Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Time for an American Spring..

We are at a point in our history where we need to 'alter or abolish' the current federal govt.  It is corrupt, deceitful, wasteful of the citizens' lives & property, & has spent us into near economic collapse.

The first step is a simple list of budget cuts that are in line with the constitution. ..not picking & choosing the ones we like, but cutting ANY & ALL of them. There is no partisan favoritism here, just meat cleaver fiscal policy. Cut the military to the bone.. the hawks will howl, but they have been overspending & over meddling with the us military for decades. Cut the welfare state to the bone.. the libs will howl, but they have done the same. Cut taxes to a fair amount that only the top earners pay. The poor & lower middle classes should pay nothing. They also should get no benefits from the feds for being poor.. just not be taxed for it. If states want to give away free food, housing, cell phones.. they can do it (and pay for it). But that should be a local matter, not something for the united states govt. THAT govt should concentrate on foreign affairs & treaties, a stable currency, & homeland defense. All the meddling in business, education, healthcare, housing, redistribution, & lots of other federal acronyms should not be allowed, as they are unconstitutional. A federal govt like this could be manageable.. people could haggle with the other things at the state & local level, where the people actually are. The federal govt should only be concerned with things that are of common interest to the states.

Here's my list.. open to tweaking..

1. Balanced budget amendment. They cannot spend more than they take in. During war, sell bonds.
2. Stable currency. Congress should take responsibility of the treasury. The federal reserve should be phased out, & the dollar stabilized with hard assets. Even oil reserves can be used to provide backing. But fiat currency is destroying western civilization. Just like the dollar used to be a set amount of silver, it can now be a set amount of oil, or a combination of precious metals. It can be done. The statists & world bankers just don't want it to be done.
3. End military meddling & occupation. No police actions, no unconstitutional 'executive actions', no illegal wars. We are in a time of relative peace, if we want. We are unable to police the world.. both by sheer numbers & costs. Make reasonable treaties with allies.  End ALL foreign aid.
4. Wind down the welfare state. Begin to wean everyone off the dole. Stabilize social security with valid actuarial numbers, & make it voluntary. It should pay for itself, & not be subsidized or run like a pyramid scheme. Phase out & completely eliminate all redistribution schemes. They do not work, but breed crime, corruption, & trap people in generations of dependency.
5. End all govt programs & departments, & massively cut the dept of defense. We can identify any real threats to our security, & assign funds to meet those threats. End govt contracts & contractors, & start over, justifying each one within the parameters of real need for national security. Have several checks & balances for that determination. No foreign aid. No grants. No subsidies. The federal govt is too inept & corrupt to be responsible for handling the public funds in this way. It is a magnet for corruption.

IMO, 3 branches of govt, with corresponding checks & balances, are the best form of governance invented by man. The US constitution is a brilliant concept, & can work if implemented & guarded by the people. We have been lax in protecting this system.. scoundrels & charlatans have sneaked in & corrupted the intent & purpose they are charged with. They have elevated themselves to an elite ruling class, & have forgotten or deliberately distorted the role of the public servant. For generations, we have gotten worse stewards than the previous ones, all plundering the public treasury for political & personal gain.

It is time for Americans to take back their country. Where are the leaders & patriots? Where are the governors & statesmen to call for an American Spring? This federal govt is corrupt to the core.. it is decayed & useless, except to lead us to ruin & destruction. It is time to cut up their credit cards & demand fiscal responsibility.

The power to determine the quantity of money... is too important, too pervasive, to be exercised by a few people, however public-spirited, if there is any feasible alternative. There is no need for such arbitrary power... Any system which gives so much power and so much discretion to a few men, [so] that mistakes - excusable or not - can have such far reaching effects, is a bad system. It is a bad system to believers in freedom just because it gives a few men such power without any effective check by the body politic - this is the key political argument against an independent central bank. ~Milton Friedman

Too often in recent history liberal governments have been wrecked on rocks of loose fiscal policy. ~FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

"I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy." ~Thomas Jefferson

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world. ~Thomas Jefferson

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

The lessons of history, confirmed by evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence on relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is a violation of the traditions of America. ~FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

“I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” ~Benjamin Franklin 

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." ~Samuel Adams 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fiscal or moral factors?

