More on the balance between the public and private sectors

Private sector rights.

I strongly support the right of the Boy Scouts of America’ to define who it will accept as members (i.e. its right to exclude gays). I don’t have to agree with how people use their freedom to believe passionately in their right to be free including who they join with in clubs. I was happy to see that organization relax its rules and open its doors to gay boys. But that door was not opened very wide and the BSA still has a way to go. I was thus very happy to see Lockheed-Martin end its donations to the Boy Scouts until remaining discriminations are ended.

Richard “Guglielmetti, 66, who led Troop 76 in Simsbury, Conn., for a dozen years until 2005, said leaders and members of his troop ignored the national organization’s prohibition on gays as scouts or leaders because they felt it was wrong.” (US Today, January 28, 2013)  It would have been counterproductive and morally wrong in my view for the government to have forced this result or to push it further.

As another example, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson (I never heard of him) said some perfectly ignorant and offensive things about gays. We should all defend his right to say what he wants to. We should also defend the right of A&E to suspend his show, though I am not particularly happy about mixing up commerce and politics or moral issues. Fortunately, A&E is a cable show. Cable programs are not subject to the government regulations covering over-the-air shows and are free to pretty much do what they want. This helps explain why cable shows are often much more interesting.

A process of public discussion and education best sorts out touchy issues such as these. The government is not needed or wanted here.

Domestic spying

Whistle blower Edward Snowden received further confirmation of the legitimacy of his belief that the government has over reached in its domestic personal data collection (see my several earlier blogs on this subject). In ruling that NSA’s massive metadata collection for all domestic phone calls (numbers called, date/time, and duration) was unconstitutional, Federal Judge Richard J. Leon stated that the government had failed to “cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack.” (Washington Post, December 20, 2013).

Equally damning was the just released report of a panel appointed by President Obama to investigate charges of NSA abuse, which included among its members former deputy CIA director Michael J. Morrell. The review panel said the program “was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional [court] orders.”

Snowden has performed an enormous public service at great personal risk. Thank you Mr. Snowden

Maybe our ship is starting to right itself.

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About wcoats

Dr. Warren L. Coats specializes in advising central banks on monetary policy, and in the development of their capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy. He is retired from the International Monetary Fund, where, as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department, he led missions to over twenty countries. Before then, he served as Visiting Economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and to the World Bank, and was Assistant Prof of Economics at the Univ. of Virginia from 1970-75. Most recently he was Senior Monetary Policy Advisor to the Central Bank of Iraq; an IMF consultant to the central banks of Afghanistan, Kenya and Zimbabwe; and a Deloitte/USAID advisor to the Government of South Sudan. He is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Cayman Financial Review and until the end of 2013 was a member of the IMF program team for Afghanistan. His most recent book is entitled "One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
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