Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). A. Rival FaithsFaith is basic to the lives of all people. Most of what believe we take on faith. We have not scientifically examined everything we believe. Most of what we fervently believe is not subject to the rigorous but narrowly focused techniques of scientific testing. We believe it anyway. Leonard E. Read fervently believed in the productivity of human creativity. So do I, but it is not the foundation of my worldview. It was for Read. He called the free market a miracle, meaning a miracle of creativity. I do not call it a miracle. I call God’s creation of the cosmos in six days a miracle. In contrast to Read, I call the free market economy a predictable institutional result of society’s acceptance and enforcement of these principles, all of which are mandated in the Bible: the doctrine of linear time, the doctrine of ethical progress (progressive sanctification), private property, the rule of law, civil laws against theft, taxes below ten percent of income, men’s strict legal responsibility for their actions, the rejection of envy, wealth as a confirmation of the covenant, and men’s commitment to leaving an inheritance to their grandchildren. Why did Read refer to a pencil as both a miracle and a mystery? First, it is the outcome of innumerable decisions. Second, there is no central planning agency coordinating these decisions. There could not be such an agency. No one knows how to make a pencil. Yet a pencil is common. It is also quite simple. Think of complex products as far greater miracles and far greater mysteries. How could this be? Read said it is the product of an Invisible Hand. But Read did not believe in a supernatural being that is shaped like a hand, yet invisible. The phrase is a metaphor, one coined by Adam Smith in 1759 and used again in 1776. People do not trust their futures to a metaphor. They want to believe in a world with causation based on ethics, where good things happen to law-abiding, ethically righteous people. This is what they teach their children. They do not teach their children to trust in an Invisible Hand (capitalized). What is the source of the market’s remarkable ability to produce wealth? God or man? If man, does this mean as individuals or the state? How is the system of economic cause and effect sustained? B. Rival ExplanationsHere is Read’s position:
This post was published at Gary North on June 24, 2017.
Last month, we reported on a poll showing most Americans don’t want to see President Donald Trump impeached. Today, a new poll released exclusively to the Hill shows that most Americans feel the investigations into alleged collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign are a distraction. The poll found that 64% of Americans believe the investigations are hurting the country, and a whopping 73% believe that the focus on Russia is distracting Congress from important issues like health care and tax reform. Here’s the Hill: A majority of voters believe the Russia investigations are damaging to the country and are eager to see Congress shift its focus to healthcare, terrorism, national security, the economy and jobs. Those are the findings of the latest Harvard-Harris Poll survey, provided exclusively to The Hill, which paints a complicated picture of voters’ opinions about the numerous probes that have engulfed the White House. Sixty-four percent of voters said the investigations into President Trump and Russia are hurting the country. Fifty-six percent of voters said it’s time for Congress and the media to move on to other issues, compared to 44 percent who said the focus should stay on Russia.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 24, 2017.
Last week, a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican members of Congress. Letters sent by the gunman to his local newspaper suggest he was obsessed with Republican policies, and concluded that Donald Trump “Has Destroyed Our Democracy” [sic] and that “It’s Time to Destroy Trump and Co.” In the wake of the attack, there have been the usual predictable calls for “unity.” These calls, of course, fail to address a central reason why unity appears to be a problem, and why many feel the need to manufacture it where it does not exist. Fear of a “Foreign” Majority In the wake of the 2016 election, it was not uncommon to read in both the mainstream media, and in social media, predictions that with a Republican victory, a fascist police state would soon be bringing the hammer down on all the enemies of the regime. In this case, “enemy of the regime” was anyone other than the alleged troglodytes who had voted Trump into office. Nine months later, we’re still waiting on that border wall and on that Obamacare repeal, and on that tax cut. In fact, all we’re likely to get is more government spending, more deficits, and more war. In short, the new administration will look a lot like the old one.
