Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Free Market

Supreme Court lets stand New Mexico Court Ruling in sex Discrimination case

New Mexico Supreme Court

On Monday the Supreme Court declined to hear on appeal the case of Elane Photography v. Willock, giving tacit approval of the ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court.

In 2006 Elaine Huguenin, co-owner of Elane Photography in Taos, New Mexico, received an email from Vanessa Willock asking her to photograph her upcoming “commitment ceremony” with her same-sex partner, Misti Collinsworth. Huguenin respectfully declined and referred her to another photographer who handled the task. When Willock learned that Huguenin declined because of her Christian beliefs, Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. It was all downhill from there.

The commission not only

Keep Reading…

Mike Rowe Touches the Third Rail of Retailing: Walmart!

Mike Rowe, the popular host of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel and frequent voice behind ads for Ford, Caterpillar, Motorola and Lee’s Jeans, learned how thin his popularity is among some of his fans when he touched the third rail of retailing: Walmart. In his voiceover of Walmart’s ad appearing during the Olympics, Rowe announces the retail giant’s plans to

Keep Reading…

Argentina’s economy is cratering, again

While Wall Street declined by 3 percent over global growth concerns last week, few were noting or even interested in the 11 percent decline in the Merval, Argentina’s stock market index. It hit a high of 5,970 on Tuesday, January 21, the day before the Argentina government devalued its currency, and closed at 5,337 on Monday. The peso itself has been in decline far longer, having lost nearly

Keep Reading…

America’s Economic Freedom Slide Continues, says the Heritage Foundation

The latest Index of Economic Freedom released by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal shows just how successful the Bush and Obama administrations have been in their seeming attempts to turn the United States into a third world economy. The index shows

Keep Reading…

Of Myopia and Markets

The enforced elimination of the traditional incandescent light bulb by Congress has been used repeatedly by several commentators as a classic example of crony capitalism at work. They missed the most important point: the free market has provided alternatives that are largely neutralizing the state’s mandates.

The story began with efforts by companies like GE, Sylvania, and Phillips conspiring with green environmental groups to pressure Congress into banning incandescents so that consumers would be forced to purchase more efficient but more expensive and higher profit alternatives that they make, such as LED (light emitting diode) bulbs, halogens, and CFLs (compact fluorescent lights – those with the curly tops).

They didn’t really want or need an outright ban, just a mandate that bulbs would have to be slightly more efficient – just enough more so that the present ubiquitous invention by Edison wouldn’t be able to meet it. And the mandate was staged in so the consumer wouldn’t squirm too much at having his alternatives eliminated and being forced to pay more for those that remained. On January 1st the final step – banning 40s, 60s, and 75s – took place.

The New York Times got into the act, surprisingly, pointing out that Phillips – the huge Dutch conglomerate that makes LEDs – formed a “coalition” (the Times’ word) with a number of environmental groups also seeking limits on incandescents (among other things), including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Said the head of Phillips’ “strategic sustainability initiatives,” Harry Verhaar:

We felt that we needed to make a call and show that the best-known lighting technology, the incandescent light bulb, is at the end of its lifetime.

In that single phrase, the hubris and crony-capitalist mentality is on full display: we know better than consumers do about what’s best for them. We get to decide where the market is headed. We need to “make the call.” Besides, we have the latest technology to replace the incandescents. Sure, they’ll cost more, but think of the savings! And we could sure use a boost to our bottom line, but that’s only an afterthought. Besides, we tried to persuade the consuming public that Edison’s invention is inefficient and expensive to operate and that our new, more expensive technology is really going to save them big bucks over time. But they just don’t listen. They keep buying incandescents, and we keep having to make do with the tiniest of profit margins. So we really were forced to hook up with those greens to get the job done.

The math certainly is persuasive: a 60-watt light bulb costs, for example, around $2 or so, but burns up more than $7 of electricity every year and only lasts a year and a half under normal usage before burning out, whereas an LED, which costs $13, burns just $1.57 of electricity in a year, and lasts more than five years. Think of the savings!

Unfortunately, the consumer doesn’t care. He doesn’t care that most of the energy used in incandescents is turned to heat, not light. He doesn’t care that they last only between 750 hours and 2,000 hours. And so, three quarters of the four billion light bulb sockets in the US are still filled, and being refilled, with incandescents. Something had to be done!

The lobbying efforts began in earnest, with many politicians “caving” after learning that the industry backed the mandates, and if they think it’s good, then why not? It was a classic case of “bootleggers and Baptists” coming together to present an irresistible case to waffling moderates in the House and Senate. Congressman Fred Upton said he supported the bill because it couldn’t be that bad “if the industry supported it.” Congressman Steny Hoyer said he voted for it because “the standards are supported by the lightbulb industry.”

