Friday, March 9, 2012

Economics 101 - Ignored by Big Government

Economics 101
Today's lesson - The Law Big Government Ignores.
First we state the truth: Consumption is necessary to sustain life, and exists at the core of every economic system.  We are all born consumers, and we continue to consume until the day we die ... and when you think about it, even in death people continue to consume.  Coffins, head stones, flowers, and/or energy to cremate the body all require some natural resource to be exploited. So, even in death we will, in some limited way, continue to be consumers.  Consumption is also the engine for economies in every form; Dictatorships, socialism, capitalism, or any hybrid thereof depend upon people consuming things. Without people eating food, clothing themselves, building shelters, and attempting to stay comfortable, no economy would exist. Indeed, consumption is one of those truths that must be recognized as an important one.
Now that we understand the truth we should state axioms that are relevant to the truth.
The means of consumption is accommodated in one of three ways:
1) It is gifted.  Every person on the planet  began life under this axiom. Most live in this manner for several years. It is not until we acquire the necessary skills, talents or abilities that the expectation of earning our means of consumption is imposed.
2) It is stolen. Our prisons are full of people who thought that stealing was an expeditious means to their consumption. Now they are among those who are gifted the means of their consumption.
3) It is earned. This is the way civilizations not only survive but thrive; people earning their means of  consumption by offering their talents, skills and abilities in exchange for something either directly or indirectly  tangible. Before the days of sophisticated commerce, people bartered their skills, talents and abilities in exchange for that which they wished to consume. In today's market- place, the barter system has been mostly replaced with a monetary system.  People work, they get paid in a recognized currency, and then the currency is exchanged for food, clothing, shelter, etc.  We raise our children ... or at least some of us tried to do so ... with this axiom in mind. Work hard for it is the means to survival and success in life.
Now we state the precept: For an economy to survive, those being gifted and those stealing must not overreach the abilities or efforts of those who are earning the means for consumption.  For obvious reasons, some among us must come under the care of someone or some organization that can take care of them; children, the elderly,  the handicapped, and those with debilitating conditions. The family unit has long been looked upon as the provider for children. Before WW2, families were expected to take care of their aging relatives, communities and local organizations, for the most part, took care of the sick the orphaned and handicapped.  It was only after WW2 did Americans start looking earnestly to government programs to provide for those that couldn't provide for themselves. 
Now the principle: The most efficient and judicious means of sustaining a culture/socioeconomic system is for a majority of individuals, for a majority of their living years, to earn their means of consumption. The Bible says ... "If a man doesn't work, he should not eat." This is not some punitive law established by religion, it is quite simply a law of nature. One man may find a means of supporting a family of six, eight, perhaps in some  rare cases, ten other family members, with the ultimate goal of not having to do it for his entire life. Burden that man with the requirement of supporting another six, eight, or ten, for the length of his lifetime, and his life may be cut short from exhaustion.  In August 14, 1935, when Social Security was created, there were 40 workers for every retiree. Today there are less than 3 workers per retiree, and in a few short years the ratio will be 2:1.  While the entitlement age began with FDR and Social Security, the Johnson Administration expanded it, and today, Social Security, Medicare, Health and Welfare programs, consume 50% of our federal budget. What this means is that more and more people are growing dependent upon the government for their means of consumption. It doesn't take a Harvard-trained economist to realize that the system is unsustainable.
And finally the application: Embrace the free market system, unencumbered by government interference. The first step might be to require that able bodied people take care of themselves, for that is adherence to the law of nature.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Virtues of Conservatism - Part 8

Conservatives uphold voluntary community and at the same time oppose involuntary collectivism. Conservatives believe that most challenges faced by families and individuals should be addressed at the lowest level of governance possible, that tax dollars collected from them should be used first at the community level,  then at the State level, and finally the national level.  A careful reading of the constitution will bring the reader to one conclusion. Congress is authorized to tax the citizenry for very limited purposes, the single most important being national defense.   
Conservatives hold that  local institutions, churches, synagogs, and the like, are best suited for the purposes of charity, health care, and education name a few. Centralized control of these functions, at the State or national level, offer inviting opportunities for fraud, corruption, and incompetence. In light of current events, do any of those words seem to ring true?  Conservatives maintain that communities understand the challenges of their citizens much better than a distant centralized system, and should consequently be afforded the opportunity and resources to meet those challenges. 
Conservatives vociferously oppose involuntary collectivism, for a host of reasons.
1. Involuntary collectivism shifts responsibility from individuals and communities to a centralized system. Inevitably, the centralized system becomes laden with bureaucracy and inefficiency, leading to the unmet needs of the community and individuals.
2. Underneath involuntary collectivism is the principle of wealth redistribution. This principle presupposes that men and women are perfect, equal in skills/abilities, and share a common sense of justice. We know from history, and from our own experience, that no one is perfect, that we are not equal in our skills/abilities, and what one man make think just, another  may think cruel.  Involuntary collectivism has failed everywhere and every time it has been tried. The early settlers in America tried it, but quickly abandoned it, once realizing its many flaws.
3. Involuntary collectivism steals the dignity from what would be self reliant individuals. 
4. Involuntary collectivism preys upon societies'  talented, successful, and hard working individuals to subsidize, support, or nurture the lazy and irresponsible members of the society.  
5. Involuntary collectivism leads to class envy, discourages entrepreneurship, inhibits workplace creativity, and ultimately destroys economies.  We have only to look at the last 100 years of history to realize this fact. 
6. Involuntary collectivism limits the individual his/her right to pursue happiness, in that the system determines the worth of individuals, and artificially imposes limitations upon them. 
In conclusion, "A central administration, or a corps of select managers and civil servants, however well intentioned and well trained, cannot confer justice and prosperity and tranquility upon a mass of men and women deprived of their old responsibilities. That experiment has been made before; and it has been disastrous. It is the performance of our duties in community that teaches us prudence and efficiency and charity."  Russell Kirk

The outline for this treatment is credited to Russell Kirk and the web site at: