The National Debt Cannot Be Paid Off

by Keith Weiner

 

Government spending is out of control and, while most say they want spending cuts, people oppose cuts that impact them. Among those who get government money, there’s practically an unspoken, unbreakable pact to keep the money coming. But when I say that the national debt cannot be paid off, it’s not a political forecast; it’s a statement on the flawed nature of the dollar.

Astute observers call the dollar a fiat currency. Fiat means force. It’s true that we’re forced to use the dollar (e.g. by taxes on gold) but the dollar is also irredeemable. There’s no way to cash it in. The dollar is credit that is never repaid. Today’s dollar is a dishonored promise.

This was not always true. Before 1933, the dollar represented an obligation to pay 1/20 ounce of gold. People could deposit gold and get paper notes in receipt. Those notes circulated, and any bearer could redeem them for gold. Back then, $20 was not the gold price. It was the legal rate at which gold was deposited and redeemed.

In 1971, President Nixon changed the monetary system with the stroke of his pen, making the Fed no longer obligated to redeem dollars for gold. The consequences of using debt as if it were money were soon clear. Rising debt became a more serious problem than rising prices.

To understand debt, credit and the importance of redemption, consider Joe borrowing sugar from neighbor Sue. To pay Sue back, Joe goes to the store, buys sugar and hands it to Sue. Not only is Sue repaid; the debt goes out of existence—it is extinguished. Borrowing money used to be like borrowing sugar. The repayment of debt in gold-backed dollars settled the loan and wiped the debt clean.

Not anymore, since Nixon detached the dollar from gold. By making people pay with paper-only dollars, each debt is transferred, not cleared.

Suppose Sue owed Joe $1,000, then hands Joe ten $100 bills. Sue gets out of the debt loop. But now the Fed owes Joe the $1,000. What does Joe do? He deposits his cash in a bank. Now the bank owes Joe money, while the Fed owes the bank. What does the bank do? It buys a Treasury bond. Now the Treasury owes the bank. And so on.

By Nixon’s design, the system omits a crucial feature. The extinguisher of debt, gold, is not allowed to do its job. Debt can only be transferred from one party to another. It’s like a lump being pushed around under a rug. With no means of final payment, that lump is never put in the trash. Debt is never extinguished.

In fact, the debt must increase, because the interest is constantly accruing. Interest is added to the debt, as it can’t be paid off either. Total debt must grow by at least the interest. Debt actually increases faster than that, because the government craves what now passes for growth.

The rate of debt increase is proportional to the debt itself. It is not a fixed dollar amount, such as $100 billion a year. It is instead a percent of total debt. Mathematics has a term for this type of growth: an exponential function.

Exponential growth is not sustainable, according to credible scientists. Mainstream economists ignore this fact in the hope that that somehow growth can outpace debt, one year a time.

But exponentially rising debt is not sustainable because the capacity to service the debt is finite. Without a means of extinguishing debt, servicing is merely borrowing new money to pay off old debts. This is the equivalent of taking out a home equity loan to get money to pay the mortgage.

The U.S. debt is putting us in danger of economic catastrophe. Like Greece, which found no more buyers for their bonds, the U.S. relies on selling new bonds to pay interest and principal when due. The difference is that the whole world bids on U.S. Treasury bonds, for now. But eventually, market participants will realize that the American debt cannot be paid off.


    



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Fayette BoE: Charter school given until May 1 to make its case

The Fayette County Board of Education on Monday amended its charter school acceptance policy, but exempted a current petitioner from retroactive deadlines. The vote on the amendment was followed by another unanimous vote to set a May 1 deadline for Liberty Tech Charter School to submit its petition for a charter school in Fayette County.

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Fayette bus drivers honored for snowy service

A small group representing more than 200 bus drivers was recognized Feb. 24 by Chairman Marion Key and the Fayette County Board of Education for their successful efforts during the recent ice storm. Pictured, from left, are Mark Ballard, Key, Janie Killpatrick, Danette Cocoran, Diane Vaughan and Transportation Director Roxane Owen. Photo/Ben Nelms.

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Qualifying opens for local, regional posts

Qualifying starts Monday for local and regional offices in the primary and general elections that will be held later this year.

Interested candidates must qualify with their respective party, not at the county’s elections office.

The Fayette County Republican Party will be open at its headquarters at 174 N. Glynn Street in Fayetteville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. For information call 770-716-1545.

