Don’t be too quick to ban payday loans.

The Register has called for payday loans to be outlawed. (See link below.)  Just know, that if payday loans are banned, people who have a need for short-term small loans will simply not be able to get one – from any legal source. Using the calculated annual rate of interest is somewhat misleading. If a person borrows $500 for two weeks and has to pay back $550, the annual rate of interest is $260%. If the maximum allowed annualized interest rate was 36%, then interest on a two week loan for $500 would be capped at $7. No legal lender will make a $500 loan for 2 weeks to only earn $7. The Register quoted Democratic Iowa Senator Joe Bolkcom as saying, “In Iowa, they would be better off getting a loan from a loan shark.” If Iowa bans payday loans, we may find out whether or not Senator Bolcom is correct.

Link: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/editorials/2016/05/28/editorial-state-must-do-more-stop-payday-lending/84584084/

 

University of Iowa – wrong on tobacco policy.

The Des Moines Register recently reported that the University of Iowa (UI) has decided to implement a policy next Fall to prohibit all forms of tobacco anywhere on its campus.  (See link below to Register article.)  UI already has a policy that prohibits all smoking on campus.  The new policy would extend the ban to all forms of nicotine, including vapor and chewing tobacco.  The new policy will apply to students, faculty, staff and visitors.  It covers all university buildings and vehicles, plus all outdoor areas controlled by UI. UI is a government institution, and it is proper for governments to prohibit smoking inside or near entrances to government owned buildings because of the risks associated with second hand smoke.  For the same reason, it also seems proper to prohibit nicotine vapor inside government buildings.  But, smoking outside should not be prohibited.  Our air is not and has never been perfectly pure.  I would guess that automobiles, forest fires, power plants and volcanoes each put much more harmful pollution into our outdoor air than tobacco smokers.  Even worse, prohibiting smokeless (chewing) tobacco is just mean spirited.  It is not the proper role for government to prohibit us from legal activities that clearly harm no one other than ourselves.  Living involves risks.  As a person who does not use tobacco in any form, I have decided to not take those risks. But people who do no harm to others should be free to decide what risks they take with their lives, and neither I, nor any majority, should be able to force our decisions upon them.

Link to article:  http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/local/2015/04/07/university-iowa-go-tobacco-free/25420109/

Lower prescription drug costs – the proper way.

The Register, in a recent editorial, advocated for letting people order their medications from other countries.  A bill introduced into Congress by Senator John McCain would allow people to legally buy their prescriptions from properly licensed Canadian pharmacies.  A better idea would be to allow U.S. prescription drug wholesalers and retail pharmacies to buy from Canadian manufacturers and wholesalers.  To only allow individuals to buy from Canadian pharmacies would be to pull the rug out from underneath U.S. pharmacies.  It would be simply unfair to allow individuals to purchase from Canadian pharmacies but not allow U.S. pharmacies to do the same.  The best answer is to allow free trade in prescription drugs at all levels.

 

Link to Register article:  http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/editorials/2015/03/08/editorial-easy-way-lower-cost-medications/24629749/

Don’t force measles vaccine.

The question is not, “Is the measles vaccine is safe and effective?” (I presume that it is.)  The question is, “What are the limits of government power?”   A person should not be forced to inject something into their body against their will.  Period.  Everyone else can take steps to defend themselves.  Maybe not perfectly, but that is a price we pay for freedom.  Neither government nor any majority should be able to use force against those who are peaceful and honest, and who don’t use any force or fraud against others.

 

Corporations are people, money is speech.

After witnessing the deluge of outside political advertising that inundated Iowa during this latest election cycle, it’s easy to conclude that our government should place limits on political contributions and political advertising.  But our Supreme Court correctly decided in the Citizens United case that governments should not be allowed to limit the independent political expenditures of groups of people, even if they are organized as corporations.
 
Most of the corporations that make independent expenditures for or against candidates or ballot issues are simply groups of like minded people who have come together to promote their common beliefs.  They are not profit-making corporations that run businesses and sell stock on Wall Street.  Citizens United is a group of people who are organized as a corporation explicitly for the purpose of promoting a political agenda.
 
