Tag Archives: Economy

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

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Maybe the West Should Adopt Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Policy

Iran Nuclear Weapons

Prior to the modern age, when war was engaged in, combatants, for the most part, acted by a code of conduct which attempted to minimize civilian deaths and the destruction of non-participants’ property. With the onset of the democratic age and the idea of “total war” such modes of conduct have tragically fallen by the wayside, the consequence of which has made warfare far more bloody and destructive.

The ultimate violation of “just warfare” has been the possession and use of nuclear weapons which by their very nature cannot be reconciled with any notion of a civilized society.  Of all the hysteria over “terrorism,” nuclear weapons are rarely discussed anymore, but are the ultimate form of terror.

Despite the obvious fact that nuclear weapons cannot be reconciled with any moral code of warfare, Western nation-states continue to possess them and the US has actually used them in the final stages of WWII as it mercilessly bombed the Japanese civilian centers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

While most modern scholarship has abandoned the older idea of moral conduct in warfare, the great libertarian theorist, Murray Rothbard, continued the venerable tradition in his thought and applied it not only to nuclear weapons, but bombing as well:

    Not only should there be joint disarmament

of nuclear weapons, but also of all weapons

capable of being fired massively across national

borders; in particular bombers.  It is precisely

such weapons of mass destruction as the missile

and the bomber which can never be pinpoint-

targeted to avoid their use against innocent

civilians.*

He continues:

. . .  since modern air and missile weapons

cannot be pinpoint-targeted to avoid harming

civilians, their very existence must be condemned.

For a New Liverty II

It is beyond hypocritical, therefore, that the US has repeatedly accused Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons despite the fact that the nation’s leadership has consistently declared that it will not do so because of its religious beliefs. In June, President Trump called off retaliatory raids on Iranian targets after it downed a US drone (which had flown into Iranian airspace), citing that it would cost the lives of some 150 people.  In response, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exposed the hypocrisy of the US’s position on nuclear weapons:

You were really worried about 150 people?

How many people have you killed with a

nuclear weapon?  How many generations have

you wiped out with these weapons?**

Zarif added:

It is us who, because of our religious views,

will never pursue a nuclear weapon.

Not only has Iran’s leadership consistently declared that it would not use or build nuclear weapons, but it has stood by its words.  During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), Iraq (with US knowledge) repeatedly used chemical weapons.  Despite Iran’s  protests to the U.N., it refused to take action – mainly because the US through its position on the Security Council tabled any attempt to curtail Iraq’s nefarious actions.***

Despite the flagrant violation of international law, Iran refused to retaliate, although it had the capacity and certain justification in doing so.  The Ayatollah, in a religious ruling – fatwa – at the time of the war, asserted that such an act (the use of chemical/nuclear weapons) was “forbidden by god.”

This has been the position of the Ayatollahs since the formation of the Islamic Republic.  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that “from an ideological and fighi [Islamic jurisprudence] perspective, we consider developing nuclear weapons as unlawful.  We consider using such weapons as a big sin.”  A top-ranking cleric, Grand Ayatollah Yusef Saanei, confirmed that this is part of Islamic doctrine:

There is complete consensus on this issue.  It is

self-evident in Islam that it is prohibited to have

nuclear bombs. It is eternal law, because the

basic function of these weapons is to kill innocent

people.  This cannot be reversed.

Sounds Rothbardian!

Despite Iranian claims to the contrary, the US and the controlled press continue to mischaracterize Iran’s position on nuclear weapons. Not only has it lied, but it continues to enact crippling sanctions on the beleaguered nation causing untold suffering which itself is an act of war.

The fact that Iran follows a moral principle which was once part of Western thought shows how far the Western world, especially the US, has declined in civility.  A return to a saner, more just position on nuclear weapons will only take place when there is a change in ideology. Under current intellectual conditions, such a change appears unlikely.  A rethinking will only take place of necessity when America has exhausted itself through debt and money printing and can no longer sustain its Empire and nuclear capabilities.

*See, Murray N. Rothbard, For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, 293.

**Reuters, “Iran Will Never Pursue a Nuclear Weapon, Says Foreign Minister.”  24 April 2019.

***Ted Snider, “Iran, Islam, and Banning the Bomb.”  Antiwar.com 30 September 2019.

 

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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

https://antoniusaquinas.com

The Student Loan Bubble and Economic Collapse

student loan bubble III

The inevitable collapse of the student loan “market” and with it the takedown of many higher educational institutions will be one of the happiest and much needed events to look forward to in the coming months/years.  Whether the student loan bubble bursts on its own or implodes due to a general economic collapse, does not matter as long as higher education is dealt a death blow and can no longer be a conduit of socialist and egalitarian nonsense for the inculcation of young minds.

The perilous condition of the student loan sector can be seen by looking at a few ominous pieces of data:

  • The US has around $1.3 trillion in non dischargeable loans to students
  • Over 120 billion in student loans are already in default
  • 27% of students are a month behind on their payments*

As economic conditions deteriorate and there are even less meaningful jobs for college graduates than there are now, these numbers will only get worse.

Not only have colleges and universities been havens of leftist thought for many years, but they have become ridiculously expensive and beyond the reach of most middle-class income earners to afford without going into significant debt.  Moreover, the incessant barrage by the Establishment about the necessity of a college degree has distorted the labor market to where worthless, debt-ridden degrees are pursued instead of much needed blue-collar employment.  The readjustment of the labor market to a proper balance will not only take time, but it will be a costly, painful process.

While the “hard” sciences have not been as effected by the Left, the social sciences have long been an intellectual wasteland devoid of any freedom of thought or opinion.  Promotion and recognition of academic excellence is, more often than not, based on diversity and one’s skin color not merit.  Arguably, economic science has been the most corrupted discipline.  Economics departments of major universities are now training grounds for employment in state and federal bureaucracies, the banking industry, and Federal Reserve where Marxism, Keynesianism, neo-Keynesianism or whatever kooky, nonsensical theory of the day can be put into practice.

While higher education has long been hostile to the ideals of Western Civilization, it is now explicitly a bastion of anti-white discrimination and hostility especially against white heterosexual men.  Few days now pass where there is not an incident, many of which are approved by school authorities, blatantly attacking white Americans or symbols that supposedly represent them.

Of course, the higher education apparatchiks have had an easy time in their brainwashing task since the impressionable minds in their charge have been indoctrinated by twelve years of public “schooling.”  Not only has the public school been a mechanism of social engineering, but it has constantly pushed its chattel to continue their “education” at the collegiate level.

The Trump Administration and most on the Right have failed to grasp the liberalistic bias of American education.  Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos has spoken about “competition” via school choice, vouchers, magnet and charter schools to increase school and student performance.  The Administration’s proposed 2018 education budget calls for an increase in federal spending on school choice by $1.4 billion, a $168 million increase for charter schools, and a $1 billion increase for Title I “to encourage school districts to adopt a system of student-based budgeting and open enrollment that enables Federal, State, and local funding to follow a student to the public school of his or her choice.”**

These shopworn ideas and policies are not only fundamentally flawed and will make matters worse, but they will do nothing to counteract and or end the Left’s domination of education.  Instead, President Trump should do what he spoke of at times on the campaign trail and what President Reagan promised to do, but never did – abolish the Department of Education!

While the collapse of the student loan bubble may be the catalyst for a general financial downturn and will certainly be the cause of tremendous social pain and dislocation, it will, nevertheless, be a necessary prerequisite if America and, for that matter, the Western world is to ever break the grip of leftist ideology which rules it.  May the bursting of the student loan bubble commence!

