Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why "soaking the rich" won't work and won't help anything

Some people buy into the notion that there is a point at which wealth becomes objectively immoral -- and at that point such people would have government tax away the excess. Isaac Morehouse at The Libertarian Christian takes the reader through a step-by-step logical analysis to show why such premises are false.

One revealing statistic: The poorest people in the world today are better off than the average American in 1880, who lived to be 39 and made about $4,276. In 2000, there is not a country in the world with a life expectancy below 44. A very poor country like Angola, with a life expectancy of 48 and average inflation-adjusted income of $5,056, is better off than the US just a handful of generations ago.*

One of the few things that Abraham Lincoln got right was this statement, "You cannot make the poor rich by making the rich poor."  This truth has been proven over and over again from the Communist experience. Without people with the incentive and the drive to become rich, you do not have the go-getters that create opportunities for themselves and the rest of us. Destroying that only enforces a dull mediocrity over an entire society.

Here is what Mr. Morehouse has to say about the WWJD question:

We needn’t ask what Jesus would do in the face of great wealth and poverty. We can look at what he did do. He helped the poor and instructed others to do the same, but he never forced anyone to help on threat of fine or imprisonment as our tax and welfare system does. He told one rich man to give his possessions to the poor, but then let the man walk away. Apparently, it was the rich man’s heart, not his possessions, Jesus was after.

Preach on, brother.
* I would, however, urge caution in the use of dollar amounts over time and across nations. The American in 1880 was making U.S. dollars backed by silver, the Angolan today probably is not. On the other hand, $1 in a Third-World country in many instances will buy more necessities than $1 in an advanced nation -- I am assuming that the methodology to assume "inflation-adjusted" is correct. This takes nothing away from the logical analysis that Mr. Morehouse is presenting.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Another quick take on the debt crisis

I do not buy into all the rhetoric about tying down our children and grandchildren with the national debt and unfunded obligations. The debt will be repudiated within the next 2-3 years. What we should be worrying about is hyperinflation -- printing money to pay it off and thus destroying the savings of every thrifty American.

(Posted Wednesday in Facebook)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kabuki theatre

I have heard the debt ceiling debates described as "kabuki theatre," a highly stylized Japanese form of drama and dance with elaborate sets and costumes. Those who refer to the debates as "theatre" are strongly implying that they expect those debates to achieve little or nothing. Jim Quinn, in The Burning Platform, finds that, to the mainstream media, anyone not willing to act according to the kabuki rules is by definition an "extremist."

Kabuki would not work without the backstage people who create the sets and design the costumes. In the same fashion the Congressional kabuki requires smoky backrooms, Madison Avenue advertising people, and Congressional staffers to design the talking points.

Everything we have heard boils down to a few talking points on each side (quoting Mr. Quinn):
Republican Talking Points 
  • We refuse to increase taxes on all Americans to fix a spending problem.
  • Spending has been out of control since Obama took control of the White House (reference $800 billion stimulus package, home buyer tax credit, and Obamacare).
  • Say that Obama doesn’t have a plan and mention his ten year budget.
  • Tell the American people Republicans are fiscally responsible and the real party of change.
  • The people told them to change Washington with the 2010 election.
Democratic Talking Points 
  • The Tea Party EXTREMISTS have hijacked the Republican Party and want to destroy the country by forcing the country to default on its debt.
  • The Bush tax cuts and the Bush wars are to blame for the entire increase in debt and deficits.
  • The Republicans want to protect the richest Americans while cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits for the poor.
  • The Democratic Party will never cut Medicare or Social Security.
  • The Democrats are willing to compromise and act like adults, while the evil Republicans resist all offers to strike a deal.
Mr. Quinn then brings on board political consultant James Carville, who makes a revealing comment about the groupthink inside the Beltway:
Carville’s shrill diatribe against the Tea Party freshman in Congress was the most humorous piece of misinformation of his entire rant. He inadvertently struck upon the most revealing point of this entire debt ceiling farce. He said:

“These Tea Party congressmen act as if they don’t care if they are re-elected in 2012.” (Emphasis his)

