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MdKnightR
09-07-2007, 01:03 AM
Thread split from US Presidential Election 2008--Libertarianism is such a big topic it needs a thread of its own. --Jae


I consider myself to be a conservative liberal. Iím conservative in terms of money and government, but very, very liberal on social issues.


Fiscally conservative and socially liberal.....sounds like the makings of a Libertarian to me! :thumbsup: I should know, because I am one.



I believe that the market place should be free to operate...within the boundaries of acceptable rules. I believe that government should not interfer with the free market...any more than is necessary to establish those rules, maintain that they are being adhered to, and provide a safety net as deemed necessary.


I see the point you are trying to make, but it seems that you are at least somewhat in favor of having a "nanny-state" when you make reference to the way the government holds the hand of a free market economy.

Achilles
09-07-2007, 01:16 AM
I see the point you are trying to make, but it seems that you are at least somewhat in favor of having a "nanny-state" when you make reference to the way the government holds the hand of a free market economy. Correct, ala SEC, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.
Even boxing matches have rules and referees.

MdKnightR
09-07-2007, 01:21 AM
Correct, ala SEC, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.
Even boxing matches have rules and referees.

The problem is that the rules have gotten out of hand. You should read some of Walter E. Williams' columns. He is an economist and a professor at George Mason University. Here's a link to his website....http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/

Achilles
09-07-2007, 02:35 AM
The problem is that the rules have gotten out of hand. You should read some of Walter E. Williams' columns. He is an economist and a professor at George Mason University. Here's a link to his website....http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/
It appears he's been publishing for about 7 years (perhaps longer). Was there a specific year that you wanted me to look at? Or perhaps you'd like to synthesize an argument of your own?

"Rules gotten out of hand" by whose standards? Which rules? What alternatives were offered? Why where they rejected? What safeguards will exist to prevent the abuses the rules were created to prevent if repealed?

Do you personally have a problem with Sarbox, the creation of the SEC, etc or are you content to take Mr. Williams' and his ilk at their word?

MdKnightR
09-08-2007, 03:22 AM
It appears he's been publishing for about 7 years (perhaps longer). Was there a specific year that you wanted me to look at? Or perhaps you'd like to synthesize an argument of your own?

"Rules gotten out of hand" by whose standards? Which rules? What alternatives were offered? Why where they rejected? What safeguards will exist to prevent the abuses the rules were created to prevent if repealed?

Do you personally have a problem with Sarbox, the creation of the SEC, etc or are you content to take Mr. Williams' and his ilk at their word?

Ever the questioner, Achilles! Here's some things in specific that I'd like you to look at. The first is not Mr. Williams' opinion, but the stand of Libertarians on the economy. (http://www.lp.org/issues/platform_all.shtml#ii)

As for Walter's columns that have relevancy to our discussion, try...

Economists on the Loose (http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/articles/07/economistloose.htm)

Compassion Versus Reality (http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/articles/07/compassion.htm)

The point I'm trying to make is that just about anything that government touches, it screws up. And I'm not talking just a turn of a Phillips head, I'm talking about deep sinking it and stripping the threads! We need to get back to smaller government and less bureaucracy. In doing so, we'll have less taxes to pay and more personal liberty.

To mimartin: As for the Gold Standard, I really don't have an opinion on that topic either way. I haven't thought that much about it. If you want to find out what the Libertarian Party is all about, go to www.lp.org (http://www.lp.org) I can't say that I am in 100% agreement with all of their issues, but they are certainly more in tune with my political views than any other party. While you're there, take the quiz!

Achilles
09-08-2007, 04:39 AM
Ever the questioner, Achilles!Alas, you did not offer any answers nonetheless. Apparently being a questioner isn't enough.

Here's some things in specific that I'd like you to look at. The first is not Mr. Williams' opinion, but the stand of Libertarians on the economy. (http://www.lp.org/issues/platform_all.shtml#ii) This all sounds great, but how does it account for entities such as MCI, WorldCom, Enron, etc? Why do companies deserve the full force of the government's protection, but investors and consumers deserve none? Whoops. Sorry. There I go with the questions again :(

As for Walter's columns that have relevancy to our discussion, try...
<snip> Interesting that he appears to equate corporate well-being with consumer well-being. A lot of hand waving about government trying to interfere with consumer rights, when it would seem that the discussion is and has always been about protecting stakeholders. I'm afraid I'm not very impressed.

