Libertarianism is like the new communism, dude

Michael Hamilton is a libertarian writer living in Washington, D.C. His main interests are economics, drug legalization, immigration, and land-use policy.

Libertarianism is the new communism, at least if you ask Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu:

Most people would consider radical libertarianism and communism polar opposites: The first glorifies personal freedom. The second would obliterate it. Yet the ideologies are simply mirror images. Both attempt to answer the same questions, and fail to do so in similar ways.

This colorful lede suggested they might offer a new critique of libertarianism, but my hopes were quickly dashed. The authors end up retreading old arguments—seemingly unaware that others had done so many times before. Their failure to offer a substantive appraisal of libertarian ideas may stem from low familiarity with libertarianism itself.

Hanauer and Liu start with a decent definition of libertarianism, namely that it is “the ideology that holds that individual liberty trumps all other values.” This is fairly accurate characterization of the moral beliefs held by many libertarians. Unfortunately, the authors struggle to trace these moral foundations to basic philosophical  or policy positions held by actual libertarians.

Dr. Paul on Bloomberg Explaining Why the Fed Needs to Go

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Dr. Paul explains why the Federal Reserve needs to go and why the free market and saving money (vs. printing money) is part of the solution to the current crisis.

Ron Paul Discusses Stimulus Bill on Bloomberg TV

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Quotes from Andrew Malcolm’s take on this video:

Here’s how silly Ron Paul is: He set a budget for his campaign and lived within it. Flew commercial.In fact, he ended with no deficit, which is how he thinks the federal government should operate. In point of fact, Paul ended his campaign with a surplus. Can you imagine anything so silly in this day and age?

Paul warned all during his campaign about a looming economic disaster if government just kept growing and growing and printing more money like Republicans and Democrats wanted.

Majority of Americans skeptical of Obama’s latest stimulus proposal

It looks like Americans aren’t buying President Barack Obama’s latest stimulus gimmick — which includes more than $460 billion in tax hikes, according to a new poll from Bloomberg:

By a margin of 51 percent to 40 percent, Americans doubt the package of tax cuts and spending proposals intended to jumpstart job creation that Obama submitted to Congress this week will bring down the 9.1 percent jobless rate. That sentiment undermines one of the core arguments the president is making on the job act’s behalf in a nationwide campaign to build public support.

Compounding Obama’s challenge is that 56 percent of independents, whom the president won in 2008 and will need to win in 2012, are skeptical it will work.
In all of the categories gauging Obama’s performance on economic issues, the president’s disapproval rating among independents is above 50 percent.

That’s not the end of Obama’s troubles. The poll also shows that 62% of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy. Only 33% of respondents approve (one has to wonder what world their living in). Overall, Obama’s job approval rating stands at 45%.

Since the bill has a lot of opposition already in Congress, many observers say that it serves only one real purpose; to have another fight between the White House and Republicans over the economy. That may very well be the case, but the numbers are already against Obama on this. Republicans really need only point to the failed 2009 stimulus bill as evidence that Obama is throwing a Hail Mary.

White House wants “adult conversation”, just not with you

President Obama wants to have an “adult conversation” about budget cuts.  He’s also said he wanted the most transparent government in history.  So Jagadeesh Gokhale and David Schoenbrod of the Cato Institute decided to take the President at his word.  They wanted data so they could take part in the so-called “adult conversation”.

Unfortunately, here’s what happened:

To acquire the information necessary for an “adult conversation” on the budget, we formally requested that OMB Director Jack Lew release the projections. The response was a letter stating that the information was “not available to the general public.”

One excuse was that OMB’s long-term projections were not fully “vetted.” Another was that the information “could lead to unintended misrepresentations of the administration’s proposals.”

Well, isn’t that transparent?

I understand concerns about information being used to misrepresent intentions.  Unfortunately, you’re not going to stop that by simply not letting the information get out.  Instead, you create an environment where suspicion begins to take hold, where people make up their own data points – either through educated methods or just systematic wild assed guessing – and use them to misrepresent the proposals.

Open government, something that President Obama promised and that I sincerely prayed he would deliver, can not function without debate over the issues.  That is one reason why freedom of speech is so important to a free society.  However, we must also have accountability with regard to what the government is doing and thinking.  Free speech isn’t particularly effective when it doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

Investors skeptical of Obama

A new Bloomberg survey shows that 77% of investors believe that Barack Obama is anti-business:

The global quarterly poll of investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers finds that 77 percent of U.S. respondents believe Obama is too anti-business and four-out-of-five are only somewhat confident or not confident of his ability to handle a financial emergency.

The poll also finds a decline in Obama’s overall favorability rating one year after taking office. He is viewed favorably by 27 percent of U.S. investors. In an October poll, 32 percent in the U.S. held a positive impression.

Ironically, this survey comes the week President Obama unveiled his financial sector overhaul, which was met with skepticism by investors as stocks fell to the lowest point of the year.

Earth to Congress: No Bailout!

A recent LA Times/Bloomberg poll shows that 55 percent of the American people do not support a taxpayer bailout of the financial sector of the economy, while only 31 percent think it is the government’s responsibility to provide these funds to the struggling firms. The first plan presented, drawn up by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Bush administration, has drawn fire from many legislators and political action groups. The Paulson plan calls for $700 billion dollars to be spent to purchase the assets that the mortgage companies are unable to sell, a transfer of more authority over the markets to the Federal Reserve, and no oversight or judicial review. That would be a hard pill to swallow for any legislation, let alone a taxpayer bailout of financial corporations.

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