On Public Transportation vs Free Markets

I encountered a “muh roads” argument in the comments section of an article about funding of a local transportation system that’s crumbling under its own inefficiency, with the usual advocates and cronies demanding more taxpayer bailouts and subsidy.

My thoughts on it all:

Folks both Democrat and Republican have been indoctrinated that government is the only way. That’s what happens when government mandated union workers teach k-12 at government run schools with government mandated curriculum.  Hence, collectivization appears to them as the only solution, much like to a cult member, certain concepts seem self evident, no matter how dubious.  Hence, most citizens clamor for price fixing of labor, cronyism in contractors, and laws that prohibited competitive price discovery… on top of socialist redistributionism to help riders cover the cost, especially those who are deemed “in poverty”.   Hence, articles like the one linked above.

In truth, Transportation is no different than any other service or good = not exempt from basic laws of economic gravity.   The only reason government is the only player in these niches is due to a century ++ of government intervention that has both crowded out and prevented / stunted competition from and within the private sector.  In this case, from assisting crony cartel attempts on a local level to the PA Utility Commission (PUC) intervening in mandated price fixing (often to lock out new, lower cost competition), the market was increasingly cronyized and eventually socialized to the point where private interests were glad to sell out to Pittsburgh’s county government  in 1964, with stragglers throwing in towel vs. competing with taxpayers.  Today PAT (Pittsburgh Area Transit) is bloated with operation costs that far exceed the natural market price to provide these same services, as a means to enrich politically-connected labor organizations, crony public transport contractors and the politicians who trade in those favors.   The PUC heavily regulates any attempt to compete with the bloated PAT, making competition impossible against heavy tax-subsidized rides. It personifies your “utterly dysfunctional”.

For perspective, look at what PA and Pittsburgh / Allegeny County Government and the PUC-created cab cartels did to transportation: Pittsburgh was famous for overpriced, pathetic cab service, indifferent to customer demand.  At high demand times, cabs were chronically unavailable. Dispatchers would promise cabs that would arrive late (we’re talking more than an hour) or not at all, which made for interesting trips to catch flights at the airport, etc.  But for Uber and Lyft’s willingness to bypass Pittsburgh’s local cartel’s protectionist rules and go directly to the consumers who embraced them immediately and overwhelmingly, the citizens of the region would still be suffering under PUC mandated BS as they currently suffer with PAT.

One of the commenters chastised a call for ending government cronyism in the comment section as Ayn Rand “every man for himself” evil, a quip that betrayed a horrible misunderstanding of Ayn Rand’s philosophy and Free Markets in general, what to say of a lack of historical perspective.  But this is commonplace. Most have only been exposed to Rand and Free Markets via second or third hand sources, usually  progressive and neo-marxist critiques. Or in the case of free market economics, much through texts authored by modern economists, analysts or pundits out to justify collectivist central planning of money, interest rates and economic cycles.  Hardly unbiased sources for presenting the material credibly.

The Inherent Authoritarianism of Progressives

Progressives like to act all virtuous by citing their objectives, but when you scratch the surface of how they try to implement their preferred solutions, it’s downright ugly stuff.

Progressives like to say government is just a word for things we all do together, but that misses a crucial point. Left to their own devices, a lot of people would choose not to do certain things at all—or would choose to do them less, or differently, or with somebody else. Government actually is the way some people get other people to do things without their consent and even in the face of their strenuous objection. If the non-consenting people object too obstinately, the government will bring physical violence to bear. Government is not in the habit of taking no for an answer.

You can read the rest from the article at Reason Magazine here.

On Hong Kong and Protestors – What Should the U.S. Do?

The U.S. could simply issue a statement:

“The U.S. believes a nations’ primary, if not sole responsibility, is protecting the individual liberty of its citizens. We do not condone actions by governments that violate their citizens’ liberty, nor do we support populist democracy movements whose goal is to seize power only to swap the government with a different set of violations of individual liberty.

We hope those involved in the current problems in Hong Kong consider their ultimate goals in terms of human rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We denounce any and all efforts by any party that are contrary to that sentiment.”

It would be a lie, though, because most all in the U.S. Government don’t believe this in any way whatsoever.

Progressive sounbites only work as soundbites

I’m no republican, but found a post out on politico to to be the usual lame, twisted caricature of anyone against progressive authoritarianism.

The post was a bunch of soundbites directed at the GOP — but applicable to us all, so let’s address. each   Unfortunately, smugness can be one liners, but explanations require detail, so excuse the length.

Let the caricatures begin.


The (GOP folks, but you can insert anyone who disagrees with progressives policy here) all…:

“Admire the American farmer but are willing to help him go broke.

Actually, plenty of R’s are big into subsidies for their own states, so this ain’t so accurate. But on farm subsidies, let’s get this straight. U.S. policy on farms is an economic catastrophe, paying people to overproduce some crops, fighting tobacco at one level, while granting subsidies to farm it at others (recall, Dear Leader Al Gore is a gentlemen farmer who benefits); forcing consumers to overpay for some crops, exporting overproduction of others, even giving it away into the 3rd-world, which undermines developing economy markets for agriculture; then we get stupid things like the “ethanol mandate” that is actually worse for the environment and caused economic problems due to the subsidy chasing going on, etc. Then there is the Mosanto protection racket BS that’s all part of the same mechanism.

So, go ahead with the smug one liner and mock others who find this all distasteful as “being against the lil ol’ farmer”. I call BS.

Stand four-square for the American home but not for housing.

Because the housing bubble had nothing to do with massive intervention in the housing market at both the Congressional level or at the monetary policy level from the Fed and our twisted banking cartel system Nor did mandating that people who cannot afford homes should still be qualified for mortgages they don’t have the incomes for is a good thing. Nor did enabling an incompetent bureaucracy filled with political appointees hired expressly to make sure everyone got a mortgage, providing a defacto guarantee on all mortgages (Freddie and Fannie) have anything to do with it.

Yes – being against such short term, feel good lunacy (that buys votes, no doubt) is against “the people”. Dream on.

Are strong for labor but stronger for restricting labor’s rights.

Last I checked, the politically connected are for this.

Certainly big business does not like labor fluidity because they want to have workers stuck who can’t find jobs. Hence, big business is always at the forefront of writing regulation “to protect the people” which always, the shock of all shocks, coincidentally adds tremendous hurdles to entrepreneurial activity that would undermine market positions of the politically connected, which would equal their best employees jumping ship for the opportunity to excel / get paid more / enjoy the profits of creating something more consumer effective at a new job.

But are unions here to save us? Heck NO! They want to carve out their own monopoly on labor at the expense of the consumer who must pay more for the same or (as has been the repeated the case in experience) lower quality product. They don’t want labor fluidity — entrepreneurial job seekers moving around undermining their monopolies in certain industries, so they legislate against freedom of choice for labor.

So you try to make it sound that cutting back on Unionized labor’s monopoly to push others around and prevent freedom of choice is a bad thing?

No wonder unions are so isolated, and progressives so out of touch. Unions are not a solution. They doubled down on the problem of corporatism.

PS – if we all became union, there would be no benefit since everyone’s wages would adjust, and costs would universally go up, and the fraud would be exposed completely.

Favor the minimum wage. The smaller the better.

Nope. Wrong again. Anyone with economic sense understands price fixing of anything creates market distortions and affects prices in other areas. A forced above market minimum wage prices unskilled labor out of the market by putting it at a price above its actual economic output. Unfettered wages are a product of supply and demand of skill sets. To pretend that entry level burger flippers are worth more than they are merely encourages employers to seek alternatives — they fast forward investment into job eliminating machinery, off-shoring, etc. Or they pay a more skilled person with higher output. Does not happen overnight, but such is integrated.

Min wages, however, immediately force consumer to pay more / subsidize the extra wage as prices must go up to account for the increase in labor cost inputs. So they have less disposable income afterward / are poorer for it, as are all the folks who used to get that spending now cut off. Moreover, because min wage is tied to union wage scales, union wages go up (a big secret reason for minimum wage support), further increasing consumer subsidies to protected workers, and hurting those who were part of the previous consumption chain now with less $$ thanks to the new law.

Yes, some will benefit. But this is like me taking money from one person to give it to another. That is good for buying votes, but it is poor economic policy in the long run. Robbing Peter to pay Paul has always been folly, but not to the economically illiterate and desperate voter min wage advocates prey upon.

Endorse equal educational opportunities for all but won’t pay for teachers or schools.

How about teachers getting paid for their quality in an open market exchange of education alternatives?

Oh, I get it. You only want UNION-Government monopolized education, run by politicians for the benefit of the politically connected –e.g. The Education Industrial complex (testing, text books, etc.) and unions. So they can charge $550k per 35 kid classroom which is a typical big union / city run school district cost. ($15k per kid is average, but I’ve seen some cities as high as $18,400 like union heavy City of Pittsburgh).

When you actually put consumer choice choosing and defining quality — rather than unions or twisted politicians — as the chief priority, we can discuss funding education, and perhaps the best charitable method for educating those who cannot afford education vs. pure entitlements.

Think our medical care and hospitals are fine – for people who can afford them.

A system ruined by 75 years + of incremental government intervention, a system of legislated oligopolies and corporatism run rough shod over consumer choice and freedom.

A system that further guarantees that no matter how badly you take care of your body you’re supposed to be entitled to whatever care is necessary to bail you out?

yeah… And Obama-care triples down on that lunacy as a solution?

Let the market do its thing with freedom, and let’s carve out the discussion of handling the charitable needs of those who can’t afford it.

