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From Monica's Blog…

Income inequality is increasing. So what’s the big deal?

In a truly free society there would be no way for anyone to amass great wealth or earn high levels of income without offering a product or service commensurately valuable to the individuals in society—the nature of voluntary exchange guarantees that. But do we have a truly free society? People are upset about a CBO report showing an increase in income inequality between the highest earning 1% and lesser paid earners (see chart below).  But why exactly?  I don’t think people are upset because they think it’s unfair for someone like Steve Jobs to get rich selling us what we want, but because they don’t think most of the rich are really adding the value their earnings imply. They know instinctively that the system is rigged and I’m beginning to think their instincts are right.

When I first got out of college I had a friend Steve from South America who said to me, “Don’t you think that anyone who’s really rich has done unethical things to get his money?” I was horrified. I felt it was a poor reflection on Steve’s character that he couldn’t see any possible connection between being good and doing well. Only a few years ago I recalled the statement to my husband who replied, “What is he talking about?  Happens all the time. There are plenty of good, rich guys in this country.” That was the key: “In this country.”
But now I am beginning to see signs in America of what Steve saw in his country. I now believe that if you want to make it BIG, you have to be connected, make a campaign contribution, drop a stock tip—whatever it takes—even if you would rather reach the top on the up and up. This is what has been aptly coined “crapitalism”—crony capitalism—and it’s the rat that everyone is beginning to smell.
The Occupy Wall Streeters smell it but don’t know where it’s hiding, so they believe the people they trust, who happen to be the Unions and the Big Government—nay, World Government—guys who tell them it’s the bankers, although the rich in general are the target. (See my blogpost of October 4 with hidden audio of SEIU’s Steve Lerner planning OWS back in March).
But amassing riches is not de facto immoral—voluntary exchange is a moral exercise that benefits both parties. It’s only when riches are amassed unfairly that it’s a problem. But how can you get rich unfairly? Only by using force or fraud. And who is using force or fraud? Are the Citibank guys taking their security guards to GM and forcing or tricking them into taking loans? Are GM goons coming to your house and forcing or tricking you into buying a car? No, they aren’t doing it that way, which is why they are not in jail. What they ARE doing is using the government to do those things through laws, regulations, bailouts, and of course through the ubiquitous and secretive Federal Reserve. And why do those in government voluntarily engage in these practices and often initiate them? Because they can. Government has the power to force some economic actors, particularly tax payers and small businessmen, to do things for the benefit of themselves and their cronies, so that’s what they do.
Both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party know something’s rotten, and probably know it’s crony capitalism—even Michael Moore’s movie “Capitalism” was about government bailouts not truly free markets. But which of the two protest groups really gets it? To me, Occupy Wall Street is further from the truth. They are on Wall Street when they should be on Liberty Street outside the Fed. The Tea Party is getting warmer—they go to Washington—but they don’t totally get it either. From what I could tell when I marched alongside the Tea Party against Obamacare, they continue to support the Drug War and the War on Terror, probably because of fears of social instability and personal insecurity, which in turn keeps them beholden to the government they know is destroying the very society they are clinging to.
Unfortunately, fostering base fears has been a tactic of the state for centuries if not millennia. If the masses on the left continue to let their leaders prey on their fear of financial insecurity, and the masses on the right continue to let their leaders prey on their fear of personal insecurity, we will continue to have tyranny and instability—along with crony capitalism and invidious income inequality.

Stick with What You Know: The Vatican on Economics

The Vatican has just released a Note on Financial Reform from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. I am reading it with horror on many levels. As I attempt to fully digest its contents (without losing my lunch), I thought I would pass along the following great article on a similar subject by Tom Woods, who is a Roman Catholic, a historian and an economist of the Austrian school.
Truth & Charity, by Tom Woods

Mommy, do you love America?

