Government and the Use of Force

Most people probably think of the use of force as something that criminals do. However the greatest users of force are not criminals, but organized groups and businesses. They do not use “force” themselves, but instead they now use the law enforcement powers of “government” which is generally the legal user of force in modern society. They use policemen, lawyers, the courts instead of “muscle” and guns as a criminal organization would do. And governments generally have much more “power” when you get down to it than even the largest of criminal organizations.

Getting the government to use “force” in your behalf is now commonplace today. Professional organizations, labor unions, businesses, all employ the use of force by “government” to get their own way. To force everyone else to pay more for their services. The professions all employ the force of government to prevent “competition” by anyone who might be willing to provide the same services for less money. Then often today to obtain a service, you have to deal with someone who effectively has a government enforced monopoly over both services and certain materials. The doctor, backed by prescription laws that give him or her a government provided monopoly over access to medical drugs certainly earns a higher income than they would earn without these laws. So the doctor is using “force” to prevent you from legally buying medical drugs without first obtaining his or her “permission” and paying a fee of say $150 just to buy a blood pressure drug. One that you could buy at Wal Mart for $10 for a 90 day supply. The doctor relies upon the policeman’s gun to enforce his monopoly. One that allows him or her a higher income than they could enjoy without prescription laws…

Of course doctors aren’t the only ones who benefit by the force of government. Lawyers do very well too. Various licensing laws require a lawyer to do tasks that people with considerably less training and education could do just as well. As lawyers tend to be vastly over represented in Congress, it’s simple to see how they managed to get so many laws passed in their favor. Rather like hiring foxes to guard your hen house! It’s safe to say that the foxes would eat very well at your expense. The same thing holds true today with all the licensed professions and occupations. Government supplied monopoly is so common today that we hardly notice it anymore until we realize how much more money we’re paying out for their services than what we’d pay without the government licensing people so they can earn incomes well above what they’d earn without the government standing there behind them with its guns. Effectively they are using the government to “steal” from you. Overcharging you for their services just because they can. They’ve bought “protection” and you’re paying the price for it!

Next we should consider all the businesses that provide goods and/or services that also enjoy using the force of government to enjoy the benefits of a legal monopoly. On my cable bill there is a charge for a “franchise fee”. This fee, which is part of the bill, is the money that the cable company pays my local government to insure that no one else will be allowed to compete with them. A little quick math shows that the city gets about $60,000 a year off of this for effectively doing “nothing”. To the city this is “free money”. Not that much difference from the “Mafia” collecting a fee for “protection”. The only difference is that the city can do this legally, which the Mafia can’t do… Then the cable companies have attempted to get laws passed that city governments can’t compete with them in the provision of broadband services. They had to go to state governments to try to get this. The power companies don’t like cities owning power plants either. Kinda like one set of crooks going to the big “boss” to complain that another set of crooks is setting up in competition with them… The only trouble is that we the people are the ones who end up paying for all this!  A lot of these businesses are unionized and that’s another group that uses “force” to get its own way today. As these businesses can easily pass the added cost on to the consumer, they don’t care.

I’m taking a guess that all of this stuffs raises our cost of living by a couple of trillion dollars if not more. Or about $6.000 per capita. $24,00 for a family of four. No wonder we’re in debt so much. What can we do about it? That’s something I’ll leave for next time.

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Why Single Payer Proposals Fail

Two states have put forth “single payer” proposals as a means to reduce health care costs. Both have been rejected by the voters. Why? Supposedly they would have saved money by eliminating the “overhead” of private health insurance which supposedly costs more than having a government agency doing the same thing. So why did the voters reject them?

The majority of people obtain their health insurance through their employer who likely pays most of the cost leaving only co-pays and deductibles for the individual to pay. Thus, they are very likely viewing the issue considerably differently from someone who is paying the full cost of their health care insurance. Someone who is writing a check every month to the insurance company. So most people don’t understand what the true cost of health care is.

