Ron Morley's Freedom Blog

This is the place where I do my little bit to explain the evils of the State.

September 2009 - Posts

Health insurance? We don't need no steenking health insurance!

I've been listening to NPR's coverage of the national debate over the supposed health care crisis in the United States. This evening's report mentioned hearings that were held today by a Senate committee that is trying to come up with a bill that will garner enough votes to avoid a filibuster by opponents of the measure. One of the items that was being discussed, and which seems to be locked in to all versions of the reform bills under consideration, is a mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance or face fines and/or other punitive measures designed to ensure compliance with the wishes of the State.

And it seems as though no one dares to point out what an incredibly stupid thing such a mandate would be. Let's leave aside for now the libertarian objections to such a provision and look at this on its own merits for the time being. Bear in mind that one of the goals the reformers are aiming for is to achieve a reduction in the cost of health care. And one of the first things these altruistic power-brokers want to do is put the coercive power of the State to work ensuring that every person in the United States is covered by health insurance; for their own good, of course.

Though arguing from analogy is, necessarily, a difficult thing to do as no two situations are identical, there is one area from which we may get a good idea of what lies ahead on the path of mandating the purchase of health insurance. Auto insurance is a field from which we can certainly get some idea of what will happen when the State requires everyone to be covered by some form of health insurance.  If what has happened here in Michigan with mandatory auto insurance coverage is any indication the results of a Federal health insurance mandate are going to be anything but pretty. Michigan is one of several states that bought into the argument that our court systems were being overwhelmed by the numbers of auto accident suits being filed and that auto insurance was getting too expensive.  So the state's legislators enacted something known as “no fault” automobile accident insurance. The idea is that a person's own auto insurance provider will cover the costs of damages, health care, and so on. Whenever a policy holder is involved in an accident the insurance provider simply pays the bills and life goes on. Not only was this scheme supposed to lessen the load of civil lawsuits working their way through the court system, but auto insurance costs were supposed to go down because insurance companies would no longer need to pay for expensive lawyer's fees associated with all of those court cases: at least that was the theory.  To ensure that everyone benefited from this wonderful new idea the Michigan legislature mandated that everyone purchase auto insurance, at certain specified minimum levels.

The reality has, surprise, surprise, been considerably different from the roseate picture that was painted by the proponents of the original measure. For one thing mandating the purchase of auto insurance handed the insurance companies a captive group of customers; customers who had to buy their product regardless of the cost. Unsurprisingly, the cost of auto insurance in Michigan has done nothing but increase since the “no fault” law was put in place back in the 1970s. Among the conclusions reached in a 2005 study by The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights are these:

          Premiums are 19% higher in no-fault states than in personal responsibility states.

          States with some form of no-fault insurance are consistently the highest priced in the nation.

         Auto insurance premiums rose 92% faster in no-fault states than in personal responsibility states between 1998 and 2002.

(see: for more details)

According to an item from the Mackinaw Center for Public Policy:  “Even when one disregards the high level of taxation to which the insurance industry is subjected, the additional cost built into an auto insurance policy in Michigan as a result of government's many other intrusions in the market is staggering. For instance, laws force insurance companies to sell drivers more insurance than even the companies believe they need. Companies are prohibited by other laws from assigning risk based entirely on where losses occur, forcing those who live in low-risk areas to subsidize those who live in high-risk areas. These edicts accomplish political goals that could have been paid for out of general revenues, but the Legislature has found it easier to hide them in the cost of insurance. “ (See:

Other studies of the field indicate that Michigan is not alone in experiencing increases in the cost of auto insurance following the passage of laws that mandate the purchase of it. The cost increases come as no surprise and were predicted by opponents of the Michigan law prior to its passage. After all, it's only natural for businesses to raise the prices of their goods and services when they are guaranteed sales by virtue of the police power of the State. There is some limit to the cost of auto insurance as competition does still exist within the insurance marketplace, but those limits are higher than would be the case in a marketplace in which the customer is free to walk away from the market entirely if she finds nothing that meets her needs or budgetary requirements.

