For instance, no nation has ever become rich with big government. But that doesn’t stop leftists from advocating in favor of higher taxes and more coercive redistribution.
They are equally capable of rationalizing that economic misery in places such as Greece and Venezuela has nothing to do with bad policy, and you can even find a few zealots willing to defend basket cases such as Cuba and North Korea.
So long as they don’t burn me at the stake for my heretical views, I guess I won’t get too agitated by their bizarre fetish for statism.
But I will periodically mock them. And that’s the purpose of today’s column. We’ll start with this nice comparison between a capitalist grocery store and a socialist grocery store. I have no idea, by the way, if the lower image actually is a supermarket in a socialist country, but let’s not forget that a real-world version of this comparison is one of the reasons there’s no longer an Evil Empire.
But the bad news about socialism is not limited to economic deprivation for the masses.
The system also leads in many cases to totalitarianism (see this article by Marian Tupy, for example).
Which makes this set of images from Reddit‘s libertarian page both funny and sad.
As you might expect, Milton Friedman had some very pointed observations on this topic.
The really good part starts shortly before 2:00. He explains very clearly that socialism is based on force and coercion.
I’ve saved the best for last.
The PotL sent me this collection of risky temptations and it perfectly captures the attitude of many statists. No matter how many times socialism has failed, they never learn the appropriate lesson. It just hasn’t been tried by the right people, they tell us. Or been imposed in the right circumstances.
So they want us to give it one more try, just like a person with no willpower will eat one more bite of chocolate.
The bottom line is that statism is a recipe for stagnation and free markets are a route to prosperity.
Republished from International Liberty.
Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
My friend used to have a big crush on this girl when he was younger. Now she's a dude, a communist, SJW cultist, obnoxiously militant atheist and generally disconnected from reality. It really is sad, and it didn't hit him until he saw the image above...
I've been making the point to people, in liberty and otherwise, that the real fight isn't over policy, it's over culture. Not that you could pin me down as socially conservative or liberal proper, but there's something truly troubling about it being trendy to be transgendered and it's a third rail to suggest it's not normal.
Is anyone else realizing that our divisive social culture is becoming increasingly aligned along economic lines? This chick/dude/thing could have gone places.
Even if achieving some modicum of success in life, her lifestyle will put a ceiling on how successful she can be. We live in a free-market society and she will be unable to take full advantage of Free Market Capitalism. You see, she'll be sucked into the Bernie-Blame-Rich-People-SJW-Crowd and she'll repeat the talking points that 'capitalism is evil' and 'Rich White Men' and are the reason she can't get ahead blah blah blah when in fact, she's just lacking as a "Value-creator" to society.
We live in a capitalistic society. In order to succeed you're challenged to provide value. You'll know when you're successful when others voluntarily trade their money for your services. They agree that the services or product you provide is more valuable that the money they give you in exchange. That's how all this works.
Socialism and Communism work because value is forcefully taken from others.
We love the #FreeMarkets around here. It's the principle means that you need to create value for others in order to be rewarded and enriched. Bernie Sanders' message is one of demonizing and stealing from those who are more successful in order to enrich yourself.
I hope the best for our friend here. Maybe, upon seeing her again, we could fist-bump and I could share the message of Liberty. There is still a lot of opportunities to succeed even when, economically and culturally speaking, much is dim.
You're looking at a guy who just got an audience at Yale -- Yale! -- to vote in favor of the right of state secession, by a margin of 2 to 1.
Yes, I had some supporters in the audience. But an organizer said that even correcting for that, the outcome was still very surprising.
Events at the Yale Political Union begin with a 20-30 minute statement by the speaker, and conclude by giving the speaker an opportunity to respond to the various speeches, pro and con, that students have given over the course of the night regarding the resolution at issue.
My responses were the most enjoyable part of the night.
Let's be blunt about this: while keeping the audience laughing, I pummeled my opponents into dust.
"Man, that Woods sure has a high opinion of himself," you say.
I'm just telling you what happened.
I've got video coming.
