Campaign 2016

BUTTON

Alright.  If I knew how to make a Donate button on this thing, I would start taking donations for my 2016 Presidential Campaign.  Instead I will have to run with what I have: this blog and the money in my pocket.  Just a second…

$1.35

That’s after two liters of water and a Syntha-6 Protein Shake for breakfast.  Watch out, Chris Powell.  Here I come.  Also gaining inspiration from Alchemi Personal Fitness and its owner, my friend Michael Sweet.

So back to why you clearly came to the internet today: to learn about my 2016 campaign platform and to consider whether you would want to be my running mate.  Don’t ask now, though. I think that’s against the rules.  So….here we go.

Freedom

Our country was founded on it.  We all desire it.  But are the people in our nation truly free?

Every paycheck you get has a heftier sum taken out of it than before.  You are forced to make different decisions because you are taxed so much, and with the current direction of government, you are looking at less and less money that you get to put into your bank account or that pair of shoes you’ve been eying.  Keeping your money and spending it how you want?  That is freedom.

Our government has continued to tell you what is right and wrong.  “Don’t eat that, don’t smoke that, don’t marry them, don’t stand for that,” etc.  All can be reduced to this: it isn’t anyone’s business but yours.  Do what you want with your life and don’t let others take that from you.  That is freedom.

We live in a time where wars continue to go on, nations are suspicious of one another, tensions have built, and our government is suspicious of its own people.  Have you been spied on?  Will war come to our shores?  Should we be afraid?  Peace. That is where we find freedom.

But How?

How do we get our freedom back?  How do we lower taxes–I mean really lower taxes?  How do we gain back a lifestyle where we can live according to our own beliefs and values?  How do we live a life without the constant fear of war or spying, etc.?  So many other questions that need to be answered for freedom to appear once again in America.

Taxes

The best way for an economy to grow is for people to make money and spend money.  When money gets taken away and thrown into an over-sized, over-reaching government machine through taxation, the economy suffers.  You can’t buy what you need.  Businesses are forced to raise prices, lower wages, or go under.  We must lower taxes.  When I say “lower” I have in mind a time not so long ago–1913.  This is the year the income tax was established, which means our country was doing just fine without it for 137 years.  The income tax was established and continues to grow to support a constantly increasing government.  Cut the size and power of the federal government, and start cutting the need for the income tax.

“9-9-9” Plans and other smoke and mirror tactics won’t cut it.  We need someone in office who will actually commit himself to lowering taxes.  Why me?  Because I earn an average salary like you.  I am affected, too.  As President I will lower my own income to match what I am currently bringing in.  If I don’t lower taxes, I suffer for it along with you.

Healthcare

Thinking that the government can take care or every individual’s healthcare needs is ridiculous.  The more government has gotten involved, the worse it has gotten.  The more people want healthcare from the government, the more taxes must be raised–which means less jobs–which means more people needing government health insurance (which will be awful, since the government makes bad investments–keep reading for more on that
).

Solution: get government out of the deal.  One of the biggest problems a citizen will face is that the government has restricted competition between insurance companies in different states.  Competition is always good–it means higher quality and lower prices.  Open up state lines, and see competition at work.

As healthcare costs have shot through the roof, we become less and less able to pay for each other’s insurance and medical care.  Hospitals have to charge more to paying patients to cover non-paying patients–which creates more non-paying patients because of high prices!  It’s an awful, out-of-control cycle!  As non-payment increases, the government increases taxes to help, which further exhausts our paychecks.  We are left with Obamacare.  You know who hates it the most?  The Federal Government who just exempted itself from Obamacare.  That’s right.  It’s not good enough for them…but you have to have it.  Not ok.

I believe in the goodness of people.  Before Medicare and Medicaid, people were finding healthcare with doctors who would do work “pro-bono.” Doctors can no longer afford to do this work for fear of frivolous lawsuits or losing their license.  It will take time and grandfathering those in who rely already on these government provisions, but we can fix the problem by getting the government out of the medical business.

Illegal Immigration

Two extreme stances seem to exist when it comes to dealing with Illegal Immigration in America.  One is complete Amnesty, or just forgetting that a law was ever broken.  The opposite side of the spectrum holds that we should round up all illegal immigrants, ship them home, and put up a wall across the entire border with armed guards to keep them from coming back.

Amnesty doesn’t seem to solve any problem at all.  In fact, the problem will probably get worse as we demonstrate that there is no such thing as illegal immigration in America.

Rounding millions of people up, shipping them home, building a wall:  It can’t be done, it will cost billions of dollars (again-we would have to raise taxes more to afford it), and much of it is inhumane due to our failures to this point.  We have encouraged too many to establish families here that would be broken apart.

So what do we do?

