Election 2012

Politics & Culture

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Issues

The following Atlas Society archived content provides rich background on key issues prominent in this year's election.

 

Income inequality

Wealth is not a static quantity; it is continually increased through production and trade. Nor is it a collective product or possession of "society"; it is created by individuals who apply their minds and their efforts to the goal of creating value. Entrepreneurs and producers should be free to make as much money as they can by producing goods and services to exchange with their fellows based on mutual consent. Those who earn great wealth through production and voluntary exchange are entitled to that wealth. They should be proud of their wealth and achievements rather than apologetic. The only form of equality that can be justified is equality before the law. Coercive government programs to redistribute wealth are inherently injust. The following archived content illustrates the principles that are at stake.

Government size and scope

 Government has metastasized monstrously beyond its only legitimate function of protecting the lives, liberties, and property of citizens. High taxes impoverish us, regulations strangle enterprise, and government debt and deficits are leading the country to national bankruptcy. To return it to its proper role, the size and scope of government should be radically reduced. The following archived content deals with key issues of government size and scope.

Enterprise and jobs

 It is the spirit of entrepreneurship and the freedom to create wealth, free from government interference, that allows individuals and, by extension, the country, to prosper. There is no inherent "right" to a job. Jobs are contracts between individuals to trade money and benefits for services. Governments do not ”create” jobs and should not pretend to. The best employment opportunities are available in the freest and, thus, the most productive economies. The following archived content illustrates key issues at stake in enterprise and jobs.

Health care

 Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security involve the unjust transfer of money from working people to others, chiefly the elderly. They are socialist programs, siphoning wealth from the private health insurance and retirement markets. They should be privatized so that individuals have the freedom and responsibility to adopt insurance and retirement plans of their choice.

Individuals should have a right to use their resources to purchase health care services in a free market. Physicians and health-care workers should have the right to offer their services on whatever terms they choose. No one has a right to force others to provide for his health care. Government entitlement programs and regulation of the health care sector limit liberty and have caused the current health care crisis. Government should get out of the health care business. The following archived content addresses key issues at play within the arenas of health care and social security.

Energy and environment

 To create the means of our survival and prosperity, we must unleash the energy in the physical world around us, whether from oil, coal, nuclear, solar or any other source. Entrepreneurs in the market should be free to exploit whatever sources they wish without government interference on the one hand or subsidies on the other, subject only to the restriction that they not cause harm to other people or their property. The ‘environment,’ that is, the material world in which we live, is of value because we can put it to our use. Individual owners should determine the uses of resources. The following archived content highlights key issues at stake.

Immigration

 America was founded by immigrants, individuals who sought the best in life for themselves and who had the initiative to seek prosperity and liberty in this land. America should keep its borders open to all who want to come here to work. The following archived content highlights key issues at play in the ongoing immigration debate in the United States.

Foreign Affairs

 The American government should protect the rights of American citizens to trade and do business freely throughout the world, not restrict commerce to protect politically-connected American firms at the expense of consumers or other enterprises. It should defend America against attacks, proclaim the values of individual liberty and act as the "shining city on a hill.” But it should not act as the world’s policeman or sacrifice its blood and treasure when American security is not threatened. The following archived content addresses some of these key issues at play in foreign affairs.

 

 Social Issues

Individuals have the right to conduct their personal lives as they choose, in accordance with their own convictions, values, and preferences. Government has no right to regulate (or subsidize) religious belief and observance, speech, consumption of food and drugs, and sexual activities, as long as individuals do not violate the rights of others.