Wayne Root Touts Media Successes To LNC

Libertarian National Committee alternate Scott Lieberman forwards an email from LNC member and 2008 LP VP candidate Wayne Root:

Some Libertarians have complained that the Libertarian National Committee has a super-secret e-mail list that no one other than LNC members are allowed to read.

But today, you are in for a treat.

I am going to scoop Dr. George Phillies, and reveal one of those “super-secret e-mails.”

Enjoy.

Scott Lieberman Region 1 Alternate, Libertarian National Committee


Feb 15, 2012

To: LNC

In just the past week my commentaries have been published at FoxNews.com, Forbes.com, Newsmax.com, PersonalLiberty.com, and WashingtonTimes.com.

One week.

If only we had 100 Libertarians as popular as me.

No Libertarian in history has ever had success like this from mainstream media.

Call it what you want.

I call it: spectacular success.

So LP can either embrace it, or accept a small club for 1/2 of 1% of population that complains a lot…goes nowhere…wins nothing…and is meaningless and invisible.

Personally, I’d rather moderate and win up in front of a combined 62 million readers! In one week.

And starting in March I’ll blow past that. Two more giant web sites have asked me to write for them.

I’ve heard for years now that mainstream media hates Libertarians. They won’t give us the time of day.

Really? My only problem is: I need to clone myself.

Soon I’ll be under contract and paid to write 12 to 16 commentaries per month.

As well as be the spokesman for 5 national companies.

And serving on multiple boards.

All of this came after I became a Libertarian.

Something I’m doing is selling like hotcakes.

Maybe you’ll open your minds and smell what I’m cooking.

Cause it’s blowing up every myth ever told about the LP and the mainstream media.

They can’t get enough of this Libertarian’s opinions.

The reason is: I’m selling something popular.

Libertarianism, crossed with strong Tea Party fiscal conservatism, mixed with common sense moderation, aimed at suburban mothers and grandmothers.

Time to learn from success…or you’ll live Groundhog Day the rest of your life.

God Bless America.

Best,

Wayne Root

186 thoughts on “Wayne Root Touts Media Successes To LNC

  1. Root Sucks

    This is too good to be real! Is it April Fool’s day come early?

    This guy wouldn’t know modesty if it kicked him in his (fantastic) teeth.

  2. Tom Blanton

    I’ve heard for years now that mainstream media hates Libertarians. They won’t give us the time of day.

    What you’ve heard is true.

    Something I’m doing is selling like hotcakes.

    It’s called parroting what passes as conservative talking points to the rubes that listen to right-wing talk radio and read right-wing websites. The amazing thing is that they seem to have an endless appetite for hearing the same tired bromides over and over – much like a child that wants to have the same story read to him over and over.

    Maybe you’ll open your minds and smell what I’m cooking.

    McDonalds is also remarkably successful at selling garbage as food. What they cook also stinks.

  3. Jill Pyeatt

    I can’t believe Wayne feels the need to write a letter for the sole purpose of telling everyone how great he is. I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a heyday with him. I’ve never met a more arrogant person on my life.

  4. paulie

    Maybe Mr. Root doesn’t realize that not all Libertarians are able to afford a publicist.

    Well, at least some are.

    If not individually, then perhaps by pooling money?

    And if no one on our side of the LP has the time to be on as many shows as Root is and/or isn’t good in non-print media, perhaps a speakers bureau would work?

    I think there must be a way to compete with him on these terms, and I think it should be done.

  5. paulie

    I can’t believe Wayne feels the need to write a letter for the sole purpose of telling everyone how great he is.

    Maybe it will inspire some other people to be even better.

    I think too many libertarians, especially radical libertarians, have the opposite problem.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    MC@10,

    “Wayne Allyn Root = LP Growth”

    Root’s been doing his thing in the LP for five years now.

    Where are the membership increases?

    Was there a noticeable uptick in the 2010 LP vote?

    So far I’ve seen no evidence that your equation is good math.

    N.B. that I am commenting on your comment, not on Wayne’s email.

  7. Brian Holtz

    not all Libertarians are able to afford a publicist

    Wait, I thought Root was trying to enrich himself on the back of the LP. How much do you think he’s paying for all this media exposure?

    Can’t the haters pick an anti-Root narrative and stick to it?

    This reminds me of a recent research paper on conspiracy theorists. From the abstract: The present research shows that even mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively correlated in endorsement. In Study 1 (n = 137), the more participants believed that Princess Diana faked her own death, the more they believed that she was murdered. In Study 2 (n = 102), the more participants believed that Osama Bin Laden was already dead when U.S. special forces raided his compound in Pakistan, the more they believed he is still alive. Hierarchical regression models showed that mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively associated because both are associated with the view that the authorities are engaged in a cover-up (Study 2).

  8. Jill Pyeatt

    For the record, I am impressed that Wayne gets so much media attention. He truly has an ability that no one else in our party has (so far). I’ll be watching with much interest for the memberships and contributions to increase.

    But didn’t anyone teach him some manners? It is rude and inappropriate to constantly toot your own horn. It’s phenomenally off-putting. He’d be closer to perfect if he’d learn, or even pretend, to have some humility.

  9. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Brian Holtz: I thought Root was trying to enrich himself on the back of the LP. How much do you think he’s paying for all this media exposure?

    Can’t the haters pick an anti-Root narrative and stick to it?

    Come Brian, you’re smart enough to know that there’s no contradiction in these two accusations.

    1. Root seeks LP titles (sometimes investing his own money in party races) because he hopes that LP titles will buy him street cred with the media. (i.e., He’s not Joe Blow with a political opinion — he’s an Official Spokesman for America’s Third Largest Party.)

    2. Root then invests additional money in a publicist, to maximize the value of his LP titles.

    3. Root hopes these investments will pay off in lucrative book/radio/TV show deals.

    Those have been the accusations.

    Now Brian, you are smart enough to know there is no contradiction in these accusations (even if you disagree with them), so quit playing dumb.

  10. Steve M

    RTAA…. so anyone who becomes successful at anything is thus not a good representative of an otherwise unsuccessful political party? Why? Because they must only be interested in promoting them selves?

  11. Tom Blanton

    The idea that radical libertarians should “compete” with Root is kind of absurd. What are they supposed to do? Parrot right-wing talking points?

    Root gets exposure in right-wing media not because he is advancing libertarian ideas, he gets exposure because he reliably regurgitates the same talking points that all the other right-wingers are spewing.

    What radical libertarian is going to want to serve as a token libertarian to serve the agenda of the right-wing echo chamber?

    Is Holtz pretending that media outlets reach out to Root because he is a “libertarian”? Root uses the LP as a credential. He uses a publicist to get gigs. He is used to advance the same message that numerous others advance while he does nothing but damage the reputation of the LP and distorts the public image of the libertarian movement in general.

    The end result is that the general public as well as many LP members conflate libertarianism with right wing ideology to the point where many see no difference. If there is no difference, why bother with having a libertarian party? Why not have a “true conservative” party?

    The fact is that the more Root talks, the more the LP shrinks. The further to right the LP goes, the more irrelevant it becomes.

    It is just bizarre that so many LP members find someone with the personality of a used car salesman jacked up on meth spouting off nonsense to be a desirable spokesman for the LP.

  12. Thane Eichenauer

    If Wayne Root isn’t promoting libertarian ideas I would understand complaints about him. However if he promotes the ideas and does so successfully then I don’t sympathize with the complainers if they fail to present a bill of particulars as to what specific non-Libertarian ideas he is promoting.
    Root himself challenges other Libertarians to promote energetically. If the only response we can offer is that his efforts have yet to result in membership gains I say Root is hardly the only person responsible for selling membership and support of the LP.
    If there is a better spokesperson for libertarian ideas out there then he had better make himself known because promotion work doesn’t do itself.
    There is sufficient news media in the US and elsewhere for any sufficiently motivated person to earn himself a slice of it. Complaints about “right wing media” don’t fly with me. The right wing media (Fox) provide a platform for John Stossel who advocates libertarian ideas consistently. I have no reason to think that Fox wouldn’t include other Libertarians on their shows if they made themselves available on topics of the day.
    I say stop complaining and start doing.
    Or in other words, I second what Paulie said.

  13. Kevin Knedler

    All the bellyaching about growth.
    Ohio LP is growing.
    A key part of the growth will be state affiliates and local affiliates getting with it, building the organization, and building a team.
    Each state needs strong leadership that knows how to lead, how to pick good talent, how to delegate, and how to network.
    We need the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance (LSLA) to kick it up a few notches and help with this affiliate training and support.
    We need the LNC to provide further support and even $$$ in order to help the affiliates grow and prosper.
    This party is much bigger than Wayne Allyn Root. Time for some others to step up to the plate and take a few swings in leadership.

  14. paulie

    He truly has an ability that no one else in our party has (so far).

    I don’t think he has an ability none of the rest of us have. I think he’s leveraged his ability better in this regard.

    It is rude and inappropriate to constantly toot your own horn.

    I think it’s at least equally bad to never share our successes (in getting media among other things) to let them serve as an inspiration to others.

    To take one of many examples, I’ve mentioned to Mark Hinkle at least a couple of times that he should post his media clips to LP.org just as Wayne Root does. I know he has some, because every once in a while I stumble across them in the media on my own. And I’m sure he is not the only one.

    LP News used to serve this purpose to some extent, but there’s a lot less news in LP news last time I checked, and it’s no longer on the website.

  15. paulie

    1. Root seeks LP titles (sometimes investing his own money in party races) because he hopes that LP titles will buy him street cred with the media. (i.e., He’s not Joe Blow with a political opinion — he’s an Official Spokesman for America’s Third Largest Party.)

    2. Root then invests additional money in a publicist, to maximize the value of his LP titles.

    3. Root hopes these investments will pay off in lucrative book/radio/TV show deals.

    Sounds like a business plan for our prospective speakers bureau/publicist fund.

    How much do publicists make, anyway?

    If it’s a decent amount, I may be willing to try it part time for less than what experienced publicists make if there is enough interest in implementing this idea.

    I think I could learn to be pretty good at it, even if not immediately.

  16. Scott Lieberman

    “Jill Pyeatt // Feb 17, 2012 at 12:54 am

    I can’t believe Wayne feels the need to write a letter for the sole purpose of telling everyone how great he is. I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a heyday with him. I’ve never met a more arrogant person on my life.

    I can’t believe Wayne feels the need to write a letter for the sole purpose of telling everyone how great he is.”

    Ms. Pyeatt:

    You are 100% correct. Wayne Root has a huge ego.

    And that huge ego has gotten him more media than any Libertarian Party candidate or Libertarian Party leader in the history of the LP.

    Like it or not, self-promotion works.

    There is a lesson in there, somewhere.

    ————-

    “paulie // Feb 17, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Maybe it will inspire some other people to be even better.”

    Paulie hits the nail on the head. During TV interviews, Mr. Root is usually introduced as the 2008 Libertarian Vice-Presidential Nominee, or as the Chairman of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee. Being the Chairman of a Campaign Committee that doesn’t elect Libertarians to office is not a fun task.

