Lew Rockwell is an American libertarian author and editor, self-professed anarcho-capitalist, a promoter of the Austrian School of economics, and founder and chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
His website LewRockwell.com was founded in 1999 and features articles and blog entries from a number of columnists and writers. His motto is “anti-war, anti-state, pro-market”.
(1:11) Jason introduces the show with a discussion of a recent article
(15:43) Introducing Lew Rockwell
(16:25) Discussion of Lew Rockwell’s recent book
(23:06) On the militarization of the police forces in the US
(33:49) The assault on our liberties
(38:58) An outlook on the economy
(43:08) Closing comments
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman! During this program Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before, and a new slant on investing: fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible. Jason is a genuine, self-made multi-millionaire who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He’s been a successful investor for 20 years and currently owns properties in 11 states and 17 cities. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom. You really can do it! And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman, with the complete solution for real estate investors.
JASON HARTMAN: Welcome to the Creating Wealth Show. This is your host, Jason Hartman, this is episode #402, 402, and today our guest will be Lew Rockwell! Yes, Lew Rockwell, a famous name, you probably know who he is. If you don’t, you need to know who he is. He will be here with us to talk about some very important issues related to government and economics.
Jason introduces the show with a discussion of a recent article
JASON HARTMAN: But first, I wanted to just talk to you for a moment about an article that just came out, I saw it on Newser.com, a great little source. This is not new news, although you may not know about it. It’s been around for a while, this kind of number. And that is, a report saying that raising today’s child costs $245,000. $245,000. Kids are expensive! They’re worth it. Probably, I think they are, although I don’t know yet. I’d like to know. I’d love to be a dad. Kids seem like a lot of fun to me. But a lot of work, and a lot of expense too. And one of the things I wanted to talk about with this, is, you know, so many people are concerned about college tuition cost, and I would say, there is a legitimate, very legitimate debate, even if you are in the upper middle or upper classes of our socioeconomic pyramid, whether or not college is worth it. It’s not just the money, and how completely overpriced college has become, and how college tuition rates have increased at more than double the rate of general inflation, and then when you add in all the other expenses, depending on what study you’re reading, some even take it to three or four times. In other words, that’s 200, 300, or 400% above general inflation rates, for college costs. That is completely absurd.
But it’s not just a money cost; it’s also a time cost. I would really, really encourage you to think, if you’ve got a bright, ambitious kid, whether or not they really need college. And of course I don’t need to talk to you about some of the very famous and successful and wealthy college dropouts like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and so many others. There’s many of them out there; just look at the Forbes 400 richest people in America, and you’ll see that a lot of them decided, they didn’t want to wait around. They wanted to drop out of college and start their businesses, and get going with their investments and so forth. And so, it’s not just a money cost; it’s a time cost.
That said, I’m not really here to talk about the cost of college. I’m just here to talk about investing, and the cost of raising children. When you look at this $245,000 cost, until they become an adult, you’ve gotta consider investment planning. That is absolutely, absolutely critical. Let’s look at a couple things here. Let’s say, you were to purchase a simple little property, and I’m gonna choose Little Rock, Arkansas for this purchase, because that is where our next property tour is. And I hope you’ll join us at the end of September. We do have a little more inventory on the site; you guys have been buying it up pretty quickly. But if you go to www.jasonhartman.com, click on properties, I’m going to use one of these properties as an example for how to outsource the cost of your children to your property investments! And we’re going to do some quick comparisons before we get to our guest, Lew Rockwell, who will be here in just a moment.
If you go to www.jasonhartman.com, you click on the Little Rock property section, you’ll see that we’ve got a little bit more inventory in terms of properties there. Some nice stuff. Remember, your tax rates are very, very low in Arkansas. It is the most landlord-friendly state in the nation, by a long shot. And if you listened to the soundtrack I played a few episodes ago, you’ll see that Arkansas is insanely landlord-friendly. It is far and away the most landlord-friendly place in the country. Maybe in the entire world. It’s just almost ridiculous. There are some more properties on the website, and you guys have been buying those up. And just know that if you’re not going on the property tour, we will, in about two weeks, ask our local market specialist there to start withholding properties for people who attend the tour, so they will not be on the website. That’s one of the reasons that you’ll see the inventory kind of dry up there.
But say, for example, you were to purchase—and it could be in any market, it doesn’t need to be in Little Rock, of course. We’re just using the example of income property investing here. Say for example you were to purchase a property, and your total cash in on that property was $25,000. $25,000 cash in, remember, the bank is an investor with you. And they will typically invest 80 or 75% of the deal. The rest of the investment comes from you. You only have to put 20-25% down to purchase the property. So, you have leverage. You have a four or a five to one leverage ratio, which puts you in a great, great head start.
Let’s look at, if you’re a saver, and you’ve got children, and say, for example, you’ve got $25,000, and your first kid is about to be born. So, if you’ve got this $25,000, and you save that money, and you put it in the bank, and you put it there for 18 years until this kid is gonna be 18, let’s look at what happens. And let’s be generous, and say that you can earn 1% in the bank. I don’t know if you can even do that, most of the time. But let’s just take 1%, because it’s a nice round number, and isn’t it ridiculous that we should be talking about a 1% return? I mean, that’s crazy bad. It’s terrible. It’s extremely low. It’s lower than the rate of stated inflation, the official number. It’s lower, certainly much lower, than the rate of real inflation, the unofficial number. And, you get taxed on that return you get from the bank.
So, let’s look at $25,000 at 1%, and it’s compounding annually in these examples. After 18 years, you will have a total of a whopping $29,900. I’m gonna round off a little bit here just for purposes of speed and simplicity. So, you’re gonna have about $29,900. After inflation, let’s assume in these examples that the real rate of inflation stays consistent over that 18 years at 5%, which of course, you probably agree, if you’ve been listening to this show for any length of time in the last 401 episodes, you probably agree that the real rate of inflation is 5% easily right now, and that it’s going to be a lot higher in the years to come, over the next 18 years that you’re raising this child. Here, after inflation at 5%, your adjusted return in real dollars, in other words, is only—you only—you put in $25,000, and 18 years from now, you only have $12,400.
So, you have definitely lost money by saving money. That’s like, just an ironic thing to say, isn’t it? It’s an oxymoron. You’ve lost money by saving money. You also—and I did not consider this in this calculation—you’ve also paid taxes on the negative return on your investment. We’re just looking at the return. This is before taxes. You’ve got $12,400. Terrible, terrible, awful, awful deal.
Let’s look at another example. Let’s say you invested this money in the stock market, the modern version of organized crime, Wall Street. So, you’ve got $25,000. The stock market people like to tell you that historically the stock market has outperformed real estate, which is a complete misnomer. It’s a total lie, because they’re comparing a non-leveraged return, a single dimension return, of real estate versus stocks, and of course, we know, we know better. We know that income property is a multidimensional asset class. They’re just comparing real estate appreciation rates. And even the great Nobel laureate Robert Shiller, in his books about irrational exuberance, the two books, he calculates it incorrectly. The Nobel laureate economist can’t even seem to figure this out. Unbelievable. I’d love to get him on the show. I’m gonna invite Robert Shiller on the show so I can debate this topic with him. Because he seems to be misleading people as well. They would say that the stock market outperforms real estate, because traditionally real estate appreciates at about 6% annually, and the stock market does about 9% annually. And that’s debatable also, but let’s just go with their return of about 9%. Over 18 years, your $25,000 will turn into $117,900. $117,900. Now, let’s adjust for inflation at 5%, and remember, that’s a constant rate.
If you believe inflation is 5% now, which I certainly do, what’s it gonna be with all this crazy government spending over the next 18 years? It’s probably gonna be a heck of a lot higher than that. But after inflation at only 5%, I’m being conservative, I’m being nice here to these Wall Street people, your real dollar return on investment, adjusted for inflation in real dollars, is $49,000. So, it took 18 years with your $25,000, to not even double your money. You’ve got $49,000, 18 years from now. Well, I think you can do a lot better than this, folks.
Now, here is the magic of compounding returns. And here is the magic of income property. Income property, the most historically proven asset class in America, if not the entire world, offers a multidimensional return on investment. Of course, you have income, you have tax benefits through depreciation, you have capital appreciation, you have all of these great multidimensional factors with your income property.
So, here, in this example, I’ve got a Little Rock property in front of me, in Little Rock, Arkansas. But it could be in Atlanta, Georgia, could be in Houston, Texas, could be in Indianapolis, Indiana, could be in any of the markets we recommend across the country. This one says that the projected return on investment, multidimensional, all things considered, 40% annually. Four zero percent annually. If you don’t understand how income property works, if you don’t know how to calculate returns, I would highly recommend that you go to www.jasonhartman.com, click on the resources page, and you subscribe to the Property Tracker software so you can correctly evaluate the multidimensional returns on investment that income property has. And there are many other places you can do this. You can find investment calculators on real estate, all over the internet. And you can even do these calculations yourself with a good old basic calculator on your smart phone.
This return on investment is projected at 40% annually. Now, I’m only going to say that it worked out half as well as projected, and I’m going to assume only a 20% return on investment. You gotta pay for that kid, right? That kid is gonna cost you $245,000 for 18 years. This doesn’t include college, by the way, folks. College is another 250 grand on top of that. That’s why I’d encourage you to consider whether or not college is worth it. but let’s look at this. $25,000 will buy you the income property today. You’re not going to pay your own debt on that property, because you’re going to outsource the debt to a tenant at only half the projected return. Say it only goes half as well as you expect. After 18 years, with 5% inflation, here’s how it looks. Your $25,000 investment has now grown through the multidimensional aspects of income property, to a whopping $665,000 in return. That’s your ending return on investment.
