Report: United States Now Borrowing 46 Cents of Every Dollar It Spends

180px-United_States_one_dollar_bill,_obverseThe Congressional Budget Office has released its latest report and it contains this rather distressing fact: the federal government is now borrowing 46 cents of every dollar spent in fiscal year 2013. I have long been a critic of the fiscal policies of both parties, but it is astonishing that the American people have not thrown out the whole lot of these people — Democratic and Republican. We look like an utter ship of fools as politicians allow the country to drift toward an unprecedented financial collapse. In the meantime, the Administration is borrowing this money to simply give Israel a $100 million building complex and pour billions into corrupted governments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  China of course continues to hold much of our debt and is going on a buying spree in the U.S.

The government chalked up a $172 billion deficit in November alone — part of a $300 billion deficit for the first two months of the fiscal year. While both sides talk about the need to reduce spending, they have been spending like drunken sailors for years. For those of us who are skeptical about the use of tax increases in this economy, it is unnerving to think of giving more money to these same players. We need new revenue because of their horrible record over the last eight years. We must need however a third party to break the monopoly of power in this country — a monopoly that has left the entire country captive to these self-perpetuating parties.

It is clear that neither party wants to make hard choices and continue to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars to curry favor with different groups as with the $100 million gift of a building. There is also no serious accountability for the waste of billions under Bush and Obama as “stimulus” funds. I agree with the need to raise taxes but I have little faith in the Obama Administration or Congress in using such money responsibly. You do not get to a point of borrowing virtually half of every dollar spent without a complete lack of leadership and responsibility. Even if this figure falls, the point is that Congress still makes hundred million dollar gifts to wealth countries without a sound of objection or concern. Yes, all countries borrow money but we have a massive debt and continues to grow — an politicians who pledge to be more responsible in the future. The need for revenue is likely to change but not the need for responsibility in Washington.

Source: Washington Times

154 thoughts on “Report: United States Now Borrowing 46 Cents of Every Dollar It Spends”

  1. @Gary: You believe there is no way to preserve the individual’s right to choose what risks he cares to take for himself without endangering the collective.

    I think your belief is without evidence. I have given plenty of logical examples for why I believe what I believe, you have given me no argument for where those examples failed, you have just reasserted your belief that I must be wrong. How, you apparently do not know. How your belief would work in practice, is not something you have worked out. You just seem to have faith that somehow it could work out, because that is how you want the world to be.

    Gary says: but eschew the same principle when it comes to trade and business.

    No, I don’t. What you do with your body is your business as long as you do not harm anybody else. You really DO have a choice when it comes to using psychoactive drugs, and to the extent that you can do that without endangering other people or costing other people money, I am okay with that.

    However, unlike drugs, or prostitution or many other such personal behaviors, I see no logical way your choice can be preserved without doing harm to MY choice and everybody else’s choice.

    That is not a “proclaimed” offense on the collective, it is the conclusion of the logic of reality, it is the result of observing precisely the offensive outcome I detail in history and in the present with the complete lack of liability for software bugs. It is logic which you fail to refute.

    So your characterization is wrong. Preserving your personal choice will inevitably, as history has shown, eliminate my choice, because as an individual I will have no power to compel large companies to offer me safe food or safe products or safe housing or safe employment, and no power to sue them over implied warranties. On the contrary, as I get hungry, or need transportation, or suffer from exposure or poverty, it is ME that will be compelled to waive all liability recourses as I eat their diseased food, buy their deathtrap car, rent their firetrap house and work in their toxic factory.

    This is me being consistent and you being dogmatically stubborn and wrong. I have no problem with personal choice if that choice plausibly exists, but I have a big problem with coercion, which is the inevitable result for me of preserving your choice to take a risk to save a dime.

    That is the real disagreement, you think you should be allowed to take risks for yourself that will ultimately end up endangering me, and I disagree. That is not a “personal” choice that affects only you, it is a global choice that would affect all of us, and I disagree that you or anybody else should have that right.

