Category Archives: Conservative

Basic Math for Liberals

I am tired of arguing with idiots about unemployment numbers.  Stupid people (liberals) seem to think that so long as the unemployment numbers drop that this shows the economy is growing. Now I know those of you who know something about economics and statistics are about to have an aneurism over how stupid that is, but let me go over the basics of how we get unemployment numbers…and what you should really be looking at.

Minimum WageNow I’m going to try and use round numbers to help make this as simple as possible (and I’m going to gloss over a few complexities so we can get to the heart of the matter).

Let’s say you have a population of 200,000 people.

100,000 people want a job.  That means you have a job participation rate of 50%.

Now let’s say that 95,000 of those people looking for a job have a job, and 5,000 of those people don’t have a job.  That means your unemployment is 5%.  And let’s say of those 95,000 employed, 5,000 (5% of the those in the work force) of those are working at part time jobs but want full time jobs.  These people are called underemployed. The underemployment rate is the unemployment rate plus those who are underemployed.  (Under employment is usually calculated as the percent of underemployed plus the rate of unemployment, but to keep the numbers separate and simple we won’t add them together here).

Now, what idiots look at is the unemployment rate.  This is dumb, and let me explain why.

Let’s say the government does something monumentally stupid (so, status quo) like raise the minimum wage.  This will cause employers to pull back on hiring.  The first thing that will happen is that employers will either through firing the most inept or through simple attrition (when somebody leaves you don’t fill their position).  This will cause the unemployment numbers to go up.  Let’s say that there are now only 94,000 jobs, or an unemployment rate of 6%.  And idiots will be rightfully concerned…but not for long.

Why?  Because the first ones hit by minimum wage increases are young people who, without experience aren’t worth the higher wage the employer has to pay, and older people. Those who have a business are not willing to put in the money for training as it will not work as a long term investment.  And since these groups know they can’t get a job they will either continue living with mom and dad or go live with their kids and just stop looking for work.  Let’s say 2,000 people just give up looking for work. So that now means you have 98,000 looking for work, and 94,000 with a job.  Guess what unemployment is DOWN TO 4.1%  !!!! Isn’t that great! Raising the minimum wage lowered unemployment from 5% to 4.1%!!!  Of course since the participation rate dropped form 50% to 49%, that means that 1,000 fewer people are employed now, but the unemployment number dropped!

And then it gets worse. The rise in minimum wage causes inflation (as it always does) and that means companies that aren’t employing minimum wage positions will have to lay off employees or use attrition practices.  So they lay off 1,000 employees. Now we’re at 98,000 looking for work and 93,000 employed.  Back to 5.1% unemployment.  But don’t worry those 1,000 will soon find minimum wage jobs and kick out 1,000 other less qualified people from those jobs. So now you instead of 5,000 people underemployed, you now have 6,000. Underemployment has jumped from 5% to 8.8%!  But don’t worry because another 1,000 people are probably going to give up looking for work (probably more actually but let’s keep the numbers nice and round).  So now only 97,000 want to be employed.  Oh look unemployment back to 4.1% and underemployment is now only 6.1%.  It’s a miracle the unemployment numbers and underemployment numbers dropped.  Things must be doing great!

But no.  In this situation while the unemployment rate started at 5% and dropped to 4.1%, that masks the fact that there are 2,000 fewer jobs. And a 1,000 more people are earning less than they would like.  (And let’s ignore the inflation that’s going on and the fact that most of the other employed people probably aren’t getting raises – but their personal costs just went up.)

So we can see the unemployment rate is very misleading and what is important, first and foremost is the participation rate and followed by that the underemployment rate.

So when Obama touts the unemployment numbers are down keep in mind a few things.

The participation rate is at its lowest level since 1978! From a peak of just over 67% we are down to just over 63% (a 4% drop, keep in mind my example only included a 1% drop).  And this drop in participation does not seem to have come anywhere near to an end. 

 

Second keep in mind that underemployment (this is the calculation of both those underemployed and those unemployed) has gone from 7.0% in 2000 () to 17.4% (a 10% increase, and my example only had 1.1% increase).

So don’t tell me that the economy is doing well because the unemployment number is down. It’s not.  It’s doing terribly.

And it’s not just raising minimum wage that does this (and yes raising minimum wage always does this)…it’s regulations and taxes and oversight and red tape.  All government action increases the factors that make employers want to hire fewer employees. And this may be not so great for depriving people of income, hope, and jobs….but as we’ve seen it can be great for getting the unemployment numbers down. I mean if everyone would just give up looking for work, we could have 0% unemployment.

 

 

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Filed under Capitalism, Conservative, Economics, Government is useless, Long Term Thinking, politics, Unions

Health Care is Not A Right

So Republicans in typical fashion are trying to shoot themselves in the foot with their “Defund Obamacare push”  (hint the liberals want the GOP to win on this one so they don’t have to have Obamacare hanging around their necks in 2014 and 2016, so they can keep the White House and take back Congress just long enough to make sure no one can ever take Obamacare out…if you want to get rid of Obamacare, really, really get rid of it, you need to make people see, and unfortunately feel, the misery they voted for. The point here is to get rid of the idea that government is the answer, not just a temporary reprieve on one horrific law.  The Defund Obamacare group is looking to win the battle, possibly at the cost of losing the war).   But while this is going on, Democrats are spending billions just to advertise Obamacare (if a law is so bad you have to advertise it, that should tell you something).  And to top it all off, a couple days ago Obama made his one of his typically brain less statements.  “Because in the United States of America, health insurance isn’t a privilege – it is your right.”

Why do I bring all of these different groups up in the same paragraph? Because they’re all idiots. They are all predicated on the idea that the government has to do something (less idiotic for the Republicans, but they seem to have given up the idea of full repeal, the only real answer, because they seem to acknowledge the lie that government needs to provide something). At best this belief is idiotic. At worst it’s just plain evil. (On another side note evil people are very rare, but evil ideas are all too common, and morons have a long history of latching onto evil ideas with the best of intentions. So please understand I’m not calling the people supporting Obamacare evil–unless their name is Harry/Nancy/Barrack/Michelle–merely their idea is). Why is it stupid/evil? Well, let me be as clear as I can possibly be:

YOU DO NOT HAVE A !@#$%^& RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE!!!!

Like the right to property, and the right to pursue happiness, you have the right to earn a living and to use that money as you see fit, perhaps by buying healthcare or healthcare insurance, but you have no natural right to healthcare.

Sorry, Barry, but just because you want something, it’s not a right.

I know I am about to repeat things that I have said before, but I feel I need to. I feel everyone needs to until this country learns that rights are not entitlements, rights are not things given to you but opportunities to be taken care of, and to exercise your rights does not require the acts, intentions, or contribution of anyone else.

A natural right as conceived of in the theory of natural rights and in the Declaration of Independence is something you would have without the presence of government or even society. It’s what does Robinson Crusoe have when he’s on the island before he decides to violate Friday’s natural right to freedom. Well, if you find yourself trapped in a bad episode of “Lost” you have the right to life, liberty, property, and to pursue happiness. A lot of what the original Bill of Rights includes is also there (speech, religion, assembly, arms, and self-incrimination) but notice that if you’re on an island by yourself you don’t have medical care. You have the right to take care of yourself, but islands in the middle of nowhere are not staffed with hospitals and doctors just waiting for you to get sick. So it’s certainly not a natural right.

But we don’t live on an island in the middle of nowhere. The upside to this is that we don’t have to engage in a philosophical war with a black cloud; the downside to this is that we do have to deal with other people. And while most people are rational and good intentioned, there are the random people who don’t respect your rights and try to take what isn’t theirs. Because of these random few who ruin everything, and because, we want complex things that we can’t do without laws and someone being in charge (like roads) we turn to the necessary evil of government. Now good government is a skill and it took us a while to realize that limits need to be put on it because just following the guy who can kill you or the guy with the best bullshit may not have been the best choice in the beginning, even though it’s what historically happened. So we had to come up with a whole new set of rights (quartering, due process, equality under the law). But notice all these other rights limit what the government does. Nowhere have you been given anything. You were either born with your rights, some of which you gave away to ensure protection against stupid people violating your rights, and other “rights” were restrictions placed on the government on top of which your natural rights were completely off-limits. But still no right has been given to you that you already didn’t have. And again, you didn’t have the right to health care if you were stuck in the state of nature.

The right to healthcare is a ridiculous, idiotic and borderline evil idea called a “positive right.” A negative right means something that no one has the right to take away from you–like your life, your liberty, or your property. Those are things you’re entitled to, thus no one has any right to reduce your rights to them. A positive right on the other hand means something that you have a right to expect to be given to you. If you’re reading that last sentence a few times because it seems to make no sense, good, that means you’re sane. Healthcare is a positive right. It is the idea that just because I showed up you have to give me healthcare. Just because you’re alive other people have to give something to you? Well I know that really egocentric people act like this, but to actually portray this as a theory of government is insane. And while virtues of love and charity say that ethically we should give people more than they may deserve, it doesn’t work in the opposite way where you have the right to demand people give you more than you serve—that’s not ethics it’s also insanity.

But more than insane it’s wrong. You can’t give a piece of property or a service without taking it from someone else–i.e. theft or slavery. Now while I believe the capitalist system isn’t a zero-sum game that always creates more and more, theoretically having no limit to how much wealth it can create, the kind of property transfer that the government deals in is a zero-sum for whatever moment it exists in. The government stealing things and giving it to others, transferring wealth from one person to another, not only harms the ability to create more wealth, but given government inefficiency, it actually creates less wealth (especially given the government’s addiction to spending money it doesn’t have). The government can’t just give people drugs without stealing it from drugs companies…if it pays for those drugs then it can only do that by stealing hard earned wealth from the taxpayers. Either way it’s theft. A person can’t be guaranteed healthcare without doctors being forced to treat them. After all either the doctors are paid (and if the government’s involved it’s paid with stolen taxpayer money) or simply forced to work as a slave. And you’ll find most doctors will not want to work in that system which will cause the greatest healthcare system in the world, the US, to become one of the worst when all the doctors leave or simply retire.

But some idiots (Alan Colmes to name one) say that the government has a right to help the people under the actual Constitution. They quote Article I Section 8:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and
Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general
Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be
uniform throughout the United States;”

And then they point to the part that says “General welfare” , isn’t providing healthcare promoting the general welfare? Well one that would first depend on the government being able to do anything well, which it can’t, but more importantly it is a gross misunderstanding of the meaning of “general welfare.” Even if you took the most liberal meaning of the phrase at the time the Constitution was written the term general welfare does not mean helping people like our current meaning of welfare–it means providing improvements to the whole of the country that affects everyone (roads, bridges, communication systems, in other words – infrastructure). The key is the word general. It needs to be something that can be used by everyone. I can’t take your doctor prescribed drugs after you’ve taken them, so there is nothing general about a system that helps individuals. (And don’t even give me that bullshit about their being able to provide for society if they were healthy…if they were providing for society they would have a job with which they could afford healthcare).

The government isn’t there to protect you from yourself or from nature. It’s there to protect you from other idiots. Your bad living habits and your genetic disposition toward a disease, while unfortunate, is not the government’s responsibility. But given that the government has stolen and inefficiently used the money that people who might have been able to charitably donate to your healthcare, the government is not only destroying their rights it’s destroying their ability to help you.

The government destroys all it touches–it can’t help it, it’s its nature. Especially when it tries to give you things you don’t have a right to. And you don’t have a right to healthcare!

