Ron Paul Was Right

I ran across the video while I was trolling through Twitter.  It’s a Ron Paul speech from 2002, the year I graduated high school.  I had no idea who he was back then, but his words sort of hit me like a knuckle sandwich to the nose.  It’s not that I don’t already know about these things, but hearing it condensed into a five-minute speech that was made ten years ago really puts the hook in you, to use a phrase from a favorite film of mine.    Ron Paul may not be the only person in Washington who understands what has been going on, but he’s the only person brave enough to stand up and repeatedly tell us the truth.  Unfortunately, all of his predictions made in this video have come true.  All the more reason we need him to be the last man standing.

The Constitutionality and Morality of the Fed

The constitutionality of the Fed is something that has long been debated by parties on all sides.  It is especially popular with conspiracy theorists, who like to make it sound as though Jekyll Island was more dramatic than it really was.  The reality is that Jekyll Island, while beginning as a secret, didn’t end that way.  In fact, there was a fair bit of open debate surrounding the creation of the Fed – debate that unfortunately ended with the creation of the monster.  That said, there might be still be something left regarding the debate about the constitutionality of the Fed.

The Federal Reserve Act came into being on December 23, 1913, though it was dreamed of long before then.  In fact, our current Federal Reserve was not the first central bank in America.  The subject of central bank creation was hotly debated, even among the Founding Fathers.  In fact, the first central bank, the Bank of North America, was chartered in 1781.  However, the state of Pennsylvania repealed its charter a scant four years later amid complaints of corruption, favoritism for foreigners, and fictitious credit.

The First Bank of the United States, which was signed into being by none other than George Washington in 1791, was essentially a revival by Alexander Hamilton of the Bank of North America.  Hamilton’s plan for a central bank was closely modeled off of the Bank of England.  Thomas Jefferson was no fan of the bank and viewed it as an engine of corruption and speculation, among other things.  In fact, Jefferson, Madison, and others railed against the creation of this bank, stating that is was not included in the enumerated powers of Congress and therefore could not be created.  In any case, despite Hamilton winning the initial debate, Congress didn’t renew its charter in 1811, and it never controlled greater than 20% of the US money supply.  At that point, Congress took control of the US money supply by issuing Treasury Notes.

In 1816, James Madison signed the charter for the Second Bank of the United States in hopes that it might end some of the runaway inflation that had occurred during the previous five years after the dissolution of the First Bank of the US.  Andrew Jackson, eternal enemy of central banks, was responsible for the demise of the Second Bank of the United States.

After the death of the Second Bank, there was a period in which there was no real central bank.  There were state banks and lenders of last resort.  Perhaps the most famous of these was the Suffolk Bank of Boston, which acted as a clearinghouse for other banks.  The Suffolk Bank was quite successful for some time, in fact.

After the panic of 1907, the subject of a central bank was again brought to the table for discussion.  The issue of constitutionality, so far as I know, was not raised.  The matter was more or less settled in the 1819 ruling of McCulloch vs. Maryland, when the Supreme Court ruled that the creation of a central bank fell under the implied powers clause.  So if we look only to legal precedent, it would seem that the case is won by the Fed, since the Supreme Court has never changed its ruling and doesn’t seem likely to do so any time soon.

But what of the original intent?  Well, as usual, not everyone agreed on the issue.  However, Jefferson, Madison, and Randolph adhered always to the strictest of constitutional views, meaning that if it was not specifically laid out in the powers enumerated in the Constitution, the government lacked the authority to do it, and the power rested with the states alone.  There will be libertarians on both sides of this argument, but I have yet to meet a follower of Austrian economics who thinks that the Fed is a good idea.  In any case, the constitutionality of the Fed seems, for all practical purposes, a settled issue, even though some (many) of us would like to see it reopened for debate in the federal government.

So what exactly does the Fed do, anyway?  Without going into a long, boring explanation, the Fed controls the expansion of the money supply (M3) and interest rates.  How does it control the money supply?  It buys or sells various securities, which can include Treasury securities issued by the US government.  It also alters the reserve requirements that commercial banks must hold in reserve against deposits.  Finally, it can adjust the discount rate – that is, the interest rate charged to commercial banks.  When the Fed wants to shrink the money supply – it’s been a long time since that happened! – it sells securities and raises the reserve limit on the banks.  Raising interest rates will also help control inflation.

What is inflation?  Simply stated, inflation is the increase in the money supply.  No more, no less.  If the Fed is inflating the money supply, inflation is happening.  Period.

