Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Biggest Story In the World (That almost no one is covering)

Chavez is who he is, and is, in the words of my youth, a punk, but the both Russia and China have called for a new reserve currency for the world. If this happens the USA will be rocked to it's core.

This also happens to be the subject of my upcoming novel.

Chavez to seek Arab backing for `petro-currency'

Welcome to America, the World's Scariest Emerging Market

The Age of the Unthinkable

The Age of the Unthinkable (Video Below)

This is a very interesting idea. Basically the author makes the case that we are in the midst of a revolution in business, politics, and perhaps even in what it means to be human. This is an opinion that I couldn't agree with more.

He makes the point that it is during times such as these new leaders, in business, politics, and in ideas emerge. He seems to get that the old order is done. His book might be worth picking up.

Friends of liberty. Keep your powder dry.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Reagan Libertarians: A Giant Rumbles

A Giant Rumbles

Last night I attended a meetup group meeting for Glenn Beck’s 912 Project. The 912 Project, for those who don’t know is an effort by Mr. Beck to organize the popular anti-tax/ anti state expansion/ anti bailout sentiment that is floating out in the political ether. Judging from the attendance at the meeting he may be on to something.

As an outed libertarian, meetings where people voice their distrust of the state and rail against taxes are nothing new for me. What was new was the size of the group, about 50-60 in the back of a CiCi’s Pizza on a rainy unpleasant night, and the people who were in attendance.

I live in Charlottesville Virginia which is the home of Thomas Jefferson. There is a solid contingent of liberty types who live here and that core group was represented at this meeting. But there was a much larger contingent of people who I had never seen before. They weren’t activists, writers, or professors from the University. They were just normal people who had had enough.

I would venture to say that many of this new group of folks likely happily pulled the lever for John McCain. I don’t know this for sure, but many seemed, as I engaged in conversation with them to be solid party Republicans. What is interesting is that many of these GOPers now see the folly of following George Bush down the path to a larger state. I could sense that many of these folks now realized that the Bush administration, with its rather lax interpretations of the Constitution, laid the foundation for the Obama Administration to usurp even more power from the citizenry.

These new faces at the 912 meeting are the Reagan Libertarians. They are folks who have associated themselves with the Republican Party through thick and thin since the 1980s but now, finally, see that they have been abandoned. They have dutifully held their tongues as No Child Left Behind was passed. As deficits grew they looked the other way. As a war of choice was waged in Iraq with their money and sons they went along. The Medicare Prescription Drug Plan expanded federal entitlements hugely, yet they still walked in lock step. But now, they have had enough.

It is true that these people may not have awakened if John McCain was now president. It is also possible that if a Republican is elected to the presidency in 4 years their rage will dissipate even if that president continued the expansion of the state and the economic malpractice we are now witness to under Obama.

But maybe not. And it doesn’t really matter at this moment. What I saw last night was an opportunity to put liberty front and center in the mainstream political discussion. Everyday people right now feel threatened by the state, as they should. Those of us who have fought to keep the flame of liberty alive over the years must now recognize that we now have the tinder in the citizenry to turn that flame into a real brush fire.

Libertarian wonks like me need to realize that this is an historic opportunity, and one that must not be squandered. We must build bridges to groups like the 912ers and other groups that are also generally inclined toward liberty. We must realize that the libertarian tent must be broadened to include people who in other times would have been called “conservative.” That is not to say that libertarians should tolerate the anti-liberty positions many conservatives have espoused over the years, such as support for the drug war or the persecution of gays. But we must bring these people into the fold and build a coalition. Libertarians and these new faces may not see eye to eye on all things but we both need one another. If we do not join together now we may not have the option in the years to come.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't Tread On Liberty

Don't Tread On Me

If you are a fan of Ron Paul, have voted third party, especially for the Libertarian or Constitution Parties, have ever said anything derogatory about our friends at the IRS, or have flown the Don’t Tread On Me flag, you my friend may be a domestic terrorist. This is according to a recent report by the Missouri “fusion center” or MIAC.

FYI a fusion center is the name given to the 58 information gathering nodes sprinkled across the United States. They report to The Department of Homeland Security.

Read the below article. It is important, even if it does come from Fox News.

Do you like Ron Paul or oppose abortion? You may be a member of a militia, according to a new report by a government information collection agency.


Death of a Currency? Birth of a New One?

So the Chinese are now calling for a worldwide currency to replace the dollar. Who can blame them? They are sitting on gobs and gobs of dollar denominated debt. If the Federal Reserve and the Obama Administration debauch the dollar through an orchestrated inflationary adventure, the Chinese are in real trouble. The American debt they own becomes less and less valuable as the Fed prints more and more money. If the Chinese can convert their debt to something other than dollars, that also serves as a currency of last resort they would be crazy not to.

This move however is not merely a defensive play. Sure they are concerned about their dollar denominated debt, but the Chinese also see an opportunity to take advantage of a weakened rival. This proposal may be the equivalent of a currency market fast break, or counterpunch. Take the leverage the dollar gives the USA away as the sole producer of the world’s reserve currency, and you take away much of America’s power.

China calls for new reserve currency

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Winding Roads to Freedom

On Winding Roads

The last year has been a challenging one in the Nicksuno household. Just as Nicksuno was starting to make real money, the world headed into an economic tailspin. What looked like a solid future evaporated. The road wound.

