The Regulators ARE the Problem

The SEC is itself giving certain traders a distinct information advantage over other traders.

If some other firm or individual were doing this it would be called insider trading and the SEC would go after them and ruin their lives. So SEC, investigate yourself?

Who watches the watchmen?

-JD Cross

God is not a magician

So says the Pope:

“God is not a divine being or a magician…”

Oh, that’s good to know. But in that case, what is God? (quote directly continued from above)

“…but the Creator who brought everything to life,” Francis said.

Right, that clears everything up.

Wait a second…the Pope just said God is not a divine being. What the !?!?!?!? Isn’t ‘divine being’ exactly what God is?

Remember, this is coming from the ultimate authority of Catholicism, from one who is – perhaps – considered by definition to be infallible.

So, what happens when infallible collides with contradictory?

I just wonder – but not too much because I don’t really care that much – what is going through the heads of people who believe this stuff. To have such an illogical and inconsistent view of the world, and yet to be able to survive in the world…that’s a miracle in itself.

-JD Cross

Rate Control is no different than Rent Control

Essentially everybody who actually understands economics agrees that rent control is bad for those seeking housing (or whatever “rent” is being controlled). That is: rent control is bad for the very people it is envisioned to help.

Payday lending, predatory lending, and other lending interest rate controls are no different than rent controls. By capping the rate that can be charged for whatever kind of loan is given, those seeking loans – for whatever reason – will suffer. They might not be able to get loans or perhaps they’ll be forced to pay in some non-traditional (non-regulated) fashion. It will happen. The market always finds a way to get the risk-reward profile approximately correct. (Because if it didn’t get the risk reward profile correct, the market for that good/service/whatever would not exist.) Capping prices (or restricting transactions entirely) causes some kind of black market.

So when the Times calls for capping rates as a way to help service members and poor people, what they’re doing is proposing a new system of rules that will make those people’s lives harder. One might put it differently: the Times wants service members and the poor to suffer.

-JD Cross

Who watches the watchmen?

In another apparent case of regulation and oversight not doing what they’re supposed to do, highway guardrails have come under scrutiny.

Part of the problem is this (it’s a problem inherent in large systems that cannot be avoided; which is why large systems should be avoided): many people in the regulatory agency decide to sign off on the use of these guardrails. Billions of dollars are spent. Then, a problem arises. Do those people, does the agency, want to admit it was wrong? No. Even if it wanted to admit it was wrong, does the agency have the financial capacity to correct or reverse the decision? Probably not. The problem is that large systems cannot correct bad behavior, assuming they even want to (which often they don’t).

-JD Cross

Occupational licensure is a dark business

George Will writes about a teeth whitening case that the Supreme Court will hear this week. Yes, it’s about teeth whitening. Yes, it’s important. Why? Because it’s really about the absurd and abused practice of occupational licensure. Occupational licensure, that would be the practice of a group of people banding together to create a government sanctioned monopoly. Oh, sorry for the redundancy, I meant, simply, a monopoly; as it is ONLY with government intervention that monopolies can exist in the first place.

Two teasers from Will’s article:

The [North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners], whose members are elected by licensed dentists and dental hygienists, regulates the practice of dentistry in North Carolina. To the surprise of no one acquainted with human nature, the board wields its power for the benefit of fellow members of the cartel of licensed dental practitioners.

and my favorite:

North Carolina’s dental board says it should be presumed to act in the public interest.

Yes, because we all know that there is no way a “dental examiner” – a human – would ever act against the public interest. Just like politicians always act in the public interest. WHAT EVEN IS THE PUBLIC INTEREST?

-JD Cross

WaPo continues to shine a light on civil asset forfeiture

Kudos to the Washington Post for continuing to report on the travesty of justice known as civil asset forfeiture.

-JD Cross

Choosing not to have insurance

Intelligent sounding people making decisions that sound intelligent for them. Who’d a thunk it? Not our overlords in DC.

-JD Cross

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