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Columns on STR: 93

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Columns by Paul Hein

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...
Just Say No!
10
Paul Hein 2010-10-19 03:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR   It is interesting to read what St. Augustine had to say about what we now call government: A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires...
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...
The Emperor's Clothes
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Paul Hein 2010-09-09 03:00
By Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   Having, by sheer good fortune, escaped any formal training in economics, I often feel like the little boy who observed that the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes. “Shush,” I’m told. “You don’t know anything about it. It’s too complicated for you to understand.”   Well, maybe so. Despite that,...
Public vs. Private
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Paul Hein 2010-07-19 03:00
By Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR     The two terms have always confused me. In general, public means the people considered as a whole, the populace, the citizenry, etc. Private, on the other hand, refers to particular individuals. So public ownership means ownership by everyone, which is a bewildering concept, to say the least. Private ownership, on the other hand, is...
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....
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...
Economics for Dummies
8.125
Paul Hein 2010-03-15 03:00
Exclusive to STR I don’t want to deceive you: I am not going to present a sort of Economics 101 for the benefit of the economically illiterate. In fact, I am myself among that number, never having studied economics. What I am suggesting is that, in the current financial crisis, economics is, in my opinion, somewhat irrelevant. It may be dumb to think that there is an economic solution to...
The Revolution Might Begin WHERE?
0
Paul Hein 2009-12-13 17:00
Exclusive to STR Valley Park . That's Valley Park , Missouri . It's a little town of about 6,500 souls, located only a few miles from where I'm typing these words, in St. Louis County . I've been there many times, and never expected to find it in national news. What made it--briefly--newsworthy is a law passed by the Valley Park government. Yes, like every hamlet, village, town, city, or...
A Non-Lawyer Looks at the Law
0
Paul Hein 2009-12-03 17:00
Exclusive to STR I can safely assume you will not recoil in astonishment if I tell you I have not read all 2,000 pages of the latest health care bill. Like you, I know only what I've heard and seen in the media, and on the Internet. For instance, I understand that firms will be required by the proposed law to provide health insurance for their employees, and individuals who decide not to purchase...
The Irrelevance of Government
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Paul Hein 2009-11-05 17:00
Exclusive to STR It is amusing to listen to our rulers arguing for, or against, the administration's 'health care' scheme. (I put health care in quotation marks because the plan has nothing to do with health care, which existed LONG before politicians became involved with it. It has to do with taxation and regulation, i.e., government!) We are solemnly warned, by the proponents of the plan, that...
Disunited We Stand
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Paul Hein 2009-10-26 17:00
Exclusive to STR The radio was playing in the background, but when I heard the words ' Middle East peace process,' it got my attention. Evidently something had happened in that part of the world that might endanger the 'peace process,' or something to that effect. It was that two-word phrase that set me thinking: how long has this 'process' been ongoing? I don't know, exactly, but certainly a...
Legitimacy
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Paul Hein 2009-09-07 16:00
Exclusive to STR There are, I suspect, many people who confuse America --this beautiful and bounteous land with which we are blessed--with the United States , that corporation calling itself the government, which owns and operates it through its front men, those windbags in Washington . That's a shame, because one's natural love for the country rubs off on the United States, so to speak, tending...
What Took So Long?
8
Paul Hein 2009-08-23 16:00
Exclusive to STR The public reaction to President Obama's health care program is at the same time pleasing, disappointing, and puzzling. But before we get into that, let's clear up something: Health is a right. It's something inherent in your very life, and no one can intentionally deprive you of it without seriously wronging you. But health care is no such thing. Care, of any kind, is provided...
What's What?
0
Paul Hein 2009-04-12 16:00
Exclusive to STR April 13, 2009
The Source
0
Paul Hein 2009-02-03 17:00
Exclusive to STR February 4, 2009
Even Steven
0
Paul Hein 2008-07-29 16:00
Exclusive to STR July 30, 2008 As the economy predictably crumbles, bankruptcies and business closings will increase, and businesses and individuals will find themselves in financial straits, with little hope of economic salvation. Many families are in danger of losing their homes, and there seems little, short of a miracle, that can be done about it. It seems to me that this isn't necessary,...
NoFly Takes Off!
0
Paul Hein 2003-02-23 17:00
The headlines are grim: At American Airline's St. Louis hub, departing flights are down from 361 to 226. Fliers have 58 destinations to choose from, compared to 82 in 2000. One hundred and thirty four big jets serve the city, down from 193. As you read these headlines, you undoubtedly remember my thoughtful presentation of a solution to the economic plight of the airlines a couple of years ago:...
Just Say No!
10
Paul Hein 2010-10-19 03:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR   It is interesting to read what St. Augustine had to say about what we now call government: A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires...
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...
A Heartening Discovery
10
Paul Hein 2012-07-06 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Decades ago I heard a speaker say that, in any dispute with authorities about an alleged violation of a law, the important thing was to read the law, word for word. The implication was that those citing the law might not know what the law actually said.   I put that theory to the test years ago when the local city rulers cited me for having “weeds...
Public vs. Private
10
Paul Hein 2010-07-19 03:00
By Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR     The two terms have always confused me. In general, public means the people considered as a whole, the populace, the citizenry, etc. Private, on the other hand, refers to particular individuals. So public ownership means ownership by everyone, which is a bewildering concept, to say the least. Private ownership, on the other hand, is...
