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Posts Tagged ‘free enterprise’

The Businessman and the Holy Family – LewRockwell LewRockwell.com

Posted by M. C. on December 24, 2021

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/12/lew-rockwell/the-businessman-and-the-holy-family/

By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

At the heart of the Christmas story rests some important lessons concerning free enterprise, government, and the role of wealth in society.

Let’s begin with one of the most famous phrases: “There’s no room at the inn.” This phrase is often invoked as if it were a cruel and heartless dismissal of the tired travelers Joseph and Mary. Many renditions of the story conjure up images of the couple going from inn to inn only to have the owner barking at them to go away and slamming the door.

In fact, the inns were full to overflowing in the entire Holy Land because of the Roman emperor’s decree that everyone be counted and taxed. Inns are private businesses, and customers are their lifeblood. There would have been no reason to turn away this man of royal lineage and his beautiful, expectant bride.

In any case, the second chapter of St. Luke doesn’t say that they were continually rejected at place after place. It tells of the charity of a single inn owner, perhaps the first person they encountered, who, after all, was a businessman. His inn was full, but he offered them what he had: the stable. There is no mention that the innkeeper charged the couple even one copper coin, though given his rights as a property owner, he certainly could have.

And yet we don’t even know the innkeeper’s name. In two thousand years of celebrating Christmas, tributes today to the owner of the inn are absent. Such is the fate of the merchant throughout all history: doing well, doing good, and forgotten for his service to humanity. It’s remarkable, then, to think that when the Word was made flesh with the birth of Jesus, it was through the intercessory work of a private businessman. Without his assistance, the story would have been very different indeed. People complain about the “commercialization” of Christmas, but clearly commerce was there from the beginning, playing an essential and laudable role.

Clearly, if there was a room shortage, it was an unusual event and brought about through some sort of market distortion. After all, if there had been frequent shortages of rooms in Bethlehem, entrepreneurs would have noticed that there were profits to be made by addressing this systematic problem, and built more inns.

Moving on in the story, we come to Three Kings, also called Wise Men. Talk about a historical anomaly for both to go together! Most kings behaved like the Roman Emperor’s local enforcer, Herod. Not only did he order people to leave their homes and foot the bill for travel so that they could be taxed. Herod was also a liar: he told the Wise Men that he wanted to find Jesus so that he could “come and adore Him.” In fact, Herod wanted to kill Him. Hence, another lesson: you can’t trust a political hack to tell the truth. It was because of a government decree that Mary and Joseph, and so many others like them, were traveling in the first place. They had to be uprooted for fear of the emperor’s census workers and tax collectors. And consider the costs of slogging all the way “from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David,” not to speak of the opportunity costs Joseph endured having to leave his own business. Thus we have another lesson: government’s use of coercive dictates distort the market.

Once having found the Holy Family, what gifts did the Wise Men bring? Not soup and sandwiches, but “gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” These were the most rare items obtainable in that world in those times, and they must have commanded a very high market price.

Far from rejecting them as extravagant, the Holy Family accepted them as gifts worthy of the Divine Messiah. Neither is there a record that suggests that the Holy Family paid any capital gains tax on them, though such gifts vastly increased their net wealth. Hence, another lesson: there is nothing immoral about wealth; wealth is something to be valued, owned privately, given and exchanged.

When the Wise Men and the Holy Family got word of Herod’s plans to kill the newborn Son of God, did they submit? Not at all. The Wise Men, being wise, snubbed Herod and “went back another way” – taking their lives in their hands (Herod conducted a furious search for them later). As for Mary and Joseph, an angel advised Joseph to “take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt.” In short, they resisted. Lesson number four: the angels are on the side of those who resist government.

In the Gospel narratives, the role of private enterprise, and the evil of government power, only begin there. Jesus used commercial examples in his parables (e.g., laborers in the vineyard, the parable of the talents) and made it clear that he had come to save even such reviled sinners as tax collectors.

And just as His birth was facilitated by the owner of an “inn,” the same Greek word “kataluma” is employed to describe the location of the Last Supper before Jesus was crucified by the government. Thus, private enterprise was there from birth, through life, and to death, providing a refuge of safety and productivity, just as it has in our time.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and chairman of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com. He is the author of Against the State and Against the Left. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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The GOP Is Not Your Savior | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on June 17, 2021

Unfortunately, the answer is that the Republicans would not have saved us, and for two reasons, one historical and the other philosophical: (1) Republicans have never saved us from the bad policies and programs of Democrats, regardless of whether they had partial or total control of the government and could have done something, and (2) Republicans are philosophically not much different from Democrats, regardless of how often and how loud they recite their conservative mantra about the Constitution, the free market, limited government, federalism, traditional values, free enterprise, a balanced budget, individual freedom, free trade, and property rights.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/the-gop-is-not-your-savior/

by Laurence Vance

If Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) had not gotten sick and resigned his Senate seat, then the title of this article would have been “Will the Republicans Save Us?”

