Category Archives: Taxation

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

https://antoniusaquinas.com

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

contraction.*

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.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-29/china-feb-manufacturing-pmi-at-35-7-est-45-0

**Megumi Fujikawa, “Japan’s Economy Shrinks Faster Than Expected.”  Market Watch.  16 February 2020.  https://www.marketwatch.com/story/japans-economy-shrinks-faster-than-expected-2020-02-16;  “German Economy Stagnates as Eurozone Growth Hits Seven-Year-Low,”  The Guardian,  14 February 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2020/feb/14/german-economy-stagnates-growth-eurozone-gdp-business-live

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

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.

 

*https://www.teaparty.org/tax-the-rich-pope-francis-calls-for-global-wealth-redistribution-427517/

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

Pope Francis Calls Marxist Economic Summit

index

Pope Francis and his mentor

As if there needs to be further evidence that the current occupant of St. Peter’s Chair in Rome is a Marxist, the announcement of an upcoming conference at Assisi entitled the “Economy of Francesco” should convince any skeptic otherwise.

In his invitation letter to “young economists and entrepreneurs worldwide,” Bergoglio sets the agenda for the Leftist confab quite clearly which is virulently anti-market, a call for massive redistribution of wealth, and a reordering of the current economic systems of the world with a healthy dose of climate change nonesense:

. . . a different kind of economy: one that brings life not death, one that is inclusive and not exclusive, humane and not dehumanizing, one that cares for the environment and does not despoil it.*

While Bergoglio’s Marxist credentials have been firmly established, his blashemous  actions and words has a growing number outside of “sedevacantist circles” calling him a heretic.  The legitimacy of “Pope Francis,” however, is more fundamental than him being a manifest heretic, but his standing as a legitimate pope is invalid since his ordination as a priest and his consecration as a bishop came under the new rites of Holy Orders instituted in the wake of the Second Vatican anti-Council (1962-1965).

The mastermind behind Bergoglio’s summit is professor Luigino Bruni and from his comments he sounds more radical than the Argentine Apostate, if that is possible.  Professor Bruni wants to use taxation as a weapon to “redistribute income and wealth from the rich to the poor.”*

Bruni, a professor of political economy at the Italian University, LUMSA, and the author of a number of books, basis his advocacy for redistribution of wealth on the Scriptures:

[T]he Bible has many words to offer our economic life and ideas [with] the transformation of wealth into well-being.**

It appears that the good professor’s Bible is missing the Seventh Commandment of the Decalogue which solemnly states: THOU SHALL NOT STEAL!  In no legitimate commentary ever written on this Commandment is there an exception made for the confiscation of wealth from the well-to-do to be given to the poor.  Probably just an oversight on the Professor’s part.

Because they are blinded by socialistic ideology, Bruni, Bergoglio, and the likes of Bernie Sanders cannot see that the growing wealth inequality which they complain about is not the result of “capitalism,” but is the outcome of the monetary policy of the world’s central banks.  This, along with tax policies which hamper innovation and shield the entrenched financial class from competition, is why financial elites are able to maintain and increase their power.

Central bank policy of suppressing interest rates and of money printing allow banks and financial institutions to receive “free money” which they can invest and speculate with at zero cost.  The boom (actually a bubble) in asset prices on Wall Street is a demonstration of how wealth disparity takes place.

If Bergoglio really meant to reform the present system, he would call for the abolition of central banking and a return to “hard money.”  Under such an order, banks and financial institutions become wealthy on their ability to make prudent investment decisions subjected to profit and loss.  A free market in banking is the antithesis of the current system of credit expansion and money printing.

Not only have Bergoglio and his cohorts abandoned the Faith, but they have also overturned the Church’s long-held condemnation of socialism and have ignored many of its own outstanding thinkers on financial matters.  From the Scholastics to the School of Salamanca through the Jesuits and the great Cardinal Cajetan, who finally taught the proper doctrine on interest rates, the Church has produced scores of eminent economic thinkers in its long history.

index 1

School of Salamanca

Ever since socialism reared its ugly head as a social system of thought, the Church has warned of its dangers even its more milder forms as Pope Pius XII wrote, “No Catholic could subscribe even to moderate socialism.”  Since Vatican II and especially under Bergoglio’s regime, however, Leftist ideas of all sorts have been warmly embraced.

At the heart of socialism, be it Marxism or its equally pernicious variants, lies envy which became a part of the human condition with the fall of man.  While once condemned, envy has been turned into a virtue by the likes of Bergoglio.

While such ideas may sound appealing to human sensibilities, they will not pass the Divine Judge who knows the thoughts and souls of all His creatures even those of supposed popes.

*Vatican website: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190501_giovani-imprenditori.html

**Jules Gomes, “Pope Francis Convenes ‘Anti-Capitalism’ Summit,”  Church Militant.com, 15 January 2020.

Antonius Aquinas@antoniusaquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.comhttps://antoniusaquinas.com

 

 

The Constitution Myth

One reason for the failure of the modern conservative and libertarian movements to scale back, in even a miniscule way, the now gargantuan US welfare/warfare state has been the misinterpretation of the US Constitution.  Many conservatives have a slavish devotion to the document, placing it on a par with the Ten Commandments and New Testament.

A typical misunderstanding of the Constitution’s history and content appeared in this recent op-ed:



The Constitution was intended to limit 1) the power


of government over the citizenry 2) the power of each branch of


government and 3) the power of political/financial elites over the


government and the citizenry, as the Founders recognized the intrinsic risks


of an all-powerful state, an all-powerful state dominated by one branch of


government and the risks of a financial elite corrupting the state to serve


the interests above those of the citizenry.*

The author, like so many “Constitution enthusiasts” has also been hostile to the Medieval era, denigrating its institutions and social constructs – feudalism, aristocracy, crusading – when, in fact, the Middle Ages, in many respects, were far freer with less government than the present epoch. **

When the founding fathers decided to meet in Philadelphia in 1787, they did so at first to “amend” the Articles of Confederation which had guided the young country through some perilous times.  While the Articles had some defects (some libertarians even contend that they were too statist***), the delegates, at first, did not want it scrapped, however, it was the “leading lights” of the convention which connived to completely do away with it.

By superior political maneuvering, the pro-Constitution forces were able to ramrod their plan through despite being in the minority.  Not only were the majority of the delegates initially against scrapping the Articles, but most Americans were opposed to the creation of a new central government. 

Despite this, the Constitution was ruthlessly pushed through and, as its opponents feared, America would be saddled with a highly centralized national government, the loss of considerable state sovereignty, and the eventual erosion of individual liberties even with the inclusion of a Bill of Rights.

A brief examination of the document reveals that its implicit and explicit language grants wide latitude for the expansion of state power.  In its Preamble, the ambiguous clause to “promote the general welfare” can and has led to all sorts of destructive social engineering schemes.  More ominously, for anyone that is under the illusion that America is governed by a “federal” system, they should reread Article VI which in part says

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United his Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land. [emphasis added]

An all-powerful central state went against much of Western history after the fall of the Roman Empire and the idea was always feared by philosophers.  Basic political theory and practical experience showed that a multitude of sovereign states were preferable not only for the protection of personal liberty, but for economic growth.  Numerous states and jurisdictions were a far greater check on government than the much celebrated “separation of powers” concept of constitutional government.

Under the Articles of Confederation, each individual state was autonomous while the national government had to rely on the states for most of its support.  Unfortunately, it will never be known what would have happened if the country remained as a confederacy of states, it is likely however, that there would have been less bloodshed, greater economic growth, and more personal freedom under a decentralized regime.

It is curious, therefore, why so many on the Right continue to revere the Constitution as some great bulwark against state power.  Much of it probably stems from ignorance or personal bias against the political conditions which existed prior to the late 18th century. 

