2011 October FIRE Policy News

Issue Date: 
October, 2011
Newspaper PDF: 

The October issue of FIRE Policy News features a quotation from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, published more than five decades ago and still frighteningly accurate today. In an editorial, Heartland President Joseph Bast, publisher of FIRE Policy News, asks if the United States is doomed and explains:

This issue of FIRE Policy News once again chronicles the descent of America from a land of freedom and opportunity into a second-rate country dominated by government regulators, politicians, and rentseekers. From housing markets to banking, from insurance regulations to management of the country’s money supply, the trend always and everywhere is toward trading based on compulsion instead of consent, of businessmen needing permission from politicians and regulators before risking their own capital and energy, and of corruption and fraud being rewarded and honesty punished.

Ayn Rand saw all of this happening half-a-century ago. She described it vividly in a novel published in 1957 titled Atlas Shrugged.

Also in this issue:

  • The U.S. housing bubble varied substantially by geography. Gross national house value increases and losses were overwhelmingly concentrated in metropolitan areas with smart growth and other restrictive land use regulations.
  • Congress in August raised the national debt ceiling and created a “super Congress” to recommend cuts in government spending. GOP presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul said the supercommittee is “nothing more than a way to disenfranchise the majority of Congress by denying them the chance for meaningful participation in the crucial areas of entitlement and tax reform.”
  • The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law in July 2010, leaves the financial system exposed to meltdowns.
  • Riots in the United Kingdom demonstrate a dramatic loss of respect for property rights among young people there.
  • Congress should consider reforming the overly complex, highly inefficient U.S. federal tax code, particularly the mortgage interest deduction.
  • Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Chief Operating Officer Jack Nicholson has proposed reforms that would put the giant taxpayer-backed reinsurer on sounder financial footing.

Newspaper Articles in this Issue