By Chris Rossini
There are various ways to get the things that you want in life. The best is the peaceful and voluntary way. We're all very familiar with this method, as it is embodied in the marketplace. We all know what it's like to take our property (oftentimes money that we've earned serving our fellow man) to another person so that we can trade it for their property. No guns, no coercion, no force.
If there are differences of opinion, we have the freedom not to transact. For example, if you do not like Bob's Burgers because you think the burgers taste horrible, you don't go there. Maybe you hate the clientele that patronizes the place, or maybe even the people that work there. Whatever your reason, you can decide at any moment never to step foot or transact with Bob's Burgers for as long as you live. No guns, no coercion, no force.
So we're all familiar with the magnificence of the marketplace. It's the side of life that sustains us, offers opportunities to achieve prosperity by serving others, and solves life's most challenging problems.
Then there is the political way to get what you want in this world. This is the dark side of life, for it involves violence and force. This force is concentrated in a group of people (who call themselves 'government') and who have been granted an actual monopoly to use violence legally.
With politics, peace and voluntary transactions take a backseat.
Unfortunately, far too many people believe in this dark side of attaining your ends. You almost can't fault people though. After all, propaganda surrounds us from the moment we become toddlers. The propaganda makes politics appear to be admirable, acceptable, and inevitable to our existence.
Of course, politics is completely man-made and a choice, but the propaganda is so all encompassing that most would never even consider life without it.
Here's a recent little piece of propaganda from yesterday's Washington Post. Columnist E.J. Dionne tries put a glowing spin on the dark side of life:
Politics...is about reconciling sharply differing interests and people with fundamentally different goals and worldviews. As Bernard Crick argued in his classic book “In Defense of Politics,” democratic politics is “a great and civilizing human activity” because it’s the way in which we seek to resolve our disputes without resorting to violence.
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
Differing "interests" are a constant in life. We want things and everyone around us wants things as well. In a world with scarce resources, such as ours, some people must forgo having some of the things that they want at any given moment.
If this were the Garden of Eden, perhaps we could have all of our wishes satisfied at all times. But on this Earthly existence we must pick and choose. Some desires will be satisfied, and some will not.
We know that in the marketplace, we can satisfy desires based on our own choosing. Those we interact with do the exact same thing. Everyone is better off since we never make decisions that we think will make us worse off compared to the alternatives.
Politics turns this upside down. If you want something, maybe the government (that can legally use force) can get it for you.
Government inherently has nothing of its own. It does not create. It does not produce. In order to give you something, it must first forcefully take it from someone else.
The Washington Post will tell you that this is "a great civilizing human activity". Well, the truth of the matter is that politics is a "de-civilizing" human activity. Stealing from someone else (via the government) is not civilized behavior. It's barbaric.
Why are people attracted to barbarism like moths to a lightbulb? Well, it's much easier to get something for nothing. It's much easier to get a government "benefit" rather than producing something of value for others. As humans, we're very attracted to the easy way. Leisure is more attractive than labor.
The Washington Post is wrong to tell us that politics is a way to "resolve our disputes without resorting to violence".
It's the exact opposite! Politics is violence by proxy.
Naturally, once word gets out that you can use a third-party (i.e., government) to get the things that you want, people rush to it like it's a Black Friday extravaganza.
The result? Chaos and the absolute worst that humanity has to offer.
Politics is the great de-civilizer. Let's shrink it, starve it, and ultimately rid ourselves of it.
Let's interact with each other like human beings for a change.
By Ron Paul
For all the hand-wringing about the threat to liberty and constitutional government posed by the major party presidential candidates, there is little discussion of how this threat is due to the political class’s long history of supporting expanded presidential power. There is also little talk of how the imperial presidency is just as much a creation of Congress as it is of power-hungry presidents.
Since war is the health of the state, it is not surprising that presidential power expanded in tandem with the expansion of the warfare state. Perhaps the best, and most terrifying, example of how “national security” has been used to justify giving the president dictatorial powers is the Defense Production Act.
This law, which is regularly renewed with large bipartisan congressional majorities, grants the president broad powers over the economy. For example, it explicitly authorizes the president to tell manufacturers what products to make, impose wage and price controls, “manage" labor relations, control the use of natural resources, and even allocate credit. All the president need do to exercise these powers is declare a national emergency.
The Defense Production Act is hardly the only example of congress's complicity in the growth of presidential power. For example, Congress rarely, if ever, insists that the president seek a formal declaration of war before commencing military action. When I attempted to force Congress to vote on a declaration of war against Iraq, a prominent member of Congress, who was considered a constitutional scholar, told me that the constitutional requirement that Congress declare war was an "anachronism."
Many neoconservatives claim that the president’s status as commander in chief gives him the inherent authority to take whatever actions he deems necessary for national security. This turns a limited grant of power intended to preserve civilian control of the military into an unlimited authorization for military control of civilians.
Presidents have hardly limited their abuse to foreign policy. Ironically, many conservatives who (correctly) oppose abuses of presidential authority in the domestic sphere support giving the president unlimited authority over “national security.” These conservatives fail to realize unfettered presidential discretion in foreign policy will inevitably lead to presidential usurpation of Congress’s authority in domestic matters.
Modern presidents routinely use executive orders to create new laws or rewrite existing statutes. President George W. Bush regularly usurped congressional authority via signing statements listing the parts of congressionally-passed legislation he would refuse to enforce.
In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama actually bragged about his intention to use his “pen and phone" to go around Congress via executive orders and regulations. Some members of Congress do criticize presidential usurpation of congressional authority. However, few members of Congress raise concerns about presidential overreach when the White House is occupied by a member of their political party. This suggests that most legislators are more concerned with partisanship than with protecting their constitutional authority.
As long as people expect the president to provide economic and personal security, the presidency will be a threat to liberty regardless of who holds the office. Therefore, instead of obsessing over whether demagogue A is less dangerous than demagogue B, we must focus on spreading the ideas of liberty. Only when a critical mass of the people demand it will we return to limited constitutional government. The growth of the liberty movement gives me hope that we will soon see a day when our peace, prosperity, and liberty is not threatened by the results of the presidential, or any other, election.
Hillary Clinton gave an "economic" speech this week (at least that's what they called it). In truth, sound economics were nowhere to be seen. But there were a lot of profligate promises that were made. There were also a lot of myths. Ron Paul dispels them on today's edition of Myth-Busters!
By Ron Paul
I recently had a discussion on RT about Donald Trump's proposals and the likelihood of ever seeing them come to pass. I also talked about whether or not you should believe that Hillary Clinton will be "tough on Wall Street" and corporatism in general. (My segment begins around the 4min mark):
Russia claims to have stopped a sabotage operation by Ukraine's intelligence service. Ukraine denies the charge and has beefed up military on its border with Crimea. Is another war brewing? Is the US pushing for it?
By Ron Paul
The U.S. has just about the highest corporate tax in the world and Trump's proposal to lower it to 15% would be a tremendous benefit. Is there reason to be optimistic about other parts of his plan? Find out my thoughts below:
By Chris Rossini
The federal government vampire is dead-broke, has debt that it can never repay, has financial promises to American citizens that it can never fulfill, and yet it's still lurking around and searching for new veins to sink its fangs into. The latest artery that the vampire has its eyes on is our financial transactions. An idea is floating around to have government tax every stock and bond transaction in order to take a chunk of money for itself.
Why financial transactions? And why now?
Well, popular opinion is definitely not on the side of Wall Street these days, especially after the latest financial meltdown and taxpayer bailouts. This is largely Wall Street's doing, so they get very little sympathy here.
The government is just trying to capitalize on the negative sentiment. The actual causes of the financial crisis and the cronyism between the government and Wall Street are to remain unchanged. More financial crises and bailouts will take place for sure, but maybe they can sneak a new tax through while the anti-Wall Street sentiment is running high.
