Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Commonsense Capitalism: Video: Milton Friedman: Free to Choose- The Welfare State

Commonsense Capitalism: Video: Milton Friedman: Free to Choose- The Welfare State

This video lays out why I’m against the welfare state, especially run by government. Because of the built-in incentives that incentivizes people to go on Welfare Insurance, and not continue to work. Because they can collect more money collecting Welfare, or Unemployment Insurance. No Welfare or Unemployment check should be worth more than money that person would make if they were working. Because it encourages people not to work and collect public assistance instead. Paid into by people who work for a living and making people on public assistance dependent on public assistance for their daily survival.

I’m not against Welfare Insurance or a safety net. I just don’t want it run by government, but have government regulate it instead. And instead have government do the things that they are traditionally efficient at. National security, foreign policy, law enforcement and regulation. Including regulating semi-private non-profit self-financed community services that are in the business to help people in need. Yes be able to sustain themselves in the short-term while they are working to get themselves on their feet. But empowering them to get themselves on their feet. With things, like education, job training and job placement. Instead of allowing them to stay on public assistance indefinitely where nothing is expected of them. Collecting public assistance checks financed by people who work for a living.

What I would like to do with our safety net instead is turn all of these programs over to the states in the short-term. Including things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance. For the States to set up their own safety nets and public assistance systems. That would be run by semi-private non-profit, self-financed community services. In the business to help people in need sustain themselves in the short-term, but empower them as well. To get themselves on their feet and become self-sufficient taxpayers with jobs and paying their own bills. Because they got assistance to get themselves educated and get job training. And help finding a good job that could support themselves and their families.

Also things like public housing, Food Assistance and other programs that are in the business to help these people get by. But also help them become self-sufficient so they can take care of themselves and no longer need these programs. And I would also include homeless assistance through housing centers that give people a place to stay in the short-term. But also help them get a job and their own place to stay. I’m all for helping people who are down get themselves up. I believe a 20% poverty rate is a disgrace in a developed liberal democracy the richest country in the world is a disgrace. The difference being that I actually want to help these people empower themselves so they no longer have to live in poverty. Not stay on public assistance indefinitely and then complain about how many people live in poverty in America. And what to do about it, we know what to do about it and how to help these people and we need to do these things. Instead of just complaining about our high levels of poverty.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NFL Network: NFL 1972- America's game: 1972 Miami Dolphins

Source: NFL Network- Miami Dolphins DT Manny Fernandez-
Source: NFL Network: NFL 1972- America's Game: 1972 Miami Dolphins

What's the definition of perfect?  I guess it's someone or something that lacks weakness and doesn't make mistakes.  That's an impossible accomplishment, especially when we are talking about human beings. If we were perfect, what would be the point of living?  We've accomplished everything and therefore can't learn anything else because we are perfect.  I guess we could show the world what we know and spread our perfection around so to speak. Hey, look at me, I'm perfect, be like me.  This is all nonsense.

None of is perfect and I wouldn't have it any other way, because we learn whether we are intelligent by making mistakes. The 1972 Miami Dolphins were not perfect, but they did have a perfect record.  They played 17 games and won 17 and, when it comes to sports, that's the best you can do. But they didn't have a perfect team, they just made fewer mistakes then anyone else in the NFL in 1972 and had a perfect record.  They played the best as a team that season, so much better that they went undefeated, and they did this by being the best team.

They didn't have the best talent.  I would argue that the team they beat in the 1972 AFC Final, the Oakland Raider, had better talent and a better team even though they lost 2-3 games that year and the Dolphins lost none.  I would also argue that the Washington Redskins, the team they beat in Super Bowl 7, had better talent and a better team as well.  If their quarterback, Sonny Jurgenson, who's one of the best QB ever and in the Hall of Fame (a better QB than the Dolphins' QB Bob Griese, who's also in the Hall of Fame) had been healthy and played in that Super Bowl, I believe the Redskins would have won, but of course we'll never know.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins were exactly what a great team should look like. They understood what kind of team they had, the type of talent they had, and the type of players. They didn't win because of the overwhelming talent they had, not including their Head Coach Don Shula. The Dolphins had five Hall of Famers from all on offense, except for MLB Nick Bonoconti. QB Bob Griese, FB Larry Csonka, WR Paul Warfield, and OG Larry Little. They ran a Power Ball Control Offense that ran the ball about 70% of the time. Their No Name Defense was exactly that.  Most of the players on that defense weren't known outside South Florida very well until they won that Super Bowl.  Perhaps not that many people in South Florida were familiar with the No Name Defense, but they were all very good players, defensive tackle Manny Fernandez, middle linebacker Nick Bonoconti, safety Larry Anderson, and others. Head coach Don Shula knew what type of team he had in 1972, that they weren't going to blow teams away with their talent and had to beat teams as a team, run the ball well, and run the ball a lot, Bob Griese hitting key passes off of play action, don't turn the ball over, and play great defense, stuff the run, attack the QB, and get a few takeaways. 

