Monday, November 26, 2018

Ending the Federal Inducements for States to Spend Money

Government at all levels will either quit spending money at a higher rate than economic growth or such spending will destroy the Republic. The choice is that stark, and I believe this choice will soon be apparent to many, all who dare see it, rather than just the few foresighted individuals who now perceive it. If too few dare to come to grips with fiscal reality, the Republic will end in a super-nova of debt and corruption. Presently, that last appears to be the most likely outcome as too many influential players have positioned themselves to benefit from the generational looting.

Nevertheless, whether we are able to preserve whatever is left of the Republic by radically altering our current fiscal course or whether we must needs rebuild from the ashes without re-sowing the same seeds which led to the destruction, it is necessary to understand how it is that government spending has spiraled out of control and what we might do to stop it.

One method by which the central government encourages out of control spending is by offering to pay a share of the cost if a smaller unit of government increases spending. The most extreme example of this in recent times is Obamacare, whereby the Federal Government paid 100% of the cost of insurance for those under 100% of the federal poverty level for three years, if only the states would agree to expand Medicaid to cover them. And Washington committed to pay 90% of the costs thereafter. Few politicians, pushed by the interests which would benefit, could resist the "free" money that was being offered by Washington. Never mind that in the long term the money necessary to sustain this new program does not exist. It is unsustainable, and therefore will not be sustained.

The problem with such policies is that economic costs and benefits are warped. If Arkansas does not expand Medicaid, then Arkansas will lose out on the "free" money while Arkansans will continue to pay whatever federal taxes are used to pay the bills for states which did take the "free" money. Thus Arkansas politicians vote to take the money, even if their population was initially against the idea (until the "free" money corrupts enough of them). The choice for the state was to spend and get in on the loot from the new program or don't spend and still be taxed for the spending of others.

Supreme court precedent consistently ruled that the federal government could not simply seize the governing machinery of a state government and force them to implement a federal program, even if Washington was paying for it (using tax dollars harvested from the same population which makes up the states of course). But there is no need to force states to comply if the federal government can simply force state taxpayers to fund federal-state "partnership" programs that their states do not participate in. This is true whether the spending is financed through present taxation or cowardly generational looting (the use of debt). 

So long as the citizens of the state are on the hook for federal debt incurred funding "partnership" programs between state and federal governments then the states will be induced to join the program whether the people want it or not. The politician wants "free" money from the feds to hand out, and even if most people understand we can't afford it, there will be special interests clamoring for the spending. If the cost of the spending is not felt, then the money will be spent. Government "welfare" does not just corrupt poor uneducated people in the ghettos. It ultimately corrupts everyone it touches, including the politicians who buy votes with it. This is the road to fiscal ruin and we are well along it and our destination is in sight.

How might we prevent this perversion of cost benefit analysis? It is necessary to reverse the shifting and concealing of costs which occurs whenever a state which refuses to participate in an economic activity is irregardless forced to share in the costs of those which do. This principle can be taken too far and lead to the malady of anarchy, but we are a long way from this being our present malady. Rather we are at the opposite extreme where unaffordable spending which does not even have widespread and clear majority consent is nevertheless occurring because of warped incentives. We are at the one extreme of central statism, which is opposed by the other extreme of anarchy. Localism advocates for the balanced and moderate middle position. States which refuse to participate in federal attempts to use them to administer programs should not have to share the costs of those which do.

If the United States fails to control spending on its own and there is a fiscal collapse of the federal government, which appears to be the most likely possibility at this point, then Washington will not have the decency or courage to put any of the suggestions below into practice. In which case, whatever sort of nations arise from the ashes of the former United States should put them into practice. Of course the Localist Ideal is that the Central government would have no power to initiate such programs in the first place. Programs like Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, HUD, and even most defense spending, would be state programs, if the citizens of each state desired them as I assume most if not all would. The Federal government would not even have control of a printing press which it could use to strategically grow itself and bribe its way to assume powers not originally granted to it -as the present federal government has done. Short of that ideal, here are some things which might be done......

1) If a state refuses to participate in a federal domestic program, then the federal taxes due from citizens of that state should reduced by the amount of projected spending by that program. If the federal programs that a state refuses to participate in take up five percent of the federal budget, then the taxpayers of that state would have their federal tax bill reduced by five percent. Thus the state politicians could take credit for a federal tax cut by saying "no" to new spending.

