Commission on Wartime Contracting

January 2011

  • Commission on Wartime Contracting

    The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan held a two panel hearing investigating the recurring problems associated with Afghan construction projects. Witnesses discussed delays, cost overruns and various oversight agencies issues. The projects are focused on providing facilities for the Afghan government and reconstruction and economic development since the anti-Taliban intervention in 2001.

  • Embattled U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Resigns as Calls for Oversight Grow

    Arnold Fields, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, stepped down Monday amid widespread congressional dissatisfaction with his office’s oversight of U.S. operational spending.

“Starving the Beast”

  • Debt and the Bush Years

    [Topics: Clinton, Bush, Housing Bubble 2000 Peak, Medicare Part D]

  • Op-Ed from Bruce Bartlett: Tax Cuts And ‘Starving The Beast’

    By 1981 STB was well-established Republican doctrine. In his first major address on the economy as president on Feb. 5, Ronald Reagan articulated the idea perfectly. As he told a nationwide audience that night, “Over the past decades we’ve talked of curtailing spending so that we can then lower the tax burden. … But there were always those who told us that taxes couldn’t be cut until spending was reduced. Well, you know, we can lecture our children about extravagance until we run out of voice and breath. Or we can cure their extravagance by simply reducing their allowance.”


1. If the World Trade Center (WTC) towers were designed to withstand multiple impacts by Boeing 707 aircraft, why did the impact of individual 767s cause so much damage?

As stated in Section 5.3.2 of NIST NCSTAR 1, a document from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) indicated that the impact of a [single, not multiple] Boeing 707 aircraft was analyzed during the design stage of the WTC towers. However, NIST investigators were unable to locate any documentation of the criteria and method used in the impact analysis and, therefore, were unable to verify the assertion that “… such collision would result in only local damage which could not cause collapse or substantial damage to the building.…”


Maxed Out

Seven Hills, NV

“I think you’ve just got to be in a master plan, where there are CC&Rs and they can’t build a mobile home right next door or a nail shop. You know, it’s just strictly a planned community. You’re gonna get your dollars out.”

“I could not have paid for the construction of that house if I hadn’t got the loan-to-value, which means they appraised the house when it was done and loaned me money as what it would sell for.

[Title card: This is the same accounting technique used by Enron.]
Continue reading Maxed Out

Supply/Demand-Side vs. Austrian

I was introduced to Austrian economics via Supply-Side economics, which has a great respect for the Austrians. The Supply-Siders I learned from (mostly the Wanniski branch as opposed to the Mundell or Laffer branches, though I did study with Mundell at Columbia) were constantly quoting Mises and Hayek (but not Rothbard).

The difference between Supply-Side and Demand-Side economics is that Supply-Siders think that production drives the economy and Demand-Siders think consumption drives the economy. Thus, Supply-Side policies tend to focus on things like tax cuts, decreased government spending and a stable currency (i.e. one tied to gold, though not necessarily convertible to gold) to stimulate the economy, and they oppose Demand-Side policies which tend to promote tax increases, increased government spending, and credit expansion to stimulate the economy.

The difference between Supply-Side economics and Austrian economics is that Supply-Side economics is a utilitarian, ends-based framework, while Austrian economics is a morally consistent, means-based framework. For example, Supply-Siders think high taxation is inefficient (using the Laffer Curve as their theoretical basis); Austrians think any taxation is evil robbery. Supply-Siders think the state can work fine, if only producer-friendly policies were pursued; Austrians obviously are enemies of the state.

When I attended Mises U. in 2005, I was still half Supply-Sider, but I’m a full on Austrian now.