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It is a sad commentary on the state of political life in the United States that our political conventions have become more like rock music festivals than competitions of ideas. There has been a great deal of bombast, of insults, of name-calling, and of chest-beating at both party conventions, but what is disturbingly absent is any mention of how we got to this crisis and how we can get out. From the current foreign policy mess to the looming economic collapse, all we hear is both party candidates saying they will fix it, no problem.

In her convention speech Hillary Clinton promised that she would “fight terrorism” and defeat ISIS by doing more of what we have been doing all along: bombing. In fact we have dropped more than 50,000 bombs on ISIS in Iraq and Syria over the past two years and all she can say is that she will drop more. How many more bombs will defeat ISIS? How many more years will she keep us in our longest war, Afghanistan? She doesn’t say.

In fact, the New York Times – certainly not hostile to the Clintons – wrote that it was almost impossible to fact-check Hillary’s speech because, “she delivered a speech that was remarkably without hard facts.”

Clinton’s top foreign policy advisor said just a day after her convention speech that her big plan for Syria was to go back to square one and concentrate on overthrowing its secular president. How many more thousands more will die if she gets her way? And won’t she eventually be forced to launch a massive US ground invasion that will also kill more Americans?

Clinton does not understand that a policy of endless interventionism has brought us to our knees and made us far weaker. Does she really expect us to be the policemen of the world with $20 trillion in debt?

Likewise, Republican candidate Donald Trump misses the point. He promises to bring back jobs to America without any understanding of the policies that led to their departure in the first place. Yes, he is correct that the middle class is in worse shape than when Obama took office, but not once did he mention how it happened: the destructive policies of the Federal Reserve. The financing of our warfare/welfare state through the printing of phony money. Distorted interest rates that encourage consumption and discourage saving and investment.

Trump tweeted this week that home ownership is at its lowest rate in 51 years. He promised that if elected he will bring back “the American dream.” He seems to have no idea that home ownership is so low because the Fed-created housing bubble exploded in 2007-2008, forcing millions of Americans who did not have the means to actually purchase a home to lose their homes. Not a word about the Fed from Trump.

How are these candidates going to fix the problems we face in America if they have absolutely no idea what caused the problems? No matter who is elected, Americans are going to be very disappointed in the outcome. The warfare/welfare state is going to proceed until we are bankrupt. There is hope, however. It is up to us to focus on the issues, to focus on educating ourselves and others, and to demand that politicians listen.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    You are such a goddamn loser Ron.

  2. bunga says:

    He (Trump) doesn’t know what works to his advantage His ego and impulsivity prevents him from thinking and spinning . He could have easily expanded on his earlier vision about promoting a conflict free America ,about disengagement and could have excoriated the war makers of past and future and of current as he has done at the beginning . Instead he attacked Khan family He could have told Khan family that he was sad to see them lose a child in a pointless pre -mediated unnecessary wars based on greed, stupidly and loyalty to foreign country and he doesn’t want US send his best and brightest to war zone to die for non-American interests or non-American security

    This raises question how he will handle any opportunity if presented to him on the surface as an attack on him .

    • Agree: Realist
    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @The Alarmist
  3. JD says:

    What are you talking about? Trump has absolutely mentioned repeatedly auditing the Fed.

    Sure; that’s only a baby step towards abolishing the thing entirely and going back to the gold standard, but it is factually incorrect to suggest that Trump hasn’t mentioned that.

    Just as it is factually incorrect to presume that the Fed is the sole causative force for the loss of American jobs to squatter foreigners living here in America or shipping overseas.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  4. Rehmat says:

    Ron Paul, you know better than any other American politician that no matter whether Hillary or Donald Trump wins – the real winner in either case would be the Zionist entity.

  5. Edwin says: • Website

    Perfect response right out the gate.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  6. jtgw says: • Website

    I have to admire that move by the DNC, disgusting, opportunistic and hypocritical as it was. It provoked exactly that defensive reaction from Trump that helps distract both from the DNC’s own exposure by Wikileaks and their steady shift towards promoting war and sidelining the doves.

    • Replies: @bunga
  7. jtgw says: • Website

    The Fed isn’t the sole causative force; the other forces are taxes and regulations. America has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, and federal regulations now number tens of thousands of pages.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  8. jtgw says: • Website

    Amusing to see all the butthurt around here at Ron’s failure to worship Trump.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  9. @bunga

    The problem with Trump is that he metaphorically has a machine gunner attitude, which is fine when you have all the ammunition in the world. He needs to learn the art of the short burst, better still the art of a sniper.

  10. MarkinLA says:

    He promises to bring back jobs to America without any understanding of the policies that led to their departure in the first place.

    Blaming the Fed for the outsourcing of jobs is sadly one of the many idiocies you get from Big L Libertarianism. NOTHING that goes wrong can happen because people are acting in their own self interest in their fantasy-land utopia – the government must ALWAYS be to blame somehow. Well, yes, the government is to blame. It created trade policies that well connected people at the top wanted and once those property protections in foreign countries were put in place, those connected people did exactly what they wanted to and sent American jobs out of the countries and imported the products back in.

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @tbraton
  11. MarkinLA says:

    No just recognizing that Ron is an idiot sometimes.

  12. MarkinLA says:

    Nobody pays those taxes. Try to keep up. It’s not the tax rate that matters but the effective tax rate. Corporations like GE pay only a few percent of income in taxes. The percentage of federal income taxes coming from corporations has never been lower.

    Regulation is another chimera. Should, we have the same dismal record in mining as China when it comes to worker safety or air quality? Should we be able to set up hospitals in our garages? Just what regulations are you talking about?

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @jtgw
  13. jtgw says: • Website

    Gosh, China has lower regulations and all the jobs seem to have moved there. I wonder why?

