Friday, September 24, 2010

A Libertarian Contract With America

The Republicans have released their "Pledge To America".  If they honor any of it (except the pledges to continue blowing money overseas) I'll be amazed. 

The Democrats haven't released any summary of their goals and objectives since it is hard to predict the direction of an ongoing train wreck. 

One cool thing about being a Libertarian is that our platform doesn't really change. 
I own me, you own you. 
 Leave everyone alone as much as possible. 
Government should provide some infrastructure, some defense, plus enforce contracts and referee in disputes. 
That's it. 

Let me propose the following Libertarian Contract With America.  (Yes, this could probably use some crowdsourcing.)

1)  If Libertarians are elected in sufficient numbers, they will repeal ObamaCare.  They will lower medical costs for all Americans by allowing a free market approach to medicine.  Things are costly when they are scarce, and any healthcare proposal that doesn't begin with eliminating scarcity is doomed to failure. 

2) If Libertarians are elected, they will ensure that The United States is the most secure nation on earth.  However, the United States will no longer ensure this security for Europe, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, or any of our other economic competitors.  Our boys and girls will come back home. 

3) Since we will no longer be defending the borders of South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, or Europe, we will no longer need 50% of our military capability.  Our government will give some of this savings back to the American taxpayers, and apply some of it to our national debt.  Even if we cut defense by 50%, we will still have the largest military on earth. 

4) The Libertarian Party will shut down a random Cabinet-level department, partly to prove that it is serious, and partly for the sheer fun of it.  The Department of Energy has more than 100,000 employees and does nothing but consume energy.  That would be a good place to start. 

5) The government will audit the Federal Reserve and publicize the findings.  The government will limit The Fed's ability to print money to pay off government debt. 

6)  Anyone wanting a bailout will have to consult his brother-in-law.  Ditto for earmarks, grants, subsidies or other forms of pork. 

7)  As American taxpayers have a sentimental attachment to public education, we will provide parents with an education voucher for their children.  Public schools will have to compete for these vouchers since this will be their only source of funding. 

8)  Since I own me and you own you, it makes no sense to continue locking recreational drug users into steel cages with rapists and murderers.  "No harm, no foul" will be the order of the day.  The violence along the Canadian border ended when our government legalized alcohol sales, and the same approach will end the violence along our border with Mexico if marijuana prohibition is ended. 

9)  The government will no longer have an opinion on who can or cannot marry, as long as he or she has reached the age of consent.  Marriage is a religious issue.  Civil Unions are a government issue and will be available to any adult partners or groups willing to be united civilly. 

10)  Throughout history, the nations with the highest levels of trade were the nations with the highest levels of prosperity.  Therefore all protective tariffs, quotas, and import taxes will be reduced to the lowest possible levels.  When Target has a sale on jeans, we don't worry about the impact on Wal-Mart, or worry about protecting Wal-Mart from unfair competition.  The same philosophy will apply to all manufacturers and other businesses.  Protecting business equals shafting consumers.   

11)  The government will support your right to shop where you want to shop.  The government will support the rights of businesses to charge whatever they want to charge, as long as it doesn't violate a pre-existing agreement.  The government will support the rights of workers to unionize and also support the rights of employers to kick out the unions and hire someone else. 
It's called "freedom of contract", and these financial transactions are none of the government's business unless one side or the other doesn't follow through on its promises. 

12) As minimum wage laws set an arbitrary minimum threshold for employment, thereby making it illegal to hire anyone whose labor is not worth this amount, minimum wages will be abolished.  The government will no longer saw the lower rungs off of the employment ladder. 

13)  Abortion rights will be left to each state.  No federal funds will be used for abortions, or any other medical procedures. 

14)  Anyone who has paid into Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare will be given a "cash out" option that he or she can use for retirement, for immediate needs, or to take to Vegas.  Those wishing to remain in the system can do so.  (The money IS still there, right?) 

15)  Anyone wanting to bring ghosts, goblins or gods into a school will have to start a school of his own.  Anyone wanting to pray to these spirits can do so on his own time.  Silently. 

There.  That should do it.  Does anyone want to run those savings past the Congressional Budget Office?  Would we then have some money available to save and create jobs ? 

13 comments:

Nick Rowe said...

I could accept most of that contract, with a few exceptions:

1) You cannot eliminate scarcity, but you can remove government intervention which increases scarcity.

