Most of you will be quite familiar with Peter Schiff. Fewer of you will know much about his father, Irwin Schiff, who was posthumously referred to as the “grandfather of the contemporary tax protest movement” in Forbes.
Irwin was treated very poorly by his own country, particularly toward the end of his life when, despite being legally blind and dying of cancer, he was not permitted to die in peace amongst family members.
His son Peter wrote the following as a tribute:
My father Irwin A. Schiff was born Feb. 23rd 1928, the 8th child and only son of Jewish immigrants, who had crossed the Atlantic twenty years earlier in search of freedom. As a result of their hope and courage my father was fortunate to have been born into the freest nation in the history of the world. But when he passed away on Oct. 16th, 2015 at the age of 87, a political prisoner of that same nation, legally blind and shackled to a hospital bed in a guarded room in intensive care, the free nation he was born into had itself died years earlier.
My father had a life-long love affair with our nation’s founding principals and proudly served his country during the Korean War, for a while even having the less then honorable distinction of being the lowest ranking American soldier in Europe. While in college he became exposed to the principles of Austrian economics through the writings of Henry Hazlitt and Frederick Hayek. He first became active in politics during Barry Goldwater’s failed 1964 presidential bid. His activism intensified during the Vietnam Era when he led local grass root efforts to resist Yale University’s plans to conduct aid shipments to North Vietnam at a time when that nation was actively fighting U.S. forces in the south. Later in life he staged an unsuccessful write in campaign for governor of Connecticut, then eventually lost the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination to Harry Brown in 1996.
In 1976 his beliefs in free market economics, limited government, and strict interpretation of the Constitution led him to write his first book The Biggest Con: How the Government is Fleecing You, a blistering indictment of the post New Deal expansion of government in the United States. The book achieved accolades in the mainstream conservative world, receiving a stellar review in the Wall Street Journal, among other mainstream publications.
But my father was most known for his staunch opposition to the Federal Income Tax, for which the Federal Government labeled him a “tax protester.” But he had no objection to lawful, reasonable taxation. He was not an anarchist and believed that the state had an important, but limited role to play in market based economy. He opposed the Federal Government’s illegal and unconstitutional enforcement and collection of the income tax. His first book on this topic (he authored six books in total) How Anyone Can Stop Paying Income Taxes, published in 1982 became a New York Times best seller. His last, The Federal Mafia; How the Government Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully collects Income Taxes, the first of three editions published in 1992, became the only non-fiction, and second and last book to be banned in America. The only other book being Fanny Hill; Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, banned for obscenity in 1821 and 1963.
His crusade to force the government to obey the law earned him three prison sentences, the final one being a fourteen-year sentence that he began serving ten years ago, at the age of 77. That sentence turned into a life sentence, as my father failed to survive until his planned 2017 release date. However in actuality the life sentence amounted to a death sentence. My father died from skin cancer that went undiagnosed and untreated while he was in federal custody. The skin cancer then led to a virulent outbreak of lung cancer that took his life just more than two months after his initial diagnosis.
The unnecessarily cruel twist in his final years occurred seven years ago when he reached his 80th birthday. At that point the government moved him from an extremely low security federal prison camp in New York State where he was within easy driving distance from family and friends, to a federal correctional institute, first in Indiana and then in Texas. This was done specially to give him access to better medical care. The trade off was that my father was forced to live isolated from those who loved him. Given that visiting him required long flights, car rentals, and hotel stays, his visits were few and far between. Yet while at these supposed superior medical facilities, my father received virtually no medical care at all, not even for the cataracts that left him legally blind, until the skin cancer on his head had spread to just about every organ in his body.
At the time of his diagnosis in early August of this year, he was given four to six mouths to live. We tried to get him out of prison on compassionate release so that he could live out the final months of his life with his family, spending some precious moments with the grandchildren he had barely known. But he did not live long enough for the bureaucratic process to be completed. Two months after the process began, despite the combined help of a sitting Democratic U.S. congresswoman and a Republican U.S. senator, his petition was still sitting on someone’s desk waiting for yet another signature, even though everyone at the prison actually wanted him released. Even as my father lay dying in intensive care, a phone call came in from a lawyer and the Bureau of Prisons in Washington asking the prison medical representatives for more proof of the serious nature of my father’s condition.
As the cancer consumed him his voice changed, and the prison phone system no longer recognized it, so he could not even talk with family members on the phone during his finale month of life. When his condition deteriorated to the point where he needed to be hospitalized, government employees blindly following orders kept him shackled to his bed. This despite the fact that escape was impossible for an 87 year old terminally ill, legally blind patient who could barley breathe, let alone walk.
Whether or not you agree with my father’s views on the Federal Income Tax, or the manner by which it is collected, it’s hard to condone the way he was treated by our government. He held his convictions so sincerely and so passionately that he continued to espouse them until his dying breath. Like William Wallace in the final scene of Braveheart, an oppressive government may have succeeded in killing him, but they did not break his spirit. And that spirit will live on in his books, his videos, and in his children and grandchildren. Hopefully his legacy will one day help restore the lost freedoms he died trying to protect, finally allowing him to rest in peace.
I’d like to end this post on a lighter note, by sharing one of my favorite clips of Irwin, a man unappreciated by his country and left to die an elderly man, shackled to a cold hospital bed.
RIP Irwin Schiff.
^^^Irwin was right, and everyone involved with his imprisonment and death is going straight to Hell.
Typhoon “Koppu”, in the Philippines known as Lando, has brought severe flooding and strong winds to Luzon Island, the main island of the Philippines archipelago. So far, the storm has forced over 65 000 people to evacuate their homes, with death toll reaching 16, as of October 19, 2015, and possibly still climbing.
Flash floods and resulting massive mudslide caused by heavy rainfall that hit California’s Mojave region on October 15, 2015, engulfed around 200 vehicles, including 115 passenger cars, 75 tractor trailers and 2 buses carrying tourists, on Highway 58 (Interstate 5), east of the Tehachapi Mountains near Mojave.
With mudslides rising as high as 6 meters (20 feet), drivers were forced to leave their vehicles and take cover. According to CHP Officer Steve Carapia, rescue teams checked mud up to a depth of 1.8 meters (6 feet) to find any submerged vehicles. “They were probing to make sure there was no vehicles underneath the mud and, hopefully, no casualties,” Carapia said.
“’Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’ says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears?” (Malachi 3:1)
The Messiah is “standing at the doorway” and it is up to each one of us to usher in his arrival, a leading spiritual leader of the Jewish nation was quoted as saying.
Rabbi Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky, the spiritual adviser for several distinguished yeshivot (religious learning centers) in Israel, told a gathering at a Lev L’Achim event in Bnei Brak in April, speaking in the name of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, the arrival of the Messiah is close.
“My dear brothers, I would like to tell you something very interesting. One of those who is very close and dear to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky came to me recently and said that Rabbi Kanievsky told him to go out and tell the people, ‘We are in one of the most critical hours for the nation of Israel. We are on the threshold of the Messiah, and the Messiah is standing just outside the door, and the only way to be saved is through learning Torah, and through works of loving kindness.’”
Rabbi Mishkovsky’s statement, recorded and posted on YouTube, has slowly attracted a great deal of attention since Rabbi Kanievsky is one of the leading figures in Haredi Jewish society today. The announcement was well received by those at the gathering.
Rabbi Mishkovsky also revealed that Rabbi Kanievsky also gave him a startling mission. He was told in no uncertain terms to begin to announce to all of Israel the imminent arrival of the Messiah.
“When his dear grandson, Yanki Kanievsky, was by his side, he wrote him a note saying, ‘Let it be known to all the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even to those who are secular, let it be known that the only way to be saved is through Torah and works of loving kindness, and there is no other way.’”
The rabbi even gave instructions as to how to carry out his mission. “I asked the Rabbi, ‘How will I let it be known? Yell it into a loudspeaker?’ And the Rabbi said, ‘Yes, take a loudspeaker and go around the whole country to tell this to the people. Yell it out loud.”
The latest revelation is consistent with various statements made by the spiritual leader lately. Recently, Rabbi Kanievsky related a teaching in the Talmud, a central rabbinical text in Judaism, that explicitly states that the Messiah will come the year following a shmittah year. The rabbi hinted that this year was ripe for the arrival of the Messiah upon the conclusion of the shmittah year one month ago.
Correction: The original version of this article stated that Rabbi Mishkovsky’s statement was made in October. It was made in April.
The one-month-ish Treasury Bills that mature November 18th are collapsing. Following comments this morning by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that the US will run out of cash on November 3rd and his warning of a “terrible” debt limit accident, the 11/18/15 T-Bills have seen yields explode from -1bp to 7bps – an unprecedented 8bps spike as investors panic-sell beyond the deadline.
WI 1month bills are over 11bps!
“Our best estimate is November 3rd is when we’ll exhaust what we call extraordinary measures; those are things we can do to manage things. I will run out of things that I can manage on November 3rd,” Lew told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Lew insisted that a hike is not a commitment to new spending but an ability to pay the bills on money already spent. Conservatives have in the past targeted the borrowing limit as leverage in budget negotiations.
Lew dismissed the idea that the government could prioritize what bills to pay. “Once you no longer consider all of your obligations rock solid, you’re no longer the full faith and credit of the United States.”
“It’s also not possible to pick and choose. We have about 80 million transactions a month. Our system wasn’t set up not to pay,” he added.
So that leaves less then 2 weeks for the dysfunctional GOP to agree to a debt ceiling increase… is it any wonder that traders are dumping anything beyond Nov 3rd en masse…
As The Wall Street Journal adds,
A selloff that started on Friday in T-bills deepened on Monday, sending the yield on the bill maturing on Nov. 12 to the highest level since 2013, when last time the market was rattled by debt ceiling fear. Monday’s selloff spread to all four bills maturing during the course of November.
Few expect US to default because debt ceiling is a political issue and investors have experienced such episodes in 2013 and 2011. Still, many cut exposure to bills maturing close to the deadline of debt-ceiling to avoid hassels, as suggested by bill yields in December and January that traded below those on November. The yield on the bill due on Nov. 12 was recently at 0.17%, vs Friday’s closing level of 0.036% and 0.005% Thursday.
For now concerns about Lew’s warning of a terrible debt accident are limited to the bond market. As we said over the weekend when noting the record negative 1 Year Japanese T-Bills, “this is happening while equities ignore absolutely everything taking place in the world and trade purely on technicals and “hope” for even more future liquidity flow out of central banks.”
One hopes the republicans who need to quickly decide how they will extend the debt ceiling are as concerned about the T-Bill market as they have been about stocks, or else the market will need to stage a violent wake up call in the next 2 weeks to mirror what is already taking place with T-Bills.
We leave it to Barclays Joseph Abate to conclude:
“This is the beginning…Nervousness is ratcheting higher”
On Friday we noticed a disturbing glitch in the matrix, when in a deja vu from the peak days of the last housing bubble, we showed that in the Las Vegas market, builders such as Lennar, are rushing to dump new construction to potential purchasers with the “unbeatable” offer of zero money down.
One key reason for this sudden panic in the housing market is that the Fed’s rate hike gambit backfired: with economists far and wide expecting rate hikes, the expectation was that potential home buyers would rush to buy homes ahead of rising rates. Not only did this not happen as Wells Fargo’s mortgage application data confirmed…
… but now mortgage rates are sliding back to 2015 lows, removing any sense of urgency from the demand side of the pricing equation.
So what is the alternative? Pushing the supply into overdrive, of course, and doing more of precisely what got the US financial system (and the bailed out GSEs) in trouble in the first place: handing out virtually free housing, and since the purchase price has to be funded somehow, today Freddie Mac, together with Quicken Loans, announced a new lending program, one which would enable “eligible borrowers” and focusing on millennials, to finance a house with a “down payment of as little as three percent.”
Because what better way to “boost” US housing than by targeting millennials, most of whom are simply unable to obtain good, well-paying jobs (and thus the need for 3% down mortgages), with offers which few can pass by, and lock them down with even more trillions in debt on top of their $1+ trillion in student loans.
From the release:
Freddie Mac and Quicken Loans Enter Partnership to Make Home Financing Accessible for New Buyers
New Effort Dedicated to Building a Better American Housing Finance System Through Innovative Lending Solutions and Ongoing Education for Homeowners
Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) and Quicken Loans, the nation’s second largest mortgage lender, today announced a partnership to pilot several new initiatives aimed at helping provide more Americans the opportunity to achieve homeownership, while also building a smarter American mortgage finance system.
The program will feature unique, co-developed products to meet the needs of emerging markets, including millennials, first-time homebuyers and middle-class borrowers. It will explore numerous modifications and expansions to Freddie Mac’s current Home Possible mortgage products, and will also include continued homebuyer education. Home Possible enables eligible borrowers to finance a house with a down payment of as little as three percent.
The new Freddie Mac/Quicken Loans partnership was announced at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s 102nd Annual Convention and Expo in San Diego, CA.
News Quotes: Attribute to Dave Lowman, Executive Vice President, Single Family Division, Freddie Mac:
“We are proud to join Quicken Loans in a new partnership dedicated to increasing homeownership opportunities and simplifying the process of originating and delivering high quality mortgages. The partnership has a simple goal. We are leveraging our unique strengths to explore simple straightforward approaches to mortgage products, technology and borrower outreach strategies. We then hope to use the results from these efforts to make it easier for all of our customers, and the industry, to make successful homeownership possible for a wider range of qualified borrowers.”
“Today’s announcement marks one more way Freddie Mac is engaging with its customers to help them innovatively build stronger businesses and a stronger housing finance industry that expands affordable housing opportunities for America’s families.”
What remains unanswered is why rush? Surely, “3% down mortgages” are just a teaser to the infamous “zero percent down” which is just around the corner.
But wait, there’s more, because once the US goes NIRP (whether organically or as a violent reaction to the Fed rate hike in nearly a decade), borrowers will actually be paid to take out a mortgage. Just like in Denmark.
And everyone will live happily ever after.