Tag Archives: central planning

The Congress-Copenhagen Connection

minute-man-2-lithoIn several ways, the future of America will be decided in the next thirty days.  Four events are scheduled that will have a profound effect on the level of freedom and liberty enjoyed by the American people, passage of the 2009 budget; the initial negotiating session in Bonn, Germany on the U.N. “Climate Change” plan;  Domestic legislation on global warming by Congress; and legislation on national health care.  All four have the potential to greatly expand the reach of the federal government, further erode state sovereignty, adversely affect the national economy, and diminish the level of liberty and freedom for citizens.

The Copenhagen Accords

The U.N. plan also threatens the erosion of our national sovereignty.  The first negotiating session for the “Copenhagen Accords” began Sunday, March 29, in Bonn under the auspices of the United Nations.  Goals for the accords are set forth in a sixteen page informational document to be distributed to participants. They are expected to be signed by December 2009. Unlike the Kyoto Accords, indications are that the Copenhagen Accords will have the support of both Congress and the White House.

An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily Saturday, begins with a reference to Czech President Vaclav Klaus who once called global warming “a new religion, a Trojan horse for imposing a global tyranny worse than communism.”

“Details about the Copenhagen Conference prove how right he was”, comments the IBD editor.

The centerpiece of the new accords will be an international “Cap and Trade” scheme that, if implemented, will result in a massive transfer of wealth from advanced industrial nations, particularly the United States, to underdeveloped and developing nations like those in Africa, South and Central America, China and India.  In addition to wealth transfer, the UN’s “informational notes” predicts a major relocation of businesses as companies flee from highly regulated countries to those with fewer regulatory policies.

The two domestic industries hardest hit by the new regulations will be energy and transportation.  Both rely heavily on the use of fossil fuels and they cannot be outsourced.  The costs associated with “cap and trade” and carbon taxes will be passed on to consumers through higher prices.  When added to the inflation caused by the Treasury Department’s printing of trillions of dollars to pay for the Obama economic plan the result is sure to be a lowering of the standard of living for everyone.

There is, however, a ray of hope so far as the UN plan is concerned, assuming that we still have a Constitution in place next year when a treaty is likely to be presented to the Senate for ratification.  Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution requires a two-third majority in order to ratify a treaty. The constitutional requirement for a two-thirds vote in the Senate cannot be set aside with the Reid-Pelosi “reconciliation” plan they intend to use to bypass any attempt to filibuster bills dealing with domestic climate change, energy conservation and healthcare.

A more immediate threat comes from a domestic cap and trade scheme legislated by Congress.  The domestic plan would have all the negative aspects of the UN plan and will probably have popular support among the uninformed voters that make up the major segment of the voting public.  What makes new cap and trade regulations more likely is the fact that many Republican Congressmen and Senators have bought into the pseudo-science of “global warming”.  There is little chance that such a bill could be successfully filibustered, even if the opportunity was given.

There seems to be little we can do other than protest to stop the anticipated legislation on both climate change and healthcare.  Aside from the outrageous spending spree already underway by the federal government, climate change and health care legislation pose the biggest threats we will be facing in the near future.

Eventually we will make the transition from fossil fuel to an alternative—when the time is right. When that happens it will be because of entrepreneurial innovation and consumer demand not because of central planning by the government.  That is always the way progress comes about.  We did not make the transition from the horse and buggy to the automobile because of government initiative, but because of American ingenuity and the free market.  Government interference in the free market always causes dislocation in the economy and results in unforeseen and unnecessary problems for the consumer.  Government can, to a certain extent, affect production through regulations, but it cannot dictate consumption except by trampling on the liberties of its citizens.

Both Climate change legislation and health care legislation are doomed to failure in the long run  because they violate two basic principles of the human condition.

The Problem with Central Planning

Two terms familiar to every business school student are “span of control” and “economy of scale”.  Span of control has to do with the principle that the human mind is limited in its capacity for gathering, absorbing and using information efficiently.  Economy of scale has to do with the consolidation of operations in order to improve efficiency.  The merger craze of a few decades ago brought out the shortcoming of both these theories.

Large companies bought up smaller companies in order to take advantage of the economy of scale only to find that they had stretched the span of control to a point that could no longer be managed effectively. Companies go from acquisition to centralization, to decentralization, to “spin offs” in an effort to find the optimum balance between the span of control and the economy of scale.  Few ever find it, and private businesses have an advantage over government in that they are merit based and motivated by profit.  Governments are politics based and motivated by the desire for power.

Centrally planned economies have never worked, and cannot work, because they always violate the principle underlying “span of control”.  The founders understood this principle well when they drafted the Constitution.  That is one of the reasons why they limited the power and size of the central government and reserved policy decisions affecting the daily lives of citizens to states and local communities.

