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Why Trump's Budget Blueprint Loses Libertarians

Defense and Homeland Security hikes make up for cuts in discretionary spending. Does the government always need to spend $4 trillion?

Mediate screencapMediate screencapPresident Donald Trump has released what was being touted as a "skinny" budget, meaning that it would put federal spending on a diet. Would that that were true. The blueprint, which doesn't engage with entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security and other forms of "mandatory" spending at all, simply balances cuts to various parts of the government with increases to the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. In fiscal 2017, the government plans to spend around $1.1 trillion in discretionary spending (this is spending that is voted on every year; the rest of the federal budget is essentially on autopilot). Under Trump's plan, it will spend that much again in 2018. Overall federal spending will still come in around $4 trillion.

Let's call this what it is: Unacceptable.

Federal spending remains at historically high levels both in absolute terms and as a percentage of GDP. Since 2008, outlays have been higher than 20 percent of GDP, well above the post-war average and most of the 1990s. While revenues have soared to record levels in absolute dollars, they come nowhere close to matching outlays, the result being continuing deficits and growing national debt, which is already greater than annual GDP. Because of the automatic spending increases built into "mandatory" programs such as Medicare and Social Security, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects growing debt over the next decade. Given the well-established correlation between persistent, high levels of national debt and reduced economic growth—"debt overhangs"—this is not simply bad news but ruinous. Left-wing economists affiliated with the University of Massachusetts found "the average real GDP growth rate for countries carrying a public-debt-to-GDP ratio of over 90 percent is...2.2 percent." That's the same sluggish growth found by more market-friendly economists Carmen Reinhart, Kenneth Rogoff, and Vincent Reinhart: "On average, debt levels above 90 percent AEI, ReasonAEI, Reasonare associated with growth that is 1.2 percent lower than in other periods (2.3 percent versus 3.5 percent)." Indeed, in 20 out of 26 debt-overhang cases studied by Reinhart, Rogoff, and Reinhart, the period of reduced growth lasted a quarter-century, substantially reducing GDP and living standards (see chart to right).

As it stands, CBO is already projecting historically low rates of economic growth over the coming decade. Earlier this year, CBO said it expects the economy to grow by just 1.8 percent annually through 2027, well behind post-war rates of 3 percent or higher. And that already meager growth comes after eight years of just 1.4 percent on average per year. In a conversation with Matt Welch and me at the 2016 International Students for Liberty Conference, George Will observed that the difference between 2 percent annual growth and 3 percent annual growth is the difference between a positive, forward-looking country in which politics recede from everyday life and a Hobbesian nightmare in which interest groups slug it out over a barely growing pie. Note that he was talking about 2 percent annual growth, which seems positively aspirational in the 21st century.

That's not to say that Trump's budget blueprint, which he has already signaled is merely the start of negotiations with Congress, doesn't have some positives. Indeed, it's bracing and good to see a plan that takes a hacksaw if not a chainsaw to various federal departments (even as I suspect most cuts will be bargained away in order to secure the hikes he wants). Here's Table 2 of his plan, which summarizes how departments and agencies would be affected:

White HouseWhite HouseIn percentage terms, there are double-digit cuts to cabinet departments such as Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Interior, and Transportation. The EPA takes it on the chin, facing a 31.4 percent budget cut. The howls of indignation from supporters of the status quo are already sounding around the internet and cable news programs, but there's every reason to believe that such savings can be accomplished with little to no impact on public safety or essential government functions. Another way of saying this is that government is a lagging indicator in American society and just as every business, household, and individual has spent the last decade-plus becoming more efficient, productive, and economical, now it's the feds' turn.

The fact of the matter is that while discretionary government spending has been relatively flat over the past several years, there were major, across-the-board increases pushed through during the Bush years and the early Obama years. As Mercatus Center economist and Reason columnist Veronique de Rugy has documented, spending ballooned by 53 percent in real terms under George W. Bush and has never gone down to anything like pre-9/11 totals. And we need to underscore that, on balance, Trump spends exactly as much as last year's discretionary budget. This is where he loses any credibility with libertarians. There is no reason to think that the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security could not function with the same sort of double-digit cuts the president levies on other departments and agencies. If Trump were truly a foe of the administrative state in any sort of principled way, I'd expect him to be abolishing Homeland Security, a widely criticized agglomeration of power that has few supporters outside of those drawing food from its trough. "The President's 2018 budget ends the arbitrary depletion of our strength and security, and begins to rebuild the U.S. Armed Forces," reads the blueprint. It's good, I suppose, that the White House recognizes that all the wars of the past 15 years were in some way "arbitrary," but the way to stop depleting our military is to stop sending it all over the globe in fruitless endeavors that have turned Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places into danger zones. In the same breath, Trump's document brags that the $52 billion increase he seeks above current levels of defense spending "exceeds the entire defense budgets of most countries." Do we really need it then? Worse still: De Rugy and Harvard economist Robert Barro found that "a dollar increase in federal defense spending results in a less-than-a-dollar increase in GDP when the spending increase is deficit financed." If government spending is rarely stimulative under the best of circumstances, the sort of defense hike Trump is pushing actually shrinks an already wizened economy.

Insidegov.comInsidegov.comTo this point, we've only been talking about discretionary spending, which accounts for only about one-third of the federal budget. The rest covers mandatory spending on Medicare, Social Security, and other entitlements along with interest on the debt. If Willie Sutton robbed banks because that's where the money was, any plan to seriously reduce government spending and debt service and thus hack away at the administrative state must confront entitlements. Trump has been unambiguous in saying that he doesn't want to touch Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid, which are already the two biggest-ticket items in the federal budget and will only grow over the coming years due to the aging of the baby boom generation.

To date, all of the baby boom presidents—Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama—punted on serious entitlement reform, stoking instead generational warfare between relatively young and poor Millennials and relatively old and wealthy boomers. Trump, who may well be the last boomer president (here's hoping), shows every indication of putting his cohort's interests before those of his children and grandchildren. Although basic budgetary realities will sink old-age entitlements sometime around 2030 and inflict 25 percent or more cuts in benefits, the Democrats and Republicans writ large have refused to seriously address the iceberg on the horizon.

Many of Donald Trump's supporters evinced an interest in "burning it down," in razing Washington figuratively as the British did during the War of 1812. In his first budget blueprint, their champion has not only failed to do that, he hasn't even really thrown a good first punch. Despite offering significant reductions to parts of the federal budget, he hasn't even submitted a plan that would reduce overall outlays after a decades-long spending spree that has purchased little but debt, deficits, and economic malaise.

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  • american socialist||

    Why is this shocking? Trump is essentially a moderate democrat.

    What is sad i suspect these cuts to discretionary wont go thru like NEA but i dont think there will be a wall or much more dod

  • Memory Hole||

    A democrat with a hard on for the police state. The worst possible combination. Hillary would have been better than this.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Hillary was also a Democrat with a hard on for the police state, so i'm not sure where you're going with this.

  • And you believe that why?||

    Yes, but everyone accepts this as common knowledge. Had Hillary won Republicans would still be the party of NO!!!

  • mpercy||

    And now the Democrats are the Party of No!, but that's ok, it's hash-tag RESISTANCE and not simply obstructionism. And now it's not racist to disagree with the President, so they've got that going for them too!

  • ThomasD||

    Trump didn't lose libertarians because Trump never had any libertarians. At least not like Hillary had Reason "libertarians."

  • Damned||

    Odd then, that such libertarians are sure that she would be worse.

    Wait, that just normalizes Drumpf. Never mind.

  • Sevo||

    Damned|3.16.17 @ 9:29PM|#
    "Odd then, that such libertarians are sure that she would be worse."

    Stupid that imbecile losers would somehow presume that those who know the hag was worse = supporting Trump.
    Even imbecile losers who call him drumpf, imbecile loser.

  • Damned||

    Hey look, a Drumpfista upset over getting called out

  • Sevo||

    Damned|3.17.17 @ 1:40AM|#
    "Hey look, a Drumpfista upset over getting called out"

    Hey, look! Loser still whining!
    Fuck off.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Hillary would have been more of the same, along with growing government and growing redistribution of those who want to pick our pockets. At least Trump is stirring things up, Democrats are doing everything they can to stop government, and Trump is appointing judges that respect the Constitution.

    Those are three positives IMHO. And I voted for Johnson.

    Further, I believe the Russians did hack Hillary's server, and used the emails there (including ones from Obama suspiciously using an alias - remember he lied he learned of her server in the news) to blackmail Obama and Clinton. Which explains Obama's favors for Russia's allies Syria and Iran, Putin's fearless invasion of Ukraine, the sale of US uranium to Russians, the coverup of Hillary's email crimes, and Hillary's accusations of Trump being a puppet, Trump colluding with Russia and Russia (why Russia) hacking the election.

  • american socialist||

    Hillary had a hard on for war, police state and more entitlements

    Not sure how that is better

  • ||

    And she would have used her power to make money.

