Remember the infamy of December 7, 1683

algernon-sidneyDecember 7 has “lived in infamy” since Pearl Harbor. But that date was already infamous before America was a country. In 1683, Algernon Sydney, who opposed Charles II for overstepping his powers, was executed for treason on that date, after a trial blatantly violating his rights (so blatantly that Parliament overturned his conviction in 1689). The key evidence was an unpublished manuscript arguing that the king was not above the law, which became “Discourses Concerning Government” 15 years later.

Sydney died for asserting a right of revolution to defend citizens against a king exceeding his legal authority. That radical claim later helped inspire the American Revolution, because, according to Thomas West, “His death as a martyr to liberty inspired [colonists] with a model in their own risky enterprise against the force of English arms.” On December 7, Sydney’s revolutionary words for liberty against government abuse merits remembering as much as a foreign attack on American soil.

Our rights and liberties are innate, inherent … from God and nature, not from Kings. … He who enjoys [liberty] cannot be deprived of it, unless by his own consent, or by force … in relation to my house, land, or estate; I may do what I please with them, if I bring no damage upon others.

Our natural liberty … is of so great importance that from thence only can we know whether we are freemen or slaves.

The liberty of one man cannot be limited or diminished by one or any number of men, and none can give away the right of another … ambition … cannot give a right to any over the liberties of a whole nation. Those who are so set up … are rather to be accounted robbers and pirates than magistrates.

Government[s] … degenerate into a most unjust and despicable tyranny, so soon as the supreme lord begins to prefer his own interest … before the good of his subjects … such an extreme deviation from the end of their institution annuls it; and the wound thereby given to the natural and original rights of those nations cannot be cured, unless they resume the liberties of which they have been deprived.

Prerogative is instituted only for the preservation of liberty … governments … in which every man’s liberty is least restrained … would be the most just, rational and natural.

The supreme law … [is] the preservation of their liberties, goods, lands and lives … all laws must be subservient and subordinate to it … if there be no other law … than the will of [government], there is no such thing as liberty. Property is also an appendage to liberty; and ‘tis … impossible for a man to have a right to lands or goods, if he has no liberty … overthrown by those who … ought with the utmost industry and vigor to have defended it.

Is it possible that any one man can make himself lord of a people … to whom God had given the liberty of governing themselves, by any other means than violence or fraud … the most outrageous injury that can be done … we are free-men … no man has a power over us, which is not given … the ends for which they are given … can be no other than to defend us from all manner of arbitrary power.

Shall it be lawful for [rulers] to usurp a power over the liberty of others, and shall it not be lawful for an injured people to resume their own? … The people … cannot but have a right to preserve their liberty … Those who defend, or endeavor to recover their violated liberties … act vigorously in a cause that God does evidently patronize.

Algernon Sydney defended “the natural, universal liberty of mankind.” He helped inspire the American Revolution, because “a people from all ages in love with liberty and desirous to maintain their own privileges could never be brought to resign them.” However, it is unclear that Americans retain such beliefs, judging by they extent our rights have been resigned to government overstepping. We should revisit his understanding and commitment, if we are to reclaim our heritage of liberty.

Gary M. Galles is a Professor of Economics at Pepperdine University, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, and an Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and a member of the Foundation for Economic Education Faculty Network. His books include Lines of Liberty (2016), Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Apostle of Peace (2013).

How Does Policy Analysis Work in the California Legislature?


CA-legislatureHave you ever wondered how the California Legislature goes about analyzing the thousands of proposals that are introduced as bills? And, how does the Legislature’s process for bill analysis differ from policy analysis methodologies used almost everywhere else, including academia and the private sector? The answers to these questions provide some interesting insights into the strengths and weaknesses of California’s legislative process.

For anyone who has seen a bill from the California Legislature in print, one of the first items addressed is a section entitled, “Legislative Counsel’s Digest.” Is this an analysis of the bill? Not really. Instead, the purpose of the Legislative Counsel’s Digest is to succinctly describe current law and then summarize the changes that are proposed in the legislation.  The Digest thus describes how the bill proposes to change existing law. Otherwise, the Digest is strictly neutral; it neither evaluates the pros and cons of the proposal nor makes any recommendations.

