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Norbert Michel

Norbert Michel is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. Michel has a PhD in Financial Economics from the University of New Orleans, and he teaches statistics, economics, and finance courses. Visit Michel's blog at http://crimethinkerblog.blogspot.com/


Will Sherrod Brown Just Run Away?

2010 October 7

Run away! Run Away!

Politicians running away from things they say is nothing new. But the ability to use digital media to hold them accountable is sort of in its infancy. And it’s great, as long as you’re not a politician. Just ask Sherrod Brown, Democratic Senator from Ohio.

Brown recently spouted off that he wanted a public debate to show people how damaging international trade has been to America. Don Boudreaux, an economics professor at George Mason, is willing and able. Brown is ducking him.

So I started the official Brown Vs. Boudreaux Facebook page. We now have more than 550 people signed on. Please join us and/or post anything you like to the page.

Bernanke Might Have a Bailout Button, But The Economy Does Not Have a Steering Wheel

2010 August 30

Which button do we press for expansion?

It’s comforting to think of the economy as a high-powered race car, zooming in and out of turns and accelerating on the straightaway.  The analogy is comforting, in part, because it gives the impression that a master technician is in control of the economy.  And, even better, the driver has a pit crew standing by to help.

Just like the world of Speed Racer, though, this analogy is pure fiction.  Speed had a special steering wheel, giving him the ability to cut through anything in his path (button C) and to see more clearly with special headlights (button E).  Unfortunately, the economy doesn’t have any of these cool buttons.  In fact, it really doesn’t have a steering wheel (that’s just a Keynesian fantasy).

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Bill Ayers Set to Retire, Student Test Scores Expected to Rise

2010 August 12

At least they used letters.

As an academic I’ve always wondered whether top administrators have any idea who I am, much less what I’m doing in the classroom.  I’ve been mistaken for a student at two different universities, and one administrator recently asked if I was one of the new assistant football coaches.  The Dean of my college (the College of Business at Nicholls State University), however, is supposed to pay attention to the people he works with.

And as far as I can tell, my Dean does an excellent job (I hope he’s reading this).  But I’d wager that he would be hard-pressed to discuss any of my research in great detail, and probably knows very little of what I say in the classroom.  I have no problem with this arrangement, though, because productive Deans typically don’t micro-manage professors.

However, I’m confident he’d take notice, as well as corrective action, if I started telling my students things like: read more…

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Can the Wal-Mart Nation Restore the Constitution?

2010 July 28

Everyone loves to hate Wal-Mart, but millions of people still shop there.  In graduate school, my India-born finance professor reminded us why: because being able to drive a short distance to buy virtually anything you need is truly amazing.  It’s something too many Americans take for granted, even though we are a consumer nation.

In fact, we’ve basically been a consumer nation from the beginning.  We’re all taught “taxation without representation” was a key driver of the American revolution, but there’s a much simpler explanation.  Our ancestors didn’t want the government telling them which products they could and couldn’t buy, and they didn’t want to pay too much (high tariffs) for them.  Sound familiar?

This consumer story is the reason members of the modern Tea Party, whether they live in New York or New Iberia (it’s where Tabasco comes from), can relate to the same issues.  So there’s still hope that the new Tea Party movement can bring together what is, basically, still a series of grassroots organizations.  This problem is particularly important, because history suggests that without some sort of centralization the movement won’t last.

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Top Educator Admits He Has No Handle On the Problem, Insists He Knows How to Fix It

2010 July 20

In this week’s Inside Higher Ed, Garrison Walters drops (what should be) a proverbial atomic bomb.  Walters, executive director of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, doesn’t just want to improve higher education, he wants to change our entire culture.  With only a modest increase in funding, of course.

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Left Wing Economist Galbraith Advocates Breaking the Law

2010 July 14

In The New Republic, James K. Galbraith blames the financial crisis on a breakdown in the rule of law.  He then goes on to enumerate the laws that allowed the crisis to take shape.  No, I’m not taking this story from a Beavis and Butthead episode.  Galbraith (and the Left in general) doesn’t really have a problem with bending the law, as long as it’s done his way.

Galbraith’s claim is that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the passage of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CMA) allowed the “financial police” to ignore the warning signs that culminated in financial disaster.  Obviously, both of these actions were perfectly legal.  Galbraith’s real gripe is that government officials didn’t have enough control over people to prevent the meltdown.

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Biden Visits Louisiana, Refuses to Answer Questions, Leaves Behind Giant Rocks

2010 July 1

No matter how badly the oil spill devastates their economy, the people of south Louisiana can rest assured they will have something to put in their Christmas stockings this year – rocks.  As Vice President Joe Biden (who’s opposed to drilling in Alaska) took his obligatory visit to south LA, he assured everyone the federal government was “committed” to us.  Someone definitely needs to be committed.

When Katrina devastated the area, the Left pounced on George W. Bush for his supposed inaction.  It didn’t matter that the only way to immediately fix the problem was to basically drop an entirely new city into place.  Hollywood even got in on the act, with Spike Lee (who believes that racism is woven into the very fabric of America) making a propaganda film about the disaster, and Kanye West famously proclaiming that George Bush hates black people.

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Sugar Stalinists Eager to Build Fast Food Gulags in Obama’s First Term

2010 June 29

Abandoned too soon?

Now the food police want to send fast food patrons and purveyors to reeducation camps in San Francisco.  OK, not really.  But if you eat fast food, they do want to stigmatize you, tax you, and reeducate you.  Just ask MeMe Roth, founder of  National Action Against Obesity, and others on the Left who are seriously disturbed (by what you eat).

Roth was on the latest episode of the Showtime series “Penn and Teller’s Bullsh*t,” a show that generally does a great job of exposing those who want to take away our basic freedoms. (The show is co-hosted by Penn Jillette, who David Swindle recently called out for refusing to go after radical Islam.)  I can only describe MeMe Roth as: someone you should be thankful was not your kindergarten teacher.

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