TCS Daily


Can We Compete With Free?

By Max Borders - May 4, 2009 12:00 AM

The U.S. now spends as much as Canada on government, according to Canada's National Post. That means, for better or worse (almost assuredly worse), government will dole out a lot more goods and services for "free." Nothing is free, of course. All government goodies are funded through taxation or debt, the latter being just more taxes for your kids to pay. In any case, power accretes around politicians who promise what people believe to be free -- or, at least, what someone else has to pay for.

As freedom fighters, what do we do now in the face of all this statism? How do we fight so much government growth and increased power? History has shown, after all, that there is nothing more permanent than a government program.

In what was perhaps a throw-away blog post, Arnold Kling suggests an approach I have been entertaining in my own thoughts for some time:

"I think that perhaps the best positive approach for libertarians right now is to support institutions that compete with government. That means charities, churches, charter schools, clubs, consumer information services, and other sources of public goods. I would count the traditional family as an institution that competes with government."

Kling's suggestion is important for a number of reasons:

First, government is pretty bad at everything it does. From the public schools to the DMV, the state as a provider is mediocre at best. This is because whether or not the bureaucratic heart is in the right place, the incentives in government are all wrong. And with taxed play money — i.e. no system of profit and loss — there is little need to be focused on customers. In a government monopoly, there is no need to change, adapt, reorganize, reward good performance, or encourage innovation. While there can be marginal improvements made in government-provided goods and services, these are usually spurred on either by popular outrage or competition from the private sector.

Nevertheless, I believe — and, admittedly, this only a hypothesis — that there is a point at which government cannot compete; a point at which it will fail to deliver the level of quality in some good or service also offered by the private sector, no matter how many resources they throw around (that is, if they leave us with enough of our own resources that we still can still afford private-sector alternatives). That's why I think it is possible to compete with 'free'.

Take the public schools, for example, starting in one state to test the idea: what if a group of philanthropists were to come along and establish a non-profit organization that franchised two or three proven educational models? Suppose they used these models to launch a slew of new private schools, all of which outperformed the public schools. (This is already happening right now, but on too small a scale.) If the quality differential were stark enough, you'd see people clambering to get their kids into these new franchises.

But here's the thing: these customers wouldn't all be rich people. In fact, since the franchises are run at cost, they can offer tuition for $4,000-$6,000 a year. (The national average public expenditure per pupil is about $10,000 a year, by the way.) If you could offer parents better quality private education for tuition lower than what they were paying for daycare, you would see an unprecedented middle-class exodus from the public schools. That means a middle class brain drain. The public schools downward spiral of performance would accelerate. Their per pupil expenditures would shoot up to absurd levels very quickly. Despite throwing more money at the problem, fewer quality teachers would want to teach in the dangerous husk of a school system that remained.

By then, you would also have an earnest, active, private school-loving constituency. And you'd need it, because as Arnold Kling reminds us:

"You are likely to see Democrats under President Obama launch assaults against all of the institutions of civil society. Already, the Washington DC school voucher program is [dead], as is the tax deduction for charitable contributions."

In any such competitive scheme you devise, politicians and bureaucrats know they can regulate you out of existence, if not regulate away your competitive advantage. They've already done this to homeschool teaching cooperatives in most states (associations that would allow homeschooling parents to share the burden of homeschooling among like-minded parents in their communities), not to mention doctors on retainer and affordable healthcare innovations.

In any case, if freedom lovers failed to organize rapidly and create fighting-mad constituencies that would push back against regulations, as sure to follow as effect follows cause, the competitive institutions of civil society would have no chance of survival. The key is: build 'em fast, make 'em competitive, and form interest groups around them. As the bureaucratic hordes come for our new super-competitive institutions, we can cry out: "They're trying to take away our X!"


Max Borders is executive editor at Free To Choose Network. He blogs here.
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129 Comments

competing
All well and good if it could indeed happen, but the author's penultimate paragraph already tells why it probably can't.
Governments will only allow a certain amount of competition if they see it doesn't jeapordize their basic monopoly. So with education they've seen to it that there are only certain restricted manners of alternative schooling.
But the public shools are the main propaganda vehicle for them so I don't think they would allow home/private/cooperative schooling to get too far. They would regulate them out of action, or they would create some fear mongering myth like say too much sexual abuse, say. It's like creating a 'causes belli' in the military adventure context.