*Tyler Durden, ‘”Staggering’ Student Loan Defaults On Deck: 27% Of Students Are A Month Behind On Their Payments.”  Zero Hedge.  15 April 2017. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-15/staggering-student-loan-defaults-deck-27-students-are-month-behind-their-payments

**Jade Scipioni, “Why Betsy DeVos Is Visiting This Ohio School Today.”  Fox Business.  20 April 2017.  http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/04/20/why-betsy-devos-is-visiting-this-ohio-school-today.html

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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California, Nestle and Decentralization

calexit

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

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Donald & the Dollar

donald-dollar

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

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Donald’s Electoral Struggle

trump-map

After touting her pro-labor union record, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua rhetorically asked, “why am I not 50 points ahead?”  Her chief rival bluntly responded: “because you’re terrible.”* No truer words have been uttered by any of the candidates about one of their opponents since the start of this extraordinary presidential campaign!

That Hillary Clinton is even remotely competitive in the race despite her flagrant and undeniable corruption, numerous breaches of national security, a long incompetent and bungling political career, and the utter lack of any personal charm or charisma, points to ominous trends within the American electorate that if not checked will mean political futility for future challengers of the status quo and continued economic deterioration.

Simply put: Killary is in contention despite a mountain of negatives because the “dependency class” of the electorate has mushroomed to such an extent that anyone who seeks its reform is automatically at a disadvantage, while candidates, no matter how vile, who promise to keep the gravy train rolling or expand it, will remain viable.  This is the dilemma that Donald Trump faces.

Most of the data in this regard is quite telling.  To show how far the US has fallen as an economic power, government workers outnumber manufacturing workers by 9,932,000!  The three levels of government – federal, state, local – employ some 22,213,000 people while the manufacturing sector employs 12,281,000.**   Parasitical bureaucrats outnumber those who actually create wealth by almost double.  Not only is this a recipe for economic stagnation and decline, but it creates an entrenched voting bloc and contingency for government-friendly office seeking politicians.  There have been few if any more government-friendly figures over the past century than Hillary Rotten Clinton!

Those who are dependent on the State goes far beyond mere government employees: 46 million receive food assistance, 66 million people are “Social Security” recipients, 8 million people receive “unemployment insurance.”  Federal government spending on for-profit firms comes to some $500 billion, which Charles Murray has estimated is about 22% of the workforce or about 36 million people.  Non-profit organizations and NGOs with income of $2 trillion and 12 million employees receive about one third of their funding from the government which accounts for another 3 million dependents.  This brings the total American State-dependency class to a staggering 181 million members!***

Summing up this disturbing data, the eminent economist and philosopher, Hans-Hermann Hoppe wrote:

                   . . . only 79 million people or about one third

of the adult (above 18) US population of 260 million

(or about 25 percent of the total population of 320

million) can be said to be financially wholly or largely

independent of the State, whereas close to 70 percent of

the US adult population and 57% of the total population

are to be counted as State-dependents.****

These trends will be accentuated, to say the least, if Donald Trump is defeated, which will give Hillary and the Republican-amnesty crowd free reign.  After grants of amnesty for the millions of illegals already in the country are given and opening of the nation’s borders to even more, any hope of true reform of the welfare state will be extinguished.  Moreover, it will further burden those of the productive, non-dependency sectors of society who will have to support even larger groups of parasites and free loaders.

The Left clearly understands what is at stake, which is why they see Trump’s anti-immigration stance, his talk of closing agencies (Department of Education), and grappling with federal spending as a direct threat to their power base.  This is why they are apoplectic in their opposition to the billionaire businessman turned presidential contender.  He and his constituency are, for the most part, outside of the dependency class.

A population that is increasingly tied to government largesse is obviously not conducive for economic growth.  For Donald Trump to make America great again, the nation’s burgeoning dependency class must be halted.  Not only will this mean that the “Trump Movement” will not be a passing political fad, but will have a necessary and lasting impact.

That Hillary Clinton is not significantly ahead despite her enormous advantages must be cause for a lot of sleepless nights among the power elite.  A Clinton Presidency would secure the Left’s electoral dominance for years to come.

One man stands in their way.

