FreedomFest, book review, Social Security and Missouri's economic growth ranking

Sunday, August 7, 2011

About two weeks ago I went to the annual FreedomFest -- "The great place to talk, argue, listen, celebrate the trimmings of liberty, assess the dangers to liberty, and provide that eternal vigilance that is the price of liberty." -- Milton Friedman

More than 2,000 people attended the three-day event and that showcased more than 100 speeches and 100 exhibitors. Ten debates, a libertarian documentary film contest, programs on investments, health, the entertainment industry, the government, etc.

This was my third time to attend and unlike the first two, there were no predictions on what the stock market was going to do. But the overriding investment advice was to buy gold.

The uncertainty of the economic business climate created by the Obama Administration, particularly centered around the new nonlegislative encroachment on the economy by the Obama czars, were of major concern.

Some of the programs discussed the future of China, India, South America, etc.

It was particularly observed that the media had done a poor job of reporting the economic facts (not speech content) to the public and previous beliefs by some that turned out to be erroneous.

Paul Erlich's book in the early ‘50s that predicted that the world's "Population (Explosion) Bomb" would doom many to die of famine because of lack of food. The "peak oil" hysteria that the world is running out of oil as the "known" oil reserves were dwindling (NOT TRUE). That "Global Warming" as portrayed by Al Gore has failed to materialize and that Rush Limbaugh would not last more than five years on national radio (he celebrated his 23rd anniversary this year and is stronger and more influential than ever as he is now picked up regularly on Drudge Report and

One of my favorite fun programs was about how Clint Eastwood became a movie star/director and the early Hollywood years of Ronald Reagan.

"I Am John Galt" is a new book identifying current personalities who resemble characters in Ayn Rand books "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead": Bill Gates as John Galt (because he retired from the leadership of Microsoft shortly after the settlement of the federal government antitrust lawsuit) and Barney Frank as Wesley Mooch, the weasel-like character who advocated more government rules and regulations like those of the failed Fannie Mae, etc., even after their failure.

If you liked Ayn Rand's writing ("Atlas Shrugged" sold more than 500,000 copies in 2009, 50 years after it was first published) you'll laugh and be amazed at the comparisons such as the much discredited Keynesian columnist Paul Krugman (of The New York Times) aka Elsworth Toohey, the villainous columnist.

All in all a stimulating, informative three days.

It's the young (55 and younger) who should be leading the charge for Social Security and health reforms. The present undealt-with trends will leave them with little assurance that funds will be available when they need them.

Late last week the journal Business Facilities released its 2011 state ranking for the "top economic growth potential states" and Missouri was toward the bottom of the list.

According to reports in a June U.S. Chamber of Commerce study analyzing competitiveness, Missouri performed the worst of any state.

Although hard to believe a July report from Core logic showed that in the past year home prices fell faster in "cities where housing prices are still dropping" (St. Louis and Kansas City) than any other cities in the U.S.

It's wake-up time!

Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.

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