The massive fraud committed by Wells Fargo bank employees against their customers -- opening up bogus accounts to siphon off money, etc -- will no doubt result in a whole new round of banking regulations. But what about the biggest fraudster of them all...the Fed itself?
By Ron Paul
The Wells Fargo bank account scandal took center stage in the news last week and in all likelihood will continue to make headlines for many weeks to come. What Wells Fargo employees did in opening bank accounts without customers' authorization was obviously wrong, but in true Washington fashion the scandal is being used to deflect attention away from larger, more enduring, and more important scandals.
What Wells Fargo employees who opened these accounts engaged in was nothing more than fraud and theft, and they should be punished accordingly. But how much larger is the fraud perpetrated by the Federal Reserve System and why does the Fed continue to go unpunished? For over 100 years the Federal Reserve System has been devaluing the dollar, siphoning money from the wallets of savers into the pockets of debtors. Where is the outrage? Where are the hearings? Why isn’t Congress up in arms about the Fed’s malfeasance? It reminds me of the story of the pirate confronting Alexander the Great. When accused by Alexander of piracy, he replies “Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor.”
Over two thousand years later, not much has changed. Wells Fargo will face more scrutiny and perhaps more punishment. There will undoubtedly be more calls for stricter regulation, notwithstanding the fact that regulators failed to detect this fraud, just as they have failed to detect every fraud and financial crisis in history. And who will suffer? Why, the average account-holder of course.
Any penalties assessed against Wells Fargo will be made up by increasing fees on account-holders. Clawbacks of bonuses, if they occur, will likely face resistance from the beneficiaries of those bonuses, leading to protracted and costly lawsuits. Even if the Wells Fargo CEO and top executives of Wells Fargo step down, the culture at Wells Fargo is unlikely to change anytime soon. As one of the largest banks in the world, Wells Fargo knows that it is not only too big to fail, but also too big to prosecute. At the end of the day, no matter how much public posturing there is, Wells Fargo and the regulators will remain best buddies. And those regulators who failed to catch this fraud will be rewarded with more power and larger budgets, courtesy of the US taxpayer.
Through all of this, the Federal Reserve will continue its policy of low interest rates and easy money. Retirees who hoped to be able to live off the interest on their investments will find themselves squeezed by continued low interest rates. Those living on fixed incomes will see their monthly checks buying less and less as the prices of food staples continue to rise. The fat cats on Wall Street will continue to have access to cheap and easy money while those on Main Street will face a constantly declining quality of life.
It is well past time for the Federal Reserve to face the same music as Wells Fargo and the bad actors on Wall Street. It is, after all, the Federal Reserve's creation of money out of thin air that enables all of this fraudulent behavior in the first place, so why should the Fed remain untouchable? Let's hope that someday Congress wakes up, hauls the Federal Reserve in for questioning, and puts as much pressure on the Fed as it does on private sector fraudsters.
Where does Ron Paul buy his gold?
By Chris Rossini
The desire for liberty burns inside the minds and hearts of millions of Americans. Liberty is an inherent part of each of us and is so natural that it really takes an institutional effort to suppress it.
Once the fire of liberty is lit inside a person's mind, there often comes a desire to express it to others. In a country so thoroughly dominated by authoritarianism, the discovery of liberty propels many people to speak up!
It is here that many libertarians hit a wall. How do you speak up? What should each of us do?
Ron Paul has turned so many millions on to the ideas of liberty, that of course many end up asking him what they should do to help? It's a very common question that he receives.
Dr. Paul replies with the same brilliant answer: "Do what you want!"
The answer often frustrates libertarians because it's so concise, but it really is the perfect response. It embodies the spirit of liberty.
You'll notice right off the bat that Dr. Paul takes the responsibility off of himself. How many times have you heard him say that the work is not about him, but the message itself? He can't (and shouldn't) tell you what to do. So he challenges you and places the responsibility where it belongs....on you.
We live in a society where people are trained to bow before authority for everything. Personal responsibility is treated as an anachronism. Well, Dr. Paul, in a very libertarian fashion, says that if you're going to spread the message of liberty, it's your responsibility to figure out how.
"Do what you want."
Putting aside instances where government forces us to do otherwise, aren't we always doing what we want anyway? If we're thirsty and want a drink, we get a drink. If we're tired and want to relax, we lay down. At every moment, we're all picking and choosing exactly what to do. Why should spreading the ideas of liberty be any different?
Here's another secret buried in Ron Paul's advice: When you want something, your mind will focus on getting it. All of your thoughts will zero in on solving the problem. When you're so unbelievably thirsty, you'll figure out a way to get that water.
If you're responsible for figuring out a way to help spread the ideas of liberty, and if you want it bad enough, you'll figure out exactly what you should do. Nothing will stop you.
We're all amazingly unique individuals. No one else is like you. No one else is like Ron Paul. We each have our own thoughts, beliefs, habits, skills and talents. Dr. Paul is not going to tell you what to do. He doesn't know what you should do and isn't shy about saying it.
