Guest Post: The Broken Limb & Burst Pipe Fallacies

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

“Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for them plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case. And it will finally either convince the general public that its case is sound, or so befuddle it that clear thinking on the subject becomes next to impossible.

 

In addition to these endless pleadings of self-interest, there is a second main factor that spawns new economic fallacies every day. This is the persistent tendency of man to see only the immediate effects of a given policy, or its effects only on a special group, and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.” Henry Hazlitt – Economics in One Lesson

 

 

Saturday was the first day since a double shot of snow and ice storms hit the Philadelphia metro area on Monday and Wednesday I had a chance to drive around Montgomery County and witness the devastation firsthand. Over 750,000 homes lost power at the height of the ice storm on Wednesday and over 100,000 remained without power this past weekend. The mainstream media has become such a farce and propaganda machine for vested interests, it is essential to verify with your own eyes everything they report as fact. Their purpose is to entertain the consciously ignorant, exaggerate threats to keep the low IQ multitudes fearful, and function as mouthpieces for the ruling class. Deceitful corporate executives, mendacious government apparatchiks, and oblivious teleprompter reading media talking heads have been utilizing cold weather as an excuse for every poor earnings announcement, horrific employment report, and dreadful decline in retail sales. It certainly has nothing to do with decades of stagnant household income, awful monetary and fiscal policies, or the consequences of Obamacare.  

We have become a delusional state dependent upon fallacies to convince ourselves our foolhardy beliefs, ludicrous economic policies, corrupt captured political system, and preposterously fraudulent financial system are actually based on sound logic and reason.  Some fallacies have been perpetrated intentionally by the ruling class to manipulate, sway and deceive the populace, while others have been willfully employed by millions of techno-narcissistic iGadget addicted zombies as a substitute for thinking, reasoning and taking responsibility for the course of our nation.

You have men who constitute the unseen true ruling power of the country making a conscious and intentional effort to peddle fallacies to the masses in order to manipulate, mold, and corral them in a manner beneficial to the ruling power, financially, politically, and socially. The ruling class has been hugely successful in their capture of the public mind, creating a vast majority of the willfully ignorant who desperately grasp at fallacious concepts, beliefs, and storylines in order to avoid dealing with reality and being accountable for their actions and the actions of their leaders.   

The fallacy being flogged by government drones and the legacy media about companies not hiring new employees because it has been cold and snowy during the winter is beyond absurd, except to someone who lives in the cocoon of Washington D.C. or regurgitates words processed on a teleprompter by paid minions of the ruling class. If you live in the real world, run a business, or manage employees, you understand weather has absolutely nothing to do with your decision to hire an employee. An organization takes weeks or months to hire employees. They don’t stop hiring because it snowed on Wednesday or the temperature was below normal. The contention that hiring has been weak for the last two months due to weather is outlandish and based upon flawed logic and warped reasoning. It is so illogical, only an Ivy League economist could believe it.

The other fallacy being pontificated by retail executives in denial, cheerleaders on CNBC and the rest of the propaganda press is weather is to blame for terrible retail sales over the last quarter. Again, this argument is specious in its conception. The retail executives use weather as an excuse for their failure in execution, hubris in over-expanding, and arrogance in pursuit of quarterly earnings per share and bonuses. CNBC and the rest of the Wall Street media pawns must provide lame fallacies for the corporate fascists regarding our downward economic path or the masses my wake up to reality. Protecting and expanding the wealth of the parasitic oligarch class is the one and only purpose of the corporate media.

Think about whether cold and snow in the winter will really stop purchases by individuals. If you need a new shirt for work or a pair of sneakers and it snows on Wednesday, you will wait until Saturday to make the purchase. Groceries will be consumed and replenished whether it is cold and snowy, or not. If an appliance or car breaks down, weather will be a non-factor in the new purchase decision. The proliferation of on-line retailing allows everyone to shop from the warmth of their homes. If anything, bad winter weather often spurs stocking up of groceries and the purchase of items needed to contend with winter weather (salt, shovels, coats, hats, gloves). Only an asinine spokes-model bimbo on CNBC could non-questioningly report the press release excuses of retailers. Critical thinking skills and journalistic integrity are non-essential traits among the propaganda mainstream press today.

Revealing the truth about pitiful employment growth and dreadful retail sales would destroy the fallacy of economic recovery stimulated by the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve and fiscal policies of the Federal government. The ruling class must perpetuate the myth that central bankers pumping $3.2 trillion of debt into the veins Wall Street banks and Obama dumping $6.7 trillion of debt onto the shoulders of future generations in order to cure a cancerous disease created by debt, has revived our economy and cured the disease. The unseen governing class cannot admit their traitorous actions have impoverished the working middle class, destroyed small businesses, depleted senior citizens of their savings, and warped our economic system to such an extent that recovery in now impossible. If the ignorant masses were to become sentient, the ruling class would become lamppost decorations.

After discovering water pipes at my rental property had burst due to the extreme cold weather and witnessing the widespread damage caused by the mid-week ice storm, I immediately thought how overjoyed my favorite Keynesian, Ivy League, Nobel Prize winning, New York Times scribbler, Paul (destruction is good) Krugman must be. All this destruction and devastation will be a tremendous boost to the economy according to Krugman and his ilk. This intellectually deceitful, morally bankrupt, despicable excuse for a human being spoke these words of wisdom three days after the 9/11 attacks:   

“Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack – like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression – could even do some economic good.  So the direct economic impact of the attacks will probably not be that bad. And there will, potentially, be two favorable effects. First, the driving force behind the economic slowdown has been a plunge in business investment. Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I’ve already indicated, the destruction isn’t big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.”

He had expanded his broken window beliefs to broken buildings, broken nations, and a broken people. You can’t keep a cunning Keynesian down when they need to propagate discredited fallacies in order to feed their own ego and promote foolish debt fueled spending by government, consumers and corporations as a solution to all economic ills. It makes no difference to a statist like Krugman that Frederic Bastiat had obliterated the preposterous notion that destruction and the money spent to repair the destruction was a net benefit to society, 164 years ago in his essay – That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen. Bastiat’s logic is unassailable. Only the most highly educated Princeton economists don’t get it.    