My favorite part involved the poor soul who was outraged that we hadn't discussed slavery, which "everybody knows" was at the root of battles between the states and the federal government.
I then reviewed the history of that struggle, and rhetorically removed his kneecaps.
It's nice to be able to walk into one of the most prestigious universities in the world and feel completely confident arguing a highly controversial position.
You can have that nice feeling, too.
No more thinking to yourself: I know I'm right, yet my co-workers left me stammering for a response.
I've distilled the knowledge it's taken me decades to acquire into on-the-go courses you can listen to in your car.
Today is the five-year anniversary of my Liberty Classroom, where my (trustworthy and awesome) colleagues and I teach the history and economics they kept from you.
In honor of that anniversary, I'm taking 200 smackers off the Master, lifetime membership to the site. That's all 18 courses (that you can watch or listen to whenever you want), Q&A forums, live events, and more, plus every single course we ever create.
This ain't never happening again, period.
As a bonus, you get all the courses I created for the Ron Paul Curriculum (that's 400+ videos, also available in audio format).
My course on government distills 20 years of learning into a one-semester course.
Savings: 19 1/2 years.
Plus, again today only, I'm also throwing in signed, personalized copies of FOUR of my books: The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (aNew York Times bestseller), Who Killed the Constitution?, Real Dissent, and 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask.
Could there be a better treat for yourself, or for that student in your life?
The clock is ticking....
"Get the equivalent of a Ph.D. in libertarian thought and free-market economics online for just 24 cents a day."
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon used his annual letter to shareholders to provide his outlook on a post-Brexit world, internal changes the company must adjust to, and give his thoughts on what is wrong in an otherwise amazing United States.
Dimon, leader of world’s most valuable bank and a counselor to the new president, used his 45-page annual letter to shareholders on Tuesday to list ways America is stronger than ever -- before jumping into a much longer list of self-inflicted problems that he said was “upsetting” to write.
While I disagree with the notion that we MUST become more internationally collectivist, Dimon points out a lot of agreeable problems. Many of these are common sense to the rest of us, but are mostly ignored by the political class:
- Skyrocketing corporate taxes drive human capital and jobs overseas
-Regulation is excessive in almost every industry
-United States has wasted trillions in useless wars and requires a foreign policy overhaul
-Failed immigration policy which fails to retain numerous much-needed advance degree holders
-A Justice system that criminalizes American citizens with felonies, many times for only minor infractions
-A housing market weighted down by bureaucratic layers and rules
Finally, Dimon points out something that I'm very passionate about. Educating the populace. The Democratic, left-leaning populace, left to its own devices in 2016 overwhelmingly wanted a socialist to be their candidate at the same time that Venezuela burned. Dimon points out that people are losing their confidence in a system that has brought so many out of poverty. The free market is responsible for the most wealth created than any other system yet known to man.
The U.S. is paying the price for bad decisions, and “something has gone awry in the public’s understanding of business and free enterprise,” -Jamie Dimon
The letter in it's entirety is embedded below.
DMR: A large number of people were fired from their jobs after missing work to take part in the "day without immigrants" protests. They're surprised, which surprises me.
Their firings are not the result of politics; rather, they're the result of the normal operation of businesses. Companies have to make examples by holding people accountable, lest all employees start thinking that they can just fail to show up on any given day without consequence.
If you're not incapacitated and simply decide that you don't want to go to work--especially for shift work and/or for time-sensitive positions--then you're running the risk of being fired. There's no exception for those who want to go protest. If you're going to miss work for any reason and do not use vacation time, sick leave, holidays, etc., then you're running the risk of being fired.
Companies pay people to do jobs, not to protest. You protest on your own time. If you want to protest, do it on a day off. Do it on a holiday. Do it using vacation time. Don't do it on your company's dime, and DEFINITELY don't do it on the taxpayer dime.
This idea that people are entitled to their jobs and paychecks when they miss work as long as they missed work for their own ideas about social justice must end. Take a look at your company's leave policy, to which you agreed when you accepted the job offer. I am confident that it doesn't say "vacation time must be used when you plan to miss work unless you plan to miss work to take part in any protest of your choosing."
