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Posts Tagged ‘lockdowns’

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: San Francisco Tech Firm Paying Employees $20,000 If They Leave San Francisco

Posted by M. C. on September 27, 2020

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/09/san-francisco-tech-firm-paying.html

This is how crazy it is getting for big lefty cities.

The San Francisco-based high-tech payments company Stripe is offering employees a one-time cash payment of $20,000 if they leave San Francisco, Seattle or New York, reports The San Francisco Business Times.

Firms such as Stripe have begun to realize that it is extremely expensive to have a large office presence in these lefty cities where local taxes are sure to spike and it is expensive to compete for employees 

The mad lockdowns instituted by the local governments in these cities ended up teaching these firms that it is not necessary to have employees all located together in one giant complex. That working at home for some does not cut productivity.

Stripe will still maintain a significant office presence in SF but the offer should be tempting to many. Stripe plans to pay employees up to 10% less if they leave the big cities but the combination of the $20,000 payment plus much lower costs for housing in most other parts of the country will make it a sound move for many.  

According to Bloomberg, VMware Inc. has instituted a similar policy, and Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and ServiceNow Inc. are also considering similar measures.

RW

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Digital Currency Will Take Away the Independence of Every American – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 25, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/no_author/digital-technocracy-trumps-paper-money-democracy/

It Isn’t About BLM, Or Face Masks, Or Lockdowns, Or Even Vaccination – – It Is About A Digital Currency That Will Take Away The Independence Of Every American

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Governments Will Impose New Lockdowns If They Think They Can Get Away with It | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 18, 2020

Make no mistake, many politicians would love to impose lockdowns again, and indefinitely. After all, the power to micromanage the behavior of every business and household in the manner of covid lockdowns is a power undreamed of by even the most despotic emperor of old. It’s not a power a regime would abandon lightly.

https://mises.org/wire/governments-will-impose-new-lockdowns-if-they-think-they-can-get-away-it

This year’s stay-at-home orders and lockdowns imposed by governments on their populations represent a watershed moment in the history of the modern state.

Before March 2020, it is unlikely that many politicians—let alone many ordinary people—thought it would be feasible or likely for government officials to force hundreds of millions of human beings to “self-isolate.”

But it turns out governments were indeed able to force a sizable portion of the population to abandon jobs, religious practices, extended families, and community life in the name of “flattening the curve.”

Whether through fear manufactured by the news media or through outright threats of punishment, business owners shuttered their shops and offices, churches closed down, and schools abandoned their students.

Over time, most governments lessened their restrictions, largely out of fear that tax revenues would collapse and out of fear that the public would become unwilling to obey lockdown edicts indefinitely.

Those fears—not scientific objectivity—have been guiding the gradual loosening of lockdowns and lockdown-related restrictions in recent weeks. After all, in many jurisdictions—both in the USA and in Europe—cases and case growth are far above what they were back in March and April when we were told that high case totals absolutely required strict lockdowns. If case numbers are higher now than during the previous peak, why no new lockdowns?

Make no mistake, many politicians would love to impose lockdowns again, and indefinitely. After all, the power to micromanage the behavior of every business and household in the manner of covid lockdowns is a power undreamed of by even the most despotic emperor of old. It’s not a power a regime would abandon lightly.

But could they get away with it? This is a question every prolockdown politician is asking. For the extent to which lockdowns have been scaled back and lessened, we cannot thank any enlightenment or change of heart on the part of politicians. If lockdowns now seem to be receding, it’s because policymakers fear another round of lockdowns would be greeted with resistance rather than obedience. In short, the retreat of lockdowns is a result of an uneasy truce between the antilockdown public (which is by no means the whole public) and the prolockdown politicians. The politicians have conceded nothing in terms of their asserted authority, but they nonetheless fear greater resistance in the future.

Regimes Continue to Threaten More Lockdowns

Although they’re slowly backing off on full lockdowns for now, governments have been very careful to maintain that they retain the power to reimpose them—including full-on strict and ruthless lockdown—at any time. In some areas, this has already been done, such as in southern Australia and in New Zealand. In the state of Victoria in Australia, for instance, residents in recent weeks have been subject to strict curfews and even road closures preventing them from traveling more than a few miles form their homes. Those who dissent—such as a pregnant mother who was arrested for merely discussing an upcoming protest—are brutalized. Meanwhile, military personnel enforce martial law, dragging people from their cars and demanding they show their “papers.”

China continues to impose regional and partial lockdowns. Belgium, meanwhile, insists it may yet still impose “total lockdown.” Back in July, the UK’s Boris Johnson told the nation’s residents to follow the social distancing rules now or face harsher lockdowns in the future. Last week Johnson’s government announced strict new social distancing rules, prohibiting any gatherings of more than six people in most cases.

Nor have American politicians abandoned these newfound powers. In Utah, which did not impose a lockdown in March or April, the authorities are still threatening a possible future “complete shutdown.” Governors in states including Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, and Michigan have all threatened new lockdowns if the residents don’t do as they’re told.

(Only two governors, to my knowledge, have said they will not impose future lockdowns. Earlier this month, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida vowed “we will never do any of these lockdowns again,” and Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, which has never imposed a lockdown at all, has also said lockdowns are not on the table.)

In many cases politicians have substituted face masks and targeted lockdowns (of bars and nightclubs, etc.) in lieu of full stay-at-home orders. This limits public dissent by limiting the number of businesses and industries where people are thrown out of work and business owners are effectively robbed of their property. Fewer destitute or jobless voters likely translates into less active dissent.

This permanent embrace of emergency power is to be expected. Governments have long used crises as an excuse to expand government power, often with the glowing approval of the electorate. After the end of World War II, for example, the party platform of the British Labour Party explicitly sought to extend wartime economic planning indefinitely. The idea was that central planning had won the war and now it would “win the peace.” This meant a host of boards and commissions that would control everything from farming to housing.

But that’s just one example. As Robert Higgs has shown in his book Crisis and Leviathan, using wars and other crises to permanently expand state power is just standard operating procedure for countless regimes. It’s what governments do.

Governments Are Limited Only by the Public’s Resistance

On the other hand, governments are limited by how much the public is willing to tolerate. As Étienne de La Boétie has shown, all regimes—even authoritarian ones—are ultimately limited by public approval and obedience. Without public opinion on their side, regimes become constrained, even in a police state.

Ludwig von Mises built on this notion when he noted in his book Liberalism:

there has never been a political power that voluntarily desisted from impeding the free development and operation of the institution of private ownership of the means of production. Governments tolerate private property when they are compelled to do so, but they do not acknowledge it voluntarily in recognition of its necessity. Even liberal politicians, on gaining power, have usually relegated their liberal principles more or less to the background. The tendency to impose oppressive restraints on private property, to abuse political power, and to refuse to respect or recognize any free sphere outside or beyond the dominion of the state is too deeply ingrained in the mentality of those who control the governmental apparatus of compulsion and coercion for them ever to be able to resist it voluntarily. A liberal government is a contradictio in adjecto. Governments must be forced into adopting liberalism by the power of the unanimous opinion of the people; that they could voluntarily become liberal is not to be expected.

In other words, governments don’t refrain from exercising ever more power unless they are prevented from doing so. But what did he mean by a government being “forced into adopting liberalism by the power of the unanimous opinion of the people”? Mises was very much a man who understood how states work in the real world. So it’s a safe bet that he didn’t think the public’s “unanimous opinion” was somehow magically transformed into a government limiting itself.

Rather, Mises understood that governments are limited by pressures applied by groups external to the state apparatus itself. These could take the form of widespread noncompliance, peaceful protests, or even armed resistance. But to think that governments will limit themselves without at least the fear of some form of resistance would be fanciful, to say the least.

And this is likely what is limiting governments in their dreams of ever-harsher lockdowns right now. We’ve already seen this dynamic in action in Serbia, for example, where the regime attempted to reimpose a nationwide lockdown. This proposal was greeted with both peaceful and violent protests. The state partially retreated and opted instead for much weaker regional lockdowns. Protests also continue to grow in Germany, and have even cropped up in London.

In the US, of course, protests of various types have appeared since April, and given the volume of anger over lockdowns and business closures expressed across a wide variety of media, it’s easy to see why state and local governments should expect trouble if they try another full-scale lockdown. One need only step out one’s front door in many areas to see countless examples of passive noncompliance and resistance to mask orders and social distancing decrees.

Complicating matters is the low state of public approval of police forces. It’s true that police tend to receive public support when they are seen battling rioters and thugs. But public support would likely wither quickly were the police unleashed on middle-class suburbanites who fail to follow stay-at-home orders.

If American governors and mayors try a new set of lockdowns, just how far will they willing to go to enforce them? Will they call in the national guard and open fire on middle-class dissenters? If police attempt to break into homes in the manner we have witnessed in Australia, things might turn out quite differently here. In situations like that, at least some residents will defend themselves with firearms.

Ensuring compliance will also become especially difficult as lockdowns empty the public purse. As the economy weakens, so will tax revenues, and public welfare programs can’t subsist on newly printed money forever. As local, state, and federal amenities and free money programs come up short of funds, it will become harder to buy off the voters with yet another government check.

Admittedly, governments can always double down on enforcement by imposing strict police states. This can work in the short term. But then what? Outside of places like China and Australia, it appears many regimes aren’t yet prepared to find out. But they’re not willing to concede defeat, either. The lockdown state will press the issue as far as the voters and taxpayers are willing to let it go.

Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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Convergence of Quandaries – Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on September 17, 2020

Afterward, BLM “protesters” showed up at the hospital where the deputies were undergoing surgery, shouting “I hope they die.” I can’t wait to hear Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell try to explain that to their faithful fans on MSNBC.

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/convergence-of-quandaries/

James Howard Kunstler

And so, America has a new manufactured crisis, ElectionGate, as if all the other troubles piling up like tropical depressions marching across the September seas were not enough. Let me remind you what else is going on. The Wuhan pandemic is still on the scene, the economy is collapsing, a domestic race-war is escalating, the whole west coast is burning, and US oil production is crashing. Oh… and slow-moving tropical storm Sally is forecast to come ashore as a hurricane on the Gulf Coast today, dumping up to two feet of rain.

America needs a constitutional crisis like a hole in the head, and that’s exactly what’s being engineered for the holiday season by the clever folks in the Democratic Party’s Lawfare auxiliary. Here’s how it works: the complicit newspapers and cable news channels publish polls showing Joe Biden leading in several swing states, even if it’s not true. Facebook and Twitter amplify expectations of a Biden victory. This sets the stage for a furor when it turns out that he loses on election night. On cue, Antifa and BLM commence to riot all around the country. Meanwhile, a mighty harvest of mail-in votes pours into election districts utterly unequipped to validate them.

Lawfare cadres agitate in the contested states’ legislatures to send rogue elector slates to the electoral college. The dispute ends up in congress, which awaits a seating of newly-elected representatives on January 4, hopefully for Lawfare, mostly Democrats. Whoops…!  Turns out the Dems lost their majority there too. Fighting in the streets ramps up and overwhelms hamstrung police forces in Democratic-run cities. January 20 — Inauguration Day — rolls around and the Dems ask the military to drag Trump out of the White House “with great dispatch!” as Mr. Biden himself put it so nicely back in the summer. The US military breaks into two factions. Voilà: Civil War Two.

You didn’t read that here first, of course. It’s been all over the web for weeks, since the Democratic Party-sponsored Transition Integrity Project (cough cough) ran their summer “war game,” intending to demonstrate that any Trump election victory would be evidence of treason and require correction by any means necessary, including sedition, which they’d already tried a few times in an organized way since 2016 (and botched). The Democrats are crazy enough now to want this. They have driven themselves crazy for years with the death-wish of eradicating western civ (and themselves with it). There are many exegeses of this phenomenon, mostly derived from Marxist theories of revolution, but my own explanation departs from that.

The orgy of political hysteria, insane thinking, and violence is a psychotic reaction to the collapsing techno-industrial economy — a feature of it, actually. When all familiar social and economic arrangements are threatened, people go nuts. Interestingly, the craziness actually started in the colleges and universities where ideas (the products of thinking) are supposed to be the stock-in-trade. The more pressing the practical matters of daily life became, the less intellectuals wanted to face them. So, they desperately generated a force-field of crazy counter-ideas to repel the threat, a curriculum of wishful thinking, childish utopian nostrums, and exercises in boundary-smashing. As all this moved out of the campuses (the graduation function), it infected every other corner of American endeavor, institutions, business, news media, sports, Hollywood, etc. The country is now out of its mind… echoes of France, 1793… a rhyme, not a reprise.

The US economy began a slow and insidious collapse because its petroleum energy base became unaffordable. The reality of that was obscured by paradoxical appearances: the shale oil miracle goosed up US oil production from under five million barrels-a-day in 2007 to thirteen million barrels-a-day in 2019. Pretty awesome. Seemed like we were awash in oil. The problem was the companies producing shale oil couldn’t make money at it, and the loans that went into staging the shale oil “miracle” went bad… and then the companies couldn’t get new loans… and went bankrupt. So, the crash of US oil production is a self-reinforcing feedback loop that is sure to continue and will make things worse. Now, less than a year after reaching that majestic 13 million barrels-a-day, production has fallen to around 10 million a day — quite an impressive drop. Further obscuring the actual dynamic in play, gasoline prices at the pump are quite low — under $2.50-a-gallon where I live, compared with $4-plus a couple of years ago — and most citizens consider the price of gasoline their sole index of how things are going in the oil industry.

The Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated and accelerated the damage from that by shutting down much of small business across America since March. The businesses and people who owned them have suffered terribly. That and the public lockdowns have greatly depressed the demand for oil products, driving the price-per-barrel down and reducing the cash flow of the oil companies. That also aggravated worsening relations with our principal trading partner, China, the net effect of which threatens the supply chain for all sorts of critical parts and products needed to keep our complex systems running.

Whether Mr. Trump or anybody can respond intelligently to this long emergency is a matter of considerable moment. As far as election politics are concerned, Mr. Trump is only marginally better positioned because he is not in favor of destroying the existing institutions of the republic as his opponents are. There’s less reason to believe he’s capable of coping with the nuts-and-bolts of the economic collapse that awaits after the election dramaturgy plays out. For Mr. Trump, much depends on the illusory performance of the implausible financial markets. This is the season for market crashes, as it is the season for Atlantic cyclones, and those markets have been acting as toppy as a moon-shot lately.

Meanwhile, the BLM mayhem continues overnight, this time in stodgy little old Lancaster, PA, where a knife-wielding Hispanic man was shot by the cops. Crazy how unjustified that seems. The incident and the reaction to it (riot… fires) followed the assassination attempt of two LA County sheriff’s deputies in their car Saturday night by what appears to have been a black child or a dwarf. Afterward, BLM “protesters” showed up at the hospital where the deputies were undergoing surgery, shouting “I hope they die.” I can’t wait to hear Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell try to explain that to their faithful fans on MSNBC.


Note: I am posting on Parler now as jhkunstler.


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Nearly two decades after 9/11, the parallels between the post-terrorist attack ‘New Normal’ & that of Covid-19 can’t be ignored — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on September 16, 2020

How? Peer pressure – or rather, the illusion of it. Those who oppose even the slightest element of the New Normal are denounced “objectively pro-Covid”. Just as then-President George W. Bush warned Americans who opposed his draconian post-9/11 crackdown and war in the Middle East that “you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists” and anti-war bands such as the Dixie Chicks got death threats, those who’ve embraced the Covid-19 regime are encouraged to wish sickness and death on their neighbors who won’t “mask up.”

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/500677-covid-september-11-parallels/

Helen Buyniski

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

Both the 9/11 attacks and the Covid-19 pandemic have dramatically shaped Western society. But the changes they wrought were devastating and unnecessary, pushed through by control-hungry governments who saw opportunity in crisis.

While both the worst terror attack in US history and the deadliest pandemic in a generation were immediately hyped as the defining elements of the era, the uncomfortable reality is that neither terrorism nor the novel coronavirus pose any risk more severe than taking a bath.

Also on rt.com The future is ‘CLEAR’ and it’s Dystopian: Virus hype ushers in a Covid 19-84 nightmare of restricted access

However, the media hype – fueled by think tanks and governments drooling over the possibility of adopting controls that would normally spark popular revolt – has created the same climate of fear that allowed the imposition of the post-9/11 police state, paving the way for a post-Covid regime that will make the Patriot Act look cuddly.

The shocking changes to the American “way of life” that have followed both events were in no way required, or even logical, responses to the crises in question. It took an unlikely series of what the government described as “intelligence failures” for the events of 9/11 to fall into place, and the Trump administration scrapped completely adequate pandemic response plans to adopt a regime of lockdowns and economic shutdowns that will likely end up doing more harm than the virus itself. Had governments followed their own procedures, neither catastrophe likely would have happened.

But the ‘government incompetence’ narrative doesn’t sell the intrusive surveillance regulations that were yanked off the shelf in both cases to be railroaded through while any potential opposition was paralyzed with fear. Both the Patriot Act and the worst of the coronavirus control regulations in the US and elsewhere were written long before 9/11 and the pandemic, wheeled out at the appointed hour, and sometimes trialed in the private sector under the reasoning that one must not let a crisis go to waste. To further destabilize society, Americans were encouraged in both cases to rat out their fellow citizens to the authorities for perceived offenses as minor as checking the wrong books out from the library (2001) or failing to social-distance (2020). 

