Editor’s note: The following is the second in a two-part series. The first part appeared in the Feb. 24-March 2, 2010, issue.
By Susan Johnson
This is the second half of the program at Stockholm Inn Saturday, Feb. 20, an all-day event hosted by the Northern Illinois Tea Party.
The Tea Party is a national movement, loosely organized, with people of different beliefs, but all share a core belief that America is the land of the free, that government should play a limited role in our life, and has a constitutionally-specified role that it is presently exceeding with agendas such as the health care bill.
According to their mission statement: “As an organization, we believe that adherence to the U.S. Constitution will result in a limited federal government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets. … The Northern Illinois Tea Party’s mission is to organize like-minded individuals, educate and inform others based on our core values, to secure public policy consistent with those values, and to positively affect the outcome of elections.”
Lessons in economics, U.S. history
Savannah Liston, a homeschooled student and member of Rockford Campaign for Liberty, asked, “Did capitalism cause the 2008 recession?” Her presentation included a PowerPoint video showing how economic trends influenced by political decisions dating back to 1913 have contributed to and exacerbated the decline of the dollar.
Liston related how the incorrect principles of Keynesian economics—still being taught in many schools—are creating a misunderstanding of what really happened in the 1920s and 1930s, through the Great Depression and up to the current mortgage crises of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the “bailouts.” This mis-information leaves young people ill-prepared to deal with today’s economy as manipulated by the government, Liston suggested.
As Liston said, “The U.S. economy has not had a free market since 1913,” when the income tax was adopted. Liston explained that according to free market principles, “what is money?—the general medium of exchange. The paper money was originally linked to gold and silver; the dollar was ‘silver certificate,’ but now the Federal Reserve just prints money out of nothing. Inflation means ‘to expand.’
“‘Marginal utility’ is defined as ‘the more units of a good you have, the less value it has,’” Liston continued. “Time preference—consume now or later? Time preference divides labor and the economy. There are ‘high-time preference’ goods and ‘low-time preference’ goods. ‘What is a recession?’ It is a constriction of the economy lasting more than six months. If the interest rate goes down, it signals to the producer that people want more consumer goods. But the false boom has to end.
“Historic depressions: In the depression of 1920, the money supply doubled; war production stopped,” Liston said. “The unemployment rate was up to 21 percent. The GDP shrunk 17 percent. President Harding responded by cutting the federal budget in half, reducing the income tax and reducing the federal deficit by one-third. The Federal Reserve did nothing. By 1923, unemployment was down to 2.4 percent. The economy had readjusted and was stronger without government interference.
“The Great Depression: What caused it? Deflation did not cause or prolong it,” Liston said. “After the stock market crash, the Fed pushed massive amounts of money into the economy, but it didn’t help. What really happened was, the stock market boomed in the ’20s. Stock market value is directly related to capital value. But it was a false boom. The high plateau crashed; unemployment was 2.4 percent; GDP under $2 billion; stocks down 90 percent. Hoover was just like [Franklin D.] Roosevelt. He started the home loan bank discount system; he started the Public Works Administration, and Roosevelt only made it worse. Roosevelt did this through the Agricultural Act. Pigs were slaughtered, and crops left to rot.
“Regime uncertainty—People were afraid to make any new investments because they had a fear of the government,” Liston continued. “Economic recovery? War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. After the war, the economy returned to a more capitalistic structure, making it easier for businesses to grow. By the end of the war, many products had to be replaced. Skewed data led people to have greater optimism about the future. The economy grew strong again, not because of FDR and his New Deal, but in spite of it.
“The 2008 recession: A false bubble in the housing industry caused the recession, affecting Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Mortgage Association,” Liston said. “But what caused the housing bubble? (1) Adjustable rate mortgages; (2) Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac’s lending requirements were eased for political purposes. Banks were forced to give out higher-risk loans. (3) The rating agencies were pressured into unwise actions. (4) Pro-ownership tax codes provided incentives for people to buy homes. (5) Banks could not loan out money they did not have. (6) The idea of a firm being ‘too big to fail.’ The government’s response: more bailouts for everyone. This is not capitalism but socialism.
“The TARP bill was used for propping up consumer credit, Cash for Clunkers and housing rebates,” Liston said. “The government is trying to keep demand artificially high. Will there be recovery? Recessions aren’t bad; the false boom is. The power of the market should not be interfered with by government. Get rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Federal Reserve. We are selling Treasury notes to other countries, and we are going to be in more trouble if we don’t stop this.”
Skip Skinner’s topic was “Basic Principles of Liberty.” He drew parallels with what happened in the late colonial period of America, when people finally decided to separate from English rule.
“They started a revolution to get a representative democracy,” he said. “It is now happening again. We are part of the re-establishment of the liberty for which they fought. We will have to make many sacrifices, as they did. But our Founding Fathers had in view what they were handing down to their posterity. The freedoms we had are fast fading away; our children and grandchildren will have trillions of dollars in debt. We must be willing to enter the battle at hand.”
He advised people to check out their sources of information by going to the primary source as much as possible.
Support the Constitution
Randy Stufflebeam, Constitution Party candidate for Illinois governor in the November election, challenged the audience with a fast-paced, energetic speech that included an oral quiz about the Illinois State Constitution. Those who answered questions correctly received a copy of the constitution, and everyone was urged to read both the U.S. and Illinois constitutions.
A former Marine who is proud of his military service, Stufflebeam said he “took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is not a ‘living document’ that can be interpreted any way people decide. We have had an unconstitutional army since 1932.”
He noted that the Constitution states that “the Federal Government can raise armies, but no appropriation for that end shall be longer than two years.”
Stufflebeam said 1913 was the year tyranny and evil got a foothold in this country, beginning with the 16th Amendment. Stufflebeam got the entire audience on their feet when he asked who would take an oath to “support and defend the United States Constitution.” His closing remarks echoed the title of his topic: “Remember Your Oath!”
‘Warming’ to the subject
Dr. Tom Wentland, physician, spoke at different times about two topics: “The Global Warming Scam” and “Healthcare in the VA—Hints of the Coming ObamaCare.”
On the first subject, Wentland referred to Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, stating Gore “conveniently left out” research that did not agree with his theory.
“Having a medical degree can sometimes come in handy for global warming,” Wentland observed. “In medical school, we were taught how to do research and how to evaluate research. It should be able to be repeated by other scientists. If it can’t be repeated, it should be looked at as either invalid or ‘junk science.’ Most of my facts came from Lord Christopher Monckton, a highly-regarded scientist in Great Britain, who has written about global warming. He sued Al Gore in court and won the right to present alternative facts that disproved some of his claims in the movie. The judge in the trial ruled that there were about 44 mistakes that needed to be corrected.” This information is available on YouTube.
“There are three assumptions about global warming,” Wentland continued. “(1) That there is global warming; (2) that it is manmade; (3) that the warming will have disastrous results. … The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) of the U.N. is responsible for information. … The IPCC now has admitted that those e-mails [disputing the research] were theirs. … Professor Phil Jones resigned from the IPCC and this week admitted three important things: (1) The data for the hockey stick graph [in the movie] has somehow gone missing; (2) there has been no global warming since 1995; in the hockey stick graph, that was what Al Gore pointed to—there is a steep incline in the last 15 years; (3) the warming periods have happened before, like the Medieval Warming Period, and these warming periods did not result from manmade environmental factors.”
Wentland added more information for which space does not allow here (see petitionproject.org), but he also stated unequivocally: “Cap and trade will destroy our economy. All jobs will go to a country that has no restrictions on carbon. Unemployment will go up to 40 percent.”
Pete Malone spoke about the Fair Tax, under which income and payroll taxes would no longer be withheld from employees’ paychecks. The self-employed would not be subject to income and self-employment taxes. Foreign and domestically-produced goods would be taxed equally, instead of foreign-produced enjoying a tax advantage as under current law. For more information, go to www.fairtax.org.
Veterans’ experience presages ObamaCare
Dr. Wentland then spoke about the type of health care available to veterans now, which might be coming for all U.S. citizens.
Wentland said: “Currently, some treatments are denied by insurance companies who refuse to accept some patients. This is rationing. The rationing will be worse with government-sponsored health care. You will only receive so much health care per year—$5,000 per person. If you need more, you will have to pay extra. A government committee will decide what benefits and treatments you receive. Health care will be provided to all non-U.S. citizens, illegal or otherwise. Government will have direct access to your bank account for funds. Unions and community organizations will be exempt from Cadillac government plans. No judicial review or lawsuits on health care decisions.”
Rosanna Pulido of The Minuteman Project spoke about “The Cost of Unfettered Immigration.”
“What is going on in the U.S. is directly related to our lack of security on the borders and us supporting 30 million illegal aliens,” Pulido suggested. “[State Rep.] Dave Winters sponsored driver’s certificates for illegal aliens. … Congress imports 125,000 foreign workers a month—competing for our jobs!”
Pulido also criticized the temporary help agencies, which she said sometimes offer a “back-door” approach for illegal aliens, who are then referred to other employers. “Who’s minding the temp agencies to see that they are observing the law against hiring illegals?” she asked.
Pulido urged people to question their legislators about taking action on the issue.
The three sponsoring organizations for the Feb. 20 event were: Rockford Tea Party (firstname.lastname@example.org); Northern Illinois Tea Party (N.IL.TeaParty@gmail.com); and Stephenson County Tea Party (email@example.com).
From the Mar. 3-9, 2010 issue