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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/2542/a-day-in-the-life-of/

A Day in the Life of…

September 30, 2004 by

An email called “A Day in the Life of Joe Republican” is making the rounds via a thousand blogs. It is designed to illustrate how the middle class benefits enormously from big government and is too stupid to realize it.

In response, I began the following alternative “Day in the Life”:

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with bottled water because he knows that the municipal water system supplies water that occasionally has e coli and other natural organisms that will make him ill–after all his mother died from drinking water that was polluted by sewage after a heavy rain. Joe tried to sue, but was told that the city had sovereign immunity from such suits as a result of state law. If the water he pours from the bottle he bought at Safeway is polluted, he knows he can sue the manufacturer and collect big, so he feels pretty sure that it’s clean.

Joe grinds his coffee beans carefully because they’re very expensive as a result of the U.S. government-enforced international coffee cartel that exists to protect the jobs of coffee importers–heavy campaign contributers to Congress. He’s also careful about how much sugar he puts in his coffee because it costs seven times the world price of sugar as a result of the U.S. government imposed import restrictions on sugar to protect the domestic sugar beet and sugar cane industry.

Some mornings he drinks a coke instead, although it hasn’t tasted as good since the manufacturer substituted corn syrup for sugar as a sweetener, since sugar is so expensive.

With his first swallow of coffee Joe takes his daily medication for his liver cancer. His doctor assures him that it is the best medication available in the U.S., although more effective medicines are used in Europe. Joe has a life expectancy of only two more years, but it will be a decade or so until the FDA tests on those other medicines are complete and they are allowed to be sold in the U.S. Joe feels protected anyway; after all, he might lose his hair or suffer some dizziness from the new medicines.. The FDA will protect him from that eventuality. Besides, the medicines he takes are paid for by money that his employer would have otherwise paid him in his regular salary. Since he never sees that money, he doesn’t realize that his medicine isn’t really subsidized by his employer after all.

And so on….

{ 14 comments }

Gil Guillory September 30, 2004 at 9:26 am

Another I had written earlier this spring:

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He makes it with a machine he could not possibly have made himself. He does not know where it was made, or how it works, and may not care. He does not know the people that planted, cultivated, harvested, dried, roasted, packaged, freighted, warehoused, distributed, marketed, or retailed his coffee, and may not care. The company that insures the manufacturer of the coffee machine required that it meet certain safety guidelines, as established by the private insurance-company-funded Underwriters Laboratory. Joe has seen the UL mark, but is not really sure what it’s for or how it protects him. He doesn’t clearly understand why greedy businessmen might be interested in a safe product. All of this was made possible by libertarians who fought for and won the legal right to free trade.

He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water which he bought from Ozarka, because the local government monopoly of water supply bears the comforting designation of “accepted” and also tastes funny.

He thinks back to going to church on Sunday. He is happy to have a community where he can participate with other like-minded people in ceremony. This was made possible by the long struggle to disentangle church and state, and his church enjoys the absence of taxation. He wishes other aspects of his life could be so free.

He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee, and then he takes a long drag on a cigarette. He bought his medication while on a trip to Mexico, where, thanks to less regulation and looser enforcement of IP laws, they were much cheaper. His medications are safe to take because he bought them from a reputable dealer. He can still afford cigarettes and can still legally purchase them, because of those who continue to fight for his rights, even if his exercise of those rights might harm him or his family.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; it is fragranced with some sort of exotic flower and there are strange chemicals in it – god knows what – and he bought it, well, because he liked the picture of the kangaroo on the bottle. He luxuriates in his bourgeois moment in the shower, a luxury unavailable to even the most wealthy of only 200 years ago. He is able to have many of such seemingly simple luxuries because some greedy businessmen sought enormous profits in the only way they could: satisfying consumer demand.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because the accumulation of capital over centuries has now brought the discounted marginal value product of a schmuck like Joe to unimaginable heights. Joe doesn’t know anything about economics because he doesn’t have to. He is no smarter than his forbears, and he works less. Nonetheless, because he participates in a world-embracing division of labor where his specialized work on a growing capital base is greatly valued, he is richer.

Joe’s employer pays these standards because if they don’t, his employer’s competitors will.

