Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Reform" not worth the cost.

"Our health-care system suffers from problems of cost, access and quality, and needs major reform. Tax policy drives employment-based insurance; this begets overinsurance and drives costs upward while creating inequities for the unemployed and self-employed. A regulatory morass limits innovation. Deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid drive spending without optimizing care.

In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality or change health-care's dysfunctional delivery system. The system we have now promotes fragmented care and makes it more difficult than it should be to assess outcomes and patient satisfaction. The true costs of health care are disguised, competition based on price and quality are almost impossible, and patients lose their ability to be the ultimate judges of value." From "Health 'Debate' Deserves a Failing Grade" in today's WSJ.

My Perspective:

As I stated before, (located here: "The 307,471,666 Payer System: The Fallacy of the Single Payer system") the government caused the current mess we are in by fostering our current system that hides costs and creates a secondary market for insured care. Because most people have insurance, and their total combined purchasing power is lumped together, those without coverage find themselves in a market where the prices are ridiculously high, and they have now power to bring those prices down.

If people started to treat health insurance the same way they treat other areas of their lives that require insurance, like homeowners or car insurance, then we would see a drastic decline in the costs and prices of healthcare. The trick is not to insure everyone against everything no matter what (that is economically impossible), rather we should look for ways to increase people's individual purchasing power by creating tax-free health savings accounts and a laissez-faire insurance system. A system that offers differing levels of coverage, from bare bones catastrophic care to Cadillac "everything under the sun is covered" care. By doing that, and making it possible for insurance to be portable, we can see a return to stability and viability in the healthcare market.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Obama Against Subsidies? Not really.

"During an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Jake Tapper today, President Obama said that penalties are appropriate for people who try to “free ride” the health care system but stopped short of endorsing the threat of jail time for those who refuse to pay a fine for not having insurance.

“What I think is appropriate is that in the same way that everybody has to get auto insurance and if you don't, you're subject to some penalty, that in this situation, if you have the ability to buy insurance, it's affordable and you choose not to do so, forcing you and me and everybody else to subsidize you, you know, there's a thousand dollar hidden tax that families all across America are -- are burdened by because of the fact that people don't have health insurance, you know, there's nothing wrong with a penalty.”From Sunlen Miller's article "Interview with the President" ABC News.

My Perspective:

President Obama seems to think that free riders are a problem now. He casts subsidizing others as a bad thing, but only when it's done outside of the government's purview. Obama has no problem with "spreading the wealth around," or taxing the rich to give to the poor. He has stated his support for this time and time again. Yet, he claims that if you don't buy health insurance and get sick, then you are being subsidized by everyone else. How is that any different than the rest of us subsidizing any government program? Heck, the healthcare bill is full of subsidization and taxes meant to take from some and give to others. The only real differences are that with the government healthcare bill, government gets to decide who gets what and how much, and government also gets to take credit for providing these subsidies. This gives the government an instant voting base. As I have said before, those who are supported by government go along with whatever government says, because they won't bite the hand that feeds them.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brilliant piece on why Gov. care will destroy the industry

"Martin Feldstein explains a fatal flaw of Obamacare in the Washington Post: It will be rational for individuals and companies to drop their current health insurance, pay the penalties, and wait to purchase insurance when they get sick:

A key feature of the House and Senate health bills would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone with preexisting conditions. The new coverage would start immediately, and the premium could not reflect the individual's health condition.

Consider: 27 million people are covered by health insurance purchased directly, i.e. outside employer-based plans. The average cost of an insurance policy with family coverage in 2009 is $13,375. A married couple with a median family income of $75,000 who choose not to insure would be subject to a fine of 2.5 percent of that $75,000, or $1,875. So the family would save a net $11,500 by not insuring. If a serious illness occurs--a chronic condition or a condition that requires surgery--they could then buy insurance. Since fewer than one family in four has annual health-care costs that exceed $10,000, the decision to drop coverage looks like a good bet. For a lower-income family, the fine is smaller, and the incentive to be uninsured is even greater."

