Search This Blog

Friday, June 27, 2014

Would You Pay to Work?

Many years ago, I was at a rock concert in the San Diego stadium and there were around 50,000 people in attendance. I forget who the main act was, but the warm up band was decidedly mediocre in my opinion. And given that the crowd's response to the band was tepid at best, apparently a lot of people agreed with me.

I'm a musician and songwriter and I remember thinking that I would pay money, perhaps even a lot of money, to be able play a venue with 50,000 people. That was the moment that I began thinking about the sorts of circumstances where someone would pay to work.

There are actually quite a few circumstances where people either pay to work or work for free.  The most widespread example of paying to work are graduate students.  They work their asses off and pay tuition for the privilege of doing so.

Let's move from the skilled and somewhat elite graduate students or hobbyist songwriters and consider the meaning of jobs at the lower end of the skill spectrum. It turns out that for many people, the job itself has a significant positive impact on happiness:
[T]he well-established finding that unemployment has major negative effects on well-being, including both mental and physical health. And the effects are remarkably persistent. A study using German panel data examined changes in reported life satisfaction after marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a spouse, layoff, and unemployment. All had predictable effects in the short term, but for five of the six the effect generally wore off with time: the joy of having a new baby subsided, while the pain of a loved one’s death gradually faded. The exception was unemployment: even after five years, the researchers found little evidence of adaptation. 
Evidence even more directly on point comes from the experience of welfare reform – specifically, the imposition of work requirements on recipients of public assistance. Interestingly, studies of the economic consequences of reform showed little or no change in recipients’ material well-being. But a pair of studies found a positive impact on single mothers’ happiness as a result of moving off welfare and finding work.
It turns out you may be able to buy happiness and that happiness takes the form of a job.  If you didn't have a job but did have money, it might be worth buying the job with that money.

278 comments:

1 – 200 of 278   Newer›   Newest»
erp said...

My cohorts and I do a lot of volunteering. The need is very great. Some of it is fun like my library catalog project and some of it grungy.

We aren't organized and don't get recompensed in any way. In fact we use our own resources, so these "jobs" cost us money, often a great deal of money.

Additionally, a group of us provide funds no questions asked and no details given when we get the word from a trusted professional that we are the last resort of someone in need.

Cash is supplied and that's the end of it as far as we're concerned.

Does this qualify?

Bret said...

erp,

That absolutely qualifies. A lot of people donate to the organizations they volunteer for and those organizations might not be able to continue without that financial support (either direct funding or covering expenses or both). That's definitely paying to work.

Harry Eagar said...

So, where do you get that money?

I gather you have not heard of DisneyWorld?

erp said...

Harry, if you're talking to me, I got the money from my pocket, the same place you and your cohorts go when they do want to do "good."

One thing's sure, none of you ever go into your own pockets.

The reference to DisneyWorld eludes me. On second thought, it's the way you lefties look on us working stiffs.

Harry Eagar said...

I am sure the reference to DisneyWorld eludes you. You are not far, ask. Ask someone who is not so self-satisfied as you are, though. You might be enlightened about what it means to be a worker in the United States.

At Disney, the picture isn't pretty. But don't take my word for it. Ask someone who worked here, preferably someone just starting out in life.

erp said...

Worked here? Are you working at Disney now? Sold your multi-million dollar compound wrenched from aborigines on the hillside in Maui and moved to Orlando to run It's a Small World?

Naturally you donated your windfall to the downtrodden first and as far as I know, nobody is forced to work at Disney.

Harry Eagar said...

Today, by the way, is the anniversary of the National Labor Relations Act, which meant (among other things) that millions of children were forced to quit work and attend school.

Dirty liberals!

erp said...

No it didn't, it forced unions down our throats and led directly to the demise of our economy. The sainted martyr finished the job by allowing public sector workers to unionize. What you probably mean is this.

Harry Eagar said...

Somebody forced you to join a union? Poor baby.




erp said...

I was using "our" to mean our collective throats. No one has ever had the temerity to suggest I join a union.

Harry Eagar said...

So you happily took whatever lousy wage an employer offered?

erp said...

No. I've always had choices and am happy to say, the choices I choose paid off nicely. My employers were also very happy I chose them.

What a quaint notion that you would think that a. I would join a union, and b. I'd settle for whatever somebody else choose to give me.

You've been surrounded by grasping low life lefties for so long, you don't even know how self-reliant people behave.

erp said...

... er, I chose, not choose. Past my bedtime.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Somebody forced you to join a union?

Yes. Luckily I was able to leave soon afterwards.

o you happily took whatever lousy wage an employer offered?

Yes.

Harry Eagar said...

Takes all kinds, I guess.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] At Disney, the picture isn't pretty. But don't take my word for it. Ask someone who worked here, preferably someone just starting out in life.

Okay, I will.

...

... My sister has worked there for 20 years. She makes pretty darn good money.

No, she didn't start out making a heck of a lot, but as she got more experience, she made more money.

She could work other places, but obviously prefers Disneyland.

o you happily took whatever lousy wage an employer offered?

I took the highest wage I could get.

What did you do?

Somebody forced you to join a union? Poor baby.

Yes, as a matter of fact.

I am not reflexively anti-union. There are some occupations, (none of which include the government, BTW), where various factors make it a good idea to have a counter party to management.

My job is one. The working environment is fiendishly complex, and seniority trumps everything.

So in my particular case, a union is better than not a union.

But the union is a monopoly provider of labor to the company, and far too often it acts with all the rampaging stupidity of any monopolist (see gov't unions, esp).

Not to mention collectivist thuggishness. We are in contract negotiations. The union has decided we need to be all need to be wearing "Contract Now!" ID lanyards.

I like the one I have, and dislike the heck of a union fundamentalist demanding to know why I don't wear the directed lanyard.

Here's why: "Because I don't pay the union to tell me what to wear."

And that is just the tip of the union stupidity iceberg. I could talk about the abuse of sick pay, sitting in the chocks at the end of the flight, and waiting until the last possible second to disarm the doors so as to collect pay for doing nothing. Or the extremely unprofessional slanging of management when management cannot respond.

So, yeah, I'm a union member. And I get that sometimes unions are necessary.

But the thing does not make my chest swell with pride.

Harry Eagar said...

Your sister was lucky. She didn't have to pay Disney to work there, apparently. Not all their 'employees' can say the same.

I figured none of you guys would have heard of that one.

So, run for union office. It's a democracy.

erp said...

I figured none of you guys would have heard of that one.

Apparently Google hasn't heard of that one either.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

I actually refused to join our Union, even though that may directly result in financial losses sometime in future.

And I also refused to participate in the last strikes the union promoted. I did have problems such as having my classes harassed once in a while for that, during the strike, but that only reinforced I have done the right decision.

Unions too many times enjoy abusing their monopolist status, as well appointed by Skipper. I wouldn't so far as to suggest they are disposable though, for sometimes you need a stupid beast to fight another stupid beast. But for the business/workers involved to allow themselves to be driven by stupid beasts at both sides is, very probably, a waste for everyone.

I believe the more efficient countries, like Germany and Japan, have all managed to take many of the beasts out and worked better ways to negotiate the capital/work relationship.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

That was a nice post.

But I have the feeling that part of you motivation to write it is an assumption that, most of the time, people under welfare are jobless because they've chosen so.

It may well be true to many of them, but I believe there is also a growing number of people who really would like to have a job, but just can't get one. Nor have the means to start his own. I do know people in that situation.

I also believe this will be the defining reason people will be jobless in future, with more and more jobs disappearing to modernization.

So it is great if you can buy a job with the money you have, the question is: if you don't have that money? And the even harder question is: if you have the money and still can't buy the job?

Annoying Old Guy said...

She didn't have to pay Disney to work there

Now that is certainly a choice - for what reason does Eagar think someone would pay to work at Disney? It can't be poverty, because that would make you more poor than quitting.

Takes all kinds, I guess.

So why are you so constantly non-accepting of that? Your preferred policies seems to consist almost entirely of "other people, like me, know better and so you must do as we say". That is, completely intolerant of other kinds.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Speaking of forcing people in to unions...

I wonder how Mr. Eagar can justify that sort of state sponsored unionization. Shouldn't we support the workers, not the political bosses who stand to profit on their labor? Or is this a case where "all kinds" cannot be tolerated?

Harry Eagar said...

Because they think they are getting a foot in the door on the stairway to stardom, although that never happens.

So Skipper won't wear the lanyard, which is nothing more than an effort to promote solidarity among the members.

But if his employer decides he has to dye his hair orange to keep his job, absent a union, he will dye his hair orange.

The goal of American rightwingers is to make everyone an at-will employee, and if you think unions are sometimes abusive, Clovis, you should see the American boss in action.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Because they think they are getting a foot in the door on the stairway to stardom

And so...? What's your point, that (as usual) Eagar knows best and that kind of person shouldn't be allowed?

Just like "American bosses are bad" means "so the government must use coercion to impose additional bad bosses on people". I sometimes wonder if Eagar even understands the word "consent" - he seems to rarely (if ever) distinguish situations that different in that regard (in this case, joining a union).

erp said...

Harry, you haven't let us in on what you're talking about when you say people have to pay for a job at Disney?

Does anyone else find it ironic that Harry, the socialist, comes from ruling class landowners with judges, naval officers, MIT professors and the like in his family and who probably never had to worry about where his next buck came from or met a payroll or produced anything worthwhile and lives on a hillside in Maui far away from the chaos he and his collectivist cohorts created, knows what's best of all the rest of us working stiffs most of whom come from immigrant working classes. We made a success of the hand we were dealt and helped in the creation the greatest country ever to rise on planet earth – now fast running off the cliff because of the policies put into place by people like Harry.

Why did they do it? IMO most for personal gain, but for privileged people like Harry -- to assuage their guilt. Mealy-mouthed platitudes to the contrary, nothing else makes sense.

erp said...

So Skipper won't wear the lanyard, which is nothing more than an effort to promote solidarity among the members.

Kinda like members of the Jewish community forced to wear a yellow mogen david ... it promoted solidarity among those members of the community who weren't forced to wear it.

My fear and loathing of the left continues to worsen with every passing hour.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I guess you and I are the only ones who are in the "working class" level here.

I wonder why you are so envious of Harry's fortune, while ignoring the others. You only resent richer people if they think different from you?

erp said...

What makes you think I am either envious or resentful of those richer than I? That is about the most ridiculous thing you've ever said. If you wish to comment on what I say, please read it or if you can't understand it, ask one of your ex-pat friends to explain it to you.

I'm perfectly happy with what I did with my life and wish everyone could make their own choices as I was able to do and live with those choices without people like Harry arranging it so we can no longer do just that, especially know-nothing elitists like Harry who condescend to authority over us.

