Ron Paul Winning CPAC: Real vs. Ideal

Almost everyone who follows politics knows that at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference libertarian-republican (if you can put those two words together) Representative from Texas, Ron Paul, won the straw poll. CNN has it here:

“The results of the Washington Times CPAC straw poll of presidential candidates are in, and the winner is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, with 30 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the runner-up with 23 percent.

There were 3,742 ballots cast in the annual survey, which is a chance for devotees to name their pick for president in 2012. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said they were generally satisfied with the field of potential candidates and 43 percent said they wished the GOP had a better field of potential candidates. For those surveyed, the size of the federal government was the most important issue to them.”

In a lot of ways the above straw poll shows the state of the Republican party. The debate between the ideal and the real.

The Mitt Romney’s of the Republican party are going to argue that the Ron Paul’s of the party even with their good ideas are not electable, we should settle on someone like Mitt Romney, which they consider the real. The Ron Paul’s of the party will say that we should not settle for the ideal. So who wins?

Neither of them will ever win. This is what “Republicans” have such a hard time accepting. The system, which is our laws and policies, will never elect anyone who is for limited government. It just simply can’t happen. The current system rewards those that dole out to special interests and punishes those that stand for ideals. It doesn’t matter whether your limited government candidate is a Ken doll from a liberal state or a squirrelly off the cuff texan, he who will be elected will have to have friends in high places to do so.

Why is it the Republican party cannot accept this? Think about the majority of Republican party members. They usually hold one, if not all of these characteristics:

  • Loves the Constitution
  • Loves the American Flag
  • Loves the Founding Fathers

Now, there is nothing wrong with loving these three things. But like a good love, they will break your heart. And the Republican party refuses to get over it. The founding fathers were great visionaries and they created a government that they would hope would stay limited. They did the best they could do and they should be honored for that. But that does not help us sustain a limited government.

Next is the Constitution and this is the real big one for conservatives. How many times have we heard “only if they followed the Constitution”? I know I have heard it a million times myself. But for some reason conservatives and the Republican party are okay with saying that. It’s as meaningless as a police chief throwing up his hands and saying “only if they followed the law.”

What we need to look at is why is it that the Constitution is not followed? And under what system would we have a more effective society? Is there an alternative?


The Hell with Our Constitution by Walter Williams

The Article of the Day is from Walter Williams’ Website:

Dr. Robert Higgs, senior fellow at the Oakland-based Independent Institute, penned an article in The Christian Science Monitor (2/9/2009) that suggests the most intelligent recommendation that I’ve read to fix our current economic mess. The title of his article gives his recommendation away: “Instead of stimulus, do nothing — seriously.”

Stimulus package debate is over how much money should be spent, whether some should given to the National Endowment for the Arts, research sexually transmitted diseases or bail out Amtrak, our failing railroad system. Dr. Higgs says, “Hardly anyone, however, is asking the most important question: Should the federal government be doing any of this?” He adds, “Until the 1930s, the Constitution served as a major constraint on federal economic interventionism. The government’s powers were understood to be just as the framers intended: few and explicitly enumerated in our founding document and its amendments. Search the Constitution as long as you like, and you will find no specific authority conveyed for the government to spend money on global-warming research, urban mass transit, food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, or countless other items in the stimulus package and, even without it, in the regular federal budget.”

By bringing up the idea of constitutional restraints on Washington, I’d say Dr. Higgs is whistling Dixie. Americans have long ago abandoned respect for the constitutional limitations placed on the federal government. Our elected representatives represent that disrespect. After all I’d ask Higgs: Isn’t it unreasonable to expect a politician to do what he considers to be political suicide, namely conduct himself according to the letter and spirit of the Constitution?

While Americans, through ignorance or purpose, show contempt for our Constitution, I doubt whether they are indifferent between a growing or stagnating economy. Dr. Higgs tells us some of the economic history of the U.S. In 1893, there was a depression; we got out of it without a stimulus package. There was a major recession of 1920-21; though sharp, it quickly reversed itself into what has been call the “Roaring Twenties.” In 1929, there was an economic downturn, most notably featured by the stock market collapse, after which came massive government intervention — you might call it the nation’s first stimulus package. President Hoover and Congress responded to what might have been a two- or three-year sharp downturn with many of the policies President Obama and Congress are urging today. They raised tariffs, propped up wage rates, bailed out farmers, banks and other businesses, and financed state relief efforts. When Roosevelt came to office, he became even more interventionist than Hoover and presided over protracted depression where the economy didn’t fully recover until 1946.

Roosevelt didn’t have an easy time with his agenda; he had to first emasculate the U.S. Supreme Court. Higgs points out that federal courts had respect for the Constitution as late as the 1930s. They issued some 1,600 injunctions to restrain officials from carrying out acts of Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned as unconstitutional the New Deal’s centerpieces such as the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Agricultural Adjustment Act and other parts of Roosevelt’s “stimulus package.” An outraged Roosevelt threatened to pack the Court, and the Court capitulated to where it is today giving Congress virtually unlimited powers to tax, spend and regulate. My question to my fellow Americans is: Do we want a repeat of measures that failed dismally during the 1930s?

A more fundamental question is: Should Washington be guided by the Constitution? In explaining the Constitution, James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, wrote in Federalist Paper 45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” Has the Constitution been amended to permit Congress to tax, spend and regulate as it pleases or have Americans said, “To hell with the Constitution”?

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Is there a Progressive argument for the line-item veto?

From Slate Magazine Ross Douthat and Mickey Kaus argue yes:

“The third option is to recognize junk spending as the greatest threat to consequential spending and pass a constitutional amendment to give the president a line-item veto to prevent it. While the line-item veto is often seen as a conservative idea, many Democrats—from Mike Dukakis to Bill Clinton—have endorsed it over the years, and most governors in both parties already have it.

In the past, some congressional leaders have resisted shifting that much power to the executive branch. But both parties and both houses might have something to gain from giving the president a line-item veto. Advocates of fiscal discipline would pick up a powerful new tool. Advocates of increased government investment would benefit from fixing spending blunders with a precision scalpel instead of a blunt instrument.”

Is there a good economic argument to this? What about a public choice argument? We could imagine that this would do a lot of good since more axes in government can never be a bad thing. But is this giving the Executive Branch too much power as many have argued? The Executive Branch has been receiving more and more power as the years go on and this could make Congress near obsolete. Unless you word it in a way that the President could only line-item pork and then what defines pork? I am no expert on this subject so there may be a solution to all of this I do not know about.

Sidenote: I like how they use an increase in government investment, not spending.

The rest is here, for some reason the link thing isn’t working:


Has Technology made Government more or less powerful?

If there is anything that has been constant in the last few hundred years, it is technology. These technologies have challenged us as a society. You have seen with the current MySpace comments that supposedly caused a girl to kill herself and the kid who just killed himself on live camera. But in the Macro level, has technology given us more freedom or more statism?

First, governments who are communists and censor their citizens are having a hard time doing so now with the internet’s presence. They are able to access information that they never could have 50 years ago. The more free ideas that they are exposed to, the more change they will demand.

Second, governments can use more technology to track people. They can gain access to your phone, internet, text messages, and other things with or without a warrant. They use cameras in public, like in Britain, to watch your every move. You are told, by the government, that these are ways to protect you. Some argue that if you weren’t doing anything wrong, then it wouldn’t matter.

This brings a new challenge to property rights and privacy. What policies can we implement to keep the government in check? Is the Constitution a good tool for this?

I believe that technology will always allow freedom to lead first. You cannot chase innovators with bureaucracy.


Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 9:17 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , ,

Does America Want to be Enslaved?

A great man once wrote “Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised …to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia…”- George Mason. So does America want to be enslaved? According to George Mason the best way for the country to control its inhabitants and force them to obey their laws is to unarm them. I know personally I have no desire to become enslaved to a government that is not capable of efficiently running itself. Citizens should have the right to protect their freedoms and defend themselves when necessary.

It seems that every time you see the news today there’s a story blaming the gun for some mindless crime and not the person committing it. This brings to mind a quote I once saw that said “If guns kill people then spoons made Rosie O’Donnell fat”. I believe this quote perfectly explains that it’s not the guns that kill people, it’s the person. These incorrect beliefs are then translated into legislation with the goal of banning all firearms for public use. One example of this is the D.C. gun ban which attempted to ban the sale of handguns in the District of Columbia. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court decided that the gun ban violated the 2nd amendment and was thus unconstitutional.

Many gun owners may ask “why does this pertain to me, I don’t live in the District of Columbia” but had this gun ban been passed this would have set a precedent for all other areas in the country to ban the sale of handguns and because the Supreme Court would have deemed it constitutional for D.C., they would have had to allow it everywhere else in the country. This one ban may have proven to be the biggest blow to firearm advocates to date and would have set us one step closer to losing the limited freedoms we have today.


Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 11:29 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

The Invisible Hook by Peter Leeson

It is not often that I write a blog post telling people to buy things but this is something definitely worth buying. A new book is coming out and is currently available for pre-order it is “The Invisible Hook” by Peter Leeson. I personally had Dr. Leeson for lecture and he did one whole day on the Economics of Pirates. What is important to note is the contribution to anarchy and the relation to our founding fathers. Pirates like us had a Constitution. They figured out a way to make the Captain powerful but not too powerful.

This has always been the question we have battled with as a nation. Something we will always battle as long as humans keep some sort of government. See Privateers and other state ran ships were abusive to their crewmen and treated them like slaves. In the world of Pirates, each man was his own agent. This man wanted to make as much money as he possibly could. He is going to contract himself out to those who only treat him well. He must put in clauses and limits to power because his alternative is a endless sea.

