Hey GOP, Want to Cut the Burden of Government? Cut Spending.

Washington, DC is currently in the middle of a the “tax reform” process, which as Jeff Deist, points out, is ” a con, and a shell game.” Tax reform proposals, Deist continues “always evade and obscure the real issue, which is the total cost – financial, compliance, and human – taxes impose on society.”
Tax reform is really about which interest groups can modify the current tax code to better suit their own parochial interests. The end result is not a lessened tax burden overall, and thus does nothing to boost real savings, real wealth creation, or real economic growth. It’s just yet another government method of rewarding powerful groups while punishing the less powerful ones.
Not surprisingly then, the news that’s coming out of Washington about tax reform demonstrates that the reforms we’re seeing are only shifting around the tax burden without actually lessening it. The central scam at the heart of the matter is that DC politicians are more or less devoted to “revenue neutral” tax reforms. That means if one group sees a tax cut, then another group will lose a deduction, or even see an actual increase in tax rates.
This is why many middle class families may be looking at a higher tax bill. David Stockman explains:
[O]n the eve of the House Ways and Means committee vote on the tax bill—-which will then be barricaded by a no amendments “closed rule” when it goes to the full house—–the smoking gun is already apparent. By 2027 (after the temporary $300 adult tax credit gimmick expires and all provisions of the Brady mark become fully effective), the middle quintile US family ( about 30 million filers between $55,000 and $93,000 of AGI) would find itself in a crap shoot.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 13, 2017.

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos And Warren Buffett Have More Money Than The Poorest 50% Of The U.S. Population Combined

The problem is not that we have a few people that are rich – the problem is that we have so many that are poor. As you will see below, three extremely wealthy individuals have as much money as the poorest half of the nation combined. In a free market capitalist society, there are always going to be some that do better than others, and there is nothing wrong with that. But in our society today, there are so few that are doing well. At this point a majority of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and ‘one in five households have zero or negative net worth’…
In the United States, the 400 richest individuals now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the population and the three richest own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent, while pervasive poverty means one in five households have zero or negative net worth.
Those are just several of the striking findings of Billionaire Bonanza 2017, a new report (pdf) published Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) that explores in detail the speed with which the U. S. is becoming ‘a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.’
That means that if you have no debt and a single dime in your pockets, you have more wealth than one-fifth of the entire country.
Okay, so let’s talk about the three men that have more wealth than the poorest 50 percent of the U. S. population combined. Those three men are Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, and Warren Buffett. I don’t want to take anything away from what those three have accomplished, because we need more risk takers and entrepreneurs.
Sadly, the level of small business creation has fallen in every presidential administration going all the way back to George H. W. Bush, and the percentage of Americans that are self-employed is hovering near all-time record lows.
As a nation, we desperately need to return to a culture that encourages free market capitalist thinking. We want young men and women to create, invent, innovate and start new ventures. But instead, today our culture encourages young people to become dependent on the government and on the big corporations, and as a result the middle class is evaporating.
As I discussed above, at this point 20 percent of all U. S. households have ‘either zero or negative wealth’…

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on November 9th, 2017.

Facebook Founder Warns “God Only Knows What It’s Doing To Kids’ Brains”

38-year-old founding president of Facebook, Sean Parker, was uncharacteristically frank about his creation in an interview with Axios. So much so in fact that he concluded, Mark Zuckerberg will probably block his account after reading this.
***
Confirming every ‘big brother’ conspiracy there is about the social media giant, Parker explained how social networks purposely hook users and potentially hurt our brains…
“When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, ‘I’m not on social media.’ And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be.’ And then they would say, ‘No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.’ And I would say, … ‘We’ll get you eventually.’”
“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and … it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other … It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.

More Rigorous Populism Might Have Produced a Better Fed Chair

As I noted in my reaction to reports of Jerome Powell’s nomination, Trump’s endorsement was a significant defeat for the growing movement among Hill Republicans to force the Fed to adopt ‘rules-based monetary policy.’ Since I’ve already written on why I think such reform plans would largely fail to achieve their desired ends, I’m not particularly bothered by the defeat – but I do think there is a lesson to be gained here on libertarian strategy.
As Jeff Deist noted at the Mises Institute’s 35th Anniversary, along with some genuine disagreements regarding economics and political theory, Murray Rothbard and F. A. Hayek held very different opinions on the best strategy going forward to promote liberty. While both agreed, following Mises’s insights, that winning ‘hearts and minds’ was absolutely essential to a free society – government would not be limited by pursuing and tricking the populist into something it wasn’t prepare to adopt – they disagreed on the best way of accomplishing this task.
While Rothbard favored a libertarian-populist strategy aimed at educating and energizing laypeople, Hayek thought it was best to influence academics and intellectuals, what he termed ‘second handlers of ideas.’ A more classically liberal intelligentsia would influence policymakers and from that good – or at least better – public policy would follow.
While it may be a step too far to suggest that this approach can never lead to any form of substantial policy victory in Washington – and certainly no intellectual movement should be limited to a single strategy – Trump’s nomination of Powell I think does highlight one of the major flaws with Hayek’s strategy.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 6, 2017.

Tocqueville on the Welfare State

In 1961, Robert Schuettinger, then a graduate student under F. A. Hayek at the University of Chicago, wrote an article: “Tocqueville and the Bland Leviathan.”
It was published in the second issue of a new publication, New Individualist Review. This was a student publication: a quarterly small magazine. It was the best student publication I had ever seen. I still think so. I was a subscriber from the beginning. It was published for seven years.
The Foundation for Economic Education has reprinted the essay here. I offer extracts.
****************************************************************
[The power of government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power… does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, until each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and hard-working animals, of which the government is the shepherd.’ – Alexis De Tocqueville
Alexis De Tocqueville was an aristocrat who was at the same time the most perceptive critic and the truest friend that democracy ever had; he loved liberty, as he himself said, with “a holy passion,” and his greatest fear was that in the new Age of the Common Man the ideal of equality would become the means by which freedom would be extinguished.
His two books, Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the French Revolution, earned for Tocqueville a lasting reputation primarily because he did not think that the historian’s role should be confined to relating facts or that the sociologist should be merely a statistician; he was interested in something more than in what the “scientific” historians called wie es gewesen (what actually happened). What he wanted to do was to understand why institutions grew up and why events came about. Describing America he regarded as much less important than the task of analyzing democracy. . . .

This post was published at Gary North on November 02, 2017.

Scientists Look For A Cure For Politically Undesirable Behavior

Via GEFIRA,
The ‘Free World’ has taken on where the Soviet scientists and psychiatrists left off.
German and American scientists of renowned Universities in Bonn and Lbeck do research on treatment for politically undesirable behaviour like their Soviet colleagues from the infamous Serbsky Central Research Institute in Moscow. In the Soviet Union people who protested the system had to undergo psychiatric treatment.
Vladimir Bukovsky, a world-known dissident survived one and described it. The same will be the fate of the so called Free World’s citizens if they fail to conform to the idea of a multi-cultural society. The powers that be have given a signal, and obliging, complaisant scientists are already busy working on bettering our collective and individual psyche. Apart from homophobia and Islamophobia, xenophobia is another psychiatric condition that needs to undergo therapy…hormonal therapy.
Throughout history, the world has been torn by two opposing factors that face each other with daggers drawn. These are natural biological, and unnatural forces, or reality and dystopia. It is natural for a human being to want to possess things and work as little as possible; to counter it, dystopian socialists, communists or Christian heretics came up with an idea of a society governed by the principle: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
It was supposed to work. And it failed miserably everywhere it was installed and implemented, from Cuba to East Germany, to the Soviet Union, to North Korea.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 3, 2017.

Russian Content May Have Reached 126 Million Facebook Users, There Is Just One Catch

One month ago, the media world and political punditry was in a furore after Facebook revealed that some 470 alleged Russian troll accounts had paid Facebook a whopping $100,000 to purchase 3,000 advertisements potentially influencing the outcome of the election (even though many of the ads “showed support for Clinton” and only half ran before the actual election). The furore did not last long: gradually the story fizzled, before becoming a watercooler joke that Russia had managed to buy the outcome of the US presidential election for a whopping 100 grand – which would make Vladimir Putin not only a propaganda genius of the highest order, but the best damn advertising mastermind to ever live, generating the highest ad IRR in history. One can only imagine what insidious, civilzation-ending thoughts he could implant in America’s fragile, feeble minds for $1 million, or gasp… 10 million dollars (about 1% of what Hillary spent).
So, eager to keep the “Russia interfered in US elections” meme going (not to be confused with what the Washington Post one year ago titled “The long history of the U. S. interfering with elections elsewhere“), tomorrow Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch , together with his peers from Google and Twitter, will will sit before the Senate judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism and try to fascinate the public with some far bigger numbers, while hopefully also pitching the vast reach Facebook and other social media have. To do that, Facebook will say that it estimates that a grand total of 126 million people may have seen content posted by Russian-backed accounts over more than two years that, as the WSJ puts it, “sought to disrupt American society”, according to a prepared copy of the remarks obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
How is this number different from the far smaller number quoted previously when referring only to the Russian trolls’ alleged ad outreach? Because this time, Facebook will count virtually every post created by these alleged Russian troll farms as direct form of propaganda: as the WSJ explains, tomorrow’s definition of “reach” will include such content as “free posts and events listings.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 30, 2017.

Rental Insecurity: Survey Finds 1 In 5 American Renters Missed A Payment In Past 3 Months

A new survey conducted by ApartmentList.com recently found that Americans, despite historically low unemployment levels and surging stock indices which would both seem to suggest that ‘everything is awesome’, are having a very difficult time making ends meet. Per the survey, some 20% of renters admit they were unable to make their monthly payments on time at least once over the preceding three months with the results being even worse among minorities and those lacking a college degree.
Analyzing data from Apartment List users, we find that nearly one in five renters were unable to pay their rent in full for at least one of the past three months. We estimate that 3.7 million American renters have experienced an eviction. Evictions disproportionately impact the most vulnerable members of our society. Renters without a college education are more than twice as likely to face eviction as those with a four-year degree. Additionally, we find that black households face the highest rates of eviction, even when controlling for education and income. Perhaps most troublingly, households with children are twice as likely to face an eviction threat, regardless of marital status. The impacts of eviction are severe and long-lasting. Evictions are a leading cause of homelessness, and research has tied eviction to poor health outcomes in both adults and children. These effects are persistent, and experiencing an eviction makes it difficult to get back on one’s feet.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 26, 2017.

The Voluntaryist Constitution

[Editor’s note: The Mises Institute presents below’s “voluntaryist constitution” as a thought experiment, and is not presented here as an ideological or political ideal.] There have been a number of attempts to create the ideal constitution – one which enshrines liberty, autonomy, and property rights, while ensuring the highest degree of prosperity for those under its jurisdiction. Each attempt to do so, however, has been plagued by a seemingly indomitable problem: constitutions create governments. Once the malicious genie of government has sprung forth from its lamp, it seems no constitutional structure or language is capable of subduing it.
Some may assert in response that this is simply an inherent problem with Constitution-making in general, and that an anarchic libertarian society would need no such document to thrive. However, even the veritable father of anarcho-capitalism, Murray Rothbard, disagreed:
Politically, the [Benjamin] Tucker anarchists had two principal defects: (1) they failed to advocate defense of private landholdings beyond what the owner used personally; (2) they relied too heavily on juries and failed to see the necessity for a body of constitutional libertarian law which the private courts would have to uphold.
These “right-wing” anarchists did not take the foolish position that crime would disappear in the anarchist society. Yet they did tend to underestimate the crime problem, and as a result never recognized the need for a fixed libertarian constitution. Without such a constitution, the private judicial process might become truly “anarchic” in the popular sense.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 23, 2017.

Ray Dalio: “This Is The Most Important Economic, Political And Social Issue Of Our Time”

I wrote about what I see as the most important economic, political & social issue of our time: The Two US Economies. — Ray Dalio (@RayDalio) October 23, 2017

Every quarter, the Fed’s Flow of Funds report discloses – among many other things – the total U. S. household net worth, and every quarter for the past two years this number has steadily gone up, hitting fresh all time highs with every new release, most recently $96.2 trillion, to widespread cheers from both the financial press and the public, as well as the administration.
However, as we show every quarter, this aggregate number is largely meaningless in providing a status update on the financial state of the broader US population, as it masks a gaping chasm between the haves, or the top 10% of US society – those who benefit the most from this mostly financial-asset based increase in net worth, and the have nots, or bottom 90%, who remain largely locked out from such gains.
In fact, it was the Fed’s own Triennial Survey of Consumer Finances which disclosed just how skewed this net worth distribution had become:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 23, 2017.

Ray Dalio Explains What Is “The Most Important Economic, Political And Social Issue Of Our Time”

Every quarter, the Fed’s Flow of Funds report discloses – among many other things – the total U. S. household net worth, and every quarter for the past two years this number has steadily gone up, hitting fresh all time highs with every new release, most recently $96.2 trillion, to widespread cheers from both the financial press and the public, as well as the administration.

However, as we show every quarter, this aggregate number is largely meaningless in providing a status update on the financial state of the broader US population, as it masks a gaping chasm between the haves, or the top 10% of US society – those who benefit the most from this mostly financial-asset based increase in net worth, and the have nots, or bottom 90%, who remain largely locked out from such gains.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 23, 2017.

Big Tech’s Dangerous Influence: “Coming Between Us And Reality”

Author Franklin Foer reflects on the dangers of losing ourselves in a society dependent on a handful of tech firms.
French philosopher Rene Descartes famously said ‘I think, therefore I am.’ But in the digital age, what we think and how we live are being influenced in a big way by just a handful of tech firms: We are informed by Google and entertained by Apple; we socialize on Facebook and shop on Amazon. It’s time to reclaim our identities and reassert our intellectual independence, according to Franklin Foer, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and former editor of The New Republic, in his book, World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech.
He recently joined the Knowledge@Wharton show, which airs on SiriusXM channel 111, to explain why these firms’ hold on society is a cautionary tale for the future.
An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
Knowledge@Wharton: Tech companies such as Amazon have truly transformed themselves over the last couple of decades [and become a big part of our lives].
Franklin Foer: Amazon is really one of the most impressive specimens in the entire history of American business. It started off as a bookstore, then it morphed into becoming the ‘everything’ store. And it’s morphed beyond that. We know about Amazon Web Services and how it powers the cloud. We’ve seen how it just keeps expanding, culminating most recently in its decision to purchase Whole Foods. The same could be said for Google, which set out to organize knowledge but then became Alphabet, which has this massive portfolio, including a life-sciences company that aims to make us immortal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 22, 2017.

Bank Run Imminent: Catalan Separatists Urge Supporters To Pull Cash From ATMs On Friday Morning

As tensions escalate in Spain, Catalan Separatists are potentially about to do some real damage and hit Madrid where it really hurts.
In a tweeted message to their 270,000 followers, Assemblea Nacional urged supporters to pull cash from CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell branches between 8 am and 9am Friday to protest at their decision to shift their legal domiciles out of the region..
#BREAKING Civil society groups in Catalonia call for mass withdrawal of money from ATMs tomorrow at 8am to pressure Spanish government
— Catalan News (@catalannews) October 19, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 20, 2017.

