The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible

Have you met Jonathan Gullible?  In the best Swiftian tradition, The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible is both a primer and a commentary on the value of the free market.  It tells the story of a boy who becomes shipwrecked on an unfamiliar island after being swept out to sea in a storm. Having previously lived in a relatively free society, in this new strange land he experiences culture shock as he learns learns of bewildering laws and traditions of the islands inhabitants. The story highlights the absurdities of the laws, the controls imposed on people’s lives, and the economic drawbacks of these laws. The laws highlighted are recognizable as common to many countries throughout the world. As the story unfolds, the part individuals in society play in political decision-making and personal responsibility is introduced for discussion. And it’s local!  Written by Grassroot Institute member and Hawaii Pacific University Professor Ken Schoolland, Jonathan Gullible actually grew out of a series of economic and political commentaries for KHVH.  Since then, it has been published in 45 languages, produced as a play in three countries, been used as an undergraduate economics text, and garnered acclaim from numerous free market advocates, from John Stossel to Milton Friedman. Steve Forbes said of it that, “If policymakers read – and absorbed the lessons of – this book, how much better the U.S. and the world would be. Free markets, with sensible rules of the road, are moral because they unleash the productive, creative powers of people in ways that benefit everybody. This book is particularly timely.” Want to learn more about it?  You can visit the website at JonathanGullible.com or just click here...

Ron Paul’s Farewell Speech

Food for thought–the farewell remarks given by Rep. Ron Paul on the House floor Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.  (Transcript below.)  What do you think about the issues Paul raises?           Transcript (from the Washington Examiner): This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor.  At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period.  My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today:  promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty. It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security. To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire. The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start. In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little.  No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness.  In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues.  Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise...

Bullets and Beaches Prevail Once Again

This article was originally published here on Hawaii Reporter. By Stephen Zierak Results of the 2012 elections for state legislature ensure that Hawaii’s economy will continue to over-rely on military facilities and the tourist trade.  While the pressing need to diversify our economy continues to enjoy lip service, our electorate continues to send the same old same old to the House and Senate.  Incumbents won almost all of their contests, and Hawaii remains a one-party state as the moribund Republican Party only managed to hold its one Senate seat and actually lost one of its eight seats in the House.  With a similar cast of characters, we can expect continued fiscal irresponsibility—and the resulting lack of new industry interest in Hawaii. The November issue of Site Selection Magazine ranks state business climates based on opinions of site selectors (50% weight), demonstrated success in attracting capital investment (30% weight), and the Location Matters publication by the Tax Foundation and KPMG Consulting (20% weight).  How doesHawaiistack up as a business magnet?  (Hint:  It didn’t make the list of the best 25 states.) Site selectors are interested in state and local taxes (high in Hawaii), transportation infrastructure (Hawaiian remote location and Jones Act costs), utility infrastructure (expensive and limited here), land/building prices and supply (high and low), ease of permitting/regulatory procedures (discouraging here), existing work force skills (poor educational system), local/state economic development strategies (what are those?), and incentives. Tax Foundation/KPMG measures the total effective tax rate (TETR) for businesses in each state.  Last February, Location Matters rated Hawaii the worst state in the union.  The low property tax burden here is...

Grassroot Perspective: The One You Love, Solar Tax Credits and Ron Paul says America is off the cliff

A weekly liberty briefing and news guide to keep you informed and prepared on what’s UP to more freedom or DOWN to bigger, more intrusive government. Quote of the Week: “A free market grants no authority or privileges to labor unions or business. All contracts between workers and businesses must be mutually agreeable and without government mandates. No one is forced to work, no one is prevented from quitting, and the wages are to be set by mutual agreement. All workers are free to organize and collectively negotiate with employees. Employees have a right to participate or not. Government workers have no power to force obscene wages on the taxpayers and should not be given a contractual right to strike and hold the taxpayers hostage.” – Rep. Ron Paul Local News Election 2012 Is Over, What’s Next? Once again, another election is finally over here in Hawaii and across America. So much time, emotion and money often hangs on these races, and more often than not our future leaders are determined by capricious voting and sometimes sheer luck. But just as the 1980s Glenn Frey song goes, “someone’s gonna cry when they know they’ve lost you, someone’s gonna thank the stars above.” Some are overjoyed, others are angry at the results from this week’s election, but what does it mean for you and me? ANALYSIS: Personality politics aside, both Hawaii and the United States at large are in deep fiscal trouble. The Federal government is pushing close to $17 trillion dollars in debt and in spite of talk of “cutting spending” new mandates both in Washington and here in Hawaii will...

Video: Up & Down (The Basics)

You’ve doubtless noticed that we’ve spoken a lot lately about measuring things via an UP & DOWN analysis–in other words, does a particular action move us UP toward individual liberty or DOWN toward big government tyranny?  The basis of the idea comes from the American Founding and the principles expressed in the Declaration and Constitution.  But the philosophy is even simpler than that.  In this new video, we look at the basics of GRIH’s UP versus DOWN metric and why it is important....