Monday, January 20, 2020

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #246 "A PROPOSAL FOR SOLVING OUR HOMELESS PROBLEM"

On Sunday, November 24, 2019 I published an op-ed column in the Orange County Register about my proposal for an institutional approach to the homeless crisis.  Instead of our normal “2 Paragraphs” edition, this week I am substituting that column.  As always, feedback would be appreciated.  
Here is the Register column for your thoughts.
             Our great country seems to be vexed by the Homeless issue.  All of us should take affront that people living in the United States and within its laws are being reduced to “living on the streets.”  So how is this situation being perpetuated, and how should it be addressed?
             As we have seen, the various governments’ responses around the country to the homeless issue have been sporadic if not spasmodic.  Every once in a while a state or the federal government will set aside fairly large amounts of money in one-time payments, or temporarily open an armory, either to make themselves feel better or to reduce some political heat.  But then the cold hard facts are that the problems continue on virtually as before.
             So what we need instead is an institutional response that should greatly reduce this national and even moral problem.  My approach is modeled after Dr. Milton Friedman’s “negative income tax” proposal, and is as follows, with the amounts of money used only for illustrative purposes:
1.       No one in our country will pay any income taxes on their first $30,000 of earnings from whatever source – not you, me, Bill Gates or anyone else.  (This could evolve into a national graduated flat tax, but that is a different issue.)
2.       For those people who earn no money, regardless of the reason, anyone who is at least 18 years of age, a citizen of our country or here legally with a green card will receive a stipend from the federal government in the amount of $15,000 per year – probably broken down into monthly payments of $1,250.  However, for every dollar they earn they will lose 50 cents of the stipend.  (Accordingly, everyone will have an incentive to earn the extra dollar.)  And, importantly enough, ALL other welfare payments could be abolished, except those for people with truly special needs.
3.       So what about the homeless?  The answer is that if each of those people had the equivalent of an ATM account with $1,250 automatically deposited into it each month the private sector would quickly start providing low-cost room and board-style living for each of them, probably at a competitive rate of about $1,000 per month, which would leave the recipients an additional $250 to pay for personal items, clothing, etc.
That would be the program.  Of course, the opposing argument is that many of these people would simply throw their money away on alcohol and other drugs, gambling or otherwise be irresponsible.  So what about them?  The answer is that basically the homeless issue is and should be a local problem overseen by city and county governments.  The federal government could and should participate as stated above, and then leave the issue to local control.  And then at the local level there should be a triage system to address different groups of the homeless people, as follows:
1.       Some people are temporarily down on their luck, but they both can and want again to function successfully in our society.  For those people a temporary financial boost in their ATM accounts would probably be all they would need to get back on their feet. 
2.       Another much larger group would need to be screened for mental health, drug and alcohol and other debilitating conditions.  Then they would, if necessary, be given access to appropriate assistance, to the degree that if they needed a conservatorship or a program of drug rehabilitation, that would be mandated. 
3.       The final group would be comprised of those who simply want to continue living that type of life – or at least think they do.  Those people would be provided places to live such as at one of these room and board facilities, or at various government developmental centers, or even some of the presently lightly used reserve military facilities or the like.  As we all agree, no one in our society should be arrested for “camping” or trespassing on public property unless they have a place to live with a roof over their heads.  But this system would provide those places.  Then, once that system is in place, the police could resume their enforcement of local ordinances that prohibit things like littering and illegal camping, urinating or defecating in public, etc.  And a day or three in jail would help convince some of them to change habits.
Of course, there are always complications involved in any system like this, such as extra provisions being made for children and the differences in the costs of living in different parts of our country.  But those issues can be addressed locally without making the approach too complicated.
Accordingly, with the publication of this column, I am reaching out to all people of good will in our society, including the legal, medical, religious and social communities, as well as caring groups like the ACLU, NAACP, MALDEF, various rescue missions, places of worship and others.  In that regard, I openly say that I don’t purport to have all of the answers, but please join me in actively trying to find some by sending these ideas to your elected representatives.  Because, as it now exists, the homeless problem is untenable and is an insult to who we are a people.  And it calls for an institutional response to resolve it.
Question for the week: What is the difference between a raven and a crow?  Mostly unknown to people, a raven has five pinion feathers in its tail and a crow, which is smaller, has only four pinion feathers.  So the difference between a raven and a crow is a matter of a pinion. . . .

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President





James P. Gray is a retired judge of the Superior Court in Orange County, California, a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica, criminal defense attorney in the Navy JAG Corps, federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, and the 2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President.


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #245 "INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY"

     My great friend Judge Andy Guilford recently called my attention to an insight that I will pass along to you: the Judiciary is probably the most important of our three branches of government.  Why?  Because the Executive is dependent upon the majority to stay in office, and so is the Legislature.  So it is only the Judiciary that truly upholds and enforces minority rights.  And that is what makes America what it is.  In other words, the very soul of our great country is our freedoms and our liberties.  And that soul is continually under attack, if only in the name of “keeping us safe.”  Wiretapping, surveillance cameras, unnecessary pre-trial confinement, license plate and facial recognition cameras, reduced rights under our search and seizure laws cloaked under the guise of the so-called War on Drugs, and on and on.  And it is really only the Judicial Branch of Government that stands in the way of even more erosion of our precious liberties.  I have said it many times in these columns, and it bears repeating: the Delegates at our Constitutional Convention in 1787 fought, debated and bickered over numbers of things, but literally each delegate agreed that the most important function of government is to protect our Liberties from the encroachment of government.  (The second most important was our security.)
      So what can we do to protect our Judicial Branch of Government?  Primarily we must protect its independence!  In the past few years we as a society have allowed our judiciary to become more politicized, even to the extent that several states have allowed judicial candidates to be endorsed by political parties.  In addition, many judicial branches, including California, have been intentionally underfunded by the legislatures in response to judicial decisions that the legislatures did not agree with.  These are dangerous precedents, because all of us are in the minority in some regards and, “There but for the Grace of God,” each of us could in fact be overly or even wrongly prosecuted by the government for just about anything.  We simply must have an independent judicial system to protect us from all of these potential abuses.  So everyone please be aware of this continuing threat, and lend a hand to protect us all against it.  We simply must keep our Judicial branch of government independent!
Story for the week: A Doctor gave a man six months to live.  But the man couldn’t pay his bills, so the Doctor gave him another six months.


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Monday, January 6, 2020

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #244 "YOU WILL BRUSH YOUR TEETH!"

  It has clinically been shown numerous times that brushing our teeth after every meal enhances our health.  Thus society would benefit if all of us would consistently do that, not to mention the cost savings to governmental programs like Social Security, Medicare and MediCal.  So how about Congress passing a law mandating this “Good Health Measure” for all of us!  Of course, we cannot have an effective law unless some sanctions are attached for non-compliance, so Congress should also create an enforcement agency.  Naturally, of course, the enforcement police would also need to have surveillance capability, because voluntary reporting would truly be suspect and ineffective.  Nevertheless, due to the substantial “benefits” that would accrue, the costs and intrusions would be justified – and, as long as we are law-abiding and brush our teeth regularly, what do we have to fear?
    Is this a good idea?  No!  But do you understand that this is the literal basis for many of our laws in today’s Nanny State?  If so, where are the protests?  Naturally the above proposal would have many nuances and complications.  For example, must we use toothpaste with fluoride?  What type of toothbrush is “acceptable?”  Does simply eating a banana at lunchtime constitute a “meal” that would require brushing? etc., etc. and etc.!  But since the intentions are good, we will simply have to abide with the problems.  And think of the other possibilities: Eat your Greens!  Purchase Healthcare Insurance!  Be an “educated” voter (i.e. vote for the candidates and issues favored by the current government then in power)!  Of course, all of these things are important, but they can best be accomplished by private programs of education and taking responsibility for one’s own actions and health – i.e. employing Libertarian Values!  And, just like our great country’s Founders were, we should always be hugely cautious of allowing governmental encroachments into our Liberties!  To them that was the most important function of government!  (The second was keeping us safe!)  So, yes, we should brush our teeth, but we should also keep the government out of our bathrooms!
Lexophile for the Week: “Our mountains aren’t just funny, they’re Hill Areas!”  (Oh well. . .)

