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Antonius Aquinas

Antonius Aquinas

Antonius Aquinas is a contributor to Acting Man, Zero Hedge, Lew Rockwell Market Oracle

Articles by Antonius Aquinas

A Look Back at Nixon’s Infamous Monetary Policy Decision

August 17, 2021

Putting the World on a Paper Standard
Half a century ago one of the most disastrous monetary policy decisions in US history was committed by Richard Nixon.  In a television address, the president declared that the nation would no longer redeem internationally dollars for gold.  Since the dollar was the world’s reserve currency, Nixon’s closing of the “Gold Window” put the world on an irredeemable paper monetary standard.
The ramifications of the act reverberate to this very day.  America’s current financial mess, budget deficits, the reoccurring booms and busts, the decline of living standards (particularly the middle class), all have their genesis with Nixon’s infamous decision in August, 1971.
Richard Nixon during his televised speech on the “temporary”

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The Gold Standard: Protector of Individual Liberty and Economic Prosperity

October 13, 2018

A Piece of Paper Alone Cannot Secure Liberty
The idea of a constitution and/or written legislation to secure individual rights so beloved by conservatives and among many libertarians has proven to be a myth. The US Constitution and all those that have been written and ratified in its wake throughout the world have done little to protect individual liberties or keep a check on State largesse.
Sound money vs. a piece of paper – which is the better guarantor of liberty? [PT]
Instead, in the American case, the Constitution created a powerful central government which eliminated much of the sovereignty and independence that the individual states possessed under the Articles of Confederation.
While the US Constitution

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The Fed’s “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers

June 21, 2018

Redefined Terms and Absurd Targets
At one time, the Federal Reserve’s sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently does not see the pernicious effects of inflation (at least he seems to be looking around… [PT]) Photo credit: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg
Naturally, the Fed and all other central bankers prefer the definition of inflation as a rise in prices which insidiously hides the fact that they, being the

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Is Political Decentralization the Only Hope for Western Civilization?

May 25, 2018

Voting with their Feet
A couple of recent articles have once more made the case, at least implicitly, for political decentralization as the only viable path which will begin to solve the seemingly insurmountable political, economic, and social crises which the Western world now faces.

Fracture lines – tax and regulatory competition allows people to “vote with their feet” – and they certainly do. – Click to enlarge
In the last few months, over 3,000 millionaires have fled the hopelessly corrupt and bankrupt state of Illinois.  When asked, 47% of Illinoisans would like to leave the state which, over the last decade, has seen over a half million of its residents flee.  Naturally, this exodus has exacerbated the Land

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“Strong Dollar”, “Weak Dollar” – What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?

February 10, 2018

Contradictory Palaver
The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronouncements and reversals which will take place in the coming months and years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised.  So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.

A modern-day reenactment of the famous “our currency, your problem” play that went over so extremely well in the 1970s… – Click to enlarge
The brief firestorm was set off by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who said in response to the dollar’s recent slide:

“Obviously,

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What President Trump and the West Can Learn from China

November 16, 2017

Expensive Politics
Instead of a demonstration of its overwhelming military might intended to intimidate tiny North Korea and pressure China to lean on its defiant communist neighbor, President Trump and the West should try to learn a few things from China.

Photo credit: AP – Click to enlarge
President Trump meets President Xi. The POTUS reportedly had a very good time in China.
The President’s trip to the Far East came on the heels of the completion of China’s 19th National Congress, where the current president Xi Jinping has cunningly positioned himself as China’s unchallenged leader.  In an address at the opening of the Congress, Xi cautioned that the country faced “challenges” that are “extremely grim” yet,

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Donald Trump: Warmonger-in-Chief

October 11, 2017

Cryptic Pronouncements
If a world conflagration, God forbid, should break out during the Trump Administration, its genesis will not be too hard to discover: the thin-skinned, immature, shallow, doofus who currently resides in the Oval Office!

