Support Our Troops: The Hypocrisy of So-Called Patriots

This article was also seen in The Political Spectrum and the Daily Paul.

Ron Paul received the most military donationsMany conservatives at this stage of the campaign cycle agree that they like the majority of Ron Paul’s platform, yet they disagree with him completely on foreign policy. Some of them periodically muster the courage to call his foreign policy naïve.  Those who dislike him completely will condescendingly call him a lunatic in the face of anyone they suspect to be a Ron Paul supporter.  These “enlightened” conservatives are so self-righteous and wrapped up in their elevated opinion of their star-spangled selves—and their preferred flip-flopping candidate—that their opinion on maintaining the militarist status quo, infallible as they see it, is so correct that it doesn’t even warrant an intellectual defense, least of all to those no-good dumb-dumb “Paulbots.”  Periodically however, there arise a few who have a sense of honor and decency that are willing to at least defend their ideas with a logical argument.  All of the above, though, are people who claim to “support the troops.”

In light of their claim, it is necessary to analyze who the troops themselves are supporting.  The easiest way to find out is not by straw polls, which can be faulty at times when considering the participating sample of the population, but rather by looking at the way the troops are literally putting their money where their mouth is. As of September 30, 2011 President Obama has received over $68,000 in monetary campaign donations from active duty troops.  The candidate trailing him is Mitt Romney with a distant $11,000, and for the rest of the candidates the numbers only go down from there.  All of their donations from the troops combined with Obama’s come out to $106,266.  Many of these Republican military donors would be content to vote for any Republican candidate in November 2012 just to get rid of our incumbent President.

And now for the pressing question: How much money has Congressman Paul raised from active duty troops?  $112,739, not counting the various money bombs that would come in October and November. The numbers clearly show that Ron Paul garnishes more support from America’s fighting sons and daughters—the true patriots who currently risk life and limb for the country—than all of the opposition combined.  No one is in a position to be more fully and painfully aware of the consequences of America’s militant foreign policy than those troops whose job it is to literally fight wars and terrorism, as well as “keep the peace” around the world.  The vast majority of troops—endangered enough by foolish civilian policy makers that they awoke and joined the political process—clearly wish to abide by the noninterventionist (not isolationist) foreign policy of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Yet the so-called “patriots” who disagree with and/or scorn Paul’s noninterventionist ideas are convinced that he is incorrect, naïve, or just plain crazy. These are the people who most ardently proclaim their support for the troops, yet by writing off Dr. Paul’s idea of bringing the troops home from around the world they also write off the opinions and experience-based beliefs of the very troops they claim to support. These warhawks all have one thing in common: their idea of “supporting our troops” rests with slapping a yellow bumper sticker on their car and occasionally sending a box of cookies to Kandahar Airfield rather than actually heeding the passionate cries from those who wear the uniform and bleed for the stars and stripes.  This is the ultimate form of hypocrisy for so-called patriots and it is unacceptable.  Every servicemember as well as discharged veterans from the decade-long war on terror ought to call these warhawks on their sickening hypocrisy.

Perhaps the most hardline warhawks will never be able to change their minds; they have already drunk the kool aid of staunch ultraconservatism and are long gone. However, this is not true for the majority of conservatives who are intelligent critical thinkers.  After all, they love Ron Paul’s non-socialist economic and domestic policies, yet they disagree with his foreign policies. They also claim that they support the troops, regardless of the overbearing contradiction in their words and logic.  The day these conservatives will truly demonstrate their support for America’s military heroes will be the day they honestly listen to them and vote for the man the troops overwhelmingly champion: Ron Paul.

Grass roots image courtesy of the Daily Paul.

A Brief Statement on Labor Unions

Originally published to The Political Spectrum in April 2011.

Wisconsin protest, Feb 2011. Photo by Justin Ormont.

Civil liberties were assaulted in Wisconsin with the union busting legislation that passed despite epic protests.  At this point the purpose of the bill, the organizations it targeted, and the motives for the assault are irrelevant.  The author will write analyze them in writing later on.  The purpose of this statement is to decry the great tragedy which occurred and spawned other tragedies in quick succession. Why would the ultraconservatives want to break the unions?  Their political camp and its motives more and more resemble the totalitarianism of State Socialism.  Capitalism with minimal regulation is vital to a free and prosperous economy, and labor unions are an essential mechanism in the labor world.  By no means should labor unions dominate industries, but they should merely influence them and be allowed to do so without the dead weight of government crushing civil liberties.

The late and great Senator Barry Goldwater wrote in his book The Conscience of a Conservative that labor unions and politics do not belong together at all and should not be combined.  He writes:

“I believe that unionism, kept within its proper and natural bounds, accomplishes a positive good for the country.  Unions can be an instrument for achieving economic justice for the working man.  Moreover, they are an alternative to, and thus discourage State Socialism.  Most important of all, they are an expression of freedom.  Trade unions properly conceived, is an expression of man’s inalienable right to associate with other men for the achievement of legitimate objectives.”

