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.

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