None of the Above!

Written by Frugal Libertarian on November 2, 2008 in: What Would a Libertarian Do, Who Sucks More:Obama or McCain |

Every four years I am forced to face the fact that voters will once again elect one of two very similar candidates.  The Mainstream Media will present each candidate as if they represent very different political philosophies.  But, how different are they?

We have heard a lot about taxes.  McCain labeled Obama as a big taxer, while labeling himself as a taxpayer advocate, but is there really much difference in their tax policies.  Tom Wood said it nicely,  “On taxes, the Democrat favors a top income tax rate of 39.5 per cent and the Republican favors a top rate of 35 per cent.  Well ain’t democracy grand?  We get to debate a whole four and a half percentage points.  We’d better spread this system around the world!

Obama wants to give more of other peoples’ money to those who did not earn it in the form of tax credits.  Is McCain any different?  When is the last time you heard him call for the repeal of the Earned Income Tax Credit?.  These tax credits have been one of the biggest conduits for downward wealth redistribution.  Both candidates also want to spend more on defense.  The military-industrial complex has been one of the biggest  conduits for upward wealth redistribution.   So, the debate is not about who will “spread the wealth”; the wealth is already being redistributed.   The debate is about how much they will steal and to whom they will give it to.

Obama wants to force our will on sovereign nations through sanctions.  McCain wants to force our will with bombs and bullets. Both methods cost lives.  Both methods perpetuate our expensive and expansive empire and both perpetuate contempt for the United States around the world.

Both candidates voted for a “bailout” bill that will not only fail to fix the economy but will continue to prop up a system of crony capitalism that is responsible for the economic crisis we are now experiencing.  Both blame the non-existent “free market” for the government’s depredations.  Neither will address the root cause of many of our economic woes, our monetary system.  Capitalism is already dead to both the democrats and the republicans.  Both Obama and McCain advocate an interventionist economic plan that is quickly approaching a fascist ecomomic system.

Neither candidate seems very interested in restoring the civil liberties that we have lost over the last several decades.  Both Obama and McCain voted to renew the Patriot Act, both support the REAL ID Act and the Homegrown Terrorist Act of 2007.

I will never understand how 90% of the country can believe that we are heading in the wrong direction, but then continue to vote for the same two parties that have been in power for several decades. If people really want change they will vote for none of the above.

You Can’t Give a Tax Break To People Who Don’t Pay Taxes.

Written by Frugal Libertarian on October 20, 2008 in: Who Sucks More:Obama or McCain |

Obama says his tax plan will “cut taxes for 95% of working families”.  How is that possible Mr. Obama if less than 40% of working families pay taxes.  This would not be a refund for those families, it would be sending them a check for money they did not earn and that was taken from someone else.  This “spreading the wealth” is disgusting to me.

McCain has finally called Obama out on this issue. He said Obama wants to “convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington.”

Obama fired back with “John McCain is so out of touch with the struggles you are facing that he must be the first politician in history to call a tax cut for working people ‘welfare,’”

Obama must think we are idiots.  Maybe he needs to look up the definition of “cut”.  In order to “lower, reduce, or diminish” something it would first need to exist.  You can’t cut something that is not there.

I wish you could get the MSM to report on this issue more.  Why have they not been calling him out on this?  Why have they not made it clear to everyone that this is a tax credit?  It is just money given to people for no other reason than they exist.

If Obama was going to give a tax credit to corporations, the MSM would be all over it, calling it “corporate welfare”.  But, they won’t call this what it is.  Welcome to the land of welfare!

On Fiscal Responsibility

Written by Frugal Libertarian on October 18, 2008 in: Who Sucks More:Obama or McCain |

 Who sucks more on fiscal matters? Obama or McCain.

Let’s start with Obama. He says “If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we’d see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.” Well I like the sound of that, but if you look closer at his plans you will find little fiscal responsibility. If you take a look at all his issue pages you will find many calls for more funding, but few for decreased funding.

So what does he say he will do? He wants PAYGO Rules to be reinstated. I like this idea. I don’t spend money I don’t have and neither should the government. Next, he wants to reverse tax cuts for the wealthy.  Raising taxes when the economy is struggling has to be one of the worse ideas I have ever heard. Just ask Herbert Hoover.

Obama says he wants to end Pork. Everyone always wants to point to earmarks, but they are just a drop in the bucket, ending them is not a sign of fiscal responsibility; it is a sign that we refuse to deal with the real things that are really draining our coffers. He also says he wants to end wasteful government spending such as oil subsidies. Why just oil subsidies? If you really want to make a dent in the budget, why not end all business subsidies?

Now let’s look at McCain. He says that “[p]ork barrel spending is an insult to taxpayers…” You know what I think is an insult to taxpayers; a trillion dollar war in Iraq. Warfare is the most expensive of government programs. Our empire is draining our resources, yet McCain would do nothing to shrink the empire. He most likely would grow it (“Bomb, Bomb, Iran)

During debates you will here McCain and Obama talk a lot about earmarks. They will trade barbs over 3 million-dollar tprojectors and 300 million-dollar bridges to nowhere. I don’t want to here anything out of either one that does not have nine zeros on the end. I want talks of cutting billions and trillions. Anything smaller than that is pandering and will do little to solve our fiscal problems.

Here is an idea for fiscal responsibility. Only spend money on things that the Constitution gives you the power and authority to do. Anything beyond that is wasteful.

So who sucks more on fiscal matters? I will call it a tie. Why? It looks like Obama will add copiously to the welfare state and do very little to end the warfare state. McCain will do very little to end the welfare state and add copiously to the warfare state. Either way our country will remain flat broke.


On Education

Written by Frugal Libertarian on October 13, 2008 in: Who Sucks More:Obama or McCain |

Who sucks more on education?  Obama or McCain.  They both lose points for even thinking the Federal government needs to have an education policy.  The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to regulate or fund education.  Education should be dealt with at the local and state level only.  This would make them accountable to who they should be accountable to; students, parents, the community, and prospective employers, not some bureaucrat 1,000 miles away in Washington who has a vested interest in schools never actually improving.  But, I digress.

First, lets take a look at McCain’s plan.  He focuses quite a bit on school choice.  Unfortunately he does not take this idea far enough.  McCain says that he  “believes all federal financial support must be predicated on providing parents the ability to move their children, and the dollars associated with them, from failing school.”  Why should I have to wait until a school is failing my child before I can move them to a better one?  Why not just let me choose which school to send them to in the first place?

Obama’s plan  calls for increased funding to fix our schools.  His website says “No Child Left Behind Left the Money Behind: The goal of the law was the right one, but unfulfilled funding promises, inadequate implementation by the Education Department and shortcomings in the design of the law itself have limited its effectiveness and undercut its support. As a result, the law has failed to provide high-quality teachers in every classroom and failed to adequately support and pay those teachers.”

How much money do we have to spend before we can see results?  How much do teachers have to make before they stop being mediocre?  Education spending has increased drastically over the last three decades but performance has not.  Teacher’s average pay in the U.S. is around $47,000 a year, making them one of the highest paid professional occupations.  Most public school teachers’ “salaries are higher than their comparable private school counterparts.”  But, private schools perform better.  It is obvious that throwing more money at the problem will not solve the problem.  (Just ask the Federal Reserve).

Neither McCain nor Obama really get to the heart of why our education system is second rate.  Competition is the cornerstone of quality, innovation, and therefore prosperity.  As Americans we have embraced the idea of competition.  We shop for the best price and best quality for everything from food to our homes, but for one of the most important products we will pay for, most will settle for a government run monopoly. 

Even for those of us who do choose to “shop” around for better education for our children, those choices are limited.  How can private schools really compete when parents who send their children to the private school not only pay that school, but also pay the competition through taxes.  Who wants to pay for their children’s education twice?

Competion between schools for students (customers) would be far better than any standardized test for measuring the quality of education that those students were receiving. Before a football game you don’t have the team run fundamental drills and grade them on how well they perform.  You play the game.  You know who is better by who wins.  The team that wins the most has a good reputation and more people want to be on that team.  It would be the same if schools competed.  Parents, communities, colleges, and employers would know which schools put out students that win.  Reputation would be your “standardized test”. 

Universities don’t need standardized test.  They compete by reputation, so they have a vested interest in providing quality education for students that can be measure by those students’ successes.

Even attempting to standardize the education our children receive is counterproductive.  How are we suppose to innovate if everyone knows the exact same thing?

As long as the government has a monopoly on education we will have inferior schools.  Neither McCain or Obama understand this.  They both, for the lack of better words, want to polish a turd.  Instead we should completely change directions, sell the public schools to the highest bidder, and encourage the proliferation of private schools by giving every parent the choice of where to send their child.

So who sucks more?  Obama does this time.  At least McCain sees the benefits of competition but he doesn’t take it far enough.  Obama’s all to predictable answer of spending more money not only does not nothing to improve education, it also cost too much.

On Foreign Policy

Written by Frugal Libertarian on October 2, 2008 in: Who Sucks More:Obama or McCain |

Who sucks more on Foreign Policy, Obama or McCain?  There is really no need to go through each of their issue pages point by point, but if you would like to read where they stand, you can find it on their websites.

McCain’s Page

Obama’s Page

What it boils down to is that they both offer more of the same, Obama just wraps it in a prettier package. 

