Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We have moved to Wordpress!


We have moved the blog to Wordpress as it offers a little more flexibility vs. Blogger.

You can find our new site at www.thepatriotperspective.wordpress.com

No more post will be made to this site as of 4/19/2011.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why We Need Compromise

Let's face it, in politics, compromise is inevitable, and it's necessary. Realistically speaking, nothing gets done if we all cling to our silly principles. The world revolves around people working together, and without working together nothing gets done. That's really what we need.

When you take a good idea and compromise with a less good idea, you still get a good idea. This shouldn't be lost on anyone who completed public schooling - that's one thing we can thank the Democrat party for. They did teach us the value of compromise.

Sometimes you just have to accept that things are how they are, and that the best way to deal with them isn't to stand up to things you can't control, but instead to just try and get a bit of compromise.

When looking at candidates for 2012, for example, we should really give people like Huckabee more thought that what we have. He has the ability to compromise, and that reaching across the aisle and being civil and embracing a lot of leftist policies is a good thing. McCain could do the same, and he did well in 2008 by proving that Republicans, and the right as a whole, can indeed compromise. McCain is still well-regarded in DC circles, where he can go and help out less good ideas by inputting his good ideas. He's still trying to support Americans who were unlucky enough to be born outside the country, mostly in Mexico, and without papers get acknowledged as real Americans - but some racists won't compromise and let them in and here to stay because they're racist racists.

Now sure, some people will say "but that doesn't make any sense, a good idea and a bad idea don't equal a good idea", and to them I say, "you're probably a toothless hillbilly redneck racist who should be herded into camps and exterminated and never allowed to breed and pollute the gene pool". That is, unless they're black, in which case they're an Uncle Tom, and if they're another color, who really cares, since they're white on the inside and racist against themselves, and that's why they'd say something stupid like that. There are no bad ideas, only bad people, and if you think like that, you're one of them.

For another example, take deficit spending. That means we overspend and have to borrow to get the money to cover our bills. If government were a regular average blue-collar family, that'd be like mortgaging your house to pay for your trip to Disneyland. Now who would want to take away a trip to Disneyland?

She hates Disneyland.

Now what happens when you use all that money from mortgaging your house?

Easy! You remortgage!

If someone says you can cut your budget, you should cut it from things that can be seen - like defense - to really show you're doing something about cutting costs. It'd be like the family cutting costs on food. When you see there's less on your plate to eat and the kids are hungry, they'll appreciate spending money on Disneyland that much more.

I'm sure those of you who are stupid and hate logic are asking "but hyuck-hyuck, what happens when we runs out of money? How will we buy more NASCAR crap and be able to pay for cable to watch Jersey Shore?"

Well, that's obvious. You remortgage again! Since people insist on things like defense and the other crap that's spelled out in the Constitution that government has to do - see what happens when you don't compromise? You have to spend that money that could otherwise be saved - and be given to homeless people to buy things to stimulate the economy. If we just stopped spending on defense, we'd be fine, and since we'd stop attacking other countries, they'd maybe start to like us again. With the money we saved, we could put all those soldiers to work making houses for poor people.

There's probably one wife-beating cross-burner out there that wants to know "what happens when you run out of remortgaging?" Well that's easy, you racist, then you rely on your community to help you out - since your generosity in taking the neighbor kids to Disneyland will be repaid. Although you should just do those things because your neighbors aren't as well off as you, not because you want something back.

"But how are you well-off if you're debt?" Shut up, you racist. Don't you have an interracial couple to go abuse?

And your neighbors will help you out with your debt because you do so many good things for them. And they also don't want you to go down, since they'll take care of your debt, but they need you around to pay them back.

So things work out well when we try compromise. Everybody gets to go to Disneyland - all you have to do is let the good ideas mix with the less good, and things work out for the best. Even that's kind of judgemental. Remember there are no bad ideas, only different kinds of good idea. So an idea that isn't as good plus an idea that is good equals a really good idea.

Compromise is a good thing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How the Tea Party Could Lose

The Tea Party has some problems. Members need to reassess and reengage. Don't retreat, reload. Ignore anyone who calls you a violent racist homophobe - they will say that because you're "the enemy". Remember:

"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself."
- Saul Alinsky

They're going to say that crap anyway. They're going to accuse, attack, and lie. The left's use of "teabagger" ridicule, attacking the Tea Party as extremist, and generally trying to terrorize those who oppose them is part of their rulebook. Just remember to ignore them - the people on the far left are unlikely to change (unless their own side rejects them).

But on to what's going on:

CNN Poll: Unfavorable view of Tea Party on the rise

-- Nearly half of all Americans have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party movement, putting it in the same company as the Democratic and Republican parties, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that 32% of the public have a favorable view of the two-year-old anti-tax movement, which also calls for less government spending and a more limited role for the federal government in our lives. The 32% favorable rating is down five points from December.

The people questioned for the poll who say they have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party is 47%, up four points from December and an increase of 21 points from January 2010. That number is virtually identical to the 48% unfavorable ratings for both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the same poll.

"This is the first time that a CNN poll has shown the Tea Party's unfavorable ratings as high as those of the two major parties," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It looks like the rise in the movement's unfavorable rating has come mostly among people who make less than $50,000."

Why? Because the Tea Party is disorganized to begin with. The Tea Party, by its very nature, is composed of people who are interested in fewer taxes and less government intervention. Tea Party members have jobs to go back to. Those who are on welfare of one form or another are opposed to having their gravy train cut off. The "recipient class", as Sirius/XM radio host Andrew Wilkow refers to them as, will not vote against their own handouts. They aren't going to reject handouts - unless the Tea Party can explain that, to adjust Art Alexakis song lyrics a bit: "The hand that feeds is the hand that holds you down."

That's a lot to digest, so let's look at some parts of it.

Thomas Sowell wrote about one aspect of the hand that feeds is the hand that holds down recently, but with regards to the Republican party and its inability to win with black voters (arguably the best avenue for the Tea Party movement to make inroads into national politics). He notes specifically that Democrat housing policies have driven blacks from the San Francisco area to the point that blacks now represent as little as only 3% of the population in some places there.

Sowell writes:
Between restrictions on development and the destruction of existing low-income housing by redevelopment, low-income and even moderate-income people are forced out by high housing costs.

Often this process takes the form of ethnic cleansing. Blacks, for example, have been driven out of communities up and down the San Francisco peninsula, including East Palo Alto, which was once 61 percent black, and is today only 17 percent black.

But that 17 percent is still the highest proportion of blacks in any community in three whole counties on the San Francisco peninsula. None of the 38 other communities in those three counties has a population that is even 5 percent black.

