Archive for July, 2014

Publix Road & Disney Highway

July 29, 2014

If you haven’t heard, the new concern on Capitol Hill is The Highway Trust Fund. Without an increase in taxes or, dare I say, a decrease in spending, the fund will be depleted by August 1st 2014. Examining the issue though, would this really be such a terrible thing?

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the building of roads and streets was privatized? Probably not, because, let’s face it, you’re likely a relatively normal person who has innocently stumbled across this blog. However, since you’re here now, give it a moment’s thought. What ideas or concerns pop into your head? No really, think about it!

Done? Good.

Did you envision roads leading nowhere or right up to businesses but not away? Perhaps you anticipated a mix of chaotic and confusing road rules resulting in 5-mile pileups. (I encourage you to leave any of your ideas in the comments below)

Here’s a short incomplete list of what I foresee:

  • No more frustrating bumper-to-bumper traffic jams
  • No more four-way intersections
  • No more waiting countless minutes for your light to turn green
  • Far fewer car accidents/deaths
  • Improved road conditions

I know, I know…a few crayons short of a Crayola box, but hear me out. Unlike the government, road owners would have to receive funding by actually meeting consumers’ desires. To demonstrate, let’s look at how the government is currently performing in regards to customer satisfaction. Starting off, even with a Department of Transportation budget of 77 Billion dollars, only 31% of the Nation’s roads are considered to be in “good” condition.¹ In 2011, 35k people died in vehicle accidents, making it number 12 on the Center for Disease Control’s list of the leading causes of death (number 2 if you remove diseases from that list and number 1 if you break “Accidents” out into it’s individual components).² Compare this to the 4400 occupational fatalities, of which roughly 1000  are still contributed to “roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles.”³

I brought in the last bit about occupational deaths to show that, generally speaking, private industries sort of rely on keeping its customers and workers alive. Workers and customers tend to flee to competitors or demand high premiums when they hear about absurd death tolls in a particular industry. Sadly, when it comes to government provided services, we aren’t given a choice. Thus, we have a government provided service as the number 1 non-disease killing source and no alternatives to choose from!

In addition to this, private industries have something the governments never have: price signals. When a private industry performs well and provides customers with the desired services, they see a profit. When they fail to do so, they suffer losses or see gains to competitors. Using these signals, road builders would be able to determine where roads should be built, the number of lanes that should be provided, speeds for each area, safety levels, and so much more. Ultimately, it would be the users of these roads that help entrepreneurs determine what society is demanding in regards to product safety, quality, and cost. It is because the government lacks such data that they cannot tell whether they are producing too much or too little of the product, using the correct combination and amount of resources, selling in the right area, or even producing what’s desired.

So give it some thought again. Should we really be allowing more of our money to go towards governmental maintenance of roads? Shouldn’t we start looking for the alternative solution that’s ultimately concerned about the consumers’ desires and safety? Shouldn’t we start asking Publix and Disney to build our roads and highways?

If you need more discussion, talk it out in the comments.

¹Why Roads Would be Safer in a State-less Society by Antón Chamberlin

²National Vital Statistics Reports

³Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary

Hobby Lobby: Bigger than Baptists and Babies

July 4, 2014

I’m sure we’ve all heard about it by now and read the various articles on the Supreme Court’s ruling over Hobby Lobby and birth control.  Liberals claim it’s about womens’ rights.  Conservatives claim it’s about religious rights. Libertarians say it’s bigger than both.

I’m talking about freedom (it is the 4th of July after all*); freedom for all people, not just the “religious”.  It’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court’s ruling only served to restore liberty to a particular section of society, as if they somehow have the right to more liberty than others.  Our country was founded with the idea of liberty for all; liberty that is naturally belonging to each individual and not something granted by a group of individuals called “the government”.  It is not proper for these individuals comprising the government, through coercion or force, to take what belongs to one individual and demand it be given to another, e.g. taking individuals’ money and forcing them to provide birth control for other individuals.  There is no righteousness in such actions, it is theft pure and simple.  Regardless of whether it is done in the name of needs, wants, or societal benefits, when you forcefully take from another, it is stealing from them and violating their liberty.  The Affordable Care Act, Social Security, and Business Subsidies are all prime examples of one group of people taking from another group of people and redistributing to yet a third group of people.

It is time for our country to recognize once more the liberty that belongs to us, the liberty that was defended on behalf of us, the liberty that is increasingly denied to us.  It is time we start demanding our freedom and at the same time, stop rejecting others their freedom.


*As my wife likes to point out, July 2nd is the date we legally separated from Britain and therefore our real Independence Day.