When my seven-year-old daughter asked me this question last night, I was gutted. Do I, the daughter of a Harley-riding, ultra-conservative, flag-flying World War II veteran, love America? I, who lives the American Dream? Granddaughter of orphan and immigrants; waitress and community college student-turned-Harvard and Stanford grad, do I love America? I have always been a patriot! I welled up with tears when I first heard that the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the United States armed forces was the 442nd Infantry Regiment in World War II–an all Japanese regiment, many of whose soldiers had family in internment camps. (I’m getting goose bumps right now!) I could weep with gratitude and respect for the many, many fine soldiers who died for America and what she stands for.
Or perhaps I should say, what she stood for. I’m afraid my patriotism has crossed the Rubicon. Until a few years ago, I was of the mindset that no matter how far America had fallen, she was still the best country that ever existed. I never gave up hope that her foundations would withstand the vicissitudes of special interest politics and the pendulum would swing back to her birthright: defense of liberty and respect for private property. Unfortunately, I have come to believe that America will not swing back. It seems inevitable that rather than returning to a free and prosperous America within the system that made her great, America will fall and have to be rebuilt on a new foundation.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the system to collapse! As the youngest of nine growing up in a small house, I dreamt of having a big enough share of the bed and a dry towel to use. I have these things now and they are better than I imagined! I’m as happy as a clam to be living at the pinnacle of 10,000 years of civilization’s progress, better off than almost every single one of the 125 billion people who have come before me (as is everyone reading this). But the fact is, I think Ron Paul is right about the future of America. During a recent interview on LewRockwell.com, Dr. Paul said he didn’t think our politicians would do the things that needed to be done to save the system, and particularly that the currency would have an irremediable crisis. He said that his goal is to make sure people are ready with the right ideas to try to rebuild this once-great country instead of being swept along in the wrong direction. (Recall Rahm Emanuel: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” The globalists are lying in wait.)
The question remains, however: Do I love America? For the first time ever, I have to think seriously about this question. I think blind patriotism is dangerous, and that good feeling you get when you salute the flag and feel proud to be an American is exactly what lets our government get away with murder. But what about the American Experiment? It does make us different from any other nation, doesn’t it? I think so. The idea that a government was dedicated to liberty and justice for all instead of privilege for some was unique and it spawned many of the greatest achievements of mankind. Unfortunately, the experiment was destined to fail and it has. (See my review of Democracy: The God That Failed.)
In puzzling over the answer to my daughter´s question, I realize that I have come to recognize a more sophisticated understanding of nationhood. The idea that America as a nation ís the same as America as a country is the essence of the American Experiment. ´We the People´ were the government for once, in contrast with the traditional tension between citizenry and government personified in the hated tax-collector. America´s democratic republic was supposed to bring government under the control of the people and by so doing allow us to identify with government as protector of liberty and of individual rights. The reality is, however, to quote the great Ludwig von Mises, ¨Government is the negation of liberty,¨ and the failure of the American Experiment proves this once and for all. Through the evolution of my political philosophy and in recognizing the error that is government, Í acknowledge that a society´s identity is independent from the identity of its over-arching coercive state. I now see that America and its people are not only separate from the government, but that we are in conflict with that government.
So, yes, in short, I do love America. I love the libertarians and the drop-outs and the billionaires, I love the Ron Pauls and the Steve Jobs, I love the truckers and the waitresses and the day-traders and the bloggers, I love the pot-head comedians and the crazy New York City cabdrivers, and I love the seven-year-old girls who actually want to know the difference between a libertarian and an anarcho-capitalist (well she is my daughter!) Yes I do love America, but no longer for its flag or its rhetoric, but for the fact that if society is ever to triumph over government it will be here, where Americans still know that America is ¨We the People¨ and not ¨It the State.¨

The Plot Thickens: Could Soros Be the Real Mastermind of Occupy Wall Street?

