Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Markets Still Tumbling, Your Dollar Still Being Stolen - Anybody Seen the Constitution Lately?

Asian markets are tumbling this morning, reacting to renewed fears about the impact of the financial crisis that began with the bubble of easy credit created by Greenspan and the harmful policies of the incredibly unconstitutional Federal Reserve Bank. The dollar is down as well. It's lost around 30% of its value in the past couple of years. Do you realize that the creation of vast amounts of new money by the Fed - always cranking up the printing presses - simply steals money from all of us? That's what our government is doing through reckless deficit spending and reckless monetary policies.

And on top of the theft of your savings and income by inflationary spending that destroys the dollar - a hidden tax - they have the gall to seize billions more of your tax dollars to bail out the banks of their friends, rather than let them face the consequences of the speculative policies they pursued that made them rich while credit was cheap and easy. We have to give our money to prop up Bear Stearns, IndyMac, Fannie Mae, JP Morgan (via the Bear Stearns deal), etc. Just where in the Constitution does the Federal Government have the right to seize your funds to bail out somebody else's business? It's redistribution of wealth on a massive scale - shear Marxism by the biggest capitalists around (the lesson of Marxism is that the rhetoric of "equality" is all about a handful of gangsters on top forcing everyone else to be equally poor and enslaved). Someone's living in a gangster paradise, and it's not us.

I'm not kidding when I use the term Marxism. One of the 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto calls for centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. Marxism is about centralized power, and that takes government control over all the money (along with elimination of gold and silver as money so that paper money can be printed at will to finance the cancerous growth of government). No nation has survived for long when government was allowed to debauch its currency. No government can resist the addiction to easy money creation that gives them added power while selling out the future. The lessons of the Weimar Republic (Germany), Rome, Zimbabwe, and many other catastrophes are there for our review.

So what are you doing? Any of you spoken out by writing your Congressmen to demand that the Constitution be followed on this or any other issue? How's your food storage? And have you thought about moving some of your net worth into something that isn't on its way to zero? Have you compared the progress of your 401k to something like silver, which I advocated here in 2006 when it was about half the price it is today?

Now we have the specter of the big boys at the Fed and the Treasury (headed by the former CEO of Goldman Sachs) recommending that the bankers at the Fed be given even more power to bring "order" to the markets. Power to regulate the entire financial industry. Sweet deal, if you're on the inside with them. Centralized power in the hands of a few unelected officials totally tied to the banking interest - no, there's no "special interest" involved here. Just a big business that needs more power to regulate itself and make sure that the rest of us enjoy "order" (as in their orders).

This is not a "conspiracy theory" rant. It's about business theory - actually, it's not just theory, it's the practice. Business practice. You have to understand that businesses like to make money, and you make money through networks that collaborate toward mutually beneficial ends. So if you're a company and you can get your former CEO in as Secretary of the Treasury or Vice President, it can be good for business. Is that a big surprise? Does one have to be a lunatic to suspect such a possibility? The person may be totally honest and not exert undue influence in favor of friends and personal interests, which is totally cool. Or they may take one step after another which strengthens their friends and advances personal interests, which is totally cool for them and their friends. But it raises certain questions. But the two former CEOs I mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg when one looks at the deep and extensive webs of possibly questionable business relationships and alliances that permeate our world. Follow the money. Who are the ties that influence our President and his cabinet? The media? Our two collectivist candidates for President? And so forth. Why is that such a shocker that people are influenced by their networks and private interests and people they are beholden to? The shocker is that we have disabled the safety mechanism to prevent too much influence in the hands of a few possibly corrupt people. That safety mechanism is the Constitution, and I think we ought to reactivate it. Especially before the next President steps on board and continues faithfully executing the business of transforming America and its assets.

Hah - I did it! I got through an entire post on corruption in our government without once mentioning any crazy Book of Mormon stuff like "secret combinations" and the Gadianton businessmen. I've got more self-control than I thought!

