On your ballot, you will find a spot to write-in a candidate, and a method to indicate your vote for that candidate. Below is a full list of our Write-in candidates:
Arizona State Offices
State Treasurer: Thane Eichenauer
Arizona Legislature - Senate
Volunteers are needed for the Hand Count Audit Board to help observe the auditing of 2% of the Precincts during the upcoming 2010 General Election. This is a hugely important role to help keep Arizona and Federal elections free from tampering.
If you are interested in helping out in this endeavor please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a good contact Phone number or email address. This opportunity will be closed after Tuesday August 17th 4:00 PM.
Mark R. Phelps
Over on Goldwater State, I recommend a “no” vote. Neither the Pima County Libertarian Party nor the Arizona Libertarian Party have, to the best of my knowledge, taken official positions, but I presume that they would recommend the same. At first glance, voting “yes” may appear to be the responsible thing to do; Arizona’s budget is required to be balanced, and to date the cuts made by the legislature have not been responsible or well-thought-out at all.
However, Americans for Prosperity and the Reason Foundation have found more than enough to cut, and a few good one-time revenue sources as well. One figure that should jump off the page: $120,000,000 could be saved per year by releasing non-violent drug offenders from prisons. “Waste” is too nice a word to describe that sort of spending.
Make a stand for fiscal responsibility and send a mandate for cuts to the legislature; vote “no” in Tuesday’s Special Election. A mere “no” isn’t enough; we must insist that the legislature scale back the scope of government and do so in a reasonable fashion. In the days and weeks ahead, call your legislature, write letters to the editor, ‘blog, and spread the word supporting what you find most agreeable in the Reason Foundation’s whitepaper.1f7f ]]>
All Pima County Libertarians live in either CD 7 or CD 8. Make a note with the names appropriate to your area, take it with you to your polling place on 2 September, and write these candidates in, to be sure they’re representing the LP in the November election.]]>
I predicted, when Tucson’s cameras were installed, that citizens would adopt countermeasures such as license-plate covers to defeat the system. I didn’t count on angry citizens rendering the system useless, but given that the cameras are prime evidence of contempt for citizens at City Hall, it’s no surprise.
Accidents involving running of a red-light are rare and would seem to be caused by the sort of (intoxicated) lout who wouldn’t be deterred by a fine, anyway. Evidence continues to accumulate in support of the thesis that these cameras actually make intersections less safe.
Why would the City Council authorize such cameras? It’s either due to gross incompetence–a failure to research policy before adopting it–or, more likely, greed. Cameras give cities a tax-free revenue stream, and allow politicians to hide their contempt for the citizen behind a veil of respect for the law and concern for the public safety. Some cities have even been caught shortening yellow lights to beyond the safe limit, the better to rake in fines.
We can’t expect most politicians to understand that mechanistic enforcement of the law can erode respect for the law. That’s an intellectual’s position, not a gladhander’s or a party brownnoser’s. The sort of person who does enough favors for the Democrat or Republican brass to be handed a Council seat (think Rodney Glassman) isn’t the sort who’d understand that we only accept laws concerning traffic signals because the method of enfocement lets most violators who try to beat the light without being reckless off-the-hook.
We can, however, expect them to understand and respect the almighty dollar. Enough vandalism, enough license-plate covers, enough insistence on proper service–a mailed ticket is not properly served–and enough fighting these tickets in court will turn even the crudest cost-benefit balance toward the negative. It’s too bad that, any way it works out, the taxpayers are left footing the bill.
The Libertarian Party, of course, doesn’t advocate what the far left calls “direct action” and the rest of us call vandalism. We instead seek to throw out of office, permanently, the politicians who don’t understand which of the public safety or the public purse is more important.
Today I received by mail “Libertarians Rising, The 2007 Annual Report of the Libertarian Party.” From the first page onward I was stunned by the overwhelming negativity of the content. “The Bush administration has plunged this nation to new depths” four paragraphs into it, then wailing away about lost rights, “useless war”, “economy into a tailspin” among others. Then complaining that the polls show congress’ ratings below those of the president.
OK, guys and gals. I don’t disagree that things could be better, but this becomes a classic example of the political left’s “hate Bush” campaign. The Democrats believe that they can win elections by whipping up hatred of George Bush, and they might be right - although I personally think they’re deluded. And for the Libertarian party to think that it can win anything at all through this negative strategy is completely loony.
I was formerly a proud Republican who campaigned for Barry Goldwater in 1964. But the Republican party repeatedly succumbed to Democrat style big government, high spending, high regulation and taxation over the years. I became convinced that by voting Republican I was being taken for granted, my wishes for smaller government ignored. So about 12 years ago I registered as a Libertarian. I never expected any Libertarian to win, but thought it might help the Republican’s to notice that their party was losing membership and support to me and my fellow Libertarians. I don’t hate Republicans, I just disagree with their in-office behavior.
