Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Barak could learn a lot from North Dakota

Note: The links in the article are theirs, not mine.
While America’s population growth remained flat, an oil boom drew hordes of job-seekers to North Dakota, making it the fastest-growing state over the past year, according to Census Bureau data released Thursday.

North Dakota’s population climbed by 2.17 percent between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012 -- a pace nearly three times faster than that of the nation as a whole, the bureau said.
The Peace Garden State wound up with roughly 15,000 more people than it had the year before – largely because of people moving there from other states.
“We’ve all heard about the fracking and oil production and mining. There is a real influx for jobs,” said Census Bureau demographer Katrina Wengert.
North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson says the "fastest-growing" designation isn’t surprising, given that the state has been steadily adding jobs over much of the past decade. The state has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, at 3.1 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And it’s not just oil. Agriculture is big business in North Dakota, and advanced manufacturing, technology-based businesses and tourism also have grown, Anderson said.
“We currently have about 22,000 job openings in North Dakota today. Of those, only a third are in our 17 oil-and gas-producing counties,” he said. "It’s more than just oil, but it’s oil that put us on map in the national press.”

Hey Barak, would you rather impose obscenely high taxes on the private owners of the land and the shareholders of the oil- and gas companies, or would you rather see the continuation of a fast-growing regional economy that is doing a lot to help the national economy?

You have to choose, one or the other.  High taxes or high growth.

Which is it?

Now that you've made the sensible choice, why not allow the rest of the economy to grow, by reducing the regulations on American businesses and by reducing the taxes on the people who own and run those businesses?

One of the major problems that North Dakota is facing right now is a serious lack of housing for the influx of job seekers that the oil boom has created. Available rentals are almost nonexistent, and those that do exist are prohibitively expensive.  Hotel and motel rooms as well as campgrounds are full, and many residents of North Dakota towns and cities are renting out rooms to job seekers who have traveled from other states in search of employment opportunities.

Many people are sleeping in their cars because they can't find proper housing. Winter temperatures in North Dakota are often well below freezing, so sleeping in a vehicle can be dangerous.  Crime has also greatly increased in most parts of the state, and many long-term residents are dismayed at what is happening to their communities.  Because housing prices have risen substantially, some homeowners are choosing to sell out and relocated elsewhere.

Those who are lucky enough to get jobs with the oil fields are often able to obtain on-site housing in what is called "man camps."  These are usually no-frills lodging consisting of modular trailers, and workers usually share a room with at least one other person.  Rules are strict in man camps; the use of alcohol or drugs is not tolerated and will result in immediate dismissal. Most oil field employees work 12-hour shifts, seven days per week and work a rotating schedule of two, three, or four weeks on the job followed by two or three weeks off.  During their time off, employees must vacate the man camps.

[... because other men will need the housing while they work.]

A man could use his credit card to buy an RV and fill it with gasoline and food.  He could then drive the RV to a high-paying North Dakota job, live in the RV while he worked, and within a very short time, pay off the loan he used to buy the RV.  Some people are already doing that.

Guess how many smart men, five years from now, will own their RVs without any vehicle loans because they live and work in a fast-growing area like North Dakota.

Now guess how many smart North Dakota RV dealers have been marketing their vehicles to men who are working in the oil- and gas business.

Also guess how many smart North Dakota restaurant owners have been opening their restaurants around-the-clock (and hiring lots of cooks and waitresses, and buying lots of raw food from food producers and distributors) in order to feed the people who have time off from their high-paying oil- and gas jobs?  Restaurants are small businesses, the ones that always do the most hiring.  Don't even think of trying to regulate them out of existence.

Now guess how many smart North Dakota legislators are passing laws designed to keep the oil- and gas jobs growing and thriving in North Dakota through low regulatory burdens and low taxes on the job creators (also known as "millionaires").  North Dakota legislators are reaping a big windfall in tax revenue, not because the tax rates are so high, but because there are so many people paying taxes in North Dakota.

The State of North Dakota received $100 million in tax revenue as of March 2011.

North Dakota is receiving so much tax revenue from the oil- and gas business,, they're considering abolishing all property taxes.  This story is in The Blaze, dated June 12, 2012.

The state of North Dakota has a $1.6 billion budget surplus.  This story appeared on CBS Money Watch on September 20, 2012.

The summary of a message posted on an online message board:

People who work at McDonald's in parts of North Dakota are being paid $15-$20 per hour, and some of them are given a $300 cash bonus, just for accepting the job offer.

Hey Barak, the Federal government didn't force McDonald's to offer that high pay rate and those bonuses, and neither did any union.  The free market did that.

It's called the Law of Supply and Demand, something you should have read about while you were a high school student.  When employees are scarce in a free market, the people who are in a position to offer jobs to the public will be forced, strictly through economics principles, to raise the pay rate for those jobs.  The low supply of potential employees forces employers to raise the demand for those jobs by offering high pay and bonuses.  It's a well-established free-market principle, Barak, but I think you were under the influence of drugs and half-asleep when that class was offered.

Now that you're wide awake, Barak, stop trying to regulate good economies and let them operate without a lot of government-imposed restrictions.  Do that and you'll get more tax revenue out of those businesses than you could ever hope to receive by overtaxing them now.

What part of "It's the economy, stupid" don't you understand, Barak?

05/16/13 update.  This article, dated May 13th, was posted.  It has some advice to the North Dakota government about what to do with all that oil money.

10/03/14 update.  This article on Yahoo, dated October 3, 2014, tells how tkwo families, who were living poorly in other states, moved to North Dakota and became much wealthier.

10/08/14 update.  This article on The Fiscal Times, dated August 28, 2013, says that North Dakota's oil- and tax revenue is now $1.3 billion.

11/12/14 update.  A short article published in Forbes says that North Dakota is the second-best state to do business in.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A permanent solution to our fiscal problems

Every family, sooner or later, has to learn, sometimes the hard way, to limit their spending to the amount of their family income.

Spending reductions are the only way to solve our $16 trillion problem.  As a nation, Congress and the President must limit their spending to the amount of money that this country actually takes in.

Former U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh, who was serving the 8th Congressional District of Illinois until he was beaten for re-election in the fall of 2012, says the same thing, and he wants to add a very sensible amendment onto the U.S. Constitution, one that would require Congress to balance the budget every year.

Every single year.

On the Issues page (Joe Walsh) on the issue of a balanced budget. (Dated June 2012, when he was still a member of Congress)

An article dated July 16, 2011 in the Daily Caller, saying that Joe Walsh is right and that the GOP leadership, who are opposed to a balanced budget are wrong.  He's right.  The GOP leadership WAS wrong to allow this president and many others to spend more money than the United States earns from taxes and other revenue sources.

Joe Walsh was endorsed in his re-election campaign by Red State.  This is a link to the endorsement article dated October 9, 2012.

Understanding the issue

Congress cannot pass any law that violates the Constitution, or any of its' amendments.  That is why no President, no matter how much political power he wants, and no matter how much political power he thinks he has, can tell any American to give up his freedom of speech, his freedom of religion, or his gun.

Once this amendment is passed, Congress will have to submit balanced budgets every year.  That means that the only thing that is added to the national debt will be a tiny percentage interest, and with responsible leadership in the White House and Congress, this can actually be reduced.

With a fixed and unchanging debt limit our government will, sooner or later, learn to spend only what it needs to spend.

Without a fixed debt limit, Congress and the President can and will continue to spend money that we simply do not have.  If we do not control our spending, we may even lose the ability to borrow more of it at reasonably low interest rates.  Every person who has credit problems and has watched rising interest rates on his credit cards knows what happens next.  Either he pays the bills or the interest rates keep going up.  The international market will do the same to our government if they don't pay the current bills and reduce the spending in the future.

It is time for a new amendment to our Constitution.  It is time to teach our government the meaning of the word "discipline".  Our $16 trillion national debt is proof that they do not practice it.

The Balanced Budget Amendment on the website of the Republican Party.

