There are three ways to get what you want: you can a) exchange for it, b) steal it, or c) beg for it. One is morally defensible; the other two are government.
Government confiscates the earnings of productive individuals, then divvies out the spoils to those who have the most skilled lobbyists begging for them. Political Science majors will spend 4 years learning how to call it something else.
The confiscation comes in two forms: taxation of earnings, and devaluation of currency. Congress takes as much as it wants (fiscal policy), and then the Federal Reserve makes what you have left worthless (monetary policy).
The begging also comes in two forms: to gain unearned benefits for your self (social justice) or to force someone else to stop doing things you don’t like (public good).
The two establishment parties differ at the margins over who to take it from, who to give it to, and who to punish; but both Democrats and Republicans embrace the steal/beg/punish model of big government. The machinery itself doesn’t offend them; they just want to be the ones pulling the levers.
Libertarians are different; we reject the model; we want to dismantle the machinery. We think stealing is wrong, and begging is de-humanizing.
We believe that individual rights are inviolate. We believe your only entitlement is the pursuit of happiness; no one should deny it to you, and no one is obligated to buy it for you. It’s not complicated.
This year, the federal government will confiscate $2.4 trillion of your current earnings and another $1.4 trillion of your future earnings (deficit) so it can spend $3.8 trillion of your money. In round numbers, that is $12,000 per person, $48,000 per family of four.
As Dagny Taggert famously said in the novel, Atlas Shrugged: in exchange for what?
Less than 13% of it, about $480 billion, goes for the things that we authorized the government to do in the Constitution (Article I, Section 8). That’s only about $1,500 apiece; freedom is not expensive.
That leaves the other 87% of federal spending going for things that are either extra-constitutional or flat out unconstitutional. Those cost us about $10,500 apiece; socialism is very expensive, a luxury good.
Imagine for a moment that taxes worked that way: only the first 13% were mandatory, and that the other 87% were voluntary. That family of four has $42,200 left over, so what does the government offer in exchange?
Would you invest in social security or would you choose a personal savings account instead? Would you purchase private health insurance or pick Medicare knowing it was just a few years from insolvency?
What are you willing to pay to defend Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea, Germany, the Balkans, Iraq, and 100 other nations into perpetuity? How much for the UN, WTO, IMF, World Bank, and foreign aid payments to regimes around the world?
Would you send your money to Department of Education or to your local schools? Private schools maybe, since you have $42,000 to spend as you see fit.
Would you rather fund the Department of Energy or use that money to buy some? Ditto the Agriculture Department? Go down the list: Commerce, Labor, HUD, Transportation, HHS, NASA, DEA, INS, ATF – well, maybe ATF if they gave us alcohol, tobacco and firearms.
You get the point. If we had a choice, there wouldn’t be very much government, would there? We wouldn’t buy all those other things with our own money, would we?
Well, it IS our money; and we DO have a choice. That choice is Tim, Not Tammy.
Like it says on my campaign website - I want to be your Congressman, not your mommy. I am not going to Washington to bring home the bacon; I am going there to shut down the slaughterhouse.
Which would you rather have – all that extra government telling you what you can’t do, or the $10,500 you are paying for it? The choice is yours; I’m just running to make sure you have one.
Tim Nerenz is the Libertarian Party Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin's 2nd District. To support Dr. Tim's campaign, please visit the campaign website at www.timnerenz.com.