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The High Price Of Delaying The Default

Submitted by Thorsten Polleit via the Ludwig von Mises Institute,

Credit is a wonderful tool that can help advance the division of labor, thereby increasing productivity and prosperity. The granting of credit enables savers to spread their income over time, as they prefer. By taking out loans, investors can implement productive spending plans that they would be unable to afford using their own resources.

The economically beneficial effects of credit can only come about, however, if the underlying credit and monetary system is solidly based on free-market principles. And here is a major problem for today’s economies: the prevailing credit and monetary regime is irreconcilable with the free market system.

At present, all major currencies in the world — be it the US dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen, or the Chinese renminbi — represent government sponsored unbacked paper, or, “fiat” monies. These monies have three characteristic features. First, central banks have a monopoly on money production. Second, money is created by bank lending — or “out of thin air” — without loans being backed by real savings. And third, money that is dematerialized, can be expanded in any quantity politically desired.

A fiat money regime suffers from a number of far-reaching economic and ethical flaws. It is inflationary, it inevitably causes waves of speculation, provokes bad investments and “boom-and-bust” cycles, and generally encourages an excessive built up of debt. And fiat money unjustifiably favors the few at the expense of the many: the early receivers of the new money benefit at the expense of those receiving the new money at a later point in time (“Cantillon Effect”).

One issue deserves particular attention: the burden of debt that accumulates over time in a fiat money regime will become unsustainable. The primary reason for this is that the act of creating credit and money out of thin air, accompanied by artificially suppressed interest rates, encourages poor investments: malinvestments that do not have the earning power to service the resulting rise in debt in full.

Governments are especially guilty of accumulating an excessive debt burden, greatly helped by central banks providing an inexhaustible supply of credit at artificially low costs. Politicians finance election promises with credit, and voters acquiesce because they expect to benefit from government’s “horn of plenty.” The ruling class and the class of the ruled are quite hopeful that they can defer repayment to future generations to sort out.

However, there comes a point in time when private investors are no longer willing to refinance maturing debt, let alone finance a further rise in indebtedness of banks, corporations, and governments. In such a situation, the paper money boom is doomed to collapse: rising concern about credit defaults is a deadly enemy to the fiat money regime. And once the flow of credit dries up, the boom turns into bust. This is exactly what was about to happen in many fiat currency areas around the world in 2008.

A fiat money bust can easily develop into a full-scale depression, meaning failing banks, corporations filing for bankruptcy, and even some governments going belly up. The economy contracts sharply, causing mass unemployment. Such a development will predictably be interpreted as an ordeal — rather than an economic adjustment made inevitable by the ravages of the preceding fiat money boom.

Everyone — those of the ruling class and those of the class of the ruled — will predictably want to escape disaster. Threatened with extreme economic hardship and political desperation, their eyes will turn to the central bank which, alas, can print all the money that is politically desired to keep overstretched borrowers liquid, first and foremost banks and governments.

Running the electronic printing press will be perceived as the policy of the least evil — a reaction that could be observed many times throughout the troubled history of unbacked paper money. Since the end of 2008, many central banks have successfully kept their commercial banks afloat by providing them with new credit at virtually zero interest rates.

This policy is actually meant to make banks churn out even more credit and fiat money. More credit and money, provided at record low interest rates, is seen as a remedy of the problems caused by an expansion of credit and money, provided at low interest rates, in the first place. This is hardly a confidence-inspiring route to take.

 

It was Ludwig von Mises who understood that a fiat money boom will, and actually must, ultimately end in a collapse of the economic system. The only open question would be whether such an outcome will be preceded by a debasement of the currency or not:

The boom cannot continue indefinitely. There are two alternatives. Either the banks continue the credit expansion without restriction and thus cause constantly mounting price increases and an ever-growing orgy of speculation, which, as in all other cases of unlimited inflation, ends in a “crack-up boom” and in a collapse of the money and credit system. Or the banks stop before this point is reached, voluntarily renounce further credit expansion and thus bring about the crisis. The depression follows in both instances

A monetary policy dedicated to averting credit defaults by all means would speak for a fairly tough scenario going forward: depression preceded by inflation. This is a scenario quite similar to what happened, for instance, in the fiat money inflation in eighteenth-century France.

According to Andrew Dickson White, France issued paper money

seeking a remedy for a comparatively small evil in an evil infinitely more dangerous. To cure a disease temporary in its character, a corrosive poison was administered, which ate out the vitals of French prosperity.

