Power & Market
As of now, President Biden stands to be keep being granted the privilege of signing for and executing takings of more than $6 trillion a year for another 1 1/2 to 5 1/2 years. This would total another $9 trillion to $33 trillion.
Compared to such a total, Biden’s likely $5 million bribe is less than a millionth of our exposure now to these ongoing and future deprivations of property. And that’s not even counting our exposure now to ongoing and future deprivations of life and liberty.
Constitutional Impeachment Is Loss Prevention
Impeachment, conviction, and punishment at most only deprives the convict of privileges to hold government offices. So while an impeachment defendant is due a constitutional impeachment process, he is not due the constitutional protections that are owed to criminal or civil defendants who if punished could lose their life, liberty, or property.
In the impeachment process, it’s we the people who are at risk of losing our life, liberty, or property at the hands of the defendant, if the defendant retains the privilege to hold a government office that would give him the power to do us harm. Constitutional impeachment protects we the people.
Most congresspeople and chief justices disregard what’s at stake for us. They don’t protect us, they protect their colleagues the impeachment defendants. They also see this as protecting themselves.
In the impeachment process, the current representatives are the grand jury.
Every grand jury should be a “runaway.” The jurors should take it into their own hands and find out for themselves what charges should be considered at trial. They should favor returning a broad indictment that encompasses nearly all offenses that matter.
In their indictment, the current representatives should prioritize counts that indicate how much that continuing to extend to the defendant the privilege to hold government offices would expose people to future deprivations of life, liberty, and property:
- As president, Biden has decreased the use of helpful existing generics and increased the use of harmful vaccines, depriving persons of life.
- As president, Biden has failed to faithfully execute constitutional immigration statutes that would have excluded criminals, which has deprived persons of life.
- As president, Biden, with no declaration of war, has disbursed support to Ukraine, depriving persons of life.
- As president, Biden has arrested and prosecuted January 6 demonstrators, but refuses to prosecute rioters on the left, depriving some persons of liberty while favoring other lawbreakers.
- As president, Biden has unconstitutionally disbursed funds to extra-governmental organizations and to administrative agencies and departments, using revenues from taxes and borrowing, effectively depriving persons of liberty, since people gave up some of their liberty to earn the property he took and used.
- As vice president, the evidence already available already suggests that more likely than not, Biden accepted bribes from foreign governments and in exchange supported those governments.
An appropriately-broad indictment clearly would include far-more counts and more detail. The counts above are just representative highlights that give our current representatives a good start.
Administrative Tyranny Is Bipartisan
Plenty of consequential counts could be charged against Trump as president, considering for example that Trump ratcheted up health tyranny and inflationary spending. Actually, since 1897 every president other than Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Ronald Reagan clearly tolerated or advanced administrative tyranny enough to warrant impeachment.
But supermajorities of Progressive legislators have done the worst. The core legislative powers are to pass rules and sanctions and to approve a single overall topline budget appropriation. Along with this power comes exposure to being voted out of office.
Progressive legislators have schemed to evade this accountability by grabbing unenumerated executive powers: creating administrative departments, agencies, and government-chartered organizations, and organizing, budgeting, staffing, and overseeing them.
Progressive executives haven’t stood in the gap. They have signed enabling unconstitutional legislation and they have executed such legislation.
Led by Progressive legislative committees, Progressive legislators and executives each have normalized having administrators enact rules and sanctions, depriving the people of both legislative and executive accountability. Candidates who would use their powers to demolish the administrative state find that their nomination and election is greatly impeded by both major parties’ defining processes.
Impeachment Should Demonstrate Constitution-Support
Impeachment of present or past executives won’t change the current parties or their politicians’ administrative tyranny. What’s needed is to change the future actions of legislators. But impeachment for the right reasons would indicate to voters that legislators are starting to faithfully follow the Constitution.
We the people need an indictment of Biden to, factually, adequately acknowledge what ongoing and future exposures we face if our representatives continue to allow Biden the privilege to use government power abusively against us. And we need the whole process of indictment, trial, and punishment to be completed speedily, to put a quick end to our current ongoing losses.
In impeachment trials, the current senators are accountable for providing the prosecution and defense and being the jurors. When trying someone other than a current president, a current senate’s president, who is the current vice president, is accountable for sitting as the judge. When trying a current president, a current chief justice is accountable for sitting as the judge.
A current senator’s and a current chief justice’s actions in a presidential impeachment trial will speak louder across history than any of these people’s other actions or words.
The fact that for many, their past actions have supported many of Biden’s actions is a separate matter that, realistically, clearly will be of far-less consequence to these people personally. Both history and simple practical considerations establish that these people will face few if any punishments, and they will face no punishments commensurate with the gravity of those past actions.
The best remedy they could offer us now in good faith as partial compensation for their past actions would be to begin to support the Constitution from now on—simply doing the right thing and letting the chips fall as they may.
A great start would be to impeach Biden for all the right reasons.
Last week, the Federal Reserve released Welcoming Remarks, as part of a Fed Listens event held in Atlanta. The stated purpose of this initiative was to gather insights from select members of the community regarding economic concerns.
Governor Michelle W. Bowman admits many are struggling on Main Street:
I know that high inflation has been a hardship, especially for lower- and middle-income families, who spend the majority of their income on necessities.
Going on to say:
I am interested to hear the ways in which inflation and higher interest rates are affecting the day-to-day lives of our participants today.
This borders on mockery, as the Fed doesn’t serve the public at large. In fact, they are the central catalyst for the rise in prices, what they refer to as inflation.
