Libertarian Party Act VI

libertarian-party-sealTime to get back to the Libertarian Platform. I am going to be doing the next couple of sections in quick order, as it does seem that we got away from it a little too long. We want to cover it all without too much interval in order to make sure everyone gets to see it all. So on to finance, money, and monopolies…

I have decided that I am going to create a separate page just for the LP platform discussions, just so that they are housed all in one place for people who are late to the conversation. We seem to be adding new readers every day and I want it all to be in one place for people to find when they come to the site new! So look for that page soon.

As always, I have highlighted the platform as copied from the Libertarian Official site in orange. You can always see the entire platform by clicking on the link over there on the right.

2.4    Government Finance and Spending

All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution.  We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.

OK, here is where I am a little sketchy on what the Libertarians think is going to work. If we have a government that provides some services to the people, which is certainly something that is not going to go away, then we have to pay for it. That is what taxes do. They pay for government expenses in doing what government does. This is the first step away from the Constitution that I see. The constitution clearly states that the Congress has the power to levy taxes in order to pay for the services that they provide (general welfare section, the first line of Article I Section 8). Abolishing the income tax would simply mean raising the other taxes out there in order to pay for things.

I somewhat agree that governments should not incur debt. But to take this step would first require that the citizens of the country halt the unyielding demands that the government support them. No more welfare of any type. No more social security. No more anything. The government taxes (?) for the absolute minimum it needs to function, and pay for its military, and pay for its debts to other countries. All three are provided for in the constitution.

I am all for a balanced budget. It is a step I think we should have required for our government a long time ago. I am unsure about the idea of abolishing all government agencies not specifically called for in the constitution. I find it hard to fathom that the founders could have foreseen the need for some agencies that are now needed. Does this mean ALL of them. I mean the IRS is stated, but do they also mean the FBI, CIA, NSA, National Park Service, HUD, Driver’s License agencies and Department of Motor Vehicles? How far does this go? I mean we certainly can’t say that the founders should have planned for automobiles when they wrote the founding documents. 

2.5    Money and Financial Markets

We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies, the repeal of legal tender laws and compulsory governmental units of account.

Now this part started out making a bit of sense for me but devolved into chaos. I am for a free-market banking system. However, Can I assume that this means there will be no more government guaranteeing our deposits? If so are we setting ourselves up for “bank runs”? Our will we eliminate deposit banking all together and keep our money under the mattress?

Getting rid of the compulsory units of account? I am unsure how this could possibly work in today’s world. Let’s go to basics here. The idea seems to be that we can go back to a time of simple bartering. I will give you two cows for building my barn. How can this work in today’s world? If there is no standard for the money we use, then we drastically alter the ability of business to do what it does. How can you have a strategy with any sense for bringing products to market if you have no idea what you will get for it? That is just one example of the chaos that this would mean. Perhaps I am just not understanding correctly what they intend for this to mean.

2.6    Monopolies and Corporations

We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association. We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. We oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free markets.

So I believe that the intent here is to get rid of corporations altogether in their current form. Government would have zero input on business. I guess I kind of agree with this, but I am unsure, so I will look forward to other’s thoughts. I mean I never liked that by “incorporating”, the government deemed that you were no longer personally liable for the debts of your company. If you start a company and it sucks, why should the risk to you be limited to losing the company?

There is of course a flip side to this argument. If we don’t have the corporation as it exists today, would we be severely limiting the number of people willing to start a company? If starting a company means you are risking the welfare of your family, how many would do it today? I know they did in the past, and we read the stories about these great business folks today, but now the risk isn’t there like it was then.

The last part I agree with in principle. Why should big business get advantages that the small businesses don’t get? Industry should be governed by the free market. That is always the best way. Taking away all subsidies and tax breaks could have a detrimental effect though. If we want the biggest companies, with the biggest R&D budgets, to research something society wants, how do we provide incentive to do so? For example, would any company do alternative fuel vehicles without a government push? I think not with the behind the scenes power and influence of the oil industry.

2.7    Labor Markets

We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. We oppose government-fostered forced retirement. We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.

OK, I think I understand this one a little better. I see the repeal of laws that impede the ability of any person to find employment as an elimination of Affirmative Action. I do agree with eliminating that. What other laws can any of you think of that this applies to?

For labor unions, forced retirement, and bargaining, I agree that the government should get out of the way. But here is the catch 22 of that situation. If that happens, for the union part for example, does that drastically reduce the power of the unions? If so does it put power back into the hands of big business in a way that would reduce wages and benefits? I just want to make sure that we all understand that a really free market may not always work out equally well for everyone. If a business refuses to recognize unions, and subsequently unions walk out, are we OK with the idea that what we term as illegal aliens step in and do the work for less?

