Browsing Category "Blog"
4 Oct
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    1 Comment

Our Greek Tragedy

For hard money enthusiasts, what is happening today in Greece and throughout the continent of Europe is nothing short of a modern day tragedy.  The peaceful and vibrant Western Europe that emerged following the war is descending into anarchy as EU Member countries experience something yet unprecedented in the long history of the continent: the bankruptcy of a common currency, the euro.

Leaders of fellow EU nations claim that they will not allow Greece to declare bankruptcy under any circumstances.  To do so would be a tremendous blow against their monetary union.  Yet this is the same official stance that’s been held for years among European authorities.  In the meantime, national finances have only grown direr, and today Greece is joined by Italy, Spain, and Portugal.  Even France has had their credit downgraded.  It seems almost certain that the EU will experience a form of bankruptcy, which the euro may or may not survive.  To keep Greece and the other countries solvent, Europe must either continue to monetize debt and in the process dilute its currency, which would ultimately end in certain calamity; or, strategically default, thus severely relinquishing economic power to her creditors.  Both of these choices are devastating.

The silver lining for Europe is that there may be a third option: to drastically revise and curtail its social welfare programs, the very institutional distinctions of the modern Europe state.  This would involve making tough decisions now regarding entitlements and domestic spending, and drastically reducing the size and scope of European government. Implicit in such a decision is coming to terms with basic, common sense economic principles, which its leaders have stubbornly chose to deny and disregard for generations.  If Europe embraces the common sense approach in an attempt to avoid economic meltdown, Europe should also consider re-implementing “hard” money, i.e. gold, as a common currency.

Long before the euro, Europe had common currency in gold.  From 1750-1870, Europe was on the classical gold standard; and from 1870-1914, Europe was on the gold exchange standard.  Why is a gold standard preferable to fiat (i.e. “paper”) currencies?  Many reasons, including that a gold standard by its very nature more closely calibrates the interests of neighbor nations and people.  It removes from government the potency to corrupt currency markets, and thus prevents the spawn of such corruption – destabilizing market crashes.  It makes it very hard for a nation to declare bankruptcy because it facilitates good bookkeeping practices.

I argue that Europe is not going to lose a common currency if and when it loses the euro, at least not in the economic sense.  Instead, Europe would lose a currency that has been used as political chips by European leaders.  Gold was and still could be a truly common currency, which simultaneously limits and checks the size of government by forcing it to adopt honest accounting standards.  A gold standard prevents cheating and defrauding by virtue of the fact that gold is rare and (extremely) uneconomical to manufacture.  The same cannot be said of paper money.   To raise funds under a gold standard, governments must raise taxes or float bonds to the public.  Fiat money allows governments to purchase their own debt with manufactured money.  In a sense, the euro does not prevent cheating by governments like gold did.  No, it was much too modern for any kind of metal, or what John Maynard Keynes referred to as a “barbarous relic.”  The euro is 20th century “managed currency,” who managers claim, in no uncertain terms, the ability to reduce unemployment by government counterfeiting.

There are very solid philosophical grounds on which to reject fiat currencies as the ideal medium of exchange.  It might sound boring, but accounting is serious business. The information contained in financial data is irreplaceable, and it used by everyone in society from the individual to the family to the federal government.  Poisoning the unit of account (i.e. the euro) through currency debasement causes widespread economic dislocation, unemployment, violent swings in asset prices, and overall chaos.  Yet this knowledge, known well by their forebears, is something that European governments have chosen to willfully ignore for generations.

Consider: Gold has been the world’s currency for 5,000 years, or longer.  It was the money of the industrial revolution.  Its record at maintaining value is undisputed.  It contributed mightily to peacekeeping efforts in Europe from 1750-1914.  Gold forces government to be honest in its financing.  Most fundamentally, it preserves the integrity of the monetary unit and facilitates honest and meaningful financial accounting.  While there are practical problems of keeping an international gold standard, many of these shortcomings are well understood and straightforward to correct, particularly when compared against the problems engendered by fiat currencies.

It seems to me that something is especially tragic when it is wholly avoidable.  We Americans should take head.  Europe’s economic hubris is our own.

Want to learn more…? Click here!

 

30 Sep
2011
Posted in: Announcements, Blog
By    Comments Off

THANK YOU-NYYRC Walks for Breast Cancer

THANK YOU!