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Filed under Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Health Care, Obama, People Are Stupid, politics

Constitutional Amendments, The Fact We Are A Republic Not a Democracy, And Short-Sighted Fools Who Get Called Conservatives

So Mark Levin has a new book out and is calling for Constitutional Amendments. How do I know this? Well it certainly wasn’t because I look forward to books by Mark Levin—honestly this man endorsed Rick Santorum (enemy of capitalism and raging psychotic extraordinaire) and never missed a chance to hit Romney. Yeah with conservative and sanity credentials like that in the single most important election that he has ever lived through, can’t imagine why I tend not to take Levin too seriously. But given the amount of press it’s getting in conservative circles I thought I would at least take a look at it and peruse it in Barnes and Noble…and it confirmed all my dislike of Levin, reading just a few pages made me sick…on the surface it has some very conservative principles, but when you only scratch the surface it is not very conservative, not very well thought out, and little more than populist tripe.

So first the good.

He wants to make the commerce clause more limited. Excellent. South Dakota v. Dole, the case that expanded the powers of the government under the commerce clause, was a terrible decision and needs

Did we forget we're conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

Did we forget we’re conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

to be overturned…I’ll come back to why it was terrible in a moment.

He wants to reaffirm the 5th Amendment’s right to private property in very clear terms. Again this is partly in response to the terrible Kelo ruling. I have no problem with this.

He has an Amendment that would allow two-thirds of states to overturn any law passed by Congress. I think this is an excellent check on federal power.

And he wants to overturn the 17th Amendment and make it so that state legislatures and only state legislatures pick Senators. Which is in line with the republican virtues the Founders intended and will eliminate a lot of problems. Legislatures tend to pick more reserved members for positions like this so hacks and shills for unions like Boxer, Feinstein, Reid, Obama, Clinton, Kerry, “Dances with Bullshit” Warren (okay really just about any Democrat that has been in the Senate in the last 50 years) and treasonous scum like McCain stand little chance. You’ll get reserved people, thoughtful people, who are not beholden to polls because they don’t run for reelection and not beholden to campaign contributors for the same reason. The people still have a voice in the House and in choosing the representatives who will pick Senators. This will also lead to better Supreme and Federal Court Justices as the Senate will no longer be party hacks. So no Kagan, no Sotomayor, but you would get a Bork.

However I think it is a major mistake to only leave the option of the Senator to be chosen by the state legislature. I would be more than happy to allow states to pick some combination of the legislature and governor or just the legislature…it ensures more gridlock, fewer ideologues and less of a chance of bleeding heart idiots getting in.

Also I would think that you might want to allow the people to have the right of recall of any Senator. Quite frankly I would love the ability to fire Senators rather than hire them.

Okay those are the good things he suggested. Now let’s go through the terrible tings he suggests…

He suggests sunset dates for all legislation and that all federal departments have to be reauthorized every few years. That sounds nice…but when you think any deeper than how it sounds (which someone who backed Santorum, like Levin, is clearly incapable of even conceiving of) it becomes terrible. From 1913-2013 liberals and progressives controlled the White House and both branches of government for 38 of those years, conservative for only 18 of those years…so over 1/3 of that time with liberals in absolute control…and you want to have Congress be responsible to constantly reauthorize the Department of Defense? Mark, are you insane or just stupid? The Constitution exists because we know that there will be times when the public takes a complete and total loss of its senses and elects idiots. An amendment like this gives idiots more power to simply not reinstitute good laws and continue making bad laws (as Obamacare has shown, a law doesn’t need to be around for long to cause harm).

Better idea: A Constitutional Amendment that Congress must list under what clause or Amendment they are using to have the power to enforce such a bill. That covers the Departments of Defense, Justice, State and Treasury. In this same Amendment it states that any law that uses the necessary and proper clause as justification must have a sunset date and can exist for no longer than 5 years. This variation not only limits the powers of government to its expressly listed powers (and the wiggle room the founders intended the necessary and proper clause to be) without giving free reign to unchecked power grabs

Then Levin says we should change the Amendment process to allow states to amend the constitution with only a two-thirds majority instead of the usual three-fourths. Now take a look at it this way, the three-fourths bar has given us such bad amendments as the 16th (income tax), the 17th (allowing the public to choose Senators), the 18th (prohibition) and the unspeakably stupid 26th Amendment (which gives immature brats the right to vote)*. Yeah let’s lower the bar because we’ve had such great Amendments get through the 3/4ths vote. Levin seems to forget that the terrible worded Equal Rights Amendment (nice in theory, terrible in wording and near carte blanche in the powers it granted because of that really bad wording) got 70% of the states to vote for it. Thanks Mark. Only an idiot thinks that conservatives will always be the majority—the pendulum always swings back and forth and the Constitution needs to be there when progressives who want to give the government more power is a wall against them…not as a tool for them to use! Which is exactly what Levin’s proposed Amendment would eventually be.
Term Limits. Term limits sound so nice…get the idiots out, let fresh blood in. Here’s the problem. Liberals can always find an idiot to vote party line, finding good honest conservatives who are sane to actually run for office is much more difficult (conservatives usually have the good sense to stay away). So all you’ll be doing is for the bad legislators, trading one scoundrel for another and while getting rid of competent people like Issa, Ryan, and Cantor and leaving it open for liberals to take their place. Great idea. It’s even dumber when you consider the revoking of the 17th Amendment makes the entire Senate a check against the kind of corruption and party politics that popular election breeds. Yes term limits on an office where one person holds the entire power of that office makes sense, but not in a body of parliament.

SCOTUSOh and then Levin wants to put term limits on the Court and allow Congress to over rule the Court. Might as well just disband the court. Congress and the President already have the power to choose who goes on the court and determine how many justices we have, and Congress and the states can overrule the court via Amendment. That’s a lot of check and balances already. There are two reasons why we have bad Supreme Court Justices. The first is because we have popularly elected idiots in the Senate making decisions, but revoking the 17th already fixes that. The 2nd is that Congress and the President have already misused the power they have…above I mentioned South Dakota v. Dole which expanded powers under the commerce clause—it’s time to talk about that case now—that ruling came down only because the Supreme Court had been intimidated by FDR who threatened to pack the court if they didn’t vote as he wanted. So the current checks and balances against the court led to it being intimidated and bullied, which has left a lasting effect in terms of precedence and behavior…and you want to give the President and Congress more power over the court. Why have a court? Levin is just unhappy with the decisions they make, so am I, but like any populist child he simply lashes out without thinking, attacking the symptom while making the disease worse.

And then there is the amendment limiting spending to 17.5% of GDP. Again sounds really nice. So long as we never have a major national disaster or have to fight a war. Yes, we have a spending problem, but this doesn’t help. And I love how he tags it to a figure like GDP…like a liberal economist can’t play with how that number is reached. Whatever happened to a simple balanced budget amendment which has triggers for emergency spending?

And then there is my favorite the Amendment requiring that to vote you have to have an ID. Again something I’m in support of…when it’s a state issue. My problem is with too much government power, and an Amendment like this gives the federal government even more power. Just because something is a great idea for a state, even a necessary idea for all 50 states, does not mean it should be a federal issue…conservatives understand this…idiots who support socialist Santorum do not. But yeah, let’s give the federal government the right to say what does and does not count as an ID, who gets an ID, what barriers and cannot be put up (if you make it a federal issue you’ve just given the government all these powers…I’m sure they’ll never abuse them).

Also a fun part of this Amendment is banning all electronic voting. Yes because an Amendment, something that should guide the nation for at least 100’s of years should institutionalize luddite fears because of problems in the early stages of a new technology…I hate to tell Mark this, any form of voting is subject to fraud, electronic voting may get more press because it’s new and cool, but seriously, an amendment banning it for all time.

The fact of the matter is that for all Levin’s claims to be a conservative many of these amendments do not properly view the nation as a republic where law is higher than anything…but rather show him to be a populist who thinks democracy and the will of the people (hence the term limits, the neutering of the courts, the rapid amendment of the Constitution, and the rapid dismissal of all law through sunset dates). These make the system less stable and more volatile, yes while conservatives are in control it would give us the power to quickly enforce our policies which are more in line with the ideals of the Founders and reality…but the Founders had the good sense to know that what is right is not always popular…and these same mechanisms could easily be used against America if the will of the people shifted. Just ask yourself, if these Amendments were in place in 1978 when Jimmy Carter was in the White House, Democrats controlled the House and Senate, and had complete control of just shy of 30 states (governors and legislatures), controlling 60% of all legislatures, and all other states were divided (no Republican control of all branches of state government). What could Carter and his ilk have done in 2 years? Would there have even been a nation left for Reagan to save? A populist wants power to change things the way they think it should be, but a real conservative asks the all important question of what could their enemy do with that same power? And horrifyingly most of Levin’s Amendments would give too much power to liberals in the end.

Now as I said there were some good ones.
Private Property
Revoke the 17th Amendment
Commerce Clause
2/3rd’s check by state on federal law

And I listed two above
Require all laws to list what power granted to Congress the law is being passed under, and anything under the necessary and proper clause has a sunset date.
A Balanced Budget Amendment

I would point out two others that help reaffirm this nation as a Republic not a democracy.

The first would be to replace the 26th Amendment. I’m sorry but of all the 18 year olds I have ever met less than 1% of them were qualified to vote. Most of the people I’ve known in their 20’s aren’t qualified to vote. Science is now telling us the brain doesn’t even stop developing until you’re 25 or 26. The voting age needs to be raised not lowered. If you’re under 30 you do not have the mental capacity or experience to vote. If you want to include a clause that anyone who signs up for military service will be granted the right early, I have no problem with that, but your average 18-29 year old is simply too naïve, too stupid, too immature and too easily persuaded by emotion to be allowed to vote.

The 2nd point I would have is something I don’t think the Founders ever really considered but would agree with if it was put to them. At the signing of the Constitution one of the reasons you had to have 13 states and not just one central government, besides centralized power leads to corruption, is that there was simply too much land and too many people for one government to govern it effectively. You could probably fit the entire population of the U.S. at the signing of the Constitution into modern Los Angeles. And that was too big for one government to control. Now communication and travel have made this somewhat easier…but keep in mind that I think the Founders would have agreed that if there is a minimum population a state needs to have, then there should probably be a maximum number it needs to have before it should break up into two states. I’m thinking around 10 million. I’m sorry but after that point it becomes inefficient to run a state (not to mention that populations this high are usually because of a single large city in the state which siphons welfare money out of the non-city areas to fuel welfare programs and guarantee bought votes). Think of it, two New Yorks, the liberal city we know…but far more reddish upstate New York with red electoral votes, and red Senators. California cut into thirds one state blue, one red, one probably purplish.* Texas which is turning a little blue into two safe red states and a blue one. If you work out the math is this only good news for conservatives in terms of Senate and electoral votes (which is also a strong pro republic idea since it makes it harder to swing as many states). And you wouldn’t have to give the federal government power to split states just state you’re not counting population above 10 million for Congressional seats and electoral college votes…most states would simply choose to split if you put that in place once they went over the 10 million mark. Now I’m more just thinking aloud here, and haven’t worked out the details of how such an amendment would have to be worded, and I’m sure someone out there could even convince me that it’s plain insanity, but it’s just a thought.

Now I admit that my suggestions are even less likely of being adopted than Levin’s but that doesn’t change the fact that his are dangerous to the safety of the union in the long run.

*I realize the current population of California is 38 million and technically that would be cut in 4th’s…but even if the highly unlikely occurred and my suggestions passed, it would be after years of the current population drop in California and I think we’ll see California under 30 million within the next decade.

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Founding, Government is useless, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid, politics, Problems with the GOP

Movies that show the rich as good #1 Cash McCall

James Garner Cash McCall“I don’t belong in the better circles. I’m a thoroughly vulgar character. I enjoy making money.”—Cash McCall

The last and best movie that shows the rich as good.

