Monday, January 30, 2012

Is the feminist agenda really feminism?

Then why do they attack Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann while saying nothing about the millions of women held captive and abused under Sharia law?

Feminists attach Sarah and not Sharia

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Milton Friedman on greed

The miracle of capitalism is its ability to transform man’s natural proclivity for “greed” and “self-interest” into service for others.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Socialism is a theoretical, not a practical, solution to economic problems

Socialism has never and nowhere been at first a working-class movement. It is by no means an obvious remedy for the obvious evil which the interests of that class will necessarily demand. It is a construction of theorists, deriving from certain tendencies of abstract thought with which for a long time only the intellectuals were familiar; and it required long efforts by the intellectuals before the working classes could be persuaded to adopt it as their program.
Dell, Jim (2011-05-13). Memorable Quotations from Friedrich August Hayek (Kindle Locations 23-26). Jim Dell. Kindle Edition.
In short, socialism was developed by power-seeking elitists and foisted upon the working class through a stirring up of strife and envy. It's sole purpose is to garner political power for the elite who deem themselves to be the avant garde of a new world order. The result is the sharing of scarcity and poverty, not wealth.

1934 Political cartoon
[Political cartoon from the Chicago Tribune 21 April 1934]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Joe McCarthy was right

by Don Capron

Joe McCarthy was right.

Now that I've grabbed your attention, let me tell you why.

For fifty years I trust there isn't an educator in either the academy or high schools who hasn't failed to castigate Joe McCarthy as a hate-monger, liar, destroyer of careers, and someone who routinely accused innocent people of wrong doing. "McCarthyism" has become the reflexive adjective among those on the American Left when accused of anything of less than patriotic motives or, for that matter, taken to task for questionable behavior. McCarthy was not only right, he's been given a bad rap by history.

For four years, from 1950 until 1954, McCarthy was the only voice in America speaking out against those in government that were Communists, fellow-travelers (liberals who believed in but did not join the Communist Party), Russian sympathizers, and Stalin apologists. His enemies, consistent with the Left today, chose to attack the messenger rather than the message.

From the earliest years of the New Deal until the late 1940's the government was deeply infiltrated with Communists and their supporters. There was no shortage of either messages to the President or evidence to support such infiltration. Yet, Franklin Roosevelt, then Harry Truman, chose to ignore such evidence.

Adolph Berle, Undersecretary of State for internal security at State, went to Roosevelt in 1940 with a list of Communists in government provided by Whittaker Chambers, a party member who'd defected. Roosevelt, according to all accounts laughed it off and refused to deal with it.

J. Edgar Hoover, in 1943, informed Roosevelt of Soviet spying both within the government and at the Russian Embassy. On this occasion Roosevelt not only disregarded the evidence, he sent Harry Hopkins, his Domestic Affairs advisor, to warn the Soviet Union’s embassy that their phones were tapped.

In 1946 Hoover again went to the White House, this time providing Harry Truman with a list of known Communists and sympathizers still in the government. Truman's response was: "What am I going to do? Give those @#%&* Republicans up on the Hill something to bash me with."

McCarthy's detractors, Communists, and Soviet sympathizers never anticipated two things: One, the Venona intercepts and their subsequent release; Two, the collapse of Communism and the opening of Soviet files.

From 1943 until 1980, unbeknownst to virtually everyone, the National Security Agency intercepted every Soviet message going from or to the United States. It was not until 1994 that their existence was even acknowledged, and 1995 when the first 1,400 of 240,000 intercepts were released to the public. Their content was damning and supportive of the contentions of not only McCarthy but Whittaker Chambers, Elizabeth Bentley, Hoover, and others.

The collapse of Communism opened files of not only internal Soviet spy documents but also gave the FBI, CIA, and American scholars access to the files of the American Communist Party that had been hidden in a Russian warehouse since 1950. The cat was out of the clich├ęd bag.

Just who was exposed by these documents. Alger Hiss who had been the number three man at State behind Dean Acheson and Dean Rusk, and who, most assuredly, at some point, would have eventually been Secretary of State. Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, who purposely withheld allocated funding for the Chinese Nationalists, during their Civil War, that destroyed their currency and, thus, their efforts against Mao's Communists.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg had been conduits for even more damaging information than the atom bomb, for which they were executed. Lauchlin Currie, Special Assistant to F.D.R. Samuel Dickstein, member of the House of Representatives from Brooklyn.

William and Martha Dodd, son and daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Germany in the 1930's. Lawrence Duggan, State Department Director of Latin American Affairs. Harold Ickes, Sr., father of Clinton's impeachment flack, who was Secretary of the Interior. Finally, William Weisband, U.S. Army Signal Security Agency. This is just a very few, the most prominent or household names one might say.

Was Robert Oppenheimer, the Director of the Atom Bomb Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico, a member of the Communist Party? Quite emphatically, no! His wife was. His brother was. His mistress was. As were many of his closest associates at the University of California. In addition, Oppenheimer was one of those scientists in the 40's who thought that all scientific information should be shared universally for the good of mankind.

Were any of the aforementioned exposed by McCarthy? Not one. He'd been too late at the spy discovery game. After all, Alger Hiss got Richard Nixon the Vice-Presidency. White had been shifted to that historical ashbin where failures are allowed to "resign" to, the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Hiss, unquestionably the most brilliant of the rising stars at State at the age of 43, in 1947 became the head of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace; a position usually held by a senior citizen with insufficient retirement funds. Lawrence Duggan, as the FBI closed in on him, had the presence of mind and good sense to jump from a window and commit suicide. Of course, he was considered a "victim" of a non-existent "Red Scare".

Just how many did McCarthy catch? Darn few. Of the 10,000 government employees who were exposed as Communists, security risks, or of questionable loyalty and lost their jobs, at the least, only forty can be attributed to McCarthy.

Any of the major players? None, as most had either been moved laterally by Truman or snared by the FBI.

Most of the forty were small time functionaries such as Owen Lattimore, John Stewart Service, Philip and Mary Jane Keeney, and Howard Shapley; and these were the most prominent. In every case, of the forty, they were all accorded trials and attorneys before their dismissal.

Lattimore had been Director of the School Of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, advisor to FDR on China in 1941, advisor at State in 1946-1947, preached that Mao's Communists were "agrarian reformers", in 1948 encouraged George Marshall to stop aid to Chiang Kai-Shek and his Nationalists, and in 1949 urged U.S. withdrawal from Korea.

Lattimore was a McCarthy "coup". Lattimore was the individual who coined the term "McCarthyism" in response to and defense of the charges brought against him. In a feeble attempt to attack the messenger, Lattimore went so far as to write a book declaring his innocence while, at the same time, attacking McCarthy.

There was only one problem in all of this for Lattimore: Hoover had given Lattimore's FBI file to McCarthy and McCarthy had Louis Budenz as a witness, a former Communist, who'd worked with Lattimore. McCarthy carried the day but was forever stuck with the sobriquet "McCarthyism".

John Stewart Service was another who had managed to hang on, long past FBI and other snares, only to be "outed" by McCarthy. Service was at State and had leaked secret documents to a "front" magazine called "Amerasia" that were used to damage the Chinese Nationalist cause. Again, Service was caught only as a result of a Hoover/FBI "black bag job" (breaking into the offices of "Amerasia").

Philip and Mary Jane Keeney had been fired from the University Of Montana in 1938 for subversive activity. In spite of this Philip, within two years, was at the Library of Congress and, during the war, was with the OSS (forerunner of the CIA). Mary Jane, meanwhile, was at the Bureau of Economic Warfare during the war and subsequently became part of the U.S. delegation at the United Nations. Again, when McCarthy was challenged on these charges, Hoover had already provided him with their FBI files.

McCarthy's discoveries were in inverse proportion to his notoriety. What McCarthy really did was breach the gentlemen's agreement and game of using Communists prior to and during the war while they were slowly dispatched after the war. Many of these were part of the Eastern Establishment in that they came from the "right" families, went to the correct prep schools and universities, belonged to the right clubs, and had the right connections.

Hiss had gone to Johns Hopkins, Harvard Law, and had clerked at the Supreme Court for Felix Frankfurter. They all had impeccable credentials.

It was one thing to catch a handful of Communists outside of government, as in the case of the Rosenbergs. It was quite another to expose the dirty secrets of the 1930's and 40's. That was McCarthy's sin.

Was he a pillar of virtue? Hardly! He was a dreadful alcoholic and eventually died from cirrhosis of the liver. He was a bully, unkempt, crude, and a lout. He once unmercifully pummeled Drew Pearson, his antagonist in the press, after a dinner party, in the coat room of a Washington doyenne. He had many physical and character shortcomings. But he was right.

For all those rushing to put pen to paper to denounce any of the above, you'd be best advised to first do your "homework". Read:

If at first you haven't read the above, then you are coming unarmed for a battle of wits.


[Editor’s Note: This writing originally appeared at http://www.oswegodailynews.com/content/2002/071502/071502ideas_capron_joemccarthywasright.shtml but, regrettably, is no longer available via this link. Sorry.

Read more here: http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=4020. Thanks.

Follow @VoteSmartToday on Twitter.]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On the Constitution and remembering first principles

George Mason, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry worked on the U.S. Constitution. They also drafted the Constitution of Virginia and, in it, they said, "No free government, nor the blessings of liberty, can be preserved... but by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."

The Founding Fathers understood that the preservation of our liberty requires us to revisit the first principles with regularity. Yet, in Congress, the concept of liberty—in the sense in which our Founders used it—has long been forgotten. Surely, our politicians are to blame for this to some extent. But, more importantly, it is "we, the people," who are to blame for not reminding them frequently of these first principles.

We, the people, have taken our liberty for granted while the politicians who have "settled themselves" far away "in that federal city" (Washington, DC) and forgotten the first principles of liberty for the people. For these important principles the politicians have substituted the near surety of their own re-election by buying votes using taxpayer money through numerous and growing entitlement programs for corporations, unions, special interest groups and individuals.

As we, the people, have asked (or, at any rate, allowed) the government to do more and more for us, we have willingly surrendered—step by step—more and more of our liberty. As the people keep asking, the courts and the politicians are more than willing to accommodate in exchange for their re-election. (Note: Re-election rates hover around 85 percent now.)

Now we have an over-reaching federal government that—unless ObamaCare is overturned—has demonstrated virtually unlimited power over the lives of “we, the people.” Unlimited power to compel us to do whatever the government chooses is totalitarianism, even if we still live in a "democracy." It was the federal republic that was intended by our Constitution to defend us from this, but we have long ago lost site of that precious fact.

It's time to wake up America! Stop the madness!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On religion gone wrong

When we think of the Puritans, we usually think of wholesome, God-fearing, upright people in black clothes with buckles on their hats. Oddly, they left Europe because of religious intolerance, but once in Massachusetts they denied their own settlers any religious freedoms of their own. In fact, religious dissenters were expelled from the colony.

I, personally, have a strong faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, but it seems that when religion joins itself to political power that things always go awry. If the living and actions of the faithful are based on, well, faith (as they are or should be); then why do the religious feel compelled to force those around them into conformity through the law when they have the power to do so?

It makes no sense to me; nor does it, I believe, to God, our Father, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly God is not glorified by those who keep the law—secular or religious. He is glorified by those who live by Christ and who take Christ as their very life and everything.

Groundhog Day 2012 and other events

Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address have certain similarities this year. One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to an insignificant creature of little intelligence for prognostication. The other has to do with a groundhog.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On discipline in education

Discipline in education means the freedom of the instructor to establish a sober-minded learning environment, free of disruptions by those who are unwilling to dedicate themselves to the serious undertaking of learning. That does not mean the absence of humor, or even fun; but it does mean that both the humor and the fun are part of the learning process and not a disruption from it.

This, of course, means that the instructor must be at liberty to exclude from the learning environment those who have no commitment to the instruction and learning taking place. Such exclusions may be temporary or permanent, as the individual and circumstances may suggest. Discipline is for "disciples"--literally, "learners"; i.e., those with a willing heart to learn.

It also means that the instructor must be free to issue other disciplinary commands, such as the performance of disciplinary tasks when lack of self-discipline brings needless disruption or loss to the learning processes.

One of the problems with mandatory education until the age of 16 or 17 is that statistically (I hate to break the news to you!) half of all students are below average. That means that many students are best suited to technical and trade learning, rather than being burdened with advanced grammar, English literature or studies in ancient history. They would be happier, and the learning environment would be more profitable for other students, if such individuals were given the option to learn a profitable trade rather than sit in classrooms being force-fed things in which they have no interest whatsoever.

One cannot have a disciplined learning environment while people are forced to sit in such classrooms without anything approaching a heartfelt desire to be discipled in the course being taught.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

To the credit of capitalism and free markets

It is to the credit of capitalism and relatively free markets that there are many, many more people living on the earth’s surface today than at the eve of the “industrial revolution,” and that, in the nations that are most advanced in capitalism, virtually all of the people enjoy a more comfortable life than even the well-to-do of earlier ages.

