Archives for March 2012

Should a libertarian support voter ID laws?

Since 2003 a number of states have passed laws requiring some sort of ID to be shown when a person goes to vote.  Proponents of the laws present them as a way to stamp out voter fraud; opponents decry the laws as a way to prevent minorities or the poor from voting, as they are most likely to not have acceptable ID.  The battles have waged not only in legislatures but in courthouses as well.  Wisconsin’s law was just struck down by a judge and Texas’ law is being challenged by the DOJ.

For a libertarian, it seems like both sides of the argument have been a little disingenuous.  Voter fraud has yet to be shown to be anywhere near as widespread as Republicans would like us to think, though this could be because it has heretofore gone undetected.  And showing a form of basic ID, often provided at no cost to the voter, is a very low bar and one that is gladly accepted when doing numerous other activities - even buying alcohol or getting into a bar.

So we are left to sit outside and try to figure out which side to take.  On one hand, for those libertarians who believe in voting, the integrity of elections is very important.  We need to ensure that elections accurately represent the will of voters.  On the other hand, though, it is important that no one is prevented from voting for illegitimate reasons.  If the laws are an underhanded attempt to disenfranchise certain groups, as opponents say, they are problematic.

Listen to Rick Santorum: “Vote for Ron Paul”

There isn’t much Rick Santorum says that I agree with. As we’ve noted here before, Santorum’s record is terrible from a perspective of limited government. However, he’s still managed to peel away a lot of voters that identify themselves with the Tea Party. But when recently asked for an explanation for his votes in favor of Medicare expansion, No Child Left Behind, and raising the debt ceiling, Santorum replied, “Vote for Ron Paul, that’s what you should do.”

Santorum is obviously being dismissive about the points being made. But those inconvenient facts (his support for more government) are hard to justify for anyone claiming to be a constitutionalist, Tea Party-minded voters, or some that otherwise believes in limited government.

When it call comes down to it, the “big three” candidates don’t really have much to offer as far as shrinking government. Maybe Santorum is, for once, right about something. Maybe voters that haven’t yet case their ballots should consider Ron Paul since he believes in, you know, actually restraining government, not enabling it.

ObamaCare’s price tag now at $1.76 trillion

During the fight over ObamaCare, the White House and its apologists in Congress insisted that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had scored it under $1 trillion, which was somehow enough to give many vulnerable Democrats reason to support it.

But yesterday, the CBO released the lastest cost projections of ObamaCare showing that it’s now over $1.76 trillion, nearly double the original estimate. Various news outlets are reporting that the law spends less and covers less people, but Philip Klein has broken down the guts of the report and explains what’s really going on (emphasis mine):

The big picture takeaway is that due mostly to weaker economic projections, the CBO now projects that more people will be obtaining insurance through Medicaid than it estimated a year ago at a greater cost to the government, but fewer people will be getting insurance through their employers or the health care law’s new subsidized insurance exchanges. Overall spending will be higher than estimated a year ago, but increased revenue from penalties and taxes will more than offset this. Also interesting: CBO now expects two million fewer people to be covered as a result of the health care law than previously projected.

Recapping last night’s primaries in the South

There is no mincing words about it, last night was a bad night for Mitt Romney and an even worse one for Newt Gingrich, who really needed to win the two Southern states headed to the polls to show that he is still a viable alternative to the former Massachusetts Governor.

On the other hand, Rick Santorum was able to sneak out a win in Mississippi, where it was indeed a close race between himself, Gingrich, and Romney. He also did well in Alabama, finishing six points ahead of Gingrich and Romney.

The good news for Romney is that he won the Hawaii caucus, but that was expected. Ron Paul, who didn’t compete in Alabama and Mississippi, finished a distant third. Romney also added to his total delegate, despite losing in the South.

Here are the results from last night with delegate estimates provided by The Green Papers. You can see the full delegate breakdown from each state here.


