Archive for the ‘Free trade’ Category


Important Voices: interviews Pia Varma, candidate for US Congress, PA-1

In 2010 elections,Economy,Education,Entitlements,Foreign policy,Free trade,GOP,Government spending,Health care,Important Voices,Interviews,Tort reform on May 3, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #32 in’s “Important Voices” series, where we talk with key figures, such as elected officials, candidates, authors, commentators, and policy experts, about the issues of the day.  A new interview is released every Monday, so check back often!


Our guest for today’s Important Voices interview is Pia Varma.  Pia is a firm defender of free market capitalism, in her words, “the economic system which best allows man to create, trade and prosper.” She is twenty-seven years old. Her grandfathers were both freedom fighters in the Indian Independence movement, so being a firebrand is in her genes. Her parents grew up in England and came to the United States in the early 80’s, at a time when entrenched socialism had made living and thriving in the UK virtually impossible.  Pia is now running for US Congress in Pennsylvania’s first district.

Josiah Schmidt: What compelled you to enter elective politics?

Pia Varma: Honestly, it was a nagging feeling I have had for a long time. I think I always instinctively knew I should be involved in politics but I ignored that feeling because I wanted to make a lot of money first. My passion would have to come second. At some point I decided that the “when, then” way of thinking just wasn’t working. And even though there isn’t a lot of money in politics, I feel very wealthy because I love what I am doing.

Josiah Schmidt: What issues are most important to Pennsylvanians?

Pia Varma: The same issues that are important to every state in the country and every person in the country. How are you going to put food on the table? How are you going to thrive? How are you going to send your children to a good school? How are you going to pay for your retirement? I think we are at a fork in the road. And we have to decide whether or not we want to continue down the path of excessive spending and excessive engineering of society. At some point, the government decided it had a right to be in every industry in this country: from education, healthcare, and retirement, to the financial sector and real estate. As a result, we are all going broke, which is creating more problems for the government to solve. 

Josiah Schmidt: What do you offer that your opponents do not?

Pia Varma: My ideas aren’t new. They are the same ideas on which this country was built. What I offer is the drive and relentlessness to implement them.

Josiah Schmidt: How did you come to hold such a liberty-oriented philosophy?

Pia Varma: I think it just hit me. I was reading something by a conservative author when I was in college and it just made sense!  Once I realized there were answers and truth, I became voracious for more.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the first thing you will do as a US Congresswoman?

Pia Varma: Get together with the other liberty-mided legislators and figure out how we can turn this country around as quickly as possible. There are many people in government who don’t want that and that is our biggest obstacle.

Josiah Schmidt: Which area of government spending would you most like to cut?

Pia Varma: The biggest areas of spending are in the entitlement programs: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We have to put these programs on a path to privatization.

Josiah Schmidt: What will you do on the issue of health care?

Pia Varma: Repeal! Get the government out of the business of health. In a free market economy, price goes down and quality goes up. Unfortunately, we have never had a perfectly free market system. We need to ask ourselves, why is healthcare so expensive? Tort reform is vital.

Josiah Schmidt: How would you like to see the War on Terror carried out more effectively?

Pia Varma: I think that there has to be major spending cuts in Homeland Security. We have hundreds of bureaucratic agencies and it’s just not efficient. Our national defense has to be smarter and leaner. Also, the best foreign policy is one that centers around free trade.

Josiah Schmidt: Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Pia Varma: This is a very unique time in our country and we all have to make a decision. Are we going to become complacent or are we going to take action? I am so excited to see how many Americans are taking action, and this is only going to grow, but we need to send a clear and unified message to Washington.

Josiah Schmidt: Where can people go to find out more about you and contribute to your campaign?

Pia Varma: You can check out my website, and there is a donate button on the page.



