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Republicans and Democrats argue over the best brand of tissues while our defective healthcare system is in the infirmary with a government-induced infection.
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According to a July 30 Rasmussen Reports poll, 59% of likely US voters favor the repeal of Obama's Healthcare Law that was rammed through Congress just four months ago. Despite the rhetoric, healthcare reform was not a bipartisan effort. Alternatives were presented to the president and categorically ignored in favor of pushing through the Democratic agenda.

During Obama's first year in office, Democrats successfully framed the healthcare debate as “reform versus the status quo.” As Sheldon Richman noted in his March 2010 article featured in The Freeman, A far better framing of the issue would have been: “real reform versus the status quo on steroids.” The Democrat plan is essentially a “doubling down on the system’s existing perversities” and “...an extension of the current force-based bureaucratic system.”

Almost 6 out of 10 US voters realize, the 2500+ page healthcare bill Obama signed into law is a terrible plan. Besides the fact that the law requires people to buy a private service and impose fines on those who do not (a gross encroachment on human rights by the Federal Government), the plan is also likely to increase the nation's already massive debt over the course of the next decade. According to CBO estimates “...if the Medicare cuts were used to help shore up the effectively bankrupt Medicare trust fund...then the Democrats health care bill would run $260 billion in deficits over the next decade.”
  • Let's take a quick second to remember how accurate government healthcare cost estimates have been in the past: Medicare costs were approximately $3 billion at the start of the program in 1966. The House Ways and Means Committee conservatively estimated that Medicare costs would increase to $12 billion by 1990. The actual cost of Medicare in 1990 was $107 billion – 792% more than the government estimate. Today, Medicare alone costs the nation over $408 billion/year!
Obamacare does not address the root cause of the healthcare problem and will likely only make our nation's precarious economic situation all the more dismal. That being said, the Republican party has neither addressed the healthcare issues at the root nor provided any real alternative either. In principle, the Republican alternative is a merely a water-downed version of the bad medicine prescribed by the Democrats. Throughout the last half century the Republicans have served as no more than a speed bump slowing the progress of socialized medicine.

And, while it is true Republicans did present alternative proposals to Obamacare, the focus of the GOP for the last year was first and foremost to fight against the Democrats' baleful plan.

In 1994, Republicans successfully fended off Clinton's healthcare proposal. After taking back control of Congress, for a decade and a half Republicans did nothing to fix the tangled regulatory mess caused by government bedevilment in healthcare. Instead of unwinding the crippling interventionist programs and regulations, Republicans complacently let the costly errors of an inherently flawed government-orchestrated system compound. Republicans had their chance and stood idle.

In the game of politics it might make sense for the minority party to steer clear of from rallying around an alternative that has no chance of passing, but it is not enough for the Republicans to simply oppose bad policy when they've had years to address the root of the problem.

Ok. So we've witnessed a furious debate around healthcare reform in America. In typical fashion, the media and politicians (both Republicans and Democrats) directed our attention to arguing over detached, surface-level issue instead of the real problems. Here's the deal: Republicans and Democrats have both shown they support socialized, government solutions to healthcare – only varying by degree. Democrats are just a more consistent and explicit in their message, but there is really not a material difference when it comes to basic principles.
Democrats were able to win the political game this time around. But “...at best this was a triumph of wishful thinking over sound thought.”

The system of delivering and paying for medical care in the United States is broken. The Republicans did nothing to fix it. Obamacare is a complete and utter failure - economically and morally.

To borrow a quote from economist Thomas Sowell, “The strongest argument for socialism is that it sounds good. The strongest argument against socialism is that it doesn't work.”

What is the solution? Stay tuned for a real alternative in Part 2.

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Last night I had a conversation with a friend about his journey to discovering Libertarianism. My friend, we'll call him Alex, explained how he had started out as a self-described “Leftist”. As he debated politics with friends during his last year of college he started noticing inherent contradictions and blatant fallacies in his arguments. It wasn't that Alex was an unskilled antagonist to Conservative opinion. He was still winning arguments and came close to converting a few buddies (a significant feat at a university where the sons and daughters of upper-middle class Republicans comprise a large majority of the student body).

Though his arguments seemed convincing on the surface, as Alex learned more about politics and history, he became exceedingly skeptical about the merits of the political system he was advocating For example, he found it difficult to explain how liberals could support subsidies for tobacco farmers while simultaneously calling for increased taxes on tobacco products. He found it an even greater challenge to justify programs like those designed to fight the “war on poverty” that did far more to lock the poor into a state of perpetual dependence than achieve any of the stated aims. Alex started to think a political system that grants government privilege to special interests groups at the expense of everyone else is suspect at best.

In a noble quest to refine and support his view of how the world works, Alex took the initiative to study economics and political philosophy. It turns out that the journey led him down the road to Libertarianism. He now explains that while Libertarians and the Left share many of the same goals (e.g fighting against oppression), it has become apparent to Alex that the means the Left uses to promote liberal ends is usually incompatible with actually being able to achieve any of their desired outcomes. In fact, not only is the desired goal almost never met, we get a whole host of unintended consequences as a consolation prize – consequences that always seem to lead to cries for more of the same bad medicine.

It is very rare in the our society today that somebody “becomes” Republican or “becomes” Democrat. These positions seem to be the accepted default for those drifting in the breezes of unquestioned cultural or familial influence. Alex became a Libertarian; but it took the effort of conscious thought. He chose to question. He chose to learn. He chose to validate his beliefs and not blindly accept the messages we are conditioned to mindlessly accept.

My story to discovering Libertarianism is, I am confident, similar to many others. I was raised Republican but had a difficult time articulating my political beliefs. I had gut feelings, but couldn't support my feelings with any substance. I was frustrated with the political and economic turmoil of 2008. So, at the age of 26, I embarked on a journey of self-study to validate and support my Republican position. At this time mind you, I was fairly confident the Democrats were actually evil, and I thought Libertarians were just a bunch of crazy hippies.

For me it was reading Ayn Rand that served as both my inspirational spark to exploring a reason-based philosophy of liberty and my gateway to discovering other great thinkers, such as; Frederic Bastiat, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Henry Hazlitt. I found a wealth of free information available online at the Mises Institute, the Cato Institute, the Liberty Fund's Online Library of Liberty, and the Foundation for Economic Education.

To understand politics, you have to first understand economics, history, and philosophy. So, I attended a seminar program through the Institute for Humane Studies. I completed an economics course offered through Mises Academy. I attended lectures put on by the Foundation for Economic Education.

Of course the beliefs of self-prescribed libertarians vary greatly from one person to the next, but the core principles of libertarianism are far more internally consistent that of either the Democrats or Republicans. I learned that looking through the narrow Republican/Democrat spectrum is not sufficient for understanding politics. Needless to say, I have come to realize that Republicans don't actually stand for all of the ideals I thought they did (neither in rhetoric nor practice). I now identify far more with the philosophy of liberty than with the Republican platform.

After two years of self-study, my educational journey is still relatively new, but I have never been more excited to learn. Now that I've discovered the quality of information that is out there (that I was never exposed to in 16 years at government schools), I feel like I have some catching up to do. The concepts of liberty are not difficult to understand, but it requires significant effort to unlearn the years of conditioning that lead us to blindly accept the current state apparatus.

Thinking is a volitional process that requires from an individual both effort and purpose. The discovery of truth and the validation of knowledge is an active process that is only available to those who have the intellectual integrity to seek it. It requires a great deal of mental effort to validate these political concepts for yourself.

Defaulting to blind acceptance as a shortcut to forming one's belief system doesn't require effort. In fact, there is a certain feeling of security in following the herd as it relieves the individual from responsibility if they were simply mirroring the actions and catch phrases of somebody else. Perhaps this is one of the major reasons that most all societies throughout history have existed in one form or another as groups of men ruled by other men. For some, it is just safer and easier not to think.

Although the path to Libertarianism remains the road less traveled for now, I am confident we will see increased numbers embark on educational journeys similar to that of me and Alex. As we continue to endure the economic crisis brought on by our political system, more and more people are going to start looking for answers. People from both the Left and the Right are becoming more aware that the current system doesn't work. There is a viable solution, one that I think most people favor once they are made aware of it: A political philosophy that consistently advocates the abolishing of forceful oppression in all issues – social, civil, economic, and environmental. It has existed for decades. The biggest challenge is simply getting people to realize an alternative is out there.

As the metaphorical highways of our state leviathan continue to crumble, we face two options: One, we can sit back and accept our fate, like most societies throughout history, as another group of rulers step in to fill the void. Or two, we can fight for liberty, the single most important ingredient in a prosperous society.

I cared enough about my life and lives of others to question the status quo and discover the only known road to human flourishing.

Will you take the path to discovering the philosophy of liberty?