Why might this be a bad thing?  Well, when the Fed is increasing the money supply, as it has been doing for some time now, it tends to lead towards higher government debt.  The Fed will continue buying up Treasury securities, which basically means that the government has a blank check to spend whatever it wants.  While it allows the US to continue overseas expenditures and programs that might otherwise have to be cut during economic hard times, this expansion of money and credit simultaneously devalues the currency.  As the money supply increases, prices go up, up, up.  In fact, we’re seeing it at the gas pump now.  Wonder why those gas prices are going higher?  It’s because oil is primarily traded in US dollars, and more and more of them are needed to purchase a barrel of oil.

Unfortunately, the problem with printing money out of literally nothing has the result of creating more money out of thin air.  Suppose we have a bank called “Liberty Bank.”  Liberty Bank deals US government securities, kind of like Goldman-Sachs or J.P. Morgan.  The Fed has decided to buy $1 billion in US securities from Liberty Bank.  Liberty Bank happily skips home with its free money, cashes the check, and then unleashes the money on the market.  Within a relatively short period of time – a matter of weeks or even less – that bank will have further expanded the credit to the tune of about $9 billion more dollars.  In other words, what begins as a comparatively paltry sum quickly grows to the size of an elephant.  Using that knowledge, think about how much the Fed as expanded the money supply since 2008.

So what happens if the money supply gets inflated too far?  Well, several things could happen.  If the Fed raises interest rates to avoid hyperinflation, it will make the US debt instantly unmanageable.  We will no longer be able to meet our minimum payments.  In other words, the US government is going to be getting a lot of angry phone calls from debtors and collection agencies.  The result in this case may be the government admitting insolvency.  In other words, the government would be bankrupt and unable to meet the burden of its debt.  Debt would have to be written off, government programs would likely be scaled back en masse, and government agencies would be be cut.

Think this is an unlikely scenario?  Think again.  According to a report in 2010 by Bloomberg, the IMF has already said, in not so many words, that the US is already bankrupt.  At the time the article was written two years ago, the author calculated the actual indebtedness of the US government to be somewhere around $202 trillion, including off-balance sheet liabilities.  The IMF made the claim that the debt-to-GDP ratio was too high, and that in order to stabilize that fiscal gap, the US government would have to make a permanent adjustment equal to 14% of the GDP.  At that time, 14% of the GDP was how much the government was taking in with tax revenues.  In other words, taxes would have to double their current rate for the government to get into the IMF-determined “safety zone.”

Hard-line Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman have repeatedly made the claim that adding more and more money to the economy isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, every time I read an article from that guy, he’s railing on about how we should be spending more.  Well, he’s wrong.  According to Bloomberg and, frankly, common sense, it’s all a matter of arithmetic.  Basically, whatever isn’t paid at the end of the year (14% of the GDP, for example) will be added to the government “credit card bill,” which will roll over on the next year’s balance.  In short, the debt will continue to grow, and it will eventually reach the point of being too big to even meet the minimum payment, if allowed to snowball indefinitely.

At the same time, the possibility of hyperinflation looms.  Think hyperinflation can’t happen?  Think again.  In the 20th century, hyperinflation happened multiple times: Weimar Germany, Argentina in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Russia in 1992, China in 1949-50, Brazil in 1989-90, Zimbabwe in 2006-09, etc.  Yes, it can happen.  Before it was all said and done in Weimar Germany, it was something like $1 billion marks to $1.  Argentinians woke up one morning unable to withdraw money from savings.  When they were finally able to get their money out, they discovered that it had only half of its original value.  Life savings were wiped out.

How might this happen?  Two years ago, Thorsten Polleit contributed an article to the Mises Institute that suggested we may experience a crack-up boom – that is, people finally come to the conclusion that the Fed will continue to print money at an unrelenting rate.  They begin buying things for which they actually have no need, if only to get rid of the paper money, which is quickly becoming worthless scrap.

He also suggests that another credit crisis is possible when creditors are no longer willing to roll over maturing debt at prevailing interest rates.  Borrowers can neither meet their obligations nor afford the increased borrowing rates.  They go bankrupt and collapse.  This will set off a chain of similar events that will finally result in the collapse of the credit structure.  He goes on to note that, should investors expect more bailouts financed through money creation, the demand for money will dry up.  The central bank will extend more and more money in an attempt to stop the wildfire spread of bankruptcies, and thus the crack-up boom will come home to roost.  Scary, huh?

