Thursday, July 31, 2008

Milton Friedman's 96th Birthday

I was asked to give a speech to a gathering assembled by the Cascade Policy Insitute on the occasion of Milton Friedman's 96th birthday, which I gave today.

Milton Friedman: The most influential economist in history

I can't tell you what an honor it is to be here today, and have the chance to pay tribute, on what would have been his 96th birthday, to a man who had a profound affect on my life. Though I never met him, I always felt as if my life and career was somehow steered by the power of Milton Friedman's ideas.

Milton Friedman is my hero.

A lasting regret of mine is that I didn't make more of a concerted effort to meet him before he died. That, of course, is my fault and my loss, but even never having met Milton Friedman, he had a profound influence on my education, my understanding of the world, and my career.

As Matt said, the first time I remember hearing the name Milton Friedman was in my first college economics class, at Willamette University in 1978. He was already a towering intellectual figure, two years removed from winning the Nobel Prize in economics.

At the time, as many of you my age or above recall, the U.S. was in the throes of an economic phenomenon that was not supposed to happen under the prevailing orthodoxy of macroeconomics at the time - Keynesianism. In the Keynesian world, high inflation was always accompanied by low unemployment, and vice versa. The Phillips Curve.

The Keynesian view was overwhelmingly the consensus view among economists and policymakers in 1978. As President Nixon once famously said: "We're all Keynesians now." Well, everybody except Milton Friedman.

But in the '70s, we got "Stagflation:" high inflation at the same time as a high unemployment rate. That wasn't supposed to happen, in a Keynesian world, and nobody knew what to do. Well, nobody but Milton Friedman.

Friedman had long argued that the Keynesian policy of "fine tuning" an economy through government fiscal and monetary policy was wrong, and had predicted that the long post WWII expansion - during which time the Keynesian policies ruled - would come to an abrupt end.

So in the late 1970's, as the Keynesian world was shattered, Milton Friedman was looking very prophetic. Short term interest rates were touching 20% and inflation was in the mid-teens. Unemployment above 10% - For the first time his alternative to Keynesian macroeconomics – Monetarism - gained traction among economists and policymakers.

It was in the middle of this national debate that I started studying economics at Willamette. My economics advisor at the time had spent a recent summer at the University of Chicago, where he met Milton Friedman and learned about the "Chicago School."

As I spent my two years at Willamette, taking more econ classes and talking with my advisor, The Chicago School, and the name Milton Friedman came up time and again. Clearly, Chicago was the place to be for economics. Encouraged by my advisor, I decided to transfer to Chicago, and continue my studies there.

I came from a family of public school teachers. By this time my father was an administrator - he was a high school principal in the Beaverton School District. Both my parents were good Democrats, liberals. I thought I was too. I dutifully voted for Jimmy Carter in my first presidential year ballot. And of course, as a family, we were very pro-public education.

I arrived at Chicago in 1980, a small town boy in a big city school. I was wide eyed, to be sure. But I was ready for a big academic challenge. What I wasn't ready for, and what I certainly didn't anticipate, was to have every my every political and economic and social assumption challenged, probed, and questioned by the ideas of Milton Friedman and The Chicago School of Economics.

Milton Friedman was gone from Chicago by then - at least physically. He left the year before for the Hoover Institute. But he wasn't really gone. Friedman's shadow loomed large over the economics department at Chicago. His wit, his disarming charm, his debate style - he was legendary and we all tried to mimic him.

But his ideas: they were the most powerful. Milton Friedman was a man who cared about ideas, who was defined by his ideas, and whose ideas were so powerful, so compelling, so robust that time and again they were the force behind major social changes that we still benefit from today.

All the ideas and policies that Milton Friedman became known for had one overarching theme: freedom. Individual liberty. Milton Friedman believed individual freedom is a moral good. He once said that his main theme in public policy was the promotion of freedom. And there has never been a more articulate voice in defense of freedom than Milton Friedman.

He is arguably is the most influential economist in history in terms of providing the intellectual and theoretical basis for major changes in public policy in areas that affected - and continue to affect, every single one of our lives.

His monetarist approach to macroeconomics was adopted by Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, and was largely responsible for taming the inflation monster of the 1970's. It required a temporary spike in interest rates and a deep recession, but the monetarist approach of targeting money supply rather than interest rates prevailed. Since 1981, a time when the Fed has largely pursued a monetarist approach, swings in the business cycle have been much less frequent, and less severe than the 50 years before.

