This meetup is for people who are enthusiastic about capitalism as a system. Libertarians, market-oriented Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are welcome.
This is not a Tea-Party meetup. We do not support "starve the beast" as a political strategy, and feel that should significant tax cuts come, they should be after we have been running a budget surplus for years, sufficient to pay down the national debt to less than 70% of GDP. Tax increases should not be off the table.
This meetup is about economics and politics, but only politics that relate to economics.
Social and religious issues are off-topic unless they relate to economics.
Investment strategies may be discussed, but they are not the central theme of this meetup.
While the soul of this meetup is Libertarian, this is not a Libertarian Party meetup, partly because the US constitution usually dooms 3rd parties to obscurity, and partly because we want to be more pragmatic and less ideologically pure than the Libertarian Party.
Topics we would like to discuss:
- Why did the mortgage meltdown happen -- was it "excessive deregulation", or was it "just a bubble bursting"? If it was a bubble bursting, can regulation prevent bubbles?
- Is it reasonable to expect people in government to be so much smarter than the market that they can accurately perceive bubbles and take corrective measures before the market has figured out that a bubble is happening?
- Ben Bernanke says that the bond market currently overestimates the government's willingness to bail out a big bank in the future, and he says the government now has tools to wind down a large organization that didn't exist in 2008. Should we believe him?
- Some types of regulation are clearly bad. What types of regulation are good?
- Do we need banks that are big enough to pose systemic risk? Or should we impose a "systemic risk tax" to penalize banks for being too big, so that they will voluntarily split themselves into smaller organizations?
- Is growing inequality a problem if poverty is not increasing and median income is not declining?
- Which is the worse sin: greed or envy?
- Incumbents usually want stimulus, while the opposition usually screams bloody murder about the deficit. Should we opt for more stimulus now, or austerity, or are we currently making the right trade off?
- You may love or hate Obamacare, but everyone agrees it won't do anything to contain our country's rampant medical inflation. What should be done to address this problem?
- Economic Liberals, like those who run the Tenement Museum on the LES, often point to conditions in the 19th century and claim "that is where unbridled capitalism would take us". How did people's living conditions in the 19th century compare to their living standards before that? Do we owe our improved standard of living to politicians, union organizers, and regulators, as these people would claim, or to the inventors and industrialists who made dramatic increases in productivity possible?
- Dodd-Frank: pros and cons?
- The cost of college has been increasing much faster than inflation. The "US New and World Report"'s annual ranking of colleges actually rewards schools for spending more money per pupil. Many students are graduating so far in debt they are unlikely be debt-free before they are 30. This whole problem undermines social mobility. Why is this happening and what can be done about it?
- China's gradual adoption of market reforms after the death of Mao and the discrediting of the Soviet economic model around 1990 have made market economics the only game in town. This has brought a flood of good news from economies that 20 years ago were deemed hopeless. Living standards in China and India have increased dramatically, and there are 3 cellphones for every four Africans.