News & Opinion

Regarding the 2018 election and moving forward

From the Chair, Franklin County Libertarians

Another election come and gone.

We are so very proud of every candidate, volunteer, donor and supporters. We cannot adequately express our sincere thanks and admiration for all of your hard work.
Without your tireless efforts none of this would be possible.

Elections are hard on everyone involved. Someone always wins, lots of people lose. When we win we get to point to the victory, whatever the cost, and say it was worth it. Without a win to wash away all the sacrifice and pain, we only have our imagination to wonder what went wrong.

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.”

Take a break, be sad, be mad, and be ready to move forward.

After The Election

At this point the Ohio Secretary of State has published unofficial election results and they are not flattering for the Libertarian Party of Ohio.

At last update our campaign for Ohio Governor earned 77,184 votes for 1.79%. This is shy of the 3% widely publicized as required to maintain ballot access for a Minor Party. (Other sources cite higher numbers, notably NBCNews.com at 108,886 with 2.5%) The final count from each county board of elections will be certified in 30 days.
Link: http://vote.ohio.com
Link: https://www.sos.state.oh.us/globalassets/elections/directives/2016/dir2016-26_eom-ch_13.pdf
Link: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3517.012
Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2018-election/midterms/oh

What has not been widely published is the fact that as a newly formed Minor Party, only 118 days old, we are covered by additional rules in the Ohio Revised Code, specifically, Chapter 3501.01 section F, 2, (b).
“A newly formed political party shall be known as a minor political party until the time of the first election for governor or president which occurs not less than twelve months subsequent to the formation of such party, after which election the status of such party shall be determined by the vote for the office of governor or president.”
Link: https://www.sos.state.oh.us/media-center/press-releases/2018/2018-07-12B/
Link: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3501.01v1

Emphasis ours. “_which occurs not less than twelve months subsequent to the formation of such party_”

What this means, in plain language, is the Libertarian Party of Ohio is an official Minor Party until after the next Presidential election in 2 years, when our status will be reviewed again under the results from that election.
Whether the incoming Ohio Secretary of State decides to follow the law as written, or ignore it again as politically inconvenient, depends entirely on how politically ambitious they are as newly elected to the role. (This particular uncertainty is why we chose to focus so entirely on the 2018 election Nov 6th as our first best option for retaining ballot access.)

What’s next?

The next party primary is May 7th, 2019. It is currently expected that we will be included in this primary and participate as a political party. We are moving forward on this assumption, and will recruit, plan, and fundraise accordingly. This will be the first concrete opportunity to force the issue of party status and we intend to do so.

Anything sooner?

We live here, we like it here and we are working together to make it better.
We are members of our local communities and there are opportunities every day to be involved.
We invite you to join us and prove to everyone, we will not stand down, we will not go away, and we will not stop fighting for liberty.

Look for our upcoming Legislative Committee Meeting announcement and agenda.

Join us at our next Executive Committee Meeting, Tuesday Nov 20th at 7pm, LPO Office, 6230 Busch Blvd, 43229

Join us for our Volunteer Appreciation Social, Wed Dec 19th at 6:30pm at Eclipse Ultra Lounge at The Continent 6240 Busch Blvd, 43229

Your friend in liberty,
Michael Sweeney
Chair, Franklin County Libertarian Party of Ohio

OHGOP threatens woman’s right to vote.

Candidacy for District 77 questioned over married name change.

Call to Action: Attend, Call or Email!

There is a Board of Elections hearing TODAY at 4:15pm to decide if Kryssi Wichers will appear on the ballot in November and be counted toward winning the race for State Representative for District 77.
If you can attend, PLEASE BE THERE EARLY! If you cannot attend, please call or email the Board of Elections that you support Kryssi against this outrageous accusation and obvious attempt to throw the election to her opponent.

Fairfield County Board of Elections
951 Liberty Dr, Lancaster, Ohio 43130
Call (740) 652-7000
Contact by Email
Facebook Event

The Franklin County Libertarian Party strongly condemns these bullying tactics and demand that the Fairfield Board of Elections look closely at the motives and timing from this complaint as a basis for electioneering on the part of the Ohio Republican Party.
Attacking any persons right to vote is an attack on the foundations of our constitutional republic, and the process of democracy.
We join the Fairfield County Republican Liberty Caucus, the Democratic candidate for District 77, Green Party candidate and Ohioans all over in decrying this blatant effort to discredit a strong, independent woman who lives, works and serves in her community.

Here is what we know so far…

In a bizarre twist in an otherwise run of the mill election for District 77 State Representative, the Ohio GOP has filed complaint with the Fairfield County Board of Elections challenging a woman’s right to vote.
The woman in this question is no other than our own Kryssi Wichers, Political Director for FCLPO, Deputy Vice Chair for LPO and candidate on the ballot for State Representative for District 77.
The OHGOG has filed claim, using the name of a Pickerington resident, that Kryssi is committing voter fraud, misrepresenting herself and asking that she be removed from the ballot.
The claim centers on the fact that Kryssi got married a year ago and went through all the legal channels to take her husbands last name, in a long tradition of marriage.

With everything else going on we wonder why the Ohio Republican Party is suddenly so very interested in Mrs. Wichers and what name she used to legally petition, file and appear on the ballot on Nov 6th?
Sources close to the OHGOP have revealed that District 77 is far from the “hum drum” race would we be led to believe.
Apparently, internal Republican polling has Mrs. Wichers in the lead, or very close, in a three way race.
With this knowledge the desperate and incredible accusation becomes clear. The Ohio Republican Party is using the Board of Elections as a pawn to eliminate a real contender for a seat they assumed was theirs.
They put no effort into backing their candidate, a washed up career politician with little to no real interest in his community or finding solutions to the problems he helped create. After a year of phoning it in and expecting an easy win, this opposing candidate is in total panic that they may lose to a better choice for the community, who has had less than two months to campaign and let people even know they exist.
The Franklin County Libertarian Party strongly condemns these bullying tactics and demand that the Fairfield Board or Elections look closely at the motives and timing from this complaint as a basis for electioneering on the part of the Ohio Republican Party.
Attacking any persons right to vote is an attack on the foundations of our constitutional republic, and the process of democracy.
We join the Fairfield County Republican Liberty Caucus, the Democratic candidate for District 77, Green Party candidate and Ohioans all over in decrying this blatant effort to discredit a strong, independent woman who lives, works and serves in her community.

Kryssi is endorsed by the Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom. The Fairfield County Republican Party and Democratic opponent for District 77, among many others, have strong and publicly disagreed with the action taken by the OHGOP.

Excluded from the debate?! Travis will tweet!

Travis Irvine will not be silenced.

Despite being excluded from the Governor’s Debate tonight, and no invites yet for the two coming next month, Travis Irvine will make his answers available for everyone.
Help us get Travis trending! Follow along, comment and retweet at:

https://twitter.com/travisirvineusa

Let’s make a noise that can’t be ignored!

Please consider donating!

Volunteer Texting with Contactshelper!

Working as a volunteer is easy with Contactshelper!
Let’s get started.
Sign into your Contactshelper account with the Login Name and Password you were assigned.
Your Volunteer Coordinator will have added contacts for outreach to text. When you sign in, click “Start Texting” to be assigned contacts.

As a volunteer you don’t need to worry about who you’re texting or even what to write to get started. Click on the “Send Text” button to the right of the contact name and the template shown at top will be sent to the contact.

That is the Contactshelper system connecting you to the voter or donor.

Work through the list of contacts on the page, when all have switched to “Sent” click on Refresh to load more.

When you run out of contacts or need to be done, you can check on the Replies page to see who has answered your texts. As people respond to your texts a number next to the Replies link will increase. While you are chatting with voters or donors new replies will appear at the top of the page and show with a green chat bubble that they have a message you have not seen. Clicking on Show Chat will reveal the chat sidebar and mark that message as seen. Use the chat sidebar to answer questions, share links and inform the voter or donor about our campaign.
When the contact sees your text on their phone they will see the main campaign number, not your number. If they text back later, the text will be added to the chat and the volunteer coordinator will follow up.
When texting with Contactshelper you don’t see their phone number and they do not see yours.

