Upcoming Events

AIER Bastiat Society: "The Founders and Inflation: How the Dollar Once Limited Government" with Grant Starrett

Thursday, July 13, 2023  |  6 p.m.
Richland Country Club1 Club Dr.
Nashville, TN

Eventbrite Ticket Required. Registration coming soon.

AIER’s Bastiat Society program in Nashville will host an event with Grant Starrett, Vice President of Acquisitions at Lion Real Estate Group.

About the Event: Amidst the highest inflation in decades, Grant revisits the Founders' views on sound money, how they gave those views power in the Constitution with the explicit intent to limit the size of government and how we abandoned the original meaning (as we have with so many other clauses). If you're wondering how the federal government got so big, there really are two answers: that we abandoned the original meaning of the Constitution and the federal government rearranged its own financing. As Grant reveals, the two are intricately related.

About the Speaker: Grant Starrett is Vice President of Acquisitions at Lion Real Estate Group, where he has led the acquisition of over $100 million of apartments in Middle Tennessee. He also volunteers as president of Nashville Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, through which he organizes a monthly lunch and annual dinner for conservatives and libertarians interested in the law. Grant received a BA from Stanford, where he founded its Conservative Society, and a J.D. from Vanderbilt, during which time he worked for Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC). His writing has been published in the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the Federalist, and other national publications - and he also writes book reviews every couple weeks for a substack distributed through GrantReadsBooks.com.

AIER Bastiat Society: "How Systematic Deficits Got Their Start and What to Do About It" with Peter T. Calcagno

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023  |  6 p.m.
Richland Country Club1 Club Dr.
Nashville, TN

Eventbrite Ticket Required. Registration coming soon.

AIER’s Bastiat Society program in Nashville will host an event with Peter T. Calcagno, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Public Choice & Market Process at the College of Charleston.

Why has the United States experienced steadily rising deficits in the modern budget era, despite nearly five decades of legislative attempts to achieve fiscal discipline? Much of what the economics profession has written about U.S. public debt misses the central problem. Traditional approaches argue that rising deficits and accumulating debt pose risks of financial, fiscal, and economic crises or that rising deficits and the accumulated debt are not major problems but are instead the preferred solution to economic instability and slow growth.

None of these approaches can explain the Modern Budget Era Problem, which consists of two contrasting facts. On the one hand, U.S. fiscal policy has experienced a half century of business-as-usual deficits and mounting debt, even during non-emergency periods. On the other hand, business-as-usual deficits have unfolded despite 50 years of Congressional attempts to legislate fiscal discipline.

We trace the roots of today’s fiscal policy problems to changes in informal institutions, or fiscal norms, during the 1880-1930 period. During this period, the prevailing informal institution changed from what has been called the Balanced Budget Norm (BBN) to what we call the Deficit-as-Policy Norm (DAP). In short, “informal norms trump formal constraints”.

About the Speaker: Peter Calcagno is a Professor of Economics at the College of Charleston and Directs the Center for Public Choice & Market Process, an undergraduate free market center. A Public Choice and Public Policy Project Fellow with AIER. His areas of research are applied microeconomics, public choice, and political economy. He is the Treasurer of the Public Choice Society, a Voting Member of AIER, a Board Member of the Classical Liberals in the Carolinas, and has served on the board of the APEE. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters, and the editor of Unleashing Capitalism: A Prescription for Economic Prosperity in South Carolina. He earned his B.S. in Economics and History from Hillsdale College and Ph.D. from Auburn University.


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