After serving in the Georgia state house and senate, Isakson served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004. He was re-elected in 2010 and 2016. Although his Senate term did not expire until January 2023, in August 2019 he announced that because of his Parkinson’s disease and other health challenges, he was resigning his Senate seat effective at the end of 2019. Under Georgia law, the governor—Brian Kemp, a Republican—was allowed to make an appointment to fill the unexpired term until the next regularly scheduled statewide election (November 3, 2020). He selected Republican Kelly Loeffler, the co-owner of the Atlanta Dream of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), who had never held political office. She assumed office in January 2020.

Under Georgia election law, all candidates for a special election, regardless of their political party, compete in a “jungle primary” where every name is on the November general election ballot. If no candidate in what is usually a crowded field receives more than 50 percent of the vote, then a runoff election is conducted in January. All told, there were twenty-one candidates—including a write-in candidate who received seven votes—most of whom received less than 1 percent of the vote. Loeffler finished second in the special election with 25.9 percent of the vote. That is why she was in the January 5 runoff election for the Senate seat she held at the time. But although Loeffler claimed to be the most conservative Republican in the Senate, and was considered to be the richest member of the Senate, she lost in the runoff election to the Democrat Raphael Warnock by the slim margin of 50.8 to 49.2 percent.

It is because of this special election that Georgia was the only state to hold two Senate elections in 2020. In the Senate, the 100 senators are divided into three classes with staggered terms. Thus, only one-third of the Senate seats are contested at any election, and never more than one Senate seat in a state. In the regular Senate race in Georgia, the incumbent Republican David Perdue—the cousin of former Georgia governor and Trump administration Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue—was seeking a second term. But as he received only 49.7 percent of the vote (47.9 percent went for Democrat Jon Ossoff and 2.3 percent went for Libertarian Shane Hazel), Georgia law required a runoff election between the top two candidates. But in the January 5 runoff election, Ossoff defeated Perdue by a margin of 50.4 to 49.6 percent.

Winning these two Georgia Senate seats is how the Democrats wrested control of the Senate from the Republicans, who had controlled the Senate since January 2015. Prior to the Georgia runoff election, there were 50 Republicans in the Senate and 48 Democrats (including the two independent members of the Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, who caucus with the Democrats). So now that the Senate is tied 50-50, the Democratic vice president, the former senator Kamala Harris, gets to cast the tie-breaking vote, effectively giving Democrats control of the Senate.

The Democrats

One-party control of the government is dangerous. Gridlock in the Congress helps prevent one party — whether Democrats or Republicans — from exercising unbridled power. Thus, even if one Georgia Senate seat had been won by a Republican, it could have stopped bad legislation proposed by Democrats from passing (assuming that all of the Senate Republicans voted together). But the reality is that life under Democratic rule will be especially dangerous to privacy, liberty, and property.

Now, we know that the Democratic Party for many years has been the party of liberalism, progressivism, collectivism, socialism, paternalism, statism, environmentalism, “social justice,” economic egalitarianism, organized labor, taxpayer-funded abortion, public education, climate change, affirmative action, welfare, higher taxes on the “rich,” universal single-payer health care, increased government regulation of the economy and society, increased government spending, larger and more-intrusive government, and assorted income-transfer programs and wealth-redistribution schemes. The Democratic solution to every problem, injustice, or crisis — real, imaginary, or contrived—is invariably more government, more government intervention, or more government money.

The Democratic Party is not just going to pick up where it left off at the end of the Obama administration. Democrats in Congress will stop at nothing to achieve their agenda. The Democratic Party of today is even more radical than it was twelve years ago during the first two years of Obama’s first term, which was the last time that Democrats had total control of the federal government (House, Senate, presidency).