But as this is a more obscure movie let me give you some details. The movie is a romantic-comedy that follows millionaire (eh, this is 1959, in 2013 dollars it’s probably billionaire)  (and perceived playboy) Cash McCall, played by James Garner as he attempts to woo Lory Austen (Natalie Wood).  The story is boy meets girl, boy falls in love, boy loses girl , boy chases, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.  It’s sweet, but nothing spectacular.

What makes this movie stand out is the title character and his business dealings.  Cash has a reputation:

“Cash McCall. I know the type.  Vultures.  Jackals.  They prowl around looking for a good company that’s having a little difficulty buy it up for practically nothing and then start pulling it to pieces.  Close the plant down, spin it off for a tax loss.  They throw a whole community out of work just to make a fast buck.”

This is the opinion of consultant Gil Clark whose sees McCall as only someone who buys up companies and liquidates them for profit.  Now I have previously gone over why there is nothing wrong with this, why a healthy economy needs this form of creative destruction to survive (yes it would be better for the original owners if they could realize their company is already dead and sell it off in a way they want to, but usually a company only gets in that state when sentimentality supplants reason).  However when Clark first meets Cash McCall not only his resentment clears he learns some interesting things about Cash McCall.

Cash: I’m sort of a second hand dealer.  I buy old tired companies, whip them into shape, then sell them again.  What’s your line of work.

Gil Clark: Corporations Associates.  We’re management consultants.

Cash: That’s a prissy way of saying efficiency experts, isn’t it?  I mean you go out to a company with a slide rule and Ouija board, sit off to one side, in the shade, and tell them how to run it by the book.

Gil: We can usually see more from the sidelines than they can from the middle of the field.

Cash: Well that’s nice, it’s like going to a ball game and having the player pay you.  They pay you pretty well I hear.

Gil: Sure our fees are big.  But when we charge our clients thousands we usually save them millions.  And we have a waiting list a mile long because my firm operates strictly on the level.

Cash: And do you know why it operates that way. … Because I own it.

And this is our first introduction to the businessman that is Cash McCall.  From here we see that yes he makes money, he likes doing it.  But he doesn’t just do it by buying bad companies and liquidating them.

The tax structure we have nowadays sets everything up like pins in a bowling alley.   You take your small manufacturer cashmccalllike Mr. Austin—the only way that he can cash in is by selling out.  And the tax situation, or rather because of it, the country is full of Mr. Austin’s.  I’m sorry Gil, I don’t make the rules, I just play the game.  “I get a wallop out of taking  a shaky company and bracing it up.  Taking it apart and see that it runs again…but then after six months all the fun’s gone out of it.”  So he runs a business of consulting, of management, that takes good ideas that need help, gives them the help they need (maybe selling off the parts that are beyond help to those who can make use of them) and then leaving the company again to go forth and make profits.  If that sounds a lot like Bain Capital, and its former President to you, then you might understand why I’ve had such a hard time getting back to this series of blogs and finishing it when this should have been done back in early November.

Throughout the movie we see a businessman who is frank with the people he is dealing with, always honest with people, always gives them a chance to back out, and never takes advantage of someone.  Yes he will hold information back, that’s called business, in business information is worth a lot and you don’t just give it away for free…but it is never information that he acquired through illicit means and was always there if someone else wanted to get it, they just didn’t have the foresight to do so.   And because of this he constantly gets blamed for somehow being underhanded as seen in this conversation.

Gen. (ret.) Danvers: I consider you a pirate and a blackguard

Cash: I’m well aware of how you feel about me and I just can’t find it in my heart to blame you.

Danvers: In your what?

Cash: Because I don’t have any particular affection for you either.

Danvers: Is that why you’re out to ruin me.  Is that why you’re out to destroy the Scofield Instrument Corporation?

Cash: No one has to ruin you or your company General…not as long as you’re around to save them the trouble.

Danvers: You managed to get your hands on a company I practically supported for years.  Sixty percent of its product.  And the minute you’ve got it you refuse to supply me with molding parts.  What are you up to McCall?  Extortion?

Cash: I hope you won’t mind my saying it General but for a military man you don’t have either a logical mind or a very good memory.  You do have one very good military talent though, you’re very good at passing the buck.

Danvers: Now just what’s that supposed to mean?

Cash: This isn’t the first time it’s happened.  About a year ago I sold you a cabinet factory, Padua Furniture Company, a first rate shop you got it at a good price.  Now if I remember correctly, you thanked me warmly for letting you have it.

Danvers: Indeed I did.  I don’t always recognize a thief the first time I see him.

Cash: But when you found out you’d been offered the same shop a year before at half the price you started shooting off your mouth about how you’d been robbed by Cash McCall.

Danvers: You’re damn right I did.

Cash: Of course you didn’t recognize the fact that a year before it wasn’t worth half the price you paid me for it.

And this is typical of reality. Good businessmen create wealth where none existed before in a very short amount of time…but because other people can’t understand how a little intellect and a little hard work can make something that was previously worthless worth a fortune, they assume that the only explanation is something underhanded and deceitful.  That they’ve been robbed.  And while this is a common tale (again see the election of 2012) only idiots don’t understand that it is actually virtue and ethics that create value in the long run.  That it is only honest people like the character of cash mccallCash McCall, who when accused of being a crook stands his ground and will not merely conform to what the public or his advisors want, the consequence be damned he has his own personal integrity to consider first and foremost (still this sounds very familiar).  And this is why I love Mitt Cash and this film.  It shows that all too often the people who produce things are seen by the public as crooks, that the ones who create wealth are only seen as stealing it by the envious people, that those who bring prosperity to the most are derided falsely as taking from others.

“I get a wallop out of taking  a shaky company and bracing it up.  Taking it apart and see that it runs again…but then after six months all the fun’s gone out of it.”

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Things the Government and Hollywood can do to lower ticket prices

Movie ticket prices are high…as the Entertainment Editor of Elementary Politics I regrettably know this better than most 1888635_623836521024148_812367747072020643_nhaving to pay money to go see movies I actually know will suck (Go and read some articles on Elementary Politics…if we get enough readers I can probably get a press pass into films).

But there appears to be some doom and gloom on the horizon. The first is that, as we all know the last few years have seen deeper and deeper slumps in box office turnout. It gets even worse when you look at supposedly important names like Spielberg and Lucas* telling us that we can soon expect $25 tickets. Now I think $25 may be little overblown (even with inflation under the Obama), and might be a little bit of Spielberg forgetting the studios might not want to fund him because his last six movies have all been terrible. Still the fact is movie prices are still going up. And this comes with the rather idiotic question what can the government do to stop that…yes I’ve actually heard people ask variants of this question, because there are some idiots who feel the government needs to fix all of their problems.movie tickets

But rather than asking what can the government do, I’m going to ask the more important question what can the government stop doing to help reduce movie ticket prices? There are already a horde of policies and regulations in place that are helping to drive the price of your movie ticket up (along with the price of just about everything else) and if the government stopped doing these things you would have far more reasonable prices and far less inflation.

1. First and foremost we need to ignore Senator John McCain (who never met a line of the Constitution that he felt like defending) in his call to regulate cable TV even more. And after that we need not regulate anything else to do with the entertainment industry. I’m sure there are probably a few (very few) laws that should pertain to the entertainment industry, but right now I can also guarantee you we have dozens, possibly hundreds we don’t need and that need to be scrapped before we need any new laws. At this point new laws and regulations only create new headaches and roadblocks for business, industry, innovation and creation.

There is a minimum level of laws needed in society. We are nowhere near that level and need to take a machete, a chainsaw, and possibly a nuclear weapon to the stack of laws we do have at present.

2. End all public funding at all levels for all kinds of subsidies, tax breaks, or incentives. This might seem counter intuitive for why it would raise the price of your tickets. Subsidies only ever result in getting more of something people don’t want. Movies make money when they’re good…so if the only reason you’re going to make it is because you can get a tax break or a right-off or a subsidy in creating content that is sub-par and will in the end reduce the profitability of the market…which in turn has to be made back by charging higher prices for tickets. (Not to mention it creates crap like NPR and PBS which despite its claims of being educational actually make people dumber).

3. Conversely taxes should just be lowered in general. Be it the flat tax or the fair tax, it is irrelevant, but if taxes were just lower you would find more money to invest in films, better, cheaper technology to make films, and lower costs all around for production. Tax reform always benefits everyone, without question, without exception.

4. Another obvious one: Get rid of Obamacare. If you don’t think the production companies and the distribution companies and the theater chains don’t plan on passing their massive costs of Obamacare onto to you through ticket sales, you’re delusional. If prices do rise to $25 a ticket, then Obamacare will be to blame for at least a third of that rise.

5. Sue China for copyright infringement. China has committed billions, perhaps trillions of dollars of patent and copyright theft. Certainly they’re not the only foreign offender but they certainly are the biggest. (It’s ironic that it is very likely that all the money we have borrowed from China was only made by not paying us for use of patents and copyrights) and the entertainment industry takes billions of dollars in losses every year because of this (losses they pass off to you). Now while the Chinese government per se isn’t doing the actual pirating, they have created, fostered and in many ways encouraged the environment in which such violations run rampant and it needs to stop. While this is an issue that hardly affects only the entertainment industry, that is one of the most obvious ways it affects you and if they tightened up their system (and god forbid paid what they owe) you would see profits over here soar and prices drop in response.

 

6. Conversely America’s copyright laws are a little insane. In a push driven mostly by Disney, Congress extended copyright law to insane levels. Currently it’s life of the artist plus 70 years or 95 years from publication for works owned by corporations. That’s insane. I know Disney has a lot invested in keeping Mickey to themselves…but guys you have to let go at some point. Copyrights do help inspire creation…but when taken to an illogical extension they can also hurt innovation and creation (don’t believe me, go and read some of the insanity that has come about because of the copyrights surrounding Superman). Correcting this problem would mean that soon theaters could get their hands on good old movies at a very, very low cost and show them at almost pure profit, which means they don’t have to make the other ticket prices as high just to break even.

7. Get rid of minimum wage laws. Every usher and every person behind the counter at every theater is being paid at least $7.25 an hour. They’re not worth $7.25 an hour. Based on the service I usually get, they’re not worth $3 an hour. But regardless of what I think they’re worth, it is a simple fact of economics that minimum wage laws hurt the economy. They cause fewer people to be hired, they prevent people from getting experience, they lower service and they drive up costs.


If you got rid of minimum wage laws you would see lower ticket prices. You would also see a drop in the unemployment rate and a massive rise in the economy at all levels.
8. Get rid of ethanol. Ethanol is possibly one of the dumbest things we’ve ever done in this country. It takes 1.2 gallons of fuel to create one gallon of ethanol. So not only is it a waste that causes your gas bill to rise (and thus the cost of EVERYTHING else to rise including your movie ticket) but you’re also wasting tax dollars on this because not only is it a Ethanolwaste, but we subsidize it as well. You pay for it to be grown and then you pay to use it…and it’s worthless. Another fun fact about ethanol is that the heavy production of it has caused the worldwide cost of corn to go up, which not only exacerbates issues of global famine, but probably doesn’t help the price of the popcorn either.

9. While Congress really should get rid of all subsidies and trade barriers let’s look specifically at the ones dealing with sugar. We subsidize sugar production in the U.S. (causing the price to go up) and have stiff trade barriers that prevent cheaper sugar from getting in. This in turn leads to just about everything at concession stands costing vastly higher amounts than it otherwise would.

