These are the rants of an anonymous Left-leaning Libertarian. Libertarian views are generally socially liberal but fiscally conservative. I view George Bush as the anti-Libertarian, he is socially conservative and fiscally irresponsible. Unless you are a very wealthy person, religious fundamentalist, or a racist redneck, I cannot understand why a person would support George Bush.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What is a left-libertarian?

I've figured out what I mean by Left-Libertarian. It means that I am a huge proponent of markets to deal with many issues. However . . . and this is a big difference between me and other Libertarians . . . I take a much bigger view of what 'the market' should be.

What that means, is that I feel products and services must fully incorporate their costs into the price of the products and services. And when some cost is not being accounted for in the price of the product/service, the government should add a tax to add that cost into the product/service.

The most obvious example is fossil fuels. Fossil fuels appear to be a relatively inexpensive source of energy. However, one of the reasons for this is that a huge amount of the costs are not being incorporated into the product. Let me list several:
1) The cost of wars waged in part to secure access to fossil fuels. (If you don't believe oil had anything to do with the Iraq war, you are kidding yourself.) Tax-payers pay for this, not the oil companies.
2) The cost to defend supply lines. Those navy ships that patrol the Persian gulf do so in part to protect those oil tankers. Tax-payers pay for this, not the oil companies.
3) The cost of terrorism from terrorists that are funded in-part by oil money. The Saudis fund madrassas world-wide and some of those kids become terrorists.
4) The cost of pollution on public health. Many respitory ailments are caused by particulates from pollution. Coal-fired power plants release particulates, mercury, etc. . . . even the ash from such plants is a toxic waste issue. Cities often have to declare 'spare the air' days when weather patterns trap the pollution close to the city such that the danger is increased for vulnerable people.
5) The cost of pollution on property. Ever walk through a tunnel and see that black grime covering the walls? That's from cars & trucks (largely from diesel vehicles).
6) The cost of climate change. The effect of climate change is real. It is clear from the ice record that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere has greatly increased since the industrial age has begun. And the costs from climate change are very long term and very difficult to calculate. There are things like increased storm damage, droughts, increased disease as tropical diseases spread northward, etc. And I'll admit, there are even some advantages that might need to be taken into account . . . Canada and Russia will probably get longer growing seasons in their higher latitude areas. However, it is clear that the damages vastly outweigh the benefits.

Due to all of these costs that are not reflected within the price of fossil fuel energy, the government should tax fossil fuels. Taxing fossil fuels accomplishes two things at once.
1) It creates a source of funds that can be used to pay for at least some of the costs that are not reflected in the price of the fossil fuel. For example, these funds can help pay for the military costs of securing access to fossil fuels and supply lines to get the fossil fuels. These funds can help pay for some of the healthcare problems created by the use of fossil fuels. This funds can also be used to pay for research into alternate energy sources that will not have so many hidden costs.
2) The tax raises the price of the fossil fuel such that demand decreases and alternate energy sources that do not have such hidden costs are more economically viable.

Now many Liberatarians would accuse me of meddling in markets with such taxes. However, I feel the opposite is true . . . such taxes would fix broken markets where hidden costs are being foisted upon others instead of being included within the cost of a product/service. For example, innocent victims of ailments directly caused by fossil fuels are subsidizing the low cost of fossil fuels. Tax-payers are subsidizing the energy companies by waging wars for access to fossil fuels and securing the supply lines. These costs should be factored into the price of the fossil fuels.

By incorporating these 'hidden' costs into the price, the true real market is created.

Another way that such market repair can be done is with tariffs. If a country produces very inexpensive products for export to America but part of the way they accomplish such low prices is by slave labor, massive pollution of riviers, child labor, dangerous working conditions that kill workers, massive pollution of the atmostphere, etc. then those products should have tariffs that compensate for such hidden costs.

Huckabee and the meltdown of the GOP

The GOP has largely consisted of an alliance between the Christian-right with their theocratic views and a corporate wing that wants no taxes and no regulations to hamper them. Bush was a strong combination of both and even though he is clearly an incompetent under-achiever, he was a perfect mix of the two main alliances with a big well-known name. Well, his incompetence an ultimately unproductive over-reaching of those policies has created a disaster. A disaster in foreign policy and economics.

With the upcoming elections, the corporate side is pushing Guilliani and Romney as faithful tax-cutters (or deficit creators, as I call them). However, the social views of Guilliani and the Mormon faith of Romney do get the approval of the Christian-right. There was even some talk of a third-party theocrat candidate. But now Huckabee seems to have emerged as the candidate of the Christian-right wing. But the problem is that Huckabee does have some populist economic views that the Corporate side doesn't like.

If Huckabee wins the nomination, a lot of the corporate money could go to support the pragmatic and centrist Hillary Clinton assuming she is the candidate. Well, at least this campaign has started to become interesting.

BTW, I'm going to try to post more from now on. Of course no one is actually reading this but, it is good for me to get it out there and on the record. So when things happen that I predicted, I can go back and point to this blog as proof of my great wisdom. ;-)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Bush and Ahmadinejad are the same just different religion

A recent article hailed Ahmadinejad: rock star in rural Iran, here is a quote:

Ahmadinejad: rock star in rural Iran
By Scott Peterson Fri Dec 7, 3:00 AM ET
Birjand and Bideskan, Iran - Shoes off, and packed so tightly in a mosque that they sweat in the chilly night, several thousand men in eastern Iran await their hero. The air is electric.

When he arrives, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is greeted like a rock star: with a collective inhale the crowd jumps up to catch a glimpse of the firebrand populist. "Sit down! Sit down!" a cleric implores, as laudatory whistling intensifies. "The friend of the Imam [Mahdi] has come!" While Mr. Ahmadinejad is under attack across Iran's political spectrum for his economic policies and unyielding nuclear rhetoric, even his detractors say these frequent visits to Iran's provinces are shrewd politics that give him a serious shot at reelection in 2009.

The president now also gloats – over Iranian rivals who say he brought the country close to war, as much as over American hawks championing attacks – about a new US National Intelligence Estimate that said this week Iran halted a nuclear weapons
program in 2003.

Just like Bush in America, Ahmadinejad is popular with religious folk in rural areas of his country with his belligerent right-wing fundamentalist policies. And Bush, just like Ahmadinejad, is strongly disliked by the more educated secular urban people of his country. They are mirror images of each other . . . the only difference is the brand of religious intolerance they follow. It is so sad to see people driven by superstitious sectarianism. Once again, I am disgusted how it is the 21st century and huge number of people are still obsessed about arguing who has the better God and prophet. Pathetic.