COVID Relief Bill Is the Latest Loss of Liberty for Americans

American Consequences

Earlier this week, right before Christmas, Congress passed a 5,600-page COVID-19 relief bill that no one could have the time to read in its entirety.

The bill, which the Senate Historical Office said appears to be the longest bill ever approved, was handed to Congress only a few short hours before a vote was scheduled to be held, forcing representatives to quickly scan the document and make a decision without knowing the ins and outs of the bill.

Some members of Congress even took to social media, calling the document a disservice to the American people and noting how their teams were going through the PDF using the “CTRL + F” function to find important information – ridiculous!

And let’s not forget that American citizens are supposed to be able to review the proposed bill as well, giving them time to go to their local representatives to share their thoughts.

Yet by the time it got released for review, we had less than four hours. I certainly can’t read almost 6,000 pages that quickly… Can you?

This is a clear loss of American civil liberties. I had the pleasure of talking with former congressman Dr. Ron Paul this week on the American Consequences podcast. We spoke about how this isn’t the first time Americans have lost their liberties due to the coronavirus, and it won’t be the last…

So far, we’ve lost the freedom to choose to go out when we want to, and the simple freedom to choose if we want to eat somewhere for dinner… We’ve lost the ability to see our friends and family for the holidays, risking potential repercussions for gathering in our own homes. Now, we’ve lost the right to read a bill before it passes.

How can American citizens stand up for their rights with a government that acts this way?

As the virus becomes more and more politicized, lawmakers can push through bills and demand regulation that actively hurts American citizens.

American citizens are being forced to close their businesses, sometimes permanently, while the very people passing these laws have not missed a paycheck since the quarantine began.

But at least $600 to every American citizen should help…

Oh, and let’s not forget $600 to non-American citizens in America as well. Because this new bill, unlike the first relief bill, allows for mixed-status households to also receive the stimulus checks. That’s just one of the many small changes that were pushed through in this fast-vote bill.



President Trump ripped apart the relief package, arguing the legislation includes measures that have nothing to do with COVID-19 and the stimulus checks are far too small to actually help struggling Americans.

Now that the bill has been voted on and the people have had a chance to really dissect it, a few other important pieces of information have come to light.

Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, also joined me on my podcast this week to discuss the interesting, and somewhat frightening, laws that have made their way into this bill. Here are just a few highlights:

  • $1.3 billion for the Egyptian military, which will fund the purchase of Russian military equipment.
  • A block of President Trump’s plan to merge functions of the Office of Personnel into the General Services Administration.
  • $40 million to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (which is currently closed!).
  • Illegal streaming is now a federal crime instead of a misdemeanor.
  • $33 million to Democracy efforts in Venezuela.

I am the first person to agree with aid toward Venezuela after all that country has been through as it’s moving toward democracy. But is right now the best time to be spending $33 million of taxpayer money?

Victor and I both agree – now is the time to focus on assisting our own citizens… The stability of our national economy depends on it.

Victor even outlined the potentially disastrous effects of moving forward with so much fiscal stimulus.

“We can’t lower interest any more,” he says, commenting on the fact that it’s hard to borrow any more money while we’re already approaching an enormous amount of national debt.

Instead of locking down businesses and taking away our civil liberties, now is the time to open up the economy. And rather than send so much money to foreign efforts, we should be focusing on reinvesting in the American economy.

But at least now, thanks to the impending stimulus checks, people living in the U.S. can afford to pay for Netflix to avoid federal jail time…

Trish Regan, American Consequences


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How Progressives Are Dismantling America’s Foundation

Undergirding the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution is a set of philosophical principles that are under assault by Progressives.  These founding principles, derived mostly from the Federalist Papers, provide the lens through which we read and understand the Constitution.  Without this lens, the meaning of the Constitution and American law becomes putty in the hands of every special interest group.

Progressivism seeks to replace the founding principles with a new set of doctrines based on the tenets of social justice — a system which elevate the rights of “protected classes” (non-whites, LGBTQ, women, etc.) by subordinating  the rest of society.  This so-called “just society” is not the kinder, gentler America that Progressives promise, but a dystopia where the rights of the many are trampled, dissenters are punished, and government has nearly unlimited power and scope.  The examples that follow are selected from my recent eBook, The War on America’s Founding Principles: How Progressives Are Dismantling America One Plank at a Time.

Inalienable Rights.  The assault on America’s Founding Principles begins by dismantling the inalienable rights upon which our nation is built.  An attack on these rights, which are endowed by God rather than the state, is an attack on our entire constitutional system.  The first inalienable right, according to the Declaration of Independence, is the right to life — the right to exist.  Legalized abortion on demand, which Progressives promote with fanatical zeal, is a complete rejection of this inalienable right.  Progressives have further embraced this rejection by elevating abortion access to a fundamental human right and insisting that the government fund abortions.  Ironically, this renders government, which is charged with protecting inalienable rights, complicit in violating the inalienable rights of the most powerless members of our society. 

Abortion is the first logical step in demolishing the American system of rights in order to construct a Progressive society with new rights, focused almost exclusively on protected classes.  A philosophy draconian enough to seize the most fundamental right from the innocent without due process will not hesitate to curtail or confiscate other rights, even if they are guaranteed under the Constitution.https://lockerdome.com/lad/9371484590420070?pubid=ld-8832-1542&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.americanthinker.com&rid=www.americanthinker.com&width=692

Liberty.  American liberties include freedom of religion; freedom of speech (and, yes, that includes hate speech); freedom of the press; and the right to bear arms.  The principle of liberty restrains government power, preventing it from unduly interfering with or denying our divinely endowed freedoms.  Except where authorized by citizens through the Constitution, government does not have the authority to limit these freedoms (Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments).  Accordingly, every action of government should strive to protect liberty and should be weighed by this principle.