The commander-in-chief – a potential source of radiation? – Click to enlarge
This past week, the Donald has continued his bellicose talk with both veiled and explicit threats against purported American adversaries throughout the world.  In a cryptic exchange with reporters during a dinner with military leaders, he quipped:

You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.  It could be the calm… before… the storm.*

A reporter asked if he meant Iran

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Christopher Columbus and the Falsification of History

September 9, 2017

Crazed Decision
The Los Angeles City Council’s recent, crazed decision* to replace Christopher Columbus Day with one celebrating “indigenous peoples” can be traced to the falsification of history and denigration of European man which began in earnest in the 1960s throughout the educational establishment (from grade school through the universities), book publishing, and the print and electronic media.

Christopher Columbus at the Court of the Catholic Monarchs (a painting by Juan Cordero).  – Click to enlarge
Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa in Italy, but made his exploration voyages (four in all) under the auspices of the Spanish crown. In 1492, just after Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain had reconquered

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The Student Loan Bubble and Economic Collapse

July 25, 2017

The Looming Last Gasp of Indoctrination?
The inevitable collapse of the student loan “market” and with it the take-down of many higher educational institutions will be one of the happiest and much needed events to look forward to in the coming months/years.  Whether the student loan bubble bursts on its own or implodes due to a general economic collapse, does not matter as long as higher education is dealt a death blow and can no longer be a conduit of socialist and egalitarian nonsense for the inculcation of young minds.

Complain… declare bankruptcy… think for food… occupy… Decisions, decisions – Click to enlarge
The perilous condition of the student loan sector can be seen by looking at a few ominous pieces of

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On the Commemoration of World War I: From Woodrow Wilson to Donald Trump

April 22, 2017

A Disastrous Decision
It is altogether fitting that the US attack on a Syrian airport, the dropping of a MOAB on defenseless Afghanistan, and the potential outbreak of nuclear war with North Korea have all come in the very month in which an American president led the nation on its road to empire one hundred years earlier.
President Trump’s aggressive actions and all of America’s previous imperialistic endeavors can ultimately be traced to Woodrow Wilson’s disastrous decision to bring the country into the First World War on April 6, 1917. This month, therefore, should be one of national mourning for the decision to enter that horrific conflict changed America and, for that matter, the world for the worse.

Donald Trump and Woodrow Wilson, who waged “The War to End All Wars” – which turned out to be such a glaring misnomer that it will stand forever as an example of the deceitfulness of war propaganda. Donald Trump wants to save incubator babies or something… – Click to enlarge
Had the US remained neutral, the war would most likely have come to a far quicker and more politically palatable conclusion. However, the entry of America on the Entente side prolonged the conflict and extended its economic and political destruction to such a degree that the Old Order could not be put back together again.

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The Cost of a Trump Presidency

April 13, 2017

Opportunity Cost Rears its Head
Last Thursday’s wanton attack on a Syrian air field by the US and its bellicose actions toward North Korea have brought the real cost of candidate Trump’s landslide victory last November to the forefront.

It didn’t take long for Donald Trump to drop his non-interventionist mask. The decision was likely driven by Machiavellian considerations with respect to domestic conditions, but that doesn’t make it any better. – Click to enlarge
Unlike most laymen, accountants, and financial analysts, economists look at cost differently.  For economists, cost or more specifically, “opportunity cost,” means “a benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action.  Stated differently, opportunity cost represents an alternative given up when a decision is made.”
Such thinking can be roughly applied to the political realm.  In the case of last fall’s US Presidential election, the cost of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory was not the money spent on the campaign, but the diffusion (hopefully, only temporary) of the growing anti-Establishment groundswell that was percolating not only in America, but across the globe.

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The American Empire and Economic Collapse

April 5, 2017

Dashed Hopes
Despite widespread optimism among libertarians, classical liberals, non-interventionists, progressive peaceniks and everybody else opposed to the US Empire that some of its murderous reins may finally be pulled in with the election of Donald Trump, it appears that these hopes have now been dashed.

Liberty… some of it is still above water, but definitely not as much as there could or should be.* – Click to enlarge
While the hope for a less meddlesome US foreign policy is not completely extinguished and would never have existed had the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua been elected, so far a number of President Trump’s foreign policy actions have been little different from those of his recent predecessors.

