Libertarian View of the Republican Debate – August 6, 2015

The Republican debate is just wrapping up as I write this.  Even though I am a libertarian, I like to pay attention to what is going on in the world.  Admittedly, it is a little bit of entertainment for me, even though I know these people can be very dangerous.

First off, I sure do miss the Republican debates of the last two presidential cycles.  It just isn’t the same without Dr. Paul…..Ron, that is.

By far the most entertaining was Donald Trump.  He got the attention right off the bat and he was really what made the whole thing worth watching.

I don’t agree with a lot of Trump’s views.  For a great businessman, his understanding of economics is terrible.  If he actually won the presidency, I could envision him being a total tyrant.

Still, I completely understand why Trump is leading in the polls.  He speaks his mind.  There is an aura of honesty in him that you just don’t get with anybody else.  The Fox News moderators were trying to drill him and make him look bad, and Trump just managed to turn it around on them.  If anything, the questions just helped strengthen him.

Jeb Bush was ok in responding to the questions, but he has some major problems.  His first major problem is that his last name is Bush.  His other major problems are his prior positions.  He is now trying to weasel his way out of supporting things such as Common Core.

John Kasich actually had a good night overall.  I am not really saying this from a libertarian standpoint, but just how I think others will perceive him.

I wasn’t impressed with Mike Huckabee.  He is just an older and more tired-out version of the same person who was there in his last presidential run.  The Republicans will be too scared to put out a nominee who is so socially conservative, as they should be.

Ben Carson had a decent night and came across as really likable.  I think he may have a problem when people become more familiar with his very social conservative views.  I am not discounting Carson yet.  He probably needs to show a little bit more emotion at some point though.

I was not at all impressed with Scott Walker.  I thought he would be one of the top contenders for the Republican nomination, but now I am having my doubts.  He just did not have a lot of great moments and came across rather stale.

Marco Rubio did not get a lot of time, but he actually came off pretty well, as I thought he would.  He knows how to talk a good game.  He actually did a few positive things for liberty when he was Speaker of the House in Florida.  From a libertarian standpoint, he would be a terrible president.  He is a war hawk like all of the rest of them.  After this debate, it would not surprise me to see Rubio go up in the polls.

Chris Christie is staking out the more liberal (in the modern political sense) wing of the party, along with Bush.  He was not all that impressive.  I have to say though that he was correct about entitlement spending.  It is a major problem that is not being addressed.

Ted Cruz was absolutely dull.  He did not seem to get a lot of time.  He will still probably keep a core of supporters who like his conservative positions.  Overall though, he was a dud.  His closing remarks were terrible.  Oh, he is going to defund Planned Parenthood as one of his first agenda items.  Way to go big there, Cruz.

Last is Rand Paul.  He was the most libertarian candidate on the stage, which is saying very little.  He continues to try to play both sides of the fence.  He just looks indecisive, which he is.  Everything is politically calculated.  He says we shouldn’t borrow from China to fund Israel.  But, according to Paul, it is ok to fund Israel as long as it is done with surplus money.  Way to take a bold stand there, Rand.


One thing I can be certain of is that I won’t be voting for any Republican or Democrat for president in 2016, if I vote at all.  I will still follow what is going on though.  I want to see how people want to rule over me.

Let’s all be thankful that Trump is in this race right now though.  He is the entertainment.  The rest of them were so boring by comparison.

Political Correctness Gone Wild

For some reason, I have really grown tired of political correctness lately.  I have been a libertarian for quite a while now.  I have been pretty hardcore since 2003, but had libertarian leanings long before that.

I don’t know why, but political correctness did not bother me as much up until now.  Don’t get me wrong; I am not losing sleep over it.  But it has just seemed more over the top lately.

I am prejudicial like everyone else in this world, whether they want to admit it or not.  We make judgments every day of our lives, rightly or wrongly.  In reality, it is mostly for the right reasons.

If I see a lion roaming free on the street, I am going the other way, unless I am planning to save someone else.  I am going to assume that the lion is not just going to lick me.  If I see a regular house cat on the street, I am not going to have the same reaction.  This is prejudice.

Speaking of lions, nearly everyone is in a roar (sorry for the pun) about some guy killing a lion in Africa.  If only we had the same outrage when American bombs and missiles blow up innocent people in Africa and elsewhere.

I am tired of all of the victim groups.  I try to see people as individuals, but the society I live in tries to fit everyone into a group.  There are victim groups for race, religion, sexual preference, gender, and several other categories that I may not even be aware of.

I am tired of hearing about Bruce/ Caitlyn Jenner.  I’m sorry, but I don’t refer to him as “she”.  That is the fashionable thing to do everywhere, at least on the mainstream media.  He is still a “he”.  He can change his name, get plastic surgery, and change his name, but it doesn’t change the gender.

And then Bruce/ Caitlyn is given a courage award at the ESPY’s.  Has nearly everyone forgotten that he recently killed someone in a car accident?  And why is he a hero for all of this?

If we want to find a transgender hero, how about Bradley/ Chelsea Manning, who is sitting in a prison cell for exposing a bunch of murderers in the U.S. military?  It is ok for some military guys to shoot and kill innocent people in Iraq and laugh about it, but then it is a crime when Bradley Manning exposes the truth about it.

Last but not least, I am tired of the homosexual agenda.  I have no problem with anyone being gay.  If I were a baker, I would probably agree to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, even without the threat of force.  But I think it is despicable that a bakery is essentially forced to bake a cake for a gay couple.  It is the baker’s time and property and he should be able to do whatever he wants.  It is called freedom of association.  Of course, I apply that down the line to all people and businesses with anyone.

I think most Christians get it wrong here too.  They believe in forced discrimination, but just not when it comes to gay people.  I would venture to say that the only group of people (why am I talking about groups?) that consistently gets it right is libertarians.

I seriously try to be sensitive to other people and what they may have gone through or are currently going through.  But the political correctness has gotten way out of hand.

My hope is that there is a silent majority out there who are just afraid to speak up.  They just put up with it.  They don’t want to be accused of being a racist, or homophobic, or whatever, even though they aren’t.

I think getting past the politically correct garbage is an important step in restoring liberty.

What Economic Trouble Will Mean for You

I think most libertarians and Austrian school economics followers believe that we are in for some tough economic times ahead.  Some are more pessimistic than others.  Some are just doomsdayers.

I find it fascinating how much libertarians underestimate the ability of the free market, or what is left of it.  Despite the massive regulation and government spending, we still thrive.  In many ways, we are richer now than in any time in history.

Our current economic times seem a bit contradictory.  In comparison to an American family in the 1950s, it is tougher in some senses today.  Our healthcare is definitely far more expensive.

Overall, I think we are still better off.  We have more choices than ever before, whether we are talking about food at a grocery store or shoes in a shoe store.

Of course, electronics are great.  How can we even compare ourselves to the people living in the 1950s when we have a handheld computer (smartphone) that gives us instant contact with others and instant information?

There are many problems we face today.  In the U.S., we have a huge national government debt.  But this is little in comparison to the unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  Some estimates put the unfunded liabilities over $200 trillion, which obviously can never be paid out.  There is going to be some kind of a default, even if it means just raising the government retirement age to 75.

While the unfunded liabilities creep up on us, an even more imminent threat is the misallocation of resources that has happened just over the last 7 years.  The Fed has given us huge monetary inflation that hasn’t translated into huge price inflation because much of the new money went into bank reserves.  We have also had extremely low interest rates, which just discourages savings and investment.

We can’t be sure how all of this is going to come together and play out.

I do not share the view that many libertarians do that we are going to have anything close to hyperinflation.  Maybe we will get double-digit price inflation at some point, but I’m not even sure of this.

I think your biggest threat is the loss of a job, or even a big pay decrease.  That is why it is important to have marketable skills.  There will be some business owners who end up in bankruptcy too, but that happens frequently enough without recessions.

In some ways, a recession will actually be a relief for some people, especially if they can hang onto their jobs.

I think back to around 2006, at the height of the housing bubble.  While it seemed like a party time, and it certainly was for some, I believe a lot of families were staying quiet about the tough times they were having.

I can picture a family that bought a house, struggling to pay the bills each month.  They keep asking themselves, “Why are we having trouble making ends meet?  Everyone else seems to be doing great, so I am just going to keep my mouth shut and pretend that I’m doing great too.”

There were also families that were renting or living in a smaller house, wondering how they could afford to move up.  There was a lot of anxiety about getting a house at the time, before prices went up even more, or so most people thought.  Looking back, the ones that didn’t buy a house were fortunate.

I get a similar sense now as in 2006.  It is not so much in housing, even though prices have gone back up to some degree.  I suppose people living in California – particularly certain areas such as Silicon Valley – may be feeling something similar to what most of the country was feeling ten years ago.  But even overall, I get a sense that middle class families are struggling now.

If you can keep your job in a major recession, you may actually benefit from the recession.  The reason is that it is a correction for the past mistakes.  It is a reallocation of resources into areas that actually meet market demand.  This is under the assumption that the Fed and government don’t intervene too much, which I know is a big assumption.

But even if there is major intervention, the correction still takes place to a certain degree.  People reduce spending, pay down debt if they can, and they save if they can.  The reduction in spending tends to reduce prices, thus alleviating some of the hard times for many.  It is even more ideal if local governments are forced to cut spending due to the reduction of tax collections.

I am not trying to cheer on a recession, as I know that a lot of people get hurt.  They are painful.  But if the recession is inevitable, it is better to get it over with.  The longer it takes, the worse it will generally be.  And the many millions of families that are struggling now actually need the relief.

Again, I believe the biggest threat is a job loss.  This should really be your number one investment.  You need to invest in yourself to make sure that you are needed.  You need marketable skills that are valued, even in a tough economy.

Your investments are important too, but your number one goal here is to protect what you already have.  You want them to serve as a reserve for when we do have an economic downturn.

In addition, if you have some money on the sidelines and we hit a major recession, that is where you can make a lot of money.  That is when you get the bargains, whether it is in real estate, stocks, commodities, or something else.  People who were able to buy investment real estate around 2010/ 2011 have done very well.

In conclusion, you will survive the economic turmoil ahead.  The most important thing is to have the skills to bring in income.  It is great if you can have multiple streams of income.

If you rely on the government for a lot of your income, you would be wise to find a backup plan.  At some point, even the federal government may be forced to scale back a lot.  That would be a true correction.