About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Friday, September 16, 2011

And The Correct Answer Is...

Last Monday's Tea Party Republican Presidential Debate was disappointing and depressing. Tea Party members asked good questions of the candidates. However, I was disappointed in the answers. The depressing part was CNN's presentation. The transcript can be found here.

Did CNN really have to introduce the debate by labeling the candidates as if they were characters in a movie: Michele Bachmann, "The firebrand;" Jon Huntsman, "The Diplomat;" Rick Santorum, "The Fighter;" and Newt Gingrich, "The Big Thinker." Oh for the good old days BSF (Before Spoon Feeding).

And why did Wolf Blitzer solicit questions from the audience and then proceed to paraphrase them for the candidates? The questions were particularly thoughtful and well-stated. Did Wolf think the candidates were incapable of understanding plain English? Or was he afraid they would understand it only too well? Here's an example:

QUESTION: Good evening. My name is Sandra Jones (ph) from Yorktown, Virginia. My question is, what would you do to get the economy moving forward? Do you have a plan? And, if so, what is it?

BLITZER: All right, good question. Let's ask Governor Huntsman. The first thing you would do as president of the United States, knowing, of course, that President Obama today formally gave legislation to Congress with his jobs plan?
Wolf's "paraphrase" isn't even close to the original question. Here are the questions asked without Wolf's spin and the correct answers the candidates should have provided.

Question: How will you convince senior citizens that Social Security and Medicare need to be changed and get their vote?
Answer: I will not try to "convince" anyone of anything to "get their vote." I will tell the unvarnished truth. Social Security and Medicare rob Peter to pay Paul. Seniors who are open to the truth may vote for me. Seniors who want to continue lying to themselves about their right to spend other people's money may not vote for me. I'll let the chips fall where they may.

Question: Do you agree with Governor Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme?
Answer: Of course it is. Like a Ponzi scheme, Social Security is not funded by invested capital of any kind. All the money received by today's Social Security recipients is taken by force of law either from today's taxpayers or tomorrow's. Social Security's so-called Trust Fund contains no real assets, only phony, unmarketable IOU's from other agencies of the federal government that have spent Social Security tax revenue as fast as it has been collected. Stripped of government lies and accounting gimmicks, Social Security is just another federal income redistribution scheme, a welfare program different from unemployment compensation and food stamps only in size and scope.

Question: What would you do to fix Social Security?
Answer: Fix it? As a great philospher once said: "You can't fix stupid." My goal is to abolish Social Security. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not only immoral, it's fiscally irresponsible. Eventually Peter runs out of money and the whole scheme crashes and burns.

Question: [W]hat is your plan to balance the budget and get this spending under control so that my children's share of the debt is erased without compromising my retired mother's already tenuous financial future?
Answer: Your question implies that years of welfare state lies, looting and distribution of the spoils can be reversed without pain and suffering. Whole generations have gotten used to living on the dole of government largesse in one form or another. My plan is to put an end to this foolishness. Those unscrupulous Americans used to living off others will get a bit riled up when we derail their gravy train. And derail it we will. No more welfare programs or stipends or grants or subsidies. No more bureaucratic, counterproductive rules and regulations. Legitimate government expenses would be balanced to the penny by revenue. The good news is the vast majority of Americans will be set free of their federal shackles. They'll go back to work and prosper. In the long run we'll all be far better off -- including you and your mother -- spending our own money and fending for ourselves.
Question: The question to you: If you were president -- it's not a difficult question -- would you vote to eliminate, to repeal those prescription drug benefits for seniors under Medicare?
Answer: Presidents don't vote, but I would certainly work to repeal all government welfare schemes. And the prescription drug program is one of them.

Question: My question is, what would you do to get the economy moving forward? Do you have a plan? And, if so, what is it?
Answer: My plan is simple: turn Washington into just another run-of-the-mill tourist town. The military, law enforcement, the judicial system and administrative operations are legitimate federal government functions. The rest can go. Anything else worthwhile the federal government does now can be done better and more cheaply by the free market. It's simple common sense. As a result, ordinary Americans will prosper again.