    This really has nothing to do with “business” per se, I would feel the same about you as an individual making the “personal choice” to infect a river or pollute the air with atomic mercury or dump carcinogenic chemicals on your land that would leach into our common aquifer.

  2. Well I might say, now we are getting down to the nitty gritty of our fundamental disagreement.

    You believe there is no way to preserve the individual’s right to choose what risks he cares to take for himself without endangering the collective.

    I believe the exact opposite, that an individual can be afforded his personal right and discretion to choose what risks he cares to take, while still protecting the collective from whatever sin his choices may engender.

    It is interesting that you see my perspective in the context of social libertarianism exactly, but eschew the same principle when it comes to trade and business.
    The form of both is the same, only the subject is different – a personal choice is considered unacceptable because of a proclaimed offense on the collective.

    And that we can argue all day long. But it is satisfying enough for me to distill the disagreement down to that simple point.

    You might be interested in seeing how Mike had a very similar argument with Gary at:

    1. “It is interesting that you see my perspective in the context of social libertarianism exactly, but eschew the same principle when it comes to trade and business.”


      This is indeed the nub of the problem. The bottom lines for trade and business has to be profits by definition. From a business perspective ALL profits are good, now matter how they are come by, as long as there is no blow-back. I believe that we must regulate that amoral, yet correct tendency from a business perspective, to protect all of society. As an example HBSC has admitted to illegal activity and will pay $1.5 billion in fines with no criminal liability for those who engaged/approved of the fraud. The $1.5 billion is far less than the profits gained from their illegal dealings, so it’s a win for the company and an incentive to do the same in th3e future. This is the current flaw in libertarian thinking and I would think you in the movement should find some way to deal with this. In the end your dream of a “free market” will be a “pipe dream” if you can not resolve this conundrum.

  3. @Gary: It is not a nanny-state because the state is protecting you in the same capacity that you want to be protected.

    So is the same state a nanny-state for you and not for me? Because I do want the state to protect me against building collapse, or kids toys that catch on fire or give my kid cancer or contain poisons or heavy metals that interfere with their neural development. I do want the state to protect me from being sold useless medicines that indirectly kill me or my loved ones. (They do that by supplanting real treatment, and thus letting diseases progress unchecked and untreated.) Or even make matters worse.

    Gary says: That is a far cry from the state telling you that you have no choice in voluntarily making a risky purchase if you wanted to.

    I say the same thing about that as you say about being robbed: Rarely does anybody choose to buy a product that will catch on fire or endanger their life or kill their kid. Who wants to board a plane that has a 1% risk of exploding at altitude? Who wants to buy a house that is going to collapse in the first high wind? This happens so rarely that the state’s choice for your product liability risk coincides with the vast majority of American’s choice for that risk.

    It also happens to be the only way I know of to actually protect you from that risk, since as I said before, individual choice is a fantasy.

    This is a field where reality must intrude on our decision, because in reality our choice is essentially an either-or proposition. If liability can be waived by buyers, then sellers will demand they do that, and it will be impossible for buyers to choose the option of liability. It isn’t the STATE telling you that you have no choice, it is reality. Self interest is going to drive this decision to one of two rails, if product liability is not mandatory then it will be circumvented so routinely that it will vanish; it will be laughable mistake made only by complete amateurs soon to be bankrupted.

    Gary says: Being protected by the state is a good thing presumptively, but it is a bad thing when you can’t say no to that protection, and where other people choose how much and what kind of protection you must have.

    Collectively we can say no to protections we do not want; that is the nature of majority rule. Collectively we DO want product liability protections, so it isn’t “other people” choosing for us, it is us choosing for us.

    It is also true that there will always be a minority that resents any given majority setting rules for them. But note I said always, which means a path without minority resentment is the path of no rules and a return to the societies that currently exist in the lawless badlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the most brutal warlord reign as kings of their little towns. Ironically, that means the path of no minority resentment is the path of majority resentment and subjugation to the whims of a despot.

    The path of preventing the majority from determining how much protection you must pay for is the path of no protection at all.

