Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pravda is Now the Voice of Truth

Pravda tells the truth, and Russia may be freer than us. HT LewRockwell.com:





American Capitalism Gone With a Whimper
by Stanislav Mishin


This article originally appeared in Pravda. It is reprinted with the permission of the author.


It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed, against the backdrop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blinds the foolish.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega-preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo-Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Weimar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.

These past two weeks have been the most breathtaking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beaten our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.

Then came Barack Obama's command that GM's (General Motors) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of "pure" free markets, the American president now has the power, the self-given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.

So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a "bold" move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK's Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western-sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our "wise" Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.

Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper...but a "freeman" whimper.

So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratically controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set "fair" maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses? Senator Barney Franks, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.

The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this and the option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left.

The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.

May 18, 2009

Stanislav Mishin writes for the blog Mat Rodina.

Copyright © 2009 Stanislav Mishin
(Editor: This article was abridged)


Saturday, May 30, 2009

It Could Never Happen in the US

Wanna bet?

Where is the outrage? Are we all just sheeple?

From
FoxNew.com (HT LewRockwell.com):

Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit
Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends to their San Diego, Calif. home for a Bible study — unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County.

"On Good Friday we had an employee from San Diego County come to our house, and inform us that the Bible study that we were having was a religious assembly, and in violation of the code in the county." David Jones told FOX News.

"We told them this is not really a religious assembly — this is just a Bible study with friends. We have a meal, we pray, that was all," Jones said.

A few days later, the couple received a written warning that cited "unlawful use of land," ordering them to either "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit," the couple's attorney Dean Broyles told San Diego news station 10News.

But the major use permit could cost the Jones' thousands of dollars just to have a few friends over.

For David and Mary Jones, it's about more than a question of money.

"The government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion," Broyles told FOX News. "I believe that our Founding Fathers would roll over in their grave if they saw that here in the year 2009, a pastor and his wife are being told that they cannot hold a simple Bible study in their own home."

"The implications are great because it’s not only us that’s involved," Mary Jones said. "There are thousands and thousands of Bible studies that are held all across the country. What we’re interested in is setting a precedent here — before it goes any further — and that we have it settled for the future."

The couple is planning to dispute the county's order this week.

If San Diego County refuses to allow the pastor and his wife to continue gathering without acquiring a permit, they will consider a lawsuit in federal court.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Multiplying by Zero

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









Multiplying by Zero

Jim Fedako



It appears the consensus is "every $1 spent on the national food-stamp program pumps $1.73 into local economies." It's that resilient Keynesian multiplier again.

In our distant past, the $1 came from taxation. Today, however, the $1 comes from a combination of taxation and thin air.

One thing we know for certain: Every $1 in taxation removes something more than $1 of value from the locally-taxed economy, as desired consumption is replaced by government waste. And, assuming the Keynesian multiplier, that $1 in taxation is subject to a negative multiplier, as it's removal from the economy has a repeated, but necessarily lessening, effect.

Create the $1 through a notation on the books at the Fed, and the effect, though better hidden, is the same.

The tacit claim that the $1 nets $1.73 is pure nonsense -- it applies Keynesian balderdash to one side of the equation. It's a good sound bite, but nonsense all the same.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wade's Latest Tactic: Blame the State

The district's response to the state budget debate:

“This is one of the top school districts in the state,” said Superintendent Wade Lucas, Ed.D. “I believe that once the legislators understand our unique situation they will do the right thing for our students and for our taxpayers.”

But Wade has never done right by the taxpayers.

The Strickland's school funding formula bases costs on a number of inputs. The state then funds those inputs at some average amount (averages are always subject to debate).

Well, Wade-O connived a superintendent salary that is 2.5 times the amount funded by the state -- in his mind, his overly inflated salary is "the right thing for [the] students."

That's Wade for ya ... he's all about the kids.

And then Wade has the nerve to cry for funds.


notes:

1. When the state funds government schools, the dollars still come from your wallet. That's the way it works. And Wade knows it.
2. Becky Jenkins only makes 1.5 times the state funded average. A real steal.

Ignoring Reality: Hiding their collective heads in the public trough

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) shills for the educationists. In a real "let them eat cake" moment, OSBA presents "Recent Trends in K-12 Education Funding In Ohio," where Dr. Howard Fleeter of the Education Tax Policy Institute reveals a bleak future for Ohio workers (note pages 21 - 23). The figures (from the OBM and Taxation) show data for all workers, those in both government and the private sector.

What goes unmentioned is that public school employees in districts like Olentangy can still expect average wages increases of over 6% over the near future -- and likely into the distant future as well.

Wade-O still claims he "will do the right thing ... for our taxpayers.” Please.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Shadow Government

Sure, there are the local schools wasting your tax dollars. But there are other school-related organizations that stay below the radar and also waste your tax dollars -- and lots of it.

Consider the Delaware Area Career Center. The last time I checked, DACC was spending more than $30K per pupil. No, that is not a misprint. It's insane, but correct all the same. You say, "How could that be?" I say, "Check out the list of DACC board members for the clue."

Then there is the
Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (serving Olentangy). Here is an organization that list 84 central office staff members, including a superintendent, treasurer, 7 assistant or deputy superintendents and 9 directors. Does anyone work there?[1]

In addition to DACC and ESCCO, there are other school organizations that no one really knows about. Consider the
Metropolitan Educational Council. Here is an organization run by former school administrators making ... anyone's guess. You can be certain that the salaries are significant and the end-product wanting.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Trust me, there are more leeches in this very deep and murky swamp.

Note:

[1] I know, I know, ESCCO hires staff for participating districts, as well as its own programs. But most of the staff are managed by the employing district, not the ESCCO.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two Comments, Same Theme

Two comments with a shared theme.

From recent editions of the Email Update from the
Future of Freedom Foundation:

Friday, May 22, 2009

It is of the essence of militarism that under it military men learn to despise constitutions, to sneer at parliaments, and to look with contempt on civilians.

— William Graham Sumner, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain” [1898]


From FreedomWatch:
"The American people, North and South, went into the war as citizens of their respective states, they came out as subjects, and what they thus lost they have never got back."

