Supporting Social Programs Is A Lot Like Driving

I don’t remember where I heard this comment, but the basic idea is that there are two types of drivers:
1) Maniacs–these are people who drive faster than you
2) Idiots–these are people who drive slower than you

What is the ideal speed? Whatever speed you drive.

I think a lot of middle class neo-liberals have the same basic outlook on how social programs should be structured. There should be two types of people in their view.
1) Payers–these are “rich” people (people who make more than them)
2) Recipients–these are “poor” people (people who make less than them)

And what is the ideal wage to neither pay or receive? Whatever they make.

Want to put this to a test? Let the market decide. List every social program on the individual tax returns and allow people to choose how much of their yearly income will be allocated to which program. Allow people to contribute as much or little as they want. Allow them to choose as many or as few programs as they want.

What do you think would be the result?

Marketing to the Wrong Crowd?

A friend sent me this. It is a classic example of free markets in action–a romantic tale of a girl who’s trying to play waaaaay out of her league. I wish I could have written this response.

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you’re 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

It’s worth your while to read the whole thing.

You Mighta Heard By Now, We’re Doin’ a Little Survey

There were some pretty interesting results from my last poll–at least I thought they were interesting. I asked readers to choose (one) between free markets, free religion, free speech, and free beer.

With 50% of the vote, speech won pretty handily. I’d assume that the 29% who voted for beer were being funny. It’s easy when the punchline is provided, no? 14% chose free markets, and 7% chose free religion.

Why is this interesting? Mostly because free speech won so easily–much more easily than I would have predicted. I think I know why.

Scott HallIf you give me free speech, I can use it to get the rest of them. Okay, to get free beer it helps to be as handsome as ten movie stars, but you get the point.

There’s a reason why freedom of speech is the first right guaranteed in the Constitution. If we ever lose it, all is lost.

*** Bonus points to the people who know why wrestling great Scott Hall is pictured in this post.

Loving The New Smoking Ban

Today is such a great day. This new smoking ban is absolutely amazing and has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible.

Water tastes sweeter, the air smells cleaner, and my wallet is fat the sun is shining bright, but not so bright that it is causing unnatural warming–that’s coming from somewhere else.

It’s not that I’ve changed my dining, shopping, or work habits that makes today so great. It’s the fact that thousands of businesses across our great state have been forced to bend to my personal wishes.

Finally, popular opinion has won out over individual property rights, and people no longer have the power to decide what types of otherwise legal activities they will allow on their own property. What a great day for individual liberty!!!

And how lucky are we that we no longer have the right responsibility to choose what business we want to patronize based on their smoking policy. The State made this decision for us. One less thing to worry about. What a relief!

I have to ask again, how will this affect the number of DUI arrests?

Cigarette Smuggling Surveillance Starts in Tennessee

From the KNS:

Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

I can go so many different directions with this one…

Do I make the comparison to the Dukes of Hazzard with revenuers, crooked local authorities, and free wheeling Robin Hood types whose lawless behavior we cheer on?

Do I draw a conclusion that more state authorities in Tennessee are trying to get into pulling people over so they can take advantage of the fringe benefits that have become associated with traffic stops in our state? (That one is for all of you who voted for it in the last poll).

Or do I say nothing, since I don’t consume cigarettes?

First they came for the smokers, and I didn’t speak up because I don’t smoke.

Then they came for the Sunday beer sales, and I didn’t speak up because I’m usually too hung over to drink on Sundays.

And when they came for the people who play home poker games, there was no one who was interested in playing poker on Sundays, the only day I have time to play, left to speak for me.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Insurance!

Becky has the right idea…we need less insurance, not more.

But coverage of mundane and everyday medical care makes as much sense as having food insurance. We would go to the grocery store and show the checker our food insurance card, and the public or private carrier would take care of the tab.

I think that addresses the heart of the problem.

You don’t use your auto insurance to pay for a new battery, car washes, or breaks. These are maintenance issues–just part of owning a car. Auto insurance covers accidents–things you know are possible but hope will never happen to you.

Getting colds and minor injuries are just part of living. Health insurance should cover big things that you know are possible but hope will never happen to you–cancer, heart attacks, etc.

And just like driving sober and at a reasonable speed can reduce your chances of having an accident, making healthy lifestyle choices can greatly reduce your chances of having an unexpected illness.

We don’t subsidize auto insurance for drunks with a bunch of speeding tickets, so why should we subsidize medical insurance for smokers or people (like me) who choose to participate in injury prone sports?

IMO, Hillary needs to be more concerned with her own health (getting checked for STDs regularly?), and worry less about mine and yours.

I Hope Southwest Rethinks Their Policies

If they insist on continuing to refuse service to attractive chicks I’ll have to adjust my travel strategies.

Not that I really care about their stupid policy–they should be free to turn away whatever business they wish. But I’ll definitely think twice about driving all the way to Nashville to jump on a Southwest flight. I’m safe with my ugly ass friends, but traveling with the missus is risky because of her high level of hottivity.

If Southwest sincerely wants to go after the hot not market, they need to find the right celebrity spokespeople. Maybe Bea Arthur or Rosie?

You Don’t Really Believe This Do You?

Bush to Outline Aid to Mortgage Holders

Offering federal aid for strapped mortgage holders, President Bush is proposing to help hundreds of thousands of borrowers hard hit by the housing slump.

Let me rephrase this headline so that it has a glimmer of truth to it:

President Bush Wants to Make Sure Banks Get Paid On Stupid Loans They Made To People Who Could Not Afford To Pay

Of course, no one would ever throw their support behind bailing out large corporations who make bad decisions. The solution? Make it all about the little guy. That way everybody wins–Democrats and Republicans alike. That is everybody, right?

Well, everybody except for people who pay federal taxes and don’t overextend themselves. These are people whose financial role models are their grandparents, reasonable people who don’t buy what they can’t afford, not the federal government who spends as if it can just print more money any time it…

Oh, wait.

Nod to Rogel for alerting me to this!

Liberalism, Evolution, and Free Markets

A show of hands–who believes in evolution? Of those of you with your hands in the air, do you consider yourself liberal?

I’m talking about current day liberals here–those that consider themselves Democrats, or “on the left”, not classical liberals. Actually, I’d toss most of you Republicans into this group as well, although you can’t admit to yourself just how liberal you really are. But then again, you are, in general, less likely to support the idea of evolution.

Anyway, if you still have your hand up, I’m curious about something. I’ve wondered for a long time how liberal thought reconciles its unwavering belief in evolution with its political agenda.

I’ve noticed a lot of people with “Darwin fish” on their cars tend to have liberal themed bumper stickers on them as well. I’ve never quite understood how people who believe in evolution could be so supportive of subsidies, controlled markets, and nationalization (socialization) of services by the government.

A true free market economy is a perfect example of evolution in action. You can actually see the market evolve in the short term instead of over thousands of years. Without intervention from subisidies or market controls, businesses and people in a free market are forced to either adapt to current conditions or perish, just as lifeforms do according to the laws of nature. It truly is survival of the fittest.

In contrast, the liberal political agenda is centered around an attempt to constantly level the playing field. They have an overwhelming desire to make life fair for everyone, and to do so not by their own choices, but by requiring everyone to participate in instituting their idea of fair and equal.

So why do so many liberals have such a problem with free markets if they are so high on evolution? I’m guessing that their answer is that, as humans capable of rational thought, we should be above the laws of nature and able to institute structures that buck this system. But this answer relies on the assumption that present day is the ultimate species–the one that is finally able to control not only himself, but the entire world around him. If you believe that, then you believe we have stopped evolving and that evolution is a thing of the past and no longer exists.

You also haven’t been paying attention.

A quick look at the hours and days following Hurricane Katrina are all the evidence we need to realize that any such attempt to buck the system is only temporary and can become irrelevant in a very short time. The entire New Orleans economy became based on clean drinking water, food, etc. Suddenly, people were living in the real world, where the basics of survival took precedent over money, possessions, and social status. Remember, this was on a relatively small scale.

My belief in evolution is the number one reason I believe in free markets. The way I see it, we are going to be subject to this system at some point anyway–naturally. Any attempt to operate in controlled markets is a temporary and futile attempt at circumventing evolution. Whether the opponents of the free market like it or not, it is inevitably going to take control.

And it probably won’t be pretty. We’ll probably be trading for water, food, and medicine when it finally happens. And what of the people who have no direct access to these items and feel the situation isn’t fair? They will either adapt to their environment and find a way to procure what is needed for survival, or they won’t get the opportunity to pass along their genes.

I know that sounds mean and cruel, but that’s nature’s law, not mine.

Ron Paul up to #4 on Technorati

Ron Paul is currently the 4th most searched term at  He’s the only candidate in the top 10, and is *gasp* ranked higher than Paris Hilton.
I’m sure he’s a big fan of the internet right about now.   That’s the great thing about free speech and free markets–the best ideas and products really do win out.