So, who does the analysis of bills and where do you go to find them? Quite simply, legislative proposals in California are analyzed by the staff of the committees to which they are referred and by the staff of the respective houses prior to a proposal coming up for a floor vote. Thus, a typical bill that makes it into law is analyzed six times: by a policy committee and a fiscal committee in each house and a floor analysis in each house. These analyses are accessible via the California Legislative Information website maintained by the Legislative Counsel.

If you pulled up bill analyses from several different committees, you would notice there is no set process or methodology being applied. Instead, you would note that there seems to be some common elements addressed in most of the analyses, but that each committee and each floor applies their own methodologies. Some policy committees in the Assembly and Senate have well deserved reputations for extensive analyses that include in-depth discussion of existing law and the proposed changes contained in the bill.

And they reflect the intent of the author and explain in detail the arguments for and against the proposed law changes. There are other committees whose analyses are often limited, merely reciting some of the language in the proposed legislation without much discussion that would provide valuable insights for those trying to understand or learn the intent behind changes in the law.

So, there is no fixed policy analysis methodology in the Legislature and the quality of analysis can vary from committee to committee, floor to floor, or even bill to bill. Nonetheless, what are the common elements that are covered in most legislative bill analyses and how do these analyses differ from policy analysis methodologies taught in academia and used almost everywhere else?

When we examine the bill analysis methodologies used in the California Legislature (and most other legislative bodies), we find the policy analysis is focused on the evaluation of a specific proposal. In other words, rather than beginning the analysis with a definition of the problem, the analysis emanates from a proposed solution (i.e., a bill).  This approach is understandable given that most legislative processes begin with the introduction of a bill that contains the text of a specific solution to try and address a public policy problem.

Typical elements addressed in a bill analysis thus include:

  • a summary of current law and a description of how the proposal would change existing law
  • a summary of the purpose of the bill
  • arguments in opposition and support
  • current or prior California legislative proposals on the same subject and the disposition of those proposals
  • what other states have done
  • results of research studies
  • fiscal effects
  • a listing of parties or organizations that have registered official support or opposition

While legislative bill analysis methodologies typically focus on the evaluation of a specific proposal, policy analysis methodologies taught in academia and used almost everywhere else tend to start from a definition of the problem.  Once the problem is defined, the analysis turns to identifying and evaluating the various alternatives for addressing the problem. The policy analysis is a rigorous, multi-step process that involves a thorough analysis of the various alternative means of addressing the problem.

While a legislative bill analysis of a specific solution can involve extensive research and considerable evaluation, there are pitfalls to this approach. Given the nature of the legislative process, the tendency is to become preoccupied with the solution and pay less attention to identifying and analyzing the various solutions to an underlying problem.  Authors of legislation are understandably inclined to focus on building the case for the particular solution for which they are advocating. All too often they tend to overlook the underlying steps of defining the problem, identifying alternatives, selecting criteria, and projecting outcomes.

And, all too often, the staff who analyze legislative measures also overlook these underlying steps. As a consequence, legislatures often get stuck in a contest of wills over specific solutions instead of first attempting to define and agree upon the underlying problem. Without a clear understanding and agreement on the problem they are attempting to address, legislators deprive themselves of a key element in reaching consensus.

There are some practical realities that make if difficult for legislative bodies to apply traditional policy analysis methodologies. With nearly 2,500 bills introduced each year in California (and upwards of 8,000 amendments made to these bills) it is an unrealistic expectation that legislative staff would have the time to engage in such thorough analyses on every bill and every amendment. On the other hand, while a thorough analysis of each bill and each amendment might be impossible, this does not mean that traditional policy analysis cannot be infused into at least a portion of the legislative process.

Decisions about how and when to infuse traditional policy analysis methodology into the legislative process are appropriately made by the leadership of the respective houses. One possibility would be to hold authors of legislation accountable to conduct and produce a formal policy analysis on each piece of legislation and major amendment being proposed. These formal analyses would accompany the proposal, thereby providing committee and floor staff something to review and critique. Another possibility would be for committee chairs and floor leaders to have discretion as to the measures needing a full scale policy analysis prior to a vote.

Regardless of the method chosen, we believe that additional time and effort needs to be spent on analyzing both the problems and the possible solutions before legislation is considered, let alone adopted. In the rush “to do something,” the Legislature often needs to return to the policy issue because the prior legislation did not accomplish what it had intended. It was either inadequate to effectively solve the problem being addressed or it was poorly crafted and needs to be revisited. In either instance, the policy analysis was probably limited and perhaps a more comprehensive analysis would have resulted in a better policy solution.