Even the crises themselves have an awful lot in common. Osama bin Laden was fingered definitively as the culprit for 9/11 even as the towers were still smoldering – long before an investigation could have been conducted – echoing the immediately ubiquitous media declaration that an infected bat at a Wuhan wet market had spawned coronavirus. After it was found the market didn’t actually sell bats, establishment scientists had to scramble to pin the responsibility for human transmission on an intermediate species – even as studies revealed the earliest cases of Covid-19 had had no contact with the market at all. Yet just as bin Laden and 19 hijackers (some of whom were later found to be inconveniently alive) remain the only ‘official’ culprits for 9/11, China is still blamed for the pandemic.

For those Americans too dense or stubborn to ‘get’ the similarities between Covid-19 and 9/11, a flood of articles accompanied the arrival of the virus on US shores. From Not even 9/11 could shut down AA meetings. Coronavirus is different (as if there’d been no society-disrupting disasters in the intervening 18 years capable of disrupting a 12-step meeting!) to Imagining a 9/11-like response to coronavirus, the heavy-handed programming has hammered home the “New Normal” supposedly facing the world on the other side of the pandemic. Just as Americans were led to fear endless terror attacks if they did not give up their rights, the entire world is being told we face a pandemic-laden future if we don’t mask up, sit down, shut up, and roll up our sleeves for an experimental vaccine (or two or three…).

But there’s no objective reason life should not, in fact, go back to “normal.” Humanity has lived through much deadlier pandemics, especially as each new revelation reveals that the horrific US Covid-19 statistics have been hugely overinflated. Yet while Wuhan, the virus’s apparent origin point, has returned to holding summertime pool parties as its case count cratered, parallel declines in fatalities in the US and UK have actually resulted in increased controls.

Also on rt.com Lockdown supporters are using psychology pseudoscience to label anti-maskers as irrational, stupid sociopaths

How? Peer pressure – or rather, the illusion of it. Those who oppose even the slightest element of the New Normal are denounced objectively pro-Covid. Just as then-President George W. Bush warned Americans who opposed his draconian post-9/11 crackdown and war in the Middle East that you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists and anti-war bands such as the Dixie Chicks got death threats, those who’ve embraced the Covid-19 regime are encouraged to wish sickness and death on their neighbors who won’t “mask up.

Unfortunately, just as 9/11 was weaponized to launch wars against Afghanistan and Iraq (and, later, most of the Middle East), the Trump administration seems determined to wrangle a war with China out of Covid-19. Even if this doesn’t come to pass, the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated markedly, and a second Cold War seems inevitable. Meanwhile, the devastation wrought by the suicidal New Normal carries on at home, laying waste to what was left of Americans’ rights after the Patriot Act was through with them (and threatening to do the same . Can we stop repeating history for once?

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: There is No Price Inflation (As Long as You Don’t Eat)

Posted by M. C. on September 12, 2020

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/09/there-is-no-price-inflation-as-long-as.html

As can be seen in the chart above, the 12-month annualized price inflation rate dived after the COVID-19 lockdowns started and only started to climb after the May bottom.

Now, the annualized Consumer Price Index through the end of August stand at “only” 1.3%.

But breaking things down a bit, things look much different.

Food prices are soaring. Meats are up 7.1%, dairy and related products are up 5.7%, non-alcoholic beverages are up 5.1%, limited service meals and snacks are up 4.8%, tobacco and smoking products are 5.0% and medical care is up 5.3%.

What is driving the general index down is declines in goods we are not using anymore, or are using a lot less. Airline fares are down 23.2% and energy is down 9.0%

But the goods people are actually buying are way up.

It should be remembered that President Nixon in 1971 imposed wage and price controls when the CPI was only 4.0%. Most food prices are climbing at a faster rate than this now.

I fully expect the general CPI number to continue to climb as the prices that are declining start to bottom out and the climbing prices will have more of an impact on the overall CPI number.

Sometime next year, I expect price controls to become a very real possibility regardless of whether Trump or Biden is president.

RW

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Is Kamala Harris a 21st-Century Woodrow Wilson? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 6, 2020

To pander to the socialists, Harris supports the profligate Green New Deal and a universal basic income, funded by new taxes that will “only” be levied on the wealthy. Harris exerts enormous influence over the extremely malleable (and increasingly senile) Biden, jubilantly telling Trevor Noah on The Daily Show that “as soon as we get him in the White House, and even before with these task forces that we had, we were able to significantly push Joe Biden to do things that he hadn’t signed on to before.”

