Frugal Prepping: 12 Cheap Ways to Prep Like There’s No Tomorrow

With economic times being what they are, it only means that we become more frugal when it comes to prepping. No one wants to be overdrawn in their accounts because they were trying to prepare for emergencies. Frugality is an art form, and if used properly, it can save you lots of money. The key is to know where to find these hidden gems. With a little “out of the box” thinking and some patience, you can acquire prepper items like food, tools, shelter, first aid and weaponry for pennies on the dollar.

Before you begin, keep these tips in mind:
  • Find out what your budget it and set aside an allotment each month for preps.
  • Take inventory of what you already have so that you don’t purchase multiples of items.
  • Have a list of items you need and don’t deviate from the plan!
  • When you are prepping on a budget, be patient and wait for the right opportunity to purchase.
  • Don’t ever panic buy or shop impulsively. This is where you lose money and the key here is to save it.
There are many strategies you can take to save money on your preps, you just have to choose which one is best for you. Here are 12 suggestions you can take to frugally purchase preparedness items.

12 Cheap Ways to Prep Like There’s No Tomorrow

  1. Buy in bulk. A lot of preppers use this frugal shopping strategy so they get more bang for their buck. Discount warehouses are great for this type of purchasing. As well, when you buy in bulk, you will enough of this item for a short-term emergency, so you can cross the item off your prepper list until you need to buy more. The LDS warehouse is another place to get bulk items inexpensively.
  2. Purchase a small item at a time. If your budget is so tight that you only have $5 extra in your account – you can make that work. Take a look at these prepper food items that are $5.
  3. Barter in your community. Your skills and services can carry you far if you allow them to. Consider what abilities and knowledge you possess that can be shared with others and barter them for goods or other services. Here are some great tips on how to barter better.
  4. Go to farmer’s markets and get in contact with local growers. If you work a deal with a vendor at a farmer’s market, you can get lots of food relatively inexpensively. Work a deal such as, get 5 lbs of strawberries to turn into jam and give 4 jars to the vendor. This is a great way to practice self-reliant skills and put food in your pantry. If you are an avid hunter, work a deal and see if someone will preserve the meat. See what I mean?
  5. Thrift stores. Thrift stores are a great way to collect vintage or antique items for a fraction of the cost. Ready Nutrition writer, Ruby Burks found cast iron pots, old cookbooks and kitchen utensils to use in her home. Remember, keep a list of items you are looking for and don’t deviate. This will keep your budget in check.
  6. Look for free stuff. I know this one is a long shot, but there are items you can get for free at garage sales, Craigslist, and even rummaging through items people have thrown out. is another place to look for items. At this website, people recycle previously owned items and give them away for free.
  7. Go to the Dollar store. Not only can you buy food at the Dollar stores, but tools and medical supplies. This could be an untapped local source of preps for you!
  8. Use coupons. Finding coupons in the Sunday newspaper, magazines, local grocery stores or even online is a great way to start the search for what you need.  Not only can you use coupons to use for short-term and long-term food supplies, but you can find deals for camping equipment or warm clothes, etc.  You can literally save hundreds of dollars using coupons.
  9. Purchase gently used items. Pawn shops, Ebay, military surplus stores, and Craigslist are great places to look for used items. You can save a lot using this method, but take all necessary means to ensure the products are not damaged in any way. As well, if you are meeting someone at their home, practice safety and go with someone else.
  10. Look for deals – When you are shopping and you come across a deal such as 10 canned goods for $5 – get it! This is a great way to save money and stock up your pantry. This cumulative savings strategy can go for any of your prepping needs – medical suppliesdental care, garden seeds, etc. Typically, these type of deals can be found in your local newspaper. Don’t forget that coupons are your best friend in this situation.
  11. Do-It-Yourself – Whether it’s DIY projects or dehydrating your own food, this method can save you a lot of money. For example, instead of spending $4 on waterproof matches, dip them in wax yourself and viola! Or, if you need dehydrated food, buy a dehydrator and do it yourself.
  12. Grow your own food. Having food stashed away for a rainy day is one of the must-have items in your preps. Why not start a garden and grow your own. Any food that comes from our harvest can be dehydrated or canned for long-term use. This instantly saves you money at the grocery store too and is a great way to practice self-reliance.
We are all looking for ways to save money in our prepper ventures and hopefully some of these suggestions can help you. What are frugal strategies you use to save money on your preps?

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

14 Facts on Beer and U.S. Presidents

1) George Washington loved beer and had his own recipe. 

His favorite style was a porter, but he (or his servants or slaves) also brewed his own "small beer," a simpler brew with less alcohol. Here is the recipe he used:

"Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste. Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses (sic) into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot. let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask—leave the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working—Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed."

2. Franklin Pierce loved beer too much.

Pierce drank lots of beer—and pretty much everything else. He died of cirrhosis of the liver.