Now, you’re gonna lose some of that to inflation. Here, I am not calculating the more complicated return on investment of what I call inflation-induced debt destruction that you’ve heard me talk about many times on prior episodes, and in the Creating Wealth Home Study Course. And we will talk about it in the live Creating Wealth event in Little Rock at the end of September. So, join us for that, and the property tour the following day.
Your after inflation adjustment is $276,5000. So, you have taken that $25,000, and you have multiplied it by more than 11 times. That is your inflation-adjusted return on investment. Not bad, huh? So, one property today, if you get a 20% overall return, from all the dimensions of that property, you have basically outsourced the expense of your child to one single income property. Not too shabby, is it? Pretty darn good. And that is the magic and the power of income property. Why do you think so many people have become so wealthy through this investment? The most historically proven asset class in America, income property. There you go. That’s a simplified comparison of returns on investment, and I just thought that was interesting, knowing that it cost about a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child. If you want to have a few kids, get yourself a few properties for each kid, and basically, your kids are free! So, you get all the love and the enjoyment and all the funny things they say, and all the cute things they do, and basically, you have made your income property investments pay for those children. That’s a lot more enjoyable that way.
I highly recommend that you check this out. Go to www.jasonhartman.com, listen to the prior episodes for more, and join us in Little Rock, where I’ll explain this all to you in person, live, and we’ll actually look at the properties first hand. We’ll tour them. We’ll look at properties under construction, so you can see how the rehabs work on these properties. We’ll look at rent-ready properties, and you’ll get to meet our team there, our team on the ground. The boots on the ground who are actually managing the properties day to day, dealing with tenants, rehabbing and fixing up and maintaining the properties, and you’ll get a very nice first hand experience. So, check that out at www.jasonhartman.com in the events section, and register today while you’ve still got some early bird pricing left.
Let’s get to our guest! The very famous, Lew Rockwell will be with us here in just a second.
Introducing Lew Rockwell
JASON HARTMAN: It’s my pleasure to welcome Lew Rockwell to the show! That’s a name you’ve probably heard of. He is a very distinguished guy; he has got a lot of fantastic content out there, I’ve been a follower of his for years; he’s founder and chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and publisher at www.LewRockwell.com. His latest book is entitled Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto. Lew, welcome. How are you?
LEW ROCKWELL: Great! I’m doing fine, and it’s great to be on your show.
JASON HARTMAN: Well, it’s good to have you. And just to give our listeners a sense of geography, where are you located?
LEW ROCKWELL: I’m in Auburn, Alabama.
JASON HARTMAN: I was just in Gulf Shores, where my mom is. Just finished building her southern mansion.
LEW ROCKWELL: Oh, good for her!
Discussion of Lew Rockwell’s recent book
JASON HARTMAN: Well, there is so much going on in the world nowadays, and your book covers some great topics. And from my understanding, the premise of your book is that we don’t need a ruling class. We can self-govern. Is that the basic idea of the book?
LEW ROCKWELL: You can just think about how most of us live our lives. Obviously there are criminals, and there are bad people, although I would argue that the free market can handle the police function infinitely better than the government. But most of us, if our next door neighbor has a car we like, we don’t think of going over and putting a gun in his ribs and demanding the car. That’s not the way people operate. We operate, in fact, in an anarcho-capitalist society in our lives, in all our dealings, our businesses, our churches, our community organizations, our neighborhoods. Everything we do is on a voluntary basis, and it’s not because—we don’t act that way because we’re afraid of being arrested by the cops. That’s just the way human beings interact. Especially in a capitalist system, where everything is to everybody’s benefit, or at least benefit both parties. This is the way society progresses, it’s the way civilization progresses, based on private property and free markets and not initiating violence. I mean, the basic principle of anarcho-capitalism, which is the purest form of libertarianism, is that it’s never justified to use violence or the threat of violence against the innocent. That is never morally justified. Now when I say that, a lot of people are gonna say, well, you know, that’s right. But then on the other hand, when you come to discuss specific issues, should a bunch of guys called the government be able to tell you, I’m deciding how much of your income I’m going to take, and if you don’t give it to me, I’m going to put you in a cage?
JASON HARTMAN: Right. Yeah.