    She would have been far, far, FAR worse.

    So let's forget about that over rated, trouble making, incompetent shyster.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Guys, can't we just come together on the fact that Hillary and Trump are equally bad?

  • John Titor||

    Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    I thought it was too cold in Canada for any tentacled things to survive up there.

  • mpercy||

    The Executioner or Kang's buddy?

  • american socialist||

    Trump is bad but hillary is worse imo. Environmental policies, hates guns and more welfare programs to get rid of plus same amount of war?

    Pass

  • Zeb||

    As people and politicians I think they are equally bad, or close enough. But I think the situation with Hillary as president would have been slightly worse.

    But counterfactual like this are pointless and masturbatory. Only one thing actually happens, so Trump is the worse president by virtue of the fact that he is the only one who actually is president.

  • WakaWaka||

    What do you have against masturbation?

  • Zeb||

    Nothing if it's my own. It does me no good to hear about everyone else's, though.

  • Eric Bana||

    I also think Hillary would have been a little worse, but Trump still sucks balls. I wonder if Trump is worse than other Republicans, though (excluding Rand Paul). Is Trump perhaps slightly better than Rubio for example? I don't know if Rubio would have proposed cuts to domestic programs, and he definitely would have pushed for more military spending.

  • Damned||

    If they were, yes. They are not. Drumpf is easily worse

  • Zeb||

    And she would have used her power to make money.

    I don't doubt that Trump will too. But probably in (marginally) more honest ways.

    It's been a long time since a President left office poorer than when he started.

  • CooterBrown||

    At least the press does their fucking jobs with a Republican in office. I couldn't have taken another 4-8 years of every single idiot praising every single thing their beloved Democrat Queen did.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Ew! Hillary with a hard on.

  • SomeGuy||

    nailed it lol

  • kbolino||

    Hillary's budget (probably) would have been the inverse of this, which would be better in some ways (less for defense, security, and intelligence) and worse in others (more for most everything else). And if the Republicans' congressional tenure under Obama were any guide, the resulting compromise between them and her would be more money for everything.

    The bigger concern ought to be that the Republicans, by and large, wouldn't even be considering cutting the programs Trump wants to cut if he didn't propose it first.

  • american socialist||

    This

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Much safer politically to talk about cuts, and then not actually make any. Trump can give them cover, though. Make the cuts and let him take the political heat for it.

  • mpercy||

    Just remember that when he bothered to submit one, Obama's budgets were usually unanimously defeated in the Senate, or if not unanimously something like 98-1.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Haha yeah man

  • Crusty Juggler - #2||

    Does the government always need to spend $4 trillion?

    Yes.

    As for the rest of the piece: tl;dr.

    MAGA!

  • american socialist||

    It is ultimately up to congress anyway

  • Aloysious||

    That isn't comforting at all.

  • american socialist||

    Haha yea but they are the real focus of it. And by getting groups addicted to funds

  • Atlas Slugged||

    Government spends too much.

    Color me...shocked?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Everyone keeps waiting for a one man Superhero to do the impossible. Like Johnson saying he'd PROPOSE a balanced budget -- which has no chance of passing -- and showed he had no idea how to actually govern -- which is why his vote total was so humiliating. Blew the opportunity of a century, It's still there because Trump has already fucked up. But still no strategy or tactics on the horizon.

    Nothing happens without a severe restructuring -- transition back to the pre-FDR economy. But that's been banished from the movement since the 80s or so.

  • plusafdotcom||

    Michael Hihn... I agree with you!
    Now I've got to go see a doctor about that...

    Anyone who thinks a president who believes that tariffs to "protect American Industries" will help in the long term is out of their fucking mind.

    That's not you and that's not me, but too many Trump supporters are willing to go along with that fantasy.

    Trump needs to watch a lot of Friedman videos on YouTube instead of Tweeting so much.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Friedman;s videos may be THE greatest source in America. They're mostly short in length and short on theory. And very simply stated.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's the most decadent and depraved budget blueprint. You won't believe. Very classy.

  • Rhywun||

    Not anymore it isn't. Now it just "loses libertarians".

    WTF?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I think Nick is fucking with me.

  • I can't even||

    Presidential budgets never get accepted but the whole debate has now been moved over to "which departments should be cut and by how much". That kinda sounds like a libertarian moment (until Congress screws it all up).

  • Brandybuck||

    Correction: "Which departments should be cut and by how much, so that we can give more money to the War Department and Homeland Insecurity?"

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Cutting government bureaucrats anywhere currently employed= good thing.

    We can always push Congress to not accept increases to defense, DHS, etc but at least cuts to bloated government agencies is on the table.

    Next: cuts to social security, medicare, medicaid.

  • Eric Bana||

    Next: cuts to social security, medicare, medicaid.

    Do you really think Trump will propose cuts to Social Security and Medicare? I highly doubt it. He doesn't want to piss off old white people. They're a huge bloc for him.

    If Trump proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare, I'd be ecstatic. I'm not gonna hold my breath though.

  • plusafdotcom||

    For the millionth or so time, we don't need to CUT Social Security or Medicare, we need to phase it out and replace it over at least the span of one 'working career' of 30-40 years!

    Any "Big Bang Replacement" is doomed to fail AFTER it's pissed off a large part of the electorate, whether the young, middle or old.

    Humans hate sudden change. We (they?) need time to adapt, plan and reset expectations (or Darwin themselves out of the gene pool). Virtually all of the 'solutions' anyone talks about today, Left or Right, don't allow for that.

  • Brandybuck||

    I can't wait for the media to start using the term "Tax and Spend Republicans". The politicians cannot be shamed, since they are politicians, but maybe we can shame their supporters.

  • american socialist||

    Ok cool but then who do they vote for? Dems who want more?

    Politicians deserve some blame for enabling but it is ultimately people who want all this crap and or afraid that big bird may go away when they dont watch it to begin with

  • kbolino||

    WTF happened to the Republicans in Congress?

    1995: Contract with America, welfare reform, balanced budget

    2017: Do nothing, ???, Profit!

  • american socialist||

    Yep lol. Also the dems

  • kbolino||

    I'm not disagreeing, but where's the opposition to deficit spending and debt? The Republicans want to cut taxes but raise spending, and the only thing the Democrats want to raise faster than taxes is spending. It's not your fucking money, you shitbags.

  • Bob K||

    2013 - Sequestration.

    Hillary in the oval office would be good (for this limited reason) because when the Repubs are out of the White House but control Congress they actually stand on their principles and hold dems to cutting government. As soon as they take the White House all bets are off because we got to do everything to keep our guy in the White House.

  • John||

    Sequestration lasted just long enough for the GOP retake the Senate. The GOP Congress' behavior after the 2014 elections shows that the idea of a GOP Congress and liberal President will stop spending is a total myth. They gave Obama every single thing he asked for over his last two years in office. Sequestration was a fluke and nothing that will ever happen again.

  • Bob K||

    Not quite a total myth since it did happen with Bill and Obama. Just isn't a sure fire solution. The best would be if every American citizen demanded it, then the politicians would have to limit the size of government (don't hold your breath). But when either party has full control they seem to lose all their principles and just follow dear leader.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Brandybuck, if the media starts calling them "Tax and Spend Republicans," this will just result in GOP supporters openly supporting taxing and spending in order to defend their tribe.

  • american socialist||

    Yea.

  • Brandybuck||

    And then maybe voters will understand what a joke the two parties are and switch en masse to third parties. All this fawning support for Tax and Spend Republicanism only encourages the Tax and Spend Republicans to run for office.

  • Rhywun||

    stoking instead generational warfare between relatively young and poor Millennials and relatively old and wealthy boomers

    Good. While they're battling it out us Gen-Xers can make off with the loot.

  • Social Darwinist||

    We Gen-Xers could do it because we are practically invisible. There are boomers and millennials in the eyes of the media and that's about it. On a recent Meet the Press show, Chuck Todd was reviewing results of a survey, the topic I can't remember, where the results were divided into two categories Boomers and Millennials. Since the categories showed the birth years for each group, and there was a bit of a gap between them, Chuck was compelled to acknowledge that Gen-Xers were in between the two. We just were not important enough to survey.

  • Rhywun||

    And it's at the point where they're expanding the definition of each to crowd us out.

  • ||

    It's not like anyone should be surprised by any of this. His campaign promises promised increased spending.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Nick doesn't sound at all surprised that Trump sucks.

