Responding to a commenter about taking profits out of healthcare

Posted by Jason | Posted in Health Care | Posted on 08-12-2010

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In my post on why Bill Maher is an idiot, one commenter left the following comment. I figured I’d put my response in another post since it may get lengthy.

Keith G.

I still struggle with the for-profit model when it comes to insurance providers being owned by stockholders instead of policyholders. Is the point of insurance not to spread the risk as widely as possible (i.e. single-payer would be optimal)? Is it not a problem that insurance providers would profit more by paying out less in claims, leaving those that pay premiums fighting their insurance company at the time they need them most? Is it not a problem that my voting to provide insurance claims (dollars) to my fellow policyholder would lead to reduced profits, yet I want the same level of coverage (claims) when I get in the same jam? How do I balance these to seemingly counter scenarios? Having a pool of people with a vested interest in the profits, yet removed from the claims side of the insurance equation seems like a problem to me. What am I missing?

via Another REASON Bill Maher Is An Idiot, Profits | The Proud Profiteer.

Let’s take these comments one at a time.

1. “I still struggle with the for-profit model when it comes to insurance providers being owned by stockholders instead of policyholders.” Who cares who owns the insurance providers? It’s irrelevant. The only reason profits exist is because one person or company can deliver what someone is demanding at a lower cost than the person demanding it values the good or service at. This doesn’t change because it’s health care insurance. It’s profits that tell suppliers that consumers want more than what’s currently being supplied. Without profits, suppliers are blind to that fact and supply will suffer, which means consumer or in this case patients will suffer.

2. “Is the point of insurance not to spread the risk as widely as possible (i.e. single-payer would be optimal)?” The point of insurance is not to spread risk as widely as possible. The point of insurance is to insure yourself against unexpected risks, such as your house burning down. Everyone knows they will have to go to the doctor for the flu, cold, etc. These should not be insurable. Not everyone knows they’ll get cancer, so this is an unexpected risk, that should be insured. Part of the problem with health insurance is we are insuring daily maintenance of our bodies. How much would car insurance cost if you insured it to the point you could pay for oil changes and tires with your car insurance? Let’s not even get into all the government mandates that your insurance coverage cover all the garbage you don’t want or need.

To take this a step further and make the point more clear that insurance isn’t to spread the risk as widely as possible, the insurance companies could care less how big the pool is. They only care that they can cover the estimated claims and still make a profit. If the pool is only 10 people, they don’t care. The insurance company will calculate the likelihood of claims in any given year. Then they will figure out what the cost of those claims will average. Based on that, they will calculate what the insurance premium needs to be in order to pay for the claims. Insurance companies then collect premiums, and they invest them. This is one of the ways they make profits. Next they will figure out ways to reduce their cost of claims, say negotiating rates with service providers. This also increases their profits.  The larger the profit is the more likely another insurance company will pop up hoping to get in on the action. This will end up driving down profits as the new company does many of the same actions for less premium, which benefits the policy holders. Unfortunately, the government has closed the markets so we don’t get competition. You can’t even buy insurance across state lines let alone world wide, because of the government. That’s just another example of how government drives up the cost of insurance.

3. Single payer is a disaster and is the opposite of optimal. Who is this single payer? Why it’s the gov’t. Did you even read the post? It explains why the gov’t is so inefficient and always delivers horrible results given the resources they employ. This doesn’t change because the product delivered is insurance. Has it never occurred to you that since the government has intervened more and more into health insurance and health care that it has continually gotten more expensive and less efficient?

4. “Is it not a problem that insurance providers would profit more by paying out less in claims, leaving those that pay premiums fighting their insurance company at the time they need them most?” Yes, insurance companies will profit more by paying out less in claims (not less claims, but less in cost of claims), as I stated above. They typically do this in beneficial ways though as some of the examples I listed above show. Insurance companies cannot change your policy while it’s in effect. If you are fighting with them, then you are fighting over something that isn’t included in the policy or has certain requirements that weren’t met. I’m not saying that companies never lie or try to get away without paying rightful claims, but it isn’t good for business to do so. If they did this, it would end up driving customers away to a competitor who doesn’t deny rightful claims. Now, you have to look at it from the insurance company who is providing insurance based on expected risks, as I stated above, and they are constantly be forced to cover things that weren’t originally covered when our wise overlords tell them they have to. Because of this, health insurance is renewable every year. Does it have to be this way or is it a result of regulation and government interference? Is life insurance that way? No, I setup a term even to the point of covering my whole life without premiums ever changing. Couldn’t an insurance company offer a life long plan to policy holders that cover a long list of medical risks? Of course they could in a free market, but unfortunately this isn’t a free market. The government constantly changes the rules on them and forces them to cover things that weren’t initially in the policy.

