Libertarian Party head attacks vaccines; Lefty former LP head advocates trillions in welfare spending

The Libertarian Party is America’s third-largest political party. It is also shrinking, even though polls show the likely major party candidates in the 2024 election, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, are both very unpopular. The Boston Herald reports that most Americans wish they had a choice other than Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Logically, this should be a golden age for the Libertarian Party, which could pick up voters fleeing the Democratic and Republican Parties. But the Libertarian Party chose to drive those voters away, by first pushing “woke” left-wing positions, then pushing anti-vax, Pro-Russian propaganda. So people are fleeing the Libertarian Party instead.

On April 21, the current head of the Libertarian Party, Angela McArdle, praised the decline in child vaccinations worldwide, which will result in the deaths of thousands of children (not vaccinations for COVID, which virtually never kills children, but for the childhood diseases that have historically killed millions of children worldwide). UNICEF had lamented on Twitter that “We’re facing the largest continuous decline in childhood vaccinations in 30 years….millions of children’s futures are at risk.” McArdle had responded to the tweet by saying, “We are winning.”

Meanwhile, McArdle’s left-leaning, woke predecessor as head of the Libertarian Party from 2014-2020, Nicholas Sarwark, was once again defending government handouts, approvingly retweeting a leftist who claims that Christians can’t be Republicans because Republicans support cutting government spending.

Left-wing activist Chris Potter had written, “I genuinely don’t understand how Christians are Republicans. The GOP is fighting to fighting to take Medicaid benefits and food benefits away from poor people. Can a Christian Republican please tell me how this even remotely aligns with the gospel”? Republicans aren’t trying to abolish Medicaid or food stamps, but some Republicans in Potter’s state are trying to require some able-bodied people to work if they are able to do so, if they want to receive Medicaid and food stamps.  But today, Sarwark promoted and agreed with his deceptive lefty tweet:

Sarwark, the chairman of the Libertarian Party from 2014-2020, has defended Joe Biden’s student loan bailout, which will cost taxpayers at least $427 billion, and perhaps well over $1 trillion. All conservative and libertarian economists think the bailout is a bad idea. So do even many Democratic economists, such as Jason Furman, chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, who called Biden’s plan “reckless.” Furman says “Pouring roughly half trillion dollars of gasoline on the inflationary fire that is already burning is reckless.” Biden’s plan will increase inflation, inequality, tuition, and the national debt. Even the liberal Washington Post calls Biden’s student-loan bailout “a regressive, expensive mistake.”

The libertarian education scholar Neal McCluskey points out that Biden’s “massive debt cancellation will encourage even greater college price increases as schools and future borrowers will both expect more cancellation in the future,” and Biden’s action is “grossly unconstitutional.” Writing off student loans will encourage colleges to jack up tuition, by making it more attractive to take out big loans to cover college tuition. When students are willing to borrow more to go to college, colleges respond by raising tuition. The Daily Caller reports that “each additional dollar in government financial aid translated to a tuition hike of about 65 cents,” according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

But Sarwark is a big fan of canceling student loans at taxpayers’ expense. He amplifies and repeats attacks on opponents of the bailout, such as Megan McArdle, a libertarian-leaning Washington Post columnist, and Chris Sununu, the governor of New Hampshire, using his Twitter account, as you can see from the tweets displayed below.

Sarwark mocks opponents of welfare and government handouts as tools of the wealthy and powerful. He approvingly retweeted a progressive attacking a conservative for opposing spending trillions of taxpayer dollars to write off student loans, including for wealthy professionals. The conservative correctly said, “Forgiving student debt is a massive windfall to the rich, to the college educated, and most of all to the corrupt university administrators of America. No bailouts for a corrupt system. Republicans must fight this with every ounce of our energy and power.” The Sarwark-approved response claimed without any evidence that opponents of canceling student loans “represent the interests of wealth” trying “to blunt support for a popular thing.”

In reality, canceling student loan debt is “regressive and unfair,” notes Katherine Abraham, the former head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who was an economic adviser to President Obama. As Greg Price points out, “Only 37% of Americans have a 4-yr college degree, only 13% have graduate degrees, and a full 56% of student loan debt is held by people who went to grad school. Biden’s plan to cancel it would be like taking money from a plumber to pay the debt of a lawyer.”

Libertarians used to oppose government spending (except for national defense and police), because it has to be funded by taxes, and they viewed “taxation as theft,” generally speaking. But many self-proclaimed libertarian academics and think-tank employees have now totally abandoned a belief in small government. Many of them have evolved leftward over the last decade into “bleeding heart libertarians” or “liberaltarians,” and thus no longer oppose government spending increases, massive deficit spending, or new entitlement programs. In the words of a former investment banker who used to fund libertarian groups, they have gone from supporting “free speech and free markets” to supporting “Free Mumia” (left-wing criminal justice reform) and “Free Stuff” that progressives want (race-based reparations that could cost $10-12 trillion, trillions of dollars worth of student loan forgiveness, and Biden welfare expansions such as Build Back Better).

On Twitter, lefty intellectuals who claim to be libertarian now say bad things about capitalism, and say that instead of focusing on free speech and free markets, libertarians should focus on “defunding the police, abolishing the prisons,” and “granting reparations.” (To quote a tweet that was liked or retweeted by many self-proclaimed libertarians with large Twitter followings).

One of those self-proclaimed “libertarians,” Cory Massimino, wrote a chapter in the “Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism,” which he said attacks “capitalism.” As he explains, “in my Routledge chapter ‘Two Cheers For Rothbardianism’ … I argue libertarians ought to care deeply about relational egalitarianism and oppose cisheteropatriarchy, white supremacy, ageism, ableism, and capitalism.”

The self-proclaimed “libertarian” David D’Amato wrote on Twitter, “I’m a full-blown socialist and would like to see every last dollar of [student loan] debt vanish.” D’Amato is on the “Board of Policy Advisors” for a libertarian think-tank.

The longtime editor of Libertarianism.org, Aaron Ross Powell, did an approving podcast with the “libertarian,” Cory Massimino, who said that “libertarians ought to…oppose … capitalism.”

Powell says true libertarians are to the left of both socialists and conservatives, the former being what Powell calls “the unstable middle.”

Powell recently did a postcast called “An Introduction to Marxism for Non-Marxists” with Ian Bennett.” It gave a sympathetic soapbox to a Marxist to make the case for Marxism, which Powell believes is often misunderstood.

Remarkably, a number of other left-libertarians seem to agree with Powell — his podcast sympathetic to Marxism was retweeted by Nicholas Sarwark, the chairman of the Libertarian National Committee from 2014-2020, who now seems to be more of a Democrat in his political leanings. Sarwark supports writing off trillions of dollars in student loan debt at taxpayer expense. Sarwark recently unsuccessfully ran as the Democratic and Libertarian candidate for Hillsborough County Attorney. On Twitter, Sarwark sounds much more like the woke teacher’s union president Randi Weingarten than he does the libertarian leaders of the past, like Ron Paul. But he claims to still be a libertarian, claiming he isfocusing our efforts on … recruiting, training, and amplifying candidates who support libertarian solutions” with the Libertarian Policy Institute.

Progressive libertarian academics have increasingly endorsed large expansions of the welfare state to buy off voters and try to keep conservatives out of office. For example, McGill University’s Jacob Levy, a self-described “Non-Lockean Libertarian,” admitted that Joe Biden’s Build Back Better was bad “on the merits”– “a kludgocratic mess of a way to do budgeting and social policy.” He concedes that Biden’s legislation is a “$200 bn a year kludgocratic mess.” But he says that passing this “mess” is worth it, to avoid handing Biden an embarrassing political defeat:

There is certainly nothing “libertarian” or pro-market about the Build Back Better Act that the progressive ersatz “libertarian” Levy wants Congress to enact. The leading libertarian magazine, Reason, reported that Biden’s Build Back Better plan would radically worsen the nation’s finances, increasing inflation and the national debt. Reason reported that “President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act is likely to end up costing taxpayers about double what the official price tag suggests, and much of that hidden cost will end up being added to the national debt….If all the Build Back Better plan’s proposals were made permanent…the final price tag would be $4.8 trillion, and the bill would add about $2.8 trillion to the deficit.” Reason also reported that it was likely that Build Back Better’s “trillions of dollars of new federal spending is likely to send inflation rocketing even higher.” Reason also reported that Build Back Better contains expensive giveaways for special interests, and that it will lead to more bloat and waste in pre-K education and daycare.

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By GIL