It defies credulity to think anyone actually believes the following virtually universal mainstream account of the Occupy Wall Street story:
“The Occupy Wall Street protest movement may have finally caught the attention of the hedge fund world, and to a larger extent, the financial world.
What began on September 17 as a couple hundred protesters gathering on New York City’s Wall Street – to demonstrate against what they see is corporate greed, the U.S. government facilitating that greed and a host of other issues – has grown in less than three weeks into a grassroots phenomenon gaining adherents across the globe.
That support has included legendary hedge fund manager George Soros, a longtime patron of progressive causes but also one of the Wall Street billionaires who are part of a system that Occupy Wall Street is targeting.”
This appeared on hedgefund.net under the title “Occupy Wall Street Catching Hedge Fund Industry’s Eye.” Are we really expected to believe this? “May have finally caught the attention of the hedge fund world”? How about this instead, “George Soros, behind-the-scenes Sugar Daddy of Occupy Wall Street, feigns spontaneous empathy with unwitting puppet protestors”? And does this guy seriously believe that Occupy Wall Street “has grown in less than three weeks into a grassroots phenomenon gaining adherents across the globe”? Maybe it’s closer to: “First leaked in March as a scheme organized by Steve Lerner of SEIU, it has taken seven months for the Soros machine to roll out this class warfare reelection campaign tactic designed to give plausibility to Obama’s actual or orchestrated win next November.” I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes here, but that something is going on behind the scenes I’m sure and I’m also sure that I won’t get any closer to the truth reading the mainstream media.
The truth is, I’m dying to know the truth and I think the truth is out there, but what is it? Although hearing Steve Lerner order a dome full of AstroTurf on hidden audio in March convinced me that Occupy Wall Street was totally staged (see my post of October 4), I’m not sure of the bigger plan. I had been wondering how protestors outside a few downtown buildings anywhere could really disrupt the weighty and complex but at the same time lighter than air, largely electronic, financial system. It’s not like the protestors are lying down in front of ambulances until the patients die of blood loss. How could world markets really care what these kids are doing? I realized of course, it’s politics–it doesn’t have to be real to have real power. I am beginning to suspect that Occupy Wall Street is an obvious (to all but its participants) but stupefyingly effective re-election campaign that has power because the advertizing agency that is the mainstream media and the so-called elder statesmen of the power elite (Soros in Occupy Wall Street and Buffet in the tax-the-upper-middle-class Buffet Rule) go out of their way to make this stuff seem real and important. Now I’m thinking, like so much in this Coke-vs-Pepsi oligopoly we call a two-party system, this movement is a total scam, a Truman Show and we are all Trumans.
But what is the big picture here? As a conspiranoid, I posit the following: It started four years ago (or a hundred depending on how big a picture you’re after.) In order to bring to America European-style Social Democracy and a continuation of bankster-elite world dominance, the government must control more than 50% of the economy–that way more than half the voters’ interests are vested in expanding government revenue and power and no one who wants to cut it back can ever win an election. The last piece of this puzzle in the U.S. is to socialize all or most of the healthcare system. The Clintons tried once but weren’t willing to sacrifice a second term in office to force it down our throats–they had already proved that–so they had to go. Enter Obama, out of nowhere. He would do what he was told because, unlike the Clintons, he had no independent power base on which to mount resistance against his backers if things got tough. So if Obama was asked to fall on his sword and risk not getting a second term just to get the healthcare bill passed, he would have been assured not only that this would be a worthy sacrifice, but also, that these guys had plenty of tricks up their sleeves to get him legitimately reelected or at least to make an ACORN-type victory plausible. The first two of these tricks could easily be Occupy Wall Street and the Buffet Rule. These are tactics. The strategy, of course is to manufacture class warfare and the appearance that Obama is hitting a nerve with the unnumbered masses. What I bet those middle class kids on Wall Street don’t realize, though, is that for a real class war to work, the middle class has to be eliminated, which may be the ultimate goal in all of this anyway (if you’re with me on the bankster-elite world domination stuff).
Despite what to me are the transparency and obviousness of these tactics, they are likely to be successful next November, especially if Obama’s opposition in the election is a two-faced compromiser as appears inevitable no matter which frontrunner wins the Republican nomination.

And they called the Tea Party AstroTurf?

The SEIU today sent out this press release. Honestly, when I posted Tuesday the hidden audio of the SEIU’s Steve Lerner plotting earlier this year to organize a countrywide rolling protest against Wall Street, I didn’t think the actual SEIU would go public with Occupy Wall Street support–I just thought it would be too obvious! Who said there’s no transparency in politics? You can see right through this!
Read the press release below and check out my post from Tuesday and the accompanying audio. The fact that this isn’t part of the mainstream media story is just further proof that the so-called journalists are “in on it”–as if we needed further proof.

SEIU’s Statement to Americans Occupying Wall Street
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Published 1:43 PM Eastern – Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Marcus Mrowka, 202-730-7759 | Marcus.Mrowka@seiu.org
‘We’ve Got Your Back, We Will Join You in the Streets, and We Will Not Let Up Until We Bring Good Jobs Back to Our Communities’
Washington, D.C.–Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement in support of the Americans occupying Wall Street:
“The brave students, workers, and unemployed Americans occupying Wall Street have shaken the conscience of our nation. The crowds and demonstrations will only get larger and louder as more Americans find the courage inside themselves to stand up and demand Wall Street CEOs and millionaires pay their fair share to create good jobs now.
“The 2.1 million nurses, janitors, school bus drivers and other members of the Service Employees International Union have a message to those on Wall Street today–We’ve got your back, we will join you in the streets, and we will not let up until we bring good jobs back to our communities.
“Wall Street CEOs not only crashed our economy and demanded billions in taxpayer-bailouts–they destroyed the jobs and livelihoods and took the homes of millions of Americans. It’s time to force Wall Street to pay for the jobs our country desperately needs.
“We have work that needs doing in this country and millions of Americans looking for full-time work. It’s time to put the two together to make America a stronger nation. And it’s time to use the money being made on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms across the country to put America back to work.
“We can put millions of Americans back to work right now by passing the American Jobs Act. We can immediately put Americans to work rebuilding our outdated and dangerous roads and bridges and ensuring our kids have first-class schools to learn in. And we can invest in our communities to keep teachers in our classrooms, police on the beat, healthcare workers at our hospitals and clinics, and ensure that we have enough firefighters to protect our communities.”
# # #
With 2.1 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers–not just corporations and CEOs–benefit from today’s global economy. www.seiu.org
Spread the word

Occupy Wall Street leaderless? Or is the SEIU behind it?