-- H. L. Mencken

"Political censorship at colleges and universities"

For those who believe Marxism is dead, here is a great video available on YouTube. It's 90 minutes, but you can watch it in segments.





Monday, May 25, 2009

The Hallowed Halls of Orange High School

"Through these doors enter the world's BEST STAFF."

That's what is says over the entrance to Orange High School, so it must be true. The "world's best." Wow!

note: We obviously do not pay these folks enough.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The End-Product of all those Tax Dollars

Here is the end-product of all those tax dollars spent on government education. To summarize Garrette Crane's manifesto: Democracy is defined as the political means to exact benefits at the expense of others.

Crane is not saying that he, or his brothers, are willing to fund their beloved activities. No, those activities are not worth that much to them. But, if all it takes is the time to write a letter and vote, Crane will gladly lift money from his neighbor's wallet. This he calls democracy.

And this is the end-product of some $120,000 -- money spent "educating" Crane on the benefits of socialized costs and personal benefits.

Way to go Crane! Way to go South-Western City Schools! Way to go government-run education!

note: You have to read the whole letter, this guy is a piece of work.

A Dispatch Online Letter to the Editor

Failed levy

If you are an enfeebled individual living on a fixed income who has had to choose between buying food and purchasing medication, I have no quarrel with you. If you are involuntarily unemployed and the bills are piling up, I have no quarrel with you. If you have some extreme financial circumstance in which you have no luxuries to sacrifice, I have no quarrel with you. However, if you have a job, have no outstanding debt, or live at home with your parents and voted "no" for the South-Western City Schools levy, you have angered me.

It has been over five years since the last time I was angry. I do not get angry very easily. There are many reasons why I feel this way. First, you obviously do not know how to evaluate the consequences of your actions. One reason that you probably voted "no" was that you felt that it would cost too much. If you, you fit into one of two categories. If you rent your residence, you are the acme of ignorance. You exemplify the greatest problem with a democracy. If you would have made the effort to read the issue, not do any research, just read the issue printed on the ballot, you would have noticed that it is a PROPERTY tax levy. You rent your residence, and therefore do NOT own property, and would therefore NOT pay any increase in PROPERTY taxes. While the tax would increase for the owner of the building you are renting, the increase would be dispersed throughout all of the residences, and would therefore be evenly distributed and less noticeable. Chances are the property was not that valuable in the first place. It is not like there is ocean-front property in Grove City (maybe in Dublin?).

The second category that you may fall into is someone who owns property, but does not want to pay any more money in taxes. Your decision to vote "no" is totally counterintuitive. You want to save money, yet you advocate collapsing the value of the property you own. By making it so there are no extracurricular activities, co-curricular, busing within two miles of the schools, or advanced classes, you have made it so the only people that would be interested in purchasing a home in the South Western City Schools district would have to be single with no children, elderly with no children, or families that do not have children attending school in the district. By severely restricting your real estate market, you have hurt yourself more than anyone else.

After reviewing the financial aspects of this tragedy, another category of "no voter" that you may fall into would be someone who voted against the levy because you feel that the school corporation spends its money irresponsibly. South-Western City Schools has one of the lowest individual student cost expenditures in the state. I do not know how they could spend money irresponsibly and yet offer such a diverse curriculum and extra-curricular activities. Additionally, if you do not like the system used to fund schools, what have you done to change it? I will bet my diploma that you have not visited the office of your state representative/senator/congressman to express your concern. I would bet $100 that you have not sent a letter, and would also guess that you have not called them or sent them an email either. Perhaps you view voting "no" as a means of seeking vengeance for this unfair system, trying to 'teach them a lesson.' It is not fair or reasonable to seek vengeance at the expense of children and yourself. Your sadistic and masochistic behavior has no place in civilized society. I do think that the administration needs to make more reductions of the administrative personnel, but drastic reductions to their staff would not be enough to generate the money needed. It is cowardly to hide behind such an inadequate excuse.

I read an interesting letter to the editor earlier this week. The author titled his work, "Sports, Band Do Not Matter." In this letter, the author states that he has not been asked during any of his job interviews what sports he played or what instrument he played in band. This logic is comically absurd. I can not think of a job that does not want their employees to be punctual, self-motivated, determined, teamworkers, or dedicated. I also can not think of a sport or extracurricular activity that does not develop these characteristics. It is true that the sports themselves do not matter, but the lessons that sports teach are critical to individual development. I understand that the economy is bad, but maybe if he took sports more seriously, he would not have to be in so many job
interviews.

I really do not think you have examined the consequences of your vote. You clearly do not understand the consequences of your actions. Another reason why you have damned the children and yourself is because of the non-extracurricular cuts that are going to be made. I played football for Grove City High School, and I can guarantee you that there were people on the team that earned passing grades only so they could be eligible for football. By removing ECA's, you are removing an extremely powerful extrinsic motivator. When you remove the motivation for students to get good grades, their grades slip. When grades slip, the demand for tutoring increases. However, the cuts to the operating budget force the schools to open later and close earlier. This makes tutoring impossible outside of the classroom, making it so not all of the students that need tutoring will receive it. When their grades fall even lower, schools will not be able to make their Average Yearly Progress requirements, which then the school corporation becomes in violation of No Child Left Behind. Going back to what I mentioned earlier, how do you expect to sell your home with a school that has nothing to offer its students and is in violation of federal law? For your sake, I hope you come up with something creative.

Finally, I find myself to be somewhat conflicted about my hopes for your fate. I consider myself to be a merciful person, but a fair and just person as well. On one hand, I do not want you to suffer for your actions. I do not want you to feel the heartache and suffering you are causing. My family is literally splitting up in response to this catastrophe. Next school year, I will (most likely) have one brother attending Grove City High School. He will not be participating in band, an activity that he loves dearly and he hopes to make a career out of. I will have another brother attending a different high school somewhere in either central Ohio, or at our previous home in central Indiana. He is a division 1A football recruit who is being heavily pursued by the University of Iowa, the University of Kansas, Wisconsin, Bowling Green, Indiana, Michigan State, Louisville, and a litany of other great schools. You are destroying the dreams of my parents to see their two children play on the same field for one of the best bands and one of the best football programs. This year was supposed to be the pinnacle of my brothers' youth, and you have robbed them.

