Monday, March 10, 2014

Daylight "Central Planning" Time Bandits!

“How was your weekend?” a colleague of mine asked me today. 

“Fine. Yours?”  I replied.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “I so enjoyed having that extra hour Sunday evening.”

“What extra hour was that?”  I asked. 

“You know.  Daylight Savings Time,” she said.

“No one got an extra hour yesterday.” I said.

“What?” She responded.  “Daylight Savings Time. An extra hour in the evening.”

“Did the sun shine for an hour longer on Sunday that it did on Saturday?”  I asked.

“Well, no . . .”

“Then what are you talking about?  There is no extra hour!”

“You are saying the extra hour isn’t real. . .” She said.

“Of course it isn’t real.” I said.  She looked sad.

“You want it to be real, that extra free hour of time in your day, don’t you?” I asked.

“Yes.” She smiled. “I do.  And, whatever. . .  It feels real to me!” 


This whole conversation made my brain cramp.  What would happen, I asked myself, if the government suddenly ordered every private company, public agency, every church, almost everybody in the USA to go to work one hour earlier?  Put this way, surely there would be riots in the street.  People would scream. Somebody would occupy something!  Experts would appear on cable TV shouting, “How dare this intrusive, out-of-control ginormous, central planning, Soviet style government infringe on our freedom!”  Surely people would rebel if such an order were given.  I can hear it now, a deep, sinister, Big Brotherly voice, “All citizens will report for work one hour early beginning today.” Creepy! Put like this, I believe that there would be massive resistance.

But the central planners in Washington know how to spin things so that Big Brother sounds more like a kindly grandfather.  They do a little legislative sleight of hand and call their central plan to change time “Daylight Savings Time” and tout imagined benefits.  Then, presto, everybody in the entire country goes to work an hour earlier whistling all the way and saying stupid things like, “l love having an extra hour in my day golly gee!”

To make it worse, no one I know has any idea why the central planners in Washington, D.C. change the time.  I did an unofficial poll with colleagues and friends.  Some of the responses,
  • “I think it was done for the farmers.  So they would have an extra hour of daylight for farming.”
  • “I think it was done for the school children so they could get on the bus earlier.”
  • “I think it was done so people could get more recreation time in the evenings after work.”
  • “I think it makes manufacturing more efficient.”
  • “I think Ben Franklin did it.”  And, so on and on goes the apologetic jibber jabber.

How quick we are to accept and justify central planning!  I suppose that setting everyone’s clock forward or backward reaps a benefit for some people somewhere somehow but what about the companies and the workers who don’t want to start working an hour earlier today at the whim of a central planning Time Tsar? Why don’t they speak up?

For that matter, what about people who don’t want to go to and pay for government monopoly schools. Why don’t they protest against the central planners? What about the government monopoly retirement insurance program known as Social Security. Why don’t more people speak out against the waste and the nearly one-hundred trillion dollars in unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities?  Where are the protesters? What about the dollar killing Federal Reserve for heavens sake?  Central planning on steroids that!

Speaking of Soviet style central planning, what about people who want to choose their own health insurance and their own health care providers but are now forced to participate in the new, one-size-fits-all government run “AHC” health insurance/health care monopoly (aka Obama Care)? Not enough time to complain? Come on! Use that extra hour to resist the time bandits!

Mark VanSchuyver

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Socialism 101 (or, why our country is falling apart)

Socialism and capitalism are opposites. Socialism is an economic system in which
the government owns or directly controls the means of production. Socialism is based on force. Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated. Capitalism is based on voluntary exchange. Some say that a blend of these two economic systems is the solution to the world’s problems. They call for a “mixed economy.”  But mixing opposites is a recipe for disaster. Socialism (force) and capitalism (voluntary exchange) are like oil and water, they do not mix.

Capitalism is the economic system that has created more prosperity for more people than any economic system ever tried in the history of mankind. Socialism, even when expertly administered has never created prosperity. If you mix Capitalism (voluntary exchange) with Socialism (force) you get a dysfunctional, special interest favoring, poor people exploiting, unethical "third way" hybrid called Crony-Capitalism.

Broadly speaking there are two main types of socialism. Marxist Socialism and National Socialism (and there are countless variations of each). Marxism is the form of socialism in which the government assumes ownership of the means of production, i.e. nationalization. This is the model that the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), Cuba, North Korea, and many other nations have embraced. Marx and Engels wrote about socialism as a stage between capitalism and communism but in my opinion communism is simply a political name for full-blown Marx-Style socialism.

