Cairo vs. Madison

A couple of progressives in the blogosphere have tried to link the protests in Cairo to the protests in Madison, saying “they’re both protests for democracy!”


In Cairo, the people are protesting for a system of representative democracy, where leaders elected through universal suffrage decide policy through votes. In Wisconsin, the protesters are demanding the exact opposite. The Senate Democrats of Wisconsin have derailed the democratic process by fleeing the state and illegally boycotting the whole voting system. They seek to let union leaders keep the special privileges of being able to force all public workers to join their unions, and to force the government to negotiate through those unions. That’s not equality. That’s not democracy. And it’s not freedom. It’s union power over everyone else, and nothing more.

In this sense, Wisconsin is the anti-Cairo. In Cairo, they protest for the freedom of self-determination. In Madison, they protest against it. In Egypt, they threaten war if the small group of elite bosses continue to hold their autocratic power over the people. In Wisconsin, they threaten war if the small group of elite bosses don’t get to continue to hold their autocratic power over the people.

No, the Democrats of Wisconsin cannot find their comparison with the protesters of Egypt. The Senators and union bosses who are trying to hold onto their power, even after the voting majority of the democratic republic told them “NO,” share more of a likeness with Mubarak, Qaddafi, Ben Ali, and King Abdullah. They are the ones trying to destroy self-determination.

The Democrats of today are like the hotheaded protesters in the 1960’s trying to prevent school desegregation. Their actions are anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, and merely regional- compared to the nationwide Tea Party movement that they are reacting against. Decades from now, the Wisconsin protesters will be seen as the bigoted old generation desperately trying to cling to the status quo as the new, generational civil liberties movement sweeps their worldview into the dustbin of history.


Asteroid Impact

I’m going all-in on this one.

I’m taking the absolutely most insane thing about libertarianism and bringing it up for debate. If I can win this one, then all other points are moot.

If an asteroid is headed towards Earth, and is about to annihilate all of humanity, I say the government should not be able to impose taxes on the people to try to stop it.

Yes, you heard me. And no, I’m not a suicidal nihilist indifferent to the destruction of the human race.

Basically, it’s just not the government’s job to be stopping asteroids. The government’s job is to protect the equal rights of all by preventing individuals from violating those rights of others. Violence should only be used to stop violence or other forms of coercion. I hold to this principle even when faced with the potential destruction of the entire human race.

But is it really so crazy to hold to your principles, even when billions of lives are at stake? For example, many people are against the use of torture to extract information from non-citizen combatants. Would you hold to that principle even if thousands of lives were at stake? What about millions? Billions? Does that make you crazy?

If you would hold to your principles in those cases, you may understand why I’d consider it wrong for the government to steal money from its citizens to try to stop an asteroid disaster. The ends simply never justify the means. And really, if the demand is great enough for something (like for preventing the destruction of the human race), then people will certainly voluntary contribute to the cause anyways, without the government forcing them to. That asteroid would be deflected without the government having to violate individual rights to do it.

So if you follow my argument on this, then consider all lesser threats- lack of health care, lack of education, poor infrastructure, high drug usage rates…like an Armageddon Asteroid, these are all threats which I feel should be averted through voluntary action, not through government thievery and intimidation. And libertarian principles are no more crazy than principles of any other kind.

You can read more about this argument here.

The Myth That the Bush Tax Cuts Are Causing the Deficit…

I’ve said it time and time again:

  • Deficit == Spending – Revenue
  • Revenue == f(GDP); Revenue =/= f(tax rates)
  • Therefore, the federal deficit is a problem with spending, not with too-low tax rates.

And here I have yet another graph to beautifully illustrate this point.

See that? Tax receipts drop with recessions, and actually rise after the passage of the Bush tax cuts. We can’t ever match the current spending trajectory in revenue by raising tax rates, because tax receipts in the US max out around 20% (Hauser’s Law).

I know I probably sound pedantic, but at this point, it’s just absurd that people keep clinging to the ignorant notion that tax cuts “add cost,” when in fact they simply don’t. Counter-intuitively, tax cuts can even reduce the deficit if they allow the GDP to grow more rapidly. It’s called the Laffer Curve, and the evidence clearly demonstrates that we are still at the high end of it.

Game over. Tax cuts and spending cuts win. Either you agree, or you’re ignoring the MOUNTAINS AND MOUNTAINS of counterexamples against whatever pseudoeconomic philosophy you claim to follow.

Ezra’s Point About Vinson’s ObamaCare Ruling

In this article, Ezra Klein argue that the weak point in Judge Vinson’s ruling resides in his use of argument from first principles to suggest that power without logical limit cannot be a correct interpretation of the Necessary and Proper Clause.

Klein points out that Vinson’s argument contradicts the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Gonzales v. Raich, according to the dissenting opinion. In Gonzales v. Raich, Justice Stevens concluded that the power to ban marijuana growing locally existed because it is necessary and proper to help control interstate commerce. Justice Thomas disagreed, saying that granting this power allows the government to regulate “virtually everything.” Ezra is arguing that since this ruling stands, and since some Supreme Court justices think this ruling grants unlimited power to the government (albeit, different justices), then an argument against the Necessary and Proper Clause granting unlimited power to the government cannot stand until the Raich precedent is overturned.

First of all, Justice Stevens is a making a pretty weak argument here- the Necessary and Proper Clause specifically only allows powers necessary and proper for “bringing into execution” Congress’ other powers. His reasoning is that enforcement of bans on interstate trade becomes difficult when the product can be produced within the states. This alone is a stretch- the same logic would allow the government to massacre the entire populace, under the presumption that this would be the only way to get rid of all the murderers. This reductio ad absurdum is a logical problem the Supreme Court will have to deal with someday, so it wouldn’t be out of line for a District Court to question Stevens’ logic.

Even so, Justice Thomas is also incorrect, because the Raich line of reasoning doesn’t apply to the question of forcing people to get health insurance. People going without health insurance doesn’t make it harder for the government to enforce any of the other provisions within the PPAC Act. The Act does not legislate a requirement that all insurers must stay in business. Including such a requirement would violate the 13th Amendment. As stated numerous times by the defendants, the Individual Mandate provision is necessary to prevent prices from rising, and/or to prevent insurers from going out of business. Yet, neither of these effects aids in enforcement of other components of the law. So the Raich ruling, while being of questionable logic, doesn’t actually provide the precedent for truly unlimited regulatory powers as Justice Thomas feared. It may allow virtually any regulation to be put in place, but not for any reason. The reason must be a matter of enforcement of independently-granted constitutional powers, as opposed to an attempt to bring about a desired effect.

In fact, the entire defense of ObamaCare relies on ignoring this distinction between desired effects and enforcement capabilities. However, to do so has absolutely no precedent and no justification. Judge Vinson’s ruling is entirely consistent with the ruling in the Gonzales v. Raich case.