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Team Left vs Team Right

Here’s a quick run down on the two opposing forces in the USA.

Ayn Rand wrote a short nineteen page paper asking: What is the basic issue facing the world today? Rand, in her paper makes the case that, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” Rand defines these two principles as follows:

  • Individualism – Each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.
  • Collectivism – Each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.

Collectivism in SW Florida

Ayn Rand wrote a short nineteen page paper asking: What is the basic issue facing the world today? Rand, in her paper makes the case that, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” Rand defines these two principles as follows:

  • Individualism – Each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.
  • Collectivism – Each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.

The idea of collectivism is alive and well not just in Washington, D.C. but also in SW Florida. Specifically, in the Englewood Water District, which has decided to forsake the individual and vote in favor of the collective. Government at every level has a propensity to expand, and with that expansion it takes power from the poor in the name of the “greater good”.

According to the Englewood Water District website:

A small group of members from the Englewood Chamber of Commerce formed a “water committee” in 1955 to look into the water “situation.” During the next 4 years they had the perseverance, determination, and dedication to make the Englewood Water District a reality. They fought the odds, and the obstacles, because they saw the need to develop a high-quality, clean water system that would provide for the present and future Englewood. As they moved forward in their efforts, they learned the water and sanitary system could be owned and managed by the people of Englewood and not an outside source. They realized not only would residents’ health conditions be jeopardized without a water and sanitary system, but also the Lemon Bay environment. [Emphasis added]

So what is it that this “water committee” is proposing that has residents of the V9C District of Englewood, FL and others so agitated? The Englewood Water District has decided that for the “greater good” a group of citizens living in the V9C District of Englewood who currently use septic tanks must now pay (read imposed tax) to hook up to the city sewer system, whether they want to or not. Data shows there is no threat to the existing water quality or health conditions of those living in Englewood.

The bottom line: The 314 families living in Englewood’s V9C District are being forced to do something that they do not want to do, nor need to do.

Kathy Bolam, member of the Board of the South Venice Civic Association and the Governmental Affairs Committee, at a Sarasota Board of County Commission meeting testified:

Government was formed by the people to protect our rights and defend us from enemies whether foreign or domestic. That’s why we are asking your voice to be added to ours, because Englewood Water District in a bill passed by the Florida legislature in 2004, called their Enabling Act took away all property rights from the people living in the V9C district. The people in this district never were told about this bill, didn’t get the chance to read it or respond. As a result the EWD board of Supervisors feel empowered to expand their sewer program whether there is a public health or environmental need and whether the people want it or can afford it.

The results of their program will result in several families losing their homes. The area is mostly made up of retirees on fixed incomes and working single mothers, and small families. Those who cannot make the full payment when invoiced of $8,666.94 will then have $834.99 added to their property tax bill for 15 years. If they do not pay those taxes, the tax lien will be sold, and they will lose their home. One lady’s current tax bill is less than $500.00 and she stated that after paying her mortgage, etc. she has barely enough money to eat. Instead of decreasing the amount of homeless people, this action by EWD will increase it. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a speech on Jan 7, 2015 quote “Since 1980, guess how much of the growth in income the 90% got? Nothing. None. Zero. In fact, it’s worse than that. The average family not in the top 10% makes less money than a generation ago.” Close quote. People just cannot afford to pay for something, they don’t need and don’t want just because a government body assumes they have the authority and power.

According to the Florida Constitution at Article 1 Section 1, it states that “All political power is inherent in the people.” Therefore, the voice of the people supercedes the goals of the EWD Board of Supervisors. Therefore, we ask you to send a fax, e-mail to that Board requesting that they be true to their Oath of the U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution and not violate the “voice of the people.”

According to Bolam, “Jerry Paul who was the local state representative for this area will be at the meeting talking about funding. He was the state representative in 2004 and was responsible for the Enabling Act.  He currently is a lobbyist (Capitol Energy Florida) for EWD and for Key Agency (EWD co-chair Mr. Fogo is financially connected to Key Agency). EWD renewed their insurance coverage with Key Agency.”

The Englewood Water District is moving forward and a final vote on taking the property of these families will occur on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. Citizens may call the Englewood Water District at 941-474-3217 to voice their opinions on this issue or attend the meeting at 201 Selma Ave, Englewood, FL.

