Free Markets, Free People

Happy Dependence Day!

My how things change over the course of 200+ years.

Back at the beginning of this experiment, people rejected a large and intrusive government.  They’d been the victims of one and threw off that yoke.  They acclaimed freedom as their goal and chose liberty as their battle cry.

When they finally got around to forming their own government, they carefully wrote a document which I’m sure they figured was an iron-clad guarantee that this country’s future would never see the same sort of tyranny they’d suffered under.

I just wonder what they’d think of this sprawling, debt ridden and intrusive mess we have now?  I wonder what they’d think of over half the population getting some sort of compensation from government. 

I wonder what they’d think of a Supreme Court Chief Justice more worried about what they’ll say about him and the court on the cocktail circuit and in the media than he is about upholding the Constitution, his sworn duty.  I think I know.

And I’m pretty sure I know what they’d think of this:

Our nation’s current debt, nearing $16 trillion, and our annual budget deficit of $1.2 trillion, indicate that our government’s addiction to spending is nowhere near its limit.

Of that $16 trillion debt, the U.S. owes more than $5 trillion to foreign nations, an all-time high. So much for independence. We’re now a debtor nation, and unless we get our fiscal house in order, that debt will endanger our nation’s prospects for long-term growth.

If that sounds alarmist, consider this: In August 2011, Vice President Joe Biden visited China. This wasn’t just any diplomatic visit — it was the supplication of a debtor, in which Biden undertook to reassure our Chinese debtors that their investment is sound.

Biden assured his hosts that they had "nothing to worry about" when it comes to the U.S. honoring its obligations. It wasn’t the first time a high-ranking U.S. official has had to offer soothing words to our creditors, and at this rate it won’t be the last.

Let’s be clear.  This administration isn’t the cause of all that debt.  It’s just the latest (and the worst) to add to it, to the point that our debt now stands at more than our GDP.  We are indeed a debtor nation.

That’s not at all how this began is it?  Nor was that ever the plan.

I’m also pretty sure I know how they’d feel about the level of intrusion government now routinely practices (and increases) in this country.  For example:

IRS officials on background tell FOX Business the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on health reform gives the IRS even more powers than previously understood.

The IRS now gets to know about a small business’s entire payroll, the level of their insurance coverage — and it gets to know the income of not just the primary breadwinner in your house, but your entire family’s income, in order to assess/collect the mandated tax.

Plus, it gets to share your personal info with all sorts of government agencies, insurance companies and employers.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. "We expect even more lien and levy powers," an IRS official says. Even the Taxpayer Advocate is deeply concerned.

As government takes more and more control of your lives, it intrudes deeper and deeper into them:

The TAO [Taxpayer Advocate Office] says that the “IRS will need to determine a taxpayer’s compliance with the individual [insurance] mandate and assess a penalty if coverage is inadequate.”

However, the penalty isn’t based on just your personal net income. The penalty will be based on an entirely different number that is more than just your paycheck earnings — your ‘household income.’

“This determination is based on a concept of ‘household income,’” TAO has said, adding, “this may differ from the income reported on the taxpayer’s return, because it is a composite of all of the income reported by members of a taxpayer’s household — information that may not be readily accessible to the IRS."

If the IRS finds you have fallen short of the law, it would hit you with a penalty tied to your household income (which may be that of an individual or several family members).

Under the new health law, the IRS penalty would be based on “modified adjusted gross income,” not adjusted gross income that you normally report at the bottom of the first page of your tax form 1040, before you take deductions or personal exemptions.

The modifications add back in things like non-taxable interest and excluded foreign income to this number.


Health reform’s insurance mandate says if you do not have “adequate” insurance, you’ll have to pay a fine as part of your tax return. If your business doesn’t provide “affordable” coverage,  that business may have to pay a fine to the IRS, too, as part of its tax return filings.

