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Mises, I'd like your help in preparing for a debate.

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dakk12 Posted: Sun, Nov 2 2008 12:22 PM

I heard of a Republican and Democrat debate on campus, and after talking to a few people I managed to join and represent the Libertarian party.  My opponents are teams of three as well as countless others helping them prepare where I am a lone libertarian/Austrian, and so I decided to come to the communities I know of which have influenced my beliefs to help prepare.  Unfortunately I had to "support a candidate" to join, but I'm going to try and mention Barr as little as possible and focus on talking about libertarian beliefs and real economics.  I'll be posting my answers as I write them and I'd love to hear how you'd answer these too.

Question Pool:

Economy:

1) What are the differences between the candidate’s economic plans, and what your candidate do as president to lead the country out of the financial crisis?

2) With the onset of the economic crisis our government's response was to provide a $700 billion bailout. Was this action ethical and what is the significance of setting this economic precedence?

3) What is your candidate’s definition of "socialism" and how is that different from the progressive tax system that McCain fought to protect in 2000, the bailout, or any number of things each candidate supports?

4) As president, what is your candidate going to have to give up, in terms of the priorities that they would bring as president, as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?

Energy

5) Is there a realistic way for the government to drive a reduction in oil consumption and research in green technologies while still keeping Big Oil as a key economic player and not risking an all-out blockade of any such legislation by their lobbying arms?

6) What incentive can we provide those companies to invest in future technologies without isolating powerful domestic economic drivers?

7) Given dwindling fossil fuel reserves and concerns over climate change, more nations are pursuing nuclear energy. But that raises concerns over the proliferation of nuclear weapons. What criteria should be used to determine which overseas nuclear projects to support?

Foreign Policy

8) Do we need preconditions to meet with foreign heads of state, and if so what are they?

9) Is there an exit strategy for Iraq?

10) Does your candidate think more US troops be sent to Afghanistan? If so, how many, and when?

11) Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive in the Arctic, mainly because of potential oil and mineral reserves in the region. How far should the United States go to counter these efforts?

12) What does your candidate propose to do about illegal immigration and border security?

Healthcare

13) What is the biggest issue in healthcare today? How will your candidate address this issue?

14) Does your candidate think that people will be ready to rely on the open market for their health insurance after what has just happened on Wall Street? Are people ready to trust the markets when it comes to their health care coverage?

15) The costs of prescription drugs and health care are sky rocketing faster than anyone's income can handle. The costs of insurance have gone up as well. How does your candidate propose to address this issue?

16) What is the simplest, most cost-effective way to improve the overall health of our population and will your candidate do as president to lead the way?

Education

17) What is it in your candidate’s education platform that sets him apart from his opponents?

18) How does your candidate propose to make college education more affordable and attainable?

Other

19) Should a candidate’s possible connections with notorious people be an issue in this election?

20) In your opinion, in these turbulent times what is the greatest threat to liberty?

Format:

Each group (representatives from the University Democrats, College Republicans, and Libertarians) may consist of up to three people. Each group may choose among themselves which person will speak for the group for each question, but only one person per group may respond to each question. The selection of the person who answers each question is up to the individual group and there is no limit to the amount of questions one person may answer.

The order in which the groups speak will be decided by random draw. The debate will consist of 6-8 questions which were formulated by members of each group, and the student government representative. The questions will be selected and ordered by the moderator. Each of the groups have prior access to the pool of questions, but will not know which questions will be selected, or the order in which they will be asked.

When asked a question each group will have up to 90 seconds to respond. After the three groups have responded each group will then be given a 30 second rebuttal period. After this time, the moderator has the power to re-address a question to a group for an additional 30 seconds if the moderator feels there is a reason to revisit or reexamine a question.

Time will be indicated on a card held by the timekeeper. There will be 5 seconds of grace after which speakers will be told to stop.

At the end of the debate each group will be asked to deliver a two-minute closing statement.

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 12:23 PM

1) What are the differences between the candidate’s economic plans, and what your candidate do as president to lead the country out of the financial crisis?

