Comments Posted By ajacksonian
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The lesson of subisidies: they cause whatever is subsidized to be used uneconomically, therefore raising the cost of it. This is well understood and applies to goods and services. We subsidize home ownership, to get more home owners, and we get a steady rise in home prices over time... before you put in extras like no money down mortgages.

We subsidize health care and it costs more over time, outpacing inflation.

We subsidize sugar and pay above world market prices for it.

When something is made universal you get the tragedy of the commons: it loses all valuation on a personal scale as you have no value vested in it. Thus you use it uneconomically and start degrading the entirety of the common good. This works beyond grazing commons, and the UK has seen native Brits unwilling to be trained as doctors, thus needing to bring in foreign help mainly from India and Pakistan.

Companies that abused public air and water stopped doing so when they had to pay for their misdeeds, and then realized that in waste there is a revenue opportunity that they would never have found if they abuse of the commons had not been seen. Perhaps that common good should have had better caretakers... but when put in the public the government is steward and not so good a one at most times, thus the tragedy of it.

This goes before the inefficiencies of government and the ternary inter-relationship concept for those things that are not directly inter-related but that everyone wants to be inter-related. Both of these cause major problems with anything that is government subsidized, government run or given to government, which is why we like to have as little as possible given to it. That, of course, has been true for centuries, distilled into the Constitution so as to limit the power and scope of government at the National scale. Large governments, even Republics, prove to be inflexible and should have little as possible power at the local scale so that local ways can reflect local values and needs. That increases accountability and the ability of the citizenry to have a say in their government, while going up to the National scale reduces those immensely for individuals.

Of course that is just the Common Sense that Paine wrote about... as we now seem to have forgotten.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 17.05.2009 @ 10:42


We would save more money limiting the time the Congress sits to about two months: that is the amount of time they spend on actual work.

Consider that Congress already takes 3 days off per week by adding Friday to their off-time schedule. Then they have 'meetings' with those lobbying them during their 'work days'... instead of scheduling those to the 'day off'. Then there is the cutting of the day length save for sessions where the work they should have gotten done months previously has now piled up and they need to put in extra hours. That they cut for themselves with the extra 'day off'.

Now throw in the long holiday breaks that can often go on for weeks.

The answer: lock Congress in the Capitol building for two months and let no one out until they have done their jobs. Then shut it down unless the President needs an extra session which he can call as needed.

Remember these are all-volunteer positions. They set the size of the House, they set their own working hours, they set their own pay scale (all you need is an over-ride majority on that), they set their own vacation time and then they get to use public resources to travel on holidays so long as they are 'fact finding' in Bermuda or Paris or Aruba... so restricting their 'up time' means they get to pay for those lovely vacations on their own dimes. We have the internet now, 'fact finding' can easily be done in all but the harshest places on earth. That is why you have a State Dept. and military: folks who volunteer to go into the harshest places on earth for you.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 16.05.2009 @ 05:23

The Posner Challenge

Whatever did happen to getting government regulations out of our lives? I distinctly remember Reagan campaigning on that quite well and then never carrying through... and cutting taxes is very nice, but then increasing spending and government power seems to be quite contrary to fiscal conservatism and traditional conservatism. So what's up with that?

Big Government Conservatism is no better than Big Government Liberalism: both create more burdens for the people, increase government power and scope by continually going after understood limits of the government in the Constitution. The Interstate Commerce Clause has been heavily abused and broadened by Democrats and Republicans, to the point where States have little say left over their own affairs. If conservatives can come up with a 'national market' for an illegal product, as they did in the Raich case, then it is not liberals expanding the power of government, but conservatives.

Then there is 'strict constructionism' in which the SCOTUS should only do those things set to it in the Constitution. Say, how about some intellectual honesty from conservatives on that and apply it to ALL the branches of the federal government? And stop trying to broaden powers and adding brand-spanking new interpretations into the document that had no place in it at the founding. Remember those folks? Washington, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton? That lot?

Unfortunately we are now in the future where the Anti-Federalists are getting their worst nightmares realized: those critics of the flaws of the Constitution and that proposed changes to tighten it up to keep the federal government on a short leash now are proving prescient. Not that anyone reads them... they were just observers of human nature, people who examined past failed republics and democracies, and who then compared those to the few successful ones that lasted a bit and drew lessons from those. Fascinating reading of the gamut of problems they saw... and how Hamilton, Madison, Jay, et. al. weren't able to respond to many of the points in the Federalist Papers. Of course that would mean reading those works and seeing how they responded to each other... and see just what the strains of thought were that would go on to found Traditionalist Conservatism and Fiscal Conservatism started and why. But that is 'back to basics' and modern conservatives don't do that.

Reagan didn't.

Gingrich didn't.

And Bush was a Big Government Conservative: a Progressive. Both of them.

A pity conservatives got all tuckered out when they didn't even do a tenth of the job that had been promised. Guess that building government is so much easier than dismantling it. And that helps win elections so you aren't seen as such a meanie, instead of returning basic liberty and freedoms to your fellow citizens and removing it from its ill placement in government that is too expensive, too expansive and ever eager to take more from the people. That doesn't end in a good place.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 12.05.2009 @ 19:36


We once had an understanding of government that differed widely from what we have today:

"It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society-the farmers, mechanics, and laborers-who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles."

I explore that idea and one put forward by another President that a large number of conservatives have come to adore. Unfortunately when I find the President who looked to dismantle government and actually took steps to do so, I find a D by his name. And when I find one that sought to put unenumerated powers into the federal government I find an R by his name. I am no 'conservative', nor do I see any way that the few, vital concerns of protecting the Nation can be made into a 'social good' without having society dictated *to* by government.

That turns a necessary evil into an absolute one, where public morals and ethics are decided by government and bureaucrats, not citizens at large, and the role of government goes from curbing abuses to forcing people to do good. You get that with 'big government' no matter who is in charge, and the trend has been to put more power into government to dictate what is good to society, not to uphold society so that the positive liberty of the citizens can be protected by the negative liberties we invest into equal governance. Because no matter who gets into 'big government' their beliefs as to what is 'good' for the population will vary... and expand... until the regulations that burden the population are uncountable and everyone in society can be held at fault for something due to laws and regulations they can't know about due to their being legion in number.

We have a word for what citizens become when that happens: subjects.

And yet we are born free.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 7.02.2009 @ 06:33


"Some writers have so confounded society with government,
as to leave little or no distinction between them;
whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;
the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections,
the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one
encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.
The first a patron, the last a punisher."

-Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Unfortunately when you give government 'good' things to do, you are handing such nicities to a punisher, a restricter, to the one meant to curb our vices. Thus you diminish yourself by saying 'I can no longer do good in this area', and then absolve yourself of the need to do good.

We once had a decently supported set of charitable hospitals, but they have been ravaged by the insurance benefit payouts system and are slowly dying because it is such a 'good thing' to get medical care supported by government. But we forget that things subisidized get used uneconomically, and soon get ruined due to that use. Thus we subsidize 'health insurance' once a 'perk' of the rich, but then made necessary by social security and labor laws put in before WWII BY WWII needing so many older workers to come back to the workforce. Now, when people 'retire' they have no want or need to pass on their wisdom to those following them - just cut and run from your work and give no bother to those having to build upon your work. The most experienced generation of people with the greatest background in making, building, creating and doing all the deep labors of the economy is out on golf courses and 'retired'. It is such a 'good thing' to lose that experience and then have a smaller working class of younger individuals have to pay for such 'retirees' as part of an inter-generational theft that goes unmentioned.

Health care costs are high? They used to be low because the public supported charitable hospitals and health insurance wasn't subsidized. Can we really say that such costs would be so very high without such incentives to constantly use health care and have people not take care of themselves?

Now manufacturing falls behind 'services' in the economy and manufacturing employment behind 'the government' as the main employer. Such a public good, no, not being able to have more people in manufacturing than in government? But we *will* take care of everyone... just like the Soviet Union did, or China does, and don't mind Europe having such a low birth rate that many of the Nations there will no longer be German, French, Swedish, Italian, Greek... no they will be Islamic and North African and Arab, by and large, by 2050 and majority in those by 2020-2030. But those old folks really do get swell medical care when they aren't dying when the doctors go on vacation for a month...

Is it any wonder that Japanese companies are now starting to encourage men to take time off and actually *have* a family? Securing their society by government has made Japan into a not so distant geriatric basket case. But everyone gets cared for... which is why robotic 'companions' are of such interest there.

But then we aren't taking Paine seriously anymore, are we?

And no matter what you call Breads & Circuses, be it health care, social security or any other of the myriad names we use to have government buy off a portion of the population, it gets you to the exact, same place. The Breads & Circuses were 'cheap' right up to when society fell, that is... then it was very, very, very expensive.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 30.01.2009 @ 12:52


Really, BDS really allowed for flexibility of the neck... just see the latest and had to shake my head, day after day from side to side. Amazed at how 'sophisticated' people quickly devolved into name-calling, scat referencing, and absolute lack of any memory of scale of any sort of reason whatsoever. And when Obama starts to do the same things, keep the same people they castigated? Ahhh...

I keep on waking up in an Alternate Universe every morning.

The one that is more stuck on stupid, and I don't see that ending any time soon.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 19.01.2009 @ 15:22


No, his mistake was not using TurboTax which flags the lack of contributions. He isn't smart enough to buy a program to remind him he should pay his taxes. And if he couldn't shell out a bit more for H&R block and say it was their fault, then just what sort of idiot are we getting? He certainly makes enough to afford decent tax preparation... or is it only the 'little people' who are supposed to do that and if you make over a certain amount you can forego it?

Yes, indeed, if you do your own taxes you probably get it wrong: that is the problem with the tax code. If he doesn't realize *that* then I really, truly, don't want him in Treasury... where this sort of thing would prevent him from being hired on the civil side.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 17.01.2009 @ 19:05


How about some of the good, old federalism that leaves things up to the states and gets the federal government out of telling folks what to do?

Or reading the Constitution to tell you what government is given to do and keep it at that?

You can't get there overnight, but a KISS platform and crafting policy from that would help... otherwise you are just a bunch of programs with a few semi-stated ideas and no real coherent idea of what it means to be a Republican. Then mandate the KISS platform to all candidates high and low? You know, have some idea of what a governing ethos actually *is*, instead of doing things spur of the moment? Structure follows simplicity, and that would mean strong State party structures which follow the more general outlines but can adjust by State. So you can have State level diversity and adhere to a common view of federal government.

That does mean going beyond the bland 'conservative' label and having to identify the few vital concerns of the Nation and get rid of the distractions and hand those back to the States. I would vote for federalism that had the old 'structural' view and applied it across *all* of the federal government, not just the judiciary. I will not vote for a Big Government party or candidates any longer: they are the problem.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 27.11.2008 @ 09:28


'“It’s not good,” but society is vulnerable and society is going to have to intervene, Hendry said.' - Hugh Hendry, 2008

Ahhh... how quickly they forget...

"Some writers have so confounded society with government,
as to leave little or no distinction between them;
whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;
the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections,
the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one
encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.
The first a patron, the last a punisher."
-Thomas Paine, Common Sense 1776

When society bails out something, it is private individuals doing that.

When the public bails out something, that is government.

How quickly we do forget and give to our punisher the good things to do, so that we may be punished to only be good... which is an extreme evil worse than all others as it removes the meaning of good. But then wanting to bail them out is good, giving it to government to do is wicked.

So simple.

So easy to forget.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 23.11.2008 @ 21:57


Ok, the PS fried and replacement does not get system back to pre-fry levels. That indicates either: a power surge that went through the PS and snuffed it or a fault in the PS. If you are using an uninterruptable power supply between your PS and the wall, then it is the latter. If you aren't you now know why a couple hundred bucks in a UPS is valuable. Only plug a computer into a wall outlet to test and see if it works... otherwise a UPS is necessary. If the UPS checks out on another system, then it isn't the fault... if it doesn't then you have a power surge culprit and should see if it is still under the guarantee time of the company (usually limited to a couple of years and $25k in protection of hardware).

Assuming it was a bad PS, it may have given a final hit to the motherboard, which is bad news. Getting a replacement motherboard for an old system is hell (that is what I do in my spare time when a system goes down, look for old technology). If you have a 'known good' system, move the hard drives to it so you can recover your data... you were backing up your data, right?... that you have been working on since your last back-up. If you don't have a 'known good' back-up system for your older drives, then getting a couple of cheap external drive cases and hooking them into those will do you just fine - USB them and get the data from them.

By checking your drives on a 'known good' system (a friend, relative or a second small system you rarely use) you will have a working system to analyze your dead one. Believe me, you want a 'known good' system around somewhere. It should be on a separate UPS, too.

If your hard drives all check out, then you can either ditch the old case/mb/ps or get a brand new motherboard to burn-in for a 48 hour cycle (with memory and graphic card, etc.) and make sure it can support your old drives (mostly EIDE drives, is my guess). At that point you re-install your drives, change the BIOS to boot from the old master drive and pray: if the saints are with you the system will boot, see different hardware, start to reconfigure itself and tell you to contact the MotherShip for a new registration code (for XP... Win2K will be good to go as-is). Then you suck all your data over to a back-up hard drive or onto writeable DVD media which you conveniently bought a burner for. For the cost of motherboard, memory, graphics card, DVD writer, and making sure your case supports a standard motherboard type (ask Alienware) you will be good to go on a DIY project.

Or go to MWave and add in a case, construction and burn-in costs, make sure it will take all your old drives and have them make it, burn it in and send it to you. Or phone their tech staff and talk with them directly. Nice 'custom from standard parts' outfit that know what they are doing. I buy a lot from them for pieces-parts and they did my last back-up system, which sits quietly and unused on another table.

It sounds like the PS just lost a critical component (resistor most likely) and that overheated a cable, lost insulation and *zap*.

Moral of the story: back up your data like it is a religion. External hard drive turned on ONLY for that is a good idea. Regular DVD back-ups are excellent and use CDs for incremental backups. If you have less than 64GB then a memory stick would do you well, too. I like the external hard drive as I can pick it up, walk to a new system, put it down, plug it in and go from that new system with very little set-up save for software. I use MS Synch Toy which is free.

Always back up your data.

Always have a UPS for your system.

Always have a back-up system as one system is a single point of failure. It doesn't need to be a supremo system, just *work*.

Always set time aside to run your back-up when you are asleep.

Always run a virus scanner.

You are your own IT department and system administrator: do the things necessary to keep your customer up and running, even as a solo operation.

Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 17.11.2008 @ 09:16

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