You might be a Libertarian, if…

Libertarianism is not an exclusive club.  In fact, Libertarians are perhaps the most politically-welcoming group of people left in the United States of America.  The Libertarian philosophy is about giving people the freedom to choose, without exception.  Libertarians do not pick and choose when our freedoms apply.  How much more welcoming can you get?

Even though you may not call yourself a Libertarian, you probably hold very Libertarian beliefs on an increasing number of today’s issues.  As Republicans and Democrats continue their strangle-hold over Washington D.C., you might even find that your Libertarian leanings are strengthening.  As more of our liberties get removed by the long arm of unaccountable politicians, the stronger we need to fight to get them back, and admitting how Libertarian you truly are is a good first step.

How do you know if your belief system has changed enough over the years that you might, just might, be a real flesh-and-blood Libertarian?

  • If you believe that both Republicans and Democrats are equally complicit in the corruption of American government, you might be a Libertarian.
  • If you understand that people deserve economic and social freedom at the same time, you might be a Libertarian.
  • If you reject the idea that government knows best, you might be a Libertarian.
  • If you believe that the rightful owner of a taxpayer’s hard-earned money is the person who earned it, you might be a Libertarian.
  • If you believe any two consenting adults deserve to be treated equally under the law, you might be a Libertarian.
  • If you believe the War on Drugs has not only enhanced the availability of extremely dangerous drugs, but has also resulted in expensive and wasteful incarcerations of non-violent offenders of “crime”, you might be a Libertarian.
  • If you believe that our military has been exploited and used by our own government in questionable wars and “humanitarian” missions, you might be a Libertarian.
  • If you have ever cursed and thrown objects against the wall trying to figure out your taxes, you might be a Libertarian.
  • If you believe that April 15th (tax day) needs to be recognized as a day of mourning, you might be a Libertarian.

If you believe in true freedom and liberty for every man, woman and child in America, you are a Libertarian.

We don’t have to sacrifice our liberties for security

I wish I could say I was shocked at the reports the NSA is secretly spying on the private phone calls of millions of Verizon customers. However, this is a predictable result of a government that continues to erode our liberties while promising some glimmering hope of security.

The Fourth Amendment is clear; it says we should be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects, and that all warrants must have probable cause.

I opposed and continue to oppose the Patriot Act because I believe it throws the Fourth Amendment right out the window. It is certainly not patriotic to support warrantless wiretaps, blanket ‘metadata’ collection, and spying on innocent American citizens.

Unfortunately, what is worse than the reports, is knowing that politicians of both parties will continue to defend this practice as necessary to supposedly keep us ‘safe’. We do not have to sacrifice our liberties for security. At times like this, the question must be asked, ‘if we are willing to change our way of life and our very definition of freedom while tolerating the invasive searches at our airports and now of our phone calls, have the terrorists already won?

Ron Paul: We need a free market in education

In addition to shredding civil liberties, launching a utopian global war for democracy, and going on a spending spree that would make LBJ blush, the so-called “conservative” Bush administration dramatically increased federal control over education via the “No Child Left Behind” act. During my time in Congress I heard nothing but complaints about this law from teachers, administrators, and, most importantly, students and parents. Most of the complaints concerned No Child Left Behind’s testing requirements, which encouraged educators to “teach to the test.”

Sadly, but not surprisingly, instead of improving education by repealing No Child Left Behind’s testing and other mandates, the Obama administration is increasing national control over schools via the “Common Core” initiative. Common Core is a new curriculum developed by a panel of so-called education experts. The administration is trying to turn Common Core into a national curriculum by offering states increased federal education funding if they impose Common Core’s curriculum on their public schools. This is yet another example of the government using money stolen from the people to bribe states into obeying federal dictates.

Critics of Common Core say it “dumbs down” education by replacing traditional English literature with “informational texts”. So students will read such inspiring materials as studies by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the EPA’s “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” and “Invasive Plant Inventory” by California’s Invasive Plant Council. It is doubtful that reading federal reports will teach students the habits of critical thinking and skepticism of government that the Founders considered essential to maintaining a free republic.

Like Obamacare, Common Core (now dubbed “ObamaCore” by some) has sparked a backlash in the states, leading some to propose legislation forbidding state participation in the scheme. I hope these efforts lead to states not just opting out of Common Core, but out of No Child Left Behind and all other federal education programs as well.

Parents can also effectively “opt out” of programs like Common Core by seeking alternatives to government education. It is no coincidence that, as federal control over education increases, the quality of public education has declined and more parents have chosen to homeschool.

To support these parents, I have established my own homeschool curriculum. Unlike Common Core, we do not dumb down any of our offerings. Instead, the goal is to provide students with a rigorous education in history, math, English, foreign languages, and other core subjects necessary to a well-rounded education. Unlike the top-down model of nationalized education, the homeschool curriculum is deigned to encourage maximum input from parents and students. While the curriculum will reflect my belief, and interest, in Austrian economics, libertarian political theory, and the history of the struggle against state power, the curriculum is being carefully designed to not show bias toward any one religion. I hope all parents of any faith—or no religious beliefs at all—will feel comfortable using the curriculum.

I believe it is important for those of us concerned with education and liberty to fight our battles locally. We must oppose further encroachment on the autonomy of local public schools and work to roll-back existing interference, while encouraging and supporting the growth of homeschooling and other alternative education movements. The key to restoring quality education is to replace the bureaucratic control of education with a free market in education. Parents should have the freedom to select the type of education that best suits their child’s unique needs.

Minimum wage kills jobs, reduces economic freedom

President Obama’s plan that would increase the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour would not only reduce the availability of jobs (especially in the minority population, Obama’s biggest support group), but it would prevent the freedom of workers to work jobs for less than the minimum wage even if both parties agree to the lower wage, wrote the Cato Institute’s James Dorn in an article published in U.S. News and World Report.

“If the prevailing market wage for low-skilled workers is $7.25 per hour and Congress mandates a minimum of $9 per hour, then workers who produce less than that will not be retained or hired,” he wrote.  In other words, basic economics.  As the government increases the minimum wage, businesses are necessarily forced to make a decision: reduce their workforce or increase prices.  Which would you prefer?

Both, of course, have negative consequences for our nation.  If businesses reduce their workforce, workers who previously had jobs will probably seek unemployment benefits, costing the American taxpayer money.  If companies increase prices, consumers will naturally spend less which, in turn, effects the cash flow of American businesses and may necessitate further layoffs and curtail innovation.  The minimum wage death spiral gets strengthened.

“The best way to stimulate the economy and create jobs is to increase economic growth by expanding free markets, not by increasing government power through a higher minimum wage.”

2012 brings big debt and fewer liberties to Americans

rules_1668_1668The year 2012 saw tremendous encroachments into the freedoms and liberties of the American people, and few of our Congressional representatives stood in the way of such abuses of power.  From taxing internet purchases to allowing the government to throw people in jail based on “secret” evidence of terrorism, this year marks another elimination of freedoms and liberties in the United States.

A couple things did increase, though: our national debt and the number of well-paid federal government workers.

The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) not only gave the government the authority to continue expensive and never-ending wars overseas, but it also gives Washington far reaching powers to imprison American citizens for the mere suspicion of terrorism.

“This bill takes away [the right to a trial] and says that if someone thinks you’re dangerous, we will hold you without a trial. It’s an abomination,” remarked Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who argued fiercely against the inclusion of the indefinite detention provision within the NDAA.  Paul cited Japanese internment camps as historical evidence that government cannot be trusted with powers that rely on behind-closed-doors “secret” evidence against the American people.

The United States’ punitive system of taxation is forcing companies to funnel millions of dollars to overseas bank accounts.  Facebook, in fact, has funneled nearly a half billion to Cayman Island banks.  The U.S. government’s continued insistence to punish success in the United States has once again prompted companies in 2012 to take their financial business elsewhere.

At the state level, an estimated 225,000 wealthy residents have fled California to escape its tax structure.  This year, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown successfully pushed through tax increases that make Californians the highest taxed citizens in the country as the state’s deficits skyrocket to nearly $30 billion.  Taxing the rich never works, and as reported on the Small Government Times before, ends up sending your wealthier taxpayers running for the hills.

How about that U.S. Postal Service?  This year marked the first year that the government distribution service defaulted as the organization continues to leak money.  Daily, the Postal Service is losing about $25 million.  The financial hemorrhaging is preventing the service from paying current and future retiree benefits, roughly $5.5 billion in 2011 and 2012.

The number of federal workers, along with their salaries, have seen dramatic increases in the last several years.  According to public record, over 500,000 federal government workers earn more than $100,000 a year (an increase of 10% since 2006) and average nearly twice the private sector in annual salaries.  In fact, 77,000 federal workers make more than state governors.  Despite economic uncertainty for the majority of the American people, more than half of those in Congress are millionaires.  Several calculate their wealth easily in the hundreds of millions.

More than 40,000 state laws took effect this year, ranging from a higher minimum wage for several states, fining bus and truck drivers for talking on their cell phones while driving and a variety of regulations on concussions suffered while playing sports.  Some states made it a requirement that larger businesses use the E-Verify system to confirm the legality of its workers.  California gave illegals brought to the United States as infants access to the same statewide scholarships that legal students enjoy.  Other states are requiring school and city coaches to bench younger players when they are believed to have suffered a concussion.  Seat belts laws, inclusion of gay and lesbian studies in school curriculum and requiring state licensing to perform abortions all helped to increase the number of laws and regulations offered in this country.

The U.S.’s national debt has skyrocketed passed $16 trillion, an increase of a whopping $5 trillion since Barack Obama took office.

Elections have consequences, ladies and gentlemen.  Stay vigilant.