Don’t think you can pick a health care plan that fits your budget

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 30-12-2009

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I can’t believe I found this on Newsweek. Remember when you were free to make your own choices? Once the government starts toward an objective, they will do everything and anything to make it happen. The results do not matter. Here is a lady who pays a $1500/year fine, so she can keep the insurance she has. What happens? Here provider is driven out of the state. By the looks of her, she must be too stupid to realize what’s best for her. Luckily, the govmint is here to help!

Health-Insurance Holdouts – Newsweek.com.

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US Trade War Ramping Up

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 30-12-2009

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This is why government should not be involved in markets. In order to cater to their union backers, the government is launching a trade war. Don’t these idiots know that is a big reason for the Great Depression? Oh yeah, I forgot unemployment doesn’t effect elected officials. What do they care?

We were just mentioning how screwed the West will be if in fact the world goes go into “trade war” mode.

Well, here we are. The US International Trade Commission has just sided with US steelmakers in favoring duties on Chinese imports. Their bulletin is here.

via And Just Like That, The US Amps Up The Trade War Against China.

Trade wars are liking pointing a gun at each other’s head and both deciding to pull at the same time. It only harms both sides.

Also, it’s basically a subsidy from the general population to the protected group. Ultimately, the public will have to pay more for products made with steel, so that steel workers can keep their jobs. The result is less prosperity for the rest of us. In addition, there will end up being another group harmed when China decides to retaliate against some other industry.

Oh yeah, and say bye to the little guy. Only the big businesses can afford the increase in material costs. I have a friend who made mattresses. He was able to compete with the big boys, because he got a lot of his materials from China and was able to keep margins low. Then some lobby group got to the government and had them raise prices on something to do with springs. The cost drove his prices up to where he could no longer compete with the big boys. Less than a year later, he was out of business. Now, while the group that was protected may have keep jobs, he lost his business, and his employees lost their jobs. Also, the market no longer has the low cost mattresses he was able to deliver.

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Reason TV: Worst political decade ever

Posted by Jason | Posted in Video | Posted on 30-12-2009

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I’m not sure why I always get ReasonTV videos from Hot Air. I could just go to the source. Anyways, this is hilarious.

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Wireless Carriers Running Out of Capacity … Hmmm, Wonder Why?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 30-12-2009

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Over the holidays, AT&T had bandwidth issues with their iPhones. Here is an example of what you get when government controls resources.

AT&T previously acknowledged that its network has been overwhelmed by iPhone users in New York and San Francisco, where dropped connections and long waits for running programs are not uncommon. These data-hungry cell phones compete for bandwidth with broadcast TV, radio and Wi-Fi networks, and wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon say that they’re running out of capacity.

We’re told that the situation in New York City over the weekend had mostly to do with AT&T underestimating iPhone demand. But unless policies for allocating spectrum become more conducive to new technologies, turning away potential customers could become more frequent.

The reality is that the demand for mobile broadband is exploding, thanks to the popularity of the iPhone and rivals like the Palm Pre, the Blackberry and Verizon's Droid. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the use of smart phones has grown by nearly 700% the past four years, and mobile data are increasing at a projected rate of 130% annually as more people use their phones to send photos and watch videos.

Spectrum is finite, but it doesn’t need to be as scarce as it is. The problem is how the frequencies are being managed. Less than 10% of the spectrum coveted by wireless carriers has been allocated for commercial use. Much of the rest is controlled by the government. Television broadcasters and satellite companies also possess excess spectrum that could be made available to wireless carriers. Competitive bidding is the best way to allocate spectrum, but the government auctions are much too infrequent—only two in the past four years—and the licenses often come with cumbersome restrictions. The result is congested networks, frustrated customers and slower innovation.

Legislation sponsored by John Kerry and Olympia Snowe in the Senate, along with Henry Waxman and Rick Boucher in the House, would mandate an inventory of available spectrum to identify bands that are unused or underused. It’s a good place to start.

via Wireless Carriers Running Out of Capacity – WSJ.com.

Government action, especially from idiots like John Kerry, is not a good start in my opinion. The reason the allocation of spectrums is not in accordance with the demand of users is because the government allocates them. The government decides which bands are allocated for which type of technology.

Government never allocates resouces well, so why would anyone think that this is different. The market should allocate the spectrums. In the market, if cell phone usage is growing, the value of spectrums used by another technology would increase. If that technology is not growing, or in many cases shrinking, then those spectrums would naturally be put up for sale to make profits for the companies who’s technology isn’t in as much demand anymore.