In that chapter, Goldwater denounces both big government intruding on the worker’s right to free association and the large unions with political power that begin to resemble a second government behemoth.  The only relationship labor unions should have with government is a symbiotic one in which the legislature sets the standards for what is illegal in the work place (via a law) while the unions decide what is unjust in the work place, and then they petition employers with their grievances.  If the result is unsatisfactory, policy is likely to change as union members—workers representing themselves and their own individual interests—take their grievances to the voting booth in the next election.  Government should not interfere with unions (unless a law is explicitly being broken) and unions should by no means get involved with politics.

Particular unions should be opposed when they begin to cripple the industry whose workers they represent.  It is fully acceptable to fight for workers to have a work day not unreasonably long, for livable wages, and certain benefits.  However, there is a certain point where the benefits need to end, such as wages that are too high, both for the skill level of the labor being paid for and the employer’s ability to pay.  While there are certainly big businesses and executives out there that truly are greedy and pay the absolute minimum they can get away with (such as the now bankrupt and lawsuit-plagued Hollywood Entertainment Corporation, host of Movie Gallery, Hollywood Video, and Game Crazy stores), most employers are reasonable employers and the wages they pay reflect both the skill level of the labor being hired and the amount that the employer is able to spend.

Senator Barry Goldwater. Photo by Marion S. Trikosko.

If a union pressures and strong arms a small business owner (or even a large corporation) to pay janitors and cashiers $15.00 an hour with full benefits, or for middle management secretaries to be paid $200,000 a year, then the business will be unreasonable burdened.  At this point an employer has three options: dramatically raise prices, hurting the clientele and customers; cut back many hours or even lay off workers; or simply go out of business because the cost of running a business are too high.  The latter hurts the economy, the employer, and the very workers the big union claims to represent, and by this time the union acts as a second government and the union leaders are bureaucrats, businessmen, and politicians all in
one.  Despite the behemoth nature of big unions, most unions are very productive organizations run by honorable people—workers themselves—that simply aim to boost the quality of life for workers without harming industry or the economy.

It is a travesty that big government steps in and violates the rights of citizens to freely associate and do business.  It is normal for Democrats and even Socialists to advocate government as a remedy for every ill, but for Republicans—the party of less government—to advocate government interference in matters where it does not yet belong (after all, no laws have been broken) is a travesty.  Another tragedy spawned by government violating the rights of Americans is that those who feel violated by the Republican Party flee to the Democratic Party—the party of more government—for solace.  Worse yet, some of the disgruntled Americans tune into the flawed Socialist/Communist “class consciousness” of oppressed labor and of class struggle (class warfare).

Again, these remarks are theoretical, and the author will analyze the circumstances of the Wisconsin debacle later.  In the meantime, let us as Americans take Barry Goldwater’s advice and not disrupt people’s political freedom, economic freedom, and freedom of association.  Government should only bother businesses when they break the law just like it should only bother unions when they break the law.  Also, just as “too-big-to-fail” businesses do in fact fail, large, saturated, and out-of-touch unions should be allowed to fail also—free of bureaucracy.

Wisconsin photo used via Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0. Goldwater photo is in the public domain.  Both were obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

VIDEO: Ron Paul Unelectable?

Here is the audio version (set to video slide show) of Zach Foster’s article ‘Ron Paul Unelectable?‘  Enjoy, and send the video to your friends!

http://youtu.be/dehXErSiTmc

Note: Political Spectrum Publishing and the article author grant the Mises Institute unlimited noncommercial use to this video and its corresponding text article.

No, We Are Still Not Protected

By Zach Foster

[Integrated with the original companion article “No, Your Money Isn’t Safe.”  Both articles originally appeared on the Political Spectrum and Only the Money! blogs.]

No, We're Still Not Protected Many members of the Democratic Party are celebrating the one year anniversary of President Obama’s signing into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  The White House has sent out a video release outlining why the banks and Wall Street agents are bad and why the Dodd-Frank Act is good and American families and consumers are much better off.  While the video is somewhat informative and marginally interesting, much of it is either redundant or not quite true.  DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is also waving the Party banner as she cheers on the President’s so-called accomplishments.[1]  Schultz bragged that “our economy is more protected from the threat of future economic crises.”

 The truth is that, while there are a few more restrictions on what the clowns on Wall Street can do, Americans are not better off than they were a year ago before the magical everything-proof shield was signed into law.  Banking is still highly unstable in the country, and the banks still exist as entities only because they were artificially revived in the form of massive bailouts.  All across the political spectrum, Americans are angry that the massive bailouts ever happened, and they haven’t forgotten that this bailout, spearheaded by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (who was present at the appointment ceremony for the head of the CFPB), happened under President Obama’s watch and he failed to take action against it.  Banking will never be stable in America until the Federal Reserve, whose hands are in every cookie jar, from Chase and Wells Fargo to your community bank, is fully audited and eventually dissolved, and the farce of fractional reserve banking is done away with.

 Fractional reserve banking is one of the key factors causing the Great Depression.  Many people don’t know this, but the amount of money printed on their bank account statement is NOT the amount of money that exists in their community bank vault.  The standard reserve requirement for larger banks set by the Federal Reserve is ten percent,[2] meaning out of every hundred dollars a person saves in the bank, only ten of those dollars actually have to exist in a vault.  This system is a bridge of thin ice, since theoretically only ten percent of a bank’s customers need to take out all of their money in order for the bank to run out of money and close down (the true meaning of bankruptcy).

 Economist Murray Rothbard makes a compelling case that fractional reserve banking goes hand-in-hand with inflation,[3] since the only way to account for the ninety percent of a bank’s money that doesn’t exist is to hastily print paper money, and printing more money further devalues the American dollar (this is exactly why America needs to return to the gold standard[4]).

 Schultz is attempting to pin poverty on the Republican Party, especially Republican members of Congress.  Much of her attack against the GOP is dismissible, as it’s just another serving of partisan rhetoric.  However, she accuses the GOP of “doubling down on the failed policies of less regulation and more tax breaks for the wealthy.”  She is mistaken to do so, because the policy of less regulation is not a failed one.  While several are undoubtedly opposed to the Obama administration’s agenda simply for the reason that they passionately hate the President, most are even-tempered people with some idea of what they’re doing.  By no means do Congressional Republicans advocate, nor are they trying to implement, no regulations at all.  What they are trying to do is remove some of the chains that cripple industry, such as tariffs, trade agreements that favor one country or company over another, and many of the other industry killers that remain unseen.[5]

Do not pass go. Do not collect $700 billion bailout. Despite whatever noble intentions are spoken of by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the fact remains that American consumers are not protected.  They are only partially protected from a few unscrupulous consumer goods producers, but they remain exposed to the oppression of government regulation.  This is why it is nearly impossible for consumers to get their hands on raw milk, which when boiled is more nutritious than pasteurized milk,[6] though federal think tanks denounce it and federal regulations outlaw it in the interest of public health.  The same is why many shower heads have a weak water flow and high power therapeutic shower heads used by masseuses are widely outlawed.[7]  For the “protection” of all consumers, citizens are instructed to prevent drought by using less water, even though the local Raging Waters park, Soak City park, and even the community pool use untold gallons every minute.

 Similar reasons over time turned the health insurance market into the fiasco it is today.  Heavy regulations by state governments are what makes the prices of health care plans vary widely and mostly unaffordable.[8]  The same regulations that make health care so expensive are all meant to protect consumers from being cheated by health insurance providers who want to charge high prices… go figure.

 To further damn the idea that fewer regulations are beneficial to economic growth, Schultz tries to make the case that fewer regulations caused this [brink of] depression.  To counter this statement it is necessary to analyze the common denominators between the Great Depression and today’s Second Great Depression (a.k.a. the Great Recession).  The main two factors that stick out are: (1) fractional reserve banking, meaning most of the money that was supposed to exist never actually existed, and (2) extensive use of credit in making large transactions, which means banks, stock markets, and many other firms were buying and selling with promises to pay based on money that never existed.  In the daily lives of the American citizens, receiving something on credit and then not paying for it is called FRAUD.  This is not due to fewer regulations; this is clearly a case of people stealing and other people thinking they had more monopoly money to spend in the real world than they actually had.

 So when the President, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the DNC Chair tell the American people that they are protected, who do they really think they’re fooling?

 

The above images are artwork by the author.  They were compiled and edited from various public domain images from Wikimedia Commons.

[1] Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Marks One Year Anniversary of Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. http://political-spectrum.blogspot.com/2011/07/chair-debbie-wasserman-schultz-marks.html

[2] http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/reservereq.htm

[3] Rothbard, Murray. “Take Money Back.”

[4] Paul, Ron. Gold, Peace, and Prosperity.  The Foundation for Rational Economics and Education. Pp. 31-32, 39

[5] Bastiat, Frederic. That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Unseen. Chapter 9: Credit.

[6] Thornton, Mark. “Legalize Milk, Real Milk”. http://mises.org/daily/5365/Legalize-Milk-Real-Milk

[7] Tucker, Jeffrey. “The Bureacrat In Your Shower” (also chapter 1 of Bourbon For Breakfast).

[8] “The Easy Fix For Health Care and Why Obama Opposes It.”