But on the other hand, I want justice to be served. With thousands of children running amok on Friday nights, they are going to have to do something to pass the time. I do not want you to have to scrub spray paint off of your garage. I do not want you to cut your feet on broken liquor bottles that are strewn about your yard. I do not want you to be mugged while walking down the street. I do not want your children, assuming you have them, to have to attend school at an intellectual, social, and ethical wasteland. But such are the consequences of your decision.

Garrett Crane, Grove City

Friday, May 22, 2009

Julie Feasel: Clamping down on dissent

Your Olentangy school board is feverishly working on phase two of its "brick wall." The board is now looking to clamp down of dissent -- defined as any voice on the board that does not parrot the party line.

I have to say that Feasel, Meider, Galloway, and McFerson are four of the most evil folks ever elected to a local office. While their political affiliations may differ, they all agree on one thing: The community is to be held in contempt.

And folks, it's not just them. It's also your gang of administrators, including your treasurer and new superintendent.

These folks care nothing about the community.

Of course, it goes beyond those listed above. It includes community volunteers who choose to remain silent. Volunteers who refuse to question the majority position since to question may mean the end to the petty offices those volunteers so desperately enjoy -- better to play along than to lose access.

Remember, for all of these folks, power and influence is their raison d'être.

note: Whenever you read the evils of history and you begin to raise the "it could never happen here" argument, consider for a moment, just a moment, what would happen if those like Feasel held positions of real power, supported by efficient and silent community members. Can you even imagine? "Papers, please."

Not all socialists are liars

If you listen to what they say, they typically tell the truth. Consider Obama and his political views (not his campaign promises, but his personal views on issues) and you will soon see that he has not veered from his true agenda.

From recent editions of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:


Thursday, May 21, 2009
The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.
— Norman Thomas (six-time Socialist Party presidential candidate), Speech [1944]



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bastiat: 'cause it's The Law

When you read "legislator" consider, also, the lesser officials; your mandarins, apparatchiks, and superintendent and school board members.

From recent editions of the Email Update from the
Future of Freedom Foundation:

It is not true that the legislator has an absolute power over our persons and our property since they pre-exist him, and his task is to surround them with guarantees. It is not true that the function of the law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our wills, our education, our opinions, our work, our trade, our talents, our recreation. Its function is to prevent the rights of one person from interfering with rights of another in any of these matters
Frédéric Bastiat,
The Law [1850]


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You don't say

The reason Wade and Co. cannot tell the truth.

From the Hoover Institute: [I]f the public is given accurate information about what is currently being spent on public schools, their support for increased spending and confidence that more spending will improve student learning both decline. And they find that knowing how much the average teacher earns lowers support among the general public for salary increases.

Now you know why Wade uses your tax dollars to obfuscate truth: If the public knew the truth, his tax-funded gravy train would stop, just like that.


When Provided with Accurate Information, Public Support for Increased Spending on Schools and Teacher Salaries Declines, Researchers Find

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2009
Contact:William G. Howell, University of Chicago, (312) 550-3767
Martin R. West, Brown University, (401) 863-6467

STANFORD -- Education researchers William G. Howell of the University of Chicago and Martin R. West of Brown University have released newly compiled evidence from the 2008 Education Next/PEPG survey which shows that if the public is given accurate information about what is currently being spent on public schools, their support for increased spending and confidence that more spending will improve student learning both decline. And they find that knowing how much the average teacher earns lowers support among the general public for salary increases.

According to the 2008 national survey by Education Next and the Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) at Harvard University, most of the public has an inaccurate picture of how much is spent on public schools and how high teacher salaries are. Most are also inclined to support increases in both.

To understand how public opinions shift, Howell and West embedded a series of experiments within the Education Next/PEPG survey by dividing respondents into randomly chosen groups: some were simply asked their opinion about school spending and teacher salaries, while others were first provided with accurate information about each of these issues.

The average per-pupil spending estimate from respondents to the 2008 Education Next/PEPG survey was $4,231, and the median response was just $2,000; but for these respondents, local average spending per pupil at the time exceeded $10,000. When told how much the local schools were spending, support for increased spending dropped by 10 percentage points, from 61 percent to a bare majority of 51 percent.

Howell and West find that these differences in opinion based on exposure to key information are consistent across a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, views about the local public schools, and political ideologies.

“It’s clear that the American public is quite willing to update its views in light of new information about public schools,” Howell and West said.

Interestingly, note Howell and West, differences also appear among teachers, whom one might think already have deeply entrenched and well- informed views about public education. Whereas 35 percent of teachers not specifically informed of spending levels claimed that spending should “greatly increase,” only 22 percent of those who were told the amount of money spent to educate a child in their district thought so. Additionally, 29 percent of uninformed teachers expressed strong confidence that increased spending would boost student learning. When exposed to the current spending in their district, however, that confidence dropped by 9 percent.

As with per-pupil expenditures, the public significantly underestimates how much their states pay public school teachers. On average, Education Next/PEPG survey respondents underestimated average teacher salaries in their state by more than $14,000, nearly one-third of the actual average salaries of $47,000.

When asked directly, 69 percent of the public supported increasing teacher salaries. African Americans and teachers appeared most enthusiastic about increasing teacher salaries, with roughly 9 out of 10 endorsing the idea. When provided with the facts, support among the general public decreased by 14 percent. The two most enthusiastic groups of supporters of increasing teacher salaries, however, responded very differently from one another to the experiment. Support for increasing salaries dropped by 20 percentage points (from 91 to 71 percent) among African Americans who were told about actual teacher salaries. Support among teachers, meanwhile, dropped by just 8 percentage points.

The fact that information had especially large and negative effects on support for increased teacher salaries among African Americans and those least satisfied with their local public schools may hold important implications for the politics of education in the large urban districts where these groups are most concentrated.

“An urban superintendent seeking to reform teacher compensation might well increase support among the district’s constituents by ensuring that they have accurate information about what teachers currently earn,” Howell and West suggest.

Attitudes on Charter Schools

Howell and West also studied the affects on public attitudes toward charter schools when accurate information is made available.

The 2008 Education Next/PEPG survey revealed widespread confusion about charter schools. For example, less than 1 in 10 respondents knew that charter schools may neither charge tuition nor provide religious instruction. Howell and West found that providing additional information scarcely affected responses of the public as a whole. However, public attitudes are dramatically different when grouped according to self identified political ideology. Forty-nine percent of conservatives and 36 percent of liberals who were not provided information supported charter schools. But when they were told that charter schools are tuition-free and secular, support dropped among conservatives by 6 percentage points and increased among liberals by 11 percentage points. Indeed, when provided information, liberals were 4 percent more likely to support charter schools than were conservatives.

These last findings suggest that information may actually polarize the debate over charter schools – and could also portend a major shift in the political landscape of school choice, note Howell and West. Charter schools have been traditionally been seen as an education reform effort championed by conservatives. Yet Howell’s and West’s findings show that basic facts about the design of charter schools appeal more to liberals.

“If the public becomes more informed about charter schools, it’s possible that support may shift from the right to the left of the political spectrum,” Howell and West point out.

Read “
Educating the Public” now available online and in PDF format.

William G. Howell is associate professor in the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Martin R. West is assistant professor of education at Brown University and an executive editor of Education Next .

Education Next is a scholarly journal published by the Hoover Institution that is committed to looking at hard facts about school reform. Other sponsoring institutions are the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Caleb Offley, Project Manager Office of Public Affairs
Hoover Institution Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-6010
offley@hoover.stanford.edu
(585-319-4541)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quotes from FFF

From recent editions of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Misuse of government power, particularly in times of stress, has brought suffering to humanity in all ages about which we have authentic history. Some of the world's noblest and finest men have suffered ignominy and death for no crime — unless unorthodoxy is a crime. Even enlightened Athens had its victims such as Socrates. Because of the same kind of bigotry, Jesus, the great Dissenter, was put to death on a wooden cross. The flames of inquisitions all over the world have warned that men endowed with unlimited government power, even earnest men, consecrated to a cause, are dangerous.
— Hugo L. Black, “
The Bill of Rights” [1960]

Thursday, May 14, 2009
Unlimited power is in itself a bad and dangerous thing. Human beings are not competent to exercise it with discretion. God alone can be omnipotent, because his wisdom and his justice are always equal to his power. There is no power on earth so worthy of honor in itself, or clothed with rights so sacred, that I would admit its uncontrolled and all-predominant authority. When I see that the right and the means of absolute command are conferred on any power whatever, be it called a people or a king, an aristocracy or a republic, I say there is the germ of tyranny, and I seek to live elsewhere, under other laws.

— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Interventions are always loser

A previous post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:










Interventions are always loser

Jim Fedako




One truism has never been successfully challenged: Government interventions lead to a less efficient, less well-ordered society.

In his important book, Basic Principles of Economic Value, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk develops, among other important concepts, his basic law of prices and includes a footnote that is both intriguing and worthy of exploration.

In the narrative associated with the footnote (p. 119), Böhm-Bawerk develops his law of prices (pp.107-129) by using the now-standard chart showing the subjective values of a group of horse buyers and sellers. Chart 1 (reproduced below), shows that five horses will be bought and sold at a market price somewhere between $210 and $215.

Notice that in the market range of $210 to $215, not all horses are sold since some sellers value their horse more than the established market price (sellers 6, 7, and 8). In the footnote, Böhm-Bawerk reorders the values so that the sellers’ valuations are in descending order similar to the buyers’ set of values (chart 2 below). He then notes that if the buyers and sellers sought out each other in this manner, all available horses would have been sold. This intriguing situation is worthy of further exploration since it is always important to investigate the possibilities of a government helping-hand with regard to the market.

A question arises: If government intervened to coercively pair buyers with sellers in the manner that the chart in the footnote details (chart 2 below) and forced exchanges based solely on the pair at hand’s valuations (e.g. Buyer 1 and Seller 8, Buyer 2 and Seller 7, etc.), ignoring an aggregate market price, would the society of horse buyers and sellers be better off?

First, we have to look at how value is increased through voluntary exchange and then apply that knowledge to the intervention.

Value has a subjective magnitude. Individuals participate in voluntary exchanges if and only if they expect ex ante an increase in subjective value ex post due to the exchange.

Based on the market established in chart 1, Buyer 1 will exchange with Seller 1 at some price between $100 and $300. Regardless of the price, an increase of $200 is recorded to subjective valuations of this two-person society since the buyer values the horse $200 more than the seller; while the buyer and seller simply split the cash based on the agreed upon price.

The pre-exchange valuations show the buyer holding $300 in cash with the seller holding a $100 horse. Should the price have been $200 for the exchange, the buyer now has a $300 horse and $100 in cash while the seller has $200 in cash. This shows a $200 increase in subjective valuation.

Any other price for the horse simply moves cash from one holder’s account to the other; buyer's to seller's, or visa versa. The money price has no effect on the increase in the subjective valuation to the buyer over the seller of the exchanged horse. The money price only affects the decision to exchange or hold, money prices do not change valuations subjective to the individual actors.

The aggregate valuation increase for the larger society as detailed in chart 1 is calculated by summing the valuations of the more-capable buyers – those able to purchase a horse on the market – and subtracting from that total the summed valuations of the associated sellers. In the example, the aggregate increase due to the exchanges is $570.

What would be the aggregate increase to society due to a government intervention that coercively paired buyers with sellers?

Using chart 2, sum the valuations of capable buyers and subtract the sum of the valuations of the associated sellers. In this instance, there are eight buyers and sellers. The result, an increase of $435, shows that the coerced exchange reduced the aggregate subjective valuation gain.

More horses were sold but less value was created. This intervention, like all government interventions, is a net loser.

Moreover, and more importantly, the losses due to the coerced exchanges are not found only in the hypothetical market created by Böhm-Bawerk, the loss of subjective valuation occurs regardless of the make-up of the market. In addition, this can be extended to show that government cannot tax valuation "left on the table" [1] and increase the aggregate subjective valuation since all government would be doing is reducing cash-holdings through taxation. The subjective valuations remain what they are regardless of the exchange price.

