Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

January 30, 2008

Cato’s Ed Crane On The Presidential Race

by Doug Mataconis

Today’s Washington Examiner has an interesting profile of Cato Institute President and founder Ed Crane in which he gives his assessment of the Presidential field:

“I’m amazed that people take a candidate like [Mike] Huckabee, who doesn’t believe in evolution, seriously,” said Crane, who presides over a Washington think tank famous for telling the government to butt out of people’s lives.

Rudy Giuliani’s approach to civil liberties “scares the hell out of me,” Crane said, and Mitt Romney doesn’t know the difference between being a president and being a dictator. Ron Paul is a friend, he added, but “I mean, he wants to build a wall. How can a libertarian be anti-immigration?” John McCain “is disdainful of free speech” and “hawkish,” Crane said, “and there’s a certain pomposity about the guy I find unattractive.”

On the Democratic side, he derides John Edwards for posing as “the candidate of the downtrodden and getting $400 haircuts, the hypocrisy reeks.” Hillary Clinton, Crane said, is “dishonest and shrill … calculating, manipulating.” Barack Obama “seems like a nice guy,” but then again, “do you want this guy standing up to al Qaeda?” If he absolutely had to vote, which he wouldn’t and never does, Crane said, “I guess I’d vote for Ron Paul, because he’s for the market and against the war.”

Two points.

First, isn’t it interesting that the guy who runs the Cato Institute — which some on the paleo-wing of the libertarian movement have accused of being part of a statist conspiracy — finds Ron Paul to be the only nearly palatable candidate in the race ?  I’d also note that Crane’s admission that he doesn’t vote and never has would seem to contrast with those who say that Cato isn’t “radical” enough, whatever that means.

Second, doesn’t it say a lot about Ron Paul that one of the founders of the libertarian movement can’t bring himself to whole heartedly endorse him ?

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  • Israel

    If you bothered to LISTEN to Ron Paul, you’d know why at this time in out history he is anti-immigration, and why he will reverse that once our economy NEEDS immigrations once more.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    I’ve listened to him, I just think he’s horribly, horribly wrong when it comes to immigration.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Israel,

    If you bothered to LISTEN to Ron Paul, you’d know why at this time in out history he is anti-immigration, and why he will reverse that once our economy NEEDS immigrations once more.

    Free market societies ALWAYS need immigration. Always. Saying that there are periods in time where we don’t is like saying that there are periods in time where we don’t need free speech or property rights…it’s bullshit. Once you allow government to “temporarily” suspend voluntary human interaction very rarely do you ever see those suspensions lifted down the road.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Free market societies ALWAYS need immigration.

    We have a free market society?

  • John

    Doug,

    That’s fine. What is your solution? Do you acknowledge that we can’t afford to sustain the entitlements given to illegal immigrants?

  • John

    UCrawford,

    Does that mean we always need illegal immigration as well?

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    John,

    We can’t afford entitlements period. It’s not an immigration issue at all.

    Closing the borders, on the other hand, is bad for the economy, an affront to individual liberty, and goes against everything this country has stood for since it’s founding.

    And, oh yeah, any politician who tells you he’s going to deport the 20 million people who are here illegally is lying to you.

  • Patrick

    Where are you people getting your info from? Ron Paul does not want to deport the 20 million illegal aliens, he knows that is just not possible/practical. He is however for deporting any illegals that are arrested for crimes.

    How does building a fence that stops ILLEGAL immigration make him anti-immigration? Dr. Paul is all for people entering the country legally. Im assuming by your statements that you are not really for immigration, that your really for a completely open border where undocumented people can enter our country at any time?

    Please do yourselves a favor and actually read about where he stands instead of assuming.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Patrick,

    I didn’t say Ron Paul advocated deportation, I was addressing John’s anti-immigration views.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Im assuming by your statements that you are not really for immigration, that your really for a completely open border where undocumented people can enter our country at any time?

    Don’t be absurd. Of course border security is important; not because I think immigrants need to be stopped, but because it’s a national security issue.

    At the same time, though, I am in favor of much less restrictive immigration laws than we currently have. Ron Paul, at least from what I’ve heard him say on the subject, does not.

  • oilnwater

    the immigration issue will be the major issue, among others, that will indeed spawn legitimate state succession attempts in the future. what some states are facing are federal funds withdrawal due to that state’s non-compliance on various items. state legislatures, supported by governors, will mount serious ultimatums to the federal counterparts as state budgets go dry in next couple years. i predict california and nevada to be two of such states.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    John,

    Does that mean we always need illegal immigration as well?

    We always need immigration…it shouldn’t be illegal. Restricting immigration is yet another example of government attempting to influence behavior by restricting voluntary human interactions to achieve a more desirable outcome according to the opinion of whoever is drafting the law,..which usually doesn’t work. Politicians like to go on about the “immigration problem” because it makes them appear tough on crime and national security, even though restricting immigration will tend to make more immigrants into criminals (by eliminating their opportunites to move in mainstream society) and the restriction they’re talking about wouldn’t have had any effect on the 9/11 hijackers (who had no criminal histories when they came here).

    Basically those laws have a negative economic effect by costing companies a cheaper source of labor, by costing taxpayers money for ineffective enforcement methods, by costing consumers money by driving up the price of goods, and by limiting the growth of our economy in exchange for almost no security benefit. The only person who benefits is the politician who drafted the law because it’s something he can campaign on with voters who don’t pay attention to consequences.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    John,

    That’s fine. What is your solution? Do you acknowledge that we can’t afford to sustain the entitlements given to illegal immigrants?

    Get rid of the entitlements for everybody and entitlements for immigrants won’t be an issue. Americans who draw government welfare aren’t entitled to those benefits any more than people who come here illegally.

  • George

    Imagine if you were forced at gunpoint, to stand along your sovereign border, and hold your wallet, with all your savings in it, open.

    And that sovereigns from another state, once they crossed your territorial border, were fully allowed and encouraged (by your own government), to pull the money out.

    Seem OK?

    We don’t have a “free-market” economy – period.

    Once we do, and we fully protect the private property of US sovereigns, then let’s talk about “free and open borders”.

    Otherwise, no matter how libertarian one’s philosophy, invasion under the guise of government-sanctioned “immigration”, is still property-theft invasion.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    George,

    We don’t have a “free-market” economy – period. Once we do, and we fully protect the private property of US sovereigns, then let’s talk about “free and open borders”.

    Free markets can’t develop without open immigration so your entire premise is flawed. You might as well suggest that we should eat dinner before we buy any food.

    Otherwise, no matter how libertarian one’s philosophy, invasion under the guise of government-sanctioned “immigration”, is still property-theft invasion.