Note that this solution, in addition to requiring federal cooperation which is very unlikely to occur without a titanic shift in the political environment, still lets the feds borrow debt whose costs will be incurred by the taxpayers of the refusing states later on. It would be the equivalent of borrowing money and then either using it to finance a new program for the states which wanted it or financing a tax "cut" for those which did not. I put "cut" in parenthesizes because if it is financed by debt it is nor really a tax "cut" but simply a deferment until it is time to pay the debt. This would induce some state governments to shift sides, from profligate advocates for more federal spending to institutions committed to help get federal spending under control.

2) As I mentioned, the federal government would be highly resistant to the proposal above. It may be that this process will have to start without their permission. A potential solution which would put pressure on the system and require court and other battles to sort out would be for a refusing state government to deduct the costs to its taxpayers from other monies it might owe the federal government. For example many states owe the Unemployment Insurance Fund hundreds of millions of dollars. This is money that the states owe a federal program. A state could just refuse to pay the federal government back as compensation for the money taken from their taxpayers to fund a program which they do not participate in. No doubt this would lead to a confrontation, which hopefully could be sorted out so that something like solution one becomes law. 

I suppose the feds could respond by cutting off other monies to state governments. After all this process has been so abused that most of state government is funded by the magic printing press of the federal government. Of course those federal monies are used to fund programs which state taxpayers are paying for, and so the next step in the escalation might be for the states to order federal taxes of its citizens to be sent to the state capitol instead of the IRS until such time as the federal government restored the other funds. After all, it would not be right for the federal government to cut off funds to programs that the state had agreed to just because the state did not want to pay for programs that it did not agree to. 

The stakes are huge and there is no way to resolve many of these problems without confrontation of some kind. It can either be an orderly and rational process hopefully leaning on the courts at a time of our choosing or it can be a bloody and chaotic process when we are least prepared for it due to our ignoring the problem until it precipitates systemic collapse. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Global Trade's Hidden Costs

I noticed an article today which had a bombshell about the Chinese government sneaking a stealth microchip into the servers and other hardware it was selling around the world. Organizations infiltrated include Amazon, Apple, and even the CIA. The chip would give them the power to remotely hack the operating system of a myriad of devices.

I do not call trade with China "Free" trade because it is not possible to have free trade with unfree people. China is the world's largest labor camp and most of its inmates are not free to leave and seek opportunity elsewhere (only those connected to the elite are). Thus it has a captive labor force. It also lacks a free media by which workers could learn about dangerous working conditions and make informed choices about where to work. So its global trade, not free trade. And global trade has hidden costs. The above link is an example of a huge one, but there are many others. The importation of dangerous pests for example.

Globalism is pushed by our media, which is itself owned by global corporate entities, and except for the anomaly of Donald Trump, both establishment political parties which are also owned by global corporate entities. But global trade has hidden costs, in particular when dealing with unfree societies. Barriers to trade with such nations are like a "firewall" in ones computer system. They may slow things down a bit but it is a form of insurance. We can't have enough redundancy in a global supply chain where each critical part is made by a single entity. Such a supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. China will suffer great turmoil someday, because its system is corrupt and unjust. If we are inextricably linked to them, we will suffer with them.

Global trade has hidden costs and those costs must be born by someone. The global corporations who have pushed to lower all protections and redundancies in favor of a global trade model have harvested the profits from their scheme. But when its time to pay the costs, you can be sure they will try to socialize those onto the general public.

The precepts of Localism provide the most sensible protections for our country, or any country, against the abuse of corporate power, including the abuse described here.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Bizarre Second Amendment Ruling Points to Need for Return to Original Intent

A federal judge in Maryland, speaking for the appeals court in a ruling on the Second Amendment, said something so spectacularly ignorant that I actually had to check that the report was really from NBC news and not some satire site posing as NBC news.

In a 10-4 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said the guns banned under a recent Maryland law (such as AR-15s) aren't protected by the Second Amendment.

Now are you sitting down? Here is the statement...."Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war," Judge Robert King wrote for the court.

"Weapons of war" is precisely what the second amendment was specifically written to protect. That is why it starts off by saying "A well-regulated militia......". Numerous well-known quotes from the founders indicate they thought that the populace should be sufficiently well-armed to discourage any government from using its own army to oppress them. And the second amendment was written just a decade after the successful secession from the British Empire known as the American Revolution occurred. This revolution was started by private citizens using their private arms as "weapons of war" against the British army.

