Boycott Obamacare. Girlcott Whole Foods!

by Don Boudreaux on August 15, 2009

in Current Affairs, Food and Drink, Health

Olivia Jane, at Daily Kos, endorses the boycott of Whole Foods… to which I say:

Dear Olivia Jane:

You and many readers of Daily Kos are furious that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey expressed – in the pages of the Wall Street Journal – his opposition to greater government involvement in health care.

Exercising your rights and abilities as consumers, you are therefore boycotting Whole Foods.  You’re using your freedom to avoid paying for products offered by someone whose attitude toward government you disapprove of.

Isn’t freedom wonderful?!

But I must ask: do you endorse my freedom to boycott paying for products offered by those whose attitude toward government I disapprove of?  Like you, I have very strong opinions about the proper role of government, and also as in your case, a famous chief executive is now endorsing government policies that I find reprehensible.

Will you champion my freedom to stop supporting, with my money, President Barack Obama’s services?  Will you come to my defense if I stop paying taxes to support those policies of Mr. Obama with which I disagree – policies such as the economic ‘stimulus,’ more vigorous antitrust regulation, and cap and trade?  Indeed, will you defend me if I boycott – if I choose not to pay taxes to support – Obamacare?

If you will support me in my boycott, then I applaud your principle and, although I disagree with you about Mr. Mackey’s political views, fully support your freedom to boycott Whole Foods.  But if you will not support me in my boycott, then can you tell me on what principle you would stand to defend your right to boycott supermarkets if someone (say, Mr. Mackey) managed to secure legislation that obliges you to shop at Whole Foods?

I await your reply.

Donald J. Boudreaux

……..

Doug Bandow, at the American Spectator blog, proposes that opponents of Obamacare do the opposite of boycotting Whole Foods — that is, go out of our way to shop at Whole Foods.  The Boudreaux family is in!  (But a question is raised.  What’s the opposite of boycott?  ‘Girlcott’?)

And here’s John Stossel’s take.

Update: And here’s Sheldon Richman’s take.

Another update: And here’s Max Borders’s take.

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{ 125 comments }

Joe August 15, 2009 at 2:46 pm

This letter made me smile :)

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Don
You choose to live in the US. i assume you use government supplied services to some degree unless you’re totally off the reservation. You pay for those services with taxes. if you don’t pay and get caught, you go to jail like Al Capone. Or you get caught and flee to some more Libertarian place of your choosing. Good luck with finding Nirvana; or Minerva; or Anarchyland.

Marcus August 15, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Schwabby,
You choose to live in the US. I assume you use business supplied services to some degree unless you’re totally off the reservation. You pay for those services voluntarily because you value them. If you don’t use those services nobody throws you in jail for not paying. Or, you tire of thinking for yourself and move to some more authoritarian place of your choosing. Good luck with finding Nirvana; or Maxerva; or Authoritarianland.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Freedom is great isn’t it? You can have your opinion and I can have mine. Honestly, where would you choose to live other than the US?
I could be reasonably happy in about 20 other countries.

Marcus August 15, 2009 at 7:14 pm

“Freedom is great isn’t it? You can have your opinion and I can have mine.”

Isn’t that exactly Don’s point?

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 10:30 pm

There is no social contract. The state is a myth.

sgresident August 16, 2009 at 1:34 am

“You choose to live in the US”

Are you not aware that is almost impossible to renounce US citizenship? I know because I am someone who wants to “choose” to NOT live in the US…
The lack of freedom to leave the system is scary.

Ray Gardner August 15, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I will be writing Whole Foods to let them know I will shop there almost exclusively as long as Mackey holds his stance.

mark August 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm

if you can afford it!

whole food has nice products that are all delicious and flavorful, but the buy local and buy organic movement costs $$. There prices are 30% more than safeway, though I will admit that their products are generally higher quality than safeway.

Safeway, they also have a CEO that endorses similar ideas as Mr. Mackey.

isnt freedom wonderful!

mark August 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Brilliant and clever as always!

Barack Obama August 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Don, you have my permission to stop paying taxes.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama August 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm

But I forgot to add that if you make that choice, I will throw you in prison.

Duncan Idaho August 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Unless you can’t use TurboTax and is named Timothy Geithner, then you can be Secretary of the Treasury.

sandre August 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Here is a doctor speaking out against further intrusion of government into people’s health.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ3EI2F8XX8

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Excellent. I pass it along to many of my friends.

DieHard August 30, 2009 at 10:51 am

Yeah, sure. Every idiot thinks he’s a star now with youtube. Here’s a hint, you rightwingnut dork FUBARs: PEOPLE WITH ACTUAL PROFESSIONAL CREDENTIALS DO NOT POST ON YOU-FREAKING-TUBE.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Is it true that the proposed health care plan will require you to purchase government coverage for yourself? I’m not sure it is. If it’s not true, then your analogy breaks down.

Furthermore, can you, in a principled fashion, accept some government benefits and reject others? For instance, will you stop driving on roads? Will you surrender your driver’s license? Will you stop your mail?

Mark August 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm

you are right.

It is difficult to not drive on the roads. You could boycott the mail if you wanted, to. there was even a famous seinfeld episode where Kramer did exactly that.

The point is not that it is difficult to boycott these things, the point is that many believe we dont want any more government intrusion into the lives of private citizens. ObamaCare, if passed in its current dreadful form, represents the great intrusion into the lives of private citizens.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Is there really a “current…form” of the proposed legislation? As far as I understand it – admittedly, not very far (I implore you to help educate me if you feel my knowledge too inadequate even for conversation to continue) – the proposal isn’t even complete.

I can understand people’s unwillingness to allow a certain level of government intrusion into their lives – anyone who claims a certain level of resistance on this point is just plain unreasonable. What I can’t quite understand is why people are so resistant to legislation which seeks to make vast improvements in the lives of the underprivileged, the disadvantaged, and, frankly, the oppressed. People are dying left and right because they lack adequate – or even ANY – health care. Often, it’s not their fault that they’re unable to provide healthcare for themselves. Is it better for you to buy your kids a new XBox360 game, or for you to help save someone’s life? (Of course, here I don’t mean YOU you, I just mean the general you. For all I know you may donate 99% of your income to charity. The point, is general, though.)

Mark August 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm

rc171157:

You have presented to us a strawman argument.

You write that you dont understand “why people are so resistant to legislation which seeks to make vast improvements in the lives of the underprivleged, the disadvantaged, and, frankly, the oppressed.”

You will hardly find anyone on the left, right, center or those who are libertarian minded who do not believe that the laws that regulate medical care and medical insurance should not be overhauled to make medical care and insurance more available to all americans. The question is not if we should have reform. The question is “what should it look like?”

The problem is that the left has hijacked the term ‘health reform’ to mean only reforms that follow the models that were put forth by Hillary Clinton in 1993 and the majority party in 2009.

I too believe in health reform, but believe it should follow the John Mackey model rather than the Obama/Pelosi/Reid model.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Fair enough. Though, in my defense, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that people who oppose the proposed (incomplete?) legislation care more about their own wallets than other people’s lives if with their (your?) objections there was more often something like an alternative proposal accompanying it than just the brute resistance. But then, I’ve already indicated that I don’t know a lot of the facts about the matter.

Die Hard August 30, 2009 at 11:03 am

Oh, get off this parroting of Rush Limpdick and “government intrusion” line of sewage already. The truth is that the insurance companies are paying billions to mislead idiots like you, because they have hundreds of billions in profits at stake.

