Government Planning Is Killing the Economy

Friedrich Hayek warned more than half a century ago that central planning doesn't work. Here’s why:

  • Central Planners (government) makes a plan
  • The plan includes specific expectations
  • The expectations are never, ever, realized
  • A “crisis” ensues
  • So the planners demand more control
  • And create more plans
  • Ad hoc
  • Willy nilly
  • Capriciously
  • So you must wait for things to settle down to make your decision

Today’s Wall Street Journal article about the fiscal cliff demonstrates the futility of central planning:

"We're all sitting on the sidelines right now wondering what's going to happen to us," said John Odland, chief financial officer at MacMillan-Piper Inc., a freight-transport firm in Seattle. "A lot of my contemporaries are feeling the same way, saying, 'Let's just wait and see what these knuckleheads do.' "

Why should private, free citizens have to wait on government for anything?

Here’s a better solution: get the damn government out of the economic planning business.

It’s true that individuals are no better at planning than government experts. But they’re no worse, either.  The difference, then, is the number of people affected by a plan that doesn’t work.

If Joe Shit the Ragman’s plan for his business or his family or his vacation fails, who’s affected?  Joe, maybe his wife, maybe his employees. And it stops there.

If Barack Obama’s plan or Ben Bernanke’s plan or Tiny Tim Geithner’s plan for the economy fails, who’s affected?  All of us.

Moreover, if Joe’s plan fails, it’s up to him and him alone to sacrifice while a better plan takes shape for him and is family.

But if a government plan fails, the government invents new powers, which always come at the expense of your personal power, new taxes, and new plans. From the same WSJ article:

Each scenario involves prolonged uncertainty. Most consumers would start to pare their spending after receiving smaller paychecks due to higher payroll-tax withholding. Income-tax refunds for 2012 could be delayed while the Internal Revenue Service programs its computers to account for tax changes. Government agencies could start cutting back, hurting employees and suppliers. Many other employers likely would slow hiring or cut jobs. And investors could eventually look at those risks and send stocks lower, threatening a downward spiral in consumer and business spending.

We are throw more than good money after bad; we are throwing away good lives after bad.

The only solution to the fiscal cliff problem is to STOP CENTRAL PLANNING, restore power to individuals to make decisions, and reinvigorate a sense of community so people are more likely to help their neighbors.

This Is How To Spend Election Day

Conservatives take great pride in working, and for good reason. Work gives shape to life. Work is the poles of a tent, the bones of a body, the beams in the ceiling.

Romney-Ryan

But work isn’t why we live. We live to pursue happiness.

For some, the pursuit of happiness involves acquiring property. Land, clothes, cars, plastic surgery. All examples of the pursuit of happiness.

Voting is another pursuit. People vote for minor candidates representing strange parties who have no chance of winning. It makes some voters happy.

People vote for totalitarians who will jeopardize their lives and liberty, and restrict their future pursuit of happiness. This makes the voter happy in the short run but miserable in the long run

I’m spending my election day 2012 pursuing my political happiness. Liberty. It’s a long-run strategy.

It may not pay off. There’s no guarantee of realizing happiness in this life. That makes the pursuit interesting.

For Election Day 2012, I’m voting early, putting out signs (“Vote for America: Retire Obama”)  Then I’m having breakfast with my brain trust. Then, it’s last minute GOTV of people who vote right but not often. Then a watch party.

To be honest, I have not  always been a fan of watch parties. I’d rather sit at home with complete control of my remote, my laptop on my lap, my iPhone and iPad fired up. I’d rather tweet and blog and scream at the TV. But I made a long-term commitment to the Tea Party movement in 2009, and that comes first. And at home I can’t enjoy the special gift of being among peers in the battle of our future.

If you have vacation on the books, use it today. Play hooky.  Watch the polls and the election returns.

America’s most precious natural resources is its free people. Its greatest obstacle is government. On election days, the former can constrain the latter. The other 1,455 days in the cycle, government constrains you.

Vote wisely.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

In the course of our lives, we sometimes lose our way. We wander off the good path. Or we fail to blaze the trail we should. GhostOfChristmasYTC

THE Phantom slowly, gravely, silently, approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.

It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.

He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him, and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved.

"I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?" said Scrooge.

The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.

--Dickens, Charles (2004-08-11). A Christmas Carol (p. 53). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Nations are no different.

Dickens warned us about the dangers of putting money before God, about worshiping wealth rather than using wealth to do good.

Sometimes, the luxuries that surround us blind us to the real purpose of wealth. I’m not talking about charity, and certainly not about government redistribution. I am talking about the good society.

Liberty, the right to pursue happiness and acquire property, lead to wealth—a surplus of goods and currency.Our wealth literally buys our futures. 

If we invest in earthly things, things that gratify our temporal sensations, our investments will rot and blow away with the wind.

If we invest in higher things, our investments will be repaid. 

Scrooge invested in things of the earth. They made him miserable and despised. Just as his treasured decayed, so did his soul. And his body.

Simon Sinek, a man who’s dedicated his life to helping others find their purpose, learned the Scrooge lesson in Iraq. He shared his story in an amazing video.

Just before the the appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, the Ghost of Christmas Present introduced Scrooge to two wretched little children, dirty and pale, who clung to the spirit’s legs.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

"Spirit! are they yours?" Scrooge could say no more.

"They are Man's," said the Spirit, looking down upon them. "And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!" cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. "Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!"

"Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge.

"Are there no prisons?" said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. "Are there no workhouses?"

The bell struck twelve.

--Dickens, Charles (2004-08-11). A Christmas Carol (pp. 50-52). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Do we dread or celebrate our glimpses of America’s future?  Is our Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come bright or dark?

Midnight approaches, America. 

An Extensive Interview with Missouri News Horizon

When I hear all the lies, slanders, and threats against the Tea Party movement from folks on the left, I wish I could counter with a fuller examination of my beliefs. Luckily, with the help of Missouri News Horizon, I can. The Friday before the 9/12 Tea Party, I sat down with Rebecca Townsend to talk about the Tea Party.

Rebecca and I chatted for an hour.  She led me through just about every aspect of the Tea Party’s history up to that point.  We also talked about its future.

The time of the interview’s release was tough.  It went to press on 9/11, the day before Gateway to November.  Immediately after, we opened our Victory HQ on Hampton and dove into full campaign mode.

Rebecca’s totally fair coverage—she published the transcript and video whole, without edits—deserves more exposure.

Please feel free to point out this interview to anyone who wants to know how I think or what I believe.

Here’s an excerpt:

Q: WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF WHAT?

The ultimate goal is to make sure people understand the founding principles of our country. Those founding principles may be well known, there’s key phrases we all know, but the thinking behind them I think we tend to forget about because we know the phrases so well.

There’s a reason why Jefferson said the “pursuit of happiness” instead of property, which was the popular phrase of the day – life, liberty and property.

Pursuit of happiness may include the pursuit of private property, but it goes far beyond that. There’s a school of thought that says he chose that because property was so closely associated with slavery and he didn’t want to codify the idea of owning another human being. That may have been part of it, but I believe there’s more to it than that.

The pursuit of happiness: There’s a Harvard researcher named Nancy Etcoff, who begins a fantasticTED.com talk by saying, “We are wired to pursue happiness.”

The way she phrased that is very important. She didn’t say we are wired to be happy, but we’re wired to pursue happiness. She went on to say “not only achieve it, but pursue it again and again.”

We know from neuroscience and psychology that a person who is paralyzed and a person who wins the lottery one year after the event will have an equal degree of happiness. Because happiness…we’re driven to want to better ourselves and the world around us. The pursuit of happiness – and Jefferson couldn’t have known this because we didn’t have the science at the time – but he was right, he was way ahead of his time. The pursuit of happiness is as important a right to human beings as the right to defend ourselves from attack.

Going back to the idea that of the negative emotions prevent us from being eaten by tigers and positive emotions prevent us from becoming tigers, if we’re denied the pursuit of happiness, we’re denied the right not to become miserable creatures –miserable to ourselves and miserable to those around us.

In the old Soviet Union in Moscow they did make sure everybody had their basic needs were met. And everyone I’ve met who lived through that era said life was just miserable. Everyone was unhappy. They squabbled, they complained. It was like existing but not being alive.

That’s what happens when government tries to replace our pursuit of happiness with their idea of happiness. Until we establish a good understanding of how important the pursuit of happiness…the unfettered right to pursue of happiness so long as it doesn’t deny someone the right to pursue happiness… until we understand that, we’re in danger of losing that and living the way the Muscovites lived for 70-some years.

Please post your comments on the interview below.