Author Archive for Steven Waechter

Mr. Waechter is an attorney and a recent graduate of Drake University.

College, Politics, and Wagnerian Opera

Upon realizing that the carnality which he desired was beyond his reach, the grubby, dwarfish Nibelung named Alberich cursed love itself in order to steal from the Rhine maidens the magical Rhine gold, which he fashioned into a ring which granted to its wearer the power to rule the world. Thus, the Ring of the Nibelung became an object of envy and the obsession to obtain it became the quest of heroes and gods.

To the baby boom generation, a college diploma was the Ring of the Nibelung; a mystical object which granted you the power to rule your world. It was something to be quested for; sacrifices along the way would be proven worthwhile in the end.

Then, it all changed. The problem is, …


The American Socialist Commonwealth (Part 2 of 2)

(This is the second installement of a 2 part piece, click here for part 1)

Former Hoover Institute Fellow Antony Sutton surmised that there were three species of socialism: Bolshevik socialism, state corporatist socialism, and welfare state socialism. All three shared one common premise – government involving itself in the planning and organization of the economy.

In Bolshevik socialism, the state owns all means of production: Farms, factories, mines, timberlands, and everything else that produces consumer or industrial goods. The decisions about what to produce come from a centralized committee dedicated to planning the economy. In this form of socialistic economy, we see things like the Soviet GOSPLAN, the organization tasked with writing the Five Year Plans. Another example would be Mao’s Great Leap …


The American Socialist Commonwealth (Part 1 of 2)

In 1920, as socialist parties held power in Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Russia, it appeared that the world following World War I would be a world built by socialist planning. Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian economist, thought that a socialist world simply wouldn’t do, and put pen to paper to explain why. The result was Mises’ first published article, “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.”

Mises’ premise was really quite simple; in a socialist economy, things that are used to produce other things are controlled by the state, which means that investment in production goods no longer involves price comparisons. In a socialist system, the planners decide that more tractors should be built, and order factories to build them.

Socialist administrators can …


Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds Must End

In his autobiography, Calvin Coolidge singled out tax-exempt bonds as a travesty; idiotic, improper, probably immoral, and something which needed to be addressed.

Firmly believing that all the income of the nation had to be treated equally (and that public debt was hostile to liberty) Coolidge decried this special treatment, stating point-blank that it provided a way for the wealthy to hide their income from taxation, made it too easy for local governments to amass debt, and benefited local politicians and the buyers of their bonds all at the expense of the taxpayers who had to cover the interest on the debt.

In Coolidge’s day, the courts had ruled that the Federal government didn’t have the power to tax municipal bonds – cities are incorporated …


Tom Harkin Dissembles on Higher Education

Bumped up from TCR:Iowa.  – Ed.

Our esteemed Senator Harkin has been holding some hearings on for-profit colleges back in D.C., and now he has penned an editorial for the Des Moines Register. In full disclosure, I dislike Tom Harkin. Intensely. Then again, back in 2008, Charles Grassley voted for the TARP bailout, and now I don’t like him either.

But, back to the junior Senator from Iowa; Senator Harkin penned an opinion-editorial decrying the high tuition, poor student outcome, and massive debt of the students of for-profit colleges. If somebody would be so kind as to pass this on to the right honorable gentleman, would Senator Harkin please explain why his criticisms of the for-profit colleges are not extended to all colleges? Why does …


Reds Paint The Town Green in Rio

Last month, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The conference organizers themselves have given the conference the nickname of Rio+20.

This is because twenty years ago, in 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro, a meeting commonly called the Earth Summit. At this original Rio conference, those who assembled decided that the future would be lost without alternative energy, public transportation, and what was called the “systemic scrutiny of production patterns.” Among the documents excreted by the conference was the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which is mostly the typical stuffed-shirt garbage one would expect coming from a conference held by the United Nations.

However, within the Declaration …


The Social Security Trust Fund Is Already Empty

The annual report of the Social Security Trustees has been out for a few days now, and the news was bad on its face; the Social Security Trust Fund is now expected to be depleted by 2033, three or four years earlier than had been previously thought. This means that after 2033 the Social Security system will depend entirely upon the payroll taxes it will then be collecting, and the huge surpluses built up from payroll taxes of the past decades will have gone.

That is the nightmare in the headline news; the reality is much worse.

The Social Security Trust Fund does not exist in any meaningful way. What happened was this: Over the past years, the Social Security Administration collected more in payroll …


Iowa’s Expensive Wind Addiction

I recently heard a radio commercial urging me to contact various members of Congress to voice my support for tax credits connected to the wind energy industry. On a lark, I went to the Iowa Legislature website and searched active bills for the word “wind,” and received several dozen hits, many of which seemed to be focused on state tax credits for manufacturing and installing wind turbines. Both state and federal politicians seem to be tripping over themselves to get into the wind energy craze.

Back in 2010 Alliant Energy was petitioning to be allowed to increase the rates they charged for electricity, and one of the supporting reasons they put forward was the $150 million project called the Whispering Willow-East wind farm in Franklin …


Dr. Bernanke’s Fed Funds Patent Tonic with Opium

If you look at the weekly price chart for either gold or silver for the week ending January 27, 2012, you can make out a distinct “J” shape in prices of both metals. Tuesday the prices were suppressed, and then on Wednesday they spiked upward. You can actually pinpoint on the charts the moment the Federal Reserve announced its intent to keep the Federal Funds Rate at nearly zero percent until late 2014.

Low interest rates are supposed to spur economic growth, or at least that is what the textbook for my International Political Economy course said, so what could possibly be wrong with low interest rates?

Of course, low interest rates provide an incentive to borrow money. However, they also form a powerful incentive …


Why I am Caucusing for Ron Paul

“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom…..And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”
– Barry Goldwater, Conscience of a Conservative

Perhaps more than any other politician of the twentieth century, Barry Goldwater captured the essence of the American spirit – ferocious independence. This spirit depends upon the Constitution for its life and energy. Without our Constitution, our nation is nothing more than another geographic location; nothing but more …