By Mike Tront – Support Mike on Patreon

It would take a miracle for Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination at this point, let alone the presidency.  One of his main ideas though, the idea that College should be free for Americans, is not going away anytime soon.

Just like healthcare, constant government regulation and intervention is making college more and more expensive every year.  Students are taking out huge government-backed loans to pay for their education, and the costs keep going up as more easy money enters the system.  Eventually the student loan bubble will bust, and this will be the excuse the government needs to step in and “fix” things.

You don’t have to look too far to find articles and studies on why the Bernie free college plan will be an economic and financial disaster.  But the huge taxpayer liability isn’t necessarily the worst part.  The worst part is that making college free will totally decimate the quality of higher education and it will keep the poor, poor and the rich, rich.

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Let’s imagine Bernie gets his wish.  To start, most Americans will be eligible for government to pay for their college education.  To paraphrase the above O’Rourke quote:  If you think college is expensive now, just wait until it’s free!  Now that government is footing the bill, why wouldn’t college’s, and the various industries that go with them (books, school supplies, housing) up their costs even more?  Sure, the college’s that would be eligible for the free money will be “public” or “non-profit,” but since when has that been an impediment to making tremendous profits?  (The NFL and the Clinton Foundation are both “non-profit” organizations!)

Once this gets out of hand, the government will have two choices:  Either completely leave the field of funding and regulating higher education (Ha!) or completely socializing it.  I think we all know what path legislators will take.

Socializing higher education, in order to keep costs down and to make it “fair” for everyone, would have to look something like our current public school system.  First, you’d only be allowed to go to your local neighborhood college for free.  The costs of you choosing your college and the government paying for housing and travel will just get too high.  Not to mention, what happens if everyone wants to go to the same colleges?  There’s only so much room at each school, so to make it “fair” you’d be forced to go to your local government college.

So if you grow up poor and in a bad neighborhood, the option of working your way up and out is gone.  Previously, you could work your way through college, get some grants and/or loans, then you’d have a shot at a better life.  Now, unless you can afford housing in a better college district, you’re stuck.  And just like now, the poorer the neighborhood you live in, the worse the education you’re going to get.  Good luck getting a high paying job with your “Detroit Public College” degree.

How far does this “right” to free college go?

What if I’m a bad student and I’m constantly failing my classes?  What if I want to come back in 10 years when I’m finally serious about my education? Is there an age limit on my “right” to a free education?  Can the government deny me my “right” to free college then?

How about graduate school?  Who pays for that?  Is it fair that only the wealthy will get to become doctors, lawyers, dentists, and other high paying professions?  And if grad school is a “right” too, shouldn’t anyone get to go regardless of their aptitude or previous grades?

What if I want to major in two subjects?  Is that allowed for free?  Or will double majors just be for the wealthy?  Again, free college is a “right” so why shouldn’t I be allowed to go to school indefinitely, constantly changing or adding majors?

These are all questions that will not be decided by you and me on an individual and voluntary basis, but they will be decided by bureaucrats and legislators.  And you’re stuck following their decisions and paying for their decisions whether you like them or not.

If you’re a free college supporter, I’m sure you’re going to argue that many countries already have free college education, so why not America?

The reason many other countries can afford free college is two fold:  First they have much lower rates of people actually going to college, which leads to the second fold:  many occupations in European countries simply don’t require a college degree like in the U.S.  Apprenticeship and on the job training is still an important part of many industries in Europe, just like it used to be in America when someone with a high school degree could have a quality standard of living, and have an opportunity to move up in life if they choose.

The fact is, the results of offering free college to all Americans regardless of grades, aptitude, or ability to actually apply such an education will result in another failed socialized industry that will stagnate and just cost more over time.  Most Americans will get stuck in a local, government college that will eventually offer little more than what high school did.  Thus is the nature of a government monopoly.  We get a worse product at a much higher cost to everyone.

The only people who will be able to escape this system will be the wealthy, of course.  Just like all socialist policies, this will make it that much harder for someone on the bottom to move up in life, and it will protect the people currently at the top.

 

mike

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By Mike Tront – Support Mike on Patreon

If you haven’t seen the movie “Inglourious Basterds,” it’s by far Quentin Tarantino‘s best work.  It follows a group of Jewish allied fighters during WWII behind German lines, constantly ambushing and killing as many Nazis as possible.  In one powerful scene, after another successful ambush on an enemy unit, a few enemies are left alive and given the option of giving intel on the whereabouts of another unit, or dying.  After one soldier proudly refuses the offer, he gruesomely dies for his country.  The last soldier promptly gives the Basterds the information they want.

But the powerful part of the scene happened when Brad Pitt’s character asks the now free soldier what he’s going to do with his uniform after the war.  “Burn it!” he proclaims.  Pitt doesn’t like that answer.  He explains once the uniform is gone, no one will know he is a Nazi, and he likes his Nazis out in the open right where he can see them.  He then uses his knife to carve a large Swastika in his forehead.  For the rest of his life everyone will know he is a Nazi.

So how does this relate to today?  Well, this is exactly how I view bigoted people and businesses.  I like them right out in the open for the world to see.  Individually, it’s pretty easy.  Once you start talking to someone, a bigoted person will tend to show their true nature.  You can then decide for yourself if this is the kind of person you’d like to associate with or not.

With businesses it becomes harder.  Why?  Because it’s against the law for a business to be bigoted against a certain race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.  On the surface, as libertarians, this isn’t all bad.  We believe everyone has the same rights and justice is blind.  It was a terrible time in the U.S. when segregation was the law of the land.

But the fact is, segregation only existed because it was the LAW.  In a free society, segregated businesses just can’t compete.  Why do you think it had to become a law in the first place?  Because without government forcing segregation, it is very hard to stay in business if you want to be segregated or bigoted.

The cost of being a bigoted business in a free market would be so great, in fact, that it would be virtually impossible to stay open.

Obviously losing customers is a huge cost.  Not just from the people they are intentionally refusing to serve, but also from people who will refuse to support a bigoted business.  But that’s just the beginning of the losses, as it definitely wouldn’t be free to enforce their bigotry!

Bigoted business would have to hire more security.  Just having a sign that says “No Jews” isn’t enough.  They’d need someone at the door enforcing that sign.  When it’s the government law, the owner just has to call the police and let the taxpayers pay for the enforcement.  Not so in a free market.  You’re responsible for your own security.

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Now you have to find a security company that’s willing to enforce whatever ban you’re instituting.  How many security companies are willing to take the risk of guarding and enforcing a bigoted business?  They’d charge you more than the average company I’m sure.  Not just because of the added risk of confrontation, but also such a security company likely wouldn’t get much other business once they’re known for supporting bigots.  Not to mention this company couldn’t hire anyone from the group this business is trying to keep away!

How about insurance?  How many insurance companies want to be in bed with bigoted companies?  Even if you found one, the cost would be huge since so few companies would be willing to compete in the field of insuring bigots!  Being an openly bigoted business, they are risking possible vandalism and property damage from angry people and protesters.  This would all also add to the cost of insurance.

Libertarians tend to focus on property rights when it comes to discrimination.  Because of this they often have to concede the fact that in a free market, some forms of business discrimination could take place.  This is one of the prices of freedom, we correctly say.  Predictably, this tends to drive away many potential friends and allies who happen to belong to groups that have a history of being discriminated against by government agencies.  Ironically, however, many who belong to these groups often clamor for MORE government.  Plus all this gives fodder for pundits, mostly liberal, to claim that libertarians are racist, sexist, etc, etc.

However, this is not true.  We know that a free market keeps these bigots out of business.  Right now, we have a system that forces bigoted business owners to serve the people they hate, thus making these bigots wealthy and keeping them in business!

My question is:  if we really want to eliminate the influence of bigoted people in society, why is the government keeping them in business?

 

mike

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By Mike Tront – Support Mike on Patreon

There is a good side and bad side to everything.  Even the most positive advancements in humanity result in short terms losses for some.  These short term losses are inevitably used as foot holds for government to rear it’s ugly head and permanently establish itself in our lives.

Some libertarians are even drawn in by these losses and use them to justify government action!