Also, you can thank the government that the policies are so complicated that policy holders never read them nor could they understand them if they did. Then when they think something is covered, they find out it isn’t. If only they would have read the legalese on page 150 of their 200 page policy.

5. “How do I balance these to seemingly counter scenarios? Having a pool of people with a vested interest in the profits, yet removed from the claims side of the insurance equation seems like a problem to me. What am I missing?” What you are missing is there is nothing special about insurance that isn’t the same for any other good. How do you balance the counter scenarios of a pool of vested people interested in profits yet removed from the claims side of auto insurance, life insurance, or home insurance? Insurance operates all the same, except the government has heavily involved itself in health insurance and policy holders want maintenance covered for their bodies but not for their auto or home insurance. You may want to look at my post from last year on the root causes of the health care crisis. Also check out my proposed solutions, part 1 and part 2.

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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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Monopoly PDAs Would Not Form In A Stateless Society

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 12-09-2010

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If there is one trump card our overlords use when we freemarket peasants demand a freer market, it has to be monopolies. We’ve all heard the arguments. If the benevolent state wasn’t there to stop it, greedy businessmen would collude to monopolize every industry. We would all suffer by having to pay the excessive prices they demand for inferior services and products. Of course, we have to address this charge when it comes to PDAs, private defense agencies, on two different levels. The first level is a natural monopoly, and the second is a coercive monopoly.

Many areas will overlap, but let’s take natural monopolies first. First, defense is not a single commodity as Murray Rothbard said about police protection. It is made up of different services, ranging from car theft protection to protection from belligerent states (is belligerent state redundant?). It includes technology from pad locks to satellites and human capital from the local bouncer to the most brilliant military mind of a strategic think tank. It can be provided by one’s self or outsourced to a service provider. It can even be divided up so that some parts are self provided and some are outsourced with variations changing between each person in the free society.

Now in order for a natural monopoly to occur in the defense industry, a single provider would have to have a strategic advantage over every aspect of this highly diverse industry. It would have to be able to provide every service society demands in defense more efficiently than any other current or potential competitor including the customers themselves. This would be impossible. Even under our current system, we don’t have a single provider. We have local township police, mall cops, and military special forces. Government can monopolize much of the industry, because they can point their guns inward on the citizens, but they cannot even provide all defense. They cannot anticipate and provide all defense demanded and provided by the private market, such as casino or home security. If the government cannot monopolize the entire defense industry with all it’s guns and ability to openly slaughter at will, how would a private defense agency possibly pull it off?

Alright, maybe there wouldn’t be a natural monopoly, but could there not be a coercive monopoly?. One company would become so large that it would use its size and force of arms to dominate the market and drive other competitors out. Even if a monopoly by a single company did not emerge, couldn’t they form a cartel and have the effect of a virtual monopoly? Without government, PDAs would get together and collude against the public by establishing a cartel. Before arguing against either of these, let’s first point out the absurdity of those whose concern it is that without government, PDAs would become coercive monopolies or a cartel, and to avoid this they pre-emptively want to live under or establish a coercive monopoly by way of a state.

First of all, as we mentioned under the natural monopoly section, defense would probably be provided in various layers. For a company to become large enough to become a coercive monopoly, prior to becoming coercive, they’d have to monopolize many of these layers first. As we’ve already shown, this is impossible even for a coercive monopoly like the state.

In addition to monopolizing most of the layers of defense prior to becoming coercive, they would have to avoid detection from their biggest consumer, insurance companies. If you think about it, they’d have to monopolize the insurance industry as well. After all, who will it harm if they become coercive? It will harm the insurance companies. The insurance companies would have an incentive to prevent monopoly. One, their costs would be driven up, and two, their competitors could highlight to potential customers that insurance company A is using a PDA who is attempting to monopolize the market and is using the force of arms to do it. This is driving up their clients’ premiums.  Insurance company B could even start their own PDA as a competitive advantage against insurance company A, who is beholden to this coercive monopoly PDA.

