Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oops...No Saving Allowed!

I’ve always been a bit of a peculiar creature. I save my money, try to be responsible in my purchases, and I do not believe in putting oneself into debt. This of course means two things for me in our country today.

First, I am one of the causes of the current economic mess in which we find ourselves. Haven’t you heard about us reluctant consumers? Never mind that such a claim is a complete fallacy. And never mind that a policy encouraging saving, rather than massive spending based on artificial interest rates and misguided signals to the market, would have actually saved us from such a mess and would help us to quickly get out of said mess.

Second, I am being punished. Punished? Yes, punished. Punished for saving, punished for keeping myself debt free, and punished for being a responsible member of society. For doing these things, I apologize.

Surely, I should have recklessly spent, piled up mounds of debt, and let that money burn a hole in my pocket. Certainly, there must be something downright evil about my behavior in order to experience what is happening to those like me today.

What do I mean? I mean that those who save have to pay. We are taxed of the very fruits of our labor as the dollar continues on its noise-dive into failure. As our government rallies to “just do something,” I have to witness the Federal Reserve print more any more of our fiat currency. And just like in any marketplace, as the supply becomes saturated the value goes down.

Let me back up for a moment.

I am no great economic scholar, though I do know more than the “Average Joe” on the street because of my interest in the subject. My study of the founders, however, has led me to some study of sound money and why it is important. Furthermore, over the last few years, I have become quite interested in the Austrian School of free market economics. In it, I have found many great new insights as well as evidence of what I already suspected about human nature, economic value, liberty, and market intervention.

But before even reading a single word of economic theory…before I ever thought of cracking a textbook, I already understood certain things about the market and about monetary policy. This wasn’t because I had a key to some hidden knowledge or because I was some sort of secret genius (Oh, what a well-kept secret that would be!) It was based on simple reasoning. It didn’t take much to figure out. Any child knows that the more of something there is in the marketplace, the less value it retains. The kid with the cool new shoes really was the coolest until everyone else got a pair the next week. (Everyone but the poor kids like me, but I digress.)

I remember another time when I was in high school talking about monetary policy, again before I had read or heard a thing on the subject. I was discussing with my father the dangers of counterfeiting. I said something along the lines of how the crime hurt everyone as it decreased the purchasing power of the dollar as a whole. Of course, I didn’t use those words, but the point was the same. (Funny, it wasn’t until a number of years later that I found out exactly who the real counterfeiters were—the FED.)

By looking at the effects on purchasing power when money is increased, we can easily see how more money really does lead to more problems as the great economic scholar Sean “Puffy Daddy” Combs alerted us to long before the economic collapse.

My goal in this post is not to explain monetary policy. I will not seek to do so any more than is necessary to make my greater point, but some things must be understood.

Since the creation of the FED in 1913, the dollar has lost 96% of its value. Moreover, since we removed ourselves completely from gold backing in the early 1970s, we have seen the dollar’s value really plummet. We have been loose with our money, and this has led to nothing but a series economic mistakes and a false sense of economic might. The policies promoted by the United States government and the Federal Reserve have ruined the dollar and our economic standing.

So we must ask, “Who is left to pay the price?” The answer: those who can least afford it.

First, it is prudent to note the poor suffer the most. The policies of loose money actually do have benefits, but the benefits are short-term and are truly felt by only the wealthiest as their coffers are filled with newly-created cash. By the time the money trickles down to the masses, it has already been robbed of it purchasing power as the market catches up to the monetary reality.

Second, savers are punished, while reckless behavior is subsidized. Those who save continue to be taxed of the fruits of their labor, while those who put themselves into debt are seen as economic heroes. The bank ledger may still say one has “x” amount of dollars, but I assure you every time the FED fires up the printing press, your money can buy a lot less than it could when deposited. The money is in effect taken from you before a single dollar is even lifted from the account.

If we continue to punish those who save, we will continue to promote the irresponsible spending that is at the root of the problem. Until there is an incentive to save, we will continue this vicious cycle. That is until the dollar finally hits its bottom, the system crumbles, and we are left to start over. With only 4 cents to go until the dollar is completely worthless, that may not be too far off.

