Daily Blog: If you are worried about the socialists, tell a friend.  Tell a Democrat as they think this socialism is about Liberal Democracy.  It isn’t.  It’s about Leftist Democracy, a very dangerous challenge to the American Dream.

1/16/2019: An example: Socialism versus Capitalism: Why
Medicare for All Is Great Marketing but Poor Governance
 
Monopolies, and Medicare is one, are economic and value killers in two ways: They kill our pocketbooks because they are increasingly expensive. Second, as monopolies have no competition and want to keep it that way, they hate innovation which is the primary driver of reducing costs.
 
Taken together, as costs go up value, decreases over time. Government social monopolies fare much worse, if only because of scale. They are big and government is the ultimate fighting machine regarding protecting its monopolies.
 
Medicare for All has been floated by many socialists in the Democrat party. It may sound good to the leftists in our midst, but how does our nation pay for its costs which are estimated to average $2.5 trillion a year over the first ten years.
 
What I presume of these politicians who float this terribly old idea is that they are unaware that the current Medicare is severely underfunded – $37 trillion over the next 75 years. Full funding of the current program would require an increase in payroll taxes of around 4 percent. (Social Security is also underfunded at minimally requires increasing those taxes about two percent.) Added together, imagine your very high retirement taxes going from 7.65% for both you and your employer to close to 14% – for both you and your employer. For those retired, full-funding will cripple your children’s paycheck.
 
Additionally, getting original monopoly in good financial steed will likely cripple the economy. A double whammy on your kids. So not only a smaller paycheck, maybe no paycheck at all. Adding the rest of the nation to Medicare for All is even more staggering.
 
How much more must income taxes be increased to pay for Medicare for All. Good question. The total income tax revenue – individual and business income taxes combined – collected in 2018 totaled $1.9 trillion. What tax increases are required for Medicare for All to pay for this new program?
 
To collect another $2.5 trillion in income taxes would require that every tax bracket increase another 130 percent. If you are in the lowest tax brackets, you are paying 10% now, Medicare for All would increase your income taxes rate to 23%, and your Medicare and Social Security taxes would rise from 7.65% to 14% (the employer would also pay another 14% as well.) For an average guy like me, my taxes accelerate from 22% to about 50%.
 
The highest tax brackets, the one-percenters pay 39.6% today. With Medicare for all, their retirement payroll deduction, like us average guys – is 14% (plus the employer’s 14%) and their income tax would rise to 91.06%. Conscripting every single dollar would not pay the bill. Which gets to the second problem.
 
These top filers, as well as a few brackets below, are investors, job creators, and wealth builders. They are the crucial component in America’s innovation engine as they are constantly looking for the next generation of ideas that will change the world. The money they might invest to support America’s innovation engine would vanish, further slowing economic growth. Additionally, profits from healthcare businesses are also support innovation. When their profits go away under government run healthcare, so to go dollars seeking innovation. The very thing, innovation, that will help reduce healthcare costs, disappears.
 
If you want much smaller paychecks, much bigger government, and much more expensive, status quo healthcare, then welcome to the Brave New World. Vote for Socialism and get less for your dollar every day.
 
There are better solutions.
 
More next month: Destination Quality Health Care and Health Care Financing.
 
Tomorrow: The First Short Argument to Counter You Socialist Friends.

1/15/2019: Socialism Versus Capitalism: The short List of Why Socialism Doesn’t Work:

Too Few Government Institutions Creating Ideas Versus a Flood of Ingenious Commoners Producing Ideas

Monopolies not Markets

Pessimistic View That Needs Government Help To Live Of Man Versus Optimistic View Of Man That Knows Everyone Can Seek Their Own Greatness With Great Freedom

Redistribution Dollars  versus Pursuit of Happiness

Freedom Without Choice (Monopolies) versus Freedom With Choice (Markets)

Distrust of Citizens versus Distrust of Government

Resultless Government Versus Government That Fosters Faster Economic Growth Through Individual Freedom

Government is the Answer to Every Problem Versus Individual Freedom as the Catalyst of Greatness

Big, Strong, Intrusive Growing Government That Limits Individual Freedom Versus Constitutional Limited Federal Government Focused on Protecting Our Freedom

Tomorrow: An example: Socialism versus Capitalism: Why Medicare for All Is Great Marketing but Poor Governance

1/13/2019: Socialism Versus Capitalism: Pessimism versus Optimism

 
Perhaps the saddest premise of socialism is its pessimistic approach to individual behavior. The individual is broken.
 