The 1972 Dolphins, the team with the perfect record, won because Don Shula knew exactly what type of team he had, what type of system to have, and how to utilize his players to get their best performance and execution every week for all 17 weeks. And he had the players who understood that if they made 1972 about themselves rather than the team, they were going to fail and maybe even not make the playoffs. But together as a team, with every player and coach understanding their role the best that they could and playing their part, they would be champions.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Firing Line: William F. Buckley- Are Health Care Costs Controllable?- From 1994

This piece was originally posted at FreeState Plus: Firing Line: William F. Buckley- Are Health Care Costs Controllable?- From 1994

President Bill Clinton did a smart thing and made a solid contribution to the health care reform debate back in 1993-94. When he put it on the national agenda and actually offered his own plan. That he sent to Congress, unlike President Obama in 2009-10 even though it crashed and burn. When Senate Republicans were able to block the legislation in the Senate let by Minority Leader Bob Dole. But to be fair Senate Democrats probably didn’t have the votes to pass the bill. And the Clinton health care plan never made it out of the Democratic House either. But what President Clinton was able to accomplish was to let Americans know how serious a problem it is.

When so many people in America, in 1994 roughly 40M people are unable to pay for their health care, which means the rest of us have to pay their health care bills for them. The hospitals pick up their health care for the people who can’t afford it and pass those costs onto people with health insurance. Which makes people’s health insurance more expensive, because now they have to pay not only for themselves and their kids. But to pay for people who don’t have health insurance as well. Just backing up libertarian commentator Milton Friedman’s notion, that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. We all pay in one way or the other. What President Clinton was successful in doing in health care, was passing SCHIP- State Children’s Healthcare Program. I don’t agree with the design of the program, like relying on people to smoke to finance it. But it did give more children health insurance as well as reforming Medicare in 1997 with a Republican Congress.

I believe bringing down our healthcare costs are fairly simple and something we have to do for our economy. 18-20% of GDP is way to expensive especially when most of our competitors spends half of that. And it gets to expanding health insurance or health savings accounts for everyone, so we all pay for our health care one way or another. And the individual mandate is a way to do that, as well as a public option not mandate. That people could go to for their health insurance. Not a one size fits all solution from the Federal Government. But having each state set up their own health insurance system to meet the needs of their own population.

And then we also simply have to do a better job taking care of ourselves and this gets to individual responsibility. So we don’t have to consume as much health care in the future, encouraging healthy behavior and discouraging unhealthy behavior. One of the reasons why I’m in favor of what I call a Progressive Consumption Tax to replace the income tax. So we could tax unhealthy behavior and encourage healthy behavior. President Clinton did a good job of at least advancing the health care reform debate in America and putting ideas on the table. Like the health insurance mandate that was in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. But screwed up the selling if his plan and tried to make it be everything to everybody. And didn’t do a very good job of selling his own plan and defending the attacks of his plan. From Congressional Republicans and their allies.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Firing Line: William F. Buckley Interviewing U.S. Representative Newt Gingrich- Where is The GOP Headed?

This piece was originally posted at FreeState Plus: Firing Line: William F. Buckley Interviewing U.S. Representative Newt Gingrich- Where is The GOP Headed?

By 1985 the Republican Party was doing as well as it ever had perhaps in the entire 20th Century. With President Reagan just being reelected in a landslide over Walter Mondale in 1984. And Senate Republicans retaining control of the Senate and electing Bob Dole as their Leader. And House Republicans while still in the House minority, but with 190 or so seats. Giving them a chance to win control of the House in 1986. And make Bob Michael who was the Minority Leader the next Speaker of the House. The Republican Party had Ron Reagan as President, Bob Dole as Senate Leader and Bob Michael as their Leader in the House. With a popular President the Republican Party was probably at their height of power in 1985.

