Tag Archives: Socialism

Canadian-raised comedian explains what’s wrong with socialized medicine

I don’t know what it is about Canadians, but they sure have talented comedians. I loved my recent post on health care, in which I cite research and podcasts from practically every think tank out there. So many wonderful facts, figures and evidences! But I know that some of my readers want to learn about health care by laughing and having “fun”. Ick!

But, guess what? I’ve found the perfect video clip for you. By a guy who grew up with in the most progressive city in Canada – Montreal. If this doesn’t cure you of supporting socialized medicine, nothing will! If you want more of his videos, his web site is here. He has videos on global warming, abortion, terrorism, the auto bailout and other interesting topics.

By the way, have you guys heard of this guy Zo? He is awesome! This particular video clip has over 800,000 views. He covers health care, economics, energy and foreign policy. Can this guy talk! He needs to have his own radio show. Zo has a ton of videos. His web site is here.

Michele Bachmann explains why we need to cut corporate tax rates

Representative Michele Bachmann
Representative Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann is by far my favorite House Representative. In a post dated 2/17/2009, she draws attention to the little-known fact that the combined corporate tax rate of the United States is the fourth highest in the world. This is important because the higher to corporate tax rate, the more likely it is that a corporation will move overseas and lay off all of its American workers. Also, a lower corporate tax rate attracts the best and brightest from abroad to move here to start their businesses, powered by American workers.

This might come as a surprise to you, but the United States is near the top of the list of industrialized countries with the highest corporate tax rates.

You may be asking yourself “so what,” or “who cares,” but it’s important to recognize that lower corporate tax rates result in attracting more investment capital. A reduction of the federal corporate tax rate would increase firms’ productivity and investment incentives, and ultimately stimulate our nation’s long-term competitiveness by enhancing economic freedom.  The end result would be a boon to your family budget.

The problem gets even worse when you realize that many eastern European nations are slashing their corporate tax rates and even imposing flat taxes, leading to astonishing economic growth. This growth attracts foreign investments away from the USA, because investors can get a better return wherever there are lower corporate tax rates.

Bachmann post cites a study from KPMG showing just how bad the USA is compared to other nations.

“U.S. corporate income tax rate is higher than all other global regions—14 percentage points higher than the global average and nearly 17 percentage points higher than the average among European Union nations. Of the 106 countries surveyed, only the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Japan impose a higher corporate tax rate than the combined rate of 40 percent. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait each have a staggering tax rate of 55 percent; Japan’s rate is 40.69 percent.”

She also cites alarming figures from Heritage Foundation.

“Even Europe’s old welfare states have joined the aggressive tax cut parade: Sweden has cut its corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 60 percent; Norway’s rate has dropped over 50 percent to 28 percent; and Denmark’s corporate tax rate is now 25 percent.”

Is it any wonder that American firms are laying off workers and shipping jobs overseas? Cutting corporate tax rates creates jobs, increases economic growth and, eventually, increases consumer spending. If you don’t believe me, believe the 69-page research paper published by the Congressional Budget Office. The Tax Foundation summarizes their findings here.

A new study from three prominent economists finds that employees suffer most when their corporate employers must pay high corporate taxes. That contradicts the theory that has prevailed for decades — that corporate taxes mainly hurt investors — but it supports a recent CBO study by Randolph that found workers bearing 70 percent of the burden of corporate income taxes.

They find that the workers’ share of the corporate tax burden ranges from 45 to 75 percent.

The Tax Foundation has a complete study of corporate tax rates across the world. We are not winning. We are losing. Badly.

On a positive note, I find it charming and delightful when women speak passionately about how fiscal conservatism supports marriage, family and charity. Bachmann and her husband Markus run their own business. She’s worked as a tax lawyer and an elected legislator, but she still found time for a period of home-schooling. And not only did she raise her own 5 children, but also 23 foster children.

In her speech at the Republican National Convention in 2008, (video, transcript), Bachmann makes the connection between fiscal conservatism, small government, a strong family and private charity.

As Republicans, we recognize that service is an innately personal characteristic. It is best achieved by individuals and community groups, faith-based organizations and charities. And, service thrives best in an environment of freedom. Government fosters service best when government binds it least.

As Republicans, we recognize that when you keep more of your hard-earned dollars, you are free to spend it as you choose on the charities that touch your heart and make a difference in your community.

Bachmann believes in marriage, family and charity. My favorite quote from her is from her profile in World Magazine.

Bachmann says for her one thread ties all the day’s obligations together: “radical abandonment to God’s call.”

For more on big-government socialism and its conflict with marriage, family and charity, see this video lecture, by the eminent economist Jennifer Roback Morse.

New RNC chairman Michael Steele debates the porkulus on Fox News

We have a new chairman of the Republican National Committee, former lieutenant-governor of Maryland, Michael Steele.

Steele’s first action on taking command of the Republican party was to clean house. In this clip, he goes toe to toe with DNC chairman Tim Kaine on the porkulus package. Boy, is it great to have someone who understands fiscal conservatism and can actually talk about it.

Economist Tom Sowell explains in this piece why Steele is a great choice for conservatives and libertarians.

Steele not only knows how to talk, he seems to understand the need to talk. In his appearances on television over the years, he has been assertive rather than apologetic. When attacked, he has counter-attacked, not whined defensively, like too many other Republicans. And when criticizing the current administration, Steele won’t have to pull his punches when going after Barack Obama, for fear of being called a racist.

For details on what is actually in the porkulus bill, check out Tom Coburn’s list.

Here are my favorites:

  • $39 billion slush fund for “state fiscal stabilization” bailout
  • $5.5 billion for making federal buildings “green” (including $448 million for DHS HQ)
  • $1.3 billion for NASA (including $450 million for “science” at NASA)
  • $1.5 billion for carbon capture projects under sec. 703 of P.L. 110-140 (though section only authorizes $1 billion for five years)
  • $850 million for Amtrak

Do Democrats even care about history? Stimulus packages did not work for FDR in the 1930s, or for Japan in the 1990s. Not only that, but Michelle Malkin is reporting that the porkulus bill contains a mechanism to nationalize health care. I already blogged in detail about how well nationalized health care works in the UK and Canada.

UPDATE: Here is an article that an atheist Obama supporter sent me that shows why the porkulus is such a bad idea. Needless to say, he is shocked – shocked – that Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do during the campaign. Porkulus!

UPDATE 2: Economist Walter Williams argues that not only will porkulus drive us into a depression, but that it is also unconstitutional. Here is economist Tom Sowell’s take on porkulus, “Using long, drawn-out processes to put money into circulation to meet an emergency is like mailing a letter to the fire department to tell them that your house is on fire.” Paul over at triablogue laments that we have not reached the day where we give equal credence to the conclusions of eminent black economists, like Williams and Sowell, in Washington.

Government-run health care is bad for patients and liberty

Proponents of government-run health care, (i.e. – socialists), want to redistribute wealth from producers to victims. Producers create wealth and victims engage in risky and/or immoral activities that are likely to require medical treatment. (I am concentrating on medical treatment for culpable activities here). Wealth redistribution reduces economic growth because producers stop producing while victims incur more costs, since they do not pay much for their treatment. Eventually, reduced economic growth leads to poor health care, as seen in socialist countries like North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, etc.

Socialists do not trust people to make their own health care decisions, and to deal with the consequences, (i.e. – liberty). In a socialized system, a producer might have his wealth redistributed to victims for services he would never need himself, because of his lifestyle decisions. He might even have his wealth redistributed to victims for services that he objects to on moral grounds, like abortions or sex-changes. He may pay into a mandatory government program for his entire life, without ever making a claim. If at the end of his life, he finally makes a claim, he may be told that he must get in line behind the government’s favored victims – victims who may not have even paid into the system. To see how this actually happens in Canada, watch these excellent 5-minute films from On the Fence Films: Two Women, A Short Course in Brain Surgery, The Lemon, and Dead Meat. Also see this Fraser Institute article.

Imagine how socialism would work if applied to a different business, like auto insurance. Everyone would have to carry mandatory auto insurance, whether they owned a vehicle or not. People would pay into the system based on earned income, not based on personal choices, desired coverages or risks. Different vehicles, driving infractions, vehicle usage, and other risk factors like age would be irrelevant to the price charged. Socialized auto insurance would just be a huge transfer of wealth from non-drivers and safe drivers to risky drivers. The socialist system of redistributing wealth to equalize health care outcomes, destroys productivity and personal responsibility. For further details, see this Heritage Foundation lecture transcript.

Socialized medicine involves price-fixing. The government is the single-payer, and set the prices that doctors can charge for services. Since doctors cannot make a fair profit practicing medicine, compared to other fields, we get fewer doctors. But since health care is “free” to victims, we get more risky and/or immoral behavior, and increased demand for medical care. Fewer doctors, and more victims results in a shortage of medical care, and waiting lists. Medical costs also increase because doctors often practice “defensive medicine” to avoid exposure to lawsuits from lawyers, worsening the shortage, (Investors Business Daily editorial, podcast). Another factor that increases medical costs is mandatory licensing, which forces hospitals to pay more for labor and supplies, (Cato Institute podcast). For further details, see this Cato Institute research paper.

Even if the socialist claims that he wants to set up a parallel system to compete alongside the private medical insurers, the government can easily engage in predatory pricing in order to drive out private businesses from the market. The government is far more able to price medical services lower than private alternatives, and run deficits, until their private rivals go out of business. The government does not have stock that private companies could short in order to prevent this predatory pricing. Monopolies are never good for the consumer, because consumers can’t shop around for the best deal. In a government system, you are forced to pay for services you don’t need. The government is already woefully mismanaging Medicare, and Medicaid, (Investors Business Daily editorial, podcast), do we really really want to give them the whole system to manage?

People need to be responsible for their lifestyle choices, and their medical bills. The free market approach preserves liberty, and economic growth. Medical providers have an incentive to lower costs and improve quality. Consumers keep their liberty by taking responsibility for managing their own risks and costs, (see Investors Business Daily editorial, podcast).

It is important to note that upholding traditional morality and traditional relationships, like marriage, helps to reduce medical costs. Government should therefore avoid assaulting religious beliefs, and moral values. An additional problem with socialized medicine is that Christian medical practitioners often have their religious liberty infringed by the government, (see examples here, and here).

These Cato Institute podcasts describe Obama’s medical policy proposal, (first, second). For more on Obama’s plan, see this Heritage Foundation research paper. For more about socialized health care in other countries, see this Cato Institute research paper. A recent debate on this topic, hosted by the left-wing National Public Radio is here. If you prefer books, there is David Gratzer’s book, Sally C. Pipes’ book, Arnold Kling’s book, and Michael F. Cannon and Michael D. Tanner’s book.

Obama’s anti-free-trade policy angers the world

Well, I thought that Obama was too smart to enact protectionist policies, but it looks like he does indeed mean to try to plunge the USA into a new depression, just like Hoover did when he signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930. What protectionism says to consumers is this: working families must pay more for inferior products manufactured by government’s favored special interest groups, (e.g. – unions). The standard of living of consumers of those protected products will be reduced, because consumers are overpaying for something that they could get cheaper elsewhere.

What this means that those of us who prefer to use our dollars for purchases that are important to our worldviews (e.g. – Christianity), is that we will have less purchasing power to spend on charity, private schools, apologetics resources, or anything else we want to buy to express our values. Money is the fuel that people use to live out their worldviews in the public square. The more money is wasted by government, the less money we have for our individual priorities. And the way that a secular government spends money is never as good as the way an informed Christian individual will spend it.

Reactions to Obama’s “Buy American” plan worldwide have been swift and alarming:

Over at Pat Toomey’s Club for Growth, Andrew Roth notes that India is angered at the prospect of having their exports taxed. The headline from Reuters India is “Policymakers sound alarm over protectionism“. We can expect to pay more for goods imported from other countries, because they will retaliate against our tariffs. More consumer purchasing power is lost!

Over at William J. O’Neill’s Investors Business Daily, an editorial describes how firms such as GE and Caterpillar faces job losses because they are denied access to cheap foreign steel. By the way, if you haven’t clicked on the IBD podcasts over there on the rightmost column, what are you waiting for? Those are the best podcasts on the Internet!

Over at the Cato Institute blog, Daniel Ikenson notes that the American Steel industry has been enjoying record profits, and that the steel tarrifs supported by Obama’s plan cause other companies to lose exports to foreign nations, because businesses here are forced to pay too much for steel that they could get cheaper abroad.

It was Adam Smith who first explained so long ago:

It is a maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy. The tailor does not attempt to make his own shoes, but buys them of the shoemaker. The shoemaker does not attempt to make his own clothes but employs a tailor.… What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom. If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better buy it of them with some part of the produce of our own industry employed in a way in which we have some advantage. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book IV, Chapter II)

A more complete explanation of the effects of imposing tariffs on imports can be found in Robert P. Murphy’s new introductory book to free market capitalism, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism. A review of this book is here. Another good book analyzing free market capitalism applied to a number of different areas including crime and abortion, is Freedomnomics by John R. Lott. A review of this book, by the eminent economist Walter Williams, is here.