Category Archives: Federal Reserve

On the 75th Anniversary of V-E Day and the Coronavirus Scamdemic

VE Day Coronavirus

The iconic Champs-Élysées and its Arc de Triomphe stand eerily empty before V-E Day ceremonies Friday in Paris.

This month (May 8th) marks the 75th anniversary of “V-E Day” when German forces unconditionally surrendered to the “Allies.”  Numerous articles, essays, and monographs have appeared commemorating the anniversary and while all are mostly laudatory, some have acknowledged that the outcome had its “drawbacks.”

By any objective rendering, for Western Civilization WWII was an unmitigated catastrophe whose reverberations continue to this day.  Forty-three million troops were senselessly killed between American, British and Continental forces while 38 million civilians perished.  Europe’s current demographic nightmare had its unfruitful seeds cut down with the depopulation of the Continent’s finest for the maniacal aims of the world’s power elites.  Not only the loss of life, but the destruction of property and the cultures upon which they were built have been incalculable.  Although the US emerged in the post-war world as the dominant economic and political power (as its mainland remained unscathed from wartime destruction), its participation in the conflict was a titanic geopolitical blunder.

The defeat of Germany and Japan, which would have not come about without US military might, left vast power vacuums in Eastern Europe and the Far East that Soviet Russia and Red China ruthlessly filled.  Half of Europe would fall behind the Iron Curtain, subjected to fierce political repression and debilitating socialistic economic planning.  In Asia, Communist regimes sprang up with the assistance of China and the Soviet Union which America attempted to counter in Korea and Vietnam at a staggering cost to its domestic economy and social tranquility.

Even after the fall of Soviet Communism, the US’s supposed lethal enemy, America maintained its empire as its “defense” spending continued to escalate beyond all reasonable levels which has led, in part, to the decline of domestic living standards of nearly all except, of course, for the politically well-connected. Not only has military adventurism bankrupted the country, but there is now “blowback” from the countless enemies either real, imagined, or contrived – created by US overseas meddling.  Moreover, the nation’s military-industrial and security complex has turned on its own citizens with spying, surveillance, and data gathering that would be the envy of Stalin’s Cheka. Yet, it was US participation in WWII which cemented the nation on its ruinous course as global policeman.  This was predicted and feared by “isolationists” at the time which is why they so courageously fought to keep the country neutral.

While the peoples of the world suffered from the Apocalyptic-like destruction of the war, certain groups did gain.  The benefactors were obvious – Stalin and the Soviet state which was given free reign in Eastern Europe; the US military and security industrial complex which had a world empire to police; Chinese Communists, with Imperial Japan decimated, it left little opposition for them to gain control in China and beyond.  For almost everyone else, even the so called “victors,” WWII was a Pyrrhic victory at best.

For the remainder of 20th century American history, US entry into the Second World War proved to be the catalyst which led to the immense cultural, economic, and political changes, which many conservatives, libertarians, and traditional-minded people at the time and afterwards opposed.  Yet, it was US participation in the war which meant that all of those changes would become permanent.  Harry Elmer Barnes, who was a keen social theorist and wrote extensively in sociology, clearly understood the effects of US entry into the war:

Drastic changes in the domestic realm can also be attributed to the impact of our

entry into the second World War.  The old rural society that had dominated

humanity for millennia was already disintegrating rapidly as the result of

urbanization and technological advances, but the latter failed to supply adequate

new institutions and agencies to control and direct an urban civilization.  This

situation faced the American public before 1941 but the momentous transformation

was given intensified rapidity and scope as a result of the extensive dislocations

produced by years of warfare and recovery.*

Harry Elmer Barnes Harry Elmer Barnes

While every sector of American life was unalterably changed, the most ominous took place in the political order.  Although the federal government had begun to expand during the Progressive Era, its scope and involvement in society drastically accelerated during and after the war.  Barnes, holding many libertarian beliefs, observed the totalitarian features of the post-war nation:

The complex and cumulative aftermath of [WWII] has played the dominant role in

producing the menacing military pattern and political impasse of our time, and the

military-industrial-political Establishment that controls this country and has sought

to determine world policy.**

The rise of America to world power status diverted attention and scarce resources away from the domestic front, which further exacerbated social and economic changes.  The societal strife would become more and more acute as the nation’s overseas commitments mushroomed, as Barnes incisively explains:

The social problems of an urban age were enlarged and intensified, crime increased

and took on new forms that became ever more difficult to combat, juvenile

disorganization became rampant, racial problems increased beyond precedent, and

the difficulties of dealing with this unprecedented and complicated mass of domestic

issues were both parried and intensified by giving primary but evasive

consideration to foreign affairs in our national policy and operations.***

While domestic problems received less attention as the American empire expanded, foreign lands which held different patterns of social order or had non “democratic” forms of government, were targeted for “regime change,” even if they had taken no hostile action toward the US:

. . .  the results of [WWII] already indicate that this produced drastic and possibly

ominous changes in the pattern of American relations to the rest of the world.  We

voluntarily and arbitrarily assumed unprecedented burdens in feeding and

financing a world badly disrupted by war. . . .  The United States sought to police the

world and extend the rule of law on a planetary basis, which actually meant

imposing the ideology of our eastern seaboard Establishment throughout the world,

by force, if necessary. . . .****

Had the US remained neutral as the isolationists and American First supporters had pleaded, the world today would be markedly different – undoubtedly freer, more prosperous, and likely more peaceful.  Since every society is governed, in part, by its understanding of the past, the post-WWII world is built on a lie.  The lie, of course, was that the attack on Pearl Harbor was unprovoked and that the Roosevelt Administration had negotiated in good faith with the Japanese in the months and years leading up to it.

