The Real Tax Scandal

The Real Tax Scandal

06/09/2021Jeff Deist

The self-styled investigative journalism outlet ProPublica recently published private IRS tax information—presumably embarrassing private tax information—for a host of ultrawealthy and famous Americans. I say "self-styled" because the organization claims a pretty lofty and self-important mission to use the "moral force" of journalism on behalf of the public interest against abuses of power. But does this apply to state power, such as when a federal agency employee illegally leaks sensitive material to media? And why is it presumed to be in the public's interest to have rich billionaires pay more in taxes? Maybe we'd rather have them investing in their companies, or at least buying megayachts and Gulfstream jets, rather than sending more resources to the black hole of DC? Why is the public interest always defined as "things progressives like"?

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

And as an aside, it's worthwhile to recall the tremendous whopper of a lie President Franklin Delano Roosevelt told back in 1935—namely that no one other than the program's administrators would ever know your private Social Security number. Today, of course, Social Security numbers are the absolute linchpin of one's entire financial identity, and known by everyone from the IRS to your local credit union.

Yet the real scandal here is not the IRS leak, which was no doubt internal and designed to gin up public support for Biden's proposed tax increases while advancing a progressive inequality narrative. Political capture of federal agencies is nothing new or shocking; that's what presidents do (or have done to them). Nor is it particularly scandalous that the wealthiest people sometime pay little in federal income tax, at least relative to their income. After all, elites by definition tend to wield power rather than fear it, especially when it comes to state power. And they have lobbyists and accountants to make sure taxes remain something the little people pay.

No, the real scandal is this: federal income taxes are almost entirely about control and not revenue. The byzantine rules and selective enforcement are perfectly designed to keep ordinary people with limited means in mortal fear of the IRS. A tax audit, like cancer, can come out of nowhere and ruin your life. In some cases it can land you in jail. Tax enforcement is the ultimate check on the public's behavior; after all, who takes up the cause of a tax cheat? For middle-class Americans the IRS is an existential threat, but for Jeff Bezos it is another business expense to be minimized.

And as for revenue, consider that Uncle Sam borrowed nearly half of the dollars spent by Congress in fiscal 2020. With covid shutdowns, federal income taxes amounted to about $3.42 trillion, while spending was $6.55 trillion. If the federal government can finance 50 percent of its annual spending through deficits, why not 80 percent or 100 percent? Why do we need the IRS terror regime at all?

Again, this is about control. Progressives will never give up the income tax for this very reason. Proponents of modern monetary theory, for example, are almost uniformly left progressive in political outlook. These are the people cheering Biden's >$1 trillion infrastructure spending bill because of their fervent belief that deficits don't matter.

MMT rests on two central assertions.1 First, sovereign governments with their own currencies can print as much money as needed to fund operations without fear of insolvency or bankruptcy—unless a purely political decision is made to go broke. Government deficits per se do not matter, because the only real constraint in any economy is the amount of real resources available rather than the amount of money. In fact, MMT views government debt as private financial wealth—money inserted into the economy by the central state but not taxed back. 

Second, sovereign governments with their own currencies can require tax payments to be made in that currency. Therefore any overheating in the economy in the form of inflation resulting from too much money can be fixed by pulling some money back to the Treasury via tax increases. This is the ostensible reason MMTers are not quite ready to give up on taxes altogether.

Yet I've never heard an MMTer express support for even a one-year moratorium on taxes to stimulate a bad economy (after a shock such as a worldwide covid pandemic). Why is this? If inflation really is so low, with the economy struggling in postcovid recovery mode, why pull any money back into federal coffers? Just damn the torpedoes! The bigger the deficit, the more "private wealth" we all have! Perhaps there is a political element to all the MMT jargon after all, one which relies on taxes both for control over people and to advance an advantageous but hollow trope about taxing the rich.

Federal income taxes have always been a tool for compliance. The IRS has always been a tool for presidents to go after rivals—or for rivals to go after presidents. Why would we expect otherwise?