Remember, once there were no public schools and literacy rates were over 90%, but the government just had to horn in on that opportunity; they hated the competition and otherwise don't want free-minded people running about.

can we compete for free
Free editorial comment!

not "doll" out--"dole" out--

so much for mindless spellcheck vs. thinking brain

(PS you always can be trusted for interesting commentary--this is a correction--not a criticism.)

Official response
Hi joansnow,

The error in question was caught and fixed within minutes of the article's posting, shortly after noon today, but unfortunately not reflected on the front page summary right away. It has since been synced with the actual article.

Until you get a large percentage of a population invested in freedom you won't get anywhere.
There are too many folks that live of the government, now about 48%. So your idea you can compete with a real monopoly (The kind that will use violence up to murder to enforce its dictates) by going to church just isn't going to make it.

The Free State Project is a good idea. Otherwise it is only through education but then again you are competing with a vast bureaucracy distributing billions of dollars.

This is a great idea, except…
There is a class of working poor who can't afford to spend an extra $1,200 a year, let alone $400-$500 a month.

I've also noticed a lot of hyperbole about public schools here that may be true somewhere, but aren't the over all norm.

My 6th grader is asked to do math and science at a level close to a freshman when I attended school. While I do see some "indoctrination", especially on the environmentalist and self-esteem fronts, generally the level of education is fair to very good.

Another thing, the federal government does not run the schools. They provide a small percentage of the funding (less than 10% at the last budget meeting I attended). the state provides around 45% and the rest is local taxes. While the state does have certain standards and requirements, our school board and administration decide how accelerated a curriculum they are going to provide and outline the expectations they have for the teachers and various classes.

Yes, the federal government has their finger in the pie, but it is the combination of State Government, Local School Board, teachers (and the teacher's union) that really decide the ultimate direction, effectiveness and curriculum in the school.

$4k-$6k/yr not "at cost"
My dad is a consultant and one of his clients was a group of nuns running a Catholic elementary school. The school's $5k/yr tuition only covers a portion of the cost to educate the child. The remainder comes from the Archdiocese and private donors.

The secular private schools in the area charge two to three times the tuition because they are not subsidized by outside donors.

Operating at a profit
Borders sums it all up with this:

"First, government is pretty bad at everything it does. From the public schools to the DMV, the state as a provider is mediocre at best. This is because whether or not the bureaucratic heart is in the right place, the incentives in government are all wrong. And with taxed play money — i.e. no system of profit and loss — there is little need to be focused on customers. In a government monopoly, there is no need to change, adapt, reorganize, reward good performance, or encourage innovation."

Yup. Instead, look at the fine job the financial derivatives industry has done with our national wealth. They bought the politicians, they made the rules. And in 2008 our actual national wealth has dropped from an estimated $61 trillion to $50 trillion.. a loss of eleven trillion dollars. Good going, guys!

How can that be? The industry was profit oriented, wasn't it?

Oh yes it was. And they profited greatly. At our expense.

School certification
Government certainly doesn't discourage private schools.. or even home schooling. They're welcome to compete. All government stipulates is that ALL schools, whether public or private, uphold certain minimum standards for education. Otherwise they are decertified.

Is that too much to ask? If so, you can just set up your own diploma mill. Give someone a "colonel certified" MBA, and charge them $75,000 for it. You can undercut Harvard and turn a nice profit!

Couldn't have said it better
When a society decides that it has too many losers, relative to the number of winners, it gives itself a failing grade.

That's what national elections are for. We now have the society we prefer, out of a field of two choices.

My ears are burning
"And Roy, before you start feeling sorry for her, she somehow manages to afford two vacations a year, expensive concert tickets, dinner dates in the City, an expensive colorist, etc."

No, I'm not tempted to feel sorry for her. I just wonder how it is that you have what appears to be an endless number of acquaintances like her, who sponge off the system and laze about all day, watching Oprah and munching on Doritos.

I don't know anyone like that. Everybody around here is either working their butts off or running around trying to figure out a way they can work their butts off. Because they don't think they live in a welfare state.

