Sunday, August 31, 2008

America: a police state

From LewRockwell.com

20080825__20080826_P12_CD26CCDNCPROTARREST~p2.jpg
It's not Tiananmen Square, it's just a view of the state protecting political speech. Is it about keeping the peace or intimidating those seeking to exercise their right to free speech? You be the judge.

Now the state is preempting speech in St. Paul. The jackboots are out in force.



And we worry about terrorists taking away our freedoms.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My latest article published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute:


The Fallacy of We
By Jim Fedako


While watching the Olympics, we tend to cheer participants along national lines. We root for our country's athletes over those from the rest of the world. While there is nothing wrong with this fun diversion, the concept of the individual must never be lost amid the ideal of the collective — the belief that the members of the collective (the nation in this instance) are faceless automatons dedicated to serving the whole.

Before I continue, let me introduce a mathematical term that will help expose the fallacy of the collective: the fractal. Briefly, a fractal is a shape that can be split into parts that are each as complex as the original shape itself.

Consider a tree: the main branches are as complex as the tree itself. In essence, the branch is "a reduced-sized copy of the whole." A branch planted in the ground would be indistinguishable from a tree. Iteratively, the branches of the branches are themselves reduced-sized copies of the tree, and so on.

Additionally, consider computer-generated images that have fractal qualities. Here, a complex structure is drawn that appears to have ragged, yet well-defined edges. A closer view of an edge reveals a structure that is as complex as the original image. This continues iteratively as each closer view reveals new and equally complex structures, ad infinitum.

The point is that each closer view reveals new complexity and uniqueness. In essence, the more we know, the less we know.

Now we turn our attention toward the structure of society.

The topology of society has fractal qualities. Starting from a global view, we tend to see countries as homogenous aggregates. We assume that each country has certain attributes that replicate to all inhabitants — there are Chinese and there are Americans.

In this view, citizen A of country X is nothing more than an instantiation of the ideal-type of the aggregate characteristics attributed to X. We immediately claim to know everything about A simply from the fact that A is a citizen of X. They act that way because he is French and she is Russian. This is a dangerous oversimplification of acting men and women, as we shall see.

Next, let us apply the concept of fractals and refocus our attention on country X alone. By looking exclusively at X, we recognize variations among its various regions. Instead of a homogenous group, we find complexity that is similar to the complexity found relative to the countries of the world. Taking the United States as our example, we recognize differences between residents of (say) Ohio and California. All of a sudden, our homogenous ideal-type American is now the aggregate of various and unique groupings.

Dare we create the ideal-type Ohioan? Certainly not, since a closer view of Ohio reveals variations within the state that are as complex as those between the states. As we work our way through iterative views, we arrive at the evil aggregate: the community.

I single out the community, as it is this concept that allows all larger views to have meaning.

The call for the collective begins with the community. From the first days of kindergarten, public schools drum the concept of community into the minds of children. The schools instruct children to view themselves as similar and indistinguishable components of their communities, regardless of whether the community is school or school district or some other aggregation.

To that end, public schools define themselves as "communities of learners" — not as individuals, but as community whose faceless members strive toward the collective good.

Issues that affect a community affect each member (or child) equally. Children are to act in a manner that makes their school proud. They are encouraged to propose community projects and are required to volunteer for community service. The inherent message is that dying — figuratively in this instance — for the collective is the desired fate in life.
Universalism and collectivism cannot accept this democratic solution of the problem of government. In their opinion the individual in complying with the ethical code does not directly further his earthly concerns but, on the contrary, foregoes the attainment of his own ends for the benefit of the designs of the Deity or of the collective whole.
Yet community is always ill defined. Is your community your neighborhood or one of the many overlapping political subdivisions? Or, is your community those whose company you enjoy?
Those who want to start the study of human action from the collective units encounter an insurmountable obstacle in the fact that an individual at the same time can belong and — with the exception of the most primitive tribesmen — really belongs to various collective entities. The problems raised by the multiplicity of coexisting social units and their mutual antagonisms can be solved only by methodological individualism.
Once the idea of community takes root, children have a difficult time seeing themselves as anything other than a collective part. Sadly, this follows the child through to adulthood. Tax issues are proposed for the benefit of the community. And good community members must always support the collective ends.

Therefore, starting with the collective community, it is easy to widen the view (to zoom out if you will) in order to incorporate greater horizons, ending with the collective nation and its government. If you must sacrifice to be a member of your local community, you must also sacrifice to be a member of your nation, regardless of its policies and actions.
If society or state is an entity endowed with volition and intention and all the other qualities attributed to it by the collectivist doctrine, then it is simply nonsensical to set the shabby individual's trivial aims against its lofty designs.
However, acting men and women are not drones working for the good of the hive. When humans are controlled by the central authority, they no longer act; they react. And, as Mises proved long ago, humans reacting to the commands of the dictator are not constructing a hive, they are simply consuming the remaining honey — the capital — and awaiting a very cold winter.

Yet even the community itself is the aggregation of various and unique groupings. Closer views reveal the family. And even families are the product of various and unique entities: individual acting men, women, and children. It is this complexity — the essential complexity of the individual — that explains why discussing politics and parenting among family members is so tricky. It also explains why watching the football game is safer than table talk on a long Thanksgiving afternoon. But it is this complexity that allows for the growth of the division of labor, which advances and improves economies.

There are two views of the structure of society. There is the collective view, which falsely creates ideal-type aggregations and assumes all members are instantiations of that ideal-type. And there is the Austrian view, which sees only the individual and does not attempt to create any aggregations.
All varieties of collectivist creeds are united in their implacable hostility to the fundamental political institutions of the liberal system: majority rule, tolerance of dissenting views, freedom of thought, speech, and the press, equality of all men under the law.

The collectivist blurs the face of the individual, making the steps to the evil -isms of our world relatively easy and likely.

The Austrians, on the other hand, see the individual despite the geopolitics of the day, and it is the focus on the individual that leads increasingly toward liberty.

Cheer your home team. And cheer the fractals who are your neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Do not lose them in a collective haze.


Note: All quotes from Mises, Human Action.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

A New Report from the Baloney Institute ... er, Buckeye Institute

The title above is too harsh since the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solution does seem to have good intentions. They simply suffer from the lack of an underlying system of ethics and economics from which to judge their policy positions. To wit ...