You want government intrusion? Wartime-deserter George and his rescinding of our rights in his bullcrap “war on terror” was intrusion. Not to mention treason. Dickless Cheney and his “I can spy on your phone and e-mail any time I want, while my people are burning my own records by the billions” is intrusion. Not to mention a felony.

All dimwits who whine that cutting back on insurance company powers and profits so that more people can afford health care is “government intrusion” are too stupid to be allowed to even have an opinion, much less vote, drive, or be around children. Just go jump off a building already. Stray cats aren’t all that picky about what they eat.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 5:33 pm

rc171157: Read my post more carefully.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 5:54 pm

I’m not quite sure what you take me to have missed, so I’m not quite sure how to modify the point I was trying to make.

I take the analogy you (seem to) draw not to hold because, A) Whole Foods is a private organization, boycotting it wouldn’t be very much like boycotting a government policy – as I take the latter to imply a lack of payment of taxes (which is illegal – though, we’re all free to cease paying taxes by moving out of the country), and B) the final claim you make, prior to “I await your reply.” – which reads, “…that obliges you to shop at Whole Foods?” – seems to imply that the proposed legislation would require [one] to ‘shop at the government health care store’, as it were. That is, if there’s an analogy to be made, this seems to me a claim you’d need for it to hold.

Furthermore, I began my reply to your post with a question – so, I’m not sure how telling me to read the post more carefully is any sort of answer to that question.

TuNeCeDeMalis August 16, 2009 at 3:06 am

rc171157:
“we’re all free to cease paying taxes by moving out of the country”

Is this really freedom? If one of your neighbors routinely robbed you, would you be relishing your ‘freedom’ to escape him by moving across the country? I don’t think so. If you are a property holder, then you have the right to live in your home without being robbed; you should not have to choose between living in your home while being stolen from, or moving to a different community. Unless we believe that the government owns America-which would make us all its guests-then we should not be limited to fleeing the country if we do not wish to pay taxes. That is no freedom at all.

MWG August 16, 2009 at 6:17 am

“…we’re all free to cease paying taxes by moving out of the country.”

No we’re not. US citizens are still required to file tax returns while living outside the US.

PB August 17, 2009 at 8:10 pm

You can renounce your citizenship. But I think you knew that. But you probably want to remain eligible for the all the goodies like SS and medicare. Nice try, moocher.

Matt August 16, 2009 at 8:45 pm

By boycott it, I think Don means not pay for it. True, you can stop using the post office and stop paying for stamps but the government still forces you to subsidize the USPS through tax subsidies.
Even if you can choose to not buy government’s insurance, you will still have to subsidize it through taxes. The public option is supposed to break even every year, but I find the idea of a federal program breaking even rediculous. You may think it is plausible.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Wonderful! I know I’ll be shopping more at Whole Foods from now on. Their produce department is 2nd to none.

Joe Calhoun August 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm

I think Dan Ackroyd put it best when he said, “Jane, you ignorant slut”.

Ray Gardner August 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm

rc:
You’re still missing the point.

Your stridency on the issue is causing you to miss the simpler, subtler points.

Most likely, you’re the guy at the dinner party that escalates every harmless conversation into a full blown debate that was never intended.

Stewart Ulm August 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Maybe the most absurd aspect of this boycott is that, should it be successful, the damage done to people people *other* than Mackey will far outweigh the damage done to Mackey himself. And that, of course, includes the boycotters, who would otherwise (ostensibly) prefer to shop at WFM over other supermarkets.

Ray Gardner August 15, 2009 at 7:11 pm

What boycotts can we point to that have worked?

Where else are they going to go?

All of the boycotts that I can think of never work, and are really just a few loud people with a public forum and some selectively edited soundbites to support the notion that “lots” of people are going to change their purchasing habits.

And I don’t know about this Jane person, but the DailyKos as a group are part of the same crowd that thinks it’s wrong for those who oppose socialized medicine to give voice to those opinions, while turning a blind eye to the union/astroturfing thuggery that is the sum total of the Left’s “grass roots” support for government healthcare.

The hypocrisy is eye ball deep, and stinks accordingly.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Don will never get a response from Olivia Jane. She won’t get it.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Maybe a little off topic; any of you gentleman holding money in USB tax shelters?

Josh August 15, 2009 at 7:28 pm

boycott equals tax fraud?

Liberal August 15, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Don, this is by far your most outrageous oversimplification. Organic food selling stores would be something you would oppose on principle, and I would agree, but it does not behoove you to compare a CEO of a company who is expressing an opinion unrelated directly to his occupation, and an elected president who has the right to run the country subject to checks and balances. Bush never cared about what anyone else thought. Obama has a majority and is still stepping gingerly. I urge you Don to attack the health care plan using your economic expertise and stay away from sarcastic rhetorics where you seem to cherry-pick factoids to conform to your opinion.

hamilt0n August 16, 2009 at 4:45 am

this is one of the greatest accusations against libertarians i have ever heard. why would libertarians oppose organic food? do you think don boudreaux only survives by sucking the blood from children that wander into his cave?

regardless, you missed the point. this post had nothing to do with the merits of obamacare. if i read it correctly, the letter highlighted the fact that if citizens choose to boycott government policies in the same way as ms. jane boycotts whole foods they will be imprisoned. this shows the inherent moral difference between private companies and government programs.

Anonymous August 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm

And with that, no reply by liberal is forthcoming.

Liberal August 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm

I am not accusing libertarians of opposing organic food. That is actually a compliment, because the merits of organic food are being thrust down our throats by ‘liberals’ without conclusively proving their advantages. Here, I expect a libertarian like Don to be skeptical and not rush to join the bandwagon.
I think I caught the point pretty well, and I believe that comparing the personal opinion of a businessman with the directive of an elected chief executive (subject to congressional oversight) is an oversimplification.
As far as my name ‘liberal’, I use it in the social sense. As far as economics go, I am more a Minarchist libertarian. Pardon me however, if I choose to listen and analyze, and develop an opinion before parroting talking points. (That was for you, lowcountryjoe.) I am as much opposed to left-wing loons as most of the readers of this blog.

hamilt0n August 16, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Not rush to join the bandwagon? You realize that everyone can scroll up a few inches to read what you previously wrote, right? Organic food isn’t shoved down anyone’s throat except through government edict. Sell whatever snake oil you wish, Sir.

Continuing: you’re a minarchist? Did you bother to take a glance at the Wikipedia page before you gave yourself that title? It seems unbecoming of a minarchist to defend the coercive Directives of An Elected Chief Executive, let alone one as expansive as Obamacare.

Here is an excerpt from the page I mentioned: “In civics, minarchism (sometimes called minimal statism, small government, or limited-government libertarianism) refers to a political ideology which maintains that the state’s only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from aggression.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minarchism

Hopefully this helps you with the identity crisis you are suffering.

Liberal August 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm

@Hamilt0n
By shoving I meant that it seems to be cool/progressive these days to be an organic food consumer, even though there isn’t enough to prove its merit. (and let’s face it, it’s pretty pricey.)
I agree with you that a Minarchist on principle would oppose what you seem to portray as a totalitarian coercive chief executive’s directive. These are however dire circumstances. I do want to hear the man out. You, on the other hand, seem to have a Limbaughesque opposition to whatever he says, and that does not become a libertarian because they are foremost free thinkers.

People did not seem to complain when the ‘evil’ government was bailing companies out. They want their losses socialized.
I, on the other hand, believe in total capitalism. A business must run with the least possible regulation, and maximized profits, and must be allowed to fall flat on its face when bad times it (and take down the stockholders along with it). So yes, I do believe that I can call myself a Minarchist. As for the line that you quoted from the wiki page, I agree with that too, except that the protection of individuals from aggression is a broad term, and cannot include merely physical violence.

