Archive for April, 2011

Obama’s Birth Certificate

April 28, 2011

First, there are a lot of questions that I find intriguing that I would need answers to before I am completely satisfied. Even with the release of the certificate of live birth, I am not satisfied.

Second, I don’t care. It’s not important. Let’s suppose all the conspiracy theories are true, and Obama is a citizen of Kenya or Indonesia or Britain, or that he is a secret Muslim, or whatever. You know what? It really doesn’t matter. So I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to find satisfaction about his birth or his citizenship.

The reason why it doesn’t matter is because even if you had concrete, absolute evidence that Obama is not what he says he is, there is no legal remedy except impeachment. Do you really think the republicans in the House will impeach, and the senate will convict before Jan 21, 2013?

Given the above, what should we do? We focus on politics, for the purpose of winning elections. We position ourselves and our allies as the only reasonable choice in November of 2012. We explain how the policies of our opponents–both within and without our own party–are destroying America. Then we propose policies that will reverse the destruction of America and set us on a path of perpetual prosperity.

Where does Obama’s citizenship or birth certificate fall in line with the above? It doesn’t align at all. Our political movement is much bigger than one man, let alone one man who is working against us.

The news for the day is stagflation. The word is that we ran out of money a long time ago, and it doesn’t matter how high we raise the debt limit, there is no more money to borrow. The word is that Social Security and Medicare have already been cut by reality, and we are only lying to the elderly if we pretend that bringing the books to align with what will really happen is going to hurt them any more than they are already hurt but do not realize. The news for the day is that we have got to find a way to pay off the debt before our children become adults. That leaves us about a decade—ten years—to settle our debt. The reason why is because it is not fair to them for us to borrow against their future.

If you allow the conversation to focus on the birth certificate, then we will not be on our strongest foot. If someone talks about his birth certificate, respond with the dollar falling 17% in the last year, and 1.8% growth, and ask them whether the birth certificate is important when more than 20% of our people cannot find jobs, and our proportion of working to non-working citizens is at a very, very low level. Is the birth certificate going to restore our credit rating to AAA, or is it going to get jobs for people who are losing their homes?

Welcome to the 70’s!

April 28, 2011

President Obama has done what only one other president in our history has successfully done. He has stopped our economy, and brought us inflation.

Of course, Barack Obama isn’t the only person to blame. He’s only been an elected official for less than a decade. However, those who think like him about the economy, and those who support them are to blame.

When I took economics at the University of Washington, the entry level class was “microecon”, which was all about Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations. In microecon, the lecturer carefully explained how individuals acting in their own self-interests (Mother Theresa and Hitler not being excluded) create wealth. We learned how prices send critical messages about supply and demand. We learned how profit is a reflection of the wealth the profiteer has created for others. We also learned about failures in the individual transaction, caused by limited information or outright fraud.

The next quarter I took a course on macroecon. This was all about the “big picture”, and it talked about Keynes’ theories of money supply, inflation, and wealth creation. John Maynard Keynes advocated government control of the economy. He wanted the government to plan an active role, investing right along with the investors, choosing winners and choosing winners. He wanted high taxes during times of prosperity, and high spending during low times. Of course, no nation has ever applied Keynes’ theories, partially because he forgot to account for one critical flaw: we are all human, and that means we are all selfish, including the politicians and officials who run our governments.

The 80’s brought in a revolution in economic thinking. For the past 50+ years before the 80’s, people thought John Maynard Keynes was right about everything. After all, they had a reason to believe it was right: it puts banks, giant corporations, and governments in charge of vast amounts of wealth that they could otherwise not get access to. While they gave lipservice to Keynes, behind the scenes they were making themselves and their friends fabulously wealthy. When the 80’s rolled around, Milton Friedman was able to effectively persuade practically the entire world that Adam Smith was right and Keynes was wrong. The best government does the least. The people themselves should be in control of their own capital, and free to invest it however they wish. Only through the chaos of free markets can wealth be created, while the order of government taxes, spending, and regulations destroys wealth.

The reason why America chose Reagan and Milton Friedman’s economic policies is partially because Reagan was a good politician, but mostly because his immediate predecessor, President Jimmy Carter, had completed destroyed our economy. Just like today, those who lived through the Carter years thought the best years were behind us.

I am grateful that America has experienced, once again, the corrupt policies of government officials who think they know how best to run the economy. At least now, with growth that barely registers, and inflation rapidly rising, we’ll get to experience for ourselves the fruits of slavery.