Part of that page:
Since President Obama took office the national debt has increased by $3.7 trillion. To put that in perspective, it took the U.S. 216 years, from 1776 until 1992, to accumulate the same amount of debt that Obama has borrowed in 2.5 years.

It's higher than any time in American history, equaling more than 95% of our entire economy. We are currently borrowing roughly 40 cents of every dollar we spend and sending the bill to our children and grandchildren. 

Roll up your sleeves.  Contact your Member of Congress and your Senator.   You're about to start taking classes in a new course, "Lobbying 101".

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The government is giving GM more freedom

General Motors is willing to pay a premium price to buy its' own stock.


The Wall Street Journal

Time Magazine

The Associated Press, reprinted by Yahoo

The Detroit Free Press

The Blaze

General Motors' own website

The stock is currently owned by the U.S. Government.  When the trading finished yesterday (December 18th), the price of GM stock was $25.49 per share.

As mentioned in the news articles that are linked above, General Motors is willing to pay a premium price in order to get its' stock back from the government.  Under the terms of the deal, GM will pay $27.50 per share for two hundred million shares.

Simple arithmetic says that this deal will cost GM $5.5 billion, but the government will pay a price, too.  After the deal is finalized, Obama will lose the ability to use those shares whenever the company's shareholders vote on any policy proposals, because Obama won't own the stock anymore.  Only the owners of stock can vote at shareholder meetings. and Obama is about to sell part of his shares back to the company.

This deal involves  200 million shares of GM stock.  The company has 1.57 billion outstanding shares.  The following division process shows the percentage of the total number of outstanding shares that is represented by this transaction

200 million shares
----------------------- = 12.7% of the total 1.57 billion outstanding shares.
1.57 billion shares

The news that the government was selling its' GM stock to GM was released after the NYSE closed for trading that day.

When NYSE trading began today (December 19th), the price of GM stock jumped about 8%.  The stock price is still up about 8% right this minute.

The two parties have announced that this transaction is part of a process that is expected to end with the government not being the owner of any of the stock in General Motors.  At that point, the company can then shed its' informal name of "government motors" .

From the Detroit Free Press, linked above:
The U.S. government plans to sell 40% of its General Motors stock by the end of the year and to sell the rest of its shares within 12 to 15 months, officials announced this morning.
The government’s exit from GM stock will mark the end of its direct involvement in an iconic American company that fell into disrepair and nearly collapsed in 2009 before receiving a $49.5 billion bailout and returning to job growth and profitability.


As a big fan of the freedom of the American marketplace, I hope that this process is completed quickly and that the government can begin the process of deregulating many of the businesses that are currently so heavily regulated that they cannot even make a profit.

It will come as a shock to some people who are fans of government bureaucracy, but if the regulators stopped being so intrusive, American businesses would produce more tax revenue.

My essay Taxes and national income, published October 22nd.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick may be moving to Wash.

His Massachusetts home is on the market.  His asking price is $1,500,000.


The Boston Globe

The Boston Herald

The West Roxbury Patch Note: West Roxbury is part of the City of Boston.


I think he is preparing to accept a job working for the President.

During the recent election season, Governor Patrick made speeches for the President.  Many of those speeches also attacked Mitt Romney, who was himself the Massachusetts Governor once.

Some of those trips took him out of Massachusetts, and while he was out of this state (I live in Massachusetts), he was criticized for his absence and for his lack of attention to Massachusetts problems.  Here's a column in the online Boston Globe saying that very explicitly.


Governor Patrick, like a good Democrat, is working hard to stress our state budget by allowing illegal immigrants in-state tuition at state colleges.  That may be his biggest attraction to a stressful President.

2012 Links (all dated November 19th unless otherwise specified)

The Boston Globe, November 18

The Phoenix, AZ Fox affiliate

Go Local Worcester Note: Worcester is Massachusetts' 2nd largest city.)

Massachusetts Catholic Conference

The New York Times

I hope Governor Patrick leaves, so that the illegal immigrants in this state will either pay out-of-state rates or even better, just leave.

