Interestingly - your VAT tax falls right in line with Gary Johnson's consumption tax idea - and shares the same problems. First problem: it's the most regressive tax system imaginable.
Yes it is regressive. That's why it's important to have a strong safety net. It's ok to have a regressive tax as long as it is offset by something (i.e. like negative income tax/minimum income).
Johnson proposed a prebate for lower income people to offset the tax, which effectively means they don't pay one at all. He didn't do the maths though it seems. That prebate would be the largest entitlement program in America by a factor of 3 - even if you got rid of all the others you couldn't afford it. The overhead in administering it would be a nightmare.
This isn't Johnson's original idea. And yes it would be the largest entitlement program in America. It would theoretically be able to replace nearly all the other entitlement programs. It seems to me a much cleaner solution to just give poor people enough money to have a basic quality of life and let the market handle the rest, rather than having millions of little disparate discounts everywhere. I think the government is much more suited to running big programs rather than a bunch of tiny ones. It's easier to make government accoutnable for one big thing. It's easier for the citizenry to assess the health of one big program and hold their representatives accountable.
I do agree with you that welfare as it stands in the USA is broken - but the answer is to fix it, and the market is terrible at that because there is no profit in it
That's a very narrow view of how markets can work. Listen to the podcast I posted called "How Efficient Is Energy Efficiency?". Markets are not just about profit. They are about efficiency. Why would you give out food stamps rather than giving out actual government procured food? Because you trust markets to efficiently get the food people actually want to them.
And yes, markets alone don;t do much good. You could argue that a completely free market is just anarchy and behaviors like theft, fraud, etc become viable strategies. Ok fine. So we have a minimum set of rules that restrict the free market to foster behaviors we want. We alter the market so that the most efficient way to profit stops being theft and becomes producing the best product at the cheapest price.
And in fact, at one point libertarians championed it - Hayek believed that without a floor price the labour market will always degenerate to the lowest common denominator: which is slavery, and proposed UBI as the best possible preventative. Somewhere along the line they stopped that. Somewhere along the line the Greenspan wing of neoliberalist libertarianism became dominant. Greenspan used to brag that his policies are built to promote one thing and one thing only: maximize worker insecurity. Because business leaders love that.
It benefits them greatly. Insecure workers don't unionize, they don't negotiate, they don't ask for safe factories or decent wages or benefits. They are cheap.
I think UBI is making a comeback. And it's not like every single libertarian gave up on the idea of UBI. Sure there are trends and fads in any culture, but the fact that UBI went out of fashion does not mean that it can't come back and that it's not an idea (though not the only idea) consistent with libertarianism.
Somewhere along the line -the very degeneration into slavery that Hayek warned against became the majority libertarian view.
I don't think those people believed they were advocating for the degeneration to slavery, but I'll agree for the sake of argument. So what if it was the majority libertarian view? What should we do now? Judge all libertarian ideas and libertarians as if they are equivalent to advocating for slavery?
Now you may argue that's not the kind of libertarian YOU are ? Fine. But it's what the politicians who call themselves libertarian to get your vote has consistently done. Its what Paul Ryan did after telling the world that Ayn Rand is his favorite author. It's what Rand Paul and Ron Paul voted for in congress. It's what Gary Johnson wanted to do as president.
There are almost no libertarians who hold power. Believing in the free market (if you can successfully argue that) alone doesn't make you a libertarian. I would argue that Ron Paul and Gary Johnson were real libertarians (or real enough). How much power did they have? None. Paul Ryan is not a libertarian. He believes in some fraction of libertarians principles, but so does Bernie Sanders.
If you are a power republican like Reagan, and you hire a libertarian economic advisor, and you say "I like all your stuff on lowering taxes, but I don't like your stuff on helping the poor", so I'll just cherry pick the parts I like, can the outcome really be blamed on this hypothetical libertarian advisor and his ideology? Is that guy really the one in charge and pulling the strings of power? No, he's a pawn.
It may not be who you are - it may not be who many libertarians are, but it is who all the libertarian politicians are and those are what the movement is judged by, not by what you say you want
We are the ones doing the judging. And I am making an argument that it's not in our best interest to lump the bad libertarians with bad ideas with the good libertarians with good ideas because then we miss out on potentially good ideas.
Hell the modern democratic party is pretty much classic liberals.
Ignoring the fact that both major political parties are utterly corrupt and really stand for almost nothing at this point. They are fundraising organizations whose goals are to maintain power and the status quo, I still don't think the democrats nor the republicans are classic liberals. They are pro war on drugs, they are pro death penalty, they are pro war, pro big government, etc.
It's only now that Sanders has sufficiently woken up the progressive wing of the party that actual liberal policies are at least back on the table.
I don't think the democrats get to take any credit for the recent popularity of Sanders. I think he did that despite them. He only became a democrat because he knew the system is rigged against 3rd parties, so he tried to make his play within the party, but that came with it's own set of challenges (i.e. the corrupt DNC was not going to let the nomination go to anyone but HRC). Sanders is waking up the people who are in the democratic party because they have no better options, and people who have abandoned the democrats.
They were, to use the term of today's typical liberal/democrat voter: sane.
It's perfectly sane to vote for the lesser of two evils when it has a chance to make a difference. I don't begrudge people for voting for a corrupt political party if the alternative is a fucking child with the nuclear codes. But the democratic party is basically garbage. I hope they can get their shit together in 2 years. I hope the republicans can find their spine also. It doesn't do our nation any good to have bad political parties even if they are your opponents' political parties. I want all the parties to be the best version of themselves.
I am at the point where I don't even care about ideology when voting. I will vote for anyone who is mostly honest and moral, and preferably a competent adult.