Clearly, Harris plans to run the show.

https://mises.org/wire/kamala-harris-21st-century-woodrow-wilson?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=078d03d63e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_09_04_06_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-078d03d63e-228343965

Although the draconian lockdowns punished the economy, a partial recovery occurred after governments allowed businesses to reopen. However, continued economic growth depends on the outcome of the presidential election. The crisis opened the door for a surge in regulations, subsidies, and other special interest privileges under the guise of promoting the “public health.”

This progressivism—a code word for cronyism—presents a serious threat to America.

As Murray Rothbard explains, the original Progressive Era witnessed corporate and safety regulations, environmental laws, welfare and labor compensation, and new taxes that benefited favored corporations, bureaucrats, academics, and labor activists at the expense of the taxpayer. If trends continue, modern politicians will pass similar policies to benefit themselves and favored supporters, crippling economic activity. To properly understand this progressivist threat, one must recognize the motives, background, and ideological orientation of the original progressives. They were mostly Yankees, the descendants of the Puritans who stayed in New England or emigrated to New York and the Midwest. They grew up in evangelical households that urged a remaking of society by coercively stamping out sin, particularly alcohol consumption. After earning PhDs in Germany, progressives preached their interventionism under the secularized guise of science and the public welfare. Furthermore, these social engineers supported eugenics, the science of controlling the labor supply to improve its overall quality. Lastly, progressives strove to revolutionize the world through foreign policy adventures.

In their struggle for economic privileges, progressives split into two groups. The corporatists championed protecting trusts and cartels from the vicissitudes of the free market. These big business advocates wanted to create trade commissions and other regulatory agencies to cripple competition and impose onerous compliance costs on small businesses. On the other hand, the socialists desired an overhaul of the capitalist system, blaring the trumpets for stringent antitrust regulation, radical labor laws, and redistributive taxes. President Woodrow Wilson embodied both strands, working with the two groups to enact the income tax, the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Trade Commission.

In many ways, modern progressives are carbon copies. They congregate in New England and live in coastal New York City, Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. While eschewing traditional religion, modern progressives are zealots for egalitarianism and social justice. They attended the Ivy League and other elite American universities, empowering them with government-funded research. Although modern progressives disregard eugenics, they still advocate social engineering, championing egalitarianism for everybody except themselves while dictating what is morally acceptable. Finally, they are thoroughgoing foreign interventionists. Neoconservatism is actually a variant of progressivism, for as Angelo Codevilla explains, George W. Bush’s wars were “but an extrapolation of the sentiments of America’s progressive class, first articulated by people such as Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson.”

The progressive movement still splits along corporatist and socialist lines. The former support a cozy relationship with Wall Street and “Big Tech,” welcoming various internet and safety regulations that would hurt smaller businesses without the appropriate ecommerce infrastructure. The latter advocate radically anticapitalist measures, particularly the dismantling of Big Tech, the Green New Deal, a universal basic income, and wealth taxes. With the exception of hostile antitrust lawsuits, big business corporatists are not against these measures per se, provided they can acquire environmental subsidies and offload the cost of new entitlements and taxes onto the less wealthy (accomplished with the progressivist income tax and Social Security).

If Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden embody the corporatist mindset and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren the socialist mentality, then surely Kamala Harris is the modern Wilsonian.

Big Tech has funded Harris in various California elections in exchange for favorable regulatory oversight. Many former personnel now work for the large companies: a senior counsel left in 2018 to lobby on behalf of Amazon, Harris’s first campaign manager works for Google, and her brother-in-law is the chief legal officer for Uber.

To pander to the socialists, Harris supports the profligate Green New Deal and a universal basic income, funded by new taxes that will “only” be levied on the wealthy. Harris exerts enormous influence over the extremely malleable (and increasingly senile) Biden, jubilantly telling Trevor Noah on The Daily Show that “as soon as we get him in the White House, and even before with these task forces that we had, we were able to significantly push Joe Biden to do things that he hadn’t signed on to before.”

Clearly, Harris plans to run the show.

Similar to the legislation of one hundred years ago, the new progressive juggernaut presents an incredible threat to the United States. Its policies will impoverish the public to enrich elite businesses, politicians, intellectuals, and unions. This future looks bleak, and it must be stopped.

[Adapted from “America 2021: The Threat of Progressivism,” a talk delivered on August 29 in Orlando, FL.]

Author:

Contact Patrick Newman

Patrick is Assistant Professor of Economics at Florida Southern College. He completed his PhD in the Department of Economics at George Mason University. He is a 2018 Mises Institute Research Fellow.

