I write about economics, politics, culture, and sports from my perspective as an Austrian School economist, anarchist, libertarian, father, and expatriate living in Sicily. I am the Director of Global Exports S.R.L.
Michael Barnett has written 14 radical posts for the Libertarian Standard.
Peter Schiff is an excellent economist and his appearances on various financial shows (and the corresponding Youtube clips and blog posts) have contributed to the economics education and financial health of thousands of people. Why on earth is he running for the Senate? ((Schiff’s campaign website has been taken down.)) Does he really believe that the political process has even a remote chance of limiting the size and scope of government? Such a belief is truly absurd for two reasons:
The inherent inertia of the political workings of Washington D.C. makes it nearly impossible to slow down the growth of government; actually shrinking the government from the inside borders on impossible.
Even if I am wrong that it’s an impossibility to shrink government from the inside, what it would require is more than three libertarians. Were Schiff to win, and Ron Paul’s son Rand Paul to win also, that would make 3 libertarians in Congress (I’m generously calling Rand a libertarian, mind you) vs 532 socialists of varying degrees; worse, their forces would be split, as Schiff and Rand would be in the Senate (2 vs 98) and Ron would be in the House (1 vs 434). You’ve got to be kidding me.
I’d prefer to see Schiff save his money and that of all the people who would donate to his campaign (freedom-lovers) so they can use it to brace for the impact of this onsetting depression. Tossing so much into the political advertising money pit is a total waste. That’s an enormous amount to spend ($30 Million or so?) in the hopes that Peter can get elected and make great speeches on CSPAN, given that he already gets invited to speak on the financial circuit with little or no out-of-pocket expense on his part. In fact, Schiff has already had to cease appearing twice per week on one of the financial shows due to campaign laws, so now we’re back to all Keynes all the time. And even if he were to win, it’s doubtful the Republican leadership would seat Schiff on any of the important financial committees, so what would he really accomplish in the Senate? Maybe introduce a few bills which never make it out of committee?
Worst of all, I fear Schiff doesn’t really have a shot of winning since libertarianism doesn’t really resonate with the masses (yet), so all of that time and money campaigning will likely be wasted. (Yes, I know I just made an objective truth claim about others’ subjective evaluations which is an Austrian no-no.)
There’s no shame in Paul Volcker’s being confused. It’s common for men his age (82) to slip into an afternoon slumber and wake up discombobulated — it can take a little while to reorient. And that’s when the memory is working well; but, let’s face it, an elderly man’s memory isn’t always fully functional. So that’s why I think it’s only fair to cut the Chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board some slack for his comments yesterday when he announced that taxes were likely to rise in order to “tame” the deficit:
The United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax, White House adviser Paul Volcker said on Tuesday. Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax “was not as toxic an idea” as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary.
Though he acknowledged that both were still unpopular ideas, he said getting entitlement costs and the U.S. budget deficit under control may require such moves. “If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes,” he said.
See, he has to be confused because my memory still works really, really well, and I remember this from the campaign:
Old “joke”: Know how you can tell if a politician is lying?
One of the alleged 162,000 jobs created in March can be found in Snohomish, Washington. Although the gig only pays $8.55/hour, it’s a real resume builder. What minimum wage job posted on Craigslist inspired 260 applications from people aged fourteen to sexagenarian? Why, being a kennel helper at Roscoe’s Ranch, owned by Guy Palumbo, of course. The job posting is quite clear in explaining that duties include scooping dog poop. Who is desperate enough to take this job? According to Recession’s untold story, just about everyone:
A laid-off graphic designer applied. So did a freelance photographer. Two out-of-work teachers sent résumés. Remarkably, so did someone in their mid-40s who had worked as a financial controller at an environmental-services company.
“There are a few people in here, such as accountants, who are so overqualified for this job,” Palumbo said. “I know people just want to work but I don’t think it would make much sense for me to hire them.”
The rest of the applicants read like a recession roll call.
There are past customer-service reps from WaMu, AT&T, J.C. Penney and Sprint. A slew of retail clerks and cashiers, as well as out-of-work waiters. The biggest group, by far, is dozens of laborers, construction workers, landscapers and maintenance workers.
This must be one of those mythical “green shoots” I’ve been hearing so much about on CNBC and other establishment media outlets. Maybe if the likes of Larry Kudlow and Bob Shrum pile this manure high enough something will grow out of it — most likely a fungus.
There’s an inevitability to the march of totalitarian economic control which Austrian School Economists have warned about repeatedly. There’s a tipping point which exists when a state interferes in an economy beyond which a state will invariably enact the same destructive policies which have collapsed the economies of other states which engaged in similar folly. This folly consists of practices such as debasing the currency, running up massive deficits and debt, and excessively regulating economic activity. (Note, of course, that for us anarchists all state regulation of economic activity is excessive; but, for my purposes here, we can limit the purview to the stifling, bureaucratic interferences like housing acts, forced lending to “sub-prime” borrowers, GSEs, mandates by the FDA and FTC and other three-letter economy-killers, etc.) What happens is simply this:
Some economic “injustice” or “inequity” or “imbalance” (it almost always starts with those keywords, so be on the lookout) exists and is too upsetting to be tolerated.
The state is used to enforce justice/equity/balance.
These attempts to overthrow the laws of economics succeed only in creating new problems (“unintended consequences”) which then require further state action to attempt to alleviate.
A slippery slope comes into play at this point, with each new state interference into the market creating new problems until everything the Austrian School economists warned of comes to pass.