Friedman was instrumental in ending the Military Draft, he argued that conscription was an immoral limitation of freedom by government- indeed, a form of slavery. He thought that an all volunteer military would be more effective anyway. He convinced Nixon to end the draft in 1973.

Friedman argued for a system of floating international currencies, and convinced Nixon to end the Bretton Woods system that pegged foreign currencies to the dollar, and the dollar to gold.

Throughout the cold war, a time when many of Friedman's colleagues we beguiled by communism, seeing it as just another valid form of political economy. Friedman saw it for what it was: an inherently immoral ideology that survived only enslaving its subjects. He was one of the first to predict that communism would fail. At a time when many of his fellow economists spoke of the efficiency and superiority of a planned economy, Friedman knew that bureaucrats were no match for markets.

Among those who Friedman convinced about this was Ronald Reagan. Reagan broughtabout the Soviet Union's collapse not through military confrontation per-se, but by putting pressure on its inherently contradictory economic system. Friedman was right: the Soviet Union economy collapsed.

In looking at Milton Friedman's life work, it is interesting to ponder just what was it about this man that made him so right about so many things? Why could he see so clearly what so many of his colleagues were blind to? How did he know that Keynesian policies would fail, that communism would fail, and that a volunteer military was superior?

I think it is because, as accomplished and expert as he was on all of the subjects he studied, his clarity of vision wasn't really because he understood the subjects better than his contemporaries, but because he understood FREEDOM better than his contemporaries.

For Milton Friedman, freedom was the cardinal virtue. He knew in the core of his being that policies, laws, economic systems, and political regimes that were based on limiting freedom were inferior, and would fail. So he didn't necessarily have to know more about every subject than others to be able to see things more clearly. (That said, he always DID know more about every subject than anyone else.)

Milton Friedman also applied his cardinal principle of freedom to education. Fifty three years ago - 1955 - he coined the word voucher when he proposed that a better way to provide education services would be through a system of parental choice.

Interestingly, as much a supporter of unfettered free markets as he was, Milton Friedman had no qualms with public funding of education. He was an economist first, and he recognized the conditions of "market failure" that justify government involvement in the marketplace.

When a cost of a product can be forced on parties not involved in the transaction - like industrial pollution - Friedman recognized that there is a role for government. He called these "neighborhood effects,"

He knew that neighborhood effects can be both negative AND positive. That is, there are some services that benefit everybody when provided, not just the person who consumes them. Friedman thought that education was one of these services. Everyone benefits from an educated populace, so there is a valid role for government to subsidize education.

So Friedman supported government-funded education. What he understood wasthat government need not be the service provider - and in fact there were very good reasons why the government, although it should fund education, it SHOULD NOT run the schools.

Friedman proposed, in 1955, parents should be given a voucher that they could use to send their child to any school of their choosing. In 1955, this was a radical idea. Dissatisfaction with the public school system back then barely registered. There were no teachers unions. Most school districts were still quite small. The education bureaucracy was a fraction of its current size.

Yet Friedman saw what would be the future of the public school system under its current structure as clearly as he saw the future of Soviet Communism: any system based on coercion rather than freedom is doomed to fail. He understood, way back in 1955, that a school system that was not based on parental choice would end up being operated for the benefit of the adults in the system, rather than the children.

This brings me to one of the enduring truths I heard Milton Friedman say, something I have always kept in mind as I’ve worked in the political arena here in Oregon. I don't remember the exact setting - it was a TV interview I saw him give. He said:

"Politics 101 tells us that any political arena will over time become co-opted by the concentrated interests at the expense of the diffuse interests."

Milton Friedman saw the inevitable path of the public school system because he understood this truth. In the political arena of public schools, the employees are the concentrated interests. They can organize easily, raise funds, influence elections, lobby the legislature and co-opt the political process. The parents and children – they are the diffuse interests: they number in the hundreds of thousands, they are not easily organized, and each has only a small comparative stake in the outcome compared to the employees.

So Friedman saw, way back in 1955, that if the public school system stayed with the model of government operated schools, they would evolve to serve the adults in the system rather than the students they were supposed to educate.

