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The First New Deal Ruined Energy Innovation

The First New Deal Ruined Energy Innovation

About the only disappointing aspect of Burton Folsom’s New Deal or Raw Deal is that it doesn’t go far enough in its critique of FDR’s rural electrification program.

The Roosevelt Institute claims, in all seriousness, that “while 90% of urban dwellers had electricity by the 1930s, only 10% of rural dwellers did and roughly 9 out of 10 farms had none,” as if electrons magically stopped flowing in the presence of barnyard animals and corn cribs.

But farmers used electricity before Roosevelt took office; they just produced or procured it themselves instead of taking it off a federally subsidized grid.

Strangely, pundits on the left continue to laud FDR’s Rural Electrification Administration even though it increased demand for electricity created largely by “dirty” sources, especially coal, while squelching demand for electricity generated by local, often green, means. 

To this day, South Dakota’s prairie remains dotted with the skeletons of farm windmills abandoned long ago thanks to the Rural Electrification Administration. 

This is not to say that all electricity from the grid was dirty, as some of it came from hydroelectric plants, like those along the Missouri and Niagara rivers, nor that all locally generated electricity came from green sources, as some of it came from fossil fuel–powered generators and flatulent mules. But the point here isn’t to count kilowatts; it is to point out what the New Deal cost us in terms of green-energy innovation.

Although, since the New Deal, farms in the United States decreased in relative terms and absolute numbers, they still number in the millions. And although farmers are notoriously “cash poor,” only a small number are “dirt poor.” 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Executive Order 6102 Doomed America

BUENOS AIRES – Today, we woke up in Buenos Aires with a disagreeable headache… and a depressing hypothesis:

First, it doesn’t matter whether Brett Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court or not; one more Deep State toad won’t make any difference.

Second, the Supreme Court has been derelict in its duty for the last 80 years.

For years, the Court has looked the other way as the feds robbed one class of citizen (ordinary, working people) and rewarded another (the elite).

Third, as a result, the American empire faces a catastrophic money crisis… probably accompanied by internal schisms, social breakdowns, and dangerous political scuffles.

Let’s begin by looking again at the connection between time and money.

Losing Time

If you work by the hour, the guy with money can buy your time. That’s what it really means to say someone is “rich” – he has more time because he can control not only his own, but yours, too.

The guy who had $1,000 worth of stocks in 1971 could buy approximately 250 of the average working man’s hours. Today, that $1,000 worth of stocks is worth about $28,000… which, at today’s $26-per-hour average, will buy 1,077 hours of the typical working man’s time – four times as much as in 1971.

In other words, compared to the wage earner, the capitalist is four times as rich.

Invert it, and you see about the same thing. A working man would have had to labor for 212 hours to buy the 30 Dow stocks in 1971. Today, his time is much less valuable; he has to sweat for 1,000 hours to buy the Dow.

That’s why the liberals whine about “inequality”… and probably why Donald J. Trump was elected. Few people may have done the math, but a lot of people suspected a rat.

And they were right.

Many – including the president – pointed their fingers… but at the wrong rat!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Three New Deals: Why the Nazis and Fascists Loved FDR

Three New Deals: Why the Nazis and Fascists Loved FDR

fdr mussolini hitler.jpg 

[Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939. By Wolfgang Schivelbusch. Metropolitan Books, 2006. 242 pgs.]

Critics of Roosevelt’s New Deal often liken it to fascism. Roosevelt’s numerous defenders dismiss this charge as reactionary propaganda; but as Wolfgang Schivelbusch makes clear, it is perfectly true. Moreover, it was recognized to be true during the 1930s, by the New Deal’s supporters as well as its opponents.

When Roosevelt took office in March 1933, he received from Congress an extraordinary delegation of powers to cope with the Depression.

The broad-ranging powers granted to Roosevelt by Congress, before that body went into recess, were unprecedented in times of peace. Through this “delegation of powers,” Congress had, in effect, temporarily done away with itself as the legislative branch of government. The only remaining check on the executive was the Supreme Court. In Germany, a similar process allowed Hitler to assume legislative power after the Reichstag burned down in a suspected case of arson on February 28, 1933. (p. 18).

The Nazi press enthusiastically hailed the early New Deal measures: America, like the Reich, had decisively broken with the “uninhibited frenzy of market speculation.” The Nazi Party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, “stressed ‘Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies,’ praising the president’s style of leadership as being compatible with Hitler’s own dictatorial Führerprinzip” (p. 190).