    The LNCC can not create elected Libertarians out of thin air. They need LP members who have built up good reputations in their communities, and who are able to raise money on their own, even before the LNCC steps in.

    Ms. Pyeatt probably remembers Operation Breakthrough in California. That showed that by picking small, local races, and being blessed with non-partisan local elections, a state Libertarian Party can win several dozen elections with a relatively small investment.

    Wayne Root is a wonderful tool that the Libertarian Party can leverage, but first you have to pay attention to what Mr. Root is doing. Wayne Root doesn’t pretend to be on the leading edge of libertarian thought. That isn’t his job. His job is to get the media to pay attention to Libertarians. And our job is to give the media candidates that take their campaigns seriously enough such that at least some of them have a realistic chance of winning.

    Ms. Pyeatt – maybe you and Mr. Pyeatt can inspire other Libertarians in your area to apply for local Boards and Commissions, or to run for those Special Districts that we have in our state. That way, you and your husband can get your own brand of libertarianism working to help make our state more free.

    Paulie is saying: don’t hate on Wayne Root. Instead, compete with him!

  17. paulie

    The idea that radical libertarians should “compete” with Root is kind of absurd. What are they supposed to do? Parrot right-wing talking points?

    Um, duh, no.

    Get media coverage, let us know about it, get more, rinse, lather, repeat.

    Root gets exposure in right-wing media not because he is advancing libertarian ideas, he gets exposure because he reliably regurgitates the same talking points that all the other right-wingers are spewing.

    What radical libertarian is going to want to serve as a token libertarian to serve the agenda of the right-wing echo chamber?

    Right wing media are not the only kind of media. Radical libertarians could get coverage in campus and alternative weekly newspapers, leftist magazines, left wing radio and TV shows etc just as much or more than right wing ones.

    Harry Browne, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, and many others have done so to varying degrees, so it’s simply not true that the only libertarians who can get exposure are ones who reliably repeat right wing talking points.

    Is Holtz pretending that media outlets reach out to Root because he is a “libertarian”? Root uses the LP as a credential. He uses a publicist to get gigs.

    So why don’t more libertarians, particularly ones that agree with me more than Wayne does, do the same thing? If we can’t do it individually we should at least be able to do it by pooling our various resources.

    The end result is that the general public as well as many LP members conflate libertarianism with right wing ideology to the point where many see no difference. If there is no difference, why bother with having a libertarian party? Why not have a “true conservative” party?

    So what are we doing about it? How about a few of us get together and work out a way to do what I suggest, and put some other voices out there more to strongly separate libertarianism from right wing ideology in the public mind…and let LP members know about it every time we do it?

    Of course, we could just make excuses about how we can’t get media if we don’t sound right wing enough instead. I’m sure that we’ll get lots and lots of attention for our views by presuming no one is willing to let people hear them. Talk about a self fulfilling idea; we defeat ourselves by not even being in the game.

  18. paulie

    There is sufficient news media in the US and elsewhere for any sufficiently motivated person to earn himself a slice of it. Complaints about “right wing media” don’t fly with me.

    Exactly!

    And I also agree with Kevin Knedler @21. In fact I have been saying that for years.

  19. Brian Holtz

    @17 So Root is 5 years into an investment strategy that will start paying off Any Year Now. Got it.

    @14 The relevance of @12 was mutually inconsistent beliefs on the part of those who think Root has hidden motives.

  20. paulie

    Paulie is saying: don’t hate on Wayne Root. Instead, compete with him!

    Thank you. That is a good concise summary.

    We don’t have to agree with all of Wayne’s ideas or his spin on libertarianism to use the same tactics he does to get coverage. I think that a more left-friendly version of libertarianism can get coverage. I think a more radical version of libertarianism can as well (Tom Knapp does it for c4ss op-eds for example, although obviously that’s not an LP thing).

    Many of Gary Johnson’s media clips and print interviews/articles emphasize the left-leaning side of libertarianism.

    The idea that the only reason why Root gets media is because he emphasizes the more right-leaning side of libertarianism is false and, I think, pernicious. What’s more, if we allow that kind of thinking to prevail, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and we’ll get more of exactly what we don’t want.

    Root’s media profile is likely to keep rising, as far as I can tell. So I sure hope those of us I agree with more than I do with him will step up more and give him a good run for his media coverage (and money, if the business model suggested by Awesome Teeth is accurate).

  21. Michael H. Wilson

    This is getting old. Lots of libertarians write letters to the editor. Some groups send out media releases and other people write books. No one name is on all of these but combined they make up a lot of activity.

  22. Jill Pyeatt

    SL @ 25: ” maybe you and Mr. Pyeatt can inspire other Libertarians in your area to apply for local Boards and Commissions, or to run for those Special Districts that we have in our state. ”

    Gee, what a great idea! I’ll try it.

  23. Jill Pyeatt

    BH @ 28: “The relevance of @12 was mutually inconsistent beliefs on the part of those who think Root has hidden motives.”

    I guess I haven’t heard about that one.

  24. Michael H. Wilson

    Over the last four years I have emailed the members of the LNC on more than one occasion about errors in the issues section of the web site. Mr. Root and and others have been recipients of those emails. So far I have had no reply from Mr. Root indicating that he is interested in fixing the problems or anything else related to this issue.

    I will suggest that Mr. Root and his fellow members of the LNC work on up dating the issues section, write a regular column of the LP News about the importance of letters to the editor, how to build and maintain a media list, how to put out news releases, and other relevant ideas about getting media exposure.

  25. Ad Hoc

    This is getting old. Lots of libertarians write letters to the editor. Some groups send out media releases and other people write books. No one name is on all of these but combined they make up a lot of activity.

    It helps to share where all these LTEs and media releases get published and have them compiled to use as examples by other people. Add media interviews, national as well as local, local print articles etc. Get some leverage going…

    Over the last four years I have emailed the members of the LNC on more than one occasion about errors in the issues section of the web site. Mr. Root and and others have been recipients of those emails. So far I have had no reply from Mr. Root indicating that he is interested in fixing the problems or anything else related to this issue.

    Have you talked to Carla Howell about this?

    I will suggest that […] write a regular column [..] about the importance of letters to the editor, how to build and maintain a media list, how to put out news releases, and other relevant ideas about getting media exposure.

    I think that was what Kevin Knedler said the LSLA will be doing more of @21? At least I hope that was what he said.

    A lot of that type of information is already out there, and the LP at various levels should be making sure it is distributed at all national and state conventions to everyone there, emailed periodically via the LP email list and blog, taught in classes at conventions, etc and so forth.

    It’s not enough that information exists somewhere on the web and somewhere in books and so on, it needs to be actively distributed to everyone who can put it to use; all candidates and staff at every level, all state, county and local officers of every state, and so on.

  26. Darryl W. Perry

    A lot of that type of information is already out there, and the LP at various levels should be making sure it is distributed at all national and state conventions to everyone there, emailed periodically via the LP email list and blog, taught in classes at conventions, etc and so forth.

    It’s not enough that information exists somewhere on the web and somewhere in books and so on, it needs to be actively distributed to everyone who can put it to use; all candidates and staff at every level, all state, county and local officers of every state, and so on.

    Well said!

    My weekly articles are emailed to a list of several hundred media contacts, most of which I have compiled independently. My last several articles have appeared in two local weekly newspapers in Texas.
    If anyone wishes to exchange email lists, please let me know.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    19 tb, the idea is that “radical” Ls could seek media outlets that would provide an outlet for your message. Do the Maddow show to explain the morality of defaulting on the federal debt. Place a NY Times op ed abolishing the INS. Appear on NPR making the case for decriminalizing polygamy. Debate the CFR’s Haas

  28. Ad Hoc

    The INS was abolished some years ago.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. I do understand what you mean, though. I think the arguments you mentioned may be more suited to college and alternative city weekly paper LTEs.

  29. Michael H. Wilson

    re AH @ 35 No I have not talked or written to Carla Howell about this.

    I have been told on more than one occasion that information updating the web site has to go through the Advertising and Public Relations Committee. They seem to ignore the issue.

    On top of which MS. Howell has just taken on the responsibility and probably has enough to do at the moment.

  30. Marc Montoni

    @ 20 Thane E:

    If Wayne Root isn’t promoting libertarian ideas I would understand complaints about him. However if he promotes the ideas and does so successfully then I don’t sympathize with the complainers if they fail to present a bill of particulars as to what specific non-Libertarian ideas he is promoting.

    Specifics have been offered by IPR commenters and article writers in the past; either you haven’t seen them or you have simply chosen to ignore them.

    If the only response we can offer is that his efforts have yet to result in membership gains I say Root is hardly the only person responsible for selling membership and support of the LP.

    Well, no doo-doo.

    However, there have been many claims made abut how certain media attention has brought in many new members. I have often stated that I haven’t seen the evidence for this claim. I’m an evidence-based kinda guy. I want to see proof.

    I already have an inkling of the truth: when a new prospect comes in to the LP, their information is immediately distributed to the states — and I’m the guy in Virginia who follows-up with those prospects. I typically record a note that I attach to their database record, indicating how they heard about us. Of all of these correspondences and conversations, these were the vast majority of sources they cited as the reason they hit the “submit” button on the LP information request page:

    Ron Paul campaign
    Books — Rand, Mises, etc.
    Stossel
    Campus libertarian group
    LP Information table
    Friends

    So, I have some idea of where our newest prospects are coming from.

    FWIW, I have signed up more members personally than just about anyone I know — well over 600 since beginning to count about a decade ago. In one Virginia LP meeting in January of this year, I left with a half-dozen new or renewal memberships. Our state Treasurer has also recruited several new or renewal members recently. Doing it isn’t rocket science — the principles of building membership, whether one-on-one or one-to-many, are well-known in the nonprofit industry. Libertarians just think that industry-wide “best practices” don’t apply to them, which is a very foolish notion.

  31. George Phillies

    @42

    For one, I would be interested in reading your description of your methods for membership recruitment.

    I would not say we are doing hopelessly here; for example our non-renewal rate last year was in the low 20%s, based almost entirely on renewal letters and a renewal email. However, it would be nice to do better.

  32. Michael H. Wilson

    Interesting when we look at the per capita numbers Virginia is one of the best. New Hampshire is the best and California which has an additional delegate to the LNC because they have the largest membership numbers actually comes in about 18th per capita, but then they start with a larger base.

    But I was never a math major so please correct me if I am wrong.

  33. wolfefan

    Hi Scott @25 – just as an FYI, Wayne has described himself as (or his people have described him as) a leading Libertarian thinker. He isn’t, and doesn’t really pretend to be, but that won’t stop him from saying so. If you wish I’ll hunt up the post here on IPR for you.

    Wayne’s good at getting PR in part because he has professionals to do it for him, but also in part because he is a shameless self-promoter. I don’t mean this in a bad way – really! 🙂 People who are successful at politics have to have HUGE egos and for the most part have to be willing to say almost anything, whether they believe it to be true or not. (There are exceptions, of course.) Wayne has discussed many times how he never feels any guilt about anything and how he doesn’t ask what is right or wrong, but how can I profit the most. While he is not yet (and probably never will be) a truly successful politician, this is the attitude one needs to have. Not many LP folks do.

