How should we as Libertarians craft our campaign theme for 2010? Here are my thoughts on the subject. I would certainly appreciate yours, too. As a political party we must articulate a positive, persuasive, simple and appealing campaign theme for our candidates in 2010.
We need to ask ourselves what voters of a libertarian bent see as being wrong with our government in general at the federal, state and local level. What's wrong with government in particular, here in Michigan. And offer our solution.
Many issues come to mind. People are livid at the "too big to fail" benefits and taxpayer bail outs for those who screwed up. Many businesses, and ordinary people, took financial risks common sense should have told them they never should have taken. Big banks. Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac. AIG. The Big 3 auto makers. The guy on your street who bought a home he couldn't afford, with no money down and no prospect of ever repaying his government-guaranteed loan.
Our representatives cut special deals to preserve the jobs and fringe benefits of politically-powerful unions like the UAW and MEA. The "stimulus" is a joke. In Michigan it's been diverted to preserve the jobs of government employees at all levels, not create new, productive, private-sector jobs. And union lobbyists are now working overtime to make sure special exceptions are carved out of Obama's national health care tax and subsidy plan in order to preserve their health benefits. Benefits that are already vastly superior to those of ordinary mortals who labor in everyday service and manufacturing jobs.
Bail outs aren't the only special preferences. Here in Michigan, our bipartisan Statehouse is enacting one special "incentive" (State legislative-speak for "hand out") after another to attract and shore up preferred businesses in the politically-preferred "green energy", "high-tech", automotive and film-making industries. Businesses that are incapable of making a profit in an over-taxed and over-regulated Michigan without those incentives. And any entrepreneur or business that's not in a "cool" industry, which doesn't employ or can't afford legions of lobbyists and lawyers to get their "fair share" of taxpayer money, is expected to suck it up and pay a confiscatory Michigan Business Tax. Sadly, many have closed up shop and left the State, followed by hundreds of thousands of their employees looking for jobs.
And then there's the City of Detroit. Michigan's very own Third World government. Where incompetence and corruption are King. And consequently, grinding poverty is the norm. A vision of where Jennifer Granholm and Mike Bishop are swiftly leading our entire State.
Whether in Congress or the State legislature, Democrats and Republicans are exploiting the misery of jobless voters and the willingness of politically-powerful special interests to do what it takes to get their way, to put their parties and candidates in the best position to preserve and expand their political power. Actually solving our problems through fair, open and honest government is the farthest thing from their minds.
So my particular vision of our Libertarian Party of Michigan 2010 campaign theme looks like this. A vision of a Michigan that is a good place to live, work and raise our families. A place where our children will want to stay and build a future after they finish college.
My vision for Michigan is a "Libertarian Common Sense Plan" where government should be:
. No bail outs. No hand outs. No special deals for businesses, unions or individuals. Instead, cut spending now by eliminating all incentives, benefits, and programs that don't benefit the average voter or business. Cut government costs by eliminating all agencies and regulations that impede the creation of jobs and businesses, competition and personal freedom. Eliminate tax abatements, exemptions and discounts for the few preferred businesses, unions and individuals, and cut the tax rates paid by all.
. Promote transparency by promptly posting budgets, finances, proceedings, legislation and documents for all levels of government on line. Encourage participation in government by permitting registration and voting by mail, replacing onerous ballot access requirements with simple and fair ones, and eliminating campaign finance requirements that are exploited by experienced professional politicians to screen out challengers.
. Recognize that the cause of the tidal wave of political corruption washing over our nation and government is the broad scope and power of government itself. Only by restricting the scope and power of government to grant special benefits to a few can we minimize the incentive for power-hungry individuals to seek public office and special interests seeking favors to corrupt our representatives. Cutting government spending, regulations and agencies, returning to part-time legislatures and demanding ethical behavior of our representatives are key to creating a good place to live, work and raise our families.
Let's dispense some Libertarian common sense for the 2010 elections. Join me in promoting fair, open and honest government for Michigan.