P.S. - I should have mentioned that the Book of Mormon contains marvelously appropriate and prophetic descriptions of a corrupt, arrogant society some years before the First Coming of Jesus Christ showing patterns and behaviors so much like those we see today. There are powerful warnings and lessons to be gleaned. These are serious times, and it's time to take the message of the Book of Mormon seriously if we are to be prepared and overcome the challenges to our freedom that we face. When you lose your freedom, you can't just say "no thanks" and easily go back to your old lifestyle. Learn from Germany, from Cuba, and nations where freedom has been lost when power-hungry gangs took over. Better yet, learn from the Book of Mormon.

34 comments:

AniAnti said...

Why is it that everyone is afraid to use terms like "Marxism" and "Socialism" to describe the policies that are being pushed on us today by the socialists in power? We really need to understand that much of what both parties are pushing are different flavors of freedom-sapping socialism.

Dan said...

Marxism? Are you kidding me? Unrestrained greed is a sign of Marxism? You're blaming the consequences of deregulation on Marxism? These banks lobbied Congress to loosen the regulations so that they can steal more money from the little guy, and you're blaming that on Marxism? These are Robber Barons! They are capitalists! This is the true nature of capitalism, NOT Marxism! This is the end result of listening to idiots like Ayn Rand! not Karl Marx.

The more you continue mislabeling reality, the more problems you are going to have. Or are you afraid to admit that capitalism is really quite flawed?

cadams said...

Dan, the political spectrum is circular, not linear. You go far enough down left or right and eventually they become the same thing.

Keep up the posts Mormanity. However this will soon engulf everyone's attention: a Depression or worse would tend to do that.

Ryan said...

Dan:

You know, it's interesting that just a couple days ago I was reading a very lively forum discussion where the socialism vs capitalism argument came up. One fellow -- "WaltC" -- made a very interesting point:

You might try thinking about the very real fact that without capitalism, socialism would never work as a practical matter anywhere in the world. Pick whatever so-called socialist country you choose and when you scrutinize it you'll see that capitalism is very much alive and well somewhere within its borders. Socialism is nothing more than a wealth-distribution mechanism, but in order to distribute wealth you must first earn wealth, and that's exactly where capitalism comes in.

You can point to negative and extreme examples of both economic philosophies, of course. There is the socialist "leader" who becomes corrupt and turns into a ruthless, fascist dictator; and there is the company officer who becomes corrupt and steals from the rich and poor alike to make himself richer. Greed and corruption are universal traits of human nature and are not constrained by human economic philosophies, unfortunately. IE, "the system" does not make or break "the man," it is rather the man who makes or breaks the system....

[C]orrupt activity has very little to do with capitalism--about as much as it has to do with socialism. It does, however, have a lot to do with greed and corruption; and greed and corruption, again, do not emanate from economic philosophies. Greed and corruption emanate from the human psyche, and have been a constant in human history down through the ages regardless of nation, language, religion, or social, political, and economic philosophy.


(Source here)

For the record, I do think capitalism has some glaring fundamental flaws: growth at all costs is the end, not the means; something has value only if it has a price; and ethics/morality/etc. are externally imposed restrictions rather than internal guides (when present at all).

How capitalism compares with other flavors of economics is a question for a different day...

Chris H. said...

"Any of you spoken out by writing your Congressmen to demand that the Constitution be followed on this or any other issue?"

The commerce clause gives the federal government, through Congress, the clear power to act in these areas. What Constitution are you reading?

Chris H. said...

"One of the 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto calls for centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly."

Alexander Hamilton also called for the same thing. He must have been a proto-marxist by your measure. All of the socialists I know (myself included) do not seem inclined to use the state to support corporate lead inequality.

gentlyhewstone said...

Dan, if regulation is good and deregulation is bad, then how do you account for the industrial revolution in the first place--hardly a product of government intervention? Hasn't the deregulation of the phone industry introduced more competition and innovation, and cheaper goods and services? Doesn't centralized control and regulation tend to result in things like the DMV, OSHA (which costs far more than it saves), and Canadian health care?

(Incidentally, a missionary serving in my area recently got very sick and went to the hospital. Before he was sent home, some of us went to visit him. Someone joked that he was lucky to be here and not in Canada. Someone else reminded him that the elder was from Canada. We apologized, but he said, "Don't worry. If this had happened at home, I probably would have died before I could have gotten care this nice.")

