Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why Does the United States Never Hold China Accountable?

by Dr. Gerard Emershaw

The Chinese recently unveiled its new J-31 stealth fighter over the skies of the city of Zhuhai. Funny thing about the J-31. It looked strikingly like the United States F-35. Coincidence? Not at all. Chinese cyber spies were able to hack into the systems of Lockheed Martin and six subcontractors and steal all but the most sensitive of blueprints—which were stored off-line—for the American F-35. China’s cyber spies are busy, constantly targeting the military, government, and economy of the United States—“from the Pentagon to Los Alamos, oil pipelines to power plants, Google to Coca-Cola.”
Why does the United States put up with this? How is this not an act of war? The American military under the rule of bellicose neoconservatives and neo-progressives in recent decades has become increasingly hostile toward even the most innocuous of threats to “American interests.” President Obama waged an unconstitutional war against Libya, which was no threat to the United States and had not as much as rattled a saber against Americans in years. The United States has become embroiled in all sides of the Syrian Civil War despite Syria having no strategic importance. The United States also appears determined to begin a new Cold War against Russia over Ukraine, which also has nothing to do with the United States. So why is China always given a free pass even when it actively commits acts of blatant espionage against the United States government and American corporations?
One reason that the United States refuses to hold China accountable for its acts of war is that China holds over $1.2 trillion in American debt. This accounts for 8% of American publicly held debt. This dependence on China in order to keep the warfare/welfare state funded and operating makes it unlikely that the United States will ever stand up to China for its extensive program of espionage. The Big Government Neoconservative and Neo-Progressive Statists will not dare bite the hand that feeds.
Another reason is that American corporations are dependent upon the cheap labor and goods that China provides. Hundreds of United States corporations including Apple Computers, Banana Republic, Dell, Cisco Systems, Coca Cola, GAP, LL Bean, Nabisco, Revlon, Walmart, and Xerox produce goods in factories in China. In 2013, the United States imported more than $440 billion of goods from China, resulting in a $318 billion trade deficit. As a result, the corporate interests which control American politics and government will never allow the United States government to exercise a foreign policy which threatens the corporate bottom line.
Unlike nations like Iran and Syria and insurgent groups like the Islamic State, China is a genuine threat to the United States. Not only has the United States become economically dependent on China in numerous ways and not only does China possess the espionage capabilities to victimize American government and corporations, but China possesses the capability to hack into American banks and its electrical grid. As a result, China is an actual threat to the United States. While collapsing the American economy would be equally destructive to China, having so much leverage over the United States makes China a grave threat to the safety of the American people.
(For a detailed discussion of the danger that China poses to the United States, read my new book The Real Culture War: Individualism vs. Collectivism & How Bill O’Reilly Got It All Wrong. Available now on Amazon in both print and Kindle.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Minimum Wage and Why Bill O’Reilly Doesn’t Understand Economics

by Dr. Gerard Emershaw

In a recent Talking Points Memo on his show, Bill O’Reilly discussed things he believes the GOP must do to improve the economy now that the party will be in control of the Senate as well as the House. A few of his ideas were undeniably good. For example, he suggests that the Republican Congress lower the corporate tax rate. He correctly recognizes that lowering corporate taxes could very well led to more jobs being created and aptly states: “When there are more jobs, there is more competition for workers and salaries go up.” Unfortunately, almost immediately after this, the Fox News Channel host suggests the following:

Third, raise the minimum wage.  That will encourage young people to get into the marketplace and other folks to get off the dole. Ten bucks an hour will not break anyone.

And with the corporate income tax cut, the minimum wage rise will not affect profits.

Bill O’Reilly’s ignorance concerning economics is breathtaking. First, he is under the impression that all employers pay corporate tax. The true machine for economic growth in the United States is made up of small businesses. A large number of small businesses are owned by people who pay taxes on their business profits as part of their individual federal income tax. Lowering corporate taxes would not help these small business owners. Raising minimum wage while simultaneously lowering corporate income taxes will benefit big business at the expense of small businesses. It will become yet another corporatist program aimed at crushing the small business competitors to large corporations.

Secondly, forcing employers to pay a minimum wage means that employers will be able to hire fewer workers or will be forced to fire some. Those who are not hired become “unseen victims.”

Thirdly, Secondly, low-skilled workers will not be able to learn basic job skills if they are not hired. This disproportionately harms the young and the uneducated and could very well trap them in poverty for their entire lives. The current minimum wage only affects about 5% of the population in the United States. Few of those at minimum wage remain there for long—“as they acquire skills, their productivity rises and they command higher wages.”

(For a much more detailed discussion of Bill O’Reilly’s dubious views of economic, political, and social issues, read my new book The Real Culture War: Individualism vs. Collectivism & How Bill O’Reilly Got It All Wrong. Available now on Amazon in both print and Kindle.)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Michigan’s “Rape Insurance” Law

by Dr. Gerard Emershaw
Michigan recently passed a controversial new law dubbed the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act. This law forbids qualified insurance plans offered through the health benefit exchange in Michigan from providing coverage for elective abortion—which is considered any abortion for any reason other than the life of the mother being at risk. Insurance companies can offer a separate rider which may be purchased to cover abortion in all other cases—including rape and incest.
The name of the law is misleading. It has nothing to do with an insurance company, employer, or employee “opting out.” It has to do with “opting in” through these separate “rape insurance” riders. Given this fact, this is very different from any issue that was covered in the recent Hobby Lobby case decided by the Supreme Court. The idea of “opting out” itself can be problematic. Should Jehovah’s Witnesses be able to opt out from plans involving blood transfusion? Should adherents of some racist sect be allowed to opt out of plans which provide transfusions or transplants from members of one race to another? Should adherents of some homophobic sect be allowed to opt out of plans which provide health coverage to homosexuals?
Elective abortion is legal in the United States due to the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. The abortion issue is complex and difficult to say the least, but it is intimately connected with self-ownership and the right to bodily integrity—the foundations on which all natural rights stand. Unless and until Roe v. Wade is overturned or a Constitutional amendment bans abortion on the federal level—both extremely unlikely possibilities—then such controversies cannot be said to have anything legitimate to do with the abortion issue.
The big issue here has nothing whatsoever to do with abortion. The real issue is the right to contract. Approximately 80 percent of all private insurance plans currently cover abortions. Whether or not an insurance company in Michigan or anywhere else decides to offer elective abortion as part of its plans is the decision of that entity and nobody else. Whether or not an employer chooses to purchase an employee plan that offers elective abortion coverage is up to that employer. Whether an individual chooses to purchase an insurance plan that offers elective abortion coverage is up to that individual. It is not the place of any government at the federal or state level. Arguably, Michigan has the Constitutional power for such regulation under the “police power” it may exercise under the Tenth Amendment. However, just because a state may impose burdensome business regulations, it does not mean that it ought to. Any and all regulations on the right to contract are egregious violations of the liberty to contract. Treating insurance companies, employers, and employees like children who do not have the rationality to choose the terms of the insurance contracts in which they choose to enter is paternalistic and collectivist. Such paternalism becomes a very dangerous slippery slope. The more than government may dictate the terms of contracts that autonomous individuals may choose to enter into, the more that government enslaves individuals.   
(For a much more detailed discussion of burdensome business regulations, the abortion issue, and the right to contract, read my new book The Real Culture War: Individualism vs. Collectivism & How Bill O’Reilly Got It All Wrong. Available now on Amazon in both print and Kindle.)