First, answer this question: Why do immigrants come to this country illegally?  Then, you will begin to understand how to solve the problem.

1) Healthcare

Emergency Rooms are required to offer care to all individuals, regardless of citizenship status or ability to pay.  If we allow hospitals and practitioners the ability to do what they deem is right, this attraction will fade.  Naturally, with freedom comes risk.  What about people who need medical attention immediately despite citizenship factors?  Answer: I believe in the goodness of people.  When we know that the responsibility is ours (not the government’s) we will help each other.

2) Minimum wage laws

Minimum wage laws are one of the primary agents of destruction in America.  When wages are forced unnaturally upward, businesses are forced to 1) Raise wages and keep staffing, but lose money, 2) Raise wages but lower staffing, 3) Raise wages, keep staffing, and go out of business, or 4) Hire illegal immigrants who do not fall under the minimum wage requirements.

Illegal immigrants are happy to take a sub-minimum wage payment in America.  Why not?  It’s better than no money at all.  Sadly, the American citizens suffer as prices go up all around them and job availability goes down.

Remove minimum wage laws.

Businesses will be able to legally hire American citizens.  Unemployment will drop as American citizens are able to find work.  Business owners will be forced to find a natural-market wage rate to be able to operate.  Too low wages?  No employees.  Too high?  Go out of business.  Just right?  Do well.  It just makes sense for everyone.

Just as importantly, illegal immigrants will find themselves unemployed and much less able to thrive.  This will have two effects: 1) They will migrate elsewhere or 2) They will seek out legal means of becoming a United States Citizen.

The Environment

Save the rainforest.  Save the whales.  Save the ozone layer.  Save the glaciers.  How many campaigns like these have you heard of in your lifetime?  Many are stark defenders of natural resources, many don’t care, most are probably somewhere in the middle.

The majority probably agrees on this: Earth and its resources are valuable and we would like to keep them around as long as we can.

Privatize, Privatize, Privatize.

When the government itself takes ownership of a resource, such as a forest, problems start to arise.  If the government opens up that forest to lumberjacks and paper-mills, the forest will be depleted as quickly as possible.  No company is necessarily to blame-this is simply good business.  Get as much as you can, make as much as you can, sell as much as you can for the lowest price.

Consider for a moment, though, if a private citizen/entity was allowed to own that forest.  If the citizen allowed a company to come and deplete the forest, she would be out of a job and out of money before too long.  She would have a vested interest in a) only allowing certain portions of the forest be cut down at once, and b) growing those sections back to make more money in the future.

Allow private citizens/entities to own natural resources, take them away from the government, and we will find these resources being replenished for the long haul.  Same goes with oil wells, land, ocean areas, etc.

Privatize Investments

Keep this in mind: the government can only ever make bad investments.

People, businesses, and banks are intelligent and capable of weighing out what is a good, profitable investment, and what is not.  When a profitable investment opportunity arises, private entities will weigh them, measure them, and invest in them.

What is left over, then, is the investment that wasn’t very profitable.  How will this guy make money?  He has already been to the bank and private investors who said “No.”  Go to the government.  The government owns plenty of bad investments–and they invested your money, which is now drowning in an illiquid sea.

Bad businesses must be allowed to fail or to transform themselves into something profitable.  This is the very idea that will move our nation to the front line of production and technology once again.

Marriage

I am a conservative Christian.  As such, I believe that only One has the authority to define marriage: God.

For that reason, Government has no right to define or meddle with marriage at all.  This is a place where Christians (or others of religions/beliefs that stand against gay marriage) may disagree with me.

When we grant the Federal Government or the majority of society the power to determine what marriage is and isn’t, we find ourselves quickly in a mess.  What “I” hope in such situations is that my beliefs will come out on top, and that marriage will be defined by some people the way I want it defined.  But when I have given that power to the gov’t/the majority of voters–that may very well not be the case.  The government should not be in the marriage business.

That is between me and whomever I choose to associate myself with.  Thus it should be with all.  To be “equal” in areas where different beliefs exist, the government simply should not be involved.

Foreign Policy

Seldom has any nation existed for very long in history when it begins to stretch itself thin by meddling with other nations.

The golden rule is perhaps one of the best to apply to foreign policy: treat others the way you wish to be treated.

While we live in a country founded on democracy, (and I love our America’s foundation) to force that idea on anyone else is completely contradictory to the idea itself.  The best way to interact with other nations is to build our nations defenses, increase our economy, and promote life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness within our nation–to demonstrate to the world that Freedom works!  Then let them ask us what we are doing right and try it for themselves.  Trade openly with them, be friendly with them–but never dictate to them what they will do.  This is the essence of Tyranny.

