Libertarian Party Act VII

libertarian-party-sealAs promised, we move directly into Act VII of dissecting the Libertarian Party Platform. That last part was fairly tough for me. I had been cruising along and starting to think that maybe I could get behind this party, and then I hit a financial roadblock. That hasn’t ruled them out, but I certainly need some convincing that those parts can work.

Today, however, we finish up section 2 of the platform. There are some interesting topics that we are simultaneously covering some of in separate posts. I hope that those participating there will also participate here. Even if you are copying what you wrote in the other posts to this one, it will keep things going.

So onwards to sections 2.8, 2.9, and 2.10. I know I say it all the time, but I feel I have to in order to not break any plagiarism laws, the parts highlighted in orange are copied directly from the Libertarian Party website.

2.8    Education

Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, we would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.

I think that I made it clear in my education post that I favor a move towards the privatization of the education system. I obviously, therefore, agree with letting the education system be governed by the free market. And I don’t know that I could say it better that the authority over children’s education should fall to the parents.

I simply believe that there are too many benefits to privatizing the industry. Local standards and local involvement are a big part of what I think will better our schools. More than that, I think that the competition created by the free market is the only way we are going to increase the quality of education provided. Without competition we have watched our schools, for the most part, reach for nothing more that meeting a weak government standard. And by completely standardizing the curriculum, we have ignored the differences that make people great.

I guess the way that I would phrase it would be that by eliminating government from the education system, I believe that we would be eliminating the biggest obstacle to our children getting a quality and relevant education.

2.9    Health Care

We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want, the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions.

OK. I am cool with all of this, especially in today’s system, which has obviously not worked. I worried a bit about this as I was reading it at first. I saw in my head price gouging and different standards of care. Then I realized we already have that, it is just enforced by the government in the current system. I mean if someone is so good that they should get twice as much to do your surgery, they can do that now, and that wouldn’t change in a free market.

I know we are going to continue to discuss the idea of a national health care system in today’s political discussions. Besides the fact that I feel like it is akin to a form of socialism, I simply don’t like the government that involved. Again, the great thing about a free market is that it spurs competition for market share, meaning that our care should improve. I also think that costs would come way down, meaning that everyone would be able to afford it without the government handout.

2.10    Retirement and Income Security

Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. We favor replacing the current government-sponsored Social Security system with a private voluntary system. The proper source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.

Well, any of you who know me know that I abhor welfare. And as part of that I abhor the government feeling like they will force me to save for my retirement rather than allowing me to do it on my own. They are not smarter than me. Many of you probably read the “Welfare Queens” post (if you haven’t read it go read it now!), and that was far worse than what we have today, so I hope we don’t go that far. But I am OK with this approach too. If you don’t save for your own retirement, then guess who will be working until they die?

One aspect that I find an interesting quandary that perhaps some of you enlightened folks can help me with is this: If the Libertarians get rid of the government monetary system and go to a free market in that realm as discussed in Act VI, then how would we possibly save money for retirement? It seems that section 2.5 would render section 2.10 impossible. Explain to me how I am wrong in my thinking here.

Overall Act VII has not done much to push me either way on the Libertarian Party. While I found myself in agreement with many of the things in this section, that last part where I found one section rendering another moot really hurt.

We have wrapped up the “Economic Liberty” section of the Libertarian platform at this point. The next section will be the “Securing Liberty” section. This third section is the remainder of the platform and will be broken into three acts just like the second section. I intend to have Act VIII posted within a day or two.

Comments

  1. Education- Separate school and state.

    Healthcare- Separate medicine and state. You should be able to choose the lever of expertise you wish. If that means going to a local man trained in EMS instead of a doctor if you have a sprained ankle, that is your choice. Why shouldn’t a nurse be allowed to set up a clinic in his hometown, which is too small to interest a doctor. Or even set up a clinic to compete with the local doctor. If a case were “over his head”, in order to avoid being sued for causing harm, he could refer the case to the doctor. Not every medical situation requires a “real” doctor. Different levels of need; different prices.

    This doesn’t mean you would be at the mercy of quacks. There would still be accreditation, just not government accreditation. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, or witchdoctors could have professional organizations and credentials. There could be a sort of “Underwriter’s Laboratory” for medical services. If you trust the credentials or the organization that rates the medical practitioner, go to him. If not, look elsewhere. In a way, that already happens today. Word gets around about bad doctors.

