Carl Milsted, Jr. PhD is a theoretical physicist by training and an applied physicist/computer programmer in the defense industry by career. However, he has dabbled heavily in matters of economics and public policy on the side for decades going back to high school debate and extending through a quarter century of activism within the Libertarian Party, activism which culminated in a stint on the Libertarian National Committee and finally leadership in the Libertarian Reform Caucus which led to the convention voting out the borderline anarchist platform in 2006. His writings have appeared in Physical Review A, Liberty, Libertarian Party News, The Torch, The Free Liberal, the Asheville Daily Planet, and elsewhere.
However, this is not a libertarian site. This is a site devoted to fiscal sanity, to plain old patriotism, to ensuring a safe and prosperous United States for future generations. (Age and parenthood can erode strident ideology, and instill balance and wisdom.)
Americans as a whole do not want government shrunk down to libertarian specifications, and for some pretty good reasons (along with some bad reasons). A tax funded safety net has much to be said over having to hire private security guards to traverse Third World style shantytowns. ‘Tis better to fight three unnecessary wars abroad than one necessary war at home. Fair enough.
- We need a safety net we can afford from current tax revenues. Paying for social programs with deficit spending subsidizes the rich, which defeats much of the point of progressive government.
- If we want to remain the world’s mightiest superpower, we need to pay for it with taxes, instead of borrowing billions from potential rivals.
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Dr. Milsted got his start in debate, a passion which continues to this day. This means he has listened to the concerns and arguments of many factions over the decades. Couple this with training in the physical sciences and an enjoyment of (real) science fiction, and the result is a knowledge base far different from the many scattered echo chambers of talk radio, cable television or the Internet. We need a mix of conventional knowledge and out of the box thinking to get out of our fiscal mess, and buy in from both the Left and Right. The small reading list above is a sample.
- Economics on Trial and the Structure of Production by Mark Skousen. Readable introductions to the Austrian School of Economics’ theory of the business cycle. As long as our leaders and voters believe in fiscal stimulus as a remedy for recession, deficit spending will continue. These works provide an alternative theory of recessions.
- Economics by Paul A. Samuelson. The textbook which introduced millions to Keynesian economics. An excellent intro to an incorrect theory.
- The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley. Why those who disbelieve in the Paradox of Thrift succeed, and how they avoid high taxes.
- America: Who Really Pays the Taxes by Barlett and Steele. A very liberal work documenting the myriad tax loopholes exploited by the rich and by multinational corporations.
- The Machinery of Freedom by David D. Friedman. An anarchist work describing the economics of government itself, why government isn’t the objective referee we would like it to be. Useful as a case for no government, or for making government better (less bad?).
- Fuzzy Thinking by Bart Kosko. Fuzzy logic is an excellent remedy for the medieval logic memes which infect the libertarian movement.
- Pragmatic Thinking and Learning by Andy Hunt. Another good antidote to a priori thinking. Also thrown in to emphasize that this is a pragmatic site, not an ideological spleen venting.
- The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill. The study of electronics includes the study of filters and feedback, quite useful for understanding the instabilities of our financial system and how to craft solutions which don’t require a benevolent super human at the helm of the Federal Reserve.
- Chaotic Vibrations by Francis C. Moon. A study of chaotic dynamical systems is also useful for understanding financial markets, and the limitations of active central planning.
- Numerical Recipes by Press, Flannery, Teukolsky and Vetterling. Nothing like a few years trying to solve nonlinear coupled partial differential equations to make one appreciate the challenges of one of today’s most controversial issues.
- Expanded Universe by Robert Heinlein. Before the days of high school debate were nights spent reading the very political science fiction by Heinlein. This was his last book of essays, including a panic filled case for spending cuts and high taxes to deal with the growing deficits and entitlement time bomb – published in 1980.
- A Step Farther Out by Jerry Pournelle. High tech proposals to solve that other form of deficit spending: consumption of nonrenewable resources.
A mix of libertarian, liberal, conservative and completely apolitical thought is going into the making of this site. Try reading the content herein with an open mind, wherever you stand.