  • 1. See Dr. Robert P. Murphy's definitive critique of MMT and Professor Stephanie Kelton's book here.
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TravelingOtter | Flickr |

Explaining 2020

11/27/2023Robert Aro

In the not-too-distant future, during the next economic bust, recession, or stock market crash, many people will naturally examine the most immediate events and wonder what led to the latest catastrophe. When this occurs, remind them it's an ongoing boom/bust cycle, where the boom leads to the bust, followed by another boom in a vicious circle caused by intervention in the free market.

The question then becomes: "What did the government do in 2020?" The complete answer would be loaded, to say the least. However, regarding the official economic response to the question, Governor Lisa D. Cook provided a succinct detail in a speech titled Global Linkages: Supply, Spillovers, and Common Challenges.

As explained:

Policymakers around the world faced the common challenge of supporting incomes and limiting the scarring from temporary shutdowns in activity. The response was similar across countries: fiscal support, particularly to help those most in need, although the magnitude differed, in part because of differences in fiscal space. Initially aimed at preventing sharp financial and economic deterioration, monetary policy easing was later extended to support the nascent economic recovery. Policy rates were cut to or held near zero in both advanced and emerging market economies. A wide range of central banks also bought assets to support market functioning and provide stimulus once overnight policy rates hit their effective lower bounds.

For those unfamiliar with the Austrian school, it might appear to offer a robust explanation of how politicians and central bankers stepped in to fix the economy in times of crisis. However, we know this is not the case, as policymakers cannot fix that which they are responsible for breaking.

The idea that policymakers around the world took on a very similar response speaks to the global-socialist world of the 21st century.

Beginning with fiscal support, the inherent problem lies in the fact that for the government to provide funds to certain members of society, it must either take or borrow money from other members. Determining who is most in need becomes an impossible task for politicians. It leads to a system where the government has the power to determine who is most worthy of a bailout, making it prone to abuse and corruption.

The reliance on monetary policy to support a "nascent economic recovery" underscores the ineffectiveness of fiscal policy in alleviating economic downturns. Like governments worldwide, central bankers similarly coordinated their intervention effort.

By cutting or maintaining rates around zero percent, along with buying assets like government debt, stocks, and bonds, central banks revealed themselves as more powerful than governments. Without the support of their central banks, governments would be much less powerful than they are today, if they could even exist at all.

That these interventionist activities could prevent a "sharp financial and economic deterioration" cannot be reasonably explained, as trillions of dollars were essentially counterfeited and circulated across the globe. This act of inflation (the boom) led to widespread currency debasement and set in motion the next worldwide economic downturn (the bust).

Coupled with forced economic shutdowns, these interventions resulted in numerous negative consequences still felt today. As for the Fed’s shrinking of the balance sheet between 2018 to 2019, it’s possible this wasn’t forgotten as much as it was never known by most people. And as far as the long-term effects of this entire economic experiment, we’ll find out… eventually.

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Of Turkeys and Turduckens

11/25/2023Robert Aro

As millions of Americans recover from their Thanksgiving indulgence, an intriguing question arises: How much did your Thanksgiving dinner cost?

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 38th annual survey:

…the average cost of this year’s classic holiday feast for 10 … is $61.17 or less than $6.20 per person.

They also mention that:

This is a 4.5% decrease from last year’s record-high average of $64.05, but a Thanksgiving meal is still 25% higher than it was in 2019, which highlights the impact high supply costs and inflation have had on food prices since before the pandemic.

Anyone who hosted dinner this week will immediately know their proximity from the $61.17 average.

