But How Would They Get Their Mail

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

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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?

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Does The Tennessee Fire Really Prove Libertarians and Free Markets Are Wrong?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 06-10-2010

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Having seen a complete smearing of the free market and libertarianism because of this Tennessee fire fiasco, I figured I should chime in with my four cents (two cents just aren’t what they once were thanks to the Fed). The argument goes that because the government charged a $75/year fee for fire protection and then stood idly by while someone’s house burnt to the ground, that this somehow was a complete destruction of all libertarian and free market thought. Well, let’s break down what happened and see if the free market is to blame or the government.

First let’s look at the actual act. The house caught on fire, and then the fire fighters drive to the fire and disgustingly just stand by watching as it burns to the ground. Is this the fault of the free market? These guys after all are government employees. It does not matter if they are volunteers or not, they are still government employees. If I intern for a company for free, I’m still considered an employee of that company during my intern.

So if the people who stood idly by while the house needlessly burnt to the ground were all government employees, how could this be misconstrued as an example of the free market or libertarian though? Well, it’s because the home owner was supposed to pay a $75 fee to the neighboring government for fire services and did not. Does that act of paying a fee to the government immediately make the government a free market player? Are competitors allowed to freely enter the market? What about inside the borders where fire services are included in the property tax? Can people choose to withhold their taxes and pick their own fire service? Of course not. Every aspect of this was government from the borders created, the laws that dictated the fire fighters could not put the fire out, and the fire fighters who twiddled their thumbs while a man’s home burned.

Was there any aspect of the free market involved? Well, there was the insurance company. You know, those evil bastards who look for any excuse to not pay your claim. I bet they used this whole not paying $75 to refuse this poor family’s claim.

The family has coverage with Farm Bureau Insurance through local agent, Josh Simmons, who raced to the scene of the fire as soon as he learned about it. Simmons says the insurance company would not refuse or reduce payouts on the fire loss just because the fee has not been paid.

Simmons said he knows of one other time this has happened. He said the insurance policy has a provision for a reduction in payouts if a fire protection service has not been subscribed but that the insurer has not enforced that in these situations.

Tennessee Tragedy: Family Had No Fire Service But Had Some Insurance.

Hmmm, so the one free market actor in this situation actually was the one that stepped up in the family’s time of need. Now I’m sure Josh Simmons, the agent, really wanted to help, being a neighbor and all, but why would the insurance company do this? I thought they only cared about profits, and they’d look for any reason to screw the home owner in pursuit of those profits. Well, the former is much more true than the latter.

Companies do only care about profits. Profits after all are societies reward to companies for delivering what society wants. Now, the question is what is more profitable to the insurance company? Would it be more profitable for them to screw the home owner? Maybe if they existed in a vacuum, but they don’t. In the real world, it’s more profitable for them to do the right thing. How would it look to the world if the news said, “In addition to the government standing by laughing at the home owner while his house burned, the insurance company piled on by refusing his claim. According to the insurance company, there is a clause in his contract that if he doesn’t pay his $75 for fire service, they are not liable for the claim.” Of course it would look bad, and many other customers of the insurance company would  go to a competitor. A competitor would say, “Look what Farm Bureau Insurance did to that poor home owner in Tennessee. You want to do business with us, not them. We care.”

Instead the insurance company did the right thing and will pay the full claim. Now they have a raving customer who will tell everyone that in this whole horrendous situation, the insurance company was the only one to do the right thing. As I like to say, “They stepped up in a real big way.” Other current customers of Farm Bureau Insurance will feel reassured they made the right decision in picking Farm Bureau Insurance, and competitors’ customers might even switch knowing that Farm Bureau was there for their client. All of this will increase profits or as I said earlier, will be rewarded by society.

Now on the other hand, will government be punished? They may get a lawsuit brought against them, but I doubt that will go far. They will still be there. They will still be the only game in town.

So while the media froths at the mouth denouncing libertarians and free markets, just remember, in this whole government created nightmare, the free market shined through. The private insurance company stepped up in the pursuit of profits (that is a good thing), and the libertarian and free market thinkers were still right.

