Reining in the czars – Now the constitution matters? Where have you been?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 02-11-2009

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In an op-ed in the Washington Times, Senator Susan Collins calls into question the constitutionality of the czars. While I completely agree, I’d ask the senator where she has been all this time?

When it comes to accountability and transparency, who is actually in charge and making the policy decisions? Is it the secretary, whom the Senate confirmed, or is it the czar, whom the president unilaterally appointed? These czars operate outside the established structure of checks and balances.

As ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I also am concerned about the management dysfunction that so many czars create. They duplicate or dilute the statutory authority and responsibilities Congress has conferred on Cabinet officers and other senior officials.

Unfortunately, because czars can circumvent the constitutionally mandated process of “advice and consent” and because the president’s advisers have informed me that no White House czars will be allowed to testify before Congress, we cannot ask them for the answers.

Czars bypass the constitutional oversight authority of Congress, tipping the balance of power in favor of the executive branch.

via Reining in the czars – Washington Times.

The czars without a doubt undermine the constitution. If I was President and wanted to become a tyrant, one of the things I would do is put my select people in places and positions where they could seize control at the right time. While I am not saying this is Obama’s intent, although everyday I wonder, once the precedent is set,  it allows future Presidents to do the same thing. If one of those Presidents has the intention of becoming a tyrant, he’ll have precedent on his side.

While I agree with Collins on this issue, I would hope she’d be consistent in her concern for the constitution. The congress violates the constitution with almost every bill they write. Will we see an op-ed about the constitutionality of health care reform, cash for clunkers, bailouts, etc?

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Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Video | Posted on 01-11-2009

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Great video I came across on Youtube.

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Question of the day: The immorality of government

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 31-10-2009

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How can something that is immoral for us to do individually be moral when performed collectively as the government?

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Ron Paul takes on Moore’s smearing of capitalism on Larry King

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, Video | Posted on 30-10-2009

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Last night, Ron Paul was on Larry King after Michael Moore. Ron Paul, who seems to be the only congressman who understands economics, rightfully explains that Michael Moore doesn’t seem to know what the free market is. He’s mixing corporatism with capitalism. As I’ve always said, if you listen to liberals talk about capitalism, they are never talking about capitalism. They are talking about whatever they put before capitalism. How many times have you heard crony capitalism, corporate capitalism, greedy capitalism, etc? Their complaint is not about capitalism. Their complaint is with cronyism, corporatism, and greed. None of them are synonymous with capitalism. They are more closely synonymous with government, the very solution that they then propose. Anyway, here’s Ron Paul.

http://www.dailypaul.com/node/112628

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Health Care Reform – Answering My First Critic

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, Health Care | Posted on 25-10-2009

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Apparently, one of the tweeps I was debating on Twitter was so hot and bothered by my blog, he thought he would set me straight. The problem for him is when debating, feelings don’t count and distortions are against the rules. Here is the criticism with my response and corrections interspersed.

The other day I had an interesting back and forth on Twitter about healthcare. The debate was whether to let the free market have its way or whether the Federal government should have a stronger hand in a “Medicare Part E” plan for everyone. At the end of the discussion I was pointed to an article on Jason’s The Proud Profiteer website entitled Health Care Reform – The red herring of the pre-existing condition. I read every word of the article and have some thoughts about the free market as it exists today and where I think the author is wrong about where we should go.

Wow, the author couldn’t even get out of the first paragraph without showing the weakness of his argument. Saying “some thoughts about the free market as it exists today” shows the the author doesn’t understand the free market. I was not arguing for the status quo. I was arguing the problem with the current health care isn’t a lack of government meddling but too much government. The government currently accounts for 50% of all health care spending. If government was the solutions, we would have already seen improvements. The fact that health care costs have risen above inflation since the government inserted itself into the market shows the government actually makes the problem worse. It also proves that the problem isn’t the free market. The problem is you don’t have a free market. As soon as you introduce government coercion, you no longer have a free market. It is no different than if the government took away you freedom of speech. You technically are still free, but you are less free than you were.

I’m all for freedom and principles in this country. The author is correct in pointing out that the country was founded on the freedom and the need to get away from tyranny, taxes and religious persecution. Now the drumbeat throughout certain people in this country is that free markets and freedom will be the pill that will cure the country’s ills. Just get government out of the way of everything but defense and we will be a better place for it. Make it “small enough to drown in a bathtub,” to coin a phrase used by one of our most memorable politicians.

One of the ways we applied these principles was to allow mortgage companies, insurance giants and auto makers to, as the author says it, be free to succeed or fail. They’re good at what they do, so why not turn them loose to thrive and then we can all benefit at their success. So how do you explain the story of Goldman Sachs, AIG and the Freddie/Fannie debacles? Weren’t these companies free to pursue their own fortunes? And what would’ve happened if they were allowed to just fail? I guess those that would’ve allowed the complete meltdown wouldn’t mind what is happening in their free market 401(k).

Surely, this part had to be a joke. The author, if he has any understanding of the free market, would not have used the examples above to discredit the free market. The entire mortgage crisis was created and encouraged by the very government that the author claims is the solution. The artificially low interest rates by the Fed spurred on by affordable housing legislation and pressures caused the bubble, and it was only a matter of time before it burst. While the author may think he had me nailed here, people that know me, know that I predicted this bubble was going to go down very soon at the height of the housing bubble. The thing is if you understand economics, you can recognize business growth from bullshit.  This disaster was the culprit for the so called failed examples above. Freddie and Fannie are government sponsored agencies for pete’s sake. They are told what to do by the government and they are the ones who invented the securitization of mortgages that the evil banks were selling.

“But we should still get out of the health insurance company’ way,” you say. “Once they have complete freedom they’ll offer a virtual cornucopia of health insurance options that every thirst will be slaked. You’ll see that there will be lots of companies and options.” If you Google health insurance company monopoly, you will quickly discover that for several years large companies have had a lock on providing health care for people. If we get out of the way, what do the Blues, Aetna and the rest do? Do they allow rigorous competition and thousands of new companies to spring up? I think they either buy up those companies to stifle competition or squash them. I was told in the Twitter conversation that we should force these companies to compete with each other. So which is it – get out of their way with no regulation or force them to compete?

Hmm, not sure who said you have to force competition. It sure wasn’t me. My whole point in my post was that force is the evil. The role of the government is to prevent force from being used by one person against another. If you are tying in another conversation you had, don’t credit it to me. As far as your argument, again you are talking about a market that is not free. Companies cannot acquire a monopoly and stifle competition unless they have government backing, or they are the absolute best at what they do. If they are a monopoly because they are the best at what they do, then we all benefit.

The fact that health care and insurance are so heavily regulated now is what prevents many competitors. What you don’t seem to realize is regulation equals costs. When you have extensive regulation the costs get so high that they are a barrier to entry and only the big boys can afford to play the game. Don’t blame the free market for lack of competition. Your argument is easily disproved by looking at less regulated industries, such as the IT industry. The less regulation you have the more innovation, the more competition, and the quicker you see costs driven down.

If government is our own worst enemy as the author’s comments point out, why not just get rid of everything? Courts – who needs them? You’ve gotta beef with someone, handle it yourself and if you don’t get anywhere, kick the person’s ass or kill them. If one of those purely good companies make a product that turns out to seriously injure or kill people and you’re one of the poor schmucks that gets hurt or killed, tough luck bud. Like I just said, take a truck of Anthro and fuel and have at it.

Police and fire – we don’t need them, right? I’m sure there’s a security company that would be glad to give you your own security detail cause it’ll “fill a need.” Don’t have enough money to hire a security agency? Deal with it. There’s lots of crime victims out there. Go find the turkey yourself and dispense justice.  The 911 system is a socialist, government run system – get rid of that too. You’re having a heart attack, stroke? Get someone to put you in their car and drive you to the doctor. We don’t need no stinkin’ government run ambulances and medical staff. Hire some doctors and paramedics to stand by if you think you’ll need them.

Like you all say, for every need there’s someone to fit the bill at competitive rates, and since we’ll all be SO much more profitable when everyone gets out of free market’s way, we’ll be able to afford all these new things, right?

“But these are all ESSENTIAL government services,” you say. “You can’t take that away!” You know what, here’s where I want you to draw the line. Black & white. Think of all the things that you might need in life. Tell me why you would keep or privatize them. Then tell me why health care is not as important as 911, police, fire & paramedics. Why would you want to keep 911 as a government service but leave health care – the ability to live or die – as a FOR PROFIT endeavor.

Here is where you take my arguments and just completely distort everything. My argument is governments role is to prevent coercion. Now where does that say get rid of the courts? Where do you think government would enforce laws against coercion? Where do you think contract breaches would be adjudicated? Again, you take my argument and add a bunch of your own ridiculous arguments to it. Where did I say handle it yourself, kill people, etc? I’m pretty sure that would be included in the coercion I said the government should prevent, which is the whole point of founding a government. Your argument is very childish.

This police argument is not new. You haven’t had a brilliant brain fart. This is the typical response from socialists. The problem is police are a part of the government role to prevent coercion. What the hell do you think police do? As far as fire, in most communities the fire department is funded by charity. They hold fund raisers, and the fireman are volunteers. Apparently, you think that is socialism? In cities, this could be privatized, and it would probably be cheaper than paying your taxes. It would be no different than paying for security monitoring on your house. I’m not sure if you’ve read a newspaper lately, but there are many “government” services, such as trash collection being privatized. Do you think it’s being privatized because it’s worse?

Lastly, even if you leave these as government roles, which I personally don’t have a problem with, they are not federal programs. Apparently, you don’t seem to recognize the difference between local services provided and agreed upon by local citizens, paid for by their local taxes with Federal entitlement programs.

If you can’t afford heath insurance, Jason says that you’ll have to turn to charity. Leukemia and unemployed – charity. Stroke leaving you the inability to walk, speak or do your job – charity. Born with cerebral palsy or autism and your parents or unemployed/underemployed – charity. Jason, do me a favor, a little experiment. Take you & your son down to a doctor’s office you’ve never been to before. Tell the receptionist that you’re out of work and need your child seen for whatever – you name the illness. After they get done telling you to pay cash or you don’t get seen, take the amount of money the doctors wants you to shell out and start calling some churches. Give them the same story and tell them that you’ll probably need that same amount of money each month since your child might need special ongoing treatment. When you find the charity that’ll dole out that money month after month, let me know. The difference in your opening paragraphs – each of these families you mention probably has at least ONE working member in the household providing pay for health insurance. If I’m wrong, tell me how they’re handling things on charity.

To start, I said in my blogs that you should pay out of pocket for day to day care, and you should buy a low cost catastrophic insurance plan for things, such as the ones mentioned above. The purpose for insurance is to be there for catastrophe. Again, you distort my argument.

Second, I can guarantee you I have way more experience dealing with health care than you do. My son does have cerebral palsy, and while you and Obama discredit doctors as profit seeking devils, I’ve seen first hand the charity of doctors. Doctors don’t go through 8 years of schooling followed by years of residency because of the money. It’s a calling, and they do it to help people. Most of them already do charity. Also, charities already help people every day. You many want to check them out. Most liberals claim to love charity, but it’s usually only the charity from someone else’s pocket via goverment coercion. Who do you think fled down to New Orleans after Katrina? It was the charities on the front lines getting the hard work done, while the government, as usual, stumbled and caused more harm than good.

In addition, my argument talked about charitable donations exploding because of more money remaining in the pockets of citizens. Do you think a rich guy who’s kid died from leukemia, wouldn’t setup a foundation to research and help other parents with children who have leukemia? Where do you think charitable foundations come from? Have you ever heard of Shriners? I’m pretty sure they offer health care and are a charity. How about this report, that charitable donations reached a record in 2007 under the Bush tax cuts. Oh, and that doesn’t even take into account time and labor. You may want to give your fellow man a little more credit.

When I’m buying a car or a toaster, I want free market competition. I want the government to stay out of the way UNLESS what those kind folks are selling is hurting people. When I’m having a heart attack or stroke, I want an ambulance and crew to show up as quickly as possible and save me life! I don’t want to have to think if I paid my premiums that month or that some FOR PROFIT company “with my best interest in mind” will deny me life saving treatment.

How does a publicly traded company, beholden to its stockholders and profits, have my best interest in mind? If I’m a stockholder that’s easy. If you’re a CEO with complete free market freedoms, how do you take care of people with serious medical problems and still make your bottom line? How would Ford survive as a company if most of the vehicle they sold were Pintos or some other high maintenance vehicle? What incentives and marketing schemes would they contrive to make it profitable?

via RIAsults may vary: Health Care Reform – The AIG, Freddie & GM pill. Take two of these and don’t call me in the morning.

You final argument just demonizes businesses. It’s silly to act like business people are evil, and that some how government people are angels. You may want to challenge your assumptions. Government employees and especially politicians have their self interest in mind as well, and it is more often than not detrimental to the public good. Private capital is rewarded by efficiency, which means it addresses the most needs at the least cost. That is why you can buy your toaster so cheap. This does not take place in government. In government, politics and inefficiency are rewarded, resulting in less needs being met.

While I appreciate the time you took to respond and I enjoy the debate, I really wish you would keep your arguments away from your feelings and would not distort my arguments. We are talking about a gigantic issue, and we cannot make this decision on feelings. We have to make it on reason. Just because you get a warm feeling in your belly when you talking about everyone having health care doesn’t make it so. You may want to read my other blogs on health care, where I talk about what the real problems with health care are and why government intervention will only make things worse. Then again, I’m sure that doesn’t feel good.

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How They Are Turning Off the Lights in America by Edwin X. Berry

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 25-10-2009

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A must read. Now go read it!

How They Are Turning Off the Lights in America by Edwin X. Berry.

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If grownups were as smart as this 17 yr old

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, History | Posted on 24-10-2009

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While chatting on twitter, one of my tweeps posted this blog. Because his name has Federalist in it, @Federalist84, I decided I should check it out. To my surprise, the blog is from @SoccerSeal, a 17yr old girl, and she has one of the most straight forward criticisms of President Obama that I’ve heard. Here’s the argument.

The role of a President is not to “Transform” the nation. The role of the president is clearly stated in the Presidential Oath, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.” Nowhere in that oath do I see change or transform. Your job is to protect, preserve and defend. Not change, dismantle, and control. And right now I get the feeling that you are doing the latter.

via Red, White & Conservative.

The Constitution was setup for a reason. It was setup to ensure human freedom. It was not setup for continual transformation. Nowhere does it say the government should give you any rewards. It is only there to protect your earned rewards and your liberties from force. Until we all realize what this 17yr old has already realized, we will continue our steady decline, and we will always have the least of us governing.

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Wake up and quit selling your children into slavery!

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 23-10-2009

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For some reason, Americans have been sold on what I’ll now term “the free ride theory”, in which we think we can live our collective lives like we’ve lived our lives over the past decade by racking up our collective debt for today’s keep up with the Jones. Under the Bush administration we racked up debt for a prescription drug program, pork projects and wars. Not to be shown up, Obama has increased our yearly deficits four fold. Is there any end in sight?

No, of course not.

Why stop spending when you can buy votes with so called free goodies. We need to nationalize health care, because we don’t want to pay Wal-Mart for our $4 prescriptions. We need to bail out banks, because supposedly we’ll all lose our jobs if we don’t. We have to take over GM, so that a company, which none of us wants their products, can stay in business. We have to bribe granny with a $250 check, because we don’t want to lose her vote. We have to spend billions to create so called “Green Jobs” because there is no market for them. We’re talking about bailing out newspapers; although most of us get news on the internet. We pay farmers to destroy crops, because we think prices need to be high enough for them to keep producing. With all this frivilous spending, how do you think it is going to be paid for? It is going to be paid by the enslavement of your children, my children and our grandchildren.

This is not just colorful language. It is grounded in the reality we will soon bare witness to.

What is debt? Debt is you promising tomorrows labor for today’s expenditures. When you buy that new car with a loan, you are saying I am going to work X number of hours in the future to get you the money for this plus interest, so that you can give me the car now. If you don’t work those hours, you don’t make the money. If you don’t make the money and pay them, they take the car back. Personal debt is bad enough, but at least you are only enslaving yourself.

What is the most dispicable aspect of what we (yes that includes me) are doing is we are not just enslaving ourselves. We are not saying, I will pay for this. We are building up so much debt that my two year old daughter, my nine year old son, your children, our children’s children and who knows how many generations to come will be enslaved. We are not pledging our future labor for today’s useless expenditures. We are pledging ours and future generations. We aren’t even giving them the chance to say NO. We are saying, “Sorry future Americans, but we want ‘free health car’. We don’t want any job losses (they haven’t stopped have they). We want bridges to nowhere. We want research how to manage the smell of manure! And we want you to pay for it.”

Now, economists would argue that deficits cancel themselves out. They explain this by saying that while we borrow the money, the future generation will hold the Treasury Bonds (an asset) and receive the interest plus principle of those bonds. This basically negates the theory that debt robs one generation by the previous. While this may be true, I emailed the economist that had this in his book. I asked “that may be true if all the debt was held by Americans, but what if China is holding a large portion of that debt. Would that not mean, that A) China is holding the Treasury bond as an asset, and B) won’t they be receiving the interest.?” He responded Yes, that is correct. The book would only apply if future generations means all people regardless of borders. So, not only are we enslaving our future generations, we are enslaving them to China, Japan and other nations. We are saying we want all this stuff, and we are willing to make the next generation work for it in order to transfer the value of their production out of the country. Does this sound like a recipe for a brighter future for our children? While our children are working, the rewards of their work is not bettering their lives. It’s being transferred out to better the lives of foreign nations.

Does this sound like it’s just theory? As of right this  second (it goes up constantly), each citizen owes $343,785. If you have a family of four as I do, multiply that by four, and you get your household debt. Just this week, Moody’s rating agency said the US is a few years away from losing our AAA credit rating. This has never happened. It would be catastrophic to our country and economy. It would mean higher interest on the debt, which would mean even more future labor pledged to today’s expenses.

What does it say that our Secretary of State is begging China to buy more of our debt? We are begging our children’s masters to enslave them. How moral are we?

The financial crisis, we are still in the midst of, undoubtedly woke a lot of people up to the evils of excessive debt. Unfortunately, it has not awoken our politicians. While many families have cut back spending to bring their lives under control, they have at the same time asked the government to continue and even ramp up the very actions that caused them harm in the first place.

While this post is a little depressing, hopefully it will serve as a call to action. A call to stop asking for free handouts from the government that your children will be enslaved for. Stop electing politicians who promise the world and buy votes with pork. Vote for politicians who are going to address the debt problem and speak the truth. With every government policy you hear about ask “How is that going to lower the debt?” Lastly, realize that nothing from the government is free. Everything you ask for from the government comes at the lost liberty of you and your children.

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Carly Fiorina wants more regulation of the internet

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 22-10-2009

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Republicans wonder why they are losing support? Carly Fiorina is a perfect example of why. Apparently, the freedom we have on the internet is just too much to bare.

Asked what she thought about regulation of the web, she said it was inevitable that there would be more regulation of it. Why, for instance, is there no protection of women and children on the Internet, when there is plenty in real life. She said this duality — where anything goes on the wild wild west of the Internet — would have to end.

via Web 2.0: Carly Fiorina talks potential Senate run, breast cancer battle, and government tech policy | VentureBeat.

I must have missed all the news stories of women being abused on the internet. Also, Carly talks like our non-internet laws don’t apply on the internet. Laws apply to life in general despite the medium used to break them. If someone commits fraud on the internet, breaks laws that we have to protect children from predators, or runs a website infringing on a woman’s rights, our current laws would be applied and convictions would be handed out.

We do not need the government wasting resources policing millions of pages on the internet. Are we going to have internet police monitoring my Facebook account to see if I said something abusive? Are we going to have twitter filters to target users who use derogatory statements? Even worse, are we going to be like China and filter all traffic coming in and out of the country so we can ensure that no citizen is reading something the government doesn’t want that is published by a foreign nation?

Just like other crimes, if someone commits a crime on the internet, the victim needs to press charges and prosecution will proceed. We do not need more government regulation, or in other words more freedom taken away.

Republican’s better decide whether they stand for freedom or not. If we want our freedoms taken away, we might as well just have vote Democrat.

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Health Care Reform – Using carrots to take your freedom

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Gun Control, Health Care | Posted on 22-10-2009

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During this health care debate, I’ve argued many times that any government program comes at the price of your freedom. While the government supposedly can’t take away your rights as they are re-established in our Constitution, they can suppress those rights through coercing you to voluntarily give them up. They already do this with large portions of the population that rely on the government dole for their daily sustenance. How do you get the rest of society? Slowly you work toward one large government program that can be used as a carrot against the citizenry. What is that carrot? It would obviously be health care, the one program that can decide life and death matters.

“So what are you getting at here Mr. Profiteer?” By holding the carrot, the government can make you voluntarily give up your rights. If you tried saying that taking away your freedom of speech or your right to bare arms is unconstitutional, the government’s retort would be that it’s optional. You do not have to take government health care. You can forgo it. How do you forgo it when the private insurance has been decimated by trying to compete with the government’s ability to print its own money? On top of that, how do you pay for your own health care out of pocket when eventually physicians will be highly regulated and costs will be driven up so dramatically because of regulation and rationing?

Think this is a crazy scenario? How about you Mr. Frank with The Wall Street Journal? One simply need to read about what the CDC is looking into to see how quickly we may be chasing after carrots.

Take the Obama administration’s justification for its new gun research. “Gun-related violence is a public health problem – it diverts considerable health care resources away from other problems and, therefore, is of interest to NIH,” wrote the agency spokesman in an e-mail responding to questions from Republican members of Congress about new grants the CDC is giving out. The statement assumes the conclusion of the research before the first study is done.

The research on right-to-carry laws illustrates the problem with the CDC. Dozens of refereed academic studies by economists and criminologists using national data have been published in journals. While the vast majority of those studies find that right-to-carry laws save lives and reduce harm to victims, some studies claim that the laws have no statistically significant effect. But most tellingly, there is not a single published refereed academic study by a criminologist or economist showing a bad effect from these laws.

via EDITORIAL: The feds take a shot at guns – Washington Times.

Scary stuff? Public health can be played against any issue. Your speech could be a public health problem if the government claimed you were inciting violence. Hmm, how would they do that?

Mr. Frank can call me paranoid all he wants. Paranoia has kept us free for as long as we have been.

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