Issue CCCXIV

February 20-28, 2012

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Economics
Economy Squeezed as Debt Accelerates
Ron Paul

February 28, 2012

Senator Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee has pointed out that our per capita federal-government debt is already larger than Greece's.  Per person, our federal government owes over $49,000 compared to $38,937 per Greek citizen.  Our debt has just reached 101% of our Gross Domestic Product.  Our creditors see this and have quietly slowed down or stopped their lending to us.  As a result, the Federal Reserve has been outright monetizing debt as a way to patch things together and keep the economy on life support a little longer.  There is rapidly shrinking demand for our debt, and confidence in the dollar is falling.  This phenomenon is hidden only by the fact that confidence in all other fiat currencies is falling faster. Rep. Ron Paul writes that those who understand the underpinnings of the dollar and how the Federal Reserve works have known for some time that we are on an unsustainable course, that major chaos is in store if nothing is done quickly to reform things.

Inflation Targeting Hits the Wall
Anthony P. Mueller

February 28, 2012

The financial-market crisis is not over but has grown into a vicious sovereign-debt crisis. Nevertheless, monetary policy makers of the major economies go on to practice the same sort of policy that has led to the crisis. Following the model of inflation targeting, they continue to disregard the quantity of money and the amount and kind of credit creation. As they did before, central bankers cut interest rates as low as they can. Few seem to remember that the monetary-policy concept of inflation targeting was adopted with the promise that low and stable inflation rates would produce financial and economic stability. Anthony Mueller writest hat reality has not confirmed this assurance. On the contrary, inflation targeting was instrumental in bringing about the current financial crisis.

Street Freak: A Review
Douglas French

February 28, 2012

Wall Street traders, like high-stakes poker players, are a different breed. The constant pressure, the appetite for risk, the ability to think and react in split seconds, all the while calculating odds in their heads that most can't do with an HP12C. Douglas French reviews Street Freak: Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers by Jared Dillian - a trader's autobiography that also sheds light on some interesting economic insights.

Fiction
The Snow Plowers' Petition
Steven Horwitz

February 28, 2012

This story might have happened in a small college town in upstate New York… Professor Steven Horwitz presents a modern-day economic parable.

History
The Snowball of Empire
Nico Perrino

February 28, 2012

Nico Perrino writes that, in many ways, the United States' foreign policy is much like a winter snowball game. At the beginning it started small and unpretentious like that first handful of snow. Our smartest of the Founding Fathers advocated for a humble foreign policy: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations," said Thomas Jefferson, "entangling alliances with none." And for about a century, it remained this way. But with the dawn of the 20th century, and the Industrial Revolution in full swing, things began to change.

Politics
Overspending on National Security Threatens National Security
Ron Paul

February 28, 2012

The Obama administration recently released its 2013 budget proposal, and conservatives are correctly alarmed that it calls for unprecedented spending and continued annual deficits exceeding $1 trillion. But the same conservatives complain that the budget does not devote enough funds to overseas adventurism. Rep. Ron Paul continues to be dismayed that in spite of our economic problems, most of those who call themselves fiscal conservatives refuse to consider any reductions in military spending.

State and Local Resistance to NDAA Detention Grows
Tenth Amendment Center

February 28, 2012

State and local resistance to detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act continues to snowball. This press release from the Tenth Amendment summarizes some of the recent measures proposed by representatives of various state and local governments in order to counter the dreadful prospect of American citizens being indefinitely detained without charge or the right to a fair trial.

Science
Tragedy Unfolding in Europe: Is US Media Trying to Ignore It?
Robert W. Felix

February 28, 2012

“The cold snap in Europe, which began in late January, has killed hundreds and brought deep snow where it hasn’t been seen in decades,” says this article in the Seattle Times. This should be front page news. Instead, the article doesn’t appear until page eight. And the title, “At least 3 killed in avalanche in Kosovo,” belies the seriousness of the situation. (The print version carries a different headline: “Cold snap, snow lock down Europe.”)

How about a headline that tells it like it is?
140,000 trapped by snow – Death toll rises past 550.
Robert Felix believes that headline would give readers a glimpse of what’s really happening in Europe, where snow drifts reaching above the rooftops have kept tens of thousands of villagers prisoners in their own homes.


Videos
Resources on Indefinite Life Extension (RILE)
G. Stolyarov II

February 20, 2012

Mr. Stolyarov introduces a new compilation aimed at educating the general public about the desirability of prolonging human lifespans and beating back the foe of death. This compilation consists of articles, videos, informational resources, art, music, fiction, and poetry - and is intended to be a continual work in progress. Users will improve their understanding of scientific, ethical, and cultural aspects of indefinite human life extension and will be more aware of ongoing developments. This can be an excellent tool for enlightening the general public and broadening support for this crucial quest.

Visit the Resources on Indefinite Life Extension page at http://rationalargumentator.com/RILE.html

Harms of Inflation vs. Benefits of Deflation - Video
G. Stolyarov II

February 23, 2012

When it comes to monetary policy, politicians, economic planners at the Federal Reserve, and public opinion are afraid of entirely the wrong scenario. They pursue a deliberate gradual inflation of the money supply for fear that the opposite tendency -- a great deflation might take hold. They allege that deflation is a great calamity, and that mild inflation is a lesser evil or even a preferable policy to follow. The Keynesians among them contend that inflation encourages investment in business enterprises and provides an economic stimulus. And yet, writes Mr. Stolyarov, the conventional wisdom has it all wrong. The politicians in fact favor the devil they know -- inflation -- over the angel they don't know -- deflation. Indeed, deflation has historically been an economic blessing, while inflation has wreaked nothing but havoc in individual finances and in entire societies.

Original essay by G. Stolyarov II: "The Harms of Inflation versus the Benefits of Deflation


 "We can achieve much more in peace than we can ever achieve in these needless, unconstitutional, undeclared wars." 
~ Ron Paul