Ask a D.C. insider what’s the best way to solve the debt crisis. Nine times out of ten, they’ll recommend taking on more debt. That’s how things operate in the Potomac swamp. Up is down, right is left, digging yourself into more debt is the best way to get out of it. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, there used to be common sense when it came to the economy. So where did it all go wrong?
Politicians talk about the uninsured. Special interests argue on behalf of those with pre-existing conditions. But why is no one wondering how doctors are affected by the new law? They’re the ones on the frontlines dealing directly with new patients, as well as the red tape that makes bureaucracies go round.
Politicians proclaim the benefits of small business while on the campaign trail. But when they meet in the seedy halls of Congress, they have no problem doing whatever they can to stifle, regulate, and subdue their progress. Instead of siding with entrepreneurs, these politicians often side with political allies and cronies that helped put them into office.
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
Technology brought the world together. But has it gone too far? Decades ago, mail was delivered by hand. Now it’s delivered in seconds. How has that changed the way you live your life? How has it changed the way people act with each other? These are just some of the questions we need to ask.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
Gun control isn’t a modern idea. The rise of gun control laws and limits on your 2nd Amendment freedom go hand in hand with the increase in the size and scope of government. Politicians want you to think the only people who can keep you safe are government forces. But as one renown libertarian economist and thinker will show you, their misguided laws do nothing but take away your freedoms and leave you less safe.
The government will do whatever it takes to make sure it has enough of your money to fund itself. On the surface you might think that means enduring a grueling audit. But the IRS and the government is more than willing to ignore your privacy in the cold relentless pursuit of the money they think they deserve. As they get bigger and bigger every year, the smaller and smaller your paycheck becomes as they leach off it.
The Congressional Budget Office said the government needed to reach 7 million people by the end of March. They claim to have reached the goal and now the debate about Obamacare is over. But what does this milestone really mean in the ongoing healthcare discussion? And more importantly, how will it affect reforms going forward?
If you’re good at something should you be penalized so others have a chance at success? Should award winning actors and actresses be barred from future Oscar ceremonies to give other men and women the chance to succeed? Success should always be rewarded and encouraged. But what happens when you have a government that wants to even the playing field and take away the spoils of success. Gregory Bresiger finds out...
In an effort to cut costs and keep track of patients' records, governments could institute a medical guideline cookbook. Bureaucrats might think they have the best of intentions in mind, but these new rules would drag down the medical process and destroy whatever quality is left in our current system.
Practical people often pooh-pooh fiction reading as a time wasting dalliance, dominated by a Marxist coloring of the world. However, fiction readers were given a scientific reason recently for spending hours absorbing fanciful figments of someone’s imagination.
Argentina is suffering the ravages of government debasement of the currency -- i.e., inflation, the process by which government pays for its ever-increasing debts and bills by simply printing more paper currency. The expanded money supply results in a lower value of everyone’s money, which is reflected in the rising prices of the things that money buys.
When government expansion is allowed to continue unabated or when it casts a heavy regulatory shadow on America’s entrepreneurial spirit, the freedoms that we’ve come to know, and perhaps take for granted, slowly begin to slip away.
The saga of All Saints could soon be coming to a community near you. Thanks partly to the scandal surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the agency has proposed a new set of rules for a huge number of social-welfare groups that claim tax exemption under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code.
The new reality of Obamacare’s tax credits has left finance reporters to pen articles warning readers to “take care” when considering a tax credit and providing strategies for how best to “protect yourself.” So what do finance reporters know that the White House doesn’t?
Nihilo ex nihilo fit. Out of nothing, nothing comes. First put forward by ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides in the fifth century B.C., Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine later used this axiom to prove that the universe needed a “first mover” to get things going. Even if the whole thing began with some kind of “Big Bang” moment, it still needed a banger to bang it. Who? God, of course.
What positive steps can we take? The energy that is now expended by well intentioned, freedom-seeking individuals on the destructive course of politics can be turned into powerful steps that will have a positive effect on the future. All are moral, right and just. None require aggressing. Consider the following...
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 is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future,” says a proverb often attributed to Yogi Berra. Imagine the world of freedom, or lack of it. Who could foresee the technologies that make our lives so rewarding and convenient? The same technologies have us all under the government’s giant microscope. Thankfully, the brave have turned the microscope around.
In the months since Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the spying that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been perpetrating upon Americans and foreigners, some of the NSA's most troublesome behavior has not been a part of the public debate.
National Treasury Union President Colleen M. Kelly recently described the 2014 IRS budget allocation as “woefully inadequate.” But the agency has not proven itself to be an efficient steward of taxpayer dollars. Here are ten ways the IRS lost the trust of the American people.
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.
Given how poorly states like California and Illinois have funded the pension funds for their own employees, one would think that this would stop dead in its tracks any plan to have the government assist in managing private sector funds too. The spate of recent activity, however, suggests otherwise.
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 problem for NSA apologist is that when guys like Snowden disclose that the government conducts comprehensive surveillance in ways that would have made 1984’s O’Brien drool, it puts the entire progressive agenda in jeopardy.
The organization Campaign for Safe Cosmetics doesn’t just want you to be able to have new choices about the makeup or other products you buy. It wants the FDA to be able to ban and recall products. It will decide for you what is and isn’t safe.
And it is prevailing against the industry itself, which has no interest whatsoever in selling unsafe products, but precisely the opposite. The industry is already ridiculously overregulated, and new regulations could come into effect this summer.