BI recently issued its policy report,
A Proposal to Phase Out Ohio's Income Tax. Sure there is the obvious error -- the Commercial Activity Tax was passed in 2005, not 2007 as reported, but the real issue is the absence of a deep understanding of statistics, economics, and public policy.

The problem is that BI adheres to positivist nonsense. Correlating sets of data and deriving the associated statistics does not create economic law. Now the author does qualify some statements, but he often uses will when might is appropriate. "Eliminating the Ohio income tax will ... " is not a true statement -- and I suspect the author knows as much. Eliminating the tax might result in X or Y, but will is neither true nor honest.

Full disclosure: I support eliminating the state's income tax -- take state government back to its level from as recent as 1972.

But I would never be so bold as to claim that the elimination of the tax would necessarily "boost [the state's] population by 6% and economic activity by 3.5%." Such claims are positivist nonsense.

Using the economic truths of Ludwig von Mises, I can make the apodictically true claim that eliminating the state's income tax will improve the state's general economy, as well as the quality of life for everyone save the state's tax consumers -- the state and its tax hungry partners.

Applying the BI method of econometrics, I could correlate tax rates in Ohio and Al Gore's bogus global warming data and conclude that the increasing tax burden of Ohio's residents is the result of a supposed warming earth. Or I could as easy conclude the converse.

The researchers at BI assign too much power to their statistical software. But, in the absence of an underlying system of ethics and economics, all they have is their statistical software. And software has never discovered truth.

Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe of the Austrian school of economics created a system of ethics from which to judge individual behavior and public policy. BI has no such system. So while they advocate for the elimination of the income tax, they do so based on state and local governments having the ability to raise a similar amount of revenue. What? Is it that just the income tax is bad? Or is it that taxes in general are bad?

It certainly seems that BI's policy analysts still subscribe to the Laffer Curve -- a curve where a certain tax rate provides the largest amount of government revenue. But such a belief simply begs the question:
Is a system that generates the most government revenue optimal? BI assumes the answer is yes and then sets out to create a tax system that lifts the most tax dollars from our wallets.

The BI tax proposal is not about limiting government and reducing tax burdens, it is simply about substituting one tax for another -- a bad for a bad. BI loves the CAT since it raises more tax revenue per dollar of consumer goods than the same tax rate would generate from a sales and use tax. And this is considered a free market solution, coming from a supposed free market think tank? Hmmm.

Does BI really believe that the drag on Ohio's economy is just the income tax? And that by raising the CAT rate to generate the same amount of government revenue and waste, Ohio's economy will improve? The folks at the institute need to read Rothbard's Power and Market to realize their essential error. Or, just maybe, BI is not about lower taxes at all.

The Buckeye Institute needs to rethink its mission. If its mission is to simply advocate the substitution of one tax for another, all the while making certain that state and local governments are made whole, then it needs to end its efforts and close up shop. Wasting time substituting an increased CAT for the income tax will not lower tax rates in Ohio; it will not reduce the size and creep of state and local governments, and it will not improve the economic situation in Ohio. A lot of work for nothing; a chasing after the wind.

Hey OFK, You lied about the levy, and you knew it!

Just like Olentangy, Hilliard schools threatened to close its schools to the public if its upcoming levy fails. The superintendent said he had legal authority to close them. Then, under pressure, he backed away.

But you -- OFK folks -- lied without regard to your family, friends, and neighbors. And folks wonder why credibility is in short supply these days. Lying to get what you want is unethical, immoral, and childish. Fitting attributes for this incarnation of OFK.

note: Of course, the superintendent, administration, and board lied -- that is their MO.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Value-Added: a year for a year

The vaunted year-for-a-year is nothing more than an average increase in test scores. There is no defined "year's worth of growth;" there is no standard for a year's worth of increased knowledge.

Value-added simply looks at similarly situated students and analyzes their test scores. A child whose scores increase with the average of similarly situated students is said to have received a year's worth of growth -- a year for a year. But we are only talking the average across the state, not some educational Camelot.

Given that public education has pitiful low achievement in Ohio (and throughout the US, of course), growing with the average is not a great accomplishment at all. In fact, it's quite poor.

Of course, your local administrators will dog-and-pony these results whenever and where ever they can.

Note: As a test, review the district's remediation rates at Ohio's public colleges and universities. Regardless of the tax-funded PR, the district has a high remediation rate.

Tiberi buys some more votes

Tiberi loves to buy votes with our money. Don't forget that his obligation to veterans is out of our wallets. If he really cared about our soldiers, he would bring them home as soon as possible.

From Tiberi's House News email:
Dear friend (it appears that I am no longer a capital "F" friend -- Jim),

I believe we as a nation have an obligation to care for our veterans after they return home from serving our country. I am pleased to say today, in an effort to meet that obligation; we have dramatically expanded the services available to all our veterans in Central Ohio.

During my first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Department of Veterans Affairs conducted a study of veterans’ health care needs in Central Ohio. The VA’s original plan called for a minor expansion to the existing outpatient clinic on Taylor Avenue. In my experience, past expansions of veterans services in Columbus amounted to too little too late. Furthermore, the clinics were insufficient from the day they opened. I did not believe the VA’s original plan would meet the needs of our local veterans. Working with my colleagues in the House and Senate I pressed the VA for a larger expansion of the Columbus clinic and also for the VA to offer ambulatory surgery and inpatient hospital services in the area so our veterans would not have to wait to see a doctor, nor be forced to travel to other cities to receive the care they deserved. We were able to secure Congressional funding to construct a more aggressive expansion that would better meet the needs of our local veterans. As a result of our hard work our veterans will now receive high quality care right here in Central Ohio. Whether the need is outpatient services, mental health care, specialty care, ambulatory surgery, or full inpatient hospitalization, our veterans will be able to receive that care right here on a timely basis.

Earlier this month, I was pleased to host a visit by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. James Peake. Dr. Peake came to see the results of many years of hard work expanding veterans’ health care in Central Ohio. First, we toured the new VA Clinic on James Road at the Defense Supply Center, Columbus. This new facility, scheduled to open in November, is absolutely amazing. It is three times bigger than the existing clinic with more operating rooms, clinical space and dental chairs. The new clinic provides state of the art medical facilities such as new imaging equipment, an expanded co-located mental health clinic, a new comprehensive women’s health center, and a host of new specialty and ambulatory services never before offered to veterans in Central Ohio. There is also office space for veterans’ service organizations and the Veterans Benefits Administration to help veterans better apply for and receive benefits. Veterans will be able to have all their needs met in one location, right here, near their homes.

