A neighbor, (non-Libertarian), has believed for many years that government overspending will have very serious consequences, and that Americans will not correct the overspending until they have suffered the consequences. I believe many Libertarians share that view.
I don't share that view, because we don't know how bad it can get. The chances are not zero that the dollar will become worth;less, supermarket shelves will be emptied, and law and order will break down. Imagine your family starving and imagine looting by uncontrolled mobs. Your guess is as good as mine, but I think the chances of this happening are above 1% and below 10%. That's enough to justify a strong effort to solve the problem, even if it means cooperating with non-Libertarian policies.
This might include supporting or opposing a major party politician, even to the extent of changing my registration temporarily - I've done that before.
While working to do what little I can to help prevent the most serious consequences, I believe nobody can predict how serious the consequences might be. Therefore, I have taken some measures to help my family cope with potentially serious consequences.
I try to help mainly through letters to the editor from me, and from friends willing to work from a draft that I supply. Letters go to the Wilmington DE News Journal or to three non-overlapping publications (I'll be glad to supply e-mail addresses). In either case, there are about 100,000 subscribers, and I assume that about 10,000 will notice a letter.
What is the substance in the letters I write? I try to get others concerned, as I am, about the worst possible results of the federal government's slow and timid response to the problem. The American people are deeply implicated in the problem. They want services and money from the federal government, totaling more than the taxes they are willing to pay. This attitude has been changing, but not fast enough. There is still a tendency to vote for Congressional candidates who make the problem worse, and against those who would help solve it by working against "free" goodies from the feds.
The Federal Government
Maybe we should have a gold standard, but we don't. Commerce is based on the American Dollar, and the improvidence of the American People and the Congress has caused inflation for generations. Not a good idea, but we have adapted to it. However, with the current huge federal deficits, the printing presses are running overtime, so there is a risk of destroying the value of the American Dollar.
If we adhered to the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, the federal government would be much smaller. This is a good direction to go, to help solve the federal debt problem. State governments would then have even more of a problem than they do now. However, the most serious danger we risk - destruction of the American Dollar would go away.
Here is a specific suggestion, along these lines: Medicaid spending is now shared between state and federal governments. Transfer Medicaid responsibility completely to the states.
Most state governments are already in trouble. The challenge to them is to go beyond solving their current problems. In addition to taking Medicaid responsibility, they must stop taking money from the federal government. This will be painful, but it is necessary.
Both federal and state governments need to decrease regulations and red tape that make it difficult to start and expand a small business. This should be started immediately Expansion of business will create jobs and increase income to the federal government without raising tax rates. (Since writing this, an excellent article on regulation cuts has appeared in the CEI Planet, May/June issue from the Competitive Enterprise Institute)
Get serious about cutting spending
Do not take anything off the table. This includes the Military, health care, and Social Security. Whole Departments must go, including Education and Energy.
For the Military, first cut programs that are not supported by the military brass. Then, adopt a non-intervention foreign policy. Cut the military to a smaller, highly skilled, well-paid force.
For Social Security, increase the retirement age in accordance with the increase in life expectancy. We current recipients should not be given a free pass. We need to make a significant contribution to solution of the problem. I suggest a 10% cut in our Social Security checks. We recipients should accept a 10% cut, then become effective advocates for other spending cuts.
Don't increase federal taxes
Increasing federal taxes is a losing game. The immediate effect is to increase income to the federal government. Then, as taxpayers react, the tax income to the federal decreases to about 19% of GDP.
Decreasing taxes results in a temporary decrease in income to the federal government. Then, as a result of increasing economic activity, the income to the federal government increases to about 19% of GDP. The beneficial effect includes an increase in jobs.
The bottom line
The American People need a faster attitude adjustment. We must take the necessary action now. If we and the Congress dither, events are likely to overtake us. If that happens, we will regret our failure to make the necessary adjustments soon enough.