Friday, April 29, 2005

What I am afraid of

For those of you who aren't sure what at least THIS part of the conservative voting majority is really afraid of, let me refer you to this:

EU Definition of "Rights"

Never mind the colorful interjections of "EUroweenie", etc. He's a colorful guy, but he doesn't just, oh, say scream out

"Halliburton! Blood for Oil! Facist! Imperialist! Hitler!"

or something correspondingly inane name calling like when the Left gets argued into a corner. There is substance to his arguments. I condone a more even-headed tone -- but still, as frustrated as I am about seeing almost half the country being led off like sheep by the mindset that produced something like the 53 EU articles --

I have to say indulging in his rants makes me feel better.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Back to Social Security Privatization

There's a lot of anti-x going around.

I'm still seeing bumper stickers that tell me that war is not the answer. Mind you, I don't see bumper stickers telling me what the answer is - except of course for the self-nuking of the United States of America since we're obviously the root of all evil.

But back to social security... reflecting on what the use of the government to coerce to your advantage really means (I know, don't sugar-coat it, Phil)...

Basically, all I'm hearing from the left is "Privatization is not the answer". Now everyone agrees that eventually -- and it won't be long until this happens -- there won't be enough money to pay out what has been promised. Which means one of two things: 1) we will have to charge more money (tax) OR 2) pay out less than has been promised. Or 3) -- both.

Nobody ever mentions 3).

Let's assume that the people who want to "do nothing" are really advocating 1) since they are probably loath to advocate 2).

If they are not advocating one or the other, then clearly they are in severe denial.

Everyone knows what we have here is a huge pyramid scheme. But the pyramid is getting flatter & flatter. In the beginning, when population was expanding and the economy was expanding with it (the combination being somewhat of an exponential factor) we had, I think, 25 people paying in for every 1 taking out. So it was easy to get more than you put in. Over time, as people have voted themselves more money from the treasury (entirely predicitable -- read previous posts) and had less incentive to work hard, compounded by having fewer kids and an economy approaching some sort of limit -- we have something on the order of 1.5 people paying in for every person taking out.

Not hard to see that we're approaching 1:1 -- which means you get out what you put in. (there's no guarantee of that, either, because Congress gets to decide how much, if ANY of it, you get).

At this point you might as well be investing. Long-term investments in diversified funds ALWAYS make money. And they make it faster than what you'd put in to a conservative government fund especially after subtracting out typical government waste overhead. Plus, if enough people vote tomorrow that they should get the money you're paying in NOW and you'll just have to come up with your own solution in the future when you retire or become disabled.... basically, you have NO control over your investment.

Granted, this privatization would only allow limited control over your money, but it would allow way more than you have right now.

So what it really boils down to is proponents of the Status Quo are counting on the Government to live up to its promises to pay, and "somehow" it will do this. That "somehow" is that it has the power to force someone else, at some future date, pay for it.

And they don't want any real people to make any real money off of it (you know, by contributing to the economy or anything). No, faith in the Government (what religion are you again?) is sacrosanct.

In other words -- they want something for nothing. Government is the easiest way to get it ... er... rob future Peters to pay today's Pauls.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pope (Ratzinger) Benedict XVI

Funny how everyone thinks everything is subject to public opinion. Reading the comments on the BBC website you'd think that Pope Selection should have something to do with "what the people want" -- regardless of whether they're Catholic or not, even.

When you're trying to teach right from wrong, you don't take a poll to see what people want to be right and what they want to be wrong. One guy got it right, at least. The church is not a democracy. All these people seem to be upset that the new Pope is (*gasp!*) -- Catholic!

If you get to vote on what you (and, by concensus "dogma" -- others) believe, why have a church?

Frankly, I believe the entire planet has shifted too far to the Left and a good, solid right-anchor or two is called for if only to slow that down. Even if it is to the right of ME. (I KNOW, because 51% of those polled said that's what I should believe so that's what I believe!)

[update] Rottie has a good post on it.

Remember, popular vote isn't a test of right or wrong, either. There were times and places where the popular vote would have been FOR slavery, or FOR stoning adulterers, even human sacrifice.

Not that the church has always been on the right side of things throughout history (authority is so tempting to abuse), but putting such faith in determining right and wrong by popular vote ... that's mob rule. Not very kind to minorities, historically speaking.

Monday, April 18, 2005

A few words on taxes....

“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
--Benjamin Franklin

“The whole idea of government is this: if enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it.”
--P.J. O’Rourke

“Lord, the money we do spend on government, and it’s not a bit better than the government that we got for one-third the money twenty years ago,”
--Will Rogers

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.”
--Alexander Tyler (about the fall of the Athenian Republic)

Just a little food for thought.

Thanks to Rottie for pointing me to thse these (and a lot more collected by one James Hudnall- but these are my favorites).

Friday, April 15, 2005

Social Security, Socialism, and Capitalism

In a recent conversation, a young man brought up the fact that he paid $N in social security this year that he will never see. Then he went on to lament the fact that some people wanted to privatize social security.

"Have we learned nothing from the stock market crash of the 1920's?", his equally liberal girlfriend asked.

It was not a gathering I wanted to turn into a political arena, so I didn't persue it. But it did reveal a bit of a paradox and a lack of insight in their world view that I got to thinking about over the next 24 hours.

Have we learned nothing? Have we learned nothing from the collosal failures of socialist systems all over the world -- even while we witness our own limited socialist structures careening down the road to the same fate?

Why, indeed, would someone lament pumping money into a system that he will never benefit from, yet support keeping that very system on life support for, in the long run, a few more short years before the same problem catches up to it again? Why would one want to continue to throw money at that, but be leery of a system where at least you have control and ownership of your investments? (whether they do well or not is another matter -- but if you weren't counting on seeing any fruit from it anyway wouldn't you rather have more control over what happens to your hard earned money?)

The answer has to be -- religion.

One telltale hallmark of a religious belief is the sticking of one's head in the sand when presented with evidence that contradicts that belief. I mention this because most liberals I know are religion averse, or so they think. What they are is "officially labeled religion" averse. They have their religious beliefs, alright. They just don't have formal churches. Their clergy are teachers, members of the press, prominent politicians and pundits -- even movie stars and directors. So there's no physical or rigid social church structure to point to and say "that religion" (although one could arguably call it the MoveOn.Org religion). This works out well for them, because to them anything can be discounted if it can be labeled a religious belief. And I am turning that around right now and challenging the idea that their beliefs are any different from religious beliefs.

Sometime between the time when I went to school and the time this young man went to school, it became politically incorrect to teach that there was anything wrong with socialism. It also became quite fashionable to stress the evils of capitalism.

I was, in fact, taught that there was something wrong with socialism from a very early age, but I really wasn't taught what it was that was wrong with it. Basically, it was that these dictator meanies held all the power and opressed people. This often comes with socialism, but in the end, it isn't socialism and that's not what's wrong with it.

I did figure out, on my own, what was wrong with it sometime around the time I graduated from high school. I had this huge revelation, and basically, it was this:

First, let me say this: Socialism is a fabulous, very attractive ideal on the surface. In the end, it is the way we should all volutnteer to be. This is why a lot of dictators use it to get themselves into power. But, as has been shown again and again in the last 100 years, it doesn't work. The problem is, precious few people will volunteer to do this for long unless they're on the receiving end of the stick -- so they must be coerced into it.

Even then, socialism discourages production and encourages sloth.

[ production =
goods or services that contribute to society in some way

Socialism basically says that we will guarantee you a certain standard of living (a noble thought, for many are unable to produce anything of marketable value to make a living wage). In order to guarantee this, those who do produce enough of marketable value give money to the government (quite happily, and with smiles on their faces, just ask anyone ;-) ) to re-distribute to those who aren't making a living wage. And everything is dandy. Supposedly.

But there are two problems with that. Even the best of us, in the end, is somewhat self-serving -- which gives rise to the second problem which is that we are inherently lazy. People are greedy and lazy. It's not just human nature, it's nature in general. Organisms that can get the most by expending the least amount of effort (strain, energy) are the most successful, so it's just in us, and rats, and chimpanzees, and probably ameobas.

What happens when you guarantee someone a decent standard of living? You take away incentive to expend the energy to produce anything to give to society. "Take away" might be too strong (might not be, either) -- but you certainly diminish it.

But certain demands must be met by others in society for those who aren't producing to benefit, so to make up for that, more must be taken away from those who do work hard and produce. But if you work hard and produce and the government just takes away the fruits of your extra labor to re-distribute to those who produce less.... you diminish the incentive for those who have the energy and will to work to work harder.

In short, you encourage sloth, and discourage production. Not a very good system to base an economy on.

The big rap against capitalism is that it rewards the greedy at the expense of (presumably) the less fortunate. This comes from a world view assumption that there is a limited amount of wealth and if one gets more, it must have come from someone else's share. This is demonstrably, in general, untrue (in fact, it's downright ludicrous, but that is a topic for another article). What it really does is reward those who expend the energy to produce more more than it rewards those who do not. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Is it subject to corruption? You bet. Is socialism perfect or not subject to corruption?

What religion are you again?

What capitalism does is take people's desire to have more (greed) and do better and use it to counteract sloth. It takes those two opposing forces in human nature and pits them against each other. In the end, we all do better when we pitch in and cooperate, so it encourages this pitching in and cooperation and more benefit is derived in general. Some people get obscenely wealthy, some people remain dirt poor. And that, my friends, is the way of nature, which, contrary to popular belief, we are in fact a part of.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The problem with Leftist Grails

I stumbled across a blog that makes no apologies for what it is, and I appreciate it. I can't say I agree with everything he says... but 99%'s pretty good, don't you think?

It's the Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiler. I can already hear the cries of meanie-ness and insensitivity. Anger. Negativity [shudder].

All I can say is, is the guy basically right? Yes he is. Is he angry? Yes he is. Does he have things to be angry about? Yes he does. Are they important? Yes they are.

I think I may have to make a list of favorite quotes from him, but here's my favorite so far:
... an illegal immigrant is not a "undocumented immigrant" any more than a rapist is an "undocumented boyfriend"

At any rate, following links from his blog I got to all kinds of things concerning the much vaunted lefty grail of public health care -- and more specifically how great Cuba's and Canada's are. Not.

Here's a link to a very recent story on it from CBS (no, not FOX) news... You know, Dan Rather and his buddies.

Here's the crux of it, though:

The system is going broke, says the [Canadian Taxpayers] federation, which campaigns for tax reform and private enterprise in health care.

It calculates that at present rates, Ontario will be spending 85 percent of its budget on health care by 2035. "We can't afford a state monopoly on health care anymore," says Tasha Kheiriddin, Ontario director of the federation. "We have to examine private alternatives as well."
It's a little microcosim of what is wrong with Lefty politics. It all starts out like this

"Wouldn't it be great if...."

(and it would!) but when it comes to

"Who's going to pay for it?"

there's either a lot of mumbling, or some spirited rant involving "rich, evil Corporate America". Or, "I don't mind paying taxes." Uh-huh. Sure you don't. Well, I do, after a certain point. We're past that point.

I just sent off my tax underpayment check yesterday. Fully 1/3 of my income goes to Federal, State, and Local government. And you want public health care? You know, where you might have to wait three years to have a torn knee ligament repaired?

The average Canadian family pays about 48 percent of its income in taxes each year, partly to fund the health care system.

That's from the same CBS News article in case you haven't read it. It also says that about 40% of those taxes go to public health care. So let's see, that would basically mean a tax increase (added to the rate, not "of" the rate) of 19%. As in 40% of 48% is about 19%. Let's be generous and say the US could have this stellar example of public healthcare for only T (the current tax rate) + 15%. This would mean 33% + 15% = 48%.

Want 48% of what you make to go to the government in the name of fairness? Remember, history shows that when tax rates hit about 50%, there's generally a revolution close on its heels. Want the Bolshevieks or ... how about some Wahhabis? Revolutions are usually won by those who are most willing and able to apply force.

On top of paying all this tax so everyone can have "free" health care (assuming they survive long enough to actually GET that health care) -- if you actually WANT the health care before its too late (the lefties who have actually thought this out past the ends of their noses will tell you) nobody's going to stop you from paying a private doctor to do it.

That's right, if you really want the healthcare, you can pay for it twice.

Yeah, sign me up for that.

PS: Look at this blog entry exposing Cuba's wonderful free health care. If I am not mistaken, this appears to be a Cuban ... or an ex-Cuban ... activist for a free and democratic Cuba.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Bush's IPOD

Get a real MP3 player, Mr. Pres! (just kidding -- Ipods are OK)

According to a story on the BBC website, the Bush girls gave their dad an IPOD for his birthday last summer.

The same story solicited what the world thinks George should listen to on his IPOD.

Apparently the Lefties are still pretty hot under the collar, as most of them were war protest songs, or songs about stupidity or arrogance -- presumably directed at George himself.

Here's a good example:

"He should definitely listen to the people of America and the rest of the world on his iPod, because he sure is not doing that the rest of the time."

Which I think is kinda funny considering that over half of the voters in the country voted for him after he made the big blunder they're all so hot about. But of course, those Americans don't count. They're all stupid poopie heads. And stuff. The only real Americans are those who are anti-American.

Talk about arrogance.

Anyway, he has Van Morrison, Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Fogerty, & Eric Clapton -- pretty hip, Mr. Pres. And not surprisingly a lot of country. But what's this? My Sharona? Kind of a nasty song, there, Mr. President. I don't even like that one. I know, you just like the beat.

Well, it was nice of the girls to get him one.