3. Thomas Jefferson hired a former British soldier to teach a slave how to brew. 

Jefferson too loved his beer. (Are you seeing a theme here?) His wife, Martha, would brew as much as 15 to 20 gallons every few weeks. After Jefferson’s wife died, he brought to Monticello a brewer and former British soldier who had stayed in America after the cessation of hostilities. The brewer taught one of Jefferson’s slaves, Peter Heming, how to brew.

4. Lyndon Johnson was dangerous when he drank Pearl beer. 

Johnson loved drinking Pearl beer out of a can.

5. He also liked to drink beer while driving.

6. Grover Cleveland once attempted to cut back to four beers a day--and failed. 

Grover Cleveland, as a young attorney working in Buffalo, could predictably be found in the city’s many beer garden’s with cigar in one hand and a tankard of beer in the other (especially during warm summer evenings). According to author Mark Will-Weber, “Big Steve” (Cleveland’s nickname) made a deal with his opponent during their race for district attorney that they would limit their beer intake to four per day during the campaign. Finding the prohibition stringent, however, the men came up with a solution. They upgraded to four full tankards per day. (If political challenges today could only be resolved so easily.)

7. James Garfield was sneaky about his beer drinking. 

Garfield once received “criticism” for having a keg of beer on campus. His defense? He claimed it was for “medicinal purposes.”

8. Garfield, whose presidency followed teetotaler Rutherford B. Hayes, did not serve alcohol at the White House. He would, however, occasionally sneak out for beers in the evening, according to diarist Thomas Donaldson.

9. Teddy Roosevelt tried to crack down on beer drinking. It didn't go well. 

Teddy Roosevelt was not a huge fan of beer or taverns. In fact, while serving as police commissioner in New York during the mid-1890s, the progressive Republican led a crackdown on saloons, especially on Sundays. His crusade did not go well, as he ruefully noted in his autobiography. An ordinance that allowed the intake of alcohol with food foiled his efforts: “After two or three months a magistrate was found who decided judicially that seventeen beers and one pretzel made a meal.”

10. John Adams loved porters, especially Thomas Hare's. 

For years leading up to the American Revolution, colonialists who loved good porters, like George Washington and John Adams, had to import it from London. That changed, however, when a Philadelphia brewer named Robert Hare developed a porter recipe that could compete with the breweries in London. By 1774, Hare’s porter was all the rage in the colonies (the crumbling ties to England might have had something to do with Hare’s success, as well). On the Fourth of July in 1788, a huge party was thrown to celebrate the ten states that had ratified the constitution. Ten toasts were made and a blast of cannon fire accompanied each toast—and a majority of toasters were said to have had Mr. Hare’s famed porter in hand.

11. Abraham Lincoln did NOT like beer. 

Lincoln is considered one of America's greatest presidents; alas, he is one of the few who rarely (if ever) tasted a drop of beer.

12. During the 1787 Constitutional Convention the Framers drank A LOT. 

During the hot summer of 1787 when the U.S. Constitution was signed, delegates drank like fraternity brothers at a reunion. According to one receipt from a local tavern, racked up a few days before the document was completed, the 177 delegates drank the following: 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of porter, 8 bottles of hard cider, 12 bottles of beer, and 7 bowls of alcoholic punch.

13. Jefferson thought beer was good for human health and spirit.

He once said the following: “Beer, if drunk in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health.”

14. Washington came up with creative drunken names for his dogs.


Washington enjoyed both hunting and beer so much that he named his French hounds after his, er, fondness for spirits. Among the names of his hounds were the following: “Drunkard,” “Tippler,” and “Tipsy.”

Note: A lot of these facts came from Mark Will-Weber’s very cool book: Mint Juleps With Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking. I highly recommend it to people interested in history or alcohol.

Bonus fact: Ben Franklin, who was not a president, did not really say: “God made beer because he loves us and wants us to be happy.” But it would have been cool if he did.


Jon Miltimore is the Senior Editor of Intellectual Takeout.  He is the former Senior Editor of The History Channel Magazine and a former Managing Editor at Scout Media.

Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

This post 14 Facts on Beer and U.S. Presidents was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore.

Why FDR was against Public Employee Unions

In the case Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the Supreme Court announced a 4-4 vote on March 29, 2016. The tie was due to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. For teachers unions around the country it was a great victory that would have likely not happened.

Here is how The New York Times describes the decision:

“The Supreme Court handed organized labor a major victory on Tuesday, deadlocking 4 to 4 in a case that had threatened to cripple the ability of public-sector unions to collect fees from workers who chose not to join and did not want to pay for the unions’ collective bargaining activities.

It was the starkest illustration yet of how the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month has blocked the power of the court’s four remaining conservatives to move the law to the right.

A ruling allowing workers to refuse to pay the fees would have been the culmination of a decades-long campaign by a group of prominent conservative foundations aimed at weakening unions that represent teachers and other public employees. Tuesday’s deadlock denied them that victory, but it set no precedent and left the door open for further challenges once the Supreme Court is back at full strength.”