Health Insurance Is Illegal by Warren C. Gibson

Health insurance is a crime. No, I’m not using a metaphor. I’m not saying it’s a mess, though it certainly is that. I’m saying it’s illegal to offer real health insurance in America. To see why, we need to understand what real insurance is and differentiate that from what we currently have.

Real insurance

Life is risky. When we pool our risks with others through insurance policies, we reduce the financial impact of unforeseen accidents or illness or premature death in return for a premium we willingly pay. I don’t regret the money I’ve spent on auto insurance during my first 55 years of driving, even though I’ve yet to file a claim.

Insurance originated among affinity groups such as churches or labor unions, but now most insurance is provided by large firms with economies of scale, some organized for profit and some not. Through trial and error, these companies have learned to reduce the problems of adverse selection and moral hazard to manageable levels.

A key word above is unforeseen.

If some circumstance is known, it’s not a risk and therefore cannot be the subject of genuine risk-pooling insurance. That’s why, prior to Obamacare, some insurance companies insisted that applicants share information about their physical condition. Those with preexisting conditions were turned down, invited to high-risk pools, or offered policies with higher premiums and higher deductibles.

Insurers are now forbidden to reject applicants due to preexisting conditions or to charge them higher rates.

They are also forbidden from charging different rates due to different health conditions — and from offering plans that exclude certain coverage items, many of which are not “unforeseen.”

In other words, it’s illegal to offer real health insurance.

Word games

Is all this just semantics? Not at all. What currently passes for health insurance in America is really just prepaid health care — on a kind of all-you-can-consume buffet card. The system is a series of cost-shifting schemes stitched together by various special interests. There is no price transparency. The resulting overconsumption makes premiums skyrocket, and health resources get misallocated relative to genuine wants and needs.

Lessons

Some lessons here are that genuine health insurance would offer enormous cost savings to ordinary people — and genuine benefits to policyholders. These plans would encourage thrift and consumer wisdom in health care planning,  while discouraging the overconsumption that makes prepaid health care unaffordable.

At this point, critics will object that private health insurance is a market failure because the refusal of unregulated private companies to insure preexisting conditions is a serious problem that can only be remedied by government coercion. The trouble with such claims is that no one knows what a real health insurance market would generate, particularly as the pre-Obamacare regime wasn’t anything close to being free.

What might a real, free-market health plan look like?

  • People would be able to buy less expensive plans from anywhere, particularly across state lines.
  • People would be able to buy catastrophic plans (real insurance) and set aside much more in tax-deferred medical savings accounts to use on out-of-pocket care.
  • People would very likely be able to buy noncancelable, portable policies to cover all unforeseen illnesses over the policyholder’s lifetime.
  • People would be able to leave costly coverage items off their policies — such as chiropractic or mental health — so that they could enjoy more affordable premiums.
  • People would not be encouraged by the tax code to get insurance through their employer.

What about babies born with serious conditions? Parents could buy policies to cover such problems prior to conception. What about parents whose genes predispose them to produce disabled offspring? They might have to pay more.

Of course, there will always be those who cannot or do not, for one reason or another, take such precautions. There is still a huge reservoir of charitable impulses and institutions in this country that could offer assistance. And these civil society organizations would be far more robust in a freer health care market.

The enemy of the good

Are these perfect solutions? By no means. Perfection is not possible, but market solutions compare very favorably to government solutions, especially over longer periods. Obamacare will continue to bring us unaccountable bureaucracies, shortages, rationing, discouraged doctors, and more.

Some imagine that prior to Obamacare, we had a free-market health insurance system, but the system was already severely hobbled by restrictions.

To name a few:

  • It was illegal to offer policies across state lines, which suppressed choices and increased prices, essentially cartelizing health insurance by state.
  • Employers were (and still are) given a tax break for providing health insurance (but not auto insurance) to their employees, reducing the incentive for covered employees to economize on health care while driving up prices for individual buyers. People stayed locked in jobs out of fear of losing health policies.
  • State regulators forbade policies that excluded certain coverage items, even if policyholders were amenable to such plans.
  • Many states made it illegal to price discriminate based on health status.
  • The law forbade associated health plans, which would allow organizations like churches or civic groups to pool risk and offer alternatives.
  • Medicaid and Medicare made up half of the health care system.

Of course, Obamacare fixed none of these problems.

Many voices are calling for the repeal of Obamacare, but few of those voices are offering the only solution that will work in the long term: complete separation of state and health care. That means no insurance regulation, no medical licensing, and ultimately, the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid, which threaten to wash future federal budgets in a sea of red ink.

Meanwhile, anything resembling real health insurance is illegal. And if you tried to offer it, they might throw you in jail.

Warren C. Gibson

Warren Gibson teaches engineering at Santa Clara University and economics at San Jose State University.

The American Creed

Ayn Rand wrote a short nineteen page paper asking: What is the basic issue facing the world today?

Rand, in her paper makes the case that, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” Rand defines these two principles as follows:

  • Individualism – Each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.
  • Collectivism – Each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.
dean alfange

Dean Alfange

I recently came across a credo written by Dean Alfange on entrepreneurship. The creed originally appeared in This Week Magazine, and a condensed version appeared in Reader’s Digest in both the October 1952 and January 1954 issues. The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge gave Alfange an award for the composition in 1952. Here is what Alfange wrote:

“I do not choose to be a common man,
It is my right to be uncommon … if I can,
I seek opportunity … not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen.
Humbled and dulled by having the
State look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk;
To dream and to build.
To fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;
I prefer the challenges of life
To the guaranteed existence;
The thrill of fulfillment
To the stale calm of Utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence
Nor my dignity for a handout
I will never cower before any master
Nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect.
Proud and unafraid;
To think and act for myself,
To enjoy the benefit of my creations
And to face the world boldly and say:
This, with God’s help, I have done
All this is what it means
To be an Entrepreneur.”

Many are concerned that America has become anything but entrepreneurial and that government has grown to such a point as to make America anything but exceptional. There are growing concerns that individualism is losing ground to collectivism. That the American dream is being lost one government program at a time.

May I say that the naysayers are wrong. America will remain preeminent so long as it is guided by principled men and women who have character.

In her paper Rand wrote:

A great many people today hold the childish notion that society can do anything it pleases; that principles are unnecessary, rights are only an illusion and expediency is the practical guide to action.

It is true that society can abandon moral principles and turn itself into a herd running amuck to destruction. Just as it is true that a man can cut his own throat any time he chooses. But a man cannot do this if he wishes to survive. And society cannot abandon moral principles if it expects to exist.

While we are witnessing herds in places like Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland, the greater part of America is peaceful and not cutting their own throats.  America will survive despite the efforts of those who wish to commit social suicide.

Buffaloed by Obamacare’s Hidden Taxes

Obamacare’s costs are starting to show by D.W. MACKENZIE:

Someone at Buffalo Wild Wings decided to make the costs of the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) explicit in the restaurant’s register receipts. An estimated ACA cost of 2 percent was charged to each paying customer.

BW3’s customers complained. Apparently, they’d rather keep these costs hidden. But hiding costs won’t make Obamacare’s higher prices go away.

Adding the cost of a specific government program to a receipt is unusual. Normally, the only tax itemized on register tapes is sales tax — but these are a fraction of the true costs of governmental activity. There are, in fact, too many different government programs to list on each register receipt. Because the price of regulation is usually built into the prices of goods and services, we tend to pay for regulatory costs unwittingly.

Obama’s “Affordable” Care Act imposes regulations, taxes, and subsidies as a means of income redistribution. As usual, the goal is to tax and regulate higher-income people to subsidize those with lower incomes — but that’s never the way things work out.

Real people do not simply pay taxes and regulatory costs as required by written laws. Everyone tries to avoid taxes by whatever means are available. Tax avoidance usually stems from bargaining over prices in markets. Sellers push for higher prices, and buyers push for lower prices.

Sellers have costs to cover: labor, capital, and taxes. It is a simple fact of economics that when an entrepreneur’s taxes rise, he or she will pass part of that additional cost on to customers.

Regulations are de-facto taxes. There is no economic difference between taxing money from someone to fund some activity and a regulatory requirement to achieve the same goal. The ACA is a complex set of taxes.

How do entrepreneurs respond to ACA taxes? The same way they respond to all taxes, explicit or regulatory: by raising the price of whatever they sell.

There is an inescapable fact of taxation: tax burdens are always shared. Taxes charged to upper-income earners for redistribution are in some measure always redistributed to those with lower incomes through price increases.

While ACA benefits have been touted as “free” to lower-income recipients, this proposition is false — and impossible. Somebody always pays for insurance, or any other good. Goods that seem to be paid for by government only appear to be free because their costs are hidden or obscured. Costs of government programs, like the ACA, are just added into the total costs of taxation, and the costs of taxation are partly factored into the prices of all goods.

Taxpayers cannot buy the same amount of goods when final tax-adjusted prices go up. Economists call the effect of taxes on consumer purchases the tax wedge, because taxes drive a wedge between what consumers pay and what entrepreneurs receive. Taxes make goods more expensive for consumers and less profitable for entrepreneurs.

The explicit 2 percent ACA surcharge at Buffalo Wild Wings may or may not have been intended as permanent. The restaurant chain’s executives have already cancelled the policy after customers reacted negatively. But there is a lesson to be learned from the surcharge. Government programs have the superficial appearance of being free, but they never are.

Government’s lack of financial transparency often leads to an ironic outcome: things that appear to be government gifts end up costing more. Why? Because the public sector’s hidden costs mean less cost control in the public sector.

Private enterprises make costs clear with prices. Prices don’t itemize each cost, but because costs are more easily perceived in the private sector, people make greater efforts to control costs. Some find the explicit nature of costs in the private sector unpleasant. Conversely, the fantasy of a free lunch from the state does have a certain emotional appeal. But the inability of most people to perceive the costs of government makes it almost certain that these costs will be higher, compared to the efficiency the private sector can achieve.

As Buffalo Wild Wings made clear, the ACA is just another example of a government program that makes a false promise of free benefits. Rational economic analysis tells us that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, yet politicians continue to use that fantasy for political gain.

Let’s abandon the myth of gifts from government. Every action has an economic cost, public or private.

ABOUT D.W. MACKENZIE

D. W. MacKenzie is an assistant professor of economics at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

8 Goofs in Jonathan Gruber’s Health Care Reform Book

This Obamacare architect’s propaganda piece is a comic of errors by MATT PALUMBO:

In one of life’s bitter ironies, I recently found a book by Jonathan Gruber in the bin of a bookstore’s going-out-of-business sale. It’s called Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works. Interestingly, the book is a comic, which made it a quick read. It’s just the sort of thing that omniscient academics write to persuade ordinary people that their big plans are worth pursuing.

Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works

In case you’ve forgotten — and to compound the irony — Gruber is the Obamacare architect who received negative media attention recently for some controversial comments about the stupidity of the average American voter. In Health Care Reform, Gruber focuses mainly on two topics: an attempted diagnosis of the American health care system, and how the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, or Obamacare) will solve them. I could write a PhD thesis on the myriad fallacies, half-truths, and myths propounded throughout the book. But instead, let’s explore eight of Gruber’s major errors.

Error 1: The mandate forcing individuals to buy health insurance is just like forcing people to buy car insurance, which nobody questions.

This is a disanalogy — and an important one. A person has to purchase car insurance only if he or she gets a car. The individual health insurance mandate forces one to purchase health insurance no matter what. Moreover, what all states but three require for cars is liability insurance, which covers accidents that cause property damage and/or bodily injury. Technically speaking, you’re only required to have insurance to cover damages you might impose on others. If an accident is my fault, liability insurance covers the other individual’s expenses, not my own, and vice versa.

By contrast, if the other driver and I each had collision insurance, we would both be covered for vehicle damage regardless of who was at fault. If collision insurance were mandated, the comparison to health insurance might be apt, because, as with health insurance, collision covers damage to oneself. But no states require collision insurance.

Gruber wants to compare health insurance to car insurance primarily because (1) he wants you to find the mandate unobjectionable, and (2) he wants you to think of the young uninsured (those out of the risk pool) as being sort of like uninsured drivers — people who impose costs on others due to accidents.

But not only is the comparison inapt, Gruber’s real goal is to transfer resources from those least likely to need care (younger, poorer people) to those most likely to need care (older, richer people). The only way mandating health insurance could be like mandating liability car insurance is in preventing the uninsured from shifting the costs of emergent care thanks to federal law. We’ll discuss that as a separate error, next.

Error 2: The emergency room loophole is responsible for increases in health insurance premiums.

In 1986, Reagan passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, one provision of which was that hospitals couldn’t reject emergency care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay. This act created the “emergency room loophole,” which allows many uninsured individuals to receive care without paying.

The emergency room loophole does, indeed, increase premiums. There is no free lunch. The uninsured who use emergency rooms can’t pay the bills, and the costs are thus passed on to the insured. So why do I consider this point an error? Because Gruber overstates its role in increasing premiums. “Ever wonder why your insurance premiums keep going up?” he asks rhetorically, as if this loophole is among the primary reasons for premium inflation.

The reality is, spending on emergency rooms (for both the uninsured and the insured) only accounts forroughly 2 percent of all health care spending. Claiming that health insurance premiums keep rising due to something that accounts for 2 percent of health care expenses is like attributing the high price of Starbucks drinks to the cost of their paper cups.

Error 3: Medical bills are the No.1 cause of individual bankruptcies.

Gruber doesn’t include a single reference in the book, so it’s hard to know where he’s getting his information. Those lamenting the problem of medical bankruptcy almost always rely on a 2007 studyconducted by David Himmelstein, Elizabeth Warren, and two other researchers. The authors offered the shocking conclusion that 62 percent of all bankruptcies are due to medical costs.

But in the same study, the authors also claimed that 78 percent of those who went bankrupt actually had insurance, so it would be strange for Gruber to claim the ACA would solve this problem. While it would be unfair to conclude definitively that Gruber relied on this study for his uncited claims, it is one of the only studies I am aware of that could support his claim.

More troublingly, perhaps, a bankruptcy study by the Department of Justice — which had a sample size five times larger than Himmelstein and Warren’s study — found that 54 percent of bankruptcies have no medical debt, and 90 percent have debt under $5,000. A handful of studies that contradict Himmelstein and Warren’s findings include studies by Aparna Mathur at the American Enterprise Institute; David Dranove and Michael Millenson of Northwestern University; Scott Fay, Erik Hurst, and Michelle White (at the universities of Florida, Chicago, and San Diego, respectively); and David Gross of Compass Lexecon and Nicholas Souleles of the University of Pennsylvania.

Why are Himmelstein and Warren’s findings so radically different? Aside from the fact that their study was funded by an organization called Physicians for a National Health Program, the study was incredibly liberal about what it defined as a medical bankruptcy. The study considered any bankruptcy with any amount of medical debt as a medical bankruptcy. Declare bankruptcy with $100,000 in credit card debt and $5 in medical debt? That’s a medical bankruptcy, of course. In fact, only 27 percent of those surveyed in the study had unreimbursed medical debt exceeding $1,000 in the two years prior to declaring bankruptcy.

David Dranove and Michael L. Millenson at the Kellogg School of Management reexamined the Himmelstein and Warren study and could only find a causal relationship between medical bills and bankruptcy in 17 percent of the cases surveyed. By contrast, in Canada’s socialized medical system, the percentage of bankruptcies due to medical expenses is estimated at between 7.1 percent and 14.3 percent. One wonders if the Himmelstein and Warren study was designed to generate a narrative that self-insurance (going uninsured) causes widespread bankruptcy.

Error 4: 20,000 people die each year because they don’t have the insurance to pay for treatment.

If the study this estimate was based on were a person, it could legally buy a beer at a bar. Twenty-one years ago, the American Medical Association released a study estimating the mortality rate of the uninsured to be 25 percent higher than that of the insured. Thus, calculating how many die each year due to a lack of insurance is determined by the number of insured and extrapolating from there how many would die in a given year with the knowledge that they’re 25 percent more likely to die than an insured person.

Even assuming that the 25 percent statistic holds true today, not all insurance is equal. As Gruber notes on page 74 of his book, the ACA is the biggest expansion of public insurance since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, as 11 million Americans will be added to Medicaid because of the ACA. So how does the health of the uninsured compare with those on Medicaid? Quite similarly. As indicated by the results from a two-year study in Oregon that looked at the health outcomes of previously uninsured individuals who gained access to Medicaid, Medicaid “generated no significant improvement in measured physical health outcomes.” Medicaid is more of a financial cushion than anything else.

So with our faith in the AMA study intact, all that would happen is a shift in deaths from the “uninsured” to the “publicly insured.” But the figure is still dubious at best. Those who are uninsured could also suffer from various mortality-increasing traits that the insured lack. As Megan McArdle elaborates on these lurking third variables,

Some of the differences we know about: the uninsured are poorer, more likely to be unemployed or marginally employed, and to be single, and to be immigrants, and so forth. And being poor, and unemployed, and from another country, are all themselves correlated with dying sooner.

Error 5: The largest uninsured group is the working poor.

Before Obamacare, had you ever heard that there are 45 million uninsured Americans? It’s baloney. In 2006, 17 million of the uninsured had incomes above $50,000 a year, and eight million of those earned more than $75,000 a year. According to one estimate from 2009, between 12 million and 14 million were eligible for government assistance but simply hadn’t signed up. Another estimate from the same source notes that between 9 million and 10 million of the uninsured are not American citizens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slightly fewer than 8 million of the uninsured are aged 18–24, the group that requires the least amount of medical care and has an average annual income of slightly more than $30,000.

Thus, the largest group of uninsured is not the working poor. It’s the middle class, upper middle class, illegal immigrants, and the young. The working poor who are uninsured are often eligible for assistance but don’t take advantage of it. I recognize that some of these numbers may seem somewhat outdated (the sources for all of them can be found here), but remember: we’re taking account of the erroneous ways Gruber and Obamacare advocates sold the ACA to “stupid” Americans.

Error 6: The ACA will have no impact on premiums in the short term, according to the CBO.

Interesting that there’s no mention of what will happen in the long run. Regardless, not only have there already been premium increases, one widely reported consequence of the ACA has been increases in deductibles. If I told you that I could offer you an insurance plan for a dollar a year, it would seem like a great deal. If I offered you a plan for a dollar a year with a $1 million deductible, you might not think it’s such a great deal.

A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute found that the average cost of a plan sold on the ACA’s exchanges was 4 percent less than the average for an employer-provided plan with similar benefits ($5,844 vs. $6,119), but the deductibles for the ACA plans were 42 percent higher ($5,081 vs. $3,589). The ACA is thus able to swap one form of sticker shock (high premiums) for another (high deductibles). Let us not forget that the ACA exchanges receive federal subsidies. Someone has to pay for those, too.

Error 7: A pay-for-performance model in health care would increase quality and reduce costs.

This proposal seems like common sense in theory, but it’s questionable in reality. Many conservatives and libertarians want a similar model for education, so some might be sympathetic to this aspect of Gruber’s proposal. But there is enormous difficulty in determining how we are to rank doctors.

People respond to incentives, but sometimes these incentives are perverse. Take the example of New York, which introduced a system of “scorecards” to rank cardiologists by the mortality rates of their patients who received coronary angioplasty, a procedure to treat heart disease. Doctors paid attention to their scorecards, and they obviously could increase their ratings by performing more effective surgeries. But as Charles Wheelan noted in his book Naked Statistics, there was another way to improve your scorecard: refuse surgeries on the sickest patients, or in other words, those most likely to die even with care. Wheelan cites a survey of cardiologists regarding the scorecards, where 83 percent stated that due to public mortality statistics, “some patients who might benefit from angioplasty might not receive the procedure.”

Error 8: The ACA “allows you to keep your current policy if you like it… even if it doesn’t meet minimum standards.”

What, does this guy think we’re stupid or something?

There’s NO PLACE like UTOPIA! – The Movie

President Obama, in Wizard of Oz fashion, is a progressive fraud hiding behind a wrinkled curtain spinning dials and fooling people with his destructive socialist policies! This is a key point of Producer / Director Joel Gilbert in his brilliant new documentary, “There’s NO PLACE like UTOPIA.” We discuss with Joel the key points of this humorous, yet serious analysis of Progressive politics.

In particular, Joel will answer the question: Why did Dorothy follow the yellow brick road?

Listen and watch Joel as he journeys across America to find out what’s at the end of the Progressive rainbow – Utopia or something far worse? From the ruins of Detroit to the slums of Chicago’s South Side, and from Denver’s illegal immigration invasion to Newark’s urban removal project, Gilbert pulls back the curtain. He confronts Progressives on his quest, and takes us deep into their political fantasy of paradise on earth.

There’s No Place Like Utopia is a humorous and horrifying exploration of Progressivism, amnesty for illegals, race relations, Islam in America, political correctness, and Barack Obama himself, who promises to “remake the world as it should be.” But is Utopia a real destination for America? Or, does the true path to happiness still remain faith, family, and hard work – back home in Kansas?

What is ‘the Basic Issue’ facing the World today?

If you believe the basic issue facing the world today is the Ebola pandemic, the Islamic State, an eminent financial collapse, famine, poverty, government corruption, climate change or war you would be wrong. Some times people can’t see the forest for the trees. If you can’t see the forest for the trees, then you can’t see the whole situation clearly because you’re looking too closely at small details, or because you’re too closely involved.

Ayn Rand wrote a short nineteen page paper asking: What is the basic issue facing the world today?

Rand, in her paper makes the case that, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” Rand defines these two principles as follows:

  • Individualism – Each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.
  • Collectivism – Each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.

The Giver CoverI had read Ayn Rand’s paper and recently went to the movie theater to see “The Giver“, a film based on a 1993 young adult novel by Lois Lowry. The Giver is set in a society which is at first presented as a Utopian [Collectivist] society and gradually appears more and more dystopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth and thirteenth years of his life. The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to “Sameness,” a plan that has also eradicated emotional depth from their lives.

One of the key quotes from The Giver is: We really have to protect people from wrong choices.

For Collectivists this is the key concept for their social system. Rand defines a social system as “a code of laws which men observe in order to live together.” For an individualist the power of society is “limited by the unalienable, individual rights of man.” For the Collectivist “the power of society is unlimited.”

There are several points in the film where the life of a new born child is taken, by lethal injection, because of a perceived defect that may negatively impact the collective. Ayn Rand wrote:

“Under individualism, it is illegal to kill the man and it is legal for him to protect himself. The law is on the side of the right.

Under collectivism, it is legal for the majority to kill a man and it is illegal for him to defend himself.

The law is on the side of a number.

In the first case, the law represents a moral principle.

In the second case, the law represents the idea that there are no moral principles, and men can do anything they please, provided there’s enough of them.

Rand gives examples of each principle. Individualism is embodied in the United States of America by the Declaration of Independence. The examples of Collectivism are the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

Many are concerned that the United States is becoming a Collectivist society. Rand wrote, “When [Collectivism is] applied in practice, a principle which recognizes no morality and no individual rights, can result in nothing except brutality.” Rand notes:

Either the power of society is limited, or it is not. It can’t be both.

Rand and a growing number of Americans understand that the Constitution “is not a document that limits the rights of man – but a document that limits the power of society over man.” Rand defines a right as “that which can be exercised without anyone’s permission.” Inalienable rights means that, “Man cannot be forced to devote his life to the happiness of another man nor of any number of other men. It means that the collective cannot decide what is to be the purpose of man’s existence nor prescribe his choice of happiness.”

What is the shield that protects man’s inalienable rights? Moral Principles.

Rand wrote, “It is true that society can abandon moral principles and turn itself into a herd running amuck to destruction. Just as it is true that a man can cut his own throat any time he chooses. But a man cannot do this if wishes to survive. And society cannot abandon moral principles if it expects to exist… Without a moral code no proper human society is possible. Without the recognition of individual rights no moral code is possible.”

Rand concludes “there can be no social system which is a mixture of Individualism and Collectivism.”

You see the Ebola pandemic, the Islamic State, a financial collapse, famine, poverty, government corruption, climate change and war are all symptoms of Collectivism. The cure for each is Individualism.

RELATED VIDEO: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. perhaps expressed the ideal of individualism best in a three minute sermon titled “The Street Sweeper”. Many believe this was his greatest sermon.

EDITORS NOTE: To download a printable copy of Any Rand’s paper What is the Basic Issue in the World Today, click here. If you are looking for a holiday gift to give yourself, your children, grandchildren or a family member or friend may we suggest giving either the novel The Giver or a DVD of the film or both.