There is another issue that isn’t often considered. A US doctor probably pays more for his or her education than do doctors in the rest of the developed world. Student loans can run in the hundreds of thousand dollars. Imagine what the interest alone is on a quarter million dollar loan? The US also is the major developer of new drugs and new medical technology. Being “first” is expensive. Additionally American doctors face malpractice law suits far more often than do doctors in the rest of the developed world where filing such lawsuits is far less common. Having more lawyers per capita than any other developed country is one of the reasons for this. Another is that a bad outcome can leave a person crippled in a society where there is less of a “social safety net” than is common in the rest of the developed world. This too likely encourages lawsuits that wouldn’t be filed in other first world nations.

Back in the early 1960’s it cost me $8 to see a doctor. Today the cost is almost 20 times that. True, the value of the dollar has fallen, but only a bit less than half can be considered here. The other portion is due to “government regulation” and the greatly increased use of health insurance which considerably complicates the issue as to “who pays the bill”.  That doctor back in 1960 had an “office nurse” as an employee. Today’s doctor however will have the “office nurse” along with people to do insurance verification, billing, along with compliance with all the government regulations that exist today, but were unknown back there in 1960. Anyone who runs their own business today will be well aware of the costs involved here in dealing with all the government rules and regulations both state and federal. All of this is a part of the driving force that has driven US health care costs to the level they now are today.

So what effect would “single payer” have on this? Replacing the private insurance industry with a state or federal government agency won’t make that big a difference if any. Both Medicare and Medicaid have “fraud” problems. As does private insurance, although not to the same level as the two “government” programs do. The VA for example is an example of a health care service that is run completely by the federal government. There are “access” problems that the VA seems to have trouble resolving. The VA does have the advantage that it can negotiate drug prices (as can Medicaid) while Medicare is legally prohibited from doing this. And none of the private insurance companies are large enough to do very much about “prices” of drugs and other medical equipment. So unless the proposed “single payer system” has the authority as the VA does to negotiate prices, there won’t be much savings there. We might also consider that private insurance companies pay taxes, something that government agencies of course don’t have to do. So any comparison should take this into consideration… Looks to me like we’re comparing apples to oranges (2 different things)!

Looking at single payer systems in use in the rest of the developed world, they cut costs by paying doctors considerably less. Something they can do because the doctor’s education (in many cases) was paid by the government. (where is that cost figured in?) They also wait to purchase advanced medical technologies until the prices drop as they do after a few years. Then less equipment in total is purchased, so the cost is less although patients have to wait longer to get their MRI’s, CAT scans, etc., than their US counterparts do. This of course does “lower” the cost of health care. The popular term for doing this is called “rationing”…

There is a much simpler way to reduce US health care costs. I’ve covered this again and again in this blog. SIMPLY REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN HEALTH CARE!  Repeal prescription laws. Allow people to take care of their own health (without involving a doctor) to the limits of their abilities. Hey, we used to do this! Prior to 1938, you were free to go to your local drugstore and buy the medical drug of your choice. The druggist would assist you if you needed any help. Today there is so much more available information (Internet and books) that any reasonable competent person should be able to handle health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, arthritis without ever seeing a doctor. That’s probably at least HALF of all visits to primary care physicians today. And the cost of dealing with these common health issues shouldn’t cost you more than $200 for a year even if you have all four of them to deal with! Even somewhat more complex issues, if they are treatable by taking a “pill” may well be within a person’s abilities to deal with. We can also expect that software companies will soon create a “doctor on a disc” program to assist you in taking charge of your own health. Even issues such as insulin dependent diabetes are not all that difficult to deal with if you’d done sufficient study to understand what the disease is and how to balance carbohydrate intake with the amount of insulin you are taking. As long as you are cautious and pay attention to what precautions you should be considering, keep up with your studies, you’ll be surprised at what you can do to take care of your own health. The more you know, the better for you! You do need to be aware of possible side effects, which affect different people in different ways.

There will of course be strong opposition to repeal. Doctors have gotten dependent upon their legal monopoly and the power over their patients that these laws give them. The AMA will doubtlessly do everything it can to prevent repeal from taking place. Remember that the US health care industry is a THREE TRILLION DOLLAR industry today. It has gotten that way because the industry relies more and more upon the government for its assured profits.

