Nov. 6, 2008 Reading List

Written by Frugal Libertarian on November 6, 2008 in: Today's Reading List |

Massachusetts Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana

David Bellemy Doesn’t Believe in Man-Made Global Warming

Markets Need Time, Not More Poison

Republicans Got What They Deserved

Written by Frugal Libertarian on in: What Would a Libertarian Do |

If you listen to Ronald Reagan in 1964 he sounds an awful lot like many of today’s libertarians.  Somewhere along the road the Republicans abandon the ideas of small government and liberty.  They allowed the neoconservatives to take control of their party and for that they are now paying dearly.  Unfortunately, they did all this all while preaching the virtues of small government, giving the ideas of small government a bad name.  This is why I applaud their implosion.  I hope they never recover.    One party down, one to go.

Unfortunately, neoconservative ideology will not die with the GOP.  Neoconservatives have long been been supporters of the welfare state.  As long as they play along with the Democrats welfare agenda, the Democrats will play along with their warfare agenda.  That is why spending, big government, and our empire have expanded so rapidly over the last eight years.  I don’t expect much departure from this trend over the next eight years.

We can not be too distracted by the fall of the Republicans.  We must remember that liberal ideology is just as big of a danger to liberty, peace, and prosperity as neoconservative ideology.  We can not sit and wait for the inevitable implosion of liberalism under the weight of their unsustainable wish list for society.  We must continue to spread the word of freedom, so that when the inevitable occurs, liberty, not tyranny can take hold.

Today’s Reading List

Written by Frugal Libertarian on November 5, 2008 in: Today's Reading List |

How different will Obama’s Foreign policy really be?

Privatize Coinage

Wealth Transfer via the Fed

I Missed National Sandwich Day!

Written by Frugal Libertarian on in: Best Money Spent this Week |

I woke up this morning trying to look at the bright side.  Sure the Democrats now have control of both the Senate, House and the Presidency, but at least the Republicans have finally imploded.  I was planning on celebrating by having a big sandwich in honor of National Sandwich Day.  I could have swore that National Sandwich Day was November 5th.  I was going to write a post encouraging everyone to have a sandwich so I looked up National Sandwich Day just to be sure I had the date right and what do I find?  I missed it.  It is actually November 3rd. 

My bright spot quickly faded, but then I decided that collectivism be damned.  Who needs a National Day for anything.  I love sandwiches and therefore I will celebrate them any day I feel like it.  So, today it is.  I have always said that all you really need in life is a good sandwich, a comfortable place to sit, and someone to share it all with.  I found out how true this really was while working in Antarctica for five months.  I had access to good sandwiches, but there was not a comfortable chair on the entire continent.

So, today I will sit in my recliner and eat a big sandwich.  It should be the best money I will spend all week. Maybe it will cheer me up.

Why Are Mortgage Companies Not Acting In Their Own Best Interest?

Written by Frugal Libertarian on November 4, 2008 in: In the News |

It was recently reported that JP Morgan will modify some of their mortagages to help more people avoid foreclosure.  Over the course of the last year I have often wondered why mortgage companies have not already started renegotiating mortgages for people that could afford to pay them if only their interest rates were not adjusted upward.  The mortgages that are going into foreclosure are overwhelming those that have adjustable rates.  Sub-prime loans that have fixed rates have foreclosure rates similar to that of traditional mortgages.  So, why have lenders not offered fixed rate refinancing to those that were paying their payments on time before the rates went up.  Wouldn’t this be in their best interest?

In a truly free market, without government interventions, it would be mutually beneficial for both parties to renegotiate these adjusted rate mortgages.  Unfortunately, we do have a free market.  We have a perverted mixed economy where mortgage companies can act irresponsibly, make risky investments, and then sell their risky assets to Government Sponsored Entities (Fannie and Freddie) that have the implicit financial backing of the U.S. taxpayer.  The government’s past “bailout” of companies that behaved badly created a moral hazard.

I think this moral hazard is exactly why we have not seen more of what JP Morgan is now doing.  Why would these companies bother to modify mortgages that were heading towards foreclosure if they are sure that a “bailout” was inevitable?  Why make less money by renegotiating if they can make more by letting the taxpayer take the hit?

