Monday, June 1, 2009

Week of 06/01/2009

How to Stop Government Encroachment: The Short Version
– by David Matthews 2

Sometimes the simplest solutions are right before you.

Conservatives and Neo-conservatives are screaming bloody murder about the encroachment of government into the private sector. Never mind, of course, that they are just as guilty of getting government involved in other aspects of business and personal lives. If you don’t believe me then I have three letters for you: F-C-C.

They do have a point, and it’s not just the phallus-shaped ones on their heads. Unfortunately they are so badly tainted by their own hypocrisy that they have almost no credibility to do anything about it other than to scream about the kinds of encroachments that they don’t approve of.

So what DOES it take to get government off our backs and out of our lives?

Some people think that it is simply impossible to do. Some people think that government is such an overbearing monster that you HAVE to have a player in the game to keep from it from coming down on you.

Just look at Microsoft. Founder and former CEO Bill Gates said that one of his biggest regrets was that he ignored Washington and just worked on making the business the best it could ever be. Now that’s changed. Now the company has got lobbyists. And instead of spending money on quality, it’s being spent on lobbyists and lawyers. Actually he can thank his competition for that, because they were the ones that were spending the money on lobbyists and lawyers first.

Some people want to think that keeping government in check depends entirely on which party is controlling the government. People want to believe that Wall Street was able to get away with everything they do because Republicans were in charge of things. That may be true, but they weren’t in charge ALL of the time, and some of the messes that Wall Street are embroiled in were so long-term that they had to cross party lines.

Plus, politicians are corrupt bastards. Sure you may have a friend who will keep government off your back for a certain period of time, but what happens if “your friend” is caught in bed with either a live boy or a dead hooker? Eventually there comes a point where the will of men will fail, or the outrage is so overwhelming that the politicians will feel they have to take action for their own survival.

So how do you do it? How do you keep the leviathan at bay?

For starters, let’s accept the fact that if government at any level is so determined to stick its putrid and corrupt nose into your life or your activities, then it will do so, and it will use any reason that will stick. And the deck IS ALWAYS STACKED in favor of the government.

Having said that, though, you CAN keep their involvement to a minimum, or at the very least make it so unbearable for them that they won’t want to get too involved.

First, you WILL have to be politically aware of what is going on. You don’t have to form a special interest group, but you should at the very least be aware of each level of government that could affect you. Take the time to get to know your legislators on the local, state, and federal levels. Shake hands with them at least once. At the very least, figure out who might be on your side should the government turn its watchful eyes on you, and who in that government might be looking to screw you over.

Also, make some campaign contributions to their parties, but don’t just favor one party. The biggest corporations in America are bipartisan contributors. Once upon a time these used to be called “bribes”, but today they’re called “campaign contributions”. Politicians are more willing to lean on complete strangers than they are on people who help fund their campaigns.

You should also do some charity causes, and make sure that those are well-documented in the media. The Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang carries out regular charity services. Strip clubs do charity causes. Public sentiment changes slightly when they see you do charity services. Strange, but true.

But even if you don’t do these things… even if you don’t have the time or the money to contribute to political causes or do charity services, there is one very simple thing that you can do to keep the encroachment of government at bay.

Control yourself.

Let’s suppose you were given a car, and the first thing you do is you smash it into a wall and total it. Then you’re given another car and you do the same thing with it. And you’re given yet another car and you once again smash it into a wall. Presuming that you’re not a crash-tester or work in a demolition derby or are a professional stuntman, how many times would history have to repeat itself before the people providing you with a car will decide to stop giving you one? Most people would probably say “enough” after the third time.

Well guess what? A major rationality that government uses to take action is to curb the abuses of the participants.

Remember the cable industry? They managed to finagle in some pretty sweet government-endorsed monopolies over the years. Just like Ma Bell did a few decades earlier, they managed to get the government to help them set up their services in exchange to being - in most places at least - the exclusive provider of cable content.

But then what they did was they abused that monopoly power. They began fleecing their subscribers by continually shuffling around their services and raising their prices. And the people were told they could either pay up or go back to those huge antennas, or get those complex big monster satellite dishes that were outlawed in certain areas. They knew they had these communities by the genitals and they didn’t care. They only cared about getting the maximum amount of money from their customers by any means necessary.

So what happened was that eventually the outrage over this gross abuse of their government-endorsed monopoly power became so strong that the government HAD to step in and try to control it. They had to regulate the system because the cable providers had demonstrated repeatedly that they could not control themselves!

Now had the cable providers behaved themselves, had they kept their prices in line with the cost of living instead of their quarterly profit margins, they probably wouldn’t have to worry about the government coming in and telling them how to do business or how to set prices.

Banks are the same way. They created the mess that they are in. There’s no denying it. They asked for and got the means to write their own rules, make their own regulations, they shopped for the right kind of state to base themselves out of so they could take full advantage of their customers, and they manipulated their customer base and encouraged them to spend like there was no tomorrow and to put it all on plastic. They acted like drug dealers, and they made sure that they hooked as many of us as possible.

And now they’re failing. Now they are coming to the government for help, claiming that the nation cannot afford to be without them. Now they need money from the very taxpayers that they have been fleecing all this time.

And they somehow don’t see anything wrong with that.

But while they are eager to get the federal bailout money, they are also angry at being told that there will be strings attached. They are hostile to any attempt to regulate their actions and control their conduct, even though it WAS their conduct that got them to this situation in the first place!

And one has to wonder…if they treated ALL their customers the same way… not just the super-rich VIP ones but the ordinary people too… as their own executives would be expected to be treated… would they be in the situation that they are in today? Would they ever NEED a bailout in the first place? Maybe their profit margins wouldn’t be so high, but they also wouldn’t be teetering with FDIC assimilation.

But guess what would also happen? There also wouldn’t be the overwhelming call for that “Credit Card Bill Of Rights” legislation that just got passed. They wouldn’t have to jump through federal regulatory hoops like they do now. They wouldn’t be castigated for getting bailout money and then sponsoring Super Bowl events… because they wouldn’t NEED to get bailout money!

It was THEIR ACTIONS that created the situation that we are all in! They CREATED the situation that CALLED for government action.

Let’s get brutally honest here… the biggest way that you can keep government off your back and out of your life is to CONTROL YOURSELVES.

If a bar or a nightclub wants to keep the city government from forcing them to close earlier in the night, then they need to keep the abusive conducts of their patrons limited. Keep the drunks to a minimum, go after the roofie-predators, keep the noise from being a problem for the surrounding area, tell the hyperactive woman screaming “turn the volume up” to “tone the hell down”, and keep the parking and pedestrian traffic from being a problem. And work with the other bars and/or nightclubs to make sure they do the same thing. Don’t GIVE the government the excuse to take action!

No, it’s not foolproof. Yes sometimes a situation can be deliberately manufactured by certain special interest groups (i.e. bible-thumpers) so that the government has an EXCUSE to take action, but there is a distinct difference between a manufactured crisis and one caused by intentional bad actions.

Yes sometimes the battle must be fought against the encroachment of government. And when that time comes, the difference between winning and losing that battle can quite often depend on whether or not it is seen as being a cause that is just or done because the parties involved don’t want to be held accountable for their actions.

There is a difference between a just cause and “just ‘cuz”, and keeping the latter of those to a minimum will help keep government away far better than any kind of political mechanization.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Corrupt Bastards is way to kind for politicians, criminals is closer to the truth !
You better watch what you say of the FBI IRS or other 3 letter organization might start knocking on your door. I'm glad SOMEONE have the courage & brains to speak up. If only more people would read this and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT !!!!!!!!!!!!