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Leithner Letter Nos. 99-101
26 March - 26 May 2008

The turn will come when we entrust the conduct of our affairs to the men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power that they have been given. It will come when Americans, in hundreds of communities throughout the nation, decide to put the man in office who is pledged to enforce the Constitution and restore the Republic. Who will proclaim: “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel the old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

Barry Goldwater
The Conscience of a Conservative (1960)

I believe one of the greatest threats facing this nation is the wilful economic ignorance of the political class. Many of our elected officials at every level have no understanding of economics whatsoever, yet they wield tremendous power over our economy through taxes, regulations, and countless other costs associated with government. They spend your money with little or no thought given to the economic consequences of their actions …We cannot suspend the laws of economics or the principles of human action any more than we can suspend the laws of physics. Yet this is precisely what Congress attempts to do time and time again, no matter how many times history proves them wrong or economists easily demonstrate the harms caused by a certain policy.

I strongly recommend that [everybody] acquire some basic knowledge of economics, monetary policy, and the intersection of politics with the economy. No formal classroom is required; a desire to read and learn will suffice. There are countless important books to consider, but the following are an excellent starting point: The Law by Frédéric Bastiat; Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt; What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray Rothbard; The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek; and Economics for Real People: An Introduction to the Austrian School by Gene Callahan.

Former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)
The Perils of Economic Ignorance (27 March 2006)

During the slugfest that was the Democratic debate in South Carolina on Monday night, Sen. Hillary Clinton proposed a “quick fix” that would damage the economy at least as badly as Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls, or efforts by the government to reverse the Great Depression, which arguably was caused in large part by government intervention in and manipulation of a free market economy. Sen. Clinton said that as president she would “have a moratorium on home foreclosures for 90 days to try to help families work it out so that they don’t lose their homes.” She would also “have an interest rate freeze for five years, because these adjustable-rate mortgages, if they keep going up, the problem will just get compounded. And we need more transparency in the market.” Then, in a version of George McGovern’s guaranteed minimum income proposal that helped sink his 1972 presidential candidacy, Clinton said, “I think we need to give people about $650, if they qualify – which will be millions of people – to help pay their energy bills this winter.”Income redistribution is socialism no matter what other label is attached to it. There is a Commandment (the Eighth [for Lutherans, the Seventh]) against stealing, but when government does it, it is called taxation. The results are the same. The person out of whose pocket the money comes no longer has access to what he has earned, and the person (or government) that takes the money often wastes it on things of which the earner would not approve.

Cal Thomas
Clintonomics II
The Baltimore Examiner (25 January 2008)

What If We Analysed Households As If They Were Companies?

Don’t worry. Instead, rejoice: you’re getting richer and will likely continue to do so. That’s the gist of a steady stream of news stories since 2003. “Shares, Super Boost Australian Wealth” crowed The Courier-Mail on 26 December 2007. “The wealth of Australians has soared 21% in 12 months despite record spending on credit cards. And it could be even higher for many if they bothered to check their superannuation. Australians have an average wealth of about $60,000 each as household assets continue to rise. ... The jump in wealth is attributable to a stronger share market and increased inflows into superannuation. In the past three years, the average financial wealth of Australians has risen 70%.”

To read the complete Newsletter (pdf), click here.

To view the associated PDF tables, click for Table 1 or Table 2.

Chris Leithner


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