  • Let freedom ring||

    Our overlords are not going to "step up to the plate" and do what Nick calls for. Because the libertarian conservative establishment has refused to understand the taxing and monetary clauses of the Constitution they do not have a grassroots, people centered approach. They understand the importance of choice in private matters but not in taxation.
    Reason and FFF and Cato etc. let Irwin Schiff die in a prison hospital without a murmur of protest. Lew Rockwell at least gave him a blog obituary but refuses to publish any Tax Honesty articles. Sheldon Richman refuses to engage the taxing clauses in Constitution and instead says we have to go back to the Articles of Confederation.
    We have a libertarian in Michigan named Pete Hendrickson who has a simple and easy tax filing methodology that does not involve any civil disobedience but uses the IRS forms and has resulted in thousands receiving full refunds of all state and federal withholding including SS and Medicare if asked for. People even file 1040x for past years and receive refunds.
    The politicians do not have the incentives and knowledge to get it done. Only individuals can starve the beast! WWW.losthorizons.com

  • Hail Rataxes||

  • Michael Hihn||

    Sheldon Richman refuses to engage the taxing clauses in Constitution

    How would you do it ... in a manner than elects a President and majority in both Houses of Congress?

  • american socialist||

    Problem is a confectioner wins a debate every time over a nutritionist when dealing with 3rd graders

  • Fk Censorship||

    Or adults. Especially when they are not the ones paying for the sweets.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Why Trump's Budget Blueprint Loses Libertarians

    Who were the "libertarians" who thought they might be on board with it in the first place?

  • chemjeff||

    They are the "libertarians" who hate Hillary just as much as any Republican, but also like to smoke pot.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I mean, i hate Hillary as both a person and a political franchise, but that doesn't mean i'm gonna look to Trump or the GOP for answers.

    From a libertarian perspective, the budget isn't that hard to analyze:

    Any and all cuts are good.
    Any and all increases are bad.
    Net result: ╭∩╮(︶︿︶)╭∩╮

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Thank you. That sums it up rather well.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Sure. Though I bet that increasing military spending and cutting discretionary by the same amount would end up being a net gain to the economy.

  • Michael Hihn||

    How do we elect a President and both Houses of Congress to get 'er done?

  • creech||

    "stoking instead generational warfare between relatively young and poor Millennials and relatively old and wealthy boomers. "

    AARP and other powerful groups will not allow any substantial reforms. AARP wants the cap on S.S. tax lifted and seems to fight any attempt to extend the retirement age, even for those workers who are no where near their membership age (50). Maybe a dozen little nibbles around the edges can get through Congress - even with a million sob-stories about Grandma being pushed off the cliff - but nothing substantial can be done.
    Entitlements , once enacted, are set in concrete and libertarians need to concentrate on defeating new ones and focus less on pie in the sky plans to repeal existing ones.

  • kbolino||

    It's odd to me that we would still be talking about things as "pie in the sky" while President "Why the fuck not?" is in office. Sure, he's not going to cut SS, that's not his bag. But regardless of what he wants, he has shown that the sacred cows of DC can be slain and easily.

  • John||

    Yes and you would think reason would see that for the very good thing it is. It is almost as if reason likes some of those cows more than they want to admit.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    There you go again calling Reason some kind of an entity with its own values and desires, rather than a collection of diverse writers that share some libertarian values while disagreeing on others.

  • John||

    rather than a collection of diverse writers that share some libertarian values while disagreeing on others.

    It is supposed to be a Libertarian magazine you fucking half wit fan boy.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    How does that even address what I said, John. You seem to be particularly grouchy today, even for you. May be it's time to go get a massage from a hefty lady?

  • John||

    Why is a libertarian magazine employing writers who are not libertarians?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Why does an avowed non-libertarian care what libertarians do?

  • Zeb||

    If there are sacred cows that Reason people like more than they admit, they are things like the conventional way of dealing with the press and dignity and decorum of politicians.

    And while that may be silly, it's not really anti-libertarian.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It is supposed to be a Libertarian magazine you fucking half wit fan boy.

    We're not robotic drones like you are. AND, fan boy, we can't do shit without electing a whole bunch of folks ... which this "libertarian magazine" has no clue how to do -- nor does the movement for that matter.. Debating theory has failed for decades. and cost us the White House last year.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Not like all those socons, right? Nick and most of the reason staff like their broad brushes so they can take being painted by them as well.

  • Calidissident||

    Where exactly did they say that John?

  • Calidissident||

    Has he? Sure he's shattered norms of discourse, and narratives about who can get elected and how, but he hasn't exactly shown anything to indicate that he or someone else can make major changes to the big entitlement programs without major backlash.

  • kbolino||

    The DC mantra is that they can't be cut, no matter what. But the voters elect politicians who promise them that they don't need to be cut, and they can even be expanded, because the money is there today and always will be tomorrow. Make it obvious and inarguable that the money's not there, not today and definitely not tomorrow, and that you have to do something about it, or you're robbing your children and grandchildren of it. Word it like your crazy uncle, throw in a "yuge", punctuate with "sad!".

  • Calidissident||

    Here's the thing - the money actually is there for current entitlement programs. The catch is that you have to drastically raise taxes on the entire population to pay for it. You can't do it by just raising taxes on the rich. Other countries collect tax revenue that's as high or higher than the US spends relative to GDP. They do it by taxing the population broadly to a greater degree than in the US. The problem here is that politicians promise no cuts while also raising taxes on nobody besides the rich, and the voters think that's a viable long-term strategy.

  • Michael Hihn||

    The catch is that you have to drastically raise taxes on the entire population to pay for it

    Precisely backwards. Both parties compete to loot the treasury to buy middle-class votes ... with the goodies paid for by (mostly) the rich.

    The Bush tax cuts sent 85% of the dollars to UNDER $250,000 gross income, who had been paying only 45% of the personal income tax. The biggest redistribution since FDR.

    Medicare Prescriptions were "paid" for by looting the income tax -- where the rich subsidize half the entire share for the core middle class ($40k-$100k).

    So they spent trillions on middle-class goodies and lost the entire elected government. Then they even fucked up and gave us Obamacare by turning down Obama's deal and forcing him into his own far left. The deal he offered would have killed single-payer forever. But also killed private insurance and all their cash.

    It wasn't Jefferson who said it, but, "Democracies prosper until the majority learn how to vote itself ever-increasing subsidies from the public treasury, paid for by taxes on others,"

  • Zeb||

    he has shown that the sacred cows of DC can be slain and easily

    Some of them, anyway. The military is kind of the biggest sacred cow of them all.

  • Eric Bana||

    Dude, the only chance of getting cuts to entitlements is with Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency. It was very unlikely for this to happen, so they need to take advantage of it. Of course, the Republican Party and Trump are almost worthless, which means they won't do it.

  • ThomasD||

    Realistically speaking there will never be any cuts to entitlements. What there inevitably be is massive inflation of the currency and phasing out of then worthless entitlements.

    The asset class abides.

  • ThomasD||

    Realistically speaking there will never be any cuts to entitlements. What there inevitably be is massive inflation of the currency and phasing out of then worthless entitlements.

    The asset class abides.

  • ThomasD||

    And the Permant Ruling Fusion Party (which only exists to serve the asset class) will also abide.

  • John||

    In the past, nothing has ever been cut for any reason. This budget cuts a lot of things and cuts them significantly. Yes, it does increase DHS and DOD spending. So the question for Libertarians is whether increasing DHS and DOD spending is a price worth paying to decrease spending in a lot of other areas for the first time really ever.

    Nick unsurprisingly seems to think that no amount of cuts in other programs is worth the horror of increasing DHS and DOD spending. That seems a bit shortsighted to me.

  • I can't even||

    Trump peed in his corn flakes.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Worse, he proved Gillespie's theory that the anti-establishment political sentiment in the voting publc is libertarian wrong.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Nick's full of shit on that. Laughably so.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    DHS lawyer in favor of DHS funding increase, news at nine

  • John||

    Illiterate retard still illiterate. You just write responses to the voices in your head at this point, don't you? Jesus son, as much as I enjoy laughing at stupid people, you are starting to make even me feel a little guilty about it.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Is John a DHS lawyer? Lol, that would explain a lot. It would not explain everything, but it would be a good start.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Yes, he is. He used to be pretty open about it. Not sure why he's decided to play coy.

  • chemjeff||

    If you agree with the libertarian notion that taxation is theft, then who cares if the proceeds from the theft are spent on NEA and PBS, or if they are spent on DHS and DOD? Theft is theft.

  • John||

    It really is retard day on reason. First, Libertarians are not anarchists. So the idea that all taxes and thus all government are illegitimate is not a Libertarian idea. Second, the point is that the government has never cut anything in the past. You have to start somewhere.

    I know you come here to shit on the threads and make the place intolerable for anyone with a brain, but Jesus Christ on a fucking crutch, can you at least try to pretend you are not a troll once in a while? Try commenting on a subject that doesn't involve partisan politics. Try taking a position beside the absolutely predictable leftist bullshit troll position. If you did that, people might forget you are a troll and your act might be more effective.

    I get it. You are a troll and you are here to shit on every thread. But do you have to be such a fucking moron? I guess if you were not a moron, you wouldn't be a troll, but still, maybe you could be less of a moron. Isn't it kind of miserable being this profoundly ignorant? I guess being stupid never gets old.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    You are the admitted nonlibertarian, seems like you're the troll.