As for me, I am living with the consequences of saving in a culture enslaved to borrowing and spending. Don’t worry; I’ll be fine. Besides, I have no faith in Mammon—especially if it is not backed by gold.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Video from The Humble Libertarian

A video reminder about how excited Wes at is about his site turning 1 year old. Watch the video and see how you can win some cool prizes. (see sidebar for widget)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

FEMA Has No Business in Georgia

The State of Georgia and, more specifically, the area around Atlanta have recently suffered from massive flooding. Sadly, the devastation is not limited to the flooded areas. The US Constitution is once again facing its own devastation as a matter of state government is willingly being subverted by the Feds.

Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports:

[FEMA] gets a nice boost from a conservative Republican senator:

[Saxby] Chambliss praised the Obama Administration for a response that was both “magnificent” and “quick.”

The one voice that was conspicuously absent: Gov. Sonny Perdue, who is in Panama, leading a state delegation to discuss the canal’s expansion, and its relationship with the port of Savannah. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle filled in for Perdue during Biden’s visit, and received a shout-out from the vice president.

It’s hard to criticize the federal government for untimely response in the face of a crisis, when the governor thinks things are well enough under control to leave the country.

Well please, if I may, let me find a way to criticize the federal government. I assure you the timeliness of its response will not be of my concern. Rather, I am concerned with the constitutional nature of the response.

Nowhere in the Constitution do we see the federal government given authority to respond as does FEMA to natural disasters (and yes they still had natural disasters and the problems associated with them when the Constitution was ratified).

The Tenth Amendment leaves this as a matter of the states, not the federal government. If government action is to be taken in the matter, it is by the states and the states alone.

No one in Tennessee should be forced to pay for disasters in Georgia. Likewise, we in TN should be responsible for our disasters, and so on and so forth. Local matters are best handled by local entities, and moreover, a “helping hand” should never come by way of force.

If FEMA had not stepped in to “help” the people of Georgia, surely there would be no help at all, right? Wrong. Private citizens, by their own conscience and by their own feeling of obligation to their fellow man, would have been there to better the situation.

I remember after Hurricane Katrina one of the very first things I did was seek out a way that I could help even as a college freshman. I soon found work separating donations of food, clothing, water, etc. and loading them to be taken down to LA. No one made us help and we didn’t need the government’s compulsion to take care of our fellow man. Likewise, living in Southern Middle Tennessee, I cannot tell you how many times my father and I have driven around with chainsaws in the back of the truck after tornadoes and storms the night before, helping complete strangers get back on their feet.

So I give no credence to any argument that the government is needed in these cases. I have only seen government get in the way, make things worse, merely expand its control over states, and force “charity” at the expense of the taxpayer in each of these cases.

But necessity is beside the point. If federal aid to disaster victims is needed, let us amend our Constitution. Until then, let us follow "the supreme law of the land" and know that our strength lies in our people not the state.

One a side note: If Jonathan Martin finds it hard to see how FEMA could be criticized, it is no surprise to me. It was with those same eyes he sees Saxby Chambliss as “a conservative Republican senator.”

Friday, September 25, 2009

What Would You Like Me to Write About?

I must admit that I do not update the blog with original content as much as I would like. To have a new post everyday would be ideal, and it is definitely something I am open to doing.

A lot of the time work and others obligations stand in the way of me writing, but that is not always the case. A big factor in my writing frequency is having something to write about. I have a hard time coming up with something about which to write most times and am quite open to your suggestions.

If you would like me to write about something, please let me know. It can be anything. I can offer my perspective on current events and such, but I would also love to discuss the constitutional questions surrounding an issue. I can even discuss the Constitution itself if you are interested in a particular part of the document.

So please let me know at anytime what you would like to see discussed on the blog, and I will try to make that happen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Danger of Hasty Passage of Massive Legislation

It is never too much to ask members of congress to make informed decisions. Clearly, informed decision-making is a necessity when the decisions affect each of us on a massive scale. However, in today’s congressional environment, a call for effort…a call for responsibility…a call for general decency is met with upturned noses and a resounding “frankly I don’t give a da… (Well we all know what they don’t give).”

