Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 398, December 17, 2006

"The Great Moratorium"

Letters to the Editor

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Letter from Robert Sheets

Letter from Kent Van Cleave with Reply from L. Neil Smith

Letter from Scott Graves

Letter from Ken Valentine

Dear Editor,

Thank you for allowing my third grade class to tour your vast operations center. When my students scraped together enough money for a field trip, they knew that if President Bush got wind of our fund he would confiscate it for his war or a vibrating neck pillow or such.

We started voting on a field trip location. The Children, God bless them, they wanted to go to Washington D.C. and kick Mr. Bush square in the nuts. Knowing we didn't have enough money for that we decided on the next best thing. . . . Tour The Libertarian Enterprise. A organization operating outside tiny Snowflake Arizona and online. . . an organization which has been kicking Mr. Bush in the nuts for years.

The kids sure enjoyed meeting the Editor, Ken Holder. a giant man, nearly twelve feet tall, from Texas. Ken showed the kids the small office from which he works so diligently editing the Enterprise and talked to the kids about the Bill of Rights and their duty to keep the government in check.

Afterwords, he let the kids ride on his shoulders over to Grandmas trailer. Grandma enthralled the children with tales of back before Nixon, when the government was trusted and how Republicans and Democrats try to stifle out other parties or assimilate them like the Borg. Grandma needed to rest and Ken had to go back to work "kicking Mr. bush in the nuts" so it was time for the class to leave.

The Libertarian Enterprise taught the kids that you don't have to go to Washington to kick President Bush in the nuts or any other jack-booted thug in office for that matter. No, you just need to stand up with those that are like minded and swing your leg. . . . most of today's politicians will walk right into your foot.

Thanks again for the tour and please except our donation from our bake sale.

Mrs. Gonadstomper and her third grade class

(The previous letter is meant to entertain as well as make you aware that yes Virginia, outside of Snowflake Arizona there is a little ranch and a giant man named Ken (okay he's six foot three) that is diligently working on your Libertarian Enterprise as well as taking care of his Wife Pat and Grandma. If you have a couple of bucks send it in and support him, he's a big man with a large heart and a size 14 foot. . . all the better for kicking. . . well you know.)

God bless and Happy holidays,
Robert Sheets
San Francisco Ca (talk about a place that could use some nut kicking!!!!)

[Mr. Sheets is the editor's son-in-law—Editor]

Re: "Back To Basics: Part Three", by L. Neil Smith

I've always loved El Neil's "Maidenform Bra" speech, from which are taken the ballpark calculations in this article—of doubled, quadrupled, and then octupled incomes for ordinary folks (once government is out of the picture).

I just wanted to mention that things are even better than that. There's another benefit, beyond just the direct savings, when burdensome regulations are removed.

Take all the people working in government. Take all the people whose jobs are exclusively to satisfy government requirements. Then take all the person-hours of people who spend part of their working day satisfying government requirements. Now put all that working time to productive use! The result will be a dramatic reduction in the cost of goods and services for everyone, for supply will be dramatically increased. And that means we can multiply the effective income of the average American again.

How much? I'm not about to do any real research on this right now, but I'll take a stab at estimating it. Let's say about one in eight people works for government at some level; I'm guessing it's even higher than that. Let's say another eighth of workers, in the law, insurance, accounting, and many other industries, work exclusively on regulatory compliance. There's a quarter of the workforce freed for productive work. As for all the hours others spend on compliance crapola, I'm guessing it would amount to freeing up another quarter of the working person-hours. If this is even roughly right, then we're looking at potentially doubling productive output—which will ultimately (it will take a while for the effects to produce some stable level of increased overall wealth out there and bring prices down as far as they'll go) result in doubling the GDP. We'd need to know the percentage of total wealth produced in a given year in order to calculate how much more an individual's income can purchase—and that's too complicated for me to handle here. But I think it's safe to say a time will come when, because of this increase in productivity, there will be twice as many goods and services chased around by the same number of constant dollars—so eventually one would see another doubling of individual purchasing power.

We could then claim that dumping government will ultimately have the effect of 16-tupling (decitupling?) a person's income. . . or did I get something wrong here?

Kent Van Cleave

To Which L. Neil Smith Replied:

Actually, the octupling subsumes a lot of what you're writing about here—bureaucracy and the cost of complying with regulations. My original estimate, when I first wrote the speech, was just a guess, but it was confirmed years later in one of the final chapters of Dixy Lee Ray's second book when she made a more informed estimate—that matched mine exactly.

Two items I didn't include in this essay. The first is recouping the cost of lost opportunity. I made something of that in The Probability Broach, which is more or less based on the speech, believe it or not, with their great personal wealth and advanced technology, but it's hard to put numbers to.

The second item is another kind of multiplier. When we all have eight times as much purchasing power, we're gonna. . . well, purchase things. Like maybe a TV in every room of the house. And somebody has to make all those extra TVs, don't they? I say in my speech that they'll hire anybody they can to fill the resulting labor shortage, including dolphins and chimpanzees (or was that TPB again?)

The point, of course, is that we must show people the Utopia that will result from getting rid of taxes and regulations. Once that's done, we won't have to worry about getting from here to there, people will carry us along in the rush to get there themselves.

We might perform some experimental campaign confrontatio: show a Rep or Dem senator on a poster and ask, "Why is this man standing between you and everything you ever really wanted?"

I know. I'm evil.

L. Neil Smith

Tired of trying to change the world with words? Ready to just pee in the other guys pool? Come on by, join the forum and improve your skills as a troll! Share the times you've been booted, show the goats you've gotten and just have a good time mocking the sanctimonious.


Scott Graves
Da' Boss Troll

Mr. Andrew G. Eggleston Sr's Article: "Violence flares in Oregon," is right on the money. However, there's something more at work here.

It seems that in the late "70's, early '80's, Ralph Nader, that Glorious Crusader For Safety, successfully lobbied CONgress for a law that would mandate brakes on the front wheels of Big Rigs—the wheels that do the steering.

Prior to that, there were no brakes on the front wheels—and with good reason! In the circumstances where drivers had to "lock 'em up," the designers of those vehicles wanted the drivers to still have the ability to steer. The reason for this was to prevent the tractor-trailer rigs from jack-knifing. . . a kind of accident which not only destroys tractors, trailers and cargo, but often causes serious injury or death to the drivers and (quite often) those around them as well. (Adding to more wheels to the sixteen that already had brakes on them did very little to slow a truck down.)

We can only estimate the thousands of deaths and injuries caused by that law over the years. Not to mention the enormous loss in cargoes, vehicles, and the resulting rise in insurance rates.

If the Highway Patrolmen have to blame somebody, they should lay the blame where it belongs. . . at the feet of Ralph Nader!

Ken Valentine

P.S. A 6 percent grade is exactly that. A grade where the road rises or falls at a rate of 6 feet per hundred. . . that's a pretty steep grade. The steepest I remember seeing is 7 percent.

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