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Cato Institute Research Fellow Patrick Eddington recently filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to find out if the Federal Bureau of Investigation ever conducted surveillance of several organizations dealing with government policy, including my Campaign for Liberty. Based on the FBI’s response, Campaign for Liberty and other organizations, including the Cato institute and the Reason Foundation, may have been subjected to FBI surveillance or other data collection.

I say “may have been” because the FBI gave Mr. Eddington a “Glomar response” to his FOIA requests pertaining to these organizations. A Glomar response is where an agency says it can “neither confirm nor deny” involvement in a particular activity. Glomar was a salvage ship the Central Intelligence Agency used to recover a sunken Soviet submarine in the 1970s. In response to a FOIA request by Rolling Stone magazine, the CIA claimed that just confirming or denying the Glomar’s involvement in the salvage operation would somehow damage national security. A federal court agreed with the agency, giving federal bureaucrats, and even local police departments, a new way to avoid giving direct answers.

The Glomar response means these organizations may have been, and may still be, subjected to federal surveillance. As Mr. Eddington told Reason magazine, “We know for a fact that Glomar invocations have been used to conceal actual, ongoing activities, and we also know that they’re not passing out Glomars like candy.”

Protecting the right of individuals to join together in groups to influence government policy is at the very heart of the First Amendment. Therefore, the FBI subjecting such groups to surveillance can violate the constitutional rights of everyone involved with the groups.

The FBI has a long history of targeting Americans whose political beliefs and activities threaten the FBI’s power or the power of influential politicians. The then-named Bureau of Investigation participated in the crackdown on people suspected of being communists in the post-World War I “Red Scare.” The anti-communist crackdown was headed by a young agent named J. Edgar Hoover who went on to become FBI director, a position he held until his death. Hoover kept and expanded his power by using the FBI to collect blackmail material on people including politicians.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the FBI spied on supporters of the America First movement, including several Congress members. Two of the most famous examples of FBI targeting individuals based on their political activities are the harassment of Martin Luther King Jr. and the COINTELPRO program. COINTELPRO was an organized effort to spy on and actively disrupt “subversive” organizations, including antiwar groups

COINTELPRO officially ended in the 1970s. However, the FBI still targets individuals and organizations it considers “subversive,” including antiwar groups and citizen militias.

Congress must hold hearings to determine if the FBI is currently using unconstitutional methods to “monitor” any organizations based on their beliefs. Congress must then take whatever steps necessary to ensure that no Americans are ever again targeted for surveillance because of their political beliefs and activities.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: COINTELPRO, Government Surveillance 
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President Trump’s decision earlier this month to assassinate Iran’s top military general on Iraqi soil – over the objection of the Iraqi government – has damaged the US relationship with its “ally” Iraq and set the region on the brink of war. Iran’s measured response – a few missiles fired on an Iraqi base after advance warning was given – is the only reason the US is not mired in another Middle East war.

Trump said his decision to assassinate Gen. Qassim Soleimani was intended to prevent a war, not start a war. But no one in his right mind would think that killing another country’s top military leader would not leave that country annoyed, to say the least. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said the Trump Administration’s briefing to Congress on its evidence to back up claims that Soleimani was about to launch attacks against the US was among the worst briefings they’d ever attended.

After initially claiming that Soleimani had to be taken out immediately because of “imminent” attacks he was launching against the US, Trump Administration officials including Secretary of State Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper have been busy walking back those claims. Esper claimed over the weekend that he had not seen the intelligence suggesting an attack on US embassies was in the works. If the Secretary of Defense did not seen the intelligence, then who did?

No doubt the Iraqi leadership recognized these kinds of deceptions: the same kinds of lies were used to push the US into attacking their own country in 2003. So it should not have come as a big surprise that the Iraqi government met last week and voted that all foreign military personnel should leave Iraqi soil.

Then a funny thing happened when the Iraqi prime minister attempted to communicate to the US government the will of the Iraqi people through their democratically-elected officials. On Thursday Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi phoned Pompeo to urgently request that Washington enact a US troop “withdrawal mechanism” in Iraq. American troops are in Iraq by invitation of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi government had just voted to revoke that invitation.

The State Department responded with a statement titled “The US Continued Partnership with Iraq,” in which it essentially said that the US would not abide by the request of its Iraqi partners because the US military is a “force for good” in the Middle East and that as such it is “our right” to maintain “appropriate force posture” in the region.

The US invaded Iraq based on Bush Administration lies and a million Iraqis died as a result. Later, President Obama ramped up the drone program and also backed al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists to overthrow the secular Syrian government. Obama also attacked Libya based on lies, leaving the country totally destroyed. Trump is assassinating foreign officials and threatening destruction of Iran.

And the State Department calls that a “force for good”?

The United States can be a true force for good, however. End the military occupation of the Middle East, end foreign military aid, stop using the CIA to overthrow governments. Allow Americans to travel and do business in any country they wish. Lead by example and demonstrate how free markets and peace benefit all. A “force for good” means not forcing others to bow to your will.

 
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President Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told us the US had to assassinate Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani last week because he was planning “Imminent attacks” on US citizens. I don’t believe them.

Why not? Because Trump and the neocons – like Pompeo – have been lying about Iran for the past three years in an effort to whip up enough support for a US attack. From the phony justification to get out of the Iran nuclear deal, to blaming Yemen on Iran, to blaming Iran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities, the US Administration has fed us a steady stream of lies for three years because they are obsessed with Iran.

And before Trump’s obsession with attacking Iran, the past four US Administrations lied ceaselessly to bring about wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Serbia, Somalia, and the list goes on.

At some point, when we’ve been lied to constantly and consistently for decades about a “threat” that we must “take out” with a military attack, there comes a time where we must assume they are lying until they provide rock solid, irrefutable proof. Thus far they have provided nothing. So I don’t believe them.

President Trump has warned that his administration has already targeted 52 sites important to Iran and Iranian culture and the US will attack them if Iran retaliates for the assassination of Gen. Soleimani. Because Iran has no capacity to attack the United States, Iran’s retaliation if it comes will likely come against US troops or US government officials stationed or visiting the Middle East. I have a very easy solution for President Trump that will save the lives of American servicemembers and other US officials: just come home. There is absolutely no reason for US troops to be stationed throughout the Middle East to face increased risk of death for nothing.

In our Ron Paul Liberty Report program last week we observed that the US attack on a senior Iranian military officer on Iraqi soil – over the objection of the Iraq government – would serve to finally unite the Iraqi factions against the United States. And so it has: on Sunday the Iraqi parliament voted to expel US troops from Iraqi soil. It may have been a non-binding resolution, but there is no mistaking the sentiment. US troops are not wanted and they are increasingly in danger. So why not listen to the Iraqi parliament?

Bring our troops home, close the US Embassy in Baghdad – a symbol of our aggression – and let the people of the Middle East solve their own problems. Maintain a strong defense to protect the United States, but end this neocon pipe-dream of ruling the world from the barrel of a gun. It does not work. It makes us poorer and more vulnerable to attack. It makes the elites of Washington rich while leaving working and middle class America with the bill. It engenders hatred and a desire for revenge among those who have fallen victim to US interventionist foreign policy. And it results in millions of innocents being killed overseas.

There is no benefit to the United States to trying to run the world. Such a foreign policy brings only bankruptcy – moral and financial. Tell Congress and the Administration that for America’s sake we demand the return of US troops from the Middle East!

 
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Political correctness recently took a dangerous turn in the United Kingdom when the North Bristol National Health Service Trust announced that hospital patients who use offensive, racist, or sexist language will cease receiving medical care as soon as it is safe to end their treatment.

The condition that treatment will not be withdrawn until doing so is safe seems to imply that no one will actually suffer from this policy. However, health-care providers have great discretion to determine when it is “safe” to withhold treatment. So, patients could be left with chronic pain or be denied certain procedures that could improve their health but are not necessary to make them “safe.” Patients accused of racism or sexism could also find themselves at the bottom of the NHS’s infamous “waiting lists,” unable to receive treatment until it truly is a matter of life and death.

Since many people define racism and sexism as “anything I disagree with,” the new policy will no doubt lead to people being denied medical care for statements that most reasonable people would consider unobjectionable.