As for the others here, from the little they've revealed about themselves, they are not among the landowning ruling classes either and seem to have done and continue to do (they're much younger than I) pretty darn well for themselves.

... you are from the working class? I don't think you know what that means. Working class people don't have parents who are doctors.

Harry Eagar said...

Clovis, while some of my ancestors were rich slaveholders, others were impoverished farmers. The rich ones were dispossessed in 1865, and we were all poor after that.

I acknowledge social advantages that most poor Americans did not enjoy. And I am grateful for those.


erp's equation of a voluntary association with the Nuremburg laws does nail down for all time her hatred of workers.

erp said...

Harry, please explain how the Nurenberg Laws pertain to workers.

BTW -as is pretty clear from what I've said countless time, it's not workers I hate, it's the union thugs and goons and their supporters who exploit them.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
That is about the most ridiculous thing you've ever said.
---

Only because you take it literally. I was in fact rebuking you for judging Harry for what he has in his pockets, instead for what are his arguments.

erp said...

Please tell me how I was judging Harry by what he has in his pockets.

He is an elitist and like so many of the left who've grown up in privilege has the temerity to lecture those of us who made our own way on our lack of compassion for the downtrodden while he lives in an enclave far removed the utter chaos his policies have inflicted on the rest of us... and he has no arguments and he doesn't answer for his hit-and-run salvos.

Harry has swallowed the lefty narrative whole and seeks to justify it by name calling when all the arguments go the other way.

Harry Eagar said...

The privilege I grew up in was being a white boy -- possibly even a dull one -- who did not have to compete with blacks and browns.

But we didn't have any money. Only social status, which, as I have been trying to explain to you cosseted rightwingers, can be as exclusive as riches.

erp, you do lack compassion, not just for the downtrodden but even -- as your nasty and repeated slurs on Tyson demonstrate -- for the achievers when they are not white.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

You repeat the pattern I see in US political divide: Republicans voters happily elect rich people all the time, but have no shame in criticizing some Democrat politican just for being rich.

I still remember that election when Foxnews likeminded people would criticize Kerry for his riches, while completely ignoring the fortune behind the Bush clan.

So you pose Harry's views as contradictory with him being a well to do person, and that's nonsense. When you mention other people's fortune here, you do so in complimentary fashion (just like you did above). But when it comes to Harry, to be rich is suddenly a sin. Or, like you did once more with regard to myself above, I must somehow be guilty for being born from people with diplomas - they can't possibly have worked hard in life for that, since I am a defender of policies you disagree with.

I guess you are biased and prejudiced even when you sleep, Erp.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

The situation isn't symmetric because of policy and moral positions taken by the Democratic Party. See here for more detail. In essence, Democratic Party people criticize people who are rich, while the GOP criticizes hypocrites, that is rich people who demonize others for being rich, particularly those who condemn the not so rich for doing things the rich complainers do. Kerry is a perfect example, complaining on people not wanting higher taxes while avoiding them himself.

erp said...

Clovis, I am not a Republican. RINO's in my opinion are more despicable than real lefties and Harry I did not slur Tyson. I said it is impossible because of affirmative action to determine if black people are in positions of authority because of their ability or because of their skin color.

When you mention other people's fortune here, you do so in complimentary fashion (just like you did above).

Above? What are you talking about?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I doubt you won't find examples of Republicans doing just what Kerry does too, like the boat example in your link. I do remember some talk of Romney stashing money in fiscal paradises, for example. So how come it is not symmetric?

And there is nothing wrong with people getting rich for being celebrities who are good at selling books and talks, like the Clintons. It does look to me a very biased criticism. The innuendo that they sell themselves to special groups who pay for the seminars would only make sense if you looked worried about all the Republican billionaires buying influence too, which you clearly don't care about. So there again, who is the hypocrite here?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

If you only vote for Republicans, how come you are not a Republican?

Harry Eagar said...

Actually, erp, what you said about Tyson was that he certainly got his gig for political reasons.

You have no evidence for that.

I do not think that wealth explains everything. It does not, for example, explain the rightwing mania to prevent non-existent voting abuses.

Really, only racism explains that. And behind the racims is fear.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

So how come it is not symmetric?

Because the GOP doesn't demonize wealth, and it favors lower taxes for everyone. It's not the act, it's the hypocrisy piled on top of the sanctimony. Again, read the link I provided. It explains all of this.

there is nothing wrong with people getting rich for being celebrities who are good at selling books and talks

Not according to the Democratic Party. It precisely my point that that Party vehemently disagrees with that statement. I mean, "after a certain point you've made enough money".

erp said...

Clovis, how do you know how I vote? I actually voted for George McGovern because I thought he was so ineffectual while Nixon, the socialist, was a real danger much like Obama.

Harry, I fear nothing but world socialism and loss of our freedom.

erp said...

Yes, Tyson got the hosting job for political reasons. Why are you not speaking to affirmative action instead making ridiculous accusations.

erp said...

Harry, you're right, rightwingers aka fascists are obsessed with money and keeping the great unwashed masses on the plantation.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Because the GOP doesn't demonize wealth, and it favors lower taxes for everyone.
---
As far as I know, that's not entirely true.

The GOP favors consumer based taxes instead of income/progressive based ones. That means poorer people taking a disproportional share of the burden. It is effectively to defend lower taxes only for the rich.

I think it is more hypocrite of the GOP to defend that, while posing to worry about mainstreet, than any Democrat speaking against wealth concentration.

---
It precisely my point that that Party vehemently disagrees with that statement. I mean, "after a certain point you've made enough money".
---
Can you provide context? Is that phrase in comma used as an argument against rich people, or just as an argument to defend progressive taxation? You may not differentiate both situations, but they are different.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I believe there is also a growing number of people who really would like to have a job, but just can't get one."

I agree. And I think innovation will accelerate that trend over time.

Let's say the government could give everyone a job who wants one. And the government could pay them a living wage. But let's say it's all a charade; that the value produced by the worker is far below the value of that wage or perhaps even negative. And let's say everyone, including the worker knows that.

Would that be better than being unemployed? Would it be worse? Would it be better just to give them the money (or at least the value delta)? Or is just keeping people doing something, even if worthless, better than having them sit around?

That reminds me of a joke. A guy walks down the street and sees two workers: one is furiously digging holes, the other furiously filling them in. He inquires as to why they're doing that. One of them says, "Oh, we're a union shop and Joe's sick today - he's the one who puts the trees we're planting in the ground."

Bret said...

Harry wrote: "Clovis, you should see the American boss in action."

I'm an american boss. What do you think I do that's so awful?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,


I confess I am surprised that you ever voted for the Dems, or even that you realized Nixon was a farce before his resignation.

I give you that: maybe I am getting too prejudiced towards you too. My apologies.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "The GOP favors consumer based taxes instead of income/progressive based ones."

All of them? Some of them? Which specific proposal are you referring to?

Clovis wrote: "That means poorer people taking a disproportional share of the burden..."

Note that I stopped voting long ago because I can't stand the GOP either, but I'm curious why you think that.

Clovis wrote: "I think it is more hypocrite of the GOP to defend that..."

Perhaps I'm just projecting. Let's take Warren Buffett as an example since he frequently calls for higher income taxes. If I were as rich as Warren Buffett, I'd want income taxes to be 100% so I could stay way, way richer than everyone else, even if it screwed everyone else. At Buffett's level, I would find the wealth and power intoxicating and absolutely corrupting. Obviously, my advocating higher taxes would not be because I wanted to benefit mankind.

So when I see Warren Buffett advocate exactly the same thing, I have no choice but to assume he has, or there's a strong possibility he has, the exact same motivations I would have if I were that rich - I've got mine, screw everybody else, and I'll help that along by pretending to be a good person.

Therefore, I think the rich like Kerry and Buffett and Soros and ... who call for higher taxes are intentionally hypocritical. I know I would be in their shoes.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Would that be better than being unemployed? Would it be worse? Would it be better just to give them the money (or at least the value delta)? Or is just keeping people doing something, even if worthless, better than having them sit around?
---

I don't really have those answers.

I can tell you what I would choose, if that choice was in my hands: assuming a country where the economy allows for that (e.g. US and a good part of Europe nowadays), I would elect a minimum welfare paycheck that would abolish abject poverty, but nothing more than that. It is a bit like what Germany is today, with many adjustments.

I would not create fake govt jobs for anyone. Neither would care much for what people would do with their idle time - since we are assuming a world where innovation made some part of the population jobless, I don't think govt could change that.

Innovation may kill jobs, but I don't think it will kill creativity. I guess most people out of jobs for lack of them, instead of lack of will, would find ways to give sense to their life.

erp said...

Clovis, Nixon wasn't a farce, he was a socialist. The media hated him because he refused to take orders from Moscow which was the rule in those days.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Note that I stopped voting long ago because I can't stand the GOP either, but I'm curious why you think that.
---
Simple math: suppose we abolish income taxes and institute a flat tax on consumption at 20%.

If I make $2000/month and spend it all for basic survival, I will pay $400 in taxes.

If you make $10000/month and spend $3000 in basic consumption, you pay $600.

To what we can conclude: i) The taxes I paid impact my budget a lot more than yours; ii) There will be far more people like me than like you, making people with less money the main source of income of the State.

It is a poor example, since I approximated the whole continuum of incomes by two cases, but AFAIK the results stay the same in better simulations.



---
Perhaps I'm just projecting. Let's take Warren Buffett as an example since he frequently calls for higher income taxes.
---

I think argument by projection is a tough one.

I mostly don't care much for how rich anyone is (although I do care for how destitute people may end up being). So in my own projection I would not see myself as rooting for everyone to keep far away from my level of wealth.

There are all kinds of people for sure, but I think that intoxication due to wealth and power, after some level, flats out. I think Bill Gates is a good example of that: he many times said he would let a few dozen millions for his kids, and let them to look for themselves beyond that.

After you stash some dozen millions in a few safe boxes, the rest of your billions are more of a game than a survival thing.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "Simple math..."

That's why I asked to see the specific proposal. I haven't looked in a while, but most of the consumption proposals I've seen exempted things like food which makes your simple math not applicable.

Clovis wrote: "I think argument by projection is a tough one."

Not for me. :-)

Clovis wrote: "There are all kinds of people for sure..."

That's the point. I'm confident that Soros, et al. are like me in that there's no limit to the intoxication of wealth and power. The argument's simple: if a "few dozen millions" were enough, they would've stopped working and accumulating money a long time ago - but they didn't.

Hey Skipper said...

I'd do my job for about half what I get paid. Does that count?

It turns out you may be able to buy happiness and that happiness takes the form of a job.

That is a good argument for eliminating the minimum wage and expanding the EITC.

Your sister was lucky. She didn't have to pay Disney to work there, apparently. Not all their 'employees' can say the same.

Examples, please? Otherwise, I'm going to assume you are, as you so often do, strewing bovine effluent.

