The Problem with Taxes

Conservatives and liberals disagree on a lot of things on the proper size and roll of government. Conservatives believe that smaller does better, and liberals believe that bigger is better. However, the fundamental difference that it all comes down to is taxes. Of all the differences between the two, it all comes back to taxes. Liberals want increasingly high taxes particularly on the rich both to fund their government programs that they insist will improve society and to as President Obama during the 2008 campaign said to “spread the wealth around.” Conservatives want correctly to have as low as possible taxes, taking only that which is needed for the proper constitutional duties of government. However, that still leaves the question that conservatives need to do a better job of answering. “What is the problem with high taxes?” There are many problems with too much taxes but the primary thing is that they hurt economic growth.

When economic growth is hurt the so-called wealth pie stops growing and in some cases even contract. This in turn makes the income inequality gape that much bigger and more obvious. Conservatives want fewer taxes because when one has more of their hard-earned money, they tend to invest it back into the economy. That in tern creates more jobs, which allow people to make more money, which they can again reinvest and grow the economy even more. When the economy grows the wealth pie gets bigger with more and more people getting wealthy and the income inequality becoming if not necessary smaller than at least reaching a point too where it hardly matters for everyone is much better off. As Dr. Brian Domitrovic of SHSU teaches in his Economic History course, this is exactly what happened during the hay days of the Industrial Revolution. In a recent discussion with him, he even talks about how high taxes might not even be constitutional for they actually limit revenue. Dr. Domitrovic talked about how during the 1820s and 1830s there were plenty of litigations involving the Supreme Court on the issue of whether the federal government had the power to tax regardless if those taxes created revenue or not, or if the power to tax was particularly for the purpose of raising revenue. Onto the point of the Industrial Revolution, historically during that time in the United States taxes were indeed low and even in Great Britain were in some cases they were high they were mainly regressive and thus the money lost to them where made back in other ways and thus not harmful to the economy or to the raising of revenue.

Actually, this here makes the case that if we must have high taxes then they should be regressive instead of progressive for not only do regressive taxes not harm economic growth but also they would actually encourage it, because it would make it were people would be losing very little if no money at all to the taxes. In other words even if the taxes were extremely high there would be very little tax evasion because the people paying them would hardly feel the pain. So back to why high taxes are a problem, they are a problem when they harm economic growth and necessarily decrease revenue, which is the primary purpose of taxing. It’s not too redistribute wealth or some other grand utopian design but too raise money for the government to do its business, which Dr, Domitrovic points out was throughout the Industrial Revolution only 2% of GDP. So obviously if that is all the government took up of the economy back then, the taxes to supply it were low. What I would not give to have that government today.

“Views expressed are not endorsed or put forward by Turning Point USA.”

Violence is NOT the Answer

The conflict between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management is bringing out a rather ugly side of the American right. Thousands of protestors have flocked to the ranch in Nevada to support Bundy and to show the feds that they will resist. The cause is noble, and the abuses are obvious. However, the support for Bundy is degenerating into something that American does not need right now. This is not a popular opinion to have among many Tea Party groups, but patriotism cannot cloud out reason.

Glenn Beck has been adamant about this situation in recent weeks. He has emphasized peaceful protest and resistance, and to not fall into the trap of violent uprising.

In this area I must agree with Beck.

Many people will disagree with Beck and I on this point. It does not seem like there is any other way to resolve the abuses of the federal government.

“2014 is our 1776!” “I am the III%” “Down with the feds!”

These are the cries of those resisting the overreaching federal government, and their feelings are understandable. But many are letting their hatred for the government get in the way of rational thinking to fix the problem.

Anyone who thinks that violence is the answer to our current predicament should take a look at American history to see how violent protests and resistance have gone when violence was uncalled for. Like Beck has said countless times, look to the example of Martin Luther King Jr.

Malcom X, Black Panther Party, etc. were some of the groups that sided with King on the idea, but promoted use of violence to achieve their goals. What happened? They were mostly forgotten while King is now a revered image for civil rights advocates.

America at large is nowhere near the condition of American blacks from the 1860’s through the 1960’s.

Is the Constitution being shredded? Yes.

Are our civil liberties being slowly eroded? Yes.

Are we becoming enslaved to debt? Yes.

However, getting violent and shooting those in power will do little to solve the problem, as oppression will simply increase to combat this violence. Perhaps the NDAA might to be used to its full extent, an absolutely terrifying thought. Senator Harry Reid has already called the Bundy supporters “domestic terrorists.”

Why would the feds be reluctant to send them to Gitmo if ordered? I would not be surprised.

What it all boils down to is that we are not in 1776 right now. That is just the simple truth, as hard as it may be for some to accept.

We have representation, we have a Constitution (what’s left of it), we have elections (think this November), and we still can come together and peacefully assemble against government overreach.

This is what Americans must recognize. Inciting violence only further creates rifts and divisions among Americans. With the Progressives already dividing and conquering, division from within will only cause self-implosion.

I concur with Glenn Beck in calling for peaceful demonstration, and separating ourselves from those who simply want a fight. If it resorts to violence America, at this point you will lose.

Instead, call for revolution on the battlefield of ideas, as Rick Perry emphasized at his 2014 CPAC speech. Choose candidates in the primaries who are on the side of the people and genuinely seek to restore liberty. We constantly hear complaints about candidates for elections. Well if you did not participate in the primaries, why are you complaining about who is your candidate?

Get involved in local politics, tell your representatives what you want, and use your voice to call for action. But do so with righteous indignation. Do it for the right reasons. Do it out of love for your country, not out of spite and hate for the government.

Views expressed are not endorsed or put forward by Turning Point USA

The Reality of The Winter Soldier

Liberty is on the rise.  Daily, people are realizing the dangers of fascism, it’s growing strength, and the dangers of the all present surveillance state. increasingly, movies are offering commentary on  troubling current events; specifically the increasing surveillance state.  Few movies outline these developments more than Marvel’s newest movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

On its surface the latest Captain America movie is a great action adventure, showing main character Steve Rogers adjusting to the present day and a new reality.  Rogers and Nick Fury continue their philosophical sparring from The Avengers and take it up a notch.   Captain America regularly tells Fury that they aren’t they’re using fear not protecting freedom.  Fury is about pre-emptive threat neutralization and Rogers believes the punishment should come after the crime.  Fury insists that Rogers is being too idealistic and he must “accept the world as it is, not as he would wish it to be.”  They’re lessons many of us have been learning Captain America is a total libertarian hero, idealistic and focused on freedom above all else.  He’s not a nationalistic fanboy anymore but realizes how precious and delicate freedom truly is.  He’s a narrative for many of us who have come to the freedom movement.

Underneath the adrenaline rush action movie, The Winter Soldier is a smart and fascinating commentary on our world and the growing intelligence state.  The comparisons between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the NSA are difficult to miss.   S.H.I.E.L.D. monitors everything and is seemingly everywhere, as Agent Coulson said in The Avengers, “if it’s got a camera or a microphone, its eyes and ears for us.”  The Winter Soldier takes that a step further and shows what can happen if such an apparatus becomes compromised.  The dangers are terrifying.

Spoiler Alert: Later in the film Rogers discovers what happened to S.H.I.E.L.D. and H.Y.D.R.A. during his long nap.  In a slightly bizarre scene, Rogers finds out that H.Y.D.R.A. determined that the best way to gain the control they sought was to not force people to submit to their order, but to frighten them into sacrificing their freedom for the promise of security.  Over the next seventy years, they then decide to penetrate and infect S.H.I.E.L.D. rebuilding their powerbase from within.  It was at this point I couldn’t help but think of the parallels to the progressive/fascist disease of both our political parties and how they are attempting to perform the same coup; encourage us to sacrifice our liberty for security.  The final piece to this puzzle is an algorithm designed by head H.Y.D.R.A. scientist Dr Zola which targets people based on data such as tax returns, bank and medical records, and predicts whether they will be an enemy to the “order” of society.  It’s closer to science fact than many would like to think about.

The end game of The Winter Soldier is one which has been discussed before.   In a 1975 interview, Sen. Frank Church said this:

[America's Intelligence gathering] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left. Such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.  There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know.  Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge.  I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that [the NSA] and all agencies that losses this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross of that abyss.  That is the abyss from which there is no return.

If Sen. Church was fearful of the technological potential for tyranny in the intelligence community then, today he’d be rocking himself back and forth in a fetal position.

The Zola algorithm from The Winter Soldier exists today; it’s called TIPS.  T.I.P.S. is a data mining operation which monitors all internet traffic everywhere and then predicts what people will do.  It’s a modern day A.I. which looks at everything from extra utility usage to figure out whether you have company, or who you’re associating with, the possibilities are terrifying.  Like Sen. Church and The Winter Soldier warns, there would be no place for a rebellion to hide.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier gets this danger, champions freedom and gives the audience a hell of a thrill ride doing it.  Most people will love The Winter Soldier for the action and character interplay.  Lurking beneath however, is a message of freedom, messy as that is, warnings against fascism and a vision of what can happen if bad people get a hold of the power we’ve given them.  Captain America is a hero libertarians cheer for and audiences everywhere  will enjoy.  If they really understand what this movie is trying to say, that’s a win-win.

Views expressed are not endorsed or put forward by Turning Point USA

#lunchmovement

“We’re tired of eating lunches that someone we didn’t elect has chosen to give us!”

