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Joined: 2009-08-30
Columns on STR: 78

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Columns by Paul Hein

Robbing Peter to Pay Pablo
10
Paul Hein 2012-06-25 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR I like to go out to eat. Three or four times a month my wife and I--usually on the spur of the moment--will decide to go out to lunch at a neighborhood restaurant. We are lucky to have several quite close to home that serve excellent food.   It’s not only the food that I enjoy. I marvel at the snippets of conversation I overhear from other diners....
A Different Perspective
7.5
Paul Hein 2012-06-14 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR I recently watched a video clip of a TV commentator remarking about random shootings, in Tucson, as I recall. He said that the shootings presented three elements for our consideration. The first one, he said, was the fact of mental illness, and the need for better treatment of the mentally ill. He then, perhaps predictably, questioned whether gun ownership or...
Being Rich--Even a Little Bit
9
Paul Hein 2012-06-05 00:00
Column by Paul Hein   Exclusive to STR   I’ve said this before, with the usual worldwide repercussions that greet all of my pronouncements. I’m going to say it again, so prepare yourself. I do not want to frighten, alarm, or shock anyone, but there are some things that simply must be said, so here goes: THERE ARE ADVANTAGES TO BEING RICH!! I’ll go even further: There...
The Armored Cars
10
Paul Hein 2012-05-21 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Decades ago, seated at my desk, writing checks, the thought came, unbidden and unexpected, into my mind: Where are all the armored cars?   I was, at that moment, probably only one of thousands—perhaps hundreds of thousands—of individuals writing checks. By means of those written instruments, money was being transferred from one bank to...
Theft by Any Other Name Is Still Theft!
9
Paul Hein 2012-05-04 00:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   You encounter an ominous character on the street who stops you, points his finger at you and declares that he wants your money—all of it---and he wants it now, and you’d better give it to him, or face the consequences.   You reach into your pocket, but instead of pulling forth your wallet, pull forth your .38 caliber automatic...
Shadow Boxing
10
Paul Hein 2012-04-17 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR It takes two to tango. Who could deny it? Have you ever seen anyone dancing the tango, or the fox trot, or the waltz, by himself?   Would you buy a ticket to a fight if the fighter entered the ring and boxed or wrestled with himself?   And yet there are instances of fights against nobody: the War on Poverty is an excellent example. Poverty seems to...
Who Owns What?
9.75
Paul Hein 2012-03-28 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Are you the owner of some property? For many of us, the answer would be, “Of course. I own a home, and a car.” Maybe, for some, an additional home, and several cars, plus a boat. But whatever it is, it’s yours, and you own it, right? You even have impressive documents like “Title,” or “Deed.”   It is interesting...
The Free Lunch
10
Paul Hein 2012-03-21 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR  If you watch political commentators on television, you won’t have to watch very long before the subject of the national debt is introduced. That, in itself, is interesting, because the national debt has been around for a very long time indeed. Evidently it has reached such proportions today that it cannot be ignored, and the pundits are wringing...
Psychology Rules Again!
9.25
Paul Hein 2012-03-09 01:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Readers of STR are no doubt familiar with George Washington’s characterization of government as force, not reason. (Has any president since ever acknowledged that?) In our time, we can find plenty of examples of government achieving its goals with violence, and I’m thinking not only of the federal government, but even local government. Just search...
A Modest Proposal
10
Paul Hein 2012-02-23 01:00
Column by Paul Hein.  Exclusive to STR  Once again the earth’s alignment with the sun is becoming such that assorted natural—and some quite unnatural--phenomena can be expected.   In the unnatural group is the appearance, like dandelions in the lawn, of assorted individuals and firms offering expert income tax preparation. This is so predictable, and has been happening...
An Enduring Institution, and Democracy!
0
Paul Hein 2012-02-08 01:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   Some might jump to the conclusion that the world’s oldest enduring institution is prostitution, and they wouldn’t be far wrong. But in fact, the holder of the title is not prostitution, but slavery. Not only is it alive and well, but thriving.   We’ve dealt with the subject of slavery before, but what made me think of it...
I Can Do It; You Can't
8
Paul Hein 2012-01-30 01:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR President Obama was served with a subpoena to appear in an Atlanta court on January 26, to offer proof of his eligibility to be on the ballot in Georgia in the upcoming presidential election. Georgia law, as I understand it, requires that all candidates for federal office be qualified to hold the office to which they aspire.   Of course, Obama did not...
