Some of you may recall our expose of the National Inflation Association, a "pump and dump" stock scam operation run (behind the scenes) by the notorious Jonathan Lebed. Conservative economist Peter Schiff was able to get an insider to talk about the NIA and its various schemes. Two things about the NIA story struck me as particularly odd:
1. These guys are heavily, heavily pushed by FOX News -- which means that we're dealing with something more than your usual pump-and-dump operation.
2. Lebed turns out to be a heavy-duty Randroid. He pushes Atlas Shrugged as though he gets a percentage of the sales -- which, I presume, he does not. It is very natural for a financial con artist to want to get rid of financial regulation. If your name were Ted Bundy, wouldn't you consider the laws against homicide to be an unfair restriction of your freedom?
And now Lindsay Lohan, of all people, has been ensnared into this scam.
I know her work only from the film version of Prairie Home Companion, where she made a fine impression in a less-than-fine movie. Apparently, she has since developed some personal issues which have led to legal problems. Very sorry to hear that. Other writers have made cruel remarks at her expense; I will not. A young woman in trouble is a sad thing, and only a cad would snicker at such a sight.
That said, Lohan really ought to research her associations better. Lebed is not someone with whom a respectable person should form a partnership.
Naturally, FOX News is now rushing to defend the troubled starlet and her economic acumen. See here and here and here. If Lohan stages a comeback, expect to see her working for a subsidiary of News Corp.
So why does Rupert Murdoch continue to stump for the NIA? I don't think it's the money. A pump and dump scam can earn millions, but Murdoch operates on a level well above the Jonathan Lebeds of this world.
If you attempt to view the matter from the Olympian (or should that be Stygian?) Murdoch perspective, you might surmise that the point of this propaganda exercise is to convince the populace that our greatest problem is hyperinflation.
Clearly, hyperinflation is not a worry -- not in a land where wages stay depressed and home prices keep going down. Under these circumstances, sounding alarms about hyperinflation is like saying the trouble with Pier Angeli was that she was too damned bloodthirsty. It's a complete non-sequitur.
Yes, some prices are rising -- within the commodities market, the new darling of Wall Street speculators. That's where the Murdoch-sized money is being made. The oligarchs want you to blame commodity price increases on government stimulus programs (an absurd idea) rather than on the Goldman Saxons.
A controlled inflation would be a good thing. Yes, it is possible to allow for a certain amount of inflation. Yes, we could turn off the spigot at just the right time. This trick has been done before -- fire up Google and look up the 1982 Wassenaar Agreement in the Netherlands. The country need not turn into Weimar Germany.
If each dollar were worth less and more money placed in circulation, our national debt could be more easily paid. And your house note wouldn't seem so ominous.
So why can't America go the Wassenaar route? I suspect that the people screeching about hyperinflation want this country to collapse. They want Apocalypse Now. These people have a vision: They want to replace our current system with their proposed libertarian paradise. You can't build a New Jerusalem without first whipping up a proper Armageddon.
Joe, Just because you think this way, " I never favored the "we need to hit bottom before we can rebuild" strategy, but what choice do we have?" (Bachmann Article below) Doesn't mean that your philosophical opponents think the same way. Conservatives want to turn around the ship immediately since we see the rocks (kinda hard not to,) and don't want to crash and sink. We don't want to accelerate into them just to get a new boat. It is obvious that 'the One' is already using that as his strategy. ~j
posted by theOtherOne : 7:59 AM
Americans have a few extra layers of fat to fend off hyper inflation, it's called eating less and growing your own.
Nobody every mentions how insidious credit card debt interest rate charges are, that is what causes real hyper inflation.
On top of that, the IRS should be TAXING EVERY credit card transaction since if the debt is ever written off due to non payment, the IRS will come after the borrower and tax the forgiven debt as income.
By not taxing up front on credit card debt, the IRS helps perpetuate inflationary spending because credit card money can seem like free money.
"Conservatives want to turn around the ship immediately since we see the rocks..."
Bull-effing-SHIT. Consrvatives wantto put out the fire by pouring more gas on it. Liberatarianism AND ONLY libertarianism caused our current crisis. And what do conservatives recommend? MORE LIBERTARIANISM!
I stand by what I said. The only way to save this country is to steal money from the wealthy (at gunpoint, if need be) and redistribute it to the working class. We can do that by raising the minimum wage to a living wage (if WalMart did that, they'd have to raise prices a mere 46 cents per average transaction) and providing gummint-created jobs if the private sector can't create full employment. Then return to the Hamiltonian policies of the 19th century and send tarrifs THROUGH THE ROOF to bring manufacturing back home. Strengthen unions. Make "right-to-work" states illegal. Institute a HOLC-style program to help people keep their homes. Cut military spending in half.
I agree that those screaming about hyper-inflation and too much regulation do, indeed, want some form of economic collapse - it's the 'shock doctrine' mentality. They want the social safety net dismantled and a return to the robber-baron age.
I think politics in the US these days always comes back to money. People bitch about gay marriage, the war on christmas, abortion, illegal immigration... but it's all like a magician's mis-direction - watch the left hand, while I rob you with the right!
People who respond to these empty domestic, cultural issues are largely the cause of our economic malaise. On the bright side, more are waking up to the economic/class warfare being waged upon them, and we may achieve some kind of 'critical mass' before everything goes to shit... but I wouldn't count on it.
posted by Hoarseface : 10:01 AM
Sorry Joe, We didn't become the greatest country in the world by "stealing money from the wealthy...and redistribute it to the working class."
It has been shown time and again, that prosperity is only created for the Ruling class using this model, not anyone else. You can't tax your way to prosperity or steal your way there as well...even at gunpoint.
Liberalism and excessive government spending (both R & D) got us where we are...Not Libertarianism. Oh that and cronyism which leads to bad policies. (see Fannie May/ Freddy Mac for good convenient examples.) ~j ps: enjoy your 4th of July holiday. Perhaps you should go enjoy a parade or two ;) http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/dyanagi/Research/FourthOfJuly.pdf
posted by theOtherOne : 10:23 AM
You are no longer welcome here. This is -- and forever will be -- an ANTI-LIBERTARIAN blog.
We became great because Hamilton was wise enough to steer us away from free trade, because TR broke up the trusts, and because FDR realized that rich people are rabid dogs who need wither a leash or euthanasia. We destroyed ourselves when Reagan started us down the path of Milton Freidmanism.
Freidmanism = fascism. That's why he worked with Pincochet. That's why his libertarian son wants rid of democracy (as did Ayn Rand).
Unfettered capitalism is 100% incompatible with democracy. When speaking among themselves, libertarians admit this.
Corporations are power. Finance capital is ULTIMATE power. All forms of sizable power must be democratized -- subject to the vote -- or Power will destroy us.