In summary, while most legislative bodies use policy analysis methodologies that focus on evaluating specific solutions, it is imperative that the underlying policy analysis steps not be overlooked. Even though legislative bodies may be concentrating on the evaluation of specific solutions, they cannot properly do so unless they have the discipline to define the problem, identify and evaluate the various alternatives, and formulate the best solution. The legislative process would be better served in the long-term by providing greater policy analysis of both the problems and the solutions being debated.

Thomas Nussbaum is the former Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.  Chris Micheli is a lobbyist with Aprea & Micheli, Inc. Both are Adjunct Professors of Law at McGeorge School of Law.

Allowing people their natural freedom through free trade


The just-completed election has been analyzed in terms of people who felt politically ignored, demeaned or attacked. Donald Trump’s campaign clearly claimed he would put their concerns first. Unfortunately, the protectionist “solutions” he has proposed cannot fix them.

Protectionism is among the most damaging things a country can do to itself. Henry George described it as doing to ourselves what enemies try to do to us in wartime — blockade our trade with others. It uses government coercion to impoverish its own citizens by undermining the massive gains in production, and therefore consumption, specialization and trade would create for them. Because restrictions on willing trading partners’ offerings reduce the real purchasing power of incomes, Auberon Herbert described it as a war of the protected on the unprotected.

john-brightThat is why the Trump victory aftermath is a great time to remember one of history’s most influential free traders — John Bright, born November 16. Along with Richard Cobden, he led the campaign which ended England’s protectionist Corn Laws in 1846, inaugurating one of world history’s freest trade eras, accompanied by increased prosperity and peace. It is worth reconsidering Bright’s case for international economic freedom — the ability to choose our own voluntary relationships with people from other countries:

I care for the condition of the people among whom I live … unless the beauty of your legislation and the excellence of your statesmanship are impressed there on the feelings and condition of the people … you have yet to learn the duties of government.

[I wish] to see my countrymen free, and able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

To be a man … he must have food, and to be a healthy man one would say that it was necessary he should have a free market for the purchase of his food. To be a working-man he must have materials with which to work, and it would seem reasonable that he should have a free market for the purchase of materials. More than that, as far as possible, he should have a free market for the sale of his materials.

Force is not a remedy.

[Trade restrictions] bring … suffering, discontent, and insubordination.

Trade should be as free as the winds.

To sell freely would be a great advantage, as to buy freely is a great advantage; but neither to buy freely nor to sell freely, as the Fair Traders recommend, would … enormously increase the injury.

Many people … think that because other countries do not allow us to send our goods into their market free of duty, therefore we should not allow them to send their goods to this market free of duty. They think two bad things are better than one.

The Corn Law [repeal] … tells … what freedom has done … and it points the way to other paths of freedom which yet lie open. …

All this has been done by merely … allowing people their natural freedom to buy and sell where they could buy and sell to the greatest advantage.

What a grand thing it is to establish our laws upon a basis of freedom and justice … [not] so unjust, so cruel to the bulk of their countrymen.

We shall reap even greater gain from our policy of Free Trade in the future than we have reaped in the past.

John Bright led the Free Trade movement in 19th century England, because, in Richard Barry O’Brien’s words, “Bright loved justice and freedom, and had faith in the people.” According to Nicholas Elliott, “John Bright did more than anyone else to bring about the great advances for liberty in nineteenth-century Britain,” because “he helped to establish free trade as a popular principle which no politician would dare to interfere with for years to come.”

John Bright saw that international as well as domestic government restrictions on voluntary arrangements were unjustified applications of government coercion that harmed a country’s citizens. Unfortunately, our president-elect is far less concerned with liberty, and the benefits it provides for all, in our international relations. We would gain from re-learning the Bright idea that “allowing people their natural freedom” is a benefit and not a burden.

Gary M. Galles is a Professor of Economics at Pepperdine University, an Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and a member of the Foundation for Economic Education Faculty Network. His books include Apostle of Peace (2013), Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014), and Lines of Liberty (2016).

San Francisco, AIDS ground-zero, Votes for No Condoms

It is almost unfathomable that San Franciscans voted by 68.5% against the health requirements for the pornography industry in Proposition 60 that would require the wearing of condoms.  Prop. 60, which was heavily funded by the AIDS Foundation and AIDs prevention activists, lost statewide by 54% to 46%, but the proposition won in the key southern California counties of Los Angeles (where most pornographic films are produced and where the most highly affected workers usually reside), San Bernardino and Riverside.  Had Bay Area liberals, and especially San Franciscans, matched the vote percentages of those in the three southern California counties, Proposition 60 would have passed.

