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California Propositions 56 and 64

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 10-29-2016 | in Freedom, Political,

California Propositions 56 and 64 propose laws that attack personal liberty rights.  This election cycle shows how Americans misunderstand and oppose liberty. Californians placed Propositions 56 and 64 on the November ballot respectively to increase cigarette tax by $2.00 a pack, and to legalize and tax uses of Marijuana. Both Propositions impose onerous taxes to decrease uses of tobacco or marijuana products. In addition, they describe plans to use the tax revenue to meet costs of various government expenses that all citizens should share. Both proposed tax laws expand government authority over human rights by restricting or denying individuals’ the inborn liberty right of self-determination and choice.

Similar to the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution sets up a republican form of government for the State. In both constitutions, the people grant limited powers to government and keep all other power, liberty, and human rights. 


[Section 1] All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

Section 7.  (a) A person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law or denied equal protection of the laws; 

The official name of the law proposed by California Proposition 64 is The Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Some people see the proposed law as a positive policy change from drug prohibition that erodes liberty to one of choice. However, nobody shares that opinion that understands or values liberty values.  

Clearly, Propositions 56 and 64 violate Article I Declaration of Rights. It forces citizens to quit using tobacco and marijuana products or face the expense of high taxes. Different from a pure democracy, a voting majority in a constitutional republic cannot grant government authority to deny or to infringe on the inborn liberty and human rights of members in the minority. More accurately, they cannot do so and keep the essential foundation for a constitutional democracy or republic.

History reports how laws of prohibition inevitably attack liberty by denying individuals the right of choice. The 1919 Amendment XVIII to the U.S. Constitution outlawed the making, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages into or within the United States. The law created so much organized crime and disorder without eliminating alcohol consumption the nation repealed it fourteen years later. Nevertheless, President Nixon ignored this history lesson in 1971, and launched a war on drugs.

All conditions in nature reflect the forces that created them. Therefore, society should have expected federal laws banning recreational use of drugs to create crime and disorder similar to conditions created by alcohol prohibition. However, the “war on drugs” created more crime and social disorder. Government responded by expanding the domain of criminal-justice authority over all Americans’ liberty rights. For example, the government tracks large cash transactions as signs of drug trafficking. Often it confiscates the money under drug war authority without a procedure that would allow the individual to prove a legal source of the money. The War on Drugs has become a war on liberty, because each newly created policing agency reduces personal sovereignty.

High taxes on marijuana and tobacco products will encourage smuggling the same as prohibition does.  The elaborate legal procedures required for commercial production and retail sales—each county and city can impose local laws—will encourage smuggling and underground sales. In addition, the higher taxes nicotine addicted citizens pay government for tobacco products leaves them less money to buy groceries for a healthy diet.

 American society must address problems with addiction that threaten the health and productivity of addicted people. However, society must approach the problem from a health care and educational perspective and not the law and order perspective that attacks liberty. Teaching students about anatomy, diet, and nourishment beginning in the first grade would provide them with the essential knowledge they need to decide what food and drugs to take into their bodies.    


Republicans attack the Affordable Care Act again

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 02-07-2014 | in Political, Government, Critical Thinking, Economics,

If the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were a person, it would rate protective care from Republicans' persistent efforts to harm it. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024 estimates of how current law will affect federal policies. It explains how the Affordable Care Act (ACA)-often called Obamacare-subsidies low-income workers' health insurance premiums. The subsidy decreases as worker's income increases. The CBO describes the decreasing subsidy as an effective tax on workers' increasing wages that will motivate some workers to offer less labor or quit work.

Republicans report falsely that the CBO confirms the ACA will destroy jobs. Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote, "The CBO's latest report confirms what Republicans have been saying for years "Under Obamacare, millions of hardworking Americans will lose their jobs and those who keep them will see their hours and wages reduced."" Other Republicans repeated this blatant lie.

The Budget Report said, "Specifically, CBO estimates that the ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017-2024 period, com?pared with what it would have been otherwise." It continued, "The reduction in CBO's projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024." The CBO cautioned, "The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses' demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise."

No honest person could conclude from this CBO report that it projected the ACA would destroy jobs of hardworking people that wanted to work as Republicans claim. . People do not destroy jobs by refusing to work. Instead, they open employment for unemployed people willing to work. The CBO reasons poorly on this issue.

The CBO projects a reduction of labor force participation from a total national perspective rather than an individual point of view. However, the personal choices of individuals quitting jobs do not reflect as a total national lessening of labor compensation. With a national unemployment rate of 6 to 7 percent, unemployed laborers will fill job openings created by employees that quit or that chose to work less. Low-income employees that lessen work hours or quit jobs because of the ACA affect total national labor compensation no differently than employees that quit or lessen work hours because of childbirth, family illness, business startup, education pursuits, or laziness. They do not affect it all during periods of high unemployment.

Low-income status does not deprive people of commonsense. Most low-income workers will see the ACA subsidy of their health insurance premiums as government (taxpayer) assistance. Therefore, they are unlikely to see the reduction of government assistance for health premiums as a tax on their increased income even if some preferred having the subsidy.

CBO analysts' reasoning is illogical that people will try to create a net income gain by quitting or lessen work and losing all wage income to avoid paying a bigger share of their health insurance premium. Someone that worked a second or third job to pay health insurance premiums or to pay health care costs may cut back on work upon receiving ACA benefits. Nevertheless, their action would fit the goal of the ACA to free people from enslaving healthcare costs.

Some people are lazy or try to game the system. Nevertheless, CBO's projection of ACA's effect on labor force participation is ridiculous. Republican lies about the CBO report are dishonest and irresponsible.


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