San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, October 5, 2012

Do You Really Believe You Are Free?

  • I do not consent to having more than ten percent of my annual income taken from me by the Internal Revenue Service.  I comply with the law that requires me to pay more because the penalty for not doing so is prison.
  • I do not consent to having some of the money that is stolen from me by the Internal Revenue Service being used to pay for my neighbor's daughter's abortion.  I comply with the law that requires me to pay for her abortion because the penalty for not doing so is prison. 
  • I do not consent to having some of the money that is stolen from me by the Internal Revenue Service being used to pay for welfare programs for people in this country who then have no incentive to get off of their couches and find a job.  I comply with the forcible extraction because the penalty for not doing so is my imprisonment.
  • I do not consent to having some of my money forcibly extracted from me in order to rebuild the homes of people who were so stupid or foolish that they built their homes in a hurricane zone.  I comply with that governmental demand because failure to do so on my part would result in my imprisonment.
  • I do not consent to being forced to pay unemployment taxes to the state that are then used to pay people to stay home and not look for work.  I comply with the government program because failure to do so would result in my business being shut down.
  • I do not consent to being forced to pay taxes to my county government that are then used to pay for my neighbor's children's teachers.  Nor do I consent to paying those taxes to pay for unnecessary fire protection services.  I comply with the law that requires me to pay real estate tax because failure to do so will result in the county Sheriff evicting me from my house and selling it at auction to somebody else.
  • I do not consent to being forced to pay the minimum wage to two teenagers who occasionally help me with my business.  I would prefer to pay them the lower market rate.  I comply with the minimum wage law because failure to do so would result in the governing authorities fining me to the point I would go out of business.
  • I do not consent to installing a handrail with a grove for my fingers around the deck in  my backyard.  I comply with the local zoning officials because the penalty for failing to do so is a significant fine or forced demolition of the deck.
  • I do not consent to being pulled over by the local officer of the law simply because I changed lanes (I changed lanes because he was tailgating me and I wanted to get out of his way).  I do not consent to being asked by him if I was drinking (I was not).  I do not consent to being instructed by this twenty two year old, rosy-cheeked officer that my driving pattern was consistent with a drunk driver.  I comply with his demands because he has a gun and the courts will back him up if he decides to shoot and kill me because he "feels threatened" by me.
  • I do not consent to using CFL light bulbs in my home.  I will only comply when my present supply of regular light bulbs runs out and I am unable to find replacements for them because the regular light bulb is now considered to be illegal.
  • I do not consent to the decision of the majority that people who elect to smoke should be banished to a distant location of the wilderness before being permitted to light up.  I do not consent to the decision of the majority that a business cannot make the voluntary decision to permit smoking on its property.  I comply with these coercive regulations because failure to do so could result in a fine and imprisonment.
  • I do not consent to paying the dozen extra "taxes" attached to my cable TV/internet bill.  I do not consent to that money being used to support government give-aways like free cell phones for the politically connected and free computers to government school children.  I comply with the law because it is the only way I can have internet service.
  • I do not consent to having to use the USPS as the only way I can send a first class letter.  I comply with the government created monopoly because it is the only way I can send a first class letter.
  • I do not consent to having my lawyer and my doctor charge me $500/hour for their services.  I only comply with their charges because the government created monopolies of the AMA and ABA have fixed their prices and my only option is to use them or nobody at all.
  • I do not consent to paying a tax to the state for the privilege of driving my car.  I comply with the law in order to avoid the confiscation and impounding of my vehicle by state authorities.
  • I do not consent to paying a surtax when I use more than a particular amount of water to irrigate my lawn.  I comply with the regulation because water is available from only one government monopoly which is free to set the price of water without regard to consumer desires.
  • I do not consent to the option of either being groped or photographed naked by agents of the federal government prior to boarding a public aircraft.  I comply with their demands because sometimes I absolutely have to fly.
  • I do not consent to having my bank information available to agents of the federal government anytime they wish to examine it.  I comply with that law without even knowing it every time I open a private bank account and put my money into an institution that is required by law to report my transactions to the federal government.
  • I do not consent to being searched and forced to walk through a metal detector prior to entering a courthouse.  I comply with that unlawful search because I will have a warrant issued for my arrest if I refuse to answer my jury duty summons.
  • I do not consent to having to tell my daughter that she cannot set up a lemonade stand on the sidewalk in front of the house because she does not have a restaurant license.  I comply with that demand because I do not have the time or the money to purchase a restaurant license for her lemonade stand.
