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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Response to fd

fd, thanks for your thoughtful responses. I obviously need to clarify a few things. But first let me ask you this political question. I would agree that the Obama and Bush administration along with their parties in congress and most of the policy made there has been violent. Would you agree also that a coalition of progressives like Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich with with Ron Paul or Gary Johnson regardless of who is at the top of the ticket would be less violent in policy and practice than an Obama 2 or a Romney 1 administration?

I think you would answer yes to that question but let me know if I am wrong. I will add a comment and you can tell me if you disagree with this as well: a libertarian/progressive coalition ticket stands a better chance of winning the White House than does either an exclusively libertarian or an exclusively progressive ticket does.

Not to be overly presumptuous but I am guessing you would agree on that political calculus as well. It is obvious to me that the biggest obstacle to this sort of coalition is economic policy. It has been one of my main purposes to try in this blog to bridge that gap as far as is realistically possible. If some sort of (temporary) bridge is not built across the economic policy divide, we will continue in our current state of political estrangement from one another and the offices of congress and presidency.

So far I think you are with me on these assumptions and assessments. Now let me attempt to answer your questions and show you how I believe the compromise policies I have outlined in this post and explained in greater detail in earlier posts would build this bridge.

I am not opposed to eliminating corporations partly or completely and perhaps incorporation as a legal means is unnecessary for businesses to function. I would be interested in hearing more about what you mean by corporation and corporatism and how we might eliminate them.

As for the non aggression principle, I would need to know more about what you mean. As a Christian I am influenced by both the peace tradition and the just war tradition. I am not sure that I can say definitively I am fully convinced by either but at the very least I believe that God desires us to act in peaceful ways and to not impose our wills upon others especially when those others have not attempted to impose their wills upon us.

I can see circumstances where unrequested intervention would be morally righteous. For example, if I see a person about to be hit by a car and I am able, I could tackle that person and maybe even injure them in the process causing that person to be angry at me but doing justice to that person by protecting him from imminent death or greater bodily harm.

I am not sure why you consider tariffs to be acts of violence as a opposed to legal acts of sovereign nations. I know many libertarians hate taxes and consider taxes in general an act of violence. Do you hold this view in regard to all taxes? If not what type of taxes are acceptable? I'm not sure you if you read this post: http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/2011/11/libertarianprogressive-coalition-tax.html

My main question on this subject is: Wouldn't you think that a proposal that lowers taxes below their current Bush/Obama levels for at least 90% of the population while raising taxes slightly on not more than 2% of the population would be better than keeping taxes as they are now? For example let's say we doubled the exemption and had 3 income brackets of 10, 20 and 30 percent with a 10% tax on annual consumption above 1 million dollars. This would lower the income tax rates on all people without imposing more taxes on savings and investment income.

I am sure that would not be ideal in your mind but I hope you would be honest and acknowledge that it would actually lower the tax burden for 99% of the population and not penalize millionaires for making investments and saving money, thus supplying the capital necessary to create jobs.

You wouldn't be so stubborn as to refuse a deal like that when such a refusal keeps us in the current tax situation? Or would you prefer to wait another 12 years for there to be 60 libertarian Republicans in the Senate to create your ideal tax policy? (I of course think 12 years is a pipe dream fro progressives or libertarians to gain such exclusive political power.)

As for what to do with new revenue and savings from reduced spending. When I say half of it would go to debt reduction, I am saying those funds are no longer available for spending unless it is used to pay down federal debt more quickly (which our creditors do not want us to do).

When I propose sending the other half to the states, I am talking about a temporary measure which can be ended after 4 years or renewed for another 4 years or phased out over a mutually agreed time frame. It does not reduce debt of course but it does move money out of Washington and allows the states to do with it as they please. Some states may pass it along in the form of tax breaks. Some states may use it for infrastructure and education projects. Some states may use it for a variety of purposes.

What we do here is essentially set up a grand experiment to find out what works best for creating long term good paying jobs. Perhaps Texas will prove all of us progressives wrong and you will have your complete victory as we are totally discredited and humiliated by our failed policy. Surely, you are not afraid that your team will be on the losing end. The bottom line on this is it is a decentralizing move which we progressives will accept and if you libertarians cooperate with us more at the local level you might get the federal government whittled down to the constitutional level you desire.

I hope you can see that there is specific content in what I am proposing which advances both libertarian and progressive economic agendas simultaneously. If you look back at other posts you'll find other proposals which aim to do the same.