Stupidity Reigns
10
Paul Hein 2012-01-10 01:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   Perhaps you saw the video clip of Bridget Brown, who is a “markets reporter” declaring that gold is not backed by anything, whereas the U.S. dollar is backed by the American government. She apparently considered this a shortcoming of the precious metal. The mind boggles.   The late Merrill Jenkins, the original Monetary Realist...
It's Magic!
0
Paul Hein 2012-01-03 01:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   I’ve always enjoyed magic. Magicians, especially those who trick us by sleight of hand, impress me with their skill. But until recently, I didn’t realize that there were two forms of magic. There is private, or voluntary, magic, and public, or compulsory, magic.   You know the private, voluntary kind. It’s generally done...
Of Dogs and Men
8.66667
Paul Hein 2011-12-14 01:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   We have two dogs. They are both miniature poodles, pure-bred, with papers (gosh!). What I am about to reveal now may make you despise me and my dogs, but at least give me credit for honesty: our dogs are defective. I cringe to admit it, but it’s true.   A poodle, I have learned from the appropriate authorities, may be any color (...
Bad News Is Good News
9
Paul Hein 2011-12-05 01:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR The pretty TV newsperson was interviewing a doctor about the coming crisis in the funding of health care. It seems that physicians will be taking a 27% cut in reimbursements by Medicare, which will not, however, make a corresponding cut in their expenses. (Thank God I’m retired!) Can a doctor opt out of Medicare? Sure, but then he’s not...
Lemmings and Pied Pipers
10
Paul Hein 2011-11-16 01:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Suppose, for a minute, that several of your neighbors came to your door and presented you with a paper on which they had written, in quite formal language, their intent to build a playground for neighborhood children, and that this enterprise was to be funded by a “contribution” from you, among others. “No thanks,” you tell them....
The Oldest Institution
9.85714
Paul Hein 2011-09-29 00:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   No, I’m not referring to the oldest occupation--assuming it IS the oldest. I am speaking of a social institution which must have begun when Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden, and which has flourished ever since. It is slavery.   In its most obvious and elemental form (which is the only way most people think of it), it consists of...
A Rose By Any Other Name Is Still Vegetation
8.5
Paul Hein 2011-09-01 00:00
Column by Paul Hein   Exclusive to STR   Suppose you hired a landscape architect, and asked him to submit a plan to beautify your yard. He would ask you what you had in mind. “Well, how about some vegetation?” He might smile at that, or frown; but he would want you to be more specific. “What vegetation would you like?” “You know, green plants, maybe...
Let's Get It Over With
0
Paul Hein 2011-08-23 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Last June, Missouri Congressman Todd Akin made a speech in which he said that liberalism involved “hatred of God.” Needless to say, the professionally touchy were inflamed, and the Congressman was quick to issue an apology. Some local pastors weren’t satisfied with that, however, and sought a face-to-face meeting with Akin at his office....
Extortion/Bribery
6.33333
Paul Hein 2011-06-29 00:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been convicted on 17 of 20 counts of extortion and other forms of corruption, centering mainly around his attempt to sell the senate seat of Barack Obama to the highest bidder. Shame on him. His behavior was typical of Illinois politicians, or even politicians in general. He should go to jail!  ...
Pay? How?
9.75
Paul Hein 2011-06-06 00:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   I can’t stand it any longer. For days--weeks, even--the chatter on the TV news has dealt, almost exclusively, with the debt “crisis.” Despite the thousands of words uttered about it, none have hit the mark. The problem, as any Monetary Realist could tell you, has little or nothing to do with the way money is spent, or saved, or...
Never Volunteer
5.5
Paul Hein 2011-05-11 00:00
Column by Paul Hein.  Exclusive to STR  In the spring of 2008, Senator Harry Reid gave an interview on television in which he stated that the income tax was voluntary. His remark caused quite a stir. Google “Harry Reid and voluntary income tax,” and see for yourself. His kindest critics thought him crazy, the less charitable used the word “idiot.” If the Senator...
The Camel's Nose
8.66667
Paul Hein 2011-04-04 03:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   In considering how one might overthrow the state government, I have decided the safest course is by baby-steps, so to speak. Attacking the requirement to re-new your auto license yearly is a good initial procedure. Not too controversial, and without dire consequences if unsuccessful.   Don’t be put off by the term “overthrow....
A Journey of a Thousand Miles
8
Paul Hein 2011-03-23 03:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   Yes, it starts with a single step. That’s so obvious that it’s easily overlooked, but it’s worth considering when confronted with the realities of life today--especially if what you’re confronted with are the growing challenges to your life, liberty, and property.   In shaking off the rule of George III, the...
