Welcome to your Thursday edition of The Morning Roar!
John Kerry Forced Through Metal Detector In Egypt
Remember when Secretary of State John Kerry used to be respected in the U.S. and abroad as a voice of reason in a world gone war crazy?
Neither do I.
And apparently neither does Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. CBS Washington reports on the surprising treatment Kerry and his aids received from the Egyptian President’s security team on their trip to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine.
An unusual screening process occurred involving Kerry and his State Department team as they were subjected to a metal detector before meeting with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Egyptian presidential palace.
Reuters reports that Kerry and his aides were checked with a metal detector. Security personnel reportedly raised a handheld metal-detector wand to Kerry’s suit jacket before waving him through.
Kerry’s aides were also subjected to the handheld wand and were told to walk through a metal detector.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Twitter that they are focused on trying to reach a cease-fire agreement.
“@JohnKerry and team are focused on working with Egyptians on a ceasefire, not on whether we went through security this afternoon,” she tweeted.
Kerry’s handlers shrugged off the heightened security they faced by redirecting the conversation to the task at hand, negotiating a cease-fire. And they were right to do so. It would not have been wise for the Secretary of State to complain about having to experience security in a foreign country that was probably far less intrusive than the security theater Americans are forced to deal with every day. And hey, at it’s not like they grabbed his junk.
Seniors Share Homes To Save Money
I’m not talking about college seniors, folks. Senior citizens are taking part in the “sharing economy” and are more frequently sharing their homes with renters in order to afford their houses and as a byproduct gain some companionship.
“It’s a wonderful arrangement,” said the white-haired Rosenfeld, who when asked her age will only say she’s a senior citizen. “The way the rents are these days, I couldn’t stay here without it.”
She shares her two-bedroom, $1,000-a-month Brooklyn apartment with Carolyn Allen, a 69-year-old widow who has suffered two strokes and no longer wants to live alone.
Agencies that put such seniors together say the need appears to be growing as baby boomers age and struggle to deal with foreclosures, property taxes and rising rents. The typical situation involves an elderly woman, widowed or divorced, who has a house or an apartment with extra room and needs help with the upkeep.
This story attributes old ladies becoming roommates well in their twilight years to a changing economic climate, but fails to investigate or even speculate as to why so many older people cannot afford to live alone as septuagenarian and octogenarians.
Certainly, the older generation collaborating and participating in the shared economy is an inspiring story that needs to be told, but isn’t it equally important to reveal the policies that have caused your grandma to rent out her guest room to a total stranger?
The article references rising rents and property taxes as a cause, but does not connect the dots between price inflation and the Federal Reserve System. Pension plans and Social Security checks have not kept up with the loose money policy at the Federal Reserve. The elderly home sharing phenomenon is only going to grow as more Baby Boomers become senior citizens, retire from the workforce, and begin to collect Social Security.
Perhaps everything will work out. Maybe the impending collapse of the student loan bubble will free up demand for cheap housing on college campuses. This could provide Baby Boomers with the opportunity to relive their glory days on college campuses when their devalued social security checks can no longer keep them current on housing payments.
For more on the Federal Reserve, be sure not to miss today’s episode of the Lions of Liberty Podcast, where Marc Clair will speak with Chris Rossini about his new book, “Set Money Free: What Every American Needs To Know About The Federal Reserve.”
Fellow contributor to Lions of Liberty Marc Clair wrote an excellent article this week on the importance of using the generally accepted definitions of words when arguing libertarian principles.
I bring this up because Mr. Keynesian, Paul Krugman, published a piece on his NY Times blog criticizing the definition that Austrian Economists commonly use for the term inflation.
Noah Smith has a funny piece on the hermetic system that is Austrian economics, with its multilayered defenses against any kind of criticism. What gets me in particular, because I’ve noticed it a lot lately, is this:
3. “Inflation” doesn’t mean “a rise in the general level of consumer prices,” it means “an increase in the monetary base”, so QE is inflation by definition.
So when Austrians were predicting runaway inflation, they didn’t actually mean consumer prices?
OK, you know that if the CPI had soared, they would have claimed vindication. But the main point is that nobody else cares about the monetary base, or at any rate they care about it only to the extent that it was presumed to say something about future rises in the CPI. Insisting that the term “inflation” means something else in your private language is just pathetic.
It is true that proponents for the Austrian school of economics define inflation as expansion in the monetary base. Often times, they’ll do this in an article or a video and not even mention the widely accepted definition of the term that the rest of society understands the word to mean. I’ve been guilty of this in the past. It is not dishonest or incorrect to use this definition of inflation, but it might not be the best way to communicate ideas.
Robert Wenzel of EPJ points out that the use of the term inflation to mean increase in the money supply can be traced back to 1864. So the usage of the word in this manner certainly cannot be categorized as a private language, as Krugman claims. But it is not 1864; Austrians and libertarians can learn from Krugman’s criticism.
When discussing libertarian principles it is of the utmost importance to communicate with your audience by using definitions of words as they are understood in 2014. Confusing people by using definitions of words that only the most diehard supporters of an ideology will understand does not seem like the most effective way to communicate.
So the next time you’re at the local watering hole, arguing that the Federal Reserve is responsible for price increases in beer, don’t claim that it’s due to inflating the money supply. Tell your uninformed buddies that the inflation they see in everyday prices is due to the Federal Reserve expanding the money supply through manipulating interest rates and quantitative easing. Down the road, once they grasp the idea that expansion of the money supply leads to devalued dollars in their pockets, feel free to explain to them the history of the word “inflation.”
Check out the rest of Robert Wenzel’s post on this topic at Economic Policy Journal.
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