Thank you to all those who participated and made generous donations to the NYYRC Walk to Make Strides to End Breast Cancer

 

We raised $1,170 through your help. By joining us at Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, you’ve helped our team create more pink in our community. What does this mean? More pink stands for the progress we’re making together to end breast cancer.  More pink stands for lifesaving programs and services like Look Good… Feel Better which teaches women how to feel beautiful during treatment, or Road to Recovery which provides free rides to and from treatment to those in need.  More pink stands for 2.5 million survivors who are alive today. And all it takes to continue this fight is a little green. Let’s continue to fund groundbreaking research and help people in need receive the screenings and services that they need.

Nothing can describe the hope inspired by walking with thousands of others who share a passion for ending this disease. Nearly everyone has been touched by breast cancer in some way. Thank you for supporting us in this great cause.

30 Sep
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

When Debating a Liberal, Remember: More is More

A liberal family member of mine decided on a recent occasion to begin a political discussion with me.  This fellow, call him Frank, is perfectly well aware that I am a conservative and an activist.  Frank is a committed liberal and has no first hand experience with politics.

I’ve had many such conversations – debates, really – with Frank and people like him.  I was under no illusion our conversation would end with either of us of changing our minds; but still, I don’t mind a spirited give and take, and I indulged Frank and defended my conservative position wholeheartedly.

Like too many liberals, Frank knows very little about politics and actual political happenings, but knows the current Democrat talking points that present themselves on television and in newspapers.  So far as I can tell, he has spent no significant amount of time as a student of the classics of political science, economics, or history.  His knowledge as it relates to current jobless statistics, economic forecasts, political poll numbers, is wanting.

After spending 5 minutes arguing facts and theory against talking points, I’d had had enough.  I realized that there was no fun left in the discussion when Frank accused me of being “insane,” and “an amateur,” and stubbornly refused to acknowledge something tha everybody knows – namely, that the Democrat party is losing the support of the electorate due primarily to their mishandling of the economy, and hence facing a very tough election season.  As I had been leaving his apartment when the conversation first began, I excused myself shortly thereafter and walked out the door.

Upon some reflection, it occurred to me later that possibly the most effective way to deal with a liberal like Frank, who truly thinks he knows better, is not to challenge him with the facts.  This well-meaning approach will only leave one frustrated, as the modern liberal and conservative tend to talk passed one another, perhaps as a result of the rift in news reporting.  Rather, it is to ask the liberal to elaborate, for 5 full minutes, his philosophy of governance. While it’s easy to sound clever spouting the latest “gotcha” phrase, it’s a lot harder to actually explain, in an intelligent manner, a thumbnail sketch of how a legitimate government should be established and administered by a free people.

Just imagine the liberal trying:

“I believe people should have healthcare.  I believe that the right to decent medical care is not only a human right, but that a failure to do so is a perversion of justice.  I don’t believe we should be spending any money on missiles until all American are properly fed.  I believe that rich people are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer, and it’s the government’s job to address the ever-growing inequality.  I believe the government should create jobs by deficit spending until the economy fully recovers.  I believe it was too much capitalism that caused our recession, and the government must have a larger role overseeing the private sector to prevent fraud and abuse.”

Yes, all that may sound impressive, but consider what went unmentioned.

Among them: Federalism, elections, constitutionality, private property rights, a moral and predictable system of law, equality under law, responsible budgeting by government, the demonstrated utter failure of Soviet, Chinese, and Latin American Communism, and class system created by economienda in Latin America.  Moreover, it doesn’t say anything about how individual rights and protections against government are established by long standing moral and legal traditions, such as those that exist in religion and English common law respectively.  Nothing is mentioned about the attempt to limit and check the ambitions of government by establishing three co-equal branches, each checking each others’ ambition.  The Bill of Rights, the bedrock of American civil liberties, is unmentioned.  Notably missing is an explanation of society as distinct from government, and the natural tendencies of peaceable voluntary cooperation to create a vibrant, harmonious, and flourishing economy.  The idea that taxation past a certain low level has diminishing returns is not refuted, nor defended.  Perhaps most tellingly, there is a fundamental failure to address the idea that individuals possess certain rights by virtue of birth that government cannot violate in its normal course of affairs.  The basis for American civil rights as understood since our founding is not even a thought for the liberal.