I hope and pray that Americans across our country will wake up and realize that what makes America great is not our government, but the lack thereof. Specifically, what makes America great is that we can have a limited government, leaving the people free to choose for themselves.

If we dramatically reduce the size of government by eliminating entitlement programs, cutting taxes, reducing spending, rolling back regulations and regulatory agencies, and ending the policy of deficit spending, then we will see the same kind of economic growth we saw in the 80’s. We can end the era of slow economic growth and high inflation only by sacrificing the god of government, and restoring our trust in ourselves and our own capacity to create wealth.

Posting Guidelines: Why Your Comment Was Deleted

April 28, 2011

When I started this blog, one of the greatest fears I had was that the comments would end up like they do practically everywhere else people are allowed to blog freely. If you want an idea of what I’m talking about, you can find dark corners of the internet where human civility barely exists, and read that comments there. I don’t want that here, so I don’t allow it.

I’ve written Posting Guidelines so that you know what I’m looking for. I’ve bent the rules over time, but I’ve tried to stay within the guidelines I’ve laid down.

The purpose is to keep the blog useful. It’s also to keep our conversation away from truly stupid topics that five-year-olds use to win an argument. That’s why I have zero tolerance for logical fallacies, especially the logical fallacy of ad hominem.

I also don’t tolerate anything that I wouldn’t want to say to my mother. I don’t like reading the filth that is on the internet, peppered, sometimes heavily, with vulgarities and explicit discussions. Such things don’t need to be. You can make your point without talking like a sailor, or worse.

I know this excludes a lot of people’s posts. I don’t have the time to give everyone a personal response to explain why their post was trashed, either. Those conversations turn out like this anyway:

Poster: %&^*@ %^(&*^ you (%$*&(

Me: I’m trashing your post because it doesn’t add to the discussion and is full of vulgarities.

Poster: %&^*@ %^(&*^ you (%$*&(

If you live the kind of life where vulgarity is just how you speak, then you’re not welcome to speak here. If you live your life where the entire foundation of your political philosophy is founded on ad hominem attacks, then you’re not welcome here. If you never learned how to debate reasonably, that is, identify weak points in your opponents arguments and rebut their attacks on your arguments, which can be done civilly and cordially, then you are not welcome here.

On the other hand, if you can form two thoughts that are actually sensible, and explain them in a way other people can actually understand what you say, then you are welcome here, and encouraged to post.

The number of comments here is low, of course, since the bar is so high. If a comment doesn’t add to the discussion, it won’t be found here. If it does, then it will.

“All Men Are Created Equal”

April 28, 2011

Leftists like to use the phrase “all men are created equal” in our Declaration of Independence. When they do, they usually mean the exact opposite of what the phrase really means.

See, if you believed “all men are created equal”, then you wouldn’t have to treat any one person any different than any other, in the eyes of the law. That’s because they are not different—they are equal.

But to the leftist, they interpret this to mean, “The Creator screwed up. He meant to make all men equal, but he didn’t, so it’s our job to create a government that forces everyone to be equal.” Redistribution of wealth, common education, racial profiling, etc, are all examples of this.

I can understand why they need to twist this phrase around to mean the exact opposite. After all, if all men are created equal, then we wouldn’t have any of our socialist programs or policies, we wouldn’t treat black people different than white people at the government level, and we wouldn’t look at people’s incomes or assets before setting tax rates.

Fundamentals of Conservativism

April 26, 2011

I’ve been watching as the world seems to grow even more crazy, even here at home in the states. It really does remind me what the nation looked like before the Civil War. We are at a point where communication between the opposite ends of the political spectrum is completely lost.

Those of you who hail from the left side, let me help you understand why your arguments do not work, even a little bit, in convincing conservatives. You argue out of passion: hatred, anger, and disgust. You think of those of you who think differently than you as sub-human, even less than our nation’s mortal enemies. You despise us in a special way that you cannot find yourself despising those who are now plotting your murder and ultimate demise.

We on the right side have had enough of this garbage. This is not what politics is supposed to be about. Come at us with logic and reason. Try to persuade us. Don’t think that your petty attacks and insults will convince anyone. Even if you are successful in convincing anyone, you will only do so at the cost of civility.

Be honest about your intentions. Do you want to see health care for all? Do you want to equalize the classes, so that we have no rich or poor? Do you want to see everyone have enough and to spare? Do you not realize that we, on the right, share the exact same goal?

Do you understand our methods and calculations in achieving what I just claimed? Or are you too bitter and too close-minded to consider that maybe someone can have a different thought, and maybe that thought may, perhaps, be superior to your own?