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David Frum highlights his ignorance of economics

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 07-07-2010

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Business Insider has a post about David Frum acting as a complete tool for those who love big government and planned economics.
One of the problems is that the anti-Keynesian arguments are simplistic (and probably wrong). The most common critique of Krugman’s “spend spend spend!” strategy is that America will go the way of Greece, but this argument isn’t all that robust, and the existence of Japan makes this argument tougher.
You can always quickly tell when someone doesn’t want to debate with an idea that is just common sense. The first thing they pull out is it’s too simplistic, and then they’ll tell you how complicated the world is now. Do they really expect to win an argument that says the world is so complicated now that central planners are better at planning now than when it was less complicated?

Here’s a better critique of Krugman: How will spending “fix” the economy? Yes, we understand all that stuff about putting people to work (not wholly illegitimate) and how there’s all kinds of slack in the system, but how will government spending actually make the economy more robust? Or more specifically, where does Krugman actually see the economy in two or three years, such that we can take off the training wheels?

That question is almost never answered.

It’s never answered because they don’t want to answer it. Keynes answered it best when he said “in the long run, we’re all dead”. Unfortunately, Krugman is living in Keynes long run.

Now it’s true you could ask the same, too, of the free-market, anti-Keynesians.

In fact, that’s exactly what conservative columnist David Frum does in a recent piece up at The Week. He critiques Krugman, but wonders what, exactly, the GOP proposes to jumpstart the economy.

Is anyone else tired of hearing “conservative” David Frum’s name being brought up in order to bash everything that is truly conservative? The GOP probably is proposing the wrong solutions, because they are probably proposing more tax cuts with no spending cuts. So how does that hurt what free market economists say? The GOP is not synonymous with free market economics as George Bush blatantly proved.

The question is kind of fair, but then, it’s a contradiction to talk about a “free-market” plan for fixing the economy. Small government conservatives are supposed to believe in spontaneous order, and the ability of private actors to produce growth without some brilliant guidance from intellectuals.

The fact that Frum is concerned about the lack of a free-market plan might be, more than anything else, an indication of his well-known ambivalence towards conservatism.

Of course Frum is ambivalent towards conservatism. He is a neocon. He is not a free market thinker, he is not a small government thinker, and he is not a conservative. A free market thinker would not be questioning what the plan is from free market economists. The free market doesn’t have a plan. The fact that Frum is asking what the free market plan is either shows his complete ignorance of the subject or his lack of honesty when discussing it.

So ignore the doom talk about how we’re the next Greece, which isn’t analogous, and isn’t helpful, and instead try to figure out how more and more spending will do anything to improve the functioning of the economy, and whether there’s actually plausible end game to the Keynsian madness.

Read more:  Do The Krugmanites Have ANY Serious Ideas For Fixing The Economy?.

Ignore the doom talk about how we’re the next Greece? This sounds like a bad idea as well. Maybe we should be thinking about what happens in “civilized” America when the government either inflates it’s way out of it’s obligations or finally comes clean and tells Americans it can’t afford all the lies they’ve promised. Maybe we should look at how quickly we’d have rioting in the streets.

Earlier in the article the author mentions Japan as if that’s proof that acting like Greece will not lead to the same result as Greece. The problem is the US is not Japan. Japan actually produces goods, while the US has lost most of its manufacturing. We’ve relied heavily on low cost manufacturing in China, but with China depegging their currency, that will quickly come to an end.

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Obama to Demagogue His Masters

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 22-04-2010

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In order to make it seem like the government and the banking sector aren’t one in the same, President Obama is rolling out his teleprompter to deliver a speech blasting Wall Street for acting like a bunch of ignorant drunks. Who cares that the Fed was supplying the booze.

From the Wall Street Journal

President Barack Obama will return to Manhattan’s Cooper Union on Thursday, two years after a campaign speech that laid out his vision for Wall Street, to castigate a financial industry that he will say has too often forgotten the ordinary Americans who have suffered from its reckless irresponsibility.

OK, I know what you’re thinking. Here is the leader of our government blasting Wall Street for forgetting “ordinary Americans  who have suffered from its reckless irresponsibility”. This is the same government who forgot about the ordinary Americans almost a century ago. This is the same government who tried manipulated the real estate market by promoting “everyone should own a home”, which led to millions of American losing their homes and millions of others left to pick up the pieces. This is the same government who’s robbed the middle class by devaluing the currency over 30% just in the past decade. This is the same government who’s created an unsustainable empire that’s led to wars, terrorism and the hatred of America. Oh, and this is the same government who is enslaving us and our children to foreign debt holders who will have us working as slaves to pay them back. Oh please, President Obama, tell me how the evil Wall Street banks forgot about ordinary Americans.

