Friday, October 21, 2016

Thoughts on the Gold Standard

Written on October 21st, 2016

Edited and Expanded on October 25th, 2016

     It has been said that all of the existing mined gold which currently exists in the country, would not be enough to support backing the national currency with gold deposits. I do not doubt that this is true.
     However, I believe that if the federal government were to practice fiscal solvency and responsibility, balance the budget, eliminate the budget deficit, and take steps toward paying off the debt, then not as much gold (and other precious metals; namely silver, palladium, and copper) would be needed to back the currency.
     This is because eliminating the federal budget deficit would make it unnecessary to engage in Quantitative Easing and Operation Twist -type programs, which essentially involve the Department of the Treasury printing new paper fiat currency "out of thin air". As a result, debt is built into the value of the dollar; thus, the value and purchasing power of the U.S. Dollar is diluted, and inflation increases.
     It is this Quantitative Easing, and inflation, and building debt into the value of the dollar, which cause currency users to spend it more quickly than they otherwise would. Inflation causes the money to "burn a hole in the pocket" of the currency user; some call this effect "the inflation tax on savings". The value of the dollar is declining as it sits in Americans' pockets; this gives currency users an incentive to spend money now - or as soon as possible - rather than spending it later, and rather than saving it for the long-term.
     As a result of all this, people spend most of their money to buy ordinary consumer goods that they need on a day-to-day basis; instead of saving that money, and instead of spending their money on things that they will need for the long-term - namely, and most importantly, homes - items that are long-term stores of value.
     It is important to note about gold - and other precious metals - that they have more value in their exchange than they have in their use (at least in terms of productive, personal use to the average person, who possesses the metals for non-industrial purposes). Although gold and silver have industrial uses in electronics - and arguably some personal use in jewelry and silverware - they have little use to the average person, who possesses them for savings purposes.
     These facts render the value of precious metals' uses as currency, greater than their value for productive industrial uses; and it is the conversion of these metals into their productive industrial uses which gives the metals their high store of value as a medium of exchange. Widespread agreement among consumers that goods which count gold and silver (etc.) among their raw materials, are beneficial, is what makes precious metals viable currencies.
     To recap: if the budget were balanced, the debt were paid off, inflation were driven down to zero, and the purchasing power of the dollar were stable and / or rising, then as a result, overall fiscal policy were to incentivize savings instead of immediate spending.
     If that were to happen, then people would be able to devote more attention to spending money towards procuring their long-term needs, such as houses in which they can live for decades (rather than towards obtaining the goods and services which they need every day), then the necessity of engaging in trade and commerce would decrease overall. This is because the more expensive long-term needs could be more easily obtained, due to the positive impact which inflation relief has upon savings. Decreasing sales taxes, excise taxes, luxury taxes, customs duties, imposts, and tariffs, could serve to further offset the disincentivizing effects on purchasing which are created by the "inflation tax on savings" which budgetary insolvency makes seem necessary.
     When people can easily afford what they need, they save more, they spend less value, they don't have to work as many hours, and they have extra time left over to devote to planning their purchases in ways that save them even more time and money in the process.

     With (1) diminished consumer need to buy expensive long-term items, (2) strengthened purchasing power that makes it just as much easier to buy short-term goods (as compared to long-term goods), (3) more money in savings accounts, and (4) less money being spent in the marketplace; less currency would need to circulate in order to ensure that the medium of exchange reaches all the people it needs to, and reaches them in the amounts and value necessary to buy what they need.
     And when less currency needs to circulate, lower amounts of a value-storing medium of exchange  need to exist in order to back up the value of the U.S. Dollar. Simply put, the gold standard would be much easier to implement given successful implementation of the fiscal reform measures which I have outlined above.
     Speaking strictly in terms of the currently dominant paper fiat currency (as opposed to precious metals), less "faith and credit" in the treasury and banking systems are required to prop up this rapidly depreciating, failed, arguably unconstitutional currency.
     Here's to hoping that the value and purchasing power of the U.S. Dollar will be saved before our currency becomes yet another failed faith-based program.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Links to Articles About My 2016 Congressional Campaign

Letter to the Editor of the Daily Herald (written by my campaign manager Phil Collins)

Letter to the Editor of the Chicago Tribune (not published)

Article in the Lake Forest Patch, written by Tim Moran

Self-Authored Press Release

Trifold Pamphlet and 2016 Campaign Policies

Illinois Center Right Coalition

Illinois LiberTEA

Speech to the Chicago Libertarian Party

Comparison of my positions to Dold's and Schneider's

17 Questions for Dold and Schneider

Other Recent Articles

Official Campaign Facebook Group

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Letter to the Editor of the Daily Herald on Illinois's 10th District U.S. House Race

Originally Written on October 6th, 2016

Edited on October 11th, 2016

Dear Editor,

      After following the race for U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois's 10th District for a full year, I am still not convinced that either candidate is preferable to the other, nor that either candidate shares a majority of my views.