What’s On the Table

In an episode of “The Libertarian Angle” recorded just two days after the Electoral College vote was certified, Future of Freedom Foundation president Jacob Hornberger and Citadel professor Richard Ebeling examined the question of life under Democratic control and it was not a pretty picture they painted. According to Hornberger and Ebeling, we are going to see massive increases in federal spending, and the debt ceiling rendered totally irrelevant; massive foreign intervention, since Biden is essentially owned by the national-security state; increased focus on official enemies, expansion of the role of the military in American life, expansion of the welfare state, the revitalization of Obamacare, the attempt to implement a full-fledged government health-care system, and the expansion of the war on drugs (a war that Biden supported when he was vice president and Harris supported as a prosecutor); increased federal regulations, massive welfare-state socialism, a more centrally planned economy, massive debauchery of the currency, tax increases, increased anti-trust enforcement, a national increase in the minimum wage, elements of the “green new deal,” and emphasis on equality of outcomes and proportional representation of minorities in all groups; and more money creation by the Fed, increased inflation, wage and price controls to combat inflation, and a more interventionist foreign policy. They concluded that under a Biden administration, everything is on the table that could be a danger to our liberty, privacy, income, wealth, property, and freedom in the marketplace.

To this we can certainly add increased deficit spending, further increases in the national debt, unrestricted funding for Planned Parenthood, loosened restrictions on taxpayer-funded abortions, increased enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, expanded gun-control laws, a federal family-leave policy, government-funded child care, increased resources devoted to fighting climate change, increased violation of privacy and civil liberties in response to the coronavirus, fewer welfare-work requirements, and increased promotion of the transgender movement.

On the basis of statements in the 2020 Democratic Party platform, the recommendations in the “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations,” and statements from Biden himself, we can also look forward to extended unemployment benefits, a $15 per hour minimum wage, and more-generous refundable tax credits that give even more Americans tax refunds of money that they never paid in; increased funding for food stamps, WIC, and school-meal programs; greater “investment” in mass transit and transportation public-works projects, “fair” trade policies and deals, expanded farm and housing subsidies, a national goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings and vehicles, and “environmental justice”; increases in corporate tax rates, aggressive attempts to increase the supply of “affordable” housing, increased government efforts to close the racial wealth gap, increased spending on K-12 education, tuition-free college, increased federal education grants, extended student-loan payment suspension, and student-debt relief; and making Washington, D.C., the 51st state, an increased push for a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, the ending of cash bail, the passing of an Equal Rights Amendment, increased condemnation of “hate speech,” the reauthorization and expansion of the Violence Against Women Act, the securing of equal pay for women, and increased funding for arts and culture.

The Republicans

Read the rest here

This article was originally featured at the Future of Freedom Foundation

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-SpaceX’s success is one giant leap for capitalism

Posted by M. C. on June 6, 2020

Private-sector innovation is opening the door to a new era of space exploration. Wouldn’t it be ironic if, just as capitalism is allowing us to explore the farthest reaches of our solar system, Americans decided to embrace socialism back here on Earth?
http://tinyurl.com/yaae68gx

It was one small step for man, one giant leap for capitalism.

Only three countries have ever launched human beings into orbit. This past weekend, SpaceX became the first private company ever to do so, when it sent its Crew Dragon capsule into space aboard its Falcon 9 rocket and docked with the International Space Station. This was accomplished by a company Elon Musk started in 2002 in a California strip mall warehouse with just a dozen employees and a mariachi band.

At a time when our nation is debating the merits of socialism, SpaceX has given us an incredible testament to the power of American free enterprise.

While the left is advocating unprecedented government intervention in almost every sector of the U.S. economy, from health care to energy, today Americans are celebrating the successful privatization of space travel.

If you want to see the difference between what government and private enterprise can do, consider: It took a private company to give us the first space vehicle with touchscreen controls instead of antiquated knobs and buttons. It took a private company to give us a capsule that can fly entirely autonomously from launch to landing — including docking — without any participation by its human crew. It also took a private company to invent a reusable rocket that can not only take off but land as well. When the Apollo 11 crew reached the moon on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong declared “the Eagle has landed.” On Saturday, SpaceX was able to declare that the Falcon had landed when its rocket settled down on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean — ready to be used again.

That last development will save the taxpayers incredible amounts of money. The cost to NASA for launching a man into space on the space shuttle orbiter was $170 million per seat, compared with just $60 million to $67 million on the Dragon capsule. The cost for the space shuttle to send a kilogram of cargo into space was $54,500; with the Falcon rocket, the cost is just $2,720 — a decrease of 95%. And while the space shuttle cost $27.4 billion to develop, the Crew Dragon was designed and built for just $1.7 billion — making it the lowest-cost spacecraft developed in six decades. SpaceX did it in six years — far faster than the time it took to develop the space shuttle.

