The so-called recovery is only built on debt and printed cash declares our own Byron King. In the long term, the only option for the government to continue financing it's operations is to print too many dollars. Money printing has it's limits, however. It's Byron's opinion that at some point, perhaps very soon, the government will have to turn to more desperate measures. Namely, capital controls. In the following featured essay, Byron outlines 4 probably ways the government will take your cash and one play you can buy through your broker to prepare today. Read on...
Americans expatriate because they want to get out of the country. Corporations expatriate for similar reasons. Clem Chambers explains...
Say goodbye to your boring morning commute. New technologies are changing the way people drive their cars. It’s making them safer, more fuel efficient, and could reshape the way America builds its roads and cities. The only thing that could stand in the way...
In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
The U.S. dollar is the dominant global reserve currency. All markets, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and foreign exchange are affected by the value of the dollar.The value of the dollar, in effect, its “price” is determined by interest rates. When the Federal Reserve manipulates interest rates, it is manipulating, and therefore distorting, every market in […]
When the NSA surveillance news broke last year it sent shockwaves through CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland. Andy Yen, a PhD student, took to the Young at CERN Facebook group with a simple message: “I am very concerned about the privacy issue, and I was wondering what I could do about it.”There was […]
The game of speculation is the most uniformly fascinating game in the world. But it is not a game for the stupid, the mentally lazy, the person of inferior emotional balance or the get-rich-quick adventurer. They will die poor.– Jesse Livermore, How to Trade in StocksThe trouble with capitalism’s guardians is that they have no […]
Let’s head back in time…In 2004, a mere decade ago, the US national debt rang the register at $7.4 trillion. That represents “debt per citizen” of over $25,000. You, me, your neighbor, your 4-yr old grandson, you name it and they’re portion of the U.S. debt is $25k.But flash forward to today and you’ll see […]
John Foust, a Democrat running for the 10th congressional seat in Northern Virginia, is — like Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other state Democrats — gung-ho to expand Medicaid. His wife’s position is, shall we say, a bit more nuanced.Foust has slammed his opponent, Republican Del. Barbara Comstock, for her opposition to expansion. He has spoken […]
The midterm election season is upon us, and it’s a tossup whether the Republicans will win the Senate, or if President Obama, seemingly oblivious as conflict flares up around the world, will, through his continuous campaigning, keep Harry Reid in his majority leader seat.The only thing we know for sure is that sociopaths will be […]
Alexander Hamilton was America’s first Secretary of Treasury under President George Washington. When he first entered office in 1789, America was an agricultural nation of just 4 million still broke from its financially costly victory over the British Empire in the Revolutionary War.The states had accumulated relatively massive debts to finance that war, which mostly […]
I was talking with one of my colleagues the other day, and he raised a very interesting question, one that deserves consideration by anyone worried about their digital privacy. He read an article that championed the idea that the more steps one took to protect their privacy by using anonymous Web-browsing tools like Tor, the […]
In the minds of many people around the world, including in the United States, the term “capitalism” carries the idea of unfairness, exploitation, undeserved privilege and power, and immoral profit making. What is often difficult to get people to understand is that this misplaced conception of “capitalism” has nothing to do with real free markets […]
When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
Some people are saying it is just what the doctor ordered. Others are saying that the cure is worse than the disease.The Affordable Care Act? Reengagement in Iraq? Tea Party bullying in the GOP?Not this time. Just as protracted in the corridors of Congress and the White House is the debate over the proposed reform […]
In 2012, money mandarins running the European Union chose stagnation over restructuring. Here’s a consequence of that choice: expectations for a self-sustaining economic recovery keep getting crushed.Two years ago, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to hold the eurozone together. He bluffed nervous investors into believing in a […]
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.Is this a realistic vision of the future, […]
“In the beginning, all the world was America.” — John Locke“The Garden of Eden was a perfect place,” my friend Manuel explained. “Man had free will. He could live in harmony with nature and God — and everything would be fine. But if he defied God, the stain of original sin would be on his […]