I will cop to the identity crisis accusation. In the face of the current damages caused by unhindered capitalism, I do find my beliefs shaken a little bit. If that makes me unworthy of the libertarian tag, so be it.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm

This is a silly argument. The way you vote in the market IS with your wallet. The way you vote for policy is through democratic representation and your vote. That’s how we make laws and rules. You are asking special exemption from the laws and rules ALL OF US are bound to and “agreed to” based on our democratic form of government.

The current system subsidizes the Medical Health Insurance industry and the Pharmaceutical industry with yours and my tax dollars. I don’t support the current system but still pay my taxes because it’s the law. I voted for new policy on the issue as did most Americans and hopefully the new rules will better represent the will of the people.

If you didn’t want your tax dollars going to government provided or subsidized health care you should have refused to pay your taxes and been arrested long ago. Nothing is changing now. Ideally in the long run w will pay less taxes and premiums for a new system that combines the best of both the private market and government oversight.

Mark August 16, 2009 at 12:48 am

muirgeo:

keyword=”ideally.”

Anonymous August 16, 2009 at 1:29 am

Yes, ideally just how it works in 30+ other developed nations. So based on others experience I’d say it’s very doable.

MWG August 16, 2009 at 6:21 am

“The way you vote for policy is through democratic representation and your vote. THAT’S HOW WE MAKE LAWS AND RULES You are asking special exemption from the laws and rules ALL OF US are bound to and “agreed to” based on our democratic form of government.”

LMAO… Priceless.

piperTom August 16, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Bravo Don! Yours is a most excellent comparison.

If I (or WE) get to opt out, Obama can have any plan he likes.

Anonymous August 16, 2009 at 9:03 pm

It seems the highest crime for a leftist is to be anti-union. Personally I’m in favor of freedom of association. However I am NOT in favor of special government laws like the Wagner Act that protect unions.

Pat August 16, 2009 at 10:15 pm

I have limited my shopping @ Whole Food to monthly refills of Resveratrol, ever since they gave preferential parking to Hybrid and Flex fuel auto’s. Based on Mr.Mackey’s opinion I will have to start giving him more of my business.

daan August 16, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Boudreaux… While there have been times i also would like to “boycott” the govt though likely for differnt reasons than you…shopping at whole foods is not the same as tax paying (duh!) and whole foods is not the government..and shopping at whole foods is not mandatory as demonstrated by the fact that the we will not go to jail for not shopping at whole foods..good luck with your creative “logic” though.

Ian August 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Funny, when Whole Foods was boycotted by a pro-life group in 2007 for their support of Planned Parenthood, of course when conservatives boycott all is ok.

Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 11:19 pm

In case you noticed, there are no conservatives on this blog. We are mostly libertarian on all issues.

Anne American August 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Dear Mr. Boudreaux,

I for one completely reject your “right” to suspend paying taxes because you do not agree with all the policies of the current administration. This argument is spurious for three main reasons.

In a public government, you have a voice. Although the government may not always do what you like and the public as a whole may not always vote in the policies you approve of, you have the right to speak, vote, and lobby your representatives. In a private corporation, your money is your vote. You cannot run against the CEO of your local grocery store, you can only make your voice heard and your opinion felt, by taking your money elsewhere.

In government, everyone pays for services they do no agree with. People pay taxes for military policy they disagree with, environmental policy they disagree with, health policy they disagree with, and so on. It is our civic responsibility to pay our taxes. If we disagree with the amount or allocation, it is our right to vote out our representatives and replace them.

We do not have a raw democracy; we have a representative democracy. Our founding fathers crafted our current government structure very carefully to protect against tyranny, king making, and mob rule. It may be imperfect, and it will never align 100% with our personal views, however it is a beautiful system of government that deserves our respect and yes, even our money to support it.

So be angry about the current administration, speak out against health reform if that is your wish, however removal of your financial support from the government is illegal and unpatriotic.

Respectfully

Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Anne American takes Don to issue in three ways:

One: “you have a voice”. Unlimited democracy is like two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for lunch. Would Anne really want no limit — no limit at all — to what the majority may decide to do to the minority? This theme recurs in …

Two: “everyone pays for services they do [not] agree with” To the extent that said services are Essential and we haven’t figured out how to provide the service only to paying customers, I have no problem with that. But taxation has proved a slippery slope. Politicians see an established mechanism for extracting money from people and say “why extract a bit for MY pet project?” They don’t do this just once; they pile on for hundreds of years! …until people like Anne don’t see a problem with calling anything and everything a “service” and adding it in the government and tax based arena. Food? Yes, it’s essential, but provided very nicely through voluntary transactions. Shoes? Retirement planning? Health care?!

Okay, policing, justice, and national defense may not fit the voluntary transaction model. But just because we consider taxation a necessary evil, does not imply we should let it outgrow that “necessary” qualifier.

Three: “We do not have a raw democracy…” I really do not see Anne’s point here. If people, rather than politicians, were voting on this thing, all of Prof. Boudreaux’s objects would still stand.

Lastly, you urge us to “speak out against health reform”. In this context, isn’t that a bit nuts? Prof. Boudreaux is clearly in FAVOR of health care reform along the lines suggested by Mr. Makey. “Reform” doesn’t have to mean socialism.

sincerely

Anne American August 17, 2009 at 11:58 pm

1) I live in a town with pure democracy. We have open town meeting. All citizens are invited. We vote for and against spending and approve all projects. With the help of the professional staff we have a AAA bond rating and are doing much better financially than most communities around us. We have a voice, and use it. Isn’t that the principle our country is founded on? It sounds like you would be in favor of public funded elections then, so there is more competition for our established politicians and less corruption.

2) Who said I don’t want to cut real pork? Any large organization has corruption… private or public. Our tax dollars should be used efficiently and effectively.

3) In part you make a fair point. It would be more accurate to say, “Speak out against administration’s reform proposals…” Socialism is just a red herring.

Anonymous August 18, 2009 at 3:01 am

Then by your own logic, government is redundant wrt anything outside the legal system. If you don’t like what some corporation does, you can always buy a single share of the company stock, and then vote on the direction and dealings of the company.

Don’t worry, the corporate charter has been carefully crafted to protect your rights.

Don’t like what a company does? That’s no reason to boycott them. That would be unpatriotic.

Anne American August 23, 2009 at 2:50 pm

What ?!?!?!?! How does my logic make the government redundant? You took a leap there some where.

And, btw most companies will not let you speak if you own a single share of stock, and some are squelching the voice of all share holders. A single share of stock gives you zero real input into the operation of a company. Where you spend your money makes a much stronger influence on corporations.

PB August 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm

As citizen or resident of the US, you have entered into a contract with the US government. You can no more boycott it than I can boycott a restaurant by not paying a bill after I eat the meal. So please do us all a favor and move to Libertarian utopia where you will instantly become unshackled from tyranny and bestow us with more nuggets of your Ayan Rand wankery.

Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Interesting assertion that “As citizen or resident of the US, you have entered into a contract with the US government.”. I was born and have lived here for many decades and do not recall ever entering a contract with the U.S. government. This assertion ignores logic and is basically a false premise that implies that the writer, PB, somehow supports the concept that the U.S. government owns its citizens. And here I was under the impression that slavery was made illegal in the U.S. This type of rhetoric can be used to support all sorts of tyrannical action, and historically has. This thread which supports John Mackey of Whole Foods because he supports a non-government, uncoerced approach to healthcare is instructive. I remember when Whole Foods moved into Berkeley, CA. It was boycotted because Whole Foods does not hire union laborers. Instead, employees are empowered to excel and take an active part in decisions and pursuit of excellence. This is a successful approach to business. Whole Foods has thrived, much to the dismay and disdain of certain groups. I live in Austin, home of Whole Foods. I have friends who avoid Whole Foods simply because they are successful. It’s interesting because WF is a hotbed of leftist rhetoric and this surely must cause some degree of conflict with leftists who avoid WF because they are successful. What a strange world.