Companies are not welfare dispensaries. They're not entitlement institutions, and they're not "safe spaces." They're the real world: they're bottom-line organizations. You should be aware of this before you accept a job offer. If you want to protest, do it the right way. If you have no vacation time to use and it isn't a holiday, then don't protest unless you have the clear permission of your supervisor.
This is also unfair to your co-workers who honored their obligations to be at work. They have to take up your slack when you're suddenly out of the office without permission or warning. That should be kept to a minimum and should never happen due to a reason like "I just preferred to do something else with my time today" (unless you're using your vacation time, which should have been de-conflicted).
If your absence led to the closing of a business that day, then you probably harmed ALL of your co-workers, many of your customers, and the business itself. This is why companies can't tell all of their employees to feel free to miss work without warning whenever they want as long as they're out protesting. What are supervisors to do now, start taking roll call at all the local protests? That's ridiculous. If companies let employees get away with this, then you'd suddenly have many, many employees who could always find a good protest or two to attend somewhere. There would be those who'd never let a good protest go to waste. Jobs are not hobbies to which you show up only when you feel like doing so.
This is not an anti-protest post. It's an anti-entitlement post. A person who can't imagine being fired for missing shift work without permission is a person who feels entitled to his job. There is a right and a wrong way to do everything worth doing. Go protest, but do it the right way.
DEAR MR. REPUBLICAN: We are spending far, far too much time talking about executive orders, whether temporary travel bans are legal, who the Secretary of the Army should be, and so forth. I'm ready to hear policy discussion about some of the truly major issues facing our country. If Republicans are going to make dramatic changes in areas of truly fundamental consequences, then time is not on our side.
Among these issues are...
(1) THE NATIONAL DEBT
Our debt load now exceeds the size of our entire economy and is, for all intents and purposes, not possible to pay off. It is still possible to manage, though, again, time is definitely not on our side on this one. In my opinion, this is the most important and urgent issue facing the United States: our national debt is weeks away from topping $20 trillion BEFORE interest--an amount that no human being can truly wrap his mind around. This still is not being addressed, but the tangible impacts of it are already being felt, especially in Federal Reserve rate planning.
Obamacare should be repealed and replaced--not just repealed. You cannot repeal legislation like Obamacare without a plan for replacing it, and you MUST ensure that those who've spent their own hard-earned dollars purchasing insurance through the exchanges are taken care of. This is now the most expensive sector of our economy, and its costs have accelerated in the wake of the Affordable Care Act's passage in 2010. We keep hearing that action will be taken. The only problem is that we still have no evidence of this action or even a rough idea as to the strategy.
(3) JOBS AND WAGES.
Work force participation remains at near-record lows. Millions of people simply are not looking for jobs. Part of this problem is wages: They started to rise somewhat two or three years ago, but the rate of increase was always too slow. Now wage growth appears to have slowed once again. There are solutions to this problem, and Republicans have good ideas here. What is the hold-up?
(4) TAXES AND REGULATION.
Our corporate tax code is the most noncompetitive on the entire planet. Our individual tax code, though not quite as noncompetitive, is insanely complex, extremely expensive to comply with, and impossible for any one person to understand in its entirety. The number of regulations is absolutely ballooning and is now having a negative material impact on entrepreneurialism--the very bedrock of our economy and the number 1 pillar underlying "the American Dream." Campaign promises by both Trump and GOP members of Congress to enact reform in these two areas were frequent and loud. What's happened? Trump signed an executive order requiring two regulations to be eliminated for every new one enacted--an order so vague and ham-handed that it probably will have no effect at all. Arbitrary executive orders won't solve this problem. It's time for Congress to wake up from its continuing decade-long slumber and send true reform legislation to the Oval Office for a signature.
(5) GENERAL GOVERNMENT INEFFICIENCY.
It remains far too difficult to fire federal employees who underperform. (To my federal employee friends, in no way do I intend to imply that most federal employees under-perform, though when it happens, we all know that not much can be done about it.) There remains far too much redundancy; a Congressional study found that hundreds of agencies were doing the same jobs as other agencies. Changing policies can take many years. Government technology and software is always out of date--sometimes decades so. In short: we are not efficient, and we are not nimble. That wasn't a major problem in the pre-high-tech world. In the dynamic, fast-paced, high-tech world of the 21st Century, however, that is absolutely debilitating. Where's the reform?
Perhaps rather than the national debt, I should have said that this issue is the most urgent one. Why? Well, it prevents our being able to solve these other issues--including the national debt. Trump and Congressional members of the GOP said that they would govern "for everyone" and that they wanted "unity." I've seen no evidence of this in practice. By the same token, Democrats have been almost impossible to work with during confirmation hearings (the only area in which they've had much impact so far). It's not clear that if the GOP extended an olive branch to them now, they'd take it. Bipartisanship is a two-way street, though it was to start somewhere. I'm happy to have it start with Republicans. Unfortunately, I can't even say that this is a stillborn hope because it doesn't appear to even have been conceived.
This post is not an attack on Donald Trump. In reality, most of these are issues on which Congress must take action. In order to truly solve any of them, Congress is indispensable. Where are they? At this point, it seems as though Congress is like government, only with frequent nap times, copious recess, and interminable bloviating. It is, however, incumbent on Trump to help set a policy direction, and it is important that Democrats engage themselves constructively as well. In short, blame can be cast all around--on both sides of the aisle and on all three branches of the federal government.
I'm tired of partisan bickering over minor, short-term issues though. I'm ready to tackle major issues. I'm ready to tackle long-term issues. I'm ready to work together. After all, a government that works well works for all. A government that doesn't work well, works only for a precious few entrenched interests. Let's make it work well.
Henry Hazlitt’s 1946 book Economics in One Lesson is regarded as a classic introduction to free market economics. Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman said of the book: “[Hazlitt’s] explanation of how a price system works is a true classic: timeless, correct, painlessly instructive.” The book’s titular lesson argues:
The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.
The entire premise of the book is found in this one sentence, and the chapters that follow are filled with examples of what happens when economic central planners focus on policy effects to one group while ignoring the secondary effects of their policies on all other groups. Hazlitt goes on to explain, in Chapter 17, the effects of governmental price fixing:
Let us first see what happens when the government tries to keep the price of a single commodity, or a small group of commodities, below the price that would be set in a free competitive market.
The argument for holding down the price of these goods will run something like this: If we leave beef (let us say) to the mercies of the free market, the price will be pushed up by competitive bidding so that only the rich will get it. People will get beef not in proportion to their need, but only in proportion to their purchasing power. If we keep the price down, everyone will get his fair share.
The first thing to be noticed about this argument is that if it is valid the policy adopted is inconsistent and timorous. For if purchasing power rather than need determines the distribution of beef at a market price of $2.25 cents a pound, it would also determine it, though perhaps to a slightly smaller degree, at, say, a legal “ceiling” price of $1.50 cents a pound. The purchasing-power-rather-than-need argument, in fact, holds as long as we charge anything for beef whatever. It would cease to apply only if beef were given away.
A similar situation exists in Bitcoin where the independent development team known as Bitcoin Core is artificially suppressing the cost of full-node operation — in effect, impeding free market forces. “This is for the benefit of the consumers,” they say, ignoring the effects of this policy on the >99.9% of Bitcoin users who do not run a full node. As Hazlitt notes, this line of thinking is inconsistent because, regardless of the price at which something is fixed, there will always be people who cannot afford it. The only sound logical conclusions to be drawn from this line of thinking are to either set the price at zero or to allow the price to be dictated by the free market. More tenuous still is the supposition that current full node users will be “priced out” by a block size increase.
Not your typical full node users.