Jeff (or anybody else), have you read Mark Steyn's excellent America Alone? While not about economics per se, it has an entire chapter near the end about what he terms "the social-democratic welfare state" and how it can't sustain itself. It's obvious, but Steyn phrases the argument better than anybody.

Also, if I may, could I point out that points 4 and 7 in my post, "Ten Conservative Principles Endorsed By The Book Of Mormon" directly agree with Jeff's opinions? http://gentlyhewstone.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/ten-conservative-principles-endorsed-by-the-book-of-mormon/

Ryan said...

Gah. Forgot to put the on-topic part into that last post:

The challenge in economics and government is how to place checks and balances that prevent greed and corruption from focusing too much power in any one person or group. The Constitution was very carefully designed with that end in mind. It's not perfect, but by removing or ignoring those checks and balances we make ourselves extremely vulnerable to power grabs. Once the grabs occur it doesn't really matter what label we attach to those in power.

Anonymous said...

Probably about time to bring out the "White Horse". ;)

Anonymous said...

Dan, free enterprise is the opposite of what we are seeing. Marxism is talking about a GOVERNMENT using its power to redistribute wealth that it seizes from citizens. Giving it to individuals or companies, it's still about big government and socialism/Marxism, not free enterprise and certainly not the form of government our Founding Fathers gave us.

The problem Jeff refers to isn't deregulation, it's Federal policies and now unconstitutional Federal redistribution of wealth to bail out the greedy. What right do they have to do that?

Robber barons and capitalists gladly use whatever means they can to secure their advantage. A Marxist state is the ultimate advantage if they are on top and the redistributed wealth goes toward them. That's what Cleon Skousen demonstrated eloquently in The Naked Capitalist.

Dan said...

cadams,

I too believe that there are similarities between the extremes of each political philosophy, but I do not believe the political spectrum is circular. I think that simplifies it too much. Take libertarians, for example. On many issues they are further to the right of conservatives, but on other issues they are on the left. You can't place them on a linear plot. I have libertarian tendencies, but in no way does the label libertarian describe me.

The reason I state this is that, you are trying to conflate and obfuscate what are real, and very stark differences between capitalism and socialism so that the actions of capitalists can be excused as them simply falling to the dark of socialism. This is not the case. Capitalism has its own dark side, and it is very dark, with many cockroaches. Capitalists tend not to want those dark corners see the light because they have set themselves as a light on a hill, for all the world to see. And if it is shown that capitalists are really no different than any other economic/political philosophy, then people will flock more to other philosophies, and capitalists hate to lose. It would be better for them to just simply admit that there are major problems with capitalism, show those dark corners, and let people decide for themselves.

Ryan,

WaltC is assuming that wealth and currency are exclusively owned by capitalism. Ironically, it was Marx himself who coined (er, no pun intended) the term "capitalism." You don't have to have currency and wealth in order to have any political/economic philosophy. Currency and wealth are merely tools. You can use whatever system to distribute them, but they don't emanate or come to life because of a philosophy. So, you can indeed have socialism without capitalism.

As a side note, I love how capitalists believe that anything having to do with money, currency, or wealth, is related to their political/economic philosophy. Hubris much?

gentlyhewstone,

Dan, if regulation is good and deregulation is bad, then how do you account for the industrial revolution in the first place--hardly a product of government intervention?

First of all, the industrial revolution was not good for America. It was good for a few Americans. Go on, read Titan, see how much a cheater John Rockefeller was. Secondly, it only got good for the rest of Americans when they began banding together in unions to demand better pay. Suddenly wealth, distributed more widely, made this country rich!

Hasn't the deregulation of the phone industry introduced more competition and innovation, and cheaper goods and services?

If not for the iPhone and the Blackberry, I would lament the phone industry in America. It is still very pitiful when you compare with what services you get in Europe. Imagine this, you are on the subway, a mile underground, and you can still talk on your cell phone! You get that, where? Not on the subway here in New York! No, you get that in Moscow! We ought to be ashamed of the pitiful state of our phone industry here in America.