    Open immigration isn’t “government-sanctioned”, it’s free will. Freedom of choice doesn’t derive from the government, nor do any other individual rights. And no, immigrants willing to do a job for less money than Americans aren’t stealing anything.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Free markets can’t develop without open immigration so your entire premise is flawed.

    Why not? Currently we have semi-free markets with semi-open borders. Let’s say we followed Paul’s vision and introduced a net reduction in the openness of the borders. How would that prevent him from his next step of working for a net opening of the markets?

    Yes, they influence each other, but I don’t see how they’re fundamentally locked. If I had to choose between the status quo and completely libertarian country sans open-borders, I’d take it in a heartbeat and then work to open the borders.

    And no, immigrants willing to do a job for less money than Americans aren’t stealing anything.

    I think he was referring to the entitlements they’d receive, not the competition they add to the labor market.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    For everybody who wishes to build a wall around the country to keep the immigrants out, here’s a suggestion for you that I as a libertarian will happily sign off on.

    1) Go out and buy every parcel of land along the U.S. border or convince every other landowner there to go along with you willingly.
    2) Build a wall along it with your own money or with only voluntary donations and no assistance at all from the government…same with maintaining or insuring it.

    Since you’ll have the property rights to the land that the wall is on, and since you’ll be assuming responsibility for the maintenance of the barriers on that property then you have legitimate reason to keep immigrants from crossing over that property. Otherwise you’re just making a bullshit argument about imposing policy you don’t have any right to impose…at least if you call yourself pro-liberty…because the only person who should have a right to build a fence along the border is the person who owns the property that fence would be built on.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    The only reason I am anti-illegal immigration is the same reasons why Ron Paul and Milton Friedman is/was: the existence of the welfare state. The welfare state has to be abolished before we can have open immigration.

    What happens is that people come here illegally and avail themselves of government programs and create dependency on government. Whenever these illegal immigrants become citizens and vote, they tend to vote for more government. Generally speaking, the illegal immigrants are not people who appreciate free markets anyway; they see Che Guevara as some sort of hero.

    Illegal immigration and the welfare state together is a recipe for more government control over our lives.

    Having said that, I cannot take most anti-illegal immigration people seriously because they are unwilling to deal with the root cause of the problem and the problems associated with illegal immigration: the welfare state.

  • George

    Thanks Jeff Molby.

    UCrawford – I was referring to the entitlements, not labor competition.

    And yes – we can begin to have “free markets” without completely open borders, local to our own sovereignty.

    This is true, since “Free-markets” also means no government subsidies, no bailouts, no gov pref treatment to defense contractors, no sovereign interference from Fed agencies like ICC, FTC, FCC, no double-taxing “corporate income”, no monopoly on banking, etc., etc. and on and on and on.

    To focus only on immigration as a Libertarian ideal is myopic, and since out-of-sequence, destructive.

    There are countless, but important Libertarian steps we first need to take, to insure that we haven’t only created a human-magnet incentve for the tribal destruction of our economy (through immigrant-drawing ENTITLEMENTS), through “open borders”.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    . How would that prevent him from his next step of working for a net opening of the markets?

    By restricting the supply of labor you drive up the price for labor. You drive up the price of consumer goods because you drive up overhead. You put negotiating power in the hands of the unions by giving the opportunity to control available domestic labor (putting the property owners at a disadvantage). You make consumers poorer by both sticking them with more expensive goods and the costs of enforcement (which are paid through taxes). All of this also assumes that your immigration restrictions will be successful…which they won’t because it’s not possible for them to be successful unless you turn the U.S. into a police state (which I don’t think you’re arguing for) so that the government can run a national ID system, heavily punish businesses that hire foreign labor, and hire enough people to actually guard the border, seaports, airports, shipping lanes, and shores so that illegal immigrants can’t sneak through (which would also slow commerce to a crawl and make other countries less willing to do business with us).

    Actually if you imposed all those measures you’d basically bankrupt the country because of the prohibitive cost so it would be highly likely that immigrants wouldn’t want to come here…because who wants to move from one poor country to another. Think that’s a worthwhile tradeoff?

    No economist worth his salt will tell you that restricting immigration is helpful to a free market society.

    I think he was referring to the entitlements they’d receive, not the competition they add to the labor market.

    Again, get rid of welfare programs altogether and it won’t be a problem, will it? Funny how I don’t hear Ron Paul talking about doing that…in fact I’ve heard him on two occasions use the rationale that we should end the war on terror so we spend that money on poor people here at home. That sounds like the argument of somebody interested in propping up the welfare system instead of tearing it down.

  • mketcher

    Wow! Ed Crane actually has something nice to say about Ron Paul — this should be front-page news on the Wall Street Journal and the headline story on Fox News. Cato’s contributions must be really dropping off thanks to their opposition to Dr. Paul and support of statist candidates and statist ideas. It looks like Ed Crane is trying to do some damage control.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    George,

    I was referring to the entitlements, not labor competition.

    My apologies for the misunderstanding. But honestly I don’t see illegal immigrants who take welfare benefits as any more guilty of thievery than Americans who take welfare benefits.

    And yes – we can begin to have “free markets” without completely open borders, local to our own sovereignty.

    North Korea begs to differ.

    You can’t effectively close the borders without having a police state to enforce those measures. You can’t restrict labor, international trade, and human freedom and still have free markets. Your position is absolutely without merit, George…sorry to be so blunt, but you’re completely wrong because basic economics proves you’re wrong:

    http://www.friesian.com/smith.htm

  • John

    Crawford and Doug,

    Thanks for addressing my comments. I definitely see both of your points, but I think that the reality is that illegal immigration will continue at an unmanageable rate as long as the incentives are there (entitlements), thereby increasing the welfare state.

    It is incredibly ironic that the same candidates that regularly invoke the “bridge to nowhere” want to build the border wall. How do you get past a wall? Well, you can go under it, through it, or over it. If there was still a prize on the other side they would find a way. So in reality, the wall is just a ridiculous waste of money that solves nothing.

    Look, maybe Pauls solution isn’t perfect, but which candidate is closer to the right answer, in your opinion?

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    By restricting the supply of labor…

    I think you’re exaggerating the negatives and ignoring the positives. In a truly free market (albeit an enclosed one), unions would have a fraction of the power they currently have. They’d be much more fluid. Labor and property owners are mutually dependent and would find a reasonable balance of power.

    Would it be ideal? Of course not, but it would still be good. If I had to choose, I’d take a smaller, but more free system over a larger, but less free system. I’d take NH or AK over CA. I’d take the current USA, in a world of Venezualas over an entire world full of Frances.