At this point, I might highlight the reason I included the word “morality” in the title of this post.  When all is said and done, which people really lose the most in these scenarios?  The people who receive the money last, the poor and middle classes, lose the most.  Those receiving the money first, namely the bankers and so on, are having more and more wealth transferred into their hands.  Those on the bottom lose the most as their purchasing power evaporates and their savings become more and more worthless.  The question of the desirability of such a transfer of wealth is not economical, but ethical: is it right to take people’s money away in this manner?  Ask the folks at Occupy what they think about the rich getting richer and get back to me!

The moral hazards of the fiat money created by the Fed also include the ability to prolong war (see Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya…), the slow decline of the financial system, the expansion of an irresponsible state, and many others.  I think it would be hard to deny, at this point, that we are not experiencing at least one, if not all, of these things.

So the question now is do we really want the Fed?  Are they really doing more good than harm?  We are now four years into this recession, and there don’t appear to be many signs that things are getting better.  If anything, it seems that the Western world is in a state of financial decline that is getting worse by the month.  Krugman says that we haven’t done enough, that we haven’t pumped enough money into the economy.  Is that the case, or could it be that the Fed’s policy of fast and easy money is causing a slow, painful death of the US economy?  Are we only prolonging what may now be inevitable?

I don’t want to seem doom-and-gloom about this.  I really don’t.  Unfortunately, I don’t see a situation that is improving.  That said, I don’t want to leave my readers without hope.  Is it too late?  I don’t know, and that is the honest truth.  But here’s what you can do.  Educate yourself about the Fed and Austrian economics.  Hell, educate yourself about Keynesianism.  If you believe as I do that the Fed is at the very heart of this “evil empire,” write some angry (but cordial) letters to your representatives and tell them to support HR 459 or S 202, which are the current incarnations of the Audit the Fed bills.  The Fed has never received a full audit that would include off-balance sheet transactions and tell us where the money is going.  (Aren’t you interested in knowing if there might be some conflicts of interest or primary beneficiaries of that money?)  Sign the Audit the Fed petition online; it only takes about two minutes of your time.

Please take some time and read the following material.  It helped me write this article, and some of it is invaluable reading.  I encourage you to download the (free!!) PDF file of Murray Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed.  It isn’t very long, and it explains things rather concisely.  I will also freely admit that I used his billion-dollar credit expansion example.  Given how Rothbard and most folks at Mises felt/feel about “copyright infringement,” somehow I doubt that he’d mind.

Read and do more!

Sign the Audit the Fed Petition

US is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It – Lawrence Kotlikoff via Bloomberg

The Federal Reserve vs. the Constitution – Ron Paul

Hyperinflation, Money Demand, and the Crack-Up Boom – Thorsten Polleit via The Mises Institute

For and Against Paper Money – MisesWiki

The Case Against the Fed – Murray Rothbard (PDF available for free download courtesy of the Mises Institute)

Visit Campaign for Liberty, as they do a lot towards auditing the Fed.

More suggested reading: End the Fed by Ron Paul, Gold, Peace, and Prosperity: The Birth of a New Currency by Ron Paul, America’s Great Depression by Murray Rothbard, The Case for Gold by Ron Paul and Lew Lehrman (free PDF available from Mises)

Paul Krugman Gives Me a Rash: A Rant

There are very few things that get me angrier than Paul Krugman’s Nobel Prize-winning economic analyses.  Seeing people post his articles on Facebook and then worshipfully extolling the virtues of Keynesian economics is one of them.  I have to restrain myself from verbally attacking people on a personal level.  That is how much I can’t stand Paul Krugman.  Reason goes completely out the window.  Furthermore, I have noticed a pattern among these posters, and I now assume that they are all career students or professors who have never had a real job because, well, most of them are.  Call me judgmental.  It won’t hurt my feelings.

I can never quite decide if Paul Krugman is secretly a genius who knows that he’s writing pieces that are full of b.s., or if he legitimately believes what he’s saying.  I also can’t decide which option is worse.  Whatever the case, he seems to offer overly simplistic, one-sided solutions delivered with a healthy slathering of unclear language.  Because being obtuse makes you smarter…

I’m not going to cite any particular Krugman articles on here, since I’m filing this under “Rants,” and I’m going to speak purely about my personal opinion.  I feel like every Krugman article I read comes back to one central theme: we aren’t spending enough money.  Every time I read a Krugman statement that amounts to an admonition that we should be printing/spending more money, my left eye twitches and an overpowering urge to punch someone repeatedly in the face takes over.

