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.
It occurs to every kid of a certain age. Let’s say the kid has a hamster, and then two, and they make babies. New value, new commodities. This is fantastic! Maybe the kid can breed hamsters, sell them, and make a few bucks. The capital investment is low and the returns are potentially very high and ongoing. Forget those expensive pet stores. Anyone can get into this business. And especially with the Internet, wow, there is real potential here!
Remember that the commercial marketplace is not only about groceries, shoes, computers, and services. There are markets in everything. Anything that one human wants and other can assist in delivering can become a vibrant market and contribute to the flourishing of life on Earth. The market for pets is vibrant and ever more people can enter it and succeed.
Hold it right there. Maybe you thought that doing such things would be a right in the land of the free. It turns out that pet breeding and selling have been heavily regulated by law since 1966 (thanks, LBJ). All commercial breeders and sellers must be licensed and obey several severe rules on equipment, contracts, qualifications, conditions, and much more, and these have been constantly ramped up over the decades, year by year.
To be sure, the law has traditionally exempted — the terms are rather narrow — home breeders and sellers under the category of “retail store,” a fact which has undoubtedly annoyed the big players in the industry. The big guys never like competition. In 1995, when the Internet opened for business, these smaller institutions suddenly enjoyed new access to markets. Dogs could be shifted from one kennel to another depending on markets. People could sell pets through online contacts.
Maybe you remember the highflying Internet stock from the late 1990s called Pets.com. The dot-com bust laid waste to this institution, which had no capital and no profit at all. But reflect on the reason why it soared to the top. Many people saw a new opportunity here for information and commodity exchange. It’s a pain to go to a pet store and be subjected to their limited choices. Just as with clothing and music, pet owners need a broader range of options, and the Internet can provide that.
It’s not just about dogs and cats. It’s about snakes, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, mice, prairie dogs, flying squirrels, dingoes, and every other critter on the planet. The Animal Welfare Act covers them all, and the exemptions from the law are a matter for the state to decide. As a result, many home-based breeders and sellers have been operating in fear for years. Their fear is that with the stroke of a pen, they will be excluded from the category of retail shops and find themselves under extreme regulations that will shut them down completely.
That stroke of a pen is about to happen. It will come from a division of the Department of Agriculture called the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. It is a proposed rule, internally generated by the bureaucrats themselves, subject to public comment, but not contingent on any vote in Congress or by the public plebiscite.
I spent several hours reading through all the details of the proposed rule, its exemptions, applications, and conditions. The language in which the whole thing is written is not English of the normal sort. I could barely find my way around — something I’ve come to expect from reading these rules.
I only wanted to know what is this going to mean for people who breed and sell stuff and use the Internet to find a market. If I want to buy an off-white Maltipoo tomorrow, is this rule going to make it harder or easier, more or less expensive? If I want a rare snake, will this new rule make the consumer better or worse off?
I’m once again grateful to Sofie Miller of George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center. She puts the upshot of this whole mess very plainly:
“The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service released a proposed rule revising the definition of ‘retail pet store’ for official licensing purposes, effectively excluding most online pet dealers from the market. The proposed definition of ‘retail pet store’ would be limited to ‘a place of business or residence that each buyer physically enters in order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase, and where only certain animals are sold or offered for sale, at retail, for use as pets.’ Places officially labeled ‘retail pet stores’ are not required to be licensed or inspected under the Animal Welfare Act; excluding online pet retailers from this definition subjects those entities to AWA inspection and licensing.”
There we go: Independent breeders and sellers will be strangled. That’s the point. They can’t be considered excluded from the central plan and therefore will face such high costs that they will shut down or go underground. This is not only awful for consumers and home-based breeding businesses; it is awful for rare species too. So much for the government’s concern for endangered species!
As the Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance points out:
Basically the new rules present breeders with few choices. Sell all animals only to buyers who physically enter your premises, reduce and maintain the number of breeding females to four (4) including co-ownerships and dogs shared with family members; or obtain a license under the Animal Welfare Act, have a federally compliant facility, and allow APHIS inspectors to inspect your homes and facilities.
Selling even one pet off premise via shipping, at a friend’s home, at a show, at a park, will result in loss of an exemption from licensing, placing limitations on both buyers and sellers. The narrow limits of the exemption restrict the ability of hobby breeders to work together remotely, sharing dogs from litters in order to implement their breeding programs and/or increase diversity in their lines.
This Rule would have dire consequences on the ability of rare or uncommon breed breeders to sell their puppies. Generally, if a purchaser desires a puppy of a more unusual breed, they probably will not find one within easy driving distance, and the puppy must be either shipped commercially or otherwise transported, or the breeder will meet the buyer halfway. If each purchaser is required to visit the breeder to observe the animals or pick up his/her purchases, the number of buyers who are able to do this in the case of the more uncommon breeds is very low. Without a ready market to sell pups, these breeds will quickly die out.
In the case of rare or uncommon breeds, this Rule would make it difficult to maintain genetic diversity, since a breeder could not ship a puppy cross country to another breeder for the purposes of improving the genetic diversity in that person’s breeding program.
The question is: Who cares? Well, apparently, not too many people. There is no controversy about this. No presidential candidate was asked about this and there will be no press conferences. It is an agency with a job to do, and it is doing what agencies do: restricting freedom piece by piece.
But look at the big picture. We are in a deep economic stagnation, yet the government is killing off entrepreneurship in small steps taken every day. The online world has opened up new opportunities, but the government is shutting them day by day. We have unemployment, but the bureaucracies are strangling jobs and commercial growth. Freedom itself is in peril, yet the trajectory toward ever less liberty continues. No one with the power to stop it wants to stop it.
Surfing for information, I bumped into a reptile forum that runs classifieds for every variety of snakes one could imagine. The discussion centered on whether this new rule includes only mammals. The tenor of the conversation was clear: If we the snake people can be determined to be exempt, to heck with it. No one cares about other people’s liberties, just their own.
This is a great example of how it all works. It doesn’t matter unless you are in the market for a cool pet. You try to find one, but no: It is not available. You don’t know why. Most people would never suspect the heavy hand of the state. The effects of the regulation are invisible. Even researching in detail turns up nothing. The only people who know the truth are in the industry itself, but these people don’t talk, because they are afraid.
Meanwhile, the market moves underground, same as with so many other sectors. Less transparency, less quality control, less information. In the future, you will be buying your puppies off a park bench, exchanging money for the contents of a brown paper bag. It is the newest result of another enterprising sector harmed by invisible process of restriction that has been going on one hundred years and it is strangling the life out of society itself. Every step matters. Every step is evil. But this evil flies under the cover of night.
Best buy that beloved pet now. If you get two and they mate, prepare to break bad.