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Why Price Inflation Indexes Are More Fake Than Ever

Posted by M. C. on August 29, 2020

There are restaurants that don’t have outside dining just takeout. I pass them by.

The Jos. A. Bank clothing store in downtown San Francisco has closed. There is a sign in the window of the closed store suggesting I visit their nearest store—in Sacramento, a 2 hour drive.

It goes on and on. The unmeasured decline in goods and services that Cowen references because of the lockdowns is major and certainly not measured by the government indexes. Our standard of living is crashing.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/08/why-price-inflation-indexes-are-more.html

Tyler Cowen makes some interesting points in his Bloomberg column:

The most obvious effect of the pandemic is often better understood by the public than by professional economists: It has been an inflationary time, but not in the traditional manner.

The measured numbers indicate deflationary pressures, but that is misleading. In times of crisis, any measured inflation rate becomes much less meaningful as an economic indicator.

Let’s take education, which many American students have been doing online or not receiving much of at all. Whether for K-12 or at the university level, the cost of getting a quality education this year has risen drastically (think private tutors) — and for many individuals it may be impossible altogether. We are seeing deteriorating quality, and thus much higher real prices, yet this does not show up as either a quality adjustment or a price increase in standard calculations.
Or consider health care. For months, Americans were afraid to visit hospital facilities, for fear of contracting Covid-19. The perceived cost of the hospital visit was thus much higher, in terms of anxiety and medical risk, even if the sticker price or reimbursement rate for heart surgery hasn’t budged.
In many parts of the country, the lines at the motor vehicle offices are much longer, or it is much more time-consuming to get your car inspected for state approval. That is mostly due to pent-up demand from the worst months of the pandemic…
Education, health care and government are pretty big parts of our economy. If you add on the lower quality of restaurant visits, reduced sports performances (your ESPN cable package is worth less), and an inability to take preferred vacations and trips, you have many more negative quality adjustments that don’t show up in measured rates of inflation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Fed and other institutions have declined to make formal adjustments for these changes in the real standard of living…
Inflation measures work best when the consumption bundle is roughly stable over short periods of time, and that just hasn’t been the case this year…
Perhaps most important, price rules and other forms of inflation rules don’t really work in times of pandemic. The very measurement of price inflation becomes arbitrary, and dependent on inertial measurement conventions from normal times, so the numbers don’t have enough actual economic meaning to guide policy.

Cowen makes these points in a wider essay discussing Fed decisions based on traditional price index measures, which I am less inclined to agree with, but his point here on how the quality of goods and services have declined during the lockdown is a very important observation.

Off the top of my head, I can think of instances where it applies to me.

The local Whole Foods maintains a count of the number of customers in its store and makes others wait outside until customers leave to keep the occupancy limited. I really don’t have time for this nonsense (a cost for me) and so I rarely visit anymore.

There are restaurants that don’t have outside dining just takeout. I pass them by.

The Jos. A. Bank clothing store in downtown San Francisco has closed. There is a sign in the window of the closed store suggesting I visit their nearest store—in Sacramento, a 2 hour drive.

It goes on and on. The unmeasured decline in goods and services that Cowen references because of the lockdowns is major and certainly not measured by the government indexes. Our standard of living is crashing.

RW

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‘The greatest assault on civil liberties in our time…’ – RPI August 22nd Update

Posted by M. C. on August 22, 2020

The “experts” are literally destroying the next generation, and because of fear Americans are going along. The young son of a friend has recently taken his own life, incapable of managing the despair of the hell created for him by the monsters who have grabbed power in a manner that would even make Hitler blush. 

And they aren’t even making the older people safer with these asinine policies! In fact, thugs like Andrew Cuomo in New York purposely pursued a policy guaranteed to kill a maximum of older Americans – putting very sick people into nursing homes!

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/libertyassault?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends of the Ron Paul Institute:

First allow me to sincerely apologize for the scarcity of these updates of late. Since the Covid madness has taken over our country, spreading the real virus of authoritarianism to every corner of our republic, we have been barely able to come up for air. Literally every waking hour we spend preparing the next day’s episode of the Liberty Report, focusing on disproving the lies and correcting the misperceptions created by a mainstream media and politically-motivated actors to turn the country into a gulag. As you can imagine, refuting the lies of the mainstream media and politicized health “specialists” is beyond a full time job. They have all the resources at their fingertips, we are extremely limited so we have to work harder. And we have been so doing. 

