Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Economics

The Great Thanksgiving Hoax

This article was written by Richard J. Maybury and appeared a the Mises Institute’s website, Mises Daily this morning, November 27, 2014:

"The Embarkation of the Pilgrims from Del...

“The Embarkation of the Pilgrims from Delfthaven in Holland” (1844) by Robert Walter Weir (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each year at this time, schoolchildren all over America are taught the official Thanksgiving story, and newspapers, radio, TV, and magazines devote vast amounts of time and space to it. It is all very colorful and fascinating.

It is also very deceiving. This official story is nothing like what really happened. It is a fairy tale, a whitewashed and sanitized collection of half-truths which divert attention away from Thanksgiving’s real meaning.

The official story has the Pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America, and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620–21. This first winter is hard, and half the colonists die. But the survivors are hard-working and tenacious, and they learn new farming techniques from the Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful. The pilgrims hold a celebration, and give thanks to God. They are grateful for the wonderful new abundant land He has given them.

The official story then has the Pilgrims living more or less happily ever after, each year repeating the first Thanksgiving. Other early colonies also have hard times at first, but they soon prosper and adopt the annual tradition of giving thanks for this prosperous new land called America.

The problem with this official story is that the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, nor were the colonists hard-working or tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and many of the colonists were lazy thieves.

In his History of Plymouth Plantation, the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years because they refused to work in the field. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with “corruption,” and with “confusion and discontent.” The crops were small because “much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable.” 

In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, “all had their hungry bellies filled,” but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims, it was famine and death. The first “Thanksgiving” was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.

But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.

What happened? After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take only what he needed.

This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that were most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of the famines. 

Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first twelve months in America. Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609–10, called “The Starving Time,” the population fell from five-hundred to sixty. Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. In 1614 Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote that after the switch there was “plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure.” He said that when the socialist system had prevailed, “we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty men as three men have done for themselves now.”

Before these free markets were established, the colonists had nothing for which to be thankful. They were in the same situation as Ethiopians are today, and for the same reasons. But after free markets were established, the resulting abundance was so dramatic that annual Thanksgiving celebrations became common throughout the colonies, and in 1863 Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

Thus, the real meaning of Thanksgiving, deleted from the official story, is: Socialism does not work; the one and only source of abundance is free markets, and we thank God we live in a country where we can have them.

Taxi Union Flexes Its Muscle, Shuts Down San Francisco International Airport

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 20, 2014: 

International Terminal of San Francisco Intern...

International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport

Stung by increasing competition from ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, independent taxi drivers in San Francisco — where Uber got its start in the summer of 2010 — decided to do something about it: They joined a union. And the first thing that union did was what unions always do: They conducted a “work stoppage” — right in front of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) — with more than 600 taxis blocking traffic, honking their horns and flashing their lights from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday night, while refusing to pick up passengers.

Most unions are wont to picket employers, hoping to blackmail them into

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Pressure Building to Repeal Two Laws Keeping Oil and Gas Prices High

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 17, 2014:

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski

Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, soon to chair the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, is already setting the table for a serious conversation about getting rid of at least one archaic law dating back to the mid-1970s: the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975.

That law bans the export of crude oil (with some minor exceptions) and could endanger the oil shale boom as a result. Said Murkowski:

The price American drivers pay for gasoline at their local station is linked to the price of oil set by the global market.

 

Exporting U.S. oil to our friends and allies will not raise gasoline prices here at home and should, in fact, help drive down prices.

As the price of crude oil drops, it increases the chances that smaller marginal crude oil producers will be forced to close unless they are allowed to find buyers outside the United States willing to pay more for their product. One of the bottlenecks has already been opened:

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House Votes to Approve Keystone, for Ninth Time

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 17, 2014:

Keystone XL demonstration, White House,8-23-20...

Keystone XL demonstration

In the first major vote in the House during the current lame duck session, on Friday a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline passed by a vote of 252-161. In an ironic twist, the bill — the ninth one approving Keystone — was sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy, the Louisiana Republican facing Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu in a runoff election on December 6. Landrieu has been moving heaven and earth in the Senate to approve Keystone in an attempt to salvage her career.

Said Cassidy:

Here we are on the ninth attempt. It has been 539 days, about a year and a half, since the House first sent a Keystone approval bill to the Senate in this Congress. We are going to make it as easy as possible for the Senate to finally get a bill to president’s desk.

And there it will die, if it makes it that far, as President Obama has repeatedly stated. Which raises the question:

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Fracking Mythbusters

This is the second of two articles on fracking that will appear shortly in the print edition of The New American magazine:

Myths become reality only when they are left unchallenged. There are so many myths, half-truths, misstatements, and distortions about the issue of fracking that one scarcely knows where to begin. The most egregious is the falsehood that “you can light your tap water on fire because of fracking.”

