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Thomas Massie on National Debt, Bitcoin, and Economic Principles

Jul 1, 2024

Thomas Massie on National Debt, Bitcoin, and Economic Principles

Thomas Massie on National Debt, Bitcoin, and Economic Principles

Key Takeaways

In this episode of The Bitcoin Standard podcast, U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie explores the intersection of economics and Bitcoin, detailing how a friend's recommendation to read "The Bitcoin Standard" and his engineering background influenced his understanding of Bitcoin and economic decision-making. Massie discusses Bitcoin's potential as a reserve currency, the limitations of blockchain technology, U.S. monetary policy impacts, and government roles in economic issues. He expresses concerns about the national debt, Federal Reserve control, and lobbyist influence, while critiquing Paul Krugman's macroeconomic teachings and emphasizing the challenges of applying mathematical models to macroeconomics. Massie's insights into Bitcoin's potential to address debt and inflation provide a nuanced view of the global financial system and Bitcoin's transformative power.

Best Quotes

  1. "The whole idea that we have too many human beings is one of those horrific ideas... It's really not that the world can't handle so many people; it's that people are being poorer because of inflation."
  2. "If you had ten times as many people on the planet, there would be ten times as many good ideas, and you would have ten times as many chances to have another Elon Musk."
  3. "Nobody up here, I've been here twelve years, I've never seen anybody lose an election because they spent too much money."
  4. "I cannot argue with that. And I think that's the second thing I wanted to talk to you about. In general, your perspective on us debt and us government spending."
  5. "I think a lot of Bitcoiners want to see it as if there's going to have to be a Mad Max scenario where everything collapses. I think in 'The Fiat Standard,' I try and make the case for why I think fiat can go out with a whimper rather than a bang."
  6. "I think engineers generally tend to like this book a lot because it just explains money from the perspective of the supply growth rate, which is just a very neutral metric that you can look at."
  7. "I call it my anxiety generator. It displays the national debt at every instant, the day, and it's got Wi-Fi, and it actually goes to Treasury's website once a day and gets the debt to the penny."
  8. "The aircraft carriers are backed by the dollar rather than the dollar backed by the carriers."
  9. "We're charging the world 3% to do these transactions because we're creating 3% more money. And we can get away with what we've gotten away with because we're not just taxing our own people with inflation, we're taxing the world with inflation."
  10. "I think the academic in him felt compelled to tell us there was another version of how to explain the world that wasn't his version."
  11. "When you have units... if we manage to find... if we had a constant unit that can define human valuation, then we could perform economic calculation on it. But we don't have that, so we cannot do it."


The podcast episode with Congressman Thomas Massie offers a thought-provoking exploration of economic theories, the role of Bitcoin in future financial systems, and the importance of understanding economics in decision-making. Massie's engineering approach and critical views on policies like national debt and Federal Reserve influence highlight the limitations of predicting economic outcomes with math and the unique challenges of macroeconomics.


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(03:11) more confidently hello and welcome to the Bitcoin standard podcast Our Guest today is US Congressman Thomas Massie Congressman Massie recently said that he had read my book the Bitcoin standard and it inspired him to table legislation to End the Fed at the US Congress I'm extremely happy to hear that of course because I'm not a big fan of the fed and I'm very happy to have Congressman Massie join us today to discuss my book to discuss all kinds of interesting things Congressman Massie thank you so
(03:41) much for joining us hey thanks for having me it's a great book I want to be clear about something though I've taken a vow of illiteracy I don't read um so I listen to it on my drives back and forth from Washington DC back to home and uh actually at 1.25x is it's very dense so you can't speed it up too much I'm glad to hear that so uh what got you interested in Bitcoin uh in the first place to look into the book or was it the monetary aspect that you were interested in um well actually I have a
(04:15) friend who kept insisting that I read your book and uh and I said okay well I can't face my friend again until I've read this book because he keeps asking me that so I um listen to your book and you know I wasn't he kept telling me you should start at like chapter 10 or something I don't know he was like you know the first part you already know so just skip all that and I refused to skip it all and I'm glad I did refuse to skip it all because the beginning part is is really good um the whole review about
(04:51) what money is and I think unless you understand that you shouldn't be reading the last few chapters of the book and even though I felt like had a pretty good concept of what money is it was it was good to have some formal framework around my thoughts and that's what your book provides in the beginning um really appreciate that thank you I'm glad to hear that I also noticed you're a mechanical engineer I studied mechanical engineering I think Engineers generally tend to like this book a lot because it
(05:21) just explains money from the perspective of you know the supply growth rate which is just a very neutral metric that you can look at it makes it simple for an engineer to get the real life aidea whereas mostly when you're reading social scientists they're kind of muddled I would say in the in the way that they describe things maybe well listen I didn't I did not know your background I when I listened to this book I did not know you were an engineer but I did feel there was a kindred spirit writing this book because uh at
(05:49) one point you talk about inventions in the book and uh you have some of these little sidetracks that I really enjoyed U also you know really diss on Modern Art it just it kind of it doesn't really belong in the book I'm going to tell you but I could tell it was like this author needs to get this off his chest and so you bashed Modern Art which I appreciated uh as well but when you talk about inventions I think it was in the context of people who say oh we can't have too many people on the planet uh
(06:22) that's a dangerous thing but the reality is when somebody invents something okay everybody gets to use that regardless of what your position is on intellectual property and what kind of framework we should have around that um even you know even if you believe in patents it still gets shared widely and eventually becomes uh becomes public knowledge and public domain and I do believe in patents of course I have to I signed an oath to support and defend the Constitution and there in article one uh section8 Clause 8 uh the directive to
(06:57) Congress to create patents but your point point I think was if you had let's say 10 times as many people on the planet there would be 10 times as many good ideas and you would have 10 times as many chances to have another Elon Musk right we got one Elon Musk on the planet now we might have nine more Elon musks if you had uh and he's he's an entrepreneur more so maybe than an inventor but definitely a Creator and the world would benefit from one or two more Elon musks absolutely absolutely I I think
