Call it 'Too Depressed to Blog'

Though the contemporary Republican Party has never been libertarian enough for me or many others focused on economic issues, we at least imagined the GOP would lead a President Trump, who came into office with no governing experience and a platform that was populist and nationalist.

The GOP has failed to do much practical at all. If you, like me, at least hoped Trump would be contained by party orthodoxy, the year has been nothing but disappointment after disappointment.

Civil Rights: Hard to think of anything the GOP or Pres. Trump has proposed with which I agree, from gender issues to voting rights, the GOP is allowing Trump to lead on these subjects — in the wrong direction.

Gay marriage should never have been a national issue. Private matters are private, between consenting adults. The libertarians and social conservatives will always be in conflict on these issues.

On voting rights, I am okay with a basic national ID standard, as is being implemented for the TSA via new driver's licenses and state ID cards, but we don't have massive voter fraud. Show an ID and vote. I support a week of voting and I support vote-by-mail because there really isn't a problem where these have been tried.

Immigration? Definitely going the wrong direction under Trump. The two parties should have been able to reach an agreement to improve border security and expedite legal immigration. It takes too long for good people to become citizens. Many of the people fleeing to the United States illegally are fleeing messes we helped created. Immigration helps the economy and attracts people who want to be here.

Taxes? What is the GOP thinking? This is an issue they should own, but instead they are presenting a complicated mess of a proposal. Cut the number of tax brackets, remove almost all deductions, and explain to the public that any deduction is a form of social engineering. The problem is that the middle class loves their tax breaks. These breaks should not have been created, and now they are difficult to end. Why is there a home mortgage deduction? The middle class benefits. The same with most other deductions.

If you could demonstrate that a lower overall **effective tax rate** would be better for the middle class, and prove that they would pay slightly less or even the same as under current policy, that would be a good strategy.

Infrastructure was promised. Where is the legislation? Where is the plan to fix our roads, bridges, airports, train routes, and so on? These things should be paid for through taxes as part of the common good, within reason. That's not socialism, either, an argument that tires me. The common areas, used by everyone or benefiting everyone, need to be maintained.

Health policy should have been ready to go under a new president. It wasn't ready and the proposals are a mess. The GOP is the gang that couldn't shoot straight on health policy. Employer-based insurance was and is a mistake: insurance should be portable and owned by the individual. Employers should be able to contribute as part of retention incentives, but the system is too inflexible. Insurance should be portable across state lines, employers, and so on.

How difficult is it to propose subsidies for people below a given threshold? Vouchers seem to be popular among the GOP for education, so why not health insurance? There are market-based solutions that don't need to leave people uninsured — which ends up costing us more money as a society.

The free market doesn't seem to concern the GOP or Pres. Trump. When they claim to support the market, they often support crony capitalism. A free market is a market in which no company, regardless of size or industry, receives special treatment by the government. (For a really bad example of policy, watch the courting of Amazon by various cities.)

It's been difficult to blog about one depressing week after another. What this really reveals is the lack of any libertarian core within the Republican Party. And the Democrats offer little or nothing better.

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