To protect the people and secure their rights

Liberty and Democracy are not opposing ideas. The political center is where all change is made. Let's embrace reason and civility.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Taxes are Theft?

If taxes are theft, so is property.
Claims to property are secured by force, by the state.  Your claim initiates force.  As a democracy, we secure these claims under civil law.  As a private gang, you secure those claims with your private military.
You take from the commons, expect others to respect your claims, that's theft.  However, we agree to recognize each others' claims and live in civil society.  As citizenship is voluntary, we agree to abide by the laws of the nation and allow for private ownership.
We agree to pay taxes on income or anything else our elected legislatures tell us to pay.  "Theft" is illegal taking, taxes are not.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Inflation Tax Isn't a Thing

It could be that Friedman's "inflation tax" is the federal deficit itself, mitigated by debt service on US securities. The tax he refers to is on savings by way of inflating the "money supply".

By running deficits at the top, the "job creators" continue to accumulate these savings. Yet it is sold to us, the public, as a tax on our retirement savings.

Pensions could be provided without specific taxes by running the same deficit, but that would mean that "savers" would have to invest their money, or at least continue to earn it in the private sector, rather than gleen interest from US securities as they do now.

Simply said, liberal democracy begets the very liberal market economy that Friedman claims to have championed. Liberty and democracy are not opposing ideas; they are essential to each other-- two sides of the same fiat coin.

This has been the case since Magna Carta was signed, at swordpoint, granting rights to a handful of nobles, leading to the creation of Parliament.

There is no market economy possible except where rights are secured. That is the purpose of a democratic republic, to secure the rights of every citizen equally under the law, no matter how much money they have or how much they earn.

Raising the standard deduction to 100k would cost $220bn/yr, taking the income tax entirely off 95% of the population. There's no use in taxing at lower incomes, other than to mitigate the impact of public spending on those higher. 

And there's certainly no use shifting the burden of taxes to the poor, or continuing to perpetuate this myth of "job creators" and "trickle down economics".

Source document:  (I have zero affiliation with the website)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Bullet Point Policy

A short list of US fiscal and monetary policies I've adopted under the general argument of "democratic capitalism" and in context of monetary sovereignty:


1.  Reduce or eliminate regressive consumption and payroll taxes, while retaining land and severance taxes.

2.  Raise the federal standard deduction to $100k.

3.  End corporate taxes by treating dividends as income.


4.  Extend large, systemic federal grants to fund every state, county and city government in the nation for public infrastructure development and employment.

5.  Extend citizen benefits to include health insurance, full pensions and free education.


6.  Separate our banking system from the financial sector, by prohibiting the resale of mortgages and other controls, and lift the cap on FDIC to insure all deposits.

7.  Set the FFR at 1/4%, carve it in stone and leave it there.

That's my list.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Democratic Capitalism

American democracy is often seen as a balance, between socialism and capitalism, what people often refer to as a "mixed economy".  It is a balance between what should be "public" and what should be "private".  Everything government is considered "socialism", and everything private sector is considered "capitalism".  It's a simplistic (and inaccurate) view, but nevertheless it's how people think today.

Democratic socialism (DS) has been riding on the recent Sanders campaign, to the point that spreading this term has really become the focus of the campaign and not Sanders himself.  DS roots go back to the libertarian left, best characterized by Noam Chomsky.  But it's policies, if you read them over at the DSA website , go to great lengths explaining how NOT socialist their policies really are.

FDR was not a "democratic socialist".  Roads are not socialism, single-payer isn't socialism, and free air isn't socialism.  Everything public isn't socialism.  Rome wasn't a "socialist republic".  America's golden age of capitalism began in 1935 and ended around 1970 with the neoliberal revolution we live under to this day.

But that's my view, and not the view of the many DS supporters or their detractors on the libertarian right.  The key feature of DS is in the first term, "democratic", and not in the use of socialism as an ideological foundation.