Sowell also writes:
With all the Republican politicians' laments about how overwhelmingly blacks vote for Democrats, I have yet to hear a Republican politician publicly point out the harm to blacks from such policies of the Democrats as severe housing restrictions, resulting from catering to environmental extremists.

If the Republicans did point out such things as building restrictions that make it hard for most blacks to afford housing, even in places where they once lived, they would have the Democrats at a complete disadvantage.

It would be impossible for the Democrats to deny the facts, not only in coastal California but in similar affluent strongholds of liberal Democrats around the country. Moreover, environmental zealots are such an important part of the Democrats' constituencies that Democratic politicians could not change their policies.

Although Republicans would have a strong case, none of that matters when they don't make the case in the first place. The same is true of the effects of minimum wage laws on the high rate of unemployment among black youths. Again, the facts are undeniable, and the Democrats cannot change their policy, because they are beholden to labor unions that advocate higher minimum wages.

Yet another area in which Democrats are boxed in politically is their making job protection for members of teachers' unions more important than improving education for students in the public schools. No one loses more from this policy than blacks, for many of whom education is their only chance for economic advancement.

But none of this matters so long as Republicans who want the black vote think they have to devise earmarked benefits for blacks, instead of explaining how Republicans' general principles, applied to all Americans, can do more for blacks than the Democrats' welfare state approach.

The Tea Party intrinsically understands these concepts, both in the general in in Sowell's specific, but isn't getting out that message well enough. The leftist modern liberal statist is inherently destructive to the black community. The modern left thrives on it, because it creates dependency, and it creates a "good feeling" for those giving handouts. It also breeds resentment on the part of the black community, which when directed by the poverty pimps (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc.), turn into tools for the left to use against the right and conservatives. The "liberal" creates a handout that's viewed as "good", that "helps" people when it really hinders their growth and development (as individuals and as a community), and the inevitable negative results of domestication by the Democrat party is then blamed on the right.

An easy example is minimum wage laws, championed by the left, and destructive to the communities they're intended to help.

The Tea Party needs to explain these things.

On to another problem:

The older Tea Partiers with signs that say "get government out of my social security" on the surface are subject to immediate ridicule (Saul Alinsky's rule again). The problem is that social security isn't explained. For those who think money magically comes from the government, it's a handout. For those who have had a percentage of their wealth taken from them at the point of the IRS's gun for their entire lives, the message means "I paid in to social security for 30 years and they do owe me MY money back, so get government away from the money I paid in that I want back". That's just a bit long for a sign - unfortunately it's necessary - otherwise it's a point lost on everyone, and easily misinterpreted.

Those "recipient class" see it as rank hypocrisy, because to them, money does just come from government. Or Obama's stash.

But what's the Tea Party's biggest problem? It's cliche, but it's the Tea Party's strength. The Tea Party's strength comes from the fact that they're normal, working people with jobs who have to work. Tea Partiers are productive individuals who don't have time to get into politics professionally. That's why the movement is so remarkable.

That's also why the Tea Party has such difficulty against people who are professional revolutionaries. Obama was a "community organizer" before he was president. The man was a professional agitator and political panderer. His buddy Bill Ayers, after being a terrorist, went on to dedicate his life to indoctrinating children and ruining the lives of black students especially.

These people are professional revolutionaries. Van Jones to Cass Sunstein, this is all they do. Their lives center on getting grants and departments made for the expansion of their own policies. They exist only to grow government as their means to control.

The Tea Party is made of people who desire the exact opposite. Tea Partiers are not lawyers, bureaucrats, politicians, agitators, or professional revolutionaries. They are plumbers, railroad workers, cops, engineers, insurance adjusters, car salesmen, fast food managers, ranchers, farmers, pilots, truckers, warehouse workers, small businessmen, factory workers, and people who produce goods or services.

There are no professional revolutionaries in the Tea Party. There are no conniving bureaucrats out to create their own government empires in the Tea Party.

The Tea Party certainly doesn't need that, but it is going to need some people to bite the bullet and leave behind the private sector to start taking down oppressive parts of government and actively rejecting influence of statist ideologies.

The Tea Party could lose if it doesn't get out its message, it's flailing a bit because it's not out there at the forefront getting the economic word out. It's already mocked and ridiculed, but its members are growing less afraid of being called violent racist homophobes. It does need to start illustrating to people why Tea Party ideas (which are mostly fiscal conservative/Austrian economic school classic liberal) do work. The Tea Party needs to stay active, not just when it's ticked off. The Tea Party needs people to do the nasty work of getting involved with government at all levels. Leftist-statists do this naturally, but Tea Partiers need to start doing it.

Electing new representatives in 2010 certainly made a difference, but now is not the time to rest on one's laurels. Now is the time to press the advantage.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.”
- General George S. Patton

At the basic level, this can mean talking to people around you about this stuff. If you discuss politics with 5 people of non-Tea Party mindset, the simple economic realities will be absorbed. They can't dispute numbers and facts. They may reject the facts, but eventually will come around. Don't preach, just educate. We're all ignorant of something, and for folks who don't pay attention to politics, discussing the examples of minimum wage or housing policies, for example, may be enough to start to get them to come around. Explaining why "get government out of my social security" isn't completely absurd can make a difference as well.

Assuming those 5 all have a negative opinion of the Tea Party as expressed by the CNN poll and represent that approximately 50% negative, if you change 2 of their minds, the Tea Party's disapproval rating drops to 30%. More importantly, the likelihood of them voting based on their own ability to discern the facts of the issues of the day changes.

If the Tea Party disengages, it could lose. If the Tea Partiers pack their bags and assume the job is done because of the 2010 elections, it could lose. If the Tea Party doesn't press the advantage, it could lose. If the Tea Party doesn't explain how statist economic models ultimately fail, and how lefty do-gooder govt. policies invariably hurt those they're supposed to help, it could fail. If the Tea Party doesn't get a leader or two, it could fail. If Tea Partiers don't get involved at the local level, and don't talk to their friends, it could lose.

The solutions are all simple, but require work - something Tea Partiers are actually quite good at. It's just a different kind of work.

*For the lefty who may stumble on this, no, I am not inciting violence. I am not suggesting that libertarians/conservatives/Tea Partiers attack people like lefties do. This is metaphorical, as in attack the ideas.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Financial Martial Law? A second look.

The link that JBH posted for Michgan's "Financial Martial Law" bill was a floor summary. After he posted it, I looked up the text of the bill, as well as a lot of the debates. Some other things ended up delaying me, but on that first day, I noticed that the story was only picked up by CBS, the Michigan Messenger (which I have no familiarity with), and archlefty Mother Jones. The rest of the search results for it were mostly copypasta of the CBS story, and almost universally on lefty blogs, with the exception of all-around conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Color me skeptical, but I take both of those Joneses with a big grain of salt.

