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Ryan McMaken



Articles by Ryan McMaken

Ending Fiat Money Won’t Destroy the State

8 days ago

A certain meme has become popular among advocates of both gold and cryptocurrencies. This is the “Fix the money, fix the world” meme. This slogan is based on the idea that by switching to some commodity money—be it crypto or metal—and abandoning fiat currency, the world will improve greatly.
Taken in its moderate form, of course, this slogan is indisputably correct. State-controlled money is immoral, dangerous, and impoverishing. It paves the way for government theft of private wealth through the inflation tax, and thus allows the state to do more of what it does best: wage wars, kill, imprison, steal, and enrich the friends of the regime at the expense of everyone else. Privatizing the monetary system and imposing a “separation of money and state” would help

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Why Did the World Choose a Gold Standard Instead of a Silver Standard?

11 days ago

Among those who support the end of government fiat money, it’s not uncommon to hear and see claims that gold is “the best money” or “natural money” or the only substance that’s really suited to be commodity money. In many of these cases, when they say “gold” they mean gold, and not silver, platinum, or any other precious metal.
Naturally, one can expect to encounter these claims among those who have made a living out of promoting gold and gold-related investments for commercial purposes.
For example, consider Nathan Lewis’s 2020 article at Forbes titled “Gold Has Always Been the Best Money.” Lewis contends that gold and not silver is obviously the best money and that its adoption as the metal behind the nineteenth-century gold standard was more or less inevitable

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Life Expectancy in 2020 Fell 2.3 Percent to 77 Years. Does This Justify the Covid Panic?

22 days ago

According to a new report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control, the life expectancy at birth in the United States fell to 77.0 iyears n 2020, falling from 2019’s life expectancy of 78.8 years. The report also noted an increase of mortality with age-adjusted mortality in the US rising from 715.2 per 100,000 in 2019 to 836.4 per 100,000 in 2020.
Media reporting on the CDC’s report provide a variety of statistics on one-year percentage changes, no doubt with an eye toward maximizing the perceived effect of covid-19 on American health.  But what are the trends when we look at these numbers in the larger context? That is, just how much has life expectancy and mortality swung from what we’ve experienced in recent decades?  A closer look at these numbers

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How the Classical Gold Standard Fueled the Rise of the State

December 17, 2021

Throughout much of the past century, the idea of a gold standard for national currencies has been routinely linked with laissez-faire economics and “classical liberalism”—also known as “libertarianism.” It’s not difficult to see why. During the second half of the nineteenth century—as free-market liberalism was especially influential in much of Western Europe—it was the liberals who pushed for the adoption of the system we now know as the classical gold standard (CGS), which reigned supreme in Europe from approximately 1870 to 1914.
The liberals pushed for this change at the time for several reasons. The liberals believed that the CGS would facilitate globalization and international trade while reducing so-called transaction costs. The CGS also created a more

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Using the Welfare State to Get Compliance on Vaccine Mandates

December 15, 2021

A Democratic state lawmaker in Illinois has introduced legislation requiring unvaccinated residents to pay out-of-pocket for healthcare services. It’s all part of an effort to come up with new and creative ways to punish people who refuse to get the covid jab. WBBM Radio in Chicago reports:
[Jonathan] Carroll’s legislation would amend the state’s insurance code so that “a person who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and chooses not to be vaccinated shall pay for health care expenses out-of-pocket if the person becomes hospitalized because of COVID-19 symptoms.”
In other words, Carroll is trying to ensure that the unvaccinated will be denied health insurance for covid treatments, even in cases where private insurance is already bought and paid for.

