Understanding the Damage of Government Intervention

One of the most hotly debated issues today is probably government involvement in the economy. This is a point that I feel deserves some very careful examination. Now, I’m not an economist, or a statistician or anything else of the type. I’m just a guy who can use his own head, and wanted to lay out a few things for you to think about.

First, let’s assume we can agree that the turning point for economic policy was during the Great Depression with FDR’s “New Deal” policies. As such, I took an average of recession lengths and time between the start of recessions from before and after the Great Depression. Unfortunately, these numbers only tell part of the story.

First, the average length for a recession (then called “Panics”) prior to the Great Depression was actually 4.1 years, while post Great Depression was only 1.21 years. Obviously, this looks like a strike against truly free markets, right? Well, not so fast.

You see, the time between recessions prior to the Great Depression was an average of 13.4 years, while post FDR we had only 9.75 years. What’s more, during that time we had two huge wars that artificially propped up the market, namely World War II and Vietnam. This caused gaps of 24 years and 13 years respectively. These numbers skew the average a fair amount, obviously.

You see, I’ve never claimed that Keynesian ideas that government spending can get us out of a recession are actually wrong. They’re not. What my claim is, and has always been, is that the prosperity is artificial. The 24 year period post World War II was a result of debt spending to finance the war, yes, but also the lack of anyone’s ability to actually spend any money. Rationing was the norm in those days, and both adults in a household were typically bringing in money. The guys fighting the wars often had wives at home working in places like aircraft factories (my grandmother worked in a munitions plant for example). This forced savings, and permitted people to buy things like cars and houses in great amounts. It created an era of prosperity.

However, this prosperity was an illusion. Behind the scenes was massive debt, and 8 years after the war ended, we were slammed with yet another recession. This is similar to what happened during Vietnam, as more people were working to support the war, and large numbers of Americans were being drafted (and plenty were volunteering) to go to war, which kept even more people employed. Only this time, the war was barely over before we were smacked with yet another recession.

I should also, in the interest of fair disclosure, mention that I did not count the Long Depression.  The reason for that is that I don’t feel it was truly a recession.  Production actually increased fourfold during that period, which is hardly indicative of a recession.  Instead, prices went out of whack as the United States tried to get the US back on the gold standard, among other factors that were based outside of this country.

Recessions are a part of life.  Keynsian ideologies haven’t done a thing to prevent them from happening, and it is an ideology that requires that governments take on massive debt and tax the people to pay for it.  Since the numbers don’t show this to actually solve anything long term, why not let people keep their money and stimulate the economy that way.  It’s what this nation was founded on, so lets just step up and return to a true free market economy.

Government intervention doesn’t actually work, and it provides yet another way for Uncle Sam to take away our freedoms.  It’s time for this to end.

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Winning The Hearts and Minds

Recently, the Albany Herald ran an editorial by Bill Shipp regarding “gun free zones”, apparently in regards to the shooting in UGA by a professor.  Frankly, gun free zones are a waste of effort.  Criminals don’t care about the law by definition, so why limit where those who we don’t mind having guns (i.e. the good guys) by stupid laws. Continue reading

A Libertarian Paradise Part 2: Social Freedom

After outlining this Libertarian’s ideas for economic freedom, I thought I’d lay out the ideas for social freedom.  Honestly, the great thing about Libertarianism is that our philosophy is incredibly consistent.  While we want businesses to be free to do what they will so long as there is no harm to anyone else, we tend to feel the exact same way toward the individual.

Libertarians are notorious for embracing the idea of legalizing drugs, especially pot.  Now, plenty of people disagree with us on this issue, saying that drugs leads to a host of other crimes such as robbery and burglary.  We don’t necessarily argue this point.  However, alcoholism leads to drunk driving and assault, and how do we deal with this?  Easy.  When a drunk punches someone, we arrest them for assault.  Drugs should be treated the same way.  While I personally think that drugs are bad for you, both physically and spiritually, I don’t feel the state has any business telling you so.

Crimes that are considered “victimless” should, in my opinion, be repealled immediately.  Drug use, in and of itself, doesn’t hurt anyone else.  If someone wants to be stupid and use drugs, then so be it.  I fail to see why the state needs to get involved whatsoever.   Our government wastes billions of dollars each year to prosecute the “drug war” and have little to show for it besides crowded prisons, bloated budgets, and a continuing epidemic of drug use and addiction.