Today I enthusiastically agree with the core philosophy of Libertarians. Less government, more freedom. However, there are a few issues I vehemently disagree on, and these leave me on the verge of quitting the party altogether. These appear to be areas of perhaps irreconcilable difference.
1. First and foremost, I am a patriot. I believe that the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. It has the moral obligation to use its example and its power to promote liberty worldwide. Sometimes this requires the reluctant use of force. This is unfortunate but necessary. The Libertarian Party seems to have become a pacifist party and puts down the honor of the American military. I proudly served in military combat in Vietnam, a war that was necessary and correct at the time. Whatever the debatable merits of the Iraq war today, we must back our military to victory. The American military is never defeated on the battlefield, only by our own cowardly pandering politicians. Libertarians should have none of this.
2. I believe it is the duty of every male citizen to be available, trained and ready for military service. I support the draft and universal military training. When viewed as a patriotic duty I do not believe this infringes on my liberty or that of any other citizen. As it is now, our all volunteer professional army is too easily deployed without repercussions in the society at large. With liberty comes duty and responsibility. This should not be a foreign concept to Libertarians.
3. Liberty is a human right, not just a civil right. The time has long past when it is necessary for friendly democracies to maintain borders, burden citizens with passports and regulate and tax imports. Why should it be necessary to restrict traffic between Canada, Mexico and the U.S.? Who gains from the xenophobia about Mexican workers doing work in the U.S.? Should there be travel restrictions between U.S. states? What kept the hillbillies of the Ozarks from all moving to sunny Southern California? Not borders, but culture, language, family, economics. I don’t disagree that this is a sticky problem, nor do I think an open border solution is immediately possible. But Buchananite rhetoric in Libertarian circles is unworthy and unproductive.
4. If the Libertarian party wants to win adherents it must become a party, not just of principle and rhetoric, but a party of the possible. It must provide solutions that attract support, benefits for people to vote for Libertarian candidates. The Republicans promise to improve the nation’s morals through various laws and programs. This invites those who think the other guy needs moral supervision by government. The Democrats are even more blatant, they promise effortless prosperity to the lazy. So what can and should Libertarians promise?
We can promise a lot, but we’re not doing it if this Annual Report is any indication. We should be talking about the specific measures that can be taken to lower taxes, for example. Eliminate the Department of Education and save each family in American $650 (some specific amount) per year. Eliminate the Department of X and save the family $Y in taxes. It has to be specific and realistic. Ask the voter whether he perceives any benefit at all from government program A or B. If not, what would be the benefit to the voter of eliminating the program? If all we can come up with is the nuisance of silly regulation of incandescent bulbs vs. fluorescents (a whole section of the Annual Report) nobody will take us seriously at all, nor should they. What can we propose to actually DO NOW that will benefit a citizen who votes for our candidates?
5. Scare mongering works up a crowd of believers, but it does nothing to win new voters. Yes, we’ve seen some ugly proposals including the attempt to impose “True ID” national ID cards, the idiotic but defeated “Homegrown Terrorist” legislation, among others. But the NY Fire Department story “Turning Heroes Into Spies” in the Annual Report wreaks of exaggeration and sensational innuendo. It appears to have been a popular story in ACLU and some left-wing blogs, such as Daily KOS. However scary to someone, it doesn’t belong as part of a Libertarian Party Annual Report.
From where does the Libertarian Party expect to attract the voters it needs to win elections? That’s a question we need to think about and answer honestly. As I see it, much of the thrust of libertarian rhetoric of late seems to be coming from the far left — anti-war, ACLU, hate-Bush, etc. Even acceptance of the Global Warming and Energy Crisis mantras. Other parts are coming from the right, such as Second Amendment enforcement, border enforcement, budgetary responsibility, reduced taxation. So where are the new members coming from? I suggest that we’ll find more and better recruits in the Republican camp than among Democrats. Why did Ron Paul run for president as a Republican? I don’t know, but I suspect that he perceived a chance to win as a Republican, just as he’s won multiple congressional elections with that affiliation.
By supporting left-wing causes and rhetoric we’ll discourage conversions from the Republican party and probably pick up a minority of enthusiastic “activists” from the left. This doesn’t help us to promote a smaller government agenda and isn’t any way to win elections.
As for me, I’ve outlined a few disagreements I perceive to exist between my own philosophy and what is apparently the current Libertarian orthodoxy. Nobody agrees with everything his political organization espouses, and no political organization behaves, once in office, exactly as it promises to do. However, each member is free to come and go based on the level of comfort he feels in the affiliation. I guess I haven’t decided yet.
