Socialism

November 17, 2017

‘Free’ cars from Bernie

BernieMy article as originally published in American Thinker:

While the Hillary campaign is headed toward the ditch, more and more vehicles are appearing on the roads and in parking lots displaying “Bernie 2016” or “Feel the Bern” bumper stickers.  By showing support for a socialist/Marxist, it’s as if the owners of these cars are in essence exclaiming: “I have a right to your stuff!”  It’s like looking at tiny billboards that flash the message: “I have zero respect for your liberty and property rights.”

So why, pray tell, should we in turn show respect for their property?  Couldn’t the tables easily be turned on these Bernie supporters by instead reading the bumper stickers to mean “free car for the taking” or “community car”?

Now, I’m not suggesting people take arms and demand Bernie supporters give up their autos at gunpoint.  That’s something only our benevolent government can pull off unscathed.  But these Bernie stickers could make for some great conversation-starters.  So if you encounter a car sporting one of these anti-American stickers and you (or someone you know) don’t own a car or you just spot one that you really, really, really like (notice many are on much nicer cars than one would normally expect to see on lefty-mobiles) because it’s way cooler than the one you own, why not politely ask the “privileged” owner to redistribute it to you in the name of fairness and equality (of outcome)?

Now, if a Bernie fan suddenly comes down with a case of “socialism for thee, but not for me” syndrome and flat-out refuses to give you ____ (insert preferred gender identity here) car, before you give up and call ____ a spoiled hypocrite, at the very least request that ____ give you a “free” ride somewhere.  And ask ____ to stop and throw in a “free” cup of coffee or perhaps even a “free” lunch while _____ is at it.  We could call it the “Bernie Car-Share Program” or simply “The People’s Cars.”

While Uber perfectly exemplifies the superiority of the capitalist system and the redundancy of most government regulation (think unnecessary, high-paying cushy jobs for bureaucrats and rampant cronyism), why call up an Uber driver and waste your own resources when you can hitch a ride with an idealistic Bernie driver – for “free”?

The support of an open socialist (read: honest Democrat) by so many young hipsters highlights the dismal failure of our education system, including esteemed institutions of higher learning (and no, not because college isn’t “free”).  Socialism in all its forms (Marxism, Communism, Nazism, et al.) has always failed, yet the left continues to prop it up like the corpse in Weekend at Bernie’s.  And yes, Bernie Sanders is confused, as even Scandinavian nations are not good examples of socialism “working.”

Like him or not, Trump has awakened a pro-America sleeping giant, while on the other hand, Sanders has awakened sleeping tyrants.  The sad irony is that if Bernie supporters were to get what they wish for and he is elected president, they and the rest of us will in fact “Feel the Bern” and end up with a nasty (and possibly incurable) case of VD (Venezuela Disease).

 

 


Thinking about Obamacare while in Cabo

My article as originally published in American Thinker:

My family and I recently returned from a much-needed vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We had a blast, but unfortunately, I was unable to completely escape being reminded of the disaster known as ObamaCare, despite being many hundreds of miles south of the U.S. border.

Feeding a family of four while on vacation can be a costly endeavor. My wife and I usually enroll in an all-inclusive meal plan because once the fixed price is paid, we can mostly order what we like without having to worry about keeping track of every minute expenditure. It may not be very cost effective, but it does help expedite the process of relaxation and ensure there are no multi-thousand-peso surprises at the end of the trip.  But since it was the first time we had brought our kids to Cabo, we wanted them to experience a few of the off-resort restaurants that the city had to offer. Therefore, it made no economic sense for four people to be on a meal plan during the days when the most expensive meal of the day would be enjoyed elsewhere.

We settled for four days on the all-inclusive plan and three days off of it. The price for adults was $105 USD and for children it was $55 USD. But the cut-off age for kids was thirteen which meant our son was priced as a child and our daughter (who doesn’t eat very much) as an adult. We did inquire as to why teens cost as much as adults, after all, our daughter wouldn’t be consuming any adult beverages. We were told that experience had shown that teenagers in possession of all-inclusive bracelets tended to order a meal, take just a few bites, and then order something entirely different, i.e., they waste resources. Cabo economic lesson #1.