It would help if we repeal all the drug laws at the same time, but that’s another chapter in this blog and my attempts to prove how much better off we are with a far smaller government.

 

 

 

 

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The Decline in Personal Freedom over time.

Being of an age where I can recall things back into the 1940’s, along with having had an interest in history that goes back much further, I can see without any doubt that overall there has been a decline in personal freedom here in the USA over time since its founding back in 1789. It has been argued that the situation is different for minorities thanks to the passage of Civil Rights laws since the Supreme Court decision in Brown versus The Board of Education effectively eliminated legal racial discrimination in the public school system. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 adding additional protections against legal discrimination against minorities. All of these provided protection against discrimination upon the basis of race, sex, religious belief, or country of origin over a broad spectrum of life, work, housing, and so forth. With Roe versus Wade effectively “legalizing” abortion.

While all of this is well worthwhile, certain other “freedoms” Americans once enjoyed are now gone. Our drug laws date back to 1914 when Congress passed a law against the sale of narcotics. Prior to this, narcotics were available in drugstores like any other drug. The idea behind this law was the same as for the prohibition of alcohol a few years later. That is, the idea that these items were subject to abuse and caused harm to the general public. I might note here that we are speaking of the “Progressive Era” when it was believed that for the good of society that government had to take control of these things because people were not competent to manage their own lives. You will note today that Democratic politicians often refer to themselves as “progressives” and share the same basic ideology as that of that era where it was believed that it was the task of government to take charge of things. Besides drugs and alcohol, there was also the ideology that certain groups of people should be rendered incapable of reproduction for the good of society. Eugenics became the science of the day in this “New Order” that was supposed to make us all “better off” with the role of government becoming a sort of “Big Brother” watching over all of us. There were also changes in our immigration laws that reflected the thinking of our “progressives” towards the “improvement” of the human race. All of this had at least some popular support, especially among the “better educated” who thought it all to be a great idea…*

* One of these consequences was the rise of the Nazis and their idea of a “master race”. With Jews (and some other groups) being considered “sub humans” to be exterminated.

While the outlawing of the open sale of narcotics wasn’t a major problem, the outlawing of alcoholic beverages certainly was. Very soon organized crime moved into the picture with the supply of bootleg alcohol and with enough popular support that it was soon almost impossible to stop the flow of now “illegal” alcohol into the supposedly “dry” United States. And the violence that came about because of Prohibition gave us the era known as “The Roaring Twenties” with bootleg alcohol, “speakeasies”, and “bathtub gin”.  Proof if any was needed that Prohibition was indeed a mistake and lacked the popular support so needed to make it “work”.  Parallels of course with what later happened with “drugs”.

The Great Depression created a massive demand for “government” to “do something”! The first efforts by the Roosevelt administration were “shot down” by the Supreme Court on the basis of being “unconstitutional”. This was an attempt to hold prices and wages up in a time when the free market demanded the opposite occur. The consequence was that instead of a recovery, the depression continued year after year in an economic “death spiral”. Taxes were raised because the growing government deficit, and that made things worse. Unions were given government “protection” which also served to “discourage” economic investment and hiring. The economy limped along until the start of production of armaments in preparation to the increasing risk of another “world war” also started sufficient hiring of workers to start bringing down the double digit unemployment that had existed before. It was also during the Great Depression that the minimum wage was established, along with new legislation establishing a standard 40 hour work week and “time and a half” for overtime. The payroll tax came into play with the passage of Social Security. There was “interest” in the creation of a system of national health insurance, but this never got anywhere. But the New Deal did usher in the idea of government provided “welfare” which dates from this era. Medicare and Medicaid came in under the LBJ administration after the Republicans lost so many seats in Congress that they were powerless to prevent the passage of these. This same era however also introduced a number of regulations and so such that made it more difficult for a person to use their own knowledge and talents to support themselves. That is a problem we have today, and it appears to be getting even worse now as time goes on… The necessary permits and licenses needed to work in an increasing number of field can destroy a person’s hope of a better life. Unfortunately only libertarians seem to understand this issue and what to do!