Nor was Hitler himself lacking in praise for his American counterpart. He “told American ambassador William Dodd that he was ‘in accord with the President in the view that the virtue of duty, readiness for sacrifice, and discipline should dominate the entire people. These moral demands which the President places before every individual citizen of the United States are also the quintessence of the German state philosophy, which finds its expression in the slogan “The Public Weal Transcends the Interest of the Individual”‘” (pp. 19-20). A New Order in both countries had replaced an antiquated emphasis on rights.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Architect of Monetary Madness and a U.S. Debt Default

Every schoolchild is dutifully taught that President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) was America’s savior. They are repeatedly told that FDR and his New Deal policies pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression. What nonsense. In fact, FDR was the architect of monetary madness and an American debt default. Yes, FDR engineered a U.S. debt default in 1933.

This story is brilliantly told in a new scholarly book by Sebastian Edwards, the Henry Ford II Professor of International Economics at the University of California at Los Angeles. Edward’s book, American Default: The Untold Story of FDR, the Supreme Court, and the Battle over Gold, has just been released by the Princeton University Press.

FDR entered the White House on March 4, 1933, and in less than two months (April 19, 1933), he announced that he was taking the U.S. off the gold standard. FDR asserted that he was doing this to end the Great Depression and to raise farm prices. As FDR put it: “the whole problem before us is to raise commodity prices.”

FDR gave Congress license, and Congress used it to abrogate the Gold Clause via a joint resolution in June of 1933. Before that, a gold clause was included in most private and public bond covenants. These covenants insured that bond holders would receive interest and principle payments in dollars that contained as much gold as the dollar had contained when the bonds were issued.

The U.S. government manipulated the price of gold upward until President Roosevelt redefined the dollar in gold terms under the Gold Reserve Act of January 1934. Overnight, the dollar became 41% lighter. This left gold-clause bond holders out to dry.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Learning from America’s Forgotten Default

​President Franklin D. Roosevelt​ signs the Gold Bill (also known as the Dollar Devaluation Bill) ​Bettmann/Getty Images

Learning from America’s Forgotten Default

One of the most pervasive myths about the United States is that the federal government has never defaulted on its debts. There’s just one problem: it’s not true, and while few people remember the “gold clause cases” of the 1930s, that episode holds valuable lessons for leaders today.

LOS ANGELES – One of the most pervasive myths about the United States is that the federal government has never defaulted on its debts. Every time the debt ceiling is debated in Congress, politicians and journalists dust off a common trope: the US doesn’t stiff its creditors.

There’s just one problem: it’s not true. There was a time, decades ago, when the US behaved more like a “banana republic” than an advanced economy, restructuring debts unilaterally and retroactively. And, while few people remember this critical period in economic history, it holds valuable lessons for leaders today.

In April 1933, in an effort to help the US escape the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt announced plans to take the US off the gold standard and devalue the dollar. But this would not be as easy as FDR calculated. Most debt contracts at the time included a “gold clause,” which stated that the debtor must pay in “gold coin” or “gold equivalent.” These clauses were introduced during the Civil War as a way to protect investors against a possible inflationary surge.

For FDR, however, the gold clause was an obstacle to devaluation. If the currency were devalued without addressing the contractual issue, the dollar value of debts would automatically increase to offset the weaker exchange rate, resulting in massive bankruptcies and huge increases in public debt.

To solve this problem, Congress passed a joint resolution on June 5, 1933, annulling all gold clauses in past and future contracts.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The US Two-Tier Monetary System that Ended in 1971

QUESTION: You said the US had a two-tier monetary system under Bretton Woods. Can you explain that one, please?

DHJ

ANSWER: When Roosevelt confiscated gold, he created, in reality, a two-tier monetary system quite frankly as the medieval city of Florence. The Great Financial Panic of 1344 was when the value of silver rose dramatically blowing out the silver/gold ratio. Silver was used locally for the normal people. Their wages were paid in silver. The gold florin was used for international trade and companies had to keep actually two sets of books with accounting in each separate currency.

When Roosevelt confiscated gold, he devalued the dollar from $20.67 per ounce of gold to $35. Gold remained the unit of account for INTERNATIONAL transactions. While the last silver dollar was at first still minted, it was decided to end that production as well. Therefore, the last U.S. silver dollar to be struck was that of 1935. Nonetheless, the government then maintained silver as a backing for the currency domestically and issued Silver Certificates until 1963.