  34. Liebermann is a LP barfly

    @25:

    “Wayne Root is a wonderful tool”

    Scotty shoulda stopped there, because that summed it up nicely. The rest is just his usual brainless blather.

  35. Marc Montoni

    19 tb, the idea is that “radical” Ls could seek media outlets that would provide an outlet for your message.

    I’ve been writing op-eds for years, and truthfully, they’ve gotten limited play. I ran a network of libertarian commentators for a couple of years, sending out a selected op-ed once a week to several hundred media outlets. Got a few hits — including getting Wendy McElRoy paid for an article published by the Chicago Tribune — but you know, for all the effort, the response was abysmal. Someone needs to be paid to do that work, because breaking into the op-ed market — even if your writing is tight, well-researched, spell checked and grammar checked, logical, and presented in a way that 99% of the audience will understand the point — is freakin’ tough.

    If I had a net worth much larger than I do, I’d be employing a booking agent like Root does, to get better libertarian spokesmen interviews.

    Do the Maddow show to explain the morality of defaulting on the federal debt.

    Libertarians don’t have to explain anything, your friends in the government do. The US government will never pay its debt back. It can’t. It is mathematically financially, numerically — whatever — **impossible** for the federal debt to be paid. We are broke. There will be default/repudiation — the only question is when.

    It’s not like default is a world-shattering event; it’s happened many times in the past, including to the US government and to the governments of several US states. There would be a lot more central government defaults were it not for natons’ ability to “pay down” their debts with the printing press: and there would have been many more US state-level defaults/repudiations were it not for Uncle Sam throwing bailout dollars at them.

    Appear on NPR making the case for decriminalizing polygamy.

    Don’t forget polyandry and polyamory.

    It’s pretty simple, really. This article makes a pretty good case. A few sound bites inspired by parts of the article come to mind:

    – Libertarians favor the right of all individuals to enter into any consenting relationship they choose.

    – There is no legitimate reason for the government to act as morality or lifestyle police. Do we really want to emulate Malaysia, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia on that?

    – Let’s look at the case of April Divilbiss. She was on an MTV show in 1998 talking about her poly family — and after it, her daughter’s grandmother got the government involved. Divilbiss ended up losing her daughter permanently. April’s situation may not have been perfect, but the daughter wasn’t being hurt and the state decided to take her away anyway.

    – If I’m polyamorous or polygamist or polyandrist, and my family was identified, the state could steal our kids and force our family to breakup just because some people think what we’re doing is wrong. Governments tear apart “normal” families for lesser reasons everyday. Is this how we want to define a so-called ‘tolerant’ society?

    – The current climate against poly lifestyles is no different than the way gays and lesbians were treated fifty years ago. How many times do we have to go back to reactionary attitudes before we just live and let live?

    Further reading:

    Polyandry in Malaysia

    Polyandry on National Public Radio

    It’s not like the ground hasn’t been covered before. Libertarians can address all issues in our stable with just a little research into the facts of our position, as well as some basic practice on best ways to present our information.

  36. Jill Pyeatt

    Scott @ 25: Wayne likes to refer to himself as “leading Libertarian thinker”. Do you remember the “Seven” article a couple summers ago, where Wayne patiently explained how he’s remaking the Libertarian party to his own image? Yeah, that one.

  37. matt cholko

    I would be happy to donate 500 dollars to the radical libertarians publicity fund. If I see some results by convention time, I’ll donate another 500 dollars by the end of the year. If anyone here is so inclined to take the initiative to make this happen, please let me know.

  38. Robert Capozzi

    On the matter of developing a “radical” L to Root, I’d say the most important thing is resume. Root was already an author and had media experience when he came over to the LP, then a candidate. He’s been building on his base.

    I sense that the “radical” “left” Ls are not in step with the Auburn School, which is pretty well tied to Paul. They’ve had some media success, although I suspect they’ll be getting less play now that the Judge’s been canceled.

    I don’t know enough about him, but based on his blogging, being published, and his recent appearance on Reason TV, Chartier may have the makings of an anti-Root. Chartier seems civil, too, which helps.

    Quality first, quantity second.

  39. Robert Capozzi

    47 mm: The US government will never pay its debt back. It can’t. It is mathematically financially, numerically — whatever — **impossible** for the federal debt to be paid. We are broke. There will be default/repudiation — the only question is when.

    me: Could be. My Inner Hayek would never say never. A key factor that is easily overlooked is technology change. All one need do is look around for a pay phone for illustration. In large sections of the country, they are very difficult to find. Yet, they were everywhere say 20 years ago.

    Technology inflections can lead to step-function growth. Some of the nano- and biotech developments could lead to economic booms that could make the federal debt reversible.

    Of course, statists could take advantage of a boom to choke the benefits of growth off. I’d prefer to see Ls pulling the Public Square in the direction of liberty.

    Shocking the Public Square with grandiose public pronouncements might also work, but I have a harder time imagining how that might work. Some “radical” right and left Ls seem convinced that collapse is imminent, so I get the sense that they are putting down ideological markers so they can say, “See, I told you so. Follow us,” when there’s blood in the streets.

    That Chicken Little strategy doesn’t work for me since I don’t think collapse is likely and even if it did I don’t think the marker would be remembered even if collapse does happen.

    Anything’s possible, though….

  40. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    The U.S. government can pay back its debt — the only question is how, and at what cost.

    1. It can enact deep spending cuts. This must include Medicare, Social Security, and the military. But this is not politically feasible — even “conservatives” and “conservative libertarians” balk at cutting these sacred cows.

    2. It can enact massive tax increases on the rich, middle class, and working class. Again, not politically feasible.

    3. It can enact deep spending cuts AND massive tax increases. See above.

    4. It can print massive amounts of money so we’d have Weimer Germany/Zimbabwe style inflation.

    No. 4 is the most politically feasible option, if not the most economically sane. More feasible than any other option, including repudiating the debt.

    This is because inflation is more “invisible” than spending cuts, tax increases, or repudiating the debt. Voters will see the erosion on of the dollar, but the cause and culprits (Congress) will be less obvious than if Congress was to enact spending cuts, or tax increases, or debt repudiation.

    Also, the effects of inflation will impact a little further down the road than will tax increases, spending cuts, or dept repudiation — and when faced with a no-way-out crisis, politicians will settle for kick-the-can.

  41. George Phillies

    @4 Actually, there have been recent radical changes in the money supply and nothing like the inflationary effects that some economic theories would have you believe. Don’t worry about those theories. As one avid supporter of the Fourth Internationale once remarked: Leon Trotsky was so brilliant and far-seeing that not one of his predictions has come true…yet.

  42. George Phillies

    We ran up the debt in most of a century. We can run it down the same way.

    However, the experience from Europe is not exactly showing that austerity is a path to prosperity. On the bright side, the Greeks are showing exactly what happens to a country that does not have a central bank backing its debts. Indeed, it has a currency it does not issue, whose supply is under external rigid control — just like being on the gold standard. And we can see how it is working.

  43. paulie

    I would be happy to donate 500 dollars to the radical libertarians publicity fund. If I see some results by convention time, I’ll donate another 500 dollars by the end of the year. If anyone here is so inclined to take the initiative to make this happen, please let me know.

    Finally some progress!

    Marc, or anyone, do you have experience setting up such funds?

    At a minimum it would have to have its own bank account and someone to keep track of the money, which shouldn’t be too hard to do (at least in the short run).

  44. paulie

    Actually, there have been recent radical changes in the money supply and nothing like the inflationary effects that some economic theories would have you believe.

    So you believe the money supply can be massively expanded without a large inflationary effect indefinitely?

    How is that possible, logically? Does the cumulative value of capital goods and services expand when money is printed?

    It seems more logical to theorize that the effects haven’t caught up with the causes yet.

    As for the Greek situation, there are quite a few things you left out of your description of it.

  45. Robert Capozzi

    57 p: How is that possible, logically? Does the cumulative value of capital goods and services expand when money is printed?

    me: My Inner Hayek’d like to know the answer to that question, too. And, yet, with all the money supply expansion, we’ve not seen the price inflation the Austrians predicted. Again, I believe technological innovation may be the key, but I’ve not seen the argument made in a rigorous way.

    Even though the price of eggs, for ex., have gone up quite dramatically, overall we’re still getting better stuff for less…

  46. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    there have been recent radical changes in the money supply and nothing like the inflationary effects that some economic theories would have you believe.

    I know. But there’s a theory to explain that.

    I’ve heard the reason for there not being massive inflation yet is that the banks are sitting on the money, spending it in smallish increments. This is to keep prices low, so they can buy up real estate and other assets at low prices.

    Once they’ve bought (invested in) everything worth owning, then they’ll flood the market with dollars.

    IOW, for now most of the money is piling up, but it will eventually flood into the market, and massive inflation will ensue.

    At least, that’s one theory I’ve heard.

  47. paulie

    Explanation @59 makes much more sense than the one @58.

    Yes, there has been technological innovation, but not nearly enough to account for all the money that has been “printed” recently.

  48. Brian Holtz

    @59 is correct that the inflated money supply is sitting idle as excess reserves, but has the wrong conspiracy theory about why that’s happening.

    The correct conspiracy theory is that in the Oct 2008 bailout, the government decided to start paying interest on excess reserves in order to pad the balance sheets of the allegedly-fragile banking industry — even though this policy has inhibited lending at a time when frozen credit markets were supposedly in need of thawing.

    For details, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Economic_Stabilization_Act_of_2008#Interest_on_bank_deposits_held_by_the_Federal_Reserve

    With no prospect for a libertopian policy of free banking and competing currencies, more and more libertarian economists are rallying behind Scott Sumner’s prescription of nominal GDP targeting, explained here: http://www.themoneyillusion.com/?page_id=3447

  49. George Phillies

    @57 There is money supply and money velocity, and the product is of more importance. Alternatively, the Austerian Austrian economics that you describe well simply misses the point. Alternatively, the money is being used purely as bank reserves, and will disappear from the economy as the economy accelerates.

  50. George Phillies

    However, to give credit where it is due, the actual LNCC front page

    Donate

    Volunteer

    Declare (your candidacy)

    Incumbents (switch parties now!)

    has a way better message than the LP.org front page message.

    Perhaps it will turn out for the better if the LNCC drains dry the LNC’s fundraising pool.

  51. Be Rational

    @59

    Another element in to remember is that the actual inflation rate is far higher than the reported CPI – which is currently just a political tool used to fool the masses into believing that the inflation they see and feel every day isn’t really happening.

    The inflation is happening and the rest of that massive money supply increase will cause more over the next few years – and there will be a surge at some point that cannot be hidden.

    However, most of it will never be counted in the CPI.

  52. Thomas L. Knapp

    @61,

    “With no prospect for a libertopian policy of free banking and competing currencies”

    Actually, competing currencies and free banking are already here — just mostly underground or semi-underground. I don’t think they’re a major factor yet, but they will be.

    The mistake is in thinking that any of that depends on “policy.” As with things like filesharing, government policy can slightly slow down the change, but it can’t stop it.

    As far as facilitating it, well, maybe that would be nice in the short term, but in the long term, the message “we don’t NEED you” is probably better.

