect Trump coming later this week, citizens of the United States have developed radically divergent expectations for the next four years. Those who enthusiastically pulled the lever for Trump see a man who can “Make America Great Again” with policies prioritizing domestic interests, while many others fear that he will roll back the progressive, big-government victories of the last eight years. However, the two camps may share more in common than they realize. Both, after all, view government as a primary force to manipulate industries and individual actions to improve outcomes. Dr. Tom Palmer, executive vice president for international programs at the Atlas Network, has an alternative way of looking at things. His new book, “Self Control or State Control? You Decide,” goes beyond mere ideology to questions that every thinking person should be asking. His essays (among several others featured in the book) speak to the importance of personal responsibility to freedom, and offer both a historical and practical perspective to support the central conclusion: if you seek self-determination, then you must also strive for self-control.

Ian Vasquez on the Prospects for a Free Cuba

Cuban dissidents and political prisoners have waited a long time for meaningful reforms in their country – and the wait isn’t over. Even since 2006, when Fidel “El Libertador” Castro ceded power to his younger brother Raul, the government has continued to oppress its people and shackle its economy. Despite rumors of a sunny socialist utopia 90 miles from the Florida Keys, the reality is that Cuba remains mired in poverty and human rights abuses at the hands of its authoritarian leaders. However, there have been doubts about the effectiveness of the United States’ attempts to undermine the Castro regime, especially when it comes to the long-standing trade embargo. Such policies may just provide ammunition to the Cuban government in the form of an external excuse for the widespread misery brought about by central planning. Ian Vasquez claims that freer travel and (eventually) trade with the U.S. may not defeat the communist regime, but they will help advocates for a free Cuba by growing the small, “informal” private sector in an economy mostly run by and for the state. Vasquez is director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. He joins the show against the backdrop of President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba to discuss the changes that are taking place. Bob looks to uncover a realistic view of the prospects for a free Cuba, and find out how Americans can help support a thriving civil society, as philanthropists, consumers and tourists.

Randal O'Toole on Rising Rents

The Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole (aka the @antiplanner) returns to the show to discuss the epidemic of rising rents in metropolitan areas across America. As usual, planners at the federal, regional, and local levels have a policy solution in search of a problem, and are creating new problems in the process. They cite the lack of affordable urban housing near public transit as justification for “growth management”, but their plans end up discouraging developers from increasing the supply of the most-needed kinds of housing. Basic economics predicts the devastating endgame for the lower and middle classes: The rent is too damn high. One solution, on which even partisans can agree, is land deregulation. Yet top-down urban transformations like Plan Bay Area, for example, continue to rule the day. While O'Toole grants that some planning and regulation is necessary to minimize the negative externalities of large numbers living in urban areas, he argues that “urban planning itself has become the externality.” Tune in for the show of ideas, not attitude – on or 910AM in the SF Bay Area.

Bill Frezza's History of Telecom Innovation (and Not)

This Thanksgiving, try asking a college-aged relative whether they know it used to be illegal to own a phone. Today's smart-phone-owning young people do not remember the bygone era (pre-90s) when you had to rent it from the phone utility, Bell Labs. Real Clear Radio Hour host Bill Frezza has asked college audiences this question many times, as he has waged his one-man-fight to preserve institutional knowledge of the telecommunications industry. A long-time employee of Bell Labs and keen observer of the booming tech scene, Frezza knows the lore behind the stunning lack of progress under the telecom monopoly, and the amazing progress resulting from free competition. How did the industry transform from a corporate cronyist behemoth, which took seven decades to create just seven "apps", to delivering the world’s knowledge at our hip? Don’t miss Bob’s interview with Frezza, as they discuss this history, the modern development of net neutrality, and the silver lining on the regulatory clouds of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank.




Real Clear Radio Hour - Airs on Saturdays at 10am & 4pm PT on KNEW 960AM & KOSF 103.7FM-HD2 in San Francisco

Competitive Enterprise Institute - - Chronicling the decline and fall of Entitlement Democracy

Obama’s Net-Neutrality Nostalgia For When Things Were Rotten (The Daily Caller, 2/11/15)

Chris Edwards on Why Federal Government Fails

Every once in a while, it’s good to be reminded of how bad the government is at its job. In the private sector, we occasionally learn about crooked CEOs cooking the books. In the public sector, mismanagement and corruption practically seem like requirements. Chris Edwards, curator of the Cato Institute’s Downsizing Government project has masterfully documented the waste, graft and abuse across all Federal departments and agencies, from the Post Office to the Department of Defense. He joins Bob to talk about a new Cato Policy Analysis on the reasons why government fails so consistently, in spite of the mountains of money it receives from taxpayers. Wonder why Mitch McConnell has gone to such efforts to keep funds flowing to the pointless and wasteful Export-Import Bank? Chris will explain. As a bonus, Bob and Chris will discuss Bob’s proposal to gradually replace most of the government workforce with private contractors, who opt to work for fewer benefits and perform select services more efficiently. Call in with your questions or tell us about a government failure you’ve witnessed, at 1-800-345-5639.

Links and Other Resources

 Mount Vernon - A model of private sector park management

The Cato Institute’s Downsizing Government platform, exposing Federal waste and abuse

"Why Federal Government Fails," Chris Edwards' July 2015 Cato Policy Analysis