Unless the Federal government is going to place arbitrary limits on the prices that may be charged for differing health insurance policies there is no reason to believe that what has happened in Michigan and other states which mandate the purchase of auto insurance will not happen on a national scale with health insurance. Along with higher insurance costs will come the need for higher levels of subsidy payments to those whom the all-knowing State decides are too poor to pay for the insurance themselves. That's one of the reasons that President Obama and his close allies are pushing so hard for the so-called “public option” for the purchase of health insurance. They see such a provision as a means of ensuring that health insurance companies do not take undue advantage of the consumers who will be forced to purchase some product they may not want or need. The public option is also a means of dressing up the wolf of a single-payer insurance scheme in the guise of the sheep of consumer protectionism. Of course, whether or not the “public option” is included in the final law the costs of health insurance will continue to rise. The proponents of the public option won't admit that, but it is inevitable. The actual cost increase may be hidden within the general tax increase which will be necessary to pay for the President's brainchild but be there they certainly will be.

There is much to dislike about any of the proposed “reforms” of the health care system as all of those put forth by the politicians in Washington result in an increase in the power of the State. However, the idea of mandating the purchase of health insurance goes beyond simply putting in place new regulations for doctors and other health care providers to keep track of and hope not to transgress. Mandating the purchase of health insurance not only increases the intrusions the Federal government will make into all of our lives, it will also directly add to the already high cost of health insurance. This cost increase will “require” the State to further subsidize the cost for low income households (which means raising taxes on those in the middle class and above to pay for that “benefit”). The result will be increased costs, heightened Federal government intrusiveness into all of our lives, increased levels of taxation, and most likely of all – no improvement in the overall health of the American people; which is supposedly the object of this whole exercise in futility. So long as the Federal government is not forced to give up its role as regulator of the nation's health care the situation will not improve – we'll simply end up back here again in a few years listening to the familiar complaints of the regulators (who will have failed in meeting any of their supposed objectives) that they need ever more money and power to achieve their goals.

A libertarian health care plan?

The debate over health care reform is ongoing and no one is sure what type of changes will be forced upon the people by our guardians in Washington. With all of the smoke and noise that has been generated around this issue there is still nothing which one can point at and say, “This is what the Congress will be voting on”. In a quick scan of the field of likely contenders one sees the so-called “compromise” bill that has been put together by Senator Max Baucas (D-MT), who spent many hours with Republican Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Mike Enzi (R-WY), in an attempt to craft a "bipartisan" bill, and HR 3200 – sponsored by Representatives John Dingell (D-MI), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), and Harry Waxman (D-CA) among others (which gives the Statists everything they want, such as mandating the purchase of health insurance) – together with any number of proposed amendments, and other possible bills. Conspicuous by its absence in the debate is anything resembling a libertarian alternative to the extension of Federal power envisioned by all of the bills that are currently being discussed. And that is a real shame because this type of legislation is one in which a libertarian plan could be put forward.

A libertarian bill could use reducing the cost of health care as its point of departure. The sponsors of the other bills that are being considered all claim to reduce costs, but the reality is that what they really control, if anything, is the rate of increase in cost. For instance, President Obama's plan doesn't actually lower the amount of money that will be spent by the Medicare system, it merely slows the rate of growth of this voracious monster of a Federal boondoggle. Yet, to hear the President and his supporters tell the tale, one could be forgiven for thinking that the amount of Federal money spent on Medicare will decline if the President's plan is adopted.

A truly libertarian bill would lower the amount of money the Federal government must allocate to Medicare by removing the question from the Federal realm entirely. Now is the time when we should be truly thinking “outside the box” as everyone seems to be ready to discuss the supposed health care emergency (as some Democrats are portraying it) and actually do something about it. So here is my proposal for a libertarian alternative to the proposals being put forth by the proponents of Big Government:

    • allow individuals to opt out of the Medicare system entirely,

    • do not collect Medicare taxes from those who opt out and reduce their Federal income taxes by the proportion that Medicare represents of the entire Federal budget,

    • allow those who opt out to do whatever they wish with their money; buy health insurance, go on a vacation, save it, it doesn't matter as it's their money to start with,