And don't even get me started on rail service. Have you ever been on the ICE in Germany? Wow! I've not been to Japan yet, but I salivate for the day I get to ride on their trains! Heck, even China is way ahead of us in terms of train service. Meanwhile, we're stuck with devalued SUVs here in America. Again, pitiful.

(Incidentally, a missionary serving in my area recently got very sick and went to the hospital. Before he was sent home, some of us went to visit him. Someone joked that he was lucky to be here and not in Canada. Someone else reminded him that the elder was from Canada. We apologized, but he said, "Don't worry. If this had happened at home, I probably would have died before I could have gotten care this nice.")

We all have such stories. I was in Romania visiting and I had a sharp pain in my lower back (later, I discovered it was a kidney stone). I was taken to the local hospital and within 30 minutes, they had given me medicine that eased the pain. And guess what? I did not pay a single leu (the Romanian currency). If I were in America, I would have waited in the emergency room for a while, and then get fronted with a $500 bill. Again, pitiful.

gentlyhewstone said...

Holy cow, Dan, all three of your points to me are red herrings.

Your boast about unions vs. Rockefeller has nothing to do with the innovations of the industrial revolution being the product of independent R&D rather than intrusive federal control.

Distributing wealth created a better standard of living? No, but at least you admit that the indutrialists created wealth. When did socialism ever create wealth?

Unions improve the standard of living? Not for employers they bully out of their own profit. Not for those who refuse to be coerced into joining. Not for the victims of the crime and corruption that so faithfully follow unions around.

Are you suggesting that a good experience with reception in Europe proves that American phone products and services are not better now than they were in the past because of deregulation? How odd. Would American phones be better today had not the industry been deregulated? If so, how do you know? And, pray tell, what produced the kind of miraculous super-technology in Europe that you wish we could emulate here? Bet it wasn't in some kind of Marxist lab...

I'm glad your kidney stone condition in Romania worked out well, but if you think that proves that government control is a good thing, you have to ask yourself why Ted Kennedy had his brain surgery here and not there. If Romania's health care system is the result of something other than our free-enterprise model, then isn't it likely that your quick, free treatment in Romania was the result of a social-democratic welfare model that can't sustain itself over the long run (like France's famous short work weeks and long vacations)?

Frankly, your negative scenario for treatment in the U.S. isn't that bad, and it would be even better if that industry weren't so heavily regulated, also. You want faster and cheaper hospital visits? Vote for tort reform: doctors' insurance goes down, patients' bills go down.

Dan said...

gently,

I can't continue debating this topic because you don't want to look at my points from any point of view than your own. I've been down that path too many times and it doesn't serve us to continue.

Mormanity said...

"Unrestrained greed is a sign of Marxism?" - you bet. You don't think Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc., weren't greedy? Totalitarianism of any kind, as well as its junior cousins of "democratic" socialism is ultimately about the greed of the ruling elite, who see everyone else's property as theirs for the taking or taxing. Greed for property, wealth, power - it's all greed.

Individual economic freedom, the freedom protected by the Constitution, is what I mean by "free enterprise" and is the opposite of Marxism and very different from the "capitalist" grab for power using the government as a tool to seize and redistribute the property of the non-elite.

Mormanity said...

I'm with Howard Ruff, quoting will Rogers: "Invest in inflation. It's the only thing going up." Here's Howard's article on investing in inflation.

Anti-inflation stock picks to consider: DNN, EXK, SLW, GMO, FTK, FTO, and AAV. Warning: I don't have a testimony of any of these, and have made lots of mistakes in my stock picks this past year. But I'm still generally doing better than the market in stocks, though I've been moving away from them.

Chris H. said...

"Individual economic freedom, the freedom protected by the Constitution,"

Where in the Constitution does it do that?

I think that it is just after privacy.

Anonymous said...

Something that seems to be lost on people who espouse socialism/communism is that these philosophies amount to a subtle form of slavery. Whenever you have a system where one man or a government of men can take the labor or fruits thereof from another you have slavery. The more we are taxed, and the more our taxes are used to punish success and reward laziness the more we are slaves to the state.

