What the rich do with their money 0

Bernie Sanders thinks “millionaires and billionaires” are rich at the expense of the poor. And should have their wealth taken away from them and shared out equally among the rest of America’s  320 million people?

Milton Friedman enlightens a questioner who asks why there are “so many millionaires” in America at the same time as there are so many people in poverty:

Posted under Capitalism, Economics, liberty, Socialism, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 4, 2016

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Socialism is force 1

Bernie Sanders wants government to look after everyone like a parent.

Milton Friedman deplores the ruler who sincerely believes he knows better than you do what’s good for you:

Posted under Capitalism, Economics, liberty, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 4, 2016

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Government within limits 0

Bernie Sanders describes himself as a Democratic Socialist.

Here Milton Friedman cogently answers a Democratic Socialist:

Posted under Capitalism, Economics, liberty, Socialism, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 4, 2016

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Government to pay protection bribes to criminals 1

GOPUSA reports:

The District of Columbia Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill that includes a proposal to pay residents a stipend not to commit crimes. It’s based on a program in Richmond, California, that advocates say has contributed to deep reductions in crime there.

Deep reduction in crime? Criminals no longer have to go out to get other people’s money. It’s handed over to them. They can stay warm in bed.

Under the bill, city officials would identify up to 200 people a year who are considered at risk of either committing or becoming victims of violent crime. Those people would be directed to participate in behavioral therapy and other programs. If they fulfill those obligations and stay out of trouble, they would be paid.

Bribe victims not to be victimized?

And what behavioral therapy does a victim need to not be a victim? If such therapy is known, why can’t we all be treated to it?

Or is just being paid to “stay out of trouble” the magic formula? Sounds good to us.

The bill doesn’t specify the value of the stipends, but participants in the California program receive up to $9,000 per year.

Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, a Democrat who wrote the legislation, said it was part of a comprehensive approach to reducing violent crime in the city, which experienced a 54 percent increase in homicides last year. Homicides and violent crime are still down significantly since the 2000s, and even more so since the early 1990s when the District was dubbed the nation’s “murder capital.”

McDuffie argued that spending $9,000 a year in stipends “pales in comparison” to the cost of someone being victimized, along with the costs of incarcerating the offender.

“I want to prevent violent crime — particularly gun violence — by addressing the root causes and creating opportunities for people, particularly those individuals who are at the highest risks of offending,” McDuffie, a former prosecutor, said in a letter to constituents last week.

How is the paying of protection money “addressing the root causes” of crime?

Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser has not committed to funding the program, which would cost $4.9 million over four years, including $460,000 a year in stipend payments, according to the District’s independent chief financial officer. Without the mayor’s support, it would be up to the Council to find money for it through new taxes or cuts to existing programs.

The program would be run independently of the police department, and participants would remain anonymous. Its goal would be to recruit people who are at risk of violence but don’t have criminal cases pending.

In Richmond, 79 percent of “fellows” participating in the program have not been suspected of involvement in any gun crimes since joining the program, and 84 percent have not been injured by gunfire, the program’s executive director, DeVone Boggan, said in a report to the Council.

Richmond experienced a 77 percent drop in homicides between 2007, when the program was launched, and 2014, although how much can be specifically attributed to the stipends is unclear.

So why doesn’t everyone in Richmond and Washington, D.C. promise their local councils that they won’t commit a crime if they are paid $9,000 a year? Perhaps they could get double by promising not to commit a crime or be a victim.

Why doesn’t the whole country adopt the pleasant idea of this duffer. Be the richer for it – and free of crime forever?

Okay, so its not enough to retire on. You can keep your day job. Just think of the stipend as a gift. A little extra pocket money.

Up for it, Everyone?

Socialism is fraud 1

It seems possible that Bernie Sanders could actually be the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency if Hillary Clinton were to be indicted for the obvious felonies she has committed.

He calls himself a “democratic socialist”. From all that we can discover about him, we’d say that “Communist” would fit him perfectly.

But okay, “democratic socialist” will do for now.

“Democratic”?  Leftist dictatorships like to call themselves “democratic”. It means nothing there. Sanders points to Scandinavian examples of “democratic socialism”. Denmark, Sweden, Norway are welfare states which hold democratic elections. They’re often held up – rightly or wrongly – as proof that socialism can be a workable system, even though it has failed everywhere else.

So how well can socialism work?

John Hinderaker writes at PowerLine:

Over the last 200 years, free enterprise has led to an unprecedented explosion of wealth, individual liberty and creativity. Nothing in human history … has enriched the human race to anything like the same degree. If human history has conclusively established any fact, it is that free enterprise is fantastically successful, while socialism is a pitiful failure. Think of North Korea, the USSR, Maoist China, Albania, East Germany, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, India until it wised up. The list goes on and on.