But we find an opposing inertia at work on the left.  Progressivism commences with an authoritarian, regulatory-minded impulse that restrains the freedom of citizens.  Government power is used reflexively to limit personal freedoms by regulating businesses, markets, consumption, education, speech, religious conscience, etc.  All of this is necessary, according to Progressives, to create a “just society.” 

Examples of this authoritarian impulse include the House-approved Equality Act (which severely limits religious freedoms in order to accommodate LGBTQ “rights”); the Affordable Care Act (which attempted to force religious ministries and schools to cover the insurance cost of abortion-inducing birth control drugs); federal zoning laws (which are intended to destroy the suburbs by merging them with large cities); onerous gun control legislation; and the relentless attempts on social media, in corporations, and on college campuses to limit or deny the free speech of conservative speakers.  

In all of these examples, forced conformity to achieve a “just society” is valued by Progressivism above free thinking, individual liberty, conscience, and self-determination.  This stands in stark opposition to the goal of the Founders, which was to minimize government interference in our daily lives — the right to be left alone — allowing us to pursue our own happiness. 

Private Property.  “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort,” said James Madison, including conscience, “the most sacred of all property.”  The founding principle of private property is not limited to real estate.  It encompasses the natural rights of all individuals to create, obtain, and control their possessions, beliefs, faculties, and opinions, as well as the fruits of their labor (Fourth and Fifth Amendments). 

Progressivism subordinates the protection of private property to the goals of social and economic equality and environmental justice.  Equal outcomes, or “equity,” as it is often called, can be achieved only by reallocating wealth through centralized planning and control, government coercion, confiscation of private property, and limiting individual economic freedom.

One of the primary vehicles for achieving these goals is excessive taxation, which is used to redistribute wealth through massive federal programs.*  Though Progressives are not seeking to abolish private property outright, they believe that their vision of a just society warrants government confiscation of private wealth and property to whatever degree is necessary to implement “economic justice.”  Effectively, the purpose of government is to appropriate private property rather than to protect it.

Not only do these policies violate the natural right of private property, but, as history has shown, attempts to heavily regulate and control businesses and markets, and to redistribute wealth through taxation, end in widespread poverty, shortages, and even starvation (e.g., the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, Venezuela, etc.).

Limited Government.  The principle of limited government maintains that citizens are best able to pursue happiness when government is confined to those powers that protect their life, liberty, and property.  History is littered with innumerable examples of “absolute Despotism,” to use the words of the Declaration of Independence.  The lesson is clear: tyranny grows in proportion to power, threatening individual liberty.  The Founders had a realistic understanding of the human condition and its tendency toward corruption and control.  “It will not be denied,” warned James Madison, “that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it” (Federalist 48). 

Progressivism, on the other hand, originates from an entirely different set of assumptions regarding government power.  Progressives, as evidenced by their compulsive dependency on government, maintain that government should be as large and as powerful as necessary to implement social, economic, and environmental justice.  The government, especially at the federal level, is viewed as the first resort in resolving social and economic problems such as health care, education, unemployment, housing, poverty, and the environment.  

The Green New Deal, which will cost trillions of dollars, is the largest, most expensive proposed government expansion in history.  It would use federal control to restructure utilities, transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, society, and the economy.  Similar proposals include taxpayer-funded health care, taxpayer-funded childcare, taxpayer-funded college education (at state colleges), a minimum guaranteed income, slavery reparations, and even taxpayer-funded internet service.  These programs promote an uncontrollable dependency on government that is diametrically opposed to the Founders’ vision of America.

The fatal flaw in the Progressive project is not just the expansion of government with its 430-plus federal  agencies, but the failure to connect this growing government power with increasing tyranny.  Progressivism has no limiting principle to restrain the growth of government because government is regarded as a benign agent of the people.  But this is a naïve delusion.  As we have already seen, a number of our constitutional rights are in jeopardy as government inches toward authoritarianism.  Innumerable examples across the globe, especially from socialist and former socialist countries, also give proof to the Founders’ belief that tyranny and corruption always grow in proportion to power.  

Though Progressives, like most Americans, believe they are defending and preserving our democracy, they are actually undermining and replacing American democracy with something radically and dangerously different.  The threat extends far beyond the principles of limited government, private property, liberty, and inalienable rights.  Progressivism, in its relentless attempt to delegitimize our historical foundations, also endangers the rule of law, due process, consent of the governed, and federalism, among other principles, as explained in my book.  This sweeping demolition of our founding principles renders Progressivism the most dangerous existential threat America has faced since the Civil War.

William DiPuccio, Ph.D., is author of The War on America’s Founding Principles: How Progressives Are Dismantling America One Plank at a Time, a free eBook.   His articles, books, and videos can be found on his blog, Science Et Cetera.

*Though citizens have a moral and civic duty to help those in need and improve society, it is not the prerogative of the federal government to coerce philanthropy.  State governments, which are closer to the people and whose powers are more general, may, as the Founders believed, undertake such relief as a last resort (e.g., to help children, the disabled, the destitute, etc.).  Thomas Jefferson, for example, co-authored the Virginia “Bill for Support of the Poor” in 1779.

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Overstretch: The Long Story of Staggering U.S. Debt

If the past year was dominated by the huge human costs of COVID-19, the next few years will be about its economic aftermath, including the alarming rise of US debt. What’s needed is multilateral cooperation – a new ‘Grand Alliance.’

On Friday, Congressional leaders failed to secure a bipartisan deal on a $900 billion pandemic relief package. A government shutdown was avoided only with a 2-day extension.

A protracted shutdown would amplify the risks for pandemic escalation and economic crisis, amid the long-awaited vaccine rollout. Bipartisan tensions are compounded by the impending Georgia Senate runoff races in January that will determine control of the chamber in the Congress.

