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Government Protections and the Pony Express

January 31st, 2010

A major part of the socialist platform is to protect industries that may not be feasible without government protections. Hell, one of the over 2000 federal government programs is to compensate milk producers for “lost” profits. Farmers get subsidies to “protect” their industry. GM received a very large check and transferred major chunk of ownership to the United States government to “protect” an American industry. It happens all the time. Its sad and crushes true innovation and prevents true wealth creation.
The reason I bring this up is I visited a train park in Scottsdale. A portion of the train park was a museum which dedicated a small portion of their floor space to Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse Code, a necessary precursor to the telegraph. Prior the invention of the telegraph, mail traversed the country two ways, train or pony express. If the train system did not reach your area, you were forced to use the pony express. Within a week of the country’s first transcontinental telegraph, the pony express filed for bankruptcy. Now, lets imagine federal bureaucrats wanted to protect an American industry. Retrospectively, we know this would have proved an awful idea. The Telegraph led to the telephone, which lead to the internet and all the other wonderful things modern communications offer, like this blog! Bureaucrats could have placed regulations on evil telegraph companies to prevent the destruction of the pony express. Thank god they didn’t. We need to let businesses die as they lose their competitive edge. This allows the reallocation of resources to other more fruitful tasks. Everyone wins in the long run.

1948 Cartoon

January 26th, 2010

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Illegal Immigration

January 23rd, 2010

Many of my Republican friends are very concerned with illegal immigration. They consider it an assault on what I assume to be their American culture. I hear two excuses over and over regarding immigration. The first one is,

“they are breaking the law. If they came here legally, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

First of all, its a civil offense, like speeding. Lets keep the scope of the offense within reality. We don’t like it when our government spends millions of dollars on photo radar cameras, regardless of their reason. Yet, Republicans demand we spend millions to stop illegal immigration. Republicans think if we throw more money at the problem, it will fix it. Republicans have real trouble understanding the demand-side economics of immigration, but we will get into that soon. The second excuse I hear is:

“They only come for free healthcare and welfare.”

While that may be true for some individuals, that is hardly the case generally speaking. The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants recognize that their home country, Mexico for instance, offer no means to improve their lives, or more importantly, their children’s lives. Mexico is an awful place to live, work, or just plain survive. The wages are pathetic, the government steals what little you earn, and good luck innovating in an environment where bribes speak volumes. These people spend the first half of their lifetime saving up enough money to pay “coyotes” to sneak them into the country. They spend the next half of their lifetimes saving up enough to get their families across the border. Imagine this scenario:

Life is so bad where you live, you leave your family on the chance you will be more prosperous in another country. You risk your life, your life savings, and your family’s future on the sheer chance of achieving American poverty, orders of magnitude better than Mexican poverty.

I can’t imagine leaving my son for a month on a business trip, let alone paying violent drug runners to sneak me into a country for me to mow lawns or wash dishes. Since we mention drug runners here, lets discuss their business model. Illegal immigrants pay thousands of dollars, often offering their lives as collateral, to be smuggled into the United States. These smugglers offer no guarantee of a successful trip. Their cargo, these people’s lives, will be dropped a the first sign of American authorities, abandoned in the middle of the desert. Don’t forget, this is considered orders of magnitude better than life in Mexico.

I do offer a solution. I have mentioned it before. I will mention it again. We need to open the borders and legalize drugs. Here is why. I will discuss drug legalization first. By criminalizing specific activities, you automatically attract unsavory characters to these new black markets. You attract people willing to murder others for thousands of dollars. Then, you give them markets worth millions of dollars. Its simple math at that point – thousands will die because of an arbitrary law. If that market grows to billions of dollars, that’s millions that will die. If you legalize a product of a black market, you immediately crush those black markets, making it no longer worth it to murder of illegal product distribution (drug dealing). Legalizing drugs won’t stop illegal immigration, but it will stop the violence associated with illegal immigration, which is very important to the innocent people surrounded by this mayhem. The next step is to open the border.

Now, I don’t mean kick down the fences and let anyone with a pulse through the revolving doors. My recommendation is to open an office at all major border crossings. Allow individuals to fill out a form (The Feds are great at making forms!) where they provide a thumb print. The form’s information and thumb print are sent through law enforcement databases, and the person gets a Go/No Go designation. A Go designation leads to a tax ID card and the door to the United States. A No Go designation goes to a jail cell which leads to a trial, you know those things mentioned by the Constitution that all men have (you know, rights). Simple.

Liberty is the foundation on which this country was built. Liberty knows no nationality. It knows no political party. It knows only its own morality, natural laws.

Edit: While this is an opinion piece – here are some links related my ideas.

Why Campaign Contribution Caps are the Wrong Solution

January 22nd, 2010

A recent Supreme Court ruling changed limits on campaign contributions for corporations. The media is all abuzz regarding this ruling, but are focusing on the wrong part of the issue. The media is focusing on who can contribute and how much can someone contribute? That is an easy answer. As much as they want. Here is the problem: we have created something so valuable, people and corporations are willing to contribute thousands, if not millions of dollars to coerce fellow citizens into their belief systems. These people are investing in a system.

The federal government is too powerful. A politician should not be that valuable. When we reduce the federal government’s power, people will be less willing to invest in politicians. Don’t believe me? How many people contribute millions to city council campaigns? Why? Because its not worth it.