lessons and opportunity

In the first news stories I read about the horrific October 5th blizzard in South Dakota and neighboring areas, it was pointed out that it was especially bad because it coincided with the government shutdown. Funds were limited to only “essential services,” such as erecting barricades at the World War II Memorial and Mount Rushmore. Situations like this typify the convoluted reasoning behind unreliable government programs.

An editorial in the Hampton Chronicle praised the Honor Flight assistants and Park Police who helped the vets past the barricades. It may have been too close to press time to mention the rest of the story. Thousands of vets, many of them members of Oath Keepers, staged a march Sunday the 13th. They called it the “Tear Down the Barrycades March.” While Park Police looked on, the vets tore down the barricades and piled them against the White House fence. Then Michele Bachmann did an interview. Boy, is she ever there for us.

Oath Keepers, by the way, is an organization of public employees who have sworn to honor the oath they swore to uphold. It is not a unique idea, just a forgotten one, and they tend to get into trouble with the ones who forgot to honor the oath they swore to uphold.

This all seems very complicated, but what about something even more complicated? If the federal government is short of cash they could sell the barricades and let people visit the monuments.

Taking it a few steps further, they could rediscover freedom and transition back to a country where people were responsible for themselves and helped those in need without the giant sucking sound of government bureaucracy turning that help into just a glimmer of its original intent.

Notice the commodity markets have been trading without government reports to distort them. Combines roll, store shelves are full, no mass poisonings from non-inspected food. We might be finding out we can do it without orders from on high. By that I mean from government employees who seem to think their imagined necessity is real. The other “on high” is the real One, the One who gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

Ah, those Ten Commandments. Does it ever seem as though we should have a much bigger guilt trip to deal with, with the government under our employ? I remember a public TV promo that said, “If we didn’t do it, who would?” My answer, insurance.

Insurance is the tool that could get us out of this mess. I mean real insurance, not welfare branded as health insurance or crop insurance or unemployment insurance. Insurance should be paid for entirely by the potential beneficiaries. That way if the activity or property costs too much to insure, it will be abandoned. Why does the federal government fund flood insurance? Because no one else will. It is dumb. Private insurance is the free market path to real risk management.

The October 5th blizzard was an extremely rare event. Low premiums by ranchers over the years could have funded claims by those ranchers. Instead they sit and wait for government handouts. One rancher, trying to protect his cattle from the snow drove them into a corral where they smothered. We had one cow die this summer from a strange ailment called wooden tongue. It was heart-wrenching. I cannot imagine losing 350 out of 400 cows in one day, never knowing if what I did caused those deaths or prevented 50 more.

So the news stories had it right in one regard. The federal shutdown and terrible storm were a disastrous double whammy. But the dependence on federal help was never right to begin with. It is not necessary nor dignified to depend on theft to manage risk.

Fritz welcomes comments at 4selfgovernment@gmail.com and offers other tidbits at http://www.alternativebyfritz.com

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Shutdown Smutdown

I’ve been asked to comment on the federal government’s partial shutdown and looming debt ceiling debate. I’m humbled. But I have to fall back on basic principles for an answer. The question could have been, “Do you believe in stealing?” Because what does the federal government really do?

As mentioned in a previous column they tell workers they may not work for less than $7.25 per hour. If a potential employer can’t turn a profit paying $7.25, the federal government says the worker must remain unemployed. Would you be in favor of shutting down government programs that steal our freedom to work?

How about government programs that have replaced fathers with paperwork and street gangs, like the welfare state has done for a huge portion of urban America? I remember sitting at a bus stop in Oakland and asking a black teenager, “What have you been up to?” He said he’d been robbing white folks to make up for past misdeeds to his people. This may not sound like a direct result of the welfare state but it uses the same concept of redistribution set by its example. We certainly wouldn’t condone such behavior. Yet if we use the federal government to conduct business in the same way, is it alright? At least that kid had the guts to go out and do it himself.

In a study of American households from June of this year, only ten percent had retirement accounts adequate to provide anything but a meager existence or a life of drudgery until death. Would this have happened if there was no Ponzi scheme disguised as a retirement investment called Social Security? The false sense of security obviously played a part in our lack of concern for the future.

One of the essential services still funded is military recruitment. Really. In a country already spending about as much as the rest of the world combined for this thing they call defense. Even CIA reports state that the 9/11 attacks were a result of blow-back (retaliation by radicals from U.S. occupied lands).

What is really essential about all these services provided by the federal government are the livelihoods of people employed to provide them and the people who receive them. The inefficiency and waste created by services funded through coercion rather than mutual consent is largely ignored, as if they are as natural as growing grass. Maybe they are. Our system of government is now widely described as a democracy, where theft is legitimized by a vote. The transition of services from the private sector to the public one is unchecked by that “damn piece of paper,” as G.W.Bush described The Constitution.

There are clearly too many who don’t realize the impact of the waste created by big government. The most vocal opponents to big government still call for reform, rather than elimination of all these programs. Those who understand that reform only slows this cancer are marginalized and considered insane. That is because there is really no way out. The good folks employed by and served by the behemoth have debts to pay and families to support. A grand plan to wean ourselves is even more beyond reach than a plan to externally manage an economy properly at all.

The services cut back in the shutdown are mostly done so as theater. The $2 billion NSA spy center in Utah has opened despite the shutdown. A $98,000 outhouse was built in Alaska in spite of this dire lack of funding. The government will continue to borrow. The Fed will continue to print (buy bonds that will never be paid with increased money supply that devalues that money we have saved).

The dependent classes, from single moms to the heads of giant energy conglomerates, will continue to grow on the backs of responsible people until they are bled dry and we become lawless as a path to survival.

Contact Fritz at 4selfgovernment@gmail.com.