How the Myth of the ‘Robber Barons’ Began—and Why It Persists

Fee – The widely-accepted “history” of America’s Gilded Age was grossly inaccurate, but it told a compelling story that many fell for hook, line, and sinker.

The widely-accepted “history” of America’s Gilded Age was grossly inaccurate, but it told a compelling story that many fell for hook, line, and sinker.

Culture Gilded Age Robber Barons History Marxism Myths

Note from the President: Burton W. Folsom is more than just my favorite historian. He’s also one of my very best friends. So I admit to some personal bias when I endorse his classic book, The Myth of the Robber Barons, as I’ve done on dozens of occasions. But even if I didn’t know him or didn’t like him, I would still say that it’s one of the best, most insightful books on American business and political history of the last century. The distinction he draws out between “market entrepreneurs” and “political entrepreneurs” has permanently altered historical interpretations of a crucial era in our past—for the better and with increasing effect as the years have gone by since the book’s first edition in 1991.

Now, a new edition—the eighth—makes its appearance with a new final chapter, excerpted here. What you’ll read below is about a third of that chapter, but it’s an excellent sample. Here, Dr. Folsom explores the question of how and why so many historians get the “robber baron” era precisely wrong, with a special focus on the deleterious impact of Matthew Josephson and his error-filled but influential book from the 1930s.

— Lawrence W. Reed, President, Foundation for Economic Education

Capitalism Worked, but We Were Told It Didn’t

We study history to learn from it. If we can discover what worked and what didn’t work, we can use this knowledge wisely to create a better future. Studying the triumph of American industry, for example, is important because it is the story of how the United States became the world’s leading economic power. “Free markets worked well; government intervention usually failed.

The years when this happened, from 1865 to the early 1900s, saw the U.S. encourage entrepreneurs indirectly by limiting government. Slavery was abolished and so was the income tax. Federal spending was slashed and federal budgets had surpluses almost every year in the late 1800s. In other words, the federal government created more freedom and a stable marketplace in which entrepreneurs could operate.

To some extent, during the late 1800s—a period historians call the “Gilded Age”—American politicians learned from the past. They had dabbled in federal subsidies from steamships to transcontinental railroads, and those experiments dismally failed. Politicians then turned to free markets as a better strategy for economic development. The world-dominating achievements of Cornelius Vanderbilt, James J. Hill, John D. Rockefeller, and Charles Schwab validated America’s unprecedented limited government. And when politicians sometimes veered off course later with government interventions for tariffs, high income taxes, anti-trust laws, and an effort to run a steel plant to make armor for war—the results again often hindered American economic progress. Free markets worked well; government intervention usually failed.

Why is it, then, that for so many years, most historians have been teaching the opposite lesson? They have made no distinction between political entrepreneurs, who tried to succeed through federal aid, and market entrepreneurs, who avoided subsidies and sought to create better products at lower prices. Instead, most historians have preached that many, if not all, entrepreneurs were “robber barons.” They did not enrich the U.S. with their investments; instead, they bilked the public and corrupted political and economic life in America. Therefore, government intervention in the economy was needed to save the country from these greedy businessmen. To read more click here.

Elizabeth Warren’s ‘New Deal’ Is Closer to National Socialism than Democratic Socialism

FEE – Senator Warren is proposing “the wholesale expropriation of private enterprise in the United States, and nothing less.”
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Barry Brownstein

In an episode of the HBO comedy series Crashing, libertarian Penn Jillette offered this provocative opinion:

The most important revolution in human history, more important than agriculture, more important than writing, is the scientific revolution. The scientific revolution came down to these three words: I don’t know.

Jillette added, “No institution, no church, no king, no power structure had ever said in history, I don’t know.”

The Greek historian Thucydides put it this way: “Ignorance is bold, knowledge reserved.”

It’s hard to find a politician willing to say, “I don’t know.” Senator Elizabeth Warren is no exception. Her ignorance is bold. Recently she proposed The Accountable Capitalism Act. Under her proposed law, Warren and others in government will pretend to know much about that which they know nothing—running every large business in America.
The Accountable Capitalism Act

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Senator Warren urges Americans to insist “on a new deal.” Under her Accountable Capitalism Act,

Corporations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue would be required to get a federal corporate charter. The new charter requires corporate directors to consider the interests of all major corporate stakeholders—not only shareholders—in company decisions. Shareholders could sue if they believed directors weren’t fulfilling those obligations.

Click here to read more.

Henderson County Republican Events Coming Up

  • Saturday, August 18 (7:30-9:00): GOP Breakfast at Dixie Diner – no RSVP required
  • Saturday, August 25 (10a – 4p): Community Outreach for the children and families of our county at: JH Sullivan Park Ashe Street  Hendersonville, NC 28792. (Need Volunteers – Contact Haydin Fink if interested (hayden.fink1@gmail.com>)
  • Wednesday, August 22 (7:30-9:00) Henderson County Republican Men’s club breakfast at Dixie Diner – no RSVP required
  • Tuesday, August 28 (11:30 – 1:30): Henderson County Republican Women’s luncheon with NC Sen. Chuck Edwards guest speaker (Cedars – RSVP Doris Hawkins hawkinsg@bellsouth.net)
  • Fri-Sun, August 31 – September 2: (9a-6:30p) Apple Festival (Need Volunteers)
  • Monday, September 3 (time TBD): Apple Festival Parade (Need Volunteers)
  • Saturday, September 15 (12:00-3:00): Constitution Day at Bill Moore Community Park (formerly called Fletcher Town Park) (Need Volunteers)
  • Saturday, September 25 (TBD): Candidate Forum sponsored by League of Women Voters. City Operations Center (NEED ALL REPUBLICANS THERE – STANDING ROOM ONLY!!)
  • Saturday, October 6 (10-4): Farm City Day (Need Volunteers)

Sign up to take the FreedomWorks Bus to DC

 

If you do not live in Western NC and can not use the Asheville Bus there will be other Buses across the state going – submit your information and we will see if we can match you with one of the other buses going – Thanks.

What the Internet Sales Tax Is All About

FEE – Just curious, but if a Washington, D.C. resident buys a pack of cigarettes in Arlington, VA, should this person pay a sales tax to the District of Columbia? Figure that cigarettes cost roughly $5.25/pack in Virginia versus $7.99 in D.C. Arlington retailers have a significant tax advantage over merchants in the District, so to “level the playing field” shouldn’t D.C. residents hand over the difference in taxes? The tax will ensure that Washington residents don’t cross the bridge in order to get a better deal, and in the process imperil Capitol-based businesses.

It all sounds right, doesn’t it? If businesses in low-tax areas exploit the tax difference, Washington’s retailers could be in a world of hurt, as will be its tax base.

Absent our ability to take our consumption elsewhere, what’s the incentive for local and state legislators to keep taxes low?

Except that tax competition among cities and states serves a very real purpose: it forces local taxing authorities to think long and hard before helping themselves to more of what we earn. Absent our ability to take our consumption elsewhere, what’s the incentive for local and state legislators to keep taxes low? Also, we seem to forget that local businesses, precisely because they’re local, have the ultimate sales advantage in that they’re nearby, sometimes walking distance, plus they enjoy name recognition that declines the farther the business is away from the consumer.

Click here to read more.

Video:

Supreme Court Rules That States Can Force Online Retailers to Charge Sales Tax

The Constitution of the United States of America, Article 1 – The Legislative Branch, Section 9 – Limits on Congress states: No tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any state. Export means articles or items shipped over state lines to any other state or country. (See Federalist Papers 42 (11 and 12) Supervision of Interstate Commerce). *Some feel this applies only to the Federal Government and not the states. Q: How do you feel about it after reading the “Federalist Papers 42 (11 and 12) Supervision of Interstate Commerce”? The following is from “Federalist Papers: In Modern Language”: #11 An important objective of this power was to give relief to the states that import and export through other States and are forced to pay improper contributions levied on them. #12 In Switzerland, where the union is very slight, each canton(state) must allow merchandise passage through its jurisdiction into other cantons, without additional tolls. Note: To the best of my knowledge before 1992, States were not allowed to charge sales tax on purchases being shipped over state lines. Why was that if not for unencumbered trade in a UNITED nation? This so-called law is nothing more but a way for the poorly run state governments trying to bail themselves out on the backs of sovereign of citizens of other states.

Article 1, Section 10 states: No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or exports,…….

For those that think that an online Sales Tax is not a duty on an import think again it is a tax on items being imported into a state. THEREFORE IT IS AN IMPORT TAX. What happens, to the economy, if the States start changing their States sales tax on an items leaving (export duty) their State and the State the item is being shipped to also collects their States Sales Tax (import tax)?

Did you know there are as of 2014 9,998 different sales tax jurisdictions in the United States. Wonder how many there are now in 2018?

In Amendment 14 it is stated: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States AND the State wherein they reside. (No state you do not physically live in or physically do business in should be able to tax you as you are not a citizen of that State. – Fremont’s opinion)

As, you know: U.S. Constitution – Article 1 Section 1 – All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. NOT ONE word about the Executive or Judaical Branches having any power to make law. So, it is QUITE clear the U.S. Executive and Judaical Branches have NO LAW MAKING POWER!

Meadows Supporting Rep. Jim Jordan’s Bid for Speaker

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) released the following statement:

“When I arrived in Congress, Jim Jordan was one of the first colleagues I got to know—and in the time since, I can honestly say Jim is one of the most honorable, thoughtful, and principled men I’ve met in Washington. Jim is a fighter, a leader, and a true conservative in every way. He never backs down from a fight when his values are on the line. He listens to and cares about his colleagues. Most importantly, he remembers the most critical voice—the voice of the voters—in every single decision he makes. If the people entrust Republicans with the House this November, Jim Jordan would be a Speaker who would fight for real changes in Congress that would allow the people’s House to truly work for Main Street Americans. I fully support his candidacy.”

House Passes Rep. Meadows’ Amendment to Eliminate Obamacare’s Multi-State Plan Program

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the House passed an amendment authored by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) to prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to administer Obamacare’s ‘Multi-State Plan Program.’ The amendment passed with a bipartisan majority by a vote of 223-192.

Section 1334 of the Affordable Care Act requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to contract with at least two national health plans, one of which must be a non-profit plan, to compete directly with private plans in every state. These plans are called multi-state plans, or MSP’s. The law requires they be available in all 50 states as of 2017.

Multi-state plans were intended to drive competition on the health care exchanges. However, the program has failed to meet the Obama administration’s 750,000 enrollment projection or the 50-state statutory requirement. The program has been so unsuccessful that in 2018, there is only one participating state (Arkansas).

Elimination of the program is supported by the OPM and the National Active Retired Federal Employees Association, among other groups. The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation have also conceded that eliminating funding for the plans will not affect the level of competition or premiums in the insurance market place, nor would it affect any Obamacare subsidies.

Rep. Meadows released the following statement on the amendment:

“The Multi-State Plan program amounts to a textbook waste of taxpayer dollars and needs to be eliminated. It makes no sense for the OPM to dedicate funds to a program that does nothing other than spend money and stifle competition in the marketplace. Bottom line: the program was a poorly conceived provision of an even more poorly conceived bill in Obamacare, and repealing it is a positive step in the right direction of improving America’s healthcare markets. I appreciate the support of my colleagues.”

 To watch Rep. Meadows floor speech on the amendment, click here.

 Rep. Meadows speaks in support of his amendment

 

Justice’s dissent helps explains stakes in N.C. political tug of war

Carolina Journal – It would be easy to dismiss the recurring political battles between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-led General Assembly as pure partisan posturing.

Easy. And wrong.

A dissent from a case decided earlier this year in the N.C. Supreme Court offers a clue about why leaders of the executive and legislative branches have pushed their feud to the foreground of Tar Heel politics.

Sure, Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for another election in November. Much of what they’re saying and doing now is designed to win support for their respective “teams” this fall. (Why else would the governor launch a publicity tour touting a statewide school bond more than a week after lawmakers left Raleigh — shutting down any possibility of placing that bond on the November ballot?)

But regardless of partisan calculations, much of what divides the governor and his legislative foes stems from a fundamental disagreement. Cooper and state House and Senate leaders disagree about their respective roles in running state government. These differences could divide legislative leaders from either major party from a governor of either party.

Click here to read more.

Aristotle’s Defense of Private Property: 4 Reasons Communal Property Is Inferior

FEE – Aristotle’s arguments on property are still relevant today. Many free-marketeers have forgotten that there are more benefits of private property than mere economic efficiency.

In “The Communist Manifesto,” Karl Marx aptly summarized the implications of a communist society, stating that “the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” As an institution, private property has been a crucial factor in the flourishing of Western society and its political thought. However, its defense rarely extends beyond a calculation of its economic benefits. Many defenders of private property simply state that there is no viable alternative system and that private property is simply the best option of a bad bunch. This argument, with its pessimistic tone, hardly inspires much love for the concept of private ownership.

Thankfully, there have been numerous thinkers throughout history who have robustly defended and justified the institution of private property. Such figures are Cicero of Ancient Rome, Thomas Aquinas of medieval Europe, and John Locke of the early modern period.

Who Was Aristotle?

The first extensive defense of private property comes from Aristotle, writing in the 4th century B.C. in response to the idea of communal ownership as espoused by his teacher Plato. Aristotle was a polymath who wrote extensively on ethics, logic, metaphysics, biology, astronomy, and rhetoric, to name a few of his interests. To this day, he is considered one of the most influential philosophers to ever live. In the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas referred to Aristotle as “The Philosopher,” demonstrating the immense level of respect Aristotle commanded.

Click here to read more.

Click here to read: Why wealth creation (and private property and property rights) is good for the planet.