(07:31) this is definitely true I think the the whole idea that we have too many human beings is one of those horrific ideas and I think underlying a lot of that stuff is basically that it is inflation cope it's really not that the world can't handle so many people it's that people are being poorer and we're trying to tell them that it's because the Earth is running out of resources but in reality they're not getting poorer because the Earth is running out of resources they're getting poorer because
(07:55) of inflation inflation is taking away their paycheck yeah and I I think anybody who thinks we're running out of space has never had a window seat on a flight from New York to California I mean most of what you see out that window is unoccupied space yeah and I and I know there are um there are issues with resources in some of those spaces and that's why they're not as densely populated as others because we've we've populated the lwh hanging fruit the easy spots to have running water already but
(08:25) the problems of like not having water that is solvable and um I actually have a theory that at some point water in the atmosphere might become a unit of currency that we trade globally in because I don't know how we're going to pay off the debt but one thing we have in abundance in the United States especially in my state of Kentucky is rainfall and what might emerge you there's a there's a it's stupid but there there's like they try to create a global market in CO2 okay that is stupid
(09:00) but to have a global market in the moisture in the atmosphere and to have sort of rights to seed the clouds over your territory and you buy those rights from another uh place like Kentucky I hope we don't have to sell our rainwater rights but you could eventually it may be technically possible to make water precipitate anywhere you want on the planet and of course that may come from somewhere else so there could be a currency in water that evolves I don't by the way that didn't come from thinking about the Bitcoin standard it
(09:32) came from how in the hell are we ever going to pay off our national debt and I thought well they may just take all our water at some point yeah well my second book the Fiat standard discusses that and I think I mean I can't really summarize the whole thing but the basic idea is if Bitcoin keeps going up people are going to start accumulating more and more Bitcoin and then eventually they're going to realize they don't need to be accumulating debt because the reason people get into debt is because Fiat
(09:57) money is constantly losing value so that's why everybody in the Fiat system is constantly getting into debt whether it's an individual Corporation or government it makes sense to be in debt because the money is devaluing so you want to have the money on your liabilities side of your balance sheet you don't want to have it on your assets because it's getting devalued you want your liabilities to go down over time so that's why everybody's in debt but as everybody switches to bitcoin everybody
(10:19) accumulates savings everybody accumulates hard assets that appreciates over time you no longer need to hold debt in fastly devaluing currency and I think the way forward is going to be that uh the Bitcoin economy and bitcoin's cash Holdings are going to go up so much that the debt is going to become insignificant so I think a lot of bitcoiners want to see it as if there's going to have to be a Mad Max scenario where everything collapses I think in the Fiat standard I try and make the case for why I think Fiat can go out
(10:46) with a whimper rather than a bang we can just put the house of cards together back gently and slowly into the deck and be done with it I don't I don't know if I'm ready for that level of optimism uh I serve in Cong by the way there was one point where I was uh listening to your book and you you were talking about how Bitcoin is kind of built so that there are feedback mechanisms to protect itself and you the the people who are invested in Bitcoin have a a vested interest in defending Bitcoin and you
(11:18) said that um there's there's no incentive to an attacker to destroy it because you would have to spend large sums of money with no actual gain and I thought wow saine's not met Congress yet like we do that every day we spend enormous sums of money to destroy things with no apparent gain yeah I I cannot argue with that I definitely cannot argue with that and I think um that's that's the second thing I wanted to talk to you about in general your perspective on US debt and US government spending I I should say for
(11:54) listeners who aren't very familiar with American politics Congressman Massie takes all the right boxes which is really impossible for a politician he spoke out against the co Insanity spoke out against all kinds of foreign policy Insanity spoke out against the war in Gaza I think maybe one of very few congressmen who did that speaks out of against APAC probably the only one in Congress who has done that so it's a very lonely place I presume being in Congress but I think that is a great great uh compliment for you that you
(12:22) don't fit in with the rest of these people yeah I can't am a square peg and round holes up here yeah so what how do you see things um moving forward in terms of Congress do you think there is any potential for any kind of changing of Direction in terms of government spending or you think it's pretty much hopeless both parties are going to continue to move in that same direction well what I say now might be further evidence that to people who think we have to have some cataclysmic apocalyptic resolution uh may be right because you
(12:59) know I I'm wearing my um debt badge right now I call it my anxiety generator it displays the national debt at every instant of the day and it's got Wi-Fi and it actually goes to treasury's website once a day and gets the debt to the penny because they they publish it only once a day they're a few days behind so I calculate also with the software the debt per second over a one-year rolling average and I use that to interpolate to the what the debt is at any point in time now reason I built this people can't conceive 14 digits
(13:34) like how big is that but they can look at the smaller digits the the last six digits and be like holy crap I can't even read those digits they're changing so fast and the the the one digit that you can read is like the $100,000 digit and it's $100,000 a second so that's just I'm explaining this to you to explain how it generates anxiety among my colleagues and the reason and and I know they're thinking wow as if Massie needed an accessory to generate anxiety probably generate enough anxiety just on
(14:07) my own but uh it's fun to generate a little more anxiety and I do that to try to get them concerned about it but they are unconcerned and here's the thing nobody up here I've been here 12 years I've never seen anybody lose an election because they spent too much money uh nobody ever gets indicted for backing up debt now sometimes people spend money on the wrong things that you know that their constituents don't like maybe abortion and then they get they lose an election or spend money on gun
(14:42) control but generally the amount of money we spend is not an indictable offense here at the election box right at the polling location and so I blame the people for the lack of urgency like when my first few years here I would blame other congressmen but then I came came to realize they just reflect what the people who elected them what their preferences are which is hey give me stuff and don't make me pay for it and tell me everything's going to be fine and that's the congressmen are just doing what they
(15:16) want uh so I think there there is gonna have to be some kind of Reckoning and frankly I'm amazed we've gone 12 years without some sort of collapse or some sort of more negative thing than is already happening is the thing that's happening now is this the beginning of the end maybe it is I think the FED doesn't have as much control as we as they would like us to think at this point like can they really lower interest rates more than say a point right now they may lower it a little bit right before the election to make things
(15:46) look a little better but could they could they cut interest rates to 2% right now I don't think they can the The Sovereign funds of other countries are looking at our debt and saying I'm not buying that at 4 % even so I don't think we're in as much control at the you know that the FED is in as much control as we think here's and you know this is one of the realizations I came to uh about a year ago I I by the way I was just meeting with some people who are complaining about the swipe fees on
(16:20) credit cards you know when you go to a gas station and you buy gas well the the the company the retail outlet may only be making one or two per on that transaction per gallon but the credit card company is making two or 3% on the transaction and they're not even there and so that is actually the way I look at the US dollar or fiat currency that's being held overseas in reserves in at other countries they want to let's say for instance you're a small country and you want to build some infrastructure
(16:55) and you need to plan to buy steel in the next six months for Bridges well if you hope to buy it in your own currency it fluctuates so much that you may only be able to build half as many bridges six months from now so they hold US dollars so they can buy things with US Dollars and because everybody's holding US dollars because they want to transact in US Dollars when we print or create 3% more US Dollars everybody just has to take it in the shorts and it's still a better deal for them okay I'll pay you 3% and in order
(17:29) to have a reliable transaction at any point in the near future or or far future even we are fairly stable currency compared to everybody else so we're the credit card transaction vendor we're charging the world 3% to do these transactions because we're creating 3% more money and we can get away with what we've gotten away with because we're not just taxing our own people with inflation we're taxing the world with inflation I I'm not sure how much longer that can go the one thing Putin said in
(18:01) his interview with Tucker Carlson that I do agree with he kind of laughed and he said uh you know before you sanctioned us 70% of our transactions with other countries were in US Dollars and he's and then he was like now it's like 177% of our transactions now that's that's not a debatable thing like we could go look at what the numbers actually are and I think he's probably pretty close to the truth there and if we keep sanctioning people that may be the end of our chance to be the transaction vendor for the world and
(18:36) chargeing 3% yeah it's true although I think I mean I think that threat can probably be overplayed people seem to think that it's rather straightforward for China and India and Russia to just go off the dollar but there's a lot of network effects with money and most people want to hold dollars not because they're threatened by the US they want to hold it because it is the most liquid asset and even for all of its uh problems it's still much better than vast majority of currencies out there because it's so big
(19:08) it's got a hugely liquid market and I think this is the uh by way we're on the aircraft standard right now aircraft carrier standard not the gold standard that's what we're backed by yeah well you know what I'm I'm not so sure I think I think it's the other way around I think the aircraft carriers are backed by the dollar rather than the dollar backed by the carriers the dollar is the global money because it is the most liquid money and that's because the US has the mo most liquid largest Capital
(19:35) markets and the biggest debt markets and that's what allows people to get in and out of it and so I think by conventional metrics you look at the US and you think all right this is cooked this is done they're at a point where they're paying more for Debt Service than they're even paying for war and they're paying for a lot of War I mean there's a lot of murder taking place and yet the US is spending more money on its debt than it is on murder which is outstanding but with all of that still they still
(20:03) have a planet of eight billion bag holders who don't have a better financial asset to hold than dollars and treasury bonds and that's I think the real issue here well there's some there's something else we did recently uh I don't know if it's made it to the president's desk and and got implemented but at least in the House of Representatives we passed something called the repo act and if uh it sounds like a great idea for the first 30 seconds we're going to seize Russia's uh
(20:35) Sovereign assets that we can get our hands on here in the United States and maybe in Europe if we could convince our partners but here in the United States we can put our hands on some of their assets seiz them build weapons to be used against Russians with their own money wow what a what a you know concept the problem is the thing that is here that we can see are the um the things where they bought our debt like treasuries so we're not really repossessing Russian things we're defaulting on our debt to Russia because
(21:07) they had bought some of it it's on The Ledger here and you can just take it off The Ledger well that sends a message also not to Great Britain or or Australia we're not likely to default anytime soon on our obligations to them but if China you know something comes up with Taiwan there and we try to put pressure on them China's thinking wait they might do to what they did to Russia so let's don't keep anything on their Ledger over there for their debt and it and I think it already has affected the
(21:37) price that we pay to service our debt yeah likely likely it is true but I still think I mean something like that happens we still need a solution and I still think the only solution for this kind of problem is Bitcoin it's the only way to get around it so I'm curious I know from uh my friends Pierre Rashard and Michael Goldstein they presented to you once in Washington about Bitcoin and they said that you really got it before then so what do you really think of Bitcoin um how how far down the rabbit
(22:10) hole are you um well the the expert here in Congress is Warren Davidson um he's he's a representative from Ohio and he's further down the rabbit hole than I am so I have to concede that right now and I actually uh sublet a room from Warren Davidson we were roommates for a while and he has held sort of like uh clinics in Congress for other congressmen to try to explain to them Concepts like Bitcoin uh and ALS and he brings in experts to to talk about this and try to explain it to Congressman now sometimes
(22:52) it's like trying to read Shakespeare to my cattle there are some blank stairs uh blank stairs were noticed and they don't stay very long and they get the free sandwich and leave and but there are some congressmen that linger and then he did a clinic on Central Bank digital currencies and what this state of play is around the world and he brought in some uh people some very well-known people to explain that so I I have some familiarity with it although I am like I learned some stuff in your book that brought me further down I
(23:29) don't know about the rabbit hole like in some sense toward the end of your book there's it's it's like uh a wet blanket if if you had some pie in the sky preconceived notions that were wrong about Bitcoin which uh I kind of did I I mean I don't want to be like a buzz kill and people are gonna be like oh Massie he doesn't get it like but I guess the sobering thing that your book says that people need to grasp and I don't think my colleagues grasp this is that there's a limit on the number of transactions
