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 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 […]
In his famous “you didn’t build it” speech, President Obama cited the Internet, fire departments, the GI Bill, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam as examples of government action that helps business owners.
Each needs addressing, but let’s start with the Hoover Dam.
The president is riffing off of Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC commercial in which the TV pundit dressed in her best black T-shirt and hoodie, points up at Hoover Dam and says words to the effect that the dam reminds us that an individual can’t build a dam — or a company, for that matter. It takes a country to build projects of this magnitude.
Having a soft spot for environmentalism, it’s surprising Maddow embraces the concrete monster. At the time, Hoover described the dam as “the greatest engineering work of its character attempted by the hand of man.”
The massive structure cost $49 million (or $736 million in inflation-adjusted dollars) and measures over 726 feet in height and more than 1,200 feet in length. It took five years and 4,360,000 cubic yards of concrete to build, and was finished two years ahead of schedule. About 16,000 people worked on constructing the dam, with over 100 losing their lives in the process.
There’s nothing new about government throwing taxpayer money around to create jobs. The Romans constructed aqueducts in small towns, industrial sites and large cities from France to Istanbul.
To construct the aqueduct of Segovia, Spain, Romans stacked massive bricklike granite blocks into a structure that reached a height of over 93 feet. Although no one knows for sure, it’s estimated that the aqueduct was constructed sometime during the reign of either Emperor Vespasian or Nerva to transport water from the Fuente Fria River over 10 miles from the city. The aqueduct has 167 arches and reaches its height at the Plaza del Azoguejo.
The impressive Roman structure only serves to attract tourists to the city of 55,000 today. When I visited two years ago, our guide, Jerry, told us Segovia’s population did not warrant such an expenditure when it was built. “The Romans primarily built the aqueduct as a show of power.”
Just as the Keynesian policies of the New Deal tried to cheat the laws of economics, government’s damming of the Colorado River attempted to cheat Mother Nature by bringing water to the desert southwest — water that just isn’t and never was there.
The great Western explorer John Wesley Powell was booed out of the room when he told the Irrigation Congress, “Gentlemen, you are piling up a heritage of conflict and litigation over water rights, for there is not sufficient water to supply the land.”
But 75 years ago, when the dam was nearly completed, FDR proclaimed during his dedication speech that millions of present and future residents of the Southwest could count on “a just, safe and permanent system of water rights.” The turbulent Colorado River that vacillated between droughts and floods would be tamed and become “a great national possession,” and be counted on for irrigation to support a human migration seeking mild winters and new opportunities.
“The nation took him at his word,” writes Michael Hiltzik, author of Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century. “Since that dedication year, the population of the seven states of the basin has swelled by about 45 million. Much of this growth has been fueled by the dam and its precious bounties of water and electrical power.”
As Hiltzik points out, the dam’s water promise gunned the growth of Southern California cities and attracted farmers to the West to grow water-intensive crops like cotton, despite the lack of normal rainfall required to support this kind of agriculture.
Just as government stimulus programs and artificially low interest rates that promise to spur growth and make up for the lack of private investment never work, Hoover’s promise that his dam would, as Hiltzik writes, “provide all the water their states could conceivably need to fulfill their dreams of irrigation, industrial development and urban growth” is literally drying up.
The water level at Lake Mead is down nearly 100 feet from its high water mark, revealing a white “bathtub ring.” According to Wikipedia, the lake’s water volume is just slightly half the amount the lake could hold at its maximum.
Now that millions have migrated to the Southwest and private industry has invested millions of dollars, Hoover’s and FDR’s promises have confined those living and doing business in the West “in the straitjacket of an ever-intensifying water shortage,” notes Hiltzik. And while Interior Secretary Gale Norton claimed to have stilled the “conflict on the river” back in 2003 with the signing of two dozen agreements transferring water rights between various Indian tribes, cities and governments, the battle for water will rage on. The supply will never catch up with the demand.
After the 10-year drought, an additional intake pipeline into the diminishing Lake Mead is being installed. Almost 90% of the drinking water for Las Vegas comes from the lake. The new intake pipeline, officially known as Intake No. 3, “will reach deeper into the reservoir to protect the valley’s water supply, should the lake shrink low enough to shut down one of the two shallower straws,” reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The project targets 2014 for completion. “This new intake tunnel is 3 miles under Lake Mead, and then there is a tap of the lake about 3 miles out. I like to say it’s as if you’ve got your bathtub full of water, and now we are putting the drain into it while it’s full,” says Vegas Tunnel Constructors (VTC) Vice President of Operations Jim McDonald.
The contract amount started at $447 million, but the cost has risen by over $100 million since the project began. The tunnel, after excavated for the pipeline, unexpectedly filled with water three times in the project’s first six months.
Last month, excavation was delayed again when a VTC worker was killed 600 feet below ground when one of the tunnel segments was jarred loose, and pressurized grout was discharged, striking two of the workers.
Those in government never learn. They can’t print prosperity, and more water won’t magically appear if they dam a river. While the man on the street believes government infallible, politicians and bureaucrats cannot calculate the economic profits and losses of government interventions. Governments will forever fight over scarce water, and private use is increasingly being restricted by local ordinances.
“The spending for nonproductive public works, for the bureaucracy and for the Army led to excessive taxation, inflation and the ruin of the essential middle class and its leaders,” H.J. Haskell wrote in his book The New Deal in Old Rome, destroying the men French historian Leon Homo called “the general staff of civilization.”
The New Deal dam project that Obama and Maddow are so proud of provided a few thousand jobs 80 years ago, but has spurred migration, farming and development that is likely unsustainable and may ultimately be, like the aqueduct in Segovia, just a giant tourist attraction. This is something future tourist guides will call “an example of American government power.”