And yet…the siren song of socialism still lures suckers. Currently, Venezuela is learning the age-old lesson the hard way. But we can’t laugh at Venezuelans, when Bernie Sanders is a serious contender for our presidency and is far and away the campus favorite. How is it that socialism (or the urge toward socialism, anyway) can survive? It is the cockroach of ideologies, seemingly impervious to all efforts to kill it.

It may be helpful to think of socialism as a species of fraud. There are many types of fraud, but nothing new under the Sun. … The same con games that flourished hundreds of years ago still work. Charles Ponzi’s financial empire collapsed in 1920, and he was arrested and sent to prison. Yet hardly a month goes by without another Ponzi scheme being revealed. There is only one way in which a Ponzi scheme can end: in disaster. This is a mathematical fact. Yet people fall for them, over and over. …

Socialism is fraud writ large. …

Only under socialism could Fidel Castro become the richest warlord, relative to his subjects’ wealth, in recorded history. (And that was the least of his sins.) Only under socialism could Maria Gabriela Chavez, daughter of socialist tribune of the people Hugo Chavez, beloved by the American left, waltz off with a $4 billion fortune. But then, she was a piker: Chavez’s Minister of the Treasury stashed $11 billion in Swiss bank accounts.

Charles Ponzi’s mistake was that he should have gone into politics. He could have gone far as a socialist politician, and could have avoided prison. … A fraudster like Bernie Madoff will only take your money. A socialist will take your money, but that is just the beginning. When you give power to the power-mad, your freedom and human dignity, and perhaps your life, are soon forfeit.

Bernie Sanders’s economic theory is very simple, superficial and childish. He thinks there is a fixed amount of wealth (he calls it “the wealth” as if it exists in nature independent of human activity) and it is unfairly distributed. Too much over here, too little over there. Government must come along and spread it nice and evenly.

We doubt that Hillary Clinton has a better understanding. She insists that businesses do not create jobs. Obama is also unaffected by economic realities.

Perhaps what America needs is a successful businessman to take charge. In which case voters might cast a considering eye on Donald Trump.

As, in fact, they are.

Posted under Capitalism, Commentary, Crime, Economics, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 1, 2016

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Denmark going down 1

Bernie Sanders’s and Hilary Clinton’s model socialist society is feeling the pinch:

From Online Post – a Danish site, in English.

A new analysis by Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd (AE), an economic policy institute and think-tank working to promote social justice, indicates that an increasing number of Danes can be considered poor.

Our emphasis – to draw attention to it’s being a leftist organization.

The analysis, which looked at poverty numbers from 2002-2010, conveys that nearly a quarter of a million Danes live below the poverty line, as per the definition used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

According to Berlingske newspaper, that definition translates to a monthly income of 8,788 kroner [$1,338] a month for a single person or 5,047 kroner [$768] per person for a family with four children.

And it is especially the areas around the capital of Copenhagen that things look dire. Brøndby, Albertslund, Ishøj, Copenhagen and Høje-Taastrup Councils experienced the greatest increase in poverty.

From 2002 to 2010, the number of poor in Brøndby Council rose by 3.7 percent, while it rose by 3.4 and 3.3 in Albertslund and Ishøj, respectively.

In Brøndby, the challenge comes from many residents being poorly educated. According to the council’s mayor, Ib Terp (Socialdemokraterne), the council is meeting that problems by urging youths to get an education. …

But it’s not only blue-collar areas that have experienced a rise in the number of people living under the poverty line. Traditional wealthy areas such as Frederiksberg Council and Holbæk Council have also been struggling. In fact, there is no single council in Denmark that has experienced a decrease of the number of people living in poverty. Struer Council in central Jutland performed the best, with the number of poor increasing by only 0.4 percent over the eight year period.

Overall, Copenhagen has the most cases of poverty in the nation by far. There were 41,419 in 2010, up from 25,170 in 2002. Aarhus Council has 14,166, Odense Council has 9,428 and Aalborg council has 7,696. …

OECD’s definition of poverty has been criticised for being too rigid, but AE has used the definition for a number of years because it is an internationally-approved definition used throughout the EU. …

Karen Hækkerup, the integration and social minister, is awaiting the new Danish definition of poverty, which is expected in the spring of 2013, but indicated that the government has already initiated a number of schemes that are designed to tackle the issue.

The issue of poverty? Or of re-defining the word?

Plain fact: Socialism makes people poor. The fatter the government, the thinner the people.

Capitalism makes ever more people rich. A billion people have been made richer by markets over the last 20 years. The evidence is writ so large over the whole world that it is simply amazing how it can be missed.

As for Denmark – now it must somehow extend its welfare to tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants. Good luck, Denmark, with that!

 

(Hat-tip to our Facebook commenter, Jeff Leeper)

Posted under Capitalism, Economics, Europe, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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Sweden sinks 4

Do European governments know what they are doing, letting millions of aliens into their countries? Do European leaders have a clear understanding of what the policy entails, and a purpose they judge to be good for their countries, even if they do not explain to the people what the policy is and why it will be good for them?

No.

There could not be better proof that the “thinking” behind this immense historical change is totally irrational, than this incoherent speech by the Prime Minister of Sweden when pressed to explain just why he is letting his country be swamped by Muslim immigrants:

Yes, well first of all we, we are in the middle of what I mean seriously when I’m saying, when I express a, a big thank you to all the people doing such a great job, because it is a humanitarian effort, it’s just as the Minister for Justice and Migration just said. What we are actually doing is that we are saving lives when people who come from bombs, from, from killing, from oppression, their lives are shattered. We, we help them and that is a, that is a great humanitarian effort, and of course now that we can see the number of people who need it, that are seeking protection, then it is one of the greatest humanitarian efforts. And that we are facing a crisis situation, that is in part why I, we are outlining today that we are also preparing for a situation where we may need to house people in tents, because we stand up with the humanitarian refugee policy, right of asylum, but we can now also see that we cannot close our eyes to the fact that there are more coming than ever in such a short time, and we need to provide a roof over their heads. Then it is – other things may be required.  

This is from Gatestone, by Ingrid Carlquvist:

Sweden is fast approaching a complete collapse. More and more municipalities are raising the alarm that if the migrants keep coming at this pace, the government can no longer guarantee normal service to its citizens.

In addition, ominous statements from government officials have left Swedes in fear of what tomorrow may bring. If the migrant wave keeps coming, in 10-15 years, Swedes will be a minority in their own country.

And even if no more come than are there now, Sweden is set to be lost to the Swedes.

At a press conference October 9, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that Sweden is in a state of crisis. However, when asked to clarify what he meant by this, Löfven was unable to produce a single coherent sentence.

Three ministers appeared by the Prime Minister’s side at the hastily summoned press conference, which came on the heels of an extraordinary government meeting. The purpose of the press conference seems to have been to convey two messages:

  1. To explain to the world and the Swedish people that Sweden is facing “one of the largest humanitarian efforts in Swedish history”.
  2. That there is no more housing available, and migrants should be prepared to live in tents.

During the question period after the ministers’ speeches, journalist Tomas Ramberg of Ekot Public Radio asked: “You say that Sweden is preparing for a crisis situation, what do you mean by those dramatic words?”

Stefan Löfven’s reply was incomprehensible …

He  gave the speech we’ve quoted above.

However, the fact that the government is now talking about housing migrants in tents, may be a signal that Sweden, despite everything, may not want to be on the front lines of the “humanitarian” battle anymore, after all. The prospect of spending an ice-cold Swedish winter in a tent may make migrants choose countries other than Sweden. If not, a complete collapse of the Swedish system is imminent.

In 2014, the Danish historian and social commentator Lars Hedegaard prophetically remarked in the book “Farliga ord“(Dangerous Words), that the economic breakdown of a nation always happens quickly and unexpectedly:

If there is any lesson to be drawn from history, it is that what you do not think will happen, does. Time and again. The final consequence of the West and, above all, Sweden’s immigration policy is that the economy will collapse – because who is going to pay for it all? And economic breakdowns, once they happen, always happen very fast.

Right now, the Swedish government is borrowing money abroad to pay for immigration. But that amount is not enough. …

The government is also raising (already high) taxes.

High-ranking politicians and officials are also saying the situation is extremely grim.

On October 1, Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman said that the current wave of immigrants will lead to “huge economic strains“; and a few days later Immigration Service Director General Anders Danielsson explained that “within the framework of the system we all know, we are now approaching the end of the road”.

Statements such as these have never been heard before in Sweden, especially in connection with the “sacred” issue of migration. Until now, Swedes have perpetually been told that we live in a rich country that has no problem handling all asylum seekers who want to come here.

In the shadow the 1.5 million migrants expected to arrive this year in Germany, the EU’s largest country (population 81 million), migrants are also pouring into a rather smaller Sweden. Geographically Sweden is large, but consists mainly of forests and wilderness, and fewer than 10 million people live in the country. Until 2010, Sweden took in about 25,000 migrants a year. However, in 2010, then Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt made a deal with pro-immigration Green Party, (Miljöpartiet) — by his own admission to punish voters for allowing the anti-mass-immigration Sweden Democrats party (Sverigedemokraterna) into parliament.