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    Ad Hoc @65,

    “Will LNCC take on ballot access?”

    For the most part, it shouldn’t have to. State parties seeing to their own ballot access serves two valuable functions:

    1) The requirement to do it can be used as a way of building the state parties; and

    2) Whether or not a state can do it is a good indicator of whether that state’s party is strong enough that a major investment in campaigning there will be followed up on to good effect.

    Since ballot access requirements vary from state to state, there may be exceptions — i.e. in some states no third party could possibly be strong enough to get over the hurdles on its own (for example, Oklahoma, where it’s harder for an alternative party to get on the ballot than in Iran), but the general rule is “see who sinks, see who swims, invest in the swimmers.”

  54. Jill Pyeatt

    Anyone who doesn’t think that inflation isn’t happening hasn’t bought groceries lately.

  55. Ad Hoc

    Actually, relatively few state parties would get on the ballot without the LNC’s help, and if the LNCC is in fact going to be “draining dry the LNC’s fundraising pool” as Phillies put it, I am wondering whether they will support ballot access.

    Everyone, including the LNC, would like state parties to get themselves on the ballot. State parties would also like to get themselves on the ballot.

    Fact is there are few “swimmers” in the pool. And waiting for the non-swimmers to start swimming will mean an LP that is on the ballot in a lot less states than now, which in turn will mean an LP with far less leverage of any sort in US politics.

  56. Ad Hoc

    Anyone who doesn’t think that inflation isn’t happening hasn’t bought groceries lately.

    Inflation is most certainly happening, and BR’s point about the CPI is a good one. It’s not happening at nearly the rate that recent changes in the money supply would suggest, and there have been a couple of plausible explanations here already as to why.

    Technological change hasn’t been keeping up with what the fed is doing, but granted it might catch up after the singularity.

  57. JT

    Paulie: “So you believe the money supply can be massively expanded without a large inflationary effect indefinitely?
    How is that possible, logically? Does the cumulative value of capital goods and services expand when money is printed?”

    It’s not logically possible. Phillies may be a good physicist (I don’t know) but he’s a poor economist.

    Paulie: “It seems more logical to theorize that the effects haven’t caught up with the causes yet.”

    Bingo. Although since the end of 2009 there has in fact been a good deal of general price inflation anyway, according to the government’s own CPI. But not as much as we’re going to see.

  58. George Phillies

    @72 Actually, it’s rather easy. All you need is for the velocity of money to fall as rapidly, or more rapidly than the supply of money is increased. There are a large number of first-rate economists who have explained this point rather clearly.

    With respect to inflation, I would urge people to watch the MIT billion prices project

    http://bpp.mit.edu/usa/

  59. 24/7 the T-Rex of Talk Radio

    Dangerous times indeed friends. A Weimar Republic type meltdown gave the world WHO?

    Oh well, quality men like Root await to stand in the gap. To sale the masses another round of used YUGOs……(a bad joke, sorry)

    I emailed every email address of LP staff members and the Chair, two weeks ago about holding an On-Line fundraiser over this the President’s Birthday Holiday Weekend specificly for Ballot Access. In which I offered to contact/post to a minimum 100 websites promoting the fundraiser. I didn’t receive even one reply. I think it would have been a good time to attempt one, maybe pickup $12,000 extra for the ’12 access drive over this weekend! I don’t know if the Director can do this on their own or do they have to go thru NatComm for permission ?

    The LP needs to attempt something. The Paul people have certainly been successful with their “moneybombs”. If we got the BA knocked out early we might could actually build up some funds for ads in the fall to help build the Party in membership and vote totals from the top of the ticket to the bottom ! Let’s get GOING !!!!!!!

  60. Brian Holtz

    @73 George, why would people want to look at a graph of actual price data, when they know in their gut there is a conspiracy to hide the actual inflation that’s happening everywhere in America (except among the 500K products that the BPP price-checks daily).

  61. Alan Pyeatt

    Scott @ 25: “Ms. Pyeatt – maybe you and Mr. Pyeatt can inspire other Libertarians in your area to apply for local Boards and Commissions, or to run for those Special Districts that we have in our state.”

    Yes, that is the plan. And I’m happy to work with you to do it, Scott.

    But let’s not fool ourselves. We’ve all seen the Mainstream media shill for war, and ignore the thousands who were protesting in an attempt to stop it. We’ve seen them alternate between trying to ignore Ron Paul to ridiculing him, as both attempts failed. We’ve seen them ignore issues such as the NDAA, extraordinary rendition, the “Patriot” Act, letting the Bush administration and the telecoms off the hook with the FISA amendment, SOPA/PIPA/ACTA, etc., etc. Any coverage they give these issues only happens because people find out about them on then internet first, and that’s why the government is moving to control and regulate it. There’s big money at stake here, and we shouldn’t be surprised if the parasites who are raking it in act in a manner that would protect their cash flows.

    We’ve seen the Mainstream Media ignore good speakers like David Nolan, Ed Clark, Ron Paul in 1988, Michael Cloud, Mary Ruwart, Michael Badnarik… And yet, the one guy they want to interview just happens to be the same person that tried to sell us on the “Reagan libertarian” fiction. Hmm.

    I live in the Los Angeles area, where we have a Pacifica Network radio station as well as KTLK. These stations really ARE liberal media. And of course, we have all the FOX/CNN/NBC right-wing crap you can stand to listen to, on t.v., radio, and in print media.

    The only way a truly libertarian message will get to most Americans is if we build a LIBERTARIAN media.

    Meanwhile, I hope every libertarian in this country will read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” Alinsky may have been a leftist, but he had a lot of experience trying to create social change in America, so he was familiar with some of the tactics that were – and still are – used to co-opt social change movements. Like ours.

    No doubt, some people with a “crippled epistemology” and a huge gullibility complex will say that I’m over-reacting, and my views are paranoid. But if you’ve read the research paper “Conspiracy Theories” by Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585), it’s hard to imagine what an over-reaction would look like. In this report, Sunstein and Vermeule lament how hard it is to censor people in this country (hence SOPA/PIPA/ACTA, which can effectively achieve the same goal WRT the internet IMO), and then advocate that the government “cognitively infiltrate” groups that say things the government doesn’t want them to say. BTW, since writing the report, Sunstein has been given the position of Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

    Really, none of this should surprise us. The Mainstream Media was co-opted decades ago. (http://tmh.floonet.net/articles/cia_press.html, see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird.) Problem is, the internet opened up alternative channels of information, so it is much harder for the MSM to control what we think. For the time being, at least.

    But don’t worry, President Obama’s “executive agreement” regarding ACTA – everybody else in the world calls it a treaty, but not here in the U.S. – will help to solve that. You remember Faux News telling you about ACTA, right? Right?

    Oh look, one of the newspapers listed in the Wikipedia article about Operation Mockingbird is also mentioned in the original article of this thread! Whaddya’ know about that?

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  62. Be Rational

    When BPP repeats the same mistakes as found in the CPI they will produce similar faulty data.

    One glaring mistake for example is that both fail to adjust data for technological and productivity advancements. These must be excluded to determine real inflation rates. But they want to hide the inflation. So, they let these offset the real inflation rate.

    It would be the same as company A merges in a stock swap with equal sized company B and claims to have a 100% growth rate…

    Yes, it would be a lie.

    Inflation is much higher than stated. It is no accident, but many pretend economists have been fooled.

  63. George Phillies

    @78 The effect you are describing means that inflation is *less* than is being claimed, not greater.

    WHen you compare the price of the same good at different times, inflation is being watched carefully.

    As an additional source, note the occasional article on Carpe Diem comparing what you could have bought with your money in 1970, and what the same money today. The difference is astonishing, and shows massive deflation over the period.

  64. Ad Hoc

    So, is anyone else interested in contributing to a libertarian media publicist fund, as Matt Cholko offered to do above?

    Is anyone stepping up to set up and administer such a fund?

    If the excuse why Root is able to get media is that he has a publicist, then we should throw some money together and get a publicist.

    There should also be a speakers bureau, or something similar. If the LP doesn’t set one up again soon, it should be done independently.

  65. Ad Hoc

    WRT inflation,

    I only know that the price of things I actually buy has gone up.

    Maybe that’s offset by other products, such as electronics, which I don’t buy much of.

  66. Ad Hoc

    I’m more interested in seeing it get done, sooner rather than later, than talking about who promised to do it or who should get elected to the LNC to try to get the rest of the LNC to pass it.

    Can we cut out some of the bureaucracy and get something actually accomplished?

  67. Thomas L. Knapp

    @79,

    “As an additional source, note the occasional article on Carpe Diem comparing what you could have bought with your money in 1970, and what the same money today. The difference is astonishing, and shows massive deflation over the period.”

    Um, no. While price decreases do accompany deflation, price decrease is not the same thing as deflation (nor is price increase the same thing as inflation).

  68. Ad Hoc

    Meanwhile, I hope every libertarian in this country will read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” Alinsky may have been a leftist, but he had a lot of experience trying to create social change in America, so he was familiar with some of the tactics that were – and still are – used to co-opt social change movements. Like ours.

    Good advice.

    Alinksy’s Reveille for Radicals is also useful, as is just about anything by Gene Sharp.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    Agree with GP 79. I sometimes get the sense that the Auburn crowd fixate on what they say are flaws in the data in order to maintain their narrative. Or they fall back to “oh, hyper-inflation is coming.”

    Problem is: Gold bugs told us we’d be living in mud huts soon in the 70s. Didn’t happen, by and large.

    Velocity explains a lot of it. I’d be interested if there’s been any accessible work done by neo-Hayekians (Russ Roberts might fit the bill) who’ve explained why the Austrian model hasn’t worked.

  70. Be Rational

    @79

    Sorry, GP, but it’s you who’ve got it backwards.

    The price of phone calls, for example, has fallen a great deal over the decades – all due to technological innovation and productivity advances. Including them in the CPI makes the CPI far lower. This lets the government claim that inflation is less than it really is and they can steal everyone’s money by inflating the money supply and pretend they haven’t.

    The fact is that when innovation and productivity are factored out, the price of a long-distance phone call has risen.

    Inflation is far beyond the lies reported in the CPI.

    Innovation and productivity gains should make the inventors and the public richer. Instead they are used as offsets in calculating CPI – which does not measure inflation – and lets the government hide the real inflation rate.

    Had there been no inflation over the decades, all of these gains would have resulted in increased living standards. But we see that living standards and earnings have at best been stagnant for several decades now for the 99%.

    Why? Inflation has stolen the gains. It’s a tax so well hidden that even pretend economists on this thread don’t get it.

  71. matt cholko

    So, back to my post from last night, do we have anyone here who is willing to, and qualified to, talk about these issues in the mainstream media?

  72. Jill Pyeatt

    I would agree that Gary Chartier explains things well, as well as writes well, but I don’t know how interested he would be in being a spokesman. We have several people with radio shows; John Jay Myers being one of them. I’ve seen them both post here sometimes.

  73. Thomas L. Knapp

    BR@92 has it right in general.

    Inflation and deflation are measurements of the amount of currency in circulation in relation to the goods and services that currency can be spent on.