Friedman wrote and spoke about his voucher idea regularly for the next forty years, but it wasn't until 1990 that things started to happen. That year, Oregon voted on a school choice ballot measure (sponsored by Steve Buckstein - the first statewide vote on a school choice plan in the nation) That failed, but later that year the Wisconsin legislature passed a voucher plan for residents of the city of Milwaukee – the first voucher in the country.

Things took off from there. In 1991, Minnesota passed the nation’s first charter school law, and by the end of the decade, 80% of the states had some form of a charter law.

In 1996, Friedman started the Friedman Foundation, in order to help establish school choice programs in the U.S. (Actually, Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose, started the foundation, the formal name of which is the Milton & Rose Friedman Foundation. I would be remiss not to mention Rose, because she was an award winning economist in her own right. She grew up in Portland, and is still alive.)

I remember when I first heard about the foundation. Its President, Gordon St. Angelo, kicked it off by going on the Rush Limbaugh show. I had recently become active in the school choice arena here in Oregon, in no small part because of Friedman's intellectual work on the school choice.

I found the number, called and spoke to Mr. St. Angelo that very day. I couldn't believe that my hero had started a foundation to assist people like me!

I've been blessed to have had their help over the years on all sorts of issues as we've struggled to make headway on school choice in Oregon.

The fact that Friedman devoted his life's fortune to reforming the school system speaks volumes. He was the world's leading authority on monetary policy. His body of work spanned decades and encompassed dozens of subjects. But when it came time to decide on how to invest his financial legacy in the future of our nation, he chose school choice.

If freedom was the overarching theme for all his pursuits, he obviously considered educational freedom to be the most pressing issue for our future.

Since the Friedman Foundation was founded in 1996, it has made a huge difference. 14 states now have some type of tax credit or voucher program established in law, and the Friedman Foundation has been active in helping every single one since its founding.

They've helped in Oregon, too. I know they have been very helpful with Matt's tax credit project. Heavens knows, Oregon needs the help.

Can we have school choice in Oregon? Can we extend the movement beyond our modest charter school law? Can Oregon join the list of 14 states that have passed legislation for some kind of tax credit or voucher plan?

Well it took three legislative sessions to get our charter school law passed, and I remember the long odds we were told we faced when we started. But we succeeded, and now there will be nearly 90 charter schools opening their doors for school next month here in Oregon.

The "concentrated interests" in Oregon were against the charter school law from the start, and they still try every single legislative session to kill the law. And since they haven't been able to kill the law, they take aim at the most successful schools.

You've probably heard or read about the Oregon Connections Academy, Oregon's largest on-line charter school. Connections Academy has more than 1800 students, who are taught at home through an innovative combination of on-line lessons and traditional school activities. To say this school is a success is a huge understatement. They hoped to enroll 500 students in the first year, but ended up having to turn down more than 1000 applications, after enrolling 800. This fall it will have well more than 2000 students from every corner of the state, making it one of the largest schools of any kind in Oregon.

In other words, it is a very big target for the concentrated interests who are threatened by the existence of schools that they do not control. The Teachers Union is trying to shut the school down. We’ve been through several battles against the union and their proxies already, and they will not ever stop. It is their expressed intent to close the doors of the Oregon Connections Academy, and tell 2000 students, and their parents, that their choice doesn’t matter.

Can you imagine a better illustration of the immorality of a system based on coercion?

What can we do? Well, what would Milton Friedman do? Give up?

He argued for decades that the Soviet Union would fail before it collapsed under the weight of its own inherent contradictions. The concentrated interests in the education arena are no different. Their existence depends on limiting the freedom of others. They look very strong – but so did the USSR when Carter was President. A school system built on coercion and limiting choices is inferior, and will eventually fail. Milton Friedman knew this.

I believe he saw the future of the public school system with the same clarity as he saw the future of the Soviet Union, and for the same reasons. And I believe he started his foundation to help give a push, an assist to bring about more quickly what he could see was the inexorable force of history.

And so here today, we look at the political environment in Oregon and think the prospects for getting school choice – for instance, passing legislation such as Matt Wingard proposes -- looks bleak: the deck is stacked against us. The teachers unions are strong, the Democrats are in control and they oppose us, the media is not on our side.

But we have one big advantage, an advantage that I think Milton Friedman understood better than anyone, which is why he was so prescient: We are on the right side of history.

The history of humanity is the history of the extension of human freedom from all forms of political bondage.