Putting the fancy economic analysis aside, let’s address this with plain common sense.  How in the world is it possible to spend oneself into prosperity?  I’m sure Krugman has offered some explanation somewhere about spending oneself into prosperity, but I honestly can’t think of an instance in the last century when that has happened.  If any of you readers think of one, please do post it in the comments section.  Some folks will try to use WWII as an example, but the depression didn’t end until the post-war era, so that one falls flat for me.  Lord knows the New Deal didn’t do the job.

I am probably (hopefully) being somewhat extreme in my rantings, but I truly feel as though Krugman is constantly advocating greater and greater debt, saying that it generally doesn’t matter.  Just keep spending.  Keep driving consumption.  Spend, spend, spend.  Consume, consume, consume.  Um, isn’t that what most liberals/progressives/lefties/whatever trendy name they’re using now are generally against?  Consumption?

The on-the-books US debt right now $15.4 trillion.  That doesn’t include Fannie and Freddie, nor does it include the Fed’s off-balance sheet transactions.  I shudder to think what it would look like, were those additional items added to the computation.  As though $1 trillion isn’t a number too big to grasp!

The ever-increasing money supply can only have one final result: hyperinflation.  As I’ve stated previously, there are various reasons why hyperinflation hasn’t hit us yet.  For one thing, US and international banks are still sitting on a lot of that capital that is just floating around out there.  For another thing, it is being used outside the US to settle international transactions.  Again, this is why the US dollar’s status as a reserve currency is so important.  Were we to lose that privileged status, it wouldn’t be long before those dollars started making their way home.  There is only so far down that the Fed can drop interest rates, which seems to be Krugman’s other solution for every ill our economy faces.  If the money supply were suddenly contracted and interest rates were to go up, it would certainly make debt repayment a lot more interesting for the US government!

Whatever the case, I have caused myself a whole evening of stewing and mumbling to myself just for reading two Krugman articles.  I’m convinced that he has never taken the time to read and even passingly consider the Austrian business cycle model.  He laughingly brushes it off, but I have yet to see him mount a convincing argument against it.  I suppose he doesn’t have to.  He already has masses of slavering fans who adore him and think that his ideas about spending a seemingly endless supply of cash, soaking the rich, and redistributing the wealth are incomparable genius.  Maybe I’m the one who needs a reality check, but I don’t think so.

Taxation and wealth redistribution is still legalized plunder.  Creating an endless supply of cash with no backing will eventually lead to a hyper inflated currency.  Go ahead.  Ask the South Americans.  The Romans.  The French.  There are many, many examples throughout history of such a thing happening, so every time I hear a Keynesian say that it can’t happen here, I have to shake my head and remind them that it has, it can, and it could.  That’s usually about the point where someone says, “Oh, aren’t you a libertarian?  Yeah, you’re one of those Ron Paul supporters,” and they think that solves the matter.  I’m wrong, and they’re right.  I suppose if it helps them sleep better at night.  For my part, I think Krugman’s articles make far better bonfire starters than reality-based economic reading material.

C.I.A. Intelligence Claims Iranian Nuke Probably Doesn’t Exist

I feel like it’s the W. era all over again.  Where are those weapons of mass destruction?  Has anyone seen them?  Are they under the coffee table?  Are they buried in the sand?  Oh, right.  They don’t exist.  Now I remember how this story goes!

The New York Times ran an article on February 24th stating that the C.I.A. has so far failed to confirm the existence of a nuclear weapon in Iran.  Well, actually, that isn’t just the opinion of the C.I.A., but rather it is an opinion shared by all 16 of the United States’ intelligence agencies.   Let me repeat that.  Sixteen intelligence agencies have failed to confirm the existence of a nuclear weapon in Iran.  In fact, an intelligence assessment dating back to 2007 stated that Iran had abandoned its nuclear aspirations some time ago.  That view was re-confirmed in 2010, and it is the opinion of the intelligence agencies that it is still held today.  So why in the world are we talking about going tear-assing into Iran because they have nuclear weapons?

This whole business smells like another Iraq.  Can you smell it, too?  It’s a cross between a burning oil field, napalm, and the Fed overheating the computers that “print” the funny money.  And believe me, folks, this gasoline smell doesn’t smell like victory.  It smells like death, destruction, and further loss of freedom for American and Iranian citizens.

Iran has not yet enriched uranium, which is absolutely necessary to make a warhead.  Although it is not outside the realm of possibility for them to accomplish this, and they could be making moves in that direction, in all probability, it has not yet been accomplished.  And that brings me around to another point in the debate about Iran’s nuclear capability: Why shouldn’t they have a nuclear weapon?