Some people think we have to choose between doing what is fiscally responsible, or morally right.  They think that choices by politicians should have 'morality' as a priority factor over financial responsibility.

But it is a false comparison. It's not about morals. It is about emotion & misplaced compassion. We can be compassionate for the jobs lost in the buggy whip manufacturing sector, but demanding govt to 'do something about it!' never works. They can subsidize the industry, even though it cannot compete in the open market, but to do that you have to take from other, productive segments of the economy, thereby punishing their success. Markets are fluid. Change happens. Evolve or go extinct. This is market based, global, natural selection at work. The more we can adapt & change with the trends, the better off we are as a society & economy. Rewards go to the smart & resourceful, rather than the lazy or scam artists. You make a widget with demand, you get rich. That is better than writing up a clever grant proposal for the feds to consider, then they take from someone else to give to you, just because you wrote up a good scam concept. Solyndra did this, as have thousands of other grantees who get 'free money' for some dubious business venture. They don't risk their own capital & labors, but the taxpayers.

Real production should be encouraged & rewarded. That is the basis for wealth & will build a positive trade balance & real gdp. We have been going the wrong way for years, & unless we turn it around, we will collapse. This is not complicated. Money does not grow on trees, but must be earned by producing, harvesting, mining, or creating something of value. Printing money to hand out is a recipe for collapse. That is what we're doing now, & it cannot last. Subsidizing failing, non productive, or counter productive sectors is also a drain on the real production of the country.

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. ~Ronald Reagan

The govt shutdown.. a crisis of credibility

It's really not even much of a slowdown.  83% of the govt is still fully funded, with 17% under the administrations cuts.  Most of the sectors cut are at obama's discretion.  He can cut the parts of govt he deems not as essential, & he has shown what his priorities are by cutting things like the national parks, but providing full funding for pbs, govt cafeterias, & health clubs.  He shuts down the ww2 memorial, which takes more personnel to close than it did to keep it open, but keeps the very expensive golf course open so he can play.

"Based on estimates drawn from CBO and OMB data, 83 percent of government operations will continue. This figure assumes that the government pays amounts due on appropriations obligated before the shutdown ($512 billion), spends $225 billion on exempted military and civilian personnel, pays entitlement benefits for those found eligible before the shutdown (about $2 trillion), and pays interest costs when due ($237 billion). This is about 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion."source

So we have with this 'crisis', a 17% reduction in spending by the feds.  Let's see what the people have had over the last few years.

The real median household income for US the peaked in 2007 and is now $4,818 (8.57%) lower.  source
American citizens have had to adjust their budgets to adapt to the reduced income from a recession.

But what about the govt?

They went from spending ~ $2.7T in 2007 to ~ $3.8T in 2013.  This was about a 41% INCREASE in spending, while the taxpayers are cutting costs & living within their means.  Even with the govt 'shutdown', the govt is  currently spending more than they did in 2007, while most of us are forced to spend a lot less.

So all the hype about the 'govt shutdown' is just propaganda.  They are spending a LOT more than they did in 2007, even with the recession.  All this has done is add trillions to the deficit, & bring us closer to a currency collapse, as the dollar gets weaker.

But let's also check the govt's income, to keep everything in perspective.

Gross revenues:
2007-  $2.85 T
2013-  $2.81 T

So, while their revenues declined by ~ 1%, their spending went up 41%!!  The american people's income dropped by 8.6% during that same period.

So this 'govt shutdown crisis' is a manufactured crisis.. an emergency with no alarm.  They have MORE than enough to run the govt, & MORE than enough to waste in corrupt & inefficient programs.