  4. @Gary: And I believe it is addressable within a libertarian scheme. Remember we are talking fundamental axioms and propositional theory here, not practical application yet,

    But the problem IS practical application. If a seller can escape liability, they will. The software market, which I am told (by a lawyer) has a specific permission to disclaim liability in the law (hence that ubiquitous word MERCHANTABILITY that is in all such disclaimers), is the example. That is what happens in practice, and there does not even need to be any collusion, it is in every software vendor’s self interest to disclaim all liability for bugs in their code no matter how careless they were in coding or what the consequences of their bug may have been. And every one of them does it; at least every one I have ever seen sell a shrink-wrapped package.

    The same would be true for every product seller, if product liability could be avoided, they would avoid it.

    I will also point out the same would be true for every employer. What employer wants to be held liable for worker safety, or worker health, or not exposing their workers to toxins? That responsibility costs a lot of money, and it doesn’t sell more product. To maintain their profit margins they have to raise prices, and consumers go with the lowest prices. Just ask Walmart, and the tens of thousands of decades-long established small local competitors they have sunk on price within a year of opening a new superstore. (I am not saying that pejoratively, it is a fact of the market, in America about 60% of consumers name “price” as their #1 most important consideration in buying any product.)

    So to me, the conversation really is about practical application, because it isn’t just theory. You say you want a choice, but there is never going to BE a choice, the real world says that either buyers will be coerced into waiving product liability, or sellers will be forced to accept product liability. Choice is a fantasy, one in which sellers (and employers) will voluntarily act against their own best interest by risking millions of dollars in liability for a few bucks in profit off of a single sale. That isn’t going to happen.

    @Gary: It means you will be “protected” from something, even when you affirmatively do not want that protection – the essence of a nanny state…

    You are protected (to some extent) against murder, theft, fraud and physical assault. In the same sense of protection, namely that we punish people for those crimes. Why isn’t THAT a “nanny state?”

    I am quite serious, I do not think this is any different. Contracting cancer is not much different than being shot, it is life-threatening. It is quite a bit worse than just getting assaulted and beat up, or mugged at gunpoint.

    I do not think every protection is part of the “nanny state,” I think protections that the vast majority of people WANT is just Democracy. Product liability falls into that category. The “nanny state” problem is when lawmakers are passing laws that most people disagree is anybody else’s business. For example, I do not think the majority actually want the government to limit, by law, how much fat, salt, or soda they may ingest.

    Do most people want murderers, thieves and frauds pursued? YES. Do most people want their medicine and food to be safe? Yes. Do most people want their buildings and homes to not collapse, and be reasonably escapable in case of fire? Yes, I think so.

    That is the nature of Democracy, nothing is agreed upon 100%. Serial killers do not want to be punished for murder, thieves do not want to be punished for thievery. Some people really are anarchists, no law will ever be agreed upon by 100% of a population in the millions.

  5. @Gary: what you are saying is that people cannot have the right to voluntarily waive their otherwise presumed rights.

    More specifically, what I am saying is that free market mechanics and sellers acting in their own best self interest (not being sued) will conspire to ensure they will never have any other choice but to waive their otherwise presumed rights.

  6. I like your argument, although it presumes a lot I did not say, and projects a lot of consequence as unavoidable that may be not be.

    I will give it some thought before giving a reflexive answer.

    Essentially, what you are saying is that people cannot have the right to voluntarily waive their otherwise presumed rights.

    That is a fundamental that I have a major issue with.

    It means you will be “protected” from something, even when you affirmatively do not want that protection – the essence of a nanny state (or in other circles a protection racket).

    1. “It means you will be “protected” from something, even when you affirmatively do not want that protection – the essence of a nanny state (or in other circles a protection racket).”

      Gary T & Tony C,

      Forgive me for butting into your excellent discussion, which I am enjoying thoroughly. The problem that you have with the formulation above Gary is that it presupposes that the person is even aware they might need protection. I sign waivers of liability all the time and I’m neither stupid, or negligent. These waivers have reached a point, understandably so from the businessmen’s perspective, that one cannot go through ones day without encountering them and the alternative to signing is procedures that would make life harder and more difficult.
      Also too, the average consumer, like myself, has never sued any firm for anything and reasonably does’t expect to have to in the future. I must sign a waiver at my drugstore on the keypad, just to be allowed to pick up my prescription medications.

