When Freedom Isn’t Free
William is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
I normally don’t focus on political things because I feel it’s a waste of time that distracts me from things like researching the stock market and trying to find good investments to write about. However, today I am focused mainly on one thing and that is the obvious infringements of our personal sovereignty by various levels of government within the republic of the United States of America. I want to give you this quote by Thomas Jefferson:
”Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
Could the restriction of soft drinks be the beginning of a trend toward oppression?
One item of interest is the proposal of Mayor Michael Bloomberg to put restrictions on soft drinks in New York City. Under the ban fast food restaurants such as McDonalds (NYSE: MCD) and other restaurants would not be allowed to serve soft drinks such as Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) or Pepsi (NYSE: PEP) in cups larger than 16 oz. Granted the ban is limited and people would be allowed to refill as many times as they want, but here’s a question: What if they want a big cup? What if they don’t feel like getting up to get refills? The City of New York says they have to. If I was the owner of a McDonald’s franchise I would want to be able to accommodate customers in any way I see fit. If I was Coca-Cola or Pepsi I would want to make my containers as big as my customers want. Indeed chains such as Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM) are wanting to expand sodas to the morning menus in some areas with morning Mountain Dew and orange mixtures in Fresno, California. Brad Pitt gives his kids Coca-Cola to wake them up. I wonder what the food police will say about that? Here’s an even BIGGER question: Where will it stop? Will it stop at sodas or just ban them all together? Will they start banning meats? What about food after a certain time? Or God forbid food for a whole segment of a population especially if the federal government jumps on the bandwagon of restricting food? After all of this, why not put a ban on public ownership of businesses or ownership of businesses period? We as citizens, me included, need to keep watch on individuals and organizations who want to sow the seeds of oppression.
When a Crackdown Increases Brand Awareness and Sympathy
New Yorkers are getting angry and organized about the proposed bans. There are 60,000 New Yorkers that signed a petition against Mayor Bloomberg's proposals. There are also municipalities across the nation wanting to follow in New York City's footsteps. This raises brand awareness for Coke and Pepsi and for restaurants like McDonald's and Yum! Brands, Inc. Not only does it raise brand awareness but brand sympathy which strengthens loyalty. Imagine the number of people out there who eats at McDonalds and Yum Brands! restaurants and drinks Coke and Pepsi out of a feeling of rebellion towards the government.
The Supreme Court has mandated the purchase of a product.
On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. While I don’t fully understand the intricacies of this law or what it may mean for society as a whole, the one part of this bill that really bothers me is the tax/penalty that will be exacted for not carrying health insurance. Now if you make less than $9,500 dollars per year you won’t be penalized for not having health insurance. I am glad to hear that the poorest segment of the population will not be penalized for not buying this type of product. If you make around $50,000 the penalty is $1,000. For people who make $200,000 per year the penalty goes to $4,700. Why is our government making us buy health insurance if we don’t have it? What if we want to be self-insured? Now granted that is not the most economically viable choice, but it should be a choice for us to have. What about the tax refunds that will be wiped out because of the tax/penalty? Also it is ridiculous the amount of air time the media is spending debating whether it is a tax or penalty. This act was based on the health care mandate in Massachusetts. I wonder if other states will get in on this tax/penalty pie? Is it right to be the beneficiary of federally mandated capitalism? Is federally mandated capitalism truly capitalism?
When the seeds of oppression are sewn, capitalism begins to dissolve. Capitalism has and will continue to flourish in a free society where individuals are free to deploy capital as they see fit. When governments forbid one product and mandate another then capital and the profits that come from capital are hindered and ultimately people are increasingly unable to start the businesses they want in order to pursue liberty and ultimately happiness.
Today, I am going exercise my 1st amendment right and say “Freedom Isn’t Free”.
Thomas Jefferson Quote @ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thomasjeff136362.html
“To gulp or to sip? Debating a crackdown on big sugary drinks” @ http://www.nytimes.com
“Tax or not, here’s what it will cost you to skip out on health insurance mandate” @ http://leanforward.msnbc.msn.com
“White House says health care debate is over: Fee for uninsured is a penalty, not a tax” @ http://www.foxnews.com
Massachusetts Health Insurance Requirements @ http://www.massresources.org/health-reform.html
"Taco Bell, other chains deals on morning soft drinks"@ http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2012-07-03/soft-drinks-in-the-morning/56045206/1
"More Than 60,000 New Yorkers Say 'No' To The Soda Ban" @ http://news.yahoo.com/more-60-000-yorkers-no-soda-ban-195005883.html
"Sugary Drinks Targeted Around the Country @ http://www.cspnet.com/news/beverages/articles/sugary-drinks-targeted-around-country
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