This is not the first time NHS has withheld treatment because of an individual’s behavior. A couple years ago, another local health committee announced it would withhold routine or nonemergency surgeries from smokers and the obese. Since reducing smoking and obesity benefits both individual patients and the health care system as a whole, this policy may appear defensible. But denying or delaying care violates medical ethics and sets a dangerous precedent. If treatment could be denied to smokers and the obese, then it could also be denied to those who engage in promiscuous sex, drive over the speed limit, don’t get the “proper” number of vaccinations for themselves and their children, or have “dangerous” political views.

Government bureaucrats denying care to individuals for arbitrary reasons is the inevitable result of government interference in the health-care market. Government intervention is supposed to ensure quality and affordable (or free) care for all. But, government intervention artificially lowers the costs of health care to patients while increasing costs to providers. As demand rises and supply falls, government imposes rationing to address the shortages and other problems caused by prior government interference.

Rationing has been part of American health care at least since the passage of the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973. Every plan to expand government’s role in health care contains some form of rationing.

Advocates for government intervention in health care will counter complaints about rationing by saying the related health-care decisions are being made to benefit people’s quality of life. But, claiming government officials know how medical treatment can best enhance quality of life is as absurd as claiming that government officials know the correct prices of automobiles.

The only way to reverse the slide into national health care and rationing is for those who understand the economic and moral case for liberty to keep pushing to replace Obamacare and all other government intrusions into health care. Government-controlled health care must be replaced by free-market health care that empowers individuals to determine for themselves what does and does not enhance their quality of life.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Britain, Health Care, Political Correctness, Racism 
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The bickering over impeachment did not stop the president and Congress from coming together last week to avert a government shutdown by passing a 1.4 trillion dollar spending package.

The bipartisan agreement has something for everyone — a 22 billion dollars increase to bring total spending on militarism to 738 billion dollars, and a 27 billion dollars increase to bring total spending on domestic programs to 632 billion dollars. It also imposes a national ban on selling tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under 21.

The agreement was split into two bills. Both bills were unveiled last Monday afternoon. The bills passed the House on Tuesday, so only the House leadership and the members of the Appropriations Committee (and their staffs) who helped write the over 2,000-page deal had any idea what was in the bills. But most members voted for the spending bills because they were fearful of backlash over another Christmastime government shutdown. House leadership simply “waived” the rule requiring that all legislation be available at least three days before being voted upon.

The modern practice of funding the government via gigantic omnibus bills that are rushed into law puts the growth of government on autopilot. This practice also gives the president more influence over the budget, violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution’s grant of authority to Congress to appropriate funds, which was intended as a check on executive power.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve continues pumping billions into the repurchasing market. When the Fed began injecting money into the market in September, it said intervention was a temporary measure to address a short-term liquidity shortage. Three months later, the Fed is not only continuing to bail out the repurchasing market, it is preparing for other bailouts. This is further evidence that we are on the verge of another Fed-created economic crisis.

When the crisis hits, the best thing the Fed could do is not to lower interest rates below the levels set by the market. This would allow consumers, businesses, and government to liquidate their debt and restore a sound foundation for future growth. If the Fed did not interfere with the painful but necessary correction, it would only be a short time before a real economic boom commenced.

The Federal Reserve is unlikely to follow this path because of the short-term pain it would cause debt-ridden consumers and, more importantly, the pain it would cause politicians who would be forced to cut spending and/or raise taxes. But continuing to artificially lower interest rates will inevitably result in an economic crisis brought about by a rejection of the dollar’s world reserve currency status.

The Federal Reserve’s manipulation of interest rates depreciates the dollar’s value, enabling the growth of the welfare-warfare state while enriching the insiders who receive the new money before prices rise. The brunt of dollar depreciation is felt by middle- and working-class Americans whose paychecks do not keep up with the rising cost of living.

Inflation is nothing more than a hidden and regressive tax. Auditing and ending the Fed should thus be a top priority of those concerned about rising income inequality and poverty, as well as those dreaming of a Christmas free of 2,000-page omnibus spending bills.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: American Military, Federal Reserve 
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“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan. We didn’t know what we were doing.” So said Gen. Douglas Lute, who oversaw the US war on Afghanistan under Presidents Bush and Obama. Eighteen years into the longest war in US history, we are finally finding out, thanks to thousands of pages of classified interviews on the war published by the Washington Post last week, that General Lute’s cluelessness was shared by virtually everyone involved in the war.

