Friday, January 29, 2010

How To Fix the Jobs Problem (Lew Rockwell)

Lew Rockwell on how unemployment could be eliminated virtually overnight:

All this talk of unemployment is preposterous. Think of it. We live in a world with lots of imperfections, things that need to be done. It has always been so and always will be so. That means that there is work to be done, and therefore, always jobs. The problem of unemployment is a problem of disconnect between those who would work and those who would hire.

What is the disconnect? It comes down to affordability. Businesses right now can't afford to hire new workers. They keep letting them go. Therefore, unemployment is high, in the double-digits, approaching 17% or more. Among black men, it is 25%. Among youth, it is 30% or higher. And the problem is spreading and will continue to spread so long as there are barriers to deal-making between hirers and workers.

Again, it is not a lack of work to be done. It is too expensive to pay for the work to be done. So ask yourself, what are those things that prevent deals from being made?

Let me list a few barriers:
  • The high minimum wage that knocks out the first several rungs from the bottom of the ladder;
  • The high payroll tax that robs employees and employers of resources;
  • The laws that threaten firms with lawsuits should the employee be fired;
  • The laws that established myriad conditions for hiring beyond the market-based condition that matters: can he or she get the job done?;
  • The unemployment subsidy in the form of phony insurance that pays people not to work;
  • The high cost of business start-ups in the form of taxes and mandates;
  • The mandated benefits that employers are forced to cough up for every new employee under certain conditions;
  • The withholding tax that prevents employers and employees from making their own deals;
  • The age restrictions that treat everyone under the age of 16 as useless;
  • The social security and income taxes that together devour nearly half of contract income;
  • The labor union laws that permit thugs to loot a firm and keep out workers who would love a chance to offer their wares for less.

Now, that's just a few of the interventions. But if they were eliminated today, and it would only take one act of Congress to do so, the unemployment rate would collapse very quickly. Everyone who wanted a job would get one.

Depending on the credibility of the new approach, businesses would begin hiring immediately. It would be a spectacular thing to behold. However, the new approach would have to be certain and not something to be reversed in a couple of months. No one wants to invest in employees only to have their investment taken away. So there could be no expiration date on the new laissez-faire approach.

What is the objection to this approach? I seriously doubt that many people would dispute that it would work to end unemployment. But many people say, oh, this won't do at all. It is not just jobs we want. It is good-paying jobs!

If that's the case, you have to understand what is being claimed here. People are saying that it is better that people be unemployed rather than being exploited at low wages. If so, it all comes down to your definition of exploitation. If $10 per hour is exploitation, we should be creating even more unemployment by raising the minimum wage. We could dis-employ all but a few by raising the minimum wage to $1,000 per hour.

In a market-based labor contract, there is no exploitation. People come to agree based on their own perceptions of mutual benefit. A person who believes it is better to work for $1 an hour rather than sit at home doing nothing is free to make that contract. In fact, a person who works for a negative wage – who pays for an internship, for example – is free to make that deal too.

I propose to you, then, a definition of exploitation that comes from the writings of William H. Hutt: violence or threat of violence implied in the negotiation of anything affecting the life of a worker or employer. In that sense, the present system is exploitation. Workers are robbed of wages. Employers are robbed of profits. Poor people and young people especially are robbed of opportunity.

Read any account of economic history from the late Middle Ages through the 19th century and try to find any evidence of the existence of unemployment. You won't find it. Why is that? Because long-term unemployment is a fixture of the modern world created by the interventionist state. "We" try to cure it and "we" ended up doing the opposite.

So it is hard for me to take seriously all the political plans for ramping up intervention in the name of curing unemployment. There is no voluntary unemployment in a free market, because there is always work to be done in this world. It is all a matter of making the deal.

All that stands between the present awful reality and 0% unemployment is a class of social managers unwilling to admit error. How much higher does the rate need to get before we admit the error of our ways?

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ron Paul Opposes National Flu Vaccine Week

Dr. Paul opposes another stupid bill:

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement in Opposition to H Res 1003, National Influenza Vaccine Week


January 26, 2010

Madam Speaker, I oppose H. Res. 1003, designating January 10, 2010 through January 16, 2010 as National Influenza Vaccination Week. While I believe the American people should be made aware of infectious diseases and common sense preventative measures, I am concerned that this resolution continues the hysterical reaction from government officials to the swine flu outbreak.

As a physician, I have yet to see any evidence that justifies the current level of alarm. Influenza typically kills around 36,000 people every year in this country and hospitalizes a couple hundred thousand. In the almost a year since swine flu made its first appearance in the U.S., there have been only a handful of confirmed deaths attributable to this strain, and most of those sickened have or will fully recover. Every death is tragic, but I see no reason to deal with this flu outbreak any differently than we typically deal with any other flu season. Instead, the federal government has responded with invasive screening at airports, closing down schools and sporting events, and causing general panic.

There have also been discussions of mandating that certain populations be forced to receive the swine flu vaccine. I would remind my colleagues that during the 1976 outbreak of swine flu only 1 America died from the flu, but mandatory vaccinations killed at least 25 before the program was abandoned.

