Friday, January 27, 2012

Tim Thomas, American Hero...

As a father of three kids - two of whom are home-school students - I have a vested interest in exposing them to unique examples of American courage.  Sometimes the courage shows up in the form of a soldier doing remarkable things for his country.  Sometimes it is a common citizen fighting an eminent domain taking of her property.  And sometimes it takes place on a big stage where millions of Americans get to analyze and comment on the actions of another.

Enter Tim Thomas, the goalie for the NHL's Boston Bruins.

In case you missed it, The Boston Bruins visited President Obama at the White House a few days ago where he honored the team for winning the 2010-11 Stanley Cup.  Not attending was Mr. Thomas who said,

"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threating the Rights, Liberties and Property of the People.  This is being done at the Executive, Legislative and Judicial level.  This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal Government.  Because I believe this, today I excercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House.  This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country.  This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL."

Of course, liberals and other intellectually-challenged Americans who know little and care even less about what Mr. Thomas is referring to are now engaged in Facebook, Twitter and other public formats to point out how he is going against "tradition" and is "disrepecting" the President.  Others claim that since he makes $5 million per year he "owes" his employer his spot in a White House photo. 

George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel argued that no one is seizing his property or violating his rights so he should just go to the White House and stop being a hypocrite.  I guess Mr. Diaz has never heard about progressive income taxation....

I would like to ask Thomas's critics the following: 

In the name of "tradition" should Americans have continued to subject their lives to the rule of Kings?  Should black Americans, in the name of the Jim Crow "tradition" gone along with segregation?  Should women, in the name of "tradition" stayed in the kitchen?

Yeah, yeah, I know going to the White House with your teammates does not compare to Jim Crow laws or discrimination against women.  BUT, going along with ANYTHING you do not believe in just because of tradition is a violation of the principle of liberty - a principle that Mr. Thomas should have been applauded for having the guts to excercise.

As for disrepecting the President.  Does the President respect us?  Do any of you see the arrogance of this man as he tells us how government can use our money better than us and how "all Americans know" that the rich don't pay enough in taxes and that all of us should be forced to buy health care or face a fine and/or jail? 

Mr. Thomas, in the tradition of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson simply did what more Americans need to do.  He stood up for freedom in an unpopular way in order to help educate the rest of us that a photo with the President means NOTHING when our President is championing the fight to rid this nation of all that we were meant to be.

Friday, January 20, 2012

President Obama discovers Economics

Our President arrived in Disney World yesterday to announce a new plan to bolster tourism in the United States.  His plan calls for streamlining and shortening the process visitors from places like Brazil and China have to go through in order to bring their money to our shores.

In his speech President Obama said, "People want to come here.  So this is what it's all about: telling the world that America is open for business."  He went on to add, "The more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work.  It's that simple."

Amen, Mr. President, and congratulations for this rare display of sound economic reasoning.  You are 100% correct in your view of the role of tourism in our economy.

Now, if I may help you a little more since you did not bother to stop off at my office yesterday for a visit...

Mr. President, you need to ask yourself why so many more Chinese and Brazilians are able to get over here and visit the Magic Kingdom.  Afterall, that takes some serious money to afford a vacation in Orlando. 

The money has to come from greater economic opportunities in Brazil and China.  Greater economic opportunity in Brazil and China has come from rising levels of economic freedom in those nations.  Rising levels of economic freedom has been born out of lower taxes, fewer regulations and greater protection of private property rights.  Those policies came from a fundamental shift in government's view of its relationship with the people and businesses in Brazil and China.

Mr. President, Americans would like to go to Orlando or the Grand Canyon or New York City too.  In order to do that, we need more money.  More money means we have more jobs, etc. etc.

All you have to do today is announce that you are going to pursue the same pro-business, pro-taxpayer policies other nations have pursued and you will not only reap the benefits of foreign tourism, but the American people - whom you have the first obligation to - will be able to enjoy more vacations too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ode to a Pine Tree

I arrived at work today to find that the view from my office has been destroyed by "progress".  Specifically, a big swath of forest on Valencia property was destroyed - including one of the biggest and prettiest pine trees I have ever seen - so that another building can be built. 

Before any of you faint at the prospect that I have become a member of Green Peace or am connected by DNA or poor-reasoning skills to Albert Gore, please don't fret.  I still believe in capitalism, property rights and progress.

I do not believe in destroying trees in the name of tradition.

What I mean by that is simple.  Every area of our lives - when it comes to supply and demand - has found a way to meet up over the Internet.  We can buy virtually anything online, any time of the day.  Yet, when it comes to education, the suppliers still think that the demanders must be forced to meet at a specific time and place as if we all have the same monetary value of time.

Think about it.  Once this new building goes in students will be told, "Go to building ten on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00-2:15PM to consume this class."  That student can buy underwear from someone in the Ukraine at 3:18 in the morning and never meet or speak to the seller.  Why couldn't that student learn most subjects in the same manner?