10. Finally let’s end the government protection of the teacher’s union. What does this have to do with the cost of your theater going experience? In terms of cost not so much, in terms of getting your money’s worth a lot. If we had an even halfway decent education system do you think movies like Grown ups 2, R.I.P.D. The Internship or White House Down would ever have been made? I doubt it, because there wouldn’t have been as much of a market for them…yes intelligent, educated people can enjoy movies like this, but an intelligent educated populace wouldn’t provide a market for as many pieces of crap to be made. And the simple fact is that there is probably no bigger threat to American education than the teacher’s union. End all of their bargaining power, disband the unions (because professionals don’t have unions), and as far as I’m concerned try the union leadership for treason and give them the maximum sentence, because they have done massive and unforgivable damage to this nation in protecting their hack union members who have no business whatsoever being in a classroom.

Now that’s what the government should stop doing…but to be fair there are some things Hollywood should do.

PrincessBride

Why has this not been re-released? This would make more money than you can imagine.

1. Release old movies. Why has there not been a re-release of The Princess Bride in the theaters? Or Casablanca? There is next to no overhead cost and you would sell tickets like crazy. Disney, you could re-release a movie every month from your vault (even if we changed the copyright laws) and it would still take years before you made a full cycle.
I think people would rather pay money to see something older and good than new and dumb.

2. Stop paying actors outrageous salaries and start paying your writers better. As the last few years have shown, people aren’t going to see movies because of their favorite actors. If actors aren’t drawing people in then they’re not good investments. Neither is CGI. In the end the most surefire way to get people in the seats is to tell a good story. Pay your writers better.

3. Hollywood, get some goddamn accountants! Real accountants, not the crazy people who have made Hollywood accounting seem more complex than the US tax code. Get some people who will pinch pennies and tell you no, that’s a bad investment, no, the actor can’t have this many riders in their contract, no, we don’t need this lavish a catering truck at the shoot, no, no, no.

4. Stop hiring directors who can’t make money. Guillermo del Toro and Paul Thomas Anderson do not make money (in fact while some of their films have made a profit I believe they are in the red for their overall careers). (I personally don’t get Scorsese, I don’t think he’s ever made a watchable film, but at least he brings in a profit, I just don’t understand how). But time and time again you see Hollywood give too much money to hacks because they’re ‘great directors.’ If you want to make vanity pieces fine, do it on your own dime; don’t do it so the studio takes the loss and passes that onto the theaters and then onto me.

5 Support a la carte purchasing in cable. It will reduce your competition and the number of channels you need to advertise on (and it’s actually the advertising budget of most films that makes them take a loss not the production costs).These are just a few of the things the government and Hollywood can do, but in the end it boils down to two things, government needs to get out of the way and Hollywood needs to be focused on giving us a higher quality product.
*I say supposedly because let’s be honest, these two schmucks have more a reputation for making good movies than an actual history of making good films. I’m sure someone will take offense to that but go look at all the movies Spielberg has actually directed and take an honest look at how some of the worst films in history are on that list.

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Detroit, liberalism at its finest

Obama Detroit

Sadly, he doesn’t have a city….he has a country.

The fall of this city reads like the story of the Twentieth Century Motor Company.  Large government spends, overregulates, gives into unions at every turn, hampers business at every opportunity, a deference to cronyism without any concern for free markets, corruption, all leading to the destruction of a city that still has all the infrastructure necessary for growth. And the worst part is that this can be easily, EASILY reversed.  Lower taxes, remove regulations, gut the bureaucracy, open up school choice, tell the unions exactly where they stick all their whiny demands.  It would be a slow growth at first, and the city would need to redirect every single cent they get to police to clean up the dangerous streets of Detroit first (although allowing open carry and remove the restrictions that allows law abiding citizens to procure weapons to protect themselves could solve that problem, criminals tend to go where the targets are easy and a well armed populace is not that) and fix the crumbling infrastructure second.  If the city did these things and let the free market and individual choice drive the way the city would be thriving again within a decade.

But we know they won’t do that.  And so the city will continue to decay.

 

But I’m sure if you asked idiots like Paul Krugman or Barry the answer would clearly be that we just didn’t spend enough money and we didn’t regulate enough.  Because that’s always the problem for liberals.  Government is never the problem and always the solution, even though they don’t have a single shred of evidence to back that claim up.




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Is Capitalism Humane?

The great Milton Friedman on the ethics of capitalism.

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A Tyranny by any other name would be just as terrible…Why Communism, Fascism and Socialism are really the same thing.

“You can’t call Obama a socialist!”
“You can’t call Obama a communist!”
“You can’t call Obama a fascist!”
“You don’t know what words mean!”
“Obama’s a moderate!”

I’ve heard all of these. All of these statements are incorrect. Why are they are incorrect? Because they like to play fast and loose with the meaning of words. They like to ignore that often in political philosophy there are ideal systems and there are pragmatic realities. That there are actual actions and there is PR. There is where the society is headed and where it is now. And liberals will always use the definition you’re not actually using in context.

For instance if you say that France is socialist, they’ll point out that some industries haven’t been nationalized thus it is not a socialist nation it’s a mixed economy. You’re looking at the fact that France is headed in that direction and the pragmatic reality, they’re looking at is where it is now. If you complain that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a Communist, they’ll point out that she hasn’t endorsed this or that policy from Soviet Russia. You’re looking at where they’re heading and what their ideals are, they only look at the words spoken so far and not making logical connections as to motives. You point out there is no difference between complete Socialism and complete Communism in reality; they’ll start talking about ideals and the utopia to come.

So let’s clear some things up.

There is the Communist Utopia, that place where government dissolves and everybody lives together in a global commune and sings “Kumbaya” and does their best and the shmoo run wild providing all our needs. This place never existed and never will exist on a national or international level. It can work with small groups of people who willingly join, but like pure democracy, it tends to fall apart when the group gets bigger than a couple dozen. This is what liberals claim they mean by socialism, but they forget that this pipe dream requires full and complete ideal Socialism first, even in their own arguments. They just think that the tyrannical government can somehow also be perfectly benevolent and will magically give up power when it has accomplished its goals (in a way no tyrant ever gave up power). And of course this is all silly anyway because history has shown without exception that the system ideal Communism really likes is anarchy, which only ever leads to post-apocalyptic wastelands.

Then there is practical Communism. Soviet Russia, Maoist China, North Korea, Cuba. This has near complete control over all aspects of the economy. They have numerous laws in both social and economic sectors. They are enforced with viciousness by police who basically answer to no one. The governments are controlled by a small cabal of people who have control of everything and while there may be the pretense of elections, the outcome is always the same. Slave labor and murder of citizens is how the populace is kept in its place. And all the time this is called socialism (because this is ideal socialism, although like in ideal communism, there is this foolish belief that it will be a perfect utopia where everyone is happy).

Strangely enough, this is almost identical to another form of government known commonly by a different name, but which saw itself as socialism. Specifically I’m thinking of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), of course known more commonly by the abbreviation, Nazi. But what exactly is the difference? Control of the economy? Check. Control of social order? Check. Slave labor? Check. Death camps. Check. Power of an unelected elite, no rule of law, state sponsored atheism*, no protection of natural rights.

That about sums it up.  But I'm always open to being proven wrong...How in any practical way is communism different from fascism or from what socialist say they want?

That about sums it up. But I’m always open to being proven wrong…How in any practical way is communism different from fascism or from what socialist say they want?

Check, check, check, and check. You know what the difference is between Fascism and Communism? It’s not in the type of government you have, it’s in the propaganda. Communism promises you a utopia where everyone is equal because they have done away with class, and every terrible act is justified to accomplish this greater good. Fascism is completely different in every way. Fascism promises you a utopia where everyone is equal because they have done away with everyone from a different heritage, and every terrible act is justified to accomplish this greater good.

There’s also a type of fascism that replaces race with religion, but most religions don’t work well with this because most religions argue that the human soul is divine, hence it works against fascist/communist principles that glorify only the whole and degrade the individual. In fact I can think of only one traditional religion that denies the divinity of the human soul and requires you to submit absolutely to the will of God.

Now I guess you could have something really bad which uses the racism of fascism and the class warfare of communism, and the religious overtones of Islamofascism, in one…oh wait, we do have that, it’s called North Korea. Otherwise known as the worst place on Earth.

There isn’t any practical difference between Communism in practice, Socialism in theory, and Fascism. They have the same means, the same methods, the same procedures. And they all have the same result. Suffering. Mountains and mountains of suffering. So, yes, calling someone by all three names is correct because all of them boil down to the lack of liberty in the name of the greater good.

‘But, but, but,’ I can hear the leftist whine now, ‘fascism is ultra-right not ultra-left.’ Okay, one, join the 21st century, the single axis right-left thing has been replaced by two and three axis plots of political leanings…and on those communism and fascism are pretty close to each other. The only reason some original idiot put fascism on the right was because they equated the love of country of the right wing America and Britain (which was based on the ideals of the nation) with the love of nation seen in fascism (which was based on things like race and ethnicity, you know the exact opposite of ideals). So let’s chalk up another moment in idiocy for political scientists.

‘But, but, but,’ they whiners will continue…and then they’ll bring up what we typically call socialism, the mixed-economy, and they’ll say that works. And the problem here is that the mixed-economy model covers a whole wide range of economic systems. Let’s start as the most free, the mixed-economy that leans towards capitalism (America in more recent history). Typically this tends to work and create prosperity. Then you moved to a truly mixed economy that are truly using a bit of capitalism and a bit of socialism (Israel, Poland, Mexico, France) depending on a lot of factors such as resources, culture, infrastructure, terrorism and crime issues, etc., this can work decently or not, but it tends not to create truly thriving and flourishing economies. Then you have your socialist leaning mixed economies like Greece (yeah they’re doing well) or India and China (where the media likes to focus on some people doing well, but somehow the socialism is still providing not much prosperity to the masses). But since all of these are called mixed-economies, idiots like to point to the successes of the capitalist leaning ones or the ones that benefit also from strong cultural issues, and use that as a justification for the socialist policies. However, this is silly, because when you line up countries by how economically free they are versus the prosperity there is, has always been, and will always be a strong relationship between economic liberty and prosperity. In fact there is a strong relationship to a lot of things we like (standard of living, life expectancy, low corruption) that comes with more economic freedom.

Yes maybe one country listed as a 67 by the Heritage scale of economic freedom isn’t doing as well as one rated as 57, and maybe one country did better one year even though its numbers dropped a little in that year, but as I said there are a lot of other factors that effect this or that individual nation but overall, every country does better the more economic liberty it has. So when socialists try to tell you about the joys of the mixed economy, point out that actually those benefits are what comes from capitalism not the socialist aspects of the mixed economy.

Now I could get into the fact that only capitalism within a Classically Liberal republic (or as close as we have gotten to it) has been shown to offer real protection of rights and real prosperity, but you’ve seen me do that before…or that cronyism, which is really a form of the socialist mixed economy, creates a lot of problem that capitalism gets blamed for, even though it has nothing to do with capitalism, but those are a bit off topic from my original point.

So back to my first quotes.

“You can’t call Obama a socialist!”
“You can’t call Obama a communist!”
“You can’t call Obama a fascist!”
“You don’t know what words mean!”
“Obama’s a moderate!”

Yes, I do know what those words mean. Now it would take a whole other blog to PROVE that Obama’s attacks on the free market and natural rights qualified him for those appellations, but I trust your common sense to make the prima facie case on your own, because I think it’s fair to say that every action he has taken over the last 5 years has moved us away from the benefits of capitalism and more and more toward the economic nightmares of socialism/communism/fascism. The only real question is, is it intentional or just gross idiocy?

Types of Government

*Yes, the Nazis just like every form of Communism embrace, encourages, and enforces state run atheism.