The TAO has noted Americans must now tell the IRS under the new law:

    *Insurance plan information, including who is covered under the plan and the dates of coverage;
    *The costs of your family’s health insurance plans;
    *Whether a taxpayer had an offer of employer-sponsored health insurance;
    *The cost of employer-sponsored insurance;
    *Whether a taxpayer received a premium tax credit; and
    *Whether a taxpayer has an exemption from the individual responsibility requirement.

The TAO has warned: “This is different from the type of information the IRS typically deals with, and some taxpayers may feel uncomfortable about sharing it with the IRS.”

In fact, it is incumbent upon you to prove to the IRS that you have “adequate coverage”, whatever that ends up meaning. And:

The TAO has also reported that “obtaining this new information will require the IRS to communicate with entities and government agencies that it may not deal with now,” including:

    *New state-run insurance exchanges;
    *Insurance companies; and
    *Government insurance programs.

But remember the sales pitch – government will make health care simpler, more cost effective and better.

Congratulations to all the simpletons out there who bought into this scam and ended up foisting this intrusive monstrosity on the rest of us.  In fact, thanks to all, who through out the 200 years it has taken us to to get to this point, worked so hard to achieve it “for the common good”.  </sarc>  Nice mess you’ve given us.

As for the rest of you, happy Dependence day!



Twitter: @McQandO

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51 Responses to Happy Dependence Day!

  • Calvin Coolidge knew who the Collectivists were…
    About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.
    They are the reactionaries, not the revolutionaries.

    • You can thank the progressives who think and teach there are no objective truths, only the subjective. Feelings/ opinion trump facts.

  • I disagree about Justice Roberts.  I think his judicial philosophy is like mine, namely that the Supreme Court should rarely overturn democratic decisions unless it is absolutely clear they violate the constitution.  This means I oppose judicial activism on both the left and the right (e.g., I’m pro-choice but would not have voted with the majority in Roe v Wade), and believe that most such issues should be decided through democratic processes, not nine individuals on the court.  There are exceptions, but they are rare.  Courts have been too active in interpreting reasons to throw out democratic decisions.
    On economics: the US government drove up debt in the 80s and the 00s while the economy was booming.  That is insane.  When the economy is booming you should pay off old debt so you can stimulate the economy when it goes bust.  That created a faux since of prosperity in the 80s and 00s — and government debt was not the only thing growing, total debt increased from 150% of GDP gradually to near 400%.  Credit card debt was very low in 1980, and rose constantly to nearly $1 trillion.   The 80s created a ‘something for nothing’ mentality that encompassed everyone.
    On top of that regulations on the financial sector were cut and a free market ideology implemented.  The idea that the market knows best meant that bubbles could form, credit could remain insanely cheap and unregulated, and debt would not be seen as a problem.  Big banks had power, wealth and political power.   Meanwhile relative wealth shifted to the very wealthy and away from the middle class.
    Your ideology and interpretation of what’s happening is simply wrong.   The problems we have can be solved, and it’s certainly possible to do as all other industrialized states and see health care as something all deserve – like police protection, education, and other basics virtually no one questions.  Yes, the kind of world you nostalgically remember is gone – that’s reality, it changes.  You can scream against the change and say it’s the end of everything good, or you can embrace it and recognize that people are still free, democracy still exists, and it’s hyperbolic silliness to say we’re somehow all dependent, enslaved or unfree.   People are more free than any time in US history – no slavery, women have full rights, the information revolution expands power and knowledge.  It’s a new world – different in the past, but still one that reflects freedom and opportunity.   Ideological rigidity can hinder understanding.  Things aren’t that bad, and they will get better!   Optimism is the essence of what makes America great!

    • They are the reactionaries, not the revolutionaries.

      And…right on cue…comes our own reactionary boob.  Same bullshit; different day.

      Optimism is the essence of what makes America great!

      And that will return when the author of the Obamic Decline is safely out of power, as the people of America understand too well.

    • “see health care as something all deserve”
      Call me Mr Thicky, but that isn’t actually what most of the opposition to ObamaCare was about now is it?

