--Mandatory Reading


It should be clear to most that an individual mandate forcing individuals to buy insurance is not consistent with freedom. But then neither is the right to walk into a hospital and be treated without paying for it. The hospital bill is passed on to others—paid for in higher medical costs and insurance rates. Isn't this a form of individual mandate? Until we get rid of it we will not see reasonably priced quality healthcare.


At the absolute minimum, those in this country illegally should not have the "right" to medical care at the expense of legal citizens. Making non citizens pay for their own medical care would make those here illegally more interested in becoming legal tax paying citizens. Regardless, the “right” to medical care by anyone who demands it goes to the root of the individual mandate question, and it’s one of the main causes of the health care crisis today. Mandates are the legal use of force and getting rid of every one of them should be our goal.


The Supreme Court will hear this case, and hopefully overturn the Obamacare Mandate, and with it the supposed legitimacy of government medical care and insurance control; both of which should be left to the private sector. The reason we have the problems we have now is because the government got involved and made it illegal for any hospital not to treat a person in need. That first mandate led to all the rest.


Many are demonstrating against the government’s insistence that insurers must provide contraception at a religious group’s expense, even though they believe this is morally wrong. In other words they are protesting yet another new mandate.


Those in favor of the mandate argue that if you let Catholics avoid paying for their employee’s contraceptives, then Jehovah’s Witnesses will not want to pay for operations involving blood transfusions, and Scientologist's will not pay for their employee’s to receive psychiatric help because of their beliefs--which opens up a whole new can of worms. Yes it does, and that can of worms is called freedom.


Here’s the problem. As it stands securing insurance resides with employers, and it’s the employers who decide what they will pay for and what they will not. They pick an insurance plan for everyone. The government tells the insurance companies what to cover and how much they should charge for that coverage. They also tell the doctors how much they will receive for providing the medical care.


If insurance resided with the individual and was free of government mandates, as it used to be, each person would be able to choose the coverage they wanted. Each insurance plan would be tailor made to an individual or a group that agreed with one another regarding coverage. I’m describing insurance as it was prior to the government deciding it was no longer private enterprise--insurance without government mandates.


We need to get rid of all mandates by government and return to free choice and individual responsibility.






America still enjoys engaging in crony capitalism, one of the most obnoxious political systems in existence. The Solyndra fiasco is a case in point. It’s held almost as our collective theology that large government subsidies to companies, such as those for Ethanol as energy, or research and development for the sciences, or money for space exploration--encourage progress.


How about a different idea? Instead of millions of tax payer dollars going to a company, or billions going to an industry; why not award private enterprise prizes to whichever individuals or companies can accomplish a particular feat or goal? Real progress rarely comes from the top down. It comes from the bottom up. It starts with an individual and an idea.


Let's establish prize pools that offer millions for things that we want but haven’t been able to achieve yet. A lot of that prize money would come from individuals. Instead of donating to charities, we’d have the option of directly funding progress. Prizes for creativity would guarantee that money followed achievement—instead of going to those with powerful friends as a “reward” for mere attempts.






The President just submitted his budget to congress. It includes a $10,000 subsidy to anyone that purchases an electric car. Yet recent studies peg the annual income of the average green car buyer at $170,000.  So those who cannot afford to buy a new car are to help the very well off with their next vehicle purchase? One more example of why we need to end all subsidies. Subsidies are just a way for the government to redistribute wealth and pick its winners and losers in our society.






It is a fact that just 2.7% of personal consumption expenditures go to Chinese made goods and services. US consumers spend 88.5% on American-made goods and services. Yet, we are constantly told that we don't produce anything in this country.


At the turn of the 19th century this country went from an agrarian economy to a manufacturing economy. People fled to cities in search of better pay. Farms were abandoned in favor of factories. Pundits of the time declared that we would no longer be able to feed ourselves as farm land and rural communities were converted to small cities of mass production. Yet a hundred years later, we feed the world.


And we also have a larger manufacturing base, and export more goods and services, than any nation on earth except China, which is a mercantilist, not a free trade nation. And just as the United States rose from its agrarian roots to become a manufacturing force, our economy is now based on something new--technological information.


It’s no surprise that the pundits of our day warn of the dire consequences we’ll face if we lose our number one position in the world as a manufacturer. But it’s a position we occupy because we understand “division of labor" and specialization better than anyone else. That’s why 90% of the world’s innovation comes from this country. And most of it now from a small corner in California called the Silicon Valley.


Just ten years ago, 9 out of 10 college grads wanted to go to Wall Street to start their career. Today that number has dropped to 1 out of 10. They want to go to Silicon Valley where millionaires are created faster than anywhere in America. After all, this is still a country where one can go as high and as far as their ability will take them. The fact that we no longer work in factories is not a negative any more than the fact that most of us no longer work on a farm. It is only a sign of progress.


As bad as things are, we are still a growing and dynamic country. Let's not forget it.






President Obama came out with a "major" energy message which he told the audience was nothing like the republican plan to drill, drill, drill. “I mean, the American people aren't stupid. They know that’s not a plan…that's a bumper sticker.” The more Obama talks the more he reveals about his philosophy.


Drilling is an act of freedom. It's also an act of producing something. But production isn’t a part of any Obama “plan.” Free people providing gas and oil can't be considered a plan in Obama’s thinking where only government plans are allowed. Freedom does not lead to prosperity in Obama's philosophy; government controls, regulations and plans are our only hope for success.


Not in my book! Drill, Drill, Drill, means produce, produce, and produce! That's what free enterprise does. Obama canceled most of the oil and gas exploration territories opened up by President Bush, stopped all production in the gulf, and killed the Keystone Pipeline. During his office, oil lease permits offered to oil and gas companies to explore and produce are down 70% from just four years ago. And now, incredibly, Obama has suddenly begun providing leases and calling for an "all of the above" energy policy. That’s what John McCain ran on four years ago and Obama ran against! Why the about face? How do you spell E-L-E-C-T-I-O-N?


No Mr. Obama, the American people are not stupid. In the 3 1/2 years you’ve been President American entrepreneurs abandoned hopes of drilling on Federal lands and developed new technologies that allow them to extract oil and gas in shale on private lands. Lands not controlled by the Federal government--yet. The result has been a boom that owes no thanks to you and your so-called energy "plan.”


--Paul Nathan