While not recognized at the time and even today the outcome of WWII ushered in the totalitarian nation state which would become a permanent and intimate fixture in the lives of its citizens.  There was no appeal to its dictates and as the decades rolled on it accrued unthinkable power over the society and economy.  It attempted to solve every social and economic problem or inequality (most of which it created) and in each action enhanced its power and control dramatically.

The corona scamdemic may be the state’s greatest power grab yet.  Besides the infringement of civil liberties, the shut down has been adroitly used to cover for the titanic economic collapse which began in the weeks prior to the draconian response measures.  Actually, the financial breakdown began last September with the Fed’s “repo” operations.

All of this has been quietly and deliberately forgotten by the financial press and under the cover of fighting the virus, the Fed and the rest of the world’s central banks have expanded their power and control of financial markets to unprecedented levels, making a mockery that the economy is in any sense “capitalistic.”

The adage that “history is written by the victors” has never been more apparent than in regard to V-E Day, however, the coronavirus scam has shown once again that the consequences of the day and the war which it commemorates are now being ominously fulfilled.

*Harry Elmer Barnes, “Pearl Harbor After a Quarter of a Century.”  In Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought.  Vol. IV, 1968, p. 11.

**Ibid., pp. 9-10.

***Ibid., p. 11.

****Ibid., pp. 10-11.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

Memo to The Donald: Cut Tariffs NOT Rates

trump tariff

So far, President Trump’s economic response to a potential coronavirus outbreak and a further stock market sell off has been expected – calls for more interest rate cuts and an additional round of monetary stimulus.  For the stock market, economy, and the virus itself, neither measure will have their desired effect and, in fact, may exacerbate things.

Further rate cuts and more money printing will not alleviate the situation since it has been the Federal Reserve’s recent “repo operations” which has pushed the market to its unsustainable highs.  For President Trump’s re-election hopes, the current “correction” better be short lived since he has repeatedly boasted about the stock market and has tied its success with the supposed health of the economy.  He will pay a political price if the market continues to tank and brings the economy down with it.

While President Trump and economic nationalists have bashed China for its trade practices, they are now going to see first hand how dependent the US and the West are on Chinese exports, as supply chains are disrupted over the coronavirus.

A Bloomberg article describes China’s weakest factory activity ever recorded:

The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index plunged to 35.7 in

February form 50 the previous month, according to data received by the

National bureau Statistics on Saturday, much lower than the median

estimate of economists.  Both were well below 50, which denotes


The expected reduction of Chinese goods will mean higher US domestic prices, however, the increase in prices can be offset somewhat not by rate cuts, but by tariff reductions, or, better still, elimination of duties on imports.  Increasing the money supply or cutting interest rates, which is what Trump, the market, and 95% of economists favor, will only mean higher prices for dwindling imports as greater amounts of money will chase fewer goods.

In the President’s comments on the coronavirus and the stock market plunge, he has repeatedly cited other nations’ (Japan, Germany) – lower interest rates as a policy that the Fed should pursue.  Apparently, the President is not aware that recent data out of Japan has shown that the economy shrank at an annualized rate of 6.3% for the fourth quarter of 2019 while the German economy only grew at 0.6% last year.**  Low rates have not helped either economy or anywhere else where they have been foolishly tried.

What President Trump, world policy makers, and central bankers do not understand, whether deliberately or from willful ignorance, is that the artificial suppression of interest rates and money printing does not lead to economic growth. Instead, prosperity can only come about by the arduous process of saving (abstention from consumption), which provides the means for capital formation, which leads to production.  Employment, wage growth, and income are also ultimately tied to savings.  For the creation of wealth, there is no way around this elementary economic principle – one that few profession economists comprehend.

For saving and investment to have their most efficacious impact and for individuals to engage in such sacrificial behavior, a sound monetary order must be in place.  Unfortunately, ever since the US went off the gold standard internationally in 1971, its monetary system has grown increasingly unstable.

If the Trump Administration would eliminate, or at least reduce significantly, tariffs, it would more than likely induce China to do the same.  The benefits of lower import prices for the millions of out of work Chinese due to the coronavirus shut downs would be a tremendous help and would also boost America’s export industries.  Such action would show to those who elected him that Donald Trump was not a typical politician, but one who thought outside the box.