 

It progressed according to a law in social physics which we may call the "law of accelerating issue and depreciation." It was comparatively easy to refrain from the first issue; it was exceedingly difficult to refrain from the second; to refrain from the third and with those following was practically impossible.

 

It brought … commerce and manufactures, the mercantile interest, the agricultural interest, to ruin. It brought on these the same destruction which would come to a Hollander opening the dykes of the sea to irrigate his garden in a dry summer.

 

It ended in the complete financial, moral and political prostration of France — a prostration from which only a Napoleon could raise it.


    



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Is China Set For A Japan-Style Lost-Decade?

“The extent of unproductive investment in China today is much greater than was the case for Japan at a comparable phase of development,” warns Deutsche’s EM strategist John-Paul Smith, and one glance at the chart below suggests China is tracing an ominous path towards the same “lost-decade” that un-inspired Japan since the mid-80s. While the PBOC is less interested in goosing its own stock market (since ownership is so low), Chinese stocks (down 60% from 2007 highs) “seem to be saying that there is a significant risk of a major slowdown.”

As Bloomberg adds, China’s lending surge over the past five years has evoked comparisons to the debt growth in Japan before its lost decade. Credit in the biggest emerging economy rose to 187 percent of gross domestic product in 2012 from 105 percent in 2000, compared with Japan’s increase to 176 percent in 1990 from 127 percent in 1980, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

 

Source: Bloomberg


    



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A Visual History Of Gold: The Most Sought After Metal On Earth

This infographic introduces the yellow metal and tells the story of how it became the most sought after metal on earth. Gold was one of the first metals discovered by ancient peoples and eventually gold grew to symbolize both wealth, royalty, and immortality. Gold began to be used as money by many cultures, but the Romans were the first to use it widespread.

The rarity, malleability, durability, ease to identify, and intrinsic value of gold made it perfect for money. While many civilizations throughout the world used gold for money, eventually its role would change with the coming of the gold standard system.

In modern history, gold was shaped by events such as Roosevelt’s confiscation order in 1933 and President Nixon ending the direct convertibility of gold to US dollars in 1971. Although gold is no longer the basis of the modern monetary system, there is more gold demand today than ever before.

 

See full infographic here

 

Source: VisualCapitalist


    



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For Better Or Worse (But Mostly Worse)

Advancements in Web 2.0 technology and the rising popularity of online dating should make it easier now – more than ever – to find "The One."  So why, ConvergEx's Nick Colas asks, is the U.S. marriage rate still declining when technology is making the process of finding a mate so much more convenient and efficient? For one, cohabitation (both before marriage and instead of marriage) is increasingly popular. Also, there’s the urbanization trend which yields an influx of young, single professionals into major cities across the country; they’re apparently more focused on career than family. However, as Colas continues, falling marriage rates go hand-in-hand with a host of socio-economic issues, and the problem is exacerbated in those with lower levels of educational attainment. A continuation of this trend would undoubtedly have negative implications for society as a whole and further enhance the gap between rich and poor.

Via ConvergEx's Nick Colas,

If you’re in the market for a spouse, consider this: Online dating could save you $6,400 in the long run versus the traditional computer-unaided route.  The typical courtship for marriages that begin offline is 42 weeks, or two years longer than the average 18-week courtship for marriages that begin online, according to statisticbrain.com, which compiled various data from Reuters, PC World and the Washington Post..  At a conservative estimate of one date per week and a cost of $130 per date – $100 for a meal and drinks at a nice restaurant, plus $30 for two movie tickets and popcorn – the dating phase prior to an offline marriage runs up a $23,660 tab.  The average dating site customer spends just $239 a year for online memberships, which more than pays for itself to the tune of $12,803 in cost savings from fewer dates.  Assuming you go Dutch, each party saves a touch over $6,400 in choosing the online route to marital bliss.

 


 
Of course, there are some horrors associated with online dating – like the fact that a woman’s online desirability peaks at the ripe age of 21 or that 6% of women set their standards at finding simply “any man I can get” (again, courtesy of the statisticbrain.com compilation of data).  But even so, you might reasonably expect that the technological advances that gave rise to the popularity of online dating would translate to a growing number of marriages in the United States.  After all, it’s theoretically easier now than ever to find a mate, not to mention more cost effective.  Yet the percentage of married adults is still in structural decline.  In 2012, an all-time low of 50.5% of American adults ages 18 and up were married.  That’s down from 57.4% in 2000 and a peak of 72.2% in the 1960s (see Chart 1 following the text).  So what’s the story?   Why is marriage still a falling trend despite the growing popularity of online match-making websites?

