By Ron Paul
Syria is still in the news and I think that it's time that we left. Of course we should have never been involved there to begin with, but now it's well past time to pack it up and come home.
Thanks to whistleblowers, we know that the U.S. government had plans to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad before the (now four-year civil war) even began. So there was behind-the-scenes mischief taking place even before the first shot was fired.
What should a so-called "exit strategy" look like? Well, we should just say that the war is over. We're not doing well over there. Russia has moved in, and in a way our government has endorsed the principle of terrorism. Even if there is a reason to get rid of Assad, does that mean that the U.S. must endorse this terrorism?
Obama would not be a "weakling" by bringing everyone home. It often takes much more strength to show restraint, admit when something isn't working, and take the correct course. The decision by the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada can serve as a guide. Immediately after his election, he told President Obama that he'd be removing Canadian fighter jets from Syria. So it can be done.
Sending more troops, and more money, and killing more people can only exacerbate the problems of this military intervention.
We'll win more success in peace than we'll ever win in war.
Getting out of Syria would be a major step in the right direction.
Thank you, and be sure to tune in to tomorrow's Liberty Report!
By Chris Rossini
This morning, a very ominous tweet was sent out by Presidential contender Bernie Sanders:
I've got a message for corporate America: if you want us to buy your products, you better start producing them here in the United States.
That's a very scary message on many different levels. First, it lumps "corporate America" together into one big blob that must obey a politician's edicts. Is there no such thing as private property anymore? Is there no more free will? Are we to produce what politicians tell us to produce? Are we to hire those who politicians say we must hire?
Is a worker from another part of the world any less of a human being than an American? I hope that your answer to that question is a resounding NO!
Ahhh...but the cries will immediately stream from the "Democratic Socialists" that workers around the world are "low-wage" workers!
Bernie Sanders makes $174,000 per year (of taxpayer money) as his salary. When he goes to get a haircut, does his barber have to make $174,000 per year as well? How about when Bernie is served by waiters and waitresses....Do they have to make $174,000 per year in order for him to dine with them? Then why is Sanders "taking advantage" of low-paid workers? They should make what he makes in order for him to exchange with them, right?
Of course not.
Bernie can make contracts and trade with whomever he wishes. It doesn't matter what their skill-levels are, or what they earn per year.
The same should apply to people who are lumped together as "corporate America". An employment contract is nothing but an exchange of money for labor performed. Corporations should be allowed to contract with, employ, and exchange with whomever they want. It doesn't matter what their skill-levels are, where they happen to live, or what they earn per year.
Bernie has a problem with people voluntarily contracting with one another. "Corporate America" must make employment contracts with people that he approves of.
Here's a good question: Should foreign corporations take Bernie's advice and do the same? Should they close up shop in the U.S., and layoff all American employees? Should they head back to their home country?
Bernie's stance shows a complete disregard for voluntary interactions, freedom and liberty. Sanders seeks to embrace force and use it aggressively against others. That's dictatorial, and not the philosophy of a friend of Liberty.
If Bernie really wants "corporate America" to stick around, then the U.S. government must be peeled away like an onion. Layer after layer of red tape must be removed. America is a bureaucratic swamp, employing ever-growing numbers of apparatchiks.
Thomas Jefferson wrote of King George III in the Declaration of Independence:
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
Well, it has happened again, except this time the "swarms of Officers" are homegrown.
Sanders should focus on that, instead of spouting out dictatorial edicts that further erode whatever is left of our liberty.
By Peter Schiff
My father Irwin A. Schiff was born Feb. 23rd 1928, the 8th child and only son of Jewish immigrants, who had crossed the Atlantic twenty years earlier in search of freedom. As a result of their hope and courage my father was fortunate to have been born into the freest nation in the history of the world. But when he passed away on Oct. 16th, 2015 at the age of 87, a political prisoner of that same nation, legally blind and shackled to a hospital bed in a guarded room in intensive care, the free nation he was born into had itself died years earlier.