* Guy Benson, “Question From Hilary Clinton” ‘Why Aren’t I 50 Points Ahead?'”  Townhall.  22 September 2016.  http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2016/09/22/question-from-hillary-clinton-why-arent-i-ahead-by-50-points-n2222202

**Terence P. Jeffrey.  “Government Workers Now Outnumber Manufacturing Workers by 9,932,000.  CNS News.  2 September 2016.  http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/government-workers-now-outnumber-manufacturing-workers-9932000#disqus_thread

***Hans-Hermann Hoppe.  “Democracy, De-Civilization , and Counterculture.”  HansHoppe.com.  26 September 2015.  http://www.hanshoppe.com/2015/09/democracy-de-civilization-and-counterculture-pfs-2015/

****Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald and the “Maestro”

trump-ii            greenspan-ii

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was once laudably referred to as “Maestro” for his supposed astute stewardship of U.S. monetary policy, commented last week on the nation’s current political and economic climate:

We’re not in a stable equilibrium.  I hope

we can all find a way out because this too

great a country to be undermined, by how should

I say it, crazies.*

Well, if there is anyone who knows how to “undermine” an economy, it is the Maestro, since it was his “crazed” policies that brought about the 2008 financial crisis which ushered in the Great Recession that continues to this very day.

In a demonstration of how truly clueless Greenspan is about economic conditions, he cautioned that the U.S. is “headed toward stagflation – a combination of weak demand and elevated inflation.” Memo to the Maestro: stagflation is already here and has been for quite a while, especially when real economic gauges are used instead of the phony baloney numbers routinely lied about by the BLS and other corrupt state agencies.

The “crazies” that Greenspan refers to are, of course, the “deplorable” Trump supporters and The Donald himself, who the Maestro contends is responsible for “the worst economic and political environment that I’ve ever been remotely related to.” Oh, poor Alan has to suffer through an election where one of the candidates has not been approved by the ruling class.  Too bad.

Instead of carping about the current state of political affairs which, at least financially, he and his successor, Helicopter Ben Bernanke, largely contributed to, Greenspan should be grateful that he has had no reprisals for the financial crimes, chaos, and misery that he has afflicted upon the world.  Instead of significant jail time or worse, Greenspan is free to pontificate on current events, receiving hefty financial remuneration, and just as important for top members of the governing elite, ego-enhancing hosannas!

While Ben Bernanke has been a lifelong committed Keynesian and inflationist, Alan Greenspan, at least in his younger days as a member of Ayn Rand’s circle, was a free marketer who spoke positively about the efficacy and moral soundness of a gold standard.  That he abandoned these beliefs to go over to the Dark Side is further cause for retributive justice.

Greenspan’s betrayal was similar to those economists of the 1930s (Lionel Robbins most notable) who were followers of the teachings of Mises and Hayek, yet were swept away by the fanciful Keynesian deluge of the day and abandoned their economic senses and conscious for similar allurements which seduced the Maestro.  Had these economists as well as Greenspan stuck to their original principles, the world may not be in its current financial mess.

While Greenspan was lamenting the state of political affairs, the head “crazy,” Donald Trump, commented on the Maestro’s former place of employment.  Unlike the Maestro, the financial media, and just about every other politician, Trump had some perceptive things to say about the nation’s central bank, showing again that the billionaire businessman’s political acumen is quite good:

The Fed is being totally controlled politically because

Obama wants to go out with no stock market disruptions.**

The Republican Presidential hopeful could have easily added that the Fed’s policy is being deliberately carried out to ensure his Democratic opponent’s victory this fall.  A booming stock market is perceived by most as an indication of a vibrant economy.

Trump does not buy the supposed “independence” of the Fed from political influence and the conduct of monetary policy solely for the well being of the economy:

If it was a choice between the right decision and a political

decision… The Fed would choose the political decision.

Throughout the campaign, Trump’s instincts on political and economic matters have been quite good and hopefully if he does become chief executive those instincts will translate into positive change.

A Clinton Presidency would assuredly mean a continuation of the ruinous policies of Greenspan and his successors.  The election of Donald Trump could not only mean a new direction in monetary policy, but the public demotion of the likes of Alan Greenspan who will hopefully fade into the sunset never to be heard or seen from again.

*Rich Miller, “Greenspan Worries That ‘Crazies’ Will Undermine the U.S. System.”  Bloomberg.  14 September 2016.  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-14/greenspan-worries-that-crazies-will-undermine-the-u-s-system

**Tyler Durden, “Trump Slams ‘Totally Politically Controlled’ Fed, Sees No Rate Hike Until Obama Has Left.”  Zero Hedge. 15 September 2016.  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-15/trumps-slams-totally-politically-controlled-fed-sees-no-rate-hike-until-obama-has-le

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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John Maynard Keynes’ “General Theory” Eighty Years Later

Keynes Gen Theory

To the economic and political detriment of the Western world and those economies beyond which have adopted its precepts, 2016 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of one of, if not, the most influential economics books ever penned, John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.  Sadly, even to this day, despite its thorough refutation by lights such as Henry Hazlitt and other eminent scholars, The General Theory, which spawned “Keynesianism” and its later variants, remains supreme in academics, financial markets, and public policy.

Despite its outlandish theoretical flaws and nonsensical economic jargon and the catastrophic empirical evidence of its failure to prevent financial downturns or “stimulate” sustainable growth, Keynesianism remains the ruling paradigm of economic thought.

Why?

A number of trenchant reasons have been given for the General Theory’s continued dominance, however, one stands above all else: Keynesian economics provides the intellectual justification for economists, statisticians, technocrats, bureaucrats, and policy wonks in their exalted positions as “fine tuners” of economies the world over.  Since markets are to Keynes and his disciples inherently unstable from erratic investment spending and aggregate demand, it is up to these theoreticians steeped in the knowledge of their master’s teachings to ameliorate any economic fluctuations.

The General Theory came on the scene at a propitious time during the height (or more accurately the depth) of  the Great Depression, which in 1936, despite Roosevelt’s New Deal and other Western nation states’ initiatives, had not improved conditions.  Keynesianism was actually a “middle way” between all out Soviet-style central planning and that of laissez-faire capitalism.  Primarily through fiscal policy, the economy would be kept on an even keel under the astute management of Keynesian-trained economists.  Naturally, this appealed to academics and intellectuals the world over who correctly envisioned positions of power and influence in expanded state apparatuses.

As history has shown, Keynesianism was to become more than a remedy for the Depression, but would be applicable after the crisis dissipated.  The General Theory was based, in part, on the (false) notion that the capitalist system is inherently unstable and is, therefore, in need of state intervention.  Keynes  deliberately ignored the scholarship at the time, which demonstrated that the instability was not a “market failure,” but a monetary disorder caused by artificial credit expansion generated by the central banks, especially the Federal Reserve.

The enthusiasm for The General Theory came at first from younger economists while it was (rightly) dismissed by many of their elders as incomprehensible.  Yet, its lack of clarity was appealing to the novices, since they would become the Creed’s interpreters.

Not all, however, were entirely overwhelmed by their mentor’s magnum opus as Paul Samuelson candidly admitted:

[The General Theory] is a badly written book:

poorly organized. . . . It abounds in mares’ nests

of confusions. . . .  I think I am giving away no

secrets when I solemnly aver – upon the basis of

vivid personal recollection – that no one else in

Cambridge, Massachusetts, really knew what it

was all about for some twelve to eighteen months

after publication.*

Despite such an assessment, Keynesianism was never seriously challenged by its adherents, it opened too many lucrative policy making doors to be refuted.

That Keynesianism continues to reign supreme, despite its theoretical and empirical bankruptcy, speaks volumes of the state of Western intellectual and academic life.  Instead of the pursuit of truth and the refutation of error, Western intelligentsia is primarily concerned with securing privilege and power for itself.  At one time such status was gained by honest inquiry into social questions and issues, now it is obtained in the justification of the expansion of state power.  Very few turn down such enticements!

Societies are the product of ideas.  Since the release of The General Theory, the Western world has been under the destructive sway of Keynesianism, which has resulted in stagnation, financial turmoil, and eventual collapse.  Until Keynes and his nutty theories have been refuted, the economic malaise will continue.

Quoted in Murray N. Rothbard, “Keynes, the Man.” In Mark Skousen, ed., Dissent on Keynes: A Critical Appraisal of Keynesian Economics.  New York: Praeger Publishers, 1992, p.184

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy:” President Nixon’s Decision to Abandon the Gold Standard

Nixon-Gold

Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the Japanese “surprise” attack on the U.S. occupied territory of Hawaii and its naval base Pearl Harbor, “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy.”  Similar words should be used for President Nixon’s draconian decision 45 years ago this month that removed America from the last vestiges of the gold standard.

On August 15, 1971 in a televised address to the nation outlining a new economic policy entitled, “The Challenge of Peace,” Nixon instructed the Treasury Department “to take the action necessary to defend the dollar against the speculators.”*

Nixon continued:

I have directed Secretary Connally to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold or other reserve assets, except in amounts and conditions determined to be in the interests of monetary stability and in the best interests of the United States.**

Of course, any objective student of history knows that this was a lie and that it was not “speculators” which were causing monetary instability, but the U.S.’s own crazed inflationary policy which attempted to fund its imperialistic endeavor in Vietnam while expanding the welfare state at home.  This resulted in the Treasury losing an alarmingly amount of gold reserves to other central banks who rightly sought real value in exchange for depreciated American greenbacks.

In essence, Nixon’s decision ended gold redemption and placed the U.S. and the rest of the world on a purely fiat paper standard for the first time in recorded time.  By doing so, the U.S., in effect, became a deadbeat nation which no longer honored its obligations and was set on the road to its current banana republic status.

Instead of impeachment proceedings and his ultimate resignation for the juvenile break in at the headquarters of the nation’s other ruling crime syndicate, Nixon should have been imprisoned for this deliberate and destructive act which has led, in large measure, to the nation’s crushing and insurmountable debt burden, reoccurring booms and busts, and now economic stagnation.

Nixon’s disastrous decision had precedent.  FDR had his own day of monetary infamy in 1933 when, by Executive Order 6102, he outlawed the private ownership of the precious metal while eliminating  gold redemption by banks for dollars.  Ostensibly, the order was instituted as an emergency measure to combat the Depression, but in reality, it was done to allow the Federal Reserve greater “flexibility” in inflating the money supply.

While Roosevelt and Nixon’s decisions would backfire economically, their actions highlighted the totalitarian direction that the federal government and its executive branch were heading throughout the 20th century.  Moreover, the lack of opposition or protest to blatant executive dictatorial decrees by either the legislative or judicial wings of the federal government demonstrates again the flawed and frankly naive argument put forth by Constitutionalists of every ideological persuasion on how the celebrated “separation of powers” theory checks tyranny.

Nixon’s final abandonment of the gold standard had far greater ramifications than simply bad economics.  Without the discipline of hard money, central banks could, and did, create massive quantities of paper money and credit, which enriched the politically connected financial elites and the governments which they were aligned.  Such power was used, in time, to control, spy on, and regulate the subject populations to a degree never seen before.  The power of the state has swelled mostly through bank credit expansion without worry of gold redemption.

Despite what is taught in social science courses, a true gold standard is a greater protector of individuals’ economic well being and, ultimately, their political liberty than any legislation or “rights” document ever penned.  Hard money limits state power!

While it is painful to quote from an ardent opponent of sound money, the international bankster Baron Rothschild said it best when he described the relationship of money and power: “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.”

Richard Nixon’s elimination of the last remnant of the gold standard over four decades ago combined with FDR’s earlier decree has fulfilled to the detriment of the American and world economies Baron Rothschild’s adage to a tee.  The return of prosperity and individual liberty will only come about when these two heinous acts are eradicated.

*Richard M. Nixon.  “Address to the Nation Outlining a New Economic Policy: ‘The Challenge of Peace.’”  The American Presidency Project.  15 August 1971. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=3115

**Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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