It’s noon time, Joe doesn’t need to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills – he uses online banking and direct deposit. He has no idea how these systems work, or what a banking clearinghouse is, but he is able to use these services at the lowest cost practicable because banks compete for his business. Notwithstanding the massive interventions to the business of banking, such as the creation of central banking and the Federal Reserve system and the repudiation of the gold standard, he is able to weather the government-induced business cycles and inflation by investing in mutual funds, annuities, stocks, bonds, REITs, real estate, and other investment vehicles. He is able to do this because of greedy entrepreneurs and libertarians who fought against usury laws.

The online banking leaves him free to take a moment to browse amazon.com for his favorite books, movies, and music.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is not among the safest in the world because he chose not to buy a Volvo. His brother has a Volvo, but he has a gas-guzzling muscle car. He has this choice because nationalization of the auto industry was prevented.

He arrives at his rural boyhood home. The house didn’t have any good programming choices until DirecTV offered an array of programming and high-speed internet, too. His dad uses a VCR, which only became affordable to him after lots of rich people bought the early, expensive versions and the manufacturers improved the designs and cut costs. In fact, his dad has a cell phone, TiVo, refrigerator, microwave oven, and a CD player – all of which became affordable to him because they were first the toys of the super-rich, and the crackpot schemes financed by the wealthy entrepreneurs willing and able to risk their money in such endeavors.

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on a reverse mortgage – a recent market innovation. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that libertarians are kooks and anarchists and thank God for continual market intervention and government protection. Government intervention and taxation improves and will continue to improve the standards of living of Americans. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Democrats/Republicans have fought to destroy every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.)

Joe agrees, and puts his support behind protectionism, taxation, monopolies, interventionism, and war: these are obviously the things upon which civilization is built.

c0unt_zer0 September 30, 2004 at 10:02 am

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with bottled water because he knows that the municipal water system supplies water that occasionally has e coli and other natural organisms that will make him ill

Here in Germany, tests have shown again & again that tap water supervised by municipal water systems is actually much purer & cleaner than the bottled variant.

And the notion all inventions have only happened because they promised profits… please, what about computers for example? Without government funded research for usage in war, the whole computer industry could not have started like it did in the 40s (IBM estimated back then that the demand for computers worldwide would be – 5 )

Matti Linnanvuori September 30, 2004 at 10:21 am

Without government-funded research, there would have been privately funded research.

The Dishearted One September 30, 2004 at 10:46 am

I agree with most of the above-posted “A Day In The Life Of…” letters, but I think that Coke could easily use sugar as their sweetener if they make the product elsewhere where sugar costs are cheaper and ship it over to America. Does Canada have the same artificially high sugar price? Does Mexico? They could move there if it suited them to do so, explaining that it is a direct result of government meddling as they chain the doors on their factories shut. I think Coke will use the cheapest ingredients that the market will accept in order to maximize their profit. If you’re still drinking it, selling you lesser quality goods for the same price (or more) was obviously the right thing for them to do. They will continue to look for ways to cut their costs and increase their sell price until the market rejects their product as unacceptable. And with the weak-minded, uninformed consumers nowadays, I don’t think they’ll ever reject a shoddy product. Most people just don’t care anymore. They feel helpless and have given up. We seem to have lost our gauge of value. We gripe as we pay more for a lower quality product, but we don’t vote with our wallet, the only vote that matters. Does the company care that we’re less happy with the product if they don’t lose sales? The local coffee monopoly has lowered their quality and raised their prices regularly, but I keep on buying coffee anyway. It’s not worth starting my own coffee company just to get a good cup of coffee in the morning. So I settle, as everyone else does. Even if you DID want to fight “big business gone mad”, how much market pressure do you feel you can exert on the oil companies (for example)? Not much. You need them more than they need you. So you settle, because it’s not worth fighting for. And that has become the result of modern capitalism. We the People settle. And the quality and price of the goods and services we receive degrades in direct proportion with the amount we passively accept the degradation.

Big business can become a big government. Microsoft is a good example. I HAVE to use Windows at work, and I HAVE to run MS Word. Because if I don’t, I can’t communicate with my customers and suppliers, who all send me documents in proprietary Word format. My choice is extremely limited; use Microsoft products or go bankrupt. And when a customer upgrades to a newer MS Word, I have to upgrade, because my older Word can’t open the newer documents. I don’t see how the situation benefits me as a consumer.