Approaching this from a purely unbiased standpoint, if other countries such as the US, China, Russia, and others are allowed to arm themselves for “defensive purposes,” why isn’t Iran allowed to do it?  Who gets to decide this?  Why do they get to make that decision?  Does the United States get to make that decision, and if so, what is the logic behind it?  Is it a case of whomever has the biggest guns gets to determine the destinies of everyone else?  Because if that is indeed the case, one might be able to understand why Iran would want to have a nuclear weapon: self-determination.

Frankly, I am rather surprised that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon.  One would think it might be one of the few ways to keep the American military from invading, quite truthfully.  At least the US government would be far less willing to go to war if Iran had such a weapon.  Certainly we never made so bold a move as to attempt to send an invasion in the USSR at the height of the Cold War.  To have done so would have been risking nothing less than total annihilation.

Let’s assume that the C.I.A., the Mossad, and others are completely correct in their analysis that Iran has not yet produced a nuke, as of today.  Are we going to head into Iran on the off chance that they will have a nuclear weapon?  It seems to me that their only motivation for producing one is the threat of invasion.  And if we are so concerned about this situation, why have we not stopped other countries, such as North Korea, from producing nukes?  What stopped us then?  Was Kim Jong-Il deemed more reliable somehow?  Or could it possibly be that Iran has run afoul of the US government in a way that the North Koreans could never dream?

I have discussed petrodollars and the role that I firmly believe they play in US foreign policy.  The world market is saturated with US dollars, courtesy of our numerous and hefty bailouts.  Iran still refuses to trade in US dollars.  All of its transactions, particularly those big, juicy oil transactions, are settled in currencies other than the US dollar (and, to the best of my knowledge, the euro and pound).  Call me crazy, but I’d be willing to be that if Iran suddenly caved and started settling its international transactions in petrodollars, the US government would suddenly be far less interested in putting boots on the ground.

The article has an interesting moment when it interviews David A. Kay, who was the head of the C.I.A. team that searched for Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction after the invasion.  He says that, “They don’t have evidence that Iran has made a decision to build a bomb, and that reflects a real gap in intelligence.  It’s true, the evidence hasn’t changed very much [since 2007], but that reflects a lack of access and a lack of intelligence as much as anything.”

Maybe I’m being a bit dense – feel free to tell me if I am –  but that almost sounds like Mr. Kay is hesitant to believe that any reports claiming that Iran doesn’t have nuclear capabilities are somehow false.  If the evidence hasn’t changed much, does it necessarily reflect a lack of intelligence?  What if it reflects a simple truth, that Iran is not nuclear capable and has not concluded that it wants to become so.  Granted, there could be a lack of intelligence, and I’m certainly not an intelligence expert nor would I claim to be such, but the fact that 16 US intelligence agencies agree with this assessment makes me think that perhaps we are trying to see something where there is nothing in order to justify an attack to the American public.  Even the former head of the Mossad has said that Iran isn’t nuclear armed.  Is the US government trying to scare us into war by making us believe that Iran is a Muslim boogeyman that wants to blow us off the map?

I acknowledge that there are extremists in the Muslim world.  However, I don’t think for a second that the Iranian government has a death wish.  I don’t think that they would reach the conclusion that they were going to bomb us simply as a result of them having a nuke.  I do think, however, that their unwillingness to work with the US government probably has something to do with the decades-long sanctions against them imposed by said government.  Sanctions are, after all, the precursor to war.

The economy is the real safety concern in America, not Iran.  Iran is not nuclear capable and even if they were, they would still have to have a way to deliver that payload to US soil.  What is a serious problem, however, is the massive amount of US money floating around in the world economy that could potentially lead to hyperinflation.  A hyperinflation of the US dollar would have disastrous consequences at home and abroad, and the US government cannot be so stupid as to not recognize this simple fact.  Anyone who thinks that inflation is not a serious problem doesn’t know the definition of the word inflation.  As my devoted readers know, inflation is simply the increase in the money supply – nothing more and nothing less.  Therefore, it is silly to argue that inflation does not exist in the current climate.  If trillions of dollars have been pumped into the economy, inflation is real, regardless of whether or not it is yet reflected in prices.

We are embarking down an increasingly dangerous path.  By threatening Iran, we may end up arming a country that was not previously nuclear.  We will be risking the lives of our own young soldiers, and we will be risking the lives of the Iranian people.  And they are people.  I think sometimes that, because the US is somewhat isolated from the rest of the world geographically, we forget that these are real people.  They have homes and families, hopes and ideals.  They may be different from us and we may consider them strange, but they have just as much right to be here as we do.

