On Approach


Kris Morgan   2/26/2018

If you’re a libertarian, chances are you have debated someone who seems to think you stuck your head in the sand. If you are lucky enough, you have conversed with people who stumped you by asking how services could be provided outside of politics. However, if you’re like 99.9% of us, you have also spoken to someone who just can’t seem to figure out why you would support liberty in the first place. At first your opponent may just think you are naive, but after chatting with you for a while, they are left with the impression that you are hopelessly dogmatic. The truth is we are neither naive nor dogmatic; we simply believe in a different method of approaching problems.

A perfect example of such thinking can be found in an article titled “The Libertarian Delusion” published by the American Prospect Magazine in 2015. The piece touches on a wide range of topics including pollution, income inequality, and the 2007 housing crash. It then goes on to discuss the great marvels pursued by governments which have lead to private investment, using Apple as an example. The author later suggests the market is a creature of government. While some arguments are well thought out, it is painfully obvious the writer fails to understand libertarianism.

As tempting as it is to write a point by point response, it is much more important to clarify something our critics almost always fail to grasp. Libertarianism is not an ideology revolved around results or personal gain, nor do we wish to bury our heads in the sand and pretend problems don’t exist. Instead, we hope to persuade others to approach our shared challenges within the context of free associations and individual freedom. This is in sharp contrast to other schools of thought, which rely heavily on solving problems through the force of law.

This is made more clear by reviewing the way Mr. Kuttner closed his piece: “So if we are to win the argument with the libertarians, we need to take back effective government. Friedman was wrong to argue that the cure for market failure is more market. However, the cure for weak or corrupted democracy has to be more democracy. The only way to redeem public confidence in government as a necessary check on the market is to repair faith in democracy itself. It is not difficult to prove that the claim of market efficiency is delusional.”

Critics such as Mr. Kuttner could speak about market failures and political efficiency until they are blue in the face; it is not going to make the slightest difference to any serious libertarian. What speaks to us are ideals, such as justice and peace. Prosperity is more of a bonus. The mechanism by which justice and peace are achieved is respect for legitimate property rights; legitimate property defined as that which is gained through proper homestead, received as gift, or earned through trade.

Most treat this opinion as a minor difference in politics, but there are great implications which result from this perspective. Most importantly, we are not interested in using political power nor any other form of coercion to solve problems. Rather than asking how the law should be modified to suit the circumstances we want to change, we ask ‘what can we do within the framework of liberty to make life better?’

There are many benefits to approaching society’s troubles this way. First, it is the only way to sustain a free state. Seeking new laws in order to overcome obstacles has the inevitable consequence of creating a totalitarian regime, since we will always have our imperfections. Secondly, we avoid the pitfall of pretending law can make society more secure. Seeking to increase our own safety at the expense of other people’s liberty (i.e. gun control) is a method that is sure to fail for obvious reasons, as liberty and safety are one and the same. Perhaps most importantly, we are forced to deal with the roots of our problems, whereas the use of law encourages us to focus only on the symptoms.

The next time someone demands you know every detail about how a free society would work, remind them that our message is really one about method. Don’t be scared to leave omniscience to God. Where we don’t already have answers, the logical thing to do is brainstorm. According to gallup, only 27% of Americans can be characterized as libertarian. If so, 73% of our nation’s brain power is open to, likely relying on, the passing of new laws as a panacea when facing challenges. Freedom cannot last if every problem is met with a reduction in liberty, and passing laws will never ‘fix’ humanity. We can do better. The only caveat is we need that other 73% to work with us.


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Who Are The Cronies Part III: Prisons


Kris Morgan 2/14/2018

In parts one and two of this series we dealt with the military-industrial complex and the banking industry. The issue regarding prisons is a little less well-known, but is even more unjust than the others. Nothing is less libertarian than taking freedom from a person who has not violated another’s rights. Sadly, the United States holds 25% of the world’s prisoners despite carrying only 5% of the total world population. Perhaps by examining the beneficiaries of these conditions we can shed some light on how the ‘land of the free’ has come to this.

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is the fifth largest corrections organization in the country, behind the Federal Government and three states. According to their site they “specialize in the design, construction, expansion and management of prisons, jails and detention facilities, along with residential reentry services, as well as inmate transportation services through its subsidiary company TransCor America.”
Damon T. Hininger, CCA CEO and President


Hininger joined the company in 1992. He has had Vice President and Business Analysis positions as well as working in Federal and Local customer relations. According to salary.com his base pay is over $861,000 and over $2mil in stock value, and over $3mil total compensation.


GEO Group (previously Wackenhut) is another large prison company. Shamelessly, they very enthusiastically advertise their relation with the government on their page. “GEO’s U.S. Corrections and Detention division oversees the operation and management of approximately 75,500 beds in 71 correctional and detention facilities. GEO’s U.S. Corrections & Detention division provides services on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as 9 state correctional clients and various county and city jurisdictions.”

