Capitalism

Can this Marriage be Saved: Libertarians and the GOP

Republicans

Conventions aren’t just about the present, conventions are also about the future. As the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa draws to a close, one of the most important questions for the party going forward is what role – if any – will libertarians play in the direction of the GOP in the years ahead.

Congressman Ron Paul’s 2008 campaign for the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination helped to launch the modern day liberty movement and gave voice to libertarians within the Republican Party.

The rise of the Tea Party and a second Paul Republican Presidential run gave the libertarian wing of the party hope for the future and increased visibility.

As Paul’s popularity grew in the party, so did the tension between the libertarian wing of the GOP and the party’s establishment. Many in the establishment would have you believe that the tension was more about the behavior of Ron Paul’s supporters than about policy. While there is no doubt that Ron Paul has an intensely loyal and fervent following, the truth is the tension wasn’t about behavior – it was about policy.

Libertarians want an end to foreign adventurism, they want deep cuts in spending across the board (including the military), they want government out of the boardrooms and the bedrooms, they want dramatic tax reform (starting with throwing out the current tax code), they want to privatize social security and Medicare, and they want a return to sound money.

The policy differences between libertarians and the current GOP are real and they are significant. The question going forward is whether this marriage can be saved?

Private Sector Leads Way to Mars

Mars.jpg

Sure, we’re all stoked as hell about the Curiosity rover going around the planet Mars, Tweeting snarkily all the way, but a real project for Mars, one that will advance our spaceflight programs far, far beyond mere unmanned probes. And it is being done entirely by private sector investors:

A Dutch company that aims to land humans on Mars in 2023 as the vanguard of a permanent Red Planet colony says it has received its first funding from sponsors.

Mars One plans to fund most of its ambitious activities via a global reality-TV media event, which will follow the mission from the selection of astronauts through their first years on the Red Planet. But the sponsorship money is important. That support will help the company — which had been self-funded for the last 18 months — get to the point where it can do the show, officials said Wednesday.

Let Paul Ryan Be Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan

There was a great deal of excitement among conservatives and libertarians about the pick of Rep. Paul Ryan, particularly among those who were rightfully leery about Governor Romney’s credibility when it comes to cutting spending and reforming our entitlement programs.

They say no one votes based on the Vice President, and now we are seeing why.  The GOP establishment is already urging Paul Ryan to drop his support for his own Pathway to Prosperity budget plan – and it appears Ryan himself is already backing away from certain components.

It feels like Sarah Palin all over again.  In 2008, McCain chose the maverick, buck the system Alaska Governor and then promptly tried to shove the square peg in the circle hole.  The results were predictably disastrous.  What is the point in picking Sarah Palin if you don’t let Sarah be Sarah.

One has to wonder whether the Romney campaign is about to make the same mistake.  The reason conservatives and libertarians love Paul Ryan is BECAUSE of his budget plan not IN SPITE of it.  Take away Paul Ryan’s ideas and you have a very nice, telegenic, young Congressman from a swing-state, but you don’t have a game-changing VP pick.  What is the point in picking Paul Ryan if you don’t let Paul Ryan be Paul Ryan?

Mitt Romney should adopt the Ryan Plan, not the other way around.  It would certainly be easier for Romney, a man who has been on almost every side of every issue, to move to the Ryan position than it would be for the principled Congressman to abandon his signature proposals.

If Mitt wanted a yes man, there were plenty of them.  He didn’t pick a Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty, he picked Paul Ryan.  He should let Paul Ryan be Paul Ryan.

“No More Solyndras?” Well, maybe just one more…

DemsGOP_energy.jpg

House Republicans have recently put forward a new bill, H.R. 6213, otherwise known as the “No More Solyndras Act.” It was passed by the House Energy & Commerce Committee on August 1st, and sounds quite promising when you consider the colossal mistake that Solyndra, supported by federal loans, was. It’s estimated that taxpayers will lose over half a billion dollars on Solyndra, which went bankrupt last year. Preventing that from happening again is a great idea.

Unfortunately, the Republicans backing this bill are not really saving you from another Solyndra, or Beacon Power, or Abound. For the “No More Solyndras Act” leaves a gaping hole—as in, everything before December 2011 is still totally cool.

See, it’s “No More Solyndras,” not “No Solyndras.” As the text of the bill makes plain, the Act only prevents new applications from new companies, not applications from ones “grandfathered” in:

Occupy DC Infiltrated, Calls for Violent Revolution

Occupy Wall Street - what’s that?  They’ve gone away, right? They haven’t.  They’re regrouping and preparing to ramp up.  Nick Tomboulides, Andrew McCaughey, and Danielle Saul recorded some remarks made by Mike Golash, former President Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 689, and others at a OccupyDC meeting held August 19, 2012.

They are not hiding their goals anymore - and no matter what your stance on the current state of our government, what is being said here should shock all patriots.

GOLASH: Progressive labor is a revolutionary Communist organization.  Its objective is to make revolution in the United States, overthrow the capitalist system, and build communism.  We’re trying to learn something from the historical revolutions of the past, the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution, the revolutions in Cuba and Eastern Europe.

What can we learn from them so we can build a more successful movement to transform capitalist society?

The “historical revolutions of the past” don’t include the American Revolution - a revolution which created true freedom and prosperity and has been a model for such - but includes revolutions in which dictators were created who brutally tortured and slaughtered millions of their own people?

Regulatory Compliance Costs Don’t Always Have a Dollar Figure Attached

Cross-posted from Friction Tape.

Francois Hollande

Recently elected socialist French president François Hollande.

While I’m not sure I always buy whole-hog the amorphous concept of “regulatory uncertainty,” brought on by the administrative state, as a catch-all explanation for everything wrong with the private sector and our nation’s current unemployment crisis, a fascinating Bloomberg Businessweek Global Economics feature from May 2012 looks at French labor policy (emphasis mine):

[France] has 2.4 times as many companies with 49 employees as with 50. What difference does one employee make? Plenty, according to the French labor code. Once a company has at least 50 employees inside France, management must create three worker councils, introduce profit sharing, and submit restructuring plans to the councils if the company decides to fire workers for economic reasons.

French businesspeople often skirt these restraints by creating new companies rather than expanding existing ones.

Hey, Let’s Not Nationalize Facebook

Dislike (Radiant)

There are dumb ideas…and then there are really dumb ideas. And then there are, so to say, Congressional politicians. We’re not quite at that level yet, but it seems like it. I am of course, referring to a rather silly piece in Slate magazine titled “Let’s Nationalize Facebook,” written by one Phillip N. Howard, a professor of communications and information technology from the University of Washington. His reasons for doing so are:

Over the last several years, Facebook has become a public good and an important social resource. But as a company, it is behaving badly, and long term, that may cost it: A spring survey found that almost half of Americans believe that Facebook will eventually fade away. Even the business side has been a bit of a disaster lately, with earnings lower than expected and the news that a significant portion of Facebook profiles are fake. If neither users nor investors can be confident in the company, it’s time we start discussing an idea that might seem crazy: nationalizing Facebook.

Freedom isn’t just economics, it’s a story too

Usually, when we argue for the cause of freedom and liberty, we do so by engaging in arguments using economics. The broken window fallacy, third-party payer problems, supply and demand, etc. They do work, to an extent, and they are good tools. But they aren’t the only tools in the basket.

My good friend Sean Malone, the Director of Video Production* over at the Charles Koch Institute, has put together a new series of videos for the Economic Freedom Project, which tell the stories of small business entrepreneurs who are forced to survive in an environment marred by over regulation, cronyism, corruption, and a far too large business. The first had yours truly as a video assistant, which really meant that I went into the break room to steal the “guest only” Coke Zeros for Sean. But don’t tell anyone.

We have to remember that we’re not fighting for liberty just because it’s more economically efficient, or that it fits some philosophical message. (Well, it does, but…) We’re doing it because there are people out there, people who are legitimately suffering from too much government and not enough freedom. If more Americans see this—hell, if more homo sapiens see this—then maybe they will wisen up and realize that the “1%” or whomever is the target of today’s Two-Minute Hate is not some intangible, inanimate object, but is in fact a real human being, and deserves to be treated as such.

That’s what really matters. And that’s what we need to be telling people.

Timid Mitt: Romney Unable or Unwilling to Fight Back

Mitt Romney

Over the last few weeks, the Obama campaign and their friends in the main stream media have had a field day.  First, going after Romney for having a Swiss bank account and several offshore accounts.  This line of attack, has been followed by a relentless series of attacks over exactly when Mitt Romney left Bain Capital.

Both of these attacks were opportunities for Romney and his campaign team to turn the tables aggressively on Obama and on the media.  At a time when unemployment remains over 8% and with our nation teetering on the verge of fiscal collapse, the Obama/media fascination with the minutiae of Mitt Romney’s background is an example of grotesque political slight of hand.  It is the ultimate distraction from the issues that matter most.

Unfortunately, Mitt the timid and his camaign have - so far - failed miserably at fighting back.

On the issue of the offshore accounts, why didn’t Romney come forward and say “yes, I had accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, but guess what?  There is absolutely nothing illegal about these accounts and, indeed, these accounts are the product of an overly complex and uncompetetive tax code that Obama and Democrats are hell bent on defending!”

On the issue of when he left Bain, why hasn’t Mitt and his campaign said “who cares!?”  What if Romney was still at Bain after 1999?  Does that suddenly change Obama’s failed record as President?  Does that suddenly balance our budgets?  Does it suddenly create jobs?  Of course not.  Why in God’s name is the Romney campaign taking the bait on these distractions?

If Mitt the timid thinks he can just run out the clock and win this election, he is sorely mistaken.  The Obama campaign has shown how ruthlessly it will distort and distract, and Obama has the giant megaphone of the main stream media as his willing accomplice.

Federal Incompetence Stifles Job

“Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Each day we see proofs of the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in the creation of a federalist form of government which gave superior authority to a central government within a very limited sphere, and left all other functions to the states, or the people. Far from being the limited government which our Founders envisioned, the federal government today is a monstrous leviathan which is equal parts incompetence and avarice. This is what happens when government attains more power. Government is the only entity legally able to use force to achieve its goals. Government is a monopoly, and therefore does not have to be efficient or innovative on order to retain its “customers.” It is essentially immune from the disastrous consequences of its decisions and actions. It can compel continued allegiance and higher payments.

A timely example of the results of government expansionism is in the continued stagnancy of our economy. In the last days of the Bush presidency, and expanded throughout the Obama presidency, the federal government took steps which would supposedly save the economy from a financial collapse (which itself was the result of government interference in the market). With the passage of the “stimulus” bill, unemployment was not supposed to reach 8% according to the Obama administration, yet it did that and more. Unemployment spiked above 10% AFTER the near-trillion dollar stimulus was passed, and stayed at or above 9% for almost three years, before dropping to above 8%, a point we were not supposed to have reached at all.

 


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