Let me explain to you what Conservatives believe.

First, we share a lot with your political beliefs. We believe in compassion, and love, and duty. We believe that there is a universal right and wrong, and no one can redefine what that right and wrong is. We believe that these eternal values surpass our own mortal lives and whatever institutions we may ever create. We owe ourselves, and are held accountable only to ourselves, to live up to our greatest potential, individually, exercising every ounce of free will and power we can lay our hands upon to usher in a utopic society where wrong fails and right prevails.

Unlike you, we believe some very different things about human nature. We believe that we are all flawed, every one of us, including myself, including George Washington, including any person to walk this earth save Jesus Christ. But we are fine with this. We know that with rules, with order, with structure, it is possible to negate the wrong choices we make and multiply the good choices we make. We believe that the world is already set up in a way that those who pursue the right are rewarded the bounties of life, and that those who falter attain no such reward.

Yes, the “natural” way of things, the law that governs every action, the law by which we are all ultimately bound, tighter than the laws of physics or chemistry or biology, are ultimately structured in a way that those who do right are rewarded, and those who do something else obtain nothing good.

That’s why we work. That’s why we marry, and raise children, and sacrifice our own lives in treasure and time to serve our fellow man. That’s why we build churches, and fill those churches, and worship the Almighty Creator. We know that we, if left to our own devices, will not be able to obtain many good things. It is only by looking up to the highest possible standards, and measuring ourselves, individually, against that standard that we can hope to obtain the best things.

Our government is only one part of our society. Even more important than the government is the individual, his choices and characteristics and talents and traits. Even more important than the government is the family, bound together in love and fidelity. Even more important than the government is our churches, which exist to teach us right from wrong, and to keep our eyes looking upward. Even more important than the government are our civic societies, like the Boy Scouts and other organizations. Even more important than government is our companies, those institutions built to create the wealth we need to provide for our families. Even more important than the government is our society. Government sits at the lowest rung, the servant of servants, the slave we hold bound in shackles and chains whose freedom is restricted to those few things which it and it alone can do.

Do you not see the fallacy of empowering flawed people as our masters, giving them the controls of our armies and police forces? Why would you want anyone to have power over you? Do you not preach equality? Well, what of the equality of the governed and the governors? In your political and economic proposals, you run roughshod over every other institution of our society to elevate government above all.

You shout: Government should educate our children! Government should care for our elderly! Government should feed the poor! Government should build houses, find jobs, develop new technologies, bail out failed companies! Government should equalize the inequality in our society!

No, parents should educate their children. Children should care for their parents. The poor should be fed by the rich. All these things are not the responsibility of the government.

I can list in a few words what the government should do. Organize our militia (that’s you and me) against our common enemies into a united, well-regulated body of efficient killing machines. Organize our laws and economy so that people can easily trade and barter with each other. Organize our criminal justice system so that people are not wrongfully punished for crimes they did not commit, neither are the guilty let free. Outside of these things, government is unnecessary, even pointless.

Now, debate. Explain why I am wrong, and why government should be our master, and we its slave. Explain to me why the greatest country on God’s earth, which became great because it subjugated its government as its servant, should allow government to become its master.

Separation of School and State

April 26, 2011

I agree strongly with the sentiments in the following video. Sheldon Richman argues powerfully for state-free education.

My two cents: Only parents can be responsible for the education of their children. No other person, not me, not a state authority, not even a school teacher or administrator, can feel anything close to the responsibility the children’s own parents feel. In cases where the parents are negligent, the answer is not to try and substitute parenthood with something else like public education, but to bring in a new set of parents.

A free market, unfettered by government regulation and meddling politicians, would allow our society to experiment and find the best education solutions for our children. The solution will look something like the mess we have for how we get our food, our shelter, our clothing, and everything else we rely on day-to-day. If we simply allow interested parties (the parents) to participate selfishly, securing for their child the education they think they need, then competing interests will align.

A for-profit school has been taboo in our culture. Why? I cannot tell. If a school or education system provides benefits, then those who receive those benefits are willing to pay. If the cost of producing those benefits are less than the revenues received, then we should encourage the production of that education good or service. In other words, not only should we allow people to profit from education, but we should encourage it, and discourage any education system which cannot maintain itself simply by tuition or other sales of its education products.

This would mean most universities and colleges would collapse, along with almost all of the primary and secondary schools across the country. Why? Because parents would never be willing to pay full price for these services, because these services are simply not valuable enough.