A young Sophomore at my high school said this after our Turning Point USA chapter took the #lunchmovement picture. So far, it’s sparked a new livelihood on my Twitter. What most people do not know is why I’m doing this. Some can make the case that the food’s disgusting and the portion size is ridiculous (and this is one of the reasons I’m doing this) but the largest reason is that the Federal Government should stay out of our lives.
Imagine living in an America where everything is controlled and regulated by a government. A world where the BLM marches onto a man’s land (84.5% of the Nevada is Federal Land) because of a Tortoise the BLM actually breeded and killed themselves. When the housing market crashed the Federal Government had a conservation in Nevada for Tortoises to breed. When they ran out of money for the conservation they released a few Tortoises and killed the remaining (approximately 700-800). Imagine living in an America where farmer’s are taxed and harrassed because of Monsanto’s GMO seeds being spread everywhere regardless of what the farmer does. Imagine an America where the Federal Government takes control of a whole city because of a bomber. This is your America.
With our education cirriculum and the new menu Michelle Obama has proposed, there’s one message that’s being sent to teenagers without it being said, “Sit down, shut up, and eat your food”. The growing ignorance and exceptance of a large government has led our younger generation to believe that reliability is the key to the future. It’s not. A mass overhaul of school lunch is also not the key to the future. Why should we be told how to do something by someone we never elected? We shouldn’t. My high school (Venus High School) agrees that the government and Michelle Obama have butted their heads into too many people’s lives. Now the Federal Government can control what your child eats if you do not have the money for their own lunch. Now they starve even more because the reduced portion size and the grotesque look of the food served. Teenagers are tired of this. I am too. Lets do something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.
Our lives are made up on our own accord. Here’s what I need you to do. Take a picture with your school lunches. Even tell your friends! Let us tell Washington that we will be heard because our actions will echo. After you take the picture, go on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and put #lunchmovement. Then they will hear us. During this #lunchmovement campaign I will have a slogan. It’s relatively simple and short. It’s not hope or change because these words have become meaningless to our Liberal politicians. My slogan is powerful. Hopefully it’ll usher a new direction of personal responsible. The slogan means individuality and Liberty. My slogan is choice. Choose to go against the system in place. Choose to be heard as Americans once were. Choose Liberty and not Tyranny. Choose to say, “No more, Michelle!”
Views expressed are not endorsed or put forward by Turning Point USA

When Power is in the Hands of a Few

What happens when one branch of the federal government oversteps its bounds? When our founders first built this country, they put great thought into this potential problem. A political genius, and an incredible president, Thomas Jefferson and the other writers of the Constitution devised a solution to this issue. They created the three branches, the Judicial branch, the Legislative branch, and the Executive branch. The Constitution served as a barrier to prevent the separate branches of government from extending beyond their reach. Furthermore, as each branch would inevitably attempt to gain more power they would keep each other in check. For example, the Executive branch would try to consolidate power and streamline decision making through the president but Congress would not allow itself to be undermined and would, therefore, keep the President in check. But what happens when the Judicial branch is uncontrollable? When America was being founded, our leaders put in place mechanisms to try and prevent abuses of the Judicial branch. Unfortunately, as one sees in our society now, it is beginning to fail.

Over the last few decades, the balance of powers has been starting to crumble. That is not to say that the founders failed, but rather because our country has allowed this to happen. Thomas Jefferson once said that “You seem…to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy…” As he so effectively stated, we have begun to accept judges as the final decision maker and definer of the constitution. I admit the whole purpose of judges is to interpret the law, rule against any unconstitutional policies, and provide citizens equal protection under the law.  But when judges become the final say and there is nothing to hold them accountable nor is there any alternative, then they have become a monopoly on all governmental power. Congress can no longer limit the Judicial branch and neither can the President.

Our form of government is very advantages because it allows for the protection of the minority parties so that they are not at the expense of the will of the majority. Unfortunately, as seen in recent media stories, the Judicial system has started to influence policy by picking and choosing which laws to uphold as constitutional. Nowadays, every single law that is passed by democratically elected officials is brought up and fought out in courts. Despite the laws being passed by elected officials that were popularly elected, judges feel that they strike it down because they do not agree with it. For instance in Wisconsin, the governor passed a controversial but an incredibly effective bill called Act 10. Long story short, the bill has saved the state billions of dollars, saved local communities even more, allowed government to provide better services at a lower cost, and allowed workers to make their own employment decisions without crony union heads using them as political bargaining chips.  Unfortunately, despite Governor Walker being elected and then reelected in a recall, a judge thought he could strike the law because he did not agree with it. Of course, the political donations from unions and help from democrat politicos had no impact on his decision making. Sarcasm aside, the judge’s actions have cost taxpayers millions in legal fees and prevented the democratically enacted bill from taking affect sooner.

While we have passed constitutional amendments to prevent power abuses of the president, undermined the legislative process through executive orders and the court system, nothing has reigned in the power of the courts. In my home state, they are trying something new. Wisconsin is working on legislation splitting the state in half so that when a judge strikes down a law, it is only takes effect in half the state until a final decision is rendered. Ideas such as this limit judges from enforcing their personal political preferences on the rest of the state. If the act that was struck down is truly unconstitutional, then the higher courts will hold a trial and vote down the law. Having a system where a bill is not implemented once a single judge issues a motion is similar to enacting a law once a congressman has written a bill before congress has voted on it. In Congress, just because a congressman/congresswoman has written a bill does not mean it immediately takes effect. It should be the same with a judge. Just because a judge in one part of a state brings up an objection does not mean that it should be allowed to strike down the law until a higher court tries it and a decision is made. To clarify, I believe that a man or a woman is only proven guilty once there has been a trial. The same should be considered in all sections of the court. A bill should only be struck down when there has been a trial and a verdict, not because a lone judge enacts his political persuasion on the masses.

The United States is in danger of losing its balance of powers. The US court system has become unaccountable and judges are allowed to implement their personal political opinion by sticking down any laws they disagree with. Being a judge is an incredibly noble position. A Judge has the responsibility of hearing both sides of a case, the affirmative and the negative, consider the evidence and the reasoning behind each side’s claims, and make a decision. Unfortunately, rouge judges have begun to abuse their position and no longer need to have evidence for their decisions, only their personal opinion. The balance of powers is a delicate structure and if it falters, we lose our liberty.

Views expressed are not endorsed or put forward by Turning Point USA

It’s Not Our Fight: A Case for Non-Interventionism

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” We hear this phrase used day in and day out in our political proceedings whether it is about jobs and the economy or the personal actions of politicians. This phrase, however, would be much better placed in the conversations of United States foreign policy. The 20th Century saw the rise of the United States as the world’s most influential superpower. Unfortunately as this rise took place, so too did our presence in the affairs of other nations around the world, whether that presence was to defend the United States or not despite that stipulation being referenced in the US Constitution as “providing for the common defense”.

Over the past 6-7 decades, the United States has engaged in a multitude of regime changes, supporting of radical foreign organizations, needless wars and occupations, instigations, and many other forms of foreign entanglement. Many of these actions have led to harm being brought to citizens of the United States, the destabilization of regions and nations, conflict escalation, and ongoing contemptuous relationships with foreign nations. These unintended consequences of our actions overseas have been most famously referred to as “blowback”.

Blowback – The unintended adverse results of a political, military, or covert action or situation.

The most notable and obvious example of this “blowback” would be the famous Iran Hostage Crisis in 1980. This event was the result of our foreign policy engagements that did not directly affect the national security of the United States, but rather by the results of actions which were of complete political interest to some officials in Washington DC. In order to more fully understand the results of our actions, our initial actions must be brought to light.

Iranian Coup d’état and the Iran Hostage Crisis

Mohammed Mossadegh, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, served in office from July 21, 1952 to August 19, 1953. Mossadegh is most famous for being the Iranian leader that nationalized the Iranian oil industry, which until 1951 had been under British control by the APOC (Anglo-Persian Oil Company) [later known as British Petroleum or BP] since 1913. By nationalizing the oil industry of Iran, the country was able to take control of its oil production industry, rather than it being controlled by Great Britain. This action however, was not taken kindly by the British government, which then proceeded to organize a coup d’état between MI6 and the American Central Intelligence Agency known as Operation Ajax.

The operation was a success and resulted in the ousting of the democratically elected leader and led to the United States and Great Britain planting a more western-friendly leader in Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also more commonly known as the Shah. Naturally, as any citizenry would be, the Iranian people were not happy with the over throwing of their own leader, therefore were not fond of the newly installed leader.

This particular action culminated over the next decade and a half into an uprising in Iran, in which the people of Iran overthrew the Shah, lead by Ruhollah Khomeini, who became the Ayatollah (or Supreme Leader) of Iran. This uprising also resulted in the storming of the American Embassy of Iran, in which Iranian militants and protesters held the US citizens of the Embassy hostage.

This event known as the Iran Hostage Crisis was not some random event because the people of Iran were irrational and bloodthirsty insurgents or terrorists. They were angry over the overthrowing of their democratically elected leader, Mossadegh by the United States and Great Britain, and the installation of the Shah who was put in place to act as a puppet for Western nations and maintain control of the oil interests that reside within the Iranian borders. Our involvement had little, if any, benefit to our national security interests. Yet it has sewed the seeds for this continual contentious relationship between Iran and the United States.