So there is the latest installment of our dissection of the Libertarian Party Platform. This one was a tough part for me. This is the first section that I found myself really not believing in what the platform was saying or espousing. I am struggling to get my head around just how the Libertarian Party believes some of these things would work.

I am, as always, open to learning where I am wrong. So I hope that some of our more Libertarian schooled friends will comment below and make me understand how we can do some of these things, such as eliminating government currency standards and income taxes. This should be an interesting debate. 

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Comments

  1. revolution2010 says:

    2.4 Government Finance and Spending
    Well, isn’t this an interesting perspective. I often wonder how much the IRS cost the taxpayers to collect our money. This is why our country is here today, because our founding Fathers refused to pay taxes. There are plenty of ways for the Government to be funded through the sale of government owned land and buildings. Have you ever wondered how much the Government owns that we don’t even realize? I agree that we need to have some taxes though income tax is not only unconstitutional, it is an invasion of privacy. It certainly doesn’t make sense that income tax has loopholes! Some pay lots, some pay none. I think there is something in the Constitution about them being uniform. Again, how much would we save if we fired the entire IRS workforce? What if we were not sending billions in financial aid overseas to create welfare states there? We did not have income tax until 1913. We went almost 150 years without having to impose income tax, why do we have one now? To pay for all of the charity, corporate welfare, citizen welfare, constituent handouts, grants and a host of others. Our country needs smaller government and smaller debt will come with that.
    A big Amen to incurring debt beyond our means. If my family hasn’t managed our money well, we don’t get to go on vacation, because we can’t afford it. With our national debt, there is no accountability. Oh, just keep spending… when do they think a generation is going to be able to pay off that debt? Can the US file Bankruptcy? Who is going to Bail us out? At some point, they will have to cut the programs to right the ship, so lets just do it now.
    2.5 Money and Financial Markets
    By the phrase halting inflationary monetary policies, repealing legal tender laws and compulsory governmental units of account, it sounds as if they want the government to straighten out our financial system. I do not personally believe that we are capable of losing the federal reserve banking system nor relieving the ability to operate without a paper money system (at least for now). I do believe that the answer is not just to print more money. If I understand the system, the government should be printing money based on the tax dollars that are expected as revenue for the federal government, but they are not, they are printing more. That being said, our dollar is losing value because there is less printed money in relation to the taxes which are assumable. If we start talking about cutting taxes, that would send the dollar further into the hole since we operate on Fiat Currency.
    I am not sure what the fix here is, though I believe this is an issue which must be put in reserve until many of the other problems are fixed, such as National Debt relief, pork barrel spending and corporate and federal welfare to name a few. Once those areas are rebalanced and the government as a whole is back on track and in the black, we would be much better equipped to deal with the tender issue.(pun intended…) I try to think about all of the government agencies such as the IRS. How much money is our taxation costing us. If we did go to a flat tax system and were able to relieve ourselves of the cost of the majority of those agencies, how much revenue would be a net gain to re-balance the nation? The thought of it is staggering!
    2.6 Monopolies and Corporations
    I agree with this for sure! I am tired of hearing about all of the money being handed to constituents for favors and such. We should open the free market system and put everyone on a level playing field without the favors and back scratching. Most government agencies should be turned over to private individuals to handle through civic groups and organizations. Money would be easier to track if these systems went local and there would be much less waste in smaller arenas. The government agencies are so big, it gets hard to track where all of the funds go, and I can guarantee that some funds have been completely misappropriated.
    In some ways, it is not much different than foreign aid. There was a report that came out not long ago stating that the government could not track where foreign aid had gone and many believe it was hijacked by government officials of the nations we were trying to help. I am not saying that someones heart was not in the right place, just that it went badly, and those ideas need to be understood as failures and abolished with a new form of relief in its place. The free market is a great option.. hell, it can’t be any worse! People like to see their money stay in their local areas and would more readily give to help communities where they could physically see progress.
    2.7 Labor Markets
    Well now, this is a timely conversation. I agree that forced retirement is a crock. Once you get too expensive, you gots to go? People just never used to treat people like that. Again, while we are talking about these issues separately, I think they really have to be thought of in hindsight as a whole. Many people would not have to be forced into retirement if there were checks and balances that a free market would promote. Workers and business owners in a free market would both have to stay more consistently competitive. If not, the worker could go down the street to someone offering more money and better benefits and if the worker demanded unreasonable compensation, the employer could replace him. The beauty of the free market is natural balance.
    I don’t think the government has any right to be arbitrating anything, as there tends to be some corrupt coercion that is imminent in that situation. If people want to join a union, they should be able to, but you should not be forced to under any circumstance. They say that it only works one way or the other, though I don’t think they had labor unions way back and they did fine; Businesses still thrived, as did capitalism. The good news about them not being mandatory one way or the other is that companies couldn’t be held hostage and workers would still be able to pull increasingly fair wages. Situations that occurred in the Big 3 would never have gotten to that point. The labor unions probably would have settled for a fair, yet not astronomical amount long ago, and the rate of pay and benefits would have seen a much more gradual growth that followed economy and inflation lines.

  2. Well, you know my stand on the first section, so there is no reason to reiterate there. If it means an end to programs, “entitlements”, agencies, and other imaginary “needs”, then you have killed two (or more) birds with one stone.

    The existence of automobiles doesn’t require government oversight or meddling. Why are cars treated as totally different than horse-powered vehicles? What would Thomas Jefferson have thought about a demand that he put a government identification plate on his horse’s butt, and pay for the “privilege” annually?

    As long as the government exists, if it wishes to print its own funny-money, let it. The problem is that it forbids others from offering money that is backed by real value. The Liberty Dollar raid demonstrated this. I don’t think the LP has a real problem with “governmental units of account”; only the “compulsory” ones. I am sure I can function without being told what something is worth (if this is what they are speaking of, which I am not sure). There can be “standards” without government setting them, and certainly without them being based upon fictional fiat currency. I think that in most cases, you have a pretty clear idea of what something is worth, compared to something else. You are not going to mistakenly believe a new cell-phone will be worth the same as a new flying car, no matter how many “bells and whistles” the phone has. Even a totally new product’s value can be estimated. I have had to do this kind of thing in the past, and I guessed pretty accurately.

    I think that without corporations there might be more people willing to take the risk of starting new businesses. The risk would still be there, but the cost (and therefore the amount being risked) would be a lot less. The biggest drawback today is the governmental red-tape and hoops. Of course, a lot of this is due to corporations lobbying government to help protect their market. This is the opposite of “free market”.

    “If we want the biggest companies, with the biggest R&D budgets, to research something society wants, how do we provide incentive to do so?”

    That isn’t “our” job. If you see a need or a desire, find a way to fill it. If society (meaning, of course, individuals) really wants something, someone will want to fill the desire. That is how profits are made.

    Alternative fuel vehicles will explode on the scene when they become really viable, with or without government “pushing”. Probably due to the breakthrough of some garage inventor. If oil companies (whose prices are controlled by a government cartel) price their product too high, they will destroy their market because someone will be inspired enough to invent something a lot better. They have to find a balance, which seems too high to you and me, but obviously isn’t or “we” would do something about it (other than complaining). As I have mentioned, my first car was electric, and was fun, but not very practical. If there had been enough “societal desire” for electric cars, they would be common now, oil company wishes or not.

    I am fine with “illegal aliens” (independent migrants) or anyone else taking any jobs they can do for whatever pay they want to accept. Why wouldn’t I be?

    This also involves the horror of “minimum wage”. This “law” has kept me from being able to work where I wished a few times in the past. If I am willing to work at a lower rate, I should be able to. Of course, then all the rest of the “legal” expenses involved in hiring employees also works to destroy the job market even if the “minimum wage” doesn’t finish it off. I have tried to get people to hire me “off the books”, at whatever rate of pay we could agree upon, but too many businesses are too afraid of the “legal” ramifications. This makes me really angry.

  3. Kent,

    I see your argument there about vehicle taxes. However, Thomas Jefferson’s horse didn’t need a paved road with stoplights and railroad crossing signs (as needed according to BlackFlag). I do think it probably did just about as much damage to the environment as a car does (cow farts add more carbon to the atmosphere than human activities combined, lol). When our country stops relying on the government to do something about everything and starts taking on personal responsibility, we can start to talk about reducing the taxes.

    I agree that the worth of things can be estimated, but giving everyone the right to print or make currency would simply continually devalue the currency. Simple economics says that the more money that is made, the less it is worth, unless backed by something solid. Short of going back to something like the gold standard, what could we back it with that everyone would accept? And the government establishing a uniform “standard” how can people from different areas do business in today’s world. How complicated would things be? Internet purchasing would be eliminated. How can I know that your paper money is equal in value to my paper money? By forcing everyone to the same standard, they are merely facilitating commerce more easily. If there is a better way, I am open to hearing it.

