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Volume 20, Issue 14                              April 9, 2015
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"The Advocates are for real. Libertarians who want to get real should put into action what the Advocates teach."

—  Russell Means (1939-2012), American Indian activist, actor, author, libertarian

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In This Issue

PRESIDENT'S CORNER
*
Classic "Bad Attitude" Anti-Tax Verse — and Hope for Ending the Income Tax

ACTIVIST AMMUNITION
The Libertarian Vote: How Big Is It?
New Poll: Voters in Three Key Swing States Solidly for Re-Legalization

THEY SAID IT: Michael Moore took nearly a million bucks in corporate welfare to make his film against, yep, corporate welfare.... Clint Eastwood's son Scott on gay marriage and his dad's "leave everybody alone" libertarianism.... Who's on first? The New York Times ponders the confusing U.S. mess in the Middle East.... Ron Paul rips the new IRS attack on free speech.... Conor Friedersdorf laughs at the gov't for saying sure we're recording your phone calls but there's no need to worry.... 

PERSUASION POWER POINT #386 by Michael Cloud
Spotlight the EXCITEMENT of Liberty!

LIBERTY MINUTE
What Is the "Costberg" — and Why Should You Care?

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* SPECIAL THANK-YOU GIFTS reserved just for you!
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups

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President's Corner

by Sharon Harris






Classic "Bad Attitude" Anti-Tax Verse — and Hope for Ending the Income Tax

Dear friend,

April 15, Tax Day, is nearly here. 

It's a grim subject — so how about some comic relief? And some inspiration, some hope, for change?

First, the comic relief. 

I've had a lot of fun over the years with the following two classic anti-tax poems. The authors are unknown, but some versions seem to date from at least the 1930s.

It's a good reminder that a lot of Americans have always had a "bad attitude" about taxes. (Just ask King George!)

I hope they'll give you a good laugh — and I hope you'll keep working with the Advocates and other libertarians to create a movement that will make income taxes as much a thing of the past as slavery, alcohol Prohibition, and the Divine Right of Kings!

Don't forget: following the poems, some inspiration and hope for change.  

   * * *

   The Tax Collector's Creed

     Now he's a common, common man
     So tax him, tax him, all you can.
     Tax his house, Tax his bed;
     Tax the bald spot on his head.
     Tax his drink, Tax his meat,
     Tax the shoes right off his feet.
     Tax his cow, Tax his goat;
     Tax his pants, Tax his coat;
     Tax his crop, Tax his work;
     Tax his ties, Tax his shirt;
     Tax his chew, Tax his smoke,
     Teach him taxing is no joke.
     Tax his tractor, Tax his mule;
     Tell him: "Taxing is the rule!"
     Tax his oil, Tax his gas,
     Tax his notes, Tax his cash.
     Tax him good and let him know
     That after taxes, he has no dough.
     If he hollers, Tax him more;
     Tax him till he's good and sore.
     Tax his coffin, Tax his grave,
     Tax the sod in which he's laid.
     Put these words upon his tomb,
     "Taxes drove him to his doom."
     Even when he's gone, we won't relax —
     We'll still collect inheritance tax.

   * * *

   The Taxpayer's Lament

     Sit down my friends and just relax,
     It's time to pay your income tax.
     For whether we are great or small,
     They tax us one, they tax us all.
     They tax the hobo and the queen,
     They tax the bull and tax his ring.
     They tax the gas that runs your car
     And even tax the big cigar.
     They tax your whiskey and home brew,
     They tax the Bible and your pew.
     They tax the wristwatch on your arm
     And tax the rat trap on your farm.
     They tax the baby in his crib, and
     Tax his shirt and tax his bib.
     They tax the crib that he sleeps in,
     And don't consider that a sin.
     Then they go from bad to worse
     And tax the doctor and tax the nurse.
     They tax the dentist and his drill
     And he just adds it to your bill.
     Whenever you leave this world behind
     They will be there to steal you blind.
     Before you reach the Golden Gate
     They'll slap a tax on your estate.
     They tax the hearse on your last ride,
     And shed some tears because you died. 
     The reason for their deep distress?
     You left them with no address.

   * * *

Love 'em! 

