Mitch Kokai

Senior Political Analyst

Posts by Mitch Kokai (page 2,297)

  • Guess who likes higher gas prices?

    People who want a larger role for the “green” economy, that’s who. The latest Bloomberg Businessweek offers details: [T]here's a silver lining in higher oil prices—or, rather, a green lining—for Obama, who has made clean energy one of his paramount causes. Rising fuel costs could go a long way toward advancing Obama's "Win the Future" vision of an economy remade by green technologies, including electric vehicles, advanced batteries, wind and solar power, and high-speed trains. "If you want to make people switch toward cleaner energy sources," says Nigel J. Gault, chief U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight, "you need to change the price incentives people are facing. One way to do that would be to make traditional energy much more expensive." … … Truth be told, higher prices are what it takes to change the energy consumption habits of large numbers of Americans. "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," Energy Secretary Steven Chu told The Wall Street Journal in 2008 when he was director of the University of California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Chu has backed away from that view since taking office.
    Mitch Kokai, March 22, 2011
  • Rogers addresses the nuclear ‘renaissance’

    What will Japan’s recent experience with nuclear plants mean for the future of nuclear power generation in the United States? Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers discusses the topic in the latest Bloomberg Businessweek. What impact will Japan have on the global nuclear renaissance? I…
    Mitch Kokai, March 22, 2011
  • The danger of the floating dollar

    A recent issue of Hillsdale College’s Imprimis highlights New York Sun founding editor Seth Lipsky’s concerns about the impact of allowing the value of the American dollar to float. The creation of dollars, and the status of the dollar as legal tender, is a matter of fiat. Its value is adjusted by the mandarins at the Federal Reserve, depending on variables they only sometimes share with the rest of the world. This would have floored the Framers of our Constitution, who granted Congress the power to coin money and regulate its value in the same sentence in which they gave it the power to fix the standard of weights and measures. …. Now, the record is clear in respect of how America’s founders viewed money. Many of them went into the Second United States Congress, where they established the value of the dollar at 371 ¼ grains of pure silver. The law through which they did that, the Coinage Act of 1792, noted that the amount of silver they were regulating for the dollar was the same as in a coin then in widespread use, known as the Spanish milled dollar. The law said a dollar could also be the free-market equivalent in gold. The Founders did not expect the value of the dollar to be changed any more than the persons who locked away that kilogram of platinum and iridium expected the cylinder to start losing mass. In fact, in this same 1792 law, they established the death penalty for debasing the dollar.
    Mitch Kokai, March 22, 2011
  • New Carolina Journal Online features

    Sam Hieb’s latest Carolina Journal Online report focuses on a bill that would restrict municipal broadband systems in North Carolina. John Hood’s Daily Journal challenges Democrats’ complaints that the Republican-led General Assembly’s top priorities have nothing to do with creating jobs.
    Mitch Kokai, March 22, 2011
  • New at CJO: Plan to restructure judicial election process draws critics from both parties

    David Bass’ latest Carolina Journal Online report examines a proposal to replace North Carolina’s current judicial election process with a system combining gubernatorial appointments with retention elections.
    Mitch Kokai, March 21, 2011
  • Saying what Say said, rather than what Keynes says Say said

    Even if you’re not an economist, you’ve likely heard the name Keynes or the word “Keynesian” in recent months. The famous British economist John Maynard Keynes put forth theories during the 1930s that justified government policies involving increased spending to jumpstart a sluggish economy. In a presentation today to the…
    Mitch Kokai, March 21, 2011
  • Barone labels the U.S. the unilateral power in a multilateral world

    While much of the discussion in recent weeks about American involvement in the Libyan conflict focused on the need for support from other countries, Michael Barone says that approach creates problems. He explains why in a Washington Examiner column. [O]ur action in Iraq was not in any literal sense unilateral, as so many critics said then and as journalists today casually assume. More than 30 countries participated in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Thirty is not one. The usual response to that inconvenient fact is that the other countries don't really count, because the United States took the initiative and provided the majority of military assets. Well, yes. What else would you expect when the United States, with 5 percent of the world's population, produces more than one-quarter of world economic output, and by most measures has more than one-half of projectable military power? In such a world the initiative will usually be left to the United States.
    Mitch Kokai, March 21, 2011
  • Sowell returns to the lessons of basic economics

    This reader had toyed with the idea of skipping the fourth edition of Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics, having read the third edition four years ago. That would have been a mistake. Having just completed the nearly 700-page updated version of Sowell’s “common-sense guide to the economy,” one is reminded of the many ways in which an ignorance of economics — willful or otherwise — plagues public policy in the United States and abroad. Near the end of the book, Sowell offers one of his recurring nuggets of wisdom. He starts with a discussion of the misuse of common terminology: [S]loppy use of terms often occurs in media and political discussions of taxation. For example, the growing federal deficits of the 1980s in the United States have often been blamed on the “tax cuts” early in that decade. But, although tax rates per dollar of income were cut, the total tax revenues of the federal government were higher in every year of the 1980s than in any previous year in the history of the country, as a result of incomes growing by more than the tax rates were cut. It was increased spending which led to growing deficits — a fact concealed by sloppy use of the word “taxes,” which can refer to either individual tax rates or the total tax revenues of the government. Many economic fallacies depend upon (1) thinking of the economy as a set of zero-sum transactions, (2) ignoring the role of competition in the marketplace, or (3) not thinking beyond the initial consequences of particular policies.
    Mitch Kokai, March 21, 2011