What we learned in what is rightly being called the “Pentagon Papers” of our time, is that hundreds of US Administration officials – including three US Presidents – knowingly lied to the American people about the Afghanistan war for years. This wasn’t just a matter of omitting some unflattering facts. This was about bald-faced lying about a war they knew was a disaster from almost day one.

Remember President Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld? Remember how supremely confident he was at those press conferences, acting like the master of the universe? Here’s what he told the Pentagon’s special inspector general who compiled these thousands of interviews on Afghanistan: “I have no visibility into who the bad guys are.”

It is not only members of the Bush, Obama, and Trump Administrations who are guilty of this massive fraud. Falsely selling the Afghanistan war as a great success was a bipartisan activity on Capitol Hill. In the dozens of hearings I attended in the House International Relations Committee, I do not recall a single “expert” witness called who told us the truth. Instead, both Republican and Democrat-controlled Congresses called a steady stream of neocon war cheerleaders to lie to us about how wonderfully the war was going. Victory was just around the corner, they all promised. Just a few more massive appropriations and we’d be celebrating the end of the war.

Congress and especially Congressional leadership of both parties are all as guilty as the three lying Administrations. They were part of the big lie, falsely presenting to the American people as “expert” witnesses only those bought-and-paid-for Beltway neocon think tankers.

What is even more shocking than the release of this “smoking gun” evidence that the US government wasted two trillion dollars and killed more than three thousand Americans and more than 150,000 Afghans while lying through its teeth about the war is that you could hear a pin drop in the mainstream media about it. Aside from the initial publication in the Washington Post, which has itself been a major cheerleader for the war in Afghanistan, the mainstream media has shown literally no interest in what should be the story of the century.

We’ve wasted at least half a year on the Donald Trump impeachment charade – a conviction desperately in search of a crime. Meanwhile one of the greatest crimes in US history will go unpunished. Not one of the liars in the “Afghanistan Papers” will ever be brought to justice for their crimes. None of the three presidents involved will be brought to trial for these actual high crimes. Rumsfeld and Lute and the others will never have to fear justice. Because both parties are in on it. There is no justice.

Just days after the “Afghanistan Papers” were published, only 48 Members of Congress voted against the massive military spending of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. They continue as if nothing happened. They will continue lying to us and ripping us off if we let them.

 
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Imagine that President Trump spent his phone call with the Ukrainian president threatening to withhold military aid unless the Ukrainian government agreed to use the money to purchase weapons from a US manufacturer. Does anyone seriously think that foreign service professionals and deep state operatives would be so shocked and offended by Trump’s request that they would launch efforts to impeach him? Would Congress view this as “high crimes and misdemeanors” or applaud Trump for carrying out one of modern presidents’ supposedly most important jobs — acting as salesmen for the American military-industrial complex?

This hypothetical shows that impeachment is not about President Trump’s abuse of power. Instead, it is an attempt to make sure President Trump, and all future presidents, confine their abuses of power to items that advance the agenda of the political establishment.

President Trump’s most consequential abuses of power have been met with the full approval of the majority in Congress, the mainstream media, and the deep state. For example, when President Trump launched military action in Syria without obtaining a congressional declaration of war there were no calls for his impeachment. Instead, most members of Congress were perfectly happy to let stand unchallenged President Trump’s claim that the 2001 authorization for use of military force —a limited grant of authority to act against those responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks — gave him the authority to launch military action against a government that had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks. The only times Congress rebukes President Trump’s foreign policy is when he speaks favorably about pursuing peaceful relations with Russia or ending US involvement in no-win military conflicts.

This hypocrisy extends beyond foreign policy. Many Democrats who claim that President Trump is both a fascist and mentally unhinged are eager to ensure President Trump can continue to conduct warrantless surveillance on every American by reauthorizing Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

Trump-opposing progressives in Congress are also eager to give President Trump new authority to violate the Second Amendment. Even those progressives who say they believe Trump is a deranged fascist did not object when he endorsed “red flag” laws that give the government power to, as President Trump put it, “take the guns first, go through due process second.”

Perhaps the most sickening example of Trump’s congressional opponents’ hypocrisy is how many of those fretting about the safety of the Urkrainegate ”whistleblower” are silent about, or supportive of, the Trump administration’s complicity in the inhumane treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. They are also silent about the US government throwing Chelsea Manning back into jail because she refuses to help the US prosecution of Mr. Assange.