Imagine your neighbor sending a few of her family to live in your house to dictate to you how you will, from here on out, run your life.  You wouldn’t like it.

Imagine another nation with a system of government unlike our own setting up shop in Washington D.C. to tell us how to live.  We would quickly learn to distrust and dislike them.  We may even call on other nations to help us dispel them.

Furthermore–we are bad at meddling.  We give money, supplies, and weapons to people who we eventually realize are to be feared.  We topple regimes simply to find a worse one following.

Support our troops.

The best way to do so is to clearly define our mission, bring them home to us to protect us and defend us, and stop wasting so much money on needless and ridiculous warfare so that we can pay them!  No more precious lives given in wars for which we have no clear victory marker.

The War On Drugs

How well is it working?

Over $24 Billion (with a “B”) has been spent so far this year alone on trying to rid America of its drug problems.  How well do you think it’s working?  Truth is: it isn’t.

In fact, it is making matters much, much worse.  By keeping drugs like Marijuana illegal, we are forcing the demand for a lower supply of it through the roof.  This means prices are high, and people are buying.

Who is selling, though?  The worst people on the face of the earth.  We are helping to make them rich, and in making drug-dealers rich we are making them powerful.

If we were to decriminalize drugs, the opposite would happen.

But won’t everyone start doing drugs??  I wouldn’t, my family wouldn’t, and no one on any of my property would.  Why?  Because we wouldn’t anyway.  Harmful drugs are evil and destroy lives regardless of their legality, so we make our own, educated, decision to stay away.  I believe people are not only good, but smart.  Furthermore, I believe you should be able to make your own decisions about what goes in your body.

On the other hand, if your decision affects me in a way that I do not wish, you should face a severe penalty.  Any homeowner or private business owner has all authority to ban any substance or activity from their place of ownership.  The government has a constitutional responsibility to defend these rights, and ought to take it very seriously.

Sound Money

If you don’t balance your finances, you will find yourself quickly without money or credit.  Without either, you will be unable to exist.

Why should our government not be held to the same standard?  Of course it should.  The budget must be balanced and the debt must be paid.  Sadly, our government has spent money without thought of responsibility and now extreme actions have to be taken.  But it can be done.

We have to return to sound money.  No more fiat (fake) money.  We will return to the Gold Standard to give our dollars actual spending power.  We will, therefore, not need a Federal Reserve and will be able to shut it down and liquidate its assets.  That’s right liquidate.  Sell them off to start paying down our debt.  If I am seeing their balance sheet correctly, that is a quick $3.6 Trillion motion in a very good direction.  That’s 3,600 BILLION.  That’s 3.6 MILLION MILLIONS.

That is definitely not all I have to say…but hopefully you’re getting the gist.  You can donate to my campaign by…oh.  Nevermind.

Instead…find me a candidate who says the same stuff and we can vote for him/her together.

The Slave-ish Freedom of Choice

I know that slaveish wasn’t a word before just now.

So Many Choices

This is only after you decide which grocery store you’re going to…

 

I just got back from a work trip to Denver for the Fire Rescue International conference.  Denver was extraordinary in every definition of that word I can think of.  As far as weather is concerned, you’d have a hard time beating that area; and with a 30 minute drive from downtown, you can go fly fishing in the mountains.  On the other hand, I’ve never seen/smelled so much pot and cigarette smoke and so many homeless people in my life.  Minus the homeless people in Washington, D.C.  Hmm…another post.

 

Anyway, whilst in Denver I happened upon a gelato store [snotty travelling folk may commence commenting about how great real Italian gelato is…just scroll down and forget the rest of this post.].  In the gelato store were a strange 16-ish year old kid named Dan and about 20 flavor choices.  Such variety!  Surely the experience would be great!

Unable to decide, I requested several samples–cinnamon bun, cherry something, banana daiquiri [flavored], mint brownie, and tuxedo.  They were all good.  I still couldn’t decide.  However, triumphing over my decision-making paralysis (after 10 minutes)…I chose a combination of banana and tuxedo (which is a combination of 3 flavors).  What I mean is…I chose everything except mint and cherry.

The ice cream…er…gelato was terrific.  Something wasn’t quite right, though.  I was mildly disappointed that I didn’t have some of the other flavors I had chose against, which made my overall ice cream experience a little less pleasing.

An abundance of choices, which is usually touted as a positive in the moment, had actually become a negative in the long run.  The negative was slight as I still enjoyed my gelato, but existent nevertheless.

The Slavery of the Freedom of Choice

As society has “progressed,” it has asserted that freedom is exemplified by more choice(s).  I’m not sure if I can think of an aspect of life that this doesn’t touch as I begin to make a list: ice cream, clothing, water, vacation, lifestyle, religion, pens, pins, pans, pants, plants, plates, etc.  An increase in choices causes an increase in expectation, which is reasonable enough.  If I have a multitude of choices, I should be able to get what is best for me and walk away much more satisfied than if I had only a couple of options.

The two negatives that come from this increase, then, are strange:

  1. A delay or complete paralysis in making a choice, and
  2. A decrease in satisfaction knowing that other options existed that I left behind.

The two seem to augment one another as choices and variety grow larger, while what businesses and marketing teams expect is my increased satisfaction.  In the short run, I’m impressed by DSW’s thousands of shoe selections. Many times, however, I leave the store having been unable to find a shoe that would satisfy me more than all the other options.  And if I leave the store with a purchase, I quickly find some buyer’s remorse in my head as a result of leaving all the other cool shoes behind.

The Bigger Picture

Shoes and ice cream may not be too big of a deal, but do these ideas creep into other aspects of our lives?  After all, society has multiplied or even created choices in some fairly significant areas.  Religion is a prime example.  Zoom all the way out and you find a broad spectrum that includes atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, devil worship, etc.  Zoom into Christianity, though, and you find dozens of denominations, and in every denomination you find dozens of variations, and in every variation you find hundreds of unique congregations to choose between.  Some people, therefore, never choose.  Some people are always choosing and are disappointed every time.

Even in places where nature doesn’t pose a choice, we increase choice.  We have created choice in gender.  Do the same negatives appear here?  I think so.

Solution

That sub-heading is false advertising.

We have to be very cautious approaching the idea of fixing these problems.  At first, some will say the answer is to restrict or even eliminate choice.  With no choice, we eliminate negatives, and everyone is happy at a specified standard.  As a result, some have suggested things like the redistribution of wealth through taxation, communism, theocratic domination, and only vanilla gelato.  None of those work very well.  The gelato thing is a joke, but the other stuff doesn’t work very well.

Instead of restricting choices, then, do we need to have very low expectations so that whatever choice we come to is more satisfying?  Where then are hope and motivation?  Difficult, also, to justify.

And so, I submit to the reader/commenter:  What is the solution?  Do we limit choices, lower expectations, learn to be content in all things, roll dice, or what?

You’re up, slugger.

Click to Comment

The Devilish Principles of Hillarycare

By: Murray N. Rothbard

The standard media cliché about the Clinton health plan is that God, or the Devil, depending on your point of view, “is in the details.” There is surprising agreement among both the supporters and all too many of the critics of the Clinton health “reform.” The supporters say that the general principles of the plan are wonderful, but that there are a few problems in the details: e.g., how much will it cost, how exactly will it be financed, will small business get a sufficient subsidy to offset its higher costs, and on into the night.

The alleged critics of the Clinton plan also hasten to assure us that they too accept the general principles, but that there are lots of problems in the details. Often the critics will present their own alternative plans, only slightly less complex than the Clinton scheme, accompanied by assertions that their plans are less coercive, less costly, and less socialistic than the Clinton effort. And since healthcare constitutes about one-seventh of the American output, there are enough details and variants to keep a host of policy wonks going for the rest of their lives.

But the details of the Clintonian plan, however diabolic, are merely petty demons compared to the general principles, where Lucifer really lurks. By accepting the principles, and fighting over the details, the Loyal Opposition only succeeds in giving away the store, and doing so before the debate over the details can even get under way. Lost in an eye-glazing thicket of minutiae, the conservative critics of Clintonian reform, by being “responsible” and working within the paradigm set by The Enemy, are performing a vital service for the Clintonians in snuffing out any clear-cut opposition to Clinton’s Great Leap Forward into health collectivism.

Let us examine some of the Mephistophelean general principles in the Clintonian reform, seconded by the conservative critics.

1. Guaranteed Universal Access

There has been a lot of talk recently about “universal access” to this or that good or service. Many “libertarian” or “free-market” proponents of education “reform,” for example, advocate tax-supported voucher schemes to provide “access” to private schooling. But there is one simple entity, in any sort of free society, that provides “universal access” to every conceivable good or service, and not just to health or education or food. That entity is not a voucher or a Clintonian ID card; it’s called a “dollar.” Dollars not only provide universal access to all goods and services; they provide it to each dollar-holder for each product only to the extent that the dollar-holder desires. Every other artificial accessor, be it voucher or health card or food stamp, is despotic and coercive, mulcts the taxpayer, is inefficient and egalitarian.

2. Coercive

“Guaranteed universal access” can only be provided by the robbery of taxation, and the essence of this extortion is not changed by calling these taxes “fees, … premiums,” or “contributions.” A tax by any other named smells as rotten, and has similar consequences, even if only “employers” are forced to pay the higher “premiums.”

