Why Libertarians can (and should) join UFAA (United Front Against Austerity)
First of all, what does it mean to be libertarian? I want to get this out of the way first because I don’t believe in defining anything solely based on historical context. For example historically Christmas is a pagan holiday, and the swastika is a symbol for the sun, however I still celebrate Christmas and I certainly don’t wear swastikas.
What I do value are personal liberties, keeping big brother off my back, relatively low taxes and I don’t associate these values with for example racism in the south. And I do maintain that the Federal government can and frankly needs to, especially in times of economic depression initiate substantial social programs to ensure a basic standard of living for all.
Now that doesn’t mean I think a welfare state is a good thing. Even hardcore liberals at the end of the day should agree that ultimately the goal is to get people back on their feet and living independently of government aide. The question is how do we do that?
The mainstream, Ron Paul or establishment brand of libertarianism says cut and gut those social programs, and people well on their way out the door of their foreclosed homes onto the streets. This is a criticism by UFAA of libertarians that I absolutely agree with; people will die if that is the route. What’s the solution? Let’s start with the Wall Street sales tax, essentially a tax on the hugely lucrative and unregulated derivatives trading that is likely the backbone of the global depression.
Now a big part of the problem here is most libertarians (and liberals for that matter) have never heard of a financial derivative in their life. They have no clue that anywhere from 600 trillion (Wall Street Journal) to possibly over 2 quadrillion (economist Webster Tarpley) in toxic derivatives often in the form or credit default swaps or mortgage backed securities are driving the depression.
The lack of awareness of derivatives can mostly be blamed on the incidentally mostly Wall Street controlled media. It’s like there’s an elephant in the room, everyone can sense its presence but most people don’t know what it really is so libertarians falsely blame social programs for the depression and the equally clueless liberals are eager to compromise.
Most establishment libertarians, for all their talk of the Constitution, likely haven’t actually taken the time to well, read it. The Constitution, not to mention the Nuremberg trials after WWII, essentially establish that we (as in the government) have to take care of everyone’s basic needs regarding health care, education, housing etc. And same thing with printing money, the Constitution says Congress (but not a private banking cartel) can and should print money for whatever the country needs.
And you don’t need the Constitution or any religious commandments to figure out that when a single mother cannot work or earn enough money to raise her children you help her. Or when a patient comes carried into an ER with an emergency, there should be absolutely no talk about insurance or anything financial until after the patient is stabilized. You help people first, and you ask questions later, simple as that.
But I still think that libertarians are right in that at the end of the day the goal is to get people off government programs. The key point being ‘when they are able to take care of themselves’, as opposed to just cutting the social services and wishing them luck; that is austerity. You fix the economy first, largely with the dreaded big government social programs and federal projects, and as living standards improve etc people will become able to ‘get off the dole’ or whatever.
Now there is one sticking point about social programs that I and other libertarians likely have… choice. Instead of “Welfare for All” how about “Welfare Offered to All”. If someone chooses to pay into it because believe they will benefit or they just sleep better at night, well that’s great. And I believe around $100 a month, discounted or free for poor people is totally fair.
However, if I decide I want to keep that money in my paycheck and just pay the full initial price of any healthcare if and when I need it, then that should be a choice I’m allowed to make too. If in some unfortunate circumstance I can’t pay the price and I also didn’t pay insurance, well then I just go into debt and I pay what I can when I get the money. People do it every day and life goes on.
Now some libertarians might look at all these proposed social welfare and nationalized central banks and say ‘well the government is corrupt and people are decadent, these programs will be abused from both the government and citizens alike.’ Well like anything in life, you just have to enforce accountability. There can be audits of these programs and independent media to watch over everything. It takes time and hard work like anything else…
My main plea here to libertarians is this… we need to help each other, especially in a financial depression. It’s never going to be perfect, there will always be some corruption and abuse with big government programs, but when people depend on them for basic needs such as food and medicine it becomes a life and death issue.
At the end of the day no one really wants a welfare state, the question is what are you going to do about it? What you don’t do is just cut off their aid and just hope that they’ll be alright, figure things out. No… you help get people back on their feet, and don’t ask questions. It’s not even about Constitutional or not (in any case that is what the Constitution says), it’s just doing what’s right.
-The Kingfish! (Mike B!)