My father had a life-long love affair with our nation’s founding principals and proudly served his country during the Korean War, for a while even having the less then honorable distinction of being the lowest ranking American soldier in Europe. While in college he became exposed to the principles of Austrian economics through the writings of Henry Hazlitt and Frederick Hayek. He first became active in politics during Barry Goldwater’s failed 1964 presidential bid. His activism intensified during the Vietnam Era when he led local grass root efforts to resist Yale University’s plans to conduct aid shipments to North Vietnam at a time when that nation was actively fighting U.S. forces in the south. Later in life he staged an unsuccessful write in campaign for governor of Connecticut, then eventually lost the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination to Harry Brown in 1996.
In 1976 his beliefs in free market economics, limited government, and strict interpretation of the Constitution led him to write his first book The Biggest Con: How the Government is Fleecing You, a blistering indictment of the post New Deal expansion of government in the United States. The book achieved accolades in the mainstream conservative world, receiving a stellar review in the Wall Street Journal, among other mainstream publications.
But my father was most known for his staunch opposition to the Federal Income Tax, for which the Federal Government labeled him a “tax protester.” But he had no objection to lawful, reasonable taxation. He was not an anarchist and believed that the state had an important, but limited role to play in market based economy. He opposed the Federal Government’s illegal and unconstitutional enforcement and collection of the income tax. His first book on this topic (he authored six in total, self-published by Freedom Books) How Anyone Can Stop Paying Income Taxes, published in 1982 became a New York Times best seller. His last, The Federal Mafia; How the Government Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully collects Income Taxes, the first of three editions published in 1992, became the only non-fiction, and second and last book to be banned in America. The only other book being Fanny Hill; Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, banned for obscenity in 1821 and 1963.
His crusade to force the government to obey the law earned him three prison sentences, the final one being a fourteen-year sentence that he began serving ten years ago, at the age of 77. That sentence turned into a life sentence, as my father failed to survive until his planned 2017 release date. However in actuality the life sentence amounted to a death sentence. My father died from skin cancer that went undiagnosed and untreated while he was in federal custody. The skin cancer then led to a virulent outbreak of lung cancer that took his life just more than two months after his initial diagnosis.
The unnecessarily cruel twist in his final years occurred seven years ago when he reached his 80th birthday. At that point the government moved him from an extremely low security federal prison camp in New York State where he was within easy driving distance from family and friends, to a federal correctional institute, first in Indiana and then in Texas. This was done specially to give him access to better medical care. The trade off was that my father was forced to live isolated from those who loved him. Given that visiting him required long flights, car rentals, and hotel stays, his visits were few and far between. Yet while at these supposed superior medical facilities, my father received virtually no medical care at all, not even for the cataracts that left him legally blind, until the skin cancer on his head had spread to just about every organ in his body.
At the time of his diagnosis in early August of this year, he was given four to six mouths to live. We tried to get him out of prison on compassionate release so that he could live out the final months of his life with his family, spending some precious moments with the grandchildren he had barely known. But he did not live long enough for the bureaucratic process to be completed.Two months after the process began, despite the combined help of a sitting Democratic U.S. congresswoman and a Republican U.S. senator, his petition was still sitting on someone’s desk waiting for yet another signature, even though everyone at the prison actually wanted him released. Even as my father lay dying in intensive care, a phone call came in from a lawyer and the Bureau of Prisons in Washington asking the prison medical representatives for more proof of the serious nature of my father’s condition.
As the cancer consumed him his voice changed, and the prison phone system no longer recognized it, so he could not even talk with family members on the phone during his finale month of life. When his condition deteriorated to the point where he needed to be hospitalized, government employees blindly following orders kept him shackled to his bed. This despite the fact that escape was impossible for an 87 year old terminally ill, legally blind patient who could barley breathe, let alone walk.