Furthermore, for anyone to be “guaranteed” access to anything, he has to be forced to participate, both in receiving its “benefits” and in paying for them. Hence, “guaranteed universal access” means coercing not only taxpayers but everyone as participants and contributors. All the weeping and wailing about the 37 million “uninsured” glosses over the fact that most of these uninsured have a made a rational decision that they don’t want to be “insured,” that they are willing to take the chance of paying market prices should healthcare become necessary. But they will not be permitted to remain free of the “benefits” of insurance; their participation will become compulsory. We will all become health draftees.

3. Egalitarian

Universal means egalitarian. For the dread egalitarian theme of “fairness” enters immediately into the equation. Once government becomes the boss of all health, under the Clinton plan or the Loyal Opposition, then it seems “unfair” for a rich man to enjoy better medical care than the lowest bum. This “fairness” ploy is considered self-evident and never subject to criticism. Why is “the two-tier” health system (actually it has been multi-tier) any more “unfair” than the multi-tier system for clothing or food or transportation? So far at least, most people don’t consider it unfair that some people can afford to dine at The Four Seasons and vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, whereas others have to rest content with McDonald’s and staying home. Why is medical care any different?

And yet, one of the major thrusts of the Clinton plan is to reduce us all to “one-tier,” egalitarian healthcare status.

4. Collectivist

To ensure equality for one and all, medical care will be collectivist, under close supervision of the federal healthcare Board, with health provision and insurance dragooned by government into regional collectives and alliances. The private practice of medicine will be essentially driven out, so that these collectives and HMOs will be the only option for the consumer. Even though the Clintonians try to assure Americans that they can still “choose their own doctor,” in practice this will be increasingly impossible.

5. Price Controls

Since it is fairly well known that price controls have never worked, that they have always been a disaster, the Clinton administration always keen on semantic trickery, have stoutly denied that any price controls are contemplated. But the network of severe price controls will be all too evident and painful, even if they wear the mask of “premium caps, … cost caps,” or “spending control.” They will have to be there, for it is the promise of “cost control” that permits the Clintonians to make the outrageous claim that taxes will hardly go up at all. (Except, of course, on employers.) Tight spending control will be enforced by the government, not merely on its own, but particularly on private spending.

One of the most chilling aspects of the Clinton plan is that any attempt by us consumers to get around these price controls, e.g., to pay higher-than-controlled prices to doctors in private practice, will be criminalized. Thus, the Clinton plan states that “a provider may not charge or collect from the patient a fee in excess of the fee schedule adopted by an alliance,” and criminal penalties will be imposed for “payment of bribes or gratuities” (i.e., “black market prices”) to “influence the delivery of health service.”

In arguing for their plan, by the way, the Clintonians have added insult to injury by employing absurd nonsense in the form of argument. Their main argument for the plan is that healthcare is “too costly,” and that thesis rests on the fact that healthcare spending, over recent years, has risen considerably as a percentage of the GDP. But a spending rise is scarcely the same as a cost increase; if it were, then I could easily argue that, since the percentage of GDP spent on computers has risen wildly in the past ten years, that “computer costs” are therefore excessive, and severe price controls, caps, and spending controls must be imposed promptly on consumer and business purchases of computers.

6. Medical Rationing

Severe price and spending controls means, of course, that medical care will have to be strictly rationed, especially since these controls and caps come at the same time that universal and equal care is being “guaranteed.” Socialists, indeed, always love rationing, since it gives the bureaucrats power over the people and makes for coercive egalitarianism.

And so this means that the government, and its medical bureaucrats and underlings, will decide who gets what service. Medical totalitarians, if not the rest of us, will be alive and well in America.

7. The Annoying Consumer

We have to remember a crucial point about government as against business operations on the market. Businesses are always eager for consumers to buy their product or service. On the free market, the consumer is king or queen and the “providers” are always trying to make profits and gain customers by serving them well. But when government operates a service, the consumer is transmuted into a pain-in-the-neck, a “wasteful” user-up of scarce social resources. Whereas the free market is a peaceful cooperative place where everyone benefits and no one loses; when government supplies the product or service, every consumer is treated as using a resource only at the expense of his fellow men. The “public service” arena, and not the free market, is the dog-eat-dog jungle.

So there we have the Clintonian health future: government as totalitarian rationer of healthcare, grudgingly doling out care on the lowest possible level equally to all, and treating each “client” as a wasteful pest. And if, God forbid, you have a serious health problem, or are elderly, or your treatment requires more scarce resources than the healthcare Board deems proper, well then Big Brother or Big Sister Rationer in Washington will decide, in the best interests of “society,” of course, to give you the Kevorkian treatment.

