Homeland Stupidity http://www.homelandstupidity.us Government is stupid. Discover a better way to organize society. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:34:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Debt Ceiling Deal: DC Wins, Americans Lose http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/10/21/debt-ceiling-deal-dc-wins-americans-lose/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/10/21/debt-ceiling-deal-dc-wins-americans-lose/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 18:22:55 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=929 Washington, DC, Wall Street, and central bankers around the world rejoiced this week as Congress came to an agreement to end the government shutdown and lift the debt ceiling. The latest spending-and-debt deal was negotiated by Congressional leaders behind closed doors, and was rushed through Congress before most members had time to read it. Now that the bill is passed, we can see that it is a victory for the political class and special interests, but a defeat for the American people.

The debt ceiling deal increases spending above the levels set by the “sequester.” The sequester cuts were minuscule, and in many cases used the old DC trick of calling reductions in planned spending increases a cut. But even minuscule and phony cuts are unacceptable to the bipartisan welfare-warfare spending collation. The bill also does nothing to protect the American people from the Obamacare disaster.

As is common in bills drafted in secret and rushed into law, this bill contains special deals for certain powerful politicians. The bill even has a provision authorizing continued military aid to opponents of the Ugandan “Lord’s Resistance Army,” which was the subject of the widely-viewed “Kony 2012″ YouTube videos. Most of these unrelated provisions did not come to public attention until after the bill was passed and signed into law.

Members of Congress and the public were told the debt ceiling increase was necessary to prevent a government default and an economic crisis. This manufactured fear supposedly justified voting on legislation without allowing members time to even read it, much less to remove the special deals or even debate the wisdom of intervening in overseas military conflicts because of a YouTube video.

Congress should have ignored the hysterics. A failure to increase government’s borrowing authority would not lead to a default any more that an individual’s failure to get a credit card limit increase in would mean they would have to declare bankruptcy. Instead, the failure of either an individual or a government to obtain new borrowing authority would force the individual or the government to live within their means, and may even force them to finally reduce their spending. Most people would say it is irresponsible to give a spendthrift, debt-ridden individual a credit increase. Why then is it responsible to give an irresponsible spendthrift government an increase in borrowing authority?

Congress surrendered more power to the president in this bill. Instead of setting a new debt ceiling, it simply “suspended” the debt ceiling until February. This gives the administration a blank check to run up as much debt as it pleases from now until February 7th. Congress can “disapprove” the debt ceiling suspension, but only if it passes a resolution of disapproval by a two-thirds majority. How long before Congress totally abdicates its constitutional authority over spending by allowing the Treasury permanent and unlimited authority to borrow money without seeking Congressional approval?

Instead of seriously addressing the spending crisis, most in Congress would rather engage in last-minute brinksmanship and backroom deals instead of taking the necessary action to rein in spending. Congress will only take serious steps to reduce spending when either a critical mass of Americans pressures it to cut spending, or when investors and foreign countries stop buying US government debt. Hopefully, those of us who understand sound economics can convince enough of our fellow citizens to pressure Congress to make serious spending cuts before Congress’s reckless actions cause a total economic collapse.

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A Grand Bargain for Liberty? http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/29/a-grand-bargain-for-liberty/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/29/a-grand-bargain-for-liberty/#comments Mon, 30 Sep 2013 00:28:21 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=920 As I write this, it appears that the federal government is about to shut down because the House and Senate cannot agree on whether to add language defunding or delaying Obamacare to the “Continuing Resolution.” Despite all the hand-wringing heard in DC, a short-term government shut down (which doesn’t actually shut down the government) will not cause the country to collapse.

And the American people would benefit if Obamacare was defeated or even delayed.

Obamacare saddles the American health care system with new spending and mandates which will raise the price and lower the quality of health care. Denying funds to this program may give Congress time to replace this bill with free-market reforms that put patients and physicians back in charge of health care. Defunding the bill before it becomes implemented can spare the American people from falling under the worst effects of this law.

As heartened as we should be by the fight against Obamacare, we should be equally disheartened by the fact that so few in DC are talking about making real cuts in federal spending. Even fewer are talking about reductions in the most logical place to reduce spending: the military-industrial complex. The US military budget constitutes almost 50 percent of the total worldwide military spending. Yet to listen to some in Congress, one would think that America was one canceled multi-million dollar helicopter contract away from being left totally defenseless.

What makes this military spending impossible to justify is that is does not benefit the American people. Instead, by fomenting resentment and hatred among the world population, our costly interventionist foreign policy makes our people less safe. Thus, reducing spending on militarism would not only help balance the budget, but would enhance our security.

Yet both the House and the Senate continuing resolutions not only fail to reduce military spending, they actually authorize $20 billion more in military spending than authorized by the “sequestration” created by the 2011 Budget Control Act. Most of the supposedly “draconian” sequestration cuts are not even cuts; instead, they are “reductions in the planned rate of spending.” This is where Congress increases spending but by less than originally planned—and yet they claim to cut spending.

Under sequestration, military spending increases by 18 percent instead of by 20 percent over the next ten years. Yet some so-called conservatives are so opposed to these phony cuts in military spending that they would support increased taxes and increased welfare “military” spending. This “grand bargain” would benefit the DC political class and the special interests, but it would be a disaster for the American people.

Instead of grand bargains of increased spending and taxes, those of us who support limited government and free markets should form a coalition with antiwar liberals to reduce spending on both the military industrial complex and domestic welfare programs. Instead of raising taxes on “the rich” we should also work to reduce all corporate subsidies. This “grand bargain” would truly be a win-win for the American people.

Sadly, even if a congressional coalition to cut both warfare and welfare spending was formed, it would be unlikely to carry the day as long as the Federal Reserve is willing to enable Congress’s debt addiction by monetizing the debt. But this cannot last forever. At some point the Fed’s policies will result in hyperinflation and an economic crisis that will force Congress to reduce spending. Hopefully, the growing number of Americans who are awaking to the dangers of our current path can convince Congress to reduce overseas militarism and begin an orderly drawdown of the welfare state before this crisis occurs.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Internet Sales Tax Could Crush Small Businesses http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/23/internet-sales-tax-could-crush-small-businesses/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/23/internet-sales-tax-could-crush-small-businesses/#comments Tue, 24 Sep 2013 00:49:45 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=917 One unique aspect of my homeschool curriculum is that students can start and manage their own online business. Students will be responsible for deciding what products or services to offer, getting the business up and running, and marketing the business’s products. Students and their families will get to keep the profits made from the business. Hopefully, participants in this program will develop a business that can either provide them with a full-time career or a way to supplement their income.

Internet commerce is the most dynamic and rapidly growing sector of the American economy. Not surprisingly, the Internet is also relatively free of taxes and regulations, although many in Washington are working to change that. For example, earlier this year the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, more accurately referred to as the national Internet sales tax act. This bill, which passed the Senate earlier this year, would require Internet businesses to collect sales tax for all 10,000 American jurisdictions that assess sales taxes. Internet business would thus be subject to audits from 46 states, six territories, and over 500 Native American tribal nations.

Proponents of the bill deny it will hurt small business because the bill only applies to Internet business that make over a million dollars in out-of-state revenue. However, many small Internet businesses with over a million dollars in out-of-state revenues operate on extremely thin profit margins, so even the slightest increase in expenses could put them out of businesses.

Some businesses may even try to avoid increasing their sales so as to not have to comply with the Internet sales tax. It is amazing that some of the same conservatives who rightly worry over Obamacare’s effects on job creation and economic growth want to impose new taxes on the most dynamic sector of the economy.

Proponents of the law claim that there is software that can automatically apply sales taxes. However, anyone who has ever dealt with business software knows that no program is foolproof. Any mistakes made by the software, or even errors in installing it, could result in a small business being subject to expensive and time-consuming audits.

Some say that it is a legitimate exercise of Congress’s Commerce Clause power to give state governments the authority to force out-of-state businesses to collect sales taxes. But if that were the case, why shouldn’t state governments be able to force you to pay sales taxes where you physically cross state lines to make a purchase? The Commerce Clause was intended to facilitate the free flow of goods and services across state lines, not to help states impose new burdens on out of state businesses.