(24:03) you can complete and um and this is the I actually didn't understand the name of your book until I got to the to this part of the book that you got to look more at Bitcoin as sort of the reserves like the gold you know that we don't carry around gold coins and buy cars even when we had a gold standard right people weren't packing around around gold bars to buy houses uh if they were they were very based but and I may be completing some of my transactions for with cattle for gold in Kentucky I can't discuss that but um
(24:46) it's there was always sort of some intermediate currency you know like the dollar when it was back by gold and in that sense that's I think correct me if I'm wrong that's your view of Bitcoin and you have sort of this other layer of uh transactions that are happening not necessarily on bitco in Bitcoin they're not because they're not going on The Ledger they're happening instantaneously and then they're getting aggregated and then you know in clumps being put on the leg register because of sort of the
(25:20) number of um bits or bytes forget the unit you measured in that that those things can be in so anyways that was sort of like a little wet blanket when you you know when you get to that point in in understanding it and then also just driving home and I'm an engineer I'm actually my undergraduate's electrical engineering and computer science so like I I wrote the code for this uh for this debt badge it's written in C and I wrote it myself so like I kind of get some of these Concepts like the distributed database the limitations
(25:55) of that where everybody has to record the transaction and how you point out having a centralized database is far more efficient in in keeping up with thousands of transactions you know every second yeah yeah I mean I think that's really um there was a lot of Messianic hype around Bitcoin where people just presented it as if it's going to be free instant trustless transactions for everybody at all times and while that would be nice the fact that we can't get to it doesn't necessar neily mean that
(26:29) Bitcoin has failed I mean it's a little bit like saying you know aviation's not going to get anywhere because they're never going to be able to invent teleportation and so as long as we don't have teleportation then all of these Jets don't mean anything we might as well stick to donkeys because that's really what the difference is Federal Reserve is you have one Central Authority that is responsible for everybody's transactions on Earth the Federal Reserve basically everybody has
(26:51) to transact to the Federal Reserve or through institutions that work through the Federal Reserve but now with Bitcoin we can have a system that is far more decentralized with tens of thousands hundreds of thousands of federal reserves effectively around the world but they don't get to set their own monetary policy and they can't censor transactions and they can't print their own money people watching this may think I was completely ignorant before I read your book um I did know about a lot of these things it just sort of drives at
(27:23) home or reconfirms suspicions that I had and I was very encouraged to get a lot of my Notions confirmed and then to understand uh better how these transactions get aggregated and then later reported to the register to get around the transaction limits and things like that I'm glad to hear that thank you okay so what what do you what are your thoughts then on bitcoin like are you just sort of sympathetic or are you really would you call yourself team Bitcoin already well I'm not ready to go out and buy coffee with it every day and like
(28:02) insist that um I won't buy your coffee if you can't take my Bitcoins yeah but that doesn't really matter that's the kind of evangelism that really doesn't really move the needle it's not about buying the coffee as far as I'm concerned it's about holding your cash balances in Bitcoin that's what matters yeah I think it's um after reading your book uh I decid it's even more legitimate form of reserves to if you're trying to store the fruits of your labor that you've accumulated you know if it I
(28:33) don't want to give Financial advice right I'm a congressman I'm trying to be very careful not to do that um but I was impressed and the other thing is it's an existence proof the fact that it's it's not gone down the fact that oh and this is another thing I can tell you from my perspective I talked to credit unions remember I'm a congressman like lobbyists are talking to me every day and so I'm in an information flow here that's a little bit different than others and what I what I heard these
(29:03) Credit Unions say is oh we hold some Bitcoin our people told us to do that in case we get ransomed you know then we can um pay it and so it's it wasn't really the best reason to hold Bitcoin but they have some Bitcoin now I don't know how much they have but once credit unions and Banks start holding it then because they are lobbyists now when when the institutions have a stake in it they I think you should add that to your list of reasons Bitcoin is is not likely to fail because government I think is the
(29:39) biggest threat okay and I know Bitcoin is designed in a way to that it doesn't rely on government but don't underestimate the ability of government to kill things and um and then the the the willingness of people to comply with stupid rules you know don't assume there'll be mass non-compliance and people just keep using Bitcoin if Bitcoin were outlawed people there are way too many sheep in this country but one of the positive feedback things for Bitcoin is now I know institutional investors hold it and
(30:13) those institutional investors have sway in Congress and so instead of looking at it now as a liability it's literally an asset on their Ledger and they're more likely to tell Congress to keep don't don't mess with our Bitcoin yeah I think this is this is something that has surprised me I mean I I would have thought the US government would have been a lot more aggressive but instead we see congressmen and Senators being good towards it and we're seeing major financial institutions moving toward it
(30:41) which I think makes it so much more likely that it continues to survive and it continues to function now you were mentioning lobbyists you uh kicked up a storm recently by talking about APAC I don't know if you know this but I am Palestinian myself and I grew up in the West Bank and so obviously I'm uh quite uh interested in what is going on there and it's something that I've always uh known about American politics and about the way that American politics works so I guess my question for you is when
(31:10) exactly did you find out that all your colleagues in Congress are Traders uh I'm not going to call my colleagues Traders I'm about to go work with them here in a few minutes um I think Mo most of the people that I know all the ones that that I know well here in Congress are well-meaning people who ran for the right reasons and uh I do think they get a lot of them are a reflection of their constituents and and a lot of them see their job as making as many friends up here as they can so that they can get
(31:47) things done for their constituents so I'm trying to defend their poor positions very generally didn't really convince me much but um I mean in general what do you think of American foreign policy and how it is going and do you see any kind of uh any kind of way of this changing usually people think that you know opposition to US foreign policy has to come from the left but I think there's a very powerful strand on the right and among Republicans people like you and Ron Paul who have uh follow a long tradition of
(32:24) conservatives and Libertarians who don't want to fight Wars abroad because it is immoral because it is wasteful because it causes trouble and it comes back to bite you and because you shouldn't be killing people um why yeah go let me tell you my foreign policy I joke I tell people I learned it in Sunday school back in Kentucky uh and my mom made me comb my hair and put on tight shoes and go to Sunday School uh the one thing I remember was the Golden Rule and do unto others as you would have them do unto