According to the data, the average meal for 10 people looked like this (comparison to last year in brackets):

16-pound turkey: $27.35 or $1.71 per pound (down 5.6%)

14-ounces of cubed stuffing mix: $3.77 (down 2.8%)

2 frozen pie crusts: $3.50 (down 4.9%)

Half pint of whipping cream: $1.73 (down 22.8%)

1 pound of frozen peas: $1.88 (down 1.1%)

1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.84 (up 2.9%)

Misc. ingredients to prepare the meal: $3.95 (down 4.4%)

30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.44 (up 3.7%)

1 gallon of whole milk: $3.74 (down 2.6%)

3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.97 (up .3%)

1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): $.90 (up 2.3%)

12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.10 (down 18.3%)

While not everyone consumes alcohol, many average people do, so it's immediately noticeable that it's not included as part of the meal plan. And those in the South might feel a bit slighted as there is no mention of peach cobbler, collard greens, or sweet tea, but the list of omissions is long.

This is one of the challenges with averages. Similar to the concept of inclusiveness, which inherently involves exclusiveness, arriving at an average number certainly gives us a number, but its relevance becomes questionable. Who exactly is it relevant for, and how does this number help inform us of anything useful?

A closer look at t Wal-Mart’s website should raise more eyebrows:

The Turkey on the left from Shady Brook Farms approximates the average Turkey price we’ve been given, but the Perdue Farms (for two Turkeys) is considerably higher.

And these are just two brands in a country with many Turkeys. Of course, this leads to an additional problem: the existence of the Turducken:

Those fortunate enough to pay north of $100 to serve the famous Turkey/Duck/Chicken combination have been entirely excluded from the analysis. If the market price of Turduckens were $300, it would have no impact on the $61.17 average; we must wonder how this data could be considered representative.

There exists no magic or secretive technique behind this; the sample method is described as follows:

This year’s national average cost was calculated using 245 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online using grocery store apps and websites. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

Statistical sampling and averages may sound convincing to some, but this should be compared against one's own perception and anecdotal evidence. Not only are we informed that the average dinner costs only $61.17, but we're also being told that Thanksgiving dinner this year is less expensive than last year. While one may lack statistical survey data to support this, the idea of Thanksgiving deflation this year seems more like wishful thinking than anything else.

This is not to say the data was compiled maliciously in any way; however, when compiling data, a malicious person can compile it in any way.

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Napoleon's Silver Lining

11/24/2023Ryan McMaken

The great David M. Hart writes: 


I was thinking about the impact Napoleon had on Europe as reviews began to appear of the new film about Napoleon by Ridley Scott. As Smith noted in TMS [Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments] people admire and defer to people of higher rank and authority and Napoleon is a classic example. He was a monster in so many ways and was a powerful force in the destruction of the lives, liberty and property of millions of people. 

However, there is a silver lining to this very dark cloud. As the Austrian economists like to point out there are always “unintended consequences” (usually bad) of government policies. In the case of Napoleon, his actions led to the efflorescence of liberalism in France, with so many great classical liberals rising up to oppose him: JB Say, Destutt de Tracy, Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer, Benjamin Constant, Madame de Stael - the list goes on.

As a scholar of these people I can only say “Thank you Boney”!


11/23/2023Doug French

The Formula One Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix is on for next year and scheduled for November 21-23. This despite reporting from SFGate’s screaming headline, “Las Vegas’ biggest event in years was a disaster.” According to The Messenger's Arash Markazi, "Tickets for Thursday’s practice sessions were selling for around $100 on Wednesday night and tickets for Friday’s qualifying were going for around $250 on the secondary market. Both events were selling for around $1,000 originally," Markazi reported. "A ticket to Saturday’s race is still over $800 but they were over $1,600 just last month."

Markazi reports that his hotel room cost him $18

The race’s sore winner, Max Verstappen, viewed the event as a joke and couldn’t wait to get out of town. “For me, you can skip this,” he said. “It’s not about the singers. We are just standing up there, looking like a clown.” (whatever that means) However, the reigning F1 champ and race winner sang “Viva Las Vegas” over the radio as part of a new tradition he agreed to with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, reports the Athletic.

Driver Lewis Hamilton was more diplomatic, “For all those that were so negative about the weekend, saying it’s all about show, blah, blah, blah… I think Vegas proved them wrong.” 