And a little more background from the same article:

“Under California law, public employees who choose not to join unions must pay a ‘fair share service fee,’ also known as an ‘agency fee,’ typically equivalent to the dues members pay. The fees, the law says, are meant to pay for some of the costs of collective bargaining, including ‘the cost of lobbying activities.’ More than 20 states have similar laws.

Government workers who are not members of unions have long been able to obtain refunds for the political activities of unions, like campaign spending. The case the court ruled on Tuesday, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, asked whether such workers must continue to pay for any union activities, including negotiating for better wages and benefits. A majority of the justices had seemed inclined to say no.

Relying on a 1977 Supreme Court precedent, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, upheld the requirement that the objecting teachers pay fees. Tuesday’s announcement, saying only that ‘the judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court,’ upheld that ruling and set no new precedent.
The unions defending the compulsory fees said the teachers’ First Amendment arguments were a ruse. Collective bargaining is different from spending on behalf of a candidate, the unions said. They said the plaintiffs were seeking to reap the benefits of such bargaining without paying their fair share of the cost.”
The issue of public employee unions and negotiations has long been contentious. In fact, for most of America’s history, public employee unions were illegal. The reason being is that the taxpayers don’t actually negotiate with the public employee unions and there is a great danger of those unions actually capturing legislators and other government officials through campaign contributions and other means.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), a four-term progressive Democrat of the 1930s and 1940s, actually warned about that very danger in a letter he wrote in 1937 to Luther C. Steward, President of the National Federation of Federal Employees:
“The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.”
“Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.”
The whole document may be read here.
Today, many would argue that what FDR warned about the inability of taxpayers to negotiate with public employee unions has actually come true. Since the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was a tie decision, it set no new precedents. Expect this issue to be one that is revisited by the courts and continues to be prominent in national and state discussions.

This post Why FDR was against Public Employee Unions was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Devin Foley.

The One Thing about ‘Climate Change’ That’s Always Bothered Me...

On the issue of climate change, there’s one particular claim of its apologists that has always bothered me. And I don’t think I’m alone.

It’s not the idea that we should take better care of the earth—I’m all for adopting a less utilitarian view toward it. It’s not the idea that taking better care of the earth may involve some major sacrifices and life changes—though I’d likely have issues with a national or global mandate. And it’s not the idea that the earth’s temperature may be warming, or cooling, or just “changing” (I can’t keep track of what's currently considered orthodox).

It’s the claim that recent changes in the earth’s climate have been primarily caused by man, and that policy changes can reverse these changes. To me, it seems problematic to conclude this without defining a benchmark and without adequately taking into account dramatic climate change in past centuries.

Apparently Philip Jenkins, professor of history at Baylor University, agrees with me.

In a thoughtful piece for The American Conservative, he explains that he doesn’t take issue with the scientific consensus “that the world’s temperature is in a serious upward trend,” and that it could have significant consequences for life on earth. And he’s in favor of developing new technology that depends more on renewable energy resources.

As a historian, however, he has a few issues “with defining the limits of our climate consensus, and how these issues are reported in popular media and political debate.”

For one, writes Jenkins, “[T]he correlation between emissions and temperatures is none too close. Rising temperatures do not correlate with any degree of neatness to overall levels of emissions.”

Also, Jenkins notes that assertions that modern climate change is “catastrophic and unprecedented” are amusing to historians:
“[Historians and archaeologists] are very well used to quite dramatic climate changes through history, notably the Medieval Warm Period and the succeeding Little Ice Age. That latter era, which prevailed from the 14th century through the 19th, is a well-studied and universally acknowledged fact, and its traumatic effects are often cited.”
And there seems to be a lack of precision when it comes to defining what constitutes a “normal” temperature for the earth. The 2015 Paris Conference said it hoped to restrict “the increase in global temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to… limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”—and did not provide further clarification. But as Jenkins asks,
“[W]hat on earth is intended here? Which pre-industrial levels are we talking about? The levels of AD 900, of 1150, of 1350, of 1680, of 1740? All those eras were assuredly pre-industrial, but the levels were significantly different in each of those years.”
These all seem like reasonable points to raise, though it’s difficult to do so in today’s political “climate” without being immediately shouted down.

Again, I don’t wish to challenge the scientific consensus on climate change. Neither does Jenkins. But before moving forward with sweeping policies and implementing regulations that will be a significant tax (in both senses of the word) on businesses and individuals, I would simply ask: Shouldn’t we proceed with caution? Shouldn’t we make sure that we have satisfactory answers to the issues raised above?

It seems like the scientific thing to do.

This post The One Thing about ‘Climate Change’ That’s Always Bothered Me... was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Daniel Lattier.

When the Supreme Court Stopped FDR's Economic Fascism

Eighty years ago, on May 27, 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court said no to economic fascism in America. The trend toward bigger and ever-more intrusive government, unfortunately, was not stopped, but the case nonetheless was a significant event that at that time prevented the institutionalizing of a Mussolini-type corporativist system in America.

In a unanimous decision the nine members of the Supreme Court said there were constitutional limits beyond which the federal government could not go in claiming the right to regulate the economic affairs of the citizenry. It was a glorious day in American judicial history, and is worth remembering.

When Franklin Roosevelt ran for president in the autumn of 1932 he did so on a Democratic Party platform that many a classical liberal might have gladly supported and even voted for. The platform said that the federal government was far too big, taxed and spent far too much, and intruded in the affairs of the states to too great an extent. It said government spending had to be cut, taxes reduced, and the federal budget balanced. It called for free trade and a solid gold-backed currency.

But as soon as Roosevelt took office in March 1933 he instituted a series of programs and policies that turned all those promises upside down. In the first four years of FDR’s New Deal, taxes were increased, government spending reached heights never seen before in U.S. history, and the federal budget bled red with deficits.The bureaucracy ballooned; public-works projects increasingly dotted the land; and the heavy hand of government was all over industry and agriculture. The United States was taken off the gold standard, with the American people compelled to turn in their gold com and built lion to the government for paper money under the threat of confiscation and imprisonment.

In June 1933 Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), after which FDR created the National Recovery Administration (NRA). Modeled on Mussolini’s fascist economic system, it forced virtually all American industry, manufacturing, and retail business into cartels possessing the power to set prices and wages, and to dictate the levels of production. Within a few months over 200 separate pricing and production codes were imposed on the various branches of American business. The symbol of the NRA was a Blue Eagle that had lightning bolts in one claw and an industrial gear in the other. Every business in the country was asked to have a Blue Eagle sign in its window that declared, “We Do Our Part,” meaning it followed the pricing and production codes. Citizen committees were formed to spy on local merchants and report if they dared to sell at lower prices.

Propaganda rallies in support of the NRA were held across the country. During halftime at football games cheerleaders would form the shape of the Blue Eagle. Government-sponsored parades featured Hollywood stars supporting the NRA. At one of these parades the famous singer Al Jolson was filmed being asked what he thought of the NRA; he replied, “NRA? NRA? Why it’s better than my wedding night!” Film shorts produced by Hollywood in support of the NRA were shown in theaters around the country; in one of them child star Shirley Temple danced and sang the praises of big-government regulation of the American economy.

The NRA codes were soon joined by similar controls over farming with the passage of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). Farmers were given subsidies and government-guaranteed price supports, with Washington determining what crops could be grown and what livestock could be raised. Government ordered some crops to be plowed under and some livestock slaughtered, all in the name of centrally planned farm production and pricing.

Much of the urban youth of America were rounded up and sent off to national forests for regimentation and mock military-style drilling as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The Works Progress Administration (WPA) created make-work projects for thousands of able-bodied men, all at taxpayers’ expense. Since unemployed artists were “workers” too, they were set to work in government buildings across the land. Even today, in some o f the post offices dating from the 1930s, one can see murals depicting happy factory workers and farm hands in a style similar to those produced in Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany.

This headlong march into economic fascism was brought to a halt by the Supreme Court. The catalyst was a legal case known as the Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States. Schechter, a slaughterhouse that sold chickens to kosher markets in New York City, was accused of violating the “fair competition” codes under the NRA. The case made its way up to the Supreme Court, with the nine justices laying down their unanimous decision on May 27, 1935.

Three hundred people packed the court that day to hear the decision, with prominent members of Congress and the executive branch in the audience. The justices declared that the federal government had exceeded its authority under the interstate-commerce clause of the Constitution, since the defendant purchased and sold all the chickens it marketed within the boundaries of the State of New York. Therefore, the federal government lacked the power to regulate the company’s production and prices. In addition, the justices stated that the NRA’s power to impose codes constituted arbitrary and discretionary control inconsistent with the limited and enumerated powers delegated by the Constitution.


This was soon followed by the Supreme Court’s rejection of the AAA in January 1936, when the justices insisted that the federal government lacked the authority to tax food processors to pay for the farmers’ subsidies and price supports. Furthermore, since farming was generally a local and state activity, the federal government did not have the power to regulate it under the interstate-commerce clause.

Franklin Roosevelt was furious that what he called those “nine old men” should attempt to keep America in the “horse and buggy era” when this great nation needed a more powerful central government to manage economic affairs in the “modern age.” FDR’s response was his famous “court packing” scheme, in which he asked Congress to give him the power to add more justices to the Supreme Court in order to tilt the balance in favor of the “enlightened” and “progressive” policies o f the New Deal. But this blatant power grab by the executive branch ended up being too much even for many of the Democrats in Congress, and Roosevelt failed in this attempt to assert naked presidential authority over another branch o f the federal government.

Shortly after the Supreme Court declared both the NRA and AAA unconstitutional, David Lawrence, founder and long-time editor of U.S. News and World Report, published a book titled Nine Honest Men (1936). He praised the justices for their devotion to the bedrock principles of the Constitution, and their defense of the traditional American ideals of individual liberty, private property, and the rule of law — even in the face of the emotional appeal of government to “do something” during an economic crisis.