When the price of silver was rising with just about all other commodities during the early 1960s, the pressure was mounting on the financial system. President Kennedy authorized the abandonment of silver as a backing for the currency. He allowed the silver certificates to be redeemed for silver bullion. However, the minimum lot accepted for redemption was 5,000 for this was the size of the silver bars.

Therefore, in 1963 is when we see the beginning of the end in the two-tier monetary system. Between 1964 and 1971, the gold standard remained intact until President Nixon was forced to close the gold window ending the convertibility of dollars to gold internationally.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

State Property

State Property

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal wrung from the trauma of the 1930s a lasting legacy of economic and social reform, including the Social Security Act, new banking and financial laws, regulatory legislation, and new opportunities for organized labor. Taken together, these reforms gave a measure of security to millions of Americans who had never had much of it, and with it, a fresh sense of having a stake in their country.

From the dust jacket description of Freedom From Fear, The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945, David M. Kennedy, Oxford University Press, (1999)

When one man’s security becomes another man’s chain gang.

The above paragraph concisely sums up conclusions about the New Deal that can be found in thousands of textbooks, histories, and articles. You can guess that the tome (it’s 858 pages, SLL has not read it) reflects the reigning academic ideology, an impression furthered by its Pulitzer Prize. Pulitzers are awarded to fans of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New deal, not critics. If the latter stood a chance, Amity Shlae’s fine critical analysis, The Forgotten Man, A New History Of The Great Depression, might have received one.

Putting food on the table has a large place in human history. So too do governments. More often than not, they’ve worked at cross-purposes. Governments don’t produce, they take. Whatever they take means less food, and everything else, for those from whom they take it.

One man’s government-bestowed security is another’s government-bestowed insecurity. There weren’t enough plutocrats to fund the New Deal. It reached into the pockets of people who were only an economic rung or two above its beneficiaries. The money taken from a taxpayer might have meant deferred truck maintenance or no trip to the doctor for his sick daughter.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Gold is the spectre haunting our monetary system

Close-up of bars of pure gold bullion
A scramble for gold has begun as central banks bet against US dollar inflation  CREDIT:ALAMY

 

For a century, elites have worked to eliminate monetary gold, both physically and ideologically.

This began in 1914, with the UK’s entry into the First World War. The Bank of England wanted to suspend convertibility of bank notes into gold. Keynes counselled wisely that the bank should not do so. Gold was finite, but credit elastic.

By staying on gold, the UK could maintain its credit, and finance the war effort. This transpired. The House of Morgan organised massive credits for the UK, and none for Germany. This finance was crucial, and sustained the UK until the US abandoned neutrality and tipped the military balance against Germany.

Despite formal convertibility of sterling to gold, the Bank of England successfully discouraged actual conversion.

Gold sovereigns were withdrawn from circulation and turned into 400-ounce bars. This form of bullion limited gold ownership to the wealthy, and confined gold’s presence to vaults. A similar disappearance of gold as a circulating currency occurred in the US.

Gold graph
The price of gold has jumped in recent years CREDIT: LONDON METAL EXCHANGE

In 1933, US President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order making ownership of gold a crime. FDR relied on the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 as statutory authority for this edict. Since the US was not at war in 1933, the enemy was presumably the American people.

In 1971, US President Richard Nixon ended convertibility of US dollars into gold by trading partners of the US. Closing the gold window was said by Nixon to be temporary. Forty-five years later the window is still closed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The FOMC Decision: The Boxed in Fed

What’s a Keynesian monetary quack to do when the economy and markets fail to remain “on message” within a few weeks of grandiose declarations that this time, printing truckloads of money has somehow “worked”, in defiance of centuries of experience, and in blatant violation of sound theory?

In the weeks since the largely meaningless December rate hike, numerous armchair central planners, many of whom seem to be pining for even more monetary insanity than the actual planners, have begun to berate the Fed for inadvertently summoning that great bugaboo of modern-day money cranks, the “ghost of 1937”.

Bugaboo of monetary cranks
The bugaboo of Keynesian money cranks – the ghost of 1937.