Consider electrical power a great blessing as long as private power companies get their rake-off.

LOL. Government created oligopolies (utilities) are indeed a problem. Of big government politicians killing liberty / choice.

Think the American standard of living is a fine thing as long as it does not spread to all the people.

Oh, I see — 80-years of increased redistributionism and expansionary monetary policy are not to blame for the existing economic malaise.

We’ve been raiding the economic seed-corn of wealth creators who improve the standard of living in this nation and redistributing it for political purposes through both govt. meddling and through Bank Cartel / Fed policy (fractional reserve multiplier effect, etc.). And we do so more and more each year. And now that harvests are coming in leaner and leaner, suggesting famine is on the horizon, your solution is to raid more seed corn?

We were warned extensively of this happening by sound economic folks back when this started and exactly what they warned of (more bubbles of increased volatility, wars financed on debt and money priting, etc.) has come to be.

But keep supporting the same looters, and blame those who want to end it as the problem.

Admire the United States government so much that they want to buy it.”


Harry Truman (funny how some things don’t change)

Blah blah blah.

Progressive Operatives Are the Racists in Your Comment Section

The left has officially declared  that if your against Obama and/or progressive methods, you are a racist.  They have set about convincing everyone of this as a means of getting the fence sitters to ignore all criticism.  All very Orwellian —  thought planting kind of stuff.

Hence, there’s plenty of incentive for them to post extreme racism and hate on the comment sections of politician and news sites, and then reference that planted material in order to assassinate the entire message and messenger of the related criticisms.  The old “guilt by association” tactic.

This is, of course, impossible to prove.  But we do know that Saul Alinky’s Rules for Radicals is all about such deceit to achieve the essentially neo-Marxist / Fabian Socialist Utopia progressives wanted to enable.

And we do know progressives are all about calling other people racists…Look at the largely unfounded Tea Party accusations — Every progressive knows that racists attend Tea Party gatherings, although none has actually seen one.     They’re quick to accuse their opponents of being haters of the poor, wanting elderly to starve and arranging things so kids have no healthcare options…. Etc.

It’s all designed to put your opponent on the defense and get them off track.

It is followed by another Alinksy rule: Ridicule.  They’re “Tea Baggers”, Got it?

So why wouldn’t they be doing this?

Who Owns Education?

In Germany, apparently your choice and consent as an adult is irrelevant. Your child belongs to the State when it comes to education:

At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 29, 2013, in what has been called a “brutal and vicious act,” a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, forcibly removing all four of the family’s children (ages 7-14). The sole grounds for removal were that the parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

Those who gravitate to government tend to have very little respect for the concept of consent.  Essentially, those in government are some shade of “authoritarian”.   They believe their personal belief system on specific solutions to specific problems are the best, and they refuse to allow for others to say “no thanks”.  The Wunderlich family is victimized by this authoritarian mentality, while the rest of the German nation indifferently lets their family be broken up by a radicalized state.

It’s a shame that in the United States there is a growing movement of those in the Education Industrial Complex, from unions to textbook printers, who want to apply a similar squeeze on U.S. homeschooling.   A tactic being pressed in California: one must have union-approved teaching credentials to home-school children.   Not surprisingly, the California appeals court — a part of the Government Apparatus noted already above — believes individual consent and basic liberty is subservient to “the law”:

Coup de Egypt

For those of you able to see the live cam, we can see that Democracy for some is tyranny for others. What many younger and Western educated Egyptians wanted was change when it came to Mubarak.  What they didn’t want was an Islamic tyranny.  And so we see a coup knocks out Morsi, and after the Morsi regime backed away from protecting minorities like the Coptic Christians, who have been persecuted heavily since Mubarak was overthrown…  well, let’s hope the fragile bits of liberty remaining in Egypt are able to grow roots and gains some strength.

As for the U.S. meddling that brought Morsi into power, these photos and these other photos all tell a tale of how dysfunctional U.S. foreign policy has grown.  Moreover, it illustrates once again how picking one side makes you the enemy of the other.

Frankly, when it comes to the Middle East, between radical Shiites and Sunnis, may there bad luck for each blow that misses.  Hopefully they destroy each-other, wannabe radicals learn their lesson that “Radical Mohammad” results in lots of dead Muslims, and the moderates can build from what’s left.

de Tocqueville on the chains we elect to wear

“Our contemporaries are constantly wracked by two warring passions: they feel the need to be led and the desire to remain free. Unable to destroy either of these contrary instincts, they seek to satisfy both at once. They imagine a single, omnipotent, tutelary power, but one that is elected by the citizens. They combine centralization with popular sovereignty. This gives them some respite. They console themselves for being treated as wards by imagining that they have chosen their own protectors. Each individual allows himself to be clapped in chains because that the other end of the chain is held not by a man or a class but by the people themselves.

― Alexis de Tocqueville