Additionally, if government would then use the cash generated through taxation to subsidize exchanges that would not have occurred naturally in the market, the aggregate net valuation would suffer a loss – just as it did under a coerced exchange – and the cash-holdings would be reduced by the inefficiencies of government.

Based on a superficial analysis, coerced exchanges appear to lead to greater satisfaction. Aren’t more horses traded? Isn’t more cash passed between buyer and seller? The answer is yes to both. However, the unseen is as important as the seen. On the surface, government appears to be a market catalyst for good, while the hidden results proves that interventions lead to a loss of value and cash-holdings.

Governments opt for the seen as their continued power is based on trumpeting their interventions of the obvious; governments then blame the final results, lost values and cash-holdings, on someone or something else altogether.

Yet, this is exactly what government does when it alters the normal actions of individuals through taxation or other coercive forces, such as subsidies, etc. Nothing good results simply because nothing good can result from coerced changes to the free market.

Footnote:

[1] Valuation “left on the table” is value external to the exchange, viz. the subjective value Buyer 1 assigns to the horse, $300, that is greater that the market price, between $210 and $215 in this instance. Some suggest that government should levy a tax of either $90 or $85 respectively so that the value the buyer attributed to the horse is paid in a combination of market price and taxation. The belief is that this combination would capture all value generated by the exchange. As noted above, government simply decreases the aggregate valuation and cash-holdings of society through such interventions.



Jim Fedako [send him mail], a former professional cyclist who lives in Lewis Center, OH, is a member of the Olentangy Local School District and maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.


Appendix

Chart 1




Chart 2

note: refer to Mises.org blog posting for chart 2.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Begging is everywhere

What's everywhere? Incorrect references to the "begging the question" logical fallacy. I know, it's a little needle, but it annoys all the same.

A while back someone corrected me on my use of begs the question. I had used the phrase when "raises the question" was appropriate. Now, just like a reformed ... you name it ..., I can see the annoying begging everywhere.

Let's set the record straight with an example: Your friend is about to leave on a three-week vacation to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. He calls to tell you what he packed. He says, "Since tomorrow's weather in Sault Ste. Marie is going to be 75 degrees, I only packed summer clothes."

He comment raises a question: Did he also pack his swimming suit?

The question raised flows from the comment -- if one packs for summer weather, a bathing suit is an essential.

His argument also begs a question: What makes him believe that the weather in Sault Ste. Marie during May will stay summer-like for three weeks?

Here the premise itself is called into question. His packing argument works if you assume -- with him -- that the weather in Sault Ste. Marie is unchanging in May. Of course, that is one hefty assumption.

Remember to beg only when begging is due; raise in all other instances.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Real Smokin' Gun

Here is another email obtained through a public records request.

Note that in Ohio, a school district cannot spend public funds to influence a tax issue. Yet, according to the email exchange below, it appears the district did just that when it hired Avakian to "aid with the levy."

What?!? Yes, it's true. The treasurer, responding to a question from board member Smith, noted that the (then current) interim superintendent (Hooie) admitted the district hired Avakian in order to aid with the passage of the 2008 levy. Amazing.

The district hired Avakian in January 2008 for a $20,000, full-year contract. Yet the district didn't pay Avakian directly. No, the district paid Avakian through the Franklin County ESC. Why? I believe the district laundered payments through FCESC in order to hide the contract and payments from inquiring minds.

According to the contract between Avakian and the district, Avakian was to be paid in four quarterly installments for a full year of service to the district. Yet, soon after the levy, the district authorized FCESC to make a "final close" payment to Avakian.

The district closed its account with Avakian after less than three months had passed. Does that even make sense?

In all my public record requests, the district never produced any evidence that Avakian actually produced for its $20,000 in tax dollars. I obtained no communication between Avakian and the district -- or any report or document, for that matter -- that would lead me to believe Avakian produced anything of value. Yet they were paid in-full three months into a 12-month contract. For what?

The email below answers that question.

It's one thing to spend my tax dollars promoting district nonsense. It's another thing altogether to spend my tax dollars in order to aid a levy.

Have those folks no shame? Sorry, that was rhetorical.



Note: The district doesn't really do anything. Certain individuals do (or did).




To: "Jennifer Smith"
Cc: jenny_hooie@olentangy.k12.oh.us, jfeasel@aol.com,ScottGalloway@insight.rr.com, mcfersd@yahoo.com, tmeider@yahoo.com

From: "Rebecca Jenkins"

Jennifer

Per Ms. Hooie:

The services were to aid with the levy, were used last year...specifically hired by Scott and Carole Dorn Bell.

PO 2810858 is attached.

Becky

(emphasis in the original -- Jim)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Saving tax dollars. Huh!

Dear Editor:

In the true sense of irony, I received notice of my increased mortgage payment in the same week as the latest PR postcard from the Olentangy school district. So my mortgage increased due to the latest levy and the district has the nerve to claim it's saving tax dollars. Saving? Come on now.

How about some truth in advertising. The district may claim to be saving tax dollars, but my tax bill rises all the same. If the district really wants to save tax dollars, it would reduce its operating millage and collect less tax dollars from hard-strapped taxpayers.

Yes, Ohio law allows taxing districts to reduce, by board resolution, the amount of millage collected. So the board only needs to take a vote in order to have the district's claim come true -- for next year, anyway.

Do I think that will happen? No. Why not? Simple. Those "saves" were reallocated to new expenditures even before the ink was dry -- expenditures which include the new superintendent salary and administrative raises and higher annuities, as well as the cost of the postcards themselves.

No money was saved. The proof is your increased mortgage payment.

By the way, I would have rather kept my portion of this latest PR campaign -- some $2 or so -- to spend or save as I see fit.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Political Signs: Truth in advertisement

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










Political Signs: Truth in advertisement

Jim Fedako



I spent Saturday bike riding through the mountains of Southwestern PA, enjoying a beautiful spring day. Littered along the roads were political signs promoting candidates for the upcoming May elections.

