Friday, May 29, 2009

Barry, Larry, and Li'l Timmy Run (or is it ruin?) a Lemonade Stand

Very often as I mull over an idea for a post someone beats me to the punch. I have on occassion used the lemonade stand as a way to teach an economic concept to my children. I was thinking about doing a whole series of posts called The Lemonade Stand Chronicles. I even asked my youngest daughter to draw a picture of a lemonade stand for the graphic for the series. Well, while I procrastinated, an interesting lemonade stand story was posted as a comment over on Vox Popoli by a Tom. So I thought I would repost it here (heavily edited by me).

Barry, Larry, and Li’l Timmy Run a Lemonade Stand

Larry and Li’l Timmy had lived in the neighborhood for their whole lives. One day, a new kid moved in across the street from them. He was different, but cool. His name was Barry.

“Uh, hi, my name is Barry. Um, do you want to be friends?” asked Barry the first time he came over.

“Sure!” said Timmy and Larry. “What are you into?"

“I like organizing kids in my community to do, um, nothing, mostly,” smiled Barry.

"Sounds like fun, Barry, we have never done anything ourselves but we do enjoy telling others how to do stuff," replied the two boys.

Barry, Larry, and Li’l Timmy became fast friends. They took over a lemonade stand from some of the older kids in the neighborhood who had listened to Li'l Timmy's older brother and ran it into the ground. It hadn’t been doing so well the last few summers, and the older kids had just given away a bunch of the supplies for free to some other kids down the street.

But, Barry was sure they could “right the ship.”

Only a few days later, Barry and Larry were sitting behind the stand looking sad. On the table sat a pitcher of unsold lemonade. It wouldn’t be so bad, except they’d borrowed the money for the supplies from Hu Jintao down the street and he was sounding like he actually wanted to be paid back.

Paula Kruggers came skipping along the sidewalk. She looked at their long faces. “What’s wrong guys? Why are you sad, Barry? Can I do anything to help?” Paula had a crush on Barry even though she told everybody she didn’t like boys.

“I don’t know, Paula. Ummm, uh, we aren’t selling any, uh, lemonade from our lemonade stand. I hear you’re smart, didn’t you get some, uh, award at school?” Barry looked at Paula hopefully.

Paula snorted a nervous laugh and pushed her glasses back up her nose. “Yeah, they gave me a medal for being smart! You know what you guys should do? You should buy more lemons right now. Or maybe some more sugar. Or a new table or sign. It doesn’t really matter what you buy, but you should just buy, buy, buy!”

Paula kicked into a serious snorter of a laugh at this point.

“Why should we do that?” asked Li’l Timmy with the puzzled look that never seemed far from his face.

"Its simple, silly!" squealed Paula as she got really excited (she liked the way Barry was smiling).

“If you spend more money, it will make everybody feel better. If they feel better, they’ll want to buy your lemonade! Besides, look at the REAL world. The more you spend, the more stuff you have!”

“Let's do it!” shouted Barry, Larry, and Li’l Timmy together.

“Lets go get some money from our kid brothers and sisters! They’ve got fat piggy banks!” Barry was really excited now.

Li’l Timmy brightened up, “My mom leaves her purse sitting out sometimes. I bet she’s got a bunch of money in there! And my mom is expecting and my parents have set aside a college fund for him. We could take that money too.”

“Yeah, let’s spend a bunch of money!” agreed Larry.

“You know Paula,” said Larry, “I wasn’t sure girls really could be smart, but you showed me! You can do math with the best of them!”

The three boys ran off to replenish their resources none to soon for Paula. She had been worried they might smell something soon. She had gotten so excited when Barry was shouting, she’d wet her pants.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"The State" Duo - Frederic Bastiat

by Caroline and Crystal LaPlue, two home-schooled high school kids from Morristown, TN

Bastiat is all the rage these days among the Tea Partiers, mostly due to the influence of the Ron Paul fanatics. If you are not familiar with Bastiat, I suggest you read "The Law" and then "What is Seen and What is Not Seen."

HT: Jennifer commenting on

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What is a "Government Fundamentalist?"

According to David Henderson in the June issue of The Freeman (a great publication that is suitable for liberty-minded high schoolers, by the way), you might be a government fundamentalist if you have "a tendency to advocate government solutions even in the face of evidence that those very solutions have not worked."

That term should be applied to those who support failed social programs as well as those who support failed foreign interventions.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Not a Memorial Day Sale

because there is no way to quantify the price my great uncle Thurlow Price paid.

Memorial Day Sales offend me.   Maybe it is just me as I could not find any discussion of this with a Google search, but I refuse to shop at any store that has a Memorial Day Sale.  Is nothing sacred in our materialistic culture?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two Islands: A Libertarian Argument Against Open Borders

Let’s suppose there are two island nations. One is named Liberty Island and the other one is Statist Island. Both are democracies. Neither have a constitutionally constrained government. Both practice open immigration. Since both island nations are democracies, the people get the government they vote for.

On Liberty Island, the people prefer smaller government, one which protects life, liberty, and property. In general, the government doesn’t interfere unless a citizen violates someone else’s right to life, liberty, and property. For the most part, the role of government is to provide a small, defensive military. Consequently, the tax rates are very low. The people of Liberty Island are very prosperous.

On Statist Island, the people want their government to provide a wide range of services and to regulate the affairs of its citizens and companies. Consequently, the government consumes a very large proportion of the wealth. Statist Island has high unemployment and low growth rates. Over the past few years, things have been so bad that many have migrated to Liberty Island, not in search of liberty but primarily as a way to feed their families. They have brought with them many of their customs and culture which have made Liberty Island a more vibrant and diverse island.

Unfortunately, they have also brought with them their statist political philosophy.
The new arrivals join with a minority of Liberty Island voters and start winning elections. These elected representatives encouraged more and more Statist Islanders to migrate to Liberty Island. Soon the statists were in control of the Liberty Island legislative branches and the presidency. They then enacted statist policies and liberty was no longer to be found on Liberty Island.

Of course, this is just a story, it would never actually happen.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Don't Blindly Follow Anyone

I am often astounded by poll results. CNN conducts a daily poll based on one of its articles or reports. A report critical of the White House’s refusal to release photos of Air Force One buzzing Manhattan a few weeks ago and sending many New Yorkers running for cover was the basis for today’s poll question. The only thing we really know about the AF1 joyride is that it cost taxpayers $328k. Who was on the plane? Was it a Lincoln Bedroom-type perk for a large donor to the Obama campaign? We don’t know.

So why wouldn’t you want the pictures to be released? I can’t imagine anyone being against the release of these pictures unless a person is so emotionally tied to this president that they can’t accept that anything he does could be wrong. Even when he is obviously attempting to cover up - at best - a mistake, a true believer will defend him to the point of looking foolish and losing all credibility. George Bush had his groupies too; many were my friends. I was shocked when they continued to support his anti-conservative policies. Reason and counter evidence could not get through to them. Many liberals rightly made fun of these Bush loyalists. But now that there is a liberal in power, the same people who were concerned by the blind following of Bush are now doing the same with Obama.

So we now have a quantifiable number of how many people are blindly following Obama. It is 31%. And that is scary.

Think for yourselves, people. No politician is god. None deserves to be blindly followed. They all have faults. Support them when they are right, but call them to task when they are wrong. Blindly following any politician will lead us down the road to serfdom.

Is there some organized “respond to online polls like an idiot” campaign, like the “vote for the worst” American Idol campaign, that I am not aware of? Please tell me there is.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Slaving for the Greater Glory of the Empire

As a child I was not a huge Star Wars fan, but I have come to appreciate it more since The Phantom Menace. Maybe if the following scene hadn't been cut I would have liked it more.

"What good's all your uncle's work if the Empire takes it over? You know they've already started to nationalize commerce in the central systems? It won't be long before your uncle is just a tenant, slaving for the greater glory of the Empire."

HT: The Humble Libertarian

There are actually lessons for today in the Star War movies . . .