Posted in American Exceptionalism, American Independence, American Presidents, big government, Capers, Dependency, Entitlements, Free Society, government incompetence, Government Regulations, Government Spending, Influence peddling, Liberty, News From Washington, News From Washington, DC & Related Shenanigans, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Quotes from American Presidents, Representative Republic vs. Democracy, Rule of Law, U.S. Constitution, U.S. Security, Uncategorized

Will Democracy’s Myths Doom Liberty? | Mises Wire

“It is time to demystify democracy. The surest effect of exalting democracy is to make it easier for politicians to drag everyone else down. Until presidents and members of Congress begin to honor their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, they deserve all the distrust and disdain they receive. Americans need less faith in democracy and more faith in their own liberty.

The phrases which consecrate democracy seep into many Americans’ minds like buried hazardous waste.

If Joe Biden wins the presidential election, voters will be told that our political system is redeemed: the “will of the people” is now clear, Biden will rule with “the consent of the governed,” and Americans are obliged to again trust and obey the federal government. If Donald Trump is reelected, much of the same media will continue howling about imaginary Russian plots. But these notions remain dangerous delusions regardless of who is declared the winner on Election Day.

Americans are encouraged to believe that their vote on Election Day somehow miraculously guarantees that the subsequent ten thousand actions by the president, Congress, and federal agencies embody “the will of the people.” In reality, the more edicts a president issues, the less likely that his decrees will have any connection to popular preferences. It is even more doubtful that all the provisions of hefty legislative packages reflect majority support, considering the wheeling, dealing, and conniving prior to final passage. 

A 2017 survey by Rasmussen Reports found that only 23 percent of Americans believe that the federal government has “the consent of the governed.” Political consent is defined these days as rape was defined a generation or two ago: people consent to anything which they do not forcibly resist. 

Voters cannot complain about getting screwed after being enticed into a voting booth. Anyone who does not attempt to burn down city hall presumably consented to everything the mayor did. Anyone who does not jump the White House fence and try to storm into the Oval Office consents to all executive orders. Anyone who doesn’t firebomb the nearest federal office building consents to the latest edicts in the Federal Register. And if people do attack government facilities, then they are terrorists who can be justifiably killed or imprisoned forever.

In the short term, the most dangerous democratic delusion is that conducting an election makes government trustworthy again. 

When scandals erupt, citizens will be told to trust politically approved fixes to the system—even though most Washington reforms are like fighting crime by hiding the corpses of victims.

Until presidents and members of Congress begin to honor their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, they deserve all the distrust and disdain they receive. Americans need less faith in democracy and more faith in their own liberty.”

https://mises.org/wire/will-democracys-myths-doom-liberty

Posted in Currency Manipulation, Dependency, Economic Issues, Education, Free Society, Liberty, Neo-conservatism, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Progressivism, Representative Republic vs. Democracy, Rule of Law, U.S. Constitution, U.S. Security, Uncategorized

The Battle Isn’t Right vs. Left. It’s Statism vs. Individualism – Foundation for Economic Education

Given the expanding role of government and erosion of individual liberty that occurs under both fascism & socialism, and the murderous history of each, why is communism/collectivism so much more palatable than National Socialism?

https://fee.org/articles/the-battle-isnt-right-vs-left-it-s-statism-vs-individualism/

Posted in Cost of labor, Economic Issues, Entrepreneurs, Free-Market, Government Regulations, Job loss, Liberty, Minimum wage, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Progressivism, Uncategorized, Unemployment

Socialist-Themed Vegan Meat Company Learns Marxism Works Better in Theory Than Practice – Foundation for Economic Education

“…the company is learning marketing progressive ideas is easier than implementing socialist-style economics.”

“For months, company leaders have been resisting a unionization effort by workers at their Weaverville, North Carolina plant.”

“I sincerely believe that right now a union would be a terrible thing for you and for No Evil Foods,” Mike Woliansky, the co-founder and CEO of No Evil Foods, told his employees earlier this year. “You could get the same thing you currently have. You could get less than you currently have. I don’t think you need a union voice here.”

https://fee.org/articles/socialist-themed-vegan-meat-company-learns-marxism-works-better-in-theory-than-practice/

Posted in Education, Free Society, Government Regulations, Liberty, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Progressivism, Rule of Law, Uncategorized

Why George Orwell’s Quote on ‘Self-Censorship’ Is More Relevant Than Ever – Foundation for Economic Education

Welcome to Friday’s Philosophical Foray beyond Healthcare!

Government bureaus are not needed for mass censorship. You only need people in authority willing to acquiesce to the intimidation tactics of an idea-censoring, anti-free speech mob wielding their social & professional weaponry like pitchforks.

Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

“The above is a quotation from George Orwell’s preface to Animal Farm, titled “The Freedom of the Press,” where he discussed the chilling effect the Soviet Union’s influence had on global publishing and debate far beyond the reach of its official censorship laws.

Wait, no it isn’t. The quote is actually an excerpt from the resignation letter of New York Times opinion editor and writer Bari Weiss, penned this week, where she blows the whistle on the hostility toward intellectual diversity that now reigns supreme at the country’s most prominent newspaper.”

https://fee.org/articles/why-george-orwells-warning-on-self-censorship-is-more-relevant-than-ever/

Posted in CDC, Disease Prevention, Education, Free Society, Government Regulations, outcomes, outcomes measurement, Patient Safety, Policy Issues, Poverty, Prevention, Protocols, Uncategorized, Unsettled Science

Modelers Were ‘Astronomically Wrong’ in COVID-19 Predictions, Says Leading Epidemiologist—and the World Is Paying the Price | Jon Miltimore

Three months ago, Dr. John Ioannidis of Stanford University predicted dire social consequences if states enforced social distancing measures to curb a virus scientists didn’t yet understand.

“I feel extremely sad that my predictions were verified,” Ioannidis said in a recent interview with Greek media.

“There are already more than 50 studies that have presented results on how many people in different countries and locations have developed antibodies to the virus,” Ioannidis, a Greek-American physician, told Greek Reporter. “Of course none of these studies are perfect, but cumulatively they provide useful composite evidence. A very crude estimate might suggest that about 150-300 million or more people have already been infected around the world, far more than the 10 million documented cases.”

Ioannidis said medical data suggest the fatality risk is far lower than earlier estimates had led policymakers to believe and “is almost 0%” for individuals under 45 years old. The median fatality rate is roughly 0.25 percent, however, because the risk “escalates substantially” for individuals over 85 and can be as high as 25 percent for debilitated people in nursing homes.

“The death rate in a given country depends a lot on the age-structure, who are the people infected, and how they are managed,” Ioannidis said. “For people younger than 45, the infection fatality rate is almost 0%. For 45 to 70, it is probably about 0.05-0.3%. For those above 70, it escalates substantially…”

“Major consequences on the economy, society and mental health” have already occurred. I hope they are reversible, and this depends to a large extent on whether we can avoid prolonging the draconian lockdowns and manage to deal with COVID-19 in a smart, precision-risk targeted approach, rather than blindly shutting down everything…”

There’s little question that the lock-downs have caused widespread economic, social, and emotional carnage. Evidence that US states that locked down fared better than states that did not is hard to find.

Though not yet certain, the COVID-19 pandemic may well turn out to be another example of central planning gone wrong.

As I previously noted, it’s a sad irony that many of the greatest disasters in modern history—from Stalin’s “kolkhoz” collective farming system to Mao’s Great Leap Forward and beyond—are the result of central planners trying to improve the lot of humanity through coercive action.

“This is not a dispute about whether planning is to be done or not,” Hayek wrote in The Use of Knowledge in Society. “It is a dispute as to whether planning is to be done centrally, by one authority for the whole economic system, or is to be divided among many individuals.”

Source: Modelers Were ‘Astronomically Wrong’ in COVID-19 Predictions, Says Leading Epidemiologist—and the World Is Paying the Price | Jon Miltimore

Posted in Disease Prevention, Economic Issues, Education, Evidence-based Medicine, Free Society, Free-Market, Government Regulations, Leadership, Liberty, outcomes, outcomes measurement, Patient Safety, Policy Issues, Prevention, Uncategorized

Gov. Cuomo Admits COVID-19 Projection Models “Were All Wrong,” Yet Clings to the Central Planner’s “Pretense of Knowledge” – Foundation for Economic Education

“There are a lot of variables,” Cuomo admitted. “I understand that.”

But does he really? If he truly understood how infinitely complex social problems are, he wouldn’t act as if they can be solved top-down by politicians, bureaucracies, and a government-connected expert class. He would admit that all central planners can do is stumble around in the dark, breaking things and people.

And if he understood economics, he would realize that the complexity of social problems are such that they can only be managed bottom-up by local actors with local knowledge and skin in the game interacting with each other in a free society and a free market.

https://fee.org/articles/we-all-failed-gov-cuomo-admits-covid-19-projection-models-were-all-wrong-yet-clings-to-the-central-planner-s-pretense-of-knowledge/

Posted in CDC, Education, News From Washington, outcomes, outcomes measurement, Patient Safety, Prevention, Uncategorized

Crucial Facts About COVID-19: Transmissibility, Death Rates, and Raw Numbers – Foundation for Economic Education

“…elderly people and those with chronic ailments are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. Furthermore, the disease is highly transmissible, which means it could spread like wildfire and overwhelm hospitals without extraordinary measures to contain it. This would greatly increase its death toll.

However, such precautionary measures often have economic and other impacts that can cost lives, and overreacting can ultimately kill more people than are saved.”

The facts show that:

  • The death rate for people who contract COVID-19 is uncertain but is probably closer to that of the seasonal flu than figures commonly reported by the press.
  • The average years of life lost from each COVID-19 death are significantly fewer than common causes of untimely death like accidents and suicides.
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is “very vulnerable to antibody neutralization” and has limited ability to mutate, which means it is very unlikely to take lives year after year.
  • If 240,000 COVID-19 deaths ultimately occur in the United States, the virus will rob about 2.9 million years of life from all Americans who were alive at the outset of 2020, while accidents will rob them of about 409 million years—or about 140 times more than COVID-19.

https://fee.org/articles/crucial-facts-about-covid-19-transmissibility-death-rates-and-raw-numbers/

Posted in Access to healthcare, big government, Economic Issues, Government Spending, Government Stimulus, Health Insurance, Healthcare financing, Medical Costs, Medicare, Organizational structure, Philosophy, Policy Issues, Uncategorized

5 Charts That Explain the Student Debt Crisis – Foundation for Economic Education

The commonality between the insatiable rise in both healthcare costs and college tuition, post 1965, should be obvious:  Massive amounts of other people’s money in the form of government programs, payments, subsidies and loan guarantees; which economists call the 3rd-party payer effect.

As exposited in the FEE article below, the U.S. Higher Education Act introduced “incentives” into the market for higher education, encouraging both the supply side and the demand side to make decisions that they would not be as likely to make under “non-stimulated” market situations.

Similarly, the passage of Medicare in 1965 sent huge surge of money into the healthcare system. The predictable consequence of this massive revenue stream was an incentive for healthcare providers to enter the market and expand services at an unprecedented magnitude and rate.  Essentially, demand was spurred by new source of financing.  Amy Finkelstein, et.al have done excellent work in this area.  Her work indicates that Medicare funding may have allowed hospital to spend 6-fold more than what individual levels of insurance would have predicted.  And that the spread of 3rd party insurance from 1950 – 1990 may explain about 50% of the increase in real per capita spending over that time period. https://economics.mit.edu/files/788

 

 

“As Bernie Sanders tweeted last year, the cost of education, in nominal dollars, has increased by roughly 3,800 percent since the mid 1960s.

What Sanders didn’t mention was that this was when the US Higher Education Act was passed (1965), which directed taxpayer dollars to low-interest loans for students pursuing college. This increased accessibility to higher education, but the flood of federal money also caused a surge in demand and costs.

The problem isn’t unsolvable, but it will require significant changes to universities and the federal loan program. “Free” tuition and student debt forgiveness will only make the problem worse.

Instead, as University of Maryland economist Peter Morici recently argued, market discipline must be brought back to our institutions of higher learning as part of any debt forgiveness.

While policy wonks offer no shortage of proposals for tweaking the federal loan program to improve it, perhaps the best solution would be to get the federal government out of the loan business all together.”

https://fee.org/articles/5-charts-that-explain-the-student-debt-crisis/