The choices for libertarian oriented Republicans in this year’s Republican field are, admittedly, better than they have in the past. Not only is Ron Paul doing much better than he did four years ago, getting more press attention, and seemingly surging into second place in Iowa, but we’ve also got Gary Johnson, former two-term Governor of New Mexico.
There’s been much to lament about Johnson’s campaign, of course, not the least being the near disaster caused due to a campaign miscommunication that almost kept Johnson off the New Hampshire ballot, as well as staff problems inside the campaign. At the same time, though, Johnson has largely been ignored by the media, and kept out of nearly all the debates due to low poll numbers (although, as Johnson has noted himself, it’s hard to do well in the polls when they don’t even include your name on the list of prospective candidates).
The possibility that Johnson could run for the Libertarian Party nomination for President next year is also encouraging. It’s not perfect, of course, and libertarian Republicans have had to sit back and watch a bunch of incompetents like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain rise in the polls and get far more media attention than either their qualifications or their accomplishments would seem to warrant while a two-term Governor is ignored. Nonetheless, it’s better than we’ve had it in the past, and hopefully a sign that libertarian-leaning candidates are gaining wider acceptance in the Republican Party as a whole.
As the Occupy Wall Street movement faces eviction from their humble abode smack dab in the middle of the city that never sleeps, it has truly been a beast of a different feather. Even should the eviction happen, I suspect they’re just find somewhere else to be. But what exactly is the Occupy Wall Street movement?
The real answer is that no one really knows. A list of demands took to the web, but it was quickly discounted by many as “unofficial” when non-supporters began lambasting those very demands, and there in lies the genius of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
When the Tea Party first coalesced, despite its leaderless nature there were very real goals. There were some universal ideas that spread throughout the Tea Party, and the Tea Party acknowledged it. The Tea Party was anti-bailouts for one, and it was against tax increases as well. It stood for some very real thing that anyone who was at a Tea Party as a participant – and not just as a spectator or rabble rouser – was likely to believe.
However, Occupy Wall Street has a built in defense mechanism. When someone lists a demand as “Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment,” and opponents jump on it, Occupy Wall Street supporters can say, “Oh no! That’s not a demand. There aren’t any demands!”
You see, without any demands, they don’t actually have to do anything. They don’t have to work towards any goals, because they don’t have them. They are protesting, but no one seems to know what they actually want, and that amorphous nature allows them to adapt to any situation. All they have to say is that they are representing “the 99%” and to soldier on.
For several years now there has been an ongoing debate regarding the impetus for President Obama’s economic policies. Were they the work of the smartest president in history, a man so intelligent that his wisdom could supplant the collective experience and choices of 300 million Americans, and in so doing restore our economy? Were they the well-intentioned but errant contemplations on an Ivy League egghead with lots of “book learnin’”, but without a shred of private sector experience that is the proving grounds for such ideas, being exposed to the unmerciful judgment of markets?
At this point I have come to the conclusion that it is an intentional effort to replace America’s free-enterprise system with a democratic-socialist style, centrally-planned, government run economy. Look at the evidence…the massive stimulus package which failed spectacularly, the auto union bailouts, government employee bailouts, Cash for Clunkers, Son of Stimulus, and myriad other economic “remedies”. Combine this with calls for increased taxes of “the rich”, more regulation and more government intervention in the market, and we end up with a long-term stagnant economy. One can no longer chalk it up to pure stupidity. If it were pure stupidity then the law of probabilities would dictate that Obama would have made the right decisions, even if only by accident, somewhat approaching fifty percent of the time.
For the last few weeks, protesters have camped out in New York City to express their grievances with Wall Street. The complaints are somewhat familiar and to some extent, I can understand where they’re coming from. They are upset with what they see as government colluding with corporations for taxpayer-funded bailouts during very tough economics times.
The frustration with corporatism is understandable, libertarians and free market conservatives have expressed the same sentiment for years only to take a back seat to the idea that what’s “good for business” is good policy. But as we’ve come to learn, so-called “pro-business” policies aren’t always a good deal for taxpayers. And by that I mean that we truly want a level playing field, but not through excessive taxation or regulation. Rather, keeping government out of the business of picking winners and losers.
But some members of the nascent “Occupy Wall Street” have expressed demands (note that these demands are unofficial), which for all of their supposed distrust of government, these guys have a very utopian idea of what government should be — likely enough to make Karl Marx and Che Guevara proud. Nevermind that they would be economic suicide.
Among the suggested demands for the movement are (with my comments next to them):
There are more and more people out there pissed at the rich. I certainly understand where they’re coming from, but they’re wrong. The rich per se aren’t the problem. It’s time to quit fighting against the rich. Occupy Wall Street has been wanting to smack the rich, and making a lot of noise about it. The problem is they’re wrong. The rich are not now, nor have they ever really been, the problem.
No, the problem is the corporatists. Those are the people we need to stand united against.
Corporations are a tool, a way to organize businesses. They’re not the enemy either. However, the people who seem to believe that corporations deserve tons of special breaks, including government bailouts, are. They are the reason people are pissed.
Ezra Klein has a piece where he outlines many of the complaints of the OWS-ers. Most of them are debt related. A lot of it is student debt, debt that Presidents through the years told them to take on for a better life. I understand that anger…to a point.
But you look around and the reality is not everyone is suffering. Wall Street caused this mess, and the government paid off their debts and helped them rake in record profits in recent years. The top 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation’s income and 40 percent of its wealth. There are a lot of people who don’t seem to be doing everything they’re supposed to do, and it seems to be working out just fine for them.
During Ron Paul’s speech at the 2011 Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, he closed his speech with a couple of references to Samuel Adams. One that many know, and one more obscure. Dr. Paul said that Sam Adams was known for saying “no long faces”.
“If we wear long faces, others will do so too; if we despair, let us not expect that others will hope; or that they will persevere in a contest, from which their leaders shrink. But let not such feelings, let not such language, be ours.” - Samuel Adams
With the ever-encroaching leviathan comprised of local, state and federal governments and a political class that doesn’t appear to address, much less acknowledge, the concerns of the average person, it is tempting to build a bunker somewhere, crawl into bed and pull the covers up over your head.
Tempting until you take notice of the positive strides made by liberty advocates in the past four years; things which could not have been accomplished had activists focused on the negative or gone into bunkers.
Does Ron Paul actually have a chance at winning the GOP nomination? In all honesty, yes.
There are a lot more positive differences between this and last Presidential election than you might know. Consider the utterances of a few Republican candidates espousing a less interventionist foreign policy. Much of this is merely anti-Obama windmill-tilting but it wouldn’t be occurring at all if it weren’t for widespread support amongst the general public.
The recent news that Osama bin Laden has been killed has itself caused some conservatives to wonder what we’re still doing in Afghanistan. If the main objective has been accomplished, after some 10 trillion dollars and 10 years, shouldn’t we bring the troops home and leave the people of Afghanistan to deal with their own independence?
No doubt all of us would take some good economic news right now, but that won’t come from the jobs report for June, which was released this morning showing the unemployment rate rising slightly to 9.2% and adding only 18,000 jobs:
U.S. employment growth ground to a halt in June, with employers hiring the fewest number of workers in nine months, dampening hopes the economy was on the cusp of regaining momentum after stumbling in recent months.
Nonfarm payrolls rose only 18,000, the weakest reading since September, the Labor Department said on Friday, well below economists’ expectations for a 90,000 rise.
Many economists raised their forecasts on Thursday after a stronger-than-expected reading on U.S. private hiring from payrolls processor ADP, and they expected gains of anywhere between 125,000 and 175,000.
The unemployment rate climbed to 9.2 percent, the highest since December, from 9.1 percent in May.
Numbers from the two previous months were revised down by 44,000 jobs; April dropped from 232,000 to 217,000 and May from 54,000 to 25,000. In case you’re wondering, the economy needs to create around 120,000 jobs each just to keep up with population growth.
Another bad sign is the U-6 rate, what many economists call the “real unemployment rate,” jumped from 15.8% to 16.2%.
Just like government intervention in the economy in the 1930s prolonged the Great Depression, intervention and uncertainty with President Barack Obama’s economic policies are slowing the pace of recovery today.
For those of you who have never heard of Alfonzo Rachel, he is a conservative commentator who recently joined PJTV team after becoming a viral success on YouTube:
AlfonZo Rachel is a musican and martial arts instructor who founded Macho Sauce Productions to create right-minded entertainment. His popular rapid-fire rants, originally self-produced on YouTube, have now found a home on PJTV.
His videos are a bit unorthodox among conservative pundits, which may have much to do with its appeal to younger conservatives and even some libertarians. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw this:
‘Zo’ begins the video quite oddly by equating independents with libertarians. He then defines a libertarians as “just liberals that don’t have a love-hate relationship with capitalism.”
Then comes a key comment: “The Constitution does not say that the government can tax the fruits of our labor, or impose an income tax. Which makes total sense because the government would bleed the people dry like they’re doing now as they defy the Constitution.”
It was just a couple of years ago. The housing market wasn’t doing so hot, and these things called derivatives were supposedly making things very difficult for the banks. President Bush stood behind a podium and addressed the American people. He told us that the government needed to buy these derivatives because it would help the banks, and then when the value went up, the government could sell them. It sounded fine.
What we got was something else entirely as various banks began to fail. Then auto companies were barely limping. There was panic in Washington, and they said we simply had to do something. But did we?
Economic matters are always tricky, and there’s always another point of view that will disagree with whatever you think. However, the biggest mistake we made was believing in the idea of “to big to fail”.
Take a hypothetical bank called Bank of Tom (BoT). BoT starts out as a small community bank, but grows and grows. Thanks to government assistance, it becomes one of the largest banks in the United States. It buys up smaller competitors with loans from the government, as well as lobbies Congress for laws that are favorable to it while hurting smaller competitors. It’s massive, employing thousands and controlling a huge part of the market.
Then the economy goes to crap and BoT is in serious trouble. If it’s going to stay, it needs help from the government. This is where we found ourselves just a couple of years ago. We already know what can happen if BoT gets the help. The economy stagnates for at least a couple of years and the company continues doing business as it always had, confident that they’re “to big to fail”. But what if we had taken the other road? What if BoT had been allowed to fail?
Despite the assertions of most MSM outlets, the Tax Day Tea Parties were not Republican love-fests. Most who attended are just as angry at the ridiculous expanse of the federal government under the Bush administration as we are at Obama’s clear intent to continue what W started. This video is a clear example.
However, sources indicate that this may be just the beginning. Are you ready to attend meetings and rallies for your local RINO legislator and let him or her know how you feel about their voting record? Sounds like it’s time to turn up the heat.