Since that landmark decision 80 years ago against the imposition of economic fascism in America, the U.S. government has continued to grow in power over the American citizenry. But it should be remembered that men of courage, integrity, and principle can stand up to Big Brother and resist the headlong march into economic tyranny.

Richard M. Ebeling is BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) from 2003 to 2008.

This blog post has been reproduced with the permission of the Foundation for Economic Education. The original blog post can be found here.

These three bills would permanently Drain The Swamp


Over the past eight decades, Congress has gradually relinquished its lawmaking role and left it to the administrative state, said a conservative senator at a Capitol Hill event on Wednesday.

“Many Americans now feel that they are not in control of their own government,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said during an event hosted at the Federalist Society’s fifth annual Executive Branch Review Conference. “The administrative state is designed to be insulated from the will of the people.”

The Utah senator said that one way he is working to combat this phenomenon is through an initiative he has started called Article One Project.

“Our goal is to develop and advance and hopefully enact an agenda of structural reforms that will strengthen Congress by reclaiming the legislative powers that have been ceded to the executive branch,” Lee said.

Lee said that lawmakers are to blame for the shift in power.

“We are not, in fact, the victims, we are the perpetrators,” Lee said, adding:
We have done this willfully because it makes our job easier. It is a whole lot easier and less politically risky to have somebody else do the lawmaking than it is to do the lawmaking yourself.
There are several pieces of legislation, Lee said, that could help address executive overreach.

1.) REINS Act

The REINS Act, which has passed the House but has yet to pass the Senate, would make progress in regaining ground Congress has lost, Lee said.

This proposed law would require both congressional and presidential approval of major rules, which “have an economic impact of $100 million or more,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., wrote in a recent op-ed.

“Under this law, the specialized know-how within each agency would still be allowed to contribute to the regulatory process,” Lee said.

“But ultimately, Congress would be responsible for every major regulation that went into effect. This would make it easier for American voters to know who to blame for bad policies. As things currently stand, lawmakers can have it both ways.

2.) Separation of Powers Restoration Act

The second piece of legislation Lee suggested to help restore congressional authority is the Separation of Powers Restoration Act, which has passed the House in 2016.

In a 2016 op-ed in The Hill, Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, warned that “The practice of administrative agencies engaging in de facto ‘lawmaking’ was exacerbated by a 1984 Supreme Court decision, [Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council], which determined that courts must defer to agencies’ interpretation of ambiguous laws as long as their interpretation is deemed ‘reasonable.’”

The Separation of Powers Restoration Act, which Ratcliffe has introducedin the House again this year, would “[reverse] the 1984 Supreme Court decision that established the ‘Chevron doctrine,’ placing the power to determine ambiguous laws back into the hands of the judiciary.”

“The bill would end the dysfunctional status quo that tilts the legal playing field in favor of bureaucrats who pass the legislation to [place] federal law in the hands of legislators and the power to write and judges power to interpret just as the Constitution,” Lee said.

3.) Agency Accountability Act

The third piece of legislation, the Agency Accountability Act, will do exactly what its name implies, Lee said, and will hold agencies accountable.

The act, which has been introduced in the House, would “make federal agencies accountable … by directing most fines, fees, and unappropriated proceeds to the Treasury instead of letting federal agencies keep the money and then spend it as they see fit,” the Utah senator said.

Right now “agencies have the ability to use funds received through fines, fees, and proceeds from legal settlements without going through the formal appropriations process, thus avoiding congressional oversight,” according to a report from The Heritage Foundation’s Justin Bogie, a senior policy analyst in fiscal affairs.

If signed into law, this legislation would help restore Congress’ role in overseeing how money is spent, Lee said.

“You see the Constitution has this pesky little provision that … Congress has the power and the responsibility to direct spending of federal dollars. The power of the purse is one of Congress’ most potent tools for controlling bureaucracies,” Lee said.

While Lee said that many Americans feel like they have lost control of their government, legislation like the Agency Accountability Act would be a remedy.

“Passing the Agency Accountability Act will go a long way in putting Congress, and by extension, the American people, back in charge of the federal bureaucracies and specifically, the way they spend money,” Lee said.

Lee urged Congress to act.

“If we are able to pass even one of these legislative proposals … then we will have made real progress toward listening to the people and making sure that our government itself has to listen to the people,” Lee said, adding:
If we can pass all three bills, it would constitute a fundamental, generational shift of power in the country, a shift of power back to the people.

Economic Theory Really Is Pro-Immigration

In his now-classic work The Myth of the Rational Voter, Bryan Caplan identifies four systematic biases about economics held by the average citizen: make-work bias (an inclination to overestimate the disadvantages of temporary job destruction due to productivity increases), anti-market bias (a tendency to overlook the benefits of the market as a coordination mechanism), pessimistic bias (an inclination to underestimate the present and future performance of the economy), and anti-foreign bias (a tendency to underestimate the economic benefits of interaction with foreigners).

Widespread biases on economics are far from being harmless. Wrong ideas held by voters usually lead to catastrophic policies due to the inherent nature of the democratic process. In other words, in most cases, politicians undertake those policies that they deem popular among voters in order to get reelected. If those policies beget pernicious consequences for the economy, harmless beliefs turn into lower living standards for all.