Obviously, I haven’t read Dr. Leeson’s book but I have been to his lectures and talked endlessly with him on various subjects. He is one of the major three economists that I have personally met that have influenced me the most. One day I hope to pass it on.

Here is the pre-order link. Do enjoy!


Stubborn Ignorance by Walter Williams

This is a great article about how the budgetary system works. This is something I have always wanted to say to people whenever you hear about the powers of the President. Here it is from The Washington Times:

“All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”

How many times have we heard politicians, pundits and guardians of our news media say President Bush cut taxes, or Barack Obama is going to raise taxes? The fact is that presidents have no power to raise or lower taxes. They can propose tax measures or veto them but Congress has the ultimate power to raise or lower taxes since they can, with a two-thirds vote, override a presidential veto. The same principle applies to spending.”

This is Williams on the current credit crunch and he is saying the same stuff I have been saying for a long while:

“Many politicians and pundits claim the credit crunch and high mortgage foreclosure rate is an example of market failure and want government to step in to bail out creditors and borrowers at the expense of taxpayers who prudently managed their affairs.

These financial problems are not market failures but government failure. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 is a federal law that intimidated lenders into offering credit throughout their entire market and discouraged them from restricting their credit services to low-risk markets, a practice sometimes called redlining. The Federal Reserve, keeping interest rates artificially low, gave buyers and builders incentive to buy and build, producing the housing bubble.”

This a great article you will have to read for yourself. I have put up the best but there is also a very good part on, does the President actually create job?

The rest of the article can be found here.


Concealed Carry for Teachers

This is in the ‘win column’ for the gun rights owners of America and those, like me, who believe in the freedom to carry a firearm whenever you would like to:

“Students in this tiny town of grain silos and ranch houses spent much of the first couple of days in school this week trying to guess which of their teachers were carrying pistols under their clothes.

The school board in this impoverished rural hamlet in north-central Texas has drawn national attention with its decision to let some teachers carry concealed weapons, a track no other school in the country has followed. The idea is to ward off a massacre along the lines of what happened at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.”

This is great, but obviously, if it was up to me, then people could choose the schools they want to go to. If they want to go to a school where no teachers carry guns, they could go there and take a chance. If you want to be protected by the people you trust to teach your kids important values and history, among other things, then you go here.

The rest of the story can be found here.


Published in: on September 2, 2008 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Book Review: A Patriot’s History of the United States

As most have realized through related posts I have been reading the book, “A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to the War on Terror” by Larry Schweikart and Michael Patrick Allen.

Overall, I believe this book does a good job of getting the history books back on track. This book is written for right-wingers and is very market orientated. Some from the left would probably not get turned away from it until the FDR period on.

One problem in the United States and many other countries is that schools are mostly socialized. In fact, with No Child Left Behind Act most private schools are reined in under a standard of education. That means they learn pretty much the same stuff. Virginia has SOL’s and if the question was “What caused the Great Depression?” or “Did FDR fix it?,” the answers would be capitalism and yes. If I were to start a school in Virginia that was private and taught the opposite my kids would fail the SOL’s.

This book offers interesting incites throughout, about certain market orientated things that I have mentioned on this blog and will be putting up in the near future.

The one problem I had with this book is that after Eisenhower they seem to defend Republicans no matter what and bashed Democrats no matter what. They spend about two sentences bashing Nixon and the rest defending him. Nixon’s economic policies were about the same as LBJ’s but they said that and then moved on. They even at the end defended both the Iraq War and George W. Bush.

True Libertarians would hate the end of the book and some Conservatives would enjoy it, but not any true fiscal ones. They talk about tax cuts a lot but there is more to fiscal than that. Social Conservatives would probably enjoy the ending of the book because there is a part about religion and how social issues became important. Sure, social issues did become important but there should have been a part about how social(ist) Conservatives have undermined the Republican Party since Reagan.

Overall, I give the book a 8/10.


Published in: on June 3, 2008 at 8:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy Memorial Day

Even though this is a government holiday, it does stand for all of those who have fought for freedom. We often forget that when we open are grills and spend time with our family. There are some wars that have been more justifiable than others but that is for another post on another day. When people sign up for the military it isn’t usually to suppress their own. Instead, our military has been one of the best in the world. We have defeated a dictator in Britain, fascism in Italy, Germany, and Japan. We also were in a Cold War for years against a Communist country and we toppled a dictatorship in the form of the Taliban. The military has a lot to be proud of and we have a lot to be proud of as Americans. This day should remind us of the freedoms that our soldiers fought for.

This is the oath of the military:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).”

Also fun fact it is also the Confederate Memorial Day in Virginia. Each state is different. Even though they lost and went against its ideals near the end we should remember them too. I have pretty extreme views against Lincoln but in a lot of ways the Confederates stood for more than just slavery but states rights. We often do not remember why states rights are important. They are so that we can choose different laws to live under.


Published in: on May 26, 2008 at 5:31 pm  Comments (1)