      While I share many of Congressman Dold's positions on trade, and many of Mr. Schneider's positions on marriage, their similarity regarding most other issues is troubling. Both candidates' voting records have contributed to increased taxes and spending, and to the growth of the size and scope of the federal government. There is no reason to expect that either one of them will not continue these patterns if elected.

     Both candidates support the same disastrous foreign policy towards the Middle East, domestic surveillance, restrictions on the right to bear arms, the failed A.C.A. health law, continued federal funding for organizations providing abortions, and inappropriate executive rather than congressional action on immigration; and both candidates oppose personalizing Social Security and are ambivalent on decriminalizing marijuana.

     Most importantly, in this “year of the outsider” election, neither candidate has stuck his neck out to support new proposals to help solve problems that have persisted in our country for decades. Neither has said anything original or refreshing about labor policy; nor has either of them demonstrated a unique way of understanding the relationship between taxation, economic productivity, and ecology.

     Moreover, they do not seem to subscribe to the notion that our freedoms and rights (including the freedoms to marry, travel, work, buy and sell, drink, smoke, vote, and defend oneself) are natural, fundamental, and inalienable; that they cannot be voted away by legislatures, nor turned into privileges to be sold or revoked at the whim of government.

     The 10th District needs another choice in this election.

- Joseph W. Kopsick

Lake Bluff, Illinois
Write-In Candidate for U.S. House (IL-10)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Twenty-One Questions for Bob Dold and Brad Schneider

Written Between October 1st and 16th, 2016
Published on October 10th, 2016
Edited and Expanded on October 20th, 2016


            One of some eight or nine debates between Illinois's 10th District U.S. congressional candidates Bob Dold and Brad Schneider took place at Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest, Illinois, at 1:30 on the afternoon of Sunday, October 16th, 2016. The debate, hosted by the Lake County League of Women Voters, was free and open to the public.

Audience members were invited to submit questions at the debate by writing them on notecards. Since, as a write-in candidate, my name is not technically on the ballot, I was not invited to the debate; however, I was there to submit questions. Since audience members were only permitted to ask several questions each, below I have listed twenty-one questions that I would like to hear the candidates answer.


Ninth Amendment
     I believe that the freedoms to marry, travel, work, go on strike, buy and sell, drink, smoke, vote, and defend oneself, are natural, fundamental, and inalienable rights; that they cannot be voted away by legislatures. Do you agree, or do you believe that our rights are mere privileges, which are sold or revoked at government's whim, and that we need to pay taxes on - and pay for applications, permits, and licenses for - everything we do?

Ninth Amendment

     Is there a single, unifying reason why self-defense, marriage, voting, working in an occupation, buying and selling, and traveling, should not be considered natural rights or freedoms, but rather as privileges which can be sold or denied by government, which has the exclusive authority to profit from the sale of license and permit fees?

Government's Role in Society
     What is your preferred vision of the kind of society that government has a responsibility to help create; a compulsory society, or a voluntary society? Would you prefer a compulsory society in which there is a military draft, and nearly everything we do is taxed, and may not be done without applying for a permit or license, and paying fees therefor? Or do you prefer an all-volunteer military; low barriers of entry into the professions; and a tax base relying only on voluntary contributions, user fees, and fees punishing waste?

Private Property

     What are you doing to make it easier to own a car with full exclusionary rights and access to the vehicle's Statement of Origin? What have you done to make it easier to fully own a home without being subject to neighborhood association guidelines and property taxes that disincentivize construction, growth, and useful production thereupon? What would you do to make it easier to owning landed property in full allodial title?

Separation of Powers
     How can you defend the constitutionality of federal involvement in health and education, without resorting to making excuses for the same kind of inappropriate delegation of congressional powers to the president; the kind that brought us the expansion of domestic surveillance and the size of the executive branch, in addition to the expansion of presidential war powers which led to the second invasion of Iraq?

     Which of the following is the biggest problem pertaining to campaign finance?: 1) lack of transparency in donation disclosures; 2) unlimited donations; or 3) the influence of lobbyists on expanding government, with its favors and privileges for donors and favored industries, in a way that makes such large donations typical? Also, would you support limiting your own office to four consecutive terms at a time?

Amending the Constitution
     Is there any amendment that you would like to see repealed or heavily amended; such as the 14th, 16th, or 17th Amendments? Would you support a new amendment to the Constitution? Would you support voting reform, term limits, an Equal Rights Amendment, or a Balanced Budget Amendment?

