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 […]
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices are rising at a 2.1% annual rate. This suggests to us that the current stock market boom will die with a bang, rather than a whimper.Fed economists say they don’t think inflation rates are rising. They think the most recent reading is a fluke. But why […]
Real progress happens through real people, ideas, and innovations. Not by legislation argued and debated in Congress. Right now, one of the most influential technologies is changing the way people do business. And reinventing the future in the process.
Innovation can change the world… if the world lets it. Unfortunately, society’s gatekeepers make it a point to constrain, regulate, and control these ideas. But their power is limited, and the power of innovation is too great. Unfortunately for regulators, there are some technologies they can’t control.
“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.” — Emperor Palpatine, The Return of the JediJon Stewart made great comedic hay during the Bush Administration out of the enormity of Dick Cheney’s “Sith Lord” malevolence. Events in Iraq in the past week have made especially palpable Cheney’s Palpatine-like quality.As Iraq unravels, you may suspect that Cheney might now […]
Entrepreneurs are high-tailing it out of the United States, and it’s the politicians’ faultThe U.S. government is driving some of its most productive citizens abroad. The only beneficiaries are countries such as Singapore and Switzerland, which offer sanctuary to Americans fleeing avaricious Uncle Sam.Three years ago Eduardo Saverin, one of Facebook’s founders, joined 1,780 other […]
Politicians love raising the minimum wage because they don’t have to ask voters to pay more in taxes. They just dump the costs onto shop owners. But they don’t act like politicians and go into debt to pretend like they have all the money in the world. They face real world situations. And sometimes that means replacing workers with more affordable options...
A cushy job in Hawaii that pays six figures. A beautiful girlfriend/boyfriend. Job security and professional experience that gives you plenty of future opportunities. Would you throw that all away to do what you think is right? Last year, one government contractor did just that. And now you see the world the government tried to hide from you.
As the world gets more digital, people forget about the benefits of transacting in cash. And government officials know that.
Regulation is supposed to keep you safe and make the economy function smoothly. At least that’s what they tell you in the news. But there’s another cost to regulation. One that you won’t hear about unless you have to deal with directly. And for the people in the economy who do, they’re the ones who have to pay the final cost.
The experts will tell you the recession is over, but they’re only torturing the data to hide the truth. The economy never recovered from the downturn it experienced. But the downturn happened in 2000, not 2008. The country’s been in the middle of a 14 year recession and hardly anyone knows the truth.
All paper currency has a shelf life. It could be 5 years or 500 years, but at some point, the value of any paper currency eventually reaches zero. That's why, for centuries, people have turned to one shiny metal to safeguard their personal store of wealth. And, as Jim Rickards explains, you still have that option. Read on...
Edward Snowden’s one year visa in Russia expires at the end of next month. With only a few weeks left before he finds himself without a safe country to live in, he sat down to give an exclusive interview. Here are the most important things he wants you to remember from his recent sacrifice.
Ah, what a weekend, with blue skies, singing birds, budding cherry blossoms and the government’s announcement that it has totalitarian control over everything. Wait, what was that last thing? It was an Executive Order released late Friday that no one on the planet seemed to notice until about 30 hours later. It is unnumbered, but called “National Defense Resources Preparedness.”
Let’s call it NDRP. The first I heard of it was Sunday morning. Something called The Examiner had a write-up about this order in which President Obama would, in the event of an emergency or even in “peacetime,” assume control of all energy, food, water, people — the whole of the material and natural world as we know it! — and claim the right to requisition professions to serve the state.
Nuts, right? Some more of the conspiracy stuff that has lately been clogging up the web. By 6 a.m., there was still only that one news story, but there were 463 forum discussions and 1,410 blog commentaries. Six hours later, there were eight news stories (none of them from a mainstream source), plus 712 forum discussions and 3,640 blog commentaries. Oh, and an uncountable number of Tweets.
How could all these paranoids be yammering on about something that hadn’t even been conformed by The New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC? No wonder the government has such trouble governing this nation of gullible oddballs.
There was only one problem: this link. Here is the order itself as hosted by the White House. You can read it with your own eyes. It was issued Friday evening, March 16, 2012, the last day of spring break for many colleges, just as most news shops had closed up for the week and people were otherwise planning barbecues and outings.
Here at Whitehouse.gov we find the announcement that “The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency,” and so therefore it must assume all control of energy, food, water, health care, equipment and, of course, people
Yes, you read that last one correctly. The executive branch claims it can perform a civilian draft of people of “outstanding experience and ability without compensation and to employ experts, consultants or organizations.” (Emphasis mine.)
The authority cited in the document is the Defense Production Act of 1950, another dictatorial imposition, but which happened to have congressional approval. The dictator this time was President Truman. It allowed him to requisition every manner of resource to fight the Korean War: to draft people into war and to enable the executive to impose wage and price controls at will.
This was the Act that Sen. Robert Taft spoke about on the campaign trail in 1952. He regarded it as unconstitutional, illegal and totalitarian, nothing more than an attempt to reclaim the total state of World War II as part of the regular powers of the state in all other times. He said it was the surest sign that we had lost our moorings as a nation.
Historians of the period regard this act as the thing that cemented in place the political culture of the Cold War, in which the government accumulated ever more weapons of mass destruction, instituted the draft, went to war with whomever and wherever and presumed total control over all industry, all while the civilian population lived in fear of nuclear holocaust.
It is no different today: an unconstitutional power grab piled on top of a previous unconstitutional power grab piled on top of previous cases. So far as I can tell — and the real experts really need to get involved here to explain the details — there is very little new here at all except that perhaps the claim that the government can force everyone into slavery without compensation, plus the addition of a strange role for the Federal Reserve.
Part III, Sec. 301(b) says: “Each guaranteeing agency is designated and authorized to: (1) act as fiscal agent in the making of its own guarantee contracts and in otherwise carrying out the purposes of section 301 of the Act; and (2) contract with any Federal Reserve Bank to assist the agency in serving as fiscal agent.”
This suggests that any federal department that is part of the executive branch can make a separate deal with the Fed to print as much money as the agency needs to do whatever it wants, without having to ask Congress for any kind of special allocation. It is also possible that this power already existed.
As the day progressed, a number of people from the “responsible” portion of the blogosphere began to say pretty much the same thing. This is nothing new. It is merely an update of what existed previously. There was an update in 1994 and one under every previous administration. There is nothing to see here: This is business as usual for the executive branch.
It’s been going on for sixty years. Make that eighty. Make that 100 if you count the wartime central planning of World War I. Actually, take it back further to the Civil War, when Lincoln assumed dictatorial powers. Or go back to the Adams administration, which criminalized sedition during a war fever over France.
True, the water in which the frog is being boiled is perhaps slightly hotter than before, but don’t blame Obama for coming up with the idea for frog soup! True, this point has some relevance for those who would try to score some political victory at the expense of the Democrats alone. What I don’t get is why this background is supposed to bring comfort to anyone who has in mind the broad interest of human liberty.
What is true now was true in 1994 and true in 1950 and true in 1932 and true in 1917. Anyone with a love of human liberty should be alarmed by the presumption of totalitarian control anytime, and especially during our own times, when there might be something we can do about it.
These powers might be old as the hills, and the battle between power and liberty is the core drama of human history, but there is a major difference this time: We have digital media that allow us to see this stuff with our own eyes.
That’s what makes the difference.