They could utilize over a century’s worth of scholarship from the Austrian School of Economics to correct the trajectory; admitting the zero-sum game the Fed plays of increasing prosperity for one by decreasing prosperity for another, is failing us. This would never happen. Instead of creating trillions of dollars or suppressing interest rates as public policy, it would require them to refrain from market intervention entirely.
The Fed proudly embraces inherently flawed data analysis, faulty prediction systems, and a conspicuous use of anti-free market ideals. In their circle, it would be acceptable to refer to their economic beliefs as “orthodox,” closer resembling religious conviction than logical deduction.
Economists and media still utilize the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as a barometer of the health of a nation. It is increasingly apparent these inflation indexes do not adequately capture the true nature of inflation, as they fail to address how currency debasement pushes the populace into poverty and desperation, eroding the moral fabric of a society itself.
An ever growing sense of hopelessness stemming from inflationary monetary policies can be seen across CNBC news headlines:
Here’s why Americans can’t stop living paycheck to paycheck
The article states a staggering statistic: 61% of adults are living paycheck to paycheck. If true, it's likely most citizens in one of the world’s wealthiest nations also have little to no savings.
Also noteworthy, in America, a sense of "comfort" begins with a salary nearing a quarter of a million dollars. A second survey found:
To feel ‘comfortable,’ Americans think they need a $233,000 salary and nearly $1.3 million for retirement.
For generations we’ve been led to believe inflation is necessary and that the Fed’s job is to ensure just the right amount for the benefit of society. Yet the Fed’s priorities hardly align with those of everyday people. The Fed claims computing inflation & employment data with interest rate & money supply decisions into highly complex formulas will help achieve their goal of economic prosperity. However, the real world has an unimaginable number of unforeseeable factors which their economic models could never comprehend, much less make credible predictions with any degree of certainty.
The only real certainty is that year after year, the purchasing power of our dollars steadily declines.
Alongside rising prices and rising rates comes rising debt levels:
Credit card balances jumped in the second quarter and are above $1 trillion for the first time
According to CNBC, part of this credit card debt is due to inflationary pressures coupled with “higher levels of consumption,” partially absolving the Fed.
Trapped in a perpetual state of desperation, most Americans live on the margin, forced to endure bouts of recession, depression, and the occasional currency collapse. Servicing a nearly $33 trillion national debt while also funding foreign wars and foreign aid are just a few of the obligations bestowed upon the American people.
Piecing the puzzle together, it adds up. If the Fed truly wanted to help, they would stop trying to help, as the Austrian school has been advocating for quite some time. The American people are the only ones powerful enough to do so. Let the market work itself out.
In 2016 India’s Hindu fundamentalist Modi government abruptly banned the use of 500 and 1000 rupees notes to curb corruption, black money, counterfeit currency, and to combat terrorism. Within a month’s time the government realized their demonetization policy had failed so they very conveniently changed the objective to a cashless digital economy. Within a year’s time almost all cash was back with RBI suggesting a total failure of demonetization! In the aftermath of such a knee-jerk policy decision the economy tanked and unemployment shot up.
As if such a blunder of demonetization was not enough, the Indian central bank RBI immediately started issuing a totally new 2000 rupees notes. As per the RBI governor: “Rs 2000 bank notes were introduced primarily to replenish the notes withdrawn following demonetization.”
This policy decision made no sense. If the original purpose of demonetizing 500- and 1000-rupees notes was to curb black money and corruption, then how would replacing those denomination notes with an even bigger denomination 2000 rupee note help solve the problem of black money and corruption? Or counterfeit currency and terrorism? Will doing corruption and stashing away more black money not become easier using 2000 rupees notes instead of 500 and 1000?
Remonetizing the economy with 2000 rupees notes defeated the whole purpose of tackling black money, corruption etc. And if the worry of the RBI was deflation and disruption of day-to-day exchanges, which were guaranteed, then there was no need to deflate the money supply by demonetizing 500 and 1000 rupees notes in the first place.
When people were slowly forgetting and recovering from the wounds of demonetization and other policy blunders, government dealt another blow in the form of a sudden announcement of the withdrawal of those remonetized 2000 rupees notes few days back. This time the reason for demonetizing 2000 rupees notes is different. RBI’s communique said:
The ₹2000 denomination banknote was introduced in November 2016 under Section 24(1) of RBI Act, 1934, primarily to meet the currency requirement of the economy in an expeditious manner after the withdrawal of legal tender status of all ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes in circulation at that time. The objective of introducing ₹2000 banknotes was met once banknotes in other denominations became available in adequate quantities. Therefore, printing of ₹2000 banknotes was stopped in 2018- 19.
About 89 percent of the ₹2000 denomination banknotes were issued prior to March 2017 and are at the end of their estimated lifespan of 4-5 years. The total value of these banknotes in circulation has declined from ₹6.73 lakh crore at its peak as on March 31, 2018 (37.3 percent of Notes in Circulation) to ₹3.62 lakh crore constituting only 10.8 percent of Notes in Circulation on March 31, 2023. It has also been observed that this denomination is not commonly used for transactions. Further, the stock of banknotes in other denominations continues to be adequate to meet the currency requirement of the public.
In view of the above, and in pursuance of the “Clean Note Policy” of the Reserve Bank of India, it has been decided to withdraw the ₹2000 denomination banknotes from circulation.
Again, this reason of clean note policy makes no sense. As per RBI’s own communique they were already demonetizing 2000-rupee notes quietly since 2018-19 when they stopped printing those notes. They should’ve continued to replace 2000 notes without putting people in a panic mode like this again. The whole logic of withdrawing 2000 rupees notes from circulation also doesn’t make any sense because RBI is saying that these notes will continue to be legal tender even after the deadline of depositing or exchanging them passes on 30th September 2023! If a currency will be legal tender, then why would anyone exchange or deposit it back with the RBI? In that case notes will not be withdrawn from the economy.
We don’t yet know the ulterior motives of the government behind this policy. Maybe they will abruptly cancel 2000 notes after the September deadline to surprise the public again.
If they decide to cancel these notes past the deadline, then the ensuing recession will be severe as these notes represent some 10 percent of the present money supply. The abrupt withdrawal is already disturbing the economic exchanges in the market as many traders and common people have stopped accepting those notes immediately. People overnight rushed to buy gold using 2000 rupees notes which has locked up a sizeable amount of savings in nonproductive gold, starving the economy of important productive investment.
Money is the life blood of the body economic. By making market exchanges easy, money makes progress and civilization possible. Without direct exchange money economy there will be no specialization and division of labor, and without them there will be no progress and civilization. Such illogical monetary experiments of the Modi government have deadly consequences for the people of India, but then government doesn’t care about such things, and they aren’t even capable of foreseeing such consequences. As long as Indians continue to vote for socialism, politicians will continue to implement their whimsical ideas to wreck peoples’ lives.
Earlier this month, Larry Kudlow insisted that it is "it's incumbent on the U.S. government, no matter who's in power, to maintain the reserve currency status of the dollar." Kudlow laments that a toppling of the dollar from that perch "seems to be the direction we're going in."
Kudlow's remarks came a day after Donald Trump declared that China is trying to displace the U.S. Dollar [sic] as the NUMBER ONE CURRENCY" and that if this occurs, it would be the biggest defeat for our Country [sic] in its history."
Neither Trump nor Kudlow actually explain why maintaining reserve currency status is so important. After all, it's clear that it is not necessary for a country's currency to be a reserve currency in order for that country to have a high standard of living and a high degree of economic freedom. We could simply look to Norway and Switzerland to see that.
What's Good for the Government Isn't Necessarily What's Good for the People
Trump and Kudlow seemingly can't tell the difference between what is good for the US government, and what is good for the people. The idea that global reserve currency status for the dollar is essential to "America" relies on the false notion that the interests of the US regime and the interests of ordinary taxpaying Americans are one and the same. These interests rarely coincide, however, and they certainly don't when it comes to reserve currency status. This is especially the case when the dollar is unbacked by any commodity like gold, and is simply a floating fiat currency that can be inflated at the will of the regime at any time.
That global reserve currency status benefits the regime itself is obvious. This status for the dollar does indeed allow the regime to more recklessly inflate the dollar and increase deficits. This enhances the US regime's ability to bribe voters with enormous welfare programs and involve the US regime in a dazzling array of wars that have nothing to do with defending US territory. None of this, however, improves the standard of living of Americans who pay the bills. Even worse, when the dollar ceases to be the dominant reserve currency—an event that is inevitable—holders of dollars will see their purchasing power plummet. Yet, it not the end of reserve currency status that is to blame for the inflationist pain. Rather, the fault will lie with the decades of monetary and fiscal mismanagement made possible by the dollar's status as global reserve currency.
To demand the regime continue to cling to global reserve currency status is to demand a continuation of the policies that have hollowed out the financial well-being of Americans for decades.
Trump and Kudlow, however, are not troubled by this. For them, it appears that the supposed importance of reserve currency status is not about economic concerns, but is really a political project. This shouldn't surprise us given many of the narratives surrounding the dollar's status—which focus on China and Chinese geopolitical power as the main reason to fear a decline of the dollar. This isn't about protecting your wealth or reining in government power. It's about increasing US government power in the name of fighting the latest foreign "axis of evil."
In fact, China's currency, the yuan, doesn't even pose a threat to the dollar. The yuan is a fifth-place also-ran in the currency race. So, for now, the dollar still reigns supreme, and being the regime whose currency enjoys global reserve status comes with many advantages.
Why Reserve Currency Status Enhances State Power at the Expense of the Taxpayers
The first advantage is reserve currency status brings a greater global demand for dollars. This means more of a global willingness to absorb dollars into foreign central banks and foreign bank accounts even as the dollar inflates and loses purchasing power. Ultimately, this means the US regime can hoodwink the voters into accepting more monetary inflation, more financial repression, and more debt for many years before domestic price inflation becomes a political problem for the regime. After all, even if the US central bank (the Federal Reserve) creates $8 trillion in new dollars in order to prop up US asset prices, much of the world will take those dollars out of US domestic markets, and this will reduce price inflation in the US—at least in the short term.
[Read More: "Why the Dollar Still Beats the Euro and the Yuan" by Ryan McMaken.]
A second advantage: the fact the dollar dominates in global trade transactions means more global demand for US debt. Or, as Reuters put it in 2019, the dollar is used “for at least half of international trade invoices—five times more than the United States’ share of world goods imports—fuelling demand for U.S. assets.” Those assets include US government debt. In fact, as Robert Murphy notes, this inflation-fueled demand for US assets will be "heavily tilted toward debt (rather than equity in growing companies)." This rush for US debt pushes down the interest rate at which the US government must pay on its enormous $30 trillion debt.