And the GOP also had young leaders in Congress that would lead the GOP in the 1990s working their way up the ranks. Like Representative Newt Gingrich who would later serve as Minority Whip and then Speaker of the House. Representative Trent Lott who served as Bob Michael’s Whip in the 1980s. Elected to the Senate in 1988 and then serve as both Majority Whip and Leader of the Senate in the mid and late 1990s. Dick Army was elected to the House in 1984 and of course serve as House Leader in the mid and late 1990s. So the Republican Party was looking pretty good in 1985, but they were also looking good for the future. But the question was where would the Republican Party go in the future. George H.W. Bush was Vice President and the presumptive frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president in 1988. Would they nominate him or go in another direction.

The conventional wisdom politically in Washington in the 1980s and early 90s was that there would be a Republican president. And a Democratic Congress or at least a Democratic House. That this situation worked very well in this period and that Americans preferred divided government anyway. But then Representative Newt Gingrich who was basically still a back bencher in the House put together what was called the Conservative Opportunity Society. Or something like that along with other House Republicans like, Bob Walker from Pennsylvania, Connie Mack from Florida, Trent Lott from Mississippi and others.

And the COS would work to elect enough Republicans to the House to win the majority there. Concentrate in areas like in the South, rural Midwest and West where the Democratic Party had seats there for a long time. But were moderate to conservative Democrats. And Representative Gingrich got the idea how come they could elect Conservative Republicans instead in these conservative districts. Gingrich saw these voters as naturally Republican anyway, why not bring them over to their camp instead.

It would be another ten years of course until there would be a Republican Congress the first in forty years House and Senate. But that work didn’t start in 1993-94 after the Republican Party lost the White House as well. With President Bush losing in an electoral landslide to Bill Clinton. But this work started really in late 1978 after Newt was just elected to the House. Thats when he put his group together. Representative Jack Kemp was also part of this working group. And had it not been for the recession of 1981-82, Iran Contra in 1986-87, that cost Senate Republicans the Senate and another recession in 1990-91, maybe there’s a Republican Congress pre-1995.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Firing Line: William F. Buckley Interviewing U.S. Senator Charles Mathias- The Role of Liberals in the GOP

This piece was originally posted at FreeState Plus: Firing Line: William F. Buckley Interviewing U.S. Senator Charles Mathias- The Role of Liberals in the GOP

Sen. Charles Mathias who was a Republican Senator from the great State of Maryland from 1969-87. And before that a Representative from the great State of Maryland from 1963-69. For a total of twenty-four years in Congress and yes I’m familiar Maryland political history. Probably should’ve been a Democrat all along which is why Senate Leader Bob Byrd or his deputies in 1978, tried to recruit Senator Mathias to run for reelection as a Democrat in 1980. Because Sen. Mathias supported things like the Panama Canal Treaty in 1978, civil rights in the 1960s and I’m sure several other things and probably voted with President Jimmy Carter as much or more.

Then Senator Mathias voted against President Carter and may have voted against President Reagan as much as he voted with him. Jimmy Carter and Ron Reagan being extremely different politically and both fit in well with their parties. Sen. Mathias was a Liberal Republican if there is such a thing from again the great State of Maryland. A very liberal Democratic state where the voter registration is something like 70% Democratic. To get elected as a Republican in the State of Maryland, especially statewide. Senator Mathias had to vote Democratic. Or at least vote with Senate Democrats enough to seem liberal enough to Marylanders to get reelected. Moderate Republicans or people who I would call classical Conservative Republicans can get elected and reelected in the Republican Party. Because they vote republican on economic policy.

People in today’s Republican Party the elected officials and insiders in the party who influence Republicans, but from outside office, like General Colin Powell and members of Congress like. Senator Olympia Snowe, Senator Susan Collins. Senator Scott Brown and former Senator Lincoln Chafee and Jim Jeffords and others, former Governor Bill Weld of Massachusetts, should consider becoming Democrats. Because of the states they represent, but also how they vote and they would probably be Liberal Democrats, but in a good sense. Not how it’s stereotyped today that looks more socialist than liberal.

But in the actual classical sense like Jack Kennedy who was a Liberal Democrat in the best sense of the word. A believer in individual freedom and limited government, not collectivism or socialism. These New Democrats would piss off Progressive Democrats or as I call them Democratic Socialists. People who get called Liberal Democrats today, but actually aren’t. They are Democratic Socialists instead. Because they would support things like individual liberty, low tax rates and be against single payer health care and other things. That Democratic Socialists have been trying to accomplish for what seems like forever now. But that’s not a bad thing because they would just be representing liberalism at it’s best. And why I’m a Liberal Democrat.

