Monday, April 30, 2007

Making Statism Unpopular

Give a click to this radio ad and let Big Rattler know what you think about making statism unpopular ...

Excellent Explanations

I caught this from the Ludwig Von Mises Institutes' web site.  The article is logically outstanding demonstrating the the national Republicans and the Bush Administration -- contrary to popular PR and media spin -- actually has not cut taxes and in fact has raised taxes.  (Read, that's one major reason why they lost big in 2006)
What!  How can that be!?!
Here are some excerpts that should tempt you to read the full article:
(Link to full article )

First, in order to consider how Bush's policies have affected tax burdens, I need to define the term "taxes." Taxes are a revenue source for the state and the state is the entity that has a monopoly, or at least claims the right to a monopoly, over the use of coercion within its political borders. Therefore, Hans Hoppe's explanation of taxation as "a coercive, non-contractual transfer of definite physical assets" ( Economics and Ethics of Private Property, p. 28) provides us with a sound definition of taxation. Taxes are the takings of private property in order to fund the state. They are a form of aggression against private property.

 ... and ...

In addition to what we normally think of as taxes, the state also has the option of borrowing money by selling government securities in order to finance its spending. This is a significant form of finance as the federal debt, including intragovernmental debt, increased $574 billion in fiscal year 2006. Budget deficits are generally not considered to be a form of taxation and it's oftentimes useful to distinguish between revenues generated by taxing the sale of a good or service and revenues generated by selling securities. However, government debt is a coercive transfer of property from private hands to government coffers.

... therefore ...

Those who lend the government money are purchasing a promise to take someone's property in the future in order to repay the loan. If the securities that are issued are to be repaid, then the state is simply shifting tax burdens away from current taxpayers on to future taxpayers.

I know you easily see the logic and intrinsically know this to be true.  But it sure is good to have it said and written down in such a manner that arguing against these facts if futile.

Keep Rattling....

Monday, April 23, 2007

Your Gov't at Work -- Statism

How does business get done at your local State Capitol?
Certainly, nothing like this could happen in the hallowed halls of Congress!?!
The story below is about a trial of a state Tennessee senator, one of many caught up in an FBI corruption sting operation called Tennesee Waltz.
It's some sad reading:
By Trevor Aaronson, Memphis, TN

April 23, 2007

Calling FBI agent Mark Jackson to the witness stand this morning, Asst. U.S. Atty. Tim DiScenza used the lawman as a summary witness to present a timeline that summed up the government's case against former state Sen. John Ford:

  • April 19, 2004 — FBI undercover agent L.C. McNeil introduces himself to state Sen. John Ford at a dinner in Nashville arranged by state Rep. Kathryn Bowers.

  • July 17, 2004 — In Miami, Ford asks McNeil for $3,000 to $5,000 per month to draft and pass state legislation that would benefit E-Cycle. Ford expresses interest in E-Cycle's initial public offering.

  • July 28, 2004 — "I'm ready when you get back to get that done," Ford tells McNeil in a phone conversation, referring to the E-Cycle legislation.

  • Aug. 18, 2004 — Ford tells McNeil he wants to be paid $10,000 upfront and $5,000 each month. Ford then explains which committee the bill will go to and reaffirms that he will sponsor the legislation.

  • Aug. 19, 2004 — McNeil pays first cash payment made to Ford: $10,000. Ford takes an E-Cycle brochure and company paperwork, drafted by the FBI, describing the legislation E-Cycle wants.

  • Aug. 23, 2004 — Ford calls McNeil and tells him he met with the General Assembly's legal department to talk about the E-Cycle legislation.

  • Aug. 26, 2004 — In a telephone conversation, Ford tells McNeil the rough draft of the legislation will be available next week so E-Cycle can review it.

  • Sept. 7, 2004 — Ford asks McNeil for his fax number to send the draft legislation.

  • Sept. 17, 2004 — McNeil pays Ford $5,000. Ford reads the draft legislation to McNeil and agrees with the undercover agent that the bill should be amended so public schools will not receive surplus computers.

  • Sept. 28, 2004 — Ford and McNeil discuss the proposed legislation in a phone call. Ford says he'll fax a new draft of the bill to McNeil.

  • Oct. 6, 2004 — A summary of the legislation is faxed to E-Cycle's office.

  • Oct. 15, 2004 — McNeil pays Ford $5,000. Ford discusses making the legislation more exclusive for E-Cycle.

  • Nov. 9, 2004 — Ford says the E-Cycle bill will be filed in January with "a bunch of bills" so it won't draw attention, he tells McNeil in a phone conversation.

  • Nov. 11, 2004 — In a phone conversation, Ford asks McNeil to send him more money.

  • Nov. 17, 2004 — Ford tell McNeil in a phone conversation he will not pre-file the bill since it would allow the news media and others to look at the proposed legislation.

  • Nov. 19, 2004 — Ford gives McNeil the final draft of the legislation. McNeil pays Ford $5,000 at E-Cycle's Memphis office.

  • Dec. 16, 2004 — Ford reassures McNeil the legislation will pass.

  • Dec. 17, 2004 — McNeil pays Ford $5,000 at a Miami hotel.

  • Jan. 6, 2005 — Ford tells McNeil in a phone conversation he will file "our bill this week, this next week."

  • Jan. 12, 2005 — Ford pre-files Senate Bill 28. In a phone conversation, he tells McNeil the bill was filed.

  • Jan. 13, 2005 — Ford tells McNeil in a phone conversation he will put a clause in the bill that will give E-Cycle more exclusivity. "We filed it, and we just pulled the other bill," Ford says of the revised legislation.

  • Jan. 18, 2005 — The state Department of General Services recommends against passage of E-Cycle's bill.

  • Jan. 19, 2005 — Ford pre-files Senate Bill 94 with the definition of computer equipment identical to the list of equipment in E-Cycle's brochure.

  • Jan. 31, 2005 — McNeil pays Ford $5,000 in E-Cycle's Nashville office.

  • Feb. 1, 2005 — McNeil pays Ford $5,000 in his Senate office in Nashville.

  • Feb. 3, 2005 — Ford expresses to Willis concerns McNeil might be working with law enforcement and E-Cycle might be an FBI shell company. A fiscal note is filed in the General Assembly, indicating the E-Cycle bill would increase state expenditure.

  • Sometime after Feb. 3, 2005 — Ford aggressively questions General Services Commissioner Gwendolyn Sims Davis about the fiscal note and tells her she does not know "what the hell" she is doing.

  • Feb. 14, 2005 — Ford tells McNeil he'll get a new fiscal note.

  • Feb. 17, 2005 — Ford tells McNeil he talked to Senate staff about changing the fiscal note.

  • March 9, 2005 — Ford tells James White, executive director of the Fiscal Review Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly, to change the fiscal note.

  • March 10, 2005 — Ford threatens McNeil, who pays Ford $5,000 in E-Cycle's Memphis office.

  • March 15, 2005 — Ford presents Senate Bill 94 to the Senate State and Local Government Committee, then chaired by state Sen. Steve Cohen. It passes 9-0. Ford learns McNeil is coming to Nashville. In a phone conversation, Ford asks FBI informant Tim Willis why McNeil is traveling to the capital. "Hell, we passed the bill. What's his concerns?" Ford asks Willis.

  • March 16, 2005 — At McNeil's request, Ford agrees to delay the bill.

  • March 17, 2005 — McNeil pays Ford $5,000 at the Sheraton Hotel in Nashville.

  • March 23, 2005 — Rosemary Bates, Ford's research analyst, e-mails Senate Chief Clerk Russell Humphrey asking him to keep E-Cycle's bill off the legislative calendar.

  • April 8, 2005 — Ford threatens to kill FBI undercover agents McNeil and Joe Carson. Ford agrees to delay legislation. McNeil pays Ford $5,000 outside The Peabody.