However, it is you and I that would be paying any type of financial transactions tax. It is you and I that the government is looking to loot even further. Wall Street is just worried about losing business and trading volume to foreign competitors. But government really has it's eyes on our wallets, since we would be paying the tax.
The talking heads try to portray this new tax proposal as some sort of "national sales tax". After all, since the vast majority of Americans pay sales taxes on all types of other goods and services, why should we get away with not paying a tax on our financial transactions as well.
It's only fair right?
It would be fair to get rid of the other sales taxes, not create another tax!
If a mugger walks down a city street with 10 people and he mugs 2 of them, it's not "fair" to make sure that the other 8 people get mugged too. The goal is for no one to be mugged!
Of course, the job of the talking heads that are floating this idea is to convince you that government taking more of your earnings is a good thing. The talking heads want you to feel good about being mugged. It's really in your interest to work all day and then hand your money over to the government. You're being mugged for "society," so cheer up.
Americans should say NO to a financial transactions tax....and get rid of sales taxes too.
According to a recent study by the Pentagon-linked RAND Corporation, there are several scenarios where a US/China war may break out. Are China's actions in the South China Sea pushing a war scenario? What about US intervention in the region?
Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell took to the New York Times over the weekend to tell the readers that he "...ran the CIA" and now he's endorsing Clinton. But a look into hyper-hawk Morell's career trajectory tells a great deal about what is really wrong with Washington. Careers are made and so are fortunes by constantly finding new "threats' to justify more military spending. Today's program is joined by guest Philip Giraldi, a former career CIA officer.
By Chris Rossini
Yesterday, Donald Trump gave an "economic" speech in Detroit. He peppered the speech with talk of "cuts" and "cuts" and "cuts". That's all well and good to listen to, but Americans have been hearing that rhetoric from Republicans for decades. Government has done nothing but increase in its size and scope despite all the promises. The two parties have acted as a tag-team, passing the baton to each other, and taking turns in snuffing away our liberty and prosperity.
Would Donald Trump actually cut the size of government as president? It's unlikely. Usually politicians promise cuts with their left hand, while their right hand generates even more government growth.
America needs a complete and comprehensive cut to the totality of the federal government. For example, when Ron Paul ran for president, he proposed cutting $1 trillion from the federal budget in his first year. He wasn't playing a shell game. Trump, on the other hand, is almost definitely just fishing for votes.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the U.S. government's size will be cut voluntarily. Its relentless expansion will most likely come to an end with a serious financial crisis. Economic laws always win in the end. The market always defeats the state. In the meantime, politicians merely pass the bag to one another with the hope that they're not the ones holding it when the music stops playing.
It's worth noting that Trump was in the city that is a microcosm of the U.S. as a whole. Detroit should act as a warning call for all Americans.
Even Bloomberg View admits the obvious about Detroit:
The city collapsed mostly because it overpromised what it could deliver to public employees and others, then borrowed too much to try to make good on those deals. All of that, plus a combination of a rapidly declining tax base -- the city has lost 1 million residents since the 1950s...
Has the U.S. federal government overpromised and overborrowed?
Here's a chart of unfunded liabilities:
One hundred trillion dollars worth of unfunded promises. Does that sound like "overpromised" to you?
How about federal government borrowing?
Does the word "overborrowed" come to mind? And did you notice that both Democrats and so-called "limited-government" Republicans have amassed this debt together?
No worries though. Everyone continues to whistle past the graveyard. Just yesterday, Nobel Prize winning "economist" Paul Krugman wrote in The New York Times:
the most important thing we need is sharply increased public investment in everything from energy to transportation to wastewater treatment.
Read those last two sentences again. This is the mentality that has brought down more civilizations than we can count.
Take a look at Detroit and imagine it on a much larger scale. Unless, government drastically reverses course, that's where the pied pipers are leading us.