According to them, it's tough enough to pay the bills even when you do have full time work. They don't believe there's any free rides being offered. Because there are none.

The point at which government cannot compete
"Nevertheless, I believe — and, admittedly, this only a hypothesis — that there is a point at which government cannot compete; a point at which it will fail to deliver the level of quality in some good or service also offered by the private sector, no matter how many resources they throw around (that is, if they leave us with enough of our own resources that we still can still afford private-sector alternatives). That's why I think it is possible to compete with 'free'."

Let's take retirement plans. The federal government offers a pretty good one, Social Security. And it also allows the free market to come up with any competing plan it cares to set up. It even set a plan into place and gave it to the private sphere to manage: 401K plans.

So how are they performing? 401Ks, I think everyone will agree, are now in real trouble. They've dropped in tandem with everything else we assign a numerical value to: down 45%, maybe a little more or less.

Now how's the government plan doing? Hmmm.. no drop in value. The Trust Fund is undiminished, payments are anticipated to be the same as this past year through 2011. At least that's what I'm reading in my current statement. And management costs are still less than one percent,. with no fees or commissions being paid out.

Now let's ask how your retirement, under this plan, would be doing if everyone had been allowed to take their money out back in 2005, when the market was near the top and you folks were clamoring for better returns.

What do you think? As good? Better? Not as good?

Here's my thought. Under a private, competing plan you'd be paying fees of five or six percent of your money off the top, to see what was left of your little pile cut nearly in half. Big Gubmit seems to be competing very well indeed.

You don't care, you have yours.
Your grandkids won't have anything.

If all SS contributions were put into a passbook savings account it would be money government could not play with and it would be available to the real economy.

false dichotomy....again
If they're welcome to compete, then they WOULDN'T impose any restrictions. The author mentions: "They've already done this to homeschool teaching cooperatives in most states (associations that would allow homeschooling parents to share the burden of homeschooling among like-minded parents in their communities). I don't know this situation, but if it's true, then it contradicts you.

Yes it's too much to ask that the corrupt agenda driven government make demands on a private school, or even home teaching. It also makes it more expensive, and think of all the snivelling beaurocrats,etc. They should disband the entire dept of education.

Again you make a false dichotomy when you say that school must be regulated or be a diploma mill. But in fact Harvard and those other private schools already compete with the state schools and usually their reputations are better. In a free market in edu, if you have a diploma mill people know that it is not the same as Harvard; no problem. There are all sorts of books out there comparing different schools. There's no justification for the government having anything at all do with edu.

My own niece had the chance to go to the apparently ok state college in salt Late City, but they thought they'd just spend the extra money and enroll her in Notre Dame for four years at great extra expense.

field of two choices
That's like saying that a slave could either live with one master or the neighbouring one; but in both cases he's still a slave.

It's like a kid who has to choose between two dysfunctional parents when they split up; he's still an abused kid.

It's like the saying, "give me freedom or give me death', most people don't consider that a real choice, becuse mostly people will live as slaves rather than be dead(with the exception of guys like Spartacus).

It's the same now in the US, the choice is statism, or statism.

After so many years of propaganda and nanny statism many people are actually afraid of freedom. It's like a kind of Stockholm syndrom, or like those people in east germany and russia that wish the commies were back. Governments try to, and succeed in breeding docile sheep like that; what some now call 'sheeple'.

profit
He said the government was bad at everything it does. This would also include being bought off as you just said the politicians were. This is not a free market, or captialism, and does not contradict that claim that governments are bad at everything.

How is that a false dichotomy?
You mean you're actually in favor of not having minimum standards? How about with pharmaceuticals? Would it be okay for anyone to just mix up some stuff and call it a cure?

Things used to be that way, back in the 19th century. Any quack could mix up a batch of crud and sell it off the back of his wagon. They were travelling medicine shows, and entirely unregulated.

That's exactly why we DO have an FDA now. Because our way is better. And it's the same with schooling. If you had every nutcase like yourself deciding he was a schoolteacher, and charging admission for parents to enroll their kids, we'd be back to the Dark Ages in no time.