So, run for union office. It's a democracy.

How about the union just not turn thuggish?

Another fun pilot union fact. As part of the contract, at many stations the ramp workers are supposed to carry the pilots' luggage up and down the stairs. That might have made sense at one point, when we had forty-five pounds of nav charts to lug around — now replaced with an iPad.

As it happens, I don't find it morally attractive to expect someone who makes a tenth of what I do carry my stuff; if I can't man up enough to carry it myself, then I need to pack less.

As it also not infrequently happens, I'll start to get a lecture from a union guy about how I shouldn't carry my own stuff. "It is my luggage, I'll carry it wherever I please" has turned out to be a marvelous way to cut short collectivist nonsense.

I don't know what it is about unions (actually, I'll bet I can guess), but they attract economic ignoramuses and hypocrites.

Sometimes a unions is less worse than not union.

So Skipper won't wear the lanyard, which is nothing more than an effort to promote solidarity among the members.

So pissing me — and others — off promotes solidarity? Here is a pro-tip for collectivists: solidarity is earned, not mandated.

But if his employer decides he has to dye his hair orange to keep his job, absent a union, he will dye his hair orange.

The company pays me. I pay the union.

If I don't like company policies, I can quit. I can't quit the union.

It does not, for example, explain the rightwing mania to prevent non-existent voting abuses.

You have never heard of Chicago?

erp said...

Bret, I'm sorry to hear you don't vote because voting for the least worst candidate is better than letting the loonies think they have no opposition ... even in California.

Harry Eagar said...

Bret, as I mentioned some time back, I used to go to the employment law conference most years. You should try it. You might be enlightened.
As some dude at Wonkette put it this morning, why shouldn't an employer be free to fire a worker preggers with the CEO's baby?

Becasue that is nthe kind of stuff that happens,and happens often eouight that some ofmthe highest paid lawuers in Hawaii make their living off it.

I like to cite Frank Murphy. As I have had occasion to suggest once or twice, the history of America is interesting and would well repay learning. I bet no one here ever heard of Frank Murphy.

You should learn about him, though.

Howard said...

As I have had occasion to suggest once or twice, the history of America is interesting and would well repay learning.

This from the same fellow who got wildly upset at a mere gentle suggestion that he read some of the works of Burt Fulsom or any other author who might contradict Harry's rigid world view. (That was before your time here Clovis, but I remember it well.)

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
[...] but most of the consumption proposals I've seen exempted things like food which makes your simple math not applicable.
---
Well, you are then better versed on the topic than I am, for I never saw proposals that exempted basic stuff.

There is a well defined constraint any taxation method needs to attend: to finance the State. If you choose a consumption tax as your sole tax, you can't give many exemptions to basic stuff and still attend that constraint.


---
[...] if a "few dozen millions" were enough, they would've stopped working and accumulating money a long time ago - but they didn't.
---
That's a good point.

Yet I can see many shades in between that. There are many stars in sports that, even though they may love the money they make, are on it much more for the feeling of being the best at what they do.

I can envisage many rich people out there that, even though they love their money, keep making more of it for the same reason: pride in their own role in the game. That's a bit different from the intoxication you mention.

And I don't really see why your billionaire projection, or the image you have of Buffet, would take joy in making sure a lot of people keep being 10^-9 less wealthy than you, instead of 10^-8, which would be the result if the income tax is 10% or 90%. I believe these billionaires play a far more interesting game with their peers, instead of the one you suggest.

Hey Skipper said...

So when I see Warren Buffett advocate exactly the same thing, I have no choice but to assume he has, or there's a strong possibility he has, the exact same motivations I would have if I were that rich - I've got mine, screw everybody else, and I'll help that along by pretending to be a good person.

I don't think so.

Buffett is either a progressive, or trying to imitate one, in that he has made a conclusion without an argument; e.g, that it isn't "fair" that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary.

For a person with a redistributive mindset, that is prima facie true: in other words, it is true because a progressive thinks it true.

Could be.

But rate and amount are two different things. The top 5% of taxpayers already pay 40% of federal income taxes. They are already paying far more than they are getting in return.

Rather than just continually repeating "fair" and "social justice", Buffett et al need to demonstrate how it is fair that the top 5% get forced to increase their tax burden by even more.

Turns out that argument isn't easy to make.

Which is why progressives, with their customary respect for logic and math, ALWAYS talk rates, and NEVER amount.

Harry Eagar said...

Yet Skipper opposes taxing capital at the same rate as labor.

What could possibly justify that, if you are going to talk either fairness or principle?

Hey Skipper said...

I already have, to which you had no response, but I will try again.

1. Capital income is profit net taxes, so it has already been taxed once.

2. Increasing the tax on capital to that on labor would then amount to double taxation, making the rate higher than that on labor.

3. The tax on capital income is perpetual, labor just once.

4. Anyone can avail themselves of capital income. Taxing it at the same rate as labor unduly burdens the less well off: they have less to invest in the first place; taxing it at a higher rate reduces the return on their investment, thereby depriving them, and their descendants, of future wealth (see also, Social Security).

5. Increasing the tax on capital income diverts reduces the incentive to invest, thereby depriving the economy of wealth in the future.

6. It would provide even more money for the government to set on fire (for awhile, anyway, until the golden goose was well and truly dead).

7. The cost of providing even more money to the government is depriving much more efficient allocation in the free market. I know you detest everyone wealthier than yourself, so you hate anyone who can afford to buy, say, a Cessna. Clearly, then, you think it preferable that Cessna workers become wards of the government instead. (Only an economic illiterate -- another term for collectivist -- could possibly ignore the employment effects of increased taxes.)

So, you are right, other than multiple taxation, regressive effects, depriving the economy of investment, causing unemployment, and further bloating an already too large government, you are right, there are no fairness arguments to be made.

erp said...

Harry, the principle is that life ain't fair.

Howard said...

If you study the tax structure of the European welfare states in sufficient detail, you'll discover that they have survived this long by taxing capital much more lightly than labor. Is it possible that Harry doesn't know this???

erp said...

Howard, you might get a kick out this. My son who's married to a French woman and has lived in France for 25 years, and his wife are visiting us here in Florida.

We mostly stay out of politics, but we skimmed the surface a bit and found out that contrary to CW, France is not a welfare state nor is it socialist!

Sure is hard not to take that bait, I'm here to tell you it can and was done.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,


---
But rate and amount are two different things. The top 5% of taxpayers already pay 40% of federal income taxes. They are already paying far more than they are getting in return.
---

If you think that's a bullet-proof argument, think again: those same 5% of taxpayers own 59.4% of the US wealth. Yet they pay only 40% of the bill.

Yes Erp, life isn't fair.

erp said...

... and almost half (47%) of the people don't pay any taxes.

... life isn't fair and everything that the compassionates have done to mitigate that has made it even less fair, so take it up with G*d or Marx or whomever you think can or will change it.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Your affirmation is wrong: those 47% do pay taxes. They do not pay federal taxes on income, but pay state and local ones, including taxes on consumption. That's certainly different form saying they "don't pay any taxes".

A language question, please: why do you write "God" as "G*d"?

Clovis e Adri said...

BTW, Erp, I don't think we need to invoke God, G*d, or even Marx.

We only need to keep using old ideas that work: the redistribution induced by progressive taxation was, and still is, a good idea.

You won't read it, but I link it anyway:

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=41291

And that comes from that well known socialist monster, the IMF.

erp said...

Literary device. If there is a divine being, I'd like to stay on his/her right side.

Since many, if not most of those who don't pay income taxes are collecting from us for one reason or another, very few are paying the non-income taxes with their own funds.

It's us tax payers paying again, paying the sales and other taxes for them too, so people like you can pretend they aren't free loaders and lament that we tax payers aren't paying our "fair" share.

Progressive taxation has been around a long time so why isn't everything "fair" by now?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Since many, if not most of those who don't pay income taxes are collecting from us for one reason or another, very few are paying the non-income taxes with their own funds.
---
That's just not true, Erp. Take the income of those 47% and you'll see they easily surpass the allocation for welfare in the US budget.


---
Progressive taxation has been around a long time so why isn't everything "fair" by now?
---
It is only you who are worried about some abstract "absolute fairness". As I stated a few times, my point is about abolishing abject poverty. That was achieved in your country today, and those two concepts you hate so much, progressive taxation and welfare, have a lot to do with that.

erp said...

A lot of the people who don't pay taxes have their funds in tax free instruments or tax dodges. You have too much faith in your studies, graphs, government statistics, etc. Those people who disdain to pay their "fair" share of the tax burden are among the richest and leftest extant.

Poverty, even abject poverty, is relative as is rich and super rich and please don't tell me what I hate or what I love.

We have erased poverty because of free enterprise and capitalism which created peace and prosperity and now that the left has reached the pinnacle of success that is no longer the case.

Where and how do you think this can be sustained? It can't and so whatever level you think of as abject, it'll probably go even lower and at long last, fairness will reign.

Harry Eagar said...

I don't recall saying anything about other nations' tax policies.

No idea what Skipper means about a 'permanent' tax on capital. Nor do I believe he is correct in saying that capital is taxed twice. But even so, so what?

However it is taxed, it seems to have resulted in diverting all of the economy's increase in wealth into the hands of plutocrats, none of the increase to labor.

If you are going to try to make arguments about future wealth or any other good results in the future that policy is just stupid.

erp said...

Harry, half of "labor" is on the dole. You should be so proud, tens of millions of people no longer at the mercy of cruel bosses and plutocrats? That's a new word for you. If you mean by it, crony capitalists and their patrons, you're so right, the economy's wealth is in their hands.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Where and how do you think this can be sustained? It can't and so whatever level you think of as abject, it'll probably go even lower and at long last, fairness will reign.
---

Ah, so much hope in future...

Let's forget our differences in opinion, Erp. Suppose I believe you, the Left is destroying the country, the economy, the world. What do you propose to make for a brighter future then? You look to enjoy announcing those messianic pessimistic prospects. I wonder if it something about aging or you were that way in your youth too.

erp said...

These problems would have been unthinkable in my youth.

Although our slide left started with the Bolshevik revolution and Woodrow Wilson's unseemly infatuation with it, followed by the great depression perpetrated by governmental action like Smoot-Hawley, it didn't pick up full steam until the Moscow led Cultural Revolution beginning in the 60's when leftwing rabble rousers/community organizers sought and largely succeeded in destroying our institutions, the worst of all, our public schools, so by now generations of people know nothing, not only about reading, writing and arithmetic, but also our country's history and civics and the history of the world.

First thing, eliminate all public sector unions, eliminate federal and state boards of education and return schools to local control, eliminate all federal welfare and disability programs, agencies, etc. which seek to control our lives.

Return to strict lines of duties as outlined in the Constitution for the three federal branches of government and the individual states.