    Not to mention parasite.

  • John||

    Go fuck yourself Mary. Why don't you just go nuts and get yourself banned already. I am really surprised you have lasted this long.

  • chemjeff||

    Wait, so "taxation is theft" is now the "absolutely predictable leftist bullshit troll position"? And it's not a libertarian position? Someone please tell this guy.

    Go fuck yourself John.

  • chemjeff||

  • John||

    Its not. It is just not a libertarian position. And you are not taking it. You are just trolling.

  • chemjeff||

    Well someone go tell the judge that he's been kicked out of the Libertarian Purity Club. Or Murray Rothbard for that matter. You come here and shill for the Republicans and accuse others of bad-faith tactics. I offer a good-faith argument on why such shilling is unjustified. You then call me names. That makes you the troll, fuckface.

  • Brandybuck||

    For a non-anarchist libertarian, taxation above the level required to fund the necessary functions of government is still theft. National defense is necessary, it needs to be funded. But I see no evidence that the DOD and DHS are underfunded. Not at all. They are instead grossly overfunded. No need to quibble over anarchism versus minarchism, the the overfunding of those departments is obvious to any one who looks at their budgets. Even granting all possible leeway, the CURRENT funding levels for those departments is more than sufficient no matter how mightily one squints.

    There is no libertarian justification for increasing the funding for the DoD and DHS. None. At. All.

  • ThomasD||

    That national defense is overfunded is not an argument against cutting spending elsewhere.

    That spending elsewhere is not a proper function of the Federal government IS an argument for cutting that spending.

  • ace_m82||

    First, Libertarians are not anarchists.

    I am. The rest of your post is thus refuted.

    But, to be fair, I'd rather have the thief spend the money on yacht or something rather than send men-with-guns after me to prevent me from being otherwise unharassed.

  • ThomasD||

    So says a majority of one.

  • ace_m82||

    All I need is one more libertarian an-cap and I've disproven that "libertarians are not anarchists".

    It's not my fault he worded it so poorly!

    I mean, I could go into pointing out that an an-cap simply brings NAP to its logical conclusion, but he didn't even get that far...

  • John Titor||

    Military is actually a state function that classical libertarianism supports, along with the courts and police, as opposed to programs that are completely unlibertarian?

  • kbolino||

    I'll accept either a refund or good stewardship of my stolen earnings, but not the absurd notion that "it was stolen from you so you have no reason to object to how it's spent".

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Yes, but the question is, John, what is the proper amount to be spending on defense? Where are the price signals on how many nuclear warheads the U.S. needs to maintain?

  • John||

    Lets assume for the sake of argument this is too much. Okay, are willing to spend too much on the military as a price of actually cutting other things? Which do you consider more harmful, spending on the military or spending on EPA? Nick's answer is the military. What is yours?

  • Calidissident||

    All I see is Nick saying that Trump's budget sucks. I don't see at any point where he says the EPA needs to be funded at current levels, just that a budget that shifts around discretionary spending with virtually no net reduction, and makes no changes to entitlements is a shitty budget.

  • chemjeff||

    Oh no no no. Trump promised to cut one thing, and according to John, we now have a DUTY to all get ON THE TRUMP TRAIN!!!! CHOO CHOO

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The same nick who claims that bush didn't try to do anything about entitlements? That nick? The same nick who thinks military spending is all fighter jetz? The same nick whi loves him some ubi but thinks that's totes different from bad entitlements?

  • Calidissident||

    Bush did attempt SS reform, but he also expanded Medicare, which has much greater unfunded future liabilities than SS does.

  • John Titor||

    Where are the price signals on how many nuclear warheads the U.S. needs to maintain?

    I weep for the possibility of the libertarian future if people think that price signals should determine long-term strategic military planning.

    (And this is not giving a thumbs-up to the current military policy, just amazed at the sheer ridiculousness of this statement)

  • John||

    It is pretty amazing John.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Ah yes, long-term strategic planning from some Top Men. Somehow, this is a terrible idea for a certain class of economic goods, but apparently a great idea for other types of economic goods? All we need is some five-year plans from the right people in charge, amirite?

  • John||

    What is the price feed back for courts? Some government functions don't lend themselves to such calculations.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    What is the price feed back for courts?

    The cost of litigation and the willingness of plaintiffs to pay it. There are many examples of private court systems throughout history. David Friedman has written extensively on this topic. Have you read any David Friedman? You really should. If anything, you would at least be coming to these debates a little better armed.

  • John||

    The cost of litigation and the willingness of plaintiffs to pay it.

    So whether a murder case is brought should be a function of how much money the victim's family is willing to pay to to bring it?

    Stop it for God's sake.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Amuzibg with the article last week that an inadequately funded public defender system is a violation of the right to an attorney.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    So whether a murder case is brought should be a function of how much money the victim's family is willing to pay to to bring it?

    So whether a person can afford health care should be a function of how much money the victim's family is willing to pay for a doctor?

  • John Titor||

    Show me how you'd plan an air superiority doctrine based off of pricing signals CMW, and I'll point out everything insane or stupid within it.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Show me how you'd plan an air superiority doctrine based off of pricing signals

    Not all of us like to masturbate to military fantasies, you know.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You prefer scouting the lines at the local SS office. There's some sweetness right there.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    John Titor, you are asking me for a top down solution to a complex problem. I don't know how to solve that problem, and neither does anyone else. Hayek's pretense of knowledge also applies to military spending. Best let the market handle it. The market does a good job figuring out how many flights there should be from New York to Paris and how many airplanes are needed for that. So why do you think military airplanes are so different?

  • Hail Rataxes||

    So why do you think military airplanes are so different?

    He's worried other people won't want to pay for the shiny new toys he likes, duh.

  • John Titor||

    Because warfare is not a market, it's a hierarchical killing field. No war has ever operated entirely market forces, and no war ever will. Because markets are about creation. Warfare is about destruction.

    If 'market forces' (again, entirely skeptical to the idea) determine that the best solution to campaign is not an expensive armour push, but a lightly supplied swarm of draftee divisions, will you clap furiously at the deaths of thousands? Of course, since actual strategy is based on the pretense of knowledge, I'm sure you'll prefer that every individual soldier act on their own accord and hope for the best, because market warfare.

    So why do you think military airplanes are so different

    Because, unless you're willing to engage in constant warfare, competition is not a driving factor in military technology, and conditions shift rapidly in ways that make 'market solutions' unresponsive. In your world people buy third generation aircraft because they're cheap to maintain and plentiful in peacetime. And then an actual war comes where fifth generation aircraft destroy four times their cost of your third generation aircraft, and then carpet bomb your cities.

    Congratulations, thousands have died so you can fulfill your fantasies of warfare being market-based.

  • John Titor||

    In short, you think pricing and cost are the determinant signals in warfare based on Hayek's theories, and this is a blatant falsehood. The signals in warfare are the dead and successful objectives fulfilled.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    In short, you think pricing and cost are the determinant signals in warfare based on Hayek's theories, and this is a blatant falsehood.

    The laws of economics do not function only during peace time.

  • ace_m82||

    You forget three things. First, that entrepreneurship is necessary in the market, and you ignore that in warfare.

    Second of all, it's always bad for the market to kill thousands of costumers, mKay?

    Third of all, if warfare were market based, vs a government based war machine, who do you think would have the better toys? Who makes better stuff, governments or markets? Ever driven a Lada?

  • John Titor||

    First, that entrepreneurship is necessary in the market, and you ignore that in warfare.

    And what does entrepreneurship look like in warfare ace? Warlords testing out equipment on each other? Soldiers have their lives thrown away in order to determine the 'market solution' to a problem?

    Second of all, it's always bad for the market to kill thousands of costumers,

    Not if you're treating them as economic units and determining their cost in comparison to others. If warfare is 'market based', then you have to determine the relative worth of a human life in comparison to equipment. Overwhelmingly the equipment wins out. Congratulations, you've become the Imperium of Man, who will throw millions of guardsmen at a target rather that use a superheavy tank, because it's cheaper.

    This is also ignoring that we'd have to drop those pesky 'regulations' on the war economy known as 'war crime legislation' in order to ensure a free market. Hey, guess what's a cost effective way to demoralize an enemy population during occupation to prevent rebellion? Mass executions and rape camps.

    Third of all, if warfare were market based, vs a government based war machine, who do you think would have the better toys?

    History has shown overwhelmingly that top-down managed systems are better at destruction that market based individuals. That's a point in favour of individualism overall, not against, but the government war machine will stomp you.

  • ace_m82||

    And what does entrepreneurship look like in warfare ace?

    You need to be able to figure out the future better than your competitors. Just like in the market.

    Soldiers have their lives thrown away in order to determine the 'market solution' to a problem?

    That's how government solutions fails to work right now. What's your point?

    Not if you're treating them as economic units and determining their cost in comparison to others.

