Rep. Jordan's Gas Price Witnesses Fueled By Big Oil, Jordan Donations

May 24, 2011 11:09 am ET

On May 25, Rep. Jim Jordan's (R-OH) House Oversight subcommittee will hold a hearing into how the Federal Reserve's policies purportedly "add to hard times at the pump." Jordan's witnesses include a right-wing economist who works at think tanks that have been funded by Big Oil and a small business owner who has donated large sums to Jordan and other Ohio Republicans.

Robert Murphy, Right-Wing Economist Funded By Big Oil

Murphy Will Testify At Hearing. The House Oversight Committee website lists Dr. Robert Murphy among the witnesses for the May 25 hearing titled "How Federal Reserve Policies Add to Hard Times at the Pump." [Oversight.House.gov, accessed 5/23/11]

Murphy Is An Economist With The Institute For Energy Research. From the Institute for Energy Research: "Robert P. Murphy is an economist with IER specializing in climate change." [InstituteForEnergyResearch.org, accessed 5/23/11]

  • IER Has Received $337,000 From Exxon Mobil. According to Media Matters Action Network's Conservative Transparency data, IER received $337,000 from Exxon Mobil between 2002 and 2007.[Media Matters Action Network, accessed 5/23/11]
  • IER Has Received $237,000 From Koch Family Foundations. According to Media Matters Action Network's Conservative Transparency data, IER has received $2,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and $235,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. [Media Matters Action Network, accessed 5/23/11]

Murphy Is A Senior Fellow At The Pacific Research Institute. The Pacific Research Institute identifies Robert P. Murphy, Ph.D, as "Senior Fellow, Business and Economic Studies." [PacificResearch.org, accessed 5/23/11]

  • PRI Has Received $270,000 From Koch Family Foundations. According to Media Matters Action Network's Conservative Transparency data, PRI has received $270,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. [Media Matters Action Network, accessed 5/23/11]

Murphy Is An Adjunct Scholar At The Mackinac Center For Public Policy. According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy: "Robert P. Murphy teaches economics at Hillsdale College and is an adjunct scholar at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan." [Mackinac.org, accessed 5/23/11]

  • Mackinac Has Received $25,500 From Exxon Mobil. According to Media Matters Action Network's Conservative Transparency data, the Mackinac Center has received $25,500 from Exxon Mobil. [Media Matters Action Network, 5/23/11]
  • Mackinac Has Received $65,000 From Koch Family Foundations. According to Media Matters Action Network's Conservative Transparency data, the Mackinac Center has received $60,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and $5,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. [Media Matters Action Network, 5/23/11]

Murphy Taught At Hillsdale College For Three Years. From Murphy's bio at the Pacific Research Institute: "After teaching at Hillsdale College for three years, [Murphy] moved to the financial sector." [PacificResearch.org, accessed 5/23/11]

  • Hillsdale Is A "Citadel Of American Conservatism." From Roll Call:

The Michigan college that National Review once touted as a "citadel of American conservatism" is making its mark on Capitol Hill.

Hillsdale College has long had success placing interns in Washington, D.C., and connecting with conservative lawmakers. Now it also has a physical presence in Washington.

[...]

The college aims to take its mission promoting limited government and constitutional principles to Capitol Hill with a host of new programs and opportunities for lawmakers and the general public. [Roll Call, 4/11/11]

Murphy Worked For Art Laffer. From Murphy's Pacific Research bio: "[Murphy] moved to the financial sector to work as an analyst for Arthur Laffer (of Laffer Curve fame). At Laffer Associates he worked on research papers forecasting interest and exchange rates, growth, and inflation. In addition, he worked on budgetary and tax analyses with an emphasis on California." [PacificResearch.org, accessed 5/23/11, parentheses original]

Murphy Is An Austrian School Economist Who Challenged Paul Krugman To A Debate. From KrugmanDebate.com:

Welcome to KrugmanDebate.com, your headquarters for the Murphy-Krugman Debate! Robert Murphy has a PhD in economics from New York University. He is a firm believer in the Austrian theory of the business cycle, which blames the boom-bust cycle on the Federal Reserve, not the free market. In contrast, Paul Krugman--Nobel laureate in economics, and writer for the New York Times—is a Keynesian economist who thinks the Fed and the government can jumpstart the economy out of recession by printing more money and increasing the deficit.

Murphy has challenged Krugman to a public debate on Austrian vs. Keynesian business cycle theory. He has set up a campaign, which currently has raised $60,000 in pledges. If Krugman actually debates Murphy, then the money goes to a food bank in New York City. If Krugman never debates, no one's credit card is ever charged; people are only going to be charged for their pledge, when Krugman actually debates. [KrugmanDebate.com, accessed 5/23/11]

Murphy On Raising Taxes On The Rich: "Theft Is Wrong." From an article by Murphy on the Ludwig von Mises Institute website:

In the opening moments of the segment, correspondent Lesley Stahl explains that "eight states have increased so-called millionaire income taxes so far as a way of avoiding drastic budget cuts."

Of course, many readers of Mises.org really mean it when they say theft is wrong, and that a majority cannot justly take an individual's property, even if they plan on doing something nice with it. On this score, raising taxes is wrong for purely ethical reasons. Unfortunately, most Americans don't endorse this way of thinking, and so, in the present article, I'll focus on pragmatic arguments. [Mises.org, 11/4/10]

Murphy: "If The Government Relinquished Its Role In Handling Contagious Diseases, The Public Would Be Far Safer." From an article by Murphy on the Ludwig von Mises Institute website:

Despite the typical government screw-ups and cover-ups in the Andrew Speaker case, most people would say, "Yeah I know it's not perfect, but contagious diseases are definitely one area where we need the government. The free market works for TVs and laptops, but not for containing epidemics."