These events have created the domino effect, which lead to our involvement in the Iran/Iraq War, where we provided arms and chemical weapons to the infamous dictator, Saddam Hussein. As we all know, Saddam’s acquisition and use of these chemical weapons (not to mention the misleading and incomplete reports of Iraqi WMD’s) were supposedly the auspices in which the Iraq War was waged upon. All due to an unnecessary involvement in a nation, which posed zero threat to the United States.

Where We Go From Here  

Many of the foreign policy hawks of the Congress have been thumping their chests in wake of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, demanding that we somehow get militarily involved, that we provide arms to resistors, or as we have recently done, provide monetary aid to Ukraine. What the hawks do not ever take the time to consider however is the reception of our actions will receive across the international community. They would much rather stand upon the platitude that the United States is “morally obligated” to get involved in whatever conflict, no matter where, no matter when. This hubris has been the mantra of the neoconservatives for decades now and has seem to never benefit our nation in the long run, but rather weaken our place in the international

The outcry by the neoconservatives and war hawks seek to condemn Vladimir Putin for “occupying a sovereign nation” has been nothing short of ironic for their continual push for pseudo-empire across the globe with over 900 bases worldwide. They never will concede that our occupation of Iraq for the last decade gives us no “moral high ground” to stand upon in this situation. There is no national interest, nor national security threat in Ukraine; therefore it is none of our business to be involved in this particular set of events. Our involvement however would more than likely end in a negative way, in the possible form of war with Russia (which we cannot afford). This does not deter the warmongers in D.C. however from doing what they do best, stirring the international pot.

(Originally posted on the author’s blog “Liberty Minds”)

http://libertymindsblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/its-not-our-fight-a-case-for-non-interventionism/

Views expressed are not endorsed or put forward by Turning Point USA

The Truth About Gender Income Inequality

“You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment,” said President Obama in his SOTU address earlier this year as reported by the Washington Post. This statistic has been reported as false at worst and misleading at best by both left and right publications. “What is wrong and embarrassing is the President of the United States reciting a massively discredited factoid,” according to the Daily Beast, and  The Atlantic called this statistic “famously false”.

It’s not that there isn’t a wage gap. There is. But the wage gap is much smaller than the Obama administration would like us to believe.

“The latter gives the impression that a man and a woman standing next to each other doing the same job for the same number of hours get paid different salaries. That’s not at all the case,” according to left-leaning publication Slate.

This statistic merely represents the median wage gap between men and women, according to the Daily Beast. The key word here used by the Daily Beast is “median”.

 “There is a wage difference. But it might not be the wage difference that you thought. The real gap isn’t between men and women doing the same job. The real gap is between men and women doing different jobs and following different careers,” according to the Atlantic.

 “The point here is not that there is no wage inequality. But by focusing our outrage into a tidy, misleading statistic we’ve missed the actual challenges,” says Slate.

There are numerous reasons for the wage gap. One of the reasons cited by both left and right publications is that women tend to gravitate towards lower paying jobs. According to the Atlantic, nine out of the ten highest paying jobs are predominately male, while nine out of the ten lowest paying jobs are predominately female.

“The big differences are in occupation and industry. Women congregate in different professions than men do, and the largely male professions tend to be higher-paying,” according to Slate.com.

According to sources on both the left and right the actual wage gap, is between 5-9 cents. This is significantly less than some would like us to believe.

The wage gap will should continue to close. The majority of bachelor’s degrees have been earned by women in recent years and there is an all-time high of 40% of working moms being the primary breadwinners, according to the Atlantic, which says that women are “well-positioned to benefit from a growing professional service economy”. The closing line of the report by the Atlantic makes an excellent point: Ideally, one day the fact that men and women are equal competitors in the workforce will just be an obvious truth.

However, the Atlantic points out that if women continue to gravitate towards lower paying careers the wage gap will remain.  But is that really such a bad thing? If women are choosing these careers because that is what makes them happy, fulfilled and satisfied isn’t that more important than “income equality” as long as you are providing for your family? “In the pursuit of happiness, men and women appear to take different paths,” says the Daily Beast.

If these women are fortunate enough to be able to find a career which both provides for their family and satisfies them, why should it matter if they are making nine cents less than a man. Is it really worth sacrificing a fulfilling career for nine more cents and the ability to claim “income equality”? Is “income equality” worth sacrificing your fulfillment and happiness?

Many have to sacrifice a fulfilling career for one which is less enjoyable, but puts food on the table, especially single parents. If you are fortunate enough to be able to find a career which both satisfies you, and provides for your family you are very fortunate. Why should you give up a job that makes you happy just for a little more money?

Views expressed are not endorsed or put forward by Turning Point USA.

