The Student Loan Bailout

The Objective Standard has published my latest article, “Student Loan Scheme Just Another Rights-Violating Bailout.”

I review the basics of President Obama’s plans for student loans and point out they would put taxpayers on the hook for part of the debt. I also found some interesting statistics about the skyrocketing costs of higher education — caused predominantly by federal meddling.

I write, “[A]t issue is not the size of the bailout, but the fact that it forcibly transfers wealth from some people to others, violating the rights of the first group and turning the second into parasites. The more government acts on the notion that it is acceptable to bail out some at the expense of others, the more we will see injustices enacted into law.”

Check out the entire article!

Waiting for Liberty

President Obama says “we can’t wait…” for more mortgage bailouts. But political intervention in the economy is what caused the mortgage crises and our continued economic troubles.

The Objective Standard published my latest article, “Yes, President Obama, We Can’t Wait.” I write:

… In addition to bailing out those who irresponsibly bought houses beyond their means, HARP also bails out irresponsible lenders — those who willingly lent funds to those with poor credit. The federal government thus showers the irresponsible with unearned benefits while harming taxpayers and artificially propping up the price of houses. …

Check out the entire piece!

In Defense of Income Inequality (In Capitalism)

The Objective Standard has published my latest article, “The Justice of Income Inequality Under Capitalism.” I begin by asking, “Why do many [Wall Street] Occupiers oppose some forced wealth transfers and advocate others?” The typical “Occupier” advocates forced wealth transfers from “the rich” to the less rich — but that “occupation” position is wrong on moral (and economic) grounds.

I point out, “[T]he income inequality under tyranny is fundamentally different from that under capitalism. One arises from looting and forcing; the other from producing and thinking.” (I distinguish capitalists from those “who wield political power to seize subsidies and hamstring their competitors.”)

Check out the entire article!

The Great “Fair Tax” Debate

The Objective Standard has posted a three-part debate on the “Fair Tax,” a national sales tax intended to replace the income tax.

In my opening salvo, “‘Fair Tax’ Looks Ugly In the Details,” I point out that the “Fair Tax” is still relatively complex, and it would require many Americans to submit the tax. I also discuss the tax’s “prebate” and its potential for corruption. I conclude, “Yes, advocates of liberty should look at strategies to make tax collection less burdensome. But fundamental tax reform, which must include serious cuts in net taxes collected, becomes possible only with significant cuts to federal spending.”

John Keel wrote a lengthy reply, “Concerning ‘Fair Tax Looks Ugly in the Details.'” He argues that the tax is simple, it would impose low compliance costs, and it would reduce rather than expand the black market.

In my reply to Keel, “‘Fair Tax’ Offers Neither Fairness Nor Simplicity,” I expand my criticisms of the tax. I point out that, yes, the tax would require extensive paperwork for compliance. The so-called “prebate” not only adds another layer of bureaucracy, but it poses the risk of expanding into another welfare program. The “Fair Tax” would become easily corrupted, and it would in fact promote an extensive black market. The tax could also lead to a dual system of federal taxation, complimenting rather than replacing the income tax, and it could morph into a Value Added Tax.

However, I point out, if a sales tax actually followed the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, that would be a lot better. But still the major goal of the liberty activist should be to reduce federal spending and restore individual rights.

Read the first, second, and third articles in their entirety!

How ‘Occupiers’ Can Separate Government and Corporations

The Objective Standard has published my latest article, “How to Actually ‘Separate Government from the Corporations’.”

I argue, “Beyond the basic role government properly plays in protecting individual rights, government should remain separated from churches as it should remain separated from corporations.” I outline four main ways to separate the government from economics: stop interfering with businesses, stop subsidizing them, stop taxing them, and respect the free-speech rights of corporate members.

I conclude:

Members of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement should be careful. If they logically think through their goal to “separate government from the corporations,” ultimately they will end up championing capitalism. And then they might decide that Pennsylvania Avenue offers a more appropriate center for a protest.

Check out the entire article!

Fuel Controls Violate Liberty

The Objective Standard has published my latest article, “Fuel Controls Violate Rights and Stifle Markets.” I write:

… [T]he federal government’s fuel standards disrupt this forward march of technology, substituting the whims of politicians and bureaucrats for the independent judgment of producers and their customers. As a result, the auto industry becomes more heavily shackled by political directives, and it offers consumers less-desirable vehicles. …

Check out the entire piece!

Income Tax Stinks, but the “Fair Tax” Doesn’t Look Much Better

The Objective Standard published my latest article, “‘Fair Tax’ Looks Ugly in the Details.”

I point out that, not only would the “Fair Tax” (a type of national sales tax) increase the cost of items by (at least) 30 percent, but it would also tax consumable services. While usually sellers must remit the tax, sometimes consumers must do so. The worst possible outcome is a sales tax added to the income tax.

I argue:

To a large degree, the debate over the sales tax versus the income tax misses the more fundamental issue of spending levels. How the federal government collects our money matters, but how much the government forcibly confiscates matters far more. So long as the federal government spends massive amounts of the citizens’ wealth on “bailouts,” corporate welfare, and handouts to individuals, any resulting tax necessarily grows onerous.

Check out the entire article!