    If a bubble of freedom is the best we can do, I’ll take it. (and then work to increase the size of the bubble)

    Again, get rid of welfare programs altogether and it won’t be a problem, will it? Funny how I don’t hear Ron Paul talking about doing that…in fact I’ve heard him on two occasions use the rationale that we should end the war on terror so we spend that money on poor people here at home. That sounds like the argument of somebody interested in propping up the welfare system instead of tearing it down.

    He’s taking a pragmatic approach to achieving his ideals. The part you neglected to mention, the part that differentiates him from a typical statist, is that he wants to prop it up just long enough to phase it out.

    How? By letting the younger generations opt out. You can’t just let us opt out right now. The whole system would collapse in a nasty nasty mess. But if you find enough offsets (in foreign policy, according to Paul), you can prop up the system long enough to kick the habit.

    It’s like taking Nicotrol.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    John, I agree with you about the incentive being the welfare state. While the wall would not stop illegal immigration, it would at least slow it down to,hopefully, a managable level. But until teh welfare state is dealt with, there will be an illegal immigration problem – wall or no wall.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    The welfare state has to be abolished before we can have open immigration.

    The welfare state will never be abolished until it becomes untenable because no politician wants to be seen as taking from his voters. If you restrict immigration, you stretch that process out because it allows politicians to delay in the hopes they can pass the buck to their successors. If you want the welfare state gone the solution is open borders…otherwise you’re just protecting the government from the consequences of its own actions. Friedman was as wrong on that as he was about the federal withholding law he helped get passed.

    Generally speaking, the illegal immigrants are not people who appreciate free markets anyway

    Bullshit. They come here for work and to better their lives. What’s more free market than that? I respect your opinions, Stephen, but that generalization is beneath you.

    Illegal immigration and the welfare state together is a recipe for more government control over our lives

    …while open immigration and the welfare state together is a recipe for getting rid of the welfare state.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    I’ll Echo Stephen.

    North Korea begs to differ.

    The differences between NK and what Paul’s proposing are huge.

    No one here is proposing that you halt 100% of illegal immigration; that would indeed require the most ridiculous of police states. But you can block 80% of it with some pretty reasonable measures. Heck, the cost might even be completely offset by the reduction in new entitlement thieves.

    As long as you didn’t go drastic, you would still be able to deregulate the interior of the system and have a net win for freedom.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    U.C., what I’m referring to is this entitlement attitude that far too many of them have. They believe (as many Americans do) that they have a right to free healthcare, schools, college, etc. They are free market only to the extent it benefits them.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    The welfare state will never be abolished until it becomes untenable because no politician wants to be seen as taking from his voters.

    while open immigration and the welfare state together is a recipe for getting rid of the welfare state.

    You’re probably right, but throwing open the borders is basically the nuclear option. It would collapse the system.

    Do you mind if we try a couple more moderate routes first?

  • Timothy Bledsoe

    I hope many people read this. Most people are good people and want the same basic things. The left wing and the right wing have different ideas about accomplishing things. It is far past time, and probably too late, for the American people to understand that there is no difference between the major parties. In a gradual process, the left works to destroy the country just as the right works to destroy the country. The American people are fooled into discussing how the pictures on the Titanic should be arranged. Politicians take advantage of this for their own selfish interests. Ron Paul is telling you that we have hit an iceberg.

    Let’s suppose the iceberg wasn’t so bad. Let’s suppose how those pictures are arranged really are the most important things to discuss. The irony is, is that Ron Paul is the only candidate that truly supports, and has the record to prove it, almost all of the right’s issues. In addition, even though Dr. Paul often speaks of a futuristic and ideal world, Ron Paul is the only candidate whose policies can save the social programs that the left wants.

    People have failed to understand that international bankers are consolidating the wealth (stealing out of everyone’s pocket books) and eliminating the middle class. People are too interested in reality television, football and golf. People are helping to destroy the country because of their reckless and uninformed, although good intentioned, opinions.

    People like to laugh and snicker. I hope they enjoy their money losing its value, their taxes rising, their pension funds being taken, their television-induced comatose state, and fluoride lowering their IQ between 10 and 20 points. Their televisions won’t save them from what is coming. Whether it will be 10 months, or 10 years from now, things are going to get very bad. Worst of all, I am beginning to have doubts as to whether or not the American people will have enough sense to know who has done what to them.

    Thanks so much you stupid idiots for playing your part in creating this mess. Thanks so much for watching television. Thanks for not understanding how things work. Thanks for not taking the time to read serious journals where the elite have OPENLY EXPLAINED that they were going to do this to you. Thanks so much for getting angry at my comments because you are still too stupid to wake up an make your ancestors proud. Remember that me, and others like me, HATE YOUR LACK OF ACTION right down to the bones for the part you have played in all of this. The elite know what they are and what they believe. You people though are all together different; you are mostly idiots and my family will ALSO have to suffer because of your stupidity.

    People like me will remember your stupidity when things get bad. Yet I, and others like me, will do our best to love you. In spite of your stupidity, most of us will still do our best to help you. I am truly sorry that I wasn’t able to do more to prevent what is coming and do more to help. Really, I am no better than most of you.

    God help us all.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    The part you neglected to mention, the part that differentiates him from a typical statist, is that he wants to prop it up just long enough to phase it out.

    No offense, but I’ve heard that one before. As for Paul’s plan, where exactly are the funds from this going to come from to pay for the retirees while we’re waiting for the “opt out” generation to take over? The baby boomers are hitting retirement age now, their retirements are being paid for by the younger peoples’ donations. So where are the replacement funds going to come from to pay for the largest generation of retirees ever for the next twenty years? With the taxes he plans to abolish? By defaulting on the debts we owe? Or is “opting out” going to look a lot more like the current system…we pay in and look forward to getting nothing back?

    Sorry, but I don’t buy that he’s ever going to get that plan accomplished…he’s not going to be able to dismantle Social Security without tackling the boomers who will be drawing from it and the seniors and people close to retirement (a huge voting block) realize this and won’t back it…so it’s unlikely that other politicians are going to back it. I think the people who are behind him on this have lost sight of the forest for the trees.

    It’s like taking Nicotrol.

    Everyone I know who’s taken Nicotrol (or similar things) has ended up smoking again within a year or two. Changing the delivery system does not equate to kicking an addiction.

  • George

    UCrawford,

    Not to be blunt, but your dogs eat too much straw.

    North Korea? Please.

    Here’s one a little closer –

    China rigidly controls it’s borders (I’ve been there..), and it is unquestoinably a freedom disaster. But it is today and will continue to become, an economic powerhouse. H#$%^, it is currently bailing out the US welfare state as we speak!

    If only we had more people and workers! (???)

    So – Many (if not most) Libertarians are completely issue-driven (rightfully), but often so single-issue focused, that they could only vote for themselves (and the reason that Libertarians are accused of only attracting “fringe” types).

    No candidate will ever align with their single issue or prioritization of same.

    Combine this with a finite number of candidates, and Libertarians will always fade into the fringe.

    The “internal” welfare state suffers from such a myriad of tribal policies, that immigration pales.

    Any swing in politics against this trend requires a prioritization, and frankly, immigration is a small-player issue.

    Let’s fix the welfare state, and then discuss incentives for open borders, without risking free access to our state-pilfered coffers, to a global invasion.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    what I’m referring to is this entitlement attitude that far too many of them have. They believe (as many Americans do) that they have a right to free healthcare, schools, college, etc. They are free market only to the extent it benefits them.

    Why shouldn’t they believe that? We apparently do. If Americans aren’t being taken to task for their entitlement mentality why should we hold immigrants to a higher standard? Because Americans were “already here”? Frankly I don’t want to give money to deadbeat Americans any more than I want to give it to deadbeat immigrants…but I’d much rather not have to pay higher prices on consumer goods by keeping immigrant labor out so people on government welfare don’t have to give up the money they’re stealing from me.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    It’s not just America that is suffering from the immigration/welfare state problem. The Netherlands is one of the freest and most tolerant countries in the world but it also has a welfare state (worse than ours I believe). Muslim immigrants (primarily) have come in and taken advantage of their welfare system. To make matters even worse, Muslim women refuse to work because it’s forbidden (apparently) according to their understanding of Islam (I think it has something to do with being in public without a male relative). So there in the Netherlands, there is an entire class of people who are dependent on the government for support.

    At least most of the illegal immigrants who come here are willing to work (and work hard I might add).

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    I understand where you are coming from, U.C., but at some point we have to end the vicious cycle. I am not confident that this vicious cycle will end anytime soon.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    George,

    Not to be blunt, but your dogs eat too much straw

    Huh?

    China rigidly controls it’s borders (I’ve been there..), and it is unquestoinably a freedom disaster. But it is today and will continue to become, an economic powerhouse.

    Their current system of doing things isn’t going to work long-term. Either the authoritarian government will liberalize or the goverment will become more authoritarian and quash growth in their market economy. China looks great on the surface but underneath there’s a lot of rot. I tend to think they’ll liberalize, but then again the Tianamen Square protestors probably thought the same thing back in ’89.

    No candidate will ever align with their single issue or prioritization of same.

    There’s some truth in that. However, I was willing to vote for Ron Paul until he basically demonstrated to me that he didn’t have a clue about how to run an effective organization, judge character, or get his policies implemented. I’m an idealist, but I’m willing to accept tradeoffs. What I’m not willing to do is sell out my ideology just to get a marginal candidate into office.

    Combine this with a finite number of candidates, and Libertarians will always fade into the fringe.

    Perhaps, but since I don’t believe freedom derives from government I’m going to go out and live my life no matter who gets into office. If I don’t like what happens as a result of that, I’ll move somewhere else if it gets bad enough. Electing the right politician to office actually has much less of an effect on my happiness quotient than you might expect.

    Let’s fix the welfare state, and then discuss incentives for open borders

    Let’s make ourselves more poor then talk about ways to make ourselves more rich…great idea.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    My bottom line is this: Illegal immigrants can come here to work but they should NEVER be able to become citizens or vote in our elections. Anyone who wants to become a naturalized citizen should go through the legal process and come through the front door.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    The Netherlands is one of the freest and most tolerant countries in the world but it also has a welfare state (worse than ours I believe). Muslim immigrants (primarily) have come in and taken advantage of their welfare system. To make matters even worse, Muslim women refuse to work because it’s forbidden (apparently) according to their understanding of Islam (I think it has something to do with being in public without a male relative). So there in the Netherlands, there is an entire class of people who are dependent on the government for support.

    And as Milton Friedman pointed out in “Free to Choose” take away the crutch and those people will eventually find work. It may not be glamorous work, it may not be work they’ll enjoy, but they’ll find a job eventually because the alternative is starving to death. Your example doesn’t really go against what I was saying, by the way.

    Personally, when I was in Europe I always thought that the reason Muslim immigrants were less likely to work was because of a) widespread prejudice in the mainland countries (it wasn’t nearly as much of an issue in Britain, where the Muslim community was much more integrated) and b) regressive employment laws in European countries that made it difficult if not impossible to fire unproductive workers, thus limiting opportunity for new people coming in.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    Let me amend my last comment slightly: Illegal immigrants and their immediate families should be able to become citizens in exchange for military service.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    Illegal immigrants can come here to work but they should NEVER be able to become citizens or vote in our elections. Anyone who wants to become a naturalized citizen should go through the legal process and come through the front door

    If we didn’t have such restrictive measures in place limiting immigration, adhering to quota levels set by our socialist government back in the 1960s somehow I don’t think people would be killing themselves to come here illegally. I just haven’t met a lot of people who enjoy being paying out their life savings so they can run the risk of being raped by “coyotes” and left for dead in the desert or suffocated in a shipping container.

    With open immigration there’s not really a reason for law-abiding immigrants to sneak in…they’ll come through the front door. The ones here now who did sneak in mainly did so because they had no other choice.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    I agree U.C. Take away the welfare state and people will find a way to find work. Prejudice might play a role but we cannot underestimate their beliefs being a factor either.

    BTW, the example I used comes from Ayan Hirsi Ali’s book: “Infidel”. It’s been awhile since I read that part of the book so I might be a little fuzzy on the details…

  • George

    In Ron Paul’s plan, the funds to wean Social Security off, come from:

    a) reducing our global military empire – which is unbelievably expensive, – and
    b) stopping the real interest payment on the fictious indebtedness to the Central Bank (the Federal Reserve).

    On a) – with the industries which have grown up around the Defense industry (funded by our taxed labor), it is far larger than almost any other entitlement. Slashing it by even 50% would fund SocSec’s shrinkout for a long time.

    On b) the “debts we owe”: (Or better put – on the real money we pay, via the IRS, for the interest payment of a phoney currency), not 1 cent from your IRS income tax goes to any government entitlement – not 1 !

    It all goes to pay the interst on the fiat currency fraudently printed by the privately held Central Bank (the Federal Reserve), a monarchical and fraudlent monstrosity of a monopoly (something which Ron Paul would get rid of).

    The Founding Fathers, Andrew Jackson and Lincoln (and others), recognized that a debt-free currency was important enough to include in the Constitution, important enough that Andrew Jackson’s tombstone was engraved RE: his battle over Central Banking!

    Alas, the Constitutional battle was lost (for the 3rd time) in 1913, with the creation of the Federal Reserve and the IRS.

