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Month: December 2011

Number 228

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 228 11 December, 2011 . ..we repudiate only forced organization, not natural organization. We repudiate the forms of association that are forced upon us, not free association. We repudiate forced fraternity, not true fraternity. We repudiate the artificial unity that does nothing more than deprive persons of individual responsibility. We do not repudiate the natural unity of mankind under Providence. The Holy Gospel Of Twentieth Century Economics, The Epistle of Saint John To The Patricians, Is Neither Heaven-Sent Nor Inerrant The British economist John Maynard Keynes (pronounced “canes”) taught that when high levels of unemployment and a severe decline in prosperity occur, the government should create more money and put it into circulation. As this newsletter pointed out recently, that policy is a confusion of money with wealth, and it ignores the fact that unless productivity rises, prosperity will not rise. Keynes assumed that if the supply of money increases, productivity will naturally rise. He was guessing hopefully. The Obama administration — which is probably the most economically ignorant and dogmatically ideological regime in US history — is solidly Keynesian. It bears repeating: economics is a study, not a science. Politicians can not mandate prosperity, and few folks have grasped the point that when government tries to impose its will on hugely complex markets, things are more likely to go off the rails than...

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Number 227

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 227 6 December, 2011 Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.   Is It Socialism Or Fascism — Or Something Else? The traditional definitions are clear: under socialism, no private corporations exit; all businesses are owned by the people. Fascism leaves business in private hands, but controls every aspect of economic activity by issuing orders to everybody. Both systems prevent free markets from emerging, and both defend their authoritarian ways with populist rhetoric. So what is the US economic/political system today? That’s a good question with a complex answer. Obviously there are private businesses; the USA is not like Cuba, where a citizen cannot even open a small restaurant. And obviously Washington does not have the control the Nazis had under Hitler. It is also clear that good governance requires a degree of regulation of human activity, so there are laws to protect both individuals and corporations from unethical practices. There will always be disagreement about how all-embracing and controlling regulatory agencies should...

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Number 226

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 226 3 December, 2011 Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. The Economic/Financial Disaster How in the world could there be so much debt at the same time as so many people are out of work — all while the prices of everything seem to be skyrocketing? Here are the fundamental causes of the USA’s distress: 1. The Federal Reserve. When the Wilson administration created this monster, it circumvented the federal constitution. 2. The ideologues in Congress and the federal apparatus. Every man a homeowner, regardless of his inability to meet the cost? Insanity. 3. The imprudent policies of greedy bankers. The financial behemoths were “too big to fail,” but their leaders were often unethical and irrational. 4. Incompetent governmental regulation of financial institutions. Barney Frank, just shut up and sit down. (Well, now: he’s just said he won’t run again; that’s good, but Maxine Waters may get his committee chairmanship, which would be bad bad bad.) 5. Federal spending that attempted to stimulate the economy. Discredited Keynesian economic myths are the mantras of demagogues. 6. Congressional/bureaucratic policy: the proliferation of dysfunctional regulatory agencies and practices, the threat of more taxes (which makes the future business climate appear risky), consumer “protection” that is disruptive rather than beneficial, and the extension of government’s stereotypical inefficiency...

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