Prostitution is another such “crime” that doesn’t hurt a sole in and of itself.  The problems with prostitution involve pimps forcing young girls into prostitution against their will, and forcing them to stay in.  Were prostitution legal, this would abruptly end.  These girls wouldn’t be labeled criminals, but instead would be seen as the victims that they truly are.  They could go to police without fear of arrest themselves for what they’ve been doing.

Another change in the Libertarian Paradise is the removal of state mandated seat belt laws.  They would be a thing of the past.  Now, some may be thinking “why shouldn’t we have them?  I don’t want my tax dollars to pay for some brain dead fool who didn’t wear a seat belt.”  I understand the sentiment, I really do.  However, remember that there is no socialized medicine in the Libertarian Paradise.  The individual’s insurance has to foot the bill.  If not, then his family.  If not his family, then private charities will do it.  But it will not be anyone’s tax dollars.

Also, in my Libertarian Paradise, the borders would be opened.  Those from South of the Border who want to enter the US simply have to fill out a form and have an instant background check done to make sure they’re not fleeing prosecution in their home countries, then they’re welcome to come on in.  Sure, this sounds bad.  Frankly, for a long time, I disagreed with the Libertarian Party’s stance on illegal immigration.  However, I came to realize that you have to look at the party’s platform as a whole, and the same is true here.

Yes, you will have immigrants able to just enter the United States.  However, there is no longer any socialized health care.  There’s also no minimum wage laws.  What this means is that immigrants will have to compete on a level playing field with Americans.  As such, fewer will actually enter the US, since employers will tend to side with people who actually speak English versus those who don’t.  And yes, I understand that many are fans of the minimum wage.  However, it serves to drive costs up.  Employers who are no longer bound by such laws will be able to lowers costs, and thereby prices (they’ll have to…people won’t have the income they might have had at one time).

In short, people are free.  They are free to make any decision they want, so long as they don’t hurt a living soul.  But they also have a responsibility to act right, or else they’ll get the full brunt of their stupidity.  And really, the right to be stupid is one of our most fundamental rights.  When government tries to take it away, they destroy our liberties in ways that people are oblivious too.

We must remain vigilant each day, and then, maybe, we’ll find our Libertarian Paradise.

[Updated] Closer Look at 2010 Governor’s Race with Fox 5 Atlanta

Fox 5 Atlanta is doing a series called ‘Closer Look: Race for Governor 2010’ where they interview each of the candidates.

April 21, 2009 Karen Handel text and video
April 22, 2009 Ray McBerry text and video
April 23, 2009 John Oxendine text and video
April 24, 2009 Austin Scott text and video
April 28, 2009 David Poythress text and video
April 29, 2009 Thurbert Baker text and video
April 30, 2009 DuBose Porter text and video
May 1, 2009 John Monds text and video

SWGA Politics will also have a continuing series ‘Candidate and Liberty’, examining each candidate’s statements as they appear on their websites and looking at them from the eyes of one Libertarian – namely, me. The first mini-series in this series is now complete, and ‘John Oxendine and Liberty: Series At a Glance‘ has already been posted.

House of Representatives’ Priorities

We are at war in two different countries.  Our economy is the worst since the Great Depression.  Civil liberties are under assault.  There is a virus traversing the world that may well be the pandemic we all fear.  And what are members of Congress occupied with today? Continue reading

Mayor Adams: A Polygraph?

WALB’s website has the initial story of Mayor Willie Adams issuing a challenge.  He challenges Carol Fullerton and WG&L General Manager Lem Edwards to take a polygraph, along with himself.  He says that he “wants to know who’s lying,” regarding Representative Fullerton’s removal from the WG&L board.    This, he claims, will answer questions once and for all about who is telling the truth regarding Rep. Fullerton’s dismissal. Continue reading

A Libertarian Paradise Part 1: Economic Freedom

People often think they understand Libertarian thought, but usually they try to boil down the entire party platform with “you’re the guys who want to legalize pot, right?”  Yes, that’s our entire platform in a nutshell.  Nothing about getting government out of our day to day lives.  But that’s almost preferable to being “the guys who hate poor people.” Continue reading