    It is at least as destructive to Individual liberties as the welfare state (theft from monarchical elitists is just as destructive as theft from welfare statists, including foreign immigrants tapped into it).

    (I suggest you watch “MONEY AS DEBT” first, then “Creature from Jekyll Island” – both free on Google video)

    Whether the US declines via the welfare state (with immigration theft), or fraudulent taxation (monarchical theft), either way, it’s a bad demise for liberty.

    The “younger peoples donations” are being robbed for much more than Social Security, dude.

    Again, these issue far outweigh the “immigration problem”.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    Illegal immigrants and their immediate families should be able to become citizens in exchange for military service.

    Actually, you don’t have to be a citizen of the U.S. to serve in the military now. I knew several soldiers who chose to serve in the Army even though they’d never been citizens here. They often did it because it was a path to citizenship for them. I wouldn’t, however, suggest making that the primary path to citizenship for immigrants (legal or illegal).

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    Some of the immagration laws need to be simplified to be sure.

    If the U.S. was not acting as an enabler to Mexico, maybe Mexicans would try to fix Mexico instead of come here.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    …at some point we have to end the vicious cycle. I am not confident that this vicious cycle will end anytime soon

    If the vicious cycle you’re talking about is the welfare state it will end a lot sooner with open immigration than without it. Politicians can generally make the right decisions when they have no other choice.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    If the U.S. was not acting as an enabler to Mexico, maybe Mexicans would try to fix Mexico instead of come here.

    The immigrants who come here are fixing Mexico…they send money back home, they force Mexico’s government to reform to hold onto their labor force and tax base (which has opened Mexico up to foreign investment), they establish social networks between here and there. It’s the free-market version of foreign aid, only without the politicians holding the purse strings. Free market principles aren’t just applicable to Americans, after all.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    You’re probably right, but throwing open the borders is basically the nuclear option. It would collapse the system. Do you mind if we try a couple more moderate routes first?

    Yes, because they don’t work. They’re half-measures that end up having little to no effect and they all eventually lead to repeating the same policy arguments down the road.

    If you want the welfare state to go away, you need to clearly demonstrate that it’s not feasible. You can’t demonstrate that it’s not feasible if you keep hiding the consequences of it by propping it up with other laws.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    U.C.

    We’ll probably have a chance to see if your theory works. None of the politicians are really serious about illegal immigration anyway so its really a moot point.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    As much as I dislike the current system, I’d rather it stayed the same as it currently is instead of becoming more restrictive. Eventually it will collapse on its own instead of needing the politicians to do something about it. The current system is kind of like a leaky dam…eventually the water’s going to find its way through. So will the immigrants.

  • George

    U.C.

    Bottom line –

    No doubt – Free is Free.

    The legal ramifications of immigration are (IMO) a minor issue relative to other sources impacting our loss of individual rights.

    Immigration is a great resource for America and should be fully encouraged.

    BUT – immigrants, like sovereigns, shouldn’t receive “free” property or resources (taken via Gov sanction)from others, and this incentive should be fully eliminated as a driver for immigration.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    Forgot to address this earlier..

    Prejudice might play a role but we cannot underestimate their beliefs being a factor either.

    It’s always been my opinion that people who believe that some particular job is beneath them simply aren’t motivated enough to work yet…yank out their crutches and most of the time their attitude will quickly change. Starvation and poverty are excellent motivators.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Yes, because they don’t work.

    They haven’t been tried. No one in a position of power has made any bold moves to phase out the welfare state. A few had the rhetoric, but no one actually proposed a serious plan to do so. Paul’s plan is highly unlikely from a political perspective, but if you somehow managed to implement it, it would work.

    You can’t demonstrate that it’s not feasible if you keep hiding the consequences of it by propping it up with other laws.

    No, but I don’t intend to demonstrate to my son that roads are dangerous by letting him play in one either.

    Paul’s policy won’t “demonstrate” anything, but if it ever did get implemented (most likely by someone else), it would avert the problem. Despite your characterizations to the contrary, his plan wasn’t to hide the problem; his plan was to lay down covering fire while he got the country in a position to tackle the problem.

    We’re not in a position to tackle it right now. There are millions of people dependent on the system. If you tried to cancel it abruptly, there would literally be a revolt and I guarantee you the new government would be at least as socialist as the current one.

    The only way to fix this mess is to end the cycle, let the next generation keep their money and provide for themselves. But even that doesn’t do any good if you let immigrants pore over the border and jump in the system. If you want to cut them out of the welfarism along with the youngin’s that’s cool with me. I’ll go along with your open borders then.

    But to say we need to intentionally usher in the apocalypse… Damn, man. Have you completely given up on reform?

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    George,

    BUT – immigrants, like sovereigns, shouldn’t receive “free” property or resources (taken via Gov sanction)from others, and this incentive should be fully eliminated as a driver for immigration.

    I agree and wasn’t arguing otherwise. But by the same token I hold the same opinion about people who are already here…they aren’t entitled to “free” resources or property either. But as I said before get rid of the welfare state entirely and welfare benefits for immigrants won’t be a problem…and I suspect that would make us all happy :)

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Everyone I know who’s taken Nicotrol (or similar things) has ended up smoking again within a year or two. Changing the delivery system does not equate to kicking an addiction.

    Your sample size is too small.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    Actually U.C., I was referring to religious beliefs not attitudes about work.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    We’ll probably have a chance to see if your theory works.

    Oh, it’ll work alright. I don’t doubt that. If we smash this country into tiny pieces, we’ll have a chance to rebuild it, but I just view that as a worst-case scenario approach.

    Besides, history is littered with failed authoritarian states and still, no one notices. If you don’t constantly educate the masses about freedom, they’ll just build a new authoritarian state.

    And if it’s just fundamentally impossible for humans to sustain a free society, let’s at least try to space out the collapses as much as possible.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    We’re not in a position to tackle it right now. There are millions of people dependent on the system. If you tried to cancel it abruptly, there would literally be a revolt and I guarantee you the new government would be at least as socialist as the current one.

    Until the system is in danger of collapse we will never be in a position to tackle it. Politicians will simply not take away money from voters because it is not in their interest to do so. The only reason they’ll do so is because they have no other choice. You can talk about all the moderate measures you want, but as long as they give politicians wiggle room not to have to make the hard decision, then politicians will avoid making those decisions.

    The only way to fix this mess is to end the cycle, let the next generation keep their money and provide for themselves.

    Great, how are we going to pay for all the current retirees that you don’t want to hose? Where’s the money for that going to come from?

    But to say we need to intentionally usher in the apocalypse… Damn, man. Have you completely given up on reform?

