"While every group has certain economic interests identical with those of all groups, every group has also, as we shall see, interests antagonistic to those of all other groups. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for them plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case. And it will finally either convince the general public that its case is sound, or so befuddle it that clear thinking on the subject becomes next to impossible." -- Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson
One of the benefits of running a blog for the last seven years has been interacting with so many smart people. During these daily interactions I am introduced to new ideas, different points of view, and become acquainted with a plethora of great thinkers. When I was younger, before kids, long commutes, running a blog and being beaten down by life, I was a voracious reader. My regular commenters direct me towards writers and books I wish I had read in my twenties rather than my fifties.
But I guess it is never too late to learn something new. I've now read the first two of the four books I bought myself at Christmas: The Law by Frederic Bastiat; Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt; The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek; and Tragedy & Hope by Carroll Quigley. What is so striking after reading The Law (written in 1850) and Economics in One Lesson (written in 1946) is humanity's foibles, belief in fallacies, and ignorance of economics hasn't changed over the last two centuries.
Bastiat & Hazlitt are so clear and concise in their obliteration of the fallacies that socialism and government control of the economy are beneficial to society, that only a brain dead liberal, Ivy League economist, mainstream media shill, or a corrupt politician like Hillary Clinton wouldn't understand. Clinton and her government interventionist minions play the game of promising "free" goodies to their special interest constituents, while promising to punish their enemies (the rich, deplorable middle class, coal industry, gun owners, religious conservatives, entrepreneurs, Russia, Assad).
The narrow minded focus of mathematically challenged liberals is to get elected by any means necessary. They tout the benefits of their new programs on the particular group they are buying votes from, without mentioning the costs, detriments or long term damage to the country and unborn generations. Politicians count on the ignorance of the populace when presenting simplistic fallacious policies that are economically damaging to the country. That's how you end up $19.5 trillion in debt, with $200 trillion of unfunded welfare liabilities.
Corrupt politicians sell their deceits to a government educated dumbed down population by hiring highly educated lackey economist whores who sell their "expert" opinion to the highest bidder. A vast swath of the American public has been conditioned through government education and had their minds molded by establishment manipulators to feel rather than think. People believe untruths and half-truths because they have been conditioned to do so.
They say the truth will set you free. But in today's society, silence about the truth will keep the masses enslaved in passivity and apathy. Huxley realized 85 years ago the truth could be drowned in a sea of distractions and irrelevance. Those who have controlled the unseen mechanisms of society through the educational system, mass media, think tanks, "experts" and corrupt politicians have successfully used propaganda to instill ideas and beliefs in the minds of the masses having no basis in fact or reality.
The unseen government behind the curtain represents the Deep State. This hybrid association of key players from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, mega-corporations, the corporate media, Madison Avenue, the Federal Reserve, shadowy billionaires, and bought off politician hacks, effectively governs the United States with little or no consent of the governed. It's they who pull the wires directing the public mind. It's they who choose your leaders. It's they who reap the economic benefits of financial, trade, and tax legislation.
It's they who are saved by their puppets at the Federal Reserve when one of their financial fraud schemes blows up the world. It's they who control the currency, using it to pillage the wealth of the nation and subjugating the peasants to debt, inflation and squalor. These demagogues promote nonsensical economic policies and solutions designed to mislead an intellectually lazy, iGadget distracted populace into voting for their hand-picked candidate. They picked a black figurehead last time and now they are playing the woman card with a morally bankrupt congenital lying shrew. Intellect, morality, civic responsibility and truthfulness not required or desired. This political campaign can be summed up by this Hazlitt quote:
"It is often sadly remarked that the bad economists present their errors to the public better than the good economists present their truths. It is often complained that demagogues can be more plausible in putting forward economic nonsense from the platform than the honest men who try to show what is wrong with it. But the basic reason for this ought not to be mysterious. The reason is that the demagogues and bad economists are presenting half-truths. They are speaking only of the immediate effect of a proposed policy or its effect upon a single group. But to consider all the chief effects of a proposed course on everybody often requires a long, complicated, and dull chain of reasoning. Most of the audience finds this chain of reasoning difficult to follow and soon becomes bored and inattentive. The bad economists rationalize this intellectual debility and laziness by assuring the audience that it need not even attempt to follow the reasoning or judge it on its merits because it is only "classicism" or "laissez faire" or "capitalist apologetics" or whatever other term of abuse may happen to strike them as effective." -- Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson
Hillary Clinton and her paid for bad economic "experts" propose new spending programs with no valid means for paying the bill. As expected, they count on the intellectual laziness of the electorate by declaring it will be paid for by "taxing the rich". This classic rallying cry of liberals for decades is nonsense that can be discredited in short order by the facts. Taxing the rich will never yield enough revenue to pay for all the additional vote buying spending schemes because the rich alter their behavior in retort to increases in tax rates. Federal tax revenue has been exceptionally constant at an average 17.4% of gross domestic product in the last 50 years even as the top marginal tax rate fluctuated between 91% and 28%.