First, cohabitation (both before marriage and instead of marriage) is increasingly popular.  According to the most recently available data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cohabitation was the first romantic union (meaning either living with a partner without being married or simply getting married) for 48% of women aged 15 through 44 from 2006 to 2010.  This was up from 43% in 2002 and 34% in 1995.  Meanwhile, marriage as a first romantic union declined in popularity; 39% of first romantic unions were marriages in 1995, versus 30% in 2002 and 23% from 2006 to 2010 (refer to Chart 2).  The latest data from private research company Demographic Intelligence shows that 7.5 million couples lived together but were not married in 2010, which marked a 13% increase in just one year.

 

One explanation for this growth in cohabitation is the spike in divorce rates in the 1970s and 1980s.  The divorce rate peaked in 1979 and 1981 at 5.3 divorces per 1,000 people living in the U.S. (see Chart 3).  This is right around the time when the parents of the current generation of 20-somethings and 30-somethings would have had children, so perhaps seeing their parents and/or friends’ parents go through a divorce has made today’s young people more cautious when it comes to finding a mate.  Today, the divorce rate has settled somewhat around 3.5 per 1,000 population; the most logical explanation seems to be quite simply the decline in marriages.

 

Second, urbanization remains a growing trend and is responsible for the influx of young, predominately single professionals into major cities across the country.  Anecdotal data shows that much of this 20-something cohort is primarily focused on their careers rather than starting a family.  Indeed, the average age at first marriage for men and women is 28.6 and 26.6, respectively, compared to 25.2 and 22.5 three decades ago, according to the Census Bureau.  Adding to this trend has been the growing number of women in the labor force over the past several decades.  No longer as reliant on a husband as a source of income, women, too, are delaying the white-picket-fence stage of life in favor of establishing a career. 

 

Lastly, there’s the unproductive side of technology when it comes to love and marriage.  Location-based smartphone applications (such as Tinder) that allow you to instantly find other singles in your area – or even in the same bar – encourage instant gratification and nonexclusive relationships.  Technology has also given rise to online dating sites for married people seeking other married people (such as Ashley Madison) which probably don’t do anything constructive for the rate of productive, healthy marriages. 

Falling marriage rates go hand-in-hand with a host of socio-economic issues, so a decline in the popularity of marriage is quite important from an economic standpoint.  A drop in marriages has resulted in a rise in the out-of-wedlock birth rate – in 2011, 40.7% of all U.S. live births were to unmarried women.  Data from the Pew Research Center reveals that 35% of children live in single-parent homes and that 71% of poor families (those in the lowest quintile by income) lack married parents.  Additionally, the poverty rate for single-parent households in which a woman is the head of household is roughly five times that of traditional, two-parent households.

 
Adding to the problem is the fact that marriage rates are declining faster among those with lower levels of educational attainment – and therefore lower levels of income, as education is typically correlated with financial resources .  In 1970, 88% of college-educated men were married, compared with 85% of men who had not received a college degree.  For women the split was 82% and 83%, and in other words it didn’t appear that educational attainment was correlated with marriage.  However, by 2010 69% of adults with a college degree were married, versus just 56% of those without a college degree.  Furthermore, even among adults whose first romantic union is cohabitation, those with college degrees are much more likely to turn the cohabitation into marriage – 53% versus 39% for those with a high school diploma (refer to Chart 4).
 
Declining marriage rates among those with lower levels of educational attainment is a warning sign that is worth watching, especially if the trend continues.  But we’ll end this note with two bits of encouraging news.  First, the sheer number of newly married adults increased in 2012, climbing to 4.32 million from 4.21 million the prior year.  America’s aging population is undoubtedly weighing on the overall marriage rate, so it’s somewhat comforting to see a small rise in total marriages (see Chart 5).  Also, the sheer number of Americans getting divorced increased in 2012 for a third consecutive year.  Though troublesome from a societal standpoint, from an economic perspective this indicates that perhaps the economy has recovered sufficiently enough for warring spouses to finally be comfortable going their separate ways.


    



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Morgan Stanley Warns Of “Real Pain” If Chinese Currency Keeps Devaluing

The seemingly incessant strengthening trend of the Chinese Yuan (much as with the seemingly inexorable rise of US equities or home prices) has encouraged huge amounts of structured products to be created over the past few years enabling traders to position for more of the same in increasingly levered ways. That was all going great until the last few weeks which has seen China enter the currency wars (as we explained here). The problem, among many facing China, is that these structured products will face major losses and as Morgan Stanley warns "real pain will come if CNY stays above these levels," leading to further capital withdrawal, illiquidity, and a potential vicious circle as it appears the PBOC is trying to break the virtuous carry trade that has fueled so much of its bubble economy.

Deutsche Bank notes that Chinese equities yesterday hit 1 month lows and are 65% off the all time highs. There's a mix of reasons but one of the biggest stories of the past week or so has been the depreciation of the Chinese currency, both onshore where USDCNY is up 1.0% over the past week and offshore where USDCNH is up 1.25%.

Whilst these moves may not seem large in the context of other EM currencies, they are significant compared to the usual size of Renminbi moves.

As we noted here,  Deutsche adds that whilst there has been some weak Chinese data which might explain part of the depreciation, the broad feeling is that this move has been driven by efforts by the PBOC to shakeout the large long Renminbi carry trade that has been built on the back of the view that the Chinese currency can only appreciate in value.

Indeed worries at the PBOC may have been triggered by one sign of this carry trade in action – the premium with which offshore USDCNH has been trading over the tightly controlled onshore USDCNY value over the course of 2014. This premium has now largely disappeared.

The total size of the carry trade is hard to estimate although even just looking at some of the onshore CNY positions accumulated, DB Asia FX strategist Perry Kojodjojo estimates that corporate USD/CNY short positions are around $500bn. The size of the carry trade and the fact that China saw significant capital outflows during the last period of substantial Renminbi depreciation in the summer of 2012 has led to concerns over what this might mean for both the Chinese economy and financial markets as well as broader global financial implications.

Morgan Stanley believes that one such carry-trade structured product that will be the "pressure point" for this – should the Yuan continue to depreciate – is the Target Redemption Forward (TRF) which has a payoff that looks as follows…

While this is just an example of a product payoff matrix to the holder, the broader point is that the USD/CNH market has a particular level (or range of potential levels) at which three factors can create non-linear price action. These are:

 

1. Losses on TRF products will (on average) crystallize if USD/CNH goes above a certain level. This has implications for holders of TRF products, who are mostly corporates;

 

2. The hedging needs of writers of TRF products (banks) mean that there is a point of maximum vega for banks in USD/CNH. Below this level banks need to sell USD/CNH vol; above this level banks need to buy USD/CNH vol;

 

3. The delta-hedging needs of banks are complex. As we approach the average strike (the 6.15 in the theoretical point of Exhibit 1), banks need to buy spot USD/CNH. Above this point but below the European Knock-in (EKI) (i.e., between 6.15 and 6.20 in Exhibit 1), banks need to sell spot. Then above the EKI, banks don’t need to do anything in spot.

From internal Morgan Stanley data, we estimate that the point of maximum vega is somewhere in the range of 6.15-6.20, and that the 6.15-6.20 in Exhibit 1 is reasonably indicative of the average strikes and EKIs in the market.

 

In other words, so long as the TRF products remain in place (i.e., are not closed out) and we remain below the maximum vega point (somewhere between 6.15 and 6.20), there is natural selling pressure by banks in USD/CNH vol. When we get above that level, there is natural vol buying pressure.

 

 

Of course, in the scenario that USD/CNH keeps trading higher and goes above the average EKI level, the removal of spot selling flow by banks and the need to buy vol means the topside move may accelerate.

Simply put, if the CNY keeps going (whether by PBOC hand or a break of the virtuous cycle above), then things get ugly fast…

How Much Is at Stake?
In their previous note, MS estimated that US$350 billion of TRF have been sold since the beginning of 2013. When we dig deeper, we think it is reasonable to assume that most of what was sold in 2013 has been knocked out (at the lower knock-outs), given the price action seen in 2013.

Given that, and given what business we’ve done in 2014 calendar year to date, we think a reasonable estimate is that US$150 billion of product remains.

Taking that as a base case, we can then estimate the size of potential losses to holders of these products if USD/CNH keeps trading higher.

 

In round numbers, we estimate that for every 0.1 move in USD/CNH above the average EKI (which we have assumed here is 6.20), corporates will lose US$200 million a month. The real pain comes if USD/CNH stays above this level, as these losses will accrue every month until the contract expires. Given contracts are 24 months in tenor, this implies around US$4.8 billion in total losses for every 0.1 above the average EKI.

