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, June 29, 2012

Romney: Let's Replace ObamaCare With The "Affordable Health Care Act"

A few weeks ago I said I was going to vote for Mitt Romney "barring any unforeseen events or catastrophic disclosures." Well, yesterday's Supreme Court decision was such an unforeseen event. Moreover, Romney's reaction to this event turned my stomach. That was catastrophic.

I had decided to vote for Romney on the theory that the country is gravely wounded and the most important thing we need to do is "stop the bleeding," i.e., defeat and replace Barack Obama. I reasoned that newly elected Tea Party politicians would keep Romney's liberal tendencies in check. I also argued that it was essential to elect Romney because he would be more likely to appoint conservatives -- like Roberts -- to the Supreme Court.

Yesterday's events changed all that. Obviously, thanks to conservative impersonator George W. Bush, the Supreme Court is already mired in a deep bowl of compassionate, intellectual mush. If you doubt it, read the ObamaCare decision, and I'm not talking about Roberts' opinion. The contradictions in his opinion have been well documented by others.

For a real eye-opener, read Ginsburg. Her dissent has nothing to do with the Constitution. Rather, it is a political polemic which argues the supposed benefits of the ObamaCare legislation. Her dissent might as well have been written by Jay Carney.

Such leftist trash from Ginsburg can be expected. However, how do you explain the following first two sentences of the dissenting opinion of the four (supposedly) conservatives on the Court (Alito, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas):
Congress has set out to remedy the problem that the best health care is beyond the reach of many Americans who cannot afford it. It can assuredly do that, by exercising the powers accorded to it under the Constitution.    
What? Where in the Constitution does it say, "assuredly," that Congress can do that? Where specifically does it say that the federal government has the power to remedy the problems faced by individual Americans based on their ability to pay for solutions? If Congress does have such a power afforded to it by the Constitution, then what is all this hubbub about? If such is so, then we are, indeed, all socialists!

Obviously, there is a problem on the Court that cannot be remedied by any appointment Mitt Romney might make, especially when Romney has already stated that he would appoint Justices in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts. Which begs the question: Why would Romney choose Roberts as a model Justice, instead of, say, Clarence Thomas, whose dissent in the ObamaCare case shows that he is the only true, strict constructionist on the Court?

Surely electing Mitt Romney would not stop the bleeding on the Supreme Court no matter how many Justices he might appoint. So lets take a look at how Romney proposes to stop the bleeding caused by ObamaCare should he win the seat in the Oval Office.

In a speech transcribed by Roll Call and reprinted in the Washington Post, Romney said yesterday:

As you might imagine, I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision and I agree with the dissent.
What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.
Repeal is good. But what then? If he had his druthers Mitt would replace the "bad policy" contained in the ObamaCare legislation with good policy. What does Mitt consider "a real reform of our health care system?"

One, we have to make sure that people who want to keep their current insurance will be able to do so. Having 20 million people - up to that number of people lose the insurance they want is simply unacceptable.

Number two, got to make sure that those people who have pre-existing conditions know that they will be able to be insured and they will not lose their insurance.
My God! I challenge any thinking American or Romney lackey to explain how this Romney "reform" is different from or preferable to the "bad policy" of ObamaCare!

I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but how on God's green earth can the phrase "pre-existing condition" coexist in the same sentence with the word "insurance?" Romney is not talking insurance, he's talking government subsidized, socialized medicine.

If you doubt Romney's socialist leanings, read the rest of his prescription to fix ObamaCare:

We also have to assure that we do our very best to help each state in their effort to assure that every American has access to affordable health care.

And something that Obamacare does not do that must be done in real reform is helping lower the cost of health care and health insurance. It’s becoming prohibitively expensive.
There you have it. In his own words Romney says he wants to replace ObamaCare with the "Affordable Health Care Act."

So remind me again, Romney lackeys, what's the difference between Romney and Obama?

Where the hell are the Tea Party politicians that are supposed to hold Romney in check when he really needs them? They better speak up quick and straighten me (and Romney) out, because I'm about a hundred and some days away from voting for Gary Johnson!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Upon the news that the US Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare and it's individual mandate, Patrick Gaspard, the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted: "it's constitutional. Bitches."

The word "bitch" has several definitions. But I think I know in which sense Gaspard was using the word (from Dictionary.com):

4. Slang . a person who performs demeaning tasks for another; servant: Tom is so her bitch; she just ordered him to go fetch her some pizza—and he went without a word.
Mr. Gaspard is right, of course. Individual Americans have just been bitch-slapped by the US Supreme Court, Mr. Gaspard and his ilk. The Democrats and progressives in this country truly believe that YOU are now officially their bitch.

In short, you are the left's official sugar-daddy without the advantage of being independently wealthy. From now on whatever the progressive, socialist parasites in Washington want and demand, YOU their BITCH must fetch, then pay for it. Nancy Pelosi wants more food stamps, no problem. Harry Reid wants more free college education, yo! Barbara Boxer wants paid maternity leave for her minions, no matter! Bend over, bitches. And you had better smile and say thank you "ma'am" while you're servicing them.

Think about that as you drive to work tomorrow, bitches!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bernanke Contributes To Obama's Reelection Campaign

Helicopter Ben is extending "Operation Twist" through the end of 2012 to the tune of an additional $267-billion. For those interested in a financial explanation of what that means, read this.

Here's what it means in plain English: The federal government's deficit and debt machine has another short term lease on life, i.e., the can is being kicked down the road at least beyond Presidential election day. It also means the Fed is running short on ways to keep interest rates at near zero -- barring, that is, more blatant money printing which, mark my words, will come sooner rather than later.

When it does, the stock market will go up lead by financial equities as banks open the lending flood gates just enough to float the economy, enabling Maximum Leader Obama to say -- in late October -- that he's finally fixed the economy: "We've weathered the worst of the storm. Full speed ahead!"

And the economy will be fixed, temporarily, that is if Helicopter Ben provides a big enough splash. Of course, after Obama surfs Ben's wave to reelection, it will crash on the beach as it runs out of energy. Then a rip tide will grab hold and it's back into the doldrums for Obama and the rest of us.