So, take heart! School choice is just one facet of this long term march to freedom. History is on our side. Our enemy is weaker than you think. The object in the mirror is smaller than it appears.

Happy 96th Birthday, Milton Friedman.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Western States Economic Suicide Pact

OK, here we go! The "Western Climate Initiative," has released its draft plan for the regional greenhouse gas cap and trade scheme.

Mark the date in history! Years from now, when the government bureaucracy that is charged with administering this disastrous program has reached its full-grown, intrusive, stifling maturity, we can all think back to the heady days when the planners and environmentalists and power-hungry politicians birthed this mutant monster.

You really have to go read the draft to understand just what they want to do to our economy and our way of life. The details are at once chilling and vague.

I'll take a run at describing it, half formed though it is:

The arbitrary goal has been set to reduce greenhouse gasses (GHG's) by 15% under 2005 levels by the year 2020. There isn't anywhere I could find any estimate of the benefit of doing this. They say their goal is to reduce gasses enough to "significantly lower the risk of dangerous threats to the climate," which they say will actually require reductions in CO2 by 50-85% by the year 2050.

OK, stop right there. Here they are proposing a huge new tax, a huge new government program, and there is only the most vaguely formed rationale for any way it will benefit us. The documents basically assume that CO2 reduction is obviously good in and of itself, no real reason necessary to propose draconian limits on energy use to justify it.

Moving forward:

Together, the "Partner" states and provinces (OR, WA, CA, NM, MT, UT are the states) will estimate their actual emissions of the greenhouse gasses (GHG's) they plan to regulate, and this will be the "cap" in the first year of the program, 2012.

So the governments will have to try to measure the GHG's emitted by every manufacturing plant, commercial facility, the transportation sector, residential, electrical generation plants, cogeneration plants, etc. So starts the bureaucracy. Obviously the only way to do this is to mandate some system for monitoring and reporting by all the regulated entities.

Since these initial levels become the first "cap," and each of the regulated entities knows that their own baseline measure will also become their cap level upon which all future reductions are based, and since the method for actually measuring and monitoring the carbon footprint of all these different entities is subjective at best, there is plentiful opportunity and incentive for game playing, political deal cutting, and what economists call "rent-seeking."

So, once this baseline cap is set, every three years there will be a ratcheting down of the cap in a straight line until the 15% reduction is met by 2020.

Now for the "trade" part of the scheme. This is where it gets pretty funny, because they studiously avoid admitting that the scheme is basically a hidden tax on energy use, but they make all sorts of vague references to how they will use all the money they collect, because that is the point of the whole exercise in the first place.

Each state, after taking its baseline reads, will grant "allowances" to each regulated entity. This is their GHG cap. They left open to each state whether these allowances are just given to the regulated entity, or if they are 'auctioned" (read: taxed.)

This is where all the shenanigans will come. Here's the deal: the state is proposing a ubiquitous tax on every consumer and producer of energy. All these industries and firms aren't going to just sit back and bear the brunt of the new tax. But they DO see the train coming down the track.

So every single one of them are going to use their political influence to make sure the train hits the other guy, or even to manipulate the structure of the program so that they actually make money on the deal!

For instance: the timber guys will try to get tree planting programs approved as carbon sink offset programs, so regulated entities can pay them to plant trees rather than buy carbon credits on the market. But the bureaucrats know that they can't allow ALL the potential revenue to go to offset programs - they want their money! - so they will negotiate precisely how much of the carbon reduction goals can be met by carbon sinks, and how much by purchasing credits.

Yep - there it is, section 9.2 - an arbitrary limit on offsets, which they will probably set at 10%. How did I know?! Every other industry and company will be in the game, too, and there are limitless ways those with political influence can lessen the impact on themselves and push it over to the other guy.

Now, as I said, the point of this whole exercise is for the governments involved to tax energy so they can funnel the money to all their friends for the plethora of environmental and sustainability projects. But they have to strike a balance.

As I said, each state gets to decide what percentage of the "allowances" are 'auctioned" and what percentage are "granted." Essentially, this is a way to pay off the various industries so they go along. The question is basically how much wealth will be transferred from consumers to government, and how much from consumers to industry. The plan leaves that up to each state, but they are trying to decide on a "minimum percentage of allowances subject to auction by each state."