The main proponents of this bill are large retailers and established Internet business. Big business can more easily afford to comply with a national Internet sales tax. In many cases, they are large enough that they already have a “physical presence” in most states and thus already have to collect state sales taxes. These businesses are seeking to manipulate the political process to disadvantage their existing and future small competitors. The Internet sales tax is a bad idea for consumers, small Internet business, and perhaps most importantly, the next generation of online entrepreneurs.

For more information about the small business program well as all other aspects of the Homeschool curriculum please go here. And to purchase a copy of my new book, The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System please go here.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Will Congress Endorse Obama’s War Plans? Does it Matter? http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/01/will-congress-endorse-obamas-war-plans-does-it-matter/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/09/01/will-congress-endorse-obamas-war-plans-does-it-matter/#comments Sun, 01 Sep 2013 21:40:44 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=905 President Obama announced this weekend that he has decided to use military force against Syria and would seek authorization from Congress when it returned from its August break. Every Member ought to vote against this reckless and immoral use of the US military. But even if every single Member and Senator votes for another war, it will not make this terrible idea any better because some sort of nod is given to the Constitution along the way.

Besides, the president made it clear that Congressional authorization is superfluous, asserting falsely that he has the authority to act on his own with or without Congress. That Congress allows itself to be treated as window dressing by the imperial president is just astonishing.

The President on Saturday claimed that the alleged chemical attack in Syria on August 21 presented “a serious danger to our national security.” I disagree with the idea that every conflict, every dictator, and every insurgency everywhere in the world is somehow critical to our national security. That is the thinking of an empire, not a republic. It is the kind of thinking that this president shares with his predecessor and it is bankrupting us and destroying our liberties here at home.

According to recent media reports, the military does not have enough money to attack Syria and would have to go to Congress for a supplemental appropriation to carry out the strikes. It seems our empire is at the end of its financial rope. The limited strikes that the president has called for in Syria would cost the US in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey wrote to Congress last month that just the training of Syrian rebels and “limited” missile and air strikes would cost “in the billions” of dollars. We should clearly understand what another war will do to the US economy, not to mention the effects of additional unknown costs such as a spike in fuel costs as oil skyrockets.

I agree that any chemical attack, particularly one that kills civilians, is horrible and horrendous. All deaths in war and violence are terrible and should be condemned. But why are a few hundred killed by chemical attack any worse or more deserving of US bombs than the 100,000 already killed in the conflict? Why do these few hundred allegedly killed by Assad count any more than the estimated 1,000 Christians in Syria killed by US allies on the other side? Why is it any worse to be killed by poison gas than to have your head chopped off by the US allied radical Islamists, as has happened to a number of Christian priests and bishops in Syria?

For that matter, why are the few hundred civilians killed in Syria by a chemical weapon any worse than the 2000-3000 who have been killed by Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan? Does it really make a difference whether a civilian is killed by poison gas or by drone missile or dull knife?

In “The Sociology of Imperialism,” Joseph Schumpeter wrote of the Roman Empire’s suicidal interventionism:

“There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome’s allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive an interest — why, then it was the national honour that had been insulted.”

Sadly, this sounds like a summary of Obama’s speech over the weekend. We are rapidly headed for the same collapse as the Roman Empire if we continue down the president’s war path. What we desperately need is an overwhelming Congressional rejection of the president’s war authorization. Even a favorable vote, however, cannot change the fact that this is a self-destructive and immoral policy.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Bernanke’s Farewell Tour http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/07/21/bernankes-farewell-tour/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/07/21/bernankes-farewell-tour/#comments Sun, 21 Jul 2013 21:53:38 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=883 Last week Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered what may well be his last Congressional testimony before leaving the Federal Reserve in 2014. Unfortunately, his farewell performance was full of contradictory comments about the state of the economy and the effects of Fed policies on the market. One thing Bernanke inadvertently made clear was that the needs of Wall Street trump Main street, the economy, and sound money.

Quantitative easing (QE) and effectively zero interest rates have created paper prosperity, but now the Fed must continuously assure Wall Street that the QE spigot will not be turned off. Otherwise even the illusion of recovery will disappear. So Bernanke made every effort to emphasize that the economy was not doing well enough to end QE, while lauding the success of Fed policies in improving the economy.

Bernanke was also intent on denying that Fed policies directly boost financial markets. However, the money the Fed creates out of nothing in order to buy mortgage-backed securities and government debt for the QE3 program, benefits first and foremost the big banks and the financial class — those people who are invited to the Fed auctions. This new money then fuels stock bubbles, bond bubbles, agricultural land bubbles, and others. The consequences of this are felt by ordinary savers, investors, and retirees whose savings lose value because of the Fed’s zero interest rate policy.

As if Wall Street favoritism and zero returns for savers isn’t bad enough, the Fed wants the rest of America to bear a greater inflation burden. The Fed thinks you should lose two percent of the value of your dollar this year. But Bernanke is not satisfied with having reduced purchasing power by ten percent since the 2008 recession. The inflation picture is actually much worse if we look at the old consumer price index — the one that did not assume that ground beef is a perfect substitute for steak.

Using the old CPI metric, as calculated by John Williams at Shadow Government Statistics, we’ve lost close to 50 percent of the purchasing power of our money in just the last five years. So what you were able to buy with the $20 in your pocket before the financial crisis costs more than $30 today. That might be peanuts to Wall Street, but that’s real money for working Americans. And it’s theft by the Fed. It is a direct consequence of the trillions of new dollars the Fed has “not literally” printed — as Bernanke put it.

Bernanke’s final testimony before Congress confirms that the Fed has blatant disregard for the extra costs and the new bubbles it is creating. The Fed only understands paper prosperity, not how middle class Americans and the poor suffer the consequences of higher prices, resource misallocations, and distortionary bubbles as well as insidious unemployment.

The only way out of this tailspin of monetary favoritism is to restore sound money, which would end the Fed’s ability to manipulate currency and put Wall Street first. The Fed has proven over and over again that it has no respect for the real money that preserves the value of people’s labor, their wealth, and their ability to live free and prosperous lives. It is beyond time for the Fed, Wall Street, and the federal government to stop manipulating money and stealing from the American people under the false guise of paper prosperity.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Federal Reserve Blows More Bubbles http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/05/07/federal-reserve-blows-more-bubbles/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/05/07/federal-reserve-blows-more-bubbles/#comments Tue, 07 May 2013 04:39:43 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=847 Last week at its regular policy-setting meeting, the Federal Reserve announced it would double down on the policies that have failed to produce anything but a stagnant economy. It was a disappointing, but not surprising, move.

The Fed affirmed that it is prepared to increase its monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities if things don’t start looking up. But actually the Fed has already been buying more than the announced $85 billion per month. Between February and March, the Fed’s securities holdings increased $95 billion. From March to April, they increased $100 billion. In all, the Fed has pumped more than a half trillion dollars into the economy since announcing its latest round of “quantitative easing” (QE3) in September 2012.

Although many were up in arms when the Fed said it would buy $600 billion in government debt outright for the previous round, QE2, all seems quiet about the magnitude of QE3 because it doesn’t come with huge up-front total price tag. But by year’s end the Fed’s balance sheet could hit $4 trillion.

With no recovery in sight, where’s all this money going? It is creating bubbles. Bubbles in the housing sector, the stock market, and government debt. The national debt is fast approaching $17 trillion, with the Fed monetizing most of the newly issued debt. The stock market has been hitting record highs for the past two months as investors seek to capitalize on the Fed’s easy money. After all, as long as the Fed keeps the spigot open, nominal profits are there for the taking. But this is a house of cards. Eventually, just like in 2008-2009, the market will discipline the bad actions of the Fed and seek to find the real normal.

In the meantime, real families are suffering. While Wall Street and the government take advantage of access to the Fed’s new “free” money, the Fed claims there is no inflation. But who hasn’t paid higher prices at the grocery store, the gas pump, for tuition, for insurance? It’s bad enough that household incomes have stagnated, but real purchasing power has declined so much that one in seven Americans, 47.3 million people, are on food stamps. Five million are collecting unemployment insurance with 21.5 million afflicted by unemployment according to the government’s own figures. That’s 13.9 percent — close to double the 7.5 percent unemployment number reported last week.