The only way out of this endless loop of waves, crashes and rip tides is for the Washington parasites to print more and more money, i.e., make a bigger and bigger splash, which Helicopter Ben will attempt to do. This, of course, will create an eventual hurricane surge of price inflation which the official parasitic statisticians will not see. But you will, and you'll feel it as well.

Bernanke will see it and he'll try to hold the ocean back...and if he's successful this dangerous wave will recede until... ...until who knows?

Does anyone else feel that we're living through the pages of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged?

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Choice Is Ours: Profit Or Slavery

Every so often we are presented with an opportunity to peer into the heart and soul of a man. On May 21, 2012 President Obama afforded us that opportunity. Commenting on Mitt Romney's work at Bain Capital, Maximum Leader Obama said:
Now, I think my view of private equity is that it is set up to maximize profit. And that’s a healthy part of the free market. That’s part of the role of a lot of business people... ...But understand that their priority is to maximize profits. And that’s not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers."
I've owned several small business in my lifetime. I chuckle when I hear people like Obama say "profit" as if it is a dirty word. What Obama doesn't understand, and what all successful business owners know for certain, is that "profit" is not "part of the role" of a business; profit is the lifeblood not only of a business but also of our economic system. Without profit a business dies. This is a hard concept for politicians to understand because most of them have never owned a business, and all of them do not have to make a profit or close up shop.

In previous posts I've described the benefits of property and a free market, as well as capitalism which combines property and a free market into a functioning economic system. These posts can be summed up in a single phrase: In a voluntary trade, both parties to the trade always win. This phrase may strike you as ephemeral or theoretical, as cute but having no concrete relation to reality. Yet, it describes to a "T" how business owners earn their living (and their profits) in our capitalist system.

Properly understood, a private business is nothing more than a prospective trading partner, a vendor offering goods and services for purchase by other businesses and individuals. There is no force or coercion involved. Like eBay, all transactions are free and voluntary. What makes the system work is profit.

When an individual "A" purchases a guitar, for example, from another individual "B" for $100 on eBay, it is obvious that "A" would rather own the guitar than $100 and that "B" would rather own $100 than the guitar. "A" and "B" value the guitar subjectively and differently. "A" thinks the guitar is worth more than $100 to him, and "B" thinks the guitar is worth less than $100 to him. Each trader is satisfied with the deal; each has made a profit, which is the difference between the value each places on the guitar and $100 in cash. If this were not so, "A" and "B" would not go through the trouble of making the trade.

Another way to put this is that profit equals the satisfaction each individual takes away from the deal. Human beings act with purpose, i.e., they act if and only if they believe their state of affairs will be more satisfactory after the action than before. If "A" and "B" were both indifferent about the trade, i.e., if neither "A" nor "B" expected to profit (to be more satisfied) as a result of the trade, they would not trade.

No individual, who values logic and rationality, is able to disprove these truths unless he assumes that human beings act without purpose, i.e., randomly, willy-nilly or at the behest of emotion or instinct. I submit (as does Ludwig von Mises) that if such an assumption is correct, then there is no significant difference between human beings and other lifeforms.

Many progressives make just this assumption. They argue that since human beings are slaves to their emotions and animal instincts, they are incapable of acting with a purpose contrary to these emotions and instincts. As a consequence, they believe human beings must be forced and coerced to act in their own best interests, which are often contrary to their emotional and instinctual impulses. They believe there must be an authority in society which forces and coerces individual human beings not only to live together amicably and peaceably, but also to trade fairly and equitably. Left to their own animal devices, human beings would prey on each other and, as in the realm of nature, the strongest would survive at the expense of the weakest.

There is a major contradiction inherent in this progressive assumption. If all human beings are slaves to their animal emotions and instincts, it follows that human beings in positions of authority in society must also be slaves to their animal emotions and instincts. How, then, are those in authority able to determine better than any other individual what constitutes fair, equitable, amicable and peaceable behavior? In order to avoid this contradiction, those in authority must assume that some human beings are slaves to their emotions and instincts and some are not. Some, namely those in authority, are blessed with the wisdom, insight and intelligence which is denied those ordinary individuals who are not in authority.

No other conclusion is logically possible.

This is the great divide in human thought that has tormented human beings and fractured their society and culture since man first walked the earth. Are all individuals capable of determining what is in their own best interests and acting upon that determination? Or are some individuals capable and others are not?

What has all this to do with profit?

If profit is satisfaction, and if all men are capable of determining what is in their own best interests and are capable of acting upon that determination to their own satisfaction, then all profit is not only legitimate but advisable. Moreover, if this is true, then capitalism with its inherent principles of private property and a free market, must be the economic system most fitting for human society.

If, on the other hand, some men are capable of determining what is in their own best interests and others are not, then some satisfaction, or profit, is legitimate and advisable and other satisfaction, or profit, is illegitimate and inadvisable depending, of course, on the ruling judgement of the authority in charge. If this is true, then capitalism is not a fit economic system for human society. It would follow, then, that some economic system that incorporates a dominant, ruling authority, like socialism, would be most fitting.

This is the choice before us. It is the choice we must make when determining what political and economic systems we will incorporate into our society.

Some say we can have the best of both worlds by establishing a pure democracy in which the people decide by majority vote which profits are legitimate and advisable and which are not. However, this suggestion is plagued by the same contradiction inherent in a system advocating a dominant authority, namely, if all individuals are incapable of deciding what is in their own best interests, then it does not follow that a majority of these individuals in any particular society will be capable. In such a system the majority becomes the domineering authority.

Others object to the capitalist economic system because in such a system all profit must be considered legitimate and advisable no matter how that profit is produced. Clearly, they say, some profit is the product of greed or other unsavory practices on the part of individual traders. As such, some profit is obviously illegitimate and inadvisable.

