The Dictatorship Begins on Jan. 1st, 2014

On January 1st, 2014, the Individual Mandate contained within ObamaCare goes into effect. This mandate will make a dictator out of the US President overnight.

I do not make this claim lightly. For a power being granted to a leader to be considered dictatorial, there are three requirements that must be fulfilled:
:bulletblue: The power must give absolute power to one individual.
:bulletblue: The power must be totalitarian in scope.
:bulletblue: The power must be irrevocable.

Absolute Power for One Individual

When the Individual Mandate goes into effect, all Americans will be required to purchase “proper” health insurance plans, or will be forced to pay a tax. All health insurance companies will be forced to only offer “proper” plans to their customers. It will be considered illegal to offer an insurance plan that is not considered “proper.”

So you ask, what’s wrong with proper insurance? There’s a catch: The Secretary of Health and Human Services has sole authoritative power (Section 224(b), on pg. 123) to determine the contents and requirements of a “proper health insurance plan.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services (currently Kathleen Sebelius) reports directly to the President, must follow all of his Executive Orders, and can be fired by him at any time, so that he can appoint a new one of his choice.

In other words, the President maintains a dictatorship over the definition of the “proper health insurance plans” that we are all forced to buy. The President can also force health insurance companies to boycott any health care providers (doctors and hospitals) that try to cater to individuals who choose not to buy health insurance. They already use this method to force health care providers to offer major discounts to Medicare patients, and they could easily use this method to prevent those resisting the Individual Mandate from obtaining any form of health care at all.

So the choice we all end up with is: buy one of these “proper” health insurance plans defined by the President, or be punished through the complete deprivation of health care. This is the enforcement mechanism.

Totalitarian in Scope

But this only affects health care, and health care is special, right?

Wrong. There is no legal requirement in the ObamaCare law that the definition of a “proper health insurance plan” must only include measures relating to health care. Already, Obama has declared that every health insurance plan must provide contraception, which is only as relevant to health as our choice of food, car, home, or any other choices we make in our lives.

The President can easily decree any other purchasing mandate, requiring us to buy a GM car, or buy broccoli, or buy houses in specific areas, or buy certain newspapers, or subscribe to a propaganda newsletter touting the president’s achievements, or join a union. The President can also use his power over insurance coverage to retaliate against groups who do not support him. For instance, the President might put clause in your insurance plan that states that you lose coverage for some number of conditions if you buy a gun, or spend too much money supporting his opponent, or live in a wealthy neighborhood.

From a legal perspective, this law gives the President the totalitarian power to force any activity, or punish any activity, under the threat of loss of health care. All he has to do is say that it’s a part of your insurance plan (which would rapidly lose all relation to health care other than through its enforcement mechanism).

Irrevocable Power

What about the separation of powers? Checks and balances? Congress has already surrendered its power by delegating the power to define “proper” insurance plans to the President’s appointees. The Supreme Court has already taken a whack at this law, and bizarrely ruled the Individual Mandate constitutional so long as it only makes use of economic incentives, rather than prison sentences to enforce its goals. But of course, those economic incentives can be just as damaging as prison sentences. The only branch of government that has the power to stop this law from becoming a dictatorship is the Executive Branch. Only the dictator can prevent the dictatorship (or a 2/3rds majority in both houses of Congress to override vetoes, but that’s the stuff of legend). The separation of powers and all the checks and balances have been thwarted.

As humans have learned throughout history, once a leader gains dictatorial power, it is extremely difficult to remove him, even if he is subjected to periodic elections. Under a dictatorship, information is controlled, and political opponents are destroyed, as in Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany. The means of production are given to political allies, and elections are stolen, as in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and Chavez’s Venezuela. The citizens may even begin to worship their leaders out of a sense of dependence, as in Stalin’s Soviet Union, Maoist China, and North Korea.

Our only hope for avoiding dictatorship is to get ObamaCare repealed before January 1st, 2014. Obama will not do it. If we cannot remove Obama from office, either in the November election, or through impeachment prior to 2014, the United States government will become a dictatorship.

If you’ve been wondering what would drive a libertarian like myself to support a conservative like Mitt Romney, this is why. After the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare, the gravity of the situation became clear: it’s all on us to pick the right president. Unlike Gary Johnson, Romney can beat Obama, and unlike Obama, he has pledged to repeal ObamaCare. Certainly, there is always the chance that Romney is lying and would keep ObamaCare. But if he does, he loses the support of his base, and the legendary 2/3rds majority in Congress may manifest and repeal the dictatorial powers over his veto.

This is our last chance. We, the People of the United States, must remove Barack Obama from office in order to save our freedom from an untimely death.

EDIT (6/11/13): Added a link to the section of the Obamacare bill that gives the Secretary of HHS this power.

Here’s what Obama is gonna do if he stays for 4 more years

He will continue doing much of what he’s done for the last 2.5 years. That means:

:bulletblack: More indefensible bureaucratic expansion. [link]
:bulletblack: More regulation of company mobility to prevent profitable enterprises from fleeing Democratic majority states to search for more freedom elsewhere. [link]
:bulletblack: More economic failure, leading to Carter-style stagflation. [link]
:bulletblack: More debt growth, as he resists all attempts to steer the country away from an imminent Greek-style crash. [link]
:bulletblack: More moralistic nationalization, enforced through militarization of the US police forces, pushing us towards a Soviet-style police state. [link] [link] [link]
:bulletblack: More corrupt abuses of executive power, bordering on illegality. [link] [link] [link]

If you want to continue these disturbing trends, to disregard liberty in favor of a Soviet-style socialist nation under a government with totalitarian control over your personal life and endeavors, then by all means, vote for Obama in 2012. But if you want change- economic recovery and the restoration of the values of liberty -then for your own sake, vote against the Democrats!

Obama is Actively Holding Back the Economy

In order to secure reelection, Obama will have to argue that the economy would’ve been worse without his policies. He will argue extensively that no matter how bad things are, they would’ve been worse without him. However, that’s not what the data shows.

As you can see, the natural growth of the economy normally results in a strong growth trajectory following a big crash. This can be attributed to the fact that no technology is lost, and the efficient market hypothesis should lead to oscillation around a constant exponential growth trajectory, as shown in the first graph. This pattern even appears throughout the Great Depression.

However, in our current economic depression, we haven’t had that bounce-back they way we naturally should. You’ll notice in the second graph that recovery began in 1st Quarter, FY2009 (which is actually Oct. 1st 2008 through Dec. 31st 2008). A strong growth curve continues through 4th Quarter FY2009 (ending in September 2009). But then it stops. What happened?

Was it because the stimulus ended? Well, no, the majority of the stimulus money was spent throughout 2010. Yet, growth was stagnant throughout 2010. So the argument that “the stimulus just wasn’t big enough” really doesn’t match the data.

With the worst economic recovery in the history of the country upon us, this data makes it very clear that Obama’s economic policies have actively hindered economic growth to an extent never seen before under any previous president. No Republican or Democrat has held back economic growth as severely as Obama. He must be removed from office and his policies must be repealed if we want to see economic growth return to this country. Think about this when it comes time to vote in the 2012 elections.

Government is Violence

What is government?

An answer I hear a lot is, “It’s an elected body of individuals to represent the interests of a body of people.” It’s not hard to find exceptions to this definition. We call many unelected groups “government” (such as any dictatorship), and there are many elected entities which we do not call government (such as the members of a board of trustees). The point is, the writing of laws, operating through elections, or representing the interests of a group of people does not make a government.

There must be something else; something which uniquely gives a group of individuals enough control for them to be called a government; something which allows them to impose laws and have others listen. So why do we follow laws dictated by “the government”? Is it because we agree with them in all cases? Certainly not.

We listen because we don’t want to be arrested and imprisoned. If you defy a law and get caught, the government will use violent force to deprive you of life or liberty. No other entity can impose that upon us. If they try, “the government” declares war on them. Government is the only entity which can use violent force to control our actions. And that’s what defines them. Government is a monopoly on violence. “Government” and “violence” are synonymous.

That’s not to say that all government is wrong. Is violence always wrong? It’s certainly not wrong when used in self-defense, or in defense of the lives of our family members. There are many other situations where violence can be justified, but these situations are still very specific and limited.

So we all must ask ourselves, are we using government only for the things for which we would use violence? Or have we lost perspective, forgetting the connection between government imposition of laws and imposition through violence? Should we use violence to punish that guy who got high for fun in his own home, hurting nobody but himself? Should we use violence to force each and every person to make a contract with a health insurance company, whether it’s a good financial decision or not? Should we use violence to force charity? Should we use violence against people who make decisions leading to their own obesity?

These are all things we currently use government for, and there are many more examples of questionable uses. Is it right?

In this sense, Libertarianism is pacifism tempered by the right to self-defense (disclaimer: this is a quote I got from this dude). It is a philosophy of ethical treatment of human beings. Though libertarians often find themselves arguing on pragmatic grounds, in the end, it all comes down to a question of whether or not the ends justify the means.

The Problem With Democracy

Suppose we hold an election. One measure on the ballot reads as such:

“The group of people who vote ‘No’ or abstain from voting on this measure shall be required by law to pay a sum total of $30 billion to the group of people who vote ‘Yes.’ The funds shall be divided up evenly among the members of the recipient group.”