Much of European history was under the sway of monarchial and aristocratic rule and the integral presence of the Catholic Church in society with a diffusion of power among kings, princes, dukes and Churchmen.  While far from perfect, the social order which existed under Christendom may not have been as materially or technologically advanced as contemporary times, but in regard to morality, justice, and individual freedom, there is no comparison.  The Christian age saw nothing of the social depravity, war making with its mass murder, the trampling of individual rights, and the existence of totalitarian government as witnessed in the supposedly “enlightened” modern age.

Decentralized Europe of 1300

Until it is realized that the Constitution is an impediment to rolling back the American Leviathan, there will be little progress in the fight for individual liberty and economic progress.

   

*Charles Hugh Smith, “Let’s Face It: The U.S. Constitution Has Failed.”  Zero Hedge.  20 February 2019. 

**One example, Charles Hugh Smith, “America’s ‘Neo-Feudal’ System is ‘Both False & Precarious.”  Zero Hedge 19 December 2018.

***David Gordon, ed., Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard, Auburn, AL.: The Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2015, pp. 96-98.

Antonius Aquinas@antoniusaquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

[emphasis added]

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.”  CNBC.com 14 August 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/13/trump-signs-717-billion-defense-bill.html

**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 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/business/economy/us-government-debt-interest.html

***Tyler Durden, “US Gross National Debt Soars $1.27 Trillion in Fiscal 2018, Hits $21.5 Trillion.” Zero Hedge.  2 October 2018.   https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-02/us-gross-national-debt-soars-127-trillion-fiscal-2018-hits-215-trillion

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

Is Political Decentralization the Only Hope for Western Civilization?

US Secssion Map II

A couple of recent articles have once more made the case, at least implicitly, for political decentralization as the only viable path which will begin to solve the seemingly insurmountable political, economic, and social crises which the Western world now faces.

In the last few months, over 3,000 millionaires have fled the hopelessly corrupt and bankrupt state of Illinois.  When asked, 47% of Illinoisans would like to leave the state which, over the last decade, has seen over a half million of its residents flee.  Naturally, this exodus has exacerbated the Land of Lincoln’s financial straits to catastrophic levels.*

A report published by the American Legislative Exchange Council predicted that the tax flight which is occurring in Illinois will similarly take place in the coming years in high-tax blue states such as California and New York.  The 2017 Trump tax reform will accelerate this process since under the new legislation the amount of state income tax that can be deducted on federal tax returns has been capped at $10,000 per family.  The authors of the report wrote: “. . .  high [income] earners in places with hefty income taxes – not just California and New York, but also Minnesota and New Jersey – will bear more of the true cost of their state government.”**

The not too subtle consequences of the new tax code will mean an even greater exodus of taxpayers out of blue states which will shrink state revenues even further and create job losses across the board.

While those who want to escape the crushing burden of individual state taxation and regulation, if they have the means and desire to do so, can move to more favorable climes, no such option exists (except the drastic step of expatriation) to escape federal tyranny.  Yet, the same benefits which occur from a multiple of individual states and jurisdictions would be present if the various nation states which dominate the globe were broken up into smaller political units.

While the authors of the cited articles see the advantage that multiple states have where one can “vote with his feet,” the same logic can be applied to central governments across the planet who are, on the whole, more tyrannical than local jurisdictions.  More political bodies would not only provide sanctuary for the oppressed, but it would tend to keep a check on tyranny among existing states.

Political decentralization is a far greater deterrent to government largesse than constitutions, elections, or finding the “right person” to “fix things.”  The events of the last few weeks in the realm of US foreign policy once again demonstrate that trusting candidates to fulfill campaign promises is naive, to say the least.

To get to this goal, all and every secession movement, even of a Leftist bent, should be supported, whether they are nations that want to “exit” from larger political units, such as Great Britain from the EU, or within nation states themselves such as California in the US.  All should be encouraged.