The speech comes at a pivotal moment in Senate negotiations over a sweeping measure to re-regulate the financial industry. After trading barbed accusations, senators from both parties now say they are near a deal that would preserve the framework of Mr. Obama’s plan. By appearing just two miles from Wall Street, Mr. Obama hopes to raise the political pressure and seal the deal.

“A free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it,” Mr. Obama will say, according to speech excerpts released Wednesday night. “That is what happened too often in the years leading up to the crisis. Some on Wall Street forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged, there is family looking to buy a house, pay for an education, open a business, or save for retirement. What happens here has real consequences across our country.”

What an ignorant a-hole. Behind every dollar is nothing. That is the problem. Our government has become our modern day money changers. Unfortunately, while the people can be fooled, the free market can’t. It will blow your house of cards down eventually, which is what happen. Wall Street and the mortgage industry is not a free market. Obama is either ignorant or flat out lying. These are two of the most regulated industries we have. In a free market, you wouldn’t use monopoly money backed up by nothing. In a free market, you wouldn’t have government pushing people to buy homes with taxes credits and incentives. In a free market, you wouldn’t have bailouts and the FDIC basically telling the banks to do what they want because they’ll print more money if needed.

As he has done several times in the year-long debate, the president will implore industry executives to call back the lobbyists engaged in “furious efforts” to thwart or water down his legislation.

“I am sure that many of those lobbyists work for some of you,” he will say, according to the excerpts. “But I am here today because I want to urge you to join us, instead of fighting us in this effort. I am here because I believe that these reforms are, in the end, not only in the best interest of our country, but in the best interest of our financial sector.”

Sure sounds like something a mafia thug would say. Lobbyist are sent to argue the side of their client. When you have people with guns that say they are going to start shooting, of course you are going to have people sending representatives to argue why their clients shouldn’t be shot. Maybe if we had a free market, where the government wasn’t pointing guns, we wouldn’t need lobbyists.

The legislation would grant the federal government the power to seize teetering financial giants and dismantle them the same way the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation now can seize failing banks. It would create a new financial consumer regulator, would boost the strength and budget of the securities and exchange commission and would impose new transparency rules on the trading of derivatives, the complex financial instruments that helped bankrupt Lehman Brothers and nearly wipe out American International Group and Merrill Lynch.

More moral hazard. Just what we need. How about we let them fail, and let everyone know that we will let them fail. When everyone knows the government is going to step in no matter what happens, they will rightly assume that they can take idiotic risks that they otherwise wouldn’t. People bet on CDOs and housing because they knew the government would not let housing collapse, in particular Fannie and Freddie.

Mr. Obama will treat his return to Cooper Union as something of a triumphal homecoming, with a touch of “I told you so” in the speech. Two years ago, he called on Congress to give the Federal Reserve more supervisory power over the biggest financial institutions and to demand tougher new capital and liquidity requirements. Pending legislation largely follows that demand. Congress appears ready to meet his request, now two years old, for a new financial consumer regulator. His calls for stronger, international accounting standards and financial stability requirements have been taken up by the Group of 20 nations, although talks are proceeding haltingly.

This is just hilarious. “he called on Congress to give the Federal Reserve more supervisory power” is Obama’s “I told you so”? The Federal Reserve is the reason we had this mess. This is like saying we should give Madoff more power to regulate the purse snatchers of the world.

His 2008 suggestion of streamlining the hodgepodge of “overlapping and competing regulatory agencies” has been abandoned. But he will dwell more on the warnings he issued in that first Cooper Union address.

“I take no satisfaction in noting that my comments have largely been borne out by the events that followed,” he plans to say. “But I repeat what I said then because it is essential that we learn the lessons of this crisis, so we don’t doom ourselves to repeat it. And make no mistake, that is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass – an outcome that is unacceptable to me and to the American people.”

“One of the most significant contributors to this recession was a financial crisis as dire as any we’ve known in generations,” Mr. Obama will say in a highly-anticipated speech at the Coopers Union, a college in New York.

He will tell the expected crowd of 700 that America must learn from the mistakes of the economic crises and enact legislation to help prevent it from happening again.