Thus even those of us who never believed that the Fed Just Prints Money so that government can spend and spend have had good reason lately to look for alternatives, be they adoption of the Friedman k-Percent Rule, or more radical proposals, such as free banking.
Last night at the Pima County Libertarian Party meeting, Joe Cobb, one of the US’s experts on commodity money and free banking, treated us to a freewheeling lecture and extended question and answer session on the advantages of a monetary system in which the supply of money is determined, from the bottom up, by market mechanisms, without the intervention of a government or a government-appointed bureaucracy. He even managed to pull off the near-impossible: to change my mind about what is, at its heart, a technical question, without handing me a stack of journal articles to read.
Being the (self-appointed) head of the speakers’ committee has its privileges, in that there’s a (non-ordinal) correlation between topics I’d like to hear about and those covered by our featured speakers. Wanting to hear a technically trained economist give gold standards and free banking a fair treatment was at least as much a motivation for inviting Cobb as was wanting to do something of interest to the Ron Paul crowd.
Economics, especially macroeconomics, is by its very nature a quantitative discipline, yet the most commonly heard arguments for free banking are based on superstition, fallacies, and the so-called “Austrian Economics”. The latter isn’t economics as we commonly know it, as the Austrians, as a matter of doctrine, reject both mathematics and scientific empiricism. Some–especially Hayek–broke new conceptual ground, but their extreme apriorism and their favor of ideological moralizing and touchy-feely rhetorical arguments over quantitative rigor renders their normative prescriptions intrinsically unconvincing.
Cobb, on the other hand, does his favored proposal justice. He sketched for us the history of money, emphasizing that for most of history, the unit of accounting was a physical object, usually a specified mass of a precious metal alloy.
Good intentions, two world wars, and a few missteps–largely involving what Cobb (and Milton Friedman) calls the pseudo-Gold Stardard–led us to our current situation, in which dollars are backed in a sense by government debt and money creation is necessarily tied to the Federal Reserve.
Cobb advocates adopting–eventually, worldwide–a fixed quantity of a commodity, namely, a gram of gold, as the unit of account. Commodity baskets have certain advantages, but gold is tangible and has stronger appeal to the common man. Just as most of the money in circulation today does not correspond to any paper dollars or metal cents, gold coins would not often circulate. Through fractional-reserve banking, banknotes, credit cards, and other more abstract forms of money would form the bulk of the supply, with the reserve rate and quantity of money set by market forces. Banks would, for various reasons, form a clearinghouse system and otherwise support each other, with a non-hierarchical network replacing the Federal Reserve as “lender of last resort”.
This has a certain natural appeal to libertarians; objections have always been rooted in details. Cobb provided long and nuanced answers to queries about matters ranging from counterfeiting to deflation, deflationary spirals, and the Panic of 1873, slipping in a discussion of what the monetarists got wrong. While working as a consulting economist to Congress in the early 1980s, Cobb found that the rate of money supply growth was greater under Reagan than under Carter, yet inflation was lower under Reagan.
In two words: Demand matters. Under the free banking regime proposed by Cobb, if monetary growth was too slow to meet demand, it would become profitable to issue money faster before problematic deflation occurred. However, issuing unlimited quantities of money would be checked by the need, in a competitive marketplace, to keep reserve levels similar to that of other banks, so as to avoid speculative attacks, runs, and crashes, and to maintain the customers’ peace of mind.
Being a physicist and a skeptic, I’m going to have to read more technical arguments before I’m fully convinced–Cobb recommends Selgin’s Theory of Free Banking–but after tonight I’m convinced that if there’s something wrong with free banking, it’s a subtlety.
Getting the details right is another matter completely. Crafting the regulations that would provide the framework for a free market in money should be done carefully, as one could envision seemingly innocuous political compromises, for example a minimum reserve level for “consumer protection”, that would doom such a system from the start.
Saying so will rile Cobb a bit, but this is why society needs experts. Just as we have climatologists to explain to us the workings of the atmosphere and man’s long-term impact on earth’s temperature and weather patterns, we have economists like Joe Cobb to explain to us how markets work, to help us craft reforms based on that knowledge so we don’t have to guess and fumble, and to set us straight when we’re proposing harmful policy.
How fortunate that he shared his expertise with us, but we’d be better off sending him back to Washington!]]>
If your thoughts are running to ambergris-scented breast of bald eagle or a traditional Indonesian curry, spiced with cannabis, you’ve gone too far afield. Dinner was a glass of Ommegang Hennepin and a few illicitly sold tamales.
Had I purchased the tamales from Albertson’s, instead of from a young man with a pickup truck outside in the parking lot, everything would’ve been alright in the eyes of the law. Had he given them to me instead of trading them for dollars, that’ve been fine, too.