The point I'm trying to make is that just about anything that government touches, it screws up. And I'm not talking just a turn of a Phillips head, I'm talking about deep sinking it and stripping the threads! We need to get back to smaller government and less bureaucracy. In doing so, we'll have less taxes to pay and more personal liberty. Interesting rhetoric. It seems your world view accounts for a great deal of corruption and inadequacy in the government but almost none in private or publicly held corporations (even though we have more than sufficient evidence to show that the latter assumption couldn't be further from the truth).

Freedom is great and I'm all for it, but freedom without responsibility and accountability is chaos.

Thanks for reading.

MdKnightR
09-08-2007, 09:10 PM
This all sounds great, but how does it account for entities such as MCI, WorldCom, Enron, etc? Why do companies deserve the full force of the government's protection, but investors and consumers deserve none?

I never said anything in favor of government protection of corporations and companies. Companies deserve no more protection than consumers. What I am attempting to make you understand in all of this is that government bureaucracy is at the heart of our economy's woes.

Interesting that he appears to equate corporate well-being with consumer well-being. A lot of hand waving about government trying to interfere with consumer rights, when it would seem that the discussion is and has always been about protecting stakeholders. I'm afraid I'm not very impressed.

The point is that government does interfere with consumer rights. It's not just a bunch of "hand waving."

It seems your world view accounts for a great deal of corruption and inadequacy in the government but almost none in private or publicly held corporations (even though we have more than sufficient evidence to show that the latter assumption couldn't be further from the truth).

Please elaborate.

Freedom is great and I'm all for it, but freedom without responsibility and accountability is chaos.

Thanks for reading.

I never said that there shouldn't be rule of law. What I'm talking about is the liberal use of government to control commerce and its rampant tax-n-spend practices to keep the bureaucracy afloat to oversee these programs. The cost of our present government juggernaut is carried on the backs of the taxpayers who have been required to forfeit a portion of their paychecks before ever seeing the money in their hands. We need to return to the form of government envisioned by The Founders. The basic role of government is to provide for the common defense. It was not intended to be a nanny for the people or commerce. What you find at the core of modern legislation is the idea that the government should be used to tell you how to live your life, spend your money, and raise your family rather than leaving those decisions up to the individual. Liberty has been trampled upon!

Achilles
09-08-2007, 11:02 PM
I never said anything in favor of government protection of corporations and companies. The reference that you are providing sure do seem to be taking this stance, hence my comment. Whether or not you are following suit is up to you, I suppose.

What I am attempting to make you understand in all of this is that government bureaucracy is at the heart of our economy's woes. Well, during the required coursework for my 3 business degrees, I've been exposed to at least half a dozen micro/macro economic courses, finance, accounting, etc, so please don't feel as though you need to hold back once you decide to begin.

Perhaps we can start by tossing GAAP out the window and see how long it takes the market to grind to halt once all quasi-intelligent people realize that it's no longer safe to invest in corporations. I do feel sorry for all the potential entrepreneurs that will never be able to start their businesses though because they can't afford to shoulder all the risk themselves. Not that they would have been able to find a bank to give them a start up loan anyways because without balance sheets, no one's going to be handing out private loans.

Or maybe all the bureaucracy actually serves a purpose and people without sufficient understanding of economics aren't able to see that. *shrugs*

The point is that government does interfere with consumer rights. It's not just a bunch of "hand waving." Which consumer rights do governments interfere with? Please be specific with your examples.

Please elaborate. I'm not sure that I can because I think I've stated my point plainly. The last several posts from you have all pointed out how government is corrupt and inefficient, but you haven't once addressed corruption or inefficiency in business. So again, it seems your world view accounts for a great deal of corruption and inadequacy in the government but almost none in private or publicly held corporations. If my take on your arguments is incorrect, please feel free to correct me.