Enforce all laws and return to equality under the law.

Return to the melting pot and do away with diversity and pitting one group against the other.

Control immigration so that immigrants can be processed in an orderly way making sure only those who want to become Americans are admitted.

Make the United States again a beacon for those who wish to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their families.

Harry, pace slavery, its aftermath and Jim Crow. We've thoroughly covered it and even when I was a kid, it is was on its way out.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
These problems would have been unthinkable in my youth.
---
What problems?

Have you given any thought to the possibility that our present world is better, way better, than the one of your youth?

How come we end up in a better world by following only the wrong policies? One must be very lucky.


---
Control immigration so that immigrants can be processed in an orderly way making sure only those who want to become Americans are admitted.
---
That's an interesting point. I believe the vast majority of immigrants going to your contry fit that description. Have you talked to many of them lately?


By the way, I guess that with exception to the elimination of federal welfare programs, I mostly agree with your program. Where can I sign up to Erp's Party? Ops, I guess I wouldn't be allowed on it...

Harry Eagar said...

erp, do you know any American history at all? Do you know Wilson invaded Russia in order to restore the tsar?

I guess not.

Howard said...

Harry,

You've expressed disgust with Wilson before. Out of curiosity, what writer/thinker of those times put forth ideas that resonate for you: Herbert Croly, John Dewey, Randolph Bourne, H.L. Mencken?

erp said...

Clovis, I don't have a party. Start your own and we haven't ended up in a better world here, perhaps it's different in Brazil.

Harry Eagar said...

Rexford Guy Tugwell, Harry Leon Wilson, parts of Mencken

erp said...

From comment above on June 28, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Ask someone who is not so self-satisfied as you are.

Harry, I took you advice and found someone. This is how it feels when you help someone without wanting or expecting any thanks.

Bret said...

Clovis asks: "What do you propose to make for a brighter future then?"

I know you were asking erp, but for me, given that I think that freedom has huge value, nothing can be done to make my future brighter. Every trend points to reduced freedom and nothing can be done to reverse the tide.

Just because there's nothing I can do doesn't mean that I can't complain! :-)

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "If you think that's a bullet-proof argument, think again: those same 5% of taxpayers own 59.4% of the US wealth."

It may not be bullet proof but I find this particular counterargument to be unconvincing.

Wealth and income are different.

For example, let's say that you and I are the only two people in an economic system with no initial wealth and we both make $100, we both pay $50 of tax on that income, and therefore have $50 each left to spend or save. Let's say you spend all of your money and I only spend $25 and save the other $25. Then I own 100% of the wealth (the $25 I didn't spend) and paid only 50% of the tax.

Would you consider the fact that I saved money as somehow being unfair?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
[...] given that I think that freedom has huge value, nothing can be done to make my future brighter. [...]Just because there's nothing I can do doesn't mean that I can't complain!
---
Right. I guess this is all about catharsis then.

Living lifes too much comfortable and safe, and experiencing the lack of freedom that comes with that soft bed, you hit back on anything but the real culprit: your golden cage was built by yourself.

Freedom is an active choice, everyday. The world has always been a jungle full of challenges, you choose when to stop in a tree and stay there. Do not blame it on the other trees and monkeys around, please.

erp said...

Clovis,

People have been seduced by bread and circuses since Roman times and the only difference is now it's EBT cards and Obamaphones.

The U.S. was where people went to join the free monkeys and to find more trees to climb. Now that option is kaput, so what's your glib solution to that.

Mars? Space/asteroid colonies? Cities on the bottom of the sea?

Oh and BTW, if freedom is such an active choice and easy option, why are you stuck where you are? Oh yeah, it's easy and you're among the elite.

erp said...

Bret, taking that argument further, if we made the correct choices and husbanded our resources even to the extent we lived on much less than our income (which was always modest), so we'd have a cushion should we have needed it and when then things proceeded as planned, we had all our kids out of school with no debt and gainfully employed, so we retired at age 53, should we apologize for it?

... and yes Harry, I am self-satisfied because we didn't ask you and others to pick up the tab for our profligacy and now that our needs are few, we have a little extra disposable income for my vice of helping others who are in need through no fault of their own.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Do not blame it on the other trees and monkeys around

Even if they're the ones who tied me in the bed in the tree? Do you also give the same advice to slaves to not blame their master for their lack of freedom?

P.S. I disagree on the soft bed - the end result of this loss of freedom will be a much harder bed. Read 1984 for a illustrative description. As is frequently noted, "They'll turn us all in to beggars because they're easier to please".

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
[...] we both make $100, we both pay $50 of tax on that income [...] you spend all of your money and I only spend $25 and save the other $25. [...] Then I own 100% of the wealth (the $25 I didn't spend) and paid only 50% of the tax.
Would you consider the fact that I saved money as somehow being unfair?
---
No, Bret, there is nothing unfair in your example, though it suffers from a serious drawback: it has a money sink.

The money I spent must go to someone else, and since you are the only one left, it must be you. So if you spend $25 and save $25, and I spend $50, the final configuration must be: I end up with $25 and you with $75.

Such details apart, I did not give those numbers to defend a tax proportional to acquired wealth. I only wanted to give context to Skipper's point on the 5% shouldering 40% of the tax bill.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Do you also give the same advice to slaves to not blame their master for their lack of freedom?
---
No, I don't, and your exaggeration dismisses me from further arguing.

It is beyond this topic, but maybe worth commenting: do you know why Brazil imported slaves from Africa back then?

Because the local indians, when forced into slavery, would massively commit suicide. To lose the war for dominance, for them, did not mean to accept their loss of freedom. The Africans, OTOH, thought different.

erp said...

Too bad the local Indians didn't have a leader who could figure out that instead meekly committing suicide they could take some of conquistadors with them.

The point you make of course is that neither group fought back, but only the blacks lived to fight another day which you seem to believe the less honorable action.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
[...] instead meekly committing suicide they could take some of conquistadors with them.
---
Many times, they did. Those indians were the contrary of meek.


---
The point you make of course is that neither group fought back, but only the blacks lived to fight another day which you seem to believe the less honorable action.
---
I phrased my words, on purpose, in order to withhold any "main point" I may think myself. The above reflects only your own opinion.

erp said...

So you may think, but your meaning was clear nevertheless,

Clovis e Adri said...

And a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear...

Bret said...

"The Tale of the Slave"
from Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, pp. 290-292.

Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master's whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.

2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.

3. The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.

4. The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.

5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.

6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.

7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.

8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)

9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.

The final question being,

"which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?"

Bret said...

aog wrote: "Do you also give the same advice to slaves to not blame their master for their lack of freedom?"

Clovis responded: "No, I don't, and your exaggeration dismisses me from further arguing."

Slavery is continuum. In my immediately preceding comment is Nozick's "Tale of the Slave" for illustration.

The point being is that 2 through 9 are very little different from each other from the standpoint of the effect on the "slave" and substituting in 150,000,000 for 10,000, you basically have the U.S. in case 9. The Tale of the Slave basically boils down to the brutal master versus the kindly master (case 1 versus case 2) as far as the slave's freedom is concerned.

From my perspective, as my 150,000,000 masters further restrict my actions, opportunities, and voluntary associations via further regulations, taxes, and bureaucratic terrorism, they move more from case 2-9 towards case 1.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I guess this is all about catharsis then. Living lifes too much comfortable and safe..."

That's partly it. Note that death is "comfortable and safe" too.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Bret;

Clovis wrote "your golden cage was built by yourself". But didn't Obama tell us "you didn't build that?". Or is the point that you and I didn't build our own businesses, but we did build our own cage?

I would also point out that the mortality rates for imported black slaves weren't much better than for the natives, it was just easier to import more of them, which is what that was done. Black slaves in Latin America were treated much worse than in the USA, as evidenced by mortality and birth rates.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Answering Notzick: point 5 is the transition that matters. If you can "go off and work in the city", it means you are no longer shackled. In other words: "Run Forrest, run!"

If you feel you can't take it anymore from those 150,000,000 brutal masters, what's stopping you right now?

Annoying Old Guy said...

what's stopping you right now?

A better destination, perhaps? It doesn't help to run to the city if the master there is even worse.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "...point 5 is the transition that matters..."

Not to me. As long as I have to check in with the master to pay him, I feel equally shackled. After all, with the kindly master in step 2, I'm probably not "shackled" either.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Maybe you qualify for Israeli citizenship, don't you? Why not to test your fortune there? I hear it is a good place for tech business.

I did have the option to stay in Germany, Erp. I am not "stuck" here. I've chosen to be where I am. More than that, I've worked for that to happen.

I am building my own cage too, and I am not blaming the others for it. I was aware of my actions when I made my decisions, and the risks implied.

If you guys were half the Libertarians you think to be, you would complain less and meet your words with your deeds.

Bret said...

I've considered going to Israel (they would take my wife and me). Perhaps after the youngest daughter graduates from high school (4 more years) I'll consider it seriously.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
As long as I have to check in with the master to pay him, I feel equally shackled.
---

I am not sure I've got your point here. If you move overseas, you still need to pay the US govt?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "If you move overseas, you still need to pay the US govt?"

Yes (didn't you have to pay Brazil when you were in Germany?), but that wasn't my point. My point was that there is no real difference to me in steps 4 and 5 in the Tale of the Slave.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

No, I didn't have to pay taxes in Brazil while living in Germany. If I had any property in Brazil, like a house, of course I would (estate taxes, for example), but I didn't.

I guess I've heard in past that the US obliges every citizen to report to IRS independent of where they are living. I am under the impression the US is the only country doing that. I wonder how they enforce that if the said citizen has no intent to ever go back.

And Step 4 does not specify you'll be free to walk away, Bret. Maybe the farm has guards that hunt you down if you do (like really happened in the slavery times).

In Step 5, the freedom is such that, if you choose to run, it will be much harder for the Master to enforce those rules.

Clovis e Adri said...

One correction: I just remembered there is an agreement between Brazil and Germany so that people don't pay double taxes. So Brazilians living there, and paying taxes there, usually are free from paying taxes on income in Brazil, and vice-versa.

I think such agreements are commonplace between many countries, aren't they?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "And Step 4..."

Three comments:

1. Nozick's point in the Tale is not that each step is exactly, identically equivalent, but rather they retain an essence throughout the steps. And that essence is a level of control over each citizen, subject, serf, slave, whatever, where the quantity and quality of control is the important factor, not who the master(s) is.

2. Note the qualifier "to me." To me, there is very little difference between 4 and 5. To you, there may be more difference.

3. In my opinion, you are adding stuff to the steps that don't belong there. For example, that there's a much stricter enforcement mechanism in 4 than there is in 5. For example, 1 with zero enforcement would be far better than any of the rest. In other words, a master who is brutal but so lazy that you can just walk away and do whatever you want. So you can rewrite the Tale into something else, but then we're discussing something else.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I think such agreements are commonplace between many countries, aren't they?"