Madam Speaker, the panicked reaction to swine flu outbreak demonstrates why the Federal Government should not become involved in health care. Instead, decisions as to how best to deal with infectious disease should be left to local communities, health care providers, and, most importantly of all, individual citizens. Patients should always have the right to make their own decision about whether or not to receive a vaccine after getting full information on both the risks and the benefits of vaccines from their health care provider.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Fear the Boom and Bust" a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem

A brilliant video on Austrian Economics vs. Keynesianism:

Love and Freedom in Avatar (Glen Allport)

Glen Allport gives a nice review of Avatar, showing how the themes of love and freedom pervade the movie and make it such a wonderful experience (if you haven't seen it yet, please do so!)

[Spoilers ahead]

A month after its opening, “Avatar” has brought in more than $1.8 billion worldwide and is still packing theaters, which suggests that it may become the first film to pull in $2 billion or more.

There are many reasons “Avatar” is so popular – it is visually gorgeous and inventive, it tells a good story, and the film's casting, acting, special effects, and direction are top-notch. The film excels on so many levels that few were surprised when it won Best Picture and Best Director at the Golden Globes this past Sunday.

In this column, I discuss two particular and related elements of the film – elements for which there are no formal award categories, but which I believe are deeply and instinctively appealing and critically important in life.

Read the rest

My Question for the Doomsters: Then What? (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs says if civilization in Europe was able to progress (albeit slowly) during the time of the Black Death, surely we can find a way to survive when the US government defaults on its debt:

Although I am reputed to be a cynic, a pessimist, and a bah-humbugger, I am not given to doomsaying in the same way that a growing number of others are. Although I tend to expect, as Thomas Jefferson did, that the natural progress of things will be for liberty to yield and government to gain ground, and for me this will be an unwelcome course of events, I am not much inclined to predict that, especially in the near term, the economy, society, or government will suddenly “break down,” “collapse,” or experience some comparably terrible and complete calamity.

I will admit, however, that some of my friends seem mightily inclined toward such doomsaying. It’s almost as if they can’t wait for the catastrophe to arrive – perhaps because it will demonstrate beyond cavil that the existing order is too corrupt, irrational, and evil to maintain itself. Some people who write or speak along such lines, though, clearly have a vested interest: they are selling something — often precious metals, investment advice, “survival” goods, or “bearish” publications — that they expect to sell more readily to consumers who have acquired a heightened fear of impending economic doom.

Read the rest

Ron Paul: Legalize Competing Currencies

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:



Much has been made recently about the supposed economic recovery. A few blips in a few statistics and many believe our troubles are all over. Of course, they have to redefine recovery as “jobless” to account for the lack of improvement on Main Street. But the banks have money, Wall Street is chugging along, and the administration would like to get on with other agendae.

They have even set up a commission to investigate the crisis as if it were all in the past.

The truth is that Americans are still losing jobs, the Fed is still inflating, and more regulations are in the works that will prevent jobs and productivity from coming back. We are on this trajectory for the long haul. The claim has been made many times that this administration has only had a year to clean up the mess of the last administration. I wish they would at least get started! Instead of reversing course, they are maintaining Bush’s policies full speed ahead. They are even keeping the Bush-appointee in charge of the Federal Reserve! They are not even making token efforts at change in economic policy. And for all the talk of transparency, we hear that some powerful senators will do all they can to block a simple audit of the powerful and secretive Federal Reserve.

We have been on a disastrous course for a long time. The money supply has doubled in the last year, our debt is unsustainable, the value of the dollar is going to continue its drop, and those Americans who understand where we are headed feel helpless and held hostage by foolish policy makers in Washington. When the bills finally come due and the dollar stops working we are in for some real social, economic and political chaos. That is, unless we take some major steps now to allow for a peaceful transition in the future. These steps are laid out in my legislation to legalize competing currencies.

First of all, no one should be compelled by law to operate in Federal Reserve notes if they prefer an alternative. We should repeal legal tender laws and allow Americans to conduct transactions in constitutional money. Only gold and silver can constitutionally be legal tender, not paper money. Instead, it is illegal to conduct business using gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve notes. Simply legalizing the Constitution should be a no-brainer to anyone who took an oath of office. Consequently, private mints should be allowed to mint gold and silver coins. They would be subject to fraud and counterfeit laws, of course, and people would be free to use their coins or stay with Federal Reserve notes, as they see fit. Finally, we should abolish taxes on gold and silver, which puts precious metals at a competitive disadvantage to paper money.

The Federal Reserve is a government-sanctioned banking cartel that has held far too much power for far too long and is in the end stages of running the dollar into the ground, and our economy along with it. The very least Congress can do, if they are not willing to abolish the Fed, and perhaps not even conduct a serious audit of it, is to allow citizens the freedom to defend themselves from being completely wiped out by their monopoly power.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ron Paul Says No to Military Occupation of Haiti!

Ron Paul harkens back to Davy Crockett as he opposes yet another nice sounding but blatantly meddling and unconstitutional bill, proving once again why he is known as "Dr. No":

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement in Opposition to H Res 1021, Condolences to Haiti


January 21, 2010

I rise in reluctant opposition to this resolution. Certainly I am moved by the horrific destruction in Haiti and would without hesitation express condolences to those who have suffered and continue to suffer. As a medical doctor, I have through my career worked to alleviate the pain and suffering of others. Unfortunately, however, this resolution does not simply express our condolences, but rather it commits the US government “to begin the reconstruction of Haiti” and affirms that “the recovery and long-term needs of Haiti will require a sustained commitment by the United States….” I do not believe that a resolution expressing our deep regret and sorrow over this tragedy should be used to commit the United States to a “long-term” occupation of Haiti during which time the US government will provide for the reconstruction of that country.

