The Disaster of International Foreign Aid Programs

by Ken Schoolland FEAST AND FAMINE: An Age of Irony Conscience money, popularly known as “foreign aid”, cannot undo the harm that is done to developing countries by the trade and agricultural policies of industrial nations. While millions of people are starving across Africa, it is not uncommon to read about tons of food being stored or destroyed in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. These reports seem as if they were coming from different planets: an impoverished Third World suffers while a prosperous First World disposes of surplus food. The food being destroyed is not just the accumulated discard from schoolchildren’s lunch plates. Instead, the great destruction of food is the result of an official agricultural program to keep food off the domestic market in order to raise farm prices. PLANNED WASTE Not long ago, Japanese officials announced plans to destroy 8,600 tons of cabbages and radishes because their prices slumped below “acceptable” levels. West European officials are reported to have socked away mountains of butter and lakes of milk for the same reason. And US officials ordered 3.5 billion oranges, two-fifths of all production, to be removed from the California market in order to raise prices. One farmer in California, Carl Pescosolido, faced hefty fines because he chose to give two million oranges to the poor people of San Francisco rather than let them rot in the field. The authorities do not always look kindly on charity, unless it fits their own assistance plans. Emergency assistance in the form of famine relief grabs the headlines, but these paltry sums are dwarfed by the massive government programs that created the conditions of poverty in the first place. Nearly $100 billion is spent annually by governments to subsidize farmers in the developed countries. Over the long run, these massive …

The Looting of America (Civil Asset Forfeiture)

How over 200 Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws Enable Police to Confiscate Your Home, Bank Accounts & Business Without Trial by Jarret B. Wollstein “A police dog scratched at your luggage, so we’re confiscating your life savings and you’ll never get it back.” Police stopped 49-year-old Ethel Hylton at Houston’s Hobby Airport and told her she was under arrest because a drug dog had scratched at her luggage. Agents searched her bags and strip-searched her, but they found no drugs. They did find $39,110 in cash, money she had received from an insurance settlement and her life savings; accumulated through over 20 years of work as a hotel housekeeper and hospital janitor. Ethel Hylton completely documented where she got the money and was never charged with a crime. But the police kept her money anyway. Nearly four years later, she is still trying to get her money back. Ethel Hylton is just one of a large and growing list of Americans – now numbering in the hundreds of thousands – who have been victimized by civil asset forfeiture. Under civil asset forfeiture, everything you own can be legally taken away even if you are never convicted of a crime. Suspicion of offenses which, if proven in court, might result in a $200 fine or probation, are being used to justify seizure of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property. Totally innocent Americans are losing their cars, homes and businesses, based on the claims of anonymous informants that illegal transactions took place on their property. Once property is seized, it is virtually impossible to get it back. Property is now being seized in every state and from every social group. Seizures include pocket money confiscated from public-housing residents in Florida; cars taken away from men suspected of soliciting prostitutes in Oregon; …

Just Say No to “Extortion Futures!”

Why buying government bonds is a bad investment for yourself, and our future by James R. Elwood Most people think that buying government bonds is the safest investment you can make, and that the money is used for beneficial purposes. The truth is that lending money to governments causes more harm than good. It leads to higher taxes and wasteful spending. And, bondholders almost always lose money. Encouraging Waste and Corruption Politicians tell us that buying government bonds is “an investment in the future,” but giving government more money causes great economic harm. Most national government borrowings are designed to cover operating deficits – to subsidize wasteful spending. So long as the money flows, bureaucrats don’t have any profit-or-loss-incentives to control their expenditures. Indeed, success in government is measured by how large you can make your department budget and staff! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spends 80% of its budget on administrative overhead, while private charities are prosecuted for fraud if more than 20-30% of donations goes for staff. In California, there are an average of 132 administrators for every 100 teachers in the public schools, while there are only 18 per 100 teachers in the parochial schools. Average cost per high-school student: $5200 public vs. $2200 private. Billions of tax dollars are wasted, and are thus unavailable for creating productive private businesses and jobs. Many city or state bond-financed infrastructure projects are riddled with lavish fees for contractors and payroll “featherbedding.” Contractors and unions recycle large sums into corrupt politicians’ campaign accounts to ensure their re-election. These politicians then propose more projects. The special interests also use the loot to finance slick advertising campaigns to convince gullible voters that they should approve bond measures for projects of dubious public value, like fancy new sports stadiums. Bond …

Government Schools in Crisis

by George L. O’Brien edited by Geoffrey Erikson The tax-supported “public school”system is in trouble. There are chronic problems with discipline, mounting violence, declining test scores, and administrative costs spiraling out of control. Government schools continue to graduate functional illiterates, and US public school students’ math skills are now among the worst in the industrialized world. How bad is it? The US has 27 million illiterates as well as 40 to 50 million people who can barely read at the fourth-grade level. The US is also among the worst industrialized countries in the areas of math and science. More than half of all 18-year-olds cannot find Britain or France on a map. The defenders of the government schools claim the problem is a lack of money. However, in real terms, spending on education has actually risen over the last 40 years. The US ranks near the top in the world in per student spending – more than either the Germans or the Japanese. The cost per student in government schools is nearly twice that of a typical private school, yet the results are distinctly inferior. There is so much dissatisfaction with government schools that many parents are paying to send their children to private schools. This is after having already paid for government schools through their taxes. It is a ringing testimony to the failure of one of this country’s most ambitious social experiments. Origins of “Public Schools” The public schools movement began in the 1830’s, led by Horace Mann. Supposedly, the goal was to ensure that every child would have access to an education. However, from the beginning there was another agenda, and that was to control what was being taught so as to create so-called model citizens. Public schools meant taking control of education from the parents and placing it in the …

The Endangered Middle Class

  Why millions of Americans are on the verge of bankruptcy despite a “booming” economy by Jarret B. Wollstein On the surface, America’s economy is in great shape. Unemployment and inflation are reportedly low. Corporate profitability is at record levels. The bull market in stocks and bonds seems endless. But beneath the surface there are many warning signs: Debt is at record levels. Bankruptcies – both personal and business – are at the highest level since the Great Depression. Many people are working 60 or 70 hours a week, or more, to make ends meet. Taxes are at the highest level ever, taking over half of the average person’s income. The Orange County Register [10/7/95] puts it bluntly: “The old American middle class is vanishing. Stagnant incomes, growing gaps between rich and poor and corporate downsizing are changing how America lives. . . . Two-income families in 1995 earn less than the one-income family of the 1960s.” Here are some other warning signs: “The wages of the average American worker, after inflation and taxes, have decreased 17% since 1973,” according to Martin Gross, author of The Tax Racket.At the same time, the price of food, housing, clothing, cars, and other necessities – have been rising at 5-8% a year – hidden inflation, ignored by official government statistics. Many families are deeply in debt.Debt and fixed expenses (such as mortgage and car payments) now consume over 95% of the average family’s disposable income. [Source: Federal Reserve] Using credit cards to pay for necessities like food is becoming commonplace. Business debt is also at record levels. Personal bankruptcies have tripled, during the last 15 years. [Source: Dun & Bradstreet.] And for every person who’s declared bankruptcy, ten more are one or two paychecks away from bankruptcy, according to economic analyst James Davidson. An economic crisis …

End Tax Slavery Now

WE MUST END TAX SLAVERY NOW! by Jarret B. Wollstein Out-of-control taxes and regulations are crippling America. According to current federal budget projections, within 15 years the government will take 70% of your income directly in taxes.  America will look like East Germany under the Soviets.   IRS agents raided the Engleworld Learning Center near Detroit. Parents were told their children would not be allowed to leave until parents immediately paid any balance due to the Learning Center for the coming months. However, the money would not go to the Center, but to the IRS. A creative IRS official thought he had a great way to force parents to pay the Center’s taxes. “It was like something out of a police state,” Sue Stoia says. “They were using the children as collateral.” Marilyn Derby, director of Engleworld, said, “Parents were not allowed to see their children until they had signed an agreement with the IRS. It was a very scary situation, like the Gestapo was here. Children were crying, parents were trembling. I told one woman whose hands were shaking that she shouldn’t sign anything she didn’t want to. She signed anyway.” 18 Elderly Nursing Home Residents Die When The IRS Seizes Their Home and Kicks Them Out In The Dead Of Winter During a freezing winter cold snap, the IRS seized all of the assets of a nursing home in Toledo, Ohio. Unable to even buy food or pay an electric or gas bill, the owners were forced to close the home. Eighteen of the residents died during the hasty relocation. When Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH) demanded an explanation from the IRS, he was told it was an “extremely routine” seizure. IRS collection agent Art Harris described the mentality of many of his fellow agents: “Some [agents] were vicious – …

Libertarianism: The Path to Peace, Prosperity and Freedom

by Jarret Wollstein   Would you like to live in a society of peace, prosperity and freedom? Would you like to earn a lot more money than your parents, be free to do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t harm others, and see the threats of violence and war largely disappear? Would you like to live in an age of artistic freedom and rapid scientific progress in which anything seems possible? Such a world is not only possible – it is a part of our history. For nearly fifty years, between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the beginning of World War I in 1914, the United States was the freest, most prosperous society on earth. Living standards rose nearly 5% a year. The average American’s income was six timeshigher at the end of the period than at the beginning. There was little restriction upon personal, economic and artistic freedom. There was no income tax, no military draft, little government regulation of business, and no prohibition of drugs. Independent schools and private charities made education available for all, and helped those in need. And, except for the brief Spanish-American War, the nation enjoyed the longest period without foreign wars in our history. Nearly anything seemed possible. Illiterate immigrants who started with a pushcart became millionaires through hard work. Living Standards Are Falling And Violence Has Become Epidemic America of the 1990s is far removed from the America of the 1890s, both in time and in spirit. Today’s social landscape is one of deterioration, violence and mounting fear. Take-home pay fell 17% between 1980 and 1997, after adjusting for inflation. High taxes and regulations are crippling our economy. Few young adults can now afford to buy their own homes, save for their children’s education, or build security …

Democracy vs. Freedom

by Jarret Wollstein “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and conflict; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” James Madison 4th President of the USA and primary framer of the US Constitution Politicians and major media constantly tell us that oppressed peoples crave “democracy,” and that only a democratic world will be free and peaceful. Now President Bush has launched a campaign to bring “freedom and democracy” to the world. But are freedom and democracy the same thing? And will democracy imposed by force guarantee peace? Democracy, Collectivism and Individualism Consider the meaning of three key political concepts: Democracy: that form of government in which sovereign power resides in the people as a whole, and is exercised either directly by them or by officers elected by them. Collectivism: a politico-economic system in which the means of production and the distribution of goods and services are controlled by the collective, that is, the society or state considered as a group – e.g. Nazi Germany and Communist China. Individualism: The social theory which advocates the free and independent action of the individual, as opposed to collectivist methods of organization and state interference. In fact, democracy is much closer to collectivism than it is to individualism. Like collectivism, democracy places essential political power with the group, rather than with the individual – thus making everyone’s freedom subject to the passions of the mob or those with the most power. What is Democracy? Throughout the world, democracy is as often a cover for tyranny as it is a protection for liberty. Many countries call themselves “democracies” and have regular elections, yet systematically oppress their own people. For example, Stalinist …

Revoking The Government’s License to Kill

The Case For Abolishing Sovereign Immunity Laws by Jarret B. Wollstein On March 26, 1994, 75-year-old Reverend Acelynne Williams was sitting in his living room in Boston, when 13 men with sledgehammers broke down his front door. Screaming as they entered, the heavily-armed intruders threw Rev. Williams to the floor, twisted the old man’s arms behind his back, and roughly handcuffed him. Then they proceeded to utterly ransack his home. Rev. Williams went into cardiac arrest and died. Who were these vandals? They were members of a Boston police SWAT team searching for drugs and guns. They found nothing. They had the wrong apartment. The Boston police said they were sorry. If you and I had broken into Rev. Williams apartment, assaulted him, and caused his death, we’d probably be put behind bars for years. But the men who invaded Williams’ apartment weren’t ordinary citizens. They were cops, and therefore it is unlikely they will be held accountable for his death. Like most government agents and officials, they have sovereign immunity; a virtual license to steal, kill, and destroy. Sovereign Immunity is the legal doctrine that the sovereign or government and its agents cannot be legally prosecuted for harm done in the line of duty. This doctrine is a relic of ancient times, when the king or sovereign held absolute power and was above the law. Today, not only is sovereign immunity still the law of the land, it’s been extended to virtually all government agents – from Child Protective Service caseworkers, to IRS agents, to local cops and judges. Making thousands of government agents legally immune to prosecution is an open invitation to abuse and corruption. Even when police or BATF agents or courts clearly harm innocent people, they usually end up investigating themselves. Not surprisingly, in the overwhelming majority …

In Pursuit of Liberty

by Jarret B. Wollstein   We are living in exciting times. From the Soviet Union, to Cuba, to East Germany, totalitarian socialism is crumbling and human liberty is advancing throughout the world. With little more than their bare hands and raw courage, ordinary people on every continent are defeating the tanks and secret police of tyrants. We are eyewitnesses to the realization of Victor Hugo’s famous maxim, “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” Without Liberty, No Other Human Values Are Possible Liberty is the freedom to act as you please so long as you don’t coerce others. Liberty means you can associate with others voluntarily, you can speak and publish freely, you can practice the religion of your choice (or none at all), keep what you earn, run your own business, and love and live as you please (so long as you don’t violate the rights of others). We need liberty to think, to create, and to fulfill our individual and unique potential. Liberty is as much a requirement of our psychological nature as food and air are requirements of our biological nature. When liberty is denied, economies stagnate, cultures deteriorate, science declines, living standards fall, and the human spirit languishes. Liberty is essential for any decent and humane society. Liberty is such a compelling and important value that even brutal dictatorships claim to support it. Tyrants say they are promoting “higher” freedoms – such as “national security”, “economic equality” , or “the common good.” The graveyards of history are filled with the corpses of those deceived by such claims. The Soviet Union, Communist China, Nazi Germany and other totalitarian nations, murdered and tortured over 100 million people in the name of “economic equality” and “the common good”. Even the United States …