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 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 financial world is plodding along like a drunken sailor avoiding debt collectors by keeping no cash in his wallet. It’s not the kind of calm that’s going to last or end well. But the storm will have to wait until after the Olympics.What a game! We’ve never watched ice hockey closely before. But watching […]
“When they come for my gun, they will have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands,” is a common refrain I often hear from the Neo-Cons when there is a threat, credible or otherwise, that the U.S. government is going to take their firearms.And, when I hear this crazy talk, I agree with […]
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 […]
In times of war and national emergency, it’s sometimes necessary to sacrifice civil liberties to secure vital gains in public safety. In those cases, we may have to accept a loss of privacy or freedom rather than invite mass slaughter of Americans.The National Security Agency’s domestic phone records collection is not one of those.Never have […]
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 […]
Amidst all the revelations about how the American people, many of whom are absolutely convinced they live in a free society, have their telephone calls, emails, website visits, and who knows what else under surveillance by their own government, let’s not forget the massive infringements on financial privacy that have gone on for decades.Consider, for […]
Image: ShutterstockBitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem, along with alleged co-conspirator Robert Faiella, was arrested by federal authorities last week for allegedly laundering more than $1 million worth of Bitcoins. This is a tiny amount compared to the largest drug-and-terrorism money laundering case ever. Yet when British bank HSBC was found guilty in 2012 of laundering billions, […]
Do you trust your doctor? Most patients assume their doctor is working in their best medical interests whenever he or she orders a diagnostic test or recommends a particular treatment. Customers might wonder whether an unscrupulous auto mechanic is being truthful when he recommends a brake job or a new transmission. But most patients trust […]
The exercise had an awesome name, inspired by the movies: “Quantum Dawn 2.”On July 18, scads of U.S. banks, stock exchanges and government agencies took part in a digital fire drill — a practice run in the event all of Wall Street came under massive cyberattack.This isn’t the first time banks have come under an […]
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 […]
So you’ve maneuvered the Obamacare website, plugged in your top-secret information and found out how much you are forced to pay to avoid a fine.And for some of you, it turns out you qualify for a government subsidy — making the premium sound like a bargain. But signing on that line to accept the government’s […]
“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 election year of 2012 reminds us of the sheer waste and lunacy of democracy. Like soccer’s World Cup or the Summer or Winter Olympics, presidential elections in the United States come every four years. The campaign is a carnival that begins the minute after a winner is declared in November.
Each successive campaign is said to be dirtier than the last. Each candidate touts change and hope, but delivers neither. No matter who wins, the government is elected, every time. Thousands of bureaucrats march off to work the day after the election no matter who wins. Four years later, the same government employees will likely go to bed early on election night not caring who wins, because their jobs, which stand in the way of freedom each and every day, will be unaffected by the election results.
The citizenry is pummeled with public service announcements to “make your voice heard.” It is your civic duty to vote. You have nothing to complain about if you don’t. But, in fact, government wants you to vote, but then sit down and shut up. Leave the governing to the professionals, while you pound your chest and wave Old Glory.
There are thousands of elections every year. Political positions from constable to governor are elected constantly. So with all of these layers of democracy — this great thing that America spends so many lives and so much money exporting — is America freer? With this constant turnover of political blood, is business allowed to operate unfettered? After all, we are led to believe democracy is synonymous with freedom. No democracy, no freedom.
America was attacked on Sept. 11 because they hate us for our freedoms, we’re told. America is so free it has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 750 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. More than 2.3 million people are locked up, and many more millions are on probation. Is this is the upside of this great thing — democracy?
The Federal Register, a publication with all the country’s (federal, nonclassified) rules is now over 81,000 pages long. President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is 906 pages. The Dodd-Frank Act totals 849 pages. Once upon a time, in 1913, the Federal Reserve was created with only 31 pages. The U.S. Constitution required only six pages.
Democracy is getting wordier. The more words, the more pages, the more rules, the less free we become. But we still have democracy, so we must be the luckiest people in the world. This is the greatest nation in the world… because of democracy. Because we have a say.
The idea of democracy is sacrosanct. To question it implies that you are in favor of despotism and tyranny. Democracy fans conveniently ignore the fact that despots and tyrants are freely elected every year.
President Hugo Chavez retained power in Venezuela this year, winning comfortably despite running his country’s economy into the ground with his socialist revolution of nationalizing key industries, tight exchange controls, and price controls on certain basic goods.
As the European economy continued to lurch toward meltdown, French voters elected Francois Hollande in 2012. The first three things Hollande did were raise the minimum wage, reduce the retirement age from 62 to 60, and raise the top tax rate to 75%. A conspiracy theorist would assume Hollande is deliberately trying to demolish what’s left of the French economy with these policies.
In Moscow, Vladimir Putin was again elected president of Russia. Despite police repression and the thuggery of the previous Putin regime, pro-Putin rallies were much more popular than anti-Putin rallies. “This is the time to build a bridge to Putin, before the most talented people move out of Russia,” said curator Marat Gelman.
As the United States elections draw near, the incumbent president is leading or tied in the polls. In his four years, he has not really deviated from his predecessor’s policies that were generally reviled by those in his party. He has presided over the largest expansion in public debt in world history, with the result being economic growth that is the weakest since the Great Depression. And this guy is likely to win. If he doesn’t, his opponent will govern just as he (and the ones before him) did.
Those of us paying attention are left to merely sigh and roll our eyes, reminded of H.L. Mencken’s line, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
Meanwhile, democracy continues on unquestioned. The politicians may be crooked, the taxes ruinous, the bureaucracy unwieldy, and the regulations outrageous, but the source of these outcomes is never questioned. The hope of democracy depends on the idea that all we need is the right people in power.
If democracy isn’t working, it’s not democracy’s fault. The problem is only that the right people have not been elected yet. This theory has been tested for hundreds of years and the results are the same, yet people still hope and believe. The worst rise to the top in politics, F.A. Hayek explained. To be elected, politicians must appeal to the least intelligent and most gullible. And because democracy makes politics and power available to everyone, it attracts those seeking status, fame, glory, recognition, attention, appreciation, dignity, and even dominance. The right people will never be attracted to politics, only the wrong people will.
To challenge democracy is brave. To do it in print is heroic. The authors of Beyond Democracy concisely dismantle the myths of democracy. If you come to this book already enlightened, their arguments will augment your arsenal. If you haven’t yet shaken democracy’s hold, your view of the world is about to be turned upside down. This is a book you will read in one sitting, and in the end its ideas will strip you of the statist baggage that has weighed you down. The world’s future, with problems that seem hopeless, will suddenly become brighter. One short book will make you understand why “no democracy” is the only path to true freedom.