All modern presidents have exceeded constitutional limitations on their power and thus could have, and maybe should have, been impeached. The reason they were not impeached is that a majority of Congress members support allowing presidents to wage war abroad and destroy liberty at home without being “hamstrung” by Congress. The only real dispute among the political class is which party should wield the levers of power.

Restoring constitutional limits on government power and thus protecting liberty depend on spreading ideas and building a movement. Our lost freedom will only be restored when presidents and members of Congress fear being “impeached” at the ballot box for committing high crimes and misdemeanors against peace, prosperity, and liberty.

 
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The 50-year US war on drugs has been a total failure, with hundreds of billions of dollars flushed down the drain and our civil liberties whittled away fighting a war that cannot be won. The 20 year “war on terror” has likewise been a gigantic US government disaster: hundreds of billions wasted, civil liberties scorched, and a world far more dangerous than when this war was launched after 9/11.

So what to do about two of the greatest policy failures in US history? According to President Trump and many in Washington, the answer is to combine them!

Last week Trump declared that, in light of an attack last month on US tourists in Mexico, he would be designating Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. Asked if he would send in drones to attack targets in Mexico, he responded, “I don’t want to say what I’m going to do, but they will be designated.” The Mexican president was quick to pour cold water on the idea of US drones taking out Mexican targets, responding to Trump’s threats saying “cooperation, yes; interventionism, no.”

Trump is not alone in drawing the wrong conclusions from the increasing violence coming from the drug cartels south of the border. A group of US Senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging that the US slap sanctions on the drug cartels in response to the killing of Americans.

Do these Senators really believe that facing US sanctions these drug cartels will close down and move into legitimate activities? Sanctions don’t work against countries and they sure won’t work against drug cartels.

A recent editorial in the conservative Federalist publication urges President Trump to launch “unilateral, no-permission special forces raids” into Mexico like the US did into Pakistan to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda!

I am sure the military-industrial complex loves this idea! Another big war to keep Washington rich at the expense of the rest of us. And the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force can even be trotted out to fight this brand new “terror war”!

Perhaps unintentionally, however, this sudden push to look at the Mexican drug cartels as we did ISIS and al-Qaeda does make sense. After all, the rise of the drug cartels and the rise of the terror cartels have both been due to bad US policy. It was the US invasion of Iraq based on neocon lies that led to the creation of ISIS and expansion of al-Qaeda in the Middle East and it was the US war on drugs that led to the rise of the drug cartels in Mexico.

Here’s another suggestion: maybe instead of doing the same things that do not work we might look at the actual cause of the problems. The US war on drugs makes drugs enormously profitable to Mexican suppliers eager to satisfy a ravenous US market. A study last year by the CATO Institute found that with the steady decriminalization and legalization of marijuana across the United States, the average US Border Patrol agent seized 78 percent less marijuana in fiscal year 2018 than in FY 2013.

Instead of declaring war on Mexico, perhaps the answer to the drug cartel problem is to take away their incentives by ending the war on drugs. Why not try something that actually works?

 
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The most shocking thing about the House impeachment hearings to this point is not a “smoking gun” witness providing irrefutable evidence of quid pro quo. It’s not that President Trump may or may not have asked the Ukrainians to look into business deals between then-Vice President Biden’s son and a Ukrainian oligarch.

The most shocking thing to come out of the hearings thus far is confirmation that no matter who is elected President of the United States, the permanent government will not allow a change in our aggressive interventionist foreign policy, particularly when it comes to Russia.

Even more shocking is that neither Republicans nor Democrats are bothered in the slightest!

Take Lt. Colonel Vindman, who earned high praise in the mainstream media. He did not come forth with first-hand evidence that President Trump had committed any “high crimes” or “misdemeanors.” He brought a complaint against the President because he was worried that Trump was shifting US policy away from providing offensive weapons to the Ukrainian government!

He didn’t think the US president had the right to suspend aid to Ukraine because he supported providing aid to Ukraine.

According to his testimony, Vindman’s was concerned over “influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency.”

“Consensus views of the interagency” is another word for “deep state.”

Vindman continued, “While my interagency colleagues and I were becoming increasingly optimistic on Ukraine’s prospects, this alternative narrative undermined US government efforts to expand cooperation with Ukraine.”

Let that sink in for a moment: Vindman did not witness any crimes, he just didn’t think the elected President of the United States had any right to change US policy toward Ukraine or Russia!

Likewise, his boss on the National Security Council Staff, Fiona Hill, sounded more like she had just stepped out of the 1950s with her heated Cold War rhetoric. Citing the controversial 2017 “Intelligence Community Assessment” put together by then-CIA director John Brennan’s “hand-picked” analysts, she asserted that, “President Putin and the Russian security services aim to counter US foreign policy objectives in Europe, including in Ukraine.”

And who gets to decide US foreign policy objectives in Europe? Not the US President, according to government bureaucrat Fiona Hill. In fact, Hill told Congress that, “If the President, or anyone else, impedes or subverts the national security of the United States in order to further domestic political or personal interests, that is more than worthy of your attention.”

Who was Fiona Hill’s boss? Former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who no doubt agreed that the president has no right to change US foreign policy. Bolton’s the one who “explained” that when Trump said US troops would come home it actually meant troops would stay put.

One by one, the parade of “witnesses” before House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff sang from the same songbook. As US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland put it, “in July and August 2019, we learned that the White House had also suspended security aid to Ukraine. I was adamantly opposed to any suspension of aid, as the Ukrainians needed those funds to fight against Russian aggression.”

Meanwhile, both Democrats and Republicans in large majority voted to continue spying on the rest of us by extending the unpatriotic Patriot Act. Authoritarianism is the real bipartisan philosophy in Washington.

 
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Lost in the media’s obsession with the impeachment circus last week was Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony on the state of the economy before the Joint Economic Committee. In his testimony, Chairman Powell warned that when the next recession inevitably occurs, the US Government’s over $23 trillion debt would prevent Congress from increasing spending to revive the economy.

Powell also said that the Fed’s current low interest rate policies would prevent the Fed from using its traditional methods of increasing the money supply and further lowering interest rates to jump-start economic growth in a recession. Hopefully, Powell is correct that when the next recession hits the Federal Reserve and Congress will be unable to “stimulate” the economy with cheap money and new spending.

Interest rates are the price of money and, as with all prices, government manipulation of interest rates distorts the signals regarding market conditions. Artificially low interest rates lead to malinvestment and the creation of bubbles. Recessions are a painful but necessary correction that allows the economy to cleanse itself of these distortions. When the Federal Reserve and Congress try to stimulate the economy, they introduce new distortions, making it impossible for the economy to heal itself. Fiscal and monetary stimulus may temporally create the illusions of prosperity, but in reality they merely create another bubble that will eventually burst starting the boom-and-bust cycle all over again. So, the best thing Congress and the Federal Reserve can do to help the economy recover from a recession is nothing.

Powell is the latest Federal Reserve Chair to warn of the dangers of government debt, which is ironic since the Federal Reserve is the great enabler of deficit spending. Government manipulation of the value of money allows politicians to hide the true costs of their warfare and welfare. This is why throughout history governments have sought the power to dictate what is and is not money and determine the value of the monetary unit. Today’s central bankers are the heirs of the medieval kings who shaved off the edges of gold coins, then ordered the people to pretend that shaved coins where just as valuable as unshaved coins.

Instead of shaving gold coins, today’s central bankers facilitate the growth of government by purchasing government securities in order to keep interest rates—and thus the government’s borrowing costs— low. The Federal Reserve’s interventions enable the expansion of government well beyond what would be politically palatable if politicians had to finance the entire welfare-warfare state through direct taxation or borrowing at market interest rates, which would increase interest rates for private sector borrowers, lower growth, and increase unemployment.

Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, the US dollar has lost over 96 percent of its value. The Federal Reserve-caused decline in purchasing power is a stealth tax. This inflation tax does not affect the financial elites—who receive new money created by the Federal Reserve before the Fed’s actions have diminished the dollar’s purchasing power—but has hurt middle-and-working class Americans whose purchasing power is continuously reduced by the Federal Reserve. The inflation tax is not just the most hidden, but the most regressive of taxes.

The Federal Reserve is responsible for the growth of government, the loss of liberty, the rise in income inequality, and the boom-and-bust economic cycle. All those who support liberty, peace, and prosperity should join the effort to audit and end the Fed.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Federal Reserve