So, next time you find yourself in a position like mine, remember this: More is More.  Give the liberal an opportunity to expose himself as ignorant for a few good minutes.  When he is finished, succinctly point out that in the course of enumerating his substantial list of grievances and complaints, he forgot all his elementary civics.

One last suggestion:  It may be painful to hear 5 minutes of nonsensical attacks on conservative politics.  Should you decide to task the liberal with expounding his views in some depth, you may want to consider restricting this individual from complaining about Republicans, and resorting to class warfare-like provocative statements.  Given these stipulations, the argument will be over within seconds.

27 Sep
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

Chris Christie 2012?

The New York Young Republican Club’s former President, Lynn Krogh, was quoted recently in the New York Times in support of a Chris Christie candidacy for POTUS.

Said Krogh with respect to the New Jersey Governor:

“Christie understands what it is like to be a Republican in the Northeast,” said Lynn Krogh, a Republican campaign consultant in New York, adding: “He’s practical. He’s not just a barnburner.”

The story explains how prominent billionaires, including David Koch and Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, are leading a “Draft Christie committee.”

The governor has insisted on many occasions that he will not run.

 

25 Sep
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

Herman Cain’s Weekend Victory

Since the entry to Rick Perry into the pool of Republican presidential candidates, the media have focused on two candidates: Governor Perry and Governor Mitt Romney.  The Tea Party candidates, including Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, who were so prominent over the summer had faded into the background as the narrative of Perry/Romney took over the reporting cycles.  That narrative went something like this: Mitt Romney is smart, attractive, and trustworthy, yet also wooden and uncharismatic .  Rick Perry is accomplished, focused on jobs and defeating President Obama, has years of executive experience, yet is lacking in “intellectual heft” and “too cowboy.”

From the perspective of the Tea Party, both of these criticisms miss the mark.  For the constitutional conservative, Mitt Romney’s problem is not that he is uncharismatic, per se, but that he enacted RomneyCare in Massachusetts, a prefigure to Obamacare.  Instead of recanting, Romney has restated his belief that RomneyCare is cost effective and market oriented – something the statistics belie gravely.  In a presidential election in which Obamacare will be front and center, conservatives are reluctant to extend their trust to a governor that enacted Obamacare on the state level, regardless of recent explanations that invoke federalism to justify the defense of his policy.  A program that is economically destined to fail on a national level has no implicit reason to succeed on the state level.

Rick Perry has no such problems on healthcare, but he does have lots of problems on immigration.  He has consistently defended his decision to extend in-state college tuition rates to illegal immigrants.  These special tuition rates are subsidized by Texas tax payers, not illegal immigrants.  Although he has tried to explain his approach as pragmatic (why send future workers out-of-state when we can retain them in Texas with incentives?), he has also slandered those who oppose him as having “no heart.”  Tea Partiers, as constitutionalists, do not view the prudent spending of constituent tax money as heartless, are offended at his insinuations, and sense a G.W. Bush (i.e. “compassionate conservatism”) redux if Perry were elected.

Enter Herman Cain.  In light of the issues that conservatives have with Perry and Romney, it’s not hard to see why Cain trounced them both in this weekend’s straw poll.  (Cain polled 37%, Perry 15%, and Romney 14%.)  He has no such policy transgressions.  He was instrumental in defeating Hillarycare.  He is trusted by the Tea Party, outspoken in favor of fundamental and sweeping tax reform, and has more charisma than both Perry and Romney.  In his talks, he explains in plain language that the private is responsible for growth, and that government must lighten the regulatory environment is we are ever to experience meaningful economic recovery.  Mr. Cain treats voters with respect and intelligence, and sounds more like a wise uncle than slick political salesman.

Republicans should be under no illusions: the national and world economy are at their worst point since the Great Depression.  The euro and EU are in grave danger of disintegration, and America is posting $1+ trillion deficits each year.  China, who has bailed out the U.S.A. and Europe several times over the last few years, is experiencing painful inflation.  Considering these qualifiers, it’s not longer an exaggeration to suggest that the world economy stands at a precipice.  With all due respect to our allies in Europe, only leadership from American can begin to step us back from the edge.

Mr. Cain gets this, and more importantly he understand that Americans get it, too.  Perhaps the single most important stabilizing factor in world peace is a strong Western economy.  Given the foreign policy challenges that are mounting abroad, Americans would be wise to consider an a strong constitutional conservative with abiding faith in the free market for their next president.

23 Sep
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

President Palin?

