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.
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, […]
My community in the Deep South prides itself on friendship, community feeling, and an overall happy spirit. So it was a bit strange for all of this to be utterly smashed and obliterated in the course of a few calamitous weeks in which friend turned against friend, colleagues became antagonists and enemies, and families were rended asunder.
What disaster led to this? It wasn’t Mother Nature. It was politics.
The question of whether to raise property taxes was put to a vote. The taxes would have hit real estate. The resulting revenue would supposedly have gone to education — but there is no way to guarantee this, and in any case, money is fungible.
So of course, those who opposed the new taxes were denounced as harming children. Not only that. If you don’t like higher taxes, you were selfish and greedy. Or so all the kids in public schools were told — thereby turning them against their own parents, or at least attempting to. Also, opposing a tax increase is proof that you are being manipulated by evil rich people.
In the great drama as the civic elites wrote it, the only real angels in this story were the people stealing money from average people to give it to large bureaucracies. In other words, as always with politics, no moral rules were turned upside down.
The thing went down to flaming defeat — cheers! — but what a pain in the neck that the issue came up at all. Real estate developers had to print up vast numbers of fliers and run radio ads that opposed the increase. The public school teachers and members of bureaucratic class had to counter them and get their own message out.
One group wanted to take another’s group’s money by force. That does tend to split communities in a most vicious way. It’s all so unnecessary! If the local pizza parlor raises the price of its large Meat Lover’s pie, you can go along or refuse. It’s up to the consumer. But no great chasm opens up within the community. Either management is wise or not.
Not so with government. When it raises the price of its service, everyone starts slitting each other’s throat. That’s the essential difference between government and the market. What people do in a market calls on human choice to ratify or refuse. Government seeks only to restrict choice and take more by force.
In this way, a vote like this can actually be a teaching moment. It teaches several facts about public finance that every civics class tries to obscure, namely that:
- No state at any level has any resources of its own. Everything it gets, it gets from the public by some method involving force
- Every act of government involves some winners (takers) and some losers (payers)
- Politics are the single most divisive force in society, capable of recasting a lovely community into warring tribes.
Before I further denounce this failed plot to loot and pillage, keep in mind that there are several features of the local tax vote that are actually meritorious.
For example, my local government has no central bank. This means that it can’t just print up whatever money it needs. Lacking that magical power, it must actually take money from people in plain sight. This is a beautiful thing. It also means that it can’t just run up debt without limit, because its debt is priced with a default premium. The local bankers in town are not a direct arm of the government — unlike the situation at the national level.
If there is such a thing as honest government — open-source looting — this is it. The instant that any government obtains a monetary printing press, it becomes a deeply dishonest government, empowered to rob people by stealth. A government with the power to print money knows no limits. You could corrupt heaven itself with this power, turning the angels and saints into monstrous plotters and schemers working for monopolistic domination of the eternal realm.
Another meritorious feature of local tax votes is that the local government actually has to ask the citizens whether it is OK to pillage the community to fund graft and corruption. This is a risky strategy, to be sure, because, as it turns out, lots of people are more than willing to say absolutely not. But notice that this is a completely different approach than the U.S. government uses.
On the first day of this calendar year, for example, Congress and the executive cooperated to implement the largest tax increase in the history of the world. It came in the form of an increased payroll tax, passed in the days following Christmas and just before New Year’s. There was virtually no press about this at all. I think I must have written one of the few articles on the topic, and people were even shocked to hear it had happened at all.
The federal government takes a completely different approach than local government. The feds never want us to actually vote on any issue like whether to go to war or whether to nationalize medical care. Instead, they make us vote on people, who somehow, through some magic osmosis, “represent” us.
We may or may not get “our guy” into office, but mostly it doesn’t matter. Once the guy is in there, he can do whatever he wants. There is no system at all for penalizing politicians who say one thing and do another. There is no real social contract. There is no way for anyone to control politicians in office at all.
Even if there were some way, it is not at all clear that the politicians are the real rulers anyway. Even at the local level, the city manager and his relationship with top developers has more sway than the city council. But look at the federal levels, with millions of entrenched bureaucrats running vast agencies with lives of their own. The politicians who come and go can’t even get a foothold. Not even the political appointees matter much.
With such a system, democracy as advertised is a complete illusion. It doesn’t have to be this way. One thing that the left-wing progressives say that seems right to me: A direct electronic democracy would actually be a real improvement. Why not let the public vote on a budget via the Internet? That might cut down on foreign aid boondoggles, banker bailouts, agricultural subsidies, and other programs that benefit only the elites.
It’s hard to imagine it could be worse. Direct democracy structured on an issue-by-issue basis is worth a try. It would be fascinating to see the results. Why don’t we have such a system even though it is technologically possible for the first time in history? Because the political elites don’t care what we think. The whole point of the system is to pull the wool over our eyes and convince us that we can still see all we need to see.
Fortunately, people aren’t that stupid. The tax bill in my community was defeated. So it is in many places around the country. It’s a microcosm. Democracy is getting ever more direct — not only locally, but nationally too. Political elites, we are coming for you. With all the tools we’ve been given, these days, governing us the way you used to is going to become ever more difficult.