PB August 17, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Typical libertarian brain-dead rhetoric. A contract can be entered into any number of ways. If you don’t believe this, go into a restaurant and order a meal. When the bill comes, tell the waiter there is no contract to pay and attempt to walk out. You my friend, will then understand contract law–which has nothing whatever to do with slavery or a country owning its citizens. You are free to move and revoke your US citizenship. You will then not be subject of the state, nor will you receive any of its protections or benefits. Somalia, I hear, is quite the libertarian utopia.

Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Isn’t that just special. Resort to ad hominum in lieu of rational discussion. In your scenario, by entering the restaurant and ordering a meal, I VOLUNTARILY enter a contract to pay. The “contract” that you assert is implied by being born in the political boundaries of the U.S. is not voluntary. And, actually, no I am not free to revoke my U.S. citizenship, nor am I free to move my assets elsewhere. You might want to do your homework on such issues. Finally, why do people continue to use the meme that Somalia is a libertarian utopia? It defies logic.

Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Last I checked Somalia is run by a bunch of thuggish warlords. Hardly a libertarian paradise where individual rights, property rights and dignity of a person prevail. But to a LIEberal, libertarianism = anarchy, same thing in their minds.

Mark August 17, 2009 at 11:29 pm

because a bunch of smug liberals who are enamoured with their own “cleverness” produced this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QDv4sYwjO0

heartbot August 17, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Did you come to my defense when I did not want my tax dollars to go to a useless war in Iraq, premised on a lie? Did you come to my defense when I did not want my tax dollars to go to torturing illegally-held prisoners in Guantanamo Bay? Did you champion my freedom when I said I did not want my tax payer dollars to go toward a justice department that discriminated on the basis of religious and political affiliation, or a DHS that refused to give money to organizations that distribute contraceptives, or a policy that only gave federal dollars to abstinence-only sex education programs? Seriously. I didn’t even want my money going toward Bush’s salary for the last eight years. Were you supporting my right not to pay taxes then?

All of us have seen our tax dollars go to a bunch of crap we don’t want to pay for. It’s one of the problems with democracy: sometimes, you don’t get what you want.

Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 8:37 pm

The President of the United States was elected last November by a majority of the population and therefore is now the Chief Executive. We live in a democracy and this time your side lost. Of course you can avoid paying taxes but you will and should suffer the consequences of your actions by paying penalties or facing arrest.
Whole Foods is a private company and so we as consumers may choose to avoid shopping there for whatever reason we want.
I do understand that you, as a Republicans have difficulty understand basic concepts but I would have thought you would know the difference between government and private enterprise.

Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 9:09 pm

The irony of robertcowell’s post is that he assumes that “your side lost”, thus making the leap that people who oppose Obama are Republicans. A further irony is that supporters of Obama see some difference between Bush 2 and Obama. The statement that people who oppose the rampant misuse of power by government somehow don’t understand the difference between coercion and voluntary exchange is laughable. This kind of rhetoric has been used throughout history but most certainly often during the 20th century to support the most outrageous acts of tyranny. Mr. Cowell, you might want to read for comprehension the U.S. Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights.

Anonymous August 18, 2009 at 9:15 pm

To jcrowe,
I am a bit shocked that someone would use my personal e-mail account as a forum to repute my comments instead of keeping it on the blog that my comment was posted on but whatever. As for my assumption that only Republicans oppose President Obama, don’t you think your being a little picky? Sure there are “libertarians”, “fascists”, “communist” and all manner of people who oppose our President but the vast majority belong to the Republican Party and you know it.
As for the “rampant misuse of power” you speak of, kindly let me know what you’re talking about. We had an election and President Obama won. He, like a majority of the population in this country (at least until the Insurance Industry and its allies misrepresented the End of Life Counseling with “Death Panels” propaganda) is trying thropughlegislation, to bring a public healthcare option to this country so that those of us who work in small companies or are self employed can actually afford coverage for ourselves and our families. He is working through Congress to try and achieve this as is our system. How is this “a misuse of power by the government”? Is medicare, social security, road building, the military etc. mususes of power? The CEO of Whole Foods needs to pay his taxes or face a penalty just like I had to during the Bush Administration. You remember the Bush Administration, the one that really did misuse government power.
And yes, there is a big difference between President Obama and the Bush Administration and if you are too ignorant to tell the difference then I truly do feel sorry for you.

By the way, I did read the article, did you?

Anonymous August 18, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Addressing your first statement first, in signing up for this blog via Disgus, you entered your email address. Disgus automatically sends any blog response to the email address you signed up with. You might wish to read the TOS when you register for such in the future.
Second, as to my being picky about your grouping individuals opposed to policies of the Obama administration into the Republican camp, it’s a faulty assumption on your part. You have no way of supporting your allegations. I know people who are Democrats and who voted for Obama who are appalled at his policies and the fact that he has broken so many campaign promises (and as an aside, I’m not surprised…he is after all a politician).

The powers that Obama has usurped are the same ones that Bush did. Obama promised change. The U.S. is still in Iraq, increasing its involvement in Afghanistan, increasing spending on the military, rattling sabers in Pakistan. Further, Guantanamo still exists, nothing has been said about repealing the PATRIOT Act, Real ID is on the table again. Obama certainly has inherited a mess, but he’s not about to give up powers that Bush took. In other words, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

The problems with the healthcare nationalization plan are many. First of all, the attempt to ramrod the bills through congress were reminiscent of the PATRIOT Act. The bills were thousands of pages long and legislators admit to have not read them. Second, how do you think this universal coverage will be paid for? Look, anybody who has seriously studied the current government social programs like Social Security and Medicare knows that they are already doomed. And simply printing more FRNs will not solve the problem either. Solving problems through government interventions in the marketplace (and this includes the use of lobbying by big pharma/insurance/AMA to use government power to give a market advantage) never works efficiently in the long term and mostly does not work in the short term. Mackey’s original article included some good, effective, market-driven ideas on how to approach the problem. Now your assertion that the majority of the population supports this is hard to prove or disprove. Regardless, even if a majority wishes to ram it through, it’s a bit of a stretch to assert that everybody has a “right” to healthcare. Besides, in a real constitutional republic, government does not grant rights…if it’s granted by the government it’s a privilege. So, to directly answer your examples,
a) Medicare and Social Security are misuses of power from a strictly constitutional PoV. b) Road building in many cases is a very overtly heinous misuse of power (because of use of eminent domain). c) the implementation of the U.S. military in its current form is a misuse of power. What you seem to imply is that one must respect the authority of the U.S. federal government and continue to pay taxes, regardless of what policies it undertakes. And, by the way, Mackey said nothing about not paying taxes, nor was he a supporter of Bush, which is something you appear to not understand. Yes, I do remember the Bush administration….not fondly. But they have all been of the same stripe, more or less for the last sixty years.

Oh boy, here we go with the ad hominum again. I look past the soundbites when I analyze the actions of politicians. Don’t pity me. I have done my homework. In a year or two, this discussion will likely be moot in light of the bigger problems caused by government intervention in the market place. If you have children, why would you advocate that they be burdened with the legacy of economic collapse that we are witnessing?

Of course I read the article. Again, beyond reading Mackey’s article, do feel free to have a look at the U.S.C. and most especially the first ten amendments.

Anonymous August 20, 2009 at 8:38 am

To jcrowe,
I am a bit shocked that someone would use my personal e-mail account as a forum to repute my comments instead of keeping it on the blog that my comment was posted on but whatever. As for my assumption that only Republicans oppose President Obama, don’t you think your being a little picky? Sure there are “libertarians”, “fascists”, “communist” and all manner of people who oppose our President but the vast majority belong to the Republican Party and you know it.
As for the “rampant misuse of power” you speak of, kindly let me know what you’re talking about. We had an election and President Obama won. He, like a majority of the population in this country (at least until the Insurance Industry and its allies misrepresented the End of Life Counseling with “Death Panels” propaganda) is trying thropughlegislation, to bring a public healthcare option to this country so that those of us who work in small companies or are self employed can actually afford coverage for ourselves and our families. He is working through Congress to try and achieve this as is our system. How is this “a misuse of power by the government”? Is medicare, social security, road building, the military etc. mususes of power? The CEO of Whole Foods needs to pay his taxes or face a penalty just like I had to during the Bush Administration. You remember the Bush Administration, the one that really did misuse government power.
And yes, there is a big difference between President Obama and the Bush Administration and if you are too ignorant to tell the difference then I truly do feel sorry for you.

Anonymous August 20, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Again, you seem to misunderstand how Disgus works. It is Disgus, not me, that automatically sends an email to the address you registered with. Also, you might want to look up the difference between ‘repute’ and ‘refute’. The rest of your post is a rehash of if not a direct repeat of what you posted before…e.g. tedious and repetitive. If you wish to respond with more than boilerplate, there may be something to discuss. Otherwise why are you bothering to waste your time?

Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 9:29 pm

One more thing….link to the original John Mackey article and actually read it. Mr. Mackey has some very good ideas about how real reforms of the healthcare system could work without collusion between the federal government and big pharma/big insurance/AMA etc. It seems from most of these comments that the people dumping on Mackey have not even read his words but are instead acting in a kneejerk manner, regardless of political orientation. For the record, I like Whole Foods and shop there on a regular basis. Mackey’s position is another reason to continue my patronage of Whole Foods.

Anne American August 18, 2009 at 12:30 am

Ok, I reread the piece and pulled out the eight points. His begin with “•” and mine with “>>”.

• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).

>> This kind of high deductible plan would raw away the youngest and healthiest people from the general insurance pool leaving those who pay into more traditional plans with significantly higher costs for those people. Lets spend the money already in the system smarter. To do that we need the widest possible pool of insured.

• Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.

>> Good point. Most people pay for their employer insurance with pre-tax dollars. People who by insurance on their own, should get the same benefit.

• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.
>> I have not studied this enough to have an opinion pro or con.

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars.

>> What really costs us billions of dollars is run away executive pay and absorbing the costs of uninsured citizens having to use the emergency room for primary care.

• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

>> Uh, no. Fraud where it should be stamped out. I have witnessed 6 years of a family member perusing a legitimate medical malpractice suite, only to have the lawyer walk away from the case, leaving them with tons of out of pocket medical expenses and the doctor getting of scott free. I do think a reform of our health care should address medical malpractice insurance. The rates for malpractice insurance are sky rocketing too. Nothing should get in the way of people suing a bad doctor. Most proposed torte reform does just that.

• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost.
>> Amen. I cannot agree more with this. Unfortunately in some areas of the country the doctors also own the testing labs, and therefor have a vested interest in you not knowing the cost of tests.

• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.

>> This point is not specific enough to agree or rebut.

• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

>> This is just a way to feed even more of our money into an insurance industry that is hell bent on taking our money and denying our claims. It fixes nothing it the insurance companies are not forced to remove pre-existing condition clauses. Many people now have insurance policies akin to your home owners insurance saying they will cover light bulbs and and small spills, but if your house catches on fire they won’t pay your claim or renew your policy at any price. Lets spend the money already in the system smarter. To do that we need the widest possible pool of insured. This is not just a question of people not having insurance, but also of claims being denied without cause.

One final thought… If having all citizens covered is such a bad thing, why is it that even the most amazingly conservative politicians countries with those systems are not repealing them? http://bit.ly/GCUu1

TuNeCeDeMalis August 18, 2009 at 1:31 am

Anne American wrote:

“One final thought… If having all citizens covered is such a bad thing, why is it that even the most amazingly conservative politicians countries with those systems are not repealing them?”

This isn’t really a mystery. Once an entitlement program becomes entrenched, the populace becomes highly reluctant to let go of their government handouts. Repealing handout programs is NEVER politically popular, regardless of the viability of the alternatives.

Anonymous August 19, 2009 at 12:21 am

Hi Anne,

First of all, thanks for the rational response. I am including some of your post and responding to your points.
(Mackey) • Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).

(Anne) >> This kind of high deductible plan would raw away the youngest and healthiest people from the general insurance pool leaving those who pay into more traditional plans with significantly higher costs for those people. Lets spend the money already in the system smarter. To do that we need the widest possible pool of insured.

I’m trying to understand what you are saying here. Mackey’s proposal is to promote Health Savings Accounts, which already exist, and to give some tax-relief for them. In such a system, people could purchase appropriate high-deductible insurance policies for reasonable rates and save money in the process. It’s important to understand that health insurance, number one is a relatively recent thing. One reason that medical costs have gone up so much is that people tend to access the medical system for trivial reasons, whereas in my youth, basic medical care and even emergency care was reasonable enough anybody to afford. We just did not go to the doctor that often.

(Mackey)• Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.

(Anne)>> Good point. Most people pay for their employer insurance with pre-tax dollars. People who by insurance on their own, should get the same benefit.

Yes, and it’s important to know that if your insurance costs are more than a percentage of your income, you can deduct them. But that does not help some people.

(Mackey)• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.
(Anne)>> I have not studied this enough to have an opinion pro or con.

You might want to have a look. This leads to an extremely anti-competative “unfree” market in insurance. When insurance companies have to actually compete, customers always benefit.

(Mackey)• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars.

(Anne)>> What really costs us billions of dollars is run away executive pay and absorbing the costs of uninsured citizens having to use the emergency room for primary care.

You are incorrect about the former and right about the latter, but both are tangental to Mackey’s point. While I agree that CEO pay often borders on the absurd, citizens, unless they are stockholders in those companies have no real legitmate input into how companies compensate CEOs. One exception is businesses that have been subsidized at taxpayer expense, but that should never have happened in the first place.

(Mackey)• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

(Anne)>> Uh, no. Fraud where it should be stamped out. I have witnessed 6 years of a family member perusing a legitimate medical malpractice suite, only to have the lawyer walk away from the case, leaving them with tons of out of pocket medical expenses and the doctor getting of scott free. I do think a reform of our health care should address medical malpractice insurance. The rates for malpractice insurance are sky rocketing too. Nothing should get in the way of people suing a bad doctor. Most proposed torte reform does just that.

Mackey is right on this one too. There are instances where people are injured by doctors and malpractice is appropriate, but the laws that encourage outrageous lawsuits need to go away. It’s hurting the ability of American business and American workers to flourish. Here’s one example. Mississippi was well-known as a haven for frivolous lawsuits and a bunch of Mississippi lawyers were thereby getting rich. Toyota was considering building a plant in Tupelo, MS but predicated its decision on MS enacting torte reform. In a rare moment of good sense, MS did enact torte reform and now Toyota will be building Prius hybrids in Tupelo.

