24 October 2010

Government "created" jobs

The fallacy that I will attempt to detonate is the myth of government created jobs. The government does provide jobs, but it does not create them. It takes from the private sector (which does create) to fund its activities. In a simple form, in a proper role of government, let's take the example of the police officer.
While police, when enforcing laws protecting individual liberty, are a necessary and proper role of government, the costs associated with the officer's duties are paid through confiscation of money by taxation. As a result, not only is the officer not available for the labor pool in private industry, the money that would provide his sustenance in his role has been taken from the economy. This is the best possible case and results in no net change as the money that has been removed from the private sector has been compensated by a reduction in the labor pool. The role of the police officer is clearly beneficial to civil society and justifiable but is, nonetheless, a drain on the private sector.
Let's expand to the overgrown administrative nightmare that is today's government agencies. Not only is every individual employed in these functions removed from private industry, their function within the government does not add to civil society. We are effectively removing two or more jobs from the private sector with each and every additional government bureaucrat.
There will be a number of people that would argue about the necessity and usefulness of the aforementioned bureaucrats but the bottom line is that government, by definition, is parasitic on society. All government activity is funded by usurpation of funds from the private sector. The larger the parasite becomes, the less healthy the host is.

14 October 2010

New series to open eyes and minds

Today initiates a new series of postings designed at opening the eyes, and more importantly minds, of anyone who reads it. Through a similar strategy to what Andrew Wilkow uses on his radio show, I am going to take popular progressive liberal strategies to their logical conclusion. Many thanks and much appreciation to Andrew for what he does.
Let's start with redistribution of income; notice that the word of choice is income and not wealth, I will get back to that shortly. The justification for income redistribution is the classic "who will help the children, widows, helpless, etc." strategy for guilting individuals for being "greedy". This is backwards and counterproductive to society at large. The needy will be assisted by charity which people give to voluntarily and yes, some will not get assistance due to refusal of assistance from either party (by the way, the recipient who would refuse voluntary charity typically will not go to the government for assistance either). The charity organization can rightfully place conditions on receipt of assistance, attending a church service, assisting other families, whatever they believe is required to insure that the assistance is a hand up and not a hand out.
The current target for the government redistribution group are those that make over $250,000 per year. Regardless of what those particular individuals do, like create jobs by starting businesses, what is the likely outcome? People will quit striving to increase their income beyond that threshold. As individuals realize that they will get screwed out of their money beyond a certain point, they will quit exceeding it. This will force the government to lower the threshold, which results in more individuals stopping short of the new bar. Eventually, the most productive members of society quit producing as they know that they will be punished for their productivity.
I said that I would get back to income versus wealth, notice that the target is the individuals who are productive (income is money received for work). Redistributing wealth would expose what people refer to as "limousine liberals" to their own ideals. Wealth is "an abundance of valuable possessions or money" which is very different from income. If we move into the realm of redistributing wealth instead of income, now your retirement investments are at risk of being given to someone "in need", your savings account is now fair game, the second car, a second home, all of it is now targeted for confiscation at the point of a gun.
It is not your "duty" as a citizen of the United States of America to work every day for the benefit of others. Your duties are first to yourself and your family both near and long term (investing for the future). If you have income left after that to assist others of your choosing, then you are free to do so. Government confiscation of your income is a violation of the Constitution; the Bill of Attainder clause in Article 1 Section 9 as well as the involuntary servitude clause in the 13th Amendment. Unless, of course, productivity and the right to the fruits of one's own labor is deemed to be criminal.

07 October 2010

Education or Indoctrination

With the federal government now discussing the possibility of getting involved in the credential process for post secondary education, it is time to discuss the reality of the current situation and the likely motive for this latest round of "hope and change". The education system in this country used to be second to none and, while the post secondary system is still top tier, as evidenced by the number of foreign born students, it won't be for long if the Department of Education gets entrenched.
Currently, post secondary schools in this country are indirectly controlled by the US government, through availability of financial aid for students. Their curricula have to meet certain requirements which are indirectly "blessed" through the accreditation systems. Currently, the biggest threat to a college or university is the loss of funding if they are pushing curriculum options that are considered politically incorrect.
Now let's add to this the ability for the federal leviathan to directly control the accreditation system and have all components of the curriculum subjected to the whim of some unelected bureaucrat with delusions of grandeur. We will end up doing to the post secondary system what has been systematically done to the K-12 system in this country. We will no longer have a system of education, it will purely a system of indoctrination into the progressive leviathan mind-set. It would be impossible to get a degree in anything without at least outwardly ascribing to the wonders of collectivism and everything that goes with it.
The post secondary education system in this country is already polluted with a bevy of progressive elitists who pummel the impressionable minds of our children with one-sided orthodoxy. Philosophy curriculum do not include studies of Aristotle's work, science curriculum involves memorization of random facts instead of leading students to their own discovery and understanding. The post secondary system, particularly state schools, is already rotting from within and does not need any assistance from the establishment bureaucrats.
The K-12 system in this country has achieved the status of truly pathetic in a number of locales. Abstract concepts are taught long before the basic facts are taught. Add to that the drive for social indoctrination, kindergarteners being "taught" about homosexuality and environmentalism, and you now have a recipe for crippling the minds of our children. If you are part of the establishment elite, this works out beautifully, since you don't want a general public capable of thinking for itself.
If you would like an indication of where this all leads, read Orwell's 1984 and Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron". This will give you a nice insight into the dystopian future that we have in store.

07 September 2010

Class warfare?

The popular media, statists, intelligentsia, and all other people with a collectivist mentality will push that there is a class warfare in this country. They are correct that there is class warfare in full swing today, but their definition of the antagonists is absolutely incorrect.
Through the indoctrination of children in the public education system, college students in the public universities, and dishonest reporting in the media, we have all been led to believe that the "class war" is all about the wealthy versus the poor. When the entire world was agriculturally based and wealth was a fixed quantity, this may have been true. The owners of the land had a distinct advantage. With the onset of the industrialized world where wealth continues to be created, as opposed to being acquired, this is no longer true. Any individual, in a free society that guarantees individual liberty, has the ability the create wealth through ingenuity and sweat. Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific creators of wealth in history, once said "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration". This man, along with many others throughout history have shown that wealth can be created and is not a static quantity. Therefore, as long as there is a level playing field, equality of opportunity, any individual can elevate their own financial status.
The class war in which we are currently engaged is the political elite versus everyone else. The American people have finally started to awaken to this phenomenon that started one hundred years ago. The collectivists have been slowly usurping this country and establishing their positions of power since Woodrow Wilson was president. While the collectivist elite (more commonly referred to as career politicians) has been slowly acquiring power, the rest of us have been trying to live the American Dream and provide for ourselves and our family. In the 30's and again in the 60's, the collectivist elites made huge strides in establishing themselves as the ruling class by creating large numbers of people fully dependent on the government. A large portion of them originally understood that this is not the promise that America holds, but you can't bite the hand that feeds you.
The elitist class now openly states that we are essentially not smart enough to understand what is good for us. The media keeps us distracted with stories about celebrities behaving badly, and the legal system has devolved into judgement of popular will as opposed to Rule of Law. Most people don't even understand what Rule of Law entails or even the difference between natural rights and government handouts. But there is a growing number of us who do and are speaking up.
Throughout the history of the world, liberty has been secured for the many by the few. It is now time that the few do it again. This country has been usurped by would-be monarchs that promise equality of results instead of equality of opportunity. Those of us that are standing up for individual sovereignty are not racists or any other vilifying term that the "ruling class" or media choose to pin on us. We are Americans who still understand that this is the land of opportunity and all we want government to do is to protect our individual liberty and leave us alone to live our own lives. We all need to be allowed to succeed or fail on our own merits. Liberty must be secured in this generation or there will be none for future generations.

