Saturday, May 22, 2010

The little party that cried wolf...

I remember the story when I was growing up about the little shepherd boy who would constantly cry "wolf", even when there was no wolf trying to get into the sheep. After a few times, the rest of the people in the village quit paying any attention to the little shepherd, and didn't come to help even when the wolf was really in the sheep.

A couple of years ago, some of the supporters of Barack Obama's policies decided it might be a useful tactic to label those who were opposed to Barack Obama's policies as racists. Most Libertarians I know are opposed to most of Barack Obama's policies. I don't know of any Libertarians that are racists.

Most Libertarians who are opposed to his policies believe that government is too big. Most people who support his policies believe that government isn't big enough. I do understand that some people want more government. I don't agree with them, but I do understand what they want.

Early on I wished that they would just present their arguments without feeling the need to call those that disagree with them racists. After a while it reached the point where it really didn't matter anymore.

A couple of days ago, Rand Paul, a Republican candidate for congress, was accused by some of being a racist for defending private property rights. Now, I try not to make it a habit of defending Republican candidates, but I do appreciate when people defend property rights.

Private property ownership and private property rights are the cornerstone of a free society, and those rights allow a person to exclude another person from their home for any reason they choose. Those rights still exist if they use their home as a private business, and those rights still exist if they live in a location away from that business.

In as much as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guaranteed equal access to public facilities for all people, it seems apparent that that provision should have been included in our Constitution from day one. But what we are talking about here is private property.

I've been around long enough to realize that some people don't believe in private property rights, or at least don't believe in them as strongly as I do. And some people believe property rights apply to some private property but not to other private property. And I'm sure we will be discussing the differences of opinion for a long time. Hopefully we can have that discussion without resorting to race baiting when someone disagrees with us.

As disappointing as it is to some on both the left and the right, racism is on the decline. I see less of it in my generation than in my parents generation, and even less in my children's generation. I don't suppose it will ever end completely, but I do believe it becomes less common and less acceptable with each generation.

I've also seen a lot more people condemning the "racist" accusations, and occasionally those condemnations are even coming from people on the left.

Maybe someday people won't pay any attention at all to racists or race baiting.

As far as I'm concerned, that day can't get here any too soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What's the difference?...

The stage is set for the U.S. Senate race in Indiana. There was quite a bit of hoopla when the Democrats appointed Brad Ellsworth, and Republican candidate Dan Coats stated that "Hoosiers will hear two dramatically different views about the direction our country should be heading, and about the future of Indiana."

Well, Hoosiers might hear two dramatically different views, but it's not too likely that they'll actually see much difference between the two. We've all heard the GOP complaining about the runaway spending under President Obama. Last week, they PRESENTED A PLAN to cut some of that spending. By about .017%. That saves about $1.00 out of each $5800.00 that is being spent.

I'm not sure that qualifies as dramatic.

Of course, there are some different views out there. Chris Edwards over at CATO, a libertarian think-tank, offered THIS IDEA for cutting federal spending by over 10%, just by eliminating 10 programs. For starters, anyway.

So yes, Hoosiers can hear two dramatically different views about the direction our country should be headed. One of those views will come from the Republicans and Democrats.

The other view will come from U.S. Senate candidate Rebecca Sink-Burris and the Libertarians.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Baby Mamas?

Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes things aren't anybody's fault, and sometimes things happen when there's no one to blame.

And then sometimes things happen when there is enough blame to go around for everbody.

I read This Story today about a young man that was in trouble with the law for threatening to run over a couple of women a while back. Apparently the women were roommates. And apparently each of them had a child. The man that tried to run them down was the father of both of the babies. And another baby somewhere else.

It's not too hard to blame the the man for being a completely amoral moron. And there's also plenty of blame for the judgment the women used, or didn't use.

But there's also plenty of blame for a society that rewards this type of behavior. And make no mistake, we do reward it. These people that make horrible decisions aren't supporting themselves. That job falls on people that make good decisions and then pay taxes.

And the better decisions they make, the more taxes they pay.

And the people that make more bad decisions will get more of the money that the good decision makers pay.

And that's our fault for standing by and letting it happen.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The same thing, only different...

We can convince ourselves of about anything, I suppose. I used to work with a guy that sprayed WD-40 on his elbow. He claimed it helped his arthritis. I never bought into that, but I think he had convinced himself it really worked.

We're getting ready for an election this fall, and from my conversations with a lot of Republicans, I think they have convinced themselves that they are really the party of smaller government. Some of them get downright mad if you suggest that they aren't.

Now, I hate to make anybody mad, but I do think it's interesting to compare the policy disasters of the last two administrations. The Libertarian Party put this list together a couple of months ago:

Top 10 disasters of the 2009 Obama administration (in no particular order):

1. Cash for Clunkers
2. War escalation in Afghanistan
3. Giant government health care expansion bill
4. Post office loses money hand over fist
5. Stimulus package
6. Expansion of "state secrets" doctrine
7. Big increase in unemployment
8. "Bailout" Geithner as Treasury Secretary
9. Skyrocketing federal spending
10. Huge federal deficits

Top 10 disasters of the 2001-2008 Bush administration:

1. Cash for Car Companies
2. War in Iraq
3. Giant Medicare expansion bill
4. Post office loses money hand over fist
5. Stimulus "rebate" checks
7. Big increase in unemployment
8. "Bailout" Paulson as Treasury Secretary
9. Skyrocketing federal spending
10. Huge federal deficits

I'll be the first to agree it's time for something different. I just haven't been able to convince myself we'll find it in the GOP.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

What took you so long?...

