Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Private Property Rights

"Property is the fruit of labor. Property is desirable, is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently to build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence."

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Wouldn't that get laughed off the stage today if Lincoln was in a debate today?

Private property? "What about human rights?" people would say!

PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS!

Private property is integral to and essential in a capitalist system. It forms the very basis of the system. The one cannot exist without the other.

Why?

Private property rights are specific to human rights because they allow humans to voluntarily exchange their owned goods and services in a free-market way.

"But when the rich have more than their fair share (whatever in the world that means) the poor are treated unequally!"

Note Mr. Lincoln's quote - "property is the fruit of labor," and "just encouragement to industry and enterprise." It's the Parable of the Sower all over again - we reap what we sow! Certainly people have gotten rich off of others in a conniving, sneaky and underhanded way. Look at the porn industry, for example. And some have inherited their wealth because of a previous generation's industry and enterprise.

But for the most part the rich, and we ALL have our own definition of what "RICH" is, have earned it.

A property right is the authority to determine how a resource is used. I own a house. Well, better put, I am renting a house from a bank that owns my mortgage until I pay it off, but I claim home ownership. That allows me the exclusive authority to determine how that resource is used. I can live in it, I can rent it all or in part, or I can let it sit unattended so long as I meet my mortgage obligations. That is a human right! It's MY house!

Society can approve the uses selected for my property. My HOA, for example, can demand I maintain the house in a certain state of repair. But my HOA cannot tell me to whom I can rent the property, and the gubment can place restrictions on how I must go about renting that property. But, for the most part, it remains private property.

When are property rights removed? Certainly in socialist or dictatorial countries, where the people have no say in how "public" (read that the state) resources are used or exchanged. And is wealth created in those societies? Is there incentive to create wealth in those societies? Are the people actively engaged in voluntary exchange of private resources in those societies?

NO.

What creates wealth? Mr. Lincoln said it best - the fruit of labor and encouragement to industry and enterprise.
What preserves wealth? Mr. Lincoln said it best - let not him who is houseless (and the includes the gubment) pull down the house (private property) of another.

Mr. Reagan said it well - one of his campaign mantras was "Get the gubment off our backs!"

I think Mr. Lincoln would approve.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deviancy Or Normal?

"If it be taught that all who are born have a right to support on the land [public], whatever be their number, and that there is no occasion to exercise any prudence in the affair of marriage so as to check this number, the temptations, according to all the known principles of human nature, will inevitably be yielded to, and more and more will gradually become dependent on parish assistance."

Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)

Yes, that Thomas Malthus, the one who predicted the demise of mankind as a species because population growth would outstrip man's ability to provide enough food to feed it.

What he didn't figure into the equation, obviously, was man's ability to advance technologically to increase food production geometrically as population did the same.

What brings about such technological advancement?

PEOPLE PRODUCE MORE, AND ADVANCE MORE, AND CREATE MORE, AND BECOME MORE WHEN THEY ARE ALLOWED TO ACT FOR THEMSELVES AND NOT BE ACTED UPON. BECAUSE OF DEPENDENCY, THOSE NOT SO ALLOWED, OR IN FACT CONTROLLED, WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER REACH THEIR TRUE POTENTIAL.

And, as Malthus suggests, when they are "taught" to depend on something outside themselves, which he naively thought would be "parish assistance," they will "inevitably" yield to human nature, and become MORE dependent.

I bet he did not imagine that the GUBMENT would replace parish assistance as the provider for those so dependent!

So, as we watch

  • inter-generational welfare grow, and
  • more and more people who think that food is best bought with a stamp, and
  • dependent people who think that the role of "gubment" is to provide for their WANTS, and
  • vacuous people living in filth and slop to demand more and more "a right to support on the land," and extolled for doing so, and
  • the creation of more economic liabilities as opposed to economic assets, receiving taxes and not paying them -

do you not worry, as I, that we are engendering a generation who thinks that such dependency and entitlement is normal?

Normal...? Things I grew up being taught were DEVIANT my young daughter thinks are normal. Imagine what is yet to come!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Private Property And Personal Freedom

"The growing size of government debt should be of real concern to every creditor and especially to every taxpayer with any interest whatsoever in private property and personal freedom."

Dr. Paul L. Poirot (1915-2006)

That was said before the recent, most crushing debt in U.S. history. More debt than was accumulated during our country's entire history, combined. For the economy to grow out of this recent debt alone, it is calculated that it would have to grow 12% per year for 57 years. That won't happen. Since we know that no country can tax itself out of deficits and debt, how will it happen? There is a simple answer to that question. It won't.

But Dr. Poirot's relating the debt to private property and personal freedom is something that would MOST UNFORTUNATELY be understood by very few.

Foretelling?

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."

Gerald Ford, Presidential address to a joint session of Congress (12 August 1974)

And when totally broke Greece tries to pull back on only some of the "goodies" expected by its populace, they riot and throw their fits. And they are brok-er...

Is that foretelling where we are headed in this country?

Not As Hot As It Should Be

"Government funding combined with university tenure leads to the distortion of science and bad public policy."

Dr. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation

Well, we are sure seeing that now! And even more when other monsters lift their heads - Cap and Tax for one.

A news article the other day had scientists "looking for global heat loss," because things just aren't as hot as they should be. Where did the global warming go? Well, that's an easy one...

Government Run

I am always interested in how it is that people think that someone else, in another place, sitting at a desk, with limited vision and little experience, can interrupt seriously efficient market forces to do better for these people than they can do for themselves. It is mysterious!

A couple of quotes in that regard:

"One of the things government can't do it run anything. The only things our government runs are the post office and the railroads, and both of them are bankrupt."

Lee Iacocca


"The market and its inescapable laws are supreme."

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)


And now government runs student loans, controls most mortgages, the banks, Medicare, Medicaid, your social "security," auto companies, etc., and wants to run health "care," in addition to other things, and thinks it can control/change/run the world's climate. Hmmmm....

Architects Of Our Own Fortunes

The "Austrian School" of economics can always provide a good quote. Or two!

Both of these are from Ludwig von Mises:

"Under capitalism, everybody is the architect of his own fortune."

and

"In capitalist enterprise there is no secure income and no security of wealth."

In this age where everyone is conditioned toward wanting to be provided for, those quotes are both profound food for thought. And pondering...

And personal practice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Voluntary Exchange And Wealth

" Before it can be exchanged, wealth must be created. Wealth cannot be created out of thin air. By definition, an economic good is “scarce”. If it were not, there would be no such thing as economics or exchange. Neither would be necessary because no effort or choice in the face of alternatives would be required in order to provide the GOODS which further our lives. Before we can talk about money and the VITAL role it performs, we must stress this point. Money is NOT wealth, it is the means by which wealth is exchanged amongst those who produce it. "
Bill Buckler*
So much recently we have heard that gubment needs to create jobs; this administration "created" this many jobs and that administration "created" that many jobs.

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

If the gubment could create jobs, it would! Gubments all over the world would decide on how many jobs would be created and they would! There would be no unemployment anywhere. It would be a happy world of butterflies and rainbows and endless joy!

And what a mess that would be!

What if a gubment, in its infinite and wonderful wisdom, did not create enough of one job as opposed to another? Well, if too many doctors' jobs are created in a country and what would happen? Their economic services would not be as scarce and there would be less exchange per doctor. Doctors would earn less. One of two things would happen - they would leave the profession for something that provided them a more profitable exchange, or leave that particular country for another where their services are worth more.

They would go where more wealth would be created by their economic activity.

So, in order to create wealth, the role of gubment must be one of encouraging economic activity. How does it do that? By creating an environment - and there are many ways to do this - creating an environment which allows for more free and voluntary exchange.

That's it!

How can it do that? By getting out of the way. Increased and crushing regulation, prohibitive taxation, controlled licensing, profit disincentives, union favoritism, favors and benefits for politically "correct" industries or jobs, employment benefit rules - you name it - none of this gubment intervention creates an environment conducive to production and voluntary exchange. None of this gubment intervention creates an environment which creates wealth.

The west got rich by creating wealth. No country got rich by growing gubment.

* Bill Buckler is an economist and investor and publisher of the "Privateer Newsletter."

Heritage And Ideals

"Or heritage and ideals, our code and standards - the things we live by and teach our children - are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange things, ideas and feelings."

Walt Disney (1901-1966)

No photo maybe captures the legacy of Walt Disney more than this one I took yesterday, 7 November 11. There was even an eagle in the sky as the photo was taken.

Failing his first time in business, a Disney cartoon studio in Kansas City called Laugh-O-Gram Studios, Walt Disney was unable to manage money, but not yet without his ideas and feelings.