This is the point Maximum Leader Obama was making in his speech of May 21, 2012:
"And when you’re President, as oppose to the head of a private equity firm, and your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. Your job is to think about those workers who get laid off and how do we pay for their retraining? Your job is to think about how those communities can start creating new clusters so they can start attracting new businesses. Your job as President is to think about how do we set up an equitable tax system so that everybody is paying their fair share that allows us to invest in science and technology and infrastructure. All of which is going to help us grow."
Discriminating readers will note that Obama has fallen victim to the contradiction inherent in all arguments that advocate for an elite authority. He doesn't believe that "everybody in the country" is capable of acting in their own best interests. He thinks "workers" are unable to retrain themselves without authoritative help. He thinks communities of individuals are unable to form businesses on their own without the help of an elite in charge. He thinks the profit which results from voluntary trade between capable individuals must be taxed so the elite in authority can properly distribute and allocate these profits. He is not concerned with growth as it pertains to the satisfaction level of each individual trader. He is concerned about the growth of his own level of satisfaction as it pertains to what he thinks is best for the great collective of his imagined subjects.

Again, the choice is ours. We can either think of ourselves as incompetent dolts who need to be forcibly guided down the right path by an elite in authority, or we can act as rational, independent individuals capable of knowing what is in our best interests and what will best satisfy us.

If we choose the former, any profit we are allowed -- our individual level of satisfaction -- is subject to the whim and judgement of men in authority, like Barack Obama. If we choose the latter, the profit we enjoy -- our individual level of satisfaction -- is subject only to the judgement of our peers as we trade with them in a free and voluntary market.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"But Then Finally The Masses Wake Up"

The average, middle-income American has probably never heard of hyperinflation. Some may have read about the great hyperinflations that took place recently in Zimbabwe and almost a century ago in Weimar Germany. What sticks in the mind is the absurdity of it all. 

In Zimbabwe, for instance, the government of Robert Mugabe printed the first $100-trillion dollar note! In Weimar Germany by "late 1923, the German government required 1,783 printing presses, running around the clock, to print money!" Stories of pathetic Weimar Germans pushing wheelbarrows full of money to the grocery store to pay for a loaf of bread are common on the internet.

Not to worry, though. It could never happen here. Right?

That's what Matthew O'Brien thinks. He writes about economics in The Atlantic. On March 21, 2012 his magazine published an article entitled: "The Hyperinflation Hype: Why the U.S. Can Never Be Weimar." O'Brien is a Keynesian, or some modern variety of 17th century mercantilist. He believes that there is not enough money in the world. In his article he makes some counter-intuitive, mind-blowing points, like:
Right now getting the markets to buy our debt isn't the problem. Getting enough debt for the markets to buy is the problem.
In a March 3, 2012 article in The Atlantic, entitled "Currency Wars Are Good!", OBrien writes:
A currency war begins, simply enough, when a country decides to push down the value of its currency. This means either printing money or just threatening to print money. A cheaper currency makes exports cheaper, and more competitive exports means more growth and happier people.
And this:
The world needs more money. Currency wars create money. It's time for policymakers to forget the wrong lessons from history, get competitive, and start pushing down their currencies.
This is the pap The Atlantic is feeding its readers. But I'll return to that later. For now let's concentrate on O'Brien and his economics, which is more mysticism and pop psychology than rational argument. James E. Miller, Editor In Chief at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada, recounts Peter Schiff's recent interview with O'Brien. In that interview O'Brien says:
Right now, we need more money, I know it sounds more crazy but right now our economy is way below where it should be based on the long term trend.

The interview is worth reading in its entirety. Schiff, who is a popular Austrian economist and commentator, asks O'Brien some searing questions and receives nothing but mush in response. O'Brien is exposed as a non-thinking parrot of Keynes and Paul Krugman. Consider this exchange from the interview:

Matthew O’ Brien:
No we have a modern economy and we need money in modern economy.
Peter Schiff:
Matthew O’ Brien:
If we don’t have an economy, creating money would not do anything.
Peter Schiff:
No, look..
Matthew O’ Brien:
But we have a real economy.
Peter Schiff:
No, no, no. Dumping money on a modern economy is no different than dumping money on a primitive economy. The money itself has no value. It’s just paper. What gives money value is what we produce. And so whether it’s a simple economy or an industrial economy, it’s the production that gives money value and in order that money have value in an economy it has to be scarce. Because all money does is to allow what’s produced to be allocated throughout the economy. So who gets what? So it’s a way to give you what’s been produced. But if you simply add more money, you are not going to add any more production. All you are going to do is make the price of what’s been produced go up and there is no benefit.
Matthew O’ Brien:
No there would definitely be a benefit right now.
Obviously, O'Brien does not believe that the laws of economics are immutable over time. He's a pragmatist in the worst sense of the word. What was true yesterday is not necessarily true today, so let's throw everything against the wall, even irrational and discredited policies from centuries past, and see what sticks today. This is not economics. This is certainly not science. It is mysticism, pure and simple and it corrupts the opinion of so many today who advocate falsified economic theories like socialism and mercantilism.

In a nutshell O'Brien believes that hyperinflation is an impossibility today because Ben Bernanke and his fellow geniuses at the Federal Reserve would not allow it to happen. O'Brien claims that the great hyperinflations of history were caused by "government incompetence." Hyperinflation, he tells us, "typically begins with an economic implosion. War and revolution are the usual suspects -- or, in Zimbabwe's case, an ill-advised land reform." Since America is beset with none of these problems, she has nothing to fear. Besides, Bernanke and company are waiting in the wings to come to the rescue.

O'Brien advises Americans to rest easy.
Whatever money the Fed "prints" is stuck in the banks. That money isn't inflationary as long as the banks don't lend it out. What if the banks do start lending at a faster clip? The Fed can still effectively pay the banks not [to] lend by, for example, raising the interest on excess reserves or require the banks to set aside more money. It would be shocking for the Fed not to pursue one of these options. 
Shocking? Really? Let's accept O'Brien's argument at face value. Are we to believe that the genius Bernanke three times embarked on a policy of creating money by means of quantitative easing knowing full well that the money created must remain "stuck in the banks" or all hell would break loose?

Are you kidding me? And we're supposed to rest easy because if the money created by Bernanke is ever in danger of becoming unstuck in the banks, the Fed could simply pay the banks to keep it stuck?

You can't make this stuff up. It's Alice in Wonderland whistling in the dark.

Here's what a real economist, Ludwig von Mises, has to say about inflation in his great treatise, Human Action [emphasis mine]:
The course of a progressing inflation is this: At the beginning the inflow of additional money makes the prices of some commodities and services rise; other prices rise later. The price rise affects the various commodities and services, as has been shown, at different dates and to a different extent.

This first stage of the inflationary process may last for many years. While it lasts, the prices of many goods and services are not yet adjusted to the altered money relation. There are still people in the [p. 428] country who have not yet become aware of the fact that they are confronted with a price revolution which will finally result in a considerable rise of all prices, although the extent of this rise will not be the same in the various commodities and services. These people still believe that prices one day will drop. Waiting for this day, they restrict their purchases and concomitantly increase their cash holdings. As long as such ideas are still held by public opinion, it is not yet too late for the government to abandon its inflationary policy.

But then finally the masses wake up. They become suddenly aware of the fact that inflation is a deliberate policy and will go on endlessly. A breakdown occurs. The crack-up boom appears. Everybody is anxious to swap his money against "real" goods, no matter whether he needs them or not, no matter how much money he has to pay for them. Within a very short time, within a few weeks or even days, the things which were used as money are no longer used as media of exchange. They become scrap paper. Nobody wants to give away anything against them.

It was this that happened with the Continental currency in America in 1781, with the French mandats territoriaux in 1796, and with the German Mark in 1923. It will happen again whenever the same conditions appear. If a thing has to be used as a medium of exchange, public opinion must not believe that the quantity of this thing will increase beyond all bounds. Inflation is a policy that cannot last.
You will note that Mises says nothing about war, revolution or land reform. The onset of hyperinflation depends upon a single factor: public opinion. Of course, there is another phenomenon that is hyperinflation's necessary prerequisite: money printing.

In his article O'Brien focuses on four great, modern hyperinflations: Hungary in 1945-46, Zimbabwe in 2007-09, Weimar Germany in 1922-23, and Bolivia in 1885-86. He takes pains to analyze what motivated the authorities in these countries to wreak havoc on their currencies. Yet, the facts -- as O'Brien readily admits them -- are these: "Hungary turned to the printing press with such unparalleled gusto..." "Mugabe turned to the printing presses." In Weimar Germany just "about the only people still working were the ones manning the printing presses." And "Bolivia printed money. Lots of it."

Even if O'Brien can't see it, the lesson is crystal clear. Printing money -- "Lots of it" -- is never a good idea, no matter what the motivation.

What is also crystal clear is that hyperinflation in these sorry countries did not take place immediately after the printing presses revved up. Authorities in these countries embarked on a policy of money inflation gradually. The printing presses had been churning out money by the carload for quite some time before the proverbial shit hit the fan. Which begs the question: When does such money printing reach the tipping point?

O'Brien thinks it's when the money becomes unstuck from the banks. Mises knows better. It's when "the masses wake up." It's when public opinion recognizes that monetary inflation is not merely a stopgap measure, but a "deliberate policy" that goes on "endlessly," and that the quantity of money will increase "beyond all bounds." These are concepts that even the genius Bernanke cannot measure and counter. But this is not to say that Bernanke and modern governments are absolutely clueless.      

Central banks today are powerful and resourceful institutions. They are not so foolish and clumsy as to literally print currency as Robert Mugabe did. I would find it shocking if the US Treasury ever circulated a $100-trillion dollar note. There is a reason the US Treasury continues to mint and circulate the all but worthless penny. It perpetuates the myth in the public domain that American currency and coins are inviolable and immutable stores of value.

If O'Brien is right about anything, it is his contention that Bernanke and company at the Fed have plenty of "options" at their disposal. The Fed uses these "options" to delay and mask monetary inflation. For example, the US dollar is the world's reserve currency. Working in concert with the World Bank and foreign central banks, the Fed can manipulate financial markets and world exchange rates...but only to a point. It can stretch out it's manipulations over many, many years...to a point. By means of electronic fund transfer it can avoid the embarrassingly obvious $-trillion dollar banks notes...to a point. It can buy its own debt, pad the books of banks and prolong the inevitable...to a point. However, if monetary inflation becomes a deliberate and endless process, the public will eventually catch on, and when it does all hell will break loose.

No one can predict when finally the masses will wake up. US authorities both inside government and at the Fed do their best to hide their activities and fool the public. They manipulate official government statistics in an attempt to convince the public that inflation is virtually nonexistent. They purposely convolute and contort the country's finances to such an extent they can convince simpletons like Matthew O'Brien that Ben Bernanke is a financial genius. They educate our children in Keynesian myths that hold that persistant monetary inflation is a necessary and proper means of creating a "happier people."

However, try as they might, O'Brien, Bernanke and company cannot forestall the inevitable truth from becoming eventually known. A simple and instant Google search today reveals facts like "$1.00 in 1914 had the same buying power as $22.57 in 2012." Despite their best efforts, the authorities in charge of our money cannot prevent the ordinary American housewife from knowing the true price of a loaf of bread.

"But then finally the masses wake up." The public realizes inflation is a deliberate and endless policy. The crackup boom begins in a flash and ends with you holding the bag.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rand Paul: "Honored" To Be Considered As Romney's Running Mate

According to an article published today in The Hill, Rand Paul is amenable to being on the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney.
"A year, year and a half ago, I was a physician in a small town, and it would be a great honor to be considered as a vice president for the Republican Party," Paul told CNN. "I think that would be something that anybody who said otherwise would not be being truthful."
Reaction in libertarian quarters has been cool to say the least. Anthony Wile, founder of The Daily Bell, reacted immediately with a somewhat critical editorial which said in part:
When you compromise your basic message, you sometimes get into trouble. Rand Paul is a good example. In one stroke, he's anticipated the destruction that accepting the VP spot from Mitt Romney would entail.