Here's a link to the bill, as approved by the Gov and filed by the Secretary of State of Michigan:
House Bill 4214
And in easier-to-read PDF format:
House Bill 4214

Some of the most important things to note are in one of the first summaries - note the background information.

Note the citation of Citizens Research Council of Michigan's report 362: Financial Emergencies in Michigan Local Governments.

The report basically goes over some of the levels of failure of Michigans, townships, school boards, cities, and communities. It's bad.

To give an anecdotal example, an economic refugee from Michigan who I know bought his house a few years back for about $170,000. He ended up getting away from it at $40,000. He was happy to get out from under the crushing debt on a house that wasn't worth anything anymore due to the housing bubble collapse.

Yes, really. He could buy it.

Now, consider how towns, cities, and even states generate revenue. One of the big methods is property taxes. It's considered a progressive (in the lefty sense) tax that's acceptable, because it only taxes the rich, landed classes. It's politically acceptable, since folks who are well-to-do typically want to think they're paying for their schools, and it's not visible enough like sales taxes to bother people who rent. It's considered a cost of "owning" a home, even though you can never truly own something you have to pay someone not to confiscate, but I digress. It's a standard source of revenue, and widely accepted.

Using that $170K to $40K transition, let's assume a tiny tax rate of 1% of the property's value per year. If Anytown, Michigan, were making $1700 per year in taxes off a house, and budgets according to what they have to spend, even with no deficit spending (unlikely), times 1000 houses in their township, then Anytown, Michigan, has about a $1,700,000 operating budget. That's enough to hire several police, maintain a small fire department, and Anytown's part of Anycounty's incorporated school distruct running (there are also roads, sanitation, etc.).

And with the end of the housing bubble, suddenly Anytown is making $400 per year in taxes off a house. With the 1000 houses in the township, Anytown, Michigan now has only $400,000 to spend for their operating budget. Suddenly, the cost of police, a fire department, and Anytown's part of the school district is threatened, along with the town's other few services.

Anytown still has financial obligations to pensioners, to contracts (be they private or union), and suddenly Anytown is faces with a financial disaster. So Anytown petitions the State to come in. The state is faced with the same budget crisis, and has no money to spare to bail out 200 desperate Anytowns.

The solutions do become desperate. Does the township reneg on its obligations? Do they declare bankruptcy? Do they raise taxes on the remaining residents? Since those residents have fewer jobs, and can't meet their personal obligations and declare bankruptcy as individuals, does Anytown get even the $400 tax anymore? Should the town go bankrupt if it has thriving industries and in simply going through a hard time? Should the town, run by a corrupt mayor and crooked board of aldermen, simply be dissolved?

That's where the bill comes in. Michigan is in a state of financial emergency, no matter what Chrysler is trying to sell. The dominance by unions, democrats, and leftist identity politics melded together to keep everyone but the political exploiters down. The big car companies made foolish decisions to sign unsustainable union contracts and are saddled with debt to the point that taxpayers around the country had to bail out GM and Chrysler - formerly companies that were powerhouses - are now weak shells of their old selves. Black/white identity politics tore communities apart as the economy fell, and things just got worse from there. Economic destruction is all part of that, intertwined with societal destruction and redistribution and unsustainable economic policies.

The state of Michigan didn't past the bill to start dissolving neighborhoods. They passed the bill to keep the entire state from imploding due to its horrible economic situation - they passed it to put capable managers in charge of towns and districts that need help. If they keep doing what they're doing, they'll be begging for a federal bailout, and as Margaret Thatcher said: "Socialism works great until you run out of other people's money."

The thing is, the rest of the country doesn't want to bail out Michigan. For example, California with its own mismanagement certainly doesn't need to be taxed to bail out Michigan, nor does a successful state need to have its success confiscated to bail out Michigan. The successful states need to be emulated, not taxed.

The grasshopper needs to stop having government steal the ant's hard work, and instead the grasshopper needs to get off his ovipositor and start doing what the ant did to succeed. Michigan acknowledges this, as there are towns that are ants, and towns that are grasshoppers within it, and there is no reason why the entire state should be consumed.

Having read a lot of it, I'm not so sure that it's a power grab - it seems to be an extreme austerity move, wherein most of it is a move by the state against local governments, and all with checks and appeals to the state court system as well.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Private Sector Unions to the Rescue!

Trouble Maker SignImage by friedmanlynn via Flickr
For those of you who don't know I am a member of a private sector union because I have to be in order to work for the railroad I am currently employed with. A day or so ago I spoke with a friend of mine in regards to an email he had received from one of our union representatives.

The email was entitled, "Don't Let Our Enemies Turn Back the Clock." The emails concern was the actions taking place in Wisconsin and other states. In these respective state legislatures along with republican governors are taking actions to break a never ending cycle of public sector unions donating vast sums of money to get democrats elected, in turn the democrats reward these public sector unions with unsustainable commitments in the form of union contracts.

Here at the Patriot Perspective we have explained through several articles the difference between public and private sector unions and how public sector unions in "union states" have the unique ability to affect the tax rates at both the state and local level. Couple that with states like Wisconsin and Michigan whose debt is out of control and one can see why those governments are doing everything they can to reduce their spending and deficits. Does the law itself end collective bargaining for most public sector employees? Yes. Does it force state workers to take an 8% cut in benefits? Yes. Is that really going to destroy someones livelihood? Hardly.

Back to the letter.

"Don't let our enemies turn back the clock. Why are many union (not going to share the name of my union) members participating across America in rallies opposing attacks on collective bargaining rights? Why have we created the Collective Bargaining Defense Fund to assist our union brothers and sisters? Because we know that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. We know that if right wing extremist succeed in busting public sector unions, their next target is airline, bus, and railroad labor unions."

I would really like to know here exactly how they know that the government is going to target these private sector unions? My experience so far with a private sector union has been dismal. 120 dollars a month for little to no representation. I have to be a member or I cannot be employed by the railroad. How's that for freedom? Most of the time it seems as if the union and the company aren't really at odds with each other. But oh well.

"The history of working men and women in America -- before we fought for and won the right to join a union, engage in collective bargaining and have grievances resolved by a neutral party -- was a bleak history of low wages, few if any benefits, unsafe working conditions, and arbitrary discipline and discrimination on the job."

Largely at the time they are speaking of all those conditions did exist but not anymore, and personally it is hard to see how these folks rationalize that the clock would indeed be turned back to those same conditions in the 21st century. But as I said early I wish I had the right to NOT join a union, and in my industry collective bargaining usually results what the company wants anyway. However, I had an engineer tell me once that he thought he always got better contracts when Republicans were in office. Talk about irony if you are a hard core democrat union guy.

