Commentary

Libertarians Have Smaller Buts Than Rs and Ds

Democrat’s buts are as big a field of solar panels. Republican’s as wide as a South Florida condo complex. Eve Tea Partiers buts are as big as a Navy ship. And they are all flabby as hell, practically flapping in the wind.

Only libertarians have small, firm buts.

I’m not talking about where they sit. I am talking about where they stand. On government spending.

Across party lines, most Americans agree we need to tackle the deficit, including cutting spending. However, ask them what spending we should cut, and suddenly their big, giant, flabby buts are exposed.

Democrats say: cut defense spending, corporate welfare, BUT don’t cut spending on alternative energy, social programs, or health care.

Republicans say: cut spending on welfare, arts, and the EPA, BUT don’t cut social security, education, or farm subsidies.

Even Tea Partiers say: cut spending on most things, BUT don’t cut defense or immigration enforcement.

In other words, they all say: cut spending on you, you, you, and that guy behind the tree, BUT please oh please don’t cut spending on ME!

(OK, I’ve beaten the butt of that dead horse enough)

Never before in my decades of being involved in debates about the size of government has it been this obvious how wedded most people are to the government providing them a broad array of things they want. Not just things you could reasonably describe as public necessities, but just things they want and the easiest way to get them is to have the government provide them.

Only libertarians say: Hell yeah, cut it all, cut everything, even stuff I might think government should still do–at least they should do less of it. For starters, we’d cut defense back as much as reasonable, eliminate corporate welfare and subsidies and move to a flatter, simpler tax system, get the feds out of education, social security, and health care, and start cutting back the inspector and regulatory state.

You really want to cut the deficit? Put libertarians in charge. They may cut some stuff you don’t want cut, but they will certainly cut stuff the other guys don’t want as well. They will piss everyone one off, but will get the job done. And we all know this problem won’t get solved without making everyone mad about something, so lets just jump right in.

Libertarian fiscal aerobics will have those buts trimmed down in no time.

Adrian Moore

Adrian Moore, Ph.D., is vice president of policy at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. Moore leads Reason's policy implementation efforts and conducts his own research on topics such as privatization, government and regulatory reform, air quality, transportation and urban growth, prisons and utilities.

Moore, who has testified before Congress on several occasions, regularly advises federal, state and local officials on ways to streamline government and reduce costs.

In 2008 and 2009, Moore served on Congress' National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission. The commission offered "specific recommendations for increasing investment in transportation infrastructure while at the same time moving the Federal Government away from reliance on motor fuel taxes toward more direct fees charged to transportation infrastructure users." Since 2009 he has served on California's Public Infrastructure Advisory Commission.

Mr. Moore is co-author of the book Mobility First: A New Vision for Transportation in a Globally Competitive 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008). Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, "Speaking from our experiences in Texas, Sam Staley and Adrian Moore get it right in Mobility First." World Bank urban planner Alain Bartaud called it "a must read for urban managers of large cities in the United States and around the world."

Moore is also co-author of Curb Rights: A Foundation for Free Enterprise in Urban Transit, published in 1997 by the Brookings Institution Press, as well as dozens of policy studies. His work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Orange County Register, as well as in, Public Policy and Management, Transportation Research Part A, Urban Affairs Review, Economic Affairs, and numerous other publications.

In 2002, Moore was awarded a World Outsourcing Achievement Award by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Michael F. Corbett & Associates Ltd. for his work showing governments how to use public-private partnerships and the private sector to save taxpayer money and improve the efficiency of their agencies.

Prior to joining Reason, Moore served 10 years in the Army on active duty and reserves. As an noncommissioned officer he was accepted to Officers Candidate School and commissioned as an Infantry officer. He served in posts in the United States and Germany and left the military as a Captain after commanding a Heavy Material Supply company.

Mr. Moore earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. He holds a Master's in Economics from the University of California, Irvine and a Master's in History from California State University, Chico.