Many people don’t know that the true unemployment rate is over 20%, double the official 10.2% government unemployment rate. This is because over 10% of potential workers are not reporting an effort to seek a job, and part of the reason is a growing informal economy.
John Williams’ Shadow Government Statistics goes beyond the official government reports to include the informal economy. A growing informal economy or black market is a sign that people are unable to find a legal way to provide for themselves. As a result they resort to off-the-books cash transactions, bartering, selling banned substances, and other activities that, even if not legal, will allow them to find a way to live. Continue reading →
Americans want change. It is not the change towards socialism that Pres. Obama delivered, and it is not change back to the Republicans of Bush and Gingrich, which by the way, is not 180 degrees away from Obama. 180 degrees from Obama is eliminating 90 percent of federal programs and returning government to citizens and states. 180 degrees would be a repeal of the 16th and 17 amendments. 180 degrees would mean income tax collection at the state level and apportioned payments by the states to the federal government for protection of our borders. There is nothing wrong with a social safety net for those who have disabilities or need help getting on their feet. It is just that this is not the Federal government’s responsibility.
Democracies and Republics are built from the bottom up, not the top down. Top-down governments never led to happiness or general prosperity.
According to Max Weber, a state could be said to “succeed” if it maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within its borders. The key here is the word “legitimate.” To be legitimate, a state must must be seen by its citizens as protecting their interests, and being fair and just. With an approval rating of Congress of 18% can we consider the government legitimate? And, if not, is the United States a failing or failed state?
The Federal Health Care debate brings to the surface a number of problems that indicate how the United States is failing: Continue reading →
No bill would be this big unless it is packed with pork and exemptions. A fair bill that treats everyone the same doesn’t look this way. Think of how large the U.S. Constitution is and what it does. The most valuable things come in small packages.
Federal Health Care is the Easiest to Defraud
Tonight 60 Minutes reported on billions of dollars of Medicare fraud. Most people know that patients, doctors, and hospitals frequently overbill, but other government agencies, druglords, and private entrepreneurs have learned that bilking medicare out of money through false claims is safer, easier, and just as lucrative as selling cocaine.
Readers of my book will not be surprised. I spent several pages explaining why it is easier to defraud bureaucracies than face-to-face market transactions. The greater the centralization of healthcare, the more fraud can be expected. To the student of human nature, the idea that a federal healthcare system would be subject to less fraud and abuse is ludicrous. Continue reading →
The Principle of Subsidiarity is Responsible Freedom
The principle of subsidiarity, or “the greatest responsibility to the lowest possible level” is a central principle of freedom, good governance, and the opposite of ponzi schemes that centralize power at the expense of freedom. The founding fathers implicity upheld this principle, as it follows from the Declaration of Independence. In my book Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, I devote a chapter to this principle and how it became inverted and unstable. Continue reading →
Social Security and Medicare are Ponzi Schemes
The Social Security system and Medicare are ponzi schemes, no less than Bernard Madoff’s financial scheme was. The essential elements are the same:
You take a small amount of money from the first person, promising a greater amount in return. Then you charge a larger amount from the next person and pay off the first person with his greater return. Next you charge a third person a higher amount and pay off the second with a greater return. You do this until the last person in the chain is unable to pay and the bubble bursts.
A variation on the ponzi scheme above involves taking a small amount of money from the first person, promising a greater return. Then you charge the same amount to two people, and pay the first person his greater return. Next, you charge the same amount to four people and pay the second two their greater return. You do this until you run out of people, and then the bubble bursts.