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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Say "no" to the expansion of police power.

The Rocky Mountain News carried a story captioned, “Cell phone use boosts accident risk, officials say.” The subhead said: “Using one at the wheel as unsafe as driving drunk, some say”

Who are these “some?” Are they police who stand to gain additional power if given the authority to stop safe drivers just because they on the phone?

The article states

“Research has shown that drivers on phones exhibit many of the same behaviors as drunk drivers. They weave. They blow stop signs. They cut off others.”

Weaving, blowing stop signs and cutting off others are all legitimate reasons for the police to stop a driver. They have that power right now.

They do not need the power to stop perfectly safe drivers because they might be negligent at a later time. All of us might become negligent at a later time.  

Without production of value, there are no taxes to confiscate..

The Saturday, December 27, 2008 edition of the Rocky Mountain News had this headline:

“Disabled hopes fade.” There was a jump to the story inside. The inside headline said: “Economy shreds hopes of disabled.”

The subhead: “As taxes dry up, state scales back legislative gains.”

The lesson, that pro-government statists never seem to learn, is that without people producing income, there is no money for government.

The statist believes that they can raise taxes on those producing value and raise money for government every single time.

They see the producers of value as a bottomless pit from which to scoop money whenever the whim strikes.

There is no bottomless pit. When the producers fail to make a profit, there is no money for the government to confiscate.

Ergo, those that desire to confiscate the production of those that produce should do whatever is in their power to make sure that profits never dry up. Of course, none of them understand this basic concept.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Is capitalism dead?

An excerpt from a column by Carolina Baum from Bloomberg.com, in response to those that claim the govenment is better at producing fairness than the free market:

Alas, government isn’t some benevolent matriarch acting in the public interest, even if it knew what that was. It is a conglomeration of politicians acting in their own self-interest, guided by payoffs from special-interest groups. That’s a poor substitute for the market’s price signals, not to mention a guarantee of inefficiency and waste
Amen, sister.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Keynesian Economics Is Wrong: Bigger Gov't Is Not Stimulus

Too much pork for just one fork

Complete Colorado reports that the federal gravy train has reached the Centennial State.

Ten Colorado cities have their hands out for $2.25 billion in what used to be your money before it was (1) forcibly confiscated by the feds via taxation (2) printed by the feds, thereby devaluing the money in your pocket or (3) borrowed on an account to be paid by your unborn grandkids.

Among the requests, Boulder wants $60 million to retrofit "6o hybrid electric vehicles to Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles." That comes to $100,000  per vehicle.

The MSRP for a brand new, 2009 Honda Prius is $24,270.  

It is our fault for putting up with this. We elect the politicians that make this possible.

Remember how the government teat feeds this waste the next time a politician whines about how they do not have enough money to pay for schools. 

They have the money. They know they have the money. And they won't stop until we stop them. 

So far, we have shown little inclination to do so. 

Get the inclination.

Liberty on the Rocks Christmas Carol

Yep, these are my friends.

Let's not give police the authority to stop safe drivers.

Rocky Mountain News column by Vincent Carroll

The head of the Rocky's editorial page discusses the tragic death of a little girl, Erica Forney, who was struck by a negligent driver. The negligent driver was "thought to have been" on a cell phone at the time of the incident.

"As a result," according to Carroll, "a couple of Fort Collins lawmakers, Democrats John Kefalas and Randy Fischer, are reportedly mulling over the possibility of sponsoring a bill to restrict telephone calls while driving."

No doubt, Kefalas and Fischer have nothing but good intentions. However, good intentions should never trump good sense.

The driver of the car has been charged with "careless driving resulting in death." It is already an offense to drive carelessly. It was careless driving that killed Erica. It was not talking on a phone that killed her.

Making it an offense to do something that does not harm anyone because it might lead to conduct that harms someone is ill-advised. Where does that line of reasoning end?

Right now, police officers can stop someone they observe driving carelessly. These people are dangerous, and this is a legitimate use of police power.

But if police are given the authority to stop someone talking on the phone while driving, even if that person is driving perfectly safely, that would be an illegitimate expansion of police power. Do we really want to give police the authority to stop people driving safely? 

We all might do something illegal eventually. Is that enough of a reason to subject ourselves to the power of the state before we actually do something illegal?

BlueCarp says "no."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Asking permission is so old-fashioned.

Denver Post editorial

"And when you ask them, how much should we give? 
Ooh, they only answer more! more! more!"

--"Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

In this editorial, The Post laments the lack of tax-payer money available to fund higher education in Colorado. They call for state constitutional revisions so the money can be collected via taxes.

Not once does The Post even mention the possibility of private fundraising. Such a thing never crosses the minds of those that look to the government for answers.