27 August 2010

Wake up and smell the feces

On a radio station in northern California Tuesday morning, there was a county assessor lamenting about banks that are entering into revised mortgage agreements with customers while continuing to pursue foreclosure. The result in some cases is that houses are being foreclosed within days of arriving at a revised mortgage agreement. In classic latte liberal form, this overcompensated government employee was pointing out how evil the banks are. By the way, he should have been on the clock, which means that the taxpayers are paying for him to do radio interviews. Classic progressive fecal matter intended to skew your emotions so that you feel sorry for the poor mortgagee.
While this is a classic case of "the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing" on the part of the bank, claiming malicious intent is dishonest and libelous. What this typical government hack fails to recognize is that government programs have encouraged the banks to put themselves into positions of being over-leveraged and providing mortgages to people who couldn't afford them. They never mention that sixty percent of the mortgages "redone" through the federal assistance program last year are already in arrears/foreclosure again. That was money well spent.
The Austrian school economists have been highlighting the risks inherent in government intervention in the housing market (Fannie, Freddie, CRA, etc.) for years and now that the chickens are coming home to roost, is it really the banks that are evil.
Whether there was malicious intent in the banks or even the government is beside the point now. The real question is how do we get through this. We need to allow failure to happen and flush the system. People and businesses fail all the time and the self-reliant learn from it and move on with a revised perspective on how to handle the next issue.
It is time to stand up and let your government officials at all levels know that allowing rewards to be individualized while socializing all risks is destructive and misguided. Forcing people to accept the risk along with the potential of reward will go a long way to correcting what is wrong with this country.

26 July 2010

Encourage your friends and family

Do you really want to affect change in the American political landscape? Get your family and friends to vote in the November election. The sad reality of the situation over the last 30 years is that less than 62% of eligible voters actually vote in the Presidential elections and less than 40% vote in the "mid-term" elections in between. That means that no matter what the talking heads on television would like you to believe, nobody, and I mean nobody, has been elected to national office by a "majority of the people". That means that even President Obama, who the media pundits will tell you won by an "overwhelming" majority only got an actual 35% of the vote.
This is the reason that we see the offal that currently occupies public office. Not only do we have a significant majority of elected officials in Washington who have never actually held a real job, by that I mean a job that actually results in the creation of wealth, but most of them are elected by less than one third of the electorate. The only way to stop this travesty is to get the voter turnout above 75%.
Over and above the turnout, stop letting other people make your decisions for you. Do your own investigation of the candidates and arrive at your own choice. Yes, it is time consuming, but it is much easier now with the internet. There are literally millions of resources available to determine which candidate will uphold your views and, you can only hope, will uphold those views once they are in office.
When making your determination on candidate selection, make sure that you are viewing it from a "what is the proper role of government" perspective. Be aware that a large number of candidates, particularly the career politicians, view the proper role of the government as controlling all aspects of your life. The only significant difference in the two major parties is which social direction that control will swing.
Personally, I have voted in every election since the day I turned 18. I can't honestly say that I always did the appropriate amount of research in my candidate selection, particularly when I was younger, but I am getting better at it. Yes, it consumes a large amount of time doing actual candidate research, especially separating the wheat from the chaff, but it is worth every moment if I can vote for someone that actually believes in the original structure of the government. It takes even more effort to shake the brain-washing of the public education system about how great the "nanny state" is.
Get your family and friends to vote in November and let's turn this government back into one that is actually "of the people, by the people, for the people" instead of "of some of the people, by the political elite, for their own re-election interests". And finally, remember, if you don't vote, you have also waived your right to complain about the government.

17 July 2010

Response to editorial

Here is my response to Dana Milbank (via email) on his editorial in The Washington Post on July 17th;

You are missing the entire point of the billboard and Mr. Sowell's piece. All you have to do is read The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek and he explains that collectivism in it's many forms leads to totalitarianism. The propagation of the socialist doctrines of the early twentieth century led to (and naturally lead to) Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, etc. Maybe President Obama isn't the totalitarian dictator yet, but he is definitely blazing the trail. He has a cabinet full of people that think that Chairman Mao was a great philosopher, which is completely ridiculous. As my grandfather and father always told me, "judge a man by his actions, not by his words".
In judging President Obama by his actions, let's see what we get;
1) Nationalization of two of the big three American automakers. One still under government control, one sold to the administration's favorite bidder. In the process of that take-over, robbing legitimate investors of their capital. - destruction of capitalism as outlined in many socialist writings.
2) Nationalization of health care. Even though the health care industry is currently invaded by government over-regulation. - elimination of individual choice as outlined in socialist manifestos
3) Vilification of Arizona for trying to maintain their own (and the rest of the nation's) sovereignty - the self-diefication of the federal government and it's leadership as warned about during the Constitutional ratification debates
4) Divisive rhetoric attempting to turn all "minorities" against the Tea Party - as perfectly described in The Road to Serfdom, it is much easier to unite the masses (in its most derogatory definition) against a particular group than for a particular agenda. The Jews in pre-WWII Germany, the kulak in Communist Russia, now people who believe in individual sovereignty as the basis for civil society.
5) Grand-standing instead of actually doing something while Deepwater Horizon spewed oil into the Gulf. As a real leader, he should have been coordinating honest offers of assistance from all quarters. Instead he is setting the stage for the destruction of the heart of industrialized advancement. All part of the destruction of capitalism.
As a result of President Obama's actions, I would say that the only legitimate criticism of the billboard is that it is missing pictures of Mussolini, Mao, Chavez, Peron, and Castro. The twentieth century is full of examples all over the world of the catastrophic consequences of collectivism in any of its forms, yet we now have a president who is kicking in the afterburners to get us to our own catastrophe as quickly as possible. He sees it as his opportunity to put his personal stamp on history, and as many commentators and world leaders have noted, it's really all about him. The most narcissistic individual to ever hold the office.
As for you and your editorial brethren at the Washington Post, you should all quit fawning over the chosen one and provide your readers with actual critical assessment of the current president instead of kissing his feet. Wait a minute, that means that you are setting yourselves up to be his equivalent of Pravda. I guess that you have already accepted the end game and are now trying to insure that you have a sweet position within the new totalitarian regime.....