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How Governments Seized Control of Money

December 4, 2021

In discussions surrounding of the world’s monetary systems today there is usually one thing almost everyone can agree on: that money should be controlled by the organizations we call “states” or “sovereign states.” Nowadays when we say “the US dollar” we mean the currency issued by the US government. When we say “the British pound” we mean the money issued by the regime of the United Kingdom.
This assumed need to have state-issued money has not always been the reality, of course. Indeed, the history of the rise of the state is a history replete with efforts by states to replace private-sector money with state-controlled money.
The reasons for this are numerous. Control of the money supply—usually complemented by intervention in the financial sector—allows states

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With Low Vaccination Rates, Africa’s Covid Deaths Remain Far below Europe and the US

November 27, 2021

Since the very beginning of the covid panic, the narrative has been this: implement severe lockdowns or your population will experience a bloodbath. Morgues will be overwhelmed, the death total toll will be astounding. On the other hand, we were assured those jurisdictions that do lock down would see only a fraction of the death toll.
Then, once vaccines became available, the narrative was modified to “Get shots in arms and then covid will stop spreading. Those countries without vaccines, on the other hand, will continue to face mass casualties.”
The lockdown narrative, of course, has already been thoroughly overturned. Jurisdictions that did not lock down or adopted only weak and short lockdowns ended up with covid death tolls that were either similar to—or even

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Homicide Rates in 2020 Rose to a 24-Year High. Is This a Crisis of State Legitimacy?

November 18, 2021

By mid 2020, it was already becoming clear that the United States was experiencing a spike in crime. Indeed, by midyear, numerous media outlets were already reporting remarkably large increases in homicide in a number of cities. It was clear that if then-current trends continued, homicide rates in the United States would reach levels not seen in over a decade.
With full-year data for 2020 now available from the FBI’s Crime in the USA report, we can see that those predictions were right. According to the report, the homicide rate in the United States rose to 6.5 per 100,000 in 2020, which is the highest rate reported since 1997—a 24 year high.
Moreover the increase from 2019 to 2020 was one of the largest increases the US has experienced in ninety years.
For

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Employer Vaccine Mandates: When the Feds Pay the Piper, They Call the Tune

November 15, 2021

Vaccine mandates are much easier to enforce thanks to the spread of government spending, government contracting, and monopolized government services.

Original Article: “Employer Vaccine Mandates: When the Feds Pay the Piper, They Call the Tune​”

Advocates for vaccine mandates—led by the Biden administration—are apparently unconcerned that the mandates are likely to drive down total employment and reduce access to government services. In many cases these are the same services that mandate-pushing politicians have always insisted are utterly “critical” and must be expanded. Instead, the party is taking the position that the drive for vaccination must be placed before all other values in society, including public safety and employment for working-class

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Price Inflation Hits a 31-Year High as Janet Yellen Insists It’s No Big Deal

November 11, 2021

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday morning that prices rose 6.2% on a year-over-year basis in October. That’s the highest YOY rate since December 1990 when the CPI was also up 6.2 percent.
October’s rate was up from 5.3 percent in September, and remains part of a surge in the index since February 2021 when year-over-year growth was still muted at 1.6 percent.
Not surprisingly, producer prices surged in October as well. The producer price index for commodities in October was up 22.2 percent, year over year, reaching a 48-year high. We must go back to November 1974 to find a higher PPI increase—at 23.4 percent.
Asset price inflation has naturally continued unabated at well, with the result being rising housing costs. In addition to the CPI’s 31-year

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There’s Nothing Hawkish About the Fed’s New Tapering Plan

November 7, 2021

The Federal Reserve concluded its November Meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday.
According to the FOMC’s statement, the Fed now plans to taper beginning in mid-November by cutting back its asset purchases by 10 billion in Treasury securities and 5 billion in mortgage-backed securities. Right now, the Fed buys $80 billion in Treasuries and $40 billion in housing-backed securities each month. So, according to the FOMC statement:
Beginning later this month, the Committee will increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $70 billion per month and of agency mortgage‑backed securities by at least $35 billion per month.
The Fed also claims it will further decrease asset purchases in December and thus “will increase its holdings of

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Employer Vaccine Mandates: When the Feds Pay the Piper, they Call the Tune

November 6, 2021

Advocates for vaccine mandates—led by the Biden Administration—are apparently unconcerned that the mandates are likely to drive down total employment and reduce access to government services. In many cases these are the same services that mandate-pushing politicians have always insisted are utterly “critical” and must be expanded. Instead, the party is taking the position that the drive for vaccination must be placed before all other values in society, including public safety and employment for working class Americans.
The whole affair helps illustrate, yet again, the problem of allowing the state to have a monopoly on services like fire protection. These are services that can be (and have been) canceled or reduced for political purposes. Mandates also show the

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Age-Adjusted Mortality Is at 2004 Levels. Yet They Tell Us Covid Is Worse Than the 1918 Flu.

