Archive for the ‘Economic freedom’ Category

A few choice quotes.  The first from the LA Times:

Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don’t like what they see.

These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.  …

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.”

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.

She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'” Kehaly said.

…many are frustrated at being forced to give up the plans they have now. They frequently cite assurances given by Obama that Americans could hold on to their health insurance despite the massive overhaul.

All we’ve been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it,” said Deborah Cavallaro, a real estate agent in Westchester. “I’m infuriated because I was lied to.

Cavallaro received her cancellation notice from Anthem Blue Cross this month. The company said a comparable Bronze plan would cost her 65% more, or $484 a month. She doubts she’ll qualify for much in premium subsidies, if any. Regardless, she resents losing the ability to pick and choose the benefits she wants to pay for.

I just won’t have health insurance because I can’t pay this increase,” she said.

And from the San Jose Mercury news:

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.

“I was laughing at Boehner — until the mail came today,” Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.

“I really don’t like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family’s pocket each year, that’s otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.”

Of course, I want people to have health care,” Vinson said. “I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”

The hardcore leftists who believe in collectivism and destroying the individual for the common good still say it’s a good thing, of course:

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the state and insurers agreed that clearing the decks by Jan. 1 was best for consumers in the long run despite the initial disruption. Lee has heard the complaints — even from his sister-in-law, who recently groused about her 50% rate increase.

People could have kept their cheaper, bad coverage, and those people wouldn’t have been part of the common risk pool,” Lee said. “We are better off all being in this together. We are transforming the individual market and making it better.”

Translation: “We are doing this to you.  We do not approve of your choices.  We will force you to change.  We will transform the market into what we want it to be.”

And when it doesn’t work, as it always doesn’t, they’ll start looking for people to blame and more people to squeeze money from, just like happens in every socialist/communist utopia.

“The rates aren’t going up because insurance companies are pocketing more money,” Lee said. “That is what it takes to pay the claims and deliver the healthcare.”

That would be bad if those people with the cheaper “bad” coverage wouldn’t be part of the collective.  So they are forced into the system in order to force them to pay for what liberals and leftists want to do with your money.

Gary McCoy / Cagle Cartoons

The same collectivist totalitarian logic would say that good cars are good, so everyone needs to drive a Cadillac.  Thus Kias will be made illegal, and anyone not buying a Cadillac will be taxed for a Cadillac until they buy a Cadillac.  Don’t need a Cadillac?  Well then you’re one of the stingy people with cheap, bad coverage who doesn’t know what’s best for yourself, and who’s a greedy selfish asshole who won’t pay for litte Billy’s Cadillac.  You must be punished because  you resist the collective.

“We believe the prices are higher than they should be,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica advocacy group. “This is giving a bad name to the Affordable Care Act.”

Socialism gives socialism a bad name every time.  Communism gives communism a bad name every time.  That’s why socialists and communists always lie and say that socialism and communism work, that every time they were historically used “that wasn’t real socialism/communism”, and other such lies.

We’ve talked about the push for an internet sales tax before, and some effects it’s going to have.  And now we’re seeing some more of those effects:

From the Miami Herald, about KC MO:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Online retailer Amazon is severing ties with its online associates in Missouri because of a new state law that subjects their transactions to sales taxes.

Amazon Associates write blogs or product reviews then link to Amazon.com, and collect commissions — between 4 percent and 8.5 percent — if people use that link to buy something on Amazon’s site.

Amazon is blaming a new Missouri new law that takes effect next week subjecting those online transactions to sales taxes for its decision to sever the ties, the Kansas City Star (http://is.gd/X0XZdE ) reported.

It’s worth noting that Amazon is for a federal internet sales tax, because it will be used to crush competitors.  Here they don’t like it because it bothers them.

The end result is that small internet companies are destroyed, the taxes that the government wants to wring out of the citizen vanish with the companies, and peoples’ livelihoods are harmed.  Those same citizens who owned the now dead companies now have less to spend in their own communities, and won’t pay state sales taxes or income taxes on income they no longer earn.  The community is now poorer.

From the Fiscal Times:

The Internet sales tax is hitting consumers like me in the gut – literally.

As someone interested in keeping my weight down (who isn’t), I order a supply of low-calorie pre-packaged meals from a food-and-lifestyle website – and have it delivered each month without so much as a keystroke if there’s no change to my existing order.

The company is based in Maryland, but that’s been irrelevant. The convenience of receiving the order at home in New York without thinking about how far the food travels has been hard to beat.

Recently, however, this polite but scary note hit my in-box – and by the way, when companies are this polite in an email you know it’s not good news:

“We wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that we will begin collecting and remitting sales and use taxes on all Internet sales where applicable as of September 1, 2013. The sales tax will be visible during checkout as part of the overall breakdown…

“Our decision to join other major Internet sellers in the collection of and remittance of sales and use taxes is in response to the growing instances of states legislatures and revenue agencies seeking the enforcement of Internet sales tax. We expect to see more measures enacted aimed at enforcement of sales and use tax collection.

He basically sums it up by saying he probably won’t be buying from the same company, since he’ll be paying more.  And he may simply change his buying habits altogether, and he wonders what kinds of taxes he’ll have to pay on that.

Well, the answer is screw you, citizen, because the government will wring every last dime out of you so it can fund more perpetual Democrat voters on the welfare plantation and buy them new Obamaphones.  You being free to choose what you like is a problem, because they need that money to fund their bigger and bigger governments, and you need to be nudged into the slot they want you in.  The Ruling Class will do as it pleases, and it will do as it pleases to you.

Elections have consequences, and the power to tax is the power to destroy.

From the KC MO story:

Amazon’s email to its associates in the state called the new law unconstitutional. LaFaver said the legislature did not hear from the company when the bill was being debated.

If you understand how the market works, then you know that raising taxes creates a cost on businesses.  Those costs will be passed on to customers.  In the meantime, the businesses may have to eat the cost until they can shift it to their customer base (which will shrink as a result of higher prices), and many businesses simply don’t want to deal with that.

Amazon previously said it was in favor of a national sales tax, but that’s because it’s used there as a barrier to competition that will crush their smaller competitors that can’t afford to comply with new rules.  Amazon can slowly creep towards monopoly by having the government crush its competition with regulations.  That’s cronyism.

Here, Amazon looked at the increased costs in one market and decided to cut off some business partners because that’s what the bottom line favored.

Of course Democrat LaFaver couldn’t possibly have forseen that an increase in taxes would result in harm to businesses.  He’s a Democrat, and therefore can’t understand that actions in the marketplace by government have consequences.  He seems to think you can just raise taxes and more money will magically appear.  But the private sector doesn’t have Ben Bernanke and can’t run on IOUs.

From Free Enterprise (last year):

Tis the season to give thanks. And for the last 80 years, the federal government has required raisin producers to “give thanks” for the privilege of selling their raisins nationally by requiring them to fork over up to half of their raisins – for free. A lawsuit raising a constitutional challenge to the program has now made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is Horne v. Department of Agriculture.

The program, operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has a rather Orwellian-sounding name – the “Raisin Marketing Order.” In a nutshell, under this program, every year, as a condition for “letting” farmers sell their raisin crops in interstate commerce, the federal government has taken up to 47% of the farmers’ raisins – often for no payment at all, or below the cost of producing the raisins. The program has its origins in Great Depression efforts to fix the prices of agricultural crops. Don’t care much for raisins? Similar programs cover a variety of other agricultural products, such as walnuts, almonds, prunes, tart cherries – and cranberries! That’s something to chew on as you sit down to your Thanksgiving meal tomorrow.

From Free Enterprise (a few weeks ago):

The Supreme Court overruled a decision that allowed the federal government to attempt to strong-arm raisin farmers, Marvin and Laura Horne, into giving up half their raisin crop.

…When the government told the Hornes to hand over the raisins or their cash equivalent, the Hornes fought back.  Their legal fight began over a decade ago and the federal government has levied almost $700,000 in fines against them.  Today, Marvin and Laura won their Supreme Court case.

