Social Security

If you love Ron Paul you’ll adore Robert Higgs

April 8th, 2009 2:34 pm  |  by  |  Published in Activism, Bailouts, Big Government, Civil Liberties, Constitution, Economics, Foreign Policy, Free Market, government spending, Health Care, History, Individual Responsibility, Liberty, Market Regulation, Philosophy, Politics, Ron Paul, rule of law, Social Security, War  |  6 Responses

This 3 hour discussion consists of some of the best arguments for supporting free markets and limited government. Robert Higgs is truly a modern founding father. If you have any desire to learn the reasons why the free market is the best path out of our current economic crisis then this lengthy and lovely discussion is for you.

A few choice quotes from Higgs are below.

“Don’t just stand there, undo something!”

“The FDA is probably better than any other government agency as an example of fraud.”

“Government purports to help the little guy… but government is not beholden to the little guy. Government is beholden to all those interest groups organized for supporting politicians for office and keeping them there.”

“Government is organized coercion…. It’s like a loaded gun sitting there waiting for someone to pick up and use for their own purposes.”

On systemic risk (Too big to fail): “Systemic risk is a very very small risk, almost negligible risk. But it’s a very fine political lever..”

“I’m going to try to stay afloat in this world. I don’t like the shape it’s been put in, but I didn’t put it in this shape.”

“The corporations only have as much power as they wield through government.”

I could quote Higgs on and on, but you get the idea. I must say that I haven’t enjoyed listening to someone speak free market language this much since Ron Paul’s presidential campaign of 2007 and 2008. Higgs is a breath of fresh air as we lovers of liberty navigate through the socio-fascist flatulence cloud emanating from the Obama administration. Please find time to watch this. You’ll be glad you did.

Watch Higgs here.

How is Congress spending its time — and your money? (Part 21)

April 6th, 2009 1:03 pm  |  by  |  Published in Bailouts, Banking, Big Government, Civil Liberties, congress, Constitution, Debt, Economics, Education, energy, Environment, fascism, foreign aid, Foreign Policy, government spending, Gun Control, Health Care, Immigration, jobs, law, Liberty, Market Regulation, Maven Commentary, Politics, privacy, Social Security, Taxes  |  1

Wow, this one is a doozy!  A ton of new bills were introduced in Congress on Friday: 188 in total.  For those who haven’t read this series of articles from the beginning, there are a few things to keep in mind…

When taking a look at the list below, keep in mind that the U.S. Constitution, which created our Federal Government, clearly enumerated 18 specific functions that it is given.  For all other things, the 9th and 10th amendment make it clear that the individual states have the power.  Note that it states in the Constitution that it is the Supreme Law of the Land, which can be usurped by no other.  This means that all opinions to the contrary made by the Supreme Court are technically invalid.  Throughout the past couple of hundred hears the Supreme Court has rule one way or another on some “interpretation” of the Constitution, but in fact no interpretation is necessary, as the intention of the founding fathers are quite clear.  For example, if the “general welfare” clause or the “interstate commerce” clause was intended to be used as a catch-all for any arbitrary piece of legislation, then the 10th amendments which reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

would be completely meaningless.  So simple logic, in addition to the writings of Madison and other founding fathers, dictates the notion that the Federal Government was set up to have very little power, and that these United States are intended to be a loose federation of sovereign states.

Only due to politician’s greed and overwhelming desire for power does the Constitution get relegated to the trash heap.

So, despite the  noble intentions of many of these bills, it doesn’t mean they are legal.

No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.
– 16 Am. Jur. Sec. 177 late 2d, Sec 256

Of the bills introduced yesterday, these are ones that are clearly not legitimate functions of the Federal Government  [as always, my commentary will appear in red]:

  • HR1892 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 102 North Main Street in Cedarville, Ohio, as the “William ‘Brent” Turner Post Office’.
  • HR1929 – To establish the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Investigative Commission to investigate the policies and practices engaged in by officers and directors at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac responsible for making the decisions that led to the enterprises’ financial instability and the subsequent Federal conservatorship of such enterprises.  [Keep in mind that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been basically nationalized, which is, of course, unconstitutional.]
  • HR1925 – To designate as wilderness certain Federal portions of the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin Deserts in Utah for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
  • HR1924 – To amend the Indian Law Enforcement Reform Act, the Indian Tribal Justice Act, the Indian Tribal Justice Technical and Legal Assistance Act of 2000, and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to improve the prosecution of, and response to, crimes in Indian country, and for other purposes.
  • HR1922 – To require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to hold at least 1 public hearing before issuance of a permit affecting public or private land use in a locality.
  • HR1921 – To establish an Office of Public Advocate within the Department of Justice to provide services and guidance to citizens in dealing with concerns involving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and for other purposes. [Fantastic!  Create another layer of bureaucracy to help people deal with bureaucracy...]
  • HR1978 – To authorize the Attorney General to make grants to improve the ability of State and local governments to prevent the abduction of children by family members, and for other purposes.
  • HR1977 – To require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to study drywall imported from China in 2004 through 2007, and for other purposes.
  • HR332 – Providing that the House of Representatives will focus on removing barriers to a prosperous economy and therefore renew the dream.  [Reading the full text of the bill it all sounds nice, but it's really nothing more than platitudes.  Nothing will come of this.  It's not recommending anything concrete.]
  • HR1971 – To provide for the elimination of duties on certain comforter shells
  • HR1970 – To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to exempt unsanctioned State-licensed retail pharmacies from the surety bond requirement under the Medicare Program for suppliers of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS).
  • HR1969 – To promote freedom and democracy in Vietnam.  [Oh god. Oh god, no! Haven't we gotten ourselves into enough jams with this interventionist crap?]

Read More »

How is Congress spending its time — and your money? (Part 20)

April 2nd, 2009 10:08 pm  |  by  |  Published in Bailouts, Banking, Big Government, Civil Liberties, congress, Constitution, Economics, Environment, Foreign Policy, government spending, Health Care, Immigration, law, Liberty, Market Regulation, Politics, price controls, Social Security, Taxes  |  Comments Off

Yesterday in Congress, sixty-five new bills were introduced.  Due to recent controversy, and for those who start reading this series of articles in the middle, I will include the following boilerplate information in every article.

When taking a look at the list below, keep in mind that the U.S. Constitution, which created our Federal Government, clearly enumerated 18 specific functions that it is given.  For all other things, the 9th and 10th amendment make it clear that the individual states have the power.  Note that it states in the Constitution that it is the Supreme Law of the Land, which can be usurped by no other.  This means that all opinions to the contrary made by the Supreme Court are technically invalid.  Throughout the past couple of hundred hears the Supreme Court has rule one way or another on some “interpretation” of the Constitution, but in fact no interpretation is necessary, as the intention of the founding fathers are quite clear.  For example, if the “general welfare” clause or the “interstate commerce” clause was intended to be used as a catch-all for any arbitrary piece of legislation, then the 10th amendments which reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

would be completely meaningless.  So simple logic, in addition to the writings of Madison and other founding fathers, dictates the notion that the Federal Government was set up to have very little power, and that these United States are intended to be a loose federation of sovereign states.

Only due to politician’s greed and overwhelming desire for power does the Constitution get relegated to the trash heap.

So, despite the  noble intentions of many of these bills, it doesn’t mean they are legal.

Of the bills introduced yesterday, these are ones that are clearly not legitimate functions of the Federal Government:

  • S-759 – A bill to amend the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century to reauthorize a provision relating to additional contract authority for States with Indian reservations.
  • S-760 – A bill to designate the Liberty Memorial at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, as the “National World War I Memorial”.
  • S-761 – A bill to establish the World War I Centennial Commission to ensure a suitable observance of the centennial of World War I, and for other purposes.
  • S-762 – A bill to promote fire safe communities and for other purposes.
  • S-763 – A bill to amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, to authorize temporary mortgage and rental payments.
  • S-764 – A bill to amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, to increase the maximum amount of assistance to individuals and households.
  • S-769 – A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to improve access to, and increase utilization of, bone mass measurement benefits under the Medicare part B program.

Read More »

How is Congress spending its time — and your money? (Part 19)

April 1st, 2009 4:32 pm  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, Civil Liberties, congress, Constitution, Education, Environment, Foreign Policy, government spending, Health Care, Immigration, law, Liberty, Market Regulation, Politics, privacy, Social Security  |  1

Yesterday in Congress, fifty-four new bills were introduced.  Due to recent controversy, and for those who start reading this series of articles in the middle, I will include the following boilerplate information in every article.

When taking a look at the list below, keep in mind that the U.S. Constitution, which created our Federal Government, clearly enumerated 18 specific functions that it is given.  For all other things, the 9th and 10th amendment make it clear that the individual states have the power.  Note that it states in the Constitution that it is the Supreme Law of the Land, which can be usurped by no other.  This means that all opinions to the contrary made by the Supreme Court are technically invalid.  Throughout the past couple of hundred hears the Supreme Court has rule one way or another on some “interpretation” of the Constitution, but in fact no interpretation is necessary, as the intention of the founding fathers are quite clear.  For example, if the “general welfare” clause or the “interstate commerce” clause was intended to be used as a catch-all for any arbitrary piece of legislation, then the 10th amendments which reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

would be completely meaningless.  So simple logic, in addition to the writings of Madison and other founding fathers, dictates the notion that the Federal Government was set up to have very little power, and that these United States are intended to be a loose federation of sovereign states.

