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Weekend Reading

1. On the TARP plan, and how misguided it has been: Ritholtz makes some good points on his blog (up until he starts to argue that Geithner’s reworking of the plan will work out any better). On the bright side, Ritholtz notes:

It is hard to see a single thing that it has accomplished, other than giving away 100s of billions of dollars of taxpayer money. In return, the government has gotten . . . practically nothing.

No new lending, no new hiring, excess bonuses going to the creators of the mess, dividends going to the shareholders who bought these poorly managed companies. The current bailout will end up being the working definition of Moral Hazard for generations to come

2. Over at the Mises Institute, a piece on Henry Hazlitt fighting the good fight back in the ’30s. The more you read about the man, the more you respect him, and feel sympathy for the fact that he is not more widely known and read by the general populace. Every citizen and politician should be required to read Economics In One Lesson.

3. Must-read articles on the fighting in Gaza: Sharansky on the UN and the Palestinian “refugees”; on the double standard being applied to the Israelis; on Hamas’ hushed reinstatement of crucifixion against Christians; and finally some myths about the conflict.

4. Some mainstream economists realized that FDR prolonged the Great Depression and that laissez-faire was the right answer too – from Michelle Malkin’s blog. A brief excerpt:

Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.

“The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said. “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

Enjoy the weekend football and the snow (if you’re trapped in the Northeast like me)!

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