George C. Zoley, CEO, Chairman of the Board, and Founder


Bloomberg ran a summary of Zoley. “Mr. Zoley founded GEO Care Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The GEO Group, Inc. in 1984 and serves as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He serves as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of Wackenhut Corrections of The Wackenhut Corporation. He served as the President Geo of Group Inc. since 1988.” According to the article he made $5,176,221 last year.

While managing and operating prisons has made plenty people rich, Attn.com points out money is also made providing inmate services. Ashley Nicole Black displayed her understanding of the economics involved when she wrote of the phone call service. “Few companies hold a virtual monopoly on the service and even pay the state a profit based commission. Remember, it’s the state that hires these companies. When the state is making money off these phone calls, do you think they are really interested in negotiating a fair, cost-effective phone plan for their prisoners?”

The following are examples of companies which make profit from offering services to inmates at what essentially amounts to monopoly prices.


Steve Rector, Corizon CEO


According to their website, “as the correctional healthcare pioneer and leader for 40 years, Corizon Health provides client partners with high quality healthcare and reentry services that will improve health and safety of our patients…” In January 2018, the Kansas City Star reported Corizon had $2bn in contracts with Missouri and Kansas alone. Mr. Rector’s compensation information was unavailable.


Finally, we come to Global Tel-Link. According to their own site, GTL “serves approximately 2,300 facilities and 1.8 million inmates in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Our products and services are deployed in 32 state DOC contracts (including 8 of the largest 10) and over 650 counties, including many of the largest city/county run jail facilities. We also provide service to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.”

Brian D. Oliver, Global Tel-Link CEO


Per Bloomberg, “Mr. Oliver was responsible for leading Global Tel*Link Corporation’s due diligence review with respect to new potential investments in the telecommunications and related sectors and overseeing portfolio companies once investments have been completed in those sectors. Mr. Oliver joined GTL from Gores Technology Group, LLC…” Compensation information was not available.

One can argue that these services are necessary, and the market is merely providing services, even to those in jail. However, it is clear the income generated by providing these services is stimulated by government created demand for them. Attn reminds us “the War on Drugs has also created ballooning prison populations by increasing arrests for petty offenses (such as marijuana possession). America has the longest first time drug offense sentences (5-10 years) of developed nations. …65 percent of private prison contracts require an occupancy guarantee. That means states must have a certain amount of prisoners — typically between 80 and 90 percent of occupancy — or pay companies for empty beds. Talk about bad incentives — a state throws money away if it does not have enough prisoners.” There are a lot of people with a lot of money riding on maintaining or increasing prison populations in the US and abroad.

To drive the point home, the Washington Post reported in 2015 that “several reports have documented instances when private-prison companies have indirectly supported policies that put more Americans and immigrants behind bars – such as California’s three-strikes rule and Arizona’s highly controversial anti-illegal immigration law – by donating to politicians who support them.”

Marco Rubio can be viewed as a case-study of how the relationship between prisons and politicians works. “While Rubio was leading the House, GEO was awarded a state government contract for a $110 million prison soon after Rubio hired an economic consultant who had been a trustee for a GEO real estate trust. Over his career, Rubio has received nearly $40,000 in campaign donations from GEO, making him the Senate’s top career recipient of contributions from the company.”  

The economic incentives surrounding the prison sector have clear and harsh consequences for the rest of us. The people we are supposed to trust with our security have taken that trust and twisted it into building a system which profits from our imprisonment. No private persons would ever be capable of such crimes against humanity without politics to support it. Our goal should be to reverse these trends in their tracks.


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Who Are The Cronies Part II: Bankers


Kris Morgan 2/8/2018

When President Bush and his administration bailed out banks in light of the 2007 housing collapse, the crony nature of banking was at the forefront of all our minds. The New York Times even ran a headline in 2009: “Bankers Reaped Lavish Bonuses During Bailouts.” According to the article, nine of the biggest recipients of bailouts paid about 5,000 people $1mil each in bonuses. So not only does bailing out losers undermine the market’s goal of weeding out those who fail to meet economic demand efficiently, the moral hazard involved is shocking.

CNN posted a special report listing all the banks bailed out as a result of the aforementioned 2007 crash. The list is endless, but the top three were Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase & Co., and Citigroup. Each received  $25bn to hold them over. Without further adieu, here is a profile of the top three banks’ CEO during the time.


John Stumpf – Wells Fargo CEO in 2008


In 2008, as Wells Fargo received a $25bn bailout, Stumpf was paid $13.8mil in his first year as CEO. The bank posted a $2.66bn dollar profit in the same year. While Stumpf has had an extensive banking career, Janet Yellen’s final act as Chairman of the Fed in 2016 was to slam Wells Fargo with $185mil fine in light of the fake accounts scandal. Stumpf retired as a result. From Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 to present, Wells Fargo has received $530,481,584 in subsidies (government granted money without demand for repayment).