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  14. jtgw says: • Website

    Yes, let’s make everybody here pay more for goods. That’ll help them make ends meet.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  15. jtgw says: • Website

    You seem to think we can pile on taxes and regulations at no cost and then you scratch your head when business does poorly and businesses try their hardest to locate their profits offshore and avoid investing in the US. Those evil corporations aren’t paying the maximum tax possible? Well, genius, where do you think the costs will go if we somehow forced every business to pay the maximum tax? They would be passed on to the consumer and the employee. There would be many fewer goods produced and even fewer jobs.

  16. jtgw says: • Website

    If you want lots of regulations to ensure safety and welfare for those with jobs, you have to at least acknowledge that this raises the cost of business and the cost of employment. Leaving aside the question of whether we actually need these regulations (e.g. air quality was actually improving throughout the 1960s, before the Clean Air Act was passed), there is going to be a cost, and this cost will ultimately be borne by the consumer. So don’t complain about poor job growth and offshoring of profits; that is the price you pay for your workers’ safety and minimum wage legislation.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  17. tbraton says:

    Rep. Paul apparently is unaware that during the 19th century, well before the creation of the Fed and while we were still on the gold standard, the U.S. had a number of recessions, some of them quite severe. While I fully supported Rep. Paul on his foreign policy views, I had great reservations about his economic policies, as well as his positions on immigration. At least with Trump, we get the promise of a return to a sane foreign policy, which means noninterventionism, while getting the promise of restrictions on immigration

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @MarkinLA
    , @Anonymous
  18. jtgw says: • Website

    Tom Woods deals with this question here:

    and here:

    The data that modern economic historians use to determine how severe these pre-Fed recessions were is often faulty. For example, you might still read about the “Long Depression” of the 1870s, but that only works if you consider falling prices always to signal depression. In actual fact, production and real wages were increasing throughout that decade. If there is a relatively fixed monetary base, and productivity increases, then you get falling prices, but that only means the value of money increases along with the increase in production. The falling prices don’t hurt anyone since each dollar is worth more.

    In any case, all these panics were predictable by Austrian economic theory, i.e. credit bubbles due to fractional reserve banking. Central banking of the Fed type is simply the same fraudulent banking practices on a larger scale, leading to more severe boom and bust cycles.

    • Replies: @tbraton
  19. MarkinLA says:

    Have you breathed the air in Beijing? Have you paid attention to the many mine cave-ins in China?
    Do you have ANY knowledge of anything besides the drivel you read at the Mises Institute?

    • Replies: @jtgw
  20. MarkinLA says:

    How do you pay for something if you don’t have a job?

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @schmenz
  21. I already am disappointed. No matter who wins, neither I nor anyone I know will be represented. Again.

    • Agree: Jeff77450
    • Replies: @bluedog
    , @Anonymous
  22. MarkinLA says:

    You have provided no real specifics in either of your long winded spiels about taxation or regulations.

    That old canard about passing taxes on to the consumers has to be the most stupid one ever but it still manages to snag a fair amount of fools. It is amazing that people fall for it. WHO should pay the costs of a business doing business, the customer or the taxpayer? That is what you have when a business employs people and pays them too little to live on or when society has to clean up a business’s pollution or provide services to it at less than full cost. What is more fair?

    That business being in business isn’t doing me a favor so why should it be exempt from taxes like everybody else?

    Business used to be able to pollute at will and then just close up shop whenever it was convenient. That is why regulations come about so we don’t have toxic waste clean-ups funded by the taxpayer. Air quality was not improving through the 1960s. LA had a brown haze every day and when that smog was blown into Pomona and San Bernandino those places were almost unbearable.

    The Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969 because it was so polluted.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  23. jtgw says: • Website

    How do you sell cheap goods to consumers who can’t afford them? Real wages are stagnating and importers are STILL finding a market. Think about it.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  24. jtgw says: • Website

    That’s not the point. The point is that your clean air laws have a price, and that price is jobs.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  25. jtgw says: • Website

    You know what, I might have been wrong about the air quality improving through the 1960s; it may have been fuel efficiency or something like that. I’ll look it up. But I did discover the the Supreme Court ruled that air pollution wasn’t actionable in 1919, which brings me to the next point.

    You are right about businesses needing to pay the costs they impose on others; it’s only just. However, these costs have to be determined on case by case basis. You’re talking about blanket regulations and bans that impose higher costs on business than would exist in a system where each business had to pay only those costs that they actually impose on others. Then you get the subsidies and government trying to pick winners and the whole mess, resulting in Solyndra disaster and so on.

    When it comes to China, however awful pollution may be there, you gotta admit there’s a funny correlation between the willingness of business to locate production there and their lax regulations. And despite the pollution, it doesn’t seem to have hurt them much economically, has it? I know you want to eat your cake and have it too, like all socialists clamoring for free stuff, but there will never be a free lunch.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  26. MarkinLA says:

    What the Big L Libertarians have done is constructed a fantasy world where all the recessions prior to the Great Depression were short and we quickly got out of them because there was no big-bad government to make them worse. Of course these analysis suffer from the same deficiencies all such economic analysis do – they assume that 1850 or 1870 is exactly the same at 1929.

    The economy in 1929 was the first real instance of large scale manufacturing being the main driver of the economy versus agriculture. When most people are on the farm, a depression just means that you are stuck on the farm working for your subsistence and any of the niceties you might have had like a pretty dress for your wife from the Sears catalog just won’t happen this year.

    If however you have a society with a large section of society of mostly new immigrants with little to no savings working in manufacturing living in rented tenements losing their jobs and having no family farm to go back to, what do you do? 10,000 banks failed in the Great Depression and with it the life savings of millions of people. The companies they worked for used their pension money to save the company and that too was lost. NOTHING of that scope had ever happened before yet people insist it was just like XXXX.

