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Category: Economics

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Boston University Economics Professors “Very Proud” of Her

Robert Wenzel writes that he spoke with several economics professors at Boston University, the alma mater of economics major Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Yesterday, I spoke over the phone with a number of BU faculty members in the economics department and the consensus was that she was a very bright student who has “very interesting ideas” and that she will have an impact. They seemed to believe that she was getting advice from “top economists,” perhaps Thomas Piketty. Yes, this Thomas Piketty.

Even Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff, who would seem to have the least in common with AOC from a policy perspective (He was President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers), told me that the Boston University economics faculty was “very proud of her.”

He emphasized that AOC was “impressive in many ways” and that what she is advocating “in many ways is closer to where we should be than where we are now.”

He said it was good she was pushing the envelope and that she is causing serious discussion. He particularly likes that she is pushing for a “progressive fiscal system.” He says we now have a regressive fiscal system.

More News and Commentary

Ron Paul on the hysterical warmongers of Congress when Trump wants to remove U.S. troops from Syria.

Veronique de Rugy comments on Donald Trump’s statement, “America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control.”

Jay Engel says that billionaires already gave their “fair share.”

Ludwig von Mises says that “progressive” attacks on capitalism were key to Hitler’s success.

And Bill Wirtz says that the French government is deliberately increasing the price of food.

“I Am a Socialist”: What Socialists Really Support

With the rise in the advocacy for socialism, such as with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, etc., and their rationality-free, knowledge-free emotional appeals to the ignorant and gullible masses, I am reminded of this article I had on LewRockwell.com in 2010, “I Am a Socialist,” with a self-proclaimed socialist explaining what he really supports. And so I will repost that here now. (There may be one or two things in which I wouldn’t put it in exactly the same way as I did in 2010, but I think this makes some important points.)

“I Am a Socialist”

November 24, 2010

Recently, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell announced that he is a “socialist.” O’Donnell referred to Milton Friedman’s quote, “We’re all Keynesians now,” and President Richard Nixon’s quote, “I am now a Keynesian,” in the context of Keynesian economics being very similar to socialism. O’Donnell went on to assert his pride in being a socialist, and even suggested that Glenn Beck, Rand Paul and others are also socialists in one form or another.

So here is an elaboration of someone, whoever that might be, explaining why he is a socialist:

“First and foremost, I am a socialist because I disagree with the Founding Fathers’ ideas on morality and the Rule of Law. It is important that we have a centralized government that redistributes all the wealth. The State needs to have the power to take some of the wealth away from those the State decides have too much of it. Obviously, no one has a ‘right’ to one’s own wealth or property. And I don’t believe that ‘all men are created equal’ because, if there is a law against theft, then obviously because we need to allow agents of the State to take wealth away, then therefore laws against ‘theft’ must exempt agents of the State. That means that some people should be above the law.

“And I am a socialist in medical care because I think that the centralized government should control everyone’s medical care – it’s as simple as that. It is important that government bureaucrats and their government doctors and medical services have a monopoly in the medical industry so they don’t have to deal with competitive interests, as opposed to a free market in medical care in which the consumers determine which doctors and medical plans would stay in business and which ones would fail. Some people assert that that gives ‘power to the people,’ but we socialists don’t want the people to have that kind of power – it takes control away from government bureaucrats and that’s why I don’t like that. It’s important that government officials control the ultimate decisions in what affects American medical patients (and because the Blue State grandmas are more likely to vote for the “good guys” than the Red State grandmas, if you know what I mean).

“I support socialist immigration central planning because the State has a right, for example, to prevent an employer in Arizona from hiring an applicant from Mexico despite the fact that the employer believes that individual is qualified for the job and the Mexican applicant is willing to accept the job at the wage both agree on. Their prospective contract should not be in their control, it should be in the central planners’ control. When we say that socialism includes public ownership of the means of production, then that includes ownership of the employer’s business, as well as the prospective employee’s direction of employment (as well as the employer and employee themselves – after all, one of the most important of the means of production is the people).

(If I may interject here while Mr. Socialist goes to take a brief powder: Some of what is being described is actually fascism. While socialism can generally be described as public ownership of wealth and the means of production, fascism allows for private ownership of wealth and the means of production but the control is usurped by the State. So, there are elements of socialist programs that are also fascist in nature, and vice versa. In immigration, for instance, the central planning nature of public ownership of wealth and the means of production also includes State control over immigration which is really part of fascism, so our socialist here is also a fascist, but don’t tell him I said that. Actually, there really is little difference between socialism and fascism when you get right down to it. But, for the sake of discussion, we’ll continue with our self-proclaimed “socialist” in his discussion of why he favors socialism.)

“To continue, I am a socialist because I support the central planning of chemical ingestion, otherwise known as the War on Drugs. While the common sense answer to the ‘drug problem’ might be freedom and personal responsibility, it is nevertheless important that the centralized bureaucrats have the power to dictate to people what chemicals they may or may not ingest (even though this causes a black market in banned drugs, dramatically raises the prices of drugs and thus incentivizes the black marketers to form gangs and cartels that causes turf wars and increased violence, and incentivizes them to push the drugs on impressionable youths and adults some of whom turn to robbery to afford the pricey substances, as well as distracts and corrupts the police).

“Speaking of police and protecting the public, I am an enthusiastic supporter of the socialist central planning monopoly in territorial security (as opposed to a free market in security, in which those in the protection business would have to deal with profit-and-loss as determined by competitive agents and consumer control). It is important that 300 million Americans are compelled by law to use the monopoly of centrally planned ‘defense’ in Washington to protect them from harm by foreign elements, while legally forbidding anyone from competing in the business of protection.

“I also believe in that central planning military socialism because I haven’t read Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s books, The Private Production of Defense and The Myth of National Defense, or Morris and Linda Tannehill’s book, The Market for Liberty, and because I really do believe in the myth that the U.S. government’s committing aggression on foreign lands actually protects Americans and doesn’t instead provoke those in the foreign lands to retaliate against that aggression and intrusion. I don’t want to admit that giving central planners a monopoly in defense, without the constant checks on their behavior that the pressures of competition in a free market and the requirement to follow the Rule of Law would bring, actually encourages central planners to use the government apparatus to further expand their power and control (and profits at taxpayers’ expense). Can you imagine a private security firm or insurance agency deliberately provoking the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor, or deliberately encouraging Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait as an excuse to invade Iraq? A private firm with competitive pressures and under the Rule of Law would not only lose business but its agents would end up in jail. But, despite the messes in Iraq and Afghanistan that our central defense planners in Washington have caused, and the fact that Washington’s intrusions abroad have made us less safe, I still want to pretend that this socialism in defense actually works. As Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano noted, “the system worked.”

“Of course, given that I’m a proud supporter of redistribution of wealth schemes, military socialism is effective in taking wealth from American producers and laborers and redistributing it over to those in the defense contractor industry (and Wall Street). While this socialist (and fascist) monopoly of territorial protection may be completely disorganized because there is no incentive among the government bureaucrats to be efficient and productive, such a scheme nevertheless effects in getting contractors’ campaign contributions in the pockets of those politicians who need the jobs they get in Washington as they would otherwise be unemployed in the private sector. It’s important for America.

“After all, the Founding Fathers were also socialists in that their Constitution mandates a centralized government monopoly in defense, in which free, open competition in that area is outlawed. That’s been good for America.

“And finally, I support the socialized commerce that the Federal Reserve provides, with the help of legal tender laws and loose fractional reserve banking permissions, because I believe that it is vital that a centralized government control the money supply and banking. We can’t allow the people to have the freedom to choose a bank based on its record of service to the community, because that would take control away from the centralized authorities who know better as far as what’s best for the people, and we can’t allow the people to have the freedom to choose among competing currencies, because that would take control away from the centralized authorities who know better as far as what’s best for the people.

“Like the central planning micromanagement from ObamaCare, Social Security and government-run education, the Federal Reserve is important to micromanage the economy, despite all the damage it has caused since its founding in 1913. So, as a socialist, I feel it’s important to continue the Fed’s control over and intrusions into our money, banking, savings and investments (and our prosperity, security and Liberty as well).

“We need as many government intrusions into every aspect of human existence as possible, so most of all, I guess I’m a socialist because I like power and oppose freedom.

“Bye.”

Yeah, goodbye, Socialist. Now, get lost – we’re better off without you.

Trump Says America Will Not Go Socialist, Like Venezuela

I wanted to comment on Donald Trump’s state of the union, but I just don’t have time to go over the whole thing. However, I will say that Trump’s reference to Venezuela as gone socialist and then saying that America will never go socialist shows his ignorance and lack of self-awareness.

Trump’s typically nationalist anti-foreigner immigration policies are socialist policies. When business people have to get government’s authorization to employ people, or when government can throw you in jail for hiring a non-government-approved worker, when the government is the ultimate authority on whom you hire or not hire, that’s socialism. It ain’t free market, mister. When workers must get authorization from a bureaucrat to work, yes, that’s socialism, NOT capitalism.

A government wall on the border is a product of socialism, not capitalism. Private property walls are different because that’s private property. We’re talking about a government wall surrounding a supposedly FREE society! (Orwellian much?)

Real free-market capitalists do not build government walls! That’s what socialists do!

I know, a lot of people are brainwashed to have this simple-minded and short-sighted view that a government wall will “keep out the bad people,” which it won’t do. (How is a government wall on the southern border going to keep all those bad people in Washington from harming us as they continue to do? Should we put up a wall completely surrounding Washington?)

Trump is also a drug warrior. He believes very strongly that the government must have the final authority on what chemicals people may put into “their” bodies, or what plants, substances or other materials people may possess. More socialism. When the government claims ownership of property, and of the people’s own bodies, that’s socialism. It’s not adhering to private property principles. It’s not the “private ownership of the means of production.” And it isn’t freedom.

Trump also believes strongly in the government-run retirement scheme, Social Security, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, all thoroughly socialist schemes.

Most telling that Donald Trump is a die-hard socialist is his love of government central planning. He LOVES it!

A Further Left Turn for Amerika?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that an economic system that “allows billionaires” is “immoral.” Oh yeah? How about the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, raking in $1.4 billion, according to the Washington Post? Is that “immoral”? (Oh, it’s okay that government bureaucrats and politicians have as much money as they want, but not private citizens. How dare they.)

Robert Ringer writes about Ocasio-Cortez and the moron mob.

And Robert Wenzel says that Kamala Harris has a lot of charisma which could be dangerous, and seems to want to implement a tax system that combines Elizabeth Warren’s progressive tax with Ocasio-Cortez’s wealth tax. Not good.

***

In this next video, Kamala Harris says that “a child going without an education is tantamount to a crime.” What she really means is that it should be considered a crime to not coercively put children in government schools for the daily propaganda and indoctrination of State worship and obedience.

Here is Harris bragging and laughing about her policy of prosecuting parents for “truancy.” (I guess that means she’s against homeschooling? Yup, probably.)

In the video, she says her staff was very concerned about such a policy, not because it is immoral and in fact criminal to intrude herself into the schooling choices of private citizens and their kids, but a concern because she didn’t know at the time if she had an opponent in her reelection race! That is what politicians are concerned about. Their political career in harassing and threatening innocent, private citizens.

So, as part of the Melissa Harris-Perry ilk (Are they related?), Kamala Harris seems to think that the community or the State owns the children.

You see, she’s one of those True Believers in the authority of the State and its Bureaucracies and its Propaganda apparatus, the government schools. “You vill go to government school, and you vill enjoy it!”

More News and Commentary

Activist Post with an article on police using DHS machines to create private DNA databases of “suspicious” people (i.e. innocent people who are not suspects, but “suspicious” as viewed by U.S. gestapo bureaucrat scum).

Matt Agorist on Venezuela green lighting Russia to mine gold, days later U.S. gub planning overthrow — coincidence?

And Donald Boudreaux has these 8 questions we should be asking about economics.

Enough of the Control Freaks and the Covetous (the Ocasio-Cortezes, Tucker Carlsons, et al.)

Sometimes all this is so frustrating. That is, advocating for freedom. The free America that the Revolutionaries founded has slowly and gradually become a place in which criminals and parasites can rob their neighbors and get away with it.

The biggest mistake committed by the early Americans was to create an apparatus with compulsory control to rule over the people.

And now we have generations of brainwashed serfs who comply obediently, and really believe that the racket in Washington is something that shouldn’t be completely dismantled.

On the Hill there is a poll showing that majorities of Americans support raising the top income tax rate to 70%, including people identifying as Republicans.

Meanwhile, appearing on 60 Minutes was Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who, regardless of her denials, promotes the socialism of Soviet Union, Cuba and Venezuela and not the “socialism” of Sweden, Norway and the U.K. The latter group are capitalist countries (private ownership of the means of production) with a welfare state, not socialist countries.

Now, a lot of people, for example this Fox News commentator, think that Ocasio-Cortez is the voice of an ignorant generation. But the above poll suggests that much of the entire population is ignorant of economics and history.

Regarding her proposal to tax high incomes at 70%, Ocasio-Cortez said, “That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more.”

Oh, yeah? “Contributing” to what? Most of what the federal government is unconstitutional, that is, unauthorized by the U.S. Constitution.

And “contribute” usually means to pay into something voluntarily. But who would voluntarily pay to keep U.S. armed forces overseas? Such invasions and occupations mainly have resulted in provoking foreigners into retaliatory actions against us, and trillions wasted.

And who would voluntarily pay into a scheme of molesters, gropers and thieves, also known as the TSA?

The list goes on and on, totaling more than 4 trillion dollars, much of it needless, useless crap.

But Ocasio-Cortez says that “there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.”

Morally right? Now, there’s a knee-slapper. On the social spending side, Ocasio-Cortez wants to spend other people’s money, stolen from their paychecks and other income, on “free health care, free education,” free stuff, free this or that.

I think she’s one of those True Believers who really believes that everyone has a “right to health care,” or a “right to education,” even though there are people who do not take care of themselves, eat terrible foods, drink like fish or smoke like chimneys. Those people, quite frankly, should not be considered to have a “right” to force a doctor to have to treat them.

Redistribution of wealth schemes, especially when made involuntary on the people, encourage people to not take care of themselves. Why bother being conscientious with eating habits or avoiding poisonous drugs and booze when someone will be right there to involuntarily treat you, and it’s all paid for?

Unfortunately, as those polls suggest, conservatives have been bitten by the tax-theft bug as much as “liberals,” for decades now. The envy and covetousness is equally spread on the left and right, and all points between, especially since so-called conservatives caved on FDR’s New Deal and more so LBJ’s “Great Society,” with Social Security, Medicare, etc.

Tucker Carlson of Fox News is himself quite ignorant of economics and history, and has been showing an anti-capitalistic covetousness in his talks recently. Shame, shame, shame on anti-free market “conservatives.”

Carlson feels the Bern, last August (and more recently last week).

Regarding Carlson’s slipping into anti-capitalist socialist rants, Tom Mullen points out,

It’s hard to believe Carlson could get so many things wrong in under five minutes, starting with his general premise. He and Bernie argue the problem is the corporations not paying enough, resulting in taxpayers having to pick up the slack. But business enterprises in a free market are supposed to seek the lowest prices they can find for labor and other inputs. That’s how market economies drive down the costs of consumer goods and make all members of society richer.

Carlson does not seem to understand that about the free market.

More recently, in a not-particularly-coherent rant, after noting the decline of American society and the importance of marriage, Carlson states:

Under our current system, an American who works for a salary pays about twice the tax rate as someone who’s living off inherited money and doesn’t work at all. We tax capital at half of what we tax labor. It’s a sweet deal if you work in finance, as many of our rich people do.

Republican leaders will have to acknowledge that market capitalism is not a religion. Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster. You’d have to be a fool to worship it. Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.