All in all, reserve status for the dollar means a lot more US government spending. This produces no net benefit since government spending in itself distorts the economy, drives up prices, and otherwise redistributes wealth according to political considerations, rather than according to the needs of consumers and entrepreneurs.
None of this is good for the productive people in the US. For one, deficit spending—whether for elective wars or welfare programs—must always be paid for, either in the form of price inflation (i.e., the inflation tax), or in terms of future ordinary taxation. Moreover, reserve currency status creates political cover for the regime's easy-money policies in the short term. That is, global demand for the dollar helps create the temporary impression that monetary inflation comes with few downsides. This, however, can only continue until the dollar's reserve status ends or even significantly weakens. In the meantime, the world will have been flooded with dollars.
Reserve currency status, by politically fostering more deficit spending, also harms those parts of the private economy that depend on private investment. As deficit spending increases, the economy is flooded with ever larger amounts of government debt backed up by tax dollars. This attracts huge amounts of wealth to government Treasurys that otherwise would have gone into private-sector investments.
All this dollar profligacy has been neither necessary nor advisable, yet maintaining global reserve currency status can help regimes get away with this sort of thing for decades.
The Effects of Losing International Currency Power
Often, discussion about the dollar’s reserve status creates a false dichotomy between total domination of the global monetary system on one hand and complete abandonment of the dollar on the other. A more likely scenario is that the dollar will weaken considerably but will remain among the most often used currencies. After all, even after the pound sterling lost its status as reserve currency in the 1930s, it did not disappear.
For example, let’s say the US dollar sinks to 40 percent of all foreign reserves and is only used in one-third of all international trade invoices—instead of one-half, as is now the case. This would not necessarily destroy the dollar or the US economy, but it would certainly constrain the US regime's ability to pile on another trillion dollars worth of debt without the true costs of mounting debt becoming abundantly clear. Perhaps more importantly, a world less awash in dollars will mean a world with less demand for US assets such as US government debt. That means higher interest rates for the US government and less of an ability to finance the welfare-warfare state by inflating the currency.
Naturally, politicians and pundits such as Trump and Kudlow view any threat to this kind of state power as a bad thing. At this point, however, how we feel about it is irrelevant. It's going to happen regardless of our feelings on the matter. The only way it doesn't happen is if the US regime suddenly starts slashing deficits and government spending, embraces a strong dollar policy, and perhaps even anchors the dollar to a commodity like gold. None of those things is going to happen without first experiencing a wakeup call on the level of losing currency reserve status. The good news is such a wakeup call will weaken the US regime, potentially forcing policymakers to embrace a more sane fiscal and monetary policy.
What a weekend! On Sunday morning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CBS there would be no bailouts. Later that day the Fed declared Quantitative Easing to infinity and beyond.
What’s going on?
Quite simply: the Fed is willing to overpay for debt (again). They call it the Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP), and as far as one can tell, its dollar value is limitless. The term sheet reads:
Program: To provide liquidity to U.S. depository institutions, each Federal Reserve Bank would make advances to eligible borrowers, taking as collateral certain types of securities.
And who is eligible?
Any U.S. federally insured depository institution (including a bank, savings association, or credit union) or U.S. branch or agency of a foreign bank…
Basically everyone (i.e., not you or main street, just financial institutions) can take part in this legal counterfeiting operation.
So what’s being traded for newly created Federal Reserve notes?
Eligible collateral includes any collateral eligible for purchase by the Federal Reserve Banks in open market operations … provided that such collateral was owned by the borrower as of March 12, 2023.
Meaning: Practically any bank can exchange US Treasuries (or even Mortgage-backed securities should they have held any on their books) with the Federal Reserve.
This program will be offered for one year at no charge to banks, and of course with no recourse!
Recourse: Advances made under the Program are made with recourse beyond the pledged collateral to the eligible borrower.
Now here’s the rub:
Collateral Valuation: The collateral valuation will be par value. Margin will be 100% of par value.
Therefore, if Wells Fargo or Bank of America own US debt that is trading at 50 cents on the dollar, they can trade it with the Fed who will pay $1. In theory, it’s only an unrealized and temporary loss because once the US debt comes due, it will be paid in full. So the Fed won’t suffer a loss, nor will the bank.
The Fed will purposely pay an amount above market value on debt held by banks. The banks would receive this newly created money and get rid of their unrealized losses. Afterwards, the banks will have to “do something” with this new money, such as buy more debt. We can only guess but whatever the banks do with the money, it will most certainly be highly lucrative for them, push asset prices up, and further erode whatever is left of the middle class. It will also offer a new way for banks to make even riskier bets that will land them in more trouble in the future.
It is theft, moral hazard, anti-capitalistic and even antagonistic to those forced to pay taxes and work for a living. But still more questions remain, specifically: How large is this program; are we talking a few billions or trillions of dollars?
On one extreme, this program serves as a confidence booster more than anything; it’s public messaging. Very few banks will accept the generous offer. It will provide public assurance that the Fed will insure deposits, it will keep banks from panic selling bonds at a loss, and quell any ideas of bank run.
If so, then the Fed has bought a little more time until the next panic sets in.
On the other extreme, come Monday, every bank in America will be lining up to receive free money from America’s central bank. The Fed would eventually expand its balance sheet by trillions of dollars more, and they’ll tell us that it would have been worse if it wasn’t for the Fed.
…as for the Fed’s commitment to reducing the balance sheet… we’ll know the answer to this soon enough! Few things are certain at the moment, but it sure is a good day to be a banker.
The Idaho State House today approved a bill to enable the State Treasurer to protect state funds from inflation and other financial risks by holding some physical gold and and silver.
