“America’s budget deficit is set to balloon as its population ages, the cost of handouts swells and the government’s interest rate bill rises.” — The Economist, May 6, 2023 issue
Special Announcement: You have only one more week before the $77 discount for FreedomFest ends (May 31). See below — our new celebrity speaker will be revealed!
What is the most pressing problem facing the United States today? Pundits and presidents have suggested the following nominees:
–Poverty and inequality
There’s plenty to choose from, but the one big elephant in the room that has been largely ignored by politicians is the ballooning national debt, which is now approaching $32 trillion. Watch it grow here: https://www.usdebtclock.org/
The debt-ceiling debate has brought this issue to the forefront: When is the government going to learn to live within its means? It can’t even do it when we have full employment. Nobel Prize-winning economist James Buchanan rightly called it “Democracy in Deficit,” as the legacy of Keynesian economics. And yet, even Keynes favored balanced budgets and even surpluses during the good times of full employment.
Friends like columnist George Will and financial writer Alex Green of the Oxford Club are natural optimists, but when it comes to the national debt, they are worried.
According to George Will, federal spending is out of control and unsustainable. He notes, “The American Main Street Initiative, a think tank, says the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations compiled more debt held by the public, adjusted for inflation, than did all previous presidents combined. And if the national debt rises for 60 years at the rate it has risen during the previous 30, it will then exceed $1.5 quadrillion. (A quadrillion is a thousand trillions).”
And Alex Green agrees: “I am a long-term optimist. Except for one issue: the debt. It is now politically impossible to reform our runaway entitlement spending. Not hard. Not tricky. Impossible. The Democrats — and the public — will not stand for it. And that cannot help but have extremely negative consequences down the road. The only question is when …”
America Needs Two More Amendments to the Constitution
State governments solved the problem long ago by adopting a balanced budget amendment to their state constitutions. Every state has one except Vermont. The only downside to these balanced budget requirements is that most state legislators resort to raising taxes when they are in deficit instead of cutting spending. That’s why sales tax rates have been rising over time.
Governments of all sizes need two weapons to control their spendthrift habits: a balanced budget amendment and a tax limitation amendment. The federal Constitution has neither.
The debt-ceiling requirement is a must in a de facto balanced budget amendment, but the fact that Congress repeatedly raises the debt limit suggests there is no real fiscal discipline in Washington.
As a result, inflation will remain a persistent and permanent feature of our country. It means that the dollar will continue to lose its purchasing power over time, and the best inflation hedges are investment assets, such as gold, silver and stocks in the long run. I wouldn’t be selling any of them any time soon.
Announcing Our ‘Great Catch’ at FreedomFest
FreedomFest is famous for attracting top celebrity speakers — William Shatner, George Foreman, Kevin O’Leary and John Cleese, to name a few.
I’ve been dying to tell you who our celebrity speaker is for FreedomFest this July 12-15 in Memphis.
Now, finally he’s confirmed, and you are in for a treat. I call him “the man who has restored my faith in America.”
Yes, Mike Rowe, Executive Producer of such TV series as “Dirty Jobs,” “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” “How America Works” and “The Story Behind the Story,” will appear in person at FreedomFest.
Mike Rowe is the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Way I Heard It” and podcaster extraordinaire (https://mikerowe.com/podcast/). I’m reading his book right now, and it’s fun to read every page.
He also has six million followers on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMikeRowe/), one million three hundred followers on Instagram (https://instagram.com/mikerowe?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==) and over a quarter of a million subscribers to his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@therealmikerowe).
He is one of the most in-demand speakers in the world, and he’s coming to Memphis.
An American Hero Liked Across the Political Divide
One thing I really like about Mike Rowe is that he brings Americans together. Here’s an American hero for hard working men and women and someone who can talk comfortably with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation (and CNN before that) and Tucker Carlson on Fox News. How rare is that!
You won’t want to miss his upbeat message about how he is making a difference in reinvigorating America’s work ethic. His mikeroweWORKS Foundation (https://www.mikeroweworks.org) is committed to improving skilled trades and has awarded over $6 million in work ethic scholarships to over 1,500 men and women. (He even donates part of the online profits from the sale of his Knobel Tennessee Whiskey (https://knobelspirits.com/) to his foundation; go online and grab a bottle, or stop by their booth at FreedomFest!)
Here’s your chance to hear and meet the man behind the “Dirty Jobs” and the incredible stories about successful skilled tradesmen and entrepreneurs in America. He’s an inspiration and proof that the American dream is still alive.
After his general session talk and interview, you will get a chance to ask him a question… and then an opportunity to “meet and greet” him afterward. Only at FreedomFest.
We expect a full crowd in July. We will honor our $77 discount for subscribers. Use the code EAGLE77 to get $77 off the registration fee by going to www.freedomfest.com. Or call Hayley at 1-855-850-3733, ext 202.
The $77 discount will end in six days on May 31. No exceptions. So, sign up now, and the join me at “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.” We expect over 200 speakers, 180 exhibitors and 2,000 attendees.
And there’s more…
Our line-up also includes Steve Forbes, John Fund (National Review), Steve Moore (Heritage Foundation), Tulsi Gabbard (a former Democratic congresswoman), Michael Shermer (Skeptic magazine), Enes “Freedom” Kanter (a former NBA basketball player), David Boaz (Cato Institute), Bryan Kaplan (GMU), Douglas Brinkley (“America’s Historian”), Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform), Art Laffer (famed economist), Richard Epstein (New York University law professor), Amity Shlaes (historian), Magette Wade, Barbara Kolm (VP of the Austrian central bank) and many more. Go here for the full lineup.
Our master of ceremonies is Lisa Kennedy, host of Fox Business.
We also have the Anthem film festival, a libertarian comedy festival and a full three-day investment conference, including such financial gurus as Alexander Green (Oxford Club), Louis Navellier and David Bahnsen. Plus, there will be a special interview with Jeremy Siegel, the “Wizard of Wharton,” and Burt Malkiel (Princeton). Our financial editors at Eagle Publishing will all be at FreedomFest — Jim Woods, Bryan Perry, George Gilder, Roger Michalski and Paul Dykewicz as part of our three-day investment conference. Stop by our booth!
FreedomFest is three glorious days of “great ideas, great thinkers and great fun”! See you in Memphis.
P.S. Come join me and my Eagle colleagues on an incredible cruise! We set sail on Dec. 4 for 16 days, embarking on a memorable journey that combines fascinating history, vibrant culture and picturesque scenery. Enjoy seminars on the days we are cruising from one destination to another, as well as dinners with members of the Eagle team. Just some of the places we’ll visit are Mexico, Belize, Panama, Ecuador and more! Click here now for all the details.
Good investing, AEIOU,
You Nailed it!
Stanley Engerman, R. I. P.
Stanley Engerman, economic historian at the University of Rochester, died on May 11, 2023, at age 87.
When I was a student at BYU in 1971, my economics professor Larry Wimmer arranged for me and one other student to do research for Stanley Engerman, co-author of “Time on the Cross,” with Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Fogel. I never met him, but we talked on the telephone several times.
Here’s what I wrote in my diary:
“At the end of the month, I had another job opportunity for the summer — really exciting. This involved working as a research assistant for Robert Fogel of University of Chicago and Stanley Engerman of Rochester on their econometric studies of the slave trade and industry in the ante-bellum South. We were instructed to go through court and probate records in the Salt Lake Genealogical Society’s microfilm section and write down names, dates, places, description of slaves. This was surprisingly interesting work. I worked with Keith Allred most of the time, and we’d go up to Salt Lake each day. One time we made a particularly lucrative find and our joy was so apparent that several Mormons asked what we had found — when they saw we were talking about slaves, they really wondered [about our lineage].”
The work was quite fascinating. You could see how some slaves were valued more than others, depending on their age and occupation.
You could also see the inflation going on during the Civil War with prices going up for everything.
>What surprised me the most was that slaves were still listed on probate records after the Civil War, as if nothing had happened. On the official estate records, slaves were still considered property past 1865, and well into the 1880s! It was a real shock.
Their book came out in 1974, and caused a sensation. Fogel and Engerman argued that slavery was highly profitable, so much so that it required a civil war to end it. They questioned the view that slavery would die out on its own.
Fogel won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1993 as a developer of “cliometrics” (quantitative economic history). Because of “Time on the Cross,” Fogel was sometimes accused of being a racist, even though he was married to an African-American woman. Fogel died at age 87 in 2013.