I am concerned over the possibility of an open-ended US military occupation of Haiti and this legislation does nothing to alleviate my concerns. On the contrary, when this resolution refers to the need for a long term US plan for Haiti, I see a return to the failed attempts by the Clinton and Bush Administrations to establish Haiti as an American protectorate. Already we are seeing many argue that this kind of humanitarian mission is a perfect fit for the US military. I do not agree.

Certainly I would support and encourage the efforts of the American people to help the people of Haiti at this tragic time. I believe that the American people are very generous on their own and fear that a US government commitment to reconstruct Haiti may actually discourage private contributions. Mr. Speaker, already we see private US citizens and corporations raising millions of dollars for relief and reconstruction of Haiti. I do not believe the US government should get in the way of these laudable efforts. I do express my condolences but I unfortunately must urge my colleagues to vote against this resolution committing the United States government to rebuild Haiti.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ron Paul's State of the Republic Address

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

State of the Republic Address
Is That All There Is To A Recession?


January 21, 2010



As we start the new year 2010, the establishment politicians, economists and Wall Street are trying to convince themselves that we have turned the corner and economic growth has once again begun. The predictions that conditions are getting back to normal come from those who never saw the crisis coming and don’t have the vaguest notion what caused it. Some of them concede that it could be a jobless recovery. That will establish a new definition for a recovery.

Official unemployment is at 10% but even the government knows that if everyone is counted, including those individuals that are too discouraged to even be looking for work, the unemployment rate is 17%. Free-market economists claim the actual unemployment rate is closer to 22%.

There’s reason to believe that the correction is just barely started and has a long way to run. If the financial bubble came from excess credit created by the Federal Reserve, doubling the money supply can hardly be a solution. It wouldn’t make much sense for a doctor taking care of a very sick patient from severe infection to deliberately give the patient another infection. Yet that’s what the PhD doctors are doing to our very sick economy. It can’t work. It will make the economy much sicker. If our leaders don’t wake up soon, the economy will be brought to its knees. Great danger lies ahead.

In foreign policy, it’s always crucial that the motives of those who would do us harm are understood. Denial of the truth and accepting more politically palatable excuses will guarantee that threats to our safety will continue as we pursue a seriously flawed involvement overseas.

It’s the same in economic policy. If there’s denial or ignorance of the real cause of financial bubbles and the inevitable corrections that must follow, the economy cannot be reenergized.

We should have learned the lesson from the Depression of the 1930s that it was a predictable result from the Federal Reserves orchestrated excesses of the 1920s. Instead, the new-born Keynesian economists who took charge made certain that the correction would not be a one or two year affair as were the previous corrections in our history. The aggressive intervention by Hoover and Roosevelt, the Republicans and the Democrats, turned a short recession into the Great Depression, which lasted until the end of World War II.

The real tragedy was that the interpretation of the 1930s institutionalized bad economic theories. Unfortunately, and erroneously, the Depression was blamed on the gold standard, free markets and a lack of regulations. Though monetary policy was analyzed, its importance was 100% misinterpreted. The low interest rates and excess credit of the 1920s, driven by Federal Reserve policy, was not considered a factor in producing the stock market bubble and the mal-investment.

Instead, the 1930s analysts and even later analysis by Milton Freidman and the monetarists, along with academic “scholars” like Bernanke, came to an opposite conclusion: the Fed was at fault but only because it was too tight, arguing that massive monetary inflation was the only answer to the slumping economy.

And now we are witnessing a grand experiment by the very person who for years claimed special knowledge regarding the Depression. Chairman Bernanke is in the midst of trying to solve the problem of massive monetary inflation and excessively low interest rates instituted by his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, by implementing even more inflation at historic rates. The sad part is the answer to his very risky experiment with the wealth of our country and the health of our economy will take years to analyze. The conclusions will be just as flawed as they were in the aftermath of the Great Depression by an intellectual and political community that had totally rejected commodity money and the principle of free market with the current understanding in Washington.

One hope, though, is that free-market thinking and Austrian economic theories will have greater influence in the next decade or two, since their influence is now on a dramatic upswing. But there are a lot of hurdles to overcome.

In the 1930s, in an effort to find the true cause of the crisis, Congress ordered an official investigation. It became known as the “Pecora Investigation” named after Ferdinand Pecora, the aggressive chief council of the hearings. It received a lot of public attention and brought about many major changes but, tragically, every conclusion made and new policies implemented caused the depression to worsen and legitimized bad economic theories that continue to haunt us to this day.

The Federal Reserve was not blamed except for not printing enough money fast enough. Artificially low interest rates and mal-investment, the main source of the grossly distorted economy and bubble of the 1920s were exonerated. Not enough regulations were blamed, thus the Glass-Steagall Act and the Securities Act of 1933 were passed and deepened the depression. Separating commercial and investment banking and the newly created SEC were to have solved all future problems—as long as the Fed was free from any restraint in its money creation operation to serve big-government spenders and members of the banking cartel.