One of the few elected Democratic lawmakers with an extensive anti-war record, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has combined forces with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) to push legislation through both the House and the Senate that would bar federal agencies from using taxpayer-backed funds to provide weapons, training, intelligence, or any other type of support to terrorist cells such as al-Qaeda, ISIS, or any other group that is associated with them in any way. The Stop Arming Terrorists Act is so unique that it’s also the only bill of its kind that would also bar the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries that support (directly or indirectly) terrorists such as Saudi Arabia. To our surprise – or should we say shame? – only 13 other lawmakers out of hundreds have co-sponsored Gabbard’s House bill. Paul’s Senate version of the bill, on the other hand, has zero cosponsors. While both pieces of legislation were introduced in early 2017, no real action has been taken as of yet. This proves that Washington refuses to support bills that would actually provoke positive chain reactions not only abroad but also at home. Why? Well, let’s look at the groups that would lose a great deal in case this bill is signed into law.
Central bank caution beefs up stock gains (Reuters) Pound Drops as BOE’s Carney Says Not Yet Time to Raise Rates (BBG) Oil Just Hit Its Lowest Level of the Year (BBG) Britain charges Barclays, ex-bosses over ‘unlawful’ Qatari deal (Reuters) Senate GOP Sets Ambitious Deadline on Health-Care Vote (WSJ) Both Parties Have a Lot to Lose in Georgia and S. C. Special Elections (WSJ) House speaker vows to complete tax reform in 2017 (Reuters) The New Face of Trump’s Legal Team Is the Christian Right’s Pitbull (BBG) Russia probe focuses on role of Flynn partner (Reuters) Among the iPhone’s Biggest Transformations: Apple Itself (WSJ) Democrats protest Senate Republican healthcare secrecy (Reuters) Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Profit (BBG) Whole Foods CEO hints at another brand under Amazon (Reuters) Robots Are Eating Money Managers’ Lunch (BBG) Trump seen hardening line toward Pakistan after Afghan war review (Reuters) Peak Banking Globalization Hasn’t Come and Gone, BIS Says (BBG) Soros Says U. K. Is Approaching ‘Tipping Point’ as Brexit Bites (BBG) Supreme Court to hear major case on political boundaries (Reuters) Ex-BlackRock Exec’s Gas Bet Pays Off With $6.7 Billion Takeover Deal (BBG) Millennials Are Helping America Save More Money (BBG) Tesla driver in fatal ‘Autopilot’ crash got numerous warnings: U. S. government (Reuters) Boeing lifts 20-year industry demand forecast to $6 trillion (Reuters) Virginia police probe Muslim girl’s killing as ‘road rage’ incident (Reuters
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
‘Never let a crisis go to waste.’ -Rahm Emmanuel The algorithm is simple: Governments coerce their pet monkeys to pay taxes into the system – the self-perpetuating machine – and thereby the monkeys become the very sources of funding to build, equip, staff, and enforce their own incarceration. There are too many individuals with dreams, plans, goals, and ambitions for themselves and their families. There is too much individualism. It eventually must be crushed, in order to maintain the existing social, political, religious, and economic order. The order will eventually blend all of the elements and ‘homogenize’ them to assure mutual self-support for the overall goal: the supremacy of the State and the subjugation of the masses. The paradigm shift is from the rugged individual raising a family of self-supporting and producing citizens that contribute to their government to the collective, where the individual is a number and controlled/controllable in every aspect. The family has been divided to not think for the family and to be in awe and obedience to the State. The end-state is this phrase: ‘I am the State; the State is all.’ -The words of Quarlo in the episode ‘Soldier,’ (The Outer Limits) We are seeing the transformation occur before our eyes. We are also seeing the ‘justification’ for such control in the form of a rise in various stages of actions labeled either as ‘civil unrest’ or ‘terrorism’ by the governments. It was just announced on byGateway Pundit in an article entitled Macron Hopes to Put France in a Permanent State of Emergency, via a bill that will make it a law of the land. Hello?
This post was published at shtfplan on June 20th, 2017.
Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute, Observers have surmised that the real reason for the judge’s leniency was that he feared his family might be subjected to retribution from the clan. “In their concept of masculinity, only power and force matter; if someone is humane and civil, this is considered a weakness. In clan structures, in tribal culture everywhere in the world, ethics are confined to the clan itself. Everything outside the clan is enemy territory.” – Ralph Ghadban, Lebanese-German political scientist and leading expert on Middle Eastern clans in Germany. “The state promotes organized crime with taxpayer money.” – Tom Schreiber, a member of the Berlin House of Deputies. A court in Hanover has handed suspended sentences to six members of a Kurdish clan who seriously wounded two dozen police officers during a violent rampage in Hameln. The court’s ruling was greeted with anger and derision by police who said it is yet another example of the laxity of Germany’s politically correct judicial system. The case goes back to January 2014, when a 26-year-old clan member, arrested for robbery, tried to escape from the magistrate’s office by jumping out of a seventh-floor courtroom window. The suspect was taken to the hospital, where he died. Members of his clan subsequently ransacked the hospital, as well as the court, and attacked police with rocks and other projectiles; 24 police officers and six paramedics were injured. The judge said he was lenient because the defendants witnessed the death of the 26-year-old and were traumatized. The judge also revealed that he had reached a deal with the clan, which among other effects prevented police from testifying in court.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
The US opioid epidemic has continued to worsen in 2017 as super-powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil taint the nation’s heroin supply. While the FBI’s final tally has yet to arrive, preliminary data suggest that overdose deaths last year eclipsed the 50,000 recorded nationally in 2015 – the most ever. And the body count is expected to be even higher in 2017. As the death toll in some of the hardest-hit areas of the country skyrockets – in some cases forcing county coroners to build larger freezers to store the bodies – states have begun filing lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies responsible for making and marketing opioid painkillers, in hopes of offsetting the ballooning public-health costs that have been a byproduct of the crisis. Three Tennessee district attorneys are the latest prosecutors to file suit against the drug makers, joining a group that includes the attorneys general of Ohio, Illinois, Mississippi, New York and Santa Clara and Orange County in California – not to mention the Cherokee Nation. But the Tennessee prosecutors’ approach differs from their peers in one unique way:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.
Authored by Dave Forest via OilPrice.com, Libya has been one of the biggest x-factors in the global crude markets the past year. With on-again, off-again production in this key nation alternately supporting and suppressing prices. But news this week suggests things are looking up for Libya’s crude output. And down for global oil markets. Reuters reported that Libya’s National Oil Company has struck a backroom deal with German energy developer Wintershall, which will see that firm restart a major chunk of oil production in the east of the country. The Wintershall assets covered by the deal have production potential of 160,000 b/d. But have been shut-in since earlier this year after a dispute broke out between the company and the Libyan government over an alleged $900 million in unpaid taxes. The two parties however, said Tuesday they have reached an ‘interim arrangement’ to end the dispute. Opening the door for Wintershall’s significant swath of production to return to market.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.
Former Navy SEAL and Blackwater founder, Erik Prince, recently penned an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal calling for a MacArthur Plan for Afghanistan that rests on two pillars: a central Viceroy acting with complete authority to direct development activities and a privatized East India Company model for securing key areas to bolster economic growth. He goes on to posit mineral resource extraction and agriculture cultivation as the means of funding Afghanistan’s rise into the ranks of civilized nations. Of course, leftists immediately denounced the idea as war profiteering and corporate undermining of state authority. In terms of political economy, Prince is correct to point out the tremendous waste of money the US led coalition is costing the taxpayers of participating countries. After more than 16 years of occupation, the military campaign has become a quagmire and preventing the rise of future threats emanating from Afghanistan requires a comprehensive redesign and philosophical approach. Citing the expected $45 billion investment projected for 2017, Prince claims that his privatized security plan under a unified governor would cost only $10 billion. While this would be a significant savings and an improvement from the status quo, it still places the American taxpayer on the hook for subsidizing someone else’s security while adding nothing to their own. It still rests on a justified notion of foreign interventionism that makes every American an accomplice to aggressive invasion.