Why aren’t these allocated by the market? Well, I’m sure people believe these are a public good, and that government must control these. Government must protect us from…. Anyway, they probably say that some wealthy guy will swoop in and buy them all up. Yeah, I’m sure a very rich guy would outbid the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Apple, etc. I’m also sure he’d love to have his money tied up in something if he can’t produce profits from it.

“Yeah Prof, but what about the speculators?”, you say. Well, what’s wrong with speculators. If speculators bought up some spectrums, what would be wrong with that? “Well, they’d drive up the price, Prof.” True, but who says that’s a bad thing. Ask yourself, what are they speculating on. Speculators don’t just buy things up for grins and giggles. They buy them up in anticipation of some news that will make their investment worth more money. Let’s say there is a new technology that comes out next week, and that technology needs a band on the spectrum. Now, let’s say all the spectrums are taken. Oh, wait, the speculator has a band. It may be pricey, but it’s available for sale. The speculator made a good bet, and he’s about to reap his reward. Now, if it wasn’t for that speculator, there would have been no unused bands available for sale. The speculator rationed the bands for us. Not only that, he didn’t sell it at low fixed price like the government would (just to be fair) to someone who would willy nilly buy it for some technology that no one uses. He held it out for a technology that had enough demand that the price he was charging was still a good investment. In other words, he made sure that the most people possible got the benefit.

The government on the other hand would allocate bands based on politics. What is the most beneficial way for them to use these spectrums to get re-elected. It always comes down to re-election. They use our supposed public goods against us to entice us to re-elect them again and again. All this does is encourage them to find new public goods, which is confiscated from private goods, to gain more power over us.

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Health Care Nullification

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Health Care | Posted on 29-12-2009

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Here’s a great post I found by way of The Daily Paul.

For the past few days, I’ve received loads of emails urging me to get active regarding the healthcare vote – most of which had a subject line similar to: “Last Chance to Stop National Healthcare!”

Well, if you believe the only way to protect your rights is by begging federal politicians to do what you want, then these emails are certainly right. The vote went as expected, and so will the next.

So if you think marching on D.C. or calling your Representatives, or threating to “throw the bums out” in 2010 or 2012 or 20-whatever, is going to further the cause of the Constitution and your liberty – you might as well get your shackles on now. Your last chance has come and gone.

But, those of you who visit this site regularly already know that the Senate’s health care vote is far from the end of things – and you also know that even when it goes into effect (which I assume some version will), it’s still not the end of the road for your freedom.

The real way to resist DC is not by begging politicians and judges in Washington to allow us to exercise our rights…it’s to exercise our rights whether they want to give us “permission” to or not.

Nullification – state-level resistance to unconstitutional federal laws – is the way forward.

When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as that state is concerned.

It’s peaceful, effective, and has a long history in the American tradition. It’s been invoked in support of free speech, in opposition to war and fugitive slave laws, and more. Read more on this history here.

Regarding nullification and health care, there’s already a growing movement right now. Led by Arizona, voters in a number of states may get a chance to approve State Constitutional Amendments in 2010 that would effectively ban national health care in their states. Our sources here at the Tenth Amendment Center indicate to us that we should expect to see 20-25 states consider such legislation in 2010.

20 States resisting DC can do what calling, marching, yelling, faxing, and emailing has almost never done. Stop the feds dead in their tracks.

For example, 13 states are already defying federal marijuana prohibition, and the federal government is having such a hard time dealing with it that the Obama administration recently announced that they would no longer prioritize enforcement in states that have medical marijuana laws.

Better yet, in the last 2+ years more than 20 states have been able to effectively prevent the Real ID Act of 2005 from being implemented. How did they do that? They passed laws and resolutions refusing to comply with it. And today, it’s effectively null and void without ever being repealed by Congress or challenged in court.

While the Obama administration would like to revive it under a different name, the reality is still there – with massive state-level resistance, the federal government can be pushed back inside its constitutional box. Issue by issue, law by law, the best way to change the federal government is by resisting it on a state level.

That’s nullification at work.

Over the years, wise men and women warned us that the Constitution would never enforce itself. The time is long overdue for people to start recognizing this fact, and bring that enforcement closer to home.

The bottom line? If you want to make real change; if you want to really do something for liberty and for the Constitution…focus on local activism and your state governments.

Thomas Jefferson would be proud!

via Health Care Nullification: Things have just gotten underway | Tenth Amendment Center.