This list could go on all day.  There are hundreds of things I do not consent to every single day.  There are hundreds of rules and regulations that I blindly follow every day to avoid being fined or incarcerated by the governing authorities.  Your life is no different.  Take some time as you go about your daily activities today and examine them for government interference.  If you have never done this before you might be shocked by what you discover.  You might come to realize that you are really not a free person.  You might come to realize that you are becoming more enslaved every day.
In the past several years I have had the opportunity to meet several people who live in foreign nations.  Almost to a man they have had the same observation about the United States when compared to their native lands.  They have all told me that "in the United States the government is less corrupt and the citizens are less free".  Take a look around.  Think about how regulated you are. Think about how taxed you are.  Think about how the level of regulation and taxation is increasing every day.  Do you really believe you are free?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Social Security: Guaranteed Negative Returns

2012 marks a significant date in the history of Social Security in the United States.  Assuming that you will earn the median wage, and assuming that you will live the median lifespan, an assuming that you retire at the regular age, this year marks the beginning of the period for negative total returns on  your Social Security "investments".  Up until 2012 participants in Social Security have received more money back than they put into the Ponzi scheme.  Those retiring in 2012 will get back exactly what they put in.  Those retiring after 2012 will get back less than they put in.  This date is worthy of further consideration.
I believe everybody is aware that there is no such thing as the Social Security "trust fund".  Congress and federal bureaucrats love to talk about the trust fund as if it actually exists.  According to those habitual liars, all of the funds we have contributed (read "had forcibly extracted from our paychecks") to Social Security have gone into a trust fund that will be used to pay our benefits in the future.  In fact, the money contributed to Social Security has gone into the general fund of the federal government and been spent.  The Social Security trust fund is nothing more than a bunch of IOUs sitting in the Treasury. 
Those who are presently receiving Social Security benefits are not obtaining them from a government investment account or trust fund.  They are coming from current mandatory contributions from present workers.  That is why the entire program is a Ponzi scheme.  There is no investment account.  There has never been an investment account.  All present payouts are coming from present receipts.  That is the very definition of a Ponzi scheme where the unscrupulous investment adviser takes new investments coming in and uses them to pay interest to those who had invested previously.  Eventually the entire house of cards comes crashing down. 
According to the government employees who work as trustees at the Social Security Administration, the Social Security trust fund will be bankrupted in 2033.  This assertion is based upon the belief that the IOUs presently held by the Treasury are really of value.  Even if they are, and they are not, the system will be worthless in just twenty one more years.  There is no other conclusion that can be made but that the federal government will either have to reduce or stop future payments of Social Security benefits or it will have to continue to make benefit payments with dollars that the Federal Reserve creates out of thin air.  Neither solution is a good one.  The first increases the negative rate of return realized by "investors" in Social Security and the second creates high levels of price inflation.
Imagine for a moment that a private (or publicly traded) corporation decided to provide a pension for its employees.  The employees had a certain percentage of their salary taken from them and contributed to the pension plan.  In return they were promised a monthly retirement check at some point in the future.  Now imagine that the corporate trustees for the plan decided to take the plan assets and spend them on vacations, homes, cars, drugs, yachts, private aircraft, and anything else they wanted to buy.  What do you think would happen to those trustees when the plan participants find out what they have done?  We all know that a lengthy prison sentence would be the end of the line for those trustees.
Change the above scenario from a private (or publicly traded) corporation to a branch of the federal government of the United States called Social Security.  A certain percentage of your income has been forcibly extracted from your paycheck your entire life.  You have been promised a monthly payment when you retire with the understanding that your future payment is based upon your present contributions. Then you find out that the Social Security trustees have spent all of your contributions to the plan on programs mostly related to getting incumbent politicians reelected.  What should happen to those trustees and the politicians they supported?  We all know the answer to that. They should all go to jail.  What will happen to them?  The trustees will receive bonuses for their dedication to public service.  They will receive a lifetime retirement pension that is from a program separate from Social Security and created just for government employees.  Meanwhile, the politicians they supported will become career politicians who retire with exorbitant lifetime pensions and the accolades of an adoring electorate.  What is wrong with this picture?
My dad retired in 1990.  He told me that he received more in Social Security benefits in his first year of retirement than he had paid into the system his entire life.  He drew those benefits for 14 years until his death in 2004.  My mom continues to draw his survivor benefits to this day.  I have not calculated their combined rate of return on his contributions to Social Security but it must be in excess of 100%/year.