    Yes, they are a "cost", a massive one, but they are also a consumer. The more you keep alive, the better off you are.

    then you have to determine the relative worth of a human life in comparison to equipment

    Governments do that all the time.

    Overwhelmingly the equipment wins out.

    Even the US government had an insurance policy pay out to my relatives for $400,000 if I died, plus potential pension and disability payments of more than that if they simply mangled me. Even the government is reluctant to kill me, and they have a monopoly of force against their own citizens who complain!

    This is also ignoring that we'd have to drop those pesky 'regulations' on the war economy known as 'war crime legislation' in order to ensure a free market.

    There is no unregulated market. There are market regulations and governmental regulations. We know how well the government ones work... See Guantanamo Bay...

  • John Titor||

    Governments do that all the time.

    Yes, and you handwaved the fact that 'market forces' wouldn't do it, and that was inaccurate.

    Even the US government had an insurance policy pay out to my relatives for $400,000 if I died, plus potential pension and disability payments of more than that if they simply mangled me.

    Yes, independent of 'market forces'. If I was a sponsor of a 'market forces' military, I certainly wouldn't want you to have those benefits, they're not cost effective.

    There is no unregulated market. There are market regulations and governmental regulations.

    So war atrocities are determined by their market utility. That's not a good thing.

  • ace_m82||

    Yes, and you handwaved the fact that 'market forces' wouldn't do it, and that was inaccurate.

    So your best argument is "market will be just as evil"? Fascinating. Anyhow, you're still wrong because the corporation that is fighting is owned by the stockholders who will demand the CEO's head (metaphorically speaking) if they did that.

    Yes, independent of 'market forces'.

    Not completely, the voters don't like losses in war and those in charge want to keep the voters happy. It's a "poor man's" market solution to a governmental problem. I brought it up to show that if the government does A, the market will do A++.

    If I was a sponsor of a 'market forces' military, I certainly wouldn't want you to have those benefits, they're not cost effective.

    They're necessary. People won't join your military if you don't pay them enough (or their loved ones). Labor markets and all that.

    So war atrocities are determined by their market utility. That's not a good thing.

    Yes, because being determined by governmental utility has been working so well the past 100 years... We know that markets do better providing their product with fewer costs than governments do, and you've given me zero reasons to think this is different.

  • John Titor||

    So your best argument is "market will be just as evil"? Fascinating. Anyhow, you're still wrong because the corporation that is fighting is owned by the stockholders who will demand the CEO's head (metaphorically speaking) if they did that.

    So this is taking place in a world without sinners I see.

    They're necessary. People won't join your military if you don't pay them enough

    In your conveniently simple fantasy world, sure. In reality, cheap mercenaries would the standard.

    Yes, because being determined by governmental utility has been working so well the past 100 years...We know that markets do better providing their product with fewer costs than governments do, and you've given me zero reasons to think this is different.

    "The last several hundred years of mercenary actions never happened."

  • ace_m82||

    So this is taking place in a world without sinners I see.

    No, but markets are notoriously less evil in their actions that governments are. The market ends with less evil than governments (initiations of force).

    In your conveniently simple fantasy world, sure. In reality, cheap mercenaries would the standard.

    How much are you willing to work for if you had a 10% chance of dying? With your math, it would be more like an 80% chance.

    "The last several hundred years of mercenary actions never happened."

    Oh yes, they did. Most were hired by governments. But either way, much less likely to be evil than governments have been.

  • ace_m82||

    Hey, guess what's a cost effective way to demoralize an enemy population during occupation to prevent rebellion?

    Yes, governments do that a lot. Monopoly of force and all that. Market tries that, people fight back. Remember the 2nd amendment. Before that, though, they quickly get fired, sometimes with a cannon!

    History has shown overwhelmingly that top-down managed systems are better at destruction that market based individuals.

    When? Also, why does "not government" mean "individuals"? Can individuals not come together to form a voluntary protection force (see: "militia")?

    the government war machine will stomp you.

    Yes, yes, tell that to the colonists in 1775, the VietCong (twice), and the Taliban (twice). Governments are notoriously incompetent (they don't usually have to suffer for their poor decisions so they keep making them, no price mechanism) and even the tribalists and 3rd world commies can beat them.

  • John Titor||

    Yes, governments do that a lot. Monopoly of force and all that. Market tries that, people fight back.

    Colonial company ventures in Africa entirely disprove this absolutist argument.

    Yes, yes, tell that to the colonists in 1775, the VietCong (twice), and the Taliban (twice).

    Don't pull out any American Revolution nationalist nonsense, the Brits fought you with kid gloves (compare British warfare against Americans to how they responded to Indian rebellions), and the French professional army (arguably the finest army of the period, no less) has a lot to do with victory. These are situations where the government war machine stomped them almost every time, and could have continued to do so, but those conflicts ended due to political reasons back home. You aren't providing examples of the government being incompetent at warfare, you're providing examples of popular opinion or other political concerns enforcing certain standards of warfare or ending conflicts.

  • ace_m82||

    Colonial company ventures in Africa entirely disprove this absolutist argument.

    You think that was anything like market based? Who was protecting the companies?

    Don't pull out any American Revolution nationalist nonsense, the Brits fought you with kid gloves

    They fought just the same way they fought any other opponent.

    and the French professional army has a lot to do with victory.

    Yes, they did certainly help win the battle, after the war was no longer in doubt. The southern strategy was the last ditch effort by the Brits and the "lose to victory" strategy by the Americans set up that battle. The Brits already lost that war.

    These are situations where the government war machine stomped them almost every time, and could have continued to do so, but those conflicts ended due to political reasons back home.

    True. That's because you don't need to win the battle (take the field) to win the war. You just have to be willing to keep fighting after the government has run out of will to ruin their economy in order to fight you.

    You aren't providing examples of the government being incompetent at warfare

    They lost BECAUSE they didn't take all "costs" into consideration. They lost because they fought without taking economics (wise use of resources) into account. Money, men, and will are all costs in war and they ignored too many of them.

  • John Titor||

    You think that was anything like market based? Who was protecting the companies?

    Yes, yes, any real life example is not a true market system, just like how communism has never truly existed. Gerrymandering doesn't count either, I'm sure.

    They fought just the same way they fought any other opponent.

    Utter, utter nonsense. Again, you're just repeating American masturbatory nationalism. When did they put Philadelphia to the torch? Which American cities did they classify as clear for British soldiers to loot and rape? Where were their plans to execute not only all the founding fathers, but all their male children? Because that's how the Brits operated in Indian campaigns, and they put them down hard. British conduct in the American Revolution is one of the most civilized conflicts they ever had.

    True. That's because you don't need to win the battle (take the field) to win the war. You just have to be willing to keep fighting after the government has run out of will to ruin their economy in order to fight you.

    And if a third of your population is killed so you can indulge in your market-based militia fantasies, who cares?

  • ace_m82||

    Yes, yes, any real life example is not a true market system

    Did their respective governments bail out the companies (militarily) when they got in trouble or not?

    When did they put Philadelphia to the torch?

    Why? Congress had left and pissing off the people is a bad strategy. They did burn DC in 1814 though.

    Which American cities did they classify as clear for British soldiers to loot and rape? Where were their plans to execute not only all the founding fathers, but all their male children?

    Did they do that to France (I honestly don't know)? Again, pissing off the people is a bad strategy when trying to get them to accept your rule back.

    And if a third of your population is killed so you can indulge in your market-based militia fantasies, who cares?

    You keep making these "gloom and doom" predictions, but give zero reasons as to why. After all, the US won their war of Independence, especially in the south, by using this strategy and only about 3% of the population even fought!

    But all this is a waste of typing as there are nukes now, and groups with nukes don't like warring with each other. All a self-defense organization (militia) needs do is buy one nuke (and payload system) and all their self-defense issues are solved. Self-defense is relatively cheap now!

  • John Titor||

    Again, pissing off the people is a bad strategy when trying to get them to accept your rule back.

    Odd how it actually worked then. India stuck around in the empire a hell of a lot longer than the U.S. did. Historical Prussian mass punishments also have a long history of success.

    Did they do that to France (I honestly don't know)? Again, pissing off the people is a bad strategy when trying to get them to accept your rule back.

    The American Revolution was more civilized in terms of combat than England's own civil wars.

    You keep making these "gloom and doom" predictions, but give zero reasons as to why.

    I'm not making gloom and doom, these are actual scenarios that happened. North Vietnam lost a fifth of its population fighting the Americans alone, more if you include the other powers that jumped in before and after. And again, the American Revolution is not a good example, you were treated softly by a colonial overlord, that is not the regular intensity of warfare.

    All a self-defense organization (militia) needs do is buy one nuke (and payload system) and all their self-defense issues are solved.

    Yeah no. Deterrence theory doesn't work unless you have a lot of nukes.