Since the flaws in the monetary and economic system were not corrected but made worse after the Depression, it was to be expected that periodic booms and busts would persist. The longer these cycles could be papered over with new money and credit, the greater would be the distortions and debt that would one day have to undergo a major correction.

That correction is now in its early stages. Since the dollar was the reserve currency of the world and totally fiat since 1971, without any linkage to gold, the financial bubble became worldwide. This bubble that burst in 2008 was the largest in history. During the formation of the bubble, the U.S. as the issuer of the world currency received undeserved benefits. We essentially became the counterfeiter of the world and no one called us on it. Even today, the trust in the dollar that persists has buffeted the pain of the correction for us. This unique setup was a prime cause for our balance of payment deficits and the huge foreign debt we owe—the largest in the history of the world. The discord in the world financial system is telling us that it’s time for us to pay for our profligate spending and massive foreign indebtedness. We have lived, as a nation, far beyond our means and the message is, for the foreseeable future, that we will be forced to live beneath our means as this debt is paid.

The inflation optimists are excited about current signs of economic growth and have even announced the end of the recession. It is conceivable that a reprieve can be achieved and the penalty that our economy must endure delayed. A reprieve must not be confused with a pardon; one is a temporary delay, the other an exemption. The payback for our excesses is certain to come.

Massively increasing debt and monetary inflation can slow the crash and change some government statistics encouraging the optimists. But real job growth and return of prosperity will remain elusive. The odds of us once again becoming an exporter of manufactured goods, like steel, cars, and textiles, are remote.

Ironically, a reprieve may well restore some confidence and motivate some spending and investment. But instead of restoring long-term growth, it may well act perversely by precipitating price inflation and higher interest rates. Since today’s interest rates are artificially set, much of our investing is unproductively misdirected.

Current enthusiasm in the stock market is once again a reflection of the message that low interest rates send. Thus too, the government’s stimulus package has helped to sustain the bond bubble, which in time must be deflated in order to get back to sound economic growth. All of this activity poses a threat to the dollar.

Governments are very powerful, and when in partnership with the monetary authorities that can inflate the currency at will, big government thrives. Welfare demands and senseless wars can be financed for long period of time through inflation, as long as trust in the currency lasts. Trust, though ultimately controlled by facts, can be misleading, since currency values can gain benefit from a country that has a strong military and wealth and a reasonably healthy economy. Eventually, markets and reality overwhelm, and illusions about a currency’s worth become a reality.

Today, reality is setting in and the first of three major events has begun. The worldwide financial system, built on a foundation of paper, has received the shock waves of an impending collapse.

The wild speculation and the derivatives market, the stock market bubble, the insurmountable debt—public and private—and the massive mal-investments have been shattered.

The only solution so far offered worldwide, but led by the United States has been to “print money” faster, keep interest rates low at practically zero percent, and remove all stops for controlling deficits. These are the very policies that caused the disequilibrium, and doing more of the same, but only faster, can hardly help our economy. The addiction to easy credit and deficit defies a wise political solution. Politicians are incapable of delivering the message of frugality, common sense, and sound money.

We can expect that the course we are on to continue and accelerate, since the first event, the collapse of the financial system, is still in its early stage.

The housing crisis is far from over; the commercial property crisis has not yet gotten much attention, and the financial obligations of the government are growing exponentially. And none of this forces the slightest pause in the expanding of welfare growth. The number of regulations, which are indeed a tax, are exploding though the market was already suffering from regulatory excesses. There’s a consensus in Washington that “wise” regulations can compensate for all the mistakes made by the Federal Reserve, the Executive Branch, and Congress. This fallacy has been around a long time and will be difficult to overcome.

The pessimism of the middle class continues to get worse despite the prognostication of Wall Street and the Administration. Most Americans know that the standard of living and real wages have not gone up for the past 10 years. If you’re not a shrewd stock trader and instead invested in stocks 10 years ago and held on, in real terms you would have lost 20% of your savings. The middle class is poorer also because house prices have crashed and many have lost their homes. On top of this, all we hear about is the trillions of dollars of debt and entitlement obligations that have been racked up for future taxpayers to pay. When it is revealed that the insider friends of the Fed and Congress get billions of dollars in bailout at the expense of the middle class, it’s no wonder the people are taking to the streets and directing their hostilities toward both Republicans and Democrats in Washington. Many would agree it is well-earned anger and properly directed.

This anger and frustration will certainly grow as the consequences of the collapse of the financial system become more severe. The concerted effort to prevent the correction the market demands, guarantees a prolonged agonizing crisis. Every effort to reverse the tide will depend on spending, higher deficits, increased taxes and money creation. This effort is now providing another grand bubble: the dollar/bond bubble.

The next event will be a dollar crisis. A full-blown dollar crisis will be worse than our current financial crisis The extent of a dollar crisis depends on whether or not the Washington politicians wake up and change their ways—a dubious hope.

More likely, the insanity will continue until some not yet known event will undermine the confidence of the dollar worldwide. Signs of less desire by foreigners to hold our dollars are already present. I’m certain our Treasury and Federal Reserve are pulling out all stops to prevent a massive run on the dollar. At present the “orderly” retreat from the dollar is working. But it won’t last.

China is quite active in investing in natural resources around the world, including Iran. While we live in the dark ages and believe only our military presence and military threats can protect our access to oil, China is actually spending some of their savings investing in their future access to energy and other precious metals and minerals.

