THE HAMPTON ROADS FREEDOM NEWS

A Publication of the Tidewater Libertarian Party

Edition 12, August 20, 2009


AMERICA'S DECIDE NOTHING CONGRESS
Capitol


When the United States Constitution was corrupted in the 1930’s to change the meaning of the Interstate Commerce Clause to include unlimited federal powers in the economy, it was the US Congress that was made omnipotent.
  Only the Congress has the authority to control interstate commerce under the Constitution.  The powers of Congress waxed for decades after the 30’s steadily protruding into all aspects of American life.

Proving once again that legislatures with a lot more power than necessary end up failing at the important roles only government can perform, our Congress has now withered to a body wholly focused on gamesmanship.  Half of a congressman’s time is spent on trying to maneuver federal spending in his or her district’s favor.  The other half is spent raising campaign money and spending it.

There is simply no time left for the powers the Constitution does directly grant to Congress.

Congress has not exercised its obligation to declare War since World War II even though the country has waged six wars across the world since then.  The sole authorization from Congress concerning the invasion of Iraq explicitly gave the President the war-making power to use or not to use as he saw fit.   The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that launched America into the War in Vietnam did not contemplate a full-scale war.  The President committed the nation to that war largely on his own.

In times of peace, there is no power given to Congress by the Constitution that is more central to the nation’s long-term prosperity and international standing that the power to coin money.  History is replete with republics that destroyed their way of life through the irresponsible use of paper money.

Long ago, Congress gave the authority to determine the nation’s money supply away.  The Federal Reserve, a private company owned by the wealthy across the world, has grown to unimagined powers.  Congress was silent  when the Federal Reserve backed by FDR and later Richard Nixon ended the dollar’s backing with gold reserves.  Just last year the Federal Reserve secretly handed $10 trillion to Wall Street for liens on junk assets.   The Fed still refuses to disclose those payments even to Congress.  Congress has taken no action in reply. 

Congress takes up the President’s budget, not its own, even if a President of a different party occupies the White House.  When difficult matters arise, like reducing entitlement growth or eliminating outmoded military bases or investigating the most devastating attack on the United States ever, Congress’ responsibility is delegated to specially invented commissions.  Congress is openly known to be too partisan  and venal to do its work when it matters the most.   

The present Democratic Congress was pushed around easily by George W. Bush through to the very end of his administration.  Congress’ voice in making broad policy decisions is now a mouse squeak as much as ever.   The new President makes all important legislative initiatives and sets all priorities. 

Like one of the drug addicts it demonizes, Congress spends all of its days fawning for campaign contributions and for pork-barrel rewards.   Any other kind of Congressional work is controversial, a waste of time, irrelevant and not why the members came to Washington.

Why do overly powerful legislatures always descend their nation into chaos?  Because an all-powerful legislature entices the wrong sort of people to seek to conduct the government’s business while deterring potential candidates who have the public benefit mainly in mind.  Indeed, it takes a cheat of sorts to wish to divvy up half of the nation’s treasure largely on a campaign-money basis.  Oppositely, it requires a person of integrity to limit the exercise of political power while in office and to think of others primarily in making decisions for the public.  At times of danger the nation is especially at risk from a fattened, corrupt legislature.

The utter failure that is the present United States Congress will be on display as never before soon when the economy completely collapses under the crash of the last federal bubble.   Washington will surely then focus on recrimination since myth-making will be much more difficult.   With the dollar imploding at home and across the globe, there will be no further stimulus programs possible to fight the Greatest Depression.  The central underpinnings of Washington will be punctured.   Congress will be convulsed with mud fights.  Our national fate in peace or war will lie with the President and the courts and the protest marchers.

So, finally, in the painful light of devastation, without the aid of terms limits or sane congressional district lines, most incumbents will be leaving Congress before January, 2013.  The American electorate will have finally had enough of the Big Lie. 

Hopefully their successors will be of a drastically different character.  Editor

 

HEALTH CARE FOR A FREE PEOPLE

 

HospitalER


The miracle of free markets has brought us the goods and services we need and desire at constantly decreasing cost (in real dollars) in nearly every private sector category EXCEPT health care.  Or at least that is how it appears.

 The perception that health care has become unaffordable has led us to the brink of abandoning capitalism itself, so it would be good to step back and look at the reality of this perception and what can be done about it, from a libertarian perspective.

Is health care really that expensive? That depends on what health care you are talking about, today’s health care, or health care from the “good old days.”      

