Friday, May 30, 2014

The Dodson Theorem

My most brilliant insights often occur to me in the shower. The other day, I was just finishing up shampooing my hair when my thoughts ran to the left's current obsession with "income inequality." The news had just reported that the average compensation for CEOs has now passed $10 million for the first time, sending liberals into conniption fits of envy. Of course, no society, not even Russia, China, Cuba, or any other leftist utopia, has ever achieved income equality. While in America, there is a larger spread of incomes than you find in many countries, the lower 10% of Americans still earn more than the median income in most of the world. The conclusion must be that liberals would be happy for the poor to be poorer, if only the rich could also be poorer.

Suddenly, from this train of thoughts emerged a single truth which I have not heard expressed by anyone before:

Equality and opportunity are mutually exclusive.

This statement holds true universally, for any one aspect or continuum of measurement. Equality requires conformity, while opportunity can exist only where there is the possibility of exceptionalism. This principle is "The Dodson Theorem".

If government imposes income equality on all Americans, then there is no opportunity to earn a greater income through harder work or innovation. Conversely, if hard work and innovation pay off, some people will do better than others, which creates inequality.

If leftists set out to create complete income equality, there are three ways this goal could be approached:

The first possibility is for the state to determine the average income of all 310 million people in America, confiscate every dime of income above that level, and redistribute the money to those who earn less. Instantly the evil of income inequality would be vanquished. But what happens next? Everyone working hard to produce products or provide services and earning more than the average will now no longer have any incentive to keep producing. After all, people without their skills or knowledge or experience or hard work are earning just as much as they are. So they will start doing the minimum to earn the new average wage, at most. Productivity will collapse almost instantly. And people earning less than the average will see that people who work even less than them are still getting paid as much. In the second year, the average wage will drop nearly in half, but that is just the surface of the problem. Productivity will fall completely flat, so there will be nothing to buy with the money which is being earned. By the third year, the economy will be decimated.

The second possibility is for the state to mandate the same wage for every person. Whether you are a janitor, a doctor, a burger flipper, or a CEO, your wage will be exactly the same as everyone else's. Again, instant income equality, at least for those with a job. But why would someone get the education or do all the hard work to be a doctor or an engineer when it doesn't pay any better than any other job? Furthermore, why would anyone go to all the trouble to invent and innovate to create new advances which make people's lives better? It wouldn't benefit him at all. On the other end of the spectrum, people who don't have the skills or ability to provide value to their employer equal to the required wage would be unemployable, creating a whole new class of unproductive people. The standard of living for everyone would plummet. Equality in misery would be a reality.

The third possibility is for the state to nationalize all businesses and create a socialist state, assign people their job, and force them to work it. This would require a more heavy-handed totalitarian regime than we saw in Russia, China, North Korea, or Cuba. But hey, everyone would be equally oppressed. Except for the ruling class, of course. They are special.

Equality can only be achieved by a total surrender of freedom and by stripping individuals of the chance to excel. If there is income equality, there is no economic opportunity. Anyone advocating for an end of income inequality is supporting poverty and totalitarianism. There is no other way to achieve that objective.

But wait a minute, doesn't our founding document, The Declaration of Independence, say that "all men are created equal?"

Great question, and it illustrates a different aspect of the Dodson Theorem.

The self-evident truth that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a central precept of freedom. It flew in the face of every system of rule in the world at that time, where a king had the authority to rule because his father was the king before him, and the subjects had only the rights granted by the king, as he saw fit. Instead, it asserts that every person has the right to self-determination, and that right does not come from government, but from God. It saw people as citizens, not as subjects, and recognized their authority to choose their own leader who would serve under the rule law just as all the citizens did. All men are created equal in that we all have the same God-given rights and no person can rule over another. The Constitution established this principle as "equal protection under the law." In that aspect, we are equal, and as the Dodson Theorem says, there is no opportunity. I can't add to my God-given rights or assert my authority to rule over anyone.

The current divide between liberal ideologues and supporters of freedom and opportunity revolves around how we are equal, and what opportunity we have. Liberals want government to impose economic conformity, whether it be in health care, income, or property. They use every tool at their disposal, from the EPA to the IRS to force this radical egalitarianism on people who largely don't want it. They progress incrementally, but with each step there is less opportunity. On the other side are those who see the role of government as being to protect the essential liberty of individuals, and otherwise to stay out of their way, allowing them to achieve their fullest potential. Some will go further than others, and some will crash and burn, but each person will create his own destiny.

Our nation stands at a fork in the road, one path leading downward to collectivism, the other upward to individual liberty and opportunity. Which path we take will depend on more than just elections. It will depend on what we demand from government. If we look to government to be our provider or our savior to rescue us from the consequences of our own decisions, we give the ruling class more power to determine the course of our lives. If we keep the government on a short leash, only allowing it to carry out its role of upholding the civil society using the enumerated powers given to it by the Constitution, recognizing that Government produces nothing, that everything is produced by our own ingenuity and industry, then we allow each person to pursue limitless achievement.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Death Panels

A few years ago, Governor Sarah Palin said that if government was allowed to take over the healthcare industry, it would lead to death panels, unelected groups of bureaucrats rationing care and deciding based on their arbitrary criteria who would live and who would die. The predictable outrage and mockery from the left was particularly fierce in this case. She was lambasted as a crazed fringe wacko by the liberal media elite and by Democrat politicians and their backers. After all, government cares and government has good intentions and is not greedy like those evil insurance companies.

Over the past few weeks, it has been revealed that government-run VA hospitals have been denying timely medical attention to thousands of our veterans, resulting in many deaths and great suffering, and they have been covering their tracks by keeping the waiting lists secret, preventing the underlying issue from being addressed and the necessary resources from being obtained to get these American heroes the care they have earned through their service to our nation.

So we have government bureaucrats rationing care, deciding who lives and who dies. Sounds like a death panel.

Back in 2008, Barack Obama said that the VA would be "a leader of national health care reform". It would appear that the disaster of Obamacare is indeed following the lead of the VA. Are we going to follow along, right over the cliff?

A shrewd observer will stop me here to point out that the VA and Obamacare are very different systems. VA is fully government owned and run, while Obamacare still works with private insurance and providers. This is true, to the extent that the VA is government control by ownership, while Obamacare is government control by regulation. When Obamacare fails and leftists demand that it didn't go far enough, that we need a single-payer system, remember the VA. If government can't run a system for the veterans, to whom we all owe a huge debt for the freedom their blood has bought for us, how can it ever run a nationwide single payer healthcare system?

A government run system necessarily involves perverse incentives which do not lead to the desired outcome for the patients. In a private hospital, if a patient comes in with a broken leg, the hospital has to treat that leg in order to be paid. But if that patient shows up at the VA, the administrator gets a bonus for NOT treating the broken leg. His bonus is tied to cutting costs, so the patient is put on the waiting list, and if the waiting list gets too big, they stop reporting the true number of people waiting for treatment.

In 2009, President Obama was asked about the care that 100-year-old Jane Sturm would receive under Obamacare. Jane needed a pacemaker to keep her alive, but Obama said that under Obamacare, "We can let doctors know, and let your mom know, that uhhh maybe this isn't going to help, maybe you're better off uhhhhh not having the surgery, but uhhhh taking the painkiller."

The problem with this exchange is deeper than the coldness of the President's response. Why should the President or the bureaucrats he appoints be deciding if Jane Sturm gets a pacemaker or not? Why should they be telling doctors to just give her a pain pill and let her die? This is not an issue that the Federal government has any business, or Constitutional authority, meddling in. By handing over our health care to the Federal Government, we are giving them vast power over our lives, and that power can be used against us. Under the Obama administration we have seen the weaponization of government, using the IRS, the EPA, the BLM, the NSA, the NLRB, the CFPB, the TSA, and a whole list of other government agencies to force Obama's will on the citizens he is supposed to serve.

Surely the government would not use Obamacare and the IRS, the enforcement branch of Obamacare, to punish its political enemies!

They would use the IRS to punish Tea Party groups and suppress their vote.

They would use the Justice Department to punish the maker of a stupid YouTube video to divert attention from their foreign policy failings.

They would use the EPA to punish oil companies, destroy jobs, and depress the economy, as payback to their radical environmentalist donors.

They would use the NSA to gather information on their political opponents.

They would use the NLRB to shut down an aircraft plant because it was built in a right to work state.

"Let me be clear" (to coin a phrase), Obama will use the power we give him as a weapon against anyone who opposes his mission to fundamentally transform America.

Let's not give him another weapon to add to his arsenal.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Who is this "Ben Gazzi" guy?

If you get your information from the mainstream media, the extent of your knowledge about Benghazi is that he is some guy from the Tea Party and he probably works at Fox News.

So it might not have interested you much to hear that there are some new revelations about Mr. Gazzi last week. I mean, that was like two years ago, dude. We've slept since then.

But I think that the families of the four Americans killed in Benghazi deserve some honest answers about what happened to their loved ones, and why.

There are a number of questions which remain unanswered.

Why was there not adequate security for our ambassador at the American consulate in Benghazi, in spite of repeated requests to improve the level of protection, and multiple warnings that the situation was becoming increasingly dangerous?

Why was help not forthcoming when the assault on the consulate was underway?

What was Obama doing in the ten hours between the time the attack began and the time that our ambassador was captured, tortured, and murdered?

What was Hillary doing?

What orders did they give regarding sending reinforcements to help?

After the attacks, how did the bogus story about the attack being caused by a YouTube video come about?

Who changed the talking points from the intelligence community, removing the account of a well-planned terror attack and replacing it with a fabricated story of a spontaneous demonstration gone out of control?

Why did Hillary and Biden promise the family members of the dead Americans that they would get the man who made the video, rather than promising to get the people who killed their loved ones?

Why was the only American response to throw the idiot who made that dumb video in jail, rather than tracking down and killing the terrorists who actually committed the acts?

After 18 months of stonewalling, we finally have evidence, in the form of email communications from within the Obama regime forced into the light by a private lawsuit, that the effort to blame the attack on a YouTube video was knowingly deceptive, intentionally calculated to divert attention from Obama's failed policies in Libya and preserve his campaign narrative that he had defeated al Qaeda. The September 14, 2012 email from Benjamin Rhodes, with Subject "PREP CALL with Susan" discussed  the instructions given to Susan Rice in advance of her appearance on a series of Sunday talk shows to discuss the attack in Benghazi. Rhodes described her goal during these appearances being, “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.” Because it is standard operating procedure in the Muslim world to bring rocket powered grenades and mortars to  prayer services at the mosque, and if you happen to hear about a video which makes you upset, things can just get out of hand really fast..

The media has spent the past year and a half largely ignoring the story, or when necessary, deriding and marginalizing those who suggested that the administration deliberately fabricated the story of the YouTube video for political reasons. The White House, which once promised to be the most transparent administration ever, fought vigorously to keep these emails hidden, but was compelled by court order to release them. It seems that they are more interested in providing political cover for Obama and Hillary than they are in accepting accountability and being honest with the people they work for.