President Trump’s firing of top law enforcement officials now covers a broad spectrum. In addition to FBI Director James Comey, Trump fired the Acting Attorney General of the U. S. Justice Department, Sally Yates, as well as Preet Bharara, the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York where most major Wall Street criminal investigations take place. All of these individuals were involved in investigations of Trump associates’ involvement with Russia. Now, Trump is sending signals that his current U. S. Attorney General at the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions, may be next in line for sacking. Comey’s written testimony that was released yesterday in preparation for his appearance today before the U. S. Senate Intelligence Committee completes the picture of a President who believes that the Federal government’s law enforcement apparatus can be re-engineered into his own Praetorian Guard, complete with taking loyalty oaths to serve the President and to do his bidding in dropping criminal investigations. The media’s focus on the Russian investigation has over shadowed the simple truth of what is going on here. Donald Trump’s life has been defined by one paramount goal: making deals for personal enrichment. At 70 years of age, this man is not going to change his stripes – as he and his family have proven time and time again since he prevailed in the November election. The first clue came on October 26, 2016 – less than two weeks before the Presidential election. Presidential candidate Trump utilized his taxpayer-funded Secret Service contingent to oversee a ribbon-cutting ceremony at his new Trump International Hotel which was opening at the Old Post Office in Washington, D. C., just two blocks from the White House. Among his 300 invited guests was Senator Jeff Sessions, the man he would later name to head the U. S. Justice Department.
Today is the 139th day that the Republican Congress has not repealed nor replaced Obamacare. In fact, Congress hasn’t moved forward in any substantive way on any of Pres. Trump’s ambitious economic agenda. There is no sign of tax reform. No sign of significant regulatory reform. No infrastructure spending bill. And of course, we still have Obamacare. This raises an important question: can Trump deliver on his economic promises? This isn’t to say the president hasn’t accomplished any of his goals. He’s done what he can to move his agenda forward through executive action. But substantial reforms will require the cooperation of Congress, and that seems pretty iffy at this point. Trump has found imposing his will in Washington D. C. isn’t quite the same as exerting control over the boardroom in Trump tower. The political process is a whole different animal. The president’s difficulties are exacerbated by constant media harping, a divided GOP, political pressures stemming from’Russian ties’ allegations, and some would argue his own Twitter account. The stock market soared after Trump’s election. Most analysts say expectations of economic reform were big drivers of what many have dubbed the ‘Trump-bump.’ Investors expected a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, substantive tax reform, America-first trade policies, infrastructure stimulus, and an easing of regulatory the burden. But whether or not these broad policy changes will ever happen remains pretty iffy. In fact, economic and financial analysts Jim Rickards said implementing Trump’s Economic Plan is ‘Sheer Fantasy.’
This post was published at Schiffgold on JUNE 7, 2017.
Americans have hated government red tape since 1776. Our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, complained King George III ‘sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.’ Yet here we are, 241 years later, many of us still griping about the regulators. Reining them in was one of President Trump’s top campaign promises. Expectations he would do so helped spark a post-election stock rally that boosted highly regulated sectors like banking and biotech. I’ve thought all along people expected too much. Presidents don’t get a magic wand on Inauguration Day, and they can’t bring on major change just by talking about it. Now formerly bullish investors and business leaders are starting to curb their enthusiasm. Tax reform is already getting pushed back to 2018 and possibly later. And the Obamacare replacement plan – as well as the tax cuts that are part of it – is going nowhere fast. At least one GOP senator says a deal is unlikely this year. If those are off the table, can we at least count on regulatory relief? To some degree, yes… but we may have already seen most of it. If your investment strategy counts on deregulation to boost stock prices, you might want to reconsider.
What Bernie Sanders proved to the world in 2016 is that socialism is a fairly popular idea in the United States, a country that was founded and built on the back of free market principles. Sanders’ socialistic rhetoric struck a chord with millennials who are very open to the idea of mass wealth redistribution and higher taxes. Surveys from last year show that up to 43 percent of Americans under 30 had a favorable view of socialism. Well, it turns out that Bernie, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, is actually quite the capitalist.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 5, 2017.