This canard first saw the light of day in Gasland, a propaganda piece produced by Josh Fox (pictured below) and funded and supported by various extremist members and groups affiliated with the environmental movement. Early in the film, Fox showed a flaming faucet belonging to Weld County, Colorado, homeowner Mike Markham. In that segment, when a lighted match touched water flowing from his kitchen faucet, it virtually exploded into flame.

Not mentioned in that sequence, however, was that Markham knew about his flaming faucet well before Fox showed up on his doorstep with his cameramen and that he also knew that

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Fracking Boom and the Development of America’s Energy Resources

This article will appear as the cover story in the next issue of The New American print magazine:

Travis Wright’s first impressions of Williston, North Dakota, in January 2012 remain vivid. It was bitter cold and the Walmart parking lot was filled to overflowing with campers and RVs whose owners were using them as de facto homes while working in the oil fields. Once inside Walmart, Travis discovered pallets of goods blocking the aisles as the understaffed nighttime crew of stockers simply couldn’t keep up with demand. He quickly learned to do his shopping in the middle of the night when the lines were only 30 minutes long. He learned later that this Walmart in Williston was the highest-grossing one in North America. The local economy was booming to such an extent that even paying $17 an hour for entry-level jobs, store officials couldn’t find enough employees to work for that amount.

Travis — at 6′6″ and 280 pounds, his friends called him Big ‘Un — was also astonished to learn

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51 OECD Countries Sign Tax Evasion Treaty

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 3, 2014: 

Last Wednesday’s agreement among 51 countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Berlin to share tax information across borders in a continuing effort to crack down on tax evasion was announced with great excitement but precious little logic.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the group at a meeting entitled the “Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes” that the agreement is “a joint contribution to more transparency and fairness in our globalized 21st century.” Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne added, “Tax evasion is not just illegal, it is immoral. You are robbing from your fellow citizens and you should be treated like a common thief.” Said Osborne, the new treaty “strikes a blow on behalf of hard-working taxpayers.”

A careful look reveals that the new treaty in fact is designed to benefit tax collectors, not taxpayers.

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More Doctors Refusing ObamaCare Patients

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 3, 2014: 

South Florida resident Miranda Childe finally found an ObamaCare plan she could afford, thanks to a subsidy from the government. But when she tried to use it, she found that doctors — even those on the plan’s network — wouldn’t see her. She stated,

I just felt that I wasn’t being treated like a first-class citizen. Nobody, I don’t care what kind of degrees they have, should ever be treated that way.

Welcome, Miranda, to the world of socialized medicine, a world where

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Tax Avoiders Performing a Public Service

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 3, 2014: 

English: Judge Learned Hand, circa 1910. Franç...

Judge Learned Hand, circa 1910.

In his letter to the Washington Post on Saturday, libertarian economist Donald Boudreaux unwittingly exposed the logical fallacy behind the OECD’s (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) new “tax evasion” treaty: they really think they can help the little taxpayer by increasing the collection of taxes on the evaders. Wrote Boudreaux:

Consider the U.S.: in 31 of the 67 post-war years from 1946 to 2013, Uncle Sam’s budget deficit rose … when his tax receipts increased.

This fact means that Uncle Sam almost as often as not responds to each dollar of additional tax revenue by increasing his spending by more than a dollar – thus imposing a heavier tax burden on future taxpayers.

In other words, tax avoiders (not evaders) are performing a public service by doing what they can to reduce government revenues which constrain government spending.

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Food Police Targeting Sugar Just in Time for Halloween

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 31, 2014:

Joe Helm’s exposé on the food police’s next target — candy — enraged Fred Smith, a self-admitted sugarholic who saw immediately what the food police are after: control. Helms, for his article in the October 24 Washington Post, tracked down the chief of the food police, Margo Wootan (pictured above), director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), who told him:

Governments are deciding that it really doesn’t make sense for them to have obesity campaigns, which are often high-profile and a big priority, and then you walk into the health department or any public building and they have these vending machines that are chock-full of candy and soda and chips.

Being fully persuaded that government has the right, and the power, to do something about this awful contradiction — people ignoring government’s plea to do the right thing and stay away from fatty foods — Wootan believes government should use force to get its way, rather than persuasion: 

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gets a “B” from Cato

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 29, 2014:

In a remarkable display of pure unadulterated pragmatism, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law in 2014 an unheralded tax reform bill that has won approval from two conservative think tanks: the Cato Institute and the Tax Foundation. In Cato’s “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors” released earlier this month, the authors were positively ecstatic about him:

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OPEC’s Hegemony is over

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 27, 2014:

English: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Tim Treadgold, a Forbes contributor who watches the world’s energy markets, decided to break the journalist’s unspoken rule: never forecast the demise of an individual (or an institution) until he is holding the coroner’s report (or bankruptcy judgment) in his hand:

At grave risk of committing [that] cardinal sin … this time it might be different because OPEC is steadily losing control of the oil market….