But schemes for maximum price-fixing usually begin as efforts to “keep the cost of living from rising.” And so their sponsors unconsciously assume that there is something peculiarly “normal” or sacrosanct about the market price at the moment from which their control starts. That starting or previous price is regarded as “reasonable,” and any price above that as “unreasonable,” regardless of changes in the conditions of production or demand since that starting price was first established.
Bitcoin Core’s central planning inherently declares the cost of node operation today to be reasonable, but this is done without providing any hard data about which users are running a node, much less what their needs are, which costs they can bear, and so on.
In discussing this subject, there is no point in assuming a price control that would fix prices exactly where a free market would place them in any case. That would be the same as having no price control at all. We must assume that the purchasing power in the hands of the public is greater than the supply of goods available, and that prices are being held down by the government below the levels to which a free market would put them.
Now we cannot hold the price of any commodity below its market level without in time bringing about two consequences. The first is to increase the demand for that commodity. Because the commodity is cheaper, people are both tempted to buy, and can afford to buy, more of it. The second consequence is to reduce the supply of that commodity. Because people buy more, the accumulated supply is more quickly taken from the shelves of merchants. But in addition to this, production of that commodity is discouraged. Profit margins are reduced or wiped out. The marginal producers are driven out of business. Even the most efficient producers may be called upon to turn out their product at a loss. This happened in World War II when slaughterhouses were required by the Office of Price Administration to slaughter and process meat for less than the cost to them of cattle on the hoof and the labor of slaughter and processing.
In Bitcoin, block space is the commodity supply being artificially restricted. The producers of this commodity are the miners (although they do not produce a physical good, the analogy holds). Restricting the availability of the block space commodity indeed discourages the further production of such. New entrants into the Bitcoin mining business are thereby disincentivized: if the cost of producing a bitcoin has already reached its marginal level, then the profits available to new market entrants are not great enough to incentivize the risk-taking required of new mining operations. By dictating such policies and not allowing goods to be subject to the free-market-at-work, Core discourages new competitors and directly contributes to the centralization of mining!
If we did nothing else, therefore, the consequence of fixing a maximum price for a particular commodity would be to bring about a shortage of that commodity. But this is precisely the opposite of what the government regulators originally wanted to do. For it is the very commodities selected for maximum price-fixing that the regulators most want to keep in abundant supply. But when they limit the wages and the profits of those who make these commodities, without also limiting the wages and profits of those who make luxuries or semiluxuries, they discourage the production of the price-controlled necessities while they relatively stimulate the production of less essential goods.
The regulators wish to keep the ability of consumers to perform Bitcoin transactions in abundant supply, while simultaneously restricting the available supply of on-chain Bitcoin transactions. Thus the production of “luxuries” or less essential goods is stimulated: Lightning networks, sidechains, centralized clearinghouses, and altcoins. More foolish than the governmental central planners in Hazlitt’s example, many of the goods that Core assumes will pick up the slack for scarcity of on-chain transactions do not even exist yet.
Some of these consequences in time become apparent to the regulators, who then adopt various other devices and controls in an attempt to avert them. Among these devices are rationing, cost-control, subsidies, and universal price-fixing.
The cost of making a normal Bitcoin transaction becomes too high, so the cost of a segwit transaction shall then be fixed at one-fourth the cost of a regular Bitcoin transaction, Core has decided. Problem solved? Hazlitt explains,
When it becomes obvious that a shortage of some commodity is developing as a result of a price fixed below the market, rich consumers are accused of taking “more than their fair share;” or, if it is a raw material that enters into manufacture, individual firms are accused of “hoarding” it. The government then adopts a set of rules concerning who shall have priority in buying that commodity, or to whom and in what quantities it shall be allocated, or how it shall be rationed. If a rationing system is adopted, it means that each consumer can have only a certain maximum supply, no matter how much he is willing to pay for more.
We can see this today in Bitcoin when certain transactions are accused of being “spam” or of taking unfair advantage of the limited block space commodity. Nevermind that these so-called spam transactions pay the fair market rate to be included, or that these transactions are slapped with the spam epithet on no grounds other than their frequency or their size.
