Thursday, February 7, 2019

Why Can't We Just End NEVER-AUTHORIZED Prohibition, Already?

Holy gorram hell, I'm so tired of fighting these fractious, presumptuous, obstinate, insubordinate, rule-of-law-resistive assholes. This was the opposition to (effectively "merely", given the regulatory state to remain) dialing back neo-prohibition: recalcitrant "servant" (yet entirely self-serving, and on the clock, thankyouverymuch) enforcers -- who should have no official positions other than those given to them by their employers (that's you, madam taxpayer) -- and nanny-state prohibitionists -- about whose opinions regarding my rights over my own body I could not possibly care less, even were I paid handsomely to do so (but if and when I do care what they think, I will pay them for their advice) -- and children whose perverse and troubling-to-a-free-society understanding of Constitutionally protected inalienable rights and the intended purpose of this limited servant government can only be explained, it seems, by the interest-conflicted indoctrination inflicted by government schools (get them out...!!!). So in other words, pretty much business as usual.

Don't accept the bullshit. The bill doesn't legalize "under-age use" (but the kids can still go die in the regime's undeclared elective wars of empire, and everybody's in agreement they can easily get it now, so...) nor "DUI" by anybody, nor does it somehow empower black markets (which are caused by fiat prohibitions of market-demanded goods and services, y'see -- and the passage of the 21st Amendment, repealing the delegated authority for the only nominally lawful, if nevertheless also foolish, substance prohibition in this country, is proof that we'd actually learned that painful lesson once upon a time). The "gateway effect" is but a gateway to that thus-enabled black market, and thereby prohibition, if we're being, y'know, honest, undermines itself. Indeed, the "forbidden fruit effect" is suggesting that youth use goes down when adults manage to regain their rights from servant governments operating entirely above their delegated pay grade. Despite so much prohibition surrounding their production for so long, too, the growing statistics simply don't support the hysterically prophesied increases in all manner of terrible things (like, say, overdose deaths). But even if they did, liberty, however, does support -- does demand -- respect for self-ownership. And ostensibly, this society was founded on respecting and protecting such individual liberty.

And contrary to the up-ended, progress-oppositional "conservatism" message of the defiantly entrenched self-ownership-averse prohibitionists, "Live free or die" NH's recalcitrant "servant" government has had many opportunities to "lead" on this issue in an actually productive and liberty-friendly manner, to simply accept the demonstrated will of their employers, the people, now approaching three-quarters of whom want an end to this madness (but whom do they think they are, right?). Starting just in the last decade, we've seen 2008's HB1567, or 2010's HB1652 (video here and here), or 2012's HB1705 (video here and here), or 2013's HB337 (video here and here), or 2014's HB492 (video here and here and here and here and here), or 2016's HB1610, HB1694 or HB1675, or 2018's HB656 (video here and here and here) or SB233 (video here), or 2019's still-to-come companion HB722.

The People -- the boss in this here shop, and overwhelmingly in favor of ending this unauthorized and horrifically expensive (in blood, treasure and liberty) social-engineering experiment -- have been trying to lead their government, their servants, but have ultimately met defiant resistance at every turn.

While with the aforementioned HB492, the NH House became, in point of fact, the first legislative body in the country to approve the end of cannabis prohibition, sadly our "Democratic" governor at the time preferred conservative reactionism and the status quo to "leading". And the oligarchs in the NH Senate were more than happy to have her back in the unauthorized-to-them-to-begin-with "War on People Who Use (Some) Drugs"™. And so today NH is an island of prohibition in the northeast, entirely surrounded by the more enlightened, more liberty-friendly, more responsive, more obedient jurisdictions of Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and Canada. Yep. Mighty proud...

So. This day, 2/5/2019, the NH House Criminal Justice Committee gets its latest shot at restoring some semblance of limited government (it's bad enough that we're looking at yet another over-regulated government monopoly rather than true free-market competition, the unique driving metric of which is satisfying customers, rather than cronies), with HB481, "relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor" (which nonsense title is the type that prompted the absurdist question posed in a previous post, "how much will ending prohibition cost?" -- 'cuz simply stopping what you're not allowed to do in the first place shouldn't cost anything!).