In 1938, under the “progressivism” of the “New Deal”, the FDA was founded and medical drugs could only be purchased if one had a prescription from a medical doctor to do so. It being felt that people (and even druggists apparently) were incompetent to make these decisions for themselves. Of course the medical profession was delighted by this, as it now meant that anyone who needed medicine first had to get a doctor to prescribe it for them. The obvious economic “protectionism” of prescription laws is more and more apparent today. Government regulation as usual benefits the “few” at the expense of the rest of us. Our drug laws in general are opposed by a sizable minority of people, some of whom are willing to violate our laws in order to obtain drugs that were “legal” until 1914. We also do have some “traces” left of Prohibition here and there, proof if any is needed that the ideals of “progressivism” still exist even if the term itself is unfamiliar to many today. And it is the ideology of progressivism that underlies much of what the Democratic Party stands for today. The ideas of “gun control”, control of more and more of people’s lives is part and parcel of what “progressivism” once was. I will grant that the “progressives” at one time may have resolved problems that society faced early in the 20th Century, but the flawed thinking of that era is unfortunately still with us today in rules and regulations passed by those who consider the rest of us “incompetent” to make decisions for ourselves today.

 

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Why Doctors Get Sued So Much More Than Other Professionals…

Why do doctors get sued so much compared to other professionals? One major reason is the way that a doctor treats his or her “customers” compared to say how a lawyer treats his or her customers. When you go to a doctor, you are going to someone who enjoys the benefits of a government enforced monopoly to a much greater degree than is the case with lawyers. Also the supply of lawyers relative to the need for them is such that a lawyer who doesn’t treat his or her “customers” as they so wish to be treated isn’t going to be in practice very long. However with doctors the “supply” of doctors is controlled in such a manner that “demand” exceeds the supply by a considerable margin. Also due to the way that doctors are paid for their services by a “third party” is different than the way that most other professionals are paid. And while there is “legal insurance”, it exists on a far smaller scale than medical insurance does. The patient’s insurance often decides what doctors can be seen by the patient because the insurance company only will pay if the patient sees certain doctors first. Often a reference from a “primary care” doctor is required in order to see a specialist. This also means that the patient has far less “choice” than would be the case if the individual in question was seeing a lawyer instead of a doctor. Additionally outside of issues of criminal law, the individual can themselves do a number of more simple things without having to first see a lawyer. One of these is filing a lawsuit in “small claims court”. Another is making out a will. There are also “service packages” for the more simple legal issues. Whereas in medicine, with the exception of “over the counter” medications, everything else requires getting a doctor’s “prescription” in order to purchase even those medical drugs that are not subject to abuse by drug addicts. Prior to 1938, this was not the case except for narcotics. People usually went to their neighborhood druggist for help with an illness and only went to a doctor as a “last resort”. It should also be noted at this time that women often had their babies at home, not in a hospital. Also it was not uncommon to have a “midwife” assist in delivery instead of a doctor due to cost.

Among professional educations, medicine is probably the most expensive. It also in turn pays the most on the average for the professions. Government enforced monopoly gives doctors more power and control over their “patients” than the other professions do over their clients. The high incomes of medical professionals “paints a target” on their backs, while their treatment of their patients is of a different sort than what people experience with members of the other professions. The role of insurance companies also has an effect in that patients have less “choice” when dealing with doctors than other professionals. In effect the “patient” has less power with doctors thanks to prescription laws. If these laws didn’t exist, the doctor/patient relationship would be considerably different than what it is. The doctor’s role would be more one of an “advisor” to the patient similar to the role played by other professionals. Of course without the power over the patient granted by prescription laws, the patient would have considerably more power to make decisions. Decisions that the doctor might not agree with, but would have no power to prevent.