(Mackey)• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost.
(Anne)>> Amen. I cannot agree more with this. Unfortunately in some areas of the country the doctors also own the testing labs, and therefor have a vested interest in you not knowing the cost of tests.

We all agree here. Further, doctors should charge the same fee to any patient, regardless of whether that patient had insurance. Commonly, insurance company negotiated fees will be 1/3 of what an uninsured individual would pay. If we had a real free market in medical care, that would not fly.

(Mackey)• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.

(Anne)>> This point is not specific enough to agree or rebut.

Well, actually it is. Medicare and Social Security are unfunded mandates. They are paid for on the fly by contributions of workers and employers….in combination about 15% of salary. The unfunded part of those programs currently amounts to about $50 trillion. That’s right, your eyes don’t deceive you. Now we have a situation where people have been told that they will have a secure period of post retirement. It cannot work. Even for ten more years. Do the math. We have a combination of high unemployment, wages being cut, a large number of retirement age citizens and a government that is virtually printing money to cover its ass and soon a heaping helping of inflation. Something has got to give. Add to that the fact that in order to conform to government Medicare regulations and paperwork, individual doctors must hire several personel just to do paperwork, and one can observe that Medicare reform may not be enough.

(Mackey)• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

(Anne)>> This is just a way to feed even more of our money into an insurance industry that is hell bent on taking our money and denying our claims. It fixes nothing it the insurance companies are not forced to remove pre-existing condition clauses. Many people now have insurance policies akin to your home owners insurance saying they will cover light bulbs and and small spills, but if your house catches on fire they won’t pay your claim or renew your policy at any price. Lets spend the money already in the system smarter. To do that we need the widest possible pool of insured. This is not just a question of people not having insurance, but also of claims being denied without cause.

Anne, your point is again tangental to Mackey’s. Mackey is just saying that people could be encouraged to help their fellow countryfolk in times of need by giving tax breaks. Your complaints about insurance companies are valid but insurance companies can only get away with this type of stuff because there is not a free market in insurance. Insurance companies lobby hard and they buy politicians so they will not have to compete. Remove impediments to competition and the situation will improve rapidly and drastically.

(Anne)One final thought… If having all citizens covered is such a bad thing, why is it that even the most amazingly conservative politicians countries with those systems are not repealing them? http://bit.ly/GCUu1

I’m having a hard time parsing this one. It strikes me as a non sequitur.

Anonymous August 18, 2009 at 12:17 am

Boudreaux’s question about boycotting makes sense to the same extent I can choose to not pay Dick Cheney and GWBush’s federal pension based on their 8yrs of misfeasance, malfeasance, and mismanagement. It’s quite absurd and disingenuous that he can’t see the difference between free commercial transactions (informed or not; political or not) and mandatory federal taxes.

hilbuk August 18, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Sure, boycott taxes. And go to prison.

Look, maybe the Whole Foods boycott is stupid, but that’s what you can do as a consumer. When you’re not happy with the product, you go elsewhere. That’s the whole point of the FREE MARKET, right?!

Also, what is up with the title of your blogpost?

I_am_a_lead_pencil August 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm

hibuk said:

When you’re not happy with the product, you go elsewhere. That’s the whole point of the FREE MARKET, right?!

Exactly. The market allows you to exercise your choice. If you don’t like the views of the CEO you needn’t shop there and give them your money. Don is in no way arguing against this.

However, in our democratic republic ‘choice’ is a bit different. If I do not want to “pay” for a government program I don’t have the same options. I can’t pull into Stop & Shop next door. Instead, I need to convince the majority of my fellow citizens to vote for someone who will not take my money and use it in some way I despise.

Meanwhile, Olivia Jane can immediately refuse to give her $20 to Whole Foods and walk into Stop & Shop instead. She sees no philosophical contradiction with utilizing this great market mechanism, consumer choice, as a hammer to express her outrage against a CEO for supporting the same market choices which she has so willingly adopted.

Anonymous August 18, 2009 at 7:29 pm

The contrast is meant persuade that every function possible should be done by market institutions instead of government ones. That provides people with more choices about more things.

Kenect2 August 18, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Your boycott of taxes, while you choose to live within the United States and receive the public goods associated with the United States, would be analogous to to Olivia Jane going in to Whole Foods, eating a bunch of the food off the shelf, and then announcing she is boycotting paying for the food she just ate. Most people would agree that is theft. If you want to boycott taxes, leave the United States. Otherwise, you’re just another thief.

Anonymous August 19, 2009 at 12:32 am

Kenect2 wrote:
Your boycott of taxes, while you choose to live within the United States and receive the public goods associated with the United States, would be analogous to to Olivia Jane going in to Whole Foods, eating a bunch of the food off the shelf, and then announcing she is boycotting paying for the food she just ate. Most people would agree that is theft. If you want to boycott taxes, leave the United States. Otherwise, you’re just another thief.

This is a fallacious argument. The actors in this scenario are government and citizens. The citizens have no real input into policies but are charged for them in any case, regardless of whether the actions of government are repugnant to the individual citizen. In this scenario, there is one actor that uses force or coercion to take from another actor and that is government. The fallacy in your scenario is that Olivia Jane can freely choose to interact or not with Whole Foods, but the citizen has no freedom of choice. And it’s getting worse every day. This is not a Democrat/Republican issue. Both major parties represent large, powerful, corrupt central government that interferes more every day in the lives of citizens.

Kenect2 October 15, 2009 at 7:23 am

The citizen is free to move to any country he likes. But I understand that libertarians are so terrified of moving to a nation that has an actual free market, for example, Somalia, that it is completely out of the question that they could even possibly leave. Unfortunately for you, your bogus claim that the citizen “has no freedom of choice” when in fact he does have freedom of choice, is the fallacy.

Anonymous October 15, 2009 at 7:34 am

Are you muirgeo’s cousin? We’ve already proven that Somalia is nothing like a free market. Troll.

Anonymous August 19, 2009 at 6:04 am

Don, I say this completely sincerely: You go girl!!!!

Anonymous August 19, 2009 at 12:00 pm

granola chomping psudo-hippie IDIOTS… maybe we should stop paying for the FREE RIDE envisioned by your “benevolent despot” obamanation…this crap needs to stop NOW or there will be BLOOD in the streets…

SumptinStinks August 20, 2009 at 2:45 am

Wonderful, Mr. Boudreaux! I have but one concern about your letter: you write, sir, for an intelligent audience. I worry that you give anyone in affiliation with the Daily Kos too much credit in that regard. But well-said, nonetheless!

Anonymous August 20, 2009 at 3:21 am

I’m a shopper at Whole Foods and 100% STAND BY MR. Mackey’s right as a US citizen to have his opinion on the TERRIBLY DESTRUCTIVE “Obamacare” being shoved down our throats. The left-wing Marxists in this country think that if you disagree with Obama your a right-wing nut. What is NUTTY is my car was defaced in the parking lot of Whole Foods in Lexington, KY for a bumper sticker. My car was marked up with a Sharpie Black marker for having a sticker that said, “Obama Marx ’08 ” The person porceeded to destroy the sticker and my paint job. All I can say is this person made the mistake of letting himself get caught in a parking lot with NO SECURITY CAMERAS. He got what he deserved. How dare people that preach tolerance, free speech, gay right’s, ect.. do these things. It’s only tolerance, free speech, and ect for them(Socialist Marxists). Liberals are for themselves and protecting THEIR rights they agree with and trashing others(ie : Second Amendment).

AS Michael Savage say’s , ” Liberalism is a MENTAL DISEASE ”

GO Libertarians ! ! !

Ardis August 20, 2009 at 5:33 am

Bravo! You are so right about our inability to make our beliefs known with a boycott. I guess the Town Halls are the closest we can get with health care – we need to do them for everything! I’m especially pleased when people suppport WF because my son works there.

Anonymous August 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I’M IN!!! ALL THE WAY!!! I already liked whole foods, but found it a bit pricey. I’ll be there more often now!

Jay August 20, 2009 at 5:25 pm

I agree that both Whole Foods and health care can be boycotted, depending on the political persuasion of the person concerned. Also, we should not have to put tax dollars towards abortion, invading other countries, death penalty etc. that we may disagree with. Everyone should be taxed according to the code but we should have some say as to where that money gos. It would be interesting to see how it would change our foreign and domestic policies. I think it would make it far more democratic as it would reflect the interests of truly the people rather than lobbying groups.

Anonymous August 21, 2009 at 2:13 am

I am a customer of Whole Foods. I will remain a customer. I eat healthy to stay healthy. I am blessed with good health. If I could dedicate my insurance premiums pay for one psychosis, it would be to the care of the liberal mind for assuredly it is sick.

Anonymous August 21, 2009 at 2:23 am

Isn’t ironic that where the liberal – left wing idiots can’t compete they demand government to enter the fray. Every liberal that has a better idea on health care can enter the health insurance industry by forming their own companies or not-for-profit healthcare network. Recruit doctors, nurses, and other administrators to provide the type of health care they believe the American people desire.

But since they can’t compete in a fair and free market, they must use the strong arm of government (completely contray to the Constitution of the United States) to force their why into an industry in which they can’t succeed.

Anonymous August 21, 2009 at 4:03 am

What is going here in the United States. Have we lost our First Amendment rights. The CEO of Wholesale Foods can’t say he disagrees. This guy gives a lot money to charity an everyone chastises him and throws him under the bus. What is happening to America today? We can’t disagree with this administration. Asking for our e-mails if we don’t support their reforms. Let me quote something from a important person:

Senate Speech 10 October 2002, by Hillary Clinton.

“I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say, “We are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration!”

I’m an American and I have a right to debate and disagree with any administration just like Senator Clinton!

So for Russel Mokhiber, an attorney who is very angry and mad because a CEO doesn’t agree with him is very childish in my opinion. And not every employee in Whole Foods agrees with him either. Not only is he is against people that disagree with him, but also embellishing the true facts as well.

HC August 30, 2009 at 12:27 pm

This present administration and their lackeys are vehimently saying anyone who disagrees with them is unpatriotic and must sit down and shut up. They are trying to intimidate us with the “Fairness Doctrine” and so-called “Hate Crimes Act” where they can declare that if you speak up, you speech can be silenced under one of these acts. The decision as to whether it is covered under one of these acts will be determined by the ultra liberal judges they will appoint. The liberals I have dealt with, believe that only their ideas MUST AND ONLY WILL BE ALLOWED.

Alex Gamaletsos August 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

I would not support your decision to to “go out of our way to shop at Whole Foods” because that would be counterintuitive with my decision to boycott it. Right?

Nevertheless, even though I will not be joining hands with you and with your lovely I’m sure kin-folk I want to wish you good luck on your cause. And you will need it…

Based on the comments that I’ve seen and heard first hand in a couple of town-hall meeting the people who appear to oppose most vehemently the president’s health care reform efforts are definitely not Whole Foods crowd. So, my effort to boycott likely has better chances to succeed than your effort to support.

Liberty Joe September 1, 2009 at 2:06 pm

It obvious Alex that you lift a small bubble and don’t realize what is actually going on in the Uinted States. I was a democract, then a republican and now an independent. I served my country and honored my oath against foreign and domestic faithfully. When was the last time you actually believed that the elected officials actuallly honored their oath to defend the U.S. Constitution of the United States. Lately I seen none of them do that. The truth fact is that nobody wants to hear the truth and only cares about the propaganda that is going on with the state run medias (CNN. NBC, ABC & CBS). Whats going on with Whole Foods is just the beginning. Are youy going to stop shopping at Home Depot too? The co-founder disagrees too. Where is it going to stop? I know how, people like me and many millions of frustrated people that are real Americans from all affiliations who are being labeled mobs and strongly disagrees on how our country is being turned into a European Socialist Society or eve worst communism. Obviously you haven’t seen the Czars that have marxist and comunist beliefs. So my mob name is LIBERTYJOE!

By the way, the Whole Foods that I go to, they have actually gained customers and the sales are booming, so much for the boycott!

DON”T EVER UNDERESTIMATE THE AMERICAN SPIRIT FOR FREEDOM AND THE FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS THAT WE HAVE CHERISHED FOR OVER 200 YEARS IN OUR REPUBLIC!

Leah August 27, 2009 at 3:20 pm

I am a conservative that shops at whole foods, I think it is funny that people think that only librals shop at whole foods. So if only Librals shop at whole foods and also work there aren’t they hurting their own group with the jobs that will be lost by the librals that work there? Also where will the Librals shop now? I am against the reform and think it is sad that people are so stupid to think that more government involvement is the answer. Where is all the money going to come from to pay for all this government involvement? Pretty soon we won’t be a free country anymore, we will be like country we came here to get away from in the first place.

The Die Hard August 30, 2009 at 10:40 am

Yeah, shithead. I’d agree with you. If you were making a bit of sense, which you aren’t. Are you this drunk and/or stoned all the time, or just an idiot by nature?

You go right ahead and stop paying taxes, drug addict. Of course, that means that you’ll have to walk naked and barefoot to your drug supplier, which will not be a store, since if you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get to use roads, or anything delivered over them. Also, your drugs will not be inspected or approved. Have fun.

I personally would rather not have my taxes going to pay the school board, the city council, the county commission, and all their half-wit relatives “working” as “staff.” So, which government agency is paying YOUR salary, Donny boy? Because I bet your “job” can be eliminated without affecting the economy one bit.

Curtis D. August 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm

A Boycott of a Grocery Store Chain? Who was the moron that thought this one up? I recall a very powerful Government that once tried to control every aspect of it’s constituants. It was highly feared by many because of it’s size and military strength, and yet people allowed it to continue to control then for many decades. As a matter of fact, those that spoke out against this government were severly punished or put to death. This government even played a role in the arrest of the most perfect human to walk the face of the earth, eventually causing his death. One must ask themselves, how many Ceasars tried to Rule their masses before they were finally wiped out? We live in the fast diminishing World Power’s control, and given the freedom to express our beliefs. Yet when one simple man states his opinion against this government, the masses want to hush him up because he mentions that people need to better themselves rather than sit in their homes and accept “hand-outs” from this government we live under. It appears we are no longer satisfied with prosperity, our values have changed to Greed and getting anything we can for free. But the masses will continue to hush those that tell us these truths, because it simply hurts our conscience. I applaude Mr. Boudreaux on his comment here, it is truely amazing how simple minded some people can be. This must be exactly what is meant by leading the sheep to the slaughter. Follow the masses so you don’t become one of those being Boycotted for having common sense and quite possibly, Morals. Welcome to the new “Roman Empire.” (Did I mention that Empire was wiped out in the past?)

Anonymous August 30, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Sure, healthcare in America could use an overhaul. You can blame private industry or the government….your choice. My main fear, however, is that the result of an overhaul will put the government in charge of part, or all of, healthcare in this country. Forget “death panels” and other such shrill claims. Does anyone REALLY want the government in charge of the MONEY?? They spend like money can just be printed when we run out of it!! Oh, crap……they CAN do that already can’t they??? God help us all!!!