  • ace_m82||

    Odd how it actually worked then. India stuck around in the empire a hell of a lot longer than the U.S. did.

    Yes, one was born of (theoretical) freedom and the other had thousands of years of tyranny numbing the people to their ability to fight it.

    The American Revolution was more civilized in terms of combat than England's own civil wars.

    It was an English (British) civil war. It was quite similar to all other wars on the continent at that time, and until the 1860s (between "western" powers).

    North Vietnam lost a fifth of its population fighting the Americans alone, more if you include the other powers that jumped in before and after.

    Yep, a 3rd world communist country did try to fight the world's biggest economy and most expensive military and won. That's quite impressive.

    And again, the American Revolution is not a good example, you were treated softly by a colonial overlord, that is not the regular intensity of warfare.

    It was a typical gentlemanly "western" war, fought in a similar manner to other "western" wars of the time. But make no mistake, if the Brits thought fighting "dirty" was more likely to lead to victory, they would have fought that way. It didn't make sense.

    Deterrence theory doesn't work unless you have a lot of nukes.

    Not really. It's better to actually have a capital city than not. International actors are rational.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Because warfare is not a market, it's a hierarchical killing field. No war has ever operated entirely market forces, and no war ever will.

    It's almost as if there would be less wars if market forces were allowed to operate. The bloody history of humankind is a direct results of the orchestrators of wars being able to pass on the costs of wars onto helpless taxpayers. If defense was market-based, wars would have to be justified to subscribers, because wars are expensive. In fact, all U.S. wars, except for the Mexican War, were funded through inflation.

    If 'market forces' ... deaths of thousands?

    Maybe market forces will determine that there should not be a campaign at all. Expensive armor push? I am seriously at a loss trying to figure out where you are coming from here. It's as if you believe States should be continuously engaged in military campaigns to expand their territories and access to resources. I, on the other hand, as a libertarian, believe that the only just war is a war for self-defense, in response to being attacked.

    Why couldn't similar sorts of arguments be made for nationalizing health care? What if the market determines that people are not saving enough for their own health care and the government needs to step in? Oh wait, those are exactly the sort of arguments progressives make for nationalized health care. Think about that.

  • John Titor||

    It's almost as if there would be less wars if market forces were allowed to operate.

    It's almost like warfare is not market based, but let's entertain that thought for a minute. Say your military requires access to a resource in order to function. Said resource is only available from certain locations, and the nations there are unwilling to trade. So the war accountants crunch the numbers, and discover it's actually more cost effective to simply take the resources in the long run.

    Historically, this was called 'colonialism'. Oh my, those market forces are certainly preventing warfare.

    It's as if you believe States should be continuously engaged in military campaigns to expand their territories and access to resources.

    Actually it's because unlike you I'm not ignorant to the nature of warfare, and recognize that even in defensive warfare you will be required to engage in offensive operations in order to remove the threat. Some libertarians operate in fantasy worlds where they live in medieval castles where the only thing they have to do is fend off the besiegers and the problem magically goes away. It's telling that you are trying to lecture me on how warfare should be conducted and don't understand basic strategic considerations.

  • John Titor||

    Expensive armor push? I am seriously at a loss trying to figure out where you are coming from here.

    Yes, because again, you don't actually understand how wars are waged, you're just regurgitating dogma in the same way a socialist does about central planning.

    I, on the other hand, as a libertarian, believe that the only just war is a war for self-defense, in response to being attacked.

    ...Oh wait, those are exactly the sort of arguments progressives make for nationalized health care. Think about that.

    Yes, yes, vapid virtue signalling that doesn't actually address your ignorance of the subject, I get it. It's almost like I already covered that by pointing out that warfare is not market based. And it's almost like healthcare IS market based. If only someone had actually read my argument, rather than lecture at a strawman.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Yes, because again, you don't actually understand how wars are waged, you're just regurgitating dogma in the same way a socialist does about central planning.

    John, you are the one that is arguing for central planning here. I hope you have realized that by now. I also hope you have realized that your position is the one that is inconsistent. You have failed to demonstrate why central planning is a bad idea for some economic goods and a good idea for other economic goods. Contrary to your view, defense is an economic good. I was expecting the standard public goods argument, which is what minarchist economists usually use to lead their charge, but you haven't even gotten there yet. Rather, your arguments seems to be that force can be used to overcome the market, therefore we should disregard the market. If that is your argument, I don't see why you also don't apply that reasoning to health care, or the roads, or food production, or any other industry.

  • ThomasD||

    The proper amount to be spent on defense is inherently amount greater than that of anything and EVERYTHING not within the Federal purview.

  • chemjeff||

    Yes, a very *limited* state function. What the government spends now on it is far in excess of what is needed. What the government spends on things like NEA and PBS, of course it is spending far in excess of what it should (which is zero). So I'm having a hard time cheering for joy when the government transfers some of its excess money from one category of unnecessary spending to another category of unnecessary spending.

    In fact one may argue that excessive spending on the surveillance state is actually worse than excessive spending on things like NEA/PBS, because, as irritating as it is to have your money stolen to subsidize cultural things, at least the spending isn't being used to further erode more of your rights. Big Bird isn't actually spying on you, but Bob from the NSA certainly is.

  • John Titor||

    What the government spends now on it is far in excess of what is needed.

    Can you provide me an exact figure and breakdown of your longterm strategy, or is this the typical "I don't actually know how the military functions, they just need to spend less/more" posturing I see rife in political circles?

  • chemjeff||

    I don't have an exact figure, no.

    I can tell you what I'd like to see happen for the military:

    1. First and foremost, protect the nation from military threats. We are fortunate that the two oceans do most of the work for us. And of course Canada. :)
    2. Second, protect the shipping lanes. This doesn't have to be just our job though. It should be a multilateral effort. I don't see why the US military should spend its resources to make sure a cargo ship from China makes it safely to France. Let the Chinese and the French pay for some, if not all, of that.
    3. Third, meet our treaty obligations to our allies. NATO, Israel, Taiwan, etc.

    And that's pretty much it. I don't really have much room in there for "protect vital national interests" like Republicans typically want, because that just gets perverted into "meddling everywhere in the world based on some lame justification". If people in some third-world shithole start shooting at each other, I don't see why it ought to be of interest to us, unless it falls into categories #1-#3 above.

    Now, if it really does require $574 billion to do all of that, then sure I will withdraw my criticism of the defense agencies being excessively funded. But, I really doubt it. Especially since I think the US does far far more in category #2 than it ought to.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    That sounds good to me, chemjeff. I would add that protection of shipping lanes should not be subsidized. Rather, let the shippers pay for their own defense and add that to their prices. Why should I pay for the protection of a ship that delivers cars made in China if I drive a car that is made somewhere else?

  • John Titor||

    See, a broad declaration is fine, but I'm looking more for 'how' answers. Ok, so you want to protect the nation from military threats. How? What do you see as the required military resources to achieve this, or any of your other objectives? I consistently see people fail to articulate that, because it's much more easy to say what 'should' be done.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Ok, so you want to protect the nation from military threats. How? What do you see as the required military resources to achieve this, or any of your other objectives?/blockquote>

    How to people decide how much they want to spend on home insurance? On home protection? It would work the same with defense. Say John Titor thinks he wants the protection of a defense agency that has 100 warplanes, and aircraft carrier, and 5 nuclear warheads, and is willing to pay a rate that reflects that. On the other hand, his neighbor doesn't think an aircraft carrier protects him, but wants a missile defense shield instead. You add up the calculations of millions of subscribers and you get a defense force that the people actually want and are willing to pay for.
  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Oops, forgot to close my tags. Sorry.

  • ThomasD||

    While it would be nice to have a discussion about the amount of Federal spending necessary for national defense, what is essential is a recognition that elimination of non essential spending must take precedence.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    DHS and DOD spending needs to be cut. Period.

  • american socialist||

    Nooooo

    Dod needs cut, dhs needs eliminated

    Fify

  • ThomasD||

    Exactly.

  • John||

    And EPA and the rest of it doesn't? If it does, then why don't you support the budget? Because you think cutting DOD and DHS is more important than cutting anything else. That seems pretty stupid.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    You are hilariously douchey.

    Then I remember I'm literally paying you to make these comments.

  • John||

    No you are not. I bet you have never paid a dime in federal taxes in your life Mary. You would have to have once had a job to do that. And there is no way you have ever held down one of those.

  • John Titor||

    DHS needs to die in a fire, but the DoD needs a massive bureaucratic culling first, then we'll figure out budget cuts.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yeah, you'd love to see defense cuts, wouldn't you. All waiting at the border for us to drop our guard even a little, so you can swarm southward with your hordes of snow wraiths and undead frost-wights and giant ice spiders and... and...

    I may be getting Canadians confused with White Walkers, but in my defense, that's an easy mistake to make.

  • John Titor||

    Unless our military budget triples sometime in the near future, you've got nothing to worry about.

    We have the reverse problem up here, we need increased military spending.