Public colleges and universities raising funds privately is not a novel idea. This 1993 New York Times article deals with the very issue. 

This chart lists the top 20 colleges and universities in private fundraising for the year 2004. Half of them are public schools (including my very own University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill- Go Heels!).

Neither CU-Boulder nor Colorado State University is on the list. Perhaps The Post should implore the University of Colorado system to amp up its fundraising efforts and try to make the list in the future.

But of course asking for money requires work, and the answer frequently will be "no."

The Post would rather not have to worry about such niceties as asking. It is much easier to confiscate money via the state's power to tax than it is to ask politely.

Of course, asking nicely is the only moral choice. The Post, as usual, is not concerned with such an old-fashioned concept. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Tort reform" = attack on the jury system

Face the State (another Colorado website that everyone should read) has an article covering a recent meeting held by the Colorado Civil Justice League. The CCJL wants to "reform" tort laws.

The essence of "tort reform" is to limit the authority of juries to decide damages. It is a direct attack on the jury system.

And "tort reformers" generally do not deny it. According to the "reformers," juries are too stupid to understand difficult matters and too subject to emotional pleas to make rational decisions.

Therefore, the logic goes, the legislature is better suited to determine damage awards than juries.

Since the government knows better than you, the government will take that power away from juries and take it for themselves.

This is generally referred to as "statism."

BlueCarp hates statism.

Big Three: New Print Advertising Campaign

(BlueCarp makes no claim to this orginal work that was randomly emailed to me, and apologizes for the profanity. I decided the overall message was worth the profanity.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

You read it here, first (Or BlueCarp is always fresh)

"Polis off to great start"

Rocky Mountain News column by Vincent Carroll

As I noted in an earlier post five days ago, recently elected U.S. Congressman Jared Polis deserves props for his anti-bailout position.

Carroll agrees with the ‘Carp.

Wise man, that Carroll.

A waste of time and resources

Broomfield police recover $44,000 worth of pot

Daily Camera news article

According to the Daily Camera, “Police and SWAT officers uncovered a marijuana-cultivation operation inside a hidden room at a home in Broomfield’s Broadlands neighborhood.”

Not just police, but SWAT, too.

The three people arrested face possible charges of felony marijuana cultivation and a host of other drug charges.”

Let's do a little cost/benefit analysis:

How much did it cost in manpower to arrest these three dangers to the community? How much will it cost to keep these hardcore criminals incarcerated until they make bail? If they can not afford to retain private counsel, how much will the state have to pay their public defenders? How much could the government have made if it let these dangerous criminals sell their product and taxed it, at say 10%?

Now, let's complete the benefit part of the analysis: There is none.

Therefore, the cost is probably in the conservative neighborhood of of $20,000. The benefit is $0.

To whom does this policy make sense? 

(Special thanks to CompleteColorado for compiling Colorado news stories throughout the day so I can find them easily. BlueCarp says check 'em out.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Charlie Rose tribute to Barry Goldwater

Barry Goldwater: The Greatest American Politician of the 20th Century.

Another victory in the War on Drugs

Cornelius F. Salonis spent two months in a Minnesota jail on drug possession charges before lab tests showed the white powder police found in his car was deodorant. His attorney blamed a faulty field test.

Another government failure

"What an idea: data-driven parole"

Rocky Mountain News editorial

The Rocky points out that the state's Parole Board has been ignoring state law.

State law requires the board to make certain findings when ruling on parole decisions and report those findings to the Division of Criminal Justice.

So the people that are passing judgment on whether or not law breakers should be released are law breakers themselves.

Oh, the irony.

When was the last time the Parole Board and Divison of Criminal Justice complied with state law? Twelve years ago.

The Rocky points out that this means "three different governors have been in office while criminal justice officials ignored their duty to ground parole decisions in hard evidence. Incredible."

Unfortunately, it is really not that incredible. Government, by its nature, is incompetent and corrupt.

This is just yet another blemish on the pockmarked face of statism.

And yet the hue and cry continues for more government, more regulation, more rules, more oversight.

Our failure to learn from mistakes is staggering.

The Denver Post has a spine like a sponge

"New oil and gas rules reasonable"

Denver Post editorial

Despite the headline declaration, the editorial itself makes no such bold statement, hedging its bets by calling the rules "seemingly reasonable."

Well, are they reasonable or not? The Post does not know.

It appears the Post editorial board has not read, or even briefly skimmed, the proposed rules. 

The Post declares that Republican Grand Junction representative Josh "Penry and his colleagues should review the new rules carefully and ferret out any that seem wrong-headed." Wow. State legislators should review the rules carefully? Way to take a hard line stance, Post. Are they any such "wrong-headed" rules? The Post does not pretend to know, despite referring to them as "seemingly reasonable." How can they be "seemingly reasonable" if the possibility of "wrong-headed" rules exist?

