Volume 13, Issue 12: March 22, 2011
- Air Strikes in Libya Risk Another Quagmire for the United States
- Shughart on Wisconsin and Public Employee Unions
- Obamas Trip to Latin America
- The Independent Review--Spring Issue Now Available
- New Blog Posts
1) Air Strikes in Libya Risk Another Quagmire for the United States
In his latest op-ed, Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institutes Center on Peace and Liberty, argues against the U.S./NATO air strikes in Libya. For starters, the United States has no strategic interest in Libya, Eland argues.
Libya does produce oil, but a reduction of its production because of internal conflict will merely increase the price of the commodity, thus providing monetary incentives for other oil producers to pump more oil in compensation, Eland writes.
Eland, author of several books on U.S. foreign policy, also questions the claim that a no-fly zone would do much goodthat is, significantly help the opposition forces to oust Moammar Gadhafigiven their comparative lack of weapons and training. If the no-fly zone failed to end Gadhafis offensive, pressure would then likely build for the U.S. to attack Libyan ground forces directly, thus commencing interventionist quagmire number three, he continues. The other two quagmiresthe U.S. military campaigns Iraq and Afghanistanshould give the American foreign policy elite some pause before pulling the trigger again in Libya.
Another Imperial Quagmire? by Ivan Eland (3/16/11)
The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland
Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, by Ivan Eland
2) Shughart on Wisconsin and Public Employee Unions
In his latest op-ed, Independent Institute Senior Fellow William F. Shughart II congratulates Wisconsin for cutting the power of public employee unionsand helping to put the issue under the national spotlight.
Public employee wages and benefits are typically not the result of simple collective bargaining, he writes. They are the result of the public employee unions political and lobbying activitieswhich, in many states, are financed with union dues employees are forced to pay as a condition of employment.
Public employees should not have the same bargaining rights as private-sector employees, Shughart argues, because public finance operates differently from the commercial marketplace. In the marketplace, consumers can switch from one brand to anotheror they can refuse to make a purchase. But when it comes to paying taxes for public services, consumers have no choice. Short of selling their homes and looking for new jobs elsewhere, theyre stuck with the bill when politicians collude with union officials to increase costs.
Issues That Needed to Be Raised, by William F. Shughart II (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/17/11)
Taxing Choice: The Predatory Politics of Fiscal Discrimination, edited by William F. Shughart II
3) Obamas Trip to Latin America
President Obama is visiting Latin America, but dont expect any major new developments to result. Washington has mostly ignored it since progress for a Free Trade Area of the Americas stalled six years ago. Fortunately, some countries in the region have seen improvements on two fronts: poverty has dropped precipitously, and the far left has fallen out of favor. However, many countries are overwhelmed on a third front: the war on drugs has taken a heavy toll on innocent bystanders and fragile political institutions, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa.
The drug war, which is supported by U.S. policy, has curtailed neither the demand nor supply of drugs, but it has created a wave of violence that has swept across Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and other countries. In 2009, the former presidents of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombiato no availargued that the drug war must be abandoned if peace and stability are to come to Latin America.
Obama probably knows it but does not have the stomach, at this point, for the protracted fight that a change in drug policy would entail, Vargas Llosa writes. And until it happens, as Mexicos Felipe Calderon recently told me, it is unrealistic to expect any serious Latin American country to defy Washington on its own.
The Secret of Worldwide Drug Prohibition: The Varieties and Uses of Drug Prohibition, by Harry G. Levine (The Independent Review, Fall 2002)
People and Ecosystems in Colombia: Casualties of the Drug War, by Sarah Peterson (The Independent Review, Winter 2002)
Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Lessons from the Poor: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, edited by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
4) The Independent Review--Spring Issue Now Available
We are delighted to announce the publication of the Spring 2011 issue of the Independent Institutes peer-reviewed journal, The Independent Review. This issues articles and book reviews deal with the following questions:
- Why is Ben Bernanke eager for the Federal Reserve to play a larger role in centrally planning the U.S. economy? Read the article.
- Why is government relief for disaster victims often less effective than aid provided by volunteers, non-profit organizations, and commercial enterprises? Read the article.
- How should classical liberals morally evaluate a welfare states immigration barriers?
- How has the design of the European Central Bank contributed to Europes sovereign debt crisis?
- Did politics influence which car dealerships were closed when President Obamas automobile task force restructured the auto industry? Read the article.
- What made the late Bill Marina such a memorable teacher and historian?
- How well can society function without the state and its legal monopoly on coercion? Read the review.
- How did the discrepancy between knowledge and power cause the financial crisis and threaten democracy? Read the review.
- Why did some communities that were hit by Hurricane Katrina recover fairly quickly, whereas others continue to struggle? Read the review.
- Does the U.S. Constitution protect a right to earn a living? Read the review.
- How did Ayn Rand influence American conservatism and libertarianism? Read the review.
5) New Blog Posts
From The Beacon:
- Barack Obama Public School Failure, by Mary Theroux (3/21/11)
- Eisenhower and the Military-Industrial Complex, by Robert Higgs (3/21/11)
- Another Presidential War. Yawn. by Anthony Gregory (3/19/11)
- Robert Higgs on Why Government Is Prolonging the Economic Crisis, by David Theroux (3/17/11)
- Morris David Morris (February 10, 1921 March 12, 2001), by Robert Higgs (3/16/11)
- Nuclear Power and the State, by Anthony Gregory (3/16/11)
- The 1 Percent Solution to Balancing the Federal Budget, by Randall Holcombe
- Andrew Klavan: Behold! Your Public Sector Unions at Work, by David Theroux (3/14/11)
From MyGovCost News & Blog:
- Key California State Workers Receive Half-Million Dollar Payments for Sick Days, by David Theroux (3/20/11)
- The Risk of Doing Nothing, by Craig Eyermann (3/19/11)
- Obama Understates U.S. Government Deficits by $2.3 Trillion, by David Theroux (3/18/11)
- New Video on Spending and Debt Crises for State Governments, by David Theroux (3/17/11)
- Mandatory U.S. Spending Alone to Exceed All Federal Revenues, by David Theroux (3/16/11)
- The U.S. as Welfare State: Government Entitlements Now 35% of Wages, by David Theroux (3/14/11)
The Independent Institutes Spanish-language blog is available here.