Health Care

America has the best and most innovative health care system in the world.  It’s artificially high cost is primarily the result of a manufactured demand caused by our third-party payment system created by employer paid health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Until we deal honestly with that problem, we cannot solve the problem of unaffordable health care.

The only way to solve the problem of healthcare costs is to allow the market to function.  Add the amount being paid by companies for employee health insurance to employees’ paychecks, return taxes paid for Medicaid and Medicare to the taxpayer and let the taxpayer pay for their own catastrophic health insurance and routine healthcare, “out of pocket”.

When our automobile breaks down we think nothing of paying five hundred or a thousand dollars to get it fixed.  Certainly, our body is more important than our car.  Yet, we have created an expectation that when our body breaks down or develops a temporary “problem” the expense of getting it fixed should be born by someone else.

The expense for indigent health care can and should be born by states, local communities and families, as it once was.  No one should go without needed health care, and they do not today.  The problem is that as the system is now working the cost of  indigent care is born by hospitals and emergency rooms and passed on to other patients through elevated cost for hospital services or to the taxpayer through hospital reimbursements.

The problems caused by government planned and administered healthcare schemes in Canada, England, France, and elsewhere are well documented and widely known.  In spite of this, our politicians are determined to force nationalized health care on everyone, in one form or another.  The inevitable result will be lower standards of care for patients and unsustainable cost to the taxpayers.  Eventually, health care and our arrogant attempts to control climate, unless checked, will result in the demise of capitalism.  If one doesn’t get us, the other one will.

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Totalitarianism 101

minute-man-2-lithoThe patterns of totalitarianism are taking shape in the American government virtually unacknowledged.  Few Americans can fathom the possibility of elected officials deliberately carrying out policies detrimental to the country’s welfare.  In the minds of Washington socialist dominating our government, the policies they are advocating are really best for the country.  To them, American is a flawed government that must be remade for its own survival.  Totalitarian policies are intended for the good of the people, to protect them from themselves.

A look at the despotic governments of the twentieth century reveals at least four characteristics of totalitarian governments.  Three of these characteristics are evident in recent developments we read about on the front pages of our daily papers or hear about in prime time newscasts every day.  The fourth is a necessity that must be implemented in order for the first three to take root and flourish.

1. Centralized Power

One of the fundamental themes of our Constitution is protection from tyranny and the preservation of liberty.   The original plan consisted of thirteen independent and sovereign states united in a federal government believed to be necessary for the collective security and harmony of the several states.  One of the greatest fears of the founders and their critics was that any federal arrangement might develop into a consolidated government that would usurp the sovereignty of the states and trample on the liberty of the people.

To guard against this possibility the Framers listed in the Constitution the specific powers granted to the federal government (Article I, Section 8) and then emphasized the sovereignty of the individual states by adding the Tenth Amendment.  Over the years the Federal government has chipped away at this feature of the Constitution through targeted tax incentives and economic and social regulations designed to transfer power from the states and the people to an elite ruling class in Washington.

For over forty-five years—two generations—the Federal government has managed our education system.  The end result is that most Americans have lost sight of the federal, republican character of our government and think of it a monolithic central government designed to direct the affairs of all the states and their citizens.  The economic downturn that started at the end of 2007 and continues today provided an opening for the government to centralize economic planning and direction in Washington and they are taking full advantage of the opportunity.

The central planning and control of economic activity is a central part of all totalitarian governments. Through the trillions of dollars being pumped into the economy by “stimulus packages” implemented by both the Bush and Obama administrations we have been placed firmly on the path to the tyranny of centralized planning.

2. One Party Rule

All totalitarian governments have one political party that acts as a “rubber stamp” for the head of the party who functions, to a degree, as a dictator, much like the City Council and Mayor of Chicago, Illinois.  In America we have two major parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.  Regardless of the label, all political parties in America fall within a continuum from Constitution Fundamentalism on the right to Marxist Socialism on the left.  The Democratic Party, with the election of Barack Obama, is on the threshold of becoming a true Marxist Party to the left of European Socialism.

The Republican Party is slightly to the left of center and would be further left if not for the restraining influence of its conservative base.  Too many Republicans share the aspirations of power with the Democratic Party and believe the way to get and keep that power is by supporting big government and raiding the public treasury on behalf of their supporters.  The touted ideal of “bipartisanship” is nothing more than a tool for moving the Republican Party further to the left until we eventually have one party with two labels.

During his first month in office, Obama has instituted a number of policies designed to entrench the power of the Democratic Party for generations to come.  As we have pointed out numerous times over the past year, Community Organizers are the “foot soldiers” of the socialist movement.  They work diligently at the local level to “plant” the principles of socialism at the grassroots of American Society.  Few have been more active or more successful in this task than the former affiliate of Barack Obama, ACORN.  In the stimulus package just signed into law millions of dollars have been allocated for “community organizing” and organizations similar to ACORN.

Another effective means of strengthening the Democratic Party is by Gerrymandering Congressional Districts and manipulating the counting of citizens.   By Executive Order, Obama intends to take over the 2010 census.  By changing the way in which citizens are counted and “estimating” rather than counting citizens difficult to find, the Democratic Party can substantially increase its representation in the House of Representatives and alter the number of Presidential Electors allocated to the various states.  Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution places the responsibility for conducting the census totally in the hand of the Legislature and not the Executive.

“The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they (Congress) shall by Law direct.” (Article 1, Section2, Clause 4)  The transfer of this duty to the White House by Executive Order is clearly an unconstitutional usurpation of power by the Executive Branch.

3. Dependency

Still another means of concentrating power in the hands of a single party is through the creation of dependency.  The third and most reliable tool of totalitarianism is to cultivate a dependency of the masses on the power of the state.  The three most effective means for creating dependency are in the areas of defense, crises, and economics.  Because of the natural dangers in the world of international relations, the “enemies” ploy is a “gimmie” for the would be dictator.  Every modern dictator has used the threat of real or manufactured enemies as a means of solidifying the support of the people behind the protection of the state.

Sometimes the enemy is real and easily identified, like Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Islamic Terrorism.  Sometimes they are manufactured like “The Great Satan” of Islamic despots or “global warming“.  Always they are used by aspiring tyrants as a means of creating fear and rationalizing an ever expanding role for government.  Unfortunately, we in America are not immune to this tactic.  Whatever the good intentions, and even the necessity of some policies, there is no denying that the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on poverty and the war against climate change has seen a steady erosion of personal liberty and freedom in our own country.

Another means of creating dependency is crisis management.  Natural disasters like hurricane Katrina provide fertile ground for the expansion of government.  Although federal response to Katrina highlighted its shortcomings in dealing with local disasters, it has still been used to increase the dependency of citizens on the national government rather than state and local governments in responding to local crises.  At the same time it is utilized as the rationale for expanding the federal government into areas that should be the primary responsibility of the states and the people, weakening the power of local government and further consolidating the power of Washington bureaucrats.

On the economic front, a large majority of the American people are to some extent dependent on the federal government for part or all of their livelihood.  In addition to those we normally think of as being on the “public dole”, anyone who works in an industry dependent on government contracts, grants, tax incentives, or other government programs ad infinitum, is to some extent, a ward of the federal government.

The best example of this is the health care industry.  In spite of the picayune payments made by agencies like Medicare and Medicaid on behalf of individual patients, the industry as a whole has become dependent on the federal government for its existence; from the phlebotomist to the hospital administrator they all rely on government for a substantial part of their paychecks.

Almost any problem can be turned by the government into an opportunity to increase dependency and expand the scope of government.  As Rom Emmanuel says “never let a crisis go to waste”.  In the hands of government anything can be and often is turned into a crisis.  The mild recession we entered in 2007 has been turned into an economic crisis by the Democratic Party and used to justify the largest expansion of government in our nation’s history.

4. Control of the Means of Communication

With proper information, people will always make decisions based on what is best for their own welfare.  Information is power, and for that reason totalitarian governments always fear the free flow of information.  An argument could be made that America today would not be on the verge of converting to socialism, if not for the national media functioning as propagandists for the socialist movement over the past decade.

The Democratic Party controls the flow of information through the mass media with only a few exceptions.  Those exceptions are talk radio, a segment of the internet, and FNC.  No one would voluntarily choose tyranny over liberty if they were aware of the choice they were making.  Eight years of misinformation, slanted reporting, half-truths and propaganda against the Bush administration by the MSM created the circumstances that led to the election of Obama as President.

Now that we are at the point of transition between capitalism and socialism, control of information is even more critical to the new President and his supporters.  In order for the transformation of our society planned by Obama to go somewhat smoothly, the tens of millions of listeners to talk radio must be neutralized.  For Obama and the Democratic Party that is not just something that would make their lives easier, it is an absolute necessity.  Democratic leaders like Schumer, Durbin, Pelosi, Reid and others are already sending out “feelers” as they cast about for a plan that can be sold or forced on the public.

Make no mistake about it.  An attempt will be made by the federal government to silence talk radio.  It’s only a matter of finding the correct vehicle for its implementation.  When that happens it will be the fourth and final step on our road to totalitarianism.