The private sector does it better, cheaper, faster and more efficiently than government. Why? Competition. Today, SpaceX has to compete with a constellation of private companies — including legacy aerospace firms such as Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance and innovative startups such as Blue Origin (which is designing a Mars lander and whose owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns The Washington Post) and Virgin Orbit (which is developing rockets than can launch satellites into space from the underside of a 747, avoiding the kinds of weather that delayed the Dragon launch). In the race to put the first privately launched man into orbit, upstart SpaceX had to beat aerospace behemoth Boeing and its Starliner capsule to the punch. It did so — for more than $1 billion less than its competitor.

That spirit of competition and innovation will revolutionize space travel in the years ahead. Indeed, Musk has his sights set far beyond Earth orbit.

Already, SpaceX is working on a much larger version of the Falcon 9 reusable rocket called Super Heavy that will carry a deepspace capsule named Starship capable of carrying up to 100 people to the moon and eventually to Mars. Musk’s goal — the reason he founded SpaceX — is to colonize Mars and make humanity a multiplanetary species. He has set a goal of founding a millionperson city on Mars by 2050 complete with iron foundries and pizza joints.

Can it be done? Who knows. But this much is certain: Private-sector innovation is opening the door to a new era of space exploration. Wouldn’t it be ironic if, just as capitalism is allowing us to explore the farthest reaches of our solar system, Americans decided to embrace socialism back here on Earth?

Marc A. Thiessen is a Washington Post columnist. Contact him on Twitter, @marcthiessen.

Marc Thiessen

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Stop Trying to Make Coal Great Again

Posted by M. C. on June 7, 2019

It is shocking to see a Walter Block byline in the NYT.

And they aren’t ripping Walter a new one!

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/opinion/trump-coal.html

By Walter E. Block

Should rowboats be made out of plastic, wood or metal? Should restaurants feature red, white, blue or no tablecloths at all? What proportion of loafers, sneakers, high heels and regular shoes should the footwear industry offer us?

For Republicans who favor free enterprise, the answer to all of these questions would be: Leave it to market forces. If, somehow, entrepreneurs get the proportions wrong, the profit and loss system can be relied upon to correct the imbalances. As a libertarian, anti-tax, anti-regulation, free-market economist, this is the approach I favor.

One would think that Republicans would apply this same logic to our fuel industry. In their view, government has a legitimate role to play in ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants or even windmills. But it should not favor, or oppose, nuclear power, gas, oil, coal, wind, water, solar, or any other source of energy over any other.

Why then does President Trump keep trying to prop up coal at the expense of alternative energy sources?

For the first time, as predicted by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, in April renewables generated more electricity than power plants fueled by what was once called “King Coal.”Yet since he entered office, Mr. Trump has attempted to subsidize coal and protect it from competition, declaring that his administration has “ended the war on beautiful, clean coal.”…

So far, little has come from all these initiatives, which mostly remain proposals. But if Mr. Trump appreciates economic freedom as much as he claims, he should realize that the best way to promote prosperity, not only for consumers but also for workers, is not to try to “pick winners.” Let the market decide.

 

The problem for him is that the market is moving away from coal. By 2016, American reliance on coal had dipped to 30 percent of total electric energy expenditure, from about 50 percent in 2000. In contrast, natural gas and even wind, solar and water power are becoming less expensive, and will likely take on a greater share of the overall energy industry.

In 2015, coal consumption used for electricity fell 29 percent from its peak in 2007 — a trend that has continued. Meanwhile, according to a 2018 report from the International Energy Agency, “the share of renewables in meeting global energy demand is expected to grow by one-fifth” in the next five years.

Given the clear evidence of where the energy market is heading, the president’s insistence on protecting coal feels uncomfortably like crony capitalism…

 

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Ronald Reagan once said... #Terrifying | Infographics ...

 

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The Tyranny of Conservatism – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/03/laurence-m-vance/the-tyranny-of-conservatism/

By

Conservatives say they believe in the Constitution, limited government, federalism, free enterprise, individual freedom, private property, and the free market. But, of course, this means absolutely nothing since they say they believe in these things even when their actions show that they don’t believe in any of them.

Consider the drug war.

Does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a war on drugs? Of course not. But that doesn’t stop conservatives from supporting the DEA and the federal drug war.

Is a government limited to reasonable defense, judicial, and policing activities compatible with government interest in the eating, drinking, smoking, medical, and recreational habits of Americans? Of course not. The only limited government that conservatives seek is one limited to control by conservatives.

Do conservatives believe that all drug polices should be instituted on the state level and that the federal government should have nothing to do with prohibiting or regulating drugs? Of course not. Conservatives only believe in federalism when the federal government does something they don’t like.

Do conservatives believe that free enterprise includes the freedom to buy and sell drugs? Of course not. They want the government to prohibit people from peacefully buying and selling drugs. Read the rest of this entry »

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