Friday, April 13, 2012

Coincidence

"When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed." - Ayn Rand

Point 1:

Tax Tyranny

"The United States has the most progressive (i.e., unequal) tax system in the world. The bottom 50 percent of income earners, on average, receives more in tax benefits than they pay in taxes — while the highest earners pay a wildly disproportionate amount of their income in taxes — despite the myth that Warren Buffett has a lower tax rate than his secretary. A progressive income tax only meets the test of “consent of the governed” when a majority of each class of taxpayers consents to its tax rate. Otherwise, it is tax tyranny of a low-tax-rate majority against a vote-poor, high-tax-rate minority. The apologists for the progressive income tax claim it is only “fair,” ignoring the fact there is nothing at all “fair” about taxing at a higher tax rate those who work longer and harder and/or spend more time acquiring an education and work skills. It is destructive and tyrannical for a society to tax the most productive, innovative and job-creating people at a higher rate than others."

Point 2:

Forcing Trade

"The Obama administration is quietly diverting roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s healthcare law.

The money is only part of the IRS’s total implementation spending, and it is being provided outside the normal appropriations process. The tax agency is responsible for several key provisions of the new law, including the unpopular individual mandate."

Point 3:

Control the Message

"Dept. of Labor Forcing Media To Use Government Computers"

"Unrest is simmering in some quarters of the Washington news universe regarding changes in the way the Department of Labor (DOL) manages its pre-release media “lockups” on sensitive data like weekly jobless benefits and unemployment...The system insures that major news organizations get the data as soon as possible and allows journalists covering the release get a jump on providing analyses and opinion about the data.

But Carl Fillichio, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ top communications advisor, circulated a memo earlier this week to interested media informing them that everybody is being required to re-submit their credentials requests.

Fillichio reminded participants that there are only 20-30 seats available for the lockups and that priority will be given by DOL in selecting participants to those that “are primarily journalistic enterprises.”

He also offered a one-sentence assurance that 'the department will not consider editorial or political viewpoints in making credentialing decisions.'

Whatever grumbling might be occasioned by being forced to go through the credentialing process again, the element of the Fillichio memo that has journalists worried is this paragraph:

'Second, as a measure toward enhancing security in its main lockup facility (the DOL news room), the department will supply and maintain standardized equipment with a standard configuration for all participants. This change means that privately owned computer and telephone equipment, including hardware, software, cabling, wiring and Internet and telephone lines will be replaced with equipment owned by the department.'

In other words, journalists will no longer be allowed to bring their laptops or other equipment to the lockups, they will have to use government-supplied equipment, described by Fillichio as including 'a virtualized desktop running a Windows operation system, a web browser, word-processing software, an Adobe Reader application and secure file transfer capability. Equipment provided will not have wireless networking capability. Provisions will be in place for news organizations to transmit their stories over the Internet.' "

Point 4:

The Bottomless Pocket

"The government spent at least $205,075 in 2010 to 'translocate' a single bush in San Francisco that stood in the path of a $1.045-billion highway-renovation project that was partially funded by the economic stimulus legislation President Barack Obama signed in 2009...the bush—a Franciscan manzanita—was a specimen of a commercially cultivated species of shrub that can be purchased from nurseries for as little as $15.98 per plant. The particular plant in question, however, was discovered in the midst of the City of San Francisco, in the median strip of a highway, and was deemed to be the last example of the species in the 'wild.' "


Ah, I'm sure I'm just using pieces of news stories to try and make some pithy argument.  Apparently, libertarians like myself are extreme (and would spit in the face of Dr. King, hate the people, hate the brown folk, the gays, the lesbians, the people with piercings and tattoos).  Extreme in the idea that each of us should enjoy the least possible restraints on our behavior and lives, only restraining ourselves when that behavior interferes with the freedom of others.  Government has a place...in enforcing personal property and law.  It should not be our big brother who we run to whenever there is a problem.

But, oh, I'm probably being extreme.  Yeah, that's probably accurate.  I mean, what's the point of looking at the big picture?  What has that ever solved?