Now, where were we? Oh yeah. Here's some idiot-proof reading on the financial situation, from the Austrian school economists (you know — the ones ever vindicated by history and, therefore, ever castigated by the state's lying dupes and dumbasses whose frauds they expose daily):
Obama's Wealth Destruction
By Lew Rockwell
President Obama is under the impression that history owes him $1 trillion right now to spend on whatever he wants. His language is strident and full of irritation that anyone would question his right to live out his personal dream of being Franklin Roosevelt to George Bush’s Hoover. This, he says, is what the election was all about.
The arrogance reminds me of George Bush after 9-11, who similarly believed that history owed him a gargantuan war in the tradition of FDR. And look how that arrogance led to disgrace and loss, as he unwittingly presided over the destruction of American prosperity while searching for bugbears abroad.
It just goes to show you that the presidency is something like a drug. It makes people lose all connection to reality. Part of the reality that Obama needs to recognize is that the New Deal was a calamity far worse than the initial market downturn that began it. He needs to stop basing his policies on dumbed-down civics texts versions of events and consider the economic logic. Read the rest »
Instead of Stimulus, Do Nothing — Seriously
By Robert Higgs
As we wait to see how the politicians in Washington will alter the stimulus package the Obama administration is pushing, many questions are being raised about the measure's contents and efficacy. Should it include money for the National Endowment for the Arts, Amtrak, and child care? Is it big enough to get the economy moving again? Does it spend money fast enough? Hardly anyone, however, is asking the most important question: Should the federal government be doing any of this?In raising this question, one risks immediate dismissal as someone hopelessly out of touch with the modern realities of economics and government. Yet the United States managed to navigate the first century and a half of its past – a time of phenomenal growth – without any substantial federal intervention to moderate economic booms and busts. Indeed, when the government did intervene actively, under Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the result was the Great Depression.
Until the 1930s, the Constitution served as a major constraint on federal economic interventionism. The government's powers were understood to be just as the framers intended: few and explicitly enumerated in our founding document and its amendments. Search the Constitution as long as you like, and you will find no specific authority conveyed for the government to spend money on global-warming research, urban mass transit, food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, or countless other items in the stimulus package and, even without it, in the regular federal budget.This Constitutional constraint still operated as late as the 1930s, when federal courts issued some 1,600 injunctions to restrain officials from carrying out acts of Congress, and the Supreme Court overturned the New Deal's centerpieces, the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Agricultural Adjustment Act, and other statutes. This judicial action outraged President Roosevelt, who fumed that "we have been relegated to the horse-and-buggy definition of interstate commerce." Early in 1937, he responded with his court-packing plan. Read the rest»
Why the Depression
By Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
"Advocates of the free market must confront the fact that both the Great Depression and the current financial chaos were preceded by years of laissez-faire economic policies," write Katrina van den Heuvel, editor of The Nation, and author Eric Schlossel.Knowing full well that inanities like this would become the received version of events, I wrote a book for the layman explaining what really happened to the economy, who the true culprits are, and why the free market is the only approach that hasn’t been tried. It’s called Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, and it was released yesterday. My publisher has made a free chapter available for download.
I wrote Meltdown in order to give the free-market point of view the advantage of being one of the first, if not the first, of the inevitable avalanche of books on the crisis. (Paul Krugman, as well as the editors of The Nation, have published books of rehashed columns, but those don’t count.) I also wanted the free-market point of view to have the advantage of a book-length defense in the first place. I know of one self-described libertarian who has a book on the economy coming out this year, but since he supported the bailouts, his prescription isn’t exactly going to be traditional laissez faire.And that, as we know, is the one position the establishment is trying to pretend doesn’t exist. It’s not exactly clear how the Federal Reserve’s policy of pushing interest rates well below where the free market would have set them, thereby inflating the biggest asset bubble in the history of the world, could be the fault of the free market, or attributable to "laissez faire." But since hardly anyone discusses the Fed, no one has to answer this inconvenient question. The Fed’s very existence is a violation of laissez faire. Yet the destructive effects of what it does are then blamed on the market. This charade has gone on long enough.
Here are some of the topics the book covers:
* The housing bubble and its causes
* Fannie and Freddie, the Community Reinvestment Act
* The Federal Reserve System: the elephant in the living room
* Is this a simple matter of "regulation" vs. "deregulation"?
* Who predicted the crash, who didn’t, and what that means
* The "too big to fail" dogma
* The bailouts: truth and propaganda
* Where the boom-bust cycle comes from
* The foolishness of fiscal "stimulus"
* Previous booms and busts in American history, from the Panic of 1819 to the dot-com boom, and what we can learn from them
* The policies that failed in Japan, and their eerie similarity to the policies urged upon us now
* "Great Myths About the Great Depression"
* Money, inflation, gold, silver, legal tender – and why they matter now
* Common fallacies answered
* How to minimize the (inevitable) pain
A very nice foreword from Congressman Ron Paul, for whom being vindicated is probably becoming a wearying thing, is an extremely welcome addition to Meltdown.The Austrian School is not going to have another opportunity of this magnitude to get its message heard for a long time. If we don’t seize this chance, we have only ourselves to blame. That’s why I decided to write this book.
Freedom From Government
By Ron Paul
President Obama signed an executive order last week continuing the faith-based initiatives program created by former President Bush. When the program was created, I warned that giving taxpayer money to private religious organizations would eventually lead to political control and manipulation of them. This week has provided some evidence that this was a justified concern.The logic behind funding faith-based initiatives seemed reasonable to some. Private organizations are much more effective in charitable endeavors than government programs and bureaucracies. Therefore, why not “outsource” some of the government’s welfare-state activities to these worthy organizations? This appealed to many conservatives, especially after the follow-up executive order exempting recipients from discriminatory hiring laws, which assured many that taking federal funds would not jeopardize their control over their own operations. But beware the government program started under an administration you like, for it may look a lot different under the one you don’t. Exemptions that Bush gave, Obama can take away.
But now, dependencies on federal money have been set, operations have been expanded accordingly, and many charities are waiting breathlessly for the administration to tell them what new conditions they will have to meet. With the stroke of a pen, religious charities might not be able to take into consideration a job applicant’s faith, sexual orientation or lifestyle if they wish to remain eligible for that taxpayer money that was so enticing a few years ago. Similarly, if FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) is passed, will Catholic Church hospitals be forced to offer abortion services to retain their federal funding? Can they remain solvent without it?
This is the major problem with basing a private business model on the receipt of government funds. This money does not come without control, or the future possibility of control. We are seeing parallel control grabs in industries that have recently been the recipients of taxpayer largess. Government officials are now discussing executive compensation on Wall Street, banking, and in the auto industry. How much is too much to pay someone? When is a bonus deserved? But because politicians have bought their way into these industries, these are now political decisions. It is easy to utilize class envy to whip up public support for these interventions, but government always slides down the slippery slope. Politicians are also discussing other aspects of these businesses in which they are not expert, such as, what should lending standards be? What sort of cars should we direct the auto industry to make? Once government money infiltrates a balance sheet, “taxpayers” meaning “politicians” have a say in how you operate.
Money is the Trojan horse that government uses to infiltrate and infect organizations. Funding that, on the outset, is designed to strengthen and support, will bureaucratize and regulate in the end. It is sad to see charities now having reason to focus on lobbying, regulatory compliance and paper pushing to get and retain money taken by force, rather than beefing up private, voluntary fundraising activities. Those tempted to join Washington’s ongoing bailout bonanza should instead take the famed advice of former First Lady Nancy Reagan on the acceptance of harmful and addictive substances and “Just Say No” to government money. This is the best protection from government control.