I don’t like the glorification of either big business or big government, as either one, given enough freedom to do so, can damage my quality of life irreparably. Neither is perfect — although I’d rather be damaged by big business, as their monopolies and cartels are weaker than government ones. Though the companies may decide of their own free will on socialistic price fixing schemes instead of competition amongst each other (gas prices, mortgage rates at various banks, etc.), there is always a chance some small company will try to undercut the big boys. It’s not likely, but it’s possible.

Comments?

c0unt_zer0 September 30, 2004 at 10:48 am

How do you know? Most of research/science does not yield any commercial valuable results immediatley (or at all).

D. Saul Weiner September 30, 2004 at 11:06 am

Below is my response to the author of the above-referenced column.

Mr. Gray,

In your column titled “Thank a Liberal”, you ran down a list of legislation which liberals have sponsored that, in your estimation, has improved the lives of Americans. While undoubtedly most of them have conferred some benefits, the column comes up short, primarily due to 2 oversights on your part:

1. While we are all glad to receive goodies from our federal government, unfortunately the process is not quite like the Israelites obtaining manna from heaven; these benefits come at a cost. In most cases, when the federal government takes things over, the costs become divorced from the benefits, making it difficult to do a valid analysis of whether or not we have improved the situation or shot ourselves in the foot. Even in cases where it becomes clear that the costs vastly exceed the benefits of a particular program, it is nearly impossible, politically speaking, to kill such a program. This is a key advantage of a free market; if a product or service does not provide an attractive value to its potential customers, it will fail on its own accord, while those goods and services which are perceived to offer good value will thrive.

2. The other key oversight on your part is that you make the assumption that federal programs which are designed to fulfill a specific purpose do in fact achieve their intended purpose. A cursory view of government programs shows that this assumption is unwarranted. The War on Drugs has not eliminated drug use in America, but has created a whole host of unintended and adverse consequences. The War on Poverty has not eliminated poverty in America but has perpetuated dependence on government and weakened the family unit.

In the remainder of this letter, I will show how these oversights manifest themselves in several of the programs that you praise.

“His [Joe's] medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to ensure their safety and [that they] work as advertised”

In considering the FDA’s role in keeping us safe, consider the following:
• Each year, a tremendous number of health problems and deaths result from FDA-approved medicines each year, when used as directed.
• The FDA is fighting against drug reimportation, which would make prescription drugs more affordable for Americans.
• For over 60 years, violating the 1st Amendment to the Constitution by forcibly prohibiting truthful, non-deceptive claims on the labels of vitamin, mineral, herbal, and other supplement bottles and its accompanying product literature. During these years, the FDA has employed raids, seizures, and product destruction against supplement manufacturers who dared to tell the truth.
• The FDA has a long history of actively working to suppress effective (alternative) diagnostic methods and treatments.
• Recently, the FDA decided to allow pharmaceutical companies to continue selling their stocks of mercury-laden vaccines, even after the tremendous risks of using them came to light.

So, in reality, the FDA is primarily concerned with protecting the pharmaceutical companies who donate so prodigiously to politicians and in protecting its own turf, not the health of American citizens.

“Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry”

In order to evaluate the government’s track record for keeping the meat safe, consider the following:
• Each year, there are a large number of cases of food poisoning coming from the meat supply.
• Medical authorities have expressed alarm in recent years at the antibiotic resistance which has resulted in part from the routine feeding of antibiotics to animals kept in cramped and unsanitary conditions. These animals are too unhealthy to survive otherwise.
• A recent report documented the government stepping in to disallow a private company from testing all its cows for BSE (as a concession to consumer preferences), because this practice would supposedly cast doubt on the safety of the meat supply.
• The government has insisted that irradiated meat not be labeled as such, in spite of valid concerns about the safety of such practices and consumer demand for such information.

Again, is the government doing a good job of keeping our food safe and looking out for our interests? For thousands of years, religious Jews have relied on their own system of certification to ensure that animals are slaughtered properly, without any need for government involvement.

“Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the [sic] LIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.”

To review the record, the United States’ 3rd central bank (The Federal Reserve) was established in 1913, well in advance of the depression. Its 2 prior central banks failed. The biggest series of bank failures ever occurred during the Great Depression, and current economic research on the period indicates that the depth and length of the Great Depression resulted primarily from distortions in the money supply created by the Fed, trade restrictions, and the diversion of resources from productive private sector activities to public projects.

The $500 billion taxpayer bailout of the S&L’s, required due to bank “insurance” was, to a degree, a result of incentives created by FSLIC insurance. When depositors do not have to concern themselves with the creditworthiness of their S&L/bank, they can put their money in the institution offering the greatest return, even if that institution is taking inordinate risks in order to be able to pay those high rates, since if the institution fails, they can force taxpayers to pick up the tab. And unlike private insurance, banks taking on excessive risks are not forced to pay commensurate premiums; all are charged a flat rate, irrespective of their financial soundness. So, while no one wants to lose the money they deposit, government insurance does not remove this risk; it effectively compounds the risk and then redistributes the resulting costs through taxation.

“His dad lives on Social Security … because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to”

Wait a minute, Joe does have to work in order to take care of his dad; where do you think the money is coming from to pay dad’s Social Security benefits? Since Social Security laws do not require that it be properly funded, as private pensions must be, for practical purposes Social Security is a Ponzi scheme which is unsustainable. Tax rates will need to go up dramatically (and/or benefits cut) to pay for the retiring Baby Boom. The U.S. payroll tax started out at 2% in 1935 and is currently 15.3%. Bear in mind that by 1993, the combined employer/employee tax for Social security in several European countries with older systems than our own was between 40% and 60%.

When my kids grow up and find that they are struggling to make ends meet because they are saddled with paying for my Social Security benefits (not to mention all of the other debts and obligations we are incurring), should THEY thank a liberal?

“He turns on a radio talk show, the [sic] host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good”

The talk show host sounds like a loudmouth who prefers political posturing to the honest assessment of the realities of our political system. The labels liberal and conservative no longer have any meaning. The 2 major parties, rhetoric notwithstanding, are committed to the same things: acquiring power, staying in power, increasing the size, scope, intrusiveness of, and our dependence on, the federal government. The consequence of these politics is a corresponding reduction in individual liberty. To the major parties, all other considerations are of secondary importance. The REAL alternative is not coming from the conservative or the liberal, but from the growing Libertarian minority who have come to realize that the Founding Fathers had it right. Excessively centralizing power in a federal government is leading us to the tyranny and ruin that they risked life and limb and worked so hard to help us avoid. They have come to see that a small, focused, federal government, carrying out the roles set out for it in our Constitution, provides the best opportunity for us to achieve peace and prosperity.

Spaceship One September 30, 2004 at 11:42 am

COUNT ZERO

Without government-funded research, money stays in private hands and nobody knows what could be invented by the private sector.

In any situation, there is, on the one hand, what you can see and on the other what you cannot see, to paraphrase Frederic BASTIAT.

What you cannot see is what could have been if rapacious government had not hampered private means by curtailing their funds through threatened violence.
Just look at private research into space travel !!! Now imagine if they had total freedom with the fruit of their work and had had this freedom for the past 60 years… Can you just imagine the myriad inventions that could have been brought to market? And also in the medical field? and in other fields as well?

Private sector efforts have been hampered by the repeated theft of private funds by majority-approved agents of redistribution, aka the government.

It easy to point to what is present, but of course, one can only surmise what could have been produced, invented, improved without government-funded research all these years.

[IBM estimated back then that the demand for computers worldwide would be - 5]
Being successful in any market is a trial and error process. Because IBM got it wrong does not mean that the whole of the private sector could not pull off the personal computer revolution.
On any given day, many entrepreneurs FAIL in their FORECAST on how things are going to turn out. In fact this very failure is an important and integral part of the market process. But some businessmen and women are proved right on what is A BET on how things will turn out.

As JP Morgan said, there is always a good reason for doing something and the real reason for doing it. Government-funded research is justified by the usual du jour.
At the end of the day however, even faced with the proof of its ruinous cost and its negligeable contributions to science, this racket lives on only through the threat of violence wielded by one part of the population on another. As a result of this state of affairs, everyone looses in the end.

John Kyle September 30, 2004 at 3:28 pm

> A Day in THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN….
>
> Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his
> morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal
> fought for minimum water-quality standards.

