A lot of folks are understandably ready to pull the plug on 2016. But before you pop the champagne, here are five things libertarians should be nervous about in the new year.
A new war on drugs.
At a time when most Americans support legalization, 2017 could be bad news for those in favor of legal weed.
Donald Trump has commented that legalization should be up to the states, but he’s been appointing anti-marijuana lawmakers to key positions in his cabinet. The most notable of these is Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who’s been tapped as Attorney General. Sessions has long opposed legalization and has criticized both the Obama administration and the Department of Justice for not enforcing federal marijuana laws.
The national debt.
When Donald Trump is sworn into office, he’ll be inheriting a debt that has nearly doubled under President Obama. In early 2017, the national debt is set to hit a staggering $20 trillion. And estimates from the Committee for a Responsible Budget say Trump’s policy proposals will add another $5.3 trillion over the next four years.
Attacks on Free Trade.
Globalisation and free trade have lifted millions out of poverty and has raised living standards across the United States. Yet we enter 2017 with both Democrats and Republicans questioning the fundamental value of free markets, a new administration promising to inject itself into the affairs of private companies, and a president openly threatening a costly trade war with China.
Fake news and free speech.
Hillary Clinton called fake news an “epidemic” at a recent public event and said that the trend “can have real world consequences.”
Those consequences now include Facebook testing new plug-ins to limit misinformation and partnering with fact-checking groups to root out any false news items—causing fears of censorship on the popular social media platform.
Expanded surveillance powers.
The FBI, NSA, and CIA are most likely going to get expanded surveillance powers under a Trump administration.
Some of these changes are already happening. A new rule approved this fall allows federal agents with a single search warrant to hack millions of Americans’ computers or smartphones at once.
And the United Kingdom just approved the Investigatory Powers bill which gives the UK’s global surveillance program authorities power to create a new government database that will store the web history of every citizen in the country.