"Let's take a short trip back to the times before workplace democracy. Before labor laws and worker rights, courts considered any combination of workers seeking wage increases and/or improved working conditions as a criminal conspiracy, punishable by fine and imprisonment. Picketing an employer -- by even one picket -- was considered by courts an unlawful restraint of trade. Workers typically put in a 12 hour day, six days a week, with no overtime pay, no paid vacations, no employer-provided healthcare insurance, no process for worker grievances to be heard and no compensation for on-the-job injuries."

Workplace democracy usually means workplace socialism, spreading the work around or in my case keeping the board stacked so others can make money too. Usually those combinations of workers seeking those increases did things they weren't supposed to do. Like blackball fellow employees who couldn't afford to strike and crossed the picket line. Or workers would sabotage or deface company property to get their points across. A lot like those spoiled children up in Wisconsin at the state capital recently. Yes the days might have been long and hard back then with little to no compensated time off and guess what it is the exact same way today. I am on call 24/7 with no set off days, pretty much on duty for 12 hours at a time. Sure I have personal time and vacation days that are compensated but due to some of the recent legislation like the rail safety bill of 2008 which the unions backed so they could get more union dues because it would force the railroads to hire more people, that I rarely get time off unless I call in sick. The only problem is the railroads have been exceptionally slow on hiring and training, so we are constantly undermanned with a decent portion of train service employees on federal rest that they have to take at the behest of the Federal Railroad administration thanks to the union I am a member of.

The letter goes on to give more of the same concerning the plight of workers and then begins it close:

"Turn back the clock? Never. We will not go away. We will never forget. Together, in solidarity, we can and will win this fight and emerge stronger then ever."

Living in the past instead of looking to the future. We will be a nuisance and cause trouble like we did in Wisconsin. We like to co-opt 9/11 slogans to look patriotic. If we can get the workers of the United Sates to unite we can live in socialist harmony the rest of our lives. That about sums up the rest of the letter.

Not once do these people recognize the difference between public and private sector unions. The railroad unions deal with a private company and not the federal government unless they are trying to get legislation passed, which they almost always are. The private sector unions do not affect other citizens tax rates in the state or county in which you live. It is a given that the railroad was brutally tough on its employees in the late 19th and early to mid 20th century. A lot of that act has been dealt with. What I want to know is how is the state of Wisconsin brutally tough on its union employees. The trash collectors, the clerks etc? Do they really have it that hard? Are they struggling for raises just to make ends meet? I seriously doubt it.

Folks, continue to do your research, check every bit of information you come across, there are those out there how what you to cast aside reason and feel just for the sake of feeling and abdicating any form of thinking. Don't cast aside reason hold it tight. Check your facts and do not succumb to the call for the abdication of thought.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, March 14, 2011

Power Grabs: Michigan Republicans

From CBS News

Keeping in mind there's a huge difference in the political spectrum between a Texas republican and a Michigan republican, Michigan republican governor Rick Snyder is about to allow his state bureaucracy to make a huge power grab over city elected officials.

Mr. Snyder is about to sign into law a bill that will allow the governor of Michigan to declare a "financial emergency" in any town or school district. This declaration would pave the way for the state through a "financial czar" to fire elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, eliminate services and possibly even eliminate whole cities and school districts.

Here is the bill.

If this isn't a statist power grab I don't know what is. The only opposition to this that needs to be noted is state democrats and even some federal representatives are opposed to this bill not because it violates property rights or dissolves local governments on a whim. They are upset because there happens to be legislation that is going to affect the collective bargaining of their beloved public sector unions. They also seem to be linking this bill to the Wisconsin bill that provided reform to bargaining with public sector unions and gave the choices to state employees as to whether they want to even belong to a union.

These state and local democrats of Michigan ARE NOT decrying the power grab itself, which means they are okay with most of the bill. Meaning the are alright with the power to wipe Detroit off the map if they see fit to do so, or some public school that has been mismanaged in another city. They don't seem to be too upset about that. They definitely aren't upset about being able to seize property. And you don't All they care about is losing part of the force that has kept them in office for years, their beloved public sector unions, to which they continuously have given more benefits and more money to over the years, which has continuously increased the tax burden on Michigan's citizens over the years. In turn, these statist lean on the public sector unions political action committees for support reelection which keeps the cycle of ever raising taxes and increasingly over compensated public sector unions.

The Michigan Democrats are also playing the race card on this as well with comments directed towards minority communities that the dissolving of the local governments is targeted at minority communities and will impact the greater then another community. How so? Didn't they elected their representatives? Didn't the next town? Did those individuals even get out to vote? Are the fiscal issues of their township in the hands of their elected officials just like the next town? Don't they have the ability to vote new representatives in every 2 or 4 years just like the next town? How is it any different? You won't get an explanation. Only that it'll affect a minority area that elected fiscal idiots over some other town that isn't primarily minority that also elected fiscal idiots.

Bottom line?

This is a power grab by the state pure and simple. These cities, school districts should be allowed to go into bankruptcy on their own. The democrat gripe over collective bargaining for the public sector unions is just a token out cry that's going to affect only their re election bids. The seizure of property, breaking of contracts in general are pure power grabs and something the statist in general are okay with. More regulation and more regulation are always something the statist want. Dissolving elected bodies reminds me personally of past despots like King George III of Great Britain and should not be tolerated. The people of Michigan need to take a stand for true liberty and freedom, and oppose the signing of this bill that is an outrageous violation of the United States Constitution which guarantees a republican form of government for each state.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, March 7, 2011

Unintended Consequences Part 7201


U.S. Dept. of Transportation data show drop in flight delays, rise in canceled flights
Published: Monday, March 07, 2011, 7:00 AM Updated: Monday, March 07, 2011, 9:35 AM

By all accounts, the Federal Aviation Administration’s "tarmac rule" has dramatically reduced the number of passengers who are stuck inside an aircraft on the ground for three hours or more.

Violations of the rule, which went into effect last April, can cost airlines $27,500 per passenger, or $2.75 million for a planeload of 100 people going nowhere fast. In fact, there were just three cases nationwide of three-hour tarmac delays in December — compared with 34 the previous December, according to the federal Department of Transportation, the FAA’s parent agency.

But critics say an unintended consequence of the rule is becoming apparent and spoiling travel plans for a far greater number of would-be fliers.

Economists of the Austrian-Chicago schools (Hayek, Friedman, Sowell, etc.) would absolutely refer to this as unintended consequences.

To put it simply, the airline is impaled on the horns of a dilemma. Which do they do: risk $27,500 in fines per passenger at a cost of $2,750,000? Or lose $500 of business per passenger at a cost of $50,000 (minus the expenses in fuel and some labor hours on the flight as well)?

This is the result of a limited part of "passenger's bill of rights" - a somewhat statist concept that rights spring from the government anyway, but I digress... With bad weather last December at many airports, the regular delays and cancellations were magnified. But this isn't because of December, and this isn't the first time it's been noticed. Not by a long shot.

If the airlines were doing something illegal when airline customers were stuck on planes for 3 hours (arguably this could be the case), a simple prosecution and use of criminal courts would've sufficed.

If airlines were violating their contract with their passengers when they left people stuck on the tarmac for 3 hours, civil courts between the passengers and the airline would've sufficed - a class action lawsuit would result in the passengers getting that $27,500 per person, not the government getting it. Which is a better compensation for the injured party? To get $27,500 for the 4 hours you spent on the tarmac, your flight delayed, unable to get to your important meeting and to see grandma, getting cramped, listening to cranky kids and generally enduring unpleasantness, or would you rather the $27,500 go to a government agency? Assuming you had three delayed flights a year and were given that $27,500 as compensation, you could do pretty well for yourself just through compensation from the airlines. I'd sit on a plane for 4 hours on the tarmac to get a significant part of a house payment or a Mustang.

With the use of what amounts to a new taxation system, a cost-benefit framework is now established for the airlines. Now the airlines are forced by state coercion of extreme fines and thus the laws of economics to abandon flights as soon as the risk of fines come up, which screws passengers further. Imagine sitting for 2 hours and 45 minutes waiting to takeoff and then being kicked back into the terminal and your flight being cancelled.
It's like having your schedule stuck between two warm pillows.

To give a comparison on well-meaning government, consider red light cameras. They were intended to catch people who run red lights. What happens is they scare people on the penalty of a ticket - financial loss - into slamming on their brakes. This results in higher levels of rear-end collisions, increasing the numbers of accidents in one manner.

Red light cameras are frequently used as a revenue stream, and at least in Chicago, are used in poor black neighborhoods (as folks there are less likely to have lawyers or know the Mayor). In Britain, speed cameras known as "Gatsos" are frequently used as a revenue stream via creation of automated speed traps. Speed limits are recorded as being cut as much from 70 mph to 40 mph. The subject (not citizen over there) is inconvenienced, taxed, and all for "their own good"... or fines.

They are not well loved. The British solution is to toss a tyre round the beastly thing and set it alight.

This brings up a cynical question: are the fines intended to actually help airline customers - since a cancellation can be a lot more hassle than a long tarmac wait - or are the fines intended as a revenue stream, with the added bonus for politicians of demonizing airlines for cheap popularity?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wisconsin Protest: Myth Vs Fact

H/T: Facts are Stubborn Things

xkcd's Nolan Chart

Pretty much on the mark with this one:

We here at The Patriot Perspective agree (from back in the days when I was even more heavily influenced by the Jawa Report's style of finishing off a post*):

xkcd is cool, no matter what the haters on any blagoblogs** say. It's just cool the same way that Rush and D&D are cool.

But whatever. I'm a Far Side guy myself.


They're going to rescue Willzyx and Tom Cruise.


* For a recent example from Jawa Report. They do look for terrorists and terrorist propagandists to disrupt online, often by reporting videos online or getting servers to stop hosting terrorist sympathizer websites. Admirable work. They also like hot chicks, a staple of the internet - and know there's a reason they're morale boosters. I also like big morale boosters. Most guys do.

**Or blogoblag. But I wrote blagoblog without looking up that comic first... so I'm sticking to it. Blagoblog.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Union Educations

The Wall Street Journal has this piece today entitled "A Union Education". It's an excellent read, and quite informative about how and why public sector unions are, have been, and always will be a bad idea.

... George Meany, the legendary AFL-CIO president during the Cold War, also opposed the right to bargain collectively with the government.

Why? Because unlike in the private economy, a public union has a natural monopoly over government services. An industrial union will fight for a greater share of corporate profits, but it also knows that a business must make profits or it will move or shut down. The union chief for teachers, transit workers or firemen knows that the city is not going to close the schools, buses or firehouses.

This monopoly power, in turn, gives public unions inordinate sway over elected officials. The money they collect from member dues helps to elect politicians who are then supposed to represent the taxpayers during the next round of collective bargaining. In effect union representatives sit on both sides of the bargaining table, with no one sitting in for taxpayers. In 2006 in New Jersey, this led to the preposterous episode in which Governor Jon Corzine addressed a Trenton rally of thousands of public workers and shouted, "We will fight for a fair contract." He was promising to fight himself.

Thus the collision course with taxpayers. Public unions depend entirely on tax revenues to fund their pay and benefits. They thus have every incentive to elect politicians who favor higher taxes and more government spending. The great expansion of state and local spending followed the rise of public unions.

This is much like the complaints that congresscritters and senators vote for their own raises. There's no accountability on government or union bosses.

The taxpayers are forced to give money to the government. Unions get their money in both dues and salaries from the government. Unions then spend money buying politicians who will grant them political favors in the form of increased wages and better benefits... at the expense of the taxpayer. The unions are accountable to no one, the politicians are accountable to no one after the elections are bought, and the taxpayer has no means to hold anyone accountable... until now.

Basically, that's it. Notice that one group pays in and gets nothing.

It's worthwhile to note that the petulant employees in the Wisconsin are teachers. Teachers who are refusing to teach. Their employers are their students parents - and instead they are going on marches demanding that their students parents pay them more money, even though those same parents are making less money in this recession. And now police unions are supporting them.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Unions' Real Fight in Wisconsin

From Real Clear Politics:
Public Unions and The Socialist Utopia

Robert Tracinski points out very succinctly that the Unions' current fight is one for their own survival.

The Democratic lawmakers who have gone on the lam in Wisconsin and Indiana-and who knows where else next-are exhibiting a literal fight-or-flight response, the reaction of an animal facing a threat to its very existence.

Why? Because it is a threat to their existence. The battle of Wisconsin is about the viability of the Democratic Party, and more: it is about the viability of the basic social ideal of the left.

For those unfamiliar with Wisconsin, it's a mostly conservative state, with the notable exception of Madison, the capital. Madison is ultra-liberal. Ultra-liberal to the point that San Franciscans think Madison is liberal.

See that cheese? That's not government cheese.

Madison is an ideal vehicle for lefty idealism. Most of the rest of the state is very conservative, traditional, and responsible. This results in a state government that is supported by producers, and traditional-minded producers don't want to get involved in government, which is viewed as the province of those who don't work. Jokes about government workers are still pretty well acknowledged by traditionalists there.

