Saturday, October 29, 2011

Some of my issues with the official Libertarian Party

 I believe in freedom, but I don't buy the Libertarian Party version
  • That it's wrong to protect our freedoms at the highest level, but the States should be free to take them away. By this reasoning, we're wrong to have Amendments that let women vote and ban slavery. Leave it to the States. How dare the federal government consider legalizing gay marriage, letting churches do so that want to and upholding the 1st Amendment's freedom of religion. Even worse would be having one decision regarding abortion.
  • That we're not really free because we still need to remove regulations on business. However, it's fine if we let corporations limit what we see, hear, and read (such as by restricting the internet). It's fine if they set wages artificially low, draining money out of the economy, and wrecking it. It's more freedom to force people to fight against business megaliths than letting the people use government as an extension of their will to protect them from unfair practices.
  • That taxes are a form of violence on the people which is the same as slavery. They can put you away if you don't pay. Yet, it's ok to have laws which they can put you away for if you break. It enslaves the people to have them all contribute to a system available to all which helps them afford food and housing when an unfair system puts them out of a job. The most evil thing is to let the people agree to collectively improve society to make it more survivable via the government which is the people. We the People.
I don't see the Libertarian implementation of freedom so much as freedom as shifting the source of oppression. At the federal level, their goal is to remove all protection from being oppressed.

So yes, I want maximum freedoms for the people. I think we have far too many regulations. However, implementation is key, and the Libertarian implementation at the federal level would allow at the state level the removal of the freedoms they say they want to protect.

So when I say I support the libertarian ideals of freedom, I actually advocate pro-actively protecting those freedoms. Sadly, the Libertarian Party doesn't.

Ohio Nov 8th, 2011 Voting Guide, Part 2 of 2

“To preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage”

You've likely seen the flyers for and against Issue 3, both of which outright lie. Here's the truth:

Approving this Amendment doesn't strike down Obamacare.

Approving this Amendment will raise your health care premiums more by saying Ohio can ignore a provision of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” to some). This provision is the primary piece of the health care reform meant to reduce the cost of health care. Most of the laws of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) don't take affect until 2014, such as this one. Issue 3 tries to prevent implementation of one cost-saving aspect of the ACA while not bothering with the aspects that increase costs.

I'll repeat, voting “Yes” will raise your premiums more.

The nitty and gritty of Issue 3 is all about the health care reform. A provision of the ACA says that everyone who can afford health insurance must buy private insurance of their choice (like normal). Subsidies will be given to the poor to assist in buying insurance, and those who still can't afford it are exempt or eligible for medicaid. (Similar basic rules also apply to businesses who provide health insurance). Those who don't buy health insurance and aren't exempt must pay an additional tax on their tax return. I call this the Freeloader Tax. Hospitals must provide people emergency medical care. Those who cannot pay cost hospitals money so they raise their prices. This makes health insurance cost more, and that cost is passed onto you via your premiums. All of us who bother to pay for health insurance end up paying for the freeloaders who could pay but don't.

Last year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of California was going to raise insurance premiums by 40%. The reason? Young people who weren't currently sick were dropping health insurance. The insurer abandoned this plan because of the public backlash.

The title of the issue and wording on the ballot of it is even misleading. It claims it is the freedom to choose your insurance. It only preserves the freedom to not buy health insurance. However, even the ACA doesn't require you buy to health insurance. It just adds a Freeloader Tax. That is, a tax on those who want free health care at my expense despite being able to afford it.

Additionally, state law doesn't supersede federal law so this amendment is unenforceable. Attempts to enforce it will lead to a costly legal battle the state will lose. If SB5 is not repealed, the legal battle can be paid for by laying off teachers, firefighters, and police. So while the freeloaders are happy not having health insurance, they'll be surprised to see they still have to pay it on their tax returns. Meanwhile, health insurers will be raising our premiums more, and Ohio will be fighting a losing legal battle.


Vote “No” on Issue 3.

What is the good of Issue 3? There is no good. Whether or not you strongly support or oppose the ACA, Issue 3 is a bad idea with strong negative consequences.


"Why such high fees, such as $200 for a tetanus shot that you can get at Walgreens for less than $50? He says paying E.R. customers have to help foot the bills for patients who cant pay." This is just an example of why, agree with it or not, the "buy insurance or pay a freeloader tax" aspect of the health care reform bill will help to lower premiums.
Article at

Ohio Nov 8th, 2011 Voting Guide, Part 1 of 2

“Referendum on new law relative to government union contracts and other government employment contracts and policies”

A vote on whether to keep SB 5. A “Yes” vote keeps. A “No” repeals.

You've likely seen the flyers for and against Issue 2, both of which really fail to give some proper context or outright lie. So, I'll illuminate the issue for you, and I'll have a copy of the bill by my side for fact-checking purposes. This bill is an attempt at saving money in the state budget by altering and permitting alteration to public worker contracts. Public workers in this context includes teachers, firefighters, and police. Politicians and upper management are excluded from it.

The “good”:
SB5 requires that public employees pay at least 15% of their health care premiums, still less than the average private sector worker. The stickler is that most public employees already do pay this. So while reasonable, this isn't a big money saver.

It would ban employers from paying any of the employees’ 10% pension contribution. It is a lie that public workers don't contribute to their pension account; however, currently employers can agree to pick-up a portion of the workers' contribution. They are required to contribute 10% but banning employers from helping out with that payment could save some money.

Changed language in the bill does now allow workers to bargain for “…equipment issues directly related to personal safety...” which the original version didn't allow.

Where it gets dicey:
The bill (SB5, page 18) makes employee performance the only determining factor for raises and job retention. This means that teachers who teach Honors English will likely always get raises, and that teachers who teach troubled kids in inner cities schools will likely not ever see a raise again. Teacher performance is measured by classroom performance.

It prohibits employees for bargaining against anything an employer deems reasonable (SB5, page 230). This extremely vague language gives carte blanche power to employers against our public servants so long as one side calls it reasonable. It is actually pretty disturbing the number of times “reasonable” is used throughout the document without ever defining “reasonable.”

What can we expect in public schools? We can expect higher-paid senior teachers to be laid off. We can expect classroom sizes to be doubled and divided up among lower-compensated younger teachers. That should cause student performance to decrease, thereby reducing the need to give performance increases to teachers. Similarly, we can expect reduced staffing levels among police and firefighters.

And in the rare case where public workers do get to negotiate something with their employer, the outcome will no longer be decided by a neutral third party. It will now be decided by the employer.

While there is not significant cost savings in SB5, it will allow for many cost-savings changes to be made in the future. However, all of these changes are likely to decrease the quality of service we receive from our public servants. Anything “reasonable” in this bill is overshadowed by the “unreasonable.”

It is not accurate to say that the recession was caused by our public workers, nor is it fair to exclude the politicians and upper management from “necessary” cost saving changes. Public workers have already agreed to $350 million in savings through unpaid furloughs and pay freezes. It doesn't sit well with me that politicians give tax breaks to their contributors and try to balance the budget on the backs of the little guys.

It wouldn't be necessary to harm our public servants if giveaway tax breaks to businesses would actually lure new businesses to Ohio. Some say we must make cuts to in order to make low-tax lures for new businesses, but that wouldn't be true if we made low-tax lures that worked. The reason for this is that new business creates new workers. New workers pay more state taxes. Employed people spend and have to pay local sales taxes. Meanwhile, a bill like SB5 which will lead to more layoffs will decrease employed consumers. Not only will it decrease the quality of public service of in Ohio, it may possibly cause economic harm due to causing more unemployment. Additionally, harming education in Ohio could mean less successful entrepreneurs, worse leaders, and less innovation for the future.

There is always the risk that when the government does something, it ends up causing more harm than it does do good. Senate Bill 5 is such a case, and that's why I'll be voting no on Issue 2.

The issues, the official arguments, and a copy of SB5: 
Why this Republican opposes SB5:
Collected news articles regarding SB5:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Presidential Candidate Best Represents Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street movement released an official declaration of their goals on October 1st, 2011 after widespread reporting made the debatable claim that they had no clear objective. Their declaration was to businesses, corporations, and wall street. However, will the corporations change their methods because of it? This declaration asks them to give up profit and control. Unless they do, it will fall to state, local, and federal governments to regulate business to make it happen. Of course, one of the main complaints is that the corporations control our politicians and our governments.

The Occupy Wall Street Declaration:
(I would include it here, but it is quite long.)

The following will be presented as an alternative to bad articles such as this one.

I will compare Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican hopeful Ron Paul in 15 points.

#1 Corporations took taxpayer bailouts and gave their executives giant bonuses. It's worth noting that as of March 11, 2011, six banks of the banks have repaid their loans bringing the bank capital program close to 99 percent recovery. The government also made a profit of $4 billion on the loans as of Aug30, 2009. Not too shabby. (Other bailout programs haven't fared as well.)
  • Obama permitted the bailouts which allowed this to happen.
  • Ron Paul opposed by the bailouts.

#2 They poison our food supply.

#3 They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

#4 Our system is corrupt.
#5 They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

#6 They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

#7 They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
  • Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law which makes it more difficult for insurers to remove customers from coverage when they get sick (due to technicalities), says that insurers must spend 85% of the money received from premiums on health care, and will prevents insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. It also will further reduce health insurance costs by making those who can afford it buy health insurance and providing subsidies to those who need help to afford insurance. This means hospitals will no longer have to eat the cost of care to the uninsured which they typically pass onto other customers.
  • Paul wants to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, saying that the individual, private charity, families, and faith based orgs should take care of people, not the government.
  • Republicans, like Paul, oppose government regulations, including health care mandates, even though it was their idea. Here's 24 things Republicans were for before they were against them. It's worth nothing that Presidential hopeful Rick Perry mandated that girls in Texas get the HPV vaccine.

#8 They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
  • Obama signed the Patriot Act, allowing it to continue.
  • Ron Paul opposes such intrusions.

#9 They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

#10 They have perpetuated “colonialism at home and abroad” and "participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas."
  • Obama wound down the Iraq war; however, we are still in Afghanistan. He also had the US participate in a UN effort to assist Libyan freedom fighters which succeeded in overthrowing a dictator that had taken terrorist actions against US citizens. Obama did issue three executive orders to close Guantanamo Bay, secret prisons, and other detention centers, orders that were blocked by Congress.
  • Ron Paul wants the US to immediately pull all our troops home from foreign wars, believing we have no business even providing “foreign aid” to other countries.

#11 They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

#12 They don't pay their fare share of taxes.
  • Obama, like Reagan, says the rich must pay their fair share. He also supports letting tax breaks expire for the richest Americans.
  • Ron Paul wants a flat tax and to eliminate the income tax, which would be regressive and hurt the low-income and middle class. However, it might be something corporations would have a harder time avoiding.

#13 They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

#14 They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

#15 They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility. They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

So, who do you think better represents the beliefs of the Occupy Wall Street movement?