LEW ROCKWELL: If you resist sufficiently being put in a cage, I can kill you. Government does that with a parking ticket. If you’re—if you sufficiently resist paying your library fine, they claim the right to kill you. So, in fact, there was some poor man who was paralyzed, shot by police because they were coming after him for unpaid parking tickets. Which as we know, the government is becoming—as it becomes bigger and more vicious, and we’ve seen this especially since 9/11, the police have become militarized; they’re like an occupation force; we’re the people they’re occupying. We’re the enemy. And I would say, this is all—those kinds of trends, although not the trends in young people’s minds, by the way, but what’s happening institutionally, is entirely in the wrong direction. From an economic standpoint, a moral standpoint, political standpoint, this is all very bad stuff. We don’t have to put up with it. We don’t have to have Obama or George W. Bush or Hillary or whomever, ordering us around! First of all, they don’t know. Right? Just from a utilitarian standpoint. They don’t have the knowledge, they can’t have the knowledge. But from a moral standpoint, who are they to tell us, if we’re living our lives peacefully, and we’re not initiating violence, we’re not criminals, it’s none of their business.
JASON HARTMAN: They consider themselves to be the elite class, they’re the ruling class, we better take it, or else. And at the end of the day, the last, most base form of power is the ability to inflict violence. And Ayn Rand talked about that, and she said, the government needs to have a monopoly on this right, if you will. Are you saying that there shouldn’t be a police force? I agree to it becoming way too powerful and militarized, but…
LEW ROCKWELL: No. I think the policing function is a very important function in society. But do I believe it should be done by the government? No! Private enterprise. Just think about it. Think about anything the government is involved in. If you’ve ever been in the military, if you’ve ever been in a post office. I mean, the public schools…they mess up everything. At best, they do a bad job. Most of the time they’re doing active harm. So, we can have [indiscernible]. There are today in American society, and there have been throughout our history, private police. And first of all, you’re not a suspect. You’re not a potential terrorist or whatever; you’re a customer. Things are very, very different when you have private police forces. So, I think, no, we don’t want monopolies. These monopolies that are created and enforced by government, whether it’s the monetary monopoly of the Fed, or whether it be a military monopoly, or police monopoly, a spy monopoly…but the idea that you can take some group of people and say, you get to decide what other people are going to do. You get to decide how much they’re going to pay you.
You get to decide what kind of wars you’re going to engage in and so forth. Unfortunately, as [indiscernible] pointed out, in government, the worst rise to the top. In private life, mostly it’s the better equipped people, the harder workers, the smarter, the more creative, who get to the top. In government, it’s the most demagogic, the most vicious, the most principle-less, the biggest liars, and the people who actually enjoy killing. There unfortunately are sociopaths and so forth in society. They’re attracted to government, because in government they get to live their dream. There are people that enjoy starting wars. There are people that enjoy sending young people to kill and be killed. There are people that enjoy dropping bombs on other people. Do we want those guys running our lives? Do we want that type of person being in charge of us? I think not. And even just from an economic standpoint, if we think of…I think all of us worry about what’s happening with the economy. All of us have a certain fear for the future, of things getting even worse from an inflation standpoint, from a regulatory standpoint…already they American standard of living has been going down for average families for quite a long period of time. It certainly probably hasn’t increased since the early 1970s, in real terms. [Indiscernible] said, a handy definition of government is a gang of thieves writ large.
They have exactly the same morals and exactly the same effect on society as a gang of thieves. The only difference, Alexander Spooner, the great anarchist thinker and writer of the 19th century said, he said, what’s the difference between the highwayman and a Congressman? He said, there’s one difference. The highwayman doesn’t ask you to call him the Honorable. So, you know, it’s taking the red pill. If you start to realize that the government is not above the moral law, even though of course they hold themselves above the moral law, it doesn’t apply to them. The cops can speed, government can commit mass murder…
JASON HARTMAN: They don’t have to be on the healthcare plan either.
LEW ROCKWELL: No, they commit mass thievery and they call it taxation, and so forth. So, a basic libertarian principle, and I would say a basic religious principle, and many other things: if something is wrong for you and me to do—stealing, killing, raping, burglarizing, and so forth—just because somebody is putting on a government suit doesn’t make it okay. They’re not above the law.
JASON HARTMAN: Well.
LEW ROCKWELL: So, this is—government always seeks to be, they shouldn’t be.
JASON HARTMAN: Right, exactly. Well, you know, I had Steve Forbes on the show, and he of course talks about how the government always seems to, in people’s minds, in most people’s minds—not ours, and not our audience, but you know, in the general out there, they seem to somehow occupy the moral high ground. The government doesn’t get to do all this stuff without any recourse. Certainly some governments in history, and in the world nowadays, do, but the US government—at least it conforms to the tyranny of the majority, right?