But the orderly retreat from the dollar won’t last forever. Since 1973, shortly after the breakdown of the Bretton Woods Agreement, the dollar has lost 32% of its value against a Federal Reserve basket of currencies. But that doesn’t tell the real story, since that is a measurement against all other currencies, and they are fiat currencies as well. This gave the dollar an artificial benefit from its position of power in great wealth and military prowess. The dollar in relationship to gold, however, is down 97% since 1971, and 82% as measured by the CPI. The dollar, mismanaged by the Fed, has not been a benefit to the savers who sought to responsibly take care of themselves. They’ve been cheated by a rotten system and are just beginning to understand exactly how the Federal Reserve has been responsible for the swindle.

It is impossible to predict the time when confidence will be lost, but it can come quickly. Resorting to buying other paper currencies will not be of much help. When the dollar crashes, most likely the purchasing power of all currencies—since all countries hold dollars as a reserve—will go down as well.

This means that dollars and other currencies will go into buying consumer items, precious metals and other physical properties. Consumer prices will soar, as well as interest rates. The central bank will lose control; and the more they inflate, the worse the confidence becomes. The interest rates will respond to these efforts by rising sharply.

If the Fed tries to reverse the run on the dollar, interest rates will also soar, and the pain on the American citizens will be of such proportion that political chaos will result. Either scenario leads to political and social chaos—the third event, and the most dangerous.

With no ability of the federal government to fund its commitments, international or domestic, major changes will occur in our system. The social unrest will elicit cries for government to exert unusual force to head off a complete breakdown of law and order. The ultimate trap will be set for a system of government claiming to protect a free society. If more power and police authority are not given to the federal government, it will be argued that only anarchy will result. If more government policing power is given, it will mean a lethal threat to civil liberties. Already we have permitted the notion that a single person, the Attorney General or President, can decide who is an “enemy combatant”, thus denying that individual the right to habeus corpus, permitting indefinite detentions without charges made. This attitude toward civil liberties has changed significantly since the fear built around 9/11.

Yes, I know declaring one an “enemy combatant” is reserved for the radical Muslims engaged in terrorism against the United States. To be reassured by this reasoning is quite dangerous and na├»ve. Logic should not lead us to equate suspects with terrorists, and include American citizens, and yet this has already been set by precedent. Under difficult circumstances, our political leaders will not be hesitant to use these powers to maintain order. Tragically, the people may even demand it.

We are rapidly moving toward a dangerous time in our history. Society as we know it is vulnerable to political and social chaos.

This impending crisis comes as a consequence of our flawed foreign and domestic economic policies, a silly notion about money, ignorance about Central Banking, ignoring the onerous power and mischief of our out-of-control intelligence agencies, our unsustainable welfare state, and a willingness to sacrifice privacy and civil liberties in an attempt to achieve safety and security from an inept government. Dangerous times indeed!

What can be done about it? Must we wait for the inevitable and expect to restore our liberties in a street fight against the overwhelming power of the state? Not a good option!

The only way that we can prevent blood from running in the streets is to offer a better idea of the proper role of government in a society that desires first and foremost -liberty.

And that is impossible without a firm commitment by our thought leaders to the ideas of freedom, the source of all creative energy and prosperity. An all-powerful state is the threat to that ideal.

The prevailing attitude of the people-as it once was in early America-must be that of liberty and self reliance, rather than the nanny state and dependency relying on government force to mold all private choices.

If this is understood, a smooth-although not painless-transition to a free society is achievable. Ignoring this option will be very destructive to everything that is dear to the hearts of most Americans.

What is it that we must do? We must immediately:
  • Balance the budget by reducing spending
  • Change our foreign policy to that of non-intervention
  • A full audit and more supervision of the Federal Reserve leading to abolishing the Federal Reserve
  • Legalize competition to the Federal Reserve with competing currencies
  • Regain respect for civil liberties and privacy while reigning in the CIA
  • Wean ourselves off the dependence of wealth transfers by government
  • Abolish crony capitalism—no subsidies, no bailouts, no regulatory or tax privileges to protect the powerful elite especially the military industrial complex
  • Eliminate the income tax, inheritance tax and taxes on savings and dividends.

None of this can happen without the restoration of Congress to its dominant position of the three Branches of Government as was originally intended by the Constitution. The Executive and Judicial must be reined in, and Congress must assert its prerogatives over all legislation curtailing all unconstitutional agendae through budgetary controls.

Signs abound that angry Americans are now more ready than ever before for a change in direction that is indeed real. If this program were improvised-even suddenly and dramatically-the adjustment, though significant and to a degree somewhat painful, would be much shorter and of minor consequence compared to the chaos and poverty that will result if we refuse to change our gluttonous appetite for a free lunch.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ron Paul: Government is Too Big to Succeed

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:



Last week, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission kicked off their first round of hearings on the causes of the economic meltdown on Wall Street. The commission is being compared to the the Pecora Commission launched in 1932 to investigate the causes of the Great Depression. The Pecora commission is beloved by those who believe the solution to every problem is more laws because it was used to justify a number of new laws, including Glass-Steagall. Of course, none of those laws addressed the real causes of the Great Depression. It was the introduction of unsound monetary policy and central economic planning pursued by the Federal Reserve that really threw everything off balance. The Fed was founded in 1913 to stabilize the economy and prevent a recurrence of the short-lived Panic of 1907, but instead it promptly produced the Great Depression which lasted more than 15 years.