We are certainly not in a recovery. We don’t see the long unemployment and soup kitchen lines like in the Great Depression, but that’s just because the lines are electronic now.

It is not surprising the Fed has decided to hand the American people more of the same failed policies. But it is disappointing. We know what the real solution is: allow the marketplace to work. Allow entrepreneurs the chance to create instead of stifling innovation with arbitrary regulations. Allow interest rates to rise to equal the risks in the economy. Allow bad debts to be liquidated so we can build on a firm foundation. Stop printing money to benefit the government and big banks. Restore sound money to the economy and the American people. Sound money is the bedrock for prosperity and the best check on big government and crony capitalism.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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How Long Will the Dollar Remain the World’s Reserve Currency? http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/09/03/how-long-will-the-dollar-remain-the-worlds-reserve-currency/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/09/03/how-long-will-the-dollar-remain-the-worlds-reserve-currency/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2012 21:43:22 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=806 ]]> We frequently hear the financial press refer to the U.S. dollar as the “world’s reserve currency,” implying that our dollar will always retain its value in an ever shifting world economy. But this is a dangerous and mistaken assumption.

Since August 15, 1971, when President Nixon closed the gold window and refused to pay out any of our remaining 280 million ounces of gold, the U.S. dollar has operated as a pure fiat currency. This means the dollar became an article of faith in the continued stability and might of the U.S. government.

In essence, we declared our insolvency in 1971. Everyone recognized some other monetary system had to be devised in order to bring stability to the markets.

Amazingly, a new system was devised which allowed the U.S. to operate the printing presses for the world reserve currency with no restraints placed on it — not even a pretense of gold convertibility! Realizing the world was embarking on something new and mind-boggling, elite money managers, with especially strong support from U.S. authorities, struck an agreement with OPEC in the 1970s to price oil in U.S. dollars exclusively for all worldwide transactions. This gave the dollar a special place among world currencies and in essence backed the dollar with oil.

In return, the U.S. promised to protect the various oil-rich kingdoms in the Persian Gulf against threat of invasion or domestic coup. This arrangement helped ignite radical Islamic movements among those who resented our influence in the region. The arrangement also gave the dollar artificial strength, with tremendous financial benefits for the United States. It allowed us to export our monetary inflation by buying oil and other goods at a great discount as the dollar flourished.

In 2003, however, Iran began pricing its oil exports in Euro for Asian and European buyers. The Iranian government also opened an oil bourse in 2008 on the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf for the express purpose of trading oil in Euro and other currencies. In 2009 Iran completely ceased any oil transactions in U.S. dollars. These actions by the second largest OPEC oil producer pose a direct threat to the continued status of our dollar as the world’s reserve currency, a threat which partially explains our ongoing hostility toward Tehran.

While the erosion of our petrodollar agreement with OPEC certainly threatens the dollar’s status in the Middle East, an even larger threat resides in the Far East. Our greatest benefactors for the last twenty years — Asian central banks — have lost their appetite for holding U.S. dollars. China, Japan, and Asia in general have been happy to hold U.S. debt instruments in recent decades, but they will not prop up our spending habits forever. Foreign central banks understand that American leaders do not have the discipline to maintain a stable currency.

If we act now to replace the fiat system with a stable dollar backed by precious metals or commodities, the dollar can regain its status as the safest store of value among all government currencies. If not, the rest of the world will abandon the dollar as the global reserve currency.

Both Congress and American consumers will then find borrowing a dramatically more expensive proposition. Remember, our entire consumption economy is based on the willingness of foreigners to hold U.S. debt. We face a reordering of the entire world economy if the federal government cannot print, borrow, and spend money at a rate that satisfies its endless appetite for deficit spending.