Of course, the case for decentralization has to be made on ideological grounds.  The Left, most likely, will not be a natural ally for secession, nor are conservatives, most of whom are under the spell of “nationalism” and “restoring the Republic.”  Yet, the Right offers the best opportunity to build a secession movement and needs to be convinced that the preservation of the nation state will only lead to the complete triumph of liberalism.

Secession would also necessitate the breakup of the nation-state’s monopoly of money and banking.  Numerous political divisions would be more likely to adopt a single monetary unit – gold – which would guarantee financial stability rather than the debt ridden paper-money system now in place.

Next to the outbreak of World War III, immigration is the greatest threat to what remains of Western Civilization.  Smaller political units would be far better to control their borders than reliance on a central authority which can be easily manipulated from outside agents.

The solution to the myriad of social and economic problems that confront Western societies will not come about from a “reform” of the nation state, but through its dissolution.  Only through a world made up of hundreds, if not thousands, of Lichtensteins, Hong Kongs, Monacos, confederacies, free cities, etc., will these crises be hoped to be resolved.

*Tyler Durden, “This $5 Trillion Time Bomb Will Devastate Americans.” Zero Hedge.  9 August 2017.  https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-09/5-trillion-time-bomb-will-devastate-americans

**Robert Frank.  “800,000 People Are About to Flee New York and California Because of Taxes, Say Economists.”  CNBC.com. 26 April 2018.    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/26/800000-people-are-about-to-flee-new-york-california-because-of-taxes.html?__source=sharebar|twitter&par=sharebar

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

Can Germany Be Made Great Again?

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When Germany Was Great!

Ever since the start of the deliberately conceived “migrant crisis,” orchestrated by NWO elites, the news out of Germany has been, to say the least, horrific.  Right before the eyes of the world, a country is being demographically destroyed through a coercive plan of mass migration.  The intended consequences of this – financial strain, widespread crime and property destruction, the breakdown of German culture – will continue to worsen if things are not turned around.

Opposition to the societal destruction within Germany have been harassed and persecuted by the authorities and labeled by the mass media with the usual epithets: “far right,” neo-Nazi, “haters,” and heaven forbid, “separatists.”  Because of this and other factors, there has been no mass movement, as of yet, that has coalesce to challenge the German political establishment.

A possible reversal of German fortunes, however, has come from a recent poll of Bavarians.*

A survey conducted by YouGov, a market research company, found that 32% of Bavarians agreed with the statement that Bavaria “should be independent from Germany.”  This percentage has increased from 25% of secession-minded Bavarians when polled in 2011.

Of the some 2000 surveyed between June 24 and July 5, most supporters of  independence come from the southern portions of the country.

Whether Bavarians or their fellow German separatists realize it or not, the only “political” solution to the migrant crisis is secession.  This is not only true for Germany, but for all Western nation states swamped with unwanted migrants.  Once free from the domination of the national government (and just as important the EU), each jurisdiction could make its own immigration policy and would be better able to control population influx at the local level.

Historically, Germany’s past has much more in common with a decentralized political landscape than with a unitary state.  From the disintegration of the Roman Empire until Napoleon wantonly abolished the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Germany was an amalgam of different political units – kingdoms, duchies, confederacies, free cities, etc.  With no grand central state, there was considerable freedom and economic growth as each sovereign entity was largely able to conduct its affairs on its own terms.

Decentralized political power is also conducive for the advancement of culture.  Music, the highest art form, found some of its greatest expression from the German peoples.  And, the monumental figures of Western music were financed in large measure by German princes, kings, and emperors.  Johann Sebastian Bach’s sublime Brandenburg concertos were underwritten, so to speak, by Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg while Beethoven received support from Archduke Rudolph.  Mozart was funded no less by the Austrian emperor himself, Joseph II.

Political decentralization provides an important mechanism as a check on state power.  A multitude of governments prevents individual state aggrandizement as oppressed populations can “vote with their feet” and move to safer and less repressive regimes.  A unitary state, or just a few, throughout the world would negate such an advantage.

