Letters to The Editor: September 2004

by | Sep 30, 2004

September 28, 2004 Why Australia is No Ally to Kerry Australia is a strong ally of the United States. We have a history of fighting alongside American troops in the wars of self interest over the past century (World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War I). We sent troops to Afghanistan, and most […]

September 28, 2004

Why Australia is No Ally to Kerry

Australia is a strong ally of the United States. We have a history of fighting alongside American troops in the wars of self interest over the past century (World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War I). We sent troops to Afghanistan, and most recently Iraq. It is interesting that Kerry wants to focus on the so-called allies that do nothing to defend America like France or Germany, but on the other hand, the allies that stand with America in it’s war on terror, he tries to emphasize to them that it is dangerous for them to support America and they would be safer if they and America did nothing. It seems that Kerry only wants allies that will support his pacifist views. Allies who would do nothing to defend America, ensuring the destruction of America. Someone like him can not be made president.

Michael Jenkinson
Melbourne, Australia

September 25, 2004

Regulations Violate Property Rights

Stephen Bainbridge’s article (“Regulate Insider Trading“, Sept 24, 2004) in favor of insider trading is ridiculous. He begins by supposedly arguing against Henry Manne’s reasons for supporting the deregulation of insider trading. In fact, however, he is attacking a straw man. He targets Manne’s assertions that insider trading increases the speed at which prices move towards their correct levels, and that insider trading can serve a useful purpose as an efficient system of compensation for managers. Bainbridge’s argument can be summed up as: insider trading does not increase the speed “enough,” and is not efficient “enough” of a compensation system. The questions, “enough for whom?” and “compared to what?” are left unanswered. If you move past all of Bainbridge’s logical gymnastics, he is basically conceding Manne’s point. Prices do move faster and insider trading can serve as an efficient system of compensation for managers–as compared with a system where insider trading is outlawed. Bainbridge’s conclusion that “the arguments for deregulating insider trading are not very persuasive” may describe his opinion, but it does not follow from his argument.

His next conclusion, that “as to the basic question of whether we ought to regulate insider trading, however, economic efficiency commands an affirmative answer” is another non-sequitir. He argues that property rights over the relevant information should be assigned to the corporation rather than to its employees. This may very well be true. But that does not imply regulation. The editor’s comment that “regulation is not needed, but merely the protection of property rights through civil –and not criminal– law” is correct, but it must be further added that regulation entails a violation of the very property right that Bainbridge pretends to uphold. A property right must include the right to transfer one’s possession. Regulation would mean that a corporation that decided that the benefits of allowing its managers to engage in insider trading outweighed the costs would be prevented from giving them that right. The editor’s suggestion is not “a third possible option,” but the correct implementation of the second option.

Isaac DiIanni
Fairfax, VA

September 8, 2004

Libertarians: The Party of Surrender

I am an Elector in Georgia for Libertarian Presidential candidate Michael Badenarik. And while Dr. Hurd goes a bit overboard, I agree with him that the Libertarian Party has become a party of pacifism. Not only am I in a tiny minority within the party for supporting the war on terrorism, I know the party’s official stand cost it many members last year. Libertarians believe in self-defense, but they believe unprovoked aggression is evil. As a party, the LP declines to see any relationship between the attack of September 11th and a world-wide movement of anti-liberty terror.

Party members I discuss this with recognize that it is appropriate to use a gun when you feel your life is in danger. This is how would-be robbers holding toy guns get shot dead by shopkeepers. The shopkeeper has made a pre-emptive attack rather than wait to find out for sure if the robber’s gun is real or not. To me this is an exact parallel with September 11th and the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Alas, I am unable to convince my fellow Libertarians of this.

Anthony Trauring
Atlanta, Georgia

Maybe it is time for you to leave the party and do something more productive with your time? As for the causes of September 11th see End States That Sponsor Terrorism by Leonard Peikoff, Ph.D.

Tax Credits and Vouchers

Are not vouchers really a type of tax credit? My logic is that a voucher is provided for any individual to pay for whatever school the individual choses, likewise, a tax credit is returned money to an individual that may be used to pay for whatever school (or anything else) the individual choses. So with that I really do not grasp the diffference between the two.

Charles Sullivan
Bedford, TX

Paul Blair responds:

Dear Charles,

Surely there is a difference in principle between letting you keep money that’s yours, and giving you money that was taken from someone else. One way to tell the difference is that a genuine tax credit cannot exceed the amount you would have otherwise paid in taxes. A subsidy, on the other hand, can be for any amount; it bears no relation to what as taken from you.

Best regards,
Paul Blair

Paul Hamm’s Achievement

Olympic Gold All Around Gymnast Paul Hamm: Only Human” was an excellent article that explains why Hamm’s achievements were such a great expression of human achievement. I think those who want to have Hamm give up his gold medal, are more motivated by a hatred of this achievement, and a hatred of America for embodying the values that made Paul Hamm’s performance possible. The worst is to hear American sports commentators say this. I love sports news because there is still some vestige of reason in journalism, where personal achievements are judged for what they are, heroic accomplishments. The sad thing is, even this venue is slowly degenerating to the same kind of biases that plague the rest of the media. It is still good to hear that someone appreciates American accomplishments.

Bill McDermod
Somerville, MA

September 6, 2004

GOP Lip Service

Dear Editor,

At the Republican National Convention President Bush called for an “ownership society” in which individuals would be provided with tax incentives to take control and responsibility for important aspects of their lives-such as retirement and health care-through tax sheltered savings accounts.

These proposals may indeed prove to be helpful innovations that expand individual choice and freedom. However, in its first term, the Bush Administration gave us the largest increase in government control of health care in forty years. They have now proposed 1300 pages of new regulations on prescription drugs-on top of 130,000 existing pages of Medicare regulations. If we do not own our bodies or make our own health care decisions, all other “ownership” is meaningless. We can only hope that if elected to another term, President Bush will reverse his expansion of government with new measures to expand individual choice and freedom.

Richard E. Ralston, Executive Director
Americans for Free Choice in Medicine
Newport Beach, California

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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