To take it one step further, companies that provide defense services would not be the same companies that produce arms or defense technology. A monopoly PDA would have to monopolize this area of defense as well. If not, the producers of arms and defense technology wold only have one shot at a sale. Either the monopoly buys their products or they go out of business. If they developed some new technology, they might even setup your own PDA, because their technology gives them an advantage against the monopoly PDA. Technology advances always poses a threat to an inefficient monopoly.

Lastly, the monopoly PDA would basically have to become the state where they were able to exclude themselves from the law. If not, they’d have no means to enforce their monopoly powers on the people. If they attempted to corner the market and harm the consumers, society would be able to always say to hell with this. I’m going to defend myself. I’m going to create a voluntary militia to defend my neighborhood. Soon, companies that develop arms would focus on those individuals who want to protect themselves. This would in effect break up the monopoly as well.

So, maybe you would not have a natural or a coercive monopoly company. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t have in effect a monopoly by the way of a cartel. As, Rodrick T. Long points out, “if we assume that they (those forming the cartel) formed the cartel out of their own economic self-interest, then this economic self-interest is precisely what leads to the undermining” the cartel. Murray Rothbard gives historical examples to this effect by way of the railroads in the late 19th century. As Rothbard states, “In every case, the attempt to increase profits – by cutting sales with a quota system – and thereby raise prices or rates, collapsed quickly from internal competition within the cartel and from external competition by new competitors eager to undercut the cartel.” Also, because defense would more than likely have many layers, specializations, include services as well as arms and heavily be intertwined with the insurance industry, you are talking about many players within this cartel. Obviously the more players, the more likely members of the cartel would cheat.

While monopolies are great to scare the masses into state submission, it’s quite obvious the chance of a monopoly, let alone a coercive monopoly, is about as likely as a peaceful and just state.

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Why Do Governments Suck?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 21-05-2010

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So many people complain about the government. Actually, I cannot think of one person who doesn’t say politicians are corrupt and our government sucks. Can you? Even the people who run for government offices tell us every election how bad the government is and how they are going to fix it. So what’s up with no one thinking our government is really for the people? After all, the Constitution says “We the People..”, so shouldn’t at least some people believe in the government?

Well, as I’ve said in previous posts, you must think about the government not as a special entity but as a collection of individuals. Take it down to the individual level. What would people think if I did this? Then you can understand why everyone dislikes the government.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say 10 people move to a deserted island. Now the 10 people get along pretty well. Of course, there are some flare ups. People can get on each other’s nerves periodically, but the fact that they all must survive on this island keeps them working with each other. (Eh boy, this is sounding like Lost) There is only one rule on this island that keeps peace between the people. That rule is do not steal from each other. What about murder you say? Well, isn’t murder just stealing someone’s life from them? What about violence? Isn’t violence taking someone’s well being?

How do they enforce this? At first, they each enforce it by themselves or with other members of the group. Also survival keeps you in line. What would happen if every member decided to stop working, sharing and trading with you, because you were deemed untrustworthy? You would have a hard time surviving. One day the group is out searching other parts of the island, and they find some left over stuff from someone who was previously on the island. Part of this find was a gun.

As you can imagine there is a lot of discussion about what to do with the gun. Finally the group decides that they must pick one member of the group that will keep the gun and use it to protect everyone. If someone in the group is accused of stealing from someone else, then the others will judge and it will be up to this individual to enforce the judgment. Also, this individual will use the gun to protect the group from threats outside camp, such as local animals who have trashed their camp several times.

At first everything seem OK. They picked a trust worthy member of the group to be the leader, the guy who governs. Disputes are raised amongst the group, and the leader decides in favor of one or the other. He starts out being pretty fair. Also, if it’s a dispute over something that effects the whole society like say, should they move camps or something, the group can decide for themselves.

One day the camp is destroyed by animals scavenging for food, while the group was off working in the woods. After some discussion, the group decides that the guy with the gun should remain at camp to look over things while everyone else works. The group will have to give up some of their production in exchange for that protection. All but one person agrees to it, and you now have a form of taxation.

As you can imagine, seeing this guy back at camp not doing much other than providing security begins to irritate some in the group. Of course, they need protection, so they suck it up and keep working. If only there were more guns they think to themselves. They could provide their own protection.

Now that this leader, ah let’s call him governor, has all this free time. He starts thinking of ways to run everything better. What would make this society better? His first idea is to have one person do all the cleaning. If one person handles all the cleaning, then the others can focus on working in the woods, gather food, etc. So, he picks the person he believes is best at cleaning, and says this person will be a full-time cleaner. Everyone in the group will have to give up some production in order for him to keep everyone’s clothes, camp, etc clean. As far as giving up production, do not worry, because there will be more production now that the rest of the group doesn’t have to clean. One member says, “I already had an arrangement with that guy to clean my stuff. I would give him some of the berries I picked in exchange for him cleaning my stuff.” The leader responds, “I know. He did a great job for you. That is why I think he could do a great job for everyone. Now everyone will trade with him for that service.” The member responds, “But you asking me to pay more in taxes than I was paying him before.” The leader, “I’m sorry that’s the case, but we can’t expect him to clean everything for less than this. He’s going to need this much to survive. It’s not fair for him to either not get paid enough to do what we’re asking or for you to be the only one who doesn’t have to clean.”

As you can imagine this member is not happy with this decision. He asks the other members to veto the leaders decision, but the majority of them like the idea of not having to clean. They decide they agree. This member who originally didn’t like this idea says he’s not paying more than he was for this service. The group is appalled by his statement. It would not be fair if he didn’t kick in his fair share. On the day when everyone has to pay up, this member refuses. The leader is summoned and explains if he does not contribute, the group will be forced to take his production or some other property he has. He still refuses, so another member goes to take what he is supposed to contribute. When the other member does, he gets punched. He reports this to the leader, and the leader comes to protect him the next time he goes to take his property. The leaders stands there with a gun for protection of this member who’s been tasked with taking what the resisting member is supposed to rightfully contribute.

Going forward the member who had his production taken at gun point begins to despise the leader and the member who took his stuff. He has a very good friend in the group who also starts disliking what’s going on. This friend though just thinks what can he do. This is what was decided by the group. He should have just given up what he was supposed to.

To make matters worse, some members start complaining that the guy who’s cleaning isn’t doing things right. Their clothes aren’t done the way they like. Their camps aren’t thoroughly cleaned like they used to do themselves. They also become disgruntled with this whole cleaning thing. Meanwhile, the cleaner and the governor have developed quite the friendship, since they are both back at camp all day while the others are off working. One day while they are talking, the cleaner says, “You know, it would be great if someone concentrated on gathering wood. It seems like we are always short on wood. Almost every night, I run out and end  up freezing half the night.” The leader responds, “Hmmm, you’re right. I have the same problem. That’s a great idea.” Cleaner, “The one guy who created the axe and saws is great at cutting down trees. He always has extra wood, and I’ve seen him trading with the other guys when their supplies get low. He’d probably be perfect for the job. Besides, it’s not fair that because we are serving the group as  a whole and don’t have extra stuff to trade, that we shouldn’t have wood to keep warm too.”

As you can see, this goes on and on. Soon the “axe man” is cutting wood full-time for the entire camp. Those who used to trade with him only for what they needed are now forced to hand over a certain amount of production in order to ensure equality when it comes to wood for cooking and heating. Those who used to trade with him are very upset, because they are now paying more for less wood. The axe man was a little upset about this, but then he got to thinking that he would at least have a certain amount of food and supplies guaranteed to him. He wouldn’t have to trade anymore and possibly go without something. Over time, his production falls. It doesn’t matter to him now that he’s getting paid the same no matter what.

One day the axe man comes to the governor. The governor is complaining that wood production seems to have declined, and he’s finding himself without wood again in the middle of the night. The axe man responds by promising the governor a little extra wood. The governor agrees and decides to leave things as they are.

As you can imagine, idea after idea is brought up. They are sold to the governor, who then takes a vote. The majority wins, and the rest of the people have to abide by it. If they don’t, the governor comes with the collectors to collect what a disgruntled member should be contributing. He’s not threatening the disgruntled member. He’s just their to protect the collector.  As time goes on, the disgruntled members do the same thing. They come up with ideas, and other members who previously had ideas become disgruntled. No one wants to go back to the way things were originally, because they all had their ideas implemented, and they do not want to lose that.

Quickly the inefficiency of all these ideas eats away at the standard of living on the island. There are shortages all around. Because each member is defending their idea that was implemented, none of them accept responsibility. It’s always someone else’s fault. Finger pointing becomes a way of life. The best anyone can do is throw a little extra production at the governor to get him to weigh in their favor. Everyone seems to be doing this after a while. The governor is the only one who seems to be doing well, but everyone is too busy pointing fingers at each other to notice. After all, shouldn’t the leader be compensated more than the rest. He is their leader. Everyone has a say in what happens. This is democratic, so why is it so bad?

There is one reason it’s bad. There is a monopoly on the gun, and under democracy, everything revolves around the gun.

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If not good for me, is it good for We?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Foreign Policy, Government | Posted on 12-05-2010

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If you’ve read my blog, I’m sure you’ve seen several times where I mentioned that you cannot expect different results from the government than you can from your own household. If you go into debt and go bankrupt, there is no reason to think a bunch of people in a group can go into debt and avoid the same destiny. There is nothing that you cannot do individually because it is immoral, unethical, or unjust, that for some reason when the collective known as the government does it will yield better and opposite result and becomes moral, ethical or just.

Let’s think about this. The government tells us that it can stimulate the economy by borrowing and spending. Can you stimulate your personal economy by borrowing and spending? Let’s say your family has hit a rough patch. Several family members lost their jobs, had their wages cut, etc. Would you be able to stimulate your way out of this by the employed members of the family borrowing money to purchase goods and services from the unemployed family members? Of course you could not. By borrowing, all you are doing is taking your future wages and pulling them to the current day. In the future, you will not have that income to use, to enjoy and to stimulate the future. Also, because of interest, you will have lost some of that income completely, which means over the long run, you are worse off than you would have been had you did nothing.

How about theft? Is it alright for you or a family member to steal from your neighbors? Let’s say one of your family member is unemployed and has no money to feed his family. Is it alright for you to rob someone in order to give your family member some money to buy food? Of course it is not. Theft is the invasion of someone’s liberty, and it is not moral all the sudden because it’s voted on. Making something law does not make it moral. Also, by legalizing something doesn’t make it moral. The law is only supposed to protect each individual’s liberty and property. Theft is a violation of an individual’s liberty and property and is immoral whether done by a stranger in a dark alley or by a collection of elected thieves in government.

Next, we are told by government regulators that without their protection, there would be corporate monopolies that would hold us hostage and force us to buy their products at artificially high prices. Luckily for us, we have a “benevolent” government that just so happens to be willing to step in and save the day. Since we are on the topic of me vs we, would it be OK for me to force you to buy my goods and services? Could I tell all other IT service firms they can no longer operate, and if they do, I’m going to send my goons to haul them off to prison? Maybe, I let them still operate but tell them they must run their businesses exactly as I tell them. They much charge what I tell them to charge, cover what I tell them to cover, and pay me a portion of the proceeds. Would this be considered moral or just? Well, this is what the government has done in industry after industry, health insurance being at that forefront of most people’s minds. If I cannot do this because it is unjust, at what point in time does it become just? Does justice come from the consent of 50.5% of the congress?

How about empire? Is it just to put bases in other sovereign countries against the will of many of their people? Let’s say I’m coming home from work , and I find my two neighbors in an all out brawl. I knew they have been arguing back and forth for a few weeks, and the one neighbor is completely wrong. Well, it just so happens this is the guy who as we speak is pounding the life out of the other neighbor. Being a great friend, I jump out of the car and break it up. The stronger guy takes a swing at me, but luckily I know a little something something and put him on his back. I force him to agree to the argument as I see it. Then I tell both of them, I’m going to monitor the situation, so it doesn’t happen again. I setup cameras, and I decide to set one of my trained attack dogs at both of their houses to maintain the peace. After a while, the two guys make amends and realize how stupid their argument was. They ask if I’ll remove my dogs, but I say no. I need to maintain the peace. Eventually both guys turn against me, but I say to hell with them. I’m right. If it wasn’t for me, one of them would be dead right now. One day they notice that I have my dogs at several other neighbors houses, and everyone seems to be talking about how I’m using these dogs to control the neighborhood. So, would this be considered a just thing to do if I did it? If not, then why do we have millions of people advocating more US troops on foreign soils?

I’m sure by now you are getting the point. If something is unjust for an individual to do, such as sticking a gun to someone’s head to force them to do what you want, it is just as unjust for a group of individuals known as the government or We The People to do to any individual or another group. We must realize this if we are ever going to stifle the growth of government, mitigate the oppressive hand of government, and end the march toward tyranny. In ever political debate, people of good will need to ask themselves, if I took these actions or my neighbor took these actions on me, what would I think about it? Would I think it’s just or unjust. Is it taking someone’s liberty, life or property? There are those who profit from government force, so they will be hard to turn away from their masters. If they claim to be for individual rights though, you must show them the errors of their ways, because you can’t be for your own rights and not the rights of others. If that’s the case, then neither have rights, and it’s just a battle to be the one holding the gun.