After 33 years as an active member and candidate for the Libertarian Party, I came to the realization that Liberty and Democracy are not opposing ideas, rather two sides of the same (fiat) coin.  The neoliberal agenda is to privatize everything and end all democracy.  This will not bring us liberty, but the very "tyranny" that libertarians claim to oppose.

Tyranny, or authoritarianism, is defined as private authority over the state; the absence of democracy.  Any tin pot dictatorship, past or present, offers evidence to this.  Anarcho-capitalism provides a moral argument for authoritarianism.  In fact, the only difference between monarchism and anarchism is scale.

Socialism is a neoclassical ideology that has been tried in many forms throughout our industrial age.  It is a belief ("-ism") that attempts to impose public ownership over the "means of production" and thus requires a type of totalitarian rule, where even labor is publicly owned.  It is not the "political revolution" that people want today.

The term "capitalism" was first used in the mid-19th century by a French socialist as a pejorative.  It wasn't until a century later that Ayn Rand turned it into a full-fledged ideology with its own moral lexicon.  The Austrian school has consolidated and promoted this ideological view through various "movements" over the past half century.

Democracy itself isn't an ideology, but a means to settle political differences.  Citizens require the protections of their government in order that their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are secured, "to provide for the common defense and the general welfare" (USC Art 1 Sec 8).  

Progressive policies seek to expand rights for citizens, and conservative policies seek to contract, or at least retain, rights already won.  Neoliberalism is thus a very conservative movement that views citizenship, and the Nation itself, as irrelevant.

DS is currently a progressive movement, but the use of the term "socialism", and the constant use of "capitalism" as the satanic source of all evil, is simply wrong.  The only way it can succeed is by its redefining terms-- in effect, adopting the very redefinitions that neoliberalism has imposed on our national discourse.

The GOP was part of our progressive era- 1865-1965- with such iconic presidencies as Lincoln, Teddy and Ike.  They were not socialists by any means, yet champions of democracy and civil society, who realized the importance of Federal government in providing for the common defense and the general welfare.

The term "democratic capitalism" (DC) is my response to DS as the best description of American system-- not a "mixed" economy, but a clear separation between the public and private sectors.  Privatization of the public sphere should be called what it's always been known as, "corruption", and not some mystical source of Liberty.

DC is a belief ("-ism") that the private sector should produce and distribute the goods and services of our society, all within a vibrant framework of public infrastructure-- which includes civil law, public services and citizen benefits.  It is on this principle, combined with  an honest comprehension of sovereign money, that I base my own proposals:

1)  Federal grants to every city, county, school district and state in the nation for infrastructure upgrades and employment;

2)  Citizen benefits, without a payroll tax, to include health insurance (single payer), free education and full SSA pensions.

3)  Raise the standard deduction to $100k, fix rates on land and severance taxes (collected by local governments), and reduce or eliminate the reliance on consumption taxes.

4)  Separate the banking sector from the financial sector, permanently set the FFR at 1/4%, and insure all deposits.

None of these proposals point to "socialism" and, in fact, rely on and support our market economy.  It's through demand-side deficit spending, not nationalization or expropriation, that we can restore the American dream that is now faded to distant memory.

While DS may try to "fix" the modern Democratic party, I believe DC is the best solution to restoring the GOP as a champion of liberty and democracy.

A hundred or so Congressional primaries could be formed around this common view.  While proposals will differ from one candidate to the next, the guiding principle of DC should hold it together.

It's time to wave the American flag again, to champion our democratic republic and the rights of Citizens.  We cannot allow our nation to collapse into darkness and despair, ruled by ideological zealotry, secular or religious.  We, the People, deserve better.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Gulliver 2016

Lilliput is torn between to rival factions, the Big-enders and the Little-enders. They have been at war for many decades, fighting over how Austerity is to be achieved.

The Big-enders, so-named for breaking their soft boiled eggs on the big end, want to cut and ultimately eliminate all social spending, anything to remove what they consider as a terrible burden on our economy.

The Little-enders, the hoi poloi who break their soft boiled eggs on the little end, want to raise taxes and reduce military spending, all in order to reduce the deficit and retain what little is left of social spending.

Gulliver needs to put his foot down, between the two factions, and end this issue once and for all. Prosperity, not austerity, for all the Lilliputians.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Money, Credit and the Real Economy

"There is no limit to the services we can perform for each other... Real wealth, for any nation, is everything you produce domestically, plus whatever the world sends you, minus what you have to send to them - your exports. So, the imports are the real benefits; the exports are the real cost." -- Warren Mosler

When you work, you provide a service to other people, directly or indirectly. It doesn't matter if you're a security guard sitting in a chair or an iron worker riveting steel, you are contributing to the real economy.

I've spent my whole life in the private sector, except for my service as a soldier in the US Army. All production and distribution of the goods and services in our society is driven by demand for that production, demand expressed in terms of purchasing power or "money".

We all have what's called a "survival constraint", or "profit constraint". We, the private sector, need to generate at least enough income to cover our spending and our desire to "net-save".

We can borrow spending power if we need to, create money for a house or car for instance, by issuing our own private security (mortgage) which a bank will only grant based on our income projection. When we pay back the loan, or default, that debt (and money) is extinguished.

This is why federal spending, specifically deficit spending, is so important. Our private sector thrives within a framework of public infrastructure-- which includes civil law and citizen benefits.

New money is created by federal spending. It enters the private sector by purchasing resources, goods and services (labor). This money remains in the private sector where it is spent or saved, and extinguished when we pay federal taxes.

Hence, federal debt is necessary for the private sector to retain any "net financial assets" beyond the private debts of individuals. We can prevent recessions, provide full employment, invest in cities and states, and expand citizen benefits as long as there are people willing to perform services for each other...

+/- the international trade balance, but that's another issue.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Secular Conservatism and the Modern Age

Anti-Greed, Anti-Trust, Anti-Life
These are the section headings from Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, a book with enormous influence over modern conservative thinking since the early 50s and the foundation of the "libertarian" movement.
Rand's objective was to present a "moral argument for capitalism" bereft of empathy or compassion. She advocated the "morality of greed", the morality of private monopoly, and that the only moral function of government is, not to protect life, but to protect property.
In spite of her focus on creating a "moral code", Rand was an atheist, which put her opposite of traditional Christian conservatives at the time. This is why I use the term "secular conservative" to describe the libertarian movement today.
Rand set up two very large strawmen as the cause of humanity's moral decay: collectivism, and altruism. She wrote extensively about returning to a gold standard, the aggregate effects of free market capitalism, and the implicit evils of democratic governance.
In my youth, I was mesmerized by this ideology, which offered me an "individualist" moral code. I realized early on, however, that her followers were very much a collective, that a "cult of individualism"" was an oxymoron, and that "enlightened self-interest" was an ineffective dodge for real feelings of empathy and compassion that I had toward others, especially friends and family.
Rand's contribution to our modern discourse is seen all around us. GOP Senators and Congressmen adore her. The Koch Brothers revere her and see themselves as the romantic heroes of her novels. Anarcho-capitalists don't believe that Rand was moral enough, that all government and citizenship, our Constitution, has no value to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Fact is that monopoly is bad. It is authoritarian. It relies on the compassion and empathy of the Aristocracy that Rand claimed was corrupted by altruism. In a word, it's just Calvinism updated for the industrial age.
Liberty and democracy are not opposing ideas. They are essential to each other, like two sides of the same (fiat) coin. The "golden age of capitalism" was the period from FDR through JFK, a period when we left the gold standard domestically and invested in public infrastructure and jobs.
Democratic capitalism is much better than the authoritarian, monopolistic capitalism that hails back to the dark ages, when religious conservatism ruled over Europe. We should return to demand-side federal deficits, and dispense with the supply-side deficit strategy of the past half-century.
Life is more than property. It is the whole reason for human society. A peaceful, growing industrial society requires a vibrant public infrastructure, which includes citizen benefits to pensions, medical insurance and education.

It took me a lifetime to figure this out. Hopefully those who read Ayn Rand don't take as long as I did.