It’s easy to stand for freedom of speech, when the message delivered is admirable!

Standing for freedom of speech is easy, when the speech is not controversial

I am a resident of a Northwest Ohio suburb. The center of our metropolitan area is Toledo, Ohio. We had a Nazi demonstration in 2015 that was reported in the National Press. Most in our area did not welcome this demonstration. It brought bad additional and unwanted bad press to our area. It certainly was not a boon for local merchants or our local leaders, who were busy trying to court new industries and citizens for our area. This demonstration was inconvenient to say the least and certainly unwelcome by the majority of our citizenry, yet the march and demonstration occurred and for the most part without disorder. See Toledo Blade Article link

I was proud of our citizens!  We saw evil in our midst, but exercised true tolerance by allowing free speech.  We demonstrated that good can prevail over evil, when both ideals are allowed to be expressed and debated.  When the day was done no one died and the citizenry still agreed that white supremacy is an evil doctrine!

The demonstration cost our area financial resources (police resources and police overtime), which we did not have and  paid for a cause, which we not only did not support, but which most our citizenry condemned. I heard many residents voice outrage at the prospect of dedicating scarce local resources to protect this demonstration,yet it was done and it is important that it was. Why you ask?

I already mentioned that I and our citizenry do not support the ideology of these people. Yet I state categorically it is important that even unpopular and yes, even evil individuals are allowed to speak out. It is the right of free speech and the ability to voice differences in the public square that allow us as a nation to maintain our moral compass!  It is when we do not allow our vocal minorities to speak out that our moral compass is jeopardized!  If we only hear homogenous messages, we never have to ask difficult questions about our moral choices.

It is not the duty of the government or even local citizenry to suppress ideas expressed in the public forum. People are capable and do decide whether a message is laudable, laughable or even evil.  The opportunity to express a point of view that is unpopular allows for a public conversation.  It is through public discourse that public policy is properly formulated.

So was our President wrong to assert their was fault on both sides?  Was there violence from both sides?  See NBC News Link  Is it acceptable to bring weapons (bats) to a protest and cover your face in order to counter a demonstration by people that you believe are evil? Do you have the right to intimidate those, whose views you believe to be evil?    If your answer is yes, consider whether you are promoting a free discussion of issues.  (Who decides what is evil?)

Ask yourself will my answer allow me to speak, when my view is unpopular or in the minority?  (Roman Catholics consider what will happen to your rights to oppose current social mores, if violent intimidation of free speech becomes the new norm.  Remember, you are now seen as evil to many who promote gay marriage and abortion rights! ) Must any public official now rank the level of evil on each side  of an issue and express their ranking after any violent outbreak? (Remember your feelings are just that feelings Ask yourself this.  Are my feelings compelling me to stereotype everyone in a group?  Do I believe in guilt by association?)

Most demonstrations include some activist zealots and some merely interested attendees and all level of individuals between these extremes.  I doubt this demonstration was much different.  When the President said he thought there were good people on both sides, he probably was not wrong!  Yet he is vilified for not lumping all together because evil was clearly present.  (I guess stereotyping is fine as long as it is backed up by a liberal confirmation bias!)

Those who were merely interested bystanders or who believed an objectionable statute should remain maybe misguided by current social mores, but should not receive the same condemnation given to neo nazis nor should they be deprived of their right to speak their mind even if their viewpoint is objectionable to the majority!

Is there no benefit in remembering the mistakes of history in order to not repeat them?  Should their be a new American mantra “Expression which is offensive to any group must be eliminated because offensive speech is by its nature hurtful to someone.”  Anyone, who dares to hold a different view is our enemy!  (Let’s all welcome in the age of the ministry of information.  Perhaps popular media outlets should purge their archives of views proven incorrect over time. ) Death to the historic record!  Let’s all feel good today!

Freedom and exercise of free will can sometimes be messy!  People make bad choices!  Not everyone always agrees with the majority.  Do you not think there were some, who stood against the Nazi crowds in Germany?  Probably not many given the Nazi government’s propensity to eliminate all opposition, but had there been guaranteed free speech and public dialogue, perhaps the holocaust could have been averted or at least limited in scope.  The beauty of our country is that we protect the rights of all to speak their minds.

It is easy to stand for free speech, when the message is an admirable one, but much more difficult, when scarce resources are expended to allow those, whose speech we find objectionable even evil or when the protected speech violates our own basic code or morality.

Yet it is at these times that we must all rally to protect free speech.  It must be safe to express ideas without the threat of physical intimidation.  Our maintenance of our moral compass relies upon open and  free discussion.  Free discussion can not exist in an environment of intimidation.

Far too many have decided that we have free speech but any leader or individual’s speech must be parsed and then the parsed segments weighed.   If the parsed segments as interpreted threatens the strong feelings against an obvious evil, then the individual expressing such improvident views must be ostracized.  Does this scrutiny promote the idea of free expression or is this no more than the politics of division presenting itself in a different form?

Ask yourself: Do I support freedom of speech and free will only as long as it is easy?  Do words mean anything anymore or am I dominated exclusively by my feelings?  Do I suffer under a confirmation bias?

Allowing the exercise of free speech for those,who we regard as evil is the true test of whether a nation is truly tolerant.  May we always pass the test.  God bless America the land of the free!

Nurturing doesn’t mean “Supporting for life”

Republicans are portrayed as uncaring because they fail to nurture the citizenry from cradle to grave. Nurturing is not the same as supporting for life. Government cannot afford to support the able for life!

Republicans seem to lose the battle with the bicoastal masses because they are seen as “uncaring”. Uncaring has become code for unwilling to provide additional benefits or rights to the latest group identified as “oppressed” The oppression can be by individuals, corporations, government, politicians or all of the above. Republicans are perceived as heartless, if they don’t use government to nurture the less fortunate. Nurturing as defined by the bicoastal masses means support of individuals or groups for the duration of their perceived oppression. Many times this means support for ad infinitum.

Democratic politicians and academicians capitalize on these perceptions and label those with “non- traditional or non- nurturing policy” solutions as heartless or simply interested in promoting the rich. These groups create code words to emphasize the enormity of the uphill fight necessary to overcome their economic plight. Words and phrases like barriers, economic disabilities are used to emphasize the task faced by these groups are nearly insurmountable.

The fact is the downtrodden in our society may require financial assistance for a time in order to become contributing members of our society. I mention this group to emphasize that this is an extremely small group and there programs are already in place to assist these individuals. If these programs are failing, perhaps they should be evaluated and changed to better serve this group. It is a social safety net for those who can’t. The vast majority of individuals do not fall within the category of those incapable of taking care of themselves. It is the larger group of individuals capable of self support with the need for a boost that is the subject of this writing.

Indeed every parent with children approaching adulthood understands the dilemma faced by Republican lawmakers. The dilemma every parent faces as their child nears adulthood is the extent of the assistance provided to them. Parents are inclined to nurture even their adult children. When children receive too much assistance, they never learn to take risk and are frequently resigned to limited careers and perceive limited opportunity to advance. Parents worry about their children’s mistakes and after providing counsel must at times avert their gaze in order to allow their adult children to make their own decisions. Some of these decisions will be wrong and will have consequences. This is because we live in a free society. Individuals have free will.