When it is all said and done, there is only one candidate who is truly a candidate for peace, and that is Ron Paul.  Dr. Paul is the only candidate who is speaking truth to power, in terms of our foreign policy.  He is the only person who is talking about changing our insane monetary policies for the better.  The bottom line, whether or not Republicans, Democrats, or others want to admit it, is this: If you believe in fiat money, bailouts, and redistribution of wealth both at home and abroad (especially abroad), you are in support of war.  That is not a statement I make lightly, but it is the truth.  Without war, our current system will eventually lead to economic failure.  From the looks of it right now, war may not even be enough to feed the widening black hole of debt.

I strongly encourage those of you who haven’t already to consider Ron Paul.  He is the only person on the stage, including Obama, who is talking about real change.  We cannot re-elect Obama just because he says that he is for change; he isn’t.  We cannot elect goons like Mitt or Newt who say they they will work for change; they won’t.  Their records are proof enough that the status quo is all a vote for them will garner us.  It is now or never, folks.  Now is the time to change America for the better.  Vote Ron Paul – he is the best hope for a peaceful and prosperous future!

Check out the Times article here!

Freedom Watch Booted from Fox Business

I am so disappointed to be writing this to you, readers.  Freedom Watch on Fox Business has been cancelled.  For those of you who don’t know about it, Freedom Watch was a show hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano.  Judge, as he is commonly known, showcased Austrian economics, libertarian philosophy, and real news issues.  Judge was probably the only libertarian on the news, and now he’s been cancelled.  If you’ll allow me a moment of perfect candor, the first thought that I had when I was saw this headline was, This is bull$h1t!  I’m angry.

Judge was shining a bright light on the Fed, the NDAA, and the tomfoolery that goes on daily on the Hill.  Judge was the only host bringing us real straight talk about the economy and the state of the world today.  I watched his show often in clip version, as we don’t get it in Korea, and found every segment to be enjoyable and informative.  I will admit, of course, that he was preaching to the choir.

Why can’t libertarians have a newsman of their own?  I don’t believe that there weren’t enough viewers, because there are plenty of libertarians, and more are coming to the fold every day.  Judge was a great voice for liberty, and that voice has been silenced.

I, for one, don’t intend to take this lying down.  I love Judge’s show, and he is probably the only person on Fox – or TV, generally – for whom I have any respect.  If you are libertarian but you haven’t watched his show before, I suggest you head to Fox and watch some clips before they get removed.  I’m sure there will be plenty of devotees who have him on YouTube, as well.  I will continue to reuse and distribute his clips, as I think they are interesting and informative.  I’m also going to send an angry letter to Fox and tell them exactly what I think about this.  If you love Judge and refuse to let him go quietly into the night, I suggest you do the same!

Freedom Watch: Ron Paul Will Be On GOP Ticket

Continue reading on FreedomWatch with Judge Andrew Napolitano has been cancelled – Wilmington Civil Rights |

**Addendum: Fox has apparently been inundated with emails about Freedom Watch.  Judge has posted on his Facebook page that, while he appreciates the show of support, the people at Fox are getting pretty irked about the constant emails, and he is requesting that people stop immediately.  We must respect Judge’s wishes on this matter.  Please DO NOT email Fox News about Freedom Watch.  I have taken down the links to the Fox exec’s emails.  

Judge has also stated that the decision was based purely on business and not on the content of the show.  He says that he accepted the decision cheerfully and feels that there will be another opportunity or project for him some time in the near future.  I can only hope this is true.  In any case, please don’t email Fox anymore, guys!

Bailout Blowback: We Aren’t Picking a Fight with Iran Over Nukes

My husband was doing his evening check of the BBC World News yesterday evening, and he stumbled across an article from a week or two ago about how London is setting itself up to be the new global leader in Chinese yuan (remnibi) trading.  London has long been the world leader in currency trading, and the fact that several key news outlets are reporting the desire of the city’s financial institutions to wade into the pool of serious yuan trading sends a clear signal about a change in the world money markets.

China and other nations have made it known over the past several years that they would like to begin moving away from the US dollar as the major reserve currency.  This is not a big secret nor is it breaking news.  China is quite keen to throw its hat into the arena, and there are a variety of reasons for that, but the big one is that every time the Fed turns on the printing presses, China, as a large holder of US debt, loses wealth.  Let’s face it: no country or business in their right mind wants to run the risk of continually flushing their own wealth down the toilet.  It doesn’t make sense.