He took those and developed what we all know now as a Disney subculture in our society. And with that subculture Walt Disney has transformed the lives of countless children throughout the world.

He continues to do so even after his death nearly two generations ago.

His greatest idea, for which the Disney Board of Directors thought he was nuts, was to purchase the rights to 88,000 acres of land in swampy, hot central Florida. He did this before air conditioning became so widespread and popular. His Board did not think people would want to venture into that heat and humidity to have "fun."

They were wrong.

Of course, this idea was the very essence of free enterprise. And, if he had it today, it would not even get off the ground for a zillion reasons ranging from unions to environmentalism to highway planning to local gubment disapproval.

One way Disney measured the validity of his ideas was to see if everyone on his Board thought them crazy. If so, he went ahead. That became a successful gage.

Another idea was a totally planned community where 20,000 people could live in harmony and their needs met.

He called it EPCOT - Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

The community was laid out with everything needed - from personal goods and services, education, religion, energy, everything- provided for its inhabitants.

It has not come to fruition, of course, but it lends an ear to listening to the inside of Disney's mind and his thinking of others.

This photo of the famous Epcot Spaceship Earth was taken by my daughter on 4 November 2011, during our visit. That is her attempt at a signature on the lower left. What she captured says many things metaphorically, and I think Walt Disney would approve.

Widows And Orphans

The office of recently-appointed company president, Colonel Robert C. Clowry (1907) announced a general price increase for all private messages sent by the Western Union Telegraph Company. The stated purpose of this rate increase was to insure PROFITS! This news was received by a shocked, communication-savvy public with horror.

The "New York Times" newspaper picked up on it immediately, and a column was placed prominently, above the fold, on the first page. It began like this:

_________________________

WIDOWS AND ORPHANS OWN WESTERN UNION

__________

And the Company Says It Put Its Rates Up to Pay Its Dividends

__________

"...explaining more in detail the reasons for the increase in private message rates which went into effect on Monday.

The company lays especial interest on the statement that the increase of private message rates was made in the interest of its 14,000 stockholders, many of whom, the statement says, are

widows and estates,

and in order that the company might continue to maintain and continue to pay its five percent dividend...

Our company has been paying a regular annual dividend. On account of this regularity the stock has been very largely acquired by widows and estates. In fact, the company is known on the street as 'The Widows And Orphans Company...' ...So a failure of the management to secure a sufficient profit from its business to pay those dividends would be a great hardship on those 14,000 stockholders.

Further, in defense of the company's actions, Mr. Clowry went on to make this frightful statement:

... another point that has been made was the statement that the telegraph companies must have profited largely from the large increase in communication necessitated by the unprecedented prosperity. The fact is, the telephone companies have largely absorbed the growth, to the exclusion of the telegraph."

This statement was published in the New York Times 3 April 1907.

__________________________


The article goes on to explain other reasons for the rate increase, which include infrastructure replacement and installation, service to new areas, and "general improvement of the company's facilities."

You should know, the increase was two percent. That's all, two percent.

Who owns big corporations? Yes, most common stock is held by pensioners. Who are these shareholders, even today? Widows and orphans! Estates! Pensioners! People who are depending on these companies for their future existence! They are taking a BIG RISK!

And what provides these shareholders their livelihoods? DIVIDENDS. From what are dividends created and announced? Profits. PROFITS!!

The horror. THE ABSOLUTE HORROR! Say it ain't so! Did you say PROFITS!!??

Mr. Clowry above was accused of wanting to acquire too much profit! His reason, the Board's reason, for increasing rates was because he fully understood the integral, public-service nature of profits, as they relate to the owners of the corporation.

Corporations are legal entities. They exist on paper. Corporations don't pay taxes. Corporations have no social obligations. Corporations don't care if they are being naughty or nice. Corporations have no feelings, politics, emotions or cares. But they are composed of people, and these people are interested in the furtherance of their entity! And have responsibility to report to those who own the corporation.

What is the business of their business? It is BUSINESS.

And every now and then some politician, always a recognized "liberal," but not really a LIBERAL * like I am, makes some stupid, and I mean STUPID statement about windfall profits. Certainly that "glittering jewel of colossal ignorance" has NO idea what a windfall profit is!

What is a "WINDFALL PROFIT?" One that is earned without having any involvement in what it took to derive that profit! No thought, no risk, no participation, no decision making - nothing. The windfall profiteer merely earns profits, using the word EARN very, very loosely!

AND WHAT IS THE ONLY ENTITY THAT EVER, EVER EARNS WINDFALL PROFITS?

GUBMENT! GUUUUUBMEEEEENT!!

And that profit comes to the gubment in the form of what? Taxes. Corporate taxes (which are paid by whom?). Dividend taxes (which are paid by whom?). Capital gains taxes (which are paid by whom?). Estate taxes (which are paid by whom?). And "fees," another way of saying taxes (which are paid by whom?).

So the next time you hear of corporations derided for profits, and please don't try to make the also STUPID case with me that some make "too much" profit (a LOT of profit merely indicates that the corporation, or small business, is providing goods and services that the market it serves really, really wants) just remember -- you are taking food, clothing, education, medicine and shelter away from widows and orphans! You are a mean, mean person!

You should be flogged. And the flogging should continue until your attitude improves... There, someone had to say it!

The same goes if you deride any business for not paying "enough" taxes. Businesses don't pay any taxes - we, the public (the people) pay them all.

Oh, the asterisk -- heah 'tis:

* I have said for years that I am a liberal. Of course I am, in the CLASSICAL sense, the ORIGINAL sense, the REAL sense. I am a liberal in the mold of Adam Smith, John Locke, David Ricardo, Milton Friedman, von Mises and Hayek, Ronald Reagan - THE FOUNDING FATHERS and the great document they left us. Modern "liberals" have hijacked the word and are using it incorrectly because they are NOTHING of the sort. They are statists, yes, big gubmenteers, yes, socialists, yes, Marxists, yes - but not liberals, or progressives, or any other innocuous-sounding moniker they use depending on the political climate.

Today's "liberals" get away with it because most people don't think for themselves enough to read and study history and understand what WAS as opposed to what IS.

Working To Improve

"Even as government dominates the headlines, private entrepreneurs are busy every day working to improve products and services that improve our lives. They do it without taxing us or regulating us, or making us suffer through tedious elections or political debates. They make their products and offer them to us in a way that pleases the consuming public the most. We can choose whether we want them or not."

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

And when one of these entrepreneurs dies, and is extolled for his contributions, then, and only then, is he mentioned by anyone in government as having made a contribution!

Prior to that were all the interactions between the entrepreneur and gubment:

(and this likely applies to all the great entrepreneurs and their private interactions with politicians)

  • The gubment tells the entrepreneur how great he is for the country, but then goes about preventing and restricting that entrepreneur's ability to do what he wants.
  • The entrepreneur tells the gubment it is out of line and "unfriendly to business."

What did the entrepreneur mean when he used the word "business?"

He meant entrepreneurial ability to function freely.
He meant entrepreneurial ability to design, develop, produce and distribute.
He meant entrepreneurial ability to profit from those products and services, and employ those profits in ways that allows for hiring and growth and more design, development, production and distribution.
He meant entrepreneurial ability to maneuver in a climate without unions stifling and stultifying his business.

HE MEANT THE CREATION OF WEALTH, WHICH IS THE OBJECTIVE OF BUSINESS!

So, re-read the quote above. You want jobs? Where should gubment's focus lie? How about letting the economy perform free-market economics?

Predation

"The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for predation on the property of the producers."

Murry Rothbard (1926-1995)

Dr. Rothbard was famous for saying a lot in few words.

Just the word "predation" says it all!

What is a predator? Most animals, and some plants, are predators. They position themselves to watch whatever the group. They understand behavior, can see weaknesses, and when they strike, they strike at group members that cannot defend themselves.

Have you every thought of bureaucrats and politicians as predators? Why not! The word fits, and when something fits it might as well be worn, even as a moniker.

How about predation that involves legal, orderly, systematic channels? When $6+ trillion is removed from the economy by the federal gubment, and another $6+ trillion removed by state and local gubments, and on top of that other taxes attached to services, utilities, sales, usage fees, et al, that, THAT, composes an incalculable number of channels!

WHAT A HUGE DRAIN THAT IS ON VIBRANCY AND ACTIVITY, THE ACTIVITY WE CALL BUSINESS. BUSINESS IS REALLY THE COMBINATION OF TWO WORDS - BUSY AND NESS. THE SUFFIX "NESS" MEANS ACTIVITY OR PROCESS. WHEN TOO MUCH IS TAKEN FROM THAT SECTOR OF SOCIETY, ITS BUSY NESS SLOWS DOWN.

Study the habits of predators and you will see the predatory habits of statists out looking for more and more and more of what is produced.

And remember, no money, NO MONEY, can be given to the non producers until it has been taken from the producers. The predators produce nothing for themselves. It has to be derived from real producers. Non producers produce little to nothing for themselves. It has to be derived from real producers.

How do groups fend off predators? By sticking together.

Remember Franklin's famous statement. At the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, he said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

What a wonderful, metaphorical model for what we face today.

A Steady Increase

"The characteristic mark of economic history under capitalism is unceasing economic progress, a steady increase in the quantity of capital goods available, and a continuous trend toward an improvement in the general standard of living."

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)

When has freedom not produced free people?

When has individual liberty not produced free people?

When has rugged individualism not produced free people?

When and where has such freedom been allowed to begin and thrive?

When has the economic progress, of which Dr. von Mises speaks, not been unceasing?

When has the quantity of capital goods, of which Dr. von Mises speaks, not increased?

When has there not been a trend, of which Dr. von Mises speaks, toward an improvement in the general standard of living?

When has there been a document established and intended to defend Creator-endowed, self-evident, inseparable (the word used in this document is unalienable) rights? This document can only survive in the presence of two things:

1. A virtuous people, as described by James Madison
2. A free-market, unfettered, capital-improving economic system

So, in answering the questions above, would not one think the answers to be so obvious as they really are?

Can you not answer the first four without thinking? The next three, of which Dr. von Mises speaks, are all answered like this: When dictators and tyranny, hard and soft, hijack market forces to weigh their societies down with self-aggrandizing burdens, as they remove individualism and free thinking from their controlled populace.

You and I might think this to be obvious and demonstrated by history.

Remember, those who would impose their control, those state-worshippers who would control, tyrannically if necessary, do NOT think so.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Propensity

"If any behavior needs to be reined in, it should be the propensity of people to use the political system to take other people's money."

Jeffrey A. Singer

The word "propensity" is used a lot by economists. It means to have a tendency or inclination toward something.

Is Dr. Singer suggesting that there are people who are inclined toward using a political system to "earn" money for themselves? Money that they did not earn? Money they would have to obtain from somebody else?

Yes! They are out there! You KNOW they are out there!

And they think they deserve it. It is owed to them. And it is a right.

We have a family acquaintance who is quite able to work, but spends hours and hours every day searching down local gubment offices and officials who will listen to her explain why she cannot work. She understands every trick it takes to get these various offices to provide "aid" for her. She knows which person most favorable to listen to her works at which office; the days of the week that person is in that office; when that person is of a certain mood and most willing to listen - it goes on and on!

With that kind of creativity and energy she could be out there, self employed and productive, and not living like the pauper she does. It is more important to her to get a few free dollars here and there then it is to make many more dollars and improve her lot. Now THAT is a propensity! From my perspective, she acts like a drug addict.

But what does Dr. Singer suggest? That this behavior needs to be reined in! How is that done?

BY REMOVING THE SOURCE OF THE DRUG! BY REMOVING THE, TO QUOTE MR. JEFFERSON'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, "SWARMS OF OFFICERS TO HARASS OUR PEOPLE AND EAT OUT [OUR] SUBSTANCE..."

Compassion is not how many people are served by these various "offices" but by how few people feel the need for them! Less is more.

The Worship Of Force

"The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster."

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)

Unknown when this was said, but it is as true now as then, or ever!

Gubments killed more people in the 20th century than anything other than disease. And many gubments killed their own people, not only those of other countries with which they were at war. Many gubments were at war with their own citizens!

And the real problem when gubment "officials" think THEY are the state, and should be worshiped, is that their self-perceived power needs to grow and change into more, and then more. And, as Dr. von Mises says, they become vile.

When a sweeping bill, an all-controlling bill, a totally-dominating bill like "health" care is enacted, it comes with its first puny bureaucracies attached. I have heard that the recent "health" care bill has over 200 bureaucracies already built in. They will need to grow. More bureaucracies will need to be attached.

And total worship will be required or we will NOT participate.

Those who deny their worship will be put away. HISTORY HAS NEVER, EVER, EVER BEEN DIFFERENT.