    • “Your ideology and interpretation of what’s happening is simply wrong.   The problems we have can be solved, and it’s certainly possible to do as all other industrialized states and see health care as something all deserve – like police protection, education, and other basics virtually no one questions.”
      With the evidence right in front of you of how that’s working out in European states, and yet.  Heh, “fool” doesn’t cover it, but will suffice.

      • Germany’s economy is doing very well, as are the economies of northern Europe (most of Scandinavia).   I daresay most of those countries are doing better than the US on many levels.   Their debt is lower, Germany has a balanced budget amendment (agreed to by the left and right) and produces stuff people want.   Now if you’re talking about the problem states of southern Europe, they did get it wrong – in part because they (Greece, Spain and Portugal) are relatively recent democracies still overcoming authoritarian heritages.   But you can’t broadly paint all of Europe with the problems of those southern states.  Yes, look at the evidence from Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands…

        • The tax cuts, combined with Sweden’s highly efficient regulatory system, have raised the Swedish economy to 21st place in the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom. By sharp contrast, the regulation-loving “Yes, We Can” U.S. Administration has driven down our economic freedom ranking over the past three years and is steering our economy into “Taxmageddon.

          And, of course, that does not factor in that the Scandanvian nations have been riding free in terms of their defense spending since WWII, or that they are demographic suicides in waiting.
          Gawd, you are an idiot.

        • Is Germany all of Europe?  Heh.  Well, not yet anyway.
          Go ahead and ignore the problems in France, Ireland, England and overplay your ‘evidence’.   It doesn’t matter if people toss facts your way, you’ll wave em off.
          No, actually, it doesn’t matter much what you think Scott, it’ll sort itself out, and you won’t like it.  You’re the kid who baked cookies when the rest of us were swinging from trees.  You like the security and comfort of a world run by mom.  It’s okay, there’s a place, maybe a need, for guys like you once the other men have settled the wilderness.  You just have to hope that the other men manage to keep shit running so you can keep on baking the cookies.

          • You should not ignore Europe’s successes, nor should anyone ignore problems in Europe.  France’s problems are no worse than ours (I think their debt is less as a % of GDP).  Your insults are just over the top silly.

          • Thanks.  I’ll keep that in mind.

          • See his nonsense about Arab spring to gauge how well his predictions work out. If you need a domestic example, check out his predictions for the 2010 midterms. Don’t waste your time on Mr. Mercury.

          • France’s new Socialist government announced tax rises worth 7.2 billion euros on Wednesday, including heavy one-off levies on wealthy households and big corporations, to plug a revenue shortfall this year caused by flagging economic growth. …
            An extraordinary levy of 2.3 billion euros ($2.90 billion) on wealthy households and 1.1 billion euros in one-off taxes on large banks and energy firms were central parts of an amended 2012 budget presented to parliament.

            If France is so much like the US, then this is a test of virtually every idea that Obama has throw at the wall (and he thinks is still sticking).

    • “Your ideology and interpretation of what’s happening is simply wrong.”  if you ever want to know why you are completely despised by the readers of this blog, those words offer the best possible answer to that question.  You never allow for anyone to counter your dogma without degrading their comments as beneath contempt.  And you wonder why we think you are a shit?!?!?

    • Fine,
      The democratic consensus is 2/3 of the electorate oppose Obamacare. How does that fit with your “democracy”.
      Go back to your ivory tower/ echo chamber.

    • Oh and by the way we are a Republic not a Democracy. The problem is we are democratically electing idiots to represent us in this once great Republic.

    • I disagree about Justice Roberts.  I think his judicial philosophy is like mine,

      IOW, a head full of mush!

    • The “free market”did not keep credit “insanely cheap and unregulated,and debt would not be seen as a problem”;the Federal Reserve did,with the consent and desire of both the Legislative and Executive branches and in some cases under orders from the States Judicial branch of the government.The “free market”determined that interest should be high enough that many creditors were accused of being loan sharks by state Ags resulting in many credit card companies and same day loan companies to shift fees and many businesses that catered to the poor with bad credit were forced out of business.