Friday, January 20, 2012

On Pres’ent Obama’s unseemly conduct

No one can say this too strongly, and no one can say it enough until it is remedied in the office of the POTUS:
We are not subjects; we are citizens! We fought a war so that we do not have to treat even kings like kings, and—if I may remind you—we won that war. Since then, the principle of royalty has, in this country, been inoperative. Who is better suited or more required to exemplify this conviction, in word and deed, that the President of the United States?

On income inequality versus economic growth

Income inequality has long been a favorite rhetorical device to promote such disparate policies as tariffs, immigration restrictions, or subsidies to builders of low-income housing.... The mantra of "rising inequality" is incessantly used as a rationale for punitive tax policies toward high-income taxpayers and even middle-income investors—proposals rarely defended on their economic merits. "Fairness" arguments often seem to drown out serious debate about the potential impact of higher marginal tax rates on economic efficiency, incentives, tax avoidance or economic growth. This [unending] campaign for higher tax rates on upper incomes invariably relies on measures of incomes among the "top 1%" as reported on individual income tax returns....
— Alan Reynolds, senior fellow at the Cato Institute
and author of Income and Wealth

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Government: super-sized, over-extended and unrestrained

Over time, our national government has become over-sized, over-extended and unrestrained.

Politicians—and, sadly, most Americans—can no longer even recognize the federal government's constitutionally-limited roles and functions. Instead the government operates well beyond its means and far wide of its constitutional mandates.

If the government continues on its present course, unchecked by wise voters and self-restrained elected representatives, its actions will irrecoverably cripple our economy, permanently undermine our nation's prosperity, and lead us to financial insolvency. This will rob future generations of opportunity and liberty. It will destroy the "American Dream" for generations to come.

Is this the future you want for YOUR children and grandchildren? It is not the future I want for mine!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On economic growth versus political control

Economic growth is radically unpredictable and, almost more than anything else, politicians want control and the power it brings to them.

The most important economic developments happen at the leading edge of the economy where innovations frequently cause things to be slightly out of control. Therefore, meaningful economic advance does not work well within the confines of so-called "scientific economics" or the "planned economy."

The economic activity that drives rapid growth, rapid increases in capital (production of profits) and the growth of new jobs cannot be foreseen in mechanistic terms or easily predicted using mathematical formulas.

This explains why so many of the economic interventions by politicians and government work against innovation and rapid economic growth. Instead, while seeking control, politicians and governments tend to preserve the old industries and firms that are not on the growing edge of the economy. Politicians are far more likely to waste taxpayer money trying to resuscitate dinosaur corporations and industries for the sake of the equally outdated and outmoded unions than to aid any truly innovative entrepreneurs. As a result, government actions actually damage the long-term prospects for the economy and this means the economy will take longer to recover than if government had not intervened at all.

Monday, January 16, 2012

On the power of corporations, unions and other special interest groups

Corporations, special interests (groups) and lobbyists—bad as they may be—have no authority nor power to coerce a Congressional Representative or Senator to do that which hurts the taxpayer, damages the economy, destroys jobs, prolongs unemployment, increases the size of government or add to our deficit and public debt.

Only our elected representatives—only the politicians in Washington and our State houses—have the power to do these damaging things. Sadly, our elected officeholders come quickly to sanctify every act in pursuit of re-election above the sanctity of our U.S. Constitution or the good of the people and the American economy. It is by this wrong priority that the politician becomes readily “hooked” on the dollars offered to him or her by the special interests and take actions that damage the American republic.

Only WE, THE PEOPLE, have the authority to remove from office—by our votes—those officeholders who succumb to the siren sound of special interest money and influence.

Yes! It is WE, THE PEOPLE, through our own lack of vigilance to our duty, that have allowed the evolution of a federal government that has forgotten our Constitution, forgotten limited government, and forgotten the need for sound money. And, it is WE, THE PEOPLE, who can and must fix it.

Change your politicians often! They easily dirty, and generally do so very quickly!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

On the role of discipline in education

Discipline in education means the freedom of the instructor to establish a sober-minded learning environment, free of disruptions by those who are unwilling to dedicate themselves to the serious undertaking of learning.

That does not mean the absence of humor, or even fun; but it does mean that both the humor and the fun are part of the learning process and not a disruption from it.

Of course, that also means that the instructor must be at liberty to exclude (either temporarily or permanently, as the situation may dictate) from the learning environment those who have no commitment to the instruction and learning taking place. Discipline is for "disciples"—literally, "learners"; i.e., those with a willing heart to learn.

It also means that the instructor must be free to issue other disciplinary commands, such as the performance of disciplinary tasks when lack of self-discipline brings needless disruption or loss to the learning processes.

One of the problems with mandatory education until the age of 16 or 17 is that statistically (I hate to break the news to you!) half of all students are below average. That means that many students are best suited to technical and trade learning, rather than being burdened with advanced grammar, English literature or Ancient History. They would be happier, and the learning environment would be more profitable for the other students, if such individuals were given the option to learn a profitable trade rather than sit in classrooms being force-fed things in which they have no interest whatsoever.

One cannot have a disciplined learning environment while people are forced to sit in such classrooms without anything approaching a heartfelt desire to be discipled in the course being taught.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

On totalitarianism properly understood

“If a president joins the powers of his office to his own willful interpretation of the Constitution, he steps away from a government of laws and toward a government of men.”

— Mike Pence (R-IN)

Of course, the same is true of every officeholder, every judge and every appointed bureaucrat. When Congress as a whole ignores the role of our Constitution—as it has—and forgets limited government, sound monetary policy, and the role of liberty and personal responsibility in American civil society, then we are on the road to totalitarianism.

We must remember that totalitarianism refers only to the state’s involvement “in all facets of society, including the daily life of its citizens.” The term “totalitarianism” has nothing whatsoever to do with the form of government—on the extent of government. A democracy or a republic may become as totalitarian as a dictatorship.

Citizens, be forewarned.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Asking for your help in the coming elections

In these times, perilous to liberty, I am asking you to help in the fight to restore a limited, constitutional government—our rightful heritage as Americans!
In the coming year, please help me and others take action:
  • INFORM OTHERS - tell your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors how and why limited government is important for our liberty and prosperity. (If you don't know why, find out now!)
  • VOLUNTEER to help at least ONE candidate that is working for limited, constitutional government
  • GIVE/SUPPORT - give at least ONE donation of $25 or more to a candidate who stands up for limited, constitutional government
Help stop the madness!