When chatting with a contact you may also use “quick chat” templates provided by your volunteer coordinator for this campaign. These appear below the chat box and button. These links place text into the chat box, often with the contact’s name merged, sharing links or event information.
In addition to chatting with the contact you can leave notes. Please take the time to note the response you received for your outreach, even marking “No Answer” is helpful for the campaign coordinator to keep track of your effort and success.
Thank you for volunteering! Your help is appreciated!

Watch Governor Candidate Travis Irvine interview with NBC4i

Watch Travis Irvine interview with NBC4i
Watch Travis Irvine interview with NBC4i
Travis Irvine recently sat down with NBC4i to discuss pressing matters for the state of Ohio and its citizens.

When asked about voters that supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary and Mary Taylor in the Republican primary was candid about understanding their issues.

Donate today to support Irvine for Ohio and our Libertarian candidates across the state!
Donate today to support Irvine for Ohio and our Libertarian candidates across the state!

“Basically, both groups of voters are single-issue voters,” Irvine said. “With Dennis Kucinich, his numbers were higher in counties where the opioid crisis is ravaging communities and the reason he got higher numbers there is because he spoke about legalizing marijuana.”

The Libertarian Party has always supported the legalization of marijuana for all uses and many people believe that marijuana could be a way to wean those struggling with addiction off opioids.

Regarding supporters of Mary Taylor, Travis says it comes down to what people think of Mike DeWine.

“Mike DeWine is an old, establishment Republican, people don’t know where he stands on issues,” Irvine said. “People are looking for new options. The Libertarians offer people an outsider perspective into politics.”

You can watch the full interview.

Donate today to support Irvine for Ohio and our Libertarian candidates across the state!

Irvine for Ohio Endorsed By Charlie Earl!

From August 28, 2018

Therefore, I enthusiastically and unequivocally endorse Travis Irvine for governor of Ohio and Todd Grayson for lieutenant governor of our state.”

COLUMBUS—Libertarian Travis Irvine received the first major endorsement of his campaign for Ohio governor Tuesday from Charlie Earl, the party’s 2014 candidate for the same office.

Support Libertarian Candidates across Franklin County and Ohio!

Earl, an ex-Republican who represented the 80th district in the Ohio House from 1981 to 1984, released the following statement Tuesday:

CONCERNING THE ENDORSEMENT OF TRAVIS IRVINE FOR GOVERNOR

“With the ever-increasing growth and interference of the federal government affecting our daily lives, it is vital that the citizens of Ohio elect a governor and lieutenant governor who are dedicated to individual liberty. Gubernatorial candidate Travis Irvine and Todd Grayson, his running mate, are prime examples of the type of public servants Ohioans require. Our historic reliance on the two-party system has led to the betrayal of our people and the undermining of our democratic republic. Travis and Todd represent a new beginning for Ohio. Fresh ideas and liberty-driven energy are the cornerstones of their efforts to return our state government to its rightful place as a responsive servant of the people rather than a master of our fates.

“Therefore, I enthusiastically and unequivocally endorse Travis Irvine for governor of Ohio and Todd Grayson for lieutenant governor of our state. Their commitments to liberty and their lack of relationships with the Ohio version of the “Swamp” makes them the most qualified for leading us forward. Please vote for Ohio. Please vote for liberty. Please vote to end the two-party strangulation of our potential. I urge you to vote for Irvine/Grayson on November 6th.”

“I’m extremely grateful to receive the support of a great man and great candidate like Charlie Earl, and I plan to pick up where he was forced to leave off in standing up for Ohio against the two corrupt parties that control Columbus,” said Irvine in response to Earl’s endorsement.

Earl’s 2014 run for governor, which would have easily won enough votes to retain ballot access for the Libertarian Party, was derailed when Secretary of State John Husted first certified Earl’s candidacy, then removed Earl’s name from the ballot after Republican party officials orchestrated a technical challenge to Earl’s petition. Though the rule in question was ambiguous had never been enforced for Republican or Democrat petitions, Husted’s ruling was upheld, forcing the Libertarian Party of Ohio to regain ballot access by spending more than $250,000 on getting more 100,00 signatures from Ohio voters.