What’s the excuse? The usual nonsense about safety and security and health. There is a crowd of lobbyists backed by regulators who seem to believe that all of modernity is corrupting and horrible and must be reversed until we are living in the most-primitive state of being, sans makeup, of course!
In other words, cosmetics are going the way of everything else. The quality of the product will be depleted by regulations, just as with indoor plumbing, electricity, cars, light bulbs, soaps and gas-powered tools. Entrepreneurship will be hindered and truncated. Innovation will stop. In a few years, you will wonder: Whatever happened to makeup and deodorant and hair spray that actually works? Prepare: The end is near!
Already, I’ve heard many women complain that cosmetics today are far worse than they were 10 years ago. The colors don’t behave they way they should, and color is mainly what the FDA currently controls. I don’t doubt that whatever problems exist are due to government regulations. Whenever you see consumer products that decline in quality to the point that you have to pay vastly more for something of good quality, or that high quality suddenly becomes completely unavailable, you will find the hand of government if you look hard enough.
I can’t read about this subject without feeling a sense of pride for the life and work (and sadness for the great legacy) of Maksymilian Faktorowicz, who lived from 1872-1938. He was a Polish Jew who lived in Russia under the czars. He started working for a pharmacist at the age of 8, and as he got older, he inhabited the world of wigs designed for the opera in Moscow. At the age of 22, he obtained what amounted to a royal appointment. He was in charge of wigs and cosmetics for the Imperial Russian Grand Opera.
But by 1904, political unrest was making life more than a bit scary for Russian Jews, and he began looking to the United States as a place to settle. In these times before passports and visas, it was just a matter of catching a boat and moving in. So he did. He moved to St. Louis.
His big break came at the glorious pro-capitalist, pro-progress, pro-technology event: the World’s Fair of 1904. There, Maksymilian Faktorowicz sold his fabulous cosmetics to great acclaim. All hail the practical arts!
He took the trade name you now recognize: Max Factor. He was a great American entrepreneur.
Following the World’s Fair, disaster struck, and his partner stole his stuff and his money and left him penniless. He went back into barbering and crawled his way back, eventually moving to Los Angeles. He opened a shop that distributed cosmetics for the theater.
But it was not enough that he merely distribute what already existed. Max was an entrepreneur above all else. And there was a new industry in town: the movies. The existing makeup withered terribly under the hot lights. He combined his background in pharmacy with his expertise in cosmetics and created a new form of makeup, a thin greasepaint in cream form in 12 different colors.
It was a smash hit. The stars loved it. Soon every emerging star was coming to Max Factor to provide the right look for the camera. And his products kept improving. Eventually, he had an incredible list of clients that included Mary Pickford, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Judy Garland. He invented lip gloss, provided huge innovations in nail polish, came up with products specifically for color films and never stopped improving all his products.
His name appears in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But more than that, Max was the guy who mainstreamed the idea that every woman could look like a Hollywood starlet. As the song goes, “To be an actor, see Mr. Factor / He’ll make your kisser look good!”
The term “makeup” that we use today is due to him as well. More broadly, when you consider the influence that Hollywood had on the world, he pretty well defined the 20th-century idea of beauty, both indirectly through his masterful work on the set and directly by marketing Max Factor products to consumers all over the world.
That’s a pretty impressive contribution for a poor Polish-Jewish immigrant from Russia! And between his old-world position serving the court and the new position in capitalist America serving the American consumer, which do you suppose he preferred? He made his preference pretty obvious by immigrating and then by absolutely thriving in this land of the free. Free enterprise made this story possible.
Now, I can imagine some readers thinking: “Oh, this is all superficial and irrelevant. Why make this man out to be a hero?” Cosmetics have been part of the human experience since the dawn of time. And today they are an intimate part of the daily life of nearly every existing person on the planet. For women in particular, cosmetics are a crucial part of what makes for a quality life, which is one reason that they constitute a $20 billion industry globally every year.
Sadly, when you look at the regulations today, you can see that this huge and wonderfully innovative experience could never be repeated. Let’s leave aside the point about immigration today, which is a tragedy in its own right. And let’s leave aside child labor restrictions that would have prevented him from learning his craft early on.
Would Max have been able to try techniques and colors and solutions for the unique problems posed by the hot studio lights? If he had to obey government regulators, rather than his demanding consumers, would he have thrived as he did?
I seriously doubt it. Entrepreneurs need the freedom to try things. They need to have their experiments tested by the most-relevant party, namely the consumer. The standards of excellence have to be set by the people who are using the inventions and buying the products. Because America valued this freedom and opportunity, and linked up geniuses like Factor with the buying public, many generations of American capitalists rose through the social ranks to achieve riches, fame and greatness.
Today, it is different. The regulatory bureaus step between the innovative capitalist and the consumer, causing friction and communication struggles. This forces the entrepreneur to have divided loyalties: Does he serve the bureaucrat, or does he serve the consumer?
Somehow I can’t even imagine Bette Davis taking a back seat to any regulator!
Rumor has it that the fate of cosmetics will be sealed by the summer, when the final power of the life and death of any cosmetic product will be handed over to the FDA. This is a terrible tragedy. I can predict the future. The new and improved makeup will not work. It is not supposed to work. It is supposed to please beauty-hating activists and power-mad bureaucrats.
Here we have another instance of government unraveling the achievements of civilization one product at a time. It is Max Factor’s grave they are dancing on this time. And that fact alone should infuriate every red-blooded and rosy-cheeked American.