After a week of reckoning about the American oil and gas boom… I’ve got to get something off my chest.I can’t stand it when a coworker takes credit for something I did.Whether it’s a special report I wrote or just a little investing trick I found on my own — if someone takes it and […]
It might sound like the latest new product from Apple, but IPAB is actually the newest major legal challenge to Obamacare.Recently, a three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard arguments about the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, a 15-member panel created by the Affordable Care Act and empowered […]
Americans have come to believe that the IRS and the income tax are inevitable parts of our lives. After all, most everyone alive today has lived his entire life under federal income taxation.It wasn’t always that way. For some 125 years, the American people lived without having any tax imposed upon their income.The obvious question […]
Here’s a fun fact: Although we all hate the U.S. dollar, as it continues to hemorrhage wealth, its foothold as the world’s reserve currency isn’t going to disappear overnight.A Russian gas deal with China won’t change that — as we’ll highlight below.But before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s dive into a story that’s right […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
“As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the Congress of the United States. It is considered an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding […]
The Keynesian disaster recovery plan has been to lower rates, force people to take more risk in search of yield, and entice others to borrow and spend and, magically, more jobs will be created. If people won’t buy stocks, central banks will.Back in 2011, Ben Bernanke, when asked if QE2 was driving up stock prices, […]
In September 2009, when President Obama made a primetime speech pitching his not-yet-passed health care overhaul, he made the following promise: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. Period.” To prove his seriousness, he further promised that “there will be a provision […]
Whatever your views on the role of government, one thing is clear: There will be no way to pay for it if the economy doesn’t grow. And I’m not talking by a measly percentage point or two. If we can’t find our way back to 5% annual economic growth or above soon, America’s accumulated federal […]
Madison, Wis., was in lockdown mode last night, a day before the visit by the president of the United States. It is Obama’s last stop before Election Day. It just so happened that he and I were in town on the same day to speak to students, faculty, and residents.
My host, Young Americans for Liberty organizer Joseph Diedrich, and I were leaving the restaurant above the Museum of Contemporary Art and walking to a cigar bar on the other side of the Capitol building to meet other student and faculty for late-evening conversation.
We had to go the long way because of all the barricades and equipment.
Crowds were milling about everywhere, and some people were sitting on risers listening to someone giving them instructions on a bullhorn. They sat there all fresh-faced and eager — anticipating the great moment when Il Duce would pay them a visit. I asked someone who these people were.
“What are they volunteering for?”
“To help with tomorrow’s event.”
“And they do this because… they love Obama?”
The guy nodded but detected skepticism in my voice. His face darkened into a scowl. I could imagine these words going through his head: If you see something, say something.
It was time for me and Joseph to get going. We walked on rather hurriedly, and every third or fourth step I turned back to look at the guy. His eyes were following us very carefully, and I kept looking to see if he would whip out his cellphone and call some official thugs to give us the “what for.” He didn’t, but the escape seemed uncomfortably narrow.
Who were all these people? They could have been home surfing the Web, playing with kids, reading a book, watching television. But no. They are dedicating their time to re electing Obama. Why? My own theory comes from a book by Chris Hedges called War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. His thesis is summed up in the title. But his thesis can be broadened.
Politics is the force that gives life meaning. It is what people do in order to convince themselves that they are making a difference in the world, that their lives are not petty and useless, but big and important. It is an illusion. They are dupes of a process. But they do it anyway because they want to affirm their own significance in the course of human events.
Sadly, political activism typically requires brains to be in the off position. And I’m not just picking on these nice people. You would find the same at a Romney rally — though my sense is that his backers are not quite as devoted.
This doesn’t make these people bad. The guy who shot me and my friend the evil eye is probably a nice fellow otherwise. Had he been serving drinks at the local bar, we would have been on great terms. It’s the venue that extracts the suspicion and hate. Politics turn nice guys into thugs.