As with other arguments for government programs, this one too suffers from a lack of imagination. If the government relinquished its role in handling contagious diseases, the public would be far safer.

First and most obvious: the government restricts freedom of association, and more specifically, the freedom of property owners to exclude whomever they desire. In the current legal environment, it would be pointless for airlines, bus carriers, amusement parks, hotels, etc. to maintain their own list(s) of people with contagious diseases. If these people weren't considered health risks by the government, then they could sue if (say) Disneyworld refused to let them into the park.

[...]

Private businesses aren't stupid; they don't need the government to order them to keep lepers away. And if a particular church, say, wants to open its doors to such a person, that's perfectly within their rights. (As a matter of courtesy, we would hope this policy would be announced to others who might not want to visit the same building.) Indeed, the final repository for such people would be buildings where the owners thought they could safely contain the disease. And the common name people would use for these buildings is "hospital." In a free society, to be "quarantined" would simply mean that most owners (of roads, sidewalks, malls, hotels, factories, etc.) would refuse access, and so a contagious person would have few choices outside of treatment facilities.

[...] 

The free market could deal more effectively with contagious diseases, just as it beats the government when it comes to computers, cars, and crops. The very idea that we should give the government the right to lock somebody up because it classifies him or her as a health risk sounds pretty sick to me. [Mises.org, 7/16/07]

Two Months After 9/11, Murphy Called For The Government To Stop Regulating Airline Security. From an article by Murphy on the Ludwig von Mises Institute website:

In conclusion, we see that the poor security of U.S. airlines is a predictable outcome of government regulations and subsidies.  By preventing airlines from profiting from superior procedures, and by shielding them from losses resulting from incompetence, the government has left us vulnerable to further terrorist attacks.  Only through complete privatization of the industry will consumers be able to fly cheaply and safely. [Mises.org, 11/26/01]

Murphy: Lincoln Was A "Tyrant," Secession Is "Endorsing The Principles Of The Declaration Of Independence." In a column on LewRockwell.com about Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank's criticism of Thomas DiLorenzo, author of Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know About Dishonest Abe, Murphy wrote:

Now on to Lincoln, the real "problem" with DiLorenzo: Yes, it is "peculiar" for him to hold those views, in the sense that most Americans have been taught that Lincoln is a hero, the greatest of presidents who "saved the Union." Yet as DiLorenzo's work has documented, Lincoln was a tyrant. And it's not even the "mere" issue of not allowing people to leave the government of which he was the sitting head, but also rather tyrannical things like locking up newspaper editors who disagreed with his policies. (Here's an example from a non-pro-Southern website of Lincoln seizing newspapers for apparently printing hoaxes. The reader can surely see the slippery slope involved, but again I am offering this "understandable" example since it comes from a neutral source that isn't condemning Lincoln in the discussion.)

 

People who worry about the abuse of civil liberties under the Bush and Obama administrations should recall that Lincoln famously suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Fortunately, we live in a system of checks and balances, and a U.S. district court overruled Lincoln. Oops, he just ignored them. But, when you're trying to achieve important goals, you can't be bothered by individual rights and what a U.S. district court thinks of your policies.

[...]

But more important is the fact that someone who thinks the Southern states should have been allowed to secede is quite clearly endorsing the principles of the Declaration of Independence. That's the whole point, after all: When a people think that they are being oppressed by a government that is not representing their interests, then they have a God-given right to dissolve their ties with that government and form their own. That's what the people in the Confederacy were doing.

Of course, the elephant in the room in all this is slavery. Obviously it was an awful thing that the institution existed in the first place, and that the political leaders in the South wanted to perpetuate it. But guess what, Mr. Milbank? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both owned slaves. And when the American colonies declared their secession from Great Britain, they consisted of a lot of slaveholders. If King George had - halfway through the War for American Independence - declared a new objective of freeing all U.S.-based slaves, would Milbank now say that the wrong side won that war? [LewRockwell.com, 2/16/11]

Gregory Wannemacher, Truck Line Owner And Rep. Jordan Donor

Wannemacher, President of Wannemacher Total Logistics, Will Testify At Hearing. The House Oversight Committee website lists Greg Wannemacher among the witnesses for the May 25 hearing titled "How Federal Reserve Policies Add to Hard Times at the Pump." [Oversight.House.gov, accessed 5/23/11]

Wannemacher Has Donated $7,214 To Rep. Jordan Since 2005. According to the Center for Responsive Poltics, Wannemacher has donated a total of $7,214 to Rep. James D. Jordan between 2005 and 2010. [OpenSecrets.org, accessed 5/23/11]

Wannemacher Donated $5,100 To GOP Governor John Kasich's 2010 Campaign. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Wannemacher made two separate donations of $100 and $5000 to John Kasich's 2010 Ohio gubernatorial campaign. [FollowTheMoney.org, accessed 5/23/11; FollowTheMoney.org, accessed 5/24/11]

Wannemacher Donated More Than $2,000 To GOP Candidates For Ohio State House, Senate in 2010 Cycle. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Wannemacher's donations during the 2010 cycle include:

  • $100 to Matt Huffman's State House campaign. [FollowTheMoney.org, accessed 5/24/11]
  • $150 to State Senator Keith Faber. [FollowTheMoney.org, accessed 5/24/11]
  • $748 to State Senator Keith Faber. [FollowTheMoney.org, accessed 5/24/11]
  • $250 to Matt Huffman's State House campaign. [FollowTheMoney.org, accessed 5/24/11]
  • $400 to Matt Huffman's State House campaign. [FollowTheMoney.org, accessed 5/24/11]
  • $400 to Matt Huffman's State House campaign. [FollowTheMoney.org, accessed 5/24/11]
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