Resolved to be Realistic

by Carl Milsted, Jr.

2009 was a tough year for freedom lovers: mass bailouts, mass nationalizations, massive deficits...a celebration of bigger government generally. 2009 was a tough year for Americans overall, and tougher times loom ahead. The baby boomer generation is preparing to retire and the federal deficit was 1.7 trillion dollars last year -- when we should be running budget surpluses to prepare for the boomers.

Not my fault. And not yours either if you are a typical Free Liberal reader. Mainstream liberals and conservatives made this mess. That knowledge, and a dollar, will buy you a can of your favorite carbonated beverage.

So for my New Year's resolution, I am resolved to do something about this mess. Oh, I've done a bunch trying to prevent this mess over the past few decades, but obviously, I failed. Ditto, for many of you readers. I am resolving to do, not merely try.

This is not to be some wacky Jedi mind trick, some application of The Secret or other bit of positive thinking. I'm too left-brained for that. This is about thinking negatively, and acting accordingly. It's about applying some advice from the most interesting man in the world:

What can't be done in 2010? How about electing a 100 Libertarians to congress. It can't be done, so why put them on the ballot? Why put effort into the LP at all? How about tax cuts? The government is running colossal deficits. Tax cuts would require cutting spending by $2 trillion dollars! Can't do it. So no point trying. Peace in the Middle East? Not going to happen. A repeal of the recent healthcare bill? Nope, not until at least 2013. Gold standard? Not until we deleverage the economy, including the government. So what can be done?

We cannot have tax cuts but we can have tax help. The IRS could be much more helpful, taking a huge burden off of employers and taxpayers. (Compare paying your phone bill to paying your taxes.) The tax code could be more fair and less full of loopholes.

We cannot have an end to the drug war, but we can have more states with legal medical marijuana, and maybe even a slim chance of outright legalization.

The Democrats may have complete control of the federal government, but they are still open to new ideas -- if presented correctly. For example, many a modern liberal can change her mind on Keynesian economics when presented with the fact that deficit spending is regressive.

The Republicans may have learned a lesson from the spanking they got last election. Maybe they'll put some good people on the ballot. Maybe a few will win.

The purist libertarians won't learn how to do electoral politics properly, but they might learn to focus more on counter-economics and other practical activities for radicals.

I don't have the wherewithal to start that new political party which is begging to launch, but some millionaire donors might materialize to make it happen -- or I might become one myself...

So, my New Year's resolution is to focus on the possible, and put the utopian dreaming, ideological quibbling, and "making a statement" on the backburner. We'll see how long this resolve lasts...