This is how they talk. "subject to auction" means TAXED. When they say "allowances" that means "how much energy we will let you use." When the talk about "the value of each partner's allowance budget," they mean "how much tax money is raised by forcing regulated entities to purchase the carbon credits."

And oh, do they have big plans for that money! :
  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives and achievement;
  • Research, development, demonstrations and deployment (RDD&D) with
    particular reference to carbon capture & sequestration (CCS);
  • renewable energy generation, transmission and storage; and energy efficiency;
  • Promoting emission reductions and sequestration in agriculture and
    forestry and other uncapped sources;
  • Reducing consumer impacts, especially for low-income consumers;
  • Providing for worker transition and green jobs;
  • Providing transition assistance to industries;
  • Adaptation to climate change impacts;
  • Recognizing early actions to reduce emissions; and
  • Promoting economic efficiency.
Nowhere is there any talk of how much tax money will be raised through this scheme. Imagine! They are proposing a monumental tax on energy to supposedly save us from global warming. But nowhere do they: 1) estimate the actual benefit in terms of how much global warming will be reduced, or 2) tell us how much we are going to pay!

Of course, the crack journalists at our daily so-called newspaper can be counted on to drill down and ask the tough questions, right? (Insert belly laugh here.)

Yeah right - here is what The Funny Paper reported, in their single article, buried in the business section, had to say about the cost:

"State officials who unveiled the approach in Gov. Ted Kulongoski's offices said the draft strategy's mandates may push power rates and fuel prices up slightly. But Oregonians should see lower bills in the end because the strategy promotes conservation measures that should reduce energy use, they said. "

OK then! Who could possibly need any more than that? The bureaucrats say this will actually SAVE us money! No need for any other opinion on it. Good enough for us!

OK, I am running out of time here - I have to catch a baseball game. I'll probably drill down more on this later. I hope everyone can see, however, what a monstrosity this will quickly grow into.

A huge tax increase, the amount of which they will not estimate, with no pretense of even estimating how much or whether the tax would solve the problem that they claim requires the tax.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tony Snow passes away

What a shame it is for Tony Snow to die. He was one of the most upbeat guys in politics, and was truly a terrific guy.

I first became a fan of Tony's when he was a columnist for Detroit News, long before FoxNews started. I really liked his perspective in his columns.

In the early 1990's, as the internet was just getting going, I signed up for a AOL account, and started exploring the wonders of the AOL world. I liked to frequent a chat room, called "ACLU" which had a lot of robust political debate. Who did I see there? Screen name TonySnow.

So I emailed him at, asked it it was THE Tony Snow, and he admitted it was. We traded a few emails over the next couple years.

One day, shortly after FoxNews started, I was in Wash DC, and thought "what the heck, wouldn't it be cool to meet Tony?" I called up Fox, got his voice mail and explained that there wasn't any particular reason he should have lunch with me, but I was in town and it would be nice to meet him. He called back right away, couldn't have lunch because he was out of town.

That is the kind of guy Tony Snow was. There was never a pretentious bone in the guy's body.

I next met him when his radio show was on KXL, and he came to town to do one of our "TalkFest" events. He was the headliner, Lars was the warm up act. But the festivities were kicked off by my then 15 year old daughter Jessica, who sang the National Anthem as I stood backstage with Tony.

As she finished singing the song, on stage at the Rose Garden, double jumbo screens on either side of the stage showing her, Tony looked at me, kind of as a dad would who fully understood what another dad might be feeling at that moment, and just kind of nodded. He reached over an patted my back, said: "good job."

I think what made Tony so human is that he was so much more than a colunmist, a FoxNews pundit, a syndicated talk show host, a presidential spokesperson.

He was a father.

THAT was what was most important to him, and it came through in moments like the one I shared with him.

Tony Snow, I will miss you. I can't pretend I was a close friend - really just a person whose orbit occassionally crossed his. But I will miss his sunny dispostion, his upbeat views even in the face of personal strife and illness, and his ability to communicate with people because at core, he was just another dad, in love with his daughter and trying to raise his kids the best he could.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Is a narrative starting to form?

Could it be that Barack Obama's craven flip-flops are starting to create a what will be a lasting and harmful narrative that will define his candidacy throughout the fall?

I have been watching Obama's campaign - and the media's coverage of it - very closely since he became the frontrunner after Super Tuesday. What he did was remarkable. Beating the Clinton machine is a magnificent accomplishment.

But from the get-go, I was amused by this charismatic fellow. Actually, more amused by the totally credulous response he got from his supporters and the media. The guy is really just another bullshit artist - his words don't come close to matching the reality of his background and his political resume.

But so many people just lapped it up, so EXCITED about this fresh new figure who was a so very different kind of politician.


He's proving it now, with his sudden, shameless about faces on his Iraq timetable, FISA, guns, public financing and everything else. Just another triangulating, poll testing politician. The only sad part is he had so many people fooled in the first place.

It is the hardly uncommon for a presidential nominee to run to the center after wrapping up the nomination. For the usual candidate, it is hardly fatal. But Obama didn't sell himself as the usual candidate - he sold himself as different. The people he got excited - the new voters, the college kids - all the folks who drove the huge turnout for Democrats - they will disappear into the ether as soon as they realize this guy is just another smooth talking politician who will say whatever he needs to say to win.

And that is the narrative that seems to be taking shape in a manner that will stick. He sold himself so effectively as a different kind of candidate that when his actions and words prove he isn't, it becomes a defining issue.

Remember the Republican National Convention in 2004? I forget whose speech it was, but he was blasting Kerry for being a flip-flopper, and the crowd was ready for it, waving their actual flip-flops, chanting "FLIP-FLOPPER!"

That was a narrative that stuck to Kerry like glue. I think there may now be the same kind of narrative forming about Obama that he won't be able to shake, and that defines this yet-to-be-defined candidate in a way that really disappoints all those young, eager and idealistic voters who flocked to Obama as their political messiah.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Kulongoski, Jobs, and Gordon Smith

An Associated Press story ran this weekend that revealed my decision to not vote for Gordon Smith. Yesterday, Jeff Mapes ran a followup on his blog.

My problem with Gordon Smith is not really that he is triangulating in an election year. I expect that, and would tolerate a lot of it. I'm not really that much of a purist when it comes to electoral politics. I'm just fine with voting for people who I agree with 60% of the time.

But Gordon Smith has gone south on the most important issue of the day: regulating and taxing carbon emissions. That is when he lost me and my vote.

I'm not on a crusade here. I'm not out to try to convince others to not vote for him. I didn't make any announcement about my vote. In fact, I am pretty sure Gordon Smith is going to win, and his victory will partly be due to the fact that he has so aggressively assumed the color of his environment.

Ted Kulongoski is in the news today touting the job creating potential of "green energy." This is economic development Soviet style. Does it create jobs to give huge subsidies to alternative energy projects that don't make economic sense on their own? Sure. Just not as many jobs as the subsidies themselves destroy.

But the jobs that get killed are opportunity costs. They are diffuse. The jobs that get created are wonderful ribbon-cutting-press-release material, which makes them perfect for politicians who misunderstand economics and want to pretend they are doing something.

It's the same basic argument about tarriffs. Do import tarriffs save jobs in the U.S? Sure. Just not as many jobs as they destroy. Slapping a 100% taffiff on steel imports absolutely does protect jobs in the domestic steel industry. Those can be identified.

The higher relative cost of the steel that ends up in products produced here is spread throughout the economy, and ends up in the form of incrementally higher prices for finished products we all pay for.

It is a cardinal principle of politics that any political process will become dominated and co-opted by the concentrated interests at the expense of the diffuse interests. The case of "green energy" subsidies and import tarriffs are prime examples.

Craven politicians like Ted Kulongoski ally themselves with special interests, and help them enrich themselves at public expense. The interest groups have substantial monetary incentives to play the game - campaign contributions, public relations efforts, etc. The costs are diffused throughout the economy. Those who bear these costs, individually, do not have enough incentive to mobilize any political effort to oppose the policies that cost them, because the incremental cost each person bears is small.

And so we get what economists call "rent-seekers," who use the political process to pass mandates that enrich themselves. Kulongoski's green energy policies and Gordon Smith's "Cap & Trade" programs are nothing more than interest group subsidies.

They kill jobs. But who cares when they give politicians such wonderful opportunities for press conferences!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Here I am

I know I haven't been blogging much lately. I really don't know why. Each day I wake up and by the time the coffee is made I have opinions forming.

But days and days go by and I don't post on my blog. I'm not sure why.

Any thoughts?