Monday, December 17, 2012

News that affects the U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye died less than 30 minutes ago at Walter Reed Hospital.  He was one of Hawaii's Senators and a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his uniformed service to our nation during World War II.

This is the 5-minute video announcement of his death, made on the floor of the U.S. Senate, by Nevada Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid.

U.S.A. Today article

One sentence from the article:
Under Hawaii law, Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie will appoint a successor to Inouye until a special election can be held.

Senator Inouye was a Democrat.  If the new Senator is a Democrat, then the Democrat-Republican balance will stay the same, but if the new Senator is a Republican, then the GOP will have a bit more power when legislation is being debated and voted upon.

The winner of the special election will be in a position to affect a lot of legislation. He/she will also participate in confirmation of any U.S. Supreme Court nominees.  Until that election has been decided, the temporary Senator will have that job, and that person will also have the extra responsibility of working on the end-of-year legislation, including Fiscal Cliff tax patches and the establishment of 2013 tax rates (which still haven't been decided yet).

This video link shows him addressing Congress on December 3, 2011 (just over a year ago).  His topic was about the service that he and others like him had provided to this nation during World War II.

This video link shows him addressing Congress on May 26, 2010.  On that date, he said that we should support our uniformed military men and women, not cut their funding. 

This video link shows him talking candidly about the combat actions that earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor.

This web page includes a photo of Senator Inouye receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Bill Clinton in June 2000. 

This Dept. of Defense web page has a photo of seven recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, including Danial Inouye.  The page also allows you to download a high-resolution photo of the group.

This web page discusses in detail the combat actions that 1st lieutenant Daniel Inouye took that earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor.  This page is hosted by a Veteran's Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Scroll down about a third of the way to see the written description and a black-and-white photo of his face when he was a soldier.

Other tributes

His own website hasn't made the announcement, 24 hours after he died.

This is his official U.S. Senate website. There is an announcement about his death.  It wasn't mentioned on the "front page", but here it is.

For everything, there is a season

For many of us, this is a time to mourn.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, verse by verse:(Revised Standard Version)
  1. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
  2. a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted:
  3. a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  4. a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 
  5. a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  6. a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  7. a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  8. a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
  9. What gain has the worker from his toil?
  10. I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with.
  11. He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man's mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.       

This is not the right time to talk about politics.  After my wife died, I kept a handkerchief in my pants pocket for a year because that's how long I cried openly and on short notice.  The grief that people feel due to the murders in Connecticut will not go away in a few days.

I must say, though, that governmental policies are made by politicians.  Members of Congress express their views by passing legislation that they hope will be enacted into law by the signature of the President.  They also hope that the laws, once passed, will not be modified or nullified by decisions of the Supreme Court.  That is the way our government works.

The laws of this country can encourage people to take certain actions that Congress and the President wants to see happen, by means of favorable tax treatment, few regulations on how the citizens of this nation live our lives, low-interest loans, and outright grants.  Laws can also discourage people from taking actions by means of unfavorable tax treatment, strict regulations, and other laws that make certain actions criminal, punishable by fines and prison time.

Our country's laws currently encourage people to give money to churches, synagogs, temples, mosques, and other places where faithful and loving people worship God.  When last Friday's mass-murder is a distant memory, if there has been no other recent mass-murder, this policy may be questioned.  Some members of Congress, perhaps those who do not worship God very often, may try to reduce the incentive for Americans to donate money to a place for worshiping God through a reduction in the tax deduction for charitable donations.  That would reduce the incentive for people to give money to churches of every description.

Any law that discourages people from supporting God and his work should be avoided, because it is at the times when large numbers of people find their own limits as human beings that we seek the wisdom, the strength, and the open arms of God.  His goals are more easily accomplished when the policies of America's government support religion and the people who work in this nation's churches, synagogs, temples, and mosques.

The United States Constitution was not written to discourage anybody from worshiping God.  In fact, the very first sentence in the very first amendment explicitly says that the Congress cannot pass one law that prohibits the "free exercise" of anyone's religion.  Let the wisdom of our nation's founders guide us two centuries later, because it is partially because of their wisdom that this nation has been here for two centuries.

