Archives for April 2012

Parents’ Responsibility in Education

There’s a huge debate around the issue of choice in education. The conversation on school choice has a number of talking points ranging from letting public funds follow students to shutting down all public schools and completely privatizing education. And there are some who don’t fall into the “pro” column on choice at all. (I don’t understand them, but they’re out there.)

My libertarian approach to education is pretty straightforward: it’s my (and my wife’s) responsibility to see that our children are properly trained for their future, and at no point does the federal government (or the state government) have any impact whatsoever on our role as parents.

I had this conversation with then-Congressman Nathan Deal while he was on the campaign trail running to be Georgia’s next Governor. My wife and I are fortunate enough to be able to send our children to private school, and the conversation with Deal was about my taxes actually paying for my children’s education. He was making the argument that Georgia had to make sure private schools were reaching certain standards before education funds could follow students to private schools.

While I understand his concern, his stance on that issue takes parental responsibility completely out of the equation. My wife and I have chosen a specific school to help us teach our children. That school answers to us. If the product it provides is not found to be satisfactory, we will have the option of (and responsibility for) finding another school that will meet our standards.

I don’t want to be airing dirty laundry in a public forum, so I’m not going to get into much detail with the personal information on this issue, but this year my wife and I have had frustrations with the school our children attend. After considering our options, we have decided to partner with another school for their education next school year.

Bringing the free market back to health care

Whether or not the Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare this summer, health care will no doubt be an issue in the general election this fall. And as I’ve noted before, Republicans have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the issue. But will they push a watered down version of ObamaCare or consumer-friendly health care?

In a new video from Economic Freedom, Professor Steve Gohmann explains that health care is so expensive because of government intervention and how free market reforms can make it more affordable for Americans:

Chart of the Day: GDP vs. Public Debt in Q1

You may have heard at the end of last week that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.2% in the first quarter of 2012. While the number is still good news, showing our economic is growing, the rate of growth was much lower than anticipated, leading many to fear that our recovery may continue on the slow trend we’ve seen in the last two years.

However, what hasn’t been mentioned much is the rate of growth in the national debt in the first quarter. It’s no secret that the United States government is still hemoraging money, creating a river of red ink from Washington. And while we may have some growth in the economy, fiscal concerns seem like an afterthought to many in the nation’s capital.

Via Zero Hedge comes this chart comparing GDP growth in the first quarter to the growth in the national debt (click on the image to enlarge):

That’s not a pretty sight, folks.

Honesty in politics?

I was sitting at home Saturday night and Stossel was on Fox Business Channel.  I watched.  What a shock!  A libertarian watched Stossel!

However, I witnessed something I never would have thought I would see, and that was honesty from a pro-regulation lobbyist.

The segment in question was about a proposal which would require taxis in Washington D.C. to have a medallion system like New York.  For the record, per Stossel’s segment, a NYC medallion costs around $1 million per pop. A lobbyist in favor of medallions in D.C. said on Stossel’s show that it was in fact about squeezing out the little guy.

Many of us who are anti-regulation cite how more regulations make it more difficult for the small operator to function.  As a small business owner myself, I can tell you that more and more government regulations only make life more difficult.  I am currently seeking two full time employees, but only because of a profound need.  I would seek out four or five employees if it weren’t for the spectre of ObamaCare - to say nothing of other regulations out there - that could make my life even more difficult and thereby override the benefit of more employees.

The lobbyist’s candor, that the measure he proposed and that a D.C. councilman actually introduced was really about squeezing out the small businessman was unique.  However, it’s not really a shock for many of the pro-liberty movement.  It was a shock for me though.

While I will often cite the problems of regulations and how they impact the small businessman, I never really thought there was as much of a concerted effort to break the small businessman as there apparently is.  Oh sure, I figured Walmart supported an employer mandate because it would hurt Target, but I didn’t really think they gave a damn about the mom and pop store.

Now, I have to step back and rethink that.

Did Paul Ryan really reject Ayn Rand?

During the last couple of years, Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposals have come under heavy fire from President Barack Obama and Democrats due to modest cuts to spending on social programs. Last May, Newt Gingrich characterized Ryan’s budget as “right-wing social engineering,” a line that many on the Left are now using to tear down Republicans.

Ryan has been pegged by some observers as a devotee of Ayn Rand, a philosopher who developed a moral defense of capitalism in her essays and books — such as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. However, Ryan outright rejected Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, in an interview with Robert Costa of National Review:

Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist, recently called Ryan “an Ayn Rand devotee” who wants to “slash benefits for the poor.” New York magazine once alleged that Ryan “requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged,” Rand’s gospel of capitalism. President Obama has blasted the Ryan budget as Republican “social Darwinism.”

These Rand-related slams, Ryan says, are inaccurate and part of an effort on the left to paint him as a cold-hearted Objectivist. Ryan’s actual philosophy, as reported by my colleague, Brian Bolduc, couldn’t be further from the caricature. As a practicing Roman Catholic, Ryan says, his faith and moral values shape his politics as much as his belief in freedom and capitalism does.

CISPA must be stopped

With the passage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) in the House last week, many of us are still trying to determine the impact of the bill on the Internet and how it will affect users.

There is no easy answer to the question, after all, this is a complex issue in a time when hacking and other cyber crimes are becoming more prominent. But those of us that helped kill the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) because of concerns over censorship, CISPA may indeed be much worse because it essentially ignores Fourth Amendment protections:

According to the bill’s main author, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), CISPA’s main purpose is to allow companies and the government to share information to prevent and defend against cyberattacks. But the bill’s language is written so broadly that it carves out a giant cybersecurity loophole in all existing privacy laws.

The problem is in the bill’s definition of “cyber threat information” and how companies can respond to it. “Cyber threat information” is an overly vague term that can be interpreted to include a wide range of tasks that normally wouldn’t be considered cyberthreats — like encrypting emails or running an anonymization tool such as Tor — and as a result, a company’s options would be so numerous as to allow it to read any user’s communications for a host of reasons.

Marco Rubio’s Delusions of Grandeur

On Wednesday, Senator Marco Rubio outlined his vision for American foreign policy in a speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington. Suffice to say, it is a vision that will have more appeal to Bill Kristol than to Ron Paul. Rubio calls for more involvement in the world, more foreign aid, and more intervention. After reading Rubio’s speech, it is clear that he has not learned anything from the past decade and the foreign policy mistakes of the Bush43 and Obama Administrations.

Rubio first outlines his globalist agenda:

I always start by reminding people that what happens all over the world is our business. Every aspect of our lives is directly impacted by global events. The security of our cities is connected to the security of small hamlets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Our cost of living, the safety of our food , and the value of the things we invent, make and sell are just a few examples of everyday aspects of our lives that are directly related to events abroad and make it impossible for us to focus only on our issues here are home.

Rubio of course forgets that the 9/11 plot was hatched in the parts of Afghanistan that were under the control of a government, the Taliban.

No foreign policy speech in America would be complete without the prerequisite China bashing:

AFP targets Obama’s stimulus bill, energy spending in new ad

The Left’s favorite conservative groups, Americans for Prosperity, launched a new campaign yesterday to run some $6 million worth of ads in swing states targeting Barack Obama over the wasteful 2009 stimulus bill and green energy proposals:

Marco Rubio - a blast from the past


As Mitt Romney has moved into “presumptive nominee” status, the focus has shifted to whom he might choose to be his running mate.  The conventional wisdom states that Romney would pick someone to his right, in order to shore up support from conservatives who distrust him.  While it is still only April, the name that I see popping up the most is Senator Marco Rubio from Florida.

It’s not hard to see his appeal to the Republican base.  Rubio is a child of Cuban immigrants.  He is charismatic, smart, and attractive.  He has a beautiful family, has connections to both Protestant and Catholic churches, and speaks openly about his faith.  His positions are largely in line with the conservative base - strongly pro-life, anti-ObamaCare, and hawkish on foreign policy.

But for those of us hoping the Republican Party can take a new direction, Rubio poses a number of problems.  As Jason Pye blogged earlier this week, Rubio proudly declared that George W. Bush was a “fantastic President”.  One has to seriously question what exactly he thinks was fantastic about Bush.  Was it his wild spending and vast expansion of government in the form of Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind?  Perhaps it was the unnecessary Iraq War which cost thousands of lives?  Or maybe it was his mistreatment of prisoners?  It’s troubling that Rubio considers these things “fantastic.”

FreedomWorks backs Dan Liljenquist in Utah

Given that FreedomWorks had targeted Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) so heavily in the lead up to the Utah GOP convention last week — pointing out his atrocious voting record, which includes voting for half of the national debt during his time in Washington, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the group’s PAC has endorsed Dan Liljenquist, who will square off against Hatch in the June primary:

FreedomWorks for America announced today its endorsement of Dan Liljenquist, candidate for United States Senate representing Utah. Liljenquist won 40.8 percent of the delegate vote at last Saturday’s Utah GOP Convention, denying incumbent Senator Orrin Hatch the 60 percent necessary to avoid a June primary.

“Dan Liljenquist is an energetic fiscal conservative who will take a leading role in spending cuts and the repeal of ObamaCare from day one,” commented Russ Walker, National Political Director for FreedomWorks for America.

“We have been working with Utah conservatives since last May to elect the strongest and most consistent advocate for conservative economic policy, and Dan has proven himself to be the man for the job. He will be a great addition to support fellow Utah Senator Mike Lee expanding the conservative coalition in the Senate.”

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.