The legislative-majority Democrats now actually have "legalization" in their platform -- what took so long, "liberals"? -- but now we have a GOP governor obsessed with placating the (also servant, if we really need the reminder) police state and "Incarceration Nation". So keep your cards and letters and phone calls coming, free people -- both to your "representatives", such as they are, and to the corner office...

Press



Friday, February 1, 2019

"It is an income tax ... right there in black and white"

"... plain and simple. Page two, line 35 ...  Why must the government tell workers: 'this is the benefit you must pay for'? That is not a choice." They've "fixed" the "problem" in last year's bill: no more "opt-out". Simple coercion. Brilliant...!

All your contract are belong to us, youbetcha.

The quotes above are NH Senate Minority Leader Chuck Morse, from his testimony on SB1, "relative to family and medical leave", before the NH Senate Finance Committee, 1/29/2019. The video below leads off with a snippet from the very end, because I suspect it won't find its way into the official recordings (in addition to the now-standard (but still hit-or-miss) Senate committee audio recording, they live-streamed this hearing to Facebook for the first time), and I found it surprisingly rude. Uncollegial, even. The "space cadet" Chair Lou D’Allesandro disrespectfully references is Richard Lavers, Deputy Commissioner of the NH Dept of Employment Security, the state bureaucracy that would be tasked with administering this new government "beneficence" (with other people's money and contracts, naturally).

At about the 3:14:00 mark, Lavers presents the committee -- in response to committee questions, even -- with inconvenient facts and figures, the nuts and bolts and processes of implementation (repeating his similar duty at last year's hearing). In other words, he spoke to the content of the bill, as D'Allesandro claims to want at the end. But don't bother Chairman Lou with facts and figures when he's on a crusade. Damn eggheads, trying to confuse his subjects, spoil all his fun. Pay no attention to those mean old numbers and processes, children. Go back to sleep...

Testimony this year is happily willing to concede that this is, in fact, a subsidy -- although they get testy when it's directly put to them as such. An insurance attorney -- whose firm supplies this coverage right now, but would, believe it or not, just love a larger captive market, thankyouverymuch -- is downright giddy that "participation" would be coerced. A representative from a small business that proudly acknowledges -- leads with it, in fact -- the competitive advantage that offering such coverage affords them in the competitive market for labor -- it's good for their business -- yet nevertheless demands that government kill their profitable advantage in attracting and keeping the best employees. Relentless tales of people who experienced financial calamities because they'd chosen to not purchase insurance, now asking government to protect others from themselves by forcing them to buy insurance. We are told that, literally, "the future of our world" now rests on coerced paid family leave. I kid you not. But the construction unions are opposed. How 'bout that...

Otherwise, I say about everything else I want to say -- and here's a shock: it's all still relevant -- in the extended post on last year's first-crack ("government-solutions addiction", get it?) HB628, reposted below the video.

Press



Here's most of the text from last year's post (go here for the video, if you dare):
"Family Leave Bill is Tax on Income" 
That's the assessment of the Coalition of NH Taxpayers. But let's start here, though, 'cuz since financials bore me to tears, I rarely have a natural opportunity to focus on this shit.

Theft (noun): taking without the owner's consent.

Is that, by itself, a fair, unbiased, unprovocative, nonpartisan definition? I believe it is. It doesn't matter a lick what the thief intends to do with his newly acquired property. If the owner didn't consent, then it's theft. And in my definition of a free society, theft is unlawful. Rude. Frowned upon, even. Property rights are respected and upheld, regardless of the identity of the thief. Yes, even regardless of whether or not the thief has been "democratically elected." That is, in fact, what we believe is, self-evidently, the purpose for instituting a government.

Taxation is theft perpetrated by government, as your representative, in your name. And just as capos worked for, and were accountable to, Al Capone, your respective government representatives work for you. You are the "top capo" in this legal mafia. And thus you are responsible for the crime -- like theft -- that they commit which you condone (if, of course, you do so) simply because you happen to like what they propose to do with the stolen property -- your neighbors' property, that they quite possibly don't consent to surrender (which is why the IRS has so many guns). Either you (perhaps grudgingly) recognize this basic truism, or cognitive dissonance is about to make your head explode.

