But How Would They Get Their Mail

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 24-10-2010

0

The other week I was debating a guy on Facebook, who was telling me how government has to provide certain services. I’m pretty sure it began because of the Tennessee fire fighters watching a house burn down. Of course as most of these arguments go, the Postal Service was brought up.

The argument he was making was that the private sector would not deliver mail because it is not profitable for them. I mentioned that I used to work at UPS whenever they first went public (this was my first IT job). I specifically remembered that UPS wanted to get into mail delivery, but of course I was told I was just flat wrong. Apparently, my own memory, the reality I was living in, is just propaganda.

I was told I was wrong because UPS and Fedex could not profitably deliver mail to certain neighborhoods. Yeah, it would work out for most New Yorkers, but how about the little people in Alaska (his term not mine)? While, I’m sure he felt good that he was looking out for the “little people”, is he really? I asked why a person in Iowa should have to subsidize mail for someone who chooses to live in Alaska. Of course that fell on deaf ears. He then proceed to tell me those who live east of Pittsburgh (where I’m from) would be lucky to get mail twice a week if left to the free market. As you can tell, now it is not whether the free market would deliver mail. It’s whether it would deliver it as frequently as some anti-free market thinker believes it should be. This puts to bed the idea that the free market couldn’t deliver mail profitably. It obviously could. It’s just a matter of how it would do it.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that some areas would only get mail once a week. Oh the horror. Bills and bulk mail only once a week. I’m in! We could even say once every two weeks. The point is this is completely arbitrary and whatever is profitable is what makes sense for everyone. If it’s unprofitable in the free market to deliver mail 6 days a week, then it’s even more unprofitable when ran by the government, which has no competition. As I’ve pointed out in my blog about profits, profit is what directs resources to the most efficient use. If UPS or Fedex could not deliver mail everyday to certain areas, it’s because those residents don’t need the mail six days a week at the cost it would take to get it there. There is nothing evil about this. These are choices that people make. They chose where they live. They choose what they can afford and want given their scarce resources.

Of course with the government in control of mail delivery, they just force those who make better choices, as far as mail delivery goes, to subsidize those who do not. Instead of a person who can be delivered to profitably being able to get the most out of their hard earned resources, say paying half of what they do for mail and using the other half to buy something else, they are forced to hand it over for someone else’s choice to live in areas where it costs more to deliver. That other 50% of their resources would have given them more for their hard work, and it would have created new production in the economy.

If someone wants to have mail delivered to some outskirt six days a week, they should pay for it. Why is this considered evil? As with most government arguments, anti-free market thinkers see everything as static. If mail isn’t delivered six days a week to every mailbox in the US, the world would collapse. This just isn’t so. If mail wasn’t delivered six days a week to some places, those people would adapt. If they really needed something, they’d pay more to have it delivered. If they didn’t need something right away, they’d let it come at regular intervals, which would be when enough mail has accumulated to justify the resources.

Also, this is the age of the internet. Why should most mail be delivered six days a week. Talk about locking yourself into an old idea and wasting resources. If the free market were allowed to deliver mail, it would have already innovated well beyond our current system. There is a good chance much of it would be paid for by advertisers since they are the ones filling most mailboxes. As far as personal mail goes, most people  use email, Facebook, text and that new innovation called the telephone to communicate. If something needs delivered urgently or someone purchases a product, they already typically use UPS and Fedex. Why? There’s a reason Dell computers don’t come through the post office. Ever see the first Ace Ventura?

There is nothing sacrosanct about mail delivery or the postal service. It is an old idea, whose time has passed. It is not economical, and actually hinders our progress. Private companies can provide everything people want as far as delivery services go. There is no service that is unprofitable that is at the same time a necessity. Profits only reflect the demand of consumers, and if there is no demand, there is no need. Unprofitable just means unwanted. I guess the best argument again the Postal Service, since it is unprofitable the way it is currently delivered, is no one wants it. Why should they be forced to have it?

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 6.9/10 (8 votes cast)

Thomas Frank Isn’t Being Fair With Laissez-Faire

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 02-06-2010

0

This morning I was reading a piece by Thomas Frank, the token idiotic liberal over at the Wall Street Journal. His piece is an argument against people calling for laissez-faire capitalism, and he uses the oil spill as his proof that we need government.