It’s a microcosm of what democracy does to the whole of society. And where is the payoff? For most people, there is none. What is truly at stake is much smaller than what people believe.
For months on end, I’ve heard people tell me what Romney or Obama is likely to do if elected, and, therefore, why, in the scheme of things, it would be better if one or the other were elected.
And how do people know what either is going to do once in office? Their suppositions are based on an assembly of passing data: what they have said on the campaign trail, their intellectual and personal backgrounds, what the party platform says, who their biggest financial backers are, what kind of people are voting for them, and so on.
But here’s the truth: No one knows for sure what a newly elected politician will do. Intellectual or professional background counts for little when a person is suddenly flush with power, slammed with daily duties, bound by institutional expectations, surrounded by people who know far more about nearly everything related to the affairs of state, and overwhelmed by suddenly being the chief executive of history’s largest and most astonishing complex power apparatus.
The same is true about what was said on the campaign trail. By the time they are sworn in, it’s all ancient history, just data points in the process that got them where they want to be.
Party platforms? Those are as binding as yesterday’s editorial page of the local newspaper. Platforms are pressure valves for chumps, worthless documents that provide a means to convince the party regulars that it really does matter what the workers and peasants in the party believe, even though it doesn’t matter at all, since they’ve already performed the essential service of giving money, making calls, passing out leaflets, and holding approved signs at the conventions.
Financial backers might be the best predictor of future actions of presidents, but even here, the guidance is vague. It’s not even entirely clear to what extent the person of the president himself really possesses the control that American political culture assumes he has. People complain about how politicians betray the people every single time. But what if betrayal is inevitable and all the promises and claims are nothing more than propaganda just to get one gang into power instead of another?
People like to assume that we are voting on issues. The media hector politicians to “stick to the issues.” We are supposed to do our civic duty and bone up on the “issues.” But when you get to the voting booth, there are no issues on the ballot on the federal level. There are only people’s names. That’s what we are voting for: person x or person y. All the rest is guesswork based on fleeting, gassy words in the air. All the talk about issues only distracts from this devastating reality that no one has a clue what this or that elected official is going to do in reality.
And consider the claim that candidate x would be better than candidate y for a variety of reasons. This is non verifiable. You can’t run an experiment. It’s not like the natural sciences. A person who said the following would be considered a lunatic: “Let’s try four years with Obama and then try the same four years with Romney and see which turns out best.”
Yet that’s precisely what we would have to do in order to make any truly valid claims about who would be better. Nor can we tell after the fact that the person who lost the election would have been better or worse.
All we really know is that every president makes a terrible mess. Even the few that do something good or do as little as possible leave a terrible mess in their wake. That’s been true… well… pretty much without exception since the beginning. The ones who make the smallest messes you never hear of, while the ones who make the biggest messes make the history books and, if they are lucky, get their picture put on some paper money.
All of this extremely strange stuff in an election makes for a dramatic contrast with the free market. If you want shoes, you can buy shoes. If the shoes don’t fit, you can take them back. The company that makes the best shoes at the best prices tends to advance itself in the marketplace, and those who do not tend to fall back. At any time, the buying or the abstention from buying determines the outcome, and there is a direct link between what is produced and what is consumed. It’s simplicity itself.
In the marketplace, we are voting every day — without the national psychodrama, divisive frenzy, and astonishing expense, not to mention the lies, graft, and betrayals. Thus do I renew my call for us all to rally around those who truly do serve us and try our best not to get sucked into a racket in which you will certainly be betrayed.
The topic of my speech tonight is the history of ownership and commerce. It is a magnificent history full of drama and meaning. In this way, it is far more rewarding than politics.
Laissez Faire Books has published some extremely important books this year — all of them valuable in their own way. But the book that today stands out to me as having massive explanatory power is Beyond Democracy. This is a book that can liberate your mind. It can keep you out of the slaughterhouse.