The big question we progressives and you libertarians need to answer is: Can we do better together in the political world we live in than we can sitting separately on the sidelines while corporatists rule the roost? And let's face it, if what we have in common now (sans economic policy) failed to bring us together, we will never get together at all. Come on fd...don't you want to win with a partner who agrees to let your agenda move forward so it can stand a fighting chance of showing its virtue? Please say you agree! We can have our non aggressive ideological fight after we kick the corporate crones out.


  1. I think I agree for the most part. I definitely agree with most of the points you make above. Let's see:

    Worst to best

    Romney < Obama < Kucinich/Paul (check)

    Libertarian/progressive alliance has a better chance than either individually (check---if there can be such a thing)

    Progressive notions of economics seem to be a problem for libertarians. (check)

    Libertarian notions of economics seem to be a problem for progressives. (check)

    Temporary bridge would be good. (check)

    Non aggression and taxes? The page you referenced on your blog claims to not exist, so I didn't read it. I'm not a big fan of taxes. The only taxes I would consider acceptable are voluntary ones. If government were providing a service that I wanted, I would be willing to pay for it. The fact that they attempt to collect taxes through violence is a symptom of the fact that they are providing an unwanted service. Individuals can push people out of the way of cars and individually take the consequences of hurting them in the process. I am of the opinion that corporatist structures like government shouldn't do that. The bad consequences outweigh the potential benefits.

    Tariffs are not a favorite of mine either aside from the question of whether they should be classified as an involuntary violent confiscation. But I don't know that it's worth going into a long discussion since, as you point out, neither tariffs nor taxes are going away immediately.

    Main Question: How about replacing the current tax system with something better?

    I have no problem with that. I don't think you have a specific or acceptable proposal to do that. My simple objections:

    0. Increasing any non-voluntary tax is unacceptable (not that you've necessarily said you want to do that, but I think you perhaps do want to do that).

    1. If you want to raise non-voluntary taxes, then someone has to pick who gets their taxes raised. You don't seem to have said who determines the 2% who get higher taxes. And "no," just because it's a minority does not make it acceptable to me.

    2. First you seem to speak of income taxes and exemptions, but then when it comes to raising taxes, it's for consumption. Which is it? It seems to me that if you're going to have a consumption tax---which I think is actually a reasonable approach though maybe not as you've formulated it---and quantify "consumption over one million," then you will have to monitor the consumption of the populace. That is too much control/surveillance.

    Why can't we just reduce governmental consumption across the board? Just a few years ago, the government was spending/wasting billions of dollars. Couldn't you just scale back your plans a bit?

    But "yes," if you could shift spending to the states, that would be acceptable. That's not too different from what Ron Paul suggests. He wants to cut spending overseas and keep the unconstitutional programs like Social Security going a little longer for those who depend on them. We have no problem with that.

    I think Ron Paul's plan of leaving it in the states in the first place is better, but if your "block" grants to the states would simplify the current situation and move the funds out of Washington, I'm for it. I think your idea of having the states post on the internet how they waste the money is a bit funny, but still I can see that sending the funds to the states would be an improvement.

    Now, if we can just agree to do what you suggest in a manner that takes into account the notion of "living within our means," we would have solved all the states problems.

    Along this line, one thing that is conspicuously absent from your proposal is anything to do with the monetary system/honest money/Federal Reserve. I wonder why progressives don't see that as at the heart of the problem. I guess it has to do with some kind of fear of "living within our means."

  2. fd, glad we could find so much more to agree upon. I would love it if more progressives and libertarians had constructive conversations instead of staying put so we can get used by corporatists of both parties. here is the link again to the tax policy post: http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/2011/11/libertarianprogressive-coalition-tax.html

    I have written some about the federal reserve and would be pretty much in line with Dennis Kucinich's plan to abolish it. I do not advocate a return to the gold standard but I do favor competitive and complimentary currencies be allowed in the ordinary micro-economic markets as long as they are not sued as cover for tax dodging. if a precious metals currency rose to the top in the competition, then so be it. I think we are on the brink of big changes in how money works. New technologies are evolving and who knows where it will lead. I think an open currencies market is in the best interest of the US and the rest of the world. The small town of Pittsboro, NC introduced a new currency a few years ago and had some success in revitalizing their local economy. i think smart phones and other devises with currency applications are the wave of the future. I just think we should not limit this evolution and i think that the fed itself is a violation of the constitutional duty of the congress to be responsible for the money supply of our country. Couple that with election and campaign finance reform and we can hold the congress accountable for living within our means.