How do you think companies would act if there was absolutely no chance of a bailout?  I think they would do whatever they needed to do to survive and everyone would be better off.

Is There Really Any “Hope”?

Written by Frugal Libertarian on in: Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself |

As millions of people go to the polls today to vote, I am left with a sense of hopelessness.  No matter who wins I will remained scared for our future.  The only bright spot for me is knowing that there are plenty of people that understand that liberty is still our greatest hope for peace and prosperity.  Anthony Gregory is one of them.  See what he has to say about the election here.

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.

Naomi Wolf Is Learning About Libertarianism!

Written by Frugal Libertarian on October 31, 2008 in: What Would a Libertarian Do |

I first read Naomi Wolf’s book The Beauty Myth seven years ago.  Although I did not agree with all of her conclusions, it completely changed how I viewed all forms of media in our culture.  She opened my eyes to how powerful fear is in convincing the public of anything.  I think she is misguided on several issues but I have always had great respect for her. 

Today that respect grew even more.  Here is a very interesting discussion between her and Lew Rockwell.  I really admire her curiosity.  I like people I can disagree with and still have an intelligent conversation with.

I Like Being a Square Peg.

Written by Frugal Libertarian on October 29, 2008 in: Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself |

I have always been skeptical of everything I hear.  I think it is because my brothers lied to me so much when I was little.  I like to search for my own answers.  Unfortunately this is not a common characteristic among Americans.  This is why it has been so easy for our government to grow into its current monstrousity. 

Karen De Coster talks about this more here.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

What is Happening to the Middle Class?

Written by Frugal Libertarian on in: Worst Money Spent this Week |

You often hear about the shrinking middle class in this country. The Democrats will tell you it is because the rich are hogging all the money and the Republicans will tell you that it is because of the Democrats tax policies. I think there is truth in both sides, but I will not go into that right now because I do not believe either to be the biggest cause of a shrinking middle class.

I believe the middle class is shrinking because of the artificially low interest rates perpetuated by the Federal Reserve. Easy credit has completely changed our culture. We no longer have much motivation to delay our gratification. Why wait. Buy now, pay later. Karen De Coster thinks the later may have just snuck up on us.    She thinks the bubble is going to burst and I agree.

I often wonder if people know how to use a calculator. If you look at the median income of homeowners (around $70,000) and the median home price (at its peak around $250,000, now about $190,000), the numbers just do not add up. Once you add in all the other average expenditures for an American family, the picture really starts to look bleak.

The average car payment is over $400. Many families have two new cars with large payments. The average credit card debt is $9000.00, which would make the payment about $250.00 dollars a month. Then you have insurance (home, auto, health), heat, electric, fuel, cable, phone, internet, cell phones, trash, water and food still left to pay for. Just using modest estimates I calculate that you would have only a couple hundred dollars left over at the end of the month. And, that is without putting anything away for retirement.

A couple hundred dollars is not much when you own a house or have a child. Even with my frugal ways there is always something unexpected come up that I must pay for each month. The basement needs a dehumidifier while the baby’s room needs a humidifier, the dog needs a hernia repair, the car needs new tires, etc. If you throw any type of wrench into the situation, such as loosing a job, families have little to fall back on.

Now, of course many people think the government should do something to help out the middle class, but why not help ourselves? Stop consuming what you cannot afford. If you do not have at least $500 left over at the end of the month (after putting money away for retirement) than you need to make some cuts in your budget.

I would start with the car. You do not need a new car every three years. You don’t really need a new car ever. Buy used with what you can afford to buy in cash. I remember when I was a kid very few people had a brand new car all the time. Everyone got around just fine.

Next, get rid of your cell phone. If you really need one for emergencies, than get a prepaid phone. I like the GoPhone. It only cost about $8.00 a month. I mean do you really need the cell phone for everyday use. Surely you can decide which spaghetti sauce to buy without calling your spouse for their opinion. And, don’t give me the whole, “but I don’t have a land line so I need the cell phone”. Well, get a land line. You can get a cable phone with free long distance or VoIP cheaper than most cell phone packages.

Hopefully, one positive result of this financial crisis could be that many people will have a wake up call and see that we are consuming ourselves into oblivion.

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