HB628, heard here before the NH House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, 1/16/2018, would set up yet another force-funded government entitlement that's nevertheless already available in the competitive (to the extent government "allows" it to be, of course) private sector.

For the moment, at least, a convoluted so-called "opt-out" provision is beneficently included, but privacy professional Rep Jess Edwards, starting at about 1:14:00, asserts that the Federal Trade Commission would characterize it as "unethical" and "an unfair and deceptive trade practice" -- were government to be actually held accountable to the rules it imperiously imposes on its employers, of course (hey, how terribly convenient that government doesn't hold itself to, well, even the standard standards, eh...?).

Except, even with the uniquely arduous, and shady (and precariously tenuous, to be sure) opt-out provision, the scheme won't generate enough theft to cover this bill's centrally-planned "utopia" -- per government's own testimony. Here's the "money shot," immediately following Rep Edwards, from Richard Lavers, Deputy Commissioner of the NH Department of Employment Security, responding to a question near the end of his testimony, at about 1:30:00.
"The work that Employment Security has done, in a mathematical analysis of various levels of participation, is that at an 8-week average duration, at a half-percent premium contribution, the only way this program is solvent is at 100% participation. At 90% participation, it's no longer solvent."
Dire words, indeed, from someone who does dearly love a good wealth-transferring government entitlement -- at least when the coerced books balance, anyway, so at least there's that...  He does figure that if the premium contribution were increased by fiat to .67%, and the duration decreased to just 6 weeks, it just might fly.

So. Oopsie-you-weren't-supposed-to-notice, but a proposed government program that's written to be insolvent, to fail ('course, we all know that won't happen: as Reagan said, "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!"). And even the skeptical DC Lavel, as we later hear, wants it to be "successful", "to be around for a long time". But it won't be with voluntary contributions. Whatever shall we do...?

Where, then, will the money come from to make it solvent? Charging ridiculous sums -- sums necessary to sustain inevitably inefficient non-competitive government bureaucracies, sums that the innovative competitive private sector seems able to avoid without (ok, much, comparatively) subsidies -- surely won't fly with government's happily captured market -- the market that's been testifying all day that they'd like more free and subsidized stuff. Because they'd neglected to buy insurance for themselves (well, government takes care of those things, doesn't it...?).

That leaves, seems to me, 1) removing the (already intentionally onerous) "opt-out" provision altogether to ensure the elusive-yet-necessary 100% mandatory market "satisfaction", or 2) implementing a broad-based income tax to shore the whole collectivist mess up (and gosh, then what other new programs could we fund by raising the rate just a little bit more...?). Aw hell. Why not both...?!

As always, however, as Meldrim Thompson explained, "Low taxes are the result of low spending," not t'other way 'round. Especially as government crowds the private sector out of the market even further, costs will go up. Because there's simply no (market) pressure not to. And seriously, when was the last time a politician lost his job for spending too much of other people's money?

But more fundamentally, if this scheme -- even as presumably eventually modified -- is self-sustaining, if this is a profitable model, why does government need to be involved at all? If you want FMLI, go voluntarily contract directly with a competitive private-sector provider. It's available now. One doctor testifying in great support of this bill curiously told the committee how he's set up a private-sector foundation to voluntarily help people get this insurance! Problem solved.

So why don't all these people who've suffered such hardships because they didn't have insurance, instead of trecking to the legislature to beg for contract intervention, just go get insurance? What's the advantage of injecting unnecessary and expensive government / employer middlemen if the customer will be paying for it either way (right?), other than being able to legally steal subsidies from their neighbors' dinner tables?

And here's a shocker: businesses love to get their operating costs subsidized by taxpayers, too. Corporate welfare. Just ask the private-sector airline industry, with their public-sector "security" costs -- subsidized by you, whether you choose to fly, whether you choose to suffer their "security theater" at all, or not. Your protestations are irrelevant. As Al Haig put it, "Let them march all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes." It applies to the Warfare State, too, in case you haven't noticed. Does that seem right to you...?

Further, if offering such insurance as an employment benefit is, in fact, a competitive advantage for the business (as also noted by supporters, curiously), they will happily offer it sans government coercion, because it's in their economic self-interest. Because it attracts the best employees, thus increasing the business' productivity. Because it's profitable. Again, problem solved.

So why are they lobbying government to provide -- hell, to mandate -- their competitors with equivalent bennies? Why are they advocating to undermine their own perceived competitive advantage in a cutthroat market for labor? Seems counterintuitive -- even foolish -- doesn't it? Could it be that they just want a subsidy? And the public perception of being charitable with other people's money, of course -- but ya simply don't get moral credit for that.

But if they nevertheless don't believe it makes economic sense, what can we surmise about no-skin-in-the-game ('cuz it's not its money, it's yoursgovernment's rosy "utopian" economic predictions?

Indeed, if it's inherently not profitable, what can we anticipate regarding where the funds will eventually have to come from for this force-based government entitlement that, once implemented, will... never... go... away?

If you're "allowed" (nevermind an actual competitive free market) even just a nominal "choice" -- that the FTC, according to someone who should know, would likely call "an unfair and deceptive trade practice," remember -- this bill as written will not work. According to a state economist. Even if you simply don't like competitive free markets and voluntary contracts. Won't work.

You can do better on your own. Right now. And you can control it. You should do that.

But then, in a free society, one that respects the rule of law -- hell, even in this one -- insurance contracts aren't supposed to be a government function in the first place. You have an unalienable right -- and a concomitant responsibility, notably -- to control your own contracts (including, potentially, a voluntary contract -- get this -- to manage your contracts). And to control your own property. Even if your addle-pated neighbor "neglected" to anticipate certain contingencies, you are under no lawful obligation whatsoever to bail them out. 'Course, you can always still choose to help them voluntarily. Used to be that way back in the day, in point of fact...

What if servant government simply gave up the repeatedly empirically failed notion that it perfectly and uniquely groks economics, the incomprehensible economy -- for everyone -- and knows better than you how to run your life -- at your neighbors' expense?

What if servant government was compelled to simply acknowledge and humbly accepted that it was never expressly delegated the lawful authority in the first place...?

Press
And here's the key line: "HB 628 would effectively create an income tax, which I obviously can't support."
The governor cited the inability of the departments of Employment Security and Insurance to certify that the program as proposed will be solvent, and called for independent research to determine the number of employees who would voluntary choose coverage, and the frequency with which they would make claims.
"Only then would we have any ability to determine the true cost of such a program," he wrote. "To advance the cause of an optional paid family- and medical-leave program, the state must independently hire outside experts to design and develop a program that is guaranteed to be solvent."
But ya know what? They already exist. They're called "insurance companies". And they're already hired by individuals (or even businesses) who voluntarily choose (to offer the employee benefit of) coverage. "Problem" solved, no government involvement necessary. Nor advisable. Nor prudent...
I have to ask, "Regan Burke, of Salem," if you're begging the Senate to make you buy insurance, why don't you just go buy insurance...?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Why Don't We Finally Just END Prohibition, Already?

We've reclaimed the right to produce beer at home -- much as the Founders did. We've reclaimed the right to produce wine at home -- much as the Founders did. Why not liquor -- much as the Founders did? A craft hobbyist's goal, after all, is not to reproduce Budweiser, let alone a toxic product in addition to an insipid one. This is a labor of love and pride.

Indisputable: NH is already similarly defying the (entirely unauthorized) feds on medical cannabis. And equally defiant full "legalization" in the "Live Free or Die" state (thus removing our embarrassing current "island of prohibition" status) is within reach despite yet another recalcitrant governor defying the will of the people.

Further, while the 21st Amendment leaves to the states the regulation of alcohol, it does not -- it cannot -- authorize those states to ignore the rest of the Constitution as long as their regulation simply mentions alcohol. The First, the Fourth, the Fifth, etc. remain fully in effect. We need not trade one unalienable right in order to secure government's permission (does that seem right to you?) to exercise another.

Herewith, HB473, "allowing hobby distillation of liquors," before the NH House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, 1/24/2019. The protectionist NH Wine and Spirits Brokers Association opposes it, big surprise. The prohibitionist New Futures opposes it, big surprise. Neither bothered to testify. The public hearing for 2017's similar HB427 came and went before your humble chronicler was even aware of its existence, and went down in flames. Let's get it right this time...