But we still give. We give our votes, our support, our money, and countless other things to these scoundrels. Sure, we don’t always gladly do it. At times we begrudgingly claim our support was only given in the interest of choosing “the lesser of two evils.” Well I don’t choose evil, and I don’t believe in subsidizing failure. So what is my remedy? Send the cowards home.

If one does not do one’s job, one is fired. I don’t care if they are a service/manufacturing employee, president, congressman, or governor.

So you might ask, “What is he railing against this time?”

The Washington Times reports:

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday turned back a Republican amendment to wait 72 hours and require a full cost estimate before the final committee vote on the health care reform bill [There was one democratic defector to be fair].

…The amendment would have delayed a vote on the final bill for about two weeks to allow the Congressional Budget Office to complete its final analysis on the cost and implications of the legislation.

What we see here is not an unreasonable request. The measure would have allowed each side to have a chance to read the massive bill as well as to have a full CBO report on projected costs of the bill.

I believe Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) was correct in noting, “This was fundamentally a delay tactic.” Yes, it probably was, but there are two main reasons why that should not matter.

First: Sen. Grassley was right when he claimed, "It's what [the public] expects us to do anyway -- read a bill before you vote on it." We expect it because we expect decisions to be informed and complete. These bills are massive and stuffed with all types of questionable appropriations and mandates. When someone swears to protect the Constitution of the United States, as all congressmen do, he must look to the bills content to see if it runs afoul to the supreme law of the land. It is in the job subscription, and it is necessary.

Second: Why are you afraid of delay, Sen. Kerry? Sir, I don’t know if you have ever read JRR Tolkien, but perhaps you should take the advice of Treebeard and “don’t be so hasty.” What you are doing in DC is of long-term significance. If we need health insurance reform, let it be done in a manner that will provide sound results. Let the job be thorough, and do it right. Our nation is not served by a bill slapped together by special interests and pushed through at a pace unbefitting of democratic discourse.

This is not the first time that the reading of a bill has been discouraged and neglected. It has happened many times before, and I am sure it will happen many times in the future. Moreover, this behavior is truly problematic and a grave threat to our liberty.

Most bills are too long, and there is no need for it to be so. Length does not guarantee thoroughness or competence. The only guarantee length provides is the guarantee of more hiding places for pork and unconstitutional clauses to hide and wait.

Some of our “best” bills ever before congress have been short and to the point. Many of these bills were written by lawmakers and framed with the people’s interest at heart. This is not the case with most of our major pieces of legislation in this day in age. Our “lawmakers” vote on pork-bloated patchworks that are framed by special interest groups whose main focus is their own profits and pocket-lining.

This truth is merely a result of how we as a society view government. As we look at government as our keeper and sole provider, we should not be surprised that powerful interests groups hold the same view. In a government based on looting and a "get while the getting’s good" attitude, these interests are merely acting out the beliefs held by many in society.

With this I will conclude: hasty passage of large bills is a danger to our liberties.

Many of the same Republicans now calling foul as the Democrats pass a bloated, unconstitutional bill were the same ones trying to ram an bloated, unconstitutional “Patriot Act” down the throats of the American people at an alarmingly rapid pace.

What was left behind was a mistake, an infringement of civil liberties, and an America no safer. In fact, the sole result was an America whose citizens needed only to look to unchecked government violations of constitutional protection to find a true source of terror.

Big bills can be dangerous based on the nature of the beast; unread big bills passed in haste are even worse.

The worst of all, however, are laws that are not passed in pursuance to the constitution and treated as the supreme law of the land.

Let’s hold our elected officials accountable in both the fruits of their labor and the steps taken to get there.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Humble Libertarian is Turning One!

As many of you know I am a frequent reader of the blog "The Humble Libertarian." It is a great blog with thoughtful posts and a clear presentation of the issues. Now my friend Wes over at THL is two weeks away from a very important blogging milestone--the one year anniversary of the site.

All of you who, like myself, treasure liberty can get involved in the celebration as well. Below (and on the side of my page) is a link to a contest marking the blog's first year of service in the cause of liberty. You can win some great prizes. So follow the link and enter to win.

Congrats Wes, and I look forward to many years to come.

The Humble Libertarian Birthday Giveaway Contest

Friday, September 18, 2009

May We Fight for Our Republic

Yesterday was Constitution Day—the 222nd anniversary of the adoption of one of the most important documents in the history of the world—the US Constitution.

