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 […]
My passport is festooned with patriotic blather about freedom and democracy. It didn’t used to be this way. The less freedom we have, the more government has to convince us that it exists. But none of it rings true anymore.
One page of the passport quotes Lincoln: “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Amused by that on several levels, I nearly sent out a status via Twitter. I had typed the following revised version that embodies a wistful fantasy: “that government shall perish from the Earth.”
But just before sending, I hesitated. You see, while doing this, I was boarding a flight from Frankfurt back to Atlanta. Presuming that the feds are reading everything, I thought that posting such words, however funny, would be too risky.
What if I found myself being detained once having landed? I might face a barrage of questions about the meaning of my little text. Did I have a diabolical plot in mind to smack the government in some way? I imagined myself having to explain polycentric legal theory and market forces to thugs in some isolated cell.
So instead of posting that little update, I pulled back. I censored myself. Doing so felt just a bit odd in some way.
This is what it has come to in the surveillance state. In my entire life, I don’t recall ever pulling back from saying what I think. But these days, prudence rules. This is how I imagined things were in the Soviet Union in the old days. I recall thinking during the Cold War how great it is to have free speech, to not live in fear, to not be afraid of expressing political opinions.
Here we are in the latter day of the war on terror and we are stuck now with a jumpy regime that collects our every correspondence and is ready to misunderstand everything we write. We no longer communicate with confidence of privacy to our friends. We don’t post truthfully to our followers. We no longer send authentically private emails. In every case, we edit ourselves because we know there is a third party listening in, and that party is government.
Government doesn’t really care if we if are posting about our dinner plans our shopping excursions or our kids’ grades and community socials. What government cares about is politics, which is precisely why the Founders threw that First Amendment into the Bill of Rights. You have to be free to speak about politics or it can’t be said that the country is truly free.
But it is precisely politics that get us in trouble these days. The tax authorities harassed groups based on political outlook. They were targeted. So it is with all our communications. Express an opinion that government ought to be upended in some way and it would not be surprising at all to come face to face with an interrogation squad that understands nothing about philosophy or economics.
You might be thinking, Oh, that’s just ridiculous; you could have posted that without consequence. And maybe that’s right. But who is to say for sure? Do we really know what kind of language triggers the authorities? We do not. It might be a slow news day and you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of some serious government muscle. Or maybe nothing would happen.
But how many people today are playing it safe just in case? I would suspect that it is nearly universal. There is a chill in the air. You whisper your opinions only to those whom you trust. You don’t really tell pollsters what you really think — most people just hang up — but that’s been true for some time. Now you don’t even tell your friends on Facebook. Even email seems sketchy.
There is another feature of all this that strikes me. In some respects, you can tell that the war on terror is ramping down. President Obama has called for an end to the “boundless war on terror.” He’s even dismissed the idea that the feds would hound Edward Snowden. It’s purely anecdotal, but I’ve had fewer harrowing experiences at the airport today than I had five years ago. Security is often a snap. Even customs and passport checks are easier than they once were.
Five years ago, American citizens had to leave an extra hour or two early just to get through the maze of bureaucracy when coming back into the country. I went through the whole mess yesterday at the Atlanta airport in less than 15 minutes. None of it seemed intrusive at all. I could have carried a suitcase full of Cuban cigars and no one would have known the difference.
It’s true across the board. Drone strikes are down. The police today are less brutal in general than five years ago. The trigger-happy hysteria of five years ago has gradually mutated into a routine bureaucratic blase.
Yet the appearance of less frenzy is somewhat illusory. After Sept. 11, the government started collecting every bit of data it could on us, building profiles of every single American. If you should end up on the wrong side of the law, the power elites are now in a position to rifle through a decade-plus of emails and chats. This is the stuff of which blackmail is made.
The political climate has changed. When Edward Snowden’s revelations came to light, many people were upset about the violation of human rights this implies. But plenty of others defended the surveillance as something necessary in times of high threat levels. So you can see that we’ve already been conditioned to accept a higher level of despotism than ever before.
This follows the ratchet model of government expansion as explained by Robert Higgs in his book Against Leviathan. It goes like this. During war and depression, government expands. When the crisis is over, government contracts. But the new normal is never the old normal. We have become accustomed to a new level of command and control. This is the ratchet at work. It might seem like we get freedoms back, but we do not. Instead, we just get used to being less free.
This is what happened during and after World War I and World War II and the Great Depression. The same pattern is taking place today. The war on terror is abating — after 12 years of hell. But in the new normal, surveillance is just part of the process of governing.
No law on the books even authorizes it, write Jennifer Stisa Granick and Christopher Jon Sprigman in The New York Times. “Through a series of legal contortions, the Obama administration has argued that Congress, since Sept. 11, intended to implicitly authorize mass surveillance.”
We put up with it because it seems less bad than just a few years ago. The reality is that we are more controlled by government than any previous generation.
So yes, we watch what we post. The truth is scarcer than ever before.