Legitimate, certified schools do in fact compete with state-run schools. There's no problem there. They even allow ordinary moms to compete. All they have to do is pass an exam to show us they're not totally ignorant.

cannot compete
You like that 'pretty good Soc. Security". Do you think that a private company could operate such a retiremnt scheme? It would considered a Ponzi scheme and be outlawed, right?

Then you falsely compare the 401 scheme to government results. This ignores the fact that it was the govenment iftself that screwed up the economy, thus the stock markets in the first place. They had a planned economy which printed and borrow a lot of money, thus distorting the economy because governments always spend money on things that normal people don't, so both are competeing for those resources. Then they made many restrictions on economic activity, so some guys who figures they were clever at math and whatnot figured they could outsmart markets with this fiat currency, leverageing it, etc.

Thus the government can't compete on anything, except for taking away resources that would better be spent by the people who originally owned them.

Accredidation
"Accreditation is a voluntary, nongovernmental process that gives public recognition to institutions that meet published standards of academic and administrative quality. The purpose of accreditation is to assure the public of the quality of an institution and its dedication to high standards, as well as its commitment to continuous improvement."

http://www.apus.edu/APUS/Accreditation/Accreditation-and-Licensure.htm

Notice that it is the university that requests the accreditation. They are not forced.

Just as manufacturers seek out UL testing and auto companies seek out independent crash testing by IIHS (http://www.iihs.org/) because they are more challenging than government tests.

That's the way things are around here
"It's the same now in the US, the choice is statism, or statism."

I hate to say it yet again. If you're looking for a place where there's no law and no state, Somalia's about all the choices you've got.

Europe's happy living in a welfare state. In Asia everything's controlled. There aren't any places on earth you're going to be "free".

Placing your trust in the hands of operators
"This is not a free market, or captialism, and does not contradict that claim that governments are bad at everything."

No, it just contradicts the claim that the private sector is any better.

You're a d....d fool if you think you're money would be better placed with financial sharks, in a completely unregulated environment. They'd steal you blind and laugh at you.

Even in the current atmosphere, the traders make your money just disappear. At least the feds, when they get hold of it, spend it on something that may be useful. In the brokers' hands it vanishes in a puff of smoke.

Presto, you're broke. They're rich. How come?

The best store of value
Marjon, face the facts. We only have so many choices. The dollar may be flimsy and on its way out, but it's the best currency around. It's also the only thing you can buy stuff with in this country.. and in many others as well.

No one enjoys absolute security against everything that can possibly go wrong. But I do the next best thing. I make the most conservative investments you can conceive of. Indexed, dividend yielding funds. I don't touch the principle. Plus, I have Social Security.

And that program's actually much healthier than anything else in our economy. If you extrapolate that the economy will grow over the next 75 years at the same rate it has grown over the past 75, it goes on forever. The only way they can get it to look like it self destructs is to assume a growth rate only half of what we've historically enjoyed.

But you didn't know that.. because you believed them, and never thought to actually look up the assumptions they based their forecasts on.

Take any other aspect of our economy and project it out for 75 years. The current trend in federal budgets? That won't last another ten. Real estate values? Already crahsed, can't come back anything like before. The stock market? Unlikely to ever attain new heights.

As John Maynard Keynes said, in the long run we are all dead. Meanwhile, have a drink and relax. The best thing that could happen to you would be to reach retirement age and have a nice monthly check coming in from your rich Uncle.

Pay closer attention to the dealer's hands
"If all SS contributions were put into a passbook savings account it would be money government could not play with and it would be available to the real economy."

There, it could only be placed at risk by bankers eager to make money for themselves by risking your savings. Then when they lose your money, as invariably they end up doing, they would have to go to the federal government to pay you back through FDIC. Because it all would have been pissed away in the Real Economy.

Under our present plan it goes instead into a lock box, from which it is immediately pilfered to pay for the nation's continuing upkeep. You get an IOU from Uncle, which is exactly like the statement you get from your bank. It's a promise to pay, nothing more.

One IOU is a better bet than the other. And that's the one the government gives you. Banks go under. The USA hasn't done so yet, in 220 years of operation.

Did you ever think of this?
If the government didn't increase the money supply continuously, do you think the stock market would ever go up? Or real estate prices? Or the values in any other market?

How?