Democrats are like modern day helicopter parents, who never want to allow their adult children to make their own decisions. They hover and provide constant support both emotional and financial. They never allow the bad decisions to be made or the consequences to follow, when bad decisions are made. They constantly emphasize the shortcomings of the system and its economy and how an individual can be oppressed and fail. Republicans are a divided party with some members hailing from bicoastal liberal states. Republicans are constantly battling both the Democrats and their vocal left wing, which wants government to support all individual decisions throughout their life with no consequences for bad decisions.

Democrats point to statistics that emphasize the small group (less than 20% that can’t afford or don’t wish to purchase healthcare) and see that as an example of the “heartless society” thrust upon us by the “mean spirited Republican majority”. Democrats see no place for individual responsibility. All are just feathers in the wind cast about forces beyond their control. They champion the causes of groups like those young adults under 26 still dependant on their parents and individuals, who choose to wait to purchase health insurance until after they are ill and make rules promoting these individuals at the expense of the all. Yes, Democrats, rules, quotas and your agenda are costly and hurt economic growth and thereby increase bad decisions and increase need.

Fortunately Democrats, Americans are a tolerant people, but this does not mean we need to celebrate everyone’s lifestyle choices or subsidize their financial poor choices. If you choose not to work or work in a field, which has low demand, then your economic prospects will reflect your choice.

It is not hateful to point out those life choices have consequences and should. Rather than champion extreme lifestyles and poor economic choices, perhaps both Republicans and Democrats should allow charities, families and charitable groups to help this small group of individuals over the short term consequences of their decisions. Individuals have the absolute right to choose how they live, but government does not have the responsibility to shield the individual from the consequences of their decisions or enable their continued bad choices utilizing subsidies from others.

Republicans need to cease to be apologists for all failure. Government does not replace family, friends or charity. Failure has a purpose. Failure is frequently a precursor of success. Ask any accomplished individual and they can provide a litany of mistakes from which they learned valuable lessons. These learning experiences frequently lead to later success.

Republicans stop parenting. Start governing. Governing does not mean standing place of parents. (Acting in loco parentis) Governing means that you allow individuals to make choices and understand some will choose badly. Freedom allows for exercise of free will and includes the right to make errors and learn from the errors and grow.

Federal Government: It’s certainly not family

It isn’t your mother or your father, a sibling or even a close relative.  Contrary to popular media descriptions, it isn’t your uncle either.  Government is not a replacement for your family.

It isn’t your mother or your father, a sibling or even a close relative. Contrary to popular media descriptions, it isn’t your uncle either. Government is not a replacement for your family. It doesn’t see you as an individual. It isn’t a replacement for organized religion and certainly should never be seen as a moral compass. It is the use of force by a legislative majority over the rest of us and should only be used for limited necessary purposes. It is a poor allocator of scarce resources. It is a very poor investor, yet the general public trusts it to make many life decisions, which affect the economy, the family and the individual.

Would you trust someone with your household finances, if they repeatedly borrowed in order to pay current living expenses? Would you trust a bookkeeper,who told you that you had money set aside for your old age, when all you had was a cabinet full of IOU’s? Would you trust a financial adviser, who proposed improvements to your property or additional property purchases, when basic maintenance on your existing assets was not occurring? If you answered no to any of these questions, then why do you trust government with your money?

Government continues to borrow for entitlements, which are really programs that provide basic living expenses for citizens. It is part of the never ending and always expanding “WAR ON POVERTY”. It is the longest running war in US history and there is no indication, we are winning. There is never an examination to determine if the programs provide increased opportunity and when evaluated; it is only with an eye toward increasing funding.

Are these programs efficient and effective? If they are effective, then why isn’t there significantly less program usage during periods of full or near full employment? Why were we advertising for additional food stamp recipients? Why is any cut in the rate of increase in these programs seen as an attack on the poor ratherthan a victory over poverty?

Would you continue to spend your personal money like this? If your answer is no, then isn’t it time to examine these programs and phase out these programs in favor of some which promote individual dignity and self sufficiency. and actually accomplish their purpose?

Should we continue to rely on ineffective government and continue to borrow and never have to do more than make token payments on the end bill? There is no pain. No day of reckoning. Why don’t we increase our use of charity to help the poor? Is it because charities know they have limited resources and allocate to the truly needy? Is it because promising programs insures representatives reelection and continued political power?(Remember politics is who gets what, when, where and how.)

What is the role of family both nuclear and extended, when a relative is faltering financially? How many times have you heard parents say: “I just don’t want to be a burden to my children?” Is that proper thinking? When is it not the duty of the family to care for its own, whenever possible? When does someone step up and say “The emperor is naked”? When do we acknowledge the lessons of history that communities, which fail to compete, go into decline?

Demand your representatives; both federal and state evaluate their spending. Spend your money like it is their own. The question a representative should ask is whether this spending is a necessary and efficient use of taxpayer funds for a purpose consistent with limited government. Why should government take on this responsibility?

Taxpayers please don’t fall for the advertising campaigns for increased spending, which tout that the spending is only so much per day or week to fund this program. This ploy has been used to fund never ending ineffective public policy, which starts at a certain amount then continues to grow and grow over time. Ask is this a valid use of the force of government? (Doubt this statement?
Ask yourself how many times you have felt your tax money was spent toward a purpose you would not support? Why do you pay? Legitimate use of force but forcenone the less,AKA taxes!) If this program is a good idea, can it be accomplished by voluntary contributions or by a charity? If no one would contribute to voluntarily fund it, why not? Is there an achievable goal with an end in sight? If permanent, will it afford individuals the opportunity to move onto a more productive life? Does the proposed program support increased life skills and self sufficiency?

Remember

Government is not a replacement for your family or your social support network.

Paying taxes doesn’t absolve you of your family responsibilities nor should the payment of taxes be used to assuage your conscience.

Families are responsible for each other. Where incapable for a time to provide, they should be required to “pay back” anyone, who provides necessaries for their members.
Existence of government programs doesn’t absolve individuals from helping their neighbors.
Federalism is the basis of our great republic and the any power not given to the federal government should not be exercised by it.

Healthcare Reform: More than simply redistribution of insurance cost!

1) Accept that life is not fair and government can not make it fair.

2) Accept that markets are efficient allocators of resources, which will reallocate human and capital resources to meet needs and allows for individual freedom and is not dependent on political power to meet those needs.

3) Accept that human systems are not perfect. There is a place for charity. Charity fills in the gaps or fills in during intervals between resource reallocations. Charity maybe individual,familial,or institutional. It is different from governmental programs because it is based upon a voluntary exercise of personal choice and not an exercise of majority power,

4) Accept that insurance companies are not the sole driver of cost. Health insurance is not and should not be equated to healthcare. Access to insurance does not equal good healthcare. Insurance companies are not inherently good nor are they inherently bad. Health insurance itself is not the sole answer to provision of adequate healthcare and it should not be treated as such.

5) Big government solutions are exercises of power and societal promises that even when outdated they are not rolled back and seldom evaluated in light of a changing environment.

How long will we persist in our belief that government can care for individuals from cradle to grave?  We continue to prop up  every failed government progam and deceive the public as to their long term sustainability.

Now we are on the verge of ushering into permanency unsustainable government health insurance for some unknown number of additional insured’s at the expense of all.  The true costs of this program cannot be determined.  (Congressional Budget Office (CBO)projections have proven themselves inaccurate.  See initial Medicare cost estimates as one example and Obamacare projections as a second example of inaccuracies) Democrats argue that the system would be sustainable with just a little more income redistribution and single payor solution just like the unsustainable medicare program.   (Perhaps the Democrats should campaign on a new more robust second coming of the VA Health system.)  The solvency of the Medicare trust fund is only guaranteed at 100% to 2024.