On the militarization of the police forces in the US
LEW ROCKWELL: Well, every government requires at least the tacit consent of the governed. It’s true of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, Obama, and it’s why, by the way, they can actually be battled. If people would withdraw their consent—if they don’t give their consent, as difficult as it may be to believe, they can’t actually do things. They seem impenetrable. A giant walled city, and steel, everything steel, and here we are with little wooden clubs. But that’s why they’re constantly doing polling. They worry about public consent, because they are a tiny minority; they can’t live it up, and live in the way they have become accustomed—by the way, if anybody’s recently been in Washington, talk about the imperial capital! They’ve all got limos, and mansions…
JASON HARTMAN: It’s unbelievable. Last time I was there—I’m not worried about them, I’m worried about them stomping all over our rights, for sure—but last time I was in DC, I counted at least five police forces. They have the capital police force, they have the Washington, D.C. metro police—you know, I can’t remember all the names. I’m thinking, who are all these cops with all these different labels and logos on their cars? Why do we need five police forces? It’s insane! I completely agree with you about how the police are becoming so militarized. I think that’s really an end run around the Constitution, that basically tells us that military cannot be used on American soil against its own citizens. And they’ve just basically done it de facto by militarizing the civilian “police.”
LEW ROCKWELL: It began under the Nixon administration, when they started—when the federal government started funding, and thereby controlling, local police forces. Now there are all kinds of liaison programs between the Pentagon and local police—giving them tanks, and armored personnel carriers, and machine guns, and so forth. To use against us, by the way.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, why does a Sherriff’s department need a tank?
LEW ROCKWELL: They are in effect a military force, and the Obama administration—and the republicans are all for this too, of course, this is not a partisan thing—have a plan to have even tighter coordination between local police and the military.
JASON HARTMAN: You and I seem to agree, Lew, that privatizing the prison systems was not a good idea. And that is leading to all sorts of scary consequences. I mean, in Pennsylvania, these corrupt judges putting these juveniles in prison just to make money…capitalism is great, but sometimes the incentives don’t really work right. How would it work with a police force?
LEW ROCKWELL: First of all, it’s not capitalism. It is fascism. A private entity getting a monopoly from the government, and the only customer is the government…that’s not the free market.
JASON HARTMAN: Good point, I agree.
LEW ROCKWELL: And of course, this is the prison capital of the world. We have more people in prison per capita than any other country, including places that we think are more tyrannical than us, although we’re quickly catching up with everybody. So, the notion that you put people in cages, or let alone, that the government would be able to kill people in these ceremonies of execution—I think it’s a problem. It’s a problem from a religious standpoint, it’s a problem that these people should be allowed to do it, and it is because of the privatization. So if the monopoly privatization—Murray Rothbard made the point that we don’t want everything privatized. You don’t, for example, want the tax collection function privatized. Then it’d become more efficient. We don’t want that. So…it was a terrible idea to privatize prisons. It was a republican idea. So this is a vast industry today. I notice they talk about who are the big interests donating money and working against the legalization, for example, of medical marijuana. It’s the prison industry! Because they want—they don’t want anything legalized! They want everything illegalized so they become richer and more powerful.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, every time the Socialist Republic of California comes up with 700 new laws every year that nobody can possible comprehend—John Stossel did a great show on that, and I had him on to talk about it—but, I grew up, Lew, hearing from my mother that ignorance of the law is no excuse. But nowadays, everybody’s ignorant of the law! There are so many laws, that everything is illegal now!
LEW ROCKWELL: You can’t possibly know all the laws.
JASON HARTMAN: Especially if you’re in business.
LEW ROCKWELL: You can’t know 10% of them.
JASON HARTMAN: No way.
LEW ROCKWELL: So I just want to say, when I’m advocating private police, I’m not advocating monopoly government—city governments, state governments, whatever—hiring a private company to provide the police function. That would not be a good idea either. I’m talking about private companies offering their services to customers! We can speculate; we can’t know exactly what magnificent things the market would come up with, in terms of policing, if it were released; you might have a company coming around to a neighborhood, and offering for a certain payment a month, and you’d have competitive companies providing police services, fire services, and so forth. The only thing we can be sure—we can’t know exactly how these things would be provided in a competitive market, but we can know they would be much cheaper, and much better, more efficient, and again, you’re the customer. Do any of us, when we see the police in our neighborhood, think, oh thank goodness, now we’re safe? No! You’re unsettled! And it’s not because you think there are criminals around. You’re unsettled by the police! If they were a private company treating people like customers, not being militarized, not wearing military uniforms, it would be a different kind of thing, and the amount of crime would go down too, by the way.
JASON HARTMAN: So, here’s the thing that I think could happen, though. And we don’t need to belabor this point, but I just want to ask you one more thought about it. When you have a private police force, like in a neighborhood watch—and we have these things nowadays. There are certain upper scale neighborhoods where you can hire, and people in the neighborhood will pay 20 bucks a month to have the patrol, and that type of thing. Of course they don’t have the power to arrest, and so forth. But you know, they kind of keep an eye on things, and call the cops, right? When you have that, though, when these businesses are competing for customers, there is the inherent need to show off, and show the customer how good you are. And that could lead to harassment, or overreaction, or even creating crimes that doesn’t exist! I mean, we have this in the news media.
LEW ROCKWELL: You mean, they might start to act like the government police force?
