20 May 2011

I want a refund - repost from Feb 2010

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 Medicare and 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.

27 February 2011

Are you ready to be free?

A large number of people claim to want to be free, yet most do not understand what that freedom entails. Let’s explore it in some detail.

Personal freedom is based on the right of self-ownership. Each individual is the rightful owner, the only rightful owner, of his or her body (life) and mind (liberty). Actions of the mind in conjunction with the body create property. This is the underlying premise in the Declaration of Independence claim for Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

It is very easy for an individual to accept their own right of self-ownership, but freedom in a civil society means that they have to recognize every other individual’s right to the same. This is where I would contend that there are a large number of individuals who are not ready to be free. They are not willing to accept that other people should be allowed to live their own lives as they see fit as long as it does not interfere with another’s right to do the same.

Freedom of Contract is key to the operation of a civil society and is a derivative of the right of self-ownership. Any two individuals, or groups of individuals, are free to engage in a contract of mutually agreed upon terms for mutual benefit. Force and/or fraud in the negotiation of the contract will make it null and void. All lawful interactions between individuals are contractual, either explicitly of implicitly. The simplest contract is the labor contract; an individual that needs some function performed contracts with another individual to perform that function. As long as the negotiation does not involve force or fraud, it is a viable and lawful contract. Think about this for a few minutes and you will realize that there are a number of social “hot-button” issues that fall into this category.

When an individual violates the rights of another, through either force or fraud, it is a crime. The phrase “victimless crime” is an oxymoron as, by lawful definition, a crime requires either physical or pecuniary damage. Therefore, there is also no basis for “crimes against society” since society, per se, is nothing more than a group of individuals voluntarily associating with each other. At such point as an individual engages in commission of a crime, they are forfeiting their rights by violating the rights of another. Through a lawful jury trial, the criminal is subject to punishment and restitution that they will claim is a violation of their rights, but it is important to recognize that the claimed rights have been forfeited.

Being free requires work; it requires conscious activity each and every minute of every day. It requires that you make your own decisions and live with the results of those decisions. If you choose to conduct yourself on the basis of someone else’s decisions, you do so at your own risk. Freedom to live your own life means that you accept the responsibility of the ramifications of your choices, good or bad. You do not get to lay claim, without a contract, to the fruits of someone else’s labor for any purpose. This means that you are free to help any category of destitute individual that you wish, but you are not allowed to force anyone else to do the same. Some of the most heinous offenses against the right of self-ownership are done in the name of philanthropy.

Let’s take a little true or false quiz and we will explore what the appropriate answers are for a civil society based on the right of self-ownership.
  1. Prostitution is a crime.
  2. Marriage should be legally defined as the union between a man and a woman.
  3. There can be a death penalty for premeditated murder.
  4. There should be laws governing illicit drug use.
  5. Everyone has a right to health care if they are sick.

Now let’s go through the answers when the right of self-ownership is consistently applied.
  1. False – prostitution is a contractual agreement between two individuals for sexual activity in exchange for money or goods. As long as there is no force or fraud involved, there is no crime.
  2. False – marriage is also a contractual agreement. This is one of the most difficult ones to come to terms with for a lot of people, but there is no basis for the declaration of what this contract must entail. This is a private choice between individuals. If someone chooses to engage in monogamous, bigamous, polygamous, or even homosexual unions, the only parties who are allowed to have input are the ones involved.
  3. True – once an individual has committed premeditated murder, they have forfeited their rights by violating another’s. Keep in mind that this determination must be made by a unanimous jury with habeas corpus recognized.
  4. False – what one person chooses to put into their body is their own business. However, they do not have the right to expect other members of society to assume the risk for their actions.
  5. False – everyone has the right to access health care if they are sick. Health care is a service provided by someone else and becomes a contractual agreement.

Being free is not quite as easy as you thought, is it? Take the time to explore your heart and mind and realize that you have been programmed throughout the course of your life to believe things that are not consistent with true freedom. Keep in mind that you are always free to determine whom you associate with either personally or professionally.