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Q3 GDP Gets Worse …. Again

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 29-12-2009

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Thanks to The Business Insider blog for this one. Looks like GDP is getting closer and closer to no growth in the 3rd quarter. Considering how much of the 3.8% growth that was originally estimated was cash for clunkers and other government voodoo, it looks like we actually probably had real negative growth.

Last week the Commerce Department announced that in Q3 GDP had been revised down to 2.2% growth after first clocking in at a brisk 3.8%. The number was the latest blow to those who are still holding out hopes of a V-shaped recovery.

Not only was the headline number disappointing, but a deeper drill-down is also depressing. As Goldman Sachs analyst Jan Hatzius pointed out in a recent note, major GDP components, including consumption, residential investment, and business investment decline in lockstop. There were no outliers distorting the number.

Quite simply, across the board, things aren't as good aswe thought… or hoped.

via CHART OF THE DAY: That Horrible Q3 GDP Report Was Even Worse Than You Thought.

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Unlimited Fannie And Freddie Bailouts

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 28-12-2009

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According to a post on The Business Insider, the Treasury department gave Fannie and Freddie a blank check, so they can be as stupid as they want to be.

The Treasury snuck in another big bailout on Christmas Eve: It removed the cap on the amount of money it will provide to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to cover their ongoing mortgage losses. There is now no limit on how much we taxpayers will shovel down these black holes.

The move is designed to reassure Fannie and Freddie bondholders, who provide a lot of the money the companies use to support the housing market. These bondholders have now apparently been given an explicit government guarantee, in perpetuity. The move is also obviously designed to continue to prop up house prices, which, thanks to artificially low mortgage rates, are still above long-term norms.

On a more positive note, the Treasury also announced that it will stop buying Fannie and Freddie mortgages (though the Fed will presumably keep doing so). The total bailout so far is $111 billion.

The removal of the cap will further distort prices and activity in the housing market, which is now massively subsidized by government programs. It will continue to reward bondholders for being stupid. And it will likely result in additional huge losses for taxpayers.

It was obviously not an accident that the Treasury announced the plan after the market close on Christmas Eve, or that the press-release headline made the announcement sound like a mere “update.” Republicans, understandably, are screaming.

via Geithner Gives Housing Industry A Huge Christmas Present: Unlimited Fannie And Freddie Bailouts.

If you were told no matter what risky investments you made you would not take loses, would you be more risky or less? Apparently, the government thinks that removing the risk is the best way to fix these irresponsible government sponsored entities.

This must be more of the transparency of the Obama administration releasing this information on Christmas Eve, when most people are trying to enjoy time with their families. Little did they know, they were getting bent over by the government again.

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Serfdom vs. liberty in 2010 – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 27-12-2009

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Great op-ed in my local paper.

It was in 1774 that John Adams reminded how the “most sensible and jealous people are so little attentive to government that there are no instances of resistance until repeated, multiple oppressions have placed it beyond a doubt that their rulers had formed settled plans to deprive them of their liberties.”

And that’s not merely to “oppress the individual or a few,” the father of the Constitution added, “but to break down the fences of a free constitution, and deprive the people at large of all share in the government, and all the checks by which it is limited.”

Mr. Adams, of course, would have been labeled a “right-wing extremist” or a “militia maniac” by today’s “progressives” in Congress who have been working so assiduously to soil the fabric of America. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would dismiss Adams’ sentiment as “un-American” and tap dance around its implications of unconstitutional freelancing.

But on the cusp of a new year and the second decade of the 21st century, this is where America finds itself: Constitutional perverts and rule of law scofflaws are in charge, the once-creeping crud of socialism has broken into a trot and an increasing number of good and decent people really are mad as hell and not willing to take another centimeter of the shaft.

And perhaps, just perhaps, revolution is nigh.

“Revolution” is a dicey word in any era. Indeed, it can be accomplished by the ballot and not the bullet. But the Founders and the Framers had no qualms about the latter. How soon today’s “leaders” — supposed custodians of the Constitution but merely unionized garbagemen — seem to forget that America was born in armed revolt and that the luminaries of the era acknowledged its necessity in the defense of natural rights.

Certainly, and as Thomas Jefferson reminded in the Declaration of Independence, “governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.” But the heaviness and permanence of the corrupt nature of our government surely will force the hand of the people to press the button or pull the trigger in the new year.

