This evening (January 25), Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict spoke in response to the addresses from President Barack Obama and Congressman Paul Ryan.
A transcript of Mr. Benedict's speech follows:
Good evening and thank you for your interest in the State of our Union.
My name is Wes Benedict. I'm the executive director of the Libertarian National Committee here in Washington, DC. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace.
Tonight we heard from President Barack Obama and a response from Republican Congressman Paul Ryan.
President Obama says he wants a freeze in non-security, discretionary spending. In the unlikely event that happens, it won't really matter, because to make a real dent in the deficit, it's necessary to cut spending on the military and entitlements. The president promised big government in the past, and he delivered. I expect more of the same.
However, Obama has truly been a hypocrite on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a candidate, he promised to end them. Tonight we heard more hollow promises. The fact is, as president, he has kept those wars going, and has greatly escalated the war in Afghanistan. As a percentage of GDP, military spending is higher now than it was during any year of the George W. Bush administration.
Unlike President Obama, Libertarians would bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and reduce the military budget.
On the Republican side, I found Congressman Paul Ryan's hypocrisy appalling. He claims to want big cuts in government spending. But he didn't seem to be too worried about cutting spending when Republicans were in charge. He supported the huge Medicare expansion in 2003, and the expensive No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. He supports the expensive War on Drugs. In 2008, he put hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars at risk by voting for the massive TARP bailout, and he even voted to spend billions on the GM and Chrysler bailout.
Just one month ago, Congressman Ryan voted for the tax compromise that included a big increase in unemployment spending, and even extensions of government spending on ethanol.
Republicans don't want to cut spending -- they want to talk about cutting spending.
Congressman Paul Ryan is a perfect example of why Republicans are bad for America.
Republicans' plans for Social Security and Medicare are little more than a distraction. It's time for someone to have the guts to tell seniors the truth: You were promised way too much, and now we've got to make major cuts. I'm asking retirees to think about the enormous debts piling up on your children and grandchildren.
Libertarians would stop spending billions on bailouts, the War on Drugs, federal education programs, and we would end mandatory Social Security and Medicare.
Today, America is a country that attracts hardworking immigrants from Mexico and around the world, leaving countries that are less free and prosperous. Libertarians welcome these immigrants warmly. But I often wonder if -- in 20 years -- America will still be a great place to live, or if it will be another declining civilization fraught with poverty and abuse that your children want to leave.
The future of America may depend on the Libertarian Party steering us towards liberty and away from tyranny.
The Libertarian Party is America's third-largest party, and one of the most successful alternative parties in American history.
We are recruiting bold, principled men and women dedicated to freedom to fill leadership positions and to run for office as Libertarians.
You don't have to agree with every single Libertarian position to join the Libertarian Party. You can still make a difference and help us move our country towards freedom.
The Libertarian Party has more information at our website, LP.org. Please visit LP.org and join the Libertarian Party today.
Thank you and good night.
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