Whether or not you agree with my father’s views on the Federal Income Tax, or the manner by which it is collected, it’s hard to condone the way he was treated by our government. He held his convictions so sincerely and so passionately that he continued to espouse them until his dying breath. Like William Wallace in the final scene of Braveheart, an oppressive government may have succeeded in killing him, but they did not break his spirit. And that spirit will live on in his books, his videos, and in his children and grandchildren. Hopefully his legacy will one day help restore the lost freedoms he died trying to protect, finally allowing him to rest in peace.
This article was originally published at SchiffRadio.com.
By Chris Rossini
In a recent essay, former Clinton Administration official Robert Reich pushes for a $15 minimum wage while trying to disguise the blatant use of government force as "moral".
There is nothing moral about using government to bully individuals who are attempting to make an employment contract. Only when both employer and employee voluntarily agree (without outside force) to the terms of a contract, can it be considered moral.
Both parties agree to the terms. Both have the freedom to reject the terms. Both believe that they're better off by accepting them. And most importantly, both keep their hands to themselves! Neither uses the government as a billy club against the other.
The moment that government arrives on the scene, one party looks to benefit at the expense of the other. Government, by instituting a minimum wage, harms the very people that it purports to be helping. The minimum wage does nothing but outlaw employment below a certain wage.
So if the minimum wage is $10/hr, it means that all individuals without the skills to earn $10/hr are forced into unemployment. They cannot get a job (by law) even if they are ready and willing to work.
If government raises the minimum to $15/hr, the squeeze is put on even more. Now, even if you really want to work, but only have the skills to earn $10, or $9, or $8/hr, you're out of luck. Even if employers would have gladly paid you, government had different plans for you....unemployment.
Reich understands that the minimum wage wipes out jobs, but doesn't seem to care:
...maybe some jobs are worth risking if a strong moral case can be made for a $15 minimum.
So all the jobs that would exist right now, were there no minimum wage, are "worth risking" in this professor's view. In his eyes, it's better from a "moral" standpoint that those individuals stay at home and collect their government check.
Here's is Reich's "moral case" by the way:
That moral case is that no one should be working full time and still remain in poverty.
That argument is about as arbitrary as the minimum wage itself. Poverty is subjective despite what government (that wants people to depend upon it) may say. In fact, a great piece at the Mises Institute points out that what is considered "poor" in the U.S. is considered middle class in other parts of the world.
When government creates its definition of "poverty," it's really just creating an excuse for it to meddle in our lives. It must always be remembered that government creates nothing. It cannot, by its very nature, alleviate poverty. It can, however, exacerbate poverty. It's very good at doing that.
The value of hours worked is subjective as well. The words "full-time" are a government-concocted term. They're part of the central planners lexicon. What matters as an employee is the value of your skill set and your productivity, not the amount of hours that you work. You're not paid for "hours".
Taylor Swift is on pace to earn $365 million this year (despite a supposed "gender pay gap"). The amount of hours that she works is insignificant. The demand for her skills and her productivity set her pay scale.
If more individuals are working harder than ever but are not advancing and becoming wealthier, the solution is not to raise an arbitrary minimum wage. It's not to use government force. That would be immoral, and would not solve the problem. The situation would only be made worse.
Instead, everyone would be wise to look closely at the monetary unit. Something must be happening to the money. Someone must be manipulating the purchasing power. In America, as all fans of Ron Paul are well aware, that's exactly what has been going on over the last 100 years. There is an institution that centrally plans the economy by manipulating the money supply and interest rates.
The Federal Reserve is the source of the purchasing power problem. It's destroying the money.
The moral solution would be to abolish the Federal Reserve.
Ron Paul on the Sovereign Man podcast discussing:
– Why the Fed is not going to raise interest rates
– How they’ve lost the power to manipulate markets
– How they rig half of every transaction you make
– The crucial issue that they don’t want people talking about
– And how they’ve made us poorer
By Ron Paul
The US Treasury’s recent announcement that the government will reach the debt ceiling on November 3 means Congress will soon be debating raising the government’s borrowing limit again. Any delay in, or opposition to, raising the debt ceiling will inevitably be met with hand-wringing over Congress’ alleged irresponsibility. But the real irresponsible act would be for Congress to raise the debt ceiling.
Cutting up its credit card is the only way to make Congress reduce spending. Anyone who doubts this should listen to the bipartisan whining over how sequestration has so drastically reduced spending that there is literally nothing left to cut. But, according to the Heritage Foundation, sequestration has only reduced spending from $3.6 trillion to $3.5 trillion. Only in DC would a less than one percent spending reduction be considered a draconian cut.
Defense hawks have found a way around sequestration by shoving billions of dollars into the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. OCO spending is classified as “emergency” spending so it does not count against the spending limits, even when OCO is used for items that do not fit any reasonable definition of emergency.
Yet, even using OCO to boost military spending by as much as $80 billion does not satisfy the military-industrial complex’s ravenous appetite for taxpayer dollars.
During the majority of my time in Congress, debt ceiling increases were routinely approved. In fact, congressional rules once allowed the House of Representatives to increase the debt ceiling without a vote or even a debate! Congress’ need to appear to respond to growing concerns over federal spending has forced it to end the practice of rubber-stamping debt ceiling increases.
Continuously increasing spending will lead to rising inflation as the Federal Reserve tries to monetize the ever-increasing debt. This will eventually lead to a serious economic crisis. When the crisis occurs, Congress will have no choice but to cut spending. The question is not if, but when and under what circumstances, spending will be cut.
The only alternative for cutting spending in response to economic crisis involves Congress gradually unwinding the welfare state in a manner that does not harm those dependent on federal programs. Congress will not even consider doing this until enough people have embraced the ideas of liberty to force the politicians to reconsider the proper role of government.
Those who accept the premises of the welfare statists are incapable of making principled arguments against welfare and entitlement programs. Thus, they can only quibble over spending levels or how to more efficiently manage the federal bureaucracy. While fiscal conservatives may gain some minor victories with this approach, their failure to challenge the welfare state’s morality or effectiveness dooms any effort to seriously curtail welfare state spending.
Similarly, one cannot favor both serious reductions in the military budget and an aggressive foreign policy. So-called cheap hawks may achieve some reforms in the Pentagon’s budget. They many even succeed in killing a few wasteful weapons projects. However, their unwillingness to oppose a foreign policy of perpetual war means they will always cave in to the war hawks’ demands for ever-higher military budgets.
Those who understand the dangers from continuing on our current path should support efforts to stop Congress from raising the debt ceiling. However, supporters of liberty will not win the political battle over government spending on welfare and warfare until we win the intellectual battle over the role of government. Those of us who know the truth must do all we can to spread the ideas of liberty.
By Ron Paul
On today's Liberty Report, we covered the U.S. government's assassination program. You'll surely recall when President Obama issued an executive order that said the President has the authority to assassinate even American citizens at his own discretion.
Well, a very important report was issued by The Intercept that gave us a view at how horrendous the U.S. drone program is in practice. The report was from a whistleblower who showed that during a 5 month period of drone strikes in Afghanistan, 90% of the people killed were not the intended targets.
This is very dangerous territory. The immorality should be extremely obvious. But there are also the unintended consequences and blowback that end up flying back like boomerangs.
It is well documented that there is now an epidemic of PTSD among the drone operators. That surely was not an intended consequence. The drone operators would be sitting safety in a comfortable room somewhere. Yet they are experiencing mental disorders nevertheless.
Furthermore, how does the U.S. government imagine that the people on the ground in Afghanistan will think of such killings? Ironically, the U.S. government has warned Russia that their military operations in Syria would invite blowback from terrorists. But isn't it reasonable to think that the U.S. drone war would stir up the same emotions of anger and hatred as well? If 90% of the people killed aren't even the intended targets, wouldn't that even add fuel to those destructive emotions?