  • Zeb||

    I'd say it's not a price worth paying. But it's not as if we are being given a different option. So I'll just say that the cuts are good and the increased military spending is bad.

    It just seems absurd to suggest that we don't spend enough on the military and homeland security. Some things aren't funded as much as they should be, but that could easily be remedied by spending less on stupid, pointless and evil things.

  • Eric Bana||

    Nick unsurprisingly seems to think that no amount of cuts in other programs is worth the horror of increasing DHS and DOD spending.

    Nick calls the budget proposal unacceptable, John, and I agree. What good reason is there to jack up military spending to cancel out cuts to domestic programs? Additionally, the only opportunity to getting cuts for entitlements is when the Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency. Hopefully they get around to it, but I won't bet any money on them doing it.

    You're love of Trump and disdain of Trump-haters makes you a hack sometimes, John, which is unbelievably ironic since that's what you constantly harp on reason writers about. You have to realize this.

  • Social Darwinist||

    Maybe the point is to show that even modest reductions in any department is met with obstruction from both sides of the aisle. If we can't even cut the budget of agencies that shouldn't exist then how are we going to take on any substantive reform to SS, Medicaid, Medicare, or other non-discretionary budget item?

  • John||

    That is a very good point. But remember, that works both ways. Once something like EPA or even PBS has been cut or eliminated and the world doesn't come to an end, it becomes harder to justify not cutting other things.

  • Social Darwinist||

    Agreed. I hope to see that some of the cuts will actually go through. I fully expect that there will be some negotiation between cuts and increases, but any cut that survives would be a small ray of sunshine.

  • Rhywun||

    I'm hoping for some 5-dimensional chess where Trump says, "Look, we all know I really don't need all that money for the military anyway; now give me all the cuts I requested."

  • John||

    He is not going to cut the military. He didn't run on that and his supporters wouldn't want it. So your choices are let liberals run things and have DHS and the military stay about the same and every other program explode or let Trump run thing and have DHS and the military increase and see other departments get cut. Those are your choices. So what do you consider more important to cut? It is really that simple.

  • Zeb||

    Actually, our choice is limited to what we are going to say about it when congress and the president decide what the budget is going to be. We don't get a vote.

  • chemjeff||

    Well that's typical John. Hasn't changed his style since the election I see. The two choices are always the same:

    1. Support Trump, who, well let's be honest, isn't ideal, but at least has his heart in the right place (supposedly) and is a patriot and loved his mom.
    2. Support PURE EVIL, Satan, Armageddon, the end of the Republic, the end of civilization itself, world destruction, worldwide zombie apocalypse, cats and dogs living together, breaking of the Seventh Seal, and utter mayhem and wanton destruction everywhere.

    So which are you going to support? Trump? Or PURE EVIL????????????????????

  • ConnarchyInTheUSA||

    I've worked and earned a FICA-deducted paycheck since I was 19 years old (I worked for cash from 14 until then). I'm 37 now. Basic math says that's 18 years. If the fedgov would have let me keep the money they stole from me and gave to FICA, to let me invest in my own way, I could have had a gigantic 401k or some other retirement plan by now. Instead, what do I get? "Oh, that system you pay into? Yeah, by 2030 it's gonna be gone. Sorry, youngster. Gotta take care of the Boomers."
    What bullshit.
    Fuck Trump and the rest of DC and it's war machine cronyism.

  • Rhywun||

    Yeah, I really don't see how this is going to end in any way that isn't extremely ugly by the time my generation (I'm 47) realizes how utterly screwed we were.

  • Social Darwinist||

    I think Governor Chris Christie explained the government view during the Republican primaries. He said something along the lines of once you paid into the system it was no longer your money. I don't remember the exact wording but he's correct from the ponzi scheme way Social Security and Medicaid was created. Current payees are covering current retirees. If both had been set up as mandatory, private savings and investment accounts then they would both be self-funded and sustainable. Maybe someday they will get there, but I expect it won't be until the budget hits a critical failure.

  • John||

    I have a feeling the budget will never hit that. They will be able to beg borrow and steal and the economy will grow just enough to keep that from ever happening.

  • Homple||

    Think about being just retired at 66 with the same work history, and be told that you'd get nothing back for the money that was taken from you and from your employer on your behalf. Those folks like it 19 years-worth less than you do.

  • Rhywun||

    So today's retirees are getting nothing? That's news to me.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    $300 a month is not nothing!

  • ThomasD||

    I'm fifty, and have been kicking in for over thirty years, take that twelve percent and add it to what I've already saved/invested over the same period and I would not remotely need any sort of government entitlement now, much less in twenty years, when I become 'eligible' for retirement.

    It's theft, conducted by the asset class to protect them from the unproductive.

  • american socialist||

    Honestly id be impressed if the NEA and pbs get cut only.

  • Crusty Juggler - #2||

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Money shot!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Hey-o!

  • american socialist||

    I suspect his more money for military is more of a high bid that will go down. The wall if built will be like a fence

    The tariff which wont be part of this i suspect goes way down

    Kind of seems like a high balling or low balling to shift discussion

    Sort of how barry requested the moon

  • John Titor||

    If Trump was actually interested in an efficient military, there'd be some massive cullings of DoD and civilian employees/bureaucrats coming down the pipeline.

  • creech||

    Too many officers in too many high grades.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And a big reform of pensions and healthcare.

  • ThomasD||

    I do not disagree with the need for those cuts, I just do not think that discussion is realistic until we can cut those other things that are not an essential aspect of the Federal government.

    Because as long as those extravagances remain then all else will continue to appear acceptable.

  • ThomasD||

    I do not disagree with the need for those cuts, I just do not think that discussion is realistic until we can cut those other things that are not an essential aspect of the Federal government.

    Because as long as those extravagances remain then all else will continue to appear acceptable.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I would love to see the hysterical write-ups usung colorful adjectives for cruelty, pollyannishness, and outright insanity Gillespie's media colleagues would use if a president submitted a budget along the lines he suggests. Even so, this is going to get criticized along those lines for just holding a line on total spending.

    There are not enough libertarian minded officeholders in Congress to get that kind of budget through (even if Trump agreed enough with its premises to submit it). You need to actually have people in office and an electorate that is willing to vote for such a budget before you will see one. Until then, you are impotent Gillespie.

  • Glide||

    Honestly that is a hell of a lot better than I expected given his campaign rhetoric which basically only referenced decreased spending as a result of magical efficiency improvements while doing the same (or more) shit.

    I'm not endorsing this and I would demand my rep vote against such a budget, but at least he is taking money from things the government should not under any circumstances be doing and sending it to departments that are clearly constitutional (even if they are already overfunded for doing their constitutional duty).

    If nothing else, it gets us a step closer to the economy growing faster than government spending (although I suspect due to the entitlements side this will not happen in 2018).

  • american socialist||

    Yea true. Seeing how he isnt a fiscal hawk libertarian and keeps it as is whereas usually overall is increase....in liberal land they call that a cut

  • Jerryskids||

    I'm sure it's a "skinny" budget in that it'll slow the rate of growth of government. While it only took Obama 8 short years to double the national debt, I'm sure the GOP will cut that rate to the point where it will take them several dozen long months to double it again.

  • NinaBastiat||

    And nothing changes. Its the state, what should we expect? Left or right, they are all pro spending. Just in different places.

  • Rich||

    Let's call this what it is: Unacceptable.

    Ahem. I believe the term is "Unsustainable".

  • american socialist||

    I suspect for ss the cap will be lifted eventually

  • GILMORE™||

    You know what else is losing libertarians?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Bill Weld?

  • ThomasD||

    +1

    And, don't forget Leppo

  • WakaWaka||

    The Koch brothers?

  • Michael Hihn||

    which doesn't engage with entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security and other forms of "mandatory" spending at all

    Neither does Cato. But .... our tribe? Nor does anyone else I can think of. Did I miss one?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    You missed having a point.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Sorry, I forgot about the retards lhere.

    CATO HAS NOTHING TO "ENGAGE" ENTITLEMENTS ... NOR DOES ANYONE ELSE (IN THE LIBERTARIAN ESTABLISHMENT) I CAN THINK OF. Did I miss one?

    Sorry, I can't dumb it down any further.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I don't know, it was pretty dumb already. Your weird little tantrum did not magically cause the article to have anything to do with the Cato Institute, either, so you are still sans point.

  • Michael Hihn||

    You are more fucking stupid than I thought possible.

    1) NICK SAID THE BUDGET DOES NOT ENGAGE ENTITLEMENTS. I QUOTED WHAT YOU SAY NEVER HAPPENED

    2) I SAID CATO DOESN'T ENGAGE THEM EITHER. NOR ANYONE IN THE LIBERTARIAN ESTABLISHMENT. DID I MISS ONE?

    So, Sluggo, name a viable libertarian policy proposal to control and/or reduce entitlements.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Great minds discuss ideas.
    Average minds discuss events.
    Small Minds discuss people.

