Monday, April 12, 2010
Which of these things does not belong?
Death, taxes, inflation, or robbery?
The introductory paragraph to Brian Phillips's series on financing the government of a free society helps us find the answer.
Death and taxes, we are often told, are two inevitable facts of life. However, a crucial distinction exists between the two--death is a metaphysical fact, while taxes are a man-made fact. As such, death is in fact inevitable, but taxes are not. The metaphysical is absolute and immutable; the man-made is subject to the choices and actions of man.His next paragraph provides further help for those who might imagine taxes to be an unavoidable necessity for men to live in society, and Ayn Rand offers the following assist for anyone needing help on the metaphysical status of inflation:
Inflation is not caused by the actions of private citizens, but by the government: by an artificial expansion of the money supply required to support deficit spending. No private embezzlers or bank robbers in history have ever plundered people's savings on a scale comparable to the plunder perpetrated by the fiscal policies of statist governments. ("Who Will Protect Us from Our Protectors?", The Objectivist Newsletter, May 1962, p. 18.)As a kid during the Carter presidency, I recall the hardships caused by inflation and even remember hearing news reporters babbling about it being a "symptom" of the "economy over-heating."
Remember all this when you read the following piece.
It [sic] part to help the economy get cranking again. Inflation provides an incentive for people to spend cash rather than saving it, because if they save it, the cash will lose value rapidly.If you're unemployed or underemployed due to the state-caused recession, the last thing you need to hear is that the state is working overtime to give you an "incentive" to spend more money than you planned.
Inflation also helps solve another problem, though--our debt problem. The more inflation we have, the less our dollars will be worth. Because our debts are based on a specific number of dollars and not a specific value, the less our dollars are worth, the easier it will be for us to pay off our debts.
When the Bush-Obama inflation eventually hits stride, anyone who knows better should be ready to make the case that it never had to happen, and that we are all being robbed.
(And anyone who might want to make the above point through the written word would do well to read Paul Hsieh's "Tips for Getting Published" over at NoodleFood.)
And then, there's the whole matter of the word "incentive," which I have noticed being used before as a means of blurring the distinction between the metaphysical and the man-made, as well as that between central planning and capitalism. Real incentives don't come from the point of a gun, but only from the facts of reality.
Fear Takes the Wheel
In light of the above, Peter Schiff has a few words regarding stock rallies over the past few years.
[I]f higher U.S. stock prices really did result from an improving U.S. economy, the dollar would be rising in tandem with stocks. However, every time stock prices rise the dollar falls. The best explanation for this dichotomy is that it is inflation not growth that drives both stocks and the dollar. So rising stock prices do not really indicate a bull market in stocks, but a bear market in the dollar. Those who cannot differentiate between the two will continue to misread the market and the economy.I suspect that the confusion of such rallies with economic recovery causes many people to worry less about the economy, removing public pressure to reduce government intervention, which is exactly the opposite of what we need.
See also "US Household Net Worth," over at Priced in Gold.
ObamaCare vs. New Medical Technology
Paul Hsieh does it again. The below sums up how a new tax that is part of the plan will treat the company that gave us automatic external defibrillators:
[T]he ObamaCare tax would impose an additional $7.5 million annual burden on Zoll, nearly eliminating their annual profit of $9.5 million.Read the whole thing, and then mosey on over to Fire the 219. (HT: We Stand FIRM).
More than just an Al Franken Character!
Some time in the recent past, I was pleasantly surprised to learn -- apparently, as many others have been -- that Saturday Night Live's Jack Handey is, in fact, a real person. His web site includes free code that will permit you to scroll this week's Deep Thoughts on your own site.