Ben Franklin’s Politically Incorrect Story of Thanksgiving

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

Did you know that the day we celebrate as Thanksgiving was supposed to be a fast?

It took one politically incorrect farmer to change the course of history. When the government tried to impose a fast, he called for a grand feast – thanksgivings — so that Americans could celebrate their bounty and nourish their bodies, not lament their hardships through hunger.

Finally, there is a growing realization that the effect of the Federal Reserve and its “QE Infinity” program is basically wearing off, and that it’s already priced in to the markets. If this situation is true, and I suspect it is, the relative upside going forward for a QE stimulus will be minimal at best.

As you can see, there is much more to worry about besides just the fiscal cliff, and concentrating on that singular issue will very likely cause you to miss the real dangers to your money.

Ben Franklin’s tale of the first Thanksgiving is revealed in “The Completed Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin,” which I edited as a proud, direct descendent of the great statesman and inventor.

“The Completed Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin” takes up where Franklin’s original autobiography left off — in 1757. This new volume covers Franklin’s final 33 years, including some of the most important in our nation’s history.

“The Real Story of the First Thanksgiving,” as told by Franklin himself (read below), is just one of the many topics covered in “The Completed Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin.”
________________________________________
The Real Story of the First Thanksgiving
By Benjamin Franklin (1785)
“There is a tradition that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civiliz’d people attempt to establish themselves in a wilderness country. Being so piously dispos’d, they sought relief from heaven by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented, and like the children of Israel there were many dispos’d to return to the Egypt which persecution had induc’d them to abandon.

“At length, when it was proposed in the Assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose and remark’d that the inconveniences they suffer’d, and concerning which they had so often weary’d heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthen’d; that the earth began to reward their labour and furnish liberally for their subsistence; that their seas and rivers were full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy, and above all, they were in the full enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious.

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“He therefore thought that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable and lead more to make them contented with their situation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they ow’d to the divine being, if instead of a fast they should proclaim a thanksgiving. His advice was taken, and from that day to this, they have in every year observ’d circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish employment for a Thanksgiving Day, which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed.”

To read my e-letter from last week, please click here.

Yours for peace, prosperity and liberty, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen

Mark Skousen
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You Blew It! End of the Debt Ceiling?

“We ought to eliminate the debt ceiling.”
— Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that Congress should stop placing legal limits on the amount of money the government can borrow and effectively lift the debt limit to infinity.

On Bloomberg TV, “Political Capital” host Al Hunt asked Geithner if he believes “we ought to just eliminate the debt ceiling.” He answered, “yes, absolutely.”

Governments have slowly been lifting all the restrains on the growth of government: Replacing the gold standard with a fiat money standard and central banking (thus eliminating the limits of inflation); and allowing the Congress to run deficits during periods of prosperity and peacetime.

The economics profession hasn’t helped much — they teach students that governments should run deficits for as long as it takes to get back to full employment. But Keynesian economists have long insisted that there always are some unemployed resources, and therefore the deficits should continue.

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The debt limit requirement is essential, because it provides a form of fiscal discipline on Congress, short of a Constitutional amendment.

I like it because it allows Congress to live by a balanced budget at all times. If a majority of members of Congress would vote “no” to raising the debt limit, in essence government would enjoy a balanced budget.

Long live the debt limit requirement.

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The markets have been obsessed with fiscal-cliff worries ever since the election. While I understand why the resolution of this potential $600 billion erasure from 2013 GDP is rightly a giant concern, it’s by no means the only thing markets need to be fearful of right now.

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