Mr Quinn continues:
And there you have it. These people are not doing what is in their own best interest to get re-elected. They have shocked the vested interests in Washington by sticking to their principles and not playing the games that left the country bankrupt. This is an outrage to non-principled shills like Carville and Rove. This behavior is declared EXTREMIST by the liberal pundits and self interested Washington hacks. People acting in the long- term best interests of the country are seen as EXTREME by neo-cons like Charles Krauthammer and moderate RINOs like John “Crash” McCain. The entrenched Washington ruling class is uncomfortable with any change. The establishment would prefer to lie to the American public again and let future generations worry about the $100 trillion unfunded obligations they’ve created. 
Only in America would people trying to balance the national budget be branded extremists.
I believe that history will rehabilitate Barry Goldwater, who fought the liberal establishment of that day (and was buried by it). At the 1964 Republican National Convention, his quotation of Marcus Tullius Cicero proclaimed a truth that gives courage to people in every age who struggle in liberty's cause:

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." (Emphasis mine)

Getting real

Over on Facebook, an interesting discussion has taken place on my friend Bill Yarbrough's wall about how (or whether) the Libertarian Party should interact with the Tea Party. The struggle in the Party is between those who would insist on absolute fidelity to the Party Platform in all decisions, and those who understand that (as my Republican political mentor, Robert E. Levitt* put it) "the purpose of the ... Party is to elect candidates." In other words, we need to be faithful to our values, but understand that, in politics, our values are a destination. Decisions made by Libertarian officeholders will fall short of the Platform's goals, but the Libertarian must be held accountable for bringing us closer to them.

Bill, who has the virtue of being both a Libertarian and a realist, puts it this way:
I agree the country and state are not ready for a third party - and they don't have to be. The Libertarian brand simply has to overcome obscurity to the point that one really good candidate wins one prominant U.S. House seat. That should be ...the focus - one winnable race of note. From there, the sky's the limit. The LP needs to sink all its money into a winnable race before the [realists] of the world will find us worth their time.
A political party that cannot elect candidates is useless. On the other hand, neither of our major parties appear to be grounded in principle, even though many of their candidates and officeholders are personally so grounded.

On the Tea Party side, there is complete agreement on where we need to go -- and total confusion as to how to get there. Some Tea Partiers are libertarians who want less government across the board, but others are conservatives who embrace the social constraints and militarism favored by many Republicans. Because many of the most visible supporters of the Tea Party are Republicans, there is a perception that the Tea Partiers are nothing but GOP hacks. Part of this confusion stems from the amorphousness of the Tea Party. The Tea Parties and related organizations stem from many roots. As Bill Yarbrough observed, to properly judge a Tea Party, one has to look at each individual local organization.

Leadership and members in both movements need to understand that candidates and officeholders can only work with the legislation as it is. Legislators can amend bills and try to persuade others toward our Platform goals -- but they can only vote on what is in front of them.

Thomas Sowell reminds us of this reality in today's Townhall:
One of the good things about the Tea Party movement is that it resisted the temptation to actually form a third political party, which has been an exercise in futility, time and time again, under the American electoral system.

But, if the Tea Party movement within the Republican Party becomes just a rule-or-ruin minority, then they might just as well have formed a separate third party and gone on to oblivion.
It is not in the interest, either of the Tea Party or of the people, to insist that Congressmen or state legislators commit political suicide in support of a long-range goal. For example, I agree that Congress should take a hard line both against raising the debt limit and raising tax rates; but if we don't completely balance the budget, we are not sacrificing our principles. We are still moving toward our goals. We are preparing Congress and the people for a greater victory later on. The point is, that victory will not come until we take the intermediate steps.

On a personal note, Mr. Sowell also explains why I should not run for office:
Writers can advocate things that have no chance at the moment, for their very writing about those things persuasively can make them possible at some future date. But to adopt the same approach as an elected member of Congress risks losing both the present and the future.
* Robert E. Levitt (1926-1997) was a Republican state representative and longtime chairman of the Stark County Republican Party. I worked as his executive director 1978-1982, where I got quite an education in political reality.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quotation of the decade

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies. ... Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
-- Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Senate floor speech, March 2006,
quoted by Paul Greenberg in

My political science professor had the perfect explanation for the inconsistency between Obama 2006 and Obama 2011 in the first words she uttered in my first political science course at Ohio Northern University:
"Politics is all a matter of whose ox is being gored." 