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Each year on July 4th, we commemorate one of mankind's greatest achievements – The Declaration of Independence. The unanimous Declaration of Independence by the Congress of the thirteen united States of America was an act of consummate intellectual courage that delivered free States from the tyrannical shackles of an illegitimate and oppressive Government. The signers of the Declaration staked their entire fortunes and their lives on a single principled message. Much more than simply declaring independence from Great Britain, these men declared independence from the tribal philosophy of the Old World and gave birth to a new nation founded on the principle of individual human rights – the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The history of mankind has endured thousands of years of oppression, exploitation, and stagnation. People existed as subjects to slavery and serfdom. The sacrifice of the individual to the King, Church, or State was morally praised as dutiful, noble, and virtuous. Intellectual and economic progress was slow to nonexistent. Mankind shuffled along in the darkness of irrational default – an automatic, animal-like consciousness – moored by primitive philosophy.

To date, the American Founding Fathers have come the closest to freeing the world from this ancient, barbaric philosophy by declaring that all people live by right - certain inalienable rights that no man or Government can deny. In less than one hundred years after declaring our independence from the crude philosophy of dutiful sacrifice, we witnessed non-violent transfers of power, eliminated slavery, and enjoyed the greatest proportional increase in standard of living of any society in the history of the world.

To paraphrase one of the great philosophers of the 20th century - the principle of individual human rights is still so new to the history of mankind that few people have yet to fully grasp it. 234 years ago we declared our independence, but the primitive philosophy of collectivism and sacrifice is still rooted deep in our culture. If, and only if, we understand individual human rights, can we truly declare independence!

  • I can say — not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political, and aesthetic roots — that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world.” - Ayn Rand
I wish all of you a safe and happy Independence Day! I also hope that we all remember to take time in between the cookout and fireworks to remember the great men and women who have made the things we enjoy (and all too often take for granted) even possible. Share the message of liberty with your friends and loved ones. It serves us well to take some time to remember exactly what we are celebrating each summer.

***

Here are a few key lessons we can learn from the Declaration of Independence:


1) All People Live by Right

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Whether or not you believe in God, the nature of the human being and the human condition identifies the unalienable right to life for all people (nobody else can live for you). All people have the right to liberty (nobody else can form your thoughts or control your actions but you). All people have the right to use their life and liberty to pursue their own goals of happiness (nobody else can pursue your goals for you).

A right is freedom to act, freedom from coercion. Notice that the rights listed by the Declaration's author, Thomas Jefferson, do not require action by anyone else. Rights are not a positive obligation or an infringement on the rights of another.

The opposite of living by right is living by permission. Is the purpose of your life to live by the permission of a society or Government?

Anyone who believes it is acceptable to use force to make one person provide any good or service (be it luxury entitlements or minimum life necessities) to another person is operating by the same philosophical principle that condones slavery. The initiation of force and the principle of liberty are incompatible. Period.


2) Governments Don't Make the Rules, People Do:

The only power to which Government is permitted comes from the consent of the governed. Government has no right to take any action unless explicitly granted to it by the people who employ its services. Government can only function and operate to the extent that people allow.

The only function of Government is to secure the rights of its individual citizens. If Government fails in its only legitimate function, it is not only the right, but the duty of the people to “...dissolve the political bands which have connected them”:

  • That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it....it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

The idea that individuals live by right and that Government operates by permission was so important to the Founding Fathers that it was later included in the Bill of Rights amendments to the United States Constitution:

  • 9th Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

  • 10th Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


The Declaration of Independence:

The following is an excerpt from the introduction of The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, JULY 4, 1776:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny...”

Click here for the entire Declaration of Independence






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So constantly have the ideas currency and government been associated—so universal has been the control exercised by lawgivers over monetary systems—and so completely have men come to regard this control as a matter of course, that scarcely any one seems to inquire what would result were it abolished. Perhaps in no case is the necessity of state-superintendence so generally assumed; and in no case will the denial of that necessity cause so much surprise. Yet must the denial be made.”

                          - Herbert Spencer, Social Statistics

Most everyone associates the word “dollar” as referring to a Federal Reserve Note (i.e. the green piece of paper featuring the portrait of a past president). Let's briefly explore why this association of terms is not only incorrect - it is a dangerous mistake.

A pound refers to sixteen ounces of weight. A foot refers to twelve inches of length. These are standards of measure. Similarly, the word "dollar" refers to a specific coin of a specific mass; one containing 371.25 grains of pure silver. A dollar is not merely worth some ever changing quantity of silver or gold – a dollar is defined as a specific amount of silver in the same way a foot is defined as twelve inches!

Today, the definition of “dollar” is frequently confused.This is largely based on the observable fact that one ounce of silver is exchanged on the market for approximately eighteen Federal Reserve Notes. Mistakenly, we tend to think that one ounce of silver is worth about eighteen dollars. Dollars do not refer to the same thing as Federal Reserve Notes. To make this point clear, we must first understand the history of the dollar as a unit of monetary exchange in the US and how the inaccurate terms and definitions have been smuggled into our vocabulary.