    • Free Market Economics:I personally would not lend anyone besides family and very close friends my savings at less than  5% interest rates and I would expect at least 10% interest plus some kind of collateral from anyone asking me to hand over my hard earned savings.If you are willing to lend out your money at near zero% interest rates that is the “free market “in action but very risky and stupid on your part because in a FREE market no one covers your bad investment losses.

  • I find a good Erb post to be reminiscent of old-school Soviet posters. Even though you can’t really understand what is written on it you can get a fair idea of the propaganda target and the liberal splashes of exclamation marks means you just have to take notice.
    Missed you Scotty. How about some meaty speculation on what the Higgs boson means to all that connectedy fiziks stuff?

  • You’re very sensitive if you think I was “crowing.”  I was countering the idea that there is something wrong with America and we’re no longer free.  What do you think I was “crowing” about?  My point is that there is no reason to think the US is going down hill at this point, or that we’re less free than before.

    • I think his judicial philosophy is like mine…

      Or, in the case of ObamaCare, incomprehensible, irrational, and unbound by anything we recognize in the Constitution.

      • What was it one progressive said, “incoherent but brilliant”. LMAO. So ironically perfect you can’t improve upon it.

        • True brilliance…and real humanity…comes from the simple, true arguments of someone like Milton Friedman.  Like Thomas Jefferson, or his cohort in that amazing time, Adam Smith.
          When you have people like Erp and his Frankfurt School buds, you have nothing of goodness, humanity, or brilliance.  Only darkness and inhumanity.

    • Course you’re less free, it’s all around you.  Every time you walk into an airport you can SEE you’re less free than you were in 1982, 1994, even 1999.
      They’re talking about drones flying overhead, keeping an eye on things.
      The Police, armed like a modern infantry battalion, can ‘swat’ your home, kill your pets, be at the wrong address, and no one bats an eye.  “We’re sorry Mr Erb, uh, wrong address, uh, see you later”.
      The government is about to majorly get into your life with health care.
      They have restricted your ability to drink soda in New York and other cities are following on, and it’s ‘okay!’,  After all YOU can’t decide for yourself not to drink soda!  You’re free!
      DHS labels you a member of an  ‘EXTREME’ right wing group if
      Extreme Right-Wing: groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under
      attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent (for some the threat is from a specific
      ethnic, racial, or religious group), and believe in the need to be prepared for an attack either by
      participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism. Groups may also be fiercely
      nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of
      centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty, and believe in conspiracy theories that
      involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.

      you are ‘reverent of individual liberty’ or ‘fiercely nationalistic as opposed to being fiercely universal?
      Yeah, we’re MORE free than ever Scott.

      • Yes we are more free — more people have more opportunity.  It’s not an attack on my freedom to go through security check at an airport.   Its an expansion of freedom to give people access to health care so they have more opportunity and don’t have to suffer medical expense bankruptcy (which is most of ours and a problem the rest of the industrialized world doesn’t have).  New York’s laws are stupid, but people can still drink as much soda as they want.   I don’t care what some bureaucrat might label me.  That doesn’t harm my freedom.  I do care about opportunities to show initiative, take control of our lives and build a better future.  I think we can do that – and with the information revolution that capacity is set to expand dramatically.   Good times ahead!

        • Sounds to me like someone has been smoking the ‘Erb a bit too much lately.

        • You shouldn’t be labeled ANYTHING by a bureaucrat.   And you ought to care, because they have ‘government’ behind them, and you have…you.
          But if you think that ‘freedom’ means other people give you things for ‘free’, well…I think within 10 years, you’re going to be feeling a lot less free.
          Personally, I think when people constantly give you things, it means you’re beholden.
          I think when you expect people to constantly give you things and provide for you, you’re still thinking like a child,
          But clearly we have different ethics.

          • But clearly we have different ethics.