Of those four biases, the most potentially harmful is the anti-foreign bias. This inclination to underestimate the benefits of economic cooperation with foreigners manifests itself politically in two main ways: protectionism and anti-immigration policies. Despite the recent surge of protectionism in some developed countries, free trade is now the rule rather than the exception in most parts of the world. However, when it comes to immigration, only a few steps have been taken worldwide over the last few decades in a direction of liberalization (even though the consensus about the benefits of more open borders in the economics profession is probably as strong as the consensus around free trade).

As I will show in this series of two articles, anti-immigration policies reduce the well-being of both potential immigrants and host societies, as shown by economic theory and empirical evidence. Or, to put it differently: even a partial liberalization of immigration restrictions would, in the long-term, contribute to improving the standards of living globally.

Economic Theory Supports Immigration-Friendly Policies

The economic case against less restrictive immigration policies rests on shaky pillars. The most common anti-immigration arguments are related to the supposedly negative effects that immigration has on the host country’s labor market, and, more specifically, its impact on employment and wages. According to advocates of immigration restrictions, immigrants do not only take natives’ jobs, but also have a depressive effect on wages.

However, economic theory does not support these assertions. First, the economy is not a zero-sum game: the numbers of jobs available is not finite. As pointed out by Alex Tabarrok (here and here), immigrants are not only producers but also consumers, which implies that an increase in demand triggered by the expansion of the immigrant population goes hand in hand with an increase in total employment. Also – and contrary to conventional wisdom – not only highly-qualified immigrants create positive externalities on host economies. Low-skilled immigrants tend to take lower-productivity jobs (as they often either lack higher education or do not speak the language), allowing the native-born to access higher-productivity jobs (assuming free trade and a flexible labor market).

All said above can be also applied to wages. All else equal, the law of supply and demand says that an increase in the supply of labor would inevitably cause lower wages. However, more immigrants also mean a higher demand for goods and services, which in turn results in a higher demand for labor, preventing a generalized decrease in salaries. Even in those cases when wages in a particular sector are temporarily pushed down, lower wages lead to lower costs for companies, which usually results in lower prices for consumers due to the process of competition.

Immigration-friendly policies can also help tackle the demographic problem that many developed countries have been experiencing over the last years. For instance, the progressive demographic ageing of the American population is already having an impact on the US social security system. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of Americans over 65 years old will have moved from 15% in 2014 to 24% of the population by 2060. As a result,  the worker-to-beneficiary ratio will decrease by 32%, from 3.4 in 1990 to 2.3 in 2030. This problem could be mitigated by adopting a more flexible immigration policy that increases the working population, reversing the trend that will otherwise end up with significant spending cuts in social security benefits.

Benefits for the Sending Countries and Immigrants

The discussion so far has focused on the benefits of immigration for receptor countries. How do the sending countries and immigrants benefit from the migratory phenomenon? Immigrants usually transfer part of their income to their countries of origin with the aim of economically supporting their families and friends. These so-called remittances are flows of capital from developed to developing countries which assist in the economic development of sending countries.  

The main beneficiaries of eliminating barriers to labor mobility would be, no doubt, immigrants themselves. This is due to the concept of Place Premium. This concept, first introduced by Michael Clemens, Claudio E. Montenegro, and Lant Pritchettin in a 2008 paper, refers to the automatic increase in earnings (PPP adjusted) that a worker experiences by moving from a low-productivity country to a high-productivity country, without increasing the worker’s human capital. The factors behind this phenomenon are multiple: differences in capital accumulation, quality of infrastructures, technology, proximity to high-productive workers, different legal frameworks, etc. The empirical evidence (which will be dealt with in the second and final article of this series) shows that wage differences among countries due to Place Premium are immense. The corollary is simple: more open borders would bring about a substantial reduction in poverty levels across the world.

Potential Gains from Reducing Global Migration Barriers

What would happen if migration barriers were partially or totally eliminated on a global scale? In his paper Economics and Immigration: Trillion-Dollar Bills on the Sidewalk, Michael Clemens, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, reviews the academic literature on the topic. If all barriers to labor mobility were to be removed, world GDP would increase in the range of 50% to 150%.

Even partial liberalizations would bring about considerable gains. For instance, a reform that allowed 7% of the population to emigrate to higher-productivity countries would result in an efficiency gain of 10% of world GDP. To put this into perspective, if all remaining trade barriers were eliminated, world GDP would grow by just 2 or 3%. As shown, the impact of relaxing migration barriers on the world economy would be extremely positive, especially for the poorest segments of population.

The theoretical analysis above clearly supports the adoption of more immigration-friendly policies as a way of increasing economic growth and improving the welfare of millions and millions of people, including those in receptor countries. However, economic theory needs to be supported by facts. In my next article, I will provide empirical evidence in support of eliminating barriers to immigration.

