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approval of gov’t hits new low

The Painful Sting of an Independence Day Poll

Star Spangled polling results douse 4th of July celebration in D.C.

from Laissez Faire

Perhaps your enthusiasm for the “land of liberty” was a little subdued this year.

If it was, you weren’t alone. A new international poll released on Tuesday found that there’s been a significant fall in the number of Americans who are “satisfied with the freedom to choose what they want to do with their lives.”

In 2006, 91% of the people surveyed were satisfied with their level of freedom. But by 2013, that number had dropped to 79%.

The U.S. used to sit near the top of the list in terms of perceived freedom. Today the U.S. standing has plummeted to 36th place.

Gallup, the organization who conducted the poll, says that, “while freedom means many things to different people, one underlying cause for this sentiment seems to be how people feel about their national government.”

Okay… if you say so. Well, then, how do Americans feel about their government?

Brace yourself. The most recent polling data is not pretty.

A survey released just last week found that confidence in all three branches of government has fallen. Again.

In fact, confidence in the Supreme Court is now at a record low (30%)
confidence in Congress is also at a record low — a pitiful 7%. (GASP!)

Yup, we’re talking single digits here.
Confidence in the presidency, meanwhile, is at a six-year low (29%).

With results like these, you may not be surprised to learn that government itself is regarded by Americans as the most important problem facing the country.

More than the economy. More than jobs and unemployment. More than healthcare or terrorism… Government is not a problem — government is the problem.

How did we get here?

We’ve drifted from the vision of what America was supposed to be. But what was this vision? What were the values America was supposed to embody?

This is the topic taken up in best-selling author Bill Bonner and Pierre Lemieux’s book, The Idea of America: What It Was and How It Was Lost.

The book features some great essays on what America means. Its revolutionary ideals, the role of decentralized and limited government, the importance of self-reliance and liberty…

Bonner and Lemieux have carefully selected a wide range of well-known classics—while also including a number of unappreciated works too.

Thomas Paine… Lord Acton… Alexis de Tocqueville… Henry David Thoreau… Mark Twain… H.L. Mencken…. Murray Rothbard… They’re all in there.

No one less than Ron Paul said of the book: “I highly recommend The Idea of America to anyone interested in the animating spirit of America’s origins… After reading these essays, I think readers will find themselves both enlightened and angry about the state of our republic today.”

We stock The Idea of America in our bookstore. It’s available in both paperback and eBook versions. If you’re a Laissez Faire Letter subscriber, you can get 20% off the paperback. If you’re a Laissez Faire Club member, you can get 40% off the paperback. If you prefer reading eBooks, that can be downloaded for free.

In fact, Laissez Faire Club members can download any eBook in our bookstore for free. But that’s just the beginning of the advantages that come with Club Membership. Click here to find out all the other benefits.

Open up the Food and Drug Administration’s website and one of the first things you’ll see is the motto “Protecting and Promoting Your Health.” Isn’t that sweet of them.

But let’s step back for a second and take a closer look at the real agenda of the FDA. If you think they’re a bunch of scientists and doctors working around the clock making sure the drugs you put into your body are safe… well, you’re wrong.

They’re more pencil-pushing regulators than they are groundbreaking scientific thinkers.

And the FDA drug screening process? That’s just an excuse for the government to butt into yet another sector of the economy. They regulate what you’re allowed to take, while operating under the guise of public safety.

Take a look at the recall of the generic version of Wellbutrin XL, an antidepressant and a smoking cessation aid. The FDA approved the drug in 2006. It had gone through all the necessary tests, and was deemed safe for consumption.

So why did the company recall the drug in 2012? Not because it was killing people who used it. Not because it caused unforeseen side effects.

It was because it didn’t do anything.

Here’s what happened. They approved the original brand name drug at a 150mg dosage. The generic drug was submitted at a higher 300 mg dosage. The only problem was that the FDA didn’t actually have any test results for the drug at the higher dosage.

But they approved it anyway. Oh well.

They assumed (incorrectly) that since they doubled the dosage, it would be just as effective. It wasn’t. And six years after the original approval of the generic drug, they finally pulled it from the market for being ineffective.

Now, don’t you feel protected?

In case you’re wondering, the ineffective generic drug didn’t have any harmful side-effects for the people taking it. Rather, the real danger lay with people who were prescribed an antidepressant that didn’t work.

Unfortunately, the FDA does this shortcut with a number of drugs. They erroneously assumed increasing the dosage would be safe. If you’re a Laissez Faire Letter subscriber, you’ve probably seen the articles posted about these potential dangers. (If you’re not a subscriber, you can see what you’re missing, right here.)

Regardless of what you think about immigration, we should all be able to agree that the current policy is not working.

(Wait, you don’t agree? Tell us about it here.)

Now rather than focusing on what’s going on at the southern border, we’ll illustrate our point with recent event that happened at the other border.

Two weeks ago, Diego Simonassi, a backpacker from Uruguay, was finishing up his 6-month trip traveling around the U.S.

On the night of June 14, he crossed the border into Canada. But what Simonassi didn’t know was that he needed a Canadian visa. So he was turned back around.

The trouble was that when he crossed back into the U.S. it was now 30 minutes past midnight.

Simonassi relays what happened next: “I asked for help, ‘What can I do if I can’t come back to the United States?’ And without making a lot of questions he just arrested me.”

The South American backpacker was promptly seized by U.S. immigration officials and transported 145 miles to a detention center.

He’s been sitting there ever since. Who knew Canada was so dangerous?

Like the saying goes, “nothing good happens after midnight.”

We’re interested in hearing your views on immigration. Should we “open the borders” or should we keep on the path that has served us so well thus far? Email us here and we’ll feature some of your commentary in next week’s issue.

And on that note, enjoy your holiday weekend.


Luke McGrath
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Letter