Ask a D.C. insider what’s the best way to solve the debt crisis. Nine times out of ten, they’ll recommend taking on more debt. That’s how things operate in the Potomac swamp. Up is down, right is left, digging yourself into more debt is the best way to get out of it. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, there used to be common sense when it came to the economy. So where did it all go wrong?
Politicians talk about the uninsured. Special interests argue on behalf of those with pre-existing conditions. But why is no one wondering how doctors are affected by the new law? They’re the ones on the frontlines dealing directly with new patients, as well as the red tape that makes bureaucracies go round.
Politicians proclaim the benefits of small business while on the campaign trail. But when they meet in the seedy halls of Congress, they have no problem doing whatever they can to stifle, regulate, and subdue their progress. Instead of siding with entrepreneurs, these politicians often side with political allies and cronies that helped put them into office.
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
Technology brought the world together. But has it gone too far? Decades ago, mail was delivered by hand. Now it’s delivered in seconds. How has that changed the way you live your life? How has it changed the way people act with each other? These are just some of the questions we need to ask.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
Gun control isn’t a modern idea. The rise of gun control laws and limits on your 2nd Amendment freedom go hand in hand with the increase in the size and scope of government. Politicians want you to think the only people who can keep you safe are government forces. But as one renown libertarian economist and thinker will show you, their misguided laws do nothing but take away your freedoms and leave you less safe.
The government will do whatever it takes to make sure it has enough of your money to fund itself. On the surface you might think that means enduring a grueling audit. But the IRS and the government is more than willing to ignore your privacy in the cold relentless pursuit of the money they think they deserve. As they get bigger and bigger every year, the smaller and smaller your paycheck becomes as they leach off it.
The Congressional Budget Office said the government needed to reach 7 million people by the end of March. They claim to have reached the goal and now the debate about Obamacare is over. But what does this milestone really mean in the ongoing healthcare discussion? And more importantly, how will it affect reforms going forward?
If you’re good at something should you be penalized so others have a chance at success? Should award winning actors and actresses be barred from future Oscar ceremonies to give other men and women the chance to succeed? Success should always be rewarded and encouraged. But what happens when you have a government that wants to even the playing field and take away the spoils of success. Gregory Bresiger finds out...
In an effort to cut costs and keep track of patients' records, governments could institute a medical guideline cookbook. Bureaucrats might think they have the best of intentions in mind, but these new rules would drag down the medical process and destroy whatever quality is left in our current system.
Practical people often pooh-pooh fiction reading as a time wasting dalliance, dominated by a Marxist coloring of the world. However, fiction readers were given a scientific reason recently for spending hours absorbing fanciful figments of someone’s imagination.
Argentina is suffering the ravages of government debasement of the currency -- i.e., inflation, the process by which government pays for its ever-increasing debts and bills by simply printing more paper currency. The expanded money supply results in a lower value of everyone’s money, which is reflected in the rising prices of the things that money buys.
When government expansion is allowed to continue unabated or when it casts a heavy regulatory shadow on America’s entrepreneurial spirit, the freedoms that we’ve come to know, and perhaps take for granted, slowly begin to slip away.
The saga of All Saints could soon be coming to a community near you. Thanks partly to the scandal surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the agency has proposed a new set of rules for a huge number of social-welfare groups that claim tax exemption under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code.
The new reality of Obamacare’s tax credits has left finance reporters to pen articles warning readers to “take care” when considering a tax credit and providing strategies for how best to “protect yourself.” So what do finance reporters know that the White House doesn’t?
Nihilo ex nihilo fit. Out of nothing, nothing comes. First put forward by ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides in the fifth century B.C., Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine later used this axiom to prove that the universe needed a “first mover” to get things going. Even if the whole thing began with some kind of “Big Bang” moment, it still needed a banger to bang it. Who? God, of course.
What positive steps can we take? The energy that is now expended by well intentioned, freedom-seeking individuals on the destructive course of politics can be turned into powerful steps that will have a positive effect on the future. All are moral, right and just. None require aggressing. Consider the following...