Jamie Dimon – JP Morgan Chase & Co. in 2008


JP Morgan Chase & Co. received $25bn to remain afloat in 2008. Jamie Dimon was paid $19.7mil that same year (to his credit, in 2007 he made $34mil). What is troubling is the bank received a bailout, but according to Dimon’s bio, in 2008 “he steered the business clear of most of the wreckage and maintained its profitability, while also scooping up ailing Bear Stearns for $2 per share…” However, in 2013 it became apparent JP Morgan misrepresented mortgage securities it was selling prior to 2008 and was forced to pay $13bn in a settlement with regulators. JP Morgan has received $1,577,130,318 in subsidies since FY 2000.

Vikram Pandit – Citigroup in 2008


Like JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo, Citigroup received a $25bn bailout in 2008. Pandit reported a measly $1mil salary to Congress for 2008, however, the Huffington Post reported he made almost $11mil and simply neglected to “mention his sign-on and retention awards, as well as stock and option awards.” Per the story, he originally made closer to $40mil but lost big when the stock price tumbled to under $1 per share. From FY 2000 to present, Citigroup has received $564,762,028 in subsidies.


No proper work on cronyism in the financial sector can even be started without mentioning the two people most in charge: Former Chairman of the Fed Ben Bernanke and Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in 2008


Ben Bernanke began his career in academia. After graduating Summa-Cum-Laude in Economics from Harvard in 1975, he earned a PHD from MIT in 1979. Following that, he taught at Stanford, NYU, MIT, and Princeton. He was appointed to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 2002 and Chairman in 2005. Bernanke worked closely with President Bush and Hank Paulson to draft the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, more commonly known as the 2008 bailout.


Hank Paulson – Treasury Secretary in 2008


Henry Paulson earned a Bachelor’s in English from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard before going to work at the Pentagon as staff assistant to the assistant secretary of defense under President Nixon. Just after serving as Domestic Council assistant to President Nixon, he made his way to Goldman Sachs. In 1982 he made partner, in 1988 he made managing partner, and from 1990 – 1994 he operated as President and COO. In 1999 he replaced Jon Corzine as Chairman and CEO, as Corzine worked his way into politics, becoming Governor of New Jersey. In 2006 he was named Treasury Secretary by President Bush.


The 2007 housing crash and subsequent 2008 bank bailouts were a trying time for everyone. Perhaps every person on this list acted admirably, and in spite of that, the media found a way of viewing their actions with a touch of fraud. Even if we believe that unlikely story, do we still want the federal government determining who stays afloat and who drowns every time we enter the bust phase of the cycle? Do we want banks, with a revolving door between the private sector and high levels of government, operating under the impression they will just get bailed out? What is to stop them from approving high-risk high-reward loans to people in desperation?


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Doctor Libertarians


Travis Hallman 2/1/2018

Many of our most vocal activists within the Libertarian Party are current and former doctors. Doctors have an inside perspective of the healthcare industry as well as how decisions that negatively affect one’s life, i.e. drugs, also affect the body. On healthcare and self-ownership, the official Libertarian Platform states:

Libertarian Platform 2.10: Health Care

“We favor a free-market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.”

Please click this link if you’re interested in understanding why Libertarians support a free-market health care system.

Libertarian Platform 1.1: Self-Ownership

“Individuals own their bodies and have rights over them that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.”

Please click this link if you’re interested in understanding why libertarians support self-ownership.

When the Affordable Care Act was being hotly debated, it was apparent the AMA supported the bill. Even today one is left with the impression that, generally speaking, doctors support Obamacare. The following is a list of of doctors who not only oppose the ACA, but who are also outright libertarians.


Dr. Ron Paul


“In his last year of college, Ron Paul married Carol. After he graduated in 1957, the couple moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Ron attended the Duke University School of Medicine. Finishing his degree in 1961, he and his young family then moved to Detroit, Michigan. There Paul did his internship and residency at Henry Ford Hospital. Serving his country, he was as a doctor in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and then with the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968.”

“Specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, Paul opened his own practice in Texas. During the course of his career, he is said to have delivered more than 4,000 babies.”


“Ron Paul is America’s leading voice for liberty, prosperity and peace. As a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and three-time presidential candidate, Ron Paul tirelessly works for limited, constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies. Ron Paul never voted for legislation unless the proposed measure was expressly authorized by the Constitution.”



Dr. Rand Paul


“Paul attended Baylor University and then the Duke University Medical School, his father’s alma mater. After receiving a medical degree in 1988, Paul pursued a general surgery internship at the Georgia Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia. While there, he met Kentucky native Kelley Ashby. The couple dated for a couple of years and married in 1991, and when Paul finished his ophthalmology residency at Duke two years later, they moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky to start a family and Paul’s medical practice. They soon had three sons, William, Duncan and Robert.

A longtime member of the service organization Lions Club International, Paul founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic, a nonprofit offering free eye care to patients in need, in 1995. He also performed free eye surgeries for impoverished children in developing countries through the Children of the Americas program.”