In 2019, the Congress suspended the debt ceiling until after the 2020 presidential election. While it sought to avoid a repeat of the 2011 and 2013 debt crises during an election year, new spending contributed to Trump’s new military rearmament drive.

The new Congress must decide the future of the debt ceiling by summer 2021.

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

High US Debt Burden

By the year-end, COVID-19 cases worldwide will be close to 80 million. As a result of utter mismanagement, US figure will be close to 20 million.

While the pandemic continues to spread and the health system is overwhelmed, the Trump White House has taken record amounts of debt in record pace.

During his campaign, Trump pledged to eliminate US national debt in 8 years. At the time, total public debt was $19.6 trillion. In the past 4 years, it has soared to more than $27 trillion, by almost $8 trillion. It was an achievement of sorts. What former President Obama achieved in 8 years, Trump did in just 4 years.

Of course, all major Western economies have taken record amounts of debt during the global pandemic. But United States is not like other economies. First, it has more COVID-19 cases relative to all other major economies. Second, US remains a world anchor economy. Third, US dollar dominates international transactions. As a result, excessive US debt will have disproportionate global spillovers.

How will the Democrats cope with the debt burden?

Instead of focusing on the size of US debt, says Jason Furman, Obama’s former head of the Council of Economic Advisers, “policymakers should assess fiscal capacity in terms of real interest payments, ensuring they remain comfortably below 2 percent of GDP.” That, Furman believes, would ensure adequate fiscal support and needed public investments, while maintaining a sustainable public debt.

Here’s the logic of the argument: As a share of GDP, the cost of servicing US debt has fallen since 2000, even as federal debt has increased. An environment of low interest rates makes it easier to pay off debts.

So, Furman argues, the Biden administration can manage primary deficits (noninterest spending minus revenue) without “an unlimited explosion of debt.”

Short-Term Gains, Long-Term Challenges

That’s likely to be the stance of the Biden administration’s proposed economic team, which will stress both growth and equity.

The team includes former Fed chief Janet Yellen as the new Secretary of Treasury, her former right-hand man Jerome Powell as current Fed chair, and labor economist Cecilia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). CEA members feature Jared Bernstein, Biden’s chief economist in the Obama era, and Heather Boushey, the cofounder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Nevertheless, the likely policy stance, whether implicit or explicit, is predicated on unsustainable debt-taking in the future.

According to the recent projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, federal debt held by the public will surpass its historical high of 106% of GDP in 2023 and will continue to climb in most years thereafter. By 2050, debt as a percentage of GDP will amount close to 200% of the GDP. Despite peaceful conditions, it is already at the level of World War II; by 2050, it could be twice as high (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – US Debt Held by the Public, 1900 to 2050 (as % of GDP)

US Debt

Source: Data from CBO (Sept 2020)

Worse, US debt is likely to increase faster than anticipated. Current projections do not include the full costs of the pandemic stimulus packages, or the “needed public investments” that the Biden administration will seek to promote.

What will be good to the US economy and global prospects in the short-term could prove highly detrimental to both in the long-run.

Here’s why: Deficits will more than double from an average of 4.8% of GDP from 2010-19 to 10.9% percent 2041-50 driving up debt. As a result, net spending for interest will account for much of the increase in total deficits in the last two decades of the projection period.

Markets plan on quarterly basis. Presidential terms have barely a 4-year perspective. As a net effect, long-term perspective is lost in the translation. In CBO’s projections, growth in outlays will continue and accelerate to outpace growth in revenues, resulting in larger budget deficits over the long run (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – Percentage of GDP: Outlays Vs Revenues

US Debt

Source: Data from CBO (Sept 2020)

So, what about those “sustainable” real interest rates? Measured as a share of GDP, net spending for interest could nearly quadruple over the last two decades of the projection period.

From overreach to new ‘Grand Alliance’

In addition to US banks and investors, the Fed, state and local governments, mutual funds and pension funds, foreign governments hold a third of the US public debt. The largest holders include Japan ($1.3 trillion), China ($1.1 trillion), and UK ($430 million). To cope with its soaring debt, US will depend on these contributions.

However, Japan is the world’s most indebted major economy (government debt to GDP exceeds 238%). Due to maturing, aging and population decline, its burden will continue to increase, while the Brexit costs will penalize UK economy for years.

Biden administration has promised to be tough on China, Russia and several other countries, which could translate to rising defense and security allocations – which, in turn, would further amplify soaring debt, twin deficits and real interest rates.

When great powers fail to balance wealth and their economic base with their military power and strategic commitments, they risk overextension, as historian Paul Kennedy warned in the late ‘80s. In the coming decades, that will be a key US risk.

Nothing is inevitable in life, however. There is a great opportunity amid the rising threats. That’s multilateral cooperation across all political differences among the world’s largest economies. It has been achieved before, and it could be achieved again, as evidenced by F.D. Roosevelt’s ‘Grand Alliance’ during World War II.

In the 1940s, war threatened to result in excessive debt. Today, excessive debt risks wars that will have no winners.


About the Author

Dan Steinbock is the founder of Difference Group and internationally recognized expert of the multipolar world economy. He has served at the India, China and America Institute (US), Shanghai Institute for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more, see http://www.differencegroup.net/

On Truth

Western World’s concept of objective truth was challenged by Karl Marx, who declared truth to be class truth. The capitalists had their truth, and the workers had their truth. The workers’ truth had more validity, because they were oppressed, whereas the capitalists’ truth was self-serving.

This assault on objective truth did not succeed except on a limited basis for a short time in the Soviet Union where Lysenko damaged Soviet biology and agriculture at the expense of a number of lives.

The assault on objective truth in the 21st century is race based and gender based. The races and genders have their own truths. The truths that have validity are those of the oppressed—people of color, feminists, transgendered, and sexual deviants. The truths without validity are those of the oppressors—white heterosexual males.