The Affordable Care Act creates a new health insurance marketplace (the exchange). But because of the great uncertainty about what buyers will enter the market and who will buy what product, the law creates three vehicles to reduce insurance company risk.
Politicians and bureaucrats are notorious for manufacturing euphemisms -- clever but deceptive substitutes for what they really mean but don’t want to admit. That’s how the phrase “revenue enhancement” entered the vocabulary. Some of our courageous friends in government couldn’t bring themselves to say “tax hike.”
“It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future,” says a proverb often attributed to Yogi Berra. Imagine the world of freedom, or lack of it. Who could foresee the technologies that make our lives so rewarding and convenient? The same technologies have us all under the government’s giant microscope. Thankfully, the brave have turned the microscope around.
In the months since Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the spying that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been perpetrating upon Americans and foreigners, some of the NSA's most troublesome behavior has not been a part of the public debate.
National Treasury Union President Colleen M. Kelly recently described the 2014 IRS budget allocation as “woefully inadequate.” But the agency has not proven itself to be an efficient steward of taxpayer dollars. Here are ten ways the IRS lost the trust of the American people.
It’s easy to be negative about the U.S. economy these days. Find a glint of silver, and folks come running to point out all of the dark clouds looming about. This, of course, is what we got last week when the monthly jobs report was released from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Folks pooh-poohed the number of jobs and whining that they’re not enough or that it’s less than a bunch of economists thought that it might be. But you know what? Stuff ’em.
Given how poorly states like California and Illinois have funded the pension funds for their own employees, one would think that this would stop dead in its tracks any plan to have the government assist in managing private sector funds too. The spate of recent activity, however, suggests otherwise.
Facts are easy. You can check facts. What supporters of the Affordable Care Act are doing, on the other hand, transcends factual bungling. It’s far more advanced: a warping of reality so debauched it looks like something out of a tale by H.P. Lovecraft.
The problem for NSA apologist is that when guys like Snowden disclose that the government conducts comprehensive surveillance in ways that would have made 1984’s O’Brien drool, it puts the entire progressive agenda in jeopardy.
The Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress is the least governmentlike building among all the tax-funded monstrosities in the nation’s capital. It was completed in 1897, at the tail end of the greatest period of economic growth in the history of humanity in what was then the world’s most prosperous country, just before civilization was taken down by World War I.
This building is the archetype of Gilded Age culture and confidence. A future of universal peace, prosperity, and learning seemed guaranteed. The captains of industry would replace the kings and dukes of old. The new world would feature a new kind of elite, not government, but business. They would serve society through enterprise. Their leadership in culture and the arts resulted from proven merit. War would be no more. Trade and business would rule the future. All of these themes are apparent in the decor and architecture.
Residents of the city hardly ever go in this building. Tourists, however, love it. I was there with my colleague Doug French to saunter around like a tourist and see it with fresh eyes. The last time I had been there, there was no available Internet. The world was entirely physical apart from localized databases. We lived and breathed paper and ink. We pretty much knew only what we could hold, and if we wanted to know more, we had to find it in the physical world. How did we manage?
We were killing time, waiting for the rest of the people in our party to return from other meetings so that we could meet with Ron Paul following his farewell address to Congress.
In so many ways, this building is a relic of a type of government that we almost can’t imagine today. No expense was spared in construction. Classical themes are everywhere. The slogans on the walls try to capture ancient wisdom and are written with affected Latin lettering and feature characters from Greco-Roman mythology.
There is a beautiful innocence about the whole place. You can discern from this building alone why so many people once believed that government could be part of society, a guardian of the peace and prosperity of the nation. Government in those days seemed to wish us all well, favoring our well-being and prosperity and otherwise leaving us alone. There was no income tax, no central bank, no regulatory agencies, no national police, no passports, and no bureaus. The president was a caretaker, not a demigod.
