Thanks to the Des Moines Register for the article, “Crop insurance payment soar” on 3/14/2013. It is not right that we taxpayers are required to subsidize crop insurance premiums for farmers. I can accept our government administering a crop insurance insurance program if there is no viable private market. But I cannot understand why taxpayers should subsidize the crop insurance program. Farmers make higher than average incomes. Many farmers and farm owners are very wealthy. Both large corporate farms and wealthy absentee owner investors get Insurance premium subsidies. Fees and commissions paid to crop insurance companies and sales representatives appear to be very generous. We need to stop the farm welfare. Charging the full cost of the insurance to farmers will cause farmers to help keep cost down and prevent abuse.
Patents are government enforced monopolies that are granted to encourage innovation. There is no natural property right in “intellectual property” (IP). Natural property rights exist in physical things. If you create or obtain property by peaceful and honest means, then you have a natural right to keep and defend that property against those who would use force or fraud to take your property from you. Governments are created to help protect those rights.
Throughout most of human history there has been no recognition of patents. Anyone could copy a good idea from anyone else. Only Kings or other dictators bestowed monopolies to favored groups and used force to stop those who infringed on the monopoly. The inventor of the first wheel had a natural property right in that specific wheel. Other people who made similar copies for themselves did not take anything away from the original creator. Why should force be allowed to stop someone from copying from someone else? Do the ends justify the mean? Isn’t it immoral to use force to stop a peaceful person from doing something that does no harm to others?
It is wrong to assume that people would not be inventive if they had no patent protection. They might be more inventive and more creative. Do a thought experiment: What would happen if there were no patents? Might there not be more and faster invention? As much as possible, inventors would try to keep their manufacturing processes secret. But keeping such secrets would be very difficult, if not impossible in many cases. Inventors would also try to use contracts to prevent people from copying their inventions. Contracts would give them some protection, but only against those who are party to the contracts.
Patents are supposed to be granted only for original inventions that are not obvious. In the recent case between Apple and Samsung, one of the patents which Apple successfully defended was the “look and feel” of the IPhone, including the rounded corners and the “bounce-back” screen. Mercedes Benz has a new TV ad where they tout that they have over 80,000 patents. (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc6CejduPP0) Is that a good thing? Today, it is becoming very difficult to create anything technical without infringing on someone else’s patent. What government gives, government can take away. Until we get rid of patents, our government should get much more conservative about what types of inventions get patent protection and about how much time the patent is granted for.
In the case of drugs and medical devices, I would feel much better about our government providing for our “general welfare” by funding medical research if no patents were allowed if taxpayer money is used in anyway to fund the development. Inventions based on taxpayer funded medical and technological research, or based on research done at public universities should not be patentable, either by the States or the universities. They should be left in the public domain for the benefit of all citizens.
On 7/1/2012, the Sunday Register reported on new Iowa laws which took effect on that day. One prohibits auctioneers who don’t have a real estate license from holding open houses before they hold the auction. Multiple choice: What was the reason for this law: A.) Protect auctioneers with real estate licenses from competition. B.) Protect licensed real estate agents from competition. C.) Increase revenues to the regulating agency. D.) Protect the public. I only know that the answer is not “D”.