It is argued that this is the best system available because it removes the profit motive of the private sector. Please consider this.  There are already non profit options available in the insurance universe and when a government solution is adopted, it is seldom evaluated to determine its cost effectiveness or its sustainability.  Only a crisis precipitates second look at a program, then the program is reinvigorated with additional taxpayer funds, but never seriously scrutinized for efficiency and effectiveness.

Never is there consideration given to the lost opportunity cost, when adopting such  programs.  What do I mean by this?  Programs are adopted institutionalizing payment structures and distribution techniques available at the time of adoption,   This means a fee for service structure will be perpetualized in any health insurance solution.  Innovative cost and life saving measures will not be pursued, as long as a government subsidized consumer base is guaranteed to insurers and health care providers.

Insurance principles are supposedly built into the healthcare system except in instances, where the outcome is disliked by the citizenry or seen as “unfair”  e.g. Insurance is about many paying a small amount (premium) for protection against unlikely risk.  If the cost (risk)is guaranteed, it is no longer insurance.  It is redistribution.

Life is not fair and we can not wish and make it so, nor can we design a human insurance system to handle all circumstances without creating staggering insurance premium increases.  We refuse to allow those with chronic preexisting conditions to pay more in premium as required in the private insurance market,(even if the chronically ill potential insured’s have the ability to pay more) so we mandate acceptance at prescribed rate despite the built in additional cost of insuring these individuals.  This guarantee increases premium for all and prices many out of the market or provides coverage with obscene deductibles.

We demonstrate our distaste for the economic facts by characterizing any, who oppose this type of (health insurance) socialism as discriminators or haters, who wish others to go away and die.  Be honest!  This is a small group of individuals.  Most will be absorbed into a group plan through employment.  Some have the ability to pay increased premium or will be self paying.   Some will be treated in poverty programs and some may need charitable assistance.  Finally as a last resort, some may need assistance from a non insurance health assistance fund.  Why demand change to the entire health insurance industry to cover these relative few.  Please be honest and admit some of these individuals simply are not insurable for the same rate as the general population.  We may not like it, but it is not discrimination and it is an economic fact

We ignore the insurance principle of adverse selection, which states those most in need of benefits will flock to secure them especially, when available at an artificially low cost, while the young and healthy will simply assume the risk and move forward without coverage.   We attempt to overcome this hurdle by an employer mandate and an individual non insurance penalty.  The mandate so repulsive to many, so we push back compliance dates and minimize repugnant penalties in a dishonest effort to avoid electoral consequences. The penalty is so minor that many simply opt to pay it.  Meanwhile many potential insureds wait and upon receiving a diagnosis of cancer, diabetes (insert your chronic ailment here), then secure coverage post diagnosis and guaranteed future costs are spread over a small individual state market unfit to absorb the these extensive costs.  There is no urgency to sign up prior to need, when acceptance post diagnosis is guaranteed at the same cost.  Cost is distributed to the individual state market place raising the cost for everyone in that subgroup of insureds.

Remember politics is who gets what, when and how.  The market is the result of billions maybe trillions of choices made by individual consumers and families.  Each consumer or group of consumers acting in what they believe to be their best interest.  If a need arises, it is in the interest of someone or group to fill the need or the need maybe altruistically filled by voluntary giving.  (that’s right voluntary as opposed to entitled receipt.  Witness such charitable organizations as St. Jude’s Hospital, American Cancer Society and numerous other charitable non profit and individual healthcare benefactors.)  The private company or group in the private market is  rewarded for their risk taking by reaping a profit.  (not evil in fact frequently is distributed to shareholders including workers, who invest their savings in companies and insurance products.) Government planning and action can not better decide allocation of resources.  I would argue it never will be able to accumulate and weigh the number of variables necessary to replace the market.

Government muddles through! Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines muddling through as to achieve a degree of success without much planning or effort.  (Doubt me?  Consider many in government service positions are career employees (carryover employees, not true believers), which means during any administration they may not agree with the agency activities or even the  stated goals of any department or agency.  How much effort and planning should you expect from this group.  Then consider Congress, which seldom agrees on the means to accomplish any single objective and may not even agree as to the goal itself)  The result of all this cognitive dissidence is government muddles through its tasks and inefficiently utilizes resources and seldom, if ever accomplishes its stated purpose.  This is hardly an acceptable replacement model for any market, let alone something as important as the health insurance market.

So what is the answer?

1) Accept that life is not fair and government can not make it fair.

2) Accept that markets are efficient allocators of resources, which will reallocate human and capital resources to meet needs and allows for individual freedom and is not dependent on political power to meet those needs.

3) Accept that human systems are not perfect. There is a place for charity. Charity fills in the gaps or fills in during intervals between resource reallocations.  Charity maybe individual,familial,or institutional. It is different from governmental programs because it is based upon a voluntary exercise of personal choice and not an exercise of majority power,

4) Accept that insurance companies are not the sole driver of cost. Health insurance is not and should not be equated to healthcare.  Access to insurance does not equal good healthcare.  Insurance companies are not inherently good nor are they inherently bad. Health insurance itself is not the sole answer to provision of adequate healthcare and it should not be treated as such.

5) Big government solutions are exercises of power and societal promises that even when outdated they are not rolled back and seldom evaluated in light of a changing environment.

Conclusion

Repeal of Obamacare is a necessary first step. We can always tinker at the edges of the system and provide means for those, who fall through the cracks in the system. (While writing this blog entry, I was watching a news reporter state that preexisting conditions handled in high risk pools totaled 115,000 policies. This is not an unmanageable number and gives credance to the idea that many with chronic health conditions are covered under the existing group plans or covered under existing poverty programs or medicare for seniors. If there is a requirement to immediately address an unfulfilled need i.e. preexisting conditions. There is more likely to be a better solution, if it is addressed as an individual issue. You can more easily identify the scope of the problem and limit the solution. The issue is not better addressed in all encompassing comprehensive legislation. (What about a deal?) Some Democrats maybe moved to lend support to gain this coverage, since the signature Obamacare legislation would be lost to them.

If there is no essential benefits package, perhaps there will be no need to keep children on their parents plan well into adulthood and if there is such a need perhaps a small adjustment in premium could produce the same result without a permanent unpaid governmental mandate. Some individuals could secure catastrophic coverage and choose to self insure by savings for some smaller medical expenses rather then pay into a massive one size fits all government mandate.

 
Educate the public that the majority of Obamacare’s insurance increase stems from the welfare healthcare expansion. That is medicaid. Is this how we want to cover these folks long term?  Remember this expansion was accomplished by a massive federal assumption of the expansion cost. This can not be permanent. Medicaid expansion merely kicks the can down the road with no road map to permanently assist this group to get permanent healthcare. The need for help for this group should be realistically assessed. Perhaps funding could be sunsetted as innovative healthcare delivery models are advanced to provide more affordable care.

Demand your state governments remove impediments to healthcare delivery. Examine professional licensing requirements. Examine state medical curriculum. Make certain they address healthcare needs and are not merely justification for professional fee increases!  Modify your tort laws to decrease malpractice insurance expenses.

Just Repeal Obamacare

Repealing Obamacare allows the free market to develop innovative healthcare solutions.
It will allow the free market to provide financially sound ways to cover groups like 18 to 26 year olds.

