Libertarian candidates address students
Candidates from the Libertarian Party staged a campaign event at Carnegie Mellon last Sunday. Among the candidates present were Betsy Summers, running for the U.S. Senate, and David Posipanka, running for the 38th District of the State House of Representatives.
Due to Hurricane Jeanne, Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate for President, could not attend the event. His executive assistant, Jon Airheart, spoke in his place.
Opening the evening was Libertarian Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Dimitri Vassilaros. Describing the Libertarian Party as one that promotes personal freedom and personal responsibility, he extolled the virtues of Libertarianism, framing them in the following statement: ?You should be able to do whatever you want to do so long as you don?t hurt someone else or someone else?s property.?
The Libertarian Party, the third largest in the United States, advocates the retreat of the government from ?bedrooms, bank accounts and boardrooms,? according to Vassilaros.
David Posipanka opened his speech with a personal anecdote, then advocated tort reform. He pledged that if elected he would fight for an elimination of corporate tax in Pennsylvania in order to help businesses and consumers.
Proclaiming that ?taxation is morally wrong,? Posipanka made an analogy between robbery and taxation, pointing to the inefficiency of government bureaucracy and citing that it consumes 82 cents per dollar collected.
In a plank-by-plank analysis of his platform, Posipanka announced his support for capitol punishment: ?Everyone in the Capitol ought to be punished!?
For all those who have grown disillusioned with government policies, Posipanka said, ?[t]he Libertarian Party is your reset button.?
Betsy Summers, the Libertarian candidate for Senate, addressed the issue of Social Security. She cited a study by the Cato Institute, a Libertarian think tank, which found that private retirement funds had returns of 7.5 percent over the past twenty years while Social Security?s return was merely 1.2 percent. Summers proposed that the government end Social Security for those yet to enter the workforce and put the money paid in by current taxpayers into individual lifetime annuities.
Further advocating decreasing the size of government, she said that 25 percent to 75 percent of the cost of products was a result of government regulation that should be abolished, and the safety of goods should be checked by private entities such as Underwriters Laboratories.
Equating the national draft to involuntary servitude, Summers pledged that if elected she would fight against its reinstatement, and she would also attempt to repeal the USA PATRIOT Act, which Libertarians view as an unconstitutional assault on civil liberties.
She went on to criticize Congress over the war in Iraq, which the Libertarian Party wants to end. ?The best way to make us safer is to put an end of meddling with foreign nations,? Summers said.
Due to Badnarik?s absence, Airheart offered a short biography of the Libertarian candidate and answered questions regarding Badnarik?s platform.
Ending the event, Vassilaros asked, ?Do you accept the principle that it?s OK for the government to take money from you to give to me??
If the answer is ?no,? then you should vote Libertarian, he said.