14 July 2010

Collectivism in its most basic form

Yesterday, the NAACP issued what can only be referred to as a reprimand to the Tea Party for being racist. Welcome to collectivism at its most basic form. The whole premise of collectivism is to eliminate individual sovereignty and insure that all actions are for the good of the collective. Race is the easiest way to define the collective as you can typically glance at an individual and have a good idea if they are part of your particular collective. My hat is off to the members of the black community who have not hesitated to renounce this NAACP statement. The NAACP will now pillory you as either an "Uncle Tom" or "not black enough".
This is nothing more than a lame ploy by the libtards to insure that they are viewed as the only ones looking out for your particular collective. Notice that Michelle Obama was present at the announcement, this should be the first clue that the whole thing was orchestrated by the Democrats and the White House. The Tea Party scares them as it is focused in the individual sovereignty and self-determination that this country was founded upon. There is nothing more reprehensible to me than the willingness with which people play the race card instead of engaging in open and honest debate about policies. Apparently, according to the NAACP and the White House, the color of your skin (as long as it is not white) excuses the content of your character.
I guess that since I disagree with Obama's policies, I am a racist. Since I disagree with Nancy Pelosi's policies, that makes me a misogynist and since I would gladly invite King Samir Shabazz to come into any of the Rocky Mountain states with the intent to "Kill crackers and their babies", I guess that makes me violent as well.
Full disclosure: I am a white Anglo-Saxon protestant male with a wife of Spanish and Cherokee descent. I have a friend in the National Guard (on his way back to Iraq again), a friend who is Jewish, a friend who is Mormon, and a black uncle who treats my aunt like the phenomenal individual that she is. This is what America is all about, the ability to choose your friends and life partners based on the content of their character. At the end of the day, our race, color and creed do not make us who we are, our actions do. This is the America MLK was longing for in his "I Have a Dream" speech.

06 July 2010

Asking for a Redress of Grievances

Once again, the money-grubbing politicians are after your hard earned money. We have all gotten great deals on internet sites purchasing whatever it is that we need and here we go with another attempt at taxing those transactions specifically. Open Congress (www.opencongress.org) has as the lead article on their web site this morning that Rep. Delahunt (D-MA) has introduced the "Main Street Fairness Act" to tax internet transactions. This is nothing more than a lame attempt to put in tariff legislation aimed at protecting brick and mortar retailers. While I am all for supporting my local and regional businesses, I am also for saving a buck when I can.
This legislation is a clear violation of Article I, Section 9 of The Constitution; "No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State". Now I understand that most of our so-called representatives are not interested in The Constitution, nor do I believe that most of them have even read it.
I think it is time for the states to stand up and assert their rights under the 10th Amendment and use the only language that the progressive/liberal establishment understands. It is time for the state attorneys general to file a lawsuit against Fedzilla (thanks for the term Ted) with a list of grievances similar to what was included in The Declaration of Independence;
  1. Failure to maintain limited government as outlined in Article I,Section 8
  2. Failure to abide by Article I, Section 9, particularly the ex post facto clause and the one mentioned above
  3. Failure to protect sovereignty as stated in Article I, Section 8; repel invasions. The influx of illegal immigrants from the south is an invasion.
  4. Failure to provide for uniform rules of naturalization per Article I, Section 8
  5. Failure to leave decisions of a personal nature, that do not interfere with any other persons' liberty, to the individual per the 9th Amendment.
  6. Clear violation of states' rights as outlined in the 10th Amendment through financial coercion and unfunded mandates.
  7. Clear violation of the Supremacy clause as outlined in Article VI; it makes The Constitution the supreme law of the land, not whatever whims move the federal governement
  8. Clear violation of the Oaths clause in Article VI by peppering judicial appointees with questions about their political stance rather than their position on the supremacy of the Constitution (and most recently allowing a confirmation hearing to continue with refusal to answer questions)
I'm sure if I thought about it a little longer, I could come up with a dozen others. We are currently at the point in this country where we need to start actively pursuing a serious redress of grievances from Fedzilla. The dictatorial attitude and condescending tone so common from the politicians has run its course and we are done.

I have posted this on my ResistNet blog as well.

23 June 2010

Obama vs. McChrystal

In how many different ways can the war in Afghanistan be turned into a SNAFU and opportunity for the most narcissistic president in US history to genuflect? First and foremost, this goes out to all politicians regardless of party affiliation, if you are going to deploy the US military, it needs to be under the order to achieve unconditional surrender of the enemy. This requires that the congress officially declare war and provide funding above board for a good, old fashioned, ass kicking.
As for General McChrystal, he is responsible for the lives of thousands of American soldiers, including my brother, while trying to eliminate the Taliban from the worst geographic location for military maneuvers on the planet. If he expresses frustration, as he did during his time with the reporter from The Rolling Stone, then so be it. He is the military leader in a quagmire that is shaping up to be significantly worse than Vietnam. By the way, if you've read the article, the comments aren't nearly as bad as they could have been. The reporter appears to have painted a reasonably accurate picture of the diplomatic infighting as he could.
As for the tongue-lashing that the General is bound to receive from Dear Leader today, I have only one comment "Stand your ground, General". You took an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic and this president has shown his complete disdain for the document.
This president has proven himself to be a megalomaniac intent on showing that he is "the chosen one". His obvious disdain for the American soldier is evidenced by his refusal to attend the ceremony at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day, choosing instead to vacation with his family in Chicago. While his lame attempt at showing some amount of respect got rained out (what a weenie), Marines charged with standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown never leave their post, even during a hurricane.
Chairman Maobama is all about the photo op, taxpayer funded dates with his wife, and has taken more vacations in his first year than most presidents take during an entire term. Hope his golf game is improving because he plays a lot of it.

16 June 2010

Could he be any more disingenuous?