Origin of the Dollar in the US


During the late 18th century in America, the word dollar simply referred to the 371.25 grains of pure silver of the Spanish milled dollar coins. Our founding fathers did not arbitrarily decide to fix the exchange rate of our first dollars to silver. Rather, “dollar” was the term for a universally understood standard of measure.

The Coinage Act of 1792, establishing a Mint and regulating the coins of the United States, used this already universally accepted definition to officially designate a dollar (as referring to a measure of 371 4/16th grains of pure silver) as the monetary unit of the US:
  • Section 9: “DOLLARS – each to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and seventy one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver.”
Signed into law by President George Washington, the Coinage Act of 1792 established the dollar as the monetary unit of the United States of America.

The Rise of the Gold Standard

Gold and silver came to be accepted as money throughout the world by a process of free exchange on the market. In fact, Carl Menger and Ludwig von Mises have shown that not only does money originate in the market, it is impossible for it to have originated any other way. No government or king “created” money (but once money arises on the market, rulers have historically been quick to find means to expropriate it).

While the Coinage Act of 1792 defined one dollar as 371.25 grains of pure silver (.7734 troy ounce), the act also established a fixed exchange rate of fifteen units of silver for one unit of gold. The exchange ratio between gold and silver had historically tended to be around 15:1. However, as Larry Reed explains in an article about the events leading up to the Silver Panic in 1893, the “....government decided it would "help out" the market by interfering to "simplify" matters. The result was another of the many well-intentioned blunders imposed on a populace by force of law."

Just like any other artificial price control, the pegging of gold to silver created a market imbalance that would prove to have significant economic consequences (1).

Gresham’s Law states that bad money tends to drive out good money when the government artificially fixes the exchange ratio between two monies ("bad money" referring to artificially overvalued money and "good money" referring to money which is artificially undervalued).

This is exactly what we observed with the artificial price fixing of gold and silver in the US. The market value of gold relative to dollars (dollars referring to a set quantity of silver) fluctuated even though the artificial exchange rate was fixed. Silver flowed into the mint and the quantity of gold in circulation decreased.

Instead of allowing gold values to be determined through a market of free exchange and repealing the artificial 15 to 1 ratio, Congress decided to remedy the imbalance by adjusting the fixed exchange ratio to 16 to 1. The Coinage Act of 1834 revised the ratio of gold to dollars, making the artificial ratio of dollars to gold an official $20.67/oz where it would remain for several decades. Only this time gold was overvalued and silver was undervalued. As Larry Reed noted, “Gold flowed into the mint, silver disappeared, and the country found itself on a de facto gold standard.” As we will see, this paved the way for the government to officially place the country on the gold standard at the end of the 19th century.

Although the artificial price controls instituted by the Coinage Acts of 1792 and 1834 created market imbalance between gold and dollars, the competition of foreign gold and silver monies in the US market proved to be an effective system for facilitating exchange and storing wealth. During this time it was quite common to find foreign coins of gold and silver being used as money in the US. Since the amount of precious metal contained in foreign coins was commonly known, monetary conversions were quite simple. Foreign coins from Europe circulated freely in America, and as Murray Rothbard notes, “...there is, indeed, no economic reason why they should not do so.”

The competition of gold and silver monies facilitated the growth of an increasingly productive, industrialized economy. America enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth in production after the War of 1812. The purchasing power of the dollar doubled in 35 years (1815-1850).

Free competition of stable money facilitates economic prosperity, but it also makes government manipulation of the money supply very difficult. “Perturbed at this slap to its sovereignty...”, explains Murray Rothbard in The Mystery of Banking, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1857 outlawing the use of foreign coins in the US.

By outlawing the use of competing foreign monies in the market, Congress removed the first crucial obstacle that was preventing the State from taking monopolistic control of the nation's money supply. To eliminate the second obstacle, the domestic competition of bimetallism, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1873 and later the Gold Standard Act of 1900 to demonetize silver and set gold as the official basis of US currency.
  • Section 1 of the Gold Standard Act of 1900: “Be it enacted . ., That the dollar consisting of twenty-five and eight-tenths grains of gold nine-tenths fine, as established by section thirty-five hundred and eleven of the Revised Statutes of the United States, shall be the standard unit of value, and all forms of money issued or coined by the United States...”
Conveniently, the Coinage Acts of 1857 and 1873 also corresponded with the panics of 1857 and 1873 (no good crisis should be wasted).Don't be surprised when the government uses the coming monetary crisis as an excuse to further centralize the control of money. They will.
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From 'Good as Gold' to Increasingly Worthless IOUs

“Whoever controls the volume of money in our country is absolute master of all industry and commerce... and when you realize that the entire system is very easily controlled, one way or another, by a few powerful men at the top, you will not have to be told how periods of inflation or depression originate.” - James A. Garfield

T
he year 1913 saw a tremendous leap toward our current system of government-granted special privilege, creating giant political/corporate machines that benefit the few at the expense of the many.

