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.
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.
Considering taking a job with the government? You might want to rethink that. The new survey from Partnership for Public Service paints an ugly picture of job satisfaction at government agencies.
It’s worst of all at place like the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Labor, and Education. We find that only 50-60% of workers are satisfied with their jobs. To put it another way, every other person working in these concrete bunkers is a wreck.
To be sure, according to the survey, it’s not living hell at NASA, the FDIC, and the GAO, but it’s dreadful at the Federal Maritime Commission and the U.S. Trade Representative. Even that’s not the worst of it. The folks at the Transportation Security Administration seem ready to explode, with only a 48% job satisfaction rating.
At the TSA, we find people begging to be fired — testing the limits through unspeakable rudeness, outright thievery, and preposterous antics such as confiscating toys and testing people’s hands for built-in bombs. When they don’t get fired, they sink into further depression of the sort that comes when a person discovers there are no standards at all.
In the private sector, job satisfaction generally floats above 70%. This would seem to be enough evidence to seal it. It should be obvious that the most important first step in having a reasonable chance at a happy life is rather simple: Don’t work for the government.
Yet for most, government work offers higher salaries and benefits. This is true across all professions except those with advanced training such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers (remember we are speaking about averages here). Yet the security and pay don’t compensate for the misery.
It’s not hard to understand what’s going on here. Being part of the commercial life of a society, where there is a real sense of serving people and where change and development is the goal, is invigorating and life affirming. You are part of something. Your job is part of real life.
Being stuck in a dead zone like government — where the money you make is taken from others by force and used only to beat the paying classes over the head even more — runs contrary to the noblest aims of the human spirit.
It doesn’t take long to discover that this is true. If you are in Washington, D.C., you might strike up a conversation in the lunch areas outside of a government agency. You will get an earful about the evil of management, the idiocy of co-workers, the sheer depressingness of the whole place.
Why do they stay? The people feel stuck, fearing life outside like prisoners too acclimated to flee. Even when the bars swing open, they sit on their mattresses and wait for the next meal.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for these people. They made bad choices in life and now are stymied and risk averse. The job “benefits” are excellent on paper. The raises come regardless of the quality of your work. You get lots of vacation time. The workload is minimal at best. What’s not to like?
Well, it all seems fine from the outside. You can make every rationalization. By the time you realize that you should have listened to that inner voice, it is too late. You are in the system. You are part of the problem.
I had a friend who was ill yet had an incredibly creative mind. He was a fine writer and thinker, and a very dear person. He took a job with an agency in D.C.. He was a good sport and tried to like it. But gradually, he lost touch with his old friends, and his new friends were all from the same agency — drones mostly, people who live to complain.
He ran out of stuff to do at the agency and started to loathe his colleagues, but he couldn’t leave. The money was too good and the health care was generous enough to cover all the expenses of his Marfan’s syndrome. Over time, the spark in his spirit went away and the gleam in his eye flickered out. He stopped writing, stopped thinking, stopped enjoying life. Then, a few years later, he died.
I can’t shake the profound sense of loss that I feel over this case. I swore I would never let another friend go this direction without getting a warning from me.
Government work really is a terrible trap.
Not all jobs at the federal government are alike. What draws many people of talent are the political positions, the appointed ones that total about 6,000. It’s the first duty of any new president to find friends and benefactors to fill these jobs.
It’s all that’s left of the “spoils system” that prevailed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The new president would fire the old and hire the new. The whole thing came to an end in 1883, when the civil service came to be professionalized and the permanency of the modern nation-state took hold.
Today, the real state that runs our lives operates outside the influence of politics. There is nothing the elected classes can really do about it, even if they want to. They can hire their 6,000, but those people are coming and going and can do very little to outsmart the permanent class.
Plus, at the end of every political season, the political appointees engage in a massive scramble to convert their jobs from political to permanent ones — and they do this because they fear the private sector and what it would do to their inflated self-esteem.
Yet we can get carried away by drawing too sharp a distinction between the public and private sectors here. The mandated benefits in the private sector, set to increase dramatically with Obamacare, are making these jobs stickier than ever. People are fearful of leaving even jobs they hate, mainly because they don’t want to give up these benefits.
The irony is intense. The left always celebrated mandated benefits like company-provided health care on grounds that these benefits give power to labor. Actually, the opposite is true. These benefits give the employer more leverage over laborers than would occur in a free market.
Fearing the implications of being fired or let go — and no one who has had good health insurance ever wants to be without again — workers put up with an uncommon amount of abuse.
In contrast, a clean wage contract allows anyone to say, “Take this job and shove it.” Pile a bunch of benefits on that wage contract and suddenly the employee is beholden and stuck in a job he or she can’t live without.
[Editorial Note: The best book on how employer-provided health care has been a disaster for workers and for the system in general is John Goodman's Priceless. It's the only work to offer a serious alternative and radical path to what both Republicans and Democrats are proposing.]
These benefits are making the private sector more and more like the government sector. They represent gradual steps away from the empowerment that everyone feels in a world of fluid labor contracts and the freedom to hire and fire. And it’s all brought to us by those who imagine they could use the force of government to uplift the working class. It is making this class more downtrodden than ever.
People learn too late in life that their job actually constitutes their major life activity apart from sleeping. It defines us, determines our level of happiness, forges a major part of our circle of friendships, and shapes how we think about ourselves and our role in the world.
Choosing where we work and what we do is a human freedom, a human right — one of the last that we have. Don’t waste that right by feeding yourself to Moloch.