The irony, he said, was staggering:

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The Inevitable Demise of the OPEC Cartel

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, October 26, 2014: 

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

Flag of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

Following the death of Total SA’s CEO, Christophe de Margerie, on October 20, OPEC sent this letter to the board of the multinational oil and gas company expressing sorrow over the loss:

It is with the deepest regret that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) learned of the tragic death of Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and Chief Executive Office of French oil major, Total SA, who died when his corporate jet struck a snow plough on a runway at Moscow’s Ynukovo airport late on Monday 20 October.

Missing from the letter was any mention of the demise of OPEC, which has been slowly imploding for years. Recent events have significantly speeded up the process, which

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CBO’s Funny Math

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 22, 2014:

National debt clock

National debt clock

The Congressional Budget Office’s August update to the federal budget and outlook for the next 10 years released last week was so filled with questionable assumptions as to make their conclusions completely unrealistic. As expected, the mainstream media focused only on the parts of the report that fed and supported their worldview. For instance, the CBO said that revenues were expected to increase by about 8% over last year to a world record $3 trillion, thanks to increases in individual income taxes, payroll taxes, and corporate income taxes.

This was understood by the White House and establishment economists to

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Safety Records Show Pipelines Best Method for Transporting Oil

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 20, 2014:

The combination of the Obama administration’s intransigence in approving the Keystone XL pipeline and the exponential explosion in the production of crude oil, especially from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, has put increasing pressure on alternative modes of transportation to get that crude to refineries and customers. But with the increasing use of alternative modes such as barges, rail cars, and over-the-road tanker trucks has come a growing concern about safety.

A series of rail accidents over the last several years has caught the attention of the Department of Transportation, and CNBC has tried its best to question the viability of oil transport safety. Since 2008, at least 10 incidents involving freight trains hauling crude across North America have spilled almost

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The Keystone Pipeline Delay: Killing People; Saving the Environment

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 20, 2014:

Some contend that the Keystone pipeline delay is having consequences that were intended from the beginning. Others contend that those urging the president to delay approval of Keystone weren’t smart enough to anticipate the negative consequences that delay is having.

But there they are, nevertheless. In an ironic coincidence, the Manhattan Institute published its report claiming that pipelines are far safer for the transportation of oil and gas than railroads in June 2013, the same month of the tragic

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National Debt to be $27 Trillion in 10 Years, Says the CBO

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 16, 2014: 

English:

There was something for everyone in the release last week by the Congressional Budget Office of its August update and outlook. The federal government’s revenues are expected to top $3 trillion this year for the first time in history, thanks to individual income taxes rising by six percent, payroll taxes by eight percent, and corporate income taxes by 15 percent. Those infatuated with big government are celebrating the event as a reflection of an improving economy resuscitated by government spending and stimulus programs. Small government advocates, on the other hand,

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Canada’s Energy East Pipeline to make the Keystone XL Pipeline Irrelevant

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 15, 2014:

Keystone XL demonstration, White House,8-23-20...

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper must not have been happy following receipt of a phone call from President Obama on November 10, 2011, telling him that he was going to put the Keystone XL pipeline approval on hold. Obama no doubt claimed that the pending environmental lawsuit in Nebraska gave him plausible deniability in delaying his approval.

An immense part of the Bakken shale formation is under Canadian soil, and Harper was hoping that its development would continue to strengthen Canada’s economy. Estimated at up to some 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil, the Bakken formation is one of the top two or three largest oil discoveries in history. Not only was Obama’s call a reflection of his pandering to his environmentalist supporters, it also, no doubt, infuriated Harper that a foreigner

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Canadian Workaround to Make Keystone Pipeline Irrelevant

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 14, 2014:

Within days of President Obama’s surprise phone call on November 10, 2011 to Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper telling him that he was going to put approval of the Keystone XL pipeline on interminable hold, Frank McKenna, the former Canadian ambassador to the United States, said: “The best way to get Keystone XL built is to make it irrelevant.”

What’s nearly approved is the plan to send the crude oil that’s pouring out of the Bakken formation at the Keystone Hardisty terminal in Alberta coursing through an underused natural gas pipeline stretching from Hardisty to Québec. From there it’s a relatively short hop to New Brunswick’s Irving oil refinery, where the refined product will easily and efficiently find its way to thirsty countries such as India. The beauty is that, as investigative journalists writing in the Montréal Gazette last week expressed it:

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OPEC Continues to Unravel

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 13, 2014:

With oil production from the Bakken formation in North Dakota now exceeding one million barrels a day and the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin oil fields in Texas producing more than three million barrels per day, prices for crude are dropping worldwide and pushing gasoline prices down along with them.

Crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange hit a 52-week low of $83.59 a barrel last Friday, while Lundberg just reported average prices for gasoline across the country have dropped to $3.26 per gallon. As recently as May 2, gas in the United States cost $3.72 a gallon.

In response to these falling prices, Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, earlier this summer

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.