About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Couple Things I Don't Understand

1. The volatility of polls. One day a poll comes out and President Obama's approval rating is in the tank. Today we are told that "his approval rating hit the crucial 50 percent barrier in two new polls." What's that all about? According to the same article:
There were also signs that strengthening jobs growth and a quickening recovery were improving his standing in several key states the president will need to capture if he is to win reelection in November.
Are Americans really so fickle that their opinion of Mr. Obama's performance in office and his political philosophy can change on a dime from one day to the next? Mr. Obama's redistributionist tax-and-spend progressivism has been on display since his arrival on the national scene several years ago. All of his actions as President give tangible evidence to his big government, nanny state philosophy, from the bank bailouts, to the auto bailouts, to ObamaCare, to foreign oil subsidies, to restrictions on energy production, to the latest flap regarding taxpayer paid contraceptives and his advocacy in Milwaukee of a new World Tax.

Yet, in the face of all this evidence, we are to believe that Americans will change their opinion of Mr. Obama based on "signs" of a "strengthening jobs growth and a quickening recovery." Please!!

If this were true, we are indeed in a world of trouble. I refuse to believe Americans are as shallow as the polls imply. But then, I truly don't understand.

2. The daily news reports of stock market activity. At the end of each business day, newscasters report that status of the stock market as compared to the day before. Sometimes it is unchanged. Sometimes the Dow Industrial Average goes up a hundred points. Some days it falls a couple of hundred points. Never mind. The intrepid reporter is always quick to provide the explanation for the fluctuation.

"Today the Dow was up on news of rising home prices." Or, "Today the Dow plunged on news of the failed attempt to bail out the Greek economy." Please!!

I grant that there are some investors who make decisions based on world financial events. But do the big boys on Wall Street actually bid stock prices up based on the latest jobs report or housing price data? Every stock broker I've ever talked to counsels "investing for the long term." Their constant advice is "don't try to time the market." Yet, here is that news reporter telling me that brokers across the country have doubled down because a few Greek unionists are rioting in the streets.

OK, let's assume some brokers invest based on daily CNN news broadcasts. My question is: How do the Wall Street news reporters know this? How can they know which particular bad piece of news was responsible for the Dow's tumble, or which piece of good news caused prices to shoot up? Does Rick Santelli scurry around the floor of the New York Stock Exchange asking the frenzied traders from minute-to-minute what world event has now got their undies in a bunch?

Every day we are bombarded by hundreds of news events. They don't wear convenient labels of "good" or "bad." Somebody has to decide. If the stock market happened to move substantially on the news of Whitney Houston's death, who can say the two events are connected by cause and effect? Well, actually, anyone can say the market went down on news of her death...or up. Opinions are a dime a dozen.

But those newscasters sure sound like they know for sure. If their ear is that close to the cause-and-effect rail, maybe I ought to let them manage my investments.

I just don't understand. 

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