  • Santorum: 35% (16)
  • Gingrich: 29% (12)
  • Romney: 29% (10)
  • Paul: 5% (0)


  • Santorum: 33% (13)
  • Gingrich: 31% (12)
  • Romney: 30% (12)
  • Paul: 4% (0)


INFOGRAPHIC: TSA Waste — Grope & Pillage

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The Child(ish) Slavery of the Nanny State

“[Tyrannical] power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?” ~Alexis de Tocqueville

In America today, we would be hard pressed to think of a single aspect of our lives politicians and government bureaucrats not only have their hands in, but are in clear up to their elbows. The busybody police of the ever expanding nanny-state have concluded that we, as mere mortals, are far too foolish to make important decisions on our own. Instead, we, the children of the benevolent federal leviathan, must have the minutiae of our daily lives dictated to us in ways large and small.

From the content of school lunches to the salt content in restaurant food, to the volume of water that can go down our toilet in a single flush, or the amount of water that may come out of a shower head each minute, whether we can use an incandescent light bulb, the average miles per gallon new cars must achieve, to mandating the contents of insurance policies…the list is literally endless.

Was federal housing policy to blame for the financial crisis?

We hear a lot from our friends on the Left about the cause of the 2008 financial crisis. The often claim that capitalism and “predatory lending” deserve a large share of the blame. But in a new video from Reason, Peter Wallison, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), explains how federal housing policy was the main cause of the turmoil that led to the Great Recession.

While the official report from the FCIC blamed deregulation of the financial sector, Wallison wrote a lengthy dissent noting, according to Reason, that “there were about 28 million high-risk mortgages in the U.S. in 2008; roughly 70 percent of those mortgages were owned by government-sponosored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

Watch the video with Wallison below. It’s well worth your time:

Romney takes the wrong side in the Utah Senate race

As you probably know, FreedomWorks and other grassroots organizations have been targeting Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in his bid for re-election. While FreedomWorks hasn’t formally endorsed a candidate in the race (others running include State Sen. Dan Liljenquist, a tea party favorite), they did recently come out with a web ad slamming Hatch for voting for $7.5 trillion — half the size of the national debt — during his time in Washington.

But Mitt Romney, who is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, has jumped in the middle of the Senate race in Utah by endorsing Hatch and cutting a minute long ad where he claims that the state can “count on Sen. Orrin Hatch in the fight to lower taxes, to balance the budget and to repeal the federal government takeover of health care”:

Obama’s approval drops as gas prices jump

We’ve noted over the last few days that rising gas price could pose a problem for President Barack Obama, whose energy policy has left a lot to be desired. This was emphasized by a recent poll from Gallup showing that 65% of Americans held Obama partly responsible for higher gas prices.

But a new Washington Post/ABC News poll showing that Obama’s approval ratings have gone down as gas has gone up, further driving home the vulnerability on the issue:

Disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is heading higher — alongside gasoline prices — as a record number of Americans now give the president “strongly” negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Increasingly pessimistic views of Obama’s performance on the economy — and on the federal budget deficit — come despite a steadily brightening employment picture and other signs of economic improvement, and they highlight the political sensitivity of rising gas prices.
Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll. Most Americans say higher prices are already taking a toll on family finances, and nearly half say they think that prices will continue to rise, and stay high.

Impeaching Obama? Impeach Congress

If you live inside the beltway, you may have heard that Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has put forward a bill that would make any instance of the executive using the military without going through Congress an impeachable offense:

In a House Resolution introduced last week, Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) put forward use of the military by the executive branch without explicit authorization from Congress as an impeachable offense: one which some conservatives believe President Barack Obama has already committed.

The bill’s author, Rep. Jones, was once a Democrat who switched parties before seeking congressional office in the 90s. He endorsed former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for president in 2008, and has been one of the Republican Party’s loudest critics of the presidency’s warmaking powers.

“When you talk about war, political parties don’t matter,” he told The New York Times last year.

While not directly calling for impeachment, the bill would declare “that it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war… and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.”

In other words, the bill would, in effect, serve as a trigger mechanism for impeachment proceedings.

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