Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ron Paul, a Champion of Liberty

If you value liberty, if you love this country and the premises upon which it was founded, if you want to keep us from a financial meltdown that will sentence our children and grandchildren to poverty, then become a champion of liberty.

Ron Paul has decided (unwisely in my opinion) to remain in the Republican Party and to abandon his bid for the Presidency.
Fortunately we have a very good alternative in Mr. Bob Barr, candidate for President of the Libertarian Party.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Semantics are important and "Free Trade" is not free

Semantics are very important. Changing the names of things is a potent method of obfuscating their true nature. George Orwell gave us a clear indication of the political power of names in “1984” with his Newspeak. We have been treated to Orwellian nomenclature by the United States government for years, and that naming to hide the purpose of things has been brought to its zenith under the Bush Administration. The Patriot Act comes to mind.

This very short article is going to talk about another nefarious governmental deception: “free trade”. This term is applied to a certain type of international commerce. I intend to show, without citations or statistics but rather with simple logic, that our international trade is NOT free, and that if we called it by a name that more accurately reflects its nature, popular support for it would evaporate. In order to establish a starting point, let us look at the definitions of free and of trade:

1 not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes.
• (of a state or its citizens or institutions) subject neither to foreign domination nor to despotic government.

1 the action of buying and selling goods and services

After reading those definitions I come to the conclusion that free trade should mean the commerce between individuals or companies that is not controlled by any other party, in particular, that is not controlled by governments.

Do we have examples of free trade? Absolutely. The trade between individuals and companies in the fifty different States of the USA is free. According to the “Federalist Papers” free trade among the states was one of the important motivations for the creation of a Federal rather than a Confederate government. Free trade was seen by Madison, Hamilton and Jay as a way to unite the country. We can ship goods from one state to any other without paying tariffs and without restrictions, but we are required o pay the state taxes of each state where we sell products and services. That is free trade. It is not managed by the different parties, and although the Federal government has the ability to regulate commerce, that has come to mean that is has the ability and the authority to see that all states are open to competition from the others.

Is this what happens in the international commerce that our government calls “free trade”? Not even close. All commerce with the countries with which we have “free trade” is regulated in detailed treaties that specify quotas and conditions. Most tariffs are eliminated and there is an effort to control “dumping” or the purposeful sale of subsidized products below their real cost of production. Certain industries are protected, fairness in the labor force is negotiated and critical products are left out of treaty obligations. Tremendous lists of specific industries and products are given their own special rules.

There are numerous “free trade” treaties and organizations. There is GATT and NAFTA and CAFTA and the European Union and the ConoSur, etc. All of these “free trade” bodies encompass hundreds of pages of binding regulations and include the mechanisms for arbitration, recourse and punishment.

The fact is that governmental representatives of the various countries involved negotiate every aspect of a “free trade” agreement. These treaties are long, complex binding documents with the force of law and they absolutely regulate who can sell what, where. They also regulate labor practices and environmental practices. Foreign governments negotiate oversight and regulation of domestic rules, subsidies and taxes. These treaties are written by governments and the treaties and trade organizations manage international trade in exquisitely specific detail.

So is the commerce that the government and big business refer to as “free trade” free? The two definitions of free from above are:
not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes.
• (of a state or its citizens or institutions) subject neither to foreign domination nor to despotic government.
In the system of international commerce that is purported to be free, an individual is absolutely under the control of others and that individual is not able to act as he wishes. Commerce is under foreign domination which may include despotic governments.

There is nothing free about “free trade”.

I suggest that if we want to continue with these treaty obligations that at least we call it by a more appropriate name. Let us call it International Managed Commerce, because that is what it is.

Perhaps if we call it what it is, people will be less apt to vote for treaties that are not in their best interest.

To see an interesting interview with the lefty libertarian, Ralph Nader about his opposition to "free trade" agreements, click here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pissing Away Our Future

How much longer are we going to have to listen to the pundits tell us that the globalized economy is the key to our economic well-being. We no longer produce anything here in America, without production, the only thing that we have to trade are our assets. And that is what we are doing. Foreign investors are buying up our companies piecemeal or entirely. Our own companies have relocated offshore.

Our entire country has become the third generation rich kids, inheritors of a great fortune, who don’t work, but just want to lay on the beaches of Florida and sort cocaine at Hollywood parties until they realize that they aren’t rich anymore.

The Stock Market Reflects The Selling Of America

The reason that our economy has not completely tanked is that our assets are becoming cheaper and cheaper to the foreign investor. That is all that has kept the stock market from taking a dive into oblivion, like in 1929. Please click on the graph to see how cheap our assets have become for the foreign investor. Look at the value of the Dow as measured in Euros. If it weren’t for foreign investment we would be deep in depression. The size of the foreign investment means that we are rapidly selling off all of our assets to maintain a standard of living that is not sustainable without actual production here in the United States.

If we want to save our country we must stop the Fed from further devaluation of the currency. The Fed needs to raise interest rates to 10% until we can get off the addictive fiat money and back our currency with something real. We must balance the Federal budget and immediately end our costly adventures overseas. And we must impose tariffs on ALL imports into the United States of 12%, equally, across the board. Otherwise we are going to be the servants of the rest of the world.