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Monday, December 30, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #243 "LET'S LEARN TO EMBRACE EACH OTHER"

      My great friend Dean Tom Campbell recently published in the Orange County Register the following quote that I pass along to you: “Most offenses taken are not intended.”  This hit me hard because I have always somehow inferred this, but had never seen it put into words.  And what a thought that will help us to live our lives more fully.  Then the next day, Christmas, the Register also published the following in an editorial: “The truly valuable things of this life are not found in power and riches but in our relationships – in our capacity to cherish our families, love our neighbors, stretch out a helping hand to those less fortunate and seek reconciliation with those who would be our enemies.” 

     Following up on both of those quotes, with the fall of the former Soviet Union, it was fully documented that the great composer Peter Tchaikovsky actually committed suicide at the age of 53 to avoid publicizing that he was gay.  And this act wasn’t done to protect his good name, it was instead to protect the “good name” of his former university.  Can you simply imagine how deprived the world has been by not embracing him even for his perceived frailties (that all of us share in some form)?  Look at what society lost not only in unnecessarily shortening his life, but also in the additional brilliant compositions that he would have created for us!  Pope Francis preached this past Christmas Day that “God does not love you because you think and act the right way.  You may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things, but the Lord continues to love you.”  Just like with the commonalities of the world’s religions and philosophies that are highlighted at www.Pro-JectUnderstanding.com, we human beings have so much in common that we should embrace each other more.  So as we are now beginning a New Year, let us all strive to exercise our Liberty and learn both not to take offense so quickly at things that other people say and do, but also to embrace each other more fully.  That is – or should be – what life is about.  Happy New Year!

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President



Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Monday, December 23, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #242 "THE LARGEST 'COMPANY' IN THE WORLD"

     Question: What is the largest and most expensive “company” in the world?  Answer: Our federal government.  It is virtually mindboggling to see how large this government is!  If you want to get an idea, Google either “The Plum Book 2019“ or “Political Appointments by Donald Trump” in Wikepedia.  These will show you that there are 7,000 civil service “leadership and support” positions in the Executive and Legislative branches of government, and that the President actually appoints 4,000 of them, of which about 1212 must be confirmed by the Senate.  (A partial list is enclosed herein.)  Our federal government alone has 15 separate departments, as well as two more independent intelligence agencies and another 9 separate agencies, plus additional agencies, banks, commissions, councils and offices – and these do not include any of the judicial branch of government.  And virtually all of these positions pay well more than $100,000 per year!
      Unfortunately, the government of the Government of the State of California is just as bad.   Google “List of California State Agencies” in Wikipedia and see that there are 231 separate state government agencies alone!  Maybe there are some that have outlived their usefulness and should be abolished?  Or at least there might be some jurisdictions that are duplicated that could be combined.  In that regard, how about agency numbers 225, the California Water Commission, 226, the California Water Quality Monitoring Council, 227 the Department of Water Resources, and 228, the State Water Resources Control Board?  Is anyone looking into these issues?  Does anyone else join me in thinking that the public sector workers are becoming the privileged class in our society today, with good pay, benefits and job security, all at taxpayer expense?  Does anyone else agree with me that “the bigger the government, the less important the citizens and their liberties?”  You know the saying: “Fish swim, birds fly, and regulators regulate,” even though none of them are elected by “We the People.”  And you wonder why taxes and government spending are so high, and our liberties are being reduced . .  Our Founders would truly be shocked!

Quote for the week: No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions.  He had money as well.”  Margaret Thatcher

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Monday, December 16, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #241 "AN ANTIDOTE TO POLARIZATION"

      Our society is now more polarized than at any time of my life.  Why has that happened?  Two reasons come to mind.  Originally, when cable television news stations began to multiply I thought that it would be great because, with so many choices, all of us would be exposed to many more viewpoints – which would be healthy.  And boy was I wrong!  Instead, each station deciphered what the political leanings were of its target audience, and then expressly catered to what that audience wanted to hear.  So we are the good guys, and people who do not have our beliefs are scoundrels or worse.  A second reason is the gerrymandering of the congressional voting districts.  “I don’t care if you of the opposite party get a politically safe seat as long as I can get one too” has become the position of those drawing up voting districts.  And this has allowed many members of Congress to take some radical positions without being held accountable to the views of more moderate voters.  Both of these situations have allowed polarization to flourish.*
        And there is also a third reason as well.  Thomas Jefferson famously said that our country should have a bloody revolution each generation in an attempt to keep the vested interests at bay.  Fortunately our Constitution keeps the revolution from having to be bloody, but how long has it been?  Probably since the 1860s when the Republicans took over from the Whigs.  And how strong have the vested interests become in that time?  Strong enough for many people to believe that our institutions are no longer working.  “The Presidency doesn’t even try to represent all of the people,” “Congress is working against us,” and even “The Courts are only providing ‘justice’ to the wealthy” are conclusions that many people have reached.  And this situation has resulted in us being so polarized.  So what is the antidote?  Voting Libertarian!  It is not an exaggeration to say that Libertarians are the only mainstream political party in our country today.  We believe in financial and other responsibility at all levels of society, including personal, group, corporate and governmental.  And we are socially accepting with a “Live and Let Live” philosophy.  In addition, Libertarians are the only political party that does not seek to gain by being involved in government.  Thus we would strongly reduce the crony capitalism or corporate welfare that is rampant in our governments today.  So do you want an antidote for polarization, and to be proud of your votes at the same time?  Consider voting Libertarian.  

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*As an anecdote, in my research in composing a musical about our nation’s 1787 Constitutional Convention entitled “Convention: the Birth of America,” I learned that one of the delegates was named Elbridge Gerry, who later became the Governor of Massachusetts and was also the Vice President under James Madison.  But he also was so well known for his politics in drawing the boundaries of voting districts for political purposes that the practice soon took up his name, and it still does to this day.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Quote for the week: “We should judge our programs by their results, not their good intentions.” 


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Monday, December 9, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #240 "THE PRIVATE SECTOR DOES IT BETTER!"

      Yes, of course we need government!  But, as this column says often and in so many different ways, the private sector almost always does a better and more effective job in so many areas now occupied by government!  For example, The Nature Conservancy has developed and implemented private voluntary programs with fishermen all over the world to establish sustainable fishing in the ocean, has existing programs to plant 1 billion trees worldwide to help suck up more carbon dioxide, and to collaborate with high-tech entrepreneurs to address big environmental problems.  Governmental laws and regulations have not achieved nearly as successful results in these areas as has TNC.  Similarly, Heifer International does a far, far better job at reducing poverty around the world than do our governmental programs!  It provides farm animals to impoverished people around the world, along with training about animal husbandry as well as economic planning and banking to help make these fledgling businesses sustainable, while our governmental foreign aid money often ends up with officials in other countries driving Mercedes cars and opening up Swiss bank accounts.  And the list goes on and on.
        So here is an idea, both with Liberty and far greater efficiency and success in mind: why don’t we abolish governmental entities like the FEMA and CAL TRANS, and instead have governments enter into contracts with private entities like the Red Cross and various road grading and maintenance companies to do that work?  That would reduce the governmental role to overseeing private bids and supervising the results, all at greatly reduced and competitive prices.  In so many of these areas, the private sector simply does it better!   In fact, the only thing Big Government is Really good at is continually increasing the size, cost and power of Big Government!  Our Founders, like Thomas Jefferson, would be truly upset with us if they saw what we have allowed and condoned.  So please help us Libertarians make our Founders more proud of us!

Comment of the week: “What I if told you                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             that you read the top line wrong?”




Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.


Monday, December 2, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #239 "AN INSTITUTIONAL APPROACH TO HOMELESSNESS"

To our 2 Paragraphs Family,
Instead of a normal edition, this week I am forwarding to you a copy of my Op-Ed that was published in the Orange County Register on Sunday, November 24, 2019 about how to address and resolve the our country’s Homeless Crisis.  As always, all feedback would be appreciated.  Here it is:
"AN INSTITUTIONAL APPROACH TO HOMELESSNESS"
                Our great country seems to be vexed by the Homeless issue.  All of us should take affront that people living in the United States and within its laws are being reduced to “living on the streets.”  So how is this situation being perpetuated, and how should it be addressed?
                As we have seen, the various governments’ responses around the country to the homeless issue have been sporadic if not spasmodic.  Every once in a while a state or the federal government will set aside fairly large amounts of money in one-time payments, or temporarily open an armory, either to make themselves feel better or to reduce some political heat.  But then the cold hard facts are that the problems continue on virtually as before.
                So what we need instead is an institutional response that should greatly reduce this national and even moral problem.  My approach is modeled after Dr. Milton Friedman’s “negative income tax” proposal, and is as follows, with the amounts of money used only for illustrative purposes:
1.       No one in our country will pay any income taxes on their first $30,000 of earnings from whatever source – not you, me, Bill Gates or anyone else.  (This could evolve into a national graduated flat tax, but that is a different issue.)
2.       For those people who earn no money, regardless of the reason, anyone who is at least 18 years of age, a citizen of our country or here legally with a green card will receive a stipend from the federal government in the amount of $15,000 per year – probably broken down into monthly payments of $1,250.  However, for every dollar they earn they will lose 50 cents of the stipend.  (Accordingly, everyone will have an incentive to earn the extra dollar.)  And, importantly enough, ALL other welfare payments could be abolished, except those for people with truly special needs.
3.       So what about the homeless?  The answer is that if each of those people had the equivalent of an ATM account with $1,250 automatically deposited into it each month the private sector would quickly start providing low-cost room and board-style living for each of them, probably at a competitive rate of about $1,000 per month, which would leave the recipients an additional $250 to pay for personal items, clothing, etc.
That would be the program.  Of course, the opposing argument is that many of these people would simply throw their money away on alcohol and other drugs, gambling or otherwise be irresponsible.  So what about them?  The answer is that basically the homeless issue is and should be a local problem overseen by city and county governments.  The federal government could and should participate as stated above, and then leave the issue to local control.  And then at the local level there should be a triage system to address different groups of the homeless people, as follows:
1.       Some people are temporarily down on their luck, but they both can and want again to function successfully in our society.  For those people a temporary financial boost in their ATM accounts would probably be all they would need to get back on their feet. 
2.       Another much larger group would need to be screened for mental health, drug and alcohol and other debilitating conditions.  Then they would, if necessary, be given access to appropriate assistance, to the degree that if they needed a conservatorship or a program of drug rehabilitation, that would be mandated. 
3.       The final group would be comprised of those who simply want to continue living that type of life – or at least think they do.  Those people would be provided places to live such as at one of these room and board facilities, or at various government developmental centers, or even some of the presently lightly used reserve military facilities or the like.  As we all agree, no one in our society should be arrested for “camping” or trespassing on public property unless they have a place to live with a roof over their heads.  But this system would provide those places.  Then, once that system is in place, the police could resume their enforcement of local ordinances that prohibit things like littering and illegal camping, urinating or defecating in public, etc.  And a day or three in jail would help convince some of them to change habits.
Of course, there are always complications involved in any system like this, such as extra provisions being made for children and the differences in the costs of living in different parts of our country.  But those issues can be addressed locally without making the approach too complicated.
Accordingly, with the publication of this column, I am reaching out to all people of good will in our society, including the legal, medical, religious and social communities, as well as caring groups like the ACLU, NAACP, MALDEF, various rescue missions, places of worship and others.  In that regard, I openly say that I don’t purport to have all of the answers, but please join me in actively trying to find some by sending these ideas to your elected representatives.  Because, as it now exists, the homeless problem is untenable and is an insult to who we are a people.  And it calls for an institutional response to resolve it.

Quote for the week: “The federal government’s debt is the most immoral of all taxes because it is a tax upon people who are not yet born.  So it is taxation without representation.”  Dominic Frisby

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.

Monday, November 25, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #238 "THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE"

