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Chronicle of the Conspiracy
Join us as we discover, document, expose and challenge the bad people, the bad institutions and the bad ideas that stand in the way of wealth creation -- and show you how to fight back!

Friday, December 19, 2008

THE CONSTITUTIONAL CASE AGAINST "CARD CHECK"   While the Obama administration is running to the center on taxes and other economic policies, the threat of massive expansion of union power through "card check" instead of secret ballot at non-unionized plants remains on the table. The great Richard Epstein thinks that it wouldn't survive a Supreme Court challenge. From this morning's Journal:
The EFCA [the proposed "card check" law] takes away the employer's right to walk. Now the successful union, backed by direct government power -- i.e., mandatory arbitration -- can force itself on the firm. Yet the proposed law does not let any court block the deal or ensure that the mandated terms offer a reasonable return on its invested capital. (Even modern rent control statutes require that much.)

The government-chosen panel could well impose terms that might cripple the firm competitively. Consider that the takings clause surely prevents the government from forcing any person to buy real estate for twice its market value from a seller. That same principle applies to this labor law: No government should be able to force a firm to hire labor at $50 per hour when the company is not willing to pay half that much.

Worse, the EFCA also permits the government arbitrator to strip the employer of all its standard management prerogatives on everything from subcontracting out to promotion policy. By flatly denying the employer any option to walk away, mandatory arbitration under the EFCA runs smack into the takings clause.

Let's hope that the Democratic Congress will moot this analysis -- by refusing to jump head first into a labor-law abyss that promises to wreck labor markets in times of acute national economic distress. The Employee Free Choice Act should not be passed, and it should be struck down by the Supreme Court if it is.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:31 AM | link  


Thursday, December 18, 2008

"YOU DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT THEN, AND YOU PROBABLY DON'T UNDERSTAND IT NOW"   Inflation, that is. Bet you didn't know it was our salvation. Here's the whole story. Thanks to Brian McCarthy.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:47 PM | link  

WURST OF THE WORST   It was my pleasure to be asked to be one of the judges for TimesWatch's annual contest to determine the very worst quote from the New York Times for the past year. Click here to see all the winners -- and see if you can force yourself to read them all, just to have all in one brutal experience the full depth of how just plain awful the Times really is. I wasn't the only judge to pick this one as a favorite, though:
Don Luskin...settled on Stephen Erlanger's, which "exposes not just the unbalanced adulation for Obama and contempt for McCain, but at the same time the way the Times descended into portraying the campaign as a contest of personal images rather than issues."
Here it is, in all its gory glory:
"On Thursday evening in a glittering Berlin, cheered by as many as 200,000 people, Mr. Obama delivered a tone poem to American and European ideals and shared history. In contrast, just before he spoke, Mr. McCain, was sitting in Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, having a bratwurst, and saying grumpily that he would prefer to speak to Germans when he is president, not before." -- Stephen Erlanger in a July 26 filing from Paris while covering Barack Obama's world tour.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:34 AM | link  


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

KUDLOW REPLAY   Here's the YouTube video.


Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:22 AM | link  


Monday, December 15, 2008

IS THIS RANCH FINANCED WITH A SUB-PRIME MORTGAGE?  

Thanks to reader Richard Ridgeway.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:39 PM | link  


Sunday, December 14, 2008

OK, IT'S NOT EXACTLY BERNIE MADOFF, BUT STILL   This is quite a swindle, at least considering the dollar value of it in relation to its tiny components.
Wang Zhendong...chairman of Yingkou Donghua Trading Group, had promised returns of up to 60 percent for investors who purchased ant-breeding kits from two companies he ran.

Ants are used in some traditional Chinese medicinal remedies, which can fetch a high price. Wang sold the kits, which cost $25, for $1,300, the local news media reported earlier.

Wang attracted more than 10,000 investors from 2002 to June 2005, when investigators shut down his companies. The closure of his business set off a panic among small-time players who saw their life's savings disappear overnight.

Xinhua had reported that one investor committed suicide after realizing he had been duped. Investigators put the size of the fraud at $416 million. Only $1.28 million was recovered.

Thanks to Mark Spahn.

Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:06 PM | link