Tag: big government

Man and the Right to Govern Himself

By Benjamin Olsen | United States

Can individuals govern themselves? In a recent conversation I had, the claim was made that without laws, people simply could not govern themselves. This was during a conversation where the example was brought forward that if we ceased to have laws preventing murder, then everyone would take to the streets and murder each other in a matter very similar to the Purge series of movies.

When John Locke argues for a liberal democracy, he argues against Thomas Hobbes’ theory of an absolutist government designed to keep people from the state of nature. Locke, however, argues for that state of nature and it being necessary as a transitionary period between government types. As libertarians, we are not arguing for the absence of government, but rather the reform of government. This is not to say that all libertarians agree on the form that government should take, but rather that some government is established that protects our natural rights. The governments that are in place today do not think about our natural rights. They have gone beyond their duties and now seek to curb our liberties in the name of security. Human beings inherently value security, but we have given up all our liberties for just a little bit more. Human beings fear violent death, so doesn’t it stand to reason that humans, without laws, would restrain themselves to avoid a violent death?

We must establish a government that gets back to the roots of its mission. In order to establish this government, or even have a discussion about what this government should look like, we must do what Locke directs, we must rebel. When discussing the French revolution, we focus on the reign of terror and lawlessness. But we fail to mention that even while the reign of terror was going on, people were living out their daily lives. There was not mass murder committed by the average citizen in the rural areas of France. The reign of terror only applies to a few select cities, if not just Paris. If a country has only one city in a state of revolt, but the rest are living peacefully on their own, doesn’t this suggest that we are indeed capable of self-government?

The interim period is the scariest, it means that men will be in charge of their own destinies for years. It will, in essence, be lawless, but man is able to govern himself. Locke argues that even when we live in a lawless society, we will still be civil to one another due to man’s fear of violent death. We have a conscience. we have morals. We are not the beasts of the earth. We are humans with rational thoughts. Will there be those who abuse freedom? Yes, there will. However, when the smoke settles and liberal democracy rises from the dust, we must not let the monsters influence the proper way to govern. We have a right to govern ourselves. We have a right to revolt if our rights are not protected by the current form of government. We have the right to exercise our rights. It is time to stop watching from the sidelines and to take action. I am not calling for armed rebellion but we must not shy away from protests. If we want change we must protest. We must revolt. We must govern ourselves.


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The City of Chicago Will Now Tax ‘Amusement’

othman Mekhloufi | United States

 

The Amusement Tax

The City of Chicago is now levying taxes on amusement, entertainment, or anything remotely fun-oriented.

The City of Chicago’s Department of Finance, rather than the City Council, issued a new tax ruling called an “amusement tax”. This tax would subjugate any residence within the official city limits of Chicago to pay a 9% tax, in addition to sales tax, on anything which is remotely related to amusement; whether it be streaming movies on Netflix, playing video games, or going to a football game, such a tax would apply.

Here is the following list of all the assortments to be taxed according to the ruling itself.

“Any exhibition, performance, presentation or show for entertainment purposes, including, but not limited to, theatrical, dramatic, musical or spectacular performance, promotional show, motion picture show, flower, poultry or animal show, animal act, circus, rodeo, athletic contest, sport, game or similar exhibition such as boxing, wrestling, skating, dancing, swimming, racing, or riding on animals or vehicles, baseball, basketball, softball, football, tennis, golf, hockey, track and field games, bowling or billiard or pool games; any entertainment or recreational activity offered for public participation are on a membership or other basis including, but not limited to, carnivals, amusement park rides and games, bowling, billiards and pool games, dancing, tennis, racquetball, swimming, weightlifting, bodybuilding or similar activities; or (3) any paid television programming, whether transmitted by wire, cable, fiber optics, laser, microwave, radio, satellite or similar means.”

With this ruling, there are also some exceptions. All venues held in auditoriums or theaters with a maximum capacity of not more than 1500 people are exempt from the 9% amusement tax. However, these venues must be in person live performances to be exempt from the tax. This exemption does not apply to movies or sporting events.

Currently, Chicago’s sales tax, with all jurisdictions considered, is the highest in the entire nation at 10.25%. With this amusement tax being set at 9%, it is also compiled onto Chicago’s default sales tax of 10.25%; meaning that the population of Chicago is not only stuck paying an astronomically high 10.25% sales tax, but they are also required to pay an additional 9% tax on any assortments in relation to the amusements previously listed.

