Generic drugs are supposed to lower healthcare costs and provide you with another medical alternative. That’s what it says on paper. But there’s a real danger that goes along with these drugs. A danger even your doctor might not be aware of.
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.
Woo-hoo! It is a wonderful thing when the good guys win one for a change. Well, it wasn’t a total win, but it gives hope.
In a case brought by the Wisconsin state government — with full cooperation from the federal government — a jury refused to convict Amish farmer Vernon Hershberger on all counts for distributing milk, cheese, and meat without a license. He did he end up with one conviction, for which he faces a year in jail, but that’s nothing compared with what might have happened.
Now, there are still many people who would read the above and say: Wait just a minute here. You mean to tell me that a farmer was hounded by bureaucrats for selling his own food to others who wanted to buy it?
Indeed. His farm was raided in 2010, and much of his milk and cheese was destroyed by the police. The conviction was based on Vernon’s desire to fulfill his commitments and distribute what remained.
The case is strange because everyone knows that the raid, the trial, and everything surrounding this case is related to raw milk and cheese. It has huge fans all over the country, people who claim that it is healthier than pasteurized milk and cheese. It is legal in 30 states to produce, buy, and sell. In Europe, no one thinks anything about it.
These raw products have fans all over the country. Even in my own community, there are devotees who swear by it and have to engage in all sorts of absurd twists and turns just to get it, and then pass it around like contraband.
Why is this? The U.S. has this extremely powerful dairy lobby. They use government regulations to maintain their monopoly control over production and distribution. That means excluding small startups like family farms, especially those that can cater to niche interests. The milk lobby will have none of it and cracks down wherever possible.
There’s nothing wrong with big business and nothing criminal about pasteurization itself. To each his own and all that. For my own part, I’m happy to buy my milk at the regular store. The problem comes when government is there to be used by industry as a cartelization device to boost and sustain market standing. The industry can go on all day about the health fears of raw products, but the real motivation is rather obvious.
What Hershberger was technically charged with was operating without all the proper licenses. The judge actually banned any discussion of the merits or nonmerits of his products. The jurors were told that their only job was to decide if this one farmer filled out all the right paperwork and paid all the correct fees you have to pay to sell stuff.
But wait a minute. Could he receive those licenses? Of course not, because he was not willing to comply with the regulations. In fact, had he complied, he would have lost all of his customers, who themselves were not just regular customers. They were part-owners of the farm itself — a strategy that many small farmers use to get around these crazy restrictions.
The jurors were actually behaving quite courageously in thinking for themselves. They must have looked at this good farmer in Wisconsin and wondered why he was even on trial at all. He was only doing what farmers have done since ancient times: producing food for people to eat. His client base was ridiculously small. We are talking about a few dozen people here, and a net income for Vernon that in 2010 was only $45,000.
Why was the government wasting its time on such nonsense as prosecuting small farmers for selling stuff? That’s a really good question. The answer is that this is what government does these days. Its main agenda is to stop people from getting together and exchanging things to their mutual benefit.
When you look at the problem this way, you can see that this is not a left-versus-right issue. It affects absolutely everyone, whether we are talking about raw milk or marijuana or medications or home appliances. The government’s got its hand in everything.
The main result of such an impulse is not to improve the world we live in. It is to prevent people from doing things that they believe amount to improvements of their own lives.
There is a special disgrace that comes with putting a milk and cheese farmer on trial in Wisconsin, of all places. This is the land that was built by exactly the sort of thing that Vernon was doing. That such activities are illegal and the people doing them are harassed for years and then put on trial is a stunning affront to freedom itself.
To regulate and ban anything ends up relegating perfectly legitimate activities to the sector of the criminal underground, a sector growing ever larger by the day. It operates like a parallel system to the legal one.
In the criminal underground, there exists the “darknet.” This free visible dark side of the Internet is easily browsable from your home computer provided you use the right tools. If you do happen to find yourself there, you’ll find the full range of human activity, from the upright and virtuous (making cheese and selling it) to the despicable and disgusting (assassination services) and everything in between.
The more laws we have, the more people are thrown into this sector, and all are clumped into this one category called criminal. This tendency really does begin to blur what is and isn’t wrong — as if morality has nothing to do with it and the only issue is what’s legal or illegal.
This thought occurred to me when on the same day that this farmer was acquitted, the U.S. government announced the shutting down of a money service in Latin America that prosecutors said had laundered some $6 billion in criminal money. But in all the news stories, there isn’t a word about prosecutions of actual criminals for whom the money was being laundered. It’s like they didn’t matter. Only the guys with the spreadsheets and websites got hit, even though they were only providing peaceful financial services.
Government can make all the criminals it wants. It can manufacture them the way McDonald’s makes hamburgers. All that needs to happen is to pass more laws and enforce them. Higher taxes, regulations, immigration controls, exchange controls, price controls — these end only in bolstering the sector that chooses to operate outside the law. The Breaking Bad segment, as they say in today’s parlance.
This will be one result of Obamacare, for example. It will fuel the expansion and sophistication of the informal sector of service and goods delivery within the health care sector. You think you don’t need it and won’t use it, but the time will come when it becomes a matter of life and death.
Already, some physicians are bailing out of the entire system — operating solely on fee for service and not accepting any insurance or government assistance at all. This probably cuts in on the bottom line, but it it allows them to avoid all the red tape, legal liability, and uncertainty of dealing with the coming regulatory onslaught.
I’m glad to see this, because there will come a time when we might end up depending on this new sector. In fact, every country with socialized medicine has these purely private solutions, mostly available only to the elite and those in the know.
It didn’t have to be this way, but this is the way things are going. And the reason is this: Government regulations and prohibitions never, ever work to achieve their stated ends. They only raise the costs of doing business. Some companies and individuals comply, and some do not, but the overall situation never improves because of the regulations themselves. Instead, the commercial sector just becomes stratified, and so does the society it serves.
Who is to blame for this sad situation? The government that creates it or the business people who find ingenious ways around the regime?
At least one jury in Wisconsin seems to have understood.