“A lifelong Republican with Libertarian leanings, Paul became involved in political causes in 1994, when he founded Kentucky Taxpayers United, a watchdog group tracking taxation and spending issues in the Kentucky state legislature, until it disbanded in 2000. Rand was inspired to become involved in politics, in part due to his father, Ron Paul, who was the first member of the Paul family to run for and win political office.”



Dr. Marc Allan Feldman


“Dr. Feldman was born in October of 1959. He was a 1980 graduate of Northwestern University with a major in Philosophy, Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Doctorate of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1984. He practiced anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins for 11 years. He is survived by his wife Anne and his sons Aaron, Abram and Andrew. His son Alec passed away from cancer at age 16. He worked at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.”

“Dr. Feldman was a candidate for the Libertarian presidential nomination this year. His campaign was one of the most inspirational in the field as a result of his sincerity, warmth, messaging, and his closing statement during the Libertarian National Convention’s final presidential debate.”



Dr. Mary J. Ruwart


“Dr. Mary J. Ruwart is a research scientist, ethicist, and a libertarian author/activist. She received her B.S. in biochemistry in 1970 and her Ph.D. in Biophysics in 1974 (both from Michigan State University).  She subsequently joined the Department of Surgery at St. Louis University and left her Assistant Professorship there to accept a position with The Upjohn Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1976.  As a senior research scientist, Dr. Ruwart was involved in developing new therapies for a variety of diseases, including liver cirrhosis and AIDS.

Dr. Ruwart left Upjohn in 1995 to devote her time to consulting and writing. Her communications course for scientists (www.speakingforscientists.com), covering written, oral, and poster presentations has received high praise from attendees. She also provides consulting services for nutraceutical companies, clinical research organizations, and universities.

Between 2003 and 2006, Dr. Ruwart was an adjunct Associate Professor of Biology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.  During that time, she served with the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics, designing a medical research ethics course for the University.  Her radical application of ethics to medical regulation, especially regulations regarding pharmaceuticals, has life-and-death-implications.”

“Mary J. Ruwart, Ph.D. Dr. Mary J. Ruwart is a research scientist, ethicist, and a libertarian author/activist. She has worked extensively with the disadvantaged in low-income housing and was a contender for the 2008 Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential nomination. Her scientific, political, and community activities have been profiled in several prestigious biographical works, including American Men and Women of Sciences, World’s Who’s Who of Women, International Leaders in Achievement, and Community Leaders of America.”

Healing Our World: The Compassion of Libertarianism


Dr. Keith Smith

Dr. Keith Smith

“Dr. Keith Smith, co-founder and managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, took an initiative that would only be considered radical in the healthcare industry: He posted online a list of prices for 112 common surgical procedures. The 51-year-old Smith, a self-described libertarian, and his business partner, Dr. Steve Lantier, founded the Surgery Center 15 years ago, after they became disillusioned with the way patients were treated at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, where the two men worked as anesthesiologists. In 1997, Smith and Lantier bought the shell of a former surgical center with the aim of creating a for-profit facility that could deliver first-rate care at a fraction of what traditional hospitals charge.”

Oklahoma Doctors vs. Obamacare


Dr. Kyle Varner


“Dr. Kyle Varner practices hospital medicine in Washington State and Maine. He earned his BA from St. John’s College, his MD from American University of Antigua College of Medicine, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

He has been a member of the Libertarian Party since 1999 and currently serves as the treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Hawaii. He has spoken at events around the United States promoting health care freedom.”

Libertarian Solutions for the Health Care Crisis


Joshua James, Founder, CEO,
& Industry Consultant of James Healthcare


“Joshua owes his life to chemotherapy and innovations in modern medicine. Joshua founded a healthcare marketing LLC and co-founded telemedicine provider networks in Texas and Nevada. His network and LLC are focused on veteran transitions of care and the growing population of those in need of social, mental, and medical intervention/supervision. He is building a virtual privatized healthcare system for veterans and civilians alike. He apprenticed beside his father, a pharmacist and former Bexar County Pharmacy Association president. He has a background as a pharmacist intern at the Cancer Research & therapy Center in San Antonio, TX. Joshua has extensive experience as compounding pharmacist intern at a regional independent pharmacy system. Joshua has a compassion for veterans and their success in transitions of care.”

“JJHC is devoted to innovative healthcare, development of original brands, marketing solutions, and networking opportunities, while focusing on veterans affairs, telemedicine, and transitions of care. JJHC is facilitates a Voluntary Provider Network (VPN). Clients and providers communicate through a mutually convenient, HIPAA credentialed interface. Our network of providers work in an outcomes focused, collaborative, free market, voluntary, and affordable environment. JJHC offers contemporary marketing, through a variety of resources. If you would like to grow your practice and network with providers from various areas of practice; JJHC has a solution for you.”



Republicans historically have been known to support free-market health care, but surely as we see their representatives compromising their principles, we also see their member registrations decreasingHowever, Libertarian Party member registrations are increasing and Libertarian representatives have championed a free-market health care system consistently.

Democrats have been known to support legalizing decisions which have negative consequences, but again, as we see their member registrations decreasing we simultaneously see their representatives compromising their principles. On the other hand, Libertarian representatives have championed legalizing personal decision-making across the board. The LP has remained true to its principles in both self-ownership and healthcare freedom.


In liberty,



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Meet The LNC Vice Chair Candidates


The Feldman Foundation recently hosted a debate featuring the candidates running for the upcoming LNC Vice Chair position. They offered a series of 10 questions to see where they stand on several issues. We at Ask A Libertarian sent that same list of questions, offering each candidate the opportunity to consider their thoughts and respond accordingly. The following pages include their replies along with a brief bio.

Much like the team at Ask A Libertarian, The Feldman Foundation’s goal is to “Immerse liberty into the American political system.” Their mission is “to impact the political realm with engagement, resources, training, ground efforts and strategy toensure legislation is repealed which does not align with a free America.”

Ask A Libertarian is a team of volunteers who strive to provide a quality platform for libertarians to engage with libertarians and non-libertarians alike, to spread the message of liberty while keeping the public informed of libertarian values, principles, and current events within the party.

We present Mr. Alex Merced, Mr. Arvin Vohra, Mr. James Weeks II, Mr. Joe Hauptmann, Mr. Joe Paschal, and Mr. Steve Sheetz.

Who Are The Cronies Part I: War


Kris Morgan 2/5/2018

Crony capitalism is a catchphrase that crosses all political ideologies. In libertarian circles, one is also exposed to sophisticated sounding jargon like military-industrial complex. Unfortunately the specifics are rarely discussed. Who are these crony capitalists who align themselves with big government to benefit at the expense of the rest of the population? Since we have been at endless war since 2001, the logical place to start is with military suppliers.

According to USA Today, the ten companies which profit the most from war are: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Bae Systems, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, EADS, Finmeccanica, L-3 Communications, and United Technologies. A profile of the top five CEOs is in order.


Marillyn Hewson


Marillyn Hewson became CEO of Lockheed Martin in 2013. According to bizjournals.com she made $25.13million in spite of having a base pay of $1.34 million. “The company bases its CEO’s final salary mostly on meeting long-term goals, and 73 percent of her target salary comes from long-term incentives. Annual incentives are 17 percent of her salary. Her base salary is 10 percent of her pay. Salon.com reported in 2016 Lockheed Martin “received a generous $220 million gift from Connecticut taxpayers to keep its Sikorsky Aircraft division in the city of Stratford.”

Hewson by the numbers:

Base salary: $1.34 million

Stock awards: $8.16 million

Incentive Plan compensation: $5.98 million

Pension earnings: $9.41 million

Other compensation: $238,150

Total: $25.16 million


Dennis Muilenburg


Dennis Muilenburg became CEO of Boeing in 2015 and acquired a base pay of $1.6 million. Boeing makes military aircrafts, including B-52 bombers, F-15 Eagles, H-47 Chinooks, and more, according to their webpage. On top of his base pay he could earn an Annual incentive award of $2.72 million and 18,709 Stock units when he takes over. Subsidy Tracker noted that from 2000 to present, Boeing has received $14,444,913,320 in subsidies awarded.


Phebe Novakovic


Phebe Novakovic is the chief executive at General Dynamics (GD). GD is involved in aviation, land vehicles, marine systems and more. Novakovic has been CEO since 2013 with a higher base salary than Hewson, at $1.5 million. She was able to secure an additional $4 million in bonuses and other long-term compensation which was difficult to quantify. Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 to present, GD received $466,504,107 in awarded subsidies.


Thomas A. Kennedy


Thomas A. Kennedy is in charge at Raytheon. According to Raytheon.com, they provide goods in missile defense, command and control, sensors and imaging, electronic warfare, and precision weapons. Salary.com reported in 2017 Kennedy earned $13,772,854 in base pay, bonuses, and stock awards. Raytheon has received $256,502,031 in subsidies awarded from FY 2000 to present.


Wes Bush


Wes Bush (no relation to the two former U.S. Presidents) has been the big boss at Northrop Grumman since 2010. The company makes B-2 Spirits, B-21 Raiders, and X-47B strikers on top of other products. Bush was able to make over $16 million in 2016, with a $1.53 million base pay, while acting as CEO, Chairman, and President. Northrop Grumman received $1,079,415,526 in subsidies from FY 2000 to present.

As I write this article, I’ve also set aside the time to read Scott Horton’s brilliant book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. I leave the reader to ponder the following quote:

“…then came legions of New York and Washington, D.C. based pressure groups subsidized by America tax dollars that had been laundered through defense firms like Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. These companies recycle a small fraction of the money they make from weapons contracts in the form of donations to think tanks and institutions of ‘experts’ from the ‘foreign policy community,’ who write up endless ‘studies,’ rationalizations and justifications for staying the course in the War on Terror.”


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Why Marx Was (Almost) Right


Kris Morgan 1/25/18

Karl Marx is one of history’s most controversial figures. Those of us who are politically engaged will inevitably have to resolve his ideas with our own beliefs, whether we reject or accept them. Not only was he a staunch nemesis of capitalism, he and Friedrich Engels developed a competing economic system that does not rely on private property, capital investments, or entrepreneurship. Since we do live in a capitalist society, it is beneficial to revisit his critiques of capitalism, which were rolled out in the late 19th century in Das Kapital.  

In 2014 Sean McElwee of Rolling Stone wrote an article based on Marx’s analysis of capitalism titled “Why Marx Was Right: Five Surprising Ways Marx Predicted 2014”. These included the chaotic nature of capitalism, imaginary appetites, globalization, monopoly, and the impoverishment of the middle class. On the surface, there is plenty of evidence that suggests Marx was correct. The middle class is diminishing, we are still recovering from the real estate collapse, and it’s safe to say we all have things we don’t need. Additionally, WalMart dominates and presently operates stores in 44 countries. However, in spite of proving correct in his long-term economic predictions, Marx was wrong on every point.

On the chaos of capitalism, McElwee’s argument in favor of Marx went as follows: “Broadly speaking, it’s what made the housing market crash in 2008. Decades of deepening inequality reduced incomes, which led more and more Americans to take on debt. When there were no subprime borrows (sic) left to scheme, the whole façade fell apart, just as Marx knew it would.” This is true, but what is also apparent is the domination of the financial system by the Federal Reserve, through Act of Congress, since 1913. With the ability to offer loans at lower-than-market rates, combined with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (chartered by Congress in 1938 and 1970 respectively) and the Community Reinvestment Act, we can safely say we have not had a free market for quite some time. The chaos we experience is the result of central planning, not free markets.

Of imaginary appetites, Marx stated capitalism would lead to “a contriving and ever-calculating subservience to inhuman, sophisticated, unnatural and imaginary appetites.” McElwee then surmises that though cell phones change very little with each progression, we purchase the latest anyways. But this is more a statement about human demands than the capitalist system of private property. The capitalist economy is nothing more than the notion that if left alone, people will store a supply of goods to satisfy perceived demand. Should our preferences change, production and marketing strategies will change as well. That is the strength of markets. The fact that so many have the means and time to focus on the latest and greatest advances, rather than whether we will eat, is a sign that we have surpassed basic subsistence.

In 1848 Marx predicted globalization, arguing “It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.” It is undeniable that capitalists want to trade with as many people as possible, however, is this not true of every economic organization? Communism itself is an international force the same way capitalism is. Neither ideology can be said to be a complete reality so long as the global community is mixed. Each will strive for what they perceive as the liberation of others as well as the advancement of its own agenda.

Monopoly is also a part of his critique of the market economy. According to the article, “Marx, however, argued that market power would actually be centralized in large monopoly firms as businesses increasingly preyed upon each other.” Wal Mart’s success is then used as an example. While we can agree Wal Mart has controlled the market, we cannot agree it is entirely due to market forces. Since the Progressive Era industry has turned to government for cartelization and other benefits. According to Forbes, Walmart cost taxpayers $6.2bn in public assistance. It is officially safe to stop pretending Walmart is an example of out-of-control free trade.

As Murray Rothbard pointed out, “The government interventions of the Progressive Era were systemic devices to restrict competition and cartelize industry… Just as other industries turned to the government to impose cartelization that could not be maintained on the market, so the banks turned to government to enable them to expand money and credit without being held back by the demands for redemption by competing banks.” Do we honestly believe the rich fund political campaigns and lobby politicians to make sure things are always fair?

Finally, we address the diminishing middle class. With the aforementioned interventions, dispelling this myth should be a piece of cake. The central bank disrupting the economy and causing malinvestments and subsequent bailouts, devaluation of currency, and cartelization of industry, we have an obvious recipe for corporate oligarchy.

Marx would have been right on all points had he simply used the phrase ‘state capitalism’ or ‘crony capitalism’. The only way one can conclude Marx was correct in his analysis of the market economy is by completely ignoring all state interventions. Free market economists, such as viewed by the Austrian School, do not consider central bans, whimsical regulations, nor any other infringements on property as part of capitalism. There is simply no basis to attribute flaws in society under the broad umbrella of free market deficiencies.

These predictions under the conditions of our current political system are obvious. Of course big business pays for favors from big government. Even Obamacare worked to enrich the health insurance industry as well as big pharma, while our premiums skyrocket. The alliance between industry and politics is unholy, damaging, and has nothing at all to do with free trade. Indeed, Free Market economists not only made the same predictions, but in his latest work The Progressive Era, Murray Rothbard offers a historical record of it! When the extreme rich use their money to influence politicians, politics itself becomes nothing more than one massive marketing campaign.