Learn more about Irvine for Ohio.

Show your support for Libertarian Candidates across Franklin County and Ohio, Donate, Volunteerand Get Involved!

Libertarian Party has Ballot Access in 48 states!

From Wes Benedict:

Months and months of hard work have been paying off as we cross the ballot-access finish line in more states. This week, we add Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania to the tally. That puts us at ballot access in 48 states (plus DC) for 2018!

Dear Libertarian,

Months and months of hard work have been paying off as we cross the ballot-access finish line in more states.

This week, we add Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania to the tally.

That puts us at ballot access in 48 states (plus DC) for 2018!

It is also worth noting and celebrating that this is the first time in
20 years that voters in Connecticut will be able to vote for a Libertarian candidate for Governor!

Plus, the two states without ballot access, Tennessee and Alabama, aren’t completely without ballot access. In fact, Alabama has four candidates on the ballot as Libertarians for local or state house offices. However, we don’t categorize Alabama as fully on the ballot because Alabama Libertarians didn’t qualify for a statewide office.

Tennessee has five candidates on the ballot as independents because they didn’t qualify to get on the ballot as Libertarians. The states of Alabama and Tennessee both make it especially hard for Libertarians to qualify for the ballot – something we’ll continue fighting to improve.

Regarding at least some Libertarians on the ballot in all 50 states, Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News commented, “no other alternative party can be shown to have reached this midterm milestone since 1890, when official balloting began.”

Please join me in congratulating and thanking all those who have pitched in to achieve ballot access for 2018. This includes thousands of activists, volunteers, donors, and staff and the Johnson/Weld campaign which achieved ballot access for us in 37 of these states.

Well done, team!

Onward to Election Day!

Wes Benedict
Executive Director

https://www.lp.org/three-more-victories/?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign-wes-benedict&utm_content=20180907+GEN+ballot+access+2018

Liberty and the Opioid Crisis

Elections are fast approaching, and every major party candidate has a plank about the opioid crisis.  With over 4,000 dead of overdose in 2016 alone (over double the number of overdose deaths in 2012, and almost 4 times greater than the number of traffic deaths in 2016), it is an urgent issue that needs to be resolved.  However, Ohio’s current solution isn’t working.  In spite of Ohio “investing about $1 billion each year to help communities battle the scourge of drug abuse and addiction at the local level” (August 30, 2017 ODH News Release), deaths from opioids have skyrocketed.  In spite of increased police funding, resources to bust drug dealers, drug use education, and state sponsored rehabilitation programs, we saw an increase of 1000 overdose deaths in 2016.  A $170 million increase in funding for results so bad that calling them disastrous would be a compliment.

Both major party candidates don’t just have it as the first issue on their campaign websites, but offer nearly identical “solutions” to the crisis.  I would never have guessed that declaring an emergency makes things better, but I am fairly sure that we have been hearing DARE’s drug education since elementary school. I guess all we need is more cops to fix the issue.  Let’s be very clear here: this is more of the same policies that have been used as the crisis has gotten worse. This is forcing people away from prescription drugs and onto the even more dangerous fentanyl.  It is time for a wakeup call, the status quo is not working.

Rather than continuing to double down on the war on drugs that Ohio has decisively lost, we can go out around the world and pick policies with a proven track record to bring back home.  Here are a couple suggestions of the most successful policies for decreasing opioid overdoses.  And rather than costing billions, they actually save the taxpayers money.

Legalize marijuana:
How is this related?  It is well established that states which have legalized marijuana have seen an over 25% reduction in opioid deaths on average relative to similar states that didn’t.  Beyond being a less harmful and addictive pain medication for chronic problems treated with opioids, marijuana is widely known as one of the best cures of withdrawal symptoms.   There are obviously a lot of other reasons to legalize, but this one applies directly to the issue at hand.