Let’s not give him one more chance!
Obama2012 CampaignPoster_humerous

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Not a democracy

The United States of America is not a democracyit is a republic. Perhaps you recall the words of the Pledge of Allegiance: “…and to the republic for which it stands….”

Our Founding Fathers had many disagreements on many matters. But one point upon which they were unanimous in their opinions was this: a democracy is the worst possible form of government.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On political strategy for restoring a healthy economy

The government's role in restoring a healthy economy is primarily to get out of the way and to reduce the economic deadweight loss due to taxes and excessive regulation (which is just a tax in another form).

Therefore, half-measures in reforming and downsizing of government must be avoided. Half-measures will produce tepid or, worse, no improvement, while allowing critics of reform and downsizing to say, "We've tried your ideas, and they didn't work."
Reforms introduced must be bold, courageous, determined and, yes, some—maybe, many—will be painful to some, as well.

Economic activity presently based on government interventions (e.g., subsidies, artificial demand) will cease to exist. Initial price-jumps following the removal of interventions that were actually or functioned effectively as price controls will be unavoidable. Changes in the value of the U.S. Dollar are also likely to occur.

Protecting the U.S. economy against currency values being artificially manipulated by other nations (such as the Chinese Yuan) is not wrong as long as the protection imposed is directly correlated to the amount of manipulation in the estimated true value of the currency.

Recognition that disparities in income and wealth are normal, natural and actually function as a healthy stimulus to production and the growth of the economy is essential and should be articulated to the voters in a clear way.When legislation is proposed, the changes and the impacts of the changes must be announced and explained in advance. Along with the announcement, the long-term vision must also be clearly articulated. The reason for the change must be clearly defended against every onslaught from the opposition, and then the effects of the changes must be "survived" as reality sets in.

The costs the people must bear during the readjustment of the economy should be shared as widely as possible by implementing measures that are clearly stated to be "temporary" to ease the transition. Otherwise, the fragile political support of those suffering the temporary pain of the readjustment will be lost.

Telling the truth and not promising things that cannot be delivered is the only safeguard to the credibility of the reforms and of the officeholders who see that the reforms are imperative to our nation's full recovery and restoration.

We—the many citizens out here who understand what must be endured in the process of turning the “fish soup” our American economy has become back into the “aquarium” it should be—are here to help!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On inviolable economic principles

All of the speculations and ruminations of socialist or Marxist economists and thinkers will never find a way for their post-revolution utopian society to avoid the curse of scarcity (witness Soviet Union history). Neither will government welfare schemes devised by liberal or progressive economists escape the ethical limitations found in the intimate and inviolable connection between man's willingness to work ("sweat") and his own wellbeing.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The intent and methods of the international banksters and the political class

When designs are formed to raze the very foundations of a free government, those few who are to erect their grandeur and fortunes upon the ruin, will employ every art to sooth the devoted people into a state of indolence, inattention and security....

Samuel Adams
Essay in the Boston Gazette
1771

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The GOP (Republican Party) has no brand

In 2008, then candidate for RNC chairman, Michael Steele, published his “Blueprint for TomorrowEn-route to a Republican Revolution,” outlining his view of the future for the Republican Party in the U.S.

My concern at that time was that Steele’s views were too shallow on at least two counts: 1) The “Republican” brand was not “badly tarnished,” it was non-existent, and 2) because there was no “Republican” brand, many of Mr. Steele’s plans would fail.  The party needed a wholesale “house cleaning,” not “reforms” or “improvements in their IT systems.”

Not much has changed since then. By and large, the GOP still has no brand and what brand resurgence they may be enjoying at this moment is due, primarily, to the activism of the Tea Party and libertarian thinkers who have found third-party efforts to be (for the present) somewhat fruitless.

Now, I am a conservative leaning increasingly toward libertarianism. I even count myself still among “Republicans.” I have even read the “Blueprint For Tomorrow — En-route to a Republican Revolution” (“Blueprint”).

As I predicted back in 2009, the Republican Party has benefited in the intervening election cycles from the radical direction the Obama administration and his equally radical Democrat-controlled Congress had been taking us. However, there remains a large difference between benefiting from an externally driven backlash and what the Republican Party really needs.

 

What the GOP needs is an internal revolution

What the GOP truly needs is an internal revolution or, perhaps better and more to the point, a thoroughgoing “house cleaning.”

In “Blueprint,” Steele’s first “key point” was the Republican Party’s “brand is badly tarnished.”

My futile hope was that this was an intentional understatement and perhaps a sign of life from the emerging GOP establishment that Americans were calling for real change and that the Republican Party could and should rally to the fore for liberty, economic growth, sound monetary policy and limited government. It, apparently, was not.

From a commercial marketing standpoint the “Republican” brand is not “badly tarnished.”  The “Republican” brand remains to this day virtually non-existent.

Or, more properly stated: getting folks to buy the “Republican” brand today is akin to getting folks to believe that the New York Yankees of today are the same team as the New York Yankees of the 1950s and ‘60s (when I thought the World Series was “some team getting to play the Yankees at the end of the season”).

No. People today have little or no respect for or trust in the “Republican” brand.

There have not been enough Republicans in the Senate, the House of Representatives, the White House, or even in governors’ mansions over the last 20 years who have taken a solid and forthright stand for anything more substantial than assuring their own re-election that would identify the term “Republican” with anything correlating to a “principle” or an “ideology.”  (I am not saying that there have not been any, I am saying there have not been enough to create a recognizable “Republican” brand.)

 

The Party of competent management?

Steele’s “Blueprint” said, “We were the Party of competent management.”

Yet, I ask: why, then, were the Republicans not wailing more loudly and more incessantly when President George W. Bush (a man I respect for many, many reasons) permitted the Federal Reserve to artificially suppress interest rates well below what a free market would have supported for a period of more than two years?  This action recklessly supported the already badly managed FNMA (Fannie-Mae), FHLMC (Freddie-Mac) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage programs that encouraged the promotion of subprime mortgages. (And please, GOP establishment, do not try to tell us that the Republicans have not done their share to support the programs promulgated by FNMA and the like.) The market, thus intoxicated by “easy money,” made bad capital investment choices ranging from real estate through manufacturing and distribution channels and all the way to Wall Street and the capital markets themselves.

Sound-thinking economists were, even then, not silent on the dangers inherent in the housing bubble. However, except for a few somewhat weak attempts to speak up over the years, Republicans have remained content to see “economic growth” — even if it was supported by nothing more than federal policy “hot air,” bad monetary policy, and bad banking.  Instead of these weak attempts, there should have been an incessant howl raised by conscientious Republicans against what was happening. (Of course, the GOP politicians remained enthralled to the campaign monies flowing their way in a near-constant stream from Wall Street firms, their CEOs and bankster cronies, so they could not take principled action.)

You and I both know why there was, for the most part, little more than an occasional “squeak” of warning erupting from the deafening silence among GOP officeholders. And, what little was actually said was not backed by any hard-driving action for effective change.

The fact is, far too many Republicans — just like Democrats — receive significant campaign support from the financial sector.  Indeed, the incestuous relationship between Wall Street investment bankers and Capitol Hill is the single largest reason that so many financial institutions have been granted the “too big to fail” marker and handed bailout money.  And, of course, when high inflation comes our way in the not-too-distant future, it will be the financial sector that reaps the rewards.  Why?  Because the financial sector gets hold of the freshly printed fiat money before price-inflation takes effect.  Therefore, with billions or trillions of dollars of inflationary currency in their hands, they get first option to buy whatever assets they choose at pre-inflation prices. (Nice payback to the politicians’ cronies in the banking and securities industries.)

This is the sickening symbiotic connection between politicians who lack moral anchors or sound principles and a monetary system that can readily be manipulated through a central bank.  No wonder that politicians like Senator Dodd need only five individuals from his home state to support their re-election campaigns while they garner hundreds of thousands of dollars from out-of-state donors.

Can the GOP really say (with a straight face), that they are “the Party of competent management,” when Republicans — just like the Democrats — have allowed the Social Security system to become nothing more than a Ponzi scheme that makes Madoff look like a piker? The only difference between what Madoff did and what the U.S. Congress — Democrats and Republicans — have done with Social Security is that no one has arrested any Congressmen or Senators (yet).  Apparently this is because no matter how immoral or how unconstitutional or how (otherwise) illegal or deceptive an act of Congress might be, it is still “legal.” The fact that Republicans have participated in this — almost to the equal of their Democrat cronies — makes it virtually impossible for the “Republican” brand to mean anything to anybody anymore.

 

The Party best equipped to stand for fiscal restraint and smaller government?

How can the Republicans be “best equipped… to stand squarely for fiscal restraint [and] smaller government”? Refresh our memories, please. We poor folks outside of Washington, DC, are having a really hard time remembering on just what principles the GOP stands for “fiscal restraint” and “smaller government.” Was that with the Patriot Act? With our wars in the Middle East? With the TARP roll-out under George W. Bush?

Oh, we remember a few brave folks who stood up — who really stood for something — against the winds and tides of public opinion. But, even when Ronald Reagan was president, were it not for the strength of his personal will and integrity, there were those Republicans in his staff, cabinet and Congress at the time that would have readily jettisoned his economic policy for some good press and slap on the back.

 

The thing about “brands”

Here is the thing about “brands.”  Brands are not merely “names.”  Behind every outstanding brand is an “idea” or an “ideology.”  People who buy “Michelin” tires over some other brand are not buying “Michelin”; they are buying “safety” or “security.”  People who by a “Rolex” watch over some other brand are not buying “Rolex”; they are “investing” in “prestige” or even “ego satisfaction.”  These associations are built up over years and years.  However, a “brand” that may take decades to build can be destroyed in a week of bad press.

What does the “Republican” brand stand for today?  It stands for nothing.

And the reason it stands for nothing is because for at least the last decade — and likely more than four decades with only spotty exceptions — the great majority of those who bore the title “Republican” have stood for no ideals and no principles. (Oh! Wait! I take that back, most of them have stood for one principle — get re-elected by any means.)

 

On coalition-building

Michael Steele spoke of building “coalitions” and “collaborating and coordinating with center-right think tanks, grassroots organizations, and online networks.” The Republican Party’s present image is so tarnished and so degraded that you may very well have to commence these efforts by stealth—even if the GOP establishment insists on restraining its coalition-building efforts to the “center-right.”

Tell me why any organization that has, in fact, invested in building a solid reputation and “brand” around limited government, free market economics, or sound monetary policy would want to bear the risk of saying that they are “collaborating with” or in any way connected to the Republican Party at this present time?

While some current GOP officeholders were elected in large part by through the willing efforts of Tea Party activists, these efforts did not stem from coalition-building. Rather, these efforts were the result of Tea Party people recognizing key principles being articulated by individual candidates who just happened to be running under the GOP banner.

However, there is so little evidence that the Republican Party—especially the GOP establishment—represents any of those principles or ideals, that any organization with which the GOP might seek alliance puts their own “brand” at great risk in agreeing to such a formal association.

Think about it: How many Republicans speak great and marvelous things about liberty, free markets, sound money and a constitutionally-limited government when they are stumping? A small handful, at most.

And, all too frequently, those who do make campaign statements about liberty, free markets, and sound monetary policy end up going to Washington or the state house or elsewhere in government only to cave-in time and time again to so-called “political expediencies.”

 

The GOP establishment kind of candidate

This year’s (2011-2012) GOP presidential primary exposes the hypocrisy of the Republican Party’s false claims to principle and the infection of progressive thinking within party itself. It seems clear that the GOP establishment delights in a candidate like Mitt Romney while despising and shunning a candidate like Ron Paul.

Here I pause to give you a specific and local example.

Most of you are likely aware of Minnesota’s supposedly upwardly mobile star, former Governor Tim Pawlenty.  Here is a man whom I respect for many reasons.  However, this man—as a politician—is a supporter of subsidies for the ethanol industry.

There is at least one word in that phrase alone that should be anathema to a principled Republican: “subsidies.”

A free market needs no subsidies for industry.  Subsidies cause capital to be misdirected, thus damaging the economy overall.  And, of course, that is not to mention the fact that this particular subsidy causes our machines to become competitors for our very food supply with little or no proven offsetting benefit of any kind.

Again, most of you know that this nothing more than a political expedient for GOP politician Pawlenty. He is willing to sacrifice the principle of free markets and to extract taxes from the people for this senseless waste and, in the end, for nothing more than political gain.

Is that the “Republican” brand?  Because that is what many of us out here, who are trying to figure out what the “Republican” brand is, seem to find everywhere we turn.

Here is another pertinent example. Congressman Erik Paulsen. When Paulsen supported the COPS Act of 2009.  I wrote him the following:

Representative Paulsen:

Since when is local law enforcement a role for the national government?

Of course, in a re-election campaign your opponents might say that you voted against money for law enforcement. Now, who could possibly be against more or better law enforcement?

Naturally, for a politician, that’s a justifiable reason for ignoring the U.S. Constitution.

Very sincerely yours,

P.S. One of the things I’ve noticed about writing to you regarding issues is that, if you and I agree, you frequently respond. If we do not agree, I seldom hear from you. I would respect you more if you told me something like, “I know it was the wrong thing to do from a Constitutional point of view, but it was a political expedient.”

At least then I would know you were being honest with me and with yourself. Furthermore, I would know that you actually know and understand the constitutional limits of the federal government.

It appears that “Republican”-branded Congressmen are just as willing to keep state and local governments suckling at the federal teat just as much as the Democrats are.

Earlier, Congressman Paulsen supported extending the CHIP (Child Health Insurance Program) as an extension of Medicaid, and I wrote to him as follows:

Representative Paulsen:

I’m sorry. I thought you were a Republican. Please tell me why your new television advertisements boast about your willingness to access public tax monies for the benefit of a limited group of individuals in the extended socialized medicine program? Also, please cite for me the Constitutional provision that grants to Congress the right to take such actions.

It cannot be the “public welfare” provision, for that only allows Congress to take actions that benefit or will tend to benefit all the public — not restricted or qualified groups.

If you, as an individual, choose to indulge in charity for those less fortunate than yourself, then you are free to do so at your own expense. I will do the same in my personal affairs. But the Constitution does not grant to Congress the authority to extort monies through taxes for the purposes of meeting the wants and needs of the “poor” or any other group smaller than the group of all U.S. citizens.

We elected you, and you swore an oath, to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Please do so.

I trust you understand the “brand confusion” out here in the general population a bit more clearly now.  I would be delighted to correspond with you further on this matter.

….

Very sincerely yours,

I think you get the picture. Please let your GOP Party representatives and elected officials know that you would like the party to stand for something other than re-election!

Thank you.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

On economics, human action and capitalism

Every individual is constantly making choices in the marketplace. This is what we mean by “human action.” With each decision, the consumer decides how to use his or her limited resources (and they are limited whether one is a pauper or millionaire).

You and I are constantly making choices such as: "Will I be better off if I spend my money for this television or that television?" (comparisons between similar products) while, at the same time, we are also considering, "Will I feel better off if I spend my money by paying off my credit cards and getting another latte instead of buying a new TV?"

Even though we sometimes may feel coerced into buying a product (say, fuel for our car), we are still making a free-will decision. We are asking and answering questions like: "Will I be better off putting gas in my car or taking the bus to work? Or maybe I could just hitch-hike to work. Then again, maybe I'd be better off just quitting my job and not putting gas in my car ever." Even the things we feel we must do when we'd rather be doing other things—like going to work when we'd rather be fishing—are free-will choices based on which decision we feel will make our situation better (either in the short-term or the long-term).

Capitalism does not favor the alert! Life, in general, favors the alert.

People who pay more attention when they drive, operate heavy equipment or cross the street are more likely to survive and prosper than those who do not. People who are more willing to respond as effectively as possible to changes in their environment that will affect their short-term or long-term welfare will generally be better off than the lazy, indolent, lethargic or foolish.

That's not because capitalism is opposed to such people, but because such people fail to seize opportunities for surviving and thriving when the opportunities present themselves.

As they say, “Opportunity only knocks once.” But even if it knocks a multitude of times, there will still be those who will miss it.

That is not capitalism’s fault.


For more about what capitalism is or is not, read here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Government spending cannot produce economic growth

Government spending cannot produce economic growth. The reason is that the government must take money out of the private sector economy to spend it on anything.

Let’s test this scenario in our minds:

Imagine, if you will, that the government were to hire all of the workers in the U.S. to build highways, bridges and work on other infrastructure. Doing so would produce a huge amount of economic activity. Many things would be bought and sold and billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars would be paid in wages to the workers.

Even though the president and Congress would undoubtedly tout the fact that “their policies had caused national unemployment rate to fall to zero,” all of this activity and hype would not produce a single ounce of real economic growth for two reasons:

  1. The government would have to take the necessary billions of dollars out of the private economy in the form of taxes or credit (deficit spending). Either way, it would shrink the supply of cash and credit available to private sector operations. Therefore, even if it were possible for the private sector to produce goods without labor, businesses would be so strapped for cash, they could not do so.
  2. With no workers in the private sector, no goods could be produced. Therefore, even if the wages paid to the public sector workers were exceptionally high, scarcity of goods coming from the private sector would make the prices of goods and services even higher. As a result, the workers would feel more "impoverished." Making $500 an hour makes little difference if a loaf of bread costs $125.00.

It is the production of an abundance of goods and services coming from the private sector, thus driving prices down, that make us feel "better off" (or "wealthier"). If a flat-screen television costs you $1,000 and you make $40,000 a year, you feel much "better off" than if a flat-screen TV costs you $15,000 and you make $40,000 a year. The more options we have to satisfy our needs and desires with the money we earn, the "wealthier" we feel—regardless of the actual dollar-amounts involved.

On the other hand, if government interventions make goods and services scarce (hence, more "expensive"), we feel "poorer" and "worse off" regardless of the level of our income.

Since government must must always take money out of the private economy to do whatever it does—money that would otherwise be used to produce abundant growth in goods and services—the government, therefore, cannot produce real economic growth.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

An Open Letter on Ayn Rand, Objectivism and Christianity

In the July 16, 2011, issue of World magazine, editor/publisher Marvin Olasky wrote a piece entitled "Taking a Stand Against Rand." In it he suggested that Christians should repudiate Ayn Rand's anti-Christian rhetoric. In the following letter, I suggest that Christians and traditional Christian teaching and thought are likely what kept Rand from seeing something further. In fact, these same traditional Christian teachings cause Christians who endorse free-market capitalism to appear to be hypocrites. We are not! But classical biblical interpretations fail to show this clearly.


Mr. Olasky:

I am writing in response to your article “Take a Stand Against Rand” (World, 16 July 2011), but I do not expect my letter to be published. First, because it will be too long to fit conveniently into “Letters to the Editor” standards and, second, because I do not think the contents of the letter can be sensibly edited to some 200 words or so. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to address your message in the article.
I do not disagree with anything you said about Ayn Rand and, of course, as a Christian I abhor any form of idolatry—of which there is no shortage in this age.

What I wish to point out is that I believe Ayn Rand’s disdain for Christianity and, for that matter, much of the present world’s disdain for Christianity is due in no small part to traditional Christianity’s short-sighted understanding of the economy of God.

The word "economy"—for the Greek, oikonomia and its cognate forms—appears frequently in the scriptures. The New Testament Book of Ephesians (especially chapters 1 and 3) tells us even that, while God’s economy is mysterious, it is God’s will that we all should be enlightened to see what this mystery holds for us. God is very intentional. He first has a will and a good pleasure. His will and good pleasure bring Him to have a purpose, and His purpose necessitates a plan and, therefore, an economy—a household order or rule and a dispensing—by the which it is His intention to accomplish His will and obtain His good pleasure.

It is, indeed, strange that the general teaching of Christianity is that God does what He does out of nothing but “love” in the sense that God Himself gains nothing by His actions. The scriptures, however, clearly say that God had done what He has done to accomplish His will and to obtain His good pleasure. Even Hebrews clearly say that Christ gave Himself up for us—not without thought of gain—but “for the joy set before Him.”

You see, I believe that we really are made in God’s image. As such, we are made in the same purposeful way. (I’ll get to self-sacrificial love shortly.) God has made us like Him—capable of being intentional and with a desire to achieve our “good pleasure.” Our sin—our “missing the mark”—is not our failure to be “obedient” to God. Rather, our failure—our thoroughgoing missing of the mark—is that we have failed to allow God to become the one living in us and to allow God to make us one with Him by making His home in our all our hearts (Eph. 3:16f—also connected with His economy) so that our desires—our intentions—become one with His intentions. Our “good pleasure” and our intentions are, in our sin, solely selfish and self-serving.

I say that our failure is not a failure of simply “obedience” because, if all God wanted was obedient creatures, He could have formed us to be obedient. What He wants is “sons” and “a bride” who share His life and His nature (but not being in the eternal godhead) with whom He can dwell eternally in a mutual love and a mutual coinherence. Luke 15 shows this clearly in the three parables. These three parables show how the whole Divine Trinity is working to bring sinners through the Son by the Spirit unto the Father.

In the Gospel of Luke 15, the sequence begins with the Son (as the shepherd), goes on to the Holy Spirit (as the woman who enlightens the whole house and sweeps), and culminates with the Father who receives the son into mutual feasting and enjoyment. The Son came in His incarnation—in His humanity—as the shepherd to find the lost sinner as a lost sheep, and to bring him back where he belongs. The Spirit seeks the sinner as a woman seeks carefully for one lost coin until she finds it—and thus rejoices. The Father receives the sinner—who returned with a heart of servant: “Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it”—but is received as a son (one who shares the father's very life and nature) unto feasting and enjoyment. Note that this sequence is the same as that in Ephesians 2:18: “Through Him we both have access in one Spirit unto the Father.”

Throughout the New Testament we find that the emphasis is more upon the love of the Divine Trinity than on the fallen condition and repentance of the penitent sinner.

This does not belittle repentance. Rather, Luke 15 clearly shows us that man’s sin did not surprise nor disappoint the omniscient creator God. How could it? If it did, He could not be omniscient. This fact is emphasized by the fact that the Lamb of God was slain “before the foundation of the world.”

No.

In God’s good pleasure and His intention was His desire to have a creature with whom He could share His divine nature—bringing God into man through incarnation—and with whom He could find mutual and eternal love (as a bride, in the Book of Revelation 22). In order to obtain real love from man, man must also be capable of not loving God.

God’s nature and essence as “love” caused Him to create the entire universe to obtain man. And, from before the foundation of the world, He knew that the price He would have to pay to obtain His eternal purpose and His good pleasure would be for the infinite God to become limited (finite) in incarnation and for the author of life to pay the price of death. God was willing to pay this price—make this investment, if you will—not for “nothing,” not as a “waste” or senseless “self-sacrifice,” but—to obtain His purpose and good pleasure.

Was it a great sacrifice?

Surely, it was!

Could God have been self-sufficient without doing so?

Surely, He could have or He could not be God.

Was it, therefore, a genuine “sacrifice?”

Indeed, it was.

But it was a sacrifice that Ayn Rand could have understood and embraced had Christianity not been depicted—as it so frequently is—as pure folly. Sacrifice with no gain in mind.

The “miracle,” if one might use that word in such as case, is that since man was made in God’s image—since man is intentional and purposeful in seeking his “good pleasure”—the economy founded on free-market capitalism uniquely transforms man’s God-given proclivity for seeking to improve one's own condition into service for those around him in the same way that God’s seeking for His own heart’s satisfaction was transformed into loving service for all mankind.

Free-market capitalism is the unique economic system that transforms what some view as “selfishness” into genuine altruism—and profits are the reward and measure of this altruism.

If what I have said above is an incorrect analysis of God’s economy, then surely those who claim that free-market capitalism is pure “selfishness” are correct and Christians should abandon, not only the concepts promulgated by Ayn Rand, but capitalism itself. But I do not believe it is wrong, which is why free-market capitalism has led to blessing and prosperity wherever it has been allowed to flourish.

And, if we, as believers, cannot gain converts—such as Ayn Rand—it is, in large part, due to the fact that our understanding and presentation of God’s economy is askew.

Let’s not idolize Ayn Rand.

But, as Christians, let’s stop promulgating a gospel that is too small, too shortsighted and does not thoroughly reveal God’s ultimate intention in the universe. I think it is the general presentation of “purposelessness” in Christianity that too frequently turns thoughtful persons away from Christ.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Democrats are wrong about government spending and job creation

Note that the official William J. Clinton Presidential Center website claims that during Bill Clinton’s administration the nation "Moved from record federal deficits to record surplus" and "Began paying off the national debt" while "[Creating] nearly 23 million jobs" and supporting the "Fastest and longest real wage growth in over three decades." Also, during this time "Family income reached record highs, "Unemployment was the lowest in over three decades," the "Lowest overall poverty and child poverty rates since the 1970s," and "Lowest percentage of Americans on welfare in 32 years" was also achieved.

How did they do it?
  • They reduced the size of government, having the "Smallest federal civilian workforce in 40 years."
  • They reduced the burden of federal spending on the economy by having the "Lowest federal spending as a share of the economy since 1966" and the "Slowest per capita growth of government spending since the 1950s."

TODAY'S DEMOCRATS ARE WRONG!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Minnesota’s property tax Ponzi scheme

Every legislative session for the past 40 years, many state legislators have had the urge to dress up in the proverbial red suit, don a fake white beard and play Santa Claus for Minnesota homeowners. The charade that has been played out every year since 1967 is commonly referred to as the “Homestead Property Tax Credit.” Legislators don’t want voters (especially homeowners) to blame them for rising property taxes, so they invented the term “homestead credit.” Like most Ponzi schemes, it’s just another method of moving the money around so no one really knows what is happening.

In this shell game, legislators direct state tax collections from sales and income tax dollars back to cities and counties through a variety of aids and credits in order to deceive property owners that they are paying less in taxes.

This process started in 1967 when the Legislature overrode Gov. Harold LeVander’s veto of the state’s first sales tax. The scheme was to implement a new tax revenue stream and then use a portion of the new revenue to buy down property taxes for homeowners across the state. It started as a 35 percent credit of a homeowner’s property tax bill, up to $250. In subsequent years, the credit has changed dozens of times, always with legislators taking credit for being the property tax Santa and delivering the gift of lower taxes.

But in any good political drama, there is always a counter group, the bunch of angry elves with the claim that some boys and girls got left out.

This year is no different. Republican lawmakers made a change in the method of calculating property tax aid resulting in a shift of those that received state property tax relief. Despite the fact that property tax levies will increase statewide by only 1.2 percent in 2012, DFL lawmakers are claiming that the Grinch (Republican legislators) stole Christmas.

The fact is that property owners across the state continue to pay an ever-increasing amount in property taxes because city and county governments continue to spend more.

Some people think that because the value of their home is declining, their property taxes should also decline. This premise is incorrect if their local government’s spending is not declining at the same rate.

The simple truth is that until the Legislature ends the property tax Ponzi scheme, no homeowner will be able to determine the real cost of local services in their community. City and county officials hide behind this property tax Ponzi scheme claiming they have no control of the process and that they are mere pawns in the legislative game.

It’s time for the Legislature to stop playing Santa Claus to property tax owners by paying out hundreds of millions every year in gifts to cities and counties for property tax relief. End the property tax Ponzi scheme and make local government officials accountable for their spending.


Opinion letter [emphasis added] by Phil Krinkie, a former eight-term Republican state representative from Lino Lakes who chaired the House Tax Committee for a while, is president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. The letter appeared at www.inforum.com.

Monday, January 2, 2012

On “Big Oil” and taxes

Between 1980 and 2005, oil companies directly paid more than $2.2 TRILLION in taxes (after adjusting for inflation) to federal and state governments—including excise taxes, royalty payments and state and federal corporate income taxes. That amounts to more than three times what they earned in profits during the same period, according to numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and U.S. Department of Energy.


For comparison purposes that is…


$88,000,000,000

per year

$7,300,000,000

per month

$803,103

per day

$33,463

per hour


Still, for Leftists—who hate success and are filled with envy—that's not a big enough contribution to make to our American way of life.

But this contribution does not include the other major contribution of so-called “Big Oil.” The firms in that industry employ—directly and indirectly—several hundred thousand Americans. Many of those American earn above-average salaries and virtually all of them pay state and federal income taxes, pay in millions in consumption (sales) taxes, and the vast majority participate in paying millions of dollars into property taxes.

Here are some numbers to think about

In 2010, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry provided $476 BILLION in direct support to the economy. This stimulus did not require an act of Congress nor that billions of dollars in new public debt be foisted upon the taxpayers of this generation and generations to come.

  • $266 BILLION was returned to the economy in the form of spending on new energy projects, improvements to existing projects and enhancements of refinery and other downstream operations
  • $176 BILLION paid to 2.1 MILLION U.S. employees in wages and salaries, plus benefits and payments to oil and natural gas leaseholders
  • About $35 BILLION in dividends distributed to American shareholders

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A non-technical narrative about health care reform

Those who allege that health care prices are being skewed by the health insurance industry are correct, but that is really our (us, the insurance and health care consumers) fault.

As our culture has changed and more and more Americans have defected from taking personal responsibility, the insurance industry saw an increasing opportunity for profit. (We really can't blame the industry for wanting to make more money. I'm sure the company you work for wants to make money and I know the company I work for wants to do so.)

How it used to work

You see, when I was a kid, "medical insurance" (not "health insurance") was owned by many people (but not all) and it was used to cover what today would be known as "major medical" costs. When my parents needed to take one of their seven children to the doctor or hospital, they paid for the visit in full out of their own pocket. If they couldn't pay all at once, they made arrangements to pay it off over time—and they kept their word. And, no doubt, good-hearted doctors and hospitals offered an informal "sliding scale" of fees. Wealthy families probably paid more for services than poorer families visiting the same office or hospital for the same service.

We didn't get check-ups every year. We also didn't have a battery of tests performed with every checkup, but we all survived—as did just about everyone else in my generation.

But handling medical expenses under this "plan" meant self-denial (saving for emergencies, setting aside money and not spending it on every new titillating bauble that hit the market). Unfortunately, most of my generation didn't like that more or less austere lifestyle.

So, along came the insurance industry to "help" us out. Instead of "saving" money, this generation would buy a "product" called "health insurance" that would permit them to visit the doctor with little or no out-of-pocket expense—except for the money being taken out of their paychecks every month for the insurance. As you know, having a payroll deduction means it's money you seldom or never miss.

You also know, if you've read Human Action by Ludwig von Mises, about moral hazard. This new insurance reduced risk for us, the insured—thus making us less careful about how we spend the insurance money. This, in turn, drives the prices of insurance up, because there are more dollars chasing the supply of goods and services.

Meanwhile, access to more money flowing from the insurance industry drove doctors and hospitals to invest in new products and services to "attract" their customers more frequently—more checkups, more tests, more fancy gadgets. Do so tended to drive up the cost of health care which, in turn, drove up the cost of health insurance. Of course, the more money the insurance companies were handling, the more profits the insurance companies garnered from their financial and operational entities.

Profits everywhere went up: doctors made more money, hospitals typically made more money, the insurance companies made more money all from processes that drove the cost of health care upward in a vicious spiral. Add in the whole new field of tort law exploited by the legal community against doctors and hospitals knowing that the insurance companies would end up paying and you have one huge problem. And Congress won't address tort reform because 40 percent or more of Congress is made up of attorneys.

All of this really stems—as I said—from us (the insurance and health care consumers) who willingly engage in the purchase of "health" insurance which, in turn, created for all the participants a moral hazard—a willingness to be more careless about our spending because it seemed like the money really wasn't our own.

Health care reform?

Yes. We need it. But, we have met the enemy, and it is us.

Furthermore, ObamaCare is not the right answer. Tort reform and new approaches to insurance industry competitiveness across state lines is a very good place to start.

Thanks for listening.