Instead, over the last year or so, China and Russia have been leaning towards using the yuan as a settlement currency.  A settlement currency is exactly what it sounds like: currency that is used to settle financial agreements.  For example, many oil exporting nations trade in US dollars, euros, etc.  These would be settlement currencies for those nations.  Notable, at this point, is that Iran doesn’t accept the US dollar as a settlement currency.  Hold that thought, and we’ll come back to it.  (You may also refer back to my earlier article, “The Usual Suspects,” where I briefly discussed Iran’s oil bourse.)

Back before the Iraqi invasion, Saddam Hussein made the decision to sell Iraqi oil in exchange for “petroeuros,” which would have put the dollar out of business in Iraq by making the euro the settlement currency for its oil trade.  Shortly thereafter, President Bush declared war on Iraq.  We all know how that event went for Saddam, and we all know what Iraq looks like today.  It is fair to say that the US government doesn’t take well to other leaders messing with their cash flow.  We have a strikingly similar situation going on in Iran today.

Why are petrodollars so important?  Well, it essentially allows the Fed to continue printing money (monetizing the debt) without that money creation having a drastic effect on prices at home.  Why is that?  Because foreign countries will buy up that money and use it to trade for oil and gold.  China has long been the biggest financier of the US trade deficit by keeping the price of the yuan artificially low, which directly harms Chinese consumers and businesses by subsidizing the US markets.

However, China is now making its move to push the yuan to international stardom.  For those paying attention, the signs are there.  China is attempting to push the yuan to the forefront as a potential replacement for the US dollar.  France and other countries have participated in talks with China concerning a move away from the US dollar.  That said, a changing of the guard for reserve currencies is not something that will happen overnight.  According to an article by Ron Hera entitled “China’s Dragons: Oil, Gold, and the US Dollar,” the removal of the US petrodollar as the settlement currency of choice will big a large nail in the coffin of the US dollar’s dominance in the world markets.

Why is that true?  Hera uses Paul van Eeden’s Actual Money Supply (AMS) model to show how large the US monetary base (M3 line) has grown since 1971.  Assuming a rate of approximately 8% monetary inflation per year with interest compounding yearly, the monetary base has grown by about 1,863% since 1971.  However, Hera goes on to point out that the prices of US consumer goods has only risen 533%, which leaves 1,330% hanging out there in the wind.  How has this been possible?  Petrodollars.  Most of those dollars that have been printed by the Fed have been used on the global markets for dollar-based transactions (oil, gold, currency reserves, etc.), rather than kept at home and allowed to inflate the price of goods in the home market.

At this point, the picture is becoming clearer and clearer.  Let’s go back to the subject of Iran.  Iran is accepting most anything for its oil except US dollars, and China recently signed a deal with Iran that promised expansion of trade, with the provision that those deals not be settled in dollars or euros.  In fact, Iran stopped trading its oil for dollars in 2007.  China gets about 11% of its oil from Iran, according to CIA data from June 2011.  Interestingly, this 11% of China’s oil amounts to 22% of Iran’s oil exports.

So why is the US getting belligerent about Iran?  Is it because Iran is a threat to US national security with its supposed nuclear weapons?  While the government and its media drones would like for the masses to believe that is the case, the reality of the situation leads us down an entirely different avenue.  It seems more likely that the US is trying to protect its economic interests, rather than merely maintain a stranglehold on the world’s oil supply.  I have long heard so-called intellectuals beating the drum of “no war for oil,” but the reality of the situation is hardly so simple.  The US is not going to war for oil: it’s going to war to prevent economic shutdown.  The petrodollar is arguably one of the major assets keeping the dollar – and the US economy – above the water.

But we must also look at this as an act of aggression against China, in some respects.  China is a direct competitor for oil, for China is a mass consumer  of oil, second only to the US, and it will need more as production and economy expand.  The US is standing directly in China’s way, and although many are neglecting to look at this important perspective, it should not simply be ignored.  The battle of currencies and oil is pertinent and of the utmost importance to the national and world economies.  While we are fighting a secret cold war with China right now, most hot wars are fought for economic reasons, and I do not believe that it would be out of the question for this to turn warmer as time wears on.

The bottom line for the US is this: we must begin to live within our means immediately, and we must work to shrink the money supply.  To fail to curtail spending and monetization of debt will be our (silent) undoing.  The majority of Americans do not understand this, not because they are stupid, but because they are grossly misinformed by the government and media.  We are being made to believe in a terrorist threat that may or may not exist so that the people will approve of these endless wars in the oil-producing nations.  If the worst comes to pass, and the public ever discovers the truth, I believe that there will be hell to pay.

Please pass along this information.  Educate yourself, your family, and your friends about these issues.  If we ignore the reality of this situation, we will surely reap exactly that which we have sown.  God help us.