    • eliminate the Federal government's power to determine what equipment your local hospital can purchase, what services it may provide, and how much it may charge for the service thus interjecting an element of competition into the medical marketplace,

    • remove the cap on the number of doctors which may be graduated each year from the nation's medical schools. Making more doctors available will also add to the marketplace competition that serves to drive costs down in every other area of life in which it is allowed to operate,

    • require doctors, hospitals, labs, etc. to post their charges for common procedures. This could be done on-line, by mail, or via local newspapers, preferably all three. If people can see how much it will cost them to have their MRI down at Hospital “X” as opposed to Hospital “Y” they'll probably choose whichever one is less,

    • jettison the idea that in order to be “adequate” health insurance must cover every service, office visit, and lab test that a person gets. When I was a young adult (more years ago than I like to think about) the health policy I had covered major surgery, truly unusual and expensive tests, and other “catastrophic” costs. Other than that I had to pay for routine office visits, lab tests, and so forth. This would have the effect of lowering the costs of health insurance as companies would no longer have to offer only policies that offer “soup to nuts” coverage with the only difference in cost being the amount of the yearly deductible.

Now, I'm not going to claim that this will save “X” number of dollars from the Federal budget or that it will solve every aspect of the supposed health care crisis. But guess what, neither will any of the plans being put forth by the advocates of ever-larger government. What it would do is set a precedent for reducing the power of the Federal government, increasing the liberty of individual citizens, and giving those citizens some of their own money back. The idea here is to take a bite out of the power of the Federal government and help reduce the cost of health care, while demonstrating that people are capable of managing their own lives.

Taking steps to reintroduce competition into the medical marketplace is long overdue. For too long the AMA and the Federal government have had a cozy relationship which allows American doctors to avoid having to really compete for patients while also allowing the Federal government far too much regulatory power. It's been convenient for the medical professionals to maintain that they like the idea of competition, while regretting that they can't openly compete because the nasty Federal government won't allow them to do that. The above scheme would greatly reduce the Federal government's involvement in the medical marketplace without reducing the safety of the drugs, etc. that people rely on.

Would my plan be perfect? No, nothing involving people is ever going to be. However, my scheme gets us moving back in the direction of increasing the freedom of action of citizens, rather than further circumscribing it as the plans but forth by the politicians in Washington and the professional lobbyists hired by the health care providers would do. In the long run that's more important than coming up with a “perfect” plan which satisfies no one except those with a vested interest in increasing their power over others.

Corporations bow to Federal power

The Federal government has now grown so powerful that some in this nation are taking its slightest wish to be a command. The announcement on Monday by a group of major American corporation, including Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, Tyco and others, that they will be adopting new executive compensation guidelines is a sign of this. The corporations have said that they will develop new rules regarding the compensation of top executives based on a report from the Conference Board that was also announced on Monday. Some will maintain that this is nothing new, that businesses have many times tried to get out in front of possible new regulations by adopting some sort of voluntary self-regulatory scheme on their own. While that is true, it's never been a good sign, but this move is much more significant. To my knowledge American corporations have never subscribed to the idea that the State has any power in the area of setting the compensation that corporate employees, particularly those at the upper end of management, may receive. To my way of thinking this is yet another example of the expansion of the powers of the Federal government far beyond anything allowed by the Constitution or envisioned by the nation's Founding Fathers.

The companies are making this move in an obvious attempt to head off yet more regulation by the anti-business Obama regime. President Obama has repeatedly stated that he believes that corporate executives' pay is too high and is not properly linked to the actual performance of the executives or the companies. According to the new guidelines executive pay is to be more transparently linked to performance and the compensation packages are to be “more affordable”, eliminate “golden parachutes”, and be subject to more oversight by company boards of directors. None of these things can be measured objectively: one man's excessive pay is another's reasonable reward for effort made and results obtained. Likewise, the amount of gold in one's parachute is a matter of interpretation, not solid fact. That means that any regulations based on these ideas will be open to interpretation and companies will be left to wonder if they've overstepped the limits until they're reprimanded by some Washington-based bureaucrat. About the only thing missing is a requirement that the executives bow daily in the direction of Washington and give thanks to President Obama that they have a job. Given this administration's propensity for exacting arbitrary ex post facto punishments for corporations and executives which it thinks have crossed the boundary of what is “reasonable” (just look at the recently announced prosecution of Bank of America for fulfilling the contractual requirements that it inherited when it took over Merrill Lynch – at the State's insistence it should be noted see: How long will it be before executive pay is held in escrow until the State determines whether or not it is “excessive”?

