Thursday, March 12, 2009

Texas Libertarians' rise versus California's decline

This is not just another one of my Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas articles gloating about how well the Libertarian Party of Texas did under my service as Executive Director from 2004 to 2008.

When you feel like you've got the situation under control, things are going well, your team is breaking new fundraising records, you're getting tons of positive feedback, morale of the group is high, and people are working together (or at least working separately and leaving each other alone most of the time), like in Texas, it's quite easy to be a Libertarian Party activist.

On the other hand, when things are going poorly after years and years of seemingly unstoppable decline and it feels like even the simplest of things seem to go wrong and you're just banging your head against the floor, and working harder just causes more headaches, like in California, it's tough to be a Libertarian Party activist. Those who keep trying are the real Libertarian heroes.

This is a list of some of the simple, humble approaches I've tried to take here in Texas.

1) I encourage people to run for any office they're willing to run for, and to run whether they have a realistic chance of winning, or are just likely to get a percent or two at the polls to help build the Party.
2) I've run for office five times, so I know what other candidates go through and can coach them.
3) At first, most prospects decline to be candidates because they don't want to disappoint the Party. I tell prospective candidates that they are doing the party a favor by running even if they don't spend a dime and only have a few hours all year to put into it. Most exceed expectations.
4) I don't nitpick the candidates' platforms. I support the right of candidates to have radical, moderate, left-leaning, or right-leaning libertarian platforms.
5) I try to give Texas Libertarians realistic hope they can achieve, and our results show it has worked.

I'll leave it to Californians to decide if any of this could be helpful to them or not.

I'm also writing this article to bring to your attention that I think a few former California leaders who let the California LP decline under their watch are now having too much influence on National LP strategy and we're seeing California-like declines at National.

For the record, I have offered to fix things myself by serving as the National Executive Director. Similarly, if California or any other states want my help at the state-level, they should give me a call. Pennsylvania? Wyoming? Hawaii? Hawaii?

The Libertarian Party of Texas had $25,000 in debt when I was first hired in 2004. Don't let an empty bank account prevent you from calling. My first job is to start filling your bank account. I can work out a realistic no-risk plan with you.

I actually like fixer-uppers. Makes it real easy to improve.

Check out my resume: Executive Director * Sold Business * MBA * Engineer

My resume reveals that I'm not a native Texan and that I've lived all over the US and overseas. I can work from a distance or re-locate, work full-time or part-time. I'm getting kind of tired of Texas, anyway. Aren't you? ;-)

(No permission necessary to re-post this article. Data for the graph is imprecise. CA data was the best I could find from their website. On 3/29/09 2000-2001 data for TX added. TX 2000 is estimate based on reported Jan-Sep of $37,344. If you see something that needs correcting, please let me know.)


morey said...

I sure wish Bill had taken you up on that offer. Maybe national's loss will be the affiliates' gain.

I've long thought that smaller affiliates would do much better if someone were to provide templates and a little bit of coaching for the fundamental processes; membership retention, recruitment, fundraising, ballot access drives, etc. Maybe you could do a series of webcasts? Publicize them on the state chairs list so that we can all benefit.

Matt D. Harris said...

I'd welcome you in WV. It's cheap to live here, and if you like to party, Morgantown is the place to be. ;)

- Matt

MARK said...

I just saw you on Youtube Fairtax debate.

You were exactly right. But I doubt you understand how right.

You said there would be exemptions. Oh, yes, there sure would.

The biggest exemption would be the military. The government won't make the Pentagon pay a 23% sales tax on all purchases.

Medicare would not have to pay this sale tax either. And yes - ALL government spending, including medicare and military -- are subject to Fairtax. Fairtax makes no exceptions, at all.

Page 148 of the Fairtax book even says "The federal government itself will become a MAJOR taxpayer."

Only when you see WHY Fairtax has no exemptions, do you realize why Fairtax is a house of cards.

Jut like you said -- on paper - a program might look great. What you don't know is that on paper, Fairtax makes all state, local, county, and federal spending pay this very high sale tax.

And they count the money they get FROM the government paying itself, as income.

Fairtax doesn't advertize the fact that its a huge tax on the government itself -- that its based on GETTING really a stunning amount of money somehow FROM the government and counting that as income.

So if you talk about exemptions -- and exempting the military, or the city governments, or anyone, the whole house of Fairtax cards tumbles.

It tumbles because if you can't count that as income - their math doesn't add up.

Hoagland even said - if you grant exemptionss --its no longer 23%. What an understatement.

If you grant the federal government an exemption -- (and you have to really, because the federal government paying itself is just a farce) the 23% becomes 45%.

But there are other exemptions that would have to be there - that people would demand.

For example -- renters. This sales tax of Fairtax is on all rent. Every renter -- even subsidized rent - would have to pay this sales tax on their rent.

Fairtax can't grant that exemption. It can't grant ANY. Because if they grant renter an exemption -- then cancer patients will want one, and so on.

All cancer patients - all nursing home patients -- every parent of a sick child, would have to pay this sales tax. No exceptions -- no exemptions.

No matter how old you are, how poor you are -- how sick you are --FT has no exceptions.

Is Fairtax mean? No - not at all. Fairtax math is just a house of cards.

Fairtax is based on getting 23% of all medical expenses coming in as taxes

That's how they got all their figures --basing it on 23% of all spending.

If Fairtax can get 23% of all governmentn spending (non payroll spending) and 23% of all medical spending, and military spending, and rent, and a dozen other things -- all other things -- then their 23% won't work.

But they can't get 23%. They can't get it because like you said - this group or that will demand exemptions. (And rightfully so.)

Lets say renters don't demand the exemption before the law is passed -- cause they don't know.

They will know very sooon -- and throw a fit.

But mostlly, before the tax plan is passed - many groups will demand exemptions. Cancer victims for example. Nursing home residents for another.

And the government will demand an exemption -- in that it won't put this tax on military purchase.

The federal government paying itself is just a bailout -- its a farce.

But state and local governments won't pay this sales tax either. They will demand an exemption when they hear Fairtax is based on getting 23% from them too.

The whole Fairtax scheme is actually a house of cards -- and you exposed it in your talk.

You probably have no idea that you came close to showing it to be a farce. Fairtax only works if there are NO exemptions -- none, zero.

And now you know why.