Yes, we live with a broken record government. We always need more legislation to help prevent something from happening again. Over and over we are told they must act to protect us. Only they aren’t protecting us. They are stacking the deck more in their favor. If you want real reform, ask them to quit protecting us.

Obama’s push for financial reform has intensified in recent weeks and he has lashed out at Republicans for meeting with Wall Street lobbyists. In his speech he is expected to say that legislative proposals in Congress would help restructure the rules that allowed Wall Street to take risky bets that Americans ended up paying for.

Republicans have to be completely tone def. What morons would meet with Wall Street lobbyists after everything that just happened? Oh well, I’m hoping for a third party anyway.

He will state that he won’t accept compromises that would weaken the bill, particularly in the area of derivatives, complex financial instruments that played a role in the economic crisis.

He will also say that financial reforms must set limits on the size of risks that banks can take, and include provisions that would make it easier for a failing institution to unwind before taxpayers would be affected. He will also say he believes in a free market. “But a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it,” he said. He will add, “That is what happened too often in the years leading up to the crisis.”

-By Jared A. Favole

via Obama to Castigate Wall Street – WSJ.com.

Hahahaahahah, Obama will also say he believes in the free market? This sounds like the plantation owner telling his slaves how much he believes in freedom. What a damn joke. I can see it now. “I believe in the free market. Now let me tell you all the regulations, loop holes, incentives, kick backs, and advantages I’m going to hand out. Also, we’re going to print more fake money that we will filter through these same evil banks. This free market stuff rules!”

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How Will Government Deliver Health Care Savings? Paul Krugman says…..

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 02-04-2010

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How do we get cost savings in the free market? Do businesses say they are going to deny people products and services that consumers demand in order to save money? No. People save money by entrepreneurs competing to deliver better and cheaper products and services. If an entrepreneur sees that a company is charging too much, he or she will say “I can deliver that same service for less money and still make a profit.”, and they jump into the business (well unless the government sets up a road block). In doing so, they push down the cost of that product or service.

Also, if a product or service has low profit margins but is still extremely expensive, an entrepreneur will say, “Couldn’t this substitute product deliver the same effect at a lower cost?”, and they’d come up with a substitute. This happens all the time. Look a copper plumbing. All the competition in the world isn’t going to lower the price enough, so entrepreneurs developed substitutes for plumbing. Now they run piping with PEX, which is about 1/1oth the cost of copper.

So, if we want to lower health care costs, we should remove the government’s barriers and allow the free market to bring prices down. Instead, what are we doing? What is ObamaCare going to do to lower costs? Well, ask Paul Krugman, the lefts’ superhero economist.

How’s a real economist put it? Here’s Robert Wenzel from EconomicPolicyJournal.

BTW, I do agree with him that many are, in one area, overestimating the cost of ObamaCare. Between death panels and the general decline in life expectancy that is going to occur, the actuarial costs based on life expectancy will be too high. That said, the structure overall is designed to explode overall healthcare costs. When you have demanders of services who don’t have to pay the direct cost, they will demand and demand.

via EconomicPolicyJournal.com

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Do We Really Need Government Licensing For Professionals?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Video | Posted on 16-03-2010

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John Stossel had a great episode last week on government licensed professions. Here is a short segment from the show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4T1YeG_qiE

OK, so the typical statist argument goes, “Do you want your butcher to perform surgery on you?”. Well, maybe. It depends. How many successful operations has he performed in the past? What’s his success rate? How does that compare to his competitor or a certified doctor? This argument that they lay out assumes that we are all driveling idiots, and the government in it’s infinite wisdom is here to protect us. Without the state, we’d hand a knife over to anyone to cut us open.

Professions without government licensing would operate no different than they do with licensing, except they’d have more competition and waste less time, money and energy on stupid government regulations. Ultimately, that would lead to better prices for consumers and more options.

So, what do you do now when you look for say a licensed real estate agent? Do you just go up to some stranger and say “Here’s my keys. Go sell my house.” Of course not, you ask around to people you trust asking who they recommend. Then you may look online to see if they have reviews. A perfect example is Angieslist. I just had my carpets cleaned. Did I just grab a phone book and call a random number to clean my carpets? No, I checked Angieslist, read reviews, and called for a price from those who had the best reviews. This would be no different with any profession, including doctors.