He is unable to fix himself without the aid of government expert social designers. Oddly, that socialists believe that man is broken, they seem to believe there is a special class of fixers that overcome this basic brokenness. The pessimism of the Left and its intellectual conceit is so shocking it’s a bit unbelievable that anyone would buy into such notions.
 
That said, the Left has the best marketing engine in the world- the mainstream media, and for that matter, social media – to transmit their pessimist message in the most optimistic light. Sounding good and doing good are, however, two vastly different things.
In the late 18th century, Adam Smith, the first to write about capitalism, describes man in vastly different and optimistic terms than the Socialists that would follow him in the 19th century. This from Smith:
 
‘The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition…is so powerful, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.’
 
The first time I read this, I thought, like socialists, that this couldn’t be right. It is essentially correctly however as we don’t live in caves or continue to hunt and gather. Our civilization has consistently improved throughout history. It’s a process, albeit a slow one.
 
When one realizes that perfection is not achieved at a point in time but a journey throughout time, then socialism is easily seen as an inept regimen with incompetent results. There is no continual improvement process with socialist architecture. Socialism locks up economies.
Citizens lose trust. Cultures die.
 
With capitalism and democracy, the engine of governance constantly asks our advice via the vote. That confidence in us, inspires us to think better and do better, whether politically, economically, socially, culturally or personally. As a collection of persons, not a collective of followers, we improve ourselves and our lot…every single day, year, century and millennia. The going is sometimes tough. Individuals are persistent, gritty, curious, inventive. We make mistakes, but as Smith says, we surmount ‘a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.’ Prescient.
 
So, what sounds better, Smith’s optimism about our lot, or Marx’s pessimism about the imperfection of man requiring a dictatorship of the masses. Or, as in America, the small legislative tyranny of the Left run by the administrative that.
 
We can do better. CIVIL!
 
Tomorrow: The Summary Arguments for your Friends

1/12/2019: Socialism Versus Capitalism – Social Welfare Versus Pursuit of Happiness

 
Our unalienable rights – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of
Happiness – are often quoted but don’t get the deserved respect they should. They have become a refrain instead of a central theme of governance.
 
For example, our War on Poverty, and its associated policies and programs are focused on providing dollars or free services from the government to those in need. More simply, the approach attempts to solve an income inequality symptom of poverty with money. Sadly, most of these programs harm family formation, which is a key component of happiness. Passing money from one hand to another not only harms the potential for happiness, it assumes that money can buy happiness. There are numerous happiness studies, and none validate that money helps the happiness scale.
 
Imagine a set of policies built on improving our Pursuit of Happiness: better education to improve one’s ability to get the best job possible. Working increases happiness. Working and a good education produce an increased likelihood of marriage, a very key indicator of happiness. When these life practices are executed, the opportunity to live in locales with high degrees of social trust improve. And all these items produce increased happiness. Executed in this order, ninety-seven percent of these generally happy persons do not need government services.
 
What a great set of anti-poverty programs. No income-inequality, redistributionist, socialist programs needed, here. At less cost, because we all know ‘money can’t buy you love.’
 
Tomorrow: Socialism Versus Capitalism: Pessimism Versus Optimism.

1/11/2019: Socialism versus Capitalism: Trust.

The quality of every single human interaction is based on trust.  Our personal relationships depend on trust.  So, too, do economic, political and religious interactions.  Where trust ceases to exist, there is either no interaction or no perceived value in continued interaction.

As our government has slowly moved to a large strong intrusive government, toward socialism. from a well-defined, limited federal government with specific duties articulated in the constitution research shows an equally well-articulated reduction in trust.  Federal spending in the 18th and 19th centuries seldom rose to 5% of GDP.    In the 1950s, spending rose into the teens.   This century, when adding in borrowing to cover our habitual deficit spending, the cost of government is over 25%.  Government tentacles are ever, whereas is government’s inability to spend smart or provide solutions that deliver on our expectations translates into reduced trust.

Pew Research conducted government trust surveys since the 1950s.  Our trust in government, as its spending and scope has increased dramatically show our trust in government has fallen from 80% in the late 1950s to just under 20% today.

If government is the answer to our problems, the trust polling numbers would be vastly higher.   The stronger and stronger our government has become, the more we are dubious about its abilities to sustain a trusted relationship.  And no government is focused on keeping you as a customer, none.  You will always be a customer by default.  Government can’t go out of business, so its focus is on increasing budgets and power and customer service or efficient service delivery.

Government has no motive to improve itself.  The bigger it gets the worse our situation.  There is no sound reasoning nor any good example for a big, strong central government where the political objective is expand the government.  None.  Were longer government improving our lives a highly-valued, trusted relationship with Washington, D.C. would exist and it does not.