GDP Is Bogus: Here’s Why

Here’s a chart of our fabulous always-higher GDP, adjusted for another bogus metric, official inflation.
The theme this week is The Rot Within. The rot eating away at our society and economy is typically papered over with bogus statistics that “prove” everything’s getting better every day in every way. The prime “proof” of rising prosperity is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which never fails to loft higher, with the rare excepts being Spots of Bother (recessions) that never last more than a quarter or two. Longtime correspondent Dave P. of Market Daily Briefing recently summarized the key flaw in GDP: GDP doesn’t reflect changes in the balance sheet, i.e. debt. So if we borrow money to pay people to dig holes and then fill them with the excavated dirt, GDP rises to general applause. The debt we took on to fund the make-work isn’t accounted for at all. Here’s Dave’s explanation: Once I learned about accounting, I figured out why the GDP metric wasn’t sufficient. What is missing? The balance sheet. Hurricanes are a direct hit to your nation’s balance sheet. The national income statement goes up because of increased spending to replace lost assets, but the “equity” part of the national balance sheet ends up taking a hit in direct proportion to the damage that occurred. Even if you rebuild everything just the way it was, your assets remain the same, while your liabilities have increased.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017.

SOROS TRANSFERS $18 BILLION TO HIS OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS

Left-wing financier George Soros has transferred $18 billion to the Open Society Foundations, the network of non-profits Soros uses to advance his left-wing ideology both in the United States and around the world.
The massive transfer, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, is roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Afghanistan, according to World Bank data. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, suggested that the transfer is a way for the 87-year-old Soros to avoid the estate tax – also known as the death tax – which penalizes large inheritances.
Inside Philanthropy reported last year that Soros, who has said that he considers himself to be ‘some kind of god,’ began laying the groundwork for the foundation to continue his mission after he dies. (RELATED: Leaked Emails Show Clinton Campaign Coordinating With Soros Organization)

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on OCTOBER 17, 2017.

Puerto Rico Without Electricity, Wifi, ATMs Shows Importance of Cash, Gold and Silver

– Puerto Rico without electricity, wifi, ATMs shows importance of cash, gold and silver
– Most of Puerto Rico remains in the dark and without power three weeks after storm
– With widespread power failures, Puerto Rico remains cash only with retailers only accepting cash and few consumer having cash
– Shortages of food, fuel and medicine with infrastructure repairs delayed
– Power could be ‘out for months’ as 85% of people remain off the grid
– Around 75% of ATMs disconnected
– Electronic forms of payment including bitcoin have been rendered non viable
– Puerto Rico’s accidental ‘cashless society’ shows risks of cashless society and importance of holding cash, gold and silver out of the financial and digital systems
***
Puerto Rico has been destroyed by two savage hurricanes which have plunged the island into darkness and despair. The landscape of ruined homes and entire towns resembles Hiroshima after the man made disaster of a nuclear bomb being dropped on the city.

This post was published at Gold Core on October 14, 2017.

Harvey Weinstein Expelled From Motion Picture Academy

Update: According to the LA Times, Harvey Weinstein’s reign in Hollywood is officially over: the embattled film mogul – a once-dominant force in the Academy Awards who rewrote the rules of Oscar campaigning – has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hollywood’s de facto governing body, in response to mounting allegations of sexual harassment and assault against him.
In removing Weinstein from its ranks, the academy said in a statement, “We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over. What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society. The Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify.”
The Academy’s board of governors made the decision at an emergency session after investigations by The New York Times and The New Yorker revealed sexual harassment and rape allegations against him going back decades. In a statement, the academy said the vote was ‘well in excess of the required two-thirds majority.’
The film academy’s 54-member board of governors, which includes such industry luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Kathleen Kennedy and Whoopi Goldberg, voted in an emergency meeting on Saturday morning to remove Weinstein from the organization’s ranks in an unprecedented public rebuke of a prominent industry figure. The move marked the latest blow in Weinstein’s stunning downfall and, in symbolic terms, amounts to a virtual expulsion from Hollywood itself. As the NYT adds, although largely symbolic, the ouster of Mr. Weinstein from the roughly 8,400-member academy is stunning because the organization is not known to have taken such action before – not when Roman Polanski, a member, pleaded guiltyin a sex crime case involving a 13-year-old girl; not when women came forward to accuse Bill Cosby, a member, of sexual assault; and not when Mel Gibson allegedly went on anti-Semitic tirade during a drunk driving arrest in 2006 or pleaded no contest to a charge of battery against an old girlfriend in 2011.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