Ah, so Swedish voters elected a party that was against mass immigration – and their will was frustrated by a coalition. A Green Party tilted the balance away from common sense and national self-preservation. No surprise there.

Reinfeldt’s deal opened the immigration floodgates. In 2014, 81,000 people sought asylum in Sweden; and 33,500 were granted asylum. However, as many of the immigrants subsequently brought over their relatives, that figure substantially increased. Last year, 110,000 people were granted residency status in Sweden. One should add to this figure an unknown number of illegal aliens.

There is now talk of 180,000 asylum seekers coming to Sweden in 2015. That number is more than twice as many as the year before. If half of them are granted asylum, and they each bring over three relatives, we are talking about 270,000 new immigrants to Sweden – within one year. Over 8000 people arrived just last week, 1,716 of whom were so-called “unaccompanied refugee children”.

Swedes who only follow the mainstream media get the impression that all the migrants arriving are war refugees from Syria, but the number of Syrians is actually less than half of the total: 2,864 people last week claimed to be from Syria. 1,861 claimed to be from Iraq, and 1,820 from Afghanistan. Clearly, many people from countries that are not at war are taking their chances and applying for asylum in Sweden; but this is something about which the mainstream media does not see fit to inform its followers.

… The Swedish economist Tino Sanandaji (of Iranian-Kurdish descent, and therefore tougher than most Swedes, who, if they criticize the immigration policy, are immediately accused of racism) writes on his blog that Swedes could soon be in the minority in their own country:

1,000-1,500 asylum seekers a day for 15 years equals 5.5 to 8.2 million asylum seekers. At the end of 2014, the Statistical Central Bureau, SCB, calculated that 21.5% of the Swedish population were of foreign descent: 2.1 million, out of 9.7 million. The number of people of Swedish descent – born in Sweden with two parents born in Sweden – has been stable at about 7.7 million and is expected to remain stable or increase slightly due to birth surplus. If those of foreign descent increase their number by about 5.6 million, they will become the majority.

One of the municipalities that has been flooded with migrants is Trelleborg (population 43,000), located on Sweden’s southernmost coast. Over 100 “unaccompanied refugee children” arrive from Germany via ferry on a typical day. During the last two weeks, more than 1000 such youths have been registered; more than half of them have now vanished and are listed as missing. No one knows why, or where they have gone. Add to this 13,000 adult asylum seekers.

Impromptu temporary lodgings have been created in sports centers, ice rinks, and at the Sturup airport hotel, to name a few.

Trelleborg has written a desperate letter of appeal for help to the government, just as, a few weeks ago, the Örkelljunga municipality did in vain. The mayor and the Municipal Director of Trelleborg, who signed the letter on October 1, wrote:

In the past, many asylum seekers have taken the route through Denmark to Malmö, but this changed about two weeks ago. From September 10 until the morning of October 1, 14,100 asylum seekers arrived in Trelleborg by ferry. There is no indication that the pace is slowing; if anything it is continuously increasing. On Tuesday, September 22, Trelleborg received word from the Immigration Service that the municipality where children and young people arrive is by law the authority that is required to provide housing, care and living expenses, until such time as the Immigration Service decides upon a designated municipality. … Trelleborg has quickly ended up in a situation where the regular services to the community are at great risk of being affected. … By writing this letter, we would like to bring to your attention the enormous strain we now find ourselves under.

Apparently, the Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson, has since been in contact with Trelleborg’s mayor via telephone to discuss possible solutions. On October 9, the Immigration Service decided that Trelleborg should be exempt as a designated municipality for unaccompanied children. However, it is unclear how this will alleviate Trelleborg’s plight as far as the new arrivals go. The only concrete help so far has come from some of the neighboring municipalities, who have opened up facilities to house some of the Trelleborg migrants.

Malmö, about 18 miles from Trelleborg, is also in dire straits. For the last few weeks, the central train station in Sweden’s third largest city has been overrun with migrants, and the volunteers that showed up for the first few days with food, water and clothes now seem to have lost interest. The daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet summed up the desperate situation in Malmö, where even the city’s empty jail was considered (and rejected) as possible housing for refugee children. It now looks more like a possibility for adult refugees.

The Social Democratic mayor of Filipstad, Per Gruvberger, also recently raised the alarm that his municipality of 6,000 people will not be able to provide schooling and childcare for the 1,100 asylum seekers now assigned to his municipality.