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913, also called the Glass-Owen Bill, unconstitutionally delegated to the Federal Reserve, a private banking cartel, the power to “coin Money and regulate the Value thereof.” Despite what most Americans think, the Federal Reserve is NOT part of the US Government.

For the sake of brevity, below is a list of a few major turning points as the US economy went from using a sound money system to a fiat currency  system backed by irredeemable IOUs:
  • Prior to 1934, the Federal Reserve Notes carried the inscription "Redeemable in gold on demand at the United States Treasury, or in gold or lawful money at any Federal Reserve Bank.”
  • In 1934 , citizens could no longer redeem dollars for gold. Furthermore, the dollar was redefined as 1/35 oz of gold redeemable only by foreign central banks.
  • Until 1950, Federal Reserve Notes carried the obligation: "The United States of America will pay to the bearer on demand [some number of] dollars.”
  • Starting in 1963, the words "will pay to the bearer on demand" no longer appeared on Federal Reserve Notes; each merely stated its denomination. Dollar bills were no longer redeemable for dollars.
  • The Smithsonian Agreement (1971) repealed the Gold Exchange Standard and fixed foreign currency exchange rates without any gold backing.
  • After 1973, the gold standard is completely abandoned in favor of inflationary fiat currency and floating exchange rates.
Under the Federal Reserve System of fiat currency, the absolute quantity of wealth expropriation and redistribution that has occurred (wealth taken from the citizens of our nation by the government and the politically connected) is unmatched in the history of the world.

Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes its laws." - Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild (2)

Additional Food for Thought:  In the Economics and Ethics of Private Property, Hans-Hermann Hoppe outlines the four steps governments have historically used to monopolize the money supply in order to expropriate wealth from their citizens:
  1. Minting of money (silver and gold) must be monopolized by the state (√ - Coinage Acts)
  2. The use of money substitutes (other than silver and gold) must be systematically encouraged and backed up by the enactment of legal tender laws (√ - Coinage Acts)
  3. Gold must be nationalized, and the State must require all banks deposit their gold at the central bank and conduct business exclusively with money substitutes instead of gold (√ - Federal Reserve Act and Executive Order in 1934).
  4. The State must cut the last tie to money (gold) by reneging on its contractual obligations and declaring its notes irredeemable (√ - 1963, 1971, and 1973).
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The Root of Money is Good, Coercive Control of the Money Supply is the Root of Evil

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking the root." - Henry David Thoreau

John Maynard Keynes, an open supporter of Socialism, astutely noted in his book titled the The Economic Consequences of the Peace “...that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

Under the disguise of an institution created to “...furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper, to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes”, the Federal Reserve has destroyed over 95% of the purchasing power of the dollar bill since its inception in 1913. It has created cyclical boom and bust business cycles by artificially expanding the money supply (like the current financial crisis).

The dollar is the subject of the greatest counterfeiting scheme in the history of the world. Naturally the process of counterfeiting creates victims. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe points out in the Economics and Ethics of Private Property, to be successful on such a scale, the counterfeiting power must be accompanied by social redistributive measures that generate the support necessary to overcome any resistance. The Federal Reserve is the engine that allows the government to play Santa Claus to certain privileged groups at the expense of everyone else.
The physical counterfeiting of dollars has cost the people of the United States 95% of their wealth in less than one hundred years (not to mention the unseen advances that could have been made).

What is all too often forgotten or over looked is that wealth has to be created and produced by someone before it can be looted and plundered by force. It is for this reason that “....the words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality.”

Our current system of government-granted special privilege to exploit promotes a counterfeit morality that explicitly confuses the unearned with the earned. It replaces the moral virtues of integrity, honesty, productiveness, and justice with cries of entitlement to an ends without relation to a means; a misguided and false battle pitting poor against rich. The correct moral battle is not the seemingly virtuous defense of poor versus rich...it is, as it has been throughout human history, a battle of the exploited versus the exploiter.
  • “He who controls the money supply of a nation controls the nation” - James A. Garfield
It is only through an understanding of the history and meaning the dollar can we begin to fight the State sanctioned exploiters and counterfeiters. The coercive monopolization of the money supply, accentuated by the Federal Reserve System, is the root of the exploitative power of the ruling class. It is for this reason that understanding the story of the dollar is essential.