My Perspective:

Not much to say about this. Just click the link and read the entire thing. Can anyone really believe that government run insurance will help anyone? It relies on fixing markets and force. If you don't want insurance it will cost you (which is immoral). Yet, taking the fine will in many cases, especially for the poor, be cheaper than obtaining insurance and paying for it in advance. This will cause insurance companies to have barely any money coming in (mostly from the rich and tax payers) and a lot going out (mostly to the poor). It is another redistribution of wealth scheme. This is why government can neither fix economies nor actually try to.

Canada...Here we come!

From the AP:

The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

"It provides coverage for 96 percent of Americans. It offers everyone, regardless of health or income, the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will have access to affordable health care when they need it," said Rep. John Dingell

My Perspective:

I'm just gonna get down to it. short and sweet, although expect a bitter taste when you're done reading.

Rep. John Dingell claims that this bill, a bill that will cost over $1 Trillion dollars, will provide coverage for 96 percent of Americans. I must admit, at least he is honest in saying that it won't cover 100% of the population; however, I wonder how that is possible since the Democrats state that, "practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history...[government will] provide federal subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford it...[and] both consumers and companies would be slapped with penalties if they defied the government's mandates." If insurers can't deny coverage and Americans are mandated to get coverage, or risk being fined, or worse, how is it that not 100% of the population will get healthcare?

Aside from that, the total number of Americans who unwillingly don't have coverage now is less than 7 percent. So, Dingell is saying that the American people, most of who will already be paying for their insurance already, will be footing a trillion dollar bill all to give around 3% more people health coverage? seems like government math to me.

but besides the money, there are other things that should worry us all...

"Insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history. In a further slap, the industry would lose its exemption from federal antitrust restrictions on price gouging, bid rigging and market allocation."

This is basically the "Community Reinvestment Act" of healthcare. The government is telling the insurance agencies to disregard all market tools for reducing risk, forcing the companies to take on more risk, under threat from the government, and giving it all a government "safety net." Hmm, sounds a lot like the plan for affordable housing...And we all know how that worked out. I would expect the same results from this plan. Only this time it will be a healthcare crisis, which is far worse than a housing one. In the housing crisis, if you made a bad decision, you could sell your house or at least have the opportunity to buy a new one. The same cannot be said for your body.

One last point. Where is the bi-partisanship?

funny how our fearless leader, who promised to bring change, has once again stuck to the old way of doing things. The only place where there was bi-partisanship in this bill was in those who voted to oppose it. Only 1 republican, a RINO for sure, voted for the bill. However, 179 Republicans and 39 Democrats voted together against the bill. I guess bi-partisanship is only a good thing when they vote your way.

"The bill drew the votes of 219 Democrats and Rep. Joseph Cao, a first-term Republican who holds an overwhelmingly Democratic seat in New Orleans. Opposed were 176 Republicans and 39 Democrats."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember Remember the 5th of November!

Today was one of those red letter days. I was surfing the net and stumbled across an essay reviewing the movie "V for Vendetta" and comparing it to Hobbes' view of politics. I wasn't looking for anything "V" related, and quite honestly this movie flew under my radar for quite some time. Later, in a political science class, I handed the essay to a friend of mine and suggested that he read it. Not 3 minutes later, another classmate, one who had no idea about the essay, declared that it was Guy Fawkes day. I almost jumped out of my chair. It had only been a half hour since I read the "V" essay, and it was in that paper that I actually learned who Guy Fawkes was and the significance of today's date, November 5th.

I decided then that I had to watch "V for Vendetta" that day, and I just finished it a little while ago. I must say that it is now one of my most favorite movies, and I plan on watching it every November 5th. I would love to write on the movie but to be honest I can't focus enough right now because my mind is still racing over the story line of the film and all its philosophical subtleties -- I'd be here all night trying to get all of my thoughts down and coherent. My only recommendation is to see the movie if you haven't, and if you have watch it again.

"Remember, remember the 5th of November. The gunpowder, treason, and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."


"Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story (Overture). After a $57K per theatre average on 4 screens last weekend, the picture broke to a wider 962 locations with terrible results. The “documentary” only sold an estimated $1.3M in tickets to start the weekend, and it will finish at about $3.9M for a PTA of less than $4,000."
Pulled this off of the Left Coast Rebel

My Perspective:

I find it interesting that Michael Moore abhors capitalism -- or should I say "capitalism," for what he is really protesting is Cronyism -- considering until his last film it was serving him quite well. More on Cronyism later.

In a hilarious twist of irony Moore's attempt to show how capitalism has failed everyone, including himself, has actually caused him to fail in capitalism. See, capitalism does not fail people, people fail capitalism. Sure there are people who have bad luck, but that is not an attack on the system of capitalism at all, for people have bad luck regardless of political or financial policy. decrying bad luck is simply decrying a fact of life. If you plan your wedding for a time of year that is supposed to be warm and dry, yet the weather is cold and wet on the day you tie the knot, then who is to I guess you are the one that picked that day, but you could not have known the weather that far in advance so the blame falls on no one. It is simply the cause of nature and that is reality.

When Moore says that capitalism has failed him in his life he is outrightly lying (which he seems very good at doing, I mean it has earned him millions of dollars). It is simply not true. Moore has reaped the benefits of capitalism his entire life. Yes, even before his movies made him filthy rich. How? well quite simply, Moore, like all people who live in a capitalist society, get to where they are by way of capitalism. When Moore was a child and needed food (albeit more than the average kid) he was able to do so by way of the capitalist system. When he decided to buy a car to get to work he did it by way of the capitalist system. He worked a job, saved some money, went to the car dealer who sells cars made by men in machine shops, who make cars out of materials made elsewhere by other people all who get paid for their labors so that they can better their lives by earning wealth. This is the capitalist system. Capitalism sets prices, wages, and provides people with products and services that better their lives; yet, it does it all without force.

Seeing as capitalism is a system that emphasizes freedom, it only makes sense that capitalism is good for all. If participating in a capitalist system did not better people's lives then no one would choose to participate. If Moore really hates capitalism then he should not be making movies, he should not be buying any products. He should live on a farm on which he grows just enough food for his own consumption. No profit Michael!! (although he may need a bigger farm than the average individual). By simply participating in the capitalist system, he is validating it.

I wonder how he makes his movies. I would imagine he buys cameras and lighting, hires employees, and uses all forms of computer technology. Would that exist without capitalism? Could people like Moore even exist in a non-capitalistic world? The answer is plainly no. Without capitalism, which is simply the distribution of wealth across people whom freely decide where to distribute it according to their best interests, the modern world could not exist.

Back to Moore and the poetic justice of capitalism...

Since Moore created something that people did not want, and since they were free to choose how they wish to spend their money, very few people bought his product. I find it hilarious that in his attempt to disprove capitalism, Moore disproved himself. Not only did Moore use capitalism to make his film, but the movie which was supposed to be the fall from legitimacy for capitalism turned out to be the fall from legitimacy for Moore. Was the movie a success? I think so, but not the one that Moore had hoped for.

Now, to get back to Cronyism:

In short, Cronyism is when companies/special interests use government to obtain a desired result that benefits themselves, usually at the expense of others. This is an area that Moore and I agree on, although Moore thinks it is a problem solved not by less government but by more government. Of course one run by the people he likes. Cronyism is a direct effect not of business or capitalism, but of government. It relies on the use of force, and business cannot do that on its own. It requires government.

Moore would have you believe that Wall Street greed caused the financial mess and now they are taking our money to pad their bank accounts. The truth is, this entire crisis was caused primarily by the power hungry actions of government who thought they could make the world a perfect place all while using their generosity to stay in power. They make political decisions to gain power and then political decision to stay in power, and when their imaginary wonderland they promised conflicts with reality, they must change reality or they risk losing their power. It is no different than middle school government when the popular kid promised the students new vending machines, no homework, and to reinstate recess. These people flock to them because they want those things, but they rarely stop to think if its even possible to have everything you want. The world is not perfect, and we should stop trying to make it so.

There will always be death, There will always be homework, and the poor we will always have with us, but there is one system that can and has made life better for all and that is capitalism. It seems as though there is a choice being posed by Moore: Capitalism or Government? Government is power, and power corrupts. The more government, the more corruption. However, Businessmen cannot control people without the arm of government to force people in their decision making. So the choice remains: Capitalism or Government? Liberty or tyranny?