    I hate to talk about Presidents and the economy because they really have little to do with the economy going up or down. Even with all the need the USA had during FDRs time – roads, bridges, and electrification all of his public works projects didn’t get the economy out of the Depression, even if it made people fell better about the future. What got the country out of the Depression was all the technological advances that occurred prior to and during the war that became commercially viable and could employ millions of people just like the PC, semiconductor, and telecommunications industries employed hundreds of thousands if not million of engineers, programmers, and technicians in the 80s and 90s.

    If Trump can put immigration on the table the way I want it, I will be happy with that alone. It will signal that the idea that anything white’s want is somehow invalid is headed back in the right direction.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  27. MarkinLA says:

    Yeah, the Chinese are buying our bonds that the US issues so it can send checks to people on welfare. How long will that continue?

    • Replies: @jtgw
  28. MarkinLA says:

    Dirty air also has a price. People have respiratory problems and possibly shorter lifespans.

    • Replies: @map
  29. MarkinLA says:

    there’s a funny correlation between the willingness of business to locate production there and their lax regulations.

    They are there primarily for the cheap labor and Chinese law that forces them to be there if they also want to sell in China. The lax regulations are probably way down the list and the outsourcing would still go on even if they met US regulations like they have to do if they want to export medical devices to the US. The lax regulations are likely the result of corrupt politicians having a stake in the businesses and wanting to make more money.

    This case-by-case business you talk about is pie-in-the-sky dreaming. The company goes out of business and you discover all the pollution they have left behind, now what? The company no longer exists, this was the problem in the mining industry and why the superfund to clean up toxic sites was created. Regulations are (supposed) to make sure the problem never happens, regardless of how corrupt and worthless the regulatory agencies become like in the case of BP Deepwater Horizon.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  30. jtgw says: • Website

    The way you describe it, the 1929 Depression really was worse than the preceding ones. Isn’t your argument supposed to be that it was all peanuts compared to the 19th century panics? Or is it the case that the Keynesians and monetarists really do exaggerate the severity of the pre-Fed business cycles in order to justify their inflationary policies?

    But I’m glad we agree that FDR’s interventions did not rescue America from the Depression.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @Outwest
  31. jtgw says: • Website

    Not long if we continue monetizing our debt, which is sort of the point of RP’s anti-Fed campaign that you denigrate.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  32. @Anonymous

    If the definition of “loser” has come to mean the man with integrity who won’t get behind telling lies.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  33. tbraton says:

    I’m sorry, jtgw, for suggesting that there were economic recessions in the 19th century before the Fed was created and while the country was on the gold standard. I guess I should have stuck to the Ron Paul/Libertarian Party line that the Fed is the source of all evil. BTW here is a list of all economic recessions starting in 1857, as measured by the National Bureau of Economic Research (“NBER”), the non-partisan organization that is the acknowledged expert on measuring economic business cycles. I count 14 recessions from 1857 until the Fed was created. That list leaves out the nasty recessions of 1837-1844 and 1819-1821, which also caused serious disruptions in peoples’ lives.

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @tbraton
  34. jtgw says: • Website

    So you admit that regulatory agencies are corrupt and worthless? What else do you expect from the government? I think then we need to start thinking seriously about private arbitration and other non-governmental approaches to the problem.

    But my broader point still stands: every regulation, no matter how well-intentioned, and even if it achieves its goal, carries costs. You can’t impose lots of regulations and keep raising the cost of business and not expect negative economic effects. And when you talk about costs to the taxpayer, doesn’t that beg the question of why government is responsible for covering everybody’s health costs and other costs? The whole thing keeps adding up to one big costly mess and we have to think about taking it apart.

    If, for the sake of argument, you want to keep a welfare state and even expand it, you should actually look at what countries like Denmark and Sweden did not too long ago. They were fast driving their economies into the ground up to the 1990s, because they did what Bernie Sanders wanted: punishingly high personal and corporate income taxes on the very rich. All this did was drive investment out of the country. In the 1990s they switched to relying much more heavily on VAT, which hits the middle class particularly hard, but that did allow the very wealthy to keep more of their money, which they then invested in further economic development, as free-market economics predicts. So while Sweden’s middle class is laboring under a heavy burden, their economy sputters along a bit longer as the masses live off of wealth redistributed from the very wealthy. Whether this model in turn is sustainable in the long-term is another question.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  35. jtgw says: • Website
    @Fran Macadam

    He doesn’t blame the rich or foreigners for America’s problems, so that certainly makes him a “loser” in our current political discourse.

  36. anon • Disclaimer says:

    ‘With 20 trillion in debt, how can America afford to be the world’s policeman’?

    Why should America be the “world’s policeman”? Even without any debt? And the term “policeman” implies there is some moral or ethical justification for America’s aggressive interventionist foreign policy. I beg to differ on this view.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  37. jtgw says: • Website

    There’s an interesting discussion here between Tom Woods and Walter Block on libertarianism and the environment, including some history about lawsuits against polluters. Apparently people successfully sued polluters quite often in the 19th century, but the early 20th century Progressives thought that such suits harmed industrial progress, hence the 1919 SCOTUS ruling against lawsuits for air pollution. So some of the environmentalist position was accepted originally: industry sometimes imposed unjust costs on others, which called for remedy. But it was the removal of that judicial remedy that paved the way for increasing pollution and then the calls for top-down regulation.

    You can find the discussion under Question 10 here:

  38. MarkinLA says:

    Well that could be why they call it the Great Depression. It was worse. Like I said, not having money when you are a farmer is a pain in the ass but livable. Not having money when you don’t have a thing is why you are living in one of those tent cities called Hoovervilles.

    You do know that the US was on the gold standard even during the Great Depression, don’t you?

    • Replies: @jtgw
  39. jtgw says: • Website

    There were recessions, but they were less severe than modern recessions, not more severe. Such as there were arose from credit bubbles due to fractional reserve banking; some of them involved virtual central banks, e.g. the 1819 panic and the Second Bank of the US.

    Regarding the NBER data, check this out:

    “Using the new business cycle chronology, recessions have not become shorter, less severe, or less persistent between the pre-World War I and the post-World War 11 eras. Expansions, however, have become longer.”

    • Replies: @tbraton
  40. MarkinLA says:

    So you admit that regulatory agencies are corrupt and worthless?

    No, but like the one that was in charge of the mining industry before the Deepwater Horizon, the revolving door policies lead to agencies full of industry shills making sure nobody is regulating anything. You are blaming regulators for doing exactly what the industry wants.

    Sweden’s problem is letting in all those Muslim parasites, not having a welfare state.

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @Reg Cæsar
  41. jtgw says: • Website

    Muslim parasites don’t explain why Sweden’s economy was tanking in the 1970s and 1980s.

  42. jtgw says: • Website

    In the 1920s, the US was on the gold standard, but it already had a Fed that was keeping interest rates artificially low and creating a bubble. It was creating essentially paper money that could not be backed up with the gold in reserves. I’m pretty sure Ron Paul objects to fractional reserve banking and manipulation of interest rates as much as he loathes fiat money.

  43. jtgw says: • Website

    Did you read the rest of the article? RP is very much against the US playing globo-cop.

  44. Judging by this article, Big L “libertarianism” has become a joke.

    Yeah, if only we’d let the Chinese communists sell whatever they want, at whatever price, and let in 50 million Zulus, Muslims, and Chinese into the USA and give everyone access to legal hookers and cocaine then Trump could be elected and we’d be a great country!

    Sorry, i forgot the most important libertarian points. No child labor laws, no minimum wage, and open borders,

    Pass that agenda, and we’ll be rich I tells ya, RICH!

  45. @MarkinLA

    Sweden’s problem is letting in all those Muslim parasites, not having a welfare state.

    To paraphrase Randolph Bourne, parasites are the health of the welfare state. Welfare bureaucrats want them to come, and invite them.

    The common people may disagree, but the welfare state is not there to serve them. They’re there to serve it.

  46. tbraton says:

    “There were recessions, but they were less severe than modern recessions, not more severe.”

    Sorry, Charlie, as the Starkist commercial has it. But the 15 recessions from 1857 to December 1914 lasted a total of 320 months or an average of 21.33 months per recession, whereas the 12 recessions from the end of WWII to today lasted a total of 130 months or an average of 10.83 months per recession. So the post-WWII recessions have lasted less than half as long as the recessions preceding our entry into WWI, which generally coincides with the creation of the Fed. You can double check my numbers per the NBER list I posted in my earlier message.

  47. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    thraton and @markinLA –of course RP is aware of the “panics” of the 19th century-he has written books about them! His minority report on the role of gold written in Reagans first term is a complete economic history of the US ! It is not just the gold standard, it is fractional reserve banking that is unstable, especially when banks that loan too much do not have the reserves. Then they can borrow from other banks, but when they are really really bad at it they are usually bailed out by government because their reserves are in government debt by laws and regulations-too big to fail goes way back!

    • Replies: @tbraton
    , @tbraton
  48. tbraton says:

    Here are two messages I posted on TAC in response to a blog by Jack Hunter following a debate in which Rep. Paul participated in back in 2011, when he was running for President, that indicated to me that he was little more than a snake-oil salesman when it came to economic matters:

    “tbraton says:
    June 15, 2011 at 10:57 am
    Maybe, if Ron Paul is elected President in 2012, we will see the economy grow, not at the niggardly 5% per year for 10 years promised by Tim Pawlenty, but at the 10% to 15% a year envisioned by Dr. Paul. Hell, why not ramp it up to 25% per year? That will solve all our debt and deficit problems in a hurry. While I agree with Ron Paul about all the unnecessary wars and foreign commitments we have and about the need to seriously pare back the role of government, I have major differences when it comes to economic matters, and that includes reverting back to the gold standard. Sorry, Jack.

    P.S.– “For the United States, the long-term growth of real GDP per-capita over the
    last 125 years has revealed remarkable steadiness, advancing decade after decade
    with only modest and temporary variation from a trend annual average rate of growth of 1.8%.” (“Long Term Growth of the U.S. Economy: Significance, Determinants and Policy,” Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, updated May 6, 2006.”

    “tbraton says:
    June 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm
    To be fair, Dr. Paul rarely quotes specific growth rate targets (I missed the 10-15% value; can you direct me to that source?). ”

    I watched the whole debate the other night. During the debate, Paul delivered that whopper (and I’m not referring to BK’s tasty treat). From the Economist’s live blog of the debate (with the time indicated):

    “8:16: Wow. Now Ron Paul says free markets will give us 10-15% rates of growth. That’s just nuts.”

    For him to be casually tossing out such outrageous numbers indicated to me that his grasp of economic matters is extremely shaky. But then I thought that even before the debate.”

  49. tbraton says:

    I mentioned in my prior post that NBER’s records of business cycles in the U.S. only go back to 1857 and thus did not include the rather lengthy recession known as the Panic of 1837. Here is what Wikipedia says about that recession:

    “Despite a brief recovery in 1838, the recession persisted for approximately seven years. Banks collapsed, businesses failed, prices declined, and thousands of workers lost their jobs. Unemployment may have been as high as 25% in some locales.”

    Sounds like an early version of the Great Depression, before industrialization had really set in.

