There’s always something to howl about

Rotarian Socialism in action: Taking lessons from the NAR and the NAMB, Wal-Mart is using compulsory health insurance as a weapon to destroy its smaller competitors

Today is July the Second, the date of the actual drafting of the Declaration of Independence. By now the United States is just another National Socialist oligarchy, a savage jungle of predatory pressure groups, each one looking to plunder the national treasury at the expense of all the others, each one hiding behind an elaborate camouflage of high-blown rhetoric.

Whatever the putative purpose of some piece of legislation, the actual purpose is to advantage some pressure groups to the disadvantage of others. The putative purpose and the high-blown rhetoric are for the children — for the dumb-ass voters, that is — while the legislators and the lobbyists know that its all a matter of getting in enough snout-time at the public trough.

Freedom means freedom from government — nothing else. We trade our freedom away a drop at a time, like a never ending blood transfusion, never pausing to think that the pigs at the trough might not stop at just a little blood, might not stop at the replacement rate, might not stop until every drop of blood, every dollar of excess production and every last liberty of the American people are completely exsanguinated.

The American patriots bellowed, “No taxation without representation!” We have since learned that this actually means, “We yearn to be fools and jackals in our own behalf!” And the cackle we deliver up to black humor is a premonitory death rattle. For it is obvious that the man being taxed is not represented, and the man with his snout in the taxpayer’s trough is represented in ways you know nothing about.

Consider this atrocity of Wal-Mart’s, a company once deserving of great respect, brought to us by Cato @ Liberty:

A couple of years ago, I shared a cab to the airport with a Wal-Mart lobbyist, who told me that Wal-Mart supports an “employer mandate.”  An employer mandate is a legal requirement that employers provide a government-defined package of health benefits to their workers.  Only Hawaii and Massachusetts have enacted such a law.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Wal-Mart is a capitalist success story.  At the time of our conversation, this lobbyist was helping Wal-Mart fight off employer-mandate legislation in dozens of states.  Those measures were specifically designed to hurt Wal-Mart, and were underwritten by the unions and union shops that were losing jobs and business to Wal-Mart.

But it all became clear when the lobbyist explained the reason for Wal-Mart’s position: “Target’s health-benefits costs are lower.”

I have no idea what Target’s or Wal-Mart’s health-benefits costs are.  Let’s say that Target spends $5,000 per worker on health benefits and Wal-Mart spends $10,000.  An employer mandate that requires both retail giants to spend $9,000 per worker would have no effect on Wal-Mart.  But it would cripple one of Wal-Mart’s chief competitors.

So yesterday’s news that Wal-Mart is publicly endorsing a “sensible and equitable” employer mandate — i.e., a mandate that hurts Target but not Wal-Mart — didn’t come as a surprise to me.  It merely confirmed what I learned in a cab on the way to the airport: Wal-Mart has gone native.  That great symbol of the benefits of free-market competition now joins its erstwhile enemies among the legions of rent-seeking weasels who would rather run to government for protection than earn their keep by making people’s lives better.

It is these kinds of machinations that make me fear the National Association of Realtors. Why didn’t it scream bloody murder over these massive new intrusions upon private property rights? Could it be that “cap and trade” makes the transfer of real property just a little bit more complicated — which in turn makes Realtors just a little more necessary to the process? Freedom be damned, the American people be damned, private property be damned! The important thing is to seize more fees for Realtors and Brokers!

Oh, and how about Wal-Mart’s employer-mandated health insurance idea? How does that play to the NAR’s agenda? There won’t be any mom-and-pop shops if mom-and-pop have to come up with $10,000 more per-employee, per-year. It is wrong of me to impugn the NAR’s motives without evidence. But I’m pretty sure I’m right to be suspicious. Regulation of business is never about consumer protection or any other putatively “noble” goal. It is always about the existing players figuring out ways to use legislation to inhibit, frustrate and ultimately destroy their competition in the unfree marketplace. This is how the NAR started — with the real estate licensing laws — and this is what it has always been about.

Meanwhile, the lenders have cooked up a bill that will all-but-completely prevent owner financing. The high-blown rhetoric? Consumer protection. The actual reality? More mortgages and fewer deed contracts or carrybacks. More money for banks, less freedom of action for gullible taxpayers.

Yesterday I heard it suggested that so-called conservatives should back conservation efforts because hunters and fishermen are a large voting bloc. The idea that people should be free to do what they want with their own time and money is by-now completely eradicated — exsanguinated. The important thing is to steal money from people who enjoy their leisure indoors in order to subsidize the leisurely pursuits of people who seek their enjoyment outdoors. Why? In order to buy the votes of the latter group. Why not do the same with welfare or free abortions or any of the other things so-called conservatives claim to oppose? Votes is votes, right?

There is no principled reason why not. There are no principles left in the public life of the American people. Everything comes down to devouring all of your neighbor’s wealth before he can devour all of yours — sucking greedily at his veins while he sucks greedily at yours. If you’re looking for a change in the United States — or just in California — this is what has to change.


14 Comments so far

  1. Ken brand July 2nd, 2009 1:31 pm

    Crisp and hyper-thought provoking.


  2. Don Reedy July 2nd, 2009 1:41 pm

    Laughter is the best medicine ———

    “All the other kids made fun of little Johnny. They teased him because he was stupid. One of their favorite ways to make fun of him and show other kids how stupid he was, was to offer him money. They would call him over, and one kid would hold out his hand with a nickel and a dime in it.