Please read the article by Ron Hera.  I found it compelling and interesting.

China’s Dragons: Oil, Gold, and the US Dollar

A New Reserve Currency to Challenge the Dollar: What’s Really Going on in the Straits of Hormuz” by Golem XIV

Nobody Understands Debt… Least of All Paul Krugman

Good evening, freedom lovers!

A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to this Paul Krugman article in the New York Times.  Call me an onerous libertarian, call me a stickler for the Austrian school of economics, but honestly, it blows my mind that people listen to this man.  What he says has no basis in reality at all.

If you don’t feel like reading it, the basic idea behind it is that the US debt is irrelevant, because it’s mostly money that we owe to ourselves.  He also says that it’s not that big a deal because as long as our tax base is growing faster than our debt, we’re fine.  Does this sound like shaky ground to anyone besides me?

He talks about people waiting for interest rates to go soaring, citing the Heritage Foundation in particular as a group that has been waiting for this very action.  Well, the Federal Reserve holds the key to the interest rates; it keeps them artificially low.  Were it not for the Fed, interest rates likely would be soaring.  Interest rates serve as a marker for malinvestment, but when those rates are kept low such as we are seeing right now, there is no cue for businesses to stop investing in an area that doesn’t serve the market.  Instead, the malinvestment continues, and the market never rights itself.

What Krugman never points out here is that continual debt creation is a necessity in a fractional reserve banking system.  I have explained in previous articles how banks create money out of thin air to be loaned to other people.  I am not going to give you a re-tread, but you would like a refresher on how the fractional reserve system works, check out this article from the Mises Institute by Robert P. Murphy.  Essentially, if all debts, government and private, were to be paid off, the money supply would effectively cease to exist.  As such, the debt is a fairly decent indicator of how much money exists on the market today.

So why is that problematic?  Easy.  Hyperinflation.  Remember Weimar Germany?  They turned on the printing presses, and look how that worked out for them?  By the time it was all said and done, their money was better suited for heating the house than for buying goods and services.  And unfortunately, we are running headlong down a path that ends with the same fate.

This is not some ruse to scare people.  I am not irritated and going against Krugman just for the sake of being contrary.  When the money supply continues to expand at ever-increasing rates, it is natural that the value of the money will go down because the money is not scarce.  Now, that might not be easy to see in the eyes of the average American.  A lot of folks are struggling to put food on the table.  Money, for these people, does seem like a scarce thing.  However, it isn’t scarce for banks and other direct benefactors of the Federal Reserve’s policy of easy money.  It’s interesting that most Keynesians are so vehemently against “trickle down economics” when it seems like that’s what they’re advocating: pump more money into banks and hope that the American people get some of it!  Well, the middle classes and the poor are the very last people to see that money.

As for the WWII debt not mattering, well, our economy flourished in spite of our debt after the war.  Why?  Because most every other country in the world had to buy goods from us to get their economies up and going again.  America mobilized in a way never before seen in history in order to help win the war.  We were a manufacturing powerhouse, and that’s not bragging; it’s a simple fact.  Because we suffered very little on our home soil, we were in an excellent position to bail others out in the post-war era.  Thus, we were able to pay down our debt.  As everyone knows, the times have changed.

My final (major) beef with this article is the insinuation that the government should be spending money on unemployment.  The government should be doing no such thing.  Taxes do not create wealth.  The government never has and never will be the creator of wealth.  Only the private sector can create wealth, and by increasing taxes on the American people, the result will only be a further destruction of jobs.

For example, let’s say that the rate of taxation for small business is increased by 6%.  That seems like a relatively small number, right?  Let’s then assume that the business has an annual gross income of $950,000.  Now, let’s say that the business has three employees, plus the owner-CEO.  The owner pays himself an annual salary of $75,000.  The three employees are each paid an annual salary of $32,000.  This amounts to exactly 18% of the company’s gross.  An annual 6% tax increase would cost $57,000 for that business.  That is nearly equivalent to the yearly pay for two of the three employees.  When looked at from this perspective, it is much easier to see why that business owner might want to keep that money for the business.  Maybe the business needs new equipment.  Maybe the employees need/want a better health or dental plan.  Maybe the owner wants to increase the size of the business and hire another employee.  These prospects potentially go out the window with the tax hike.

When you judge Krugman’s logic from all angles, it makes you wonder what he’s thinking.  In a nutshell, he is advocating that the Fed continue printing money, that the government raise taxes on all Americans, and that the government spend more money.  How the hell does he think we got into this mess, anyway?

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