摘錄：The Free Market Reader | Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
圖：Ludwig von Mises Institute
Page 11 | Location 161-164 | Added on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 07:09 PM
Even in the early 19th century, John C. Calhoun described the United States as divided between the “tax payers and tax eaters.” And today, we can use that same analysis. Ludwig von Mises called the battle between these two artificially created groups a “caste conflict,” in contradistinction to Karl Marx’s class conflict.Page 12 | Location 170-172 | Added on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 07:18 PM
The government is separate from us, and almost always opposed to our interests. We do not have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We have a government to the people. And one important tool in keeping it going is the lie.Page 14 | Location 202-203 | Added on Friday, April 13, 2012, 12:57 PM
To be able to fight for the ideals of the Founding Fathers, to be able to work for free markets and individual freedom, we have to be able to see through the government-generated smoke.Page 15 | Location 228-230 | Added on Friday, April 13, 2012, 01:01 PM
Our country is beset by a large number of economic myths that distort public thinking on important problems and lead us to accept unsound and dangerous government policies.Page 21 | Location 312-313 | Added on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 08:20 PM
People are contrary cusses whose behavior, thank goodness, cannot be forecast precisely in advance.Page 22 | Location 333-334 | Added on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 08:24 PM
Theory tells us that the higher the wage rates, the greater the unemployment, and vice versa.Page 23 | Location 343-344 | Added on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 08:27 PM
In fact, inflation now, even if it reduces unemployment in the short-run by inducing prices to spurt ahead of wage rates (thereby reducing real wage rates), will only create more unemployment in the long run.
Eventually, wage rates catch up with inflation, and inflation brings recession and unemployment inevitably in its wake.Page 26 | Location 397-399 | Added on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 08:37 PM
Wage rates in every country are determined by the productivity of the workers in that country. Hence, high wages in the United States are not a standing threat to American prosperity; they are the result of that prosperity.Page 32 | Location 478-478 | Added on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 08:56 PM
In the world of business, no firm, even the giants, can stand still for long.
I learned two lessons from my years on Capitol Hill as Congressman Ron Paul’s chief aide: 1) Every act of government deliberately benefits an interest group coalition at the expense of the rest of us; and 2) The government and the interests always lie about it.Page 34 | Location 515-517 | Added on Thursday, April 19, 2012, 12:03 AM
The GNP records the dollar amount of goods and services produced in the economy during a period. But it equates government spending with private spending. And it ignores the wealth and potential growth destroyed by taxation.
GNP records the money spent on goods and services, not the wealth destroyed by bombs, taxation, regulation, or other government activities.Page 35 | Location 522-523 | Added on Thursday, April 19, 2012, 12:05 AM
subtracting government spending from GNP, and then adjusting for taxation, gives us a much better idea of the real economy. His “Private Product Remaining
Always be wary of government statistics. They are usually designed to mislead, and GNP is part of that game.Page 37 | Location 556-557 | Added on Thursday, April 19, 2012, 12:12 AM
The act of discrimination itself is neither good nor bad, but the underlying values can be considered unethical.Page 38 | Location 575-576 | Added on Thursday, April 19, 2012, 12:15 AM
The government’s minimum wage law discriminates against the less productive members of society.Page 56 | Location 851-852 | Added on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:04:15 PM
As in the case of other prices, interest rates move inversely with the supply, but directly with the demand, for credit.Page 57 | Location 873-874 | Added on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:15:47 PM
Internationally, capital will tend to flow from low-interest to high-interest rate countries, raising interest rates in the former and lowering them in the latter.Page 59 | Location 896-896 | Added on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:19:00 PM
Production is everything, and jobs are nothing but a means toward that end.Page 60 | Location 905-905 | Added on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:21:16 PM
we exist a midst economic scarcity and must work to live and prosper.Page 64 | Location 973-975 | Added on Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:43:22 AM
The Bureau is a private institution, supported by a large group of associations and institutions, business and union groups, banks, foundations, and scholarly associations, which confer upon it an almost painful respectability.Page 127 | Location 1940-1941 | Added on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 1:26:11 PM
artificially trying to prop up inefficient industries through protectionist trade policies hurts us all by driving up prices and holding down quality.Page 129 | Location 1971-1974 | Added on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 8:37:52 AM
One of the most important notions underlying the calls for stifling foreign imports is the “balance of trade” concept and the idea that a “trade deficit” (your country imports more goods than it exports) is bad and that a “trade surplus” (your country exports more than it imports) is good. This is pure superstition and goes back to the mercantilist days of the 17th century.Page 130 | Location 1982-1984 | Added on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 8:39:35 AM
there’s no reason that goods should balance out in trade between two parties. The buyer gives up money for goods, and the seller gives up goods for money. Both sides benefit.Page 132 | Location 2021-2022 | Added on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 8:46:34 AM
Mises called capitalism the system of consumer sovereignty. Anything that inhibits that sovereignty makes us all poorer—and less free.Page 138 | Location 2112-2114 | Added on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:41:09 PM
We are not, if we were ever, a world of self-sufficient farmers. The market economy is one vast latticework throughout the world, in which each individual, each region, each country, produces what he or it is best at, most relatively efficient in, and exchanges that product for the goods and services of others.Page 141 | Location 2150-2151 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:28:54 AM
But a wage rate is determined not just by personal quality but also by relative scarcity, and in the United States the worker is far scarcer compared to capital than he is in Taiwan.