In the meantime, if any of you find me, and I see tears in your eyes, I will come to you with open arms, I will place your head gently on my shoulder, and I will hold your head there until you finish crying.  That's what my late wife did for me, time and time again.  I learned the best way to comfort people from her, and now that she is in Heaven, I offer you the same comfort that she taught to me by her own example.

The Shoulder Test

Thank you, God, for loving us, and please continue to comfort the grieving.  We will need their comfort as well as yours someday.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jesus loves the little children

The church in which I spent most of my childhood baptizes children. They use a baptismal font that is carved out of a large rock.  This font is always in the church.  It is located one side of the front of the sanctuary,

It stands about four feet high.  It has six sides.  On each  of the six sides is carved a three-dimensional picture of one scene in the day of a child.  On one side, a child is reading a book.  On another side, a child is playing.  On another side, a girl, wearing a long nightgown, is carrying a lit candle.

When some of Jesus' disciples tried to stop some children from running towards him, he said these words.  They are carved into the top of the stone baptismal font in that church:

Suffer the little children to come unto me,
and forbid them not,
for of such is the Kingdom of God.

This song cannot replace dead children, but it may comfort you.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Freedom of choice in the marketplace

This essay was originally published on June 20th, almost exactly six months ago.

As consumers, we all make choices.  We choose which store we will shop at for food, clothes, and everything that goes into our home.  If you get most of your food from a grocery store, you are choosing which store to buy your groceries from.  If, instead, most of your food comes from restaurants, you are choosing which restaurant to eat at.  After you’re seated at a table, you will choose again from the items on that restaurant's menu.  Choices are being made constantly.

In a truly free market, there are rewards for companies that make a good product and punishments for companies that don’t.  The companies that make the products you buy will have some additional income because of your purchases.  If you like eating a lot of vegetables, you’ll buy them, and the companies that produce them will do their best to deliver fresh vegetables to grocery stores and restaurants at a competitive price.  On the other hand, any company that has late deliveries, any company that delivers spoiled food, and any company that tries to charge more for their products than what the products are really worth will find that their products don’t sell well, if at all, and those companies will eventually go out of business.
When you’re shopping for a car, if you like Fords, you buy a Ford.  If, however, you prefer the cars that GM or Chrysler offers, you buy them instead.  If you don’t like any American car, there are automakers in Germany, France, England, Italy, Japan, and South Korea who would love to have you as a customer.

Freedom of choice decided by judges

As I write this, the United States Supreme Court is deliberating the constitutionality of a law called The Affordable Health Care Act.  The main feature of this law is that it can require all of us to purchase health insurance.

During the oral arguments, at least one Supreme Court Justice asked the government’s legal representative to define the limits on the government’s ability to force us to buy a particular product.  The justice asked whether the government could force us to buy broccoli.  This particular product is one that a recent president publicly said he didn’t like, and that as a President, he felt he shouldn't have to eat.  He wanted to preserve that choice for himself.  Those who don't like this law, including myself, want that same choice preserved for ourselves as well, but the law, as written, forces all Americans to make a particular choice - to purchase this product.

Forced choices

The current administration has made other economic choices for us.  They have made it difficult for some companies and impossible for others to manufacture incandescent light bulbs, similar to the one that Thomas Edison invented over a century ago.  The regulations that were imposed upon the light bulb manufacturers did more than just regulate a healthy industry.  They tried to put an entire industry out of business, and it wasn't the first time this has been tried.  President Obama has publicly stated his intention to put America's coal industry out of business.
If you believe, as I do, that these are examples of the President’s deliberate intent to eliminate American businesses, then I believe that these are examples of an unconstitutional process.  Let me say it again for the sake of emphasis.  Whenever any U.S. Government agency restricts the choices that we can make, whatever law(s) they are relying upon when they regulate are a violation of the United States Constitution that the President swore to support and defend when he began his term.
The fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution is one sentence.  Here it is:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

I learned this from my public school English classes

Follow along with me.  First, let me apply the rules of grammar.  When the word "and" is used here "... shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue ....", it divides the sentence into two parts, called “clauses”.  The first clause is the basis for my claim that government restrictions on my free choices are unconstitutional.  This clause prohibits the government from making unreasonable searches.

