How much does it take to privatize the Post Office?

First this from USA Today:

“The post office was $1.9 billion in the red for the second quarter of the fiscal year and continues to face the possibility of running out of money before year’s end.
The agency cited the recession and movement of mail to electronic communications in announcing the loss on Wednesday.

Postal rates go up on Monday, but the increase — to 44 cents for first-class mail — is unlikely to cover the entire shortfall.

The second quarter loss brings the total loss for the fiscal year — which began Oct. 1 — to $2.3 billion.”

2.3 billion dollars in the red for the post office, are you serious? When is the government going to privatize the post office? As a matter of fact, when is the government going to privatize anything? How much in the red does a program have to go in? Not to mention that most things are electronic now. Do we even need mail? Well if we privatize we would figure it out fast. Especially now that yesterday they raised the price of stamps. This makes even less business sense. They pushed the forever stamps making most people think that the price wasn’t going to be raised. Instead, they might catch a few extra bucks from those last minute letter carriers. As Jimmy Fallon said “email me if you guys can come up with a better way to send communications.”

Mail carriers have just become glorified trash carriers. They transport junk from one place to another. Everytime I go to the mailbox I automatically include the trashcan in my walk. In their defense, they have tried to prevent their downfall though not like normal businesses. Instead they lobbied for a monopoly on fax machines and a tax on emails.


Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 12:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TSA’s invasion of Privacy: Body Scanners

This from Slate Magazine:

“When we first checked in on them two years ago, the scanners, which see through clothing, were being deployed at a single airport. A few months later, they were upgraded to millimeter-wave technology, which delivered similar images with even less radiation—”10,000 times less than a cell phone transmission,” according to the Transportation Security Administration. At the time, TSA assured us that the scanners would be used only as a “voluntary alternative” to “a more invasive physical pat-down during secondary screening.” Only a few passengers, the ones selected for extra scrutiny, would face the scanners. The rest of us could walk through the metal detectors and board our planes.

Surprise! Two months ago, TSA revised its position. It began testing millimeter-wave scans “in the place of the walk-through metal detector at six airports.” At these airports, everyone—not just people selected for secondary screening—would face the see-through machines. Anyone who objected would “undergo metal detector screening and a pat-down.” You might even get the “enhanced pat-down,” which includes “sensitive areas of the body that are often used by professional testers and terrorists,” such as “the breast and groin areas of females and the groin area of males.” Show us your body, or we’ll feel you up.”

When you see this story you are going to hear claims for safety and that if you had nothing to hide then you wouldn’t mind. This argument is flawed because you could say the same thing about Hitler’s secret police randomly searching homes.

The simple fact is that George W. Bush created a government monopoly on security at airports. If the free market had its way you would have an efficient amount of security. It is in the airlines best interest to protect their planes. One misstep puts them into bankruptcy all over again. Some may say why chance it? But do you really think a government run bureaucracy could do this better than private businesses? If TSA screws up they will get more funding. If a private version screws up they go out of business and a more efficient company will take its place.

We think security is an important policy. If that is true then why do we let the most inefficient thing in the world run it?

The rest is here and look below the fold for some images of what the scan looks like…



California T.V. Nazis are they in violation of the Constitution?

This from

“The California Energy Commission is proceeding with a proposal this summer to ban the sale of TV sets that do not meet new efficiency standards when they are turned on and displaying a picture — a measure of power consumption that is not currently regulated at all.

But the market and technological advances may already be advancing this goal, as large-screen plasma sets fall out of favor and LCDs become more energy efficient.

The CEC proposal is set up as a two-tiered system. The first enforces efficiency standards beginning in 2011 and would save 3,831 gigawatt hours (and bring down overall TV energy consumption by 33%) by placing a cap on the active mode power usage (in watts) of individual TVs. Current standards in California only regulate TVs in standby mode, at a cap of 3.0 watts.”

First, this state has their own car standards, then their own food standards and now they will be banning televisions. It is true that these T.V.’s use more energy than others but the idea is that people pay their bills on how much they use. If the market is not interfered by the government and as long as the people are not stealing the energy then it should be fine. Instead, it is being used as a tool to regulate anything and everything.

The second, yet still important point is the question; doesn’t this violate the Constitution under the interstate commerce laws. I support federalism and allow states to adopt their own rules but if you imagine that in California the “green T.V. company” had a factory and in say Nevada it was the non-green T.V. This would mean that the prices of “green T.V.’s would go up because of a less competitive market.

The rest is here.


Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 1:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Privatize the Postal Service!

This from USA Today:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — Postmaster General John Potter said Wednesday the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service will run out of money this year without help from Congress.

The only lingering question, Potter told a House subcommittee, is which bills will get paid and which will not. He did say ensuring the payment of workers’ salaries comes first. But Potter also said other bills may have to wait.

Potter’s appearance came as the agency, which has lived on a reputation of serving through wind, rain and all sorts of obstacles, seeks permission to reduce mail delivery to five days a week. It also wants to change the way retiree health benefits are amassed to save money.”

It goes on to say that USPS was $2.8 billion dollars in debt. This goes to show that a government bureaucracy cannot even run a law given monopoly in their favor. Congress should act now and privatize the postal service. FedEx and UPS do a much better job of delivering packages but they are only allowed to do that. It is illegal for them to even think about delivering a standard sized envelope, what we know of as “first class mail”.

Nannystate fact of the day: At one point the postal service was trying to get a monopoly on fax machines and a tax on emails. They do not take technological innovation very well.

The rest is here.


Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm  Comments (3)  
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The ABCs of Virginia Alcohol Law

This video of the day comes from Bureaucrash:


Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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America’s Traffic = USSR’s Bread Lines

I have written about this before, but the fact that you can get on almost any road and not have to pay a cent means that the road is socialized. This is related to how people want to treat health care or how they distributed bread in the Soviet Union. The whole idea is that the government absorbs and distributes. Over at The Infrastructurist they discuss this very point:

“There’s a huge free lunch of additional carrying capacity in our road system that could be used if we managed demand slightly better. Currently, we ration traffic capacity the same way the old Soviet Union rationed bread–by having everyone wait in line. It’s a wasteful way to allocate bread, and it’s a wasteful way to allocate scarce road space at rush hour. Pricing the roads to reduce peak volumes even slightly–by encouraging those with flexible schedules to take the trip at some other time, go by another mode, or forego the trip altogether–makes the system work better for everyone else and actually increases its capacity.

The technology for implementing road pricing is already in hand and has been implemented around the country through “fast pass” electronic tolling. Large scale demonstrations of road pricing have had a significant effect on congestion in London and Stockholm.”

Of course, over here we should support a completely private system. There is no reason why this could not be done privately. In many places, like L.A., there are private roads. The reason why people do not see these roads in many other places is because it is very hard for a private company to compete with a public project. The consumer is paying for both the public road and the private fees to use the road. If the system was completely private, people would have more disposable income to spend on these roads. Not to mention, that there would be varying price systems. This is a very good article. The private roads are broken and we need to come up with a solution.

The rest is here.


Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Something to look forward in our journey towards Socialism

From Reuters:

“A Berlin cashier who was sacked from a supermarket after 31 years of service because her employer accused her of stealing 1.30 euros ($1.65) has become a flash point of a debate about unchecked capitalism in Germany.

Leaders of Germany’s major political parties criticized the supermarket’s decision to fire Barbara Emme, especially because the 50-year-old who has become a German cause celebre denies the charges that she kept bottle deposit receipts worth 1.30 euros.

Wolfgang Thierse, vice president of parliament and member of the Social Democrats, on Thursday called a court decision on Tuesday that upheld the cashier’s sacking “barbaric” and warned cases like this “destroy people’s confidence in democracy.”

Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union, said the case raised questions about capitalism, which has come under attack in Germany in the wake of the global financial crisis.

“I don’t understand how a cashier can be fired because of 1.30 euros while managers who lose billions of euros can keep their jobs,” Seehofer told a rally in Bavaria on Wednesday.”

This is the socialist nanny-state at it’s best. First, we have people getting upset about someone getting fired. Like it is any of their business. Second, the cashier got fired for stealing but that person is being defended because the managers of corporations are losing money. We are not saying it is social justice to steal from your employer. If America continues the policy of bailing people out and believing that it is your right to a house, car, job, healthcare, retirement insurance etc. this is where we will end up.


Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 8:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Superbowl, Meet the TSA…

So, as if we couldn’t get enough government intervention in our life, we are now going to have airport security looking for suspicious behavior at the Superbowl. This is ridiculous and is the beginning of a police state. It should be up to the stadiums to hire security and it is unclear if the TSA actually does a good job. This is somewhat reminiscent because this is the first thing former President Bush nationalized. Here is the story from USA Today:

“For the first time Sunday, federal behavior-detection officers will team with local police to use a controversial technique on people heading to a major event, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says. The officers usually work in airports.


Behavior observation is used daily by 2,600 specially trained TSA officers at more than 160 airports. Officers look for obvious signs of nervousness or other behavioral flags, such as sweating, avoiding eye contact or talking evasively.”

Do you know what those symptoms sound like? They sound like the kind of things people do when they have to go into a lot of security.


Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The New Marxist Movement: Zeitgeist Movement

When Karl Marx was writing his works and others took his work and came up with their designs for Socialism and Communism, it caught onto the masses. There is a new movement called Zeitgeist that is related to the Venus Project that seems to be getting more and more popular in online circles. When you read the ‘about’ information, you do not get a good feeling on what this organization is all about. They claim that there is a problem with the current situation and at one point claim it is Capitalism’s fault. They believe that they can rebuild society with technology and make humanity more efficient. Now this is where they draw you in and make you believe that you can agree with them, but the devil is in the details.

If you then move to “the Venus Project” you begin watching a video of a utopian space age. It shows the perfect cities with the perfect buildings, with the perfect everything else. Of course, they claim it’s not utopian. The designs of the cities is not my problem. The problem is if it wanted to be done privately then that is fine, but I can assure you they are far beyond that. They believe that there needs to be one world government. Now when you get to the F.A.Q. it begins to show its true colors.

For example:

“Social problems result from scarcity. When a few nations control most of the world’s resources, there are going to be international disputes no matter how many laws or treaties are signed. If we wish to end war, crime, hunger, poverty, territorial disputes, and nationalism, we must work toward a future in which all resources are accepted as the common heritage of all people.”

It is utopian to believe that you can get rid of scarcity. This is a nice way of saying that communal ownership is better that private ownership. Let’s look at the definition of Communism: “a political theory favoring collectivism in a classless society.” Sounds like them to me. (They do also talk about a classless society.

Another example:

“Simply stated, a resource-based economy focuses on resources rather than money, and provides an equitable distribution thereof in a humane and efficient manner. It is a system in which goods and services are available without the use of money, credit, barter, debt, or servitude.”

This is Socialism and Communism at its best. Instead of people producing and exchanging, everything is distributed. They either believe in only one of the two things. Either they believe that robots can do all the work and they can live off of it or Communism. This is where everyone works and then all the production goes into one big pot and then is equally given out. Not to mention that as Hayek put it money is in fact one of the great inventions of freedom. The poor man has more good he can acquire with money. That if there was an abolishment of money and rewards, and favors were the currency, then power would be concentrated with those with that position.

Then you know it is good when in the FAQ’s a question is “How is this different from Communism?”

Here they say the difference is that machine production will eliminate labor and that Communism didn’t do this. They also argue that Communism used police. And here comes my favor line of theirs:

“The Venus Project’s aim is to surpass the need for the use of money. Police, prisons and the military would no longer be necessary when goods, services, healthcare, and education are available to all people.”

Instead of politicians there will be computerized stuff telling people what to do. This somewhat sounds like the matrix. And here is the kicker:

“Communism has no blueprint or methodology to carry out their ideals and along with capitalism, fascism, and socialism, will ultimately go down in history as failed social experiments.”

Are you kidding me? Okay one last thing. They ask,  “is there a need for government?” Here is the answer:

“As to the need for government, only during the transition from a monetary based society to a cybernated high-technological resource based economy of common heritage would it be necessary to utilize the services of systems analysts, engineers, computer programmers, etc. They will not dictate the policies or have any more advantage than other people. Their job will be to carry out the restoration of the environment to near natural conditions as possible on land and in the sea. They will also economically layout the most efficient way to manage transportation, agriculture, city planning, and production. This too is always in the process of modification and updating to fit the needs of an ever-changing civilization. There are no final frontiers.”

If you go back and look, this was what the transition from Socialism to Communism was suppose to be like.

Okay, so I could go on about how bad this is and how it will never work and any attempt to do so will cause destruction of freedoms and personal liberties. Except, F.A. Hayek already did that with The Road to Serfdom. He wrote this in 1944. This group can pretend to be unlike Socialist but any time you design society you are a Socialist. The one thing F.A. Hayek put best in his book The Fatal Conceit is that no one designed today’s society. It has evolved through a quest for inefficiency.

This group will use human rights and freedom to attract people but in the end, if someone plans out your whole life and your cities and everything else, you are not free. They are going to argue that a few men in the world control us today. The people that interfere are governments, not individuals. It is easy to get wrapped up into this feeling of “only if.” Only if we could create this world everything would be perfect. Only if we could equalize everyone’s goods, everyone would be equal. No two people are born the same, and to try and prevent that would destroy society.

The website is here if you don’t believe me.


Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm  Comments (46)  
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Cigarette to Small Cigar Substitution

This from USA Today:
“The surging popularity of small cigars, available in fruit and candy flavors, is prompting state and local governments to try to regulate and tax them like cigarettes.

Baltimore announced this month that, beginning in October, it will require single cigars retailing for less than $2.50 each to be sold in packs of five.

Last year, three states — Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island — passed bills to tax small cigars at the same rate as cigarettes.

Small cigars, the fastest-growing segment of the tobacco market, are the same size as cigarettes but typically have a brown wrapper that contains tobacco.”

This is just economic agents (people) acting when taxes are imposed on them. Since Cigarettes are being taxed to high heaven people will in turn substitute a similar good. Politicians love to tax cigarettes because they can pretend they are doing it to reduce consumption all the while hitting the most inelastic demand curve. That is the one that is least effected by a price increase. Looks like they were wrong.

The rest is here.


Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 12:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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