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Republican’s Slighted Reputation and How They Should Respond

“Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving.”—William Shakespeare, Othello

 

So there is a new report out from the College Republicans on how Republicans can make new inroads with younger voters.  While some of their points are obvious* and some are just a little naïve**, one of the points being most centered on by a lot of the media is:

It is not that young voters are enamored of the Democratic Party. They simply dislike the Republican Party more. In the focus group research conducted in January 2013, the young “winnable” Obama voters were asked to say what words came to mind when they heard “Republican Party.” The responses were brutal: closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned.

[…]

The descriptions of the Democratic Party were more charitable. While some respondents viewed Democrats as “soft” or as supporting big spending, most noted that they were “tolerant,” “diverse,” and “open-minded.”

Now response to this has been two fold.  One is most on the right are looking at this with the attitude of ‘oh wow, 20 somethings who have never done anything think the Republicans are evil, shocker that naïve, inexperienced, overgrown children know shit about shit;’ the response from the other side is ‘gee you’re doing so well, don’t you think this is the time for self reflection.’

Let’s deal with those attacking the GOP and calling for self-reflection. Specifically let’s deal with the point of Republicans are “closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned” and Democrats are “’tolerant,’ ‘diverse,’ and ‘open-minded.’”  Exactly what in that statement, which seems to be the thrust of most of the argument, exactly calls for self-reflection? If I accuse Obama of eating the still beating hearts of children and it causes his poll numbers to drop, should he do some self- reflection on his behavior…no not really.  While there are many other points he should think about, dealing with bullshit accusations requires little to no self-reflection. And let’s be clear those comments are such a worthless pile of bullshit it’s not even funny. But let’s take a moment to look at a couple of them.

Republicans are close minded and Democrats open minded.

Yes, Republicans the party of fiscal conservatives, RINOS, social conservatives, neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, the Tea Party, rational libertarians, and some people I’m not even sure why they’re here is the close minded party.  The party of Chicago School economics, Austrian economics and some bizarre Neo-Keynesian economics, all tearing at each other.  The party that questions its own, attacks its own, has not one single philosophy, and every primary eats its own…yeah we’re the close minded ones.  Meanwhile the Democrats have one philosophy, Keynesianism.  They have one goal… larger government.  They march lock step behind whoever controls the party and there is little to no dissent.

Republicans are racist

Yes, this is clearly what a party of racists and bigots looks like.

Republicans are racist and Democrats tolerant.  Republican, the party of those who marched for civil rights like George Romney, Charleton Heston, and Martin Luther King Jr., versus the Democrats who were turning hoses and dogs on the Civil Rights marches.  The Republicans who voted for Civil Rights when the Democrats didn’t.  The Republicans who have at every turn opposed the welfare state that is destructive to the growth of the middle class for all groups.  But the Democrats who blindly support Planned Parenthood, a racist eugenics group designed to destroy minority groups, are the tolerant ones…even I who am very pro-choice find Planned Parenthood a disgusting organization.

MLKJr RepublicanRepublicans are old-fashioned and Democrats are new and hip and want change.  Republicans go with what is true and what works.  Just because something is new doesn’t make it good.  And also Republicans believe in real change (in the 80’s we were for amnesty but when we saw that didn’t work at all we’ve dropped that idea) whereas Democrats are still peddling the same big government line they always have, they just keep giving it a new coat of paint to make it seem new and exciting, when it’s the same damn failed idea it’s always been.

I could go on, I have time and time again, but let’s face it  Democrats look only only look at people based on what minority they’re in, they don’t see people they see groups.  They don’t seek solutions, they seek the same solution they always have: control. They tolerate difference, open-mindedness or dissension.  They embrace “diversity” only as a tool to divide and conquer. They are the most racist group out there, the most close-minded, the most vicious, the most rigid and the most despicable.

Young people and idiot liberals believe this not because of facts, but because of propaganda and a lack of actually being open-minded enough.  There is no factual basis for these claims against Republicans, thus no amount of soul searching will help us fix it.  You can’t respond to slander through logic—it’s why individuals are allowed to sue for damages, because nothing will ever get you back your good name even if the charges aren’t true.

Now someone out there is probably going to point out idiots like Todd Akin.  Yes, yes that man was stupid beyond the War on Womentelling of it. He also got the nomination because liberals in the state’s open primary put him as the winner of the primary because he was easier to defeat—they weren’t wrong.  But you know what.  I don’t care if you can point out examples of this racist that misogynist or some such homophobe.  Why?  Because the Westboro Baptist Church is a bunch of registered Democrats (if they were Republicans it would be the lead story every day, but as they’re liberal the story gets buried), because liberals kept electing a man who killed a woman in cold blood (Teddy Kennedy) and a rapist (Bill Clinton) and also kept re-electing a member of the KKK (Robert Bryd…also don’t forget the Klan was an invention of the Democratic Party).   Yeah we have some screwed up people, but at least we don’t have idiots too dumb to understand ‘tweeting a picture of my !@#$% might not be the brightest idea’.  If the media were honest, on every point the Democratic Party would come behind every time.

As the quote that began this blog points out, reputations often have nothing to do with reality.  The reputation of the good is often maligned by the vile without a factual basis for the claims.

Democrats are the racist ones

Yeah, the Democrats are just a bastion of tolerance.

Now should this study be completely ignored?  Not entirely.  But when you consider that they tried to get a sense of how 20-somethings and small business owners felt about government regulation, their genius move was to ask 20-somethings if they had dreams of starting a business…yes this is the group I should listen to, to understand how the law and economics should be set up, people in their 20’s who want to be their own boss…while I’m at it why don’t I go ask a quarterback on a high school J.V. team how to manage a pro football team at the Super Bowl, both think they’ll one day be in charge and both know nothing about anything…what I’m most surprised at is that they found people in their 20’s who didn’t dream of being their own boss and starting their own business one day (that’s sad when you think about it). So perhaps the study’s methodology was a bit off.

But flaws of the College Republican poll aside,

the fact does remain that conservatives have a problem with young people. Because young people are ignorant and stupid.  The human brain doesn’t stop developing until 25 or 26 and we were dumb enough to give every 18 year old the vote. Short of doing the intelligent thing and raising the voting age to 30 (which would pretty much guarantee perpetual defeat of leftist ideology)…no really I’m serious, we need at some point to overturn the 26th Amendment…and the 17th while we’re at it…what can we do for now.  Well one of the reasons young people are so unbelievably dumb is the propaganda machine the left has going.  I’ve already gone over ways we can get the free market to help put the kibosh on that font of bile.  The next point would be education, educated people tend to be less liberal…but since homeschooling and charters are up, so I’m not terribly worried there either, if someone learns to think early on, they’re less likely to be indoctrinated in the later years of formal education that mistakes letters after your name for real knowledge.

Honestly, besides actually just growing a spine, continuing the growth of new media, challenging liberal lies, and convincing one person at a time through reason I don’t see much else we can do.  Yes we need to do a better job of getting our message out, but that is something we need to work on at a media and personal level, not at a RNC level.   And certainly we could do a better job at keeping idiots like Akin and Santorum out of the public eye…but again the Democrats have worse than we do, and it’s just the media protecting them that makes this appear to be a problem in our favor. Young voters aren’t some special interest group we should change our tactics for, that’s the liberal way of divide and conquer…either we hold to the truth of our principles or they mean nothing.

*1) Focus on the economic issues that affect young people today: education, the cost of health care, unemployment.

2) Capture the brand attributes of intelligence, hard work, and responsibility.

3) Don’t concede “caring” and “open-minded” to the left.

** 4) Fix the debt and cut spending, but recognize that messages about principle and “big government” are the least effective way to win this battle of ideas with young voters.

5) Go where young voters are and give them something to share.

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Filed under Conservative, Education, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Government is useless, liberal arrogance, People Are Stupid, politics

Capitalism: The ONLY hope of Mankind

Capitalism is the only system that has been shown to raise people out of poverty. It is the only system that benefits the rich, the middle class, and the poor. It is the only system that can bring a nation out of destitution. It is the only system that works long term. It is the only system compatible with human nature. It is the only system of economics that is ethical. It is the only system of economics that is sustainable because only capitalism creates and encourages the innovation and imagination needs to deal with the constant slew of problems that life brings.

You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts.











Let me say again…You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts. That is all.

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Filed under Budget, Capitalism, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Equality, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Natural Rights, philosophy, politics, Tyranny, Unions

Drop the meaningless phrase “Judeo-Christian Values” and other ways for Conservatives to win

Okay so several times I have asked what the phrase “Judeo-Christian Values” means and how it is different from the values of other beliefs and religions.  I haven’t received many good answers.  Yes there are certainly differences between them in the nature of God or in the rituals and the structure of the community…but in terms of values there is little difference…everyone regards the soul as divine in some way* and proper understanding of any of these religions lends one to a virtue based ethics in line with the Classical Realism of Aristotle and Plato.  In fact, when you look at most religions there are some pretty strong parallels in all the virtues—some may be more detailed than others in some areas and less in others, but they seem to focus on the same general virtues.

virtue

Granted there is not a point for point comparison between the virtues that I am showing here, and there are shades of difference and meaning, often caused more by culture and period of time they were written in, but in terms of broad swaths, every religion believes in the same general set of virtues. Also this chart could be much more inclusive of a variety of religions and still hold true…but I think you get the point.

So the term Judeo-Christian values, which supposedly would mean the virtues and ethics this group holds to be good and right and true is just the same as the virtues of every other religion, then it’s not that meaningful a phrase.  Yes there are differences between Judeo-Christian beliefs and other religions, but none of these differences have anything to do with the political context of how the phrase “Judeo-Christian values” is used.

The phrase is meant to draw a contrast between spiritual/religious values and those of the secular, progressive, fascist, fanatical sections of society that actually don’t share either a belief in virtue based ethics or have some very radically different values.

So why is this an important point to bring up?

Well because it makes a pretty clear distinction between those who follow Judeo-Christianity and everyone else.  Including people of lots of different faiths who were not intended to be alienated.  Is this relevant?

Well first off I think it’s a fair statement that the term Judeo-Christian values is primarily used by conservatives.  Second I would assume we want to win.  We lost the last election by 3.9% points.  A 3% shift of the vote would have given Romney the popular and Electoral College vote and about 6 Senate seats (i.e., complete Republican control).  So it then becomes a question, is there 3% of the electorate who is religious and spiritual, not already voting Republican, that is not in the Judeo-Christian bracket?

Let’s look at the polls.

Trends in Religion PewPew does a major poll every year looking at the trends in religion in America.  It’s a sample of 17,000 people so it’s fairly accurate as polls go.

So of the “other” religion we have 6% of the nation and of the “nothing in particular” group we have 13.9% of the population.  Together they make 19.9% of the population.  Common sense alone says that if you have 20% of the country, two-thirds of whom are voting against your party, then maybe if you stopped alienating them with an us vs. them term (or at least picked a new term) you could pick up a few…maybe?

So let’s look at the 19.9% a little more closely.  Okay so we can discount about 1% of the “other” group as they are the “religion of peace” and their fairly fascist beliefs are moderately antithetical to conservative principles and the values/ethics being promoted.  So we’re down to 18.9% up for grabs.

Now the let’s look at how the remaining 5% of the “Other” and the 13.9% of “nothing in particular.”  Now a flaw of this report is that they lump the ““nothing in particular” in with Atheists and Agnostics under the heading of Unaffiliated (but for Trend in Religion by party Pewthe purpose of this let’s just assume the numbers are about the same throughout all the unaffiliated, it doesn’t make a terribly large difference anyway).  From the data we can see that only about 57% of the Other group and 69% of the unaffiliated are voting for Democrats (trust me the math works).  So give or take (you know there are some independents we’re not taking into account) that’s about 12%.  12% that probably share the values of the Christian voters who lean toward voting Republican, but for some reason aren’t voting Republican.  Do you think that term “Judeo-Christianity” might have something, even a small part, to do with it?