I found it ironic that those signs are nothing other than an indictment of the democratic process. From what I gather, honesty, integrity, accountability, and common sense are all missing from both government and the current slate of elected officials. Those aren't my words. Those are the words found on just about every sign.

Hmmm. What makes anyone think another election will set things right?p>

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Julie and Teri, Pick up your award. You earned it.

McFerson missed the banquet too. And he never misses an awards ceremony. Come on you selfless public servants, don't be shy, you all earned it -- time and time again.


Close-kept superintendent search earns dubious recognition for Olentangy school board
* An Ohio journalism society has given its Brick Wall Award to the Olentangy school board.

By MATT GERISH
Published: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 5:07 PM EDT

The search for Olentangy's newest superintendent ended last year, but the process used to find him is still receiving attention.

The Central Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has selected the Olentangy school board as the recipient of its 2009 Brick Wall Award.

Since 2001, the society has presented the award to the individual or organization that, according to chapter members, did the most to block journalist and resident access to public records and proceedings or otherwise violated the spirit of the First Amendment during the past year, according to the Central Ohio SPJ.

"The Central Ohio SPJ board chose the Olentangy (board) for this dubious distinction after the board's deliberate efforts in 2008 to keep the details of its superintendent search from the public," wrote Central Ohio SPJ Vice President Kevin Kemper in a April 27 letter to board President Julie Wagner Feasel.

Kemper cited questionable closed-door meetings with the Educational Service Center of Franklin County search firm and a memo distributed to board members from then-Vice President Dimon McFerson, which stated, "We want the search firm to keep all the paperwork. They can be protected from Freedom of Information Act requests. Our lawyer will explain how this works."

During the board's second search attempt, McFerson was approved as a one-man search "committee" in hopes of skirting legal requirements of the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act, Kemper wrote.

"It was also a move that allowed the board to follow the letter, but certainly not the spirit, of Ohio's Sunshine Laws," he wrote.

Kemper invited Wagner Feasel or a district representative to receive the award during the SPJ Founders Day banquet, held Thursday, May 7.

"In previous years, winners such as the Ohio Historical Society and the village of New Rome have attended and accepted the award in person to begin a dialogue on the issues leading up to this award," Kemper wrote.

No representatives of the district were in attendance at the banquet.

McFerson and Wagner Feasel both said they did not plan to comment on the award.

"I am not at all surprised that the Olentangy BOE received an award for impeding access to public records and public meetings," said board member Jennifer Smith. "This board has no regard for transparency. Worse, they are counter-transparent, continually violating the public's right to an open school board."

Smith said as recently as last month that the other four members of the school board violated the Open Meetings Act by discussing board business outside of a public meeting.

"I, personally, have incurred $2,000 in legal expense to obtain public records from the district," Smith said. "This fall, two school board seats are up for election, and I am hopeful that the residents of our community will be responsive."

Copyright © 2009 ColumbusLocalNews.com an American Community Newspaper

A letter that makes perfect sense

From the Monday edition of The Columbus Dispatch:

Gift from God is 'burden' to others
Monday, May 11, 2009 2:54 AM

I respond to Cindy Brooman's May 2 letter, "Population is at root of all problems," with a few improvements. Why go with Brooman's idea of only having one or two children? It would be better to prohibit any births starting in the year 2010. This way Mother Earth could be relieved of her burden even sooner. No more babies, no more burden.

Well, let's not stop there. Let's get rid of all those who are not working and over the age of 70. No, let's make that 60.

And that adorable little smile from your baby with Down syndrome? Adore it no more. Brooman and her kind only want you to see their burden to Mother Earth. Let's also give a test at school to see who will be producers and who will not and get rid of the nonproducers.

As for me, I choose to enjoy the blessings that the Creator of this planet has given to me and to others.

SHELLY FEDAKO

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Olentangy saves tax dollars. What? My tax bill just went up!

I recently received the district's "Watching the Bottom Line -- Saving Tax Dollars" postcard. What I find particularly offensive is that this card arrived in my mailbox the same week as my increased house payment. So, if the district is saving tax dollars, why is my tax bill rising?

I know, I know, I have it all wrong. The district is reducing its expenditures. But, if that is true, where is my savings. Isn't that a fair question?

Of course, those savings have to be balanced against increased expenditures.

There is Wade's puffed and padded contract (something like $300K per year), the cost to employ the survey folks (approximately $40K per year), the cost for the communications department (approximately $200K year), and printing and mailing costs for this one post card (estimate it to be $30k per occurrence).

Then you have to add in the recent salary and benefits increases reaped by the administration (estimate it at $250K or so per year), plus all the other goodies befitting these supposedly selfless public employees.

Balance the claimed savings against increased expenditures and now you know why my tax bill just increased.

Hey Feasel and Meider, I know a few words and phrases that you cannot run on this fall: Fiscal accountability, controlling costs, etc.

note: I challenge anyone to prove that the district actually "saved" $840,000 per year due to the implementation of the Transportation Eligibility Policy in 2004. All you have to do is read the district CAFRs and find the savings. I can't. Why? Because no such savings were realized -- regardless what is stated on the postcard.

Who protects property? (hint: it's not the police)

Who protects property? The property owner. Remove Second Amendment rights, and these Columbus property owners are out-of-business.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Playbook Exposed

Here's another email obtained via a recent public records request. It exposes the playbook used to pass levies.

Some pullout quotes:


Carole Dorn-Bell (former Olentangy communications director): "I must have cut list."

Joel Gagne (Avakian and Associates, a consultant to Olentangy and New Albany):
"The time for some political pain is way overdue in [New Albany]."

Paul Fallon (Fallon Research, a consultant of Olentangy and New Albany):
"Candidly, I also think you should attempt to cull some private campaign fund dollars to have the ability to test questions in the survey that you do not want to be subjected to the Sunshine Law, because they are publicly-funded."

Some things to keep in mind: Dorn-Bell worked for Olentangy at the time she was (obviously) advising New Albany. Soon after this email string, Dorn-Bell left Olentangy for a position at New Albany. Then, after the New Albany levy, Dorn-Bell took a job with ... get this ... Avakian and Associates. Funny how these things just work out.