Home of the Slave, Land of the Fee
10
Paul Hein 2014-03-06 09:10
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR My Fourth Edition of Black’s Law dictionary defines “slave” thusly: “a person who is wholly subject to the will of another.” The phrase “will of another” sounded familiar. I checked the same dictionary for “statute,” and found it defined as the “written will of the legislature.” You might come...
What's Mine Is Yours--If You Say So
10
Paul Hein 2014-03-18 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Reading the newspaper this morning, I got the impression that the purpose of the paper is to obscure, rather than present, the news. The front page headline, for instance, was a piece about a local hockey player, and his rise to fame. Succeeding pages concerned local school board problems, and other such trivia. Not until page seven was there any information...
A Remarkable Document
10
Paul Hein 2014-04-02 08:45
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR From time to time, we hear our rulers refer to the Constitution, in such solemn tones and with such serious demeanor that we might think they took it seriously. For example, some of them have expressed outrage that the NSA should violate the people’s right to privacy. Good for them; it IS an outrage. Some of the rulers are indignant that the...
The Oldest Institution
9.85714
Paul Hein 2011-09-29 00:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   No, I’m not referring to the oldest occupation--assuming it IS the oldest. I am speaking of a social institution which must have begun when Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden, and which has flourished ever since. It is slavery.   In its most obvious and elemental form (which is the only way most people think of it), it consists of...
Much Ado About Nothing
9.8
Paul Hein 2013-01-25 07:56
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR My wife likes to watch political discussions on TV, and from time to time, for as long as I can stand it, I’ll join her. I am invariably puzzled and saddened by the vehemence exhibited by some of the commentators. Voices are raised, speakers are interrupted, and tempers flare. Why? These are all people with, I assume, some level of education and...
All-Purpose Platitudes
9.75
Paul Hein 2010-12-02 04:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   During the pre-election propagandizing, I heard enough platitudes to last me a lifetime, but it hasn’t ceased with the cessation of voting. Now the president, seeking to make the best of a bad (for him) situation, is giving us still more, but they’re the old familiar, tried-and-true blatherskite we’ve come to know and despise...
Pay? How?
9.75
Paul Hein 2011-06-06 00:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   I can’t stand it any longer. For days--weeks, even--the chatter on the TV news has dealt, almost exclusively, with the debt “crisis.” Despite the thousands of words uttered about it, none have hit the mark. The problem, as any Monetary Realist could tell you, has little or nothing to do with the way money is spent, or saved, or...
Who Owns What?
9.75
Paul Hein 2012-03-28 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Are you the owner of some property? For many of us, the answer would be, “Of course. I own a home, and a car.” Maybe, for some, an additional home, and several cars, plus a boat. But whatever it is, it’s yours, and you own it, right? You even have impressive documents like “Title,” or “Deed.”   It is interesting...
Keep the Home Fires Burning
9.66667
Paul Hein 2011-03-09 04:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   As the economy collapses, and civilization disintegrates, increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of the corrupt, vicious, and arrogantly stupid nature of government—especially the federal government--and its role in the dissolution.   But wait! Do we really want to believe that government is the problem? Keep in mind...
Going Down With the Ship
9.5
Paul Hein 2010-10-05 03:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   In 1939, a movie entitled “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” made its debut, to critical acclaim. It was the story of an idealistic young man who went to Washington to fight corruption and cronyism.   One of the first things our young Congressman did, however, was to propose a government purchase of some land in his own state, for a...
A Robber By Any Other Name
9.33333
Paul Hein 2012-12-18 08:40
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR From time to time I receive in the mail demands from strangers for money, often a rather large amount of money. The people making these demands may have impressive titles, such as Revenue Director, or Collector of Revenue, but the writer is often anonymous, although on an impressive letterhead that, presumably, is sufficient to convince you to send the money...
Psychology Rules Again!
9.25
Paul Hein 2012-03-09 01:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Readers of STR are no doubt familiar with George Washington’s characterization of government as force, not reason. (Has any president since ever acknowledged that?) In our time, we can find plenty of examples of government achieving its goals with violence, and I’m thinking not only of the federal government, but even local government. Just search...
It Never Stops!
9.14286
Paul Hein 2010-10-28 03:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   As a younger man, I had plenty of patients, but little patience; and my meager supply is diminishing with age.   Elections are particularly annoying, with the same inane platitudes voiced over and over again, until I wonder how the public, even as numbed and dumbed as it is, can stand it.   There is, for example, the incessant...