I don't know, I haven't studied it for other countries.

If I move to Israel someday, I will (possibly) renounce my U.S. citizenship in order to free myself from paying U.S. Taxes. Otherwise, I would have to continue paying taxes or potentially face tax evasion charges if I accidentally ended up within a U.S. controlled jurisdiction.

The downside of renounced citizenship is that I wouldn't be allowed to enter a U.S. jurisdiction so I'll have to make sure anyone I'd possibly ever be responsible for is out of the country or dead before I do it.

erp said...

Step 10.

erp said...

Bret, when I was your age (50ish ?), we seriously thought of relocating to New Zealand which we thought was the equivalent of the wild west, but then hope in the form of Reagan came along, so we moved to Vermont instead where the government turned whacky lefty on us as well, but we stuck it out until our early retirement.

You can run, but you can neither hide nor get away from the slavers.

As long you're not free, you are a slave, no matter how comfortable the cushions are in the harem or the eunuch's quarters.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
So you can rewrite the Tale into something else, but then we're discussing something else.
---
Duly noted. I am interpreting points not delimited by the tale, using some reasonable hypotheses.

I will try another approach: complete freedom is as much an abstraction as anything else. What you have are approximations for that abstract concept of "freedom". And, up to this day, one of the best approximations we've found so far is some form of democracy, where your master is spread among millions of people, with some approximation of equal rights among them all too.

When a majority of those millions turn into a nastier master, you can either run away (like people did in Nazi times) or stay and try to change course. That's already an option that slaves, in the usual sense of the word, don't have.

In many senses, you are more free today than many of your idealizations of the past, like Erp's desire for the Old West. They could pay little taxes, if any, but end up with other limitations you would hardly accept today.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
The downside of renounced citizenship is that I wouldn't be allowed to enter a U.S. jurisdiction so I'll have to make sure anyone I'd possibly ever be responsible for is out of the country or dead before I do it.
---

That sounds a bit radical. I guess Israeli citizens are hardly denied Visas for visiting the US, and there is good probability for a tourist visa-waiver agreement in the near future. And you also can always send financial help independent of that.

I am curious on how you end up with that position. Do you know of some example where that was a problem?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

BTW, have you ever been to New Zealand? Do you still regard them with the same opinion (wild west)?


erp said...

My desire when we talked about New Zealand is exactly the same as my desire now. It is freedom, not the wild west per se and it had nothing to do with taxes?! I said that was how we thought of New Zealand as, quoting Capt. Kirk, the last frontier on earth.

You seem to have taxes on your mind. You apparently object to paying them even though you approve of welfare states. Not surprising. Most lefties arrange their affairs to reduce their tax obligations as much as possible, so much for their vaunted desire to help the downtrodden.

No, New Zealand is just another socialist state now.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Why is that hard for you to keep a civilized conversation?

I duly pay my taxes. Mind you, I proportionately pay more taxes than you do. Why to input such a nonsense charge on someone you barely know?

erp said...

Is your last comment one of your jokes?

Why indeed?

Did you not call me a liar and a racist and senile.

I made a comment about taxes, because you seem obsessed by them and I'm suspicious that thou protesteth too much about paying them which is consistent with what I know about academics who think the "rich" not them should pay for the welfare state about which they talk the talk, but don't like to walk the walk.

Clovis e Adri said...

I see. In order to exact your revenge for calling you racist, you decide to show me again your prejudices.

Yes, Erp, we academics are all tax cheaters... with all the fortunes we have to hide, how could that be different?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I guess Israeli citizens are hardly denied Visas for visiting the US..."

From wikipedia, '"The 1996 law included a provision to bar entry to any individual "who officially renounces United States citizenship and who is determined by the Attorney General to have renounced United States citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxation by the United States."'

My renunciation would be partly for the purpose of avoiding taxes. I'm probably not rich enough for the Attorney General to single me out, but if one day those bureaucrats decide to snag all renunciants, I wouldn't be allowed back.

Yes, I could still send financial support, but a sick, elderly mother may need something beyond just financial support.

That, by the way, has always been the main trick of oppressors to keep their "citizens"/subject/serfs/slaves at hand. Many slaves could walk away easily enough, but the retribution to their families may be devastating.

erp said...

Clovis, you reveal yourself again by projection.

I exact revenge by pointing out my observations? It's beyond ridiculous. Revenge is not in my arsenal, I prefer the truth. It hurts a lot more.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

It's not clear to me Israel is any better in the aspects I cosider important than the USA. It's much more overtly socialist, for one. But as Bret notted, the Tranzis have been winning around the world in no small part to prevent the escape. It's the same as your attitude toward health care, no escape, all must participate as directed by the state.

As for being more free than in the past, I'm not so sure that's true. One thing that has changed very signficantly for the worse is that our government, and many voters, now believe nothing is beyond the regulatory scope of government. That idea would be a massive shock to generations past. It means nothing is safe anymore, even if the government has not yet imposed itself.

I am building my own cage too

OK, but I'm not building my cage. Others are doing that (e.g. the ACA). I don't complain about things I do to myself.

I wonder how they enforce that if the said citizen has no intent to ever go back.

VIciously. The federal government will threaten the banks with loss of their license to do business in the USA to get bank compliance. The only solution, as Bret noted, is to renouce citizenship at which point you are not allowed back in the country. While I generally like my country, that bully style of tax collecting is very shameful.

Why is that hard for you to keep a civilized conversation?

For the same reason you find it difficult to do so with me?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "...up to this day, one of the best approximations we've found so far is some form of democracy, where your master is spread among millions of people..."

I suspect that's an illusion. I think that the best approximation is any form of government, even a monarchy, where the government is strongly limited by an enforced constitution. The fact that democracies since the late 1700s have generally been created around a constitution gives the illusion that it's the democracy that provides freedom, whereas it's actually the constitution, when and if it's taken seriously.

Per your example of the Nazis, they were elected in a democracy, and that ended up being one of the top ten nastiest governments of all time.

Clovis wrote: "In many senses, you are more free today..."

Yes, but the sense I'm concerned about is freedom from government oppression. We are certainly less free in this country in that sense than in any time since the founding.

erp said...

Bret, how so freer today?

Bret said...

erp,

Travel freedom, for example. From the time I decide to travel, I can be nearly anywhere in the world in 36 hours. I can jump in my car and be hundreds of miles away in a few hours.

To me that's a type of freedom, and an important one.

Would I trade that and other freedoms for the freedom of less government intervention that we had 150 years ago? I don't know, but it's a moot point.

erp said...

... freedom encompasses all our actions, travel included. Limit or deny one and all else follows as we are seeing.

Bret said...

Perhaps, but as far as a "snapshot" of freedom goes, we are, at this moment, freer in some ways than we were 150 years ago.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp & Bret,

Bret did get my point somehow, Erp, for I was also thinking about travel, among other things.

It is part of what I've meant when I commented on the wild west: the lack of infrastructure - ultimately paid for by taxes - for such travel to be possible, the lack of security, the lack of access to natural resources and so on.

I think this positioning, picturing ourselves as living modern slavehoods, is not only desnecessarily self-defeating, but also misguided, for at no point you stop to recognize that part of your "stolen hard-work" was actually used for the common good, including your own.


Concerning your mother, Bret, that's another big difference fromr eal slavery: you are free to take with you anyone who is willing to go.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
The fact that democracies since the late 1700s have generally been created around a constitution gives the illusion that it's the democracy that provides freedom, whereas it's actually the constitution, when and if it's taken seriously.
---
I think we are only differing on definitions. When I mention democracy, I am surely including its foundation over a constitution in the definition.

Your Nazi example does not follow, since they threw away the constitution once in power. If your point is that democracy is not foolproof against coups and collective stupidity, well, then what system is?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
It's the same as your attitude toward health care, no escape, all must participate as directed by the state.
---
It is discouraging that, after we discussed so much the subject, you still freely input that to me with no nuances.

---
OK, but I'm not building my cage. Others are doing that (e.g. the ACA). I don't complain about things I do to myself.
---
I don't think you got my meaning here, which was more literary.

You are in the jungle out there and you need to be prepared for whatever comes, be it rain or an attack from another tribe of monkeys. Once we settle down to more comfortable positions, it usually means we are also more vulnerable. It is easy to blame others, but the truth is that we should be prepared for whatever comes. Real freedom entails that too.

Janis Joplin put it in fewer words in that music, "freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose". Your cage is mainly your fear to lose it all.


---
[Clovis] Why is that hard for you to keep a civilized conversation?
For the same reason you find it difficult to do so with me?
---
I don't. You single me out and I don't know why, for you use much harsher words towards Harry, for example, than I use towards you. E.g. I never saw other people offended if someone says they are ranting. No dictionary implies the word is offensive too.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Well, I cannot recall any fundamental limit you place on health care by government, as for example in a "foundation over a constitution". I am quite puzzled as to why you think that is important, if it should be ignored for a sufficiently important social goal.

It is easy to blame others.

That doesn't make it wrong. If there is no blame, there is also no morality because nothing is every anyone's fault. We could go back to that "foundation over a constitution" - again, what's the point of that if no one can be blamed for violating it?

Bret said...

"Why is that hard for you to keep a civilized conversation?"

Oh, we're pretty civilized here compared to a lot of other forums.

We all get carried away sometimes (well, except Peter, but he's inhumanly polite and calm :-) and I appreciate that we generally address the arguments and ignore the occasional ad hominem that slips out in the heat of the moment.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "When I mention democracy, I am surely including its foundation over a constitution in the definition."

So then you agree that it's the constitution part that matters, not the democracy part, yes? For example, a constitutional monarchy would do just as well?

Well, at least that's what I think. I've become decidedly unenthralled with democracies over the last few decades. Not that they're any worse than other things, but they're not necessarily any better either.

Harry Eagar said...

'Black slaves in Latin America were treated much worse than in the USA, as evidenced by mortality and birth rates.'

Not true.

Harry Eagar said...

'No, New Zealand is just another socialist state now.'

It was a socialist stat then, but this shows how ignorant erp is.

Harry Eagar said...

'We are certainly less free in this country in that sense than in any time since the founding.'

As the Lone Ranger goes, 'What you mean we, white man?'

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
I cannot recall any fundamental limit you place on health care by government, as for example in a "foundation over a constitution". I am quite puzzled as to why you think that is important, if it should be ignored for a sufficiently important social goal.
---
I also addressed that before. In my own country, whose Constitution I understand better, public health care is at absolutely no contradiction.

In your country, whose Constitution I never claimed to have fully grasped, it is a lot trickier. I don't understand it was ignored for an "important social goal", but because your Constitution is somehow continually "rewritten" (or "reinterpreted") by a mix of Congress and SCOTUS positions.