      Despite the evidence to the contrary a reasonable person would’t expect the meat from his local butcher to be contaminated, nor would they expect the vegetables from the local market to be tainted. to download software I have to sign waivers of liability and acknowledgements of a firms’ privacy policies, or lack of same. I’m a fast reader but the time it would take to read and parse these things I’m signing are unacceptable.

      Seriously Gary, I now you’re reasonable and so you must be aware that your argument about people not wanting to be protected from something just doesn’t hold water. The truth is that reasonable people, admittedly despite evidence, are not waiving these rights because they don’t want them. The personal freedom aspect of libertarian philosophy has always appealed to me and yes in my teens the worst propagator of it, Ayn Rand, at first appealed to me. However, for that philosophy to be viable you all are really going to have to work out the fact that multi-national corporations are amoral institutions that will take what they can get to increase the bottom line and without someone to watch over their shoulders a hypothetical free market cannot exist. I don’t use “amoral” in a pejorative sense, since the purpose of a business should always be the profit it proposes to make, by definition.

      1. Mike:

        No problem as to your interlude, I welcome your perspective.

        Of course you know that I didn’t say that people don’t want to be legally protected from something, so that is not my argument and I don’t mind if it holds water or not.
        My argument (in the context of the rabbithole that TonyC went down) was that the individual should have the option to waive the ancillary protections that are considered the default expectations in market transactions.

        TonyC asserts with this option, a domino effect occurs that starts with all sellers forming a united front demanding waivers of these rights in every transaction, the practicable coercion of all consumers to waive their rights to implied warranties, and ends with the eradication of safe or viable products to all consumers and the consequent legal immunity of all responsibility for sellers of unsafe or ineffective products.

        My intermediate argument is one of choice; if a buyer wishes to knowingly waive default protections, he should be able to do so. There may be many unforeseen reasons that a buyer may wish to do so, but I assert that option should be available for a knowing, voluntary and intelligent choice of such waiver.

        If it turns out that buyers are waiving their fundamental right to implied warranty, because of coercion, not because of voluntary choice, then that is always a problem, under either libertarian or legacy law. And I believe it is addressable within a libertarian scheme.
        Remember we are talking fundamental axioms and propositional theory here, not practical application yet, which is premature for this conversation.

        1. Gary,

          The problem with talking at the axiomatic level is exactly the lack of specificity that disturbs me. The devil is indeed in the details. I rejected Rand in my youth, though originally thrilled with her, because I ultimately saw her ideas as a blueprint for the most powerful taking over and the Utopian paradise she proposed as being srltructurally flawed. Would that we could live a libertarian life, but the 5% of humans who are sociopathic psychotis wouldn’t let us. If you can’t specifically figure out how to deal with their hunger for power, the end result will always be their tyranny.

          1. TonyC said:

            “You are protected (to some extent) against murder, theft, fraud and physical assault. In the same sense of protection, namely that we punish people for those crimes. Why isn’t THAT a “nanny state?”

            A nanny-state is where your choices for risk are taken away, and someone else arbitrarily determines how much risk they think a particular action or circumstance is acceptable for you.

            Rarely does one choose to be murdered, robbed or assaulted.
            There, the state’s choice for your risk, and your choice for that risk coincide – there is no conflict as to what the state wants to protect you from. It is not a nanny-state because the state is protecting you in the same capacity that you want to be protected.

            That is a far cry from the state telling you that you have no choice in voluntarily making a risky purchase if you wanted to. Or live a risky life, to take whatever drug you want to, have consensual sex with whom you want, or to sky dive or eat fugu.

            Being protected by the state is a good thing presumptively, but it is a bad thing when you can’t say no to that protection, and where other people choose how much and what kind of protection you must have.

  7. Correction; I meant to write “an explicit waiver of ALL liability,” not “non-liability.”

  8. @Gary: Under such an environment, any seller of a product would be insane not to maintain their own chain of custody documentation,

    On the contrary. Under libertarian law, as you note, the solution is damn simple: Since under the hypothetical “libertarian law” there is no restriction on monopoly or on trusts (major sellers making an agreement to not compete on certain grounds, so they cannot be forced by competition to comply with the will of buyers), the sellers simply agree they will not sell to anyone that refuses to sign a waiver of liability.

    Look at the current software industry, where that “libertarian law” holds; nobody sells software without the license stating they are immune from claims of liability, and immune seven ways from Sunday. It is standard boiler plate; either agree to it, or go without. There is your real life example of what happens if that law holds.

    Under the hypothetical libertarian law you propose, in which you are always careful to say that waivers are fine, the same thing would hold for every product sold, including food products like corn. The guy that buys corn from the farmer to make flour, oil and syrup will be required to sign a waiver of liability. He doesn’t mind, because he requires a waiver of liability from every buyer of a tanker full of corn oil. They don’t mind, because they require a waiver of liability, right on the purchase order, from every grocery store or restaurant supply outlet that buys a pallet of packaged corn oil. The grocery stores and supply outlets don’t mind, because they will require a waiver of liability from any customer that buys from them. The restaurants don’t mind, it will become routine to sign a waiver of liability before you are allowed to walk in, or at the point of ordering.

    The end result is just like the software industry: Sign a waiver or starve. Enough people agree that trying to refuse is a losing battle.

    The same thing goes for “competition.” For example, why would anybody agree to provide, say, accounting software like Quick Books without an explicit waiver of non-liability? In order to “compete” by letting themselves be liable, they need to have insurance, because they are certainly going to be sued to kingdom come every time some goofball fails to understand accounting 101 and ends up with a giant tax liability. That insurance (if they can even get it, in a world where there is no demand for it due to routine waivers everywhere) will cost money and it will add cost to their product, so will the lawsuits, and that will demand a much increased price to the end consumer.

    The end consumer, we know, by the application of some very basic marketing psychology, is unlikely to even believe the liability is real, because they would know from experience that everybody signs waivers everywhere. Either that, or the people that will flock to the company offering liability will be the ones that see opportunity in filing lawsuits, making that company a lawsuit magnet for companies with shady accounting!

    The end result is a company cannot stay in business unless they do exactly what everybody else does; have all their customers sign a waiver, or just sign a blanket waiver that is good for life. I would not be surprised to see a new slew of credit/debit card companies founded, where you sign a blanket waiver on all purchases made with that card, and merchants sign up to take that card and enjoy the protection of the blanket waiver, so they do not have to keep track of any paperwork for customers using that card; they are liability free.

    Then of course, if you want to pay in cash, you have to show some ID and sign a contract. That is so much trouble the merchants will charge you $10 on top of the purchase as a paperwork fee; so not only do you lose the anonymity of using cash, you pay an additional “tax” on every cash purchase.

    Shall I go on, or is this enough nightmare? Let me point again at the software industry: When liability can be waived without restriction it is, and no professional businessman, especially those with a lot to lose, would ever sell anything with liability and risk anything more than the sale price of the item.

  9. PSS:
    Under libertarian law the police (and the state) have an affirmative duty to protect and serve, as well as a whole slew of other government services.

    Under libertarianism, the police in fact WOULD be liable for not protecting you, just as any other service provider who owes you a duty would if they failed to do so, unlike the current laws we live under.

  10. tony c:

    “Not as simple as you think. Romney lost anyway, so why is your vote now any less wasted than if you had spent it on Johnson?”

    yep, you are right and I thought about you in the day after the election and your argument that we get flawed candidates because of people who think like me.

  11. I might add that, police do not have a legal duty to protect you, and cannot be held liable when they do not – a very BAD regulatory scheme.

  12. @Gary T: and use it to try to justify a whole regulatory scheme of intra-component tracking,

    Does disclosure mean anything if people can simply lie on their disclosure forms? What is your solution to the dilemma I discussed? Namely, what do you do when a bad guy actively conceals his endangerment of his customers, because if he does not do that he faces large losses?

    I am not “trying” to justify anything, you apparently think I want that regulatory scheme, and I do not. I AM justifying something as the only solution I see available to us. I am not doing that “on the anticipation of a quality control failure that hasn’t happened,” I am doing that on the evidence that such “quality control failures” have killed tens of thousands of people before we inspected food, drugs, buildings and vehicles for safety, for precisely the reasons I described. There is money in that deception, and without inspections or any tracking they could get away with it.

    What good is a disclosure law if it is not enforced, and sellers can lie?

    This is one point free marketers fail to address, which I will call the problem of lost provenance when one person can do harm to others for personal gain while successfully masking their own identity, or hiding being a shield of anonymity.

    This is similar to a masked mugger with no police on patrol, but I know this invites personal macho responses of carrying guns or learning self defense, so it is a flawed analogy. A mugger, masked or not, stands before you and can be harmed whether you know his name or not.

    My definition of Lost Provenance means there is simply no way to trace the origin of the harm. For example, in perfectly-known reality the harm was done by a known-to-be carcinogenic chemical pesticide applied to a winter wheat field two years ago, that made its circuitous way into a free donut a man picked up at a business meeting and ate eight months ago, that unfortunately lodged in a crease in his colon and there caused a tumor.

    In actual reality, the provenance of the harm is lost; we cannot trace a tumor to what caused it, a stray gamma ray from outer space could have caused it. We also cannot tell reliably when it started, growth rates can be sporadic, and sometimes the trigger will be dormant for months before it is absorbed into a cell and causes the fatal mutation. If by some statistical fluke we knew it was caused by a particular chemical or compound, and could prove it was a pesticide that worked on winter wheat, how would we trace that to even a bag of flour, much less the farmer that provided 1% of the wheat that was ground into flour to fill that particular bag?

    Disclosure means nothing if it is not verified by inspection. In circumstances where the provenance of harm can be lost (or purposely destroyed), inspection MUST occur at the source.

    I think you mistake my motive, I don’t want a big government inspection apparatus; it is not some work of art I don’t mind paying for, because I love to look at.

    I think it is necessary, like I think police and detectives to investigate murders and thefts and rapes and kidnappings and bank robberies are necessary. I am willing to pay for it because I think the country would be a far more deadly, dangerous and less civilized place without it, because I know there are literally over two million smart, adult psychopaths in this country without any police record, that have no problem with me (or anybody else) being bankrupted, crippled or dying in their pursuit of personal profit, and the only thing that restrains them is the threat of forced incarceration.

    I also do not believe the free market can address these problems, because I have worked as a consultant in many for-profit enterprises, and ultimately they ALWAYS discriminate based on money and wealth. The big customers and big investors are privileged, that is a fact of life in business, and I do not believe our Rights mean anything at all if those rights are only defended for those that can pay. That is equivalent to a simple mercenary system, not of “rights,” but of who can hire the biggest and baddest army. In other words, Might makes Right, not principles or philosophy.

    I know public police forces also suffer corruption. Yet in practice they still primarily serve the people that provide their pay; the citizenry. In practice there is roughly equal access for all of us; if you call 911 they do show up. The same is true for firemen, building inspectors, food inspectors and drug inspectors; I think they prevent more harm than they let through.

    1. Wow, a long retort, but it was so well written it was very easy to read.
      [not being sarcastic!]

      I appreciate the fact that you don’t want it, but feel it is necessary.
      And don’t get the idea I either want to have untraceable violators being able to avoid civil and criminal liability for supplying bad/poisonous products under the guise of a good product.
      The term that applies here is the legal doctrine of Implied Warranty. Basically, for example, when someone advertises and rents a hotel room, by the definition of “hotel room”, there are a slew of implied warranties inherent in that designation, such as – no vermin, clean breathing air, a usable bed, lights, a bathroom even, etc.

      When someone sells you a “bushel of corn”, there are similar implied warranties – that it is not poisonous, that it does not have live bugs in it, even that it has some reasonable range of nutrition expected of corn.

      So, when someone sells you something that clearly violates an implied warranty, that would be a civil liability (or criminal depending on how egregious or intentional that violation was) that is actionable upon the seller.

      You assert that without mandatory regulations tracking the chain of custody of all the production and transport layers, the end buyer (or law enforcement agents) of the product has no way of knowing or finding out who is liable for the breach of implied warranty.

      However under a non-regulatory scheme, it is clear that the end seller of the product is liable, particularly if there is a mandatory (but waivable by the buyer) certification of the products’ fitness. (I might add also that under a libertarian legal view, there would be no corporate shield against individual liability, so who ever did it would be personally responsible).

      If the seller wishes to avoid full liability, he would have to come up with proof that it was not his fault, and show with particularity who was actually responsible, and lacking that would bear the full brunt of the law.
      That of course would not prevent third party investigations (including law enforcement one) of the cause.

      Under such an environment, any seller of a product would be insane not to maintain their own chain of custody documentation, as well as a higher internal quality control certification, or suffer the consequences – again no corporate shield.

      Whereas your scheme mandate pre-crime documentation, whether there was a crime or not, the libertarian one only kicks in when a crime has been committed, and ensures someone, if not all responsible, will go down.
      Both schemes purport to enforce quality control, one in anticipation but at great expense since most transactions are what they are supposed to be, and the other when a proven breach has occurred.

      I believe it is academic arguing to say yours would be more cost effective, and believe it, it all comes down to cost in end, even when public safety is at stake, i.e. there is a limit to how much cost an industry can endure to ensure even public safety.

  13. Bron:
    The old chestnut “If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you still vote for evil”
    As TonyC points out, your vote for Johnson would not have been a wasted vote. The vote itself was tallied and made very public. That informed the current candidate, future candidates and the public at large. It sends a signal of where people’s sentiment a leanings are politically, and for all to recognize it.


    I do not believe that even mandatory disclosure laws (of the type I mentioned before) equate to regulation of the market.
    There is no affect on the market itself, just the honesty of the transactions.
    In fact such disclosures can easily be justified under libertarian law, as it can be argued that lack of disclosure is a form of fraud, which itself is a fundamental crime under libertarian jurisprudence.
    Although I might add that such disclosure requirements would be voluntarily waivable if affirmatively stated. As such the buyer can accept a lower quality control if he wanted to.

    All the other things you mention however, are regulations I do not agree with.
    You take a fundamental, disclosure of what a person is buying, and use it to try to justify a whole regulatory scheme of intra-component tracking, that undermines a substantial part of the value of the end product – on the anticipation of a quality control failure that hadn’t happened.

  14. @Gary T: if there is a strong state enforcement system that makes sure no fraud or robbery occurs, and that includes affirmative requirements for disclosure.

    Then you do not believe in a free market, Gary, you believe in a regulated market, including regulations on disclosure, and regulations on, say, farm inspection.

    25% of all food in an American grocery store contains some form of corn. Syrup, oil, flour, etc. A corn farmer, faced with the loss of his crop due to a pest, may believe the only way he can save his financial life is to use a pesticide that is absorbed into the kernel and is a proven carcinogen. Should he be allowed to buy it, and spray it at night, and refuse to disclose he has done so?

    If his harvested corn is mixed with the corn of others, we will lose the ability to track the carcinogen back to any particular farm, we might not be able to track it to any particular region. Should we let farmers, in the name of the free market, form a collective that mixes all their corn together, with the effect of foiling our ability to trace harm back to any individual?

    Further, ingesting the carcinogenic pesticide, if it triggers a cancer, will usually not be detected for months. So if somebody is diagnosed with cancer, it is impossible to trace that cancer back to some particular sandwich, bag of flour, or the farm that used a carcinogenic pesticide and hid it.

    Any solution to that problem (or many others I can think of) is a violation of the purely free market. It demands regulation of the pesticides that can be used and the toxicity of corn that can be sold. It requires inspections, crop seizures, and taxes to pay for the inspections and crop seizures.

