Capitalism vs. Corporatism (or, “Why Your Government Prefers You Smoke Carpet Glue”)

Executive Director of LP Georgia, Brett Bittner, pointed me to an article regarding  language buried within a transportation bill signed into law by the President that forced “roll your own cigarette” facilities to begin shutting down at midnight Friday.

The majority of the measures that have been laid out by various media outlets are surface-positive, and very palatable to the masses.

Media-touted advantages of this Act just in the state of Louisiana are as follows:

  • Will funnel billions of dollars in Clean Water Act fines from the 2010 BP spill to Louisiana and the four other Gulf states.
  • Allocates $679.8 million in the current fiscal year and $685.6 million next year in highway financing for Louisiana
  • Increases the rate of gasoline tax return from $0.91 to $1.02
  • Extends the flood insurance program for five years

Three Questions About The Transportation Investment Act With The Civic League Of Regional Atlanta

After serving on the Steering Committee for last summer’s “Get A Move On” Townhall, I was asked by the Civic League of Regional Atlanta to respond to three questions regarding the upcoming voter referendum on the Transportation Investment Act of 2010.

Originally, my responses appeared on their blog and in an e-mail newsletter.  I’ve included the questions and my responses below:

Image courtesy of Flickr's mattlemmonWhat’s good about the Transportation Investment Act?

When the Transportation Investment Act passed in 2010, it showed a genuine concern for the transportation issues here in Georgia, especially metropolitan Atlanta. Its passage also indicated a desire to address the failed attempts of the centrally-planned Georgia Department of Transportation attempts to improve the seemingly endless commutes for Atlantans. Legislators presented municipal and county officials an opportunity to work together to relieve congestion woes in a cooperative and efficient manner.

I appreciate the attempt, as well as the willingness to cede authority to bodies with stronger ties to the communities served in each region. Rather than attempt further planning at the state level, the TIA brings cities and counties with similar struggles and interests to the table. [Read more...]

Should Taxpayers Fund a New Stadium For The Falcons?

Corporate welfare is a problem in politics, as we’ve seen time and time again. Governments at all levels subsidize any company or industry they deem important to the economy, often using popular phrases like “economic development” or “job creation” to gain favor with the public, leaving taxpayers stuck with the bill. The most egregious examples of this sort of waste come from Washington where Congress often showers special interests with subsidies through farm bills and energy subsidies. This sort of waste may be good for a few well-connected businesses, but it’s not in the best interest of taxpayers.

Charlie Harper has noted recently at Peach Pundit that the State of Georgia and the City of Atlanta seem prepared to go all in on a different form of corporate welfare; a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.

[Read more...]

How Should Libertarians Handle The Drug Question?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of "Images of Money"Yesterday, United Liberty published a post by Columbus Libertarian, Nick Nottleman, about one of the most difficult freedom issues we, as Libertarians, encounter. This question not only catches your everyday member and “small L” libertarians on their heels, but it has also frozen prominent national candidates “in the headlights.”

Below is an excerpt of what Nick wrote, and you can read the post in its entirety here:

In the 2008 Presidential election, I was amazed at the intelligence of Bob Barr. I was constantly impressed at the depth of each subject he was asked about. How much basic sense each answer made even though some answers contained a level of sophistication that may have been over the heads of some.
Well, all except for one question. [Read more...]