Say No to the Export-Import Bank
When the Congress returns to Washington, DC, from its August recess the Republican/Democratic Establishment will attempt to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, an agency created 80 years ago to facilitate trade with the Soviet Union. This effort needs to be defeated.
The claim that the Export-Import Bank creates jobs does not stand up to analysis. Its activities may result in additional jobs at favored companies, but at the cost of jobs at other companies. An expert at the Government Accountability Office in 1997 testified to Congress that - “Government export finance assistance programs may largely shift production among sectors within the economy rather than raise the overall level of employment in the economy.”
Advocates for the Export-Import Bank also claim that it helps our nation's trade balance. If it does it is not significant at all as the exports it supports are only about 2% of total yearly U.S. exports.
It is also claimed that the Export-Import Bank steps in to help where the private sector will not. Yet the Bank generally helps in trade with countries such as China, Mexico, Brazil, etc., that have plenty of access to private financing.
Finally, it is said that U.S. firms need help because other countries subsidize their companies and the Export-Import Bank helps to level the playing field. The U.S. government should be concerned that our economy is strong overall, not that particular companies do well. And look at the effect of the Bank subsidizing foreign purchases of Boeing airplanes for foreign airlines. These subsidies help these foreign airlines to compete against our domestic airlines. Helping the Mexican oil company, Pemex, through the subsidies of the Export-Import Bank enables Pemex to compete with our domestic oil companies.
Whatever may have been the justification for creating the Export-Import Bank in 1934 does not exist today when the large companies it serves are quite capable of obtaining private financing for their export activities.
It is time to end all government programs that no longer serve a useful purpose. Only the Libertarian Party will actually do so and not just give lip service to ending Big Government across the board.
Vote for the accountant in Arkansas' 4th Congressional District on November 4th.
Vote Libertarian in any race you can!
Hold the Democratic/Republican Establishment Accountable for National Debt
For the first ten months of the 2014 fiscal year(which ends on September 30) the national debt increased by $949 billion. You can check the numbers here:
This number is far higher than the $461 billion number that the Treasury Department reported this week. This difference is the result of items such as the surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund ...for the year being used to offset the increase in the national debt. The Treasury Department classifies these items as "intragovernmental debt."
The federal government does this based on the assumption that the Social Security Trust Fund will be paid back. First, who really believes that money will be paid back to the Social Security Trust Fund from the general fund? Second, if it was paid back, guess who would be paying it back? The taxpayers.
The national debt is already $17.7 trillion and will probably pass the $18 trillion mark in just a few months.
It is time to hold the Democratic/Republican Establishment in Washington, DC, accountable for running up massive debt year after year after year that will badly damage the U.S. economy in the years ahead - and the day of reckoning may be nearer than we care to think about.
Vote for the accountant in Arkansas' 4th Congressional District race on November 4!
Replace ObamaCare with the Free Market
by Ken Hamilton
We have seen repeated a historical pattern playing out in the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Democrats enact a Big Government program, with Republicans first voicing opposition, then acquiescing, and, finally, embracing it. Libertarians, on the other hand, refuse to play along.
Republicans spent far too many years voicing opposition to the increasing federal government involvement in health care (even adding to it with the unfunded Medicare Part D law) without actively pushing for true free market reforms. Consequently, their opposition to the passage of ObamaCare was ineffective.
There have been valid concerns about the coverage and delivery of health care for years in the current system, one that the United States stumbled into in the 1940s. These concerns would be better solved by the free market instead of via a top-down mandate from Washington, D.C. And there are plenty of free market solutions from which to choose, such as:
• Health care insurance should be individual, portable, while giving individual plans the same federal income tax treatment as group plans, including allowing employers to contribute to individual plans.
• Health insurance should be available across state lines.
• In addition to the benefit of portability in dealing with preexisting conditions, health status insurance should be allowed.
• Lower the threshold for deducting medical expenses on federal income tax returns.
• Expand health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).
Obviously, there must be private charity to help those in need, and even if one thinks that some government involvement is required, there is no power in the U.S. constitution for the federal government to do so. Any governmental involvement would have to be at the state and local levels, certainly not through the federal Leviathan taking over how health care insurance is provided for 310 million citizens with differing situations and needs.
If the idea of a single-payer federally-run health care program sounds attractive to you, consider the following. Would you want a single, federally-run package delivery service? Would you want a single, federally-run airline? Or a single TV service? Or a single telephone service? Or a single school system? If not, why would you want something as vital as your health care to be subject to the whims of the federal government and a bunch of politicians in Washington?
The Libertarian Party stands ready to assist our fellow Americans in reclaiming their liberty across the board, including the area of health care. The Republicans and Democrats won’t. Libertarians will.
- Originally posted at http://lpar.org/2014/06/replace-obamacare-with-the-free-market.
Reform the Income Tax? No, Replace It!
The 16th amendment to the U.S. constitution was passed in 1913 and has become a drag on economic growth and an administrative nightmare for taxpayers. The cost of compliance with 74,000 pages of regulations costs individuals and businesses over $430 billion per year. The privacy of citizens is intruded upon when we are forced to report personal financial information to the IRS. The true cost of the massive federal Leviathan is hidden in products and services throughout the economy. No one interested in efficiency and fairness would create such a monstrosity from scratch.
There is an alternative that has been talked about for years. It was advocated by 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and would be a vital ingredient in jump starting the economy. It is a national sales tax, otherwise known as the Fair Tax, to completely replace the income tax, regressive payroll taxes, as well as estate and gift taxes, which are particularly damaging to small businesses. What are the benefits?
1) Workers keep their entire paycheck. That’s right, all of it.
2) All households receive a monthly prebate equal to the poverty level to pay for life necessities tax free with the benefit that this makes the Fair Tax progressive in its operation.
3) Social Security and Medicare benefits are not affected, while consumption provides a more consistent tax base than income.
4) This is a one time tax at the point of sale. Used goods sold are not taxed. Business purchases for production of goods and services are not taxed.
5) U.S. businesses have increased competitiveness in foreign markets due to the removal of the income tax.
6) Americans will no longer be required to provide personal financial information to the IRS. We would be free of the possibility of owing additional taxes come April 15th, and we wouldn't be required to file a return to receive a tax refund caused by over withholding.
The initial Fair Tax rate would be approximately 23%; however, if we scale back the federal government to its limited constitutional powers, this rate could be drastically reduced and the monthly prebate increased.
Additional information can be found at www.fairtax.org.
I do not live in a fantasy land. I fully understand that major changes such as the Fair Tax will not be easy. The ones living in a fantasy land are Republicans and Democrats, looking only toward the next election or even the next donation from a wealthy donor or special interest group. Kicking the proverbial can down the road cannot last forever, as we hurtle toward economic calamity. The American people must one day exact retribution at the ballot box against those who have done so much harm to our economy. This disastrous road began with the creation of the Federal Reserve cartel and passage of the federal income tax in 1913 during the first term of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson. It continued when Republican President Richard Nixon cut the last link to gold in 1971, with the resulting skyrocketing cost of living. The two major parties bear responsibility for these terrible public polices.
It is too late for easy solutions. Only tough ones remain. Does anyone really believe that the Republican and Democratic Parties are the ones to fix the mess they have made?
By Ken Hamilton
Originally posted at http://lpar.org/2014/06/reform-the-income-tax-no-replace-it/
The Actual Budget Deficit vs. the Reported One
It is being reported in the news media that the U.S. government's budget deficit for the first eight months of the 2014 fiscal year was "only" $436 billion dollars. This number is not accurate. The actual increase in the national debt for the first eight months was $779 billion. Which means that our federal overlords are under-reporting how badly the federal budget is out of balance by "only" 79%.
How long will the American people continue to allow the Democrats and Republicans to deceive them until they finally vote both major parties out of power and put limited, constitutional government Libertarians in positions of public trust in Washington?
A Federalist Approach to Immigration Reform
A Reasonable Foreign Policy
Of all the money spent by governments on this planet for military expenditures, 40% of it is spent by the United States government. The only two nations considered to be potential adversaries, Russia and China, spend 12% of that total—combined; that’s less than one-third of U.S. expenditures. Such an advantage well used would be a good thing. Such an advantage misused can have disastrous consequences.
In the aftermath of World War II, the United States was the sole nuclear power in the world. It used this position to orchestrate the overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, in 1953 and to place Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in power. This grievous foreign policy mistake led to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the Iranian and American governments have been at odds with each other ever since.
Neoconservatives in the Bush administration convinced the United States, the sole superpower for a decade, to invade Iraq. The idea behind it was to create a western-style democracy that would lead to the remaking of the Middle East. Again, it proved to be a grievous foreign policy mistake, resulting in the deaths of more than 4,000 Americans and trillions of dollars in expenditures (the cost of the war itself, plus benefits to be paid to veterans). In addition, it contributed to the deaths of approximately 500,000 Iraqi civilians. And now, after all this loss of life and treasure, there continue to be seemingly daily bombings in Iraq, with even more civilians being killed. Islamic militants, who held no sway prior to the U.S. invasion, are surging in Iraq.
Where do we go from here?
The United States is $17.5 trillion in debt, having increased the national debt by $774 billion in just the first six and a half months of the 2014 fiscal year. The economy has not seen any real growth for 14 years. Real wages for the middle class have been stagnant for 40 years. None of the current trends should lead anyone to think that the U.S. government can continue financing 40% of all of the military spending in the world.
There is nothing in the track records of the Republicans or Democrats in our nation’s capital, nor in the track record of the banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve, that should lead anyone to believe that they will find a way out of this mess they have created. Therefore, we will have to reduce, in real dollars, our military expenditures and our overseas commitments. We cannot afford to keep engaging in elective military engagements and meddling in the affairs of other nations.
We would do well to heed the words of Thomas Jefferson at his first inaugural:
"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."
We need to end all foreign aid, military and economic. Our allies in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere should increase their own military spending. How can we afford to be the ATM for the world, when our infrastructure is in need of repair and our economy is in desperate need of reductions in federal spending, federal taxes, and federal regulations?
We need to close all of our foreign military bases and bring all military personnel stationed there home. If there is truly a need for a few of these bases, then let that case be made within the context of a reasonable foreign policy; but we do not need to have a military presence in countries all over the world. The true purpose of our military policy should be to protect the American people and to keep the sea lanes open for our economy’s commercial activities.
A reasonable foreign policy will require fewer personnel and less money from hardworking Americans, while making it easier to keep our financial commitments to the veterans who have borne the brunt of the personal cost of the policies of the last two administrations.
2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson stated:
"Protecting America with a strong national defense and a rational foreign policy is our leaders’ most basic responsibility. But let us not confuse national security with senseless intervention where our interests are clearly not being served."
I could not agree more.
Originally posted at http://lpar.org/2014/04/a-reasonable-foreign-policy/
Ken Hamilton of El Dorado, Arkansas Running for U.S. House of Representatives - 4th District
EL DORADO, AR, March 3, 2014 - I was pleased to accept the nomination to run for the U.S. House of Representatives - 4th District seat, during the Arkansas Libertarian Party state convention, held in Little Rock on February 22, 2014.
My campaign focus will be concerned with the need to change the direction of the federal government in the areas of foreign policy, the economy, and individual liberty.
The federal government is approximately $17 trillion in debt with hundreds of billions of dollars of additional debt being added every year. We can no longer afford to act as the world’s policeman nor should our fellow Americans be putting their lives at risk to carry out the misguided foreign policy of politicians in Washington, D.C., who believe they can control the affairs of other sovereign nations.
The U.S. economy was not doing great prior to the financial meltdown in 2008 and it has certainly not recovered since. We know that the free market is the best vehicle for improving the economy and returning to general economic prosperity. Government cannot properly direct an economy from Washington, D.C., and it is time for the federal government to stop trying.
The American people know best how to make decisions for themselves and their families and how best to see that their children are educated, not politicians in Washington, D.C. Just as the federal government cannot micromanage the economy, neither can it micromanage the lives of Americans.
The federal government is supposed to be restricted by the U.S. constitution. I advocate that the federal government should follow this wonderful legacy from the founders of this great nation in both its letter and its spirit.
Drowning in a Sea of Red Ink
By: Ken Hamilton
The declaration in the Biblical book of Proverbs, chapter 22, “the borrower is the slave of the lender,” is quite instructive to the current situation of the federal government and the deficit spending binge it has been on for over a decade now. It was bad enough during the George W. Bush presidency. The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were being paid for through increasing the debt load on the American people, and the Republican Congress instituted a Medicare prescription drug plan that had no funding mechanism to pay for it. But toward the end of the Bush administration and continuing on through the Obama administration, this profligacy has increased to new record levels.
The 2009 stimulus program added even more debt for the American people to bear. Foreign investors helped this along by purchasing a large chunk of this debt, and the Federal Reserve has been more than willing to help by monetizing the debt as needed. The first yearly deficit that surpassed $1 trillion (the actual increase in the total national debt) occurred during the last full fiscal year of the Bush administration, coming in at a robust $1.2 trillion. The deficit grew even larger, hitting $1.9 trillion in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011. After dropping to “only” $671 billion last year (as the sequester’s automatic spending reductions had at least some bite and revenues increased a bit), the national debt has already increased by approximately $800 billion in the first six months of this new fiscal year.
And if all of this awful fiscal news was not enough to digest, the American people are facing unfunded federal government liabilities of many tens of trillions of dollars in the upcoming decades. These are unfunded because, at the moment, there is not enough projected revenue to pay for much of the expected spending, which will be mainly in the area of entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).
I propose that two steps are necessary to stem this tide of red ink that is swallowing the American Dream. First, we need a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will require bringing the budget in balance within five years of its adoption. Doing so would help to stabilize the spending of the federal government at around 18% of GDP. That is still too high for a truly limited, constitutional federal government, but it would be a starting point. Spending levels could be ratcheted down from there, and at least the flow of red ink would be stopped at that level of government. There is no lack of ideas for prudently cutting down federal spending, and we need to start implementing at least some of them sooner rather than later.
Second, we need to ditch the Federal Reserve and its fiat paper monetary regime and institute a modern day gold standard. As former Congressman Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman wrote in 1982, in The Case for Gold, page 159:
"It is necessary to balance the budget and institute a gold standard together. The discipline required for one mandates the other. If government is to be limited in size, the budget balanced and the market free, gold will be a necessary adjunct."
As the Bible instructs in Deuteronomy 25:15, “A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have.” The Federal Reserve has manipulated the U.S. dollar since its creation in 1913 and has so far destroyed 96% of its value. At this point, I guess we should be grateful that they have left us with even four pennies on the dollar. This manipulation must come to an end, by instituting a sound gold-backed dollar and Balanced Budget Amendment, as a line of defense against deficit spending.
Originally posted at http://lpar.org/2014/03/drowning-in-a-sea-of-red-inkShow More