  15. @Bron: yep, the answer is pretty simple.

    Not as simple as you think. Romney lost anyway, so why is your vote now any less wasted than if you had spent it on Johnson? In fact, haven’t you done the Libertarian Party some harm, by proving that you will vote Republican no matter how repugnant the Republican nominee may be and no matter how attractive the Libertarian nominee may be?

    You have joined the stats for Republicans that say it doesn’t make a difference how bad their candidate is, they have your vote no matter what. Which means you voted for “more of the same” from them.

    I voted for Johnson instead of Obama, because I figured I had already lost no matter who won, but I wasn’t going to join the stats of Democrat no matter what.

  16. mike spindell:

    romney and ryan would have needed a congress and senate to go along with them to have had any impact on abortion, gay rights or any civil liberty infraction.

    romney was a weak candidate and would have gone along to get along. he wasnt a true believer as obama is.

    my pocketbook had nothing to do with it. i spent many hours thinking about it from all different angles and it played out the same way each time, do you vote for a guy who you almost totally agree with (Johnson) who has no chance of winning or do you vote for a guy who you think is a flawed candidate who has a chance against a candidate who you know is a tyrant based on his actions in office.

    yep, the answer is pretty simple.

  17. @Gary T: I voted for Ron Paul in the primary, and Gary Johnson in the general, because I refused to vote again for Obama.

    However, you will have trouble with unqualified blanket labels. I am a social libertarian, with scientific limits.

    For example, kids are not adults, and adults cannot interact with kids as if they are. They cannot sell them drugs, proposition them for sex, accept them as prostitutes, or speak to them as if they were adults. That is a sliding scale for me; not a cut-off, and I think the law should reflect that (for example that a person on the day before their 18th birthday is highly unlikely to make a radically different consensual choice that day as opposed to the next).

    At some point in a pregnancy I believe the fetus is a human being (also on a sliding scale); and after six of the nine months I think that is pretty certain and the law should recognize that.

    Fiscally, I do not believe that free markets work, for widely accepted scientific reasons based on both psychology and sociology. The mechanisms that many libertarians claim will constrain the money-at-any-cost crowd clearly do not constrain them, their are legions of businessmen rich and free (including Romney) by purposely bankrupting companies, defaulting on pensions, breaking contracts, polluting the planet, poisoning customers and screwing investors. The free-market libertarian idea that these people will somehow be restrained by conscience or their responsibility to their investors or employees or their own long term interest is a joke; none of that matters if you can abuse all of that trust and steal fifty million in a single act.

    I, Tony C, am a social libertarian, I believe in freedom of consenting, informed, mentally competent adults to eat what they want, use any mind-altering drugs they want, say what they want, engage in any sport they want, even if it carries a higher risk of death (like skiing or skydiving or motorcycle riding). I have no problem with consensual prostitution, and no problem with unrestricted abortion in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy (or restricted abortion afterward).

    I think that is some common ground, at least.

    1. Thanks Tony, I of course am also a social libertarian, but certainly more of a fiscal libertarian as well.

      It would appear that we do agree pretty much the same on all the social points you detailed. Although some libertarians can make a principled stance on opposing abortion, I personally believe that it is based upon mysticism – I would respect the mother’s will more than the fetus’.

      As to age of consent for all adult decisions/actions/contracts, I also believe that there isn’t one set age. I would allow younger persons to petition for cognizancy certifications to prove that they are mental adult even if not physical ones.

      I do believe that free markets can work (within the limits of non-fraud or stealing), if there is a strong state enforcement system that makes sure no fraud or robbery occurs, and that includes affirmative requirements for disclosure. If everything is on the up and up, and people know exactly what they are buying/investing/funding, then they should be allowed to take whatever risks and benefit or suffer from those risks.
      I believe that public bounties for whistle-blowers who are aware of market crimes should be in place, and I believe that enforcement agents who miss violations should suffer directly for their failure to catch crimes.

      The free market is a better solution than regulated ones, because the latter leads to a slippery slope – who watches the watchers.

Comments are closed.