The military/security complex spent seven decades building its empire. The complex assassinated one American president (JFK) who threatened the empire and drove another (Richard Nixon) out of office. The complex does not tolerate the election of politicians in Europe who might not follow Washington’s line on foreign and economic policy. Suddenly, according to the Western and even Russian media, the complex is going to let one man, Trump, who does not rule America, and one woman, Merkel, who does not rule Germany, destroy its empire. According to the presstitutes, by pulling out of the Paris Accord (the global climate pact) and stating that NATO members should contribute more to the alliance’s budget for which the US taxpayer has an overweighted share, Trump has caused Merkel to conclude that Europe can no longer rely on Washington. The discord between Trump and Merkel and Washington’s resignation of its leadership position has destroyed the Western alliance and left the EU itself on the verge of being torn apart.
Two of the most intuitive members of Congress, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Elijah Cummings, sent a letter to the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) all the way back on November 23, 2016 demanding an investigation of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team expenditures, business conflicts and communications with foreign leaders. If the duo had been peering into a crystal ball, they couldn’t have delivered a more prescient recital of today’s unprecedented train wreck in the White House. The GAO report is set for draft release to relevant Federal agencies this month. Expect leaks before its official public release. The GAO is the nonpartisan Congressional watchdog that investigates, at the beckoning of members of Congress, how the Federal government spends taxpayer dollars. GAO says its mission is to ‘provide Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced.’ For the most part, it succeeds in its mission although Wall Street On Parade has noticed a certain timidity creeping into its work.
President Donald Trump has just made a decision that’s likely to burn the backsides of the left. Literally. He’s pulling out of the Paris global warming deal, and without apologies, will begin the process immediately. According to the news website Axios, two sources close to the Trump Administration said the president has already started consulting on the exit process with senior officials. This is already upsetting leftists everywhere. Their savior, and Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama tried to make climate change a priority. Obama’s administration was extremely concerned about making taxpayers cover the cost of global warming all in the name of climate change. But that all seems to be coming to an end now and the left isn’t only upset about the cost savings. Liberals are afraid that pulling out of this deal risks undermining the ambitions of the agreement, which was signed by 195 other countries including Britain. A letter from 22 Republican senators urging President Trump to withdraw played a major role in the decision, according to Axios. There has even been some speculation that pressure from Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, to stick with the agreement delayed his decision to withdraw. The New York Times reported this week that advisers were in a ‘tug of war’ trying to influence Trump on the decision about the Paris agreement.
Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation, When US President Donald Trump addressed the opening of the NATO summit last week, it was an embarrassing display of American bullying. As Trump lectured the other leaders of the military alliance about laggardly financial commitments, there was much shuffling of feet and grimacing of faces. There were also contemptuous smirks as the president spoke. Speaking outside the new North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels, Trump declared that many members owed the US a lot of money for their defense. He said it was unfair to American taxpayers that only five out of 28 current NATO members meet an agreed target of allocating 2 per cent of GDP to military spending. At a photo-op line-up, Trump was seen to push Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusco Markovic out of the way in order to get himself into a prime front row position. The fleeting moment spoke volumes of the American view of fellow NATO members.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 31, 2017.
Citigroup, the Wall Street mega bank that taxpayers were forced to prop up in the largest bailout of a financial institution in U. S. history from 2008 to 2010, is also a recidivist lawbreaker that the U. S. Justice Department fails to tame regardless of who occupies the Oval Office. Under the Obama administration, Citigroup was repeatedly fined by its Federal regulators for serious abuses of the law and its customers but only once was a felony count leveled against the bank. On May 20, 2015, Citicorp, a unit of Citigroup, pleaded guilty to a felony charge in connection with the rigging of foreign currency trading. (Three other banks, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays PLC and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) also pleaded guilty to felony charges in the same matter. UBS, at the same time, pleaded guilty to rigging the interest rate benchmark known as Libor.) Trump’s Justice Department is now raising eyebrows for handing another unit of Citigroup a non-prosecution agreement yesterday for egregious money laundering violations.