While it did not cause the Great Depression, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 contributed to its severity.  If the recent sell-off is indeed the beginning of the long anticipated bust, following a supposed decade long expansion, then policy makers should do all in their power to alleviate the coming suffering.  The reduction of tariffs not only on Chinese goods, but those the world over would be a step in the right direction.

Let us hope that someone will convince Donald Trump that tariff reduction and not rate cuts will help Americans better deal with the troublesome and potentially economic and socially devastating coronavirus.

*China Posts Weakest Factory Activity on Record,” Bloomberg News, 29 February 2020.

**Megumi Fujikawa, “Japan’s Economy Shrinks Faster Than Expected.”  Market Watch.  16 February 2020.;  “German Economy Stagnates as Eurozone Growth Hits Seven-Year-Low,”  The Guardian,  14 February 2020,

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

Pope Francis the Taxman

Bergoglio Marxist


On the heels of calling for a Marxist economic conference this coming March (“Economy of Francesco”), Jorge Bergoglio (a.k.a. “Pope Francis”) has once again opined on financial matters.  The purported head of the Catholic Church has now designated “tax cuts” as sinful behavior on a par, apparently, with stealing, lying, and adultery:

Today’s structures of sin include repeated tax cuts for the richest people,

often justified in the name of investment and development.*

Bergoglio did not mention what category of sin advocacy for tax cuts falls under – venial or mortal.  Maybe the details of how such a policy ranks in offending Divine Justice will be hammered out at the upcoming Economy of Francesco Commie confab!

In Bergoglio’s collectivist mind, those who try and keep their wealth from the ravenous demands of the State are somehow denying the poor their just due:

Every year hundreds of billions of dollars, which should be paid in taxes to

fund health care and education accumulate in tax haven accounts, thus

impeding the possibility of the dignified and sustained development of all

social agents.

What Bergoglio and his fellow socialists do not understand is that tax cuts lead to economic growth, whether they are for higher or lower income groups.  The less wealth that the State confiscates, the more is available to be used for saving and investment – two keys to economic growth.  The rich do not horde their money but expand and create businesses which leads to more and better paying jobs for lower income groups who supposedly Bergoglio wants to help.

The poor will only be uplifted by greater production where more goods and services are available at lower prices.  Redistribution of income via taxation does not create new wealth, but simply transfers existing wealth from the productive class.  Moreover, taxation has the deleterious effect of making individuals produce less since their efforts are siphoned off at the point of a gun.  More taxation means less production and, thus, less and more expensive goods for the poor.

Of course, this is basic economic theory that any sane person can understand unless one has matriculated to a Western university or college or pays attention to economic ignoramuses like Jorge Bergoglio!

Bergoglio’s constant attention to the plight of the poor along with other social issues (“climate change,” the environment, immigration) does not align with the vision that the Entity, which created the office that Bergoglio currently holds, had in mind.  On at least two occasions, He counseled His followers to focus their attention on spreading the “good news” instead of earthly concerns:

For the poor you have always with you:  but me you have not always.  [Mt. 26:11]


Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou, and preach the kingdom of

God.  [Lk. 9: 60]

While the Church has always sought to protect and help the poor, widows, orphans, and the downtrodden, its primary mission is to preach the Gospel.  Since the time of the Second Vatican Anti-Council, 1962-65, and especially during the “reign” of Pope Francis, evangelization has been condemned and, like tax cuts, is now considered sinful activity.

Bergoglio’s criticism of tax reduction is, no doubt, aimed at the Trump Administration’s plan for an additional round of tax cuts.  Tax reduction, however, without cuts in government spending will further explode budget deficits which are now even beyond sustainable.

Without corresponding spending reduction, tax cuts will mean that the Federal Reserve will have to make up for the short fall with further money printing.  One cannot have Big Government and tax cuts simultaneously.  The inevitable monetary crisis will, unfortunately, be blamed on tax cuts and will play into the hands of Bergoglio and his fellow travelers.

That Bergoglio spends most of his time as a social justice warrior instead of the supposed “vicar of Christ” on earth shows the state of the modern Church.  Worse, when he does speak on matters of faith, his words and actions are riddled with heresy.

For all those concerned, it is best that “Pope Francis” should be ignored not only for the falsehoods he spreads about Christianity, but also as a social theorist.  His pronouncements on the latter will only lead to further impoverishment of the poor and the rest of society while inciting class conflict between those who seek to keep their wealth and those who want to confiscate more of it.



Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas


The Ethics of a Gold Standard


The efficacy of a metallic monetary system is beyond dispute at least among real economists which eliminates just about 95% of whom are now engaged in the “profession.”  Money, which gold is, allows for specialization, the division of labor, and provides the means for mankind to escape from barter and, thus, a primitive existence.  Like free trade, money naturally integrates mankind both among and between peoples.