Luis Pablo de la Horra

Luis Pablo de la Horra
Luis Pablo de la Horra is a Spanish finance graduate from Vlerick Business School.
This article was originally published on Read the original article.

What the Self-Esteem Movement Got Disastrously Wrong

One of Saturday Night Live’s most popular skits in the early 90s was a mock self-help show called “Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley.” Smalley, played by now-Senator Al Franken, would begin each show by reciting into the mirror, “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me.”

This was a spoof of the “self-esteem movement,” which in the 80s had been all the rage. In that decade, self-esteem became a hot topic for motivational speakers and almost a book genre unto itself. In 1986, California even established a self-esteem “State Task Force.” But by the next decade, the movement had degenerated into an easy late-night punchline. Even today, Smalley’s simpering smile is the kind of image that the term “self-esteem” evokes for many.

Generation Barney

The self-esteem movement is also widely blamed for its influence on American schools and families. In the name of building self-esteem, teachers and parents showered children with effusive, unconditional praise. In the name of protecting self-esteem, kids were sheltered from any criticism or adverse consequences. The sugary rot spread to children's television as well. Many of today’s young adults were raised on Barney the Dinosaur, who gushed with “feel-good” affirmations just as sappy as Smalley’s.

I am reminded of a moment from my own education career in the early 2000s. I had designed a classroom game for preschoolers, and one of my colleagues, a veteran early childhood educator, objected that my game involved competition and winners. “Your game can’t have a winner, because that means other kids will be losers,” she explained.

According to critics, this kind of mollycoddling has yielded a millennial generation full of emotionally fragile young adults who, in the workplace, expect praise and affirmation simply for showing up, and who can’t cope with (much less adapt to) constructive criticism. It is also partially blamed for the rise of politically-correct university “snowflakes” (aka “crybullies”) and their petulant demands for “safe spaces” on campus.

An Unknown Ideal

Ironically, these criticisms would be heartily endorsed by the father of the self-esteem movement. The whole thing was kicked off by an influential 1969 book titled The Psychology of Self-Esteem, written by Nathaniel Branden (1930-2014), a psychotherapist and one-time colleague and lover of Ayn Rand. It was the first of a long series of books by Branden about self-esteem, which included The Disowned Self (1971), Honoring the Self (1983), How To Raise Your Self-Esteem (1987), and The Power of Self-Esteem (1992).

In The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem (1994), his definitive book on the subject, Branden expressed deep dissatisfaction with prevailing discussions of the concept, especially after the movement became an explosive fad in the 80s. In that period, the concept of self-esteem was distorted by what Branden called “the oversimplifications and sugar-coatings of pop psychology.” Branden declared that:
“I do not share the belief that self-esteem is a gift we have only to claim (by reciting affirmations, perhaps). On the contrary, its possession over time represents an achievement.” [Emphasis added here and below.]
As Branden understood and explained it, self-esteem was an action-oriented, tough-minded concept. If Branden had been Stuart Smalley’s therapist, he would have advised him to stop mouthing empty self-compliments into the mirror and instead to start building real self-esteem through deep reflection and concrete action.

Branden especially deplored how badly education reformers were getting self-esteem wrong. He wrote:
“We do not serve the healthy development of young people when we convey that self-esteem may be achieved by reciting “I am special” every day, or by stroking one’s own face while saying ‘I love me’…”
He elaborated that:
“I have stressed that ‘feel good’ notions are harmful rather than helpful. Yet if one examines the proposals offered to teachers on how to raise students’ self-esteem, many are the kind of trivial nonsense that gives self-esteem a bad name, such as praising and applauding a child for virtually everything he or she does, dismissing the importance of objective accomplishments, handing out gold stars on every possible occasion, and propounding an ‘entitlement’ idea of self-esteem that leaves it divorced from both behavior and character. One of the consequences of this approach is to expose the whole self-esteem movement in the schools to ridicule.”
Branden further clarified:
“Therefore, let me stress once again that when I write of self-efficacy or self-respect, I do so in the context of reality, not of feelings generated out of wishes or affirmations or gold stars granted as a reward for showing up. When I talk to teachers, I talk about reality-based self-esteem. Let me say further that one of the characteristics of persons with healthy self-esteem is that they tend to assess their abilities and accomplishments realistically, neither denying nor exaggerating them.”

Branden also criticized those who:
“…preferred to focus only on how others might wound one’s feelings of worth, not how one might inflict the wound oneself. This attitude is typical of those who believe one’s self-esteem is primarily determined by other people.”
Indeed, what most “self-esteem” advocates fail to understand is that other-reliant “self-esteem” is a contradiction in terms. Far from building self-esteem, many of the counselors, teachers, and parents of yesteryear obstructed its growth by getting kids hooked on a spiritual I.V. drip of external validation. Instead of self-esteem, this created a dependence on “other-esteem.”

It is no wonder then that today we are faced with the (often exaggerated) phenomenon of young, entitled, high-maintenance validation-junkies in the classroom and the workplace. Their self-esteem has been crippled by being, on the one hand, atrophied by the psychic crutches of arbitrary authoritarian approval, and, on the other hand, repeatedly fractured by the psychic cudgels of arbitrary authoritarian disapproval.

Almost entirely neglected has been the stable middle ground of letting children learn to spiritually stand, walk, and run on their own: to build the strength of their self-esteem through the experience of self-directed pursuits, setting their own standards, and adapting to the natural consequences of the real world.

Branden also noted that self-esteem is not promoted by:
“…identifying self-worth with membership in a particular group (“ethnic pride”) rather than with personal character. Let us remember that self-esteem pertains to that which is open to our volitional choice. It cannot properly be a function of the family we were born into, or our race, or the color of our skin, or the achievements of our ancestors. These are values people sometimes cling to in order to avoid responsibility for achieving authentic self-esteem. They are sources of pseudo self-esteem. Can one ever take legitimate pleasure in any of these values? Of course. Can they ever provide temporary support for fragile, growing egos? Probably. But they are not substitutes for consciousness, responsibility, or integrity. They are not sources of self-efficacy and self-respect. They can, however, become sources of self-delusion.”
This helps to explain the emotional fragility of young people obsessed with “identity politics,” especially the perverse pride in group victimhood that pervades the campus left. It also speaks to the agitation and resentment of today’s crop of white nationalists and other right-wing “identitarians.” As Ayn Rand wrote:
"The overwhelming majority of racists are men who have earned no sense of personal identity, who can claim no individual achievement or distinction, and who seek the illusion of a “tribal self-esteem” by alleging the inferiority of some other tribe.”
Authentic self-esteem promotes, not codependency and fragility, but independence, enterprise, resilience, adaptability, and a growth mindset: exactly the character traits that individuals, young and old, need more of in today’s economy and political climate.

It is nothing short of tragic that the confusions of the so-called self-esteem movement have turned an indispensable concept into an object of ridicule and blame. Far from being the source of our problems, self-esteem is the missing solution.

Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez
Dan Sanchez is Managing Editor of His writings are collected at
This article was originally published on Read the original article.

The Road to Serfdom: 15 Quotes

F.A. Hayek published The Road to Serfdom in 1944 as a response to the Russian communists and the German and Italian fascists of the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1940s, as well as to those in other parts of the West that might be tempted by the allure of a society based on total security or equality.

Hayek worried that the impulses for planning and power by the intellectual elite and the desire for security and equality by the people could be ruinous to free societies. He believed that those who argue most for giving the public freedom and security by increasing the power of the state would be the very individuals who would put the public on the road to serfdom. It is impossible for a society to work toward one end, for example equality or material security, and to keep its freedom. In the end, according to Hayek, the masses will become serfs, serving those who hold the power in government.

Below are fifteen quotes from Road to Serfdom that will give you an idea of some of his concerns. If you haven’t read the book, it’s a good one to add to your reading list.

Fifteen quotes from Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom:

1. “As is so often true, the nature of our civilization has been seen more clearly by its enemies than by most of its friends.”

2. “…the promise of greater freedom has become one of the most effective weapons of socialist propaganda … what was promised to us as the Road to Freedom was in fact the High Road to Servitude.”

3. “…the system of private property is the most important guarantee of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that nobody has complete power over us.

4. “The common features of all collectivist systems may be described, in a phrase ever dear to socialists of all schools, as the deliberate organization of the labors of society for a definite social goal.”

5. “…democratic socialism, the great utopia of the last few generations, is not only unachievable, but that to strive for it produces something so utterly different that few of those who now wish it would be prepared to accept the consequences, many will not believe until the connection has been laid bare in all its aspects.”

6. “The [classical] liberal argument is in favor of making the best possible use of the forces of competition as a means of coordinating human efforts, not an argument for leaving things just as they are.”

7. “Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another.”

8. “…socialism means the abolition of private enterprise, of private ownership of the means of production, and the creation of a system of ‘planned economy’ in which the entrepreneur working for profit is replaced by a central planning body.”

9. “Hitler did not have to destroy democracy; he merely took advantage of the decay of democracy and at the critical moment obtained the support of many to whom, though they detested Hitler, he yet seemed the only man strong enough to get things done.”

10. “By giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable.”

11. “The younger generation of today has grown up in a world in which in school and press the spirit of commercial enterprise has been represented as disreputable and the making of profit is immoral, where to employ a hundred people is represented as exploitation but to command the same number as honorable.”

12. “Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarian regimes which horrify us follow of necessity.”

13. “It is essential that we should relearn frankly to face the fact that freedom can be had only at a price and that as individuals we must be prepared to make severe material sacrifices to preserve our liberty.”

14. “Probably it is true that the very magnitude of the outrages committed by the totalitarian governments, instead of increasing the fear that such a system might one day arise in more enlightened countries, has rather strengthened the assurance that it cannot happen here."

15. “Nothing makes conditions more unbearable than the knowledge that no effort of ours can change them…”

This post The Road to Serfdom: 15 Quotes was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Devin Foley.