    There should be no “safety net” for retirement. It is an illusion. Save or otherwise prepare for your own future. Don’t count on others to do it for you. They don’t care nearly as much about your future as you do. Keeping you fed and somewhat medicated is probably enough to make them feel good about your level of “care”. Does it matter that the food would not be appetizing to a dog, or that the medicine is not what is apporpriate to your needs? Probably not to those who also thought is was OK to take your money while you were productive.

    Monetary systems don’t have to be government monetary systems. There is no reason to have one monolithic system instead of multiple competing systems. Won’t gold, silver, or business investments still be a valuable store of wealth whether FRNs exist or not? Remember, FRNs have lost around 96% of their value since they were mandated. That is why we have the illusion of “inflation”. Is that a smart thing to stockpile for a rainy day?

  2. blackflag2012 says:

    Education – before anything, the law requiring education needs repealed. As long at the government, by law, interferes between child and parent, there is no hope to free children from the 12-year prison sentence of government school.

    The basic justification for public schools started with the law forcing parents to educate their kids (as if they weren’t) – and because there is a law requiring it, the government then had to provide something for free (public school) for those that couldn’t pay for it.

    Of course, between free and cost, free wins – and government crowded out any real competition to education. What was left was a ‘business’ created for the benefit of teachers, not the kids.

    The consequence – diaster, as usual.

    But any reform to education has to start with the complete repeal of the law, or nothing will really change.

  3. blackflag2012 says:

    Medicine
    Kent’s got it right.

    Repeal the law – and practice medicine without a license. A monopoly always increases costs and lowers service – doctors are the leading cause of accidental deaths in the USA – 100,000 a year vs ‘merely’ 50,000 in car accidents.

    Government medicine is as expensive as it is deadly. Most doctors did not graduate at the top of their class, and it shows. But with limited competition, the odds you’re going to visit a quack is high anyway. Remember, they are still ‘practicing’ medicine 🙂 Hope they figure it out before they get to me!

  4. blackflag2012 says:

    Retirement

    To be blunt – with the coming economic collapse – unless you’re retired right now, expect the day of your future retirement to be the day after you die. This generation of workers will be the first among many to never face retirement.

    Government has no hope of paying out retirement benefits. It will end.

  5. blackflag2012 says:

    Money

    If there is one topic that even most economists don’t understand is money.

    Money as the most marketable commodity. “It is the most marketable good which people accept because they want to offer it in later acts of impersonal exchange”

    Simply said, Money is merely the ‘thing’ the vastness of most people want – and because it is so wanted, people who have it can trade it very easy for other things they want. This want is made up of other features, such as durability, divisibility, rarity.

    What most people forget is that money serves two, very distinct, characteristics.

    1)Money serves as the transport of value through space.

    You don’t need to carry the entire value of a cow on your back- you can transport that value in money.

    But the second part is what most people forget is NECESSARY for money – and your government does its level best to help you forget this function (or hide it).

    2)Money serves as a transmitter of value through time. It is “the special goods for hoarding” or storage of value. Savings account – to be able to exchange your value today to trade for value in the future.

    Fiat government money does not serve #2 – as Kent accurately states, 97% of the value of the dollar has disappeared – as planned by your government – and it will only get worse.

    By monopolizing money, government has also taken the power to debase the money – in their favor. They spend the whole dollar at creation for its full current value. As that dollar moves through the economy, it is inflated away. Eventually the government taxes it back – and matches the creation with the destruction (or re-insertion back into the economy) but the dollar coming back is valueless compared to the dollar that went out. Your government nets the difference and gain – to your demise. Inflation destroys your ability to save – and saving is fundamental to capitalist society. With no surprise, over time we witness the collapse of society.

  6. BlackFlag,

    Well….Education. For the first time in recorded history, I think that I am in complete agreement with you. There is absolutely nothing that you have written there that I don’t agree with. I want to argue, it would be so much fun, but I can’t. You have it nailed.