8. The Great Leap Forward

There are many other ludicrous though almost universally accepted aspects of the Clinton plan, from the gross perversion of the concept of “insurance” to the imbecilic view that an enormous expansion of government control will somehow eliminate the need for filling out health forms. But suffice it to stress the most vital point: the plan consists of one more Great Leap Forward into collectivism.

The point was put very well, albeit admiringly, by David Lauter in the Los Angeles Times (September 23, 1993). Every once in a while, said Lauter, “the government collectively braces itself, takes a deep breath and leaps into a largely unknown future.” The first American leap was the New Deal in the 1930s, leaping into Social Security and extensive federal regulation of the economy. The second leap was the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. And now, writes Lauter, “another new President has proposed a sweeping plan” and we have been hearing again “the noises of a political system warming up once again for the big jump.”

The only important point Mr. Lauter omits is leaping into what? Wittingly or unwittingly, his “leap” metaphor rings true, for it recalls the Great Leap Forward of Mao’s worst surge into extreme communism.

The Clinton health plan is not “reform” and it doesn’t meet a “crisis.” Cut through the fake semantics, and what we have is another Great Leap Forward into socialism. While Russia and the former Communist states are struggling to get out of socialism and the disaster of their “guaranteed universal healthcare” (check their vital statistics), Clinton and his bizarre Brain Trust of aging leftist grad students are proposing to wreck our economy, our freedom, and what has been, for all of the ills imposed by previous government intervention, the best medical system on earth.

That is why the Clinton health plan must be fought against root and branch, why Satan is in the general principles, and why the Ludwig von Mises Institute, instead of offering its own 500-page health plan, sticks to its principled “four-step” plan laid out by Hans-Hermann Hoppe (TFM April 1993) of dismantling existing government intervention into health.

Can we suggest nothing more “positive”? Sure: how about installing Doc Kevorkian as the Clinton family physician?

Bye Buy American

Image

So…Buy American?

For a while now, and especially since our economy has taken a dive, the idea of purchasing only products that are “Made In America” has become increasingly popular.

The thought is a nice enough one: If I buy things made in America, that money goes to Americans and will, should everyone act as I do, be spent on more American made things.  In so doing, the purchaser is hoping to better the economy in the US by helping US business.  And that is nice.

It Doesn’t Work.

Unfortunately, if we dedicate ourselves to only buying what is Made In America, we are failing to see the bigger picture.  Assuming that the “Made In America” sticker is actually 100% valid, which I doubt in most cases,  if everyone decided to buy items for only that reason, we may actually be harming our economy.

Your Money=Your Vote

It’s important to understand the consumers’ role in creating Demand, or what looks an awful lot like Demand, in our economy.

Basically, every dollar that you have is like a vote, and all products are part of an election.  Those products vary in features such as color, quality, where they are made, size, shape, etc.  When we purchase a Booger-Green car (as many of you have lately–what is your deal?), we are, in essence, voting for more Booger-Green cars to be created.  With our dollars, we communicate to the world, especially to car manufacturers, that they will make more money and please more of the population if they create more Booger-Green cars.  Furthermore, the price of those cars will go up because they are in higher demand, and if we keep buying them the car manufacturers will be exponentially excited about Booger-Green.  The new color of money.

Similarly, our vote-via-dollars demonstrates to manufacturers what their priorities ought to be.  If we begin to purchase only things that are “Made In America” and don’t consider cost or quality, then manufacturers will have similar priorities to match our demand.

See what happens?  If a car or truck made in Japan is of higher quality and of similar or lower cost than one made in America, but we decide to Buy American, we have communicated to the manufacturers in America that their quality is more than fine.  Thus, they will not have any motivation to improve quality or lower prices.  In fact, demand has been created, and prices can go up on the lower quality vehicle.

Meanwhile, guess what happens in the rest of the world.  The price of the better Japanese vehicle may fall initially because of the decreased demand from the US.  People in other countries, then, will compare the two cars objectively (because they don’t care who made it), and purchase the Japanese vehicle because it is of better quality.

The ripple effect continues.  Now, not only have we limited “Made In America” cars from being sold globally, but we have attached two things to those cars: 1) a “Made In America” sticker, and 2) a poor reputation for American-made vehicles.

Turn It Around.

The best way to help the U.S. economy and its businesses is to make awesome decisions with your money.  Treat your dollars like an actual vote.

If the Japanese car is of better quality, or even of comparable quality for lower cost, or better with gas mileage, or Booger-green; whatever your REAL preferences are in a product, communicate that through your purchases. 

Yes–communicate. 

Purchasing better quality tells companies that they should make better quality.  American manufacturers will, then, be forced to find out how to make a BETTER product at a lower price if they want you to “vote” for them.  Otherwise, they will go out of business.  On the other hand, if they don’t go out of business they will be competitive on the GLOBAL market!

SO- don’t just buy American for the sake of Buying American.  If the product is superior, buy it.  If it’s an American-made product, wonderful.  Reinforce it’s manufacturer’s standards by showing demand for it through purchase.

Government Subsidies

Apply all of this reasoning, and then bring in Government Subsidies.

Subsidies exist ONLY to buy [subsidize] what smart people won’t “vote” for with their dollars.  This creates the same effect as “buying American” without any say-so from the free market.  Notice how much freedom is removed from this picture already.

If “Company A” makes a good product whose price is worthy of investment, people buy it.  That company moves forward.  If “Company B” doesn’t make as good of a product or is not cost-competitive, people won’t buy it.  “Company A” is fine.  The government, however, may subsidize “Company B,” which is investing money stupidly (your money, by the way).  That company, then, will continue to operate the way that it has operated in the past, and will, most likely, require more and more of government [your] money to exist.  This teaches the industry that these companies belong to that success does not depend on actually performing well.

Ripple effect again…same thing, much bigger scale.

Government subsidies should simply be done away with.  Allowing things to fail is one of the best, albeit painful, parts of free-market Capitalism.  If a company fails, then the next company will do it better or more efficiently.  This means better, less expensive products for the consumer.  That trend creates MORE purchases for the consumer, which means more products need to be created.  Guess what that means!  MORE JOBS!!!  REAL ONES!!!

Same thing with banks.  Want banks to stop acting stupidly?  Allow them the risk of failure.  I, for one, miss the Bank Run.  Well…I miss it from the movies.  If banks are not faithful with your money, they should not be successful.  Why?  BECAUSE MONEY IS THEIR JOB.  Don’t do your job?  Fail.  Do it really well…succeed.

Why is that so difficult?

Seriously.  Why?

Gay Marriage and the Christian

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North Carolina

I have to admit, I don’t know all of the details.  Let me know if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that North Carolina passed a bill to amend the state’s constitution to define marriage as a relationship consisting of one man and one woman.

To many conservative Christians, this might seem rather straight-forward.

I would have voted against the amendment.

Gay Marriage and the Christian

You read that correctly.  I would have voted against the government defining marriage as the formal union of one man and one woman.

The instantaneous conclusion that many people will make here is that I am morally pro-gay rights.  That’s not true.  Had an Amendment been proposed to open the state’s definition of marriage to include GLBT unions, I also would have voted against it.  Furthermore, I believe that the Bible is God’s word and that the commandments therein are literal; so I do not condone a homosexual lifestyle.

How can I be against both?

I believe every Christian should take great offense to ANY action that takes power and authority from God and places it in the hands of people who then believe that the majority has the ability to vote correctly.  The point is this:Marriage shouldn’t be defined by the government as between man and woman because Government does not define marriage.  God does.

Majority Rules

This is the great danger in a majority rule system: what if the majority is wrong?  Let’s all say, for the sake of understanding, that God is real and His Word is right.  What if, one day (which, you realize, might be approaching), the majority of North Carolina or Texas or the entire nation becomes pro-gay rights.  The fault is ours for allowing government to have that control and people to have that vote to begin with.

Morality is not subject to Majority Rule.  Unfortunately, we have subjected ourselves to cruder movies, more offensive and completely inane pop music, and awful societal standards (the way we speak, dress, act, and interact) because we have allowed the Majority to rule–which simply cannot be so.  I realize that I’m just giving a wordy version of Mom’s “If everyone jumped off a bridge…”

For this reason, the Founding Fathers placed in our Constitution the important wording of the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof[…]”

In other words: the government will stay out of it.  Why? Because no one–not even the majority–has a right to have any kind of effect on your religion or your lack thereof.

The GLBT community shouldn’t be pushing for Government to decide these things either!  They should be pushing for government to be REMOVED from things like medical care coverage and whatever else is affected.  As far as government is concerned–you have the right to whatever union you choose.

Is that hard for me to say?  You bet.  But I believe it.

Do I wish everyone would know God and His Word?  You bet.  But I can’t force it through the government.  Well, I guess I could…but I’m against that, too.

The Economics of Morality and Freedom

This is an offshoot of a comment I made over at Tim’s Blog.

Recently

I’ve been trying to explain why freedom is important.  People react to the concept in different ways.  Some people recognize some benefits of true freedom that they have been missing in their lives or the burdens that exist in their lives that come from infringements upon their liberties.  Some people recognize risks that come with freedom.  Some people think I am a pot-smoking racist.  Some people insult me or accuse me of not being capable of rational thought.

I’d like to spend some time–maybe a few entries–on some thoughts and get your feedback.  Stay honest the negatives have been challenging, the positives have been encouraging, and the insults I’ve pretty much ignored.  So, if you have any of those purposes in mind, choose your words wisely.