An economy that does not have free choice of money is neither a free market nor a free society. For the same reasons the State should not control the type of shoes you buy, where you get your hair cut, or what kind of food you eat – the State, in a society that consistently respects human rights, should not control the money used in transactions of voluntary exchange. Any and all monetary intervention by the State is incompatible with human rights and should be eliminated.

  • “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” - Henry Ford
Perhaps it is time for that revolution. Perhaps it is time for the American people to learn the history of the dollar and understand the banking and monetary system. Perhaps it is time we learn that the Federal Reserve System and the government's redistributive social programs are enriching the richest of the rich while destroying the middle class and locking the poor into a state of dependent poverty.

In the case of the dollar, ignorance is not not bliss. Ignorance is the essence of our self-destruction.


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Additional Suggested Reading:

What Has Government Done to Our Money – Murray Rothbard

In his essay A Constitutional Dollar, Michael Rozeff explains how the term dollar bills “...obscures the actual and tangible meaning of "dollar" as a specific weight of silver.” Rozeff goes on to explain that this is more than merely a theft of terms:

The dollar sign, "$," ...means 1 silver dollar of the official weight of 0.7734375 troy ounces of pure silver...the government has illegally and unconstitutionally removed silver as currency and replaced it with the Federal Reserve notes that we know as dollar bills.”



Notes
  1. “Unfortunately, governments invariably tried to force a fixed exchange rate between the two metals, a price control that always leads to unwelcome and even disastrous results”– Murray Rothbard, The Mystery of Banking, p. 9

  2. In 2005, Rothschild was ranked 7th on the Forbes magazine list of "The Twenty Most Influential Businessmen Of All Time"




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Our elected federal officials are failing miserably in performing the single most important responsibility with which the American people have entrusted to them; to "... preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

According to Article 2, Section 8 of the United States Constitution:

Before [the President] enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Judging by recent history, this has obviously become a meaningless facade.

I ask: Why do we still go through the charade of having our presidents take the Presidential Oath if they are not expected to follow it in action?
 
We are obviously not instilling any level of accountability to this position because a new violator of the Oath assumes the role every four to eight years.

What about the blatant disregard for the Constitution in Congress? They take a similar oath as the president. Section 3, Article 6 says, “Senators and Representatives... shall be bound by Oath to support this Constitution.”

Senators and Representatives pledge to follow the Constitution, yet current members of Congress literally laugh at the task of upholding the Constitution

The government works for us. It can only exist with our consent. When the government rules by the whims of those in power and not by the written law of the people, it is time for the people to remove our sanction of this illegitimate power. The government has no power unless we expressly grant it (by our action or inaction).

Individuals live by right. Governments operate by permission. Individuals have the right to take any action whatsoever that is not restricted by objective law. Governments have no right to take any action unless explicitly granted to them by the people who employ their services.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Only through our own apathy do we give the government unchecked power to encroach on our freedom.

On the principle of individual liberty, this great nation was formed. It is on the same principle the people must fight to take it back.

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For those that regard Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal as the nation's savior during the Great Depression, the fact that Obama is employing many of the same strategies and "solutions" used by FDR may be a signal of comfort during the unrest of financial crisis. However, those that study history have good reason to be less than optimistic.

No doubt FDR inherited a broken economy. By the time FDR took office in March of 1933, nearly 3 in 10 workers were unemployed. Similar to Obama, FDR was faced with the challenge of dealing with a battered economy, damaged by past administrations. The Federal Reserve's expansion of cheap credit under the Coolidge administration (1923-1929) created an artificial boom leading to an inevitable market correction. Hoover, who – in reality - was nowhere near the free-market idealist portrayed by US 'history' books, turned a recession into a depression with unprecedented interventionist policy.

When prices fell in 1929, Hoover artificially propped up wages causing massive unemployment. He destroyed prospects of international trade by enacting protective tariffs. He ran “deficits with record spending on public works, the first federal welfare program, and the first large-scale federal farm program. The results were budget deficits and 25 percent unemployment”.

Hoover turned a recession into a depression. But, FDR took the depression and made it GREAT. The result was a decade and a half of economic misery leaving a wake of entitlement programs that have lead our nation down the path of bankruptcy.

 President Roosevelt became Hoover on steroids”.

The only things the New Deal succeeded in doing – prolonging economic recovery and growing the power of government. Somebody please tell me, why do we continue to teach our children that the New Deal ended the Great Depression?

According to economist Robert Murphy, the unemployment rate was still 19% in 1938 and and it didn't drop below 10% until 1941. Other nations such as Canada recovered much faster than the US and didn't experience nearly the same level of economic pain.

In 1939, according to then US Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., on FDR's New Deal policies:

  • "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. … And an enormous debt to boot."
The parallels between Obama and FDR outlined by Burton W. Folsom Jr. in Comparing the Great Depression to the Great Recession are startling. There is no doubt Obama inherited a mess caused by ruinous interventionist policy from previous administrations. The Bush administration must be recognized as the antithesis of free-market; a few examples include artificial expansions of the money supply, massive stimulus programs, radical increases in public debt, and politically motivated bailouts. As far as the economy is concerned, Obama is Bush on steroids.

FDR used the mentality of “take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something” to push through government programs and force the creation of industry cartels during the Great Depression. Obama uses this same strategy today to grow the government to satisfy his own agenda.

If our government is in the business of just trying something, I say we try eliminating the engine that causes these avoidable depressions in the first place – the Federal Reserve. I propose that we admit that government intervention always fails. The asset bubble that resulted in a crash in 1929 was caused by the Federal Reserve. The asset bubble that resulted in a crash in 2007-2009 was caused by the Federal Reserve.

I say the government should step aside and let the free market repair the economic damage created by government meddling in the first place.

As economist Murray Rothbard noted;

  • If Coolidge made 1929 inevitable, it was President Hoover who prolonged and deepened the depression, transforming it from a typically sharp but swiftly-disappearing depression into a lingering and near-fatal malady... Roosevelt only advanced, to a greater degree, what Hoover had pioneered...The Coolidge crisis had become the unprecedentedly prolonged Hoover-Roosevelt depression.”

The current administration, taking a play-call directly from the failed policy of FDR, is on track to ensure we make the Great Recession a long, extended period of economic misery. I'm just not sure America can afford to play this game again.


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As much as the folks on tv tell you that no one could have seen the financial crisis unfolding like it has, the fact is that economic phenomena is not a mystery. Economist from the Austrian school, among others, have been warning about the inevitable results interventionist monetary policy for years. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, factual information is omitted, misrepresented, and/or buried by the games of politicians.

I have written about the Politics of Economics and why it is the special interests of Washington that always get the spotlight and not the folks teaching the lessons of sound economic theory.

Here is a great video contrasting the approach of the Keynesians and the Austrians. Observe how Ben Bernanke and the other Keynesians disintegrate principles and confound mindless 'facts'. Contrast the Keynesian predictions against the warnings from Peter Schiff and other economists schooled in Austrian theory.

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Question of the day:

WHY ARE WE STILL FOLLOWING THE ADVICE OF THE PEOPLE THAT DIDN'T SEE THE FINANCIAL CRISIS COMING? ARE THESE NOT THE SAME PEOPLE THAT CAUSED THE FINANCIAL CRISIS IN THE FIRST PLACE?

 
I truly hope that over Memorial Day everyone took a few minutes to reflect on the American men and women who have fought for our nation, and those that gave their life, so we can enjoy freedom in America. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend Memorial Day weekend with a few close friends in Charlotte, NC. I'm not an avid NASCAR fan, but race weekend in Charlotte is one of my favorite weekends of the year. The entire spectacle of the Coca-Cola 600, one of the biggest NASCAR events of the season, is an unrivaled embodiment the American spirit. Even if you are not a NASCAR fan, going to a race in person is an experience worth having at least once.

On Sunday, we celebrated a beautiful day of tailgating with 200,000+ race fans. Among the NASCAR first-timers in our group was a friend from France, a friend from Italy, a friend from Switzerland, and a friend from Australia. Judging by their reactions before, during, and after the race...I have no doubt they loved the experience. What an introduction to America!

As I was looking out over the sea of people, cars, RVs, and vendors towards the massive one and a half mile track of Charlotte Motor Speedway, I couldn't help but think about what makes it all possible. For centuries, the majority of human civilization lived a basic hand-to-mouth existence; gathering, hunting, or farming the goods needed for survival. Today, in America we enjoy a standard of living that allows us to fly in planes or to drive automobiles from around the country to make a weekend trip to watch over forty 750+horsepower vehicles race 600 miles around a track surrounded by an enormous stadium with a capacity well over 140,000.

The possibilities of today were not conceivable, much less possible, a century ago. Everything we enjoy is the direct result of saved capital. American prosperity was not the result of an edict from a king, decree from a pope, or redistribution of some static wealth from the haves of the Old World to the have-nots of a new nation. American prosperity was created; created by individuals homesteading new land, producing to the best of their ability, and exchanging goods and services voluntarily to mutual benefit. American prosperity was created by hard work and real savings. Real savings, and only real savings, permits capital investment without frustrating consumer demand. Capital investment enables an economy to produce more by exponentially augmenting its wealth production capabilities.