JASON HARTMAN: Well, I don’t think the government cops really have an incentive to do that. They sort of have an incentive to ignore crimes and give out traffic tickets.
LEW ROCKWELL: I remember when I lived in Oklahoma City in the early 1970s, and it was I think the last time a major city had a police strike. So, all the police went on strike. And the governor, I remember, sent 50 state troopers to patrol Oklahoma City, which is a huge city, and what happened was the crime rate plummeted. And I think, in part, this is because it was Oklahoma, as in every other free area, everybody’s armed. So my guess is, any criminal thought, if I go in that house, they’re going to be ready to shoot me. When the strike was over, the crime rate went back up. I think partly that’s true because I think the police are criminals. I think police commit crimes, and it’s true that they’re lazy and sleeping and don’t want to work, and that sort of thing—so they don’t have an incentive to do their actual job. But do they have an incentive to take advantage of people if they see a chance to commit a crime and get away with it, or so they think? I think that happens. And we just have to think about how—does Wal-Mart do bad things to Target because they’d like to get their customers? This does not happen in a free market. Private companies are infinitely more ethical than the government. Are they perfect? No! Are there bad guys in the private—of course! But they don’t act like governments. So, you don’t see the alleged cutthroat competition that the left always talks about. That comes with governments. They shoot bombs at each other and so forth. So, the private market is—think about all the companies you deal with. And I’m not a fan of some of these industries, because they’re in cahoots with the government, or the government’s fighting wars for them, or whatever. The Sunoco station owners, are they out trying to light fires in the Chevron station? No! That’s government that acts that way. People, whether they’re people working for companies, or people as individual consumers, tend to be pretty good. They tend not to be criminals. They tend to be decent. When you have a free market, all the incentives are towards acting decently, keeping your word, working hard, providing what you promise. It’s why civilization rose that way. Government is the exact opposite. It has the incentive to be a bum, to kill, to lie…
JASON HARTMAN: To have tenure, and have no accountability. Right, I know. It’s unbelievable. I mean, look at our public schools. They’re a disaster. And they act exactly the way you said.
LEW ROCKWELL: You know, they’re not a disaster from the government’s standpoint.
JASON HARTMAN: Of course not.
LEW ROCKWELL: They’ve dumbed down the population, decreased the amount of critical thinking and independent thinking, and they’ve made people worship the government. From our standpoint, from the standpoint of parents, and from the standpoint of people interested in actual education, they’re horrific. From the standpoint of the creeps in Washington, they’re all great.
JASON HARTMAN: We’ve got this system where of course the government holds monopolies on all these things. But then you look at something as relatively unregulated as the internet. The government puts the fear into us about, oh, there will just be rampant crime, and amazingly, Lew, considering the dollar volume and the number of sheer transactions online, there isn’t that much criminal behavior! You buy something online, it shows up, if it’s not in good shape, or you don’t get the service, you send it back. If you do business on these various freelancer websites like Elance and oDesk and Fiverr—you know, the people pretty much fulfill their promises! It’s amazing! It’s really amazing. I mean, look at eBay! EBay must be—and of course, eBay, they have people regulating it too. But it’s largely self-regulating. The people care about their reputation, and they want to build reputation. Very few of the profiles on Facebook, from what I understand, are fake. They’re mostly real people. And they mostly act like decent people. They could slander you and libel you, and do all kinds of things, and they mostly don’t. I mean, it’s amazing; you got a billion people in one place, and how many fights are there? Not that many.
LEW ROCKWELL: Look at the wonderful new private taxi services—Uber—
JASON HARTMAN: Oh, I love them.
LEW ROCKWELL: You know, you can rate the driver, and the driver can rate you, the customer! So, everybody—like eBay, everybody has an incentive to behave themselves.
JASON HARTMAN: Right!
LEW ROCKWELL: It’s done without the government, it’s done—there’s no—it’s far better than the government-regulated taxi services, which are—
JASON HARTMAN: A disaster—
LEW ROCKWELL: Going crazy trying to outlaw, and punish us, the customer.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, the union thugs—and they’ve driven the prices up in certain cities where they have the medallion systems. And those medallions cost like $175,000, so it keeps competition out, it keeps new entrants from getting in the market. And Uber and Lyft, hopefully they’re just going to cream them. The taxi thugs—that’s what I call them. It’s unbelievable what they’re trying to do to those companies, who offer great things.
LEW ROCKWELL: It’s true.
The assault on our liberties
JASON HARTMAN: Talk to us a little bit about the assault on our liberties. I mean, of course we’ve talked about that. The war on drugs, the war system. You’ve alluded to it, but I just wanted to ask you to maybe take a deeper dive for a moment or two on that.
LEW ROCKWELL: I might just say that I think that the American political economic system of today is fascist. If we look at fascism, which is not just an epithet, although it is an epithet too, of course…it’s an actual system of a partnership between big government and big business, and it’s always highly militarized, worship of the leader, worship of war, worship of the police, and other uniform services. No civil liberties, the ability to crack you on the head with a baton any time they want to. And also, highly—more and more business people, even though they may technically still own their business, control is moving more and more out of their hands and into the hands of the government.
