Hey, Leftists, “economic patriotism” should mean getting government out of the way for business owners to succeed

Business owners will do anything to make sure their businesses are successful.

A strong feeling of apathy, sometimes, is the natural consequence of having experienced too many obstacles in the process of getting your idea off the ground. Every now and then, would-be entrepreneurs become frustrated and walk away. Others end up looking for diverse, creative ways of getting around what they deem too complicated.

What all business owners have in common is the urge to make things happen: a kind of acute dedication harbored only by people fired up by a strong sense of purpose. They are everywhere, from your favorite food truck’s owner to Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk. They will go to great lengths to get things done.

While on my trip to Detroit for a series of panels and interviews facilitated by the Virginia-based Franklin Center, I had the opportunity to talk to the owner of a small tavern in the downtown area known as Greektown.

The Firebird Tavern, Tony Piraino said, had gone under a series of small changes to its structure to please the ever-changing city health codes. Every now and then, the city’s health inspector appears to come up with a new thing the owner must do to make sure the place is up to date with the local regulations if he wants to continue to operate legally.

The latest changes, however, cost Mr. Piranio a couple of thousands of dollars. A quantity of cash not all small business owners have at their disposal with ease. And what was so pressing that needed such an urgent change? The doors inside of the tavern, which is housed by a Victorian style building with creaky wooden floor and charming, thick, exposed brick walls, needed panic bars. Were the doors not opening and closing before that just with a slight push?

#IAmUnitedLiberty: Carl Oberg saw first-hand how the sausage is made by bureaucrats and that turned him into a libertarian

Carl Oberg

Note: This is one in a series of profiles of UL contributors and friends and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

Carl Oberg has a great story about how he became involved in the liberty movement and, eventually, signed onto work as the executive director of the Foundation for Economic Education. Simply put, he saw first-hand how federal bureaucrats are influenced by special interests to make policy.

“I worked for seven years for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. So, I was a federal bureaucrat,” Oberg told United Liberty over the weekend at FreedomFest. “And seven years of federal bureaucrat work taught me that I needed to be more of a libertarian, basically.”

Oberg says that his work was in trade policy and he traveled around the world to learn how trade policy is put together, or, as he put it, how the sausage is made. “I learned that it’s a messed up process. It’s a process that’s captured by special interests. And it’s a process that really doesn’t make any logical sense,” he explained. “It’s there to serve corporate interests in America.”

In his down time, Oberg said that he began reading the websites of various libertarian-leaning organizations, including the Foundation for Economic Education, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and the Cato Institute.

“I started going to Cato events on my lunch hour in D.C., and started to educate myself. Finally, in December of 2007, I quit my job and I went back to grad school at George Mason University, and got a master’s in economics,” said Oberg. “While I was there, I interned at Cato and interned at a couple other places in D.C.”

Military intervention in Libya failed: United Nations pulls out of Tripoli due to violence caused by Islamic radicals

Muammar Gaddafi addresses the United Nations

In 2011, NATO decided it was a good idea to intercede in Libya, and try something that western powers had done many times before in the Middle East and North Africa — remove a dictator. This is something that plays well with westerners, because they are generally of the opinion that dictatorships are bad, even when they happen to be in nations with governments that are slowly taking control of every aspect of their lives.

The problem is a cultural divide, and a failure of understanding. What cannot be comprehended is that while dictators are viewed as bad in western culture, they’re usually a necessary evil or even a good thing in regions where Islam has a strong foothold.

While it might be tempting to doubt that, consider how wonderfully things have gone in Iraq and Egypt, just to name two nations, since their respective “authoritarian albeit generally secular” leaders have been removed. Libya is facing similar issues.

Muammar Gaddafi was at best eccentric, at worst insane. Yes, he did involve himself in at least a few conspiracies to attack western powers, but when it came to dealing with Libya, he tended to keep the people from doing what they are now.

When he was in power, sectarian violence was kept under control, and if someone disagreed with Gaddafi, they were silenced. That doesn’t look anything like democracy, but democracy doesn’t look anything like what the people of that region have ever had, even in times when they have lived in relative peace.

Americans are tired of war: Old Guard Republicans attacking Rand Paul show how truly out of touch they are

Power structures and ideological dynamics change quickly in Washington, and when a sea change happens you almost feel sorry for the losing side, who usually doesn’t realize it for a while, still clinging to their anachronistic worldview and thinking it’s mainstream. But there comes a time when you just have to point and laugh at people who have lost, and lost big, and don’t even realize it.

Politico has a new summary of all the defense hawk attacks on Rand Paul’s alleged “isolationism,” including Rick Perry, Dick Cheney, Elliott Abrams from the Council on Foreign Relations, and Mackenzie Eaglen from the American Enterprise Institute. In denouncing the freshman Senator’s skepticism of interventionism, they cite the current situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and of course 9/11.

Yes, “it’s been a long time since 9/11,” as Cheney said, lamenting what he sees as forgetfulness about the threat of terrorism, but also, it’s been a long time since 9/11. At a certain point you have to stop buttressing your entire foreign policy narrative with the biggest failure of our national intelligence and defense systems since Pearl Harbor. We haven’t reverted to a pre-9/11 mindset, we’ve evolved to a post-post-9/11 mindset. The world has changed, again; global interventionists haven’t.

Perhaps sadder still than their reliance on the 9/11 shibboleth is the delusion that hawks are still the mainstream of public opinion or even the Republican Party:

Congress should permanently ban Internet taxes to protect innovation and online access for Americans

The Internet has been suffering a series of blows as of late.

Year-old reports of extensive Internet surveillance techniques carried out by the National Security Agency along with pushes from crony senators wanting to difficult our Internet shopping experience have been concerning the most observant amongst us.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has introduced a bill proposing to institute a permanent ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and other discriminatory taxes. The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, or H.R. 3086, would protect constituents from government taxation, according to Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.

In order to ensure taxpayers are protected, House members are being urged by Norquist, Digital Liberty’s Executive Director Katie McAuliffe, and the National Taxpayers Union to cosponsor and vote yes on this bill.

By making these restrictions permanent, lawmakers would also ensure businesses and consumers are permanently protected.

The unrestricted and competitive nature of the digital environment makes it one of the most relevant for those seeking to innovate today. Imposing restrictive taxes on online shopping should be considered a form of punishment.

The burdensome taxation would only accomplish what punishments usually accomplish overtime: absolutely nothing, especially because the kind of taxes some lawmakers would like to see imposed on consumers would not be later directed towards improving Internet services.

#IAmUnitedLiberty: Grover Norquist’s quest to reduce the size of government and keep your taxes low

Note: This is one in a series of profiles of UL contributors and friends and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

Grover Norquist is one of the most well-known figures in conservative politics. Americans for Tax Reform, the organization he founded in 1985, has become a powerhouse in politics, driving the conversation on taxes, labor policy, and regulation.

United Liberty caught up with Norquist last weekend at FreedomFest in Las Vegas and asked him how he got involved in politics and the conservative movement as well as where he thinks the movement is headed over the next few years.

“I was active early on in politics. Back in [the 1970s], I worked on the Nixon campaign because I was concerned about the Soviet Union, and I just stayed involved in politics. If you decide to get involved early, it just kind of stays with you,” Norquist told United Liberty.” It’s kind of like learning to play tennis. Once you’ve learned, whenever there’s a tennis game, you join. If you’re involved in politics, every time there’s an election or a fight, you get in.”

Norquist explained that the central issue he’s working on at the moment is reducing the size and scope of government, especially at the state-level where there are plenty of opportunities due to the fact that Republicans control nearly half of the state legislatures.

Are Republicans either “freedom conservatives” or “liberty conservatives”? We can do better than that.

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Buzzfeed, not exactly known for its credibility on the right, this week contributed to what has been an ongoing project among our ranks for years now: how to describe and label the different wings of Republicanism. Ben Smith put forth a valiant effort, attempting to simplifying the right into two sides: freedom conservatives and liberty conservatives.

When we write about the right these days, we tend to use a set of dated shorthand, overlapping categories drawn from different eras: neocons and tea partyers, libertarians and hawks, the establishment and the grassroots. …

I propose replacing the messy old terminology with a simple new vocabulary, one that has evolved organically, which has deep and consistent intellectual roots, no pejorative implications, and which political leaders use effortlessly and without reflecting. The division that will define the Republican Party for the next decade is the split between Liberty Conservatives and Freedom Conservatives.

He describes freedom conservatives as those, like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, who have more moderate views and are comfortable with government expressing power both internationally and domestically to pursue a conservative agenda. Liberty conservatives, on the other hand, like Rand Paul of course, are more rooted in the originalist view of the Constitution limiting the federal government to a few specific powers and a more limited role in foreign affairs.

States that raised their minimum wages have seen a huge loss in job growth since the beginning of the year

The thirteen states that saw minimum wage increases on January 1 have kept a combined 129,200 workers out of employment opportunities since the beginning of the year, according to data published this week by the American Action Forum.

The bulk of the minimum wage hikes were automatic inflation adjustments already mandated by state legislatures. Four state legislatures, however, took specific action to raise their minimum wages, the increases of which range from 45 cents to $1 per hour.

“While many assume that it would come out of profits of large companies, in reality it only affects restaurants and retail businesses that have narrow profit margins,” Ben Gitis, a policy analyst at the American Action Forum, explains in the study. “They have no choice but to either reduce their current employment levels or put off plans to expand and make new hires. As a result, the cost of the minimum wage comes out of the pockets of unemployed workers who are denied an opportunity to work.”

The study looks specifically the impact of these minimum wage increases in the restaurant and retail industries. States that raised their minimum wages have seen an anemic 0.6 percent net-job growth in these two industries since the beginning of the year, while states that kept their laws unchanged saw a 2 percent increase in net-job growth.

Gitis concedes that an unusually cold winter may have had an impact on overall job growth, but notes that states that raised their minimum wages “experienced relatively warm weather” than states in which wage laws remained unchanged. He also points out that other factors may have come into play.

Blogger Files New Ethics Complaint as Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct Dismisses Prior Complaints against 5 of 6 Judges

A new ethics complaint filed by a United Liberty contributor challenges the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct to apply a standard set recently by its own chairman before a state senate investigative panel, on the record and under oath, under penalty of perjury, to an instance of alleged election misconduct on the part of incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade, which United Liberty covered last week.


To many people, words have very simple, concrete, near-universal definitions.

#IAmUnitedLiberty: How college helped Jeff Scully light the torch for liberty

Jeff Scully

Note: This is one in a series of profiles of UL contributors and friends and how they became involved in the “liberty movement.” Share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #IAmUnitedLiberty.

In the fall of 2007 I stepped onto the campus of Rutgers-Camden for the first time. I didn’t have the slightest idea which career field I wanted to enter, which major I would choose – heck, I hardly knew where my classes were.

What I did know was what my major shouldn’t be; everybody told me to stay away from a Bachelor of Art’s degree because they “don’t mean anything.” I struggled for a long time deciding what career field I wanted to enter. Eventually, I went with my heart and made the best decision of my life which would eventually result in moving to and working in Washington, D.C.

I took courses from several different majors, trying to get a feel for what I wanted to do. During my first semester at Rutgers-Camden, I took an intro to political science class. I hardly had an interest in politics as I thought that those who were interested in politics either wanted a cushy job in government, or even worse, become a politician for a living.

 


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