One of the major protectionist fallacies is to confuse the price of labor (wage rates) with its cost, which also depends on its relative productivity.
American employers is not really with the “cheap labor” in Taiwan, because “expensive labor” in the U.S. is precisely the result of the bidding for scarce labor by U.S. employers.Page 144 | Location 2203-2205 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:40:35 AM
Any government subsidizing of a new industry will funnel too many resources into that industry as compared to older firms, and will also inaugurate distortions that may persist and render the firm or industry permanently inefficient and vulnerable to competition.
As a result, “infant-industry” tariffs have tended to become permanent, regardless of the “maturity” of the industry.
The proponents were carried away by a misleading biological analogy to “infants” who need adult care. But a business firm is not a person, young or old.Page 145 | Location 2220-2220 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:43:51 AM
The balance of payments, as we said earlier, is a pseudo-problem created by the existence of customs statistics.Page 146 | Location 2227-2231 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:46:04 AM
But now, in the fiat-money era, balance of payments deficits are truly meaningless. For gold is no longer a “balancing item.” In effect, there is no deficit in the balance of payments. It is true that in the last few years, imports have been greater than exports by $150 billion or so per year. But no gold flowed out of the country. Neither did dollars “leak” out. The alleged “deficit” was paid for by foreigners investing the equivalent amount of money in American dollars: in real estate, capital goods, U.S. securities, and bank accounts.
In effect, in the last couple of years, foreigners have been investing enough of their own funds in dollars to keep the dollar high, enabling us to purchase cheap imports.Page 147 | Location 2240-2242 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:48:05 AM
But we need not reread the economic literature from Adam Smith to the present-day to realize that the impetus for protectionism comes not from preposterous theories, but from the quest for coerced special privilege and restraint of trade at the expense of efficient competitors and consumers.Page 150 | Location 2291-2291 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:54:17 AM
Always ready to do something for me, he never let me down.Page 155 | Location 2367-2368 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:35:23 PM
each of us makes decisions based on our own personal preferences, and that business people are constantly trying to serve those preferences. Therefore, economic value cannot be inherent in products; it is only conferred by consumer desires.
The Austrians also showed that capital—and its share of production, i.e. profit—was as necessary as labor, and that in a free market, they work together to satisfy consumers.
The Austrians, again looking at individuals, saw that people would rather consume now than in the future.Page 156 | Location 2377-2378 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:38:00 PM
Thus “time-preference” is the reason for interest: the payment for deferring consumption.
Investors who put up capital to start a business are also deferring consumption (whereas employees get paid immediately), and their payment is called profit. In fact, the “normal” rate of profit in a free market is the interest rate.
The demand for money is determined by the desire of consumers to hold cash rather than something else.