State representatives voted 40-29 to pass House Bill 180, the Idaho Sound Money Reserves Act, sending the measure introduced by Representative Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls) and Senator Phil Hart (R-Kellogg) to the Senate for a hearing.
Supported by Idahoans and groups such as Sound Money Defense League, HB 180 would permit – but not require – the State Treasurer to hold some portion of state funds in physical gold and silver to help secure state assets against the risks of inflation and financial turmoil and/or to achieve capital gains as measured in devaluing Federal Reserve Notes.
Speaking on the house floor, Rep. Vito Barbieri (R-Dalton Gardens) said, “We need to give our treasurer the ability to consider doing what so many central banks around the world have been doing, which is acquiring gold. Gold and silver are also right there in our U.S. Constitution."
The Idaho State Treasurer currently has very few options for holding, managing, and investing Idaho’s “idle moneys.” Due to statutory constraints, Idaho’s reserves are invested almost exclusively in low-yielding debt paper that carries counterparty risk while its value is diminished by inflation.
Stefan Gleason, president of Idaho-based Money Metals Exchange, pointed out that the Idaho Treasurer's office is dangerously handcuffed. "Because of Idaho’s outdated 'idle money' statute, state funds are herded into debt paper instruments whose real value is being absolutely slaughtered by inflation right now.”
“That’s because the state reserves are principally invested in low-interest debt paper, e.g., U.S. Treasuries, money market funds, corporate debt, repurchase agreements, and other dollar-denominated debt,” Gleason continued.
Responding to growing concerns about rising government debts and Federal Reserve money printing, Ohio recently followed Texas in acquiring a 5% physical gold holding in its public pension funds. And West Virginia, Mississippi, Maine, Tennessee, Montana, and Missouri are presently considering bills in 2023 with provisions akin to Idaho's HB 180.
Jp Cortez, policy director of the Sound Money Defense League, said “Inflation has impacted every Idaho family. With inflation rates in the 7% to 9% range. the real annual rate of return for Idaho taxpayers on its $10.4 billion in ‘idle moneys’ is deeply negative.”
The State Treasurer manages several particularly large funds -- the IDLE Pool holds roughly $5.3 billion, the Local Government Investment Pool has $4.1 billion, and the Diversified Bond Fund has $1 billion.
HB 180 adds the authority to hold physical gold and silver directly and in a manner that does not assume the counterparty and default risks involved with other state holdings. HB 180 bill does not grant any authority to buy stocks, futures contracts, or other gold-based proxies or financial instruments. There are at least five depositories in the region that would be eligible to hold Idaho’s gold and/or silver.
"It’s prudent to provide the State Treasurer with options to hedge against the accelerating inflation that’s been foisted upon savers, wage-earners, retirees, and the Gem State itself by short-sighted politicians and central bankers in Washington, DC, said Cortez. "A failure to pass HB 180 could be costly. Inflation is a match that has already set Idaho’s big pile of debt paper ablaze."
House Bill 180 can be heard before the Senate State Affairs Committee as early as next week.
The Sound Money Defense League is a public policy group working nationally to promote sound money policies, including reaffirming the constitutional role of gold and silver as money. It also maintains the authoritative Sound Money Index which tracks and ranks the policies of all 50 states.
A full 83 percent of all government employees are in state and local governments.
State and local governments, augmented by corporations, have the mass to be Progressivism’s strongmen. White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx used state and local confederates to, in her own words, “subvert” the advice given Trump by his senior advisor Scott Atlas. Anything Birx “couldn’t sneak past the gatekeepers in her reports” she “said in person” “in very blunt conversations with the governors.”
State and local governments, backed by the Constitution, should instead advance freedom.
An oath either to support or to protect the Constitution must be taken in all USA government jurisdictions by each legislator, executive officer, and judicial officer. Each individual can only uphold his oath if he independently interprets the constitutionality of his every possible action and he takes only those actions that he himself considers constitutional. This isn’t a recipe for anarchy, this is the highest standard for lawful action. These oaths confer no power for unconstitutional actions, but confer full power for constitutional actions.
Let’s take stock of where we stand on using this constitutional power for priority actions.
The actions we need from legislators and from executives (other than attorneys general) are never as impotent as pressing new lawsuits. Politicians use lawsuits to claim that they’re taking decisive action, while they’re actually failing to use their own powers that are much stronger and quicker.
Actions are needed on election integrity aren’t directly covered below, but they don’t have to be. Government people who take the actions below will improve election integrity too. In the elections in 2020 and 2022, many constitutional election rules were already on the books; the key problem was that when these rules were disputed in judicial opinions or violated by executives, majorities of state legislators didn’t intervene. By using their powers all the time, starting in the priority areas below, state legislators will get prepared to use their powers in the priority area of elections too.
The highest priorities are the policy areas that most affect life, liberty, and property, in that order, whether directly or indirectly.
Good money prevents inflation, recessions, extended wars, and social breakdown. The Constitution affirms that 100 percent-reserve gold is legal tender for payment of debts. Three state governments have by law reaffirmed gold’s legal-tender status. State governments should go further by penalizing the collection of capital gains taxes on gold and the enforcement of laws treating fiat dollars as legal tender.
Nondelegation constitutionally limits powers by separating powers and requiring elected representatives to enact all rules and penalties. But during covid, no state governments and few if any local governments refrained from delegating emergency powers. State and local governments should repeal their emergency-powers laws and should penalize other jurisdictions’ use of emergency powers.