The Pecora Commission was stacked with big government sympathizers who blamed the free market and the gold standard without question, and without any consideration of government interference in the economy. This panel is no different. Never will they contemplate how government steered us into this crisis, and what perverse incentives can be removed or repealed so that the market will function more smoothly. Never will they discuss how investment should come from savings, not debt. Never will it occur to them that fiat money, artificially low interest rates and the whole Federal Reserve System might be unwise and unstable, not to mention unconstitutional. The answer will always be more government regulation and oversight. It is predictable that this government panel will eventually come to the firm conclusion that government needs to be bigger, and that the market is just too free.

How sad is this when exactly the opposite is true?

It is big government that gives out tax breaks to engineer behavior, often creating large pockets of malinvestments. It is government that created the FDIC and the Fed as lender of last resort which all encourages moral hazard. It is big government that gives bureaucrats the ability to bail out cronies with taxpayer dollars while screaming that the economic sky is falling if they don’t. It is big government that every year adds new layers to the already labyrinthine regulatory code that smaller businesses can’t keep up with while simultaneously preventing new businesses from emerging. It is big government that misdirects economic productivity into bankrupt businesses that they consider to be too big to fail.

If this panel was serious about understanding the root of the problem, as they claim to be, they would have people testify who understand the crisis and saw it coming. To my knowledge, none of them have received a phone call. The problem is those people would say too many things the government panel would find inconvenient. They would point fingers at too many of the state’s anointed. They would recommend getting government out of the way of the free market and getting back to simply protecting contracts and punishing fraud. But the biggest fraud is perpetrated by the Federal Reserve. No one on this panel takes that viewpoint seriously. Instead, they will be asking people who are still scratching their heads at how they could have missed the housing bubble what new regulations they can put in place to prevent future bubbles. Thus, I don’t expect much real wisdom to come out of this current investigation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

U.S. Government "Compassion" for Haitians (Jacob Hornberger)

Jacob Hornberger puts a little perspective on the so-called "compassion" of Barack Obama as he sends your money to Haiti:

With President Obama’s promise to help the Haitian people, Americans are once again confronted with a basic moral question: When the U.S. government gives money away to people in need, who are the good, compassionate, caring people in this process?

Is the president the caring person? After all, he’s the one issuing the order that assistance be given.

How about the people who work for the IRS? Without them, Obama wouldn’t have any money to send to the Haitians.

How about the members of Congress? They’re the ones who authorize the IRS to collect income taxes from people.

How about us, the taxpayers? Isn’t it our money that the IRS forcibly takes from us and puts at the disposal of the president?

How about the voters? Well, at the very least those who voted for President Obama?

How about all Americans, including babies and children who don’t yet pay taxes and vote? Shouldn’t everyone get some moral or religious credit for living in a country where the government takes money from one group of people and gives it to another group of people?

Actually, the money that the U.S. government sends to Haiti does not reflect any goodness, caring, or compassion on the part of anyone. If President Obama wants to help people out, he can send his own money.

Read the rest

Christians and Mass-Murder (Don Emmerich)

Don Emmerich maintains a great blog that I recently discovered, and I thought this post was an excellent indictment of what passes for modern Christianity, whose extreme militarism has led to him to question his own faith:

Why would any decent, intelligent person convert to Christianity? I’m asking a serious question. Why would anyone want to become a Christian?

I know why I became a Christian. I grew up with a Jewish mother and Catholic father. Neither seemed to take their faith all that seriously, and I eventually concluded that God, if he existed, couldn’t be found in organized religion. But then when I was in college, I became acquainted with a group of Born Again Christians. True believers, the types who genuinely believe, who strive to be Christ to others. “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

I started to want what they had. Their faith and joy. Their love. I started reading the Bible. I started getting up early on Sundays and going to church. And, little by little, I came to believe that Jesus was who he claimed to be, that, through faith, I could become a child of God.

But, as I’ve come to learn, true Christians are difficult to find. Yes, they’re there. I imagine you’ll find some in most congregations. But you won’t find many. Far from being superior to unbelievers, it seems to me that most Christians are arrogant, close-minded warmongers.

Which brings me back to my original question. Why would anyone today want to become a Christian? Why would anyone want to have communion with people who so shamelessly defend mass-murder? If I hadn’t spent more than a decade “walking with Christ,” I would quickly conclude that the whole thing is a fraud.

I put quotation marks around those words—“walking with Christ”— because I’m no longer sure if the whole thing is true. Part of me wants to believe. No story offers more hope and comfort than that of God becoming a man and dying for our sins. But I just keep coming back to this: If it really is true, then why do most Christians support mass-murder?

And it’s not just that Christians support mass-murder. It’s that they’re too close-minded to even consider opposing viewpoints. I’ve repeatedly challenged my former seminary professor on his pro-war beliefs; he refuses to even address my arguments. I’ve made numerous anti-war arguments to the former worship leader at my church; though failing to rebut any of my arguments, he continues advocating American mass-murder.

If Christianity is of God, then how can this be? If believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, then how can they be among our society’s biggest supporters of mass-murder? Shouldn’t they at least be slightly more opposed to murder than non-Christians?