Naturally, if nation states are a constant threat to the liberties and economic well being of their citizens, global organizations and states are that much more of a danger and should always and everywhere be opposed.  The European Union, largely based on the principles of the US Constitution, has pressured nations under their sway, such as Germany, to accept the migrants and has threatened members such as Hungary and Poland with penalties if they do not do their fair share.

The empirical evidence is overwhelming in regard to political decentralization and economic growth.  Since the level of taxation and government regulation are crucial factors in an economy’s ability to produce, the limitation on taxation and government oversight tend to be significantly lower if there are numerous states since there would be amble opportunities for producers to go to more conducive areas to set up shop.  This can be seen in the US as thousands of oppressed businesses and firms have left California to lower tax and restrictive climes such as Texas and Nevada.

If Germany is ever to get a handle on the migration crisis before the country is completely demographically dismembered, its only hope is to return to its decentralized political roots.  Let Bavaria lead the way!

*https://www.rt.com/news/396600-bavaria-independence-germany-poll/

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

California, Nestle and Decentralization

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Nestle USA has announced that it will move its headquarters from Glendale, California, to Rosslyn, Virginia, taking with it about 1200 jobs.  The once Golden State has lost some 1600 businesses since 2008 and a net outflow of a million of mostly middle-class people from the state from 2004 to 2013 due to its onerous tax rates, the oppressive regulatory burden, and the genuine kookiness which pervades among its ruling elites.* A clueless Glendale official is apparently unconcerned about the financial repercussions of Nestle’s departure saying that it was “no big deal” and saw it as an “opportunity,” whatever that means!

The stampede of businesses out of what was once the most productive and attractive region in all of North America demonstrates again that prosperity and individual freedom are best served in a political environment of decentralization.

That the individual states of America have retained some sovereignty, despite the highly centralized “federal” system of government of which they are a part, has enabled individuals and entrepreneurs living in jurisdictions that have become too tyrannical to “escape” to political environments which are less oppressive.  This, among other reasons (mainly air conditioning), led to the rise of the Sun Belt as people sought to escape the high taxes and regulations of the Northeast to less burdensome (and warmer!) southern destinations.

This can also be seen on a worldwide scale.  The US, for a long time, had been a haven of laissez-faire economic philosophy, which, not surprisingly, became a magnet for those seeking opportunity and a higher standard of living.  No longer is this the case as increasing numbers of companies and individuals are seeking to avoid American confiscatory tax and regulatory burdens and move “offshore” or expatriate to more favorable economic climates.

The idea of political decentralization as a catalyst for economic growth has become a part of a “school of thought” in the interpretation of how Europe became so prosperous compared to other civilizations.  After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe for centuries was divided politically among numerous jurisdictions and ruling authorities with no dominant central state on the Continent.  The multitude of governing bodies kept in check, to a large degree, the level of taxation and regulation.  If one state became too draconian, it would lose population to less oppressive regimes.

Just as important, Europe’s governing system was aristocratic and monarchical which has proven to be far more conducive for economic growth than democracies.

While the economic oppressed can escape among the various states, there is no avoidance from the wrath of the federal government unless through expatriation and that option has become less viable with those leaving still subject to tax obligations.  This, fundamentally, is the crux of the problem and has been since the ratification of the US Constitution in 1789.

The chance that a totalitarian state such as California or the Leviathan on the Potomac would actually reform themselves or relinquish power through legislative means is a mirage.  Nor will revolution work as revolutionaries while appearing altruistic, typically get a hold of the machinery of government to plunder society for their own self interest on a far grander scale than the supposed despots which they replaced!

The only viable option for the productive members of society to seek redress of state oppression is to argue, work, and eventually fight for political secession and the fragmentation of states as much as possible.  Decentralization is the only hope for those opposed to the modern, omnipotent nation state.  Moreover, any notion or effort to salvage the current centralized political system must be abandoned.

Naturally, before the breakup of the nation state can become a reality, the ideological case for political decentralization must be made.  Public opinion must be convinced of the superiority of a world consisting of many states.  Such a cause, however, will be considerably difficult after generations have been raised and made dependent upon social democracy.