America was able to amass real savings and invest in capital because our political and economic system respected the rights of the individual more than any other society in the history of the world. Specifically, the American system respected the individual's right to justly acquire, use, and dispose of private property. While the concept of individual rights has never been upheld in full consistency, having a sense of security that wealth would not be confiscated by the ruling class allowed a new breed of producer to flourish – the American Industrialist. As a direct result of a political system that respected individual rights and an economy that allowed for the formation of capital, in just over 200 years enough real wealth has been created in America to allow even the poorest citizens to enjoy luxuries not available to kings a short time ago.

Many of the luxuries we enjoy today are taken for granted. Our standard of living has risen so quickly as a society that many people assume these luxuries are basic necessities to which everyone should be entitled. We justify explicit human rights violations as noble progress in the area of social justice. Essentially, many Americans today have replaced the cause with the effect. We are able to enjoy consuming luxuries because we produced; we did not produce wealth by means of reckless consumption.

For something to be counted as wealth it must be a real value that satisfies a consumer need. Wealth must be created - it cannot be fabricated using a printing press or by writing a new bill (however, fiat fabrication and interventionist legislation are effective ways to expropriate wealth from the producers and redistribute wealth to the politically connected). We forget that a social system that respects individual human rights - and only a system that respects individual human rights – makes production of these luxuries even possible. This fact is beyond argument, both in theory and in fact. Compare the standard of living in America to Soviet Russia, Hong Kong to China, or South Korea to North Korea.

Everything we enjoy today is the direct result of men following a philosophy of reason. Reason shows us that individuals have a right to their own life and the right to justly acquire, use, and dispose of private property. A social system that respects individual human rights and property rights is the only system conducive to economic advancement of society – namely by encouraging real savings and capital investment. In any voluntary exchange, by definition, both parties are better off. A is A.

The concept of individual rights is still very new to human civilization and is still not fully understood by most people. The primitive, irrational philosophies are still deeply ingrained in Western culture. If we wish to avoid returning ever closer to the hand-to-mouth existence of our ancestors, it is the political system of expropriation, rooted in a philosophy of irrationality, that must be fought.

Before the start of the race, as the final notes of the National Anthem sounded, four F-15 Eagles flown by pilots from the 333rd Fighter Squadron shook the souls of every person in Charlotte Motor Speedway. I can only hope that others felt the same sense of admiration and respect for the men and women who have fought bravely for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans – the freedoms that make everything we enjoy possible – the freedoms that we are slowly giving away. Our freedom is not being taken by any foreign invader but rather being eroded by a series of unprincipled compromises against the protection of individual human rights.

The only political system that is conducive to a prosperous society is one that respects individual human rights. The only economic system that respects individual human rights is one that operates by mutually beneficial voluntary exchange; not compulsive force. A = A is the only formula to save America. There is no other.

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In 2007, Garet Garrett accurately likened the US Federal Reserve policy of bailing out failed European institutions as a Ponzi scheme responsible for the global economic collapse of the 1930s.

In the Mises Daily from Friday, March 05, 2010, Jonathan M. Finegold Catalan explains Garet Garrett's Invaluable Lesson. Today, America is still in the business of bailouts; at home and abroad. Before wealth can be distributed to someone the government deems is justly entitled, that wealth must be created by someone. That wealth must be forcefully expropriated from the producer before it can be gifted away to the 'needy'. The interventionist policy rooted in the morals of social entitlement caused a global economic crisis 80 years ago. It seems not much has changed. At some point, we run out of real wealth available for governments to plunder. A is A.

In this article, Catalan quotes one the many brilliant observations by Ludwig von Mises in Human Action. Mises stated that, “Intervention aims at confiscating the "surplus" of one part of the population and at giving it to the other part. Once this surplus is exhausted by total confiscation, a further continuation of this policy is impossible.[2]

In other words, a policy of debt-inducing wealth redistribution is not sustainable. Catalan explains “the crisis of interventionism is summed up by the adage, 'the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money'."

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Read more: Garet Garrett's Invaluable Lesson - Jonathan M. Finegold Catalan - Mises Daily http://mises.org/daily/4117#ixzz0pEVDeoTi

...beginning with the premise that people are entitled to certain betterments of life. If they cannot immediately afford them, that is, if out of their own resources these betterments cannot be provided, nevertheless people are entitled to them, and credit must provide them” - Garet Garrett