My love for the ideas of our Founding and the document that encompasses those ideas is no secret. Moreover, I have for years lamented what I see as a long legacy of constitutional infidelity. I have no faith in any major party, no faith in most political candidates or officeholders, and no faith in most of what I see going on in the political landscape.

Thankfully I have seen a ray of hope over the past year and a half. This glimmer of hope is the movement to restore our republic to the principles of life, liberty, and property by the “liberty movement.”

I have seen friends of mine go from apathy to activism and disillusionment to hopeful pursuance of constitutionalism because of this movement. To these people I say, “Welcome, it is encouraging to see that I am not alone in my fight. And most of all remember why we fight.”

For the first time in my lifetime people are discussing individual liberty, monetary policy, and economic freedom in a way that is in step with our Founders. Jefferson is not merely mentioned; he is actually followed. Our constitution is finding allies in deed as well as words. And it is truly amazing to see people reading Bastiat, Hayek, Mill, and others—not for school credit but for person equipment.

So that leads me to question, “Can we make a difference?”

To borrow a phrase, “Yes We Can!”

We can, but will we?

We could fight, but, fail. This is true possibility. As a great patriot once noted, “Truth is treason in an empire of lies.” A great force stands in the way of freedom…in the way of constitutional republicanism. If we are merely sunshine patriots, we will fail, and our failure will embolden our enemies. We must realize that the force we battle is great, and it will not easily be overcome.

We could, however, succeed. But I must stress that this is not enough. Success does not guarantee freedom. Sure we could restore our republic. But if we again, as we have already done from the time of our Founding and fail to keep it, we will once again suffer from tyranny. Trading one group of tyrants for one of our own making is no victory and no step ahead.

Thankfully, there is also the possibility that we could restore our republic and keep it. This is the most difficult goal to achieve, and it will come with the most sacrifice. It is, however I believe, worth the sacrifice. As for me in my fight for this cause I say, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” and “Here I stand, I can do no more.”

My hope is that each who values freedom will strive for a return to constitutional fidelity and will never settle into complacency, the whole while embracing the chains of tyranny. I pray we continually fight and are forever lovers of and warriors for liberty.

Next year on Constitution Day, let’s have something to celebrate!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Goldwater's Military Action Caution

I am currently reading Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative—the book, many would argue, which provided a common intellectual rallying point for the modern conservative/libertarian movement of the late twentieth century.

Though I have long been a Goldwater fan, I have never read his magnum opus until now. Page after page is filled with great points, nuggets of wisdom, and simple explanations of why individual liberty suffers at the hands of a large, intrusive state.

As I was reading over the weekend, I came to a chapter dealing with the Cold War. It was in this chapter that I came across such a beautiful representation of a man who truly loves liberty.

In reference to a desired victory over the Soviets, Goldwater notes, “If possible, overt hostilities should always be avoided; especially is this so when a shooting war may cause the death of many millions of people, including our own.” (84)

Did you catch that? “…including our own.”

Sen. Goldwater was not merely concerned with the loss of American life, though that was of great importance to him. He valued even the lives of our Soviet enemies. He saw the humanity in the Soviet people and the waste and devaluing of human life by the senselessness of unnecessary war.

In claiming, “if possible, overt hostilities should always be avoided; especially is this so when a shooting war may cause the death of many millions of people, including our own,” Goldwater showed a few things. First, he would go to war if necessary (yet only through constitutional means I assure you). And second, life should never be taken unless absolutely necessary as an act of defense. And furthermore, even the lives of our enemies should be shown proper value.

Let us not be hasty in acting when human lives are at stake. Remember, just because we as Americans may not have to see casualties, that does not mean that others will be spared.

War takes sons and daughter, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and foes on both sides. So let us never look forward to war. If we must truly defend ourselves, let us take the constitutional steps to do so. But let us realize the costs of military action—lives and livelihoods.

*note: If only Goldwater had been consistent and seen the value in the life of the unborn.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ron Paul at Loyola

I was able to hear and meet the beloved Texas congressman Wednesday night. I put this little video together. It's my first, thus the poor editing. Enjoy!