Note how they all use personal email addresses to skirt sunshine laws. That is until Dorn-Bell blows her own cover with a cut and paste reply. It makes me wonder what else is going on outside of public view.

I wonder if any of this is legal -- 'cause it sure ain't ethical.

I also wonder if the folks in New Albany like the fact that they were played by some highly-paid consultants.

Note: I'm not certain if Paul's off-site coffee invite is for taxpayers (read last line below). It may just be for tax consumers. Give him a call on his private line to find out.

The full email string.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:35:41 AM
Subject: Re: Third point
From: Carole Dorn-Bell
To: Joel Gagne, Paul Fallon

My first thought is "ask Hilliard if not having a cut list worked for them." Second, they have to. I must have cut list. Unless people can see how it affects them, forget it. I can provide loads of anichdotal evidence on that one. Third, the board has to -- early on -- come up with the list so that people can see there are no sacred cows. The list is the list. And they have to stick with it. I'll be talking with Castle today. I'll relay my thoughts on Paul's email. Now, the board is a different story.

Joel Gagne writes:

Paul/Carole,

I think Paul’s third point is critical. The time for some political pain is way overdue in NA. The fact they are considering a levy without unveiling a cut list is astounding to me. I sense that the political will to do this weak from both Steve and the BOE. This point is going to have to be hammered to them if we are going to get it through, they just do not do this in NA and they have to start. Thoughts?
-----
Joel Gagne
Avakian and Associates
joelgagne@mac.com
Cell: 339-499-8623


From: Paul Fallon
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2008 18:17:11 -0400
To:
scastle.na@gmail.com, thirteenthtbox@yahoo.com
Cc: 'Joel Gagne' , 'Carole Bell'
Subject: Private Campaign Notes

Steve and Brian,

Here is a collection of various observations and ideas that I want to share with you privately, because I think that they have important implications for how the upcoming campaign will be waged, and are largely political in nature. Moreover, while the focus group findings speak for themselves, and the subsequent overview summarizes them very succinctly, there are some points of political sub-text that I want to call to your attention. They are listed in no particular order, because I think that they are all equally important.

First, although in the Information Age it is almost axiomatic for people to complain about the woeful amount of communication they are getting from under-funded public entities – in part, because the volume and frequency of information is so great, that many people sub-consciously filter what they allow to get through -- the problems in your District appear to be much more serious. I suspect that the District has not been communicating effectively or consistently, and, possibly, lacks a coherent plan to inform the public. An immediate need is to conduct a communication audit and analysis to determine what needs to be done better and differently! Like a campaign, special emphasis needs to be placed on reaching people by breaking them
down into various sub-groups, rather than using consolidated methods to communicate with the entire public using broadcast mediums (which are clearly inadequate and, possibly, fragmented in your District).

Second, the past campaign was, I suspect, defeated because, simply put, it failed to congeal into a specific idea or vision. Every winning campaign “is about something” and my review of the information and articles sent to me, as well as the comments of the focus groups respondents, indicate that a coherent theme never emerged in the past campaign. It will be important to cede some authority to Joel, because he can distill all of the various aspects and ideas into a single concept.

Third, a vaunted effort must be made to demonstrate what has been done, or is being done, to use existing resources to solve problems and maximize existing space. This will assure the voting public that, when you do ask for operating money, it is genuinely needed. It will also obliquely reinforce the premise there is a serious problem that will require public support of a bond issue to pass. Even in affluent New Albany, it appears that voters want to know more about austerity measures that are being taken – perhaps to be assured that the District is not being cavalier with its money.

Fourth, because the credibility of the institution (including, I suspect, the Board of Education) is somewhat embattled, it will be important to get outside third parties to endorse what you are doing by taking an oversight role in the process and vouching for your plans. Although it may open some old wounds for him, track down George Tombaugh, who was the former superintendent in Westerville, to ask him how we repositioned his campaign after 3 successive losses. Although he bristled, the shift of emphasis away from him and towards a blue ribbon panel of business leaders gave the District’s levy request external credibility that was pivotal.

Fifth, it is time to start mentally preparing to answer the question of what will be done differently. Since the public has said “no” once – rather emphatically! – it is critical to justify the decision to go back on the ballot with a similar request by demonstrating that new policy and program decisions frame this ballot request in a different context. That is, although the money requested may be essentially the same, the District’s new policies, programs and austerity measures are different enough to warrant reconsideration.

Sixth, the decision about whether to seek a property tax levy or income tax in order to raise operating revenue will be a political calculation that cannot be made with survey data alone. Working on a multitude of school funding issues in a variety of different circumstances, I have learned that such campaigns often fail because they implode due to dissension from internal constituencies. Given the hostile environment that exists due the economy, the challenges you face will be formidable enough without having to cobble together support from groups such as influential opinion leaders who have the gravitas, incentive and means to deter support for an issue that they oppose. As you are considering what type of mechanism to promote, it is crucial to carefully consider what political actions could be taken to destabilize support for your issue. While I do not recommend capitulating at the first sign of resistance, I do think it is important to
have a lucid, and sobering, understanding of the obstacles to success before any campaign is undertaken, so that sound and pragmatic decisions can be made.

Lastly, unless something has changed, I still anticipate conducting the survey in mid-May. Please advise me immediately if you are having second thoughts about timing. I will also need to know if there are any political developments that change your thinking about what revenue mechanism, or mechanisms, you think the Board will put before voters in November, so we can test them in the survey. Candidly, I also think you should attempt to cull some private campaign fund dollars to have the ability to test questions in the survey that you do not want to be subjected to the Sunshine Law, because they are publicly-funded.

After you have read this, seek out Joel’s opinions and advice about these observations and ideas. He may feel differently, and have better advice, which I would not be inclined to disregard. You have a complex situation that is quite treacherous, and the insight you gain from collaboration will help you overcome the challenges that the District faces in the coming months.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to call me. I will be in the office all day on Thursday and Friday of this week, and can be reached on my private line at 614-297-7090. I would also be glad to meet off-site over coffee, if you want to talk in more detail.

Paul

Friday, May 08, 2009

Tommy Thompson bets my tax dollars on flying pigs

The Delaware County Political Reporter sure sounds like the inside scoop. In fact, it appears the "reporter" is a county employee -- based on the continual defense of county employees over logic.