Strip workers will be happy to see the lifesize erector set defacing the Strip being dismantled around the clock and the cocky drivers in onesies out of town.

For all the belly aching about the event, corporate Vegas looks to have made out fine. 

The local paper reports “Southern Nevada appears to have had the best week financially in its history, thanks to the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix.”

Caesars Entertainment’s regional boss Sean McBurney said their properties were completely full. He spent four days at the race and noted, ”I don’t know if I’ve been to an event where the feedback was so unanimously positive.” 

MGM’s VP of citywide events, Andrew Lanzino, said all properties, close to the track or not, “performed as if it was New Year’s Eve.”

MGM president and CEO Bill Hornbuckle told the LVRJ, “The average [room] rate at Bellagio was $2,200.

The gushing by casino execs is confirmed by Jacob Orth, who wrote on X,

After the race at Bellagio between 1am-2am:

  • About 70-80% of all tables had action
  • One guy won $40,000 on high limit Top Dollar
  • Of 10 craps tables on the main floor, 2 were $25 min, the rest were either $50 or $100 (all had action)
  • $300 min for 3:2 BJ on main floor (4 tables, 2 vacant)
  • $1,000 min 0 roulette in high limit
  • $1,000 or $5,000 min high limit BJ
  • One $5,000 BJ table had 3 people playing, another had a couple playing
  • Two $1,000 BJ tables had 2-3 people playing
  • The casino floor was busy, not necessarily crowded, but there was no shortage of people willing to gamble with the higher minimums.

The drain cover incident which postponed Thursday night practice until 2:30 am (Friday) will be long forgotten other than by those kicked out of viewing areas who have ramped up a class-action lawsuit.

@VitalVegas who posts on X (formerly Twitter) about all things Vegas is not an F1 fan “F1, LVCVA and Clark Co. Commissioners—with fingers in ears and heads lodged deeply up asses—announce another year of insanity before even assessing the failure or success of this year’s financial and P.R. disaster, so there’s that.” 

But, a guy who is by now an old Vegas wiseman, Donny Osmond, probably has it right about the Grand Prix, "The traffic has been horrendous...But the locals, eventually, are going to embrace this thing completely."

And most importantly, Joe Pompliano posted on X,

“Dealers at the Wynn in Las Vegas split $700,000 in tips on Saturday, per @LasVegasLocally. That means each dealer went home with ~$2,000 in tips — 5-6 times more than their $350-$400 average and the highest amount in Wynn's 18-year history. “I guess F1 wasn't so bad after all.”

F1 is likely something Las Vegas residents will love to hate, for many years.


Ready for Some Funflation!

11/22/2023Robert Aro

Just when you thought every inflation related economic term was used up, CNBC headlines:

‘Funflation’ drives sporting event ticket prices up a whopping 25%

One might assume terms such as transitory, creeping, galloping, and entrenched inflation, along with shrinkflation and foodflation, would suffice. Nonetheless, we can now include "funflation" to the array of consequences resulting from the expansion of the supply of money and credit, also called inflation.

Funflation is characterized as:

…a term used by economists to explain the increasing price tags of live events as consumers hanker for the experiences they lost during the pandemic.

The economists who coined this term remain unmentioned.

In the October Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) reading of 3.2%, sporting events experienced the most significant increase among the few hundred categories comprising the index. One economist from the College of the Holy Cross attempted to explain the reason:

People are getting back to things that they enjoy doing and are willing to pay a bunch.

Despite both fun and inflation coexisting for quite some time, we’ve never seen a mashup between the two until now, yet CNBC tries to explain:

Much of the upward pressure on admission costs has come this year, underscoring the role of funflation as consumers shift their attention from Taylor Swift and Beyoncé concerts to NFL and Major League Baseball games.