There have been many court cases that have defined how and when government agencies can search you, your home, your car, and your workplace.  Many government agencies want to know what we’re doing, when we’re doing it, where we’re doing it, and with whom we’re doing business of any sort.  Fourth Amendment court decisions also affect the way that local police officers do their own work.
That first clause offers people security “in their persons, houses, papers, and effects”.  “Secure in their persons” refers to police requests for you to empty your pockets and to put anything that is in them on display, so that the police officer can see what you were carrying.  Searches of your home or workplace are usually done after the police have received a search warrant from a judge.  The concept of searching the papers of a private citizen, or groups of them organized into businesses, clubs, and other associations has been defined and refined by past court decisions regarding the U.S. Mail, electronic mail, and other forms of information that is sent, through any medium, from one person to another.
The fourth amendment states one more place in which we, as citizens, must be secure – our “effects”.  My copy of Black’s Law Dictionary defines the word as your personal property, which is protected from unreasonable searches by police officers and others who exercise governmental authority.  They cannot make an unreasonable search of any file cabinets that are in your home, any suitcases, briefcases, pocketbooks, knapsacks, or packages you may have with you at the time you meet them, and they cannot make an unreasonable search of the places where you store your personal things when you’re working.

Applying the 4th Amendment to the marketplace

I contend that a wider definition of the term “personal effects” includes your right to make the economic choices I mentioned earlier.  Because our founding fathers hated the way that King George III commanded the colonies, they wrote our Constitution in a way that limited the power of any United States President.  Whenever any governmental agency limits our choices, I believe that they’re acting unconstitutionally.

You have the right to buy any car you wish, from any manufacturer, and if you wish and can afford it, to import that car from any country.  You have the right to buy food from a restaurant or from a grocery store, and if you happen to like broccoli (I do), you have the legal and constitutional right to buy it.  If you don't like broccoli (George W. Bush doesn't), you have the right not to buy it.  These are your rights, but as an economic balance in a free society, food manufacturers have rights, including the legal right to choose which products they make and sell.

To put it another way, government agencies simply don't have enough Constitutional authority to prevent you from making whatever economic choices you wish to make.
Lawyers who spend a lot of time in courtrooms, like other people in other professions, sometimes give advice to younger people who are just starting their own careers.  One piece of advice they sometimes pass along is this: “Don’t ask a witness a question unless you know how the witness will answer it.”  I already know how some people will answer this.  Some people say that Americans cannot be trusted to make truly free economic choices.  They will say that we, our families, our neighbors, and the entire American society have to be protected from bad choices, including unhealthy food, selfish personal desires, and even deliberate fraud, as perpetrated by people who are now spending long years in jail.

Those who make that statement are questioning whether God loved us enough to give us free will.  God loved Adam and Eve even after they ate the apple, but living in the Garden of Eden was a privilege that they didn’t deserve after they ate the apple.  We still have free choice, given to us by God, but there are punishments for those of us who do make bad choices.  Possible punishments include a reduction in your wealth and a loss of your ability to earn it.

The consequences of bad choices

All through history, people have made bad choices.  For over a century now, some people have wanted to spend money gambling in a casino instead of paying their bills.  Others want to spend money on other addictions.  Still others simply don’t spend their money wisely.  They buy things they don’t need and ignore the things they do need.  No government agency needs to correct this practice, because in a truly free market, economic choices are already governed by laws that Charles Darwin developed.  The strong survive and the weak don’t.  If you’re the main source of income for your family, and you aren’t providing enough money to pay the rent, your family, friends, or your neighbors may speak with you privately.  If you belong to a church, someone in the church may ask to speak with you privately.
Whenever a bus carrying thirty people on a fixed income arrives at a casino, most of them will go home poorer than they were when they arrived.  This is, in fact, the biggest reason why casinos are still in business, but every one of those thirty people has a right to get on that bus, to walk into that casino, and to gamble with their money, hoping to earn more.  In a truly free economic system, those who leave richer can afford to treat themselves, their families, and their friends even nicer than they did the day before.  Those who leave the casino poorer will have to depend on their families, their friends, and perhaps the charity of strangers for economic support.
If those who depend on the income of a gambler don’t like the losses that the gambler sometimes has, they’re free to talk with the gambler and to try to convince him or her not to gamble, but the choice to gamble or not belongs to the gambler.

