The best outcome of the nonsensical display of “Debt Limit Theater” current running in Washington is for Republicans and Democrats to do noting and not raise the debt limit, according to the chair of the Libertarian Party.
“Everything I’ve heard from Washington politicians about the debt limit is nonsense,” said Mark Hinkle in a statement released July 27. “None of the deals would do anything to cut federal spending. Some reduce the rate of growth a little bit, but I’m afraid that doesn’t count. I propose the simplest option: Do nothing. Don’t raise the debt limit, period.”
BURNET, Texas (June 26) – There are several times in my life, more than I care to remember, that I have gone into debt. Who hasn’t? Sometimes I just made bad decisions. But every time I went into debt I alone was responsible for getting myself out of the hole. If you find yourself in a hole that is already too deep and you want to get out, the first thing any sane person does is stop digging. If you’re deep in debt, the first thing to do is — stop spending. That’s what responsible people do.
Apparently however, when someone is elected to office they forget or disregard this simple fact of life. They don’t remember what it’s like to live within their means and to balance a budget. They forget that the simplest, surest and only real way to get out of debt is to stop spending. The spectacle of the Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington D.C. purportedly struggling over the seemingly monumental issue of raising the debt ceiling illustrates just how far out of touch the president and Congressional leaders are with the basic economic realities faced by average Americans every day.
Even the name they use to identify the issue, “debt ceiling,” is an example of the way politicians manipulate words to mask reality. The debt ceiling is merely an artificial cap set by Congress on the amount of money the federal government can legally borrow. It was first set in 1917, but has been raised more than 100 times since then, proving that it’s really not a ceiling at all, not even a glass ceiling, but actually as “high as the sky.”
Gov. Beverly Perdue should have vetoed a bill that eliminated financial advantages municipalities had in setting up broadband service, a Libertarian Party of North Carolina spokesman said Friday.
“The governor should have vetoed this blatant intrusion into the free market and city business,” said Matt Drew, state party chair. While Libertarians do not believe municipalities should be in the business of providing broadband service, he said this bill does not create a “level-playing field” for private competition as supporters claim.
“The playing field is already tilted heavily, in the other direction — in favor of big service providers such as Time Warner Cable,” Drew said. “Supporters of this bill want to create a ‘faux market’ rather than a free market.”
“In a faux market, laws and regulations are written by and lobbied for by large incumbent corporations, with the intent of suppressing competition and protecting their market position,” Drew explained. “This bill is intended to protect these large incumbent service providers from city-owned network competition, closing a previously unnoticed gap in their market position defenses.”
Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman explained the principle of government spending this way. “When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it,” he said. He’s still careful about what he spends when he buys something for someone else, but “somewhat less what he spends it on.”
When a man uses someone’s else money to buy something for himself, he’s careful about what he buys but not so careful on how much he spends. “And when a man spends someone else’s money on someone else, he doesn’t care how much he spends or what he spends it on. And that’s government for you,” Friedman concluded.
That axiom applies to any government at any level, and to all amounts of money. The problem is that the more money is involved, the more difficult it is to recognize the problem. It is somewhat easier to see this principle at work on the local level, as two recent news items illustrate.
Americans hoping that the new Republican majority in Congress would offer real budget cuts just got sucker-punched by the Republicans, the Libertarian Party chair said yesterday.
“Americans hoping to get real about our national debt just got sucker-punched by Republican Paul Ryan,” said Mark Hinkle in a statement. “Republicans want to spend $40 trillion over ten years. That averages a staggering $4 trillion per year.”
As recently as 2000, federal spending was only about $1.8 trillion. Republicans also want to increase the federal debt from $15.0 trillion to $23.1 trillion.
“I hope our children and grandchildren enjoy paying interest on that extra $8.1 trillion.”
Barbara Howe, state Libertarian Party chair, said she was not surprised.
“When I read Mark’s (Hinkle) comment about being sucker-punched, my first thought was, ‘Yeah, again.’ Why are we surprised that the Republicans are so weak with budget cuts. After all, GOP stands for Good on Promises, Gutless on Performance,” Howe quipped.
Three NC Libertarian Congressional candidates are among 89 Libertarians nationwide who are challenging incumbent members of Congress who voted for TARP bailouts in 2008.
Dr. Michael Beitler is challenging Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican. Tom Rose is running against Rep. Bob Etheridge in District 2 and Lon Cecil is opposing Democrat Rep. Melvin Watt in District 12, both Democrats.
“Few acts of Congress have evoked as much fear, ire, disgust, and disapproval from Americans as the 2008 TARP banker bailouts, passed with bipartisan support in Congress, and signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush,” said Mark Hinkle, Libertarian Party national chair.
The Libertarian’s number one target is John McCain, who Hinkle called the “Bailer-in-Chief.” The Arizona senator famously suspended his 2008 losing Republican presidential campaign to rush back to Washington DC to vote for TARP. McCain is being challenged by Libertarian Party co-founder David Nolan.
The list includes 27 Republicans and 62 Democrats. Twelve of these TARP incumbents are in close re-election battles, classified in the “tossup” or “leans” category by Congressional Quarterly.
The Libertarian Party hopes to help kick them out of office. “They tried to justify TARP by claiming our economy was going off a cliff. Let’s push their teetering careers off a cliff,” said LP Executive Director Wes Benedict.
Benedict said that the Tea Party movement is one potentially positive reaction to TARP, but that Tea Party members should pledge to vote against all incumbents who voted for TARP, no matter which party they belong to.
“Any Tea Partier who votes for a TARP-supporting Republican is a plain old hypocrite, just as bad as the incumbent he or she is pushing back into office,” he said.
He said that liberals should also vote against TARP incumbents and for a Libertarian challenger because giving hundreds of billions to Wall Street bankers and their stockholders and bondholders is not what Democrats are supposed to stand for.
“Any liberal-leaning voter who votes for a TARP-supporting Democrat, when a Libertarian alternative is available, sends a callous message to the middle class and poor: Thanks for your taxes! Get another job if you can find one — we want even more of your money to pass up to the Wall Street fat cats,” Benedict said.
Libertarians criticized the TARP bailouts as more than just a a huge transfer of wealth from taxpayers to bankers, but also as a moral failure.
“It’s hard to think of another government program that did more to reward stupidity and punish prudence,” said Benedict. “TARP is both a short-term and long-term failure. We would be better off today if Congress had done nothing.”
The Libertarian Party has 21 candidates for U.S. Senate and 170 candidates for U.S. House in the upcoming November 2010 elections.
Supporters of the fair tax plan cheered as a squad of Congressional candidates, three Libertarians and two Republicans, feed a mock-up of the 700,000 plus pages of the U.S. Tax Code into a wood chipper Saturday at the N.C. State Fairgrounds.
B.J. Lawson, Republican candidate for U.S. Congress District 4 provided and operated the wood chipper. Libertarians Dr. Mike Beitler, candidate for U.S. Senate, Tom Rose, candidate for U.S. House 2 and Lon Cecil, candidate for U.S. House 12, and Republican Bill Randall, candidate U.S. House 13, feed in the faux tax code pages.
“We the people have to run over the tax lobby in Washington,” said Laura McCue, a volunteer director of the N.C. FairTax group, organizers of the Shred the IRS Tax Code Rally. She said that the political commentators who tell fair tax supporters that the reform “is never going to help” is an example of the “distance and disconnect” between the “political class and the average American.”
The fair tax plan is a comprehensive proposal that would begin by abolishing all federal income and payroll-based taxes. This would include personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, and self-employment taxes. They would all be replaced with a single federal retail sales tax, administered primarily by existing state sales tax authorities.
The fair tax plan also includes what proponents call a “prebate” to insure that “all Americans consume what they see as their necessities of life free of tax.” This monthly check would be sent to every registered household in an amount calculated by multiplying the annual poverty level spending by the fair tax rate.
The fair tax plan is designed to be revenue-neutral, meaning it would neither increase nor decrease the amount of money already collect in taxes by the federal government.
A spokesman for Sen. Richard Burr, who was not present, said the senator is a fiscal conservative and had recently agreed to co-sponsor the fair tax bill (SB 1025).
“If Senator Burr is a fiscal conservative, then I must be an extreme fiscal conservative, because I would not have voted for TARP,” responded Beitler in his remarks. “I’m proud to be an extremist on this issue.”
One of the reasons he said he supports the fair tax plan is that it would eliminate “checkbook audits,” an experience he suffered many times while working as a CPA. “I sat across from my client as an IRS agent went line-by-line through their checkbook,” Beitler said. “If that is not a gross invasion of privacy, I don’t know what is.”
He said he also supports the plan because it would encourage savings and increase jobs, as companies moved operations back to the United States from overseas to take advantage of the abolition of the corporate income tax.
Cecil, Rose, Randall and Lawson pledged to co-sponsor the fair tax bill currently in the U.S. House (HR 25). “The IRS is becoming more of an Infinite Revenue Seizure agency for any revenue enhancement that Congress and our president can muscle through Congress,” said Ceci
As a libertarian, Cecil said that although he believes in eliminating most taxes, as long as there are taxes the fair tax is more direct and equitable. “It is based on sales, what you buy, not what you make in wages and income,” he said. “Your wages are yours to keep.”
Rose agreed that the fair tax is not ideal, but it’s a step in the right direction. “It will get the conversation started,” he said. “I support the fair tax plan because it will eliminate the need for the IRS and is so much better than our present federal tax system.”
Both libertarians agree that conversation should be about the real issue, which is cutting spending.
“If we don’t quit spending we’ll never catch up,” Cecil said. “But if Congress finally has the will to pass the fair tax, we’ll finally have people in place to cut spending. They won’t have the unlimited spending ideas in the current Congress.”