The CDC can't seem to get it straight. Wear a mask, don't wear a mask; get tested, don't get tested. No matter how contradictory or plain silly is their advice, it's all based on "science," they claim. Will the latest flip-flop further undermine their credibility? Plus in today's program: Health workers LESS likely to get infected? And...Texas governor kicks Texas bars in the teeth.
By Walter E. Block
A pre-Covid brou-ha-ha entered into by our president concerns interest rates. The Federal Reserve System is raising them to inappropriate levels, in the view of Mr. Trump; he would like them to remain as low as possible, so as to pump up the economy. Specifically, he averred: “I think we have much more of a Fed problem than we have a problem with anyone else.”
Members of the economics profession are divided on this matter. Some argue that pre-Covid unemployment rates were at near record lows, and quit rates high (indicating worker confidence). There were then more help-wanted advertisements than unemployed people. Also, they maintained, it is easier to nip inflation in the bud then to wrestle it back down to the ground. This would tend to suggest higher interest rates are justified so as to cool down an economy possibly becoming overheated. All of this mitigates in favor raising rates to historically more normal levels.
However, argue other dismal science professionals, the Fed is too keen to see an inflationary threat. Excluding food and energy, which oscillate more rapidly than other elements of it, the then consumer price index had increased by an annual rate of only 1.6%. As well, it is difficult to argue with such economic success, which has emanated at least in part from low interest rates, a precedent followed under the Obama Administration.
But whatever their views on whether small, gradual boosts in interest rates are justified, the financial soothsayers are united on one thing: the Fed operates best when it is kept independent of politics. This has been the policy of the executive branch for lo these many years. Until Donald Trump, that is, according to some commentators. The overwhelming proportion of economists maintain that the President should adopt a strict hands-off policy. Appoint its leader, and then let the Fed be the Fed.
Why are interest rates so important? Simply because they pervade the entire economy, every jot and tittle of it. Prices of steel, fuel, food, are of course important, but their scope is far more limited. Interest rates are integral to calculating present discounted values, pretty much the be all and end all of all economic evaluations, investing, buying, selling, etc. Plus, these rates impact all other prices, including these other important staples of the economy.
So, should the Fed raise or lower interest rates? Mr. Trump wants them as low as possible, so as to pump up the economy, in time for the next election. This is sometimes referred to as the “political business cycle,” which conforms Fed policy to the preferences of those who hold political power. Many others think the time is right for a return to normalcy, and to slow down the previous over-exuberant economy.
Let us ask a very different question: should the price of lima beans be boosted or decreased? This is a silly question: the proper answer is, allow supply and demand to set the price of this foodstuff. In that way, we can avoid shortages and surpluses. Non-market decision making for this issue smacks of central planning Soviet style.
But, contrary to the views of practically all and sundry, it is the same with interest rates. It is identical. There is no difference. Allowing the Fed, and not supply and demand for loanable funds, the savings and investment decisions of millions of market participants, to determine the height of interest rates, equally reeks of central planning. The Fed, in this view, amounts to the Sovietization of an absolutely crucial aspect of our economy.
Ah, but the critic will say the Fed must set the money supply, and without its wise determinations, the economy would veer, helplessly, from vast unemployment to inflation and back again in never ending horrendous cycles. The Fed’s job is to attain price stability and the maximization of employment. However, a quick peek at the roughly one hundred years before and after the establishment of this institution in 1913 indicates that the oscillations of the business cycle were much greater before than after. As for price stability, the dollar has lost something in the order of 95% of its value since the Fed came on stream.
Should the Fed raise or lower interest rates? Neither. It should get out of the way of the free enterprise system. Interest rates, as in the case of all prices, should be determined by the marketplace. End the fed.
Dr. Block [send him mail] is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
This week the Fed decided that interest rates would remain artificially suppressed at zero, and stay there for years to come! Central planners always end up backing themselves into an impossible corner. The idea that a government-created central bank can plan the economy by price-fixing and counterfeiting currency is proving itself to be impossible.
Yesterday Centers for Disease Control Director Redfield testified before Congress, while dragging his fingers all along the inside of his mask and thus contaminating it, that wearing a mask was even more important than any future coronavirus vaccine. Funny, the CDC was singing a different tune just months ago. Why can't they seem to get it right? Is this science...or politics? Also today: HUGE Nashville scandal on Covid reporting and Texas Governor Abbott unfairly shafts the inner-tube rental companies for no reason.