  50. tbraton says:

    I forgot to note that “renoflyer” graced us with his very first post on by responding to one of my messages addressed to poster “jtgw” and responding to markinla, who had also been corresponding with jtgw. I take it that jtgw needed a break after posting so much on this thread (messages ##6-8, 13-16, 18, 23-25, 30-31, 34-35, 37, 39, 41-43) and renoflyer graciously stepped in to lend a helping hand. Renoflyer is a more than adequate substitute since his message sounds as if it were written by jtgw himself. BTW I would note that the “Website” which accompanies renoflyer’s screen name does not open.

  51. bunga says:

    One can only question so far .Beyond that ,it becomes questioning the very foundation and none will dare . In above example America ends up using the war laws enacted after 911 to combat terrorism against the people who are fighting against terrorism created by the west including US. It is an interesting internally inconsistent game plan that serves no one other than defense lobbyist and the warmongers

    Can Trump question why US is bombing Syria or Libya beyond what he has so far ? No ,he can’t . Then he will be asking the motive of those who pushed for attacking Syria the day after the attack on Iraq . This will lead to questioning the attack on Iran as WikiLekas had shown earlier .That will lead to who was asking US to attack Iran and for what That will lead to the illegality of political assassination within Iran and Suxnet virus and how Suxnet came to hurt American computer – kind of another type of backlash – which would lead to the donors paying Clinton to attack Iran and to the whole slew of GOP hopefuls . More open questioning will lead to AIPAC FDD PNAC and its offspring

  52. jtgw says: • Website

    Yes, tbraton, some of us have lives outside of, but I’ll simply ask you to revisit that link I provided on the NBER data. Romer, an economist who is not a Ron Paul supporter by any means, studied the data and found them to seriously exaggerate the length and severity of the pre-Fed recessions.

    • Replies: @tbraton
  53. Outwest says:

    Actually FDR’s interventions did in fact get us out of the Great Depression. Specifically, the one that got us into an undeclared shooting war with Germany and the boycott and fund freezing directed at Japan.

  54. woodNfish says:

    The Federal Reserve is not the single cause of our current economic and unemployment problems. Paul is oversimplifying as usual. Most of our trade deals over the last 50 years have been detrimental to US business and workers. Our federal mafia was giving away parts of our economy to foreign nations as bribes to get them to do what our federal mafia wanted – often this as to get them to turn away from the Soviet Union sphere of influence or in return for allowing us military access to their land, sea and airspace. The US has been a military aggressor since the end of WWII. It drafted citizens to send off to slaughter in illegal wars that had nothing to do with our national security such as Korea and Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Trump is our only chance to maybe put an end to that. He probably cannot and will not do everything needed, but he will be a step in the right direction. People who oppose him, for whatever reason, are voting for the status quo and worse.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  55. colm says:

    As long as you or one of your progeny won’t be going to the White House , yes, Americans will be disappointed. LOL.

    You and your progeny can’t drive civilization to space.

  56. map says:


    People become concerned about air quality problems when a certain level of wealth is achieved. Not before.

    More broadly, the point is not that regulations are universally bad or good. The point is that regs do not function in the real world the way you think they do. The regulatory environment is one where government becomes a partner in a business, usually an unwanted one. If the government likes you, it will privatize the costs and socialize the profits of other companies to your benefit. If it does not like you, it will do the same to you. The result is that only the most powerful and well-connected firms enjoy the benefits of the regulatory environment. This mess is precisely why other problems, like mass immigration and offshore outsourcing, are so pervasive.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  57. jtgw says: • Website

    Things like unwanted immigration or outsourcing should be seen as symptoms, not causes. They are symptoms of an oppressive regulatory system that discouraged domestic investment and of a dysfunctional welfare state that entrenches dependence among the poor (and rich). Both of these in turn have an underlying cause in our monetary policy, which encourages debt and living beyond our means; a sound monetary policy, on the other hand, would introduce much-needed discipline and prevent government from getting too big.

    • Replies: @woodNfish
  58. tbraton says:

    “Yes, tbraton, some of us have lives outside of, ”

    Since you didn’t respond to a specific post, I assume that you are referring to the comments I made about you in responding to the post of “renoflyer.” I believe that Ron Unz has just posted a blog dealing with “sockpuppetry,” which appears to apply to you. He has a stern warning about posters using multiple names to create confusion: “I must emphasize that such behavior is an absolute violation of one of the few rules enforced on this website, which otherwise tends to be situated very much towards the “free speech” end of the spectrum. Commenters are allowed to air all sorts of highly controversial views, whether plausible or insane, but such activity is intended to be regulated by the requirement that they pick a single handle and stick with it.” BTW I assume from your comment that you don’t have much spare time, but I’m puzzled how using a different screen name to post a message saves you any time at all. Or would I have to buy one of Dr. Paul’s books to get the answer to that question?

    BTW I also find it interesting that you would cite Christine Romer’s critique of the NBER statistics as supportive of your and Dr. Paul’s position. I hope you realize that this professor of economics at UCal/Berkeley was the first appointee by President Obama to head the CEA. Does that mean you subscribe to all her views, or do you like to pick and choose? In the paper you link to, I believe she says “Increasing government control over aggregate demand in the postwar era has served to dampen many recessions and counteract some shocks entirely.” Surely a good Libertarian like you cannot believe that. The one thing I remember about Christine Romer is that she and another economist published a paper in early January 2009 after she was named to head the CEA but before Obama was inaugurated which contained a graph showing how the economy would react with the proposed Obama stimulus and without any stimulus at all. Even in the case of no stimulus, she predicted the economy would bottom out in June 2009 and start recovering and reaching full employment a few months later than with the stimulus. To me, that paper gave a total lie to the claim that Obama saved “us” from another Great Depression. As it was, the recent downturn lasted 17.5 months, just half a month or 15 days less than the average 18 months for all the recessions tracked by the NBER since 1857. That’s hardly close to Great Depression territory.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  59. jtgw says: • Website

    Ron Unz could easily check if renoflyer is my sock puppet, since our accounts would share an IP address. I actually have no idea who that guy is, but you shouldn’t be surprised that more than one person shares my views on money.