I never said that there shouldn't be rule of law. Fine. Perhaps we can alleviate any further misunderstandings by speaking with specific language. Which laws and regulations do you specifically take issue with and why? Feel free to start with just one or two to get the ball rolling.

What I'm talking about is the liberal use of government to control commerce and its rampant tax-n-spend practices to keep the bureaucracy afloat to oversee these programs. This statement is very general. Specifics please?

The cost of our present government juggernaut is carried on the backs of the taxpayers who have been required to forfeit a portion of their paychecks before ever seeing the money in their hands. Yes, the practice is known as "taxation". Governments require money to operate. One potential source of income is taxes. Another is to find a nice rich country with a weak military and loot it. Are the roads and bridges suppose to build themselves? What calibur of elected official do you think we will attract at the local level when the starting salary is "Nothing. Thanks for volunteering, sucker."? Best and brightest?

I'm all for reigning in runaway spending, eliminate pork from legislative spending, and balancing the budget, but I think the idea that we're ever going to get to a point where there are no taxes is a wee bit "pie in the sky". Considering our current deficit, I personally have a hard time taking anyone that says that we are going to be able to continue without raising taxes seriously. I just hope the next person in charge doesn't sell us a lemon that sees the lion's share of that burden being borne on the backs of those that can least afford to do so.

We need to return to the form of government envisioned by The Founders. The basic role of government is to provide for the common defense. It was not intended to be a nanny for the people or commerce. I'm all about reinstating the constitution. I think we do need to get a couple things straight though:

1) The Framers did not sit around congratulating each other on how brilliant they all were. There was in-fighting and disagreement. Our democracy is a very nuanced thing which raises my second point...

2) They were wise enough to know that the system would need adjustment from time to time. The Constitution is a set of rules; a Framework. Perhaps you'd feel better if we repealed every amendment that wasn't included in the Bill of Rights?

What you find at the core of modern legislation is the idea that the government should be used to tell you how to live your life, spend your money, and raise your family rather than leaving those decisions up to the individual. Liberty has been trampled upon! A lot to unpack here and I'm not sure where to begin, so I'm just going to leave it. If there was something specific that you were really hoping that I would address, please bring it to my attention and I will do my best.

Thanks!

MdKnightR
09-09-2007, 02:48 AM
Achilles, it is quite obvious that I don't have the background to take you on point-for-point. You have quite an education in the realm of business (3 degrees? Wow!) and I am but a layperson with certain opinions. Perhaps I jumped the gun with some of my assertions.

The reason that I brought up Walter Williams is the man uses common sense and backs up his opinions with references that are easy to research. I read his column every Thursday in my local paper. He is not the only economist that I read. Thomas Sewell is another. These guys, and their colleagues, spend their time monitoring trends with our economy and have the credentials to prove it. Likewise, there are many wise people within the Libertarian Party that concur with their stand on the issues.

As for the reinstating the Constitution, it would seem that we see more or less eye to eye on that subject. I don't think you give me enough credit. Repealing everything other than the original Bill of Rights would be lunacy. I just propose that the government quit trampling on our rights (ex. Patriot Act). Of course, should the FairTax be enacted, they would have to appeal the 16th Amendment.

And speaking of taxation, you have read too much into what I said. I never said, "Get rid of taxes altogether." Taxes are a reality. Case closed. However, there are other means of collecting taxes that would be more beneficial. I find a lot of worth in the FairTax movement. It isn't a perfect plan, but it sure beats the income tax code that we are currently burdened with. At least we do agree on ending pork-barrel spending. I think the government should be limited to spending no more than 10% of our GDP. If tithing is good enough for the church, it should be good enough for the politicians.

Achilles
09-09-2007, 03:44 AM
Achilles, it is quite obvious that I don't have the background to take you on point-for-point. You have quite an education in the realm of business (3 degrees? Wow!) and I am but a layperson with certain opinions. Perhaps I jumped the gun with some of my assertions. While my education does provide me the ability to understand these concepts, I do not presume to be an expert. If you have an a persuasive argument, I'd love to hear it...but I'm going to challenge it if it doesn't jive with what I've learned. I would expect you to do the same if the topic was art education.