The amount and speed of price increases depend on the people’s desire to hold cash.Page 157 | Location 2395-2398 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:41:41 PM
When government inflates, it lowers the interest rate below what it would otherwise have been. This encourages bad business and investment decisions during the inflationary boom. When the inflation slows or stops, these mistakes are seen for what they are, and the result is bankruptcies and unemployment. That is, government is the cause of the business cycle. Through inflation, it brings about recessions and depressions.Page 158 | Location 2420-2421 | Added on Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:45:39 PM
human beings are unique individuals, each with their own purposes and their own ideas about how to achieve them.Page 169 | Location 2588-2590 | Added on Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:05:15 PM
Central bank inflation of the money supply, for example, lowers interest rates initially, but leads to higher interest rates and lower purchasing power in the long run, not to speak of the business cycle of booms and busts. Inflation may benefit the government and those who get the new money first, but it hurts everyone else.Page 170 | Location 2604-2606 | Added on Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:08:41 PM
As Hazlitt has argued, only a true gold standard, with the dollar redeemable in gold domestically as well as internationally, qualifies as sound money. And institutions like the IMF and World Bank only benefit governments and banking interests at the expense of the American taxpayer and the poor in other countries.Page 179 | Location 2736-2737 | Added on Thursday, October 11, 2012 2:37:34 PM
Utility, a strictly ordinal and subjective concept, cannot be aggregated among individuals, and thus there can be no social utility.
His conclusion: free markets maximize utility and welfare, whereas government intervention, by the very fact that it forces people to behave in ways in which they otherwise would not, only diminishes utility and welfare.Page 181 | Location 2764-2765 | Added on Thursday, October 11, 2012 4:06:09 PM
Autistic intervention prevents a person from exercising control over his own person or property, as with homicide or infringements on free speech.
Binary intervention forces an exchange between two parties, as in highway robbery or income taxes.
Rothbard develops a comprehensive critique of government coercion. He vastly expanded the scope of the theory of intervention, and developed three useful categories: autistic, binary, and triangular.
triangular mode, in which the government “compels a pair of people to make an exchange or prohibits them from doing so,” as in rent control or minimum wages.Page 206 | Location 3154-3158 | Added on Monday, October 15, 2012 12:20:13 PM
The problem is this: It is one thing for central planners to draw up a plan of production. It is quite another thing to carry it out. Here we encounter the famous “problem of economic calculation” formulated by Mises. How can you (the planners) know what should be produced, before you know what people want? And people cannot know what they want unless they first know the price of things. But prices themselves can only be established when people are permitted to own things and to exchange them among themselves. But people do not have these rights in centrally planned economies.Page 216 | Location 3299-3302 | Added on Friday, October 19, 2012 10:25:15 AM
Mises forced socialists to think about how socialism works in practice. After more than 65 years, he has not been answered. Socialists of all stripes, from Marx to Galbraith, typically wax eloquent on the alleged evils of capitalism, but never spell out how their version of society would operate. If the economy is to be planned, what’s the plan? This is the socialist mystery of the missing blueprints, and Mises was the first to call their bluff.Page 220 | Location 3368-3370 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:22:45 AM
The entrepreneur must ultimately supply what individuals in their role as consumers demand. An entrepreneur who fails to do this will be driven from business and other entrepreneurs more sensitive to consumer wishes will replace him. Finally, when people say that some
The entrepreneur must ultimately supply what individuals in their role as consumers demand. An entrepreneur who fails to do this will be driven from business and other entrepreneurs more sensitive to consumer wishes will replace him.Page 221 | Location 3380-3383 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:24:45 AM
If the government grants the special privilege, the results are disruptive of the peaceful free market process of economic change and progress. When other members of society begin to obtain government privileges and protections, the cumulative effect is declining production, less innovation, higher prices, and a lower standard of living for the members of the whole society.Page 222 | Location 3391-3393 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:26:20 AM
The interdependency of all prices and all markets in a system of division of labor means that if the government decides to control one part of the economy, it must end up controlling all of it.
In short, as Mises says, “the middle-of-the-road policy is not an economic system that can last. It is a method for the realization of socialism by installments.”
Mises repeatedly observed that the Western world was moving toward collectivism. But he also emphasized that “the trend can be reversed as was the case with many other trends in history.” In the realm of human action no choices are “inevitable.” History is made by men, and men are ultimately guided by ideas.Page 223 | Location 3415-3417 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:30:48 AM
Economic law guarantees that harmful economic and sociological effects will always follow the socialization of the means of production. The socialist experiment will always end in failure.Page 224 | Location 3417-3420 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:30:56 AM
First, socialism results in less investment, less saving, and lower standards of living. When socialism is initially imposed, property must be redistributed. The means of production are taken away from current users and producers and given to the community of caretakers. Even though the owners and users of the means of production acquired them through mutual consent from previous users, they are transferred to people who, at best, become users and producers of things they didn’t own previously.
Thus the income for the non-user, non-producer, and non-contractor rises. It is the same for the non-saver who benefits at the expense of the saver from whom the saved property is confiscated.
