Imagine playing a game where everytime you were about to do something like buy a property in Monopoly, your opponent would change the rules and say you have to get an education card from the Community Chest first. Want to buy a railroad, you need an engineer certificate. Utility? You need a born with a silver spoon in your mouth Chance card. You would soon give up in frustration and quit playing, wouldn't you? So why do we accept it from our government overlords?
You Didn't Build That!
Obama caught hell earlier this year during the election campaigns for his "you didn't build that" speech. Truth is they DON'T want you to build anything by yourself. If you did, they couldn't keep their nitwit goverment bureaucrats employed.
For example, have a great eye for design and the abstract? Interior design is easy enough for the gifted, isn't it? But try to open a business doing just that and you run into the state and local government juggernaut designed to raise the cost of entry and protect the entrenched who got there first by getting government to change the rules (see Reason.tv's "Throw Pillow Fight". Now, in many places, they want you to get certified by going to classes to fork over money to someone probably less talented to you for their approval. Then there are seemingly endless forms and applications to just open a business with lots of bureaucrats with their hands out to get a piece of the action before you can even apply your talents to start earning a living. It's all designed to raise the standard of living of the incompetents working those jobs. Ok, ok! They're not totally incompetent. They sure know how to put pretty darn good roadblocks in your way, and if you figure out a way around them, they write more rules and put up more roadblocks.
If that isn't enough to scare you, how about if you have no special skills, but just want to provide a provide basic services that people want while you earn a living working for yourself? Another place where local governments squash simple pursuit of the American dream is shown in Reason.tv's "Food Fight". Many bureaucrats wouldn't have a full time job playing solitaire on their tax payer bought computers when they have a moment's break from the daily grind if they weren't chasing nebulous numbers like Mr. Health Dept Worker with his desk full of papers making believe he's doing something impotent in the video. And as you can see in that documentary, if you did build that, government workers will work overtime (because they get more of your tax dollars that way) find a way to try to take it away from you.
Mabuhay! Clark Air Base Economic Free Zone.
As if state and local governments weren't enough of an obstacle to overcome, here comes the Feds... While American politicians are constantly putting up more and more roadblocks here at home, other countries are tearing them down. Witness the economic activity at the former home of the US 3rd Air Force, Clark Air Base. After Mount Pinatubo blew it's top and the US abandonned the bases (which the Filipinos weren't going to renew leases anyway until after the eruption), the enterprising former US colony turned the property into a special economic zone. One of their first residents was none other than Texas Instruments who built a $1 billion plant there. Yea, yea... Here we had former Governor Perry gloating about job creation in Texas - HA, when the truth is that Texas is bleeding higher paying jobs as employers still seek to limit labor costs and taxes in more hospitable business climates overseas.
The Philip Morris Profits Protection Act.
Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, is more asinine than the government's war on tobacco. Well... perhaps the US sponsorship of dictators around the world is quite parallel in ingenuity.
First we had the self-righteous claiming to want to protect smokers from evil tobacco companies, but in reality, they're just in it for themselves, like any charitable organization's senior staff raking in the big bucks from your $5 donations. Tax smokers more to pay more 'government $$$'s' (stolen from smokers) to anti-smoking orgs they say, all so they don't have to worry about their mortgage payments while they brainstorm ways to plunder even more loot. Then there was the Master Settlement Agreement which was nothing more than good old racketeering and a conspiracy to extort. Of course, it's not racketeering and conspiracy to extort when government does it (me rolls eyes). Not only did they 'penalize' big tobacco forcing them to gorge a portion of their profits (which really comes from smokers themselves in the form of higher prices), but the settlement's agreement was for states to put up roadblocks against companies with no legal liabilities in the lawsuit from gaining market share with lower prices because they didn't have the penalties as part of their fixed operating costs.
But that wasn't enough, so they petitioned to put tobacco under control of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which amounted to an act specifically for protecting profits for Philip Morris. Dr Michael Siegel was and is still very much a tobacco control advocate, but he was unceremoniously expelled from their inner circles when he dared questioned some of their operations. He has been running a blog for the last 7 years detailing many of their most outrageous acts at The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary.
What to do?
Get mad, get involved, and start raising hell. There were only ten commandments needed to be followed to keep the people on high moral standing and keep the peace. Our government is working overtime changing rules daily to further enrich themselves and hang onto power at our and our children's expense. Learn the names of your reps and the issues and vote, vote, vote... It doesn't do so well on the national level w/ the two party system, but still put them on notice. They're watching us, let em know they're under the microscope as well.
Oh, and if you still smoke, buy anything but Philip Morris products. Hit em where it hurts.
A good resource for learning how they're killing opportunity and freedom here in the US and where you need to be involved is the Institute for Justice.
You can bet there will be lots more posts coming on this subject.