Now to the real news, check out Sen. Rand Paul actually putting up a fight to stop the the passing of a four year extension of the Patriot Act. From The Hill:
A combination of the Senate’s arcane rules and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) insistence on voting on several controversial amendments might cause the Patriot Act to lapse at the end of the week.
The expiration of the law before the passage of an extension would create an upheaval in the law enforcement community, which relies on its authority to track suspected terrorists.
However, if Paul insists on using all 30 hours of post-cloture debate he is entitled to under Senate rules, he could force the Patriot Act to lapse for a day.And here is Sen. Paul speaking on The Patriot Act on the Senate Floor
Even if Paul waives the 30 hours of post-cloture debate, lawmakers will have to scramble to get the extension signed into law by Thursday because President Obama is in Europe. Officials will have to fly a copy of the Patriot Act extension overseas if they are to prevent a range of law-enforcement powers from expiring.
Damn, it sure is nice to see someone giving a crap about civil liberties besides his dad Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.
So why isn't the media reporting on Belarus? From Bloomberg:
Belarus is headed for an economic “meltdown” and the ruble will need to depreciate another 51 percent, VTB Capital said, as locals lay siege to shops and protest price increases after the central bank devalued the currency.
The Belarusian central bank let the managed ruble weaken by 36 percent versus the dollar on May 24 as demand for dollars and euros from importers and households threatened to derail an economy already laboring under a current-account deficit equal to 16 percent of gross domestic product. Russia and other former Soviet partners last week agreed to give Belarus a $3 billion loan and urged President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s government to sell $7.5 billion of assets to replenish the state’s coffers.
Lukashenko reintroduced controls on prices and the currency and re-nationalized some companies and infrastructure after coming to power in July, 1994, on a platform of “market socialism.” The nation’s economy returned to growth in 1996, according to World Bank data.
At the Minsk Refrigerator Plant Co. shop in the capital today, about 20 people queued in drizzling rain to use their rubles to buy fridges. While the shop didn’t open on the day of the devaluation, most of the models in the store already had ‘Sold Out’ stickers on their doors.
“I came on Saturday and it was a nightmare, the store was stormed by people who wanted to spend their rubles because of rumors about the devaluation,” said Nikolay, a 74-year-old pensioner who declined to provide his last name. His entire savings of 6 million rubles now buy one fridge compared with three before the devaluation, he said.
The ruble traded at 5,019.75 per dollar at banks and currency kiosks around the country today, according to the median mid-price of six banks compiled by Bloomberg from the lenders’ websites. That’s 1.8 percent weaker than the official rate.Clearly the people of Belarus should shut their traps and accept that the big banks need a bailout first, not them. Now this is just sad:
The devaluation lifted the local price of automobile fuels as much as 24 percent, according to Belneftekhim, an industry group for the country’s oil sector. Last night, about 50 people protested the price increase in the car park of a Minsk hypermarket.
The price of children’s diapers has “gone completely insane” in Minsk, said Natalia, a 24-year-old mother also queuing outside the refrigerator store. “I used to buy a pack for 69,000 rubles, now they cost 140,000,” or almost half the 343,260-ruble monthly child benefit paid by the government, she said.The government giveth, the government can easily print away. It looks like the citizens of Belarus will have to learn the lesson the hard way. This chart on the Ruble is all you need to see:
epic post on the irrationality of hyperinflation coming to the U.S. today. Here are his main points:
Stack of Things Missed by HyperinflationistsI have to admit, I am new to this predicting inflation/deflation thing (so please don't take my advice really seriously), but considering the unprecedented steps the Fed is taking, many are making predictions that go either way. There is undoubtedly inflation in energy, food, precious metals, and the stock market. There is deflationary pressure elsewhere. There is growing inflation in China as a result of money printing and fixing the Renminbi to the dollar. We are living in interesting times and I am trying to fully comprehend the whole thing but the more I read, the more contradictory every side seems. I had a rather long conversation with a guy who goes under the name MaMoth on Robert P. Murphy's blog discussing comparisons between the modern monetary theorists to the Austrians. MMT has its merits, mainly predicting that we wouldn't see massive inflation from QE2, but I still think it disregards the law of scarcity and operates under the purview that the government dictates private spending and saving. While that is true to some extent through tax policy, I think it is a rather bleak view to take that the government must dictate how the economy behaves. It's still nice to get differing views on things, it forces me to "check my premises" as Ayn Rand would like to say. Whatever happens in the next few years regarding monetary policy, inflation, and overall economic growth will determine which school of thought is best at predicting events. I still have my doubts about Bernanke and the Fed being able to control the excess reserves, but time will only tell.
Not every hyperinflationist goes wrong on every point above. However, they all go wrong on point 12.
- Trade math
- Reserve currency math
- Credit dwarfs currency and changes in credit and the value of credit are far more important than the changes we have seen in money supply.
- Failure to understand pricing currency of oil is meaningless
- Misconceptions about excess reserves (Please see Fictional Reserve Lending for a discussion).
- Not understanding limits and restrictions on the Fed
- Not understanding limits and restrictions on Congress
- Failure to understand peak oil will not cause hyperinflation. Heck, peak oil will not even cause inflation.
- Inflation in China, does not constitute inflation in the US.
- Unfunded liabilities do not constitute debt
- Myopia - The US is not the only country with massive structural problems. Let's stop pretending otherwise
- Failure to understand the Fed will not destroy itself and the banks by allowing hyperinflation
Point 12 alone is sufficient to debunk hyperinflation arguments.
Perhaps this graph, which has been a hit on the blogosphere, will explain a few things:
I still see no reason to believe the trend won't continue. It will just come down to what degree.
Update- Think America is a dictatorship? Ron Paul does:
Still don't think so? See this:
BLACKSBURG, S.C. — The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a 73-year-old Virginia resident who was allegedly ordered by a park ranger to remove his car from a national military park in South Carolina because of political messages attached to his vehicle. Jack Faw, whose ancestors fought in the historic battle memorialized at Kings Mountain National Military Park, contacted The Rutherford Institute after being told by a park ranger that the decal promoting a political organization associated with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), which was displayed on the back window of Faw's car, was not allowed in the park. In a legal letter to Park officials, constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead warned that the ranger's directive, which resulted in Faw being forced to leave the park, violated Faw's First Amendment rights, as well as National Park Service regulations. Whitehead also demanded assurances that Park employees will be properly instructed in how to respect the constitutional rights of visitors to the Park so that Faw and others will not face similar restrictions in the future.Un-freaking-believable.