Minimum Wage Increase? How About A Minimum Income Instead Monday, Feb 10 2014 

In the State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. President Obama and other Democrats believe that raising the minimum wage will lift American families out of poverty. Recent polling shows that Americans overwhelmingly support a minimum wage hike.

Meanwhile, Republicans are generally opposed to the proposal. Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says raising the minimum wage will destroy jobs. Research from economists David Neumark and William Wascher done over two decades does show a loss of jobs after a minimum wage increase. Economists Joseph J. Sabia and Richard V. Burkhauser found in a recent study that only 11.3% of all minimum wage earners are classified as poor. The minimum wage is a terrible weapon to combat poverty and is harmful to employment. It places the burdens on business, is poorly targeted, and makes it harder for young people and other low skilled workers to enter the workforce. There needs to be a better way to help people escape the clutches of extreme poverty.

One such idea is a guaranteed minimum income for those who cannot be claimed as dependents on someone else’s tax return. One of the ideas to implement such a program is a Negative Income Tax. For example, the government would set an income threshold per month and would pay the difference of the amount earned and that threshold. For example, if the threshold was $1600 per month and a person only makes $1000 per month, that person would receive a check for $600. There would be a form similar to a W-2 filed by employers every month that would show how much that person made. It would replace the minimum wage and most cash welfare benefits. It would streamline anti-poverty efforts and better target resources to those who need them. Finally, it would provide an incentive for employment because the amount is set low as not to let someone get rich, but provide just enough to meet their basic needs.

This is not an idea confined to the political left. The American Revolutionary Thomas Paine advocated a “Citizen’s Dividend” in his 1795 essay Agrarian Justice. The concept of the Negative Income Tax itself was proposed by Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman as a way to eliminate the bureaucracy of the welfare state. Free market economist Friedrich Hayek also supported something similar to guaranteed minimum income. Recently, Matt Zwolinski wrote “The Libertarian Case For A Basic Income” on the Cato Institute hosted Libertarianism.org.

Combatting poverty has been a major focus of the American people and its government for 50 years. It’s time to try a new approach, while at the same time encouraging employment and giving all Americans a true safety net for the first time in history.

Conservatives Miss The Point On Weed And CVS Wednesday, Feb 5 2014 

Yesterday, the drug store chain CVS announced that it would no longer sell tobacco products. The move drew sharp reactions and generated controversy, for and against. President Obama took time away from his busy schedule of campaigning, golfing, and vacationing to praise the decision. As predictable as the sun rising out of the east every morning, some conservatives took the opportunity to attack President Obama and proceded to look like fools in the process.

One of the conservatives (the term is used loosely in this case) that chimed in on this pressing controversy was Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He tweeted, “Many of the same people applauding #CVS for not selling tobacco are ok with making it easier to buy and smoke pot. #makesnosense”. For starters, it appears Senator Rubio is not familiar with the difference between the private sector making a business decision and government policy. CVS can choose whether or not to sell tobacco products. If customers have a problem with this decision they can shop at another retailer. However, if someone wants to buy and consume marijuana, they may go to prison under current laws. I understand this is a difficult concept for Senator Rubio to grasp, but it is entirely consistent to applaud a private company’s decision to no longer sell tobacco and to oppose throwing people in jail for smoking a joint. Some people just don’t believe that it is the role of government to tell people what they can and can’t put in their bodies, while at the same time being fine with and in fact applauding a private company that refuses to sell a product that kills its consumers when used as directed.

While Senator Rubio’s tweet was utterly moronic, a fact that was not lost on the good folks at Twitchy, that was not the dumbest conservative reaction to CVS’s decision. That award goes to Washington Times editor Emily Miller for this. Miller who previously claimed marijuana legalization in Colorado was a part of Obama’s cultural legacy while warning of the impending collapse of civilization because Colorado legalized marijuana has been on an anti-marijuana crusade. The 21st century’s Carrie Nation accused Obama in her Facebook post of “encouraging marijuana use”. Except President Obama has publicly said marijuana use is not very healthy so how can that be construed as encouraging marijuana use? Finally Emily can relax, Obama has no desire to change marijuana policy.

Conservatives need to learn the difference between the private sector and the public sector. Just because libertarians and others don’t believe in throwing people in jail for doing something or banning something does not mean we want to encourage its use. We simply don’t want the government to play mommy and daddy to 300 million Americans. I thought conservatives believed in individual freedom?

The Kelly Thomas Verdict Is An Outrage Saturday, Jan 18 2014 

Most police officers are not murderers. Most police officers are not corrupt brutes on a power trip. Most police officers do their jobs professionally and serve their communities. Not all policemen are thugs who brutalize and murder unarmed people. However Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli are murderers and thugs.

On Monday, both men were acquitted for the murder of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man suffering from schizophrenia. On July 5, 2011; police in Fullerton, CA responded to a call about a man vandalizing cars. Police found a shirtless Kelly Thomas and questioned him. As a video shows the incident grew out of hand, it eventually grew violent.

Click To Read The Rest

Ideas For Immigration Reform Tuesday, Jul 23 2013 

Originally published on March 27, 2013 on Pocket Full of Liberty

It’s hard to think of any other political issue that is as difficult to solve as illegal immigration. Politicians have been trying to “find a solution” for this issue for decades. Yet, we continue to have an insecure border and millions of people are living here illegally. We need to solve this issue not necessarily for political gain, but because it is the right thing to do.

Read the rest here

Gay Marriage Roundup Tuesday, Mar 26 2013 

Today, the Supreme Court is going to hear arguments in cases concerning the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act. Both laws outlaw same sex marriage and define marriage as one man and one woman.

What I’m hoping for out of the Supreme Court is first and foremost for DOMA to be struck down as unconstitutional. There is no authority for the Federal government to define marriage under the Constitution.

As for Proposition 8, it too be should be struck down, but how and why it should be struck down is key. This New York Times graph shows the possible scenarios that can happen with both cases. The two scenarios I lean toward are using the Equal Protection Clause to strike down the “separate but equal” civil unions/domestic partnerships and make these states that have utilized this “solution” to actually take a stand. President Obama agrees with me on this.

I wouldn’t also mind the decision on this issue by the Ninth Circuit to be upheld. They essentially ruled that because the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage under the California constitution, that Proposition 8 was enacted in a mean spirited fashion targeting gays and thereby denying them equal protection and due process of the law. This would essentially only affect California.

What would be overreaching is striking down marriage laws in every other state in the Union. This would be a stretch of the Equal Protection Argument because many of these laws were not just targeting gays, but also polygamists and many others. While there maybe a public policy argument for revising marriage laws, this is a decision best left to legislatures and the voters of each state and not to judicial dictat. Yes, the result is important, but even more important is the process of achieving that result. There is more legitimacy to using the democratic and legislative process to achieve the goal of marriage equality than using 5 to 9 unelected bureaucrats to hand down a decision that was deliberated in secret. This is tantamount to “rule by experts” and is very undemocratic.

Finally, solving this through the democratic process will solve many of the controversial side issues that have arisen with this issue such as religious liberty protections and other conscience protections for those churches and businesses and others who oppose same sex marriage. The democratic process is often long and slow, but gradual change makes it more likely the change won’t be reversed and will become more accepted in time.

Should Libertarians Support Mitt Romney Wednesday, Sep 19 2012 

One of the biggest questions many libertarians are dealing with is who to support for president this year. The Libertarian Party has nominated a somewhat credible candidate, at least by his resume alone, in former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Some others are trying to mount a nationwide write in campaign to try and get Ron Paul elected, even though his campaign is over. While our conservative friends are trying to persuade us to support Mitt Romney. Kurt Schlichter has written one of the more persuasive pieces over on Breitbart’s Big Government .

There is no more time for games, no room for hurt feelings. Ron Paul fans, you need to choose, because not voting for Romney is a vote for Obama. It’s that simple. And you could make the difference.

………


Making no choice in this election is a choice –it’s a choice for a collectivist who will get two or three Supreme Court picks over a man who picked a guy, Paul Ryan, who understands capitalism and its unbreakable link to human freedom. Now, this is a two-way street. Romney and Ryan need to reach out to libertarians over their common ground. Fortunately, there is lots of common ground.

No, the Republican Party is not a libertarian party, but it is the only party with any libertarian element. It’s the only place you have any chance of being heard. And with guys like Rand Paul and the libertarian-friendly Tea Party elements, you can be in the GOP.

Most of that is true. The Republican Party of the two major parties is the one that has a genuine libertarian element. The Democratic Party as seen in its convention is generally hostile to individual liberty.

The Republicans are not libertarians, but at least libertarian-conservatives make up an influential and growing part of the party. There are exactly zero “libertarian-liberals.” Nor can there be; Democrats embrace everything libertarians oppose.

That’s partially true. Libertarian-conservatives (like myself) are growing in influence in the GOP. However, there are left-leaning libertarians. They’re more concerned about social liberty than economic liberty. They will never cast a vote for Mitt Romney.

Finally

The Romney-Ryan camp needs to do its part too; they need to reaffirm their commitment to Constitutional liberty. Freedom needs to be part of the conversation, not just Obama’s appalling record. While they can’t undo the gratuitous insults at the convention, they can make their case to the possibly decisive libertarians.

The reason why many libertarians can’t back Romney right now is that he has not made this argument. He needs to not only articulate a vision for freedom, but a positive one as well. The current argument he’s trying to make with the “makers vs takers” is a negative one that will turn off more people than it engages.

If and when Romney starts to makes the positive argument for freedom, libertarians should back him. Until then, each libertarian should vote their conscience.

Launching A New Gun Blog, Contributors Needed Friday, Apr 13 2012 

In the next few weeks or so, I will be launching a new gun blog, tentatively called “The Young Gunners”. The blog will be targeted at young people, generally between the ages of 18-40.

The blog will feature gun reviews and news, coverage of 2nd Amendment issues, shooting tips, and other related issues.

I want this to be a group blog, so I do need contributors for it. The only two criteria are 1) have a background in writing and 2) be a gun owner.

If you’re interested, please contact me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/kevinboyd1984 or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/kevinboyd1984

Chairman Maobama Wednesday, Feb 22 2012 

Today President Obama unveiled his corporate tax plan. The basics of it are:

* Lowers the top rate to 28%

* Eliminates some deductions and loopholes

* Creates incentives for investments in green energy and other projects.

* Creates a special 20% top rate for manufacturers

* Creates a minimum tax for overseas profits.

This plan is basic outline of Obama’s view of the world. Obama believes in the “state capitalism” model utilized by China and Russia, among other developing economic powers. He believes the state should direct the flow of capital to serve the interests of the state, not entrepreneurs. Plus, he believes in choosing economic winners and losers through regulations and subsidies. Money will continue to be diverted to unprofitable “green” technologies.

The only way to create lasting prosperity and preserve liberty is through a free market economy where capital flows are determined by market demand.”State capitalism” will only to corruption, cronyism, and the impoverishment of the people the state chooses to be losers.

Stand up for greater opportunity by standing up for free markets.

What’s Been Going On With Kevin Sunday, Feb 5 2012 

If you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, you probably have noticed I haven’t been myself lately. My mood has been much darker and more cynical than usual.

I finally realized this weekend I have a problem with depression. I’m not ready to get into the why or how I probably got here, not now at least, but I decided I’m going to get help with it. My work, writing, family, and life in general have been suffering.

What I need from all of you is your prayers. I hope something good can come out of this, eventually.