Just last week, for example, the Washington Post featured a 2,500-word essay by Arthur C. Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute, calling for a “New Culture War” for laissez-faire capitalism—a grand moral debate over the right relationship of business and government that Mr. Brooks felt his side was sure to win.

Well, the Gulf spill has given Mr. Brooks and his movement the perfect opportunity to stage that debate. On one side, we’ve got the liberty-minded oil companies, the gentle giants that, just two months ago, the right was so keen to liberate from federal interference and to unleash on the nation’s coastline.

And on the side of government, we’ve got the Obama administration, which has backtracked on its new offshore-drilling policy and even announced plans to beef up drilling regulations. True, for most Americans that’s not a lot of statism to deplore, but the tea party movement is accustomed to regard even the most insignificant regulatory initiative as a front in the eternal war between freedom and socialism.

“Liberty-minded oil companies”? Is he serious? What oil company isn’t buying politicians? What oil company is begging for less federal involvement? Oh sure, they may not want the government involved in their operations, but they sure love government to be involved in steering leases their way, sending troops off to secure oil over seas, etc. Oil companies are in bed with government.

Also, laissez-faire doesn’t mean unaccountable. Those harmed by the spill would have recourse through the courts. BP and the other companies involved would have to compensate property owners for the damage they caused.

Most importantly, who will find an inventive way to blame government for the disaster? Not blame it for reacting too slowly after the spill—that is merely a statist reflex in disguise—but for somehow causing the spill with its meddlesome concerns for safety and the environment?

The answer, as far as I have been able to determine, is almost nobody. True, newspaper columnist Charles Krauthammer attempted last week to divert a little blame toward “environmental chic,” arguing that one reason the oil companies were even drilling in the Gulf is that environmentalism has blocked their access to other spots, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

But for the most part, what we hear from the right these days is essentially the same as what we hear from the liberals: complaints about corporate misbehavior, the need for more federal action, and demands for a shakeup of the regulatory agencies involved so that they might regulate better in the future.

Has Mr. Frank ever heard of moral hazard? I’d blame the government for making the oil companies focus on bribing them instead of focusing doing what’s necessary to protect themselves from liability. Maybe if BP wasn’t wining and dining MMS bureaucrats in order to get awards and win approval for their projects, they would instead hire the best minds to focus on safety instead of hiring the best lobbyists to mingle with politicians and bureaucrats.

In fact, one of the people leading the criticism of the Minerals Management Service—the regulator in question—has been conservative paladin Darrell Issa (R. Calif.), who correctly accuses MMS of having “too cozy of a relationship” with industry. Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, for her part, has actually used the spill to outflank Mr. Obama on the left, suggesting that someone should find out whether his administration’s vacillating response can be attributed to the sizable campaign contributions he has received from BP employees over the years.

These are refreshing arguments to hear from the right. After hurricane Katrina wrecked New Orleans, you will recall, conservative pundit Amity Shlaes famously described the Bush administration’s vacillating response as the traditional observance of the “Federalist Pause.”

And Galt only knows how many times “coziness” of the MMS variety has been celebrated as part of the struggle for free markets and free people. For a reminder, just pull out that famous 2003 photograph of James Gilleran, then director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, a bank regulator, “cutting red tape” along with a smiling group of bank-industry lobbyists.

So Frank does see that the regulators are useless, but he call is for more regulation. Are we to believe every time there is a failure that that just means there wasn’t enough regulation, when it turns out the regulators were all corrupt?

But things are different today. The catastrophe is too great to brush it off with the usual laissez-faire scholasticism. So the great debate must wait. We are all liberals for the duration.

via Thomas Frank: Laissez-Faire Meets the Oil Spill – WSJ.com.

I’m still not a liberal Mr. Frank, well in the modern day context anyway. Laissez-fair is the correct approach. It is the only way for companies like BP to pay the piper instead of the governors. Mr. Frank comes to these debates with too many assumptions. He assume laissez-fair would mean no accountability, which is wrong. It would be increased accountability. Remember the corporate veil is a state created entity to protect the big wigs from liability. Remove that veil, and see how many idiotic risks are taken by our economic titans.

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Venezuela rationing energy… Go figure

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 13-01-2010

0

Another one bites the dust…..

The Venezuelan government, already facing power and water problems and a shaky economy, is including scheduled power outages nationwide as part of its ongoing electricity rationing efforts, the state-run news agency reported.