Decriminalize all drugs:
This is a much more radical proposal but one with strong evidence, especially in the case of Portugal.  In the 90s, Portugal had over 1% of its population addicted to heroin.   In 2001, they had one of the highest overdose rates in the world, at nearly 80 people per million dying of opioid overdose.  But that year, they decriminalized the use of all drugs and have seen a dramatic change for the better.  As of 2016, there have only been 6 overdose deaths per million, well below the average in Europe (17.3), and far below the 185 overdose deaths per million in the US.  Their 90% improvement is one we can follow.  This policy also frees up law enforcement and courts to focus on real crimes, rather than what consenting adults are putting in their bodies.

While those two solutions will not end all overdoses, and I fear nothing ever will, they have a far better track record than any solution being touted out by major party candidates.  And that is in Ohio, where 1/6 people already use marijuana, the majority supports marijuana legalization, but establishment politicians still will not oven vote about legalizing marijuana or implement the medical licenses that have been promised for years.  But libertarians are the one who are pushing for the solutions that put power back in the hands of the individual.  We favor policies that don’t empty your wallet, and that actually work.

https://www.odh.ohio.gov/-/media/ODH/ASSETS/Files/health/injury-prevention/ODH-News-Release—-2016-Ohio-Drug-Overdose-Report.pdf?la=en

Zoning is Theft

Posted to Mises.org 03/21/2006

Zoning is theft, pure and simple. In his fantastic introduction to the Austrian School, Economics for Real People, Gene Callahan correctly identifies eminent domain as a form of property theft, especially noting the use of government condemnation in order to secure rightfully owned property for commercial development.

It is easy to see government as the crowbar that influence-seekers use to jimmy locks and force private property owners from their land. Here we have the clear picture of Ma and Pa Kettle and clan fighting the law and “progress” armed only with shotguns, corn squeezing, chewing tobacco and shear grit. The flip side to eminent domain, zoning, is not so easily seen. But as Bastiat revealed, the unseen is as important as the seen.

Zoning is typically defined along the lines of a government-regulated system of land-usage imposed in order to ensure orderly development. Zoning is usually a component of the larger conceptual ideal called regional planning. Of course, planned development is really the name of the road toward planned chaos.

Zoning uses all the standard interventionist lines of thought, most notably the concepts of externalities and utility. Those who advocate zoning really believe that acting man does not have the ability to create communities that are functional and prosperous. Without plans and maps drafted and drawn by the local elected elite, developers with knowledge and foresight, and a whole lot of money to gain or lose, would purposively layout communities that are sterile and functionless. Only the marginal vote-getters — those elected — and their appointed allies are omniscient enough to peer into the crystal ball and define the perfect setting for future life and leisure. The rest of us can only marvel at their visions.

Just as the developer can use government to roll over the rights of property owners, property owners — community members — can use government to roll over the rights of developers and fellow property owners.

In Ohio, townships create zoning maps and comprehensive plans that overlay development regulations on top of current properties. Prior to the establishment of zoning regulations, a farmer could simply sell his land to the highest bidder. No one had a voice in the proposed use of the exchanged land. The sale to a new property owner incorporated full development rights, including continued farming, residential and commercial development, or parceling off pieces for home sites. Land was a commodity similar to the crops grown on it. Just as no one had a right to control the final use of the corn and soybeans reaped from the soil, no one had the right to control the next use of the land. Property rights were secure.

Zoning changed everything. The future use of existing farmland will, with the stroke of a pen, be limited in some manner by zoning regulations. The regulations could restrict future land usage to its current use — farming in this instance — or it could restrict land usage to some other form of activity.

The free market has a tool that allows a property owner to align the future use of his property with his vision, the restrictive covenant. A property owner could, for example, create a legacy by selling his land contingent on the development carrying his family name. Should the property owner be too restrictive, the value of his property will fall. He will be exchanging a psychic good, a family legacy, for cash.

Zoning is another matter altogether. Zoning restricts current landowners based on the local power brokers. In the zoning process, someone gets hurt. Had the farmers of a township wanted to keep the area as farmland, they could have signed restrictive covenants guaranteeing crops instead of homes. Property rights, and the laws that purport to protect those rights, allow individuals to act in their own best interest. Zoning, collective decision-making, use the coercive power of government to restrict usage based on the whims of those in power.