The Impact on the Wallet

The economic repercussions of such a new tax would be quite negative for the City of Chicago. Said economic repercussions would revolve around the primary negative effect of margin loss. The government is now levying more taxes from the people via two separate sales taxes, one at 10.25%, and one at 9%. Because of this, less money will be the pocket of the populace. When the populace has less money in their pockets, they will have less money to spend. Because the populace will have less money to spend, businesses will lose out on customers, as well as profit. When it occurs that businesses lose out on customers, and income, one primary negative effect on the economy would take place; that being, margin loss.

This margin loss will always have two sets of negative economic sub-repercussions. The first set of sub-repercussions are unemployment, cutting of wages, as well as the cutting of work hours which fits into the internal-labor subsection. The second set of sub-repercussions are and the hiking of prices which fits into the consumer subsection. Meaning, that with such a tax, prices would in fact increase, and jobs, work hours, as well as wages,  would all be cut.

The Impact on Employment

Let’s take a look at the first set of sub-repercussions; unemployment, the cutting of wages, and the cutting of work hours. Due to the fact that businesses will be losing margin due to fewer customers, they will always want to mediate that margin loss. To mediate this margin loss, businesses have two choices; either begin to raise their prices, or cut spending somewhere within the company. Usually, when spending is being cut, it is centered around wages and not other essentials of the company. This is due to the fact that if companies were to cut spending for such essentials, the product, and or service being provided would degrade in terms of quality. In turn, this would only result in furthermore margin loss due to the general premise that no consumer populace wants to purchase an inferior product with poor quality.

With this, we can determine that a margin loss, for whatever reason it may be, will indeed result in a spending cut. Said spending cut will be focused on wages. More specifically, when implementing this, hours will be cut, some individuals within the company may be laid off, and many wages will be reduced all to minimize for the loss in margin caused by economic government intervention.

Don’t Forget About Prices

Considering the second set of sub-repercussions, the hiking of prices, this also comes with its own extended economic repercussions. Other than the fact that cheaper goods mean best for everyone on both sides of the transaction, the hiking of prices comes with its own furthermore economic disparities. When prices are hiked to mediate a loss in margin, an even higher amount of margin loss will occur. This is due to the following reasons; when a company raises its prices for whatever reason it may be, and in our case, margin loss, the populace will be less incentivized to purchase said product, and or service.

Because of this, sales will go down even more, and the company suffers even more margin losses. For instance, a 2014 study conducted by YouGov found that nearly 1 in 5 of Netflix subscribers polled would cancel their subscription if the price went up by $1 a month. Nearly half of those polled would cancel their subscription if the price went up by $2 a month. If these increases in subscription prices would happen due to a loss in margin, Netflix would experience even more margin loss as it loses even more customers due to price hikes.

As we can now see that not only do price hikes burden the consumer populace as everyone enjoys cheap goods, but they also cause margin loss in companies which, if it were to be on such a large scale, would cause unemployment, cuts in wages, as well as cuts in work hours as previously explained.

Many may claim that the amusement tax rate may only be 9%, and at such a small rate, it would not cause any actual negative economic repercussions as previously mentioned. However, this amusement tax is estimated to levy $189 million in the year 2018. Not only this, but the amusement tax’s levy margin has been trending upwards since 2017 when it took in a measly $168.7 million compared to the $189 million of 2018. With the amusement tax raking in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and with it only trending upwards, we can truly determine that such a large amount of money being taken out of the economy will indeed cause the economic hardships previously mentioned.

Although these economic repercussions have not been extremely severe in Chicago due to the fact that the amusement tax is only centered within one jurisdiction; if the western world continues this trend of large government economics, and a similar policy begins to be implemented on the federal level, the economic repercussions previously listed would scale to a very large extent affected millions across the board.

In reality, with such a tax, we would only cause economic hardships; unemployment, cuts in wages and work hours, as well as hikes in prices across the jurisdiction in which it was applied.


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How the Republican Party is Ruining America

By Manuel Martin | United States

The Republican party is ruining America. It’s time for the GOP to go the way of the dinosaur or endorse Joe Biden. In my past, I have actually been a Republican myself. At the age of 21, I started a local tea party chapter and volunteered with my local GOP central committee. I gave speeches to hundreds of Republicans, pumping them up to fight for smaller government and more freedom. In fact, I even ran for state assembly in California as a Republican.

I was an above average GOP solder. I would get mad when someone “disrespected the flag”, pledging my proud allegiance to it. My long-winded conversations with Republican senior citizens often included trading sentences like, “kids in school don’t even do the pledge of allegiance, can you believe what’s happening to the country?” I was that guy who thought that my flag worshiping was superior to another team’s.

Unfortunately for the Republican Party, I paid attention to what they did, not what they said.

The Republican Party and Big Government

Almost all modern Republican officials simply conserve the expanded power of government. The Democrats before put the policies in, and the Republicans do nothing to repeal them. In many cases, they even implement their own additional expansions. Be honest and ask yourself something: What major agencies or legislation have you seen the GOP shut down or repeal? The GOP had the House, Senate, and Presidency with the clear mandate of repealing Oabamcare, but they still haven’t. Why would the GOP not do what they promise? The answer is simple: because they lie. The GOP is not the party of small government; they are the party of rhetoric.

Republican apologists are allowed to have their opinions, but not their own facts. Simply put, Republican administrations in recent history have actually outspent their Democrat rivals. While Carter, Clinton, and Obama increased the national debt by 43%, 32%, and 74%, respectively, the recent Republicans did far worse. In fact, Reagan, H.W. Bush, and W. Bush raised the national debt by 186%, 54%, and 101%. This all adds up to a grand total of 149% and 341%. Of course, neither number is in any way tolerable. However, it is especially despicable that the party of small government raised the debt more than twice as much as Democrats.

The Democrat-Republican Cycle

America! The game Washington is playing with you is simple. Democrats advance a more intrusive and regulatory government while not getting too carried away with spending. Then Republicans, once in power, tend to maintain the size of government (sometimes slowing regulatory growth). But, they do nothing to remove newly established agencies or laws while exploding government spending. When Democrats find themselves back in power, they now have (thanks to Republicans) more money. Thus, they can build new government programs and agencies, furthering control over your life.

Two key factors make this Democrat-Republican cycle possible. First of all, that voters listen to what politicians say, not what they do. The second factor is that voters believe politicians govern according to the rhetoric they espouse. Unfortunately, voters do not pay attention to how politicians govern. Instead, many simply listen to what politicians say and prescribe their economic results to the politicians’ narratives. Because many voters don’t pay attention to details, Republicans can get away with governing like socialists but campaigning like capitalists.

Obama and Republicans

While Obama’s administration was running havoc over the economy, remember, Republicans in Congress passed budgets authorizing all of the abuse and waste. Yes, Obama spent hundreds of billions bailing out Wall Street. But who abandoned free market principles to save the free market system again?

A False Sense of Freedom

Republicans verbally campaign to shrink government and legislate like ardent supporters of big government. As a result, voters never get a chance to experience free market principles in action. Because Republicans are the fake opposition, party voters always experience big government, with or without the brand. Of course, big government will always win when it’s competing against itself.

Republicans are ruining America by tricking voters into attributing controlled-market economic results to free-market capitalism. Constituencies never actually vote for or experience free-market capitalism. Thus, they can never learn the vast differences between it and the two parties’ government-based solutions.

Voter Misinformation

Because of the Republican Party’s fake opposition, voters simply toggle between two parties of controlled markets. The only difference is that Republicans claim to be supporters of capitalism. Is it any wonder that the government continually grows when voters do not have another viable option? Schooling, media, and politicians all teach that the Republicans believe in a free market. How can we expect voters to believe any different? How can we not expect them to misunderstand what a free market really is?

The electoral cycle is eroding a once free and prosperous nation. It unfolds like this: the people vote for Democrats. When their policies fail, the people look for something else. Then, the people vote in Republicans who promise free market solutions. But, the Republicans legislate like Democrats, causing the people to wrongly prescribe the resulting economic failure to free market capitalism. Lastly, the electorate returns to the Democrats to fix the alleged free market inadequacies. Rinse and repeat until the government demands 40% of your income and permanent rent on your home, until they demand that your kids learn their curriculum, until they instill the false belief that without them, society would collapse.

The Republican party is ruining America by promising capitalism and delivering more government. Without a doubt, the great, unspoken truth in politics is that Republicans lie.


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“Not Real Socialism” is a Valid Argument

By Ian Brzeski | United States

When referring to countries such as Venezuela, the Soviet Union, North Korea, and other countries that have experimented with socialism and ultimately failed, the same excuse of “that was not real socialism” is continuously uttered by those that advocate for socialist policies. While that excuse is technically correct, it is not in the way that most people would think. Yes, it is true that these countries ended up failing in a state where pure socialist thought is no longer in place. It did indeed go from “real socialism” straight to “not real socialism.” So, what happened?