After touring the new clinic at DSCC, the Secretary and I headed to an area hospital to meet with veterans who are currently receiving inpatient hospital care through a new contract that allows them to be treated at a local hospital in Columbus instead of being forced to travel to VA Medical Centers in Dayton, Cleveland or Cincinnati for routine hospitalization. The veterans I met with were very happy to receive services near their homes, where their families could visit them each day without traveling long distances. This service has never been provided in Central Ohio before, and I am proud to have helped make it possible.

The Secretary and I finished then hosted a round-table discussion with veterans representing many of the various service groups in Central Ohio. These veterans had the opportunity to share with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and me the issues that confront their members, and to talk about ways the VA can improve its care for our veterans after they return home.

Since my days as a veterans issues staffer for my predecessor in Congress, I have been a strong supporter of veterans’ issues. As a member of Congress I was proud to write and pass legislation that expanded veterans hiring preferences. Funding for the VA has nearly doubled since I took office and I have been proud to vote for legislation that increased that funding. But, I am most proud of my work to increase the availability, quality, and convenience of veterans’ health care. We have created a new clinic in Newark that allows Licking County veterans to get treatment close to home. In fact, the Newark clinic is also scheduled to be expanded soon to meet increased demand. A number of the new specialty services are already offered at the old Columbus clinic in anticipation of the new clinic’s opening, the inpatient contract is working right now to offer hospitalization to those veterans who need it, and in about 80 days the new clinic will be open for business. These concrete achievements are paying dividends to Central Ohio veterans, today. I’m eagerly anticipating the grand opening of the new clinic and ambulatory surgery center, and I hope you will have a chance to tour the new facilities in the near future.

Thank you for your interest in veterans issues.

Sincerely,

Pat Tiberi

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

News Dispatch: Olentangy ranks 71st in the state, based on performance

That's right, Olentangy ranks 71st in the state, based on the state's performance index.

So, as I have asked time and time again, how does a district take students who are in the top 15 districts based on demographics, return these results, and then have the nerve to say that the district is high-performing? How? By not caring about anything other than the next salary increases and requisite levy.

Hey Olentangy: To be high-performing you have to achieve above expectation. Achieving below expectation year after year is the definition of low performing. Got that?

Morgan, Crawford, and money down the rat hole

From the Delaware County Political Reporter blog:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nice Job Teri Morgan

Tax dollars continue to drain away as the beleagured Delaware-Union Educational Service Center Superintendent works on his golf game.

Board Chair Teri Morgan was recently quoted as refusing to discuss Jimbo's situation. Hey - personnel and all that. But really, the guy has been on leave with pay since April! That's what? At $125,000 per year plus benefits - $10K+ a month in taxpayer money that the good Ms. Morgan is flushing away?

Do something. Or, as they say, if the heat's too much, get out of the kitchen. Let a decision-maker get control of the situation.

Posted by Delaware County Reports at 8:03 PM

More Public School Counselors: or, how we ruined the next generation

The last thing any child needs is more school counselors, psychologists, and social workers.

From the
Whole School Initiative, a product of the nut cases at the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development:
Dear Jim,

As supporters of the
Whole Child Initiative, we understand that students' basic physiological and psychological needs must be satisfied before they can fully engage in learning, relationships, and community. Many students come to school with unmet needs, including a disproportionate number of students from low-income homes. As a result, these students are often less motivated, more alienated, and poorer academic performers than their more affluent peers.

School counselors, psychologists, and social workers provide invaluable support to both students and teachers that profoundly impacts student achievement. However, the impact of student support staff is often dramatically reduced due to the high student to support staff ratio.

Now Is the Time to Take Action

Please contact your members of the
U.S. House and Senate and tell them not to wait another day to cosponsor the INCREASED STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT THRROUGH INCREASED STUDENT SUPPORT Act. This legislation will increase recruitment and retention of school-based mental health staff in schools with at least 20 percent of families below the poverty line.
Learn more about this issue and what you can do to prioritize student support in your community. Thank you for making your voice heard on behalf of whole child education. Our children deserve it. Our future demands it.

Sincerely,
ASCD

Olentangy, ODE, and Value-Added Nonsense

Today, the Ohio Department of Education will release its 2007-08 academic accountability data. One new component is the "value-added" measurement. And, just like every public entity, ODE and Olentangy schools are misusing statistics in order to paint a picture that is untrue -- looks good, but is untrue.

I will be posting on "value-added" over the next few days in order to explain what that measurement really means -- if anything.

I suggest that you read the Ohio Value-Added Primer from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

In the meantime, you can search for "value added" on this blog.

note: Never take as fact the comments and analysis from government agencies and agents -- your school administrators in particular.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Röpke's warning

An recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








Röpke's Warning


German Question, The
As I read Wilhelm Röpke's insightful and morally challenging book, The German Question, I am struck by the implicit warning that we -- the defenders of Liberty -- must speak out, in the various media, against our current situation and likely path, lest we suffer the condemnation of our posterity.

For us the cry is not "To Arms! To Arms!," rather it is "To Pen! To Pen!"


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dependence on foreign oil

Someone -- a supposed Libertarian -- asked my thoughts about our dependence on foreign oil. My response:

I do not fear dependence on foreign oil anymore than I fear dependence on Canadian bacon (or West Virginia bacon, for that matter). In a free society with an advance division of labor, everyone is dependent on everyone.

Take government out of the equation, get over the fear of dependence, and let the market decide when alternative fuels are efficient. Playing with policies, regulations, tariffs, what have you, only muddle the mess more.

Question: Now that oil is on the way down, how do the bozos in power still blame the mess on speculation? Or will the folks in Washington find another group to condemn?