JASON HARTMAN: Yep.
LEW ROCKWELL: So, this is—it’s a disastrous system. It’s economically more productive than communism, but morally more productive…and of course it includes the welfare state. Hitler was a big advocate of socialized medicine, for example. And of welfare. As was Mussolini and the rest of these guys. So we’ve got what Rothbard called the welfare warfare state, and it’s also the surveillance state. They’re surveilling us in ways that George Orwell never could have dreamed of. I mean, every email, every phone called…hi NSA, by the way. Everything that goes on, they’re recording it, and they can go through their files with your name or whatever, and come up with everything you own, every book you’ve bought from Amazon, and you know, everything about your life that’s available to the government. Your medical records. This is why they had electronic medical records. Not to make things more efficient. They can put that into your dossier.
JASON HARTMAN: Right. Obama is basically making it really, really hard for the doctors who don’t convert to the electronic system, and now, everything is tracked. You get a sexually transmitted disease, you go online, you look at something, soon they’ll then use the healthcare hammer, and they’ll say, oh, you know, you can’t get treatment because of the way you acted, or what you did, it could become very scary. We just have to hope, Lew, that we will beat this by speaking out against it while we still can, by using technology against our own government, to keep our government in check. I mean, is there any hope for that?
LEW ROCKWELL: I think there’s a lot of hope, and I deal with young people all the time, and I just see tremendous change over the years in young people becoming aware of all these things. They’re also worried about their economic futures, which concentrates the mind. They don’t like the surveillance, they don’t like the tyranny, they don’t like the drug wars, they don’t like the war wars, they don’t like the police state. They’re opposed to all of this, and it’s very, very encouraging what’s going on sort of under the surface. So, we can think of the government as a very dangerous bunch, but they’re sort of…they’re decrepit. We have also the biggest bureaucracy ever to exist in the history of the world, the US government. The richest, most powerful biggest government ever. That’s a problem for the government. As inefficient as any government is, when it gets this big and this complicated, it becomes sclerotic, and even stupider than you might think. It was just pointed out today that one of the reasons Obamacare, they’re having so much trouble with it, is that the government can’t deal with information technology. Back in the industrial days, they could function to the extent they could ever function at all. Better than now; they’re sort of lost, and I think that’s a very good sign for those of us who are concerned about government power and government reach over every aspect of our lives. I think we have a very good chance to stop this, but this has been the war since, I don’t know, since Cain and Abel, or whatever. Between the good guys and the bad guys. Between those that want to lead their own lives, want to raise their own families, want to go to church, want to mow the lawn, do their job, save money for their future, take care of their elderly parents and so forth, and then you have the government. As opposed to that. I apologize if you can hear that.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, it’s okay.
LEW ROCKWELL: That’s some government sirens going on.
JASON HARTMAN: Right, I was thinking about that irony. Maybe they’re coming to get you. Because the NSA is of course listening to this criticism.
LEW ROCKWELL: Well, also, we should remember that one of the aspects of the NSA, and why some people think they’re actually running everything in the government, is because they’ve got records of the private moments of all the senators and the congressmen and the supreme court justices, everybody in the executive branch and so forth. If anybody’s ever said or done anything they don’t want made public, the NSA knows about it, it’s in their dossier. So they can put tremendous pressure on the other officials. So, the government all hates each other.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah.
LEW ROCKWELL: The FBI hates the CIA, the…they all are virulent enemies of each other, because they want total power for their agency.
JASON HARTMAN: Right, right. So, it’s the infighting.
LEW ROCKWELL: I think we do have a good future. Ron Paul showed it with young people, and I think the Ron Paul movement continues among young people in this country and all over the world. There’s a lot of good optimistic things happening. Kids learning some economics, learning some real history, learning about the kinds of things the government doesn’t want them to know. So, again, it’s the fight between power and market, as Rothbard put it, has always existed. We’re never going to, unfortunately, have a perfect society. Man’s not perfect, society’s not going to be perfect. But we can be a lot less imperfect than we are right now.
JASON HARTMAN: Right.
LEW ROCKWELL: We all need to work for that. I think we have a very good chance of achieving it, though we may have some economic bad times in the mean time.
An outlook on the economy
JASON HARTMAN: Speaking of economics, we didn’t really talk much about that at all. What is your outlook in terms of inflation, deflation, and that debate?
LEW ROCKWELL: This is just my own opinion. Clearly what we have is much more inflation. We already have a significant inflation going on, I’m talking about price inflation. Anyone who goes shopping in the supermarket, we know that the government statistics are all lies. By the way, all government statistics are lies.
JASON HARTMAN: Right.