And now the inspiration. Last year I wrote an article entitled "Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax." 

It suggests 11 ways to persuade others that abolishing the hated income tax — and replacing it with nothing — is not only extremely desirable, it is realistic and politically possible. 

Check it out and consider using some (or all) of them. Recently we've seen once-radical libertarian ideas — for example, re-legalization of marijuana, marriage choice, and a non-interventionist foreign policy — leap into the mainstream. Let's put ending the income tax —  and replacing it with... nothing — on that list! 

In Liberty,
 
Sharon
 
NEXT ISSUE: "Ask Dr. Ruwart"... and more!
 
* * *
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Activist Ammunition

by James W. Harris





The Libertarian Vote: How Big Is It?

Now that Rand Paul has officially announced he is seeking the presidency, attention is being focused on the libertarian voting bloc. Just how big is it? How many libertarian-minded voters are out there?

The answer may surprise you. 

First, it's important to note that "libertarian voter" doesn't necessarily mean a voter who meets the stricter definition of a libertarian, i.e., someone who consistently opposes the initiation of force. Rather, it refers to someone who would be inclined to vote for a libertarian candidate in an election. Someone who is more supportive of libertarian ideas than liberal, conservative, statist or centrist ideas. 

Different organizations have used different methods to determine the size of this libertarian bloc. And they've come up with some pretty consistent estimates. 

* For 20 years Gallup's annual Governance Survey has divided voters into liberal, conservative, libertarian, or populist, based on their answers to two questions: 

1.) "Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country's problems. Which comes closer to your own view?"

2.) "Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?"

In their 2014 survey Gallup classified 24% of respondents as libertarian (with 27% conservative, 21% liberal, and 18% populist). This is hardly a rigorous political litmus test, but it may well help single out voters who might be sympathetic to libertarianism. 

* The Cato Institute's David Boaz has done a lot of work on this over the years, including an important 2012 book (with David Kirby Emily Ekins) that summarizes numerous polls by Cato and others on the topic: The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center

They conclude that, depending on the criteria used, roughly 15-18% of voters can be classified as "libertarian voters." 

* A 2006 Zogby poll, commissioned by Cato, found surprising results. Zogby asked half of a group of 1,012 people who had voted in the 2006 election: "Would you describe yourself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal?" Fully 59% of the respondents said "yes." 

Zogby asked the other half a more challenging question: "Would you describe yourself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, also known as libertarian?" A surprising 44% of respondents — representing 100 million Americans — answered "yes" to that question, thus self-identifying as libertarians. This is obviously higher than the number of true libertarians in America, but certainly it at least indicates that millions of people are open to these ideas and this label. 

* Finally, here's an often-overlooked but remarkable finding — based on the Advocates' World's Smallest Political Quiz. In August 2000 Rasmussen gave the World's Smallest Political Quiz to nearly 1,000 representative American voters. The Quiz is a far more rigorous test of one's libertarian leanings than "fiscally conservative and socially liberal" or other looser definitions used by polling firms. Yet fully 16% scored in the libertarian sector then — a figure closely matching to the other estimates we've cited. 

What can we conclude? While the numbers and the criteria in these studies vary, at the very least there is broad agreement on a figure between 15% to 20%. That's 30 to 40 million voters — a huge, and growing, voting bloc that could easily swing an election. 

Add to this the additional millions on the left, right, and center who may vote for a libertarian-leaning candidate who stresses issues of great importance to them — such as a more peaceful foreign policy, marijuana re-legalization, slashing taxes, and reforming the out-of-control surveillance state.

Which brings us back to Rand Paul's presidential run announcement. Rand Paul doesn't claim to be a libertarian. He has described himself as "libertarian-ish" and in 2013 told Sean Hannity "I use the term constitutional conservative, but I also use the term libertarian conservative. ... I accept all of those terms if they mean they believe in limited government and more individual liberty."

But he is certainly the most libertarian-inclined presidential candidate — outside the Libertarian Party — in memory. Cato's Boaz notes in TIME what may well be the most important thing to come out of a Rand Paul campaign: 

"One result of his campaign will be to help those tens of millions of libertarian-leaning Americans to discover that their political attitudes have a name, which will make for a stronger and more influential political faction. ... Libertarianism is the framework for a future of freedom, growth, and progress, and it may be on the verge of a political breakout."

New Poll: Voters in Three Key Swing States Solidly for Re-Legalization

Since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

And that makes a new Quinnipiac University poll on marijuana re-legalization so fascinating. 

The poll, released April 6, finds voters in all three critical swing states solidly supporting re-legalization of marijuana for recreational use. More than 1,000 voters in each state were surveyed.

Further, voters in all three states favor legalization of medical marijuana by astounding margins — 5 to 1 or more.

Support for allowing adults "to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use" is 55% - 42% in Florida, 52% - 44% in Ohio and 51% - 45in Pennsylvania.

And support for medical marijuana is near-universal. The numbers are remarkable: 84% in Florida, 84% in Ohio and 88% in Pennsylvania. You have to wonder: Why isn't every politician jumping on this issue?

Also important: voters in these states overwhelmingly say they don't plan to use marijuana themselves.

81% of Florida voters say they "definitely" or "probably" would not use it;  84% of Ohio voters say they "definitely" or "probably" would not use it; and 83% of Pennsylvania voters say they "definitely" or "probably" would not.

This indicates they favor legalization because the consequences of marijuana prohibition make the policy undesirable. And it indicates that one of the key arguments of prohibitionists — that re-legalizing marijuana would lead vast numbers of people to start using it — may just be dead wrong. 

* * * 

Activist Ammunition is written by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he has been a Finalist for the Mencken Awards, given by the Free Press Association for "Outstanding Journalism in Support of Liberty." 
THEY SAID IT...

CORPORATE WELFARE, A LOVE STORY:  "Michael Moore made a movie criticizing corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story' and received $845,145 in corporate welfare from the Michigan Film Office." — Michigan Capitol Confidential website, "The Irony of Michigan's Film Incentive Program," April 2, 2015. (Hat tip to Carpe Diem blog)

CLINT EASTWOOD'S SON ON GAY MARRIAGE AND LIBERTARIANISM: "I support gay marriage... I think everybody should be able to be with who they want to be with. My dad is the same way. He's a total libertarian — everyone leave everyone alone. Everyone live their own private life." — Scott Eastwood, interviewed by PrideSource.com, March 31, 2015. 

WHO'S ON FIRST: "Our military is fighting in a tacit alliance with Iranian proxies in Iraq, even as it assists in a campaign against Iranian-backed forces in Yemen. We are formally committed to regime change in Syria, but we're intervening against the regime's Islamist enemies. Our strongest allies, officially, are still Israel and Saudi Arabia, but we're busy alienating them by pushing for détente with Iran. And please don't mention Libya or Al Qaeda — you'll confuse everyone even more." — New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, "The Method to Obama's Middle East Mess," March 28, 2015. 

NEW IRS ATTACK ON FREE SPEECH: "The IRS is drafting a new regulation that would empower the agency to revoke an organization's tax-exempt status if that organization sends out a communication to its members or the general public mentioning a candidate for office by name sixty days before an election or thirty days before a primary. By preventing groups from telling their members where candidates stand on issues like Audit the Fed and repeal of the PATRIOT Act, this anti-First Amendment regulation benefits those politicians who wish to hide their beliefs from the voters." — Ron Paul, "The IRS and Congress Both Hold Our Liberty in Contempt," Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, April 5, 2015. 

THEY'D NEVER DO THAT: "If you've used a landline to call an abortion clinic, a gun store, a suicide hotline, a therapist, an oncologist, a phone sex operator, an investigative journalist, or a union organizer, odds are the government has logged a record of the call. If your Congressional representative has a spouse or child who has made an embarrassing phone call, the executive branch may well possess the ability to document it, though government apologists insist that they'd never do so and are strangely confident that future governments composed of unknown people won't either." — journalist Conor Friedersdorf, "When Will the NSA Stop Spying on Innocent Americans?", TheAtlantic.com., April 2, 2015.
 
*  *  *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.

Persuasion Power Point #386

by Michael Cloud






Spotlight the EXCITEMENT of Liberty!

"Michael, most people aren't very interested in liberty," a 10-year libertarian told me.

"Really?" I asked. "Would you like to find out why?"