Objective truth based on facts and evidence is an alien concept to the young whose experiences of truth are learned emotional responses. The media know that they are lying in terms of objective truth, but as objective truth is a white construct that serves white interest it is an oppressor truth without validity.

Today in the media and in education the concept of a lie as a statement in conflict with objective truth is dying out. A lie is something that denies the race and gender truths of the oppressed.

In this kind of truth system evidence in the traditional sense hasn’t a place. In an emotion based system, evidence is the offense given by a statue, a word, a phrase, a historical reference, a painting. Consequently, it is impossible for a person who has an objective concept of truth to have a rational discussion with a person who has a race/gender concept of truth.

Aside from the problem of swearing in such a person to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, it becomes impossible for a society, part of which has a scientific concept of truth and part of which has an emotional concept of truth, to talk to one another.

A society in which people cannot talk to each other is a society that falls apart.

A society in which objective truth is banished is a society without science.

You can see the dark ages on the horizon.

Paul Craig Roberts, UNZ Review

“Great Spirits” versus “Useful Idiots”By NORA DIMITROVA CLINTON

How was I to resolve the irreconcilable dilemma between my passionate love for scholarship and my gut-wrenching disappointment with those American intellectuals who condoned communist crimes?

Excerpted from the author’s book, Quarantine Reflections across Two Worlds.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech; which is the right of every man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or control the right of another: and this is the only check it ought to suffer, and the only bounds it ought to know.” – Benjamin Franklin, “Silence Dogood, No. 8, 9 July 1722”

I got my Ph.D. and then my first job as a classics research associate. It was a golden time: I got married, my son was born, and I had an attractive job writing scholarly books and articles and teaching classical languages. I was even fortunate to co-establish a charitable foundation with my husband and provide a modicum of help to my beloved country of birth.

After the completion of my research appointment, whose bliss had endured for seven years, I started applying for professorial positions. I sent but a handful of applications, only for opportunities that truly interested me. Although classics departments had been somewhat spared from turning into ideological conveyor belts promoting modernized Marxist dogmas and penalizing dissenters, a growing contingent of classicists taught unproven subjective theories at the expense of good old-fashioned training in facts, documents, and languages. I had no passion for disseminating such theories, having published extensively in the field of ancient documents on stone.

Finally, a dream job opened up at Berkeley for a tenure-track professorship of epigraphy—the study of writing on hard surfaces. I was invited for an interview and then to deliver a lecture—a delightful experience in a breathtaking paradise on Earth, which beckoned, sun-kissed, luscious, and laid-back, even in January. I ended up being a runner-up for the job, which in retrospect was a blessing in disguise.

While my academic hosts wined and dined me as a promising job candidate, for which I felt most obliged, they invariably took me to the Freedom of Speech Café, where I received a powerful dose of anti-American sentiment. I love and admire America, and this made my blood boil. I politely underscored that freedom of speech was a privilege this country had continually enjoyed; if socialist intellectuals wanted to experience its real absence, they should relocate to a communist country.

How was I to resolve the irreconcilable dilemma between my passionate love for scholarship and my gut-wrenching disappointment with those American intellectuals who condoned communist crimes? My parents had been academics, and I had dreamed of becoming one myself since the age of six. At that age, I wrote my first “dissertation,” which consisted of a title page; ten pages with educational illustrations

I meticulously drew and redrew, accompanied by detailed captions; and a judicious conclusion. The impetus had come from my beloved mother’s Ph.D. dissertation, which she defended at that time. Her example inspired me to produce a dissertation of my own, a term I childishly assumed derived from the word for dessert, since it served as the crowning achievement, the cherry on top of someone’s doctorate. I grew up with a profound sense of admiration for all those “great spirits,” who, according to Einstein’s prophetic adage, “always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” I felt incredibly blessed, at all academic institutions I attended, to have learned from such great spirits, who regarded facts as sacrosanct, while encouraging free thought and curiosity. To them I owe eternal thanks.

How different these honorable scholars and scientists were from the cookie-cutter proponents of pro-communist dogma and anti-American platitudes, who had replaced objective knowledge with ignorant propaganda. While constructive criticism of one’s government stimulates democracy, the Marxist intellectuals at Western universities engage in a destructive rewriting of history that defies the principles of scholarship.

Were these the same duty-bound Americans in whom millions of Eastern Europeans placed their hope of deliverance— that they will “tear down this wall” one day, gallop in on white horses, and rescue us from Big Brother? In 1986, Ivailo Petrov published Wolf Hunt, a profound and intrepid portrayal of the communist persecution of Bulgarian peasants, who lost their land, livestock, livelihood, and often lives. One of the novel’s main characters utters the wishful prophesy that the Americans will come: “If they don’t come in our time, then they’ll come in our children’s or our grandchildren’s time. This world wasn’t created yesterday, it has its way of doing things. What was again will be.” [1] Among Bulgarian dissidents, these words assumed a life of their own, repeated from mouth to mouth—whispered at first, then timidly voiced, and at last boldly proclaimed. My disillusionment with mainstream intelligentsia continued to intensify. One professor I knew, who earned a six-figure salary, was an unabashed self-proclaimed communist, who enjoyed a luxurious house with acres of majestic pines and an emerald pond. He incessantly directed invectives at the United States and sang “The Internationale” at his bon-vivant soirees, after distributing gaudy pink brochures with this dreadful anthem’s lyrics to his unfortunate guests.

The French have fittingly labeled this phenomenon “left caviar” or “champagne socialism.” Just think of George Bernard Shaw, who shamelessly propagated eugenics and genocide, offered to assist Hitler and Mussolini, and lauded Stalin’s extermination camps as though they were a quaint holiday arrangement of voluntary duration. Even more eloquent is the term “useful idiots,” allegedly coined by Lenin to describe Western intellectuals and journalists who were sympathetic to the communist regime, yet despised by its leadership for their naiveté, while being ruthlessly used by it to manipulate free-world media and impressionable young minds. I kept arguing with useful idiots, to the point of painful exasperation, and finally relinquished a successful academic career, appalled by their hypocrisy and ingratitude.

My education and the noble minds who sought to impart their wisdom to me will always be a part of my soul. I never regretted my decision to bid farewell to academia, or rather, what has become of it, and set sail on uncharted seas that guided me to a new vocational harbor I now treasure every day—but let this be the subject of another book.

Read Quarantine Reflections across Two Worlds by Nora Clinton.

Catholic League: ‘The Left Always Screws the Poor’

Catholic League president Bill Donohue has noted history’s great irony that “no segment of society punishes the poor more than those who champion their cause.”

In a scathing essay Tuesday, Dr. Donohue insists that the latest Marxist to “screw the poor” is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is undermining the cause of the lower classes by alienating those who generate wealth and create jobs.

De Blasio’s scheme to raise taxes on the rich in order to “redistribute wealth” and to close the “COVID achievement gap” is senseless, Donohue observes, since “the rich are leaving New York in droves” because of the city’s absurdly high taxes and taxing them at a higher rate “will only encourage more to leave.”

“They are taking their tax contributions and their jobs with them,” he adds.

Despite de Blasio’s claims, “fleecing the rich will do absolutely nothing to enhance academic achievement,” Donohue observes. “We have known for decades that there is no correlation between spending on students per capita and academic achievement.”

While de Blasio focuses on race, he turns a blind eye to the real causes of poverty and underachievement, Donohue asserts, noting that Asians are “people of color,” yet they have no problem succeeding in school.

“That’s because, unlike African Americans, the typical Asian family has a father and a mother at home,” he adds.

“So the ‘color’ argument that de Blasio favors — structural racism is holding blacks back — is completely false,” he continues. “Black kids from two-parent families are not failing in school. The real issue is the family, not race.”

Like others on the left, de Blasio cares more about upholding the public school monopoly and protecting the teachers’ union than helping kids.

If he really wanted poor kids to succeed in school, “he would spend money on charter schools, provide scholarships to private schools, endorse school choice, and allow the poor to enroll in Catholic schools,” Donohue observes. “Instead, he fights every initiative that works.”

While pretending to be a champion of the poor, de Blasio’s actions harm those he claims to defend.

Thus, he “drives the rich out of New York, shrinks the tax base, and does nothing to help the poor succeed in school,” Donohue notes.

Thomas D. Williams, Catholic League, Breitbart

Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools – Full Video

Professor Walter E. Williams passed away some two weeks ago. Among other things, he was called “The People’s Economist.” He spent his life trying to enlighten us on our Founding principles, individualism, and the morality of free-market capitalism. One of his last contributions to liberty is the attached YouTube video “Suffer No Fools.”

Its message is universal and transcendent.

The Artful Dilettante

Government, not COVID, is Killing Small Businesses

A video of a confrontation between Ventura County, California health officials and restaurant owner Anton Van Happen has gone viral. The health officials were ordering Mr. Van Happen to close his business because he allegedly violated California’s ban on outdoor dining. Mr. Van Happen asked the health officials if the government will pay his employees and his rent while his business is indefinitely closed.

Mr. Van Happen is hardly the only small business owner worried about how to pay bills during the lockdowns. Many small businesses operate on a narrow profit margin, so being forced to “temporarily” shut down or limit the number of customers they can serve is a virtual death sentence.

The lockdowns have already caused as many as 200,000 small businesses to permanently close. Lockdowns, by shrinking the number of employers, lead to long-term unemployment or lower wages for many workers.

While governments have terrorized small businesses, they have typically deemed the big chain stores “essential businesses” so they can remain open. The lockdowns are thus another government policy that gives big businesses a competitive advantage over their smaller competitors.

The benefits big businesses get from the lockdowns — including fewer competitors, more customers, and a job market with more workers competing for fewer jobs — may explain why many big businesses are not fighting the lockdowns. Instead, most big retail chains are requiring their workers and customers to wear masks. Many big businesses may soon deny service to those who refuse to receive a Covid vaccine.

One would think that progressives who claim to oppose policies that benefit big corporations like WalMart, Target, and Amazon would oppose the lockdowns. Sadly, even many progressives are unquestioningly parroting the Covid propaganda and demonizing those who dissent.

By slowing down the development of herd immunity among the population, the lockdowns could put those truly at risk in greater danger. Lockdowns have also had negative effects such as increases in drug and alcohol abuse and increases in domestic violence. Meanwhile, many schoolchildren are deprived of the opportunity to interact with their teachers and their peers. Instead, these children are subjected to the fraud of “virtual learning.”

Resistance to Covid tyranny is growing as more people figure out that lockdowns and mandates are both unnecessary and harmful. This resistance was largely started by small business owners faced with a choice between obeying the government or making sure they, and their employees, can feed their families. Small business owners have been leaders in recent anti-lockdown protests across America.

Eventually the resistance will grow to the point where the politicians will be forced to either double down on authoritarianism or admit the lockdowns were a mistake. Either way, those of us who know the truth must resist the Covid tyranny until government officials no longer terrorize small businesses for the crime of serving willing consumers.

Ron Paul, Ron Paul Institute

Individualism and the Industrial Revolution

Liberals stressed the importance of the individual. The 19th-century liberals already considered the development of the individual the most important thing. “Individual and individualism” was the progressive and liberal slogan. Reactionaries had already attacked this position at the beginning of the 19th century.

