Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Could Glenn Beck Be Saying about the Fed?

In the 19th century there were ongoing debates about the degree to which government should be involved with money. It was not until the 1930s, more than 150 years after the nation was founded, that government asserted a full monopoly on money by illegalizing the ownership of gold.

By February 1912, about 98 years ago, Senator Bob La Follette, a small business-oriented Progressive and presidential candidate that year, made a speech in which he noted that Wall Street had come to so dominate the media that even recently founded magazines were no longer independent. The next day the New York Times ran an article stating that La Follette had suffered a nervous breakdown, effectively ending his candidacy for president. He continued on as a Senator until the 1920s.

Since then the media has avoided discussion of Wall Street and the Fed. Some, like Glenn Beck, claim ignorance. Others simply kowtow to special interests across the board. Still other media outlets, the majority, do not know what news is, so cannot be expected to discuss a subject like the Fed. Still others are consciously linked to the interests of Wall Street. In any case, Beck is to be commended for being the first to speak on this issue. But is that really a good thing?

Glenda McGee just wrote me this e-mail:

"Glenn Beck and Sarah Palan had me and a few million others THRILLED for many months. The minute the TEA PARTY showed promise in Arizona and Texas they led the movement over the cliff."

Beck needs to do a better job if he is to remain convincing as a voice for advocates of small government. To do so, he could try a few things:

1. Read a few books on money and banking, including Murray Rothbard's What Has Government Done to Our Money and Hans Sennholz's Money and Freedom. He might also read some Hayek and learn about the concept of free market money, an institution that existed here in the US for most of its history.

2. He could be playing an educational role. In the videos I've seen of him he claims ignorance. If he wants to be a leader, he should take the time to learn the issues. It's fine to complain about the Fed's ownership structure, but that doesn't lead to any policy prescription.

3. He needs to learn basic history. Money has been a traditionally central argument in American politics until the past 80 years. The bad guys won and have been controlling the debate ever since.

4. Thus Beck could teach his viewers about: (a) the basic policy options, including competing, free market monetary systems and metallic-backed currencies and (b) the historical process by which centralized monetary control was rejected, re-adopted because it facilitates war (specifically the War of 1812), rejected again by Andrew Jackson, reinstated again in small part by the Republicans in order to finance the Civil War, rejected again during the Gilded Age, rejected by the public in the election of 1896, and then adopted by subterfuge in 1913 and re-enforced through fear tactics in 1932.

Shedding crocodile tears about the Fed's ownership structure is a good way to seem like you oppose something that your boss at Fox really favors.

Let's hope for a better performance from the undoubtedly theatrical but so far unconvincing Mr. Beck.


Anonymous said...



Of course, Dr Langbert hates government spending because he wants to put poor people on the street, take food from their mouths, and deny them health care because that is his version of being a conservative.

Mitchell Langbert said...

No sir. It's just a personal thing. I want to put you on the street. Poor people can stay at my place.

As for the New York Times article, back in the 1940s, Henry Hazlitt wrote a book entitled "Economics in One Lesson". You can get it for free and educate yourself about economics, because Columbia didn't do that for you. It shows why things like the stimulus cannot ever work. This stimulus did not work. Even if it reduced unemployment short term, it will increase it long term. Unemployment never became so high until government and the New York Times began their value destruction campaign early in the 20th century.

The New York Times is not a serious news source. It is ideologically socialist and it puts its agenda before facts. The unemployment rate this year proves absolutely nothing. You can create some work for a few months with unproductive misallocation of wealth. But the wealth is gone and unemployment isn't solved in the long term. Keep doing that and the nation becomes poorer as people work all day producing things of no value. Look at India. They've been pursuing socialist policies going on 70 years, and it's the among the poorest countries. The people dying at early ages in India have been killed by New York Times-style policies. Why don't we all move to India if stimulus works so well? India's been doing it.

The US government is itself a massive "stimulus" project. It spends without having the money. That is the Keynesian theory. It has caused long term wage decreases in wage growth and long term unemployment, underemployment and massive despair as poor people have been driven from the labor market through job destruction and the urban development policies of Robert Moses that the New York Times supported.

Over the past 10 decades the New York Times has advocated Progressivism as the economy of New York has fallen from the world's center of innovation and economic development to a playground for the super-rich and the exclusion of the productive, the so-called "middle class". The corrupt "stimulus" went to contractors frequently connected to both organized crime and the Democratic Party, for example, the firm that killed five people at the power plant in Middletown, Connecticut.

I did not read the Times article carefully because I do not think that they have anything of importance to say. They are ideologically motivated cranks.