So shameless are corruption’s practitioners and their enablers that their behavior is rationalized through euphemisms. Bribery of the sort that would land those in the private sector in the pokey for 10 years is called “legislating” in Washington. It is rewarded with tenure by voters either too enamored with the supposed windfall to understand that the depth of the pickpocketing reaches to their ankles or with memories far too short to effect change in the next election.

Pennsylvania, the State of Independence, now is the State of Corruption. Grand jury allegations more than suggest the state Legislature operates as a corrupt, criminal enterprise. And the words of the Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights from 1776 never have tolled more clearly: “The community hath an indubitable, inalienable and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish government, in such a manner as shall be by that community, judged most conducive to the public weal.”

“Suckling at the public teat,” you’ll notice, is missing.

Americans and Pennsylvanians faces a crucial test in 2010. They can either continue traveling down the road to serfdom or return to liberty’s boulevard. The republic’s future hangs in the balance.

via Serfdom vs. liberty in 2010 – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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Senate Passes Health-Care Bill

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 24-12-2009

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Merry Christmas America. How do you like being raped and pillaged for Christmas? Our government, once this is signed into law, has cut the final string to it’s founding principle of protecting individual rights. No longer are we individuals. We are now part of the “public”. Anything thing that can be construed as harmful to the “public health” will used against the individual. We are all only one NIH study away from losing any right the government chooses to take away. Guns are first.

The Senate approved sweeping health-overhaul legislation on Thursday, a landmark moment for White House-led efforts to expand insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans.

via Senate Passes Sweeping Health-Care Bill – WSJ.com.

Just as a reminder this bill does nothing to fix the problems as I explained in my post on root causes.

Might be good to re-read my posts on real free market solutions.

Part 1

Part 2

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Haiti children work as slaves. Why?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, Uncategorized | Posted on 23-12-2009

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This is what socialism brings.

Poverty has forced at least 225,000 children in Haiti’s cities into slavery as unpaid household servants, far more than previously thought, a report said Tuesday.

The Pan American Development Foundation’s report also said some of those children — mostly young girls — suffer sexual, psychological and physical abuse while toiling in extreme hardship.

The report recommends Haiti’s government and international donors focus efforts on educating the poor and expanding social services such as shelters for girls, who make up an estimated two-thirds of the child servant population.

Young servants are known as “restavek” — Haitian Creole for “stays with” — and their plight is both widely known and a source of great shame in the Caribbean nation that was founded by a slave revolt more than 200 years ago.

via Report says 225,000 Haiti children work as slaves | Top AP Latin America Stories | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

Just a couple thoughts on this. This is what happens when you have a socialist/welfare mentality as a society. Haiti has long been looked at as a nation that needs handouts. All handouts do is destroy the incentive to work. We should allow nations like Haiti to fail, and when they do, real leaders will step up to eventually move the country forward. The problem is countries, like the United States, always rush in to save them from failure, and what you get is a worsening condition that would have long ago ended if rock bottom was allowed to be hit.

Also, child slavery is somewhat of a red herring. Is a child having to work to help support their family slavery? Were children slaves when we were more agricultural, and they worked on the farm? It’s silly to automatically say they are slaves. If there is sexual abuse that is much different. That is something that should be severly punished, because it is an act of violence on an individual (even worse that it’s a child). Work is not violence, and it is not slavery. If the child is prevented from working by do gooder liberals, there is a much larger chance that the child will die of starvation, be pushed into criminal enterprises, or become an orphan.

I love how our media and liberal elites love to sit back and judge other countries. “They can’t have child labor. Look at us. We are outlawed that long ago.” Do they really think that Haitian parents care or love their children any less than they do? Talk about arrogance. We once had child labor too. Not because we loved our children less back then, but because it was a necessity of life.

The solution again is to let the country stand on its own. If Haiti’s citizens embrace a more capitalistic economy and are allowed to prosper, child slavery(labor) will eventually disappear. It disappears as productivity and prosperity increase, and child labor is no longer needed to sustain the livelihood of Haitian families. Why is it no longer needed? Because prosperity is increased by productivity increases. The more productive a society is, the more prosperous it is. Productivity and prosperity feed on each other moving society continually upward. Productivity increases prosperity by giving more goods and services with less inputs, and prosperity when reinvested (not confiscated by gov’t) increases productivity by being able to afford technologies that can produce without more labor (example: machinery). The more productive the society, the less people that need to work for a given standard of living. Needing less people to work means eventually children will not need to work. Haitian parents, if given the opportunity, will choose to not have their children work, just like American parents. That opportunity won’t present itself though until liberals let them fail, and they embrace capitalism.

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