President Obama addressed the nation last night about the worst environmental disaster in the history of this nation. His claims of actions already completed were half truths at best. He claims that he assembled a team of top scientists, led by Steven Chu, to figure out how to stop this spill. When did he do this, yesterday? Besides, this is an engineering problem that has to be figured out by seasoned, experienced drilling experts not a bunch of academia wonks that have never been outside of a classroom or laboratory. Yes, there are a lot of physics involved and Mr. Chu is at the top of that field and will likely have good ideas, but why wasn't he put up there 55 days ago?
He also attempted to discredit the technological marvel that was Deepwater Horizon and forgot to mention that it was government policy, bowing to the environmentalists, that moved drilling into a region that was a mile below water. Notice that he failed to mention the offer of assistance from the Dutch government three days after the initial accident that the Obama administration, not BP, refused. Notice also that he failed to mention that EPA policy concerns are what prompted the Deepwater Horizon to be filled with water and sunk, turning a mile of pipe into one big pretzel, rather than letting it burn while BP and TransOcean figured out how to shut it off.
Did he mention that nobody has ever tried to cap a well below a mile of water and what has been accomplished so far is a testament to the technological advancement of our society? No he didn't and I doubt that he even understands that a human can not swim any deeper than about 2000 feet (that's less than half the depth of the well head for all of the Obamabot Zombies out there). He would rather follow "Rules for Radicals" and identify someone to vilify and put all of the effort toward complete vilification and blame.
A real leader, regardless of political affiliation, would have asked BP at the beginning what help they needed and removed barriers for assistance. He would have accepted assistance from anywhere and everywhere and overwhelmed the issue as opposed to spending time figuring out whose ass to kick.
My take on the whole thing; Obama knows that he is a one-termer and he is intentionally making this as large of a disaster as possible so that his ultra left wing buddies can use it as ammunition to destroy the oil industry as a whole. After all, the ultimate goal here is complete government control over the means of production and what better way to accomplish that than control of the basic source material for so much of our lives.

10 June 2010

My latest project

Last night, I embarked on my latest project, teaching a class on The Constitution to a group of home school students. What I was presented with was a group of intellectually adept students (and some of their parents) that asked intelligent questions and approached the subject matter with an open and critical mind. We never got past definitions of terms like liberty and forms of government, yet the inaugural class lasted 2.5 hours. These kids are the hope for our future and if we can send them into the world intellectually well armed they will flourish.
In our discussion on liberty, there were questions ranging from abortion to the draft to retribution for violations of an individual's personal liberty (which led into a discussion of the proper role of government). As an engineer who is self-educated on the subject, it provided the equivalent of an intellectual obstacle course, but I am confident that this group could have held its own with a true scholar on the subject.
I am looking forward to next week's class and the challenge that it presents (yes, I actually enjoy a challenge).

03 June 2010

Back from hiatus

I am back from a hiatus that has renewed my admiration for the medical profession. Those "evil" doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies have made it possible for my wife to function normally again. Seven weeks after going through total knee replacement on both knees, she is up and walking around with a significantly improved range of motion, and reduction in pain, when compared to her pre-surgical condition.
The other item during my hiatus that has renewed my passion, knowledge and respect for The Constitution was a Memorial Day weekend visit with my grand-daughter for her first birthday. She is absolutely gorgeous and I need to insure that this country holds all of the promise for her that it has for previous generations.
My renewed focus brings me to a modification of something that Andrew Wilkow mentions on his show. He talks about the "zero liability voter"; those who do not contribute to the system and only take from it. They have all of the benefits without incurring any of the liability. There is another classification that I would like to put out there for public consumption, the "limited liability voter"; the individuals who preach about saving whatever it is that floats their boats for "future generations" when they have chosen not to procreate (or even adopt). These people have no vested interest in the future generations and therefore don't see an issue saddling them with inordinate amounts of government interference and debt. When they chose to have a vested interest, then they can preach all they want. As for me, I have a picture of my future generation on my cell phone to remind me daily of what it is that I am truly fighting for.

17 April 2010

Product of my upbringing

I received an e-mail from my brother the other day, which he sent after being in Afghanistan for 5 days of a 365 day tour. We are not close, never really have been, but I am proud to be his brother nonetheless. The note has a line in it that exemplifies our upbringing; "Remember that I wanted to do this.  Don't feel bad for me or my family." That is the type of man my parents raised. No pity, no remorse, just getting the job done and supporting his family.
That being said, while he is doing his duty in Afghanistan, I will be doing mine on the home front. I am going to make sure that he has something worth protecting and that our kids have a country that they can be proud to live in. We are The United States of America, not the European Union, Red China, or any other collectivist nation on the planet. We are a nation of free men who intend to stay that way. The oath taken by military members includes "defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic". While he is taking care of the foreign ones, I will deal with the domestic ones.
I am hereby serving notice to all of the feeders at the public trough, individuals and corporations, that you are on the list. You are domestic enemies of The Constitution and will be called out for what you are. For those of you that think that feeding from the same trough is acceptable, you make the list too.
For those of you that will be way too quick to play the race card, I would like you to consider the following; During a conversation the other night about people claiming that I might have a particular issue with people of a certain race, my son came up with one of the most astute statements that I have ever heard him make. He said, "Dad, anyone that knows you knows that you only judge people by the color of their work ethic". That will make a dad proud.
Those of us that believe that this country is great because of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution are now serving notice to all of the domestic European Socialists, Marxists, and Statists in general that we are not going to allow this to continue any more. Hopefully, I can make my dad proud as well.

02 April 2010

A note to the media race baiters

 You, along with all of the other progressive liberals, are afraid to discuss the real issue and find it much easier to play the Wallace, Duke, KKK, racist card instead of talking about the real issue here, slavery. The health care bill, along with its 1964 counterpart Medicare/Medicaid, are clear violations of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution. Whenever the product of another individual's labor is referred to as a "right", slavery is imminent. This bill forces the healthy and able to take care of the unhealthy and unable, it forces doctors to take government mandated payment amounts (say it with me, "wage controls"), and best of all, it forces individuals to purchase a certain level of health care or faces fines and imprisonment. That sounds like a 13th Amendment violation to me. Oh, wait, you are a progressive liberal which means that even though you talk a lot about rights, you have probably never read the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, so let me help you out;
13th Amendment, Ratified 1865, Section 1 reads: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
Which part of what I mentioned above is not a violation of that law? What crime have I committed such that this does not apply? It is, as Ayn Rand puts it so eloquently, "punishment of the able for being able". Your comparison to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's and the resulting legislation is not only incorrect, it is intellectually lazy. The movement in the 1960's was about true injustice and the legislation was to prevent one individual from infringing on another individual's right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness based on the color of their skin. That is very different from demanding that individuals purchase a product whether they want to or not. Note: I have consciously chosen not to elaborate on all of the government violations of private property rights associated with the Civil Rights Act, which had severe issues of its own.
By the way, before you even attempt it, this is not the same as automobile liability coverage. Those rules are in place to guarantee that, in the event of an accident, you have the financial ability to cover damage that has been done to another individual and/or their property. The more abstract way to look at it is that it is coverage to guarantee that you have the ability to compensate another individual when you accidentally violate their rights. That, sir, is the appropriate role of government, to protect the individual's rights. While I am enhancing your education, a couple of more general points; 1) The only indivisible minority is the individual, 2) There is no such thing as collective rights, only a collection of individual's rights, and 3) Racism is the most basic form of collectivism, which is why progressive liberals will not let it die, it plays right into their overall agenda.
If you want predictions of how this all eventually plays out, read Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" or Logan's Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. While you are at it, read William Graham Sumner's What Social Classes Owe to Each Other and Herbert Spencer's Man vs. the State. Those might have a chance of curing you of the social disease whose classical symptom is punishment of the most able.