(32:55) you and it just makes complete sense and you're I mean our country is engendering bad will around the world by empowering people to do things to other people uh you war is what I'm talking about we're funding Wars all over the place and we're funding aggression and I'm not commenting on whether the wars are righteous or not but I don't think we should be funding any of the wars like I think it would be wrong of you to to think that I'm like the the Palestinian uh hope Republican hope here in Congress because
(33:36) I'm not I as we say in Kentucky I don't have a dog in any of these fights um and so I'm not picking sides and because I won't pick sides people get mad at me I people are literally mad at me for not hating people okay it's like I won't be your friend unless you hate my enemies too and like no I have no need to accumulate more enemies like so I've never voted to sanction another country this makes at first this makes for some very difficult votes right the first year or two I was here don't vote
(34:11) to sanction Iran don't vote to sanction North Korea you don't vote to sanction Russia um and at first they were like what you you like Putin or you like that dictator or you agree with their policies I'm like no I'm not going to vote for sanctions but but here I am in my 12th year in Congress it's a lot easier to take that position now and I have members of Congress who come up to me and say man I wish I had started out on the same foot as you had on sanctions because I know this is a bad thing to
(34:44) vote for this sanction but I've voted for so many other sanctions if I don't vote for this sanction it looks like I'm picking a side so I'm very happy with the policy I started out with which is don't sanction any country you know obviously we're not going to sell everybody uh f35s we we're under no obligation to do that to share military Secrets or equipment so you can refuse to do that but as far as like not transacting in steel or Lumber or you know or computers personal computers or
(35:21) cell phones I think it's ignorant not to do that because you're basically punishing the people in that country more than are the regime that you're trying to influence I think yeah no and I think I mean I I'm under no Illusions I I don't want people to be I don't want Americans or American Congress to be supportive of Palestinians or to be enemies of Israel I think you know I mean at this point you guys give so much weapons and money and diplomatic support and cover for the Israeli government
(35:50) that it is ridiculous I mean the Israeli government faces more opposition in its own Parliament than it does in the US Parliament because there is some debate you know there are people trying to unseat netan so they will disagree with him but it doesn't matter whoever they put in charge they come to Congress everybody but Thomas Massie starts laughing and they they have absolutely no ability to to dispute any of the things that he does that's right you can't criticize Netanyahu here but you can do it in Israel in fact we're gonna
(36:17) have Netanyahu come and speak to Congress and ridiculous I think what's happened there is I think honestly our state department or you some level within the state department um called up the speaker of the house and said we need you know we need to prop up netanyahu's popularity around the globe and at home so bring him to to the US Congress and have him speak and um that will impart to him some more credibility and popularity I think it's it's a tool of statecraft really and and Congress is being used
(36:58) by the executive branch not even elected people within the executive branch these are people who've been here for 20 years who have an agenda uh a global agenda and they're just we're going to be props they're going to be 435 props well they're going to bring senators and park them in the same room uh so there'd be 535 props to try and influence net or try to prop up his uh popularity at home home and then meanwhile we pass like sometimes in a month we'll pass more than a dozen resolutions that have to do with Israel
(37:35) we don't even name a dozen post offices every month here uh like it's it a little bit embarrassing frankly um and I know some of my colleagues are embarrassed they won't say it they're just like gosh can we knock this off can we just quit virtue signaling can we go one week without doing that and the answer is no we cannot yeah no I mean I think it's honestly absurd and for people outside of the US it looks ridiculous I mean I if you've ever looked at politics if you see the concept of a puppet state when a
(38:08) government controls another government this is exactly what it looks like I mean in the in the 1990s I lose to live in Lebanon and Lebanon was effectively a puppet state of Syria at that time and this is what it was you were a Lebanese politician if you were loyal to Syria and it's that that was the it didn't matter what you did to Lebanese people didn't matter if you were corrupt it didn't matter if you were honest none of that matter what matters was one criteria only loyalty to the master
(38:32) State and this is essentially what it looks like in the US you saw the congressman um in the primary who got torpedoed with $14 million of APAC money but I think what's really Jamal Bowman your friend yeah yeah Jamal Bowman's just a flaming idiot like I mean I don't think that somebody should be able to spend that much money on one issue without disclosing more than than they do are registering as foreign agents I mean they admittedly they just said we're representing Israel now we're Americans but we're lobbying
(39:08) on their Israel's behalf and we're influencing a US election on Israel's behalf and I think that's wrong but Jamal Bowman is just a blooming idiot I mean he's also if you have not seeing it watch my little dialogue with him in the hallway that went viral and then also watch you know the video of him pulling the fire alarm I was kind of like apack picking on a you know the stupid kid in class giving him a wedgie in the sandbox like he it was he was an easy target I think and he made himself more of a
(39:44) Target so I wouldn't make that a referendum uh now by the way I do want to say one thing earlier you know I talked about you know I don't have a dog in the fight and not going to pick a side I will say this um I think the war in Gaza needs to end and I think that I mean I I've pointed out in hearings that 1% of the population of Gaza has been killed like if that were more by now a lot more probably two or three maybe five at this point yeah this that my testimony was a month or two ago um so people say oh the the acceptable
(40:28) civilian we're now talking about acceptable rates of Civilian deaths to enemy combatants and they're trying to say oh this is a great ratio there's only like two or three or five civilians dying for every enemy combatant the ratio was much worse than Afghanistan or something like that and and so they're trying to measure with that metric and I'm like but look as a percent of the population it's 1% of the population it that's like three and a half Millions Americans W you know three and a half million
(40:59) Americans dying would be 1% of our population and you are in that situation how do you extract yourself from that if if the problem was that people in Gaza hate people in Israel you know for Justified or unjustified reasons um how are you helping that situation by killing 1% of the population like the what is the end game the end game is to kill as many as possible and to make Gaza uninhabitable as much as possible so that as many gazans leave as possible so that Israelis can move in and get the real estate this is really what it's