    When that ratio increases (inflation), prices rise.

    When that ratio decreases, prices fall.

    But, not every rise or fall in price is caused by, or an indicator of, inflation or deflation.

  74. Robert Capozzi

    92 br: The fact is that when innovation and productivity are factored out, the price of a long-distance phone call has risen.

    me: Huh? Are you saying that if they rip up all the fiber optics and switching equipment, prices would be higher? How can you “factor out” innovation?

  75. Rob Banks

    MC @ 93

    I don’t know who all is willing to be a spokesperson. You could contact them to see. People with books, radio shows, campaigns etc to promote, besides Chartier and Myers, include

    Mary Ruwart
    Lee Wrights
    Ernest Hancock
    Ken Schoolland

    Other suggestions:

    Doug Craig
    Starchild
    Less Antman
    Kane

    More suggestions welcome.

    Lots of other suggestions if we are talking about a list of people involved with the libertarian movement who don’t necessarily support, and in some cases oppose, the Libertarian Party as such.

  76. Robert Capozzi

    94 jp, I think yer referring to my post 51. My sense is the bulk of the LM and LP fall into 4 schools:

    1) Constitutionalists, where I see JJM. They’ve got their own media and networks, and they occasionally pop up on the MSM.

    2) Fusionists, where Root plays. I’d say Barr was here.

    3) Moderates, which is where Cato and Reason are, although the LP itself tends to repel these people, although if GJ is nominated, that could change. (FD: I’d more or less put myself in this camp.) Moderates are only “moderate” in an LM context. They are extremists by the wider world’s standards.

    4) Left “radicals”. While the constitutionalists sometimes echo positions of the left “radical” Ls, this is an under-represented element in the LM. It is in many ways the Rothbardian remnant, even the neo-Rothbardians/Auburn element went paleo and constitutionalist. Left “radicals” are under-represented from an outward-facing perspective, except for more guerilla operations like antiwar.com and the center for a stateless society. My sense is that Hinkle is here, btw, but from the left “radical” perspective, he went native and is now in the clutches of the Evil SCM Cabal.

  77. paulie

    Home prices are at best near a bottom.

    However, rental housing has gone up.

    So: home prices and electronics prices down; housing rental, gas and food prices up. What else has gotten relatively cheaper and what has gotten relatively more expensive? I know precious metals have gone up….what else?

  78. George Phillies

    “The fact is that when innovation and productivity are factored out, the price of a long-distance phone call has risen.”

    An unusually strange argument even for the internut.

    The price is what you pay for something, except perhaps in libernut land.

    As a result, the cost of my phone calls across America, Canada, and remote foreign places is incredibly cheaper than it was 50 years ago.

  79. Tom Blanton

    Those who live in wealthy areas and those who have a high net worth or are high-wage earners seem to be oblivious to inflation. Those at or near the socioeconomic scale struggle with rising prices.

    I suppose those with a balance of several thousand dollars can go to the grocery store, put the items they want in their shopping cart, and whip out their debit card to pay don’t notice the ever rising prices of food and household items, but those who go to the store with a fixed amount of cash in hand must compare prices and make difficult prices. Those who believe that prices at the grocery store are not rising based on BPP or CPI numbers are delusional.

    Some big ticket items that seem to be ignored in the inflation happy talk include healthcare costs across the board, all types of insurance, and education. Energy prices are also rising overall, despite occasional dips.

    As inflation eats up more and more disposable income, we may see prices of non-essential items fall as retailers are forced to lower prices due to a lack of demand.

    As far as technology goes, consumers may be getting more bang for the buck in some areas, but check out the prices for some of these hi-tech phones. Or how about paying 99 cents per song for downloadable tunes. That comes out to almost 20 bucks for a 20-song CD. That ain’t no bargain. At $1.29 per song, it is a ripoff.

    Entertainment prices are so high that many people can’t afford to eat out at even some of the better fast food outlets where a combo meal can cost $8-10.

    Movie prices are at an all-time high and concert prices are insanely high. For someone earning less than $20 an hour, it is prohibitive to take a kid to a baseball game.

    Another area ignored by those agencies telling us about the low inflation rate is the service industry. Those paying out of pocket for car or appliance repairs, or home repairs, will certainly pay much more than they did five years ago.

    All of this combined has a huge impact on people whose wages are stagnant. I know many people that have not had a raise in 3-5 years. A lot more people get raises that are less than the official rate of inflation which is based on substitutions and seasonal adjustments, etc. to arrive at figures that are out of whack with reality.

    Retirees are especially hard hit with fixed incomes and interest at less than 1% on certificates of deposit.

    Does anyone claiming that the economy is doing fine with low inflation and high velocity truly believe that Tea Partiers and the Occupiers would be in the streets if everything was so wonderful?

    When have establishment institutions and the government ever told the truth about anything? Am I to believe what they say and ignore what I actually experience?

    I’m not saying America will become another Zimbabwe, but there is no question the economy is extremely fragile and that there is a much higher rate of inflation than that cited (or even noticed) by the elite.

  80. Tom Blanton

    Phillies is right about one thing – the price of long distance calls. The amount I save per month on long distance service saves me enough to buy 2 gallons of gas and a cheeseburger. Add a cup of coffee for those months where I make no long distance calls.

    Happy days are here again!

  81. George Phillies

    The detailed CPI information does show that food prices are increasing. However, other things are not to nearly the same extent. And house prices are falling rather swiftly.

    “. That comes out to almost 20 bucks for a 20-song CD. That ain’t no bargain. At $1.29 per song, it is a ripoff.” Of course, you could buy the CD, used, on the internet.

  82. Wes Wagner

    The reason the CPI figures are not as high as they should be is because producers are being squeezed on margin. PPI has been increasing at a faster rate than CPI, and this is very typical of a recession/depression environment, which are by nature deflationary.

    The excess availability of leverage to build capital increased the capacity to supply in many sectors beyond the ability of the consumer to borrow and continue the same rate of increased consumption.

    As a result that excess capacity will be a burden on profits and the competition to minimize losses among similarly overbuilt suppliers. Some are too leveraged and will go out of business in one form or another and eventually all the excess debt and capacity will work its way out of the system and we will return to the cycle of capital formation.

    When you see real capital formation starting (people building capacity from retained earnings, rather than debt leverage) that is when real economic recovery as the media understands it will start.

  83. Brian Holtz

    Ah, inflation must be high, because Blanton is too poor to buy what he wants. Got it.

    Re: $500 smart phones and $5 burgers — the existence of premium products is not the same as inflation.

    Re: health insurance and healthcare — see http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpifact4.htm

    Re: education — see http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpifacct.htm

    Re: music — the amount we pay for music is crashing:

    Re: movies and sports — with 1080p and broadband, who buys tickets any more?

    If you’re paying more for your music/movies/sports diet than a decade ago, then you’re not a smart shopper.

    When have establishment institutions and the government ever told the truth about anything?

    And here we finally get the real reason for why Blanton must. not. believe. CPI.

    Be Rational thinks long-distance telephony is the poster child for hidden inflation, when in fact the opposite is the case:

    P.S. Markets can turn contrarian economic insight (like “inflation is much higher than reported”) into wealth. You can put your money where your mouth is by borrowing to the hilt, via instruments like the 30-year fixed-interest-rate mortgage. Let’s ask markets what they think are the long-term prospects for inflation:

    But hey, what do markets know?

  84. Robert Capozzi

    109 bh, this is the point when the dogmatists either run away or come back with a head scratching non sequitor…

  85. Thomas L. Knapp

    HF@96,

    “OK, I’ll bite. What’s the difference?”

    The difference is this:

    If the US Treasury pulled half of its currency out of circulation and the price of long distance phone service fell, that would be “deflation.”

    If, instead, as actually happened, the price of long distance phone service fell due to deregulation, competition and technological advancement, that would not be.

    If the US Treasury doubles the amount of currency in circulation tomorrow and the price of oil skyrockets, that will be due to “inflation.”

    If the price of oil skyrockets because the Iranian navy blocks the Strait of Hormuz with the shattered hulk of the USS Abraham Lincoln, that will not be due to “inflation.”

  86. Jill Pyeatt

    Matt Cholko: We have some else else here in CA who could be a spokesman for the left side of the party, and that would be Carlos Rodriquez. He’s currently the chair of Los Angeles County, he received one of the highest percent of votes for a three-way Congress rates in 2010, and he’s handsome enough that he was actually on a soap opera a few years ago. The whole LP should keep an eye on this guy.

  87. Jill Pyeatt

    I’ll offer the price of a public college education in California as an area where price increases have been huge lately. And I’m the one who does the marketing in my house– groceries are unbelievably high over just a couple years ago. I don’t need charts or cost indexes to know what’s going on here.

    As a small business person, payroll and payroll taxes continue to climb. I’ll agree that telephone costs are down, and postage is down tremendously because we have relatively little snail mail going out. However, even those making more than the standard middle class salary are hurting in Los Angeles County. I take calls every day from people who just can’t afford their car insurance any more, although auto premiums here are lower than they used to be. However, homeowner premiums are much higher, and will continue to climb, especially in problem states like Texas, California, and Florida.

    I could pull records over a few years ago, and prove that I’m paying much more in many areas, buy why should I bother? I’m too busy trying to get the bills paid.

  88. Be Rational

    Phillies @ 102 & 105:

    Since you actually quoted what I wrote and then failed to comprehend the words, I’ll have to apologize to you since I had no idea you were learning impaired and unable to read or comprehend meaning. Libertarians on the whole tend to be better educated and I had assumed you had some advanced degrees of some kind.

    Here it is:

    “The fact is that when innovation and productivity are factored out, the price of a long-distance phone call has risen.”

    You see that first part of the sentence George?

    It says you have to factor out innovation and productivity gains. Then you can compute the change in price for purposes of measuring changes in the value of a unit of currency from one year to the next.

    This may be hard for you. It’s something that scientists and engineers do and real economists should do.

    Suppose you want to test the change in durability of a tire model that was redisigned (improved maybe) from one year to the next. You would have to compare the two tires being run on the same vehicle with the same weight, the same driving conditions and over the same distance.

    You see, you have to hold other factors the same.

    In science, you would call this a control group.

    In economics it’s “ceteris paribus” – it means holding other things the same.

    So, to measure the change in the value of a dollar from year to year – what is properly called “inflation” you have to hold other factors the same.

    Now that doesn’t just mean the same item, but you have to control for changes in productivity, technological advancements, and as mentioned, competition and deregulation so as to isolate the change in the value of the unit of currency – in our case the dollar.

    Yes, you have to use the economists “ceteris paribus” – so as to measure the single item, inflation.

  89. Be Rational

    Now, when we actually control for innovation, technological advancement and include competition and deregulation – that is we exclude them so that we compare the same product what will we find …

    We will absolutely find that the cost of phone calls will have risen due to massive inflation.

    All of the decline we see in the nominal cost of a phone call is due to the above improvements. These are benefits of a free market and should accrue to the users of phones, workers and providers of calling services. Had we not had massive inflation the actual price today would be far lower.

    So, the government includes these improvements in its data and hides the real inflation rate. It pretends it hasn’t inflated the currency and fails to exclude all market based advancements as any scientist, engineer or real economist would know to do.

    Phone calls is a very good example of something that has had massive increase in cost – ceteris paribus – due to inflation and a massive decrease in cost due to market based improvements.

    You have to use controlled data and compare the same items produced with the same production techniques under the same conditions.

    The government uses such confusing situations to fool the people.

    Phillies, Capozzi and Holtz above have been duped.

  90. Be Rational

    Now, @ 97, we can see RC asking a relevant question … perhaps he will listen to his own question and start to see how he has been fooled …

    Robert Capozzi // Feb 19, 2012 at 6:35 am

    92 br: The fact is that when innovation and productivity are factored out, the price of a long-distance phone call has risen.

    me: Huh? Are you saying that if they rip up all the fiber optics and switching equipment, prices would be higher? How can you “factor out” innovation?

    ******

    Yes, RC, you have to factor out all of those things if you are comparing over decades the inflation of the currency.

    How – yes, quite a chore for economists to undertake – but necessary if they are to understand and report the real rate of inflation separate from free market gains that properly should not be allowed to offset the falling value of the currency.

    RC – it’s called “ceteris paribus” and I’m sure you remember that from your Principles of Economics course.

    Difficulty is no excuse for substituting faulty data.

    Now imagine a scientist when challenged with the task of measuring the distance from Earth to the edge of the universe … faced with this difficult problem he gets in his car and drives from Boston to Cleveland, noting the beginning and ending readings on his odometer and taking the difference he reports this as the distance to the end of the universe.

    “Why?” we asked him.

    “Well,” he answered, “both are too far to see with the naked eye, and driving to Cleveland was easier.”

  91. Alan Pyeatt

    Ad Hoc @ 87: Thanks for supporting my recommendation! I was introduced to Saul Alinsky’s work at an LP region meeting, but unfortunately, too many libertarians haven’t read it. BTW, on your recommendation I downloaded several of Gene Sharp’s books, and have added them to my stack. 🙂

    Honestly, if we can’t recognize obvious threats and respond to them appropriately, then our movement – at least, as an effective agent of social change – will follow the dodo bird into extinction. Of course, the the outer form of the movement and its institutions may remain, like an empty husk.

    If we allow this to happen, one could make the case that we would deserve this fate. The problem is, then there would be no institutional foundation to create the truly free society we all (well, most of us, anyway) want to achieve. And my grandchildren do NOT deserve that fate.

  92. Alan Pyeatt

    Matt @ 93: While I agree with Jill that Carlos Rodriguez is a great speaker and excellent on issues of human rights, we have other people right here in L.A. County who are also excellent speakers, but also have expertise in economics. Pamela Brown of Pierce College and George Reisman at Pepperdine University come to mind immediately.

    The problem is, the MSM is motivated to help the government cover up the truth, not to publicize it. That’s why we have to emphasize alternative media, while building a libertarian-oriented media. And that’s also why it’s so important to protect internet freedom, so the MSM can’t control our information.

  93. Brian Holtz

    Be Rational knows there is massive inflation because current prices are higher than what he knows they should be. When prices stay the same, but Be Rational knows they should be dropping, he calls that inflation.

    @113 Yes, as Peter Thiel points out, there is a bubble in the price of high-status educational certification. Cost-conscious consumers should avoid bidding for such a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positional_good.

  94. Be Rational

    Really Holtz, if you do not understand that we have to measure change by holding other things constant then you are completely unqualified to discuss this topic.

  95. Brian Holtz

    I am indeed unqualified to discuss your theory that inflation can be rampant when prices aren’t changing. I am also unqualified to discuss your theory of married bachelors.

    For some more fun with CPI skepticism, here is a graph and blog post from a year ago:

    Just in case there was still any lingering doubt that prices in the US are surging far above whatever the CPI may indicate, we present the MIT Billion Price Project. Unlike the CPI which is a gross misrepresentation of what is really happening on the ground in price terms, MIT actually compiles real time price data about a universe of products.

    Note what happened in the year since then:

  96. Be Rational

    Sure, and I can quote alchemists who can turn lead into gold.

    Your cites are useless when they are wrong and based on faulty logic.

  97. Be Rational

    Holtz, you need to start over and think about economics instead of regurgitating the nonsense of the failed ideas of the past.

  98. Jill Pyeatt

    Real experience means much more to me than any chart. Most any idea can be “proven” by a chart or graph somewhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s correct.

  99. Brian Holtz

    Jill, the relationship between CPI and interest rates on dollar-denominated T-bill shows that the market thinks CPI accurately measures the value of the dollar.

    If the market is so bad at measuring value, then isn’t libertarianism false?

    If you’re so much better than the market at measuring value, then shouldn’t you be rich?

  100. Robert Capozzi

    117 br: Yes, RC, you have to factor out all of those things if you are comparing over decades the inflation of the currency.

    me: I am quite familiar with ceteris paribus (CP), yes, thanks. I know of no Austrian (or possibly any other) economist who could begin to even try to conduct such a CP experiment.

    If you do, please share his/her work.

    Attempting to what if such things sounds absurd on its face for telecom or anything else. If the computer were not invented, how much would typewriters cost today? If insecticide were not invented, how much would food cost today? If the airplane were never invented, how much would it cost to sail to Europe?

    Too many variables to even hazard a prediction of any merit….

    Holtz, is there a still of Picard, Riker and Data facepalming? 😉

  101. Robert Capozzi

    117 br: Difficulty is no excuse for substituting faulty data.

    me: Impossible is no excuse for substituting faulty CP experiments, either.

  102. Robert Capozzi

    125 jp: Real experience means much more to me than any chart.

    me: And to pretty much the entire human race! Our perceptions color ALL our interpretations, since we are all highly limited in our ability to process gigabytes of data instantaneously to form a value. Rather, we all sort out most data and draw conclusions about what we think “reality” is and whether we “like” or “dislike” the arbitrary fact set we’ve chosen to focus on.

  103. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    I wasn’t discussing Root’s Teeth. I was discussing inflation. (Albeit while using my “handle.”)

    And I agree with Jill. My observations at the supermarket are that prices are going up.

    Sometimes this price increase is hidden in that the price is the “same” while the packaging is smaller. So you’re paying the same for less.

    Unlike Brian, I don’t have the ability to embed pretty charts. So I’ll just offer some links instead.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/29/business/29shrink.html?pagewanted=all

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/04/04/u-s-companies-shrink-packages-as-food-prices-rise/

  104. Robert Capozzi

    131 teeth, yes, some unit prices on food are increasing. So is the price of gas.

    Does it register for you that that is not disputed by anyone that I can see in this thread or anywhere?

    If it does, the question becomes: Why do you cite the obvious? Is your intent to deflect?

  105. Brian Holtz

    FROM ROOTS TEETH
    TO BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

    FLAW DISCOVERED IN CPI TIME SERIES DATA BREAK TURNS OUT FOOD PRICES VARY BASED ON QUANTITY PURCHASED BREAK URGE INCLUSION OF QUANTITY PURCHASED AS DENOMINATOR BREAK


    FROM BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
    TO ROOTS TEETH

    DUH BREAK
    http://www.bls.gov/ro3/apmw.htm BREAK

  106. Jill Pyeatt

    BH @ 127: “…then shouldn’t you be rich?”

    Yes, I should be rich. No question about it, I should be totally rich (and totally skinny).

  107. Thane Eichenauer

    BH@137
    I may not know the formal definition of thread hijacking but when I look at a post about Wayne Allyn Root and the number and length of comments that are not about Wayne Allyn Root exceed the number and length of comments that are about Wayne Allyn Root that looks, tastes and smells (to me) like a post has been hijacked.
    IPR offers a minimum of a monthly open thread and liberal membership to those interested in writing articles. If inflation is a relevant discussion topic at IPR (I won’t offer an opinion as to whether it is or isn’t) then I encourage an article or two or three (or ten) on that topic so that it may receive all the comments and analysis and discussion that it deserves.
    Pave the Cowpaths is a fine article. I would modestly assert that the reason there is an open thread at IPR is to provide a place for comments (or tens of comments) to occur instead of cluttering the comment space of posts on a given topic that don’t have to do with comments on inflation.
    Of course, as Dennis Miller and I often say, “Of course, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.”

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/02/february-2011-open-thread/

  108. Brian Holtz

    Thread hijacking is when a comment is made that seems designed more to provoke a change of subject than to respond to the existing discussion. It’s not like anybody above said “but enough about Root; let’s talk inflation”. Nobody is stopping anybody from making new comments about Root’s media presence — a horse that’s been beaten well past death by the Root haters. As for the inflation discussion, I for one learned some new things here, e.g. about the BPP, and how to show that CPI skepticism is in tension with the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient_markets_hypothesis that libertarians should know and love.

  109. Thomas Blanton

    According to boy genius @ 109:

    Re: music — the amount we pay for music is crashing

    Wrong. Dumb. Ass.

    Your little chart shows that sales revenue for the music industry. This merely shows that people aren’t paying the high prices, not that the prices aren’t high.

    You’d think that a millionaire genius who is smarter than all the characters on Big Bang Theory combined could figure out a simple chart, but then you’d be wrong.

  110. Thomas Blanton

    It’s not surprising that boy genius thinks the CPI is sacrosanct government wisdom. He also bought the received wisdom on the war on terror from the Bush regime. He’d probably buy a used car from Wayne Root too.

  111. Thomas Blanton

    What kind of moron believes long-term mortgage interest rates are a function of the the “free market” when the main buyer for these low interest notes are government operations – FNMA & FHLMC?

    For that matter, what kind of idiot thinks there is anything resembling a free market in existence?

    I guess the same sort of idiots that believe government statistics.

  112. Robert Capozzi

    103 tb: Or how about paying 99 cents per song for downloadable tunes. That comes out to almost 20 bucks for a 20-song CD. That ain’t no bargain. At $1.29 per song, it is a ripoff.

    me: That’s the thing with “ripoffs” — they are in the eye of the beholder. Back in the day, one might buy an early Roxy Music 8 track for maybe, what, $3. Maybe the buyer only liked 3 of the 20 songs, though. The rest were to be skipped over.

    And they one’s car 8-Track player eats the tape. Doooh. $3 bucks…gone.

    We didn’t have Pandora or YouTube in the 70s, either. Dude, it’s not like there aren’t challenges now, but cherry-picking negative indicators skews the overall picture.

  113. Robert Capozzi

    142 tb: For that matter, what kind of idiot thinks there is anything resembling a free market in existence? I guess the same sort of idiots that believe government statistics.

    me: Labor under false and misleading impressions, and trudge further from truth. Of course there is no truly free markets in anything. Of course government stats can sometimes be somewhat misleading, and sometimes even completely misleading.

    Still, long-term debt is being purchased by private institutions and individuals. The yields they are locking in quite low. If the CPI skyrockets to Zimbabwe-type levels in the near term, those positions are toast.

    Perhaps you should offer yourself as a portfolio manager to convince all those investment committees of the error of their ways! You might go down in history as the Edison and the Tesla rolled into one of investing strategy, displacing Graham and Dodd.

