20 June 2011

Let Greece Fail,

Before it Drags Everyone Under

I feel some empathy for the ignorant people of Greece. They voted for the unionists, socialists and communists that have destroyed their beautiful country, its legacies of freedom and rational thought, its government, and its economy.

I don’t want socialist and communist governments, union organizations or their ideals to succeed anywhere in the world. They suck the self esteem and initiative from the very fiber of people’s souls turning them into mindless dependent zombies.

It perverts their brains. They construct convoluted irrational justifications for why they have willingly become mindless lackeys for the party and the state. They sacrifice self determination for the promise of a few tasty crumbs, and all they have to do is buy into the perverse scheme that others will pay for undeserved benefits because of the promise that someday they too will receive lavish benefits at someone else’s expense.


It steals their purse, and robs them of the fruits of their labors and the reasoned use of their minds. They have sacrificed liberty for over-promised personal and financial safety. They know it hasn't been paid for and will not be sustained by those coming later seeking opportunity, independence, self-esteem, liberty, and individual responsibility and accomplishment. They will throw off these unreasonable constructs in exchange for opportunity, and the right to earn their own way, or fail and try something else until they find that at which they can succeed. Otherwise, they will have nothing left to responsibly provide for their own well-being, when their party and their government programs run out of other peoples money and collapse.

I think we should help their overburdened system fail. They have not made anywhere near the cuts necessary to have a sustainable nation, society or economy. If they continue their lavish unearned socialist programs, they will soon be another hopelessly impoverished “Haiti like” pit dragging the EU, Great Britain, Japan, Norway and perhaps some foolish financial institutions in the United States into a dismal financial and economic spiral, just to pay for lavish, undeserved welfare programs and ridiculous pensions that the recipients paid little or nothing for, didn't earn; because they didn't plan for or save for their own retirement, and probably couldn't because of the costs of their oppressively high taxes for unnecessary "do nothing" government jobs, crippling regulations, and bloated social programs.

Oh! Wait a minute, was I writing about Greece or the United States?

I guess it really doesn't matter. Without a rapid turn away from damaging socialist and communist programs, drastic reductions in the size and role of central governments, much lower taxes, and much fewer convoluted laws and irrational regulations.

They are both doomed.

12 June 2011

Ben Franklin,

I Admire Him

I admire his energy, intelligence, forethought, curiosity, and his enormous contributions to science, public good, government, foreign policy, Ideas, organizations, and wisdom.

What follows are the things I found interesting from my limited research this time into some of his many accomplishments.  Not all of his ideas are as good today as originally. For instance, mutual insurance is not so good today and daylight saving time became ludicrous with the advent of widespread electrical lighting. Originally neighbors in a community of similar values, life styles, vocations and avocations band together to collectively bare the costs of shared maladies. It works fine in small like-minded communities for floods, tornadoes, work accidents, childhood diseases or crippling injuries. I doubt he ever envisioned applying it to large culturally diverse nation with vastly differing values.

Franklin made many brilliant inventions and discoveries, several of scientific note like the Atlantic-Gulf stream current and lightning rods. He started many programs and institutions that affect all of our lives daily like volunteer fire department, Mutual insurance, our constitution, the bill of rights, Foreign Service, foreign policy, almanac, free library, and good sense.

Some were valuable contributions at the time, but not as good today as they have evolved and are not applied as Ben Franklin saw them in the 1700’s.

Inventions:

Ben had poor vision and needed glasses to read. He got tired of constantly switching them for differing tasks, so he decided to figure out a way to make his glasses let him see both near and far. He had two pairs of spectacles cut in half and put half of each lens in a single frame. Today, we call them bifocals.

Ben's older brother John suffered from kidney stones and Ben wanted to help him feel better. Ben developed a flexible urinary catheter that appears to have been the first one produced in America.

As early as 1784, Franklin suggested following the Chinese model of dividing ships' holds into watertight compartments so that if a leak occurred in one compartment it could be sealed; the water would not spread throughout the other holds sinking the ship.

Nearly everyone has heard of Ben's famous kite flights, although he made important discoveries and advancements, he did not "invent" electricity. He did, however, invent the lightning rod which protected buildings and ships from lightning damage.

In colonial America, most people warmed their homes by building a fire in a fireplace even though it was kind of dangerous and used a lot of wood. Ben figured that there had to be a better way. His invention of an iron furnace stove allowed people to warm their homes less dangerously and with less wood. The furnace stove that he invented is called a Franklin stove. Interestingly enough, Ben also established the first fire company and the first fire insurance company in order to help people live more safely.

As postmaster, Ben had to figure out routes for delivering the mail. He went out riding in his carriage to measure the routes and needed a way to keep track of the distance. He invented a simple odometer and attached it to his carriage.

"Of all my inventions, the glass Armonica has given me the greatest personal satisfaction."

Benjamin Franklin was inspired to create his own version of the Armonica after listening to a concert of Handel's Water Music which was played on tuned wine glasses.

Benjamin Franklin's Armonica, created in 1761, was smaller than the originals and did not require water tuning. Benjamin Franklin's design used glasses that were blown in the proper size and thickness which created the proper pitch without having to be filled with water. The glasses were nested in each other which made the instrument more compact and playable. The glasses were mounted on a spindle which was turned by a foot treadle.

His Armonica won popularity in England and on the Continent. Beethoven and Mozart composed music for it. Benjamin Franklin, an avid musician, kept the Armonica in the blue room on the third floor of his house. He enjoyed playing Armonica/ harpsichord duets with his daughter Sally and bringing the Armonica to get-to-gethers at his friends' homes.

Ben Franklin always wondered why sailing from America to Europe took less time than going the other way. Finding the answer to this would help to speed travel, shipments and mail deliveries across the ocean. Franklin was the first scientist to study and map the Gulf Stream. He measured wind speeds and current depth, speed and temperature. Ben Franklin described the Gulf Stream as a river of warm water and mapped it as flowing north from the West Indies, along the East Coast of North America and east across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe.

Ideas and Organizations

Ben Franklin believed that people should use daylight productively. He was one of the avid supporters of daylight saving time in summer.

In 1727, Benjamin Franklin, then 21, created the Junto, a group of "like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community.” The Junto was a discussion group for issues of the day; it subsequently gave rise to many organizations in Philadelphia.

Reading was a great pastime of the Junto

In 1728, Franklin had set up a printing house in partnership with Hugh Meredith and the following year became the publisher of a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette gave Franklin a forum for agitation about a variety of local reforms and initiatives through printed essays and observations. Over time, his commentary, and his adroit cultivation of a positive image as an industrious and intellectual young man, earned him a great deal of social respect. But even after Franklin had achieved fame as a scientist and statesman, he habitually signed his letters with the unpretentious 'B. Franklin, Printer.'

Some of my favorite Franklin quotes:

“Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.”

“Half a truth is often a great lie.”

“A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.”

“I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things.”

“If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.”

“No nation was ever ruined by trade.”

“There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government.”

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”

“All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse.”

“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”

I think much of what America’s culture, history and government were begun by Benjamin Franklin. His enormous and unselfish contributions and legendary participation put him at the top of my list of founding fathers of the United States of America.

Too bad there have been few like him since.

08 June 2011

Just Say No

To Price Control

Mostly Free Markets produce the lowest economic price fair to all.

Producers, transporters, sellers, and customers all pay and receive fair compensation when slightly managed market forces establish the price.

When non-purchasers seek to establish the price, they do not have a clue about the value to those who need or want a product or service. Everything they think or believe is just hearsay. They usually don’t even know if the product is in shortage or surplus, or what the production or delivery costs are; so they have no idea what the true market price is.

They are motivated to keep the price artificially low to curry favor with the voting public. With no profit opportunity, suppliers, distributors and sellers have no reason to supply more products; so, scarcities drive underground resale markets that will demand and get much higher than open market prices.

Government bureaucrats, Price Boards, Commissions, all use false indications and are completely ignorant of the fair price normally established through billions of individual transactions that reflect the contrast between supply, demand and costs, and customers’ wishes and perceived values.

All other methods of price fixing are false, and are illegal unless the government does it.

Some how the government is exempt from “price fixing” laws, imagine that. It is too bad the volume and the value of government services aren’t set by market forces.

Over-charging businesses are devastated by every failed sale because of price. A reputation of price gouging puts enterprises out of business very quickly.

Shortages of needed products forces users to offer more money. A slightly higher price initiates increased production and distribution, and if not satisfied, many more competitors, with competitive pressure and surpluses eventually driving prices lower.

If you want lower prices, many things can be done in the market place to drive prices down. Government price fixing isn’t one of them.

Here are some examples:

1. Buy cheaper stuff.

2. Buy less popular stuff, or wait awhile until it’s less popular.

3. Reduce taxes. All products, including foods and most services, have as much as 50% taxes and costs of regulation hidden in the price.

4. Stop taxing businesses and stop voting for those who want to, it’s stupid. Businesses don’t pay taxes, customers do.

5. Shop around, encourage competitors.

6. Discourage Unions. They’ve never made anything better, faster or cheaper.

7. Encourage people to start their own businesses. Make it easy.

8. Encourage businesses to come to your community with tax breaks and incentives. They create jobs for people.  People that do pay taxes.

9. Encourage more supply. Make increased supply easier. You want cheaper medical care, increase competition; not increase taxes and regulation. Encourage hospital, clinic and staff expansions.

10. Get rid of unnecessary permits and licenses.

11. Stop corruption and crime, it costs us all a lot of money.

12. Stop mandating employee benefits, ridiculous work rules, and childish so called “Safety” regulations. These things when needed will be offered by smart competitors without government interference, if customers are willing to pay for them. If customers won’t help pay for them, then they are not needed.

13. Stop minimum wages that rob young people and those with limited skills by keeping them out of starting jobs

Get big government out of our businesses, and out of the personal choices of legal, law abiding, hard working, taxpaying citizens; if you not working, not obeying our laws, not here legally, and living off corruption and government entitlements for decades, you are not entitled to any say just because you are here and sucking air.

Put some in, before you take any out, or get out; move to some failing socialist or communist country.

You are making our lives worse.