If I could retire today, and I can't, I would receive a lifetime total return on my mandatory contributions of 0%.  If I retire in ten years I will receive a guaranteed negative return on my mandatory contributions to Social Security.  Even worse, there is no way I can stop the bleeding. The longer I contribute to Social Security the worse my lifetime total return will be.  I am required by law to continue contributing to the system.  I am, along with millions of others, in the unenviable position of being legally forced to contribute to an investment account that is guaranteed to lose money and to only get worse as time goes on.  Why are so few people angry about this?  Why is their no public outcry to either terminate or amend the system?  Why do politicians stumping for reelection continually fall all over themselves promising that they will not change the Social Security system?
This immoral system began when some politicians, and the US citizens who elected them, thought it would be a good idea to use the coercive power of government to take money from one group and give it to another group.  In a very short time this political process became what is essentially the only reason for the existence of government in this land.  Within a matter of decades the great majority of the US electorate came to the conclusion that government's primary function is to take the money of one group and give it to another.  That is what the entire political process is about today.  It does not matter if one is a Republican, Democrat or Independent.  All parties are committed to the principle of income and wealth redistribution.  The only substantive disagreements between the parties are over who to gouge and who to reward with the largess. 
We always get what we deserve.  Because the vast majority of the citizens in the Socialist Democracy of America believe in wealth redistribution we end up with the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security.  Because the vast majority of the citizens in this country are envy filled we end up with a program like Social Security where your future investment return is guaranteed to be negative.  Only when the majority of the citizens of the SDA decide they no longer want something for nothing can real change take place.  Only when the majority of the citizens of the SDA are able to tell the representative of the federal government, who is holding out a big bag of cash with their name on it, to go away will real change take place.  Put bluntly, we don't have that moral character and I don't think we ever will. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The King Is Coming!

The King of the United States is making an appearance in Denver tonight.  He is here to engage in a press conference and photo opportunity with his opponent for office of King for the next four years.  Because the King is such a high and mighty person there will be extreme security measures in force.  Nobody will be permitted within a several mile radius of the building he will be speaking in without government approval.  Interstate 25 will be shut down for a five mile stretch from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm.  That means tens of thousands of motorists will have to find another way home from work tonight.  Side streets will not be of much help since they will be clogged with the overflow from the barricaded interstate highway.  I suspect most people will just leave work at noon and head home before the traffic jams get started.  One local pizza company owner made the rather ironic observation that the King will be talking about how he wants to help small businesses while, at the same time, closing down his small business for an entire day.  That is the price that has to be paid when the King comes to town.
I do not like having a King.  I much prefer the days when we simply had a president.  Maybe you remember what a president is.  He is the fellow that is described in the Constitution as largely being a figurehead assigned to represent the United States to other nations.  He has no real power other than the power to veto unconstitutional legislation that comes from Congress.  He does not have the power to declare war.  He does not have the power to create legislation through Executive Orders.  He does not have the power to bully the Supreme Court into approving his unconstitutional programs.  He does not have the power to create jobs.  He does not have the power to cause economic growth.  He does not have the power to save the automobile industry.  When a president would come to town there would be no need to shut the town down for a day.  There would be no need for security forces that number the size of a small city.  There would be no need for constant media attention.  There would be no need for the citizens of the town to change their lives for the day to accommodate the presence of the King.  But I am just dreaming.  We live in a country that has a King and I had better get used to it.
As I am sure all of you are aware, the King is in town to debate his opponent for King, Mitt Romney.  Calling what is going to take place tonight a debate is a bit like calling a chocolate cake "health food".  It just does not fit.  A debate always has a premise with a person taking the "con" position and a person taking the "pro" position on that premise.  For example, "It is immoral for the state to take money from one group and give it to another group to pay for their retirement expenses" (Social Security) is an example of a premise.  "It is immoral for the state to take money from one group and give it to another group to pay for their medical expenses" (Medicare) is another example of a premise.  Yet another example of a premise would be "It is immoral for one nation to have a military presence in 83% of the nations of the world."  Or, "It is immoral for the state to make a law requiring all employers to provide health insurance for their employees", or, "It is immoral for the state to make any law infringing on the right of employers and employees to enter into voluntary employment contracts as they see fit", or, "It is immoral for the county government to make a law taxing the real property of individuals in order to pay the educational expenses of others", or, "It is immoral for a politician who wins an election to swear an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and then sign legislation that is contrary to the Constitution of the United States", or, "It is immoral for a politician to pretend he can create jobs and economic growth when he is fully aware he does not have that power", or, "It is immoral for a president to pretend he is a King over a land ostensibly governed by the US Constitution" are all examples of legitimate premises that could be debated tonight.