Off-label prescribing lets existing drugs meet further needs. During covid, the FDA, the CDC, state boards, and corporations widely deprived persons of off-label prescribing. Louisiana AG Jeff Landry monitored Louisiana’s medical and pharmacy boards and warned them off as necessary. New Hampshire legislators passed a bill that would have legalized over-the-counter ivermectin, and the Tennessee government legalized over-the-counter ivermectin. State and local governments really should penalize any restriction of off-label prescribing.
Protection of life from abortion looks after the most dependent among us, whose lives begin at fertilization. Ten state governments and some local governments ban abortion except when the mother’s life or physical health are threatened or the unborn child has a fatal abnormality. All governments should penalize any taking of life after fertilization, and judges should expedite each rare case in which taking one life might save another life.
Merit-based naturalization protects against aliens who don’t support constitutionally-limited government. No state governments have enacted merit-based naturalization. State governments should penalize naturalization that doesn’t support Constitution-limited government, and should limit illegal immigration by sending their militias to border areas.
No inward-facing army is a protection in the Constitution for liberty. No state or local governments protect residents against FBI and DOJ political targeting. State and local governments should penalize FBI and DOJ actions other than against treason and counterfeiting.
No undeclared war is a constitutional boundary that limits deprivations due to war, both to us and to others abroad. No state governments have acted against unconstitutional or risky military actions, military preparations, treaties, or other foreign aid. For the duration of the national government’s military and civil support for Ukraine’s government, governors should recall their militias from national-government command anywhere. Also, state governments should take over collection of national income taxes, reduce collection by the amount being taken for Ukraine, and penalize any attempts by the national government or by employers to collect national income taxes.
The Constitution upholds natural rights by creating a structure in which rules violations by a given power are opposed and limited by other powers. This requires that these offsetting powers be used.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were developed in times when politicians who supported freedom succeeded, because the general public strongly supported freedom. Nowadays, state and local politicians won’t use their powers to limit governments until we make them do it.
In election seasons, activists often will have to draft better people to run in these little-watched races, and will have to get out the vote for these new candidates. Throughout legislative sessions, activists and media will have to focus majorities of politicians on using their powers for us.
State and local governments have the manpower and the reserved powers to advance freedom. But they need close supervision.
Think about it. FTX collapsed (probable theft/ponzi scheme), therefore calls for regulation increase. Should this become reality, consider the implications to follow, starting with a new government agency; let’s call it the Department of Regulating Cryptocurrencies or DORC for short. One of the first decisions the government must determine is the DORC’s annual expenditures.
Should $100 or $200 million a year be spent regulating cryptocurrencies?
Maybe $200 million is too high! But $100 million is surely too low. An even $150 million makes for a fair compromise. Where will this $150 million in annual expenditure come from?
Either the government will grant the annual funds to the DORC, or the DORC could be self-funded (backstopped by the government) through regulating crypto exchanges or investment companies. Whichever way it is funded, a new tax will be borne by the individual since someone must pay for regulation and the government has no money of its own.
After the office space, staffing requirements, and equipment purchases, the new regulator must get to work. Since the DORC won’t be able to make laws, or enforce existing ones, they’ll only be able to do more superficial things such as create guidelines or set reporting requirements. Various and routine audits or other inspections will be required, with license revocation or penalties issued for those who do not comply.
Whether Congress will get special privileges such as insider trading exemptions will have to be seen. And should a crypto company operate outside the US, it will be nearly impossible for the regulator to have any power, unless capital or even internet controls are put in place to prevent American’s from sending cryptos abroad. Unfortunately the list of questions will go on and on… and on… to ends which will be known to those privileged few sitting atop the organization; success or failure decided by them.
History shows that regulation has done a great job of hindering national prosperity and civil liberties. From America’s Gilded Age to the Progressive Era and through today, regulation has followed the same predictable playbook: Wealthy individuals coerce, lobby, or direct the government to intervene in order to restrict the market, creating high barriers to entry or granting monopoly powers. They market it as “regulation” for protecting the most vulnerable members of society even though it really protects the most powerful.
Dr. Thomas J. DiLorenzo explains it is the political entrepreneur who:
…succeeds primarily by influencing government to subsidize his business or industry, or to enact legislation or regulation that harms his competitors.
This is the antithesis of the market entrepreneur, or capitalist, who:
… succeeds financially by selling a newer, better, or less expensive product on the free market without any government subsidies, direct or indirect.
Yet here we are, with cries to regulate the crypto space. Just a few days ago, in response to the FTX collapse, Reuters reported one expert who said:
Regulators could have posted a lot more guidance for crypto.
And last month, Politico reported Sen. Elizabeth Warren(D) believing:
…that a digital currency bill must be “comprehensive,” covering consumer protections, anti-money laundering rules and climate safeguards for crypto mining.
The link between anti-money laundering, climate safeguards, and consumer protection is a nebulous one at best.
One would think that simple enforcement of property rights law, or not granting (probable) immunity to people like Sam Bankman-Fried, who was working with Congress on crypto legislation, would be enough to keep consumers safe. But this is not the world we live in.
After all is said and done, and once the new regulations are put into place, the next FTX meltdown will occur. Everyone will ask: “Where was the DORC?” facilitating more regulation, which will require more funds for even more regulation. Little to no help would actually be received by the consumer. Yet the optics of crypto regulation, the jobs for lawyers, accountants, and the large bureaucratic structure created may be everlasting.
