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.
I hit a nerve whenever I write about voting and democracy.
Point out the sheer lunacy of the civic religion and a certain group of readers will blow their stacks, sending back long emails stuffed with long words, calling me things like “intellectually vacuous” and insisting I’m full of “self-aggrandizement.”
Such is the case with an email from Laissez Faire Today reader B.R., who says he doesn’t normally like to start his criticisms with name-calling but believes the idea of not voting is “so astounding” that it “requires an equally strong tactic to stop its momentum in its tracks.”
I hate to break it to B.R., but the nonvoting train left the station a long time ago. For the last 50 years, 40-50% of eligible voters have chosen to stay home on presidential Election Days. President Obama’s campaign in 2008 actually pumped life into the election process.
However, since the promised changes never occurred, Americans will likely stay home on Nov. 6. We can only hope. Meanwhile, globally, Wikipedia reports that voter turnout has decreased five percentage points over the past four decades.
BR then proceeds to school me on “the four basic types of government power acquisition.” So BR’s assumption is that government must acquire power. Individual sovereignty is out of the question. He says that government power is inherited, bestowed, seized, or chosen.
Therefore, since I’m not for choosing, I, according to BR, “must be in favor of despotism and tyranny. This is where logic must take us.”
B.R. is assuming that since we have elections in the U.S., we don’t have tyranny or despotism. I would contend that we have both. The tyranny of the majority has elected despots at every level of government from the local school board to the president of the United States.
Why is that? Democracy itself is the problem. It attracts the wrong people to leadership positions. As F.A. Hayek famously argued in The Road to Serfdom, in politics, the worst get on top, and he outlined three reasons this is so. First, Hayek makes the point that people of higher intelligence have different tastes and views. So, as Hayek writes, “We have to descend to the regions of lower moral and intellectual standards where the more primitive instincts prevail,” to have uniformity of opinion.
Second, those on top must “gain the support of the docile and gullible,” who are ready to accept whatever values and ideology are drummed into them. Totalitarians depend upon those who are guided by their passions and emotions, rather than critical thinking.
Finally, leaders don’t promote a positive agenda, but a negative one of hating an enemy and envy of the wealthy. To appeal to the masses, leaders preach an “us” against “them” program.
“Advancement within a totalitarian group or party depends largely on a willingness to do immoral things,” Hayek explains. “The principle that the end justifies the means, which in individualist ethics is regarded as the denial of all morals, in collectivist ethics becomes necessarily the supreme rule.”
Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” has something to do with it. Maslow’s hierarchy is taught in most business management classes and is depicted as a pyramid.
Maslow’s view was that the basic human needs — thirst, hunger, breathing — must be satisfied before humans can accomplish or worry about anything else. The next level of the pyramid is the need for safety. After satisfying thirst and hunger, humans are concerned about their continued survival. If a man is constantly worried about being eaten by a tiger, he doesn’t concern himself with much else.
Once other needs are satisfied, according to Maslow, humans seek the belonging and esteem needs. These first four needs are considered deficit needs. If a person is lacking, there is a motivation to fill that need. Once the particular need is filled, the motivation abates.
This makes these needs different from the need at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, the need for self-actualization. The need for self-actualization is never satisfied, and Maslow referred to it as a being need.
Maslow believed only 2% of humans become self-actualized. That means many are stuck a step or more below seeking actualization.
Maslow described lower and higher esteem needs. And while the higher form of esteem calls for healthy attributes such as freedom, independence, confidence, and achievement, the lower form “is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, fame, glory, recognition, attention, reputation, appreciation, dignity, even dominance.”
Most psychological problems manifest themselves in this lower esteem area. We see these qualities displayed by virtually all politicians in democracy: the constant need for status and recognition. The ends — compensating for an inferiority complex — justify whatever Machiavellian means.
So while B.R. thinks democracy is so hot, the fact that democracy is open to any and all who can get themselves elected either through connections, personality, or personal wealth means it is a social system where leadership positions become a hotbed for sociopaths.
B.R. doesn’t sound like he’s too wild about inherited power — monarchies — but as Hans Hoppe points out in The Great Fiction, governments that will stay in the family have much more incentive not to steal from their citizens, as opposed to short-term caretakers in a democracy that have every incentive to take as much as they can in the short time that they will be in power.
B.R. contends that it is axiomatic that “All you need to do is convince a majority of the voters to agree with you and your position or candidate.”
The problem is that democracy promotes the opposite of freedom. As Hoppe explains:
“One-man-one-vote combined with ‘free entry’ into government democracy implies that every person and his personal property comes within reach of and is up for grabs by everyone else. A ‘tragedy of the commons’ is created. It can be expected that majorities of ‘have-nots’ will relentlessly try to enrich themselves at the expense of minorities of ‘haves.’”
One assumes B.R. is a productive person who believes that he can influence other productive people into joining his cause and electing the right politicians who will enact the right (or get rid of the wrong) laws. History, I’m afraid has just flat proved B.R. wrong.
In a recent interview, Hoppe — the author of The Great Fiction: Property, Economy, Society, and the Politics of Decline, which can be yours free, along with so much more, if you become a member of the Laissez Faire Club — explained:
“It is democracy that is causally responsible for the fatal conditions afflicting us now. The number of productive people is constantly decreasing, and the number of people parasitically consuming the income and wealth of this dwindling number of productive people is increasing steadily. This can’t work in the long run.”
Finally, B.R. accuses me of triangulation. That I’m setting myself up to be “above it all.” My no vote message make me feel better, “but it’s, in fact, harmful,” he writes. “If the ‘good’ among us refrain from participating, then only the ‘corrupt’ will participate and, by default, own government.”
However, in the words of Sy Leon, “A choice between the politicians is not a choice — it is a surrender.” It is a surrender to the idea that these empty suits we elect actually run the government day to day. That a vote for this one or that one will prompt change in Washington or your nearest state capital or city hall.
No matter who wins, the government gets elected. The millions of government employees will wake up on Nov. 7 and trudge off to their assigned work areas. They will march to the beat of their bureaucratic drummer — just like any other day. They will do all they can to spend their budgets, keep their jobs, and convince elected officials they are important. They never go away. The elected politicians and their political appointees are transitory decorations; the real structures of the nation-state are permanent and constitute the core of what is called “the state.”
The idea that you can change all this by spending a few quality minutes making your enlightened choices in a voting booth is complete fantasy. There comes a time in a person’s life when they should face the facts and stop believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and change through politics.
H.L. Mencken wrote, “The average American legislator is not only an ass, but also an oblique, sinister, depraved, and knavish fellow.”
This is not company you want to keep or endorse. To do so makes you even worse.