The term Liberal Republican just doesn’t work in today’s Republican Party that’s dominated by the Religious-Right. And people who like to mix in economic libertarianism with religious conservatism on the social issues. And maybe a little neoconservatism on national security. Like elements of todays Tea Party. Not saying that the whole Tea Party movement is mixed in with Religious and Neoconservatives. But there’s definitely that element of the Tea Party that is led by Representative Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Senator Jim DeMint and others that is. Which is one reason why Liberal Republicans should be Liberal Democrats instead.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

BGS IBMOR- President Dwight Eisenhower and Civil Rights

Source: BGS IBMOR- President Dwight D. Eisenhower & Dr. Martin L. King- 
Source: FreeState Plus

Dwight Eisenhower, was not the first President to come out in favor of civil rights or human rights for everyone in America. Abraham Lincoln deserves the credit for that for the Civil War that ended slavery and freed the African slaves. And Harry Truman allowed soldiers of different races to serve together with an executive order in I believe in 1945. What President Dwight Eisenhower deserves credit for and I believe it’s accurately reported in his presidential legacy, was enforcing rule of law in America for all the people. Rule of law as a Conservative Republican, a Classical Conservative, is something that Dwight Eisenhower believed in deeply and I believe he picked that up in the military. If Rule of law is not properly enforced, then rules and laws become meaningless.

Ike Eisenhower, saw his job as President to enforce rule of law. Something he did very well as President, with enforcing all of those U.S. Supreme Court decisions. That allowed students of different races to go to school together and sending the Army into Little Rock, Arkansas to make sure the Governor of Arkansas allowed those African-American students go to school. With the Caucasian- American students there at Central High School in Little Rock. And these types of decisions not just enforcing laws that you agree with, but enforcing all laws which is what rule of law is about, would not play well today with Neoconservatives and the Religious-Right. Which is one reason why I believe Ike Eisenhower wouldn’t be able to get the Republican nomination for president today. Because he was a Classical Conservative instead.

Dwight Eisenhower came from the Classical Conservative wing of the Republican Party. The faction that used to dominate that party. That is the real anti-big government and fiscally conservative wing of the party. That doesn’t want government trying to tell people how to live their lives, economically or civilly. Dwight Eisenhower, would probably be against the New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society. But was also in favor of civil rights, human rights, Separation of Church and State, only committing our military when it’s in our national security interest. President Eisenhower pulled us out of the Korean War. I don’t believe President Eisenhower would’ve taken us to war in Vietnam. Sending in military advisors and aiding South Vietnam, would’ve been as far as he would’ve gone.

President Eisenhower, was a true budget hawk and wouldn’t have supported supply side economics. And out-of-control spending anywhere in the Federal Government, including the Pentagon. Other than civil rights its hard to tell the difference between Ike Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater politically. Eisenhower’s politics is also very similar to Ron Reagan. Both men considered champions in the conservative movement. If it’s a Conservative that the Republican Party is looking to nominate for President in 2012, than they should take a long look at Newt Gingrich or John Huntsman. Huntsman fits that label perfectly, a true anti-big government Conservative. Or find someone like Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Gerry Ford, or Ron Reagan. If they want George Bush SR, then select Mitt Romney, but President Bush was a lot more consistent. If it’s a Religious or Neoconservative, they have plenty of candidates to choose from. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain. Otherwise they should keep looking.
BGS IBMOR: President Dwight Eisenhower and Civil Rights

Monday, November 7, 2011

Guy John: Two Friends Talk- Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley

This piece was originally posted at FreeState Plus : Guy John: Two Friends Talk- Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley

It’s good to see Ron Reagan together with Bill Buckley. As far as I’m concern two of the fathers of the modern classical conservative movement. Who both had a role in making that movement national starting in the mid 1960s. With Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign that went a long way in putting classical conservatism on the map in American politics, because of the states that Senator Goldwater was able to reached. Winning Southern states that up until 1964, the Democratic Party had owned and Senator Goldwater was able to win a few of them. And of course Richard Nixon was able to win a lot of Southern states in 1968 as he was elected president.