            You ain’t kidding, brother.  Individualists will always have different ethics than Scott and any attempts to convince him to consider their point of view will never change his greedy claim on the lives of others.
            A man who tries to shoehorn “duty to community” into the definition of freedom is only playing with words, attempting to distract readers with a flourish of buzzwords with one hand while, with the other, he backs the destruction of the very thing he pretends to support.  It’s the sort of ersatz prestidigitation that only works for a short time on people unfamiliar with his act.
            He got the name “disingenuous fraud” many years ago for a reason.  Attempting to have a good faith discussion of ethics with the man is like trying to nail jello to the wall.  He writes things he doesn’t actually mean (like advocating freedom or decentralized government) and he attempts to portray himself as something he is not (a centrist, a “left libertarian”, a benevolent and jovial chap).  You won’t convince him with any arguments, because he views the whole process of debate as a word game, not as a means to increase knowledge or consider other perspectives.  When caught in a contradiction and pressed to reconcile the discrepancy, one of his defense mechanisms is to adopt the affectation of a breezy, lighthearted dabbler, mocking anyone who takes anything on the Internet seriously.  He typically declares victory by portraying his opponents as being angry (whether they are or not), on the premise that debates are won by maintaining emotional composure better–or, at least appearing to do so, or claiming to do so (despite any evidence to the contrary).
            He is useful as a foil, an object of mockery, and nothing more.

        • Its an expansion of freedom to give people access to health care so they have more opportunity and don’t have to suffer medical expense bankruptcy (which is most of ours and a problem the rest of the industrialized world doesn’t have).

          What a complete lie, and what a moronic liar you are.  I DO bankruptcy, and I’ve NEVER had a client who was in bankruptcy because of medical costs.
          People ARE…for the moment…free to access unparallelled medical help.  That comes via the market, despite the fact we have so crippled the markets for insurance and general medicine.  We limit how much of that we access by choosing how much we can afford.  When that becomes a rationed service…and it must when you cripple the market…SOMEONE ELSE will decide how much you have.  There are no free goods, you moron.
          Outside of the black market for health services, which will flourish just as did bootlegging during Prohibition.

        • And you think the need for a security checkpoints shows you have MORE freedom than you did when there were NO checkpoints?
          “Take control of our lives.  ”
          And you couldn’t do that BEFORE?  Ahh, too bad you missed it.  You’re a white male Scott!  the world was your oyster!
          But I forget, it was so much warmer in the kitchen and lovely with the smell of cookies wasn’t it?  But it’s okay now,  now the kitchen will be bigger!  and the warm cookie smell will be everywhere!, right?!  The government will make sure, and everyone will get cookies!  Oh Joy!   And we need never worry where the cookie supplies will come from, they’ll just ‘be there’, like they always were when mom and dad bought them from the grocery store.

          • …”it was so much warmer in the kitchen and lovely with the smell of cookies…”
            Most excellent, dude. A memorable metaphor, indeed.

        • From a guy who thinks we have no inherent rights other than those government grants us…why am I not surprised at your perception that somehow you are more free.  You’re afraid of real freedom, you’re one of the people who’s more happy being told what to do.  Not a leader, and never could be.
          It IS reality that the government can restrict our freedom, that doesn’t make it right and there were idealists once who on this day centuries ago set out to prove it.
          They’re not wrong, not yet.   Pity you think what you’re losing is actually a gain.

        • God, you are such an idiot.
          Do you not understand what has just happened to the limits of government power?
          Any “behavior” the government does not like it can punish with a tax. This is the ultimate coercion short of violence, and they can still imprison for non-payment. The ultimate removal of freedom short of death.
          Allen West just quipped that we should tax people who don’t buy a Glock 9mm because personal protection is everyone’s responsibility. How would you like that?
          I can’t read any more of your posts, I am about to have a stroke and it won’t be covered under obomacare because of my age.

    • “You’re very sensitive if you think I was “crowing.” …{blah, blah, snip}… What do you think I was “crowing” about?”