(41:38) about and I think all of this idea about freeing the hostages is just a distraction so that they could continue to doing this because they don't want to free the hostages and Israel's government is really going out of its way to ensure that the crisis continues so that they can kill as much as possible and this is something that they say openly I mean and I mean people talk about extremism on the right right in the US and I find that hilarious because if you could pick the absolute most extremist Nazi literal Nazi in the US
(42:05) the people that never make it into Congress or into make it into TV and and try and look at their platform and then U replace the words uh Christian American or white American with Jewish Israeli and replace the words um Brown American or Muslim American or Jewish American with uh Palestinian and then look at that where it fits on the political Spectrum in Israel practically the most bigoted uh racist policy in the US would be basically middle of the road in the knesset if you listen to the people that are in netanyahu's government they're
(42:40) very open about this we need to get as many of these Palestinians out of Gaza and this has been the modus operandi of Israel from day one from 1940s it's more land and fewer Palestinians that's what they are working for and it's you know the the tricky part for them is they can't just go and kill everybody because they're relying on America for weapons so they need to make it look like they're we're we're you know we're we're trying to fight Hamas but really they're
(43:04) destroying the infrastructure I mean you could say that they've lied so much about this hospital is Hamas and that hospital is Hamas or whatever but it can't be that every single hospital is Hamas every single water is every single water processing plant is Hamas every single power plant is Hamas every single thing that makes life possible has been deliberately destroyed and they've been destroyed with you know they they um they put bombs in them and blow them up so there was no threat they were already
(43:32) in the building they conquered the building there's nobody there but they're destroying it just to make sure that everything is unlivable it is a genocide it's a textbook case of genocide and I think it's remarkable that uh people are in the US are gaslit into thinking no no no this is just a war and self-defense and you need to keep paying for it yeah I'll tell you a measure of of where how gaset people are is I put out a meme a few months ago and man I caught a lot of heat for it I think it got like at
(44:02) least seven million views uh where it's the point was you can't you can't Embrace patriotism in the United States like you're like some if if you say the the nation of the United States is a great nation and we are great and we are unique and we should embrace our founding fathers and like if you go down that path like you will be profiled by the FBI okay U whereas Zionism is the equivalent of Israeli patriotism to some degree it's okay if you're an American to be a Zionist in fact you are anti-semitic if you're not
(44:43) a Zionist in the United States Congress has passed resolutions stating that very thing okay so you're the equivalent of a racist if you don't believe in Israeli patri patriotism but if you do believe in patriotism in the United States you are also a racist like yeah so I did I did one of those memes the classic memes where it's like and it's like yeah okay you can Zionism yeah Patriot American Patriot no yeah I think this is I got a lot I got in a lot of trouble but I didn't delete it because it's true it is
(45:23) very true and I think a lot of Americans just use Zionism as their outlet for uh ISM and I think it's it's astonishing and I I'm going to just bring up this issue which I find astonishing because Israel did attack the American Military in 1967 there was a deliberate attack against the USS Liberty 36 Sailors died hundreds were injured and it was a systematic attack and they knew that it was an American vehicle of vessel they had a huge American flag and it's you know you might think well why would they
(45:52) do that they were fighting a war with Egypt why would they do it and the answer is they did it in order to sink the boat and then make it look like it was Egypt that did it because it was close to Egyptian territorial Waters and then Israel would get into war with Egypt but this got entirely covered up and nobody talks about it and more than 90% of Americans don't even talk about it but this is America's greatest Ally and this was you know president Lyndon Johnson who was a big uh supporter of Israel at that time so he covered it up
(46:17) very well and did his job but here we are 50 60 years later and it's still covered up and nobody talks about it nobody knows about it and the people just assume that it was an accident well accidents happened with one straight bullet one stay missile but this was a systematic attack with artillery and aerial bombardment that lasted for more than an hour with a giant American flag that was visible and Americans just completely forget it don't you want to launch an investigation into that don't you think um you know if I just
(46:46) investigated all the evil that has begun since I got into Congress and went forward there's not enough hours in the day I mean I just had a hearing on the evil behind the vaccination uh approval in the United States and how they broke all of our own laws and rules to promote the vaccine and so that is I don't have a committee of jurisdiction where I could do that um but I it's it's hard to go back and exume things like that um and to know exactly what happened I mean it's so I am familiar with it um I've the the
(47:24) motive that you just put out is is like the first time I've heard that that the motive was to make it look like it was an Egyptian vessel that sank but send me send me information on that I'll look at I will I absolutely will I appreciate it thank you so much because I think it's it's a huge deal and I think Americans need to ask a little bit more critical questions I mean they ask a lot of critical questions of their own government um but this one foreign government somehow just cannot do any
(47:53) wrong by the way I'm also investigating the pipe bomb uh which I think the federal agencies were involved with that or people associate with federal agencies the pipe bombs on January 6th um that's something nobody is looking into I released video very showed there's even more questions that need to be answered there a lot of these places people won't go I will go but there's just not enough hours in the day well hopefully hopefully you know I I mean I I we like to in the Bitcoin standard podcast we like to bring
(48:27) everything back to bitcoin hopefully Bitcoin fixes this you know once Bitcoin takes the money printer away from you and your colleagues there's going to be a lot less time to do bad things and then we can start having more time to revisit the giant backlog of bad things that happened in the past yeah and the money printer like just I think you assigned blame appropriately in that sentence because you know the Federal Reserve needs to end uh but it's just a tool and Congress is the one that is directing all of the proplate
(49:01) spending U that is unsustainable and the FED is just basically a way to accomplish that I mean it's other things too and it's got cfpb inside of it which is another evil into itself I think whole universes will spawn into existence out of that Supreme Court ruling that says the cfpb that Congress can create an agency that's no longer accountable to Congress and can create it and it gets to like suck off the tee of the Federal Reserve and has its own Revenue source that can make money like it's it's crazy yeah and
(49:36) it's just as long as you have a money printer there's no balance check there's no check from reality there's no feedback from reality that can correct all these horrible mistakes taking place the syllabus for my new online economics course principles of economics is now available on safe.