The truth is professions do like to keep out competitors. They don’t want you having the freedom to ask your neighbor who wired up his house himself to help you wire up yours. You must be forced into calling a licensed electrician. Then you must call an inspector to certify your job. Why can’t you use your neighbor? After all, it’s a free country right? Why can’t you call an inspector only if you want to make sure the electrician did his job right. This should be voluntary. Yes, you may sell your house, but the buyer should then pay an inspector to make sure they aren’t buying  a house with electrical problems. This too should be voluntary.

Now, I have nothing against voluntary associations and certifications. If doctors, attorneys or electricians what to set themselves apart from their competition, I have no problem with them forming an association and certifications. Those tell the consumer that they have gone through more training, and they are approved by the association. This is good information, but it should be voluntary. I should be able to choose between someone not a member of the association, who may not have had all the rigorous training but may be cheaper, or the certified member of an association, who I know has gone through a specific training program. I work in computers and this is how it works in our field. I don’t need to be a licensed IT consultant, but if I want to separate myself and increase my opportunities of employment, I go through certain certifications for my area of expertise. This tells potential employers that I’ve gone through certain training and was able to pass the tests that go with it. I’ve demonstrated a certain amount of knowledge. This should be the same of all professions.

The truth is there is not need for licensing. It’s just another way for governments to take you freedom and to prevent competition.

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Privatizing 911 because life is too precious to be trusted to government.

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 18-02-2010

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In  my post on every day socialism, I only talked about police, fire and roads. I guess I shouldn’t have left out 911 service, since I just recently had some liberal tell me not to bash socialism if I ever need to use 911. From my home town comes an example of what socialism delivers. The truth is 911 service is too critical to be entrusted to government.

In his first call to 911, Curtis Mitchell sounded calm, explaining to dispatchers that his “entire stomach [was] in pain.”

By the time his longtime girlfriend made a 10th call nearly 30 hours later, she was frantic. He wasn’t breathing. He was cold to the touch.

“Oh God, oh God,” Sharon Edge sobbed to dispatchers. “I’ve been trying to get an ambulance over here for three days.”

Paramedics arrived at their Hazelwood home as Ms. Edge tried to resuscitate the 50-year-old, but it was too late.

“I sat up here with him, watching him die,” Ms. Edge said Tuesday, after city officials apologized to her and pledged immediate changes in emergency response after Mr. Mitchell’s death on Feb. 7. “They didn’t do their jobs like they were supposed to.”

Snow-covered roads, poor communication and a 911 center deluged with more than double the average number of calls during last week’s crippling snowstorms combined to cause Mr. Mitchell’s long wait, city officials said.

Ambulances were dispatched three times on Saturday, Feb. 6, to the couple’s home in the 5100 block of narrow Chaplain Way, but couldn’t get there because of the snow. Paramedics twice asked whether Mr. Mitchell could walk to an intersection, even after he told them that he could not because he was in too much pain.

Emergency vehicles were within blocks of his home three times — once so close Ms. Edge could see the ambulance lights from her porch — but did not make contact with him. They finally reached the home on Sunday morning, Feb. 7, but Mr. Mitchell was already dead.

“We should have gotten there,” Public Safety Director Michael Huss said. “It’s that simple.”

via Hazelwood man dies after 10 calls to 911 over two days.

I know. I know. I’m going to have liberals jumping mad about privatizing. Even conservatives find privatization hard to swallow for what they believe is critical government services. Now, I am not talking about just hiring some company to do the exact same thing government does currently, although it would still be better than what we have now.

The problem with our current system is it’s a monopoly. Even worse, it’s a government monopoly. Without competition, you have no options, and because you have no options, the monopoly providing service has no incentive to provide the best service possible.

Let’s just throw some ideas out there just to drive liberals nuts. How about if you had a service that you subscribe to like you do for home security systems. Why couldn’t you have companies who provide 24/7 911 service (who knows what the number would be) that you subscribe to when you move into an area. When you move in to an area, you would research who has the best response times, pricing, etc. This way once you subscribe, you know who to call. This could just be one business. You could then have separate or combined businesses that actually provide the ambulances and do the pickups. The 911 service would either be the customer or the owner of the ambulance services. In order to maintain or increase their profits, the 911 service would make their system more efficient. They would work with ambulances the most efficient and least costly way to fulfill their contractual obligations. Their contractual obligation to their customers would be quickly organizing a response to your call for police, fire and 911 service.