The rationalists and liberals of the 18th century pointed out that what was needed was good laws. Ancient customs that could not be justified by rationality should be abandoned. The only justification for a law was whether or not it was liable to promote the public social welfare. In many countries the liberals and rationalists asked for written constitutions, the codification of laws, and for new laws which would permit the development of the faculties of every individual.

A reaction to this idea developed, especially in Germany where the jurist and legal historian Friedrich Karl von Savigny (1779–1861) was active. Savigny declared that laws cannot be written by men; laws are developed in some mystical way by the soul of the whole unit. It isn’t the individual that thinks—it is the nation or a social entity which uses the individual only for the expression of its own thoughts. This idea was very much emphasized by Marx and the Marxists. In this regard the Marxists were not followers of Hegel, whose main idea of historical evolution was an evolution toward freedom of the individual.

From the viewpoint of Marx and Engels, the individual was a negligible thing in the eyes of the nation. Marx and Engels denied that the individual played a role in historical evolution. According to them, history goes its own way. The material productive forces go their own way, developing independently of the wills of individuals. And historical events come with the inevitability of a law of nature. The material productive forces work like a director in an opera; they must have a substitute available in case of a problem, as the opera director must have a substitute if the singer gets sick. According to this idea, Napoleon and Dante, for instance, were unimportant—if they had not appeared to take their own special place in history, someone else would have appeared on stage to fill their shoes.

To understand certain words, you must understand the German language. From the 17th century on, considerable effort was spent in fighting the use of Latin words and in eliminating them from the German language. In many cases a foreign word remained although there was also a German expression with the same meaning. The two words began as synonyms, but in the course of history, they acquired different meanings. For instance, take the word Umwälzung, the literal German translation of the Latin word revolution. In the Latin word there was no sense of fighting. Thus, there evolved two meanings for the word “revolution”—one by violence, and the other meaning a gradual revolution like the “Industrial Revolution.” However, Marx uses the German word Revolution not only for violent revolutions such as the French or Russian revolutions, but also for the gradual Industrial Revolution.

Incidentally, the term Industrial Revolution was introduced by Arnold Toynbee (1852–1883). Marxists say that “What furthers the overthrow of capitalism is not revolution—look at the Industrial Revolution.”

Marx assigned a special meaning to slavery, serfdom, and other systems of bondage. It was necessary, he said, for the workers to be free in order for the exploiter to exploit them. This idea came from the interpretation he gave to the situation of the feudal lord who had to care for his workers even when they weren’t working. Marx interpreted the liberal changes that developed as freeing the exploiter of the responsibility for the lives of the workers. Marx didn’t see that the liberal movement was directed at the abolition of inequality under law, as between serf and lord.

Karl Marx believed that capital accumulation was an obstacle. In his eyes, the only explanation for wealth accumulation was that somebody had robbed somebody else. For Karl Marx the whole Industrial Revolution simply consisted of the exploitation of the workers by the capitalists. According to him, the situation of the workers became worse with the coming of capitalism. The difference between their situation and that of slaves and serfs was only that the capitalist had no obligation to care for workers who were no longer exploitable, while the lord was bound to care for slaves and serfs. This is another of the insoluble contradictions in the Marxian system. Yet it is accepted by many economists today without realizing of what this contradiction consists.

According to Marx, capitalism is a necessary and inevitable stage in the history of mankind leading men from primitive conditions to the millennium of socialism. If capitalism is a necessary and inevitable step on the road to socialism, then one cannot consistently claim, from the point of view of Marx, that what the capitalist does is ethically and morally bad. Therefore, why does Marx attack the capitalists?

Marx says part of production is appropriated by the capitalists and withheld from the workers. According to Marx, this is very bad. The consequence is that the workers are no longer in a position to consume the whole production produced. A part of what they have produced, therefore, remains unconsumed; there is “underconsumption.” For this reason, because there is underconsumption, economic depressions occur regularly. This is the Marxian underconsumption theory of depressions. Yet Marx contradicts this theory elsewhere.

Marxian writers do not explain why production proceeds from simpler to more and more complicated methods.

Nor did Marx mention the following fact: About 1700, the population of Great Britain was about 5.5 million; by the middle of 1700, the population was 6.5 million, about 500,000 of whom were simply destitute. The whole economic system had produced a “surplus” population. The surplus population problem appeared earlier in Great Britain than on continental Europe. This happened, first of all, because Great Britain was an island and so was not subject to invasion by foreign armies, which helped to reduce the populations in Europe. The wars in Great Britain were civil wars, which were bad, but they stopped. And then this outlet for the surplus population disappeared, so the numbers of surplus people grew. In Europe the situation was different; for one thing, the opportunity to work in agriculture was more favorable than in England.

The old economic system in England couldn’t cope with the surplus population. The surplus people were mostly very bad people—beggars and robbers and thieves and prostitutes. They were supported by various institutions, the poor laws,1 and the charity of the communities. Some were impressed into the army and navy for service abroad. There were also superfluous people in agriculture. The existing system of guilds and other monopolies in the processing industries made the expansion of industry impossible.

In those precapitalist ages, there was a sharp division between the classes of society who could afford new shoes and new clothes, and those who could not. The processing industries produced by and large for the upper classes. Those who could not afford new clothes wore hand-me-downs. There was then a very considerable trade in secondhand clothes—a trade which disappeared almost completely when modern industry began to produce also for the lower classes. If capitalism had not provided the means of sustenance for these “surplus” people, they would have died from starvation. Smallpox accounted for many deaths in precapitalist times; it has now been practically wiped out. Improvements in medicine are also a product of capitalism.

What Marx called the great catastrophe of the Industrial Revolution was not a catastrophe at all; it brought about a tremendous improvement in the conditions of the people. Many survived who wouldn’t have survived otherwise. It is not true, as Marx said, that the improvements in technology are available only to the exploiters and that the masses are living in a state much worse than on the eve of the Industrial Revolution. Everything the Marxists say about exploitation is absolutely wrong! Lies! In fact, capitalism made it possible for many persons to survive who wouldn’t have otherwise. And today many people, or most people, live at a much higher standard of living than that at which their ancestors lived 100 or 200 years ago.

