Schaaf and Curtman to champion Privacy Amendment
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Calling it “a direct response to revelations about the scope and nature of the NSA’s domestic spying programs,” Sen. Rob Schaaf and Rep. Paul Curtman issued a press release today promising to campaign for the “Privacy Amendment.” They will chair and co-chair, respectively, the statewide campaign in favor of the amendment.
Curtman and Schaaf both pushed for the proposed constitutional amendment, SJR 27, during the legislative session. The language will appear on the August 5th primary ballot and will read: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”
If approved by the voters, Missouri would become the first state to change its constitution to protect digital information from government surveillance. Schaaf is also serving as Treasurer of the “Protect our Privacy” campaign committee, which Curtman, Schaaf and fellow supporters will be funneling funds to promote the measure.
“When we send messages to friends, family and co-workers, we have the reasonable expectation that those communications are private, whether they go through the post office or our internet provider,” Curtman said in the statement. “If government can’t go through our mail or homes without a warrant, they shouldn’t be able to snoop through our digital communications without one either.”
Schaaf said that while the change to the constititon probably wouldn’t protect Missourians against federal agencies, he says it’s an important first step in a “larger national debate.”
“We need to get this idea national attention,” Schaaf told The Missouri Times. “We need to get the idea of this constitutional protection national, and the more people turn out, and the more people are educated on this, I think we’ll see just how the people feel about this issue."
n Dec. 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Owen Glass Act, creating the Federal Reserve. As we note its centennial, what has the Fed accomplished during the last 100 years?
The stated original purposes were to protect the soundness of the dollar and banks and also to lessen the jarring ups and downs of the business cycle. Oops.
Under the Fed’s supervision, boom and bust cycles have continued. Three of them have been severe: the Great Depression, the stagflationary period of 1974-82, and the current “Great Recession.” Bank failures have occurred in alarmingly high numbers. Depending on what measurements are used, the dollar has lost between 95 and 98 percent of its purchasing power. (Amazingly, the Fed’s official position today is that inflation is not high enough, so the erosion of the dollar continues as a matter of policy.)
Having failed to achieve its original goals, the Fed also has had a miserable record in accomplishing later goals. The 1970 amendments to the Federal Reserve Act stipulated that the Fed should “promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.” In baseball parlance, the Fed has been “0-for-three.”
First, the premise that the central bank can “fix” unemployment is erroneous. It is based on the Phillips curve—the discredited academic theory positing a trade-off between inflation and employment. Unemployment is fundamentally a price problem, not a monetary problem; therefore, the cure for unemployment is a free market in wages, not any particular monetary policy. The Fed’s current policy of persisting in “quantitative easing” until the official unemployment rate reaches a targeted level is the wrong medicine.
Second, central bank tampering with interest rates is the fundamental cause of, not the cure for, the boom and bust cycles; thus, the Fed should cease from tampering with interest rates.
Finally, focusing on “stable prices” is looking at the problem backwards. The Fed shouldn’t try to influence prices any more than a nurse should influence the readings of a thermometer. The “fever” that causes prices to rise and purchasing power to fall is sick money. “Heal” the money (i.e., do away with a fiat currency and abolish fractional reserve banking) and prices will take care of themselves. Read more>