    Call options on farmland? Long positions on bullet manufacturers? Platinum mine shares?

  114. Thomas Blanton

    Still, long-term debt is being purchased by private institutions and individuals.

    Which private institutions and individuals are buying any significant number of 30-year mortgage notes yielding 4%? Fannie, Freddie, and Bernanke aren’t exactly private individuals, Bubby.

    My advice to deep-pocket investors would to buy residential REO properties from banks and then rent them out. I’m seeing some amazing deals on rather nice single-family homes.

  115. Robert Capozzi

    147 tb, most all the major institutional investors have large bonds funds that include LT bonds, which are at very low rates, historically speaking. The 30 year is a scooch above 3%.

    They could all be fools, and they should be following your sage counsel. Surely holding 3 and 4 point paper when rates are poised to — in your mind– cascade into the deep double digits as you seem to think would be a huge losing position.

  116. paulie

    No time to catch up with all the comments on this thread right now, but if one of the writers here can teke just the comments about starting a fund to get a media publicist and speakers bureau from this thread and put them up as an article I would appreciate it.

  117. Brian Holtz

    @140 I said the amount we pay for music was crashing — which is what my graph shows. I didn’t say the “price” we pay for music was crashing, because it’s already crashed. Music is free now, and anybody who pays for music these days is either charitable or clueless. If you are paying more for your music diet than a decade ago, then ask a teenager to teach you how to use a computer.

    @141 Wrong, I always rejected Bush’s “war on terror” justifications for Iraq. My one mistake on Iraq was shared by everybody else, including the Cassandras. But thanks for trying to change the subject, it’s a handy measure of how badly you’ve lost this debate.

    @142 30-year mortgage rates closely track 30-year Treasury bonds, which are bought by myriad private investors in open auction:


    But we’re not living in Blantopia, thus all economic data are a government conspiracy. So trust how your biases interpret the few data points that are most memorable in your personal life, and put all other economic data through this filter:

  118. Thomas Blanton

    …but cherry-picking negative indicators skews the overall picture.

    Just as cherry-picking positive indicators skews the overall picture – which is how this “debate” started in the first place – especially when the positive figures being cherry-picked are provided by the government or government subsidized institutions.

    Just as some government economists see fit to substitute chicken wings for filet mignon to evaluate meat prices, it is just as disingenuous to substitute watching TV with attending a ball game to evaluate entertainment prices.

    We could just as well claim the cost of living is rapidly falling if we substitute cardboard boxes for houses, bicycles for cars, dried navy beans for meat, and whistling for entertainment.

    Speaking of substitutions, Mr. Holtz could save all the money he pays in real estate taxes on his McMansion by merely calling such payments “ground rent”.

  119. Thomas Blanton

    @142 30-year mortgage rates closely track 30-year Treasury bonds, which are bought by myriad private investors in open auction

    I suppose in Holtzville there is no difference between mortgage notes or mortgage backed securities and Treasury bonds, but in the real world myriad private investors believe the Treasury bonds are risk free and the mortgage notes are risky investments.

    Apparently, in Holtzville apples are the same thing as oranges and those who distrust the government are shouted down as conspiracy theorists.

    Oh, that is unless one is a narcissist who claims Obama is a secret Marxist planning on destroying America. That conspiracy theory must be considered fact in Holtzville where the received wisdom of bureaucrats is sacred and nobody pays attention to what their own eyes can see.

  120. Brian Holtz

    some government economists see fit to substitute chicken wings for filet mignon to evaluate meat prices

    Blanton knows the CPI has never done any such thing. Blanton’s use of mendacity and red herrings can be considered components of BPI: the Blanton Pownage Index.

    Blanton says that his personal price experiences trump government-collected data, but whines when other people share personal experiences that aren’t the same as his. For tickets, it turns out that the CPI already includes the recent surge in admissions prices, which have increased 56% since 1998. But that just means that other prices in the CPI have not been rising as fast. Indeed, the index for audio media is down 5% since 1998 (and down 14% off its peak in 2005) — despite Blanton’s fretting that he has to pay 99 cents for each track churned out by his favorite boy bands.

    Blanton misses the point when he notes “private investors believe the Treasury bonds are risk free”. Default risk is completely different from inflation risk, which is the driving component of Treasury yields. Blanton has apparently never heard of the TIPS spread: the difference between regular T-bonds and T-bonds indexed to inflation. Both bonds have the same default risk, and so the TIPS spread is a direct market measure of expected inflation — which is why Milton Friedman advocated the Treasury start issuing them.

    Even if all market data were rigged like Blanton desperately wants to believe, he should still already be rich from arbitrage based on his long-standing contrarian insight that dollars have been losing much more value than CPI indicates.

  121. Mike B.

    Yeah Wayne,

    Watered-down libertarianism + regurtating Conservative Talking Points = preaching to the Right-Wing Choir, of course your extremely popular.

    But what do I know, I’m just a George H.W. Bush Libertarian.

  122. Brian Holtz

    Blanton: “the positive figures being cherry-picked are provided by the government or government subsidized institutions

    Since MIT’s Billion Prices Project essentially confirms the validity of the CPI, Blanton must expand his conspiracy to include how the BPP chooses the 500,000 online prices that it crawls every day.

    Thus the head-in-the-sand graphic has to be upgraded to:

  123. Robert Capozzi

    154 bh, exactly right on inflation risk. TB can be quite persistent, but even he exits when the point becomes overwhelming.

    I do believe I’ve given him his best out…point to 07-08 and say, yes, the market can miscalculate, big time. Those chumps buying long-maturity paper are being set up for a fall.

    I’m not sure why he doesn’t make that argument, actually…puzzling….

  124. Robert Capozzi

    151 tb: Just as cherry-picking positive indicators skews the overall picture

    me: Propers to Brother Blanton here. Agreed. Seems quite true to me as well.

    My guess is that there’s a strong correlation between an individual L’s skew of one’s perceived state of play and one’s advocacy amplitude. If one thinks doom is right around the corner one is far more likely to advocate fringy ideas. If one thinks that we’re in a rough patch during a general upward trend, far more likely to advocate edgy ideas.

    Throw in a third factor: My guess is fringy ideas advocates display a greater propensity to want to be “right.” Edgy idea advocates are more likely to be interested in being “happy.”

  125. Thomas Blanton

    OK, I admit it. I’m wrong. The CPI is actually exactly correct. There is absolutely no problem with inflation, because it is so extremely low.

    I’ve been lying about high prices at the grocery store, the gas station, the doctor’s office, the fast food joints, movie theaters, all of it. Actually, I’m amazed how technology and innovation has reduced prices on everything.

    Prices are lower than they ever have been and salaries have more than kept up with inflation.

    All numbers provided by government agencies, bureaucrats and politicians are always correct, even if they seem to conflict with each other and with what I think I am seeing.

    Now, whenever I hear economists question the CPI, I’ll know they are actually conspiracy theorists trying to discredit those reasonable and moderate people who know better.

    Thanks for setting me straight, guys.

    The next time I have an opinion based on things I’ve read and seen, I’ll call Brian Holtz so he can educate me with some government charts so that I’ll know what really is going on.

  126. Thomas Blanton

    Well, I’ve learned my lesson, Bubby.

    The next time Phillies or Holtz declares how great the economy is, I’ll know they are right, because they could never be wrong and the charts they rely on can’t be wrong either.

    I’m not sure whether that makes them fringy or edgy.

    I think I’ll print out some of these charts to take with me the next time I go shopping so that I’ll know the prices I’m seeing aren’t actually higher, but rather just a figment of my conspiratorial mind.

  127. Brian Holtz

    The next time Phillies or Holtz declares how great the economy is

    Readers can decide if this is a strawman or a lie. I’ve said nothing here about the health of the economy. I’ve just said that the CPI accurately measures consumer prices, and that this measurement is confirmed both by the Billion Prices Project (thanks George!) and by market interest rates.

    Always believing the opposite of what the government says is not thinking for yourself. It’s not thinking, period.

    Bob, I certainly agree there is higher risk for future inflation than what the market sees right now. If we hadn’t paid off our mortgage, we definitely would have refinanced our 30-year fixed to lock in an even lower rate. I distrust government too much to ever tie up much of my net worth in dollar-denominated assets. Most of our portfolio is split between land and equity index funds.

    For investment advice, my go-to guy is anarcholibertarian Less Antman at SimplyRich.com. He recommends investing in domestic and international stocks, real estate, and also commodity futures for their counter-cyclical returns. Here is Less on the quest for safe havens from inflation and volatility: Nobody can tell you that an equity portfolio, even a globally diversified one, is safe. But the so-called safe havens aren’t safe, either, whether we are talking about the short-term or the long-term. If the businesses that provide the world’s goods and services do not continue to operate and earn reasonable returns over time, governments will not be able to raise any decent amount of revenue by taxation, and will either print increasingly worthless pieces of paper or default. Gold cannot buy non-existent products: it also depends on continued productivity in society. Production is the foundation of any livable future: there is no reward for successfully predicting the end of the world.

  128. Robert Capozzi

    159 tb: The next time Phillies or Holtz declares how great the economy is…

    me: This is an example of what psychologists call “reaction formation,” in which anxiety-producing or unacceptable emotions and impulses are mastered by exaggeration (hypertrophy) of the directly opposing tendency.

    I’ve not seen Phillies or Holtz say the economy is “great.” Because they don’t sound like Chicken Little doesn’t mean they believe all is rosy. I’m sure you do see the difference on one level, but sometimes anxiety leads one to lose perspective about what others are representing with their words.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to see that if people like Phillies and Holtz are in the LP (of all things!) that they’d think the nation could use a course correction? Just because they don’t share your Apocalyptic worldview doesn’t mean, IOW, that they think there are not serious dysfunctions in the State/citizen relationship.

    Nor does it mean that the methodologies used by the government to assemble the CPI stats don’t have some flaws. It’s an aggregate number, after all, so there are people who struggle more due to certain kinds of price inflation than others. If a person, for ex., liked to go to the movies 7 days a week, that person is experiencing more pronounced price inflation than the “average person.”

  129. Thomas Blanton

    I stand corrected on substitutions of chicken wings with filet mignon in calculating the CPI.

    CPI uses only the substitutions they imagine consumers are making:

    http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpisupqa.htm#Question_2

    Of course, they must be right in these assumptions because they are never wrong and they are completely honest, after all this is our benevolent government operating with no political bias in an open environment.

  130. Robert Capozzi

    160 bh: Bob, I certainly agree there is higher risk for future inflation than what the market sees right now

    me: Yes, I agree. And institutional investors have all sorts of hedging techniques to offset future inflation. Whether they are sufficiently and properly hedged, time will tell. They rebalance their portfolios all the time to accommodate their perceived risks and rewards. Some do this better than others.

    I am personally moving in the “alarmed” direction given the government’s and Fed’s policies. Everything tells me they are marching in the direction of increased dysfunction. And that increased dysfunction could take a BIG step function up if yet another war breaks out with Iran.

