Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Who is your master?

In Opinion on December 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Repost from Spring 2011.

I just watched Republican Congressman Paul Ryan defend his budget plan in a town hall meeting.  He said something like “we can’t raise taxes on those [rich] guys because they are the ones who create jobs.”

NO, MR. RYAN.  We should minimize taxes on those, and all, men and women because none of them are slaves – there is no other moral rationale.  They have no duty or obligation to ‘create jobs.’  They are free and each one exists for his own sake.  Not one of them exists for the privilege or to fulfill a duty of creating a job for someone else.  Taxing a man less so he might use the saved money to create a job for another man is no less evil than taxing him more so that, say, Harry Reid can give the money to someone else.

Why doesn’t anyone see that?  Why are free men and women reduced to justifying their existence by naming the things they do for someone else’s benefit?  Why does BP or Coca Cola or Bank of America spend advertising money telling us they’re good citizens who protect the environment or create jobs?  I want them to pump oil, make sugar water and provide financial services.

One rich man might say “I want to create jobs.”  Why?  So another man will be beholden to him?  And his neighbor, Warren Buffet, says “I want to pay more taxes.”  Why?  So the government can make more men beholden to it?

Neither is moral and I reject both of those altruistic positions.  Those men, YOU, exist and live for one and only one reason; to make YOUR life happy, however you define ‘happy’ and so long as you do not abridge anyone else’s liberty and unalienable rights.

To organize a community around any other premise or philosophy is to make men/women the slaves of whichever gun-toting brute who is evil enough to covet control over other lives.  History proves the point as does simple logic.

It is no more acceptable for a few to be enslaved by the masses than for the masses to be enslaved by a few.  Let men be free.

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”  – John Galt

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Give me Elmo or give me NASCAR: A profound Choice?

In Economics, Financial, Opinion, Political Critique on December 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

Not really . .  . Give me liberty or give me death.  That’s profound.

A few months ago, FoxNews reports on the [low] level of the debate on the National Debt.

See Link Here (Debate over Army funding of NASCAR sponsorship)

When the fight is over which unconstitutional government expenditure should be kept in place, it’s a power struggle akin to a food fight; it is not a political discussion.  Maybe the Army’s NASCAR sponsorship is constitutional – after all, raising an army is a power granted the federal government by the people.
That question is open to discussion.  But NPR, PBS, Sesame Street – not even a close call.  Other government spending programs that are not close calls would include Dept of Education, Dept of Energy, health care law, Medicaid, corn subsidies, grants to states to build bike paths . . .Debating spending on the merits, goodness or effectiveness of the program makes for an enormous government, because there is a constituency for everything – see mohair subsidy and Murtha Regional Airport.
On the other hand, debating spending and other government actions on constitutional grounds makes the argument finite, unemotional and, in the end, lititgable by the non-political branch, the judiciary.  Could be a plan.  I think that the US Constitution was meant to work that way.  That would take a completely new group of legislators, because the current Congress is full of men and women who think their job is to bring home the bacon.
Or, we can elect politicians who will keep debating whether we should have the government feed the hungry – – – and watch the definitions of ‘feed’ and ‘hungry’ morph until debates over providing for the common defense, giving heating oil to the poor or buying viagra for grandpa are virtually indistiguishable, and more and more and more money will be taken from ‘rich’ person A and given to every erectile dysfunctional man, I mean ‘hungry‘ person B for his viagra, I mean,  ‘food‘.
How’s that working out for us so far?  The choice is simple and stark.
(A) 1789 – A limited, constitutional, democratically-elected government that protects individual rights – and nothing more, or
(B) circa 1917, Russia – A fair tyranny that wants income equality and leads to totalitarianism – we’ve all seen the movie.
WE CAN DO BETTER, AMERICA.

You want civility? Just let me be free.

In Everyday Life, Opinion on December 28, 2011 at 11:56 am

WINNERS AND LOSERS

IT SHOULDN’T REALLY MATTER SO MUCH, RACHEL MADDOW

– OR –

WHY SMALL GOVERNMENT MATTERS

– OR –

LEAVE ANDREW AND HENRY ALONE, PLEASE

Why is it that Democrats and liberals are sometimes enthralled by majority rule and occasionally supportive of certain minority “rights?”  It seems that it is the case only when two conditions exist simultaneously.  That is, the Democrats are so inclined only when (1) Democrats hold a majority in Congress, and (2) the minority in question is a group whose power they can arrogate for their own use.  They buy constituencies with promises to [ab]use the powers of a democratically-elected government to take other people’s money and freedom, presumably making their constituents’ lives ‘better.’

However, when a minority is made up of rich, white, fat-cat bankers, black conservative judges, evangelical Christians, southerners who speak with a twang, women who think that abortion is not a constitutional right, or people who voted for Christine O’Donnell, that minority is open season for hate, derision, and ridicule and doomed to a life of being told how to live and think.

That’s just fine, except for the doomed life part, that is.  I don’t object to Rachel Maddow having those opinions and getting paid by MSNBC to entertain her audience by making fun of Rick Santorum’s religious views, John Boehner’s tan, Dick Cheney’s shooting skills, John Ensign’s personal foibles and George Bush’s swagger.  However, I do object to Rachel’s favored politicians having the political power to turn her occasionally more substantive opinions into government policy, thereby nullifying my unalienable right to experience and pursue, on my own terms, the best and worst of a life made possible by my essential freedoms.  Voting for the loser in an election should not make a man a second-class citizen, should it?

Our government has become so untethered from the rule of law that elections are now, unfortunately, winner-take-all contests.  “We won, the election is over” has become a statement of policy, a statement of destiny and power that cannot and must not be challenged.  In Blair House, the summer of 2010, when Barack Obama said as much to John McCain, no one blinked – they simply nodded.  Even the stronger Republicans in the room sort of slouched and looked away as a decorated war hero and five-term senator looked down at his lap, put in his place by a former community organizer wielding the power of a tyrannical majority.

In that sphere, where that tone is the norm, compromise is neither possible nor desirable; there is no compromise between truth and lies.  And the solutions that spring from that level of power, corrupting power, are so far reaching as to effect voters’ daily lives in ways not contemplated by the Constitution and in ways that are not conducive to productive, fulfilling, happy lives, untainted and undisturbed by political bile and vitriol.

That’s why modern political discourse has become so divisive, derisive, personal, destructive and ugly.  The stakes are too high; the stakes are ‘live your life my way, it’s the law now!’  In my America, that’s the same as ‘life or death,’ because Americans know freedom is our birthright, that our rights are inalienable, of our essence, and being deprived of them is tantamount to being executed.  For freedom and civility to reign again in America, we must reduce the stakes.  We must reduce the reach of government so that the loser in a political battle might continue to live his life without the tyranny of the majority forcing him and his supporters to surrender their money and freedom of thought, and live thenceforth according to the demands of the next Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner . . . until the next destabilizing, fight-to-the-death election, of course.

Rachel, Michele and Barack, you can have it your way, really.  Just keep ‘your way’ inside of your lives – let me live my life, raise my children, pursue happiness and dispose of my property as I prefer, pretty please, with sugar on top.  You possess the same freedoms; they’re never going to be threatened by me or mine, I promise, cross my heart and hope to die.

You see, only when government power is so omnipresent (recall ‘Big Brother’ of 1984) that it is omnipotent, does what it does really matter.  If, and only if, we can tame the political class’s ambition and reach, put the government back in its Constitutional cage, will we get along more peacefully.  Otherwise – more food fights and screaming matches will ensue, enormous sums of money will be spent seeking to buy control of Congress and the White House, instead of flowing into private invention and innovation that would make life more bearable, peaceful and healthy for Rachel, Larry O’Donnell, and Chris Matthews, and Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Juan Williams and Glenn Beck (well, maybe not Chris and Glenn) and they could move on to doing something more pleasant and productive than shouting at one another about whose mother smells like army boots.

OH, and that money would flow into innovation that would make life more promising and fulfilling for my two sons – after all, they’re the only reasons I give a damn about any of this.  What, pray tell, are your reasons, Rachel and Barack; why does it matter so much to you?  Why won’t you let me and my sons be free?  Why do we have to agree with you or go to jail for not paying the tax that supports the social program you prefer?  I care for the poor as much as you do, I just think government helping the poor is an oxymoron.  Why won’t you help the poor and fund medical research the old fashioned way – by convincing people your way will work, and I’ll do exactly the same thing.  No guns, no laws, no IRS involvement.  Deal?

What Is A Slave’s Marginal Tax Rate?

In Opinion on December 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm

What does it mean to “create a job?”

I just watched a re-run of an interview by Neil Cavuto in which Las Vegas business man, Steve Wynn. criticizes the crooks and liars in DC for not understanding the most fundamental, most basic principle in economic theory.  In doing so, he gives as good a definition of “create a job” as I’ve heard from anyone – and that wasn’t even the question he was asked.

Mr. Wynn said, “[w]e know that, in the history of civilization, the only thing that has ever given a better quality of life to another human being is the demand for that other human being’s labor in spite of their [sic] station in life.  If the only thing that makes a better life is a demand for labor, it raises the question, what is the purpose of government?  It is to create an environment that fosters a better life for it’s citizens. That doesn’t mean doling out money to them for work they don’t do; it’s creating an environment where the private sector, . . . the only source [of demand for labor] known to mankind in history, [can] create a demand for human labor . . .  We need a rule of law, we need national defense, but we need a government that understands that the most important thing to the life and happiness of the people who live in every country is that the private sector continues to expand, that people take risks and create jobs.  Sure there are people who get wealthy as a result of that; it’s because they risk everything.”

He doesn’t set out to define “create a job,” but I think we can see it in there.  To create a job means to do something that produces demand for an additional man’s labor.  Has any government ever done that?  You might say, yes, when government decides to build a bridge or a road from X to Y, it produces demand for labor.  Well, NO, that act does not create demand for labor.  The source of the demand for the labor needed to build the bridge is the private sector’s desire to move bodies or a product from X to Y.  IF no one or thing has a productive need to get from X to Y, paying someone to build that road is ‘doling out money to them for work they didn’t do,’ because work is not sweating, work is producing with one’s labor something for which another man will pay.

Imagine a slave owner – hold your nose, if you must, but imagine.  Would Massa waste his slave’s labor having the slave dig a ditch just to fill it in?  No, he wouldn’t.  A man who owns labor, who values labor, does not waste it.  Why do we ask some men to waste their labor, to waste their lives by taking money to do nothing.

I’ve been saying for years that it’s a crime to tax one man so the money can be given to another.  Upon further reflection, I see two crimes in that transfer of money – first, the theft of the first man’s money and, second, the destruction of the second man’s life, the decision of lawmakers that the second man’s life consists of nothing more than eating, breathing and defecating.  Why else should we pay him to do nothing so he can live a life comprised of doing nothing productive?  Has that improved anyone’s quality of life?

Recently the government-reported unemployment rate changed from 9.0% to 8.6%, and many politicians averred that it was good news.  Then, in the next breath, most of them admitted that most of that ‘improvement’ was due to the fact that approximately 300,000 people stopped looking for work, so they just disappeared from the math – no longer in the denominator or the numerator; just no longer, poof, gone and unemployment rate is better!

Had the Lincoln administration kept such statistics, what would happen when a slave died or escaped his bondage?  What if a slave had his freedom restored and he got a job?  Would the unemployment rate have gone up or down or would it have stayed the same?

I think the 300,000 people who gave up looking for a job last month still count.  Imagine that Steve Wynn buys their labor from them, i.e gives them a job, and gets significantly richer as a result of the tasks he pays them to perform.  What should be the tax rate on the additional money he makes because he hired 300,000 people?

I say 0%.  What does Barack Obama think is the right rate?  Mitt Romney?

Do we know whether Harriet Tubman was in the 1%?  If she was making money on the Underground Railroad, what would her marginal tax rate have been?

More on “Reagan” on HBO

In Opinion, Recommended Reading on December 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Michael Reagan stands up for his father’s legacy in a piece on FoxNews.com.

Link Here

What the media is doing to the memory of Ronald Reagan is at best a disservice to the consumers of their propaganda and at worst an offense to the truth.  He was not the great compromiser or the great communicator.  He was a thoughtful, intelligent man who knew that the essence of America was its promise of freedom to individual men and women.  He knew that the battle with the Soviet Union was a battle for men’s souls and that the battles he waged against Tip O’Neill were about how much of a free man’s life the government could take from him.

To portray Ronald Reagan as just another clever politician is a lie.  To tell that lie speaks volumes about the liar’s misunderstanding of history and his ignorance.

More Lyin’ Ass Bitches (Ooops, I meant US Representatives and Senators)

In Opinion on December 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm

What is F.I.C.A.?

Would it be ‘Christian’ to boycott F.I.C.A.?

The circus act commonly known as the US Congress has revealed itself to be incompetent in administering even the most basic fiscal functions of the state.  In President Obama’s own words, “Has this place become so dysfunctional that even when we agree to things, we can’t do it?”  He asked, let’s answer!  “YES, so please give up!”

It’s time to boycott our government.  Let’s John Galt them.  We should stop sending ANY payroll tax to Washington, DC.  The National Federation of Independent Businesses and similar organizations should encourage their members to escrow their employees’ withholding for FICA – don’t give it to the employees, but don’t send it to the government either.

The messages to Congress and President Obama:

– If you’re going to spend $3.6 trillion per year regardless of what we send you, we’ll just keep this money for our employees;

– For as long as we hear lies about what is going on with our FICA money, we’re not sending any money to the liars; and

– Until you get your act together, we’ll hold in trust our employees’ money, invested safely and for the benefit of the people who earned it.

Why should we encourage NFIB and others to participate in a boycott of the FICA program?  How can we defend such a massive act of civil disobedience?  Wouldn’t that endanger seniors who depend on their Social Security checks for food and shelter?  Why should we pursue an agenda that the Occupy Wall Street crowd and Tea Party supporters, alike, will support?  Read on:

– If Social Security is a retirement insurance program, how can Congress randomly say “go ahead, pay a smaller premium for a few months”?  Doesn’t this new tax holiday reveal the truth – doesn’t it expose Social Security as a pyramid scheme, a transfer of funds that can’t continue as currently administered?  Doesn’t it show that Congress is lying to you about what they’re doing with your money?

– They call this tax holiday an economic stimulus – it amounts to $33 Billion over 2 months.  Hmmm.  That’s a whopping 0.220% of annual US GDP, the target of the stimulus.  It is also approximately 0.91671% of what the government will spend in the next twelve months.  Even if you’re a committed Keynesian economist (they should be committed!) don’t you have to wonder why 0.220% will matter.

– How does one make sense of stimulating something and simultaneously neutralizing the stimulus?  The same law enacts a surcharge on mortgages guaranteed by Fannie/Freddie.  That surcharge is meant to ‘pay for’ letting people stimulate the economy by spending more of their own money.  A succinct summary of Congress’s view of how economies work:  Stimulate with the left hand and suck the stimulus back out of the economy with the right hand!

– This act of Congress makes Social Security ‘premiums’ look exactly like any other tax collected by the government.  Congress just made up a new tax to substitute for the revenue lost due to the tax holiday – Say Abracadabra, good things abound, and the War on Poverty is over.  Mission Accomplished!

– For a bonus act of incompetence, in the same law, Congress extends unemployment benefits and implements the ‘doctor fix’ for Medicare.  Sort of random, yes?  A brightly-lit sign of dysfunction, yes?

– Most importantly, this is not a tax cut, it’s a tax deferral.  That’s what ALL so-called tax cuts are these days.  If there is no corresponding decrease in SPENDING, the expenditures are made with borrowed money which must be re-paid by a TAX that gets collected later . . . yes, from a different generation or an older pool of the same taxpayers, but it will be collected, trust me.  As Milton Friedman rather famously proclaimed “to spend is to tax.”  Exactly.

This great compromise being celebrated by the White House and Congressional Democrats merely allows a worker to keep a tiny fraction of the money he earned for a little while longer.  YEE HA!  PROGRESS.  NOW, LET THEM CONTROL MORE OF OUR LIVES, SEND THEM MORE MONEY!!  . . . . . Or, as Borat would say, NOT. (Clip Here)

I could go on (or have I already?) but you get the point.  Congress is not merely dysfunctional, they’re dishonest.  I think the NFIB (for example) should encourage its members to withhold their employees’ money.  Any suggestions on who else could join the boycott?  If you need moral support as you decide whether you would like to participate, I recommend that you consult your nearest mullah, minister or rabbi.  By completing IRS form 4361 members of the clergy (and Christian Science Practitioners) can exempt themselves from F.I.C.A.  Seriously.

Let’s do the godly thing and join them!

Let us pray.  No more F.I.C.A.  Amen.

Conservative of the Year, Paul Ryan!?

In Opinion on December 22, 2011 at 11:21 am

RELATED STORIES:

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AND

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Human Events, whose tag line is Powerful Conservative Voices, today named Paul Ryan the Conservative of the Year.  (Link Here)

A major factor in their selection is his Path to Prosperity, Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution which contains his plan for returning to fiscally responsible governing and a comparison of his plan, dubbed a Choice of Two Futures, to President Obama’s 10-year plan (which was rejected 97-0  in the US Senate, BTW).

Mr. Ryan’s bold budget plan calls for spending $3.5 trillion in fiscal 2012, a whopping $100,000,000,000 or 2.7% less than the $3.6 trillion proposed by the Obama Administration.

Other highlights:  He boasts that over the next 10 years, the Ryan budget contains approximately $6.2 trillion less spending than the POTUS’s budget.  $6.2 trillion is 13.4% of the $46.2 trillion the POTUS wants to spend.  13.4%; $6.2 trillion – Uh, well, those sound like significant numbers, until you put them in context.  The current fiscal year deficit will be $1.4 trillion out of $3.6 trillion in spending – so, we’re borrowing 39% of what we spend.  In other words, Mr, Ryan has boldly proposed cutting about 1/3 of what we need to cut in order to get to balanced budget.  WOW.  Where can I get a cold shower, I’m getting sort of overheated with all this conservatism!

More notable is the timing of these ‘cuts’ – over the 10-year period, 16% of the cuts are in the 10th year, 31% in years 9-10, 45% in years 8-10, 57% in years 7-10.  Can you say ‘back-loaded”?

Or, look at it this way – we get 2.8% of that savings in year 1, 6.8% in years 1-2, and 13% in years 1-3.  So, 30% of the way into the period, we’ve made it 13% of the way to the goal line.  Can you say “slow-starter”?

In other words, it will never happen because tomorrow never comes in DC where it is perpetually today; every single damn day is today.  There has never been and we will never see a tomorrow in Washington, DC.

We can do much better.

And my sincere thanks to the Academy.  Win or lose, it’s an honor just to be nominated.

See (Here) and (Here) for previous C.U.R.E. critiques of Ryan’s plan.

Gingrich and Lincoln vs. Hope and Change

In Opinion on December 19, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Newt Gingrich is being criticized, i.e. people are talking about him, for suggesting that the President of the United States can disagree with a federal judge’s interpretation of the Constitution.  He mentions Abraham Lincoln as a previous holder of that office who had the same view, particularly in reference to the Dred Scott decision.  Is mentioning Lincoln just Mr. Gingrich being arrogant again, or is there some merit to the reference?  I wanted to know, so I did a little research.

First, Mr. Gingrich DID NOT, as has been reported, suggest that he desired to have a veto over judges with whom he might have a minor difference of opinion.  He, as serious man, said that there are times when, if the judiciary’s decisions are so seriously and completely antithetical to American jurisprudence, then the people’s representatives have a sworn duty to assert their authority to prevent the judiciary from declaring a monopoly over the determination of what the meaning of the word “is” is; the determination of what is the meaning of “American jurisprudence.”  But, we’ll come back to Mr. Gingrich anon; let’s visit 1857.

In this speech, (Link Here) President Lincoln (a) explains that every public official “swears that he will support [the Constitution] as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others(emphasis mine) (b) discusses at length the concept of precedent as a factor in determining the validity, force and justice of court decisions, and (c) lays out his considered view that the Court had erred in the Dred Scott decision.  It is an important speech to read while considering Mr. Gingrich’s recent dust-up over judges.  This paragraph jumped off the page because of its nuanced analysis of the phrase “all men are created equal.”

The assertion that ‘all men are created equal’ was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, not for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack.

I think the nut is cracking!  Maybe Mr. Gingrich is seeing that too.  Maybe he knows it’s time to recall some first principles rather than taking a poll or convening a task force of entrenched powers to determine what solutions might address our nation’s ills.  Maybe he realizes that freedom is at stake and that letting government “fix” the problem with court orders, over-reaching legislation and other versions of reducing freedoms will destroy what’s left of the Founder’s ideas about how a nation is constituted and administered.

More to the point, a little further on, Mr Lincoln says:

Now let us hear Judge Douglas’ view of the same subject, as I find it in the printed report of his late speech. Here it is

No man can vindicate the character, motives and conduct of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, except upon the hypothesis that they referred to the white race alone, and not to the African, when they declared all men to have been created equal — that they were speaking of British subjects on this continent being equal to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain — that they were entitled to the same inalienable rights, and among them were enumerated life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration was adopted for the purpose of justifying the colonists in the eyes of the civilized world in withdrawing their allegiance from the British crown, and dissolving their connection with the mother country.

My good friend, read that carefully over some leisure hour, and ponder well upon it — see what a mere wreck — mangled ruin — it makes of our once glorious Declaration.

Douglas again: ‘They were speaking of British subjects on this continent being equal to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain!’

Why according to this, not only negroes but white people outside of Great Britain and America are not spoken of in that instrument. The English, Irish and Scotch, along with white Americans, were included to be sure, but the French, Germans and other white people of the world are all gone to pot along with the Judge’s inferior races.

I had thought the Declaration promised something better than the condition of British subjects; but no, it only meant that we should be equal to them in their own oppressed and unequal condition. According to that, it gave no promise that having kicked off the King and Lords of Great Britain, we should not at once be saddled with a King and lords of our own.

The point for us to take from this 160-year old speech?  Mr. Gingrich may not be perfect; you may think he’s may be wrong most of the time.  But, he is serious.  While it is impossible to address adequately the relationship between the judiciary and the executive in a 30-second sound bite, I nonetheless respect and praise Mr. Gingrich for trying to get through the noise and make a serious point.  He seems to be doing that often these days and I grow angrier by the day at his opponent’s (particularly the GOP) constant habit of misconstruing and misrepresenting his positions, ergo this 1000+ word post (sorry).

Mr. Lincoln was attempting to save the Union.  Mr. Gingrich and more than a few of the people who are not part of the ruling class believe we face a similarly serious point in our history.  If we won’t let Newt Gingrich be serious about the state of our nation today, if we think this year’s version of “Hope and Change” (I have in mind Mr. Romney’s “Let America be America Again”) is enough, then let’s let Mr. Gingrich exit stage right, and let’s go about preparing our bunker for the next revolutionary war, because absent the kind of re-thinking that Mr. Gingrich has in mind, that is the only solution that remains if we are to escape the bonds of the ruling class that has mutinied the ship of state and is sinking it in the open sea.

Where’s Gloria (Waldo) Allred?

In Opinion on December 18, 2011 at 10:19 am

MOVE ON – NO HARM, NO FOUL and NEVER MIND

I’ve been wondering what happened to the Democrats who insisted their attacks on Herman Cain weren’t about scoring political points, they were about justice for the victims of heinous crimes and rude behavior.  What happened – did Mr. Cain’s withdrawal from the campaign cleanse the victims’ memories?  Did those crimes go down the memory hole?  I’m guessing that Gloria Allred has been holding press conferences with daily updates on the matter, just no one is showing up, right?  Poof!  Like none of it ever happened – hmmm, maybe it didn’t.  I have no idea, never had any interest in knowing – just wondering why ‘they’ all stopped being so curious and concerned about justice.

Fact-based sexual harassment cases have actual results, like, for example, the soon-to-be former POTUS making a payment of $800,000 to his victim and agreeing in a settlement to a ban from practicing law for the rest of his life.  Real episodes of extra-marital sexual misbehavior are exposed upon the discovery of a semen-stained blue dress and contemporary, sworn corroboration of the testimony of a woman about a man who did have what IS “sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”  (In today’s post, I employ the same definition of what “is” is that almost everyone else does.)

Fact-based matters don’t get lost down the memory hole.  But accusations that are more likely than not to be either (a) untrue or (b) politically motivated, will usually get lost down the memory hole after they’ve served their purpose.  Voila, memories purged, shrug it off and Moveon.org . . . well, except for the memories of the man whose obituary will read “accomplished businessman who in 2011 was forced to resign from a campaign for the presidency because of accusations of sexual harassment and extra-marital affairs involving at least 5 women.”

Oh, and his wife and kids – they’ll just shrug it off too, right?  Yeah, let’s move on.

Thanks Gloria.  Thanks David Axelrod.

Jack Nicholson, The Reverend Mr. Al Sharpton and Candy

In Financial, Opinion on December 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm

On CafeHayek.com, Professor Don Boudreaux, tells us (Link Here) that the reverend Mr. Al Sharpton is raising a stink (yes, I realize that has a potentially double meaning and is redundant – as in, what else does he do?) regarding Walgreens’ failure to adequately serve poor neighborhoods.

Why does he stipulate that Walgreens is obligated to serve any customers?  They are free to put all of their stores on Park Avenue, if they like, yes?  Are there any Tiffany’s in the poor neighborhoods Mr. Sharpton is worried about, or any check cashing, pay-day loan operations Rodeo Drive?  What would Charlie Sheen do in a cash emergency and why isn’t someone looking out for him?

I frame it more seriously this way:  Walgreens’ total market capitalization of approximately $35 billion did not materialize from thin air, reverend Mr. Sharpton.  As the Professor Boudreaux points out via his list of things Walgreens chose to do to make pills and suppositories appear behind their counter (just next to $3.49 ethnic hair products, $1.59 paper towels and $1.29 candy bars, etc.) this kind of operation is the result of billions of independent, unique, untraceable decisions about the most effective uses of capital and labor.  That unimaginably complex process has resulted in a situation where, for $1.29 you get a Milky Way AND, implicit therein, you get the benefit of the trillions of dollars it took to deliver it there between the M&Ms and the Snickers.

HUH? you say, trillions?  Yes, trillions.  Add Walgreens market cap to that of Mars Candy, Pfizer, Merck (and every other company who has a product on offer in that store) and it’s AT LEAST multi-trillions of dollars.  The owners of Mars Candy, Inc can’t deploy only the miniscule fraction of their world-wide enterprise that made YOUR Milky Way, even though you are paying only for your tiny share of Mars Candy.  And the same goes for the companies offering the products you didn’t even purchase, because it is the unique combination of products services, and multiple locations that is the essence of Walgreens, the magic that makes Walgreens exist.  That’s the beauty of Walgreens (and 7-11, Kroger, Victoria’s Secret, Federal Express and  . . .)

When will you learn, reverend Mr. Sharpton, that stuff doesn’t happen because you have a camera and a microphone; stuff happens because, to paraphrase Milton Friedman, millions and millions of men and women, almost all of whom don’t even know of the existence of the rest, and many of whom would hate each other if they ever met face-to-face, in their own way, free of coercion, contributed to that Milky Way’s being there.  And it was there for you last Wednesday at 2:43 a.m., exactly when you wanted it there – for a mere $1.29.  And the cold pint of milk tasted great with it, too, didn’t it!

And, now you want the government to fine tune and improve on that model for you without disturbing its intricate and delicate balance?!  NO SIR!  Step away from the counter and put your hands in the air.

To borrow from A Few Good Men “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said “Thank you,” and went on your way.  Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post.”

Freedom, Milky Ways . . . same thing.  Mr. Sharpton, Walgreens doesn’t have time to explain how they put your Milky Way on that shelf.  They’d rather you just pay the $1.29, say ‘Thank You’ and go back on TV.  Otherwise, I suggest you go find a trillion dollars and make your own candy.

Freedom promises that you have the choice to buy your widgets or pharmaceuticals anywhere you like.  Freedom does not promise you that Walgreens will make them available to you, 24/7, at a price you can afford.