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Don’t Confuse Libertarians With Republicans

Here is a letter to The Miami Herald:

Lamenting Republicans’ supposed ‘libertarian fanaticism about the public debt,’ Jose Gabilondo claims ‘entitlement programs make them gag,’ and suggests their ‘end game’ is creating some sort of ‘minimal state’ (Libertarian fanaticism and the debt limit, July 29).  If only!

Mr. Gabilondo insults all self-described libertarians by merely associating them with Republicans.  Libertarians legitimately want to reduce the federal government to a fraction of its current size in good faith, but the same cannot be said about Republicans, whose central preoccupation is accumulating power.  Their obstinence about the debt ceiling is pure political posturing.

Perhaps Mr. Gabilondo forgot how the size and scope of government grew to unprecedented levels during George W. Bush’s presidency, when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for the majority of the time.  Federal education spending soared to its highest levels ever, a new prescription drug benefit was passed, private businesses were bailed out with federal money, and a massive national security state bureaucracy was created.  Contrary to his claim of some Republican ideal minimal state, Republicans pushed the country further down the road to serfdom.

Notwithstanding, Republicans actually had an opportunity to display their newly alleged libertarian bonafides after the 2010 election.  Freshman Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) presented a five-year budget – based on the libertarian think-tank Cato Institute’s plan – that would cut $500 billion in spending and eliminate various federal agencies.  However, Paul was unable to find one co-sponsor and his budget never got an up or down vote.

Brad R. Schlesinger


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