The good news is that I'm living proof that any idiot can learn economics. Considering the impact is has on every single one of our lives, I think it should everyone should be provided with an education on the basics.

The reason that I brought up Walter Williams is the man uses common sense and backs up his opinions with references that are easy to research. I read his column every Thursday in my local paper. He is not the only economist that I read. Thomas Sewell is another. These guys, and their colleagues, spend their time monitoring trends with our economy and have the credentials to prove it. Likewise, there are many wise people within the Libertarian Party that concur with their stand on the issues.Even people with doctorates have biases, agendas, or just plain get it wrong sometimes.

I'm sure that Williams and Sewell did more than enough to earn whatever degrees they may have, but economics is not a precise science. Skilled meteorologists spend years studying their subject, but at the end of the day, they are only making educated guesses based on the available data. Economics is the same way.

But to be honest, that's all beside the point, because the articles that I read were political in nature, not economic. As I stated way back in some post that I believe lives in another thread now, I believe in free markets. But I also believe in transparency, equitably applied standards, and consumer-minded regulation as needed.

As for the reinstating the Constitution, it would seem that we see more or less eye to eye on that subject. I don't think you give me enough credit. Repealing everything other than the original Bill of Rights would be lunacy. I just propose that the government quit trampling on our rights (ex. Patriot Act). Of course, should the FairTax be enacted, they would have to appeal the 16th Amendment. Since the discussion seemed to be centered around economics, legislation such as the patriot act never entered into my mind. Of course I have problems with the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, etc but that has nothing to do with market bureaucracy or consumer rights. My apologies if I failed to pick up something that you were putting down.

PS: "FairTax" isn't fair at all (link to "FairTax" thread (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=181245))

And speaking of taxation, you have read too much into what I said. It's possible. Since you didn't clarify what you meant though, I'm not sure how much of that is my fault :)

I never said, "Get rid of taxes altogether." Taxes are a reality. Case closed. However, there are other means of collecting taxes that would be more beneficial. I'm assuming you mean something other than income tax? Unfortunately, I haven't seen any alternatives that are viable. Additionally, I can't even think of any that are equitable (but again, I'm not an expert).

I find a lot of worth in the FairTax movement. It isn't a perfect plan, but it sure beats the income tax code that we are currently burdened with. No, I'm afraid that it doesn't. Sit down with a pen and piece of paper and figure out what percentage of your income would be taxable under the fairtax. Then take a rough guesstimate at how much someone like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs will pay and then ask yourself if you really think it's fair.

I won't vouch for any of the numbers here, but you might find it a good jumping off point for some quality time contemplating the distribution of wealth in this country, if you felt inclined to do so. (link (http://www.faireconomy.org/research/wealth_charts.html))

At least we do agree on ending pork-barrel spending. I think the government should be limited to spending no more than 10% of our GDP. If tithing is good enough for the church, it should be good enough for the politicians. Reducing government spending slows the economy. When money is taken out of circulation then demand for money goes up. Interest rates increase. People stop buying homes because they can no longer afford them. Construction workers stop working and go on welfare. Bartenders don't sell as much beer to construction workers. Bars close. Bartenders go on welfare. Etc, etc. That's why unemployment numbers are so important to economists. Less money in circulation means changes in the interest rates (ps: controlling interest rates is one of the primary ways that the FED "makes" money).

If that idea came from one of your libertarian sources, then I'd love to see how they took all this into account when they made their suggestion. To those that don't know better, I imagine it all sounds great. To those that do, it sounds as though some rich people are lookin' to free up some space by starving off the poor and middle class. (pss: increased interest rates are good for rich people because it means that they're making more money on their investments...which they can afford to do because they still have disposable income. Hence the adage about the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer).

So, to summarize:
Balanced budgets? Yes.
Eliminating unnecessary programs? Yes.
Making inefficient but necessary programs more efficient? Yes.
Reducing our vulnerability by working to eliminate our federal deficit? Yes.
Sending our economy into a recession by artificially stymieing the market? No thanks. :)