"Yes," he said.

"What are 3 fascinating things about freedom?" I asked.

"Well, there are lots of interesting things," he said.

"Could you give me 3 exciting examples?" I asked.

He hemmed and hawed. But he couldn't come up with even 3 "Wow!!!" things that liberty gives us.

Why? Because he'd never asked himself questions like these:

* "What are 3 or 4 or 5 huge, immediate, direct benefits that liberty would give us in this area?" 

* "What are 2 or 4 exciting things that will happen when we abolish the federal income tax — and return every dollar every year to the men and women it was taken from?" 

* "What are 3 or 5 terrific things that will happen when we end the War on Drugs and free every peaceful drug offender in prison?" 

* "What are a few of the most thrilling things about giving people dramatically more freedom than we have today?" 

Showcase, celebrate, sing the praises of, beat the drum for, and shout out the most exciting, engaging, jazzy things that freedom will bring the person you're talking with — and his family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, too.

If you repeatedly and relentlessly do this in all your libertarian conversations you'll find that people are indeed interested in liberty — and you'll bring in dozens and dozens of new, excited libertarians.
 
*  *  *
In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.
 

One-Minute Liberty Tip 

by Sharon Harris




What Is the "Costberg" — and Why Should You Care?

I'm always delighted to find colorful, eye-opening words and phrases that libertarians can use to help people understand and embrace the ideas of liberty. 

Here are some very useful terms for bringing attention to the little-known but astounding cost of government regulations. 

Wayne Crews of the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has been following this issue for years. A recent CEI report, "Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 114th Congress," estimates that, just in 2014 alone, an astounding 3,541 new federal regulations were enacted.

Crews admits that estimating the costs of regulation is difficult. In fact, the subtitle of "Tip of the Costberg," his ongoing effort to do that, is "On the Invalidity of All Cost of Regulation Estimates and the Need to Compile Them Anyway.") Yet someone's got to do it — the federal government certainly won't. Crews deserves great praise for his pioneering efforts. 

By Crew's best estimate, the burden of these regulations on American prosperity is staggering: around $1.882 trillion. The federal government will spend about $3.5 trillion this year. But this extra $1.882 trillion in unseen regulatory costs is, Crews says, the equivalent of an invisible 65% surcharge on your federal taxes, or nearly 12% of GDP.

"Regulation today is a hidden tax equivalent at least to half the amount of the fiscal budget itself," Crews notes. "If federal regulations were a country, their cost would amount to the world's 10th largest economy." 

This is an incredible drag on our economy, lowering our standard of living and slowing progress. Though most of us aren't aware of it, it constitutes a sort of hidden tax that each and every American pays. In fact, Crews wonders if, as more data on the costs of regulation are compiled, we "may find taxation the lesser of the two components of governmental costs." 

This is a little-understood — though crucial — issue. But the terms we generally use to discuss it, like "excessive government regulations," are...  kind of boring. And confusing. Listeners' attention tends to wander.  

So I like it that Crews occasionally spices up his discussion with some colorful and provocative terms that libertarians can use to help bring the issue to life for our listeners. 

As noted, Crews calls this huge, ugly, dangerous mass of regulations and hidden costs the "costberg." That's clever, and creates a strong mental image of this "costberg" threatening to collide with and sink our ship of state, just like the iceberg that sank the Titanic. 

And here's another great term: "red tapeworm." Last year Crews titled a blog post "Red Tapeworm 2014: Reckoning the Dollar Cost of Federal Regulation." Red Tapeworm (as in "red tape," slang for worthless and costly government regulation), is very useful, with a populist appeal. For example: "The red tapeworm is chewing up $1.882 trillion from the American economy — that's money out of your pocket every year." 

Finally, you can simply refer to "the huge hidden tax of government regulation." People understand the nature of taxes more than they do unseen regulation and mandates. Just pointing out that such things amount to hidden taxes — and massive taxes — can be eye-opening for your audience. 

Try using these terms — along with facts and figures from CEI's excellent reports — to spice up your discussions of this extremely important, but largely unrecognized, problem. 

And for more on this topic, check out CEI's "Ten Thousand Commandments" website, which regularly updates these figures and arguments.

*  *  *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government. 

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