The farmer who owns this land now has his potential property rights bounded within a specific range; future use is restricted to residential developments that have no more than one house per acre. The farmer may vote, and may have voted for some of those elected, but he never agreed to the change in proposed land usage. He was robbed, and there is no means for him to restore his rights and land value; they are gone with the stroke of a pen.

I know some of those in the Chicago School will claim that the farmer implicitly agreed to the loss of land-usage rights by being born in the United States, or of naturalized American parents, or by becoming a citizen through oath. By owning property in the United States, the farmer granted majority ownership in his property to those elected and appointed, the omniscient and omnipotent. This is no way to build and run a system of secure property rights, and no way to create a free market. Rothbard is correct when he constructs his political economy on secure rights to property; anything less is the beginning of the Hayek’s Road to Serfdom.

Now we have a developer who is trying to satisfy the urgent wants of consumers, his development could include new homes, new stores, new factories, etc. The developer is a keen entrepreneur who sees a chance to turn a profit by creating a development that will be desired, and therefore profitable to him. The developer settles on a residential development and approaches the farmer from above offering to purchase his land, contingent on final zoning approval of course.

You see, the developer has been here before. He knows the ways of the local officials who approve and disapprove zoning changes on whim and fancy — or even the smallest of political pressure. The developer is not going to consummate the deal with the farmer until he knows that his proposed development is a go.

The farmer, old and worn-out, wants to retire and enjoy, along with his wife, his remaining years in leisure and comfort. This is certainly a reasonable request from someone who has worked the dirt in snow, rain, and blistering heat for decades. Who could reasonably question his desire? Commissioners and board members; those omniscient by vote and omnipotent by law.

Remember that the land was designated to be developed at only one home per acre, but the developer does not think he can make a go of it at that yield. Given the market in the area, there is no way for him to turn a profit due to the myriad of other regulatory hoops he will have to jump through in order to get approval for his development. A host of green-eyed bureaucrats see the proposed development as a tax revenue generator. The developer will have to build off-site roads and sewer improvements, donate a park or school site, and give away money to all those governments with their hands out. In addition, regional officials will balk at the proposal since it does not agree with their vision of the future.

So the developer, a Don Quixote at heart, decides to take on the zoning commission by proposing a variance to the zoning code and comprehensive plan. Mr. Developer needs to build one and a half homes per acre, a change that will require months of hearings where he will be badgered and attacked from the zoning commission and community members alike. The commissioners will request petty changes to the development’s conceptual plan based on vague building standards that they most likely do not understand. Is stucco created from natural and man-made materials a natural or artificial exterior? Does 50 microns of aluminum create a better look than 49 microns? Should sidewalks be required? How high should the entrance sign stand? Is fire-red a natural color? Is a 30-foot setback sufficient for future property values? The answers depend on which commissioner has the mike at the time.

Residents with property adjoining the development will complain loudly of supposed lost property values, traffic, and crime. In addition, they will attack the developer as evil incarnate bent on destroying the community. But those same voices will lose the rhetoric as soon as the developer offers all adjacent homeowners landscaping allowances. A few thousand in new trees planted in their backyard is enough to forgive any supposed loss in value, additional traffic, and hypothetical break-in.

This land is your land: $28

So the developer now agrees to build roads, upgrade sewer lines, donate parks with equipment, set aside a school site, and improve residential landscape. What is gently termed exaction is really extortion by another name. After zoning comes township trustees meetings and the process begins all over again. More exactions and more regulations, but trustee approval can be had if the developer does the dollar-dance long enough. Had the developer simply slid a rumpled paper bag of twenty’s across the table, a law would have been broken. Instead, the process occurs in the sunshine for all to see, and all to agree that more should have been given — or taken.

All agreed, with the exception of the developer and the forgotten farmer. You see, lost in all this is the simple desire of a farmer and his wife to retire and enjoy life, and maybe leave a little for their grandchildren. Every hand looking for a piece of the development pie is not robbing the developer and redistributing supposed unearned profits; those hands are robbing the farmer and his wife of their property value.