National Socialism is the form of socialism in which the government assumes control of the means of production without formally taking ownership (think Post Office, Fannie Mae before it was nationalized, The Student Loan Industry, the Federal Reserve, General Motors, and ObamaCare). This is the type of socialism that was employed by Mussolini in Italy and by Hitler in Germany. Mussolini didn’t want to call his system socialism. He used the terms Corporatism and Fascism. Hitler’s party was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party or NAZI Party for short. Hitler also used the term Fascism to describe his version of socialism.

“We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” —Adolf Hitler, [144] 1927 speech.

On paper socialism looks great. It looks like utopia. You simply put a benevolent philosopher king into power and let him and his chosen few centrally plan all things toward the “the greater good.” Unfortunately for socialists everywhere socialism does not work in the real world, just ask the North Koreans. The greater the percentage of the means of production that is controlled by the government the lower the level of prosperity the people enjoy (see Index of Economic Freedom).

Those who argue for a “mixed economy” (a third way) are arguing for an inherently unstable and corrupt economic system because capitalism and socialism are like oil and water. Capitalism is based on voluntary exchange. Socialism is based on force. Liberty and force don't mix.

Capitalism (voluntary exchange under rule of law) is not perfect but capitalism, even when poorly administered, is the economic system that has created more prosperity for more people than any system ever tried in the history of mankind. Socialism, (force) even when expertly administered had never created prosperity. Socialism, whether Marxist or National has done more harm to more people than any system ever tried in the history of the world. Our country is suffering, some say falling apart, because it is rapidly sliding down the slippery slope of socialism.

Mark VanSchuyver

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tell It like it is Mr. Government-Man!

Ever notice how government programs deliver exactly the opposite thing than that for which they are named? Consider these three examples, The "Affordable" Health Care Act, The "Patriot" Act,
and Social "Security."

The "Affordable Health Care Act" (aka ObamaCare) is providing anything but affordable health care. Most of those few who were able to get into the Affordable Health Care "Market Places," i.e. government run insurance distribution sites got big-time sticker shock.  The Affordable Health Care Act is projected to run up trillions in debt over the next few years, create incentives that encourage established doctors to fold up their tents and would-be doctors to go into banking or something else that smart people can make money at.  Shortages, shortfalls, and long waiting lines are projected by experts from all sides.  In short the Affordable Health Care Act is anything but affordable.

The Patriot Act resulted in a massive increase in governmental intrusion. The government has admitted reading every email that every American writes, listening to every phone call, watching everyone do everything with visible and hidden cameras, grabbing US citizens in the dead of night and renditioning them off to black interrogation sites, and much, much more.  The Patriot Act violates the individual liberty of US Citizens in countless ways.  The Patriot Act is anything but patriotic.

Social Security was intended to provide retirement insurance for folks who were not able to save enough money to fund their own retirement, a "safety-net." But the Social Security "trust fund" was raided by the government long ago.  This massive, centrally planned program is now trillions of dollars in the hole.  Social Security in its current form is doomed. Unless major reforms are made soon it will collapse under the weight of massive unfunded liabilities.  Social Security does anything but make society more secure.

Since government programs tend to deliver exactly the opposite thing than that for which they are named I say why not cut to the chase? Why not give them names that represent the thing that they will actually do?  For starters, I propose renaming these three major government programs.  Instead of the Affordable Health Care act, call it what it is the Unaffordable Health Care Act, Instead of Patriot Act, call it what it is, the Unpatriotic Act, instead of Social Security, call it what it is Social Insecurity!

Mark VanSchuyver

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Moral Argument Against ObamaCare for Mr. Ed Schultz

Ed Schultz, host of the Ed Show on MSNBC, spoke with a minister who opposes the Affordable Health Care law (aka ObamaCare).  The minister argued that ObamaCare was costly and basically a bad deal for America.  Mr. Schultz told the minister that millions of Americans who are currently uninsured will be provided health insurance through ObamaCare.  He also pointed out that under ObamaCare no one can be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions.  Then Mr. Schultz asked the minister to make the moral case for denying insurance to these currently uninsured people and to make the moral case against ObamaCare.  The minister's response was weak. He seemed unprepared for the question. Here's how I think the minister should have responded.

Mr. Schultz is it moral to steal things from other people? Is it moral to use force to make other people do what you want them to do against their will? Is it moral to lie? Is a law that causes people to suffer and die needlessly moral? ObamaCare is based on the immoral principles of force, theft, and dishonesty.

Health care is a limited resource.  Today we have the best quality and the greatest quantity of health care on Earth right here in the United States and it is available to everyone. Health care costs money and there is no way a person can know in advance just how expensive it might be. Insurance is a service that is available to those who want to insure their risk against these unknown future costs.  Some people choose to buy insurance to reduce their risk; some people do not wish to make this investment. Under ObamaCare the government will use force to make everyone purchase insurance whether they want to or not.  Mr. Schultz it is not right to make a person buy something that they do not want even if someone else believes that that something is good for that person.  Forcing another person to act against his or her will is immoral.

Under ObamaCare no one can be denied insurance for any reason including a pre-existing condition therefore the cost of insurance will increase exponentially.  ObamaCare empowers the government to impose new taxes to subsidize the insurance companies and other special interests to cover this cost gap. These are additional tax dollars that most Americans would rather keep and use to support their families.  Taking money that taxpayers have earned with their own labor and giving that money to government selected insurance companies and other special interests is nothing short of theft.  Mr. Schultz theft is immoral.

Under ObamaCare, unlimited amounts of health care will now be "free" to millions of people who would previously have been expected to pay for those limited resources.  But there are not enough doctors and other medical professionals to provide unlimited quantities of health care to millions of people for free and there never will be.  ObamaCare promises unlimited access to limited resources. This promise is a lie that will hurt everyone, the poorest among us most of all.  Mr. Schultz, Lying is immoral.

The Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) is a vast maze of government policies, procedures, rules, restrictive regulations, and micro-controls that will be anything but affordable.  ObamaCare will greatly increase the amount of waste and bureaucracy in all aspects of the health care and insurance industries. ObamaCare is based on the economic fantasy that a government bureaucrats can outperform a competitive market economy.  No way.

The ObamaCare bureaucracy will stifle innovation, drive costs up and reduce the quality, quantity, and availability of health care resources in the United States. ObamaCare is a bloated, costly, bureaucratic system designed to transform the world's best health care system into something that looks a lot like the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Under the bureaucratic morass that is ObamaCare millions will suffer and die as they wait for innovations that never emerge, and millions more, mostly poor people, will stand in line for years waiting for doctors that never became doctors because ObamaCare made it unprofitable for them to do so. Under the ObamaCare bureaucracy people will suffer and people will die who would not have suffered and would not have died had this law based in economic fantasy never been imposed upon the American people.

Mr. Schultz ObamaCare is immoral because it is based on the immoral principles of force, theft, and dishonesty. For the sake of our nation and especially for those less fortunate who will suffer the most, this immoral law must be de-funded and overturned.  Thank you for having me on your show.

Mark VanSchuyver

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Presidential Double Speak

I'm watching the President on TV as he gives his State of the Union address. The President is a master of double-speak. Just listen to what he says and translate the double speak back to reality.  Investments = Tax money spent on government boondoggles (e.g. the nearly one trillion dollar failed stimulus package).  Revenue = tax increases.  Level playing field = take from producers and give to takers and special interests.  Climate change = shutting down the private sector for the sake of special interests.  Gun control = termination of the second amendment (i.e. termination of the inalienable right of self-defense). Alternative energy investments = pouring taxpayer money into boondoggle technologies e.g. ethanol, windmills, electric cars, and solar panels.

To the president, free market = government takeover of healthcare, the auto industry, the finance industry, and more.  In the President's double speak responsible business management = massive, crippling regulations that do nothing to keep us safer, healthier, or protect our environment while crushing innovation.  Initiatives = government spending on special interests when the government is broke.  To the president job creation = government jobs, i.e. jobs paid for by tax money.  Investment in education = money thrown down the failed rat-hole of government schools. Immigration reform = amnesty for illegal immigrants at the expense of legal immigrants. The president's paycheck "fairness act" = social engineering.  His recommended minimum wage increases = forcing employers to pay pay people more than they can afford to pay so that thousands of entry level workers don't get hired at all. Shared prosperity = forced equality of outcome and food stamps for all. Improving the voter experience = federal government take-over of the voting process. Violence where guns are used = "gun violence" as if guns are alive and cause violence so therefore guns and the right to self-defense must be banned. Due process for American suspects = drone strike.

I'm turning the TV off now.  The double speak is making me sick to my stomach.  We have a slick talking nanny-state collectivist in the Oval Office demanding bigger and bigger government and less and less personal liberty. I won't sleep well tonight. After that speech, if you care about America, you shouldn't either.

Mark VanSchuyver

Thursday, February 7, 2013


President Obama is pushing hard for gun control including the banning of sporting rifles and other firearms that he deems offensive.  Members of the Senate including the Honorable Dianne Feinstein are demanding gun control and gun bans. Many liberals are calling for an overturn of the Second Amendment. “The Second Amendment is out date they say.” This is all very confusing to me.  I thought the Second Amendment was there to protect the inalienable right to self-defense.  Unable to get good answers from the media I decided to take a retro-trip. I jumped into the Delorean and travelled back in time to interview the folks who know best the meaning of the Second Amendment. I managed a round-table interview with several of our Founding Fathers, Mr. Washington, Mr. George Mason, Mr. Lee, Mr. Henry, Mr. Madison, Mr. James Mason, Mr. Adams, Mr. Pitt, and Mr. Jefferson. Here’s the transcript.
Liberty 301: Mr. President, what role do firearms play in American society?
George Washington: "Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence… from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable… the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference, they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."
Liberty 301: Who should be armed?
George Washington: "A free people ought to be armed."
Liberty 301: Mr. Mason what would happen if our government bans firearms?
George Mason: "To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them."
Liberty 301: Mr. Mason, the Second Amendment says, A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.  You are the co-author of the Second Amendment.  What did you mean by militia?
George Mason: "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people."
Liberty 301: Mr. Lee, do you agree or disagree with Mr. Mason?
Richard Henry Lee, "A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves."
Liberty 301: Mr. Henry, who should be armed in American Society.
Patrick Henry: "The great object is that every man be armed. And everyone who is able may have a gun."
Liberty 301: Mr. Madison In my time most countries have banned private ownership of firearms?  Why should the United States be any different?
James Mason: "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
Liberty 301: Mr. Adams, does the Constitution give elected leaders the authority to disarm some Americans?
Samuel Adams: "The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."
Liberty 301: Mr. Pitt people in my time say that things are out of control and that it is necessary that we ban the ownership of firearms.
Mr. William Pitt: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom; it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
Liberty 301: Mr. Jefferson, many people in my time argue that the Second Amendment is about hunting.  What was the main reason for preserving the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment?
Thomas Jefferson: "The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
Liberty 301: Mr. Jefferson will we have less crime if our government imposes more gun control and gun bans?
Thomas Jefferson:  "The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes."

Liberty 301: Mr. Jefferson will we be safer if our government bans guns and adds more gun control laws?

Thomas Jefferson: "Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Wow. The Founders were pretty clear on the purpose of the Second Amendment being the inalienable right to self-defense.  To get the other side of the argument I set the Delorean for jump into the recent past to talk to a famous, hard-core liberal, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.  Here’s the transcript.
Liberty 301: Mr. Vice President, should American citizens be allowed to keep and bear arms when the citizens of most other countries are not?
Hubert H. Humphrey: "The right of the citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
I’m back.  The Delorean is parked. It is clear to me that the President and the liberals in Congress are not on the same page with Mr. Washington, Mr. George Mason, Mr. Lee, Mr. Henry, Mr. Madison, Mr. James Mason, Mr. Adams, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Humphrey, or Yours Truly.  Mr. Obama, Mrs. Feinstein and dozens of other liberals in office and out are advocating for the termination of our inalienable right to self-defense. It’s up to us to stop them, or as Thomas Paine said, "Those who reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
Mark VanSchuyver

Left Vs. Right? No way!

It is popular to describe the political divide in the USA as left vs. right.  I don’t think this is accurate at all.  For example the “left” traditionally advocates for bigger government, entitlement programs, and restrictions of personal liberties but try to find a “righty” who really wants a balanced budget amendment, privatized social security, or privatized schools.  Everyone in the Executive Branch and most members of Congress are big government guys and gals.  In other words they are all “left,” some are just a tad more “left” than others.
To me a more accurate way of describing the divide in politics is to contrast the two fundamentally different world views that underlie virtually all political arguments; Individualism and Collectivism.
Individualism regards man, every man (or woman) as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful coexistence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights—and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members.
Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group—whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.”

How can you determine whether you are an Individualist or a Collectivist at heart?  Here is a simple test.  Print the page.  Put a check next to the statement on each row that best describes your world view.

What’s mine is mine; what’s yours is yours
What’s yours is mine
I am responsible for me
You are responsible for me
What I earn is mine
What you earn is mine
I have value; others have value
Others have value; I have no value
I am accountable for my actions
You are accountable for my actions
The world does not owe me a living
The world owes me a living
Equality of opportunity
Equality of outcome
I own me
Others own me
My freedom ends where your nose begins
Both of our noses belong to the government

Now you know where you stand philosophically. It's not left or right that means much, It's Individualism Vs. Collectivism that matters.  As for me, I agree with this guy:

"There is only one kind of freedom and that's individual liberty."
Ron Paul

Mark VanSchuyver