The Affordable Care Act creates a new health insurance marketplace (the exchange). But because of the great uncertainty about what buyers will enter the market and who will buy what product, the law creates three vehicles to reduce insurance company risk.
Politicians and bureaucrats are notorious for manufacturing euphemisms -- clever but deceptive substitutes for what they really mean but don’t want to admit. That’s how the phrase “revenue enhancement” entered the vocabulary. Some of our courageous friends in government couldn’t bring themselves to say “tax hike.”
It’s easy to be negative about the U.S. economy these days. Find a glint of silver, and folks come running to point out all of the dark clouds looming about. This, of course, is what we got last week when the monthly jobs report was released from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Folks pooh-poohed the number of jobs and whining that they’re not enough or that it’s less than a bunch of economists thought that it might be. But you know what? Stuff ’em.
Facts are easy. You can check facts. What supporters of the Affordable Care Act are doing, on the other hand, transcends factual bungling. It’s far more advanced: a warping of reality so debauched it looks like something out of a tale by H.P. Lovecraft.
The east coast and parts of the southern U.S. were to varying degrees paralyzed by blizzards a few weeks ago. The snow as expected rendered the roads treacherous, and in anticipation of slick streets, shoppers flocked to the grocery stores in advance.The rush into grocery stores, and its aftermath, offers worthwhile lessons in economics.First up, […]
The highest form of charity, argued the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, is when the help given enables the receiver to become self-sufficient.But our systems of state charity — aka welfare — have too frequently had the opposite effect: They have actually created dependency. It is time to rethink the way we help people.I’m going to […]
Last year was quite the year for Bitcoin. We’ve seen exponential growth in Bitcoin’s exchange rate and extensive coverage in the media. Another phenomenon we have witnessed is the proliferation of alternative cryptocurrencies, five of which we’ve provided below.What all of these cryptocurrencies have in common is that they rely on a decentralized network to […]
President Obama crowed in his State of the Union speech about the economy, even mentioning “a rebounding housing market.” Maybe he was referring to friends in high places, like the seller of Penthouse One in New York, which just closed for $50.9 million, all cash. Millions of mere-mortal homeowners likely wanted to throw something at […]
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is acting in a bipartisan way to cover up the biggest single threat to the bipartisan political alliance that is stripping America of its wealth: the United States Congress.There is no question that the following policy is bipartisan. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are completely agreed that the following information […]
Recent difficulties with implementing the Affordable Care Act have increased opposition to the program. A majority of Americans now oppose it. Problems with the HealthCare.gov website are in all likelihood temporary. However, there are serious long-term problems, particularly considering long-term finance and labor supply issues. Given the mounting difficulties with and growing concerns about the […]
The faces of the Detroit bankruptcy are the thousands of pensioners whose promised benefits are suddenly part of the restructure negotiation. When Motown filed for Chapter 9 last July, the city had $11.5 billion in unsecured liabilities. The vast majority of this was pension and health care benefits owed to retired city employees.The images of […]
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”As the inequality gap grows, there is an ideological battle unfolding in the West.On the one hand, there are those who think government can fix things. It must do more, tax more, […]
On Feb. 7 the United States will once again reach its statutory debt limit, meaning it cannot legally borrow any more money. Since the obvious option of cutting spending to match the amount of revenue that the government collects is off the table for some inexplicable reason, Congress will have to pass a new, higher […]
The New York Times published an interminable article on health care recently. Plenty of facts — how scrupulous are these journalists! — but the article displayed absolutely no comprehension of the basics of cause and effect. I was left wondering about the whole point.The article details how the health care system rewards specialists to an […]
The Largest Company in History:“The United States Corporation of Government (USCOG)”I follow global social and commercial networks, looking for entrepreneurial opportunities.Innovation surges when industry and government models change. Buggy whips. Landline phones. Railroads. The Soviet Union. Apartheid South Africa. All marked social and commercial innovation, both bad and good.We are witnessing a new form of […]
We’d like to give the banks in Australia some credit. They’ve finally gone and done it. They have caught up with 1960s technology. They’ve figured out how to use PIN numbers.How to only use PIN numbers, that is. They’re considering scrapping signatures on credit cards to cut down on fraud. Apparently, having to verify your […]
We put in a good-citizen call to the SEC the other day.“There’s a massive scheme to manipulate stock prices,” we told the friendly agent.“I have to tell you that your call is being monitored so that we can better serve the public,” he replied.“Oh, don’t worry about that. The NSA is tapping our call anyway.”“Are […]
Dr. William C. Padgett is a retired optometrist who has been trying to bring an elderly care facility to Beaufort County, North Carolina, for over a decade.“Our senior citizens,” he laments, “are finding that it is difficult and in many cases impossible to find an appropriate long-term care facility locally.” Though he has received several […]
If you don’t have the angst out of your system concerning Wall Street banksters, Government Sachs, and the Affordable Care Act, settle in with Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia to make your blood boil one more time.Investors should be reminded of 2008 as they shrug their shoulders and put their money back in the stock market. The […]
What do 8 of the 10 wealthiest people in the U.S. have in common?Aside from being able to fly in private jets, the common thread is that each of them has made their fortune thanks to a start-up.Let me explain…From tech titans like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison (founders of Microsoft and Oracle, respectively), to […]
“Inequality is the defining challenge of our time,” according to President Obama. It’s certainly the topic of the day for Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz and a whole raft of liberal pundits.But have you noticed that hardly anyone else is talking about it? When is the last time you heard a shoeshine person or a taxi […]
In December of last year, I left my career to travel the world for one year.My plan was to visit as many countries as possible on my Star Alliance Around-the-World ticket in the first nine months, then, for the remaining three months, return back to the country that most caught my eye and my curiosity.Nine […]
Economic history is primed to repeat in the nastiest of ways unless the government stops distorting the price of something we use every day.Every product, good, or service has a price, which is essential to rational decision-making. We use prices every day as vital data that guide us. Without true prices, prices not distorted by […]
A new survey from Harvard University found a large majority of young Americans do not believe the law will save them money, do not believe it will improve their health, and do not intend to sign up for insurance through the new exchanges.