Now, I still am not convinced that Ken O'Brien is a small tax guy ... but ...

Fellow commissioner Tommy Thompson is convinced that the economy is on the rebound, so it's time to spend, spend, spend.

O'Brien says, "No." But Thompson goes on the offensive. He is convinced that this is not the time for austerity, it's time to slop the pigs some more. Amazing.

The reporter calls O'Brien "Chicken Little." If that's the case, then Thompson is the political hack betting that pigs will fly.

note: The reporter does not like anyone squeezing county employees. Squeeze the taxpayer? Sure. Just not public employees.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Breakfast with McFerson

And the consultant is paying. Is this even ethical? Hmmm.

From: Joel Gagne

Date: 12/5/2008 9:24:35 AM

Subject: Follow Up

To: Dimon McFerson

Attachments: Attach0.html 5K

Hi Dimon,

Joel Gagne from Avakian here (I work with the District.)

I hope you had a great thanksgiving. Just following up from our breakfast a few months ago. Any chance I can buy you breakfast again? Same place on the 9th at 8:00 am?

I hope your wrist is better and your golf game is on track. I look forward to hearing from you.

Joel Gagne
Avakian Consulting
1215 Polaris Parkway, Suite 114
Columbus, OH 43240
jg@avakian.biz
800-549-2285
www.avakian.biz

Note: This email was obtained from the district via a public records request.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Marc Schare is beaten at the polls in Worthington

Looks like 60% of Worthington voters aren't buying Schare's tales of financial woe. What next? Wanna bet Schare votes to return his levy to the voters in November? Spending is an addiction, even for the fiscally deluded.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A No-Non-Sequitur Zone

Robert Murphy over at Free Advice has a great article on science and politics. In it, he mentions game theory, which is a good starting point for a post of my own.

There are two concepts that need defined: epistemology (briefly, the theory of knowledge) and worldview (the framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual interprets the world and interacts with it).

As I see things, your worldview supersedes your epistemology. In other words, your epistemology is defined by your worldview. Some examples:

If you believe, as I do, that the Bible is God's word -- that is it truth in all matters (worldview), your view of the creation v. evolution debate is always viewed from God's word. Your belief in creation (epistemology) follows directly from your biblical worldview. Fair enough.

As an adherent of the Austrian school of economic thought, I view conclusions flowing from game theory through an epistemology that says government can never be the efficient solution -- to anything.

So, when the efficient solution to a game (such as the prisoner's dilemma) includes a benevolent power that guides or coordinates players, I reject the solution out of hand. Why? No such earthly power exists. To propose government as the solution (government is always the implied benevolent power) is nonsense.

Just because a problem appears to carefully stated, and its solution elegant, does not mean logic has been refuted.

Check your worldview. Make certain that it is built on a solid foundation of truth -- the Bible being truth.

Note: For those who see a non sequitur above, keep in mind that the truths of Austrian economics are contained in my biblical worldview. So, in the social sciences, Austrian economics is my epistemology, fully covered by my biblical worldview.

No non sequitur here folks.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Marc Schare: Worthington's answer to L. Ron Hubbard

Yes, Marc Schare convolutes logic and his positions as fast and as easy as L. Ron Hubbard in Dianetics.

Schare claims to be all about low taxes -- except his tax, of course. And, to defend his vote, Schare writes a mish-mash of nonsense in the style of Hubbard.

To quote Schare (from his website): "My core ideology is as fiscally conservative as it’s always been. I understand, probably better than most in this room, the mind of the “no” voter and what I’d like to do is spend a little bit of time discussing the numerous objections I’ve heard to this levy and while many are quite valid, why I don’t agree with them."

And this: "I truly regret the hardship that this levy may place on members of the Worthington community, and we have to acknowledge that the average $500/year increase will be a burden to many who live here."

So, Schare is a fiscal conservative only when it's for taxes he does not approve. Otherwise, it's spend, spend, spend. And, if you cannot keep up with Schare at the spending table, sorry about your luck.

The next time you hear Schare talk about being a fiscal conservative, grab for your wallet.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Real Reason Behind Global Warming: Postage Stamps

This is for all you positivists out there.



Notes:

1. HT Tucker over at Mises.org

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The DC Swine Seek to Herd the Sheep



Thankfully, Ron Paul stands as the voice of reason. HT LewRockwell.com.

Friday, May 01, 2009

What?!? Pat Tiberi is a moderate!

According to the Washington Post, Tiberi is a proud moderate. In today's terms, that makes him a Specter Republican. In yesterday's terms, he is a social democrat at best, and likely closet fascist.

According to the
Tuesday Group website, Tiberi has a track record of trashing the Constitution:
Congressman Pat Tiberi (Ohio)

During Congressman Pat Tiberi's eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives (1993-2000) he rose to the position of Majority Leader. He has been recognized as one of the most knowledgeable Members of Congress on housing and home ownership issues. Congressman Tiberi serves on the Ways and Means Committee that oversees wide-ranging issues like taxes, Social Security, Medicare, trade and healthcare. Most recently, he authored legislation creating a DNA database to track violent criminals, established comprehensive lawsuit abuse reform, required performance audits of Ohio's 21 urban school districts, protected seniors from financial con artists and initiated nursing home consumer report cards. Tiberi also proposed bills that offered state income tax credits for charitable contributions and reformed Ohio's "death" or estate tax.



The Washington Times article:
House GOP Moderates Dismayed by Specter Move, But Won't Follow Suit
By Ben Pershing

House Republican moderates call themselves the "
Tuesday Group" because of their meeting schedule, and so it was that the dwindling band happened to get together for their weekly gathering yesterday at noon, at the exact moment a fellow centrist, Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), was announcing his defection from the GOP to become a Democrat.

What was the reaction to the news inside the room?

"Generally it's a mixed bag," said Rep.
Mike Castle (Del.) a leader among House GOP moderates. "There are people who feel it's treasonous to change political parties. ... It's very self-serving."

"It wasn't a shock," said Rep.
Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), who also attended the moderates' meeting. "I think most people look at it for what it is -- survivability by Specter."