Just keep in mind: Without government there is no corruption, but without capitalism there is nothing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The mistaken view of Walmart

This is off of Carpe Diem

My Perspective:

Not only can Walmart offer a decent Thanksgiving dinner for around $20, but it provides everyone, especially the middle and lower classes with affordable options to maintain today's standard of living. It boggles my mind when people complain about Walmart putting other people out of business. These people are essentially saying that they don't like Walmart, because they are too good at what they do. They claim that since Walmart gives such high value at such low prices, they are pushing other small local stores out of business. Okay? and the problem is? the only people that should complain about that are the local store owners, yet it is everyone, and they are all suckers. The local shop owners are trying to keep Walmart out so that they can keep charging higher prices. Not that they are price gouging (although that can take place), but rather they are trying to save their own livelihood at the expense of everyone else's. Seems pretty selfish and arrogant to me.

Why should we punish businesses that produce services and products better than anyone and make it possible for all to share in a high-end lifestyle? It is business, especially good business (Walmart) that creates wealth and lower prices so that we can spread our wealth around more to other business. This enriches us more with material goods and it enriches those who sell the products. Capitalism is the most efficient and ethical form of redistribution. anything that a government does is not based on the best interests of you or I. Government redistributes wealth to the areas that will bring them the most return and that is measured in another currency: Votes. Politicians dole out money to special interests and to the people that will be most effected by it, the poor. That is why the liberals are always trying to appear compassionate, but it is a lie. True compassion is first voluntary and then it does no harm. True compassion can not be evil by its nature, and yet the compassion claimed by the left is only achievable through coercion, which is evil.

True compassion is when someone aids another in getting through a rough patch. It is returning them to freedom, not dependence. It is taking the time to teach someone to fish, not just giving them one everyday which makes them reliant and obedient, for they will not bite the hand that feeds them.

Vegetarians are causing global warming!

Glenn Beck clip Here

My Perspective:

When Al Gore says he thinks including meat in our diets causes more global warming and then does not become a vegetarian he is indeed a hypocrite. Although he touts vegetarianism as a healthy lifestyle that will help the earth too, because it does not release the methane gas that cows and other livestock do, he neglects to mention the amount of CO2 is emitted by organic substances.

Since CO2 is the main problem, according to Gore, shouldn't we be curtailing the amount of the fruit and vegetables we eat? I mean, considering the fact that of all the CO2 in the atmosphere 95% is naturally occurring. We have no part in that, except when we grow massive amounts of food. When these things die and decay they release more CO2 then what humans create in all of their activities.

So, I think vegetarianism will be the next thing to get banned...I mean, who needs food right? and who needs oil or natural gas? seriously. I think we are all taking this whole government control thing the wrong way. Of course they know what's best for each and every one of us at all moments of the day. Sounds like God to me? They would have to be all intrusive. Government will have to be able to know all and see all. But hey, who cares right?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Don't need to say much for this.

"Brown: Do you think Fox News is biased?

Jarrett: Of course they’re biased. (laughs)

Brown: Well, do you also think MSNBC is biased?

Jarrett: Well, you know what? This is…this is the thing. I don’t want to generalize and say Fox is biased or another station is biased. I think what we want to do is to look at it on a case-by-case basis. And when we see a pattern of distorition, were going to be honest about that pattern of distortion.

Brown: But you only see that at Fox News. That’s all that you’ve spoken out about.

Jarrett: That’s actually not true."

My Perspective:


Stay Out of My Life

"The truth is that it is not necessarily unsafe to text behind the wheel. It all depends on the situation. If you are in a traffic jam, and are late to an appointment, the ability to text can be a lifesaver. Or if there are no cars around, you might be able to risk it. On the other hand, it would probably be a mistake to attempt this doing 80 mph around slower traffic on a freeway.

How can we know the difference between when it is safe and when it is not? The principle applied on American roads is that the driver himself makes that decision. If this principle didn't make sense, there would be no way that the roads themselves could work at all.

What's remarkable is not that there are so many wrecks. The miracle is that it works at all and that, for the most part, people get to where they are going. And consider too the demographic behind the car: old, young, abled, disabled, experienced, inexperienced. Some people have a facility for driving and others do not. Some people have spatial agility and others do not."Think of this the next time you are in a big city zooming around curves and between lanes along with thousands of others, doing top speeds. Here we have 4,000-pound hunks of steel barreling down the road without aids other than a dotted yellow line on the road. These are real-life death machines in which one wrong move could cause a 100-car pileup and mass death. We do it anyway." From the Mises Institute "A Penchant for Controlling Others."

Hate Crime = Thought Crime

"Now, I'm no fan of hate. Hate, in all forms, is ugly, even when performed by beautiful people (that's a shout out to Stephanie Von Pratt, who turned me down for my senior prom). But here's what I don't get: if I kill someone, I'm a killer. But hate crime law says that I also broke a new law - one that has to do with my thoughts when I committed the crime. So it's a thought crime more than a hate crime."

My Perspective:
I think Greg hits the nail on the head here by saying that hate crimes are additional crimes, ones centered on thoughts, not actions. I think this is a horrible thing for government to do since that is obviously an infringement of the 1st amendment, which gives us freedom of speech, and to speak one must first think. Without the freedom of thought there is no free speech. I would argue that since hate crimes are separate crimes, dealing both with what the person was thinking at the time and doing, instead of just what the person was doing. For that reason, I do not believe that hate crimes are constitutional at all, and all sentences that have been extended due to hate crimes should not be legal.

The way a free society functions requires the most basic freedom of thought. There are many cases already that have stricken down laws that infringe on speech and thought. Yet these hate crimes still remain. It is if the law is circumventing itself by punishing people for their thoughts after the fact. It must do this because to outright ban hate thought would be an obvious infringement of the 1st amendment.

The 1st amendment was created to protect our ability to think and speak freely. Once the government can start to curtail that freedom it is only a matter of time until they can control it. If they could outrightly ban hate speech then that would de facto give them the ability to decide what is and is not hate speech. Of course they wouldn't use congress to decide this, that is too easily stopped by the American people. Instead they will create a regulatory agency or use one that already exists (FCC and the Fairness Doctrine anyone?) This will make it nearly impossible to stop once it is regulatory policy. For a government to outlaw hate speech, they must first be implicitly given the power to define speech, and once that occurs, government can control speech by making anything it doesn't like defined as "hate speech."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Obama Puts the Lie to His Own Policies

"Michelle Obama explained her husband understands the struggles of low-income families.

"He understands them because he was raised by strong women. He is the product of two great women in his life. His mother and his grandmother," she said.

"Barack saw his mother, who was very young and very single when she had him, and he saw her work hard to complete her education and try to raise he and his sister," Michelle Obama said."

From World Net Daily. Read the whole story here.

My perspective:

I am not big into the birther movement. I think there are definite questions that need be answered and legitimate claims concerning discrepancies. It does make one wonder why else would a man spend over a million dollars of his own money to keep this out of the courts, when he could easily put it to rest by just showing his full birth certificate.

However, the point I find the most interesting here is Obama's childhood. It seems like he had it hard. A broken family with not much of a father figure. They were poor, moved around a lot and a minority. Although he had all of these things going against him, he not only managed to go to a great law school, but he also became a successful lawyer, statesman, and now the President of the United States.

When he was a child, there were no where near as many public programs to help him from his "situation" (it's called life). Yet, Obama worked hard and made good choices along the way. He made it through almost every difficulty and came out on top. This begs the question: do we need those programs that are now offered to help others in his same "situations," or would our country and the struggling be better off without them?

I find it interesting that a lot of timeless individuals were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths. I always like to use Abe Lincoln as an example. This man was dirt poor, learned to read himself by candle light, had very little formal education, and had disabilities. Yet, Lincoln was able to become a lawyer, statesman, and president just like Obama. There were no programs to help Lincoln do what he did. He worked hard and was rewarded for it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Soros, Economic Fallacies, and Education

Democratic super supporter, George Soros, has announced that he wants to take back the field of economics from the free-marketers who have dominated the field in the past. To do this he is putting up $50 Million of his own money (which for him is chump change).

This week Soros is gathering some of the leading practitioners of the market-skeptic school, who were marginalized during the era of "free-market fundamentalism," among them Nobelists Joseph Stiglitz, George Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Sir James Mirrlees. He's also creating an "Institute for New Economic Thinking" to make research grants, convene symposiums, and establish a journal, all in an effort to take back the economics profession from the champions of free-market zealotry who have dominated it for decades, and to correct the failures of decades of market deregulation. Soros hopes matching funds will bring the total endowment up to $200 million. "Economics has failed not only to predict and explain what happened but has also failed to protect society," says Robert Johnson, a former managing director at Soros Fund Management, who will direct the new institute. "That's what the crisis revealed. The paradigm has failed. There is no guidance." From the Newsweek article: Converting the Preachers

My Perspective:

I am continually amazed at the idiocy of the left. Robert Johnson has demonstrated in this single statement that he either has no concept of economics, or has an agenda that is not in line with the reality of economics, so it is economics that must be changed. Just look at what he said: "Economics has failed not only to predict and explain what happened but has also failed to protect society...That's what the crisis revealed. The paradigm has failed. There is no guidance."

This could not be further from the truth. Anyone who has studied economics seriously would have been able to predict all of the current problems we are now facing. Conservatives, libertarians, and free-market believing economists have long said that not only are the many massive government programs unsustainable, but the predicted that government intervention in the market would lead to distortions, a more volatile business cycle, and a worse economy than there otherwise would have been. It is straying from free market principles that got us into this mess in the first place. I have said it time and time again, we do not live in a free society, and we have not had free markets for a long time. Over the last 100 years, regulations, special interests and socialist programs have been burdening down the "free market" system and now it is on the verge of collapse. It has been a long battle, but the marxists are about to win, and if we buy into the left's lies, like those of Johnson, we will see our economy and our freedoms disappear over night.

We must educate ourselves and others about economics. See, the problem is that not many people study economics enough to know what a truly free market is and what the function of liberty is. Don't let the president and his cronies lie any longer. When they talk about our "free market system" and the failure of the markets (implying free markets) they are misusing the term. Our free market didn't fail, our free market just simply did not exist. They have been operating under a semi-free market, burdened by their socialist policies, yet when their idea of economics fails, they say it was the free market, not their policies that caused it. This is ludicrous! And what is even more aggravating is that too many people buy into it. Our government has been spending so much time and money not educating us that now many in the country, especially the younger generations don't know how to think or reason. Our government run schools tell us what to think, and not how to think. Instead of teaching logic at early ages and then allowing competing views into the classroom, which can be debated by reasonable youngsters who have been taught how to think, the schools only allow what they have decided is right into the schools, and that is not education, it's indoctrination. This of course goes both ways, I am not saying that it's only democrats or republicans doing this, but it is happening and if you are honest with yourself you will be able to see or remember examples from your own education.

True Cost: War on Drugs in money and lives.

This is a bit of an addendum to my previous post. These two charts show that not only is drug use not a very large problem in the United States, but the prohibition of such things as drugs or alcohol lead to increases in violence and a de facto decrease in the standard of living and culture.

It is rather startling when one considers the amount of money we waste to curtail the use of drugs (mainly marijuana, which is the safest of all drugs, including alcohol and tobacco) and in the process we increase crime rates. Shouldn't we instead look for a policy that allows people to make their own decisions as long as they do not infringe on anyone else's liberties. We could save over $16 Billion a year and also tax the drugs once they are legalized to add to our revenue. Instead we put our country's wealth into a system of policies that acts like a sieve. We are paying for our own destruction.

currently (Oct. 28, 2009 at 4:37 PM), according to the War on Drugs Clock, we are spending $16,572,169,584 on the drug war and that number increases by about $600 a second
Check out the War on Drugs Clock Here.

Is The Government Really Protecting Us?

Annual Causes of Death in the United States

I find looking at this information very interesting. There are many topics that one could discuss based on these facts alone, but I would like to focus on one in particular: something I shall call the "Death Trade Deficit."

According to these numbers 17,000 people die every year in the United States due to illicit drug use. Of course this must be further clarified:
"In 2006, a total of 38,396 persons died of drug-induced causes in the United States (Tables 21 and 22). This category includes not only deaths from dependent and nondependent use of legal or illegal drugs, but also poisoning from medically prescribed and other drugs. It excludes unintentional injuries, homicides, and other causes indirectlyrelated to drug use, as well as newborn deaths due to the mother’s drug use."
Heron MP, Hoyert DL, Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Kochanek KD, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: Final data for 2006. National vital statistics reports; vol 57 no 14. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2009, p, 11.

So, even this number is a drastic over-representation of the dangers of illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin. I would also like to point out that tobacco and alcohol are the number 1 and 3 killers respectively, yet they are not only legal, but celebrated by those who seek to keep other drugs illegal. The most intriguing thing about the United States Drug Policy is its willingness to look the other way when legal American products are causing so much more death and pain. This leads me to my next point and the Death Trade Deficit between Columbia and the United States.

Columbia is known for its production and distribution of cocaine or "Columbian bam-bam." This drug is demonized and the Columbian drug lords are seen as America Killers. Of course cocaine is not a good thing to put in your body, but neither is fast food, tobacco, alcohol, and others (and they are the top 3 killers mind you). However Cocaine is nowhere near as deadly as those things that we as Americans embrace. In fact, more people die in Columbia from our drug lords (RJ Renyolds and the like) than Americans from the Pablo's of the world.

"At 46 million people, Colombia is one of the largest countries in Latin America to enact a comprehensive tobacco control law. About 25,000 people in Colombia die each year due to tobacco-related illness." Source.

Compare the numbers and you will see that even the inflated number of 17,000 who die each year in the United States from all illict drugs (that means not just the cocaine that is imported to the states) is still 8,000 less than the 25,000 people who die every year in Columbia from our largest drug export: Tobacco. This means that the Columbians really have more reason to be mad at us then we have to be angry at them. They are running a trade deficit when it comes to death. We export at least 25,000 deaths to Columbia (this of course assumes that they are only using American made tobacco products, but I am also assuming that we are only using Columbian cocaine) so that means that the Columbians are importing more death then they are exporting.

This is just one more point that makes the War on Drugs look even more ridiculous. Not to mention how many more deaths the War on Drugs causes because of the nature of an illegal or black market. American officials use violent force, coercion, and untold amounts of money to get rid of this "scourge." Yet, drugs are the least of our worries statistically, and thousands die every year because of the ramifications of our policies both in increased crime due to the black market and in direct confrontation with police and DEA forces.

As a side note, I would like to also point out the last item on the list above. In its thousands of years in existence and use, there has never been a documented case of death caused by Marijuana alone. Sadly, the same cannot be said of Tobacco, Alcohol or even Aspirin.

(1996): "Each year, use of NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) accounts for an estimated 7,600 deaths and 76,000 hospitalizations in the United States." (NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, ketoprofen, and tiaprofenic acid.)

Robyn Tamblyn, PhD; Laeora Berkson, MD, MHPE, FRCPC; W. Dale Jauphinee, MD, FRCPC; David Gayton, MD, PhD, FRCPC; Roland Grad, MD, MSc; Allen Huang, MD, FRCPC; Lisa Isaac, PhD; Peter McLeod, MD, FRCPC; and Linda Snell, MD, MHPE, FRCPC, "Unnecessary Prescribing of NSAIDs and the Management of NSAID-Related Gastropathy in Medical Practice," Annals of Internal Medicine (Washington, DC: American College of Physicians, 1997), September 15, 1997, 127:429-438, from the web at, last accessed Feb. 14, 2001, citing Fries, JF, "Assessing and understanding patient risk," Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology Supplement, 1992;92:21-4

These are all points that should be at the forefront of the debate. Is America really doing its citizens and the world a service by punishing people for using a substance that causes no documented physical harm (other than those attributed to the act of smoking in general). It is a great injustice that adults are not treated as such. In a free society, people should be able to choose for themselves what they want to put inside their bodies. This also means they can choose what not to put in their bodies. Most people don't use illicit drugs and if they were legalized that would not change much because people have already made the decision. Ask yourself this question: If heroin or cocaine were legalized tomorrow, would you use them? For probably about 99% of those responding to this question, the answer would be no (only 1.5% of Americans have ever used heroin (2005)). Why? because legality is a small part of the equation. Everyone does illegal things whether it's speeding or not reporting that 20 dollars you made in the (illegal) office fantasy football bet. Yet, most of these law breakers have decided to not use illegal drugs, not because they are illegal, but because they don't desire them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nanny State = Tyranny

"The Obama administration plans to order companies that received the most money from the Wall Street bailout to cut pay to top executives, a government source told Fox Business Network.

Under the plan, the seven companies that received the most government aid will have to cut annual salaries by about 90 percent from last year for the 25 highest-paid executives."

The entire article can be located Here.

My Perspective:

This is always the case with government. When you allow the government to come in and help you by providing money or a service (which is money in a different form) for you, you essentially allow the government to usurp liberties from you as well. The case of the mandatory pay cuts is just one example, and it actually does make logical sense. Unfortunately this is a dangerous road that is covered with good intentions but leads straight to tyranny.

Here is the logic:
When the government aides you in some way they are acting as a provider. As in the case of a family, the provider makes the rules and those who wish to benefit from the provider must obey the rules. This is why a family is essentially a dictatorship. Although I believe in liberty and individualism, they are both incongruous with a family structure. Why? because the parents are the providers. The children can't do much on their own, and definitely can't live on their own, so they are bound to the parents and are essentially at their command. This is why a parent can order their child to do chores, go to bed, eat healthy, etc. It is because the parents have a vested interest in their money and will set rules on how it is to be spent.

I'm sure we all remember being young and asking for a few dollars to go get something at the corner store. What usually happened? Well, your mom or dad would either agree or not agree to the request. If they did agree to give you money, they usually set some rules like no junk food, only 1 soda a day, or you have to buy your sister something. The rules are seemingly endless.

Well in the case of the Nanny State, this example applies directly. It should be rather obvious because it's in the name "Nanny" but most people don't realize the ramifications of those statist policies. Much like the Wall Street CEOs are finding out now, once you sell your soul to the devil, he owns you.

Do you think Universal Healthcare will be any different? Right now our government tries to tell us what to do in matters it should have no say. We can't smoke, can't eat trans fats, tax tobacco, sugary drinks, limit the number of fast food restaurants in a certain location...I mean the list is really endless. And if you think that is bad, Universal Healthcare will make it worse because it will legitimize those actions.

As of now, the government holds no legitimate claim to what we do with our own bodies. As long as our lifestyles do not infringe on others liberties, the government truly has no legitimate claim to order us otherwise. But, if we allow the government to supply us with healthcare, that will essentially be state ownership of you. Since almost everything you do in life can effect your health or well being -- and of course the government will define what is the right well being (just like parents do) -- the government will have a legitimate claim to control any part of your life that they deem influential to you health. And how do they justify telling you what to do? They do it by you allowing them to, by forfeiting your liberties for the ease of government healthcare (never mind that it will make health care worse).

see the difference is that without government intervention in healthcare like now (and that's only partially true) they have no legitimate claim to you. You cannot make a logical argument for government control of you. But once you give them the duty of providing for you, you give them the basis for which to make that logical argument. Just like a child is the subject of its parents, you will be the subject of your government. And just like a family, which as we all know "is a dictatorship, not a democracy," you will be told what to do by a stand in for mommy, the Nanny State.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Quote of the Day: Madison

I would like to start a quote of the day. I hope I keep up with this and I would like to focus on the views of our founding fathers and other great thinkers.

"As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed." - James Madison

My Perspective:

This simple statement shows the function of liberty in a society. It is true that some people in a free society will make bad decisions and may use illogical reasoning to justify their act. But as long as we are truly free to exercise ourselves and free to watch others and see what works, we will come to newer and better conclusions without the need for an oppressive and authoritarian government.

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