Steve Lerner of the SEIU was caught on hidden audio earlier this year on his plan to roll out Wall Street protests around the country. The Occupy Wall Street website expressly claims to be a “leaderless resistance movement.” Does this sound like a coincidence to you?
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0PlElVWshk]

Keep your mitts off my food!!!

When Bloomberg implemented rules in New York that food chains such as Starbucks had to list the calories of their food on the menu, I was, of course, disgusted if only for the fact that the megalomaniac mayor has no right to dictate to private businesses that they engage in self-defeating advertising. (Shouldn’t they be able to plead the Fifth like the Solyndra execs?) Why doesn’t Bloomberg have the Yankees post warnings underneath player stats listing all the drugs a specific player has done or how many prostitutes he has gone with, just so parents know whom their kids should and should not emulate? When what I call the Starbucks Law was first implemented, I figured Bloomberg was acting in a typically monarchical fashion and perhaps was on a diet and didn’t want to bother googling calories, but a more sinister thought occurred to me.
Some background first: The Progressive Movement, I have read, was spearheaded by big businessmen whose profits were naturally being eroded by maturing industries’ declining margins. These businessmen correctly recognized that regulations (accounting, tax, legal, environmental, health and safety, etc.) create a need for such massive bureaucracies that huge barriers of entry emerge against upstart companies favoring the existing and larger companies who are able to meet these regulatory rules. Once the barriers exist, the big businesses can increase their margins despite increased costs because it will take that much more per unit sold for the upstart to compete with the established industry. These big businesses already have lobbying apparatuses in place, contribute to campaigns, have political relationships, and have a great-sounding story of protecting the “hapless consumer”–all tools they can use to close the door to new entrants in their otherwise competitive industries. You can see the success of these so-called Progressives’ efforts as many mature industries in America are marked by oligopolies despite the fact that the oligopolistic firms are much larger than mere industrial economies of scale would dictate. This business-government relationship is, of course, the foundation of the crony capitalism that plagues our country and destroys the credibility of the free market.
All that being said, I noticed that one large industry in the country is not totally dominated by oligopolies and still has room for the scrappy entrepreneur: the restaurant business. I had been wondering how the existing chains and the government could crack the code on this one and I concluded Bloomberg’s Starbucks Law would work perfectly. For now, it’s only the big chains that are required to mark their calories on their menus under the argument that the small guy can’t afford the compliance costs. Sounds great. Eventually, however, this will change….screwing the little guy will be viewed as a small price to pay for Saving the Children. As Michelle Obama ramped up her childhood obesity campaign, I realized the Starbucks Law might well go viral. (See how much death and destruction has been and still is being wrought as a result of Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No campaign? These First Ladies are dan-ger-ous!!) As regulatory barriers such as menu disclaimers and strict nutritional guidelines proliferate and the field of competition shrinks, the result for the “hapless consumer” will be higher prices, lower quality and fewer choices. Thanks Big Sister.
But this is not the end of the story. Food regulations are on the agenda in a big way and I fear the cantaloupe-listeria deaths will bring us that much closer to more direct government control of the food supply. I first started keeping one ear open to the food control issue when Obama got elected and despite our myriad problems with the financial crisis and endless war, he started spouting off about food safety. I thought, what is this guy talking about? I do plenty of traveling and get sick fairly often when I’m out of the country but rarely here. Maybe because I’m used to our food and not theirs, but either way if Americans don’t get sick from American food, why mess with it? So I was watching and waiting to see how this foreshadowing developed into a full blown plot. I did not have to wait long. Last year, Congress came out with their plan to rewrite decades-old food safety laws. But how to justify all this attention on an issue that causes surprisingly little trouble in the face of so many issues that are causing a great deal of trouble? Wait for a crisis. So now I’m wondering if the cantaloupe deaths could be the 9/11-type catalyst for more government action on controlling food. I don’t think either 9/11 or the cantaloupe deaths are inside jobs, but I do believe that policy-makers lay-in-wait for events like this to implement their plans. As Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Elizabeth Warren scares me!!

Elizabeth Warren magnanimously allows entrepreneur to keep some of his money…
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htX2usfqMEs]