At least, had Romney offered the spot to Rand Paul, the possibility of being VP might to some extent have balanced the scales. But this way, Rand Paul has acquired a burdensome legacy without ascertaining the extent of the opportunity.

Now, it is true that there was a meeting held recently between Rand Paul and Mitt Romney. Perhaps this was the secret quid pro quo. Rand Paul endorses Romney and then speaks out favorably regarding the possibility of becoming VP.

At this point, perhaps, Romney begins to actuate the process that makes it so.

We ran an analysis yesterday of Rand Paul's endorsement of Mitt Romney – concluding the father was an educator and the son was a politician.
I think Wile's analysis in the last sentence is correct. Rand Paul is a politician and that's not necessarily a dirty word. Moreover, if Romney actually does select Paul as his running mate, I would be ecstatic.

Whether Paul's selection would be politically advantageous to Romney is an open question that I choose not to explore. I'm more interested in the consequences of the selection should Romney actually be elected, which I continue to believe is unlikely.

Perhaps Romney's calculations are solely political. I don't know. On the other hand, maybe he believes that selecting Paul is one way to keep him and his Tea Party followers in line. If that's the calculation, Romney is in for a rude awakening. All one has to do for evidence is look to Joe Biden.

As Vice President, Rand Paul would sit in the catbird seat. Of course, Romney could exclude him from being privy to workings of his inner sanctum. However, Romney could hardly take away his microphone. John McCain tried to muzzle Sarah Palin and was largely successful, only because Palin was more a politician than a committed libertarian. No so Rand Paul.

Biden is generally credited with forcing Obama to let the "same sex marriage cat" out of the bag. Imagine the effect a free-speaking Rand Paul might have on the Romney campaign and, hopefully, the Romney administration.

Friday, June 8, 2012

First, You Stop The Bleeding!

Is this man going to be the president of the United States in 2013?

As much as I'd like to answer "yes," the answer is, realistically, "NO." According to the latest polls I've seen, Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson, is polling nationally at 6%. Even in New Mexico, where Johnson spent eight years as one of the most popular and successful governors in its history, he is polling only 15%.

I was one of Johnson's earliest supporters. I agree with him on virtually every issue, except his advocacy of the fair tax. I think he would make one hell of a president. The problem is 94% of voting Americans disagree with me.

Is the moron on the left going to be the president of the United States in 2013?

Unfortunately, and in all probability, the answer is "Yes."

The latest polls have Maximum Leader Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, locked in a dead heat at 43%. However, Maximum has a substantial lead in electoral votes. Romney would need to all but sweep the "toss up" states to win.

Will the bozo on the right (relatively speaking) be the president of the United States in 2013?

Unfortunately, and in all probability, the answer is "No."

Too bad. 

Don't get me wrong. I don't trust this guy as far as I could throw him, but he's got a better chance than anybody of unseating Obama. That's why I'll vote for him (barring any unforeseen events or catastrophic disclosures).

Romney will probably not get elected president in November for two reasons: first, anti-establishment Republican conservatives will stay home rather than vote for him; and, second, idealist libertarians and classical liberals will vote for Gary Johnson rather than Romney. In my humble opinion, an individual in either of these categories ought to have his head examined.


Because the next president will most likely nominate two or three Supreme Court justices. I don't want to see another flaming progressive justice, like this Lou Costello look-alike, appointed to the court. Obama is sure to do that. Romney most likely won't. 
Another reason to vote for Romney is he'll most likely have a large contingent of Tea Party/libertarian Republicans in the House and Senate to keep him honest. Although we can't have the candidate we want on the national ticket, we are electing conservative/libertarian candidates on the state and local levels. My guess is that good people like Rand Paul are endorsing Romney for pragmatic reasons. They intend to be an influence, if not a force, in a Romney administration. 

If Romney double-crosses guys like Rand Paul, or our guys in Congress can't keep Romney in check, then it's game on for control of the Republican party in 2016, or total abandonment of it.
Yes, I understand the frustration of  those who argue that there is not a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. However, their arguments are bogus. Ron Paul, their hero and the man I supported in the primaries, is a Republican. Rand Paul is a Republican. Jim DeMint, Paul Ryan and Steve Southerland are Republicans. Scott Walker, Nikki Haley and Rick Scott are Republicans. Granted, these are not ideologically pure candidates. But they are damn sure preferable to the average scoundrel who inhabits the Democrat party.

Moreover, up until a few months ago, Gary Johnson was a Republican. Johnson was elected Governor of New Mexico as a Republican and earned his libertarian stripes as a Republican

However, the number one reason I anticipate voting for Mitt Romney in November is because of something I learned as a Boy Scout years and years ago. The first rule of first aid is stop the bleeding! The regime of Maximum Leader Obama is a knife plunged into America's back. The first thing we need to do as voters is remove the knife and stop the bleeding!

Got Drones?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Odds And Ends

As a followup to my post "No Soup For You!" ...We've all heard of Mayor Bloomberg's outrageous attempt to ban "sugary" drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York City eateries. But have you heard that California "government health officials have begun tracking down the names and addresses of natural-foods customers and showing up at their homes, demanding to confiscate any raw milk they might have...?" The same article reminds us that in recent weeks a Wisconsin judge ruled that "owners of cows have no right to the milk their herds produce."

What motivates an individual to endorse politicians who engage in such lunacy? Why would anyone advocate ceding his individual liberty to the collective? My dairy farmer uncle, whose family was raised on raw milk, is rolling over in his grave!

Speaking of nonsense, as we all know, Maximum Leader Obama has just endorsed the concept of "same sex marriage," having been backed into a corner by Vice President's Biden's endorsement of the same concept.

For literally centuries marriage has been defined as a cultural institution or a contractual union between members of the opposite sex. Now, gays and lesbians want us to believe that the institution of marriage also refers to members of the same sex. This is a corruption of the language.

For the record, I believe the government should keep its slimy nose out of the marriage business entirely. Individuals should be free to be united with who or what they want. Society and culture can deal with the issue. Parasitic politicians should mind their own business.

