Burger King merges with Tim Hortons; greasy politicians upset no one likes Whopper-sized taxes

Burger King patriotismBurger King and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons have officially pulled off the kind of merger that Walgreen couldn’t quite complete with Alliance Boots (i.e., Walgreen’ operations will continue to be based in the U.S.) As a result, the new company is primed to rake in $23 billion annually. Even President Obama’s buddy Warren Buffett is involved, with Berkshire Hathaway handing over $3 billion in preferred equity financing for the deal. The usual suspects are not happy.

Perhaps the funniest quote comes from MSNBC “conservative” Joe Scarborough:

“They’ll keep their money and we all will have to pay their taxes,” an outraged Joe Scarborough said on Monday. “So, you know what I’m going to do so I can afford to pay Burger King’s taxes? I’m just not going to ever go to Burger King again.”

“I think a lot of American should not go to Burger King again if they’re going to cheat,” he added. “It’s wrong for them to do this. They are stealing money from us.”

Why do I get the feeling that if Mr. Scarborough’s accountant were to disclose the host’s tax records for the time he’s been raking in big bucks at MSNBC that viewers would find plenty of “cheating” and “stealing” (if one defines legally keeping more of your own money as “cheating” or “stealing”) going on? Besides, I doubt that Joe Scarborough has purchased a Whopper in the last five years unless someone spread foie gras on the buns. But I digress.

It rarely occurs to leftists and faux conservatives that perhaps the government is spending too much of everyone’s money and needs to curtail its size and scope — as opposed to spending money the nation doesn’t have at a lower rate than “politician X” wanted and then calling it a “cut.”

Instead of asking the question “Why are iconic companies that have been in the U.S. for years suddenly looking for ways to leave?” pundits and politicians want citizens to believe that finding ways to legally keep more of your own money is stealing from someone else.

As Business Insider reported Aug. 25:

The news gives Democrats another talking point. The potential departure of an iconic American company because of “corporate greed” will be trotted out on the campaign trail.

Talking about “corporate greed” may rile people up (How odd that the federal government’s insatiable appetite for money is never framed as “greed”?), but at the end of the day the hard reality is that the United States is no longer the world’s outpost of economic freedom. In fact, in the annual Index of Economic Freedom put out by The Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, Canada ranks sixth, with the U.S. embarrassingly holding on for dear life to the tenth spot.

The 2014 Index concluded:

The foundations of economic freedom in Canada remain strong and well-supported by solid protection of property rights and an independent judiciary that enforces anti-corruption measures effectively. While many large advanced economies have been struggling with the heavy burden of government and fiscal constraints that result from years of unrestrained public spending, Canada’s public finance management has been comparatively prudent, with efforts to downsize government made on a continuing basis.

Canada’s economy has been resilient, benefiting from a strong commitment to open-market policies that facilitate global trade and investment flows. Efficient regulations are applied evenly in most cases, encouraging dynamic entrepreneurial activity in the private sector. Steady reduction of the standard corporate tax rate has also contributed to global competitiveness.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to backslide:

Registering a loss of economic freedom for the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. has recorded its lowest Index score since 2000. Dynamic entrepreneurial growth is stifled by ever-more-bloated government and a trend toward cronyism that erodes the rule of law. More than three years after the end of recession in June 2009, the U.S. continues to suffer from policy choices that have led to the slowest recovery in 70 years.

Until Americans stop listening to greasy politicians and start eying ways to increase economic freedom, there will be more well-known companies that close up shop or move overseas. Once you begin telling businesses that their money is your money, it is only a matter of time before the men and women in charge look for friendlier environments. That is not “corporate greed” — that is common sense.

Related: New York Times to Walgreen: You’re unpatriotic if you don’t love high tax rates

Seattle tries socialism, hopes to duplicate Venezuelan toilet paper shortages

Seattle Socialist

Venezuela’s socialist revolution is working out so incredibly well that Seattle has decided to follow suit. The city recently elected its first Socialist Councilmember, Kshama Sawant, and she’s already out in public supporting the kind of actions that lead to rolling brownouts, toilet paper shortages (which produces more brown in places you don’t want it), and businessmen who literally have to sell their products at arbitrary prices while guns are pointed at their backs.

Kshama Sawant’s first order of business? Letting the world know that private property rights are merely an obstacle to her socialist utopia — she thinks Boeing’s union members should “take over” the factories if they don’t get their way in an ongoing contract dispute.

“The workers should take over the factories, and shut down Boeing’s profit-making machine,” Sawant announced to a cheering crowd of union supporters in Seattle’s Westlake Park Monday night. …

“The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don’t need the executives. The executives don’t do the work, the machinists do,” Ms. Sawant said.

Sawant calls that “democratic ownership,” topping it all off with: “We can re-tool the machines to produce mass transit like buses, instead of destructive, you know, war machines,” she told KIRO 7.

To the Socialist, Holocaust-denying mullah’s in the Middle East or Chinese state-sponsored hackers should not prompt a nation to provide for the common defense because the “real” bad guys are the businessmen right here at home. The real enemies of America are Americans — particularly those who hold dear to antiquated ideas like “private property” and “individual liberty.” In the Socialist utopia, people should be paid to dig ditches and fill them back up again, and they should be transported to in from work every day packed in buses like glorious sardines. To fight this vision for the world is to fight progress.

To recap: Boeing seeks a contract that would result in work for eight years on the new 777X airliner — provided that new employees go without a guaranteed pension — and if that doesn’t come to pass then the employees should forcibly take over the factories. Got it. It would be smart for Boeing to run — fast — from Seattle, if an absolute disregard for private property is what gets people elected in the city these days.

There are individuals who have zero fidelity to the rights enshrined the in the Declaration of Independence and codified into law by the Constitution, and these days there are enclaves where they have considerable political power. The real enemies of freedom are not the job creators, but those who actively encourage captive audiences to take the law into their own hands, using Orwellian euphemisms like “democratic ownership” to describe theft and criminality.

Gandalf, from ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” says it well: “We’ve been blind. And in our blindness, our enemy has returned.”

Gandalf We have been blind
“We’ve been blind. And in our blindness, our enemy has returned.” — Gandalf

Returned? They never went away.

Perhaps Thomas Jefferson says it best: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

Milton Friedman vs. the Netroots nuts

The Netroots Conference attendees have apparently never listened to Milton Friedman, who said: “As I see it, the fundamental value in relations among people is to respect the dignity and the individuality of fellow men. To treat your fellow man not as an object to be manipulated for your purpose, but to treat him as person with his own values and his own rights. A person to be persuaded — not coerced, not forced, not bulldozed, not brainwashed.”

One of the reasons I generally dread campaign season is because the last thing I want to do is get drawn into the mindless minutiae, tit-for-tat, small fry potato stuff that gets people distracted from $16 trillion dollars of debt. Luckily there are annual gatherings of Progressives, where people like Colin Mutchler or Jenifer Fernandez Ancona inadvertently make the case for conservatism.

Colin has been under fire for likening economic growth to “cancer,” but I think conservatives should really give Jennifer Fernandez Ancona a hand (an invisible hand?) for making the case for supply-side economics.

“The big insight was that on the conservative side when you really decode what they’re thinking the economy is and what they’re telling people it is, it’s a natural system, a natural force that is like beyond our control; it’s like the weather or ocean tide, it‘s like this force that we have to be afraid of that is basically taking it’s orders from God (laughs). So it’s like if you mess with it, you are, like, messing with the moral order of things.”

“The way that the left economists actually think about it is like a machine, or more specifically a vehicle. Like a thing that is supposed to take us to a destination. A thing that we built, that we actually know how it works. And we can tweak it, we can make it work for us. We know that it’s out of balance, or we know that the carburetor is broken, or whatever, I don’t know anything about cars. But, it’s like that. So we’re actually in charge of it, and we know that kind of instinctively.”

Actually, the economy is a lot like God — complex and beautiful, in many ways its intricacies are beyond human comprehension. The U.S. economy is the final result of hundreds of millions of individuals making billions of decisions each day. Each person has his own wants, needs and desires. Indeed, people are like machines, but each one isn’t the kind of lug nut liberals would have us believe, but an elegant machine with free will. And that free will has been frustrating central planners for ages, because it is a spark that can not be harnessed. The conservative knows this, and so he seeks to create an environment where the voluntary interactions of millions of individuals can take place largely unfettered. The result, in the aggregate, is usually something special.

By contrast, take a liberal like Jennifer. She likens the economy to a car. She admits she doesn’t know a thing about cars, but believes she and her friends should play mechanic with the economy. She says that this car is supposed to take us to a destination — but she has no idea where. Even the language she uses (i.e., “the carburetor is broken, or whatever,”) should tell the passing observer that these are not the people you want tinkering around with the “engine” of the economy.

Jennifer doesn’t know if she wants the economy to grow or shrink, and Colin Mutchler wants to go to the destination called “happiness.” If Jennifer wants her personal economy to shrink, she could always start by making really bad life decisions. If Colin wants happiness, limited government provides him with the most amount of choices with which to find it. We find happiness when we do what we love, and the free market is the best system ever created for putting people in a position to do just that. It’s not perfect, but it’s exponentially better than the centrally planned auto dealership for “carburetors” and “whatever” that Jennifer and her liberal friends want you to put faith in.

Remember: You have the power of choice. Don’t let anyone ever take it from you.

Now watch, as Milton Friedman tells you exactly who these people are, what they think of you and why you should shun their vision for the world.