Those efforts birthed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, a mess of pottage designed allegedly “to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security … to increase the efficiency of products [like light bulbs]….” Of course, government can do no such thing, only the free market can do that. But no matter: the bill passed the House 264-163 and the Senate 65-27, and George Bush, the great environmentalist, signed it into law in December, 2007.

The new law wasn’t just at attack on light bulbs, but affected vehicle fuel economy and technology, increased biofuel production, enforced appliance efficiency, required federal buildings to use Energy Star products, and so on.

But it also was filled with loopholes – just the thing that the free market loves to explore to create options, alternatives, and workarounds so that consumers can obtain what they really want after all. The law didn’t apply to appliance light bulbs, “rough service” light bulbs, colored Christmas tree lights, plant lights, 3-way lights, stage lighting, candelabra lights, outdoor post lights, and nightlights as well as any bulbs less than 40 watts or more than 100.

Entrepreneurs went to work. A company called Advanced Lighting Technologies recently announced is “2X Bulb” which appears identical to Edison’s invention, but which would have made him envious: it’s twice as efficient as the 2007 law demands, and is available at prices marginally higher than those disappearing from the shelves.

The market is also putting pressure on CFLs, partly because people don’t like them (they contain mercury, they don’t handle dimmer switches well, and they don’t last as long as advertised), and partly because the prices of LED lights are dropping. The irony is clear: the market, in its wisdom, is replacing the replacements!

The market is also providing alternative sources for those consumers who still want to buy incandescent light bulbs in the familiar wattages. They are available, in any quantity, on eBay and at 1000Bulbs.com. When last checked, they were going for under a dollar, and much less in quantity. Just the thing for preppers and stockpilers.

So the lesson from the incandescent light bulb isn’t the crony capitalist one. It’s the one that the free market teaches every time. It will somehow, some way, find a way to satisfy the consumer.

—————————

Sources:

Economist Mark Perry: Crony capitalism: How private industry used government force to kill the traditional light bulb for higher profits

The Washington Examiner: Industry, not environmentalists, killed traditional bulbs

The New York Times: Bulb In, Bulb Out

Phase out of the incandescent light bulb

The 2007 Energy Act

The math: The incandescent light bulb isn’t dead

Incandescent Light Bulbs for sale on eBay

Standard Light Bulbs for sale at 1000bulbs.com

Reason: Lights Out For America’s Favorite Light Bulb

Rasmussen Reports: 72% Don’t Want Feds Changing Their Light Bulbs

2X technology explained

CNN’s obituary: RIP, light bulb

The story behind “Bootleggers and Baptists”

Annoucements of the death of the Incandescent Light Bulb are Premature

Midst celebrations welcoming the New Year, commentators were also announcing the death of the ubiquitous light bulb – the incandescent variety – that the Congress, in a fit of environmental overreach, banned in stages with legislation passed in 2007. For instance, Shawn Regan, writing at Reason magazine, called it “Lights Out for America’s Favorite Light Bulb” while CNN wrote an obituary for it, adding that it was

Keep Reading…

Job One for New Mayor: Turn New York into Detroit

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014:

Progressive mouthpieces like ABC News and the New York Times could hardly contain their glee over the election of one of their own to the mayor’s office: Bill de Blasio. ABC News hailed de Blasio “as the face of a progressive movement that pledges a significant realignment of the nation’s largest city … that is poised to enact sweeping changes to the city …”, while the Times delighted to note that

Keep Reading…

Looking Ahead to 2014 – and a Brighter Future

The latest Rasmussen poll shows 41% of American adults expecting the year 2014 to be a good year “at the very minimum” while just 23% expect the year to turn out poorly. Even the briefest look back at a few of the momentous events of 2013 bode well for the future. There’s the catastrophe called Obamacare which reflects badly, as Lew Rockwell noted, on the Obama “regime, which hates nothing more than looking ridiculous and incompetent, and being the butt of the people’s jokes.”

There’s the continuing rollout of secrets from Edward Snowden which not only keeps the surveillance state on the defensive but has exposed it as untruthful and sinister.

There’s the Benghazi scandal that simply will not go away, as evidenced by the loud condemnation of a New York Times report that tried to deflect responsibility away from the Obama administration by repeating provable lies.