As the story goes, the fact that the FDR administration’s run-away deficit declined a bit, combined with a small hike in reserve requirements by the Fed “caused” the “depression-within-the-depression” of 1937-1938, which saw the stock market plunging by more than 50% and unemployment soaring back to levels close to the peaks seen in 1932-33.

This is of course balderdash. If anything, it demonstrates that the data of economic history are by themselves useless in determining cause and effect in economics. It is fairly easy to find historical periods in which deficit spending declined a great deal more than in 1937 and a much tighter monetary policy was implemented, to no ill effect whatsoever. If one believes the widely accepted account of the reasons for the 1937 bust, how does one explain these seeming “aberrations”?

1-USDJIND1937crThe DJIA in 1937 (eventually, an even lower low was made in 1938, see also next chart) – click to enlarge.

As we often stress, economics is a social science and therefore simply does not work like physics or other natural sciences. Only economic theory can explain economic laws – while economic history can only be properly interpreted with the aid of sound theory.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Democratic Socialism’ Means the Loss of Liberty

“DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM” MEANS THE LOSS OF LIBERTY

Democratic Party hopeful, Bernie Sanders, recently outlined what it means for him to be a “democratic socialist.” The problem is that the same label might be applied to most of the other candidates running in both the Democratic and Republican parties running to be the nominee for presidency of the United States.

One November 19, 2015, Bernie Sanders delivered a speech in which he outlined what he means when he calls himself a “democratic socialist.” He assured his listeners that he did not advocate government ownership of the means of production.

He said that he supported “private companies that thrive and invest and grow in America instead of shipping and jobs overseas.” And that “innovation, entrepreneurship, and success should be rewarded. But greed for the sake of greed is not something that public policy should support.”

He insisted that he “merely” wanted the wealthy billionaires, the “one-percenters,” to pay their “fair share,” with the belief that if they were taxed sufficiently high then it would be able to finance all the other good things that he would like to see every American have.

FDR and His Economic “Bill of Rights”

So besides a clear desire for a form of regulatory socialism that would see to it that private businesses did not “ship” jobs and profits overseas, and a fiscal socialism that would use the tax code to redistribute wealth from that supposed “one-percent,” what does Bernie Sanders mean by “democratic socialism”?

His playbook, it turns out, is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s and FDR’s 1944 call for an “economic Bill of Rights.” In the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt pushed through Social Security legislation, introduced the first federal minimum wage law and tax-funded unemployment insurance, and implemented federal job programs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fourth Turning: Crisis of Trust

Fourth Turning: Crisis of Trust

“Imagine some national (and probably global) volcanic eruption, initially flowing along channels of distress that were created during the Unraveling era and further widened by the catalyst. Trying to foresee where the eruption will go once it bursts free of the channels is like trying to predict the exact fault line of an earthquake. All you know in advance is something about the molten ingredients of the climax, which could include the following:

  • Economic distress, with public debt in default, entitlement trust funds in bankruptcy, mounting poverty and unemployment, trade wars, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation (or deflation)
  • Social distress, with violence fueled by class, race, nativism, or religion and abetted by armed gangs, underground militias, and mercenaries hired by walled communities
  • Cultural distress, with the media plunging into a dizzying decay, and a decency backlash in favor of state censorship
  • Technological distress, with cryptoanarchy, high-tech oligarchy, and biogenetic chaos
  • Ecological distress, with atmospheric damage, energy or water shortages, and new diseases
  • Political distress, with institutional collapse, open tax revolts, one-party hegemony, major constitutional change, secessionism, authoritarianism, and altered national borders
  • Military distress, with war against terrorists or foreign regimes equipped with weapons of mass destruction” 

 The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

September 2015 marks the seventh anniversary of this Fourth Turning Crisis. The economic, social, cultural, ecological, political, and military distress propagates by the minute as the globe is besieged by economic turmoil, increased human suffering, and endemic corruption of the political and ruling classes. The Federal Reserve/Wall Street created global economic implosion was the spark which catalyzed this fourth Crisis period in U.S. history in September 2008. Neil Howe in a 2012 essay assessed the beginning of this Fourth Turning and why 9/11 was not the catalyst:

“Pending stunning new developments, I believe the catalyst occurred in 2008.  It’s a date that is looking better and better as time goes by.  The year 2008 marked the onset of the most serious U.S. economic crisis since the Great Depression.  