So now Nicksuno again toils. And likely will for a long time. He's thankful for the opportunity. And at least he feels that he has extracted himself from the financial world with his integrity intact. That's more than many can say.

Please forgive the third person. I’ll stop.

I have been thinking very hard about the current crisis from a personal standpoint. Gone are the days of charts and graphs, the economic crisis is very real for me and my family. And I fear for the future.

What I fear is that there is no voice for the bourgeois class any longer. Forgive me; I am using Marx’s terms I know. But The Democrats now represent the academic, lawyer, media, and bureaucratic classes, along with the underclass when it suits them.

The Republicans have been relegated almost to a regional party status. They represent Bubba Nation. A peasant mentality.

I’ve got news for you Republicans. Bubba Nation is dying. And so are you, even if the RNC chairman is black.

The truth is that times are changing and the creative class is looking for a home. Despite overtures from companies like Google and Starbucks, the Democratic Party is not a comfortable home for anyone who values innovation and fresh ideas.

But likewise the Republicans recently have shunned those who look to the future, and instead have settled into some horrible Texas tinged retrograde nonsense.

Where do the creative people go?

Into business I say. That’s where they always go.

The sad truth though is that the state controls almost everything and it is hell bent on strangling the golden goose. A friend of mine makes the point that parasites tend not to kill their hosts, but in nature this is not always true. There are species of wasp larva that will eat their host until it is gone and then starve when the host is no more.

This may be the situation we are in. The state may kill the heart of the American experiment this time around.

So long as the vast majority of people look to the government to solve their problems we are headed on a suicidal path in my opinion.

The bourgeois class, often derided, rarely celebrated, must rise up and make a stand in the next year or so. The bourgeois class is the cash cow of any society. If we stop giving milk, the government will be forced to listen to our demands.

So as we look into the abyss do not despair you friends of freedom. Our day may indeed come. And it may come soon. Roads tend to wind.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Luck be an Economist

Every Friday the Diane Rehm Show on NPR does a “weekend wrap-up” of the prior week’s events with a collection of reporters from around Washington. Usually they talk about Supreme Court nominations and what’s going on up on Capitol Hill, but because of the financial fit the country is currently enduring the reporters were forced this week to talk about, gasp, economics.

This is not a good thing. I used to loathe the lack of economic reporting in the main stream press, but no longer. Now there is plenty of economic reporting. The problem is that this reporting is being done by folks who know little more about the economic sphere than what Paul Krugman tells them in the New York Times. Additionally, they have little concept of money and what money actually is. I’d be willing to bet that most of the reporters currently covering the financial crisis couldn’t tell you the difference between Milton Friedman and Keynes in any coherent way. It is beyond imagination that they know Hayek’s critiques.

Now reporters are not economists and we can’t expect them to be. Frankly, most television news is a vacant wasteland of real talent in my opinion. I interned for 2 years in college at a news channel in Washington and was constantly struck by the lack of intellectual seriousness of the medium. Given the choice between 20 additional IQ points or perpetually good hair, 99% of reporters would pick the hair.

These people however do much to frame the economic debate despite their ignorance. If they are uninformed and relaying “information” to an even more uninformed public, do we not have a huge problem?

The current mainstream discourse seems to go something like this:

Bush was a total freemarketteer. The Bush years were a time of rampant and unregulated greed. Bush (who was the idiot that stole the election in 2000 and got us into Iraq) was not very bright and he and his boys on Wall Street got us into this mess.

But thank God we now have Obama who is smart and enlightened and who cares about the “people.” All he has to do is reverse engineer this catastrophe that Bush made and we’ll all be happy again with a European-style social democracy to boot.

Now I am not a fan of Bush, largely because he was not a free marketeer, and he was the idiot that got us into Iraq, but the above critique is nonsense. Bush expanded the Federal government more than any president since LBJ. Bush talked like a conservative but spent like a liberal. But the main stream press is all about the surface. Pull back a layer or two and you might see something you don’t like, or worse can't explain or understand. The press liked Bush as a bumbling conservative, and could not grasp Bush as the complicated bizarro conservative-liberal-corporatist-pro government-pro war-establishmentarian that he was. Bush was on the right, and wrong. Obama is on the left, and in the right. Simple. Forgive the digression.

The reason we are in the mess we are in is not because of too little regulation, it is because we had too much. It is because we have a central planning price fixer in the Federal Reserve that screwed up and let to much cheap money get out into the system. If interest rates were regulated by the market the world would not be experiencing the dislocation that it is experiencing today. Instead, the economy would have adjusted according to the economic conditions from day to day. If that meant rates went high, too bad, that was the real price of money. But bankers and governments hate to give up control which is probably the main reason we continue to spiral down.

So we seek to reverse engineer our way out of this nightmare. This is a feat that I believe can’t be done. The economy, despite what the Keynesians say is not like a watch, but instead more like a river. Rivers don't flow uphill no matter how hard we try to make them.

But even if the economy was like a watch it wouldn't matter. We can't fix what we don't understand.

If we start from first economic principles that are dubious, perpetuated by a "political class" that doesn't understand basic economics, how can we ever expect to arrive at something better through our actions? We'll only screw things up worse. I believe that our only hope is to get lucky.

Luck be an economist tonight!

About Me

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Nick Sorrentino is the Editor of The Liberty and Economics Review and CEO of Exelorix.com a social media management company.