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James B., when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

I wonder whether the myopic focus on only immediate impacts and inability of ideologues to understand unintended consequences is premeditated or just erroneous reasoning. The broken window fallacy can now be extended to broken limbs and burst pipes across the Northeast. Huge trees have been toppled, limbs and branches are strewn on the properties of homeowners across the region, homes and businesses have been physically damaged, and power outages wrecked profits at small businesses. Society has gained no benefit whatsoever from the mass destruction wrought by these storms. This weather induced ruin exposes GDP calculations as useless and misleading regarding the true economic health of the nation. The hundreds of millions in destruction will not be factored into the GDP calculation, but the spending by homeowners and businesses to remove downed trees, fix broken roofs, replace burst pipes and clean-up debris will be factored positively in the GDP calculation. The inevitable politician response will be increased government spending to repair damage to infrastructure. This will also be additive to GDP. Krugman will get a tingle up his leg.

CNBC’s Cramer & Liesman will rave about the unexpectedly strong GDP in the first quarter as proof the economy is doing great. The fallacy that GDP growth and stock market gains are beneficial to the average American will be flogged by the propaganda press at the behest of the ruling class until the last vestiges of national wealth are confiscated by the oligarchs. In the real world, the destruction caused by the harsh winter weather will not benefit society one iota. GDP will reflect the immediate short-term seen impact of the cleanup and repair of property damage. GDP will ignore the unseen opportunity costs which were lost and the long-term consequences of expenditures made to put property back in the condition in which it started. Destruction does not create profit, except in the Keynesian world of Krugman and his Ivy League educated sycophant cronies.

There are 2.5 million households in the Philadelphia metro area. There are hundreds of thousands with trees down, pipes frozen, gutters smashed, roofs leaking and electrical infrastructure damaged. An individual homeowner with a couple of large trees down will need to pay $500 to $1,000 for a tree service to remove the debris from their property. Considering the median household income in Montgomery County, PA is $75,000, that is not an insubstantial sum.

The homeowner did not anticipate this expenditure and will react by not dining out, taking a shorter vacation, not buying that new couch, or not investing in their small business. A landlord who has to repair busted pipes will incur added expense, resulting in less profit. Less profit means less taxes paid to the state and federal government, exacerbating their budget deficits. The landlord will defer replacing that old air conditioner for at least another year. Multiply these scenarios across the entire Northeastern United States and you have the long-term negative financial implications outweighing the short-term boost to GDP.

The Keynesian fallacy of increased economic activity being beneficial is annihilated by the fact homeowners and business owners are left in the same condition as they were prior to the storms, while the money spent to achieve the same property condition was not spent on other goods and services that would have truly expanded the economy. The fallacious government engineered GDP calculation will portray destruction as an economic boost. Keynesian worshiping economists and government bureaucrats observe this tragedy as only between two parties, the consumer who is forced to repair their property and is denied the pleasure of spending their money on something more enjoyable and the tree service company who experiences a positive impact to their business. They exclude the appliance store, restaurant, or hotel that did not receive the money spent on repairing the property. It is this third unseen party who is left out of the equation. It is this third party that shows the absurdity of believing destruction leads to profit and economic advancement. The national economic output is not increased, but highly educated government drones and Wall Street captured economists will point to GDP and disseminate the fallacy.

This leads us to government in general and the fallacy that government spending, government borrowing, and government programs are beneficial to society and the economy. Legalized plunder of the populace through income taxes, real estate taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, license fees, sewer fees, tolls, and a myriad of other ass raping techniques is used to subsidize crony capitalist special interests, the military industrial complex, faux wars on poverty, drugs and terror, a failed public education system, vote buying entitlement programs, and a tax code written to benefit those who pay the biggest bribes to the corrupt politicians slithering around the halls of congress.

Government is a criminal enterprise designed to take from the weak and powerless while benefitting the connected and powerful. The government extracts the earnings of citizens and businesses at the point of a gun and redistributes those funds to special interests; funding boondoggles, wars of choice, foreign dictators, and the corporate and banking interests who control the puppet strings of Washington politicians. State organized and legal plunder designed to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else is the delusional fallacy permeating our cultural mindset today.

President Obama declared my region a disaster area, allowing for government funds to supposedly help in the cleanup efforts. Again, the fallacy of government intervention benefiting society is unquestioned by the ignorant masses. Local and State governments are required by law to balance their budgets. The never ending progression of storms and record cold temperatures has already blown the winter storm budgets of transportation departments across the region. Gaping potholes are swallowing vehicles and will need to be repaired.

Government spokespersons and politicians tell the public not to worry. The government will come to the rescue, even when the funds officially run out. They won’t react the way a family would react to a budget overage, by cutting spending in another area. We have had mild winters in the recent past when the winter road budgets were far under. Did the government set aside this surplus for winters like the one we are currently experiencing? Of course not – they spent it on some other boondoggle program or useless shovel ready bridge to nowhere. Government politicians and their lackeys do not look beyond their 2 year election cycle.

The government budget overages due to winter storms will show up in the GDP calculation as a positive impact. A snowplow pushing snow to the side of the road and a crew filing a pothole has put the roadway back into the condition it was prior to the bad weather. The roadway is exactly the same. The money spent could have been used to pay down debt, fund the government pension shortfalls which will overwhelm taxpayers in the foreseeable future, or be given back to citizens to spend as they choose. There has been no net benefit to society.

No government spending provides a net benefit to society. Every government program, law, regulation, subsidy, tax or fee gives rise to a series of effects. The immediate seen effect may be favorable in the eyes of myopic politicians and an ignorant populace, but most government intervention in our lives proves to be fatal and unsustainable in the long-term. Whatever short-term benefits might accrue is far outweighed by the long-term negative implications on future generations. All government expenditures are foisted upon the public either through increased taxation or state created surreptitious inflation.         

We have a country built on a Himalayan mountain of fallacies. We are a short-term oriented people who only care about our present situation, giving no thought about long-term consequences of our policies, programs, laws or actions. Critical thinking skills, reasoning abilities, and a basic understanding of mathematical concepts appear to be beyond our grasp. We’d rather believe falsehoods than deal with the harsh lessons of reality. We choose to experience the severe penalties of burying our heads in the sand over using our God given ability to think and foresee the future consequences of our irrational choices. We suffer from the ultimately fatal disease of ignorance, as described by Bastiat.