    I don’t agree with all Romer’s views; you realize that citing someone’s conclusions on one topic does not entail endorsing all their other views, right? In fact, her non-libertarian credentials only lend her conclusions on this topic more authority. Even Romer, after an honest investigation, discovered that the pre-Fed panics were not the unmitigated economic disasters that apologists for central banking and fiat currency claim them to be.

    Alan Greenspan came out last month in favor of a return to the gold standard, btw. Enjoy!

  60. The Fed is a mess. But it’s not the primary reason for the housing bubble. That belongs to the affirmative action legislation to put Black and Hispanic families into houses they couldn’t afford! Like all “civil rights” or “affirmative action” or “diversity” or “disparate impact” rulings/legislation before it created a disaster! Because EQUALITY! ;)

  61. woodNfish says:

    I mostly agree with you, but outsourcing and offshoring are not just symptoms of an oppressive regulatory system, but of lower labor costs offshore. A first-world economy cannot compete with the low costs of third-world labor. Where we can compete is on technology – the only way the third world economies can beat us at this game is when we allow technology transfers to them. We need to put an end to the technology transfers. That will cause big problems with China which requires a complete technology transfer in return for the lower costs of manufacturing there. The Chinese are smart to do it and we are stupid to allow it.

    You can argue that our regulatory system forces it to happen and it is a good argument, but it ignores other issues. Our people are not going to allow runaway pollution like we had before the EPA was created. Sure, the EPA is out of control and needs to be shut down, but people will not stand for polluted water and air. The Interior Dept. is better suited to take over the original EPA charter and we should shelve most of the rest of it. But how much?

    We should not allow any foreign labor when we have such high unemployment. Our government is supposed to serve us, the people, but it is serving Wall Street and the big bribers. The people involved should be charged with treason and be executed.

    I’m not sure what can be done to shrink the government. It is out of control. We need to take back our country. It can be done peacefully or it an be done violently. Trump is the best we have right now to prevent that.

  62. tbraton says:

    “Alan Greenspan came out last month in favor of a return to the gold standard, btw.”

    Ah, yes, the man who was responsible for at least two bubbles on his watch, the NASDAQ bubble and the housing bubble. He was the chairman who left the Fed in early 2006 (the very point when the housing bubble peaked) but who declared later that he had no idea when he was at the Fed that a housing bubble was going on. I can see why you would want a clueless old man like that to join your gold standard train. My reaction to that news is the same reaction I had when I read a few weeks ago that the 91-year old Mormon Brent Scowcroft, who had famously opposed GW Bush’s Iraq War in 2002, announced that he was endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. I just concluded that he was senile.

    BTW do you even think a growth rate of 10 to 15% a year is even possible, as Dr. Paul was calling for at that Republican debate back in 2011? As this Stanford article shows in Table 1 (on p. 4) the economic growth rate has been a remarkably steady 2% or so going back to 1870. I would have to say that Dr. Paul’s claim of achieving a growth rate of 10 to 15% is pie-in-the-sky if not totally nuts.

    P.S.–I have been saying for the past five or six years that the Fed’s QE policy should be ended and interest rates allowed to return to their natural level. I don’t recall reading any criticism from Greenspan during that period. But then Ben Bernanke, one of the major architects of the housing bubble (he was a Governor back in 2002) and by his own description one of the great students of the Great Depression, served as Chairman for two years and gave no clue that economic trouble was ahead.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @jtgw
    , @Sam Shama
  63. MarkinLA says:

    People become concerned about air quality problems when a certain level of wealth is achieved. Not before.

    Uh no. People in LA were always concerned about the air pollution. The people in Beijing wanted the controls on pollution put in place for the 2008 Olympic games to stay in place. What happens before is that people in government won’t force the necessary changes on their cronies in business. The most significant changes to clean the air was unleaded gas, electronic ignition, and fuel injection which were all available well before they became common place. Government had to fight industries never ending claim that they can’t do it, it will cost too much, or it will cost jobs, all of which are proven false. The replacement of the carburetor with throttle body injection probably did the most to get unburnt hydrocarbons out of the air and it is significantly less complex but you had to spend all that money on retooling those carburetor factories so business pushes against it.

    The point is that regs do not function in the real world the way you think they do.

    I used to work for a medical products company. The FDA was never our partner nor that of our competitors.

    The problem with regulatory agencies is that they are full of people who wind in and out of industry and back to the agencies who know that their very high private sector salaries are the result of them giving the people they regulate what they want. This is why bad drugs get FDA approval. This is what happened in the Deepwater Horizon case. There was evidence everywhere of lax safety requirements on that rig and the agencies who were supposed to make sure things were done right never did much of anything because of their incestuous relationship with industry.

  64. MarkinLA says:

    the NASDAQ bubble and the housing bubble.

    You missed the S&L Fiasco. He didn’t cause it but his stupidity in propping up the stock market after the 1987 Black Friday crash allowed stupid lending on commercial real estate to go on for another three years putting a lot of major banks into technical insolvency. Then he had to lower rates and induce another bubble to re-inflate those assets.

  65. jtgw says: • Website

    You need to make up your mind. Either you recognize that the Fed system encourages bubbles through attempts to centrally manage interest rates, in which you should stop attacking Fed critics like Ron Paul, or else you need to account for why your beloved Fed has historically resulted in so many disastrous bubbles and busts, as in 1929 and 2008.