It is a sound political strategy,which forces Democrats to the table and promotes inclusiveness.

It frees the Congrss to change focus and look at other outdated healthcare practices, which raise costs unnecessarily.

Recently we have seen the Republicans roll out their own version of healthcare reforms.  The new plan is not what was promised to voters.  This plan does not completely repeal Obamacare.  It creates a new healthcare entitlement utilizing a tax credit in place of the subsidy.  (Witness the problem that is the earned income tax credit.  Hardly a success for those advocating for individual self reliance and the free market)  While the new proposed bill will allegedly remove the one size fits all mandates of Obamacare, it fails to allow the free market to operate and to innovate to produce lower costs.

Why can’t we simply repeal Obamacare.

Our healthcare system was not broken, when Obamacare was passed.  There were areas that required tweaking to allow better access to health insurance in the individual healthcare market.  There was also a risk allocation problem with preexisting conditions. Senator Rand Paul has been proposing some free market changes to assist individuals with preexisting conditions and small businesses by allowing them to secure group health insurance by forming large consumer associations. (This is a free market solution to help spread out risk.  This would allow insurance companies to properly price their product to fit the group insured) These newly allowed insurance negotiating entities would consist of large groups of consumers.  These associations could negotiate for their members for better premiums and provide a diverse consumer base to avoid the adverse selection problem that has plagued the individual marketplace. (Adverse selection occurs, when a large group of sick people flood the risk pool and cause a death spiral for the insurance group because the cost of benefits paid out exceeds the available premium generated from the entire group.  Insurance is risk spreading.  If everyone uses all they contribute, then you merely have a payment transfer intermediary not a viable insurance risk pool.)

Who says the idea of keeping children on their parents plan until the age of 26 is a good idea?  Parents like the idea because it provides access to healthcare for their unemployed or underemployed children, or those, who haven’t yet found their way into the workforce at no cost to the parent.  It was embraced because it was the only game in town.

People want access to inexpensive health insurance for this group of young people,who frequently has less income to buy insurance.  There is however no such thing as a free lunch.  The extra cost of this insurance provision is  passed on to all and along with the other mandated services.

Twenty-six is  a full four years after many graduate.  This is pure legislative over reach.  If twenty-six is good, why not forever?  Will we ever require these young people to find their own way in the world?  Stop being helicopter parents and let the young seek their own way.  There are plenty of free market ways to cover this desirable demographic and allow for personal responsibility.  Please see some free market options below.

These individuals are as a group the healthiest in our society and are a desirable consumer for their own inexpensive catastrophic insurance policy.  Catastrophic insurance is inexpensive health insurance and was formerly available through Universities and other groups prior to the Obamacare services manndate.  Repeal of Obamacare with its coverage mandates will allow these individuals to buy catastrophic health insurance through their colleges, trade schools and other associations, especally ,if the Rand Paul approach to purchasing group insurance is adopted.

Since this is a desirable demograhic for the health care provider, it is likely insurance riders would become available to parents for this group for a minimal premium increase.  The young adult coud bear the cost of this inexpensive insurance add on.  This approach promotes personal responsibility and provides inexpensive insurance coverage for this group.  When joined with the ability to have health savings accounts, perhaps funded with help from their parents from birth, these solutions could provide for the young in the insurance market.

Finally, while it is widely accepted that the government is the provider of the social safety net, there remains a place in the healthcare for charitable giving.  Why?  Charity is the voluntary application of capital by the citizenry to help out their fellow citizen.  Charity is the ultimate altruistic act of an individual within our society in as much as it is not motivated by the use of government force (whether that is the dictates of the majority or the dictates of an individual be he beneficent or tyrannical.  There is a reason why we have a republic.  Protection is sometime needed from the whims of the many or the one.) Charity has a place in healthcare.

Let’s not forget a legitimate use of the interstate commerce clause.  It was established to prohibit states from setting up barriers to the goods of their fellow states.  It should be used to curb the excessive use of the state’s safety and health authority to squeeze out health insurance competition.  Many states tailor their laws to prefer some or one healthcare provider over others.  Some state laws by their requirements make entry into their market economically impossible. We must allow companies with adequate reserves to sell their products across state lines.  Reasonable reserve requirements will have to be closely watched to prevent out crony capitalism by state statute.

Congress must not assume health insurance is the sole reason for rising healthcare in the US.  Congress must look at the FDA and reform it.

The FDA needs to be overhauled.  While Democrats hail the FDA, as our savior, which keeps us safe.  It is also a political organization, which limits individual’s choice of treatments and makes political decisions, which raise costs and limit treatment alternatives for consumers.(Yes, I said political.  Politics is defined as who gets what, when, where and why.)  The decisions made by the FDA dictate, which drugs are available for use and for what diseases, they can be used.   Wherever possible the FDA, should be limited to serve as source of drug and medical practice information.  Individuals in a free society should have the right to treat as they see fit and doctors should have the ability to innovate.  Prohibition should be a last resort, especially when life saving treatments is involved.

Democrats will point to the decrease in safety involved in deregulation, but totally dismiss the costs to the individual of the bottleneck that is the FDA.  No one can measure the loss of life caused by the prohibition of innovation, which is caused by the FDA.  Democrats assume the consumer is stupid and must be guided by the expert in Washington.  If only these sycophants would realize this.

The emperor has no clothes!  There are and always will be snake oil salesmen.  There will always be those, who prey on the uninformed.  We already have fraud statutes, with both civil and criminal penalties to deal with these bad actors.  The ultimate answer to this type of slick operator is information and training.

Information about treatment success should be the task of the FDA, so the agency can provide the best uncensored information to the medical professional and the consumer.   Training new advice providing medical professionals should be the role of our educational establishment with the guidance of our state governments.  While I do concede there is a minor role for federal government here, Inspection and information dissemination not prohibition should be the primary government role.  Knowledge is the best social disinfectant!

The FDA should arrange studies and inspections to insure drug purity and provide information about drug treatments and adverse drug reactions. It should become the ultimate health care information provider  resource as opposed to its current role as the chief driver of drug expense and innovation limiter.   The Agency would facilitate and coordinate information about foreign drug agency approvals and adopt those recommendations, it finds to have been responsibly adopted.  We should establish its role as an information clearinghouse rather than an innovation bottleneck.

We must reject the tired clichés of the Democrats that Republicans are for less safety and dirty water and dirty air.  Democrats deny the new information age.  They stifle by their insistence on government control the creation of new jobs, which could provide pharmacological and new treatment advice.  Many in the medical industry believe Pharmacists are currently under utilized. Perhaps there is room here for an expanded role for them.  Doctors are too busy treating patients and can’t be expected to know all the latest information about new drugs and alternative treatments.  Perhaps we will even witness the creation of a new group of medical/pharmacological professionals to fill this new informational need.

This is the bottom line of this post.  Repeal Obamacare Now!  It is a sounder political strategy.  It would require Democrats to come to the table, if they want some of their ideas to be included in healthcare reform.  Trust and allow the people to solve healthcare problems through the free market.  The market will respond.

Remove old fashioned pre information age notions that only certain professionals can have valid opinions about drugs and alternative treatments.  Better utilize Pharmacy Doctoral graduates as well as those with other advanced bio medical degrees as information disseminators.

Make the FDA and inspection and information clearinghouse not a decider of acceptable treatment.  Adoption of free market principles will create a more informed and healthier society with maximum utilization of human and capital resources.

Hey Ohio, Capitalism starts at Home

Capitalism starts at the local level. The federal government is an economic macro player with large impact, but this fact does not excuse localities from acting in a manner that maximizes the creation of wealth through grassroots entrepreneurial activity.

One of the amazing universal lessons I learned from Social Psychology was that all groups in our society experience “Diffusion of Responsibility”.  This phrase is a technical way of saying “Someone else will take care of it” or if in the workplace “That’s not my job”.

The result of this failure to take personal responsibility is the delegation of our local duty to advance our community’s economic well-being to the federal government.  After all, the national government casts a huge economic footprint with many of its decisions leading to the creation or demise of entire companies or small communities.  (Doubt me, remember the dire forecasts for the demise of companies or communities, when defense contracts are threatened or military bases even rumored to be relocated.)  (See San Diego Tribune Article: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sdut-military-base-closures-looming-again-2012may16-htmlstory.html)The federal government is an economic macro player with large impact, but this fact does not excuse localities from acting in a manner that maximizes the creation of wealth through grassroots entrepreneurial activity.

How does this apply to local capitalism.  Since and even during the national election, emphasis has been on creating jobs for our citizens.  Please notice the phrase “creating jobs” is not the same as generating wealth or increasing our gross national product.   Let’s start our conversation with a controversial statement. Creation of some jobs may actually impair real economic growth.  It is simply a method of wealth distribution.  Doubt me, witness China building empty shopping malls and unoccupied residential buildings.  Please review this article available at Forbes.com.(http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/07/20/what-will-become-of-chinas-ghost-cities/#70b1a2b0751b)   This is misallocation of resources on a grand national scale based upon the strategy of fulfilling a national plan.

Would it surprise you to learn that many US localities exercise this same economic folly?   It is done with the best of intentions and utilizes zoning laws as well as eminent domain to impose the vision of local elites upon its populace.  Why is it so widely accepted?    Individuals in our society seek to control their physical and economic environment. We are taught, since childhood the value of planning for the future, so it is counter intuitive to allow for the seeming chaos that is true capitalism.  Finally,the freedom that capitalism allows promotes uncertainty of outcome.

Residential and Commercial property owners seek certainty in their lives.  Property owners seek to grow the value of their investments by restricting the property rights of others.  How is this accomplished?  Use zoning laws to restrict competition by limiting the number of commercial sites available.  This is supply and demand at work.  If by using the force of government,  (government is majority force: witness the effectiveness of laws without consequence if you doubt this) you restrict the number of commercial sites available, then you raise the price and thereby the investment value of the already existing sites.  (fewer sites equals higher price.  More sites means greater competition and a lower price)  What is amiss here is the role of government in limiting the market by depriving property owners of use of their property as they see fit.

Does this mean there is no role for community control of its environment?  No, what it means is that the power of government should be used only in circumstances, where safety is at risk.  No property owner has a right to impose a real nuisance upon its neighbors.  This idea has been corrupted to mean that any use, which lowers property value is sufficient reason to restrict property rights.  We now have government elites crafting master plans for communities.  These are planned communities.  ( Sounds like well meaning Soviet economic planning and suffers the community with the same result.  i.e. ( use shortages, resource misallocation.)  When the local government is asked to select winners and losers, the result is no better than when the national government does so.  Why, because choices  made are based upon limited existing information and with built in biases.  Capitalism is based upon a  different idea.   Individual choices made in the property owner’s best interest will result in maximum economic benefit for all.  The net result of master plans is misallocation of local resources and lost opportunity for economic growth.

Why is this capitalistic idea so universally opposed by so many?  The answer is simple.  The community believes in control and planning has been promoted in all aspects of life, so surrender to capitalism is counter intuitive and threatening because it allow uncertainty.  Residential property owners fear that a “biker bar” or a “convenience store” will be placed on their block threatening the safety of their children or a factory or commercial property increasing traffic or other pollution to a dangerous level.  These are real concerns.  Coping with them requires creation of  a more flexible method of adjudicating nuisances.  Courts and lawsuits are too slow.  Zoning boards are too easily swayed against the proposed use in our modern democratic society.  Remember NIMBY (Not in my back yard) This is why here we have a limited republican form of government.  Democracy can be as tyrannical as any dictator.  It is merely tyranny by many rather than by a few or one.  (Please think about that!  The will of the many can be as restrictive as any despot).

Zoning laws must be crafted to be minimalist in scope.  It must impose use restrictions only when there are greatly increased (demonstrable)health and safety risks.  There will be errors as with any human system.

Why do I say greatly increased risk?  Consider how past break through inventions might be perceived today in our risk averse culture.  There would be no automobiles, if a risk free environment was sought.  Who would sanction high speed projectiles hurtling through population centers with a volatile payload.  (gasoline)  Remember all economic activity engenders some risk.  The only truly risk free life is conducted under a rock in a cave with limited human interaction.  (this assumes your cave and rock are structurally sound.  Life is short, measured in days, but certain and relatively risk free).

Sure, there are now and will be errors. Please remember the community can be damaged greatly not just by the results of economic activity.  i.e. car accidents or diminished air or water quality.  Some may even lose their lives as a result of lost economic activity.  The scope and extent of this loss by decreased economic activity is indeterminable and as such is dismissed out of hand.  i. e.( it is impossible to account for the number of deaths caused by the failure to mass produce a beneficial product i.e. a pesticide or more food).  I postulate that property owner’s right must prevail absent a showing of greatly increased risk.

This sounds cold compared to the liberal platitude, which states if it costs one life the risk is too great.  The fallacy of this statement becomes evident, when it is considered in historic perspective.  Consider the number of lives that would have been lost had this standard been applied to building projects, (Yes, people die in construction) automobiles ( a big killer) or electricity production.(ever hear of an electrical fire or electrocution)  So what is right.  There is not always a clear good or bad.  I am suggesting we weigh with a presumption in favor of the property owner’s rights.  That presumption of benefit from economic freedom can only be overcome by a demonstration of greatly increased risk to the public health or safety.  Wherever possible where real concerns exist compromises should be crafted to accommodate the use, while reducing the risk to the public.  (This is not an endorsement of the status quo, where property owners are subjected to community exploitation for more parks at the owner’s expense or outright seizure by the public of a portion of the property owner’s land in exchange for a use.  Demands should be directly related to the diminution of the demonstrated risk (not just perceived risk)(remembering that some risk will always be present.)

What will result from the absence of a master community plan is growth, which will inure to the community’s benefit.  This is controversial and I expect many parents and residential property owner’s will be opposed because this approach, while promoting economic growth also promotes uncertainty of value and use.  As I indicated earlier, certainty is always the easier path and economic growth requires risk taking.  Remember along with growth comes the many benefits of a modern society.  i.e. more food, more shelter and even cleaner air and water

Your comments are welcome, whether in agreement or opposed.  No judgement here!

 

 

 

East Coast Media (When you operate in a limited geographic and demographic sphere, can the public receive objective information?)

We just experienced the conclusion of the Presidential election cycle and the beginning of a new Presidency. Anyone, who reads this blog must have concluded by now that I am not a “Trumpeteer”. I am a conservative with libertarian economic leanings.
I spent the majority of my professional life in local government. As a result of my time spent in government, I am familiar with what I like to refer to as proximity bias. This occurs, when you spend the majority of your waking hours within an employment defined sphere of social and idealogical thought. As a result of your daily cultural confinement, you begin to to perceive others and the world based upon your professional goals and problems. Most individuals recognize this as a bias. It needn’t be bad or good either. It can become problematic, when it interferes with your world perception to such an extent that you can no longer report accurately to others what occurs in the world.
l am not nor do I claim to be a journalist, but like many, who embarked upon an educational path in Arts and Sciences, I took the obligatory journalism survey course. These classes seldom provoked strong curiosity within me, however occasionally an exercise or assignment stood out and proved to be of value in evaluating life’s events.
I had a task from a survey journalism class, which struck a chord with me. As with many true learning experiences, the task was not complex. It was simple actually and involved watching television news and logging content, content order and content duration.
News was different in the 1970’s, when I was an undergraduate at a midwestern university. News was consumed by watching one of the three news networks. My assignment was to watch the three news networks and log their story topics. I dutifully tuned in to watch the broadcast and manually flipped between channels logging the order and storyline from each network for future class discussion.
The class reported back with each network’s stories their order and duration. As a group we discussed our findings. We were all astonished by the similarity of news content as well as the similarity in broadcast order and even the duration of stories. This similarity was explained as journalistic professionalism. These editors and reporters had the nose for sniffing out the important story of the day.
The experience now tells me a different tale. We now have more sources of news than ever before, yet major news organizations across multiple media platforms all too frequently choose not only the same story, but all too frequently even weigh in using the same keywords. Can you recall the first time you encountered widespread use of the word “gravitas”? What about use of the terms “feckless”or “mainstream”. My bet is your experience is similar to mine. These terms weren’t originated as a result of casual Sunday evening dinner conversation, but became part of common parlance only after seeming constant bombardment with the terms on the network news broadcast.
These are fairly recent examples that come immediately to my mind. My guess is you could recite your own litany of terms and stories, which have been repeated ad nauseam, so that they now are now have earned a place in our community daily banter.
So how is it possible in a “diverse society” that we choose to elevate the same stories and sometimes even describe them using the exact same terms? Allow me to say after experiencing life in a government agency that I no longer believe it to be simply “a nose for news”. I also do not believe it to be a knowing left wing media conspiracy. It is I believe a proximity bias orchestrated by an elitist bi-coastal news, higher education and entertainment industry, which still dominates news gathering circles
This phenomenon is the natural result of the dominance of east and west coast universities as well as the bi-coastal location of news organizations. Individuals in these organizations share a common daily experiences and share common associations, which are foreign to many of us in the country’s interior. As a result of this “proximity bias” the public conversation is frequently centered on what many in the remainder of the country would characterize as “bi-coastal minutia”.
We live in a time when information is more readily available to all in this country. The coasts no longer should dominate and be “news central”unless the populace chooses to continue to consume their product.. Isn’t it time we ask what are we doing rather than what did President Trump or Senator Schumer do today? Isn’t it time to report the truly spectacular innovations that occur daily in our country yet receive very little attention as compared to the latest Washington Ad Hominem fresh from the popular social network site?
Think this proximity bias is restricted to the major networks? Listen to Fox News or Fox business then tell me there exists no proximity bias. Listen to the questions asked of guests. At their worst they sound as if they are pleading with their guests usually from DC to lead them from out of their ignorance to the promised land. This is a rewrite of history, if ever I heard one..
Our once uniquely proud and self reliant people now are captive,listening intently to dissociated east coast news readers beg our public servants to guide their subjects in their daily life rather than reporting the important life changing events occurring outside their coastal silos. They don’t even bother to research their questions anymore, so they don’t even know what to ask or where to raise objection. They precede their questions with the now seemingly universal”I’m no expert but…or I’m not an Attorney, but..”. As if this admission relieves them from their responsibility to do research. Hey media Associate degreed para legals do much better research. They continue to operate within their sphere of information, never truly questioning their own biases.

It is time this east coast proximity bias ceases and is replaced by reports of who,what, when,where and why.
If you agree or disagree, please let me hear from you. Add your voice to this discussion by commenting. This is not a test. There is no grade given and there are no wrong answers.

Hey Conservatives it’s voter education stupid

Every election cycle as long as I can remember Republican candidates with conservative values have waged uphill battles against liberal candidates. The post election reviews have repeatedly concluded that the Republicans need to appeal to more minority voters. The most recent review I saw basically indicated the path to these voters is to adopt a lighter version of democratic positions. Even though the electorate gives signals that it is tired of the same old government answers, the proposed remedy offered to conservatives is to mimic the Democratic establishment and promise more of what many voters reject. Conservatives need not run as light Democrats! Conservatives need to employ effective voter education strategies.

“Hey Conservatives, it is Voter education that is the missing ingredient. Education is necessary before, during and after elections.

Democrats win elections by appealing to voters sense of compassion. Democratic sycophants sing the same song before during and after each election cycle. ( e.g. Doesn’t everyone deserve more stuff? Shouldn’t everyone make $15.00 per hour? Shouldn’t everyone, who desires it, get a college education?) These are no more than thinly veiled emotional appeals, which not only do not reflect what is possible, but also do not reflect, what the economy needs. It is emotional pandering! Everyone feels good, when passing out gifts.

Prices for goods and services in a market economy are set by supply and demand. Most of the populace didn’t study even basic economics and the role of markets in determining the price of goods and services. This presents conservative proponents with some educational challenges. Proponents of the free market economy can’t merely tug at the heartstrings of the single mother or father by spinning a modern day fable. Markets while they serve a vital purpose and allow for the many choices available to the individual consumer and employee are based upon mathematics. Mathematics revolving around the concepts of supply and demand and are difficult to reduce to a fifteen second sound bite. Resources, which includes human resources move within the economy to where they are most needed and best used in the economy. These concepts don’t lend themselves to emotional gimmickry and market fluctuations frequently cause temporary worker displacement

How might the concept of supply and demand be applied to the “college for all” discussion. Let’s suppose an individual would like to pursue his or her interest in Art History. If there are many individuals, who pursue this academic field of study and no one or few companies can find a use for individuals with this type of knowledge, then you would expect the wages for individuals with this degree to be low. However, unlike in a command economy, this doesn’t mean an individual can’t pursue this course of study, but it does indicate that the workforce may not need this type of worker at this time and the chances of a person with this field of study finding gainful employment and getting a return on his or her education in the field are limited or perhaps even nonexistent. When you say everyone should get student loans without regard for the market need or assert that college should be free for all, you distort the market and run the risk of producing individuals with skills, which aren’t needed in the economy. This is malinvestment. Government by offering something for nothing invests in skills, which the job market doesn’t need. The ordinary market price forces are disregarded and the result is a class of educated unemployed. Frequently this malinvestment is at the expense of other needed productive jobs which go unfilled.

What about the Minimum Wage increase arguments. Everyone wants more money. Not everyone requires or will demand $15.00 per hour for their services. Additionally some industries simply will not support that wage level because people are unwilling to pay for the product or service at that cost. (Witness the elimination of the service station gas pump attendant) Additionally some people are willing to work for less. Perhaps they wish to supplement their income. ( e.g. retirees or those in school or the young starting their working careers) Some workers may simply wish to gain a foothold in a new occupation or may be workers achieving their full potential and the lower wage acts as motivation to the individual to change or increase their skill set to become a better contributing worker. Raising the minimum wage eliminates opportunities for some workers to enter the workforce and increases the demands of those, who formerly made more than minimum wage workers to increase their wages. finally some workers may simply make a choice to live at this pay level. People have free will and the poor will always be with us. These truths are difficult, but most adults will understand them if the arguments are made.

Conservatives need to stress the concept of opportunity. We must teach others that society should always seek to maximize opportunity. This means we may have to educate the public about supply and demand. Remind the citizenry that competition is global and if we seek protectionism, we risk loss of market both now and in the future.

Remember protectionism takes many forms. Sometimes it may be disguised as a safety regulation, which limits innovation or prevents a new life saving drug from coming to market. (e.g. Regulations requiring that all autos must have steering wheels because consumers have always had them in cars. Steering levers, joy sticks or other control methods are prohibited or so severely disadvantaged that they are never pursued) Sometimes it protects groups by demanding a service be provided in a certain manner or referencing a certain pricing structure. (e.g. wages are preferred by government regulators to be priced per hour)

If we pursue protectionism, job loss will result as the competition elsewhere adjusts the price of their human resources and takes over markets. Unions are aghast at these market realities and refer to this as a race to the bottom. It is in fact a race to the top. The best prepared workers will produce the most goods and will be rewarded accordingly. (Wage increases occur even in the absence of unions) Innovative companies will gain market share at the expense of those, who lag behind. Don’t be a laggard, if you want to get ahead!

We must encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. This must occur in commerce as well as those sectors traditionally done in the public sector. We must encourage lifelong skill development. This by the way is not the continuing education requirements imposed on industries by government, but rather concrete targeted training, which is market driven and serves the purpose of increasing worker preparedness and productivity. Educational requirements imposed by governments are all too often simply protectionist measures intended to favor their donor constituents. More is not necessarily better.

Movement toward targeted lifelong education will make some educators and administrators uncomfortable and may mean some employment displacement, but will result in an updated workforce and should result in increased employment over the long term. Conservatives will have to explain this idea to their donors and educational professionals, who favor a more traditional and less focused educational model. There will be failures and unfortunately educational mills. Education is an industry and it will have institutions, which will innovate and fail or simply be fraudulent. It has failures now! The market will reward the best and jettison the rest and the individuals will vote with their dollars as to whether an educational service should be continued.

Conservatives must educate the populace in economics and the value of markets in economic growth. This is not a thirty second campaign. Conservatives thus far have done a poor job in conveying their message. Liberals have characterized market forces as ruinous or villainous. Many times it is legislation, which distorts the market and causes long term human misery and long term market problems. Markets are not good or bad. They are pricing tools for goods and services. The nation that harnesses education, so that needed skills can quickly be adapted and acquired as needed for growth will truly be the nation of opportunity. It all begins with a market savvy populace.

Conservatives, if you want to win, educate the populace on market theory and opportunity. Use concrete examples. Make the public aware of the damage done by government malinvestment. Not every public works project even if it be a bridge, road or building project in your hometown assists economic growth. Remember scarcity still exists as does global competition and those, who fail to produce what the world needs are destined to fail. Government does not create jobs, but malinvestment and over regulation by government certainly can retard growth and job development.

Conservative politicians should be at work targeting removal of protectionist regulations. A party, which doesn’t hold the office of the executive can still propose changes, which limit government and promote market access. This type of pre-election legislative targeting, if explained properly could be a catapult to winning future executive and legislative office. Currently, conservative politicians simply languish in the shadows and shout “Wait till next time!”. This type of wait and see attitude allows the forces of the left to capture more and more of an educationally deprived electorate. Education must occur before during and after the election cycle. It must be ongoing, continuous and contain a feedback loop, which measures success outside the election cycle.

Educational accreditation in private and public sector institutions should be scrutinized to assure that they serve a valid purpose of enhancing the educational experience and are not being employed simply to prop up existing institutions or limit field access. This scrutiny can be initiated in the private sector. If an institution produces candidates for positions that meet business needs, then candidates from that institution should receive employment offers. This will in the short term lead to unrest in human resource departments and even at the executive levels. There will be new searches required without the old yard markers and goal posts of the past. Merit and productivity should become the new king of industry. Companies must cease giving only lip service to “professional recruitment”. No longer should the junior human resource assistant be permitted to screen applications and no longer can the technocrat write job descriptions. This type of recruitment has produced the great fails of the latter part of the twentieth century and are not consistent with the new concept of continuous education.

Conservatives must lead these educational initiatives. Remember conservatives, it’s voter education, stupid!

Failure to connect the dots!

Watch any news broadcast about terrorism and you will hear the cliche “failure  to connect the dots”.  This phrase is usually associated with a failure of a government agency to link information in its possession to a future terrorist attack.  We have become accustomed to hearing this phrase repeated ad nauseum with every new terror incident.  The government is not the only entity, which fails to connect the dots.  Witness the failures of fourth estate. (the traditional media)

The press has been relied upon as the check on government.  It has been referred to as the watchdog of a free society.  This watchdog has become the ultimate pet with liberals and conservatives each supporting their own pets.  Refer to my prior post.   How many conservative or liberal news outlets pursue in depth investigations when, comments are made by “their side”.  They seldom if ever pursue an objective investigation of the other side.  It is easier to just report what is said even when what is said is simply an obfuscation or contains glaring inaccuracies.

Research uses resources, both human and financial.  We live in a twenty four seven news cycle and a market where traditional media is in decline.  It is expensive to do research, so we depend on less experienced employees, who spoon feed the “on air talent”.

What is the result of this?  No one in the media connects the dots.  The viewers see the same tired quotes repeated over and over again throughout the day and in the case of many outlets repeated over and over within the same hour of any given day.  Analysts appear and repeat the party talking points, while the facts are never explored.

Witness one Hillary Clinton, who is heard repeating her talking points about never sending emails marked as classified or top secret.  The lapdogs play her comments over and over.  They parse her words instead of asking simple questions.  Is this the type of conduct expected of the most experienced and qualified female attorney in the U.S.?  What should be expected from someone with her background and experience?  Does it really matter whether her conduct reaches the threshold of criminality, when she is seeking the highest office in the land?  The Clintons learned the game long ago.  Repeat a line often enough and it becomes tomorrow’s fact.

Meanwhile a plethora of political operatives flood the airwaves masquerading as political analysts and proclaim the depth and breath of Ms Clinton’s experience, yet no one really can cite accomplishments.   As a matter of fact, her history is riddled with failure.  Her healthcare reform in the nineties was a failure.  She failed to understand the will of the voters of that time.  Her time in the Senate as a  carpetbag New York Senator was unremarkable.

The airwaves are filled with platitudes yet her time as Secretary of State will be known for her failure to protect state secrets not her brilliant foreign policy strategies.  Now she talks of her opponent’s temperament.  No one explores her character.  No one connects the dots.  How can the most qualified candidate ever and a brilliant politician be such an abject failure?  Why does she always try to have the public judge her conduct by a criminality standard.  (If it’s not criminal,then it’s okay?)

Now witness one Donald Trump.  The conservative media fawns over his decisiveness and his willingness to fight.  Never do they bother to ask, if this is the way an individual seeking the highest office in the land should conduct himself.  It doesn’t matter whether his outbursts have any basis in fact.  He is permitted to whine about how he is characterized in the media, yet thinks nothing of resorting to calling his opponents names.  Truth is not important, as long as the comments are directed at others.

He brings ratings.  He threatens defamation suits, never realizing he is a public figure and the standard for defamation is and should be higher.  The media doesn’t report the consequences of the changes he says should occur to the standard for defamation even though his proposals would severely limit free speech in political contests. What needs to happen?  The dots need to be connected.  The public has a right to more than the superficial pablum served up by the media sycophants.

Character assassination is the hallmark of  Donald Trump’s campaign, yet no one in the conservative media does any more than report what he says.  They would rather photograph an empty podium, then make an investment in researching, whether what he says has any basis in fact.   Chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” bring increased audience.  Catering to him by referring to him as Mr. Trump is easier than calling him out for his boorish name calling behavior  The media never connects the dots.  They would rather report on the horse race than give the public information necessary to make an informed decision.

So what are we left with at a crucial time in our nation’s history?  A name calling contest.  A choice between two unvetted political lightweights.  Neither has been truly tested by the fourth estate.  So what do I say ” a pox on all of your houses”.  Now we can only hope one of these two pretenders steps up and becomes a leader.  The country hangs in the balance!

 

Subtle Distinctions: Why good intentions aren’t enough!


Republicans every election cycle struggle needlessly with “Cognitive Dissonance”. Their dilemma is faced by all, who believe in liberty and self reliance. They struggle to justify their political stand with the “Golden Rule”. Their angst stems from a failure to comprehend the true basis for capitalism and the ramifications of Democratic Policies. When one judges based upon emotion, it is easy to miss the true ramifications of these policies.

Long ago I was told that you could easily cook a live frog by slowly raising the temperature of the water rather than simply tossing the frog into a pot of hot water. The frog will attempt to escape the pot with hot water, but will not attempt escape, when the temperature is slowly raised. Too many Republicans have been slowly convinced that by embracing capitalism they are abandoning Christian virtue. It is in fact true that when they embrace the policies of the compassionate state that they abandon their virtue.

Capitalism has for far too long suffered from the criticism that it is solely a tool of the greedy. As with a hammer, a knife or any tool, misuse is always possible. Individuals, who use their wealth solely to produce more wealth at the expense of others is an example of a failure of a person or group not an indictment of the entire system. Notice I used the word solely and the phrase at the expense of others in tandem here.

Greed and and other inappropriate motivations exist in society as a whole and as such exist in capitalistic societies as well. Capitalism’s superiority rests in the fact that individuals are free to choose their paths. Capitalism allows for the exercise of free will. Our Founders believed that freedom was the quintessential virtue that must be protected. It is what allows the individual to be a unique human being or one one among many as the individual chooses.

When I was a young boy in Catholic school, I was taught President Kennedy’s now famous quote. “Ask not what your country can do for you,but what you can do for your country”. Since he was the first Roman Catholic President, you can imagine, the tremendous identification I had with this larger than life heroic leader. So enamored by his persona was I that the statist nature of his message was viewed by me and many others as the ultimate expression of patriotism. Everyone saw this young leader as the ideal person with whom one could cast his or her lot. Thus began the America’s obsession with the concept of government service as a high calling.

Upon his untimely death the mantle of leadership fell to Lyndon Johnson. President Johnson built on the foundation laid by FDR and Kennedy. He promoted the Great Society. He provided what he saw as a moral goal. The elimination of poverty. (Aka prevention of adverse economic outcomes) FDR demonstrated that government could be advanced to accomplish tasks not contemplated at the birth of our nation and Kennedy fostered the idea of public service. ( “…what you can do for your country”) Johnson clothed the federal government with moral purpose. How can anyone stand against his objectives? The Republican view of the world as expressed by Barry Goldwater was characterized as pugnacious and selfish.
How could the Great Society achieve its noble goal. Use the power of government as a blacksmith would, to shape the new society using the hammer of government to control outcomes. Does it matter whether the Great Society is accomplished at a great cost, the loss of personal freedom? Many including many Republicans were willing to embrace the power of government. You see, free will can be messy when the direction of a country is dependent on the actions of the populace. It is not a linear path and its movement toward any goal even a worthy one is dependent on the good character of its citizenry. A powerful government can push even an apathetic populace. Doesn’t that noble end outweigh the loss of free will?

It is now time for self reflection. Are we closer now to the promised Great Society? Are we closer to a society where poverty is a distant object in society’s rearview mirror? Are we a more moral people? Is there more or less room for dissent in a society that requires the populace to celebrate all types of conduct and treats discomfort as a reason to curtail thought? Have government guidelines advanced or retarded the free exercise of religion? Do you feel more or less safe? Do you feel empowered to advance your economic interests? Do you and your neighbors feel the country is more educationally balanced?  Are there more or fewer barriers to entry into the economic realm?

I propose a replacement for President Kennedy’s most famous quote. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do to help your neighbor. It is your choice to act or not to act. Advancement toward or away from any goal is dependent on the will of its citizenry not the state. Freedom is messy since it allows for advancement or failure based on the independent choices of the individual. Success is measured by its citizenry and adjusted by the sum total of their individual choices.

Government exists to preserve the natural rights of its citizens not to push them toward a collective goal. How is this moral with all the misery in the world? This path is based on the inherent right of the individual to be free. The ultimate right, free will. The populace can use their rights for good or ill. Federal Government exists for limited purposes.   It exists to preserve individual’s natural rights and promote national safety and establish a common currency and insure fair economic competition between the several states. It was not nor should it be an instrument to herd or control its citizenry. Tyranny is tyranny, whether by a sovereign or a group of voting citizenry.  We live in a Republic with limited powers and protected individual rights.  Our economic system, capitalism, is consistent with the concept of individual liberty.

Next time you are challenged about capitalism or the impotence of the federal government to swiftly advance societal change, remember the moral high ground is still yours. Capitalism offers the unique opportunity for each individual to achieve his or her highest potential in the economic marketplace. It offers the best opportunity to help, not control your neighbor.

Doubt me, then look at the standard of living in the old communist empire. Look at the standard of living enjoyed by those in the many regimes of the middle east or the dictatorships of Africa. Many of these regimes are in countries with vast amounts of natural resources, yet all standards of living pale in comparison to ours.

How is your neighbor best served?   Your neighbor is not better served by grand economic master plans, when we can have our plan crafted by millions of individuals creating the plan, which best serves them by making choices best for them every single day.  No one could gather sufficient data nor create an algorithm that could better serve the citizenry.

Where government oversight is needed, it is best exercised at the point closest to the populace it serves. Never forget, our republican form of government’s primary purpose is to protect  its citizens and preserve their natural rights. It is the responsibility of the citizenry by their choice to assist their neighbor, when assistance is requested.

Remember this truism a government, which attempts to do everything for everyone ultimately does nothing of value for its citizenry. Freedom of choice is the key to to personal advancement as well as economic opportunity. It is time to roll back marginal regulations, which do little to protect citizens, but act as a barrier to entry into a field of endeavor. It is time to return to limited government and personal responsibility.  Coveting or taking your neighbors goods is not moral simply because it is decided by a vote.  Individuals have the moral responsibility to serve their neighbor and the free will to choose to do so. The individual is served by being challenged.  Those individuals, who are incapable of assisting themselves should be helped by charity.  There are ample individuals, families and private organizations capable of assisting.  Government simply is not good at it.

Life is not totally safe and an attempt to make it so confines humankind to a short life in a cave under a rock. It is safe, but short and with no room for growth. Remember the individual is directed to help their neighbor not the collective.  Limited government is not accomplished by hope and change, but by the faith, hope and charity of the individual.