Funflation has even spread as far north as Canada, where the government owned news channel CBC offers four possible causes for this growing phenomenon:

1. It's a natural response to existential dread

2. Concerts provide a sacred experience that's priceless

3. The post-pandemic effect is greater than a potential recession

4. Concerts are a long-term investment in your soul 

It's important to scrutinize the sources of the information we are fed. In the case of the responses from a mainstream economist, a mainstream news source, and a government-owned news channel, it seems that the explanations provided are more about filling a knowledge gap, which they may not even be aware of. It becomes a matter of explaining for the sake of providing one, rather than genuinely delving into the underlying causes.

Even if we were to accept the data showing an increase in attendance in ticket sales this year compared to the previous, or a shift from Taylor Swift to the NFL, this merely indicates changes in behavior without explaining the underlying cause of the change.

No one can definitively attribute the change to lockdowns or clarify why more people are watching the NFL this year. However, what is barely, if ever, considered by a mainstream news source is a discussion of changes in the demand and supply factors of money itself: Specifically, the demand to hold onto the money you have vis-à-vis fluctuations in the supply of money largely due to the Federal Reserve’s inflationary monetary policies.

Given a society still grappling with the repercussions of a multi-trillion-dollar monetary binge from several years ago and the threat of a continuously depreciating dollar, it's plausible that people are allocating more funds towards leisure and enjoyment this year compared to the last. That said and oddly enough, the notion of the "natural response to existential dread" may not be too far off the mark after all!

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Short Memories in Crypto

11/22/2023Doug French

Nowhere are memories shorter than in finance and speculation. Yield farming is back in the crypto market, meaning the “ lending of cryptocurrency which gets you interest and sometimes fees, with the kicker being new cryptocurrency is paid on top of the interest. “The real payoff comes if that coin appreciates rapidly. It’s as if banks were luring new depositors with the gift of a tulip -- during the Dutch tulip craze,” wrote Olga Kharif for Bloomberg back in 2020. 

The Sam Bankman-Fried trial should have jogged everyone’s memory of the crypto crash and the dangers of leverage. Muyao Shen reminds us that just a year and a half ago Terra algorithmic stablecoin triggered an industry-wide meltdown. Upwards of 70% are being offered by “exchanges ranging from GMX to Binance are offering double-digit incentives as a way to jumpstart trading activity after months of stagnation.” 

“It’s always gonna be this” way, said Zaheer Ebtikar, founder of crypto fund Split Capital. “People can’t help it. [Crypto] is literally the most FOMO [fear of missing out] industry ever.” Ever? Ebtikar wasn’t around for tulipmania. Shen writes, 

GMX, a DeFi derivatives exchange that allows users to trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with up to 50 times in leverage, started an incentives program on Wednesday with Arbitrum DAO. The decentralized autonomous organization is behind Arbitrum, a so-called layer 2 blockchain that seeks to ease congestion on Ethereum network. Through the program, users can earn annual yields of up to 70% for trading, providing liquidity and other activities on a version of GMX. About 12 million, or $12 million of ARB tokens, the governance token of Arbitrum, will be used to pay the extra returns.

Okay. The only thing I know about what is being described in that paragraph is that absolutely, positively nothing can go wrong at 50x leverage. 

“With animal spirits starting to pick back up, projects may feel that now is a good time to spend token emissions to gather some momentum,” Keone Hon co-founder and chief executive officer at Monad Labs told Bloomberg. 

John Law thought the same thing over 300 years ago. 

Remembering the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy 60 Years Ago

Sixty years ago today, I was in Mrs. Isles’ fifth-grade class on Friday afternoon at Boothwyn Elementary School in Pennsylvania when we got the news: President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas. They sent us home immediately and the next several days were consumed with the killing and its aftermath.

First, there was the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, who was accused of shooting the president from a sniper’s perch on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, which was located by the presidential motorcade route. Two days later, Oswald himself was shot to death by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner who managed to slip into police headquarters with a gun when authorities were transferring him from the Dallas city jail to the county jail.

Finally, on Monday, there was the funeral, which I watched with one of my friends on his black and white TV at his house on Meetinghouse Road. I was only 10 years old but knew that something momentous had happened. I didn’t realize that it would be a watershed event.