      Okay, what is the most important thing in life?  I know that’s a truly general question, so I will give you my one-word answer: Gratification.  Not power, love, prestige, success, money or fame, although one can get gratification from those things.  But gratification comes from the inner knowledge that the world is a somewhat better place because you have spent your span of years upon it.  This can occur by living an honest life, setting up programs to help those less fortunate, being involved in Saving the Whales or the Redwoods, or seeing one’s children grow up to be happy, well-adjusted and successful, etc.  And there is nothing better, particularly when that is combined with appreciation.
       Why bring these issues up now?  Because we are in the Season of Thanksgiving, which is truly one of the most important days of the year.  Why is that?  Because it is not a particularly commercialized occasion in which most of us get to spend time with family, enjoying each other’s company and being appreciative about what we have, where we live and who we are.  And that expressly includes being appreciative for our ability to live in the United States of America!  Just this past week I published my new book 2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, which is composed of 180 of the more substantive editions of this 2 Paragraphs series.  And this country affords me the Liberty to spout off with my thoughts, which simply would not be true if I lived in places like China, North Korea, Cuba or Venezuela.  I am thankful for that – and we all should be!  So Happy Thanksgiving, and as you pass the day with your family and friends, be extra appreciative, because that too brings gratification.
Story of the week: Have you heard about Old Ben?  He was a rooster on a chicken ranch which had about 100 hens, which they called pullets, and 10 roosters.  But the roosters were monitored by the owner to make sure they were “assisting” the hens so that they would lay eggs regularly.  (If they didn’t perform, they were soon placed in a frying pan and replaced by other roosters that would.)  But one day the owner decided to place little bells around the necks of his roosters so that he could monitor their involvement based upon the distinctive tone of each of the bells instead of having to go down to the yard.  For a few days he could tell that Old Ben was active, but soon Old Ben’s bell went silent.  So when the owner investigated, he found that Old Ben was taking the bell in his mouth so that it would not ring.  Then, particularly since the bells of the other roosters would warn the hens of their approach, he was able to have a field day with more of the hens.  The media soon found out about this sly Old Ben, which brought so much fame to him that he eventually was awarded the Nobel Piece Prize – and then later the Pullet Surprise!  Just thought you would want to know.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.  In addition, my new book entitled “2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: Solutions that are Practical, Effective, Responsible, Libertarian, is now available at Amazon.com.   Please read and discuss it with friends, and send in a review.

Monday, November 18, 2019

2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #237 "HEALTHCARE FOR ALL"

      Obviously the subject of healthcare for all is actively being discussed in today’s world.  I agree this result is desirable, not because anyone is entitled to it but, because we are a compassionate society, we would do it voluntarily.  But what form should it take?  Bringing a single-payer system, or so-called Medicare for all, would be fine, as long as people don’t mind having their healthcare run by the equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicles.  But we truly can do better.  As an illustration, we have some great friends visiting us now from Canada, and they volunteered that Canada’s socialistic system simply does not seek out innovation.  Why?  Because it is a bureaucracy, and bureaucracies have a strong tendency to resist change.  So for creative care, they must come to the US.
       So what should we do?  The answer is that we should install a system of Medical Savings Accounts.  That means that for those people who can afford to address their own healthcare needs, we should simply require them to put $5,000 into the equivalent of an ATM account at the beginning of each year, and then get the government out of the way.  Then they would purchase the catastrophic health insurance of their choice, probably costing them something like $1,000 per year. Then all of their healthcare expenses would be paid directly out of the $4,000 that remained in the account.  Studies show that most adults pay far less than $4,000 per year on their healthcare needs until they approach the end of their lives.  So if they spent less than that, the remainder would simply roll over into their account for the next year and, eventually, it could be used for their retirement.  However, if they needed to spend more, their insurance would kick in, such that they would only be required to pay their $4,000 “deductible” and then their co-pays.  That would result in everyone spending their money wisely – because it was their money!  And that would also bring competition back to the healthcare field which would, in turn, bring prices back down.  For those people that needed some financial assistance for their healthcare needs, as long as they were legal residents, a voucher system could be used on a sliding scale depending upon their financial abilities.   Then those vouchers could be spent on the private market for payments and co-pays.  So this program would combine the best results that competition brings to the marketplace, which are competition, responsibility for one’s own healthcare needs, and medical coverage for all.

Quote for the week, with one elderly businessman talking to another: “It was slanderous, it was insulting and it was an outrage; but I see their point.”


Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President


Please listen to our weekly radio show entitled “All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray” as we discuss timely issues, and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches.  You can hear it every Friday morning at 7 Pacific/10 Eastern by going to www.VoiceAmerica.com, clicking on the Variety Channel and then upon the word “live.”  You can also hear past shows on demand as well.  And, by the way, these 2 Paragraph columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.