The surge in 2000 was due to the REDUCTION in the capital gains tax rate in 1997, coupled with the Fed's first major bubble – the internet boom. Hillary's boasting about Bill's "surpluses" is disingenuous as gridlock in Congress led to no new spending, Greenspan created a bubble in pets.com and hundreds of other worthless internet companies and lower capital gains tax rates led to a major inflow of taxes into government coffers. And Hillary's lies about Bill's surpluses can be dispatched by the facts.
The national debt was $4.2 trillion on the day he took office and $5.7 trillion on the day he left, a 36% increase, with no year where the national debt declined. Fake government accounting doesn't trump the facts. But he did repeal Glass Steagall, allowing Wall Street banks free rein to pillage, steal, defraud, and destroy the global financial system. The $159 million in speaking fees (aka bribes/payoffs) siphoned from Wall Street banks and other corporate interests by Hillary and Bill were a great big thank you from the beneficiaries of their deceit.
No matter what politicians promise or legislate, Federal tax receipts will never exceed 20% of GDP. The "rich" who actually run the show and rig the system in their favor will always win. Even if Clinton is elected and able to put forth legislation to "tax the rich", by the time it gets through Congress it will be 2,500 pages of exceptions, loopholes, and payoffs to important constituents who bought the most legislators. The increase in tax revenues will be DOA. But it will not be so when it comes to her spending proposals.
Increasing the minimum wage, equal pay for women, more war in the Middle East, free daycare and free college for all will happen in some form. That's why Federal expenditures have averaged 20.2% of GDP for the last 50 years, are on automatic pilot to reach 23% in the next ten years, and will keep rising according to the CBO. This is a typical ploy for Washington politicians who make financial promises to garner votes, front load the benefits, push costs into the future, and never pay the bill. Well the bills are coming due and you the taxpayer are the one getting screwed – again.
Bastiat railed against the socialists ruining the French economic system in 1850. Hazlitt pointed out the fallacies of FDR's New Deal make work schemes in 1946. Their facts and logic were unequivocally sound, but understanding math and unseen consequences have never been the strong point of humanity. It's so much easier to believe "experts" like Larry Summers, Ben Bernanke, Paul Krugman and Hillary's personal economist lapdog – Mark Zandi.
These shills for the establishment purposefully ignore facts and mislead the public when they arrogantly expound upon economic issues in an untruthful manner. These feckless captured hacks ignore basic truths, articulated by Hazlitt, that everyone should know:
Everything we get must in some way be paid for; Government has nothing to give to someone without first taking it from someone else; Increased handouts to selected groups mean increased taxes, or increased deficits and increased inflation.
These Keynesian worshiping Ivy League apparatchiks are just recycling ancient ideas which have failed throughout the ages. They are willfully ignorant of the previous failures, as they prefer a big fat payday from the establishment for perpetuating fallacies which keep the peasants misinformed and confused. These morally bankrupt men are what pass for brilliant thought leaders in this day and age. No wonder the country is on the edge of an economic abyss.
Both parties have embraced the "deficits don't matter" mantra because nothing bad has happened so far. Their ignorance of the past will condemn us to repeating the errors of history and experiencing the disastrous consequences which always follows the folly of believing you can get something for nothing.
"The ideas which now pass for brilliant innovations and advances are in fact mere revivals of ancient errors, and a further proof of the dictum that those who are ignorant of the past are condemned to repeat it." -- Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson
The common theme from ancient obfuscators during the time of Adam Smith down through the ages to the current gaggle of sophists is that economics is too complicated for the average person to understand; therefore they should not even attempt to follow the reasoning or judge the merits of asinine voodoo economic tripe sold by arrogant Ivy League academics on behalf of the establishment for blood money. These traitorous reprobates do not give a rat's ass about the citizens of this country, the long-term future of the country, or the truth. Their sole concern is for their reputation and personal gain from peddling false narratives on behalf of crooked politicians and wealthy bankers.
Despite overwhelming factual evidence that crackpot Keynesian spending machinations; debasing the currency; interest rate manipulation; globalization; perpetual war; incurring unpayable levels of debt; making $200 trillion of unfunded welfare promises; scorning and ridiculing those who propose living within our means; record levels of wealth inequality; stagnant wages; the loss of good paying jobs; and permanent recessionary conditions for 90% of America; has created a seething anger across the land, Hillary Clinton and her establishment flunkies propose doubling down on those same failed policies.
The elitists in charge disparage and deride prudence, saving, minimizing debt, marriage, working, and all beneficial traits which produce a strong family unit. They glorify degeneracy, shallow displays of idiocracy, dependency, hate, censorship, and moral turpitude. Adam Smith noted the irrationality of bad economists in 1776 at the outset of this now crumbling empire:
"What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom."
In Part Two of this article I will tackle the biggest single issue confronting this nation, which is never broached by Hillary Clinton or any politician because the debts they have recklessly run up will inevitably destroy our country.