 
Thirty years ago, the cost of health care was not a hot political issue. But thirty years ago, if your child was diagnosed with Leukemia, your doctor’s advice would have been to start trying to have another child while you were still young enough.  Chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants cost a lot more than a pat on the shoulder and a supply of narcotics to keep your dying child’s screams down to a tolerable level.   Is that really a cost increase or something new and better than what was previously available?

 Similarly, if you don’t die cheaply at 65 of a heart attack, which was pretty much an average fate for men thirty years ago, you face the likelihood of a far more expensive death of cancer or neurological deterioration in your eighties or nineties today. What is the proper price for that extra twenty to thirty years of healthy retirement?

 
The point of which is that health care today, in part, costs more because it is worth more and we should not confuse that with ‘out of control cost increases’ as the advocates of socialized medicine would like us to believe. 

The fact is that health care DELIVERY is actually pretty efficient and competitive. It is worth noting that in segments of health care not covered by insurance, like cosmetic surgery and laser eye surgery, the market works and prices are falling. It is the hidden costs and, especially, the manner in which we pay for it that makes health care so difficult to afford.

from person to person, or from year to year, through our lifetimes. To make that purchase more rational, we use insurance. Health Care insurance really does two things, and should do a third it does not as it now exists.

 First, as with any insurance, it spreads the risk of major expense over a large population. Most of us will never need a heart transplant or spinal surgery, but if we do, we will need it very, very badly, and few of us would have the cash on hand to pay for it.  So, we pay our premium each month (or, more likely, our employer does) and hope we never need to use the insurance.

Second, insurance acts as a bargaining agent, negotiating a price for routine health care we could not get as individuals. Most health care insurance today operates as a Participating Provider Organization, with providers agreeing to a negotiated rate for their services in return for market share. These agreements result in  lower fees than you would otherwise pay, but as providers become more successful, they often cease participating in PPO’s which have deeply discounted fee schedules, so you sacrifice some choice of practitioners. HMO’s have even more restricted reimbursement for providers and thus fewer providers participate

Those hidden costs include, famously, the cost of malpractice litigation, and, more importantly, the practice of ‘defensive medicine’ and increased specialization driven by fear of litigation. 

In a sense, we already have universal health care in this country in that no one goes untreated when they really need it. That treatment often comes in the worst, and most costly, venue, the emergency room, but you can always get treated.  Under State and Federal laws, hospitals cannot refuse treatment for acute illness to a patient who is uninsured or does not have the capacity to pay. They can try to collect after the fact, but they must provide treatment. Someone has to pay for the cost of that unpaid treatment, and that someone is you, either through your insurer or through taxes, if not directly. That cost shifting is by far the largest contributor to the overhead costs of providing your medical care.

Every person, through our lifetimes, needs healthcare at some level. To make that purchase more rational, we use insurance. Health care insurance really does two things, and should do a third it does not meet, as it now exists.

First, as with any insurance, it spreads the risk of major expense over a large population. Most of us will never need a heart transplant or spinal surgery, but if we do, we will need it very, very badly, and few of us would have the cash on hand to pay for it.  So, we pay our premium each month (or, more likely, our employer does) and hope we never need to use the insurance.

Second, insurance acts as a bargaining agent, negotiating a price for routine health care we could not get as individuals. Most health care insurance today operates as a Participating Provider Organization, with providers agreeing to a negotiated rate for their services in return for market share. These agreements result in  lower fees than you would otherwise pay, but as providers become more successful, they often cease participating in PPO’s which have deeply discounted fee schedules, so you sacrifice some choice of practitioners. HMO’s have even more restricted reimbursement for providers and thus fewer providers participate.

The third thing health care insurance could, and should, do, but as currently configured does not, is to level our costs over our lifetimes. Typically, we have higher health care costs as we age, finishing with extremely high costs in our last six months or so of life.

This is where employer purchased health care insurance, which originated during World War II as an exception to wage and price controls, fails as a method for buying health care. Our employers have no certainty we will still work for them in 30 years, so they have no incentive to pay more when we are young to lower our premiums later.

When buying insurance, it makes sense to buy guaranteed renewable, level premium, lifetime individual health insurance, but because of the enormous advantage our tax laws give employer purchased insurance, that kind of health care insurance does not exist. Such insurance does exist in the disability insurance field, which does not have those tax consequences. In these plans, your premium, when you are young, is higher than it needs to be to cover your risk of serious illness at that age, and you accumulate a cash-plus-interest balance which will be drawn down later as you age to cover your increasing risk as you age. Your premium is determined by your age and health at the time you start the policy and continues the same, adjusted only for inflation, as long as you pay the premium.  The availability of such insurance would give us incentives to become insured as young as possible and would protect us from loss of coverage throughout our lives.      