Mr. Schulman, you're not getting it

Update Aug. 2: Unfortunately, the Repository reversed itself in an editorial July 29, in which it attacked the "outsiders" and backed Council President Alan Schulman. In this outsider's opinion, this second editorial did Canton more harm than good (and this only a week before the weekend Canton supposedly welcomes the world for the Hall of Fame Festival!). It also inadvertently explains why attempts to use reason in Canton city politics can be such a maddening experience.

I am not a great enthusiast for concealed carry, or gun rights of any kind. Speaking strictly for myself, I think my life with a gun would be far more dangerous than my life without one. But I do understand why the Second Amendment was written the way it was, and I do agree with the right of individuals to own weapons. In the right hands (and part of the reason for concealed-carry laws is to ensure that the guns are in the right hands), they provide an extra layer of protection for honest citizens who have to travel in dangerous places.

So I just want to cover my face and shake my head when I read articles like this from the Buckeye Firearms Association:
Perhaps now we know why police officer Daniel Harless thought it was acceptable behavior to unleash his violent, profanity-laced tirade on a concealed handgun license-holder in Canton, Ohio, saying "People like you don't deserve to @#$%#$ move throughout public. Period!" before threatening to murder the CHL-holder.

Canton City Council President Allen Schulman has unleashed his own version of that same tirade against law-abiding concealed handgun license-holders. After explaining that he would not be making any comments about the deplorable behavior of Harless, which were exposed on the dash cam video that has been seen across the country, Schulman said this:

"I did want to make a comment, uh, reflecting the out of town emails that we have all received from people who do not live in this community, do not know out police, do not know the firefighters, do not know our public servants, our employees, know nothing about the City of Canton. But because a video went viral on the Internet they're excu - excoriating the City of Canton out of this particular incident. And they're excoriating our police force, its conduct, and our city. I take very strong exception to what I've read, uh, what I've heard, from out-of-towners, uh, making comments abour our city.

"This is, in my judgement, a symptom of this arming, literally the arming of our population, with handguns, and the flooding of handguns into our communities."
Got that? Alan Schulman believes the violence and profanity-laced tirade from one of his city's police officers, who told a CHL-holder he "shoulda taken two steps back, pulled my Glock 40, and just put ten bullets in your ass and let you drop" is the fault of the Second Amendment, and not the angry cop.
I am embarrassed for another reason. I spent much of my adult life as a resident of Canton. In fact, in 1983, I ran for the office Mr. Schulman currently holds. (I lost heavily, but I was then a Republican running in a heavily Democratic city against the legendary Ray Denczak.  Mr. Denczak was Council President for around thirty years, until he died in office a few years ago.)

Rather than to defend the outburst of Officer Harless in the heat of passion, Mr. Schulman should have been quietly urging the Canton Police to deal with the officer's anger issues. This is not professional conduct by a police officer, and the Canton Police deserve better than to have this incident represented as such.* Just as importantly, the citizens of Canton deserve better from their Council President.

Of course, Mr. Schulman and the Canton Police have the perfect right to ignore the out-of-town e-mails and this post, for that matter; but they also need to think about just what kind of a city they want to live in, and whether their behavior in this incident is consistent with the vision they want to follow.

* In fairness to the Canton Police, The (Canton) Repository reported on Tuesday that "Police Chief Dean McKimm has described Harless’ behavior as 'wholly unacceptable' and in violation of many department rules." Officer Harless has been on paid administrative leave since June 20. The Repository issued an editorial July 23 in support of the police internal investigation and showing concern for the damage the video has done to the city's reputation.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Warning to freedom-minded legislators

Be extra careful to mind your Ps and Qs. The media are quick to snatch on every personal misstep one of "our" legislators makes. Cases in point:

Domestic complaint against Sen. Kris Jordan (R-Powell) last week (Columbus Dispatch).

Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated arrest of Rep. Jarrod Martin (R-Beavercreek) yesterday (Dayton Daily News).

I certainly hope this is just an unfortunate coincidence -- but things like this provide sound bites for the opposition. Please be careful.

Like this is a bad thing?

Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman says that Tea Partiers are trying to set into motion a slow-motion secession (quoted in Media Matters). Speaking to Chris Matthews on MS-NBC, his exact words were:

What's going on here, as I see it, is a kind of slow motion secession. This is- this is an ending of the social compact. This is two gen- three generations worth of agreement about Social Security, about Medicare, about the role of the federal government. The Tea Party people are saying, we want to secede from that society.
And the reason for this, is that those entitlements are no longer affordable. The people know it, even if the √©lites do not.

We have two cultures in the United States: a libertarian free-enterprise culture, and a socialist culture. I see no reason why those of us who are libertarians should be forced to live in a socialist state.

So, as I asked above, "Like it's a bad thing?"

Non-political, but not off-topic

Because my interest and knowledge are in the political realm, The Ohio Republic is principally a political blog. However, one purpose that I stated for this blog early on, is to encourage our local Ohio culture.

Much of what we can call "Ohio culture" is defined on the farms and at the county fairs of our state. With this in mind, there are two sites maintained by the Ohio Farm Bureau that are interesting even to us city dwellers. The main site is Its Facebook counterpart provides more current news of a similar nature.

And while I'm at it, here is a schedule of county fairs in Ohio this year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why cutting the military budget will enhance our national security

The following is a nice followup to my post yesterday on not saying "Thank you" to the military. Benjamin H. Friedman, a Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies for the Cato Institute, presented testimony July 20 to the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform. In it, he proposes $1.1 trillion in common-sense reductions over the next decade by reducing the number of troops; surgical eliminations of certain types of ships, aircraft, and submarines; and most importantly, narrowing the mission of our armed forces to one that more than adequately provides for national defense.

The following excerpt gives Mr. Friedman's rationale for presenting the reductions -- one that strikes me as being eminently sensible (Emphasis added):
Arguments about defense spending are arguments about defense strategy. What you spend depends on what you think we ought to do militarily, which depends in turn on theories about what causes security. My argument here is that a far more modest strategy would better serve our security and allow a far smaller defense budget. That strategy is called restraint because it starts with the assumption that power tempts the United States to participate in foreign troubles that we should avoid. Restraint means fighting that temptation. It would husband American power rather than dissipate it by spreading promises and forces hither and yon, drawing us into conflicts that need not be ours.

Restraint does not require cuts in military force structure and spending. It allows them. A less busy military could be a smaller and cheaper one. But though you can have restraint without savings, you cannot save much without restraint.

Substantially reducing military spending requires reducing the ambitions it serves. Efforts to increase the Pentagon's efficiency — through acquisition reform, eliminating waste and duplication, or improving financial management — might save a bit, but these hardy perennials of defense reform have historically delivered few savings. The near doubling in our military's cost in the last twelve years (adjusting for inflation and leaving out the wars) stems more from the proliferation of its objectives than from the way it is managed. We spend too much because we choose too little.

Rather than use efficiency gains to drive savings, we should cut spending to enhance efficiency. Market competition encourages private organizations to streamline their operations. No such pressure exists in government, but cutting the top line and forcing the military services to compete for their budgets can incentivize them to find efficiencies.
Virtual buckeye to Andy Myers.

Against secession, or a warning about secession?

This editorial, by R. Jagennathan in Firstpost, a national newspaper in India, criticizes a statement by Arundhati Roy favoring secession for Kashmir. While the opinion piece is clearly against secession in general (and not totally without reason), the most salient point is actually a warning to secessionists about what could happen if they get their way:

The writer, obviously, has not changed my mind on the subject, but the warning is worth repeating and remembering:
The most fundamental liberal value is the right to free expression of speech – within the limits set either by one’s own sense of decency or by law to ensure that our exercise of freedom does not curtail someone else’s...

The logic underpinning secession is this: every individual is free to be what he wants to be, subject only to the limitation that he does not transgress other people’s rights. What an individual is entitled to, groups of similarly committed individuals are also entitled to. This is where the right to secession comes from...

[S]ecession leads not only to ethnic separation, but the creation of new minorities of several kinds. It follows that those who want to secede must guarantee and demonstrate not only that they are willing to let their current minorities be, but also give the same demonstrable guarantees for minorities that may emerge in future.
The writer then shows how the partition of nations has led to greater ethnic and sectarian violence, particularly in the former Yugoslavia and in parts of the former Soviet Union. These points are valid; however, the article lost me with this politically correct but historically incorrect blunder:
Abraham Lincoln went to war with the American south – his own conservative minorities. He fought for the idea of freedom – which is about living together and sorting out our issues through dialogue and compromise.
No, Abraham Lincoln fought for the idea of central government. He injected into the American soul a virus that has slowly killed off the idea of freedom -- a virus that may soon kill the patient. Ethnic and religious groups who have been persecuted by their governments have the human right to form their own nations when all other recourse is lost -- but they then have the obligation, once independent, to guarantee freedom to their own minorities.

In the American context, secession is the last step toward protecting a free society when all others have failed. In the past, I recommended that we wait until nullification has run its course; but nullification assumes a respect for the Constitution by both the federal government and by the people. Unfortunately, the federal government has persistently shown a contempt for the Constitution, and too many of the people are ignorant of what their Constitution means. Consequently, the time is right to begin considering Ohio's secession from the Union. Ohio is itself a diverse society, bound together by a common language, a commonly-understood legal tradition, and a Constitution whose protection of freedom is superior to that of the U.S. Constitution.

The risks that R. Jagennathan wrote about do not apply to us; so we should not allow them to become stumbling blocks in our struggle for freedom.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thank you

... to Laurence Vance for articulating how a true patriot should feel about the U.S. military.

He does not understand why people thank the military for committing atrocities in wars that were unconstitutionally started. He calls it a national "fetish."

Contrary to an all-too-popular belief, our military are not defending freedom. They are (usually) fighting wars of aggression to protect moneyed interests. As I have stated many times before, the only reason we have a "war on terror" is because we are interfering with their goals in their part of the world.

Don't get me wrong. I have no feeling against individuals in the military, and there are a couple of grandchildren of a church member we are happy to send "care packages" to support -- but I find them to be victims of a brainwashing campaign to fool them into thinking that what we have in America today is "freedom". They are pawns in a struggle to waste our resources to enrich a few contractors by waging perpetual war. It doesn't matter whether or not they kill people, just use stuff up so the rest of us don't get to be too well off. Otherwise, we might get wise ...

Virtual buckeye to DumpDC

Friday, July 22, 2011

Couldn't resist...

Charlie Earl, with another pithy response in Facebook. Responding to an article in about British scientists wanting an international body to regulate experiments involving both human and animal DNA, Charlie's answer was:

"Too late. They've already crossed weasels with humans in Washington."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Correction to location of my appearance in Vandalia

On Monday, I incorrectly reported the location of the conference at which I will be speaking. It will be at First Grace Brethren Church, 2924 Stone Quarry Road, in Vandalia, 7 pm, Monday, July 25.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Politics made simple

As I grow older, I am finding that almost all social theory is based on simple principles -- religion, government, economics -- everything. The Bible says as much in Ecclesiastes 7:29: "I tell you this, God made man simple (or upright), man's devices are of his own making."

In Vandalia, I will discuss how monetary policy is really much simpler and less mysterious than the Federal Reserve Bank would have us believe; and later this year, I will deliver a sermon at my church on the simplicity of the Christian faith.

Ideas are made complicated, because it serves the interest of those who complicate them -- it is a way of making knowledge esoteric, therefore profitable to those who hold the "secrets."

Applied to politics and government, here is the simple truth. Our Founding Fathers stated that the purpose of government was to protect the lives, liberties, and property (pursuit of happiness) of the people. Nothing else. Our responsibility as citizens is to look at everything government does through that lens. Nothing that government does that does not have the net effect of protecting the lives, liberties, or property of the people should be tolerated.

Protecting property also means preserving the sanctity of contracts freely entered into against wilful changes by governments. Private property makes personal security and economic growth possible. Keep this in mind when the Federal Reserve practices "quantitative easing" once too often and wipes out your retirement savings through hyperinflation.

I will add two corollaries to this. First, protecting lives and liberty for children means to protect their innocence. Children should not be subjected to inappropriate ideas about the adult world (especially sex) until they are old enough to handle those ideas. Laws against child pornography or other forms of exploitation are necessary and appropriate. I would also argue that protecting the lives of children means that abortion should be illegal, at least when the fetus is known to be sentient. The precise point when this takes place seems to be unknowable; however, the detectable heartbeat concept being promoted in the General Assembly strikes me as a reasonable indicator.* Secondly, it is appropriate to legislate to protect the dignity of elderly and disabled people to protect them from being defrauded or abused by greedy family members and "caretakers".

* It seems reasonable to me because it at least provides an empirically provable benchmark; as opposed to the arbitrary restrictions of "first trimester," etc. I have friends who are passionately pro-choice who will consider this opinion to be nothing less than barbaric -- to them, I ask, at what point do we discount personal responsibility? In most cases (rape and incest being two exceptions), pregnancy is the result of at least two bad decisions by the parents: the one to have sex outside of marriage, the other to have it unprotected. Freedom and mass personal irresponsibility cannot coexist in the same society. It is the duty of the family and community institutions to teach morality, but a government that ignores morality is subverting it. I am using morality in the broadest possible sense to mean living in a way that respects the rights of others, not any particular religious doctrine.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Speaking in Vandalia July 25

It's been a while since I have given a speech to a political group. However, I will be speaking at a 9-12 group meeting at First Grace Brethren Church, 2524 Stone Quarry Rd., Vandalia on Monday, July 25, 7-9 pm., as part of a seminar on monetary policy.

My speech title will be "Monetary Policy in Plain English," breaking down the whole idea of money and policy in a way anyone will be able to understand. I will also be unveiling a proposal based on my post June 28.

I look forward to meeting all the friends of liberty in the Dayton area Monday night!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Liberty-First, Foremost and Forever

By Charles Earl, quoted in full from his blog littlestuff-minoosha. Couldn't have said it better myself...
Liberty is the basis of living. Without freedom, without the opportunity to make one’s own decisions and choices, a person becomes a ward…a supplicant…chattel for someone or something. The individual who does not inhale the fresh air of freedom may be bound to the fecklessness of the state…never knowing which rule, law or regulation he or she may be violating at any given moment. The individual whose freedom has been taken by another person is a slave, and the person who submits his freedom to another person or a state is a fool. Throughout human history individuals have battled for freedom from the chains of oppression while others have willingly yielded to the fetters of others. Those who have struggled for freedom have nourished the spark of humanity within their souls while the others who have chosen to forfeit their liberty have assumed the posture of domesticated beasts of burden.

When someone surrenders her liberty, she is, in essence, admitting that she’s either incapable of or too lazy to manage her own affairs. Choosing dependence and supplication as a lifestyle destroys the humanity of the dependent. Initiative and creativity become blunted, and the dependent individual becomes a constant grumbler about the quantity and quality of the care provided by the controller/director/master. The motto for the purposeful supplicant could be: Bitch, moan and whine while taking the freebies provided by others. Intentional dependency leads to a death by a thousand cuts as one’s self-worth, self-esteem and confidence are slowly eroded away. Even with the strongest mindset of entitlement comes the uncertainty that the provider may tire of the arrangement…leaving the hapless, thoughtless dependent to forage for survival.

Learning is a byproduct of one’s pursuing something new. The goal may be firmly fixed in the mind of the seeker, but the nuggets of knowledge acquired during the quest are usually unanticipated. Liberty opens the portals of exploration and innovation whereas dependence deadens curiosity and ambition. Free people are learners. Dependent drones are not. Learning is the only mechanism for a society or culture to advance. No one can invent or create if one is unaware of what has already been accomplished or attempted. Dependents are condemned to the status quo because of their failure to learn…to broaden their horizons. Achieving and reaching goals is impossible when one is immobile.

The people of our nation seem to have lost their respect for liberty. We can see that attitude reflected in the abysmal performance of our students on so many levels. Quality service has become a rarity in many of our commercial encounters. Rudeness and crudity are abundant in the marketplace and on our public streets. True liberty requires that one be accountable and responsible for one’s actions, and does not intentionally interfere with the actions, lives or property of others. In other words liberty contains a rich component of respect for others without being obsequious. A person who respects liberty will perform at her highest level possible because of the commitment to responsible behavior. Observers sometimes confuse those who have no responsibility as enjoying freedom, but in fact they are dependent on others—individuals or institutions—for their guidance and direction. Their “free and easy lives” are illusionary and self destructive.

Liberty, personal freedom, must be the primary motivator if a society is to prosper. A dependent social structure cannot succeed because the producers withdraw from meaningful activity, and dependents do not produce in a significant way. When producers have been turned loose to perform at their highest level, the entire community reaps the benefits. Freedom is the critical component for a growing society whether it be in economics, the arts or any other aspect for measuring the progress of a nation.

Liberty is the most essential element for building a positively dynamic country. Liberty is the most critical attribute for maintaining a society committed to growth. Liberty is absolutely vital if a nation is to survive. Thousands of despotic or tyrannical regimes have disintegrated on the ash heap of history. Many dozens of existing nations are suffocating under repressive governments and have lost their zest for excellence. Liberty offers the only means for energetic and creative citizens to flourish, and as they prosper, the nation benefits. Dependence leads to decay and despair….and tyranny.

Liberty, individual liberty, must be the first value of a nation. Liberty must be the preeminent protected value of a people. Liberty for all, for all time should be the dream of a free people…first, foremost and forever.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sherrod Brown wants to go easy on the debt ceiling

It probably would not come as a shock to any of my readers that our U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D) and I do not see eye-to-eye on very much. However, his position on the national debt is particularly troublesome. Following is his reply to an e-mail I sent him about two weeks ago urging him to hold the line on raising the debt limit (Emphasis added. My quote feature isn't working, so Sen. Brown's words are in italics and in quotation marks):
"Thank you for getting in touch with me about the federal government debt ceiling.

The current debt limit was reached in mid-May. The Department of Treasury can take some steps to put off the day of reckoning, but its efforts will only finance the government until July.

"Failure to raise the debt ceiling would be reckless. Congress acted to raise the debt ceiling seven times under President Bush, and as unpleasant as it is, it must do the same under President Obama. Default would be a disaster for our country, our economy, and our children. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put it, defaulting on our debt would be a 'recovery-ending event.'”
Well, yes. You're right, Senator. Defaulting on our debt would be a "recovery-ending event." Whenever we decide to face the "day of reckoning" will be a recovery-ending event. And the fact that Congress irresponsibly increased the debt ceiling seven times under President Bush does not impress me at all. If anything, it shows that Congress will be Congress regardless of which party is in power.

"The upcoming vote on the debt ceiling is not a referendum on whether the deficit must be reduced — everybody agrees on that. It is a vote on whether we will pay our bills. If Congress were to vote down an increase in the debt ceiling, our economy would screech to a halt and the price the government pays to borrow — on old and any new debt — would skyrocket. Our deficit would spiral even further out of control. And across Ohio, small businesses, and local governments, and homeowners could face astronomical interest rate increases."

If Congress were to couple voting down an increase in the debt ceiling with large, even painful, cuts in spending, I am sure that the financial markets would respond with favorable interest rates. Senator, can we count on you to do that?

"Congress has never failed to increase the debt ceiling. It would be irresponsible to hold this vote hostage for the sake of political gamesmanship."

If working to put a stop to increasing the national debt, saving the dollar and avoiding hyperinflation, and keeping taxes in line is "political gamesmanship," I, for one, am in favor of "political gamesmanship."

"I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis in developing a framework to reduce the deficit this year. But defaulting on our debt would make deficit reduction virtually impossible."

 "Reducing the deficit" in baby steps (like President Obama's request to save $100 billion of a $3 trillion budget) will not reduce the debt. It will not save us from hyperinflation. It will not prolong the so-called "recovery." It will just keep things the way they are until it is too late to do anything at all.

It sounds to me as though your approach to the deficit is the same as Gov. Strickland's was. The result was that Gov. Kasich had to erase an $8 billion dollar deficit (equivalent to 15% of the entire state budget) all at once. The voters voted against that approach last November. You might want to keep that in mind, Senator.

"Thank you again for getting in touch with me. "

Youi're welcome.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's dubious distinction time!

The Economic Collapse blog lists twenty categories in which the United States leads the world -- in the wrong direction. Among the categories are prison population, divorce, obesity, hours of television watching, percentage of gross domestic product spent on health care, pharmaceutical drug usage, student loan debt, national debt, and negative balance of trade.

Our society is dysfunctional. The only way to repair it is to begin by rebuilding our communities. We can begin by making ourselves less dependent on the feds.