Anyway, I never would come up with this idea of mandatory insurance, were I a fellow citizen of yours. I many times said I favor to finance health care for the poor through taxes.

---
[...] again, what's the point of that if no one can be blamed for violating it?
---
There again, you misinterpret me. As observed above, I am still talking about playing by the rules. Bret and you, following Nozick, look to believe that a Constitutional system where your fellow citizens (or fellow masters, if you will) can vote to impose more taxes is just as evil as every other nasty slavery system.

I disagree, but I also think that if you truly believe that, it is your fault not to run for your freedom.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
So then you agree that it's the constitution part that matters, not the democracy part, yes? For example, a constitutional monarchy would do just as well?
---
No, I do not agree, though I concede it is easy to find examples of constitutional monarchies that went better than many democracies.

I give great value to equality under the law, something excluded by monarchies. Of course, in practice most democracies do not really achieve that, but we also do not give up laws against murder because murders keep happening.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

BTW, in case you do not recall our previous discussions, and before you again place my position on health care as unconstitutional, keep in mind I did not restrict taxes to federal ones.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Perhaps I do misinterpret you, but you also failed to address my actual point. Let me quote myself - "I cannot recall any fundamental limit you place on health care by government". What limits, if any, do you think should exist?

look to believe that a Constitutional system where your fellow citizens (or fellow masters, if you will) can vote to impose more taxes is just as evil as every other nasty slavery system.

No. My objection to the ACA is not about taxes, but about (1) the mandate to purchase a product (2) direct government control of the contents of that product and (3) the elimination of my ability to purchase any alternative. To relate this to the point above, do you think any of those are beyond the bounds of what you consider legitimate government powers, or beyond what you understand of the US Constitution?

it is your fault not to run for your freedom

Run to where? I also fail to find much comfort in your view that I cannot be secure in my home and property, that it is my fault if barbarians show up and steal it. It does, however, conform with my "misinterpretation" that you see no real bounds on government power.

Mr. Eagar;

Once again your fact filled and detailed rebuttal is crushing.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
"I cannot recall any fundamental limit you place on health care by government". What limits, if any, do you think should exist?
---
That question is ill-defined if you do not give me a government to talk about, i.e. a specific constitution. In Constitutions like Brazil's or some of the Europeans, it is stated, sometimes explicitly, other times implicitly, that health and education are rights of every citizen, which ends up leading to a role for the government to provide for that.

Now, if you ask what I believe to be the proper "limits on health care by govt.", I have no closed answer. The question looks, to me, like asking "what fundamental limits you place on infrastructure investment by govt?", for example. I don't see the question as belonging directly to a Constitutional framework, i.e. the Constitution must give means for people to direct taxes for the desire of the majority, be it building roads or hospitals, and it is up to the people to decide on the specifics.

Following my view above, the meaningful question would be "what limits I place for govt spending on health care", and I can only answer that if we talk about concrete budgets.

Bottom line: you look to have principled views about the subject, I see it mostly as a budget matter.

---
(1) the mandate to purchase a product (2) direct government control of the contents of that product and (3) the elimination of my ability to purchase any alternative. To relate this to the point above, do you think any of those are beyond the bounds of what you consider legitimate government powers, or beyond what you understand of the US Constitution?
---
I will refrain from answering it from what I understand of the US Constitution, for I understand too little.

From what I consider legitimate govt powers, (1) is absolutely out of govt. boundaries, (2) may or may not be, depeding heavily of the details (e.g. govt. can set minimum requirements for products out of public safety concerns, for example), and I am not sure (3) is well defined (e.g. if the alternative is a product not attending said safety requirements, it can be denied access to markets and this point is in fact part of (2)).

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erp said...

Harry, quoting myself:

... we seriously thought of relocating to New Zealand which we thought was the equivalent of the wild west ...

Note the tense. When we investigated further we realized that the land of the kiwis wasn't a good option because they had already tilted left.

Your lack of reading comprehension might be something to bring to the attention of your doctor because it might not just be projection, but a serious health issue.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Run to where? I also fail to find much comfort in your view that I cannot be secure in my home and property, that it is my fault if barbarians show up and steal it.
---
My view was not intended to give you comfort, only to remember you the jungle out there is full of risks, and to be free is also to deal with that, instead of complaining that Master is not protecting you well enough.

---
It does, however, conform with my "misinterpretation" that you see no real bounds on government power.
---
One thing is the role I see for govt. Another thing is the real creature it may turn out to be.

I already stated before that I think the Libertarian order, with govt well restricted and everyone taking care of its own business, looks nice to me. In a snapshot. Over time, it looks to have potential to evolve to a completely different monster.

I believe I am taking the longer view, while you may be focusing on a too narrow one. Maybe mine is a pessimistic one, of the kind that keeps little hope in human beings, hence little hope in the complete fulfillment of their platonic dreams (like absolute "freedom").

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] If you think [top 5% of taxpayers already pay 40% of federal income taxes is] a bullet-proof argument, think again: those same 5% of taxpayers own 59.4% of the US wealth. Yet they pay only 40% of the bill.

It isn't an argument, it is a fact about quantity that is just as worthy of addressing as rate when making an argument as to what is "fair".

Also, while it is true that the upper 5% own 59.4% of the wealth, but pay only 40% of the income tax bill is equating chalk to cheese.

While reflexively kleptocratic progressives would like to tax wealth, in the US that is largely out of bounds (barring a few oddities like a few states' wildly unpopular persona property taxes), the fairness in question here is with regard to income tax rates.

The looters want to put them to the ceiling for the wealthy, but they make two critical errors, and try to justify their lootism upon an unmade fairness argument.

First, the errors.

Confusing characteristic for composition. Piketty and his sycophants address wealth as a characteristic, without considering who the wealthy are. For example, over the last 30 or so years, in the US, free agency has made professional athletes far wealthier than they used to be. This has helped create income inequality. Because they are wealthy, Piketty would like to tax them at 90 or so percent.

Upon which must follow a longish list of begged, but unasked, questions: How fair is it to extortionately tax people who make a lot of money for a typically brief period of time? How fair is it for those who do not have the talent, make the sacrifices, and take the risks, to appropriate so much money from those who do? How much money is it fair for the government to take from those to whom ticket buyers give their money? Beyond what multiple of received government services does fairness end and looting begin?


[erp's] affirmation is wrong: those 47% do pay taxes. They do not pay federal taxes on income, but pay state and local ones, including taxes on consumption. That's certainly different form saying they "don't pay any taxes".

Clovis, you are correct. It is worth noting that the trouble Romney got in was for saying that the 47% do not pay federal income taxes, and that he can't possibly hope to gain votes from those to whom the government is giving handouts.

In what way was he wrong?

erp said...

Skipper, low income wage earners do pay consumption taxes although many get "help" from various agencies for heating bills, telephone bills, groceries, school supplies, etc.

My point was that those who are on the dole are charged consumption taxes when they use our money to buy stuff. In effect, we are being taxed twice, but in no way are those who don't earn or contribute pay for anything.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
It is worth noting that the trouble Romney got in was for saying that the 47% do not pay federal income taxes, and that he can't possibly hope to gain votes from those to whom the government is giving handouts. In what way was he wrong?
---

By making his affirmation absolute: the correlation between (i) to be under welfare (or not to pay income tax) and (ii) not to vote for Romney is surely *not* 100%.

While some part of the people under welfare may feel entitled, I can imagine another part may feel guilty and would love to get a better job and no longer use food stamps. They could vote for Romney if they feel he can make the economy better and improve the chances for that. He desnecessarily improved his alienation from those voters by singling them out this way.

Clovis e Adri said...

Make "desnecessarily" for "unnecessarily".

Sometimes the Latin words are a trap.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] No idea what Skipper means about a 'permanent' tax on capital. Nor do I believe he is correct in saying that capital is taxed twice. But even so, so what?

Let's say I own stock that pays dividends. The dividends come from profit net corporate income tax, so my dividends are smaller than they would be absent the tax. Then the second taxation comes with the capital gains tax I pay on the dividends.

Do the math.

What I mean by a permanent tax on capital is that, using a dividend yielding stock as an example, every time I earn a dividend, I get taxed on that dividend, which means I have less money to invest in the future for as long as I own that stock.

So what? If you want less of something, tax it more. Clearly, you want less investment in the future of our economy, and you want to minimize the number of people with a stake in the future of the economy, rather than the present of looting from those who do.

[Clovis:] No, Bret, there is nothing unfair in your example, though it suffers from a serious drawback: it has a money sink.

Well played.

[Bret:] which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?

Those cases are tendentious, purposefully so. There are too many implied, and ignored, assumptions to make it worthwhile as an argument for anything.

[AOG:] I would also point out that the mortality rates for imported black slaves weren't much better than for the natives, it was just easier to import more of them, which is what that was done. Black slaves in Latin America were treated much worse than in the USA, as evidenced by mortality and birth rates.

Clovis is completely correct in his assertion that Africans were imported as slaves. More than the suicide rate among indigenous Americans when subjected to slavery was their nearly pervasive disinclination towards fecundity.

As for being more free than in the past, I'm not so sure that's true.

Again, I will have to agree with Clovis.

Considering only blacks and women, the net amount of freedom in the US is vastly greater than it was even 40 years ago.

Then add onto that the internet unshackling us from the MSM' blinkered worldview.

Yes, the ACA is atrocious. But that isn't anywhere close (IMHO) to putting the balance into the red.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I give great value to equality under the law, something excluded by monarchies. Of course, in practice most democracies do not really achieve that..."

That's the understatement of the millennium. :-)

That's exactly the problem I have with the U.S. government at this point. Little people such as myself do not have any sort of equality under the law relative to the elites in government. They are royalty, I'm not.

I have friends who no longer blog, comment, or use any sort of media to voice opinions because they're afraid that they will come to the attention of the NSA and then be referred to the IRS, the EPA, or one of thousands of other government bureaucracies that can take their property without trial and mostly without recourse. I still think they're being a bit paranoid (I'm still here ranting, after all), but their retort is, "but what about 5 or 20 years from now - all of this stuff will be archived and the trends are not in our favor." I hope they're wrong, and if not, we're all screwed anyway, so I'm not going to worry about it.

Tyranny of the majority is no better (and I'm beginning to think substantially worse) than tyranny of a monarchy, especially if the monarchy is a constitutional monarchy with sufficient checks and balances against the monarchs power.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

complaining that Master is not protecting you well enough

I'm not doing that. If anything, I'm complaining that Master is protecting me *too much* (e.g., the ACA). What I want is not more or better protection, but to be left alone. It's just bizarre to have you respond to some one complaining about being caged with "stop complaining about the risks of freedom". It causes me to think you have no concept at all of what I am writing.

