Monday, March 16, 2009

Time to try something new

I'm going to try to start blogging again on a regular basis. To help jumpstart my creativity, I thought I would use a change of scenery, so I moved over to

I'm also going to try to post on a wider variety of topics, where it is not just politics all the time. Then again, the mood may hit me to post on politics, so you never know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Even though government may have a philosophical right to do something, that doesn't mean it should

First of all, if anyone still reads this blog, I sincerely apologize for my very infrequent blogging. Part of the reason is just being busy at work. More importantly, however, is the birth of my baby girl Abigail. My wife and I no longer outnumber our kids; we have a family of 4 now.

Onto other stuff. I am a free market advocate, but I didn't have an immediate problem with the idea of capping CEO pay for banks that take bailout money. After all, if the government pays the bill, shouldn't it have some say in how the money is spent? From a philosophical standpoint, yes. (I should note that I completely oppose any current bailout or typically any financial assistance from government, though I could probably make an exception for events beyond control, i.e. airlines after 9/11) However, I started to think about it. Ideally, the government, and the people, would want the companies to get back on their feet. If paying a CEO a high salary is the way to do it, shouldn't we let the company do so?

This blog sums it up nicely.
Companies that take government assistance do so because they fear going bankrupt. Sometimes that is because they were badly managed by the CEOs and other executives in charge. What many of these companies need are new executives who can take a fresh look at their problems. Unfortunately, pay caps that leave total pay considerably below what able executives receive in other companies make it more difficult to attract these executives to companies in distress because they can earn more, and work with considerably less government interference, in companies that do not take or need aid. Moreover, severe limits on severance pay help to lock in incompetent executives who then might refuse to leave voluntarily because they would not receive any significant financial incentives to leave.
With high risk should come high reward. Why would a brilliant, qualified CEO take a position at a failing bank; where stability AND pay are low?

Hat tip to the Market Power Blog.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Unity may mean hanging out with people who disagree with you

Conservatives and liberals alike are not fond of Obama's decision to have Rick Warren do whatever he is doing at Obama's inauguration. I can understand the concerns from both sides, but I'll choose to pick on the liberals because all this time they have talked about the importance of unity. When Obama supporters talk throughout the entire campaign about how important unity is for this country, then protest when he chooses someone to pray at his inauguration who shares views different from their own, it makes me think one of two things, both of them cynical. Either unity isn't that important, or, unity is important when it means getting conservatives to find common ground with liberals, but not vice versa. People of any political persuasion are free to say whatever they want about Obama's choice, but people have to show how "unity" is important, not just say it is. Believing in unity means, maybe from time to time, you hang out with somebody with whom you disagree.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Free markets and freedom of conscience go hand in hand

I was looking at the Auburn University newspaper online to see what they thought of Tommy Tuberville's firing from the head football coach position (correction, it appears that Tuberville stepped down to the surprise of the AD) and a I found an opinion piece concerning "right of conscience" rules, which allow medical workers to opt out of performing procedures they find morally objectionable.

Of course, the editorial staff thought these rules were a bad idea, and they use the following example:
Here is a hypothetical situation for you. You arrive at Outback Steakhouse with a desire for, you guessed it, a steak! You sit down, and as you tell the waiter you would like a 6 oz. ribeye, he interrupts you.

“I’m sorry, sir,” he says. “Our cook, Geoff, is a vegan, and he will not be cooking anything involving animal products tonight.”

You’re stunned, but you have to understand what you have just heard, so you inquire further.

“But you’re Outback STEAKhouse,” you say. “Steak is in your name. Well, could you at least tell us where we could get a decent steak around town?”