Isn’t this just a call for political correctness?  No.  The idiocy of political correctness is saying you have to watch everything you say because it might hurt someone’s feelings.   And it is for all levels of life, from the public and political to the personal.  I am not saying you have to adjust your personal language or beliefs.  This is merely a political reality.  We as conservatives have certain values and policies we know will work and better the lives of everyone.  Politics is as much about emotion and perception as it is about facts and plans, probably more so. Political Correctness has nothing to do with practical ends, which is why it has to be enforced by the left so viciously else reason would drive most people to that end anyway; what I am talking about is something very different than being PC, I’m talking about selling an idea with very real consequences.  A term like “Judeo-Christian values” is loaded from the get go, it creates an us vs. them mentality, at a time when we need more of the people in the “them” category to vote for us.  If we switched to using the term “spiritual value” or “God centered” more often, it would mean the exact same thing in terms of everything relevant to politics and ethics, and it wouldn’t emotionally alienate those we are trying to win over.  You can still use “Judeo-Christian” if you really feel strongly about it, but do it knowing you’re hurting the chance to actually see your goals accomplished.

Is this stupid?  Yeah.  It’s silly and ridiculous to think we should have to be this nitpicky about our language and terms to win people to our side.  But, the last time I checked we already had reason, logic, facts, truth, plans, and vision on our side.  Didn’t notice that doing us any good.  Oh, wait this is politics. Stupid thing like word choice do matter.  Is it stupid?  Yeah, but it’s something you have to do.

New Age beliefsBut should we end our discussion of this group of “nothing in particular” with just this term?  Well that might work towards making in-roads with maybe 1% of those 12%, in-roads that would allow the rest of our arguments to make a difference, and that 1% we get to follow reason would be a third of the way we need to go, but it’s still not enough.

Let’s take a look at some of the actual beliefs of this group.  Namely that 25% of them believe in reincarnation (If you assume that all the atheists and agnostics do not believe in reincarnation then it’s actually about 35% of the “nothing in particular” group…or about 4% of the general public.)  Further while there is nothing in this year’s report, previous year’s reports showed that a belief in reincarnation was more popular with women, minorities, the young, Democrats, liberals, moderates, independents, and Christians who attend church less often (i.e., the people we need to win over).

So it is safe to assume that most of those in that 4% are not voting Republican.

But they should.

A belief in reincarnation by its very nature lends to long term thinking—the policies I put in place today won’t just affect my children and grandchildren, they’ll affect me over and over and over again.  Thus anyone who believes in reincarnation has to believe in plans that aren’t as concerned with momentary problems, but with building long term systems that self-perpetuate and offer prosperity to the most people for the longest time with most chance of growth…that would be the capitalism and republicanism officered by real conservative belief.  This is an argument I’ve made before, extensively in Republicans & Reincarnation, and one that we should all make to anyone who holds this article of faith in reincarnation.  If you actually approach them on their own terms, and showed that the logical consequence of their beliefs is conservatism, we could get another 1% of that group…which means of the 49% left we only have to convince another 1% and given the abysmal failure of a second Obama term, that should be easy.

You don’t have to agree with people on faith. But you’re not going to convince them on politics if your stance is mine is the only religion worth following by using terms like “Judeo-Christian value.”  Say “spiritual values” instead, it means the same thing, it still separates you from the secular liberal base you are trying to show a contrast with, and it may pick up a few votes. And if you’re arguing with someone who doesn’t agree with your religion or your politics, you’ll never convince them to give up a faith because of reason, it just doesn’t work (even if you do show contradictions and put them on the path to agreeing with you spiritually, it will initially only dig in their heels more on every other topic against you)…but if you approach them on their terms spiritually and show them how their beliefs do dictate a conservative point of view, then you at least get something.

*The only two exceptions to this are followers of the religion of peace (Sufis excluded) and atheists.

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Filed under A Course in Miracles, Aristotle, Atheism, Bhagavad Gita, Capitalism, Conservative, Economics, Education, Evils of Liberalism, Faith, Free Will, God, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, New Age, philosophy, politics, Problems with the GOP, Religion, Spirituality, virtue

In Defense of Intellectual Property Rights

So, no matter how annoying RINO’s and the psycho-Santorum social conservative wing is within the GOP, the fact is that our problems are nothing compared to how the libertarians are going out of their goddamn minds. The argument between libertarians and conservatives used to be over the need for social constraints—libertarians believed we didn’t need any and conservatives believed those needs could be handled mostly by church, private charity, community organizations, and local government (with maybe just a touch of state government in special circumstances)*—but not anymore. Now libertarians are becoming a big tent party that has no ideological center, in addition to old school libertarians, the anti-war left, drug addicts, and anarchists seem to all be flocking to the name libertarian under a truly perverse idea of liberty.

For instance I’m now seeing an attack on intellectual property. This seems to come from the a response to the poorly conceived SOPA and PIPA laws, in addition to the continual and idiotic extension of copyright laws (driven a great deal by Disney Corp.)…but to say because there is bad copyright and patent laws we should get rid of the concept of intellectual property is about as logical and ethical as saying that because you can find some innocent people who were convicted of murder then we should simply stop making murder a crime.

First let’s go over the bizarre argument from the libertarian organization Learn Liberty**

So the argument is that intellectual property isn’t like private property.

Well before we get into this argument let’s look at why you have private property rights in the first place.

To do this we go back to John Locke and the Theory of Natural Rights. The theory of natural rights is always best understood in the context of living on a deserted island. So let’s say, like Robinson Crusoe, you get stranded on a deserted island for 10 years. You build a house, you farm the land, you pick fruit. Everything is yours. Why? Because according to the theory of natural rights you have mixed your labor, something that is most certainly yours, with something that no one had any claim to beforehand (the land, the fruit, the materials you used to build your house). Now let’s say someone else gets stranded on the same island. Do they have to bow down to you because you own the entire island? No. You only have right to that which you worked for. You have a right to your house, the land you farmed, and any fruit you picked up yourself, but the new guy has the right to start farming on any land you haven’t, to build a house with any materials you haven’t used, and to pick up any fruit you didn’t. On the deserted island you only have a right to what you worked for and you can consume it yourself or give it to anyone you wish.
Now moving to actual civilization where all the land is owned by someone and you can’t just mix your labor and property that hasn’t been claimed by because pretty much everything has been claims (anyone (and there are actually laws like prescriptive easements and homesteading), Locke and the theory of natural rights points out, that you are compensated either in money or by barter for your labor. And for the sake of ease, I will simply refer to money as property as well. So even though you are no longer mixing your labor with something no one owns, you are being compensated for your labor at a rate that you agree to. You have a right to all the property that is a result of your labor. Why? Because your labor is an extension of you, thus your property is an extension of you. Which is why Locke’s three basic natural rights were Life, Liberty and Property (which Jefferson later tied to the point of life, Happiness).***

Let me say that again: You have a right to all the property that is a result of your labor because your labor is an extension of you, making all the property you have earned an extension of you and your person.

But we don’t live in the state of nature, we live in a society, under a social contract. And under the basic theories of Locke we have given up a portion of our rights to maintain the rest (because all it takes is one jerk to turn the state of nature from paradise into a living hell, and for all of its potential, society certainly has more than one jerk in its midst). One of the rights we give a little on is the right to property—we agree that a government must be funded with taxes, which are an imposition on our right to property, but better to give a little to protect the rest than to have none at all. I would argue anything over 10% of your income is tyranny and anyone who wants to take more than that should meet the end of Julius Caesar, Caligula, Richard III, Charles I, and the redcoats armies, but that’s another debate for another time—we all agree that we give up a little of our right to property under the social contract, to maintain the bulk of our property. This will be important later so keep this in mind.

Now how is intellectual property different from normal private property? Now if you were to buy the argument of the libertarian/anarchist video above they’re not the same at all. The argument seems to be that you are entitled to the property rights that come from your labor but not from your mind. This strikes me as odd because, according to Theory of Natural Rights, property is yours because it has become an extension of you through your labor. I find it hard to believe that the labor of my physical body can make something an extension of me, but the inspiration of my soul and the creativity of my mind and the works thereof are somehow not mine. I have to say that an individual is much more their soul and their mind than they are their body. So why if the work of their body makes something theirs, but the work of their mind isn’t theirs. From the Constitution, to Adam Smith, to arguments of Friedman and Hayek, to the speeches of Atlas Shrugged, well articulated philosophy and understanding of history and human nature to poorly worded intrinsic understanding, people have understood that if you have the right to the results of your body you certainly have a right to the results of your mind. The work of your mind is even more you than the work of your body. And if you have the right to creations from your body you certainly have rights to creations from your mind. In fact before seeing this video, I knew of only one work in history that valued the works of the mind as lower in value than the works of the body: Das Kapital by Karl Marx. Remind me where that philosophic line leads to. To say you don’t have the rights to the works of your mind is actually worse than anarchy; it is among the most vicious foundations of socialism and collectivism. (This is also part of the liberal ideal that those that work physically are equal or greater than those that work with the mind).

Now the speaker in this video claims that intellectual property rights are intellectually incoherent. But only if you use his 3 part system. Absolute rights, rights created by the government, or no rights at all. What he seems to ignore is what we really have: absolute rights tempered by the needs of the social contract. The social contract does not create rights, it infringes on them here or there so that the bulk of those rights may be saved from the chaos of anarchy. Now taking the traditional view of natural rights, the first view, that intellectual property rights would continue on in perpetuity would actually be correct in the state of nature. In the state of nature your intellectual property rights would be eternal and you could will them to any inheritor you wished or to the public. However because of the social contract, something that is not addressed at all in this video, and actually quite conveniently ignored, we understand and enter into a state where there are certain limitations placed on intellectual property through copyright, trademark, and patent law.

The primary restriction on these rights is time. Copyrights, patents expire after time? Now we know the reason why, so people can build off of other ideas, stand on the shoulders of giants, and further society. No one denies that society is made better by building ideas on each other. But why should intellectual property fade where physical property doesn’t? The answer is quite simple, physical property does fade. Houses decay, land that is not worked produces nothing, business mismanaged fails, and all other forms of physical property decay. If a multi-billionaire leaves their entire fortune to their children, that fortune will not last forever. If the children are idiots they will quickly squander even the most vast fortune. Fortunes are only maintained if the next generation continues to work and continues to produce. All physical items will decay if they are not kept up, and up keep costs money which means either money for up keep will have to be earned, the items will have to be sold, or they will just decay. Physical property decays. Limits are placed on intellectual property not because they are special and should be treated differently from other property rights but so they are actually treated like physical property rights. The parchment Homer wrote the Iliad on has long turned to dust, but the idea still shines as brightly as ever, and thus to make both the physical and intellectual property rights equivalent the intellectual property rights must be given a end date. We can debate what that should be (I like life of the artist + 25 years or 75 years after creation, whichever is longer, for copyright, and 20 years for patents…but that is negotiable). So the argument that intellectual property rights are contradictory is simply intellectually dishonest.

Now the second claim that this video makes against property rights is that to enforce intellectual property rights “You have to interfere with people’s other property rights in real physical objects and to stop them from using those objects as they wish to.” This is just patently false and either a bald face lie or the speaker in the video ain’t bright. If I want to buy a computer, hack into Windows and rewrite as much code as I want I can do that. And nothing is going to happen to me. I have the right to buy anything I want, make modifications or changes to my property. And no one is going to stop me and no one is going to care…as long as I keep my property in my house. The kind of enforcement that he is talking about here is when you take something that belonged to someone else and either share it or try to resell your new product. In either case you’re offering competition to the original creator. Your cutting into the profits they worked for and are not enjoying any of the benefits of. In a lot of cases people are more than happy to have their patents used by others, so long as they get paid. Tesla was more than happy that Marconi got credit for inventing the radio, which Tesla invented, because Marconi had to pay him on 13 patents. Youtube and fanfic websites are allowed to operate and have so much copy-written material on them because it’s free advertising. It’s only when you start cutting into the profit share or start making money that patent and copyright holders start objecting. So it’s not that your property rights are violated, its that your hurting their property rights and they get kind of testy about that. Who’d of thought?

Then of course he makes the claim that you can still have creativity and invention without patents and copyrights. Let’s ignore the fact that Venice and Florence offered a version of patents and copyright in the 1400’s (remind me which cities were the center of the Renaissance in the 1400 and 1500’s) or that England and France have the origins of copyright and patent laws since the 1500’s (again centers of the later Renaissance and Industrial Revolution)…remind me again why the Spanish Empire kind of shriveled up and died intellectually and economically without any kind of those laws (might also have something to do with their love of the gold standard, but again another discussion for another time).

But the inherent claim is that free exchange of ideas leads to better creativity and innovation. By that argument fanfic site should have the highest quality literature in the world and Unix and Linux should be the most effective and user friendly systems on earth. Oh wait. The vast, vast, of fan fiction just sucks and Linux, while praised as a more stable system, is absolutely worthless to anyone who isn’t a computer geek. Also by that argument Open Office should be a better product than Microsoft Office. Pardon me while I laugh hysterically. Strangely enough you get what you pay for, and you can’t pay people for ideas when there isn’t protection for intellectual copyright.

Oh but wait they have a rebuttal that shows an artist can make money even without intellectual property rights.

Their example, Verdi. Since Verdi didn’t have intellectual property rights to fall back on, but still made enough to live off of, this shows you don’t need intellectual property rights. This again conveniently ignores little things, like the fact that Verdi was commissioned (i.e. he got paid upfront) to write several of his operas, and that his operas were quite famous in countries with intellectual property rights which he could fall back on if he had to. It also ignores that before intellectual property rights art existed only when the artist was paid by a patron, and that almost all scientific advancement for most of the dark ages was only in military science, because people were actually paid for that. It also ignores the problem for writers. A musician like Verdi could make money as a performance artist. A writer can’t. If there are no intellectual property rights, then when a writer publishes a book a publisher could theoretically just take the book and reprint it without paying the author and the author would have no recourse (see the history of Google Books)…it should come as no shock that as the patronage system died out the only place you found a lot of writers is in nations that had copyright laws.

One final point. If this video is supposed to be from a libertarian group then they should believe in liberty and capitalism (let’s ignore they already have given up on capitalism as capitalism cannot possibly operate without intellectual property rights). And as such they must believe in the sacrosanct nature of contract law (the current administration may not believe it’s sacrosanct, or even vaguely relevant, but any intelligent human understands that a contract is a contract is a contract). As such, many contracts legally include nondisclosure agreements. Without intellectual property rights I can almost guarantee you that every book, every movie, every album will come with a 20 page boiler plate contract that states ‘by buying this product you agree to not share…blah, blah, blah” having basically the same effect as copyright but taking up much more costs in court time as companies will have to exponentially increase prosecutions for contract violation and the fact that there will not be a standard (like copyright law is) so each contract will be slightly different and the merits of each judged individually. Yes, because I want a system that creates more lawsuits, I’m sure that will be wonderful for the economy.

Yes SOPA and PIPA and Disney’s efforts to keep Steamboat Willie under copyright are bad laws. The system needs correction: we need to reduce the length of time for copyright, to make patents more logical, to stop giving special considerations to fields that don’t deserve it and stop regulating the patents in certain fields out of existence. And Tort reform, we need tort reform to get the companies to stop suing everyone for even the slightest unintended infraction of copyright or patent law. But just because the system needs work and we need legal reform is not a reason to just do away with the natural rights of property to the creations of your mind and soul. The argument of these videos are that because the system is broken we should just do away with everything—throw the baby, the crib, and that entire nursery out with the bath water.

Intellectual property is the heart and soul of capitalism and without capitalism there is no liberty. So Learn Liberty should learn what liberty is based on, things like intellectual property rights.

*Yes I will fully admit that the social conservative wing does not understand this part and that government should not be used to implement these social constraints.
**Whom I usually like, but in this case are out of their gourd.
***Now one last caveat that was more applicable in Locke’s time than in ours. Locke stated that there is a limit to how much you could own, that limit being you only had the right to own what you could use. For instance, let’s say a person could only farm 30 acres, then they had a right to only 30 acres unless they were willing to hire people to help them farm anything above that 30. This is a distinction that really only relevant in Locke’s time because with the advent of capitalism very little isn’t used. That land you own but don’t do anything with isn’t wasted, it’s collateral for future projects. That money sitting in the bank isn’t wasted, it is being used by the bank to make loans. With the advent of capitalism and investment nothing really is lies fallow, resources may not be used wisely but next to nothing is deliberately wasted. Yes I guess there could be a case of someone buying up food just to let it rot, but first I don’t think you’ll find many people that insane who have the capital to do that (at least outside of our government), and second any law you could make to prevent people from not wasting resources would be so impossible to justly enforce that it would likely cause more harm than the evil it wished to stop.

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Filed under Art, Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, People Are Stupid, politics

10 Suggestions to Improve Healthcare After Obamacare is Killed

Rep. Paul Ryan budget proposal

The Path to Prosperity is still the first step we need to take to getting back to sanity. It may not have everything conservatives and libertarians want, but it is the first real step in right direction in a long time.

So this week started out with Paul Ryan stating that he is still planning on the complete repeal of Obamacare. And from what he said before his keynote speech at CPAC…I’m laying even odds that he starts a chorus of “Do You Hear the People Sing” and leads a march to build a barricade around the White House.

But it’s good to know that the crusade to end what is perhaps the worst bill in memory (it’s hard to say it’s the worst bill of all time when you have to compare it to the terrible socialist bills of FDR and LBJ’s presidencies)…still this bill is pretty close to being the straw that broke the camel’s back for this country and it must go before we can fix all the other monstrosities.

But liberals, being the whiny brainless sort that they are will whine “but medical costs are too high. But people have a right to insurance. But people have a right to  healthcare!”
Ignoring the simple fact that healthcare isn’t a right by any stretch of the imagination and that if you need healthcare, get a job and earn it, let’s deal with their claim that medical costs are too high.

I would agree medical costs are too high. But, like a bad doctor, liberals want to treat the symptom not the disease. Healthcare costs too much, throw money at it; that should cut the costs.

Conservatives however, like to determine the causes of high costs, which is the disease and treat that. So what are the causes of high costs (hint, it’s not the private sector)?

(Everything that will follow will assume that Obamacare has been justly killed because there is nothing in the bill that should be saved).

So what are the three main costs to medical care: Insurance, doctor’s/hospital bills, and drug costs?

So how do we cut insurance costs?

Suggestion #1
Tort Reform. Tort Reform. Tort Reform.
Every state that has instituted tort reform has seen medical costs drop, the number of doctors increase, the number of unnecessary procedures drop like a rock and even the number of deaths drop. If the federal government and every state were to institute real and sweeping tort reform you would see every single thing you buy drop in price, but you would probably see the biggest increase in the quality of medicine.

Suggestion #2

We allow insurance companies to cross state lines. Right now all insurance companies are banned from selling insurance across state lines. Look at any insurance card you have. Farmer’s Insurance of California. Blue Cross of Arizona. There may be a national corporation, but it owns 50 separate corporations in 50 different states. That’s a lot of overhead. It also stifles competition. A smaller company can’t expand beyond its own state because it can’t afford to set up a whole infrastructure to have a multi-state operation. This limits competition, and as anyone knows the less competition the higher the prices. If we remove the federal block against insurance crossing state lines you will see drops in every form of insurance you have: medical, car, house.

Just those two things would easily drop the cost of health insurance to probably 90% of its pre-Obamacare costs, perhaps more.

But why stop there? Doctor’s bills themselves also contribute to a large portion of the costs. So what can we do there?

Well a lot of the initial costs come from the fact that when doctors start their career they are laden with college and med school debt. Obscene levels of debt. So let’s fix that.

Suggestion #3
The reason why college costs are so high is because the federal government subsidizes them at outrageous prices. Subsidies always increase costs. Always! So cut all tuition subsidies and grants. Within a year you will see college costs drop. Now this won’t have an immediate effect as the doctors without massive debt will be years away from entering the market, but long term this will not only solve part of our medical problem but our massive college debt problem.

But part of the reason why doctors charge so much is because they know that Medicare and Medicaid aren’t going to pay them their full billing price, so to stay in business this has a threefold fix.

Suggestion #4
Adopt the Ryan Plan which will allow more competition in Medicare and Medicaid, which will both ensure doctors get better payment AND lower the cost to the taxpayer for these costs.

Suggestion #5
In a second step we need to move as much of Medicare and Medicaid costs to the states as possible. While the private sector does better when done on large scale, government and bureaucracy work in the exact opposite manner. The closer any government program is to the people the more efficient and the lower the cost. Lower costs means that Medicaid and Medicare will be able to get closer to pay 100% of doctors’ asking prices for their services (not to mention more doctors taking Medicare and Medicaid patients) which means they will be able to drop their prices for the rest of us and still make a tidy profit for their practice.

Suggestion #6
Increase the penalties for Medicaid and Medicare fraud. We’re talking about nearly $500 Billion in fraud every year. $500,000,000,000.00! I’ll let that number wash over you for a second. That’s one of the main reasons why Medicaid and Medicare can’t afford to pay full price to doctors. Now while I generally don’t believe the government should criminalize more things or come up with even stronger punishments, fraud is something even the most libertarian government must prosecute and fraud against the government doubly so. Penalties and enforcement need to be much stronger. If there’s $500 Billion in fraud it means the risk is much, much lower than the reward. Much lower. If we have to get a little Draconian, so be it, we need to make it very clear that the risk is now worth the reward.

Now the cost of drugs is also an issue. So how do we lower the costs of drugs (and liberals throwing money all willy-nilly at research never works).

However there are things we can do.

Suggestion #7
Allow drug patents to start when the FDA approves the drug. Right now a drug patent (20 years) begins when the drug is patented. So when a drug takes 10-15 years to get FDA approval. This means that the company only has 5-10 years to recoup all of the cost of not only research for that drug, but of all the other drugs that failed. So they have to recoup all of their investment for all R&D in only 5 years. And you wonder why the cost is so high. If we started the 20 year clock when the FDA grants approval they would have more time to recoup costs and thus would not need to charge as much.

Suggestion #8
Reform the FDA. Right now the FDA prevents human testing of experimental drugs on willing patients with terminal diseases….because the drug might kill them. You know if I have a terminal disease the last thing I care about is if a drug will kill me, because I know for a fact the disease will. A lot of medical costs are in cancer treatment; to allow willing patients to try experimental drugs could not only rapidly speed up research (thus cutting costs to a fraction of their current levels) but actually find some cures and real treatments to one of the biggest costs in the medical industry.

And then there are some other things we could do that could help medical care. Nanny’s in the government like to talk to us a lot about eating healthier which is odd since government programs are designed to make sure we don’t eat healthier.

Suggestion #9
End all government subsidies, tariffs, and controls for agriculture. We pay people to grow tobacco, we pay them to grow sugar, we pay them to leave ground fallow. We even pay people to grow corn only to be turned into fuel (ironically it takes over a gallon of fuel to produce a gallon of corn ethanol…that’s efficient.) When you subsidize something you get more of it. And you wonder why it’s hard to get healthy food. Yes, ending subsidies and tariffs on sugar would initially drop the price of sugar, but it would also result in less being produced which would again raise the price. It would also leave more ground for producing the fruits and vegetables we’re not getting right now because fresh food is so overpriced.