 

 

 

Peace through Trade: A Solution for Cuba

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When it comes to foreign policy, politics seems to be an unfortunate combination of historic tradition and rehearsed phrases. I cannot think of any better way to describe it than pure insanity, particularly with this administration. As Albert Einstein so famously quipped, insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Ever since John F. Kennedy enacted the embargo in 1960, the United States has continued a failed policy towards Cuba. The trade embargo against Cuba has prevented mutually beneficial trade, hurt the poorest individuals and families in Cuba, and strengthened the communist government in Havana. Furthermore, if the United States took steps to reduce the barriers it would serve as a powerful force for human rights and expand the liberties that are so fundamental to founding of America.

So often when the United States issues sanctions against a country, it is out of the best intentions, but has the worst results. I would go so far as to say that sanctions to Cuba were the right policy at the time. Cuba was a strong ally of the Soviet Union and was a threat to the Western Hampshire’s security. Trade with Cuba provided funds and strengthened the regime that served as a satellite of the actions and views of the Soviets. With that said, that was over 50 years ago. Since then the Soviet Union has fallen, the regime in Havana has struggled to survive, and it is no longer a nuclear threat. While the leaders of Cuba are still communist and brutal to their people, the nation has started to show signs of change, or at least willingness to reform. When Fidel Castro became sick and his brother Raul took over, there was a great opportunity to offer an olive branch.

Unlike Americans, the Cuban people do not get the opportunity to vote out all of their heads of state when their government overreaches. The actions of the Cuban government have taken a toll on the people of Cuban, poverty remains a massive problem, and their quality of life is stagnating. As the people suffer under the strict control of the government the opportunity for families to improve their lives has steadily decreased. Furthermore, the sanctions have served to prevent international aid from entering Cuba and help its people. As it is often the case, the sanctions have only prevented the poorest of the poor from receiving the help they need while the Cuban regime has been able to use it to reinforce their credibility to their people. I mean to say that Cuba has remained credible to its people because it vilifies capitalism and paints the United States as the villain. Because of the sanctions, it has been able to stand in front of the people declaring that ‘the Americans are evil and are the ones to blame’ and we have no way to inform the Cuban people otherwise. To make matters worse, it comes across to the people of Cuba and the international community that the United States is the one that is unwilling to reach across the aisle.

As a matter of fact, every year since 1992 the United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution condemning the embargo and calling for its removal because it violates international law and the UN Charter (1). Despite America’s claim that it upholds human rights and liberty; Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have all been critical of the embargo and called for abolishing it (1)(2)(3). Ending the embargo with Cuba could open up our ability to provide its people the aid they need, spread the benefits of liberty and capitalism, and give us a position where we can negotiate over human rights reform. The embargo is outdated and has only served to ruin our reputation abroad, negatively impacting our ability to find partners on international issues such as terrorism and security.

As an American and a strong supporter of free enterprise, I cannot think of any better way to achieve peace and bring about human rights reform than through free trade. It has been over 50 years of sanctions, perhaps it is time to admit it is not working and the United States needs to try a new strategy. As we can see in examples such as China, Vietnam, Japan, and other Asian countries, trade is a powerful tool to build international relationships, alliances, and bring about peace. From the time President Nixon opened up China to international trade, the relationship between the two countries has brought about mutually beneficial trade, economic development, more wealth per capita, and has overall created peace between the two countries. The same opportunity lies with Cuba. If the United States ended the embargo with Cuba, trade would initiate forming a bond and providing economic growth for both countries. Furthermore, it would show the people of Cuba that the United States is about liberty and is a force for good, unlike the images that their leaders have tried to paint us as. Once the people of Cuba could see the benefits of trade and be able to travel back and forth, communication would follow that would promote governmental reform. No longer would the Havana regime be able to vilify us and use propaganda to enforce its policies. Once the people taste liberty, reform in Cuba would be impossible to stop.

If the United States used trade to bring about peace with Cuba, it would strengthen us on the world stage and aid our ability to combat terrorism and other international problems. Through trade, we could bridge the divide between Cuba and the United States, creating a potential ally. Furthermore, expanding this strategy of peace through trade to other countries would expand economic growth and create more international cooperation. Simply put, it’s a trickle-down effect. Once countries in the Middle East learn to view us as trading partners instead of handouts (Pakistan) or enemies (many of the other notorious Middle Eastern nations), they will understand that if the United States is hurt than they are hurt. If they began to focus on us as trading allies they will also understand that when we are attacked, they are hurt, and when we are prosperous, they are prosperous. The fundamental lesson of economics is that trade is not a win-lose game, both sides are better off through it.  Currently, our foreign policy is outdated and relies on the principal that America has to either bribe countries or threaten them to get what it wants, but that opposes everything this nation was founded on. Peace will not be discovered through payoffs and forcefulness; it will only come through cooperation from mutually beneficial gains, in other words, trading.