All of this is unnatural. I believe that people are instinctually good and can change direction. I do not believe that war in natural. Unfortunately, groups of people grab hold of the reins of power and use it for destruction. In this case, it is the neoconservatives.
More Americans need to wake to danger of the U.S. government's policies.
If you think of a neighbor that has bad habits, you don't just march into his house saying: "I don't like how you're raising your kids, you don't go to church, you don't read the right books, and you haven't been voting lately. I'm going to force you to do it my way!" We wouldn't even think of doing such a thing.
Well, that's exactly what the U.S. government does around the world. There's essentially no concern with the moral implications. There's no concern with rights, and what a country that's supposed to defend liberty is all about.
We don't tell our next door neighbor how to live. We know better! I don't think it's any more legitimate for the U.S. government to go around the world telling others how they should live either.
Thank you, and be sure to tune in to Monday's Liberty Report!
By Chris Rossini
Whenever socialism fails (i.e., all the time) the desire for change starts to rumble in the minds of the duped citizenry. The direction that will be taken depends largely on the ideas and beliefs that those citizens hold at the time. More often then not, the outcome has been to just put a new socialist in charge. He'll "fix" what the previous comrade broke.
Of course, there is no "fix" for socialism. As Ludwig Von Mises pointed out long ago, it is doomed to failure no matter what. Without market exchanges, and without market prices, the comrades and czars are helpless.
One of last bastions of full-blown socialist policies around the world is in the area of education. Control of education is the crown jewel of government control. After all, if the world moves in the direction of the most dominant ideas, it is of the utmost importance to government to force you to adopt its ideas. Government has you for the first 18 years of your life (at least). Then the government's media picks up where the schools leave off, and take over from there.
No matter how much failure the government's school "system" produces, and no matter how many resources are flushed down the drain, it will fight tooth and nail (to the very end) to maintain control of education.
Despite the fact that this so-called education has become so horrendous (as parents who are currently dealing with "Common Core" can attest to), the cries are always for "fixes". Of course, demands for more money to toss into the black hole are a given. But, again, as Von Mises proved, socialism cannot be fixed.
One of the more recent fixes are called "Charter Schools".
The Daily Beast tells us that charter schools are the new salvation in Britain:
The British PM is fixing his country’s schools...Prime Minister David Cameron called for an end to the country’s traditional public school system, endorsing instead a nationwide conversion to academies, which are essentially the British equivalent of charter schools—publicly funded, but with greater freedom over what they teach and how they are run.
Charter Schools are a shell game. They give the illusion that change is happening because the schools are privately run. However, they are not really privately run, since the funding comes from the government.
When government teams-up with private entities it is called Fascism. Benito Mussolini described the arrangement perfectly: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”.
Government's have no problem with Fascism. It leaves them in control.
That is why governments are fine with charter schools. With government's money come government's mandates. The so-called "privately" run schools have to obey those mandates in order to keep the funds coming.
The real answer and solution to government's socialized schools is not a move to fascism. The answer is to move to freedom. A complete free market in education is the only solution, with consumers freely choosing what their children will be taught. There must be no government involvement whatsoever. No force.
Parents, as the consumers, would provide the funding. As a result it would be the parents that would be in control of what is being taught. If they do not approve, they remove their funding and look to a competitor that will better satisfy their child's needs. As with everything else, where free markets exist, competitors will tailor their products and services to the demands of consumers. Not to do so would mean immediate bankruptcy.
Naturally, the government will never voluntarily remove itself from education. It is much too important to their hold on power. They will continue to shuffle the deck chairs for as long as possible.
Fortunately, like the U.S. Postal Service, the government's "schools" will eventually become obsolete. The advance of technology, the Internet, and communications, will ultimately bury them. In practice, they are already obsolete. It just takes time for new ideas, methods and habits to spread far and wide.
The Ron Paul Curriculum is playing an important part in this ongoing transition. Government education's final breath cannot come soon enough.
By Jeff Deist
Depending on one’s point of view, Bernie Sanders either held his own or boosted his chances against perceived front-runner Hillary Clinton in Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate. His message clearly resonated with the live audience, particularly his statements about raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, global warming, and government-mandated paid childcare leave.
But progressives are emboldened by Sanders, who reportedly draws upward of 20,000 people at events. He inspires them with his attacks on capitalism, happily calling himself a “Democratic Socialist.” And his economic plans, while a mess, appeal to their radical (and disastrous) notions of egalitarianism.
Happily, there are murmurs of discontent — progressives like to eat their own. His crowds skew overwhelmingly white and older, leading to allegations that Sanders suffers from a whiteness problem. His home state of Vermont is laughably un-diverse and prosperous, home to woodsy limousine liberals who like the idea of urban living more than the reality. But nobody ever lost a political race purely for hypocrisy — and while Bernie’s brand of socialism might fade with the Birkenstock Boomer crowd, Occupy Wall Street millennials stand waiting.
Regardless of whether Sanders ultimately secures the nomination, the size and energy of the Bernie phenomenon should not be underestimated. If anything, libertarians consistently misjudge the degree to which socialist thought is deeply rooted in the American psyche.
Like Sanders, millions of American progressives hold deeply statist and authoritarian beliefs:
These ideas, and the people who hold them, are not outliers in America. There are millions of rank and file progressives, mostly registered Democrats, who believe exactly as Bernie believes. They may prefer to vote for Hillary Clinton purely as a tactical matter because they are unsure the country is “ready” for full socialism, or because they think Hillary has a better chance of beating the hated Republicans in the general election.
But average progressives and Democrats agree with Bernie Sanders across the board, whether they plan to vote for him or not.
Do average Republicans and conservatives agree with Ron Paul? Do most registered Republicans really advocate eliminating income taxes, abolishing entire federal agencies, repealing the Federal Reserve Act, ending all foreign interventions, and drastically downsizing the US military? Are most conservatives, in their hearts, radically anti-state? The answer is no. Most conservatives are only nominally less statist, often more corporatist, and almost invariably more militarist than progressives.
The reason is simple, though we tend to forget it: the twentieth century was a radically progressive century. Income taxes, central banking, social insurance schemes, demand-side Keynesian economics, and Wilsonian internationalism — all radical ideas — have become entrenched articles of faith over the past 100 years. When we talk about politics or economics today, we do so within a thoroughly progressive framework.
The entire progressive agenda of the last century, which would have sounded outrageous to the libertarian-tinged ear of the average American in 1900, is now merely the baseline from which all government action originates.
That’s why abolitionist libertarians are on the defensive in modern political discourse, while grandiose progressives are on the attack: the default position in American politics is for government to do something.
So we shouldn’t downplay or minimize the success of progressives in shifting the landscape dramatically in favor of the state over the past century. Progressives never went away, despite the rhetoric of Ronald Reagan or Milton Friedman or Bill Clinton. The era of big government is still here, and it always was.
So what should libertarians do, in an absurd progressive world obsessed with supposed global warming, inequality, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and privilege, ad nauseam?
The answer could fill a book, but let me suggest we start by freeing ourselves of the burdens of politics. Our battle is for hearts and minds, not votes. While Democrats and Republicans fixate on candidates and their supposed policies, libertarians are free to remain psychologically and emotionally detached from the whole sordid process.
And with that detachment comes freedom: the freedom to inspire, educate, and influence other people of good will without the divisive cloud of partisan politics creating suspicion and distrust. Once people know you’re not simply making arguments to support “your guy” — or any guy — they tend to view you more impartially and hence more favorably.
A new era of liberty, peace, and prosperity will not be won at the ballot box. It will be won at ground level, individual by individual, as progressive ideas crumble in the face of unsustainable government debts, unsustainable government wars, and unsustainable government entitlements.
This article was originally published at The Mises Institute.