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Libertarians respond to State of the Union address

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All in all, the state of our union is a big mess created by Republicans and Democrats. That was the reaction of Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

“Thanks to unprecedented levels of government interference and government coercion, Americans' rights are violated like never before,” said Benedict in a statement posted on LP.org. “We are harmed by taxes, regulations, prohibitions, and shocking privacy intrusions”

Benedict said it was unfortunate that most of the harm and injustice of government occurs because too many Americans support existing government policies.

“We're suffering under a tyranny of the majority,” he said. “Our Libertarian hope is that we can convince enough Americans to change their minds. We hope voters will come to understand that government is force, and force is unjust.”

J.J. Summerell, Libertarian Party of North Carolina chair, singled out the president's announcement of new benefits only for federal contractor employees.

“Via executive order, he raised the minimum wage for employees of federal government contractors to $10.10 per hour, a 32 percent increase over North Carolina’s current $7.65 minimum wage.” he noted.

“No other workers in the country have this benefit. The cost of this political favoritism will easily be passed on from the contractors to the government and, finally, to the taxpayers,” Summerell said.

“At a time when public sector pay and benefits are already significantly higher than their privately employed counterparts, this executive order smacks of cronyism, political arrogance, and economic ignorance,” Summerell charged.

Benedict observed that government debt is “atrocious,” the employment situation is “pretty bad,” the federal budget has “exploded,” and we can't trust anyone in government to tell the truth about anything.

“The more power government has, the more government officials will have the opportunity and incentive to lie,” Benedict said.

The one bright spot in all this gloom is the War on Drugs. He pointed to Colorado and Washington, where voters passed initiatives to end prohibition of marijuana. Recently the New Hampshire House of Representatives did so too.

“A majority of Americans now believe that marijuana should not be prohibited,” Benedict said. “As time goes on, we believe that more and more Americans will join us in opposing the War on Drugs. We're pleased President Obama is moving in our direction on this issue.”

Several Cato Institute scholars and experts live-blogged during the address. You can listen to their reaction to what the president said – and didn't say here.

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