Deutsche Bank concludes…

Looking forward it’s possible that the PBOC is not attempting to actively engineer a sustained depreciation of the Renminbi but rather is attempting to increase the level of two-way volatility in the market to discourage the carry trade and also excessive capital inflows. In terms of the broad risk going forward the sheer scale of the challenge the PBOC has set out to tackle likely means they will have to move with restraint. This is certainly a story to watch…

As Morgan Stanley warns however, this has much broader implications for China

The potential for US$4.8 billion in losses for every 0.1 above the average EKI could have significant implications for corporate China in its own right, as could the need to post collateral on positions even if the EKI level is not breached.

 

However, the real concern for corporate China is linked to broader credit issues. On that, it’s worth reiterating that the corporate sector in China is the most leveraged in the world. Further loss due to structured products would add further stress to corporates and potentially some of those might get funding from the shadow banking sector. Investment loss would weaken their balance sheets further and increase repayment risk of their debt.

 

In this regard, it would potentially cause investors to become more concerned about trust products if any of these corporates get involved in borrowing through trust products. In this regard, this would raise concerns among investors, given that there is already significant risk of credit defaults to happen in 2014.

Remember, as we noted previously, these potential losses are pure levered derivative losses… not some "well we are losing so let's greatly rotate this bet to US equities" which means it has a real tightening impact on both collateral and liquidity around the world… yet again, as we noted previously, it appears the PBOC is trying to break the world's most profitable and easy carry trade – which has created a massive real estate bubble in their nation (and that will have consequences).

+++++++++++++++

The bottom line is the question of whether the PBOC's engineering this CNY weakness is merely a strategy to increase volatility and thus deter carry-trade malevolence (in line with reform policies to tamp down bubbles) OR is it a more aggressive entry into the currency wars as China focuses on its trade (exports) and keeping the dream alive? (Or, one more thing, the former morphs into the latter as a vicious unwind ensues OR the market tests the PBOC's willingness to break their momentum spirit).

It appears, as Bloomberg notes, the PBOC is winning:

Yuan has gone from being most attractive carry trade bet in EM to worst in 2 mos as central bank efforts to weaken currency cause volatility to surge.

Yuan’s Sharpe ratio turned negative this yr as 3-mo. implied volatility in currency rose in Feb. by most since May, when Fed signaled plans to cut stimulus


    



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Tonight on The Independents: Nick Gillespie! Glenn Greenwald! KANE!

This is happening. |||Did
you ever want to see what a cable news show would like with a
Reason editor as the host? Well, regardless of that,
tonight’s episode of The
Independents
(Fox Business Network 9 pm ET, 6 pm PT;
repeats three hours later), is notable for the absence of main host
Kennedy, who’s
on the emergency DL with an unspeakable disease of some sort.
However, keeping with the
Wednesday tradition
, tonight’s episode will serve up quivering,
bloody hunks of libertarian red meat.

For instance: The WWE wrestler known as Kane (real name Glenn Jacobs)
talks about how writers like Murray Rothbard led him down the
path to
libertarianism
, and how the limited-government message
resonates with the independent contractors that populate his
industry. Speaking of Glenns, Mr. Greenwald joins the fray for
two segments at the top, to talk about the British government’s

online reputation-destroying system
, his approach in publishing
Edward Snowden secrets, whether he truly fears coming to New York
in April, and whether he is now or has ever been friendly with
libertarians. Also, beloved Reasoner Nick Gillespie talks about
what President Barack Obama’s budget tells us about the
near-term prospects for entitlement reform
.

Seriously, watch for the black helicopter in the background during his spot. |||Panelists Dagen McDowell (Fox News
correspondent) and Tom
Shillue
(comedian, tall person, harmonizer) talk about real man of genius Joe Biden,
particularly his comments about Obamacare bringing “freedom” to
single moms with bad jobs. The duo also weigh in on the president’s
truly
awful $300 billion+ transportation proposal
.

There will be no earrings to critique tonight, just sadly
neglected earring-holes. Nevertheless, send your tweets to @IndependentsFBN, use
the hashtag #indFBN, and otherwise
keep the sartorial critiques right here on this comments
thread!

In the agonizing minutes between now and then, enjoy first last
night’s fascinating discussion about the Arizona discrimination
bill that was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer just tonight:

… and also an Independents interview from earlier
this week with former Federal Communications Commissioner Robert
McDowell:

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