Electricity Minister Angel Rodriguez said the latest energy-saving measures are meant to prevent a power collapse that could occur if water levels in the Guri dam system continue to drop, the Bolivarian News Agency reported. Oil-rich Venezuela relies heavily on hydroelectric power, which has been hurt by drought.

Officials with the state electric utilities in Caracas, the capital, and two other western states today announced plans for four-hour outages every other day, the Associated Press reported.

Venezuela started the year with new government restrictions on power consumption, including a limit on the hours commercial centers may use the electricity grid.

via Venezuela expanding electricity rationing to include scheduled power outages nationwide | La Plaza | Los Angeles Times.

Gotta love socialism! Seriously, why did we elected a socialist again? And why do these idiots think we can make socialism work? Oh, that’s right, “Because we are Americans”. Even though we are all humans, the adjective American apparently means we can defy all historical evidence, economic science, and who knows maybe gravity.

This is what happens every time government is the decider of any economic matter. It does not matter what it is. In the US we are only prosperous to the point of which government isn’t involved in the economy. Our prosperity would be so much more if the government wasn’t involved at all, and it’s going to be so much less now that they have involved themselves so much more.

While I don’t have to say this for my regular readers, for all the new folks, the free market always allocates resources to their highest and best use. That is why you do not have shortages in something that your country has in abundance like you do in oil rich Venezuela. Anytime, and I mean anytime without exception, the government changes the way the free market functions, you get resources being allocated in a less useful way. The bottom line is that means the standard of living is decreased. Venezuela is a perfect example of standards of living being decreased by the government’s misallocation of resources. Now something as simple as energy is going to be rationed. If food rationing has started yet, it will be as will many other things. Producing and distributing of goods requires energy, so what do you think is going to happen now that energy is being rationed?

Considering how stupid governments are, I would not be surprised to see Venezuela reallocate resources to energy, and then have an abundance of energy. The only problem is because it will be centrally planned by an idiotic government (and they are all idiotic), they will have over allocated energy resources and some other resource(s) will be under allocated. This is what happens when a few people, far away from the actual transaction decide what transactions should be taking place months if not years in advance. Think about how inefficient that is. The free market on the other hand adjusts resource allocations by the second based on the constant tweaking of millions of individual transactions.

There is no doubt that America will be facing the same issues soon. Our government is centrally planning the cost of money, the housing market, the auto manufacturers, the banking industry, schooling, energy, the food supply, travel, health care and the list goes on and on. Instead of resources being steered by the end consumer and producer, Washington thinks they know who need what and how much of it they need. While we have been the frog in the increasingly hot water for probably the past 100 years, it seems Obama increasing rate of socialization has caused us to realize the waters boiling. Hopefully, we can stop it before we become Venezuela. Hopefully, the people of Venezuela realize their folly and revolt against their dictorial government. It’s their only hope, and not to far it the future it may be our only hope as well.

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Senate Passes Health-Care Bill

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

1

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

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Take Profits Out Of Health Care? Profits Save Lives!

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, Health Care | Posted on 18-12-2009

3

Last night I’m watching John Stossel’s new show on Fox Business. His topic was health care. As usual, Stossel was right on blaming health insurance (third party payer) for the rising prices. Of course, the socialists in the audience and in some of the on the street interviews were having none of it. What was to blame? PROFITS! These idiots think that profits drive up the costs. I even debated a socialist on Facebook who said under socialism goods and services would be the cheapest they can be, because there would be no profit. By definition, he thinks removing profit lowers price. His exact words were, “Profit wouldn’t even be considered in a socialist state, so drugs would automatically be at their lowest possible price.”

It’s silly to think that removing profit makes things cheaper. Price is a function of supply and demand, not profit. Socialism always generates more demand while dwindling supply, so there is no reason to think that not having profits would lower price. That is a simple economic fact. The other hazard of removing profit though is lack of innovation. This is where removing profit is deadly.

The biggest profits are generated with the introduction of a new innovation. The innovator has first dibs on the market. They can charge the most to recoup their investment costs. After investment costs are recouped, they generate tons of profit. I know that sounds horrible in the eyes of many socialists, but what happens next is competitors see the huge profits. They then rush in to capture some of the profits for themselves. By jumping on the profit bandwagon, they bring the goods and services to more people. How do they differentiate themselves in order to get a piece of the profits? They either innovate, making the product or service even better, they seek efficiencies, which lowers costs, or they undercut their competitors, seeking less profits in hopes of taking some of the market. This whole process drives down the cost through innovation, efficiencies, and out right price wars.