Much has been written about the events of November 22, 1963, and six decades later, there is much disagreement with the government’s official story that Oswald was the lone shooter. Most people, to be honest, don’t buy the government’s account, which is summed up by the Warren Commission Report.

There is a veritable industry of writing and speculation about the assassination, and perhaps no one has been more dogged than Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation. With each major anniversary of the assassination, new information seems to come out about the case, and the FFF site has linked two accounts, one involving medical professionals who saw the president’s fatal wounds, and one from the Kennedy Beacon blog. They make for compelling reading.

According to Hornberger, the Kennedy assassination was an inside job with the CIA taking out the president because he wanted to end American involvement in Vietnam and pursue a more vigorous course of détente with the Soviet Union, as well as dismantling at least part of the developing national security state. Certainly, others who closely follow the various conspiracy theories associated with the assassination have different variations, but most agree that it is unlikely that the angry loner Oswald did all of the killing himself – or was even directly involved.

I see myself as unqualified to make a judgment on these theories, although there is nothing implausible with the account that Hornberger has created these past several years. Too many things happened after the shooting with too many witnesses to debunk them. If Hornberger’s viewpoints are correct – and I, for one, believe they are plausible – then America as we have known it died that day at Dealy Plaza.

The government’s actions after Kennedy’s assassination from the US escalation of the Vietnam War to the development of the vast national security state has eroded liberty and empowered the American state. Whatever hopes there were to preserve the constitutional republic known as the United States of America ended with the death of John F. Kennedy.

Did Milei Win Argentina's Presidency by Employing Honesty?

In Argentina, Javier Milei recently won the presidential election with 56 percent of the votes, a remarkably wide margin in any country holding reasonably free presidential elections. Milei, an economist, subscribes to the Austrian school of thought. He identifies as a libertarian and even an anarcho-capitalist. In some appearances, he is presenting himself as Captain ANCAP.

Unlike many libertarians seeking political office, Milei has not sanitized his language or tailored his message to sensitive ears. In interviews where journalists are shocked by his labeling of leftists as evil, he doesn't back down or smooth things over; instead, he further clarifies why he believes this description is accurate. In one instance, he demonstrates his intention to shut down unnecessary departments, such as those for transport and education, by ripping them one by one from a chart and shouting ¡AFUERA! (OUT!) each time. He concludes the segment by declaring an end to the era of politician thievery, and with a cheer for “damn liberty”.

Among some libertarians, Milei faces criticism for not being libertarian enough. He waves the Israeli flag, and he seems to believe that neither American nor Ukrainian politicians are culpable for Ukraine being at war. He has even visited the World Economic Forum, a place apparently off-limits for those wishing to spread knowledge of Austrian economics. Other libertarians argue for pragmatism, pointing to the now-open opportunity to disseminate libertarian ideas and economic knowledge.

Regardless of one's stance on this issue, we can acknowledge that the world has never before witnessed a libertarian winning a presidential election or even coming close. It’s also apparent that the path to the presidency for Milei did not involve methods tried by many other liberty advocates.

Broadly speaking, we see mainly two strategies for making society more libertarian:

  1. Cautiously hint that one or another prohibition might not be appropriate or effective, hoping that this way, an occasional parliamentary vote might swing "our" way. The reason for choosing words carefully is that people may not accept proposals that challenge the status quo too harshly.
  2. Outright state the fact that the state is evil, that taxation is theft, and that politics is the vilest game ever invented. The proposal is to shut down the state and not replace it with anything. The challenge lies in getting enough people to realize that it's worth a try.

Those of us who have adopted the more radical strategy have so far little to show that we can achieve results. At best, we count among our achievements those in our immediate circle who we believe we have influenced. Most of us understand that as long as people are reasonably well off, a significant portion of them won't spend much time pondering whether the state is morally defensible. A severe crisis, making it difficult for people to put food on the table, might be necessary. Capitalism works against our cause in this regard. At least for now. Politicians work for our cause. With fervor.

