RealClearMarkets Articles

In Attacking Tornado Cash, Treasury Went After a Piece of Code

Amit Sharma - September 29, 2022

The U.S. Treasury Department is 233 years old, but this summer, it did something for the first time ever: attempted to sanction a piece of code. The U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)'s sanction of currency mixer Tornado Cash represents a moment of reckoning for financial regulation in the age of virtual assets. If regulation is going to be effective in a new sector, law enforcement and regulators will need to work with the industry to develop innovative approaches for oversight and supervision.  On August 8, OFAC sanctioned Tornado Cash on the grounds that the...

Mark My Words, Now Is the Time To Start a Business

Oksana Malysheva - September 29, 2022

Trickling into your iPhone and mine are journalistic headlines of Dante-level fear. Opinions, well-informed opinions, (and others) leak into even the sturdiest optimism and leech like poison in a sponge.  With headlines like “Recession Is Inevitable”, “Shock Waves Strike Global Economy”, and “Putin Is Still a Soulless, Soggy, Sock Stuck Under Hell’s Washing Machine” – gloomy is an understatement when it comes to forecasting in business.  And here I am— a Venture Capitalist. In my line of work, if I can’t pick out the gloomy...

There Are No Lower Prices by Decree, There Are Just Shortages

John Tamny - September 29, 2022

Do you ever wonder why there’s generally always an “UberUBER” when you need one? Don’t worry, the post-lockdown exception to this rule will be discussed at conclusion. For now, think about why Uber is always there when you need it. What’s the secret?  The answer is kind of obvious, or should be. And it’s a happy one. Uber treats its drivers as customers. For one, drivers are encouraged to rate their passengers. A rude passenger, or one who is late for the driver, or one who makes a mess of the car transported in will be given a low rating. Unknown...

Conservative Activists Offer Exxon a Stellar, Sensible Board Nominee

Scott Shepard - September 28, 2022

Europe’s headed for a long, cold winter – the fault for which lies squarely at the feet of climate-catastrophist politicians and business executives. Neither of those groups appear to have learned the necessary lessons. National electorates are providing some salutary correction to the former; the latter might require legislation to rein in their destructive impulses. Here at home, though, center/right shareholders are not waiting on sensible legislation or elections, but are intervening directly to keep U.S. corporations from delivering us to Europe’s absurd,...


Pundit Reaction to Liz Truss's Tax Proposal Takes Us Back to the 1970s

John Tamny - September 28, 2022

When Ronald Reagan ran for president with an economic plan heavily accented by tax cuts, he was ridiculed. By both sides. It was accepted wisdom among Democrats and Republicans that reducing the penalty placed on work would increase inflationary pressures that were already high. Thankfully Reagan combined learnedness with common sense in ways rare for a politician. As such, he expertly put to bed the absurdity of tax cuts as an inflation instigator during a debate with his Democratic opponent for president, Jimmy Carter. Lightly paraphrasing Reagan, he asked Carter why it was inflationary to...

Thinking Clearly & Speaking Freely: Shining a Spotlight On Big Tech's Section 230 Immunity

Randolph May - September 28, 2022

In this Part 12 of my series, "Thinking Clearly and Speaking Freely," which is focusing on censorship actions by the Big Tech social media platforms, I want to examine a recent decision of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in NetChoice, L.L.C. v. Paxton. But first some background.  We're all familiar with the suppression of the New York Post's Hunter Biden laptop story as well as information related to the origin of COVID-19 and to the various pandemic responses. There are countless other examples, of course, ranging from removal of users' posts...

Italy's Giorgia Meloni Reminds Us That We Ignore Truth at Our Peril

Rob Smith - September 27, 2022

Well folks, was an interesting weekend. Albert Pujols joined the 700 club by knocking a 2 run dinger over the fence Friday night. College football was not disappointing. The Clemson v. Wake battle was probably the most exciting. Maryland looked like a contender in the Big House, but Blue just had too much talent and inched out the win. Here in Virginia, the weather could not have been more perfect, the beer was cold and all over the Commonwealth there were pigs split over ambers of hickory as Fall rituals began in earnest. While most of us were focused on weekend activities, the beginnings of...

Without Oil, There Would Be No Oil-Hating Billionaires

John Tamny - September 27, 2022

Washington Post columnist Christine Emba writes that “There’s rarely a good reason to cheer for a billionaire.” And members of the Left say conservatives are “mouthbreathers” and “fringe”… Emba handily gives the most QAnon of the Right a run for their money. Indeed, it would be hard to find a more ludicrous assertion than Emba’s. Without the billionaires that Emba loathes, life as we know it would be quite a bit more challenging. Who among us would give up air conditioning, medicines and vaccines that elongate and improve life, the...


Quiet Quitting Isn't the Answer: Passion That Vanquishes Burnout Is

Erica Schoder - September 26, 2022

The latest headlines about the American workplace have focused on “quiet quitting.” But this is more than catchy clickbait, it’s a real, ongoing issue for employers and employees. Different from the “Great Resignation”—the voluntary exodus from the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic—quiet quitting is a new phenomenon in which workers do the bare minimum at their job to continue collecting a paycheck. Gallup even recently reported that quiet quitters make up “at least 50%” of the American workforce today.  There...

The SEC's Reckless Crusade to Crush the Cryptocurrency Market

Gerard Scimeca - September 26, 2022

The laws of physics dictate that nature abhors a vacuum, an interesting phenomena considering how many federal regulatory agencies simply love one. Harkening back to the New Deal, it has become accepted that wherever a gap may exist in the regulation of human activity, a federal agency will soon appear, mobilizing its vast and frequently questionable powers to fill the space. Whether it is the Department of Energy deciding to pull the plug on a popular type of light bulb, or the Environmental Protection Agency dictating the allowable volume of water in toilets, our vast administrative state...

The 'Patriarch' Who Put Americans In the Driver's Seat

A.J. Rice - September 23, 2022

An irony of history is that the first Volkswagen was designed by Henry Ford. He named his the Model T - but it was the first car for the people.  Before the introduction of the Model T on October 1, 1908, cars were for affluent people only - because only the affluent could afford to buy what were then largely hand-built, one-at-a-time and made-to-order cars. Ford’s ideas was to simplify - and standardize. Fewer parts - and each one made to fit every car that was made just like it. Instead of craftsmen hand-building cars one-at-time, a moving...

Respectfully Disagreeing With Brian Riedl About U.S. Debt Travails

John Tamny - September 23, 2022

In an opinion piece from earlier this week, I attempted to critique a recent report (“Rising Interest Rates Threaten Washington’s Solvency”) written by economist Brian Riedl. Instead, the presumed critique revealed in the worst way some of my childish, petty, rude, and supercilious qualities. While Riedl was understandably bothered, he handled my immaturity gracefully. Riedl correctly felt my attempted rebuttal was condescending, after which he was of the opinion that my analysis hadn’t addressed what he’d written. In my case, I’d rejected the idea that a...


Banning of Direct Electric Vehicle Sales Only Helps Car Dealers

Danny Kenny - September 23, 2022

On a recent walk at home, my parents dropped a bombshell. “We’re thinking of buying a Tesla.”  That was the last thing I expected to hear from them. My parents are blue-collar as they come. One’s a nurse at a small surgical clinic for skin cancer, the other has been a high school teacher and soccer coach for nearly 30 years. EVs, according to our family, have always been a luxury item. A ‘nice to have’, never a need.  From a budgeting standpoint, though, I can see why EVs attract my parents’ attention. Eliminating the cost of fuel while...

Global Demand May Have Hit a Wall When Market Curves Did

Jeffrey Snider - September 23, 2022

You would have thought him a prosecutor knee-deep rooting out corruption. The man detested the very possibility of anyone scheming under his nose. But Jean-Claude Trichet wasn’t some overtly aggressive DA targeting mafiosos, he was the ECB’s boss determined to impeach businesses even local governments throughout Europe before any of them let Brent get into their heads. Brent, of course, the benchmark oil price for Europe. In the middle of 2008, when the first part of our story took place, crude was surging in a way it hadn’t since the seventies. This immediately brought...

If the Democrats Are Pro-Consumer, They Should Be Cheering Fintech

Adam Kovacevich - September 22, 2022

Competition is a good thing—when consumers have a choice, prices go down and quality goes up. And as the pro-consumer party, Democratic policymakers have made a point of championing competition policies in industry after industry, from meatpacking to pharma to tech.  But for all the proposed policies floating around on competition (some good and some bad), one industry is missing from the conversation: finance, and specifically the competition that fintech and cryptocurrencies can create for financial products. Over the past several years, cryptocurrencies have forced banks to...

Remembering the Late, Great Mike Melillo

John Tamny - September 22, 2022

If you clicked on this write-up, odds are you did because you knew Mike. Which in a very real sense is too bad. The view here is that everyone should know about the late, great Mike Melillo, who passed away on Tuesday night. Up front, his death can’t be called a tragedy. Thank goodness. He was in his 80s. But it was very sad. That’s why it’s hoped that more people take the time to learn about Mike. Every successful organization has someone like Mike Melillo. He worked at FreedomWorks, but it’s more useful to say that Mike embodied FreedomWorks’ mission. What is...


No Problem In the World Has Ever Been Solved By Ignoring the Truth

Rob Smith - September 22, 2022

I have my testosterone drained a couple times a week. It’s a real pain in the ass, but if I didn’t, I would bust out of my clothes like Lou Ferringo turning into the Incredible Hulk. One week last year, I forgot to “get drained,” and I ruined a $1,500 J Press sports jacket I had just gotten in New York. Tore the damn thing to shreds. That’s not the first time I had forgotten about a “draining” appointment; all the other times when I had seen an attractive woman, I pulled her by her hair back to my caveman lair. A fellow can get into real trouble with...

The Kids Online Safety Act Would Be Harmful to Kids

Harold Furchtgott-Roth & Kirk Arner - September 21, 2022

Few groups garner more attention today than children online.  For education, entertainment, and so much more, children’s access to the Internet is more important than ever before.  To that end, the Federal Communications Commission, along with other government agencies, spends billions of dollars annually to ensure that every American classroom, and nearly every American home, has Internet access.  At the same time, legitimate concerns have emerged concerning the effects of prolonged technology use by children.  As a result, nearly every Congress sees bills...

Ill-Designed 'Inflation' Indices Guarantee Fed Policy Mistakes

Scott Shepard - September 21, 2022

This is part 2 of a series. The first part is here. The first installment of this series revealed (though of course it is not a novel recognition, either in general or on these pages) that there can be general price increases that don’t arise from inflation, such as those caused by supply shocks. It reviewed why the distinction between inflationary and non-inflationary general price increases is so important: namely, because what is generally taken to be the right remedy for inflationary price increases – Federal Reserve rate hikes – can’t possibly be...

It's Not Just the Dems and GOP Who Need to Put 'Pet Theories' To Rest

John Tamny - September 21, 2022

Henry Hazlitt long ago observed that “economics” is stalked by fallacy. That’s no doubt true, which is why it’s easy to nod along to Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle’s assertion that “Both parties’ pet economic theories are kaput.” She speaks the truth. To watch MSNBC or Fox is to frequently witness economic confusion. At the same time, it’s not just the Parties that are mistaken. While McArdle is an entertaining writer, she would similarly profit from putting some theories to rest that seemingly won’t die. In her recent...

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