What happened was the fact that merely maintaining a “real” socialist state is impossible. The constant pattern throughout the history of experimenting with socialism is that these countries do admittedly start with real socialism, but then everything turns sour. There is a simple reason for this, and that is because power corrupts. What socialism is doing is giving the government complete control over the private sector to have equality and prosperity for everybody.

Putting all economic thought which disproved the validity of socialist economic theory aside, let’s say that economically speaking socialism is able to flourish. Redistributed wealth, prosperity to all, a bustling economy, free healthcare for everybody, and everyone living happily ever after. All of this sounds too good to be true as if it were only possible in a dream.

In reality, it really is too good to be true because, inevitably, there is going to be some ruthless dictator who will end up becoming in charge. Think about it; the driving force behind socialist thought is that people are inherently corrupt and always seek to exploit and take advantage of others, so they need a government to regulate their actions to be able to ensure that no exploitation goes on and that there will be complete equality. The problem is that these very same people that socialism identifies as the problem are in charge of the government. There will always, and I mean always, be a corrupt, vicious, disgusting, and morally perplexed person who will end up becoming in charge of the government. Guarantee that an ethically sound Jesuslike figure would always be able to be in charge of the government, then maybe there would not be a constant and blatant hatred of government by libertarians and other limited government advocates.

Government rightfully gets a bad rep because it always seems that power hungry people are seeking to seize control. The government in itself is the definition of power which aims to monopolize violence and potentially other industries. Wouldn’t it seem that being in government is the ideal job for any person? People inherently want to be in power or have control. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the problem here is too much power will end up corrupting even the most thoughtful and generous person.

Regardless of the initial intentions of a person who seeks to be in charge, the power of holding office will unavoidably lead them to use their power towards personal gain. Examples of this include practically every single socialist leader who promised the betterment of their society. Equality, peace, and prosperity are always promised but always seem to fail in being delivered. Who knows if leaders such as Josef Stalin or Hugo Chavez had true, honest, and good intentions from the start and their influx into power ended up corrupting them or if they had these horrible aspirations from the beginning? That does not matter. What matters is that these people in charge ended up using their power to directly or indirectly commit awful atrocities towards their people through murder or starvation. There is a reason as to why all these socialist and communist leaders were wealthy while the rest of their country was poor and starving. The government will always end up acting in its self-interest and not in the interest of the people.

Bernie Sanders in 2011 praised how great Venezuela was doing as a socialist state and how the United States could learn from them. Now that the government is murdering and starving its citizens, he seems to discredit Venezuela and say that it is no longer real socialism. Yes while that may be technically true, he fails to realize that real socialism is impossible to maintain and will always end up turning into this “fake” socialist state for the reasons mentioned above.

Besides its economic faults and the fundamental immorality of socialism, corruption and flawed human nature are principal reasons as to why socialism will always end up failing. Socialism is quite popular among people because of what it promises to deliver. The only problem here is that the deliverance of these promises is quite impossible.


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The Republican and Democrat Agendas are Hypocritical

By Ian Brzeski | United States

Disclaimer: When I refer to Republicans and Democrats, I’m not talking about every single person who aligns with the Republican or Democratic party. Rather, I am talking about their platforms as a whole as well as their “leaders” and hypocritical followers.

Both the Republican and Democratic platform are hypocritical in every sense of the term. Whether it is their agenda or on specific topics at hand, they allow themselves to fall onto multiple contradictions and fallacies in their arguments. For example, Republicans and Democrats both display hypocrisy when it comes to the issues of guns and immigration. Republicans are quick to push their agenda against illegal immigration when an illegal kills somebody because, according to them, illegal immigration allows those who like to murder and rape people to enter the US. They argue that if we had stronger deportation measures and a border wall, then many individual citizens such as Mollie Tibbetts would still be alive. Democrats are quick to push their agenda for gun control when a shooting happens because, according to them, guns and gun owners are dangerous and often kill many people. They say how if we had more gun control, then many of the victims in the mass shootings would still be alive such as the students who passed in Parkland.

