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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shoe on the other Foot Analogy for Libertarians

Imagine for a moment a counter factual history. Mitt Romney is elected president in 2008. He carries on the neo-con policies of military Keynesianism cloaked in the cover of the rhetoric of free enterprise. 2012 rolls around and Libertarians are understandably frustrated with the way Romney has governed. 

The Democratic presidential primary is heating up. The usual suspects are in the mix including our Quixotic Kucinich. He goes about calling for the Fed to be audited and for congress to take back its constitutional authority to print money, the need to roll back not only the wars but the military industrial complex, and the need to restore civil liberties, etc. 

All of this basically appeals to libertarians but then Kucinich is very explicit that he does not want to decrease the size of government but instead wants to provide all of the savings from pentagon spending for use in building the peaceful green economy. On top of that he wants a much more progressive income tax structure. 

Meanwhile Romney throws the occasional bone to libertarians about reducing the size of government and lowering and flattening taxes below the current Bush margins while complaining about the obstructionist Democrat party in the congress. Who are libertarians going to vote for? Most likely they are going to stay with Romney or vote for the Libertarian party candidate despite the broad areas of agreement they have with Kucinich. 

Now imagine further that Kucinich sees the handwriting on the wall and knows that he is not getting elected without a stronger outreach to libertarians. What do you think he's going to do? Jump up and down screaming louder about ending the warfare government and restoring our civil liberties? Very few libertarians are going to even glance his way except maybe to see if Elizabeth is standing beside him during his rhetorical vertical leaps. 

If instead he says, "Look... I know that we are in a debt crisis and that I am not going to get tax reform and significant domestic spending increases unless I am willing to make some concessions. I tell you what... I will reduce my spending proposals by half and apply the other half to paying down our national debt. Additionally, I am going to get rid of the income tax and replace it with a progressive consumption tax and incentivized tariffs so that 98% of all Americans get their taxes reduced below the current Bush margins. Any new revenue gained from such reform I will apply 100% to the paying down the debt."

Libertarian hearts start racing and their feet get to moving as they prepare to jump ship. 

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