In a few minutes, we were to meet the last living representative of this point of view, Ron Paul of Texas. In his long career in Congress, he voted against everything, as well he should have. His ideal is pre-WWI. Government should be a night watchman, nothing more. Taxes need to go. The central bank needs to be unplugged. We should get rid of “foreign policy” as that phrase is used today and replace it with global trade managed by private enterprise. He never wavered in his conviction that this is the ideal.
Of course, the Washington, D.C., of today has nothing to do with that ideal.
I was traveling with a fascinating crew. There was French, who loves watching commerce as much as I do. So we talk about the shops, the costs of business, the job of management, the challenges faced by inventory concerns, the tastes of shoppers, the challenges of regulation, and the business cycle. We could do this all day. And we do, when we are fortunate enough to travel together.
It is even true today that Washington, D.C., would be dull and uneventful without its commercial sector. Union Station is a little shopping bazaar. Heading north, once you fight your way through the bureaucracies and come out on the other end, you find fabulous restaurants, bookstores (they still exist), tourist shops, and technology retail stores. I like to think of these capitalist enterprises as good examples of how to make the best of a bad situation.
Other people in our party: Addison Wiggin, the broadly educated and visionary founder of Agora Financial; Ralph Benko, the gold standard advocate who works with Lewis Lehrman and can tell a superengaging story of sound and unsound money starting and ending at any point in human history; John Papola and Lisa Versaci, the creative geniuses behind the Keynes-Hayek video series; and Dominic Frisby, the U.K.’s most interesting short filmmaker and comedian/writer.
They came walking up the sidewalk, and we all took over the Cannon House Office Building. We went into Dr. Paul’s office and heard his voice. But he wasn’t there. He was in the middle of his last speech before Congress, and his staff was watching on the television. There were packing boxes everywhere, because the office was in the process of being vacated. We sat and watched.
Dr. Paul had worked a long time on this speech. When he came to the key passage, he paused and said these words as distinctly as he could: “Our Constitution… has failed.” It was a great moment because, of course, he was precisely right, but who else has said this so clearly? If the Constitution was to restrain government, it didn’t work, obviously. Government won’t restrain itself. It has to be restrained by people. Freedom must seek some other guarantee.
As the speech ended and Dr. Paul was making his way back to the office, I had the opportunity to catch up with Carol Paul and the goings-on with the family.
After a while, Dr. Paul came in, we made the introductions, and the interview began. I had told John before that it would be great if he could film this. He was aghast because he had no equipment with him at that moment. But we all corrected him and said no problem, you have the iPhone 5. He laughed and said he would do his best.
Out came the phone when the interview began, and he immediately swung into his filmmaker role, moving around and shooting like the expert that he is. The results are just fantastic.
Our plan had been to talk about money and banking in light of Laissez Faire’s new edition of The Case for Gold. We stuck to the plan. So minutes after Ron Paul had given a speech with a Jeffersonian sweep, he was back to talking in great detail about the zero interest rate policy, the Bernanke regime, the prospects for complete denationalization, and more. He expressed every confidence that the regime would be replaced with sound money, with or without government’s cooperation.
Following this, we spoke about several new projects that our team is working on and then headed to dinner with friends and some staffers to talk about the future of liberty.
It is common for people who love liberty to think about the past as embodied in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. It represents a world in which government really did seem restrained, a benefactor to the people. But here is the truth: We can’t go back. And we should not go back. As innocent as the classical ideals of the Gilded Age seem, they were the basis from which the imperial-parasite state we know today emerged.
As Dr. Paul said, that system really did fail. The future of liberty has to be about the future of people and their own choices. As Papola put it in his second Keynes-Hayek video, we really do face a choice between top-down and bottom-up social order. Freedom needs to be built by individuals acting outside the scope of government’s control.
Laissez Faire Club
P.S. Laissez Faire has worked fast, as a tribute to Ron Paul, to put his final speech in e-pub and mobi format, free to download for Club members, as a commemoration for his educational role. You can download it now! Just click here.