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 He must be removed from office and his policies must be repealed if we want to see economic growth return to this country.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.

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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.

Asteroid Impact

I’m going all-in on this one.

I’m taking the absolutely most insane thing about libertarianism and bringing it up for debate. If I can win this one, then all other points are moot.

If an asteroid is headed towards Earth, and is about to annihilate all of humanity, I say the government should not be able to impose taxes on the people to try to stop it.

Yes, you heard me. And no, I’m not a suicidal nihilist indifferent to the destruction of the human race.

Basically, it’s just not the government’s job to be stopping asteroids. The government’s job is to protect the equal rights of all by preventing individuals from violating those rights of others. Violence should only be used to stop violence or other forms of coercion. I hold to this principle even when faced with the potential destruction of the entire human race.

But is it really so crazy to hold to your principles, even when billions of lives are at stake? For example, many people are against the use of torture to extract information from non-citizen combatants. Would you hold to that principle even if thousands of lives were at stake? What about millions? Billions? Does that make you crazy?

If you would hold to your principles in those cases, you may understand why I’d consider it wrong for the government to steal money from its citizens to try to stop an asteroid disaster. The ends simply never justify the means. And really, if the demand is great enough for something (like for preventing the destruction of the human race), then people will certainly voluntary contribute to the cause anyways, without the government forcing them to. That asteroid would be deflected without the government having to violate individual rights to do it.

So if you follow my argument on this, then consider all lesser threats- lack of health care, lack of education, poor infrastructure, high drug usage rates…like an Armageddon Asteroid, these are all threats which I feel should be averted through voluntary action, not through government thievery and intimidation. And libertarian principles are no more crazy than principles of any other kind.

You can read more about this argument here.

The Strongest Argument for Term Limits: Nancy Pelosi

Now I’m gonna try my best to give this argument elements that Republicans and Democrats alike can identify with. So if you don’t like what I’m saying at first, just bear with me and hear me out.

For awhile now, I’ve argued that strict term limits are necessary to ensure that representatives remain representative of the people. If we are continually selecting new representatives from the pool of the people, then we can ensure that our government will continue to be representative of our will, rather than having career politicians continually reelected through name-recognition and corrupt deal-making.

One argument against this that I frequently hear is that freshman politicians aren’t as good at getting things done. It takes someone with political experience to know how to make compromises, rally their base, and do all the politicking necessary to get bills passed.

Enter Nancy Pelosi. She is figurative poster-boy of “political experience.” Well-known for her ability to rally her base and do all the politicking necessary to push controversial legislation through, she is seeking another term as the House Democratic Caucus leader, which would make her the Minority Leader. However, because of her demotion from House Majority Leader to House Minority Leader, everyone in her chain of command is forced to take a demotion, and not everyone is happy about it. This presents Pelosi with a problem, because it means some of her fellow party leaders may set their eyes on the prize of a higher office- specifically, Pelosi’s position of Minority Leader.

However, doing what Pelosi does best, she found a compromise which all contenders for party leadership can be happy with: create a new office so that everyone can be in charge.  By creating a new office, she makes sure that all leaders in her party maintain positions of party leadership, preventing a power struggle which would’ve had the potential to unseat her.

So, with Pelosi’s vast experience at politicking, she has benefited herself and her fellow party leaders, but is this solution good for everyone? It’s certainly not good for the Democrats to have someone with a 21% favorable rating among independents (29% overall) to continue leading their party in the House after the massive shellacking they received. I mean, with such a massive election loss, which she completely did not predict, she must be doing something very wrong for her party. Keeping her on as Minority Leader is like Christmas for the Republican Party, because they can continue to paint the Democrats as “the Party of Pelosi.”

Another problem with this is that it indicates she’s willing to create new bureaucracy out of nothing, for no purpose, except to benefit herself and her friends. This demonstrates a capacity for corruption which needs to not be playing a part in the process of crafting legislation.

Pelosi’s political skill has been harmful to both her party and the people she represents. So, if giving incumbents the opportunity to be reelected selects for experience at politicking, then I think we should be doing everything we can to keep incumbents out of the election process entirely, enforcing strict term limits.

The goal of a representative democracy is not to “get things done.” It is to represent the will of the people as best as possible without making every single citizen take the time to read and vote on every single bill.

Paul Krugman

Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman is popularly known for the New York Times columns he writes, using his economics knowledge to lambast spending cuts and attempts to decrease the government’s share in the economy. As such, his writings have become a favorite tool of authoritarians and statists.

However, as of late, Krugman hasn’t been making many friends in the economics community. The supply-side economists who dominate the field today have long-since abandoned the Keynesian theories that Krugman seeks to resurrect. And they don’t take too kindly to his less-than-intellectual dismissal of empirical arguments as “fraud.”

Perplexed by Krugman’s deviation from empirical economics, I decided to do a little research to try to figure out what, exactly, leads him to adhere so passionately to theoretical arguments that are so maligned by his opponents. Here is what I found:

Paul Krugman won his Nobel Prize in 2008 “for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity,” particularly pertaining to the increasing returns to scale and its effect on trade. Basically, he [re]discovered the idea that countries specialize their industries (exporting one thing and importing everything else) primarily because one big entity can provide a product more efficiently than lots of independent small entities. Essentially, he likes monopolies, because they’re efficient.

Krugman has taken his economic theory and allowed it to shape his entire belief system, favoring the government-monopoly systems that are capable of greater efficiency of production than any free-market system. And he’s entirely correct- government monopolies are capable of far more efficiency than free, decentralized markets. But to say so is like saying a gas is “capable” of localizing all in one corner of the room without any force guiding it. Technically true- but it will never happen.

Like the physicist who disregards entropy, Paul Krugman’s entire belief system ignores the eternally disruptive force of human incentive. You see, monopolies have the potential to be efficient, but never are, because all incentive to do what’s good for the customer is lifted. In market economies, that generally means prices rise as customers cannot turn to competitors for a better deal. In government economies, that means costs rise and economies stagnate, as there is no incentive to improve services. Efficiency is thrown out the window, because, even though it’s achievable, there’s no reason to invest the time and effort into pursuing it on a fundamental level. In government, this means greater corruption, higher debts, and failed services resulting in extensive squalor.

In this context, it really makes sense why Krugman would toss out any empiricism that his opponents try to bring into discussions. The effects of human incentive are inherent in every economics experiment. This is why economists (and the governments that rely on them) are so bad at prediction- you need to know something about human psychology (and have a good feel for it) before you can understand how a market will react to an impulse. This is something which Krugman’s machine-like theories just don’t address.

And that is why Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is wrong…again (and again, and again, and again…).

A Little Girl’s Lemonade Stand

A little girl’s lemonade stand was shut down because “she needed to obtain a temporary restaurant license.” The public goes crazy, the health inspectors receive death threats, and finally, the Oregon state officials apologize for shutting down the stand.

But why are they apologizing? The laws say that you can’t set up an establishment that prepares and sells food without a restaurant license. Taco stands and small food establishments get shut down all the time, without remorse, under those same laws. Do we only apply laws and regulations to people who aren’t cute?

More importantly, why are people angry? Are they upset this little girl is having the same standards applied to her that the entire state of Oregon (and most of the country) faces? I don’t think so.

I think the reason people are so upset is because they see someone trying to make an honest living in the only way they know how, and the big ole government is coming in and stomping it down in order to maintain control. The fact that she’s cute doesn’t change the morality of the situation- it just gets more people’s attention. What’s bad for that little girl is bad for anyone who’s trying to start a business.

So next time you favor any sort of regulation on any sort of business, try to picture that little girl as the owner of that business, and see if those regulations still seem fair to you.

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.