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No More Regulation!

13 Aug

There has been a lot of bogus explanations for what caused the Panic of ’08 and its ensuing recession, but the most absurd comes from a well-respected financial website, DailyFinance.com, written by Peter Cohan. He blames our current economic mess on, of all things, small government:

The idea [of small government] has influenced American politics for almost 30 years, and helped create the ineffective regulatory agencies which allowed all kinds of questionable practices to thrive in American business, especially in the world of finance. By helping create a record debt bubble, which thrived in an era of weak regulatory oversight, small government nearly ruined the global economy last fall.

There is so much to critique in this nonsense, it’s hard to know where to begin. I don’t know which America he’s been living in, but this country hasn’t seen anything but gigantic and bloated government since since at least the middle of the 20th century. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may have paid lip service to small government, but their Administrations vastly expanded the size and the scope of the State.

Cohan also recites that oh so popular catchphrase of “deregulation” to explain our stagnating markets. If only government regulations had been stricter, the evil bankers and businessmen would have never preyed on an innocent American public. This faith in government regulation is extremely naive, since we have had (and continue to have) miles of pages of regulations enforced by thousands of government agents. The list of regulations is exhaustive, and it’s hard to imagine any aspect of our economy that our government didn’t or doesn’t regulate.  Regulators have been nothing more than co-conspirating robots, extorting the public in the name of their interest.

Government is the only institution that when it doesn’t work, it asks for money or control (public schools, police departments, the Post Office, etc.)

Despite extensive oversight and an endless source of funds, regulators, with droning consistency, always fail in their intended goals. When they fail, there is always a demand to come up with new regulations and hire more empty suits to enforce them; a cyclical motion of corruption, residual failure, and waste.

The perfect example of this is the Federal Reserve. The Fed, a central bank operating in complete secrecy, distorts and manipulates the economy with its inflation and easy credit. The resulting effect is an endless cycle of booms and busts. When the economy does bust, like it did last September, the Fed and all of its statist partners blame “capitalism,” “free markets,” and “deregulation,” and then proceed to inflict a sickened economy with the cancers of more inflation and easy credit.

What it boils down to is that the government plays too big, not too small, of a role in the economy, and the financial sector especially. In a truly free-market capitalist economy without the government there to socialize their risks while privatizing their profits, bankers would act a great deal more prudently. They would have to; the disciplines of a free and competitive market combined with a sound currency encourages this. Currently, with our semi-fascist mix of government and private industry, we see banks creating secondary markets for IOU-backed mortgages to people who could never afford them , since the government is there to pick up the tab for these risky investments. No amount of regulations can control the reckless chaos of a Fed fiat-money economy.

For almost 100 years, the American economy has been guided by the destructive, immoral, and evil hands of the statist central planners in DC. Isn’t is time we give small and limited government a try?

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CNN’s Cuban Healthcare Fantasies

11 Aug

Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center provides an indispensable service that would make most people cringe; he actually watches CNN so we don’t have to. CNN, like so many major news media outlets, is starting become less and less relevant in the revolutionary age of blogging, Twitter, and lightning quick updates. These graying media outlets have consistently been mouthpieces for the State, and it’s hard to find a foreign war or government program that they haven’t cheered on.

So it wasn’t a surprise to see this 17th ranked program’s outright Cuban propaganda. Last week, Ted “Castro’s a helluva guy” Turner’s CNN broadcasted a special on how Cuba’s healthcare system should be a model for the US. The report included clips from Michael Moore’s sickening Sicko, raving about Cuba’s “impressive healthcare statistics.” Did you know, for example, that according to UN figures, Cuba’s infant mortality rate is the 44th highest in the world, right next to Canada!?

The anchors gushed and gushed about Cuban healthcare; it’s supposed “efficiency,” high life expectancy, the “best in the hemisphere.” And…it’s all free!

Well, not exactly. CNN’s sloppy reporting blatantly ignores the fact that any news that comes out of the island is heavily monitored and controlled by the Cuban government. A Media Research Study found that during the first five years of CNN’s operations in its Havana bureau, news feeds that they were given were nearly all slanted in favor of the Castro regime. Luckily, the truth tends to see the light of day even in the darkest depths of tyranny.

