How Popular is the Libertarian Movement?

[U.S. flag in shape of U.S.]

“Libertarians are living in a fantasy world.” — Paul Krugman, New York Times

The New York Times magazine published a cover story last week with the headline, “Has the Libertarian Moment Finally Arrived?” It highlighted Sen. Rand Paul’s recent growth in popularity and his potential as a presidential candidate in 2016. But the reporter did his best to portray the libertarian movement as a “radical fringe” element of society by highlighting a bunch of young people more interested in pot than getting a successful job.

My reaction: The libertarian movement will truly arrive when The New York Times does a serious article on the #1 libertarian think tank (Cato Institute), the #1 libertarian TV show (Stossel on Fox) and the #1 libertarian conference (FreedomFest).

After the article appeared, Paul Krugman opined that libertarians are living in a “fantasy world.” He used as an example the call to replace the hodge-podge welfare system with a national guaranteed minimum income without a means test. Charles Murray has recommended that every American receive $10,000 a year from the federal government to replace the welfare program.

Krugman thinks the guaranteed income idea is crazy. I don’t especially like it myself, because it means giving welfare to people who don’t need it (the middle class and wealthy). Fifty years ago, Milton Friedman advocated a negative income tax, which makes more sense.

But Krugman is terribly insensitive to the plight of the welfare class in this country — it is a serious and growing problem with 47 million Americans on food stamps, Medicaid, Section 8 housing, etc. We’ve developed a dependent class in this country, with fourth-generation welfare recipients. Federal case workers often discourage people from getting off welfare.

Exclusive  Recent Interviews Cover Political and Economic Topics

The Welfare Reform Act of 1996, pushed through by President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress, went a long ways toward solving the welfare program in this country by requiring able-bodied people to find a job after five years of getting welfare. The number of people on food stamps and Medicaid actually declined for more than a decade — until the Great Recession of 2008. Then the program was gutted. Now is the time to bring it back.

You Blew It! Americans Overeat

America is #1 in many ways, but one recent United Nations report gave the country a dubious honor. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the United States has the highest calorie intake of any country by averaging 3,770 calories per person daily.

One could interpret this announcement as positive evidence that Americans are better fed than people in other countries. But it also could mean that Americans are overweight. In fact, more than one-third of Americans are considered “obese” — a total of 79 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That means more heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stokes.

The countries just behind the United States were Austria, with an average of 3,760 calories consumed per day and Italy, averaging 3,660 calories per person each day.

Countries with the lowest average daily calorie consumption were India with 2,300 and the Congo at 1,590. Hunger is a serious problem in these countries.

I admire First Lady Michelle Obama for taking on the issue of food habits — just as long as it’s a voluntary effort and not a government program.

Exclusive  Making Money Alert: Volatility is the Precursor to Correction

In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about what has contributed to a falling deficit. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below.

Like This Article?
Now Get Mark's FREE Special Report:
3 Dividend Plays with Sky-High Returns

This newly-released report by a top-20 living economist details three investments that are your best bets for income and appreciation for the rest of the year and beyond.

Get Access to the Report, 100% FREE


img
previous article

As the fifth-largest country in the world in terms of both square mileage and population, Brazil places great importance on its infrastructure.

PREMIUM SERVICES FOR INVESTORS

Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen publishes 4 different investment newsletter advisories, including the award-winning Forecasts & Strategies, which has beaten the market over the last 15 years.

Product Details

  • Forecasts & Strategies
  • Skousen High Income Alert
  • Fast Money Alert
  • Five Star Trader
About Mark Skousen

Bryan Perry

A former Wall Street financial advisor with three decades' experience, Bryan Perry focuses his efforts on high-yield income investing and quick-hitting options plays. Bryan's four newsletter and trading services include:

Product Details

  • Cash Machine
  • Premium Income (exclusively for subscribers of Cash Machine)
  • Quick Income Trader
  • Instant Income Trader
About Bryan Perry

Nicholas Vardy

A Stanford and Harvard Law graduate, Nicholas Vardy scours over 40 different global markets every day to uncover new profit opportunities for subscribers. His 3 advisories and trading services include:

Product Details

  • The Alpha Investor Letter
  • Bull Market Alert
  • Alpha Algorithm
About Nicholas Vardy

Doug Fabian

A 30-year Wall Street veteran and famed market timer, Doug Fabian is one the nation's foremost experts on ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). His two ETF-focused advisories include:

Product Details

  • Successful ETF Investing
  • ETF Trader's Edge
About Doug Fabian

Bob Carlson

In Bob's monthly newsletter, Retirement Watch, he provides independent, objective research covering all the financial issues of retirement and retirement planning. In addition, Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County (VA) Employees’ Retirement System, which has over $2.8 billion in assets.

Product Details

ABOUT BOB CARLSON

DividendInvestor.com

Used by financial advisors and individual investors all over the world, DividendInvestor.com is the premier provider and one-stop shop for dividend information and research. Popular tools include our proprietary Dividend Calendar, Dividend Calculator, Dividend Score Card, and many more.

Product Details

ABOUT DIVIDENDINVESTOR.COM