This competition always drives profit margins down. Anyone who gets in on the early stage of a new technology can tell you “enjoy it while it lasts.” Once the profit margins are driven down so far, you end up with the companies who can deliver the products or services with the best quality and efficiency.

Meanwhile, the innovators are back at it seeking the massive profits that come from new products and services. This is what leads to our ever improving livelihood.

So what does this mean for health care? If we remove the boot of the government, we can have this same process in health care. It does happen inspite of the government now, but there is no doubt that it is hampered and slowed. For instance, moving a drug through the FDA is estimated to cost close to $1 billion dollars and takes 15 years. How many drugs are there that are needed, but can’t produce the profits necessary to overcome the costs imposed by the FDA? How many people die without those drugs?

If you remove profits, you remove innovation. If you remove innovation, people die. New drugs, treatments and cures are not developed.  If you remove profit, you remove competition. It’s competition that brings products and services at ever cheaper prices to the masses. If people can’t get the products and services, people die. While all these socialists scream, “No profits in health care!”, they should be screaming “Let people die, let people die!”

Watch Stossel’s Health Care show here:

http://www.therightscoop.com/watch-%e2%80%98stossel%e2%80%99-from-fox-business-%e2%80%93-december-17-2009/

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Capitalism – Microsoft, Google and Rekall

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Technology | Posted on 03-12-2009

0

Can someone ask Microsoft and Google to get into the health care game? This is what happens when capitalistic competition is unimpeded by government. You get more and more for better prices, even free!

SEATTLE — Microsoft Corp. is releasing an updated version of its mapping service with street-level views and new “apps” that tack on tweets, traffic and other location-specific data.

The new version of Bing Maps, released Wednesday in a “beta” test mode, offers slicker technology so users can zoom in more smoothly from the high-up graphical map to the close-up views showing actual streets from a pedestrian or driver’s viewpoint.

With this version of Bing Maps, Microsoft matches Google Inc. in sending cars with cameras down streets to capture images of every block. Microsoft is offering that in 56 U.S. cities for now, while Google has hit all 50 states and expanded the feature overseas.

Microsoft also used lasers to scan the buildings and constructed a three-dimensional map of those cities.

That makes it possible to add on collections of images built with Microsoft’s Photosynth tool, which stitches and layers together multiple photos of the same location to build a virtual model.

For the user, that means not only being able to stand in front of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, but also being able to “walk” inside to see photos of the art tourists have uploaded.

Clicking a small button at the bottom of the screen pulls up a library of Map apps. Each of the 15 or so apps currently available overlays some type of data on top of the map. One scatters pinpoints for local shops, restaurants and other businesses; another gives a view of recent Twitter messages. There’s another that calls up images of roadside sculptures created by an outside site, VirtualGlobeTrotting.com.

Microsoft said eventually more apps from outside developers will be available.

Bing Maps uses Silverlight, Microsoft’s answer to Adobe Inc.’s Flash, so a small plug-in available for most Mac and PC browsers is required.

via Bing Maps Redesign Challenges Google With 3D Photos, Real-Time Tweets.

While these maps sound extremely cool, they highlight the fundamental fact about competition. It breeds innovation and a better standard of living. Imagine if government took over the internet. I know. I know. They are working on it with net neutrality. Besides that, the internet would not be growing by leaps and bounds like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc have helped it grow. With Microsoft and Google going at it, it shouldn’t be long until we can stop by Rekall for a virtual vacation.

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Public Education – A View From Outside The Matrix

Posted by Jason | Posted in Education, Government | Posted on 30-11-2009

4

If you have not read my previous post, Thanksgiving, Statism and Life Outside the Matrix, you may want to do so first. This will be my first post where I will challenge the assumption of public education, which is what provides us our programming to live within the Matrix.

As I said in my previous post, both sides of the Matrix structure argue about how to best improve public education. One argues for more money. The other argues for more localized control. Neither side questions the existence of government controlled education, the results over the long term, or whether we’d be better off with no government education.

To start, why do statists claim we need a public school system? They claim that all children need an education, and only government can make sure all children regardless of race, class, and gender receive an education. That sounds reasonable, but are the children, especially the poor really getting educated? According to The Daily Beast, 7,200 students drop out every day. In some cities (usually ran by socialists), it’s even worse. In Detroit, only 25% of students graduate. According to CNN, the nationwide dropout rate is 16% or over 6 million students.

Every single school day, more than 7,200 kids, on average, drop out of high school—1.3 million each year. In many American cities, including Miami, Denver, Los Angeles, New York and Minneapolis, most public school students don’t graduate. In Detroit, the unhappy poster child for American industrial decline, a study from last year showed that a mere quarter of students earn high school diplomas.

via America’s Dropout Crisis – Page 1 – The Daily Beast.

Nearly 6.2 million students in the United States between the ages of 16 and 24 in 2007 dropped out of high school, fueling what a report released Tuesday called “a persistent high school dropout crisis.”

The total represents 16 percent of all people in the United States in that age range in 2007. Most of the dropouts were Latino or black, according to a report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Alternative Schools Network in Chicago, Illinois.

via ‘High school dropout crisis’ continues in U.S., study says – CNN.com.

As you can see, the groups most affected by the dropout rate are the groups that socialists claim to champion. Students are dropping out left and right, which does not provide them many options for the future. Then again, why worry? We have a “safety net”. You know if you don’t go to school, you can at least live off the government dole. On top of that, you can partake in criminal activity and receive tax free income. “Cash only please for all drug and stolen good purchases”.

“Yeah, OK Prof, but literacy was horrendous.” Well, let’s take a look at the “improving” literacy. As we all know, slaves were systematically prevented from learning to read and becoming educated, so we can’t really count their literacy under slavery. We can look at how quickly they became literate after slavery ended.

Although the black literacy rate soared from 20% in 1850 to nearly 80% in 1890, blacks were still having a difficult time finding work.

via ljonespage4content.

Wow, that’s damn impressive. Black literacy reached 80% in 1890. Well, what is it now? Hmmm, under our socialized, secular government ignorance programs, it stands at about 60%.

Six decades later, at the end of the twentieth century, the National Adult Literacy Survey and the National Assessment of Educational Progress say 40 percent of blacks and 17 percent of whites can’t read at all. Put another way, black illiteracy doubled, white illiteracy quadrupled.

via Intellectual Espionage – John Taylor Gatto.

White literacy was near 100% at the beginning of the 20th century, and as you can see, it is now at about where the formers slaves were in 1890. According to John Quincy Adams, only 4/10ths of 1 percent of New Englanders were illiterate. Also, I think everyone would agree the books that were read back then were much more challenging.  Isn’t progress wonderful?

How about math and science scores? Well, according to international testing, American children are not what they used to be. The bad news is the longer they are in school, the worse they get.

At science and math, American students trail those in other advanced democracies. The longer students are in school, the worse things get. Among fourth graders, U.S. students rank high on the International Test of Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Despite this head start, by eighth grade, American adolescents have slipped to the midpoint on the TIMSS; by age 17, their scores trail all but those in a few developing countries

via Hoover Institution – Hoover Digest – The Decline and Fall of American Education.

So as you can see, the public schools in our country have failed as all government planned goods and services do. The debate then goes straight to “how do we make them better?” This is the debate that rages inside the statist Matrix. Both sides argue back and forth about how to improve it. The cheerleaders hooray their side and boo the other side, and it’s completely incomprehensible to them that maybe the government should not be forcing people into government schools. All coercive monopolies are bad, and government is a coercive monopoly. If you do not believe so, try to “choose” to keep your children out of government approved schooling. See how long before you go to jail.

What is the solution? Well, let’s start off by agreeing that we should not stick a gun to people’s heads and tell them they are either going to send their children to government schools, or else they will go to jail. Can we agree that is the moral thing to do? I’m sure some will argue that some parents just are too stupid to make sure their kids get educated, so government must stick a gun to your head. The argument goes that because a small group isn’t responsible with their children, the government should stick a gun to everyone’s head and force their kids into public schools. Pro-government school people argue it’s child abuse to not let your child get an education, but then have no problem with the abuse government schools are inflicting on our children at increasing rates as the statistics above show. Let’s not even get into the lunch programs they inflict on children.

Next, let’s let people choose how they want their kids to be educated. If you do not want to send your child to a government school, there is no reason you should have to pay for government schools plus a private school. Do you think this has something to do with why poorer students are worse off? Their parents cannot afford to pay for public and private schools, so they suck it up and send them off the the ignorance factories. You should be able to keep your money. At the very least, you should be able to take your tax dollars to the school of your choice.

Then the government should allow the free market to deliver education options. They should not set standards, because their standards are pretty much useless. They deliver horrible results. Private schools will have to deliver to the parent’s liking, or they will automatically be punished with lost tuition. Government, on the other hand, has no accountability. If you don’t like the results, you still pay for it. If you try not to pay for it, well you know what happens.

Why is it so hard to imagine a world without public schools? It’s hard to imagine because it’s part of your programming. You were brought up in public schooling and taught that you must have public schools. It’s like most of society in the early 1800s, who couldn’t comprehend how former slaves and former slave masters could live in the same society if slavery was abolished.  Instead of admitting it was immoral, abolishing the institution, and letting free men figure their own way out of it, the government legalized slavery every step of the way. They couldn’t see outside the Matrix in which they were living. If the government had not enforced slavery through fugitive slave laws, it’s hard to believe slavery would have lasted long at all. It would have cost plantation owners too much money to chase slaves down when they escaped. They were only able to do so, because government (really the tax payer) ate the cost of chasing them down and returning them. It would have actually been cheaper for plantation owners to hire the slaves or any other workers had they not forced the cost of fugitive slave laws on the society as a whole. What I am saying here is just because you can’t imagine something other than government schools, because you have been programmed to only see it that way, doesn’t mean it’s not possible and better.  When men are free to make choices in their best interest, society progresses more quickly. It is not happenstance that the least regulated areas in our life are all the fast growing and evolving areas, and there is no reason education cannot be the same.

It’s very easy to see how education if unleashed from government shackles could quickly skyrocket in the success it delivers. It’s not hard to envision bountiful options to meet the needs of all children. Does your child excel in math? How about a school that focuses on math, engineering, and computers? Has your child always loved being the center or attention? How about a school that focuses on the arts? Does your child love to fix things and find out how they work? How about a tech school? Do you want your child to focus on reading, writing, and math? How about an elementary school that focuses exclusively on fundamentals? Does your child have special needs? How about a school that specializes in teaching kids with the same needs as your child? Does your child have many interests? How about a school that brings in great teachers from around the country via video conferencing? Better yet, if your child goes to any of the other schools mentioned, how about those schools bringing in the best teachers in their focused area via video? How about sending your child to a school whose competitive advantage is small class sizes? How about a retired NASA scientist being able to teach students without a teaching degree? How about parents, who know their kids best, deciding what school is best for their child. It is not hard to imagine options and schools opening all over the place.

Why would so many schools open? Because there are greedy profiteers out there, and guess what. They have to deliver a quality service in the private sector. According to the 2007 census, the average cost per student in public schools was $9,000. Do you think for one second there wouldn’t be businesses competing for that $9,000 per pupil and driving the cost down? It happens in every other sector of our economy. Well, it does until the government gets jealous and decides to jump into the game.

While I’m sure the diehard statists can never imagine education without Uncle Sam forcing us into a one size fits none system, I hope some of you question your assumptions about our supposed need for public schools. Hopefully, when you hear politicians debating more funding for education, higher national standards, or any other top down school program, you will question it more deeply. You will ask why they would do that in the first place. How does that open up choices? Does not having choices provide better results? Who benefits from this?

Take the Red pill, and ask yourself, “If I could disregard all laws related to education, what would I choose for my child or for myself when I was a child? Would I send them to government schools, or would I send them to schools who must prove themselves in order to get my money?”

PS. Please ignore all spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. I learned those in public school.

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Thanksgiving, Statism And Life Outside The Matrix

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Education, Government, Gun Control, Health Care, History | Posted on 28-11-2009

2

Over Thanksgiving dinner, my brother and I began our normal debates of politics, war, health care, etc. This year was  a little different.

I’ve always been the typical conservative, who believes the government is a necessary evil that wants to control us more and more with healthcare, welfare, net neutrality and on and on, but we need to maintain a strong military and remain on the offense in the war on terror.

Having always considered my self a free market capitalist, I was reading pro-capitalist books, websites, etc. Eventually, I found myself in a world that challenged my own contradictions. I’ve always realized that liberalism was irrational and illogical, but I always thought conservatism was rational and logical. After reading Ron Paul’s book, End The Fed, I started a debate on Mises.org, a pro-free market site founded to spread the economic ideas of Ludwig von Mises. Like most conservatives, I liked Ron Paul’s belief in the constitution and his domestic policy beliefs, but I thought his foreign policy was isolationist and unrealistic. In the forums, I said I like Ron Paul and would vote for him, but I didn’t believe in his isolationism and questioned whether he believed in a strong military. Having always laughed at liberals and all their contradictions, it was now I who seemed to be the one with contradictions.

