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Apr
17

News of the Week: Today is Tax Day

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Recapping the interesting and significant news of this past week (and a half).

I was so busy last Saturday with the anti-war rally put on by the Austin Alliance for Peace (which one of my students founded) that I had no time to post my weekly news roundup. So today seemed appropriate since all of our offerings to Caesar are due today…

Pastor Jeremy Sarber has an interesting podcast about Biblical politics posted about two weeks ago that he wanted to share with us.

I’m loving the new Laissez Faire Books blog, which my friend Jeff tucker writes for quite frequently. Two articles on the blog have caught my eye recently. Commerce, Our Benefactor is all about the beautiful benefits, complexity, and justice of a the free market. The second more important article is Death by Regulation, which has nearly gone viral. It is a compelling story of how the State completely ruined the life of Andrew  Wordes. You absolutely must read it.

Allan Stevo reminds us that we are only 11 weeks into a 9 month primary cycle. Ron Paul is still a long shot, but we ought to remember that it is less about winning and more about influencing people. There is still a lot more time to use this presidential election season to teach people about liberty.

Now for some taxation news that will really annoy you…

Reason Mag shows us 5 new ways the IRS is screwing America (their words, not mine).

From that same Reason article, I found another link where Bloomberg noted that fatal car crashes tend to increase on Tax Day. Watch out on the road today, people!

Gary North discusses what happens when government safety nets break.

And now for your moment of Zen: the Beatles song “Taxman”:

Have you made it back to LCC lately? Here’s what you missed if you’ve been away:

Have some relevant news and links you want to share? Post in the comments below. I read every comment and respond to almost all of them. Let me know what you’re thinking!

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Recapping the interesting and significant news of this past week.

RawStory reports that ISPs based in the United States will begin reporting your internet usage to the Feds as early as July 12, 2012. Ostensibly the purpose is “reduction of piracy” but this is the federal government for goodness sake, the most benign and generous institution on the planet!

Joe Carter continues his criticism of libertarians at the Acton Blog. You can see my response to his initial volleys here, and there will indeed be more to come next week. In the meantime, perhaps Hayek’s article Why I am Not a Conservative would be worthwhile to review again.

The Ludwig von Mises Institute Blog is going through a transition period right now, and one result is the founding of a new blog for interesting commentary called The Circle Bastiat. I’m excited to see what TCB bloggers will do with their new site.

My friend and former LVMI visionary Jeff Tucker is now the head of the great company Laissez Faire Books. He now writes regularly for their main blog, Whiskey and Gunpowder (fantastic name), and I highly recommend signing up for their mailing list. Even for the week or so that I have been on the list, I have found the articles they are sending superb. For instance, The Economics of the Timeline is a great read. He also had some excellent commentary on the aforementioned internet-spying debacle.

Did you visit LCC this week? Here’s what you missed if not:

Have some relevant news and links you want to share? Post in the comments below. I read every comment and respond to almost all of them. Let me know what you’re thinking!

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Mar
03

News of the Week

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Recapping the interesting and significant news of this past week.

From the nanny-state department…

The Feds have now mandated that all new cars must be built with rear-view cameras by 2014. It’s for the children, people! We have to do EVERYTHING for the children to keep them “safe” no matter the cost!

The corrupt and insane Austin City Council (where I live) passed a plastic AND paper bag ban this past Friday morning (a 2 a.m. bill, no shame I guess). Here is what one of my friends had to say about it:

Plastic bags are an incredible benefit to society, allowing for a cheap, efficient, and more environmentally-friendly way to transport goods and later be recycled for all sorts of other uses, from acting as lining in a trash receptacle to cleaning up after pets. Furthermore, they are less burdensome for waste management and landfills.

Thank you, City of Austin, for saving humanity from a better tomorrow.

My sentiments exactly.

Ever wondered how much it cost to build the Death Star from Star Wars? Wonder no longer. I’m telling you, statism is EXPENSIVE!

More Star Wars fun… Over at the Young Americans for Liberty blog, Zach Foster has begun a series of articles about Star Wars and Austrian economics. If you are a fan of either, this series will probably be fun for you.

The International Students for Liberty Conference was hosted just a few weekends ago in Washington D.C. (If you have been around LCC for a while, you know that I love SFL and have been quite involved with them over the past few years.) A major highlight of the conference was the Stossel show taping an entire episode with all the students. It was pretty interesting, and there was even a little controversy. You can view the episode in its entirety here:

Did you visit LCC this week? Here’s what you missed if not:

Have some relevant news and links you want to share? Post in the comments below. I read every comment and respond to almost all of them. Let me know what you’re thinking!

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Recapping the interesting and significant news of this past week.

Last week I mentioned that I would be defending my PhD Thesis in Chemical Engineering. Well, I passed! The DOCTOR is IN!

Have you joined the Christian libertarian Facebook Group yet? There has been a lot of interesting discussion going on in this group, and you are welcome to join in. Just this week alone we added nearly 100 members, totaling to over 400! It’s a great time to be a Christian libertarian, so please add yourself to this great group of people (and “Like” the LCC page while you’re at it).

Onward to the real news…

Joe Carter at the Acton Institute PowerBlog writes about Gleaner Technology, borrowing the principle of “gleaning” from scripture (see Deut. 24:19) to describe basic technologies that can help the poor in unique ways. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I appreciate this idea nonetheless. His first example: solar bottle lights.

Wired published some neat articles on science in the past week. There has been some significant controversy surrounding a find in a lab in Italy where neutrinos were traveling faster than the speed of light (this would have been a monumental discovery). But, turns out it could be just a faulty cable. Wired also wrote about a rare book fair where some original copies of the greatest works of science written hundreds of years ago were displayed and sold. It is really neat to observe how humanity has progressed in this arena.

In other random science news, Slate reports that shale oil has been a major boon to the production of petroleum products. It’s nice to see this immensely innovative process recognized. Of course, it also disparages “peak oil” alarmists (the new Malthusians, I think). People forget that basic economics explains so much of what goes on in these types of industries sometimes, you know, supply and demand changes tend to incentivize new, unanticipated means to production?

James Madison came up in two interesting articles this past week. First, Ray Nothstine at Acton writes about Madison and religious conscience. I would add that Madison is right, but it is because of the principle of self-ownership. Second, Tom Woods reviews Kevin Gutzman’s latest book on Madison at LewRockwell.com – it’s a great article that you should definitely check out.

Did you know that the Feds raided the Gibson Guitar Company’s factory in Tennessee TWICE in the past 3 years for an obscure violation of the Lacey act? What is more, they still have not been charged with a crime! I suppose I am particularly infuriated because I am a guitarist, but this is pretty outrageous. ReasonTV made the following video to report on their plight. It is nice to see Rand Paul come to their defense in the Senate.

Rand Paul also blocked an egregious synthetic drug ban in the Senate. This is a good move by Rand, for sure.

Did you visit LCC this week? Here’s what you missed if not:

Have some relevant news and links you want to share? Post in the comments below. I read every comment and respond to almost all of them. Let me know what you’re thinking!

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Monday afternoon marked the release of Ron Paul’s “Restore America Now” economic plan and federal budget, and it is impressive. Forget this “9-9-9” garbage put forward by campaigns that prefer catchy numerical alliterative nonsense to substance, Ron Paul’s plan is the only plan that immediately eliminates five cabinet departments and craters the military-industrial complex in a short stroke. He proposes a “complete balanced budget” by year three of a Paul presidency.

You can see the full details of the plan here, or you can download a PDF. Here are some of the high notes:

Spending and Entitlement Programs

The Paul budget cuts $1 trillion in the first year of his presidency, including complete evaporation of the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Commerce, Interior, and Education. Finally, a Republican who actually wants to abolish the wretched DOEs (both of them)! Ending foreign wars provides most of the cuts in this category. Spending returns to 2006 levels within a year (not enough, in my opinion, but a good start).

The plan provides for preservation of existing Medicaid and other welfare programs for the time being, but more importantly allows people to opt out! Considering that I no ZERO people, libertarian or not, who expect to receive a cent back from what they pay into Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security this is a godsend.

Taxes

Paul’s plan lowers the corporate tax rate to 15%, which is down from around 40%. The USA has one of the highest corporate tax rates out there and it is one of the many reasons for the declining industrial economy here. All of the Bush tax cuts remain (one of the few good things Bush ever did) and the Death Tax is abolished. Ends taxes on personal savings, allowing families to build a nest egg.

Regulation

ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and Sarbanes-Oxley will be scrapped, thank goodness. Not really a surprise, of course, because these monstrous regulatory devices are easily some of the most destructive mandates in recent years.  The report also says, “President Paul will also cancel all onerous regulations previously issued by Executive Order.” Hopefully by “onerous” he means almost everything.

Monetary Policy

The Federal Reserve, of course, will get a full audit, exposing the government banksters’ fraud and deception forced upon the world. Gold may not be made official money yet, but this is the best start you can hope for.

Conclusion

All this being said, as an abolitionist I would be remiss to point out that this budget does not go far enough, for three reasons. First, why are certain departments, like defense, seeing nominal increases in spending after the major cuts year on year? If the plan is to drill down the size of government, I wouldn’t expect to see any department or program see increases over the years. And no, I don’t think that inflation-adjusted numbers should count. I don’t get a raise just because my money is worth less, and neither should the government.

Second, unless I missed it then why on earth is the income tax not eliminated on day one? Has that not been a pretty important point of Paul’s message from the beginning? Would somebody correct me please?

Third, why stop here with the cuts? There are plenty more departments to eliminate, bureaucratic orgs to eradicate, and government waste to incinerate. Never rest on your laurels, strike the root! Now, I grant that, while comprehensive, this plan is not written on stone tablets. Ron probably would love to do more, but in such a publication as this you must nail down the essentials rather than write every detail you can. So, kudos to the Paul campaign for putting forward a good plan.

Again, you can check out the full plan here.

I hear there is another major money bomb coming up, called Black This Out. If you support this plan, perhaps you should consider donating?

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