US and Taliban officials met in Qatar last week to gently move toward ceasefire and possibly peace talks. Meanwhile a US government report on US spending on Afghan reconstruction has found more than $15 billion wasted in just the past 11 years! Someone got rich, many more are poorer. And many are dead. For what?
By Ron Paul
President Trump’s recent Tweets expressing displeasure with the Federal Reserve’s (minor) interest rate increases led to accusations that President Trump is undermining the Federal Reserve’s independence. But, the critics ignore the fact that Federal Reserve “independence” is one of the great myths of American politics.
When it comes to intimidating the Federal Reserve, President Trump pales in comparison to President Lyndon Johnson. After the Federal Reserve increased interest rates in 1965, President Johnson summoned then-Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin to Johnson’s Texas ranch where Johnson shoved him against the wall. Physically assaulting the Fed chairman is probably a greater threat to Federal Reserve independence than questioning the Fed’s policies on Twitter.
While Johnson is an extreme example, history is full of cases where presidents pressured the Federal Reserve to adopt policies compatible with the presidents’ agendas — and helpful to their reelection campaigns. Presidents have been pressuring the Fed since its creation. President Warren Harding called on the Fed to lower rates. Richard Nixon was caught on tape joking with then-Fed chair Arthur Burns about Fed independence. And Lloyd Bentsen, President Bill Clinton’s first Treasury secretary, bragged about a “gentleman’s agreement” with then-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan.
President Trump’s call for low interest rates contradicts Trump’s earlier correct criticism of the Fed’s low interest rate policy as harming middle-class Americans. Low rates can harm the middle class, but they also benefit spend-and-borrow politicians and their favorite special interests by lowering the federal government’s borrowing costs. Significant rate increases could make it impossible for the government to service its existing debt, thus making it difficult for President Trump and Congress to continue increasing welfare and warfare spending.
President Trump will have a long-lasting impact on monetary policy. Two of the three sitting members of the Fed’s board were appointed by President Trump. Two more of Trump’s nominees are pending in the Senate. The nomination of economist Marvin Goodfriend may be in jeopardy because Goodfriend advocates “negative interest rates,” which is a Federal Reserve-imposed tax on savings. If Goodfriend is defeated, President Trump can just nominate another candidate. President Trump will also be able to nominate two other board members. Therefore, by the end of his first term, President Trump could appoint six of the Federal Reserve’s seven board members.
The specter of a Federal Reserve Board dominated by Trump appointees should cause some to rethink the wisdom of allowing a secretive central bank to exercise near-monopoly control over monetary policy. Fear of the havoc a Trumpian Fed could cause may even lead some to support the Audit the Fed legislation and the growing movement to allow Americans to “exit” the Federal Reserve System by using alternatives to fiat money, such as cryptocurrencies and gold.
Given the Federal Reserve’s power to help or hinder a president’s economic agenda and reelection prospects, it is no surprise that presidents try to influence Fed policy. But, instead of worrying about protecting the Fed from President Trump, we should all worry about protecting the American people from the Fed. The first step is passing the Audit the Fed bill, which Congress should do before adjourning to hit the campaign trail. This will let the people know the full truth about America’s monetary policy. Auditing, then ending, the Fed is key to permanently draining the welfare-warfare swamp.
Numerous press reports over the weekend suggest that the Trump Administration may launch an attack on Iran within the next month. They are allegedly going to target Iranian nuclear facilities - but our own CIA - as well as the IAEA - has confirmed that Iran is not building nuclear weapons. What's behind the drive for war?
By Norm Singleton
Below is Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul’s testimony submitted to the House Committee on the Judiciary’s hearing on “Examining the Wayfair decision’s impact on small businesses and consumers.”
Dr. Paul explains why the Supreme Court was mistaken to rule in Wayfair that states could force out-of-state businesses to collect state sales taxes, and he explains why Congress can and should act to stop state legislatures and governors from taxing online commerce.
Statement of Ron Paul, Chairman of Campaign for Liberty
Be sure to visit Campaign For Liberty.
While campaigning for president, Donald Trump accurately said that American markets were a big, fat bubble. He was correct, and that same bubble has not burst, but has gotten even bigger! When the inevitable bust arrives, who will President Trump blame?
The Tea Party movement is well and truly dead, writes former Freedom Works president Matt Kibbe. What killed it and why? We discuss that and other efforts to rein in Washington in today's Liberty Report...
By Liberty Report Staff
A great exchange with CNBC's Rick Santelli:
By Chris Rossini
Liberty, an inborn characteristic of every human being, has everything to do with independent thinking. We each think on our own.
There is a big caveat though. Part of being free means you are free to throw away your own judgements. You have the ability to suppress what your intuition and reason tells you is true, in favor of what someone else tells you is the truth. Those who seek to dominate others always exploit this potential vulnerability.
The greatest enemy of the authoritarian is the independent thinker; the one who comes to his own conclusions, irrespective of what anyone else believes or says. The independent thinker welcomes all opinions, but his mind is his own kingdom, and what he decides to believe is his decision alone.
Today in America, throwing away your own common sense summarizes the political "discourse" in a nutshell. Americans have allowed themselves to be separated into political "teams," and then they wait around for instructions as to what the outrage of the day happens to be.
What a dream come true for authoritarians of all stripes. Every authoritarian dreams of barking out orders and having everyone comply like a robot. Every authoritarian wants you not to think ... but to just obey.
No wonder there are so many authoritarians! Vote one out, and another steps in....Vote him out, and here comes another!
Look at what has become of the Left over the last few decades. From forming anti-war rallies during the George W. Bush era, to being completely silent during Obama's wars, to now advocating wars during the Trump era!
How can this be?
How can people go from anti-war --> silence --> pro-war?
This is a sign that people are not thinking for themselves, but are merely following orders.
The Right is just as bad. This is not merely a condition of the Left.
President Trump can say that 2+2=5 and many of his supporters will take the error and run with it as truth! The moment you say that 2+2=4, and that Trump is incorrect, far too many of his supporters take it personally, as if you're insulting them!
This is a dangerous state of affairs. People are living vicariously through politicians.
If you find yourself taking what a politician (or the media) says and automatically adopting it as your own belief, perhaps it's time to seriously consider changing your mindset. You're not a robot.
Embrace the liberty of thought that you were born with. Don't toss this most precious gift away.
Declare your independence!
According to a new poll released yesterday, some 54 percent of Americans support President Trump's plan to hold another summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this year. Congress reacted in a bi-partisan manner: No! Is Congress again out of step with the American people?
Spending Our Way to a Fiscal Crisis
By Ron Paul
According to financial writer Simon Black, the federal government is spending approximately 52,000 dollars per second. This, not last year’s tax cuts, is the reason why the national debt has reached a record 21 trillion dollars, which is more than America’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Another ominous sign is that this year both Social Security and Medicare will have to draw down on their reserve funds to be able to pay benefits. The Social Security and Medicare trust funds will both soon be bankrupt, putting additional strains on the federal budget and American taxpayers.
The excessive debt caused by excessive spending will inevitably cause a major economic crisis. Yet, with a few notable exceptions, there is little to no desire in Washington to cut spending. Instead, both parties are committed to increasing spending on warfare and welfare while ignoring the looming entitlements crisis.
Examples of fiscal irresponsibility on Capitol Hill are easy to find. For instance, even though the Untied Stares is currently spending more on its military than the combined budgets of the next seven highest spending countries, Congress recently increased military spending by 82 billion dollars. This brings the total the US spends on a futile effort to police and democratize the world to 716 billion dollars. The US House has also recently passed a farm bill that increases spending by more than 3 billion dollars over the next five years. This bill does not take a step toward ending subsidies to wealthy farmers and even continues providing farm subsidies to non-famers! Pressure on Congress to increase spending on farm subsidies is likely to increase as famers becomes collateral damage in President Trump’s trade war.
Many progressives are attacking the House farm bill because it makes some reforms to the “SNAP” (food stamp) program, even though the House version of bill increases the budget for food stamps by at least 1.7 billion dollars over the next five years!
When the economic crisis hits, there will be no choice but to cut spending and raise taxes. Of course, Congress is unlikely to raise taxes or cut benefits. Instead, it will rely on the Federal Reserve to do the dirty work via the inflation tax. The inflation tax is the worst type of tax because it is both hidden and regressive.
One of the worst features, if not the worst, of the tax reform plan is increasing the inflation tax by authorizing the use of “chained CPI.” Chained CPI hides inflation’s effects by claiming that rising prices do not harm Americans as long as they can still afford low-cost substitute goods to replace products they can no longer afford due to the Federal Reserve’s devaluation of the currency — as if people forced to buy hamburger instead of steak are not negatively impacted by inflation.
Increasing federal debt will also put pressure on the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low to prevent federal interest payments on the debt from skyrocketing. Eventually, the Fed’s monetization of the debt will lead to hyperinflation and a rejection of the dollar’s world reserve currency status. The question is when, not whether, the welfare-warfare state and the fiat currency system will end. Hopefully, those who know the truth will succeed in growing the liberty movement so we can convince Congress to gradually unwind the welfare-warfare state, restore a true free market in money, and stop trying to run the world, run the economy, and run our lives.