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.
At the second presidential debate, President Obama trumpeted the accusation, “Governor Romney said we should let Detroit go bankrupt.” It was a reference to a 2008 New York Times editorial by Mitt Romney in which he argued against a government bail out of the auto industry and for the alternative of bankruptcy. Thus, the uncompetitive automakers could re-negotiate labor agreements that added a then-estimated $2,000 to each car. Eliminating the “modern union” would be far preferable.
Obama’s subsequent mega-billion bailout is usually criticized either as crony capitalism or as a payoff to the unions. It was both. The interests of Big Business and Big Labor may clash on specific terms that are negotiated but those interests are fundamentally the same. They both oppose the genuine rights of workers.
WHAT IS THE MODERN UNION?
In a free market, a union is nothing more than a collective by which workers protect and secure common interests through negotiation or other forms of persuasion, such as boycotts or strikes. Workers assign their right to contract to the collective but no one is forced to join, pay dues or remain. Employers are free to decline negotiation and to hire replacement workers.
The current paradigm is rooted in the New Deal legislation of President Roosevelt, especially the Wagner Act, which established the legal “right” of workers to unionize if a majority within an business voted to do so. These unions were handed legal privileges such as collective bargaining.
The result is anything but free market. For example, a modern union receives government certification to engage in collective bargaining. In other words, the government authorizes it as a sole representative of labor and legally requires the employer to provide it with a seat at the negotiating table. This monopoly shuts out other labor groups and individual workers from negotiating their own contracts. Individual workers may choose not to join a union but nevertheless they remain bound by its contracts and they must pay its fees. Thus, the modern union constitutes a forced transfer of authority and rights from individual workers to a government-created collective.
THE LABOR MOVEMENT BEFORE THE MODERN UNION
19th century America was the heyday of labor activism. The most prominent labor federation was the Knights of Labor, established in 1869. By 1886, membership peaked at about 700,000 largely due to programs that aimed at empowering members both economically and socially. Through local chapters, worker-owned cooperatives were created, public education on labor issues was launched, and support networks were established to insure members against injury or ill health. Indeed, many labor organizations began as “benevolent associations” to care for the families of deceased or injured members. Although the Knights of Labor used pressure tactics such as boycotts, they did not emphasize strikes. Terence V. Powderly, who presided over the Knights from 1879 to 1893, openly opposed strikes, which he believed caused violence and increased conflict. He advocated peaceful negotiation instead.
With effective networks and diverse strategies, a grassroots labor movement grew in power; its threat to entrenched interests also grew. In 1877 and 1894, two massive strikes drove that threat home: the Great Railroad Strike which lasted 45 days; and, the Pullman Strike, which eventually involved about 250,000 workers in 27 states. In both cases, troops were sent to break the strikes.
By the 20th century the labor movement — notably, the Industrial Workers of the World or Wobblies – had become a significant political threat. Organized in 1905, the Wobblies had strong leaders who enthusiastically embraced strikes. With a large immigrant membership and socialist principles, the IWW also became a potent voice against America’s entry into World War I. This made them a prime target of the Department of Justice. In September 1917, 48 IWW meeting halls were raided and 165 leaders were arrested under the new Espionage Act. 101 went on trial; all were convicted and received sentences of up to 20 years.
Government had learned a lesson. An uncontrolled labor movement was politically dangerous, and bad for commerce.
THE MODERN UNION AS BUSINESS UNIONISM
In 1929 the Great Depression hit, with unemployment rising as high as 25 percent. Hundreds of thousands of people roamed across America, looking for work. A massive and migrating army of the unemployed is a formula for political labor revolt. Thus President Roosevelt offered a New Deal to American workers in an attempt to create stability. This is the context into which the modern union, or Big Labor, was born; it was a governmental response to labor upheaval.
Big Business also participated. No stranger to subsidies and legal privilege, Big Business saw advantages to regulatory stability and a controllable work force. It undoubtedly disliked some aspects of New Deal policy but Big Business had long favored Roosevelt’s general approach. And, so, some of the most vigorous advocates for modern unionism were leaders of industry, such as Gerard Swope, president of General Electric. By specifying who could negotiate terms and how strikes could occur, Wagner removed some of the labor movement’s most powerful tactics and made production more predictable.
How? Certification created labor monopolies and, so, eliminated the need for business to negotiate contracts with multiple groups or individuals. The monopoly union also acted as an enforcement arm, which policed its members’ compliance with contracts. The unions prevented wildcat strikes and it punished unsanctioned boycotts, work slowdowns, and the other labor tactics that had proven effective in the past. Modern unions offered Big Business more control over production.
Leaders of Big Labor were well aware of the benefits they offered to Big Business. John Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) from 1920 to 1960 assured employers that a contract with leadership “is adequate to protect against sit-downs, lie-downs, or any other kind of strike.”
Thus, the grassroots labor movement withered. One casualty was the National Federation of Mine Laborers, which had been the parent union of Lewis’ UMWA. The parent constitution had established a network of decentralized and largely autonomous “Lodges.” When Lewis became President, he did away with both the decentralized structure and the autonomy. The Wagner Act completed the centralization of control. It was a scenario that other Big Labor leaders were happy to play out.
Thus, at its creation, the modern union was an arrangement of shared advantage between Big Labor, Big Business, and Big Government. The relationships were not always cordial but they were basically convenient.
Among those victimized were smaller employers, the grassroots labor movement, and self-employed or non-unionized workers.
Could unions exist without legal privileges?
Voluntary unions have existed in the past and would almost certainly arise today if workers perceived a benefit to them. The clout of a voluntary union would come from members who freely assign their rights of contract. In modern unions the opposite transfer occurs. Even members who join freely cannot quit or negotiate later for themselves. Thus, the modern union strips individual workers of free association and the right of of contract. It should be abolished for the sake of workers’ rights.