CNN conveniently leaves out some important numbers in those same UN figures. In 1958, a year before Castro took over, the semi-capitalist Cuba had the 13th highest infant mortality rate in the world, ahead of France, Belgium, Israel, Japan,  Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Fifty years later, all of these countries far surpass Communist Cuba.

Cuba’s famed low infant mortality rate is also blurred by more troubling statistics. The abortion rate in Cuba is 0.71 abortions per live birth, one of the highest in the world. Any Cuban pregnancy that might gives doctors some trouble is simply taken care of.  According to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Cuban children between the ages of one and four also have a 34% lower survival rate than US children of the same age, and Cuban mothers are four times more likely to die during childbirth than US women.

Yet, somehow their infant mortality rate is reported to be so low. How can that be? It’s not like the Cubans are enslaved under the iron fist of a mass-murdering dictator.

Cuba’s healthcare system is a disaster infused with corruption, a top-heavy bureaucratic nightmare whose quality worsens with every dollar thrown its way. This is the essence of government: wasteful, inefficient, slow, and monopolistic. The frustration of the DMV, the mediocrity of public schools, cops tasing at will, the Imperial Pentagon; these are all of examples of the ugly and coercive power of the State, Nietzsche’s cold, cruel monster.

The complete nationalization of the 70% government run US healthcare system will likely come, since nearly every aspect of our economy and personal lives has already been swallowed by the State. It won’t collapse all at once, but government’s inherent inefficiency will reduce quality while bankrupting it, and, like Canada’s crumbling system, fall apart.

Throwing punches at Obamacare opposition

8 Aug

Like a fighter backed up against the ropes, Obama is starting to throw punches at the enemies of his healthcare reform proposals. Calling his opponents “outlandish” who are armed with “misleading information,” the President is surveying the political landscape, seeing more and more dissent arise from a continuously frustrated American public, and is lashing out like the great demagogue that he is:

“Some have been using misleading information to defeat what they know is the best chance of reform we have ever had,” Obama said, adding it was critical for Americans to have all the facts as they meet their lawmakers in home districts.

Obama’s aides and fellow Democrats have charged that protests staged at some “town hall”-style meetings held by congressional Democrats have been orchestrated by Republican- and industry-backed groups and conservative talk-show hosts, and are calling for a more civil dialogue.

Why is is that whenever the current US regime finds opposition to statist policies, it is always the work of some “conspiracy?” Two decades ago, the Clinton gang thought a “right-wing conspiracy” was stifling their agenda, and the Bush junta and its allies smeared anyone who opposed the invasion of a defenseless, starving Iraq as “unpatriotic?”

The opposition to Obama’s dangerous healthcare initiatives are growing, and the failures of government-run industries (especially healthcare) are beginning to be exposed.

Stefan Molyneux has a great critique of socialized medicine at his excellent internet radio show at Freedomainradio. He reveals how ever since the US government began meddling in the medicine market in the 1960s, costs have gone up, quality has been lowered, and that any bureaucratic system based on the use of state violence is not the answer for our healthcare problems:

In the second part, he exposes the disastrous failures of Canadian’s healthcare system:

Opponents of state-controlled healthcare don’t seem so “outlandish” to me.

Obama won’t rule out tax increase

8 Aug

It’s funny how much of a difference a year can make.

Do you remember when Candidate Obama promised that 95% of American workers would receive tax cuts? A year later, President Obama is now offering “no guarantees” that there won’t be a tax raise on middle-class Americans:

President Barack Obama’s treasury secretary said Sunday he cannot rule out higher taxes to help tame an exploding budget deficit, and his chief economic adviser would not dismiss raising them on middle-class Americans as part of a health care overhaul.

“If we want an economy that’s going to grow in the future, people have to understand we have to bring those deficits down. And it’s going to be difficult, hard for us to do. And the path to that is through health care reform,” [Treasury Secretary] Geithner said. “We’re not at the point yet where we’re going to make a judgment about what it’s going to take.”

All of a sudden, the biggest spender in the short history of the US is concerned with budget deficits. Obama passes his trillion-dollar phony-money stimulus package written in red ink, and Americans are supposed to foot the bill to fix the deficit?

