Thursday, February 14, 2019

Countering the Socialists: The Five Freedoms Proposal

By Robert Wenzel

If there is one thing the new American socialists have taught us is that one should not be afraid to be bold in putting forth policy proposals. Although their call for a 70% tax bracket is a horrific idea, it has a strong approval rating amongst voters.

The place where the new socialists have recently slipped up is in calling for restrictions on freedoms of their followers. That is never going to work. People will be all for "taxing the rich" but tell them they have to give up some freedom and watch them run.

Thus, we see the Green New Deal crashing as word gets out that some believe it would mean such things as the end to air travel. AOC's control, Saikat Chakrabarti, really fumbled the ball here. He went off the "promise the masses everything" program--and the lefties are getting slammed.

Conservatives have a point when they argue that all the Left generally does is promise the world to the masses and not focus at all on how the promises can be fulfilled. But conservatives are wrong when they believe that those in favor of free markets and liberty will always have a problem countering this.

Free market and liberty advocates have a distinct advantage. Not only can we make proposals that benefit the masses but we can deliver on the proposals since it is mostly about removing government oppression rather than lefty-type promises of pie in the sky giveaways that have zero chance of being fully funded and operated in an efficient manner.

But our proposals must be libertarian bold and shake people to the core and not some wimpy libertarian proposals that barely move the meter in the direction of liberty. The types of proposals I am thinking of will not be readily accepted by the masses because they are outside the current parameters of discussion but the idea is to never give up on the bold proposals and move, over time, the parameters of discussion.

The freedom proposals below won't be immediately adopted but they should be put in the face of every politician and activist. They should be made to explain why they are not in favor of the Five Freedoms.

Five Freedoms Proposal:

1. The Non-Violent Drug Offender Freedom Pardon

Every non-violent drug offender should be immediately pardoned and released from prison.

2. The Opt-Out of Social Security Freedom

Every person, regardless of age, should be allowed to opt out of Social Security. That is, if a person chooses to opt out, he will no longer be eligible for Social Security benefits but no longer be coerced into paying into the Social Security system. Opt out and Social Security taxes stop.

3. The Foreign Workers' Freedom Visa

Make foreign workers eligible for entry into the United States, that is, they would be allowed to freely travel in the United States. It would be a "Freedom Visa" that would allow them to work in the United States provided they agree to never seek citizenship or the right to vote and they agree to pay 10% of their earnings into the Social Security system for the benefit of current Americans in the program and that they stipulate that they understand that despite these payments they themselves will not be allowed social security benefits. And they further acknowledge that as part of the visa deal that they will not be eligible for any government handouts or services that are available in the private sector.

4. Income Tax Freedom

Eliminate all income taxes on those earning $60,000 per year or less.

5. Freedom From the Burdens of Foreign Adventures

Demand that members of Congress and the president respect the advice of George Washington and free the American people from carrying the many burdens of foreign adventures of the United States government. As Washington put it in his farewell address:
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible... Here let us stop....[I] warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.
Now, these proposals are aimed at the masses. Some of them have interesting secondary consequences, if you get my drift. And, of course, my desire is for freedom well beyond these proposals. I consider this Five Freedoms Proposal a modest first step.

It is an attempt to move the direction of focus away from the socialist anti-freedom movement and in the direction of freedom.

I do not expect miracles but I do note that these freedom proposals generally benefit in a very real way the masses. Thus, they are a strong counter to the giveaway plans of the socialists that they can't deliver on. All the proposals above can be delivered upon with a stroke of a pen.

I hasten to add that there will be objections by some as to why some of these propositions can not be excecuted. I will discuss these objections in future columns. This column is just about getting the Five Freedoms out.

If you have a particular thorny objection that you do not know how to respond to, leave the objection in the comments below and I will discuss in a future post.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of


  1. That just about covers it I should think. Every other crucial change that I can think of really wouldn't resonate with the masses and wouldn't trigger their instinct of "what's in it for me?" (e.g. ending government schooling, abolishing the Fed,...).
    But there is one recommended addition I can think of that would change the lives of the masses in an immediate and profound way: occupational licensing reform. If there's a way to formulate that into a promise to the masses...paint a picture of the immediate benefit of being able to work at any profession or in any industry they desire, without government permission (licensing), e.g. barber, hair-braider, pool cleaner, taxi driver, contractor, lawyer (there goes MY monopoly! lol.), etc.
    Oh, and also, maybe a promise somewhere down the line of abolishing Civil Forfeiture laws.
    Also, not sure if this one is getting too complicated for the masses, but we need Government Immunity Reform, i.e. a promise that when citizens are injured throughh the negligence of government actors (cops, prosecutors, judges, etc) then they can sue for tort damages; As it now stands, cops have Qualified Immunity (and can only be sued under strict circumstances), and prosecutors and judges have Absolute Immunity (and can't be sued at all). These government actors must be made to carry liability insurance like the rest of us, which will force them to watch their step (i.e. eradicate Moral Hazard). Not sure if this would resonate with the masses, or if it would go over their heads...

  2. Re: #4— How much income tax would be eliminated if this were implemented right now?

    How would you make up this loss?

    And if this burden were forced on those above 60 grand wouldn’t this worsen the polarization between these classes?
    - [ ]

    1. I would think that Roberts intention here was to offset low income - income tax but not all taxes since there is a wide range of taxes the masses face that make more sense then income taxes on the poor since any tax to those with limited means carries a much higher negative impact.

      This doesnt validate a 70% by any means but equalizes tax burden impact.

  3. Here's another one that falls in with a Washington influence. Representative Freedom. Restore the ratio of 1:30,000 in the house. Modify the Apportionment Act of 1911 to un-cap the 435 representatives to reflect the original representation rate. If you think about it, how can each representative adequately consider constituents when they have roughly 900,000 people each?! It’s no wonder why a handful of lobbyists from drug companies can better influence “illegal plants” vs. those of us who think The People should be making the choices about what we ingest in our bodies.

    Just to give you perspective, a ratio of 1:30,000 would mean about 11,500 representatives in the US House. I think this could really throw a wrench into special interests lobbying.

    Here is how James Madison recorded Washington’s comments and “his wish” concerning representation in the US House of Representatives:

    "When the President rose, for the purpose of putting the question, he said that although his situation had hitherto restrained him from offering his sentiments on questions depending in the House, and it might be thought, ought now to impose silence on him, yet he could not forbear expressing his wish that the alteration proposed might take place. It was much to be desired that the objections to the plan recommended might be made as few as possible – The smallness of the proportion of Representatives had been considered by many members of the Convention, an insufficient security for the rights & interests of the people. He acknowledged that it had always appeared to himself among the exceptionable parts of the plan; and late as the present moment was for admitting amendments, he thought this of so much consequence that it would give much satisfaction to see it adopted."

    1. Yes, the damage done between 1900 and 1920 must be repaired. Otherwise any reform is temporary.
      So yes, remove the cap on representatives, return senators to the state governments, end the federal reserve, end the income tax on wages. This would bust fedgov back down closer to its proper position. Which is exactly why it will not happen.

  4. The real road block I see is dismantling the rregulatory state. The masses really have a distorted idea of what "regulations" are and do.

  5. If it's regarded as bold and good for the "national conversation" for Occasional-Cortex to come out with a 70% top tax-bracket, why wouldn't it be regarded as equally bold for someone like Rand Paul to come out with a 0% top tax-bracket, and to ask people to consider the proposition that, if the government has such great support and is the best way to get things done, people should voluntarily want to fund its programs.

    1. Excellent suggestion and it would eliminate the need for RW's five freedoms. I'm sure RW believes it would be a non-starter for the masses and so not trigger the debate he wants to see. But it seems to me we have been engaged in RW's kind of debate for over 240 years and Freedom continues to lose ground. Action speaks louder than words. Perhaps a strategy that ignores politics and promotes individual action would be more powerful.

    2. A good idea but to easy to push back against since it is so radical in relation the current paradigm.

      You not only need to sell the masses but the swamp as well.

  6. "1. The Non-Violent Drug Offender Freedom Pardon"

    Be prepared for this counter argument: "But these people are murderers!". Yes, I know it doesn't make sense, but this is the argument I got from a prosecuting attorney here in LA. You see, they _suspect_ that someone is a murderer but they put them in jail on a lesser, easier to prove charge (possession) just to get them off the streets (remember that Al Capone was jailed for... taz evasion). Yes, I know the argument should then be that the perp should be brought back up on murder charges, but this doesn't do much to lessen the public fear of having "murderers" (however unproven) loose on the streets.

    1. But...."think of the children!!! Oh, the humanity!" /sarc

  7. Number 6: make all federal employees paychecks make sense. Do not take Federal Tax from government employees. It should be made revenue Nuetral.

    Note this is so I never have to hear a federal employee exclaim “I pay taxes”. And then really not understand the accounting Trick at all.

    1. While you are correct that opens up government employee unions to misrepresent their salaries and wages as unreasonably low.

  8. #1 Expand to all personal choices government doesn't approve of.

    #2 There needs to be a mechanism to recover wealth lost to the ponzi scheme or many cannot afford to opt out. (government asset sales or transfers?)

    #3 Maybe just some stronger wording to make it clear they are not entitled to anything from the american taxpayer.

    #4 Eliminate wages and salaries from the official and working definitions of income. Income taxes to be with in the constitutional limits to being taxes on corporations and profit from foreign trade.

  9. Promise me you'll never seek citizenship. Riiiigggghhht

  10. I like the move towards freedom these would cause. They are all very specific in action except for number 5 though. As one of the"masses", #5 feels very general. I agree with it, but it doesn't seem as specific as the others.