Laughing Terrorists
10
Paul Hein 2010-12-15 04:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   Do terrorists have a sense of humor? If not, perhaps that’s what makes them so terrible. But if they do, how they must be laughing!   Their use of box-cutters on 9/11 resulted in heightened security for anything sharp--even such things as nail clippers and nail files. Not surprising, of course, although slightly ridiculous. It did...
Some Christmas Reflections for Our Rulers
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Paul Hein 2010-12-23 04:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   Dear Missouri Legislators, Administrators, Adjudicators, and various other employees:   Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! At this time of year, one’s thoughts turn toward giving, and it occurs to me that I have been remiss in expressing to you, my rulers, my appreciation of what you have given me, over these many years of my long...
Rights--and Wrongs
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Paul Hein 2011-01-10 04:00
Column by Paul Hein.  Exclusive to STR  In a letter written in 1816 to Francis Gilmer, Thomas Jefferson set forth his idea of a proper government:   Our legislators are not sufficiently apprized of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights . . . and to take none of them from us. No man has a natural right to commit...
Ah, Sweet Mystery of...Taxation
10
Paul Hein 2011-01-24 04:00
Column by Paul Hein.   Exclusive to STR   Does anyone really understand taxation? For that matter, does anyone really understand anything?   Well, of course, there are many people who understand--really know the truth about--many things. Still, it seems that, regarding taxes, there is a degree of ignorance that surpasses that of the general level of ignorance!   If, for...
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....
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...
A Modest Proposal
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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...
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...
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...
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....
Trade Deficit: Hooray!
10
Paul Hein 2012-07-31 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR With an election looming, our politicians are wailing and bemoaning the economic crisis, which, given their policies and legislation during the past century, was inevitable and predictable. They express grave concern over the balance of payments and trade deficits, among other things.   If you do any research at all on those subjects, you will be...
Muddy Waters
10
Paul Hein 2012-08-14 00:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Obamacare matter stirred up interest in the subject of federal taxation, and just what the government can, or cannot, tax. This, I gather, was because of the expectation--not to be realized--that the Court, if it ruled Obamacare constitutional at all, would do so on the basis of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution....
Swap, Don't Pay
10
Paul Hein 2012-11-12 01:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR One of the problems which our newly re-elected president will face is that of the national debt. Terms such as the “fiscal cliff” suggest that disaster awaits if a solution isn't found. It won’t be, and the cliff looms large. The fiscal cliff first began to take shape back in 1913, with the advent of the Federal Reserve Bank. That system...
Here and There: Everywhere
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Paul Hein 2012-11-19 08:20
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Jurisdiction! What a wonderful word! It’s easy to see why it is used so often by lawyers and judges; its meanings allow such broad interpretation--and application. For instance: my dictionary gives this as its first definition: “the power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law.” The words “power,” “right,...
A Desirable Quality--in Sheep
10
Paul Hein 2012-11-27 09:16
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Along with thousands of other St. Louis Countians, I recently received in the mail a document entitled “St. Louis County Missouri Real Property Tax Bill.” It was anonymous, but presumably from the “Collector of Revenue.” He—or she--demands thousands of dollars. Of all the taxes with which we are burdened, the property tax may be...
All Men Are Equal, BUT!!
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Paul Hein 2012-12-07 06:52
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR The animals had overthrown their human masters, and taken control of the farm. Nirvana! The pigs--intelligent, natural leaders, proclaimed “All animals are equal.” What a noble concept! How believable--especially by those who wanted to believe it. Eventually, however, the natural leadership qualities of the pigs led them to proclaim that “...
Titles of Nobility
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Paul Hein 2013-02-06 08:48
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR A question frequently asked, and one which has often troubled me, goes like this: the state is corrupt, rights are ignored or denied; justice cannot be found. But what can I do about it? As I’ve said before, the state will collapse of its own weight eventually, so, in that sense, we need do nothing. The likelihood, however, is that another state,...
Where?
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Paul Hein 2013-12-27 09:10
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR I haven’t taken a poll, but if I did, I’m certain I’d find that most Americans would claim that they were free. Many would claim that they were living in the “freest” country in the world. To some extent, they’d be right. For example: I can take a walk after lunch, or a nap, if I prefer. I can go shopping when I please,...
Statuses: Who Assigns Them?
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Paul Hein 2014-01-14 09:25
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR We all acquire numerous statuses as we move through life. Some of them are natural, like the status of white male, or mother. They simply reflect who we are by our nature; they are built-ins, so to speak. Others are the result of choices. I may acquire the status of pilot, for example, or Kiwanian. These statuses are chosen, and can be abandoned, renounced,...
The Rules
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Paul Hein 2014-02-06 01:00
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR It’s a familiar aphorism: You’ve got to play by the rules. There’s no picking up the puck and running with it; no using a tennis racket in handball. Golfers are not to use baseball bats. And there are penalties for violations. It’s not only sports, of course. If you’re a Rotarian, you’re expected to observe the by-laws of...
A Minor Office
10
Paul Hein 2014-02-19 09:08
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR The advertisement headline read: “President increases amount seniors can get from reverse mortgages.” Imagine the astonishment that the Founding Fathers would experience if they could read that! “What in the world does the president have to do with mortgages, whether forward, reverse, or sideways?” They would be flabbergasted to hear...