National Popular Vote

Faction creates violence.  A fundamental purpose of our constitutional republic is to protect citizens against the tyranny of a group from oppressing the rest of society by its beliefs and ideology.  Madison wrote about factions in Federalist 10: “The instability, injustice and confusion introduced into public councils have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished…”.   Madison writes that a faction is a number of citizens amounting to a majority or a minority united by a passion or interest adversed to the rights of other citizens or the community.

This National Popular Vote movement is just such a faction.  It is an effort to undermine the constitutional process of a Presidential election and create confusion.  Under Article V there are two methods to make changes to the Constitution but by design they are arduous and would require rigorous public debate and agreement.  Indeed, the Electoral College was amended by the XII amendment.

But this is not the way of factions.  The problem with the Constitution as expounded for over a hundred years is that it is too cumbersome and slows down progress. Progressives want to go around it.  Besides, the document that governs us was written long ago by white men who were slave holders to hear its supporters tell it.

At the public hearing on this topic at the Committee for Veterans and Legal Affairs I heard the proponents first hand.  A member of the committee stated that the use of electors was anti-democratic and provided the southern slave states with an advantage because of the three-fifths clause.   Never mind that the northern states pushed for this compromise to reduce southern power not increase it.  The south was pushing for a one-for-one count to increase their representation in the what was to become the House of Representatives.  This was only indirectly related as the three-fifths clause was mostly discussed July 11-14 and 16 and the Electoral College not until September 4 and 6.

The committee member may not be aware Democracies have been throughout history to be mobs.  A country our size would not have able to function under a democracy. Instead faction, in pursuit of their interests, would have split us apart. Thankfully a republican form that incorporated elements of a democracy was created.

Another Committee member harped on the fact that as a small state we never get visits by presidential candidates, so we need to change the Electoral College.  Ask yourself: Do you need candidates to visit the state in order to decide for whom to vote for? Are we not able to determine a candidate’s positions through speeches and the nationwide press?

Another argument is one person one vote. Nine states have approximately half of the US population.  Maine is not one of them.  Worse, 146 counites out of 3,141 have about half the population.  None are in Maine.  Which person’s vote is more important: A Maine resident or a non-resident?

These arguments are spurious or at best misguided.

The Electoral College evolved after heavy debate at the convention concerning the term of the President and a form of election that would represent the people and the states. It has worked for 240 years. This project wants to remove the state influence and transfer it to the people only.

States safeguard the country from the violence of factions through boundaries.  Strong passions in one state are contained by the dispassion in others.  This movement wants to break down the state barriers and circumvent the Constitution.  Who would benefit from this?  Surely not the voters of Maine which this will disenfranchise.

 

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Socialism Score Card

Socialism with all of its egalitarian promises is perennially appealing.  But it is a lie that needs to be exposed for the disaster that it is.

Ludwig von Mises put it this way: “To abolish private property in the means of production, to make the means of production the property of the community, that is the whole aim of Socialism.”

In order to abolish private property it has to be confiscated by the government and only then can it become the property of the community. At this point redistribution of wealth takes place – usually to those at the top.  Indeed, this is what the Socialists are always trying to accomplish.

Once the market system has been broken it is left to planners in the government to decide how much of which items that need to be produced.  Of course, this does not and cannot work.  Consider someone trying to plan how many bagels of which type to produce and distribute to every bagel store in New York City every day that customers want.

Inevitably, the leader decides that their people, their community members, are responsible for this failure of the economy. If only they worked harder, contributed more or were not enemies of the state, then the system would run smoothly.  The people will need to be shown that they must sacrifice for the state.  They must be shot, jailed, starved, put in labor camps or suffer in any number of inhuman ways.  And they did:

  • Mao – 40 million killed
  • Stalin- 20 million killed
  • Hitler – 12 million killed
  • Pol Pot – 2 million killed

The Stalin estimate maybe low, (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, thinks 60 million is closer) but even at the 20 million number that is 1,820 people a day or 12,740 a week killed, every week for 30 years. His own people.

Socialism will always lead to results like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Collins again

I am always talking about Senator Susan Collins it seems. But there is a reason for that.  Senator Collins is two things that are really one thing: She is a Never-Trumper and she is a Democrat who self identifies as a Republican.

Neither of these traits bodes well for whoever President Trump may nominate for the Supreme Court.  President Trump has had a list of 25 potential names since 2016. It is not a surprise that an appointment has come up.  Has Senator Collins thought about that list and who might support and defend the constitution as written? The same document she took an oath to defend.

We remember Susan Collins was very concerned that Garland should get a hearing.  Will she be as concerned that this President’s nomination will get a hearing?  Or will  her roots show as a Never-Trumper and a Democrat, and block it?

Let’s hope she defends liberty.

Senator Collins Does It Again

Senator Collins once again is a “No” vote on the Republican attempt to stop the train wreck that is the ACA.  This will hurt Mainers and all Americans as we now will have to battle against the holy grail of Socialism: Single Payer Healthcare. For those of us who are tempted to rail against the Republican’s inability to repeal Obamacare (as we have been promised for years) let’s keep in mind that it is not all Republicans that are preventing it. These Republican’s can be counted on one hand and they always include Senator Collins.

Desperately Seeking Susan

Today, Senator Susan Collins demonstrated her true colors.  As a Republican member of the Senate she voted today to kill the “repeal” of Obamacare.  She voted yesterday against even allowing debate on the issue. For eight years the Republicans as a party, have been championing the repeal of the disaster that is Obamacare.  Approximately one-sixth of our economy is being destroyed by this plan, yet Senator Collins seems uninterested in this reality.  She and her Republican colleagues had eight years to come up with a plan but they didn’t.  Now that they have an opportunity to improve this debacle they can’t, or rather won’t.  I hope people understand that Senator Collins is a Progressive that only believes in big government and not solutions for the American people. Her constant calls for bipartisanship are just a front.  I wish I could say I was surprised but I am just disgusted.

Nothing from Nothing leaves Nothing – Pillar 1

Nothing in our material world can come from nowhere or go nowhere, nor can it be free: everything in our economic life has a source, a destination, and a cost that must be paid

Private property is the foundation of a free market economic system. In order to utilize property in a way that best serves your needs you first have to be acquire it, and there are costs associated with the acquisition such as time, effort or money.

In addition, if you want to keep your property, or sell it to another, there are costs associated with that. Some of these costs are explicit, for example how much you paid for your car that you want to sell.  Some are implicit: Now that I do not have a car, what will it cost to ride the bus?

The above notion that everything has a source, a destination and a cost is not only true of items that we purchase but also services that we consume.

It is clear that nothing appears out of thin air and is given to us all at no cost. The fact that sometimes it is hard to determine where the good came from, or how it got here or even if it is free to us does not diminish the fact it had a source, it arrived at its destination and someone paid for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Pillars for SJWs

I recently came across an article discussing “Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom.”  This was put together by a depression era group (now disbanded as far as I can tell) called the American Economic Foundation.   You can read the full article here, but I wanted to summarize the ten points and then look into each of them in more detail as time permits.

The purpose of this exercise, is to provide a tool kit, or at least a framework, with which to think about the issues as we begin to confront and combat our local SJWs and to help us filter out the nonsense that we are subjected to on a daily basis by those on the left.

A basic grounding in Economics along with the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the structure of the Constitution as written will provide the foundation needed to turn back the leftist dogma as it comes up.

So to begin (my comments in parenthesis like this one):

  1. Nothing in our material world can come from nowhere or go nowhere, nor can it be free: everything in our economic life has a source, a destination, and a cost that must be paid. (Short version – no such thing as a free lunch.)
  2. Government is never a source of goods. Everything produced is produced by the people, and everything that government gives to the people, it must first take from the people. (Think Compulsion and Coercion.)
  3. The only valuable money that government has to spend is that money taxed or borrowed out of the people’s earnings. When government decides to spend more than it has thus received, that extra unearned money is created out of thin air, through the banks, and, when spent, takes on value only by reducing the value of all money, savings, and insurance. (Think Debt, Deficit and Inflation.)
  4. In our modern exchange economy, all payroll and employment come from customers, and the only worthwhile job security is customer security; if there are no customers, there can be no payroll and no jobs. (Government cannot provide job security in a market economy.  And by market economy I mean Capitalism.)
  5. Customer security can be achieved by the worker only when he cooperates with management in doing the things that win and hold customers. Job security, therefore, is a partnership problem that can be solved only in a spirit of understanding and cooperation. (Partners not adversaries.)
  6. Because wages are the principal cost of everything, widespread wage increases, without corresponding increase in production, simply increase the cost of everybody’s living. (Damn those minimum wage increase zealots.)
  7. The greatest good for the greatest number means, in its material sense, the greatest goods for the greatest number which, in turn, means the greatest productivity per worker. (Capitalism. Capitalism is the way this works.)
  8. All productivity is based on three factors: 1) natural resources (NR), whose form, place and condition are changed by the expenditure of 2) human energy (HE) (both muscular and mental), with the aid of 3) tools (T). (Labor and Capital but not the fallacious Marxist use of the ideas.)
  9. Tools are the only one of these three factors that man can increase without limit, and tools come into being in a free society only when there is a reward for the temporary self-denial that people must practice in order to channel part of their earnings away from purchases that produce immediate comfort and pleasure, and into new tools of production. Proper payment for the use of tools is essential to their creation. (Technology is important and better tools make better products and requires Capital accumulation.)
  10. The productivity of the tools–that is, the efficiency of the human energy applied in connection with their use–has always been highest in a competitive society in which the economic decisions are made by millions of progress-seeking individuals, rather than in a state-planned society in which those decisions are made by a handful of all-powerful people, regardless of how well-meaning, unselfish, sincere and intelligent those people may be. (Regardless of how well-meaning, central planning does not work.)

Santa is oppressive

Last week, the Hillsboro school district in Oregon sent out a memo directing its staff to refrain from using images that could be construed as offensive to others such as Santa Claus.  Not using Santa Claus images was a way to respect all religious beliefs.  They claimed after the memo became public that they were not “banning” Santa Claus, you just need “to refrain” from using those images in your Christmas decorating.

Sounds like a ban to me.

To a Socialist this is a two-for-one.  As we know, Christmas is a Christian religious holiday to celebrate the birthday of Jesus.  In America, Santa also plays a large role as part of the Christmas tradition.

Giving gifts for Christmas requires buying things, a willing purchase from a willing seller. Sellers have to have items available that people want to buy and providing items that consumers want at prices they can afford is the function of capitalism. Capitalism is a system that works.

The balance to be struck at the holiday season is to not get too caught up in the commercialism of the season and to try remember the real meaning of Christmas. Remember “A Charlie Brown Christmas” anyone?

Santa Claus represents gift giving and is based on the folklore of the holiday season.  Jesus’s birthday is the Christian reason for Christmas.

Socialists despise capitalism because in this market driven system, there are winners and losers.  It is unfair that some people become rich and some people are poor. This inequality needs to be corrected by wealth redistribution.

Who will decide how to redistribute this wealth to make things equal?  The Socialist masterminds who know better how to take from some and give to others.

Does a Socialist economic model ever work? No, you just need to glance at Venezuela as the most recent example. Money is now being weighed in stores because so many bills are required to buy things that it takes too long to count it.

Socialists, to promote their agenda, incessantly attack capitalism. So Santa is on the chopping block.

Undermining all tradition is another Socialist tactic.  The Declaration of Independence states that we have unalienable rights as individuals given to us from the Creator.  For some, that Creator is represented by Jesus.

If our rights are given to us by a Creator, this will undermine the authority of the State.  In our founding documents, the Constitution, which is based on the principles in the Declaration, provide for individual liberties. How then can the State be the principal arbiter of equality?  It can’t, so it must attack these underpinnings to legitimize its authority. At the bottom of these documents is a Christian ethos that must be replaced with a Statist one.

Capitalism is inextricably connected with the individual liberties provided for in our Constitution.

The Constitution is inextricably linked to a belief in a Creator and at the time it was written the dominate belief in a Creator was a Christian one.

So two-for-one, get rid of an oppressive Santa and call into question the entire Christian tradition of Christmas as not being “overly inclusive.”

Brilliant! But really, it is just more misguided crap from the left that needs a push back.

Common Ground Is Possible

A while back I was involved in a Facebook war with a very strong supporter of Bernie.

I tried unsuccessfully to communicate that when it came to the “Rich” and “Big Business”, the group that he strongly had an issue with, that I agreed with him. I called them “Corporatists.”

I used a different name, but it was the same enemy.

I think it is important to use clear terms for a group to make it easier to identify the underpinnings of the problem.  In that way, we can arrive at solutions.

Conflating the Rich with Big Business and declaring them the enemy of the little guy does not really lend itself to what is going on.  What “Rich” do you mean?  How much do you have to make to be “Rich”? Is everyone that makes more than you “Rich”? And what is the problem with “Big Business” anyway?

What Rich?

As an example, on the Forbes 500 Bilionaires list for 2016, 221 or 44.2% that were on the list last year are off it now.  198 new people joined the list that were not on it the year before.  I am only trying to point out that the group changes. Things happen in a dynamic world. So what Rich? This year’s list?  Last year’s list? All of them? Does it matter?

How Rich?

The top 1% of income earners pay about 45% of all taxes.  The top 20% pay about 85% of all taxes.  The bottom 80% of income earners pay about 15% and the bottom 60% will pay about 2%.  Approximately 45% of Americans pay 0 tax.

How much do have to earn to be in the top 1%? $450k. Top 20%? $112k. So if you make $45k and marry someone making $70k, combined are you now the rich? Now do you hate yourself?

My point is this: What rich are you mad at?

Does all Big Business suck and stick it to us?

If you are looking at your iPhone while you should be reading this ask yourself does Apple or Google suck? Apple’s market capitalization was about $495B and Google about $498B.  Are they Rich? Too Rich?

For me, the problem is not about the “Rich” or “Big Business” but about the system that allows business to inbreed with the government by using lobbyists and money to get favorable treatment and government funds back into their own pockets at the same time the politicians get rich. Members of Congress make about $175k a year (top 8%), yet, they leave office millionaires.

And how does government earn its money? It doesn’t. It takes it from people who do earn it through taxes and gives it to others.

These corporatists are the real enemy.  Von Mises would call what they do “Interventionalism”, a system that interferes with the free market system (which we can get into later) and spawns socialism.

The thing to remember is that governments have the power of Coercion and Control and combined with the corporatist system, it is the real enemy to all of us.

Common ground.