Since you're unique, it's up to you to figure out how to use that uniqueness for the cause of liberty.
No one else has been sired the responsibility to do what only you can do.
Now that's liberty.
Where does Ron Paul buy his gold?
Former Reagan Budget Director David Stockman joins today's Liberty Report to talk about his upcoming book, "Trumped: A Nation on the Brink of Ruin...And How to Bring it Back." What are Stockman's suggestions on foreign and monetary policy and would they help?
The Pentagon is requesting 500 more US troops on the ground in Iraq, as the long-anticipated battle to retake Mosul from ISIS is expected to begin next month. That would bring the US troop level to around 6,400, with another probably 6,000 or so contractors. But if Mosul is actually liberated...what next? Victory...or civil war?
By Nick Giambruno
Do you really own something if the government forces you to make never-ending payments on it?
I think the answer is “no.”
You possess such an item, but you don’t own it outright. It’s an important distinction.
A ridiculous threat to property rights has infected most of the world like a virus. Most people unquestioningly accept it as a normal part of life—like gravity or the sun setting in the west.
The threat I’m talking about is property tax: that annual tax you pay whether or not your property generates any income. Instead, the government bases the tax on the underlying value of real estate you supposedly own. There is no way to pay off this obligation in one fell swoop. It hangs over your head as long as you hold title to the property.
For practical purposes, you don’t really own anything you have to pay an annual property tax to keep. You are merely renting from the government.
Suppose you bought a sofa set and coffee table for your living room for $5,000 cash and then had to pay a $100 tax each year for as long as you “owned” the furniture. Then suppose, for whatever reason, you’re unable or unwilling to pay the furniture tax. It wouldn’t take long for the government to swoop in and confiscate your furniture.
In this case, you “own” the furniture as long as you pay the never-ending annual fee—stop paying and you’ll find out who really owns it.
While many people would find an annual furniture tax absurd, they somehow think it’s acceptable for the government to levy an annual tax on homes, offices, and raw land.
Respect for property rights and annual property taxes are mutually exclusive concepts. What’s yours is yours, and you shouldn’t need to pay the government for permission to keep it.
It’s not uncommon for people in North America and Europe to pay tens of thousands of dollars in property tax every year… just to live in their own homes. And the burden will almost certainly continue to increase. Most governments continually raise property tax rates, especially governments in bad fiscal health.
It’s very possible that, over a lifetime, the government could take more in property taxes than the underlying value of the property being taxed.
And, just like the furniture example above, if you don’t pay property tax (AKA government rent) on the home you thought you owned, the government will confiscate it. This is not as uncommon as you might think. It’s estimated that thousands of people in Pennsylvania alone lose their homes annually because they can’t or won’t pay.
Expect Boobus Americanus to say things like, “How would we pay for local services like public schools without property taxes?”
Of course, there are many different ways to fund those services. Or, even better, we could leave them to the free market. But don’t expect that to happen. In fact, given the social, political, and economic dynamics in the U.S. and most of the West, I expect the opposite. Property taxes have nowhere to go but up.
Where does Ron Paul buy his gold?
By Ron Paul
All Americans who value liberty owe a debt to Reed Larson. In his almost half-a-century of leadership of the National Right to Work Committee, Reed demonstrated that one can make a difference by sticking to principle.
When he became involved with the National Right to Work Committee in the fifties, the idea that someday the majority of states would have right to work laws seemed like a pipe dream. Today, thanks to Reed's years of dedication and hard work, that pipe dream has become a reality. Under his leadership, the National Right to Work Committee has also stopped numerous attempts to pass legislation which would have further restricted worker freedom at the federal level.
Unlike many in the free-market movement, Reed never betrayed or watered-down his principles in order to curry favor with the Republican establishment. The Right to Work Committee remains one of the few pro-liberty organizations that is just as hard on Republicans, including some so-called conservatives, as it is on Democrats.
Reed also helped to grow the liberty movement by hiring young people with a passion for freedom and helped to train them to effectively advance the cause. Many of the best people I have worked with, including Campaign for Liberty President Norman Singleton, got their start with the National Right to Work Committee.
My wife Carol and I send our thoughts and prayers to Reed's family and his many friends.
Today's Liberty Report is joined by US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) to discuss the state of the liberty movement both inside and outside of government. What can we do to make a difference?
Just over a week after a ceasefire deal was announced by the US and Russia, the deal is a smoldering ruin. A US strike on Syrian forces, US-backed rebel groups that refuse to break with al-Qaeda, and an attack yesterday on a humanitarian aid convoy in Aleppo have obliterated any hopes for an end to the violence. What should the US do next?
Has the surveillance state claimed the last bit of our privacy? Our lives are being stored at enormous "data centers" in the US and abroad. Everything we do, every transaction, every website we visit. This has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with control. Today's Liberty Report is joined by former State Department official Peter Van Buren to discuss the surveillance state as so masterfully depicted in the recent Oliver Stone film, Snowden.