“No, sir,” he says. “Geoff is also acting as the manager tonight, and he has instructed the wait staff to only point our guests toward restaurants that also serve vegan items. Can I start you off with a Bloomin’ Onion, tonight? Nevermind, the batter uses eggs…”
To which I responded,
Your Outback scenario shows that you are completely missing one half of the argument. Outback would never hire a vegan cook. In the same way, hospitals and doctor's offices won't hire people whose beliefs get in the way of performing their job. Of course, for that to work, employers would need a little flexibility in who they hire, and that probably sounds a little too "free market" for you guys.
The editorial staff even allude to a free market solution, when they close with
If this rule becomes a reality, patients will have to do some major research before they select a doctor or pharmacist. But then again, the more open-minded doctors and pharmacists will make a killing.
Yes, a reality of the free market is that sometimes individuals may have to do a little bit more research to make an informed choice, an unfortunate side effect of having "choice" in the first place. And yes, some people will make more money than others, that's what happens when people provide something people want, that others don't. Granted, things get a little more complicated when it gets to the issue of medical emergencies and saving lives, so that's where legal action and medical boards get involved.

But again, I want to reiterate that for the free market to work, choice must be allowed in the customer/provider relationship AND the employer/employee relationship. Doug Bandow writes in the Foundation for Economic Education
According to the newspapers, pharmacists throughout the United States are refusing to fill prescriptions for the “morning-after” pill and other contraceptives because of religious objections. Fortunately,we can resolve this problem without getting into the birth-control or abortion controversies. In a free society, human relationships, including commercial relationships, must grow out of the consent of all the people involved. A forced sale is theft; forced service is slavery.
The owner of a drugstore, by virtue of the nature of private property, sets the rules. If customers don’t like them, they are free to go elsewhere.They can even shop
on the Internet. Similarly, if a pharmacist-employee with convictions opposed to the morning-after pill works for someone who thinks differently, he will have to find another job if he can’t work things out with his

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No one talks to our President-Elect like that!

Like Lee, I am not a member of the Obama fan club. However, something about Al-Qaeda demeaning our President-Elect makes me want to rally around him. I feel like with some issues - like protecting America - we are all in it together. We all have a common enemy. Who knew Al-Qaeda could promote such a sense of unity?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama wants college football playoff system

Like most Americans, Obama wants a college football playoff system.

However, hopefully Obama will rely on his status and influence as a private individual and will not use government power to accomplish this. The government has no business dictating the rules of a sports association, provided that the association breaks no criminal laws. Let's hope the President and/or Congress don't see fit to be the governing body of sports.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My fear about the next four years

Despite the person I didn't vote for being elected, on the bright side, we've shown that a minority can be elected President. Not only that, but the Cato Blog notes that
all 42 of our presidents have been of British, Irish, or Germanic descent. We’ve never had a president of southern or eastern European ancestry.
So, not only is he the first black President, but he is the first one not of British, Irish, or Germanic descent.

So, on Inauguration Day many people will be celebrating, but not everyday will be happy about it. I fear that those people will look like "the bad guys" for not celebrating during a historic moment.

Also, I fear that when Obama is in power, dissent will suddenly go out of style. I haven't seen anything yet to support this, and I don't want to blame liberals for something they haven't done yet. At the same time, this blog is where I share my thoughts, and hopefully I'll be proved wrong. Throughout the whole election we have heard this theme of unity, how we need to work together, etc. These are all important things (actually working together is overrated, I'm happier when government does less), but I fear that dissent against the President will be tolerated less in the name of "unity." Granted, there are constructive and divisive ways to criticize the President, and there are divisive people in politics. I just don't want people who dissent to be labeled as people trying to tear America apart. I have this idea that people see Obama as the guy who is going to fix and save America and dissenters are those who are standing in the way of his mission. And to be fair, I suppose some liberals felt the same way the last 8 years. Unfortunately, in both camps, the respectful dissenters and the not-so-respectful dissenters get lumped together.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Some post election thoughts

Many conservative Christians, or simply Christians who didn't vote for Obama, find themselves in a different situation than the past eight years. I think certain duties of the Christian, primarily praying for the President and showing a certain amount of respect for the President, have come easy during this administration, but we must remember to do the same for the next four. Also, we need to find the line between dissent and disrespect.

As I said before the election, hopefully the GOP can gain their bearings. They have only stood for slightly less government than the Democrats. Of course, no one talks about limited government anymore, it is all about what the government can do for us. Nevertheless, it will still be interesting how the party changes the next two to four years.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted

I placed my vote this morning in Colorado. I arrived at the polling place around 7:40 and left about 9:40. My experience took about 10 minutes longer because there was a jam in the ballot box. My wife voted around 11:45 or so and did not wait in a line at all.

Even though this election will likely turn out how I don't want it to, Election Day is still exciting.

Living in a swing state (Colorado) has its advantages and disadvantages. My experience in Colorado leaves me hating campaign commercials even more. When I lived in Oklahoma and Texas, I never saw a Presidential commercial; I have seen them all the time in these past two months or so. However, I have a lot more power than the voter living in a solid red or blue state. And that is what is wrong with the Electoral College. I'm not even saying that we need to abolish the Electoral College, but have states split votes like they do in Nebraska (I think that's the one that does it). By still having some sort of Electoral College, people will still believe their vote matters, as each single electoral vote can be decided by a few votes. If we did a strict popular vote, this would be less likely to happen.

A more exciting part of voting is getting to vote on the numerous amendments, as opposed to voting on candidates. Honestly, my voting on candidates tends to be more party line. But I like voting on amendments and referendums because I do not feel like the issues are so cut and dry along party lines. Sure, the parties each have their own recommendations on certain issues (although I never did find the Republican stances for the ballot issues), but I feel like I vote more independently of the parties on these issues and my limited government ideals can come into play more. (Case in point: Republicans back Amendment 47, a right to work law, but I opposed it based on libertarian economic ideals).

Anyway, we are blessed in this country to be able to vote. If a couple hour long wait is the worst we experience, we are in good shape.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The thing about low taxes

McCain and the Republican party have talked about taxes and spending, but I don't think they have been framing the debate very well. McCain has talked about how Obama will raise taxes and how McCain will lower taxes, and of course the former thing is evil and the latter is good. I think what he and many Republicans have failed to do is to really get to the essence of why this is a good thing.

Democrats and swing voters are well aware that no one really likes to pay higher taxes, Biden's comments to the contrary.

First of all, I like the idea of lower taxes for other people making more money than myself because I think higher taxes for others affect me indirectly. I don't want to go too much into detail into the theory what more liberal people dismiss as "trickle-down" economics, but I sincerely believe that higher taxes on the rich can affect productivity, and therefore job creation for myself and for my children. Now, this argument can be taken to the extreme. Of course if we tax the rich .5%, we won't get very much tax revenue, but the same goes when we tax at 99.5%, simply because productivity would grind to a halt. So, there is an optimal point somewhere in between, and I tend to think it may be in the teens.

Secondly, though, is that I believe that the tax rate and amount of spending is a representation of how we view the role of government. If we believe in lower taxes and less spending, both in overall amount and where it goes, of course we believe that government should have a limited role.

Unfortunately, McCain and Republicans running for office in Colorado focus on the lower taxes and less spending, but they don't focus on why this is so important. As far as average voter knows, they are in the pockets of the rich people. They have focused on my first point, the productivity argument, but not so much on the idea of why limited government is a good thing. McCain did touch a little bit on this in the final debate concerning health care, but he hasn't focused on the overall principles of limited government that resonate with more voters than we realize. It seemed like Reagan did focus on this. Even though Reagan supported a sizable military, he still talked about the idea of the government leaving people alone and believing in the sweat and ingenuity of the average American person. McCain, however, is just focusing on the possible results of this, which are lower taxes and less spending, not the higher principles behind them.

Hopefully, this likely election loss for the Republican Party will help them rediscover and effectively communicate the ideals of a government that does less. Instead of pushing for lite government, they are currently pushing for Obama-lite government.