I currently teach 3 "live" classes and 5 online classes.  Some of the best students I have ever had never met me or heard me teach live.  They use online lectures by me and people who are better than me in some areas, online discussions, websites and a book that can be purchased online, and do just fine.

When they have questions they email me or call me - and no pine trees die in the process.

I realize much of what we do in education is done better (cooking classes, for example) when it is done "on site", yet I cannot help believe that if we would just embrace what the computer and cyber-space geniuses have given us we could teach more students - effectively - when and where they want to learn - and in the process keep alive trees that have managed to survive everything but "tradition."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rome...circa 2012 (from the January 17, 2012 Orlando Sentinel)

Last month I traveled to my hometown in Southeastern Oklahoma to visit with old friends and friends of my family. While I was there I had the honor of spending time with a 94-year old gentlemen who used to raise bees on my family's land back in the 1970s. In my youth he represented all that was good about small-town America. "Joe" was a gentle giant of a man, full of good humor, kindness, humility and wonderful stories.
However, he was never willing to tell any stories about his time spent in Europe during World War II. It did not help matters much that when I was in elementary school I once asked him if he ever killed anyone during that war.

This visit proved to be very different. He told me and my family how he had served in General George Patton's Third Army and what it was like to race across all of Europe fighting against German resistance. He mentioned that he was paid $21 per month for the more than four years he spent in the Army and that he could not believe that he never got a scratch while so many of his friends never got to see their wives and children again.

Two weeks later - back in my college economics classes - I handed out an essay question to 137 students that asked them if they would be willing to support a law that BANNED THE RIGHT TO OWN PROPERTY and imposed heavy, progressive income taxes on people in order to bring about a reduction in poverty and "greater sense of community".

Some of my students recognized that the wording of much of this question came directly from The Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848. These students eloquently pointed out the severe and dangerous consequences of abolishing property rights and punishing productive human beings with the tax code.

Yet, 28% of my students - college students who are supposedly studying in order to earn more income and acquire property later on - wrote that they would support, enthusiastically in some cases, the elimination of the right to property for Americans and far greater taxation.

If almost three in ten college students support such severe measures in order to impose equality on all of us, one can only imagine what the rest of the population of citizens - many of whom are far less educated - might support.

This week I spent most of day two of my classes reading to my students the story of the Fall of the Roman Empire. Many were astounded to hear about the source of Rome's wealth - free trade, modest taxation and private property rights. Equally surprising to many was the progression towards a massive welfare state, rising taxes, onerous regulations and the wildly out of control creation of money to pay for Rome's expansion of plunder.

I sincerely hope that in the weeks to come they will come around to a greater understanding of the concepts of free markets, the dangers of the Welfare State and the historical proofs of the superiority of liberty over the tyranny that comes from the good intentions of elected officials.

Before I left the home of the World War II veteran he said to me and my family that "some things are about to happen to the United States that the American people are not going to believe."

I could see the concern and sadness in his eyes as he said this. I can only imagine what it must be like to be part of the last generation of Americans who had to lay their lives on the line for the liberties this nation enjoys only to see the gift they gave us fading away.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Australia and Property Rights

For the year 2011 The Heritage Foundation has Australia ranked in the top 5 in economic freedom with a property rights score of 90.  Please watch this video and join me in contacting the Heritage Foundation so that this issue can properly be considered in ranking Australia where it belongs.

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 20, 2017

Now that Rick Santorum has become the Republican's Presidential wannabe of the week, it is clear that President Obama will be re-elected in November.  I have got to believe that somewhere in the White House, laughter and knee-slapping is echoing past the portraits of former presidents.

We have gone from Michelle Bachmann winning the straw-poll in Iowa last summer to Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and now Santorum being the gal or guy who can really, really lead us back to the 1980s.  To quote the wise NFL analysts on ESPN......."Come on, man."

Everytime someone I know asks me to register as a Republican  - so I can at least vote in the Florida primaries I just chuckle and say, "Now why exactly would I want to do that?"  Why would I throw my support to a party that has just picked a guy who voted with Bush to shove trillions of our dollars into prescription drug benefits for senior citizens and whose platform is largely based on imposing morality - Republican morality that is - on all of us sinners? 

James Madison once said, "If men were angels there would be no need for government."  However, he understood that government cannot make men angels.

Today, Republicans believe government can create angels.  This is how we got "Compassionate Conservatism" under George W. Bush and a "Kinder, Gentler America" under George H.W. Bush.  All of this taxpayer-financed kindness and compassion has gutted the Reagan Revolution, made Bill Clinton look like Barry Goldwater and has launched us right into the Obama years - years that will be looked back upon as the acceleration of the beginning of the end.

I will repeat here that Ron Paul remains a voice in the wilderness, but that voice fails the American Idol standard for picking presidents and is also drowned out by radical Libertarianism that the American people do not want.

Pragmatic Libertarianism disguised as Reagan/Goldwater Conservatism will have to be wrapped up in a pretty face and nice fitting suit in order to reverse the Bush/Obama Plague.

That means that we will have to wait for Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio to run.

That means 2016.

That means Obama gets to "finish" what Republican Socialism started.