Okaloosa’s Missing Ingredient

The Emerald Coast Association of Realtors recently sponsored a “Meet the Candidates” forum at the Fort Walton City Hall. The public had an opportunity to watch, listen, and even ask a question or two of the county electoral candidates.

The forum was a great idea, and one of the few ways candidates and concerned citizens can get together, but in the end it made me think about how off target were the issues that the candidates were speaking about.

The great issue overhanging Okaloosa County is that the economy in the USA is about to change for the worse. Overspending, overprinting money, government intervention in the market, and the inflation thus created will tax both our pocketbooks and our characters. The Federal Government tendency toward authoritarianism will increase.

Congress, for example, just granted unlimited check writing power to the Secretary of the Treasury to essentially nationalize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a $5 trillion dollar mortgage industry.

A billion used to be a lot. Now we talk in trillions.

Like many socialist governments in the past, the current US policy of government intervention in the free market, restriction of individual rights, and limitless government power is producing bigger and bigger problems. These problems are being felt right here on the Emerald Coast. Even though it is the wrong answer, the problems created by government will probably be fixed by a bipartisan agreement to increase government power. This will lead to a cycle of ever bigger problems.

It is for this reason that it is hard to watch such dedicated and well meaning people as these candidates talk about what they will do in office.

Of the two Congressional candidates, the Republican had to beg forgiveness for not showing up because he was busy passing the Fannie and Freddie legislation in Washington D.C. The Democrat candidate said business, in general, is fueled by greed and because of this the government needs to take the lead and develop alternate fuel industries. I’ll bet without all the rules, regulations, subsidies, tax credits, incentives and discriminatory business legislation passed over the last 100 years, private industry would have produced a viable alternative fuel industry by now.

The candidates for State representative didn’t talk about a reduced role for government either, but rather cordially agreed that they were both for God and country and that they should do something about controlling insurance rates. Government should no more be in the business of setting insurance rates than they should be in determining what you eat for lunch.

The public defenders didn’t talk about ensuring defendants rights, but rather they talked about how their budget was cut 10% and how they would make the best of that. Eventually, the ill effects of Federal warrantless wiretaps, warrantless home searches, and monitoring citizens will work their way to Okaloosa County. Will they stand against these erosions of our Republic?

To their credit, the candidates for Sheriff did talk about faithfully applying due process, limiting costs, and apprehending illegal immigrants, but in the process of doing so one candidate talked about how the government can legally do a background check on a citizen by simply starting a conversation. We are not yet at the point of producing our papers at the order of the state, but we are getting close.

The candidates for County Commission also didn’t seem interested in limits to government. They talked about stimulating markets by somehow bringing in jobs, building reservoirs, and having an effective road development plan. I did not hear one of them mention lowering taxes for everyone, the sure fire way of creating more jobs. A Democratic candidate was quite refreshing in his honesty when he said (paraphrased) “I’m a Democrat. We believe government should be in everything.” The candidates also talked about a special tax for people who live on or near beaches. It seems to me nothing would kill property values faster than taxing it more.

What, then, are they missing? A libertarian mindset. A commitment to individual rights, free markets and limited government that alone can produce lasting prosperity and the opportunity for individual happiness. It used to be the foundation for just about everything we did in the USA, but now politics is always about more government power.

And that ain’t what the USA is supposed to be about.

Peter J. Blome

(Peter J. Blome is a retired military officer and Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County. He can be contacted at blomep@cox.net)