Always keep in mind that it ultimately does not matter whether one likes or dislikes Donald Trump, or whether he fulfills anyone’s expectations (naturally, he is fair game for criticism – we want to emphasize something else here). The moment the Democrats decided to nominate the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua as their presidential candidate, citizens with an IQ above room temperature and a healthy survival instinct simply no longer had a choice. If the Republicans had nominated a string-operated talking rag doll, it would still have been every American’s sacred duty to elect it.

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Welcome to Totalitarian America, President Trump!

March 19, 2017

Trump vs. the Deep State
If there had been any doubt that the land of the free and home of the brave is now a totalitarian society, the revelations that its Chief Executive Officer has been spied upon while campaigning for that office and during his brief tenure as president should now be allayed.
President Trump joins the very crowded list of opponents of the American State which includes the Tea Party, tax resistors, non-interventionists, immigration opponents, traditional family advocates, and a host of others who have been spied upon, persecuted and badgered by federal “intelligence” authorities.
While Congress conducted some feeble hearings and investigations of the shenanigans of the US spy agencies during the interminable Obummer Administration, no real action or reform was taken to reign in the eavesdropping and spying by the national security state on American citizens.

Image adapted from the cover of “Deep State #5” – depicting an assassin from the future – Click to enlarge
Hopefully, the surveillance of President Trump will change his outlook on the US “intelligence community” especially in regard to those courageous souls who have spoken out and risked life and limb to alert the public about their rulers’ nefarious activities.

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California, Nestle and Decentralization

February 24, 2017

Goodbye, Socialist Paradise
Nestle USA has announced that it will move its headquarters from Glendale, California, to Rosslyn, Virginia, taking with it about 1200 jobs.  The once Golden State has lost some 1690 businesses since 2008 and a net outflow of a million of mostly middle-class people from the state from 2004 to 2013 due to its onerous tax rates, the oppressive regulatory burden, and the genuine kookiness which pervades among its ruling elites.*

There has been a remarkable reversal of flow of people and businesses – but California’s ruling elite seemingly remains utterly clueless as to why this is happening and/or doesn’t seem to care. When people and businesses flee from such a well-developed region with such a favorable climate, one should realize that something is probably very wrong. Here is a link to a comprehensive study of the flight of businesses and a million middle class people (net) since 2008 (PDF).

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Donald and the Dollar

January 20, 2017

No Country Can be Made Great by Devaluation
John Connally, President Nixon’s Secretary of the Treasury, once remarked to the consternation of Europe’s financial elites over America’s inflationary monetary policy, that the dollar “is our currency, but your problem.”  Times have certainly changed and it now appears that the dollar has become an American problem.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, the soon to be 45th President of the United States believes that the greenback’s strength – up some 25% against a broad basket of currencies since 2014 – is now “too strong,” “killing us,” and has hurt companies trying to compete overseas.*

Richard Nixon and his treasury secretary John Connally. The latter is today mainly remembered for his remark on the dollar, which presumably gave European finance ministers a few nightmares at the time. Nixon defaulted on the gold exchange standard in 1971, which effectively ended the Bretton Woods agreement and led to the whole world adopting a fiat money standard. Nixon’s announcement of the default stands to this day as a textbook example of government lies and hypocrisy, garnished with a more than generous helping of economic illiteracy.

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Fidel Castro and the American Empire

November 30, 2016

A Brutal Communist Dictator Shuffles Off This Mortal Coil
The death of the brutal Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro closes the door, in some respect, on another disastrous page in US foreign policy history.  For all the denunciations and criticism of Castro from conservative elements and exiled Cubans, his despotic rule was the outcome of decades of American imperialism which began with President William McKinley’s infamous decision to wage war on hapless Spain in 1898.
Fidel Castro, the long-time Marxist dictator of Cuba. Not surprisingly, he was another finger-wagger. When he graced the cover of TIME magazine in 1965, he was shown wagging his finger as well, a tradition he kept up until shortly before his demise (similar to many other communist rulers, he loved to give nigh interminable speeches, a special form of torture for those forced to sit through them and applaud at the appropriate moments). Castro replaced the Batista regime, also an oppressive and corrupt regime, but of the military junta type – which the US supported. Communists like Castro came to be widely seen as the vanguard in the fight against imperialism, especially among Western youth in the 1960s.