Republicans defend guns by saying that Democrats are just trying to push their agenda when a horrible tragedy such as a mass shooting happens. Republicans say it is vile and disgusting how Democrats would try to push their agenda on gun control instead of showing respect to the victims. They claim that it is a societal problem and not a gun problem. People kill people; guns do not kill people, and besides, people are just going to get guns regardless.

Democrats defend illegal immigration by saying that Republicans are just trying to push their agenda when a horrible tragedy such as the murder of a girl from Iowa happens. Democrats say it is vile and disgusting how Republicans would try to push their agenda on stronger borders instead of showing respect to the victims. They claim that it is a societal problem and not an illegal immigration problem. People kill people; illegals are not the only people who kill people in this country.

Republicans and Democrats make the same argument when substituting the word(s) “guns” with “illegal immigration.” Who knew that the majority of Republicans and Democrats are not that much different? They use the same argument on various issues. They even both bash each other on how they portray their stances. To an extent, the parties also fall subject to the slippery slope fallacy when describing how guns/illegal immigration are the causes of the death of various people.

The slippery slope fallacy is a logical fallacy that implies that a small action will lead to a much more significant action with enormous consequences. Saying that having less secure borders will lead to more murders is a solid example of this fallacy and the same goes for saying that the sale of firearms will lead to more murders.

Who is the Bigger Hypocrite?

Most Republicans are bigger hypocrites than the Democrats. They claim to support small government except for when it comes to:

  • The wall across the Mexican border
  • The Space Force
  • A stronger governmental police force
  • A massive military
  • Tariffs
  • Military parades
  • The War on Drugs
  • The War on Terror
  • Trump regulating social media
  • TSA
  • NSA
  • DEA
  • ICE
  • And many more

The only difference with the Republicans and the Democrats here is that they disagree with what should be funded by the government. For every government program defunded by Republicans, another government program is funded that fits the Republicans’ agenda. At least the Democrats openly admit that they are for a bigger and stronger government.

Democrats could just as quickly say the phrase “Taxation is theft,” and it would still have the same meaning when Republicans say it. Establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans are the same; they are all pro-war and pro-big government hawks. Obama openly says he is against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and then proceeds to bomb more countries than any of his predecessors. The Republicans claim to be for smaller government and pro-life, yet when Senator Rand Paul introduces a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, the bill does not pass despite Republicans having the majority in the House and the Senate. Does this sound like a small government platform?

The fact of the matter is that the majority of the Republicans preach a pro-liberty position, but their actions and ideas say otherwise. However, not every single Republican is one of these establishment politicians. There are still few Republicans out there who stay true to their pro-liberty and small government agenda, such as Senator Rand Paul, Rep. Thomas Massie, Rep. Justin Amash, and Austin Petersen to name a few.

Stuck in the Same Cycle

Regardless of who is in charge, the government still become stronger, taxes and spending increase, and our national debt continues to grow. We have a “pro-liberty” president who keeps fighting the war on terror, keeps funding the war on drugs, has the notion that tariffs are good for the economy, and now wants to start printing money to get us out of our national debt. Nothing of recent has changed regarding the United States. Voting Republican or voting Democrat will be practically voting for the same person the majority of the time. Not voting for a third party because you are afraid that it is giving away a vote to the “rival” candidate may be one of the worst excuses to use because either way you are most likely voting for big government establishment hawks.

As a result of this two-party system and hypocritical nature of the parties, the government continually grows into a stronger, more coercive force that inhibits on our personal freedoms to make decisions for us. Thinking that voting third party is a waste is a dangerous ideology. We will never see a real change by always voting in these establishment candidates. We will have the same problems that we continuously complain about, nothing will get changed, we will continue to stay in the same cycle that we have been going through, and people are too blind to realize this.

Republicans and Democrats have the false sense that they are pitted against each other. There are other options out there, and people need to realize that. People need to stop voting based on parties and need to start voting based on principle.  Watch a debate between Republicans and Democrats, and it is easy to see that the discussion just turns into a name calling blame game. It is one of the most pathetic things a person could ever see. Their arguments have no real substance or conviction, and they always seem to attack the person as an individual and not their ideas.

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers” – Socrates

Republican or Democrat, it doesn’t matter. We are always going to be stuck in a never ending cycle if people do not stop blindly following party positions. It does not matter whether you identify as a Conservative, Progressive, Libertarian, or Socialist. Do your research and vote for who you think is going to bring about the most significant possible change to our crooked establishment system. Don’t vote for somebody based on their party or if they are a lesser evil, vote for somebody you believe in.


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