Tag Archives: iain murray

Questions for Janet Yellen

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The Federal Reserve is arguably the government’s most important agency, even if it is (nominally) independent. It has control over the price system, the most fundamental part of any economy. It also exercises significant power over the banking sector, and in recent years has taken to doing large favors for Wall Street. These are all reasons why Janet Yellen’s nomination for Fed Chair needs to be carefully vetted. To that end, my CEI colleagues John Berlau and Iain Murray and I put together some questions about several facets of the Fed’s mission we would like to Yellen answer, whether during her confirmation hearing or elsewhere. You can read the short WebMemo here. Here is one of our questions about inflation:

Many observers expect you to pursue an inflationary stimulus, and believe this is likely a reason for your nomination. If your actions are already expected, will markets not take these expected price level changes into account in advance? If so, do you believe this would blunt the employment impact of any monetary expansion? Would you respond to these pre-existing expectations with an unexpectedly high inflationary policy?

As John, Iain, and I write, Yellen’s credentials are not in question. But the policies she might pursue as Fed Chair are. Read more here.

CEI Podcast for October 3, 2013: The Federal Shutdown

washington-united-states-capitol-washington-d-c-dc154
Have a listen here.

For the 17th time since 1976, the federal government has shut down over a partisan fiscal squabble. Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray gives his thoughts on how it happened, what the consequences will be, and what is at stake.

CEI Podcast for April 5, 2012: The Export-Import Bank


Have a listen here.

Every year, Washington spends more than $90 billion on corporate welfare – giving taxpayer dollars to private businesses. The Export-Import Bank is one of the most flagrant corporate welfare programs. A vote to reauthorize it recently failed both Houses of Congress, but will likely come up again soon. Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray thinks the Export-Import Bank should become an ex-bank.

CEI Podcast for March 8, 2012: IRS Moves to Fund Foreign Dictators


Have a listen here.

A new IRS regulation hits the trifecta of enriching foreign dictators, helping them crush dissent, and would raise no revenue for the U.S. government. Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray explains. Unlike most other countries, the U.S. taxes income its citizens earn abroad. So, to encourage foreign banks to cooperate with the IRS, it is requiring U.S. banks to report to foreign countries, even dictatorships, on their citizens’ U.S. holdings. Governments can then use this information to find and punish dissenters.

CEI Podcast for June 29, 2011: Stealing You Blind

 

Have a listen here.

Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray‘s new book is Stealing You Blind: How Government Fat Cats Are Getting Rich Off of You. He explains why the Washington, DC area is the richest in the country, tells the story of the small-town city manager with a tax-free $1 million-per-year pension, and offers some reforms that could bring government down to a more appropriate size.

CEI Podcast for May 26, 2011: President Obama Proposes Deregulation

Have a listen here.

Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s regulatory czar, announced today that the administration intends to repeal regulations from 30 different agencies. CEI Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray thinks this is a good step, though a small one. He estimates today’s proposal would save about $1.5 billion, which is one-tenth of one percent of the $1.75 trillion total burden of federal regulation.

CEI Podcast for February 24, 2011: On, Wisconsin

Have a listen here.

Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray discusses the labor reforms that have led to a thousands-strong sustained protest in Madison, Wisconsin. While the reforms themselves are relatively minor, both sides know that the stakes are high. This may prove to be at a watershed moment in the relationship between public sector unions and taxpayers.

Do Corporations Have Human Rights?

Intel’s defense in its EU antitrust case has taken the surprising line that the company’s human rights were violated. Over at Real Clear Markets, CEI colleague Hans Bader and I take a closer look. We conclude that Intel actually has a pretty good argument.

Corporations have human rights because doing so greatly reduces transaction costs: “suppose your company wants to buy some computer chips from Intel. You could have each shareholder sign the sales contract – good luck finding them all – or you could treat Intel as a person with the right to sign a contract, and the obligation to honor it. To deal with one person or millions? That is why corporations have legal standing as individuals.”

In short: no corporate rights, no modern economy. No exaggeration. There is a reason why legal conventions emerge as they do, even if they appear strange at first glance.

Iain Murray was kind enough to point out to me that the idea of corporate human rights has very deep roots. The 18th-century legal scholar William Blackstone, in his revered analysis of the English common law, wrote that corporations have the right “[T]o sue or be sued,, implead or be impleaded, grant or receive, by its corporate name, and do all other acts as persons may.”*

*William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume 1: Of the Rights of Persons, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979 [1765]), p. 463.