If God is there, if Christ is real, then how can this be?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Quakes (John Stossel)

John Stossel reminds us that the most important lesson we should learn from the disastrous Haiti earthquake is that totalitarianism kills:

Today we talk about "disaster relief" in Haiti. But we should also talk about what could have prevented most of the deaths.

George Mason University Economist Don Boudreaux again opens my brain to what should have been obvious:

(T)he Haitian earthquake killed tens of thousands of people. But the quake that hit California's Bay Area in 1989 was also of magnitude 7.0. It killed only 63 people. This difference is due chiefly to Americans' greater wealth. With one of the freest economies in the world, Americans build stronger homes and buildings, and have better health-care and better search and rescue equipment. In contrast, burdened by one of the world's least-free economies, Haitians cannot afford to build sturdy structures. Nor can they afford the health-care and emergency equipment that we take for granted here in the U.S.

These stark facts should be a lesson for those who insist that human habitats are made more dangerous, and human lives put in greater peril, by freedom of commerce and industry.

Economic freedom saves lives. The ultimate tragedy in Haiti was not the earthquake. It was Haiti’s lack of economic freedom. That tragedy plays out every day in most of the third world.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ron Paul on Freedom Watch

Testing out a new way to embed Freedom Watch videos (click here to watch the entire episode, which features Ron Paul, Radley Balko, and the great Robert Higgs):



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lew Rockwell on Freedom Watch

Click here for Lew Rockwell, Walter Williams, and Jacob Hornberger on today's Freedom Watch!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Obama taking care of propaganda tools for al-Qaeda

A great political cartoon from Chip Bok:



(Hat tip to Wendy McElroy)

Ron Paul: Why the Fed Likes Independence

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:



Congressman Ron PaulLast week it was revealed that when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, he urged AIG officials not to disclose to the Securities Exchange Commission relevant details of agreements with banks to bail out Goldman Sachs. Apparently he felt at the time that regulators and the public would be angry that taxpayer money was used to fully compensate bankers who made some horrifically bad investment decisions. These banks should have suffered the consequences of the huge risks they were taking. After all, they kept plenty of rewards when times were good. Instead, the Fed found a way to socialize these major losses so these banks could survive and continue making more bad decisions, at the expense of the American people and the value of the dollar.

Geithner claims that they had to take politically unpopular actions to save the economy from collapse. Half of that is right – it was politically unpopular, but it is extremely premature at best, to claim the economy has been saved. It was just reported that 85,000 more jobs in December. Unemployment stands at 10% officially, and 22% according to more traditional calculations. It is hard to argue that this sort of government waste has done anything but harm to our economy. Raiding Main Street to bail out Wall Street is a foolish idea. Main Street productivity and the strength of the dollar is the bedrock of the economy. You cannot gut this foundation without eventually toppling everything else. This is what too many policy makers either don’t understand or refuse to face. Or even worse, perhaps they do understand, but don’t care!

In any case, this revelation makes precisely my point about the need for Fed transparency. This claim that the Fed should have “independence” is a canard. They very much enjoy their comfortable pattern of bailing out friends and devaluing the currency with no oversight and no accountability. Geithner specifically asked officials at AIG not to disclose to the SEC or to the public particulars about this special deal for his friends. We only know these details now because AIG was eventually forthcoming when Congress demanded some answers.

We should be getting this information, and information on all such dealings, straight from the Fed. The Fed should be accountable to Congress because it is a creature of Congress. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to oversee the integrity of the monetary unit. We have unwisely and unconstitutionally delegated this authority to the Federal Reserve, which has in turn devalued our dollar by 95 percent and counting. When the Federal Reserve engages in harmful policies, Congress is still ultimately responsible. If the Fed is not made accountable through a GAO audit at least, it will continue to be accountable to no one, and that is unacceptable.

Geithner expects to be praised and thanked for his actions instead of rebuked and fired. He expects to be given more power to engage in “experimental” monetary policy in the future. But he has just given us a very good idea of what the Fed and Treasury would do with more power, what they consider good monetary policy, and why they like their so-called independence.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Year Ahead: 2010 (Glen Allport)

Glen Allport says get ready, because the future is not going to be pleasant:

"'A lot more people were living on the edge than we ever even anticipated,' Haynes said. 'So many people were just barely making it. It's absolutely shocking.'"
~ Hospitality House spokesman Barry Frost, quoted in Economy Creates Newly Homeless by Kimberly Edds, OC Register, December 11, 2009

"There is no normality and no recovery. You cannot spend your way into recovery. It just doesn’t work. Look at the 1930s. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. Government guarantees challenge reality and reality always wins. As a result of Fed policy we have corporatist fascism at its worst. Day by day we attract less foreign capital and that is because any semblance of free markets are gone. All the Fed has done is rescue its owners and other connected elitists and such a plan is doomed to failure."
~ Bob Chapman, The Greatest Outpouring of Money and Credit from Central Banks and Governments in History, December 19, 2009

- 1 -
The Illusion of Normalcy Fades to Black


I wrote the first of these "Year Ahead" columns two years ago because I expected the coming collapse (described earlier in Destruction by Paradigm, March 2007) to begin in earnest during 2008. I saw epic debt levels, massive monetary inflation (not just in the U.S. but on a global scale for the first time in history), resource depletion (especially for oil, metals, and fresh water), government encroachment into almost every area of life, growing levels of corruption in and out of government, pollution of both freshwater sources and the oceans, and a host of other problems coalescing into an unprecedented storm – a dark tipping point poised to bring poverty, tyranny, hunger, and homelessness to millions of formerly middle class families. Just saying that out loud sounds extreme – things couldn't get that bad, could they? – but in fact that much has already happened and the storm has just begun.