There will be less preparation for the future because everyone’s investment outlets dry up. There will be less saving and more consuming, less work and more leisure.
Second, socialism results in inefficiencies, shortages, and prodigious waste. This is the insight of Ludwig von Mises who discovered that rational economic calculation is impossible under socialism. He showed that capital goods under socialism are at best used in the production of second-rate needs, and at worst, in production that satisfies no needs whatsoever.Page 225 | Location 3436-3438 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:34:00 AM
Without knowing foregone opportunities, he cannot know his costs. He cannot even know if the way he produces is efficient or inefficient, desired or undesired, rational or irrational. He cannot know whether he is satisfying less or more urgent needs of consumers.
Third, socialism results in over-utilization of the factors of production until they fall into disrepair and become vandalized. A private owner in capitalism has the right to sell his factor of production at any time and keep the revenues derived from the sale. So it is to his advantage to avoid lowering its capital value. Because he owns it, his objective is to maximize the value of the factor responsible for producing the goods and services he sells. The status of the socialist caretaker is entirely different. He cannot sell his factor of production, so he has little or no incentive to insure that it retains its value. His incentive will instead be to increase the output of his factor of production without regard to its dwindling value.Page 226 | Location 3450-3452 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:37:05 AM
No matter which way you look at it, under socialism without private ownership and free markets, producers will be inclined to consume capital values by over-using them. Capital consumption leads to impoverishment.
Fourth, socialism leads to a reduction in the quality of goods and services available for the consumer.
Fifth, socialism leads to the politicization of society. Hardly anything can be worse for the production of wealth.Page 227 | Location 3467-3470 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 8:40:08 AM
In capitalism, the person who owns a resource can also control what is done with it. In a socialized economy, this isn’t true because there is no longer any owner. Nonetheless the problem of control remains. Who is going to decide what is to be done with what? Under socialism, there is only one way: people settle their disagreements over the control of property by superimposing one will upon another. As long as there are differences, people will settle them through political means.
Under such a system, people will have to spend less time and effort developing their productive skills and more time and effort improving their political talents.
Instead, people develop the ability to assemble public support for their own position and opinion through means of persuasion, demagoguery, and intrigue, through promises, bribes, and threats.
They no longer have to be able to initiate, to work, and to respond to the needs of others. Instead, people develop the ability to assemble public support for their own position and opinion through means of persuasion, demagoguery, and intrigue, through promises, bribes, and threats.
Different people rise to the top under socialism than under capitalism. The higher on the socialist hierarchy you look, the more you will find people who are too incompetent to do the job they are supposed to do. It is no hindrance in a caretaker-politician’s career to be dumb, indolent, inefficient, and uncaring. He only needs superior political skills. This too contributes to the impoverishment of society.Page 234 | Location 3572-3576 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 9:08:37 AM
It is truly inspiring to see how freedom exerts its own “domino effect.” Country after socialist country has been trying to top each other to see how far and how fast each one can go down the road of freedom and desocialization. But much of this gripping drama has been concealed from the American public because, for the last 40 years, our opinion-molders have told us that the only enemy is Communism. Our leaders have shifted the focus away from socialism itself to a variant that is different only because it is more militant and consistent.Page 238 | Location 3633-3635 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 9:19:55 AM
Privatization is a great and important good in itself. Another name for it is “desocialization.” Privatization is the reversal of the deadly socialist process that had been proceeding unchecked for almost a century.
In the government sector, in contrast, income is unrelated to efficiency or service to the consumer. Income is extracted coercively from the taxpayers (or, by inflation, from the pockets of consumers). In the government sector, the consumer is not someone to be served and courted; he or she is an unwelcome “waster” of scarce resources owned or controlled by the bureaucracy.
Besides the government has no capital of its own; everything it has, it has taxed away from private producers.Page 239 | Location 3649-3652 | Added on Saturday, October 20, 2012 9:26:05 AM
It is certainly true that a deficit may be reduced not only by cutting expenditures and raising taxes, but also by selling assets to the private sector. Those economists who have tried to justify deficits by pointing to the growth of government assets backing those deficits can now be requested to put up or shut up: in other words, to start selling those assets as a way of bringing the deficits down.Page 243 | Location 3711-3715 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:17:05 AM
If the government demanded the sacrifice of 50,000 citizens each year, an outraged public would revolt. If a religious sect planned to immolate 523,335 in the next decade, it would be toppled. If a Manson-type cult murdered 790 people to celebrate Memorial Day, the press would demand the greatest manhunt in this country’s history. If we learned of a disease that killed 2,077 children under the age of five each year, or a nursing home that allowed 7,346 elderly people to die each year, no stone would be left unturned to combat the enemy.