This explains the fatally grievous condition of mankind. Ignorance surrounds its cradle: then its actions are determined by their first consequences, the only ones which, in its first stage, it can see. It is only in the long run that it learns to take account of the others. It has to learn this lesson from two very different masters – experience and foresight. Experience teaches effectually, but brutally. It makes us acquainted with all the effects of an action, by causing us to feel them; and we cannot fail to finish by knowing that fire burns, if we have burned ourselves. For this rough teacher, I should like, if possible, to substitute a more gentle one. I mean Foresight.

It’s a big country and one fallacy doesn’t fit all. Some fallacies are committed purposefully by evil men with evil intent. The Wall Street financial elite, big corporations, big media and their politician puppets fall into this category. Other fallacies are executed by people whose salary depends upon the fallacies being believed by the masses. Middle level bankers, managers, journalists, and bureaucrats fall into this category. And lastly you have the willfully ignorant masses who would rather believe fallacies than look up from their iGadgets, Facebook, and Twitter and think. The thing about fallacies is they eventually are buried under an avalanche of reality. If you listen closely you can hear the rumble of snow beginning to give way on the mountaintop. Fallacies are about to be crushed and swept away by the real world of consequences.

“Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.  It was an experience for which the captains of industry were not entirely prepared; they had forgotten the public.  It was like some great convulsion of nature, which made mockery of all the powers of men, and left the beholder dazed and terrified.   In Wall Street men stood as if in a valley, and saw far above them the starting of an avalanche; they stood fascinated with horror, and watched it gathering headway; saw the clouds of dust rising up, and heard the roar of it swelling, and realized it was only a matter of time before it swept them to their destruction…

But it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it.”

Upton Sinclair – The Moneychangers

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1m4GhwF Tyler Durden

Guest Post: The Broken Limb & Burst Pipe Fallacies

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

“Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for them plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case. And it will finally either convince the general public that its case is sound, or so befuddle it that clear thinking on the subject becomes next to impossible.

 

In addition to these endless pleadings of self-interest, there is a second main factor that spawns new economic fallacies every day. This is the persistent tendency of man to see only the immediate effects of a given policy, or its effects only on a special group, and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.” Henry Hazlitt – Economics in One Lesson

 

 

Saturday was the first day since a double shot of snow and ice storms hit the Philadelphia metro area on Monday and Wednesday I had a chance to drive around Montgomery County and witness the devastation firsthand. Over 750,000 homes lost power at the height of the ice storm on Wednesday and over 100,000 remained without power this past weekend. The mainstream media has become such a farce and propaganda machine for vested interests, it is essential to verify with your own eyes everything they report as fact. Their purpose is to entertain the consciously ignorant, exaggerate threats to keep the low IQ multitudes fearful, and function as mouthpieces for the ruling class. Deceitful corporate executives, mendacious government apparatchiks, and oblivious teleprompter reading media talking heads have been utilizing cold weather as an excuse for every poor earnings announcement, horrific employment report, and dreadful decline in retail sales. It certainly has nothing to do with decades of stagnant household income, awful monetary and fiscal policies, or the consequences of Obamacare.  

We have become a delusional state dependent upon fallacies to convince ourselves our foolhardy beliefs, ludicrous economic policies, corrupt captured political system, and preposterously fraudulent financial system are actually based on sound logic and reason.  Some fallacies have been perpetrated intentionally by the ruling class to manipulate, sway and deceive the populace, while others have been willfully employed by millions of techno-narcissistic iGadget addicted zombies as a substitute for thinking, reasoning and taking responsibility for the course of our nation.

You have men who constitute the unseen true ruling power of the country making a conscious and intentional effort to peddle fallacies to the masses in order to manipulate, mold, and corral them in a manner beneficial to the ruling power, financially, politically, and socially. The ruling class has been hugely successful in their capture of the public mind, creating a vast majority of the willfully ignorant who desperately grasp at fallacious concepts, beliefs, and storylines in order to avoid dealing with reality and being accountable for their actions and the actions of their leaders.   

The fallacy being flogged by government drones and the legacy media about companies not hiring new employees because it has been cold and snowy during the winter is beyond absurd, except to someone who lives in the cocoon of Washington D.C. or regurgitates words processed on a teleprompter by paid minions of the ruling class. If you live in the real world, run a business, or manage employees, you understand weather has absolutely nothing to do with your decision to hire an employee. An organization takes weeks or months to hire employees. They don’t stop hiring because it snowed on Wednesday or the temperature was below normal. The contention that hiring has been weak for the last two months due to weather is outlandish and based upon flawed logic and warped reasoning. It is so illogical, only an Ivy League economist could believe it.

The other fallacy being pontificated by retail executives in denial, cheerleaders on CNBC and the rest of the propaganda press is weather is to blame for terrible retail sales over the last quarter. Again, this argument is specious in its conception. The retail executives use weather as an excuse for their failure in execution, hubris in over-expanding, and arrogance in pursuit of quarterly earnings per share and bonuses. CNBC and the rest of the Wall Street media pawns must provide lame fallacies for the corporate fascists regarding our downward economic path or the masses my wake up to reality. Protecting and expanding the wealth of the parasitic oligarch class is the one and only purpose of the corporate media.

Think about whether cold and snow in the winter will really stop purchases by individuals. If you need a new shirt for work or a pair of sneakers and it snows on Wednesday, you will wait until Saturday to make the purchase. Groceries will be consumed and replenished whether it is cold and snowy, or not. If an appliance or car breaks down, weather will be a non-factor in the new purchase decision. The proliferation of on-line retailing allows everyone to shop from the warmth of their homes. If anything, bad winter weather often spurs stocking up of groceries and the purchase of items needed to contend with winter weather (salt, shovels, coats, hats, gloves). Only an asinine spokes-model bimbo on CNBC could non-questioningly report the press release excuses of retailers. Critical thinking skills and journalistic integrity are non-essential traits among the propaganda mainstream press today.

