Today's Presidents' Day edition of the Liberty Report returns to Ivan Eland's excellent book Recarving Rushmore, where he ranks all the presidents according to whether their policies promoted peace, prosperity, and freedom. Who was best? Who was worst? What is a "great" president? Tune in!!
By Ron Paul
Last week US stock markets tumbled yet again, leaving the Dow Jones index down almost 1500 points for the year. In fact, most major world markets are in negative territory this year. There are many Wall Street cheerleaders who are trying to say that this is just a technical correction, that the bottom is near, and that everything will be getting better soon. They are ignoring the real message the markets are trying to send: you cannot print your way to prosperity.
People throughout history have always sought to acquire wealth. Most of them understand that it takes hard work, sacrifice, savings, and investment. But many are always looking for that “get rich quick” scheme. Monetary cranks throughout history have thought that just printing more money would result in greater wealth and prosperity. Every time this was tried it resulted in failure. Huge economic booms would be followed by even larger busts. But no matter how many times the cranks were debunked both in theory and practice, the same failed ideas kept coming back.
The intellectual descendants of those monetary cranks are now leading the world's central banks, which is why the last decade has seen an explosion of money creation. And what do the central bankers have to show for it? Lackluster employment numbers that have not kept up with population growth, increasing economic inequality, a rising cost of living, and constant fear and uncertainty about what the future holds.
The past decade has been a lot like the 1920s, when prices wanted to drop but the Federal Reserve kept the price level steady through injections of easy money into the economy. The result in the 1920s was the Great Depression. But in the 1920s prices were dropping because of increased production. More goods being produced meant lower prices, which the Fed then tried to prop up by printing money. Unlike the “Roaring 20s” however, the economy isn't quite as strong today. It's more of a gasp than a roar.
Production today is barely above 2007 levels, while heavily-indebted households already hurt during the financial crisis don't want to keep spending. The bad debts and mal-investments from the last Federal Reserve-induced boom were never liquidated, they were merely papered over with more easy money. The underlying economic fundamentals remain weak but the monetary cranks who run the Fed keep trying to pump more and more money into the system. They fail to realize that easy money is the cause, not the cure, of recessions and depressions. They didn't realize that prices needed to drop in order to clear all the bad debt and mal-investments out of the system. Because they don't realize that, we are on the verge of yet another financial crisis.
Don't be confused by any stock market rallies over the next few months and think that the worst is over. Remember that after Black Tuesday in 1929 the Dow Jones rallied over the next year before it began slowly and steadily to sink again. The central bankers will do everything they can to delay the inevitable. If they had allowed housing prices to fall in 2008 and hadn't bailed out the big Wall Street banks, the economy would have corrected itself. Yes, it would have been a severe correction, but it would have been nothing compared to the inevitable correction that will present itself when the Fed runs out of easy money options. The Fed may try to cut interest rates again, maybe even going negative, or it will do more quantitative easing, but that won't work. Creating more money does not lead to economic growth and well-being. The more money the Federal Reserve creates, the more ordinary Americans will end up suffering.
By Chris Rossini
Bernie Sanders rails about "getting money out of politics" and, unfortunately, so many people have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
Let's take a look at what Bernie supposedly dislikes:
The answer to this problem is to reduce the powers of government. A government that wields extraordinary powers attracts bribes in the same way that a pot of honey attracts a sleuth of bears. Reduce the size of government, and the bribery must wane.
Sanders, of course, has no interest in reducing the size of government. He wants to expand it further! Not only will expanding the size of government increase the amount of bribery (as it must) but Bernie is swindling his supporters into believing that he's going to decrease the amount of bribery in government!
Talk about snake-oil!
Let's look at the facts on the ground:
Tens of millions of dollars to "get money out of politics".
Sanders is a true American politician.
By Tyler Durden
With central bankers losing credibility left and right, and failing outright to boost the “wealth effect” no matter what they throw at it, the next big question is when will central planners around the world unveil the cashless society which is a necessary and sufficient condition to a regime of global NIRP.
And while in recent days we have seen op-eds by both Bloomberg and FT urging the banning of cash, the most disturbing development we have seen yet in the push for a cashless society has come from the following slide in a Morgan Stanley presentation, one in which the bank’s head of EMEA equity research Huw van Steenis, pointed out the following…
… and added this:
One of the most surprising comments this year came from a closed session on fintech where I sat next to someone in policy circles who argued that we should move quickly to a cashless economy so that we could introduce negative rates well below 1% – as they were concerned that Larry Summers’ secular stagnation was indeed playing out and we would be stuck with negative rates for a decade in Europe. They felt below (1.5)% depositors would start to hoard notes, leading to yet further complexities for monetary policy.
Consider this the latest, and loudest, warning on the road to digital fiat serfdom.
This article was originally published at ZeroHedge.
By Norm Singleton
One of the most outrageous violations of the First Amendment committed by any part of the federal government is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s censorship of truthful healthcare claims about foods, dietary supplements, and other products.
As should be expected from the agency that sent armed federal agents to stop farmers from selling raw milk, the FDA uses heavy-handed police state tactics to enforce their grocery store censorship.
A recent example, courtesy of The Ron Paul Institute, is the case of Sam Girod, who faces 48 years in jail for the horrendous crime of using unsolicited testimonials from past customers to market his skin salves:
The big problems started four years ago, when a local health department official saw Girod’s products on display in a small Missouri town’s convenience store, and reported them to a state health department official. That agency apparently referred the matter to the FDA, which struck again, seizing products from the store, contending that because Girod included user testimonials at the same store where he was selling the salve, he had to register it as a drug.