LEW ROCKWELL: They use the statistics to lie to us and to fool us. So, there’s already significant inflation. I don’t think they’re gonna let it go to hyperinflation, although sometimes things sort of get out of control, but I think we’re going to see a lot more price inflation. I think it’s going to be quite scary. It’s going to be worse than the 1970s. Also we’re going to have the business cycle again. They build up another humongous bubble, the third bubble in recent years, again, in real estate, in the financial markets; there’s going to be another recession, and we never really came out of the last recession.
JASON HARTMAN: That means the standard of living in America for most people who don’t know how to play the game and invest for that properly, the standard of living will decline. I mean, the only hope is that technology will somehow save us and be an opposing force to the inflation that’s just baked into the system. I mean, with the kind of government spending we’ve had, and you know, we’ve just been loose at the purse strings for decades now. And it’s finally coming home to roost! $17 trillion or so in debt, and then unfunded entitlements and mandates over the coming years of anywhere between $60 and $220 trillion. There’s just no way we can get out of that without significant inflation. And by the way, you mentioned worse than in the 70s. So, the official stats, which are always understated, as we all know—the official stats in the 70s, I think the highest quoted inflation was 13½% during the Carter era. Or at least, as a result of the Carter era. What could we see? 20, 25% annually?
LEW ROCKWELL: Unemployment rate is about 25% now. The real rate, not the phony rate. [Indiscernible] said that if you stop looking for a job because you’re discouraged, you’re not unemployed.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, right.
LEW ROCKWELL: So it’s just another lie.
JASON HARTMAN: What is the definition of ‘is?’
LEW ROCKWELL: I don’t know what it could go to, and again, we’re depending on government measurements. But I think people’s standards of living have been going down. As the government gets richer, we get poorer. That’s the way it goes. The government is living it up, and they’re having a party, and they’re impoverishing us so that elderly Americans who have saved for their future, they can’t get any interest on their money, which is entirely an economic thing, just because of government intervention in the money market.
JASON HARTMAN: Right. All the people who did the right thing and delayed gratification all their lives and saved money and invested, are now being punished, and the people who were in debt are being rewarded, because inflation debases the debt, just like it debases savings.
LEW ROCKWELL: The psychopath John Maynard Keynes—he said that savers were bad people, and he wanted to have everybody spend every dime, and of course this is what—the Keynesianism rules the roost today, even, you click on the TV financial channel or whatever, they’re wanting everybody to spend, go in debt, buy a house, buy a car, borrow, borrow, borrow, and we know that’s not a smart thing for us as individuals, and of course it’s not a smart thing for a society. But Keynesianism encourages very bad conduct. I think the tip of the 1%, the crony capitalists connected to the government, probably most of us are going to be poorer, but can we come back? Can things be better for our children and our grandchildren than they are for us? We have free will. We still can control things. Our minds and our hearts are still in control. Even with the government, even with all their soldiers, and all their secret police, and all the FBI, and all the rest of them, they can’t actually run us if we refuse to be run. Because they are a small minority. So, if anybody wants to drop me a note, I can send some articles to them if they’d like to learn some of the backup for what I’m saying. You don’t have to lose hope. There is always hope. I would argue, hope from a religious standpoint has always existed anyway. But even from a standpoint of our living standards in our society, the future of our kids and grandkids, there is hope. But we better do something. We can’t just sit back and let the Clintons and the Bushes and the Romneys and the Obamas of the world run us. Because if we do, then we’re dead. But we don’t have to be dead, and we can take action.
JASON HARTMAN: Very good points. Lew, give out your website, and tell people where they can get your content, and of course your book as well.
LEW ROCKWELL: My book, Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto, is on Amazon. It’s both a paperback and a Kindle book. It’s cheap; the paperback, I think I’ve been selling it for $8.45. The Kindle book is a little over $3. It’s an introductory book; it doesn’t require background, and I think people will enjoy it. First of all take a look at the Mises Institute site if you’re interested in economics and libertarianism from a more scholarly standpoint take a look at www.mises.org. We have hundred of books for free, thousands of videos, thousands of articles, there’s a whole graduate study, undergraduate, graduate, high school, PhD, level studies in economics available there for free. Everything is for free. Also take a look at my daily site, www.LewRockwell.com, and that’s L-E-W Rockwell dot com, which is a daily news and opinion libertarian site, openly anti-state, anti-war, pro-market. If somebody wants to drop me a note, they can just write to [email protected], and I’m glad to answer questions about reading or anything else.
JASON HARTMAN: Fantastic. Well Lew Rockwell, thank you so much for joining us today. Very interesting and spirited discussion. Appreciate having you.
LEW ROCKWELL: Thanks so much for having me on.
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Transcribed by David
The Jason Hartman Team
Episode: CW 402: An ‘Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto' with Lew Rockwell Libertarian Author & Founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute
Guest: Lew Rockwell
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