So, what would drive 911 service providers to make sure they get to your house even in the snow? PROFITS. If you saw a story similar to the story above and it was under privatized 911 services, would you sign up for that providers service? If you were a current subscriber, would you switch your provider? The risk of losing business and profits would drive 911 service providers to never let what happened in the story above to happen. If it did, they would be punished by being put out of business. How is the government punished? You pay for the crappy service no matter what.

If there were multiple providers as I’m advocating here, Mrs. Mitchell could have said to hell with her current provider. She could have called a competitor and said, “I’m ready to switch if you get someone here asap.” Unfortunately for Mr. Mitchell, the biggest mistake was expecting a government agency to act as if they would be held accountable. They would have been better off if they called a taxi service, Fedex or even the local flower shop to deliver him to a hospital. He would probably still be alive today.

This has been a big story in my home town. Of course, even though it’s a government failure, local bureaucrats are using the incident for grandstanding. As I’ve said many times, you can’t lose when you are in government.

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Everyday Socialism – Police, Fire, and Roads

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

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It seems like every time someone is defending socialism they say we already have socialism, and they bring up police, fire, roads, and schools. Now, those of you who follow my blog, know my opinion on schools.  Schools are a horrible example, if your goal is to preach the greatness of government or socialism. Of course, trying to argue against police, fire and roads is not an easy task. But hey, what’s the point of easy arguments, right?

So first, let me ask why these are considered socialist programs? They are not a redistribution of wealth? They are more like insurance for inhabitants of a neighborhood, at least the police and fire departments are. Those inhabitants pay in the form of property taxes, income taxes, sale tax, or however they chose to fund these insurance policies. Those who pay the most for them, property owners, are the ones who benefit the most from them. They protect property (supposed to anyway). Also, as far as roads go, as a neighborhood, state and country, we as citizens want to be able to get places. We want to get to the store, our family members’ houses, vacation spots, etc. We want the police and fire departments to be able to get to our house in an emergency. In order to have roads, we pay the government to make roads. Again, this is not as socialist as say welfare, universal health care, etc.

With that being said, even if these are sort of socialized, does that mean they are better than they could be if they were privatized? How about if they were never a government function in the first place? The problem is most people cannot imagine the world beyond what is constructed around them. The government steps in and takes over what the private sector used to deliver. Then when people say the government should shrink or go away, the sheeple say “yeah, but who’s going to do this, that, or the other thing.” Just imagine if you told a welfare recipient that we need to take our government back to the size talked about in the constitution. They’d say “Yeah, but who’s going to give me money to spend? Who’s going to give me my groceries?” They have forgotten that a job will give you those things.

Now, I really don’t want to get into each one of these in detail. When you bring up topics like this, people want to hammer you with questions about how you would fix some aspect of our society that they believe the government is fixing, but really the government is not. They say things like, yeah but in a free market, you’d have the ultra rich taking advantage of the rest of us, robbing us of our money. Meanwhile, under our government, the ultra rich already do that by government force. What do you think TARP, bailouts, Fed induced inflation, etc is? In the free market, at least you have a choice. The gun of government is not pointed at your head forcing your to hand you money over.

I myself cannot construct a complete system for police, fire and roads. If I could, then we should crown me King of the land, and shower me with gold. What I have done, after not believing these were possible without government, is try to think of possible ways these services could have been provided by the private sector had government no imposed it’s limited view on us. Let’s just go through some thoughts.

Police - To start, the more we force citizens to give up arms, the more police we need. An armed citizen can prevent crimes, can protect his family, and can protect his neighbors. Re-arm citizens and the need for police is greatly reduced. If everyone had a gun, do you think people would be more polite, less inclined to be violent, and commit less crime? Would they risk getting shot, since any person around them could and probably is packing?  In addition to a well armed citizenry, who is to say without government, we couldn’t have private defense agencies. With private defense agencies, there would be competition. In order to gain new customers, agencies would have to compete on price and track record. If one agency has customers being robbed, they’d lose business. If privatizing is just too hard to imagine, one could argue, that the main point of government is to secure our liberties. Since that is the case, policing does have a role in society. Then again, if we can secure our liberties without government, there would be no need for government.