    Medicine. I largely agree with you there as well. I am for some sort of certification, but I do allow that the government does not need to be the one that provides it. I would much rather submit to the standards of those practicing than the government, who’s standards are obviously far below my standards. So having the people make their own choices is fine with me. And I say that if you have an expertise in a certain area, you should be able to use it without government approval. And that goes for just about everything. I am sure I could come up with exceptions to the rule, but you get the point. Since you like stories, let me share one…

    I spent quite a few years in the military. If you ask the government, they would say I am fairly dangerous if you put a gun in my hand. They would certify me as an “expert” with a firearm. I would tell you that they are right, I am dangerous if I have a gun and a purpose (neither of which I now have, lol). But I grew up in a small town where everyone hunted, and there were some good ol boys that could handle a weapon. And regardless of how I can shoot, and there are a few people reading here who have seen me do it well, some of those hunters who cannot string ten words into a sentence can shoot a grouping INSIDE of my grouping. The point is that they don’t need to be recognized by the government to be good at what they do. If I ever need a group of people who can handle a gun, I may grab one or two from the military that can shoot, but I am absolutely going to grab a few of those good ol boys too. Because what I am interested in is getting the best at what they do, not the best that the government says, the best.

    I guess I look at it that way with a lot of things. I don’t care if a doctor has a a government license, I care if he is good at what he does. If he isn’t, everyone will stop going to him. I don’t care if a teacher has a certification from the National Board of Education, I care if they are good at teaching my kids what I think they need to know. If they aren’t people will stop sending their children there (in a free market education system they will anyway).

    The money thing, I am going to have to think about what you guys wrote and get back to you. The 97% inflation thing doesn’t make sense to me in the terms that you presented, but I will research and return.

  7. Here is one reference (which doesn’t agree totally with other things I have read, saying a dollar has “only” lost 95.3% of its value since 1913; the year the Federal Reserve was created). This was from my attempt to find a non-free-market source: link

    I am figuring the truth is even worse, since this is based upon the CPI, which I would guess is “government-calculated”.

  8. Thanks Kent,

    The CPI is government calculated, but is a fairly accurate representation of inflation. I see the numbers and I get that part. I am not arguing the validity of the percentage decrease you guys have presented. It sounds right. What I am unsure about is how much of that is “as your government planned” as BF mentioned. I want to understand why he feels the government planned this and what the overall benefit is to them. I see what he is saying about it but I want to understand better. I, unfortunately, am not nearly as smart as all my friends think I am, lol. I have some ideas, but I want to hear BF and your thoughts before I throw them out there.

  9. Ok, I have to get into the money discussion here. USWeapon, section 2.5 did not remove the concept of a national currency, it removed the requirement for using the national currency. Essentially, the government wants to be able to print money for it’s own purposes, thereby devaluing the currency. It is not their intention to devalue currency, it is their intention to make more and spend it. They get the full value of the money they print because the market has not had a chance to respond by adjusting prices to compensate. The trickle down effect is that money for everyone else is worth less because the market responds to the artificial addition of money supply by making things cost more units of money. This essentially taxes existing wealth in an indirect and hidden fashion. It discourages savings and makes wealth creation difficult. It also forces lenders to charge more in order to be profitable, since they have to compensate for inflation by charging higher rates.

    Banks enter into this with government approval through fractional reserve banking. With the fractional reserve set at 10% as it is now, when you deposit $100, $90 of it can be loaned out. The dirty little secret is that whoever borrows that $90 now has $90 in their account, of which $81 can be lent out. That borrower can have $72.90 of their money lended out, and so on. This means that banks are creating enormous quantities of money on paper, and making interest on all of it. That is how they make as much as they do. When too many loans are defaulted on, the whole system gets hit hard, because all of the reserve lending downline from the one that defaults is now jeapordized as well. It is inflationary and unstable, but very profitable in the short run.

    Basically, a national currency would likely still exist in a libertarian society, but any who wished to operate with some other currency could do so. The means of value exchange in a transaction would be up to the persons in the transaction. By our current laws it is technically illegal to use another means of trade because it allows people to avoid taxes, both the direct ones like sales tax or income tax, and the indirect ones like bearing the brunt of devaluation through inflationary monetary policy.

    In modern savings accounts, most people do not simply put thousands of dollars into a bank account and then draw on it and the interest when they are able to retire. Most retirement accounts are tied up in investments of some sort. Bonds (loan notes held), stocks (ownership of businesses that are producing things of value), commodities (precious metals, oil, and other resources that hold or increase value as the demand and supply change), or collectibles (wines, paintings, etc., any item with value that tends to increase over time due to rarity). All of these items are chosen over the saving of actual money because they are more likely to increase in value or at least hold their value over time. If a unit of money, be it free market derived or nationally accepted, were tied to something stable such as a gold standard, more people would save by simply hoarding money. As it stands now, hoarding money would be stupid because of the inflationary nature of our currency, due to the government and banking policies that control it. When it is said that the devaluation is planned, what is meant is that the devaluation is known, and the government wants to be the only one that can benefit from it by being the first one to spend the new money before it is able to dilute everyone else’s money.