In fact, the government is indeed responsible for a real-life slaughter of these exact proportions: the toll taken on our nation’s roadways. Whether at the local, state, regional, or national level, it is government that builds, runs, manages, administers, repairs, and plans the road network.Page 244 | Location 3725-3727 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:19:29 AM
We hold responsible for the murder, the finger on the trigger, not the bullet. If unsafe conditions prevail in a private, multi-story parking lot, or in a shopping mall, the entrepreneur in question is held accountable.Page 246 | Location 3764-3767 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:29:07 AM
It is impossible to predict the exact shape of an industry that does not exist. I am in no position to set up the blueprint for a future private market in transport. I cannot tell how many road owners there will be, what kind of rules of the road they will set up, how much it will cost per mile, etc. I can say that a competitive market process would lead highway entrepreneurs to seek newer and better ways of providing services to their customers.Page 247 | Location 3782-3783 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:37:33 AM
The difficulty is that our legal-economic system has not kept up with medical technology. The law prohibits people from using the property rights we each have in our own persons. Specifically, it has banned trade, or a marketplace, in live spare body parts.Page 249 | Location 3816-3818 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:45:11 AM
Many small companies—which don’t have the resources and knowledge to negotiate this bureaucratic maze—can’t raise new money and grow. Large, established firms do just fine, however, and they like the lessened competition.Page 250 | Location 3821-3824 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:46:17 AM
The SEC requires “raiders” to file public reports after they acquire five percent or more of a company’s stock, in accordance with the Williams Act, which was devised by the SEC and corporate lobbyists. These filings are designed to tip off management about possible tender offers, thus giving them plenty of time to scheme a takeover defense to secure their jobs at shareholder expense.
Insider trading is a victimless crime. There is no moral requirement to tell the owner of the property you’re buying that you know how to make a profit out of it.Page 251 | Location 3841-3841 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:49:21 AM
The SEC is pushing for the power to shut down the financial markets in times of “emergency.”Page 254 | Location 3881-3883 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:57:15 AM
In a government enterprise, customers are at best a nuisance. If the Post Office could get away with it, it would prefer no mail and no customers. That’s why, during lunch hour, only one window is open, and why the P.O. takes every opportunity to cut service.Page 255 | Location 3900-3902 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 10:01:57 AM
Government is the great invader of our privacy, mail and otherwise. In the 1970s, the CIA routinely opened mail. And the same thing is happening now to opponents of the administration’s foreign policy. And the Post Office claims the right to search the mails for “contraband,” a practice that would never occur to UPS or Federal Express.Page 256 | Location 3910-3912 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 10:05:32 AM
The feds may call “Social Security” a retirement program, but it’s actually an unsound, unfair, unworkable, and immoral system of wealth redistribution. It’s bankrupting America and destroying rather than creating financial security.Page 258 | Location 3946-3948 | Added on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 10:13:00 AM
In truth Social Security is a tax. You are required by law to pay; if you refuse the government puts you in jail. But they call it a “contribution” as if we were giving to the United Way. Nor is there any “insurance.” If a private insurance policy were as unsound as Social Security, its sellers would go to jail.Page 262 | Location 4006-4008 | Added on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 11:24:49 AM
Young couples with children may think they want government child care. But they don’t realize that Americans like themselves will be the biggest losers in this Faustian bargain with the State. They risk losing their right to raise their children as they—and not bureaucrats—see fit.Page 263 | Location 4029-4032 | Added on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 11:28:46 AM
Advocates of government child care claim they want child care to be more available, yet at the same time they want rigid and federalized regulations. Regulations can only lessen the number of child-care centers because fewer providers will have the time, resources, labor, and facilities to qualify under Washington’s official rules.Page 264 | Location 4032-4034 | Added on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 11:29:10 AM
Regulations will not improve the quality of child care. They will restrict competition and establish a cartel of the largest firms, which are the only ones that can afford the costs of dealing with the government. It’s no coincidence that the big businesses in the industry are actively lobbying for regulations which will crush small firms.