It’s Time For Libertarians To Clean Our Own House Saturday, Jan 28 2012 

It seems like the biggest winner in the GOP presidential primaries this year, other than the loser who will eventually be nominated, is libertarianism. Even Charles Krauthammer, one of the smartest and best writers in America, agrees. Right now the man who is carrying libertarianism banner is none other than Congressman Ron Paul. To say that Ron Paul that has baggage however is an understatement of the decade. There is of course the infamous Ron Paul racist newsletters that he of course knows nothing about. There is the continued association with the likely writer of the aforementioned newsletters, Lew Rockwell.  There is the troubling lack of understanding, to put it mildly, about the origins of the Civil War and the Confederacy. Finally, there is just that damn inability to communicate which has allowed the enemies of libertarianism to define its ideas. In order to build on the momentum we have, we need to purge this cancer that is the Paul-Rockwell strain of “paleolibertarianism”.

As I wrote in my last post, successful political movements are built not only of inclusion but of exclusion. Any political movement that is built upon the foundation of pandering to anti-libertarian ideas such as racism and glorifies fundamentally anti-libertarian states such as the Confederate States of America has no place in the libertarian movement. For those of you think this poison of “paleolibertarianism” was a fad of the 1990s, consider the fact that the Campaign for Liberty continues to attract anti-Semities. There is also the pandering to and embracing of loony conspiracy theories such as the North American Union nonsense and 9/11 Truth among others. It is time for libertarians to begin asking themselves why in the hell does the movement continue to attract these losers?

For those of you who weighed the pros and cons of supporting Ron Paul while absolutely disgusted by Lew Rockwell and the rest of his creepy cult’s perversion of libertarianism and came to the conclusion to support him anyway, I’m obviously not targeting you because that’s where I am at. I’m also not speaking to those who worship and hang on every word Ron Paul says and treats it as near holy. You know who I’m talking about, those miserable, deluded, anti-social people who harass and spam anyone who dares to criticize Ron Paul for anything. Those people are hopeless and I have nothing but contempt for them until they grow up. The ones I want to speak are those libertarian and conservative activists who have gotten on board the Ron Paul bandwagon for whatever reason. I want to ask those of you, especially if this is the first politician that you have ever believed to please understand where I am coming from. I criticize Ron Paul not because I hate him or the liberty movement in general. On the contrary, I am criticizing him because I do not want the liberty movement tainted by the filth of racism, conspiracy mongering, and more importantly, I do not want want our movement tainted by how our statist enemies, right and left, define it. I come not to destroy the liberty movement, but to help save it. Continuing to tolerate these people will allow neocons and progressives to equate libertarianism to racism to less politically educated (ie. the average American).

There are many who object to the idea of expelling people from the libertarian movement because it is a movement based on individual liberty. But I think the critics are missing the essence of libertarianism is about in my opinion. To me, the essence of libertarianism is the reduction and elimination of state coercion in as many aspects of the individual’s life as possible while protecting the rights of life, liberty, and property for all. This does not mean we should stay silent as racists, anti-semites, conspiracy theorists, theocrats, and other anti-libertarians despoil our movement. There is nothing wrong with telling these despicable statist lunatics we will not associate with them, period.

According to research done by the Cato Institute, 14% of all voters can be broadly defined as libertarians. Ron Paul has had lots of success in the GOP primaries, despite his flaws. Ironically, Paul is having his greatest success as a politician as the guy who is defending the civil liberties of all Americans, regardless of color. In other words, Ron Paul is succeeding because he is not embracing “paleolibertarian” ideas. The only way libertarianism will continue to gain respectability is to champion the liberty of all Americans and provide a path forward. This election and indeed the events of the past six years have shown that there is a demand for liberty among a large segment of the American people. The surest way to put an end to this is to continue to condone these anti-libertarian beliefs by attacking those who dare to call them out.

If you are a libertarian and want to see our movement grow, please join me in standing for liberty against its enemies. Even the ones who try to despoil our label.

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