Mr. Girod is facing prosecution that may be based on his refusal to allow federal agents onto his property after they searched his property using cameras, which offends Mr. Girod's Amish beliefs:
Mr. Girod’s understanding was that the agents would return to his farm a few weeks later, when he was producing product, and search his production area, with the proviso they not take any photos.
Ron Paul fought FDA healthcare censorship during his years in Congress. He introduced legislation, the "Health Freedom Restoration Act," that would have stopped the FDA from censoring truthful healthcare claims.
He also introduced legislation, the "Freedom of Health Speech Act," which required the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prove someone was making false claims before taking action to stop them from making those claims.
Here are Dr. Paul's official statements on this bill from the Congressional Record:
INTRODUCING HEALTH FREEDOM LEGISLATION
This article was originally published at The Campaign for Liberty.
Ron Paul gets to work on untangling another set of common myths. He sets the eminent domain argument straight, shines light on several Bernie Sanders fallacies, revisits his questioning of Ben Bernanke, and much more!
By Ron Paul
In her testimony before Congress, Janet Yellen blamed weakness in the global economy for the economy’s continuing poor performance. She also tried to reassure Congress the Fed was capable of knowing exactly the right time to raise rates to head off inflation without further slowing down economic growth. Fortunately, a growing number of Americans have realized the Federal Reserve’s polices are actually responsible for our economic problems.
Unfortunately, this week’s hearing shows that most in Congress still do not understand the problem is not specific Fed policies, but the system of fiat currency administered by a secretive central bank. One party believes the only problem with the Fed is that it is not pumping enough money into the economy, while the other side believes the fiat monetary system can be made to work if the Fed adopts a rules-based system. But central planning of monetary policy is just as doomed to fail as all other forms of central planning- even if the central planners are forced to follow a monetary policy rule.
Congress must start taking serious steps to address our flawed monetary system. A necessary first step is giving the people a full picture of the Fed’s operations by passing my Audit the Fed bill.
By Chris Rossini
The price of gold has exploded to the upside and there's a lot of emotion in the air. Advocates of sound money smile, while Keynesians who incessantly tried to convince us that "gold is doomed" have to find something else to talk about.
While it's always nice to see that reality has not left us, it's important not to get too caught up in market swings. Gold can be up $65/oz today, yet go down $30/oz tomorrow. Who knows? The key is to have a solid understanding as to why owning gold is important, and what owning gold actually means. Buy exchanging Federal Reserve fiat dollars for gold, you are demonstrating some very significant preferences.
Owning gold means speculating against the Federal Reserve and its fictional ability to "run the economy" by counterfeiting dollars. It's a way of saying: "I don't believe that a bunch of PhD-holding bureaucrats can overpower the market." Or, "I don't believe that a bunch of professors can overrule supply and demand." Tremendous resources are constantly being put to work on propaganda that's meant to gain your allegiance to the Fed.
By owning gold, you forbid the Fed from robbing you of your purchasing power. Although central planners continue to create dollars by the trillions that relentlessly drive up your bills, they cannot counterfeit gold. This is the main reason why governments hate gold with a passion, and why the precious metal has served as money for thousands of years before the PhD's took over.
By owning gold, you are choosing privacy over the snooping surveillance state. There's a saying that "gold has no smell". Government cannot watch your every financial move, as they do now do with electronic dollars.
By owning gold you are choosing to own real money. As Thomas Jefferson pointed out: “Paper is poverty. It is only the ghost of money, and not money itself.” Voltaire pointed out correctly that: “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value: zero”.
Government paper money comes and goes. History is stuffed with tales of failed government "experiments". Yet gold has gone nowhere. It has been through it all.
So as you can see, market swings are really a sideshow. Up one day, down another. It's not important when looking at the big picture. When you know why owning gold is important, and the stance that you're taking by owning the precious metal, you can sleep like a baby at night and leave the noise outside.
What is the "deep state"? Is it some murky conspiracy that lurks in Washington's dark fringes? As guest Mike Lofgren, author of "The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government" points out, the deep state actually operates out in the open and is almost completely overlooked.
By Daniel McAdams
CIA director John Brennan lost his cool at Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-OR) in a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee today when the Oregon Senator suggested the spy chief should apologize for spying on the Senate.
The event in question took place back in 2014. The Senate was investigating CIA torture activities and Brennan's operatives, as his own CIA Inspector General concluded, gained "improper access" to Senate computers with the intent of snooping on the investigation.
Today Wyden pointed out to Brennan that the use of a secret Executive Branch agency to undermine the Constitutional oversight obligations of the Legislative Branch was deeply damaging to the rule of law in the United States:
When you're talking about spying on a committee responsible for overseeing your agency, in my view, that undermines the very checks-and-balances that protect our democracy and it's unacceptable in a free society.
Brennan was nonplussed, clearly not interested in having the issue revisited. “This is the annual threat assessment, is it not?” he snapped at Wyden.
When it was first suspected that Brennan's CIA had penetrated the Senate investigation's computers he lied, denying everything. When the CIA snoop was confirmed, he held firm that the Agency had done nothing wrong. It was only the Inspector General's report that federal laws may have been broken that prompted Brennan to draft, then rip up, an apology letter to the Senate. He is reported to have apologized verbally in person to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Diane Feinstein (D-CA).
Sen. Wyden didn't get very far with Brennan today, as after a couple of rounds of verbal sparring his time had expired and the issue was dropped. This is how the government investigates itself and were it not for just one or two Wydens in all of government we likely would not even know about it. Expecting something to be done about it is another issue entirely. Spy on, Brennan, no one's going to bother you!
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.