By Ron Paul
While I am not a supporter of President-Elect Trump, I am a supporter of sorting out the truth. When it comes to the 'Russian hacking' allegations, I agree with Julian Assange that there just isn't any evidence or proof that has been provided.
Since the end of World War II up until the year 2000, the U.S. government meddled in 81 different elections around the world. Perhaps we Americans should focus on what our own government does instead of stirring up trouble with outsiders for political advantages.
I discuss in detail below:
By Simon Black
I remember the first time I ever saw a $100 bill.
It was back in the early 80s, I must have only been 5 or 6 years old.
My parents took my sister and I to a fancy restaurant, and I distinctly remember a man dressed in a dark business suit a few tables over paying his bill with a crisp $100 note.
He pulled it out of his wallet, slid it onto the table, and walked away.
I was dumbfounded. It was more money than I had ever seen in my young life.
None of my friends had ever seen a $100 bill, and I was the big news at school the next day, regaling the whole class with stories of my proximity to such vast wealth.
Of course, back then, a $100 bill truly was a rare sighting because prices were so much lower.
A can of Campbell’s soup was 25 cents. Today it costs 4x as much.
A movie ticket ran about $3.50, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. Today it’s almost to $9.
Gasoline was 86 cents per gallon. Now it’s $2.20, and that’s after a major price collapse.
$100 could practically pay the rent in a lot of places back in the 80s.
That’s obviously no longer the case. Even a mundane trip to the grocery store can easily blow through $100 without feeling unusual.
$100 simply isn’t the awe-inspiring symbol of wealth that it used to be. And that’s because of inflation.
One measure of this trend is the average lifespan of the $100 bill.
As money changes hands during routine transactions, the constant wear and tear eventually starts to break down the paper.
You probably have a few bills in your wallet that look like they’re about to disintegrate.
The more frequently a bill is used, the faster that breakdown occurs.
According to the Federal Reserve, for example, a typical $1 bill lasts for about 5.8 years before becoming so fragile that it gets withdrawn from circulation and destroyed.
A $100 bill, on the other hand, lasts for 15.0 years.
This makes sense given that a $1 bill is used so much more frequently.
But what’s interesting is that, even as late as 2011, the average $100 bill lasted 21.6 years before becoming worn out.
So according to Federal Reserve data, the average lifespan of a $100 bill has fallen by more than 30% over the last several years.
This is primarily due to a significant increase in use, i.e. $100 bills are used more frequently in day-to-day transactions… at the gas station, grocery store, and even coffee shop.
Naturally, this increased use of the $100 bill is because prices are higher than they’ve ever been– you can’t pay the grocery bill anymore with a twenty.
Wages and salaries have also increased over time. But not as fast as living costs.
According to the US Department of Labor, most people are still earning less than they were 17-years ago when adjusted for inflation.
And that’s precisely the point: inflation is a very deliberate and sustained form of theft.
When prices rise faster than income levels, they’re ultimately stealing from your standard of living.
But not just once.
Inflation steals from you month after month, year after year. It never stops.
This has long been a common tactic for financially desperate governments throughout history.
Think about it– if they sent gun-toting police to your house demanding 2% of your wealth, there would be rioting in the streets.
But if the government and central bank engineer 2% inflation, no one cares.
And that’s the really amazing thing about inflation: governments and academia have managed to convince people that a little bit of inflation is totally normal.
They start early, even teaching students this garbage in high school economics classes.
Of course, they always forget to teach the part about how destructive inflation is over time.
2% inflation compounded year after year after year can have an explosive effect, doubling, tripling, and quadrupling prices.
The thing is, though, because inflation occurs so gradually, it feels ‘normal’.
Only when we look back to the past can we see how dramatically inflation has changed people’s lives.
The US Labor Department reports, for example, that in the late 1960s, fewer than half of households with children were dual income.
In other words, one parent supported the family on a single income.
Today in nearly 70% of households with children, BOTH parents have to work in order to make ends meet.
Just like the dramatic decline in the purchasing power of a $100 bill, this trend is a prime example of how inflation steals from people over time.
Policymakers will always downplay inflation.
Back in 2011 Federal Reserve official Bill Dudley infamously responded to soaring food prices by citing the fact that an iPad 2 was cheaper than an iPad 1.
(Prompting one reporter to say, “I can’t eat an iPad!”)
They may even reinvent the way they calculate inflation.
But despite the speeches and statistics, most of which focus on monthly or quarterly changes, the long-term effects of inflation are very much with us.
And they aren’t going away.
It would be foolish to assume that the people who are causing this problem will suddenly fix it.
If anything, they’ll make it worse.
