WASHINGTON — Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict issued the following statement today in response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address:
Thanks to unprecedented levels of government interference and government coercion, Americans' rights are violated like never before. We are harmed by taxes, regulations, prohibitions, and shocking privacy intrusions.
Unfortunately, most of the harm and injustice of government occurs because too many Americans support existing government policies. We're suffering under a tyranny of the majority. Our Libertarian hope is that we can convince enough Americans to change their minds. We hope voters will come to understand that government is force, and force is unjust.
Here are some of the problems we see.
The government debt situation is atrocious. Government debt is a terrible thing, because it forces future generations to pay off debts they never agreed to incur. From 2001 to 2008, George W. Bush doubled the debt, mostly with the support of a Republican Congress. Since 2009, Barack Obama and the Democrats (and Republicans) have nearly doubled it again. It doesn't matter whether Republicans or Democrats control the government. Libertarians would quickly balance the budget by cutting spending on everything, including entitlements and the military.
Thanks to the work of Republicans and Democrats, America has declined in the Economic Freedom Index. We've been sliding for years, and now we're down to #12. We're below Australia, Canada, and Denmark. Libertarian policies would get us back to #1.
Government should stop creating programs to fight economic inequality. Some economic inequality is natural and healthy in a free society. Actually, government often creates artificial inequality by granting special privileges to certain businesses or classes of people. Republicans and Democrats do that all the time. Libertarians prefer a level playing field.
The employment situation is still pretty bad. Why? Because government gets in between employers and employees, and tries to dictate everything. Minimum wage laws, hiring laws, firing laws, subsidies, and business taxes all make it harder to create jobs and find jobs. These laws are supported by both Republicans and Democrats. Libertarians would eliminate the minimum wage, employment red tape, and business subsidies and taxes.
Since 2001, the federal budget has exploded. Whenever the government spends money, it displaces it out of the private sector. That means the government is making more choices about how we use our resources, and free people are making fewer choices. That inevitably harms our economy. Libertarians would eliminate most programs, and cut spending on the rest.
If there's one thing we have learned since 2001, it's that we can't trust what government officials say. They lie. Bush and Cheney said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence) said under oath that the NSA does not collect data on Americans. Those are a couple of the most outrageous lies, but there have been many others. The more power government has, the more government officials will have the opportunity and incentive to lie. Libertarians would greatly reduce government power.
Government should not be trusted to tell the truth about global warming, or to create restrictions in the name of fighting it. Look at the waste and environmental damage caused by government ethanol subsidies!
It used to be that if you said the government was watching you, people thought you were paranoid. Now, partly thanks to the efforts of Edward Snowden, everyone knows it's true. Between the Patriot Act, the IRS, the FBI, and the NSA (and probably other agencies as well), Americans have no idea whether ANYTHING they do is private anymore. Government should respect people's privacy, not violate it. Libertarians would end foreign wars, and end the War on Drugs, which would take away most of the government's excuse for spying. Libertarians would also repeal the Patriot Act and other invasions of privacy.
What about Obamacare? The problems with American health care go far beyond Obamacare. The problem is the whole huge mess that government interference has created. For decades, the government has done nothing but undermine health care by interfering in the health care market, and creating mandates and prohibitions that override our choices. Obamacare took a bad situation and made it worse — but let's not forget that it was already very bad. And that's thanks to the efforts of both Democrats and Republicans. As stated in our platform, Libertarians would "recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions."
Libertarians believe that government should have no involvement in education whatsoever. That goes double for the federal government. Unfortunately, the federal government massively interferes with education today: subsidies for preschool, subsidies for K–12 education, subsidies for higher education, and lots of mandates and regulations thanks to efforts like the Republicans' No Child Left Behind law. Our children would be much happier and better educated if government would get out of the way. Libertarians would eliminate the Department of Education and repeal No Child Left Behind.
Republicans and Democrats have also created a mess with immigration. The immigration debate has nothing to do with border security; it's all about employment. Currently, millions of foreigners work here illegally, because Republicans and Democrats have made it almost impossible to do legally. Libertarians would make it very easy for foreigners to come here, live here, and work here.
How about the military? The Libertarian attitude is pretty simple: the U.S. military should leave other countries alone, even if their governments are unstable, and even if there are people living there who hate Americans. We need to cut military spending a whole lot. Try getting Republicans or Democrats to support ANY cuts to military spending.
Amid all this gloom, we do see a bright spot: the War on Drugs. In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington passed initiatives to end prohibition of marijuana. Recently the New Hampshire House of Representatives did so too. A majority of Americans now believe that marijuana should not be prohibited. As time goes on, we believe that more and more Americans will join us in opposing the War on Drugs. We're pleased President Obama is moving in our direction on this issue.
All in all, the state of our union is a big mess created by Republicans and Democrats. Libertarians offer a path forward to peace and prosperity. Our 149 elected Libertarians nationwide work to implement libertarian policies directly. Hundreds of other Libertarians run for office each election cycle.