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is This The Start Of India’s Gold Confiscation

Is This The Start Of India’s Gold Confiscation

On April 5, 1933, FDR signed Executive order 6102 which made illegal “the Hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States” in the process criminalizing the possession of monetary gold by any individual or corporation.

This was de facto gold confiscation; De jure it wasn’t, because as compensation for the relinquished gold, Americans would receive 20.67 in freshly printed US dollars for every troy ounce. Anybody who objected faced a fine of $10,000 (just under $200,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars) and up to 10 years in prison.

Once the government was confident it has confiscated enough gold, it turned around and raised the official price of a gold ounce to $35 (about $600 in today’s dollars) devaluing the US Dollar by 40% overnight at a time when currencies were still backed by hard assets.

Fast forward 82 years to a time when the barbarous relic continues to be seen as the safest store of value among India’s vast population (roughly 20% of the world’s total), not to mention the main source of financial headaches for local authorities, one of the biggest importers of gold due to its “traditional” values and where relentless Indian demand for offshore purchases of the shiny yellow metal so plagues the government’s current account and capital flow strategy, that the government may be preparing to pull a page right out of the FDR playbook.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet implemented the selling of “gold-backed bonds” when it approved the gold monetization plan and sale of sovereign bonds proposed several months ago by the Reserve Bank of India, the government said in a statement. The plans were first announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in February as measures to woo Indians away from physical gold. As Jaitley explained yesterday, the deposited gold would be auctioned, used to replenish the Reserve Bank of India’s reserves or be lent to jewelers.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will Uncle Sam Confiscate Gold Again?

Will Uncle Sam Confiscate Gold Again?

Investors suffered financial losses in recent weeks as stocks globally came under pressure in August and had their worst month in the last three years.

In one of the most volatile trading periods since the global financial crisis, August saw a massive $5.7 trillion erased from the value of stocks worldwide. No major stock market was left unscathed and the risk of financial and economic contagion became evident again. 

There are growing concerns internationally that in the event of another Wall Street or global stock market crash and a new systemic crisis – a Eurozone debt crisis or another  Lehman Brothers collapse – there could be enforced bank closures or extended bank holidays in the EU and U.S. as seen in Greece recently.

The New York Times

In this scenario, deposit boxes and vaults in U.S. banks and financial institutions could be sealed and gold confiscated again.

There is a legal precedent for this. April 5th, 1933 – at the height of the Great Depression – was the day when U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt instructed all American citizens to hand over all their gold coins and bars to the Federal Government.

Every coin, bar and certificate had to be handed in to Roosevelt’s government or else one would face a very large fine of $10,000 or 10 years in jail.  That is whopping fine of $180,000 fine in today’s money.

 

Gold was money at the time as dollars were backed by gold so in effect Roosevelt was confiscating the safest and most valuable form of money that people owned for the benefit of the state. Under the Gold Confiscation Act of 1933 Roosevelt ordered all gold be handed to the authorities. At the time, gold was valued at $20 per ounce. Once the gold was confiscated from the citizens and in the government coffers they revalued gold and devalued the dollar to $35 per ounce.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peddling the Corruption of Liberty

Peddling the Corruption of Liberty

Liberty’s Detractors

Ever since the idea of individual liberty has achieved some measure of credibility over the world, those who would be unseated by its limited triumph had to find some way to discredit it or trump it somehow. One way was to re-christen servitude, to make it appear like an even more important kind of liberty than what individual liberty, properly understood, amounts to.

805Puppets and puppeteers…
Photo credit: Kikkerdirk / Fotolia

When a human being is free in the most important, political sense, he or she is sovereign. This means he or she governs his or her own life—others must refrain from intruding on this life, plain and simple. That life may be fortunate or not, rich or not, beautiful or not, and many other things or not, but what matters is that that life is no one else’s to mess with. One gets to run it, no one else does.

Now this is a very uncomfortable idea for all those folks who see all kinds of benefits from running other people’s lives. But they cannot champion this now in so many words, what with individual liberty having gained solid standing, so the only way to remedy matters for them is to claim that their oppression brings even greater freedom to people than the respect and protection of individual liberty.

The Ruse of “Positive” Freedoms

So, we have the kind of “freedoms” propounded by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the freedoms now dubbed “positive.” These freedoms do not get rid of those who would use you, interfere with you, invade your life, rob, kill, or assault you but promise, to the contrary, to take good care of you without your having to do much by invading others, by violating their individual liberties.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

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