    So, essentially, if a national system of money did not exist, the means of securing savings and retirement would not change from now. If we maintained a national currency that was made legal tender for all debts public and private, but returned to a gold standard that did not permit the creation of money, then that may be acceptable too. I have not decided for sure which would be better, I know some libertarians think that a national currency will still be necessary. I tend to think that it would not be, but that one would exist anyway because of the market demands for one in the society we currently have. I do think that currecny must not be fiat, it cannot be based solely on the faith and good will of the government. If I had faith in the good will and security of the government, I wouldn’t be a libertarian, I would be a socialist.

  10. blackflag2012 says:

    Medicine #2.

    I am for some sort of certification

    I, personally, would go to a ‘certified’ doctor. However, I do not believe I should ‘force’ anyone to make the same choice as I.

    If Kent (for lack of a better name 🙂 ) wanted to go to down the street to his neighbor, why should I get involved with that?

    Every industry creates its own Society that, voluntarily, manages its line of business. It is in the best interest of competitors in a line of business to ensure that their business is viable – or why even bother entering the business to compete?

    These entities create their own industry standards and (shock) they are exactly the ones that should, since better than anyone else, they know their own business.

    So we agree (shock) again!

    You can go here to the government themselves to calculate your dissolving dollar – I previously posted it my “help” reply….

    http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

  11. Excellent analysis, Jon! “What he said!”

  12. blackflag2012 says:

    Money #2

    USwep,

    Who prints/creates the money? I sure don’t, and unless you’re not telling us the whole story about you and your government days, neither do you 😉

    (Well, maybe Kent does, he does fly a pirate flag….;) )

    Therefore, inflation is caused only by government. They don’t do this by accident (that is, no one accidentally sat on the “print more money” button)

    For argument sake, create $10 trillion (yr2000), and then inflate the currency – at a mere 5% inflation rate, your balance – in real terms – 14 years has dissolved by half. By 2014, You just made $5 trillion (in yr2000 dollars) without doing a damn thing except inflation.

    So, if for some reason you need to take out $10 trillion (yr2014) of dollars out of the economy, the government would need to return only $5 trillion (yr2000) worth of goods to pay it all back – they get to keep $5 trillion (yr2000) worth of goods free and clear – by not doing a damn thing.

    And you gotta know how ridiculous this all is when we speak of dollars, we need to attach a ‘year’ to the discussion to try to make a point – and invent a bizarre concept of economic value called ‘in real terms’…. absurd what this government controlled money makes us do.

    The main part of this strategy is that the government did not need to go to the people and say “we are raising your taxes by $5 trillion over the next 14 years” – if they said that, there would be a revolt.

    But who misses 5c out every $1 in a year? No one (unless you’re watching, or aware of the game). It smooths into the economy without much complaint – in fact, most people nod their head and say “hey, that’s not too bad!” until one day you notice that a dime can’t by a phone call any more – and penny-candy costs $1.

    It is purposeful and by design. It is not a conspiracy but a plan.

    Quote:”“America is a country that owes money,” agrees Philippa Malmgren, a former Bush advisor. “It is natural when you are a debtor that you lean in the direction of inflation, because it makes paying it back so much easier.”

  13. blackflag2012 says:

    PS: Why do you think they can give a tax refund, but still increase the costs of government every year? Somewhere comes the wealth – and it is theft via inflation.

  14. blackflag2012 says:

    PSS:

    Just to add to Jon’s excellent expose:

    It is not illegal per say to use another medium to satisfy debts – barter trade for example – or token coins, etc.

    However, the government enforces its currency two ways.

    1) You can only pay your taxes with government currency. Therefore, somehow, you have to get some government currency to enable you to pay.

    (Aside: right up to current times, you paid your taxes to the King by paying with a pieces of a stick – A Tally Stick. The King cut a stick, and sold it. He demanded his taxes be paid with those pieces of stick – so others had to trade to get those sticks, and then submit it back to the King to pay the tax). This where the qip “getting the short end of a stick” comes from – a quick google search goes to:
    http://www.sovereignsociety.com/2008Archives2ndHalf/121008GettingtheshortendoftheTreasury/tabid/5011/Default.aspx
    for more of the story. I believe the last time a tally stick was used was in 1990.)

  15. blackflag2012 says:

    Arrg:

    …and 2) they made the courts not recognize debts in any other currency other than government-currency.

    So if owed me a debt, and tried to pay it with, say, Peso, I can legally refuse to accept the payment – and put you in default if you didn’t pay on time. I, however, MUST accept your payment in dollars – if I refuse, the court will recognize your attempt to pay as legal, and you will not be in default.

  16. BF,

    Some very good points about the money and I enjoyed the tale about the stick. I think I had heard that before but had forgotten it over time and it was a nice reminder, so thanks. I do understand the way that inflation works and the fact that government uses it to its advantage. I didn’t mean to say that I didn’t. I have been trained in economics (or at least formally educated, which may not mean much these days). I agree with the inflation numbers above. I was writing there with a bit of a foggy head and simply needed to take some time to wrap my head around it. Plus I wanted to hear from you to make sure I was understanding you to say what I thought you were saying.

  17. Jon Smith,

    Thanks for the education. At least I felt like I got taken to school there, lol. Most of that I knew or understood to be true, I was struggling with how the Libertarians were presenting it however. Your explanation made it make a little more sense to me. So if I am understanding correctly, a realistic Libertarian point of view is that the government “system” of currency would not go away, meaning that the current economic systems like purchasing from the internet could be done using the standard currency. But the Libertarian viewpoint instead favors that system not being mandatory for use. Everyone is free to trade using whatever form they like. Is that about right?

    As far as getting away from fiat money, I completely agree. We should move away from that system. I am in favor of moving to the gold standard if that is the case. Or at least something mimicking it. We need to have currency backed by something in order for it to retain value. I guess I would be open to what that would be. The devaluation of the dollar is a troubling issue and not easily overcome without some form of change in this direction. Imagine the person who put $200,000 into a vault in 1900 thinking that they would have enough money to live like a king in 100 years only to find they cannot afford a house today.

    So the question that I would ask is this: If we did as you say there, which would effectively eliminate the government’s ability to profit on the control the exhibit over currency, would that result in a dramatic increase in taxes in order to make up for the loss? I know in an ideal situation the answer is no, because they wouldn’t be doing all they do and we wouldn’t need to pay for so much. But in realistic sense, if that change to the currency to more in line with what you are thinking were the only change, would we just be screwed in another way? Just trying to make sure I understand all the thoughts here.

  18. Are there any governments out there who have a better functioning system for money. I know many countries currently use the fiat system and that there are no countries still using the gold standard.

  19. USW,
    I think that if the only change were to return to a gold standard, then we would definately get screwed in another way, at least for a little while. The thing is, if people were forced to see exactly how much they are being screwed, then they have to come to terms with the real cost of government. Smoke and mirrors are used to hide something bad, generally to prevent a negative reaction to that bad thing. If we take away the smoke and mirrors from the government, then they are subject to that negative reaction they were trying to avoid.

    That said, I do think some steps, such as making deficit spending illegal, would be better first steps. The government needs to be in the habit of tightening its belt. Right now, it lives beyond its means with no concern for the consequences. Its like an irresponsible teenager and we are the parents spoiling it. No more paying the credit card bill for the ungrateful little shopaholic.

  20. I agree that things might get worse for a while if “we” returned to the gold standard, but that it might make people take real action to fix it then. It’s like if “employer withholding” were ended, and people wrote that big check to the IRS on April 15th every year, they would realize how much is being stolen from them and would do something to put an end to it. Soon.

  21. Yes, that and the 7.5% of Social Security withholding that is put on the employer. People don’t realize that their employers pay half of SS, and that if they did not, their salaries would increase. There are just too many hidden taxes. If taxes and expenditures are truly justifiable, then why hide them?

  22. And therein lies the question of the day Jon, why is everything so hidden from us? The fact that is is points to a bigger issue. What We need to figure out is how much of this is government intentionally trying to trick us on and how much is simply assuming that we are too stupid to know better. At this point I am all for getting rid of the Social Security tax. We already know it won’t be there for us to draw on so why is it that we are still forced to contribute?

    I have to believe at this point I couldn’t do much worse planning for my own retirement than what the government is doing.

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