On the other hand, the more cautious strategy hasn't shown any real successes either. Politicians are incredibly skilled and effective at creating crises and using them to undermine and curtail our freedoms. We are rapidly heading towards increasingly total tyranny.

But something has just happened in Argentina that suggests a more radical approach might be more reasonable and effective in changing a society in a libertarian direction. Someone who openly and unambiguously explains the evil of the state has stepped up and grabbed the bully pulpit. Unfortunately, it probably required the Argentine society to suffer deep misery for a long time, but the fact remains that it is possible to reach people with a very radical message, without watering it down.

Did he succeed despite insisting on calling a spade a spade? No, his success is thanks to his clarity and forthrightness.

People are not mindless fools. It's likely the purity and unvarnished nature of the message that paves the way for it to reach its intended audience. If Milei had too often backed down and sent increasingly adapted messages, he would have been suspected, and rightly so, of being just another politician with his own interests at heart. (It may still turn out that this is precisely what he is, but so far, that’s an open question.)

Now then. If Milei has proven that the path lies in clarity and that it is reasonable to assume that people are thinking individuals who can understand even radically unfamiliar arguments. What does it mean for us, other than that we should continue on our chosen path, continue to drum out the songs of freedom and economic sense in our most heartfelt verse?

Perhaps it means that we don't need to wait for our society to be completely brought to its knees, making people receptive in that way. We have a golden opportunity to borrow Milei's megaphone, provided we find ways to amplify the signal.

Capitalism: True and False

Hanne Nabintu Herland’s The Billionaire World: How Marxism serves the Elite (2023) is a vital book that will help you understand what is going on in the world today. It will also help you to defend capitalism against objections that are all-too-common today.  Herland distinguishes two kinds of capitalism: real and fake.  The real kind is a voluntary society, in which people trade goods and services with each other, and everybody benefits. The fake kind is one in which a few greedy billionaires use the state to gain power and privileges for themselves. These billionaires are willing to enslave humanity to gain their nefarious ends.

Here is what Herland says about them:

“In the West, the ultra-rich own almost everything. Private investment corporations such as Blackrock, Vanguard, Capital World, Fidelity Management, Berkshire Hathaway and State Street represent capital owners who own media companies, Big Tech, Big Pharma, the military complex, and the food industry. They also fund politicians and exert strong influence over political decision makers as well as government funds and assets.

These investment companies have become so powerful that they control most of the world’s capital. Whichever industry you take a look at, you easily find many of the top shareholders, decision makers and names among the ten leading institutional investors. Most of the companies that we perceive as competing brands are actually owned by the same company; for example The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo.

These mastodonte companies completely dominate our way of life, what we eat, drink, watch on TV, what we wear, and who we vote for. They are the rulers of social media, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and most of the entertainment business.”

This domination leads to a totalitarian control over people:

“To an employee, this economic entanglement has vast implications. In order to keep their job and be able to put food on the table, journalists and editors alike have to exhibit their willingness to agree with the narrative being pushed. If they object to the politically correct groupthink, they’re out. The desired narrative is structured to produce the highest possible capital gain for the news business’ super-rich owners, with the blessing of media leaders, government officials, leading politicians, and the academic elite.”

People usually think of Marxism as the enemy of the super-rich, but in fact the billionaires and the Marxists are allied to overthrow Western civilization:

“This is a point the book ponders over. It would have been close to impossible for the billionaire class to succeed without the weakening of the Western social culture. The reference here is precisely to the remarkable socialist revolt against classical, Western values such as the demand for individual accountability, the right to own the fruit of one’s own labour, the establishment of decentralized government and independent institutions, private property rights, and equality, regardless of race, class, or gender; to precisely the Marxist aim of crushing social stability to impose a centralized government and the atheist world order, destroying the “bourgeois” family structure and the nation-state, and repressing free speech and critical thinking for those who oppose the left-wing narrative. . .Fear was key to create an obedient population under Joseph Stalin and fear is the key word today.”