If Obama really wanted to slash the deficit, he actually has plenty of options besides robbing more Americans of their wealth. The US spends nearly $12 billion a month on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and $390,000 a year per soldier to keep them there (there are about 130,000 troops there now). Ending these occupations could do a lot of damage to the debt and deficit, but Obama is instead intent on digging deeper and deeper holes in the sands of Mesopotamia.

Since “healthcare reform” is on the President’s mind in not ruling out tax increases, it should be obvious that Obama has no intention of having just a public option. He wants a completely government-run health care system. Here he is, in his own words, stating that the “public option” will destroy private healthcare and lead to a healthcare system run completely by the USSA:

This is why he wanted it jammed through Congress so quickly. Like the Patriot Act, the quicker the bill goes through, the fewer questions that get asked and the quicker the government can swallow more and more power.

2012 can’t come soon enough.

Long Live The Recession!

8 Aug

For those who may be worried about the future of the American economy, there is no need to panic. The recession is over! After all, the media has proclaimed it, so it must be true. Apparently, the second quarter GDP numbers fell by only 1%, stuffy CEOs are getting lucrative bonuses, and economic growth is predicted to last through the summer.

Call me a cynic, but for some reason, I’m not entirely convinced. All of the numbers, statistics, and spin spewing from the airwaves can not duck an important question: have the imbalances that caused the Panic of ’08 been fixed?

The cause of this bust, as well as every major bust since 1913, lays directly in the lap of the Federal Reserve and its monetary policy. This government-run private bank artificially lowers interest rates which encourages risky malinvestment, encourages foolish mortgages that shouldn’t have been lent or purchased, and devalues the purchasing power of our money (especially the poor). The Fed simply borrows money against itself, injects this fiat monopoly money into the economy, and the bubble chaos ensues.

The imbalances have not been fixed because our Counterfeiting Regime in DC does not understand that a recession is not something to be fixed or overcome, but that it is the fix. Recessions are an attempt by market forces to repair the damage of malinvestment and misallocation of resources by liquidating toxic assets and debt. Allowing this to happen leaves our economic structures more efficient and sound, but Fed policies prolong the pain by doing just the opposite.

Before the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the US experienced a number of panics that the government schools’ history books rarely mention. That’s because these recessions were fixed smoothly by market forces, a strong gold-backed currency, and the power of free people acting in a free marketplace.

What the government is doing now (and what it has been doing on a smaller scale since 1914) is creating trillions of dollars in Fed “stimulus” money, a dangerous and counterproductive approach that has, and will continue to, only make things worse. Our economy was drunk on the Bush-Greenspan Fed inflation, and we woke up with a hangover of borrowing, spending, and debt a few years ago. Instead of putting down the bottle and sobering up, the Obama-Bernanke Fed is back at the barstool.

By interfering with the unpleasant, but necessary, forces of the recession, the US is trading short-term gain for long-term disaster. By propping up inefficient and corrupt companies on the backs of taxpayers, the US deprives healthy companies with the essential capital they need to grow. By continuing to cut interest rates, Americans are encouraged to borrow and consume instead of saving. All of these government-induced factors impede economic recovery, while capitalism continues to be the dartboard.

For the perfect example of the complete ineptitude of the government’s management of the economy, we need to look no further than the awful “Cash for Clunkers” bill that started last week. It gives Americans the incentive to get rid of cars that they have already paid for so that they can go further into debt to buy new ones. Subsidizing Americans to continue on the path of consumption is a recipe for disaster and a microcosm of our Empire of Debt.

We have learned nothing from the mistakes of the past, and the infamous American amnesia allows these errors to be expanded and perpetuated.

This post originally appeared in Robert’s bi-weekly column in San Francisco’s (d)Not Gonzo blog.


What recession?

8 Aug

It turns out that not everyone in America is feeling the sting of the recession in the same way. DC is apparently booming:

A DC tourism association reports this week that overall visitors to the nation’s capital were up 3% from 2007 to 16.2 million, and international visitors were up a dramatic 22% to 1.4 million in 2008. The Washington metro area’s unemployment of 6.2 percent also trails the national average, which is nearly in double digits.

The Obama Administration is also proposing to spend $400 million to fix up the grounds of the DC National Mall, a tourist hot spot, loaded with museums, monuments, and other “freebies” that keep the tourists coming.

Obama’s presidency is defined by the expansion of federal power and control, and it’s no wonder that the Egomaniac-in-Chief is also using the DC National Mall expansion to sell political memorabilia of himself and offer Obama-themed tours.

The Imperial City is immune to the recession woes felt by most Americans since it is an overgrown bureaucratic parasite, living and growing on wealth stolen from the American people. While the rest of the country is witnessing double-digit unemployment and the increase in the prices of goods due to the inflationary monetary policy of the Fed, DC picks the country’s bones cleans and throws us the scraps.

This sad state of affairs goes all the way back to ancient Rome, where the

productive, private citizens in outlying regions of our nation and states are financially burdened to pay for a parasite public economy of lawmakers, lobbyists, contractors, and bureaucrats in the political centers.

The DC leeches are living it up at our expense, and Americans are starting to get sick of it.

Wal-Mart’s healthcare statism

8 Aug

As the debate over healthcare reform dominates the headlines and the halls of Congress, America’s largest employer is now getting involved in the action. Wal-Mart has bought airtime and a full-page ad in the DC daily Roll Call declaring their support for nationalized healthcare. Wal-Mart has been advocating the complete government takeover of the healthcare industry for years, and now that the issue is at the top of the President’s agenda, it can now effetively rally support for health care corporatism.

Wal-Mart’s urge to see new healthcare legislation passed resembles the ugly two-headed monster of state capitalism dressed in altruism. This push for “every person in America [to] have quality, affordable health insurance” is another attempt by Wal-Mart to use the power of the state to crush competitors and burden smaller businesses with increased taxation.

Since the beginning of the corporate giant’s existence, this tool has been part of its predatory repertoire. When it began to expand vigorously just a few decades ago, it frequently joined hands with state and local governments to use the “eminent domain” clause to steal locally owned private property, arguing that the increased sales tax revenue that would inevitably ensue was the “public use” that the 5th Amendment requires for land takings. Governments, who are always looking to loot and pillage the citizenry, see a golden opportunity to consolidate power and increase their revenue, while Wal-Mart (and those hideous strip malls and shopping centers) see a way to unfairly snuff out their competitors.

Wal-Mart has also been one of the biggest proponents of increasing the minimum wage for the exact same reasons. Minimum wage laws are one of the most misguided attempts at alleviating poverty since they increase unemployment and make it more difficult for businesses to hire the poor (Apartheid South Africa used them to push black Africans out of the workforce as well). Naturally, Wal-Mart has supported increasing the minimum wage for the same reason it supports the nationalization of health care: to stifle competition by putting smaller retailers at an economic disadvantage.

The fact that Wal-Mart favors socialized medicine should make liberal supporters of single-payer health care very uneasy. The Left has criticized Wal-Mart for its unfair business practices and mistreatment of employees, but ignores the reality that it is only able to do this with the helping hand of the state. Wal-Mart resembles free and disciplined market economics about as much as the health care industry does; both are recipients of state protection, state management, and state-granted monopolies.

It is a myth that we have a “free market” healthcare system, and Americans haven’t known free-market healthcare since at least the 1960s, when the crooked LBJ nearly took it over. Since then, government intervention has sickened our health care system with infinite paperwork, mandates, and the tyranny of licensing, like government quotas imposed by the American Medical Association cartel that limit the amount of doctors that are “allowed” to practice. Americans used to enjoy privatized healthcare that was the envy of the world, where routine visits were paid in cash and insurance was only for catastrophic events like floods, earthquakes, or serious illness.

Today, most Americans get their healthcare through top-heavy managed-care organizations, like HMOs, Medicare, or Medicaid. These institutions routinely deny payment for various “unapproved” drugs and procedures because us serfs can’t possibly be trusted to make our own responsible decisions.  Since they also represent a third party that is bearing the cost, doctors have no incentive to charge the minimum and every incentive to maximize costs. Healthcare providers are nothing more than bureaucratic middlemen that drive up the costs, and simultaneously lower the quality, of our care. In every other industry, the advancement of technology has led to lower prices; not so with a healthcare system 70% controlled by the  predatory hands of the state.

The “evils” and “excesses” of capitalism makes an easy scapegoat for power-hungry politicians to gain more power and control of industries that barely resemble market-based enterprises. Until the government removes its iron fisted grip over the American economy, Wal-Marts will continue to monopolize towns and health care costs will continue to skyrocket.