The reply of the Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson, to this cry for help was: “If need be, Filipstad will just have to expand its operations.”

This insensitive statement from Johansson caused the Mayor of neighboring Årjäng, Daniel Schützer, to go ballistic. He wrote about his fellow party member on Facebook:

“Pardon my French, but Morgan Johansson is totally f—ing stupid. ‘Expand,’ he says. It is not f—ing bricks and planks that we are lacking, it is teachers!!!!”

The Immigration Service, which is tasked with reviewing the asylum seekers’ reasons for immigrating, is understandably swamped with work. Even before the latest “refugee crisis” – and despite 1,200 new employees being hired last year – its staff is struggling. The employees’ union is now raising the alarm, concerning more and more incidents of violence, vandalism and suicide attempts – this year (up to August), 1,021 such incidents were reported. …

While all this plays out, large portions of the Swedish people watch in horror from the sidelines and wonder when the unavoidable collapse will occur. At the same time, a surprisingly large portion of the citizenry still overconfidently believe that “Daddy State” will make everything all right. This a very Swedish view, like the wishes of children, that Peter Santesson, head of polling institute Demoskop, wrote about on the website Dagens Opinion. Santesson states that the Swedes have an unusually high level of trust in the social order, and that they are convinced that “somewhere higher up, there is always someone smarter and more informed, taking responsibility and making sure everything works.” If the government officials turn out to be incapable of handling the refugee chaos they themselves have created, it could be disastrous.

Santesson continues,

Responsible decision makers need to ponder the trust the people have now bestowed on them, and they need to handle this trust with care in this difficult crisis. If the people’s confidence is betrayed by them turning out not to be able to handle the situation – if “Sweden” turns out to be insufficient as a miracle cure and the crisis becomes too much to handle – the outcome could be political and social consequences reaching far beyond the issue of immigration.

What consequences might those be? Insurrection? Armed rebellion?

If so, they could find themselves clashing not only with Swedish governent forces – who are probably a pushover – but with trained terrorists:

The blogger Johan Westerholm, a Social Democrat who is critical of the government … writes that the situation in Malmö is “out of control,” and states that we do not have any idea who those arriving in Sweden are:

A very large group of administrators [at the Immigration Service] do not even know the designated terror organizations, and then there are the sympathizers – people who, on principal, would never file a report to the Immigration Service security department, for ideological reasons. A large group consists of those who are scared into silence. In an organization characterized by fear and stress, to do nothing is a surefire way to keep your job. If a report of suspicion is filed anyway, typically nothing happens. If the life and health of the terrorist is threatened, as is often the situation, the person gets to stay. Initially he is given a temporary residence permit, but in practice, this turns out to be permanent.

The 152 asylum seekers reported to the Security Service so far this year as possible threats to national security, are thus most likely just the tip of the iceberg.

The Swedes who have already lost faith in the authorities and the politicians are now preparing for the unthinkable – that their once so secure society is about to collapse.

On the website 72timmar.se, the Civil Contingencies Agency informs the public on “our five most basic needs: Water, food, heat, sleep and security.” The readers are told to keep water and canned goods at home, and make sure they can stay warm.

So not insurrection. But laying in emergency supplies. Hunking down for a miserable, fear-ridden winter – that will last not for the usual six months of biting cold, but forever? Emergency supplies will run out soon – and then? Starvation? Freezing to death? Or will the Muslim guests finish off their hosts quickly with rape, pillage and mass murder?

Let socialists the world over (including, we hope forlornly, the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the US, Bernie Sanders, who holds Sweden up as a model for America), imagine all those thin shivering native Swedes expiring in their ideal socialist state! 

But even the need for “prepping” in the face of the coming emergency does not seem to penetrate the heads of most of them:

“Prepping” is becoming more common in Sweden. Last summer, the daily Svenska Dagbladetran a story on the first Swedish online store for preppers, and that interest was huge. According to the polling institute Sifo, until recently, seven out of ten Swedes have been completely unprepared for a crisis that knocks out the power supply and thereby the infrastructure. The owner of the online store, Fredrik Qvarnström, told the paper that, in his estimation, the Swedes are the worlds most poorly prepared for a crisis:

… People seem to be aware that there are problems, but I do not think they know how vulnerable we really are. We rely on the state to take care of us, as it has in the past.

It will not be long until the Swedes realize that the state will not look after them. The country that just 20 years ago was considered one of the safest and most affluent in the world, is now in danger of becoming a failed state.

And not just failed. Finished. Extinct.

Away with the Fed! 1

The Fed’s track record offers no evidence that the nation’s appointed gurus of monetary policy can either spur real economic growth or halt economic downturns.

