Quote of the Day

F. A. Hayek

There are two very important fields of services for which governments have so long claimed a monopoly (or prerogative) that this has come to be regarded as a necessary and natural attribute of government, although these monopolies neither have been introduced for nor have redounded to, the benefit of the public; the exclusive right of issuing money and of providing postal services. They were not established in order that people should be served better, but solely to enhance the powers of government; and as a result the public is not only much worse served than it would otherwise be, but, at least in the case of money, exposed to hazards and risks in their ordinary efforts of gaining a living which are inseparable from a political control of money and which they would soon have discovered a way of preventing if they had only been allowed to.

So far as the postal monopoly … is concerned, all that need be said is that it owes its existence solely to, and has no other justification than, the government’s desire to control communication between citizens.

To understand [the problem of proper monetary arrangements] what is involved here requires freeing oneself of deeply ingrained habits, and a rethinking of much monetary theory. If the abolition of the government monopoly led to a general use of several competing currencies, that would itself be an improvement on a governmental monetary monopoly which without exception has been abused in order to defraud and deceive the citizens; but its main purpose would be to impose a very necessary discipline upon the governmental issue of currency through the threat of its being displaced by a more reliable one. In that case the ordinary citizen would still be able in his daily transactions to use the kind of money with which he is now familiar but one which he could at last trust. Government would then be deprived not only of one of the main means of damaging the economy and of subjecting individuals to restrictions of their freedom but also of one of the chief causes of its constant expansion.

—Friedrich A. Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 3

House Passes Barney Frank’s Financial Industry Command and Control Bill; Liberal Fascism?

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On Saturday the House passed The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009. The vote was 223-202 with all Republicans and 27 Democrats voting no. Title I of the Bill is The Financial Stability Improvement Bill of 2009 which I commented on here and which Charles Rowley says will cause a meltdown of the Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities market.

Other parts of the Bill will allow the government to break up or shut down any Wall Street firm that is deemed to be a threat to the well being of the economy.

I’d call this socialism but I think it’s something worse. It’s more like fascism because it’s private firms being controlled and run by a domineering government that controls all commercial and industrial firms with an iron hand. So, that’s what we get when Democrats control the entire government? Liberal Fascism? Who knew?

Jonah Goldberg knew.

Obamaville

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Sign at a homeless camp near Colorado Springs. The “Hoovervilles” that were endemic during the Great Depression cast Herbert Hoover as a villain to an entire generation. He didn’t deserve it but that hardly mattered. In politics, it’s perception that matters.

This sign, which quite obviously was professionally done, was taken down after a while.

More at Newsbusters, including video.

There was a tent city near Sacramento last March that was dubbed “Obamaville” and the sycophant media had a cow. YouTube took the video down and the signs were quickly destroyed.

Stay tuned.

The Great Paul Rahe

Everyone should go to the Powerlineblog and read this post by the inestimable Professor Paul Rahe of Hillsdale College[pursuing truth, defending liberty]:

Obama’s Gestures, Part 6

I want people to read my blog so why am I sending you to another Blog? Well, because Paul Rahe writes to them and not to me, I guess. Besides, if I consistently send you to the really good stuff maybe you’ll keep coming back here.

I’m in the middle of reading Rahe’s Soft Despostism, Democracy’s Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville and the Modern Prospect.

Highly recommended.

The Profit Motive Versus The Political Motive

This post by Donald Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek highlights an issue that has always intrigued and puzzled me. Why are some people so distrustful of businesses that operate for profit and trustful of politicians and bureaucrats who operate with a political motive?

Some of the people I’m talking about will claim to distrust government in the abstract but on specific matters it is easy to see that it is not really the case. The letter to the editor that Professor Boudreaux is reacting to is here.

The writer is obviously well versed in crafting good prose and telling a story. The opening sentence is, “I’m scheduled to begin dying on February 1, 2010.” The newspaper that printed his letter, The St. Petersburg Times, gave it the heading, “Matter Of Life, Death.” You expect to read about a man who has been given only weeks to live.

But as you read on you discover that this letter written by a man with a gift for getting your attention is not talking about life and death at all. It’s just about money. Other people’s money, that is. You see, this man has type I diabetes and his health insurance runs out on February 1st next year. After that date he’ll have to start paying for his own insulin, test strips, insulin pump replacements, and other incidentals. After that date he won’t be having those things paid for by others.

The costs are not insignificant. Based upon his description of his condition and his monthly needs for medical devices and drugs he might have annual expenses to treat his condition of $10,000 to $15,000 a year. That is certainly nothing to sneeze at and many people would have a hard time affording it. But it wouldn’t be impossible nor does it cost more than a lot of other things that we pay for without any expectation of getting somebody else to pay it for us.

Since the letter writer is a retired reporter from the Miami Herald and is now a free lance writer, we might assume that he is not broke. We might also assume that he drives a nice car, lives in a nice home, and has a retirement nest egg. Why does he think he is going to die if he can’t get someone else to pay for his diabetic medicine? He no doubt has many things in his life that cost more and he knows he won’t get anyone else to pay for those things.

But health care is different you say. No one should have to pay for their own health care. Huh?

If the letter writer thinks he will be better off with Obamacare, I think he will be in for a nasty surprise. All one need do is look at Medicare to see what the future would hold there. The political motive of bureaucrats is not likely to look upon Mr. Letter writer with all the benevolence that he thinks he deserves. He could take a look at this for a glimpse of what the political motive has accomplished in one place at one time in the past.

At least the profit motive gives a business an incentive to want to please its customers.

In Praise Of George Foreman Grill


I saw this grill at Costco and almost bought it until I realized I don’t know where I’d put it in our already over-crowded kitchen. Now I’m having second thoughts after reading this which refers to the one pictured below that sells for under $20, not the one in the above picture which is about $100.

George Foreman grills seem to be getting high praise from several sources. Instapundit says it makes great panini. That’s enough to make me want it. I was in Italy a few years ago and came back craving panini which I’ve never been able to do successfully at home.

I already know I like George Foremen a lot, and it looks as though I’d like his grill too. George has cookbooks and other accessories that you can get to go with it. He’s a marketing genius, as well as a great boxer.

Warning: Husbands should realize that anything that plugs into the wall is not a suitable Christmas gift for the missus, unless you like sleeping in the doghouse. A gift from mother to daughter at college is entirely different. But I assume you already know all that. Right?

I talk about stuff on this page if I like it. I don’t get paid anything. Dammit.

Rasmussen On Colorado

Rasmussen reports that former Lieutenant governor Jane Norton is the Republican with the strongest lead over Democrat Michael Bennett to be Colorado’s next Senator.

Meanwhile, Governor Ritter, who is running for re-election next year, has an approval index of −13. Only 18% strongly approve of Ritter while 31% strongly disapprove. This is actually somewhat of an improvement over his rating in September when Rasmussen reported that those who strongly disapproved outnumbered those who strongly approved by nearly three to one.

The election is a year away and these polls are only a snap shot in time, but over enough time trends might be seen.