It makes my head explode when people extol the benefits of Europe or other socialist countries. Its like saying "Hey sure they're slaves, but the benefits are great! Why don't become slaves to the state so we can be cool like them?"

Socialism and communism are bad ideas that won't go away. The the biggest sham of it all is that people who want it seek to remove those evil capitalist rich elitists with communist evil rich elitists. So nothing really changes at the top, and at the bottom? Welcome to slavery.

Chris H. said...

Anon,

Wow, you are really good at reading and reciting John Birch Society literature. What a valuable, though scary, skill.

Ryan said...

Dan:

The main points I was trying to make with WaltC's quote was that greed and corruption are intrinsic to what LDS would call 'the natural man' and are not *caused* by any particular economic philosophy. I agree that unrestrained greed among those in power is not a sign of Marxism, but it's not particularly a sign of capitalism either...

I'm no expert on economic philosophies, but my (somewhat cynical) impression is that under capitalism the robber baron fleeces the little guy by using dirty tricks and underhanded scheming to take his money from him, where under socialism he "convinces" the little guy to "willingly" give up his money with faith that he will be taken care of in return.

I fail to see any real distinction between the two; either way, the Robber Barons end up with the money and the little guy loses. Greed and corruption.

Again, the bigger issue IMO is that the Constitution mandates at least some checks and balances to prevent concentration of power by the few (call "the few" what you like), and those checks and balances are being discarded more and more.

Mormanity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormanity said...

Individual economic freedom, the freedom protected by the Constitution,"

Where in the Constitution does it do that?


Chris, as you surely know, the Constitution is rooted in the concept of individual liberty plus private property. When individuals are free and have their rights, including property rights, protected by a limited government, they can then enjoy the fruits of their labors. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . . Private property rights are inherent to the Constitution, which is quite antagonistic toward the socialism we are moving towards in this country.

The beauty of the Constitution is that it spells out the limited powers that government may have, provides them with abundant checks and balances to keep government limited and subservient to the people from whom it derives its powers, and ensures that all rights not enumerated as being within the scope of government duties resides with the people or the states. Government is granted no right to redistribute wealth, bail out the friends of its leaders, or devalue the currency by printing fiat money. But the assumption of such powers, contrary to the Constitution, has resulted in vast erosion of our general welfare and property rights.

Mormanity said...

NPR has an interesting article on the political network associated with the failed Fannie Mae bank. Just a tiny hint of how things happen.

Darion Alexander said...

Notice how no one said anything about Dan's point about our rail lines....or lack thereof...Amtrak is a waste of time and money. Compare that to Japan and Europe's magrails etc. I wonder if there is a conspiracy in the auto industry, we are forced to buy cars that run on high-priced gas or take the Amtrak that derails more often than not. Maybe the subways are better than Amtrak, but comparatively we are almost...being forced to either buy an auto, live and work in smaller communities where we don't use much gas(which is more ideal, b/c then I can ride my bike to work), etc. It almost feels like the Auto industry is making sure that rail doesn't take off in the U.S.A. because it would definitely compete like in Europe and Japan. Any thoughts anyone?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm not familiar with the John Birch Society, I just know that stealing from people, even if they can "afford" to be robbed is wrong.

I think it odd when people speak of the American dream they talk of the freedom and opportunity provided by our country to make your own way and succeed in life. Yet when people do realize the American dream they are demonized as greedy capitalists by others who covet their success. The large majority of millionaires in the US are first generation who worked hard and became successful. The idea that "the rich" (which is usually defined as someone richer than you) were just born into privilege and made their money by squashing some "little guy" is a very old world feudalistic way of thinking that really doesn't apply to America. In America, anyone can be successful, they just have to get off their duff and go do it. But socialists seem content to just remain on their duff and covet the success of others and complain about how they're "disadvantaged" and so they vote for people willing to steal from the successful and hand it back to them.

Chris H. said...

Anon,

I am not disadvantaged. So I am not sure what you are talking about. Thank though. People like you keep my going in the fight for justice. Thanks again.

Chris H. said...

Of course, I cannot write very well this morning.

gb said...