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Would Jefferson Approve Of Our Uprising?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, History | Posted on 24-04-2010

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In a letter to Edward Carrington, before the Constitution was written, Jefferson talks about the up risings in America during Shay’s Rebellion.

DEAR SIR, — … The tumults in America, I expected would have produced in Europe an unfavorable opinion of our political state. But it has not. On the contrary, the small effect of these tumults seems to have given more confidence in the firmness of our governments. The interposition of the people themselves on the side of government has had a great effect on the opinion here. I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

You have to love the way Jefferson puts things. “…whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” shows how Jefferson did not trust government, and that the only way for government to remain accountable was to have a press that informed the people of exactly what the government was doing on their behalf. Considering all the backroom dealings, the couple thousand page bills, and Obama shutting the press out of meetings with foreign leaders, can we say that we even have a government with newspapers (open information)? I would have to say we do not, and as such would tend to agree with Jefferson that I would prefer newspapers without a government. At least then, I could get information and make choices myself, instead of slime ball politicians making them on my behalf, and then not letting me know how those decisions were made and what those decisions entail.

But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.

Jefferson must have never thought about what the public schools would end up doing to our literacy rate.

I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe.

Here Jefferson sure sounds like an anarchist. He argues that public opinion is just as powerful as laws. Could it be happiness is not derived by the so-called tranquility created through government, but instead by the free choice of how to live your own life? Public opinion does not require force. There is no gun pointing at you. Instead you are choosing to abide by public opinion in order to get along with your neighbor and to be accepted into society. No one is forcing you. You could just as easily choose to not abide by public opinion and either work to change the opinion or setup a society based on new public opinion. It is by this free choice that Jefferson believes that societies without government enjoy “an infinitely greater degree of happiness”.

Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you & I, & Congress & Assemblies, judges & governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor. The want of news has led me into disquisition instead of narration, forgetting you have every day enough of that. I shall be happy to hear from you sometimes, only observing that whatever passes thro’ the post is read, & that when you write what should be read by myself only, you must be so good as to confide your letter to some passenger or officer of the packet. I will ask your permission to write to you sometimes, and to assure you of the esteem & respect with which I have honour to be Dear Sir your most obedient & most humble servt.

via Edcarringtonlttr.

Wonder what Jefferson would think of our government today? Would he consider a government who runs up a $13 trillion debt that will enslave it’s citizens wolves? Would the people who are looted to pay for enslavement programs for the poor and the poor who are enslaved be considered sheep? How about the money stolen from tax payers to hand over to wealthy bankers? Does that qualify our governors as wolves? And are we sheep when our governors stick guns to our heads and tell us what we must buy?

Surely, Jefferson would see that our government has become the wolves, and we the people have become the sheep.

But, he would speak glowingly of the people who are now rising up and becoming attentive once again, for it is this spirit that Jefferson cherished.

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Government Pensions, A Disaster In The Making

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 20-04-2010

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From my local paper comes even more proof of government’s complete incompetence. Why anyone trusts government is beyond me.

Pennsylvania hasn’t paid the annual recommended amount to its school and state employee pension funds in years, and won’t for at least another decade if lawmakers adopt a budget proposal designed to spread costs into the future.

The state is not alone with that tactic.

As 2009 pension reports trickle in, it appears cities, states and schools across the country are cutting back on pension fund contributions in order to shift money to budget needs. Of 71 funds that reported 2009 contributions in the Boston College report, about 40 percent of them met their recommended contributions.

The annual recommended contribution is the yearly amount required to cover administrative costs, the cost of benefits employees earned in a given year and the cost of paying off any unfunded liabilities. Typically, employees and employers — in this case the state, city or school district — each pay a portion of the tab.

“It was easy to cover this stuff up. Nobody is going to look at something like this in good times because it is so easy to cover it up. … That’s why (governments) went ahead and increased benefits, saying the stock market would cover it and it wouldn’t cost anything. I knew a day of reckoning was coming,” Dean said.

Easy to cover up? Are people catching on that government is a fraud? If the private sector did this, they’d be hauled before congress and used as a public sacrifice to the Capitalism Is Evil gods.

Although many states and municipalities adjusted benefits for new employees, courts have ruled they must meet their obligations to retirees and active employees.

“Now when someone asks about pension problems, I tell people you better check city hall, because they may be selling your child’s soccer field to pay for pensions,” Dean said.

Pennsylvania increased benefits for state and school employees and lawmakers in 2001, added a cost-of-living raise for retirees in 2002, and then reduced contributions to the funds and spread costs out over a decade to soften the blow of market declines.

Don’t worry. I’m sure the intelligentsia can figure this out.

Munnell said researchers could offer no easy solutions.

“We don’t have anything brilliant to say. There is little in the way of public options to fix this quickly,” she said.

Uh oh!

via Triblive.com

While the rest of us are cutting back, struggling just to get by, and many of us haven’t been able to afford contributing to our retirements, the government just keeps spending. They keep making more and more promises to government workers, who produce absolutely nothing. Of course, guess who has to backup those promises? It’s not the slimy politician or bureaucrat. It will be us, the tax payer. We will have to work extra weeks of unpaid labor just to hand over to the government, like slaves trying to increase their masters wealth.

Why do government workers even get pensions? Who in the private sector gets pensions anymore? The private sector has moved away from the pension system because it’s  unsustainable. Of course, the morons in government don’t care about that. This is just another example of government not doing what’s best in the long term like private businesses do. This is why government should be extremely small, and private businesses should handle the services we want as consumers. The privates sector has moved toward 401k, IRAs, etc. These are self managed by employees and do not require long term commitments by employers. Not with government though. Government workers retire young with huge benefit packages. They didn’t produce anything while they are working, and now they get to sail off into a tax payer funded sunset.

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Why Do Liberals Think Only Government Can Provide Essential Services?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 14-04-2010

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Alright, so I’m on Facebook, and I see someone posted this picture. Following it was typical LOL type of comments. What really makes me LOL is how liberals think only government can handle essential services like fire protection. Do they just assume that if government ceased to exist tomorrow (I know, I’m daydreaming) that all the sudden people would stand by asking themselves who is going to put a burning house out? It’s as if the government created the idea of extinguishing a fire and is the only group of people who know how to do it.

That was my first thought. Second was the caption of “No, thanks – I’m a libertarian.” I’m a registered Republican, but I probably more align with libertarian ideas. Do these statists think libertarians are against fire departments? Do they think that if libertarians wanted no government what-so-ever, that they would not establish services to handle fire protection. If you’ve ready this post, you know fire protection could be provided by your insurance company.

If insurance companies payout based on the amount of damage done in a fire, wouldn’t they have an incentive to develop fire protection and fire fighting services? It’s only the blinded view of the statist that can’t see other options other than state power. Do they need the government to tell them how to interact with their friends, family, neighbors, etc? No, they interact based on their self interest. The same would happen with fire fighting.

INSTAPUTZ: Hehindeed..

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Government Success! “half of the cameras do work”

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 01-04-2010

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While this is no shocker to those of us who know government is a completely ineffective, you would think this would make the most ardent defenders of the state question how effective government is.

About half of the more than 4,000 security cameras installed along New York City’s subways are not working.

At the same time, the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority has cut the number of weekend police patrols on major bridges and tunnels.

Critics say the non-working cameras are a blind spot in the crime and terrorism safety net for the nation’s largest city.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that the MTA needs more funding. But he says Albany lawmakers turned down a plan that would’ve eliminated most of the agency’s problems.

MTA officials say safety of riders is the top priority. They point out that about half of the cameras do work and about 900 more will work by June.

The problem of missing video came to light after two men were stabbed to death on the subway — and there was no camera installed in the station to catch an image of the killer. Darnell Morel and Ricardo Williams, both 24, were killed in a fight that started around 5 a.m. Sunday at the Christopher Street station, about four miles from the World Trade Center site.

via The Associated Press: Insecurity cams? About half in NYC don’t work.

Can you image a private security company pointing out, as if this is proof of their good work, that half of their cameras “do work”? Luckily for us, with private business, we abolish them by not using their services. With government, we are stuck with them. They have the guns.

Can’t wait till these morons run all of health care. It should be interesting being rushed into an emergency room. Your health care will be like playing a game. Do you get lucky and get put into the room with working equipment, or do you go to the room with the broken down equipment? Who knows! Maybe they can turn this into a reality show, so the government dependents can feel good about the disasterous system. I can hear it now. “I’m having a heart attack. I’m going to be on TV! “

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