The US Federal Reserve orchestrated an artificial boom from 2001 to 2007 through artificially low interest rates and has resumed doing so once again. Entrepreneurs operating under faulty market signals created by the Federal Reserve malinvested hundreds of billions of dollars into capital intensive projects primarily in the housing sector. We paid for our boom with millions of destroyed jobs, wasted labor, and wasted resources. The Chinese Central Bank learned nothing from the Fed’s catastrophic experiment. They will reap the same rewards.
In a certain sense, then, the character assassination directed at the price gouger is akin to shooting the messenger pointing to the brokenness of our healthcare system. Perhaps it is to that system that the shaming should be directed. And we may wish to do that fast.
In a recent appearance before Congress, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates declared that the US Department of Justice is going to ratchet up its prosecution of individuals employed in corporations as part of a larger push against “white collar crime.” Within the next year, we should expect to see mid-level business and finance executives doing “perp walks” in front of the news media, as federal prosecutors will charge them with various “economic crimes” in hopes that they will implicate their superiors. All of us by now know the drill and in a time of anemic economic growth complete with business failures, it won’t be hard to find scapegoats.
The economics of Hillary Clinton is first and foremost about expanding the power and scope of the US government, and as government gains more control, the more employers and business owners need to be in the good graces of American politicians. To be blunt, Clinton believes that people like herself can continually loot US businesses, with business owners paying their protection money without complain. After all, Hillary knows best; just ask her.
After so many years of the “new normal,” we have to be reminded just how extraordinary — and unprecedented — the Fed’s actions since 2008 have been. But does it not occur to bankers, much less the media breathlessly covering stock and bond markets, that these actions have set America on a hopelessly dangerous and unsustainable path? Or that placing so much economic power in the hands of a select few might not end well?
Our current monetary system is the root cause of many evils of today. Let’s take war, a topic we discussed in this article, as an example. Without a monetary system that creates currency out of thin air, most of the wars that we have had and still have would simply not be financeable. This system is controlled by a few, who change the rules to their own benefit. And as we have seen they use their privileges to finance wars and to bribe politicians. By holding your wealth in precious metals you are rejecting the current system and also protecting yourself from “financial tyranny”. This includes: capital controls, expropriation, bail-ins, bailouts, negative interest rates, market manipulation on a wide scale and massive paper currency fluctuations.
The greater the economic freedom, the wealthier and happier the people. States with more libertarian free market policies enjoy better results: greater median incomes, a more equitable distribution, less poverty, greater success for minorities and immigrants, and higher overall levels of happiness and well-being. In the political rhetoric landscape the battle of ideology is fierce and filled with demagoguery; in the real world the difference in results between competing economic policies are strikingly clear.
“Buy land — they’re not making any more!” is an old investing chestnut, and a common sense one to boot. Economically, it’s also completely false. As counterintuitive as it may seem, we make land all the time. It just doesn’t look like land.
While influential voices like the Pope are correct that this is a travesty, the policies promoted by him and other government officials will only make this worse. Offering assistance to migrants by rescuing them when they become troubled or allowing migrants to remain without changing the underlying bureaucratic issue will only create greater incentives for more and more people to take the same dangerous routes. Risk compensation has to be considered — the greater the safety mechanisms in place, the more risky the behavior will become. Unfortunately, the current solutions presented by officials will likely result in boats even more overloaded with people and even greater numbers traversing dangerous jungle passes.
"I didn’t really consider it so much a discrimination thing as – it’s a barbershop... for guys"
Europe has complex immigration rules. But, as the recent influx of refugees and economic migrants has shown, the EU government is able to flex its muscle in an ad hoc fashion in the service of compelling member states to accept the migrants and refugees. Ultimately, however, the imposed "solutions" to the migrant and refugee crisis may be a signal to many members that the EU isn't quite what they thought it was.
In the past year, we have extensively profiled the collapse of ground zero of Canada's oil industry as a result of the plunge in the price of oil. Since then it has only gotten far worse. As Mark Thornton of the Mises Institute points out, in a report from the Financial Post shows that Calgary in Alberta Canada now has 1.7 million square feet of empty office space, the most in North America with another 5.2 million under construction! But that's just the beginning, because for many recent millionaires, the real cash crunch has finally arrived which means business is thriving for at least one industry: pawn shops.
The topic of immigration has become increasingly pressing but, unfortunately, the libertarian movement has not reached a consensus on this issue. But it should be easy, considering how government is at both ends of the problem: government is the number one reason people choose to escape their countries, whether because of governments’ war or devastating poverty due to the lack of opportunities in regulated markets; and government is the reason ordinary people, in a desperate state because their lives have been forcefully uprooted, have a hard time choosing where to lead their lives in peace. The desperation is due to the so-called “failings” of their own governments, and augmented by ours.
It would be a welcome gesture for an incoming government to declare the actions of previous governments to be against the interests of the taxpayers and repudiate the national debt. This would not only relieve the taxpayers of a present burden but would also mean that any future government would find it hard to borrow from international creditors forcing them to bear the negative effects of their fiscal and monetary policies much earlier and with greater severity. Unfortunately Greece’s “anti-bailout” government’s decision to ignore a plebiscite opposing a new bailout deal and the German parliament’s recent approval of said deal (going against the will of the majority of Germans) proves that any concept of democratic legitimacy is not only logically flawed but will always be discredited in practice.
With Labor Day upon us, newspapers across the US will be printing op-eds calling for a mandated “living wage” and higher wages in general. In many cases, advocates for a living wage argue for outright mandates on wages; that is, a minimum wage set as an arbitrary level determined by policymakers to be at a level that makes housing, food, and health care “affordable.” All in all, it’s quite a bizarre strategy the living-wage advocates have settled on. It consists of raising the prices of consumer goods via increasing labor costs. Real wages then go down, and, at the same time, many workers lose their jobs to automation as capital is made relatively less expensive by a rising cost of labor. While the goal of raising the standard of living for workers and their families is laudable, it’s apparent that living wage advocates haven’t exactly thought things through.