In fact, central bankers around the world have been concerned that inflation isn’t high enough… as if a brief period of price stability is somehow a bad thing.
We should absolutely expect higher inflation.
Central bankers want inflation. Governments want inflation. And they’re the ones who have the power to make it happen.
This article was originally published at Sovereign Man
Tomorrow the Senate will take up Donald Trump's nominee for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions. Should libertarians cheer or be worried about an AG Sessions?
By Ron Paul
Last week, as the mainstream media continued to obsess over the CIA’s evidence-free claim that the Russians hacked the presidential election, President Obama quietly sent 300 US Marines back into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. This is the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone, and it represents a final failure of Obama’s Afghanistan policy. The outgoing president promised that by the end of his second term, the US military would only be present in small numbers and only on embassy duty. But more than 8,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan as he leaves office.
When President Obama was first elected he swore that he would end the US presence in Iraq (the “bad” war) and increase US presence in Afghanistan (the “good” war). He ended up increasing troops to both wars, while the situation in each country continued to deteriorate.
Why are the Marines needed in the Helmand Province? Because although the foolish and counterproductive 15-year US war in Afghanistan was long ago lost, Washington cannot face this fact. Last year the Taliban controlled 20 percent of the province. This year they control 85 percent of the province. So billions more must be spent and many more lives will be lost.
Will these 300 Marines somehow achieve what the 2011 peak of 100,000 US soldiers was not able to achieve? Will this last push “win” the war? Hardly! The more the president orders military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, the worse it gets. In 2016, for example, President Obama dropped 1,337 bombs on Afghanistan, a 40 percent increase from 2015. According to the United Nations, in 2016 there were 2,562 conflict-related civilian deaths and 5,835 injuries. And the Taliban continues to score victories over the Afghan puppet government.
The interventionists in Washington continue to run our foreign policy regardless of who is elected. They push for wars, they push for regime change, then they push for billions to reconstruct the bombed-out countries. When the “liberated” country ends up in worse shape, they claim it was because we just didn’t do enough of what ruined the country in the first place. It’s completely illogical, but the presidents who keep seeking the neocons’ advice don’t seem to notice. Obama – the “peace” candidate and president – has proven himself no different than his predecessors.
What will a President Trump do about the 15 year failed nation-building experiment in Afghanistan? He has criticized the long-standing US policy of “regime-change” and “nation-building” while on the campaign trail, and I would like to think he would just bring the troops home. However, I would not be surprised if he accelerates US military action in Afghanistan to “win the war” once and for all. He will not succeed if he does so, as the war is not winnable – no one even knows what “winning” looks like! We may well see even more US troops killing and being killed in Afghanistan a year from now if that is the case. That would be a terrible tragedy.
By Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
Two months after the election heard around the world, I’m worried that the more things have changed, the more they have stayed the same in Congress.
Voters swept the Republican Party into full control of the federal government, expecting us to honor our promises to put a stop to a reckless status quo that is mortgaging their futures.
So what’s the first order of business for Republicans in Congress?
To pass a budget that doesn’t balance. Ever.
To pass a budget that will put our voters on the hook for $9.7 trillion of new debt over ten years.
Is that really what we campaigned on? Is that why voters turned out to the polls?
I know it’s not why Kentucky sent me to Congress.
The budget’s defenders tried to sell me on it as just a “vehicle to repeal Obamacare.” I’ve even been told that it’s “just numbers” and not really a budget. The legislation’s own title clearly says otherwise. The numbers “really” say it will add $9.7 trillion of new debt.
But if these are indeed only numbers on a page, and if what’s in the budget doesn’t actually matter, then why don’t we at least use numbers that balance? Why don’t we put a vision into the budget that represents what we as Republicans claim to stand for?
Republicans say we are the conservative party. Are we? During President George W. Bush’s eight years, and under a partially Republican Congress, the national debt doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion. The response? “Well, he had Democrats to deal with, and if we could ever take all three branches of government, things would be different.”
The debt has gone on to nearly double again under President Obama, and finally the conservative party – the supposedly conservative party – has won all three branches.
So what are we looking at? More debt, with the same kind of numbers we rightfully railed against during the Obama years!
By Tyler Durden
Seven years after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," despite having been in office for less than one year and having pretty much no actual, tangible foreign diplomacy accomplishments at the time, President Obama will depart the White House having dropped 26,171 bombs on foreign countries around the world in 2016, 3,027 more than 2015.