There is one reason we will never have a debate on the premises listed above.  All candidates for every political office in this country agree that it is not immoral for them to do everything listed above, and much more.  It is impossible to have a debate when both parties to the debate always take the "con" position.  It is impossible to have a debate when both parties to the debate believe that everything they do is moral.  Both Obama and Romney are committed to the doctrine of statism.  Both of them believe in the supreme power and authority of the state over all other powers and institutions.  In order to have a debate on the premises listed above somebody must believe that it is wrong for government to take money from one group and give it to another.  Since every politician in this sick land believes that taking the property of one group and giving it to another group is his primary job it is not likely a rational debate will ever break out on the subject. 
Sure, there will be petty arguments about who should be stolen from and who the stolen goods should be given to.  That is the essence of "debates" between Democrats and Republicans.  There will be much grandstanding and exorbitant rhetoric about how each candidate represents "working families" (I have never seen a "working family".  I wonder if it is anything like a sheep dog?) and the "middle class".  But when everything gets boiled down we discover that there is very little difference between the two candidates for King.  Both are powerful believers in the omniscience, omnipotence and rightful omnipresence of the State, praised be its name.  Both are believers in the doctrine that when the majority of the minority who vote choose one of them to be president, he is actually being installed as King of the Untied States of America, with all the powers of a god-like being. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

French President Hates Rich People

French President Hollande and French Prime Minister Ayrault have proposed a budget for France that includes a marginal tax rate of 75% on all income over one million Euros per year.  If approved the new rate will be the highest of the Eurozone countries and it will represent a return to the historic practice of other highly socialistic nations in Europe like Sweden and Finland that almost bankrupted themselves in the nineteen eighties. 
In a moment of remarkable candor the French President and Prime Minister stated that they are fully aware that their proposed tax increase on those making over one million Euros per year will have little to no impact upon the French national debt.  They admit that it will only apply to somewhere between 3000 and 5000 households. They are completely aware that confiscation of all income from that group of taxpayers would barely make a dent in the French national debt.  They further admit that they are aware many of those households will make the decision to move to another country to avoid having to pay the tax.  In light of the fact that they realize the proposed tax will have essentially no economic impact upon France, it seemed like a good idea to try and find out why they wanted the confiscatory tax rate at all.  When asked why they believe the tax to be a good idea they responded that its impact will be "largely symbolic".
The question that apparently no reporter thought to ask was, "symbolic of what?"  The proposed tax cannot be symbolic of an attempt by the French government at fiscal responsibility because the proposed budget does not include any spending cuts.  The proposed tax cannot be symbolic of their desire to increase revenue because both career politicians admit that its impact upon revenue will be negligible at best.  The proposed tax cannot be symbolic of French nationalism or French patriotism because both rulers understand its implementation will result in the expatriation of what could be several thousand French households.  The proposed tax cannot be symbolic of French industriousness and economic power because it punishes those who are most successful in business.  So the question still remains.  Just what does a 75% marginal tax rate symbolize?
There is only one thing the 75% marginal tax rate can symbolize.  Envy.  The proposed tax increase is a clear statement that a tiny group of taxpayers can be entirely at the whim of the majority when it comes to how much of their income is going to be legally stolen.  The proposed tax increase is symbolic of putting those stinking rich people back in their proper place.  The proposed tax increase is a national declaration that rich people are evil and can be treated abusively by anyone at anytime.  The 75% marginal tax rate is a clear statement that the less rich majority is no longer going to tolerate the success of the more rich super-minority.  It is, simply put, a political endorsement for the sinful emotion of envy.  All French citizens are invited to express their hateful envy for their neighbors who make more money than they do. 
President Hollande tried to put a positive spin on the call for a 75% marginal tax rate by saying that he thinks the three to five thousand households affected by the tax will be happy to do their patriotic duty and hand over the great majority of their annual income. Nobody in France is stupid enough to believe that he believes what he is saying.  On the contrary, everybody but the wildly insane recognizes that the President and the Prime Minister have just declared open season on the richest members of French society.  All French citizens now have the right to blame the tiny minority of the French population that makes over one million Euros per year for all of their troubles.  All French citizens now have the opportunity to justify their sinful envy against their fellow citizens by declaring it to be a good thing for the country.  After all, both the President and the Prime Minister endorse their envy.