Revealing the truth about pitiful employment growth and dreadful retail sales would destroy the fallacy of economic recovery stimulated by the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve and fiscal policies of the Federal government. The ruling class must perpetuate the myth that central bankers pumping $3.2 trillion of debt into the veins Wall Street banks and Obama dumping $6.7 trillion of debt onto the shoulders of future generations in order to cure a cancerous disease created by debt, has revived our economy and cured the disease. The unseen governing class cannot admit their traitorous actions have impoverished the working middle class, destroyed small businesses, depleted senior citizens of their savings, and warped our economic system to such an extent that recovery in now impossible. If the ignorant masses were to become sentient, the ruling class would become lamppost decorations.

After discovering water pipes at my rental property had burst due to the extreme cold weather and witnessing the widespread damage caused by the mid-week ice storm, I immediately thought how overjoyed my favorite Keynesian, Ivy League, Nobel Prize winning, New York Times scribbler, Paul (destruction is good) Krugman must be. All this destruction and devastation will be a tremendous boost to the economy according to Krugman and his ilk. This intellectually deceitful, morally bankrupt, despicable excuse for a human being spoke these words of wisdom three days after the 9/11 attacks:   

“Ghastly as it may seem to say
this, the terror attack – like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression – could even do some economic good.
 So the direct economic impact of the attacks will probably not be that bad. And there will, potentially, be two favorable effects. First, the driving force behind the economic slowdown has been a plunge in business investment. Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I’ve already indicated, the destruction isn’t big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.”

He had expanded his broken window beliefs to broken buildings, broken nations, and a broken people. You can’t keep a cunning Keynesian down when they need to propagate discredited fallacies in order to feed their own ego and promote foolish debt fueled spending by government, consumers and corporations as a solution to all economic ills. It makes no difference to a statist like Krugman that Frederic Bastiat had obliterated the preposterous notion that destruction and the money spent to repair the destruction was a net benefit to society, 164 years ago in his essay – That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen. Bastiat’s logic is unassailable. Only the most highly educated Princeton economists don’t get it.    

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James B., when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

I wonder whether the myopic focus on only immediate impacts and inability of ideologues to understand unintended consequences is premeditated or just erroneous reasoning. The broken window fallacy can now be extended to broken limbs and burst pipes across the Northeast. Huge trees have been toppled, limbs and branches are strewn on the properties of homeowners across the region, homes and businesses have been physically damaged, and power outages wrecked profits at small businesses. Society has gained no benefit whatsoever from the mass destruction wrought by these storms. This weather induced ruin exposes GDP calculations as useless and misleading regarding the true economic health of the nation. The hundreds of millions in destruction will not be factored into the GDP calculation, but the spending by homeowners and businesses to remove downed trees, fix broken roofs, replace burst pipes and clean-up debris will be factored positively in the GDP calculation. The inevitable politician response will be increased government spending to repair damage to infrastructure. This will also be additive to GDP. Krugman will get a tingle up his leg.

CNBC’s Cramer & Liesman will rave about the unexpectedly strong GDP in the first quarter as proof the economy is doing great. The fallacy that GDP growth and stock market gains are beneficial to the average American will be flogged by the propaganda press at the behest of the ruling class until the last vestiges of national wealth are confiscated by the oligarchs. In the real world, the destruction caused by the harsh winter weather will not benefit society one iota. GDP will reflect the immediate short-term seen impact of the cleanup and repair of property damage. GDP will ignore the unseen opportunity costs which were lost and the long-term consequences of expenditures made to put property back in the condition in which it started. Destruction does not create profit, except in the Keynesian world of Krugman and his Ivy League educated sycophant cronies.

There are 2.5 million households in the Philadelphia metro area. There are hundreds of thousands with trees down, pipes frozen, gutters smashed, roofs leaking and electrical infrastructure damaged. An individual homeowner with a couple of large trees down will need to pay $500 to $1,000 for a tree service to remove the debris from their property. Considering the median household income in Montgomery County, PA is $75,000, that is not an insubstantial sum.

The homeowner did not anticipate this expenditure and will react by not dining out, taking a shorter vacation, not buying that new couch, or not investing in their small business. A landlord who has to repair busted pipes will incur added expense, resulting in less profit. Less profit means less taxes paid to the state and federal government, exacerbating their budget deficits. The landlord will defer replacing that old air conditioner for at least another year. Multiply these scenarios across the entire Northeastern United States and you have the long-term negative financial implications outweighing the short-term boost to GDP.

The Keynesian fallacy of increased economic activity being beneficial is annihilated by the fact homeowners and business owners are left in the same condition as they were prior to the storms, while the money spent to achieve the same property condition was not spent on other goods and services that would have truly expanded the economy. The fallacious government engineered GDP calculation will portray destruction as an economic boost. Keynesian worshiping economists and government bureaucrats observe this tragedy as only between two parties, the consumer who is forced to repair their property and is denied the pleasure of spending their money on something more enjoyable and the tree service company who experiences a positive impact to their business. They exclude the appliance store, restaurant, or hotel that did not receive the money spent on repairing the property. It is this third unseen party who is left out of the equation. It is this third party that shows the absurdity of believing destruction leads to profit and economic advancement. The national economic output is not increased, but highly educated government drones and Wall Street captured economists will point to GDP and disseminate the fallacy.

This leads us to government in general and the fallacy that government sp
ending, government borrowing, and government programs are beneficial to society and the economy. Legalized plunder of the populace through income taxes, real estate taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, license fees, sewer fees, tolls, and a myriad of other ass raping techniques is used to subsidize crony capitalist special interests, the military industrial complex, faux wars on poverty, drugs and terror, a failed public education system, vote buying entitlement programs, and a tax code written to benefit those who pay the biggest bribes to the corrupt politicians slithering around the halls of congress.

Government is a criminal enterprise designed to take from the weak and powerless while benefitting the connected and powerful. The government extracts the earnings of citizens and businesses at the point of a gun and redistributes those funds to special interests; funding boondoggles, wars of choice, foreign dictators, and the corporate and banking interests who control the puppet strings of Washington politicians. State organized and legal plunder designed to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else is the delusional fallacy permeating our cultural mindset today.

President Obama declared my region a disaster area, allowing for government funds to supposedly help in the cleanup efforts. Again, the fallacy of government intervention benefiting society is unquestioned by the ignorant masses. Local and State governments are required by law to balance their budgets. The never ending progression of storms and record cold temperatures has already blown the winter storm budgets of transportation departments across the region. Gaping potholes are swallowing vehicles and will need to be repaired.

Government spokespersons and politicians tell the public not to worry. The government will come to the rescue, even when the funds officially run out. They won’t react the way a family would react to a budget overage, by cutting spending in another area. We have had mild winters in the recent past when the winter road budgets were far under. Did the government set aside this surplus for winters like the one we are currently experiencing? Of course not – they spent it on some other boondoggle program or useless shovel ready bridge to nowhere. Government politicians and their lackeys do not look beyond their 2 year election cycle.

The government budget overages due to winter storms will show up in the GDP calculation as a positive impact. A snowplow pushing snow to the side of the road and a crew filing a pothole has put the roadway back into the condition it was prior to the bad weather. The roadway is exactly the same. The money spent could have been used to pay down debt, fund the government pension shortfalls which will overwhelm taxpayers in the foreseeable future, or be given back to citizens to spend as they choose. There has been no net benefit to society.

No government spending provides a net benefit to society. Every government program, law, regulation, subsidy, tax or fee gives rise to a series of effects. The immediate seen effect may be favorable in the eyes of myopic politicians and an ignorant populace, but most government intervention in our lives proves to be fatal and unsustainable in the long-term. Whatever short-term benefits might accrue is far outweighed by the long-term negative implications on future generations. All government expenditures are foisted upon the public either through increased taxation or state created surreptitious inflation.         

We have a country built on a Himalayan mountain of fallacies. We are a short-term oriented people who only care about our present situation, giving no thought about long-term consequences of our policies, programs, laws or actions. Critical thinking skills, reasoning abilities, and a basic understanding of mathematical concepts appear to be beyond our grasp. We’d rather believe falsehoods than deal with the harsh lessons of reality. We choose to experience the severe penalties of burying our heads in the sand over using our God given ability to think and foresee the future consequences of our irrational choices. We suffer from the ultimately fatal disease of ignorance, as described by Bastiat.

This explains the fatally grievous condition of mankind. Ignorance surrounds its cradle: then its actions are determined by their first consequences, the only ones which, in its first stage, it can see. It is only in the long run that it learns to take account of the others. It has to learn this lesson from two very different masters – experience and foresight. Experience teaches effectually, but brutally. It makes us acquainted with all the effects of an action, by causing us to feel them; and we cannot fail to finish by knowing that fire burns, if we have burned ourselves. For this rough teacher, I should like, if possible, to substitute a more gentle one. I mean Foresight.

It’s a big country and one fallacy doesn’t fit all. Some fallacies are committed purposefully by evil men with evil intent. The Wall Street financial elite, big corporations, big media and their politician puppets fall into this category. Other fallacies are executed by people whose salary depends upon the fallacies being believed by the masses. Middle level bankers, managers, journalists, and bureaucrats fall into this category. And lastly you have the willfully ignorant masses who would rather believe fallacies than look up from their iGadgets, Facebook, and Twitter and think. The thing about fallacies is they eventually are buried under an avalanche of reality. If you listen closely you can hear the rumble of snow beginning to give way on the mountaintop. Fallacies are about to be crushed and swept away by the real world of consequences.

“Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.  It was an experience for which the captains of industry were not entirely prepared; they had forgotten the public.  It was like some great convulsion of nature, which made mockery of all the powers of men, and left the beholder dazed and terrified.   In Wall Street men stood as if in a valley, and saw far above them the starting of an avalanche; they stood fascinated with horror, and watched it gathering headway; saw the clouds of dust rising up, and heard the roar of it swelling, and realized it was only a matter of time before it swept them to their destruction…

But it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it.”

Upton Sinclair – The Moneychangers

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1m4GhwF Tyler Durden

There Is “No Evidence” We Encouraged Forex Manipulation, Bank of England Says

In what has to be the most disappointing denial of central bank manipulation of a market in recent history, and probably never, the Bank of England today announced that it “has seen no evidence to back media allegations that it condoned or was aware of manipulation of reference rates in the foreign exchange market.” As a reminder, last week we reported, that according to a Bloomberg, “Bank of England officials told currency traders it wasn’t improper to share impending customer orders with counterparts at other firms” or, in other words, the highest monetary authority in England, and the oldest modern central bank, explicitly condoned and encouraged manipulation. Fast forward to today when Andrew Bailey, the Bank’s deputy governor and chief executive of the Bank’s Prudential Regulation Authority, told parliament’s Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday it had no evidence to suggest that bank officials in any sense condoned the manipulation of the rate-setting process. In other words, it very well may have… but there just is no evidence – obviously in keeping with the bank’s very strict “smoking manipulation gun document retention policy.

Then again, such evidence already was presented to UK regulators: “Bloomberg News said on February 7 that the Bank officials told currency traders at the April 2012 meeting that it wasn’t improper to share impending customer orders with counterparts at other firms.  A senior trader gave his notes from the meeting to the Financial Conduct Authority, Bloomberg said.

Hence, Mr Bailey had to modestly revise his statement:

“I should say that we have no evidence yet, and we have not seen the evidence that was in the Bloomberg report,” he added.

He added that the Bank of England review was in close cooperation with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is also investigating broader allegations of manipulation in the foreign exchange markets.

Which obviously means that should the BOE never be “confronted” with the evidence, and it mysteriously “disappears”, it simply means that one of Mark Carney’s henchmen pulled a few levers at the FCA, and made it disappear: of course, on national security grounds, because should it surface that a central bank is merely a criminal organization, then faith and confidence in the Ponzi system might falter. It would also mean confirm what most people who care about these things know: when it comes to UK governance, the buck stops with Threadneedle. And not only there, but everywhere else too.

The rest of the report is trivial fluff and generic spin:

“The Bank does not condone any form of market manipulation in any context whatsoever,” Bailey told the lawmakers on Tuesday.