      You were crowing about having the Obamacare decision go the way you wanted. It was a great excuse to lecture to the rest of us about how we’re just stuck-in-the-past Neanderthals, and try desperately to overcome the reality of being a mediocre academic in a third-rate college with poor thinking skills who is wrong about almost everything he predicts. 

      I realize that you lack the cognitive capacity and self-awareness to see that, but we all do.

      • The recognition and drive for freedom is reduced in Erpise to “nostalgia”.  He simply cannot comprehend that the hunger for a living exercise in limited government is not temporal at all.  It is transcendent of time, and it certainly CAN be realized in this time.
        He minimizes it by pretending it is old-fashioned and out-moded.  I go back to the speech by Coolidge; it is he who yearns for the ancient order and eschews the Revolution.  He hates the Enlightenment.

    • God gave us free will. Why can’t congress.
      I thought that was what the revolution was all about you #$$.

    • What do you think I was “crowing” about?

      The same things in general the HitlerJugen cekebrated.

    • “there is no reason to think the US is going down hill at this point”
      Quite a change from your usual gloating declarations of US decline. What happened?

  • I’ll not take over the thread so I’ll make this my last word.  First, my ethics are about the importance of an individual taking responsibility for his or her own life – that’s a key aspect of how I teach as well.  Social welfare programs do often create dependency and that’s wrong, they should create opportunity.  I think many things can be reformed.  That said, I think we have more opportunity now than in the past for more people – freedom has expanded.
    McQ – I was right on the Arab spring, it’s going to be messy, but it’s necessary.  Trying to prop up dictators was unsustainable, better to be on the right side of change.  You don’t have to fear Islam, it’s part of the culture and will change at it’s own pace.  It’s not going to be an easy path — democracy never is — but it’s going in the right direction.  I never expected it to be quick and easy, only necessary.
    The US medical care system is a national shame.  With high levels of medical bankruptcies and many people not covered, I know of people who didn’t get care because of the inability to pay.   No other industrialized state is that way, conservatives elsewhere are appalled by our expensive and inefficient system.
    I wrote about freedom in my blog today – it is NOT selfish individualism, it requires a sense of duty to community to have any meaning and not collapse.  The real tragedy of the last thirty years is how some people have been duped to think “free market” deregulation means more freedom.  It has shifted power to the wealthy elite and corporations who have squeezed the middle class and threaten freedom.  I suspect they chuckle at the people who shill for them thinking they’re supporting freedom.  Lenin had a word for people like that.

    • Lenin knew you.  He and his kind used you and shot you by the thousands in Russia.

    • Lenin had a word for people like that.

      Erp.  I expect he uttered it spit.  Like I do.  A coward and slaver is despicable to anyone…even his master.

    • Every law that congress passes restricts our freedom. The fact that there is little or no personal responsibility due the welfare state is the reason we are in so much trouble. Politicians are buying votes for abdication of personal responsibly why is this so hard to understand?
      Arab spring is a failure.
      A culture must be educationally  and morally prepared for democracy. Every communist knows that the best way to take over is a county to foment a “democratic” revolution before the population is ready. God help us if you are a history teacher.

      • No no, he’s a poli Sci teacher.  Doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy?
        The problem was when they got around to teaching him about the wonders of socialism and the way the Russians pulled it off, they told him it was a good idea, just not well executed.   They probably didn’t use the word ‘executed’ though, you know?    With his mental reference points, had he been alive at the time there is little doubt he would have told us the whole Russian revolution was “good and necessary”.
        After 70+ years of failure at everything except launching the first satellite and perfecting the evils of a top notch secret police state, he can’t bring himself to admit their ideas really sucked and weren’t ones to be emulated.

    • ” First, my ethics are about the importance of an individual taking responsibility for his or her own life”
      Well, except for medical care, education, etc. That word (responsibility) I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  • “Lenin had a word for people like that.”  lenin also had a term for people like you – Useful Idiots!!!

    • Useful idiot, indeed. And proves it everytime he trots out a moral equivalence argument.

      He such a useful idiot to the left that he took up a profession attempting to convert and teach other useful idiots.