If the quantity of money stays the same while the pie tries to get bigger, everyone sharing in the venture has less cash to work with. That's not higher math, that's simple arithmetic.

Instead we have twice as many people in this country as we had fifty years ago. And each one of them has more buying power than anyone did back then. It was accomplished through the miracle of Making More Money.

Otherwise, 300 million people would each be making $2500 a year now, instead of how things were back in 1959, with 150 million people each making $5000 a year. And the amount of stuff a dollar could buy would be just what it was back then. Comprende?

Countries don't go bankrupt?
Inflation is the first step.

thinking of this
Yes, I've both though about and stuidied the matter more than you.
Making More Money is not a miracle, but a political tacit used by politicians to: enrich themselves and their cronies, pay for things they otherwise couldn't afford like foreign wars and domestic 'bread and circuses' to buy votes.
When people are productive and save money to be invested in further production, the economy increases, people get richer all around. It's basic economics, but not the Matlthusian, or Marxist, or Keynsian economics that you follow; it's not even monetarism of the Fridman type that proposes increasing the money supply as per increase in productivity. The mavins have worked out the techncalities ages ago. It's just that politicians hate it beacuse it doesn't serve their ends. It also doesn't serve the ends of most academic economics because they make their living off the government mostly so they are just another special interest group.

The Federal Government does NOT OFFER a retirement plan; it FORCES one on you. Big difference
..

This why MicroSoft is doomed
There are Office tools that are just as good as MicroSofts tools (If not better) and they are free. As more and more people figure out they don't have to spend 400-500 bucks for software on their lap tops, Microsoft will be gone.

To paraphrase Uncle Ben Parker...
"With great freedom comes great responsibility."

People don't want to be responsible. Given the history in the Bible this has been a problem for thousands of years.

How come?
1. People are stupid.
2. Government failed to prosecute or investigate fraud.

Games
People will spend money to support SW rather than waste time trying to solve the issue themselves.
MS is making much money on proprietary gaming system (X-box) software.

Nope...
There have been free tools for years, and yet Microsoft is still around (note the correct spelling does not have a capitalized middle "s").

The fact that the free software loons miss is that you pretty much get what you pay for. The free software is OK as far as it goes, but support tends to be pretty bad, as does the implementation of new features. They are always playing catch up to MS. Businesses almost universally rely on the costly for profit software. Why? Better service, more reliable, more universally adopted, etc.

-Bob

Look at all those free choices we have
Okay, so now you're saying that accreditation is NOT something the government forces on schools. Any school that wants to can just advertise themselves proudly as a NON accredited school.

That sounds like freedom. So how is that different from how it would work in your perfect world?

BTW, here's a followup question. You're going to buy a car. And you're concerned as to whether it's crumple proof or whether the passengers will all get compacted in a collision.

So manufacturer A tells you he's tested it himself. And he knows it's a safe car. While mfr. B says that HIS car has been crashed tested in an independent audit, for which results he has not paid.

So which one do you want? You're free to choose.

That makes sense
Okay, you're in a more affluent zip code, in a more generous state. Around here we not only don't have enough money to provide benefits, we don't have the will. In fact we don't have enough money to run the schools or fix the roads.

People in NC after 1930 or so, when the union movement got broken, elected to just stay poor, pray a lot and trust in Jesus. We're not familiar with the idea of being eligible for benefits.

We can't be trusted with credit and we don't have checking accounts, so the banks grow rich selling us debit cards. We spend several billion dollars each year on the voluntary tax, the lottery. Even though our poor knees are shot from work, we'll still bend down to give a rich man a ride on our shoulders. Every time.

No wonder so many businesses move here. They can even bring all their own employees, so they don't have to hire any of us, and we'll still pave the road to their doorstep at public expense.

We are what's called a "right to work" state.

Are you an IT professional?
You talk a=like one, but I don't think you have really researched the current state of this software:

http://support.openoffice.org/
http://www.sun.com/service/serviceplans/software/index.jsp

I have received far better support from both of these services then I ever received with the "Evil Empire" (Microsoft).

Take an honest approach rather then offering me the rhetoric from 5-10 years ago,

unfree everywhere
by this logic would would have been so against the founding fathers starting the American Revolution, and told Spartacus that since the whole world has slavery, better just accept your fate; and told the philippinos not to do the 'people power' movement against Marcos, or the Sandanistas against the Somoza dictator, and all the other freedom movements all thru history all over the world.

You advocate a coucil of submission to tyranny.

false dichotomy
It is indeed because you made it sound like there were only two choices the public propaganda schools, or diploma mills.

Yes I advocate total 'separation of edu and state'.

You changed the subject then to pharma, and in fact I'm also against the corrupt FDA as well.

If you think some guys will sell something stupid and people will buy it like maybe snake oil, or cat ****; then yes I agree that they would. This would be just like how food additives are not under FDA right now, like all those stupid things like glucosamine or whatever. There are many such phony medicines like that, not evidence based, and people still buy them; and I'm OK with that.

You must be really angry that the government doesn't test for and control all those snake oils out there.

You insult me and I resent it when you say I'm a nutcase who nobody would ever pay to teach anything. In fact it's not even true because people have paid me for such activities. It's also false logic becaue it doesn't follow that if someone does private tuition it would lead to some new Dark Age. In fact in the dark ages there were also private schools and private tuition.

In another message I also informed you that there were numerous sources that rate different schools; it sounds like you didn't know how to tell whether a certain place was a diploma mill or not. People can figure those things out themselves and don't need a nanny state to tell them.

makes sense
If you guys decided to stay poor and supersticious that's nobody else's fault if you guys are so stupid. I recomment you try to study up, improve yourself, try to learn some marketable skills. I know that other hillbillies and successfully done so; why not you too?

private sector not better?
So do you mean to tell me that FEDEX and UPS are worse at delivering things that the USPS?

Do you mean that governments that made cars like Trabant, and Yugo were better than Toyota?

Do you mean that private schools like Harvard and the one that Obama sends his kids to are worse than the public school down the street?

No wait a minute, you just mean in financial services. So do you mean that some of those operators, like Fidelity Funds, Vanguard, all the others, are not as good as the government Soc. Sec. ponzi scheme?

Would you really be laughed at if you had bought some Coca Cola shares when they went public, or Lloyds of London, or Mercedes Benz?

Did Warren Buffett get cheated out of all his wealth? No wait a minute, you maybe mean that HE cheated his investors, right? What if you had bought some Berkshire Hathaway when he offered it? How would that have compared to your alternative the SS system?

You make me laugh.

Roy's car example
Just like with schools there are many organizations that do reviews on cars; like which are safer, which get best mileage, etc.

When there were all those, what was it 20 or 30 car companys in the US years ago, they didn't have any of those regulations that you long for.

In fact, it's pretty much like the used car market with their lying and cheating salesmen. I'd rather have a knowledgable neighbour or friend come with me, or even pay a mechanic to view with me, than have a whole new say, US dept of Used Cars, where civil servants check them for me, as an example of another alternative to caveat emptor.

Now you're hearing voices
"When there were all those, what was it 20 or 30 car companys in the US years ago, they didn't have any of those regulations that you long for."

I've looked over my comment, above. And I don't see anywhere that I'm recommending any regulations. Could you please quote me where I say we need more regulations?

You didn't understand that I wasn't talking about a federal department of used cars? I was referring to the existence of independent testing agencies.

And in another thread you just finished saying "So now that you agree that the government is based on the use of deadly force you will never be able to say again that paying taxes is voluntary.."

Which is something else I never said. Paying taxes is anything but voluntary.

Can you really not conceive of any middle ground between "death penalty" and "completely voluntary"?

Your condition is getting worse. Maybe you should turn off the Big Blue Eye and take a walk outdoors. Get some sun.

What happend to Tucker?
Tucker came out with some great ideas for a car, but the SEC and government, at the request of the Big Three, shut him down.

Okay, now I get it
"You insult me and I resent it when you say I'm a nutcase who nobody would ever pay to teach anything. In fact it's not even true because people have paid me for such activities."

First, you are in fact a nutcase. That is, most ordinary people, if they got to know you the way we know you here, would think you're a total wack job. But that's okay. We won't tell them. :)

But second, you raise a good point. If there were a death penalty (the way you like to think of things) for teaching without a license in this country, that would be wrong. It would be a case of excessive regulation. The passing of money between two consenting adults should be permissible.

And in fact, that's what we find. Before you get prosecuted for teaching without a license, the person giving you money must be dissatisfied enough to want to sue you for bilking them. The state has little interest in prosecuting such a charge without a complaint.. for the reason that that's not against the law.

So sure, you can teach someone what you know and ask for payment, just like you can cut someone's hair and ask them for ten bucks. But there's a line to be crossed.

Suppose you set up a barber shop. Before you can do that you have to go down to your local department of professional licensing, to get a business permit. And it's the same thing with opening a business that calls itself a school.

The law's very detailed in this area. But the people behind the desk are very helpful in most places. They can tell you exactly what you're allowed to do without taking out a license.

Wait a second.. did I actually say that "nobody would ever pay to teach anything"? I don't think I did. I didn't even know you acted as an unlicensed teacher.

No matter. You would be more comfortable in a place where the consumer had to do extensive background work on everything he ever purchased. There would be no way to tell whether his surgeon was actually a plumber, or his plumber was incompetent, or the TV set he just bought worked, or anything else. All he could do would be to pay the money and keep his fingers crossed.

I understand that. But it's not going to happen here, in this country.

Ask the next one hundred people you meet on the street corner if they'd like things to be that way. And I'll bet that more than 99 of them would say "No way. We like to have an official seal of approval on things." They don't trust unlicensed vendors. They know how many crooks and incompetents there are out there.

BTW I have at times done taxes for people who have asked me. I protect myself by first saying "You do know, don't you, that I'm not licensed to do anyone's taxes?" And once they say that's fine with them, no problem. It's the same as the way you occasionally teach people. And I would recommend you protect yourself by saying the same thing.

Be realistic
"by this logic would would have been so against the founding fathers starting the American Revolution, and told Spartacus that since the whole world has slavery, better just accept your fate"

Not at all. If you're not happy with the rules, first try by any means necessary to change them. Actual tyranny must be opposed.

But make sure you have enough like minded people on your side before you try armed rebellion. If it's just you and some guns holed up in a cabin somewhere, we know where that leads. It always ends up like Ruby Ridge.

It's in the spirit of offering a helpful suggestion that I tell you you should instead just move somewhere there's already no law and no government. And the only place I happen to know like that is Somalia. Although it's almost that way in Zimbabwe now.

Since you keep cribbing about the low level of Statism here in the US of A, why don't YOU leave Roy?
..

“There aren't any places on earth you're going to be "free””. So, Roy tries his damndest to make it
EVEN LESS FREE. Way to go Roy.

"Actual tyranny must be opposed."
Unless it is the tyranny of the majority?

You don't know what tyranny is
You abuse the language when you call what we have tyranny. That makes it impossible to distinguish from REAL tyranny. Which is something you've never seen.. or you wouldn't be talking this way.

We actually have a very polite, user-friendly form of government. You're just expressing the five year old's desire not to be controlled by any parent. Which is fine, until you start playing in the traffic.

I've lived in a lawless area. Guys like you and thecolonel wouldn't last a week there. They'd eat you alive.

Anarchy is not at all the liberated kind of place you imagine it is. It's dog eat dog.. and for anyone but the top dog, life can be very unpleasant.

Well phrased
"I recomment you try to study up, improve yourself, try to learn some marketable skills. I know that other hillbillies and successfully done so; why not you too?"

2 bad we ain't bin 2 skool like you do.

The case has been proven
"So do you mean that some of those operators, like Fidelity Funds, Vanguard, all the others, are not as good as the government Soc. Sec. ponzi scheme?"

In fact, yes. And you would have agreed, had you been able to read what I just showed you.

All the biggest players in the financial services industry pursued profit for their investors. And instead they were responsible for the loss of eleven trillion dollars in the funds their investors gave them to play with.

Social Security, on the other hand, has never identified itself as making investments, i.e. vehicles that would increase the amount of money we gave them. Instead they advertised themselves as being a store of value.

And that they have been. Recipients even get COLA increases, so the money we've given them over the years has held its value in the benefits paid out in present day dollars.

To me that's the best investment in town. And they've even done it at a management expense of less than one percent, no fees, no commissions.

Does your broker do that while he's losing your life savings?

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