This important article is from the Daily Signal of the Heritage Foundation, by Jim DeMint. We like it so much we are quoting it in full:

The Federal Reserve opened its annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Thursday. Its experts have assembled to discuss “inflation dynamics.” Concurrently, another group of economists and financial experts is meeting just down the road.  They’re discussing monetary policy, as well, but they’re considering questions never raised at Fed symposia—questions like: “Do we really need the Fed?”

It’s a question worth asking. America’s monetary system is the Achilles heel of the world’s economic system.

Something is seriously wrong when trillions of new dollars are created out of thin air to bail out big banks, “stimulate” the economy and buy government debt. And something is dangerously wrong when the political establishment is afraid even to discuss it.

The common assumption — in financial as well as political circles —is that America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, not only can manipulate monetary policy to keep the economy rolling, but that it must, if we are to avoid economic ruin.  But ample evidence suggests that this assumption is dead wrong.

Before reviewing that evidence, let’s start with a basic question: “Who decides what money is worth?”  The correct answer is: “We do—the people who use money to buy and sell things.”  As consumers, we decide how much money we are willing to trade for things we want.  As sellers, we decide how much money we require for providing a given product or service.

Money is a proxy for something of value, and it can — and should — work as a market commodity.  In a free market, the dollar price of products and services changes based on supply and demand – based on how we perceive the value of goods and services.  This dynamic is good and healthy for our economy.  But when the actual value of money is altered by a central committee in Washington it is not healthy … in fact, it can be dangerous.

Faith in the Fed is built on three arrogant conceits: that government can create wealth; that designated experts possess the perfect knowledge required to manipulate money for the common good; and that markets cannot sort themselves out without the coercive influence of technocrats.

But the Fed’s track record offers no evidence that the nation’s appointed gurus of monetary policy can either spur real economic growth or halt economic downturns.

Historically, money growth is almost perfectly related to inflation, and near completely divorced from real economic growth. In other words, increasing the money supply increases the prices of the food, machines, and buildings we buy, but in the end, it doesn’t give us more food, machines, and buildings.

As for halting downturns, The Great Depression, the great stagflation of the 1970s, the S&L crisis, and the 2008 financial crisis all occurred on the Fed’s watch. Some argue that the Depression shouldn’t count, because the Fed was just getting started. This conveniently allows them to throw out about 30 years of data — and if you do that, it certainly looks better for the Fed, because recessions were more frequent before World War II than after.

But inconveniently for those who argue the Fed was too young to work its magic in the late ‘30s, Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz demonstrated in A Monetary History of the United States, that it was a major player, even in its infancy. Moreover, Friedman showed that the Fed actually worsened – if not caused – the Great Depression.

Looking at the entire Federal Reserve period, then, we see a different picture.

In 1986 Christina Romer published a paper in the American Economic Review titled “Is the Stabilization of the Postwar Economy a Figment of the Data?”  Its answer to that question was pretty much “yes”.

In that paper, and in subsequent work, Romer and others provided evidence that the Fed really had not tamed business cycles. Some of this research shows that, even with those Depression years tossed aside, recessions since World War II have, on average, lasted longer than pre-war recessions (by almost three months) and taken longer to recover from (also by about three months).

Faced with that evidence, the Fed faithful try to narrow the discussion to the Volcker and Greenspan years, the so-called Great Moderation.  “See,” they say, “The Fed tamed inflation.” But while the variability in inflation came down during those “glory days,” the average annual rate of inflation actually increased—from 3.56 perent in 1948-1978 to 3.74 percent from 1979-2013.

And looking at the full era of the Fed, the record is even worse. The average rate of inflation runs about three times higher than what it was before (less than one-half a percentage point from 1790-1912, as best we can tell).

Some economists will argue that’s not a problem—that higher average inflation is okay because we don’t have as many wild price swings any more.  But most people understand that higher inflation is problematic, that not everything balances out. They realize that not everyone gets an automatic raise every year just because the Consumer Price Index has gone up.

But the fundamental problem with the Fed isn’t its track record. It’s the fact that centralization of monetary and financial power can be just as damaging to our freedoms as centralization of political power. It creates the perception among Americans that their economic futures are out of their control. Unfortunately, this perception is increasingly accurate.

The debasement of monetary policy over the last century is but one element of a larger crisis.  At its root is a presumption among our country’s political and cultural elites that they can override the wisdom and experience accumulated by mankind over the last several millennia.

Posted under Capitalism, Commentary, Economics, government, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 28, 2015

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Look – here comes the loony lefty likely Labour leader 1

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It would be a most desirable thing, a sweet dream for all mankind, if the evil Left were to perish.

