Saturday, September 24, 2011

Free Trade Agreements and Libertarianism

So this is an issue that I think all Libertarians should consider (along with targeted tax breaks).  I guess it comes down to how idealistic we are versus how pragmatic we are as Libertarians.

I saw this link, but the speech itself is not really what poses the question.

The question is, from a Libertarian perspective, are free trade agreements a good or a bad thing?  The good side is fairly obvious.  Free trade is a good thing.  It encourages competition, and reinforces the rights of business owners (both here and abroad) to practice their business as they wish to.

The bad side is a little more complex.  Yes, free trade is a good thing.  Financially, and for the individuals in the countries involved, or American businesspeople who do business with them, this is obviously a very Libertarian step.

On the other hand, the idea of individual bilateral free trade agreements is very anti-Libertarian, anti-free market, and anti-capitalistic.  Instead of removing regulation and leveling the playing field, it creates an even more stark, government-induced contrast between the restrictions different sets of business owners face.

It creates two classes of international countries, and with them, two classes of American businesses.  That is, those businesses who choose to do business with countries we have free trade with, and businesses who choose to do business with other countries.

In short, if lower government regulation is what we think of as Libertarian ideals, then I guess these agreements are a gift.

If, on the other hand, less government involvement in our individual and business lives is what we see as Libertarian, this is terrible.  I would rather have more regulations, but have them be simple, and consistent, than have no restrictions for some countries, but a government web of individualized agreements with other nations.  Am I a bad Libertarian?

Another Reason to Support Ron Paul

I saw this video the other day.  Now, I know only Ron Paul was given the opportunity to answer this question, so it may seem unfair to use his answer as a reason to support him.  But ask yourself, what would the other candidates have said?

Paul is the only candidate, from either party, who seems to have a really firm grasp on the whole Constitution and Bill of Rights, and a genuine interest in enforcing it.  If we want a return to a free country, made up of united states, not one big state, Ron Paul is the best candidate for our country.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Asthmatics vs. The Ozone

This was shocking to me.  Our government, and apparently the international community, value the ozone over the lives of asthmatics.  This is what happens when a society becomes over regulated.  There is no effective, OTC alternative to this medication, yet our government has decided that asthmatics should not have access to it.

The only non-CFC-containing alternative medication is not approved for market yet, which is a whole different issue with over-regulation of the pharmaceutical industry.

Imagine that someone is traveling.  They are away from their regular doctor, and their insurance company (through a local company) charges huge prices for visits to out-of-network doctors and clinics.  The airline loses their son's bag, which has his inhaler.  The family now has to put their vacation on hold, find a doctor, pay huge doctor's bills, and wait for a scrip to be filled, because we were worried about the small effect that an OTC inhaler has on the ozone.

This is another example of our government's harmful effects, especially when they put being "green" over the interests of our people.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Obama Encouraging Union Harrassment

I saw this the other day, and although the public comment period is now closed, I found it important enough that I had to share it, so that we can at least be aware of what's going on in our government.

First of all, it's very scary that the DoL is collecting this information about replacement workers and making it available to the unions.  Although, in reality, most unions, especially in right to work states, have clauses in their CBAs requiring employers to give up names, addresses, and other personal information, of anyone hired to work in a CBA-covered position.

The scarier part to me is that we have just raised the debt ceiling, and given a very unclear, non-specific, almost certainly doomed-for-failure mandate to reduce government spending.  Our national debt and deficit problem is growing.  Why are we paying government officials to due unions' dirty work, and collect the names and information of scabs to pass along to the unions?

Oh wait, more government jobs.  That's just what the economy needs.  Hire more useless, pointless, government employees paid on taxpayers' dimes to work.  But make it better.  Their job is actually to make it more difficult and scary for people to go to work in the private sector.  That's right.  A strike or lockout is a huge opportunity for the millions of unemployed people in this country who are desperate to feed their families to cross the lines and actually earn (read, not be entitled to because of Union membership or seniority, but EARN) a living.  We now want to help the unions discourage them from doing just that.  This is absurd.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Surveillence State

I saw this a few days ago, and it really hit me.  This is a big part of why I am a Libertarian.  Although our current government may not be out to harm us, the technology available to it is scary.  All it would take would be one individual in the White House, Congress, or any of an ever-growing number of arms of the federal bureaucracy with less than kind intentions to turn this technology against us.

A state, or, for that matter, any other organization, which has the ability to monitor someone's every moves is only one short step away from controlling that individual.  Especially in our technology-driven world, where blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, and texting are such large parts of our lives, this is scary.  The government can literally see where any American is planning on meeting their friends later this evening, what they had for dinner, who they took a photo with at the bar last night.  They can see your personal conflicts with friends, family, or your boss.  They can even tell whether you liked last night's episode of Glee.

Almost as concerning as the government's ability to collect this information is the fact that with our benevolent government, this is all useless information.  A true conspiracy theorist, or a pessimist, might fear that our government has sinister motives for wanting this information.  As an optimist, I believe that our government has no intention of misusing this information.  Why, then, are we paying thousands of people to collect and sift through it?  Why are we spending millions of dollars developing the technology to assist in this task?  As government debt and deficit rises, why are we wasting this money?

Just as importantly, there are actually bad people out there (within the U.S. and abroad).  As a highly trained, highly educated specialist sifts through my personal life via Facebook, this blog, Twitter, and my texts, how many of those bad people and their bad plans are slipping through the cracks?  As our government collects massive amounts of voice and text data from millions of American citizens, how many phone calls or messages planning the next major attack on America are sitting in a backlog of data somewhere?