If contributions are given directly to a candidate, there is good reason for concern about bribery and corruption.  But as long as people or groups are independent of candidates and their campaigns, they should be free to spend as much of their own money as they want, and they should not have to disclose the names of contributors.  Our founding fathers published pamphlets and other communications anonymously when they advocated against their rulers and called for a revolution.  They were very much thinking about political speech when they wrote in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

 

Auto dealers want government force to protect them against competition

The Des Moines Register reported that the Iowa Department of Transportation, at the urging of the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association, has stopped Tesla Motors from allowing Iowans to test their all-electric car.  Under Iowa law, it is illegal to sell new cars without going through a dealer.  Auto dealers have a strong lobby in the Iowa Legislature. They want to use the force of government to prevent free market competition and voluntary free market transactions. Just like they lobby to keep it illegal for a dealer to be open on Sundays. Nobody wants these laws except the dealers.  Let your Iowa legislator know what you think.

 

Link to Register article:  http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/companies/2014/09/25/tesla-test-drives-iowa-dot-west-des-moines-laws-illegal/16192477/

Hobby Lobby decision correct.

A Supreme Court ruling today (6/30/2014) upheld our fundamental right to use our own private property in accordance with our own moral beliefs.  The ruling gives priority to natural religious and private property rights over the politically created guarantee that private business owners will provide employees with a health insurance benefit that covers certain birth control pills.

The owners of Hobby Lobby objected to the Obama Care legal requirement that they provide their employees with an insurance benefit that covered morning after “abortion” pills.  The law was in direct conflict with their sincerely held, honest and peaceful religious beliefs.  Hobby Lobby has never used force or fraud to get people to either work for or patronize their business.

Governments are the only organizations that can legally use force against peaceful people.  We created our government to use force, if necessary, to protect our fundamental right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.  Government force should not be used to make peaceful people act against their own religious beliefs – no matter how good the cause or the intentions.

By the way, I am a peaceful, honest, pro-choice, atheist, libertarian.

Government protects special interests – casinos and greyhound breeders.

Only government could create a situation like we have with the casinos and the dog racing industry.  Casinos want to pay the dog racing people $92 million so that they won’t be required to continue to subsidize dog racing.
In any kind of free market situation, the casinos would either shut down the dog tracks or sell them to a private investors, if any could be found.  In a free market, casinos would have competition.  But, in Iowa, the casinos are protected from competition by government.  Recently the Racing and Gaming Commission ruled against a couple of proposed new casinos because they would “cannibalize” other casinos.  So, casino profits are protected and dog owners get bailed out.  This is cronyism at its best.
The only good thing about this whole situation is that taxpayers are not on the hook.

Iowa Senator is not transparent.

Iowa Senator Jeff Danielson, in his Iowa View commentary in the Des Moines Register on 3/6/2014 wrote that the bill he introduced (S.F. 2235) would improve transparency, oversight and accountability of government outsourcing agreements so that taxpayers won’t be, “…left holding the bag when the promise of savings is unfulfilled.”
He failed to mention that his bill requires that all government outsourcing contracts include, “A requirement that the compensation paid to employees of a recipient entity pursuant to the service contract shall be comparable to the compensation paid to public employees performing similar work or the average private sector wage for similar work, whichever is less.”
It appears that Senator Danielson was being less than fully transparent by not disclosing in his commentary that a key provision of the bill would protect state worker pay levels at a higher cost to taxpayers.

Hobby Lobby is correct.

Contrary to the letter by John Ashman, the owners of Hobby Lobby are not forcing their views on anyone.  (“Are owners of business forcing views on workers?” 2/12/2014)  Only governments have the legal right to use force against peaceful people.    No one is being forced to work for or patronize Hobby Lobby.  Although I disagree completely with their religious beliefs, I do agree that they have the right to use their own private property, including their business which is open to the public, in their own peaceful, honest way.  Similarly, individuals and groups have freedom of speech, assembly and association rights which allow them to organize protests and boycotts against businesses that they think operate unfairly.  Government’s proper role is to protect the lives, liberty and property of peaceful people against those who would use force or fraud to take what they want .  It is not proper to for government to take sides when there are differences of opinions between peaceful and honest people.

Link to Register article:  http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20140213/OPINION04/302130029/1038/opinion04/Letter-editor-owners-business-forcing-views-workers-