Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Liberty Summer Book of the Week: "Meltdown" by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

If you are tired of business as usual in Washington, D.C., Professor Thomas Woods has provided fuel for the fire. In his latest book, "Meltdown," Woods does not nibble around the edges of our bloated federal government to find the answers to our current (and future) economic problems. Instead, he stabs the beast right in the heart.
Throughout the last election cycle, especially with the disastrous economic news that began hitting in September, Barry Vladimir Hussein Soetero Obama bemoaned the failure of the free market. Government needed to take a greater role in the economy. Free market actors are all rogues, but government is the Lone Ranger, Superman, Santa Claus, and Mother Teresa rolled into one benevolent problem solving panacea. Sadly, his GOP counterpoint John McCain differed little from Amerika's First Marxist President when it came to allure of government solutions.
"Meltdown" exposes the underlying problems that brought on the current crisis and that will insure that any recovery will be small and temporary. It's the government, stupid. Woods' economic analysis is heavily influence by the Austrian School and, particularly, Friedrich Hayek.
Woods examines Congressional misfires of recent decades. He is equally willing to criticize Republicans as Democrats. After all, from 2003-2006, the GOP held the White House and both Houses of Congress, but did nothing to rein in Leviathan. Yes, I know Democrats accused every reform proposition as being code of racism, sexism, homophobia, blah, blah, blah. A note to the GOP if they ever regain control: "Grow a pair!"
While most Conservatives are well aware of the violence the legislative and executive branches do to the economy, Woods has scathing words for an institution that is always on the periphery of the argument, but receives little real criticism from either side of the political equation: the Federal Reserve. Did you realize that the United States became a world economic power WITHOUT the Federal Reserve? It is a fact of history that American expanded and strengthened for over 130 years without the Fed. The shenanigans were almost immediate. Many economists have come to conclude that the Fed was the key culprit in the 1929 depression (though Hoover and FDR did their level best to keep the depression going). Fed policy and pronouncements on the economy over the last two decades are shown to have played a significant role in the current collapse.
For those who accept the premises of supreme federal authority over all aspects of the economy, Thomas Woods' "Meltdown" will seem extreme. However, if you believe in federalism and the U.S. Constitution, you should be willing to put everything on the table in coming to terms with our current situation. The Federal Reserve needs to be examined, as does the conventional wisdom we are taught about the nature of depressions and recessions.
Ron Paul introduced HR 1207 which would audit the Federal Reserve. The bill has 261 co-sponsors--that is over half of the members! The bill has languished in the House Committee on Financial Services since late February where Chairman Bahney Fwank will likely do his best to kill it. A Senate version (S604) is also bogged down in committee. Let's see if the most ethical Congress and the most transparent President are willing to open up the books of the shadowy agency that is increasingly taking control of the American economy.

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