“On the evidence we have currently, we have no evidence to substantiate the claim that bank officials in any sense condoned or were informed of price manipulation or the sharing of confidential client information,” Bailey added.

“We’ve released the minutes of that meeting, but obviously there are now allegations that there are different versions of what happened at that meeting,” Bailey said.

 

Bailey said the claims, which the central bank first heard about last October, were being taken “very seriously” and a full review was now underway, led by the Bank’s internal legal counsel with support from an external counsel.

Perhaps just to confirm how serious the “review” is, Bailey should also release a few photos of the internal and external counsels operating the paper shredders with the passion of 2nd year Arthur Andersen intern.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1dG46k7 Tyler Durden

There Is "No Evidence" We Encouraged Forex Manipulation, Bank of England Says

In what has to be the most disappointing denial of central bank manipulation of a market in recent history, and probably never, the Bank of England today announced that it “has seen no evidence to back media allegations that it condoned or was aware of manipulation of reference rates in the foreign exchange market.” As a reminder, last week we reported, that according to a Bloomberg, “Bank of England officials told currency traders it wasn’t improper to share impending customer orders with counterparts at other firms” or, in other words, the highest monetary authority in England, and the oldest modern central bank, explicitly condoned and encouraged manipulation. Fast forward to today when Andrew Bailey, the Bank’s deputy governor and chief executive of the Bank’s Prudential Regulation Authority, told parliament’s Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday it had no evidence to suggest that bank officials in any sense condoned the manipulation of the rate-setting process. In other words, it very well may have… but there just is no evidence – obviously in keeping with the bank’s very strict “smoking manipulation gun document retention policy.

Then again, such evidence already was presented to UK regulators: “Bloomberg News said on February 7 that the Bank officials told currency traders at the April 2012 meeting that it wasn’t improper to share impending customer orders with counterparts at other firms.  A senior trader gave his notes from the meeting to the Financial Conduct Authority, Bloomberg said.

Hence, Mr Bailey had to modestly revise his statement:

“I should say that we have no evidence yet, and we have not seen the evidence that was in the Bloomberg report,” he added.

He added that the Bank of England review was in close cooperation with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is also investigating broader allegations of manipulation in the foreign exchange markets.

Which obviously means that should the BOE never be “confronted” with the evidence, and it mysteriously “disappears”, it simply means that one of Mark Carney’s henchmen pulled a few levers at the FCA, and made it disappear: of course, on national security grounds, because should it surface that a central bank is merely a criminal organization, then faith and confidence in the Ponzi system might falter. It would also mean confirm what most people who care about these things know: when it comes to UK governance, the buck stops with Threadneedle. And not only there, but everywhere else too.

The rest of the report is trivial fluff and generic spin:

“The Bank does not condone any form of market manipulation in any context whatsoever,” Bailey told the lawmakers on Tuesday.

“On the evidence we have currently, we have no evidence to substantiate the claim that bank officials in any sense condoned or were informed of price manipulation or the sharing of confidential client information,” Bailey added.

“We’ve released the minutes of that meeting, but obviously there are now allegations that there are different versions of what happened at that meeting,” Bailey said.

 

Bailey said the claims, which the central bank first heard about last October, were being taken “very seriously” and a full review was now underway, led by the Bank’s internal legal counsel with support from an external counsel.

Perhaps just to confirm how serious the “review” is, Bailey should also release a few photos of the internal and external counsels operating the paper shredders with the passion of 2nd year Arthur Andersen intern.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1dG46k7 Tyler Durden

House Passes Clean Debt Ceiling 221-201 With Vast Majority Of Republicans Voting Against

The clean debt ceiling bill has just passed the House where it got the required majority in a 221 to 201 final vote, with just 28 Republicans voting Yea (and 199 voting Nay) which means that with a Senate passage assured, the US can now spend away until March 15, 2015. The final breakdown:

  • GOP: Yea – 28; Nay -199
  • DEM: Yea – 193; Nay -2
  • Total: Yea – 221; Nay – 201

Considering that the vast majority of Republicans voted against John Boehner’s latest “plan” to do the Democrats’ work for them, and pass a clean debt ceiling, perhaps it is time to look for a speaker who represents the interests of more than just a tiny fraction of the party… and the Democrats of course.

“I’m grateful to the speaker and the Republican leadership for giving this House this opportunity to act in a way that is consistent with the constitution,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaking in the chamber in advance of the vote. “I thank my Democratic colleagues for never wavering from this position and standing firm on behalf of all Americans.”

We will post the final vote roll call once it is released.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1iMIhVx Tyler Durden

House Voting On Clean Debt Ceiling Increase

Will John Boehner fold – as he always does – with style, or will he fail to whip enough Republicans to where he can’t even do the Democrats’ “clean debt ceiling hike” bidding for them and round up the required 218 vote majority? Find out momentarily.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1ju9MpO Tyler Durden

The Next Big Thing in Finance!

By: Chris Tell at http://ift.tt/146186R

That’s what its being called. Crowdfinance or crowdfunding, is a space we’ve spoken about repeatedly on this site. Mainstream media have been a little slow to wake up to it, but wake up to it they will.

It is MASSIVELY DISRUPTIVE, and the implications for traditional brokers, investment bankers, venture capitalists and the numerous flow-on and related industries cannot be underestimated. 

For the last few years we’ve watched the crowdfunding space intently and have deep connections in the industry. 2013 landed up being a pivotal year for crowdfinance and 2014 looks even better.

In a regulatory environment that has appeared to be sleepwalking into high-vis misery, the SEC removal of the 80 year ban on general solicitation for private companies was a step in the opposite, yet right direction. Catalytic mainstream acceptance was further solidified, and a number of high profile investments were made. Google led a $125 million deal buying a stake in Lending Club, valuing the world’s largest p2p lending platform at $1.55 billion. Blackrock came in as a strategic investor to Prosper, to name but two.

Our friend Dara Albright, Co-founder of NowStreet Wire, has 4 predictions for 2014. Incidentally we don’t disagree.

