Monday, May 23, 2011

Not so good counsel from prominent Canadians

In today's Ottawa Citizen page A3 there was a full-page spread with advice "prominent" Canadians have for Prime Minister Harper Counsel from prominent Canadians.  Apparently Postmedia News did not think to consult anyone other than socialists since all seven of the interviewees provided only recommendations to increase the invasiveness of government in our lives. 

The head of the Canadian Medical Association applauded the current health care monopoly, as if physicians left free to practice their profession without government force could not built better practices, and patients left free to choose their health care could not do better than legions of bureaucrats.  He erred when he said "for tha last century, medicare has been an important contributor to our country's economy, productivity and quality of life."  Maybe he does not realize that the government only took control of a large part of health care a few decades ago and that ever since then cost of health care and its availability to citizens has been decreasing. 

A professor of climate modelling says Harper should consult past politicians and all the socialists who were not elected to lead the government when formulating environmental policy.  He conveniently ignores the fact that all climate models have failed to predict the actual climate going forward.  Anyone willing to torture the equations hard enough can build a model to replicate past data.  However, when models have been tested in the unknown future data they have been spectacularly wrong.  Consider that every single model used in the IPCC reports of the past has predicted steeply rising temperatures but the actual satellite data has shown level to decreasing tempteratures.  The modelers have ignored the proper effect of clouds in modulating temperature and failed to account for solar output cycles. By avoiding the two most important variables in climate cycles, no wonder the models based on atmospheric carbon dioxide have been so far off base.

A doctoral student in sociology advises the Prime minister to remain true to the values on which this country was founded.  Apparently she thinks those values include major portions of the communist manifesto instead of individual rights and freedoms as documented in the Magna Carta, Bill of Rights, Constitution Act, the Canadian Bill of Rights etc. 

The vice-president of CARP provides mostly a prescription for more government intervention but does have the one reference to individual freedom in the whole page: the elimination of a mandatory retirement age.

A playwright says that a majority government mandate does not mean Harper is actually allowed to change anything important, as if the hundreds of thousands of controls over our lives put in place over the last hundred years cannot be removed without another vote.  He wants Harper to leave Canada in its original condition, ignoring that when Canada was founded, individuals were responsible for their own lives, accountable for not violating the rights of others and largely left to make their own way in life as they saw fit, without a massive central government to tell them how to build their house, grow their food, travel, work, live and die.  In fact, in many ways the original Canada is the opposite of the one we have today.  We still have a great country, but this is despite the pervasive force used by government, not because of it.

The mayor of Calgary wants billions of dollars for "cities", meaning for another layer of state controls.  One level of government is to tax citizens and give the money to another layer of government.  How's that for freedom and accountability?

The leader of an advocacy group makes nice-sounding but meaningless suggestions for "growing inequality", "listening to the Canadians who did not vote for him" and "finding a common path forward".

Not one of these prominent people made reference to the right of individuals to peacefully purse their own happiness in life, free of interference from the state.  Except for the reference to removing mandatory retirement, none of them spoke about removing the giant burden of government from the backs of citizens who simply wish to make their own way in life.  Further, they only tended to make fatal errors in knowledge of the history of Canada and the freedoms our Country was founded upon - the freedoms responsible for the great scientific, technological and economic progress that comes when individual rights are protected instead of suppressed. 

Maybe it is time we tried capitalism for a change, instead of socialism or the mixed economy.  Unfortunately, the prominent Canadians chosen by Postmedia News wouldn't even recognize capitalism if it was laid out on the table in front of them, so there is no help there!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The election speech we'll never hear

Fellow citizens, I stand before you today, not to ask you to help my party seize even more control over your lives, but to restore the rights and freedoms inherent in your nature as rational beings.  These rights are not artificial gifts from the state, but inalienable rights you are endowed with by your very nature.  For humans to survive and thrive, you must use your minds to re-shape the world around you.  To use your mind you must be free to live.  To bring your ideas into reality you must be free to act on them and to own the consequences of your actions.  Thus, the three great human rights are 1)life, 2)liberty to act, and 3)property ownership. 

So long as you do not violate the rights of others, the laws of a just society protect your rights against violation by other individuals, by other countries, and especially against your own government.  To protect your rights there must be a government based on objective laws to which we delegate the initiation of force.  Only such a government can properly operate a police force, a court system, a prison system and a military.  All other parts of life are not a proper role for government since they do not require the initiation of force.  The principles to create a truly free society were discovered over two hundred years ago but have never been fully implemented.  If elected, my party will begin the process of converting Canada into a free country by unwinding the many mistakes that have been spliced into our government in the last hundred or so years.

