Audio Clips

31 March 2012

Unions vs. Education

23 March 2012

Former Federal Reserve Economist Argues For Ending the Fed

He also makes an interesting argument for allowing private currencies.

22 March 2012

Stossel: Complex Societies Need Simple Laws

John Stossel wrote a great article on why expanding numbers of regulation actually hinder progress.


Complex Societies Need Simple Laws

We need to end the orgy of rule-making at once and embrace the simple rules that true liberals like America’s founders envisioned.

“If you have 10,000 regulations,” Winston Churchill said, “you destroy all respect for law.”
He was right. But Churchill never imagined a government that would add 10,000 year after year. That’s what we have in America. We have 160,000 pages of rules from the feds alone. States and localities have probably doubled that. We have so many rules that legal specialists can’t keep up. Criminal lawyers call the rules “incomprehensible.” They are. They are also “uncountable.” Congress has created so many criminal offenses that the American Bar Association says it would be futile to even attempt to estimate the total. 
 So what do the politicians and bureaucrats of the permanent government do? They pass more rules.
That’s not good. It paralyzes life.
Politicians sometimes say they understand the problem. They promise to “simplify.” But they rarely do. Mostly, they come up with new rules. It’s just natural. It’s how the public measures politicians. Schoolchildren on Washington tours ask, “What laws did you pass?” If they don’t pass new laws, the media whine about the “do-nothing Congress.”
This is also not good.
When so much is illegal, common sense dies. Out of fear of breaking rules, people stop innovating, trying, helping.
Think I exaggerate? Consider what happened in Britain, a country even more rule-bound than America. A man had an epileptic seizure and fell into a shallow pond. Rescue workers might have saved him, but they wouldn’t enter the 3-foot-deep pond. Why? Because “safety” rules passed after rescuers drowned in a river now prohibited “emergency workers” from entering water above their ankles. Only 30 minutes later, when rescue workers with “stage 2 training” arrived, did they enter the water, discover that the man was dead and carry him to the approved inflatable medical tent. Twenty other cops, firemen and “rescuers” stood next to the pond and watched.
The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, sometimes called the first libertarian thinker, said, “The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished....The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be.” He complained that there were “laws and regulations more numerous than the hairs of an ox.” What would he have thought of our world?
Big-government advocates will say that as society grows more complex, laws must multiply to keep up. The opposite is true. It is precisely because society is unfathomably complex that laws must be kept simple. No legislature can possibly prescribe rules for the complex network of uncountable transactions and acts of cooperation that take place every day. Not only is the knowledge that would be required to make such a regulatory regime work unavailable to the planners, it doesn’t actually exist, because people don’t know what they will want or do until they confront alternatives in the real world. Any attempt to manage a modern society is more like a bull in a darkened china shop than a finely tuned machine. No wonder the schemes of politicians go awry.
F.A. Hayek wisely said, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” Another Nobel laureate, James M. Buchanan, put it this way: “Economics is the art of putting parameters on our utopias.”
Barack Obama and his ilk in both parties don’t want parameters on their utopias. They think the world is subject to their manipulation. That idea was debunked years ago.
“With good men and strong governments everything was considered feasible,” the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises wrote. But with the advent of economics, “it was learned that ... there is something operative which power and force are unable to alter and to which they must adjust themselves if they hope to achieve success, in precisely the same way as they must taken into account the laws of nature.”
I wish our politicians knew that. I wish they’d stop their presumptuous schemes.
We need to end the orgy of rule-making at once and embrace the simple rules that true liberals like America’s founders envisioned.

21 March 2012

Should Government Regulate Monopolies?

Lynne Kiesling makes a compelling case for why government should not get involved in regulating or breaking up "monopolies".

19 March 2012

The Wrong People Could Get Power! Like Voters!

A hilarious clip from the British TV satire "Yes, Minister".  My favorite line is when he is talking about a local government solving problems "probably in just a couple of meetings.  Complete amateurs!"

13 March 2012

Journalist Attacks Crony Capitalist's Non-Answer

We need more journalists like this who go after the elite who are stealing from us and then saying how awful it is that these decisions have to be made.  Pardon my French, but what a load of crap.

09 March 2012

EPA vs. Property Rights

My favorite part of the EPA's argument is that they shouldn't be subject to judicial review.  I have demanded an exception to judicial review of my midnight burglaries also.  I'm going to see how far that gets me.  Fingers-crossed!

06 March 2012

Commerce by Compulsion

David Harsanyi recently wrote an article at Reason that was great.  I'm including the whole thing because it was just terrific.  Enjoy!




Commerce Is the Culture War

When government dictates what people buy and sell, it dictates much more.

It's always curious to watch the champions of "choice" decide what choices to champion and what choices to dismiss for the common good.
If you believe that the Obama administration's decision to force Catholic institutions to pay for and offer (directly or indirectly) products the church finds morally objectionable is an assault on religious freedom and free speech, you probably also realize the importance of consumer choice. After all, when government dictates what people buy and sell, it dictates much more.
First, let's ponder the precedent: Obama argues that government not only is empowered to force every adult to purchase a product in a marketplace (in this case, health insurance) but also can demand that providers sell certain products in this market (in this case, contraception). Washington, then, has the ability to direct both seller and buyer if it deems such actions beneficial for society.
And, needless to say, when Democrats deem something beneficial for society, they have a strong tendency to start treating this something as if it were a "right." As it stands, you have the "right" to a free condom, and should you forget or neglect or utilize this right, you have the right to an abortion that is partially funded by fungible taxpayer dollars. (If, however, a couple keep a child, they have no right to use their tax dollars to shop for a school outside their own neighborhood or, apparently, find a health care plan that comports with their values.)
As many of you know, there are "negative rights," as in my right to be protected from harm if I try to buy, say, birth control. And there are also "positive rights," as in my right to have birth control provided for me. In the eyes of many liberals, condoms, health care, salubrious foods, housing, etc., should, if there is any decency in this nation, be positive rights. Thus, anyone failing to provide these things is really just "denying" people access.
So, the argument goes, by failing to offer birth control, the Catholic Church is actually preventing access to reproductive health care.
A neat trick.
If we need an example of how limiting consumer choice can ignite social, economic and quality issues, we can turn to the similar one-size-fits-all debacle of "rights" called public education. Yes, there are Philistines like me who believe that exposing schools to market forces would spur innovation and better outcomes. Surely, there is little doubt that if we extricated schools from state monopolies and transformed parents into consumers, the many arguments about God, history, politics and Darwinism—or whateverism is grating against your sensibilities—would be fought in the comment sections of websites rather than in classrooms.
Don't get me wrong; the left believes that parents should be free to teach their kids whatever they'd like, just not in the schools they happen to pay for.
Health care is similarly destined, no doubt. The intent of Democrats is to create a system with uniform coverage. So what we will be left with is a bunch of highly regulated, interchangeable insurance companies offering virtually identical plans with no incentive for innovation and absolutely no reason to tailor products or plans to appeal to the many diverse groups in this country—religious or otherwise.
They have one consumer to please and one set of morals to worry about. The state. If you don't like your plan, switch to another one just like it. If you can't afford to leave your employer's plan, then join one of those fabricated exchanges run by government.
If you've got some religious beef, beg for an accommodation.
If you don't like the answer, well, hey, where you gonna go?
It's like a theocracy ... without the God part.
David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Blaze. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.