Friday, December 28, 2007

Huckabee and the Fair Tax

I received a questioning email and a link to a Washington Post article about Mike Huckabee and his backing of the Fair Tax. The inquiry was, "why aren't you backing Huckabee? Ron Paul isn't endorsing the Fair Tax?" Good question, and long overdue in addressing.

Mainly, I've given up on the Fair Tax, not because I don't think it will pass (I don't), but mainly because I am not convinced that it is fair after all.

The Fair Tax would eliminate all the various taxes we have at the federal level: income taxes, social security taxes, payroll taxes, and myriad other hidden taxes that are embedded into the cost of goods and services. It would eliminate the IRS.

THAT is the basis of my earlier support for the Fair Tax. I am in favor of all of the above.

Problem is, the Fair Tax would replace those things with a 23% sales tax on services and new goods.

So, what's unfair? It charges the same rate to all people, regardless of income, regardless of age, regardless of wealth. It eliminates all the loopholes currently in the convoluted tax code. If you don't want to pay the Fair Tax, don't spend. (That's kind of like saying, "if you don't like air pollution, don't breathe. You can't avoid it.)

Fine, but I don't think that the amount you spend is any kind of a measure of one's fair share in the cost of government.

I thank the critics on the left for spurring this thought. It's been churning inside my mind for months. So many on the left argue that the basis for payment is one's fair share. I agree! But they have it wrong. I do not believe that because you worked longer, or harder, or smarter, such that your wealth increases, that your share in government correspondingly increases.

True, if you use government services more than others, you should pay more than others. That is fair! But what correlation does that have upon spending (Fair Tax)? Or income (The Left)? Well, none whatsoever.

So, the Fair Tax has become in my mind, something that is typical of anything good that ever comes of government anymore. Mainly, it has some rotten component that I have to hold my nose over in order to enjoy the other parts.

Not exactly the basis for getting all excited, and certainly not enough to make me a single-issue Huckabee supporter. On the balance, I still prefer Ron Paul on all things economic.

I will say that I am glad at least one presidential candidate is talking about the Fair Tax. I still think something useful can come out of it, like really getting towards all of us paying a genuine fair share. That would be very useful, because I have to think that if we were sharing in the tax burden equally, fairly, a whole lot of people would discover that they've been getting a free ride, and that maybe, just maybe, some of this government really isn't so 'essential' or 'necessary'.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Short Romance Is Over

It wasn't so long ago (June '06) that popular leftward blogger Daily Kos was courting libertarians. I took note of it, and thought then that it was merely a cynical ploy to grab a small constituency, but one sizeable enough to swing an election.

Consider the cynicism well justified. The onslaught of Ron Paul bashing by the top left blogs is begetting a slurry of ugly comments from the True Blue Left. From a recent Kos post calling Paul a racist:

If he has "moral responsibility" for his comments, then why not apologize or retract those statements? Why not express outrage that his good name was misappropriated with scurrilously racist sentiments and demand an honest admission and retraction in his newsletter?

Why? Because he agreed with the sentiments. That's why. And it's precisely writings like those, and his refusal to disavow them, that have made him a favorite of the Stormfront/Neo Nazi crowd.

Of course, Paul's supporters will take this post, along with any other criticism of their demigod, as evidence that he is "feared" or other such nonsense. Hardly. When he cracks single digits in the polls in any state we can start worrying. Until then, he doesn't even reach "Ross Perot-like nut" status. I worry about McCain. I worry about Huckabee. I used to worry about Giuliani. But Paul? Nah. He is what he is -- fringe.

But it's also clear that some of his supporters would benefit from a full airing and education about what Paul stands for and has stood for in his years in the public limelight. If people still want to support him despite his bigotry, then that actually says more about his supporters than about Ron Paul himself.

Let's break this down. What are the racist comments? Kos has highlighted some:
Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action.... Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the "criminal justice system," I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.

If similar in-depth studies were conducted in other major cities, who doubts that similar results would be produced? We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers. (emphasis as in original Kos post.)

I have to say, I don't like Paul's generalizations in that first paragraph. 95%? That's nonsense. Paul's off-base here, and should apologize for his generalizations. I wish he would do that right away.

As for the second paragraph, I do have my own experiences. I have been mugged exactly twice, both times by black men. I have had my house burglarlized exactly once, by a black man. I caught him tearing the aluminum off the house. Given my experience, I still don't generalize all or most black males as criminals or semi-criminals. Generalizing the whole on the basis of the subset is incorrect and absurd. But, would it be rational for me to conclude that should I be mugged, the likelihood is higher that a white man will mug me? Am I a racist is, based on my own experience, if I conclude the likelihood is greater that a black man might? Moreover, factually speaking, do "black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and bulglaries all out of proportion to their numbers"? If so, why would an apology be warranted? For the crime of saying something that is a source of sensitivity to the racial group in question? It isn't the same as racism, that's for sure.

I would like Paul to revisit his statements with regard to race, use some care to examine them, and to apologize for and retract the ones that are bunk. (I suspect, though, that the ones that are not bunk, and are actual fact, and that might not be retracted, would still be a source of complaint and "ah ha, gotcha!" by Kos and so many others on the left.)

So, is this any kind of dilemma for me? Not especially. I've never found a perfect candidate, one that I agreed with on everything- besides myself. If I had to eliminate all candidates from the possibility of my support or vote on the basis of a single objection, I could never vote in good conscience. I kind of think that this is what Kos is after- creating cognitive dissonance in the minds of Paul backers, such that they just stay away from the process until after the 2008 election. For me, the kind of law policy Paul would actually put forth is what is important, and I'm betting that even if he is the most venomous closeted racist the world has ever known, he still wouldn't be advancing racist policy. So, is Kos' work what we call a red herring?

At any rate, I find it very interesting that Kos chose to discuss the angle of moral responsibility for the comments made available on a publication with his name on it. Kos must believe that is what is right and correct. Very well. Let's look at some of the comments that follow Kos' latest anti-Paul article:
"Libertarianism (or his style, anyway) is effectively racist itself. I mean, the guy wants to do away with the FDA, I can't imagine HUD, civil rights departments or similar are going to fare much better."

"Poisoning pooties and children is a rational business decision to the libertarians"

"Ron Paul fanboys are better known as Paultards."

Kos' apostles do exactly what Kos criticizes of Ron Paul: generalizing libertarians in the extreme and in the negative. Then there's the word, 'Paultards'. Well now that's intelligent. I guess from this we can infer that Kos believes it's okay to use a derivative of "retard" as a pejoritive, because he permits the use of it as such on his site. Kos could argue that Paul is running for president, and thus open to such scrutiny. It's also a way of saying that few Kos readers could qualify themselves. I see the word "Paultard" all over the comments on the Kos site, but no rebuke from other users, and certainly not from the man himself. The same is true at Wonkette and a host of other left sites.

Looks like Kos is the man in the glass house, but without any mirror. If Kos believes his own words, he should be striking about a third of the comments. Exorcist, heal thyself! Alas.

And if Paul was the sort of non-threat Kos makes him out to be, would he even be worth a post on his site? Right. Perhaps this was just Kos' announcement that henceforth, Daily Kos is merely an exercise in the trivial, unimportant, and miniscule. Yeah- saw through you on that, big guy.

But, reading the comments was truly depressing. It showed me what the left thinks of me, in essense. Libertarianism isn't perfect. Nothing is. But I am just astounded at the impression the left has of liberty. Astonished. Disappointed.

I guess the courtship is over.

Monday, December 24, 2007

New Poll

How Did Ron Paul Do on Meet The Press? Vote at the right.

If you didn't see MTP, here's the You Tube for the first part of Paul's appearance. The other three parts are linked below.

Part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4
Part 4 of 4
Old Poll Results

I had a long running poll: Who would you vote against. Here are the final results:

Who would you vote against?

Selection ........Votes
Hillary Clinton 53% 121
John McCain 7% 16
Mitt Romney 9% 21
Ron Paul 4% 9
Dennis Kucinich 3% 6
All of 'em - I'll vote Libertarian 25% 57

230 votes total

Clinton and McCain have long been on top of my 'vote against' list. I'm happier to have a possible 'vote for' candidate, in Ron Paul. I remain highly doubtful Paul can win the Republican nomination, so after that event, I will probably be searching for a new 'vote for' candidate.

New Linkage

I've added a link to Hoosiers For Ron Paul- an excellent clearing house of links to active Ron Paul supporters around Indiana, and to national sites. The link now resides under "My Fellow Hoosier Libertarians".

Hoosiers For Ron Paul and website organizer Michael Hargett were referenced in an Indy Star article this morning, on Hoosiers backing presidential candidates:

"People want to be free, whether it's free from the foreign trade deficits, or free from the Patriot Act or free from our own oppressive policies, Hargett said of Paul's appeals to backers. They think that the best way to be free is that you take away this notion that we're fighting the whole world."
For me, it boils down much simpler: Our government does more than it should, costs more than it should, and would be greatly improved by reduction. Ron Paul is the only candidate enunciating a plan for smaller government.
Note: I've also eliminated the link to Indy Undercover, as that blog has been deleted by the owner. I'm keeping the link to Rob Beck's "Shall Not Perish", for even though he's been inactive for almost a year, the archives are good reading. I wish he were active right now!