Regulations are ruining America

From the Foundation for Economic Education's In Brief:

News & Commentary
The Right to Earn a Living Under Attack
8/21/2008
In Louisiana it is illegal to sell and arrange flowers without permission from the government. Aspiring florists must pass a subjective licensing exam that is graded by existing florists, who have a direct incentive to keep new competitors from entering the market. Thus the failure rate is higher than that of the Louisiana bar, which results in hundreds of well-qualified would-be entrepreneurs being denied the ability to work in their chosen profession. No one can honestly believe that Louisiana's flower cartel is necessary to protect consumers from renegade flower sellers. Rather, it is a classic case of protecting favored groups at the expense of consumers and entry-level entrepreneurs.
More . . .
A NEW article by Bob Ewing

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tiberi v.Taft

Dear Editor:

The Republican Party has drifted a long way from the ideals of Sen. Robert "Mr. Republican" Taft. The party that once stood for small government is now leading the charge toward a command economy, putting forward economic and social plans that are reminiscent of Italy in the 1920's.

No longer is the debate between the party of big government and paternalism and the party of small government and the individual. The debate is now over which party can increase the size of government fastest. And Congressman Pat Tiberi is a leading the charge.

In his latest Capital Notebook email, Tiberi proposes that the federal government create a comprehensive energy plan. Since when was government the solution for anything? Didn't Reagan demolish that idea almost three decades ago?

What's worse, Tiberi resorts to paternalist nonsense in order to convey a message that only government -- and Tiberi, of course -- can solve the problems that continually befall a world subject to scarcity. There is nothing worse than an elected official talking down to his constituents.

I'd vote for any other horse in the barn before I voted for a politician who believes that we are sheep in need of his guidance. Liberty made this country great. Not the pandering blather from those seeking reelection.

Jim Fedako

Obama channels Kark Marx

From The Lighthouse -- the Independent Institute's weekly email:


Obama's $1,000 Rebate

To ease the pain of high gas prices, presidential hopeful Barack Obama proposes granting consumers an "emergency" $1,000 tax rebate--financed by a "windfall profits" tax on oil companies. Unfortunately, neither of these legs will support lower gas prices, according to Independent Institute Adjunct Fellow Art Carden.

"When taken at face value, Obama's plan to offer $1,000 tax rebate is not necessarily objectionable, but it will only increase our demand for gas," writes Carden in a new op-ed. "And of course, it will increase gas prices."

"Curiously, Obama proposes fixing high gas prices by making it more expensive to supply gasoline," Carden continues. "He proposes taxing oil producers, who are precisely the people you don't want to tax if your end goal is to lower gas prices. On net, Obama's plan will subsidize gas consumption by taxing gas production.... All other things equal, it is a recipe for higher gas prices and greater 'pain at the pump.'"

"Obama's $1000 Rebate Plan Won't Work," by Art Carden

Friday, August 22, 2008

MarketWatch gets it right

Paul B. Farrell
Why we love 'America's Outrageous War Economy'

Last Update: 7:27 PM ET Aug 18, 2008

Yes, America’s economy is a war economy. Not a “manufacturing” economy. Not an “agricultural” economy. Nor a “service” economy. Not even a “consumer” economy.

...Read the rest of the story

Godzilla and the Columbus Fire Department

Dear Editor:

I just read where Columbus fire officials want to buy an unneeded mobile emergency hospital ("Fire Division considering mobile hospital for disasters," The Dispatch, August 21, 2008) Why not? It's not their money.

Columbus Fire Chief Ned Pettus says he has "a vested interest in keeping in pace with the rest of the country." Sure, what fire chief doesn't want the biggest and newest toy in the sandbox?

Meanwhile, Dr. David Keseg, medical director for the Fire Division, cues the original Godzilla movie and warns that, should the monster awaken, "hospitals would be overtaxed."

Keseg, sounding more like a spoiled kindergartners than a medical director, notes that "[i]f we got one in Columbus, it would be the only one in the state, probably the only one in the Midwest."

Sadly, these folks believe their nonsense. Hey, it's all fun and games when you are spending tax dollars.


Sincerely,

Jim Fedako

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mann's Necessity

Dear Editor:

When commenting on a proposed resolution in support of a levy to fund countywide emergency sirens (Olentangy Valley News, August 20, 2008), Bob Mann, Liberty Township trustee, showed that political spin is not limited to Columbus and the District of Columbia.

According to Mann, emergency sirens are a necessity. Necessity? Hmmm. Food, water, and shelter are necessities. The proof: folks place those items at the top of their spending priorities. But sirens?

If Mann truly believes that such a system is a necessity, he would be funding it the same way he funds his other personal necessities: he would reach into his own wallet.

But Mann doesn't believe that sirens are a necessity -- a top-priority need. Instead, he thinks that using tax dollars to fund this system is a great way to look good by spending someone else's money.

Whether the funds are freed from some current source or come from another levy, the result is the same: taxpayers pay for an unnecessary system that serves only to make some trustees look good.

Jim Fedako

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to School Nonsense

We pay some elementary teachers over $90,000 per year to be co-learners with their students. What a waste!

From the new study Winning the Epistemological Struggle: Constructing a Cultural Model of Shared Authority in an Elementary Classroom, as reported in the Teachers College Record of Columbia University's Teachers College:

Conclusions: Overall, the findings serve as an example of how shared authority contributes to alternative ways of viewing knowledge and whose knowledge counts, and what it means to be a learner. Most important, this study demonstrates that when shared authority is a consistent classroom practice, what emerges over time is a cultural model within which students can begin to restructure their developing epistemological frames as they revise their notions of knowledge and ways of knowing. (emphasis added)

-- by Teresa Crawford — 2008

That's right, teachers share classroom authority with their students in order to learn from their students.

Whose knowledge counts?!? What it means to be a learner?!? These folks are whacko!

Ask interim superintendent Hooie about this nonsense. I bet she thinks its great stuff. And we pay her over $200,000 per year. They are all bonkers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Movie to Consider

It's not apodictic truth, but it is a start.

The first rule for changing views is to expose the current view as false. This film does that. It does not, however, apply the lessons and knowledge of the Austrian school of economics. That will have to be phase two.

But once folks see that the current system is nonsensical and evil, they will begin looking for the truth. For those seeing the light for the first time, may I suggest the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The Institute has a website full of free books and other media. Take some time to learn more about truth in economics and freedom. It will fill the void created by I.O.U.S.A.


From the official site for the movie,
I.O.U.S.A: one nation. under stress. in debt:


ABOUT THE MOVIE
Wake up, America! We're on the brink of a financial meltdown. I.O.U.S.A. boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens. Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions.

Throughout history, the American government has found it nearly impossible to spend only what has been raised through taxes. Wielding candid interviews with both average American taxpayers and government officials, Sundance veteran Patrick Creadon (Wordplay) helps demystify the nation's financial practices and policies. The film follows former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker as he crisscrosses the country explaining America's unsustainable fiscal policies to its citizens.

With surgical precision, Creadon interweaves archival footage and economic data to paint a vivid and alarming profile of America's current economic situation. The ultimate power of I.O.U.S.A. is that the film moves beyond doomsday rhetoric to proffer potential financial scenarios and propose solutions about how we can recreate a fiscally sound nation for future generations.

Creadon uses candid interviews and his featured subjects include Warren Buffett, Alan Greenspan, Paul O'Neill, Robert Rubin, and Paul Volcker, along with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's own David Walker and Bob Bixby of the Concord Coalition, a Foundation grantee.

Pointedly topical and consummately nonpartisan, I.O.U.S.A. drives home the message that the only time for America's financial future is now.


Meet the Artists
Director(s): Patrick Creadon
Screenwriter(s): Patrick Creadon, Christine O'Malley, Addison Wiggin
Executive Producer: Addison Wiggin
Producers: Christine O'Malley, Sarah Gibson
Associate Producers: Theodore James, Kate Incontrera
Editor: Doug Blush
Composer: Peter Golub
Graphic Designer: Brian Oakes
Christine O'Malley (Producer) was born in Manhattan and raised outside of Chicago. She studied film and video production at Columbia College, Chicago. In 1995 she moved to Los Angeles and, after a brief stint working on feature films in the Art Department, switched to non-fiction production. Her first job in this capacity was as a researcher at Van Ness Films on several A&E Biographies. Later she teamed with Producer/Director Scott Goldstein where she produced several critically acclaimed documentaries for the Museum of Tolerance. In 2004 Christine served as Associate Producer on the Academy Award nominated documentary film Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room.

Wordplay, the first feature length film she has produced through her production company O'Malley Creadon Productions, was a breakout hit at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and went on to become the second-highest grossing documentary of 2006. Wordplay was nominated for both a Critics' Choice Award and a National Board of Review Award for "Best Documentary of 2006."

I.O.U.S.A., Creadon and O'Malley’s second documentary, had its World Premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in the American Documentary Competition. The film examines America's current financial situation and explores ways to avoid a financial breakdown for the country. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called it "the most unexpectedly frightening film at Sundance."

Patrick Creadon (Director) was born in Chicago and is a 1989 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He began his career as one of the youngest cameramen in the history of PBS, shooting and producing cinema-verite style stories for the critically acclaimed series "THE 90's". He earned his Master's Degree in Cinematography at the American Film Institute, where his thesis film (on which he served as Director of Photography) was nominated for a student Academy Award. As a cameraman his work has appeared on every major network, including NBC, CBS, ABC, MTV, VH1, and ESPN. He has also done work for Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, Sony, Universal Studios, and Disney.

Wordplay, Creadon’s feature-length directorial debut, is a documentary film about The New York Times crossword editor and National Public Radio personality Will Shortz. Wordplay became only the fourth documentary ever to be awarded the "Golden Tomato" from Rottentomatoes.com for "Best Reviewed Documentary of The Year." Previous winners of this award were Spellbound, Supersize Me and March Of The Penguins.

Christine O'Malley and Patrick Creadon are married and have three young daughters. They currently live in Los Feliz, CA.

Monday, August 18, 2008

China, Eugenics, and Yao Ming

An recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








China, Eugenics, and Yao Ming


There are some rumblings over China's supposed sport eugenics program. While It is possible that this was limited to Mao and basketball's Yao Ming, it is also possible that China is still attempting to breed superstar athletes.

On the face of this, I say, "So what?" Can any government really see 20 years into the future (the time it takes to conceive, birth, and raise a future star -- gymnastics excluded) and produce athletes with superior genetics, guaranteed to win gold after gold? Hmmm.

Would any government bureaucrat have predicted 21 years ago that a tall, relatively lanky runner could blister the 100-meter record? Not likely. Any sports minister worth his tax-salary would have bred midsized runners with strong, powerful legs.

Can any government agent predict the future of basketball 20 years from now? Of course not. Government cannot plan the future, whether in economics or sports.

My concern with any eugenics plan is the other end of the spectrum; the millions of humans that government ends up destroying in order to create its envisioned supreme man (consider Nazi Germany eugenics and the New Soviet Man in the USSR). This is certainly one race that we do not need to enter: the genetically-superior athletes race (similar to the sundry other races we entered, such as space race, etc.)

That vary large concern aside: If anyone thinks that China can plan and breed athletes for the 2028 Olympic Games, consider how well your local city planned its daily rush hour.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Don't Slay Monsters in the Name of Democracy

From Friday's Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:


Friday, August 15, 2008


Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.


— John Quincy Adams, Speech to the U.S. House of Representatives [July 4, 1821]



Thursday, August 14, 2008

The new Arctic land rush: What's in it for me?

With war raging in Georgia, time to reconsider government ownership of oil -- whether the government is the US or Russia.

A old post of mine over at the Blog at Mises.org.












The new Arctic land rush: What's in it for me?

OK, melting ice and potential oil in the Arctic have brought out the worst in neighboring governments. (U.S. expedition mapping the Arctic) But, I have to ask, "What's in it for me?"

There are three possible outcomes: ownership of the oil-rich land is given to me (highly unlikely); it's given to another individual, or group of individuals, who will trade with me (again, highly unlikely, based on the number of military vessels in the region); one of the posturing governments gains control of the land and claims and enforces its sovereignty (the likely scenario).

Since the first two possibilities are chasings after a rainbow, I am left with oil in the hands of government. The actual government means little to me; I don't even care if the US somehow exerts control and wins this land rush in international courts.

Oil, or any mineral for that matter, in the hands of government is the worst possible outcome. Why? Because the rules of trade are replaced by the power of the hammer. And, the oil will not be brought to market -- or, withheld from market for that matter -- based on market-driven factors that lead to efficient utilization. To make matters even worse, the government with title will waste its ill-gotten oil revenue on destructive projects.

There can be no good coming from a government title to the Arctic oilfields. These fields will be tapped and drained at the whim of rent-seekers, bureaucrats, and the elected bozos, not based on the wants of consumers.

Do I really care which political entity claims rights to this oil? Not in the least. Though, I am saddened to know that this discovery will not fully benefit acting individuals, in the short-run, or long-run.



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Media Loves Socialism

As if on cue:
Yao is MVP of the Chinese Communist Party at these Olympics. He is a creation of the system, an example of how state planning can succeed. His tall parents were encouraged to marry with the hope that their one child would grow to be an athlete. It worked.
Consumers of mainstream media must be ever vigilant lest they fall for its socialist over and under tones. Some folks just love the state and the collective good while many others are quickly seduced by their love song.

When you read the excerpt above, consider how Obama and McCain would respond. Likely, both would cheer the success of the state -- the state as the solution. Sad, but true. What's worse, we continue to encourage this nonsense.

2,008 drummer beating in unison -- that's the state; 2,008 individuals beating out their own rhythm is the free market -- Liberty. I recognize which leads to despotism and which to freedom. Do you?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to school gift

penny candy.gif
Whether the middle schoolers in your life are educated at home or elsewhere, the best way to introduce the economics of Liberty is Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?

This is the book that introduced me - at age 38 - to Austrian Economics. I read the book after my homeschooling wife bought it as an economics text for my oldest son. Penny Candy shook my neoclassical background to the core -- in an evening nonetheless.

After reading the book, I searched the internet for "Austrian School of Economics" and found Mises.org.

The book is a great introduction to the free market for middleschoolers. It will also benefit students in high school and college, as well as any adult who hasn't shed the statist influences of public education.

A truly excellent book!

Buy it for your children. And buy an extra copy or two to give to your friends.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Are we being prepared for something? Or do they simply have money to burn?

Not to sound paranoid, but ... Ohio state government is running this scary public service announcement during the Olympics -- not scary in the sense that I am worried about the supposed coming pandemic, but scary in the sense that the state is spending so much money to fill me with fear. It's almost like some sort of propaganda campaign to soften the psyche -- Big Brother is watching out for you! What next? Reruns of Duck and Cover?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Quiz: Which candidate said the following?

Obama or McCain?


The [man] makes a speech to a packed house of legislators, and is cheered to the rafters for his flurry of visionary policy ideas. He calls for the restoration of cities and towns, and the revival of the nation’s industrial base through new spending programs. He makes more housing a national priority. He promises more education spending, new resources for the armed forces, a secure system of old-age pensions, and more equitable healthcare delivery. He takes the credit for a purported economic boom, and further promises to surpass all previous records in national productivity. -- Lew Rockwell, Speaking of Liberty

Obama or McCain? Could be either, but is was actually from Stalin’s 1946 speech, which concluded as follows: “The Soviet people are ready for it."

The rhetoric is the same, only the party names change.

Liberty restored or a lucky pull on the legal slot machine?

Californians can once again home school their children without fear of the state (well, almost). Is this a victory for Liberty? Or did homeschoolers in CA simply benefit from a lucky pull on the legal slot machine -- a pull that this time came up with three smiling judges?

Of course, the latter is the case. The next challenge to homeschooling in CA could be the pull that once again comes up with two frowns. The legal game in CA is similar to the more sophisticated game in DC -- a game where it takes five jokers to be a winner, with Liberty never even a card in the deck.

And to smack the face of anyone believing that the bell of freedom rang again, the court noted that "[i]t is important to recognize that it is not for us to consider, as a matter of policy, whether home schooling should be permitted in California. That job is for the Legislature." The court has restated the belief that the legislature has an enforcable first claim to our children.

Constitutions no longer protect the individual from the state. They are nothing more than the starting point for the state's continual abrogation of our ethical rights.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The political version of the 10 Commandments

Marilyn Steffen notes that a number of the 10 Commandments have been rewritten in practice:


New Commandments:

1. You shall have no other gods before me unless the politicians promise to care for you from cradle to grave and then you can worship them.
2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image unless you choose the politicians as gods.
5. Honor your father and your mother unless the bureaucrats in the government schools brainwash you to believe your parents are stupid, incompetent and no good.
6. You shall not kill except when your political leaders take you down the same road Nazi Germany chose.
8. You shall not steal unless you vote for politicians who will send a bureaucrat (IRS agent) with a gun to steal from your neighbors to fund your pet projects.
9. You shall not bear false witness unless you are doing "good".
10. You shall not covet your neighbors property unless the politicians promote covetousness and envy.

Pat Tiberi; an idiot

From Pat Tiberi's latest Capitol Notebook comes this gem ... "Politics should not play a role, nor should parliamentary procedural maneuvering."

Politics should not play a role? Politics? That's all they do in DC: play politics.

And this coming from a politician; a congressman who is sponsoring the No More Excuses Energy Act and the American Energy Act -- two pieces of legislation whose titles is all DC politics and substance all Mussolini-inspired fascism.

No More Excuses Energy Act. Please!

The problem with lying is that once the liar begins to believe he can fool folks all the time, he soon holds them in contempt. Tiberi speaks as if we are all a bunch of sheep looking for him to lead the way. Such tone is an insult to those who pay his salary.

Idiot!

Is High School Football a Public Good?

It's that time of year again ... time to consider who should pay for private goods ... because the community doesn't pay, your neighbors do ... Jim


Article published at Mises.org


Is High School Football a Public Good?
By Jim Fedako


Most of us would never think of asking our neighbors to foot a personal bill. We accept responsibility for car and roof repairs as ours alone. In addition, we don't bang on the door across the street in order to demand a contribution towards our children's figure skating lessons, taekwondo classes, etc. That which is consumed or used by our families is to be paid from our pockets — the definition of personal responsibility.


Now let's change the situation slightly. Instead of a figure skating lesson — the realm of the private good, consider the local public high school football team — the realm of the supposed public good.[1] The technical definition of a public good — a good that is nonexcludable, nonrivalrous, subject to free riders, and hence will only be provided by government through coerced tax dollars — has been corrupted in the modern lexicon to mean anything that is perceived to benefit society in general, no matter how specious the benefit argument.