Why is it that a lot of people will trust that some nameless, faceless government bureaucrat will use their neighbors money more wisely than their neighbor (who the actually know)?

Makes no sense to me.

Wookface said...

Darion Alexander said

"It almost feels like the Auto industry is making sure that rail doesn't take off in the U.S.A. because it would definitely compete like in Europe and Japan. Any thoughts anyone?"

This may be true. However, I think it unfair to compare the amazing rail systems of Japan with the United State's railways. Japan has an extremely high population density. A quick look at wiki (the source of all knowledge, of course) says that Japan's population density is 337/km2 whereas the US is 31/km2. The greater Tokyo area has possibly 30 to 40 million people living there. This makes it very economical to create an intricate train and subway system; you can have trains leaving every five minutes for most of the day at a reasonable price because there will always be people who need to travel around and the low costs make it very affordable. In many parts of the U.S. there simply is not enough people to make that work. It would be trains leaving every 2 hours or so to take me to the other side of town so I can go to the mall, or trains leaving every 20 minutes but so expensive I'd spend all my money before I even got to the mall. Rather than do all that waiting or spending money, it'd just be easier (and cheaper) to take 10 minutes and drive over there. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see an economical rail system developed. I just think its mostly a matter of practicality rather than the auto industry monopolizing the transportation market.

Wookface said...

I was listening to a religious radio program Sunday night (not sure who it was unfortunately) and the minister or preacher made some interesting points about wealth distribution and socialism. One of his major problems with wealth distribution is that it is forcefully taking money from people to help others in need. I hadn't ever really thought about it in that light. Supporters of wealth distribution use the tactic that the rich don't need it and the poor do. Though this may be true, is it wrong to MAKE somebody give their money to someone else? One of the basic principles of the Gospel is helping those in need. It is something Christ did His whole life. We learn in the Book of Mormon that part of taking upon ourselves the covenant of baptism is to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. We should always be striving to help those around us, giving of our time, talents and means. But Christ didn't force the rich young man to sell everything, give it to the poor and follow Him. He encouraged him to do so, but never forced him. We shouldn't be forcing people to be charitable! Forcing people to do what is right...sounds like somebody else's plan.

Skipper said...

From D.R. Schoon:

Receiving taxpayer dollars from the US Treasury for their private benefit is not new to Goldman Sachs. In 1990s, when the Mexican government defaulted on its bonds, investors at Goldman Sachs' stood to lose billions of dollars. They didn't.

Buried deep in the subsequent $40 billion US bailout of Mexico was a $4 billion payment to Goldman Sachs, gratis of the US Treasury indemnifying Goldman Sachs against any losses on their investment in Mexican bonds.

The fact that current US Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson also recently used US funds to underwrite JP Morgan Chase's private buyout of investment bank Bear Stearns and is now proposing to do the same with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is to be expected. For investment bankers, using public money to privately profit is business as usual.

They're ruining what has been one of the greatest economies in the world, [Bernanke and Paulson] are bailing out their friends on Wall Street but there are 300 million Americans that are going to have to pay for this.

- Darryl Robert Schoon

Anonymous said...

Silver is much more rare today than it was in the 80s when the last big price run-up occurred. The US Government then dumped all of its 2 billion ounces of silver on the market and kept the price low for a long time - but now they and the other central banks of the world generally don't have any silver, which has been heavily used industrially. There is less silver than gold available on the market, and we have much less today than we did 20 years ago, but industrial uses are abundant and critical. Silver is cheap and the fundamentals of supply and demand suggest that it will be a great investment for many years to come. Silver will keep going up, and may go very fast as the dollar declines.

Greg said...

Jeff, you seem to be very much in line with the John Birch Society's core values. Is this common among Mormons? I know Ezra Taft Benson promoted it.

That said, wedding religious beliefs to this or any political ideology (along with this Communist paranoia) worries me.

Anonymous said...

The commerce clause gives the federal government, through Congress, the clear power to act in these areas.

But they work for you and can so act if you let them.

KingM said...

In addition to the Book of Mormon, the Lord of the Rings is another novel that has some good advice for avoiding despotism.