Suggestion # 10
And while we’re at it, if we want people to eat healthier maybe we could stop regulations on food. Stop sending SWAT teams at raw milk distributors, stop fining people for having their own gardens of fresh food, stop preventing the Amish from taking fresh food across state lines. You know little things like that.

Special Idea #11 Fluoridation
Now I usually hate talking about fluoridation. Why? Because so many wacko conspiracy theorist nuts think it’s some grand government conspiracy to control people. It’s not. It was, as with most government actions, a well meaning but idiotic plan. Let’s put fluoride in the water to strengthen their teeth (we can’t trust people with their own hygiene). Yeah let’s put a substance in the water that causes lower IQ’s, higher cancer rates and drastically lowers the thyroid gland (which might have something to do with obesity). What could possibly go wrong? You know between the expansion of the dental industry, better access to toothpaste, and personal responsibility I think our teeth are fine. Let’s stop fluoridating water.

Special Idea #12 

Walmart and other such stores apparently want to get into the healthcare business.  I say let them.  They want to open small clinics.  Honestly what they’re proposing will basically act as a triage center.  They will tell all the people with just a cough to just get Sudafed, treat the small wounds, and thus clean up the real traffic at urgent care and the ER.  This will almost certainly cut down costs from needless tests.

Notice something about this. With the exception of #6, involving the prosecution of criminals (a proper function of government), each and every one of these calls for less government not more. Why? Because government and regulation are what is causing so many problems.

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Filed under Budget, Capitalism, Congress, Conservative, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Health Care, Long Term Thinking, Obama, Paul Ryan, politics

The Absolute Need for Tort Reform

SCOTUSI’m planning on looking at various problems liberals whine and complain about needing more government and show how each and everyone one of those problems is caused in multiple ways by more government.  And I already know that in in most of the cases it’s going to come back to Tort Reform being needed, so I figured I should put together some evidence for it.

Tort Reform?  Tort law is the law that governs civil lawsuits.  Right now the Democratic Party (and quite a few RINOs) as a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Bar Association (read unethical scum and ambulance chasers) are against tort reform (probably because it would be good for the nation).

However reforms like limiting the amounts you can receive for pain and suffering, limiting lawsuits to negligence or the but-for test (where you can sue unless you can prove but for the plaintiff’s actions the defendant would be fine), creating a loser pays system (where the loser has to pay the winner’s legal fees), penalties for ambulance chasers who bring in one frivolous lawsuit after another, and more power for judges to throw out frivolous cases.  Simple things like that.

This may all sound silly, or even pointless.  But take a look at the warning labels on items when you buy them.  An iron that says “Do not use while wearing clothes.”  A hair dryer that says “Do not use in tub.”  A string of Christmas lights that say “For indoor and outdoor use only” (I’m not making that one up…but I really don’t want to know what the use they’re warning you against is). Or “Warning Coffee is Hot” really? The coffee’s hot?  No kidding.  You have to be a f!@#ing idiot to not know that.  Almost all of these are because stupid people used these items in an inappropriate way…and then they sued.  And when the company they sued loses the costs hurt you either by raised prices or fewer employees being hired.  Even when the company doesn’t win, they’ve still lost because of legal fees.  And you still bear the burden of the cost.  All because stupid people also happen to be litigious people (also because lawyers tend to be somewhere on the evolutionary chain below pond scum).

Every state that has engaged in tort reform has seen lower costs, more employment, fewer court costs and more efficient courts, a stimulated economy and more tax revenue. They’ve even seen fewer deaths because doctors aren’t afraid anymore to actually practice medicine.

Tort reform is primarily a state by state issue, and you should see where your state is in terms of tort laws and if you have time try and get  tort reform in your state.  However there are also a few federal issues (as there are federal civil cases) and thus we need some federal reform as well.

But don’t believe me.  Here is a body of op-eds, reports, studies and opinions by people who have done far more research than I.  It all comes to the same conclusion, we need tort reform.

Torture By Tort
The Ninth Circuit Frosts the Lawyers in a Juvenile Cereal Lawsuit
Do’s and Don’ts of Tort Reform
 Big Tort Means Big Problems for US Health Care
Tort Reform in the States 
Tort reform, the right way
Tort Reform in the States: Protecting Consumers and Enhancing Economic Growth
 Does Tort Reform Reduce Health Care Costs?
Tort Reform Saves Lives
 U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2010 Report
Tort Reform Can Lower Costs Without Harming Health Care. So Why Isn’t It in Obama’s Plan?
Subway’s “Footlong” Accused of Coming Up Short

Now in doing this research I found some typical complaints from liberals. I present these stupid arguments with my responses.

1. Most cases aren’t civil lawsuits so this isn’t a problem.

That’s because most companies will settle because they know juries are unreliable and composed of 12 people too dumb to get out of jury duty.  Thus most things that come under the law governed by tort law are handled out of court.

2. Evil corporations want tort reform.

Any time the whole argument is against corporations, you know it’s a BS argument.  Corporations can be good or bad depending on their behavior.  Corporations will actually behave better when only legitimate lawsuits are brought against them and we don’t knee jerk dismiss every lawsuit as the work of an ambulance chaser.

3. Tort reform limits people from receiving their right to a jury trial.  Juries are one of the most basic defenses of a democracy.

First we live in a republic, a system designed on the premise that people are fickle and can be stupid.  And for anyone who wants to plead the intelligence of juries I have two letters for you: OJ.  Juries are a last ditch effort that no one wants, it’s why so many criminal cases are plead out, and so many civil suits dealt with out of court.  Juries are at best unpredictable and at worst consistently illogical and dumb.  They’re trying to make a pointless emotional argument that has nothing to do with facts.

4.  Tort reform will limit the amount that people have a right to when they are harmed by people and corporations.

Um…the only thing I know we want to limit is “pain and suffering” costs.  If you’re a professional athlete and have your body injured by a corporation you could still sue them for loss of income for millions.  But that doesn’t often happen.  It’s pain and suffering judgments that create the most in awards and it’s these that are often the most ridiculous.

5. Injured people will not be able to file suit if we have tort reform.

Actually since there will be fewer frivolous lawsuits from ambulance chasers throwing everything against a wall to see what sticks, people with real cases (but who don’t have sleazy lawyers who know how to work the field) will have a better chance of getting their case heard.

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Filed under Capitalism, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Long Term Thinking, politics

A Compromise We Should Offer Liberals If We Want To Win

Did we forget we're conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

A couple of years ago I did a series on laws the GOP should pass and in that I did a series of compromises I suggested we conservatives should suggest some laws that give liberals what they say they want but in such a way that we also get something in return and even though we’re giving them what they want we’re doing it in a way that does not violate our values (for instance make marriage a religious issue that government has nothing to do with, government only offers civil unions—they get the equality under law they want, we get the religious nature of marriage untouched by government).

 

And in this vein I have come up with the ultimate compromise, one that will in the end mean the decimation of Democratic and progressive power, but one that will be just too good an offer for the stupid liberals to turn down.

 

Lately there has been a call among the libs, idiots that they are, to overturn the 22nd Amendment…now to save you the time (because I’ll be honest after 19 they all get a little mixed up for me too) the 22nd is the one that limits any person from serving more than 2 terms (technically 10 years total) in the office of the president.  Why?  Because the liberals are so enamored of their divine savior that they think that His Holiness the transcendent Obama should just be allowed to serve 3 or 4 or 10 terms.  He is just that good.  (Yeah because that doesn’t sound like a dictator at all.)

 

And I say we give it to them.  Pass an amendment that overturns the 22nd Amendment.

 

What!  Do I want this nation to be destroyed?  Do I want us to have a GDP lower than a hunter-gatherer tribe lost in the Gobi?  Am I looking to spark a 2nd Dark Ages?

 

No. Hear me out.

 

For this, in the same Amendment (because this has to be an all or nothing thing) we overturn the 26th (the idiotic one that says unspeakably stupid and immature 18 year olds can vote).   And not only do we overturn it we replace it with the new bar that no one younger than 30 can vote* for a federal office (House, Senate, Electoral College)** AND that all states must verify their electoral votes by making voters show valid ID.

 

Okay so?  Why would that make allowing Obama have a chance at a third term acceptable?

 

Gosh...how can I best kill my base and help Romney's?

Because it will mean the end of the liberal movement.  It should come as no shock that the young, the immature, and the stupid from lack of experience tend to be liberal.  Also people who have not built up any property (again mostly the young) tend to liberal—yes I know it’s a shocker that the correct (read, conservative) governments, for whom one of the central functions is protection of property rights, isn’t popular with the people who haven’t been alive long enough to earn much. Also strangely the age group that finds the Daily Show to be their primary source of information tends to be the most liberal.

 

Okay, so we know that young people are dumb, big deal.  So what?

 

Well the benefits of Voter ID alone are almost too good to pass up. We all know that liberals have stolen an obscene number of elections through illegal voting.

 

I’ll tell you so what.  If voters under 30 had been barred from voting Romney would have won by nearly 70 Electoral College votes. Obama would have only won California by about 9 points (I could pull up the charts with all the math, but I don’t want to make your eyes bleed)…that’s right California would be at just the edge of swing state territory.  Swing states would become solid red and states that haven’t seen a Republican in ages would suddenly be battleground territory.  (And that’s before you take out all the illegals voting through Voter ID…if you had those 2 things it’s conceivable that California could once again be the state that gave us Reagan).

 

Almost every single thing that makes a person more inclined to be fiscally conservative (experience, marriage, children, income, wealth, employment, spirituality) is tied to age.  And think about it when the voting age was 21 in the colonial era, it wasn’t because people were so much more mature than by nature it was because the life expectancy was around 45.  You were already living on your own by the age of 19, still two years before you could vote.

 

By doing this conservatives gain an easy majority in the Senate and likely a consistent veto-proof majority in the House.

 

Now social issues will probably continue to lean a little left, but that’s just the evolution of society.

 

Now you may say, okay that will work for now, but once those 20 somethings get older they’ll be liberal with a vengeance in their 30’s.  Not so, because after a conservative Congress and conservative president institute real pro-growth policies, these otherwise idiotic young people will actually have something to work for and earn in their 20’s, will have families to care for, will have experience to guide them, and statistically they will vote for conservative economic policy.

 

Or you may say, the Democrats will never fall for it.

 

To which I have to say, you’re forgetting these are the idiots who fell for Obama’s shtick, deep thinkers they are not. If you offer them the chance to re-elect their God-king one more time they’d do things far worse than destroy their own party.  They’re deluded to think that he’ll get re-elected every time no matter what.  Yet the numbers show that’s not the case, but these idiots don’t understand numbers very much (as shown by their economic policies).

 

Now some of you still probably believe they’re not dumb enough to fall for this.  That they’ll see through the ruse and just vote for Obama-lite in 2016 and 2020.  Let me just point out that some of his idiot followers are attributing a cure for AIDS to the man, trust me they’re well beyond the point of being dumb enough. They really think this man is their lord and savior.  They’re well beyond dumb enough.  Well, well beyond.

 

They’ll fall for it.  And they’ll destroy their party in doing so.  So who’s with me on this?

 

 

*I’m more than willing to include an exception for active duty members of the military and veterans under 30.

**If states want to let the immature vote in state and local elections that’s their stupid choice.

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Filed under Capitalism, character, Congress, Conservative, Constitution, Evils of Liberalism, Free Will, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Individualism, Laws the GOP should pass, Long Term Thinking, Obama, Obama Ceasar, People Are Stupid