What’s that ?? Did I hear that correctly?? Sarah Palin is only 5 Percentage points behind President Obama in a new poll!. For someone who sees Russia from her backyard in Alaska and has yet to declare a bid for the White House, this is a remarkable achievement. The former Governor of Alaska continues to travel around the Country riling up the good ol Tea Party folks and regularly appearing as a guest on the Fox News Channel.

This is clearly a referendum on Barack Obama’s failed policies and lousy economy. The “anointed one” as Rush Limbaugh calls him, continues to pray for government spending and higher taxes, which could very well send America into another great depression. Haven’t we spent enough money over the past 3 years? Didn’t the first stimulus bill fail? Isn’t the country on the verge of an historic financial collapse?

Sarah Palin is a very polarizing figure. People love her or hate her. She is a goddess among Tea Party activists and a rockstar throughout the Republican party. While she can be accused of making corky and unconventional comments, the media truly takes pleasure in harming her reputation. She does not deserve to be treated the way she has been by the American public and left wing media. She speaks her mind and is a role model for all women wanting to advance themselves in this world. Where have all the women’s organizations been in defending one of the most powerful and influential women of our time? Hillary Clinton is praised and heralded, yet Sarah Palin is a zealous, right wing fanatic.

In the end, Sarah Palin can only be accused of one thing; caring greatly for the United States of America. She loves our country and will do anything to defend her. As President, she would certainly bring back a sense of patriotism to the White House, something we lack today. I have yet to endorse any candidate for the 2012 Presidential election, but it is telling that she only trails by a few percentage points in the polls. The Republican Party is ripe for another strong voice and Sarah Palin fits that mold. She cannot be taken lightly and can be a game changer for her party. Whether she chooses to run or not, I hope this Country will stop pouncing on her at every opportune time and finally respect her as someone who cares, has chosen to live her dream and decided to make a positive impact on the greatest country on earth.

15 Sep
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

Carville: Tea Party Orgasms at Death

From the Ragin’ Cajun’s CNN piece today, offering advice to President Obama:

1. Fire somebody. No — fire a lot of people. This may be news to you but this is not going well. For precedent, see Russian Army 64th division at Stalingrad. There were enough deaths at Stalingrad to make the entire tea party collectively orgasm. [emphasis added]

Excuse me… what?

I’m not sure what the hell Carville has been smoking down in Louisiana lately, but this might be one of the most absurd utterances I’ve heard from the professional Left in the last five years.  Just think about it, just for a second.  Pretty crazy talk, eh?

My advice to the president?  Deport the creepy James Carville to Mars where he came from, and then fire yourself.

14 Sep
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

Reflections on 9/11

September 11, 2001 is a day that will live on in infamy for the rest of our lives. I was a student at the George Washington University during that time and recall taking a micro-economics class that morning. Upon returning to my apartment, my roommate immediately informed me of what had happened. We watched the news in amazement, still unsure of what had truly occurred. I tried to get through to my family in New York, but was unsuccessful as the phone lines were jammed. After hearing the Pentagon was hit, we felt under attack and stayed inside for the remainder of the day.

Yesterday marked the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 and while we have made great strides as a Nation, we still have a long fight ahead of us on the war against terror. Security levels in New York City continue to remain high as new information suggests another attack might be forthcoming. Additionally, F16 fighter Jets accompanied an American Airlines flight until it landed at JFK airport due to suspicious activity onboard. Tragically, this is how our Country must operate in a post 9/11 world. Sadly enough, friends and family cannot memorialize their loved ones with true peace of mind as fears of an impending threat linger over their shoulders.

While we mourned, remembered and honored those fallen victims of 9/11, other Nations were not as kind. In Pakistan, supporters of an Islamist political party protested, burned American flags and held banners alleging American or Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attack. In Afghanistan, 77 U.S, troops were injured in an attack by a Taliban suicide bomber at an Afghan coalition base. In other parts of the world, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations continue to plot harm against the United States as is evident in documents obtained from the Bin Laden compound and trails of other information picked up on jihadist websites.

