In Search Of History Archive
The Fed vs. the Middle Class
With interest rates flattened [by the Federal Reserve], government zeroes out the future. Abandoned were 80 percent of private defined-benefit pension plans. Public plans faced a similar evisceration in the future. With no acknowledgement, the U.S. government had casually dispossessed the American middle class of its retirement assets and pushed millions of Americans into acute dependency on government programs. ... Government dependency negated the American dream.
4,000 Years Of Price Control
Tablets, said to be 200 years older than the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi ... show that the ancient kingdom of Eshnunna had wage control and price control. The news ought not to have come as a surprise. For the code of Hammurabi itself (unearthed in 1902), which was promulgated earlier than 2000 B.C., fixed prices, wages, interest rates, and fees. This makes price control at least about 4,000 years old. ...
Ironically, it is those who now wish to return to this ancient totalitarian device who are fondest of calling themselves “progressives.” They are also fond of saying that those who believe in economic liberty “are living in the nineteenth century.” These controlists have yet to learn that they themselves are still living, as the discoveries in Babylonia attest, in the nineteenth century—B.C.!
The Reagan Tax Cuts Worked
Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).
When America Was Truly The Land Of Opportunity
For [early immigrants] America was truly the land of opportunity. For the first time in their lives, many were truly free to pursue their own objectives. That freedom released the human energies which created the United States. There were few government programs to turn to and nobody expected them. But also there were few rules and regulations. There were no licenses, no permits, no red tape to restrict them. They found, in fact, a free market, and most of them thrived on it.
Cambodia's Deadly Experiment
In the 1950s, students started gathering in Paris. They were reading Karl Marx. They were forming book clubs. They were trying to come up with a better version of society. One that moved away from the division of labor. One that moved away from the capitalism in the big cities that they so despised. ... One of those students would change his name to Pol Pot. He and his colleagues formed a new political party, a takeover in Cambodia. They called themsevles the Khmer Rouge. ... Under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, one out of four people in that country died in less than four years.
Keynesian Economics and the Great Depression
Hillsdale College economics professor Gary Wolfram discusses Keynesian economics and the factors that pulled the national economy out of the Great Depression. The story of World War II shows that government spending may produce activity, but not the prosperity of a truly healthy economy.
Hillsdale College History Prof. Burton Folsom: What The Invention of the Airplane Teaches About Free Markets
The behind-the-scenes story of the airplane demonstrates how private enterprise is needed for innovation and economic growth— and that government subsidies usually fail.
Capitalism: The Engine Of Human Progress
It took six thousand years from the invention of the wheel until we developed the two-wheeled cart. … From the time of Moses to Wyatt Earp we moved from two-wheeled carts to four-wheeled carts — buckboards and stagecoaches. Yet Wyatt Earp, who is an adult when he participates in the gunfight at the OK Corral, sees the movement from four-wheeled carts to the Model T. My grandparents were born before man had ever seen powered flight, yet lived to see a time when you could buy a trip into space. The rapid increase in innovation and the wealth of the masses occurred because the West gradually developed the economic system of market capitalism and a compatible political system.
The Birth of Liberal Fascism
The progressives [of Woodrow Wilson’s era] were the real social Darwinists as we think of the term today—though they reserved the term for their enemies They believed in eugenics. They were imperialists. They were convinced that the state could, through planning and pressure, create a pure race, a society of new men. They were openly and proudly hostile to individualism. Religion was a political tool, while politics was the true religion. The progressives viewed the traditional system of constitutional checks and balances as an outdated impediment to progress because such horse-and-buggy institutions were a barrier to their own ambitions. Dogmatic attachment to constitutions, democratic practices, and antiquated laws was the enemy of progress for fascists and progressives alike. . . .Today, liberals remember the progressives as do-gooders who cleaned up the food supply and agitated for a more generous social welfare state and better working conditions. Fine, the progressives did that. But so did the Nazis and the Italian Fascists. And they did it for the same reasons and in loyalty to roughly the same principles.
The Gold Standard: How Britain Made Itself — And The World — Rich
From 1880 to 1914, British exports of goods and services averaged around 30 percent of national income, a stupendous figure. Britain had made itself rich; now it was setting about making the entire world rich. This was made possible, of course, by the world gold standard centered around London and the Bank of England. Investors, importers, and exporters did not have to worry about foreign exchange fluctuations; tariffs within the empire were low; and Britain's legal system, which it exported to its colonies, reduced the legal and political uncertainties. The Bank of England's commitment to the gold standard was unwavering, and as a result it was able to hold together the world gold standard with only a pittance of gold in reserves. ... For decade after decade, hard money stayed hard; exchange rates stayed fixed; interest rates remained low; and gold remained the basis of it all.