The self-indulgent irony in San Francisco’s vote is that it has one of the largest HIV-positive populations in the whole country with an estimated 16,000 people living with HIV in The City, according the the SF AIDS Foundation.  Gay and bi men, who are highly represented in the diverse San Francisco community, represent 82% of all new HIV cases in San Francisco annually.  Yet the voters of San Francisco decided, almost overwhelmingly, that requiring use of condoms for adult film actors was a bad idea.

What a terrible pity.  While San Franciscans are big on voting for regulations on just about everything else in California society, they could not see a connection when it came to the ravages of disease in one of their own communities.  And as to diversity, The City gave 85% of its vote for President to Hillary Clinton, and less than 10% to the winner, Donald Trump.  Perhaps San Francisco is not so diverse, or caring, after all, judging from the election results. logo

The Antifederalists warned us; time to listen  

anti-federalistApproaching an ominous election day, Donald Kochan wrote an article urging Americans to consider the Federalist Papers’ warnings against populism and demagoguery before voting. They do have valuable insight. But the Antifederalists offer more valuable insights into our political world.

The Antifederalists opposed the U.S. Constitution as enabling an overbearing central government threatening individual liberties. With history written by the winners, they are ignored now, but, as Joseph Stromberg noted, “pretty much every dire prediction made by the Antifederalists has proven correct.”

Antifederalists thought the Constitution’s checks on federal power would be overridden by expansive interpretations of the government’s role in promoting the “general welfare” and other clauses, creating a federal government that would invent undelegated powers.

Antifederalists’ determination to protect Americans’ inalienable rights from the constitutional “loopholes” that would be created by those bent on that course led to the Bill of Rights. Some are now the last line of defense against government invasions, and under threat (e.g., the 5th Amendment’s Takings Clause), while others have already largely succumbed (e.g., the 10th Amendment).

Antifederalists did not envision all the ways their fears would come true. They didn’t anticipate that the Commerce Clause would now rationalize almost any federal action — the distortion necessary was too great for them to even imagine. They didn’t foresee how the 14th Amendment would be used to extend federal domination over states. They didn’t foresee the 16th Amendment allowing an income tax, which they would never have accepted, and the massive expansion of government, and its abuses it produced. But those changes have just made the expansion of government power and contraction of Americans’ freedom they feared worse.

Among the most important Antifederalists was Brutus — Robert Yates, a New York judge — who withdrew as a Constitutional Convention delegate because it was exceeding its instructions. His analysis of federal overreaching were particularly insightful.

Brutus asserted that courts would be beyond control “both of the people and the legislature.” Consequently, he objected that the grounds for removing judges didn’t include making rulings that exceeded their constitutional authority, leading to judicial tyranny.

Brutus argued that when constitutional grounds were absent, courts would create grounds “by their own decisions,” manipulating the meanings of vague clauses as justification. It would interpret the Constitution’s alleged “spirit,” rather than its written words. Such rulings would then effectively “have the force of law,” due to the absence of constitutional means to “correct their errors.” This constitutional failing would compound over time in a “silent and imperceptible manner,” through precedents that built on one another.

The courts’ constitutional interpretations would expand the power vested in federal government, making the courts the most dangerous branch, not “the least dangerous branch,” as Federalist 78 asserted.

Brutus predicted the adoption of “very liberal” principles of constitutional interpretation. He claimed that there had never in history been a court with such “immense powers” and so few checks upon it, making it perilous for a nation founded on consent of the governed. Given the extent to which Americans’ power to effectively withhold their consent from federal actions has been eviscerated, Brutus was right.

Brutus accurately recognized the cause (insufficient enforceable restraints on the federal government’s scope) and consequences (increasing burdens and invasions of liberty) of the expansive federal powers now surrounding us. But he was too optimistic. The federal behemoth has grown orders of magnitude larger than he could ever imagine, much less find justifiable.

The judicially-enabled tyranny Brutus and other Antifederalists feared has come to pass. What Thomas Hobbes described as our ultimate protection against a “war of all against all” — government — has become the main battlefield on which that war is now fought. The increasing magnitude of the difference between prize and punishment has made the battle for political control increasingly nasty and brutish, but horribly drawn out rather than short. And unless we learn from the Antifederalists, our politics will be a continually escalating fight over who controls the Titanic’s deck chairs as it sinks.