  1. CAPITAL WILL BE REALLOCATED FROM TRADITIONAL FIXED INCOME PRODUCTS INTO PEER-TO-PEER (P2P) LOANS2013 was an extraordinary year for p2p lending. The domestic market grew 177%, the global market exceeded $8B, and the industry began winning over an initially skeptical media. As the financial press increasingly draws attention to p2p’s greater and more stable returns, we should experience an exodus from bond funds into p2p. This past year, many active bond managers underperformed their benchmarks, and investors began withdrawing money from bond funds at record paces. According to Lipper US Fund Flows data, over $60B has been pulled from municipal bond funds alone in 2013 – the most since 1992. With p2p garnering mainstream attention, conventional fixed income asset classes languishing, and wealth managers becoming more knowledgeable about p2p investing, more capital is likely to find its way into a diversified portfolio of p2p loans.
  2. EQUITIES CROWDFINANCE WILL GERMINATE THROUGH SELL-SIDE CHANNELSWhereas p2p lending sprouted from the yield-hungry investing public before being chased by the institutional buy-side, the equity side of crowdfinance is more likely to germinate through sell-side channels such as boutique investment banks and small cap underwriters who possess decades of experience selling “story stocks”. In 2014 brokerage firms will quickly discover additional revenue streams emanating from corporate crowdfinance products such as PIPRs (“Private Issuers Publicly Raising) and crowdfinanced IPOs. Instead of leaving money on the table, BD’s will embrace these new products that not only contain more attractive commission structures, but mitigated compliance risk.
  3. OTHER CROWDFINANCE STRUCTURES WILL PROVE MORE VIABLE THAN TITLE III CROWDFUNDING.Despite what most crowdfunding enthusiasts would like to believe, Title III Crowdfunding, as proposed by the SEC, will not be the holy grail of capital formation. There are more feasible and cost-effective options available to issuers such as PIPRs, intrastate crowdfunding and even rewards-based crowdfunding. Title III Crowdfunding will likely undergo a number of legislative iterations, such as increasing the $1M offering threshold, before it becomes practicable for most emerging businesses. While national securities-based crowdfunding remains in flux, “locavesting” or intrastate crowdfunding will be a better way for most regional businesses to raise funds. As more states follow Georgia and Kansas in bypassing the SEC and implementing their own crowdfund legislation, more businesses will have an opportunity to reach out to their community for growth capital.
  4. VENTURE CAPITAL WILL CHASE CROWDFINANCE INFRASTRUCTURE PLAYSVenture capitalists, looking for ways to capitalize on crowdfinance, will recognize that a vast amount of wealth will be generated in infrastructure plays. In 2014, venture capital will flow into those companies that provide settlement & clearing functionality, supply market data to the global investing community, and facilitate secondary transactions of crowdfinanced offerings and p2p debt.Finally, it must be asserted, that no nation has ever succeeded, or will ever succeed, by printing or taxing its way to prosperity. Nor can a nation stimulate its economy by restricting its middle class investors and entrepreneurs from accessing portfolio yield and growth capital. However, employing the doctrines of crowdfinance – granting all citizens the ability to freely invest in the ingenuity and invention of fellow citizens – has proven to be a winning formula. In fact, it is what enabled a simple farmland to become a global innovation leader and the greatest economic superpower in the history of the world. And it is crowdfinance that what will fund the innovation that will fuel the next economic boom. As the crowdfinance industry crosses these new milestones in 2014, it will be paving the way for new medical cures, technological advancement and greater wealth equality.

It is this last prediction which we’re seeing happen already and we absolutely, 110% wholeheartedly agree.

The early signs are evident. We have a dedicated staff member who’s job is to provide us with a weekly data dump of all that is new in the world of crowdfunding, p2p, etc… Naturally, out of this we hear about a lot of “experts” popping up. Bloggers who clearly know close to nothing about private equity, and nothing about investing in-fact, entering the space touting how you too can make millions in private equity. Yes, you too can become obscenely rich investing in the next Google. Let the games begin. A bubble here we come.

I think we are still a ways off the sector really gathering momentum. To front run this inevitable bubble, Mark and I, together with our CPAN members, have just made our first investment in this space. It’s an infrastructure play, per Dara’s 4th prediction above.

I think 2014 will be a banner year for equity crowdfunding and push us further towards bubblicous territory, which will likely peak in a few years time. Just a guess. An educated one, but a guess nonetheless.

I’ll add another couple of predictions to the pot.

  1. We’ll see a new version/s of “Shark Tank”;
  2. Much like co-ops in the third world aggregate community projects, I can envision local communities crowdfunding social projects such as playgrounds, theaters and even community gardens.

Let us know what you think in the comments section. We’d love your feedback!

– Chris

“Venture capital is a bad business” – Fred Wilson (well known venture capitalist and partner at Union Square Ventures)


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1ju9JKy Capitalist Exploits

SEC Lashes Out At Wolves Of Wall Street- Suspends 225 Companies

SEC Lashes Out At Wolves Of Wall Street- Suspends 225 Companies

Courtesy of Joao Peixe of OilPrice.com

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended 255 shell companies from trading until 14 February to prevent “pump and dump” fraud, and stocks will not be relisted if companies fail to prove they are operational.

The suspension took hold at the start of trading on 3 February and will end at 11:50 p.m. on Feb. 14. Suspended stocks can’t be relisted unless the company can prove it is still operational, a requirement that the SEC said was “extremely rare.”

The SEC suspension covers shell companies in 26 US states and two unnamed foreign countries, with the US regulator describing the targets as “ripe for abuse”.

These “pump and dump schemes” being targeted by the SEC generally occur when violators talk up a thinly traded microcap stock through false and misleading statements about the company to the market. The violators buy up the company’s shares cheaply and the pump up the stock price by creating the appearance of market activity and then dump the stock for a massive profit.

This activity was made famous through the 2014 Hollywood movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, which is based on the true story of former US stockbroker Jordan Ross Belfort, who served 22 months in prison for causing investors to lose $200 million through a pump and dump scheme.

The SEC moved to suspend 61 other shell companies in June last year, along with 379 shell companies in 2012. This is part of the SEC’s ongoing initiative dubbed “Operation Shell-Expel,” which was launched in 2012.

The suspension will end at 11:50 p.m. on 14 February, and according to the SEC, the “trading suspension essentially renders the shells worthless and useless to scam artists.”