Another bad idea would force businesses to provide child care for employees’ children. Such programs would be very costly for private firms, which would cover their losses by laying off workers. Moreover, they would avoid hiring young women with children. The very people that such programs are allegedly designed to help—young working mothers—would be the ones most hurt.
Like all bureaucracies, it’s run for the benefit of the bureaucrats. Employees can’t be fired, they waste money, and customers become an interference rather than a blessing. Such a system would have to work against the best interests of children.Page 267 | Location 4085-4087 | Added on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 11:38:22 AM
Businesses also have bureaucratic aspects, but the free market imposes limits on them. An overload of bureaucrats diminishes profits by diminishing efficiency, innovation, and morale. That’s why schemes to bring business methods to government come to grief. As Mises says, business and government are fundamentally different, and the methods appropriate to one are alien to the other.Page 271 | Location 4142-4147 | Added on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 2:27:52 PM
Secondly, balancing the budget by increasing taxes is like curing influenza by shooting the patient; the cure is worse than the disease. Dimly recognizing this fact, most of the amendment proposals include a clause to limit federal taxation. But unfortunately, they do so by imposing a limit on revenues as a percentage of the national income or gross national product. It is absurd to include such a concept as “national income” in the fundamental law of the land; there is no such real entity, but only a statistical artifact, and an artifact that can and does wobble according to the political breeze. It is all too easy to include or exclude an enormous amount from this concept.
We must here note a disturbing current tendency for “born again” pro-deficit economists in conservative ranks to propose that “capital” items be excluded from the federal budget altogether. This theory is based on an analogy with private firms and their “capital” versus “operating” budgets. One would think that allegedly free-market economists would not have the affrontery to apply this to government. Get this adopted, and the government could happily throw away money on any boondoggle, no matter how absurd, so long as they could call it an “investment in the future.” Here is a loophole in the balanced-budget amendment that would make any politician’s day!Page 277 | Location 4238-4241 | Added on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 3:19:06 PM
The economy of 19th-century America was punctuated by serious economic setbacks. They were caused not by the free market, but by the destructive manipulations and interventions of government authorities. This was not a century of government as innocent bystander, but of government as the incessant bungler, running roughshod over the principle of sound and honest money.
Monetary reform, if it is to be genuine and successful, must sever money and banking from politics. That’s why a modern gold standard must have: no central bank; no fixed rations between gold and silver; no bail-outs; no suspension of gold payments or other bank frauds; no monetization of debt; and no inflation of the money supply, all of which have proved so disastrous in the past.Page 285 | Location 4354-4357 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 4:32:24 PM
To put it simply: the reason for the crash was the credit boom generated by the double-digit monetary expansion engineered by the Fed in the last several years. For a few years, as always happens in Phase I of an inflation, prices went up less than the monetary inflation. This, the typical euphoric phase of inflation, was the “Reagan miracle” of cheap and abundant money, accompanied by moderate price increases.
No other school of economic thought but the Austrian understands that once an inflationary bank credit boom has been launched, a corrective recession is inevitable, and that the sooner it comes, the better.
The sooner a recession comes, the fewer the unsound investments that the recession has to liquidate, and the sooner the recession will be over.
The important point about a recession is for the government not to interfere, not to inflate, not to regulate, and to allow the recession to work its curative way as quickly as possible.Page 286 | Location 4377-4379 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 4:36:47 PM
The Phillips Curve assumes that the choice is always either more recession and unemployment, or more inflation. In reality, the Phillips Curve, if one wishes to speak in those terms, is in reverse: the choice is either more inflation and bigger recession, or none of either. The looming danger is another inflationary recession, and the Greenspan reaction indicates that it will be a whopper.