While large businesses and major chain stores can spread their risks over thousands of employees across the country, the   Mom-and-Pop store on the corner with five employees must go it alone. State and federal regulation of insurance prevents small employers from joining together to form groups large enough to negotiate reasonable rates. If like kind small businesses across the
country, with all their thousands of employees, were permitted to band together as a group, their bargaining position would be on a par with WalMart. These State and Federal turf battles on regulation are the reason most employees of small businesses are not offered health insurance.

States also require all health insurance to cover certain diseases and health care needs, whether the purchaser desires that coverage or not. The list of mandatory coverage is as long as it is irrational. Those included are determined by political activism with no regard to economic impact. Requiring all insurance to provide for those risks spreads those risks and makes such care cheaper for those who need it, but only at the expense of those who are not at risk.

 All of these problems with the affordability of health care originate from well intentioned government interference in the marketplace. The solution is to remove these obstacles to the free market. Many are simple to accomplish if we have the political will.

States also require all health insurance to cover certain diseases and health care needs, whether the purchaser desires that coverage or not. The list of mandatory coverage is as long as it is irrational. Those included are determined by political activism with no regard to economic impact. Requiring all insurance to provide for those risks spreads those risks and makes such care cheaper for those who need it, but only at the expense of those who are not at risk.

 All of these problems with the affordability of health care originate from well intentioned government interference in the marketplace. The solution is to remove these obstacles to the free market. Many are simple to accomplish if we have the political will.

 Regulation of health insurance should be limited to the enforcement of the insurance contract. All mandates should be eliminated, as well as all restrictions preventing the formation of voluntary groups across state lines. True, health insurance contracts are very complex, and we would not want to have to become experts on health care in order to evaluate a contract, but that is what insurance agents are for, to guide us to a good policy through the free market.

 We need to restore the General Practitioner to his primary role in health care by limiting his liability to the standard of care of other GP’s when he performs services also provided by specialists, providing the patient is informed that specialists are available for that service and he makes the informed decision to receive that service from the GP.

 Finally, and most importantly, tax treatment for employer provided plans and private plans should be the same. This could be accomplished by allowing employers to contribute to employee Health Care Saving accounts on the same basis they now can contribute to their company plan.

Given a chance, with government's meddling thumbs off the scale, the free market will bring us the health care we need at a fair price, just as it does with everything else we need and want.

Dr. Donald Tabor
 Vice-Chairman
Tidewater Libertarian Party
www.TidewaterLiberty.com

HAMPTON ROADS: WHEN
THE FEDERAL SPENDING
 BUBBLE ALSO BURSTS


Pier12


All the talk on cable and network news is about how the President or the Congress plans to cure the economy or provide universal health-care or even to reverse climate change.

The federal government is deemed all powerful by elected officials, the media and citizens alike.

The onset of the Greatest Depression has thus far only magnified that opinion.

Five years from now the television news talk is certain to be quite different. Talk of bailouts and stimulus plans and nationalized health care will be gone. In its place will be discussions of how citizens can best deal with the world on their own using local resources.References to the federal government will invoke black humor.  These are the days after the final bubble has burst, federal spending and borrowing.

Even a drunken sailor has to face the morning after.

Massive overspending, out of control borrowing and the irresponsible printing of money always ends in a resounding crash. That is the often played out story of failed republics across history.  This is just the biggest crash ever because almost the entire world is in its grips with the United States at ground zero.

What face will the implosion of the US dollar raise back home? What will come of Hampton Roads when international trade bypasses debtor America and its self-destructive public policies?
Poverty will come to America’s middle class in one of two ways.

If the downward spiral deepens unabated money will still be in the hands of those with jobs, but the money will be of limited use in stores that lack basic necessities and all frills.People will stand in line to get groceries.Goods like clothes and electronics will be especially scarce. Those are two of the basic items no longer made in America. All the payments to the stores made by consumers will no longer buy the imports that used to line the store shelves. The fleet of trucks bringing goods nationwide will shrink to half of its size before the crash.