Not being used to people debating with logic and reason, I quickly felt like I was being presented an option. The forum users were offering me the Red Pill, leading me on a path which would challenge my assumptions and the Matrix in which we live, or the Blue Pill, in which I could ignore their arguments and stay in the comfort of what I’ve always believed and had reinforced by the Matrix. Having always believed in pursuing TRUTH in spite of fear, ostracizing, or ego, I took the Red Pill. Quickly I realized I was outside the Matrix looking in.

The first thing you realize is the Matrix is constructed of two sides who are opposites of the same contradictory, statist coin. Both believe in using government force in order to compel the populace to live by their terms. One side believes in “national greatness” while the other believes in “national virtue”. Neither fulfills their stated goal, and neither believes in individual liberty. Both sides benefit from the endless debate and the “my team is best” mentality. The Matrix was not constructed over night. It was developed over time piece by piece and quickly became the known world to those who know no alternative to life inside the Matrix. Current generations have had the programming loaded into their minds through the government schools. Even if you attend private schools, you must meet certain mandated “standards”. As an adult, your programming is reinforced with TV shows, news programs, and “educational” programs that reinforce the assumptions that were programmed into you as a child.

The founding institution of the Matrix, the State, is formed by competing parties, which you are encouraged to cheer one as your team and boo the others as the enemy no matter what the topic. Debates rage with differing opinions, but never involve root causes or underlying assumptions. Both sides debate particular wars, but never discuss what caused the war or whether foreign intervention is just and in our best interest (ex: Should our military is deployed in 150 countries). We debate how to best raise the standards of public schools, but no one questions the existence of the public schools or the historical failure of them(ex: Black Americans went from 20% literacy rate in 1860 to 80% by 1890. Now, black Americans have a 60% literacy rate). They debate how to best handle retirement savings, but neither questions whether the government should be handling it at all or the consequences of their mishandling (ex: Inflating Wall Street pay via 401ks and IRAs). Currently, we’re debating health care. One side argues for national health care, and the other argues against it. Neither side debates government involvement and it’s effect on skyrocketing prices in the first place.

It’s not hard to understand why the Matrix is so hard to break free from. It’s all we’ve known. We haven’t experienced schooling without public schools, health care without insurance, a world without US policing, or life without so called “safety nets”. During the debate with my brother, who always argued with my beliefs on foreign policy when I was inside the Matrix, agreed Americans were not looking at the issue properly because they are surrounded by re-enforcing factors such as the media. The media never gives a historical perspective. They only ask what should be done about terrorism or which war we should fight. They never ask why is there terrorism or if we think punishing civilians via embargoes will help them overthrow tyranny. They never ask if we believe it creates less responsibility for Wall Street executives when the Fed drops interest rates to zero and promises to prevent bank failures. They are only asked whether we should have bailouts or not.

The funny thing was as soon as the debate turned to public education, my brother was back in the Matrix. I asked the question of why there should even be public schools, and immediately his programming took hold. “You have to have government schools. How would people get schooling? I don’t think the schools are bad. It’s our culture. Teacher unions aren’t to blame, it’s the parents. You can’t teach a child who’s parent is a drug addict. What about the poor?” On and on the debate raged, but he could not get his head around the fact that the government has created the disastrous system in the first place. He could not comprehend a world without the government. It was if nothing comes about without the government. It’s understandable. Can you imagine arguing what life would be like without slavery in the early 1800s? Surely, you would have been nuts. They were living inside their Matrix, created by generations that came before.

Over the coming months, I will attempt to touch on some of these topics. While I am not an expert, I will present you with Red and Blue pills. The Red pill will question whether our lives our better with government involvement in all aspects of our lives. Is the government really protecting us? Could we live without government? You will have to open your mind and challenge your assumptions if you take the Red pill. On the other hand, you can take the Blue pill. You can stay in your comfort zone, fight the same old fights, assume the government is there for your protection, and live out the consequences of those beliefs. The choice is yours, but you must make a choice.

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Bob Murphy explains why the Fed is not good for the economy

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Video | Posted on 21-11-2009

0

Bob Murphy is an awesome free market economist. I’ve learned a ton from his book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism” and his blog Free Advice. In this video he explains why the Fed is harming the economy instead of helping bring us out of recession.

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Harry Reid’s Health-Care Bill Attacks HSAs – WSJ.com

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 21-11-2009

0

If you don’t think this health care bill is all about government control, you are very, very naive. The only head way that has been made on addressing rising cost has been the HSA and it’s brethren. These plans have brought the consumer back into the spending decision and allowed the price signals of the free market to work. We should be expanding and encouraging these plans, but low and behold, Harry Reid is trying to destroy them.

Start with its attack on flexible spending accounts that are an important part of many employer plans. Flex accounts let employees set aside some portion of their pre-tax pay for out-of-pocket costs or medical services that their insurance plan doesn’t cover, such as a child’s orthodontics or testing supplies for diabetics. The Reid bill caps these now-unlimited accounts at $2,500 per year and imposes new restrictions on qualifying medical expenses, raising some $5 billion by exposing income above the non-indexed cap to taxes.

Democrats say flex accounts encourage wasteful spending, because an arbitrary “use it or lose it” rule doesn’t allow balances to roll over year to year. But they really hate them because they give consumers a more active role in managing spending, instead of having the government decide.

So let’s cap them because they don’t roll over? What if someone needs them for a child with special needs, and they have $5,000 in yearly expenses. I guess screw you, you greedy parent. If Reid was so worried about wasteful spending because it doesn’t roll over, they are the ones who set that rule. Change the rule so they can roll over.

The Reid bill also assaults health savings accounts, or HSAs, which allow individuals to accumulate tax-free funds for future medical expenses when coupled with low-premium, high-deductible insurance. The Reid bill changes tax provisions to make HSAs less attractive, but the real threat comes via increased regulation.

These insurance products will likely be barred from the insurance “exchanges” that will demolish and supplant today’s individual market. Employers will also find them more difficult if not illegal to offer once the government has new powers to “define the essential health benefits” that all plans must eventually offer. Plans that focus mainly on catastrophic health expenses, instead of routine procedures, aren’t generous enough for Democrats.

HSAs work best because they  focus on catastrophic health expenses, instead of routine procedures. That is what will help drive costs down. They operate the way insurance is supposed to operate.

Liberals claim people who choose these options aren’t helping as much to finance a common pool and may encourage adverse selection if too many young or healthy people opt out. While all insurance involves some degree of risk-sharing, Democrats want to impose true social insurance a la Europe by obliterating the flexibility of insurers to design products that are tailored to suit different individual needs.

So as we now see, this isn’t about fixing health costs at all. It’s about creating a common pool. People’s freedom shouldn’t get in the way of creating a “common pool”. You shouldn’t have a right to decide what is best for you and your family. Government should decide. “Oh, come on ProudProf! This is just another example of the rich trying not to give their fair share.”

In fact, about 40% of tax filers with HSAs earn under $60,000, according to the IRS. The Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that 4% of adults with private insurance have an HSA this year—up from 1% in 2006—and about 9% are enrolled in some form of consumer-directed health plan. It also found that beneficiaries are evenly split between those with health problems and those without.

So 40% earn less than $60k, and HSAs allow the middle class to stretch their money further. They aren’t rich, and cannot afford an expensive health insurance plan to cover some other person’s daily doctor visit. As usual, the middle class is going to be the group who takes the hit, and what will the end result be? The result will be the exact thing Democrats claim to abhor, the spread between the haves and have nots.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose members dominate the HSA market, says that enrollees are more likely than those with traditional insurance to be better consumers. They’re more likely to track expenses (63% to 43%), save for the future (47% to 18%), and search for information on physician quality (20% to 14%). They’re also more likely to participate and see results from wellness programs like weight loss, fitness and smoking cessation. This makes intuitive sense: They’ve got skin directly in the game.

David Goldhill, a media executive, recently wrote in the Atlantic Monthly that if a 22-year-old starts at his company today earning $30,000 and health costs grow at 3%, by the time he retires he’ll have paid out $1.77 million in premiums, lower wages, out-of-pocket costs and both sides of the Medicare payroll tax.

via Harry Reid’s Health-Care Bill Attacks HSAs – WSJ.com.

As with all government, the plan does nothing but destroy wealth and create waste. Young people will spend more on health insurance than they will ever use. Sounds like social security, which no young person believes they will even get.

VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)