Discussing Healthcare and Rights

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I used this meme back last year in a post on whether people have a right to healthcare or not. Of course, I argued that people did not, as it does not naturally exist, and is the produc of other people’s labor. Still, many think they’re entitled to it, and for free as well. Recently, I responded to a few comments on this, and I will go ahead and post those below.

The first set are the criticisms that the Rand Paul argument received:

#1 – officermilky

Call me naive, but wouldn’t he be paid through taxes? He wouldn’t be working for free. The argument to that, of course, would be “robbing peter to pay paul” but healthcare would be taxes that, you know, a society would all agree to go in on because they democratically believe it’s the right thing to do?

I’m not even saying that’s a perfect solution to everything, but the Rand caption seems faulty.

#2 – ramblingferret

Yes just like in Canada and Europe we round up doctors and force them to work against there will. Like my poor shrink who works 8-5 with Wednesdays off.

#3 – sweertomato

And now, here is how I responded to each one of them:

@officermilky He would be paid under a market wage that he would have regularly earned, due to government price setting (both on goods and wages). Your main mistake is that you will not have all of society agreeing to this universal healthcare plan. You would only need 50% +1 to make this happen, and that doesn’t sound in any way like it “society would all agree to go in” with this, as you say. THAT WOULD BE THE CASE.

@ramblingferret You mention Canada’s system, and I’d be a bit careful with that. They tried to first off ban private insurance, which was ruled unconstitutional. Canadian healthcare wait times are far longer than American wait times.

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In addition to this, Canada’s system is lagging in adopting to new technology and practices to improve the quality and speed of care. And I’d be even more careful to use Canada’s system, since it’s projected to eat up 97% of government revenues over time. If that’s something America should copy, I’d be skeptical. And if you still don’t believe I should be skeptical, I would ask the 40,000+ Canadians who sought medical treatment outside Canada due to these problems, and more.

@sweer-tomato You mention that it would be free. About that…

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And if that is the route you wish to take (in saying that universal healthcare is free), then this also applies:

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Weird how neither me nor Rand actually said the “ and saying oh “Survival of the fittest” if you get seriously ill / injured you deserve to die is the most barbaric and jackass thing you can say.” I honestly wonder where this even comes from, but I don’t think I care.

Now, under the current ACA, quality of care has gone down, and prices have gone up (especially when you’re not subsidised, like regular people with their own healthcare or through their business). Under the universal system, the costs become simply unseen by the everyday taxpayer, but is still felt on April 15, and don’t think for a second this is going to be in any way cheap, especially for people who are poor or have pre-existing conditions. Not when the plan require a bunch of crap that a) shouldnt be part of health insurance, and b) is mandated by government fiat.

And let’s chat about government mandated bull. I’ve yet to hear someone explain logically how the government can require health insurers to cover something, and the health insurers won’t raise their prices. The health insurers know they can simply jack up their prices all they want, because it’s now mandated that “x” service be covered. You wanna know why healthcare costs keep going up? It ain’t corporate greed that is the main problem. I’ll tell you that.

And let’s talk about 2016. If you’d like to see more poor people, go ahead, enact your universal healhcare system. Bernie’s plan sure ain’t cheap, since you’d have to come up with $3.2 trillion in new tax revenue per year (equalling $32 trillion in total, more than his original projections were) over the next decade to pay for just the healthcare costs. Since the Sander’s plan already boasts of tax hikes on the wealthy (aka the one’s who currently pay the majority of taxes), where is the rest of the money coming from? Hint hint, he will HAVE look lower. But don’t worry, you might be audited by the IRS after not paying taxes because you can’t afford them, but you’ll have healthcare still… that is, as long as they haven’t cut you off.

It’s 2016: let people actually keep their money for a change and get the damn government out of healthcare, so people can afford it and not go broke should something bad happen.


All in all, I haven’t done a good rebuttal like this in a while, and I probably could have done tons better, but this still came out good, and still hasn’t been rebutted by any of these three posters. I’m not expecting it to, but hey, we shall see.

Thoughts on Trump & Bastiat’s “The Law”

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I have issues with Donald Trump: I’ve made this quite clear if you’ve even read a single post here (at least, that doesn’t pertain to Bernie Sanders). I’ve made it quite clear that I do not like the Donald due to his stances on privacy and the 4th Amendment, with his support for the Patriot Act and warrantless NSA Spying, and his reckless stance on Defense spending.

But what does it matter? I’m just a dumb liberal college kid who has no idea what he’s talking about, or, at least, that’s what the Trumpites will think of me, since I’m not at Donald Trump’s feet, bowing to the God figure. No, I don’t pray to that fake god, for I am a Christian, and he is not.

So what keeps me from supporting him? A lot. But what is at the root of it all? I’m reading Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law”, and if you have not read this little, short book (or long essay, either way), then I highly recommend it. You can find it online in PDF form (for free) here, and on YouTube as an audiobook.

Continue reading

My Thoughts On Bernie Sanders: Income And Wealth Inequality

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Bernie Sanders is the Independent (let’s be real, Democrat) Senator from Vermont. Many of his loyal supporters have nothing but praise for him, treating him like an all-mighty god, though in reality, he needs to be brought back down to Earth.

This post is going to be a refutation of his positions, and why going with them would be a bad idea. It’s quite lengthy, but it is numbered, with the subject of each section bolded for convenience if you wish to only read a specific one or few. Enjoy!


 

Sanders top issue listed on his site is income and wealth inequality. Here’s what I found in the issue section “Income & Wealth Inequality“.

I want to go into that part by part, largely because I know a lot of this (if not all of it) is a complete load of bull.

#1 Taxing The Corporations/Rich

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Demanding that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes. As president, Sen. Sanders will stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. He will create a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. Hfe will also enact a tax on Wall Street speculators who caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, and life savings.

The first thing that is mentioned is making those greedy corporations pay their “fair share” (whatever that means). How you define that term makes a huge difference. If you’re a person like Sanders, you’re going to say that a higher Corporate Income Tax rate is fairer. If you’re someone like me, you’re going to say that raising the Corporate Income Tax won’t effect the corporation, as they include those in their costs of business, and will pass those increased costs to the consumer, in the form of higher prices.

A higher Corporate Income Tax isn’t going to be taken lightly by businesses, in case Sander’s hasn’t noticed. We all remember how Burger King moved it’s corporate headquarters to Canada to escape the high Corporate Income Tax rate America has. They had two choices: either pass costs to their consumers, or find a different location. Corporate Inversion, aka when corporations move to countries with lower tax rates, is a big problem these days, and it’d be wise to heed this warning. Want to drive business out of the country? Jack up the CIT rate.

Further more, he supports an Estate Tax (again, more taxes). To start, such a tax is immoral, but we can see that Sanders has a lack of belief in property rights, in being that he doesn’t believe that the money some people earn should belong to them. And as for those Wall Street Bankers, if Bernie really cared, he’d free the market, and actually support Auditing and Ending the Federal Reserve, but we know he doesn’t support that, so there really is no actual way to “stick it to those evil bankers”, provided he doesn’t outright nationalize the banks. When he gutted Audit the Fed in 2010, Ron Paul had this to say:

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Thursday that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) “sold out” on a measure to audit the Federal Reserve.

Sanders agreed to modify the measure in a way that requires audits of the Fed during the financial crisis but not of the bank’s monetary policy.

On his Facebook page, Paul lashed out at Sanders. Paul is a longtime critic of the Fed, and pushed audit legislation in the House that drew more than 300 cosponsors.

“Bernie Sanders has sold out and sided with [Sen.] Chris Dodd to gut Audit the Fed in the Senate. His ‘compromise’ is what the administration and banking interests want,” Paul wrote on Facebook.

#2. Minimum Wage

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Increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020. In the year 2015, no one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.

Raising the costs of doing business hurts people, both consumers and employer/employees. I can’t be any more plainly spoken as that. The minimum wage, while having good intentions, is ultimately a bad idea, and only screwing people out of jobs. This isn’t that hard. Fight For 15 should just rename themselves Fight For More Unemployment & Poverty.

#3. Infrastructure

Putting at least 13 million Americans to work by investing $1 trillion over five years rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants, and other infrastructure needs.

While on the surface, that might sound somewhat nice, in reality, there’s a few things Bernie leaves out. The first is that we spending many tens of billions of dollars on infrastructure on the Federal level already. In 2013, for instance, the Federal Government allocated $76 Billion to infrastructure, and that’s not including what’s going on at the State level. Clearly, there is money there to actually do stuff, but it really doesn’t show.

State spending on infrastructure is different, since they hold the burden for doing more, like local and state highways, as well as regular roads. Both the Federal & State levels are mired in inefficiency and corruption. Take South Carolina for instance. State Sen. Tom Davis (R) took up opposition to State Republican legislators raising the State Gas Tax to pay for road work projects. He said the following in an article he wrote:

Yes, our roads and bridges are in bad condition, but that’s because spending decisions are made by a politically motivated and legislatively controlled state agency. (More on that below.)

Even if one concedes more money is needed, however, that does not mean higher taxes are necessary.

Existing revenues are sufficient if we have the political will to spend them wisely.

For example, the Senate recently passed a budget appropriating an additional $69 million for roads and bridges. In addition, that budget includes a supplemental section (which appropriates tax revenue anticipated but not yet certified) providing an additional estimated $100 million.

In the remaining weeks of this year’s session, instead of debating massive gas-tax hikes, the legislature should focus on structural reforms to the S.C. Department of Transportation, the state agency that makes the expenditure decisions.

Capital outlays by the SCDOT for new transportation projects in recent years have been more than triple the amount spent on repairs and maintenance, and that’s a direct consequence of the SCDOT commissioners being elected by lawmakers.

There’s a reason South Carolina has the fourth-largest state highway system in the nation; no politician ever held a ribbon-cutting for a pothole-filling initiative.

Better still, abolish the commission and have expenditure decisions made by a Cabinet-level Secretary of Transportation, appointed by and directly accountable to the governor. That way, the voters can hold an official elected statewide directly accountable for the wise or unwise spending of their money.

There is great inefficiency in government handling of the roads, and why wouldn’t there be? This is government. Government has no incentive to spend money wisely and to be fiscally responsible.

Bernie wants a huge make-work program to put millions of people to work, but that’s not how that’s going to be. Make-work programs, and that’s what this is, don’t work. According to the CATO Institute, using data from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), they write the following:

More important than the complexity, there is little evidence that federal employment and training programs actually work very well. The GAO report concluded that “little is known about the effectiveness of employment and training programs we identified.”17 Only 5 of the 47 programs the GAO examined had done detailed impact studies. The GAO found that “the five impact studies generally found that the effects of participation were not consistent across programs, with only some demonstrating positive impacts that tended to be small, inconclusive, or restricted to short-term impacts.”
#4. Trade Deals

Reversing trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs. If corporate America wants us to buy their products they need to manufacture those products in this country, not in China or other low-wage countries.

Unfortunately, Bernie one again lacks knowledge of how economics works, and rather opts to appeal to your emotions. While NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR should all be repealed, as they are entangling trade deals that are highly complex and based off of corruption most likely, the free market is what needs to be put in place, and the monetary system needs to be changed back to the Gold Standard. I say this because, while NAFTA seems to have done well, these large deals always have things hidden within them, like the TPP. True free trade does not require an agreement between countries with complex jargon. It merely requires honesty between two countries willing to cooperate.

The second thing I mentioned was the monetary system. Currently, I’m reading Ron Paul’s Audit The Fed, which talks a lot about monetary policy, and how bad it truly is today. The Federal Reserve and the Government have cooperated together in the printing and devaluing of our currency, and this effects everyone, in the form of inflation, higher prices, and the money in your  wallet or purse being worth less. From the time that the Fed was created, the dollar has lost almost 100% of it’s value, sitting at about a mear $0.05 worth it’s original value.

purchasing-power-of-the-us-dollar-1913-to-2013#5. Youth Employment

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Creating 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans by investing $5.5 billion in a youth jobs program. Today, the youth unemployment rate is off the charts. We have got to end this tragedy by making sure teenagers and young adults have the jobs they need to move up the economic ladder.

See #2 and the bottom of #3 as to why he isn’t going to achieve this.

#6. Equal Pay 4 Equal Work

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Fighting for pay equity by signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law. It is an outrage that women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.

We’re still trumpeting this around? This is somehow still believable? Really? Alright, below are a few Pastebin’s full of refutations to this stupid argument that is completely false:

Pastebin #1 (Older)

Pastebin #2 (Newer)

Again, an appeal to emotion and economic illiteracy and plain ignorance here. I have just given you probably 100-200+ links calling bs on his claims. The bill he’s proposing is completely unnecessary, and is only going to hurt women, not help them.

#7. Free College

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Making tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout America. Everyone in this country who studies hard should be able to go to college regardless of income.

This will not work. Even if you cut military spending to do it, as I believe he has proposed, it still would not work. As Running Republican, a REALLY good free-market, freedom blogger points out:

So for people that didn’t see the post. Someone was using, Obama’s plan for to provide some low income students who keep a GPA over 2.5 and subsidize two years at community college, then they took the cost of this plan, which is $80 billion over 10 years and falsely conflated that cost with the cost of paying for higher education for all Americans, which is vastly different than paying for two years of community college for some Americans.

The real cost to have taxes pay for higher education for all Americans, something Bernie Sanders supports is much higher than $80 billion.

As it is, total student debt in this country is $1.2 trillion dollars with most of that debt held by the government. So already we don’t have taxpayer funded yet our government has shelled out half a trillion dollars to subsidize higher education. Could you imagine how much this would increase if every student in America went to college and didn’t have to pay that money back? It sounds great if you’re my age, 21 and swamped in student debt already. The issue is, you’re going to be paying for college even if you didn’t go or, like me, went to a private university that receives no government funding.

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The real solution is not to tax more and spend more. It is because we have been subsidizing college so highly that it has increased in cost. Essentially, because we artificially increasing the supply of students to universities, they must raise costs to meet the increased demand for higher education.

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#8. Social Security

Expanding Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000. At a time when the senior poverty rate is going up, we have got to make sure that every American can retire with dignity and respect.

Psst. The cap on taxable income for SS was put on because they’re not paying for Social Security and receiving it. Social Security was set up to be that you have money put away for retirement, but it’s been raided by Congress for many years, going back to the Clinton Administration. It’s supposed to be entirely self-funded by the tax payers and off limits to Congress, but in 2011, that’s not how things seemed. Merrill Matthews, a contributor at Forbes writes:

President Obama’s budget director, Jack Lew, explained all this last February in USA Today:

“Social Security benefits are entirely self-financing.  They are paid for with payroll taxes collected from workers and their employers throughout their careers.  These taxes are placed in a trust fund dedicated to paying benefits owed to current and future beneficiaries. … Even though Social Security began collecting less in taxes than it paid in benefits in 2010, the trust fund will continue to accrue interest and grow until 2025, and will have adequate resources to pay full benefits for the next 26 years.”

Notice that Lew said nothing about raising the debt ceiling, which was already looming, and it shouldn’t matter anyway because Social Security is “entirely self-financing” and off budget.   What could be clearer?

A Press-Release from FreedomWorks from back in 2000 helps to prove the allegations against Clinton. In it, it say’s the following:

Clinton’s lock-box plan is nothing more than a scheme to use more than $3 trillion in Social Security surpluses to buy down federal debt. In exchange, the Social Security trust fund gets another $3 trillion worth of IOUs. To be sure, most Americans would rather pay down the debt than use Social Security’s surpluses to fund pork barrel projects. But make no mistake, once that money is spent – to buy down debt or fund new programs – it will not be there to cover Social Security’s long-term liabilities.

And those liabilities are enormous. As most Americans are becoming aware, in 2014 Social Security will begin spending more on benefits than it collects in payroll taxes. Ten years later, its annual deficits will reach $370 billion, and by 2034, when today’s 33-year olds begin to retire, the program will be mired in $800 billion deficits. Over the next 75 years, those deficits total $122 trillion, or $19 trillion after adjusting for inflation.

To recap: No, social security isn’t doing to well, and just raising a cap isn’t going to save it. If you wanted people to save for retirement, perhaps make Social Security voluntary. After all, it is completely funded by the taxpayers, and isn’t in ANY trouble.

#10. Free Healthcare

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Guaranteeing healthcare as a right of citizenship by enacting a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system. It’s time for the U.S. to join every major industrialized country on earth and provide universal healthcare to all.

I’ve already done a post on healthcare not being a right. Just because “every” other industrialized country on earth has a universal healthcare system doesn’t mean we should be like them. I see headlines about the British and their National Healthcare System (NHS) with many problems. Here’s Scott Atlas over at Forbes:

Waits for care are shocking in the NHS, frequently exposed by British media reports, and long proven by facts, yet they go virtually unreported in the U.S. For instance, in 2010, about one-third of England’s NHS patients deemed ill enough by their GP waited more than one additional month for a specialist appointment. In 2008-2009, the average wait for CABG (coronary artery bypass) in the UK was 57 days. And the impact of this delayed access was obvious. For example, twice as many bypass procedures and four times as many angioplasties are performed in patients needing surgery for heart disease per capita in the U.S. as in the UK. Another study showed that more UK residents die (per capita) than Americans from heart attack despite the far higher burden of risk factors in Americans for these fatal events. In fact, the heart disease mortality rate in England was 36 percent higher than that in the U.S.

Access to medical care is so poor in the NHS that the government was compelled to issue England’s 2010 “NHS Constitution” in which it was declared that no patient should wait beyond 18 weeks for treatment – four months – after GP referral. Defined as acceptable by bureaucrats who set them, such targets propagate the illusion of meeting quality standards despite seriously endangering their citizens, all of whom share an equally poor access to health care. Even given this extraordinarily long leash, the number of patients not being treated within that time soared by 43% to almost 30,000 last January. BBC subsequently discovered that many patients initially assessed as needing surgery were later re-categorized by the hospital so that they could be removed from waiting lists to distort the already unconscionable delays. Royal College of Surgeons President Norman Williams, calling this “outrageous,” charged that hospitals are cutting their waiting lists by artificially raising thresholds.

In addition to this, the BBC reported back in March 2015 that problems within the NHS were at their highest since the 1990’s. They reported on the findings of a think tank. Here is what they found:

  • Waiting time targets for A&E, hospital treatment and cancer care all being missed towards the end of the parliament.
  • Bed occupancy increasing to “very high levels”, while delays in discharging patients have “risen significantly”.
  • Funding being increased by 0.8% a year on average – higher than was predicted mainly because of the low levels of inflation.
  • Hospital infections, such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, dropping to historically-low levels.
  • Public satisfaction levels reaching their second highest levels ever.
  • The number of doctors and nurses increasing, while management costs had been “significantly reduced”.
  • Levels of deficits increasing though as the NHS struggles to keep up with demand.

Maybe the United Kingdom isn’t the great example Bernie Sanders was looking for? How about Canada? Let’s try them. I think they have a better system. Here’s an article from CBC News from 2014:

Canadians wait longer in hospital emergency departments than people in other countries with publicly funded health-care systems, according to a new report.

The Wait Times Alliance’s annual report card, called “Time to close the gap,” said 27 per cent of Canadians reported waiting more than four hours in the emergency department compared with one per cent in the Netherlands and five per cent in the United Kingdom.

Nevermind. But you know what, at least Medicaid is not working better than Private Insurance!:

Abstract: Academic literature has consistently illustrated that Medicaid patients—adults and children—have inferior access to health care, and notably poorer health outcomes, than privately insured patients. Due to the program’s low reimbursement rates, more and more doctors are refusing to even accept Medicaid. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Medicaid patients to find access to primary and specialty care physicians. When Medicaid patients are admitted to hospitals, they are often admitted with more serious conditions than those with private insurance. By further expanding this broken program, Obamacare will only exacerbate the situation, continuing to harm many low-income Americans who have no option other than Medicaid. Policymakers should reform Medicaid to allow Medicaid patients access to private insurance in a consumer-driven market.

Established as a fundamental component of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, Medicaid is a jointly funded federal and state program that pays for health care for low-income individuals. The academic literature has consistently illustrated that Medicaid patients have poorer access to care, and poorer health outcomes, than privately insured patients. By further expanding this broken program, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – only exacerbates the situation. Policymakers should reform Medicaid to provide consumers with greater access to private insurance in a consumer-driven market.

Medicaid typically pays physicians 56 percent of the amount that private insurers pay.[1] Given these low reimbursement rates, more and more doctors are refusing to accept Medicaid.[2] As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Medicaid patients to find primary care doctors and specialists. When Medicaid patients are admitted to hospitals, they are often admitted with more serious conditions, and in some cases, with a higher level of co-morbidity, than privately insured patients. The peer-reviewed academic literature clearly illustrates Medicaid’s problems for children as well as for adults.

Sorry Bernie, but government is inefficient, and when it comes to caring for human lives, government is not the solution at all. Needless to say, I’m not going to say the current system is good either. It’s riddled in corruption and and outright idiocy, but government control won’t make things any better.

#11. Paid Leave

Requiring employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and 7 days of paid sick days. Real family values are about making sure that parents have the time they need to bond with their babies and take care of their children and relatives when they get ill.

This movement has been growing for a long time now. However, there are some things that Bernie leaves out.

The first is that the US already has unpaid leave covered under the Family & Medical Leave Act:

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:

Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or

Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

But that’s not what they and Bernie want. They want paid leave. They want employee’s who are off from work to be paid… for not working? Simple economics doesn’t understand how people can come to this, and before you even start with “But the White House has explained the economics!“, remember, the White House use the same mainstream economists who didn’t see a bubble in the markets, didn’t realize the economy was going to go down, and still believe the minimum wage can be raised and actually help people. Do you expect them to not have created that out of a political agenda, and not rational economic thought?

Robert P. Murphy is an economist at the Mises Institute, a great place to learn about economics. He wrote on the subject recently back in June, and said the following:

Leaving aside philosophical and ethical considerations, let’s consider basic economics and the consequences of pregnancy- and illness-leave legislation. It is undeniable that providing even unpaid, let alone paid, leave is a constraint on employers. Other things equal, an employer does not want an employee to suddenly not show up for work for months at a time, and then expect to come back as if nothing had happened. The employer has to scramble to deal with the absence in the meantime, and furthermore doesn’t want to pour too much training into a temporary employee because the original one is legally guaranteed her (or his) old job. If the employer also has to pay out thousands of dollars to an employee who is not showing up for work, it is obviously an extra burden.

As always with such topics, the easiest way to see the trade-off is to exaggerate the proposed measure. Suppose instead of merely guaranteeing a few months of paid maternity leave, instead the state enforced a rule that said, “Any female employee who becomes pregnant can take off up to 15 years, earning half of her salary, in order to deliver and homeschool the new child.” If that were the rule, then young female employees would be ticking time bombs, and potential employers would come up with all sorts of tricks to deny hiring them or to pay them very low salaries compared to their ostensible on-the-job productivity.

Now, just because guaranteed leave, whether paid or unpaid, is an expensive constraint for employers, that doesn’t mean such policies (in moderation) are necessarily bad business practices, so long as they are adopted voluntarily. To repeat, it is entirely possible that in a genuinely free market economy, many employers would voluntarily provide such policies in order to attract the most productive workers. After all, employers allow their employees to take bathroom breaks, eat lunch, and go on vacation, even though the employees aren’t generating revenue for the firm when doing so.

Need a more down to Earth, or a female perspective? I have you covered. Here is Abigail Hall, an economist at the Independent Institute, writing at The Daily Caller:

This issue hits home for me. As a woman who plans to have children, I can appreciate the desire to spend time at home with a new little one without worrying about going broke. But I am also an economist, and economics tells us why mandated paid maternity leave is a bad idea for women and everyone else. While proponents genuinely intend to help women, their suggestion would do more harm than good.

What people forget is that paid maternity leave is not free. It is costly to employers. Even if a woman does not get paid during her time off, her employer loses her labor services, holds her position open until she returns, and may have to pay overtime wages to cover her lost work hours. Mandating paid maternity leave would only increase these costs by the amount of a woman’s wages.

Firms cannot ignore these costs. If any employee fails to generate more revenues than expenses, that employee is not a good investment. This is particularly important when considering mandated paid leave because it would raise the cost of employing all women of childbearing age. If an employer that believes a female applicant will cost him thousands of dollars down the line in maternity leave, she may no longer be a good investment.

Obviously, this will make it more difficult for young women to find jobs, and some will be forced out of the labor market. Women who do find jobs will be offered lower pay because their employers will reasonably believe they are likely to cost more in the future.

So younger women will face discrimination — understandably so, as they’re more expensive than men or women past child-bearing age. If a male and female are equally productive, but employing the woman will cost $15 per hour over the term of her employment because of likely maternity leave, while the man will cost only $10 per hour, it makes sense to hire the man! It’s not that the employer is a misogynist or unfriendly to families. It’s just basic economics.

#12. Free Childcare

Enacting a universal childcare and prekindergarten program. Every psychologist understands that the most formative years for a human being is from the ages 0-4. We have got to make sure every family in America has the opportunity to send their kids to a high quality childcare and pre-K program.

“Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.” – Vladimir Lenin

What a great quote from Lenin. I’ve already done a post on why our education system sucks in general, but this is different. You know, most people have given their children, whether by choice or by force, to government schools all around the country. How has that turned out? Not good at all.

A report from State Budget Solutions compared state spending on education to test scores back in 2012. The results? Not pretty.

John Stossel, a Fox Business anchor for Stossel, wrote the following over at Fox News back in 2014, and since the school year for most has either just began, or beginning soon, I find it still relevant:

Another school year begins and now more students

face something called Common Core, the latest in a history of education “reforms.”

Lately, every administration has come up with one. They have inspiring names like Race to the Top (Obama), “No Child Left Behind” (G.W. Bush), “Goals 2000” (Clinton), “America 2000” (G.H.W. Bush) and the “National Commission on Excellence in Education” (Reagan). Who could oppose “competition for excellence” or a plan to stop “leaving children behind”?

But it’s money down the drain, because central planning fails.

Since 1970, America’s education spending per student has more than doubled and the average class size has been cut by 70 percent, yet test results haven’t improved one bit. The only thing that’s gone up is the number of reforms.

costofeducation_0 So, knowing this information about how public schools are failing kids on a daily basis, what reasonable person would think that letting the state take care of infants is a good thing? If the state already does a terrible job with kids today, why should adults trust their infants, who are only just a few years old, or even months old, with the state to take care of them?

“Oh, what about people who have to work?” There are private institutions that can take care of kids. Child care isn’t existent, but it’s not something that should be thrown onto the already burdened taxpayer. If a set of parents want to pay for child care for their young infant, fine. More power to them. I’d rather they find a place that THEY like, and can choose, rather than some centrally planned child care service which’ll be protected from real market forces that indicate signals in an industry, and teach kids from the youngest days of their lives how “great” the state is.

#13. Unions

Making it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act. One of the most significant reasons for the 40-year decline in the middle class is that the rights of workers to collectively bargain for better wages and benefits have been severely undermined.

Employee Free Choice Act? Sounds like a national version of a right-to-work law from the title, but in reality, it’s not.

Now, why does Bernie care about the falling unionization rates? First off, he’s right when it comes to the percentage of workers who belong, or are forced to be part of unions. Union rates, for example, went from 23.8% of the workforce in Utah to only 3.7%. In Michigan, they went from almost 45% to 14.7%. NPR has a chart showing the changes over the past 40 years.

But are unions good for an industry these days? That depends. Public Sector unions make up just more than 35% of the public sector workforce. The current data available and the chart below are not at all different, even though 4 years apart. 20110108_fbc859To be more specific, let’s choose one area. Police unions afford their members benefits such as not being fired for misconduct or police brutality, a waiting period before making statements on major event, such as the Ferguson shooting, effectively shielding them from any proper punishments that would be seen almost anywhere else in the market. If a regular, non-unionized worker were to royally mess up, they’d be fired, because they’d represent a liability to the employer for future possible incidents. Unionized members are shielded.

Take teachers unions. You’ve probably heard plenty of things about teachers unions fighting to get more benefits, salary increases, and so on. Not only have unions defeated efforts to reform education policy, such as allowing Charter Schools and Private Schools. Unions have constantly demanded better benefits, and protested the closing of schools in cities where they’re under-utilized, and not effective. They have practically made it impossible for teachers to be fired if they do something bad, or are not good at their job, resulting in bad education rates.

The reason why they’re paid more and have more benefits than people in the private sector? They have the taxpayer paying their salaries, and union contracts usually are bloated with much more than anyone watould see in the private sector. When school districts come under constraints, and are running deficits, teacher union contracts ensure that there are no changes to come under fiscal sanity, and force cuts to made elsewhere, or taxes to be raised on property owners, which for big cities, is only driving people out, and making it impossible for people to come in.

For more reading on union, see this article by John Stossel.

#14. To Big To Fail

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Breaking up huge financial institutions so that they are no longer too big to fail. Seven years ago, the taxpayers of this country bailed out Wall Street because they were too big to fail. Yet, 3 out of the 4 largest financial institutions are 80 percent bigger today than before we bailed them out. Sen. Sanders has introduced legislation to break these banks up. As president, he will fight to sign this legislation into law.

Do you wish to know why corporations and banks are so big today? Because market forces are being blocked that would have kept them in check. When it comes to banks, the government has kept the profits private, but the losses have been socialized. When AIG was in deep financial trouble, the government stepped in with bailout money. These corporations could not have gotten the way they are unless the government stepped in to shield them.

Banks are loose on their reserves, under the fractional reserve system. They are not required to have on hand the amount that they hold from their depositors cash. They have a small percentage, and any run on the banks would possibly break them. More scrutiny on the Federal Reserve, limitations on it’s money creation powers, or even shutting it down and returning the power of regulating the currency back to the Treasury would tighten the belts of corporations and banks, forcing them to be accountable to their shareholders and members, and not out of control as they are today.

Unfortunately, Sanders is no fan of this idea. He is okay with a devalued, inflated money supply that is driving up prices on goods and services. He is okay with the Federal Reserve printing money out of thin air, and if he weren’t, he would’ve been for a Fed Audit that Ron, or even Rand, Paul had proposed. He has been against those efforts. He does not want this to change. He only wishes to further the problem, and the busting he proposes to do will not help solve any problems.


I’m doing a series on Bernie Sanders, and all of those posts can be found at this link here, which will be updated every time I finish a new part of the series.

You can find that page here: [LINK]

 

Senate Passes TPA, GOP Expands President’s Powers

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In the 2014 elections, Republicans promised to put to President’s powers in check, and stop him from overstepping his bounds. Were in June of 2015, and this promise is completely dead already, and this vote yesterday proves it.

Yesterday, the Senate passed the Trade Promotion Authority bill that would limit Congressional say in the formation of treaties with other countries. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states:

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.

With that in mind, the Trade Promotion Authority bill should be seen as unconstitutional, but Congress doesn’t care about that. TPA has been billed as an easier way to put trade agreements through to passage, and with the TPA now going to be signed by the President, passage of trade deals is more likely than before. No longer will Congress have a say in what is in the treaty. That is an abdication of power on behalf of the Republicans and Democrats who voted in favor of this.

With that in mind, I’d like to remind you who the GOP Leadership is. You have John Boehner (R-OH), the Speaker of the House. This man belongs in a prison, in my opinion, but that’s just me. Boehner and his henchmen, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, pushed the TPA through the House, making it must pass legislation. Those who refused to vote for it, even to bring it up for a vote, were punished. Mark Meadows (R-NC) lost his subcommittee chairmanship of the Government Operations Subcommittee when Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a “conservative” and Boehner ally, stripped him of his title, for not voting for the TPA to come up for a vote. Chaffetz is reported as saying this:

This past weekend, in an interview with Politico, Chaffetz, using a sports reference, compared his action against Meadows to how a coach “needs to make a change on the field.”

Thankfully for him, he got his title back.

But it doesn’t stop there with those that have been punished by the Speaker and his core power group. The Daily Signal did a video on the 11 Congressman who have so far been punished under Boehner’s leadership:

Here is the list:

  1. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, removed from Budget Committee
  2. Rep. Rod Blum of Iowa, denied a spot on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s fundraising initiative for vulnerable House members
  3. Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, removed from the GOP whip team
  4. Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, removed from Budget and Agriculture Committees
  5. Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, removed from Financial Services Committee
  6. Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, removed from the GOP whip team
  7. Rep. Mark Meadows, lost his chairmanship of House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee
  8. Rep. Richard Nugent of Florida, removed from Rules Committee
  9. Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico, removed from the GOP whip team
  10. Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona, removed from Financial Services Committee
  11. Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida, removed from Rules Committee

But it’s not just the House leadership that stinks. The Senate side is bad as well. McConnell is very tight on his power there. McConnell’s insistance that the TPA be passed, and his actions on the PATRIOT ACT, and his opposition to the “fillibuster” led by Ted Cruz on Obamacare, and many other things like putting through the CROmnibus and not stopping Obama’s Executive Immigration actions.

McConnell complained that he couldn’t do anything with the DHS funding bill that would have put an end to the Executive Actions. Even Boehner called him out on it, to show just how bad of a leader he is. When a spineless hack calls you out, you know things are bad.

Simply put, the GOP DESPERATELY NEEDS NEW LEADERSHIP. It’s not something to mull over for a little bit, then forget. It needs to happen. The spineless people need to kicked out of office, and replaced with people who stand true to the Constitution, and want to reduce the size of government, and not those who will put it to use for their own good.

TPA Up For Vote In Senate Today

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A week ago, the House of Representatives passed the Trade Promotion Authority bill, by a margin of 218-208. It was another defeat for the House Freedom Caucus, which, while not officially coming out against, had most or all of it’s members vote against it. The bill moved onto the Senate, where it is likely to be voted on today.

The Senate has already gone ahead and moved the TPA bill forward towards a final vote, with a procedural vote taking place yesterday coming in at 60-37-3. It barely made it through. Here are the results:

It’s interesting to note that Senator Ted Cruz is now against TPA, while him and his followers have been defenders of TPA from the beginning of this debate in the past few weeks. Maybe Sessions finally got to his head? I don’t know. Cruz seems to be against the TPA, citing on his Facebook page the following:

“TPA in this Congress has become enmeshed in corrupt Washington backroom deal-making, along with serious concerns that it would open up the potential for sweeping changes in our laws that trade agreements typically do not include.

There’s too much corporate welfare, too much cronyism and corrupt dealmaking, by the Washington cartel. For too long, career politicians in both parties have supported government of the lobbyist, by the lobbyist, and for the lobbyist – at the expense of the taxpayers. It’s a time for truth. And a time to honor our commitments to the voters.”

His comments were also picked up in The Hill. These specifically point to him also wanting the Export-Import Bank re-authorization stopped. He is quoted:

“Enough is enough. I cannot vote for TPA unless McConnell and Boehner both commit publicly to allow the Ex-Im Bank to expire — and stay expired. And, Congress must also pass the Cruz-Sessions amendments to TPA to ensure that no trade agreement can try to back-door changes to our immigration laws,” Cruz said in an opinion piece for Breitbart News. “Otherwise, I will have no choice but to vote no.”

It’s nice to see you finally make it here Ted, and I’m glad you’re here, but it sure took you a long time. That, and it’s a bit hard to fully trust you again with how much you’ve been missing your job lately, and your supporters using liars like Orrin Hatch (RINO-UT) to go after who I’d call a good Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Your support base has a lot of nice people, but these Establishment-leaning streaks need to stop.

And as I look at the comment section, I’m still reminded that you were a proponent of TPA in the beginning, because you thought it was a good bill. How cute.

Enough of Ted Cruz. Rand was against it before Ted was, and that’s that. The Trade Promotion Authority bill is still a usurpation of a power Congress holds, no matter how much it may make passing a trade deal “easier”. The Founders probably had a good reason to leave negotiating a trade deal with the Congress, and not the Executive. I really with some Conservatives would ponder why they did.

The vote is expected to happen around 5:30pm tonight. You can view it live here from C-SPAN.

If you’d like a perspective from the left side of things, see this post over at The Huffington Post by Rep. Alan Grayson and a Constitutional Lawyer named Bruce Fein.

Final Passage Vote On TPA Happening Now

tpp-map1500The final vote on passage for Trade Promotion Authority is taking place now. To view it, click the link to watch the C-SPAN feed.

For reasons to oppose the Fast-Track legislation, or Trade Promotion Authority, see these posts linked below:

TPP Fast-Track Bill Moves To House Of Representatives: [Link]

Trade Promotion Authority & Why We Shouldn’t Do It: [Link]

Trade Promotion Authority & Why We Should Not Give It To Obama

Many conservatives, mostly Ted Cruz supporters in his campaign for President, will come to his defense on his vote to approve the TPA, or Trade Promotion Authority bill within the Senate, which will be up for vote in the House quite possibly today. They claim that this is for the better, that the Executive Branch should have this power. Should they hold this power? I argue that they shouldn’t. Here are some reasons why.

1. This bill will help the Obama Administration finish off the negotiations for the TPP.

This bill will help smooth the process for the Obama Administration to finish negotiations with other memebers of the possible Trans-Pacific Partnership member countries. This is a massive trade deal that is being sold under the guise of “free trade”. To say the least, it is not free trade. For more background on this, see other posts made to this blog.

2. We have to do it now!!!

Trade Promotion Authority is a six-year deal that would authorize the Executive Branch the power it needed to do negotiations with other nations on trade deals. While the ease may be there, just because it is easier, doesn’t mean it’s for the better. TPA would mean that Congress does not get to make any changes to the deal they would be voting on. They’d only get an up or down vote once it goes to them. Meaning, it’s either approved, or killed. It’s as simple as that. With a deal such as the TPP moving through, I would expect there to be some who would like to make amendments to it, and I could see why the GOP would want to do it, but unfortunately for them, this deal isn’t a good one, and just allowing an up or down vote on it, or other deals in the works like it, frankly, won’t be enough.

3. We need it to pass trade deals!!!

No, you don’t. Here is the CATO Institutes K. William Watson to explain:

Free trade agreements are an important tool to improve U.S. trade policy, and “fast track” trade promotion authority has been helpful in securing the completion and passage of those agreements. But, contrary to the assertion of many trade advocates, trade promotion authority is not a necessary prerequisite to passing trade agreements.

So, as stated, it makes it easier, but no, it’s not necessary. Let’s be serious.

4. We need it so that there won’t be so much the Democrats can do with it!!!

Um, welcome to the Republican held Congress. What are Republicans worried about? They control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. There is no major threat that can come from the Democrats really, when also factoring in how much lobbyists have spent trying to promote this thing as well. Guess what, the Constitution put the power to negotiate trade deals in the hands of the CONGRESS. Why? Because who does Congress represent? THE PEOPLE, or that’s how it used to be. The power to negotiate deals was given to the Congress in the Constitution by the Founders. They didn’t want the Executive doing it. They wanted those closest to the people doing it.

I could go on, but I’ll stop there for now. These are some of my objections to TPA currently. If the trade deal was really about just free trade, then I wouldn’t be really hesitant to be for TPA, but with the super-secretive deal like the TPP, aka ObamaTrade, I honestly don’t think giving the President TPA will be for the good of the Country, even going into the next Presidency.