If economic activity does instead arouse a bit from the adrenalin of tens of trillions in new federal spending and lending, inflation will rather quickly wipe out any gains that are made in the economy. The money supply has almost doubled over the past year by dictate of the Federal Reserve. The little guy, of course, is the person harmed most by inflation. The relative winners are government, bankers and debtors.

Best case, present policies would allow the economy to stumble along zombie-like for a year or two before falling off a second, even deeper cliff. Borrowing ever more cannot cure a debt problem. It can only postpone the end and make it even worse.  Only the American impulse to spend money rapidly will benefit in the end from the final spending spree.Many American businesses will eventually refuse to accept the dollar in payment, lawfully or unlawfully.

But under either scenario the unearthly budget numbers of Washington, D.C. will fade further and further from reality. Once the Chinese Yuan backed by solid assets becomes the global reserve currency, Washington’s budget numbers will become a complete fantasy drawn on a fake currency. With empty stores and fake money the legions of federal workers across the nation will have little reason to continue at their posts.

Without the ability to trade in kind in the debased economy military and federal workers will leave national service in droves as a matter of survival. The worldwide American military machine will come home in rather short order almost certainly forever. The WWII/Cold War/Superpower era will come to its end as it did for the Soviet Union twenty years ago.

Not just public workers, but all those dependent on government payments will have to find a different way in life. Federal contracting will be a fraction of its present size. Even treasury bonds and federal pensions may default, if not wholly then partially or by the effects of inflation
.

These events will transform Hampton Roads more so than just about any other place in the nation.  Few families on any given block do not have a rather direct reliance on federal dollars steadily flowing.   Tens of thousands will suddenly become needy at the very time the old government “safety net” is proving to be illusory.

How local leaders contend with the chaos and despair will largely determine how deep and how violent the morass becomes.  Will disintegration toward a new economy be largely orderly or will the cities instead become war zones?  Tensions already exist in the seven Hampton Roads fiefdoms, tensions that are certain to multiply.

Business leaders large and small need to take care of their productive people and loyal customers no matter what.  A selfless approach to the future would inspire confidence in meeting the challenges.  All belts must be tightened.  Able-minded, unproductive people need to find a way to fend for themselves.

Cultural and civic leaders must write the story of the Greatest Depression in an accurate way: America lost its way leading its people to disaster, but traditional American idealism has returned to once again lead the world toward prosperity in freedom. 

The people in government need to accept that the way to recovery requires the downsizing of their domain in ways they have not conceived.  The public sector must shrink much more than the private sector has, including the public education monopoly.  Political leaders need to inspire the people to realizing that the future has now been placed back in their control, that individual hard work, ingenuity and, yes, integrity is the new way to get ahead in Virginia: liberty and equality for all citizens under a just government has finally dawned.

The new Hampton Roads, five hundred thousand citizens strong, could then challenge for the title of the most productive port and able people of the world.  Editor


JUSTICE DENIED
BarneyFrank


As America’s financial house of cards collapsed, the first response of President George Bush was to give everyone on the tax rolls a $600 cash gift.  When this had little effect, his next move was to give Wall Street a flat $700 billion while throwing in hundreds of billions more of extra bailout for AIG and Citibank and others.

As the disaster enveloped Main Street America, President Barack Obama’s first move was to give about half of the people on the income tax rolls a $500 cash gift over the course of 2009 along with hundreds of billions more in bailout primarily for those who do not produce anything.  As the true unemployment rate now soars to 20%, the President’s next move may be to spend $500 billion buying junk mortgages and consumer loans to subsidize Wall Street even more.  Wall Street’s man in Washington, Treasury SecretaryTimothy Gaithner, made certain any future value of the junk assets will also end up in the pockets of Wall Street insiders.  Under his plan the federal taxpayers are saddled with 95% of the risk of loss in this new bailout.  Taxpayers receive only 25% of any future profit.  That is what passes for a Washington, D.C. public-private partnership.

Neither administration has prosecuted anyone for the massive fraud that has wrecked the global economy.  Indeed, some of the worst perpetrators on Wall Street and in Washington, D.C. now have more power than ever.  The Congress, the single most responsible entity for our national meltdown, has few plans to investigate who in Washington is responsible for destroying the American Dream. The United States Attorney Generals, both Republican and Democrat, have had almost no interest in bringing the rich and powerful before the law.

Plainly, change in Washington, D.C. away from pillaging the people's wealth is quite impossible with our present political leaders. Republicans and Democrate long ago discovered that the Treasury can be raided for private advantage.

