The Economist's Cookbook

Recipes For A More Free Society

  • "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."

    - F.A. Hayek

So I'm sitting in my house last night, packing to come back to school, folding clothes, all that kind of good stuff and my dad walks in. The dialogue is paraphrased:

Dad: "So I think I know why the liberals want nationalized health care."
Jon: "Really? Aside from the fact that it allows them to regulate who gets what kind of care?"
Dad: "Beyond that, think bigger."
Jon: "Ummm, right, just tell me."
Dad: "If Health care is a 'right' as some people want to claim that it is and government must then provide it on a national scale, what is the implicit assumption?"
Jon: "They have to be able to ... oh ... "
Dad: "Exactly, if they are the provider of that good then they have to be able to control costs in some way. Now what does that mean for health care?"
Jon: "It means that they can ban anything that they deem 'unhealthy' whatever that may be."
Dad: "Yes but more than that, it means that they can outlaw things they determine to be too risky or unhealthy, they can tell you where to live, what to eat, how to live..."
Jon: "...where you can go and where you can't..."
Dad: "Exactly, it opens the door for huge strides in government control over the lives of the people in this country."
Jon: "You mean sheeple."
Dad: "Yeah, that term actually fits quite nicely right there."
... I love my dad, he's turning into a good Libertarian...
Yes, please, call me an alarmist. (keep in mind that the Democrats called the Republicans who opposed the implementation of the 16th amendment to the constitution, "alarmists and fear- mongers") For those of you that don't know what the 16th Amendment is....
The Sixteenth Amendment to the US Constitution

Yep income taxes, which were promised to be 1% and be for the war effort, and BE SHORT TERM. Now, we (the average American) is working 3 months out of the year just to pay their FEDERAL income taxes. So you can call me an alarmist all you want, but there is precedent here for this kind of Leviathan-like government expansion.

So yes, vote for Nationalized Health care. It'll probably turn out like the Public school system in America. That is to say that it will be a mess of positively biblical proportions.

Now before some person gets on here and starts the typical "What about the kid who has cancer and their parents can't afford the treatment..." line of argument, let me forestall that by saying that I am not talking in anyway about what a person deserves, as that has an icky moral connotation that I dislike. Fine, we can treat all of the children in America for cancer, if you want to give up your rights to: live where you want, go where you want, eat what you want, drink what you want, etc.

On an ending note, what happens when the government decides that certain modes of thought are "unhealthy"? We won't be allowed to think what we want anymore.

The roads to Hell and Tyranny are paved with "good intentions".


Global Warming and Public Policy

Posted by The_Chef On 11:58 PM 0 comments

How many of you have seen the South Park Episode on Global warming? If not you should. That aside there is an interesting tid-bit in that episode where the populace of the town panic and stampede because " warming is coming..." So ... what does this have to do with Econ?

Let's examine some of the policy that is coming our way:
Laws to restrict the kind of transportation we can use/own based on fuel efficiency.
Laws providing tax breaks for people owning Hybrid cars.
Laws mandating that Hybrids become the major product for car manufacturers.

Well who is purporting these policies? Aside from the Environmental special interest groups, many scientists also think that people and our production of "greenhouse gasses" are the cause of the global warming trend. But wait, to quote Shakespeare: "OH SPITE, OH HELL!" Consesnsus in the scientific community on global warming, something so many people think to be scientific canon, apparently is not.

Russian Astronomer Disagrees with the Mainstream
So a Russian Astronomer has broken ranks and is stating that the Sun (you know, that big ball of FUSION that we see come up every day) is the true reason behind the warming trend. Well this is interesting. Now please understand that I am not saying whether this Russian, Habibullo Abdussamatov by name, is right or not. He simply states that if mankind has had an influence on the global temperature, it pales in comparison to the effect that the sun has on our climate.

So what does all this mean to the fields of Economics and Policy Analysis?

Well, here's my take on this whole mess:
Given that there is uncertainty in the scientific community, alot more than you would believe, over this whole issue as to who or what is responsible for this warming trend that we see, how on earth can we dictate effective policy to try and "deal" with this issue? Now I don't mean to turn this into a philosophical "We can't ever know anything so why do anything?" kind of argument. All I think is that there are scientific "studies" on both sides that are slanted to show "evidence" that either side A or side B are correct. We should ultimately reserve judgement until we know what is truly going on.

Now if I may rant a bit. Activists want government to restrict my rights to own a brawny V8 in the future because, God forbid, it will create greenhouse gasses. As one of my car tuner friends said, "Yeah right, they'll have to catch me first to take my car from me. They may get me in the end but I'll give them one helluva chase."

"The government which governs least, governs best."

In the beginning...

Posted by The_Chef On 8:08 PM 0 comments

Well we're not exactly God and this isn't exactly the heavens and earth, but this is the first post here. I'm actually not sure how many people will wander in here, but it should make for an interesting experiment.

I think we will start off the blog with a pull for the book that both Brian and I are currently reading for the Center for the Study of Political Economy reading group. Terrorism and Tyranny by James Bovard is a great, if scathing, review of the abuses that our liberties have suffered under the guise of fighting a "war on terror". Bovard clearly sets his sights on the Bush administration and the PATRIOT act, but no one is safe from his barrage on the failures, screw-ups, and ass-covering that has been done by the US Government. Bovard is especially critical of the jingoistic response of the government and the public passivity in the whole matter.

Bovard does not pull punches and the hits keep on coming throughout the book. It really is a fascinating look at how government incompetence and failure is rewarded with expanded power and control of our lives. This work is extremely well cited and makes for an infuriating read.

It's worth your time to pick it up for a read:
a la : James Bovard - Terrorism and Tyranny