By Evelyn Pyburn

Politics of Envy
Provoking envy, or to capitalize on the pettiness of it, seems somehow scoundrelous. And, that is exactly the instantaneous view this voter has of people who attempt to gain support by appealing to such a base attribute of human beings. If there is anything we should overcome as adults and rational, forthright citizens, it is envy of others. So, when someone attempts to persuade me by attempting to appeal to envy about another person’s wealth or achievements, I for one am insulted.

I am also immediately distrustful of those who attempt the ploy, because it reveals one of two things about them – either they themselves are a petty person devoured by envy, or they are devious and manipulative of others. In reality, they are probably both, and not a good candidate to rule over others.

A?Glaring Solution
Why is it that people in the business world – people who see firsthand, every day, how competition drives improvements in a myriad of ways… business people, who (at least some of them) advocate for competition in the market, why? why? do these same people lose it when attempting to improve public education? Heaven knows it needs improvement. For at least 40 years, the trend has been consistent. Outcomes for public education have been steady downward, while ever more money is spent on it. The greatest successes in education over that period have been driven by the private sector – either in private schools, new methods/ technology, or homeschooling. There should be nothing surprising, nor remotely negative about that — it happens in every field of endeavor. So why is this clue, which  points to real potential solutions, not embraced and explored by everyone — if improving education is really what they are all about? Answering that question honestly, explains. Educating children is but a by-product of an institution which has as its primary goal, the preservation of the system. Competition would restructure public education, shifting power and its beneficiaries – a terrifying prospect for many.

Self Inflicted Wounds
When the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund and the United States Economic Development Administration made the point in its study that 30-40 percent of the cost of producing Montana coal is in the cost of taxes – an amount that exceeds the cost of labor – the idea has to trickle across one’s mind that Montana had a “war on coal” long before anyone ever heard of Barack Obama. High taxes are why Montana is identified as “a marginal producer” of coal, industry wide. But that is a problem that is wholly within the state’s ability to change! The revelation goes to the long- understood observation that when it comes to economic development, Montana is its own worst enemy.

Burden on Poor
It’s always been puzzling why those who wring their hands over the plight of the poor have never objected to the coerced process of credit card transactions, which squarely places the cost on the shoulders of those who are most unlikely to use credit cards—the poor. Low income folks invariably do not qualify for credit cards and yet vendors and retailers are not allowed – as a matter of law—to deduct the cost of processing credit cards from prices for those paying cash. This really is nothing more but price -fixing for the benefit of the credit card companies. To break out a cost for processing a credit card transaction so the customer can see what it is costing them is also not allowed. So, most businesses just incorporate the cost across the board as part of the overall price paid by everyone—sort of like a tax. There is a cost associated with each credit card transaction – and it is not trivial. Just think about how eagerly big retailers want you to use your credit card, or the cost of all those “freebie rewards” for which someone must pay. It is a high -profit center which has encouraged big retailers to enter the world of finance, as evidenced by their strident promotions of credit card use. That’s all fine, but it probably wouldn’t be so profitable for them if consumer choice were allowed. How a business wants to handle any transaction should be between them and their customer – the credit card companies should not be able to dictate, nor should the government. And, customers should be able to choose – it’s called competition— and who knows what great things might emerge regarding identity theft and fraud, not to mention reducing costs, were it tried.

Voluntary Should Mean Voluntary
It’s frequently been stated that there was no need for President Trump to pull out of the Paris climate accord because the goals were voluntary. They say the treaty could be “modified in any direction.” Wonderful.  President Trump just modified it. And, since we can still voluntarily act to reduce carbon emissions at will, there’s nothing more to be said. Actually, ALL that needs to be said is about whether achieving emission reductions IS voluntary. That is really the ONLY point of contention! In an ostensibly free country, citizens should be free to act voluntarily. Climate change regulations are primarily about increasing government power, about which some people object because they view freedom as a greater priority.
Statists are using the public’s very real concerns as leverage to impose laws and restrictions on citizens, which past experience has shown people will not accept without believing them to be absolutely necessary to protect life.  If it were not for the opportunity to seize more power, statists would not be the slightest bit interested in global warming. Global warming, like most scientific issues, would not be a political football. Why isn’t it a political controversy, for example, as to whether there is a ninth planet in our solar system?
Free citizens is actually a potent solution, if one is truly concerned about CO2 levels, because real solutions will only come from people free to act, free to invent, to innovate, and to conserve costs.
Government regulations, always, nail the status quo into place. We need to be able to reach beyond the status quo. Also, as is always the nature of government, its primary modus operandi is collecting taxes and fees, and extending power, things which have minimal impact on reducing carbon emissions, as was evident with the Clean Power Plan.