The crash of 1929, and the depression of the 1930s, entrenched the welfare-warfare state. Intellectuals, taking their cue from government propagandists, wrongly blamed the free market and the gold standard for the disaster. In a variation on the same theme, they are blaming the October 19 crash on insufficient government regulations.Page 289 | Location 4416-4417 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 7:48:20 PM
The free market is great for consumers and producers, but some businessmen find government regulation an easier road to profits. That’s why they try to use government to protect them from the rivalry of the market.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be on top, of course, so long as it is done peacefully. But when businessmen use the government to gain a monopoly, they cease being market competitors and become a political pressure group.Page 291 | Location 4451-4455 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 7:54:37 PM
In America, special interests are the minority. They are greatly outnumbered by taxpayers, voters, and competitors. But the interests get what they want in politics because they are well-organized, have well-defined goals, and can reward those in government who do their bidding. Consumers and taxpayers are spread out, disorganized, and pay a small marginal cost per intervention. Unfortunately, an interventionist economy tends to grant favors to well-organized minorities at the expense of the majority, even in a democracy where the will of the majority supposedly triumphs.Page 292 | Location 4459-4463 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 7:56:33 PM
The way to avoid such abuses is not by giving even more power to the political regulators who, after all, are already comfortably in bed with the vested interests. The way to quash the regulatory-industrial complex is through a separation of Market and state, a strict adherence to the policy of laissez-faire. Only a purely free market will stop privilege-seeking businessmen from clustering around Washington like flies around a garbage can. Under a free market,
The way to avoid such abuses is not by giving even more power to the political regulators who, after all, are already comfortably in bed with the vested interests. The way to quash the regulatory-industrial complex is through a separation of Market and state, a strict adherence to the policy of laissez-faire. Only a purely free market will stop privilege-seeking businessmen from clustering around Washington like flies around a garbage can. Under a free market, the only road to profits will be to please the consumer.
Acoalition of Third World regimes, businessmen, and bureaucrats is scheming for your wallet. What they want is more: more tax dollars extracted from Americans to redistribute under the name of “foreign aid,” allegedly to lend a helping hand to “developing” countries so they can climb out of poverty. Opponents of such policies are said to be selfish and uncaring, or perhaps they have some other more fundamental character flaw. American taxpayers are told to sacrifice their paychecks for the greater good of the poor around the world. How it is that the United States, Britain, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Sweden, etc. were able to develop without foreign aid is never explained.
U.S. government foreign aid, in all its various forms, is not assistance to poor people. It is aid to foreign governments, political regimes almost always of an authoritarian or totalitarian nature. Very little of this money ever gets to the poor people in those foreign lands.
Foreign aid is not charity from rich people to poor people. It is money extracted by government coercion (taxes) from working-class Americans and sent to the ruling cliques in foreign regimes. Politicians and civil servants in those countries dish it out to favored special interests, regardless of any “need.”Page 293 | Location 4482-4484 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:00:34 PM
Much of the largesse is pumped into state-run industries and collectivist programs run by socialist bureaucrats. By shoring up socialist systems, our foreign aid money virtually assures economic stagnation, political oppression, and therefore even fewer opportunities for poor people to climb out of their misery.Page 294 | Location 4493-4494 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:02:36 PM
The corporation, the recipient government, U.S. bureaucrats—everybody wins in such a transaction. Except the U.S. taxpayer and the poor citizens of the foreign land.
The U.S. Constitution nowhere permits the taxing of American citizens for the benefit of foreign governments, U.S. corporations, or U.S. bureaucrats. For the sake of morality, efficiency, and fairness, let’s leave foreign aid to those private organizations that actually help, and get the government out.Page 296 | Location 4526-4531 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:09:57 PM
Boskin proposes to define most of the deficit out of existence with a “capital budget.” All the spending that politicians could call “investment” would be counted as increased assets and not as regular spending. Today, for example, when the government spends $100 million on a new office building for welfare bureaucrats, it’s considered spending. Boskin would call the building an investment and subtract the $100 million from the deficit. There is probably no government spending—aside from transfer payments—that some politician couldn’t label an investment. So with Boskin’s capital budget in place, the government could always run a surplus, no matter how much spending exceeded revenue.
Government spending can never be an investment in the private-sector sense. In fact, government spending is anti-investment. Every penny must be seized from individuals in the private sector who otherwise would have put it to productive use. We can know there is a loss, but not how much, because, as Henry Hazlitt has noted, we can’t know what profitable investments were not made by entrepreneurs, and what social benefits therefore never resulted.Page 299 | Location 4572-4574 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:18:12 PM
In the name of helping the poor, labor unions and their kept politicians impose minimum wage laws, which then throw people out of work. But this is not an unexpected or unintended consequence; it is precisely what the unions want: to create a labor cartel by reducing job opportunities for marginal workers and therefore competition for their over-paid members.Page 302 | Location 4624-4625 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:26:52 PM
The Phillips Curve sums up the Keynesian notion that we must have either unemployment or inflation, but cannot have both. The doctrine died after high levels of inflation and unemployment in the 1970s, but Summers still believes in it.Page 303 | Location 4629-4634 | Added on Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:28:22 PM
Consumers get their information from personal experience, friends, and advertising. Business people need only know about their own markets. But government gathers data about the entire economy to control us. Unlike consumers and business people, politicians and bureaucrats stand outside the market. But to try to run it, they need information about what is going on inside it. Collecting economic statistics imposes huge costs on business, but the government is willing to spare no cost to us, for, as Professor Murray N. Rothbard has noted, “statistics are the eyes and ears of the bureaucrat, the politician, the socialistic reformer.”