In today’s decision, the Supreme Court held that the raisin farmers could use the Constitution’s Takings Clause to defend their property rights in the enforcement proceedings the government initiated after the Hornes refused to hand over their raisins.  (The Constitution’s Takings Clause says that the federal government must provide just compensation when the government takes a person’s private property.)

It’s nice to see SCOTUS pushing back against the government and the government’s regulatory oppression of businesses.  The problem is the government wanted to keep their $700,000 in fines and then make them file again to get the money back that the government illegally took.  Thieves with the force of law.

Worland, Wyoming.  Photo by ShortTimer.

From Breitbart:

We’re not broke.  There’s plenty of money, it’s just the government doesn’t have it.

The government has a right… the government and the people have a right to run the programs of the United States.

He’s arguing for a transaction tax, basically a VAT for the financial sector.

Yes, he claims the government and the leftist communist “people” has a “right” to take whatever it wants in order to run programs that they’ve decided to create and do unto you with.  The government, representing the mob, can take from the individual, because the government and the mob have a right to take from the individual and give to themselves.

Government has no rights.  Governments have authority granted to it by the consent of the governed.  Governments and government autocrats that declare they have a “right” to your property and livelihood (because your hours of labor create your property) because they want to do what they want to do are plundering every individual’s pockets to line their own Ruling Class nests.

Tyranny justifying itself, and government claiming it is the most important thing in the world, and wholly ignoring how and why it was created.

-

Also, there isn’t enough money.  That’s why Ben Bernanke keeps making more.

The preface to this is an article in Salon:

Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?

Short short answer is tyrants, and enabling of tyrants.

It’s the reason why there are still monarchies ruled by hereditary kings, dictatorships, and countries ruled by warlords in the 21st Century.  If we were to look at other countries as examples, then one rapidly finds there are plenty of regimes across the world that, by their existence, then must be “better” by this standard.

It’s not as though there were a shortage of countries to experiment with libertarianism. There are 193 sovereign state members of the United Nations—195, if you count the Vatican and Palestine, which have been granted observer status by the world organization. If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?

Here’s the problem – a peaceful libertarian state would have to overthrow its old government or have it dissolve.  Or it would have to be left alone.  Or throw off its old government and be left alone on the other side of an ocean.

The United States for roughly the first hundred or so years of the nation was a libertarian nation.  It was a Constitutional republic formed on classic liberal ideas from the enlightenment – the value of the individual and the rights of the individual.  One country did try it, and it succeeded wildly.

Kowloon is one more modern, (if bizarre) example, and it worked, despite being in an area not known for libertarian ideas.  Until China destroyed it.

The welfare state and public education are both schemes cooked up by those who wish to be masters of men – types like Bismarck in Germany who decided that he would bring people closer to the state.  The state that he ruled.

Criminalization of drugs is a decision by rulers to tell people how to live, and impositions on trade are attempts by government to steer economies.

As far as open borders go, no libertarian nation can survive truly open borders, and few libertarians actually want open borders.  A nation without borders is not a nation.  A nation without borders is subject to the political whims of migration as new arrivals bring old ideas and change the political landscape.  You can’t invite in tyrants as full partners into a libertarian world any more than a monarchist could invite a follower of Robespierre.

When you ask libertarians if they can point to a libertarian country, you are likely to get a baffled look, followed, in a few moments, by something like this reply: While there is no purely libertarian country, there are countries which have pursued policies of which libertarians would approve…

He didn’t ask someone who understands what they believe and why.  (As a fun contrast, if you ask someone why they voted for Obama, you’ll get some much more interesting answers.)

And from here the pro-collectivist anti-liberty hit piece descends mostly into drivel.  Why?  Because leftists don’t understand other points of view.  Those who wish to conserve American liberty (Constitutional conservatives, classic liberals/libertarians, and more open-minded traditionalists, even) understand the left, the left does not understand the right.

Lacking any really-existing libertarian countries to which they can point, the free-market right is reduced to ranking countries according to “economic freedom.”

Wholly, totally, completely wrong.  The US up until the advent of socialism’s import around the 1900-1910s is the libertarian country.

And to the “Achilles’ Heel” by EJ Dionne at WaPo:

The ideas of the center-left — based on welfare states conjoined with market economies — have been deployed all over the democratic world, most extensively in the social democratic Scandinavian countries. We also have had deadly experiments with communism, a.k.a Marxism-Leninism.

The Scandinavian countries have been having some major problems with their welfare state as of late.  They also prospered, like all of Europe’s socialist paradises, under the protection of the US’s guidance of NATO.  Otherwise, they’d have all been Soviet satellites, or starved from defense spending to prevent the Soviets from invading.

Libertarians can keep holding up their dream of perfection because, as a practical matter, it will never be tried in full. Even many who say they are libertarians reject the idea when it gets too close to home.

Wrong.  It already has been tried, and it succeeded wildly.

The problem is that a truly libertarian state has to acknowledge that it is a libertarian state, and it does have to make sure its people understand that the benefits of their society come from their freedom.  Politicians who serve decades in power are not eager to tell people that they need to live without the politician.

There used to be politicians who were leaders and who would stand up for the fact that the nation is one created in liberty.  For example – Democrat Grover Cleveland, discussing giving federal disaster aid:

Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character. . . .

- President Grover Cleveland

Such men existed, and such do exist, but it requires breaking the collectivist nonsense that has been spouted for decades and decades by both tyrants who spout it as a means to power, and individuals who bleat it as a means to security at the expense of their own liberty and dignity.

Those who desire to encourage paternal care, or even coercive paternalism and government force against the citizen, actively desire to weaken the sturdiness of national character, because it makes it easier for them to put themselves in power.

But Dionne lines up another swing that misses the point.

…tea party members, as the polls show, are older than the country as a whole. They say they want to shrink government in a big way but are uneasy about embracing this concept when reducing Social Security and Medicare comes up.

They payed in to a system they were forced to pay into.  Government took from them for decades “on their behalf”.  There’s a reason they aren’t keen on shedding programs they paid into.  But younger Tea Partiers would be willing to forgo so-called “Social Security” and live free with the extra money they have – investing it as they wish.

But this inconsistency (or hypocrisy) contains a truth: We had something close to a small-government libertarian utopia in the late 19th century and we decided it didn’t work. We realized that many Americans would never be able to save enough for retirement and, later, that most of them would be unable to afford health insurance when they were old.

Wrong.  “We” didn’t decide that.  Politicians decided that.  Politicians acting outside the scope of the Constitution – in violation of the Constitution – went out and created a program out of whole cloth.  Politicians who promised security told people to trade their liberty, and it worked because the politicians created crises they knew they could exploit.  Politicians worked to weaken the national character for their own ends.

And when the Great Depression engulfed us, government was helpless, largely handcuffed by this anti-government ideology until Franklin D. Roosevelt came along.

And here is the great fiction again.  The Great Depression was caused by the New Deal and FDR.  FDR exacerbated what would have been a jarring market correction, but a market correction nonetheless.  He and his retreads from the Woodrow Wilson administration decided to “mold the world nearer to their heart’s desire” by exploiting a crisis they helped to manufacture.

fabian window

The weakness with libertarianism and the end of the libertarian United States was through the expansion of politicians willing to give people things “for free”.  It was a cultural weakening of national character.  Things like the Curley Effect may be effective, but it’s also destructive.

It just means that a formerly successful nation can be destroyed through manipulation and political dealing.  Just like an athlete can be laid low by a disease, it’s not necessarily the athlete’s fault.

The reason the United States succeeded was because people understood why it succeeded in large part.  The yeoman farmer took pride in his nation, and did his best for that nation, and understood the makeup of that nation.  The welfare recipient who’s been told for generations that their nation is the worst in the world and that it owes them doesn’t care to defend it.

Individual character matters, and individual character creates an free nation.  Individual character that succumbs to collectivism and the misery it produces will create a collectivist nation.

Much of this nation is still libertarian, and succeeding wildly.  Part of this nation is collectivist, and seeking to destroy the rest and control it.

From NY Post:

Mayor Bloomberg went on a spitting-mad rant against a city cab-fleet boss who won a court victory over Hizzoner’s planned “Taxi of Tomorrow” — vowing to “destroy your f–king industry” when he leaves office, The Post has learned.

A fuming Bloomberg made the threat against Taxi Club Management CEO Gene Freidman at Madison Square Garden’s private 1879 Club during last Thursday’s Knick playoff game, a witness said yesterday.

“It was like Gene had kidnapped his child. He used the f-word twice,” the witness said.

Freidman confirmed the blow-up to The Post, and said Bloomberg’s tirade included the warning that, “After January, I am going to destroy all you f–king guys.”

That’s bad news for Bloomberg’s political enemies, who could all become targets once the revenge-minded billionaire has nothing but time on his hands.

-

“He turns to me, and said, ‘Come January 1st, when I am out of office, I am going to destroy your f–king industry.’

Yahoo Finance looked at the logistics of it:

There aren’t a lot of people who can credibly threaten to upend an entire microeconomy. The mayor is a billionaire, though, and he might just have the wherewithal to make it happen. So how might he go about it?

-

…the laws that have allowed cabbies to block Mayor Bloomberg’s top-down technocratic paternalism while in office are the same ones that keep Uber from disrupting the the hired car sector from below. So if Bloomberg is serious about this smashing-the-yellow-cab-monopoly thing—and please, let him be—what does he have that Uber doesn’t? The answer is the distinguishing feature of his entire political career, from the shift in party allegiance that marked his first mayoral run to his quixotic campaign to enact gun safety rules: His firm belief that money well-deployed can buy any political outcome. And, of course, that $27 billion.

A heavily regulated marketplace creates high barriers to entry, but sufficient capital can break through them. Uber has raised $50 million since 2010, and while it doesn’t release revenue figures, it’s clearly in a precarious position when it comes to fighting regulatory lawsuits and city rule-makers. But a Bloomberg-funded trade group, with publicists, lobbyists and lawyers could open the legal doors, while Uber and the like force mobile efficiencies into the sector.

And then the market will provide all the destruction a megalomaniacal billionaire could want.

Keep in mind once again, this is the same megalomaniacal billionaire paternalist dictator tyrant who’s after your rights as a citizen, whether it be to enjoy a Big Gulp soda or to own tools of self defense.  He will use the force of government against you because he can bend government to his desires – a government of, by and for Bloomberg to crush the little people like you.

He will erect barriers to entry and regulatory barriers to destroy companies that he dislikes, and he will lobby for and buy politicians to inflict any of his whims on anyone, anywhere, as we’ve already seen in Colorado.

He is on a mission to “f***ing destroy” you, too.

For those who totally missed it, Colorado’s leftist Democrat rulers recently passed several anti-gun bills that were opposed 10-1, rejected by the people, and passed by legislators who didn’t even bother to answer questions about their bills because they planned to and did ram it through.  They also threatened and shut up law enforcement that opposed it.

In addition to driving Magpul out of Colorado, and driving the Outdoor Channel out of Colorado, and driving the Alfred Manufacturing Company out of Colorado, now they can add HiViz to the list of companies leaving Colorado:

HiViz Shooting Systems intends to leave Colorado in the wake of new state gun control legislation signed into law last month, according to the Northern Colorado Business Report.

The Fort Collins company, which makes sights, recoil pads and other accessories, started in 1996. But like Magpul Industries Inc. of Boulder County, HiViz said it’s not happy with the gun control measures approved by the Colorado Legislature and signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Magpul Industries announced last month it will be leaving Colorado.

Pass anti-gun bills, expect gun companies to leave.  Leftists are happy with this, but that’s because there’s still someone making guns for their enforcers, and other than that, they want to destroy all gun companies.  They will find that their enforcers will be denied a lot of tools now, though.

“I make this announcement with mixed emotions,” Phillip Howe, president and CEO of HiViz, said in a statement. “Colorado is a beautiful state with great people, but we cannot in clear conscience support with our taxes a state that has proven through recent legislation a willingness to infringe upon the constitutional rights of our customer base.”

HiViz gets it.  And they’ll be keeping their customer base by supporting them.