    “Hey, Johnny! Here you can have one.”

    Little Johnny would look at the two coins, then grab the nickel. “I want this one. It’s bigger!”

    The kids would walk away and start laughting at a Johnny. “I told you he’s stupid! He thinks the nickel is worth more because it’s bigger! Haw! Haw!”

    One time, a elderly man saw what was going on. When the other kids left, he called to little Johnny. “Come here. son!” the old man waved Johnny over. “Those kids are just making fun of you! Don’t you know that the dime, even though it’s smaller, is worth twice as much as the nickel?”

    “Sure! I know that.” Johnny said, putting the nickel in his pocket. “But if I take the dime, they’ll stop playing the game.”

    We can’t stop playing the game.

    We won’t stop gaming our competitors because we are afraid we’ll be gamed.

    Wal-Mart, NAR, conservatives and liberals – They’ve all figured out how to “put nickels in their pockets.”

    I hope they read the “In God We Trust” circumscribed on all those coins. Can we trust anyone else?

  3. Al Lorenz July 2nd, 2009 3:56 pm

    Thanks Greg! While the environment in America is disappointing I am comforted there are people like you out there.

    BTW, your vocabulary is superb. I love it when I have to look up a word, and you’ve accomplished that several times.

  4. GenuineChris Johnson July 2nd, 2009 6:26 pm

    call me when it’s time for armed revolution.

  5. Greg Swann July 2nd, 2009 10:47 pm

    > call me when it’s time for armed revolution.

    Totally not interested. Enough people are already being hurt. I’m not interested in hurting more. The battle we face is intellectual and cultural — and long-term. We are a civil society of thieves and tyrants because we’re a culture of thieves and tyrants. Unless we change that, violence will only make everything worse.

  6. Tim Shepard July 2nd, 2009 9:42 pm

    I call B.S. on Cato’s premise that Wal-Mart’s health care costs are higher than Target’s. Wal-Mart has a more efficient computer system than the Pentagon, a better distribution system than the U.S. army, and is more effective at negotiating than Donald Trump.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe Wal-Mart’s intentions are altruistic in nature at all. They probably wouldn’t provide any benefits if not for the continual moral and political pressures they face and more importantly, the constant threat from organized labor.

    In my opinion, the latter is the driving force. Since the new socialistic regime took office, the power of organized labor has risen to levels not seen in 50 years.

    At the expense of “secured” creditors, who used to have rights protected by the judicial systme of the United States, the unions have received more than generous severance packages and equity ownership in the new government sponsored entities.

    If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That’s what I was always told and I believe that’s what Wal-Mart is doing. It’s only a matter of time before the socialistic administration outlaws secret balloting and implements card check. When this happens, Wal-Mart will be unionized within months. So Greg, don’t lose respect yet, I think Wal-Mart is just doing what a smart company in a capitalistic society does. Support Standardized health care and take away the unions biggest bargaining chip. If we’ve learned one thing in the past 3 decades, its that unions are a poor partner to have in your business.

    As far as NAR supporting Cap and Trade, I think you are giving them way to much credit by implying that they had any logic in that decision. My guess is that they just didn’t read the bill!

  7. bs July 2nd, 2009 10:12 pm

    It’s time now!!!

    Where are we? Have the articles been written? Has the glass been broken? Are the patches being worn? Are we on the wagons?

  8. bs July 2nd, 2009 11:14 pm

    Judge Andrew Napolitano calls video cameras the new gun.

  9. Genuine Chris Johnson July 3rd, 2009 9:16 am

    GSS- Meant simply this: I’m not doing or advocating the stealing, I’m content at the moment to be stolen from, and I’m gonna focus my time/energy/effort on making cool stuff that I can, at least in part, benefit from.

  10. Abbe Waldman July 3rd, 2009 12:12 pm

    Walmart unfortunately put my grandfather and uncle out of business in a small town in Texas. They had a clothing and dry goods store for years that could not compete with Walmart pricing. We as consumers can make choices and do business with local family run businesses. Take a stand and let your clients know how you feel on these issues. As Americans lets all reflect on what we hold near and dear as corporations have taken a hold of too many things such as the food and medical industries. Watch Food Inc and Sicko the movies to see what I mean. I give thanks daily for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness! Happy 4th!

  11. Dave Shafer July 3rd, 2009 1:28 pm

    Abbe, what a strange post compared to the others. I love it. Is it the government or is it corporations that is stealing our liberty? These folks tend to see it as the government. I tend to see it as corporate power. But the truth, as Max Weber pointed out years ago, is that it is the rationality of bureaucracies or as he coined it, the irrationality of rationality forming an iron cage of rationality! The science fiction writers updated this to the reign of machines over humans. Have a great 4th!

  12. Thomas Johnson July 3rd, 2009 2:43 pm

    “National Socialist”

    Got it. History teaches us that stopping National Socialism always requires much bloodshed because National Socialism can only remain in power at the point of a gun.

  13. Scott Grace July 4th, 2009 7:36 am

    We recently had a socialist type of govrernment voted in power in the province of Nova Scotia(canada’s east coast) and they are in bed with the unions. All of the conservatives here are really worrying!

  14. […] can receive interest free loans). The juxtaposition of those views and Greg Swan’s, that “Freedom means freedom from government…” struck me as remarkable, and I am sure they’ll generate some comments. (I especially like the […]