By Adam Dick
Remember President Donald Trump saying he wanted things to open up in America by Easter? Oh well. Throughout most of America, the coronavirus crackdowns are continuing strong five months after Easter. And United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert R. Redfield said Wednesday at a US Senate subcommittee hearing that “regular life” will not begin to return until, he predicts, the “late second quarter, third quarter” of next year — around the middle of 2021.
Why the long wait? Redfield says the wait is so a coronavirus vaccine can be distributed and injected around America first.
Of course, many people have no interest in taking this sped-up vaccine that is just about sure to cause more harm than good considering facts including that coronavirus is not a particularly dangerous disease for most people and that the vaccine is not even undergoing ordinary vaccine testing. By the middle of next year there may also be very little to no spreading of coronavirus.
If enough people refuse vaccination, will the date of return to regular life be pushed back even more? Count on that or on mandates or incredible pressure being placed on people to be vaccinated. But, really, even if every single American takes the needle, there is no guarantee that the US government, along with state and local governments, will choose to give up all their newly created mandates. The coronavirus was a flimsy excuse for the power grab. Surely, new excuses can be concocted.
Hopefully, it is becoming much clearer to many more people each day that waiting for permission to return to regular life — to the “old normal” — is a chump move. A better course is to protest the “new normal” mandates, encourage others to join in opposition to the mandates, and act increasingly in defiance of the mandates, ignoring restraints on liberty put in place purportedly to address the contrived coronavirus crisis.
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.
By Chris Rossini
Liberty is foundational to human life. Right from the get-go, we have the freedom to think whatever we want. We can think things that are happy or sad, exciting or boring, true or untrue. We're each the king of our very own private kingdom of thought.
We uniquely interpret the world to ourselves. Go to a sporting event and when the game is over, you'll find some people jumping with joy, while others are in tears.
It's the same event.
It's just interpreted differently by each free thinking individual.
So we don't just think...we choose what to individually believe, and choosing what to believe is a big one!
It has big ramifications. We have the ability to believe things that are true, along with things that aren't true. Believing in the untrue can get you into trouble.
For example, it's a good idea to believe (as soon as possible) that you shouldn't step in front of a speeding car. If you believe that you should step in front of it, and put that belief into action....that's big trouble.
That leads us to the next freedom -- choosing how to act to get what we want.
That's a lot of freedom so far, isn't it?
Thinking ... Believing ... Acting ...
How you act is the really, REALLY big one. This is the one that counts. This is the one that has a direct effect on others. And, because of that, this is where the ideas of libertarians come into the picture.
Libertarians believe that you should do and get the things that you want voluntarily. In other words, exchange with others, trade, and serve others. Don't rob, cheat and steal from them. It's called the non-aggression principle. Do not initiate violence to achieve your desires.
Your liberty extends to the life, liberty and property of others. Likewise, their liberty extends to your life, liberty and property.
The moment that one of you chooses to act with violent force, that individual is choosing to act as a tyrant.
When someone acts as a tyrant, the person being aggressed against is justified in repelling that violent force with violent force. In other words, violence is only justified in defense of one's life, liberty or property.
Now, while the libertarian would certainly prefer that others think and believe things that are true, we have to accept that others don't have to do either. They're free to think and believe whatever they want.
Likewise, while the libertarian would certainly prefer that others interact with others voluntarily and peacefully, we have to accept that others don't have to do that either. They're free to act however they want.
This is why the ability to defend one's life, liberty and property are so critically important to a functional society. There's a reason why the 2nd Amendment was 2nd and immediately behind freedom of speech. It's that important!
The role of government, in a free society, would be to punish those individuals that decide to act like tyrants. The government would be there to protect individuals from violent force, or fraud, or breach of contract.
The really big problems begin when people decide to use government for tyrannical purposes (i.e., violating the life, liberty, or property of the citizens).
So, let's say you have people who choose to be busy-bodies. They have something to say about how everyone else lives, but aren't satisfied with only saying things and leaving others free to decide on their own. The busy-bodies want to try to force everyone else to think and act a certain way.
The busy-bodies imagine that they can make the world in their own image.
They didn't make the world to begin with, of course, but their imaginations have led them to believe that they're the ones manifested to "re-make" it.
They're "exceptional," and they're not afraid to say it.
Once government is turned upside-down from protection of liberty to aggression against liberty, the really big problems begin to show up in mankind's affairs. The "re-makers," wielding the violent force pile up dead bodies faster than they can be counted.
Yet, human nature never changes.
We each are free to think, believe, and choose how to act.
That means there's no cookie-cutter that can be impressed upon the world to make everyone think, believe and act the exact same way.
The "re-makers" are forever doomed to failure.