Who get what from Washington, D.C. has been the main politcal conversation for decades.  But now, trillion dollar heists of public money by powerful interest groups, right out in the open, is becoming the practice.  It is our national illness reaching the terminal stage.

In a free nation the people responsible for such a collapse would have already been tossed from their perches and cast behind bars where warranted.   Many of the crimes committed and the criminals behind the resent disaster are quite well known today.  A proper investigation would uncover the commission of many, many crimes. Americans want the destroyers of AIG, Citibank, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to go to trial for their actions.  All gains made through corruption or fraud must be forfeited.

Americans want federal regulators held to account for the shocking failure of the Securities Exchange Commission to combat fraud and of the security ratings agencies to accurately value what is being sold on Wall Street.  The investing public relied on these failed institutions to do their work.   A complete housecleaning with a full accounting is in order.

The present leadership in Washington refuses to undertake these most solemn obligations.  There is no difference between Democrats and Republicans on this central point of simple justice.  The reason: a proper investigation would lead directly back to Congressional leaders and their cronies.

Politicians and their moneymen have stolen our national governance for their own purposes believing Americans can indeed be fooled all of the time.  Thus far, it seems they may be right.  Like sheep following a pied piper, the public continues to swallow the puffing of the mainstream media of an economic recovery just around the corner.   The public continues to elect to office the people who have imploded the country’s standing.

However, the hurricane wrought from the misdeeds of Washington and Wall Street is just arriving.  The days of our modern gentry are indeed quite numbered despite present appearances.  Homeless in their millions and the return of hunger to America will overwhelm the power of money and incumbency finally.  People will finally awaken to a harsh reality.

As predicted by Gerald Celente and others, a new national party guided by the cast aside principles of the United States Constitution will rise in 2012 hopefully to govern our nation. 

Its main competitor may be an amalgam of the discredited parties singing a siren’s song of American fascism.  That party may be led by Barack Obama if he has the staying power in the wake of the collapse.  It will be a choice between historic America and a fallen, bleeding superpower trying to regain its former glory.

Should freedom prevail in 2012, those who have committed crimes in powerful places will finally face punishment for what they have done.  Bailouts will end altogether along with the general idea of a free-ride on the government.  Free markets and the Bill of Rights will be restored.  So will the principle of enumerated federal powers.  America will lead the world by example without the use of force.  It will be a nation reborn.  Editor


PASSING EVENTS
Noose

 

Some Things Never Change                            

Two legends of the Baby Boomer generation died in recent weeks under odd circumstances, David Carridine and Michael Jackson.

What does being hung to death naked inside a closet while trying to get a sexual thrill say about the sons of the 60’s and 70’s? 

Dying from lifetime substance abuse has become routine in the entertainment world, but a new level is reached when the fallen star resorts to hospital surgical anesthesia to get that biggest high.

 Even oldster Boomers remain quite serious about their sex and drugs.

A Private Sale

Did you hear about the two men from the Japan Finance Ministry who were caught smuggling $140b of US Treasury Notes into Switzerland?  Switzerland, of course, has a brisk open market in trading bonds for cash with few questions asked.  The trunk-full of bank notes being smuggled across the border bore serial numbers identical to treasury bonds that were sold to the government of Japan in the 1980’s.  When their true identity became known, the two men were released without charges and given their treasury notes back.

Now is the time to buy gold
!

The President is No Socialist

In the first six months of his administration President Obama has proven that he will not govern as a socialist contrary to much speculation.  Socialist government takes direct control of the means of production under an egalitarian myth.      

Far different, Obama's record thus far is one of fascism, combining the powers of government and industry and finance into a totalitarian regime.  Obama is clearly as much owned by Wall Street as any Republican.  Obama is as egalitarian as the corporate boards of General Motors and Goldman Sachs are.

Governor, Please Shut Up

The travails of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford with the press would be comical if not so painful to his family.  People must admit the governor’s serial public confessions have been a new approach to hanky-panky in high places. 

A big change though often makes matters worse. 

It would just be betterif  allegedly religious office holders, when married, could manage to control their baser desires.

The Lost Decade  

Remember the 70’s?  How about the 80’s or the 90’s?

But what decade is this?

Good question.  Here it is only one year from its end and the name of this decade has yet to surface anywhere in popular culture.  Have no doubt there is a name.

This is the “Aughts” “00’s”.

Yes, the Aughts.  Look it up: a second inconvenient truth.

Another first achieved by the HRFN!

HRFN is a Publication of the

Tidewater Libertarian Party


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