A system of central banking with an unbacked paper currency is the antithesis of a gold standard.  Manipulation of currencies by central banks, mostly through debasement, hinders trade, creates distortions, and ultimately leads to the dreaded business cycle.  Murray Rothbard aptly describes the baneful results of state intervention in the monetary system:

. . . government meddling with money has

not only brought untold tyranny into the world;

it has also brought chaos and not order.  It has

fragmented the peaceful, productive world

market and shattered it into a thousand pieces,

with trade and investment hobbled and hampered

by myriad restrictions, controls, artificial rates,

currency breakdowns, etc.  It has helped bring

about wars by transforming a world of peaceful

intercourse into a jungle of warring currency blocs.*

Rothbard Money

While the economic efficiency of a gold standard is important, the ethical case for it is more compelling and was the reason why gold, as money, lasted as a medium of exchange for so long.  Gold/money has to be created through honest-to-goodness production and exchange.  The often dangerous mining of gold takes labor, capital goods, and land.  Turning raw gold into coinage is another process which requires a high level of specialization and production techniques.  Both are honest and morally sound activities which make for the betterment of life all around.

The ethical standing of central banking and its issuance of unbacked currency as money through the printing press, stroke of a computer key, or via the expansion of credit cannot stand similar scrutiny.  By any appraisal, central banking is immoral.  Through the creation of money, banks stealthy transfer wealth to those who control the money supply and those closely associated with it.

The ability of central banks to create unlimited amounts of money and credit has been the greatest redistribution scheme ever conceived.  The process ultimately leads to class conflict as the wealth disparity between the politically well-connected and those outside that nexus invariably widen.

Under a gold standard, none of this would take place.

Because of their lack and often distain for economic doctrines, in particular, monetary theory, “economic nationalists” (really “economic ignoramuses”) have wrongly focused on trade as a factor in the continued decline of the middle and working classes.  China’s supposed unfair trade practices was a staple of President Trump’s campaign rhetoric and has continued through much of his first term.

The focus on trade has deflected attention from the real cause of worsening economic conditions for American workers and the enrichment of Wall Street.  Despite the blatant transfer of wealth via the Fed’s policies of suppressed interest rates and money printing since the 2008 Recession, economic nationalists continue to applaud President Trump’s tariff policies while the President continues to browbeat the Fed to do more of the same even calling for negative interest rates and more Quantitative Easing.

The Left rightly speaks out of the vast and growing inequality of wealth distribution, but like those who espouse economic nationalism, they fail to understand the reason for why the societal imbalance has occurred.  One remedy they propose – a “wealth tax” – will not address the problem.  Moreover, their “soak-the-rich” schemes would snare in their plunder (not that Leftists particularly care) many of the wealthy outside of the banking and financial sector of their legitimate, just gains.

The case for honest money must be made on ethical grounds.  The current system must be exposed and shown for the scam that it is: a massive redistribution scheme enriching the political elites and their closely aligned business and financial allies. While it is undeniable that a gold standard would lead to enormous prosperity, its reinstatement would remedy one of the great injustices that plague the world – central banking!

*Murray N. Rothbard, What Has Government Done To Our Money?  BN Publishing, 2012: 84.

Antonius Aquinas@antoniusaquinas


Is Bitcoin A Diversion from the Natural Monetary Order?

As modern man continues to wantonly deviate, flaunt, and reject the natural law and the Divinely-created order from which it derives, it is not surprising that illusions like Bitcoin and other crypto currencies have captured the imagination of many and have provided a vehicle for scammers to rip off their fellow man.

Crypto currencies are a more complex, yet still devious derivative of the immoral, economic destructive, and social debilitating system of central banking.  In response, Bitcoin pumpers have craftily tried to portray digital currencies as a “decentralized” alternative to the present fiat, paper-money standard.

While this has attracted many libertines and “fast buck” speculators, Bitcoin is  more similar to the present fractional-reserve monetary order than a real honest-to-goodness money and banking system based on 100% redeemable currency.  Moreover, crypto currencies’ initial allure was that they could be used as a general medium of exchange, but as time has gone on, their sycophants have had to concede that none of these Ponzi schemes can act as money. 

Unlike a metallic monetary order where gold and silver have to be mined and brought into use through land, labor and capital, Bitcoin, like paper money, is created out of thin air.  In this sense, however, paper money is superior to Bitcoin because it can be used for other purposes albeit severely limited – wall paper.    Bitcoin, instead, has NO intrinsic, or “use” value, as precious metals did prior to their use as general medium of exchanges.

Crypto currencies also fit nicely in the on-going efforts by the Establishment and monetary authorities to eliminate cash in transactions.  Despite the talk of “decentralization” and privacy that crypto currencies’ supposedly provide, all transactions on the computer and across the Internet can be recorded and traced which governments will use to spy on their tax slaves.  In direct contrast, gold and silver carried on one’s person or stored for safe keeping is the most private and secure means of wealth preservation ever known. 

The banksters have been pushing a cashless world to reduce their operating costs as Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan recently called for:

We want a cashless society. We have more to gain than anybody from a pure operating cost (perspective).*

If anyone believes that the only reason banksters like Moynihan want a cashless society is to reduce costs, they are incredibly näive.  Banks and other credit institutions have, from orders of the surveillance arms of the national security states across the globe, de-platformed and tried to silence all sorts of alternative and politically incorrect websites and groups by shutting down their bank and credit card accounts.  If cash is outlawed, it will have a devastating effect on dissonant outlets and true free speech in general.