While the doctor may think he or she has the patient’s best interests at heart, the patient may have a different opinion. Since the patient has no power to demand that his or her opinions should be primary, there is an aspect of the doctor/patient relationship that is in fact one where the doctor’s opinions, not the patient’s, are what decides the issue here. This creates a conflict, makes the patient angry, and may eventually make the patient think of “getting even”. Especially today when there is a “surplus” of lawyers ready and eager to file a lawsuit for anything their client might want. And given that the definition of “malpractice” can be almost anything the lawyer can find to have grounds to file a lawsuit, the US medical profession is finding out that being a doctor today isn’t what it used to be…

Of course doctors could change their attitudes, which would also go a long ways towards resolving the “malpractice crisis”, but that involves a major change in the entire ideology of medicine. One of treating their patients much differently than what they presently do. Of course, should prescription laws be repealed, they will have little choice but to change.

 

 

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Corruption Proof Government

The US government is probably today one of the most politically corrupt  of any developed country. Does that surprise you? Consider the incredible degree of power that our “vested interests” appear to have here in the USA. The fact that the Supreme Court has effectively removed any limitation upon the amount of political donations that can be made to any political campaign. The fact that politically powerful corporate interests can get almost anything they want from “Uncle Sam”, the “friend” of the rich and powerful. While the rest of us have to pay more in taxes to replace what is now lost to overseas tax shelters.

There are thousands of well paid lobbyists in Washington, D.C. to see that their clients get favored treatment from our elected representatives. Representatives that really now only represent those who pump millions of dollars into their “campaign funds”. Nor can we say that the members of either political party today are really interested in anything else than lining their pockets at the expense of the rest of us. Many of course when they leave office already have a position lined up with one of the “interests” who they have served so well while in office. Once you look beyond the rhetoric they are so good at deceiving us with, it becomes very obvious that their “mission” there in Congress is to do whatever they can for their “friends”, regardless of what their actions do for those who voted them into office. In a more just society, most of them would be properly seen as practicing “fraud” against those who voted them into office. Perhaps we should require them to post in small print below their campaign literature that “promises made are not likely to be fulfilled”…

History shows that all democratic societies have a problem with their elected officials. That the very nature of elective office tends to encourage political corruption because of the cost of running a political campaign. It costs a lot of money today to get elected. And the amount of money necessary to make an effective run for elective office is growing as more and more money is poured into political campaigns by our two major political parties. So is there a solution to this? Parliamentary systems are less prone to corruption than our “winner take all” system, but they still have problems of their own. Proportional representation helps, but the problem still exists, if at least to a lesser degree. However at least everyone’s opinion gets a “hearing”, but even here “money still talks” and certain “interests” are more likely to be favored over those who have less ability to be “heard”.

The Greeks of Classical Athens created a system of selecting representatives through a lottery instead of elections. This effectively eliminated the problem of the one with the most money winning office, but it still had a problem with vested interests who no doubt were able to convince the “winners” of the lottery that they should remember “who” could help them after leaving office. It is really difficult to keep everyone “honest” under these conditions. However there is a way today thanks to the technology now available…

Lets say we use a lottery system, but the identities of the “winners” are kept secret. They also continue to live where they did before they were selected through the lottery to become a representative. They would be identified only by a code number. No one except for a  special agency would know their true identities. Communication would take place via a specialized sub section of the Internet designed to protect their identities as far as possible. Something like this exists today where communications are sent bouncing back and forth over the entire Internet so that tracing any communication is extremely difficult. While some of this is used by national governments for their own purposes, it is perhaps better known as a means by which activities considered “criminal” by national governments take place. People would be able to communicate with their “representative”, but they would not know who or where they were.

This might be at least a partial solution to the problem of political corruption.

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Tyranny exists where people do not have a choice.

The basic concept of libertarianism is giving people a “choice”. Giving them the power to choose… Something that both the “nanny statist” left and their counterparts on the “far right” oppose. The leftist wants “government” to regulate (for your own good) every part of your life. Increasingly the far right also wants more and more control over your life…

When a government is no longer “responsive” to the wishes of the people (and ours is increasingly so) we start seeing increasing mistreatment of people because they lack any choice. The quality of service provided by the VA has fallen despite increasing amounts of money being allocated by Congress. Part of the reason is increasing “administrative overhead” that has nothing to do with the care our veterans are now receiving from the VA. The problem of course is that the veterans do not have a choice as to where they can receive medical care except through the VA unless they are willing to obtain service from doctors outside of the VA. Something that is only possible for some, not all of them as it exists due to the increasingly high cost of US health care. Then of course most “civilian” doctors are not likely to have much experience dealing with the sort of medical problems created by military service in time of war. Even so, perhaps our veterans would be better off with seeing medical professionals outside the VA. One way to do this and also make it “affordable” for them would be a system of “medical vouchers” which would allow them to obtain health care services outside the VA if they so wished to do so.

The problem really is due to “lack of choice”. There is no “competition” that might force the VA to treat our veterans better. This is the same problem that exists whenever there is only one “provider” of goods and services available. It doesn’t really matter whether or not the agency in question is run by the government or private enterprise. Although in the case of private enterprise, the threat of possible “competition” may help to encourage better treatment than what would be the case if there was little “risk” of any  possible “competition”. However businesses that are “favored” by government usually treat their customers rather poorly since they have no real economic incentive to do otherwise.

Another example of this occurs wherever there is a government enforced monopoly so that the consumer has no choice but to accept what they are given. This occurs whenever a group of providers of goods and/or services enjoys the benefits of government enforced “protection”. When there is only one “legal” source of goods and/or services available. Where the customer/consumer is forced by the power of government to accept what is given. And pay whatever price that is demanded by the monopolists he or she must deal with. This is so common a practice today that many people cannot conceive of actually having a choice. Of being able to decide for themselves as was once the case before the professions conspired to gain themselves a government enforced monopoly much to their own economic benefit. Much like labor unions did later following their own example of limiting “supply” which in turn meant that they gained more economic power than what was the case previously before the Roosevelt administration gave them “protection” through legislation. (the Wagner Act) Legislation that allowed the unions to obtain more wages and (later on) benefits that they would not have been able to obtain otherwise.*

*While some libertarian authors will claim otherwise, the power of organized labor, like the power of the organized professions and occupations depends upon the power of the State. Without that power, neither would enjoy the power that they do today, especially as governments in a libertarian society will be far smaller and less powerful than what we now have today. Also, as representatives will be selected by lottery, far harder to corrupt!

In a libertarian society where there is true “freedom of choice”, a society where the role of government at all levels will be far smaller than it is today, your income is far more likely to be based upon the principles of supply and demand. You will also be in competition with people all over the world who are supplying goods and services in a truly competitive free market. Because of this, although incomes may well be lower than today, the cost of living will also be far lower than it is today as goods and services freely move to where they can obtain the best price. Something impossible today thanks to all the “protection” we still allow to exist. Also, the restrictions we now see over access to knowledge will disappear. Anyone will be able to educate themselves to the limits of their own abilities and then apply the knowledge and skills that they have developed to better themselves. We will move from a social order based upon “credentials” to one based upon “certification”. In such as society, the value of your services will depend upon what you know, not upon what college or university that you went to. All in all, a better life for everyone than what we now have. Hopefully one of less conflict too, one where crime is both rare and uncommon.

 

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America’s Problems. Libertarian Solutions.

As the primaries are now drawing to a close, it appears more and more likely that the voters will select either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as their next President. This may also be the first year that the Libertarian Party will achieve a double digit vote for our own candidates. Mainly due to the dissatisfaction that many American voters will have for the two major party candidates for President. Depending upon which Party obtains control or retains control of the Senate will also determine who the next Justice of the Supreme Court will be. Currently the court is split 50/50 between liberal viewpoints and conservative viewpoints so this election is even more important than ever in deciding which direction the country will be heading for the next four to eight years. The fate of free trade as we know it is in question. The survival of “Obamacare” is also in question should Donald Trump win in November, 2016. There is also the issue of immigration pro and con. With Clinton things will likely remain pretty much as they are. With Trump, who really knows?

Neither of the two major candidates is likely to do very much to alter the current practices in health care. Doctors will continue to enjoy their very profitable government enforced legal monopoly over prescription drugs. Very little will change now with the practice of medicine as it is practiced both in doctor’s offices and in our hospital system. Private insurance companies will still pay out eighty cents worth of benefits for every dollar that they take in benefits. There probably will be little change in our tax codes although taxes may go up a bit under a Clinton administration. Deficits will continue to increase our national debt. Our infrastructure will likely also continue to get worse as time passes. Republicans are attempting to overturn our civil rights laws and are likely to continue attempting to do so. All in all, don’t expect any major changes in anything important.

It is unlikely to happen, but what if we did elect enough libertarians to change things…

The prescription laws passed back in 1938 by the Roosevelt administration are repealed. The narcotic laws passed in 1914 are repealed. Those in prison for violation of drug laws are released and pardoned for their “political” crime of doing something that never should have been illegal in the first place. The FDA is replaced with a private agency that puts a “seal” of certification on medicine, but allows the sale of non-certified medicine to those willing to take the risk in the hopes of a cure when survival is a matter of life or death. Doctors from any country who have met their country’s standard are welcome to practice here. The same thing will apply to nurses and other individuals working medical fields. Obamacare is repealed and people are free to set up whatever plans they wish with health care providers. Health Savings Accounts based upon stock and bond index accounts become standard, but private agencies also sell “major med” type policies too. The index bond funds offered by Vanguard have had an average return of about 5% (allowing for inflation). This means everyone takes responsibility for their own retirement except for the extremely poor who can be taken care of by a private agency set up for that exact purpose. Some good attempts have been made in this direction, but have encountered problems with local city governments who apparently don’t want poor people around. Civil Forfeiture should be simply repealed as it encourages corruption in law enforcement.

The income tax, the payroll tax is repealed. Replaced by a financial transaction tax of 2% along with “user fees” for things such as roads, parks, everything else. (we currently do this in Michigan to pay for the state park system) Property currently owned by the federal government is sold and the money gained is used to pay off what is owed to those now over the age of 50 with a “flat rate” Social Security program that is also means tested. I also believe we should have some sort of a “Basic Income” system, just enough to provide for a very minimal standard of living. We could probably roll both of these into one plan. The cost of doing this appears to be in the $1.5 trillion dollars a year range.

The states take responsibility for most everything else. The US armed forces return to the United States. The federal government is now only responsible for the defense of the continental US and relations with other nations. Those countries who used to rely upon US protection are told to repeal their own gun control laws or hire sufficient military forces to provide for their own national defense. It is a proven fact that a country without gun control is almost impossible to conquer. That country is Afghanistan. The British tried it in the 19th Century. They eventually withdraw after seeing that it was effectively impossible to do. The Russians tried it. Despite the fact that they were utterly ruthless in their actions, they eventually were forced to give up and leave. We’ve learned pretty much the same thing after 14 years of war there. Nor do the guns need to be modern assault rifles. The old bolt action Mausers and such left over from the two “world wars” still do an adequate job of killing the enemy.

We need to understand that the education of children is best done through “incentives”. It is also known that home schoolers often can do a better job than the public school system at a fraction of the cost. The objective should be to establish standards for the “3 Rs” where a voucher worth say $5,000 is offered to anyone who can educate the child one grade level. A lot of the money now spent on the public school system would be better spent on the development of “electronic” public libraries where you can download books to read and educate yourself. Want to know any subject in detail? Your school textbook will give at best only one viewpoint. To learn more, you have to turn to public library system.

Our lives, our economy, our society is far too “regulated”. It is increasingly difficult to start any sort of business. When children have to get “permits” to open a lemonaid stand, you know that “government” had grown far too large and needs to go on a serious diet… We are no longer the “free people” we used to pride ourselves in being. Today we are rapidly becoming government ruled “serfs” instead of free citizens in control of our own destiny.

 

 

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