Monday, October 09, 2006

What are we doing to those we seek to help?

While raising wages seems unassailable ("Minimum-wage proposal most popular ballot item," Sept. 20), it has negative consequences for the very people minimum wage hikes aim to help.

Consider an entrepreneur with a tight budget. If she is barely eking out a profit, she cannot easily absorb a mandated increase in her labor costs - unless she fires workers. Even large employers face this choice. That is why Chicago's Democratic Mayor Richard Daley recently vetoed a minimum wage hike aimed at big-box stores. When we tell employers to pay workers more, we are often telling them to fire someone now on the payroll.

What's worse, these workers are not struggling to get by. They are struggling to make a start. The average household income for Colorado minimum wage earners is more than $50,000 a year. Most Coloradans working for minimum wage are doing so because they need basic job skills more than they need a few extra dollars per hour.

Voting for a minimum wage increase might make us feel good, but it cuts off the crucial first rung of the economic ladder.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Net Freedom

The "discrimination" at issue in net neutrality is the same sort that allows you to tell certain people to leave your home. No one has a right to use an ISP's services on any terms except those set by the ISP. The issue is the right of ISPs to make use of their property in a way that benefits them, without inflicting harm on anyone. It is the same right that allows you to tell a Jehovah's Witness to leave your front porch.

Moreover, if ISPs block sites that their customers want to access, their customers will flock to a different ISP. In Boulder I have the choice of at least three high-speed ISPs, plus dial-up providers. The folly of net neutrality boosters is that they have a solid-state view of the world. They are so focused on the notion that ISPs might boost the speed of some sites that they miss the possibility that other ISPs will fill the void and provide fast access to content disfavored by other ISPs.

A vote for net neutrality is a vote against the right of all Americans to use their property as they see fit.

The internet may be a public forum, but access to the internet is controlled through private gateways. For that reason the common road analogy fails, unless you change it slightly.

Net neutrality is not concerned with the roadway; the piece of the internet at issue is the "car" websites drive on the "roadway." The ISP is the website's vehicle for accessing the internet. While the "speed limit" language makes us think of signs on the road, what net neutrality is actually the equivalent of is forcing everyone to drive a Yugo.

What network freedom would allow is for websites, ANY website including and, to buy the "car" that suits their needs. If my text-only blog works fine at Yugo speed, I don't need to buy a Cadillac - but why should Congress forbid from buying a better vehicle if they want it? Moreover, why should Congress mandate what kind of cars ISPs sell and who they sell to?

Access to the ISPs' property, just like access to my front porch, is not a right. It is a privilege, bought and paid for by the speaker.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Market Failure" Doesn't Exist

"A free market doesn’t guarantee that an individual will act in rational self-interest—errors are possible—only that he or she is free to do so. If a person fails to act as such, then it’s the person’s failure, not “market failure.” A free market can’t be expected to do what’s metaphysically impossible, such as make everyone equally wealthy regardless of ability and effort, or turn sloth into gold. If a person expects a bicycle to fly, and it doesn’t fly, then it’s not a “bicycle failure” but a mind failure."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Why Rapanos Is Important

Justice Scalia explains:

The burden of federal regulation on those who would deposit fill material in locations denominated “waters of the United States” is not trivial. In deciding whether to grant or deny a permit, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) exercises the discretion of an enlightened despot, relying on such factors as “economics,” “aesthetics,” “recreation,” and “in general, the needs and welfare of the people....” The average applicant for an individual permit spends 788 days and $271,596 in completing the process, and the average applicant for a nationwide permit spends 313 days and $28,915-not counting costs of mitigation or design changes.... “[O]ver $1.7 billion is spent each year by the private and public sectors obtaining wetlands permits....” These costs cannot be avoided, because the Clean Water Act “impose[s] criminal liability,” as well as steep civil fines, “on a broad range of ordinary industrial and commercial activities....” In this litigation, for example, for backfilling his own wet fields, Mr. Rapanos faced 63 months in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in criminal and civil fines.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Little Dictators

"Americans should be up in arms about this tyranny in their midst. But they are not. Many have come to see the world as the Little Dictators wish it to be. Without the security of their decrees, many people would feel dread at the thought of making their own decisions. But this is dictatorship—the dictatorship of petty bureaucrats for sure, but dictatorship nonetheless—and it is growing by leaps and bounds. When Americans regain their understanding of liberty, they will feel a proper sense of outrage against these tin-badge despots, and the legislatures that empower them. But, first they must regain that understanding."

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Thanks to all those who supported my candidacy for VP. I look forward to serving the Federalist Society and you, its members.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Is There a Federal Deficit?

"The average taxpayer, depending on the state in which he lives, works from Jan. 1 to May 3 to pay federal, state and local taxes. That means someone else decides how four months' worth of the fruits of the average taxpayer's labor will be spent. The taxpayer is forcibly used to serve the purposes of others -- whether it's farm or business handouts, food stamps or other government programs where the earnings of one American are taken and given to another.

This situation differs only in degree, but not in kind, from slavery. After all, a working description of slavery is the process where one person is forcibly used to serve the purposes of another. The difference is a slave has no rights to what he produces each year, instead of just four months."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Federalist Society Elections, part 2

I will be running for Vice President at this Tuesday’s 12:00 p.m. meeting in room 104. I echo Lisa’s sentiments about planning speakers early, engaging the other local Fed. Soc. chapters, and vigorously recruiting new members.

To that I would like to add two goals I will pursue next year: (1) increasing funding opportunities for academic and travel scholarships; (2) expanding opportunities to present the Fed. Soc. perspective by coordinating events with other groups.

Where to find more money? By having more members and increasing the stature of the organization we can draw more dollars from SBA and CU. That is one reason I support Lisa’s plans. Also, we need to seek possible funding from sympathetic groups, including the Denver Lawyer’s chapter, the Independence Institute, the Institute for Justice, etc. Aside from direct funding, these groups could offer fruitful connections to people willing and able to donate to the next generation of liberty-loving lawyers.

On the coordination front, I know groups that are concerned about similar issues as the Fed. Soc., like ACS and ACLU, would be open to coordinating their events with us. The benefits would be two-fold. We could spend more money per event by combining funds with the other groups, and a debate format is much more lively and interesting. Both of these benefits mean more asses in the seats- and potentially more Fed. Soc. members. Which would help with my first goal …

Remember: vote Tuesday at noon, room 104.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Federalist Society Elections

I will be running for Vice President at the meeting next Tuesday (4/18) at 12:00 p.m. in room 104.

In next few days I will elaborate my goals for the Fed. Soc., but in the meantime feel free to send me your comments and concerns.

Even if you have never attended a Fed. Soc. meeting before, pop in this Tuesday to cast a ballot and offer your two cents on what the Fed. Soc. should do in the future.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Thank You For Smoking

Question your villains . . . and your heroes.

Equal rights for unwed fathers

"In recent decades, thanks to both technology and social change, we have made strides to alleviate the inequality for women, helping them avoid unwanted childbearing. But we have lagged far behind in equalizing the situation for men. We cannot ask men to be equal parents while giving virtually all the power in reproductive decisions to women."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Squaring Equality with Individualism

"Singling out one group for special favors (through affirmative action) ignores the fact that people are individuals--not interchangeable ciphers in an amorphous collective."