Hostess, the brand that makes Twinkies and Wonder Bread, is closing down. And it looks like the interventionists are clamoring for a company that is $16,000,000,000,000 in debt to bail out a company that is $1,000,000,000 in debt. From the LA Times:
Ding Dong despair manifested itself in a myriad of ways over the weekend as Americans came to realize that Hostess Brands Inc. as they know it is likely no more.
A petition went up online asking President Obama to nationalize the Twinkie industry and “prevent our nation from losing her creamy center.” Organizers hope to gain 25,000 signatures by Dec. 16. So far, they have less than 3,500.
You know why they went bankrupt? Unions.
Recipes for homemade Twinkies began emerging online. The spongy cakes went up for sale on Craigslist and Ebay for thousands of dollars a box.
It was the kind of outpouring Hostess wished it had generated before throwing in the towel Friday. The company blamed a union walkout on its decision to close.
Of course, if we don’t bail out the Twinkie, I’m sure the entire financial system will collapse or something like that. Why don’t we just bail out everything and that way no one will go bankrupt ever and we’ll all be in a giant Soviet Style Utopia with price-controlled Twinkies for all?
The saddest thing, though, is that the plot of Zombieland can’t fit anymore. (Woody Harrelson spends the whole movie looking for twinkies in a post apocalyptic America where everyone’s a zombie, also starring that guy from The Social Network. Great movie. Highly recommended. Cameo appearance by Bill Murray. The best Zombie movie ever made.)
It never ceases to amaze me how freedom is the answer to everything, and how state control is the source of every problem. I was watching a youtube video about medical cannabis – marijuana – which is legal here in Israel but always teetering on the edge of being outlawed. One of the biggest problems is that doctors do not want to prescribe it very often for two reasons. First, they fear that if they’re too lenient, they will be singled out by the State health ministry and crucified. This happened to the doctor of Moshe Feiglin’s father while he (Feiglin’s father) was dying of cancer. Marijuana helped him greatly with cancer pain after Dr. Johnny prescribed it. Later Dr. Johnny was attacked by the State for prescribing it too much to people who didn’t fit the exact criteria, and Feiglin came to his defense. That’s when the whole Feiglin-legalize-pot thing started. You can read the article here.
But more importantly, doctors have a financial incentive not to prescribe medical marijuana. Why? Because drug companies often donate to hospitals and have a very large effect on any given doctor’s career. The more they prescribe medications made by those companies, the better off they’ll be financially.
Any statist who believes in government force will look at that factoid and come to the conclusion that the State should outlaw pharmaceutical companies from donating to hospitals, or whatever they do to give doctors incentives to prescribe their drugs. But this is not the answer. In order to understand the answer, you have to understand the source of the problem.
The source of the problem is State-controlled health care.
When a patient goes to see a doctor, it’s free, or in the best case, extremely heavily subsidized. Doctors get no money from patients. Their money comes from the government. If they prescribe a medication, the government pays for it. If someone gets sick, they get a form from the government which gives them permission to go see a doctor of the government’s choosing. No doctor can compete with any other doctor for patients (AKA customers), and none of the doctors care, because regardless of how many patients they see or whether they heal them or not, their salaries do not change, unless they go on strike and protest the government.
Why would any doctor under a state controlled health care system want to prescribe marijuana to a patient when it doesn’t earn him any extra than prescribing him some expensive drug from Teva? Why would a doctor even want to learn about medical marijuana when there’s no incentive to be a better doctor?
The answer is to free the health care system and have doctors and hospitals compete with each other. In a true Jewish State, health care would be subject to the free market. If doctors started getting their money not from the State, but from the customers – their patients – then they’d have every incentive in the world to make their patients feel good and heal them. Say you have one doctor prescribing a cancer patient chemotherapy and some pharmaceutical drug, vicodin or whatever, to lessen the pain. Vicodin is expensive and the customer – not the government – pays for it. Say it doesn’t work and the cancer patient is vomiting all the time and living in hell. He will not be happy with his doctor and he will stop paying the doctor and he will stop buying the vicodin and the doctor will have a bad reputation because all his cancer patients feel like hell.
Say there’s another doctor that prescribes medical marijuana to his cancer patients, and it’s cheap and it works. His patients will be happy because they’re paying for the marijuana and it’s cheap so they continue to pay the doctor, and other customers – cancer patients – will go to him instead of the vicodin doctor who prescribes an expensive drug that does nothing.
It won’t matter at all if the vicodin companies are paying the bad doctor extra to prescribe the vicodin, because he won’t have any patients left to prescribe anything to in the first place.
The best doctors who heel people the best with the cheapest stuff will make the most money and have the most patients. The ones who have patients buying expensive drugs that don’t work and want to die from the pain will go out of business.
Drug companies want state controlled health care. It allows them to control the system and get rich by creating bad products. In a free market, they’d have no unfair influence. The good drugs they produce will be bought. The bad ones will not. They’ll have to compete just like everyone else.
I don’t intend to deal with all the objections to a private army in this post, and there are many. We’ll save that for later. But Cast Lead II or whatever they’re calling it demonstrates very clearly the problems with a publicly funded army on many fronts, and how privatization would solve all of them.
First of all, a public army has its hands tied by politicians, who have their hands tied by other politicians who have no interest in the safety of people in Be’er Sheva or Sderot or wherever. Netanyahu and the rest of our political wise men are now lobbying Obama and the EU and all the other thugs who have nothing at all to do with any of this, to try and get us permission to go to war. So a public IDF, controlled by politics, cannot do its job and defend Jews efficiently.
If the army were a private company, or several different private companies protecting each city, they would not need permission from politicians to do whatever they needed to do to get the rockets to stop. Their hands could not be tied because their money would not be coming from taxes and certainly not foreign aid, and foreign politicians would not be able to control a private company in a different country.
As it stands now, the residents of the south have no recourse because they cannot threaten the army owners with bankruptcy if they fail. Their budget is paid whether they succeed or fail in protecting their residents, and they cannot be sued if they fail. If the army were private, they could be sued for damages for every rocket they allow into the territory under their protection. In order not to be put out of business in a hurry, they’d need to respond with amazingly terrifying force to get the rockets to stop within hours or even minutes.
A private army paid for voluntarily by citizens would be directly responsible to its consumers, not to politicians. It would not allow Arabs to even get their hands on any rockets for the threat of making them lose business when those rockets fly.
It would act fast, it would be ruthless, and it would be efficient as hell.
A public army, even a very good one like the IDF, is necessarily slow, hands tied, measured in its response, not accountable to its patrons, and inefficient as hell. A private army would have killed Ahmed Jabari a long, long time ago. A private army would have paid off the Gazan Arabs to leave decades ago so none of this would be happening.
A private army in charge of protection of the south would not let food, water, electricity, or UN relief workers into Gaza at any time. A private army could have never expelled the Jews from Gaza in 2005. If the army were a private institution, there would not be over 1 million Arabs in Gaza. No private company would live with that kind of a threat to their business.
The business of a public army controlled by politicians is war.
The business of a private army controlled by its customers is peace.
I hate the idea of voting for anyone. I hate voting in general. It makes me feel like a criminal, because I know that whoever I vote for will think that he has some sort of mandate to use other people’s hard earned money to buy off more votes to get more power to use even more of other people’s hard earned money and then claim that he’s helping the economy by doing so all the while having other people fund his car and gas bill. (Who funds mine?)
The only laws I support are the ones that make it illegal for the government to do something it would otherwise try to do. Whether it’s destroy someone else’s private property – Arab or Jew – steal someone’s money through borrowing or printing or taxing, or anything else it tries to do. In other words, I only vote for politicians that promise to at least limit, and at best destroy, the very system that feeds them. I vote for infiltrators who vow to cut and destroy government. Not politicians who vow to feed on it and give me some of the scraps they feed on.
If it were up to me, I’d vote for Moshe Feiglin and no one else. He is the only one who cannot be corrupted.
But I have to vote for 12 people, or my vote for Feiglin does not count. So the other 11 people I will have to vote for will only be extensions of my vote for Feiglin.
I’m not voting for Tauber because he speaks English or I need an Anglo to represent my Anglo interests in Knesset. Anglos have no interests any more than anyone else has an interest in keeping his money and property, and I don’t care what language you speak. I’d put an Iranian or North Korean or an Arab in the Knesset if I was convinced he’d protect my money and property. Heck, I’m probably voting for a guy named Jihad (seriously) a Druze with a huge mustache.
I’m also not voting for Tauber because I think he’s incorruptible. If he makes it into Knesset, God willing, and Bibi leans on him to vote for destroying someone else’s private property, he’ll resist, and he’ll resist hard, but eventually he will break if his career at spending other people’s money is at stake. It’s just a sense I have from talking to him. He wants to protect me, but I know he can’t when push comes to shove.
I’m voting for him because he will be a good soldier in Feiglin’s army. That I sense, too. His heart is pointed in the right direction. It’s not in the right place yet, but unlike most politicians, at least it’s pointing to the right place.
Honestly, Tauber would be a very good soldier, better than any of the other 11 kleptomaniacs I’ll be voting for, with the possible exception of Yariv Levin, who I don’t like, but I almost like him, which says a lot.
When Feiglin is in charge, Tauber will be ready to join in, and he’ll be on the front lines. That’s why I’m voting for him, and for no other reason.
Watching a video of Lawrence O’Donnell being interviewed by the WeAreChange people about the NDAA and Obama’s kill list. They were asking him something about how he supports Obama if he has a kill list consisting of American citizens and their usual attack line of questions. He says, “I can’t keep track of everything the government does.”
Then it sort of hit me. Why should anyone be expected to keep track of what the government does? Why should this be necessary? The bigger government gets, the less people will be able to track it to see if it is being tyrannical or not, and the next thing you know you’re a total slave and they’re taking your property.
The only reason that it’s necessary to manually keep track of government activities is that money is not an issue. The government can just take or print the money it needs to function, so not only is efficiency unnecessary, but so is internal oversight. Nobody “needs” to keep track of what Apple or Priceline or IBM is doing, because the companies themselves need to keep track of what they’re doing or they’ll lose money. If they steal from someone, that someone should take the company to court. Every transaction a private company has is subject to market regulation, and therefore no one needs to keep an eye on them. The only reason anyone would need to know what Apple is doing is if he wants to invest in the company. If Apple wants investors, they’ll have to be honest. If they lie, they’ll lose investors and money.
But government needs no investors and is not subject to market forces, since they rely on threats and force. That’s why you need outside watchdogs funded by watchdog groups to keep an eye on government. The watchdogs aren’t investing in government. They’re using resources to make sure it doesn’t screw anyone over, because the market itself cannot.
In a free society, there would be no need to see what the government is doing, or to keep track of it. Everything would be subject to market regulation, and everything would be totally decentralized. Problems would be dealt with as they come up, and you’d spot them whenever the price of something falls or rises too fast.
It looks like Moshe Kahlon, the popular and vaunted Likud Minister of Communications, will be the second consecutive Likud Central Committee Chairman to leave the party looking for more power. The first one, Tzahi Hanegbi who left to Kadima and was charged with handing out jobs to cronies and nearly convicted of perjury, is now back in Likud because Kadima has entirely crashed. He’s looking for a slot on Likud’s Knesset roster.
But that’s not what’s so maddening. After all, corrupt gangsters are all over the political spectrum peeking their heads in and out of political crevices looking for a slice of tax money. I am a voting Likud party member, and I don’t care all that much that Hanegbi is coming back. I simply won’t vote for him. What’s maddening is the reason that Kahlon is popular and polling 27 Knesset seats if he runs with former Kadima Diva Tzipi Livni, another Likud defector.
The only reason that Kahlon is popular is that I, an Israeli citizen with a cell phone, only have to pay 20 shekels a month for good service now instead of 400. Why is that? Because Kahlon, in a fit of what must have been Divine Inspiration, decided that he, as Communications Czar of Israel, would just let the market be, get out of the way, and do absolutely nothing.
Quite literally, the best thing he did for Israel was to say that he would no longer forbid any company that wants to enter the communications market to do so. He decided he would no longer protect big business with government threats. He decided, in effect, that there was no need for a Communication Minister at all. And voila! More companies sprung up offering much lower prices, and the whole country now benefits from the free market in cell phones. (Or at least much freer.)
But what makes me want to put my head in my hands and weep “Oy Gevalt!” is that the country has no idea what Kahlon did or why it worked. The entire media is describing Kahlon now as an economic socialist, and that it was socialism and ingenious government regulation policies that fixed the cell phone market. All the people know is that Kahlon went into office and then the cell phone bills went down, so they all love him.
And the worst part is, Kahlon himself doesn’t understand why he succeeded. He really IS a socialist, into the welfare state idea and all that. He just happened to have a flash of genius once and did something totally libertarian, totally unsocialistic, by getting government out of the market and just letting it function. Now he thinks he knows how to fix everything with government, and Israel believes him and will vote for him to do just that.
He’ll take that mandate, try to tinker with the free market somewhere, and the people will be disappointed, his party will crash, and he and everyone who goes with him will come crying back to the Likud, as they all do. Even Avigdor Liberman came from the Likud way back when, and now he’s back too.
All government has to do is get out of the way and leave everyone alone as much as possible. It doesn’t take Kahlon-ic genius to do that.