Tag: Alex Tabarrok

Quote for Discussion: The Libertarian Case for Barack Obama

War is the antithesis of the libertarian philosophy of consent, voluntarism and trade.  With every war in American history Leviathan has grown larger and our liberties have withered.  War is the health of the state. And now, fulfilling the dreams of Big Brother, we are in a perpetual war.

A country cannot long combine unlimited government abroad and limited government at home. The Republican party has become the party of war and thus the party of unlimited government.

…Have libertarians gained on other margins in the past eight years? Not at all. Under the Republicans we have been sailing due South-West on the Nolan Chart – fewer civil liberties and more government, including the largest new government program in a generation, the Medicare prescription drug plan, and the biggest nationalization since the Great Depression. Tax cuts, the summum bonum of Republican economic policy, are a sham. The only way to cut taxes is to cut spending and that has not happened.

The libertarian voice has not been listened to in Republican politics for a long time. The Republicans take the libertarian wing of the party for granted and with phony rhetoric and empty phrases have bought our support on the cheap. Thus – since voice has failed – it is  time for exit.  Remember that if a political party can count on you then you cannot count on it.

That is GMU Economics Professor Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution.  Read the whole thing.

We often speak about the case for or against Obama based on the merits of the Obama campaign alone, or based on its preferable comparison to a McCain administration.  I think that both those models are false.  While Tabarrok ought to also address the question of why vote at all, he makes an excellent case why people who are not inclined to vote for Obama still ought to support his candidacy.  

Luxury Prisons

It seems California is now offering a luxury prison system.

   The Santa Ana Jail is pleased to host a full range of alternatives to traditional incarceration.  Our offerings include weekends in jail, non-linear jail sentences, and a variety of work release options.  Our philosophy is designed to allow our clients (!, AT) to serve their obligations to the court in a manner that respects them as human beings and permits them to continue to provide for themselves and their families….

   * Programs that include 2-day or 3-day weekends with minimal impact on the client’s professional life.  Work on Saturday and Sunday?  No problem…

   * Programs that permit jail sentences to be served in multiple parts. Perfect for clients that live out of the area or clients with frequent business travel.

   * Programs that permit the client to leave jail for work everyday.  We have helped everyone from 9 to 5 business people to oil-rig workers, so no work schedule is out of the question.

Alex Tabarrok has a lot more about this over at Marginal Revolution.

Why is it that it seems people can’t understand the difference between what should be market activity and what should be government activity?  I’m pretty sure that we ought to keep prisons equal for everyone, and allow people to pay different prices for sugar.  Instead, the price of sugar is regulated, but you can buy a better prison experience openly (of course, you can buy a better criminal justice experience in many ways at every step, just less openly).