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Donald, the “Maestro” and the Politically Controlled Fed

October 23, 2016

The Crazies
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who was once laudably referred to as “Maestro” for his supposed astute stewardship of U.S. monetary policy, commented last week on the nation’s current political and economic climate:
“We’re not in a stable equilibrium.  I hope we can all find a way out because this too great a country to be undermined, by how should I say it, crazies.”*

Help! The crazies are coming! And the Russians too, now that we think about it. Best hide under your desks!
Well, if there is anyone who knows how to “undermine” an economy, it is the Maestro, since it was his “crazed” policies that brought about the 2008 financial crisis which ushered in the Great Recession that continues to this very day.
In a demonstration of how truly clueless Greenspan is about economic conditions, he cautioned that the U.S. is “headed toward stagflation – a combination of weak demand and elevated inflation.”
Memo to the Maestro: stagflation is already here and has been for quite a while, especially when real economic gauges are used instead of the phony baloney numbers routinely lied about by the BLS and other corrupt state agencies.

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Donald’s Electoral Struggle

September 29, 2016

Wicked and Terrible
After touting her pro-labor union record, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua rhetorically asked, “why am I not 50 points ahead?”  Her chief rival bluntly responded: “because you’re terrible.”*  No truer words have been uttered by any of the candidates about one of their opponents since the start of this extraordinary presidential campaign!

Electoral map, Donald Trump(see more posts on Donald Trump, )Electoral map (note that the coloration may no longer be applicable…) – Click to enlarge
That Hillary Clinton is even remotely competitive in the race despite her flagrant and undeniable corruption, numerous breaches of national security, a long incompetent and bungling political career, and the utter lack of any personal charm or charisma, points to ominous trends within the American electorate that if not checked will mean political futility for future challengers of the status quo and continued economic deterioration.
Simply put: Killary is in contention despite a mountain of negatives because the “dependency class” of the electorate has mushroomed to such an extent that anyone who seeks its reform is automatically at a disadvantage, while candidates, no matter how vile, who promise to keep the gravy train rolling or expand it, will remain viable.

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Donald’s Electoral Struggle

September 29, 2016

Wicked and Terrible
After touting her pro-labor union record, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua rhetorically asked, “why am I not 50 points ahead?”  Her chief rival bluntly responded: “because you’re terrible.”*  No truer words have been uttered by any of the candidates about one of their opponents since the start of this extraordinary presidential campaign!

Electoral map, Donald Trump(see more posts on Donald Trump, )Electoral map (note that the coloration may no longer be applicable…)
That Hillary Clinton is even remotely competitive in the race despite her flagrant and undeniable corruption, numerous breaches of national security, a long incompetent and bungling political career, and the utter lack of any personal charm or charisma, points to ominous trends within the American electorate that if not checked will mean political futility for future challengers of the status quo and continued economic deterioration.
Simply put: Killary is in contention despite a mountain of negatives because the “dependency class” of the electorate has mushroomed to such an extent that anyone who seeks its reform is automatically at a disadvantage, while candidates, no matter how vile, who promise to keep the gravy train rolling or expand it, will remain viable.  This is the dilemma that Donald Trump faces.

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The Donald Versus Killary: War or Peace?

September 18, 2016

[unable to retrieve full-text content]War: A Warning from the Past. Although history does not exactly repeat itself, it does provide parallels and sometimes quite ominous ones. Such is the case with the current U.S. Presidential election and the one which occurred one hundred years earlier.

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John Maynard Keynes’ General Theory Eighty Years Later

September 5, 2016

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The “Scientific” Fig Leaf for Statism and Interventionism. To the economic and political detriment of the Western world and those economies beyond which have adopted its precepts, 2016 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of one of, if not, the most influential economics books ever penned, John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

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Don’t Expect a Return to a Gold Standard Any Time Soon

August 22, 2016

Lies and Distortions
Despite trillions of paper currency units poured into the world economies since the start of the financial crisis, there has been no recovery, in fact, all legitimate indicators have shown worsening conditions except, of course, for the pocketbooks of the politically – connected financial elites.

