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Ryan McMaken

Articles by Ryan McMaken

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

7 days ago

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

7 days ago

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

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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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Rothbard Week: 5 Great Things About Murray

March 5, 2021

Ryan McMaken and Tho Bishop discuss five reasons why Rothbard’s work is so memorable. From his fearlessness in the face of opposition, to his commitment to peace and decency, Rothbard provides us with a model of principled scholarship.

Additional Resources
“Nations by Consent”:
Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature, and Other Essays:
“A Strategy for the Right”:
A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II:
An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, Volume 1: Economic Thought Before Adam Smith:
Be sure to follow Radio Rothbard at

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Public Schools Refuse to Open. Give the Taxpayers Their Money Back

March 5, 2021

In many school districts across the nation, public school teachers still don’t want to go back to work. Private sector workers have long been hard at work in kitchens, at construction sites, and in hardware and grocery stores. Meanwhile, from Seattle, to Los Angeles, and to Berkeley, California, Teachers’ Union representatives insist they simply can’t be expected to perform the on-site work in the expensive facilities that the taxpayers have long been paying for.
This week, for example, some schoolteachers in Colorado’s Jefferson County turned out to protest the district’s plan to return to limited in-person learning later this month. These protestors still insist it’s unsafe, even though the very institutions these people have long parroted in favor of endless

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Why Dominion’s Defamation Lawsuits Are Garbage

February 25, 2021

Dominion Voting Systems is suing MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for $1.3 billion. This comes in the wake of other Dominion lawsuits against Trump advisors Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. All are accused of lying about Dominion’s supposed complicity in using the company’s vote-counting software to favor presidential candidate Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
The company claims Lindell’s accusations “have caused irreparable harm to Dominion’s good reputation and threatened the safety of our employees and customers.” In the case of Giuliani, the company claims: “For Dominion—whose business is producing and providing voting systems for elections—there are no accusations [other than Giuliani’s claims of fraud and election fixing] that could do more to damage

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“Weapons of Mass Destruction”: The Last Refuge of the Global Interventionist

February 23, 2021

The threat of “nuclear proliferation” remains one of the great catch-all reasons—the other being “humanitarian” intervention—given for why the US regime and its allies ought to be given unlimited power to invade foreign states and impose sanctions at any given time.
We saw this at work during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was said that nuclear weapons were among the “weapons of mass destruction” being developed or harbored by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Thus, it was “necessary” that the United States invade Iraq and enact regime change.
It is now very clear, of course, that the Bush-Cheney administration was lying and there was no credible evidence that Iraq’s long-defunct nuclear program had been revived.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that

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If America Splits Up, What Happens to the Nukes?

February 18, 2021

Opposition to American secession movements often hinges on the idea that foreign policy concerns trump any notions that the United States ought to be broken up into smaller pieces.
It almost goes without saying that those who subscribe to neoconservative ideology or other highly interventionist foreign policy views treat the idea of political division with alarm or contempt. Or both.
They have a point. It’s likely that were the US to be broken up into smaller pieces, it would be weakened in its ability to act as a global hegemon, invading foreign nations at will, imposing “regime change,” and threatening war with any regime that opposes the whims of the American regime.
For some of us, however, this would be a feature of secession rather than a bug.
Moreover, the

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The Fight over Economics Is a Fight over Culture

February 16, 2021

The Left long ago figured out how to get ordinary people interested in economic policy. The strategy is two pronged. The first part is to frame the problem as a moral problem. The second part is to make the fight over economic policy into a fight over something much bigger than economics: it’s a fight between views of what it means to be a good person. The Left knows how to make the war over economics into a war over culture.
Yet when it comes to economic policy, some opponents of the Left’s economic views—views which are, of course, very wrong—don’t seem to understand the rules of the game. For example, a typical left-wing economic scheme might call for a higher minimum wage, declaring this policy to be a matter of simple decency, and by extension, the moral

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How Wall Street Became an Enemy of Free Markets

February 13, 2021

After decades of financialization and government favors, Wall Street now has little to do with free, functioning markets anymore and has largely become an adjunct of the central bank. Today, entrepreneurship is out, and bailouts are in.

Be sure to follow Radio Rothbard at

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In the Age of Enlightenment, in the years in which the North Americans founded their independence, and a few years later, when the Spanish and Portuguese colonies were transformed into independent nations, the prevailing mood in Western civilization was optimistic.