  131. Robert Capozzi

    162 tb: Of course, they (government) must be right in these assumptions because they are never wrong and they are completely honest,…

    me: Another ex. of reaction formation. Old habits do seem to die hard…

  132. Be Rational

    Don’t worry TB, you are correct. The CPI does NOT in any way measure inflation or the loss of purchasing power of the dollar. The MIT data is no better because it is calculated the same way with the same systemic error in its conception.

    Using one to validate the other is akin to using one version of the Bible to prove another version is absolute truth – and that is as far as Holtz has ever gotten in logic class: A is true because A is A, and since A is true because I believe it is true then A is true – the Holtzian logical proof.

    Interest rates cannot be used to validate inflation either as there are too many variables and government influences to even begin to use this as a validation tool.

    Capozzi has admitted above that The CPI is not based on Ceteris Paribus, and only claims that such a measure is impossible – meaning that it is invalid but he uses it anyway.

    This of course proves my point about the scientist measuring the distance across the universe by driving to Cleveland.

    So it goes.

    Much of modern economics is useless. It’s quite clear from what he has written that Holtz does not even know what money is nor what inflation is.

    It’s not surprising that Holtz, who believes in a lot of ancient mystic nonsense disguised as economics would support voodoo economics and alcheminomics…

    … but Capozzi from time to time preaches that he is in a search for truth. Instead of insisting that Ceteris Paribus is impossible, he should just join the search for a better measuring tool.

    Probably defensive tendencies have disturbed his sometimes sincere search for truth, or at least his tendency to move towards truth and caused him to abandon his usual modesty. Otherwise he would admit the need to abandon the disproven – such as the CPI, which is honestly and thoroughly disproven, by both logic and reality.

    The CPI is just a number created by an invalid system that cannot in any way be said to measure inflation. Most economists admit this. It would be just as valid to ask 10,000 housewives what they think the inflation rate is and then take the average. Both show that inflation exists, but neither will be an actual measure of what the actual inflation rate is. Until we can create an actual tool to measure inflation, we can’t say for sure which of the above is more accurate.

    However, it is obvious to anyone with an ounce of economic acumen and mathematical ability that by ingnoring ceteris paribus and by not adjusting prices used to estimate inflation in order to remove technoligical advancements, productivity gains, deregulation and competitive factors from the data, we are vastly underestimating the actual inflation rate with the CPI. Those who pretend otherwise are truly out of touch with reality.

  133. Brian Holtz

    BR: Interest rates cannot be used to validate inflation either as there are too many variables and government influences to even begin to use this as a validation tool.

    You buy a bond with dollars; it matures, and you get more dollars back. Bond markets already consider all “variables and government influences”. That’s what markets do. They aggregate information. But BR doesn’t know this — even though he has more “economic acumen” than anyone here. He knows economics so well, he can detect rampant inflation even when prices aren’t changing at all.

    He’s the Chuck Norris of economics.

    If Blanton really believed substitution effects cause the CPI to wildly understate the dollar’s decrease in value, then he could get rich by borrowing dollars to buy assets, and paying off the loans with devalued dollars acquired later.

    But Blanton’s not rich. So I guess the conspiracy must be expanded to include all the lenders that refuse to acknowledge Blanton’s proofs that the CPI understates inflation.

  134. Be Rational

    When adjusted for inflation bonds can have a positive, zero or negative return. Since holding dollars at zero interest would yield even less, it can be economically wise to buy bonds even when the inflation adjusted rate of return is negative. This can occur when other investments that might yield higher returns are too risky and when investing other people’s money in competition with other managers investing other people’s money so that bad returns that outperform other bad returns are still considered good.

    Sorry, Holtz, it turns out you do not understand principles of investment management either.

  135. Robert Capozzi

    165 br: Capozzi has admitted above that The CPI is not based on Ceteris Paribus, and only claims that such a measure is impossible – meaning that it is invalid but he uses it anyway.

    me: Dude/ette, ya got confused with someone else. I don’t “use” CPI. It’s of no use to me.

    I DO use CP all the time…for myself in considering tradeoffs. Using CP on an aggregated basis seems off-the-charts grandiose to me — a fatal conceit. There’s too many variables to have any kind of certainty about outcomes, as I learned from Hayek and Kirzner. In analyzing Policy X, I might play some CP games. For ex., I advocate shifting taxes from work, saving and investing to taxing pollution. In part, that’s based on CP thinking; in part, it’s based on my sense of virtue. It’s my best swing at a reasonable way to finance activities to maintain a semblance of domestic tranquility.

    As a rough approximation for purposes of discussing policy, CPI methodologies seem awfully low on the to-do list.

    br: … but Capozzi from time to time preaches that he is in a search for truth. Instead of insisting that Ceteris Paribus is impossible, he should just join the search for a better measuring tool.

    me: In the end, I’m not an empiricist or a materialist. I’m for advancing liberty. You’d have to somehow prove to me that Hayek is incorrect for me to become an empiricist.

    If you can mathematically show me why people watch KEEPING UP THE KARDASHIANS while INLAND EMPIRE was a flop, we can have another conversation. Until then, I’d say human action just is.

  136. Brian Holtz

    Show me somebody who doesn’t know how to get above-market returns from a true-but-contrarian insight about market conditions, and I’ll show you somebody who doesn’t “understand principles of investment management”.

  137. Robert Capozzi

    166 bh: That’s what markets do. They aggregate information.

    me: Yes, although I’d suggest that market participants do their best to aggregate information in making investment decisions. Markets as markets just are.

  138. Be Rational

    “He knows economics so well, he can detect rampant inflation even when prices aren’t changing at all.”

    Actually this is true. If you cannot you don’t understand economics.

    Inflation is an increase in the supply of money which reduces the purchasing power of the money.

    In a free market with no inflation, productivity gains etc. will result in lowering prices for goods and services that have had such improvements while the value of money is constant.

    The faulty CPI would show deflation when the value of the currency is constant.

    “He’s the Chuck Norris of economics.”

    Thank you. I’ll quote you when I decide to compete against Root on the media circuit.

  139. Be Rational

    “He knows economics so well, he can detect rampant inflation even when prices aren’t changing at all.”

    Actually this is true. If you cannot you don’t understand economics.

    Inflation is an increase in the supply of money which reduces the purchasing power of the money.

    In a free market with no inflation, productivity gains etc. will result in lowering prices for goods and services that have had such improvements while the value of money is constant.

    The faulty CPI would show deflation when the value of the currency is constant.

    “He’s the Chuck Norris of economics.”

    Thank you. I’ll quote you when I decide to compete against Root on the media circuit.

    “Known as the Chuck Norris of economics … ”

    (… and now we’ve linked the seemingly disparate topics on this thread … see, no highjacking here …)

  140. Thomas L. Knapp

    Like CPI itself says:

    The CPI measures inflation at the retail level, and reflects the average price change over time for a constant quality, constant quantity market basket of goods and services.

    CPI measures only retail price inflation, and does so imperfectly, because “constant quality” — ceteris paribus — isn’t easily quantified.

    The root question we’re batting back and forth here is whether or not real overall inflation — supply of currency versus goods and services to be purchased with it — is greater than the CPI reflects.

    Be Rational’s argument — which I agree with, although I don’t think it is as provable as he seems to think it is — is that real inflation is hidden by a canceling effect.

    That is, to the extent that the market is free, continuous processes of innovation and competition keep reducing production costs of things (and improving their quality), and keep reducing prices of those things toward those production costs.

    Those processes mask/hide some amount of inflation.

  141. Be Rational

    Brian Holtz // Feb 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Show me somebody who doesn’t know how to get above-market returns from a true-but-contrarian insight about market conditions, and I’ll show you somebody who doesn’t “understand principles of investment management”.

    ****

    Above market returns are often negative when adjusted for inflation, even using the CPI – but, especially when using a better approximation of the actual inflation rate

  142. Robert Capozzi

    171 br: Inflation is an increase in the supply of money which reduces the purchasing power of the money.

    me: I used to believe this. Now, it doesn’t seem to track. Yes, I can see why prices should actually fall over time due to productivity gains, but that’s static analysis. Can one even buy buggy whips anymore?

    This is not to say that the value of currency SHOULD be held constant…maybe it should! Maybe that would be the more peaceful configuration.

  143. Brian Holtz

    BH: BR knows economics so well, he can detect rampant inflation even when prices aren’t changing at all.

    BR: Actually this is true. If you cannot you don’t understand economics.

    inflation n. in economics, an ongoing rise in the general level of prices quoted in units of money.

    If there is some part of http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Inflation.html that you disagree with, I’m sure the editors of the Library of Economics and Liberty would humbly accept corrections from the Chuck Norris of economics.

  144. Brian Holtz

    Tom, the inflation I’m talking about is the change in quoted retail prices — the prices that we actually pay at the cash register with the dollars we take out from under out mattress. I’m not interested in talking about the the difference between quoted retail prices and the Real Price Only Chuck Norris Knows. Any such difference is clearly not what CPI skeptics above were talking about in their comments on prices of groceries, tickets, phones, music, etc.

  145. Robert Capozzi

    more on 17o…

    I’d said: Yes, although I’d suggest that market participants do their best to aggregate information in making investment decisions.

    More: Information is the life’s blood of markets. These times are fascinating in that we have SO much information available instantaneously and nearly everywhere. OTOH, we have so much information that the game seems much more about filtering than gathering information. Today’s theory based on this fact set may work for awhile until it stops working. Uncertainty is taking on a different feel…too much information. And then there’s the quality (or lack thereof) of the information, with the ratings agencies having been exposed as information prostitutes.

    “Norris” and Blanton’s critique of CPI methodology may have some merit, but I’d say that pales in comparison to Arthur Anderson, S&P and Moody’s book-cooking enabling.

  146. Thane Eichenauer

    MM@42
    I imagine I have read articles and comments with Roots supposed non-libertarian faults. I wouldn’t say I have chosen to ignore them so much as I probably found them to be not notable.
    I still find Wrights to be preferable to Root (and Johnson).

  147. Carol Moore

    Geez, I must use Root’s ego to motivate me to finish SECESSION MANIFEST: Libertarian Decentralism NOW!! Then I can become the MOST famous libertarian on the planet and tell everyone Wayne Root is a libertarian, JUST LIKE ME…..

  148. Carol Moore

    SECESSION MANIFESTO: Libertarian Decentralism NOW will be even MORE popular. I’ll drop his name every time I’m on CNN and Fox News, etc.

  149. Ad Hoc

    From somewhere above:

    Re: movies and sports — with 1080p and broadband, who buys tickets any more?

    If you’re paying more for your music/movies/sports diet than a decade ago, then you’re not a smart shopper.

    Not everyone has 1080p and broadband.

    And not everyone that does considers it an adequate substitution for live music.

    While that’s a multi level tangent from the original point, I still thought it was worth mentioning.

  150. Carol Moore

    But seriously, getting a lot of media does NOT translate into meaningful libertarian leadership. Does Wayne think he’ll ever inspire young people or military people like Ron Paul does? Impossible, because he’s a self-centered clown and not a sincere idealist.

  151. paulie

    So, who all in the LP is doing the best job of inspiring young people or military people or green and polka dotted people or whoever else? Get some tips on how they do it and try to emulate their methods as best you can. Do so persistently and maybe we’ll make a real difference some day in the not too distant future.

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