During the 18th century, there appeared a number of eminent authors—the best known was Adam Smith (1723–1790)—who pleaded for freedom of trade. And they argued against monopoly, against the guilds, and against privileges given by the king and Parliament. Secondly, some ingenious individuals, almost without any savings and capital, began to organize starving paupers for production, not in factories but outside the factories, and not for the upper classes only. These newly organized producers began to make simple goods precisely for the great masses. This was the great change that took place; this was the Industrial Revolution. And this Industrial Revolution made more food and other goods available so that the population rose. Nobody saw less of what really was going on than Karl Marx. By the eve of the Second World War, the population had increased so much that there were 60 million Englishmen.

You can’t compare the United States with England. The United States began almost as a country of modern capitalism. But we may say by and large that out of eight people living today in the countries of Western civilization, seven are alive only because of the Industrial Revolution. Are you personally sure that you are the one out of eight who would have lived even in the absence of the Industrial Revolution? If you are not sure, stop and consider the consequences of the Industrial Revolution.

The interpretation given by Marx to the Industrial Revolution is applied also to the interpretation of the “superstructure.” Marx said the “material productive forces,” the tools and machines, produce the “production relations,” the social structure, property rights, and so forth, which produce the “superstructure,” the philosophy, art, and religion. The “superstructure,” said Marx, depends on the class situation of the individuals, i.e., whether he is a poet, painter, and so on. Marx interpreted everything that happened in the spiritual life of the nation from this point of view. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) was called a philosopher of the owners of common stock and bonds. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was called the philosopher of big business. For every change in ideology, for every change in music, art, novel writing, play writing, the Marxians had an immediate interpretation. Every new book was explained by the “superstructure” of that particular day. Every book was assigned an adjective—”bourgeois” or “proletarian.” The bourgeoisie were considered an undifferentiated reactionary mass.

Don’t think it is possible for a man to practice all his life a certain ideology without believing in it. The use of the term “mature capitalism” shows how fully persons, who don’t think of themselves as Marxian in any way, have been influenced by Marx. Mr. and Mrs. Hammond, in fact almost all historians, have accepted the Marxian interpretation of the Industrial Revolution.2 The one exception is Ashton.3“Everything the Marxists say about exploitation is absolutely wrong! Lies! In fact, capitalism made it possible for many persons to survive who wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Karl Marx, in the second part of his career, was not an interventionist; he was in favor of laissez-faire. Because he expected the breakdown of capitalism and the substitution of socialism to come from the full maturity of capitalism, he was in favor of letting capitalism develop. In this regard he was, in his writings and in his books, a supporter of economic freedom.

Marx believed that interventionist measures were unfavorable because they delayed the coming of socialism. Labor unions recommended interventions and, therefore, Marx was opposed to them. Labor unions don’t produce anything anyway and it would have been impossible to raise wage rates if producers had not actually produced more.

Marx claimed interventions hurt the interests of the workers. The German socialists voted against [Otto von] Bismarck’s social reforms that he instituted circa 1881 (Marx died in 1883). And in this country the Communists were against the New Deal. Of course, the real reason for their opposition to the government in power was very different. No opposition party wants to assign so much power to another party. In drafting socialist programs, everybody assumes tacitly that he himself will be the planner or the dictator, or that the planner or dictator will be intellectually completely dependent on him and that the planner or dictator will be his handyman. No one wants to be a single member in the planning scheme of somebody else.

These ideas of planning go back to Plato’s treatise on the form of the commonwealth. Plato was very outspoken. He planned a system ruled exclusively by philosophers. He wanted to eliminate all individual rights and decisions. Nobody should go anywhere, rest, sleep, eat, drink, wash, unless he was told to do so. Plato wanted to reduce persons to the status of pawns in his plan. What is needed is a dictator who appoints a philosopher as a kind of prime minister or president of the central board of production management. The program of all such consistent socialists—Plato and Hitler, for instance—planned also for the production of future socialists, the breeding and education of future members of society.

During the 2,300 years since Plato, very little opposition has been registered to his ideas. Not even by Kant. The psychological bias in favor of socialism must be taken into consideration in discussing Marxian ideas. This is not limited to those who call themselves Marxian.

Marxians deny that there is such a thing as the search for knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone. But they are not consistent in this case either, for they say one of the purposes of the socialist state is to eliminate such a search for knowledge. It is an insult, they say, for persons to study things that are useless.

Now I want to discuss the meaning of the ideological distortion of truths. Class consciousness is not developed in the beginning, but it must inevitably come. Marx developed his doctrine of ideology because he realized he couldn’t answer the criticisms raised against socialism. His answer was, “What you say is not true. It is only ideology. What a man thinks, so long as we do not have a classless society, is necessarily a class ideology—that is, it is based on a false consciousness.” Without any further explanation, Marx assumed that such an ideology was useful to the class and to the members of the class that developed it. Such ideas had for their goal the pursuit of the aims of their class.

Marx and Engels appeared and developed the class ideas of the proletariat. Therefore, from this time on the doctrine of the bourgeoisie is absolutely useless. Perhaps one may say that the bourgeoisie needed this explanation to solve a bad conscience. But why should they have a bad conscience if their existence is necessary? And it is necessary, according to Marxian doctrine, for without the bourgeoisie, capitalism cannot develop. And until capitalism is “mature,” there cannot be any socialism.