In short, public employment is an idealized socialist economy in miniature, including its political aspect: the grateful recipients of government largesse provide money and organizational support to re-elect the politicians who shower them with all of these benefits.

Tracinski is dead on here. Wisconsin has a very conservative minded populace that has been propping up this leftist scam for decades just due to their own distaste from it. Respectable, hard working people don't get into politics... at least until the Tea Party came along. (Though back in the 90s, there were a few that got out for Perot.)


Now the left is panicking as these experiments in American socialism implode.

On the national level, it has become clear that the old-age welfare state of Social Security and Medicare is driving the federal government into permanent trillion-dollar deficits and a ruinous debt load. Even President Obama acknowledged, in his State of the Union address, that these programs are the real drivers of runaway debt-just before he refused to consider any changes to them. You see how hard it is for the Democrats to give up on their utopias.

On the state level, public employment promises the full socialist ideal to a small minority-paid for with tax money looted from a larger, productive private economy. But the socialist utopia of public employment has crossed the Thatcher Line: the point at which, as the Iron Lady used to warn, you run out of other people's money.

The current crisis exposes more than just the financial unsustainability of these programs. It exposes their moral unsustainability. It exposes the fact that the generosity of these welfare-state enclaves can only be sustained by forcing everyone else to perform forced labor to pay for the benefits of a privileged few.

Those hardworking traditionalists and conservatives throughout the state are the ones being told that they must pay for the Unions, and that the guy working in the cheese factory at $10/hr or making trucks for Oshkosh at $15/hr is the evil oppressor of the teachers union that makes $110K/year and only works 9 months.

Pretty much the case.

The public sector unions are the aristocracy demanding that the peasants keep feeding their insatiable appetite. Take that guy on the end and give him a sign demanding the other three pay him more and that it's so unfair, and that the other three, who actually work, really want to go back to child labor in sweatshops.

Union are and always have been a tool to pit one group of workers against another group of workers. They help no one but the union bosses and goons.

Now even the Democrats are turning against them, though unions are huge financial contributors to political campaigns, and almost exclusively to democrats.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Road To Serfdom Excerpts I

Friedrich A. Hayek wrote a rather well-known book on economics and the human condition called "The Road To Serfdom" back in the early 1940s. Hayek was an Austrian economist and one of the major contributors to the "Austrian School" of economics. The intro to the edition I'm reading is rather long and any summary of the factors that led to the book would be insufficient in comparison.

He also rather famously remarked: "Conservatism is only as good as what it conserves," being critical of American conservatism that doesn't embrace and conserve its libertarian/classic liberal ideals. Note that our motto at The Patriot Perspective has always been the same.

He also won the Nobel Prize for Economics, but won it at the same time as a scandinavian leftist, cuz... y'know... politics.

As I've been reading it, some passages are jumping out at me. Here, Hayek points out a major problem with central planning and socialism. It must control everything to create its utopia. And it invariably fails, as everything in existence must then be prioritized by government - not by individuals who govern their own affairs, and whose best interests may even change day to day. Here, he makes the point that there can be no such government because there exists no such set of prioritizing values.

Not only do we not possess such an all-inclusive scale of values: it would be impossible for any mind to comprehend the infinite variety of different needs of different people which compete for the available resources and to attach a definite weight to each. For our problem it is of minor importance whether the ends for which any person cares comprehend only his own individual needs, or whether they include the needs of his closer or even those of his more distant fellows-that is, whether he is egotistic or altruistic in the ordinary sense of these words. The point which is so important is the basic fact that it is impossible for any man to survey more than a limited field, to be aware of the urgency of more than a limited number of needs. Whether his interests center round his own physical needs, or whether he takes a warm interest in the welfare of every human being he knows, the ends about which he can be concerned will always be only an infinitesimal fraction of the needs of all men.

This is the fundamental fact on which the whole philosophy of individualism is based. It does not assume, as is often asserted, that man is egoistic or selfish or ought to be. It merely starts from the indisputable fact that the limits of our powers of imagination make it impossible to include in our scale of values more than a sector of the needs of the whole society...

- Friedrich August von Hayek, The Road To Serfdom (pg 102)

How badass is the Austrian School of Economics? Salma is the THIRD Hayek to come up when you type "Hayek" into Google.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Egypt's Real Problem

I recently found myself rethinking my Egypt post while reading this American Thinker piece here:


The fact of the matter is this: Mubarak is a socialist dictator, and his ruling party espouses socialist ideology. The revolution in Egypt is a direct result of the failure of authoritarian socialist ideology and policy. For over fifty years, the ruling political clique in Egypt has espoused a home-grown form of Arab nationalist socialism.

Arab nationalism. And a socialist dictator. Combine ethnic nationalism with socialism and you get the predictable.

It's still unwise to support anti-Mubarak forces when the predictable replacement is going to be the proto-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, but once there's some degree of stability, well, stability really is the only reason to support Mubarak anymore.

This reminded me that I have a copy of President Saddam Hussein's Address on Iraq's National Day 1983, and President Saddam Hussein's Speech on the 6th Anniversary of the Day of the Days The Great Victory Day 8 August 1994, and his roughly 50 page treatise "One Trench or Two". All are drier reads than the country they hail from, but they are about pan-Arab nationalism and the idea of central control/rulership. Basically, arab national socialism.
Sometimes you can judge a dictator book by its cover.

Richard Little at American Thinker points out the specifics with regards to Egypt and how it applies there. Broadly, national socialism and centralized control don't work anywhere. Even with cultural differences (including the basic lack of a future tense in Arabic), education level differences, and economic developmental differences, it doesn't work. It doesn't work in Europe - where the wise nations are pulling away from their road to socialism before they implode like Greece; it doesn't work in the US, where individual states like California are imploding from their own policies. It doesn't work anywhere it's tried.

Whether the central control be with a dictator or a committee of bureaucrats, it's all coercive force that works against the will of the individual - the individual who knows their own needs better than any self-appointed super-genius, tyrant or king.

Kudos to the Egyptian people for trying to shrug it off. Hopefully they don't end up replacing it with the Muslim Brotherhood - who will do the same, but with the added dictates of sharia law.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

From the John Birch Society: Be Aware of Constitutional Conventions

From the John Birch Society:

After seeing this video I am going to agree with these gentlemen and their arguments. As a student of the Constitution and of the era in which it was written I can attest to the following:

The original "Con-Con" was called only to reform the Articles of Confederation; instead, the convention's attendees went outside of their assigned bounds and introduced a completely new form of government in the form of our current Constitution. Legally speaking the entire convention could have been arrested for treason. Also, since the Congress under the Articles had commissioned the convention for reforms, the convention had a duty to report to back to the Congress it's findings, which the Convention also failed to do; instead, the Convention took it's case directly to the people of each state effectively by passing the Confederation Congress.

If a Constitutional Convention were to be called now to address term limits, a balanced budget etc... the states could attempt to exert control over the convention and it's participants but I believe it would be exceptionally hard to legally bind a Con-Con to only address certain issues. The issue of control coupled with today's politicians makes a Constitutional Convention a very dangerous option to reform the Federal Government. If instead, reformers follow the simple procedures of amending the Constitution, control of the issues being reformed would be ensured as well as ensuring that politicians stay within the existing framework of the Constitution.

I do not believe we can trust those we have in office, or those they would select, to keep the citizens' best interest in mind. Especially in the setting of a Constitutional Convention and given all their reckless spending, and rights stealing that has occurred the last 10 years. The better course in my mind would be to attempt to address all of these issues through the already tried and proven method of amending the Constitution. So please, go to the websites of your respective state legislatures and check up on them and see if any of them are considering legislation that will call for a Constitutional Convention.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Media Elitism Part 873

I thought about commenting on this yesterday when I read the story, but there were other things more important than Christine Amanpour in Egypt.

Though from her body language and attitude, she doesn't seem to think so:

The video is here.

It's interesting to see Christine Amanpour take a very standoffish, very insulting, very condescending tone towards the Egyptians on the street she's talking to. She has one hand on her hip - indicating standoffishness or aggression. The other hand is holding the mic in a lazy, inattentive manner implying that it doesn't really matter what the person has to say.

Amanpour's attitude towards the Egyptians seems to be about the same as Susan Roesgen talking to Tea Partiers. Amanpour goes in with an attitude and leaves with an attitude, and seems extra offended that she gets attitude back the whole time. Her problem doesn't stem from Egyptian hatred of the US. It stems from Egyptian hatred of her as a representative.

Robert Young Pelton in Dangerous Places 4th Edition (back before he spent all kinds of time on TV and got into internet fights with milbloggers) made a very important point about how to deal with people who dislike you for your (assumed) Western ways and their preconceived notions thereof. Talk to and with them. Amanpour talks at them.

Ask them how they feel and why they feel that way - and actually want to know the answer. Ask them what they would do if they were president. Ask them what they would do as a citizen of the US. Don't get snotty like Amanpour. Don't walk away in a huff. Don't be an asshole like Amanpour.

She can show them that she has a camera and is part of a big media outlet that hundreds of thousands of people may see - so whatever they want to say, others may hear - and people want to know. Were she to go in with a different attitude, doubtless she would get different results.

But the hand on the hip, the lazy pointing the microphone, the turning away and the general haughty attitude she projects leads me to see the Egyptian point of view quite clearly - she only gives a crap when there's trouble about for her to report.

She's a terrible representative for the US, and clearly doesn't like talking to the people on the street. Amanpour is an elitist - she has disdain for the US anyway, so she sees no reason why people would ever dislike her. She can understand an ideological hatred for the US espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood, but since she agrees with it, she can't understand why she personally is rejected by its proponents.

Basically, she's in the position of a useful idiot or of a bourgeois socialist who doesn't understand they've outlived their usefulness. She's an elitist who agrees with the hatred being spewed by MB and the general dislike of the US throughout the Middle East, since she also hates the US. She's upset and ideologically unable to understand what's going on because of her elitist status. She feels that since she's an elitist America-hater, she's not an American or related to America, so she should be exempt.

Older stuff on her anti-US bias from DeathBy1000PaperCuts.

She even ranked #8 on BigJournalism's Most Biased Journalists list.

Update: New story today opens with the terrible journey of 8 miles, making the reporter the story to begin with, but not as bad as yesterday. Of course, she's hobnobbing with the president of Egypt, so she's back with the elites. She's uses a lot of leading questions with VP Suleiman.

Also today there have been more incidents of reporters being attacked. The question here is how many of them are making themselves into the story.

ABC reporter threatened with beheading, and numerous other attacks on reporters in the video there (including CNN's Anderson Cooper getting punched). FOX reporter hospitalized... but FOX didn't report the story as a story until they were released, at least. CNN and ABC seem to be the worst at turning cameras on themselves and making their reporters the center of the story. At least it's not as bad as Geraldo Running around in Afghanistan with an ascot and a pistol claiming he'd get in a gunfight with Osama bin Laden.

Groundhog Day in the Middle East

For those unfamiliar with the term Groundhog Day, watch this first:


British MP Daniel Hannan made a point today on the Sean Hannity show. During the Cold War, the US supported dictators who opposed communism. Hannan explained that the argument during the Cold War was "He's may be a son of a b*tch, but he's our son of a b*tch. But now the cold war is over, so we can say 'he may be our son of a b*tch, but he's a son of a b*tch."

The first thought is basically why we were supporting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak's dictatorship provided some degree of stability, especially for US ally Israel. Mubarak's Egypt provided security for the Suez Canal, through which some 8% of the world's shipping flows.

The old logic was that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, provided he's not worse than your actual enemy. Ultimately compromising and supporting a very bad guy against an evil evil empire supported one's good principles. Makes sense. The new logic is that since the evil empire is gone, it's time to drop support for the very bad guy. Sorta makes sense.

The only failing is that without a transitional structure, there isn't just a smooth handoff from "very bad guy" to "good new guy". The people who almost invariably takeover in these situations are those that are prepared for it and have been working towards it. Very bad guy is replaced with different evil guy. If you don't want a son of a b*tch, you replace him on your terms to make sure you get a better guy, or you apply pressure to reform him. You don't go along with a mob that is at least in part incited by the evil guys - because that mob and those evil guys are often only kept in check because your guy is a son of a b*tch.

In the past, there are several examples of the people who take over after a nation collapses. The Leninist victory in Russia was a result of a fractured nation in a period of transition. The interim government of Kerensky may have promised a republic, but it lasted just long enough for Lenin to take over - which was his goal - Lenin was a professional revolutionary. The breakdown of China during WWII led to the Chinese Nationalists under Chiang Kai-Shek - a US ally, though with many faults - ultimately losing control of China to Mao, who was ready and working towards seizing power. Recently, this is the entire Beckian argument with regards to George Soros and his shadow government.

But it's Groundhog Day in the very easy, and very apt, comparison of the Shah of Iran to Mubarak. The Iranian Islamic Revolution was the result of a lot of factors, but not the least of which was Jimmy Carter not doing much of anything to shore up US interests in Iran by supporting the Shah.

Probably not the best leader in Iran's history, but far from the worst.

The loss of the Shah brought us the Iranian Hostage Crisis and a nuclear Iran that seeks out the ability to obliterate its neighbors. The loss of Mubarak is most likely going to bring us the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of Egypt, as they are the most powerful opposition group, and stand the most to gain. The Muslim Brotherhood has been referred to as "Al Qaeda before Al Qaeda was cool". They've also got a bit of history, going back to some other evil guys.

From the Council on Foreign Relations:

One reason the Brotherhood’s commitment to nonviolence is unclear: The original Egyptian organization has spawned branches in 70 countries. These organizations bear the Brotherhood name, but their connections to the founding group vary and some of them may provide financial, logistical, or other support to terrorist organizations. Some terrorist groups—including Hamas, Jamaat al-Islamiyya, and al-Qaeda—have historic and ideological affiliations with the Egyptian Brotherhood. In addition, some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists were once Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members, including Osama bin Laden’s top deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Zawahiri went more hardcore after Sayyid Qutb was hanged by Egyptian authorities. Who was Qutb? Just the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. And what is Qutbism? Just good old-fashioned infidel-killing Jihad.

From a story on the Muslim Brotherhood in CanadaFreePress, 2006:

Here's how the story began. In the 1920s there was a young Egyptian named al Bana. And al Bana formed this nationalist group called the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Bana was a devout admirer of Adolph Hitler and wrote to him frequently. So persistent was he in his admiration of the new Nazi Party that in the 1930s, al-Bana and the Muslim Brotherhood became a secret arm of Nazi intelligence.

The Arab Nazis had much in common with the new Nazi doctrines. They hated Jews; they hated democracy; and they hated the Western culture. It became the official policy of the Third Reich to secretly develop the Muslim Brotherhood as the fifth Parliament, an army inside Egypt.

More on Al Banna here:
And from Horowitz here:
Even CNN can't spin them into a good thing, though they try:

Considering Hitler and the Muslim Brotherhood liked each other, making Mubarak into Hitler really makes no sense, other than to support Orwell's claim that "fascist" just means "anything bad".

Weak, naiive democrat president with no foreign policy experience or understanding in charge of the US. An islamist group seizing power from a US ally. The US ally is a strongarm leader that the democrat's touchy-feely side rejects, rather than figure out why we'd ever support the guy - and what the repercussions of not supporting him will be... Yup. It's GROUNDHOG DAY!

But this time when we drive off the cliff, it'll be different!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Obamacare Unconstitutional

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was just ruled unconstitutional.

The centerpiece of Obamacare is the individual mandate. For those who've been ignoring the news for a while, basically you are compelled by government to purchase health care, and if you opt out, you face fines. Unpaid fines to the government don't result in the government going "shucks, we didn't really mean it", they result in jail time. Try it this year with the IRS.
They give you free health care in there, too.

J.B.H. wrote about the unconstitutionality of Obamacare a while back.

Jake Tapper from ABC asked Obama about the fine system and the president admitted he agreed fines for noncompliance were necessary.

And there are jail time penalties in the bill:

“H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1]

“If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…”

• Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

• Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.”

But for now, a judge has ruled against Obamacare and the "buy it or go to jail" mandate - and invalidating the entire bill. Next step is the government going to the supreme court to push for it again.

Ultimately, the question is one of the scope of federal power and the ability for the government to stretch the commerce clause to encompass any absurd suppression of citizens' rights.

This started in no small part under one of the last giant progressive presidents, FDR. Wickard v. Filburn. Filburn was a farmer who was growing extra wheat for himself to feed his livestock. The government had mandated the amount of wheat that could be grown in order to drive up the price of wheat and "help" farmers.

To begin with, it's Keynesian economics, which are predicated on meddling by a bureaucrat who believes they know more than the person on the ground - and the bureaucrat ultimately using the government's gun against the American person who rejects them. The price was low and that "hurt" farmers. But rather than support farmers growing as much wheat as possible by offering tax cuts for farmers or something - leading to more wheat and fewer hungry people, the government decided to limit the amount of wheat. Supply goes down, demand goes up. Of course, limiting the amount of food results in famines... but the bureaucrat in DC doesn't feel it.

The fedgov is hurting people in California's Central Valley right now. This time, rather than favor the price of wheat over farmers, they favor a fish over farmers.
The EPA hates Americans of Mexican descent. Obama hates brown people!

Anyhow, Filburn was growing wheat for himself, and the government (FDR's supreme court), ruled that the government could regulate crops grown for private use, as they "influence the market". The idea was that since Filburn wasn't buying wheat at government-inflated prices, he could also not use his own land to grow wheat to feed his own livestock, as his act of not buying wheat influenced the price somewhere, no matter how miniscule.

Since he used his own land to grow his own wheat and not buy government wheat he was influencing the price of wheat by taking out his buying power. It's like the government looking at the hooligan in the Broken Window Fallacy and going "we should smash some more windows!"

Filburn's right to his own property and his own enterprise on his own land were violated. The government ruled that through the Commerce Clause that it could tell you what to do with your own assets. This is what Obamacare was doing until it was ruled invalid - except now rather than just growing your own wheat, Obamacare took it one step further. If you didn't spend your money, you were subject to penalties.

The Commerce Clause is thus:
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes

What does this mean? According to SCOTUS in Gonzales V Raich, which illegalized home-grown marijuana:
The Commerce Clause emerged as the Framers' response to the central problem giving rise to the Constitution itself: the absence of any federal commerce power under the Articles of Confederation. For the first century of our history, the primary use of the Clause was to preclude the kind of discriminatory state legislation that had once been permissible. Then, in response to rapid industrial development and an increasingly interdependent national economy, Congress “ushered in a new era of federal regulation under the commerce power,” beginning with the enactment of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887 and the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890.

What's it really mean?
It was set up so that trading between states would be regular. So that if someone in Vermont wanted to sell something in Maine, they didn't have to pay tariffs to cross New Hampshire. That's about it. It was to keep Kansas from telling flights across the state they have to stop selling drinks at the state line. That was the purpose.

The purpose was not to tell a farmer that if he grew wheat for himself he'd go to jail, or to tell you that when you work for your money, you have to buy a healthcare plan or go to jail.

For those who would contend that not being a lawyer means that you, Joe, Jane, Pedro, Shaniqua or Vinh don't have a voice, that's nonsense. The Constitution was not written in some esoteric language. It's pretty plain even now.

You don't get from this:
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes

To this:
“H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1]

“If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…”

• Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

• Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.”

Without a hefty load of BS between them. If you don't spend you money the way the govt says, you got to jail. Nonsense.