Wayne Root on Thom Hartmann Program

Transcript posted on the Tom Hartmann Program website:

Thom asks Wayne Root why distribute risk with military, police & fire departments but not for health? 25 August 2009

Thom Hartmann: I want to start off the programme today with a discussion of health care, and this on-going debate. Wayne Root is with us. Wayne Allyn Root is an American entrepreneur, television producer, best-selling author, runs a gambling site as well, but most significantly, in 2008, he was the Vice-Presidential nominee for the Libertarian party, and is currently considered a front runner for the 2012 Libertarian Presidential nomination. His website, wayneroot.com and root4america.com. Wayne, welcome to the show.

Wayne Root: Hello, Thom, and don’t forget my new book, “The Conscience of a Libertarian”. It’s out in bookstores all over the country, and it’s got a big chapter on healthcare, a big chapter on the failures of government. I think those two go hand in hand.

Thom Hartmann: Great promotion. Yes, the failures of government. The ways that government competition, now let me get this straight. Does government competition put private enterprise out of business, or is government just completely incompetent?

Wayne Root: Well, it’s both in some ways. Number one, it is completely incompetent. I’ll give you a hundred examples if you want. There’s no time to do a hundred, but how about five? But also, it can put private industry out of business, no matter how good you consider private industry to be.

Thom Hartmann: Ok. The way that public libraries, where you can get a book for free, put out of business our bookstores?

Wayne Root: Say that again?

Thom Hartmann: The way that public libraries have put bookstores out of business?

Wayne Root: I don’t think public libraries have been any problem for private bookstores. No, I don’t…

Thom Hartmann: Ok, so that’s a public option.

Wayne Root: Hey Thom. If you’ll allow the government to take massive losses, and no matter how big it is, you stick the bill to taxpayers, then government could keep health insurance prices artificially low for a few years, until they put all the private industry out of business, and then hike those prices right back up again.

Thom Hartmann: Artificially low. Ok, let’s get right to the essence of this, Wayne. In the Constitution, in the preamble of the Constitution, the Founders talked about both the general welfare, and the common defense, and the Libertarian position, as I recall, is that the primary function of government should be to provide, you know, basically, protection. Police and military.

Wayne Root: Right.

Thom Hartmann: Why would the Federal government provide military?

Wayne Root: Why would the Federal government provide military? Well, I would think because we could be overrun and murdered by our enemies all around the world.

Thom Hartmann: No, no. Because, come on, Wayne. If you got enough money, you can have your own private army.

Wayne Root: Listen, I’m not an anarchist. I’m a person who believes in limited government.

Thom Hartmann: No, I’m very serious. I’m absolutely deadly serious about this thing. The same thing with the police. Why would the government provide police?

Wayne Root: Listen. You and I are debating as if I’m an anarchist, when in reality, I’m a libertarian conservative. I want government, I just want it to be kept…..

Thom Hartmann: I know you want government to provide military and police. I get that. My point is that the reason why government provides military and police is…..

Wayne Root: To protect people’s lives.

Thom Hartmann: No. It’s to distribute the risk over a broad base. The amount of money that it would cost to have a private security firm, let’s say that you wanted to hire Blackwater. And somebody was breaking into your house, and Blackwater comes over to your house, and shows up with two or three of their commandos, and they chase the guy down the street, and they capture him, and they put him in their private prison. That would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, right? It costs thousands, tens of thousands of dollars, when police actually protect an individual citizen.

If there’s a car wreck out there, cost of all the emergency services, the fire trucks, the police, all that kind of stuff, it could be a million dollars at the end of the day, if two or three people are killed and there’s a real, you know, a huge traffic pile-up. The reason why the government provides police, fire and military is because none of us can afford the individual risk, or very few of us could. Maybe Warren Buffet could, but the rest of us can’t, and so we distribute that risk over a wide number of people. That’s why it’s an appropriate function of government. Now, tell me why we should have health insurance companies operating on a for-profit basis, when the whole purpose of health insurance is to distribute risk that protects our lives the same way the military protects our lives from being murdered, and the police protect our lives from being robbed.

Wayne Root: Well, first of all, Thom, the one thing liberals never want to admit is we just can’t afford it right now. It’s impossible to get another trillion or more into the American budget that is already at a point of unsustainable spending, unsustainable debt, and unsustainable deficit.

Thom Hartmann: You’re not answering my question, Wayne. You’re not even addressing the issue, and the President is saying that this is going to be revenue neutral. And frankly, if we just roll back the Bush tax cuts, or even better, roll back the Reagan tax cuts, you’d have a budget in balance.

Wayne Root: You’d also have socialism. You’d also have tax rates so high no one could afford to stay in business and pay for your health care.

Thom Hartmann: Yeah, things were really terrible during the Eisenhower years, and during the Nixon years, and during the Johnson years…

Wayne Root: Oh I’m so sick of hearing, that’s the liberal lie. For your information, in those days Thom, tax rates were in fact higher, but when you adjust for inflation, there were higher revenues far beyond what a person like me, who’s upper-middle class, and makes two fifty, three hundred thousand dollars a year. Tax rates were high, and people made millions of dollars a year. But now, because there aren’t enough of them, and government spending is so expensive, we have to call “rich” people who make a quarter of a million, a small business that employs six people. That’s not rich, Thom. You can’t tax them like they’re Bernard Madoff.

Thom Hartmann: So you, wait a minute. Wayne, your argument is incoherent. You’re saying on the one hand you’re in favor of progressive taxation, things worked rather well during the Eisenhower, Nixon, Johnson etc administrations, when the top tax rate was ninety-one percent, that that was fine, but now because there’s not as many rich people, which I would challenge, and they don’t have as much money, which I would challenge, because there’s more rich people, and there’s more money among the rich than there has been since 1928, that we can’t do that, and that would be socialism.

But, back to the original point, Wayne. Why is it that you want to distribute risk? Why is the Libertarians want to distribute risk of the cost of protecting us from terrorism and foreign governments, military, and protecting us from robbers and car accidents and drunken drivers, police, and protecting us from fire, fire departments, and not protect us from cancer?

Wayne Root: Well, first of all, you put words in my mouth, completely. You got to take a breathe there, Thom, and let answer back once in a while, cause I didn’t say that I was for progressive taxes on the rich, but not on the upper-middle-class. I’m not for progressive taxes, period. Everyone should pay the same percentage. I’m for a flat tax for everyone in America, cause I think you should be rewarded for your success, not punished every time you become more successful. And if you don’t realize that the average small businessman is creating seventy-five percent of all the new jobs in America, and you’re going to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs…

Thom Hartmann: Actually, it’s down below fifty percent now, tragically. Wayne, in the ideal…

Wayne Root: No, no, no, no. All jobs is 50%. New jobs is 75%.

Thom Hartmann: Unfortunately, check your statistics, Wayne.

Wayne Root: I know my stats.

Thom Hartmann: Small businesses in America have been wiped out. Back, twenty, thirty years ago, you walked into a strip mall in America, it was all locally owned businesses. Now, you can’t find one. But that’s not the point. We’re talking about healthcare here.

Wayne Root: What would you blame on that? The blame is Home Depot and Wal-Mart? Is that what you’re blaming?

Thom Hartmann: My blame is the non-enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. But that’s, again, got nothing to do with healthcare.

Wayne Root: No, but it does!

Thom Hartmann: We have a minute left, Wayne. Tell me why we shouldn’t distribute the risk of healthcare the way we distribute the risk of the military and the police. Why not?

Wayne Root: The problem is it fails in everything it does. You don’t want the Post Office…

Thom Hartmann: So you don’t want to have the military and the police any more being run by the Socialist government?

Wayne Root: Listen. I’m not in charge of running police, but I know health insurance is better at running health than the Federal government is.

Thom Hartmann: How do you know that, Wayne?

Wayne Root: The problem is lawyers, Thom, and nobody on the Left wants to mention that, cause the Trial Association has bought and owned Barack Obama.

Thom Hartmann: That’s nothing to do with this. How do you know that the private health insurance does better when we’re thirty-fifth in the world in infant mortality, and twenty-ninth in the world in longevity? All the countries with nationalized healthcare services are beating us.

Wayne Root: They aren’t beating us. That’s a lie. You’ve going by one study by the United Nations that has us ranked thirty-eighth, but in actual healthcare, we’re ranked number one by that same study, Thom. You’re not mentioning that.

Thom Hartmann: No. It’s not in that study, Wayne.

Wayne Root: Number one in performance, number thirty-eight overall, because they don’t think their tax system is progressive enough.

Thom Hartmann: You can read it all at the website wayneroot.com root4america.com and your book, Wayne.

Wayne Root: “The Conscience of a Libertarian”. Thank you, Thom.

Thom Hartmann: Thank you, Wayne.

Transcribed by Gerard Aukstiejus.



Aaron Starr writes,

With the benefit of being a Monday morning quarterback, I’m curious how others here would recommend Wayne answer these questions in the future.

Keep in mind the rules of the radio medium here though. You only have time for a sound bite answer — maybe 15-20 seconds. And it’s got to be entertaining to people not familiar with us, so that you’ll get on a future radio show.

The way your answer reads is very different from how it sounds, so please be sure you read your answer out loud before posting it here.

My attempt is here and here, and Robert Capozzi takes a shot at it here.

At another point in the previous thread, Aaron Starr writes,

I hope someone at IPR will create a separate thread for this.

Here’s the scoop. Wayne Root tells me there’s a 50:50 chance that Thom Hartmann will have him back on his show this week.

The question Wayne will be required to address is as follows:

Is Obama really “socializing” America?

You are now part of Wayne Root’s kitchen cabinet.

What would you have him say to convince Hartmann’s audience that what Obama is doing is socialism and that this is bad for our country?

Think of short, punchy responses. Make it informative, convincing, and most of all, entertaining.

Remember, you’re not allowed to deviate from the topic, if you want to be invited back.

29 thoughts on “Wayne Root on Thom Hartmann Program

  1. paulie Post author

    My responses, for anyone who did not click on the link or read the previous thread…

    Thom Hartmann: Yes, the failures of government. The ways that government competition, now let me get this straight. Does government competition put private enterprise out of business, or is government just completely incompetent?

    Paulie: Government is competent at only one thing, taking money from people under the threat of force and wasting it, like they are doing on the unconstitutional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war on some drugs and the militarization of the border with Mexico. It’s an unnatural monopoly, and it’s not good at efficiently delivering any service that people actually want.

    Thom Hartmann: Ok. The way that public libraries, where you can get a book for free, put out of business our bookstores?