There are as many varieties of Keynesian economics as there are economists in Washington, D.C. Its doctrines are muddy and open to different interpretations, which is one reason it’s so popular: it can be used to justify any interventionist policy, Republican or Democrat.Page 325 | Location 4977-4981 | Added on Friday, October 26, 2012 8:31:20 AM
There seems to be no sense to the concept of fairness in price except what is arrived at, from day to day, as the result of voluntary transactions on the market. But what of taxation? Unfortunately, we can’t even apply the voluntary transaction criterion here, because by its very nature, taxation is coercive, and is not arrived at by the voluntary bargaining of individuals on the market. So what then is a “fair” tax? I submit that the concept simply doesn’t apply.Page 326 | Location 4986-4990 | Added on Friday, October 26, 2012 8:33:24 AM
Instead of worrying about distributing taxes “fairly,” or what is supposed to amount to the same thing, allocating tax suffering equally, we should set about trying to minimize tax suffering as much as we can down the line. And if we approach the problem that way, we should find it easier to gain broad agreement. Rather than trying to figure out whether a proportional, degressive, regressive, or progressive income tax structure is “fairest,” we may find we can agree on reducing the tax burden of everyone.
The point is that all of us are paying too much. The flat-tax movement is part of a process by which the government and its allies have been able to split and deflect the tax protest movement from trying to lower the taxes of everyone, into trying to force everyone into paying some arbitrarily defined “fair share.”Page 329 | Location 5037-5038 | Added on Friday, October 26, 2012 8:42:03 AM
Denouncing tax lawyers and accountants is like blaming doctors for the existence of disease, or attacking expenditures on guards, locks, and fences for protecting oneself against crime.
Our complaint should not be with tax lawyers and accountants, but with the system that makes them necessary. So long as that system exists, we must realize that they are our shield and our buckler, our defense against the depredations of the tax system.Page 330 | Location 5054-5057 | Added on Friday, October 26, 2012 8:46:19 AM
What he meant is that many intellectuals, right, left, or center, are opposed to the messy individuality, the untidy diversity of real life. It is an occupational disease of intellectuals to simplify the reality of people, of other people that is, in order to try to understand them. And so intellectuals like to pigeonhole their subjects—other people—into neat, orderly, and simple categories, and to classify and then deal with them in neat and orderly ways.Page 333 | Location 5098-5099 | Added on Friday, October 26, 2012 8:55:09 AM
It is the view of the Austrian School of Economics that a boom in bank credit will lead inevitably to a corrective recession, and that the sooner the boom is stopped, and the recession is allowed to liquidate the unsound investments of the boom, the better.Page 335 | Location 5125-5128 | Added on Friday, October 26, 2012 9:00:32 AM
Government Spending. How well did Reagan succeed in cutting government spending, surely a critical ingredient in any plan to reduce the role of government in everyone’s life? In 1980, the last year of free-spending Jimmy Carter, the federal government spent $591 billion. In 1986, the last recorded year of the Reagan administration, the federal government spent $990 billion, an increase of 68%. Whatever this is, it is emphatically not reducing government expenditures.Page 338 | Location 5174-5180 | Added on Friday, October 26, 2012 12:48:56 PM
In the first place, Congress can override the amendment at any time by three-fifths vote. Secondly, Congress is not required to actually balance any budget; that is, its actual expenditures in any given year are not limited to the revenues taken in. Instead, Congress is only required to prepare an estimate of a balanced budget for a future year; and of course, government estimates, even of its own income or spending, are notoriously unreliable. And third, there is no enforcement clause; suppose Congress did violate even the requirement for an estimated balanced budget: What is going to happen to the legislators? Is the Supreme Court going to summon marshals and put the entire U.S. Congress in jail? And yet, not only has Reagan been pushing for such an absurd amendment, but so too have many helpful Reaganomists.