Our children clearly thought they were royalty for the first four days while the all-inclusive plan was in effect. We normally teach our children to be cost-conscience (as I write this, my son informed me that he needed to lick the maple syrup off his plate because it’s expensive and shouldn’t be wasted), so at first they were a little reluctant to splurge, but we reassured them that everything was already paid for and that they could order as much of anything as they wished within the limits of the plan. Human nature took over from there and we did our best to extract every penny of value we could from the plan. I’m fairly confident the resort actually lost money on our deceptively-thin eleven-year-old son.

To the great disappointment of our children, the meal plan eventually expired and we were forced to revert back to reality and once again be cost-conscience. It was at that point that I began thinking about ObamaCare and health insurance in general. I realized that the days we spent on the meal plan were somewhat like being enrolled in the typical third-party payer health plan before ObamaCare had taken effect. After a set price was paid, there was really no thought given to what was consumed. This is why while on the plan, we were determined to get all we could out of it and gave little thought toward overconsumption or waste. After all, we’d paid good money for the privilege of doing just that. Be it food, healthcare or anything else, there’s no real incentive to conserve resources under this type of arrangement. The predictable behavior that ensues is in part why the cost of health insurance and all-inclusive plans both continue to rise.

Our attitudes changed quite dramatically once we entered the pay-as-you-go phase of our trip. We were suddenly much more cautious about our spending habits. Those enormous plates of carne asada nachos could now be shared by two of us; multiple appetizers were no longer ordered with each dinner and extra bottled waters were no longer requested with each drink order. My wife and I had planned ahead for this phase of the trip and set aside a chunk of cash that we had hoped to make last for the remainder of the trip. It was almost like having a health savings account (HSA). And it worked pretty darn well. The cost of the typical extended day by the pool including drinks, snacks and lunch was averaging about $130 USD while on the meal plan but had dropped to about $60 USD once we were off of it. Full disclosure: the off-plan cost would have been slightly higher had we not hoarded “free” bottled waters while the meal plan was still in effect.

So how did ObamaCare fit into our all-inclusive Cabo experience?  Fortunately, it didn’t, which is why there’s a very good chance we’ll be going back. While it’s true that third-party payer health insurance may not be the most efficient method of providing healthcare, any improvements are best left to the free market.

No, an ObamaCare-like experience would have required the Federales to show up at the resort and enforce a mandate that everyone purchase a government approved all-inclusive meal plan. Further, since not everyone around the pool could afford the expensive meal plan, the government would ensure that those who couldn’t pay for it would be subsidized by those who were already willing to pay for the plan, and by those who could afford it but choose not to enroll for various reasons of their own choosing.

After accounting for all of the mandates, subsidies (including for those who would purposefully earn less in order to qualify), failed website design and salaries consumed by bureaucrats, the bottom line would be that those vacationers who were once happy with going either all-inclusive or pay-as-you-go would find that they were now forced to buy an all-inclusive plan and then, in addition, pay sky-high “deductibles” before they could ever use it. So by the time any benefits actually kicked in, vacation would long be over with. Meanwhile, those being subsidized would have even less of an incentive to conserve resources than a fickle teenager in possession of an all-inclusive bracelet.

Back in the U.S., we’re stuck with ObamaCare because the president spends much, much more time vacationing than he does studying even the most rudimentary laws of economics.

 


Dining with Big Government

My article as originally published in American Thinker:

Government regulation is a hidden tax that now consumes an astonishing $1.9 trillion of the U.S. economy per year. I’m preaching to the choir here, but for those seeking ways to converse with others about how destructive and unnecessary most regulations are, try discussing the voluntary exchanges that occur while dining out at a favorite restaurant. People may go for the food, atmosphere, or for economic reasons, but they do so primarily out of self-interest. And neither local politician nor D.C. bureaucrat is needed to tell them where to go, what to eat, how much to eat, how to eat it or how much money to spend. If the food sucks, the service is terrible, if someone gets food poisoning, no form of regulation is needed to tell even low-info types it’s time to dine elsewhere.