    Paulie: No, and file sharing and before that casette-to-casette copying didn’t put record companies out of business, but then again that did not require a government monopoly either, so I’m not just going to assume there wouldn’t be any libraries if they were not being funded by unwilling taxpayers. But at least libraries are a service people actually have a use for, unlike, for example, putting cancer patients in jail for marijuana.

    Thom Hartmann: Ok, so that’s a public option.

    Paulie: Is there anything you don’t want a public option for? Food? Clothing? Transportation? Life insurance? Where does it end?

    Thom Hartmann: Ok, Paul. In the Constitution, in the preamble of the Constitution, the Founders talked about both the general welfare, and the common defense, and the Libertarian position, as I recall, is that the primary function of government should be to provide, you know, basically, protection. Police and military.

    Paulie: If we could get government down to doing only those things, I’d call that a big step in the right direction. But there isn’t any part of the government monopoly that I wouldn’t cut as much as possible. If we could stop the police from being militarized, harassing and arresting people for victimless so-called crimes, and go back to being peace officers, that would be huge. Ultimately, maybe that could be done by a volunteer neighborhood watch. And I want to get away from using the military as the world’s police force.

    Thom Hartmann: Why would the Federal government provide military?

    Paulie: You know, that’s a good question. I think the founders had a good idea when they talked about having a volunteer militia of all the citizens, with armies only being raised in times of war. But I’m not here to talk about utopia; in the real world, I’d be happy to bring the troops home from around the world. That would make my whole year, Thom. How about you?

    Thom Hartmann: No, no. Because, come on, Paul. If you got enough money, you can have your own private army.

    Paulie: Sure, maybe you could. But that’s not the real world we live in. I’ll get back to discussing things we can actually hope to accomplish in the next few decades whenever you’re ready, Thom.

    Thom Hartmann: No, I’m very serious. I’m absolutely deadly serious about this thing. The same thing with the police. Why would the government provide police?

    Paulie: Well, you know, that’s a good question too. For anytime in the near future, I don’t think we’ll get enough people to seriously even consider it, so let’s talk about reality. How about we stop cops from acting like robocops on steroids, tasing people left and right, shooting people’s dogs on a regular basis, carrying out 100,000 SWAT raids a year? That would be a good start. Then maybe we can talk about more radical theoretical questions. Can we deal with reality here, Thom?

    Thom Hartmann: No. It’s to distribute the risk over a broad base. The amount of money that it would cost to have a private security firm, let’s say that you wanted to hire Blackwater. And somebody was breaking into your house, and Blackwater comes over to your house, and shows up with two or three of their commandos, and they chase the guy down the street, and they capture him, and they put him in their private prison. That would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, right? It costs thousands, tens of thousands of dollars, when police actually protect an individual citizen.

    If there’s a car wreck out there, cost of all the emergency services, the fire trucks, the police, all that kind of stuff, it could be a million dollars at the end of the day, if two or three people are killed and there’s a real, you know, a huge traffic pile-up. The reason why the government provides police, fire and military is because none of us can afford the individual risk, or very few of us could. Maybe Warren Buffet could, but the rest of us can’t, and so we distribute that risk over a wide number of people. That’s why it’s an appropriate function of government. Now, tell me why we should have health insurance companies operating on a for-profit basis, when the whole purpose of health insurance is to distribute risk that protects our lives the same way the military protects our lives from being murdered, and the police protect our lives from being robbed.

    Paulie: Nobody said people can’t get together
    to distribute risks, Thom. Insurance companies do that. Mutual aid societies. All sorts of both for profit and non profit organizations. So why do we need a coercively funded monopoly in the mix? Let me give you a quick example here. As recently as 1920, over one-quarter of all adult Americans were members of fraternal societies such as the Shriners, Elks, Masons, and similar organizations. Fraternal societies were particularly popular among blacks and immigrants. A group of working-class folks would form or join an association and pay monthly fees into the association’s treasury, and
    members would then be able to draw on the pooled resources when they needed to. The fraternal societies operated as a form of self-help insurance company. The government actually stepped in to get the cost of medical care UP!

    Thom Hartmann: You’re not answering my question, Paul. You’re not even addressing the issue, and the President is saying that this is going to be revenue neutral. And frankly, if we just roll back the Bush tax cuts, or even better, roll back the Reagan tax cuts, you’d have a budget in balance.

    Paulie: Well, first of all, it’s not going to be revenue neutral. That’s ridiculous. As a matter of fact they are already hedging on that. And the Reagan and Bush tax cuts are a misnomer. Most people, especially blue collar, pink collar and working poor folks, are paying more taxes than before Reagan and Bush. And the budget is never going to be balanced as long as we keep having these so called “bailouts” and “stimulus packages,” waging war all over the world, and now Obama wants to play doctor with the whole country…we’re going to bankrupt ourselves if we keep this up, Thom.

    Thom Hartmann: Yeah, things were really terrible during the Eisenhower years, and during the Nixon years, and during the Johnson years…

    Paulie: Well, yeah, Thom, it took us a while to get into the mess we’re in. Even the Soviet Union didn’t collapse right away, it took them 70 years. The presidents you mentioned got us into some real messes, like the war in Vietnam and the war on drugs. I wouldn’t hold them up as such great examples if I was you.

    Thom Hartmann: But, back to the original point, Paul. Why is it that you want to distribute risk? Why is the Libertarians want to distribute risk of the cost of protecting us from terrorism and foreign governments, military, and protecting us from robbers and car accidents and drunken drivers, police, and protecting us from fire, fire departments, and not protect us from cancer?

    Paulie: Thom, have you listened to anything I said? It’s not distributing risk that I have a problem with, it’s a coercively funded monopoly government. If it really provided the services that people want, it would not have to demand money under the threat of force or tell people where they can compete and where they can’t.

    Thom Hartmann: Small businesses in America have been wiped out. Back, twenty, thirty years ago, you walked into a strip mall in America, it was all locally owned businesses. Now, you can’t find one. But that’s not the point. We’re talking about healthcare here.

    Paulie: Well, let’s back up, since you brought that up. Do you know why that is? With all the taxes and regulations that we have now, small businesses get drowned in a sea of red tape, and big corporations have a much easier time with their armies of lawyers, accountants, lobbyists – that’s why small business is having such a hard time keeping up. We are moving to a corporate system with big government and big business lining up on one side, and small businesses and independent workers getting squeezed out, Thom. What were you going to say about health care?

    Thom Hartmann: My blame is the non-enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. But that’s, again, got nothing to do with healthcare.

    Paulie: OK, but as long as you brought it up, a trust is a monopoly, that is what government is and does. What about an anti-monopoly act for government, Thom?

    Thom Hartmann: We have a minute left, Paul. Tell me why we shouldn’t distribute the risk of healthcare the way we distribute the risk of the military and the police. Why not?

    Paulie: The problem is it fails in everything it does. You don’t want the DMV…

    Thom Hartmann: So you don’t want to have the military and the police any more being run by the Socialist government?

    Paulie: Well, if I had my perfect world, probably not. But I’d settle if they stopped acting like fascists at home and imperialists abroad. That would be a good start, don’t you think?

    Thom Hartmann: How do you know that, Paul?

    Paulie: Well, I look at how the US did before all that happened, it went from being a tiny backwater to having the world’s premier economy. But now we’re being outpaced by countries in East Asia which are more economically free. We’re paying to defend Europe and Japan, which is a big part of why they caught up to us economically after they were wiped out after WW2. I could go on but you said you only had a minute.

    Thom Hartmann: That’s nothing to do with this. How do you know that the private health insurance does better when we’re thirty-fifth in the world in infant mortality, and twenty-ninth in the world in longevity? All the countries with nationalized healthcare services are beating us.

    Paulie: You don’t even have to go to other countries, Thom. Look at the mess that the VA system is. All veterans are legally entitled to free health care in the VA system, and yet every veteran I know who can afford it pays money to get treated elsewhere. Why do you think that is, Thom?

  2. Thane Eichenauer

    Paulie’s answer is great.

    Root’s weak points is that it appears that Hartmann and Root don’t agree as to what the facts (statistics) are and there is little common ground that they both agree to.

    Hartman thinks that government is a coop and is resistant to admitting that government services are monopolies (or that government monopolies are bad).

    Perhaps Root should take a Radley Balko seminar and discuss the problems of police monopoly with Hartmann.

    I wish liberals had some point on which they will admit that government fails badly such as misuse of SWAT teams and tactics.

  3. Steve LaBianca

    Thane Eichenauer // Aug 31, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Paulie’s answer is great. (I agree!)

    Root’s weak points . . . (Are virtually everywhere!)

    W.A.R.

    Flat tax – Dick Armey and Steve Forbes (both Republicans) strongly support it -so does W.A.R.

    “Why would the Federal government provide military? Well, I would think because we could be overrun and murdered by our enemies all around the world.”

    Exactly what neo-cons believe. “Our enemies” are “all around the world”? If that were true, though I am not sure America has enemies all over the world, it is most likely because of our military presence and intervention all around the world. Where is evidence of W.A.R.’s newfound non-interventionist beliefs in his answers? Not there, BECA– USE THEY DON’T EXIST!

    Only one conclusion can be rightly determined from this,,and every other thing that W.A.R.
    says – his views are overwhelmingly in concert with mainstream Republicans, not libertarians.

  4. paulie Post author

    Thanks Steve and Thane, but I think the idea of the exercise here is to provide your own more or less complete set of answers to Hartmann’s questions and points.

    Anyone else besides Capozzi and I feel like doing that?

  5. David F. Nolan

    Thom Hartman is being disingenuous at best. Unfortunately, Root does not have a firm and deep understanding of libertarian principles, so it’s easy for someone like Hartman to outmaneuver him, and effectively put words in his mouth. And once again, we have WAR saying “I’m a libertarian conservative.” That’s the crux of the problem, right there!

  6. Michael H. Wilson

    Well David some of us have tried to reach Root. I’ve emailed him thru his website two or three time. No reply. Over the weekend some of us made suggestions regarding his appearance on Hartman’s show at Aaron Star’s suggestion. Whether it of it will get thru is another story. Seems that Root is protected by an iron curtain, or either some of us are blacklisted.

  7. paulie Post author

    The question Wayne will be required to address is as follows:

    Is Obama really “socializing” America?

    A better approach to Hartmann listeners might be to paint Obama as the third term of W; let’s just say Duh-buy-ya went to Cabo and got a tan.

    From “bailout” to “stimulus”, from war in Afghanistan and Iraq to more war in Afghanistan and Iraq, from torture, rendition and Guantanamo to more torture, rendition and Guantanamo, from medical marijuana raids to more medical marijuana raids, from opposing gay rights to even more of the same….change, what change?

  8. paulie Post author

    In other news, someone else can post this to the main page if they get to it before me…

    This was also at Gold America Group

    http://goldamericagroup.com/diary/69/ferguson-leaves-lnc-staff

    Ferguson Leaves LNC Staff
    by: Forwarder
    Wed Aug 26, 2009 at 18:56:56 PM MDT
    (Here is real news about the National party. Expect to see an examination of their July finances, which were suboptimal, soon. – promoted by AuGeo)

    GoldAmericaGroup has had forwarded to it a memo from the LNC Executive Director to the LNC:

    “We’ve had two staff changes at the LP headquarters. Donny Ferguson has moved on from his position as Communications Director of the Libertarian Party and is resuming his focus as President of Donald E. Ferguson & Associates, L.L.C., a campaign management, fundraising, and lobbying business in the DC area. Mr. Ferguson has a had a long history with the Libertarian Party, including having served as a campaign consultant, a volunteer activist, and he ran as a 2005 Libertarian Party candidate for Virginia House of Delegates. I want to thank him for his service to the Libertarian Party and wish him well on future projects for liberty.

    “While I will be taking over some of Mr. Ferguson’s former responsibilities at least for a while, I have also hired Mr. Arthur DiBianca of Austin, Texas, to provide some contract consulting services for the LNC in areas that we need help.

    “Some of the projects and responsibilities for Mr. DiBianca:
    * Assist with generating, maintaining, and synchronizing with LP.org, a list of currently elected Libertarians and current candidates
    * Assist with updating information on LP.org
    * Assist with database cleanup and troubleshooting
    * Assist with writing and editing fundraising letters
    * Assist with writing and editing press releases
    * Assist with maintaining our press release and house broadcast email system
    * Assist with member and candidate recruitment
    * Other tasks and projects as needed

    “Mr. DiBianca worked for me for 3.5 years as Assistant Director while I was Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Texas, and he continues to serve part-time for the Libertarian Party of Texas as its Operations Manager. Mr. DiBianca will be working from Austin, Texas.

    “In Texas, Mr. DiBianca did the following for the LP Texas and still has some of these responsibilities:
    * In 2004, big-time ballot access helper (personally validated about half our 80,000 signatures)
    * Maintained the database
    * Maintained the website
    * Drafted press releases
    * Edited fundraising letters
    * Prepared and filed campaign finance reports with the Texas Ethics Commission
    * Printed and mailed lots of fundraising letters and daily inquiry packs
    * Made fundraising phone calls (more than anyone else in Texas for 2007 & 2008)
    * Made phone calls to recruit candidates (more than anyone else in Texas)
    * Assisted candidates with filing paperwork
    * Called candidates and elections offices to make sure the paperwork had been filed, and if not, chased the candidates down

    “I’ve been in the LP headquarters office for about a month now. Our databases and website, LP.org, have lots of information that needs to be cleaned-up, verified, corrected, and updated so that we are healthy and strong for the 2010 election season. In the short-term, you may see a small drop in the number of press releases and blog postings coming from the LP headquarters as we take care of some of these other essential areas.

    “I have been in frequent contact with Chair Redpath and am not expecting any other staff changes any time soon. I remain focused in the short term on membership and fundraising growth, and cleaning up these databases and our website are essential to efficiently achieving that growth.”

    Regards,


    Wes Benedict, Executive Director

  9. paulie Post author

    *

    Robert Capozzi // Aug 31, 2009 at 6:56 am

    My swing at talking points:

    Thom Hartmann: Great promotion. Yes, the failures of government. The ways that government competition, now let me get this straight. Does government competition put private enterprise out of business, or is government just completely incompetent?

    SUGGESTION: Neither. Government doesn’t “compete.” The notion of “government competition” is an oxymoron. Government forces people to do things they don’t want to do. I’m a libertarian, so I’m a peacenik…I’m for anything that’s peaceful.

    Thom Hartmann: Ok. The way that public libraries, where you can get a book for free, put out of business our bookstores? …The way that public libraries have put bookstores out of business?

    Suggestion: Book stores SELL books. Libraries LEND them. Apples and oranges.

    Thom Hartmann: Ok, so that’s a public option.

    SUGGESTION: All due respect, but, ah, no.
    Thom Hartmann: Artificially low. Ok, let’s get right to the essence of this, Wayne. In the Constitution, in the preamble of the Constitution, the Founders talked about both the general welfare, and the common defense, and the Libertarian position, as I recall, is that the primary function of government should be to provide, you know, basically, protection. Police and military.

    Wayne Root: Right.

    Thom Hartmann: Why would the Federal government provide military?

    SUGGESTION: Why WOULD the Federal government provide military? Last I checked, Thom, they already DO provide quite a bit of military…way too much for my tastes. Id’ say TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE is not the way to go. I’d like to see the military function shrink MORE than any other government spending program in the short term.

    Thom Hartmann: No, no. Because, come on, Wayne. If you got enough money, you can have your own private army.

    SUGGESTION: Oh, you want have a theoretical conversation, I get it. OK. As a libertarian, I had no problem when Ross Perot engineered the release of his employees from Iran. I’m OK with private security services like Brinks. Aren’t you?

    Thom Hartmann: No, I’m very serious. I’m absolutely deadly serious about this thing. The same thing with the police. Why would the government provide police?

    SUGGESTION: Again, government DOES provide police. Some of the things that the police enforce is counterproductive. It’s one thing to keep the peace, another to create havoc. Do you realize that __% of this country is in jail, and __% of them are in jail for drug prohibition? That costs taxpayers an estimated $__ billion a year. We need to stop the madness!

    Thom Hartmann: I know you want government to provide military and police. I get that. My point is that the reason why government provides military and police is…..

    SUGGESTION: …is to keep the peace.

    Thom Hartmann: No. It’s to distribute the risk over a broad base. The amount of money that it would cost to have a private security firm, let’s say that you wanted to hire Blackwater. And somebody was breaking into your house, and Blackwater comes over to your house, and shows up with two or three of their commandos, and they chase the guy down the street, and they capture him, and they put him in their private prison. That would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, right? It costs thousands, tens of thousands of dollars, when police actually protect an individual citizen.
    If there’s a car wreck out there, cost of all the emergency services, the fire trucks, the police, all that kind of stuff, it could be a million dollars at the end of the day, if two or three people are killed and there’s a real, you know, a huge traffic pile-up. The reason why the government provides police, fire and military is because none of us can afford the individual risk, or very few of us could. Maybe Warren Buffet could, but the rest of us can’t, and so we distribute that risk over a wide number of people. That’s why it’s an appropriate function of government. Now, tell me why we should have health insurance companies operating on a for-profit basis, when the whole purpose of health insurance is to distribute risk that protects our lives the same way the military protects our lives from being murdered, and the police protect our lives from being robbed.

    SUGGESTION: Oh, I see where you’re going now. You’re trying to make an economic efficiency argument. But you’re making a false analogy. The military and the criminal justice system are simply NOT designed to provide protection for individuals. Instead, their job is to keep the peace in a defined territory, in this case, the US. As individuals, we each are responsible to keep ourselves safe. Warren Buffett may hire security. Others may bear arms. Others may avoid high-crime areas. Etc. Different strokes for different folks.

    Thom Hartmann: You’re not answering my question, Wayne. You’re not even addressing the issue, and the President is saying that this is going to be revenue neutral. And frankly, if we just roll back the Bush tax cuts, or even better, roll back the Reagan tax cuts, you’d have a budget in balance.

    suggestion: Obama is telling us his health plan is revenue neutral. Bush told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    Thom Hartmann: Yeah, things were really terrible during the Eisenhower years, and during the Nixon years, and during the Johnson years…

    suggestion: Thanks for bringing that up. There is SO much confusion about tax RATES and the overall tax BURDEN. So, here’s the big picture: Government spending at all levels takes – by force – over 40% of our hard-earned dollars. During the Eisenhower years, it was 20% [est.]. Yes, I’d say the Eisenhower years were more peaceful.

    Thom Hartmann: So you, wait a minute. Wayne, your argument is incoherent. You’re saying on the one hand you’re in favor of progressive taxation, things worked rather well during the Eisenhower, Nixon, Johnson etc administrations, when the top tax rate was ninety-one percent, that that was fine, but now because there’s not as many rich people, which I would challenge, and they don’t have as much money, which I would challenge, because there’s more rich people, and there’s more money among the rich than there has been since 1928, that we can’t do that, and that would be socialism.
    But, back to the original point, Wayne. Why is it that you want to distribute risk? Why is the Libertarians want to distribute risk of the cost of protecting us from terrorism and foreign governments, military, and protecting us from robbers and car accidents and drunken drivers, police, and protecting us from fire, fire departments, and not protect us from cancer?

    suggestion: Government spending TRILLIONS on cancer NOW. Medicare and Medicaid are MASSIVE government programs. The National Institutes of Health spends billions on cancer research. And what have we gotten from all this spending? Well, cancer RATES have increased.
    But let’s not oversimplify complex social trends. Cancer rates have gone up for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that people are making poor health and wellness choices. I’d ask what is the peaceful solution to this problem? For starters, I’d like to see people keep more of their hard-earned money, and not have the government take – by force – 40%. If we rolled it back to, say, 20%, we’d see a lot people spend it on better food, better, more personalized health services.

    Thom Hartmann: Small businesses in America have been wiped out. Back, twenty, thirty years ago, you walked into a strip mall in America, it was all locally owned businesses. Now, you can’t find one. But that’s not the point. We’re talking about healthcare here.

    suggestion: Yes, health and medicine are small businesses as well. Through government manipulation of the tax code, we’ve seen a massive shift away from the family doctor to HMOs and hospital emergency rooms and “urgent care” facilities.

    Thom Hartmann: My blame is the non-enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. But that’s, again, got nothing to do with healthcare.

    SUGGESTION: The biggest monopoly is government. Government is not only a monopoly, but it enforces its monopoly through force.

    Thom Hartmann: We have a minute left, Wayne. Tell me why we shouldn’t distribute the risk of healthcare the way we distribute the risk of the military and the police. Why not?

    SUGGESTION: Because government distributes risk very poorly and through violence and force. In the name of “distributing risk,” we got the Iraq War. In the name of “distributing risk,” we have millions in prison for victimless crimes. Peaceful and voluntary transactions are the BEST way to distribute risk, at least for most specific services. I have a lot more faith in a free people making choices for themselves than I do with some faceless bureaucrat imposing that on us. My message to liberals is that the free market is the best form of democracy there is.

    Thom Hartmann: So you don’t want to have the military and the police any more being run by the Socialist government?

    SUGGESTION: The military and police are NON-SPECIFIC services. And, yes, I’d like to see them as small as possible.

    Thom Hartmann: That’s nothing to do with this. How do you know that the private health insurance does better when we’re thirty-fifth in the world in infant mortality, and twenty-ninth in the world in longevity? All the countries with nationalized healthcare services are beating us.

    SUGGESTION: You misunderstand. I am for health care reform, REAL reform. I’m for empowering the people, not bureaucrats, government bureaucrats OR health insurance bureaucrats. [need to research] Look at the immigration patterns, Thom. The US is STILL experiencing NET immigration, even from countries that have nationalized healthcare. The people speak with their feet!
    *

    88 Wayne Root on Thom Hartmann show | Independent Political Report // Aug 31, 2009 at 8:53 am

    […] Starr writes, With the benefit of being a Monday morning quarterback, I’m curious how others here would […]
    *

    89 paulie // Aug 31, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Robert, good answers for the most part…I liked some of them better than mine.

  10. paulie Post author

    Hartmann’s talking points here seem to be from a common play book.

    This is on the front page of the Vermont Progressive Party:

    And this is on the front page of the Green Party:

    I think Aaron’s idea of developing good responses to this theme is a good one.

  11. Michael H. Wilson

    paulie we used to have a half way decent response to such comments, but it got dropped when it became vogue for the LP to concentrate on getting elected, “then we tell them what we believe”.

    Anuhow the fire dept. in Scottsdale, Arizon was at one time a private company and a quite good one at that, and AMR provides ambulance as well as emt services to many cities.

    Got give the other guys credit. They have a nice check list of ideas and are well presented.

  12. Michael H. Wilson

    After I got over being pissed off I decided to get some info. Here it is.

    “Rural/Metro Corporation is a leading provider of emergency and non-emergency medical transportation services, fire protection and other safety-related services to municipal, residential, commercial and industrial customers in approximately 400 communities throughout the United States.”
    http://www.ruralmetro.com/

    And here’s another.

    “About AMR, the nation’s leading medical transportation company
    • AMR serves more communities and customers than any other private ambulance service provider in the nation.
    • AMR employees also participate in the communities where they live and work. As medical service providers and as neighbors, your needs are our concerns.
    • Nearly 18,500 paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), nurses, doctors and support staff combine to makeup the strength of a national company with personalized care.
    • AMR’s national headquarters, located in Greenwood Village, Colo., supports more than 250 community-based AMR operations nationwide. From Miami to Seattle and hundreds of communities in between, AMR is ready to care for people and communities in need. ”
    http://www.amr.net/About-AMR.aspx

    Ever new member of the LP should get a packet with details, yes details, not just vague references to the facts on what we suggest and how to present these ideas to the public in simple, plain English.

    Periodically we should have articles on issues in the LP News with detailed example.

  13. robert capozzi

    mhw, passage of a St Louis Accord will make your suggestion more viable. Ls are often gunshy about getting specific because they run the risk of being savaged internally by “purity” police.

  14. Brian Holtz

    What I would have want to have said to Hartmann:

    No, “distributing risk over a broad base” is not the reason that government should provide police, fire protection, and national defense. The government provides police protection and national defense in order to defend our liberty from the aggression of other people. Socialized healthcare doesn’t protect us from aggression; rather, it tries to protect us from our own poor planning and bad luck. If you think that’s the government’s job, then you will also want to socialize a lot of other things — retirement savings, education, housing, nutrition, childcare, employment, etc. That’s socialism, and if you believe in it, you should just say so.

    Fire protection is an interesting case. Fire protection only needs to be socialized where free-riding would cause catastrophic undersubscription to it — basically, in places where fire can easily spread from one property to adjacent properties. I can free-ride on how your private fire service will put out my fire to keep it from spreading to your property, but there’s no danger of me free-riding on your private healthcare. You can make a free-rider argument for government protection against fire and flood, but the argument doesn’t work for healthcare or education or retirement savings or all the other things that leftists want to socialize.

    Possible follow-up question: But can’t you free-ride on my charitable donations toward a healthcare safety net for the poor?

    Answer: Yes — just as I can free-ride on how you broadcast TV and radio programming, how you donate to the arts, how you landscape your yard, and how you pass on funny jokes. Would all these things be catastrophically under-provided if government didn’t forcibly extract money from us to finance them? Surely our society would be wealthy enough and charitable enough to provide an adequate safety net, if the government got out of the forced-charity business and got out of the way of healthcare competition and innovation. Note that over the last century or more, waiting for one generation of economic progress has helped the poor as much as, or more than, even the most utopian proposals for income redistribution.

    Geolibertarian follow-up answer: And if you agree with me that land is a special kind of property, and that planting a fence or a sign in the ground is not the same as producing something with your own labor, and that each person has an equal right of access to the Earth’s atmosphere and surface area and wind and rain and sunshine — then you will agree that a natural safety net should already exist. You will agree that the medieval notion of absolute royal “title” to some part of the Earth’s surface is unjust, and that people excluded from land have a right to share in the extra return that the excluders reap merely by enforcing antique property boundaries. In principle, that extra return is the excess production obtained by using a site in its most productive use, compared to the production obtained by applying equivalent inputs of labor and capital at the most productive site where the application doesn’t require new payments for use of the site. In practice, this right of equal access could be enforced through a citizens’ dividend financed by a single tax on land value — an idea widely defended by economists as the most fair and efficient tax system.

  15. Brian Holtz

    Are they places where fires can easily spread from one property to others? Are they mere subcontractors with legal obligations (like emergency rooms) to serve any customer regardless of means, or are they truly free to let people and houses burn if they don’t think they’ll be paid?

  16. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian Scottsdale, Arizone uses Ruralmetro which I linked to above as I recall and they are in a number of different places.

    Here’s some info on another.

    “About the Boeing Fire Department

    We are a full service fire department and then some. We are agile, mobile and ready to provide our services at a moments notice. We are often asked to support airplane operations from Glasgow, Montana, to as far away away as Midway Island. At home, at least 83 percent of our services are fire prevention related, and the remainder of our time we are providing emergency services or training. We respond to EMS, Haz Mat Rescue/Mitigation, Structural Fire, Aircraft Fire, Confined Space Rescue, USAR, Water Rescue, Motor Vehicle Accidents and Mutual Aid calls.

    We are one of the largest private fire departments in the world. We have manned stations from the West coast to the East coast in North America and provide services anywhere in the world where Boeing employees need us”

    http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/aboutus/fire/index.html

  17. Michael H. Wilson

    Here’s some more info.

    “… the idea that nobody questions the public provision of our fire services is flat-out wrong. Despite being a very small sliver of our economy, and having a long tradition that has always mixed private volunteer service with public funding, in fact many cities have contracted with private groups or completely privatized their systems. Those cities that have tried it report great success, for all the same reasons that privatization works in every other industry.”
    http://blog.heritage.org/2009/08/26/how-private-fire-departments-success-undermines-obamacare/

  18. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian I don’t have the answers to your question. I do think it is a shame that the party does not have literature available for the members on this and many other similar issue.

    I certainlt don’t balme the membership. I blame the party management for the last few years.

  19. paulie Post author

    Michael,

    Pretty clear from your description that their clients are cities, using tax money, not select home and business owners.

  20. Michael H. Wilson

    paulie I have been told, but cannot confirm that there are some that are subscription type services where the home owner is billed directly by the fire company. This isn’t something that i care to chase down at this time.

    All I can confirm is that in some place private companies with non government employees fill the role that government employees do.

  21. Brian Holtz

    Again, outsourcing to a private subcontractor paid with government funds isn’t nearly the same thing as free-market provision of the service in question. It’s not free-market fire protection unless there is no significant government funding or regulation of the service. By analogy, when the ERs of private hospitals are required to treat all bleeders regardless of ability to pay, that’s not a free market in emergency healthcare — even if the majority of bleeders are successfully billed.

  22. Michael H. Wilson

    That is true Brian, but once again if costs can be cut and the taxes refunded to the taxpayers then that is some progress. Maybe not much, but some.

  23. Michael H. Wilson

    BTW were any of you aware of these alternative fire companies? Since I am writing a letter on the lack of literature I thought I’d ask.

  24. paulie Post author

    http://lpanarchist.wordpress.com/?p=4

    The Obviousness of Anarchy
    Less Antman on 2009.09.4

    Many sincere limited government libertarians object to market anarchism because they’re unable to imagine how a free market could provide law, security, and defense. But this isn’t just a theoretical claim by anarchists: it has already been achieved both in the past and the present:

    Law – The commercial code of the United States and most other developed countries derives from the Law Merchant, a purely voluntary legal system set up in the Middle Ages by international merchants dealing in contracts their governments were unwilling or unable to enforce. Virtually the entire body of law advocated by all libertarians, whether anarchist or minarchist, was present in the customary law and early common law systems of England and other countries, which originated and were operated without central planning.

    Security – Professional police are a relatively recent invention in society, spend the majority of their time enforcing victimless crime laws or raising revenue for the government through traffic regulations that have never been shown to produce safer streets and highways, and are now outnumbered by a factor of 5 to 1 by private security personnel hired by businesses and homeowner groups who no longer see the point of relying on the police for protection.

    Defense – Volunteer militias, essentially equivalent to National Guard troops but without the obligation to fly overseas, defended this country effectively for most of the history of the US. To this day, the Swiss “military” consists almost entirely of the able-bodied male population of the country, learning basic techniques of local defense but not offense, and threatening no other country, allowing it to remain untouched by 2 world wars in their backyard and all terrorism. Costa Rica has no military in a very dangerous neighborhood, and does just fine. True, it is unlikely that a voluntary defense force will be able to maintain a worldwide empire: this is one “service” that an anarchist society probably couldn’t provide.

    John Hasnas contributed an excellent essay entitled “The Obviousness of Anarchy” to a recent book, Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Party of a Free Country, edited by anarchist Roderick Long and minarchist Tibor Machan. The book costs a pretty penny, but Hasnas’ article only costs a mouse click.

    Anarchists take seriously all the concerns expressed by people who think it is impractical. Hasnas’ article is not the last word on the subject, but is certainly a terrific first word. Take a look.

  25. paulie Post author

    I thought that may have been the case…I was there when that petition was going on although I was working on a different one (repeal smoking ban on bars in Tempe).

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