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Monday, May 11, 2020

Libertarians: Wake Up! The Left Has Got You Cornered

While America's libertarians lament over the coronavirus lockdowns, the left is getting ready to finally push our country into the shadow realm of "democratic" socialism. If you love freedom, get your priorities right, before you lost it all. 

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There are many voices out there predicting a long, deep recession for the U.S. economy. Don't believe them. The short-term outlook is bright, especially for those states that have already opened up their economies again. Rising protests in lockdown stalwart states tell us that once those states get back to work again, they will also experience a swift economic rebound.  

What is worrying is the gaping budget deficit and, even more so, the new entitlement programs emerging from the mountain of Covid-19 stimulus spending. Congress has already passed a federal, tax-funded paid-leave program, something I have warned about for three years now. But there is more coming. A lot more.

And the left seems to be winning this one. That is not because of some intellectually superior analysis on their part - on the contrary, it is a fairly simple matter to poke a hole in the socialist agenda. No, their victory is the result of endemic ineptitude on the other side. That ineptitude has proven itself to be chronic during the coronavirus epidemic, which is how we got paid leave.

This is also how we are now about to get a universal, basic-income program. After that, expect a complete socialization of our health care system. 

All of this will happen because libertarians can't get their priorities straight. While they are busy killing eclectic fleas, the left keeps pushing America closer and closer to their end goal.

A complete, unmitigated socialist welfare state.

Paid leave is a perfect example of how America's libertarians have been aloof, inept and for the most part entirely absent in the fight against socialism. While I was busy trying to raise awareness of this program, libertarian think tanks fell through on fighting this big, very bad idea. Most of the free-market capitalist movement has been silent on paid leave; only two organizations have joined me in stern opposition, namely ALEC and the Heritage Foundation. 

The Independent Women's Forum also deserve recognition. While not opposing the idea per se, they tried to promote a different, theoretically less intrusive model than the one that now passed Congress.

Beyond these three organizations, the silence on this issue has been deafening. I am deeply worried by this. It does not bode well for the future fight against the welfare state. Where will they be on the universal, basic income idea? That is the next item on the left's list of accomplishments. 

Where will they be on single-payer health care? Rest assure that this is coming, as well.

Despite the notable exceptions, it is almost as if libertarians in general have given up on fighting socialism. It does not help when some prominent libertarian politicians completely lose their analytical minds and present the arch-socialist Swedish welfare state as some sort of libertarian heaven.  

Let us not forget what the welfare state is all about: socialism. Yes, the welfare state is socialist. It is a socio-economic structure invented for one purpose, and one purpose only: to redistribute income, consumption and wealth between citizens. That is the core purpose of socialism. 

The welfare state is a Trojan Horse that plants the idea of socialism inside an otherwise free, capitalist society. Under the guise of benevolence and virtue, it spreads the idea of economic redistribution in two ways: by purporting to care for the poor, and by vilifying the rich. Gradually, the welfare state expands its dominance over people's personal finances, lures them in to become more and more dependent on government - and slowly chokes the free-market economy to death in the bargain. 

All by design and purpose. And it is all happening under the noses of America's libertarians. Yet for some reason they seem unable to see it.

They didn't wake up to smell the coffee when Congress passed paid family leave in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a.k.a., H.R. 6201. Hopefully, they will react differently next time, but I fear they won't. 

Next in the line of welfare-state expansion is the universal basic-income program. Behold Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris:
A trio of Democratic senators are pitching a big idea: pay most American families thousands of dollars each month until the coronavirus's economic crisis subsides. On Friday, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) will release their Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act. IT would dramatically expand upon the $1,200 sent to Americans as part of March's gargantuan coronavirus response bill. 
The sloppy writing aside (it wasn't March who created the bill) this Politico story should put every friend of free-market capitalism and limited government on his feet. These three Spendators want $2,000 per household member to be sent to every household in America with an annual income of $120,000 or less. Yes, that includes every adult and every child in that household (up to three kids). 

The income bracket they propose covers about 80 percent of all Americans. In other words, of a population of 330 million, about 264 million Americans would be eligible for these checks. Assuming that five percent of the children are ineligible for the Sanders-Harris checks (due to living in a family with more than three kids), there would be 260 million people receiving $2,000.

This means that the federal government would pay out $520 billion - with a B. In one month. 

For comparison, in 2019 Medicare cost taxpayers $651 billion. For the entire year. In two months, the Sanders-Harris program would pay out more cash than Social Security does in one year. 

This is, of course, pure and unmitigated madness. That, however, does not mean that libertarians can stay in their chambers and preoccupy themselves with praising Sweden for not locking down their economy during the coronavirus epidemic. They did this while Congress passed paid family leave. 

Every libertarian needs to get out there and fight this. Now. It does not help to simply call the Sanders-Harris idea insane. Of course it is insane. The problem is that insanity is not a reason for Congress to reject another spending program. It is also not a reason for libertarians to derelict on their intellectual duty to defend liberty in all its forms. The welfare state is a mortal threat against liberty. Contrary to what many libertarians seem to believe, liberty covers both the economy and your personal life; the welfare state eradicates economic freedom first, then it comes for your personal freedom.

The welfare state is the socialist Quinta Columna that hollows out free-market capitalism from the inside. 

Ever since I wrote Remaking America: Welcome to the Dark Side of the Welfare State ten years ago, I have been warning that we would reach this point. We are there now. With paid family leave and a UBI program, we have moved a big step closer to the complete, Scandinavian, socialist welfare state. Remaining on the left's to-do list are universal child care, socialized higher education and single-payer health care.

Universal basic income works well together with paid family leave in establishing general income security. Government takes over responsibility for your personal finances. The takeover comes in the same gradual, incrementalist form as it did when Social Security took over responsibility for our retirement. 

Do not forget that Social Security initially was supposed to be a limited retirement-security program for the poorest Americans. After 20 tax hikes and a six-fold increase in the Social Security tax rate, Congress has expanded the program to where most Americans de facto depend on the program for their retirement survival. According to the Social Security Administration, half of all married retirees and 70 percent of all unmarried retirees get at least half their income from Social Security.

The very same is now happening to working families. Their income security, even when they are gainfully employed, will depend critically on paid family leave and a basic-income program. Even if the final UBI program will not look anything like the Sanders-Harris monstrosity, there is no question anymore that:

  • unless America's libertarians wake up and get their priorities right, and
  • unless America's libertarians decide to fight the welfare state economically, systemically and ideologically,

we will get both a full-fledged paid leave program and a basic-income program.

Both of them will be "funded" under the principles of Mad Monetary Theory. Which means hyperinflation is just around the corner. 


Unless, of course, Congress decides on the Scandinavian funding model: enormous tax hikes.

In other words, my fellow libertarian: the left has got you cornered. If you don't want to fight the welfare state, hyperinflation or industrial poverty are your only options. You cannot choose anything else. Either you get your priorities right and fight back, or you surrender, learn to love those UBI checks, get prepared for the next disaster - single-payer health care - and spend the rest of your career killing eclectic fleas.

This is it.

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