Think this through. Reading the above von Mises quote, does anyone think all those "officials" will be competent, incorruptible and pure? Please. Like the song says, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Except this new boss has bigger, more vicious teeth, is more dominant, can do permanent harm and is lying from the start. But we had to pass the bill in order to find out what was in it... That was said by someone who DEMANDS worship.

Don't think otherwise.

It would really, really behoove all of us to read the lyrics to this "The Who" song:

"We Won't Get Fooled Again"

The "Cleaning Lady"

Our family goes on only one vacation a year that lasts longer than 3 days. Sometimes we go to Virginia Beach. This year we went to the same place we always go. It is a boutique hotel with only about 30 rooms. Everything faces the beach. We like the patio suites on the lower level.

For myself, I only go for three days. That is my annual vacation. Never more. This year I needed my own room because my daughter brought a friend. Unfortunately, when I arrived they had accidentally given out my room! The only thing left was a patio suite, which they gave me at the room price! Big bummer. It's kind of weird, but very fun, to have my own room!

When I arrived about 8am (I left home at 0330) I asked when I could check in. "Oh, the 'cleaning lady' is doing your room now. You can get in when she's done."

I asked if she had a name. "Um, (thinking) Denise, I think."

As I approached my room, Denise was coming out.

"Is this your room, sir?"

I could already smell how clean it was! I said yes, and, "Thank you Denise."

Her very bright eyes lit right up. "Well, you're welcome, and if you need anything I can get it for you."

Wow, an eagle, not a duck! What's a duck? If you ask anybody anything - at the airport, post office, department store, well, you know - what do they say? That they have to ask somebody and they go behind a door. What's behind that door? A DUCK POND! What's in the duck pond? Ducks, none of which have an answer for you.

Denise is no duck. I could see that in her eyes.

I moved in, found the family, and mentioned how clean my room was. My wife said, "You should find out Denise's story."

So I grabbed Denise later. "I hear you are going to school."

She lit up again. "Yes. I put my three kids through school and now it's time for me. I'm studying Hotel Management! I take four classes a trimester. This time, though, I have math and really don't like math."

In two conversations I found out that - she is 52 years old, she has a B+ average, will finish in two more trimesters and is doing it all alone. Her husband left when she was pregnant and has not been heard from since. I told her that when she finishes she needs to walk into the Hilton or Marriott and tell them she is ready to work!

And that it's time for her to make some money and enjoy herself.

She agreed. She wants no help from anywhere. She says, "I can pay for it and I will. People say I should go here and go there for people to give me a check. I don't want that hook. I'm no fish." She also told me that her boss at this hotel did not want her to go to school! No wonder. She is not a duck. He likes that. He doesn't want to lose her. And he will!

I THINK SHE SHOULD OPEN HER OWN HOTEL. AND I WILL PATRONIZE IT!

The bald eagle is probably my favorite animal. Eagles do not flock. You find them one by one. Eagles use their brains and instincts to provide for and take care of their own. Eagles are fierce. Eagles are independent and strong. Eagles see far. Eagles rely on themselves. Eagles soar.

Denise is no "cleaning lady." Denise is an eagle. I like meeting eagles. I have little patience for ducks.

There are too many ducks in the world.

I left the eagle a nice tip. Godspeed, Denise.

Not An Instrument Of Restraint

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."

Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

Do these words not ring true?

Those words were said by a rising star, but, essentially, an unknown lawyer from a little-known county in what would eventually become the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Patrick Henry was Virginia's first governor!

I collect antique books. In my collection is a Patrick Henry biography written by a contemporary, William Wirt, and published in 1818. It is in excellent condition! So much so I can read it!

Written before "revisionist" history, it is probably a very good account of who this man was. He is remembered for his "give me liberty, or give me death" speech before the Continental Congress on 23 March 1775. Those are the last lines of the speech. You should read the whole speech! Would that such a man was about now!

These are inspiring words. He basically said, "Let's bring on the war with England if that's what it takes to forge our freedom!"

And now we find ourselves embroiled in this massive, truly massive, take over of our lives by people who think, "We the statists. Of the statists, for the statists and by the statists!"

Do you think Patrick Henry, or any of the firebrand Founding Fathers, would stand for what the gubment wants to bend us (force us) into accepting as proper gubment behavior and control? They truly believed in "WE THE PEOPLE."

The United States Constitution was written to limit the reach of gubment into the lives of WE THE PEOPLE, and NOT to limit the freedoms of WE THE PEOPLE for the purposes those in the gubment think they should do.

I SUBMIT THAT NONE, THAT IS NONE, OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS WOULD STAND FOR WHAT IS BEING FOISTED UPON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TODAY BY AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING, ALL-ENCROACHING AND INCREASINGLY ALL-POWERFUL GUBMENT.

The Best Guarantee Of Freedom

"As the consumer is the public in general, without distinction of rank or fortune, the free market is the most obvious expression of the sovereignty of the people and the best guarantee of democracy."

Faustino Ballvé (1887-1959)

Free markets are the best guarantee of freedom period!

Who is Faustino Ballvé? An interesting economic thinker! He was educated in the 30's in Spain and England, returning to Mexico City to practice law.

He was invited to, and attended, a seminar offered by an Austrian economist named Ludwig von Mises. So impressed by the information in that seminar he began a correspondence with Dr. von Mises. In those correspondences he compared what he had been taught in school with what von Mises was preaching.

WHAT HE HAD BEEN TAUGHT DID NOT JIBE WITH AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS! Surprise, surprise, surprise.

His life was changed. He says this "sparked a new energy" in him. So what did he do? He wrote a book, an economics text book, published in 1956. It had a massive impact on Latin American economic policies. It is only 129 pages and 10 chapters. This is what it covers:

What is Economics About?
The Market
The Role of the Entrepreneur
Capital, Labor, and Wages
Money and Credit
Monopoly, Crises, and Unemployment
International Trade
Nationalism and Socialism
The Controlled Economy
What Economics Is Not About

Translated into English in 1965, it is exceptionally readable and understandable. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

It's thesis? Free markets are the best guarantee of freedom... period!

The Little Yellow Hen (The Little Red Hen Revisited)

Probably one of the wisest micro and macro economic stories ever written is "The Little Red Hen." You have probably read it! If you have not read it recently, do so, and have your economic thinking cap on. It is of Russian origin, pre-communist era of course, and is most instructive. If you do read it again, you will see how to get out of the current economic mess that is deepening. But I digress!

I am revisiting that story today, with "The Little Yellow Hen."

The players:



The Little Yellow Hen


The Spoiled Princess




The Hard-working Teenager




The Benevolent Capitalist/Entrepreneur


One day The Little Yellow Hen wanted to use her new oven to bake some banana nut bread. She wanted help.

So she asked The Spoiled Princess.

"I can't. I'm napping."

She asked The Hard-working Teenager.

"I can't. I'm doing homework." The Little Yellow Hen noticed that The Hard-working Teenager was holding the TV remote, but decided not to pursue the point in favor of peace in the land.

She called through the house for The Benevolent Capitalist/Entrepreneur. But he was no where to be found. He was not home, in favor of being in the market applying and multiplying his talents for a pecuniary return for his labors, called profit.

So The Little Yellow Hen began to gather materials to make the banana nut bread. She wanted help.

So she asked The Spoiled Princess.

"I can't. I'm still napping." And The Spoiled Princess turned over.

She asked The Hard-working Teenager.

"I can't. I'm still doing homework." And she flipped the channel. The Little Yellow Hen was upset by this, but wisely decided not to pursue the point in favor of peace in the land.

She knew not to call for The Benevolent Capitalist/Entrepreneur as she knew he was still in the market applying and multiplying his talents for a pecuniary return for his labors, called profit.

Having mixed the materials into a fragrant, delicious batter, she wanted to put it into cooking pans to bake it into banana nut bread. She wanted help.

So she asked The Spoiled Princess.

"I can't. After having licked the nut crumbs you spilled onto the kitchen floor when you were dicing them, I am very tired and I need another nap."

So she asked The Hard-working Teenager.

"I can't. My favorite show isn't finished, um, I mean, I am not quite done with my homework." The Little Yellow Hen was upset by this, but wisely decided not to pursue it in favor of peace in the land.

And of course, she knew not to call for The Benevolent Capitalist/Entrepreneur as she knew he was still in the market applying and multiplying his talents for a pecuniary return for his labors. He works a lot and despite sometimes feeling alone in her work, and in her stylish, well appointed and large kingdom, she understands and is grateful for his willingness to work so hard.

Well, the banana nut bread was baked. It needed to cool. Just then The Benevolent Capitalist/Entrepreneur returned to the stylish, well-appointed and large kingdom. He smelled the banana nut bread and was made glad.

