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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) The Planet Money Presidential Platform (Read 4520 times)
The Opposition
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #110 - Feb 12th, 2017 at 10:45pm
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SkyChief wrote on Feb 12th, 2017 at 7:32pm:
Privately built/maintained highways and thoroughfares are fine. So lets imagine that all of the Federally funded interstate highways suddenly disappear. *POOF*  they're gone!


Just to be fair here, these highways already exist. If each state just maintained its share, they would probably continue to exist.

By the way Jeff, I-95 is always jammed precisely because it fills such a necessary role. So many people need that highway that a great many people are always on it. And aren't you glad of I-95 when you use your alternative routes and find them relatively clear?
  

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Jeff
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #111 - Feb 13th, 2017 at 7:45am
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The Opposition wrote on Feb 12th, 2017 at 10:45pm:
By the way Jeff, I-95 is always jammed precisely because it fills such a necessary role. So many people need that highway that a great many people are always on it. And aren't you glad of I-95 when you use your alternative routes and find them relatively clear?
There are some sections of I-95 that can't carry anymore traffic than what they were designed to carry 60 years ago.
  
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Jeff
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #112 - Feb 13th, 2017 at 7:46am
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Jeff wrote on Feb 12th, 2017 at 7:58pm:
Yes, it would, if it was a general power. What makes you think it is? You know more about the Constitution than Hamilton?

Chief, I hope you'll tell me more about this general Constitutional power to create "infrastructure". Thanks.
There was much argument about it in Congress and the Courts back when the Erie canal was seeking funding...
I think the general resolution was to agree that the national government could build/fund whatever it wanted to as long as it claimed that the end result would be 'good for the country'... The very unfortunate assumption is that Congress actually knows what is 'good for the country'.

In general, when "infrastructure" projects turn out to be massively wasteful boondoggles, proponents of general powers for the national government say "Things would have been even worse if we hadn't done it" or "We just need to spend even more...".
  
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SkyChief
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #113 - Feb 13th, 2017 at 10:23am
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The Opposition wrote on Feb 12th, 2017 at 10:45pm:
Just to be fair here, these highways already exist. If each state just maintained its share, they would probably continue to exist.

LOL. Of course they exist.  They exist because the Federal Government had the capital to fund the most massive engineering undertaking in human history - the building of the American Highway Network -  all done with taxpayer funding. Infrastructure built with the purpose to promote Trade,  Commerce  and Growth.  And what a success it was!

I was trying to paint a hypothetical picture for Jeff so he could visualize a nation with no federal infrastructure funded with (income) taxes.  I failed. 

If all of the interstate highway system were privately built/funded, it would look and function quite differently than it does today. I'm making the point that at least part of a nation's infrastructure should be federally funded.  The "General Welfare" clause in the Constitution allows for it.
  
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Jeff
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #114 - Feb 13th, 2017 at 4:49pm
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SkyChief wrote on Feb 13th, 2017 at 10:23am:
LOL. Of course they exist.  They exist because the Federal Government had the capital to fund the most massive engineering undertaking in human history - the building of the American Highway Network -  all done with taxpayer funding. Infrastructure built with the purpose to promote Trade,  Commerce  and Growth.

The interstate highway system was actually sold to Congress as a way to move troops and war material quickly around the country. A national defense measure.
  
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Jeff
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #115 - Feb 13th, 2017 at 4:52pm
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SkyChief wrote on Feb 13th, 2017 at 10:23am:
I was trying to paint a hypothetical picture for Jeff so he could visualize a nation with no federal infrastructure funded with (income) taxes.  I failed. 


Of course you did.

Did you know that in 1916, there were 254,000 miles of private railroads in America? That was before the "income" tax.

Of course you didn't.
  
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Jeff
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #116 - Feb 13th, 2017 at 4:58pm
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SkyChief wrote on Feb 13th, 2017 at 10:23am:
The "General Welfare" clause in the Constitution allows for it.

You figure that the Erie canal promoted the "general Welfare"?

You still aren't reading the Constitution correctly.

In order to promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty, the national government is given the power to establish a system of Courts.

In order to promote the general Welfare and preserve the Blessings of Liberty, the national government is given the power to raise armies in time of declared war and to establish a navy etc. etc.

The whole idea underlying the Constitution is right there.

In order to promote the general Welfare and preserve the Blessings of Liberty, our national government must be limited to these following enumerated powers....

Why is that so hard to see?
  
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SkyChief
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #117 - Feb 13th, 2017 at 6:03pm
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Jeff wrote on Feb 13th, 2017 at 7:46am:
Chief, I hope you'll tell me more about this general Constitutional power to create "infrastructure". Thanks.
All I can do is present the clause verbatim. Its pretty straightforward.
(Article I, section 8):
"The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defense and general Welfare of the United States...

..To establish Post Offices and Roads"

When this was written, there was no such thing as a "Highway" So any road that is used by the US Postal Service could be considered compliant with this clause.

Its shaky, for sure, but it will hold up to scrutiny in a Court of Law.

You're very welcome.  Smiley
  
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The Opposition
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #118 - Feb 13th, 2017 at 10:45pm
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SkyChief wrote on Feb 13th, 2017 at 10:23am:
LOL. Of course they exist.  They exist because the Federal Government had the capital to fund the most massive engineering undertaking in human history - the building of the American Highway Network -  all done with taxpayer funding. Infrastructure built with the purpose to promote Trade,  Commerce  and Growth.  And what a success it was!

I was trying to paint a hypothetical picture for Jeff so he could visualize a nation with no federal infrastructure funded with (income) taxes.  I failed. 

If all of the interstate highway system were privately built/funded, it would look and function quite differently than it does today. I'm making the point that at least part of a nation's infrastructure should be federally funded.  The "General Welfare" clause in the Constitution allows for it.


It's not a terrible case. You can argue until you're blue in the face that other methods of transportation and connectivity would have arisen, but as commerce (according to you, the libertarians) generally travels down the path of least resistance, I'm going to say the highways were it.
  

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merkelstan
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Re: The Planet Money Presidential Platform
Reply #119 - Feb 14th, 2017 at 2:13am
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Canals, not highways were the first major transportation projects in the US. Early 'infrastructure' development began shortly after signing the constitution - but guess what? It wasn't the job of the Federal Govt.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_turnpikes_and_canals_in_the_United_Stat...
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/detoc/transport/canal.html

There followed a period when there was a rash of crony-corporatist canal-building by state legislatures that generated so much corruption that almost all of them ended-up forbidding it in their constitution. I don't have a reference to that handy unfortunately. But I recall Thomas DiLorenzo talking about it in a couple of Mises.org lectures. 

Jeff has already explained why the 'general welfare' clause wasn't designed to allow for *any* Federal Govt. activity, but to further qualify and restrict the activities pursued under the enumerated powers of the constitution to only things that would benefit the whole nation (as opposed to specific groups)..
  
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