When the government used the Bank of Canada to take over control of our currency we thought the government could manage it better than freely acting citizens.  Instead, successive governments have printed money like forgers, taking wealth from those who earned it and giving it to those who did not.  They have borrowed vast sums, creating a debt that hangs over your head, your children’s heads and their children’s heads.  The result is that the value of our dollar has fallen to about 4.5 cents, meaning the cost of living has risen more than 20 times over in about 100 years.  We will gradually return to the gold standard, so there is an objective value for money and not an imaginary one.  Government spending will never again be allowed to spiral out of control.

When government initiated force in your economic activities by creating departments like Industry, Resources, Environment, Economic Development, Agriculture, and many others that have created hundreds of thousands of rules and regulations to make you act the way they think is best, they claimed it was for your own good.  We will begin the process of returning freedom to your economic activities by unwinding our massive bureaucracies.  Since the intrusions are numerous and deep, the process will take many years and you will naturally have to adapt your business models.  The final effect will be higher employment, productivity and wealth creation.  Each of you will have the right to work as hard as you wish, earn as much as you want and spend it how you choose. The positive and negative consequences of your choices will be yours alone.  You will not be made to pay for the choices of others.

When agencies such as the CBC, CRTC, Telefilm and others were created the rationale was the promotion of Canadian culture.  In the real world the result has been to stifle innovation, punish some to reward others and create a culture where political pull determines success.  My party recognizes that true culture is a product of the choices of individuals and not something to be created or contorted by the use of government force.  In a free society artists and creators of all types may produce whatever they wish and their products, like all others, are judged by fellow individual citizens.  The degree you value an artistic or cultural product is clearly indicated by your willingness to spend your own earnings to enjoy it.  You will make up your own mind which artists will be rewarded.

Although health care falls under provincial responsibility in the Constitution Act 1967, our federal government has increasingly taxed you to pay for the ballooning provincial spending.  If elected, we will begin the process of reducing federal taxes as we reduce federal payment for health care.  We will also start to enforce your right to choose your own health care.  It is immoral to prevent you from choosing your own doctor, paying for your own treatment and equally wrong to force doctors to sacrifice their freedom for the sake of others.  We recognize the right of medical professionals to choose their own path in life, run their own business and earn their own compensation.  Health care does not spring, fully formed and free for all, from the whim of an elected official.  It cannot be encouraged by strangling it with government.  When you are able to keep more of your own money, you will spend according to your own personal health priorities and medical professionals will adapt their services to meet those priorities. Just as occurs in all free markets, innovation and quality will increase and a variety of business models will proliferate to meet all market demands.

I could spend all day listing and explaining the forceful interventions in your life that our party would withdraw if we are elected.  From the regulation and dictation of what language you speak and write, the control over the education of your children, the financial dependencies and contortions created by wealth destroying programs such as EI, OAS, CPP, the long and growing list of tax credits and rebates, to the creation of different classes of citizens through laws incorporating racism and sexism into our society, the list is unimaginably long.  We know the damage of a century of creeping socialism cannot be undone in a year or even an electoral mandate.  Although it will likely take a generation or longer to accomplish, we will begin the process and nurse it along as fast as possible. 

We do not want to control your life.  We do not know better than you how to spend your money.  We should not substitute our wills for your own.  The changes will seem huge at first, require large adjustments and will not be without pain for some, but we believe you and all other individuals have the right to run their own lives and make their own decisions, for better or for worse, so long as they do not violate the rights of others.  When conflicts among individuals occur, we will have a system of objective, clear and consistent laws to settle them

On election day, vote to take back your rights as a thinking, living individual and vote to take back your life and responsibility for it from the control of others.

Randall Denley to run for Ontario PC's in Ottawa West - Nepean

Good on Randall Denley for deciding to take the plunge and run for office.  My perception from reading his columns over the years is that he generally favours the freedom of individuals to run their own lives instead of using the force of government to run their lives for them.  Given the overwhelming tendency of all political parties to increase the power and controls of government, any move in the direction of individual freedom has to be seen as a good thing. 

Hopefully, after years of observing and commenting on the poor ethics and practices of government, Randall will not be too quickly poisoned by the political electoral process and revert to partyspeak.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'll have a large Tim Horton's health care please

During recent election speeches and in his first election TV ad, NDP leader Jack Layton has made much of the fact that a BC hospital emergency department was so overwhelmed by demand in late February that four patients were triaged in the hospital’s Tim Hortons location.  While opposition politicians have trumpeted this as a failure by the government to spend enough on health care, sound economic second thought should recognize that Canadians would stand to benefit greatly if health care was offered by institutions that operated as well as the iconic coffee shop chain.