And the Republican Party was able to pick up a bunch of seats in Congress. Not only in this period but were also able to build on it to the point that they won back the Senate in 1980. The first time since 1952 that Senate Republicans won or held control of the Senate and would hold their majority for two more elections. And Ron Reagan was elected President in 1980 in a landslide and reelected in a landslide in 1984. George HW Bush President Reagan’s Vice President was elected President in 1988 in another landslide.

The Republican Party wins control of the House for the first time since 1952 in 1994. And win control of the Senate for the first time since 1984 in 1993. And a lot of this success came in the South. And Ron Reagan and Bill Buckley, as well as Barry Goldwater and other Classical Conservatives had a lot to do with their Republican Party’s success. By building the classical conservative movement and using the Republican Party as it’s vehicle.

They were talking about what’s been dubbed ‘Reaganomics’ which is supply side economics. Deep across the board tax cuts, deep cuts in regulations, but you don’t cut government spending. No matter how supply siders say otherwise, that’s how it was done in 1981. And the years after the 1981 Economic Recovery Act and they of course had President Reagan and a Republican Senate. But what did they do ten times after the ERA was passed in 1981, along with a Democratic House, raise taxes and increase the Federal budget in defense and in several other areas. Part of President Reagan’s ‘peace through strength’ foreign policy.

But the country paid a heavy price in debt and deficit.s Because those promised budget cuts that President Reagan promised in 1981, never came. But what came instead was a hell of a lot of spending. Dwarfing anything that President Carter or President Clinton could come up both Democratic president’s. Richard Darman one of the President Reagan’s budget directors, also a Conservative Republican, said that President Reagan didn’t like debt and deficits. What Howard Dean dubbed, ‘borrow and spend Economics’. But if it was a choice between a balanced budget or peace through strength, he would live with the debt and deficit.

Ron Reagan did a lot to build the modern classical conservative movement, as well as the Republican Party. And President Reagan does deserve credit for turning the economy around in the 1980s. And the Economic Recovery Act did play a role in that, as well as the defense spending especially with defense contractors and military jobs. But it didn’t pay for itself. The economic recovery did not pay for the Tax Cuts. And President Reagan and his allies have said well they had a Democratic House and later a complete Democratic Congress to deal with. Well that’s true but they had President Reagan and a Republican Senate for six years and he signed those bills into law.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wide World of Wisdom: The Phil Donahue Show: Milton Friedman- Freedom vs. Fairness

Wide World of Wisdom: The Phil Donahue Show: Milton Friedman- Freedom vs. Fairness

Milton Friedman has a point when he talks about freedom vs. fairness. When he says he’s not for fairness, but for freedom. Give people the freedom to live their own lives and resources to make that happen for them. And that gets to things like quality education and rule of law and what’s been called quality of opportunity. Not quality of result, but quality of opportunity is where everyone, or most people, no economic system is perfect, they all have their strengths and weakness’s, but where all the people have the power to make the best out of their lives. And have a quality of life based on what they put into their lives, what they produce for society.

Thats what you get in a liberal democracy which is individual liberty. Quality of result, is where we all put our money into one pot essentially and government passes some of that money, perhaps not much of it back to the people based on what they feel they need to support themselves. Which is what your would get in a socialist society, or a social democracy. With freedom, people can live their own lives and make the best out of them based on what they do with them. And you give them a quality education, then they’ll have a good opportunity to make a good life for themselves. And the fairness comes from making sure that everyone has an opportunity at a quality education. And with rule of law and that everyone is treated fairly under law.

Fairness, is not about some people doing great in society and then taking some, or a lot of their money, to give to the less-fortunate in life who aren’t self-sufficient and don’t have a great life. And perhaps have to collect public assistance for them just to survive. Fairness, would be empowering the less-fortunate so they can become self-sufficient. Empower them to go back to school, or go to school so they can get the skills and job training that they need. To get a good job, make a good living and become self-sufficient in life and not need public assistance in order to survive. Fairness, is not about taking money from people who went to school and made themselves productive in life and giving to people who can’t support themselves and collect public assistance.

But reforming our public assistance system that does this, that just doesn’t give people Welfare checks for an indefinite period of time and expects nothing from them, but uses those resources to empower people so they can support themselves. And again that gets to education. If you get a good education, your chances of doing well in life are so much better than people who don’t. Milton Friedman once said that if it’s a choice between freedom or fairness, he would choose freedom. Because without freedom there is no fairness, because then everyone would be the same. And not have the freedom to make the best life for themselves that they can. Because we would all be dependent on government.