Because these shells all too often are used by those looking to manipulate stock prices, we will continue to protect unwary investors by suspending trading in shells,” Andrew J. Ceresney, director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in a statement.

Benefit From the Latest Energy Trends and Investment Opportunities before the mainstream media and investing public are aware they even exist. Click here to learn more about the Free Oilprice.com Energy Intelligence Report.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1ju9LSJ ilene

"This Is Not How A Free Society Treats Its Citizens"

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

631 people renounced their US citizenship in the 4th quarter of 2013.

This is an entire order of magnitude higher than the 45 people who renounced in 4Q/2012. And in total, 3,000 Americans renounced their citizenship in 2013– another record high.

The previous record (1,777) was set in 2011, which shattered the previous record before that (1,534) which was set in 2010, which was more than twice the number (742) that renounced in 2009.

You can see the trend here. And it’s not hard to figure out why it’s happening.

As the United States Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen recently told Congress in her scathing report about US tax policy:

“[T]ax requirements have become so confusing and the compliance burden so great that taxpayers are giving up their U.S. citizenship in record numbers.”

In her report, Ms. Olsen specifically points to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was passed by Congress four years ago. She states that FATCA “has the potential to be burdensome, overly broad, and detrimental to taxpayer rights.”

That’s putting it politely.

I have written several times before that FATCA is one of the most destructive, insidious pieces of legislation ever passed. And the worst effects are only now -starting- to be felt.

Among other things, the law requires new disclosures for US citizens with foreign accounts. And just to make sure it’s absolutely clear how the US government views its tax serfs, they put this little ditty in the instructions:

“The fact that a foreign jurisdiction would impose a civil or criminal penalty on you if you disclose the required information is not reasonable cause [to NOT file this form].”

Basically they’re saying, ‘Even if disclosing this information would cause you to go to jail in a foreign country due to their confidentiality laws, we don’t give a damn. We still expect you to file this form. Otherwise we will throw you in jail in the US.’

(yes, there are potential criminal penalties for not filing this form…)

This isn’t exactly how a free society treats its citizens. It’s a constant threat of force with these people. Even the most mundane, bureaucratic tasks are cause for intimidation.

As I have pointed out so many times before, you can’t even apply for a passport (i.e. permission to leave the country) in the Land of the Free without being threatened with fines and imprisonment.

All of this has come at tremendous cost. Aside from permanent damaging the US government’s reputation and its role in the global banking system, the human cost is nearly incalculable.

Think about it– it’s not the Obamaphone recipients who are renouncing their citizenship and leaving the country. These are smart, talented, energetic people who could have actually contributed something.

And as this productive class gets out of dodge, they leave behind more people who want something for nothing… and fewer people to pay the bill.

It’s the same situation the Romans were in back in the 5th century.

Undoubtedly there are folks out there who would call the thousands of people who have renounced ‘cowards’ and ‘traitors’ (though they are in respected company given that the British considered George Washington a traitor).

But lest we judge ‘renunciants’ poorly, we should first ask– is it more honorable to lay down and let yourself be plundered by a bunch of blundering, bungling, deceitful politicians…?

Doubtful. Besides, divorcing yourself from your bankrupt, insolvent government is not the same as divorcing yourself from your culture or values.

You are who you are no matter what color your passport is.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1bTc3Gn Tyler Durden

“This Is Not How A Free Society Treats Its Citizens”

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

631 people renounced their US citizenship in the 4th quarter of 2013.

This is an entire order of magnitude higher than the 45 people who renounced in 4Q/2012. And in total, 3,000 Americans renounced their citizenship in 2013– another record high.

The previous record (1,777) was set in 2011, which shattered the previous record before that (1,534) which was set in 2010, which was more than twice the number (742) that renounced in 2009.

You can see the trend here. And it’s not hard to figure out why it’s happening.

As the United States Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olsen recently told Congress in her scathing report about US tax policy:

“[T]ax requirements have become so confusing and the compliance burden so great that taxpayers are giving up their U.S. citizenship in record numbers.”

In her report, Ms. Olsen specifically points to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was passed by Congress four years ago. She states that FATCA “has the potential to be burdensome, overly broad, and detrimental to taxpayer rights.”

That’s putting it politely.

I have written several times before that FATCA is one of the most destructive, insidious pieces of legislation ever passed. And the worst effects are only now -starting- to be felt.

Among other things, the law requires new disclosures for US citizens with foreign accounts. And just to make sure it’s absolutely clear how the US government views its tax serfs, they put this little ditty in the instructions:

“The fact that a foreign jurisdiction would impose a civil or criminal penalty on you if you disclose the required information is not reasonable cause [to NOT file this form].”

Basically they’re saying, ‘Even if disclosing this information would cause you to go to jail in a foreign country due to their confidentiality laws, we don’t give a damn. We still expect you to file this form. Otherwise we will throw you in jail in the US.’

(yes, there are potential criminal penalties for not filing this form…)

This isn’t exactly how a free society treats its citizens. It’s a constant threat of force with these people. Even the most mundane, bureaucratic tasks are cause for intimidation.

As I have pointed out so many times before, you can’t even apply for a passport (i.e. permission to leave the country) in the Land of the Free without being threatened with fines and imprisonment.

All of this has come at tremendous cost. Aside from permanent damaging the US government’s reputation and its role in the global banking system, the human cost is nearly incalculable.

Think about it– it’s not the Obamaphone recipients who are renouncing their citizenship and leaving the country. These are smart, talented, energetic people who could have actually contributed something.

And as this productive class gets out of dodge, they leave behind more people who want something for nothing… and fewer people to pay the bill.

It’s the same situation the Romans were in back in the 5th century.

Undoubtedly there are folks out there who would call the thousands of people who have renounced ‘cowards’ and ‘traitors’ (though they are in respected company given that the British considered George Washington a traitor).

But lest we judge ‘renunciants’ poorly, we should first ask– is it more honorable to lay down and let yourself be plundered by a bunch of blundering, bungling, deceitful politicians…?

Doubtful. Besides, divorcing yourself from your bankrupt, insolvent government is not the same as divorcing yourself from your culture or values.

You are who you are no matter what color your passport is.


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1bTc3Gn Tyler Durden