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Meet PA Senatorial Candidate Dale Kerns

David Beaver, January 29, 2018

The Senate races are heating up across the country and the state of Pennsylvania is no exception. With soon to be former Congressman Lou Barletta taking on the incumbent, Senator Bob Casey many are unaware that there’s a third candidate in the race. Senatorial candidate Dale Kerns plans to change that as he runs for the seat with the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. A former businessman and Eddystone borough councilman he is not what you would describe as a typical career politician and has stated that if elected he will only serve one term.

“…I will not accept a pension, will not take the healthcare, and will only run for one term. I am not part of DC and will not allow myself to be either. I am asking for one term to get some work done, and take back the seat in DC owned by Pennsylvanians and hijacked by the two-party system.” he said in a recent interview. While acknowledging the struggles of running with a third party, especially in fundraising, he is very optimistic about his chances of winning. “Being that our team is volunteer-based, and we are fiscally responsible, we do not need millions to win, but we do need to raise more.

With opponents like Lou Barletta fighting it out over wedge issues like immigration Dale Kerns has placed individual liberties and the values of small government at the forefront of his campaign. He has also taken on controversial issues, hosting town halls across the state discussing the opioid crisis and proposing unique solutions. He believes in allowing the free market to provide addiction treatments and in treating drug use as a medical issue rather than as a matter of criminal justice. His proposed bill, Addiction is Not a Crime would in effect accomplish these goals, and he has been busy advocating for it around the state. In addition to providing treatment for addicts in lieu of prison sentences he has also supported a controversial measure in which clinics around the country would off maintenance levels of heroin for addicts who reject treatment, citing its success in Portugal who has seen a drop as high as 90% in drug-related HIV infections and a rate of drug-induced deaths that has fallen to a stunning five times lower than the European Union average as a result of its more lenient and care-based policies.

In addition to shrinking the size and scope of federal government, and enforcing constitutional restrictions on its authority, Kerns has stated a number other goals in running.

“I want to show everyone that a Libertarian can be elected and that they want more Libertarians. I want them to know they don’t have to choose the lesser of two evils anymore – we are here to free them from that burden.”

A loving husband and father of two he also expressed a more personal goal in his pursuit of the Senate seat:

“I now have two young girls that cannot know the world we live in, and the world we are headed towards. I owe them the best life, a life of freedom.”

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The End of History


Kris Morgan 1/15/2018

As a means of making decisions that affect our future, specifically in the realm of politics, the internet has all but ruined the use of pure history. With historical  facts readily available, and the ease of publishing, we are all free to post our own takes on causal relationships. We have an unlimited number of ways to analyze events, but few sound means to test our hypotheses. The following examples are just a few of many demonstrating how different perspectives on history can distort one’s thinking.

The first is the idea that aliens created mankind. “The Anunnaki are also one of the MOST controversial subjects among many people around the globe. Millions of people around the world believe the Ancient Anunnaki are the creators of man and are not mythological beings but in fact flesh and blood ‘gods’ who came to Earth in the distant past.”

People are clearly open to believing extraordinary conclusions. This example  may not carry much weight politically, but others do. Suppose there are many among us who believe the following:

David Robinson wrote an article titled America is still a British Colony Under The Roman Empire.  Within it he used historical information to support the notion that the United States is not an independent nation. He even cites the 1783 Paris Peace Treaty when he states, “this treaty identifies the King of England as the prince of the United States, contradicting the belief that America won the War of Independence.”  The article continues on to the War of 1812, and later points out that the Federal Reserve is a government created yet privately-owned central bank, owned by the (London branch) House of Rothschild.

This is very different from the belief that the United States is a sovereign country. Whatever you think, the point is we have a number of interpretations of the same historical events.  Also, consider that which version of history we accept could alter the way we vote.

The above examples are obviously far outside of what is widely accepted, however, others are more subtle and have a much greater impact on life. It’s difficult to find a historical event with more practical implications than the New Deal; a topic that gets many of us into heated debates.

The causes of, and solutions to the Great Depression are guides for what modern economic policy should be. The problem is that history supports multiple sides of the debate.

According to Joseph Lazzaro at aol.com, “The New Deal increased U.S. GDP and resulted in a substantial decrease in U.S. unemployment, both during its initial phase (1933-37) and after FDR turned back 1937-38 Republican pressure to balance the budget (1939-41). The fiscal stimulus provided by the New Deal worked. That’s the record, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Robert Higgs, on the other hand, concluded the New Deal may have made the depression worse. In an article at mises.org he wrote “…the grand promise of an end to the suffering was never fulfilled. As the state sector drained the private sector, controlling it in alarming detail, the economy continued to wallow in depression.”

Imagine two people, each reading their own versions of history, debating this topic. We experience this daily on social media; each person claiming to have the facts while accusing the other of failing to absorb them. The same situation arises when discussing tax rates.

On April 5th of 2017, Neil Irwin authored a piece for the New York Times in which he offered his opinion regarding tax cuts and their effect on economic growth.  He summarized the work of economists who looked at the history of the United States and other countries by writing “there are countries with high or rising taxes that have strong economic growth and countries with low or falling rates that don’t.”

In 2003, Daniel Mitchell reviewed decades of tax reduction and opened his report with the following:

“There is a distinct pattern throughout American history: When tax rates are reduced, the economy’s growth rate improves and living standards increase. Good tax policy has a number of interesting side effects. For instance, history tells us that tax revenues grow and “rich” taxpayers pay more tax when marginal tax rates are slashed. This means lower income citizens bear a lower share of the tax burden – a consequence that should lead class-warfare politicians to support lower tax rates.  Conversely, periods of higher tax rates are associated with sub par economic performance and stagnant tax revenues.”

Again, different articles, different experts, different conclusions, same topic. Most people have neither the time nor interest to take up studying economics and political science. If they did, they’d soon discover there is no consensus among the experts. With competing versions of history and differing views on economic and political theory, how do we decide what to do?

In situations where the correct choice is not crystal clear, I invite all readers to consider applying the Non Aggression Principle (NAP). For libertarians the NAP is appropriate for all circumstances. It does not matter how economically beneficial a proposal seems, the use of force for personal or political gain is immoral.

It is unreasonable to assume students of other political ideologies are willing to hold the NAP in such a high regard. Nevertheless, law is coercion. When private citizens use force against each other, they have to prove their actions were justified to avoid legal issues. For example, shoving someone is assault. However, shoving someone out of the way of traffic could save their life, and is heroic.

Non-libertarians also must justify the power they wish to cede to the government if moral standards are to be universal. We can easily imagine situations where a policeman protects a citizen from an immediate danger. Things get far more questionable when we look at laws criminalizing peaceful behavior in the interest of economic well-being, such as minimum wages. History, unaccompanied by sound theory, does not justify inflating state powers.


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Helping The Poor: Markets vs. Charity and Welfare


Kris Morgan 1/15/18

There is much debate on the best means to help the poor. The left trusts welfare programs with the task, while their adversaries offer charities as a viable alternative. Too few point out that the market economy is empirically and logically the best overall choice. Crony capitalism and a general lack in understanding of economics have created an environment where the very idea is met with disgust. Despite that attitude, the market economy is the greatest arena to improve conditions for the poor.

Welfare programs operate to redistribute income from one person to another. While it’s true this makes it possible for the recipients to consume more, in the long run we are only working to subsidize inactivity. It doesn’t matter whether a welfare recipient works or not. Money given for nothing is always money that could have been traded for something. Taxing production to subsidize idleness diverts resources which could otherwise be used to make investments and create jobs, withholding opportunities from the very people we are trying to help. In essence, we create a welfare trap and permanent underclass.

Charity is a cousin of welfare. Although it’s perfectly within the confines of private property rights, it too is not the best way to help the poor. Resources are given to the needy at the behest of their proper owners. Some do help people by offering or finding them work, but such actions represent market activity. Charity, absent investment to meet economic demands, is no more stabilizing than welfare. No wealth is created, nor is anything done to make the receiver more marketable for future or better employment.

The only way to provide the poor with greater stability and wealth in the long run is through capital investment and entrepreneurship. For low wage earners, investment in capital goods makes labor more productive. Increased productivity leads to increased earnings by the business and opens the door for higher wages. When a society boosts production, prices fall. Even if employers refuse to offer raises, material well-being increases for everyone.

Entrepreneurship is the force for creating jobs. Though new businesses usually offer lower pay, entry level jobs help us gain experience and make connections. Building a positive reputation is a building block towards advancement and/or finding a better employer. If one is lucky enough to apply at a new establishment early, they may also attain a leadership role. It’s safe to say most of us look back on our first jobs as providing a template for proper workplace etiquette; knowledge that is expected of all adults in any organization.

Whatever one may think about the market as a mechanism for helping the poor, it’s telling that both charity and welfare attempt to hold people over until they are able to find a stable source of income. A welfare/charity case is not considered turned around until they find good paying employment; which the market provides. Additionally, resources offered by charities and programs alike are first generated by the productive market.

Steve Patterson made this point clear when he wrote: “Without this initial creation of wealth, charities would have nothing to distribute. In the developed world, it’s easy to forget that poverty is the default state of human existence. Wealth is not found in nature; it must be created, which is precisely the role of businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Whatever you think about living standards during the Industrial Revolution, can we imagine where we would be had it not taken place? One of the hottest topics of debate is what to do about America’s decline in factory jobs (though our output is actually up). Without the revolution there would be no factory job issue today, nor would we be in the middle of a technological revolution that gives us access to almost anything we want to learn.

When it comes to welfare, charity, and markets, there is no question as to which is the best method for helping the poor. Creating new jobs and investing in capital equipment is how economic growth occurs. Not only are more jobs available, but each unit of labor is more productive. Real wages rise, and the well-being of all sees a net gain as a result.

Next time you consider giving to a charity, or perhaps a person in need whom you happen to see in your city, consider paying them to do something. Anything. No matter how small. By offering a trade rather than a handout, you give them something to build on (including their self-esteem), much better than a few bucks that will tide them over until the next meal.


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