Weekly SNB Sight Deposits and Speculative Positions: SNB selling

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Why No State Needs Thousands of Nuclear Warheads

February 11, 2021

Last week, the United States signed a five-year extension of the New START arms control treaty with Russia. Russia’s President Putin signed the treaty shortly thereafter. The “Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty” allows Russia and the US to monitor each other’s nuclear forces, facilities, and activities. The idea is to keep track of the relative strength of the two regimes’ respective arsenals and to encourage reductions. The treaty also caps the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550 each. (The total stockpiles for the US and Russia are 4,700 and 4,300, respectively.)
The move is a departure from the Trump administration’s opposition to the treaty. The Trump administration had wanted to renegotiate the treaty, insisting that so-called tactical

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Why the Utes Opposed Biden’s Plans to Limit Oil Drilling

January 28, 2021

Within a day of the inauguration, the Biden administration issues a bevy of new executive orders designed to please a variety of the Democratic Party’s core special-interest groups. Among these was an executive order curtailing oil and gas leasing on federal and tribal lands.
But a problem quickly presented itself: many tribes earn a significant amount of income through oil and gas drilling on their lands. These operations also provide jobs for tribal members. The administration’s new orders would curtail tribal control and instead place decision-making authority over these drilling operations on a handful of federal officials.
Not surprisingly, at least one tribe reacted with alarm to these new federal limits. Reuters reports:
An oil-producing Native American

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Yet Another Study Shows—Yet Again—That Lockdowns Don’t Work

January 22, 2021

Although advocates for covid-19 lockdowns continue to insist that they save lives, actual experience keeps suggesting otherwise.
On a national level, just eyeballing the data makes this clear. Countries that have implemented harsh lockdowns shouldn’t expect to have comparatively lower numbers of covid-19 deaths per million.
In Italy and the United Kingdom, for example, where lockdowns have been repeatedly imposed, death totals per million remain among the worst in the world. Meanwhile, in the United States, states with with the most harsh lockdown rules—such as New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts are among the states with the worst total deaths.
Lockdown advocates, of course, are likely to argue if researchers control for a variety of other variables, then

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When It Comes to National Defense, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

January 19, 2021

In the debate over whether or not China will soon rise to challenge the United States as the world’s hegemon, it is often assumed that states with large aggregate economies are necessarily more militarily powerful ones.
This stems from decades-old methods that remain popular among scholars and pundits who write on international relations and foreign policy.
The theory goes like this: states that rule over economies with a large gross domestic product (GDP) have more access to resources. This means more access to weapons, food, personnel, and a variety of other resources necessary to carry out military operations or project power in the international sphere.
Consequently, theorists in international relations have long used GDP and similar measures—such as the

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The Capitol Riot Wasn’t a Coup. It Wasn’t Even Close.

January 10, 2021

On Wednesday, a mob apparently composed of Trump supporters forced its way past US Capitol security guards and briefly moved unrestrained through much of the capitol building. They displayed virtually no organization and no clear goals.
The only deaths were on the side of the mob, with one woman—apparently unarmed—shot dead by panicky and trigger-happy capitol police, with three others suffering non-specific “medical emergencies.”
Yet, the media response has been to act as if the event constituted a coup d’etat. This was “A Very American Coup” according to a headline at The New Republic. “This is a Coup” insists a writer at Foreign Policy. The Atlantic presented photos purported to be “Scenes From an American Coup.”
But this wasn’t a coup, and what happened on

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Pelosi’s “Mandate”: What “Consent of the Governed” Really Means

December 23, 2020

The 2020 election failed to live up to the projections of many pollsters and Democratic strategists . The predicted landslide failed to materialize, and the Democrats lost seats in the House. This means in 2022 the Democrats will be defending a razor-thin majority in the House—a majority they’re almost certain to lose in a mid-term election if Biden is the final victor. The Democrats did well. But not that well.
Nonetheless, Nancy Pelosi, in the days following the election, reportedly declared the Democrats “have a mandate!”
But do they?
Let consider what constitutes a democratic victory given the standard handed down to us by pundits and politicians on the Left. According to the current narrative, the legitimacy of a president’s electoral victory depends on the

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The American Revolution Was a Culture War

December 22, 2020

Two hundred and forty-seven years ago this month, a group of American opponents of the Crown’s tax policy donned disguises and set about methodically destroying a shipment of tea imported into Boston by the East India Company. The vandals trespassed on privately owned ships in Boston Harbor and threw the tea into the ocean. These protesters were thorough. Not content with having destroyed most of the company’s imported tea that night, the activists later discovered another tea shipment which had been unloaded at a warehouse in Boston. The activists then broke into the warehouse and destroyed that tea, too. Total damages amounted to more than $1.5 million in today’s dollars.
This was the work of the Sons of Liberty, a group led in part by Samuel Adams and which

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It Should Shock Us That There’s Any Consumer Price Inflation at All

December 19, 2020

Thanks to lockdowns, high unemployment, and general uncertainty and fear over covid-19, the personal saving rate in the United States in October was 13.6 percent, the highest since the mid-1970s. This is down from April’s rate of 33.7 percent, which was the highest saving rate recorded since the Second World War.
Moreover, among those who received “stimulus” checks under the CARES Act, only 15 percent of those surveyed in a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) study reported spending it. Thirty-three percent said they saved the payment, and 52 percent said they used the money to pay down debt.
Taken all together, these factors should spell an immense amount of deflationary pressure, both on the money supply, and ultimately on consumer prices as well.1

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