According to an analysis of Defense Department data from the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan think tank, the majority of Obama's 2016 bombs were dropped on Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, Afghanistan, a country President Obama vowed U.S. troops would evacuate completely by the end of his Presidency, was also bombed over 1,300 times, a 40% increase over 2015. Per McClatchy DC:
The U.S. dropped 79 percent of the anti-Islamic State group coalition bombs in Syria and Iraq, totaling 24,287. That figure, along with others analyzed by CFR, is likely lower than the actual number dropped because one airstrike can involved multiple bombs.
Nothing like releasing Gitmo detainees back to the battlefield so that we can just bomb them all over again.
This article was originally published at Zero Hedge.
Rather than "Drain The Swamp," Congress is set to vote on a budget that will "Drain our Wallets". Ron Paul discusses the nefarious process of coming up with the federal budget, along with the Fed's role in its constant expansion. It also looks like Senator Rand Paul will be the only Republican Senator to vote against the Obamacare repeal. Find out the reason why on today's Myth-Busters!
By Jacob G. Hornberger
Ever since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, conservatives have had a field day complaining about Obamacare and promising to repeal it whenever they got the chance to do so. That chance has now arrived, with Republicans now controlling both houses of Congress and the presidency.
Now they don’t know what to do. Many people have become dependent on Obamacare. They’re likely to be left out in the cold with respect to insurance coverage if Obamacare is repealed. What do conservatives do about them?
Conservatives are now trapped by their own mantras and penchant for reform.
More fundamentally, don’t forget that there was a gigantic healthcare crisis that preceded Obamacare. That’s why Obamacare was enacted — to resolve the big crisis in healthcare. That crisis did not suddenly go out of existence. As soon as Obamacare is repealed, that same crisis will resurface.
What do conservatives do then? Enact some conservative version of Obamacare?
There is just one big problem, however, with whatever reform plan conservatives come up with: It’s not going to work. Like every other healthcare reform plan that has been enacted since the 1960s, it will produce new crises, which will cause people to demand new reforms. It’s a never-ending process. The end of the road, of course, will be a complete government takeover of healthcare, just like in Cuba and China.
In order to resolve America’s healthcare woes, it is necessary to get to the root of the problem. That root consists of socialism, regulation, and interventionism.
Consider Medicare and Medicaid, the two massive socialist healthcare programs that were brought into existence during the Lyndon Johnson administration in the 1960s. Up to that point, the United States had the finest healthcare system in the world. Healthcare costs were low. Except for policies providing coverage for catastrophic illnesses, most people just paid for their healthcare expenses the same way they pay for their groceries and other essentials.
It’s not a coincidence that healthcare costs started soaring after Medicare and Medicaid were adopted. These two programs enabled doctors to order unnecessary tests and treatment for seniors and poor people, which sent healthcare costs through the roof.
Consider healthcare licensure. As Milton Friedman showed many years ago, medical licensure is nothing more than a protection racket, one that protects licensed healthcare providers from competition from alternative healthcare providers. As every college student learns in his first year of economics classes, constrained supplies inevitably mean higher prices.
Consider the federal income tax, which encourages employers to provide healthcare insurance coverage for their employees. Divorcing the employee who seeks medical care from the person who pays for the insurance coverage was a recipe for financial disaster because the employee no longer has any incentive to keep his healthcare costs low.
Consider government regulation of the insurance business. It prohibits or inhibits genuine interstate competition among insurance companies for people who exist all over the country.
I have said this for the entire 27 years of FFF’s existence but it bears repeating: There is one — and only one — solution to America’s healthcare woes. That solution does not involve reform of America’s socialist and interventionist healthcare system. Instead, the only solution is a total separation of healthcare and the state — i.e., the end of all government involvement in healthcare — a total free-market healthcare system.
Donald Trump supporters are convinced that he’s going to be the savior of healthcare socialism and healthcare interventionism in America. They think that he’s going to be the one that finally makes Medicare and Medicaid, occupational licensure, income tax manipulation, and insurance regulation work.
It’s not going to happen. Whatever Trump does will only make the situation worse. That’s not because he’s a bad person or incompetent. It’s because no one can make socialism and interventionism work. They are inherently defective paradigms.
People who are tempted to devote their lives and resources to healthcare reform would be better off going to the golf course instead. Healthcare reformers are just wasting their time, money, and energy. There is nothing — repeat nothing — that anyone will ever be able to do to make socialism and interventionism work. The only healthcare idea worth supporting and advocating is a free-market healthcare system, not only because it’s based on the concept of individual liberty but also because it’s the only thing that works.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Rumors are buzzing that President-elect Trump plans a big overhaul of the CIA and the intelligence community in general. Will he? Can he? And what might it look like when he's done?
By Ron Paul
Americans need to talk about not just "replacing" Obamacare, but the concept of who should be delivering medical services in a free country. Here's a hint: Not the government!
I discuss on Fox Business: