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We Need a Libertarian Contract with America for 2010

Lady Liberty and a Boat at Sunset

Given the choices we face this year for President, it’s likely we will get another tax-and-spend, civil-liberties-eroding, foreign-adventuring head of state. And even if we don’t, and Bob Barr is elected, he will still need a Libertarian Congress if he’s to get much done.

If it Works…

The Republican Contract with America is generally believed to have not only helped the Republicans take over the House in 1994, but also put President Clinton on the defensive.

In these times of the so-called “unitary” executive, putting His Royal Highness the President on the defensive is a must if we liberty-lovers are to reverse the totalitarian trend of late.

The Concept of Accountability was the only Revolutionary Aspect

But it was a real softball. The only revolutionary aspect to it was the implication that politicians might be accountable to their constituents.

Significant Pledges to Shrink Government

So, I propose a Libertarian contract with America, and one with real teeth – significant pledges to take action that will directly shrink government and increase freedom for people in these United States.

I have tentative plans to run for an Eastern Pennsylvanian Congressional seat in 2010, so this is not an academic exercise.

The Pledges

Our contract would not be a stack of limp-wristed procedural nonsense no one cares about, but instead actions that, if successful, would bring America back from the precipice it currently finds itself hanging over.

  1. Introduce a balanced budget amendment.
  2. Fix Medicare and Social Security, the out-of-control entitlements that we will never be able to pay for.
  3. Introduce a plan to pay down our national debt.
  4. Introduce the repeal of the 16th amendment and eliminate the IRS, thereby eliminating the federal income tax – and replace it with nothing.
  5. Close US military bases and bring home the troops.
  6. Restore lost civil liberties, including habeas corpus and an end to warrantless wiretapping.
  7. End the use of torture as an intelligence-gathering tool, give the Guantanamo inmates fair trials and close down the prison.
  8. Eliminate all welfare, subsidies and the like, for corporations, individuals, political parties – everyone.
  9. Eliminate the Department of Education. Education is a local, not federal, concern.
  10. Eliminate the Federal Reserve and let alternative currencies flourish.
  11. Stop the War on Drugs, and free non-violent drug offenders currently incarcerated in federal prisons.
  12. Restore a strong national defense.
  13. Reign in Homeland Security and the TSA

Research and vigorous discussion are undoubtedly required to determine (1) what 10 pledges should be selected (2) the best way to go about implementing the selected pledges. Congress may not even have direct authority to implement some of these proposals. I’m certain there are a lot of good plans already out there, as well. We need to find them.

What to Call it

Here are some possible names I have come up with.

  • Declaration of Independence II
  • Liberty Compact
  • The Free Deal
  • Freedom Pledge
  • A New Deal for Congress
  • Contract for the People
  • Articles of Liberation
  • Libertarian Bond(s)
  • The Free Society
  • We the Taxpayers
  • The No Deal
  • Charter for Liberty
  • Reclaim Congress
  • The Un-Deal
  • A New Freedom
  • We Pledge to America

I don’t much like any of these names so far.

Let’s Discuss

I’d love to discuss this with anyone else considering running for Congress in 2010. I would expect mostly Libertarians to be interested in this kind of platform, but I don’t think we need to limit this effort to just LPers. I can see a certain kind of Republican or Constitution Party member signing on, perhaps even a rare Democrat or two. The more the merrier.

I know some of my target audience is busy running for Congress right now, but let’s not put this off till the last minute, either.

Want A Libertarian Congress NOW?

I doubt enough candidates are running to secure a Libertarian majority in the next Congress but here are some interesting links:

Photo by Bob Jagendorf. Some rights reserved.

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

14 replies on “We Need a Libertarian Contract with America for 2010”

I like 9 and 10.

Of course, you don’t mean “eliminate education.” Just the Dept. of Education.

So why not “13. ELIMINATE the Dept. of Homeland Security and TSA.”

No. 8 (“ELIMINATE all welfare”) seems to be in conflict with No. 2 (“FIX” welfare for the elderly). Again, why not “eliminate?”

Otherwise, excellent suggestion. The “Contract” approach has proven its marketability.

Thanks for commenting Kevin. Good luck with your campaign. I like your lunch with the candidate idea.

Right on education.

Re/ DHS. I’m leaning that way but I’m not sure yet that we don’t need a Dept of Homeland Security, albeit with a better name and a strictly limited mandate.

When I say fix entitlements, I mean phase them out. But I need to study the issue more before I feel comfortable with more specifics.

I think a transition period would be appropriate for Medicare.

Re/ Social Security, people have paid in under the assumption they would get something back. It will be pennies on the dollar, but it has to be something.

When I was in college, we all knew Social Security would not be there for us when we retired, and that will have to come true.

Re/ Social Security, people have paid in under the assumption they would get something back. It will be pennies on the dollar, but it has to be something.

Why? Why does it HAVE to be “something?” I mean that question seriously.

The first sentence is entirely correct.
(a) People had (or maybe still have, if they’re old enough or naive enough) assumptions about the government.
(b) Their assumptions are going to be shattered (“pennies on the dollar”).

So should we allow them to keep their cozy assumptions, believing that they are actually going to get all they were led to believe they were going to get, namely, “social SECURITY” — or should we let them know as quickly as possible that INsecurity is the new political paradigm? The sooner they realize government cannot be trusted, the sooner they can begin making realistic plans for their own security.

Otherwise, the time is coming when they will be on Washington’s doorstep with their palm up, waiting for the dollars they “contributed,” only to find they get pennies instead. (And that will be the day when the government stops minting pennnies altogether, since gov’t inflation of the money supply has rendered pennies utterly obsolete.)

If they get pennies on the dollar, the government will always be able to say, “Well at least they got SOMETHING, and we’re going to make sure they get everything next time; we’re not going to make that mistake again.”

When Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that the Fed caused the Great Depression (at Milton Friedman’s 90th birthday party), he said:

I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.

And people believe that.

We need to send a message: “You can’t believe the government.” “You can’t trust the government.”

And another message: “Using the government to take money from other people and give it to you is IMMORAL.”

And this message is clearly and unmistakably sent by shutting down social security and saying, “You shouldn’t have believed the government’s promises, and you shouldn’t rely on the government’s promise to steal from others for your benefit.”

Americans are the most generous people on earth — not with other people’s money, but with their own money. No elderly person will starve to death. If Social Security is shut down, and you can find an elderly person in need, then you’ll also be able to find employees and employers who are no longer “contributing” to Social Security, and you will be able to find non-profits who are well-funded by people who are at least 15% richer, and that elderly person WILL be taken care of.

Some elderly would rather have a government check than a nice Christian family bringing over a home-baked casserole, because some elderly don’t want to be nice. An impersonal government check is preferred over personal responsibility.

That’s another lesson that needs to be learned.

So, tell me again why “it has to be something”? :-)

It has to be _something_, because otherwise radical reform will not be enacted. In fact, without Libertarian-leaning majorities in the Congress and a President who can think for himself, nothing that can be called reform will get implemented.

Re/ the government claiming they screwed up before but THIS time they got it right, we can be sure they will use that line to implement misnomered reform if we’re not prepared with transition plans.

Unfortunately, the elderly vote in droves, they most benefit from entitlements and are least willing, it seems, to part with those benefits. They feel they earned them.

A family friend, a public school teacher, retired before 60 some years back, and reported to me perhaps a year or two later than he had already received in Social Security benefits all that he actually paid into the system.

Ten years later, he’s still cashing the checks.

I’m with you on the messages that need to be sent. 100%.

The problem is that:

– People aren’t ready to hear it. The news that entitlements are unfunded and unfundable is propagating, but slowly.

– Cutting off entitlements tomorrow is harsh. It’s like quitting drugs or alcohol cold turkey. Some people can do it, most can’t, and some would die trying. If there is no transition plan, if we insist on now or never, we will get never.

– Many still think Social Security is like a retirement account where the money they were _forced_ to pay in (‘contribute’ connotes voluntary) is safely socked away in an account with their name on it. The reality will be a shock to these people.

I think phasing out Medicare in 5 years (with benefits reducing each year) is fair.

I think continuing Social Security for those already on it is acceptable but at a reduced rate, say 50-60% of current benefits. Those between 55-65 can get 10% of what they actually paid in ONLY. Everybody else gets nothing.

I agree, private charity can play a large role. I personally would donate for this purpose. Imagine if we had that 40-50% of our income that goes to taxes available to us. We would have a BOOM in charitable giving.

How about repealing the 17th Amendment?

How about requiring government to follow the same accounting rules as private industry?

How about an automatic sunset clause on any tax?

Gary, excellent! So far we have expressions of interest from you, Steve Newton of DE, Kevin Craig of MO and myself (might be in either PA or WY in ’10).

If you have a blog, please post your thoughts there whenever you get a chance and link back to here and Steve Newton’s post (see comment 7) so we can keep the conversation moving.

Best of luck with your race.

I’ll agree that there should be no federal income tax, and no federal level program to replace it, but I’ll do you one better, there should be no income or sales tax at any level. Gathering taxes at a national level is not only inefficient, it gathers complex rules like trash gathers flies. Income taxes punish people for being successful at contributing to society, damaging our economy. Sales taxes are the same as an income tax, when you place a tax on every monetary/goods exchange, it doesn’t matter if it’s applied to the seller or the buyer as it amounts to the same thing.

I say that taxes, as well as being gathered at the state level or lower, with the few federal level programs that are legitimate such as the military and courts being taken out of funds from the states, should only be based on property tax, or more appropriately, real estate tax. This doesn’t unfairly target home owners as owners of apartments would have to pay too, and that is a cost they will pass on to their tenants, just like any other costs of being a landlord.

With all the program cuts that a libertarian government would introduce, there would be drastically less money required by government, and since a complicated tax code is far more inefficient, and allows far more opportunity for injustice, why not use the simplest tax system imaginable?

The idea of relying solely on real estate tax was introduced to me by an Australian Socialist I was acquainted with, and while his reasons for using such a system was based on a “morality” that I find absurd, the pragmatic reasons for it are impressive. The URL of the site he used to present his case is http://www.taxreform.com.au/index.php in case you would like to read more.

Another change I would like is a strengthening of the freedom of association, in all its forms, including the right to not associate. Quite simply, I’d like to see the repeal of all laws created to end racist practices. There may or may not have been a time for such laws, but now is not it. The way to promote equal treatment is not to make men different under the law. My biggest problem with such laws is that by forcing racists to hide their beliefs to avoid legal repercussions it keeps me from knowing which businesses I’d want to boycott for their owners actions, while still leaving them plenty of opportunity to discriminate every time they know they won’t get caught. Remove the legal implications and let the public scorn and lack of business punish them better. Some of these laws, like affirmative action, not only create a distinction between races that need not exist, while forcing businesses to ignore many applicants for jobs that may be better suited for a given position, also lead to feelings of animosity and rivalry. There were no laws passed making it illegal to discriminate against Irish, or Italians, or Germans, or any of the dozens of other immigrant ethnic groups of the 1800’s, and there was racial tensions between all these groups, and discrimination. These inequalities went away on their own, from people working and living with one another and learning to respect one another as individuals instead of based on their ancestry. Today you’d be hard pressed to find someone in the US racist against any of these groups, because they are all seen as the same group, racial barriers fall apart naturally through time unless they are artificially kept in place.

Just before I looked at your website, I quickly typed up my own Contract 2010. Here it is:

My Contract with America 2010: Transfer Power from Government to Individuals

A. Restore Liberty, Shrink Government
1. End all government to government welfare immediately.
a. No federal bailouts to state and local governments
b. End all federal aid to all foreign governments
and organizations
c. Abolish all existing federal transfers to state and
local governments, such as “Community
Development Block Grant Funds.”
d. Abolish the federal Department of Education
2. End all corporate welfare immediately.
a. Abolish the Department of Agriculture and all of
its subsidies immediately
b. Eliminate political control of business via tax
deductions and tax credits. See B below.
3. Phase out entitlements to families and individuals, replace
with lower taxes and better shopping opportunities.
a. Abolish food stamps as obesity is the greatest nutritional problem for US “poor.”
b. Phase out social security and medicare, replace with lower taxes and
free market solutions.
c. Eliminate political control of families and individuals via tax deductions and tax credits. See B below.

4. Freeze federal spending in nominal dollars. Enact a law whereby federal spending must never increase faster than inflation. Work toward spending
reductions. Enact a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution.

B. Restore Liberty, Reform the Federal Tax Code

1. Replace all federal income, payroll and business taxes with a progressive retail consumption tax. The FairTax, HR25 and S1025, is the best available
plan.

2. Repeal the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution.

C. Restore Liberty, Remove Burdensome Federal Regulations

1. Sunset all regulations. Keep Congress busy trying to renew or reject old laws.

2. Abolish federal minimum wage laws and permit more entry-level jobs for the “poor.”

3. Abolish federal compulsory schooling laws and reform child labor laws to
encourage apprenticeships.

How about this for a contract. I have been trying to come up with a contract that would fit the liberty call to reform. What do you think?

THE LIBERTY ACCORD

 
In accord with the Libertarian Party and Citizens’ Sovereign:

Set in trust, the promissory set forth in the following accord, shall restore the foundations of the United States Constitution, along with the States’ Sovereign constitutions, to the original inherent authority of the people. Thus being a promise to renew the authority of such citizens’ and the inherent rights and liberties.

In redress, the nation (citizens’), should be allowed due representation in the process of their elected government, and final authority shall lay in the representation of such rights, granted through ’The Peoples’ constitution. To allow for proper representation, reform must be made in all aspects of government, and the office holders, thereof.

This accord will lay out the reforms needed, and the timeline of such. Thus allowing for true representative government, “…of the people, for the people, by the people…“, and setting in motion the process of such.

 

Immediately cease all expenditure, until a balanced budget can be set
Reduce/Resolve the national debt
Restore all original rights and liberties, granted by the Constitution
Cease all subsidies/welfare for corporations, persons, and political parties, etc…
Restore government accountability
Restore States sovereignty, that granted by the Constitution 10th Amendment
Enforce Immigration
Repeal Income Tax
Allow for the privatization of the Social Security Act
Restore a full and unvoiced National Defense

Therefore, all office holders will be brought to accountability of bill expenditures, and the cause for the increased deficit, and its effects on such. This will be in mutual contract with the citizens’ sovereign, and their call for reform.

Thus, we lay our hand to affirm such binding accord.

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