Economy is “Recovering” at its Slowest Pace Since WW2
A comparison of average annual GDP growth in different time periods since 1949. The last bar shows Q2 2016, the one before it the time period 2009 – 2016. In this time period, the by far biggest fiscal and monetary stimulus of the entire post WW2 era was applied. Obviously, it hasn’t worked as advertised. Growth wasn’t so weak in spite of, but because of these policies (keep in mind that “measuring” aggregate growth in an inflationary system is even more flawed than it would otherwise be).
Yet, despite the utter failure of the current money and banking paradigm to resolve the situation, the chance of a return to a commodity based monetary order is highly unlikely especially when one looks at the anti-gold bias found in typical college economics textbooks.
Macroeconomics: Principles, Problems and Policies by McConnell, Brue and Flynn is a leading introductory level college text which has been through, to date, some 20 editions.

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Jailing Banksters Will Not Resolve the Economic Crisis

August 4, 2016

Meet the Scapegoats
Last week, an Irish court sentenced three prominent banksters for their roles in the 2008 financial crisis.  Judge Martin Nolan, who pronounced judgment, said that the bansksters had committed “a very serious crime.”  He continued:
“The public is entitled to rely on the probity of blue chip firms. If we can’t rely on the probity of these banks we lose all hope or trust in institutions.”*
Meet the scapegoats! Three Irish bankers sent to jail: former finance director at the failed Anglo Irish Bank, Willie McAteer (42 months); former Irish Life and Permanent Bank Chief Executive Denis Casey (33 months); and former head of capital markets at the Anglo Irish Bank, John Bowe (24 months). This may very well be a case of going to jail for stupidity. They were doing the bidding of regulators, in the erroneous belief that they wouldn’t throw them under the bus when push came to shove. The three had engaged in a scheme of pushing money around in circular fashion in order to make Anglo Irish Bank look healthier than it was. However, as the defense noted: they reacted to the what Irish regulators told them at the time, who demanded that “Irish banks support one another as the financial crisis worsened, in a program called the green jersey agenda.

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The Gold Standard: Friend of the Middle Class

July 7, 2016

A Morally and Economically Superior Monetary System
It has been theoretically demonstrated and seen in general practice that a monetary system of 100% metallic money devoid of central banking checks monetary inflation, prevents a general rise in the price level, and eliminates the dreaded business cycle while making all sorts of monetary mischief nearly impossible.
A gold standard is not only economically superior to any paper money scheme, but is morally just, which is why it is hated by the politically well-connected, academics, politicians, and the rest of the Establishment.
Often not discussed, however, even by its proponents is the beneficial effect that “hard money” has for the middle class.
It is not a coincidence that since the U.S. left the last vestiges of the gold standard in 1971with President Nixon’s nefarious decision to no longer redeem international central bank payments in gold, real wages for Americans have stagnated.
Nixon’s decision to put the nation on an irredeemable paper money standard set it on a course of economic ruination, which is why he should have been hounded from office not for his role in the bungled, petty cover up at the Watergate.

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A Morally Sound Tax Reform Proposal

April 19, 2016

The Oppressed U.S. Taxpayer
This year, Americans’ day of tribute to their federal overlords falls on April 18.  As calculated by the Tax Foundation, the average American will work from January 1 to April 24 (Tax Freedom Day) to pay his share of taxes to all levels of government with some $3.3 trillion to be forked over to the federal government and $1.6 trillion to state and local jurisdictions. [1]

Image via forbes.com

While any talk of tax cuts are verboten on the Democratic side of the presidential campaign, the remaining Republican contenders have offered their views on the matter suggesting a flat tax, reduction in corporate tax rates, and a call for the consolidation of the current tax bracket from seven to four. [2]

Most of these and their variations have been trumpeted before and even if enacted would not permanently undo the crushing tax burden or prevent rates from escalating to even more confiscatory heights.
If real and lasting tax relief is ever going to come, a more fundamental alteration of tax policy needs to be taken, which has not been suggested by any of the presidential contenders, but had once been an integral part of the nation’s political thought.
One of America’s most neglected political theorists of the 19th century was South Carolina statesman John C. Calhoun, who wrote the important treatise, A Disquisition on Government.

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