Our policy towards Cuba is outdated and contradictory. If Obama wants a bipartisan win, he should change the American policy towards Cuba. To make it more politically plausible, he should declare the United States will steadily remove the embargo if Cuba will make certain, specific human rights reforms. In different terms, have a one for one tradeoff. Cuba makes one concession, the US makes one concession. Leadership is when an individual takes the high road, meets with the other party, and finds a place of common ground. It is time for President Obama to show leadership and bring the parties together. If the United States would be open to ending the embargo, both sides could reap the benefits of economic growth, the creation of jobs, and international human rights advances. Just as President Ronald Reagan declared “Tear down this wall” to the Soviet Union, so to must President Obama ‘tear down’ this wall between us and Cuba.

 

Bibliography

(1)   THE US EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA. Rep. no. AMR 25/007/2009. Amnesty International, 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/007/2009/en/51469f8b-73f8-47a2-a5bd-f839adf50488/amr250072009eng.pdf>.

(2)   Cuba: A Step Forward on US Travel Regulations. Human Rights Watch, 19 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. <http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/01/19/cuba-step-forward-us-travel-regulations>.

(3)   “IACHR Annual Report 2011″. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Retrieved 10 April 2014.

Libertarianism: The New Silent Majority?

 

Libertarianism is on the rise..

Libertarian defined

Former President Richard Nixon once famously declared that the majority of Americans were opposed to the counter-culture wars of the 1960s and secretly, quietly appreciated assisting our allies in South Vietnam (despite the rabid unpopularity of the Vietnam War at that time). While his statement’s contextual accuracy is certainly up for debate, the phrase does once again seem worthy of its controversial usage, but in a much different political sphere: to describe the booming libertarian philosophy in the United States. Both the libertarian wing of the Republican Party and the Libertarian Party itself are growing very quickly, and it has the establishment concerned. While it is true that a large majority of recently elected representatives tend to be more of what has apparently been established as ‘moderate’ by the more rooted establishment politicians (it’s anything but), or political extremes on both the left and right, there does seem to be a re-awakening to the ideals of our founding documents and the original nature of government in the US. Satisfaction with the federal government has never been lower than in recent years, sitting at a mere eighteen percent approval rating (According to a recent Gallup poll, with the lowest approval rating Gallup has reported in this survey since 1971). Congress sits at fifteen percent approval rating (it was nine percent a mere 4 months ago), and the President consistently hits the low and mid fourties, currently sitting at forty-five percent. Almost half of the nation is now an independent (42% according to another recent Gallup survey) which means discontent with both parties is very high, and many Americans, if not most, now refuse to tow party lines. This is a far cry from the zealous statolatry with which your fellow Americans once flooded Obama rallies, shouting “YES WE CAN!”. Libertarianism has a very strong prospect for the future, too, sitting with a strong demographic of current voters and a very large bloc of young voters

There’s a catch…

We the People..

Despite this seeming enlightenment of the general public about the true nature of an overly-interfering and powerful central government, it would be foolish to let this disappointment with the current administration get to our heads: there is still the matter of convincing the new-found politically homeless to seek the shelter of liberty. The question remains: who will pick up the void in this new age of political reform? If people are no longer voting on party lines, and have a low satisfaction with government, I’d like to posit that ideological, passionate libertarians finally have their shot at taking back this country through the political process.

What should we do?

 

Libertarians must unite.. or die.

 

To those who would stand up for liberty amongst the anarcho-capitalists, voluntaryists, registered Libertarians (capital ‘L’), and anyone else with an appreciation for liberty but a skepticism towards the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, this is our time to actually pick up the mantle and win this country back, but we have to be smart, and we have to be practical. To those of you who would argue that voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil, I ask you: is it not more evil to be silent and sit hands-tied while the country descends into total tyranny in a million tiny steps, when we have the chance to stand together and have a shot at changing the course of the history of our nation? I believe that refusing to get involved out of a sense of ideological purity or superiority, because you refuse to compromise on the perfect to achieve the good, is committing a greater evil in being complicit with the achievement of nothing. A famous Chinese philosopher named Lao-Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lovers of freedom and individual rights must realize that the re-institution of our principles has to be a gradual process requiring patience and a gradual transition.

 

It is the current political establishment that shifted public opinion towards their side in this manner in the first place, and we must learn to adapt and use this strategy to restore an appreciation for liberty in the halls of government. Libertarianism is, and must be considered, the new ‘moderate’ – social liberalism, fiscal conservatism. Even if this is a gross oversimplification that completely ignores the size and scope of government, it is the countenance that libertarianism must adopt in 2014 and 2016 if we are going to survive the endless waves of straw-men sure to be hurled at us from all forms of current political establishment: big-government left and the neoconservative right. This understanding of liberty and libertarianism in general can win over independents. A large plurality of Americans fall into this category and it is a largely untapped market for libertarian Republicans and the handful of libertarian Democrats out there alike. Winning over independents is the key to victory not only in 2014 and 2016, but for years to come. Independents are less and less content with the current system every day, as instances like NSA spying, TSA overreach and theft, government waste, and IRS systematic political abuse become more and more commonplace. If there ever will be a time to make a strong, unified push, it is now. We cannot make a convincing case for liberty if we are still too busy cannibalizing each other. Liberty is under assault and needs good legal counsel. We can win this and change the course of American history, but only if we do it together. We must no longer be silent. Terrorists in the Middle East cannot erode and infringe upon our freedoms. Only our fellow Americans can do that.

Views expressed are not endorsed or put forward by Turning Point USA.

The 2014 Midterm Elections: Don’t Take Things For Granted Republicans!

So it is the year 2014, another election year this time a midterm. Traditionally, it has been observed that the party that holds the Presidency does not do so well in the Congressional elections of midterm years. Now this is by no way a sure thing, as we all know nothing in life is for certain. Nonetheless, there are a few indicators that could very well let us know in what way the political winds blow so too speak. For one the President and his party the Democrats are facing an up hill battle due too a number of things but primarily over the opposition to the new hearth care law and it’s accompanying regulations i.e. “Obama Care.” This is due too to the wreck that was the roll out of the law and the fact that despite the President and his party’s promise you do not get to keep your health care plan if you like it. This was basically another “read my lips moment.” We are even seeing in some cases you do not get to keep your doctor or hospital. Because of all this and more democrats are running scared. And they should be for we already have a taste of things to come when we look back at what happen in the 2010 midterm elections. There the Republicans lead by the Tea Party won and won big historically due in part too the opposition to the recently passed health care law. But the Republican Party despite being on the cusps of another major victory should not and cannot afford to rest on their butts and just cost the way to the finished line. There is more to winning elections than just public anger at the other-side.

What happened in 2010 is quit simple; in 2009 the Tea Party first came about as opposition to the over spending and stimulus packages that was coming out of Washington along with the government take over and bailout of auto companies and banks. Despite common perception it was not due to President Obama but actually was years in the making. What happened under Obama that year and beyond was just the final “straw that broke the camera’s back.” What the Tea Party started out for and actually stands for is Taxed enough already or TEA. The fear was that with all the out of control spending that taxes were going to be raised which was not wanted. This actually happened with the ending of the Bush Tax Cuts. But what really gave the Tea Party steam was the Affordable Care Act, aka Obama Care. With opposition of it at an all time high and approval of it an all time low anyone can see where it would and most likely will lead to another Republican and Conservative tidal wave in the coming midterm elections like it did in 2010.

Nonetheless, Republicans should not take this at all as a blanketed and easy victory. For nothing in life is for certain. And it is most certainly not about Republican Party and them winning elections, but about the people of the United States being heard by our government and the right ideals of how too govern the country being put forward. It is one thing to be the party of opposition to the party and President that are pushing unpopular agendas and programs on the nation but that is not enough to win the election or any election. There most also be a clear alternative and a clear plan for how they would do things differently and govern the country. It is one thing to campaign but another to govern, which is the true test in politics. This is the absolute truth for the victory in 2010 was not only because of anger over the passage to the Affordable Care Act but because Republicans lead by conservatives and the Tea Party ran on a clear idea and ideas on what they would do if elected or at the very least fright for. If you contrast this result to the very next election in 2012, where Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney basically played a very safe election believing that he could win on just the public’s anger and resentment alone. He was wrong, however he did still come with in a hair’s-breath of winning. Just think about what could have been if he presented a clear alternative and plan. The lesions of history are clear in order to win elections one must give the people a cleat vision for what they would be voting for. Anything less than that is meaningless.  If the Republican party has a hope of taking advantage of recent happenings in the political landscape regarding Obama Care then they must have a plan and replacement for the unpopular law not just get rid of it though they need that too. Republicans cannot afford to be asleep at the wheel if they are to come out the clear victors. Above all else American voters do not vote for political parties, they do not even vote for the person but for the ideas behind that person. In order for one candidate too win over anther then he or she must have a better ideal or vision that voters cannot only agree with but see the deference between the two. The same goes for the political party or parties behind the candidates. What difference does it make if you agree with the ideas of one candidate if he or she will most likely follow the party line that may actually have a completely different set of ideals.

“Views expressed are not endorsed or put forward by Turning Point USA.”