It doesn't matter how much force they unleash. It doesn't matter how many dead bodies they pile up.
They're always led back to the starting line ......... Individual Liberty.
Just like you, other individuals are free.
Let them be.
The breathless headlines about an alleged Iranian plot to kill the US Ambassador to South Africa in retaliation for the US assassination of Iranian General Soleimani captured everyone's attention over the past few days. President Trump threatened Iran with destruction if they even think about it. But behind the headlines, is there anything to this story? Or is it just another in a long line of scare stories "leaked" by anonymous "US officials" all meant to control the foreign policy narrative? Also in today's program, the bizarre UK move to encourage citizens to spy on their neighbors - soon coming to our shores?
A federal judge in Pennsylvania yesterday blew the top off of the massive authoritarian over-reach by governors throughout the country, ruling that Pennsylvania's governor and state health official violated the US Constitution in exercising what it claimed were "emergency powers" in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Will the judge's ruling begin to break down the wall of authoritarianism in the US? Also today, the state of Texas has employed shockingly inaccurate and shoddy testing and reporting methods, resulting in policy decisions being made without accurate information. As even the New York Times has noticed deep problems in Texas, state health authorities are rushing to clean up the mess they've made of things. With new and more accurate numbers showing far fewer infections, will the governor finally lift his tyrannical restrictions on Texans?
By Ron Paul
According to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) latest “Update on the Budget Outlook,” this year’s $3.3 trillion federal deficit is not just three times larger than last year: it is the largest federal deficit in history. The CBO update also predicts that the federal debt will equal 104 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) next year and will reach 108 percent of GDP by 2030.
The CBO update also shows that the Social Security, Medicare, and highway trust funds will all be bankrupt by 2031. This will put pressure on Congress to bail out the trust funds thus further increasing the debt.
This year’s spike in federal spending was caused by the multi-trillion dollar coronavirus relief/economic stimulus bills passed by Congress and signed by the president. However, spending had already increased by $937 billion from the time President Trump was sworn in until the lockdown.
Federal spending is unlikely to be reduced no matter who wins the presidential election. Former Vice President Joe Biden has proposed increasing spending on everything from Obamacare to militarism to “green” cronyism. Yet some progressives are attacking Biden for being to “stingy” in his spending proposals. Even more distressing is how few progressives are critical of Biden’s support for increasing the military budget.
With some notable exceptions, such as his infrastructure plan, President Trump is not proposing any massive new spending programs. However, he Is not promising to stop increasing, much less cut, federal spending.
Most Republicans have abandoned their Obama-era opposition to deficit spending to support President Trump’s spending increases. This repeats a pattern where Republicans oppose deficit spending under a Democrat president but decide that “deficits don’t matter” when a Republican is sitting in the Oval Office. If Biden wins in November, Republicans will likely once again discover that deficits do matter, especially if Democrats also gain control of the Senate.
Government spending forcibly takes resources from the private sector, where they are used to produce goods and services desired by consumers, and puts them in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats. This distorts the market, reducing efficiency and lowering the people’s standard of living. This, combined with pressure to monetize the federal debt, causes the Federal Reserve to pump money into the economy leading to a boom-bust business cycle.
Unless Congress begins reducing spending, the coming economic crisis will be even worse. The logical place to start cutting spending is ending all unnecessary overseas commitments, corporate welfare, and shuttling down all unconstitutional federal agencies — starting with the Department of Education.
The savings from these cuts can be used to start paying down debt and providing for those truly dependent on the current system while we transition away from the welfare state. Private charities, including ones run by religious organizations, are better than government bureaucracies at providing effective and compassionate aid to those in need.
Most politicians will not vote to curtail the welfare-warfare state unless their constituents demand it. The people will not demand an end to big government as long as so many believe that the government has a moral responsibility to, and is capable of, providing them with economic and personal security.
Therefore, our priority must be on getting people to reject the entitlement mentality and embrace the philosophy of liberty and personal responsibility. This will enable us to build a movement capable of convincing politicians to stop voting for more spending and debt and instead vote to respect the Constitutional limitations on government in all areas.
Last week's bombshell that President Trump told WaPo writer Bob Woodward he was trying to "downplay" the coronavirus so as to not panic the population resulted in the usual hysteria from the president's critics. Was it an incredibly reckless and dangerous approach...or did it make good sense? Plus in today's Liberty Report: New poll shows America is sick of Fauci - is it a surprise? Also, panic over the "casedemic" continues as US hospitals empty for lack of Covid patients. Still the scaremongering continues in the media.
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