Regulatory aficionados (such as Obama, Bloomberg, and Jonathan Gruber) think otherwise and believe we’re all too stupid to make everyday decisions on our own. And unfortunately, too many Americans appear to feel that much of this regulation is both necessary and innocuous. But people should understand that just as government regulation isn’t needed to “save” them from a terrible dining experience, the same holds true with regard to nearly all the voluntary transactions that occur within the marketplace, e.g., what size soda to buy; the securing of a payday loan; ensuring restaurant employees wash their hands; the amount of salt preferred in food or the minimum wage that is paid to an individual.

Additionally, those in support of being “protected” by the nanny-state should be aware the cost to society is even greater than what is easily seen (to borrow from Bastiat). Sure, it’s easy to envision the added expense of compliance: the permits; the mountains of paperwork; the time-consuming inspections or costly signage that regulations impose upon businesses. But what also needs to be visualized is the enormous, ever-growing army of unelected bureaucrats that politicians put in place to bring about and enforce all of this needless regulation.

So while dining out, it’s as if a large group of regulators are seated with us in the restaurant, unnecessarily making numerous decisions for the patrons, restaurant owners, employees, vendors, and about darn near everything else — bolted down or otherwise. These “public servants” consume resources as if they’re at an all-you-can-eat buffet, continually search for new things to regulate and compliance is never optional. In the end, it is “We the People” who are stuck paying the entire bill, part of which now ends up on the “credit card” for future generations to labor over.

The crux of the problem is that even if these regulators were to do as efficient a job as the free market — they can’t and don’t — they are merely “dining” at the expense of everyone else in the “restaurant.”  It’s impossible for society to truly “progress” when a growing number of unaccountable bureaucrats are gobbling up tax dollars for no reason and driving up product and service prices with an ever-growing number of superfluous dictates. Free markets (combined with equal protection under the law) are already self-regulating because unlike the DMV, Post Office or Amtrak, businesses that fail to modify bad or inefficient ways will eventually go out of business. So why then are we constantly being force-fed more and more of these redundant regulations?

The dirty little secret — the rancid meat statists attempt to heavily season over with the promise of Utopia — is that coupled with an entourage of hungry bureaucrats and cronies, top-down regulatory control enables folks like Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and a host of status quo Republicans and Democrats to gain real power and become fantastically wealthy without ever having to provide anything of real economic value to society. Making a living in this way is a much easier task than having to provide a product or service to citizens (like a restaurant owner or the Koch brothers must do) who are able to freely vote yea or nay with their pocketbooks.

This is in part why the zip codes that surround the D.C. area have become among the wealthiest in the nation. All while the labor participation rate is at a thirty-year low, food stamp usage is near an all-time high, and more American small businesses are dying than being created.

The fact that government regulation isn’t needed to enjoy a night out at a restaurant should be a fairly easy concept to grasp. But we’re not just dining with big-government, we’re being forced to live with it on a nearly 24/7 basis. And as Governor Moonbeam (a connoisseur of all things regulatory) recently said while discussing California’s government-caused water shortages: “that’s the beauty of government, it doesn’t go away.”

Nanny-state regulations and the regulators who impose them won’t “go away” unless more Americans become enlightened and begin to lose their appetite for big-government.

 


In a way, Hillary was right in saying that businesses don’t create jobs

My article as originally published in American Thinker: 

Hillary Clinton may be an economic ignoramus for saying, “Don’t let anybody tell you its corporations and businesses that create jobs.”  In fact, Daniel Greenfield does a wonderful job dismembering her so-called wisdom in his piece at Frontpage Mag.  But I’m not thoroughly convinced anyone could be so dim-witted as to truly believe such malarkey (except for maybe Elizabeth Warren), so perhaps the “world’s smartest woman” deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one?