The national food supply chain

What about the threats to the economy of, say, a food manufacturer who puts something unhealthy into his company’s products, either accidentally or otherwise?  There is a very simple answer to that question as well.  Ask a rat.
Many people have tried unsuccessfully to kill rats with poisoned food.  The rats survived because they approach any new food source with caution.  The first rat who finds it will taste a little bit of it.  If it doesn’t taste good, or if he gets a bad reaction to that first bite of it, the rat will urinate on it, and no other rat that finds that food will eat any of it.
If you eat a meal at a restaurant tonight, and get bad food and bad service, you have every legal and constitutional right not to go back there tomorrow.  You also have every legal right to tell your family, your friends, and all your neighbors that you got bad food and bad service at that restaurant.  If your family and your friends have never been to that restaurant, and if they value your opinion, they won’t eat there.
In a truly free marketplace, any restaurant owner can put any food he wants on his menu and in his kitchen, but if he wants to stay in business, he will only put items on the menu that his customers want to eat.  In addition, he will only order his food supplies from vendors who can deliver the food fresh and on time.  He will also make sure that his kitchen is clean, so that he can cook and serve this food to his paying customers in a way that they will like, so that they keep them coming back to his restaurant time and time again.  No government regulator will ever be necessary.

Choosing to buy faded blue jeans

There's an upside to establishing a truly free marketplace.  A very big upside.  Half a century ago, every new pair of denim pants was sold in only one color - dark blue.  One woman's husband preferred the way his jeans looked after the blue dye had faded a little, so she walked into a store that sold them one day and asked for some that were pre-faded.  The clerk said that the store didn't have any.  That could have been the end of the story, but the clerk told her supervisor what the customer had asked for.  The supervisor told the store manager, who contacted the clothing manufacturer, who made some pre-faded blue jeans in the 1960s, and the rest is history.
So let me choose whether to buy health insurance.  If I need it, and I’m responsible enough to know that I need it, I’ll buy as much of it as I can afford.  If not, I’ll go without.  People who are very healthy and don’t have any dependents may not need it.  Let me also decide whether to buy incandescent light bulbs, broccoli, restaurant food (with or without salt), a restaurant dessert, and even large quantities of sugary soft drinks.  Let me choose whether I want to visit a casino today.  Let me choose whether I want to buy anything.
It’s my right.  God bless America.

My new blog

Hello to all my readers.  This is a new blog, my fourth.

I have been disappointed with the low readership among people who have mobile phones and other hand-held devices.  When I published an essay on my "technical statistics" in October, and when I updated it last week, I saw that a very small percentage of my readers had operating systems and browsers that were made for mobile devices.

I have decided to publish this blog for them.

The content that you will find on this blog will be essays that are copied from my first two blogs, "Conserving the Nation" and "I have to say this", but there will be two major changes.

Whenever the old essay had a photo or a video, the new essay (on this blog) will have a link to the photo or the video instead.  I hope that this change will make it possible for mobile users to read my essays.

The second change is that the links on this blog will not create a new window on your screen.  When you click on a link, you will have to "go back" to the previous screen to see the essay again.

The content will not change otherwise.

I do not expect to write original essays for this blog.  I simply want my other essays to have a larger audience.

However, if I have something to say that is, in American slang, "short and sweet", I may write it here.

I will keep track of the readership statistics for this blog, and I will report them to you. 

Not every old essay will be reprinted.  The essays you will find here will be those that have the most readership. 


For those of you who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas!

For those of you who celebrate Chanukah, Happy Chanukah!

For those of you who celebrate other holidays at this time of the year, I give you my very best wishes.