This is the sort of corporate kowtowing that demonstrates how tight the link is between regulation by the State and corporate well-being. Left unsaid in this announcement is the realization that the socialists in Washington have it within their power to simply regulate executive pay in any manner they may wish. The fact that such regulations would be unconstitutional no longer even comes up for discussion. It's as though American businesses have lost their backbone. A generation ago the very idea that the Federal government has the power to place limits on how much money the top employees in a business may make would have been considered laughable. Furthermore, businesses of yesteryear, faced with such an extension of the power of the State would have stood up for their rights and filed suit in court to prevent any such regulations from being put into effect. How the mighty have fallen.

Some will argue that the new rules (a version of which are already in effect for any financial institution that submitted to the State's blackmail and accepted TARP money) aren't any different than other Federal rules that corporations already abide by. What they overlook is that the State has never before (except during WWII and a short time during the Nixon years) set limits on how much money a person is able to earn in the course of legal employment. What is more troubling in some ways, than the restrictions themselves, is the general reaction by the public that “those scoundrels had it coming to them”. The Obama regime is deliberately making this change as a populist act of class warfare. And Americans are falling for it because they fail to realize two things: there is considerable mobility between classes in the U.S. and those who are in the lower ranks of earners today generally move up the ladder to higher paying jobs in the future; and once the State is allowed to regulate compensation in one area or for one class the precedent will be used to gradually lower the limit at which such regulation kicks in. President Obama has already defined $250 thousand dollars as the amount of income which delimits the “wealthy” from everyone else. By using class envy to drive his new regulations President Obama is deliberately pandering to one of the worst emotions of man: envy. This emotion has been considered to be a sin by many as it makes it all too easy to justify shackling those of whom one is envious. President Obama has been at pains to point out that racism has no place in American society and he is to be applauded for that. However, he is deliberately acting to substitute class-envy for racism so as to set the stage for ever more onerous burdens to be placed on the supposed “wealthy” of this nation. Not only is the President introducing a darker, more vindictive tone into the debate over compensation, but he is also greatly extending the extra-constitutional reach of the Federal government. This is yet another example of how little constitutional limitations on Federal power matter to this man whom we are told is a “constitutional law expert”. Once again the powers that be are able to act as they please because they know that the vast majority of the American populace has no idea what is actually written in the Constitution. Because of this ignorance the Obama regime is able to more-or-less make up the rules as it goes along and change the interpretation of existing rules to fit its conception of how things should work.

There are many Americans who think that strict limits should be placed on executive pay. They cite supposed gaps between performance and compensation, a lack of oversight of pay packages by corporate boards of directors, and how “unfair” it is that some executives make millions of dollars a year while other employees work for far less. According to the thinking of such people all of these “problems” are best addressed by extending the power of the State over business activities. What they overlook is that the corporations themselves do not seem to view the situation with alarm – something which would be happening if any of these businesses felt endangered by the levels of executive compensation they are dispensing.

It is entirely possible for boards of directors to discuss in great detail the amount of money to be paid to a member of upper management and reduce the amount if they feel that it is out of line with the benefits that they anticipate the new employee will bring to the company. The pay scales of upper management in American businesses are high because the amounts of money which these people can make for their employers is also high. It is not unreasonable to pay a manager who brings in $700 million dollars of new business or introduces similar operational savings to the bottom line of a company $300 million. From the standpoint of the company they've gotten a bargain and it should not be anyone else's view which prevails in the setting of the wage – outsiders are not privy to all of the information available to a corporate board, nor are they affected by the amount of compensation given out. Once again Americans are falling victim to the liberal credo that outside third parties know what is the best course of action for other to take. Once again the State is usurping power which rightfully belongs to others. And once again Americans are being suckered into giving up yet more liberty – this time by the promise that they'll get to watch as greedy corporate executives “get theirs”. In the end the only certainty is that the Federal government will have further expanded its powers at the expense of the American public.

Pushing the "Reset" button

“We can mandate whatever we want to in America. We can mandate that Coca-Cola® come out of the cold water tap.” So said Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in an interview on NPR's Weekend Edition on Sunday morning, September 20, 2009. This is but one example of the sort of hubris which has seized the Democratic lawmakers in Washington, D.C. It is also indicative of a dangerous trend in American politics; one which has been going on for some time, unfortunately. If Senator Wyden's comment is to be taken at face value, and I know of no reason why it shouldn't be, he seems to feel that the Constitution and the rule of law no longer to him and his fellow legislators.  This applies to legislators of both parties, though with the Democrats in control of both the legislative and the executive branches of the government they seem to have a particularly virulent case of the condition right now.


This is a natural result of the rigging of American national politics so that legislators are practically guaranteed a seat for life unless they caught with their hand too deeply into the cookie jar. The turnover in seats in both the House and Senate is pathetically small in any given election cycle. Given the precision with which Congressional districts can be drawn legislators know that, except in roughly 10% of the districts across the nation, they will hold their seat for as long as they want it. Even those which are so-called “swing” districts tend to stay with one party or the other for several years between swings. This is certainly not the outcome that our Founding Fathers were expecting when they put together the Constitution over two hundred years ago. It is one of the results of the various election “reform” laws passed in the last twenty years or so; rather than opening up the field to newcomers the effect has been to rig elections so that incumbents have nearly insurmountable advantages in an election. The tendency has become more noticeable since the passage of the McCain/Feingold election reforms that limited the speech of outside organizations by denying them the ability to make direct reference to any candidate in an election. This has effectively acted to muzzle opposition that is not directly a part of either major party.


The Democratic wing of the “Big Government” party which rules this country feels that it can ignore the growing Tea Party movement simply because that movement is almost entirely outside of the areas from which the they draw their support. The Tea Party movement is strongest in the West and Midwest, areas dominated, except around big cities like Chicago, by the Republicans. Unless the dissatisfaction with the way things are currently done in Washington grows to encompass areas that the Democratic party controls nothing will change. The Democrats will continue to belittle the Tea Party movement as the squawkings of a few disaffected, and probably racist, middle-class white men: hardly a group to which they feel the need to pay attention. The result will be that our arguments will not be heard above the rantings of those who dismiss us as members of a radical fringe movement that will go away if simply ignored.


And that is one of the problems with the current Tea Party movement, though I agree with their goal of rolling back Federal power and forcing our elected officials to abide by the Constitution as it is written, there is nothing in it to attract those who get everything they want from the State. Unless the recipients of Federal largess come to understand that they are simply being used by the rich and powerful men in Washington this nation will continue down the path to socialism and, eventually, totalitarianism. To that end those of us who want to return this nation to one which is ruled by law rather than executive fiat must find some message which appeals to those who are the beneficiaries of the Federal government's wealth redistribution schemes. Judging by the response thus far, simply pointing out the evils of the current system will not be enough. We must develop some sort of blueprint for getting us from where we are – trodden under the heel of an increasingly arrogant government – to where we want to be – living in a land in which each individual is truly free to seek his or her own destiny without the interference of government bureaucrats.


What that blueprint looks like exactly, I don't know. However, coming up with a way of getting this nation back on the right track, without causing damaging upheavals in the economy or simply tossing those who currently receive welfare and other types of support from the State on the garbage heap – which will only lead to damaging social disorder – is not going to be easy. Yet, I think that the time has come for those of us who want to live the life of freedom which the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us to develop such a plan. As a friend of mine said, “We've got to come up with a Giant Fricking Reset Button”, and convince people that we need to collectively push that button and get rid of those in Washington who think that they “can mandate whatever [they] want...”. This will not be an easy task, yet we must undertake it if we want to be taken seriously and force real change on our government.

Health care, racism, and opposing the President

It has become common for supporters of President Obama's plan to socialize medical care in this country to maintain that those of us who oppose such a measure are motivated, partly or wholly, by racism. Former President Jimmy Carter has signed onto this school of thought, as have the usual suspects such as the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Also climbing on board the “Let's Smear the Opposition” bus have been any number of Senators and Representatives, including Senate majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. This is playing the “race card” on a grand scale and for those who believe that the Federal government should no longer be bound by the Constitution it is a convenient charge to make.


Making the charge that one's opponents are motivated by racial hatred is particularly easy to make in America right now, in spite of considerable evidence, such as the man who currently occupies the Oval Office, that racism is a shadow of what it used to be. Is it all gone, no, and more's the pity as the fact that it still exists gives the Democratic charges just that tinge of legitimacy that makes people think there might be something to it. What it also does is act to absolve the advocates of socialism of having to make real arguments in favor of their position that health care is a right and that those who support that school of thought have the right to use the coercive power of the State to enforce their desires. You see, making the charge of racism in America today has the effect of immediately changing the focus of the debate from the merits of each sides' arguments to one in which the opponents are forced to spend the majority of their time defending themselves from the despicable charge.


This is one of the results of the growth of the cult of political correctness in this country. Even though they may not agree with the philosophy that one must never say anything which might be offensive to someone else, most Americans have subconsciously adopted that mode of speech and argument. It is interesting to note that in this particular instance the first principle of politically correct speech - “Thou shalt not speak any offensive epithet lest thou should injure thine opponent's self-esteem” - does not apply when making the charge of racism. Yes, it's permissible for the left to level such a charge at those whom they have discovered are not willing to simply allow the juggernaut of an ever-larger Federal government to roll over them unchecked. It is not, however, permissible to point out that in making such a charge, one which I and I dare say most Americans feel is outrageous, the backers of the Obama regime are themselves acting in racist manner. But, that's rather beside the point – it merely illustrates how, by making this unfounded indictment, the supporters of President Obama are able to deflect the debate from the true point at issue – that the President's plan to “reform” health care is nothing less than a plan to socialize the health care system by slowly driving out any remnants of the free market in this sector of the economy.


Making the charge of racism simply demonstrates the emptiness of the case for supporting the President's proposals. As time goes on more details of the President's proposals have emerged and it becomes obvious why President Obama tried to keep them murky early on. The simple fact is that the proposed changes cannot be paid for without both drastically curtailing the services provided by Medicare, particularly those for the elderly, and increasing the taxes that most Americans will pay. Unless the Obama regime is willing to curtail spending on other social programs and so-called “entitlements” the money is not there. This nation faces deficits from now until forever because none of our so-called “leaders” in Washington has had the political will to call a halt to the continual expansion of spending on social programs – programs which, by and large, lack any constitutional support. Our nation is bankrupt, or would be if anyone dared to actually face the facts of the matter. Yet the President insists that we stick our heads further into the sand and allow him and his cronies to saddle the populace with still more taxes. The sad thing is that, if the level of Federal taxes were reduced, as they could be if Americans insisted the government live within the law, the vast majority of people could pay for their own health insurance. Bat that's another admission that those in power dare not make because they realize that to do so would be to call into doubt most of their actions over the last half century.


So we're stuck with the absurd situation in which the President and his supporters cannot make a reasonable case for the proposed changes, but they dare not admit that. So they lower themselves to the level of making ad hominem attacks on those who are pointing out the many fallacies of their position. By doing so they not only continue to add to the level of rancor, discord, and distrust that pervades American political discourse but they lessen the chances that anything good can come out of this discussion of the problems of our health care system; and a serious discussion badly needs to take place. However, calling their opponents names will not move the debate forward and it threatens to destroy what little decorum and rationality exists in what passes for political debate in America. Shame on them, and shame on those of us who oppose the President's plan for allowing ourselves to be distracted from the real matter at hand – will the United States make an irrevocable move into outright socialism or will we move the other way – back towards the freedoms that this country was founded upon?

How much can you earn? If you're a banker the Fed will determine that.

The Federal Reserve has announced a policy that, not too many years ago, would have been widely denounced as a tyrannical usurpation of power. The Fed is in the process of drawing up “guidelines” to set limits on the amount of compensation that can be paid to the upper management of the nation's banks. This is in keeping with a White House policy of setting limits on the pay for executives of banks which have taken advantage of the TARP funds made available under what amounts to an emergency decree by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen last September. Yet, somehow, this direct interference with the workings of the free market has not drawn the fire from so-called conservatives that one would have expected. This strikes me as yet another sign of just how little attention is paid to the Constitution and the limits that it sets on the power of the Federal government these days. Instead of vilifying this new assertion of unlawful power on the part of the State the reaction seems to be, “Oh well, this is merely a logical extension of the programs that have saved our financial system from collapse”. There is also more than a hint of class warfare in this move as the President seeks to further establish himself as the savior of the poor and downtrodden.

This change in the Fed's regulatory scheme is a continuation of the Obama regime's policy of punishing the wealthy by capping the amount of money they may earn in the future. After all, this is the same outfit that has placed caps on the amount of money that may be earned by top management in the nationalized parts of the U.S. auto industry known as General Motors and Chrysler. One of the things that concerns me, besides the obvious unconstitutionality of the moves to regulate the recompense of employees in the putatively private sector of the economy, is the level of, there is no other word for it, glee, which has met the Fed's announcement. This is but one sign that the majority of the American people have bought into the State's version of the causes of the events leading up to the current economic crisis: the fault lies entirely with those greedy bankers who were let loose to run amok by a Bush administration that cared only for allowing its friends and supporters to make obscene amounts of money. There seems to be little awareness that our current financial problems were caused by a series of ill-considered policies adopted by various agencies of the Federal government – the same government which is now being trusted with extra-constitutional powers to put things right.

What many Americans fail to realize is that, by acquiescing in the imposition of wage caps for some they accept that all may have their remuneration set by the State. Many will not accept the truth of the last statement, preferring to believe in the myth of a benevolent Federal government, a government which would never act in such a way as to harm the people. However, history, if it teaches us anything at all, teaches us that government power, once established in an area of economic or social activity, continues to expand. To take but one example, the Interstate Commerce Commission was originally empowered only to regulate railroad freight rates. Its powers eventually grew to encompass the trucking industry as well as railroads and its field of activity grew to include such details as what routes trucks could drive and what they were allowed to carry on those routes. The railroads saw an even more drastic expansion of the ICC's powers as it came to control the smallest details of the freight rates the railroad could charge, how the roads were required to do their accounting – though those methods failed to reflect the actual costs incurred by the companies – and other details of operations. The ICC grew so cumbersome and destructive of economic activity that even the Congresscritters in Washington finally realized that it was killing the freight industry, both trucks and railroads, and its power were drastically cut in the early 1980s and the commission itself eventually phased out, to be replaced by the Surface Transportation Board. In a repeat of history Congress is now considering expanding the powers of the STB to set railroad freight rates. Representative James Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has opened hearings about what he calls the problem of freight railroads overcharging their customers. Wherever one looks at government programs, particularly those which regulate some sort of activity one sees the expansion of those powers into areas that were not imagined in the original legislation. Yet, the State's “education system” does a good job of indoctrinating students with the idea that the Federal government is the source of all goodness and wisdom. Thus, many people do not acknowledge that the government is the source of a lot of their problems, even in the face of considerable evidence that it is.

It doesn't take a genius to see the path that the State will follow now that it has been allowed to establish wage caps in a small section of the economy. At some time in the future the Federal government will extend its new found powers and establish wage limits for management in other sections of the economy, and the workers will cheer because the “rich, fat cats” of management will be seen as getting what is coming to them. Little will they realize that they will be the next in line for having their incomes limited. Anyone who has read Frederick Hayek's book The Road to Serfdom will understand how this process is inevitable, unless the people realize what is going on and act decisively to change the course of their government. Forcing the Federal government back into the constraints imposed on it by the Constitution will allow Americans to recover their lost freedoms, including the freedom to work for wages set by the free market, not by some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.