Only due to politician’s greed and overwhelming desire for power does the Constitution get relegated to the trash heap.

So, despite the  noble intentions of many of these bills, it doesn’t mean they are legal.

Of the bills introduced yesterday, these are ones that are clearly not legitimate functions of the Federal Government  [as always, my commentary will appear in red]:

  • S-753 – A bill to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution in commerce of children’s food and beverage containers composed of bisphenol A, and for other purposes.  [What's the purpose of this?  There's already S-593.  See my comments here about this issue.]
  • S-754 – A bill to provide for increased Federal oversight of methadone treatment/
  • HR308 – Honoring the life, legacy, and memory of Pedro Pablo Zamora y Diaz, an extraordinary educator and activist, and a pioneer in the battle against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
  • HR309 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that North Korea should immediately stop any hostile rhetoric and activity towards the Republic of Korea and engage in mutual dialogue to enhance inter-Korean relations.
  • HR310 – Honoring the life of Coach Kay Yow in remembrance of her passing, and recognizing her dedication to the sport of basketball, her commitment to women and women’s health, and her contributions to the State of North Carolina.

Read More »

How is Congress spending its time — and your money? (Part 13)

March 20th, 2009 3:17 pm  |  by  |  Published in Activism, Bailouts, Big Government, congress, Constitution, Education, energy, Environment, foreign aid, Foreign Policy, Free Market, government spending, Health Care, Immigration, Individual Responsibility, Investing, law, Liberty, Market Regulation, Politics, Social Security, Taxes  |  Comments Off

The debauchery on Capitol Hill continues unabated, with an amazing ninety-three new bills introduced yesterday in Congress, many of which attempt to do the same thing.  How many of these bills do you think are Constitutional?  (Answer: very few).  Here are some of the worst:

  • HR1652 – To require institutions receiving certain assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program or the Federal Reserve to have employee bonus payment plans approved in advance of the payments being made.  [Each member of Congress must operate in a bubble, and/or they're all hoping for the "credit" if their bill is passed.  This is at least the fifth bill on this subject in the past three days!]
  • HR1656 – To require TARP payments to be conditioned on the top 10 highest wage earners at a company having repaid any bonuses received during the previous 5 fiscal years.  [Six!  Ok, let's review.  We have HR1542 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-NY], HR1572 by Rep. Michael Thompson [D-CA]HR1582 by Rep. Steven LaTourette [R-OH], HR1603 by Rep. Charles Wilson [D-OH], HR1652 by Rep. Christopher Murphy [D-CT], and now this one from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [R-CA].  Are these people working in a vacuum?  Could the process be any more inefficient?]
  • HR1650 – To enhance the oversight authority of the Comptroller General of the United States with respect to expenditures under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.  [Yet another TARP regulation bill.  The full text of the bill is not currently available, so I couldn't tell if it specifically mentions employee bonuses so I could add it to the list above.  Why don't these people just come out and admit that this TARP garbage is immoral an unconstitutional in the first place?]
  • S-651 – A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose an excise tax on excessive bonuses paid by, and received from, companies receiving Federal emergency economic assistance, to limit the amount of nonqualified deferred compensation that employees of such companies may defer from taxation, and for other purposes.  [Number 7, by Sen. Max Baucus [D-MT]]
  • HR1649 – To authorize the Secretary of Education to make grants to reduce the size of core curriculum classes in public elementary and secondary schools, and for other purposes.
  • HR1645 (also S-638) – To provide grants to promote financial and economic literacy.  [While I think it's critical that people become more financially and economically literate, government should certainly not be the teacher, or else we'll end up with more Keynesian nitwits that have destroyed our economy to date.  Rather, people can take Chris Martenson's Crash Course for free, and read books like Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson and Tom Woods' Meltdown.]
  • HR1643 (also S-648) – To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to establish a prospective payment system instead of the reasonable cost-based reimbursement method for Medicare-covered services provided by Federally qualified health centers and to expand the scope of such covered services to account for expansions in the scope of services provided by Federally qualified health centers since the inclusion of such services for coverage under the Medicare Program.
  • HR1642 – To provide loans and grants for fire sprinkler retrofitting in nursing facilities.
  • HR1641 – To amend the National Trails System Act to provide for a study of the Cascadia Marine Trail.
  • HR1640 – To amend the Truth in Lending Act to protect consumers from usury, and for other purposes.  [Caveat emptor.  The process of buying a home would be much quicker and hassle-free if not for the myriad of regulations and bureaucratic red-tape imposed by the federal, state, and local governments.]