While each of these can be looked at as positives in the cause of freedom, a look ahead provides great encouragement as well. The home-schooling movement continues to thrive and has been enhanced by the employment of the new technology, which makes resources easily accessible and can bring the classroom into the home. Consider, for example, the online school Freedom Project Education (FPE), which offers “a classical education for students … rooted firmly in Judeo-Christian values … similar to that received by America’s Founding Fathers, promoting liberty, citizenship, and independent thinking.”

The fracking revolution, resulting in what economist Mark Perry calls the “Great American Energy Boom”, has the increasingly likely potential to wean the US off most if not all foreign suppliers of energy, perhaps as soon as 2030. The impact of such an event can scarcely be underestimated, ranging all the way from removing a primary excuse for continuing foreign military entanglements to a vastly more robust economy. At present Midland, Texas, has the third-highest per capita income of any city in the country, while the unemployment rate in North Dakota is the lowest of any state.

Favorable fracking news continues to roll in on nearly a daily basis. A study from the University of Texas at Austin last week showed that as coal-fired plants are converted to natural gas, the need for water drops precipitously:

The researchers estimate that water saved by shifting a power plant from coal to natural gas is 25 to 50 times as great as the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing to extract the natural gas.

This is good news on two fronts: Texas is in its third year of serious drought conditions, and the greenies have used the amount of water used in fracking as an argument against it. Such good news reduces the impact of that drought on the state while defanging such environmentalists’ attacks.

Across the world remarkable improvements in living conditions are increasingly being enjoyed as advances in medicine and technology are reducing mortality and improving literacy while decreasing poverty and hunger. According to Chris Higgins, writing for Mental Floss:

We are making tremendous advances in life expectancy, disease prevention, poverty and hunger…

Every single country in the world has lower mortality rates overall than they had in 1950…

Global literacy rates are rising … with youth aged 15 and younger doing especially well…

We’re on track … to halve world hunger [compared to its 1990 rate] by 2015…

[Since the year] 2000, over 600 million people have been pulled out of extreme poverty. This represents the fastest decline in global poverty in all of human history. (Higgins’ emphasis)

Freedom is advancing on the micro level as well. The US Postal Service continues its downward spiral into irrelevance thanks to the internet and some are expecting it to disappear altogether within a decade. Cartels that protect taxi companies are being challenged by apps such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar which provide transportation services by connecting travelers with drivers over the internet.

The alternative cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin, continues to gain momentum even as competitors such as Zerocoin enter the digital currency arena offering the advantage of secure anonymity of transactions. There is also growing interest in making gold and silver legal tender — at least as an alternative to, if not replacement for, today’s fiat (unbacked) currency.

Free market options to the heavy-handed federal mandates of Obamacare are becoming increasingly available including cost-sharing ministries and doctors outside the system accepting cash-only patients along with monthly packages of services provided for a modest ($50 to $100) monthly fee. There are an increasing number of retail cash-only health care clinics opening in big box stores like Walmart and pharmacies like Walgreen’s.

There’s crowdfunding that’s allowing small investors to join with eager entrepreneurs offering inventive, creative alternative products and services. There’s 3-D printing. There’s Bitmessage  poised to replace today’s fully-surveilled email with encryption tools. There’s TOR which, coupled with the Deep Web will allow anonymous websurfing once again. The list goes on.

The Internet, of course, makes it possible to reach a much larger audience than otherwise would be the case. TheNewAmerican.com received more than 600,000 unique visitors during December, according to editor Gary Benoit. The parent of that website, The John Birch Society, has led the way in the freedom fight for over 50 years. In an email to members it reminded them that:

one highly effective attribute of the JBS is its focused coordination of efforts…

In 2013, JBS members worked on stopping Agenda 21, exposing Common Core, opposing gun control, blocking con-con calls, nullifying Obamacare, and educating others on the free trade agenda.

JBS CEO Art Thompson looked ahead to 2014:

Based on the knowledge we have at hand, the JBS and all of our affiliated efforts reach approximately 20 million people in our first layer of influence…

Increasing what we are capable of doing by doubling our size would give the JBS a geometric growth in influence. In other words, doubling in size would more than double our effectiveness.

After that, by again doubling our numbers we could impact a third of all the adults in America. And this does not take into consideration the accompanying indirect influence within a second and third layer of the population.

In 2013 the battle for freedom saw significant victories, even beyond those outlined briefly here. There’s nothing to show that momentum slowing in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Free Market Alternatives to Obamacare Already Exist

More than a year ago, Dr. Barbara Bellar, a medical doctor with a JD degree, was running for office as an Illinois State Senator, and provided a sound byte that continues to reverberate across the internet, having been viewed as of this writing some 3,675,000 times. The clip lasts less than two minutes, including laughter and applause from her audience, to whom she said:

So let me get this straight. This is a long sentence:

Keep Reading…

Plastic Water Bottle Ban Proposed for San Francisco

The popular three-term President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, David Chiu, unveiled his proposal on Tuesday which would ban the sale of plastic water bottles on city property. Initially the ban would only apply to sites where there are already alternative water sources like drinking fountains, but would eventually apply to all events on San Francisco property. By 2016 the ban would also apply to outside vendors as well.

Said Chiu:

Keep Reading…

Walmart’s Two New Stores in Washington DC Embarrass a Preacher

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 9th, 2013:

 

When the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler, pastor of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, saw the two new Walmart stores opening in DC this past week, he admitted that some of his people were going to shop there despite his protestations:

I know some of my congregants are going to be shopping there. I have not called for a boycott or anything like that.

But … when you make this corporation richer, it’s at the expense of making somebody [else] poorer.

Not according to the shoppers, hundreds of whom voluntarily

Keep Reading…

WTO celebrates its first global agreement in 12 years

With tears in his eyes, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Roberto Azevêdo announced on Saturday the successful culmination of days of difficult negotiations to arrive at the

Keep Reading…

Judge declares Detroit bankrupt, gives OK to cut pensions and burn creditors

In the opening to his hour-long statement to a packed courthouse on Tuesday, federal bankruptcy court Judge Steven Rhodes said:

It is indeed a momentous day. We have here a judicial finding that this once proud and prosperous city can’t pay its debts. It’s insolvent.

It’s eligible for bankruptcy. At the same time it has an opportunity for a fresh start.

He reeled off the list of problems the city is facing:

Keep Reading…

Obamacare Driving Doctors and Patients to Direct Pay

UnitedHealth Group has dropped thousands of doctors from its networks due to falling reimbursements, leaving patients wondering what their options are. So are those physicians.

One of those physicians, Dr. Josh Umbehr in Wichita, Kansas, has opened his own “direct pay” practice as an answer to both. On his website he notes the following benefits for patients who are looking for alternatives to Obamacare.

Keep Reading…

Atlanta Reelects another Hubris-lathered Politician as its Mayor

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 6th, 2013: 

Atlantans obviously weren’t paying attention when President Obama flew into town to endorse and promote their mayor in his reelection campaign. If they had been, they would have known something was wrong. He praised the mayor for his

Keep Reading…

When the Free Market is allowed to Flourish, It Does

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 1st, 2013:

When the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act) was signed into law in April 2012, it was designed to create a “regulatory exemption” for crowd funded securities – a crack in the 6-inch thick slab of concrete the government regulatory agencies are determined to pave over every manner of entrepreneurial activity in the country – so that entrepreneurs could meet with capital largely free of regulations under Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, and other noxious restrictions on freedom.

It was highly controversial at the time, with the New York Times leading the way in an article entitled

Keep Reading…

Kickstarter Marks Another Milestone

Just over a week ago Kickstarter, the crowd funding platform, revealed that it had successfully funded more than 50,000 projects since its inception in 2009. As of October 31st that number had jumped to 50,844 with another 4,130 currently being funded.

Kickstarter has helped entrepreneurs with ideas, songs, gadgets, video games, publishing concepts and fashion design ideas connect with low-budget capitalists interested in supporting them. And, thanks to provisions in the JOBS Act, signed into law in April 2012, they can do this without

Keep Reading…

The Bubble in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 30, 2013:

The complacency of municipal bond holders ended in July with the filing for bankruptcy by Detroit, an unhappy town of just 700,000 owing more than $18 billion to investors. Haircuts there have variously been estimated to be between 15 and 60 percent.

Since then, those holders have been looking around to find the next shoe to fall, and they have found it:

Keep Reading…

White House “Tweaks” Obamacare; Major Problems Remain

Thursday’s announcement by the White House that it was “tweaking” Obamacare in order to keep some taxpayers from being penalized even after they purchased insurance obscured the vastly greater problems facing the new federally mandated health care program.

The vice president of the tax firm Jackson Hewitt, Brian Haile, first noted that it was possible, even likely, that

Keep Reading…

HealthCare.gov Delays Are Way More than Just Glitches

It’s been three weeks since the much ballyhooed start of enrollment for Obamacare and the results are not just disappointing. They are disastrously low. According to Mike Huckabee, fewer than 500,000 of the 7 million uninsured people needed in the next six months to make this program viable have been able to apply for coverage online, and most of them were

Keep Reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.