    I’m just enough of a student of human nature to realize that people don’t like change if they don’t consider it necessary. Until the “apocalypse” happens, they’ll never consider welfare reform necessary enough to follow through. Reform is about fixing things that don’t work…enough people think that welfare works that they have no interest in reform now because the consequences are hidden from them. My suggestion is simply to stop hiding the consequences.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Stephen,

    Actually U.C., I was referring to religious beliefs not attitudes about work.

    Same difference. Do you know why most people in the world don’t practice cannibalism? Because they’re not hungry enough yet :)

  • George

    U.C.

    I think we agree my friend.

    Now check out those Google videos –

    “Money As Debt” and “Creature from Jekyll Island”.

    The latter is from Ludwig Von Mises Institute.

    Since you are familiar with Milton Friedman, you’ll quickly recognize how he was influenced by the Austrian School of Economics philosophy, of which Ludwig Von Mises should be considered the “founding father”.

    Almost all Libertarians are aware of the “welfare state” impact on individual rights (thank you Ayn Rand), but very few understand the threat which existed and grew from the Monarchies of Europe (and their Central Banks), which America never got unshackled from.

    Some (most?) Libertarians have railed against “state-sponsored” monopolies (rightfully so), but few understand the largest and most fraudulent monopoly ever instituted on America –

    The Federal Reserve (neither federal, nor a real reserve).

    Remember the government-protected monopolies of the 1800’s like the railroads, oil and energy industries?

    Yeah – like that, but multiplied by 1000.

    Immigration is in general, a very positive function for a free society. However, immigration is a minor issue.

    You, your rights, and products of your free action (property), have been under trounced from 2 sides – the socialistic, “mob democracy” welfare state, (which every Libertarian knows about) AND, the fraudulent government-power sanctioned monopolies (none of which are larger than our Federal Reserve and banking system).

    Check it out.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    Besides, history is littered with failed authoritarian states and still, no one notices.

    I notice them. I also notice that very few of them changed until they collapsed or reached the brink of collapse.

    I advocate the “nuclear” option because that’s the only thing that works. Why don’t you show me an instance of immigration reform using more government that’s actually made the situation better?

  • George

    whoops My Bad!

    “History of the Federal Reserve” is from Ludwig VM Institute, not “Creature from Jekyl Island”

    The latter is from G. Griffin.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    I hold the same opinion about people who are already here…they aren’t entitled to “free” resources or property either.

    When it comes to Social Security, I don’t completely agree. Right or wrong, our predecessors made a cross-generational pact. The boomers paid for their parents with the expectation that we would pay for them.

    Someone is going to get screwed when we dismantle the pyramid, so who should it be?

    The only just answer is the WWII generation. They were the ones who started the immoral system. The Boomers could have stopped it and they bear some responsibility for not doing so, but they’re starting to retire, so it’s not really fair to saddle them with all of the sins of their fathers at this point.

    I’m willing to bite the bullet. I’ll continue to pay the same amount of taxes knowing I won’t receive the same level of service as the previous generations. I have enough time to adjust my retirement plans accordingly.

    I would rather do that than raise son in the chaos that would inevitably follow the collapse.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    George,

    Immigration is in general, a very positive function for a free society. However, immigration is a minor issue.

    I disagree. If you want to establish a free society one of the very first and most important things you have to do is remove restrictions that keep people from seeking a better life for themselves through voluntary interaction. Immigration is vitally important…most of the arguments that say otherwise aren’t about establishing a free society, they’re about not undermining the power of the state (e.g. saving the welfare system).

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    When it comes to Social Security, I don’t completely agree. Right or wrong, our predecessors made a cross-generational pact. The boomers paid for their parents with the expectation that we would pay for them.

    Really? Where was my vote in all of this? Where was my representation when this system was set up? I find it a decidedly unfair proposition that I should be forced to give up my taxes to somebody else based on legislation passed by politicians who were elected before I was even born. Or do property rights and taxation with representation only count for the older generation?

    It’s theft…whether it was done by cross-generational pact or not. My generation wasn’t a participant in or signatory to that pact, I don’t consider us, as a generation, obligated to uphold it.

    Someone is going to get screwed when we dismantle the pyramid, so who should it be?

    In an ideal system…everybody all at once. Under the current system, I’d probably set an assets cap for current participants based on age and screw over everybody who’s over that. Current non-participants get nothing, which is rather harsh, but then again they’ve still got the opportunity to work and save for a few more years. Harsh, but then again the end was going to come eventually anyway and someone was going to be left holding the bag so why not them? And there’s always private charity for those who fall through the cracks, especially since in my ideal world I’d be cutting taxes across the board…a lot.

    I would rather do that than raise son in the chaos that would inevitably follow the collapse.

    Somehow I think we’d survive it, as would society. There would be significant pain at first but I have faith in the ability of Americans to adapt, and by removing an albatross around their necks we’ve given them more tools to do so.

  • George

    Jeff

    On Social Security (another government-enforced monopoly of a savings plan) –

    Agreed that it is a corrupt and bankrupt system.

    The WWII generation profitted from it (albiet little relative to the investment), but I don’t think anybody needs to get screwed (very hard) through the dismantle.

    The money is gone, taken, stolen, product of a ruse for greater taxes, of which the government spenders were intended to be the recipient thief (and now are).

    However, by reducing our military empire, along with the Federal Reserve inflation loss, and the Central Bank interest debt, American would be unimaginably richer.

    Enough so, that we could keep the “pact” with the WWII generation, and progressively less according to “pay in” (or did I say “theft in”?), eventually shifting to a truly free investment ability for younger Americans.

    There would actually be a large government surplus after all of that!

    But I do agree, that of the “justified” recipients, it was stolen first from sovereigns, and not at all from immigrants. As such, sovereigns should get it only.

  • oilnwater

    actually when entitlements are abolished/transitioned, taxpayers wouldn’t be charged for these items on their paychecks. in theory this creates a situation where a worker can accumulate wealth easier. also, when these items are gone, the monetary situation of today would be much harder to replication without the federal govt/federal banking system going through the debt cycles we experience in this current era.
    of course it’s all probably just a bambi-esque dream. govt finances will probably just collapse the normal way- when it cant go on. at that time, misinformation/disinformation/redirected racism/other things will likely be unleashed to keep everyone powerless.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Really? Where was my vote in all of this? Where was my representation when this system was set up? I find it a decidedly unfair proposition that I should be forced to give up my taxes to somebody else based on legislation passed by politicians who were elected before I was even born. Or do property rights and taxation with representation only count for the older generation?

    It’s theft…whether it was done by cross-generational pact or not. My generation wasn’t a participant in or signatory to that pact, I don’t consider us, as a generation, obligated to uphold it.

    I agree, but it is what it is. The original thieves are dead. Someone is going to the get the shaft. Our parents, us, or our progeny. Or some combination thereof.

    I’m cool with an asset cap that screws the wealthier retirees, but we’re still gonna have to chip in too. Are you familiar with Cato’s “Menu of Pain”? I probably read it here. I don’t remember.

    Anyways, it would take a 54% cut in benefits immediately and permanently just to ride out the demographic glitch, nevermind phase out the system. To phase it out, someone’s gonna have to take it on the chin.

    Even if you did cut 100% of the benefits to the boomers, the burden would still fall on us workers; I couldn’t let my parents die in abject poverty. And I’m certainly not going to be complicit in the system.

    We got screwed. Our was plundered. There’s no avoiding it without shifting the injustice to someone else. So what do we do now?

    In an ideal system…everybody all at once. Under the current system, I’d probably set an assets cap for current participants based on age and screw over everybody who’s over that. Current non-participants get nothing, which is rather harsh, but then again they’ve still got the opportunity to work and save for a few more years. Harsh, but then again the end was going to come eventually anyway and someone was going to be left holding the bag so why not them? And there’s always private charity for those who fall through the cracks, especially since in my ideal world I’d be cutting taxes across the board…a lot.

    Oh, I guess we’re basically on the same page. Except I’m not sure who a “current non-participant” is. Someone who’s not yet receiving benefits? If that’s what you meant, then we agree, cuz that’s who I meant when I said “us”.
    If you meant people who were neither paying, nor receiving, well I’m just not sure who that is. Most everyone over 18 has skin in the game.

    And I don’t see how you can summarily cut off someone who’s 61. Odds are they couldn’t adapt fast enough. The best you could hope for is a sliding scale of benefits for those currently over 40 (or 50, if you want to be aggressive).

    But that still won’t be enough. Everyone currently under 40 will still have to spend most of their working days paying for those currently over 40 AND provide for their own retirement.

    It’s definitely not fair, but it’s the only way to humanely spare the future generations.

  • oilnwater

    or we can sell most of our national infrastructure to foreign interests. it’s working well enough up to now..

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    And I don’t see how you can summarily cut off someone who’s 61. Odds are they couldn’t adapt fast enough. The best you could hope for is a sliding scale of benefits for those currently over 40 (or 50, if you want to be aggressive).

    My comment was just off the top of my head, if we were seriously trying to come up with a program I’d be willing to discuss and debate the finer points. But any serious attempt at getting rid of Social Security has to look at hitting retirees or soon to be retirees. All of Paul’s comments aside, his math just doesn’t work. Even if we stopped all foreign wars, brought our troops home and ended all foreign aid it’s still not going to pay the bill for Social Security, our national debt, the Medicare drug subsidy Dubya the Idiot got passed…etc. At some point you’re going to have to make some harsh, painful cuts and that’s just the way it is.

  • George

    I think we’re really pessimistically dismissing what a “windfall” we would reap, through:

    a) Reduction of our global military empire (767 global military bases and counting, plus 1 active war)

    b) Elimination of the Federal Reserve and it’s complicit payback scheme of IRS (and the 10 Trillion $ “phony interest” owed on the phony money the private Central Bank “lent” us.

    c) Stopping the inflation theft of our wealth through fiat currency.

    These 3 steps (bold as they are), would result in a tremendous (and I mean large) “windfall” to the United States (aside from gaining the lost prestige and function as the freedom engine economy of the world).

    Will it happen? Not yet I’m afraid (now I’m pessimistic….).

    But it would allow for a less-painful rehab from our current liberty-losing bender over the last 150 years.

    The other remaining welfare-state entitlements and monarchical monopolies will be small in comparison, if we correct the above.

    However, make no mistake – both freedom-theft avenues are thoroughly embedded in our government and media at present.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    I notice them. I also notice that very few of them changed until they collapsed or reached the brink of collapse.

    I advocate the “nuclear” option because that’s the only thing that works. Why don’t you show me an instance of immigration reform using more government that’s actually made the situation better?

    I haven’t studied enough to find that needle in the haystack of history, but I bet it’s there and if it’s not, I still have some glimmer of hope that we may be it. After all, country was founded by people determined to defy history. They did, to some extent, and maybe…just maybe… we can continue their work.

    I accept the likelihood of the nuclear outcome and as we approach it, I will continue to prepare for it, but I’m also going to try to avoid it and I’m definitely not going to usher it along.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    I accept the likelihood of the nuclear outcome and as we approach it, I will continue to prepare for it, but I’m also going to try to avoid it and I’m definitely not going to usher it along.

    Preaching to the choir, brother. With immigration, however, I don’t consider that to actually be the nuclear option for getting rid of welfare. I consider the gradual bankrupting of the country and erosion of our freedoms through all the laws the government passes to keep the welfare system solvent a much worse alternative…mainly because once it gets to the point where we’re forced to change we’ll have much fewer options and the damage will be much greater because we’ll be more dependent on the system.

    Honestly, entitlements are like a drug addiction…eventually things spiral beyond your control and lead to a slow death. Opening the borders to break the welfare system earlier is just a suggested method for going cold turkey.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Honestly, entitlements are like a drug addiction…eventually things spiral beyond your control and lead to a slow death. Opening the borders to break the welfare system earlier is just a suggested method for going cold turkey.

    I agree with the analogy, but think of the devastation that would come from the collapse of such a huge economy. There won’t be a rehab shelter to help us through the withdrawals. It’ll be painful and it’ll take decades to rebuild the standard of living. You’re gonna crack a ton of eggs to make that omellete.

    We’re about to go through a semi-painful recession; people will be displeased with the status quo. I’d like to take one more shot at convincing them that there are better options.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    All of Paul’s comments aside, his math just doesn’t work. Even if we stopped all foreign wars, brought our troops home and ended all foreign aid it’s still not going to pay the bill for Social Security, our national debt, the Medicare drug subsidy Dubya the Idiot got passed…etc. At some point you’re going to have to make some harsh, painful cuts and that’s just the way it is.

    Agreed, his rhetoric spends those overseas savings several times over. It is enough to make those reforms plausible. Many of those programs can be phased out aggressively, so the cross-generational cost isn’t as much of a problem. It’s just Social Security (and to a lesser extent Medicare) that needs to be handled cautiously over a couple decades.

    And the debt will have to wait. We need to eliminate the deficit, but we’ll have to keep the interest-only lone until we get past the demographic glitch.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    I haven’t studied enough to find that needle in the haystack of history, but I bet it’s there and if it’s not, I still have some glimmer of hope that we may be it. After all, country was founded by people determined to defy history.

