Free Markets, Free People
The following US economic statistics were announced today:
The MBA reports that mortgage applications surged by 14.8%, with both purchases and re-fis up 15.0%.
ADP reports that private payroll jobs increased by 198,000 last month, compared to a revised 215,000 in January.
New Orders for factory goods fell -2.0% in January, but that was sharply skewed by a drop in aircraft orders. Ex-transportation, orders rose 1.3%. Ex aircraft capital goods rose 7.2%.
The Fed’s Beige Book reports "that economic activity generally expanded at a modest to moderate pace since the previous Beige Book." Both the Boston and Chicago districts report slow growth. Price pressures remain moderate, according to the report.
Hugo Chavez has assumed room temperature. I’ve always been taught it is bad manners to talk ill of the dead. In this case I’ll risk it. It is a huge boon for liberty and individual rights that Hugo is no longer at the helm of the shipwreck he’s made of his country and its economy.
Of course, there are those who feel differently about a man who had no respect for individual liberty, property or rights:
Sean Penn said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter that “the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela.”
No one ever said our celebrities were particularly bright. I mean this is Sean Penn who tried to paddle around New Orleans in a row boat in the wake of Katrina to … well, one assumes to prove something. Instead he just became another problem for those actually doing rescue work.
So it’s not particularly surprising to see him, blinders firmly in place, saying silly stuff about Chavez. Chavez was a dictator, a tyrant, a bully, amoral, violent and singularly ideologically driven. And, in terms of how the world works economically, ignorant as a stump (a common condition for most socialists) – as is Penn.
Hugo Chavez was no “friend of the poor”. He simply used them, by giving them other people’s property, to provide himself with a power base.
With Chavez’s passing, perhaps Venezuela can now recover from the long national nightmare it has undergone during the Chavez years.