I saw in the Palladium-Item the other day that the government was saving $200,000.00 a year by combining a couple of departments. I say good for them. As citizens and governments continue to face declining revenues, it is going to a lot more ideas on how to save money on all of our parts.

But as much as I appreciate the latest efforts by our local officials, I have to ask, "What took you so long?" Six years ago, when the Libertarian Party of Wayne County candidates called for a 10% cut across the board in all county departments as a start for reducing government, the Pal-Item called such cuts draconian, and chastised us for not having an understanding of what it takes to operate government.
I don't expect to read the same criticisms of the proposed cuts or the people making them today.

Hopefully more people are starting to understand now what Libertarians have understood for a long time. We have a lot more government than we really need. And if we can eliminate some of it now, we could have eliminated it earlier. And if we are going to have to eliminate some of it in the future, we can go ahead and eliminate more of it now.

It's really not necessary to wait until a crisis occurs before we start cutting excessive and unnecessary spending.



Friday, May 07, 2010

Know gain, know pain....

My old buddy Stinky Wilmont's first car was a hand-me-down his older brother Leonard had given to him. It was an Oldsmobile, as I remember, as big as a boat, with an engine so big he could pull a hay wagon if he wanted to. But usually he just put the hay in the back seat or the trunk.

One Saturday evening we were cruising town in Stinky's Olds and stopped in for a fill-up. This was back in the day when gas stations put the gas in for you. The attendant pumped for a while, and then walked up to Stinky's window and stated "You're going to have to turn this car off, sir. It's gaining on me." I always figured the attendant was just being a smart-aleck, but that old car did take a lot of gas.

There is an unemployment fund in Indiana that employers pay into every week, and if an employee loses their job, they get to draw some money out of that fund until they find another job. A while back, the people taking money out of the fund started taking more out than the people putting in were putting in. The fund was going broke, so Indiana started borrowing some of the money the federal government has borrowed in order to keep the fund funded.

I suppose that might work, except that the people taking money out the federal government are taking out more than the people putting in are putting in. Kind of like that unemployment deal.

Not that it's anything new. The federal debt, just like the federal government, has been gaining on us for years. In 1957, the federal debt stood at a paltry $219 billion. It's gained every year since, sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot. Right now it's approaching $14 trillion. And it's going to gain another $1.4 trillion this year. Maybe a little more.

$10 billion of the that additional debt will come from Social Security paying out more than it takes in this year. It will gain on us a lot more when an additional 80 million people start drawing money out of it in the next ten years, and there isn't another 80 million people to keep putting money in.

The government seems to be gaining on us in a lot of areas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that 430,800 people worked in factories in Indiana in January 2010. At the same time, 442,800 people worked for the government. That makes government the second largest employer in Indiana. It's just behind retailers, and gaining fast. And not just in Indiana.

According to Assembly magazine, as recently as 1990, 21 states still had more manufacturing jobs than government jobs. Today, not one state can make that claim.

It didn't take my buddy Stinky too long to figure out that he couldn't afford that big Olds, and luckily he was able to get rid of it before it broke him, in favor of a more economical model that got him where he wanted to go for a lot less money.

I hope as nation we should be so lucky.


Sunday, May 02, 2010

Now, that really does sock....

A while back, I commented about how I hoped our Amish neighbors would be exempted from the requirements of the new government forced health insurance plan.

I also mentioned that I hoped they wouldn't be the only ones that were exempted.

Well, I did find out that they are exempted. I also found out that you and I are not.

I have no animosity towards the Amish for escaping over-reaching government regulations. Although I am a little envious.

I do wonder how our government can justify granting special privilege to one group of people and not others.


See Paul run...

I have some runners in my family, but it takes a lot of effort from me just break into a good saunter. That's what 40 years of roofing does to the knees, I guess.

Over towards New Paris Ohio last evening, in a campground just behind where Larkey's Tavern used to set, I had the pleasure to meet a man that loves to run. He also loves freedom, and he has combined the two passions and created the Run for Liberty. Paul Both is in the process of running (in shoes with individual toe spaces), from Huntington Beach California to the Statue of Liberty.

His friend Chris Swenson is riding a bicycle along the way, shouting encouragement to Paul, and video recording the adventure along the way. the plan is to make a documentary about the trip. I look forward to seeing it. He's also recording interviews with people like me across the country.

Also accompanying Paul on his trek is Michael Cernak. He's driving the support vehicle and pulling their RV named The Galt, (you gotta love that name!) and fending off spiders, (apparently more successfully at some times than at others).

In my discussions with Chris and Michael, (while Paul was recuperating from another 26 mile leg of the journey), I was happy to hear about the number of people they have met who are genuinely upset with the direction our federal government is headed. And I'm happy that there are dedicated people like Paul, Chris and Michael to raise awareness and push the issues. If everybody committed to preserving and regaining our freedom had their determination, regardless of whether you're running for office, or the east coast, or doing what you feel is best to reverse the growth of government, I have to believe we would all be in a lot better shape.

As I mentioned, Chris is also recording videos along the way, and he made the mistake of putting me in front of his video camera and asking my opinion on various functions of the government.

I think I ran the batteries down.

But hey, that's what you get for asking a Libertarian what he or she thinks.

You're probably going to find out.

Make sure to stop by Run for Liberty on Facebook, or visit to wish them well and cheer them on.