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L. Neil Smith's
Number 687, September 9, 2012

"The parasites who think they own us are beginning to be afraid"

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Better Off? Not at All
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

According to a recent speech by formerly impeached (for perjury and obstruction of justice) president Clinton, you are better off today than you were four years ago. Is that really true? Would it be true if you went back 12 years?

If you have a 401K or pension plan that models the S&P 500 and you look at the price of that broad market average for 5 September 2008 you find a value of 1242.31. Four years later the same market average has a value of 1403.60. That means that over the four years, your portfolio expanded by 161.29 points, or about 40.32 points per annum. That works out to about 3.2% per year growth.

During the same period, gold ran from $802.90 per ounce troy to $1696.20 per ounce troy. As a measure of inflation, the price of gold suggests an 111% increase in monetary inflation. Using government reports, suggests that inflation averaged about 6% over the period from September 2008 to September 2012. In other words, if your portfolio modelled the S&P 500, you were much worse off, whether you believe in the monetary inflation figure reported by gold or the consumer "price inflation" figure reported by Shadowstats. If, and only if, you believe the government's own highly modified CPI figure, which averaged about 3% for the period, do you find yourself about as well off in 2012 as you were in 2008.

But that's assuming a great many things. For instance, it assumes you have a job, a pension, a 401K or other retirement package, some sort of wealth. In fact, huge numbers of Americans have become unemployed since 2008 and remain unemployed in 2012. According to, the figure was around 13% and is now around 23% of the working-age population unemployed. Using the government's far more modified figures, the unemployment rate was about 5% in 2008 and is about 8.3% today. If you were one of the record 46.7 million using food stamps in June 2012, you probably don't think of yourself as better off than you were in 2008.

If you go back to 8 September 2000 you find the S&P 500 stood at 1494.50. I'm writing near the close of business on Thursday 6 September 2012, and the S&P stands at 1430.85. That is a drop of 63.65 or about 4.2% over the 12 year period. In other words, if you consider the fascist, pro-war, pro-drug-war, mainstream policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, taken together, you are worse off now than you were twelve years ago.

So, should you vote for a continuation of Obama's failed policies? No. You shouldn't. Should you vote for a restoration of George W. Bush's failed policies under a Mitt Romney regime? No. You shouldn't.

Should you vote? I don't think so. I continue to believe that voting is madness, that for whomever you vote, the system wins. Also, I believe that you should govern yourself, take the sovereign and equal station to which you are entitled by the laws of nature, and accept no substitutes for self-rule.

War is bad business. Don't forget that thousands of American military personnel and arguably hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi civilians are dead during the last 12 years. The Democrats and the Republicans have blood on their hands, because they enthusiastically voted for the wars and the war funding by vast majorities in both houses of congress. Both parties support the drug war, support putting your neighbours in cages for owning a few ounces of marijuana.

Once you give up the notion that the United States government has anything to do with you, represents you, is meant to be there for you, once you abandon as unworkable the classical liberal concepts that are demonstrably false: that government is interested in your consent, which it clearly isn't; that government protects life, liberty, and property, which it clearly doesn't—once these ideas are banished you can get on with being yourself, being your own government, being the sovereign individual you were born to be. There's nothing special about the queen of England or the king of Spain.

I'm not interested in reforming the system, altering it, nor even abolishing it. I'm abandoning it. I'm building new systems in the shell of the old system. When people realise that there are working alternatives, they will join me in abandoning the old system.

Jim Davidson is an anti-war and pro-freedom activist. Recently, a 501c3 group with which he is affiliated was given a building in Kansas City. Jim continues to respond to requests for help with the Sovereign Mutual Aid Response Team, the university association of Individual Sovereign University. He can be contacted at and His books Being Sovereign (2009) and Being Libertarian (2011) are available from major book retailers.

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