Editor’s Break 020 – Intervention Begets Intervention, On Obamacare (8m)

Editor’s Break 020 looks at the nature of government intervention in the economy with a focus on what’s happening around Obamacare right now. The more government tries to solve problems (of its own making, of course), the more problems it creates that need to be solved.

Listen to Editor’s Break 020 (8m, mp3, 96kbps)


via RSS here.
via iTunes here.
via Stitcher here.
via blubrry here.
via Player.FM here.

Open This Content

If Republicans Had Balls, They’d Repeal Obamacare in Full

The Republican “alternative” to Obamacare isn’t a repeal, but merely a few clumsy modifications which fail to address the original law’s most blatant shortcomings.

In addition to forcing insurers to allow adults to remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26, the updated law will still forbid insurers from denying coverage or charging more to people with preexisting conditions. These mandates require the abandonment of the actuarial tables and risk analysis which make the concept of insurance functional. They create a subsidized system within state-defined parameters with only the flimsiest facade of “privatization.”

The proposal also includes direct government subsidies, does not repeal the unfunded (and statistically useless) expansion of Medicaid, and encourages insurance companies to charge more—not for preexisting conditions which are relevant to consumption—but for lapses in coverage which are not.

If Republicans had any balls, they’d repeal Obamacare in full, repeal Medicaid expansion (hell, they should repeal Medicaid in its entirety while they’re at it), open up the sale of insurance products across both state and international borders, remove all existing restrictions on coverage caps and other regulations on what insurance must cover, and let the free market go to work. They should also allow unlimited tax deductions for charitable giving to encourage the private sector to help those who can’t afford healthcare or health insurance.

But Republicans (just like Democrats) don’t give a damn about freedom or about helping people. They all just want to get reelected.

Open This Content

Stop Trying to Control One Another

Most conservatives think I’m a liberal because I oppose the death penalty, war, the draft, censorship, drug laws, and other state interference in people’s personal lives.

Most liberals think I’m a conservative because I oppose obamacare, welfare, food stamps, taxes, environmental regulations, and other state interference in business and the economy.

Most libertarians think I’m an anarchist because I refuse to engage in the game of voting for people to run the state rather than agitating for its abolition.

Most anarchists think I’m a statist because I still vote against levies and tax increases (if you ask my opinion on robbing me, I’ll voice my objection) and because I support a free market and private property rights.

In reality, I’m just a guy who believes it’s wrong to hurt people or take their stuff and who realizes that all claimed authority is illegitimate. I don’t have the right to control other people and they don’t have the right to control me.

Believe what you want. Call me what you will. I just want people to live in peace and stop trying to control one another.

Open This Content

The Constitution: Not Even Good Toilet Paper

The Constitution was a really bad idea to begin with, but it doesn’t even do what its supporters claim it could do. If the US fe(de)ral government was once “limited” by the Constitution, then I guess I don’t understand what “limited” means. “If only we had held the government to it“. Ha ha ha!

Anymore, “Constitutional” just means “whatever the court decides government should be able to get away with“. If the government wants it, it will be constitutional enough. Especially if following the Constitution would require disbanding huge segments of the Fe(de)ral government- such as the BATFEces (and every other clearly unconstitutional agency) and all the “laws” they impose and enforce.

No more military. No more departments of education, “the interior”, or anything else. No more FBI, NSA, TSA, etc., etc. No more “Social Security”, ObamaCare, Medicare/Medicaid, subsidies. No more income tax (or IRS). No more War on Politically Incorrect Drugs. In fact, practically no more fe(de)ral government at all. At least 99.999999% of the US fe(de)ral government is obviously, with crystal clarity and no room for quibbling, prohibited from existing under the Constitution. An honest reading would require it be instantly, without hesitation, abolished and disbanded. No adjustment period allowed.

And the courts won’t allow that to happen, no matter how dishonest they have to be to keep the scam going.

It doesn’t even matter if anyone with a reading comprehension level above that of the average 10 year old can see that such an agency or “law” clearly is not permitted by the Constitution- if it serves the State, it will somehow be “constitutional”.

As in cases like this.

I can’t even bring myself to care anymore about constitutionality– and I did care back when I began to explore liberty seriously. I mean, I knew the Constitution was a failure, but I wished it hadn’t been. Now I see it as nothing but an excuse to impose a State.

Those who still see some legitimacy in government, and some value in the Constitution, may mean well, but they are no friend of liberty. They are supporting their own worst enemy. Stockholm Syndrome, for sure.

Open This Content

Thank You, Donald Trump

We advocates of liberty owe Donald Trump a great debt of gratitude. Thanks to Trump it is clearer than ever that most people who call themselves conservatives, and not just those who have lined up with Trump, are no cousins of ours. (There are honorable exceptions, but alas far too few.) Freedom is not on their list of priorities. Neither (of course) is free enterprise. Nor civil liberties. And I need not mention war, peace, and empire. (Trump is no dove or anti-imperialist.)

What apparently matters most is National Greatness, that is, rank nationalism — even among many conservatives who don’t like Trump and who opposed his candidacy. (They merely doubt that Trump is really one of them.) But National Greatness is simply shorthand for conservative violations of liberty. As the Jeffersonian Abraham Bishop said in 1800, after witnessing a decade of Federalist (i.e., Hamiltonian) rule: “A nation that makes greatness its polestar can never be free; beneath national greatness sink individual greatness, honor, wealth and freedom.”

Before going further, I will acknowledge I am swimming in perilous waters. Conservatism subsumes a diverse group of people. Neoconservatives differ significantly from paleoconservatives (such at those at The American Conservative, which has published my work). The former are empire lovers who thrill at the flexing of American power abroad; the latter are skeptical about projections of American power. To make things even more complicated, neoconservatives come in both Wilsonian (democracy-promoting) and non-Wilsonian flavors. But the various factions overlap enough to permit me to proceed, even if gingerly.

Coverage of the Trump campaign/transition has featured a long parade of pro-Trump conservative, or right-wing, former political operatives, activists, pundits, and talk-show hosts who in the past denounced Democratic presidential candidates as diabolical figures plotting to crush cherished free enterprise and impose broad social engineering, if not outright state socialism, in its place. (I’m thinking of Jeffrey Lord, Ben Ferguson, Scottie Nell Hughes, Katrina Pierson, Amy Kremer, and their ilk.)

But we’ve heard little or none of that sort of criticism this year. Why? Because their candidate, Trump, embraces social engineering and shows little if any interest in free enterprise — I mean really free enterprise — enterprise that is free to hire non-Americans with or without government papers; that can move abroad without penalty; that can buy and sell anywhere in the world without checking the terms of the “trade deal” struck by the U.S. government and some foreign counterpart. Proponents of immigration and trade restrictions favor social engineering, full stop. So Trump’s conservative cheer-leading squad openly touts the benefits of social engineering. (One at least expresses discomfort with some of the Trump program.) Many of them have long favored government restrictions on enterprise for the sake of National Greatness, but they were more circumspect in their pronouncements when their candidates paid lip service to free markets and free trade.

We’re also witnessing the spectacle of a more prominent conservative Keynesianism, another form of social engineering. Right-wingers, former pro-Say, anti-Keynes supply-siders who once bashed big-spending debt-indifferent Democrats, now whoop it up for Trump, the man proposing to cut taxes and spend additional trillions on roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and the allegedly depleted military. Remember the conservative outrage over President Obama’s 2009 stimulus/infrastructure bill? (Regarding the myth that big infrastructure spending yields economic growth, see this.) Trumpite conservatives no longer seem to care about the mounting national debt and budget deficit, which future generations will pay for in higher taxes and/or a Fed-inflated cost of living. (But see this.) These conservatives used to see Social Security and Medicare the way progressives see climate change: as a coming manmade catastrophe. The conservatives, however, had a better case. The entitlement programs have many trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, which will one day require high taxes on younger workers. (Alas, repudiation may not be politically feasible.) Trump promised not to touch Social Security or Medicare, so his conservative backers have become fiscal-climate-change deniers. These are indeed men and women of principle.

Many of Trump’s conservative fans were founding members of the Tea Party movement. It’s been largely forgotten that the Tea Party emerged to oppose not Obamacare but George W. Bush’s Wall Street bailouts in 2008. Guess who supported the bailouts: Trump. Moreover, on the campaign trail he complained that home ownership has declined under Obama. But it was government promotion of home ownership that gave us the Great Recession.

The Tea Party also opposed the use of eminent domain for corporate profit, which was upheld in the hated Supreme Court Kelo ruling. But Trump applauded Kelo and had tried to take advantage of the power of eminent domain for his own business ventures.

I never heard Trump criticized for things by his swooning legion of supporters. Are we to infer that conservatives now favor bank bailouts and corporate eminent domain?

Trump promises to stop firms from leaving the United States and brags about his efforts to keep Ford and Carrier facilities in the United States. Do conservatives now favor that sort of thing? The answer seems to be yes: conservative pundits favorably received the latest news that Carrier and Trump have struck a deal to keep 1,000 jobs (out of the 2,000 that were to be transferred to Mexico) in Indiana. Carrier, by the way, is owned by United Technologies, a big military contractor. As the New York Times observed, “If Barack Obama had tried the same maneuver, he’d probably have drawn criticism for intervening in the free market…. While Carrier will forfeit some $65 million a year in savings the move was supposed to generate, that’s a small price to pay to avoid the public relations damage from moving the jobs as well as a possible threat to United Technologies’ far-larger military contracting business…. The Pentagon is its single largest customer.”

With Trump we’re liable to see even more military-industrial-complex “socialism” than we already have. (See “Federal Access Likely Biggest Factor in Carrier Deal.”)

Once upon a time, conservatives criticized President Kennedy for jawboning U.S. Steel and other steel companies into rolling back price increases. Back then Kennedy said: “Some time ago I asked each American to consider what he would do for his country. And I asked the steel companies. In the last 24 hours we have their answer.” Conservatives have come a long way.

Finally, Trumpite conservatives, probably without exception, would say that the most influential figure in their political and even personal lives (until Trump came along?) was Ronald Reagan. He is their idol. Reagan once said that government isn’t the solution; it’s the problem. Unfortunately, that principle did not inform most of his policy making — but he said it, and his backers said they loved it. He even praised free-traders Bastiat, Cobden, and Bright — even if he bowed to political pressured and embraced protection. Trump expresses no such sentiments. He, like one of his closet confidants, Steve Bannon, is an “economic nationalist,” that is, a mercantilist. Even the traditional conservative homage to the Constitution (flawed at that is) and limited government is lacking from the Trump songbook. He thinks the problem is weak national leadership and the solution is strong leadership, i.e., him. I don’t hear Trumpite conservatives complaining about this, though they sometimes pretend to read this limited-government meaning into things Trump says.

So thank you, Mr. President-elect, for helping to clarify (if we didn’t know already) who — like you — are not to be included among the friends of liberty.

Open This Content

A Prediction About The Fate of Healthcare in America

Send him mail.

“Food for Thought” is an original column appearing every other Tuesday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Norman Imberman. Norman is a retired podiatrist who loves playing piano, writing music, lawn bowling, bridge, reading, classical music, going to movies, plays, concerts and traveling. He is not a member of any social network, nor does he plan on becoming one. Dr. Imberman has written a fantastic Christmas song which he had professionally recorded as a demonstration record. He is looking for a publisher, or A & R man, or record producer to listen to his song. It deserves to be a permanent member of the portfolio of familiar and favorite Christmas songs. Archived columns can be found here. FFT-only RSS feed available here.

Now that State-run or State-controlled healthcare has become an accepted premise by both sides of the political aisle and by most of the populace, the future of health care is easy to predict.

America has taken the advice of Nancy Pelosi and passed the Obamacare legislation in order to “see what’s in it” and brother we sure found out. So it needs either improvement or it needs to be replaced. The Left, if it remains in power, will look for ways to improve its disastrous faux pas so it will pass more stringent legislation resulting in a worsening of the situation and greater tyranny. The Right will try to repeal Obamacare and replace it with their “new” form of healthcare. If they fail to repeal it they will be forced to join the Left and also attempt to improve it. However, no matter which form it takes, doctors will remain employees of the State resulting in greater dissatisfaction amongst the entire profession. Be aware that under a socialized medicine system, it’s not medicine or healthcare that is being socialized. It’s doctors and hospitals that are involuntarily being made employees of the State—no choice. As more and more doctors drop out of the system and as more and more inefficiency results in poor medical care and medical mishaps, the State will then pass legislation whereby the State will pay for the education of all doctors in order to control the situation and entice more people to go into the medical profession to replace those who have left. After all, who can resist “free” medical education? Of course all this “free” medical care and “free” medical education will come with a cost—a great cost.

The final result will be a one-payer healthcare system—a State-run, State-controlled, State owned system, which is what the Left wanted in the first place. Presently, the wealthy in foreign countries run to the USA for their serious medical care. Once America has a one-payer system there will be no place to run. Be aware, you tyrants of the Right. In the long run, your healthcare system will be worse than what we have gotten from the Left. It’s too late for the Right, even if it wanted to make our healthcare system voluntary, since its members and the majority of the population want coercion to rule the practice of medicine. The Right will give its new coercive and non-voluntary system a name that has the word “free” or “voluntary” in its title in the same manner that unaffordable Obamacare has the word “affordable” in its title. But be sure that the Right’s version will be just as enslaving as Obamacare, if not worse. In the future, America’s healthcare system will be one massive, bureaucratic, corrupt, inefficient and dangerous Medicaid program. What a future!

Read more from “Food for Thought”:

Open This Content