The efforts to get rid of cash has been a long held goal by the ruling class that began with the introduction of paper notes which were granted legal tender status.  Irredeemable notes for specie followed and outright confiscation and prohibition of gold ownership took place in America and other jurisdictions in the 20th century.  Internationally, gold was finally severed from monetary use with President Nixon’s insane decision to no longer redeem US dollars for gold in 1971.    

More importantly, and what infuriates Left-Libertarians of the crypto movement is that the precious metals were created by Divine Providence to be used by His creatures to augment their lives and eventually create sophisticated societies.  The qualities and quantity of gold and silver were designed in their optimal amounts to serve as a medium of exchange.  There are ample historical episodes of the social and economic disasters which have occurred when “natural money” was replaced by a man-made substitute.  The powers-that-be are certainly aware of this historical “law” and have long understood that to maintain their hegemony gold and silver must not be a part of a monetary order.

The contemporary world is in a state of perpetual crisis because it has persistently violated the natural law.  The creation of more illusions such as Bitcoin and other crypto currencies is not a solution, but are diversions which prevent mankind from returning to a natural monetary order.

*Rey Mashayelchi, “Bank of America CEO: ‘We Want a Cashless Society.'”, 19 June 2019.

Antonius Aquinas@antoniusaquinas


The Gold Standard: Protector of Individual Liberty and Economic Prosperity

goldstandard vs.    the-bill-of-rights



The idea of a constitution and/or written legislation to secure individual rights so beloved by conservatives and among many libertarians has proven to be a myth. The US Constitution and all those that have been written and ratified in its wake throughout the world have done little to protect individual liberties or keep a check on State largesse.  Instead, in the American case, the Constitution created a powerful central government which eliminated much of the sovereignty and independence that the individual states possessed under the Articles of Confederation.

While the US Constitution contains a “Bill of Rights,” the interpreter of those rights and protections thereof is the very entity which has enumerated them.  It is only natural that decisions on whether, or if such rights have been violated will be in favor of the state.  Moreover, nearly every amendment which has come in the wake of the Bill of Rights, has augmented federal power at the expense of the individual states and that of property owners.

History has shown the steady erosion of individual rights and the creation of “new rights” and entitlements (education, health care, employment, etc.) which have occurred under constitutional rule.  Instead of limitation on government power, constitutions have given cover for the vast expansion of taxation, regulation, debt, and money creation.

While taxation has always been a facet of constitutional governments, it has been the advent of central banking and with it the elimination of the gold standard which has provided the means for the state to become such an omnipresent force in everyday life.  Irredeemable fiat paper money issued by central banks has also led to the entrenchment of political parties which has allowed these elites to create and subsidize dependency groups which, in turn, repeatedly vote to keep the political class in office.

Without the ability to create money and credit, the many bureaucracies, regulations, and laws could neither be created or enforced.  This would mean that the vast and powerful security and surveillance agencies could not exist or would be far less intrusive than they currently are.  With commodity money, debt creation would have to be repaid in gold, not monetized as it is currently done through the issuance of paper currency.

Just as important, it would have been next to impossible for the two world wars to have been fought and carried to their unimaginable destructive ends.  None of the populations involved would have put up with the level of taxation necessary to wage such costly undertakings.  Few of the wars which followed (most of which have been instigated by the US) could have taken place without central banking.  Nor could the level of “defense” spending – currently at a whopping $717 billion for fiscal year 2018 – be financed if the US was on a commodity standard.*

Under a gold standard, governments would have to rely on taxation alone.  Since citizens directly feel the effects of taxation, there is a “natural level” that it can be raised.  Punitive tax rates usually lead to a backlash and potential social insurrection which strike fear in the hearts of political elites.

Recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office again demonstrate that constitutional government provides little restraint on spending.

If present trends continue, the federal government will spend more on its interest serving its debt than it spends on the military, Medicare, or children’s programs.  It is also expected that next year’s interest on the debt will be some $390 billion, up an astonishing 50 percent from 2017.** And, for the entire fiscal year of 2018, the gross national debt surged by $1.271 trillion, to a mind-boggling $21.52 trillion.***

At one time, economists used to speak of the pernicious effects that “crowding out” had on an economy.  Since the onset of the “bubble era,” talk about deficits has almost dropped out of financial discussions.  Yet, the reality remains the same: public spending and borrowing divert scarce resources away from private capital markets to unproductive wasteful government projects and endeavors.

For those who seek a reduction in State power, defense of individual rights, and economic prosperity, the re-establishment of a monetary order based on the precious metals is the most efficacious path to take.  Such a social system would not require elaborate legislation or fancy proclamations of man’s inalienable rights, but simply a return to honest money – gold!

*Amanda Macias, “Trump Gives $717 Billion Defense Bill a Green Light. Here’s What the Pentagon is Poised to Get.” 14 August 2018.

**Nelson D. Schwartz, “As Debt Rises, the Government Will Soon Spend More on Interest Than on the Military.”  The New York Times. 25 September 2018

***Tyler Durden, “US Gross National Debt Soars $1.27 Trillion in Fiscal 2018, Hits $21.5 Trillion.” Zero Hedge.  2 October 2018.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

The Fed’s “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers

Powell   Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently doesn’t see the pernicious effects of inflation

At one time, the Federal Reserve’s sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.

Naturally, the Fed and all other central bankers prefer the definition of inflation as a rise in prices which insidiously hides the fact that they, being the issuers of currency, are the real culprit for increased prices.

Be that as it may, the common understanding of inflation as rising prices has always been seen as pernicious and destructive to an economy and living standards.  In the perverted world of modern economics, however, the idea of inflation as an intrinsic evil has been turned on its head and monetary authorities the world over now have “inflation targets” which they hope to attain.

America’s central bank is right in line with this lunacy, as it has been reported that at the Fed’s “May minutes” it wants “a temporary period of inflation modestly above 2 percent [which] would be consistent with the Committee’s symmetric inflation objective.”* Translated into understandable verbiage, the Fed wants everyone to pay at least 2% higher prices for the goods they buy.

Yes, by some crazed thinking US monetary officials believe that consumers paying higher prices is somehow good for economic activity and standards of living!  Of course, anyone with a modicum of sense can see that this is absurd and that those who espouse such policy should be laughed at and summarily locked up in an asylum!  Yet, this is now standard policy, not just with the Fed, but with the ECU and other central banks.

The baneful consequence of this economic quackery is being felt by American workers as admitted by the Labor Department.  Instead of spurring expansion, inflation is eating into and depressing wages:

For workers in ‘production and

nonsupervisory” positions, the value

of the average paycheck has actually

declined in the past year.  For those

workers, average ‘real wages’ – a

measure of pay that takes inflation

into account fell – from $22.62 in

May 2017 to $22.59 in May of 2018.*

While the decline in nominal wages is not significant, the manner in which the government now calculates inflation has been skewed to understate its impact.  Under the previous calculation, the current US inflation rate is probably closer to 5%.

Wage stagnation is not new.  Average real wages peaked more than 40 years ago and have fallen in real terms ever since.  Not surprisingly, the drop in wages in real terms began soon after the US went off the last vestiges of the gold standard in 1971.

As sound theory has long ago demonstrated, the idea of economic growth through money printing is absurd.  Increases in living standards and real wages can only come about through savings, investment, and capital accumulation.  Workers who have superior tools and equipment are obviously more productive than those that do not. Yet, capital goods have to be produced and production takes place over time.  Savings allow for the production process.

The level of wages are also closely linked to savings.  The greater savings an economy has enables entrepreneurs to bid for workers and increase wage rates.  This is how wages rise – competition for labor among businessmen pushes up wage rates.  The more savings entrepreneurs have, the higher they can bid for employees.

How and why wage rates rise and how employment is created had been understood by economists of yesteryear.  Today, however, the profession is dominated by “inflationists” and monetary cranks who believe that nearly every economic problem can be solved by the printing press.  Anyone who holds such ideas cannot be taken seriously.

While the Federal Reserve may think an inflation target will create prosperity, the reality for real wages is quite the opposite.  The laws of economic science have not been repealed.  An inflation target will lead to the impoverishment of not just workers, but lower living standards for all.

inflation target.jpg

*Jeff Stein and Andrew van Dam, “For the Biggest Group of American Workers, Wages Aren’t Just Flat.  They’re Falling.”  The Washington Post.  16 June 2018 A10.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

“Strong Dollar,” “Weak Dollar,” What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?

gold backed dollar

The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronoucements and reversals which will take place in the coming months/years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised.  So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.

The brief firestorm was set off by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who said in response to the dollar’s recent slide, “Obviously, a weaker dollar is good for us, it’s good because it has to do with trade and opportunities.”*  Mnuchin backtracked a bit as international financial leaders criticized the apparent shift in policy while Administration officials sought to clarify the Secretary’s remarks.  President Trump weighted in on the matter saying, “Ultimately, I want to see a strong dollar” and added that Mnuchin’s comments were “taken out of context.”

While President Trump sought to allay jittery currency markets that monetary policy had not changed, candidate Trump supported the Federal Reserve’s suppression of interest rates and did not want to see a rising dollar:

I must be honest, I’m a low interest rate

person.  If we raise rates and if the

dollar starts getting too strong, we’re going

to have some very major problems.**

Of course, the entire uproar about a strong dollar versus weak dollar is a sham. When the dollar (and for that matter all other national currencies) cannot be redeemed for either gold or silver, it is inherently “weak” and ultimately worthless.  That this obvious fact is not recognized by the Trump Administration, international monetary authorities, and the financial press demonstrates just how unstable the dollar and world currencies actually are.

If President Trump truly wants to see a strong dollar that will become a linchpin in “making America great again,” he should enact policies that will return the dollar to its original function – a warehouse receipt that can be redeemed for precious metals.  Just as important, an authentic strong dollar policy would mean that no dollar can be created that did not have “an equal amount” of gold/silver in bank vaults – in essence a 100% gold dollar.  These two acts would guarantee a strong dollar and insure that the dollar would remain the world’s reserve currency.    Moreover, a fully redeemable dollar would likely lead to other nations adopting similar measures.

A gold-backed dollar would also head off China’s not too subtle attempt at replacement of the Greenback with the Yuan as the world’s reserve currency.  Its “Belt & Road Initiative,” its massive accumulation of gold, and other actions are all aimed at making the Yuan the dominant world currency which, if successful, will have catastrophic financial repercussions for the US and Western Europe.

Gold-backed money will not only have positive international effects, but domestic benefits as well.  Crippling price inflation that has been intentionally under reported by government statistics will be a thing of the past.  Prices in a gold-backed currency will actually fall, raising living standards for everyone.

Without the ability of the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air, the massive federal budget deficits would have to be dealt with.  And, without the Fed’s purchasing of US debt, the government would be forced to make cuts in spending.  Spending cuts would have to be deep and across the board.

Happily, under such a scenario, reduction in spending would mean a pull back in the American Empire.  The US would simply not have the resources to maintain bases abroad or involve itself in the countless conflicts and wars it is now engaged in.  It is more likely that when the American Empire comes to an end, it will not be because of a military defeat, but because it can no longer be sustained financially.

Sadly, under current ideological conditions, a return to gold money is not on the financial horizon.  It will most likely take a collapse of the irredeemable paper monetary system before commodity-backed money is re-established as a general medium of exchange.

It is clear from the recent exchange among Trump Administration financial officers that the same dollar policy will continue, which will lead to an inevitable dollar crisis and certain political disaster for the President.

* “Trump Wades Into the Currency Uproar, Favours ‘Strong Dollar,’ Government & Economy.”  Brit Asian News  26 January 2018.

**Inflation Alert: Trump Also favors Low Interest Rates, Weak Dollar.”  Weekly Market Wrap. 6 May 2016.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas



What President Trump and the West Can Learn from China

Trump Trip China

Instead of a demonstration of its overwhelming military might intended to intimidate tiny North Korea and pressure China to lean on its defiant communist neighbor, President Trump and the West should try to learn a few things from China.

The President’s trip to the Far East came on the heels of the completion of China’s 19th National Congress where the current president, Xi Jinping, has cunningly positioned himself as China’s unchallenged leader.  In an address at the opening of the Congress, Xi cautioned that the country faced “challenges” that are “extremely grim” yet, despite these, the nation’s future is “extremely bright.”*

While Western politicos and pundits bemoan the lack of political pluralism that exists within China and President Trump complained about bad trade “deals,” they miss an important factor as to why China has transformed itself from a socialist basket case some three decades ago into an economic powerhouse which now boasts over a third of the world’s billionaires!

China’s economic ascendancy can be attributed not only to the implementation of market reforms in the 1990s, but also its lack of “political competition.”  As a one-party state, resources, time, energy, and capital are not allowed to be channeled into wasteful political processes, but instead are used and “invested” in wealth-creation activities – construction, factories, plants, equipment, research, technology – all of which leads to more and cheaper consumer goods.

The US and the West spend too much on elections, campaigns, polling, political consultation, etc., which diverts scarce resources away from the private wealth sectors of society.  For example, in her last failed presidential campaign run, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua alone spent over a half of billion dollars.

Under Western democratic pluralism, public debt and state spending have increased to unsustainable levels.  In the US alone – history’s greatest debtor nation – the national debt is in excess of $20 trillion, while its total debt officially is $68 billion with a federal deficit (GAAP) running yearly at $5 ½ trillion.

Such staggering numbers are the result, in part, from political parties seeking public office and once elected exploiting their position to enrich themselves, their constituents, and create dependent classes among the ever shrinking productive segments of society.

China’s foreign policy – an extension of politics – has also been conducive for wealth creation.  Instead of wasteful spending on military hardware, the maintenance of a far-flung global empire, and involvement in incessant wars, China has a rather meek military compared to its national income and has conducted a pretty much non-interventionist foreign policy – witness its diplomacy with North Korea.

The US is almost the polar opposite.  It spends more on “defense” than the next eight countries combined.** Instead of the production of useful consumer goods, billions are siphoned off into the military/security industrial complex.  Not only does this impoverish Americans at home, but it leads to never ending involvement in wars, conflicts, and disputes, most of which are created or exacerbated by US spy organizations.

Def spending

After meeting with Chinese leadership, President Trump tweeted:

I don’t blame China, I blame the incompetence

of past Admins for allowing China to take advantage

of the U.S. on trade leading up to a point where the

U.S. is losing $100’s of billions.  How can you blame

China for taking advantage of people that had no clue?

I would’ve done the same!

Making better trade deals will not revitalize the moribund US economy.  Instead, there should be less politicization of society and adoption of market reforms as China has done.  The most important plank of such a policy would be the encouragement of real savings – not the creation of bank credit – through the normalization of interest rates.  This would begin the arduous process of capital accumulation, the basis upon which any economy can be built.

Another sign of the divergence between the two is China’s continued push to make the yuan the world’s reserve currency with apparently some sort of gold backing to it.  Contrarily, the Trump Administration has continued the same disastrous policies of its predecessors and has chosen a Janet Yellen clone to head the Federal Reserve with a continuation, no doubt, of the suppression of interest rates.  On the other hand, China continues to import massive quantities of gold and encourages its citizens to own the yellow metal while the West is in the midst of a crypto currency mania, another fraudulent monetary scheme.

China’s economic miracle, while certainly impressive, would not look as astounding if Western economies had not been in a state of stagnation and decline over the past half century.  It was not political liberalization that led to China’s phenomenal growth, but economic freedom which used to be a staple of Western life.  The lesson that should be taken from President Trump’s trip is less politics domestically and more free markets.

*Chris Buckley, “Xi Jinping Opens China’s Party Congress, His Hold Tighter Than Ever.”  The New York Times, 17 October 2017.

**Peter G. Peterson Foundation.  “US Defense Spending Compared to Other Countries.”  1 June 2017.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

Bitcoin: A Tower of Monetary Babel

Bitcoin Fiat Currency

The promoters of crypto currencies have gushingly touted them as the mechanism by which the present central banking cabal and the system of nation states which derive much of their power from will be brought down and replaced by digital money.  Despite their meteoric rise as speculative “assets,” there are fundamental economic reasons why they will never act as a general medium of exchange despite the wild enthusiasm for them by the crypto-currency cultists.

Money – a general medium of exchange – is the most marketable (exchangeable) commodity in an economy.  As a good, money is not sought after for its direct use – to satisfy individual wants – but to satisfy wants indirectly through exchange for other goods.  Over time, one good becomes money since it possesses qualities superior to all other goods as a money.  When gold became demanded not for its “use value,” but for its “exchange value,” it became a general medium of exchange – money.

As a consumer good, gold possessed a value or a “price” prior to it becoming a money, as the eminent monetary theorist Murray Rothbard explains:

. . . embedded in the demand for money is knowledge

of the money-prices of the immediate past; in contrast

to directly-used consumers’ or producers’ goods, money

must have pre-existing prices on which to ground a demand.

But the only way this can happen is by beginning with a useful

commodity under barter, and then adding demand for a

medium to the previous demand for direct use (e.g., for

ornaments in the case of gold.)*

Thus, Bitcoin’s “price” is not in terms of its original commodity price, but its price is in terms of dollars, Euros, yuan, etc.  In the dollar’s case, it was at one time linked to gold, but has since been severed from it while Bitcoin has had no such relationship.

Once money is established, then prices are expressed in terms of it and thus economic calculation can rationally take place and the division of labor and specialization can be expanded.  Rothbard continues:

       The establishment of money conveys another great

benefit.  Since all exchanges are made in money, all the

exchange-ratios are expressed in money, and so people

can now compare the market worth of each good to that

of every other good.**

Once gold became money, the price of goods became expressed in gold not in other elements – nickel, zinc, lead, etc.  With the proliferation of crypto currencies, there will be a myriad of different price ratios for each good.  There will be a Bitcoin price for a car, an Ethereum price for a car, a Dogecoin price of a car, and so on.  This is the antithesis of the purpose of money – one unit of account that reflect prices for all commodities as Rothbard shows:


Because gold is a general medium it is most marketable,

it can be stored to serve as a medium in the future as well

as the present, and all prices are expressed in its terms.

Because gold is a commodity medium for all exchanges,

it can serve as a unit of account for present, and expected

future, prices.  It is important to realize that money cannot

be an abstract unit of account or claim, except insofar as it

serves as a medium of exchange.***  [my emphasis]

Crypto currencies, therefore, directly violate one of the main principles of monetary theory.  The vast array of digital money, all with unique price ratios (to say the least of their volatility), would make economic calculation and rational planning next to impossible.  In this sense, the current world of fiat dollars would be preferable to a Tower of Monetary Babel that digital currencies would create.

Central banks and governments do not fear crypto currency challengers to their monetary hegemony.  They, of course, jealously monitor the crypto market worried that any gains accrued may not be subject to tax.  Central banksters do fear gold for it remains, despite being demonetized, the last check on profligate central bank monetary expansion.  And, because countries who wisely understand gold’s importance and seek to get out from under the yoke of King Dollar (most notably China and Russia), continue to voraciously accumulate the yellow metal.

The return of true prosperity will only come about when gold is once again at the center of the monetary order and fiat currencies such as the dollar, Euro, and now Bitcoin are forgettable memories of a misguided and corrupt age.

*Murray N. Rothard, What Has Government Done to Our Money?  Novato, CA.: Libertarian Publishers, 8th printing, January 1981.

**Ibid., 4-5.

***Ibid., 5.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas