Monday, 20 June 2016

The Government Makes Me Want to Kill Myself

Even in an ideal society, i.e. one characterised by purely voluntary interactions, free from coercion, and free from the institutionalised initiation of force/violence against non-aggressors, life would not be easy or free from difficulty. However, many of the things that make life so difficult would either be much diminished or made non-existent. Government regulation and intervention in our economic and social lives provably makes our lives so much more worse, especially for those at the bottom of society, i.e. the poor and disabled, et al. As someone who is both poor and disabled, I feel the effects of statism every day. I have Asperger's Syndrome and Dyspraxia, and so am at a slight disadvantage. In a free society, I could feasibly overcome my disadvantages through hard work and dedication. However, the sheer devastation government has wrought on the economy essentially means that this is near impossible for those on the bottom rung of society.

To paraphrase Jorg Guido Hulsmann, central banks are the agents of special interests whose job is to rob the general population to prevent the bankruptcy of those who should go bankrupt. They devalue the currency, meaning it costs more to buy goods (since you now need more money, since it has become worth less than it used to). They also set interest rates artificially low, which distorts the signals entrepreneurs rely upon. The net result is malinvestment that artificially stimulates demands, causing a bubble. These frequent economic busts are the result of fiscal policy. If we had a free banking system and a gold standard instead of a central banking system and a fiat currency, currency would not be constantly being devalued, and many of the risky practices engaged in, such as fractional reserve banking, would either not take place, or would be much less widespread.

Aside from distorting money and the business signals investors rely upon, government also love to regulate. Whilst liberals insist that we need regulations in order to 'protect' us from 'greedy' companies, the reality is that corporations and big business are the ones who stand to benefit from government regulation. Whilst we are supposed to live in a system of 'representational democracy', where politicians make policy decisions on our behalf, the reality is that their sole concern is their own political power and how to maintain it. To quote Stefan Molyneux, "political power is a drug more addictive than cocaine". The sole goal of a politician is re-election, and the chief way to get re-elected is to go on the campaign trail (as the Americans put it). However, campaigning costs money and, despite having their lavish, decadent, and extravagant lifestyles paid for and funded entirely by the taxpayers, they're not going to spend any of their own money. Oh no, they have to rely on donations.

This is where the corporations, big businesses, and other special interest groups come in. These special interest groups fund politicians and, in exchange, the politicians will pass legislation favourable to those special interest groups. It is no coincidence that no special interest groups lobby libertarian politicians. Because lobbying cannot take place in a market free from government coercion. When buying and selling becomes regulated, the first things to be bought and sold are the regulators. Far from 'protecting' us from 'greedy' corporations, all regulations do is stifle competition, which in turn stifles innovation. The idea that companies succeed at the expense of everybody else and the resulting financial crises are due to 'deregulation' is provably false. For the number of regulations has only ever grown, and the cost of compliance has essentially made US citizens 75% poorer. The government also tends to provide massive subsidies to various failing businesses, which enables them to continue making the same palpable and egregious errors over and over again without cost to themselves.

The idea that things are expensive because companies are 'greedy' is simply borne from the utterly infantile and completely facile belief that we're only poor because other people are rich. As much as the economically illiterate think that profits are evil, the reality is that companies need profits in order to survive commercially. One industry that constantly gets flak is the fuel and energy sector, particular those that utilise oil. However, the government makes far more per gallon of oil sold than the oil companies do. Consider the price of a gallon of 'gasoline' in Los Angeles California. When fuel is $4.00 per gallon in Los Angeles, that includes all the taxes. Immediately, you have to pay $0.86 in taxes, as you have to pay the California state gasoline excise tax, the Federal gasoline excise tax, and the California state and Los Angeles country sales tax. So, $3.14 actually go to Exxon. We then apply the pre-tax corporate profit margin to this amount, and we are left with $0.53 in profits. However, Exxon have to pay taxes on their corporate profit, leaving Exxon with just $0.32 per gallon of gasoline sold, and the US government at a staggering $1.07 per gallon of gasoline sold. This is just the effects taxation have on price. This does not even take into account the devaluing of currency, or the effect of regulation upon operating costs.

Liberals and other economically illiterate buffoons will claim we 'need' welfare programs and minimum wage laws to 'help' the poor. However, private charity has done far more for me than welfare programs ever have. The only reason I have a roof over my head, have food, etc. is because I live with my mother. Had I to rely solely on benefits I'd most likely be dead. Welfare and benefits do absolutely nothing to combat rising prices and lower wages at all, since the causes of these things still exist. Minimum wage laws are even worse, since they essentially outlaw low paying jobs. It is essentially a form of price fixing, as wages are the price for your labour. Whenever the government sets prices above market level, it results in two things: increased costs, and shortages of goods. This is what we see happen when the government sets wages above market level: it becomes more expensive for companies to operate and so they put up prices, pay workers less, give workers less hours, or even lay workers off. Competition for the remaining jobs becomes much more fierce, and it becomes harder for people to enter the job market.

As economic conditions deteriorate and the government heaps cost after cost on the beleaguered companies, employers have to raise their standards. Where previously a degree would have sufficed, you now need a higher degree and/or x years of experience to even be considered. I have never managed to land a permanent job, and the longest temporary job I had was 13 weeks. Since then I was unemployed for a whole year until I got employed at McDonalds. However, I was incapable of passing the probationary period (based on their feedback, this was presumably down to the nature of my disabilities). I might have escaped the horrors of mandatory public schooling 11 years ago, but the nightmare of the current economic cesspool still remains. It is extremely depressing, and I constantly feel like killing myself because of it (don't worry, I never act on it). My only hope right now is to escape to Texas, however the emigration process is purposefully made difficult, and my application has been delayed a few more weeks due to government incompetence. You see, despite being told by the NVC that she had filed the right form and met all the requirements, the US Embassy told me something completely different, meaning we have to file the same form all over again. A classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Right, I'm off to the kitchen to go eat some glass.

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