The proposed 75% marginal tax rate is largely symbolic alright.  It is symbolic of a society gone drastically astray.  It is symbolic of a people filled with hate for those who make more money than themselves.  It is symbolic of the modern democracy where the wealth and income of the most successful members of society is open to total confiscation by those who are lower down the economic scale.  It is symbolic of the ruthless exploitation of those who are successful in business by career politicians in search of a vote and a lifetime pension.  It is symbolic of everything that is wrong with the fiscal policy of democratic governments around the world.  It is symbolic of everything that is wrong about the French.  It is highly symbolic of the doctrine of original sin and it confirms that no matter how bad mankind may be, there is always room for deprovement. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Government Schools Use Students As Beggars

I was sitting in my rocking chair the other day, watching the Rockies pursue their quest for 100 losses this season, when my tranquility was disturbed by the doorbell.  As I looked out the peephole of my front door I saw a little girl standing there.  She could not have been more than 10 years old.  There was another, even smaller, child straddling a bicycle on the sidewalk in front of my house.  I assumed it was a sister/brother combination paying me a visit.  Since I have been hit up by the Girl Scouts to buy some of their cookies in recent days I assumed this was another assault from that camp.  I opened the door.
In general I can't stand kids.  They are loud, obnoxious, ill-mannered and generally repulsive.  I subscribe to the ancient theory that "children are to be seen and not heard".  I also adhere to the even more archaic view that children should sit quietly and observe adult behavior rather than the modern view that parents are to make children the center of their universe.  In other words, kids coming to my door attempting to sell me something do not have very good odds at ringing up a sale.
This little girl was adorable. (I believe that is the first time I have ever used the word 'adorable' in reference to a child.  I have even shocked myself by what I just wrote.)  She was polite.  She was well-spoken.  She made eye contact.  She addressed me respectfully and made it difficult for me to know if she was using a memorized script.  I didn't even know what she was selling and I had already made up my mind to buy it.  I figured I could choke down a couple of stale cookies if it would encourage this girl to continue a life of free enterprise.
What came out of the mouth of this adorable little girl shocked me.  It disgusted me.  Later, as I considered what happened, it enraged me.  She said, "Hi, I am so-and-so and I attend so-and-so school.  I am out raising money for my school."  So  far, so good.  I do not generally believe in supporting government schools but, as I said, this kid was adorable.  I was waiting for the presentation of the goods she hoped I would purchase when she said, "Would you like to make a donation?"  What?!
I looked up and down the street.  I didn't see any parental supervision.  I did not see any hidden cameras secretly filming my shocked response.  I looked at the little girl and hardly knew what to say.  I am accustomed to being accosted by beggars on the streets of downtown Denver.  I am used to encountering panhandlers on the 16th Street Mall.  I expect to be aggressively approached by beggars when I visit foreign lands.  I did not expect to be hit up for cash by this sweet little girl.  I politely told her that I would not be able to help her and she gave me a cheerful "Thank you for your time" and departed.  I closed the door and sat down in my rocking chair.
What had just happened?  Did I perceive the situation correctly?  As I turned the incident over and over in my head it occurred to me that I had just witnessed a monumental evil.  I had just witnessed the inevitable end result of our government school system.  But first, a little background.
Ballot initiatives 3a and 3b are coming up for a vote this November.  One of the initiatives is to conduct a school bond issue.  The other initiative is to increase property taxes in order to send more money to the government schools.  The usual propaganda is being dispersed from those who have a vested interest in expanding the government school system.  I am being told that I hate children if I oppose 3a and 3b.  I am told that I am a non-civic minded idiot if I don't believe that my neighbor's children are my future.  I am told that I am worse than Hitler if I do not want to have more of my money forcibly extracted from me to pay for the teaching expenses of my neighbor's children.  It does not matter to those who are in favor of 3a and 3b that increasing taxes to pay for more government school expenses constitutes the immoral act of theft from those who do not want to contribute.  Even though I will be robbed if the initiative passes, I am cast as the bad guy for opposing it.  Such is the nature of democracy.
I was shocked at the underhanded exploitation of children evidenced by the visit of the little girl to my door.  Those in power in the government schools have taken some of my neighbor's children  and sent them into the streets to beg for money for their schools.  In order to dramatically illustrate their insatiable desire for more money, the government schools have taken their students and transformed them into beggars.  That is criminal.  That is immoral.  Whoever was responsible for sending that little girl to my door to beg for her school should be sent to prison forever.