That said, marriage should always and only refer to the union of a man and a woman in wedlock. Why? Because that's how the word is defined. That's what the word means. Any attempt to corrupt the meaning of the word by stretching its definition seems a blatant attempt to extort the historical cache of respectability and legitimacy the word marriage has always had. Moral confusion might also be a motive.

Words have meaning. The more we corrupt their meaning, the harder it becomes to communicate. For instance, we all know that a mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey. What purpose would it serve to begin referring to a mule as a cross between a horse and another horse? Or a donkey and another donkey?

Similarly, water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. Would it make sense to speak of "same element" water?

The new socialist Maximum Leader of France has decided to pull all French troops out of Afghanistan by the end of this year. ...Maximum Leader Obama has decided to pull American troops out of Afghanistan by 2014. Meanwhile, last month 36 US troops were killed in Afghanistan. Out of a total of 1,881 US troops killed in Afghanistan since the war began, 124 have been killed this year.

For what?

How does French President Hollande justify the death of a single French soldier killed between now and the end of the year? How will President Obama explain the deaths of American troops killed between now and 2014 to the families of these troops? They died for what? What exactly can be accomplished in the next year and a half that was impossible to accomplish in the last eleven years? Will the Afghan military be any more ready to defend itself? What are our good men dying for? Peace with honor?

What absolute nonsense! We've heard it all before...in Korea...in Vietnam...in Iraq...and now in Afghanistan. Bring our boys home now!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Even If Walker Wins Tonight, It's Not Over In Wisconsin

Unfortunately, thugs don't let up until they're beat to a pulp.

I predict that even if Walker wins tonight in Wisconsin, the election will be plagued by legal challenges, both from in-State filings and federal DOJ filings.

There are enough crazy loon, leftist judges in Wisconsin to do whatever the unions want, and Eric Holder didn't send his troops up there just for exercise.

Ironically, it's probably the Walker forces who will have the strongest case that the election was messed with. I was listening to the Chris Plante talk show today and he took a call from a caller who claimed to be riding to Wisconsin on a bus to vote illegally against Walker. The bus, along with 4 or 5 others was filled with 40-50 union members from Michigan. Here's the story via The Blaze.

What these union thugs and jerks have to realize is that ours is not a prison society. In this country we cooperate with others because we want to. If the unionists and leftists think they can force individuals Americans to cooperate with them, they've got another thing coming. Force and cooperation are contradictory ideas.

Twice before Americans have gone to battle with their brothers. A third time is not unthinkable.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Great Socialist Conflation

In my last post I focused on the free market, that often criticized and much despised process of free individuals mutually and voluntarily exchanging their property without direction or interference from the state.

The most common criticism of the free market is that it is unfair, i.e., not all traders on the free market are endowed with the same level of talent, ambition, fortitude and good health. Some in society cannot or do not want to participate in the free market to support their lifestyle. They are repulsed by the market's competitive nature. They find the judgement of the market harsh and dehumanizing. They fear failure or envy success.

Another popular criticism of the market is that its outcomes are inequitable. Some individual traders are successful; some not so successful; and others, those who refuse to participate, are relegated to surviving on handouts from others. These critics value equality of outcome, which is anathema to free market capitalism. They lobby for a system of property and exchange which is controlled by authority and in which equitable outcomes are coerced.

In socialist dream societies every individual has more or less the same standard of living and enjoys more or less the same "necessities" of life. Of course, these "necessities" are defined by the societal authority and are provided by the societal authority by means of robbing Peter to pay Paul. The authority taxes the productive and redistributes the confiscated loot to the less productive.

Such a system is by nature uncompetitive. The talented individual is granted the same outcome as the untalented. Ambition earns the same reward as sloth. The resolute and the spineless enjoy the same standard of living. Health and infirmity are equivalent conditions. There is no success, no failure, no envy.

The reality of course is that those in authority cannot help but keep for themselves a larger share of goods and services than they distribute to the masses. The elite in power use their position and authority to their own great advantage. They exempt themselves from the laws they make to govern the masses. They eat the best food, live in the most magnificent palaces and surround themselves with adoring sycophants who do their bidding in return for dropped table scraps. Their life is one of luxury and ease as compared to the bleak, subsistence-level living they impose on their subjects.

Ironically, this variety of inequality and unfairness is discounted by the socialist dreamer as something that goes with the territory. In other words, socialist leaders deserve the best. They are, after all, shouldering the burden of decision-making for the masses. Their responsibility is overwhelming. Thus, their expertise and extraordinary wisdom and vision must be rewarded with creature comforts undeserved by the ordinary citizen.

How can the ordinary citizen be certain that those in authority are truly the best and the brightest among them? The answer is democracy. As the saying goes, there is wisdom in numbers. If, as the dreamers envision, the majority of the masses elect their maximum leader, then that maximum leader is sure to be the wisest and most beneficent leader of all...so long as the election is fair and honest. That is, so long as everyone is allowed to vote, and the votes are tallied honestly. If such is the case, the cream must rise to the top and the will of the people must be served.

And what of the minority who cast dissenting ballots? They will learn to love and obey their new maximum leader and all his edicts for the sake of community peace and the common good.

It is more than ironic that those socialists who value fairness and equality with religious fervor hold up as their god economic democracy. Why is this ironic? Because the free market, which socialists despise, is the purest form of economic democracy ever created. Ludwig von Mises had much to say about this subject. In his book Bureaucracy he writes:
The capitalist system of production is an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote. The consumers are the sovereign people. The capitalists, the entrepreneurs, and the farmers are the people’s mandatories. If they do not obey, if they fail to produce, at the lowest possible cost, what the consumers are asking for, they lose their office. Their task is service to the consumer. Profit and loss are the instruments by means of which the consumers keep a tight rein on all business activities.
 In Planned Chaos Mises writes:
The market is a democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote. It is true that the various individuals have not the same power to vote. The richer man casts more ballots than the poorer fellow. But to be rich and to earn a higher income is, in the market economy, already the outcome of the previous election. The only means to acquire wealth and to preserve it, in a market economy not adulterated by government-made privileges and restrictions, is to serve the consumers in the best and cheapest way. Capitalists and landowners who fail in this regard suffer losses. If they do not change their procedure, they lose their wealth and become poor. It is the consumers who make poor people rich and rich people poor.

And in Human Action he writes:
"The democracy of the market consists in the fact that people themselves make their choices and that no dictator has the power to force them to submit to his value judgments."
The question is: Why do those collectivists who adore economic democracy and democratic socialism damn free market capitalism which, as Mises describes, is the very definition of economic democracy?

The answer lies in confusion and misunderstanding. Socialist critics conflate free market capitalism, as described by Mises, with crony capitalism, as it exists today in the United States. As I've said before, socialism and capitalism are separate and contradictory economic systems. Once those in authority overrule the individual's right to own property and to trade property, freely and voluntarily, without state intervention, that economic system is no longer free market capitalism, but socialism, more or less, depending on the degree to which the state intervenes.

Property is either owned and controlled by individuals or it is not. The market in which property is traded is either free or it is not. If it is not, then that system is authoritative and socialistic.

But let's put aside our discussion of capitalism and socialism for the moment and examine the leftists' beloved democracy in a bit more detail.

Would leftists and progressives still hold democracy up as their god if elections were rigged? Of course not. The hallmark of a free, fair, just and equitable election is a free and voluntary vote, uncoerced by a third party or an authority. Moreover, the candidates must stand for election on equal ground, i.e., they must be allowed the same opportunity to speak and be heard, to solicit votes, to travel to all corners of the district, to gather assemblies, to buy advertising, to appear on mass media and to print pamphlets. We can all agree that any interference by an authority with a candidate's ability to do these things is unfair and unjust cronyism.

Furthermore, the election ballots must be honestly counted and the candidate with the most votes must be declared the winner. We can all agree that any election not conducted in this manner makes a travesty of democracy. In short, a rigged election is no election at all; it is tyranny attempting to hijack the halo of legitimacy that a just election confers on authority.

Now consider economic democracy as it is currently practiced in the United States. Certain markets are not open to all producers and suppliers who want to compete. The federal government restricts the sale of certain commodities to favored producers. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and taxi drivers must meet strict requirements and obtain restrictive licenses or they are forbidden to practice their trade. Government authorities, like the FDA, OSHA, EEOC and a host of other dictatorial, alphabet-soup agencies, restrict the business of certain suppliers and producers by imposing onerous and outlandish requirements to do business. These requirements are often purposely convoluted and expensive, insuring that only the wealthiest and largest, corporate suppliers and manufacturers qualify.  

Furthermore, the federal government subsidizes certain manufacturers, like those experimenting with wind and solar power, and penalizes other manufacturers with ridiculous environmental rules and regulations, insuring that some entrepreneurs succeed and others fail.

Moreover, the federal government has declared that some producers and suppliers are "too big to fail," thus ensuring that favored financial speculators and bankers will never be subject to the judgement of consumers in the marketplace.

Imagine a political election in the United States in which a candidate was declared "too good to lose." Imagine an election wherein the government stuffs the ballot box with votes for its preferred candidate, or declares the winner of the election before the ballots are counted.

When the political election process is corrupted by government meddling, leftists, progressives, rightists and conservatives are all smart enough to notice and criticize government coercion and cronyism. They don't disparage the democratic system of free and honest elections.

However, when the economic marketplace is corrupted by government meddling, all these factions grow suddenly blind and stupid. Rather than criticize government coercion, interventionism and cronyism, they disparage the capitalistic system of free and voluntary exchange.

Recently, the US President signed into law sweeping health care legislation that will control and regulate every aspect of the industry from doctors and nurses to drug manufacturers and health insurers. For the first time in history, Americans will be forced to purchase a service from a government-designated supplier. If they refuse, they will be fined. Although this President says he believes in the free market, although these health sector producers and suppliers say they believe in market forces, although government bureaucrats condescend to say that consumers will still reign supreme in the health marketplace, we know by their actions that none of this is true. They pay lip service to the market but scramble to kiss the ring of the elite authority in charge.

The bottom line is that critics who decry free market capitalism are either ignorant or intellectually dishonest. They should know full well that the capitalism they criticize so violently is not free market capitalism, but crony capitalism, bought and paid for by the privileged cronies, owned and controlled by the powerful, parasitic few who pull the strings and levers behind the scenes.

Life Altering Experience...

Friday, June 1, 2012

You Can't Make A Silk Purse Out Of A Sow's Ear

In a previous post I suggested that private property is the keystone of liberty. Today I'd like to focus on the "free market," which is the hallmark of a proprietary society, i.e., a society in which individuals are guaranteed an absolute right to own and control property. Property and the free market go hand-in-hand because mutual and voluntary trade is the only legitimate means by which property may be exchanged in a proprietary society.

The "free market" is an economic concept. As such it has no physical reality. It is not a thing, like the New York Stock Exchange. Neither is it a place, like Wall Street. The "free market" is a mode of human action in which free individuals mutually and voluntarily exchange what they own and control in a manner of their own choosing, without supervision, interference or intervention from a third party.

There are those who despise the free market. They say that capitalism, which is the economic system based on private property and free markets, is biased in favor of the rich, that it fails to help the poor, that it exploits workers, that it must be regulated or even eliminated in favor of a fairer and more equitable economic system, namely socialism, or some "mixed" hybrid of socialism and capitalism.

Consider the arguments made against capitalism in Section C10 of something called "An Anarchist FAQ." The author(s) deride free market capitalism based on aggregate, economic statistics which supposedly describe the historical outcomes of proprietary societies:
Looking at the history of capitalism, it appears that social-democratic capitalism, with strong unions and a welfare state, produces not only more growth but also more equitable growth (as one expert notes, "[i]f the 'welfare state' were abolished and taxes reduced accordingly, society would become a great deal more unequal." [John Hills, "Inequality and the State," p. 195]). Movements to more laissez-faire capitalism has [sic] resulted not only in lower growth but also growth which accumulates in fewer hands (which makes sense considering the basic anarchist insight that a free exchange benefits the stronger of the two parties).
We all have heard the famous Mark Twain quotation: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." I am always amused by critics of the free market who are eager to ground their arguments in the fog of history and statistics. Economic analysts on cable TV debate historical economic statistical data nightly, literally for hours, and in the end they must always agree to disagree because economics is not physics. Economic theory must be proved or disproved by ratiocination, not empirical data.