John McCain and Barak Obama have very similar economic policies, neither of which are beneficial to the American people. They are in favor of furthering state intervention into into economics and expanding government control. The two of them each admitted to not understanding the economic crisis and yet felt the best coarse of action was not to engage in civics and constructive discussion, but rather sign on to the first piece of legislation presented regardless of overwhelming public opposition. The Libertarians advocate smaller and truly limited government, and believe in cutting government spending on all levels by eliminating overreaching or unconstitutional government programs and bringing troops home while reducing the size of the military. Properly enforced private property rights and rights to freely engage in trade are the cornerstones to a free and prosperous nation. To Lead us out of the financial crisis Bob Barr believes that the answer is not to turn on the printing presses and inflate the currency at the expense of our savings only increasing the duration and severity of the recession; instead we should look into the actions of the Federal Reserve and debate their place and legitimacy in society as well as discussing serious monetary reform. We need eliminate government spending funded through debt and work towards reducing our trillion dollar trade deficit.

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Economy:

Bring up the calculation problem. Point out that it is insane to think that Obama or McCain are smart enough to spend 700 billion dollars wisely. 

make the case for taxation as coercion and theft

 

Energy:

make the case for more deregulation, open ANWR etc.  Standard Oil got us off using whale oil for energy, the free market can handle energy issues as proven in the past

 

Foreign Policy:

non-intervention. Point out that McCain and Obama HAVE THE SAME FOREIGN POLICY. That shouldn't be very difficult.

Health Care:

A universal system violates self-ownership and subjective preference. Point out the many failures in the world of government managed care,  the socialist will drive home the few successes (scandanavia), but you still win. The experiment of government managed care is a net fail worldwide

Education:

Government subsidized education has been the only cause of inflation and rising tuition costs.  Teachers unions, have turned the skill of educating and teaching, into a career.  Nothing the candidates can do will make your child smarter, its an individual and private matter

 

do we get free cheezeburger in socielism?

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I think even Scandinavia's healthcare is far from perfect.

-Jon

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 1:28 PM

2) With the onset of the economic crisis our government's response was to provide a $700 billion bailout.  Was this action ethical and what is the significance of setting this economic precedence?


There is nothing ethical about robbing a people to pay for the mistakes of private enterprise, and it is absurd to claim a corporation is too large to fail.  Our crisis was created by bad investments stemming from artificially high mortgage demands created by the federal reserve lowering interest rates and legislation forcing banks to offer unsound loans.  The bailout is the government investing in these bad mortgages with our public money.  One thing that is not discussed is how will government pay for this, where does $700 billion come from?  If taxes were raised to provide for this each person would owe $2300 dollars and that would lead to riots in the streets.  Instead it is being paid for by printing up new money, and as even Ben Bernanke admitted inflation is another form of taxation robbing the value of savings and wages and weakening the finical stability of our currency.  If printing more money were the answer Zimbabwe would have the world's strongest economy where everyone is a billionaire due to hyperinflation.  This bailout package has far reaching implications beyond socializing the losses of failing banks and we have already begun to see this.  The Federal Reserve and the Treasury have begun lending unlimited amounts of money to European central banks and are discussing how best to nationalize our financial sector.  This has also opened the window to other industries claiming to be too big to fail to ask for we the people to pay for their unfeasible business plans.  Ford and Chrysler just got their latest injection of $25 billion, and AIG is starting to come down from their $122 billion hit, already back in line to get another fix of $21 billion.  Both the republicans and democrats are complacent in the bailout and furthering us towards poverty.  The Libertarians have the only responsible plan which is to let these banks fail so the market can correct itself quickly and not suffer over the next decade or longer.

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 2:07 PM

3) What is your candidate’s definition of "socialism" and how is that different from the progressive tax system that McCain fought to protect in 2000, the bailout, or any number of things each candidate supports?


Socialism is the economic system where the state owns and manages the means of production and distribution of goods.  Both John McCain and Barak Obama are urging for more government control in the economy, higher taxes, more tariffs, further corporate protectionism, and of coarse the state sponsorship of fraudulent and failing financial institutions through buying stakes in them using our money and labor.  The Libertarians give a real alternative to socialism: liberty.  We believe that unregulated capitalism, free trade, unalienable private property rights, and sound monetary policy will lead to the greatest prosperity.  A core tenet of libertarianism is that the state is not above the moral law.  What is wrong for you and me is wrong for the state, they can not steal and call it taxation or inflation.  And as the question suggests both Obama and McCain favor socialist programs, one outright in suggesting we spread the wealth around and the other through his voting record.  Redistribution of wealth will only lead to an ever larger welfare and corporate state while giving larger incentives to work less with hands open to the government purse.  Free markets with low entry into competition encourages better goods at lower prices and higher standards of living for all society.  As governments have proven throughout time no man or group of men are wise enough to know the needs and wants of everyone and can not be trusted to dictate the lives of free men.  Ludwig von Mises' book Socialism points out that socialism and market interventions remove the value of prices making economic calculations impossible.  These failures were exemplified by the massive black markets of the Soviet Union allowing people to trade for the goods they need while the government dictates that only forks need be produced.  Libertarians are the answer to an increasing socialist state, and the answer to failing government policy is not more of the same failing government policy.

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 2:22 PM

4) As president, what is your candidate going to have to give up, in terms of the priorities that they would bring as president, as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?


The Libertarian plan has always been to reduce both the size and scope of the government and spending.  Cut unproductive or constitutional programs, reduce the size of the military and bring our troops home from around the world, reform our policies on welfare, social security, and healthcare, balance the budget, and reduce the trade deficit.  That is, Libertarians have always represented a responsible and realistic economic policy of small limited government and as such there would be no priorities needed to be cut dues to working Americans being too poor to rob further.  Most government programs are unfeasible and a drain on the national economy, these promises and unwise spending are leading this country down the road to bankruptcy as our national debt skyrockets now above an unfathomable $10 trillion.  We can not afford more politicians with the arrogance to think that they know better than we do what to do with our money, as they have a history of squandering it impoverishing citizens while they buy more vacation homes and live in luxury leaving us behind with only debt.

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Should have done the Boston Tea Party. Charles Jay 08!

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 2:53 PM

I don't really want to focus on the problems of the LP and all the schisms.  My assumption is that the audience will be largely uneducated on libertarian beliefs and my goal is to get them thinking critically and expand their views beyond the two party system.

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dakk12:
Both John McCain and Barak Obama are urging for more government control in the economy, higher taxes, more tariffs, further corporate protectionism, and of coarse the state sponsorship of fraudulent and failing financial institutions through buying stakes in them using our money and labor.

It is spelled "of course".

Sorry for being a spelling Nazi, but I was not too sure if this is going to be printed, or this is just your notes for yourself as you will be debating.

I was also just wondering exactly when this debate will be?

My long term project to get every PDF into EPUB: Mises Books

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 4:26 PM

Tex, I always get the two mixed up.  I went to public schools so I impress myself with the fact that I can read :).  These are just my notes, but there's always a possibility of them being republished somewhere so thanks.  This debate will be tomorrow at 5:30 in Richardson, Tx.

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 4:27 PM

5 and 6 are almost identical, and as such get almost identical responses


5) Is there a realistic way for the government to drive a reduction in oil consumption and research in green technologies while still keeping Big Oil as a key economic player and not risking an all-out blockade of any such legislation by their lobbying arms?

The idea of of government keeping large oil companies a key player is further corporate protectionism, the government needs to distance itself from economic involvement.  Markets of the past have been able to handle changing demands and can continue to do so.  We should reduce regulation of energy production which costs companies millions of dollars and thousands of work hours.  These only serve to severely limit the entry into competition.  This would open up the market to more smaller companies providing us with alternate fuels and more efficient automobiles.  We need to deregulate car manufacturing, our hysteria for car safety has lead to laws which promote the production of larger and less fuel efficient cars, and in the end lead to less safe roads.  By lowering the regulation and bureaucracy of car manufacturing we would reduce the barrier to market entry for entrepreneurs who would offer alternative vehicles where there is a strong public demand as well as allow our failing automobile industry compete with foreign manufacturers.  Meanwhile we are busy promoting politically favored fuels such as ethanol; removing the incentive for a diversification of sources.  At the same time we are alienating oil companies for legitimate high profits.  They purchased and planned refineries and production for low oil prices not expecting a dramatic rise.  A demand based growth resulted in higher prices without higher production costs leading to the record profits.  When the state threatens to confiscate high profits, it is robbing those companies of their right to reinvest profits into researching new fuels, more efficient production and shipping,  and other places where they could meet the demand for energy.  The republicans and democrats are foolishly arrogant in believing they can direct the production, diversity, and application of alternative powers; where as libertarians believe people have the right to voice their own demand through voting with the power of purchasing and that the markets should be unobstructed in providing for consumers.


6) What incentive can we provide those companies to invest in future technologies without isolating powerful domestic economic drivers?

The incentives to invest in new technologies already exists.  People have been demanding alternative sources, and research is producing incredible results, however regulation deters entrepreneurs.  We should reduce regulation of energy production which costs companies millions of dollars and thousands of work hours.  These only serve to severely limit the entry into competition.  This would open up the market to more smaller companies providing us with alternate fuels and more efficient automobiles.  We need to deregulate car manufacturing, our hysteria for car safety has lead to laws which promote the production of larger and less fuel efficient cars, and in the end lead to less safe roads.  By lowering the regulation and bureaucracy of car manufacturing we would reduce the barrier to market entry for entrepreneurs who would offer alternative vehicles where there is a strong public demand as well as allow our failing automobile industry compete with foreign manufacturers.  Meanwhile we are busy promoting politically favored fuels such as ethanol; removing the incentive for a diversification of sources.  At the same time we are alienating oil companies for legitimate high profits.  They purchased and planned refineries and production for low oil prices not expecting a dramatic rise.  A demand based growth resulted in higher prices without higher production costs leading to the record profits.  When the state threatens to confiscate high profits, it is robbing those companies of their right to reinvest profits into researching new fuels, more efficient production and shipping,  and other places where they could meet the demand for energy.  The republicans and democrats are foolishly arrogant in believing they can direct the production, diversity, and application of alternative powers; where as libertarians believe people have the right to voice their own demand through voting with the power of purchasing and that the markets should be unobstructed in providing for consumers.

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 5:29 PM

7) Given dwindling fossil fuel reserves and concerns over climate change, more nations are pursuing nuclear energy. But that raises concerns over the proliferation of nuclear weapons. What criteria should be used to determine which overseas nuclear projects to support?

Nuclear energy is a safe and very viable strategy for a nation to pursue in order to protect their citizens from disruptions in oil supplies.  All nations should remain free to work towards energy independence and solving the looming global energy crisis.  We do not have the moral nor constitutional authority to dictate the rights of a sovereign people just as we would never stand to have another nation control our energy policies.  As the founding generation of this country believed, we should not have an interventionist foreign policy.  There are several countries now with nuclear weapons and it would be absurd to attempt to confiscate them or prevent the production of more.  If we continue to our policy of intervention we will only be making more enemies abroad promoting more hostility towards America.  It was aggressive foreign policy which provoked the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and is creating more foreign threats through our treatment of Iran, Pakistan, and other nations who disagree with our status quo.  We should be more concerned with our prosperity, liberty, and freedom here at home than policing the world, supporting unjust wars, and spreading an empire around the globe.

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 5:39 PM

8) Do we need preconditions to meet with foreign heads of state, and if so what are they?

We should be a diplomatic country not pursuing aggressive foreign policies and as such we should be open to all talks with foreign heads of states and we should expect the same from them.  If we vow never to meet without preconditions why should other states agree to meet us without the same and what would we hope to realistically accomplish.  Our foreign policy should be one of trade and open commerce not of threats, taunts, aggression, rendition, and torture.  Open honest discussion will promote tranquility to hostility and should be pursued.  In the end voluntary trade is beneficial to both parties, while close minded aggression only serves to destroy.

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eliotn replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 5:58 PM

Short answers:

dakk12:
17) What is it in your candidate’s education platform that sets him apart from his opponents?

Abolition of public schools, abolition of regulation on education, freedom of education.

dakk12:

18) How does your candidate propose to make college education more affordable and attainable?

Privatization.  People can make their own decisions of quality vs. cost.

dakk12:
20) In your opinion, in these turbulent times what is the greatest threat to liberty?

The continued acceptance of the state?

Schools are labour camps.

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 6:54 PM

17) What is it in your candidate’s education platform that sets him apart from his opponents?

Both McCain and Obama support heavy government involvement in education, whether it is through pledging millions of dollars to early childhood education, federal tax credit for community service, or more government funded charter schools through government vouchers. This all leads to much more bureaucratic involvement, lots of red tape, and an increase in lobbyists control which have been responsible for the decline of our schools. This approach only weakens our education system by stifling diversity in learning and moving the focus to teaching towards standardized testing to receive more government money. The libertarian view is to shift control over education from government to parents. We must abolish the Department of Education, eliminate federal grants and regulations, and begin moving power back to the states and local communities. States should consider tax credits or deductions for parents who home school or send their children to private schools. Public schools should be managed locally, increasing accountability and parental involvement. Parents should have control of and responsibility for the funds expended for their children’s education.  Ultimately, education will best serve the children of America if it occurs within a competitive private system rather than a government system.


18) How does your candidate propose to make college education more affordable and attainable?

The best way to encourage education is to make it cheaper and more beneficial for the students.  The idea of sending every child to college through government money will only make our colleges as productive as our failing high schools.  With government involvement in education brings standardization, bureaucracy, and government control of curriculum.  Further more not every child wishes to attend college and would rather begin working at a younger age.  A crusade for universal college education would bring companies to view a college diploma as a base standard reducing its worth, while at the same time bloating the higher education system with more students who would prefer to not be there, and inflating the over all costs of education while reducing the size of the available and willing workforce.  Without this emphasis and line to tax money colleges would be more competitive and prices would drop.  This would also open the market to more degrees of higher education to better serve those seeking to learn such as junior colleges and technical schools.  The market place has an incentive to provide skilled workers to the economy and through competitive forces and more choice better and more useful education can be provided than the one-size fits all blend which would be provided to us.

 

eliotn: do you think these hit your points well enough?

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 7:58 PM

19) Should a candidate’s possible connections with notorious people be an issue in this election?

It is important to be able to trust our elected officials, however as in tis election cycle the emphasis given to the issue of friends and acquaintances have only been a distraction to the real issues on hand.  The focus on personal attacks and demonizing a politicians associates is destroying the foundation of civics and lively political, economic, and philosophic debate.  We are currently entangled in two wars and a horrific economic crisis, yet what we hear is childish name calling fear mongering talks which will only divide us further.  We have very real and serious issues of historic significance, and for democracy to work best we the people need to be discussing them.

20) In your opinion, in these turbulent times what is the greatest threat to liberty?

The greatest threat to liberty is the unprecedented expanding of government powers over our lives.  Since the attacks of 9/11 the state has used arguments of fear to pass laws without discussion or debate and sometimes without the bill even being read as the case with the Patriot Act and the 400 page Bailout Bill.  The government has also been working to erode our basic rights by arresting protesters and journalists while disrupting peaceful constitutional assembly.  There have been several attempts to enforce gun control leaving weapons only for the criminals.  The congress and senate used an illegal ex post facto law to allow the NSA to conduct broad wiretaps on innocent citizens in violation of the 4th amendment.  While the government continues its policy of rendition and torture.  At the heart of the expansive government is the Federal Reserve system which allows congress to pay for more and larger programs through inflation and raising the national debt.  Since the 70's all of our wars have been financed through inflation leading to the over aggressive and expansive military complex we have today.  To regain our liberty and basic rights we need to abolish the federal reserve and end the state's ability to inflate the currency to pay for more programs.  We need to reduce the size of government, and as citizens be more involved in political discussion and less willing to consent to a government eager to take away our freedoms.

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dakk12 replied on Sun, Nov 2 2008 8:06 PM

13) What is the biggest issue in healthcare today?  How will your candidate address this issue?

15) The costs of prescription drugs and health care are sky rocketing faster than anyone's income can handle. The costs of insurance have gone up as well.  How does your candidate propose to address this issue?

16) What is the simplest, most cost-effective way to improve the overall health of our population and will your candidate do as president to lead the way?

Regulatory measures like the Food and Drug Administration, although well-intentioned, are not fulfilling their duty to the American public. It is essential to today's healthcare problem that we allow more experimentation and freedom of choice for our nation's health. FDA regulations are prohibiting new drugs from being released and failing to catch the drugs that are actually dangerous. The pharmaceutical lobby is largely to blame for this mess. By getting the government out of our healthcare system we can explore new options to heal our sick while reducing that potential for bribery and corruption. In place of these laws and regulations we should have frank and honest research and discussion of the dangers inherent in any drug without completely banning them from the marketplace. This will allow the desperately sick to seek experimental treatment while opening up a path for better medical treatment to come into the marketplace.  The government's current regulations on healthcare insurance have driven the cost up by adding layers of bureaucracy to processing insurance claims and deductibles for even the most routine doctor visits.  Mandates for employers to provide healthcare inflates the overall costs of premiums as well.  To address these issues a libertarian president would work to end this sort of obstructive regulation.

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We believe that unregulated capitalism

Don't call it that. That is likely to make your audience hostile to you. Rather say something like, free markets or voluntary trade, which we believe to be self-regulating.

-Jon

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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banned replied on Mon, Nov 3 2008 6:52 AM

some thoughts:

dakk12:
1) What are the differences between the candidate’s economic plans, and what your candidate do as president to lead the country out of the financial crisis?

This question beggs the question that some central leader needs to lead the country out of the financial crisis. As if some central human power has an all seeing eye and can determine what ought to be done to "fix" the economy.

I'd start out with talking about Hayek's maxim: "We must first explain how an economy can possibly work right before we can meaningfully ask what might go wrong." From there define how a market ought to work and what causes it to go wrong (lowered interest rates leading to mal investment and an unsustainable growth) and then show that the best plan is for the government to stop interfering as it only elongates the process of recovery.

 

dakk12:
20) In your opinion, in these turbulent times what is the greatest threat to liberty?

Government.

 

There was nothing really worth noting in the rest of the questioning, it's pretty straight forward.

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Conza88 replied on Mon, Nov 3 2008 7:23 AM

Daaaang!

Good luck & sorry about Barr.

Let us know how it goes... Smile

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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dakk12:
6) What incentive can we provide those companies to invest in future technologies without isolating powerful domestic economic drivers?

Once again, this begs the question, the answer is we can't provide any. All "we" can do is to let the free market work, the incentives will therefore be to meet the demands of consumers. If, and when, the time comes that oil is "running out" and prices are going up so much that it isn't viable to keep using oil, companies will invest for profit.

 

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

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GilesStratton:
Once again, this begs the question, the answer is we can't provide any.

giles, of course you are correct that if the 'we' of the question is government then it cant do anything to foster economically efficient investment in future technology. however it is possible to spin the answer to the question in a more positive light which might prove a better debate tactic.

if we pose that a dissincentive for investing in future technologies, is doubt and insecurity over private property rights in the future, then this scenario can be improved by increasing respect for the principle of private property today, reigning in government intervntionism, and reducing threats to future reshuffles of private property rights, (i.e. firm credible commitments to avoid redistribution, windfall taxes , tax increases and the like)

 

but maybe that is tooooo optimistic.

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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So how did the debate turn out Dakk?  I assume the Libertarian Team won the debate.

Sorry I did not give much help, but from what I read, your answers were very good.  I also agreed with what Jon Irenicus said to change which was the words "unregulated capitalism."  Hope you did well on your rebuttals, and hopefully at least a few people were convinced of the Libertarian ideas.

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