The statement by Judge King sounds like something from a person who could not pass a high-school civics class, not a sitting federal appeals-court judge writing for the court. It is utterly unconnected to the history of our nation or even the text of the amendment itself. We need federal courts with credibility in the eyes of the people. Sometimes they are our best protection against Executive and Legislative over-reach. But decisions like this one, especially backed up by asinine statements like that one, squander the public credibility of our federal courts. It is a statement taken out of context.....from reality.

Now people are upset about the recent school shootings, and we should be. But the problem is the school shootings, not our emotional distress about the school shootings. If all we are trying to do is reduce our emotional distress about the shootings and not the shootings themselves, this is the sort of delusion people will resort to. If we are trying to reduce innocent people being killed by guns, we will take a more careful approach which appreciates what has historically happened to the populations which have been disarmed by their governments over time and what has really changed since the character of mass-shootings has changed. But all that is too thoughtful for the person who is only trying to relieve their emotional distress over the shootings by demanding that the government "do something".

And of course, what is necessary for Chicago may be unnecessary and even oppressive for rural Arkansas. Yet when all decisions are made at the federal level, there will be pressure to interpret law so as to allow government to act in the worst case scenario. If some population somewhere has lost the virtue to carry powerful guns then the feds will feel pressure to let all governments everywhere restrict access to them. If some family somewhere has abused the freedom to homeschool then the feds, if they are the ones deciding, will feel pressure to let all governments everywhere intervene.                   
Here is where localism- decentralization of political power- ties into all this: It is not that government at any level should be powerless to restrict guns. I don't even say for sure that Maryland had no legal grounds to pass the law that they did. I only say that the original intent of the second amendment, indeed the entire Bill of Rights, was to limit the federal government only, not the state governments. The Federal Government should have no power to ban the possession of any personal weapon, even if they are identical to the weapons carried by their own soldiers. If state governments want to do so the second amendment is not applicable to them- but the amendments in their own state constitutions are.

Most states, including mine, have something similar to the second amendment in their state constitutions and that is what should be applied to the states. The feds should stay out of it. This is the original intent for the whole Bill of Rights, but as all power was directed toward the central government the truth of this knowledge was lost over time. The blue book below starts off by showing how this was the original intent of the Bill of Rights. From there it shows the ways in which control of our lives was lost over time to a vast and growing central state. It also shows what kind of policies we should be pushing for instead.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Good Conservative/Liberal and the Bad Kind

"Conservative" is good in the sense that it refers to people valuing the wisdom handed down to them and not bending with the fashions of the day simply because they are the fashions of the day. They cling rather to ideas which have stood the test of time in preference to those which are trending on twitter this week. That permits moral and intellectual consistency.

On the other hand, there is a mutation of conservatism which is not good. It is a belligerent resistance to the idea that one still has anything to learn or change their mind about. It is not open to new ideas on any basis, even fact or reason. It cherishes what is not because it has proven the test of time, but simply because that is the way we have always done it or always believed. This is the opposite extreme and in a different way is just as destructive as the liberal extreme of casting out ancient traditions and values without proper reflection or reason- just based on a reflex action that somehow the new ideas their generation has must be better than that of prior ones.

The fair mind will see that the mutations of both liberal and conservative thought are based on the same arrogant premises that we have nothing to learn, to the extreme liberal there is nothing to learn from the past, to the extreme conservative there is nothing to learn from the present. Arrogance and insecurity are not mutually exclusive- there may even be a positive correlation. And these are the traits which produce and are exacerbated by these mutations strains on either side of the political spectrum.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Soros Funds Brexit Opposition Movement

It turns out that much of the funding for the campaign to reverse Brexit and keep great Britain in the European Union comes not from natives of that nation at all, but rather George Soros. The Daily Mail had a huge write-up about it which gave Soros a grossly disproportionate amount of space to Soros himself. The article was basically written by him, and told only his side of the story. He even spoke of "Nazi occupation" of Hungary as if his homeland was invaded by the Germans. Hungary was an ally of Nazi Germany in World War II, just as it was in the First World War. Once it was clear the German's were losing the government of Hungary put out feelers about making a separate peace. Fearing betrayal, Germany sent in troops to keep the government of their allies in line. Hungarian troops continued to fight alongside the Germans against the Russians throughout, just as they had before the "occupation".

Despite the overwhelmingly one-sided puff-piece nature of the story, even in that account certain contradictions reveal themselves to the alert reader. In one place he claims "I came to distinguish between an open society – in which people elect their leaders, who are supposed to serve the interests of their electorate – and a closed society, in which rulers exploit the people under their control." Yet a few paragraphs down he is quoted as saying, "Allowing a referendum on membership was a fatal error. Experience has shown that referenda often lead to bad decisions."

So Soros wants people to elect their leaders, but does not want the people themselves to be able to directly decide things through referenda! I guess he wants to have elections where the elected leaders refuse to do what the electorate wants and call that "freedom" and "an open society." Mr. Soros what you are describing is not an "open society." Rather it is a fraud and a sham which pretends to be a system in which people have a government responsive to the People's desires while in fact real choice is denied them. The globalists are fine with us going through all sorts of elections and forms of self-government- so long as it doesn't change anything.

We now have global money buying national elections. This, combined with national parties funded by global corporations, and media owned by global corporations, makes it almost impossible for anything but globalist policies to be implemented, not matter what the voters of any nation might want. We can't just say "we want a policy in X which is distinctly ours" and expect to get it without dealing with the elements of the political environment which make getting "X" nearly impossible. This is true whether "X" is about immigration, education, foreign policy, bailouts/money and banking, trade agreements, or international law. If you only care about "X" and refuse to address the elements in the political environment which serve to eliminate your choice on "X" then you are doomed to forever staying a defeated reactionary.

This is why citizens who want to maintain or regain some national sovereignty (and hopefully more local self-determination) have to start thinking about how to oppose the elements of the political environment which preclude them winning on the questions and not just the questions themselves. Of course, I think the best place you can start is by reading my two books on Localism. The blue one which lays out the specific doorways centralizers use to steal your freedom and how they might be shut down, and the red one which defends the philosophical premises by which we are right to resist centralization.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mayor Resigns from FCC Committee

Localism says that in the cases where some degree of government force is the proper way to resolve the conflict, that power should be dispersed as much as possible to government units closer to the individual. This is so that governments are forced to compete against one another to be the most just. Thus government itself is subjected to free market pressures to serve people better. Therefore even questions for which people decide that government force should be a factor it is not the only factor. In localism those question always become "a combination of the two" since government itself is somewhat subjected to market forces.

Still, many otherwise liberty-leaning people have called for Net "Neutrality". This is often motivated by the legitimate concern that massive global corporations have achieved de-facto monopoly status over wide swaths of the market. Thus, government it is OK or even desirable to have the central government intervene because there is no free market anyway. The problem with this reasoning is that it ignores that corporations themselves are creations of government. Government is responsible for letting them get so large that they are a threat to free markets. Localism addresses abuse of incorporation and no philosophy of government is complete unless it does. This is simply another case of government itself creating a problem that people turn to government to solve. There should be no global corporations, or if there are then they should be taxed over here, and over there, but I won't get too far down that rabbit trail here. Read the book for that one.

People may call on a giant central state to check such corporate entities, but in the long run it doesn't even work. Massive government and massive corporations find ways to reach common cause. The two don't check and balance one another so much as they collude to check the market- which is the free choices and decisions of the rest of us. Both government and corporate power must be dispersed for true competition and true checks and balances and a true free market to exist.

If you want an in-depth example of how central government colludes with giant corporations to make the market less-free not more free then have a look at this lengthy article. The gist of it is that Mayors are resigning from the FCC panel because giant corporations have captured the thing and are using it to advance policies which allow giant corporations to take private property without due process and block cities or undeserved areas from forming their own public infrastructure alternatives to said giant corporations. Cities are losing authority to represent their citizens in negotiations with the giant corps. It is Comcast against you as a person in a monopoly market! In other words, the big boys are using government to do what they always do- crowd out the competition and give themselves legal powers not available to real flesh-and-blood citizens.

It does not take much intelligence  to see where this was going, just a willingness to think for one's self instead of letting big media- also run by global corporations, tell you what to think. All you had to do was see how giant corporations have used federal government regulations to unjustly skew the law in their own favor to understand why we should not let them do that again with net infrastructure. They are simply doing exactly what they have done with every other federal "regulatory" agency for my entire adult lifetime. At some point, perhaps my fellow citizens will take the red pill and escape the matrix of corporate mis-information they have been fed on this and similar issues. Actually, I hope they take both the blue "pill" and the red "pill" which are pictured below....