A distinguishing and crippling feature of our current health care system is its socialist structure.  A brief examination of the principles of the Canada Health Act them reveals why the system is built to fail.  One principle states that all administration of provincial health insurance must be carried out by a public authority on a non-profit basis. The fatally flawed implication here is that profit is a bad thing, when in fact the existence of profit in a business service is the clearest possible signal that consumers value the service and want more of it.  The Tim Hortons web site says, “the chain is dedicated to satisfying the changing tastes of guests through continuous product innovation. As consumer tastes grow, so do the choices.” In 2009 the company showed profits of a few hundred million dollars from their 3,750 locations.  It is clear that Canadians voted in massive numbers, through their own individually hard-earned dollars, to support the business of Tim Hortons over those of their competitors.  If others offer you a better product, you will certainly abandon Tim’s and shift your dollars elsewhere.  To thrive, the company must remain at the leading edge of innovation in both products offered and operational excellence.  If the company failed, you would not mourn its passing as it would imply that an even better business is available.

The second principle of the Act is that of comprehensiveness, meaning all necessary health services, including hospitals, physicians and surgical dentists, must be insured. This deliberately excludes a vast portion of the actual health care services available to and necessary for Canadians, with dentists, physical therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, opticians, ambulances prescription medication and others as prominent examples of health services deemed unnecessary by the Act.  Many Canadians buy health insurance to fill this gap, and in my own household we pay about $300 per month for family health and dental coverage.  This helps pay for, although it certainly does not cover all the costs associated with helping us see clearly using glasses and contact lenses, treat our occasional illnesses through medication, handle our back and next pain through chiropractic care, moderate the damage of bunions through podiatry or even maintain oral hygiene and general health through regular dental care.  In fact, although we are forced to pay for it through our taxes, we, like most Canadians, access public health care less frequently than private health care.

What is our experience with private health care?  Well, the team at Place D’Orleans Dental is super-efficient, friendly, knows each of us well and keeps up with our life changes while providing us with state of the art services.  The modern and efficient services at Shoppers Drug Mart located at multiple convenient locations all over town can fill prescriptions quickly and refills can be prepared in advance of pickup with a self-service phone call. Non-prescription health products are abundant and inexpensive.  Dr. Lawrence and his staff at the Broadview Spine and Health Centre quickly diagnosed my sciatic problem a few years ago, explained that treatment would likely be highly effective and promptly proceeded to eliminate a debilitating and progressive pain and mobility problem, with periodic maintenance avoiding all recurrence and other problems since then.  The fine people at Lenscrafters in Place D’Orleans periodically and quickly manufacture and custom-fit glasses for us that are always stylish while improving in quality and durability.  Though we have not yet used it, the near-miraculous corrective laser eye surgery can be done extremely safely in mere minutes at an amazingly low price.

The third principle of the Canada health Act is universality, meaning all insured residents are entitled to the same level of health care.  This sounds nice in theory, but when implemented through a centrally controlled, profitless system it leads to vast inequities.  People who know how the system works are able to exploit it much better than those who do not.  Long waits for basic attention from a harried professional is common, diagnosis can take months and treatment even longer.  The monopoly system administration mostly sees you as an expense, a financial drain on resources, a thing to be dealt with and discharged as soon as possible instead of a valued customer whose satisfaction is the primary goal and whose time is too valuable to waste.  If your dentist treated you like this you would quickly select another one from the abundant supply.  If your family has the financial means after paying your tens of thousands in taxes each year, you may bypass the inefficient public system and buy the care you need elsewhere. 

The final principle of the Act I want to address is accessibility, that says all insured persons have reasonable access to health care facilities and all physicians, hospitals, etc, must be provided reasonable compensation for the services they provide. A core problem in a centrally controlled service operating in the absence of the vital information provided by a price system is that it is nearly impossible to operate with even a moderate degree of efficiency.  The usual free-market intelligence signals that tell entrepreneurs where to locate, what customers want to buy and how to provide service most efficiently are virtually absent.  Consequently, Canadians often encounter aging structures, antiquated facilities, rushed and impersonal services and incomplete care.  In a free market there is constant adaptation to customer preferences, powerful reward for innovation and improvement, a burning desire to gain and retain business relationships, efficient communication, on-time scheduling, adoption of the latest technology and steadily improving value for the dollar.  The full decision-making ability of every consumer and entrepreneur is harnessed most efficiently into an infinitely complex web of information flow. A centrally controlled government monopoly has only a tiny fraction of this information to work with and is inevitably less effective.

If only the entire Canadian health care system was run the way Tim Hortons runs its business and competes effectively with all-comers, then Canadians would have inexpensive access to all the health care they could buy.  Tim Hortons health care?  Bring it on Jack!