If you were elected to a legislative office as a Libertarian, what specifically would you recommend to move government toward a more free-market, smaller operation? Here are some ideas, with causes and solutions simplified.
Problem: Public employee pension funds are severely underfunded
Cause: It is impossible for government committees to avoid promising future rewards as compensation, as well as for them to actually use limited resources to fund them.
Solution: Constitutionally prevent payment to government employees of any future benefit. Pay the rates needed to fill the jobs and let employees themselves handle future retirement needs.
Anyone who has ever served on a committee knows how hard it is to restrain spending. Spending other people’s money, with the pressure of pressing needs pushed by familiar faces and no representation of those whose money is being spent, creates a situation where it is impossible to not pay with promises of future benefits, and where there is never money left over to pay into those funds.
The greatest features of the system of government created with the United States of America were the restrictions placed on government. It was a continuation of English law, but simplified and expanded. Even then there were problems with promises of future benefits to soldiers that were not properly fulfilled, but the scale was much smaller.
The huge unmentionable secret among the Democrats who run our large cities is that the fund contributions will never be paid. Instead, they expect bankruptcy, and have shifted from promising to catch up, to assuring the union leaders that they will be protected and have first claim to newly-freed taxpayers when bankruptcy wipes out the other debt.
A constitutional amendment is the only way to stop this. No human can stand against paying with future promises if that avenue is available. It must be totally forbidden.
Problem: Government schools failing to educate
Cause: Education funds are paid in at the top and are expected to be used properly to educate the students, but are not.
Solution: Pay only for accomplishment. Create an educational endowment for each student, with the money paid out only when that student achieves a specified level.
The money stays in the student account until each level is met, making poor students much more valuable to educators who can catch them up. Competition among educators will see most students moving through material far faster than at present, allowing for practical job-related instruction and college-level courses to be included.
Competition among educational providers will make full use of technology, provide useful training for actual jobs, deliver far more education for the same money, and free the taxpayers from the grip of an incredibly corrupt and self-serving educational establishment.
Problem: Unemployment insurance is far less than it could be
Cause: Unemployment insurance was created by people whose solution to everything was a government program.
Solution: Enable unemployment insurance to be actual insurance, with a competitive free market for providers.
Unemployment insurance needs vary widely among workers. Many with highly-valuable skills don’t need it at all. Others working jobs with unpredictable fluctuations, and at times in their lives when marriage, children, house purchases, etc. are occurring, need real insurance and real help in finding new jobs quickly.
A competitive market in the provision of unemployment insurance would meet all those needs. Insurers would specialize in specific industries, developing forecasting techniques and job retraining and placement services far superior to government agencies. Those needing it could purchase policies that cost more now. To meet real life situations, social media would keep providers honest, so providers would do much more to help job seekers, and everyone would benefit.
Problem: Endless weather-related disasters along the southern coast
Cause: Government disaster insurance has prevented development of technologies that would allow structures to handle the extreme weather.
Solution: Phase out government disaster insurance and replace with real insurance.
In Galveston, Texas, there are hundreds of buildings that have been there for over a hundred years, in an area where powerful hurricanes hit several times per century. Meanwhile, newer developments, covered by government disaster insurance, are routinely destroyed or severely damaged, requiring expensive rehab projects after every disaster.
There are companies which have developed methods to waterproof entire buildings, but their market is limited. It’s easier to just buy government-supported flood insurance and repair after every disaster. Buildings are still collapsing, roofs are blowing off, but there is only a limited economic reward for developing new technologies. A government roof inspector program in Texas turned into a total boondoggle, locking in old technology and creating a government agency that spends most of its time punishing roof inspectors.
If true free market insurance, with government involvement limited to enforcing contracts, were the default solution, we would see an explosion of flood and windstorm mitigation technology. Buildings that wouldn’t blow down or flood would find insurance at a very low cost.
If building inspections were done by insurance companies with skin in the game, new technologies would be encouraged, realistic standards would be applied, a huge market for new technology and upgrades of structures would come into being, and everyone but politicians and government employees would benefit.
Problem: Candidates that people really don’t want to vote for
Cause: A very small group of people run the political organizations at the local level and discourage anyone except their cronies from running.
Solution: Put None Of The Above (NOTA) on all ballots and if NOTA wins, the election must be held again with new candidates.
Libertarians have supported NOTA for decades, but nobody outside the party knows about it. It is not being promoted as one of their objectives, which have come to be seen only as opposition to the Drug War and a general desire to have much smaller government. Our candidates should promise to change the law to actually place None Of The Above on ballots.
We have locked in mediocrity by using government to solve every problem. We have moved from developing true solutions to problems, to gaming the government for help after every disaster. We have created huge government agencies whose employees and contractors control our legislative bodies, and outlawed the thing that made America great, its rewards to inventors. It is time to let the free market handle this situation.
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