Based on the technical definition, football is not a public good as teams are excludable and rivalrous since each team is limited to 11 players on the field without penalty. But no one really applies the technical definition to derive public goods. For if they did, the concept of public goods would disappear from economic textbooks and from debates over the need for government interventions in the market.

Instead, the collectivist definition — the vacuous, yet now standard, definition — applies the general welfare argument to elevate football from a private activity to that of a public good. The argument goes something along these lines: football is beneficial because it prepares boys for adulthood, keeps them off the streets after school, and provides them with a place where they can excel.

continue
reading ...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Church and State: An Ungodly Marriage

My latest post on LewRockwell.com:




The Church and State: An Ungodly Marriage
Jim Fedako



3101.08 Who may solemnize marriages.
An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages … may join together as husband and wife any persons who are not prohibited by law from being joined in marriage.

3101.09 Prohibition
No person, except those legally authorized, shall attempt to solemnize a marriage, and no marriage shall be solemnized without the issuance of a license.
~ Ohio Revised Code (emphasis added)



An open letter to my fellow Christians:

Is marriage a union between husband and wife, sanctified by God? Or is marriage a legal contract between parties as defined by the state, witnessed by the state, and justified by the state?

It appears from the references above that the latter holds true. A marriage is not a religious ceremony – to be sure, you can always include a religious ceremony, if you so choose. Instead, a marriage is a civil act presided over by an official of the state or a person licensed to act as an official of the state. This is an important clarification to note since it is becoming obvious that the Christian Church – by its own actions – has supplanted God with government.

As a Church, we have allowed government to define that which is a blessing from God. And we accept the state’s definition without question. To the Church, a couple is considered married if and only if they possess a valid, state-issued license stating the same. And a couple is divorced if and only if the state has granted the divorce. By agreeing to this state of affairs, the church has put the state before God.

Now, my good friends, we have done this to ourselves. Our religious forefathers used the power of government to exalt the Church. You see, we – the Church – didn’t want just anyone performing marriages. No, we wanted only a select few to sanctify the union of husband and wife. We sought legislation that would create a privileged class; a class – licensed clergy, civil judges, etc. – defined and controlled by the state. It worked for a while, but we now reap that which we sow.

In our exuberance to right the world, we forgot that government is not the Church, not under any circumstances. Yet, in the name of salvation, we unleashed government as the entity that is now working to unravel two of society’s most important institutions – family and church.
Even while this plays out before our eyes – as if from a revelation spoken by a modern-day prophet, we continue to fight for a stronger state in hopes that our Baal will return us to God’s favor.

So we fight for marriage amendments, as if God cares an iota about a government license. God’s word is true, it’s final. However, as long as the Church looks to government for its justification, the Church will remain a bondservant to the state.

This process – the change from the Church worshipping God to worshipping the state – has been a long time coming. It was some 150 years ago when the Church began to partner with the modern state. The partnership was to the liking of all involved: the Church still had some control over the beast (the Leviathan), and the beast provided the manna – or fiat money – and force that made all things possible. But the state also used the Church to justify its existence and ever-growing influence. A few manifestations soon became apparent, manifestations that should have caused the Church to end the relationship, yet the relationship only grew stronger.

However, looking back, the changes are easy to see. Soon after the church/state partnership began, the following took place:

Government slowly grew more influential and the balance of power tipped in its favor.

  1. Government slowly grew more influential and the balance of power tipped in its favor.
  2. To many Christians, government became the agent of change. No longer were prayers needed as manna fell with the blessings of the saints in the state capitals and the District of Columbia.
  3. With the focus on the state, God was dropped from the equation. The state became the savior; the second coming. And the Church became ever more irrelevant.

At each stage, the Church never looked askance of the state. It never called the state into question. No, and in fact, the Church continued – and continues – to seek the state for matters that are the duty of the Church.

Currently, we see the growth of the social justice movement; a thinly veiled effort to move the Church ever closer to the state. Certainly, as Christians, we are supposed to help those less fortunate. But we were never granted the power to thieve tax dollars for any reason.

The New Testament brought about a new covenant: a covenant between God and believer. This covenant does not provide a mandate to force others to perform acts of kindness. Each of us must work out his or her own salvation in fear and trembling – our fear and our trembling before God. We are not to be the bullies with the gun spreading physical fear and reducing other to trembling before the state.

To keep its power, the state holds the Church on a short leash: the threat of tax status. Even though Jesus was clear regarding rendering unto Caesar, the Church is more concerned about its tax-exempt status than doing the work of God. So for a few pieces of silver, or worthless paper, the state runs the show.

As long as the Church seeks government authority over issues such as marriage, as long as the Church partners with the state for social justice, the state wins.

We must ask ourselves: How can the Church even consider debating biblical truths with an earthly power – whether good or evil? And, why does the Church continue to recognize the claims of the state? The answer is simple: The state has become our Baal; our road to destruction.

The Church needs to forget the state – ignore it. Churches must define and recognize marriages as the Bible instructs. Forget the licensing of clergy; it is an abomination – the state defining church leadership. And, the Church must no longer partner with the state on any endeavor – the Church must never be yoked with the beast.

Liberty is our blessing. Nothing good has ever come from the marriage of Church and State.

August 6, 2008

Jim Fedako [send him mail] is a homeschooling father of five who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com


Monday, August 04, 2008

World Records: A Private Matter

Ludwig von Mises Institute article by Jim Fedako

Today was a wonderful day to break another world record. The conditions — the temperature, humidity, and wind speed — were ideal. I could not have asked for better.

A world record is an astounding feat to be sure. Moreover, as this was my 100th world record, it was special indeed — one that I will treasure the rest of my life.

Which record did I set? The 100-meter dash? The hammer throw? Not quite. I set the world record for bicycling one of the many loops in my neighborhood. Not impressed? Well, you should be. I have the record, and it is a world record. However, one nagging problem does exist: no widely recognized governing body has certified my feat. And I doubt that any will.

This, I protest, is unfair — unfortunate and unfair. I hold a record that no one else recognizes. Can you even begin to imagine my disgust with the system? Sure, some bozo runs the fastest 100-meters somewhere and the world takes note. Yet I do something similar in my neighborhood and no one cares. I am distraught.
OK. Let's step back and take a look at the situation.