Taxes and Productivity
     Do you suspect that taxing any behaviors at lower rates might yield greater revenues? Do you think that keeping tax rates too high might risk inadvertently disincentivizing the behaviors being taxed (namely earning money, buying and selling goods and services, making investments, importing goods, giving gifts, and bequeathing inheritances)? Would it be less harmful to base all government revenue on voluntary contributions; user fees; fees for mineral resource extraction; and fees penalizing waste, blight, and pollution?

Taxes and Poverty
     How is poverty best addressed? Would you support: 1) extending the Earned Income Tax Credit; 2) applying homesteading tax credits to low-cost housing; 3) establishing a citizens' dividend or sovereign wealth fund; or 4) the Negative Income Tax, giving tax payments to those below the poverty level?


     First, were things better for workers when unions engaged in strikes without the permission of a government labor relations board? Second, would it benefit workers to amend the law so that wildcat strikes, sympathy strikes, and wide-scale boycotts are legal, effective, and possible? Third and last, would you amend the Wagner Act so that unions are no longer required to represent all workers in a workplace, including those who do not consent to paying dues and do not want the benefits of representation?

Wages, Treasury, and the Budget

     Would it still be necessary to raise the minimum wage for private-sector jobs, if we had a balanced budget, a more sound currency, a greater purchasing power, and consumers' costs could be relieved directly by eliminating duties, imposts, tariffs, and sales taxes?

Taxation of Business

     When it comes to enterprise, which types of behaviors by companies should be taxed; 1) malinvestments; 2) personal income, executive bonuses, sales and profits, imports, capital gains, investments, and retirement and health accounts; or 3) pollution, waste, abuse and disuse of land, and extraction of natural resources?

Corporate Privilege
     Would you agree that it is not possible to effectively boycott companies, unless and until several types of government-granted, taxpayer-funded corporate and small business privileges and supports are either revoked or more strictly limited? Also, should multinational businesses be free to sue governments for loss of potential future profits, if those governments don't agree to do business with those companies?

Banking and Bailouts
     How is the public best insulated from the risks of Wall Street speculation, the excesses of commercial banking, and the risk of bailouts? Should Glass-Steagall be restored, should the amount of money that the F.D.I.C. can insure be lowered, is it the credit and bond rating systems that need reform, or should something else be done?

     Should partial-birth abortion be legal, should it be publicly funded, and is it abortion or infanticide? Also, what in the Constitution gives any agent or agency of the federal government authority on matters of abortion, except when it comes to whether health insurance should cover the reproductive health needs of federal workers? Lastly, does anything about either the 9th or the 14th Amendment agree or conflict with your position on abortion?

Guns and the Draft

     Should the Second Amendment be modified as to recognize the natural right to refuse service in the militia; and the right to claim a moral philosophical, or religious conscientious objection to being required to render military service in person, whether as part of a draft or mandatory civil emergency preparedness service? Should women be required to register for the draft; or should mandatory draft registration end altogether, and the draft be repealed via a constitutional amendment?

Foreign Aid to Israel
The federal government sends $3.8 billion to the State of Israel each year. Considering that an IRmep/Google poll revealed last month that more than 80% of American adult internet users surveyed, thought that aid to Israel would better be spent on something else, would you consider reducing or revoking aid until the Israelis agree to end their draft, withdraw from illegally occupied territories, admit their possession of nuclear weapons, and sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Israel and Iran
   What would you say to a voter who opposes foreign aid to both the State of Israel and its majority-Muslim neighbor states, for the same reasons; women's rights violations, denial of religious freedoms, disregard of civil liberties in policing and military recruitment, and non-transparent nuclear military ambitions? Could Israel take a more merciful role in the peace process? Lastly, do you support the Iran deal, and why or why not?

Schneider's Foreign Policy
Mr. Schneider, what should be done about U.S. presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan? Should we stay in Iraq to fight I.S.I.S., or work with the Russians to achieve peace in Syria? Would you support the Iraq partition plan, or time-tables for withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan? Finally, should the U.S. Army be guarding Pakistan's border with India instead of its border with Afghanistan?

Dold's Inconsistencies
Congressman Dold, what would you tell a conservative or Republican voter who feels that you have flip-flopped on repealing Obamacare, and sees your commercials where you promote gun control and continuing funding for Planned Parenthood, and wonder whether there are any key issues on which you are in total agreement with conservative voters?

Rahm Emanuel
Have you met Rahm Emanuel, do you think he is a good leader, and do you think he has done anything unethical in any of his roles in government or business - such as his time as a Clinton fundraiser and adviser, on the board of Freddie Mac, in his role in the 2008 restructuring, as President Obama's Chief of Staff, or as the Mayor of Chicago - that should disqualify him from seeking higher offices?