Pima County, like most local governments, requires both food producers and mobile food vendors to be licensed and follow the regulations set forth in Title 8.08. Vendors and producers must also be in compliance with the Arizona Food Code.
If you’ve held a bake sale in the state of Arizona, chances are you’ve broken the law. There’s a bake-sale loophole requiring prominent display of a placard stating that the food has been prepared in a facility not subject to regulation and inspection, and then only if the items are “not potentially hazardous”, but nobody really bothers with the technical definitions of hazardous and rarely does one ever see such a sign. (Where are the screaming xenophobes on this one? “They broke the law, they should be punished!”)
No such loophole exists for the tamale vendors operating outside of Food City or Bookman’s or, tonight, Albertson’s. Food sales and occasional catering are, perhaps next to African hair braiding the easiest and most natural cottage industry for city-dwellers, and one of the oldest; informal tamale and tortilla vendors are known to date back at least to the pre-Columbian Aztec Empire. Licensing laws, however, add such cost to a food-prep or food-sales startup that it’s no longer a worthwhile endeavor for someone trying to make a few extra dollars to pay down the bills or hold the family over between jobs. Some folks–look for the ones with John Edwards buttons–will tell you that “capitalism” oppresses the poor, but, seeing as opportunities for trade abound in our society, it would seem as though barriers to entry are the culprit. If the rules that keep people out of business are “capitalism”, who knows what the word means anymore!
It wouldn’t take much to extend the “bake-sale loophole” to the Bookman’s tamalera, to change the law so that people can buy food from whomever they please, licensed or unlicensed, and assume the risk of falling ill, making the license the equivalent of the UL Seal of Approval and requiring the unlicensed to merely place a sign noting their status. It isn’t too much of a stretch from there to say that the government shouldn’t be involved at all and that restaurants, pushcart vendors, and the like can merely seek certification by private quality-assurance firms if they please.
Fortunately, Tucson is a sanctuary city for pickup-truck tamale vendors; I’ve at times even seen uniformed policemen buy from these ephemeral businesses. Let’s keep the tamaleras and give the county Department of Consumer Health and Food Safety the boot if they interfere. I’ll look after my own safety and decide what risks to take with my own stomach.]]>
Smith was a member of the University of Arizona faculty from 1976 to 2001, and there conducted most of the work that later won him the Nobel Prize, before leaving to join the libertarian powerhouse at George Mason University as distinguished senior faculty.
His work is of particular interest to libertarians, who advocate privatization, the breakup of government-mandated monopolies, and implementation of market mechanisms to replace command-and-control regulation.
For this, libertarian economists and their followers are accused of being “market fundamentalists”, a slur invented by leftist billionaire George Soros and subsequently picked up by left-wing ‘bloggers and commentators ranging from the most vulgar types on up to (normatively) outmoded economist Joseph Stiglitz.
The accusation, at its most tasteful, is that free-market economists and political libertarians overestimate the set of situations in which markets can work. More often than not, the accuser is confused, thinking that free-marketeers advocate “unregulated markets”–there is no such thing–or merely getting the government out of the way. (The rhetoric of certain libertarians is undeniably a major source of the confusion.) When libertarians advocate privatization, “deregulation”, and extension of markets to commons, they advocate instituting market mechanisms tailored to the situation.
That’s where Smith’s work comes in. Smith’s area of expertise is alternative market mechanisms, for example, the combinatorial auction that was originally proposed for airport takeoff and landing time allocation. Noting that the idea, already put to use in allocation of logging rights or allocation of the electromagnetic spectrum, is just catching on for its original purpose, Smith remarked, “when things get really bad, that’s when they finally decide to use markets.
Perhaps owing to his Asperger’s, Smith’s talk was awkwardly structured and the audience sometimes had to strain to stay engaged. It was a loose discussion that went from Smith’s early days at Purdue and his take on what made that department, at the time, one of the world’s greatest, through various collaborations at U. Mass, CalTech, and the U of A. Heavy on the history at the beginning, by the end there was enough positive and normative economics thrown in for the talk to be of interest to those who don’t know the parties involved.
Smith reminded the audience that where his advice was taken regarding utilities deregulation, such as in Australia and Scandanavia, problems like those seen after California’s electric power deregulation didn’t occur. During a brief Q and A session at the end, he put in a good word for carbon trading and took a questioner to task for use of the words “given away” in describing initial permit allocation. Just as things really started getting interested from an amateur policy wonk’s perspective, the session was out of time.
To stay informed, in the future, of events of interest to libertarians, like the Vernon Smith lecture, as well as the Party’s own events, sign up for our listserv: lpaz-Pima@yahoogroups.com.86 ]]>