Read More »

Austrian Recommendations for President Obama

February 11th, 2009 2:03 pm  |  by  |  Published in Bailouts, Banking, Big Government, congress, Debt, Economics, Federal Reserve, Foreign Policy, Free Market, gold standard, government spending, inflation, Liberty, Ludwig Von Mises, Market Regulation, Money, national debt, Obama, Politics, Social Security, Taxes  |  Comments Off

In another great article from Robert P. Murphy at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, entitled “Do You Austrians Have a Better Idea?”, ten steps are laid out as an alternative to the Keyensian-style “stimulation” plan set forth by Obama, Geithner, Bernanke, and the rest of the gang.  Mostly, the plan includes eliminating various taxes, greatly reducing expenditures (including major reductions in military expenses), and eliminating federal agencies such as the SEC, DEA, and the Department of Education.

Naturally such are ideas aren’t politically feasible given the current batch of morons elected to Congress, but nevertheless they are badly needed.

Read the article:

A lot of people get annoyed with Austrian economists because they tend to be so dogmatic (we prefer the term consistent) and because they cloak their strictly economic claims with self-righteousness (we prefer the term morality). After a good Austrian bashing of the latest call to steal taxpayer money and waste it on something that will make a given problem worse, the stumped critics will often shout, “Oh yeah? Well do you guys have a better idea?” [Continue]

Walter Williams on the “Pyramid of Insecurity”

February 4th, 2009 1:29 pm  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, Liberty, Politics, Social Security, Walter E. Williams  |  Comments Off

In typical hypocritical fashion, the government and media make a huge stink of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi-style pyramid scheme, but they conveniently fail to recognize or point out the fact that their cherished boondoggle called the Social Security System is exactly the same thing.  Liberty Maven Liberty Hero Walter E. Williams remarks on this hypocrisy in his Washington Times commentary today.  Here’s a snippet:

We have a national Ponzi scheme where Congress collects about $785 billion in Social Security taxes from about 163 million workers to send out $585 billion to 50 million Social Security recipients. Social Security’s trustees tell us the surplus goes into a $2.2 trillion trust fund to meet future obligations. The problem is whatever difference between Social Security taxes and benefits paid out is spent by Congress. What the Treasury Department does is give the Social Security Trust Fund nonmarketable “special issue government securities” that are simply bookkeeping entries or IOUs.

According to Social Security trustee estimates, around 2016 the amount of Social Security benefits paid will exceed taxes collected. That means one of two things, or both, must happen: Congress will raise taxes and/or slash promised Social Security benefits. Each year the situation will worsen since the number of retirees is predicted to increase relative to the number in the work force paying taxes. In 1940, there were 42 workers per retiree, in 1950 there were 16, today there are 3 and in 20 or 30 years there will be 2 or fewer workers per retiree.

Read the whole commentary.

Is Ron Paul Going Crazy?

January 5th, 2009 9:00 pm  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, Free Market, government spending, Individual Responsibility, Liberty, Maven Commentary, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Ron Paul, Social Security, Socialism, Taxes  |  Comments Off

I’m starting to worry about Dr. Ron Paul. Below is some video from him during the Madoff discussion on Capitol Hill earlier today. His words are the equivalent of looking around the room and giving everyone the finger. I think he may need to calm his words down a bit. Nah… not really, I love it.

How can anyone sit there during a congressional hearing as a member of Congress and speak such plain free market truth? Of course he’s not crazy. He’s the only sane one in the bunch. He is the wise free market grandfather trying to keep the spoiled rotten meddling children in line. Maybe some day they’ll listen.

Here are a few choice words from my president:

“If you look at the principle of fractional reserve banking–that is a Ponzi scheme.”

“Everybody knows the Social Security system is a Ponzi scheme!”

We don’t need the SEC at ALL!

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Ron Paul on Bloomberg: Social Security Is The Biggest Ponzi Scheme

December 17th, 2008 9:25 am  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, Economics, Federal Reserve, Free Market, Money, Ron Paul, Social Security  |  Comments Off

Ron Paul assails the SEC and regulation in general when he discusses the Madoff scandal on Bloomberg this morning. A few choice quotes are below.

“The counterfeiting of money should be regulated.”

“The biggest ponzi scheme ever is Social Security.”

The SEC “is a total failure.”

“People ought to be free to fail.”

Ron Paul continues to tell it like it is and we love him for it.

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Using Medicare To Solve The Social Security Problem

December 4th, 2008 5:25 pm  |  by  |  Published in Big Government, government spending, Gun Control, Humor, law, Maven Commentary, Social Security  |  1

The FDA has come up with a solution to solve America’s Social Security funding problem and they may or may not be aware of it. Oddly, they propose using Medicare funds to help with the problem. What could I possibly mean by this?

Well, I admit it is something from my own rather morbid and twisted mind. To understand what I’m talking about let us take a journey together.

Below is a picture of a new medical device approved by the FDA. Doctor’s are now permitted to prescribe its use by elderly and disabled patients. Not only that, but since it is a medical device it can be paid for with Medicare funds.

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