Psychology Rules!
9
Paul Hein 2011-02-03 04:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   By coincidence, I recently watched two television programs in the same evening that, upon reflection, said a great deal about society. One was a documentary about the President’s airplane, “On Board Air Force One.” I had seen it before, but it seemed worth a second look.   The other was “Downton Abbey,” a sort...
Bad News Is Good News
9
Paul Hein 2011-12-05 01:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR The pretty TV newsperson was interviewing a doctor about the coming crisis in the funding of health care. It seems that physicians will be taking a 27% cut in reimbursements by Medicare, which will not, however, make a corresponding cut in their expenses. (Thank God I’m retired!) Can a doctor opt out of Medicare? Sure, but then he’s not...
Theft by Any Other Name Is Still Theft!
9
Paul Hein 2012-05-04 00:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   You encounter an ominous character on the street who stops you, points his finger at you and declares that he wants your money—all of it---and he wants it now, and you’d better give it to him, or face the consequences.   You reach into your pocket, but instead of pulling forth your wallet, pull forth your .38 caliber automatic...
Being Rich--Even a Little Bit
9
Paul Hein 2012-06-05 00:00
Column by Paul Hein   Exclusive to STR   I’ve said this before, with the usual worldwide repercussions that greet all of my pronouncements. I’m going to say it again, so prepare yourself. I do not want to frighten, alarm, or shock anyone, but there are some things that simply must be said, so here goes: THERE ARE ADVANTAGES TO BEING RICH!! I’ll go even further: There...
A Couple of Fallacies
9
Paul Hein 2012-09-18 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Forgive me for repeating myself, for I have written about these matters before. However, my readership in those days, decades ago, varied between one and two, and today it must be at least ten times as large, and, as the economy crumbles, these ideas seem worth repeating.   First let’s consider the truly absurd statement: “There’s no...
The Little Issues
9
Paul Hein 2012-11-05 01:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Although I have little interest in politics--except as outstanding examples of the madness of crowds--there was no avoiding them during the final days of the 2012 electoral campaigns. There seem to be two predominant campaign types. There are the well-known negative campaign ads, in which candidate A points out the utterly baseless character, lack of...
The Name Game
9
Paul Hein 2014-04-14 08:23
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR An interesting phenomenon: You receive a letter, signed by a group of people unknown to you, asking you to send them a large check, and implying that if you don’t, there could be unpleasant consequences. You laugh, and throw it away. Perhaps, if you’re sufficiently annoyed, you could send a copy to the authorities, asking that they put a halt to...
Monetized Debt
8.66667
Paul Hein 2010-06-14 03:00
Exclusive to STR   The TV anchor--anchorette?--was interviewing her financial guru, who had just pointed out that the rapid growth of debt, if graphed, would be a virtually vertical line. Nothing like it had ever happened before in American history--at least not in living memory.   “How did we get in this mess?” anchorette asked. “How are we ever going to pay this debt...
The Camel's Nose
8.66667
Paul Hein 2011-04-04 03:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   In considering how one might overthrow the state government, I have decided the safest course is by baby-steps, so to speak. Attacking the requirement to re-new your auto license yearly is a good initial procedure. Not too controversial, and without dire consequences if unsuccessful.   Don’t be put off by the term “overthrow....
Of Dogs and Men
8.66667
Paul Hein 2011-12-14 01:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   We have two dogs. They are both miniature poodles, pure-bred, with papers (gosh!). What I am about to reveal now may make you despise me and my dogs, but at least give me credit for honesty: our dogs are defective. I cringe to admit it, but it’s true.   A poodle, I have learned from the appropriate authorities, may be any color (...
Where Have They Been?
8.5
Paul Hein 2010-06-15 03:00
By Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR     It would be difficult to watch television news for more than five minutes without some mention of the debt “crisis.” Economists are interviewed, and express deep concern about the fact that Uncle Sam is printing money at an unprecedented rate. And, yes, they are very worried about this mountain of debt, and how it can be paid....
A Rose By Any Other Name Is Still Vegetation
8.5
Paul Hein 2011-09-01 00:00
Column by Paul Hein   Exclusive to STR   Suppose you hired a landscape architect, and asked him to submit a plan to beautify your yard. He would ask you what you had in mind. “Well, how about some vegetation?” He might smile at that, or frown; but he would want you to be more specific. “What vegetation would you like?” “You know, green plants, maybe...