When Nestle and other oppressed businesses and individuals can easily escape the clutches of totalitarian entities like California and, more importantly, the most dangerous government on the face of the earth for freer destinations, then will individual liberty and economic growth be assured.

*Terry Jones, “Another Big Company Departs California – Will Last One to Leave Shut the Lights?”  Investor’s Business Daily. February 3, 2017.  http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/another-big-company-departs-california-will-last-one-to-leave-shut-the-lights/

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

 

Donald & the Dollar

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John Connally, President Nixon’s Secretary of the Treasury, once remarked to the consternation of Europe’s financial elites over America’s inflationary monetary policy, that the dollar “is our currency, but your problem.”  Times have certainly changed and it now appears that the dollar has become an American problem.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, the soon to be 45th President of the United States believes that the greenback’s strength – up some 25% against a broad basket of currencies since 2014 – is now “too strong,” “killing us,” and has hurt companies trying to compete overseas.* A top Trump economics advisor, Anthony Scaramucci, reinforced his boss’ sentiment adding that “we must be careful of a rising dollar.”

Apparently, making America great again does not include the nation’s monetary standard.  Trump’s belief that the dollar is too strong also shows a distinct lack of historical understanding.  Every great nation and empire (which Trump promises to restore America to) had a sound monetary system.  It is no coincidence that the pound sterling was the world’s “reserve currency” at the time when the British Empire was at its height.  Debasement of it to finance Britain’s insane decision to enter World War I led, in large part, to the eventual loss of its empire.  If Trump truly seeks to restore American greatness at home and its prestige throughout the world, devaluating the currency is not the way to go.

Nor does a weakened dollar benefit the middle class whom the president elect throughout the campaign has pledged to help.  In fact, it has been the fall in the purchasing power of the dollar due to the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve which have decimated the living standard of the middle class.  And, while the proposed Trumpian middle class tax cuts will help, just as important is a sound monetary system if Middle America is to become a creditor class once again.

Pensioners and retirees, another group that Trump has promised to help, would continue to see their financial condition decline under a policy to weaken the dollar. A fall in the purchasing power of money would devastate the income stream of pensions and social security payments.

While a weaker dollar policy would hurt the middle class, retirees, and savers, it would benefit the most responsible for the continued economic doldrums of America – banksters and the government.  A weaker dollar would allow the government to continue to borrow and maintain its profligate spending.  Financial houses and the banksters would receive credit at nearly zero cost which would allow them to continue to blow bubbles in the asset markets.  Export firms, too, would benefit at least for a while, but would more than likely face retribution from foreign governments and central banks which would retaliate with their own devaluations sparking potential currency wars.

Talk of “currency manipulation,” “weakening the dollar,” “trade deals,” and the like do not address what lies at the heart of not only America, but the Western world’s economic problem – too much debt.  The reason why the West has been able to incur its current gargantuan level of debt is not because of a “weak” or a “strong” dollar, but because the dollar is a fiat currency not backed by any commodity.  A true gold standard, where each currency unit represents either gold or silver, provides monetary discipline which prevents politicians and banksters from incurring ruinous levels of debt.

Since money is the lifeblood of an economy, any hope that one can be turned around without a stable monetary order is, to say the least, delusional.  If president-elect Trump and his policy makers do not realize this, they will be severely disappointed in the years to come.  Sound money allows for the accumulation of savings and capital formation, the essential elements of the market economy and the only basis upon which real economic growth can occur.  More savings and capital are needed to boost production and create employment, not supposedly wiser and more competent international trade negotiators.

Talk of currency devaluation is what is typically heard from banana republics, it should not be advocated by those who have aspirations of making their country great again.

*Tyler Durden, “Dollar Tumbles After Trump Calls Currency ‘Too Strong,’ Slams Border-Adjustment Tax.”  Zero Hedge.  17 January 2017.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/