Does the Post editorial board have an editor?

The Post takes a firm stand when it declares (decisively, no less) that "[t]he rules can't be so onerous that extraction becomes impossible."  Hard to argue with that assertion. Indeed, rules governing the extraction of oil and gas should not make such extraction impossible. Is it necessary to use newsprint and ink for such an obvious truth?

It is a shame that only good editorial page in Denver is on the pages of the Rocky Mountain News, which is apparently about to close its doors for good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Props to Jared Polis

Jared Polis was recently elected to the United States Congress from the 2nd Colorado congressional district.

He is a democrat, but he is also a succesful businessman.

While perusing CompleteColorado.com (which everyone should read every day) I found a Wall Street Journal article penned by Polis on the impending bailout of Detroit automakers.

He is against the bailout, but unfortunately he does not get a vote until he is sworn in on January 6, 2009.

Polis understands that politicians may have diverse areas of expertise, but business is rarely one such area:
People who have never before in their lives seen -- no less implemented -- a business plan are now trying to decide if these companies will succeed by means of a "capital infusion" with various imposed preconditions and negotiate what we taxpayers (investors) should be getting for our money. Something is wrong with this picture.

As an alternative, Polis proposes waiving the capital gains tax on all investment in the automobile industry, so private equity firms have an extra incentive to try and turn around the colossal failures in Detroit - without any taxpayer money.

He concludes 

Among the reasons I ran for Congress, one was to make government work. Let's get government back to doing the work of government. Reading business plans and making investments is the job of equity funds and turnaround specialists, not members of Congress.

As a member of the Libertarian Party, I carry water for neither the Republicans nor the Democrats. I carry water for free markets. And Polis deserves credit for his pro-market stand on this issue.

If only the most recent Republican nominee for president understood economics as well as this soon to be freshman congressman.

"No room for judgment"

Vincent Carroll

Carroll laments how our laws treat citizens like children. Specifically, he mocks Colorado's law that makes it an offense to warm up your car before you get in it.

Recently, Front Range police issued numerous $75 tickets for this offense, including to a young mother who left her car idling in her driveway for less than three minutes while she went "inside to get her 9-month-old daughter settled in with Grandma for the day."

It is this kind of arrogant intrusion that gives all government, especially police, a bad image. Police have an incredibly difficult and very important job. Harrassing young mothers should not be part of it.

The official reason for the law is that your car might get stolen if you leave it unattended and running. What a load of crap.

First, so what? It's a person's individual decision on how to use his car and how much risk he might be willing to take.

Second, it is a blatant lie. The actual reason for the law is that members of the Al Gore Cult of Global Warming want to end all use of the internal combustion engine, and this is the only crumb they could get. At least for now. 

"A hobble on spendthrifts"

In part two of his column, Carroll laments the wrong-headed attempts by politicians to "stimulate" the economy via government programs. 

As bad as it is on the national level, it is even more nonsensical at the state level. Of course, that does not stop state politicians from trying.

Polticians love Keynesian economics, because it gives them the excuse to expand the power of government in the name of the economy. 

In sum, John Maynard Keynes taught that government could jumpstart a sluggish economy by creating "make work" for the unemployed to do. It can not.

All the government can do is redistribute capital from private uses to government uses. And there is a reason private money is never used to dig ditches and fill them back in.

Monday, December 08, 2008

"Get back to basics, Republicans, and drop most social issues"

by Ross Kaminsky

Ross is my personal favorite blogger. He writes the blog "Rossputin."

This Rocky column shows why he is my favorite.

Ross nails it. The Republican Party must return to small government, free market ideals or it will remain irrelevant.

The promotion of a conservative social agenda is not necessary for the Republicans to win elections. In fact, it is a hindrance.

Ross' conclusion sums it up nicely:

Robert Novak hit the nail on the head when he said, "God put the Republican Party on Earth to cut taxes. If they don't do that, they have no useful function." When social issues conservatives distract from that mission, they are not simply other Republicans under the big tent. They are the arsonists burning the tent down.

Given the Republicans' recent history, there is little reason to believe they can get it right.

There is only one political party in the United States that believes in and promotes free markets and limited government. That is the Libertarian Party.

I defy any Republican to assert otherwise. 

The facts can not be denied. The GOP supports massive taxpayer bailouts of failed private business; the at-will printing of paper fiat money that taxes everyone of us via inflation; the expansion of federal power by the creation of the Bureau of Homeland Security and the concomitant abuses of power by TASA; the passage of Fourth Amendment eroding bills like FISA and REAL ID; anti-free speech legislation like McCain-Feingold, and on and on.

This is the opposition party to the big-government Democrats? It would be amusing if it were not so sad.