Question: All of you profess to be pro-business candidates for president. Can you be pro-worker at the same time?
Answer: Your question implies there are two classes of Americans whose interests are contradictory: workers and business people, labor and management, the proletariat and the bourgeosie. This is absurd Marxist nonsense. A truly free market serves the interests of all who freely trade on it. Each individual trader must offer to give something in order to get something. And it all happens peacefully, without coercion from big brother. In the free market, no one is above the law and no one is favored by the law. Traders have equal opportunity to profit and fail.

Question: What is your position on the Federal Reserve? Should it indeed be audited and be held accountable by the American people?
Answer: The Federal Reserve should be abolished. Traders on the free market can create and produce money as efficiently as they create and produce everything else. The good news is there would be no currency manipulation by government, no tampering with interest rates to serve special, monied interests, and no crony capitalism bailouts. I will not rest until the US Dollar is once again "as good as gold."

Question: My question is, out of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?
Answer: By all that is right, your private property is yours to keep and do with as you please. The dollars you honestly earn in the free market are your private property. A better question would be: How many of these dollars do you think the government has a right to take from me in taxes? The right answer is: How ever many you authorize it to take. Politicians and bureaucrats get their taxing authority from the people. However, the authority to tax is not a license to steal wealth from Peter and redistribute it to Paul. Taxes should pay for the legitimate functions of government and nothing else. If you agree with me, vote for me.

Question: My question is, would any of you be willing to support the fair tax?
Answer: I would not support the fair tax as a means of funding the big government we have now. I would support the fair tax as a means of funding only the legitimate functions of a vastly smaller government. In that case the fair tax rate should be so low as to be almost negligible.

Question: My question has to do with executive orders, under what circumstances should a president sign an executive order? And how frequently should such an order be signed?
Answer: A president should sign any executive order that reduces the scope and power of federal authority. A president should refuse to sign any executive order that increases the scope and power of federal authority.

Question: What is your plan to reduce the cost of health care so that our insurance premiums and other related costs can also be reduced?
Answer: There is only one way to bring the cost of health care and health insurance down: eliminate all government intervention of any kind in the health care and health insurance industries. Individuals who freely trade in the market place are smart cookies. They consistently create and produce the highest quality goods and services at the lowest possible price. There is no reason to believe they wouldn't do the same for health care and health insurance.

Question: Let me ask you this hypothetical question. A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, you know what? I'm not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance because I'm healthy, I don't need it. But something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it. Who's going to pay if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?
Answer: The behavior of the man in your hypothetical example is consistent with the behavior of a man who lives in a cradle-to-grave welfare state. Such men spend their money lavishly and irresponsibly, knowing that the state will compell others to bail them out in an emergency. In a free society no such state compulsion exists. In a free society this harsh reality is the incentive for imprudent men to change their behavior. Those who do not change put themselves at the mercy of friends, family and the charity of others. In short, they get what they bargained for.

Question: Yes, what -- what would you do -- what would you do to remove the illegal immigrants from our country?
Answer: My Constitutional duty: enforce the law.

Question: What are the candidates doing to attract the Latino voters?
Answer: I would say nothing or do nothing to attract "Latino" voters or any other special interest voter. The prosperity I promise by means of the free market is an opportunity available equally to all under the law.

Question: What will you do in your first 100 days in office to assure the American people that energy independence will finally become reality.
Answer: I would do what I could to establish a totally free market in the United States -- for all goods and services -- within the first 100 days of my term. The rest would be up to you and your fellow American traders.

Question: Do you plan to decrease defense spending to balance spending? Or do you believe high spending is essential to security?
Answer: As President, I would do whatever is possible, prudent and necessary to make the United States military the most powerful and lethal armed force  in the world. My task is to create in the United States the most dynamic free market the world has ever known. I will spare no expense in defending it from those would destroy it.

Question: And my question to you is, as the next president of the United States, what will you do to secure safety and protection for the women and the children of Afghanistan from the radicals?
Answer: As president, my Constitutional duty will be to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not Afghanistan. You are an Afghani. A better question is: What will you do to protect your own countrymen and women from assault?

Question: I want to go down and get your thoughts on something you would bring to the White House if you were the next president of the United States.
Answer: I imagine I'd have to bring along a change of underwear. And I would guess, Wolf, that if I'm elected President, you'll need a change of underwear yourself.

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