23 March 2010

Welcome to the End of the Beginning

Now that the progressives have put their pet legislation into place and think that they have won the fight, it is time to show them that we have not yet begun to fight.
Today, President Obama will sign into law, the great travesty known as the health care bill. It marks the single largest government expansion since the creation of Medicaid/Medicare and it doesn't take a genius to see how that program went. This will destroy real jobs and create more government jobs, it will destroy the individual's ability to make their own health decisions, and it will open the door for nanny state legislation like nobody has ever conceived. This is the single largest step toward socialism that has ever occurred in this country, which I remind you, was founded on the rights of individual liberty, not collective good.
But fear not, this is the time for the true patriots to stand up for what they believe. Refuse to accept defeat and make sure that your voice is heard. Do not let the media whores dissuade you with hearsay about what does or does not get said in large crowds or let the condescending political elitists chide you with their supposed victory. They may have won the battle, but we will win the war. We have truth (real factual truth, not the popular opinion crap) and justice (once again, the real thing, not some happy utopian construct) on our side.
Truth: As soon as you call the product of someone else's labor a right, you have crossed the line to slavery and/or involuntary servitude. I don't care if you are talking about the services of a doctor or the taxes being stolen from each and every American worker every day to pay for someone else's crap, it is slavery.
Justice: Justice being the receipt of what is earned, either positive or negative, is what is now due the political elitists in Washington. It is time to give them what they have so vibrantly earned, a trip to unemployment. Keep in mind that they all have lobbyist jobs lined up when we vote them out, so we have to focus on voting in individuals who believe in limited (severely limited) government as that is the only way to strip them of the power they so vehemently seek.

18 March 2010

Quick update on Walt Minnick - Rep. ID(1)

In a previous post I had mentioned that Mr. Minnick was a Democrat that actually voted in favor of his constituents. I am officially and publicly withdrawing that sentiment. Open Congress has Walt Minnick listed as one of the co-sponsors of HR3590, the Senate version of the Health Care fiasco. I am disappointed that he duped me into believing that he was a real statesman and not simply another politician.
I will now do my level best to insure that he does not see a second term.

17 March 2010

They must think you're stupid

Yes, I stooped so low as to use one of President Obama's campaign slogans as the title of a post, but nothing else fits quite so well. The leadership of the Democratic party is so enthralled with their health care bill that they are resorting to any means necessary to get it through Congress and onto the President's desk.
Senate Majority Leader Reid "amended" the bill that came out of the House of Representatives by replacing all of the text in the bill. Then he proceeded to buy votes of individual Senators by inserting "special dispensation" for states to insure that the appropriate senators would vote in the affirmative.
Speaker of the House Pelosi has stated "you'll find out what is in the bill after you vote for it". Has she lost her mind? A bill that takes over one sixth of the US economy to the tune of $1T and she doesn't want anyone to read it until after it's been passed. What happened to transparency? Any member of the House of Representatives that allows this bill to be voted on without reading it should be run out of office in November. I don't care which party they belong to.
Now, they are going for the "Slaughter Solution". Some under-handed trick to get the bill through the House of Representatives without it ever being voted on with some procedural gimmick known as the "self executing rule". Steny Hoyer said "I don't think any American, real American, out there is going to make a distinction between the two." when asked if the Slaughter Solution was an appropriate replacement for a full chamber vote. I have news for you Mr. Hoyer, most Americans don't like this bill and "real Americans" understand that the Constitution was designed to make it slow and painful for legislation to get through the Congress to insure that there was sufficient debate and discourse.
What we have here is a political class intent on controlling every aspect of our lives. Health care is their inroad to total control. Keep in mind that once they are paying for your health care, it is inevitable that they will start dictating what you can eat, how much you must exercise, whether or not you can smoke, and at what age you are no longer a "sound investment". Remember the book and movie "Logan's Run" where you were implanted with a timer when you were born and at the age of 35 or 40 your timer turned red and you submitted yourself to be "recycled". Pick up the book or rent the movie some time and see what nationalized health care eventually leads to. I intend to live until nature decides that I am done, not a politician.

04 March 2010

The debate is over?

The statement "the debate is over" seems to be gaining popularity with the political elite in this country. It started with Al Gore and the global warming issue (notice it's now "global climate change") and now the president is playing the same card with health care. This is akin to a child having a tantrum, sticking their fingers in their ears, and going "la la la". It is not only childish, it fosters an environment of divisiveness and context dropping when attempting to have an honest debate. In this environment, anyone who disagrees with your position automatically becomes a naysayer, denier, or better yet, if you are a member of a recognized minority class, you get to play the racism card. It is simply not conducive to constructive debate. The definition of debate is "formal, oral confrontation between two individuals, teams, or groups who present arguments to support opposing sides of a question, generally according to a set form or procedure". That does not describe what we have seen to date on either of the aforementioned subjects since the opposing viewpoint is derided as opposed to being encouraged.
Let's start with the global warming crowd and their claim that the debate is over. First and foremost, scientific debate is never over. New data leads to new models which lead to new discoveries. Anyone who makes the claim that there is nothing left to debate is admitting that they have chosen to stop thinking, to stop integrating new data into the model, and to start acting based on emotion. Scientists, engineers, and anyone else who values the ability of the human mind should take offense at that statement, whether they agree with the stated conclusion or not, as it is an open statement declaring that you should quit thinking. It is akin to the Wizard of Oz; "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain".
More disturbing is the president's claim yesterday that the debate on health care is over when there was never an actual debate. The supposed debate was really a volley of out of context sound bites with no serious discussion of details or, more importantly, pretexts. The bill that the President, Speaker of the House, and Senate Majority leader are pushing has a price tag of $1 Trillion dollars. Let's put that in perspective a little, that is the combined net worth of the 373 richest people in America today (source: Fortune 400), or to make it more personal, $3278 per person in the USA. When you take that same number and apply it to number of households, which is the easiest way to account for children, it works out to $7182 per tax return. Doesn't really sound like much unless you are willing to have an extra $138 come out of your paycheck every week. How can you claim that you can spend $1 trillion of the taxpayer's money (that's right, it's ours, not yours) based on what I like to call "the sound bite tango" without a lengthy, open, and honest debate?
Bottom line is that politicians in this country gave up debating major legislation over 40 years ago with the last 20 years going downhill at an ever increasing pace. We have achieved the fears of The Founding Fathers where the political class is dictating legislation and appointing unelected officials with the power to make laws. This is a travesty and an insult to the electorate. The only way to save this country now is for all of the people who still believe that this is the greatest country on the planet because it was founded on the rights and responsibilities of the individual to get candidates who; understand The Constitution as written, and believe that it is their job to represent their constituents, through the primary elections. This is where the biggest hurdle for the true fiscally responsible politicians lies. The DNC and RNC both want to maintain the status quo where they get to dictate to the American people and line their pockets with lobbyist cash while they hand out favors. They do not want people of conviction in their congress, but it is time to remind them that it is our congress, not theirs.

17 February 2010

I want a refund

A kind of multi-faceted posting this week with the common theme of money. Not just arbitrary money, but the money that we all earn going to work every day.
I would like to have all of my Social Security contributions returned to me in one lump sum. Just the 6.25% that I see come out every payday, then the 6.25% that my employer must put in can be held for funding existing commitments. Not only do I want a refund of monies paid to date, I do not want any future withholding from my pay. I will use that money as I deem to be most appropriate for my particular situation; save, invest, or spend, it's my choice. In return, I will not collect Social Security when I turn 65 and be a burden to future generations when I get older. I will plan for my own retirement and if I do not have enough money saved to live comfortably, I will keep working. I will not apply for Medicare either as I will be negotiating with one of the "evil" insurance companies for catastrophic care coverage that will extend until I kick the bucket. It is not the government's role to plan for my retirement, it is my responsibility. For the current generation of Social Security collectors, I apologize, but you were duped into thinking that the system was set up as a type of savings account, but it wasn't. As the baby boomers have started retiring, the system is paying out more money than it is taking in and the government has been dipping in to the kitty for decades. A significant portion of the national debt is "owed" to Social Security and since the debt keeps climbing, the system is broken.
While I am at it, I would like to see a place on my Federal Income Tax Return where I get to decide where my money goes. I would like to have the ability to decide how much covers defense, how much covers entitlements, how much goes to foreign governments, and how much goes to paying down the debt. If this were to happen, it could be used as a referendum for Congress to determine what should receive funding in the Federal Budget. I think most people in the United States are convinced that money goes to undeserving line items and this would be their opportunity to state their preferences clearly. Keep in mind that this means that the more taxes an individual pays, the more their opinion matters. The referendum needs to be a weighted average. Those who don't pay any taxes do not get to decide where the money goes.
I am sick and tired of the nanny state politicians thinking that they know what is best for the country and that spending money that doesn't exist will solve all of the problems. Anybody who has to manage their own lives understands that you can not continually spend more money than you take in. Some day the bills come due, yet the Congress does not seem to get it.
When the Congress and the President acknowledge that printing money only causes inflation (more dollars chasing the same amount of goods) and that the best way to stimulate the economy is to quit proposing more regulation and taxes, this country will be on the road to recovery. If they choose to maintain the trajectory that they are taking us on, we are in for a depression of historic magnitude. Inflation will skyrocket and all of the "green jobs" on the planet will not save us.
As Thomas Paine wrote; "These are the times that try men's souls." We are heading into the most trying time endured by most Americans alive today and our government is taking us their. Paine, in the same essay, also wrote "Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered: yet we have the consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph". It is time to take our country back from the egalitarians who have decided that they have all of the answers and know where our money, not theirs, should be spent.

11 February 2010

Health care - I had to do it

A couple of people who read my blog have asked why I haven't mentioned anything about health care. It is mostly because the debates tend to be too frequent, overheated, and full of fallacious arguments, but here is my take on the whole situation.
First, health care is not a right. It is a need, but as soon as the product of someone else's labor becomes a "right", we are starting to discuss slavery. We have a right to conduct our own lives as we see fit to the point that it does not infringe on another person's right to conduct their life. If one wishes to live a long and healthy life, there will be some amount of medical care needed along the way. It is the individual's responsibility to provide for that eventuality. The idea that there is a right to health care, let alone health insurance, is the product of a government and media propaganda campaign. Humans need to eat to fuel our bodies, but that doesn't make food a right.
Second, if the desire is to make health care more affordable, it has to start with tort reform (which will impact more than health care in a positive fashion). We have to get the bottom feeding, ambulance chasing law firms out of the picture. It is very typical for a doctor to have to pay $100,000 per year in malpractice insurance premiums. This also increases "defensive medicine", the "excessive" diagnostic procedures that so much of the punditry whines about. Doctors are having to practice CYA medicine to make sure that, in the off chance something goes wrong, they have run every possible test so that they can't be nailed to the cross for not finding something. Doctors are still human and do make mistakes. Malpractice is defined by negligence, ignorance, or criminal intent, not human error.
Following on the heels of tort reform needs to be the elimination of Medicare for future generations (current recipients have been committed to and they have planned their lives based on that commitment). Based on recent studies, the expenditures from the government will be over half of all health care spending in the United States in 2010. This wouldn't be quite as painful if it were properly funded, yet as they drive costs up by mandating who and what is covered, they are also limiting payments and imposing such prohibitive rules that there is little, if any, motivation for a doctor to cover government patients. The system was a violation of The Constitution at its inception and it continues to get worse.
Third, what gets referred most frequently as health insurance is not insurance, it is a maintenance plan. I agree that there should be some type of insurance with variable coverage based on what you are willing to pay, but when you start covering every single visit to the doctor's office, it becomes a maintenance plan. Also, pre-existing condition coverage should get priced accordingly. There is a cost to continued coverage of something like diabetes that a non-diabetic does not incur. It is no different than someone with multiple speeding tickets paying more for automobile insurance with the exception that some of the conditions are genetic. The genetic piece makes the debate a bit more complicated, but let's at least start calling things what they really are.
Fourth, and finally, if you want to get the cost of health insurance reduced, the United States government should be leveraging the interstate commerce clause for what it was intended and disallow individual states to restrict which companies can sell health insurance in their state. It may be acceptable for the states to make requirements on coverage amounts (as they do with automobile liability), but not who is allowed to sell it. While I am on the subject, insurance companies making a profit is not evil. They are required, by intelligent analysis, to have a large reserve of cash to be able to cover claims. Consider if something like tuberculosis were to spread through a community that was largely insured by the same company. They would need to be able to cover all claims in a very short time frame, shorter than normal cash flow would allow. In addition, these are for profit corporations that have stock holders to answer to, not charity organizations.
It is interesting to me that people who debate this issue publicly do not differentiate between health care and health insurance. There is a distinct difference and the cost structure for each have unique solutions. Always remember the quote from Barry Goldwater; "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have."

28 January 2010

Mr. President, you have it all wrong

Mr. President,

In last night's speech, all of the vaguely proposed items were more government distortions of the economy to attempt to correct for grievous errors created by other government distortions. Let me make a few distinct points;
First, if you were serious about creating productive jobs in the United States, you would instruct the FTC to stop punitive and pecuniary actions against the most successful companies in the country. These companies provide tens of thousands of high paying jobs and export billions of dollars worth of goods every year. Your tariff proposals will, in the end, hurt American companies more than they will help. The economic distortions caused by tariffs have been well documented throughout history.
Second, you assert that ninety five percent of Americans received tax cuts. While this may be true, you fail to recognize that the remaining five percent pay seventy five percent of the personal income tax in this country to begin with. If you are truly interested in allowing Americans to make a better life for themselves and their children, you would demand a restructuring of the tax code that did not punish people who have toiled their entire lives to "get ahead" only to have the fruits of their labor expropriated by the government.
Third, the government "initiatives" for green energy are no more than hand-outs for pet projects. Corn based ethanol is the direct result of government incentives in the energy market. It consumes more energy than it produces while depleting arable land. Ask any farmer what happens if they plant corn in the same area year after year. They end up having to fertilize heavier every year and most of those fertilizers are made from the petroleum that you find so distasteful. If you are truly concerned with making this country world class, instruct the NRC to give the green light to nuclear power plants. Your own appointee, Stephen Chu, stated that nuclear energy is the only viable alternative for electricity production for the next ten or twenty years. And while you are at it, tell Harry Reid that Yuccca Mountain is a completely viable and logical storage facility for nuclear waste.
While I am on the subject of government initiatives, where in the Constitution does it allow for tax money from all over the country to be funneled into a single, high electoral count, state for a train? A train for the East Coast should be paid for by the states that it is going to service. Better yet, let the market determine if it is financially viable and build it if it is. The most successful railroad in history was built with private capital, not government handouts.
Fourth, while it is popular to blame Wall Street for all of the speculation that led to the housing bubble, the root cause of this issue was The Federal Reserve monetary policy and the mortgage market distortions caused by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A majority of distressed mortgages in this country are due to people buying more house than they could afford, or more houses than they could afford. The speculation that I am referring to is the homes purchased by individuals as rental properties, which as the market starts dropping start becoming a burden as opposed to a source of income. These people walk away from these home creating a deflation in home prices. Yes, home prices are down a distinct amount in most markets, yet a little historical analysis will show that they were over-inflated and this is simply a market correction. If you buy a house to provide shelter for your family, the deflation hurts, but you get on with your life understanding that you are still providing shelter. When an individual buys a house purely as an investment, or better yet buys the bigger house with the twisted mortgage to show their friends how well off they are, and that investment goes sour, it is like any other investment, it comes with the territory. I didn't see big government handouts flying about when the dot com bubble burst. It's fundamentally the same thing.
Fifth and finally, if you want to see the greatness of this country in action, take steps to significantly reduce the size of the Federal Government. Greatness will only be recovered through the productive use of capital in a free society. While you claim that economists on both sides of the aisle agreed that the bailout was the right thing to do, you are looking at the wrong aisle. Your promotion of Keynesian economics will not recover this economy, it will only make things worse over the long term. You are currently setting up for another round of "stagflation" that was seen during President Carter's administration. That will hurt the American people significantly more than a bubble bursting. The only way to get this country on a long term healthy road to recovery is by embracing the Austrian economic principles.
When the political class in this country realizes that they have done more harm than good over the last hundred years, we will finally be on the road to real recovery. Honest, hard working Americans are not looking for a handout or some magical government program, they simply want to live their lives free of interference.

20 January 2010

Perspective on terminology

In this post, I would like to revisit common claims of the major political parties and challenge the basis of those claims. The Republicans claim to be "conservative", but what does that really mean? The Democrats claim to be "liberal", but does anyone understand what that means? Finally, I would like to propose a method by which this country can once again achieve the greatness that it once had, staving off the imminent economic decline and bitter infighting that is inevitable given our current trajectory. This will require challenging some basic notions.
A "conservative" today tends to be a social conservative that would like to have their particular morality become the status quo. (This happened somewhere between Barry Goldwater and George W. Bush.) They are very quick to point out that the documents of The Founding Fathers refer to God and take that as meaning that this country was intentionally designed to be an extension of the Christian faith. They parlay this to having the right to make rules against what they view to be immoral, even if it is a personal choice that has no direct impact on anyone else, like their choice of partners. A little research reveals that The Founding Fathers were primarily Deists, they believed that there was a higher power that set things in motion, but expected man to take control of his surroundings through the use of observation and reason without the need of faith and religion. They explicitly rejected the concept of divine intervention and miracles. The life to focus on was this one, not the one after you are dead, and the resulting discourse was focused on the proper interaction between men and between men and their government.
Liberals, on the other hand claim to be atheists, yet what they have really done is trade one religion for another. Their deity is now "the public good", yet there is no entity defined as "the public". Every individuals' definition is different yet overlapping so each will claim validity. Society is a combination of individuals, not an entity in itself, and has no more rights than the individuals it contains. If you don't think that liberals are religiously attached to their doctrines, try challenging the fundamental ones like welfare, the environment, or better yet, their views on capitalism. They will likely respond with statements made by someone with the appropriate pedigree (which makes them the expert and exempt from dissenting views) or attempt to provide a specific example and expand it beyond where it is reasonably applicable.
As a result of the ideologies mentioned, we have two party political system which, with some notable individual exceptions, push for state control over individual lives and any issue arising from that state control is only to be corrected with more of the same. Rather than having a clearly defined set of objective laws protecting the individual from having their rights infringed upon by others, we now have a federal register that is full of random laws, most of which are created by appointed officials not elected ones, that are "subject to interpretation". The result is that any random individual in the United States today probably breaks at least one of these "laws" every twenty-four hours (this is my individual opinion, that I have not been able to verify factually).
The career politicians in this country now view themselves as the elite ruling class and the rest of us as their serfs. Notice that opposition to proposed legislation is met with "well these people obviously don't understand all of the details" or "we know what is best for this country". The condescending attitude and the fact that neither party believes that a grassroots opposition to their agenda is possible and must be organized by members of the other party provides the evidence of that claim. The only difference between the parties at this point is what part of your life they intend to define and control. Both are interested in taking larger and larger portions of your hard earned pay since they believe that it is their right to determine the best way to dispose of the product of your labor. We now have a distinct class of individuals in positions of authority that are convinced that they have inherited some perverse version of "The Divine Right of Kings" and it is time for individuals in this country to stand up, assert their rights as citizens, and find representatives at all levels of government who understand what the proper role of government is, and value the rights of the individual.
Keep in mind, however, that with rights comes responsibility. You will be responsible for planning and managing your own life (and your child's until they are adults). It is not the responsibility of the government, your neighbors, or your countrymen, to make sure that you can retire comfortably, educate your child, or keep a roof over your head. This does not exclude benevolence and charity, this excludes forced income redistribution. When people are not forced to assist every whining entity, they are more prone to assist those that they believe to be deserving. It will not eliminate taxes as there are proper roles for government and those need to be funded, but it should significantly reduce them eventually. These things will take time to come to fruition and most of us will likely not live to see the final fruits of our labor in this endeavor. It will be our children and grand-children who benefit the most. If this generation is successful in turning the tide, the best we can hope for is to see the deficits at all levels of government decline as we pay off the transgressions of the last century so that our progeny will not inherit it like we did.