Tomorrow: Socialism Versus Capitalism: Pursuit of Happiness

1/10/2019: Socialism versus Capitalism: Power Corrupts

 
Power is a dangerous elixir that few handle well. Sometimes it arrives with payments of cash stuck in the freezer. In Washington, power corrupts our leaders and bureaucrats thinking. In the 21st century, power sucks any potential for innovation, ideas and invention out of every political debate. Even worse, debate in Washington more about well-financed, verbal volleys between two angry internet engines than a civil discussion.
 
Business can be corrupt, and though infrequent, some wise and simple regulation is needed to organize and minimize corruption. The bigger the business the greater to chance for corruption. The age old adage applies: power corrupts, absolute power corrects absolutely. As money is power, big money corrupts in big gulps.
 
As government is 10 times bigger than the largest corporation – Walmart – and nearly 200 times the average size of a Fortune 500 corporation, government corruption should be of great concern to the voters. If money creates power and corruptibility in the federal government’s $4 trillion dollar enterprise, then the risk for corruption is 200 times as great as the average Fortune 500 company. Sadly, the government has no throttle to moderate itself and has been running full throttle for decades without seat belts or airbags.
 
The creeping into our free, capitalist democracy of socialism has produced a slow, steady ramp up to government now owning about 20% of our economy. Though far from the socialist upstream parent, communism that owns 100% of the economy, the path to more powerful, corrupt, ineffective socialist government in America is clear. So clear, the many voters are beginning to more easily see that something is definitely wrong in the all and powerful socialist Oz. Alternately, calls from the socialists to provide free college education and Medicare for All would require the government to triple our income taxes, increasing the government’s propensity to acquire power which translates into more corruption.
 
The historic path of socialism’s strong central governments produces a sad description: Complex, expensive, burdensome, untrustworthy, result-less government.
When using our federalist blueprint, democratic capitalism, the description changes: smaller government, with simple and smart regulations, a reduced scope of responsibilities, a government focused of producing great results using markets instead of socialist, government monopolies, mitigating government power and corruptibility.
 
The question is, what is good for you the citizen:
Socialism that increase the size of government and the likelihood for more corruption, complexity, confusion with diminishing results and a more and more powerless citizenry.
 
Or
 
A capitalist democracy that focuses on smarter, leaner government that produces trust in its citizens because it creates opportunities for great achievement for all of us and thus better results for the nation.
 
There has never been a socialist nation whose economic output has outproduced a capitalist democracy. Nor do socialist nations increase human happiness.
 
Tomorrow: Socialism versus Capitalism: Trust.

1/7/2019: Socialism versus Capitalism: Micromanagement versus Trusted Leadership

Socialism and micromanagement have much in common; they both make our lives more difficult. Micro-managers, after all, are annoying. Having a manager look over your shoulder is bad enough. Having the government look over your shoulder is beyond burdensome.
 
Socialist thinking, including those in our government, micromanages literally everything by erecting vast pools of rules and regulations. The IRS code is more than 75,000 pages. Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, another 20,000 each. Federal agencies hire lots of lawyers to see if anyone is working outside the lines. They are looking over your shoulder. Even when you sleep. The bigger the government gets the hungrier for power our political elites get, the more shoulders they can look over.
When a government official knocks on the door and says, ‘I’m Joe and I am from the federal government. I am here to help you,’ he is not here to help you. He is here to serve the needs of the government. We have all worked for an annoying micro-manager that makes us crazy. Socialism is just micromanage at great scale.
 
For businesses, great, 21st century leadership begins with trust in the employee. Freeing the employee to execute their jobs with few rules as possible so they can work smart and provide insights on how to do their job better. We all like working with this person because they are not only trying to make us successful and are looking for our ideas to make the job better. They count on the individual to make good decisions. This leader leverages and expands our human capital. Consider the great leaders you have worked for, that trusted in your capabilities and sought your advice, who employed basic rules and then provided help when challenges arose. That’s what capitalism and democracy is about.
Ask yourself which type of leader you enjoyed best? Micromanagement takes our freedom and our dignity away? Do you want to be taken care of via the government’s lardy rules, or would you like to make your own decisions? Do you want a leader that is looking over the transom to make sure you are conducting your job the right way, or a leader that trusts you? Socialism or capitalism?
 
Tommorow: Socialism Versus Capitalism: Monopolies versus Markets

1/5 Socialism Versus Capitalism

Ideas as the currency of personal and national economic success.

Try to imagine a world without new ideas.

Not only no iPhone, no wheel, no electricity, no nada.  We’d still be living in a cave.

Capitalism and markets aren’t successful because they make investors and the financial class richer.  Success arrives because there are enough investors, investing in an abundance of ideas. These great ideas find access to commoners like us who vote on what is good, bad and then great.  It takes a lot of ideas to make one so good that a tiny company grows to big company.  
 
Socialism and its experts believe they know what the good ideas already and so erect one-size-fits all government monopolies where new ideas have no path to the light of day.  Solutions without our testing and input. Freedom without choice.
 
Even Communist China finally understood the lesson of capitalism plenty of ideas.  Deng Xiaoping stated this pivotal change of view after Mao Tse Tung’s death. ‘To make revolution and build socialism we need large numbers of path breakers who dare to think, explore new ways and generate new ideas.’  China changed their constitution from Marx’s no private property (not only land but ideas as well) to an allowance from private property.
From a few idea generators under Mao, to a billion under Deng, the Chinese economy rocketed to success.  From nothing to the second largest economy in the world, all built on the back of commoners with new ideas. 

The political elites simply were simply too small of a group to great enough ideas to drive a successful economy.  In America, five hundred and thirty-seven elected officials, some K-streeters, and the intelligentsia have no way to produce enough ideas compared to the 333,000,000 citizens who are trying to find ways to make their lives better every day.   And yet, this is what the Left would like you to believe in.   That the few can proliferate ideas like the many.  The ‘ingenious commoners’ of the Renaissance produced what Matt Ridley calls a time when ‘ideas were having sex with ideas.’  Economic success under Mao or Stalin could never be described as the foundation for a radically effective way of idea generation.

Why, socialism is a form of governance that kills new ideas because the party has all the experts’ ideas required to control the citizenry and economy.   The intellectual conceit is that the commoners is not required.  Central planners have all the answers.  Conceit, indeed.

If you want to assure you kids have a good future vote for the party that is looking to assure the success of the entrepreneurs working in their garage, like Steve and Woz, not the gent seeking government credits so rich folks can afford his cars like Elon.

Ideas rule and the more the better.  If you get a chance, kick a leftist in the skin and tell them to go home and hide.

Tomorrow: Ideas in Short

Socialism Versus Capitalism: A Thought Series: Expert Socialists

The 18th and 19th centuries produces a covey or European writers seeking to improve the governance of kings and popes.  The seeds of socialism, though, instead of replacing the dual-class system of kingdoms simply replaced kings for leftist experts, our dear socialist/Progressive nobility.

Today’s socialists understand society to be made up of two distinct classes, enlightened leaders like kings, and commoners.   Kings were responsible for the lives of commoners because commoners just didn’t have the right stuff to live without kingly guidance.   In today’s lingo, this intellectual conceit has been offered in less kind words.  Consider Hillary Clinton’s ‘deplorables,’ or Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber’s ‘the stupidity of the American Voter,’ or Maynard Keynes’ belief that the common man was too ‘ignorant’ to understand public policy.’

The results of their enlightened tutelage and leadership over the last 8 decades appears to contradict their two-class society proposition.    Having taken ownership of retirement, education and social welfare, are we commoners better off?

Nope: retirement programs are under funded by $44 trillion and this number is probably understated.  The education monopoly has produced declining results over other industrial nations though they spend half what America does.  Worst or all, after spending over $40 trillion in the last 50 years on the War on Poverty, our poverty rate has not moved an iota.   Is this the best our Leftist can do?  No they can do worse.  Just give them more responsibilities.  Medicare for all?  Run away, quickly.

If socialism worked, these experts should have much better results.  But they don’t get the results proposed because they aren’t the experts, they think they are.  They are simply well-educated with opinions that don’t produce results.

America has always been a one-class society.   Our classless society works well because we have the power of the vote and we vote on just about everything in life, not just political candidates.  Smart phones, food, housing, cars, clothing…widgets of every kind.  We are experts at just everything, and just about every business we engage trusts us to vote for products businesses’ hope we will love what they produce.

Some businesses, charities, and churches produce well and get our votes, and some don’t and either change or cease to exist.  With the internet, the world of our voting got even better.   Now we can review what we invest in.   It let’s the rest of us know the product is a good one, or if it is not up to snuff, gives the entity feedback on how to improve.

Try giving feedback to one of the government’s agencies.  Good luck on that.

Tomorrow:  Socialism Versus Capitalism: Ideas as the currency of 21st Success

1/3/2019: Pre-requisites for Immigration and Border Enforcement

Walls and shutdowns and budgets, what a bunch of political malarkey.

The parties will agree on little and manage to do less.

What’s the problem?  The parties not only do not have a common set of principles on how to govern.  The foundations for immigration policy and border security are irreconcilably different.

The Left says border security is important but in the same breath silently transmits subliminal messages to non-citizens to please come to America illegally.  About half the conservatives do the same.

The Left erects sanctuary cities.  Worse, some of its membership goes to south and central American nations and educates illegal entrants how to beat the system.  This is just about as mean-spirited as is humanly possible.   ‘Come hither’ and work for less than citizens and in the darkness of having no credentials to be in country.   How is this good for either the immigrant or our nation’s poor who compete with illegals for jobs?   Not to mention the criminals that join in this illegal entry game.

Worse, half of Republicans do the same, albeit more in the shadows of illegal business hiring.

How to move ahead?

First, if we are going to have sane immigration policy, everyone……every single politician in the US, local, state and federal, needs to agree that the current laws, no matter how good or bad, need to be enforced.  Everyone takes an oath of office to enforce the law.  If an elected official doesn’t like the laws, then their responsibility is to change them, not ignore them.

Second, agree that enforcement does mean border enforcement.  Instead of politicizing every discussion about funding a wall or fence or more people, a debate about the options to create the most effective solution at the border would be better.

Tomorrow:

1/2/2019 Shutdown or Politics as Usual

 
If there is at least one good reason to dismantle the two political parties, it lay with the complete politicization of building a small fraction of the wall Trump would like to erect.
 
Why is this topic of importance now, and not over the last two years? I could not tell you. But both parties seem to agree that they cannot agree on something both parties have both agreed to on more than one occasion. The most recent agreement was in 2013 when Senator Schumer worked to get $8 billion for a border fence.
 
Heck, if we can’t do $5 billion for a wall, let’s do $8 billion for a fence. Agreeing on something seems to be largely semantics or posturing.
 
The argument, though, isn’t over border protection or a wall or a fence, it is simply politics at its worst, each party trying to gain political advantage over the other, without merit or common sense.
 
Are these folks in DC trying to help Americans…or just themselves.
 
Tomorrow: Pre-requisites for Immigration and Border Enforcement

1/1/2019 New Year’s Resolutions for Fixing Washington

Ideas that might help make it easier to understand our sloppy, complex, expensive, result-less government.

1. A chief simplicity officer for Congress. Complexity of government is killing the ability of government to govern. Creating an institution in the CBO that stresses a culture of simplicity in process or legislation would reduce costs dramatically.

2. X-Prize for solving problems. X-Prize is a private foundation and funds a variety of projects from education, to space travel, to education. Special interests and lobbyists have been the go to platforms but focus on last century’s solutions not the future. Why use X-Prize’s to seek new ideas for healthcare, fixing retirement and welfare. There are just not enough people in DC to come up with innovations that can fix many of our problems and soliciting those outside the beltway might improve our odds of finding good solutions and take some of the politics out of the equation.

3. Instead of launching one-size-fits-all solutions, test ideas in the states, counties and cities first to see if they work. America is dragging along a large number of programs that provide little or no benefit but have a big political following that makes it difficult to end programs and expands the opportunity for perpetually poor governance. Let’s start testing ideas on a smaller scale to find solutions to replace aging and poorly performing laws, regulations and government programs.

Tomorrow: Shutdown?

2019 Debates!

In Arizona, the two Senate Candidates spent over $30 million.  After all the spending, and TV, web and radio commercials, my IQ went down about 20 points and frankly I could not tell you one thing that either candidate would do to fix the problems with Washington.   The only debate I saw was about  DNC and RNC talking points.  The objective of the debate seemed more about whether the candidates passed their parties litmus test.  Underwhelming, to say the least.

The reason there are ‘low information voters’ is because parties spend billions of dollars on tweaking the voter to make them mad enough not to vote for the ‘other’ candidate, but nothing about a plan for the future, no vision, no new ideas…

Wouldn’t it be great to talk about ideas that can change the vector of our future to something positive, something that will ensure our children’s future.  CIVIL thinks so.

Here are some ideas

  1. What’s the Biggest Problem in Washington and How Would You Fix It?
  2. Transformational Government: What the problem with our Retirement System and How Would You Fix It?
  3. Transformational Government: Why Can’t Our Inner City Children Get an Education, and How Would You Fix It?
  4. Transformational Government: Social Welfare or Pursuit of Happiness?
  5. Climate Change: Alarmist or Denier?
  6. Immigration:  What is the Road Forward to Improve our Economic Fitness?
  7. Is Complexity and Size Killing our Trust in Government?

If you have more ideas, please send them to us.

Our desire is to schedule these in Tempe.  I have reached out to a few groups to see if they would like to participate.

Tom Lewellen

Executive Director