    • Replies: @tbraton
  66. tbraton says:

    I think you should find a mind. As I said earlier in this thread, recessions and bubbles have existed long before there was a Fed and we had the gold standard. To a certain extent, they are an inevitable part of the capitalist, free market system. What I am critical of is the policies of the Fed, not the existence of the Fed. I believe a properly restrained central bank is essential to a modern economy. For some reason, you and Dr. Paul don’t think we need a Fed. Nor, it appears, do you think we need enforceable borders because that violates your libertarian religion. BTW I like the way you couple 1929 and 2008 since different policies were followed by the Fed following each crisis. As Milton Friedman famously established, the Great Depression was exacerbated by the restrictive monetary policy that was followed by the Fed, turning what otherwise would have been a mild, ordinary recession into one of the greatest downturns we have experienced in this country. In contrast, the Fed opened the money spigots wide to combat the 2008 crisis and, imo, kept them open for far too long. After a year or so of monetary injection, the Fed should have moved, at least gradually, to a more restrictive policy and try to get back to a more normal monetary situation.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  67. MarkinLA says:

    As Milton Friedman famously established, the Great Depression was exacerbated by the restrictive monetary policy that was followed by the Fed, turning what otherwise would have been a mild, ordinary recession into one of the greatest downturns we have experienced in this country.

    As Milton Friedman asserted without any real way of proving it, the Great Depression was exacerbated by the restrictive monetary policy that was followed by the Fed, turning what otherwise would have been a mild, ordinary recession into one of the greatest downturns we have experienced in this country.

    There fixed it for you. I doubt the Great Depression would have been anything other than a major long term downturn no matter what anybody did. You can do all the arm waving you want and create all the phony charts and graphs you want but it still is just hot air. People weren’t just temporarily out of work while excess production was being worked off – an extremely large segment of society was flat-asssed broke and nobody wanted to hire them and had no reason to well into the foreseeable future.

    You don’t hear much about Kondratieff waves but that used to be mentioned when the book the “Depression of 1990″ came out. It fit the timeline which makes some sense since it kind of mirrors a normal human work cycle of an individual lifetime.

  68. jtgw says: • Website

    When did the Fed ever actually pursue good policies? Well, there was Volcker and his noble efforts to rein in inflation, but that had come about because of abandoning Bretton Woods and our last ties to gold. And I’m aware of Friedman’s analysis; you should at least consider the Austrian account of the 1929 crash, that it was caused by artificially low interest rates and malinvestment in the boom of the previous decade, i.e. basically the same as the 2000s bubble. Credit expansion due to fractional reserve banking, of which central banking is just one particularly egregious kind, also accounts for the pre-Fed bubbles and depressions.

    Immigration is a whole other issue, but I might remind you that productivity and real wages were rising throughout the era of mass immigration from the 1870s up to WWI. Note that what we did not have back then was fiat currency or a welfare state.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  69. Svigor says:

    If you want lots of regulations to ensure safety and welfare for those with jobs, you have to at least acknowledge that this raises the cost of business and the cost of employment. Leaving aside the question of whether we actually need these regulations (e.g. air quality was actually improving throughout the 1960s, before the Clean Air Act was passed), there is going to be a cost, and this cost will ultimately be borne by the consumer. So don’t complain about poor job growth and offshoring of profits; that is the price you pay for your workers’ safety and minimum wage legislation.

    Horseshit. Offshoring is the inevitable result of the nightmare hybrid of free trade (libertarian) and socialist (labor laws) policy that reins today. The kind of slave-labor competition being used against American workers is what tariffs are for.

    Companies would be just fine keeping jobs here, if they had to face sufficient tariffs as the alternative.

  70. Trump wants to audit the FED. He is opposed to free trade and open borders. He does not want war, hot or cold, against Russia. But you can’t endorse him. Gary Johnson is a stalking horse for Hillary. You and Ralph Nader should issue a joint press release endorsing Donald Trump.

  71. bluedog says:

    Really more likely the braying of a jack-ass in a horse race or acting as a distraction in what could be an intelligent conversation…!!

  72. bluedog says:
    @Berta Arnason

    Well at least one intelligent reply one who can grasp the true picture, for it really makes little difference who is elected Trump or Clinton the same ole games will continue, Obama ran on “change we can believe in” and that’s all he left the working class is change in their pockets as the working poor became the new poverty class and the middleclass simply move down to replace the working poor.!!!

  73. MarkinLA says:

    Mass immigration starting in the 1870s is what broke the nascent labor movement. Everybody remembers Ford’s famous quote about paying people 5 dollars a day so they could afford his products but they fail to remember his rabid anti-union mentality. People don’t know much about those times when unions were being suppressed sometimes with extreme violence. Of course, labor wasn’t blameless but without that mass immigration the unions could not be destroyed so easily.

    You had incidents of lawlessness on both sides such as at Matewan, West Virginia.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  74. schmenz says:

    Excellent point.

    While I admire some libertarian views on certain matters, on economics they tend not to factor in good, old human greed.

  75. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    With regard to an “announcement”,
    why is a comment like “You are such a goddamn loser, Ron”, made with an obviously one-time handle approved?

    If somebody engaged in using an handle per comment, Mr. Unz, it is possible they were annoyed by reading simian comments that should not have been published.

    I think you are optimistic in some strange way when you think someone will take the pain to “multiply their views” on a site like here, and “deceive” you or the readers.

    They’d do that on the NYT, Slate, and the likes of them, before a way larger readership.

    Some people can be irritated by the amount of comment-that-are-not-comments and profanities, and react to the disrespect by disrespecting comments guidelines themselves.

  76. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Berta Arnason

    Which begs the question: whom would you feel represented by, and what he or she should do to satisfy you as a representant of yours?

    And: can the President of the USA still represent the people?

  77. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It will continue as long as they can bully foreign countries into accepting dollars as if they were valid currency.

    (Id est, as long as the remnimbi won’t have become the default currency for international trade. Looks like China and Russia will start using their currencies instead of dollars to trade oil, some months from now.)

    • Replies: @jtgw
  78. KenH says:

    There’s no bigger End the Fedtard than Ron Paul. I’m no fan of the Fed and it’s arguably served as facilitator for the permanent warfare state and big government in general, but RP overstates its effect when it comes to trade policy.

    Likewise, Republican candidate Donald Trump misses the point. He promises to bring back jobs to America without any understanding of the policies that led to their departure in the first place. Yes, he is correct that the middle class is in worse shape than when Obama took office, but not once did he mention how it happened: the destructive policies of the Federal Reserve.

    The existence of the Federal Reserve and a thriving manufacturing sector are not mutually exclusive as Ron Paul and most libertarians think. The 1950′s through most of the 1980′s were great for the manufacturing sector and those who worked in it. But the end of the cold war opened up the slave labor markets of the third world and U.S. captains of industry simply couldn’t resist.

    Greed and corporate greed is very real but according to libertarian lore the business owner and corporate executive is almost the perfect specimen of man and any flaws in his decision making are attributed to government intervention and/or bad government policy. I’m not claiming all businessman and corporate types are greedy, but it was greed that gave us “free trade” policies like NAFTA and GATT and that have eviscerated the middle class. And once one company in a given industry moves offshore it sets of a chain reaction in order for the others to remain competitive with the first company that moved.

    • Agree: Sam Shama
    • Replies: @jtgw
  79. jtgw says: • Website

    Fears about trade well pre-date the end of the cold war. Some may remember the fears of Japan taking over the world in the 1980s (seems laughable now). Something to look into is the harmful effects of anti-trust law on American firms and their ability to compete internationally; companies like GM were prevented from getting too big, which allowed Toyota and others to out-compete them.

  80. jtgw says: • Website

    Russia seems pretty feeble to me still. China might manage to push its currency as the new world reserve currency, but then they’ll be faced with the same monetary problems we are. There’s no substitute for sound money, ultimately, and all empires that live off inflation ultimately pay the price.

  81. jtgw says: • Website

    Not sure why I’m supposed to care about the labor unions. Why do you think jobs are moving to the South, where people have a right to work? Labor unions are like other protection rackets: they may win a few perks for those with jobs, but they shut out those who are still looking for work. Worker productivity and hence wage values were rising through that period, as I said, so immigration skeptics at least have to explain why the increase in labor did not translate into lower wage value and lower living standards, as they try to argue now. I do think immigration skeptics have a stronger argument when it comes to the cultural and political effects of mass immigration

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @MarkinLA
  82. MarkinLA says:

    Almost ever worker safety requirement and the 40 hour work week were all because of unions. Sometime they go too far and management doesn’t have the guts to reign them in (usually because doing so would alert the shareholders to how bad management is screwing them) but they were needed.

  83. MarkinLA says:

    Worker productivity and hence wage values were rising through that period

    Worker productivity is in no way related to how much people are paid especially when the worker has no real leverage. According to this, real wages went up 20% in the decade which I bet is a whole lot less than productivity increased and wages only went up for the 50% living in the cities, the rural areas were in a long term slump.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  84. @Anonymous

    Why, because he loses elections? And when did an election winner actually fix problems? Typical character assassination instead of focusing on the writing, which makes perfect sense.

  85. Sam Shama says:

    [My reaction to that news is the same reaction I had when I read a few weeks ago that the 91-year old Mormon Brent Scowcroft, who had famously opposed GW Bush’s Iraq War in 2002, announced that he was endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. I just concluded that he was senile.]

    I allowed myself a hearty laugh when I read that [people in the lobby looked at me with varying levels of concern].

    But I so enjoyed the posts you and MarkinLA have been making in these comments. The Libertarians will never bother to do any serious analytical work, only theatrics and appeals to strange moralistic tropes accompanied by much hand waving.

    I noticed someone up the thread [jtgw, I think] made a statement that real wages have been stagnating. Well no. While I would be the first to advocate higher wages, reduction of inequality, most importantly a complete overhaul of trade policy to re-shore those manufacturing jobs [it isn't going to be easy or costless, but critically required if we are to preserve demographic equity and stability], real wages have actually been rising since 2014Q2.

    So while I continue to think Ron Paul is an honest man, and we have only a few of those left, he is curiously uninformed when economics is tabled for discussion.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  86. jtgw says: • Website
    @Sam Shama

    What’s your point? That a brief rise in real wages over the past couple years means everything is hunky-dory in the economy? Well if that’s true, why would you need to advocate “higher wages” and “reduction of inequality”? Either we are facing serious economic problems or we aren’t. If we aren’t, then we don’t really need to change anything in our current policy; if we are, then we need to be serious about addressing the root causes. I think we both agree that we are in fact dealing with serious problems, in which case your assertions that wages and employment are doing just great are completely beside the point. They are probably just a statistical blip; you have to look at the long-term trend, which does show real wage stagnation by most measures.

    So please focus on the important issues. The middle class is facing severe difficulties. We simply differ on solutions. You want more Keynesianism, more stimulus, more wealth redistribution and more trade protections; I want less of all of it.

    • Replies: @Sam Shama
  87. Sam Shama says:

    [We simply differ on solutions. ]

    Quite; apply your blood-letting for an extended period, and indeed, both germs and the patient will perish and you will legitimately be able to proclaim – operation successful

    Also, stagnation is a concept you chaps are intimately familiar with, so I concede without any further discussion.

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