But he never really seems to get what might be the root cause of so much societal decay. In my view, it is the institutionalization of theft, a.k.a. “taxation,” and the population allowing bureaucrats to impose intrusive policies into the private lives of the people.

Involuntary redistribution of wealth schemes empower parasites in central bureaucracies to wield control over others, a control which should not exist in a free society.

If there weren’t an income tax which is imposed coercively and with threats, then many of the power-wielding tyrants would otherwise be sweeping floors in the local Wal-Mart. That is because if there were a genuine free market and no government monopolies over a population compelled to support them, such skill-less bureaucrats would never be able to find actual work, in my view.

But, like Carlson, many people don’t seem willing or able to look at the income tax itself, or understand that it is a scheme of involuntary wealth confiscation via coercion and threats (otherwise known as “theft”).

The income tax-theft has been the underlying basis that has enabled and empowered criminals and gangsters to commit their crimes against their neighbors and get away with it. (For example, would the FBI, CIA, and DOJ have been able to do their dirty deeds had they not been involuntarily financed with the coercive tax-thefts? Nope.)

On the tax-thefts, Murray Rothbard wrote in his Ethics of Liberty,

For there is one crucially important power inherent in the nature of the State apparatus. All other persons and groups in society (except for acknowledged and sporadic criminals such as thieves and bank robbers) obtain their income voluntarily: either by selling goods and services to the consuming public, or by voluntary gift (e.g., membership in a club or association, bequest, or inheritance). Only the State obtains its revenue by coercion, by threatening dire penalties should the income not be forthcoming. That coercion is known as “taxation,” although in less regularized epochs it was often known as “tribute.” Taxation is theft, purely and simply even though it is theft on a grand and colossal scale which no acknowledged criminals could hope to match. It is a compulsory seizure of the property of the State’s inhabitants, or subjects.

It would be an instructive exercise for the skeptical reader to try to frame a definition of taxation which does not also include theft. Like the robber, the State demands money at the equivalent of gunpoint; if the taxpayer refuses to pay his assets are seized by force, and if he should resist such depredation, he will be arrested or shot if he should continue to resist…

And on the State, Rothbard wrote in his Anatomy of the State (.pdf),

The State, in the words of Oppenheimer, is the “organization of the political means”; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory. For crime, at best, is sporadic and uncertain; the parasitism is ephemeral, and the coercive, parasitic lifeline may be cut off at any time by the resistance of the victims. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation. The classic paradigm was a conquering tribe pausing in its time-honored method of looting and murdering a conquered tribe, to realize that the time-span of plunder would be longer and more secure, and the situation more pleasant, if the conquered tribe were allowed to live and produce, with the conquerors settling among them as rulers exacting a steady annual tribute.

What has been lacking in America for over a century is freedom, economic freedom including the freedom to keep everything you earn (or otherwise honestly acquire) and do with it whatever you want. Americans used to have the freedom to save, invest, spend, contribute to charity, start businesses without government permission or government stealing from the people.

If there is to be an “America,” people need to know that it was founded to be a place of freedom, in which people are protected from others taking their earnings or property by force.

And an America in which people can come and go as they wish. No government permission, no visas, no passports, no being questioned by goons at the government border.

And early on the Revolutionaries who founded America recognized that it was the right of the people to keep and bear arms, not the right of the government to keep and bear arms. A free society is one in which people have whatever means of defense they wish to have. No government permission, no license, no registration, etc. That is actually a safer society.

I think the masses now for generations have been so brainwashed with propaganda, they really believe that it is right that they be subjugated by government authorities, that they must seek bureaucrats’ permission to do this or that, that they must submit to government rulers and enforcement goons stealing their money away, and accept all the other totalitarian, police state crimes that government criminals commit against the people.

We need to change that.

Freedom goes with free-market capitalism, while socialism and government theft of private wealth and property are anti-freedom, a police state, and a life of serfdom.

Further reading:

Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt

Taking Money Back, Making Economic Sense (.pdf), Free Market, For a New Liberty, and The Case Against the Fed by Murray Rothbard

And Soak the PoorTaxation is Robbery, and The Income Tax: Root of All Evil by Frank Chodorov