The reaction to the virus outbreak has been the greatest assault on civil liberties in our time and the approach of those in authority will go down as perhaps the greatest disaster in US history. Even the Director of the CDC admits that more Americans are dying from lockdowns than from coronavirus. Meanwhile the virus is behaving as have all viruses in history: as it moves through society it infects, leaving healthier victims with immunity who in turn act as a wall to prevent infection of the vulnerable. Politicized medicine got in the way of this normal process, which cruelly led to a much longer period of potential exposure of the virus to the unhealthy and aged, its prime victims.

Young people, despite the media pile-on, are as Trump said nearly immune to this virus. According to CDC data, less than 300 Americans under the age of 24 have died from Covid-19. There is literally a better chance of being struck by lightening than dying of Covid if you are under 24. In fact by far the majority of deaths have occurred in those over 80 with other serious existing health problems. Yet these young people are being tortured by stay-at-home orders and masks and cancellation of school and destruction of their economic futures and cancellation of their very lives. No wonder three in four young persons has reported anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts over the coronavirus lockdowns.

The “experts” are literally destroying the next generation, and because of fear Americans are going along. The young son of a friend has recently taken his own life, incapable of managing the despair of the hell created for him by the monsters who have grabbed power in a manner that would even make Hitler blush. 

And they aren’t even making the older people safer with these asinine policies! In fact, thugs like Andrew Cuomo in New York purposely pursued a policy guaranteed to kill a maximum of older Americans – putting very sick people into nursing homes! Even the policies of lockdown and house arrest of the healthy have put the old and vulnerable at risk: the “second wave” is just a delayed first wave and the longer the virus hangs around without hitting the wall of herd immunity the more time the susceptible people can catch it and die.

Fear is the tool used throughout history to manipulate populations and to introduce totalitarian rule. A terrified population cannot make rational decisions, instead they desperately rush to hand their decisions off to a willing dictator to make for them. We know this movie and it does not end well. 

Yesterday the unelected state health commissioner of Virginia, Norman Oliver, announced that residents of the state would have no choice in the matter: the coronavirus vaccine would be mandatory. No exceptions. Your body, the state’s choice. 

From Germany to Ireland to beyond, citizens are rising up to protest the authoritarianism imposed by their governments in the name of a virus. Thus far in the US we have seen little of that. Unless Americans are willing to fight for their freedom there will soon be no freedom to fight for…

Sincerely yours,

Daniel McAdams
Executive Director
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

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Lockdowns Kill, Exhibit Z – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 22, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/08/thomas-woods/lockdowns-kill-exhibit-z/

By

From the Tom Woods Letter:

The side effects of the lockdowns keep getting harder to ignore.

Dr. Brian Stauffer is head of cardiology at Denver Health. He and his colleagues wanted to figure out why the number of people arriving at the hospital suffering from cardiac arrest had plummeted in recent months.

Surely, dear reader, you know where this is going.

According to the Colorado Sun:

Looking at data on ambulance calls in Denver, they found that, while overall calls for service went down during the stay-at-home period, the number of people dying from cardiac arrests at home shot up.

Stauffer’s team found that cardiac arrests at home in Denver more than doubled in the two weeks after the statewide stay-at-home order was issued compared with historical averages. Even compared with more recent data, the weekly average of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests jumped to 46 during those two weeks, versus 26 or 27 in the three months prior.

Stauffer and his colleagues found that the number of people in Denver who died of cardiac arrests at home in the two weeks following the statewide stay-at-home order was greater than the total number of people who died of COVID-19 in the city during that time.

Oh, but “listen to the science,” everybody!

According to the “listen to the science” crowd, “science” demands lockdowns. Apart from the zero connection between lockdowns and health outcomes, the bigger issue is this: “science” doesn’t tell you how you should decide between pouring all resources into COVID-19 while leaving horrific wreckage — including massive loss of life — everywhere else.

It is rank superstition to think “the science” could possibly — or is even intended to — answer a question like this.

Science can inform our decision-making, naturally, but it obviously can’t tell us what we should value or how we should prioritize our various goals.

Not to mention: these days “the science” seems to be all about pretending there are no trade-offs, no competing goals.

Yesterday I wrote to you about the schools, and the day before that about the massive spike in suicidal ideation among the youth.

The wreckage keeps piling up, and our leaders obviously have no idea what the endgame is.

What else can we do after all this fact-free nonsense except live, and ignore these people as much as we can?

If that sounds good to you, join me in my community of normal people, for learning and camaraderie:

http://www.SupportingListeners.com

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