    If you’re saying that because we’re Americans we have more of an ability to create the perfect governmental system to control human behavior, I’m sorry but that’s just plain crazy because economics says it’s crazy…and I wouldn’t want to live under that system anyway. Our country’s greatness was founded on freedom from government, not a dedication to making it a better nanny. Free will is imperfect, but it’s still the best of all possible worlds.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    And the debt will have to wait. We need to eliminate the deficit, but we’ll have to keep the interest-only lone until we get past the demographic glitch.

    Funny things about debts…they usually don’t wait until it’s convenient for you to pay them off. Once we got past the demographic glitch there’d still be some smart-ass Keynesian claiming that this is an indicator we have so much more for our government to spend.

  • George

    U.C.

    “All of Paul’s comments aside, his math just doesn’t work. Even if we stopped all foreign wars, brought our troops home and ended all foreign aid it’s still not going to pay the bill for Social Security, our national debt, the Medicare drug subsidy Dubya the Idiot got passed…etc.”

    I disagree, and the financials show it.

    You shouldn’t include the national debt, for one. It is a fictitious debt, against a fictitious money.

    As before, if you watch “Money as Debt”, you will soon see that the concept of “Fractional Banking” (loaning $1000 on $1 of something with real value), combined with the government-gun imposed monopoly on it’s practice, allows for a private group (Federal Reserve), to force an interest-rate indebtedness on Americans, on printing of unbacked paper – i.e., a loan which is totally fictitious!

    The IRX forces the repayment. It’s existence is integral to Central Banking schemes, and both entities were created the same year – 1913.

    What a great gig if you can get it as a Banker! You owe me REAL property, for printing dollars, which I created out of thin air! They lent us nothing!

    Your interest payment, on the other hand is REAL – it comes from your labor, pure and simple, into the IRX. Not one dollare of your income tax goes to entitlements, only to pay the interest!

    Imagine you need money, and I have a monopoly in the US, on writing checks. I only have $1 in gold, but the government says I can lend out $1000 in phony paper, and collect REAL interest property on that $1000, enforced by their guns. Would be a great deal for me, no?

    So, I write you a check (and lots of others checks), and you will owe me interest on the “loan”. I don’t actually have any money, but the government will force your debtors to obey that check, as if it was real, and you will need to pay me REAL interest (as well as the other “borrowers”), through your labor and actual property.

    Nice gig – at least for me the Banker, no?

    This is exactly what our Central Bank does, and the owners are very very few in number, and not sovereign to America.

    Unfortunately, every time I float more “checks”, yours becomes more and more worthless, so I am essentially stealing the “value” inherent in every transaction in America – and I get paid huge for it!

    Really bad for you, but great sheme for me, no?

    We are a much richer nation (or were, or could be) than you understand.

    Stopping the bleeding requires not only cutting back on welfare entitlements and global empire, but reducing the inflationary theft from year to year, generation to generation, which has been occuring continuously over the last century.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Jeff,

    but think of the devastation that would come from the collapse of such a huge economy

    Here’s the thing, though…I don’t believe that opening the borders would cause our economy to collapse. I think it would force us to eliminate the welfare state pretty quickly, but I also think it would cause our economy to expand and prosper quite rapidly.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Our country’s greatness was founded on freedom from government, not a dedication to making it a better nanny

    That’s what I meant. Freedom is in our heritage (relatively speaking), unlike most other nations throughout history. Most nations throughout history knew nothing but slavery.

    Everyone here knows freedom is good, they’ve just lost sight of what it is. That’s still an imposing obstacle, but it’s a better starting point than most countries.

    Funny things about debts…they usually don’t wait until it’s convenient for you to pay them off. Once we got past the demographic glitch there’d still be some smart-ass Keynesian claiming that this is an indicator we have so much more for our government to spend.

    The entire premise is on winning the ideological battle. If the Keynesians aren’t relegated to the fringe, the whole discussion is moot. If we do win the ideological battle, the debt could be contained while we get other affairs settled.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    I think it would force us to eliminate the welfare state pretty quickly, but I also think it would cause our economy to expand and prosper quite rapidly.

    I hope you’re right, but the way I see it, eliminating the welfare state quickly, means some or all of us will be screwed quickly. I can assume the burden of my parents over the course of the next couple decades, but if you force it upon in a short period of time, the standard of living will plunge quickly.

    Maybe it’s a personality thing. Do you prefer having band-aids removed from your arm slowly or all at once?

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    You shouldn’t include the national debt, for one. It is a fictitious debt, against a fictitious money.

    Yes, but you can’t make it go away without nuking the entire system. I’d rather accept that we’ve already been given a bum deal and work to get out from under it, as Paul proposes.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Doug,

    Second, doesn’t it say a lot about Ron Paul that one of the founders of the libertarian movement can’t bring himself to whole heartedly endorse him ?

    Aren’t there fundamental differences between the Cato sphere and the Mises sphere? I doubt he’d give a full-throated endorsement of Paul, even if the baggage didn’t exist, especially since he doesn’t vote.

  • UCrawford

    Jeff,

    The entire premise is on winning the ideological battle.

    There’s a common misconception in politics that once you win the battle the war will be over. That’s just never going to happen. There will always be people pushing for statism because there will always be people who crave personal power over others. Overall we may make ourselves more free as a society and we should strive towards that but there’s never a point at which the ideologies we oppose will go away. It’s just never going to happen. So when you talk about “winning” you should keep in mind that all victories in politics are ultimately temporary ones because the world doesn’t stop once you “win”…the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

    Maybe it’s a personality thing. Do you prefer having band-aids removed from your arm slowly or all at once?

    Clever analogy, but ultimately the welfare state is a crutch, not a Band-Aid :) As long as it’s there people will continue to find reasons to keep it around and build it back up after reductions. Incremental changes simply don’t work because no politician wants to be the one to finally cut off the check. But eventually cut off the checks they must. And there will be short-term pain, but people will adjust out of necessity.

    I also say this as somebody who’s got a family member dependent on SSI disability for things she had no control over. I recognize that removing that program would cause hardship for her. But ultimately if it were taken away our family will step in to take care of her because it’s our responsibility to do so since she’s part of our family. It’s not anyone else’s responsibility to do so nor should we have a right to force anyone else to shoulder the burden (which is what government charity is).

  • http://thomasblair.livejournal.com Brian T. Traylor

    Doug,

    Second, doesn’t it say a lot about Ron Paul that one of the founders of the libertarian movement can’t bring himself to whole heartedly endorse him ?

    No, it says nothing about Ron Paul when someone who never votes and doesn’t intend to vote says he won’t vote for him (the ultimate endorsement).

    Who has Crane ever endorsed, by the way?

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