Although we don’t know when, and we don’t know how, regulation of cryptocurrencies is coming. This is true because Fedcoin is coming; and one of the things we know for certain is that the government hates competition.
As people get older, we sometimes hear them joke that it beats the alternative, which is usually left unsaid.
There’s another sense in which the alternative is assumed to be far worse than one’s present condition: The type of government almost all people live under, which is the state, here used in the Max Weber sense of an entity successfully claiming a "monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” As bad as states might be — the argument goes — it certainly beats the alternative, anarchy.
Is it possible states create the conditions normally associated with anarchy, thought to be a condition of widespread chaos and lawlessness? If we look at history, we find evil in government. It violates every notion of human decency and justice, though there are degrees of difference. A few examples may serve to freshen our memory.
The current war in Ukraine brings to mind Stalin’s imposition of starvation on the Ukrainian people in 1932-1933, as part of his collectivization of farming, which according to this study resulted in an estimated 4.9 million total deaths. Stalin seized Ukrainian crops and grains as punishment for failing to meet quotas and for resisting collectivization. Also known as the “Great Famine, or Holodomor (extermination by hunger), Ukrainians suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of Stalin’s “collectors.”
Peasants accused of being food hoarders typically were sent off to prison, though sometimes the collectors didn’t wait to inflict punishment. Two boys who were caught hiding fish and frogs they’d caught, for example, were taken to the village soviet, where they were beaten, and then dragged into a field with their hands tied and mouths and noses gagged, where they were left to suffocate.
Stalin’s wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, committed suicide in late 1932, which according to playwright Mikhail Shatrov stemmed from her violent disagreement with Stalin over his murderous policies.
Anarchy would have been a blessed option for Ukrainians had they been able to free themselves from Stalin’s grip. Given the power of today’s left-dominated governments and the global push for a Great Reset, humanity’s ultimate horror may still lie ahead.
Is democracy the answer to state growth?
One could argue that democracy — people power — prevents the rise of totalitarian regimes. A researched analysis of the fraudulent covid pandemic, however, where Western governments turned authoritarian overnight and most people obeyed, scraps that idea.
The state, as sovereign, de facto outlaws genuine democracy.
Doubt it? How about a vote on the income tax or the state’s official counterfeiter, the Federal Reserve? Not a chance. Our bipartisan overseers won’t allow it. Even worse, thanks to government schools and the state’s official propaganda ministry, most people are at peace with government theft as long as standard euphemisms are applied, such as Treasury’s “taxes” and the Fed’s “accommodation.”
By the way, have you, a non-government citizen, been consulted about the tactical advantages of limited nuclear war? No? How do you like that arrangement?
According to most dictionaries, synonyms for anarchy include lawlessness, disruption, turmoil, disorganization, and disintegration. This is a fair description of conditions in the US and other countries during the so-called pandemic. Such terms also describe countries being bombed back to the stone age, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where “righteous” states have intervened to eradicate evil or “defend the freedom” of their clueless citizens thousands of miles back home.
Turmoil also depicts the current state of Venezuela, where “dangerously softhearted” World Vision says that
One out of every three Venezuelans is food-insecure and in need of urgent food supplies, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). Once-eradicated diseases like cholera and malaria have returned, and children are increasingly dying of causes related to hunger and malnutrition. . . .
Venezuelan migrants who returned to the country after losing their jobs abroad in the wake of the pandemic have been unable to earn wages back home. Shortages of fuel, electricity, and clean water have sparked riots and left many migrants with no choice but to flee again.
Even Zimbabwe, once the poster child for hyperinflation, is at it again as the Zimbabwean dollar “has been devalued by over 40% since the beginning of the year.” To avoid another currency collapse, central bank governor John Mangudya has inaugurated a program allowing Zimbabweans to exchange their dollars for gold coins.
Gold, the hallmark of a fully free market, meaning a society that enforces property rights, is coming to the rescue of Zimbabweans. Apparently, when corruption runs its course, some states will try anything, even a temporary return to honest money.
Given what the US state and its coalition partners have done to small countries, to American military personnel, to the cultural climate of peace and liberty that makes civilization possible, it’s hard to imagine a stateless America would be even worse.
What makes our leaders “great”?
Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR are not renowned for their anarchist views. Through the state they had the means to go to war while forcing others to do the killing and dying. Through the state they had the propaganda tools and the arms to keep most of the public compliant. Through the state they had the means to steal wealth from their citizens to pay for it. Even today, with their crimes detailed online, they remain among the “great” in American history because of a pliant public and a state-controlled media and educational system.
It wasn’t anarchy that produced the massive death and devastation of the two world wars. It wasn’t anarchists who built atomic bombs. It wasn’t anarchists who dropped them on civilian populations.
It beats the alternative?
Do people have a right to go wherever they want and for whatever reason they like? Certainly not. I have no right to use or occupy your rightful property without your permission. And the same applies for you and everyone with my property.
Do people have a right to migrate to whatever part of the world they please? They certainly do. If they don’t violate the life and property of another person, nobody has a right to limit theirs.
It should be easy to combine these two statements into one: my liberty ends where your liberty begins. Or: it is everyone’s right to not be coerced or aggressed upon. Or even: everyone has a right to be left alone on their property if they so wish.
But, unfortunately, even such simple, unambiguous statements tend to be both confused and confusing when the issue is migration. Part of the reason for is that we have emotional attachments to things that aren’t ours, such as the structure, ethics, culture, and perception of the society that we are embedded in. Part of it is that much of what relates to migration, including both its causes and implications, is a matter of policy. And, of course, part of it is also the existence of the State, including its impact on property both in the past and present, which always muddles the waters with respect to people’s rights and liberties.
Migration and Rights
From the perspective of individual rights, migration is not even an issue. People move about practically daily and all over the world: we travel to work and back; we go on road trips and vacation in foreign countries; we move to the other side of town or another state for a job or opportunity; we expatriate in pursuit of opportunities for ourselves and our families.
None of this is problematic and we largely take these things for granted. But it is also not free: without sufficient purchasing power, we are not able to afford to travel wherever and whenever we want. Or quit our jobs and live the rest of our lives on a paradise island somewhere.
On the other hand, opportunities arise in all kinds of places so it could very well be that we cannot afford not to move far away to pursue them.
In the end, what it comes down to is a personal valuation of the alternatives. For most, a great opportunity far away is not worth pursuing because it requires leaving people, customs, and familiar ways of life behind. That’s not for everyone. For others, sometimes many, the promise of the faraway opportunity is simply too good to let go.
But there are also arbitrary limitations imposed on us and our ability to move around. Passports and visa requirements, for example. Those are rights violations imposed by the State. The passport is your domestic State’s permission slip to leave and travel abroad and the visa is the permission slip to enter a territory controlled by another State.
Migration and Collectivism
Rights are always individual rights. There are no collective rights for the simple reason that those collectives comprise of individuals and individuals coming together don’t automagically gain more rights just because they are together. Not to mention that any right that the group supposedly has, but that the individuals do not have, is necessarily a violation of the individual’s rights.
Individuals can of course choose to associate or disassociate with others. They can also organize in formal groups that, through for example voluntary contracting or tacit understanding, choose to distance themselves from or exclude others – or limit who may join and who may not. But there is a difference between forming and upholding groups of individuals, even if they choose to share property or make it communally administrated, and superimposing groupness onto individuals.
I do not mean groupness as merely a matter of using descriptions. I am, for example, of Swedish origin and live in Tulsa, OK. You could say that I am part of the “Swedish community in Tulsa,” but it is only true in the descriptive sense (as a native Swede living in Tulsa). But I am not part or member of any type of community in Tulsa, Swedish or otherwise. It would likewise be true to say that I’m part of the 6’3”-and-taller community or the immigrant community, both which again are accurate – but as descriptions only. (I am indeed a tall Swedish immigrant in Tulsa.)
An actual community or group requires more than a mere description. You do not form a community by saying it – and you certainly do not form a community by a third party saying it (such as someone in New England making statements about “Oklahomans”) – regardless of how formal the pronouncement may appear (such as the State pronouncing who is a “citizen” and who is not, who has paid enough taxes and who has not, etc.).
There must be voluntary individual and mutual commitment by the individuals to make a community. And there must also be some form of discriminating rule by which to distinguish members from non-members. The latter largely requires the former: unless the individuals who choose to form a group dedicate property toward the group’s ends, the group isn’t much at all.
Needless to say, the commitment of property, effort, time, etc. toward the group’s ends needs to be voluntary and of justly owned property. Which leads us to the issue of the State.
Migration and the State
The State creates a group in the same sense that an attacker or thief does: it imposes its will on them by harming them and violating their individual rights. While the victims have their victimhood in common, this is a only description of what happened to them and insufficient to make them a community. But they can of course, building on their shared experiences and suffering, choose to form a group or community to support their own healing, prosecute or take revenge on the perpetrator, inform the world about the heinous crime committed, etc. The difference between the former and the latter should be clear.
The same applies to all violators of rights, including the greatest perpetrator of crime of all time: the State. Victims of the State can certainly form groups (such as taxpayer unions, political parties, secession movements, etc.) and they are free to do so (but the State might disagree). Merely being a victim of the State does not make you a member of a group, however – it only makes you a victim.
It is also a mistake to assume that a State’s violations of rights are limited to those who it permits to reside within the boundaries of its controlled territory. Certainly, the State focuses its aggression “at home” and directed toward its subjects. But few States are tyrants at home while letting the subjects of other States off the hook. Visa requirements and trade restrictions (tariffs, quotas, taxes, licensing requirements, etc.) are examples of violations of rights that go well beyond the State’s own subjects. Victimhood is not limited to the territorial claims of the State.
We already mentioned above that passports and visa requirements limit how, when, and where people can travel. These restrictions apply to crossing that invisible line that the State recognizes as the boundary of its territory. It matters not which in direction you intend (or try) to travel. Without the documentation required by the State, you are not allowed to cross. (Enforcement certainly varies, but try to enter “your” country without a passport and you’ll see how much your citizenship and/or residency matter…)
Migration vs. Rights?
Does this mean that anyone and everyone should, from the perspective of rights, be allowed to enter a country at will? Yes, it certainly does. Merely moving from one point to the other is not a violation of rights. It makes no difference if you move across the street, to the other side of town, or across an arbitrary line upheld by a criminal.
Being different from the majority or the norm is also not a rights violation.
But trampling on another’s property without permission certainly is. As is forcing one’s way into a community that wishes to exclude you. But for that to be the case an actual group must be formed. It is not enough to appeal to some generic descriptor, without buy-in from those who fit that very description. That’s just stating your opinion. Worse: it’s stating your opinion and suggesting that it implies a group of you and (many) others – whether or not they know it or agree with it. It’s a strange group that consists of “members” with no buy-in or voluntary commitment and where they neither need to know about nor agree with their assigned membership. In fact, that sounds close to a rights violation in itself.