So, if the measure loses, nothing happens. If the measure wins with 60 million people voting “Yes” and 40 million people voting “No,” then 40 million people are forced to give up $750 each, and 60 million people receive $500 each. Such a measure is almost certain to win, despite the total disconnect between morality of such a measure and the incentive for the individual to vote “Yes” in the election. This is a foolproof way for one group to take money from another group in a democracy.

How can this ever be prevented?

The solution is to put forward a measure preventing such a situation through a general statement of principle. If you request a vote on a measure preventing government powers from being used to take money from some and give to others, then such a measure actually has a chance of passing. Though more than 50% may vote yes on a self-enriching money transfer, more than 50% would probably also agree that, in general, people shouldn’t be able to use governmental powers for such monetary transfers.

And this is why we have a Constitution, and we must hold to it strictly. The Constitution of the United States is the compendium of “statements of principle” of this nature. This document keeps tyranny of the majority in check by creating consistency in the law through the establishment of democratically-decided common principles.

However, the power of the Constitution as a set of democratic principles preventing tyranny of any particular majority runs into trouble when reinterpretation of wording occurs. Over the last century, the Supreme Court has gutted the Constitution to the point of impotency through reinterpretation by fiat. The interpretation of the Commerce Clause has been expanded by no democratic means to include all commerce, when in fact the text of the clause only describes “commerce among the several states”- a statement which would originally have been clear to refer to interstate commerce alone. Various other severe reinterpretations exist, but it is this specific case which puts our country in danger of losing any sort of statement of common principles at all.

Indeed, in Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled the recently-passed health care mandate unsupported by the Commerce Clause partially because such a reinterpretation of the clause would’ve removed all limits on government activity. To allow the federal government to regulate lack of commerce as well as commerce would effectively make totalitarianism constitutional, where it once was not. I do not believe, and Hudson agrees, that any nation that could legitimately call itself a democracy would allow judicial fiat to rip away entirely the common principles established through the democratic process.

In this sense, Hudson’s ruling is a good first step to restoring the democratically-decided limits on the powers of government, but it’s still not enough. Any activity that the government deems as having an effect on commerce, it can regulate at will under the modern interpretation of the Commerce Clause. The text of this clause has not been amended, so the power that it allows should not have changed as it did at the beginning of the 20th century. I do not see this modified interpretation of the clause as legitimate government, and neither should anyone else who supports the idea of democracy.

We, as a democratic people, need to reassert our statement of principles. We must amend the Commerce Clause to an unambiguous form, so that the agreed upon principles of the people trump arbitrary modifications by illegitimate judicial rule. I propose we restore the Commerce Clause to a more explicit version of its originally intended form:

“The federal government shall have the power to ensure that no governing power restricts trade between the states.”

If we can do this, we can restore a government of principles. We can remove the legitimacy of totalitarian or tyrannical rule within the United States by once again making it unconstitutional.

On Tax Policy

During a debate on tax policy, someone made this comment:

A tiny tax increase on a small percentage of the population is not “overruling the will of the individuals and satisfying governmental priorities.” It’s sane fiscal policy, and it used to be perfectly acceptable before lunatics and their useful tools like you took over.

I decided to give a full explanation of why raising taxes to generate revenue doesn’t make sense:

See, based on the fundamentals of economic theory which have stood the test of time over the last 200 years, I disagree that “raising taxes is sane fiscal policy.”

Here, let’s take a step back to a point where we can agree. Sane fiscal policy means collecting more revenue than we spend. Now, I know you’re not particularly fond of reducing spending, so let’s just ignore that option for now and assume that all that spending is absolutely necessary, and is a function of population. Bear with me, because this train of thought will take a little bit to lay out.

So, if we raise taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals, do you think the IRS will collect more revenue in the long run? Hauser’s Law empirically demonstrates that no tax rate in the US, from 28% to 90%, has ever generated revenue exceeding 20% of the GDP. To explain this effect, on a theoretical level, I can point to the Laffer Curve, and on a practical level, I can point to all the different ways by which wealth-creation mechanisms disintegrate in a country where it’s too expensive to do business (outsourcing, expatriation, decreased investment incentives, decreased trade due to the expense, etc.). But regardless of its cause, it’s a safe assumption to say that Hauser’s Law, for whatever reason, cannot be broken.

So, in fiscal year 2009, this country spent $3.518 trillion. The GDP for that year was $14.266 trillion. That means for that year, the government spent 24.66% of the GDP. If we freeze spending at that absolute level (meaning no increases in the dollar amount), we need to raise the GDP at least 25% in order to match revenues to costs without breaking Hauser’s Law. Additionally, the Reagan era showed us that we maintain revenue at the upper limit imposed by Hauser’s Law, even with a 28% top tax rate. Hence, the debate over what will balance the budget (and therefore, the question of what constitutes “sane fiscal policy”) comes down to a matter of what will raise the GDP the quickest, the most efficiently, and the most sustainably. This significantly simplifies our problem.

To answer this question, we have to decide where the wealth should be allocated in order to generate the most new wealth, dollar for dollar. If we raise the tax rate, then we’re putting a larger percentage of the wealth produced by investors and businesses in the hands of the government. If we decrease the tax rate, then we’re leaving a larger percentage of that wealth in the hands of the people who created it. So who is able to more efficiently create new wealth? The government, or the private investors who originally generated that wealth.

To answer this question, we need to consider the mechanism of wealth-generation. The following explanation is what you’ll learn in any introductory economics class. Every time you buy something without being deceived or forced through the threat of violence/incarceration, you are gaining something which is of greater value to you than the price you paid for it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t buy it. Hence, even though you’re giving up monetary wealth, you are becoming more wealthy in the general sense every time you buy something which is worth more to you than its price. Generalize this over the entire population, and you have the basis for wealth generation in an economy. Workers labor for an amount of money which they feel is worth more than their time, and they in turn spend that money on goods and services which are worth even more to them. Likewise, business owners give up a product for a higher price than the sum of the monetary cost and their investment of time. Investors give up their money for a more valuable opportunity to make money later.

What this means is that the more effectively money is being used to satisfy individual desires for value-increasing exchange, the faster the economic growth. Whoever knows an individual’s value system best is going to have the greatest capability to bring wealth to that individual through exchanges. And really, nobody knows a person’s value system better than the person himself. There is no possible way for the government to know more about the values and incentives for trade of the entire populace than the sum total of the individuals within that populace. Thus, every time the government takes money from individuals and spends it, instead of letting the individuals spend it on their own, some people will be less happy than others, and some may even gain negative utility as a result of the exchange. Hence, the government cannot possibly generate wealth off of money faster than the sum total of the individuals if that money is left with them. Friedrich von Hayek got a Nobel Prize for formalizing this idea (known as “The Knowledge Problem“).

Coming back to tax policy, what this means is that taxes higher than 20% (the limit from Hauser’s Law) are self-defeating. You actually decrease revenue if you raise taxes above that threshold for more than one year. On the other hand, the lower the tax rate (i.e. the more money we leave with the individuals in the economy), the faster wealth is generated, and the more efficiently the GDP will grow. This faster GDP growth, in turn, results in higher revenues (as an absolute dollar figure) for the government if you’re still collecting 20% of the GDP. This is what people are talking about when they discuss the “Revenue-Maximizing” and “Growth-Maximizing” points on the Laffer Curve. A flat tax of 20% puts you at the revenue-maximizing point on the Laffer Curve. The growth-maximizing point is somewhere even lower. Then, the fastest way to increase the revenue collected by the IRS (and therefore, by your admission, the sanest fiscal policy) is to set taxes somewhere between the growth-maximizing and revenue-maximizing points. When we need money fast, we should set it at the revenue-maximizing rate. When we are looking more towards long-term prosperity, we should set it closer to the growth-maximizing rate.

So that’s where my stance on tax policy comes from. I hope it sounds rational enough.

Compulsory Contracts

With the NAACP and other Obama-supporters pulling the race card on the Tea Party, it was only a matter of time before it came back to bite them. Bringing to mind a time when some people were not as free as others, some black Tea Party supporters are linking the compulsory labor and surrender of property rights inherent in Obama’s policies (and especially his health care law) to slavery: [link]

The most important point that video makes is that the horrors of slavery are not about race, but about loss of freedom through compulsory labor. Race-neutral enslavement is still enslavement. And enslavement is not only wrong, but unconstitutional as well, as another eloquent libertarian explains.

And that brings us to the clincher: If the government can force us to buy the product of private health care companies just as a result of being alive, what can’t they do? What is the point of a constitution that allows the government to force you to give up your money to another private party without any sort of consensual agreement or judicial process? Does it give us the right to free speech just so we can complain to ourselves when the government forces us to buy the New York Times, a GM car, and to get a job in the medical industry so that there are people to fill the “right” of health care? That is enslavement.

To interpret the constitution as allowing the government to allow such things is simply incorrect. The 10th Amendment exists to ensure that the document is interpreted as an enumeration of limited powers, rather than as an enumeration of limited freedoms, as the Democrats and authoritarian-leaning judges have interpreted it. This is a debate about the fundamental nature of our Republic, as to whether it should be constitutional, or enslaved by the whims of democratically-elected dictators.

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