According to Marx, bourgeois economics, sometimes called “apologetics for bourgeois production,” aided them, the bourgeoisie. The Marxians could have said that the thought the bourgeoisie gave to this bad bourgeois theory justified, in their eyes, as well as in the eyes of the exploited, the capitalist mode of production, thus making it possible for the system to exist. But this would have been a very un-Marxist explanation. First of all, according to Marxian doctrine, no justification is needed for the bourgeois system of production; the bourgeoisie exploit because it is their business to exploit, just as it is the business of the microbes to exploit. The bourgeoisie don’t need any justification. Their class consciousness shows them that they have to do this; it is the capitalist’s nature to exploit.

A Russian friend of Marx wrote him that the task of the socialists must be to help the bourgeoisie exploit better and Marx replied that that was not necessary. Marx then wrote a short note saying that Russia could reach socialism without going through the capitalist stage. The next morning he must have realized that, if he admitted that one country could skip one of the inevitable stages, this would destroy his whole theory. So he didn’t send the note. Engels, who was not so bright, discovered this piece of paper in the desk of Karl Marx, copied it in his own handwriting, and sent his copy to Vera Zasulich (1849–1919), who was famous in Russia because she had attempted to assassinate the police commissioner in St. Petersburg and been acquitted by the jury—she had a good defense counsel. This woman published Marx’s note, and it became one of the great assets of the Bolshevik Party.

The capitalist system is a system in which promotion is precisely according to merit. If people do not get ahead, there is bitterness in their minds. They are reluctant to admit that they do not advance because of their lack of intelligence. They take their lack of advancement out on society. Many blame society and turn to socialism.

This tendency is especially strong in the ranks of intellectuals. Because professionals treat each other as equals, the less capable professionals consider themselves “superior” to nonprofessionals and feel they deserve more recognition than they receive. Envy plays an important role. There is a philosophical predisposition among persons to be dissatisfied with the existing state of affairs. There is dissatisfaction, also, with political conditions. If you are dissatisfied, you ask what other kind of state can be considered.

Marx had “antitalent”—i.e., a lack of talent. He was influenced by Hegel and Feuerbach, especially by Feuerbach’s critique of Christianity. Marx admitted that the exploitation doctrine was taken from an anonymous pamphlet published in the 1820s. His economics were distortions taken over from [David] Ricardo (1772–1823).4

Marx was economically ignorant; he didn’t realize that there can be doubts concerning the best means of production to be applied. The big question is, how shall we use the available scarce factors of production. Marx assumed that what has to be done is obvious. He didn’t realize that the future is always uncertain, that it is the job of every businessman to provide for the unknown future. In the capitalist system, the workers and technologists obey the entrepreneur. Under socialism, they will obey the socialist official. Marx didn’t take into consideration the fact that there is a difference between saying what has to be done and doing what somebody else has said must be done. The socialist state is necessarily a police state.

The withering away of the state was just Marx’s attempt to avoid answering the question about what would happen under socialism. Under socialism, the convicts will know that they are being punished for the benefit of the whole society.

Costs Must Always Be Weighed Against Benefits

One of the first lessons in an economics class is every action has a cost. That is in stark contrast to lessons in the political arena where politicians virtually ignore cost and talk about benefits and free stuff. If we look only at the benefits of an action, policy or program, then we will do anything because there is a benefit to any action, policy or program.

Think about one simple example. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 36,096 Americans lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019. Virtually all those lives could have been saved if we had a 5 mph speed limit. The huge benefit of a 5 mph speed limit is that those 36,000-plus Americans would have been with us instead of lost in highway carnage. Fortunately, we look at the costs of having a 5 mph speed limit and rightly conclude that saving those 36,000-plus lives are not worth the costs and inconvenience. Most of us find it too callous, when talking about life, to explicitly weigh costs against benefits. We simply say that a 5 mph speed limit would be impractical.

What about the benefits and costs of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic? Much of the medical profession and politicians say that lockdowns, social distancing and mask-wearing are the solutions. CDC data on death rates show if one is under 35, the chances of dying from COVID-19 is much lower than that of being in a bicycle accident. Should we lockdown bicycles? Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, biostatistician and epidemiologist, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University and an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician and epidemiologist were the initiators of the Great Barrington Declaration. More than 50,000 scientists and doctors, as well as more than 682,000 ordinary people, have signed the Great Barrington Declaration opposing a second COVID-19 lockdown because they see it doing much more harm than good.

Efforts to keep very young from getting COVID-19, given most will not even realize they have it or will suffer only mild symptoms, may be counterproductive in that it delays the point where a country has herd immunity. According to the CDC, COVID-19 deaths in young people (from babies to college students) are almost nonexistent. The first age group to provide a substantial contribution to the death toll is 45-54 years, who contribute nearly 5% of all coronavirus deaths. More than 80% of deaths occur in people aged 65 and over. That increases to over 92% if the 55-64 age group is included.

Thus, only a tiny number of people under age 25 die of COVID-19. Yet, schools have been closed, and tens of millions of schoolchildren have been denied in-class instruction. Mandating that 5-year-olds wear masks during their school day is beyond nonsense. Virtual learning can serve as a substitute for in-class teaching but it has mixed results. Some parents can provide their children with the necessary tools, perhaps hire tutors, and take an active interest in what their children are doing online. Other parents will not have the interest, ability or the time.

Here is a lockdown question for you. Government authorities permit groceries and pharmacies to remain open during lockdowns. They permitted stores likes Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club to remain open. However, these stores sell items that are also sold in stores that were locked down such as: Macy’s, J.C. Penney, J. Crew Group, Neiman Marcus and Bed Bath & Beyond. The lack of equal treatment caused many employees to lose their jobs and many formerly financially healthy retailers have filed for bankruptcy.

As political satirist H. L. Mencken said, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” By the way, the best time to scare people, be wrong and persist in being wrong is when the costs of being wrong are borne by others.

The late Walter E. Williams was a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at http://www.creators.com.