  • May 26, 2005 — FBI agents arrest Ford in Nashville.

You should really send this to all your friends.  It clearly illustrates how business uses government favors to protect them (read, profits) from competition.  This is an example of "Statist Businessmen." 
Big Rattler

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Now that you've paid your taxes ...

Happy Tax Day

You've paid your taxes, now what's in it for you? What do you get from the government (besides staying on the good side of the Internal Revenue Service)?

Via Heritage's Brian Riedl , here's how your tax bill breaks down:

The federal government collects $21,992 in taxes per household and spends $24,106, leaving a per-household deficit of $2,114. (You might think of that last figure as taxes you haven't paid yet but someday will-or at least somebody will, maybe your kids.)

Per household, the government spends:

*       $8,301 for Social Security and Medicare,
*       $4,951 for defense,
*       $3,550 for antipoverty programs,
*       $2,071 for interest on the federal debt,
*       $907 for federal employee retirement benefits,
*       $664 for health research and regulation, including the Food and Drug Administration,
*       $627 for veterans' benefits,
*       $584 for education,
*       $418 for highways and mass transit,
*       $392 for administration of justice,
*       $305 for natural resources and environmental protection,
*       $304 for foreign aid, contributions to international organizations like the United Nations, and for maintaining U.S. embassies abroad,
*       $299 for unemployment benefits,
*       $282 for community and regional development, which includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency,
*       and $451 for all other federal programs, including farm subsidies, social services, space exploration, air transportation and energy.

Posted on 04/17/07 10:56 AM by Alex Adrianson | Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Dubbed "The Stubborn Nail"

Here is photo of government at work.  In this case China.  A residence stands alone in the middle of a project.
This photo and its location (China) make the full story a bit perplexing especially as it relates to China's "evolving" property rights as if there are any in said country.  May some property rights are indeed on the horizon, given this successful defiance, which would be a huge liberty boost within China.  The reporter does little to clear the confusion, but the visual is what led me to forward this on to you.
I've included the photo and caption, with excerpts from the story (below) and the link, in case your interest is peaked.

(CAPTION) Chinese workmen demolished a house, seen here March 2007, that attained almost iconic status because of its owners' refusal to move for a huge property project. However, Wu Ping and her husband's three-year battle may have paid off with a court in Chongqing announcing they would be given a new home nearby valued at about three million yuan (390,000 dollars).(AFP/File/Mark Ralston)
CHONGQING, China (AFP) - Workmen in China demolished a house that attained almost iconic status because of its owners' refusal to move for a huge property project, but their three-year battle may have paid off. [...]
Their plight -- thrown into the spotlight partly thanks to dramatic photos of the house sitting in the middle of a massive pit excavated around it -- became a symbol of the little man's defiance of China's moneyed interests.

However the couple appeared to have been rewarded handsomely for holding out, with a court in Chongqing announcing Tuesday they would be given a new home nearby valued at about three million yuan (390,000 dollars).

In addition, they were awarded 900,000 yuan in damages because the developer had cut off water and electricity, and blocked traffic to their home during the three-year stand-off. [...]

Wu had incessantly accused the local government of collusion with the developer, while refusing to bow to the strong-arm tactics aimed at getting rid of her home.

Earlier this year, she filed a lawsuit maintaining that she could not be forced to give up her home.

The Stubborn Nail's case hit such a nerve in China because similar disputes are plaguing the country.

While Wu was able to stand up to the powerful and wage a high-profile publicity campaign rarely seen in China, people in countless other cases have lost their property without adequate compensation.

According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Public Security, there were 87,000 protests in 2005, many of them to do with land grabs. Such protests are often crushed by security forces. [...]

The national parliament passed a landmark law last month that solidified private property rights, partly to combat such disputes.

While Wu waged her publicity campaign, her husband had staged a vigil in the home over the past week, at times waving a national flag.

During his vigil, Yang Wu also hung a banner out of the house that read: "The legal private property of citizens cannot be violated," echoing wording in the country's new property law.