    Minimum wage isn’t meant to do what you have experienced, it is meant to ensure that companies don’t take advantage of workers. But I see your point. The issue is with the income tax. You can’t work off the books because then they can’t get whatever they feel they are entitled to of your earnings. This is a tragic flaw that we all her agree on. So abolish the income tax, that is fine, but we have to drastically reduce the role of government before that is possible. I am all for it, but there are things that have to happen first. Get rid of corporate welfare, social welfare, and things like that and we can talk about getting rid of the income tax.

  4. And we have plenty of people smart enough to come up with the things we need to invent. But I don’t have the money or the time to undertake such things. I imagine I am not alone. The free market is a great concept and I am all for it. But we have to deal with the reality of where we are rather than the dream of where we should be. I share a lot of your desires for where society should go, but for now I am forced to deal with where we are. The Libertarians are going to be forced to deal with that reality as well, and that is why I question their plan.

  5. I think you are mistaken about what the income tax plunder is spent on. But I could be wrong… it has been a while since I was concerned about what I consider to be diversionary distractions.

    Cars don’t “need” paved roads, we have just assumed roads will be paved and have built cars accordingly. Plus, as I have pointed out in the past, paved roads do not need government in order to exist. That is just the situation we have become accustomed to. None of this is a justification to take money from its rightful owners.

    Railroad crossings should be the responsibility of the railroad. Railroads should be businesses which have owners who are responsible for any harm their business causes, and who should be concerned with making their crossings as safe as possible.

    Currency would only be devalued by “everyone printing” it if they were all printing the same currency. If that were the case, I would refuse to take that devalued currency in trade, and would insist on currency (or coinage) that I trusted to have and keep value. My paper money doesn’t need to be equal in value to your paper money. In fact, it shouldn’t be. The market would determine the value of each competing currency. Obviously, I would prefer to accept money backed by gold or silver (or anything else of real value), but people should be free to choose. If given the choice, I would refuse to accept FRNs. They are only worth anything at all because government says they are worth something. It is fiat currency, which always fails.

    How would this elimiate internet purchasing? eGold worked very well in this regard until the government shut them down. Once again, not a failure of the market, but an example of coercion.

    I still believe the best and most innovative products come from individuals, many working on their own time; using their own funds. Even if this were not the case, companies and wealthy individuals will always be willing to fund research. Otherwise, nothing would have ever gotten invented before the state took over the market.

    This is reality.

  6. Ok, this is a fun one.
    I will grant that if there is to be a government, a concept I do support, then there has to be funds from somewhere to cover it. Originally, almost all of these revenues were gained from things like exports and imports. I have no problem with taxes on those type items, as long as they are not made extra high for the sake of protectionism. I also have no problem with a government charge for services. I would think a sales tax would be the easiest manner in which to collect this and still be fair, since the protection of the free market is probably the largest government function. Fees for road travel or other usages of government operated infrastructure also make sense.

    The elimination of an income tax or an investment/savings tax would be an enormous benefit for the economy. This may not be able to be done overnight, as the current costs of government can also not be eliminated overnight due to the level of dependencies on government programs. The final goal, however, should be to remove these types of taxes and what they pay for entirely.

    Enforcing a balanced budget is somethign that can be done immediately. It is, in fact, the first step to curbing government spending. If the government is not allowed to spend what it doesnt have, then it has to truly examine its priorities, and it has to say no to the voters, meaning people will start to learn that the governemnt is not an unlimited source from which to get whatever you want. It will change both the government and the people. Government debt and the printing of money is simply a tax on the future, since it is part of what creates inflation. Devaluing currency destroys savings and investment, and makes people’s money purchase less. It is basically a hidden tax.

    Monetary policy needs some work. We need to change the legal tender laws to protect people from government and banking-caused inflation. Our currency should not be forced on people. The dollar says that it is legal tender for all debts, public and private. In a private debt, a contract should be able to be written that specifies currency and disallows our national currency. I have no problem with the idea of a national currency, it makes trade much more efficient and less ocnfusing. It also allows more effective international trade. The problems we are having are related to the removal of the gold standard. Worse still, our government made it illegal to have gold and silver except in coin form, which was an exception for collectors. It is an absolute attrocity to have a dependable form of wealth taken from the populace in such a way, and replaced by worthless paper that has gradually become less and less valued.

    Government garaunteed bank accounts should be removed. It is taxpayer dollars garaunteeing them, and that is not a valid government use of taxpayer money. As seen recently, even the government insurance does not prevent runs on banks. What needs to be done is a major change to fractional reserve banking. Banks need to fully disclose what is being done with your money. They also should only be able to loan it out once. With the current system, the fractional reserve, set by the federal reserve bank, is 10%. The way that works, $100 can be turned into $1000 by multiple loans. This is where most of our inflation is coming from, not government printing. The government has no business bailing out banks for bad practices. If banks want to prevent runs and stay in business, they will adjust their policies accordingly.

    As I have said before, I support a seperation of business and state. This also means no government creation of entities, such as corporations. One should not be required to pay a fee or get a license to do business, nor should one be absolved of responsibility for the actions of their company. The removal of liability is also the removal of responsibility. Would it reduce the number of people willing to go into business? Maybe, but not as many as you think. Also, it is one of those things that would have to happen in conjunction with tort reform. The biggest liability for a business is a lawsuit. If they were not so overdone, people wouldnt be so scared of business. As far as investors, contracts could still permit stock issues that were limited in liability so that people could invest and not go to jail for something a business did.

    I have mroe on this but I am out of time, I will add more later.

  7. To continue:
    Monopolies are not bad in and of themselves. If a single business can function so well that they capture all of the market without using fraud, protective laws, government funding and support, or theivery, then there is no problem with them being the only business. The only thing that I would question is what can be done about actions like Rockefeller’s oil company where they ran at a loss in one area until the competition was destroyed, then jacked up their prices. That is something the free market cannot fight on its own, but it is a slippery slope of regulations to prevent it. I will have to work on that one. Other than that, however, there is no reason for a government to step in to stop monopolies. Most of the current ones are government created, whether indirectly or not. Many laws make competition nearly impossible, particularly laws designed for “safety” or the “welfare of the workers”. Most of these laws harm the ones they claim to protect in the long run.

    Repealing labor laws is great. Removal of the minimum wage, removal of mandatory retirement ages, removal of Affirmative Action and other preferential policies, etc. These things will open the job market up and actually increase employment significantly.

    Unions don’t need government support. The current unions are a drain on our production, which is why we are losing it all. The current unions would have disolved and reformed many times, thus staying in balance with employers, just as they were designed to do, if the government had not intervened. When unions began, the government tried to stop them. Once they realized how many voters were represented, they switched sides. It was an opportunistic move by the government, and the government ended up making life hard on business, just as before they made it hard on the unions. Basically, its just like a theocracy that changes to another faith. That is why we need a seperation of business and state just like we need seperation of church and state. The government harmed both sides. The good that was done by the unions was done before the government got involved. In fact, it was done in spite of government opposition. Unions don’t need the government.

    A note on the R&D comment, USWeapon:
    The government is not needed to alternate fuels to work. When market prices for oil are too high, people get to work on it. Necesity is the mother of invention. And the influence of the oil companies would be greatly nullified if that influence did not reach the government level. Oil companies cannot restrict R&D at other places. And I don’t think they truly control demand either.

  8. blackflag2012 says:

    Monopolies are not bad in and of themselves. If a single business can function so well that they capture all of the market without using fraud, protective laws, government funding and support, or theivery, then there is no problem with them being the only business. The only thing that I would question is what can be done about actions like Rockefeller’s oil company where they ran at a loss in one area until the competition was destroyed, then jacked up their prices.

    Monopolies cannot exist in a free market – they always require some sort of government grant or license to prevent competition – Rockefeller notwithstanding. His power came from government preventing other oil companies from other countries from entering the USA and by government grants of drilling rights – he could tie up huge tracks of land and prevent others from exploiting the finds.

    Any company that continues to sell below cost is a great savior of the people – who wouldn’t buy product at a price lower than its real value? However, as soon as he tried to increase his price to regain his lost profits, he simply made the market too lucrative for others to enter as competition – he was a huge loser until he convinced the government to block competition (especially the foreign guys).

    The only near-monopoly I can point to in a free market is Alcola – and they’ve succeeded in limiting competition by efficiency, and radical cost cutting attitude that extends to everyone in the company. They work hard in lowering the costs of aluminum production for their customers while never allowing the quality to falter, all the while making a razor-thin profit.

    There is simply no business gap in which another possible competitor can exploit profitably. There isn’t a significant profit margin to exploit, there is little or no ability to produce it more cheaply, and there are virtually no complaints about quality.

    And what is the problem with this? Not a darn thing!

  9. There are some really good points here on a wide range of subjects. I want to start to address them all but I am honestly just too tired to think. Long days at work lately and schoolwork on top of it. I cannot wait until this next degree is done in March. I am taking at least two months off before going after another one. I just need a break, and a real vacation. I have an Alaskan cruise slated for June, I am looking forward to that…. no phones, no computer, no nothing.

    At any rate I promise to get in here and start addressing your thoughts above within a day or two.

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