I know she’s now attempting to walk back her remarks but I just don’t buy it.  So could it be that the woman who had her presidency stolen from her in 2008 was instead just taking a subtle jab at President Obama’s economic policy?  After all, given six years of Obama’s “fundamental change,” there are clearly some elements of truth to her claim.

As is the case with the multitude of half-truths the Left presents as facts, proper context is required here too.  And within the context of the following, Hillary is absolutely correct in her assertion:

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they see companies nationalized or contract law thrown out as was done during the whole GM and Chrysler debacle.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they are burdened with the highest corporate tax rates in the world.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when government unleashes thousands of pages of costly new regulations upon a stagnant overregulated economy.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they witness a President use his pen and his phone as a Constitution-killing weapon of mass destruction.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they learn that an administration was willing to use the IRS to punish its political enemies.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when a President threatens to put an industry (such as the coal industry) out of business.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when money is extracted from them and given to crony companies such as Solyndra.

Corporations and businesses don’t create jobs when they watch the government take control of 1/6th of the U.S. economy via the healthcare industry and then can’t even build a simple website.

Corporations and businesses didn’t create jobs just because a President arbitrarily decided that 2010 was to be the summer of recovery.

Corporations and businesses clearly aren’t creating jobs which may explain why the labor participation rate is at a 36-year low in spite of government’s historically massive “stimulus” and money-printing programs — the vary things that Hillary thinks create jobs.

Businesses do however create jobs in a free market protected by the stable rule of law under a more limited government, like they did during the “era of big government is over” economy that Bill Clinton inherited from President Ronald Reagan.

Corporations and businesses most certainly do create the jobs.  They just don’t do it when they’re terrified by an anti-business tyrant such as President Obama.  I wonder what Hillary Clinton would do to make sure “corporations and businesses don’t create jobs” if elected President in 2016?

 


Barry’s Comet

My article as originally published in American Thinker:  

The  so-called “comet of the century,” a sungrazer named ISON, reached perihelion on Thanksgiving Day,  but didn’t live up to its expectations to wow the masses and just  fizzled out. Perhaps ISON’s name should be changed to ‘Barry’s  Comet’ as it appears to be the perfect metaphor for the Obama Administration’s  rise and fall.

While  comets put on a dazzling show with their brilliant comas and alluring tails that  extend for many thousands of miles, solar radiation slowly strips away most of  their mass (largely a loose conglomerate of dust, ice, rocks, and gases), eventually leaving just a dull, tiny, often misshapen  core. While the illusion from a distance can be quite spectacular, when exposed  to sunlight, comets are in reality just objects that are falling apart before  our eyes.

Instead  of maintaining the United States on solid, stable, constitutional ground, President Barack Obama is the latest  “politician of the century” to tempt us with a dazzling “progressive” display —  a loose conglomerate of hope, change, economic egalitarianism and “fairness” for  all, yet hiding a thinly veiled dull, misshapen, statist central planning core.  Despite years of media filtering, the recent exposure of ObamaCare,  NSA, Benghazi, IRS and other Obama scandals to intense ‘sunlight’ are finally  causing his Presidency to fizzle-out as the public can now see a portion of what  lies beneath the unsustainable promises surrounding the core of his  ideology.

Not  only did America fall for Obama’s awe-inspiring tale of “hope and change” and  twice elect him to the office of president, but Obama himself seemed even more  self-assured than the mythical Icarus as he delivered his nomination  victory speech back in 2008:

America,  this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies  of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for  the country we love.

The  journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with  profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with  limitless faith in the capacity of the American people… I am absolutely  certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our  children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and  good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began  to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war  and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on  Earth…

Not  all scientists were fully convinced of ISON’s “comet of the  century” hype:

Some  reporters have started calling ISON the “Comet of the Century,” but Don Yeomans  of NASA Near-Earth Object Program thinks that’s premature.

