Binge Spending: How to trim the tummy of big government

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (12/21/2010)

In 1978, researcher Thomas J. Coates published a cute, three-page case study on a 30-year-old college senior. Now, this is before our time, and perhaps college seniors were older back then, or perhaps this was just one particular guy. I don’t know. But this guy had been overweight, by 15 to 40 percent, for his entire life. Three years prior to Coates’ study, he had started to straighten up. He went from 225 pounds to 145 and was then 10-percent underweight.

At the time of the research, the guy was taking finals and stressing out. (Perhaps he was worried about next year being a 31-year-old college senior.) He would often wake up and drink some water or diet soda from the fridge.

“One night,” the paper ominously observes, “he noticed some pastry in the refrigerator and ate it.”

End Diplomacy: Bargaining with other nations is another messy, unnecessary, power-grabbing habit of the state

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (12/8/2010)

The recent leaking of correspondence between the U.S. Department of State and its missions abroad shows that we seem to treat our diplomats as spies, encouraging them to root around and report the secrets they find. One can imagine other countries do the same or even more; diplomacy and espionage have gone hand-in-hand for centuries.

Henry Kissinger defined diplomacy in many ways but perhaps most usefully as “the art of relating states to each other by agreement rather than by the exercise of force.” Sounds reasonable, right?

Uncle Sam Responds To Warren Buffett

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (11/19/2010)

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett wrote a “thank you” note to “Uncle Sam” in the Nov. 16 issue of The New York Times, sincerely defending the $700 billion “bailout” of the economy passed in September 2008. This is a response.

My dearest nephew Warren,

Thank you for your kind note. I especially appreciate your delivery method. Most people use my postal service to send me mail, but that never works. My employees just throw all that stuff in with the letters to Santa.

I like that you put your letter to me in The New York Times. It is one of my favorites. I am even thinking of nationalizing it if need be. After all, we can’t sully quality journalism with such crass concerns as profit. And who better to maintain standards of truth and accuracy than me?

Death and Taxes: How the Government Will Calculate the Cost of a Human Life

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (11/11/2011)

If you are old and wealthy and want to pass as much on to your kids as you can, you better kick the bucket this year. If you pass away after Dec. 31, the government will seize more than half of your estate as the temporary death tax exemption expires.

This enormous incentive could cause people to die earlier in ways as direct and conscious as a planned suicide or as subtle and subconscious as a skipped medication. How many people? We don’t know. But tax laws are designed to change people’s behaviors and at least some people respond to some incentives some of the time. So, some people will die earlier than they otherwise would, solely because of taxes.

The Privacy Gap: Politicians Do Care About Privacy--Their Own

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (10/14/10)

Imagine a world without any privacy whatsoever. Some military nanotechnology gone wrong releases trillions of tiny particle-sized recorders and rebroadcasters. These little guys are so small they can penetrate walls and clothing and are invisible even up to enormous magnification. And all they do is record a little snippet of all the wavelengths in their immediate vicinity — audio, video, infrared, ultraviolet, etc.— and rebroadcast them. The rebroadcasts get bounced around just like the chunks of data that send email all over the world. There is no way to shut them down or stop them. Perhaps they even spawn new versions of themselves.

Einstein Was Wrong When It Came to Socialism

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (9/30/2010), (10/7/2010)

Albert Einstein was one of the smartest scientists ever. But when it came time for him to convince others of his socialist views, he essentially rejected all of the foundations of science.

Glenn Beck the Socialist

Originally Published In: (9/16/2010)

Glenn Beck is a polarizing person among libertarians. Some laud him for being one of the few voices on television to criticize both Democrats and Republicans as being equally complicit in growing the size of government and pointing out that there is no significant difference between them. Others view him as a phony usurper of the freedom movement.

This raises even more interesting questions than just about Beck himself: what makes a person a phony? At what point can a person with formerly statist views be considered to have had an authentic change of heart?

The funny thing is that those who think he is a true libertarian tend to watch him; those that think he is a fake do not. I was one of those who did not, and it caused a lot of debate with those who did. Why not watch him? He is interesting, he raises good questions, and so on.

The Government Can't "Create" Jobs: Jobs come about as naturally as species do

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (9/16/2010)

President Barack Obama announced this week the largest arms deal in American history, selling $60 billion of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. Apparently a primary consideration in this deal was that an estimated 75,000 jobs would be created.

Job creation seems to be a common goal for both government parties. Politicians seem to all be job creationists. Biological creationists believe a single creator made all the variety of life we see today. Job creationists believe a single entity created all the variety of jobs we see today.

Mission Accomplished Again: Military operations in Iraq still aren’t actually over

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (9/1/2010)

By the time you read this, President Barack Obama will have addressed the nation about Iraq. How will he have phrased the fact that we still have 50,000 troops stationed in a country that has never posed an actual threat to our national sovereignty?

Unfortunately the terms “end of major combat operations” and “mission accomplished” were already taken, back when we first “won” in 2003. It looks like the euphemism du jour will be “the final departure of combat troops.” We’re perilously close to running out of ways to proclaim victory while continuing to fight.

Mosquerade: In the Lower Manhattan Islamic center debate, everyone is pretending to be something they’re not

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (8/19/2010)

When it comes to the mosque to be built near Ground Zero in New York City, everyone is pretending to be something they’re not.

Perhaps for the first time since Grover Cleveland, a Democratic president is championing private property rights, states’ rights and a limited federal government. Barack Obama endorsed the right of Muslims “to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and regulation.”

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