The administration is using this phony 'crisis' for political strategy.  Obama is punishing the american people to bully the congress to increase spending & bankrupting the nation.  This is a petty, despicable tactic from a deceptive politician.  Most of the media is complicit with this deception, & the american people should see through their lies & demand justice.  The combined actions of this administration should be enough for us to call for impeachment or resignation.  Deliberate lies & falsehoods over the irs, benghazi, fast & furious, obamacare & it's promises.. these & many more have shown the corruption & falsehood of this presidency.

The only 'crisis' is the continued deception by our elected officials, who spin & lie to us for their political agenda.  We should be alarmed about that.. corruption, dishonesty, graft, cronyism, waste, & fraud.  It is time to get the liars out of politics.  We need honest representatives, not spin doctors.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gold or Fiat?

I think most of the demise of America can be DIRECTLY attributed to leaving the gold standard, & going to fiat currency. I concede that we probably could not have had the exponential economic growth from the middle to the end of the last century, but that era is over, & now we pay the piper.  It was like a pyramid scheme, with lots of people getting rich as long as it works, but hurting a lot more when it crashes down. With a hard currency, the govt has little to do, other than minting coins & providing exchanges for gold or silver.. and we could easily add platinum & even copper or other things to the basis for the currency. IMO, oil is kind of the defacto standard for the dollar, as it is the currency of choice in that exchange. That also propped up the dollar during the massive QE's & inflationary printing of paper.

BUT, instead of basing the currency on something of value.. 'hard' assets.. the govt has gone fiat.. since 1972, when nixon took off the last vestiges of gold basis in the dollar. FDR started it in 1933. The gold standard was blamed for the great depression. People didn't trust paper money, & began to exchange it for gold, hoarding it rather than 'investing' in the dollar. So fdr made it illegal to own gold, & everyone has had to trust the govt since.. a bad idea. We can own gold again, now, but the damage to the dollar had already been done. It & just about every other currency on earth was no longer tied to hard assets.

So as long as currency is fiat, instability is certain. Govts will print money, start wars, promise goodies for votes.. anything to feed the fantasy that govt can provide. In hard currency times, people would put their money in banks, who paid interest, then loaned it out at a higher rate to make a profit. Lots of small or mid sized banks could operate in this system. But now, the govt just prints money, & hands it out to the big banks. They skim off some for themselves, then loan it out to smaller banks to loan out. Interest is not market based, but declared by the govt. They keep rates artificially low, discouraging anyone from saving in banks. So everyone has to put any investment or savings into the money ponzi scheme.. stocks & bonds, which is a casino for fiat money. You don't work, save, & increase at a stable rate. You borrow, leverage, & bet on fluctuations in the market. The system has converted us from a production based economy.. building wealth by labor.. to one of speculation & shuffling paper around. In past centuries, industrialists, manufacturers, & entrepreneurs got wealthy by making something. Now, they get rich by betting on the market. Most of the market is fiat based speculation, not actual production.

One of the most important duties of a good govt is to provide a stable currency, where business can operate on a level playing field, & where the laborer's fruits can be saved & invested in his future. It is as essential as securing our rights to speech, religion, & assembly. But they have deceived us, & generations have become dependent on govt currency manipulation.

The power to determine the quantity of money... is too important, too pervasive, to be exercised by a few people, however public-spirited, if there is any feasible alternative. There is no need for such arbitrary power... Any system which gives so much power and so much discretion to a few men, [so] that mistakes - excusable or not - can have such far reaching effects, is a bad system. It is a bad system to believers in freedom just because it gives a few men such power without any effective check by the body politic - this is the key political argument against an independent central bank. ~Milton FriedmanThe Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy. ... Roosevelt's policies were very destructive. Roosevelt's policies made the depression longer and worse than it otherwise would have been.
Milton Friedman

In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. ... This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard. ~Alan Greenspan

Historically, the United States has been a hard money country. Only [since 1913] has the United States operated on a fiat money system. During this period, paper money has depreciated over 87%. During the preceding 140 year period, the hard currency of the United States had actually maintained its value. Wholesale prices in 1913... were the same as in 1787. ~Kenneth Gerbino

With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people. ~Friedrich August von Hayek