October 11, 2021

Last week, the media again tried to ratchet up the public’s fear over covid-19 by labeling it more deadly than the 1918 flu epidemic. “COVID-19 Is Now the Deadliest Disease in U.S. History,” reads one headline from an NBC TV affiliate. Considering the realities of cancer and heart disease, that headline is absurdly false. Perhaps the author meant “communicable disease.” A TIME headline was at least arguably factual, declaring, “COVID-19 Is Now the Deadliest Pandemic in American History.”
But even the TIME headline is only arguably true if stripped of all context.
If we actually look at disease mortality proportionally to the population, the 1918 epidemic was far worse than covid. Considering that the US population in 1918 was one-third its current size, we find

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Without Lockdowns, Sweden Had Fewer Excess Deaths Than Most of Europe

October 5, 2021

It’s now been more than eighteen months since governments began the new social experiment now known as “lockdowns.” Prior to 2020, forced “social distancing” was generally considered to be too costly in societal terms to justify such a risky experiment.
Yet in 2020, led by health technocrats at the World Health Organization, nearly all national governments in the world suddenly and without precedent embraced the idea of lockdowns.
On the other hand, the Swedish regime rejected the idea.
For this act of iconoclasm, the Swedish government was pilloried by media organizations and non-Swedish government officials worldwide.
The predictions of doom and of a widespread Swedish bloodbath were ubiquitous. Months later, even when it became clear Sweden was not the

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Yes, the US Government Has Defaulted Before

October 2, 2021

The regime is trying to whip up maximum hysteria or the chances that the US government could default on its debts if the debt ceiling is not raised.
So far, the financial markets don’t seem to care that much, as ten-year Treasurys over the past week have barely risen above 1.5 percent, and not even matched last March’s recent high. Investors seem pretty confident that the world will still exist, even after default.
But the media and Democratic politicians assure us that any default will bring about a second Great Depression and financial collapse.
One key component of this strategy is convincing people that the United States has never defaulted before, and has always made good on its financial obligations. This is key because it helps create the impression that

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The Fed Is Bailing Out the Wealthy as Everyone Else Pays the Price

September 18, 2021

The Federal reserve says that inequality is a problem. At the same, the Fed also pretends to have nothing to do with it.
Last September, for instance, Jerome Powell bemoaned the “relative stagnation of income” for people with lower incomes in the United States, but then claimed the Fed “doesn’t have the tools” to address this issue. Instead, Powell, being the chairman of this ostensibly “independent” and “nonpolitical” central bank, called for the federal government to engage in fiscal policy efforts at income redistribution.
Powell, of course, is wrong, and he probably knows he’s wrong. In any case, if the Fed were actually concerned about wealth and income inequality, the Fed would stop doing what it has done over the past decade. It would end its ultralow

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The Fed Is Bailing Out the Wealthy as Everyone Else Pays the Price

September 18, 2021

The Federal reserve says that inequality is a problem. At the same, the Fed also pretends to have nothing to do with it.
Last September, for instance, Jerome Powell bemoaned the “relative stagnation of income” for people with lower incomes in the United States, but then claimed the Fed “doesn’t have the tools” to address this issue. Instead, Powell, being the chairman of this ostensibly “independent” and “nonpolitical” central bank, called for the federal government to engage in fiscal policy efforts at income redistribution.
Powell, of course, is wrong, and he probably knows he’s wrong. In any case, if the Fed were actually concerned about wealth and income inequality, the Fed would stop doing what it has done over the past decade. It would end its ultralow

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Money Supply Growth Dropped in May to a 15-Month Low

July 8, 2021

Money supply growth slowed again in May, falling for the third month in a row, and to a 15-month low. That is,  money supply growth in the US has come down from its unprecedented levels, and if the current trend continues will be returning to more “normal” levels. Yet, even with this slowdown, money-supply growth remains near some of the highest levels recorded in past cycles.
During May 2021, year-over-year (YOY) growth in the money supply was at 15.3 percent. That’s down from April’s rate of 23.1 percent, and down from the May 2020 rate of 29.5 percent. Growth peaked in February 2021 at 39.2 percent.
Historically, the growth rates during most of 2020, and through April of this year, were much higher than anything we’d seen during previous cycles, with the 1970s

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Experts Said Ending Lockdowns Would Be Worse for the Economy than the Lockdowns Themselves. They Were Wrong.

July 5, 2021

Here’s something we often heard in 2020 from experts who wanted long and draconian covid lockdowns: “Yes, these say-at-home orders are causing economic turmoil, but if you don’t lock everyone down now—and keep them locked down for a long time—your economy will be even worse off!”
The reasoning was that without lockdowns, the covid-19 virus would spread out of control and that as a result, so many people would die—or become so ill—that virtually everyone would become too afraid or too sick to leave his home. We were told widespread economic collapse would then ensue.
As it turns out, there is no indication whatsoever that states with longer periods of lockdown and forced social distancing fared better economically than states that abandoned covid restrictions much

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The Fed: Why Federal Spending Soared in 2020 but State and Local Spending Flatlined

June 28, 2021

In the wake of the Covid Recession and the drive to pour ever larger amounts of “stimulus” into the US economy, the Federal Government in 2020 spent more than double—as a percentage of all government spending—of what all state and local governments spent in 2020, combined.
By the end of 2020, the US’s federal government was spending 68 percent of all government spending in America, while state and local governments spent only 31 percent of all government spending.
More specifically, federal expenditures reached 6.8 trillion for the year while state and local spending reached “only” 2.9 trillion.
This was a sizable change from the decade leading up to 2020 when the federal government’s share of all government spending tended to hover around 60 percent, while state

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The Feds Collect Most of the Taxes in America—So They Have Most of the Power

June 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In 2021, it’s clear Americans now have thrown off any notions of subsidiarity and instead embraced the idea that the federal government should be called upon to fund pretty much anything and everything. From "stimulus checks" to "paycheck protection," it’s assumed an entire national workforce can be propped up by federal spending.

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The Fed Plans to Raise Interest Rates—Years from Now

June 21, 2021

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee voted to continue with a target federal funds rate of 0.25 percent, and to continue with large-scale asset purchases. According to the committee’s press release:
The Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and expects it will be appropriate to maintain this target range until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Committee’s assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time. In addition, the Federal Reserve will continue to increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $80 billion per month and of agency mortgage‑backed securities by

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Decentralization: Why the EU May Be Better than the US

May 30, 2021

Over the years, I’ve been pretty hard on the European Union. Both as an editor and a writer, I’ve published articles criticizing its central bank and its unelected, bureaucratic central government. Especially objectionable is the EU ruling class’s propensity for cynical politics built around threatening and intimidating voters and national governments who don’t conform to Brussels’ wishes.
Recall, for example, how the EU threatened the United Kingdom with retaliatory tariffs and legal action designed to dissuade the British from voting to pull the UK out of the EU.
Many within the EU continue to push petty anti-British policies to this day.
Moreover, the Brussels government has taken steps to force into line various EU member states that don’t conform to EU edicts

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Money-Supply Growth Finally Slows in March, Drops to 10-Month Low

May 18, 2021

After three months in a row of hitting new all-time highs, money supply growth slowed in March, dropping to a 10-month low.  This slowdown, however,  does not suggest any significant departure from the past year’s high growth in money supply—which came in the wake of unprecedented quantitative easing, central bank asset purchases, and various stimulus packages.
During March 2021, year-over-year (YOY) growth in the money supply was at 34.1 percent. That’s down slightly from February’s rate of 39.1 percent, and up from the March 2020 rate of 11.3 percent. March’s data confirms we’re now twelve months in to the current trend of remarkably high money-supply growth.
Historically, the growth rate has never been higher than what we’ve seen over the past year, with the

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The US Government Is On Track to Top Last Year’s Record-Breaking Deficits