Specifically, I’m talking about job losses from automation, immigration, and free trade.

alien

Historically, these three advancements have been the best predictors of wealth for a society.  We all know the societies throughout history that have been the freest, with the most trade, the most free movement of people, and the most industrialization have the most wealth and the highest standard of living for everybody.

However, the ugly side of automation, immigration, and free trade is short term job losses for some people.  It’s no secret that machines can do things better and cheaper than humans.  Immigrants can take over low skilled jobs and do it for less wages, and free trade can bring in more competition, thus forcing current companies out of business.

This is great for consumers of course!  We get better quality goods and services at lower prices.  This allows us to keep more of our money and spend or invest in other industries that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.  This leads to more jobs in those industries, a bigger economy, and more wealth and prosperity for everyone.

But what about the poor guy who lost his job in the meantime?  The guy who now has to find a whole new skill set or live on the street?  How can the amazing free market handle this “failure” Mr Libertarian Guy???

Right now, the government has massive bureaucracies that deal with unemployment insurance, disability insurance, job skills training, subsidized college for those laid off, and of course many forms of welfare.  These programs are forced on us whether we need them or want them, they cost billions, and they do little else but perpetuate and reward unemployment, rather than solve it.

So how would the free market solve this?  First of all, rather then be forced to pay into unemployment insurance through our employers, we would have a choice.  You could go through any number of private companies competing for your business.  This competition would keep costs down and quality up, and most importantly it would keep your options open.  Are you secure in your skills and job?  You may just want bare minimum or even no unemployment insurance.  Are you in a volatile industry?  You may want better insurance.  Depending on how much you want to pay, your insurance could kick in after 1 year of employment, 2 years, or right away.  You could choose if you want it to cover you for a month, 6 months, a year, or whatever.

The best part is that insurance companies don’t want to pay you this money forever, so it’s in their best interest to do everything they can to get you back to work! Just like car insurance companies incentivize teens to take driving classes, and health insurance companies incentivize people to live healthier and take better care of themselves (I’m wearing a fitness tracker right now so I can get lower rates), unemployment insurers would give you classes on how to find work, specific job training help, etc.  Simply, it would save them money to help you!  Greedy insurance companies trying to get me to be a better driver, live healthier, and find a good job just so they can save a buck!  The nerve!

For the government, bureaucracies have the opposite incentive.  The more people they have on their welfare rolls, the bigger the budget they get, the more secure THEIR jobs are.  Private insurance would lose money if their private welfare rolls swell up.  That puts their job at risk.

Who do you want in your corner if you lose your job?  The bureaucrat that stands to gain from you being out of work, or the private insurer that stands to gain from getting you back to work?

 

mike

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By Mike Tront – Support Mike on Patreon

On the left, it’s a standard rallying cry that women make less money than men for the same job, and we need government to fix it!

If you’re on the right, or you’re a libertarian, you’ve undoubtedly read study after study showing that there is virtually no wage gap for woman and men in the same job with the same qualifications.

Now this could be another article boasting statistics, charts, and research showing that the gap is virtually nonexistent, and is direct result of parenting choices, or that the pay gap has more to do with men entering higher paying fields than woman.  Here, I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to put two liberal narratives together and see if they fit.

Narrative One:

Business owners are greedy, rapacious, villains that only care about money and the bottom line.

Narrative Two:

Business owners are sexist, and will make great strides to make sure that men make more money than women and that women don’t move up the ladder.

If you’re on the left, I’m sure you feel that there are a few good business owners out there, but by and large these two narratives will describe most businesses.  If you don’t believe this, then why do we need so many regulations, laws, and minimum wages for businesses?  And of course we know there is a huge wage gap, right?!

Well, let’s put these two narratives together:

First, business owners only care about the bottom line.  We can’t argue much with that.  The whole reason people take the enormous risk of starting their own business is to make more money than they were making working for someone else.  Why else do it?  Most businesses fail, costing the owner years of lost wages and a mountain of debt.  Not to mention business owners are open to law suits from customers, employees, other businesses, and the government.  Business owners work way more hours than they did working for someone else, and with much more stress.