 McCain wants to continue fighting the futile “war on terror”.  He thinks bigger better military is the answer.  He does not seem to understand that the only way to fight terror is to get to the root cause.  What is the root cause?  Our interventionist foreign policy.  You can not advocate democracy while holding a gun to someone’s head.  It is arrogant and reckless for so many of our leaders to refuse to admit that our foreign entanglements have been and still are a recipe for disaster.  Instead they toe the old line, “they hate us for our freedoms.”  Read Foreign Policy of Freedom, by Ron Paul and Blowback, by Chalmers Johnson to understand this more.  We prop up dictators and regimes all while pretending to support democracy.  How do we expect this not to have dangerous consequences?

Obama wants to be more diplomatic but he still wants to continue with our disastrous entaglements.  His policy would still be intervention.  He wants to get out of Iraq, but not quickly enough and he would send more troops to Afghanistan.  He does not want to end this “war on terror” or put a stop to how much are entaglements are costing us.  He even wants to increase foreign aid another 25 billion dollars.  Who will that 25 billion buy more guns for?  Which dictator will get a fancy new mansion with the 25 billion?  Will that 25 billion do anything to help bring peace around the world?  It is doubtful.  He also wants to use sanctions instead of bullets to get soveirgn nations to follow our orders.  Sanctions can be just as ugly as bullets.  It has been estimated that hundreds of thousands of childeren were killed by our sanctions against Iraq.  This does nothing but breed a whole new generation of terrorists that hate American, not because of our freedoms but because of our actions.

Our foreign policy should fit on one page of paper, maybe even in two sentences.  “We will trade goods and ideas with all, but will not intervene with any.  Attack us and we will kick your ass and go home.”  It should be that simple.  When fighting erupts between nations we should issue a statement something to this effect.  “It is unfortunate that fighting has erupted.  We hope that both sides will sit down and put an end to this fighting quickly.”  No taking sides, no blaming. 

We are stuck will more of the same, but at least Obama will make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside about our expanding empire.  He may even be able to make the rest of the world feel warm and fuzzy about our empire, so I guess McCain sucks more on Foreign Policy.

On the Economy

Written by Frugal Libertarian on September 16, 2008 in: Who Sucks More:Obama or McCain |

Who sucks more on the Economy, Obama or McCain?

Just by having a plan they both already loose points. Our economy is the sum total of millions of peoples’ decisions about what they will consume and what they will invest. Trying to have a plan when you can not control individuals’ decisions is absurd. But, regardless of that fact, let’s take a look at each “plan”.

McCain first.

I will start with the best of his plan.

He wants to roll back the corn-based ethanol mandates. Although, I think food prices will stay high because of a weak dollar, I think this is a great idea. The government should not be in the business of supporting a industry with taxpayers’ money. If that industry has a product to sell that people will want, then it will thrive.

Next he wants tax cuts and yes he wants them for corporations. Corporations that do not have to pay as much tax have more money to distribute to their workers and their investors. The extra money will not go into some greedy rich guy’s sock drawer as many would have you believe.

He also say that under his administration ” A one-year pause in the growth of discretionary spending will be imposed to allow for a comprehensive review of all spending programs. After the completion of a comprehensive review of all programs, projects and activities of the federal government, we will propose a plan to modernize, streamline, consolidate, reprioritize and, where needed, terminate individual programs.” I really like this idea but I would believe it when I saw it.

Okay, now for the worst of his plan.

McCain wants to put together a commission to look into ways to encourage flexible work arrangements so that workers can put family first. He wants to “encourage” through “modernized labor laws”. I like the idea of flexible work arrangements but see no need for the government to waste money on “encouraging” this McCain says that “employers need to attract and retain workers” and flexible arrangements may do this. I agree, but if companies need to attract and retain workers they will not need to be “encouraged” to have flexible arrangements. They will do so in order to be competitive.

He wants to have a gas tax holiday. I find this silly. It will not save the average American very much money and the gas tax is one of the few taxes that I find acceptable because it is a “use” tax. I only pay for what I use. The more I drive and use the rodes, the more tax I pay. If you want to give the American taxpayer a holiday, get rid of the income tax, stop inflating our dollar and reduce your spending. Do not humor me with silly pandering.

Okay, now for Obama.

Obama’s issue page for the economy starts with this quote “I believe that America’s free market has been the engine of America’s great progress. It’s created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It’s led to a standard of living unmatched in history. And it has provided great rewards to the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery”. For a second I thought maybe Obama had become a libertarian, but then I scroll down and immediately realized that he must not know what a “free market” really is, because there is nothing “free market” about his plan.

First I will start with best of his plan.

He wants income tax for seniors that make less than $50,000 a year and give a tax cut to “working families”. I like tax cuts, but if you plan on funding these tax cuts by rolling out the printing presses over at the Federal Reserve, then I would rather you not cut them in the first place. Printing money (inflation) is a regressive tax. It weighs heaviest on the poor and the middle class.

Okay, that is all I could find that might be good, so on to the bad.

Obama wants to put into place a Windfalls Profit Tax on oil companies. This is pandering at its worst. When did profits become a four letter word. I thought that was the point. I am sure that the shareholders of these companies like big profits. I know I do. This profit tax is nothing but redistribution of wealth, or stealing of wealth and giving to someone else.

Obama also wants to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit or as some call it, the Unearned Income Tax Credit. Again, this is nothing more than redistribution of the wealth. The taxes I pay in are then given to someone else. This is not only unfair, but immoral. If I had $2,000 sitting on my table and you walked in and took it to give to someone else, it would be stealing. At your trial you would say “but I gave it to someone that needed it more” and you would still be convicted. But, when the government does this we accept it. I do not understand this logic.

And of course, Obama wants more regulation of the mortgage industry. The federal regulations for the mortgage industry are 1200 pages long. Not enough regulation is not the problem. One of those regulations is called The Community Reinvestment Act. It mandates subprime loans. Yes, that is right the government mandated subprime loans.

Obama would also like to ” identify and invest in the most compelling advanced manufacturing strategies.” Please don’t use my money for this. If those manufacturing strategies are that compelling and advanced then they will survive and thrive in the marketplace without the governments help. The government will never be as good at picking a winner as the marketplace will be.

It seems that Obama understands that a free market can “provide great rewards for the innovators and the risk-takers”, but he just can seem to contemplate that for this to occur the free market also has to provide no reward for failure. You can not have the good of a free market without the bad. The threat of failure is a great incentive to act responsibly in the marketplace. Without this threat where is the incentive?

So who is the winner? It really is a tough call, but Obama sucks more on this one.

On Healthcare

Written by Frugal Libertarian on September 11, 2008 in: Who Sucks More:Obama or McCain |

Who sucks more on Healthcare? Obama or McCain.

Lets start with Obama.

First lets look at Obama’s number of uninsured. He says that there are 46 million uninsured, which is the number you hear everywhere, but is this accurate? According to the the U.S. Census Bereau, “[the uninsured] were considered “uninsured” if they were not covered by any type of health insurance at any time in that year”. So, for example, when I was between jobs a couple of years ago and did not have insurance for 10 days, I guess I would count as the uninsured. Is it possible that this could grossly inflate the real number of people that do not have access to insurance? I think it is.

I have seen estimates that suggest the real number of uninsured is closer to 15 million people, most of those people being between the ages of 25 and 34. A 25 year old could get a high deductible medical insurance for about $50 a month. For the love of God, cancel your cell phone and get health insurance.

I am not arguing that there is not a problem. I am arguing that before we can talk solutions we must be able to define the problem and know how big it actually is. We can not do this with artificially high numbers. We must be able to separate those who truly do not have access to affordable insurance and those who choose not to obtain affordable insurance.

Second Obama’s healthcare for everyone plan does little to address the rapidly increasing cost of healthcare. Part of his solution is to “prevent companies from abusing their monopoly power through unjustified price increases. His plan will force insurers to pay out a reasonable share of their premiums for patient care instead of keeping exorbitant amounts for profits and administration.” Does he think these profits go in some old rich guy’s sock drawer? They are used to pay investors and workers. These companies have a responsibility to investors to make a profit. Without investors there would be no money to provide insurance.

If Obama really wanted to address cost he would have to admit that the biggest contributing factors to the rising cost are government programs and interventions.

During WWII the government froze wages in a silly attempt to stop inflation. Fringe benifits such as health insurance did not count as wages so companies began to use insurance as a way to compete for workers. Then Congress passed the HMO Act in the 70’s. This began the proliferation of the all inclusive medical insurance that we have come to expect from an employer. This all inclusive insurance has distorted the healthcare market. It has made us all bad consumers and kept the healthcare industry from truly working in a competitive market place. Why shop around for a quality doctor with good prices when my health insurance is paying for it? Why shop for a quality hospital with good prices when my health insurance is paying for it? Why ask my doctor if I really need this expensive prescription when my health insurance is paying for it?

Don’t even get me started on how Medicare has caused healthcare cost to skyrocket.

Third, Obama’s plan cost taxpayers. More taxes are always a bad thing whether it is on the poor or the rich. Taxes cost jobs. The lost of jobs will only cause more people to be without health insurance.

Now for McCain.

McCain’s plan is just slightly less socialist than Obama’s. His plan at least somewhat addresses the real cause of rising health care cost. He at least wants to put more of the decisions into the hands of the consumer, but his plan does not go far enough in letting the market do its magic and efficiently allocate healthcare.

So I guess Obama sucks more on Healthcare. Stay tune for “What Would a Libertarian Do” to fix healthcare.

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