Freedom and Morality

Not long ago, I heard a politician answer a question about healthcare coverage.  This politician (with whom I agreed) opined that every person should be free to choose whether or not to purchase health insurance and that no one had a natural right to it.

A hypothetical question was posed to him (he is a physician): “Speaking of a world where people are not granted health insurance as a right, but rather have the choice of whether to have it, what about the young man who opts not to buy it.  That man has a horrible accident which needs immediate and complex medical attention–do we just let that man die?”

The answer was both wise and important.  Don’t expect any of this to be verbatim, but it went something like this: “There was a time when health insurance wasn’t around at all.  How do you think people with no money got healthcare back then?  They didn’t just die: society provided.  Either their church, family, and neighbors would take care of them; a doctor would take the case out of benevolence; or some way was found to barter–maybe a job they could do or something other than money they could trade with.”

So What?

What struck me about this wasn’t simply thinking about a time when health insurance didn’t even exist, but rather the morality in society that reigned.  Two out of three solutions–church and benevolence–represented a morality that came naturally from people who hadto people who were in need.

At the same time, I thought about today.  You just don’t see as much of that today.  Why?  I think it’s because charity that comes from free will has been replaced with forced charity.  If someone is in need of food, shelter, or medical care, the best place to go is to the government.  The government will take money from (tax) those who once tended toward charity, and disperse it to those who were once provided for out of morality and kindness.  While on the surface this usually looks like a good thing–people being provided for through government–there is a glaring problem.

We removed the need for morality and kindness.  We left in place the need–hunger, thirst, sickness–and we left in place the providing.  However, that provision now didn’t take into consideration whether people wanted to help.  Therefore, wanting to help became far less important.  Kindness and charity weren’t as needed.  As a result- churches, neighbors, families- people weren’t as important in each others’ lives.

What older generations seem to keep pointing out (and I witness the trend as well) is a continuing fall in morality.  I think the reason is that there is no longer a demand for it.  In fact, the supply of morality has become burdensome.  Morality, kindness, charity, honesty, uprightness, all seem simply toget in the way of what we are wanting to do.  Humor gets cruder and cruder to have an effect, movies require violence and foul language and nudity to be truly appreciated by the masses.  Morality puts a damper on all of this–which means that it is in high supply with little to no demand.

This equates to low or no value.

The ramifications are endless.  Morality, which has its foundation in religion, is not only frowned upon in public schools (don’t get me started), it is rejected.  I find it funny, though, that behavior is expected.  That’s a joke, right?

Church attendance has fallen dramatically.  That is, until something horrible happens.  After 9/11 we had a dramatic rise across the country in church attendance.  That has dwindled since.

Charitable organizations are at a great disadvantage.  Even if I am willing to help out, my income has been taxed, so I have much less ability to give at all!

Get to the point.

My point is this:

The more that our decisions are made for us–especially moral or ethical ones–the less those moral and ethical thoughts become a part of who we actually are.  If some body of people somewhere is feeding the hungry with money taken from me regardless of whether I want them to, it will take a good deal of insight from me to initiate feeding the hungry on my own.  The effect is inversely proportional to the cause.  The more that government doesforme, the less I will do on my own.  That starts with my actions and my ability to do those things financially–but very quickly it creeps into my head and becomes part of my character.  All of this happens on a wide scale in society.

Where morality, kindness, and charity are unneeded–in low demand–they become less valuable across the board.

Back In Positive Land…

Let’s turn the picture around now and, using the same logic, see what happens:

The government disappears completely (which, by the way, I’m not in favor of.  Just almost.)

All-of-a sudden I have more money in my paycheck because nothing is being taken out of it!  On the other hand, a TOOOON of people have just lost their ability to survive which was being satisfied by the government using my money.  Those people, then, have no other choice but to turn to other people–families, friends, neighbors, churches, and charitable organizations/professionals.

What is immediately created is TOTAL demand for kindness and charity on the part of those without much (like our elderly or sick who are unable to work).  They must turn to society once again for help.   Society, then, gets the choice of doing something that they haven’t been able to do for a while–DECIDE to help.

The question that remains is: will they do it?

I believe very firmly that they will, but we must always understand that Freedom involves a risk.  If you decide not to get health insurance in a society where costs of medical care demand it (which is probably not a free socity in the first place), you run the risk of not having medical care when you need it.  You may lose your life.

On the other hand, in the past we found people helping one another simply because of goodness.  You may keep your life and health…and receive help from a good, kind soul…not from a government…and not from taxes taken from people who now have no more desire for goodness.

I, for one, desire freedom more than so many things here on earth.  Some parts of it are risky and scary.  The risks, however, will never come close to the benefits.

Thanks.