After reading this, you may wonder, “Who is Hanne Herland? Why should we believe what she says? The distinguished and astute Paul Craig Roberts explains and summarizes her views:

“Hanna Herland is a leading intellect of the Western world.  She is a defender of civilization and Christian morality and a stalwart opponent of the Satanic forces that are attacking our civilization.  In her new book, The Billionaire World, she explains the variety of assaults on Western civilization that are undermining the belief systems and cohesiveness of Western countries.   Among them are the concentration of wealth in a few hands, the weaponization of scholarship by Cultural Marxists, the transformation of education into indoctrination, a declining sense of duty and responsibility on the part of governments, and the erosion of Christian morality.

Wealth concentration brings information control.  Herland explains that the voices of people have been silenced by the enormous control exercised by monopolies and interlocking directorships of a handful of immensely rich entities. A few private investment corporations–Black Rock, State Street, and Vanguard–own the stocks and sit on the boards of most of the large corporations.  This puts tremendous power and control in a few hands. Even competing companies, such as Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola, are owned by the same parent company.

Six mega-corporations control more than 90% of the US media.  The extraordinary control by a handful over Western civilization permits the imposition of self-serving narratives which if challenged results in being fired from livelihood and cancelled.  The former feminist icon Naomi Wolf speaks of it happening to her.

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We Must Demand Justice for the January 6th Protestors!

11/21/2023Ron Paul

New US House Speaker Mike Johnson struck a blow for liberty and justice last week when he finally authorized the release of all the tapes from the January 6, 2021 “insurrection.” We were told by no less than President Biden himself that this was the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”

The FBI was unleashed by the Biden Administration to hunt down hundreds of participants in this “insurrection” and lock them up in the gulag where they awaited trial in torturous conditions – many in solitary confinement.

A Congressional Committee was set up under then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “get to the bottom” of the “Trump-led insurrection.” It did not include a single Representative nominated by the opposition Republican Party, but rather two “Republicans” – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – who could be relied on by Pelosi and the Democrats to toe the line.

In short, the whole thing was an old-fashioned Soviet show trial, where the evidence was kept secret and the pre-determined verdict – guilty – was to be used to tighten the grip of the ruling regime and intimidate any further dissenters into silence. The message was clear: “speak out against the ‘perfection’ of the 2020 election and you may find yourself in the gulag along with the insurrectionists.”

It was terrifying and profoundly anti-American.

And, as we finally can see for ourselves thanks to Speaker Johnson, it was a huge lie. The new video shows demonstrators shaking hands with police officers once they entered the Capitol Building. They were welcomed into the building by officers who even held the doors for them to enter! They had no way of knowing that they would soon be rounded up and locked away.

Does that mean no crimes were committed on January 6th? Not at all. The tapes already released were carefully chosen to single out examples of violence and other possible criminality. But the full release of the tapes demonstrates beyond a doubt that the endless propaganda that this was a coordinated attempt to overthrow the government was false.

And as for that violence and mayhem on January 6th? How much of it was instigated by undercover FBI agents? New footage clearly shows officers outside the building firing on protestors with no warning. That must be why, in hearing after hearing, Biden Administration officials like Attorney General Merrick Garland have refused to tell Congress the number of federal agents present and their roles in instigating violence.

The release of this evidence should immediately result in the release of all non-violent protestors awaiting trial or serving their sentences. Those in power responsible for promoting this lie should take their places in the jail cells.

This delayed justice will not help protesters like Matthew Perna, however. Though the new video release clearly shows him calmly walking inside the Capitol in the presence of unconcerned police officers, when Merrick Garland’s Department of “Justice” announced they would seek terrorism charges against him, Perna, in despair, decided to hang himself in his garage.

Yes, there was an insurrection of sorts. Those in power hated Donald Trump so much that they were willing to torture and even murder their fellow Americans to keep him from the presidency. Unless these people are brought to justice, we will have no Republic left to defend.