    12-year-olds call names, to feel manly,
    to offset their tiny penises,
    and tiny hands.

    Others stand up, in self-defense, defiant toward aggression - confident of their manhood,
    or womanhood.

    Guess which ones run some tiny patch of the world. And which ones llive a life filed with raging hatred, shaking their fists into the wind)

    (posted in defense of cyber-bully aggression)


    Keep on raging, Hihn, you nasty old bully.

  • Michael Hihn||

    (laughing) Proves my point,
    Repeat aggression. Self-righteous belligerence

    "Mass movements do not need a god, but they do need a devil. Hatred unifies the True Believers."
    -Eric Hoffer, The True Believers (1957)

    Throughout human history, the worst abuses have been committed by those who BELEEB they are fighting for some "greater good" -- the Collective, the State, the Master Race, the Party, a God, Limited Government or a gazillion other Cults. The militant self-righteous.
    -Mike Hihn (circa 1993)

    .
    .

  • Michael Hihn||

    GREAT Nick. Offsets your recent massive error on the loss of manufacturing jobs since the 1940s ... which was caused by our tax abuse targeted on ONLY the jobs in manufacturing --for all but two years of the 70.
    Sadly, the lib establishment has always been terrible on taxation.

  • WakaWaka||

    What part of 'cut spending' don't Republicans understand? Probably the 'cut' part when it comes to buying all those dreamy weapons of death and destruction

  • Michael Hihn||

    What spending cuts cuts would have the support of voters, meeting the "will of the people" -- the people being sovereign?

  • #NotMyReason (Krabappel)||

    If you want your brain to explode, just read the comments on this thread at Reddit.

    Trump is literally taking away art, food, health, and science. The comments are big circle jerk of smugness (smuggle jerk?).

  • eyeroller||

    I looked at a bunch of articles about this budget, and not one of them said whether total federal spending would go up or down.

  • ThomasD||

    Up. If Federal spending actually went down the world would end tomorrow.

  • Nuwanda||

    This would be the Nick Gillespie who believes in a state-sponsored financial safety net?

  • Anti_Govt_Rebel||

    ALL federal spending, including Social Security and Medicare, is discretionary.

  • ThomasD||

    Pro tip: When they cut the Bureau of Weights and Measures the shit has truly hit the fan.

  • Grant||

    Nick, I can't remember the last time ANY administration thought seriously about budget cuts . . . so I wouldn't knock it.

  • buybuydandavis||

    simply balances cuts to various parts of the government with increases to the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

    Shifts money from the apparatchik state to core government responsibilities.

    So much winning!

  • desertdweller||

    Your entire article rests on research that you've incorrectly described. You cite "the well-established correlation between persistent, high levels of national debt and reduced economic growth." But the research you mention finds a positive correlation between debt and growth, although it raises the point that the level of growth (when debt is 90% of growth) is lower than "in other periods" (in one of the articles you cite, the authors look at growth going all the way back to the 1800s).

    The researchers themselves "caution that the causal relationship between debt and growth is still an open research question. They note, however, that most studies find ***relatively little correlation between debt levels and growth rates at debt-to-GDP levels significantly below 90 percent*** [emphasis added], which is difficult to explain if the link between debt and growth is solely due to slower growth causing high deficits." Basically, we should not conclude that high debt causally reduces economic growth. Source (that you linked to in the article): http://www.nber.org/digest/aug12/w18015.html

    I understand the importance of negative rights to libertarians and, to an extent, accept that argument. However, this article dramatically overstates the conclusions of the research it cites. It's clear that the argument you make here stems from your opinion rather than evidence.

  • desertdweller||

    Also, Trump, like his proposed budget, is horrible. And his budget definitely won't reduce the national debt.

  • Sevo||

    "I understand the importance of negative rights to libertarians and, to an extent, accept that argument. However, this article dramatically overstates the conclusions of the research it cites. It's clear that the argument you make here stems from your opinion rather than evidence."

    I understand the importance of coercion to lefties an do not accept the 'argument' at all; it is simply a claim that lefties, as exemplified here, 'know' what everybody should do and are willing to have someone stick a gun in your face to make sure you do.
    As regards your cherry-picked study on deficits, I respond as appropriate to the first sentence:
    Fuck off, slaver.
    Oh, and Trump's proposed budget is bad in that it simply did not cut enough. Including whatever slice you're getting.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Does Sevo have anything more than hot air and memorized slogans that he inserts everywhere, and , of course, calling everyone a "slaver" that he agrees with. No. That's all he has, And he ain't the only one.

    Like all anti-gummint goobers, he parks his ass at the computer and screams CUT SPENDING. Where? EVERYWHERE.

    How? EVERYWHERE.

    See, things like "will of the people" and "consent of the governed" are ridiculed by the authoritarian MIND. Authoritarian ACTION has forced changes throughout human history. The authoritarian MIND has never done shit. They won't use force. But they REJECT the ONLY alternative - developing POLICY solutions, attracting voters, electing majorities, and expanding individual liberty.

    It's like a eunuch trying to masturbate. (Eunuchs are neutered human males)

    If you laughed or sneered when I said they reject "will of the people" and "consent of the governed" ,... and I haven't just proved it ... then you likely possess an authoritarian MIND. So there MAY still be some hope for you.
    Any questions?

  • Nuwanda||

    But the research you mention finds a positive correlation between debt and growth, although it raises the point that the level of growth (when debt is 90% of growth) is lower than "in other periods" (in one of the articles you cite, the authors look at growth going all the way back to the 1800s).

    The issue of debt versus growth is highly relative in the long term. It was identified long ago that as the default world reserve currency the US enjoys a massive advantage. That being that the US can inflate its money supply and suffer few consequences since its dollars are regarded as solid due to the stability of the US as a society, a safe haven, a stable environment. The US exports its own inflation. How can any society inflate that much an not suffer consequences?

    But when that perceived environment becomes suspect--as it's increasingly seen--the free ride the US has had will be diminished. Indeed, we're starting to see China, etc. becoming not only manufacturing giants but service and intellectual competitors. These things sometimes happen slowly but I suspect that the hegemony of non-US factors will take a sharp turn at some point and the US advantage will evaporate, and quickly. That will be the reaping of what the US debt has sown.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Milton Friedman identified the problem decades ago. Perhaps others I missed. GDP, constructed by Keynesians, counts all government SPENDING toward GDP, not government consumption. I'll illustrate.

    Government digs a hole in your yard. Spends a billion dollars. Let's say they pay it all to Phil, And assume he uses 30% of it on consumption. GDP increases by 130% of the construction cost.

    Bill Gates digs the hole. Pays Phil the billion. NONE of that billion increases GDP. Only the 30% that Phil consumes. This is called the "multiplier effect." Government spending increases GDP by $1.3 billion. The identical project, from private dollars, increases GDP by $300 million.

    It's a LOT more complicated than that. like both projects continue increasing GDP as the dollars keep spreading, but then on an equal basis. The distortion is at the first two steps - the SOURCE of those first consumed dollars.

  • Esdraelon||

    What exactly are Libertarians expecting?? Have Libertarians came up with their own budget version? Truth is we are on a runaway train that cannot continue indefinitely, even a very temporary ' temporarily'....however, Obama and the Democrats added nearly 9 trillion to the taxpayers dime and failed to even produce ONE budget proposal....at least give Trump credit for that and also remember that he simply proposes..it will be interesting to see what the Republicans in Congress actually 'cut'....

    Lets step back to May of 2015, The Washington Times, http://www.washingtontimes.com.....s-budget/: The GOP-led Congress Tuesday passed a full budget for the first time in years, laying out a road map for domestic spending cuts so deep that Democrats dared Republicans to follow through on them, predicting a swift voter backlash.

    If enacted, the cuts, combined with an improving economy, could produce a balanced budget within a decade.

    The budget cleared the Senate on a 51-48 vote Tuesday afternoon, after passing in the House last week.

    No Democrats supported the plan, and Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas were the only Republicans to vote "no." Both are running for president.

    We've now hear terms like 'Trumpocolypse'.......sic.....when Trump has only been in office a couple of months.......bit of selective amnesia, huh?

  • Michael Hihn||

    What exactly are Libertarians expecting??

    We've all been waiting for another follower of Trump's cult to
    1) Cite a 2015 budget
    2) Ignore who was President at the time
    3) Swallow Trump's bullshit,

    That same GOP Congress also opposes Trump's budget

    Under Obama, Republicans passed all kinds of crazy bullshit, BECAUSE it would never be adopted. Like repealing Obamacare .. to impress their goobers.

    NOW they have to live with what they pass. And we already see they have NO CLUE how to pass Obamacare ... and NO GUTS to pass the same repeal they voted for several dozen times ,., including 2015!

    Herr Trump believes nobody can criticize his budget or anything he says .... and you defend THAT ... Seig Heil!

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