The Little Yellow Hen asked, "I realize that nobody helped me in any way to make this banana nut bread, but who would like to help me to eat it? I am not sure anybody deserves even one slice."

But everyone disagreed with The Little Yellow Hen.

The Spoiled Princess said, "I helped you constantly during the process with instant janitorial services, cleaning as you worked. I also provided early warning of people at the door and door greeter services that exceed even that of a WalMart store. And even now, I am laying at your feet assuming the prettiest receive pose I can muster! I deserve a piece of the banana nut bread for all my work."

The Hard-working Teenager said, "I helped you constantly during the process by doing my homework. I am used to doing homework with the TV in my face and music playing into my ears. And you know I have gotten good grades all year, very good actually, that I might attend the special academic program at the high school next year. I do that so that one day I can afford to slam your butt into a home when you get old so I do not have to change your diapers. I deserve a piece of the banana nut bread for all my hard work."

The Benevolent Capitalist/Entrepreneur said, "I helped you constantly during the process by putting myself into the market and applying and multiplying my talents for pecuniary return for my labors. With that return for the risk of my many investments of time, talent and energy, I have been able to provide the means of production for all aspects of the banana nut bread. All of the capital that went into the nut bread, except for the many abilities of The Little Yellow Hen, and the labor required to employ that capital, was my responsibility and I met those needs. I deserve a piece of the banana nut bread."

The Little Yellow Hen agreed. How could she argue with such effort!

And she put the banana nut bread on the counter to cool.

Somehow while the banana nut bread was cooling a slice was removed. The Little Yellow Hen did not like that, but nobody knew how it could possibly have happened.

The Benevolent Capitalist/Entrepreneur suggested it might have been a ghost.

I think he was right. He is, after all, very familiar with that ghost...

The moral of the story? If the gubment would get the h**l out of the way of the capitalist/entrepreneurs in the market, they could, and would, do more of what they do best, creating more opportunity and employment in the process. Crushing and endless regulation, employment benefit rules, profit disincentives, prohibitive taxes, favors and benefits for politically-aligned union thugs at the expense of the rest of us, taking over businesses, licensing, general uncertainty with what the gubment wants to do next, market-entry restrictions and a host of other market-killing activities make it hard for business people (capitalists and entrepreneurs) to employ other people, much less their own talents.

The gubment CANNOT create jobs, but it can create an environment which encourages private-sector job growth by getting out of the way! Let's hope for change in that regard.

The End.

So, What Ever Happened To Roebuck?

So, what happened to Roebuck?

Of the famous Sears, Roebuck & Company.

Richard Warren Sears, on the left, made a deal with a watch retailer to accept a scam consignment of watches at a lower price. He then made a second deal with the wholesaler, netted $5000 on his first transaction, and started the R.W. Sears Watch Company in Chicago.

Putting an ad in the paper for a watchmaker, only one person answered the ad - Alvah Curtis Roebuck.

And a partnership was born and in 1893 they co-founded Sears, Roebuck and Company, including a mail-order catalog selling only watches. Sears was 30 years old, and Roebuck 29.

Only two years later, bored with the business, Roebuck asked Sears to buy him out for $20,000. Sears complied. His company, and catalog, expanded. By 1897 the catalog was 500 pages and sold everything, including houses! Retiring in 1908 due to failing health, Sears passed away in 1914. He was only 50 years old.

And Roebuck? He semi-retired to Florida (before air conditioning) and used his money to finance and begin two businesses. He also served as president of the Emerson Typewriter Company, inventing an improved typewriter called "The Woodstock." After financial losses in the stock market crash of 1929 he returned to Chicago.

In 1934 a Sears store manager asked him to make a public appearance at his store. It was such a success and so many people showed up, that the Sears, Roebuck & Company hired him to make public appearances all over the country. He was then employed as a corporate historian. The world was introduced to Roebuck!

And free enterprise? Alvah Roebuck did many different things and always seemed to do what he enjoyed. He was free to begin and manage businesses, employ others and be employed by others. He enjoyed a long, happy and successful life. He was able to come back from adversity and make a great life.

HE WAS FREE TO BE WHAT HE WANTED TO BE AND DO WHAT HE WANTED TO DO.

Once when asked about his ex-partner's great wealth as compared to his own modest wealth, he replied, "He's dead. Me? I never felt better." He lived until 1948 to the age of 84!