14 January 2010

Worst economy since when?

The common perception is that this is the worst economy since The Great Depression (I saw one article that referred to this as The Great Recession), yet if I look at commonly published statistics, it looks a lot like the early eighties when President Reagan and Treasury Secretary Volcker determined that it was necessary to bring inflation from the Carter administration down. In 1981-82, the unemployment rate was right around 10% for about 15 months (see the BLS web site for data). Sound familiar? The unemployment rate in the Great Depression was over 20% with a second spike happening after The New Deal had been in place for 5 years. We are not even close. As a matter of fact, there are more people employed in the United States now than in any year prior to 2000. By the way, what became of all of the doomsayers that were lamenting the lack of employees in the next decade with more people retiring than entering the workforce.
As for the "credit crunch", how about 30 year mortgages at 18%. Most of us would be beside ourselves if we applied for a mortgage and were told that the rate was going to be anywhere above 6%, let alone three times that. This also happened in the early eighties when inflation was being reigned in. This is in our future with the rate that the government is currently printing and spending money. The majority of companies and individuals that I see hit by the so-called credit crunch are the ones that continually over-extended themselves for over a decade. There is a new proposal to "fine" financial companies for having too much risk in their portfolios to recover TARP funds, yet it explicitly excludes the four biggest offenders of over-extension (GM, Chrysler, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac), not to mention that a large number of the banks that received TARP funds have repaid that money only to have the government divert it to other uses rather than paying down the incurred debt. Nothing like leading by example.....
The only item that I can see that makes this period equivalent to The Great Depression is the amount of government deficit spending and all of the new government programs and jobs. The only thing that pulled this country out of the Depression was the massive productivity of the American people in the years following World War Two. If our current government officials would simply look at the history, they would realize that the longest periods of prosperity in this country (and around the world) are when the government backs off and lets the rest of us do what we do.
The literal translation of laissez faire is "let do" or, more popularly, "let it be". It is viewed by many as the evil capitalists trying to "get away" with whatever they can to make a buck. In reality, laissez faire capitalism is society by contract, which is how this country became the land where the "streets were paved with gold" and drew productive immigrants into this country looking for the opportunity to run their lives and businesses as they deemed appropriate. That is what will allow this economy to recover and be something we can all be proud of passing on to our children. Government intervention in our lives over the last century is leading to more of society by coercion, which is why lobbyists have as much sway as they do. William Graham Sumner phrased it best when he interpreted laissez faire as "mind your own business".

05 January 2010

New Year Equality Wishes

Let me begin this post by wishing all a Happy New Year. I would like to see this be the year of the reawakening of American Liberty, that is the liberty of equal opportunity under the law, not equal results.
The fallacy propagated over the last century is that “equality” means that everyone should have the same comforts without the same effort. This is simply not equitable. An individual who puts forth more effort deserves to get more rewards. As a culture, we do not question the salary that a premium professional athlete acquires, yet we vilify premium professionals (medical specialists, CEO’s, top companies) when they acquire similar salaries and profits. The individuals in the “premium” category have worked their way into that position and have to maintain their skill level to maintain their premium status.
There will be those who expound the evils of profit motive in the medical profession, “greedy” executives, and “unfair” business practices. To those individuals, I would like to lift a phrase from Ayn Rand and invite them to “check their premises”. Professionals of every type (including medical) have invested large amounts of time and, in some cases, money to acquire the skill that they are sustaining their lives with. People will typically grumble about the cost of hiring skilled labor (plumbers, electricians, mechanics), but they never accuse them of being “greedy” since they are “making a living”, yet when it comes to professionals, the vilification never ceases. Are they not simply highly skilled labor? Are they not “making a living”? At this point, there will be those that argue that “it’s not the same since the wages are so much higher”, yet it truly is. The cost of hiring skilled labor is inversely proportional to the possibility of having the ability to perform the same function yourself. What most consider to be “typical” skilled labor is grossly under-appreciated (a subject for another post), yet the “For Dummies”™ series of books covers the basics of what a particular trade specializes in. They are categories of labor that the individual, with some basic aptitude, could manage to get through themselves. You will not, however, find “Appendectomies For Dummies” or “Microprocessor Design and Manufacturing For Dummies” or even “Running a Multinational Company For Dummies”. That is because the skill level required goes well beyond a couple of hundred pages of text and pictures. Therefore, if you accept that skilled labor can command a wage five to ten times higher than unskilled labor, then why is it “evil” for highly specialized labor (even if it is behind a desk) to command another multiplier of five to ten?
In a truly “fair and equitable” society, the reward received is commensurate with the effort expended, whether it be physical or mental. The society that we have in America today is designed to punish those who expend the most effort, from the manual laborer up to the corporate executives. The laborer who is working more hours to provide a better life for themselves is punished whenever the wages received cross the threshold to the next tax bracket. That laborer will find that there is a point where working one more hour actually decreases the amount of money in his or her pocket on payday. The individuals who increase their skill level to a point where they receive premium wages also find that a larger percentage of their effort is expended toward taxes.
It is time for Americans to stand up for equal treatment under the law. As Herbert Spencer so eloquently states in Social Statics, that is defined as “Every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man”. Heavy taxation on people who excel at their chosen fields without infringing on others is a gross violation of equal treatment as such.