(49:54) com the course will take place over 18 lectures each based on one chapter from my new book principles of economics which will be available for free as an ebook for everyone registering for the course lectures will be released once every two weeks on Mondays starting on the 25th of September 2023 and will be available in video and audio format live discussion seminars will be held once a week on Thursdays at alternating time slots 12 hours apart to ensure Learners can attend from all over the world I'm happy to announce that I have set up my new
(50:26) publishing house and online bookstore the safe house which will be publishing and delivering the best Bitcoin and Austrian economics books worldwide in hard cover audiobook and ebook formats go to the safe to buy my latest book principles of economics as well as the Fiat standard and the Bitcoin standard and now I'm also publishing Fiat food Matthew lak's amazing investigation into how inflation ruined our diet and health and I'm also publishing Lyn alden's broken money her masterful exploration of the failures of
(50:57) the Global Financial system and how Bitcoin fixes it this is a bitcoiners Bookshop so the books are printed in beautiful cloth hard cover made to last with an ice colored dust jacket on top go to the safe and get yours now I think we've taken enough of your time I want to thank you so much for your time well ahead I do I mean I am over time but I have a bone to pick with you yes go ahead so first of all I want to the the book was awesome I love it and I love all little side missions to attack modern art as for what it is um
(51:33) and to promote invention uh one thing like I had some hunches and that were confirmed and one of them is you know people are always in my office promoting ideas and I've heard like there was all this enthusiasm for blockchain oh you know we should blockchain this we should block oh blockchain is the perfect thing for this this is a great application of blockchain and there are people who come to me with this and I started my my hunch was I don't get it I don't think so I I think there's a better way to do
(52:07) that I don't see what value at blockchain adds to the thing that you're trying to do there and your book confirmed for me that there are sort of a lot of people using blockchain as snake oil U and it'll cure every problem you have no it's not that it's great blockchain is great right and it's enabled Bitcoin coin but it's not the the thing that will solve all the world's problems or even a few of the problems well it's going to give us Bitcoin and that's the really the only
(52:36) application as far as I'm concerned is Bitcoin and that is what's going to solve all of the world's problems so so how much hate did you get when you like said that because there's a whole industry of people promoting blockchain for every from breakfast cereals you know blockchain yeah I did I did it was it made me a little bit like Massie in the industry if you want but I think I mean a lot of people give me a lot of grief for it but I think they have a kind of LoveHate relationship because
(53:05) for most of people most of the people in the crypto world I think they find my book is the kind of best book to try and give to somebody that could get them to pay attention to what's going on I just sort of in terms of the track record it's been published now um eight year six years ago and it's still generally the bestselling book on digital currencies so they like having my book because it's the thing that they can give to their mom to explain to her what we're doing yeah but then they also hate
(53:31) it because it's telling their mom that you know okay well Bitcoin is okay but what your son is doing is kind of so and then what about uh you didn't put is it safe to say you don't have a bust of Milton Friedman in your office like no I do not I do not did you like that part or what what did you think of it um so I did like that part I think it's important that you tease apart some of these things that are all put in the same bucket and say no no no there's two there's actually two views here or well
(54:09) infinite views and and uh factions that don't agree with each other so you can't I like that I like that you were critical of somebody who everybody has on a pedestal but obviously you don't have a bust of wi Friedman on a pedestal there in your office I don't see one I know and people who attack Milton Friedman attack him from the left for not being keyan enough so this is a real mind Bender for people when they see no no no K essentially I'm calling him a socialist which um uh I have that same sort of
(54:41) issue like and you may disagree with me on this I think you probably do the road to surom like I think that book is way overrated yeah uh Ag and there and there are some socialist Notions in there that are just accept it as fine yeah it's it's a good book to give to your socialist friends to get them to start doubting socialism thinking about it critically then you realize NOP it's uh I mean he he he pokes holes in the Socialist argument but still falls back on lighter socialist arguments I agree
(55:13) with you right so um and that's Hayek by the way but that's Hayek yeah that's why you got to stick to rothbard to be on the safe side are you a rothbardian yeah very much so I'm a big fan of rothbard he's my favorite okay um so here's the one bone I want to pick with you uhuh um when I was in college I took a microeconomics at MIT I was looking for the Humanities classes where I didn't have to write papers was like and and they and economics qualifies as Humanities it's called
(55:47) Humanities and social science so you could complete a large portion of your Humanities classes by just taking economics p uh classes and doing problem sets which is very easy for engineers yeah so that's what I chose to do so I took microeconomics and I freaking loved it and honestly uh even though Bitcoin people are applying it to a macroeconomic issue there's a lot of microeconomic decisions in there a lot of things that you're thinking about and I love microeconomics because it explains why coupons exist why when you
(56:22) get on an airplane nobody has paid the same price for their ticket like and why you have first class why you have uh a Chevrolet and a Cadillac made by the same company like it's just beautiful and you can explain behavior with math and graphs and I was Intoxicated by it so I was like well if micro is good macro must be great so the next semester I signed up for macro oh my gosh there was a young upstart uh associate professor his his name was Paul Krugman and he was the teacher like and people tell me they're
(57:01) like oh that's back when he wasn't a a full-blown Kami and I'm like whoa whoa whoa I don't think so like I took his class in I think it was 1991 or 92 and um it you know it's an MIT class it was called like introduction to macroeconomic Theory which it sounds kind of like an easy class because it's an intro but it goes into all the areas and I I remember walking up to him at the end of class and saying you just put some equations on the board but you did not solve them like you know the
(57:39) relationship of inflation to interest rates or whatever like okay there's an equation there and there's one here and okay now you got three equations and three variables you should be able to solve this right or build a model that that predicts what happens but he never did it was all like a lot of hand waving stuff as compared to microeconomics where you actually solve the equations and you can find the point on the graph where things crossed so that was my complaint he did he did in that class talk about The Chicago School he never I
(58:12) don't ever remember him talking about Austrian uh economists but he did talk about the Chicago school and I think the academic in him felt compelled to tell us there was another version of the how to explain the world that wasn't his version and he made a half-hearted attempt to say what they might have thought at the time but here's my beef and this is my beef with not just with you but with like all these people who read these Austrian economists and like then become experts in economics um and I know where you're
(58:47) coming from okay because but I saw in your book you have a disdain for people who try to use math to explain like macroeconomic things and I share some of that disdain because I saw Paul Krugman uh pervert math as if he was using math to make his case but he wasn't really my my problem is and maybe you can point me to a good book where this isn't the case I think we should be able to win this argument with math why does it have to just be paragraphs and nice sounding words and all these books by the Austrian economists why can't we
(59:29) bust out and do a problem set and have a system of equations and maybe some linear algebra uh and a little bit of calculus if you can stand it we should be able to win this argument with math and then now you have a proof instead of you know these philosophical things well first of all let me just note that you're making the argument for math using words so ultimately math cannot speak on its own I would just speak in numbers if I thought people would enjoy the podcast well let me tell you this is this is what I discuss in my third book
(1:00:05) principles of economics which is like an an Austrian textbook and the first chapter is specifically dedicated to answering this question why is it that the austrians don't like uh to put a lot of equations into their economics and there are a lot of Papers written about that there's a lot of discussion about it but if I were to zero in on the precise explanation for it I I get this from mises and not a lot of people focus on this from mises's work but it boils down to one simple fact which is that
(1:00:34) when you're doing a physical phenomenon when you're looking at physics you are using uh mathematical constants that can Define physical quantities that are objectively understood by everybody and everybody understands what they are so everybody knows what a meter is the only reason we can have anything in physics and chemistry and we can do all of those things is everybody has a very clear idea about what a meter is what a second is what a temperature Kelvin is all of these different units the pascals the
(1:01:05) all of these things we have we know what they are and we can reproduce them independently so you can conduct an experiment and I can conduct an experiment we have the same exact frame of reference which is a meter and that's because we have a constant that can measure these physical quantities in economics what we're dealing with the subject of Economics is human valuation of economic Goods but human valuation does not have a a constant unit so because we don't have a constant unit we end up performing math without units
(1:01:32) which is invalid so this is by the way I had this argument with the EPA director in a hearing once I'm like can you do science without math no can you do math science without units no you have to have math do science and you have to have units to do any of that but keep going yeah so if you have units if if we if we manage to find so in in the M micro textbook you might remember some of the micro textbooks they come up with a fake unit called the util for measuring utility that people get which is silly because what is a util you know
(1:02:06) how many apples are in a util or how many makes me happy yeah happy units exactly but you know how many how many Ferraris can you exchange for a util or all of those things obviously it's meaningless because we have no metric by which we can define a util as being something that gives me this kind of happiness or that kind of Happiness we' all talk all of this stuff can't be precisely measured and so if it can't be precisely measured we cannot perform economic calculation on it the one constant unit the one thing that can
(1:02:34) perform economic calculation is the individual himself and so this is why for me Australian economics makes you a Libertarian almost always is because you understand that there can't be an authority a person in a position of authority that can perform economic calculation that can figure out for you what is the way that can maximize your happiness because I can't figure out the options that you have you know should you piss off APAC today or should you piss off the environmentalist today or should you piss off the covid cult today
(1:03:02) I don't know how much satisfaction you get from any of these so that I could perform the economic calculation for you and tell you you should spend your day doing this but you can do that for yourself because you can uh organize things according to your self as the frame of reference while giving each one of those things a valuation that is ordinal but not cardal so you don't attach a unit to it but you compare them to one another well let me put P back just a little bit maybe uh we do have like GDP is measured in dollars now
(1:03:33) interest rates is is actually unitless I guess it's a relative thing right um but there are some measures maybe and if you could predict the GDP a year from now giving certain units you know you would be rich right like if you maybe it's because a lot of this just isn't predictable and there's so many inputs you would need like chaos theory to model it it's almost like the weather we we know when it's about to rain if the barometer changes right but yes but but but there's a lot more
(1:04:08) predictability in the weather so a lot of people like to bring up the argument of complexity and this is kind of a hakan argument and there is some Merit to it that we need computers that are maybe too big but I think it's a wrong argument because computers keep getting better but they're never going to be good enough to M perform economic calculation without a constant unit as long as we're looking at things that don't have units then no amount of processing power can perform that economic calculation so the history of
(1:04:33) socialism on from an economic perspective is people thinking they got over that because they found a way to perform economic calculation with economic uh with mathematical tools applied to things that don't have units and that's why socialism always falls apart it's not so much the complexity because you can perform very complex calculations you can run a computer supercomputer that runs for a long time and it can C you know even even a system that has millions of causal factors you can still perform economic calculation
(1:05:04) but you need units and that's what we don't have so you're saying math is hard so we shouldn't do it just kidding I'm just kidding um no I think we should try I think we should try um obviously there are are quants working on Wall Street that can predict things at least a Pico second into the future and that's how they make money but you know we could try I just want to that's entrepreneurial judgment though not scientific prediction so there's a difference between making an entrepreneurial judgment saying I think
(1:05:34) next year Apple uh stock is going to go up and I'm going to bet on it and then if I do it that's very different from a scientist who's calculating what's the pressure of this volume of this gas going to be if it is that volume and at this temperature you know that's great you haven't convinced me completely but I feel um like an embarrassment of riches being able to have this conversation with you with I like I just spent hours of my life listening to a book which I found very enriching and
(1:06:04) now I get to talk to the brain that was behind it and I've almost like my questions must seem like very stupid to you no absolutely not this is a very smart question that very smart Engineers usually ask because they get it and they see why it's just so much more easier to do things in engineering and they don't quite get why this Nobel Prize winner like Krugman is putting the meaningless equations and not even solving them but just telling us this is how it should be well now I understand better why uh I
(1:06:33) was your book was resonating with me at the 1.25x on the audio so you're probably because also you don't narrate the book um it's somebody else so I until I met you here today I wondered if that voice like that voice was you to me uh for for you know several weeks in my col are but now I'm talking to a different voice but I think if they had spoken at 1.
(1:07:02) 25x it would be more like you well my third book principles of economics which discusses this in detail I do read the audio book for that one so I'm gonna send it to you and uh you can listen to that one and then we can have a longer discussion about it I'd be delighted to do it anytime it's an honor sir so if I go do 10 more hours of homework I can come back and enjoy another 30 minute conversation with you I will do it no but listen you could do 30 minutes of reading and then we can have another 10 hour conversation as well anytime I'm
(1:07:29) always ready sounds great or we could you know we could make this as regular podcast feature we just do this an episode every week I'm happy to do it all right thanks thank you very much this has been so enjoyable thank you so much I really appreciate it it's an honor and a pleasure really I I I I don't uh have many politicians that I respect and look up to but you definitely are one and I really thank you for everything you're doing on all those issues on covid on Palestine on foreign policy on funding the war
(1:07:57) machine everything thank you so much sincerely absolutely well I look forward to your next book I'm going to read the third one next I'm gonna skip the second one okay great thanks L listen to it all right thank you thank you cheers bye bye [Music] [Music] oh [Music]


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