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University, a research fellow at the Independent Institute, adjunct scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and member of the FEE faculty network. His books include Apostle of Peace (2013), Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Lines of Liberty (2016).

What you don’t know hurts more in politics than markets

There is an old expression that “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.” Unfortunately, it is not true. Further, when it comes to economic misunderstanding, it is far more likely to harm Americans in their political choices than their market choices.

thomas-sowellThomas Sowell, in Knowledge and Decisions, laid out why. In market competition:

Economic knowledge need not be articulated to the consumer, but is conveyed — summarized — in the prices and qualities of goods. The consumer may have no idea at all — or even a wrong idea — as to why one product cost less and serves his purpose better; all he needs is that end result itself. Someone must of course have the specific knowledge of how to achieve that result. What is crucial to economic competition is that better and more accurate knowledge on the part of the producer is a decisive competitive advantage, regardless of whether the consumer shares any part of the knowledge.

In political competition, however:

Political knowledge is conveyed by articulation, and its accurate transmission through political competition depends upon the preexisting stock of knowledge and understanding of the receiving citizen. … In political competition, accurate knowledge has no such decisive competitive advantage.

In other words, as long as consumers can choose which suppliers’ goods better satisfy their preferences and situations, misunderstanding the processes involved does not keep them from being well-served by market competition. In contrast, voters must understand how things will actually work to evaluate politicians’ promises.

In markets, “prices convey effective knowledge of inherent constraints.” In contrast, “ballots do not … there are no constraints on my voting for … options simultaneously desired [but] unrealizable from the outset.” To make it worse, “no small part of the political art consists in misstating options and in trying to give them the appearance of simultaneously satisfying competing claims when they cannot be satisfied in reality.” Consequently, “The competition among political groups does not therefore bring to bear more accurate knowledge, as in economic competition, but promotes exaggerated hopes and fears.”

Today, for those who believe freer trade harms people rather than creating mutual gains, promises of “cracking down” or imposing higher tariffs on foreign products appears attractive. For those who believe that they earn less because “the 1 percent” earn too much, rather than that market incomes reflect added value provided to others, punitive taxation appears attractive. For those who think various workplace amenities, such as paid leave, come out of employers’ pockets, rather than from workers’ compensation packages (once there has been time to adjust), mandating those benefits appears attractive. For those who think higher minimum wages will benefit “the poor” with few other effects, rather than helping some and hurting others, including those who lose their jobs, hours worked, on-the-job training, etc., as well as all consumers in higher prices, they appear attractive. But in each of these cases, and many others, appearances are deceiving the ill-informed.

Thomas Sowell recognized that “Perhaps the greatest achievement of market economies is in economizing on the amount of knowledge needed to produce a given economic result.” However, he also recognized “That is also their greatest political vulnerability,” which we are seeing acted out before our eyes. The public, benefitting from vast and varying market arrangements without understanding them, can be lured by siren songs of something for nothing, because they don’t see how it undermines those irreplaceable voluntary arrangements which do reliably serve them.

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University, an adjunct scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a research associate of the Independent Institute, and a member of the FEE faculty network. His books include Apostle of Peace (2013), Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Lines of Liberty (2016).

Trumped-up trickle-down


trump-clinton-debateIn the post-debate spinning, few noted Hillary Clinton’s pride in coining “Trumped-up trickle-down” economics to accuse Donald Trump of policy malfeasance. However, it is important, because every time anyone has ever used the term “trickle-down” economics (or its rhetorical cousins, “tax cuts for the rich,” “voodoo economics,” etc.) it has been a trumped-up, intentional misrepresentation.

No supply-side economist ever promoted “trickle-down” economics. That was invented by big government opponents of market freedom, just as Marx named capitalism to make it appear harmful rather than to correctly describe it.

Trickle-down is a defamatory characterization used to misdirect attention away from how voluntary market arrangements benefit all. Its central false premise is that taxing high-income earners less, leaving them more take-home income, benefits them alone. That is abetted by the mistaken zero-sum view that more income for some must reduce others’ incomes.

When people, however rich or poor, get richer through voluntary arrangements, they do not hurt anyone except those suffering from envy. Each party is better off, as they see it, or they would not participate. But changes in the measured distribution of income distort that fact.

If I create a massively successful software program, my measured income will increase, but every buyer will also gain because they face better options than before. This holds true even if their imperfectly measured share of total income is lower because my income has risen.

Unfortunately, forcible redistribution proponents’ campaigns to punish higher income earners (given rhetorical cover as paying their “fair share,” which is always “more”) diverts debate from the central question — are others helped or hurt? Worsening the productive incentives of high-income people induces them to do less for others with their resources, harming them.

Of course, if a rich person or a rich politician gets richer by rigging the political process, that is objectionable. But it is not a market failure, requiring a government solution. It is a government failure, which undermines the benefits competitive markets provide for all, whose solution requires removing government from the theft-and-transfer business, not expanding its role in it.

Supply-siders have always focused on improving productive incentives, and trying to make those improvements as durable as possible. That is why they focus on permanently reducing tax rates and rolling back regulatory burdens where their burdens are most adverse, because that is where it improves productive incentives most. The immediate measured benefits in financial markets will, it is true, go to those who currently own the assets affected by those changes. But treating that as solely a “tax giveaway to the rich” ignores that what is primarily rewarded is using the resources at one’s disposal to do more of what others value, and spending less time and effort trying to minimize unjustifiable burdens.

Improved supply-side incentives will increase labor supply by increasing take-home wages. It will increase rewards for acquiring new skills, for added capital investments to increase worker productivity, for secondary workers to enter the labor force, for in-migration of productive people from less-friendly tax and regulatory climates (or reduced out-migration) and for productive risk-taking. They will also reduce incentives for tax evasion, for tax cheating, and for buying things people desire less because of the distortion of tax deductibility. Each of those changes will benefit Americans. Doing the opposite, which criticisms of “trickle-down” economics are the rationalization for, harms Americans.

There is no reason to add “Trumped-up” to “trickle-down economics.” Such assaults have always been trumped-up distortions, trying to get people to look at incomes others have earned, and envy them, forgetting that, in competitive markets, they were earned by making others better off. And the pretend solutions not only violate Cicero’s millennia-old definition of justice as “giving every man his due,” they harm the very people whose votes they are trying to buy with the imagery of soaking the rich.

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University, an adjunct scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a research associate of the Independent Institute, and a member of the FEE faculty network. His books include Apostle of Peace (2013) Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Lines of Liberty (2016).

“Tim Kaine Most Liberal VP Nominee in Our Lifetime” – ACU ratings

The American Conservative Union has been conducting the Ratings of Congress for five decades.  Consequently, its archives have lifetime ratings for 18 Vice-presidential nominees for half a century.  Conservatives will be pleased to know that Mike Pence is the most conservative nominee the country has seen in 50 years (99% alignment with ACU).  Americans will be stunned, however, to learn that the single most Left Wing VP nominee in our lifetime is Tim Kaine, the only nominee with a perfect 0% lifetime rating.  That puts him to the left of Senator Barack Obama (10%), Senator Hillary Clinton (8%) and Senator Bernie Sanders (6%).  Out of 100 Senators and 435 House Members, that makes Tim Kaine the single most radical in ALL OF CONGRESS!

 Hillary Clinton has picked a wolf in sheep’s clothing who is fully committed to continuing Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation of America.  Please pass this on so Americans know the truth about Tim Kaine.  Below is the list of 18 VP nominees going back to Hubert Humphrey.  Kaine must NOT be elected.

VP Nominee   ACU Rating

Mike Pence     99.0

Dick Cheney   90.8

Jack Kemp      88.8

Paul Ryan       88.6

Bob Dole         82.4

Dan Quayle     80.3

Gerald Ford     64.0

Lloyd Bentsen 40.5

Joe Lieberman 15.1

Al Gore           14.6

Eagleton          12.9

Joe Biden        12.4

John Edwards  12.2

Geraldine Ferraro 8.3

Edmund Muskie 6.4

Hubert Humphrey 5.0

Walter Mondale 3.7

Tim Kaine       0


Don’t bet the house against the law of demand

Unions22016’s edition of Labor Day followed a well-established tradition — unions claiming credit for every worker gain. Among their most common assertions, often incorporated in attributing negative wage trends to eroding union power, was that unions raise all workers’ wages. Unfortunately, unions retard rather than raise others’ real earning power.

Unions leverage special government-granted powers (e.g., unique exemption from antitrust laws) allowing current employees to prevent competition from others willing to do the same work for less, a form of collusion that, done by any business, would be legally prosecuted.

The higher union wages that result are then credited for raising all workers’ wages because they supposedly force up other employers’ wages to keep their workers from leaving for those better-paying alternatives. However, their claim cannot be true without violating the law of demand.

Higher wages from unions’ government-imposed monopoly power would push up others’ wages only if it increased the number of such high paying jobs. The reason is that employers need only outbid employees’ actual options to retain them. But by artificially forcing up the cost of hiring their workers, unions reduce rather than increase the number of such jobs offered by employers, reflecting the reduced output consumers will buy at the higher costs and prices that result. Instead of improving the alternatives available to non-union workers, they are worsened, as the displaced workers are forced into competition with others for non-union jobs.

Those displaced workers increase the labor supply for non-union employment. That pushes wages for all workers in those jobs down, not up. Consequently, union wage premiums do not benefit all workers, but come primarily from other workers’ pockets.

With only about 7 percent of America’s private sector workforce remaining unionized, union power therefore cuts the real incomes of 13 out of 14 workers. And since unions also hike government service costs directly, as well as through other cost-increasing policies (e.g., the Davis-Bacon Act and Project Labor Agreements) which big labor’s political clout has pushed through, all other workers are also harmed as taxpayers.

Unions have also used the same “big lie” technique of constantly repeating the opposite of the truth as fact in other areas. For example, aware that their monopoly power to exclude competing workers stops at the border, unions have long been the core backers of protectionism. They focus their attention on those getting special protection, then assert that their benefits will also spread throughout the economy to benefit others. But they ignore protectionism’s much larger harms — to all other workers who would have gained from expanded exports; to all other workers who, as consumers, have their access to lower cost and superior imports (and domestic production forced to compete with it) restricted; and to all other workers adversely affected by the reduction in real wealth and income produced by domestic protectionism and induced foreign protectionist responses.

Given that Labor Day has been considered the traditional start of “serious” presidential campaigning, it is an appropriate time to remember just how damaging unions’ “big lie” strategy is. Its illogical twist can derail accurate understanding of the harm unions impose on almost all Americans, offering a sobering reminder that “It ain’t ignorance that does the most damage; its knowing so derned much that ain’t so.” After all, when people know they are ignorant of important variables that bear on their decisions, they usually don’t bet the house on them, but when they think they know what is false to be true, they often lose the house. And a lot of American houses are on the line this November.

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University, an adjunct scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a research associate of the Independent Institute, and a member of the FEE faculty network. His most books are Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Lines of Liberty (2016).

A Pattern for Revolt is better than a revolting pattern

2016 has already given Americans a truly unique presidential campaign, with more almost assuredly to come. Many have claimed to be revolted by it, for reasons ranging from obvious absence of decorum to apparent policy dementia. Sadly, though, attention soon leaves why we should be revolted, and what might hold out the promise of real improvement, to the latest political dirt and horse-race questions.

Pattern of RevoltA very instructive means to turn back toward such more impactful questions is easily available, however. It can be found in Leonard Read’s 1948 Pattern for Revolt. In striking contrast to what we are now witnessing, in which, except for occasional boilerplate obeisance to freedom, no one now proposes anything remotely near it, it offers examples of campaign statements that a true lover of liberty might offer, following Thoreau’s advice to “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect…[as] one step toward attaining it.”

Pattern for Revolt has been described as “strong meat, probably too strong for stomachs that have long fed on government pap and can’t imagine how they can get along without it.” Yet while it would be panned by panderers who love power far better than liberty, it is well worth reading for anyone “who loves liberty better than power.”

The all-authoritarian state marches on…not only unhampered and unchecked, but aided and abetted by an ever-increasing number of gravy-trained citizens.

The people [have] no choice except between power-seeking personalities and groups, each offering a superior administration of government-as-master. Such a choice…is no choice at all.

Party leaders…are asking today “What must we say and do to win votes?”…a truly liberal party…would have been asking “How can we liberate the individual from the tyranny of the State?”

The mere changing of parties or personalities is not important. The transfer of power…is important only if the ascending party has principles which it is important to substitute for the principles of the party in power.

Not only will [an] office-seeker resort to expediency to attain office, but…A man who seeks and secures public office…will try to make it a bigger and more powerful office. Government should not be so expanded…Men in government, therefore, should be those who aim at making government as unnecessary as possible. Contraction, not expansion, should be the aim.

Freedom is an assertion of man’s God-given free will, a resurrection of man from deadening arbitrary authority…The principles which brought America to the greatest heights of freedom yet known on earth are easily forgotten…[but] what will our collectivistic opponents be able to do in extending their authority over the people if the people subscribe to the principle of liberty?

Our assignment is to cultivate an understanding of freedom—in ourselves and in others.

In every field where arbitrary authority is imposed we shall inquire how it may be removed and replaced by a reliance on the initiative and enterprise of individual citizens. We must give to the art of self-government its American renaissance… We need patriots who will stand against wrong even though they cannot see the time when right will triumph.

As liberals and individualists…we do not want to be led…we do not want to “lead” by force…The only way to guard freedom is to remove, to destroy, unwarranted restrictions and coercion.

There was [once] a general acceptance of the idea that governments should have only limited powers and functions…Today, however…Opponents of freedom… have pre-empted the language of freedom so extensively that we how attempt to speak on behalf of freedom now find it difficult to convey our meaning.

Our plunderstorm economy is a matter of common knowledge…The first reason is a deep-rooted conviction on the part of millions that they have, by reason of their existence on this earth, a right to share in the property of others. The idea that this is a wholly immoral notion has never occurred to most of them.

The result is this group-thirst for political plunder…there is no cure at all except to re-establish in the minds of people the normal boundaries of personal right. The present situation calls for an understanding of where personal rights end and infringement on the rights of others begins.

In the hope of plundering more from others than others succeed in plundering from us, we have voted away the inestimable benefits for which government and law were originally instituted.

We founded our government…on the premise that the individual citizen has certain inalienable rights and that government and law should protect those rights …While it is perfectly obvious that we should restore government and law to their proper functions, limit them as we originally intended they should be limited, it is equally obvious that this is not impossible until false ideas are removed…As long as people entertain these false ideas about rights and property, so long will they seek their fulfillment though government and the law…The choice is only one of going on with the filthy business or getting out of it entirely.

In a variety of ways this nation has legalized plunder…we seek prosperity by the fruitless process of picking each others’ pockets.

Coercion is my first objection…No man has ever lived who has been big enough or competent enough to apply it, justly and wisely, to any responsible adult person, arbitrarily…Tyranny is only arbitrary coercion carried to its logical consequence.

Using governmental coercion to protect your goods from a thief is proper. Using it to protect a thief in the taking of your goods is improper. It makes no difference whether the thief be a thug or a legally recognized pressure group, using the democratic process.

Given freedom of opportunity, protection from fraud, violence and predation and a dependence for our welfare on our own initiative, we can and will look out for ourselves better than will any other person or any government agency.

[Government’s] failure…was their guarantee to meet “human needs” and their inability to meet the ever-growing demands and impossible responsibilities to which they thus exposed themselves.

The real reasons for most of the…recent distress inhere in the suppressions of liberty, in the sabotaging, wittingly or unwittingly, of the free competitive economy, which alone produces general prosperity. Re-establishing a free economy is the only road to progress…Free enterprise can be re-established only by the repeal of those laws, rules and regulations which impede it. I stand for their destruction.

I am a spokesman for the philosophy of government which is an American heritage… Nowhere else have men so successfully escaped from arbitrary authority…This American philosophy of government is premised on our countrymen being free men. This is what our birth as human beings gives us a right to be; that is what we ought to be; it is the object to which our Constitution commits us—all of us.

I do not desire to reorganize the lives of other people under the pretext of doing them good…It is now time to turn your hopes from this place on the Potomac as a source of livelihood. It is the most unproductive spot in these United States…May your federal government no longer be condemned for what it plunders from some. And may it never have applause because of the loot it bestows on others.

In a day-and–night contrast with our modern political cacophony of promises to violate moral principles and other people’s property on an indescribable scale, Leonard Read recognized that “Nothing is in our nation’s capital except that which is taken from individuals.” His Pattern for Revolt, though written long ago, offers both a bracing reminder of what has been lost and motivation to reclaim it. It merits attention from anyone who, “If given the opportunity…would revolt against all of those political devices and ideas incidental to government in the role of master.”

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University and research fellow with the Independent Institute. His books include Lines of Liberty (2016), Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014), and Apostle of Peace (2013).