Tag Archives: big government

The folly of ‘banning’

A great post yesterday from When Falls the Coliseum on banning drinking games for children to keep them from drinking.

Because most of the kids playing beer pong and quarters and asshole are certainly buying drinking game sets and not just playing drinking games. And once they can’t buy the sets, there’s no way they’ll play beer pong, which requires obscure items like cups and a ping-pong table. And there’s no way they’ll play quarters, unless they can somehow get their hands on a quarter. And playing asshole is out of the question, because only the rich kids have a deck of cards.

My only additional comment:  While pretty much anyone can see how remarkably stupid this legislation is, we continue to support the use of force to ban any number of other things, also quite stupidly.

Link via Reason


To those who want to give the government more power and control

I suggest you read this.

Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.

Horrifying.  Ought to be enough, but probably isn’t.

Via Radley Balko

Failed Policies

After all the talk of the failed policies of the Bush administration (with which I nearly completely agree), as one would expect from the government, the solution is to do more of it.

Pay attention, now.

I’ve already suggested you plan to pay for your own health care.  This weeks good news notwithstanding, Congress is a big fan of taking control of things, and healthcare is one of those things they are after.  Might not be this year, but it might be in your lifetime.  If I’m wrong, you’ll be sitting on a pile of money later in life, not a bad thing.

Well, maybe not a bad thing.

Ron Holland suggests you also prepare for the government to take control of your 401k.  I heard a bit about this, but didn’t have a chance to blog about it, so I’ll just give you what Ron said:

Each year, the government will put $600 into a Guaranteed Retirement Account for you and every other working person in America. If $600 amounts to more than 5% of your annual compensation (if you earn more than $12,000) you will be required to contribute 5% of your total annual compensation to the GRA. The Feds will promise to pay a 3% “inflation adjusted return” on each GRA, based on the government’s Consumer Price Index. When you retire, you receive a portion of the account each month. Then — get this — when you die, your heirs receive only 50% of what’s in your GRA. The rest goes to Uncle Sam. Remember, this is the good news!


Following the introduction of Guaranteed Retirement Accounts, the next step will be to cap the tax deduction for annual contributions to existing private retirement plans at 5,000. (Many Americans will support this, given the hostility to the well-publicized Wall Street mega-bonuses and retirement plans.) Next will be a tax on every retirement plan’s income, to provide an immediate flow of revenue to the Feds. Finally, there would be a prohibition on buying any non-U.S. investment for any retirement plan.

He goes on to describe the scenarios required to get something like this into law (a significant event like a terrorist attack), and how it would be implemented.  Given there was serious talk of this kind of action in the news, I wouldn’t be too quick to write the idea off as just a conspiracy theory.

I’m not saying you should stop using a 401k, but I am saying you might want to plan your retirement using a variety of tools, not just a 401k.  I certainly do.

Lots of people don’t trust the government!

A recent poll shows 20% of the population may not fill out the Census form this year.  Of those, about 25% say it’s because they don’t trust the government.

Asked why they were unlikely to participate, more than half said it was because they were too busy, not interested or weren’t familiar with the census. One-fourth cited distrust of government or concerns about privacy.

Nearly one-third said they believe the data could be used to locate illegal immigrants or said they weren’t certain if it could. Census director Robert Groves has repeatedly said the information would be kept confidential.

While the theme of this article focuses on those who won’t comply because they are unaware of the census, I think it’s important to note how many people don’t trust the government.  I happen to think this is a good thing, perhaps as more people hold this view, we’ll be better off.

They also don’t address those of us who will answer the question “how many people live in your house”, which is the one the Constitution says the government can ask me, but will not answer any additional questions (like age, sex, race, or how many toilets.)  I’d like to know that, as I’m one of those people.

Decision on Massachusetts wine law could change the wine world

A Federal Appeals Court has ruled that the current law in Massachusetts limiting wine shipments directly to consumers from out of state is unconstitutional.

A Massachusetts law that sharply restricts out-of-state winemakers from shipping their products directly to consumers in the state is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled.

Thursday’s decision by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court ruling could open the door for connoisseurs in Massachusetts to purchase more of their favorite wines online or by mail order from domestic producers.

The law, approved by the Legislature in 2006 over the veto of then-Gov. Mitt Romney, created a multi-tiered system in which wineries that produce more than 30,000 gallons a year must decide whether to sell retail in Massachusetts through an in-state wholesaler or apply for a license to ship wines directly to consumers. They cannot, however, do both.

The cap does not affect any of the nearly three dozen wineries based in Massachusetts, all of which are small and produce under the 30,000-gallon limit.