We must learn from history and never let it repeat itself. America has faced wars in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Our focus must remain on military defense. We must keep on the offensive and never again let down our guard. The bombing of the USS Cole on October 10, 2000 marked the first unofficial act of war on our Nation preceding a second, unprovoked attack on September 11, 2001, with both events affecting countless innocent men, women, husbands, wives and children who were simply guilty of going to work. The photographs of the falling man and firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero are powerful and will go down in history alongside the famous portrait of U.S. soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima. (http://www.september11news.com/news/most-powerful-911-photos-part-3/)

Our Country faces tremendous decisions in the months ahead as unemployment swells, debt increases and the deficit widens. The choices we make must not and cannot come at the sacrifice of our military and security.

For the past 10 years, America has done a remarkable job working to ensure that America remains safe. Former President George W. Bush deserves credit for making difficult decisions to build a foundation that supports security and our defense. President Obama has built upon that foundation and successfully hunted down Osama Bin Laden, while increasing the use of our military drones against the Taliban.

While our intelligence has improved, we still face threats as evident by the Christmas Day bomber. (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/26/us/26plane.html) The moment that we let down our guard will result in a mistake of epic proportions. To this day, threats continue to be very real because people continue to hate America out of envy and the freedoms that we stand for.

The images from Ground Zero on September 11, 2011 were powerful as Paul Simon’s melody of “the Sound of Silence” overtured the ceremony and the Waterfall Memorial poured spectacularly into the two reflecting pools. Yet it is evident that politics have played a detrimental role in the re-building effort and it has taken 10 years too long to build a proper memorial. Still, we are moving in the right direction and rebuilding as we have always done – as a Nation.

The ten-year anniversary ceremony also coincided with opening day of the National Football League. In Chicago, Jim Cornelison’s rendition of the National Anthem at Soldier Field personified the resolve, courage and strength that Americans have shown and will continue to show moving forward. Chants of USA echoed throughout the Stadium and via social media, other parts of the world. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKW70IOPgM8)

Today, the Freedom Tower is considered to be the safest building in the world with a concrete structure seven times stronger than the average skyscraper. In the end we realize and will always remember that while we lost 2,976 people on 9/11, the fatalities could have been much worse if not for the valiant efforts of Firemen, Policemen and other heroes.

Even though we have our shortcomings, America is still the greatest country in the world. We stand for democracy, freedom of Speech, religious tolerance and the American dream. Let us not forget the atrocities of 9/11, remember that they can happen again, and ensure that they do not.

12 Sep
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

Can Government Spending Boost GDP?

It’s an age-old question that is often not given a complete answer.  But with the introduction of Obama’s new “American Jobs Act” (which at the time of this entry is not yet written) last week, the question deserves another take.  While the news media and pundits cite specific example on why or how it may or may not work, the more fundamental response is critical to properly framing the debate.

In what way can spending be said to “boost GDP?”  What does it mean to “spend?”  What does it mean for GDP to “grow?”  And when GDP grows, what is implied about this spending?  These are important questions that bear consideration.

GDP is a measure total receipts in a year – the total amount goods and services sold – and thus, by definition, also a measure of income (vis-a-vis the principles of standard accounting).  More transactions at a higher average price than the year before means a growth in GDP.  Positive GDP numbers indicate short term growth economic growth.*

A healthy, growing economy needs good (i.e. profitable) investment.  It needs to carefully direct its capital, which is scarcer than was anticipated.  For the government to succeed in actually boosting GDP numbers, the government will have to out-compete the professional investors who keep the private sector moving.  A Congress of 535 individuals who totally lack on-the-ground knowledge of business conditions must make more profitable decisions than the owners of these companies.

Barack Obama, if this bill passes, will have to quickly become the best teacher, contractor, energy innovator, etc. if it is to succeed in doing what he says it will do.  Why is this necessarily so?  Because Obama, in spending additional resources, is actually diverting those resources from private hands who almost certainly know better than he and Congress do – across all industries.

For more information, see Hayek’s The Use of Knowledge in Society.

*Positive rises of GDP over the long term can indicate inflation of the money supply.

9 Sep
2011
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

GOP Primed for Upset in Weiner District

Bob Turner (R) looks ready to assume Anthony Weiner’s former seat in NY’s 9th District.  From Politico:

Republicans are poised for a dramatic upset in next week’s special election for a New York City congressional seat, according to a new poll out Friday.

The survey, conducted by the Siena Research Institute, found Republican Bob Turner holding a 50 percent to 44 percent lead over Democrat David Weprin.

Me: If Republicans take this seat, and it appears likely that they will, it suggests that 2012 could be cataclysmic for the Democrat Party.  Maybe the Mayans were on to something after all?