There is good news and bad news to report on this, the penultimate day of Reason's annual webathon, in which we plead with you for a long week to give us some of your hard-earned tokens of value in exchange for promises to deliver even more and better libertarian journalism and commentary next year. The good news is that with more than 778 individual donors and $112,000 in beautiful booty, this year's haul has already surpassed every year from 2008-2012 on both counts with room to spare. And thank you for that! The bad news is that we've only got about 39 hours left to get to 2013's final count of $163,000, let alone 2016's $187,000 or the $200,000-plus performances in 2014-2015.
To get this final sprint toward the finish line started, an anonymous member of Reason's Board of Trustees has pledged up to $25,000 today, but here's the catch—he/she needs YOU people to cough up that much TODAY in order to write all those pretty numbers on the check. The rest of y'all shell out just $16,000 on this manic Monday, and we're leaving a lot of green on the table. Come correct, and we'll have last year's total in our sights by the end of Monday Night Football. Match the challenge with your own damn check for 25 large, and we've got a whole new ballgame.
You know what to do.
Because who else is out here saying, year after everloving year, "No, screw you, cut spending"?
Democratic and Republican politics, particularly in the wake of huge moments like Saturday morning's tax reform vote in the Senate, is a decreasingly persuasive game of whataboutism. Free-spenders rediscover a national debt they safely ignored from 2009-2016, fiscal conservatives remember that deficits don't matter when Republicans are in charge, both sides yell "hypocrite," and the long-term fiscal outlook for the United States continues frog-marching toward the abyss. In times like these the majority of Americans who believe that government is doing too much are starved for journalism that approaches the issue consistently, regardless of which party hold power.
That's where Reason comes in. Our present moment, in which Republicans have gleefully waved the white flag on cutting government, while Democrats bide their time to unleash Bernienomics on the country as soon as they have the votes, was predicted in our October 2016 cover story "Debt Denialists," which traced how both major parties have since 2014 totally abandoned even the rhetorical nod toward fiscal sobriety. Whataboutism here doesn't fully capture it—no one's even pretending to care about this stuff anymore. But we have, and always will.
Long before the Tea Party located the courage to protest the size and scope of the federal leviathan, Nick Gillespie was declaring that President George W. Bush was a "big-government disaster." We were lonely in opposition to both bailout and stimulus, documenting the failures we predicted in real time, and never forgetting to point out that spending trillions of dollars on wars and death is not good public policy. Not content to be Debbie Downers, we've also penned a bunch of constructive, in-depth suggestions, like how to tackle entitlements, how to realign government expenditures with revenue, and "How to Slash Government Before it Slashes You."
That last issue is no small thing. Yes, we care about how debt dampens economic growth, and how old-age entitlements crowd out all other spending (and therefore economic activity), and how countries with bleeding balance sheets are putting themselves in unnecessary danger. But as libertarians are always reminding people, a government that's big enough to be $20 trillion in debt, is also going to be big enough to do some truly heinous and/or monumentally trivial things. I've already written during this webathon about how this plays out in the criminal-justice sphere; here are some other Reason headlines to refer to when your statist friends complain that, man, austerity has cut our government to the bone:
And on and on and on.
Look, writers for other publications take the weekends off, act like normal people. At Reason? We bet our worldly possessions against the autographed Johnny Cash vinyl of a sitting U.S. senator over the question of whether the tax bill will lead to more debt 10 years from now:
In last 10yrs, economic growth has collectively averaged less than 2%. Unacceptable. Lots of economists say #TaxReform will grow the economy between 3 & 5%, which pays for itself & even helps pay down fed debt. CBO, JCT scores have always been extremely conservative & often wrong https://t.co/ecMEky7JVH
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) December 3, 2017
So let's make a bet: If debt is flat 10 years from now I will give you all of my worldly possessions. And if your optimism doesn't pan out you'll give me __________? https://t.co/O8pOGquwQm
— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) December 3, 2017
Help us be your idiosyncratically principled voice in a world gone crazy with government spending.
And then just before 1 p.m. ET, head over to our Facebook page to start slinging questions at John Stossel, who will join Nick Gillespie and me for an Ask-a-Libertarian-style webathon livestream!