“I’m  old enough to remember the last ‘Comet of the Century’,” he says. In 1973, a  distant comet named Kohoutek looked like it would put on a great show, much like  ISON. The actual apparition was such a let-down that Johnny Carson made jokes  about it on the Tonight Show. “It fizzled,” says Yeomans. “Comets are  notoriously unpredictable.”

Many were of course skeptical of the promise of Obama  too, especially those old enough to remember another “politician of the century”  from the late 1970’s by the name of Jimmy Carter, and we shouldn’t need to be  reminded of how that dud of an event turned out for America. ‘Barry’s Comet,’ is  merely the same old statist core surrounded by a repackaged conglomerate of  utopian promises that history proves (as do the jokes on late night TV) has zero  chance of delivering on any of the hype.

While  it remains to be seen if President Obama will endure the same fate as Icarus,  just like Comet ISON, his “progressive” world view is predictably unable to  withstand the intense ‘sunlight’ of truth, and is rapidly falling apart. The only remaining question is whether or not the  United States will suffer the same fate.

 


Just a Few of the Reasons ObamaCare will Fail

Steven Plaut lays it out in Frontpage Mag:

There is a fundamental difference between economists and lawyers (or legal scholars) when it comes to resolving complex social and economic problems.  Economists believe that human behavior and the functioning of institutions are based upon incentives.  Lawyers and legal types believe that one can resolve complex problems by passing laws and imposing regulations.  The latter think one can legislate away the problem.

I like to describe the approach by lawyer-types to such problems as “rain laws.” They are like trying to resolve the problem of flooding from heavy rainfall by means of a law making it illegal for it to rain.

Read the ten reasons at Frontpage Mag    


Nothing ‘New’ About ObamaCare

Dr.  Thomas Sowell once again makes it real easy for us:

Like so many things that seem new, ObamaCare is in many ways old wine in new bottles.

For example, when confronted with the fact that millions of Americans stand to lose their existing medical insurance, as a result of ObamaCare, defenders of ObamaCare say that this is true only when those people have “substandard” insurance.

Who decides what is “substandard”? What is older than the idea that some exalted elite know what is good for us better than we know ourselves? Obama uses the rhetoric of going “forward,” but he is in fact going backward to an age when despots told everybody what they had better do and better not do.

Read the rest at Townhall


ObamaCare’s 93 Million Lies

From Frontpage Mag:

 

“The Obama administration has known for three years that when the employer mandate is enforced in 2015 up to 93 million Americans will be forced out of their employer-sponsored health insurance plans”

 

Read the rest at Frontpage Mag

 


The Edification of the Low-Information Voter

My article as originally published in American Thinker:           

The  predictably disastrous rollout of ObamaCare has given conservatives a rare  opportunity — a perfect storm, if you will — to just sit back and observe  while low-information voters discover firsthand that President  Obama’s lofty rhetoric in no way matches the actual effects of his signature  law.  It’s as if these shell-shocked low-information voters are being  thrust into a once-in-a-lifetime crash-course on the failures of big government  — before the law even gets off the ground.  ObamaCare’s  implementation is different because previous expansions of the federal leviathan  moved “forward” due to the temptations of unbridled utopian promises (think  Social Security and Medicare) and because  the inherent economic flaws didn’t present themselves until well after Americans  were fully dependent upon the system.  Not this time  around.

Where  did these millions of potential students of ObamaCare come from?  They  were created by an educational system, mainstream media, and Hollywood culture that consistently push a carefully crafted  “progressive” agenda.  Because of this, low-information voters can  easily be found among a highly educated class of doctors, lawyers, professors,  journalists, and of course politicians, just as they are found among totally  uneducated dupes.  Or as Mark Twain said: “It ain’t what you don’t  know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t  so.”  Couple the above with the intrinsic human desire to be accepted  among one’s peers, and what you end up with in the U.S. is what can only be  described as one giant low-information voter factory.  Who says  nothing is “Made in the USA” anymore?

But  there is a window of opportunity here (that I’m confident Republicans will screw  up) thanks to President Obama’s and the Democrats’ false promises and total lies  about ObamaCare.  And millions of low-information voters (at least  those willing to believe their own lying eyes) are suddenly receiving a  much-needed higher education:

Here  are just a few of the possible course titles for incoming ObamaCare  freshmen:

 

  • Economics      101: Did you really think you could keep your current health  plan?

 

  •  Philosophy  411: If your health plan cost      rises exorbitantly, but you can’t log on to  the exchange to see it, will      you still save $2,500 per year?

 

  • Sociology      205: How a once self-reliant middle class can get almost “free” health care      by intentionally working fewer hours and collecting taxpayer subsidies.

 

  • Home      Economics 911: How to live your 40-hour-per-week life on only 29      hours per week.

 

  • Computer      Science 404: How to spend  $634-plus million building a totally overpriced non-working website with friends while using none of your own money.

 

  • Journalism      Bias 101: Is showing up three years late to a party still within the boundaries of being just fashionably late?

 

  • Constitution      101: The three Ts of ObamaCare: Transitioning from your current  “inadequate” plan into ObamaCare, Transitioning peacefully into the afterlife with IPAB, and Transitioning from ObamaCare to a single-payer system.

And  my personal favorite:

  • Community      Service 101: Lessons in Altruism: “I was all      for ObamaCare until I found out I was paying for it.”

I  know that’s a lot to cram into a short time frame, but for a simple refresher  course on why big government always fails, see my previous AT piece (complete  with charts): “Could  Forrest Gump Plan Our Economy?”  Tip: For extra credit, simply  change part of the title to read: “…Plan One Sixth of Our Economy,” without  any other changes, and you’ll be deserving of an A+.

Senators  Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were vilified (by both parties) for standing on principle  and leading the fight in the budget battle to have ObamaCare  defunded.  At what point does the low-information voter cry out in  horror, beg for that very same outcome, and realize that those who were called  anarchists, racists, bomb-throwers, and hostage-takers were actually trying to  protect them from this monstrosity?  Perhaps this is asking too much  too soon of low-information voters with such limited  educations?

 

 


A Few ObamaCare Questions for the President

Obama3My article as originally published in American Thinker:           

Hey  Mr. President — if ObamaCare (ironically named the “Affordable” Care Act) is  such a wonderful thing for the American people, why aren’t they treating it like  the perquisite you claim it to be?

I  ask this because you’ve been out there claiming that Republicans are willing to “harm” the American  people by defunding ObamaCare and are trying to do so only to “stick it” to you.  (Why do you always think everything is about you?) Also, your ally, Debbie  Wasserman Schultz, is saying that once Americans really start experiencing it  (the “Affordable” Care Act), they just won’t want to let it  go.

But  the American people are starting to experience ObamaCare and they surely just  want to regain the freedom to “let it go.” Due to this law’s costly  burdens, thousands are being laid off, having their work weeks  reduced to less than 30 hours or are being thrown out of their current health plans. And for the privilege  of all of this, Americans will be stuck paying much more than before this monstrosity was  enacted.

And  how do the politically-connected Americans you surround yourself with feel about  ObamaCare? Surely if your health care law  is so beneficial, those with the most political capital must be running to the front of the line to cut in front of everyone  else and climb on  board?

To  the contrary, your friends in high places are asking for (more like demanding)  protection from ObamaCare. You’ve exempted Congress and most of its staff from this law. You’ve given  thousands of waivers to a select few. Even some of your biggest  supporters, the labor unions, now realize how harmful this law is to its members  and are demanding special treatment — I’m sure they’ll get it even though they  haven’t as of yet.

So  let me see if I’ve got all this straight: you say that the Republicans in  Congress are trying to “harm” the American people by attempting to legally  exempt everyone from this law that they didn’t want in the first place. So does  this mean that you are intentionally “harming” or attempting to “harm” Congress,  unions and all of your favorite crony donors by illegally giving them exemptions  from ObamaCare? I didn’t think so.

So,  Mr. President, If ObamaCare is the panacea that you and your administration  claim it to be, I have one more question. If you had a son, would his health  plan look like ObamaCare?