May 14, 2021

The Treasury department has issued its spending and revenue report for April 2021, and it’s clear the US government is headed toward another record-breaking year for deficits.
According to the report, the US federal government collected $439.2 billion in revenue during April 2021, which was a sizable improvement over April 2020 and over March 2021. Indeed, April 2021’s revenue total was the largest since July of last year when the federal government collected 563.5 billion following several months of delays on tax filing deadlines beyond the usual April 15 deadline. (Not surprisingly, in most years, April tends to be the federal government’s biggest month for tax collections.)
In spite of April’s haul, however, the federal government managed to spend much more

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Excess Mortality in The US Has Plummeted to Pre-Covid Levels

May 13, 2021

In any given year during the past decade in the United States, more than 2.5 million Americans have died—from all causes. The number has grown in recent years, climbing from 2.59 million in 2013 to 2.85 million in 2019. This has been due partially to the US’s aging population, and also due to rising obesity levels and drug overdoses. In fact, since 2010, growth rates in total deaths has exceeded population growth in every year.
In 2020, preliminary numbers suggest a jump of more than 17 percent in all-cause total deaths, rising from 2.85 million in 2019 to 3.35 million in 2020.
The increase was not all due to covid. At least one-quarter to one-third appear to be from other causes.

Excess Mortality during Covid-19, Jan 2020 – Mar 2021 – Click to enlarge
In

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Not Even Gretchen Whitmer Wants More of the CDC’s Lockdowns

April 23, 2021

The US state with the fastest growing covid-19 caseload is a state that has experienced some of the harshest and longest lockdowns and covid restrictions: Michigan.
As of April 20, the seven-day moving average for new covid cases in Michigan was 790 per million. This is higher than any other US state, and it is several times higher than the case rate for Michigan a year ago. It is comparable to what it was at the beginning of cold and flu seasons last fall, when Whitmer issued orders for a new round of business closures.
In other words, if Whitmer were using the same metrics she was using to justify lockdowns in the past, she absolutely would be imposing very strict lockdowns now. Frankly, the case numbers in Michigan are terrible by the standards of those who use

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State Legislatures Are Finally Limiting Governors’ Emergency Powers. But only Some of Them.

April 13, 2021

Last week, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill that would limit gubernatorial authority in declaring emergencies. The bill would allow the General Assembly to call itself into an emergency session, with the idea that the legislature could then vote to end, or otherwise limit, a governor’s emergency powers. Although both the legislature and the governor’s office are controlled by Republicans, the legislature has apparently wearied of the governor’s repeated renewals of the state’s emergency status in the name of managing the effects of the covid-19 virus.
The legislature could still override the veto. In Indiana, an override requires only a majority vote.
If the legislature does so, it won’t be the first state to override a governor’s veto on this front.

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Biden’s New Budget Plan Means Trump-Era Mega Spending Will Continue

April 11, 2021

The reality of federal spending under Donald Trump did much to put to rest the obviously wrong and long-disproved notion that Republicans are the political party of “fiscal responsibility.” With George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, it was pretty much “full speed ahead” as far as federal spending was concerned. Under George W. Bush, some of the biggest budget-busting years were those during which the Republicans also controlled Congress.
Trump, of course, carried the GOP’s spendthrift tradition far beyond any old levels in dramatic fashion, calling for untrammeled deficit spending, money printing, and a series of multitrillion-dollar bailout and “stimulus” packages.
This time around, there’s little reason to assume the Democrats will depart from the GOP trend. After

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They Said Things Would Be Much Worse in States without Lockdowns. They Were Wrong.

March 20, 2021

Like nearly all US states, Georgia imposed a stay-at-home order in March 2020 in response to demands from public health officials claiming a stay-at-home order would lessen total deaths from covid-19.
But unlike most states, Georgia ended its stay-at-home order after only five weeks, and proceeded to lower other restrictions quickly.
The legacy media responded with furious opposition. For example, an article in The Atlantic declared the end of Georgia’s lockdown to be an “experiment in human sacrifice.” The Guardian approvingly quoted one Georgian who insisted the end of the stay-at-home order was “reckless, premature and dangerous.”
A few weeks later, other states began to end their stay-at-home orders and to end other restrictions as well. Florida was the

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