Important Voices: interviews Robert Higgs, author of Crisis And Leviathan

In Economy,Foreign policy,Free trade,Important Voices,Inflation,Interviews on April 19, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

This is interview #29 in’s “Important Voices” series, where we talk with key figures, such as elected officials, candidates, authors, commentators, and policy experts, about the issues of the day.  A new interview is released every Monday and every Thursday, so check back often!


Our guest for today’s Important Voices interview is Robert Higgs.  Robert is a Senior Fellow for The Independent Institute and Editor of the The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.  He is the recipient of numerous awards, and has edited or written many books, including Crisis and Leviathan. He has contributed to more than 100 articles and reviews in academic journals, and his articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications, television programs, and Web sites.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the Independent Institute all about, and what do you do as Senior Fellow for it?

Robert Higgs: The Independent Institute is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that sponsors and publicizes research on public policy and related issues across a broad range of topics. My principal responsibility at the institute is to edit the institute’s quarterly scholarly journal, The Independent Review. I also write occasional op-ed columns for newspapers, and I contribute to the institute’s group blog, The Beacon.

Josiah Schmidt: How did you come to hold such a liberty-oriented philosophy?

Robert Higgs: My training in economics gave me an appreciation of the free market. After I finished graduate school and began work as a professor, I read more and more of the literature of liberty and found the ideas appealing.

Josiah Schmidt: Why is government so prone to growing, as opposed to shrinking?

Robert Higgs: The people who compose the government can get more of what they seek–power, money, and kowtowing by the public–if the government grows. Therefore, in general, they seek to make the government bigger whenever they see an opportunity to do so without excessive risk to their retention of public office.

Josiah Schmidt: Why is free trade better than so-called “fair trade”?

Robert Higgs: Free trade means an absence of government obstacles to trade. “Fair trade” is a slogan used by protectionists to argue that they should have protection if sellers in other countries enjoy protection. In reality, “fair trade” means that if other governments are hurting their countries’ consumers, then our government should hurt consumers in this country.

Josiah Schmidt: Do you see this current recession getting worse, and why?
Robert Higgs: It might worsen. I don’t know. I will be surprised if a vigorous recovery occurs. My best guess is that a long period of stagflation lies ahead of us, but I am only guessing. I’m not a prophet.

Josiah Schmidt: In what ways is our current economic situation similar to the situation before and during the Great Depression?
Robert Higgs: The similarities are many, including a prior real estate/construction boom fueled by easy money policies, and a variety of government interventions that made the recession worse once it began. Also, in both cases, government employment has displaced private employment, and the state has grown rapidly in size, scope, and power.

Josiah Schmidt: What’s wrong with the US government’s current foreign policy?
Robert Higgs: The U.S. government intervenes excessively in virtually every part of the world. Many of these interventions worsen the local situation (e.g., by propping up local dictatorships) and cause foreigners to hate Americans. American foreign policy aims at global hegemony; it ought to withdraw from a great many of its foreign entanglements.

Josiah Schmidt: What is the best thing the US government could do to truly strengthen homeland security?
Robert Higgs: Remove its military forces from the Middle East and stop sending military and economic aid to the governments of the area–all of them.

Josiah Schmidt: Is there any country in the world today that’s doing things right?
Robert Higgs: No country does everything right. Switzerland may be the country whose government does the least wrong.

Josiah Schmidt: Any parting words for our readers?
Robert Higgs: It is more important to live a decent life than to succeed (in any way) in politics.

Josiah Schmidt: Thanks for speaking with us, Dr. Higgs!


Gary Johnson interview at SRLC Media Filing Center

In Barack Obama,Economy,Education,Federal Reserve,Foreign policy,Free trade,Gary Johnson,Gary Johnson 2012,GOP,Government spending,Interviews,Our America,Ron Paul on April 9, 2010 by Josiah Schmidt

Gary Johnson gives another great interview at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.  He talks about his Our America Initiative, his admiration for Ron Paul, the economy, free trade, the Federal Reserve, government spending, education, foreign policy, and the 2012 election.