For example, I've defined the free market as follows:
The process by which free individuals in a proprietary society, in the manner of their own choosing, mutually and voluntarily exchange what they own and control without supervision, interference or intervention from a third party.
I challenge critics of the free market to demonstrate, by means of statistical analysis, that the process described above must somehow result in unsatisfactory outcomes for particular individual participants in the process, when satisfaction is considered from the point of view of the individual participants themselves.

When two individuals mutually and voluntarily trade property, both individuals must benefit or the two would not trade in the first place. This is an obvious and indisputable truth. Each trader, for reasons known only to himself, values the property exchanged differently. For instance, if trader A and trader B agree to an exchange of A's apple and B's orange, isn't it obvious that trader A values the orange more than the apple and that trader B values the apple more than the orange? Doesn't it stand to reason that in this trade both A and B benefit from the exchange, when "benefit" is considered from each trader's own point of view?

Now expand and extend this trading experience to an entire proprietary society of individuals, millions of A's and B's mutually and voluntarily exchanging property. Isn't it true that all individual traders in this scenario must benefit? How could the critic of the free market use statistics to "prove" that each individual trader did not benefit, or that some group or class of traders did not benefit, or that some class of traders exploited another class of traders and thus benefited at the other's expense?

The truth is the critic can prove nothing...unless he makes one or both of the following assumptions. First, he analyzes each trade from his own point of view rather than from the point of view of each trader. Second, he assumes the trade was not really mutual and voluntary. Honest readers will notice that the anarchist response above makes both assumptions. 

First, the anarchist argument uses value-laden and nebulous concepts such as "growth" and "equitable growth" as arbitrary benchmarks of analysis and, second, it relies on something called the "basic anarchist insight" to prove "that a free exchange benefits the stronger of the two parties," which is an obvious contradiction in terms. How could an exchange be "free" on the one hand, i.e., mutual and voluntary, and on the other hand be coerced, i.e., not mutual and voluntary, by the "stronger" of two individuals making the exchange?

Psychobabble and sloppy logic is not economic analysis. A market is either free or not free. An exchange is either mutual and voluntary or coerced. Logic won't allow us to have it both ways. In a free market both individuals benefit. End of story.

Of course, critics of the free market do not end the story there. They are quick to point out that some traders are clever and others are not. Some traders are liars and others are gullible. Some traders own much property and others not so much. As a consequence, some traders are unsatisfied with their trade after the fact. Critics of the free market are quick to create arbitrary classes of these types of regretful traders. They are quick to aggregate traders suffering from buyer's remorse and create statistics describing that remorse. In short, they indict the free market not because all individuals are free to engage in mutual and voluntary trade of their own property, but because the outcomes of these trades may be judged by an outside observer, for one arbitrary reason or another, as unsatisfactory after the fact.

This is where, as they say, the rubber meets the road in discussions of private property vs. public property, of capitalism vs. socialism. Capitalists concern themselves with the circumstances of the trade. They insist that all property traded be private. They insist that all trades be mutual and voluntary. Socialists concern themselves with the outcomes of trades. They insist that property be either collectively owned or collectively controlled. They insist that all trades be supervised and coerced by the rules and regulations of some social authority.

Obviously, by means of society individuals can organize themselves into any trading or economic system they can mutually agree upon. But, as Ludwig von Mises and other economists deftly point out, each of these economic systems produces differing results and consequences. Aggregate individual satisfaction in these societies is not independent of the means by which trades are consummated, and production of goods and services in these societies is not independent of the means by which these goods and services are distributed.

In free market capitalism all property is privately owned and controlled by individuals. You make all life's decisions and decide what's best for you. All trades are mutual and voluntary. At the time of the trade both parties are always satisfied. Prices are determined strictly by the interplay of individuals in the marketplace. The aggregate demands of individual consumers decide which goods and services will be produced, in what quantities and how they will be distributed. Individuals are free to choose with whom they do business. Individuals decide for themselves the ends they will seek and the means they will use to attain them. Success or failure in attaining these goals depends on each individual's personal ambition, talents and fortitude, as well as on his willingness to participate in the free market and to satisfy consumers' most urgent demands.

In socialism all property is publicly owned or controlled by the state. All decisions are made for you by expert do-gooders who know what's best for you. Trades are coerced by an authority. At the time of the trade one or both parties may not be satisfied. Prices are determined by supply and demand, but supply and demand are determined by state authorities, resulting in low prices and surpluses for some goods and services and high prices and shortages for other goods and services, when compared to conditions that would prevail without state intervention. State authorities decide which goods and services will be produced and in what quantities and how they will be distributed. State authorities decide with whom an individual can do business; they decide what ends an individual may properly seek and which means may properly be used to attain them. Success or failure in attaining these goals depends upon the individual's relationship with the state authority and his willingness to obey or influence that authority.

In a capitalist system the young, the old, the poor and the infirm are provided for by insurance and discriminating friends and family, along with religious and other private fraternal organizations and associations. In a socialist system, all individuals, by virtue of their being human, are provided life's necessities as determined by availability and the will of the state authority.

Readers can decide for themselves which system will best satisfy them. The important point to consider is that there is no "mixed" economic system which will maximize the perceived virtues of one system and minimize the perceived vices of the other. The two systems, capitalism and socialism, are separate and contradictory. The consequences they each create are always present to a greater or lesser extent depending upon the degree to which intervention by state authority is present. Attempts to "control" or "regulate" capitalism is in fact socialism, but to a lesser degree.

There is no such thing as a free market socialist. That would be like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...