The risk of not passing zoning, the exactions, and readily available alternatives for investment are all reductions to the value the farmer could have obtained for his land absent zoning. The loss of value is recognized at the time the developer makes an offer for the land; the theft, on the other hand, occurs in front of the community that the farm family lived in for generations. It shows what damage a little money and power can cause in a community. Zoning is indeed theft.

Reprinted with kind permission from original source.

Posted to Mises.org 03/21/2006

Nowadays, Health Insurance Isn’t Really Insurance

Posted to Mises.org 07/30/2015

Due to Obamacare, my health plan has become something other than insurance. It is now, for the most part, nothing other than a wealth transfer scheme to benefit the politically connected over others.

In order to identify the difference between health insurance and government-mandated health care coverage, we can look to Human Action, in which Ludwig von Mises splits probability into class probability and case probability:

Class probability means: We know or assume to know, with regard to the problem concerned, everything about the behavior of a whole class of events or phenomena; but about the actual singular events or phenomena we know nothing but that they are elements of this class.

Case probability means: We know, with regard to a particular event, some of the factors which determine its outcome; but there are other determining factors about which we know nothing.

David Howden explains that events such as football matches and wars are events that fall under case probability. But those events do not lend themselves to insurance.

Indeed, Mises claims that only risk associated with class probability can be remediated by insurance. This is true because the number of payoffs is relatively predictable within a class, allowing premiums to be set that benefit both the insurer and the insured.

This is the way in which life insurance works, for example, as Howden explains:

Life insurance works because insurance companies can play the averages. Some people who own a life insurance policy will die before the insurance company earns enough money on the premiums to pay the death benefit. In this case the company loses money. It offsets these losses with the gains it makes on those who die long past the point where they have broken even on the premiums they have paid relative to the death benefit they will receive.

Discrimination in the life insurance market is not only a fact of life; it is fair. Every policy holder pays according to his odds of death. People are free to undertake risky activities, but they must pay the price. People who choose to live less risky lives — that is to say, avoiding those activities that increase one’s probability of death such as skydiving or smoking — lose out on the enjoyment these activities may provide, but they gain by paying less for life insurance.

Broken arms and certain diseases would also fall under class probability, and would also lend themselves toward being profitably insured in a functioning market.

But, due to changes resulting from Obamacare (as well as decades of government meddling), distortions in the market have thrown the health insurance market out of whack, and my health plan, and the plans of many others, now have high deductibles for “class probability” events such as broken arms, while providing “free” access to goodies that are only unpredictable in so far as I may or may not choose to use them, such as a “free” annual physical, birth control, and more.

As Mises knew, “insurance” that covers an event such as a voluntary checkup, bears little resemblance to what we would consider to be insurance in the proper sense. Nevertheless, the freebies (i.e., “insured” events) are numerous, not because insurance companies can calculate a way to profitably insure them, but because they are mandated, thanks to interest groups with access to legislators.

The Politics Behind Mandates

Nevertheless, because the distributed costs are minimal and unseen, while the benefits are concentrated and substantial, little opposition arises from voters to fight such transfers of wealth.

As an example, I pay an extra, say, $1 in monthly premiums so that someone else can reap $50 in benefits per month. Stack up those $1 premium increases among all payers and we begin talking real money. However, I have neither the time nor energy to oppose each $1 increase.

This process becomes obvious when, because of my high deductible, the infrequent and unpredictable accident that falls under class probability — my son breaks an arm — costs me thousands out of pocket, without any monetary benefit from my plan, while others celebrate access to goodies they should be purchasing on their own as uninsurable events.

It is as if, because of government interventions, my car insurance pays for upgrades to Sirius Satellite Radio (which I do not have), but, because of high deductibles, only pays a few thousand dollars should I have an accident that totals my car.

Insurance does still exist with regard to life, home, and auto. But it does not exist with regard to health in our present regulated economy. Health plans are wealth transfers that bestow known and predicable benefits on the few while leaving all at risk of the vagaries of life. So, let’s not claim that our system of government-regulated health care system is insurance.

Reprinted with kind permission from original source.

Posted to Mises.org 07/30/2015