Fire - This is one that socialists love to bring up. Let’s just think if we had no fire departments. Is it possible that they would come about without government force? To start, you could have companies delivering these services. You could have the exact same setup, but they could just be funded differently. It would seem to me that insurance companies could pay private fire companies a fee per insured house in a given area. This would help minimize the insurance company’s exposure. With private fire companies, you would have competition, competing on how fast they got to the fire, how contained the fire was, how much damage did the fire create, whats the cost per household for their services, and who has the best technology to fight fires.

Also, who is to say there wouldn’t be better technology if government didn’t force a certain system on society and spread the cost out amongst everyone. Maybe building materials would be much more fire retardant. If you want a certain insurance rate, you must use fire retardant materials or you must retrofit your house with some fire proofing technology. The innovation of the free market is hard to imagine, but that is because our minds are limited by the government imposed system. I’m sure many people could not have thought up some of the technologies we use in everyday life just ten years ago, but those technologies have not been suppressed by government imposed systems.

Roads - Aaaahhh, roads, what socialists believe is a modern marvel, because it creates public works. Are roads really that hard to imagine without government? Did the government invent roads? Did they not exist prior to government stealing our money to pay for them? Roads may seem hard to privatize, because they are massive. The problem is government is so ineffective, it’s hard to imagine that the roads developed by government are even efficient. They sure are not cost effective. We all have seen the group of men standing around watching just one man work. I’m sure there are many political handouts involved in roads. I can just imagine land speculation is a big thing for well connected people. They probably buy up land knowing that their political friends are going to buy it back for their new road project. Anyway, why would roads not be built if government ceased to exist tomorrow? Would we all just sit in our houses mourning over the lost of our oppressive government? I doubt it, and if there is demand for a means of travel, then their will be solutions. Again, who is to say roads are the way to go? Maybe to avoid the expensive building of roads, private innovators would have developed new traveling technology? Maybe you would have your car from “Back to the Future”. Surely, if the money was not taken out of private hands for the $400 billion road bills, that money would have been better utilized to innovate. OK, OK, I know it’s hard to imagine anything beyond our current view. So, let’s just say roads are here to stay. Who is to say they wouldn’t be built? I would think developers, if they wanted paid to develop, would build roads. If you are developing a plan of homes, don’t people need to get to those homes? If you are building a shopping plaza, don’t you want people to get to the stores? If you want people to get to your plant, office building, etc don’t you need a way for them to get there? Businesses would pay for road development. It is as simple as that. They would make sure the roads they developed were low cost and efficient. That is how the private sector works. Road projects would be steered to those who are the best at building low cost, efficient roads, because it would be paid for right out of the pockets of a developer. His profitability is effected by it.

Ok, this post is getting a little long. I just wanted to throw some thoughts up on this topic, because it’s a favorite of the statist. I myself used to think these things were in the realm of government, but someone on Mises.org’s forums asked me do I think government is more efficient or less efficient than the private sector. With that one question, I had my answer. Government is always less efficient. It does not matter what statists try to pitch. It cannot be efficient, because it requires a gun to your head to impose its vision. Efficiency does not require a gun. Efficiency is chosen freely by citizens looking to get the most out of their labors.

Hopefully, this got you thinking. I’d love to hear some ideas on how others think these services can be delivered.

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Meltdown by Thomas E. Woods Jr – The best explanation of our current financial crisis

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Video | Posted on 28-01-2010

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This is from a lecture Tom Woods gave about his book, Meltdown. Tom is an awesome presenter and makes boring topics entertaining. By the end of the lecture, you will understand exactly who caused the mortgage meltdown, the financial crisis and our current recession.

This is a Youtube playlist, so the next part will automatically start. It’s a little over an hour for the full lecture.

httpvp://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=CB9B817C147AEC7B

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Sometimes the free market delivers some bad ideas

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 23-01-2010

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OK, I’m not saying every free market idea is a great idea, but what the hell. If there is demand, then so be it.

Three British Holiday Inns have introduced a new service for ensuring guests get the perfect night’s sleep: human bed-warmers.

On request, staff members will get under the covers wearing a fleece body covering and stay there until the bed reaches the optimal temperature of 20-24 degrees Celcius, Reuters reports.

“The new Holiday Inn bed warmers service is a bit like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed,” a Holiday Inn spokeswoman said.

via Holiday Inn Introduces The Grossest Idea Ever: Human Bed-Warmers.

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