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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Today's WNJ is full of reasons to elect a Libertarian

Let's see:

We have the typical Gannett corporate journalism piece on why cutting the Defense budget is bad because it will reduce the staffing and equipment at Dover AFB.  Implied is economic disaster, even though economists long ago worked out that money taken out of the military budget and put back into the economy in other ways (even by the government) creates more jobs and more prosperity.

A Libertarian answer:  Let's continue taking money out of the largest military (not "defense") budget on the planet, and put that money to far better, non-violent use either by returning it to the taxpayers or at least by investing in roads, bridges, and schools as we somehow find it absolutely critical to do in Afghanistan and Iraq, but not in Delaware or Pennsylvania.

Then, in the surprise of the century, the Delaware General Assembly Task Force on campaign reform decides that it is more important to change primary dates to accommodate the preferences of incumbents than to make recommendations about campaign finance reform.  Signing off on it, one member has a sudden attack of honesty and declares the work to be "very shallow."

A Libertarian answer:  I've already suggested it:  Money only from individuals, not groups or organizations, and a campaign spending limit equal to gross one-year-salary for the position being sought.

Governor Markell ominously advises Sussex Countians to support his gasoline  and water taxes or see their businesses go under because nobody likes the pollution or bad roads.  For a man who just discovered in the sixth year of his term that Delaware's water was polluted, and who let the fund for highway repairs head for broke while he was handing out over $43 million per year in corporate subsidies annually, this is apparently the zealotry of a deathbed conversion.  Or just some cynical "legacy making" wherein he will be out of office before we get the bill.

A Libertarian answer:  Again, I've already suggested it:  start by cutting out corporate subsidies and other pieces of obvious waste, prioritize our spending and our projects, and build from the start both an infrastructure and an environmental agenda that's actually financially sustainable without being regressive.

Finally, there is the spectacularly tone-deaf editorial by PNC Region VP Nicholas Marsini Jr which praises early childhood education because the overriding purpose of our schools is apparently a return on investment in jobs: 

Another form of economic development invests entirely in preschoolers so that as adults, they have the skills to become successful in the workplace. Some might even emerge as business owners who themselves create jobs. Early childhood education as economic development, however, does not grab the same headlines as news that a new company is coming to town with a promise of hundreds of jobs.
Yet the outcome of investing in Delaware's youngest learners can generate a stronger, if not a better, return than traditional investments. Its effects create an improved workforce, strengthen our communities and reduce crime.
Maybe this passes for enlightened social commentary among bankers, and maybe Mr. Marsini is correct in that the only way we'll get corporate Delaware to actually invest money (as opposed to divert taxpayer money for its own purposes) in our schools is by selling them strict "return on investment" scenarios.  If he is right, and the idea of public education enhancing democracy, building citizenship, creating critical thinkers, or nurturing the talents of each child (no matter how they may not relate to employment) is all lost, then so is American civilization.

A Libertarian answer:  let's acknowledge that we've got to fix Wilmington before we solve education problems for Delaware's poorest children; that we have to stop WASTING tens of millions of dollars each year on high-stakes testing, ridiculous teacher accountability regimes, and bureaucratic waste in order to have the money to invest in research tested initiatives; and that we have to get back to valuing the investments of parents, teachers, and local school boards in Delaware's children more than we value the investments of bankers and politicians.

Can I get this ALL done as a single Libertarian in a General Assembly controlled by Democrats and Republicans (who pretty much already agree with each other on everything but marriage equality)?

No, I can't.

But what I can do it force them to start have REAL conversations, and looking at alternatives outside the box, and representing somebody besides the PACs that currently control Delaware elections.

If you think that's important, then whether you live in the 22nd District or not, think about looking to the right and sending me a few bucks.  The well-heeled, corporate-backed incumbent is collecting PAC donations at $600 a shot like he usually does.  Give me from $5-25 from a few hundred people and I'll give him a race like he's never seen--like Delaware's never seen.

I'll give him an actual race about ideas . . . .

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