“We hold that (the law) violates the Commerce Clause because the effect of its particular gallonage cap is to change the competitive balance between in-state and out-of-state wineries in a way that benefits Massachusetts’s wineries and significantly burdens out-of-state competitors,” the appellate court wrote in its decision.

It seems to me this could have far-reaching effects in several states, as it isn’t much of a jump to go from this decision to any restrictions on wine shipments. There’s some confusion in the Constitution, the Commerce Clause and 14th amendment would make you lean towards agreeing that limiting interstate wine shipments is unconstitutional. On the other hand, the 21st amendment appears to give pretty broad power to the states, although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Granholm vs Heald that power was not as broad as one might think, and did not override the Commerce Clause.

As a wine lover, I certainly hope this trend continues, and that the 15 states that ban direct shipments will soon have to reconsider their limits on our right to buy goods across state lines in the United States.

Crossposted at The Grand Crew

Money well spent

Seriously, I’m paying for this?

Just wonderful.

Clean it up yourself, Arnold

California got itself into this mess, California should get itself out.  I shouldn’t have to (yet again) pay for someone elses’ poor decisions, and neither should you.

Facing a budget deficit of more than $20 billion, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to call for deep reductions in already suffering local mass transit programs, renew his push to expand oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast and appeal to Washington for billions of dollars in federal help, according to state officials and lobbyists familiar with the plan.

If Washington does not provide roughly $8 billion in new aid for the state, the governor threatens to severely cut back — if not eliminate — CalWORKS, the state’s main welfare program; the In-Home Health Care Services program for the disabled and elderly poor, and two tax breaks for large corporations recently approved by the Legislature, the officials said.

Then cut them.  Y’all wanted your big government utopia, you got it, and now you want another big government to come bail you out because it didn’t actually work.  If it worked, there would be no poor people in California.

The governor and lawmakers have already had to close shortfalls this year totaling $60 billion, as tax revenues plummeted at rates not seen in California since the Great Depression. Amid the continuing budget crisis, the state ran short of cash needed to cover its bills and was forced to issue IOUs over the summer.

Activists were particularly alarmed by the potential cuts to social service programs, which have taken big hits recently.

“Families are struggling, we have an incredibly high unemployment rate, and we can’t afford to cut these programs any more,” said Nancy Berlin, director of California Partnership, a statewide coalition of advocates for the poor based in Los Angeles. “Sacramento has got to pull it together and find another way out of this. They can’t take more from low-income families. If they do, we will find more people on the streets.”

Take more?  No, what you are asking is to take more from me.  I didn’t have anything to do with the failure in California.

A Reminder

Republicans aren’t any better about being hypocrites than Democrats, and they all love the state, they just disagree on how to (ab)use it’s power.

According to the organization’s records, Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006. The farm had been managed by Bachmann’s recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized—or “socialized”—businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls. These subsidies are at the heart of America’s bizarre planned agricultural economy and as far away from Michele Bachmann’s free-market dream world as Cuba’s free medical system.


Chuck Grassley, the longtime Republican senator from Iowa who warns his constituents of Obama’s “trend toward socialism,” has seen his family collect $1 million in federal handouts over an 11-year period, with Grassley’s son receiving $699,248 and the senator himself pocketing $238,974. Even Grassley’s grandson is learning to ride through life on training wheels, snagging $5,964 in 2005 and $2,363 in 2006. In the Grassley family they learn early how to enjoy other people’s money.

They conclude, more or less rightfully

Farm subsidies have become so corrupt that payments sometimes go to dead people for years. Federal farm subsidies, which were originally meant to help struggling farmers survive, are now little more than taxpayer robbery, taking taxpayer wealth from working Americans and sending it to the have-mores. According to 11 years’ worth of Environmental Working Group data that tracks $200 billion in subsidies, the wealthiest 10 percent of “farmers” have collected 75 percent of the money. That’s exactly the kind of socialism that Rep. Bachmann and her elite ilk like.

The lesson here isn’t that we should be doing more of this to help “the poor”, it is that no matter which of the two major parties, they are all in this for power and to get their hands on your stuff so they can give it to someone they decide is more deserving.  Because they can.  The only way to eliminate this behavior on both sides is to take the power of redistribution away from all of them; not as this article seems to suggest, give them even more power.

Yet voters keep thinking if only they could get the right guy in office, there will be Change ™.  Looks like folks are starting to figure out that’s not so.

Hat tip to Hit and Run

Good Grief

This is not satire.


%d bloggers like this: