Saturday, March 26, 2011


by James Craig Green

Two hundred years ago, Thomas Malthus predicted mass starvation in Europe, since the population was growing much faster than the food supply. A few decades later, Thomas Carlyle would call Adam Smith's new science of economics the dismal science, in part because of Malthus's prediction. Malthus turned out to be massively wrong however, because he didn't consider the potential for human ingenuity to expand agricultural production through economic incentives.

Contrary to Adam Smith's new science, governments in the Twentieth Century learned to promise almost endless benefits without apparent cost, by following the so-called Keynesian model of deficit spending, ignoring Adam Smith's "invisible hand." England's John Maynard Keynes had proposed this for a bad economy, paying back deficits when economic activity recovered. But, governments soon learned they could get away with expanding public debt almost endlessly to provide a lifetime of growth based on a flawed economic model. This completely violated the natural controls markets have by eliminating the risk of loss and the price communication between supply and demand.

In Great Myths of the  Great Depression, Lawrence Reed points out that it was government intervention, and not free markets, that created and sustained the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. An online version of this important work may be found at A better understanding of Keynes' big government economics and its free market counter arguments may be gained from the Austrian School of Economics led by Ludwig von Mises, Freidrich Hayek and Murray Rothbard. See, the website for the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.

The massive growth of government spending and promises during our lifetimes has resulted in the accumulation of future unfunded liabilities exceeding 60 trillion dollars, which former Comptroller General of the U.S. David Walker says is unsustainable. See Many people think this was the result of laissez-faire or free market capitalism, but they ignore the government's 100-year war on prosperity and the markets that provided it.

Since 1890, when federal antitrust laws were first enacted, government intervention in the markets that produce all wealth has expanded multiple times. This included the creation of the Federal Reserve and income tax in 1913, the Smoot-Hawley tariff implemented by Republican President Hoover in 1930, the New Deal programs begun by Hoover and continued by Democrat President Roosevelt for more than a decade, and a series of welfare state programs, including massive corporate welfare, ever since. Each of these interventions made the economy worse, but the intoxication of immediate benefits for some, like the heroin addict's high, felt too good to stop.

Economics may be thought of as the allocation of scarce resources. But, this is lost on those who rely on government to solve their real or imagined problems at everyone else’s expense. The most dangerous narcotic in a democratic society is endless government freebies. Markets work because transactions are voluntary. Without the perception of a net gain by both the buyer and seller, neither of whom is forced to participate, the transaction would not take place. One of the most important, but least understood aspects of markets is their ruthless punishment of failure. When market participants make mistakes, they tend to be the ones punished, by failure of their investments, business plans, loss of capital or their businesses. That is, unless government steps in to "help" them, like the recent bailouts of banks, auto companies and other failed businesses.

Today, many people think business is inherently evil, but they confuse fantasy with reality. Free market reforms are needed today, not to be confused with government subsidies to business which Adam Smith called mercantilism. Business makes everything you eat, wear, live in, drive, play with, or use in any conceivable way. But, business doesn’t give you everything you want for free, because without both the profit incentive and risk of loss, these things would not be available. Today's mistrust of business by politicians was widespread in the Soviet Union, where few goods were available, of poor quality, prices were high, and there was no choice.

It was business and voluntary charity that delivered the goods to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, while cops became looters and the feds wouldn’t let trucks full of food, clothing and other essentials into the City. Now, the same government agency that screwed up the levees in the first place (Army Corps of Engineers) is being rewarded with the expensive task of doing it again.

Although the dismal science can't compete with government when it comes to unrealistic short term promises, it always outperforms government in the long run, because addicts must eventually must enter rehab or die.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PAUL PRENTICE on Japan, Keynes, the Fed

Below is a short article from my friend and colleague Paul Prentice about the Japan crisis, Keynesianism and the Fed.

Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 21:07:35 -0600
Subject: [PPEC Austrian] News

Comments by Craig:

No government program, agency, transfer of wealth or subsidy of which I am aware ever improved an economy. All, however, greatly benefit some at the expense of others, in exactly the same way as the Mafia.

If the Fed improved the economy, we should all have money printing equipment in our basements.

If legal theft (taxation) were good for the economy, then common thieves should get medals and victims of robbery should serve milk and cookies to their benefactors.

If the wars on some drugs, some poverty and some terrorists worked, they would be over by now.

If "public service" were a noble profession, politicians and  bureaucrats would be the most highly trusted members of society and government would offer a moneyback guarantee.

If mass hysteria were an appropriate response to disasters, Hollywood would be the capitol of the world.

Although, maybe it already is.

Come to think of it, the primary purpose of every government on Earth is to legalize fraud, theft, extortion and murder - as long as it is committed in the PUBLIC INTEREST with the illusion of being unselfish (which it never is).

James Craig Green

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Protect - Don't Change - The Constitution

by James Craig Green

Colorado's Liberty Ink Journal began last year with a stated goal to "restore the republic."

One suggested approach includes amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Another includes returning to earlier versions of the Constitution. A better approach is to enforce the existing Constitution, which by its own Article VI is the supreme law of the land. The first step to accomplish this is to understand what the Constitution says; especially how it has - and has not - changed in its 224-year history.

Many Americans believe the Constitution has been changed by acts of Congress, Presidential executive orders and Supreme Court decisions ("Subordinate Acts"), but it has not.

Neither the Constitution's powers of Congress (Article I, Section 8), Article V (amendments), VI (supreme law of the land), nor the entire Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments) has ever been changed. Legal changes were made to Articles I through IV by Amendments 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20 and 25 - only eight times in two centuries and none since 1992, with few changes to the Constitution's principles.

The U.S. Constitution was the most brilliant document upon which any national government was ever built. It protected individual rights to an unprecedented degree, severely limited government and, in its elegant Tenth Amendment, reserved powers not listed to the States and people. It established three independent branches of government (legislative, executive and judicial) to provide checks and balances against each other.

Multiple frauds have been perpetrated by all three branches of government to usurp power and avoid the constitutional chains that bind them. This created the illusion of legal change, but too many of these Subordinate Acts were contrary to the Constitution. For example, the Federal Reserve was created by an act of Congress which could be repealed without affecting the Constitution.

Although Supreme Court decisions have never changed the Constitution, they do change popular opinions about what the Constitution means, illustrated by the following examples:

In Marbury v. Madison (1803), the Supreme Court upheld the Constitution by saying ...a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and ...courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument. But, the Court also asserted: It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Although the Court's self-proclaimed power to void unconstitutional laws contributes to the separation of powers, it doesn't mean extra-constitutional decisions are law. Nor does it explain why the Constitution requires other federal and state officers to take oaths supporting the Constitution, requiring their independent judgments (see Article VI).

Too many Americans believe Supreme Court decisions are the supreme law of the land, but they are not. In Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge (1848), the Constitution's contracts clause (Article I, Section 10) was attacked by the Court, ruling that every contract is made subordinate to government power: ...while the rights of private property are sacredly guarded, we must not forget that the community also have rights, and that the happiness and wellbeing of every citizen depends on their faithful preservation. This paved the way for other decisions against the Constitution's protection of property rights and contracts.

The New Deal Court in Helvering v. Davis (1937) ruled the 1935 Social Security Act necessary: Needs that were narrow or parochial a century ago may be interwoven in our day with the wellbeing of the Nation and even said it did not violate the Tenth Amendment: The scheme of benefits created by the provisions of Title II is not in contravention of the limitations of the Tenth Amendment. Today, the Constitution still says nothing about the federal government getting into the retirement business, or education, healthcare or any number of things for which large, bureaucratic, wealth-consuming agencies now exist.

During World War II in Wickard v. Filburn (1942), the Court said a farmer growing crops for his own livestock affected interstate commerce, and could be regulated by Congress under the commerce clause (Article I, Section 8): Home-grown wheat in this sense competes with wheat in commerce. The stimulation of commerce is a use of the regulatory function quite as definitely as prohibitions or restrictions thereon. This decision led to other legal opinions - Subordinate Acts - contrary to the Tenth Amendment.

Sometimes Court decisions repeat old precedents, but the press treats them like new ones. In the infamous Kelo v. New London (2005) case, the Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment's "public use" limiting government condemnation of private property may include public purposes, but it was nothing new: Because over a century of our case law interpreting that provision dictates an affirmative answer to that question, we may not grant petitioners the relief that they seek. Old precedents offer modern courts an easy way to ignore past mistakes. Public backlash to Kelo resulted in more than 40 states changing their laws to limit its effect, which was encouraged by the Court: ...nothing in our opinion precludes any State from placing further restrictions on... the takings power.

I don't advocate throwing out good (constitutional) law with the bad, or the wholesale destruction of legal interpretations and precedents. But, the Supreme Court's clarification and implementation of the Constitution's principles should not be confused with the wholesale violation of oaths of office to uphold and defend it taken by all federal and state judicial officers, Congress and the President.

All three branches of government benefit from ignoring or re-interpreting the Constitution. Congress created the Federal Reserve and now enjoys virtually unlimited funding. The President no longer asks Congress to declare war to send soldiers to fight in foreign lands for a decade. Courts rarely, if ever, have to decide if their past decisions were unconstitutional.

I have no easy solution to government-gone-wild. Perhaps it's avoidance of economic constraints will resolve itself, but not without severe damage to the people and economy of this nation. The Republic's restoration must come from the people, but not those whose careers depend on maintaining a lucrative, incestuous status quo. Who among you will hold the federal government to its most sacred but unfulfilled promise - uphold and defend the Constitution?

Please read Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution for the authorized powers of Congress. Then, read Articles V and VI to understand the amendment process and supreme law of the land. Finally, read the Bill of Rights, especially the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, multiple times until they become part of you.

The Constitution doesn't need to be changed or restored. It only needs to be upheld and defended by a sizeable minority of Americans who are serious about putting the federal government back in its proper place. You must literally take the Constitution back from lawyers, judges, politicians and bureaucrats, or it may be lost forever. The current Constitution may be the best Republic-restoring tool we have.

James Craig Green is an engineer, veteran and businessman from Golden, Colorado who took an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution on February 9, 1969

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cornell Law School

Licensed lawyers typically have extensive resources available to them, including a practiced expertise at reading legal documents and a broad understanding of important court decisions in their fields of specialty.

However, I have found the Cornell School of Law to be one of the best sources for legal research by non-lawyers:

Cornell University School of Law:

Cornell Page on the U.S. Constitution:

Cornell Page on the Supreme Court (1990 & later):

Cornell Supreme Court Historic Cases: