It is my sincerest belief that while personal freedom and a free market are important American ideals, they needs limitations. Libertarianism is one of those ideologies that sounds good on paper, but its actual application as a national system would be crazy. I'll be the first to admit that the government doesn't always get it right. However, in the interest of public well-being, sometimes even economic growth does need to be limited by government regulation. GOVERNMENT REGULATION Can you imagine the implications if we did not have government agencies, like the FDA or FAA? The pharmaceutical industry, for instance, would become dangerous. If drug companies were under no authoritative review, what is to stop them from releasing potentially harmful products? Without the FDA, there would be no legal mandate for these food and drug companies to test the safety and effectiveness of their products. Self-regulation is a slow process and only works to an extent. There are plenty of things that would slip through the cracks that consumers would not know about. Take the tobacco companies, for instance. There are already additives in cigarettes that make them more addicting. Is it really worth it to have these industries left unchecked? Take a minute and imagine what they could get away with. Imagine what they could do to their products for the sake of more profit.... it's a scary thought. TAXATION It has been an issue since the 1970's that productivity in the lower and middle class jobs have risen, but wages have remained flat. In other words, the "rich" are not earning all of the money that they make. If those at the top of the income distribution receive far more than the value of what they create, and those at lower income levels receive less, then one way to correct this is to increase taxes at the upper end of the income distribution and use the proceeds to protect important social programs that benefit working-class households, programs that are currently threatened by budget deficits. This would help to rectify the maldistribution of income that is preventing workers from realizing their share of the gains from economic growth. And don't get it twisted -I have nothing against the wealthy. I think these hard-working individuals deserve to be well paid for what they do, but not nearly to this extent. It isn't just the rich that need to pay taxes, of course. EVERYONE needs to put in their fair share for the sake of the greater good. I have no problem with paying higher taxes, so long as I know that the revenue is intended to make this country better (it doesn't always, I know). WELFARE/UNEMPLOYMENT/FOOD STAMPS I do understand that there are a lot of government moochers in this country, but that doesn't mean that these programs are unnecesssary and ineffective. Some people do need help when they are unable to stand on their own two feet. Also, it's not like it's easy to get into these programs. Have you ever seen the applications? They are huge, and leave little room for falsification. Hell, I support the Republican proposal that people entering these programs should be drug-tested first. I think that it is a great compromise, and more of this government funding will ultimately go to the right people. Like I said, the government isn't perfect; it certainly does over-reach from time to time. However, I think people have become so black-and-white when it comes to personal freedom. The idea has become over-romanticized in today's politics. The truth of the matter is that it is human nature for people to be selfish. People cannot handle TOTAL personal freedom. They just can't. For the sake of the greater good, people need limitations. Please, please, please don't accuse me of being a freedom-hating socialist. That is not the case.