Racketeering: America’s Business Model

Let’s face reality folks: In an honest society Amazon would be literally out of the media business this morning, and their stock price would crash by half.
Why? Because Rose McGowan, one of many women who have accused Weinstein of sexual assault, also claims that Amazon optioned a series from her and then killed it when she discovered they were effectively covering up the Weinstein scandal and demanded they cut that crap out.
In other words she is accusing Amazon and Jeff Bezos, it’s CEO, of intentionally enabling Weinstein’s continued abuse of women and children and financially damaging her when she pushed back on their covering up allegations of criminal sexual assault.
May I remind you that central to Amazon’s business model is Prime Video original shows?
Of course Amazon isn’t the only firm that would be hacked to death in the market this morning if anyone gave a damn. A huge percentage of media studios and affiliated firms would be literal zeros.
Look folks, everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, but can we cut the crap? You have already demonstrated over the last 30 years that you will sit still while the entire medical industry buttrapes you to within an inch of your life on a daily basis, stealing $3 trillion a year from consumers through their price-fixing. It’s not just the big stuff, it’s the little stuff too, like advertising a $15 price and then charging someone $25. Worse, it’s not posting a price at all and then charging someone five times that $15 after you already took their order and they’re obligated to pay. It’s charging someone $800 for 20 minutes of a doctor’s time, again, only after the person in question is committed to pay because the service was already performed.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-10-13.

5 charts highlighting the epic housing crisis for Millennials – one third of young adults living at home with parents.

Millennials are starting to realize that living at home may be a longer-term proposition. Moving back home is being motivated by heavy levels of student debt and jobs that simply pay a lower wage. These trends run directly into the current reality that rental prices are soaring and home values are once again near peak levels. So you are left with a situation where young adults who try to venture out on their own are finding a market that they cannot afford. So naturally, this has had an impact on marriage and when people plan on starting families. It has also created a big impact in terms of younger adults saving for retirement (most are not saving). What are the implications of this housing crisis for Millennials?
Young adults living at home – a new trend
It should be clear that this is a new trend in regards to young adults forgoing to venture out on their own and starting their own families and households. The figures highlight a unique situation and this will trickle down into a variety of segments of society including buying furniture, appliances, and all the trappings of home life.

This post was published at MyBudget360 on October 10, 2017.

How Much Do Central Banks Cost Us?

A classic argument for central bank controlled fiat money goes like this: a commodity such as gold is very costly to produce. All the resources, capital, and labor devoted to mining gold for monetary purposes could be employed elsewhere in the economy, to the benefit of society, if only we had a fiat standard.
This argument is by no means conclusive. We would not stop producing Champagne either, just because sparkling water is cheaper. However, there is an undeniable grain of truth in it. At firrst glance it seems we could save a lot of resources under a fiat standard. But do we really?
Business Accounting for Central Banks The euro provides a suitable case study to go after this question. How much does it actually cost to produce the euro and to conduct enlightened monetary policy along the way?
The European Central Bank (ECB) was founded in June 1998. By the end of 1999, it employed 732 fulltime staff, among which 55 held managerial positions. By the end of 2003, these numbers had increased to 1,213 and 84, respectively. All of these employees were hired on permanent contracts. This policy has changed in 2004. At the end of 2016, the ECB employed 3171 fulltime staff and total annual staff costs amounted to some 467 million. Staff costs have grown at an average annual rate of 12.7%. But that is hardly the end of the story.
Administrative costs have grown from 61 million in 1999 to 414 million in 2016 at an average annual rate of 12%. Another item of expenditure are costs for coin and note production services, which was added to the annual accounts in 2002, the year the euro was introduced in cash. That year it amounted to 118 million. Thereafter it dropped and remained always below 9 million per year.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 11, 2017.