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Legalize Competing Currencies http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/08/13/legalize-competing-currencies/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/08/13/legalize-competing-currencies/#comments Mon, 13 Aug 2012 17:26:08 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=795 ]]> I recently held a hearing in my congressional subcommittee on the subject of competing currencies. This is an issue of enormous importance, but unfortunately few Americans understand how the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department impose a strict monopoly on money in America.

This monopoly is maintained using federal counterfeiting laws, which is a bit rich. If any organization is guilty of counterfeiting dollars, it is our own Treasury. But those who dare to challenge federal legal tender laws by circulating competing currencies — at least physical currencies — risk going to prison.

Like all government created monopolies, the federal monopoly on money results in substandard product in the form of our ever-depreciating dollars.

Yet governments have always sought to monopolize the issuance of money, either directly or through the creation of central banks. The expanding role of the Federal Reserve in the 20th century enabled our federal government to grow wildly larger than would have been possible otherwise. Our Fed, like all central banks, encourages deficits by effectively monetizing Treasury debt. But the price we pay is the terrible and ongoing debasement of our money.

Allowing individuals and business to use alternate currencies, especially currencies backed by gold and silver, would expose the whole rotten system because the marketplace would prefer such alternate currencies unless and until the Fed suddenly imposed radical discipline on its dollar inflation.

Sadly, Americans are far less free than many others around the world when it comes to protecting themselves against the rapidly depreciating US dollar. Mexican workers can set up accounts denominated in ounces of silver and take tax-free delivery of that silver whenever they want. In Singapore and other Asian countries, individuals can set up bank accounts denominated in gold and silver. Debit cards can be linked to gold and silver accounts so that customers can use gold and silver to make point of sale transactions, a service which is only available to non-Americans.

The obvious solution is to legalize monetary freedom and allow the circulation of parallel and competing currencies. There is no reason why Americans should not be able to transact, save, and invest using the currency of their choosing. They should be free to use gold, silver, or other currencies with no legal restrictions or punitive taxation standing in the way. Restoring the monetary system envisioned by the Constitution is the only way to ensure the economic security of the American people.

After all, if our monetary system is fundamentally sound — and the Federal Reserve indeed stabilizes the dollar as its apologists claim — then why fear competition? Why do we accept that centralized, monopoly control over our money is compatible with a supposedly free-market economy? In a free market, the government’s fiat dollar should compete with alternate currencies for the benefit of American consumers, savers, and investors.

As Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises explained, sound money is an instrument that protects our civil liberties against despotic government. Our current monetary system is indeed despotic, and the surest way to correct things simply is to legalize competing currencies.

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Audit the Fed Moves Forward! http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/30/audit-the-fed-moves-forward/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/30/audit-the-fed-moves-forward/#comments Mon, 30 Jul 2012 15:44:04 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=787 ]]> Last week the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed my legislation calling for a full and effective audit of the Federal Reserve. Well over 300 of my Congressional colleagues supported the bill, each casting a landmark vote that marks the culmination of decades of work. We have taken a big step toward bringing transparency to the most destructive financial institution in the world.

But in many ways our work is only beginning. Despite the Senate Majority Leader’s past support for similar legislation, no vote has been scheduled on my bill this year in the Senate. And only 29 Senators have cosponsored Senator Rand Paul’s version of my bill in the other body. If your Senator is not listed at the link above, please contact them and ask for their support. We need to push Senate leadership to hold a vote this year.

Understand that last week’s historic vote never would have taken place without the efforts of millions of Americans like you, ordinary citizens concerned about liberty and the integrity of our currency. Political elites respond to political pressure, pure and simple. They follow rather than lead. If all 100 Senators feel enough grassroots pressure, they will respond and force Senate leadership to hold what will be a very popular vote.

In fact, “Audit the Fed” is so popular that 75% of all Americans support it according to this Rasmussen poll. We are making progress.

Of course Fed apologists — including Mr. Bernanke — frequently insist that the Fed already is audited. But this is true only in the sense that it produces annual financial statements. It provides the public with its balance sheet as a fait accompli: we see only the net results of its financial transactions from the previous fiscal year in broad categories, and only after the fact.

We’re also told that the Dodd-Frank bill passed in 2010 mandates an audit. But it provides for only a limited audit of certain Fed credit facilities surrounding the crisis period of 2008. It is backward looking, which frankly is of limited benefit.

The Fed also claims it wants to be “independent” from Congress so that politics don’t interfere with monetary policy. This is absurd for two reasons.

First, the Fed already is inherently and unavoidably political. It made a political decision when it chose not to rescue Lehman Brothers in 2008, just as it made a political decision to provide liquidity for AIG in the same time period. These are just two obvious examples. Also Fed member banks and the Treasury Department are full of former — and future — Goldman Sachs officials. Are we really to believe that the interests of Goldman Sachs have absolutely no effect on Fed decisions? Clearly it’s naïve to think the Fed somehow is above political or financial influence.

Second, it’s important to remember that Congress created the Fed by statute. Congress therefore has the full, inherent authority to regulate the Fed in any way — up to and including abolishing it altogether.

My bill provides for an ongoing, thorough audit of what the Fed really does in secret, which is make decisions about the money supply, interest rates, and bailouts of favored banks, financial firms, and companies. In other words, I want the Government Accountability Office to examine the Fed’s actual monetary policy operations and make them public.

It is precisely this information that must be made public because it so profoundly affects everyone who holds, saves, or uses US dollars.

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Inflation is a Monetary Phenomenon http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/16/inflation-is-a-monetary-phenomenon/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/16/inflation-is-a-monetary-phenomenon/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2012 15:20:46 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=768 ]]> Later this month Congress will have an unprecedented opportunity to force the Federal Reserve to provide meaningful transparency to lawmakers and taxpayers. HR 459, my bill known as “Audit the Fed,” is scheduled for a vote before the full Congress in July. More than 270 of my colleagues cosponsored the bill, and it has the support of congressional leadership. But its passage in the House of Representatives is only the beginning of the battle, as many Senators and the President still don’t see the critical need to have a national discussion about monetary policy.

The American public now senses that the Fed’s actions, especially since 2008, are enormously inflationary and will cause great harm to the American economy in the long run. They are beginning to understand what so many economists still don’t understand, which is that inflation is a monetary phenomenon, and rising prices are merely a symptom of that phenomenon. Prices eventually rise when the supply of US dollars (paper or electronic) grows faster than the available goods and services being chased by those dollars.

This fundamental truth has been thoroughly explained by Milton Friedman and many others, so today’s Keynesian economists have no excuse for their claims that “inflation is under control.” Ordinary Americans don’t need a PhD simply to look at the Fed’s balance sheet and understand the staggering amount of money creation that has occurred in recent years. They know it will have harmful consequences for all of us eventually.

I’ve spoken at length about inflation, and how Fed money creation is effectively a tax. Every dollar created out of thin air dilutes the value of the dollars in your pocket and your savings in the bank. But the truth is that we are only beginning to see the results of the Fed’s dramatic increase in the money supply. As former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan himself explained last week to Larry Kudlow, most of the dollar deposits created by the Fed via successive rounds of “quantitative easing” remain on the balance sheet of Fed member banks. Because of very rational economic fears, banks are not lending, businesses are not expanding, and individuals are shedding debt. So, the trillions of dollars created by the Fed since 2008 remained largely undeployed. When those dollars eventually make their way into the world economy, prices across all sectors of the economy are likely to rise dramatically.

The true evil of inflation is that newly created money benefits politically favored financial interests, especially banks, on the front end. Over time, however, the net result of monetary inflation is always the devaluation of savings and purchasing power. This devaluation discourages saving, which is the key to capital accumulation and investment in a healthy economy. Inflation also tends to hurt seniors and those living on fixed incomes the most.

For decades the Fed has operated without any meaningful oversight whatsoever, resulting in the loss of savings, loss of purchasing power, and loss of quality of life for all Americans. It causes individuals and businesses to make bad decisions, misallocating their capital because market signals have been distorted. It causes financial ruin by engineering the inevitable boom and bust cycles that so many erroneously blame on capitalism. And it does all this in secrecy, to the benefit of the financial and political classes. It is time to Audit the Fed, as a first step toward ending its unchecked power over our money and economic fortunes.

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