With all this risk, stress, and razor thin margins a business owner has to deal with, are we to believe that owners are so sexist that they are willing to risk losing their business just because they can’t stand to see a woman earning as much as a man?

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The fact is, if there was a true wage gap, and if businesses could get the same production out of a woman as a man for 3/4 of the pay, no man would ever get a job!

Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes, two people of equal skill and education are willing to work for you and one will accept $20 an hour and the other will accept $15 an hour, who are you going to hire every time?

If you’re greedy and only care about money, you’re going to hire the person willing to work for $15 an hour.  The above cartoon couldn’t have said it better.

In fact, there are many wealthy, liberal business owners in America.  Why do they even hire men?  Why wouldn’t they just hire woman and pay them 90% of what men in the industry make?  They’d get just as much production, but have tremendously more profits.  They would put all of the sexist businesses out of business.  They’d be able to provide customers the same services and they’d be able to do it at a lower price, women would be making more money, and sexists businesses would be losing money.

These terrible, sexist business owners would have two options at this point.  Either lower the salaries of what they pay men, or bring up the salaries of what they pay woman. Or some combination of both.

wagegap2

So which is it liberals, do business owners just care about making profits?  Or are they so sexist that they’re willing to lose profits just to keep woman down?  It can’t be both.

mike

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By Mike Tront – Support Mike on Patreon

Nothing kills me more than seeing libertarians fight each other.  On many issues we have some nuanced opinions and differences, but one issue often causes hatred, fighting, and animosity. That is voting.

grumpycat

Murray “Mr Libertarian” Rothbard said: “I see no other conceivable strategy for the achievement of liberty than political action. Religious or philosophical conversion of each man and woman is simply not going to work; that strategy ignores the problem of power, the fact that millions of people have a vested interest in statism and are not likely to give it up”

With that being said, I’ve never voted or been registered to vote for a day in my life.  It’s not that I think voting is necessarily violence or that it’s wrong, I just can’t bring myself to do it.  The whole process of registering to vote, standing in line at some government owned building, and casting a preference for a ruler just feels dirty to me!

Every election cycle, libertarians bash the State and bash each other. Is it libertarian to vote?  Should we all just stay home on election day?  Even if libertarians do get elected, can they really change anything?

The answer to all of this is yes, yes, and yes.

Voting isn’t violence, and if anything it’s an act of self-defense.  If I’m in prison for some non-violent “offense,” and the prison guards ask for my vote on what channel to put the TV on, of course my first choice would be to let me out of prison I shouldn’t even be here!  Leave me alone!  But since that’s not happening, whether I participate in the vote or not, I’m not aggressing on the tax payers who are paying for the TV and prison.  So when libertarians vote to watch “Stossel,” while everyone else is voting for Pro Wrestling, they are not violating any principals.

Staying home on election day is cool too.  In fact, not voting is a vote.  Non-voters like myself are saying that we know the game is rigged and we’re just going to go about our lives.  Non-voters are dangerous for governments.  The people in power know they ultimately derive their power and privilege from the masses.  If enough of the masses simply drop out or refuse to participate, that power will evaporate.  Many countries have mandatory voting for this very reason!  And every year in the U.S., the possibility is brought up.

Can we make a difference if we’re elected?  Just ask Ron Paul.  He may not have made any legislative victories for Liberty, but he’s done much better.  He’s brought more press and people to our movement than anyone.  The biggest irony of the haters of voting is that many of them wouldn’t have discovered libertarianism if it wasn’t for Dr. Paul!

There are many factions and ism’s in the Liberty movement.  But that’s good, so long as we know we’re on the same team. Joe Torre once said that “Baseball is a team sport played by individuals for themselves.” This is exactly how I feel about the Liberty movement. We’re all individuals, but to win we have to support each other. Each player plays a different position and has a unique set of skills and talents they bring to the team.  If our ideas are going to win, we need people working from all angles.

mike

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Please subscribe for free!  I hate spam and will never sell, trade, or give your email address to anyone.  We’ll send you the latest blog posts as well as content and humor that you can’t get from the site, including This Week in Hypocrisy