3) If you espouse libertarian principles, then the rights that you believe belong to all men should be protected for all men.

We learned from World War II that liberty must be defended throughout the world, or it's only a matter of time before a totalitarian enemy with control over vital resources lands on our shores.

We can't be the most secure nation on Earth without the ability to project power around the globe. Even with bases in many countries, it is still difficult to launch operations against certain countries that desperately need to be bombed.

I believe Taiwanese, Koreans, Iraqis and Afghans deserve freedom just like we do. Perhaps they should pay more for our support, but that's a separate issue.

To me, the lack of freedom, democracy, and capitalism anywhere in the world is an affront to humanity. We didn't bring down communism in Eastern Europe by ignoring it. Our fight against communism probably prevented 100 countries and 3 billion people from falling to them like dominoes. If that happened, how long do you think we'd last?

4) Anything done randomly is seldom done wisely. But it sure would be fun!

Education, Health and Human Services, Energy, Transportation, HUD, Labor, all can go. The non-public good aspects of the other agencies can also be cut, and the public good aspects of the eliminated agencies can be folded into other departments.

I think I prefer that someone in government inspect our nuclear reactors and coal mines every once in a while.

5) I'm astonished you don't want to eliminate the Fed. It took me a very long time to conclude that would be a very bad idea.

14) The SS money is not there and it never was there. Current beneficiaries are paid with revenues by current taxpayers.

If we wanted to privatize SS accounts (and I think we should), the money would have to come from general tax revenues.

America also has a fondness for not seeing the elderly starve. Normally I believe in liberty and individual responsibility, but if we do not have the intestinal fortitude to let old people eat cat food and live in refrigerator boxes, then we must require retirement savings in a private fund with balanced risk. Charities have their hearts in the right place, but they cannot handle the full need and their funds are cyclical too.

The same goes for health insurance. Unless we are going to tell the uninsured patient to crawl into a corner and die, we should require everyone to buy health insurance to keep them from imposing their costs on us. But I think this would require a Constitutional amendment.

15) To the extent that we permit all other forms of fiction and non-fiction literature in schools, we should also permit people to bring ghosts, goblins, and gods into schools. It's called freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If liberals, conservatives, libertarians, chess players, and war gamers can have school clubs, then atheists and Baptists can have school clubs too.

Neither endorse religion nor interfere with the free exercise thereof. The teachings of a first century dead Jewish carpenter are just as worthwhile as the teachings of a 19th century dead Jewish economist.


I have absolutely no doubt a 50% reduction in government spending is feasible and would have a desirable outcome.

What about a proportional income tax? Why should we permit government to charge different people different marginal tax rates?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Nick,
Thanks for the comment.
1) In our healthcare system, the AMA limits the # of doctors entering the profession. They create scarcity, much like the licensing of hair stylists drives up the cost of a haircut.
The FDA does the same thing with drugs. Give Americans a choice with their medicines: "regulated" and tested, with a higher cost vs. "unregulated" with a lower cost.
3) We have been preserving the freedom of South Korea for 50 years now. That was enough to get us into the bidness of preserving the freedom of Taiwan. We've been preserving the freedom of Japan for even longer than that.
Who is the biggest threat to the freedom of Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, the boogeyman that we're defending them against?
China.
Who are we borrowing money from so we can defend these countries against China?
China.
4) Yeah, don't confuse us with our friends in the anarchist camp. However, who would you trust most to inspect your coal mine? Your insurance company or your government?
5) What was the stated goal of the Federal Reserve when it was founded? (Stabilize money supply) How much of the money supply's value has evaporated since then due to inflation? (Around 97%. It's the tax you never see, and funds all sorts of Statist mischief.)
14) I haven't read about much starvation in the U.S. prior to the founding of S.S.
Also, do me a favor, and hit that link i the post about a Free Market system for healthcare. I believe if we were to head in that direction (flood the market with healthcare), health insurance would be a much smaller problem.
15) I think that line isn't as fuzzy as you are presenting it. And yes, there is a difference between learning about something and proselytizing for something.

And it would be good if everyone had to pay at least $50.00 in income tax. Look at the 50% or so who pay NONE ! ! Of COURSE pollsters discover that 50% of Americans are in favor of the _____ ______ ________ program (fill in the blank).

Pretty Peapod said...

Pretty good, but what's up with #15?!

The Whited Sepulchre said...

#15 was written in a fit of irritation after reading some of William Manchester's "A World Lit Only By Fire" last night.

Pretty Peapod said...

To Nick, I was thinking about your stance on the military. I would much rather encourage "peace through strength" in all nations... but not by our military, but through their own. Our military bases freak me out.

Our "protecting their liberty" through our constant presence is another way of saying that their liberty is ours for the taking if we so choose!! Nations need to be independently able to defend themselves. Alliances between nations should be enough to take care of the smaller nations that would never be able to stand up against the superpowers, but they need to be as independently strong as possible. (ahmadinejad really puts a wrench into my theory, that dude is crazy!)

Murgatroyd said...

1) If Libertarians are elected in sufficient numbers, they will repeal ObamaCare. They will lower medical costs for all Americans by allowing a free market approach to medicine. Things are costly when they are scarce, and any healthcare proposal that doesn't begin with eliminating scarcity is doomed to failure.

We Libertarians recognize that some people have vastly more financial resources for health care than other people do, and we are not monsters who wish to see poor people die. However, we also are aware that there is more to a society than government, and we know that government is not the source of all good things. Accordingly, we as individuals will establish private charities to assist the poor in obtaining health care, and we publicly encourage all who can afford to donate to contribute voluntarily. Similarly, as the cure for polio was found by a private charity, we will encourage donations to nonprofit organizations that conduct medical research.

2) If Libertarians are elected, they will ensure that The United States is the most secure nation on earth. However, the United States will no longer ensure this security for Europe, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, or any of our other economic competitors without significant and appropriate participation and payment by the nations we are defending.

3) [N/A]

4) The Libertarian Party will shut down Cabinet-level departments such as the Department of Energy and the Department of Education that have no Constitutional mandates.

5) [Looks good to me!]

6) [Looks good to me!]

7) [Looks good to me!]

8) [Looks good to me!]

9) [Looks good to me!]

10) [Looks good to me!]

11) [...] The government will support the rights of workers to unionize and also support the rights of employers to kick out the unions and hire someone else.
It's called "freedom of contract", and these financial transactions are none of the government's business unless one side or the other doesn't follow through on its promises.


We will also end the government-sanctioned monopoly on labor representation, and allow multiple union organizations to compete for the representation of workers within a corporation or profession.

12) [Looks good to me!]

13) [Looks good to me!]

14) [Looks good to me!]

15) Anyone who believes in ghosts, goblins or gods and wants to pray to these spirits in a government-funded school must do so silently and on his own time. Those who want instruction in the ways of supernatural entities or in-school prayer to same will have to start schools of their own using non-government funding.

Murgatroyd said...

1) If Libertarians are elected in sufficient numbers, they will repeal ObamaCare. They will lower medical costs for all Americans by allowing a free market approach to medicine. Things are costly when they are scarce, and any healthcare proposal that doesn't begin with eliminating scarcity is doomed to failure.

We Libertarians recognize that some people have vastly more financial resources for health care than other people do, and we are not monsters who wish to see poor people die. However, we also are aware that there is more to a society than government, and we know that government is not the source of all good things. Accordingly, we as individuals will establish private charities to assist the poor in obtaining health care, and we publicly encourage all who can afford to donate to contribute voluntarily. Similarly, as the cure for polio was found by a private charity, we will encourage donations to nonprofit organizations that conduct medical research.

2) If Libertarians are elected, they will ensure that The United States is the most secure nation on earth. However, the United States will no longer ensure this security for Europe, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, or any of our other economic competitors without significant and appropriate participation and payment by the nations we are defending.



4) The Libertarian Party will shut down Cabinet-level departments such as the Department of Energy and the Department of Education that have no Constitutional mandates.

5) [Looks good to me!]

6) [Looks good to me!]

7) [Looks good to me!]

8) [Looks good to me!]

9) [Looks good to me!]

10) [Looks good to me!]

11) [...] The government will support the rights of workers to unionize and also support the rights of employers to kick out the unions and hire someone else.
It's called "freedom of contract", and these financial transactions are none of the government's business unless one side or the other doesn't follow through on its promises.


We will also end the government-sanctioned monopoly on labor representation, and allow multiple union organizations to compete for the representation of workers within a corporation or profession.

12) [Looks good to me!]

13) [Looks good to me!]

14) [Looks good to me!]

15) Anyone who believes in ghosts, goblins or gods and wants to pray to these spirits in a government-funded school must do so silently and on his own time. Those who want instruction in the ways of supernatural entities or in-school prayer to same will have to start schools of their own using non-government funding.

Pretty Peapod said...

P.S. Nick- Thank you for serving, I do not want to seem unappreciative, because I know it is because of you and our military that I am even typing right now... Thank you!!!

Murgatroyd said...

Sorry about the multiple posts -- I got error messages that claimed the comment wasn't successful!

CenTexTim said...

re: #3 - IMO we are not defending those countries where we have forward bases. We are using them to protect ourselves. Would you rather interdict an enemy a few thousand miles away, or at our borders? Granted, this may not be a Libertarian stance, but again IMO it is a pragmatic one.

re: #8 - I work along the Texas-Mexican border. I'm all for legalization of MJ, but I don't think it will eliminate border violence. The cartels have branched out into coke, meth, and human smuggling. We can argue the virtues of open borders and drug laws, but there is a very real danger to our south that (again IMO) cannot be eliminated by legalizing marijuana.

Just my $.02 worth...

Nick Rowe said...

@Pretty Peapod

I don't think the freedom of Germany, Japan, and South Korea was ever "ours for the taking." We helped them build independent, free, capitalist democracies. It appears we are doing the same in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of all the other foreign lands we invaded, we gave back most of Mexico, gave the Philippines and Cuba their independence. We kept only the American west, Hawaii, and some Pacific Islands. We didn't keep Grenada or Panama.

What am I missing?

I agree with CenTex Tim on 3. Fixed defenses are no defenses. Defense must be done throughout the dept of the battlefield and, in today's world, the entire world is our battlefield.

WS:

I agree with you on 1. I was just being pedantic. Sorry.

5. Except for the 70s, inflation has been mild in the US. Technology has also made many things we buy much, much cheaper. Consider the VCR. There are also many more things worth buying. I think it's fallacious to follow the bouncing dollar because the market basket for CPI has changed so much.

Our worst inflation has been in housing, mostly due to government intervention.

14. I'm all for the reforms proposed in that link. But SS was enacted precisely because old people were starving. Now are elderly and poor are fat. It's a very different world.

If you're concerned about people not paying taxes, it gets much worse. When I got my DMV renewal yesterday, on the back they referred to a state program to provide up to $500 to help poor people get their cars repaired to pass a smog check. Taxpayers are paying for car repairs for Christ's sake!

The poor get "circuit breakers" for electricity, public transit, vehicle licensing, property taxes, rent, food, telephone, etc. I'm beginning to think the only thing they pay for is booze, drugs, pornography, prostitutes, guns, and cigarettes.

Nick Rowe said...

@Pretty Peapod

I don't think the freedom of Germany, Japan, and South Korea was ever "ours for the taking." We helped them build independent, free, capitalist democracies. It appears we are doing the same in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of all the other foreign lands we invaded, we gave back most of Mexico, gave the Philippines and Cuba their independence. We kept only the American west, Hawaii, and some Pacific Islands. We didn't keep Grenada or Panama.

What am I missing?

I agree with CenTex Tim on 3. Fixed defenses are no defenses. Defense must be done throughout the dept of the battlefield and, in today's world, the entire world is our battlefield.

WS:

I agree with you on 1. I was just being pedantic. Sorry.

5. Except for the 70s, inflation has been mild in the US. Technology has also made many things we buy much, much cheaper. Consider the VCR. There are also many more things worth buying. I think it's fallacious to follow the bouncing dollar because the market basket for CPI has changed so much.

Our worst inflation has been in housing, mostly due to government intervention.

14. I'm all for the reforms proposed in that link. But SS was enacted precisely because old people were starving. Now are elderly and poor are fat. It's a very different world.

15. Never post while angry. :)

If you're concerned about people not paying taxes, it gets much worse. When I got my DMV renewal yesterday, on the back they referred to a state program to provide up to $500 to help poor people get their cars repaired to pass a smog check. Taxpayers are paying for car repairs for Christ's sake!

The poor get "circuit breakers" for electricity, public transit, vehicle licensing, property taxes, rent, food, telephone, etc. I'm beginning to think the only thing they pay for is booze, drugs, pornography, prostitutes, guns, and cigarettes.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

All,
Thanks for your contributions, here and elsewhere.
Will continue refinements.
In the meantime, aren't the Republicans having a good time defending their new pledge vs. their actions over the last few decades?