Maria Larkin August 30, 2009 at 8:16 pm

It seems that Mr.Boudreaux didn’t get the memo (although most news organizations have been broadcasting it for months now) that we are no longer able to have dissenting opinions in this country because if you do you are labelled as some kind of subversive. It is now “un-American” to think or believe in anything that is not endorsed by the Democrats that are currently in power.
As a Democrat, I felt no fear in speaking out against the policies of administrations that I did not agree with, never once fearing that I would be persecuted. Not any more.These days I find myself guarded against saying anything against the policies of the Obama administration because of the fanaticism of his “followers”. Its always easy to belittle and label those that don’t agree with your beliefs….its’ easy to forget that the American colonists showed up at their town meetings to vent their anger and frustrations over the policies of the English….I’m sure King George and his government called them crazy mobs too.
Some suggest that there will be a revolt in this country….The revolt will come on the 2nd Tuesday in November….it is on that day that the voices that are being stifled will be heard….the first to hear the People will be the members of Congress…and then 3 years from now this administration will again hear the People speak….

Anonymous August 31, 2009 at 4:41 am

I DONT CARE WHAT MACKEY SAID OR DIDNT SAY
I WANT TO LIVE IN A COUNTRY WHERE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO HAVE YOUR OWN POINT OF VIEW WITHOUT RETALIATION FROM SPECIAL INTREST GROUPS WHO SAY BOYCOT HE DIDNT AGREE WITH ME
I HOPE 1 DAY YOU RETARD LEMMINGS GET THE FULL EFFECT OF THE BILL OF SALE ON ALL THE BULL SHIT THE SPECIAL INTREST GROUPS ARE SELLING YOU AND I HOPE IM NOT HERE WHEN THAT HAPPENS

Jim Stewart September 2, 2009 at 3:30 am

Hey lets support whole foods . This guy told the world the truth and OBAMA doesn’t like it

Do you know what OBAMA stands for
One Big Ass Mistake America

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Exactly. Don can talk about choosing not to pay his taxes and I will support him fully. When he is taken away for tax evasion, I will assist the officer with the handcuffs.

Mark August 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

there are alternative proposals out there.

Mackey’s is one of them.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Marcus I forgot to ask again, where else would you be happy living? you don’t have to answer if it is too stressfull for you.

Marcus August 15, 2009 at 7:55 pm

And yet, no one is taking away in chains those who are boycotting Whole Foods.

Steve August 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Schwabby,

What are you talking about? You alright?

Marcus August 15, 2009 at 7:58 pm

The subject of this thread is Don’s post. I’m sorry if it is difficult for you to stick to the subject.

Those who don’t give their money to Whole Foods will not be arrested. Those who do not give their money to the government to hand out to corporate lobbyist will be arrested.

That sir, is the subject of Don’s post.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Anyone out there willing to choose an an alternate place of residence?

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 8:00 pm

I don’t have a problem with that, do you?

Marcus August 15, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Problem with what? That the people who don’t give their money to some corporation will not be arrested? Or those who don’t give their money to the government to be handed over to same said corporation will be arrested?

Marcus August 15, 2009 at 8:11 pm

And what is it you think your point is? If I’d rather live in Cuba than Antarctica, is that a validation of the Cuban government?

Don is simply describing a difference between government provided services and business provided services. Please stick to the subject.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 8:13 pm

You are sounding like a troll. Smells like one.

Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm

I think tax evasion is illegal. Is boycotting illegal also? For the third time Marcus, where would you choose to live if not the US?

Marcus August 15, 2009 at 8:28 pm

What’s ironic about it is that schwabby’s argument actually confirms Don’s post. The freedom to exit, whether it be a store you don’t patronize or a government you choose not to live under, is fundamentally important.

Over on EconLog they’ve been discussing this very subject.

Marcus August 15, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Nobody has stated that tax evasion should not be illegal. You are apparently arguing against yourself.

The subject of Don’s post is on the difference between services coercively provided by government and services voluntarily provided by businesses.

That you keep asking where we’d rather live shows that you grasp that difference and apparently place a good deal of value upon it.

hamilt0n August 16, 2009 at 10:24 pm

zzzz. no on here, let alone boudreaux, has advocated silencing the president. that is a boring, stupid way to argue. i already outlined what the letter was about.

im not sure which “people” you are accusing of being silent about the bailouts, but you will have a hard time finding them among the readers of this blog. even if it were true, it would be completely unrelated to a government takeover of health care.

note: when pretending to be a minarchist in the future, don’t complain about “unhindered capitalism” as a bad thing. its sort of the basis of the philosophy.

Liberal August 16, 2009 at 10:55 pm

I am a minarchist who does see some realism in that unhindered capitalism seems to have its flaws. Until I get a better economic theory, I would call myself a minarchist who respects that even his ideology has some flaws. Unlike you, I am not a dogmatic (again Limbaughesque) supporter blindly loyal to a theory even in the face of contrasting evidence.
As for you not being sure which ‘people’ were silent during the bailout, you are the reason libertarians look like nuts because you too seem to pick up the facts you need and make stuff up as you go along. Govt takeover of healthcare scares the hell out of me too, but if someone can propose a middle ground which does increase some govt involvement, I would need to accept it for the lack of a better way (one which would involve smaller govt.)
When you find it difficult to put up rational arguments, you have resorted to ad hominem slander by calling my arguments stupid.
Having said that, I am done with this argument coz we seem to digress (both of us). Take care.

hamilt0n August 17, 2009 at 2:06 am

If you see flaws to “unhindered capitalism” and think the government has a role to play in fixing this you are by definition not a minarchist. I don’t care where you stand. Once again, this post wasn’t about the different viewpoints and the consequentialist arguments for either.

The entire content of this post and your pretend allegiance to the philosophy behind it was about the moral difference to government programs and private businesses.

Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Well, I’m not sure that branding PB a “LIEberal” makes a lot of points either. It just seems to me that in lieu of rational debate, some people bring out this Somalia thing as if somebody once made such a flawed argument and it sounded cool so it gets trotted out time and again to avoid discussing a point. PB’s assertion looks like that the federal government has the legitimate power to do essentially whatever it wants and if a citizen objects he gets the old response of “love it or leave it”. In any case, this has wandered rather far from the original point which relates to John Mackey’s op-ed piece in the WSJ. I read the piece and it made a lot of sense to me. From an economic PoV, the reforms of the Obama administration are simply doomed to failure.

PB August 18, 2009 at 12:05 am

You can absolutely revoke your US citizenship. But I doubt you plan on looking into it. If you stop reading Ayn Rand novels and educate yourselves, there may be hope for you yet:

http://world.std.com/%7Emhuben/faq.html

As for Somalia, it has all the things necessary for a libertarian utopia. If you don’t like the results, that’s a problem for you and libertarians, not me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QDv4sYwjO0

PB August 18, 2009 at 12:51 pm

You say “a bunch of thuggish warlords,” I say private security forces. Tomaito, Tamaato. BTW, who do you want to protect your “individual rights, property rights and dignity?” Not the soul-sucking, freedom-robbing state, I imagine. So that is what you are left with. Pay the toll to travel that road my friend. Libertarians = not living in the real world.

PB August 18, 2009 at 12:06 am
PB August 18, 2009 at 12:09 am

You missed that the video lampoons an actual article. Irony seems lost on libertarians.

http://mises.org/story/2066

Anonymous August 30, 2009 at 2:03 pm

If you pay into social security, medicare, etc as a working person, then it should be available to you to the amount that you paid in, wherever you live, once you retire.

That is not “government money” that was supposed to be a system where the populace has a forced small savings account to assist them in old age.

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