Bret;

So you're beginning to understand the C.S. Lewis quote, eh?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
It causes me to think you have no concept at all of what I am writing.
---
May well be. But it would help if you were not changing it from one post to the other.

As I understand, the main problem up above was that fellow citizens were able to rob you of your hard work - hence they are not so different from slavers.

My comments addressed that complain.

Now you complain of the nanny state towards you, but I don't see why: Master is not better protecting you at all on that front, since you were protected enough, it is indeed taking your money and giving it to protect others. You look bothered that it did so by the individual mandate, but I if I address that point, you go back to complain of the robbery; if I address the robbery, you go back to complain of the enforced rules.

It makes me think you do want me to have no concept at all of what you are writing.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

No, I've been consistent.

As I understand, the main problem up above was that fellow citizens were able to rob you of your hard work

Try finding the actual quote where I wrote something like that. If you can't, perhaps that means I'm not the inconsistent one.

Clovis e Adri said...

But that was the whole moral of the Nozick piece, with which you looked to be in agreement, AOG.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
I have friends who no longer blog, comment, or use any sort of media to voice opinions because they're afraid [...]
---

I have friends who no longer use even email for anything than trivial tasks for the same reasons.

Yet, it is worth to notice that this new surveillance state has been implemented by both the world's major democracy (USA) and its most sucessful constitutional monarchy (England), so we are really running out of options for a freer government system here.

The tyranny I fear most is neither of the majority nor of the monarchs. The people calling the shots and running the show did learn to hide very well, and they have adapted to whatever government system you choose.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "But that was the whole moral of the Nozick piece..."

No, that was only part" of the point of the Nozick piece. Note also, "He [the master] further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking." So, not only being "robbed" of "your hard work" (as you put it), put also the nanny and regulatory State.

It may seem that it was almost an afterthought, but in the 1970s when the book with the Tale was written, it was unfathomable that the regulatory regime would balloon to its current level of intrusiveness, so it probably was a bit of an afterthought, though quite astute in retrospect.

The problem with the master is ALL intrusions into our lives, both economic and non-economic.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

As shown by which quote of mine, exactly?

This is what I mean by a "Narrative". You required no evidence to make your claim, and having failed to find any, persist in it.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "...so we are really running out of options for a freer government system here."

That's why I advocate a strongly libertarian constitution and one that can only be interpreted in a libertarian fashion. Then the only other thing that matters for the structure of government is to enforce that constitution and to prevent coups.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
The problem with the master is ALL intrusions into our lives, both economic and non-economic.
---

OK, I will accept your interpretation of Nozick, though that part you last mentioned was really lateral in his piece.


AOG,

---
This is what I mean by a "Narrative".
---
Really? In my school days that would be called a text interpretation issue. It usually can be solved with a little bit of good will.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Um, what text? The problem, in my view, is the absence of text. But if you want to try a little good will and point out which text you interpreted differently, feel free to do so. I've provided good will by asking you twice to do so, thereby providing you the opportunity to help clear up the disagreement.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

And I've pointed the text: Nozick's piece.

I was interpreting it as purely an anti-tax parable. I thought it was so clear it was so that you've read it in the same light. It was Bret intervention above that pointed to other possibilities.

You asked me to present a quote of yours, but that's not the only way exchanges can be misinterpreted. We were discussing someone's else text, and the differing interpretations over it can lead to mistakes too.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Um, I didn't post that, nor (as far as I can tell), did I comment on it. Let me be more specific, what text that I posted or wrote that "made it so clear" to you what I thought of it?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

You entered the conversation about it using the same language we, who were discussing the text, were using (like the term "Master" and so on).

A usual interpretation then was that you, too, would be indeed discussing the text. Being its interpretation not so complex, I assumed the rest. My mistake.

It is not about Narratives, it is just about communication going wrong. It happens.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Well, actually, Bret entered the conversation using the same language. My comment in that regard was before the Nozick piece was posted.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
That's why I advocate a strongly libertarian constitution and one that can only be interpreted in a libertarian fashion.
---

I don't think you'll get that so soon, but is may well be a little revolution if you get a Libertarian elected as next president.

What do you think about Rand Paul? Has he chances in the GOP primary?

Bret said...

My opinion is that Rand Paul has no chance of winning the election and that he's probably not conniving enough to be an adequate president anyway.

Unfortunately, libertarians tend to make crappy politicians.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

And how different do you think that was in past?

Presidents 100 years ago, or 150, or even 200... were they Libertarians or just conniving politicians?

BTW, Libertarianism looks to be a bit popular these days, who knows that reflects somehow in the election.

Annoying Old Guy said...

I think it was quite different in the past. The problem is that as the state gets bigger and more intrusive, the payoff for winning an election goes up. This draws in more people who just want to win for the graft, making being conniving more and more essential to actually winning.

This is why the "get money out of politics" people are delusional. The only real way to reduce the money spent on elections is to reduce the money won by elections.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

And the way to reduce the money won by elections is...?

It is no big help to have a grand pland of how things should be (like the Libertarian agenda) if you have no idea on how to actually get there.

Annoying Old Guy said...

You reduce the money won by elections by reducing the size and scope of the government.

I know exactly how to get there. Cut spending, deregulate, eliminate government agencies.

Another way would be to obey the actual Constitutional limits on government.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I guess you missed my point. If Libertarians, like Bret said, have no shot at winning, how do you get all the spending cuts and deregulation you wish for?

Annoying Old Guy said...

We wait until the OPM runs out and things collapse.

Your phrasing is quite odd, though. It's like a doctor telling a patient he has no plan for losing weight ("eat less, exercise more") because the patient won't actually follow the plan. That's not a problem with the doctor or the plan, but the patient.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Your analogy bears little relation to the matter, it's a description at the personal level whereas the original topic is defined by collective behavior.

You can dream for any arrangement for society, but without realistic ideas on how to make them possible, the exercise turns a bit futile.

I, for one, prefer to work out things more related to present day reality than to wait "until the OPM runs out and things collapse" - maybe I am the only one here not much inspired by that prospect, but many people out there may well share my opinion.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "You can dream for any arrangement for society, but without realistic ideas on how to make them possible, the exercise turns a bit futile."

Dreaming is exercise? Who knew? Will dreaming help me lose weight? I should do it more often in that case (and it wouldn't be futile). :-)

Slightly more seriously, I think the political behaviors we see are all inherent emergent qualities of the interactions of large groups of humans at the current level of technology. Nothing can be done, so why not dream?

The main problem is that those of us who greatly prefer a smaller government find the seeking and wielding of the power to make that happen terribly abhorrent so we can't bring ourselves to try and make it happen. Some do try and are corrupted before they can help make change (power corrupts). Others do try and avoid the corruption to some extent but they tend to be a little (or a lot) loony and it's tough to take them seriously.

For example, the libertarian party has been around for decades, but the last presidential election was the first time that the candidate was even vaguely plausible as an actual president. All the rest have been sad jokes as far as candidates who could actually run the executive branch of the United States.

erp said...

All the rest have been sad jokes as far as candidates who could actually run the executive branch of the United States.

You mean like the current occupant of that office?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
I think the political behaviors we see are all inherent emergent qualities of the interactions of large groups of humans at the current level of technology.
---
I don't have much idea about what you are talking here, but it is an interesting point anyway.

---
[...] so we can't bring ourselves to try and make it happen.
---
Ideally, Bret, to get the Libertarian agenda implemented would means to convince a good part of your fellow citizens that that's a good idea. In principle, you do not need to corrupt yourself to do that. Even more so because it is not something a single person in a "Yes, we can" fashion could do. It asks for a good number of people to do the hard work of talking, and talking, and talking some more with everyone they can access in order to sell those ideas.

So another difficulty with Libertatians is not only they do not like to run for offices, many of them do not look to enjoy much the evangelization part too. Or, if they do, they are awful at it. You are an exception that proves the rule.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "It asks for a good number of people to do the hard work of talking, and talking, and talking some more with everyone they can access in order to sell those ideas."

Some portion of the "Tea Party" is focusing on the long term to bring the ideas of liberty back to the public debate. They're focusing on a multiple generation time frame, so I won't be around to see if they succeed, but I wish them luck.

And indeed, that's why I talk and talk and talk while not bothering much with action at this point.

Annoying Old Guy said...

clovis;

That analogy comment is rather nit pickiy, even for you.

I have a realistic plan. I've described it. Repeating that "without a plan" doesn't erase it.

more related to present day reality than to wait "until the OPM runs out and things collapse"

The OPM is running out right now. This is directly relevant to the present day. Go to Detroit and tell me what happened there other than the OPM ran out.

I am the only one here not much inspired by that prospect

Neither am I. But I'm coming around to Bret's view that nothing else is going to work.

As Bret points out, the Tea Parties in the USA are trying to prevent this, but Old Media and the current political class are pulling out all the stops to prevent it. But the recent brouhaha about the Hobby Lobby decision makes it hard to have hope, that so many people got outrage because some women wouldn't have access to OPM for their contraceptives. Which, I might note, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives claimed was literally deny contraceptive access to the female employees of Hobby Lobby. Because Old Media vets such lies, I don't see much to stop the slide.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,


My comment was not nit-pickly, it was aimed at focusing your attention to my point, which you still miss as represented in your other comment:

---
I have a realistic plan. I've described it. Repeating that "without a plan" doesn't erase it.
---
Please, take another look at my original comment: "It is no big help to have a grand plan of how things should be (like the Libertarian agenda) if you have no idea on how to actually get there."

I am recognizing you do have a plan on how things should work, what I am asking about is a plan *to get there*. I am specifically talking about political (i.e. collective) arrangements to generate those changes you wish for.

Trying to use your analogy, the patient may be convinced the doctor is a charlatan and his plan is a fraud. He won't follow it unless convinced otherwise.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Go to Detroit and tell me what happened there other than the OPM ran out.
---
I guess this is a rhetorical argument, otherwise it is nice of you to ask me to go to Detroit. Really? Would you pay my ticket? A Brasilia-Detroit tour may take a few thousand dollars, if you are so kind I can give you my schedule so you can book my ticket. I accept to drop by Chicago too, so you can pay me that Chicago-style pizza you once mentioned :-)

More to the point, the CBO fiscal projections for the US near future are quite different from Detroit's. I wonder if you care for real data when making those arguments.

---
As Bret points out, the Tea Parties in the USA are trying to prevent this, but Old Media and the current political class are pulling out all the stops to prevent it.
---
I can believe you. Have you seen this case?

Interestingly, and a bit contrary to your Narrative, the abuse of power here was exercized by Republicans, not Dems, right?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "...the abuse of power here was exercized by Republicans, not Dems, right?"

It looks to me that the bogus felony charges against Mayfield were brought by Dems. Am I reading it wrong?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Every politician involved in the case is a Republican.

It was a dispute for a republican primary to decide the republican candidate for the Senate. And the mayor who supposedly gave a hand to press the carges is also a Republican.

Clovis e Adri said...

... and the prosecutors dealing with the case are all under Republican controlled offices (both at district and state level).

In fact, I can't see how you located a Dem to blame here in this whole story, Bret.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I have explained the steps. You appear to simply not read them.

How things should be: we have a limited, libertarian government bound by Constitutional restrictions.

How to get there: Start deregulating, cutting spending and taxes. Remove the government from the social sphere where ever it not necessary. Push decisions down as locally as possible (subsidiarity).

the patient may be convinced the doctor is a charlatan and his plan is a fraud.

Yes. I think that's the case. Is your view that the patient is always correct? No small part of the problem is the patient has a friend (Old Media) who tells him the plan is fraud, because the friend likes the patient being dependent on him and hates the doctor for being right.

the CBO fiscal projections for the US near future are quite different from Detroit's

In what respect? The CBO projections I have seen indicate ever increasing deficits and mounting debt until it can't be paid. It gets even worse when you figure in unfunded "off budget" liabilities like social security. We can see the econmoy stalling out as well. Looks a lot like the early stage of Detroit to me.

bit contrary to your Narrative, the abuse of power here was exercized by Republicans, not Dems

No. I can provide a dozen examples for the Democratic Party (just from the Obama Administration alone) for every GOP related one. But this is precisely why I wrote 'Tea Parties" and "current political class" instead of "Republicans" and "Democratic Party". Or you could ask erp about the term "RINO".

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "Every politician involved in the case is a Republican."

On second glance, that looks right. I misread it the first time through. Sorry.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

CBO downgrades fiscal outlook. How unexpected.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

But as your own link showed, debt is stabilized, it was economic growth projections that changed.

There is another point also, on how big a problem is a large debt to GDP ratio. There are certainly other economies, Japan being a well know case, where a high ratio did not hinder their ability to borrow. In your article words, this projection "At some point, investors would begin to doubt the government's willingness or ability to pay its debt obligations,” never was fulfilled in Japan's case. There are no shortage of economists who believe the same would apply to the USA.

And there is this other big difference between Detroit and the USA: the latter can print money, while the former can not. IOW, "OPM" may never run out. [No, I am not making the case for unlimited fiscal profligacy, only remembering you of how different the debt dynamics may be between both cases]


---
I can provide a dozen examples for the Democratic Party (just from the Obama Administration alone) for every GOP related one.
---

You certainly commented on a few in this weblog. None so bad as this last one I pointed out, in my opinion. By memory, (i) there was the IRS case; (ii) there was the case of a politician who gave up running for Illinois senate because they disclosed his divorce papers, (iii) there was the bank account problems with porn actors (though the real reasons were never confirmed AFAIK).

If you had to choose, what would you take?

(i) To have your political group denied a tax-exempt status.
(ii) To have your divorce papers disclosed.
(iii) To have no bank to place your porn related money.
(iv) To be incarcerated for a bogus charge and have to pay a $250.000 bail to get out, with a huge judicial persecution following.

I have the feeling most would say (iv) was the worst option, to the point someone committed suicide after tasting how that feels.

Can you really present worst cases traceable to Obama?

Up to now, I am convinced your "current political class" may be really tough, but I'd fear more the GOP (hey, did I mention Nixon?) by far.

erp said...

aog, By RINO, do you mean this?

Annoying Old Guy said...

erp;

Quite.

Clovis;

Let's see what the CBO says.

The debt is stablized?

if current laws remain in place, debt will equal 74 percent of GDP and continue to be on an upward path (see figure below). [emphasis added]

Not a problem?

Such high and rising debt later in the coming decade would have serious negative consequences

So, yes, I have read CBO reports on this subject.

the latter can print money, while the former can not. IOW, "OPM" may never run out

Tell that to the Weimar Republic.

None so bad as this last one I pointed out, in my opinion. By memory, (i) there was the IRS case

The IRS case is enormously worse than what you cited. It is a fundamental corruption of our basic political system on a nationwide basis. The only thing that compares with that is the New Deal itself. It is something not even Nixon was able to do. But it's not a problem now because Obama, apparently.

Can you really present worst cases traceable to Obama?

Yes. Many. First off would be running guns to Mexican gangs, which resulted in many more deaths than the case you cited. Or the Administrations actions in Benghazi, which again got more people killed than your case. There's the IRS case which is also much worse. The current immigration crisis with its broken families, child abuse, human trafficing, national security problems, and deaths. The coverup at the Veterans Administration.

But if we're looking at parties and not just Obama, you could look up the Ted Stevens and Tom Delay cases. Or the Scooter Libby case.

Susan's Husband said...

Hey, woman killed due to Obama border policy. I think that looking at one offs like this is arguing by anecdote rather than data, but I'm just going with Clovis' standard.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Hey, look at that - CBO estimates for cost of the ACA has doubled from original estimates. Now that's debt stability. While, simultaneously, not even close to achieving projected goals.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
The debt is stablized?
---
Kind of. If you had quoted the whole phrase, it would be this one:

"Under current law, the debt is projected to decline from about 76 percent of GDP in 2014 to slightly below 71 percent in 2018 but then to start rising again; by 2023, if current laws remain in place, debt will equal 74 percent of GDP and continue to be on an upward path (see figure below)."

In the very near term, it is going *down*. To look at the figure is a very good idea. Given it is a 10 year projection, it does not strike me as a skyrocketing debt trajectory. It sure deserves attention, but not the "panic button" I interpret from your discourse. I wonder if the debt trajectory of Detroit looked like that, going back to our initial point.


---
Tell that to the Weimar Republic.
---
This is exactly the problem I have with your reasoning. You can't explain current events if you choose Weimar as your model. You could at the very least recognize the need for a more sophisticated frame to understand the finances of your country right now.

---
The IRS case is enormously worse than what you cited. It is a fundamental corruption of our basic political system on a nationwide basis.
---
I couldn't draw that conclusion with what I've seen of the case up to now. Nationwide?


And I can not agree with your other generic examples (Mexico guns, border crisis or Benghazi), in the sense they are very different in nature from what we have been discussing.
Now, the three other names you cited I will need to look at...

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I don't know, it is not so easy to make a call with the information I could gather, but your Ted Stevens and Tom Delay cases are quite fishy... you look to be defending some guys who look like very corrupt.

I don't think they compare to Mayfield's. I may be wrong, but that's my impression.

erp said...

Both were trumped up charges, but you won't find that in your usual sources.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Yet, the CBO warns specifically of the negative effects of that debt load. I would say that's evidence of the OPM running out already.

This is exactly the problem I have with your reasoning. You can't explain current events if you choose Weimar as your model

Why not? It is a counter example to the view a goverment can't run out of money if it can print money. It is, by historical fact, quite possible. Is your view that looking at historical data isn't a good way to understand current events?

I couldn't draw that conclusion [about the IRS scandal] with what I've seen of the case up to now. Nationwide?.

Yes, nationwide. The IRS is part of the federal government, which covers the entire nation.

they are very different in nature from what we have been discussing

I don't find them so. You wrote "Can you really present worst cases traceable to Obama?". These are worse cases, traceable to Obama, which is precisely what we are discussing. They are certainly of the same nature as the IRS scandal, which is part of the discussion.

As for Stevens, Delay, and Libby, as erp noted you need to dig deeper just as with the Martin / Zimmerman case, although not that much deeper. For instance from ABC News -

A court-appointed special prosecutor has determined that serious misconduct by Justice Department prosecutors tainted the federal investigation and trial of former Sen. Ted Stevens, according to a report released Thursday.

The investigation and prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens were permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence which would have independently corroborated Senator Stevens’s defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness,” the report noted.

erp said...

Lots of cases of other outright lies like the tea party members calling out racial epithets while black congress critters were passing.

Lies told so often, they will become "fact" and part of public school history texts.

Bret said...

aog wrote: "It is a counter example to the view a goverment can't run out of money if it can print money."

Weimar had a lot of debt in OTHER currencies (reparations, for example), currencies that they could NOT print, so it's not a great example.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Bret;

Not everyone agrees with that.

Clovis;

If I may find generic Democratic Party actions and not just ones directly caused by the Obama Administration, we could look at the persecution of Gov. Walker in Wisconsin.

Interesting, though, how the victims seem to be uniformly GOP / conservatives, isn't it?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I confess I do not quite understand tihs John Doe case and your last link is one of the most confusing things I've read lately.

Contrary to Mayfield's case, where cause, means and effect were all very clear, these ones are hard to read, in my opinion. I do not say so to downplay them, but it is much harder to get the points here, since they are related to minute things on your federal or local election laws of which I know next to nothing.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

All of the cases are essentially the same - the MAL didn't like the results of elections and therefore used bogus, trumped up charges to remove politicians from office. The Walker case is a bit different because the details are coming out while he's still in office.

Bret said...

aog wrote: "Not everyone agrees with that."

Other than the undefended quip, "although the burden was considerable, it was more-or-less affordable."

Especially when they also write, "The enormous war reparations that Germany had been saddled with were especially hard on the young republic" (note they were fixed to gold and so NOT in Weimar currency) and 'reparations would "crush all creative urges, the will to work and all entrepreneurial spirit' and "uncertainty about them that destabilized the Weimar economy" and "At the same time, millions of Germans were living in abject poverty."

Anyway, they can write anything they want, I don't buy it. In general, countries that have debt ONLY in their own fiat currency don't experience hyperinflations.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
All of the cases are essentially the same - the MAL didn't like the results of elections and therefore used bogus, trumped up charges to remove politicians from office.
---
It looks like a bit more complicated than that. They were all "professional politicians" and it is reasonable to consider theirs as borderline cases, e.g. they may well have behaved in ways that could turn on a few red alerts.

For example, my experience in Brazilian politics is that, in an overwhelming number of cases, the politician is guilty but he can get away with it either due to technicalities or backstage agreements of powerful corrupt groups. I don't know to what extent that may also be true in US politics.

That's why I would like to see simpler cases, like Mayfield's, if you have any to point out.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Bret;

To me the key point of the article is that Germany set up the inflationary problem well before the reparations. I'll have to see if other examples are dependent on foreign debt - the USA certainly didn't need that to have some very serious inflation in the 1970s.

Clovis;

No, it's not really more complicated than that. It's not reasonable to consider them "borderline cases" - that's simply unsupported assertion of yours. Go back and read the quotes about Stevens - those were not "technicalities". There were certainly backstage agreements by powerful corrupt groups, but on the side of the prosecution (this is particularly the case with Walker).

I think these cases are as simple as the Mayfield one, which hinges on how much Mayfield was actually involved in the incident. Perhaps you could explain why that's not a "borderline case" and the ones I cited are.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 278   Newer› Newest»