Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Something not quite right?


The Song Lyric That Made Me a Conservative

Steve Noxon

I clearly remember the moment that I realized I was a conservative.  I can’t tell you the date or the time, but I definitely remember the moment.

I was in my early 20s and was running a little local courier service, delivering prescriptions for a number of local independent pharmacies. I spent a lot of time in my car, driving around, listening to music, occasionally some talk radio, but mostly just enjoying life while making enough money to support myself.  On slow days, I had time to play tennis or maybe do some windsurfing between runs.

I wasn’t really all that interested in politics.  Why would I be?  Life was great and always would be.

Then a song came on the classic rock station.

I started singing along and playing drums on the steering wheel.  I’d heard this song before, but I guess I had never really listened to the lyrics.

Then I heard it:  “Tax the rich/ Feed the poor/ ‘Til there are…/ No rich no more…”

As stupid as it sounds, I clearly remember yelling at the radio, “AND THEN WHAT?”  I then proceeded to talk to myself for the next 10 minutes, breaking down this ridiculous concept.  Tax the rich until there are no more rich? That would solve all of the country’s problems?  Just keep taking more and more from those who’ve earned it until it’s all gone, then somehow expect them to get rich again, so we could take it all again?  It just seemed so childish and idiotic.  Seriously, who thinks this way? (FYI, this was pre-Internet.)

Well, as a nearly life-long resident of Connecticut, over the years, I’ve gotten my answer.  Yes, some people really are crazy enough to believe that this stupid little lyric in some mindless little rock song makes for good economic policy.  And these very same people are now running my state.  From the Governor’s office to the House and Senate to the state colleges and universities to the state employee union leaders, the idea that taxing the rich until there are “no rich no more” is considered brilliant economic policy.  And only evil, greedy rich people who obviously made their filthy money denying their employees a living wage would disagree with the brilliance of this policy.

Strangely enough, this concept is not going over very well with the state’s billionaires and businesses.  Recently, two of the state’s 15 billionaires decided that they’ve had enough and are leaving the state for greener pastures and taking hundreds of millions in potential tax revenue with them.  And the others seem to be getting a little antsy themselves.  Connecticut has already lost GE to Massachusetts (!?!), and many other companies are making noises about moving elsewhere as well.  Aetna, a long-time resident of Hartford that employs hundreds of CT residents, is hinting that they may be moving to Kentucky.  Even former Governor Jodie Rell (R) is switching her residency to Florida, due to the toxic economic environment here.

It’s not hard to figure out why this is happening.  While Connecticut was going through it’s recent annual budget battle, attempting to fend off yet another massive yet inevitable deficit, some of the Democrat leaders of the state just could not help but bad-mouth the very same people they need to fund their out-of-control spending.  But why would anyone stay where they are obviously so disliked?

Republicans, what few there are in positions of power, have tried to fight back against the tide, but what with the state’s Democrats so beholden to the public sector unions that they are about to make a former union president the new Speaker of the House, they can do little more than complain.

It’s gotten so crazy here that even the Hartford Courant’s editorial board, not exactly known for their conservative credentials, has asked the legislature to maybe treat the state’s billionaires a little nicer.

Otherwise, there will eventually be “no rich no more” in the state. And then what?



Nothing Revolutionary or Exciting about the American Left

The American left. What a bunch of boring and predictable control freaks. Take for instance the liberal journalists, clamoring for their next hit piece on Rand Paul or anyone else who dares to resist state oppression. Whatever happened to the revolutionary spirit of the American left? Whatever happened to the creativity and fire? As soon as a libertarian leaning conservative takes one step towards the land of freedom, the American left is whipped up into a fascist frenzy. I thought that you guys were supposed to be hip and cool? I don’t see any lefties fighting the Man. Hell, you are the Man!

This morning I woke up to discover that Senator Paul is taking steps to restore Congressional war powers. Rather than fighting miniature wars all over the damn planet, Senator Paul has a novel idea. He wants Congress to actually declare war before the executive branch decides to entangle itself in yet another ‘conflict’ in some far off desert. The United States Constitution states that Congress has the power to declare war. The Congressional war power creates a barrier so that tyrants like Barrack Obama are not allowed to invade every little nation in sight. Rather than stand with patriots like Rand Paul, the American left is quick to denounce his truly liberal ideas and label him an ‘isolationist’.

I thought that the left was supposed to be anti-war! I don’t see any righteous rage against the war mongering Obama regime coming from the left-wing journalists at the Huffington Post or the New York Times. They’re all a bunch of cowards and phonies. Sellouts, all clamoring to move their assigned press seat a little closer to their totalitarian overlords.

When the lefties in America say they want to revolutionize the system, what they really mean is that they want to double the size of the system. Where’s the progressivism in that? I thought that you liberals wanted to change the system, not magnify it to the nth degree.

Where’s the revolutionary spirit in the Bernie Sanders campaign? He doesn’t want to end the drug war. He doesn’t want to put an end to the police state. He’s not the cool Uncle Bern that he has been made out to be by teenagers huddled in their basements, afraid to come out and face the world. The Sanders system means more laws, more cops, and more state control. What’s so rebellious about that?

If you want to see a true rebel you should look to the libertarian right. Us ‘old fashioned right-wingers’ have been working hard over the past few decades to truly smash the state. We don’t want more laws, we don’t want more cops, and we don’t want more state power. We believe in a truly revolutionary system of capitalism. We stand against oppression in all forms, whether personal or political. The libertarian right is the true bastion of progress.

If you want to be a revolutionary, don’t stand with the old order of the American left. Be a real rebel and throw away your commie flags.



Should you need the government's permission to work?

by Jeff Jacoby

Unabashed libertarians can be wacky — at the Libertarian Party convention in Florida last weekend, one contender performed a striptease — but they aren't anarchists. Libertarianism isn't a philosophy of dog-eat-dog or of a society with no protections for health and safety. It is a philosophy that promotes maximum freedom of choice, so long as it doesn't involve force or fraud by individuals or by government. The influential libertarian writer Leonard Read summarized the idea in a single phrase: "Anything that's peaceful."

Libertarian policy ideas have made some important gains recently. Perhaps the most significant is the growing support for rolling back occupational licensing, so that more people can work without needing Big Brother's consent.

For decades, states have declared more and more occupations off-limits to anyone without a government permit. "In the early 1950s less than 5 percent of US workers were required to have a license from a state government in order to perform their jobs legally," observed the Brookings Institution in a study last year. "By 2008, the share of workers requiring a license to work was estimated to be almost 29 percent." To become a barber in Massachusetts, as Leon Neyfakh noted in the Boston Globe last year, a prospective hair-cutter must spend 1,000 hours of study at a barber school, followed by a year and a half as an apprentice. Florida mandates a minimum of six years of training before it will license an interior designer. In Oklahoma, anyone wishing merely to sell caskets has to earn a degree in mortuary science, undergo a year-long apprenticeship in funeral services, and pass a state-mandated exam.

Licensing requirements just as onerous or ludicrous can be found in almost every state. Arizona licenses talent agents. Tennessee prohibits shampooing hair without a license. But the pendulum is finally heading in the other direction.

Reformers left and right have mobilized against laws that pointlessly force Americans to be licensed by the state before they can get a job in their chosen field. To compel would-be surgeons and airline pilots to obtain the government's imprimatur as a condition of employment is one thing. But when the states impose licensing mandates on locksmiths and yoga instructors and hair braiders and florists, they clearly aren't being motivated by concern for public safety and the well-being of powerless consumers.

The proliferation of occupational licenses, especially for blue-collar and working-class trades, has been driven by naked rent-seeking. That is the term economists use when narrow special interests use political connections to secure benefits for themselves — in this case, when established practitioners press lawmakers to enact licensing and registration barriers that hold down competition. Thus, as libertarians have maintained for years, occupational licensing aggressively benefits "haves" at the expense of "have-nots."

The Institute for Justice, the nation's leading libertarian law firm, has long argued that the right of an individual to earn a living without unnecessary government interference goes to the heart of the American Dream. Licensing laws block honest people from doing honest work. That makes entrepreneurship more difficult in general; it makes it especially tough for Americans from low-income backgrounds, for immigrants and minorities, and for those without an advanced education.

The Obama administration has taken up this issue as well. "By making it harder to enter a profession, licensing can reduce employment opportunities, lower wages for excluded workers, and increase costs for consumers," wrote the Treasury Department, the Department of Labor, and the Council of Economic Advisers in a joint report in July 2015. "Licensing restrictions cost millions of jobs nationwide and raise consumer expenses by over one hundred billion dollars. The stakes involved are high."

But there's been progress.

Two years ago, the Institute for Justice filed a federal lawsuit in Georgia challenging a Savannah ordinance that barred private individuals from giving tours without a license. To get a license, tour guides were required to pass an elaborate test on local history and architecture, obtain medical certification, and pay recurring fees to city hall. After a year of litigation, Savannah backed down and repealed the ordinance.

Other gains have come in Arizona, where Governor Doug Ducey just signed legislation repealing state license requirements for a number of jobs, including driving instructor, citrus fruit packer, and cremationist. In North Carolina, a bill underway in the legislature would make it lawful to earn a living — without needing government approval — as a laser hair remover, sign-language interpreter, acupuncturist, and pastoral counselor. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts recently signed a measure liberating hair-braiders from licensing rules.

Consumers won't be exposed to the wolves if the state doesn't supervise every occupation. The private sector is replete with certifying, rating, and accrediting bodies that can attest to the qualifications of almost any occupation and product. The internet empowers consumers as never before with timely information about vendors, professionals, and service-providers of all kinds. From Angie's List to Yelp, from Uber to TripAdvisor, the market promotes transparency and reveals quality with a nimble persistence no state agency can ever match.

If baristas, illustrators, and journalists can operate free from government licensing, hair braiders, painting contractors, and acupuncturists can too.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up --  about immigration and such things


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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