Read the rest

Congressman Ron Paul on AIG/Geithner

Congressman Ron PaulWashington, D.C. - Congressman Ron Paul (TX-14) issues the following statement regarding recent revelations that then New York Fed Chair Timothy Geithner urged AIG to avoid disclosing to the SEC details of agreements with banks that bailed out credit default swap counterparties such as Goldman Sachs:

“The new details revealed today regarding AIG’s bailout in 2008 come as no surprise to those of us who believe that the American people deserve full transparency from the Federal Reserve. It also demonstrates why defenders of the Fed are so adamant about ‘independence’ by which they really mean secrecy. My strong suspicion is that secret arrangements between cronies like this are not an anomaly, but the norm. The status quo has made it entirely too easy and too tempting to behave recklessly with public funds in total secrecy. The system needs radical change, but we should start with honesty, transparency and accountability to the American people about how their money is being handled.”

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hired Killers Named ‘Texan of the Year’ (Roger Young)

Roger Young on the choice of a local newspaper to name the murdered soldiers at Ft. Hood 'Texan(s) of the Year' rather than the truly heroic pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III, who only managed to land a plane on a river and thereby save 155 lives:

The wise, worldly editors of the Dallas Morning News have seen fit to name the “Heroes of Ft Hood” as their Texan of the Year:

“For their dedication, service and so much more, we salute the heroes of Fort Hood as the 2009 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year.”

The News has chosen to honor those who “hear the call” to kill on command as the ruling regime sees fit. After all, they have pledged their lives to defend those who have lied to, plundered, and tyrannized the American people. They have “sacrificed” to make reality the perverted, depraved, arrogant, murderous, insane plans of the American Oligarchy. It’s their “duty,” by God! Why shouldn’t they be honored?

But seriously, I’m sure the News would not have extended such an “honor” if 13 soldiers hadn’t been gunned down earlier this year at Ft. Hood (by one of their own). For some strange reason, people are honored as “heroes” these days for simply getting murdered.

Read the rest

Ron Paul: Keynesianism Delivers a Decade of Zero

Dr. Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk:



Congressman Ron PaulThis past week we celebrated the end of what most people agree was a decade best forgotten. New York Times columnist and leading Keynesian economist Paul Krugman called it the Big Zero in a recent column. He wrote that “there was a whole lot of nothing going on in measures of economic progress or success” which is true. However, Krugman continues to misleadingly blame the free market and supposed lack of regulation for the economic chaos.

It was encouraging that he admitted that blowing economic bubbles is a mistake, especially considering he himself advocated creating a housing bubble as a way to alleviate the hangover from the dotcom bust. But we can no longer afford to give prominent economists like Krugman a pass when they completely ignore the burden of taxation, monetary policy, and excessive regulation.

Afterall, Krugman is still scratching his head as to why “no” economists saw the housing bust coming. How in the world did they miss it? Actually many economists saw it coming a mile away, understood it perfectly, and explained it many times. Policy makers would have been wise to heed the warnings of the Austrian economists, and must start listening to their teachings if they want solid progress in the future. If not, the necessary correction is going to take a very long time.

The Austrian free-market economists use common sense principles. You cannot spend your way out of a recession. You cannot regulate the economy into oblivion and expect it to function. You cannot tax people and businesses to the point of near slavery and expect them to keep producing. You cannot create an abundance of money out of thin air without making all that paper worthless. The government cannot make up for rising unemployment by just hiring all the out of work people to be bureaucrats or send them unemployment checks forever. You cannot live beyond your means indefinitely. The economy must actually produce something others are willing to buy. Government growth is the opposite of all these things.

Bureaucrats are loathe to face these unpleasant, but obvious realities. It is much more appealing to wave their magic wand of regulation and public spending and divert blame elsewhere. It is time to be honest about our problems.

The tragic reality is that this fatally flawed, but widely accepted, economic school of thought called Keynesianism has made our country more socialist than capitalist. While the private sector in the last ten years has experienced a roller coaster of booms and busts and ended up, nominally, about where we started in 2000, government has been steadily growing, because Keynesians told politicians they could get away with a tax, spend and inflate policy. They even encouraged it! But we cannot survive much longer if government is our only growth industry.

As for a lack of regulation, the last decade saw the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the largest piece of financial regulatory legislation in years. This act failed to prevent abuses like those perpetrated by Bernie Madoff, and it is widely acknowledged that the new regulations contributed heavily not only to the lack of real growth, but also to many businesses going overseas.

Americans have been working hard, and Krugman rightly points out that they are getting nowhere. Government is expanding steadily and keeping us at less than zero growth when inflation is factored in. Krugman seems pretty disappointed with zero, but if we continue to listen to Keynesians in the next decade instead of those who tell us the truth, zero will start to look pretty good. The end result of destroying the currency is the wiping out of the middle class. Preventing that from happening should be our top economic priority.