For the most part, private organizations run sports, both amateur and professional. There is government involvement, to be certain, just as there is government involvement in just about every human activity, but these private organizations are able to set their own rules and bestow records as they see fit. Of course, organizations define their sport much the same as a baker defines his goods: with the consumer in mind.

Sporting bodies decide what is and isn't a world-record event, as well as the rules that an athlete must follow in order to be recognized as the holder of that record. And, as a sport adapts to its ever-changing fan base, the distances and events sometimes change as well. In addition, technological change may alter a sport for the better or, at times, for the worse. Yet any change that reduces the value of the sport in the eyes of the consumer is quickly shed by the governing body.

Some folks cry foul when they see technology result in faster times and new records. In bicycle racing, a period of new technology during the 1980s and '90s threatened to change the face of cycling — bikes were being built that looked radically different from the bikes of old. In addition, those bikes were much faster. To the technophile, the new technology was an exciting improvement. To the more traditional enthusiast, the sport was on the edge, about to become something other than man versus man on machines. It was about to become machine versus machine, with the human effort moving from grimaced pain on the road to thoughtful reflection in the lab.

The movie The Flying Scotsman details the sporting life of Graeme Obree, the Scotsman who set the world hour record (1993) — a crown jewel of bike racing — on a bike built from old bikes and the spare parts of a washing machine. This was an amazing feat, more so considering that his competitor's bike was built using the latest technology and materials.

The governing body that certifies the widely recognized hour record did not like the riding position that Obree adopted. The body changed its rules in order to disqualify Obree's bike from further competition. The technophiles shouted conspiracy! They claimed that the governing body banned the bike under pressure from bike manufacturers. Sure, that makes for good Hollywood, but the consumer runs the show (even in Hollywood). The consumers of bicycle racing wanted bikes to remain like the bikes of old.

In this instance, the traditionalists were in the majority and the widely recognized governing bodies of cycling intervened. They changed the rules of their sport to exclude radical changes to the shape of the bike. Certainly, bikes continue to improve, but bikes in the more widely recognized events look much the same as bikes did a century ago. The fans are happy and the sport lives on.

Bicycle racing settled its issue; now a similar one is brewing in the sport of swimming.

The new Speedo LZR RACER swimsuit reduces both water resistance and times. World records are being churned at an astounding pace, mostly attributed to the new swimsuit. Just as in cycling, the traditionalists are crying foul while the tech savvy and the speed deficient are cheering the advancement. Although it is too early to find resolution here, I bet that the new suit remains and becomes another part of competitive swimming. Of course, and as always, the consumer — the fans of swimming — will decide this issue according to their wants and desires.

What does any of this have to do with Liberty? Simple: sports are private activities. If someone does not think the rules are fair, he can start his own alternate governing body (of course, I cannot claim to be the Tour de France or Olympic champion due to current trademark and licensing laws). This happens all the time. In bicycling, there are governing bodies that allow the Obree bike in competitions. These organizations also crown "hour" record holders. That these "hour" records do not carry the same significance as those granted by the more widely recognized organization is not a matter of fairness; it is simply the market deciding in favor of the majority of fans (think Microsoft versus Apple).

Regardless, the free market allows competing definitions of sports to exist side by side.

Consider the alternative: a system where government decides who can lay claim to a record or the right to call oneself, for example, an engineer. In this world, competing ideas and values are replaced by the overbearing rules and regulations of the social apparatus of coercion and compulsion. All this is done in the name of fairness, equity, or the latest political ideal. A system is created where bureaucrats and elected officials decide all matters, with no recourse, legal or private.

Sure, I think it unfair that no one else recognizes my athletic feats, but I still have the ability to live outside the system. I also have the ability to try to sway the crowd that my feats exceed the feats of those competing in the more-recognized events.

This means that I can still lay claim to all of my 100 world records, with each being just as valid as any other record. You do not have to agree, which is fine. We can live in peace, with my claiming a record that you feel is meaningless. Isn't freedom wonderful?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Willie Dixon ... enough said



Willie never liked this song -- a song he wrote for Howlin' Wolf. Well, Willie was wrong. The song -- especially this version -- is a great one.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Tiberi has a plan to spend my money (Or, Tiberi plays Mussolini in The US Road to Serfdom)

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have... a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the characters and conduct of their rulers.

John Adams (from Freedom Watch)

This fits the moment as I just finished reading a postcard qua campaign flyer from Pat Tiberi (R-OH). Good ol' Pat is claiming that he is going to ease the strain on my wallet by:

  1. Forcing car manufactures to produce more expensive car in order to meet higher federal fuel efficiency standards
  2. Using my tax dollars as an incentive for alternative energies
  3. Using my tax dollars to pay for unwanted and expensive public transportation

And the list goes on and on. Pat is really beginning to sound more and more like Mussolini from the 1920's. He's definitely no Ron Paul, and he is not even Reagan of the 1980's. Pat's a socialist and a fascist (he's a twofer) through and through.

Everything he notes above is a strain on my wallet. That is, unless of course, Pat is personally footing the bill. This I doubt since he is not the selfless servant, working only for the supposed public good -- as evidenced by increasing his wealth even in our current economic downturn.

I wonder if he ever read the Constitution? Or took Econ 101? Or logic for that matter.

Hey Pat, quit talking down to your constituents. We are not sheep in need of your shepherding; scared Americans looking for you to guide the way. Your condescending attitude is getting old. And, it doesn't speak highly of your character either.

note: Pat wants tobacco to be regulated by the FDA. A true conservative would fight to get rid of the FDA based on the Constitution and the good old American belief in individual liberties. Pat is a 1990's liberal, plain and simple.

Friday, August 01, 2008

China, Free Trade, and Unions

Dear Editor:

In response to "China siphons jobs from Ohio" (Dispatch article, July 30, 2008), I have to ask: Is the job siphon really free trade (or trade hampered by thousands of pages of trade policy)? Or is it Ohio tax policy and trade unions?

Seems to me that free trade works best for all. Leo Gerard, president of the steelworkers' union, states otherwise. But his solution is to increase tariffs, raising the price of consumer goods for everyone else.

Hey, Gerard, start producing and quit lobbying and obstructing. The rest of us Ohioans would be much better off.