Uh-oh!The new pope, Francis from the Pampas, has just warned us to beware the “tyranny” of capitalism.Each man worships his own gods. Some worship at the altar of Jesus of Nazareth. Some at the altar of the Almighty Dollar. The capitalists don’t bad-mouth Francis’ god. You’d think he would cut them the same slack.Bad-mouthing Catholicism […]
The market has selected different things as money throughout history. Some of these items have served as money in isolated places for specific periods of time — for instance, cigarettes in prisoner-of-war camps. Cigarettes continue to be a currency in prisons if allowed, but if not, according to Wikipedia, “postage stamps have become a more […]
A president stands disgraced. Congress is scattering. Bureaucrats are baffled. Pundits are reaching. Industry is scared. Politicians are scrambling to do something, anything, to make it better. One political party is in meltdown and the other loving every minute of it, hoping to ride the calamity to electoral gains.The so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care […]
Emblazoned across the lucre-basted exterior of the Internal Revenue Service Building in Washington, D.C., is one of the most intellectually polluted quotes any free mind is ever likely to encounter:
“Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.”
Its effortlessly officious author, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., could scarcely have been more wrong in his (albeit paraphrased) assertion. Unless, that is, the mustachioed Rooseveltian meant to define “civilized society” as an arrangement that favors and promotes rule by brute force and violence, rather than one of free and voluntary association.
If, indeed, that was Justice Holmes’ idea of “civilized,” we shudder to think what he regards as uncivilized. But shudder we will…
Let us consider, by way of illustration, the concept of the caveman, that apocryphal amalgam of prehistoric humans so often used to epitomize the unwashed, uncivilized elements of mankind’s past. To what does this boorish troglodyte resort when it comes to resolving complex matters of dispute? What is his go-to instrument for dealing with the problem posed by, say, the natural scarcity of goods? With what tool does he arbitrate over issues involving titles, rights, and claims?
Like Justice Holmes, Capt. Caveman’s preferred instrument of justice is… a club. Force, in other words. “It’s my way… or (insert oafish, baboonlike noises here) me club you to death.”
There is no opt-out here. No choice. And therefore, it must be said, no freedom. As the author Salman Rushdie (a man who has spent a good deal of his life under threat of force and violence from a particularly hysterical clutch of our fellow primates) once remarked, “Freedom to reject is the only freedom.”
Justice Holmes may have liked paying taxes. (He may have liked being flogged with a club, too. Who are we to say?) But by mandating that others do likewise, by employing the force of the state to ensure that they do, by denying them the freedom to reject the state’s claim on their property and to defend themselves against it, he is wielding the club — dangerously disguised as a gavel — of a decidedly uncivilized version of “justice.”
There are, of course, those questionless minds among us who take false refuge in such meaningless platitudes as, “But… but… but it’s the law!” To which we reply, “What kind of law is yours that seeks to endorse violence, rather than to protect us from it?”
“The purpose of the law,” observed classical liberal theorist Frederic Bastiat, “is to prevent injustice from reigning.” It is not to cause justice, in other words, but to shield us from its opposing force. And how are we to know when a law has fallen into the service of evil? The Frenchman offers this simple litmus test:
“See if the law take from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what that citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”
And if we find the state of affairs to be as such? Bastiat urges us to “abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals.”
For Holmes and his wretched ilk, the difference between “them” and “us,” between savage and civilized, is not to be found in the distance between war and peace, between force and voluntarism, between slavery and freedom. His is a civilization measured in degrees according to the size and efficacy of the agent of force… and the sickening pleasure its beggarly subjects derive in forever dwelling on the harsh receiving end of it.
Of course, the liberty-minded recognize immediately, almost instinctively, that no amount of initiated force is ever tolerable in a truly just and civilized society. Indeed, this is the core tenet of the nonaggression principle. Writes noted free market economist Walter Block on the subject:
“The nonaggression axiom is the lynchpin of the philosophy of libertarianism. It states, simply, that it shall be legal for anyone to do anything he wants, provided only that he not initiate (or threaten) violence against the person or legitimately owned property of another.”
In stark contrast to this fundamental bedrock of freedom, Justice Holmes not only implicitly advocates the use of force… but explicitly revels in it as a kind of privilege for which to be eternally thankful.
Wherever this core principle is endorsed, it betrays in its proponents a profound disgust for the human species, a disgust so visceral that it compels, urges, lusts even, for their ownership over and enslavement of others… all for the slaves’ own good, of course.
The impulse to own and to be owned is rooted in a foul and reprehensible sociopathy, one forged from a deep self-loathing, at once slavish and brutal. As such, it stands in special need of constant and public denunciation, of fierce, unapologetic, and uncompromising resistance by all who strive to further the cause of liberty.