This is wrong. If water weren’t a state monopoly, you wouldn’t have to worry about it. If it were private, any sub-standard water would not be bought by the consumer and they would choose to buy the water elsewhere.

If the water was polluted with harmful elements and this was not disclosed, I think even under the free-market there would be grounds for a court case for damages. These are the proper motivators. Whether or not a consumer buys your product, and if you are liable if you harm them, is how the free market works.

>
> With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His
> medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to
> insure

(that’s ensure. Insure means to take out an insurance policy).

> their safety and that they work as advertised.

Again, wouldn’t this be done better by the private doctor’s-associations or by doctors themselves before they prescribe or don’t prescribe a medicine? What about the huge mess the FDA has made of things delaying life saving drugs for years. What if Joe had cancer and died 3 years before a drug that could have saved him came to market. Where is the commie liberal now?

> All but $10 of his
> medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal
> union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets
> it too.

Who is paying for the medicine? There is no such thing as a free lunch. Maybe Joe gets paid less because the company has to pay his health insurance (like hidden medicare deductions. And why is health insurance so costly anyway?). Maybe it comes out of profits, so any shareholders get a lot less benefit (oh no! widow grannie can’t afford a nice retirement because her dividends and stock value is down 50%). Maybe the company can’t afford all these benefits (think airlines or GM). Whoops, the company went bankrupt and everyone lost their job. Thanks union workers.

(You know, Marx talked about the workers owning the means of production, but isn’t that what the stock market really is? It is the capitalist way for the average man to own a part of the means of production. Real ownership, not some fkd up soviet-by-proxy ownership. That occurred to me a few years ago and I’m surprised you don’t really see this point anywhere.)

>
> He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat
> because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing
> industry.

It is amazing humanity didn’t die out 1,000 years ago. How on earth did we survive until now.

If a company made unsafe meat, they get screwed. Think of Jack in the Box restaurants, which got into huge trouble because three people got sick from their hamburgers years ago. It took years for them to live it down.

> In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is
> properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents
> because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting
> on his body and how much it contained.

Does Joe care about ingredient labels? If so, why would he ever buy an unlabeled shampoo?

> Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a
> deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko
> liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

Why didn’t they just boycott the companies that were polluting. That would be a private solution if Jim and co. cared enough.

> He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work.

Read: subsidized by every tax payer so the cost is hidden. Also being forcefully subsidized may keep more efficient and less wasteful private methods of mass transit from existing (read: private van-pooling and buses, which exist in my home town where mass transit isn’t widespread, and nobody wants to touch the utopian subsidized gov. service).

Just because money comes from the government doesn’t mean it’s free. Someone has to pay, it’s not magic.

> It
> saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some
> fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives
> everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Gee, anyone remember all the private rail systems in every major city before the government tore them all up because of the automotive lobby? (The NYC subway started as a PRIVATE enterprise).

If Joe saves so much from parking and gas, why didn’t private mass transit solutions appear? (oops, competing with massively subsidized gov. transit and, oh yeah, private mass transit USED to exist).

Looks like Joe is actually paying all the costs silently through the sales tax (1% of all commerce goes there in my home town). So he may end up paying more overall than under an efficient and more pleasing private system. And those who don’t even need mass transit (work from home) get to pay for everyone else’s rides. That seems fair. Maybe the public can buy me my sandwich for lunch today too or help me buy a new ipod.

>
> Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical
> benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal
> union members fought and died for these working standards.

No, the free market created enough prosperity for these things to be possible. It is hard to point this out because the only true free period was the mid 19th century when conditions were worse, but this was a problem of technology, not lack of socialism.

Everyone in Europe (and the ex-soviet union) was supposed to have excellent pay, free medical care, etc. Why don’t (didn’t) they? In addition to the lazy liberal union members I would like to thank the Red Army of 1917 for putting all these great guarantees into the law so that they were guaranteed to be so well off. It worked great.

Also, look at the real purchasing power for the average Swede and you will find that they are really only as wealthy as the average member of the african american community in the US, always cited as a poor bottom that is in such dire straits.

>Joe’s employer pays
> these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the
> union.

No, he doesn’t want Joe to quit and go work somewhere else. When I go into a job interview and ask for certain pay or benefits, do I say “pay me this or I will work elsewhere” or do I say “pay me this or I will call the union”.

> If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker
> compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he
> should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Who is paying that money? Why does a self employed worker making $20,000 a year have to pay nearly $4,000 in social security, medicare, and taxes? (an outrage if you ask me. If you aren’t self employed, most of that is hidden. this doesn’t count local property, sales, and state taxes of many kinds).

Yes, in this magic land all the costs are hidden well from everybody, so they all think they are getting it all for free, when in reality they are probably indirectly paying more than they would if it were all private.

In a private world maybe Joe could buy his own unemployment insurance, sure to be cheaper than a gov. system, with the extra thousands he could have if the taxes weren’t sucked out.

>
> It’s noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills.
> Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC

Hahaha, that’s great. Hopefully you already know about the “Creature from Jekyl Island”. This is such a great con you may not be able to explain it to him. But the FSLIC is famous for – the S&L crisis, and the FSLIC and the FDIC only have funds to cover 2% or less of deposits. And what really happens, like the S&L scandal, is that the government (taxpayers) footed the bill. And that crisis was made infinitely worse by government delay and government guarantees for the money (see the insurance moral hazard, where by insuring something the insured has no motivation to take care of the asset).

Maybe you should recommend “The Creature from Jekyl Island” for this person to read. It may not be as much of a stretch for a liberal to hate a banker.

> because some godless liberal
> wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking
> system before the Great Depression.

You really can’t argue much here if they are completely unaware of the history.

>
> Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market
> federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the
> government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over
> his lifetime.

Fannie Mae is in near insolvency right now. You can guess why. And guess who is going to foot the bill? Taxpayers (including Joe. Maybe he will pay more indirectly from taxes than he saved on the loan, but for sure someone is going to pay).

And what about inflation? It is fun to lose 3-5% of all your hard earned savings every year (or more when extra money eats up productivity gains). Maybe the FED will create more “credit” to cover Fannie Mae and the rest, so at least everyone could pay with inflation, the silent way.

> Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm
> home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the
> safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety
> standards.

No, the Japanese and others schooled the US car market big time.

> He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to
> live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers
> didn’t want to make rural loans.

Those banks went bankrupt in the 30′s. They should have made more loans to rural farmers because the 30′s was such an awesome time.

What does he pay in property taxes? I know many people that can’t afford to live in their house anymore after they retire because they can’t afford it. I guess they thought they had already paid off their house – stupid people, they forgot they have to pay rent to their big brother in perpetuity. You can have to pay many thousands of dollars a year for a $190,000 home.

> The house didn’t have electricity until some
> big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded
> rural electrification.

Who TF paid for it?

> He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social
> Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal
> made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.

Wrong again. What about the SS payments Joe and everyone else has to pay to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars? If his father had saved his own money, his retirement would be set, and Joe wouldn’t have to pay a dime.

And all pyramid (ponzi) schemes go bust eventually. That will sure give everyone a warm feeling.

> Joe gets back
> in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host
> keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t
> mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and
> benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.
>
> Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives!
> After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of
> themselves, just like I have.”

We don’t. Nearly everything cited is a way to sweep costs under the rug so it appears everyone is getting stuff for free when the actual cost is higher. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, as the old saying goes.

To a fuedal serf, living in the soviet union may have looked like a relative paradise. In North Korea, their citizens think they live in a utopia, but that is nothing compared to the USA.

But just as North Koreans don’t know about the USA, we also can not readily see a free-market world for comparison, because it doesn’t currently exist. So we can hobble along while all the time double the prosperity is possible, indeed probable. But we can’t see directly a free world for comparison; where if we did the contrast would be obvious. We can only point to the theory, reason, and rationale that show we are right.

- John Kyle

Walt D. September 30, 2004 at 11:04 pm

Joe is lying in bed at 11:00 am because some liberal has raised his taxes to the point that he no longer has any incentive to get up and go to work. He is hungry because some liberal forgot to eat breakfast for him and he can’t be bothered to get up make his own. He feels constipated because some liberal forgot to go to the bathroom for him when he woke up. He is hoping against hope that some liberal will take the initiative and urinate for him before he wets the bed.

Glen Raphael October 1, 2004 at 12:05 am

Disheartened one: Coke was indeed reformulated to use corn syrup here instead of sugar due to stupid government policy, and importing Coke from Mexico with sugar already in it was not a legal option – they still would have had to pay the same tariff.

NAFTA and GATT have specific exemptions to maintain this situation.

As soon as the US was paying several times the world market rate for sugar, the disparity with Mexico was sufficient that people could make money importing sugared drinks such as lemonade in order to refine the sugar back out and sell the sugar in the US. So, naturally, the tariffs were extended to “sugar-containing products” in order to “close the loophole ”

You can find copious detail here:
http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/imports/ussugar.html

I also recommend the book _The Fair Trade Fraud_ by James Bovard. Though a bit dated, it has many great examples and interesting analysis. And most of the boondoggles he identified therein are still in place today.

The Dishearted One October 1, 2004 at 8:11 am

Thank you Glen.

Sean Corrigan October 1, 2004 at 8:12 am

In the interests of a pleasing economy of words, how about mixing the two protagonists up and writing “One Day in the Life of Joe Rep-rocrat” – after all, a libertarian would know that both Joe Republican and Joe Liberal are racing each other, not to the Promised Land, but down a two-laned highway to poverty and oppression….

Now, to avoid making the analogy too obvious, let’s give Joe a pseudonym – Ivan, say – and then let’s set him in that “undiscovered country”, the past, and also in a faraway land…. Then we could write something like….

‘At five o’clock in the morning, the reveille sounds and prisoner Ivan Denisovich Shukov lies in his bunk, wondering if he should get up. Usually he is not one to oversleep; there are always errands he can do to earn a little something. This morning, however, he is feeling ill. Ivan Denisovich is an old-timer in the prison camp and although he does odd jobs here and there to earn food or favors, he maintains a level of personal integrity. Ivan Denisovich lives by the words of his first squad leader Kuziomin, a hard-bitten zek (prisoner) of twelve years, who tells a group of newcomers one day about what it takes to survive in the labor camps: “Here, men, we live by the law of the taiga. But even here people manage to live. The ones that don’t make it are those who lick other men’s leftovers, those who count on the doctors to pull them through, and those who squeal on their buddies…”‘

You never know, if we could sustain this for a few hundred pages, we might end up both educating this sappy semi-rational liberal chump AND winning ourselves a Nobel prize!

John Kyle October 1, 2004 at 11:49 am

” And with the weak-minded, uninformed consumers nowadays, I don’t think they’ll ever reject a shoddy product. Most people just don’t care anymore.”

Maybe they care more about paying a lower price than they care about quality. There is enormous choice in most goods, so much so that there is a marketing phenomenon where the too many choices actually paralyze the consumer. But better products are out there, and if people don’t want to pay more for a better product, then it’s cost and not quality that is most important to them.

“We gripe as we pay more for a lower quality product, but we don’t vote with our wallet, ”

For rising prices, you may want to look into inflation.

“Does the company care that we’re less happy with the product if they don’t lose sales? The local coffee monopoly has lowered their quality and raised their prices regularly, but I keep on buying coffee anyway. ”

Where do you live? There are tons of different brands of cofee from small and big companies alike at my local market, and lots of places to buy coffee.

“Big business can become a big government. Microsoft is a good example. I HAVE to use Windows at work, and I HAVE to run MS Word. Because if I don’t, I can’t communicate with my customers and suppliers, ”

Big government passes laws and forces you to pay taxes, and if you don’t obey, you are faced with fines and imprisonment. I hardly think a big corporation can be a big government. Secondly, I run my own business where I communicate with people all the time and I do not use Microsoft windows. You can have a computer (such as apple, among others), and choose from many different web browsers and email programs. You can even choose from many word processing software programs that can read and wrte files in the MS word format. Maybe people just think they have no choice. Sometimes standardization is valuable, like what would happen if everyone used a different kind of fax machine that were all incompatible, but there are still lots of choices.

“My choice is extremely limited; use Microsoft products or go bankrupt.”

I make a good living without having to use Microsoft products in my internet-based company.

Anonymous October 1, 2004 at 12:44 pm

RE: John Kyle

>> With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his
>> daily medication. His
>> medications are safe to take because some
>> stupid commie liberal fought to
>> insure

> (that’s ensure. Insure means to take out an
> insurance policy) :)

Of course stupid commie liberal cannot distinguish between “insure” and “ensure” because he is the product of government schooling.

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