The government may try to meet this difficulty through subsidies. It recognizes, for example, that when it keeps the price of milk or butter below the level of the market, or below the relative level at which it fixes other prices, a shortage may result because of lower wages or profit margins for the production of milk or butter as compared with other commodities. Therefore the government attempts to compensate for this by paying a subsidy to the milk and butter producers. Passing over the administrative difficulties involved in this, and assuming that the subsidy is just enough to assure the desired relative production of milk and butter, it is clear that, though the subsidy is paid to producers, those who are really being subsidized are the consumers. For the producers are on net balance getting no more for their milk and butter than if they had been allowed to charge the free market price in the first place; but the consumers are getting their milk and butter at a great deal below the free market price. They are being subsidized to the extent of the difference — that is, by the amount of subsidy paid ostensibly to the producers.
Again, the consumer is told that the price controls are for their own benefit: “Why are you concerned? You’ll be able to make transactions for less than you can now!” But the producers are on net balance getting no more for their block space than if they had been allowed to charge the free market price in the first place. Worse still, if all Bitcoin transaction activity switched to the segwit format overnight, the miners are now being paid the same as before while bearing four times the burden of resources required. That Core does not consider this outcome disastrous is only a testament to the trivial cost of node operation even as resource requirements are increased.
Now unless the subsidized commodity is also rationed, it is those with the most purchasing power that can buy most of it. This means that they are being subsidized more than those with less purchasing power. Who subsidizes the consumers will depend upon the incidence of taxation. But men in their role of taxpayers will be subsidizing themselves in their role of consumers. It becomes a little difficult to trace in this maze precisely who is subsidizing whom. What is forgotten is that subsidies are paid for by someone, and that no method has been discovered by which the community gets something for nothing.
Treating segregated witness as a capacity increase, as the Bitcoin Core development team does, ignores that the subsidized commodity is still kept in restricted supply. By not allowing the supply to grow in line with what the free market is capable of providing, discounting segwit transactions allows only for a bit of breathing room until those transactions also end up in short supply and begin rising in cost, as is happening with regular transactions today.
Price-fixing may often appear for a short period to be successful. It can seem to work well for a while, particularly in wartime, when it is supported by patriotism and a sense of crisis. But the longer it is in effect the more its difficulties increase. When prices are arbitrarily held down by government compulsion, demand is chronically in excess of supply. We have seen that if the government attempts to prevent a shortage of a commodity by reducing also the prices of the labor, raw materials and other factors that go into its cost of production, it creates a shortage of these in turn. But not only will the government, if it pursues this course, find it necessary to extend price control more and more downwards, or “vertically”; it will find it no less necessary to extend price control “horizontally.” If we ration one commodity, and the public cannot get enough of it, though it still has excess purchasing power, it will turn to some substitute. The rationing of each commodity as it grows scarce, in other words, must put more and more pressure on the unrationed commodities that remain. If we assume that the government is successful in its efforts to prevent black markets (or at least prevents them from developing on a sufficient scale to nullify its legal prices), continued price control must drive it to the rationing of more and more commodities. This rationing cannot stop with consumers. In World War II it did not stop with consumers. It was applied first of all, in fact, in the allocation of raw materials to producers.
Assuming that the public has a fixed or growing demand for using money transfer systems, of which Bitcoin is merely one type, then the end result of restricting the available supply of Bitcoin transactions is that more and more pressure is put on unrationed commodities. Whether those unrationed commodities are traditional payment methods or altcoins, the end result spells disaster for Bitcoin.
The natural consequence of a thoroughgoing over-all price control which seeks to perpetuate a given historic price level, in brief, must ultimately be a completely regimented economy. Wages would have to be held down as rigidly as prices. Labor would have to be rationed as ruthlessly as raw materials. The end result would be that the government would not only tell each consumer precisely how much of each commodity he could have; it would tell each manufacturer precisely what quantity of each raw material he could have and what quantity of labor. Competitive bidding for workers could no more be tolerated than competitive bidding for materials. The result would be a petrified totalitarian economy, with every business firm and every worker at the mercy of the government, and with a final abandonment of all the traditional liberties we have known.
The Bitcoin economy, unlike state economies, is thankfully one of voluntary participation. While the end result of price controls, a petrified totalitarian economy, will be the same, the consumers in the Bitcoin economy have a choice and do not need to remain participants. Packing up and moving to another cryptocurrency is far simpler than packing up and moving to a country with more favorable economic policies, and this is exactly what will happen (we are already seeing it happen with the news of Circle abandoning Bitcoin this week). Attempting to centrally plan Bitcoin’s underlying economics, as the Bitcoin Core developers do today, is guaranteed to lead Bitcoin down the path of irrelevance.
This first appeared at Medium.com
John Blocke writes at Medium.com.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
It can be easy and tempting, especially during a presidential campaign, to listen only to opinions that mirror and fortify one's own. That’s not ideal, because it eliminates learning and makes it impossible for people to understand what they dismiss as “the other side.”
If you think that Barack Obama has been a terrific president (as the author does) and that Hillary Clinton would be an excellent successor (as he also does), then you might want to consider the following books, to help you to understand why so many of your fellow citizens disagree with you:
Having read these books, you might continue to believe that progressives are more often right than wrong, and that in general, the U.S. would be better off in the hands of Democrats than Republicans. But you’ll have a much better understanding of the counterarguments -- and on an issue or two, and maybe more, you’ll probably end up joining those on what you once saw as “the other side.”
To contact the author of this story:
Cass R Sunstein at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Christopher Flavelle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published at Bloomberg.com
MORE FROM LIBERTYLOL:
There is so much wrong with the American healthcare system. It is hobbled by mandates, subsidies, price controls, and every manner of middleman standing between you and what you want.
Fixing all of this – and the bad regulations date back decades if not a full century – requires far more political courage that D.C. has mustered in my lifetime.
Or we could just take the easy route: let insurances offer to willing buyers whatever kinds of healthcare they want.
I explain this in the video below.
There were many bad features of Obamacare, as people are now fully discovering. It combined a mandate that insurers not discriminate against preexisting conditions with community pricing, factors which caused the so-called death spiral. It put too many restraints on competition across geographic lines. It imposed what amounts to a new tax.
But one of the worst features is hardly mentioned. It prepackaged what precisely must be insured, and allowed no room for flexibility. This is one reason premiums rose so much so fast. Insurers simply tallied up the benefits and the risks and dished out new terms. You had no choice in the matter.
We don't do this in any other part of life. If you go to McDonald's and ask for fries, they don't say, "Sorry, we can't sell those separately. You have to buy the double Quarter Pounder Value Meal with a dessert, or else we can't sell you anything."
My proposal is simple. Get rid of the government mandates over what can and cannot be part of what is called health insurance. Let consumers and insurers get together and decide this for themselves. This would immediately create a variety of new lower-priced options.
I explain more below.
Matt Kibbe is a leading advocate for personal, civil and economic liberties. An economist by training, Kibbe is a public policy expert, bestselling author and political commentator. He served as Senior Advisor to Concerned American Voters, a Rand Paul Super PAC. He is also Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economic Center in Vienna, Austria. He is a member of the FEE faculty network and cooperates in running Free the People.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
Six Bullets Dodged with Hillary's Loss
The current news cycle is monopolized by two narratives. In one, Trump supporters are cheering the great and promising future. In the other, oppositional progressives are screeching about how hateful and daft he and his supporters are. But in the midst of this chaotic national quarrel, one important person has managed to slip away: Hillary Clinton. Not only metaphorically but literally. Maybe she’s seeking asylum in Russia.
Anyway, while Trump’s impending reign isn’t anything to be ecstatic over, a relief of what America avoided in a Clinton presidency is definitely warranted. So let’s take a moment to examine some avoided disasters that likely would’ve happened had Hillary Clinton won.
The Death of the Sharing Economy
Last year Hillary pledged to "crack down" on companies like Uber and Airbnb.Democrats and even some Republicans have expressed their disgust of the abusive exploitation that’s found in the sharing economy. And by abusive exploitation, they mean disgust at innovative markets that are free from their regulatory micromanagement and competitive to their lobbied interests. Hillary Clinton is on the same track. Last year she pledged to “crack down” on companies like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Lending Club, Dogvacay, etc. These are companies that are frowned upon by taxi and hotel cartels, street corner title loan shops, and many more awful, out-of-date institutions. With Hillary out of office, the sharing economy and all those who benefit from its employment opportunities and convenience get to live to see another day.
Minimum wage increases, overtime rules, high corporate taxes; all these policies have historically and presently had a negative impact on employment opportunities among minority communities. This is particularly true of youth and blacks in middle- and lower-class America. Hillary Clinton supports all of these initiatives and more. Her policies included manufactured outsourcing of labor due to uncompetitive corporate tax rates, which disincentivizes businesses to stay in the States, and, instead, offsets the insane tax by employing workers in other countries like China and Mexico. So when it comes to the American labor force and those who are un- or underemployed, they may have dodged a huge bullet.
Globalism and Imperialism
War with Russia is bad, m’kay? Hillary’s foreign policy mainly consisted of the same hawkish neoconservative interventionism as George W. Bush. It also included expansion of mass surveillance, the continuation of illegal execution of civilians via drones, and hostile sanctioning of world powers. This would likely end in the same results of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen spread throughout the Middle East. In addition to terrible military strategy, she’s also a staunch globalist, using government to achieve it. This is not to be confused with the internationalization of cooperative cultures and markets. She wants global governance, which means increased concentration of elitist wealth, power, and bureaucratic controls over our everyday lives.
It was she who reminded voters that Obamacare used to be Hillarycare. This is not something you want to brag about in the same month the government announced premiums would rise between 10% and 60%, adding to a bill people are forced to pay, for healthcare they can’t afford to use. This program is a disaster. It’s no wonder that 83% of voters who hated the program rejected her at the ballot. Whatever comes after – and everyone knows that Trump already walked back from his promise to repeal – it is not likely to be as bad as it would have been if a Hillary-in-denial shepherded this program out of its current morass.
Hillary has made no secret of her opposition to the Second Amendment.Hillary has made no secret of her opposition to the Second Amendment. She wants increased restrictions on ownership, use, and distribution of firearms. For people like me who value their ability to defend themselves and their neighbors, and partake in a fun recreational sport, Hillary Clinton’s defeat is good news. And with her out of the way, things like the Hearing Protection Act, which calls for the removal of suppressors from the NFA registry, and the Annual Defense Authorization bill, which would allow military personnel to carry their firearms on base, have a chance of success. This is what should be meant when referring to common sense gun laws. The removal of bureaucracy and infringement, not the expansion of it.
Clean energy development is a necessary and beneficial innovation that should be, and is being, supported by various companies such as Tesla Motors, Shell, British Petroleum, General Electric, Boeing, etc. But while these green energy investments are awesome, they’re also expensive and often come at your expense.
Clinton favored artificially inflating costs on many industries, like oil and coal, causing higher energy prices for average Americans. She also favored increasing already-challenging barriers for developing nations to afford the vital energy to jumpstart their economies. Trump may have said green energy is a Chinese hoax, but chances are he’s not going to prohibit private companies from continuing their investments in renewable alternatives. In contrast, Clinton definitely would’ve sanctioned the fossil fuel industry, leading to even more financial hardship for the already-crippled middle class.
Some may have their fingers crossed for Trump's promise to make America great again, while others are finding ways to numb their fears in dismay. Regardless of your prediction of what the future yields, one fact remains true. The guaranteed continuation of progressive attacks on enterprise, growth, and liberty was avoided. And I think that warrants a bit of relief for all of us.
Taleed J. Brown is a content intern at FEE and hosts the popular YouTube channel "That Guy T".
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
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