Its years of power in the West may be over. The “long march through the institutions” brought it to the peak of power – the presidency of the USA. And there it has failed. Of course.

There are signs of its demise in America, what with corrupt old Hillary’s pathetic dance, and voters waking up to Obama’s treachery, and someone (Trump) daring to defy political correctness at last.

And in Britain, the dream may be about to become true.

Steven Hayward writes at PowerLine:

More fun than watching the Hillary meltdown and the Democratic Party rage against the results of the Obama regime is to cast your gaze over to Britain, where the Labour Party seems to have forgotten the lesson of their 1983 election platform (which included a call for unilateral nuclear disarmament) which UK political junkies referred to as “the longest suicide note in history.”

Labour was crushed in that election, and having not been chastened by the recent election rout at the hands of the Conservatives and the Scottish nationalist party seems to be hankering for a repeat of 1983. By all accounts, the Labour Party is set to choose as its next leader Jeremy Corbyn, a deep-left radical who is generally regarded as completely unelectable [by Tony Blair] if he indeed heads the Labour Party into the next election.

I can’t do better than Boris Johnson, the colorful Tory mayor of London, who posted the following on his Facebook page a few days ago. Since it’s on Facebook and there’s no general link, I’ll just report the entire piece here:

It begins with a look of slow and wondering amazement – as if he hardly dares believe his luck; and then the certainty builds, millisecond by millisecond. Then the eyebrows go up even higher, and the mouth gapes and the eyes pop and the epiglottis vibrates as he lets out a long, whooping yell of sheer incredulous ecstasy.

That is how police chief Brody reacts in the last reel of Jaws when, by some fluke, he manages to shoot a bullet right into the oxygen tank in the mouth of the shark, and the ravening fish improbably explodes. That is frankly how we in the Tory party feel as we watch what is happening in the Labour movement today.

If these polls are right (and that is a pretty big if these days) then we are at that preliminary stage in Roy Scheider’s masterful portrait of the joyful police chief. We aren’t yet whooping, but our eyebrows are twitching north in incredulity. We are filled with disbelief that this can really be taking place, a distrust of the evidence of our senses.

If all these forecasts are right – the polls, the betting markets, the pundits – then that fearsome New Labour machine is in the process of some kind of violent, unexpected and hilarious disintegration. It really looks as though it might be the end for the ruthless beast that won three election victories and struck terror for so long into Tory hearts. Can it be true? Can this be happening? Are they really proposing that Her Majesty’s Opposition should be led by Jeremy Corbyn?

It is not just that he has next to zero support among mainstream Labour MPs in the Commons; it doesn’t matter that he has rebelled against the party leadership ever since he has been in the House. Indeed, it doesn’t matter that he sometimes identifies the right problems – low pay, underinvestment in infrastructure, or whatever. It is his solutions that are so out of whack with reality.

This is a man whose policies are way, way to the Left even of the last Labour leader –[Ed] Miliband – a man who in the end was resoundingly rejected by the electorate for being too Left-wing. … He would take this country back to the 1970s, or perhaps even the 1790s. He believes in higher taxes and a bigger deficit, and kowtowing to the unions, and abandoning all attempts to introduce competition or academic rigour in schools – let alone reforming welfare.

He is a Sinn Fein-loving, monarchy-baiting, Israel-bashing believer in unilateral nuclear disarmament. … Never in all his wildest dreams did he imagine that he might be leader of what has been – until this year – one of the major parties of government; and now he is having greatness thrust upon him. …

The armies of Labour rank and file … honestly seem to think that this might be the way forward. Yes, there really are a few hundred thousand people who seriously think that we should turn back the clock, take huge swathes of industry back into public ownership and massively expand the state.

The problem for Labour is that they do not represent the majority of people in this country. That is the real lesson of this campaign so far: that the mass of the Labour Party is totally out of touch with reality and common sense. How should we Tories react?  … We watch with befuddlement and bewilderment that is turning all the time into a sense of exhilarating vindication: I told you they were loony. 

And Alex Massie writes at The Spectator (UK):

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Willie Horton and Michael Dukakis. That’s what Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to prominence will do to a fellow. Horton, you will remember, was the convicted murderer who never returned from a weekend furlough granted to him while Dukakis was governor of Massachusetts, and subsequently kidnapped a couple in Maryland, stabbing the husband and repeatedly raping the wife.

He became the star of George Bush’s 1988 presidential election campaign. Lee Atwater, Bush’s most pugnacious strategist, had vowed to “strip the bark” from Dukakis and promised that “by the time we’re finished they’re going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis’ running-mate”.  The Willie Horton ads were ugly … but, by god, they were effective. They gave Bush a message: he wasn’t the other guy. The guy from the most liberal corner of the most liberal state in the Union, the guy who opposed the death penalty, who disapproved of … the Pledge of Allegiance, the guy who let a first-degree murderer out of jail, not once, but ten times. The same murderer, Willie Horton, who invaded a suburban home and raped a woman. The Willie Horton who said “Obviously, I am for Dukakis” (it didn’t matter that he didn’t vote just as the other nuances of the issue didn’t matter at all).

By the end of it all it was a bloody business. In the second presidential debate Dukakis was asked if he’d still oppose the death penalty for someone who raped and killed his own wife. He said he would. Game over. Dukakis never understood what hit him.

Of course it was ugly and of course it was merciless and sometimes it was unfair too. But that didn’t matter.

All his bark was stripped.

So the question is, How many Willie Hortons does Jeremy Corbyn have? 

An astonishing number. Not just ISIS, not just his support for an inquiry into supposed Jewish influence on government decisions, not just the platforms he’s shared with a remarkable number of unsavoury types. Not just his suggestion Hamas is not a terrorist organisation. Not just his willingness to blame Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine on NATO. Not just his instinctive support for anyone opposed to anything proposed by either the United States or the United Kingdom. Not even just his suggestion, in 2013, that Argentina be permitted a say in the governance of the Falkland Islands. Not just these things, but all or any of them.

Most of these, frankly, should disqualify him from serious office.

And so too should his record on Northern Ireland. A vast amount of guff is now being peddled by Corbyn’s supporters on this. If we are to believe them, Corby’s willingness to talk to Sinn Fein and the IRA in the 1980s just showed how he was ahead of the game. After all, the British government eventually did so too, didn’t it?

This misses the vital point. Corbyn might have wanted peace’ but he wanted it on the IRA’s terms. He wanted Sinn Fein and the IRA to win.

People genuinely interested in peace – and cross-community dialogue – back then didn’t speak at Troops Out rallies. They didn’t invite convicted IRA bombers to the House of Commons two weeks after the IRA attempted to assassinate the Prime Minister and the rest of her cabinet in Brighton. (A bomb, remember, that killed five people.) …

Even now he cannot actually bring himself to condemn IRA atrocities, weaselling out of suggestions he do so by condemning all atrocities. But normal people know that condemning IRA murders does not mean condoning Loyalist murders or, for that matter, the excesses of the RUC and British Army. Corbyn, however, still prefers to sing from the [Irish] Republican song-sheet. …

Far from being ahead of the game, Corbyn was, at best, deluded, and at worst, marginally complicit in the murderous actions of a terrorist organisation that targeted his fellow citizens.

That none of this seems to trouble his supporters says all you need to know about the mess Labour finds itself in.

If – and perhaps this is unlikely – Corbyn makes it to 2020 even the most ludicrous, improbable, Tory could beat him. Running an anti-Corbyn campaign would be the greatest turkey shoot in the history of modern British politics.

The only difficulty would be deciding which of Corbyn’s Willie Hortons it would be most effective to focus upon. Bark-stripping will never be easier.

Choosing Corbyn is worse than a blunder, it’s a crime.

Not if his leadership means the end of the British Labour Party.

We hope Corbyn is easily beatable in a general election. We hope the campaign against him will be managed as effectively as Bush’s campaign against Dukakis was managed.

We hope the British Laboour Party is a spent force. Forever.

And we hope that will be the beginning of the end of the evil Left as a force in national politics in the West.

But we are skeptical and rather pessimistic through experience, and will not be surprised if we are disappointed.

A rising political star 19

Carly Fiorina knows what she’s talking about.

That’s quite rare among politicians.

She is better informed, more eloquent, and a hundred times a better thinker than Hillary Clinton. If the essential qualification for becoming the next president is being female  – as Hillary Clinton and her fans believe it is – Fiorina qualifies. But she is better than most of the male candidates too.

We think she won the earlier Republican debate last night. She was not only more impressive and interesting than the presidency hopefuls she debated, but also more than most of those who came into the “top ten” debate later. (We have to overlook her chant about “God”, as we do those intoned by any other candidate.)

See what you think. Here she is on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

(Hat-tip to Frank for the video)

Post Script:  But, we now discover, Fiorina swallowed Islamic propaganda whole, as this article explains. It is by Tim Brown at Freedom Outpost, dated June 15, 2015. Perhaps she has since changed her mind about the “greatness” of Islam. If she hasn’t, she disappoints us, and makes us regret that we have praised her.

Posted under Commentary, Economics, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 7, 2015

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