My last article here was a very angry response to an alleged moderate Democrat's misrepresentations about who it is exactly that is against the health care bill. I'd like to clear up some things for anyone who might care.
I was a right-wing conservative for years - since the early 1980s. I sat back and watched as the GOP spent us into near-bankruptcy, but on their pet projects, not on those of the Democrats. Several years ago, after watching the Bush Administration spit in the face of every American, I finally embraced a full-fledged Libertarian view. I now belong to the Libertarian Party.
As with any political party, there are disagreements. I have them with my party, just as I did with the GOP. Granted, not to the same extent, but they exist nonetheless. I'd like to clarify, for anyone who cares, my economic and political positions as of today.
I'd like to take a paragraph on each issue and do my best to establish a basic understanding of my positions. Later, I might try to expand on my views in order to better clarify them, and maybe to learn them better myself.
Because my first article here was on immigration, I'll just say that I am not for open borders per se I think that for the sake of national security, there needs to be strong border security. That is not the same thing, however, as having a illiberal immigration policy, which I oppose. I believe that we should liberalize our immigration policies so that anyone who wants to be here, should be able to come. As long as they aren't another nation's criminals, there's no reason that they cannot be here.
Regarding charity and welfare. I support voluntary charity; however, I think many Christians who embrace libertarian and free market ideas fail to see that the bible specifically commanded farmers not to "maximize profits," but instead to allow the poor to "glean" in the fields. Landowners were commanded, and it was enforced in Israel, to not harvest the crops growing in the corners of the fields, nor to go over the field a second time. This left behind an ample supply of crops for the less fortunate to gather for their sustenance. So, while I believe in a free market, I also believe in biblical charity, which was not just "giving it away," but empowering the less fortunate to "work with their hands that they might have bread to eat."
Regarding war and peace. War should be a last resort and should only be done in self-defense. While it is true that we have not taken over any countries (other than the one upon which our nation sits) with our imperialism, we have taken over markets, which by definition is property. Our nation needs to stop this immediately. We need to bring troops home to defend our borders, not our "interests" in other parts of the globe.
Regarding free trade. I oppose government trade agreements, mainly because someone always get favored out of the deal - and it's rarely the American worker. I do, however, favor an individual, or a company, having the right to freely trade with other individuals or companies in other countries, without having to pay bribes to the government in the form of tariffs or taxes for the right to do so.
Regarding health care. I do not want "a public option" as understood by the Democrats. I also do not want the status quo of the insurance companies, as supported by the GOP. I favor a plan that would maximize the benefits of the markets, while providing incentives to those who are working to be healthy. One example, that would be a government run system might look like this: provide every American with a basic catastrophic plan, to pay for the long-term illnesses and hospitalizations that eventually come to all of us. Then set up a "Medical Savings Account" (MSA) of several hundred dollars each quarter. Everyone would have to see the doctor every quarter (3 months). If the doctor gives them a clean bill of health, they get a check from their MSA equal to the 3 months of deposits, minus the cost of the doctor visit and any other medical needs they may have had (like prescriptions). This would give the individual the incentive to eat healthy and exercise. The money saved from this would go into the pockets of the individual rather than in the pockets of the insurance companies.
Regarding the military industrial complex. Dismantle it. To quote Burton Cummings of the Guess Who, "American Woman...we don't need your war machines." Our society does not benefit from "creating wealth" by manufacturing bigger and better weapons. We create wealth by encouraging entrepreneurship. Small business is what is needed in this country, not more heavy-handed corporations.
Corporations are a fact of life, however. We rely on them for things like automobiles and the fuel to power them. We should do, as a nation, whatever we can to encourage these corporations to remain in America (cut taxes to zero would help) so that American workers, even Union workers if they so choose, will produce those automobiles, dishwashers, etc. that we need for a higher standard of living.
And still speaking of corporations, pollution should be taxed. If a corporation pollutes the environment, it should pay handsomely for it. That pollution should then be cleaned up with their money. It is government's responsibility to protect its citizens, and there is no reason that that government should sit idly by while large corporate interests lobby both parties (so get off your high horse you Democrats) so they can destroy our environment and our future.
And speaking of the environment. Give incentives for small business to create a market for recycled goods. I often think of an entrepreneur here in Michigan who started a company that took recycled newspapers and created insulation for houses with it. If memory serves me, he has about 6 manufacturing plants making this blown-in insulation. He's a millionaire and he has a large number of employees. That's American ingenuity. We could do that with plastic and every other non-biodegradable substance we use in this country.
Regarding alternative energy. Karl Hess, the radical left libertarian of bygone days, showed how efficient small scale wind and solar farms could be. Rather than subsidizing the Corporate interests called "public utilities" (that's a joke), encourage entrepreneurs to build local power facilities that would buy energy from small producers (many people with solar panels and windmills report having excess power), and sell it, for a profit, to those who decide not to have their own energy source. If the cost got too high for their liking, they could choose, based on economic benefit, to install their own. This is the basic free market. We only produce for ourselves what we cannot buy at a reasonable cost. In our current Big Corporate Public Utilities model, we don't really have that option. We are slaves to those corporations.
This concludes my initial thoughts. I'm sure I'll have more in the near future. Stay tuned and let me know if you like any of my ideas. I'll expand on them at a later date.