More importantly, we should rebuild in our culture the idea and practice that fathers bear the primary responsibility of managing the child’s education. That education should occur principally in the home. I believe we should elevate that to the highest ideal, and then we would see fathers spend more time at home and take jobs that allow them to spend more time at home. Mothers. of course, also play a significant role in education, and should also spend as much time as possible with their children, especially when they are very young. We should stop finding ways to separate families and replace the missing parents with the state.

Where the Deficit Came From (And How to Eliminate It)

April 21, 2011

American Thinker has an article that details where the budget deficit comes from. It’s a very objective look at the budget. Note that one of the bigger reasons for the deficit is not just the new spending we’ve committed to as a nation under the democratic congress, but the fact that Social Security is no longer the cash cow it once was.

Someone made the comment that if liberals want to go back to the tax policy of the 90’s, then we should also go back to the spending of the 90’s. I think this is a wonderful idea. If we lower our overall spending to the same level as the 90’s, I, and perhaps the vast majority of America, wouldn’t mind seeing our overall tax burden going up. The simple reason is that spending and borrowing is putting an enormous pressure on our economy. Spending controls how the economic resources are allocated, and it always means that they are allocated less efficiently, while borrowing limits the options in the market and distorts the time value of money unrealistically.

Overall, these things need to happen to improve our economy and increase tax revenues, ultimately to pay off the debt:

  1. Lower taxes, lower than the vast majority of nations out there to make America competitive for business
  2. Reduce spending to keep it below our tax revenues so that we can pay down the debt
  3. Eliminate regulations that harm industry, keeping only those which make economic transactions easier, such as weights, measures, and quality definitions
  4. Reform entitlement programs, either eliminating them or rewriting them so that they never become a burden on the country.
  5. End the welfare state, so that no person has an incentive to not participate in the economy productively.
  6. Dramatically and permanently reduce the number of people working for the government to the lowest levels possible.

If we do the above, we can pay off the debt in a generation. The economy will come roaring back to life, showing 10%, 20%, or even30% annual growth. America will become, once again, the center of the economic world, and all other nations will aspire to obtain a fraction of our success. As I’ve said before, I’d rather live in a country where we tax 1% on millions of trillions of dollars, than 50% on tens of trillions of dollars.

Of course, the easy way out is the way that would ruin the banking industry. (Frankly, what does the banking industry do for us than print the money Congress already has the power to print?) The way it works is simple. While raising the reserve ratio to 100%, congress prints money to make up the difference so that the amount of currency in the economy is stable. The money congress prints they can use to retire the national debt. By the time we raise the reserve ratio to 100%, the debt will be paid off, and Congress will be trying to invent ways to get the currency out into the market. If they choose wisely—such as improving our military, facilitating national and international trade, and then sending the rest to the states, we will benefit enormously, at the cost of the banking industry. As an added bonus, Congress can print money that matches the growth of the economy, ensuring that the dollar never grows in value but slowly, ever so slowly, diminishes in value so that we always have a very low inflation rate.

The best part is that Congress will be spending money they manufactured, not borrowed. At the end of the day, we can have an unlimited budget without any strings attached, provided the American economy continues to grow.

Another False Dilemma and Medicare

April 18, 2011

A more complicated scenario that is still a False Dichotomy is that if we privatize elderly care in the US, then the elderly will not be able to afford it, and so they will prematurely die. If we simply keep Medicare, then they will get the care they need near the end of their lives.

This sentiment shows a much higher level of thought than the simple, “If government does not provide health care, then they will not have it” false dichotomy. However, it boils down to the same problems.

I’ll list the factors that will go into determining whether the elderly can afford health care if we get rid of Medicare. Here are the most obvious ones:

  1. Medicare pays the bills, and since it has deep pockets, the cost of elder care skyrockets.
  2. Medicare regulates the industry, preventing doctors from choosing the best course of action and forcing them to prescribe unnecessary medicines and treatments.
  3. The elderly may receive care from charitable organizations, in addition to their children and grandchildren.
  4. Those who are planning for their retirement will have to plan for the true cost of their medical care, rather than relying on government subsidies.

Now, let me iterate a few things that, in addition to the above, are critical.

First, the elderly receive treatment that is far and away better than the treatment available even last year. Why? Because there is a tremendous profit motive to invent and provide these things. These treatments otherwise would not exist. When you consider the moral dilemma, “Shall we provide this person a life-saving treatment?” the morality of the issue changes depending on whether the treatment is available. It is the profit motive that creates the treatments in the first place, and allows us to even consider the question. Without the profit motive, there is no moral question at all.

Second, while today we provide treatment for the elderly, no such treatment will be available in a few years. This is the hard, cold facts. there is no tax high enough, there is no source of wealth large enough, there is no class of doctors that we can enslave and force to provide health care to the elderly. We cannot print the money, for if we do we will not afford any more health care than we otherwise could. We cannot borrow the money, because that amount of wealth simply does not exist. In this matter, no scenario wherein the elderly of the future receives medical care provided by the Federal Government exists. Let me reiterate: There is no way the elderly of the future can receive medical care courtesy of the Federal Government. At some point, the entire scheme will collapse, and we will no longer have any means to provide medical care because there is no means whereby the Federal Government can persuade people to provide it.

We are already seeing the effects today. So-called “death panels” already exist, determining which elderly get which treatment. Doctors are refusing to work for Medicare, because Medicare does not provide enough payment to compensate them. And Medicare cannot afford any more care, nor can they raise taxes because there is not enough wealth in the United States to provide even a hope of balancing the Medicare fiscal problems.

At best, we can hope for a “soft landing”, a phasing out of Medicare over the next few years, and probably limited coverage for a small minority of the elderly. Maybe some smart accountants can juggle the budget around and provide more or less soft landing, but ultimately, Medicare cannot exist.

Those who do not accept this fact are delusional, or they know something I do not. When you have a liability worth hundreds of trillions, you are talking about money that can simply never be created, not for thousands of years.

Paul Ryan’s budget is addressing this fact. His budget is the first of many that will gradually phase out Medicare, or replace it with something at least marginally sustainable. But even Paul Ryan’s budget is a promise that cannot be kept. Eventually, costs will rise, revenues will fall, and we will be back to where we are today.

The best solution is the hardest solution, the solution the people will most likely never tolerate. That is the constitutional solution, which is that Medicare is eliminated immediately. If we took such a drastic step, not only would the economy improve, but for reasons I listed above, the cost of treating the elderly will fall dramatically. The money saved by regular, working people can be used to charitably donate to people’s grandparents, churches and communities to support the elderly in the later years. If such money cannot be raised, then the economic means to provide treatment to the elderly does not exist, and so we no longer have a moral issue of “Shall we provide this treatment to this person?” Instead, we only have the choice of not providing it because the means to provide it do not exist.

Yes, that means that people will die, but those are people that would die anyway under the same circumstances because the means to treat them do not exist, even if the knowledge does.

End Medicare Now

April 16, 2011

One of the biggest complaints the left is forming about the Ryan Budget, that just passed the house in a quick, decisive vote, is that it defunds Medicare.

They play off of an obvious logical fallacy. They pretend that either seniors have their health care funded by the Federal Government, or they will be left out in the streets to die. If you’re having a hard time seeing the logical fallacy here, I’ll name it for you: False Dilemma. The bottom line is that every senior citizen, and soon to retire senior citizen, has more options than dying or accepting Federal aid.

Those among the senior age can turn to their families, their churches, the many public charities, and even the local communities for help. If Medicare did not exist, they would still receive medical treatment.

In fact, the very existence of Medicare is what is driving up the cost of medical care in the first place. Because doctors and pharmaceutical companies know that they don’t have to ask the senior citizens for a dime, they can charge as much as they want for their services. In many cases, they are required to provide services that they know are not necessary. Eliminating the bureaucracy of Medicare would likely improve the service our senior citizens receive, but also reduce the price as there will now be a price pressure and a strong incentive to provide superior health care for a reduced price.

Secondly, the cut in Medicare accepts the reality that already exists. Medicare is already cut whether the Ryan Budget cuts it or not. The simple reason is because there will never be money to pay for it, and there is nothing we can do about it.

If the Federal Government passed a budget that completely eliminated the Medicare fund, and all attached regulations and regulatory bodies, and stopped collecting medicare taxes (and they are tax, not a deposit!), we as a country would be much better off than the position we are in. The fact of the matter is we are trying to live a lie. The longer we try to perpetuate the lie, the more damage will be done when we realize the truth. Yes, many people’s lives would be disrupted, and likely a lot of people may die. (Who knows whether they would have died under Medicare? Regardless, the Medicare cuts will receive the blame in popular media.) But the longer we lie to ourselves and to our senior citizens, the more damage will be done with Medicare finally collapses and no one gets any medical care.

Glenn Beck: Don’t Rape Me!

April 14, 2011

Glenn Beck explains to the president that just because people are dressed in pin-stripe suits doesn’t mean the federal government is not to blame when they get raped.