GayPatriot

Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: http://www.gaypatriot.net/2012/12/03/guest-post-government-spending-hurts-the-economy/trackback/

  1. And all that is “just” the immediate effects. As noted, there isn’t room for all the descriptions of the wrongs of government spending as economic driver, so I’ll just add one more: the inefficiencies (read: added costs to the private sector and to the taxpayer) of the government as middleman.

    The entire distribution network extant in the private economy also adds costs, though, doesn’t it? No. There’s competition in the private sector, and distributors are driven to hold costs down. And those on either end of the distribution chain also are competing with peers on those ends; they’re driven to pressure the distributors for even lower costs. It’s how, for instance, Wal*Mart is able to have such low prices for its customers.

    Government, on the other hand, has no competitors in its distribution chain–it runs a monopoly on its distribution function. Moreover, those on either end of the government’s distribution chain have no choice but to accept the government’s prices.

    And there’re all the bureaucratic sidemen in that government distribution chain, whose sole purpose is to “monitor” the use of the people’s tax money. Those folks don’t “monitor” for free.

    Usw.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 3, 2012 @ 7:29 pm - December 3, 2012

  2. I’m not all that sure deflation is a good thing – wages always seem to fall faster than prices. I’d prefer a steady dollar. Deflation, like inflation, can spiral.

    That aside, can we concede that government spending per se isn’t the problem, it’s what money (tax and borrowed) is spent on and the value received for each dollar spent?

    For Tom’s restaurant (if he’d opened it), he derives benefit from roads that allow supplies and customers to reach his business. Since most water and sewer utilities are government operated, it’s safe to say that he couldn’t operate without them. He couldn’t operate without police and fire protection and a justice system to deal with the occasional robber and burglar.

    I also believe there are intangible benefits to some spending – the Gemini and Apollo programs comes to mind… not just that we have (had?) Tang but that they provided a sense of purpose and supported the American “we can do it” attitude (anyone think we could do it now?). And, yes, the technology thrown off by the space program and the military makes much modern day technology possible.

    The problem, IMHO, is that so much money is directed at counter-productive efforts and the value received for productive efforts is so poor. It’s counter-productive to subsidize failure (bailouts and a lot, but not all, welfare) and it’s certainly counter-productive to impose pointless regulations (thinking of Mark Steyn’s example of California’s mandate that hotels use fitted bedsheets and paying police officers with nothing better to do than harass little kids running a lemonade stand). But not all regulation is bad… I’m absolutely certain that there are plenty of businessmen that would dump toxic waste into a storm sewer in a heartbeat if not for potential penalties.

    I’m an Okie and once I got old enough to travel and work in other states, I was always amazed at how poor so many things in OK are compared to other states. I have lived in Kansas for some years now (with a couple of years in San Diego) and, a few years back, I commented to my parents that I was pretty sure my KS taxes are higher than they were in OK but it didn’t bother me much since I perceived value.

    ILC tends to libertarian “Laissez-faire” economics which, in theory, is the ideal. But when dealing with human beings with their variety of foibles and talent levels (Sergey Brin? or Harry Reid?), I don’t see libertarian capitalism going mainstream in the near future.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — December 3, 2012 @ 7:33 pm - December 3, 2012

  3. Libertarians and a communists are both utopianisits and they ignore human nature.

    Both sound great with excellent ideals, but unfortunately we live in world that requires governments to build, regulate businesses, care for the poor, protect the state’s interests and educate the populace while dealing with human beings nature.

    Now the only thing to do is find ways to do the above cheaply and debt free.

    Comment by mike — December 3, 2012 @ 9:02 pm - December 3, 2012

  4. [in] deflation… wages always seem to fall faster than prices

    If they do, that implies declining living standards. But for most people in most of the deflationary periods between the Civil War and WW2, living standards rose. Even for the Great Depression, some said “It was great if you had a job”, because consumer prices fell faster than wages, which was a prime cause of the high unemployment of that time (Hoover/Roosevelt both had policies to prevent real wages from adjusting, i.e., declining, to where the labor markets could clear).

    Declining living standards are more characteristic of *in*flationary times, wherein commodity & consumer prices usually outrun the rise in wages – such as the 1970s, and today. Gas has doubled roughly from $1.80 to $3.60, since Obama took office.

    Deflation, like inflation, can spiral.

    Only where there has been excessive debt growth to begin with, i.e., a lot of deadwood (malinvestment) to be cleared. Every deflation, if allowed to progress, reaches a natural bottom where productive jobs remain, things are naturally priced, savings have resumed, and then the economy can start growing again.

    can we concede that government spending per se isn’t the problem, it’s what money (tax and borrowed) is spent on and the value received for each dollar spent?

    I can’t. Government spending per se is the problem, because government is inherently less capable of spending efficiently and wisely, even in wartime, than the private sector. As EH points out, government doesn’t face competitive pressures. In theory, if you had a government that could invest as productively as the private sector 100% of the time, then government spending would not be a problem. But you can’t.

    For Tom’s restaurant (if he’d opened it), he derives benefit from roads… water… sewer utilities

    Those things are maybe 1% of the government spending that we’re talking about. (I could also argue that the private sector would indeed do them better, but let’s not get sidetracked.) What about entitlements? retirement planning? education? Porkulus spending? The endless regulatory bodies, whose value is questionable?

    He couldn’t operate without police and fire protection and a justice system to deal with the occasional robber and burglar.

    That is true. I say often that the one thing that can be done halfway well only by government is: the impartial protection of individual rights to life, liberty and property via police, courts and military. Because having the private sector attempt those things is one possible definition of “civil war”. I am far from advocating that, or any form of anarchy.

    But now we’re talking maybe 15-25% of government spending (including State and local). And government spending on those things inherently won’t be efficient. And the more we spend on them, the more difficult to monitor efficiency and hence, the less efficient.

    the Gemini and Apollo programs

    Great, government finally did something that had a few benefits. But how wasteful was that spending, along the way? Certainly today, private sector could do space exploration much better – if government got out of the way. And how many other trillions have been wasted, before and after we waited for that one semi-good ‘hit’?

    The problem, IMHO, is that so much money is directed at counter-productive efforts and the value received for productive efforts is so poor.

    Do you not see how that is inherent to government doing the spending? And that, in any case, government spending still drives up private sector costs, killing or preventing some number of marginal businesses. Economic resources can be kept available for private sector use, or they can be sucked up by the government. If the latter, then some people in the private sector must and will be put out: Not rich people necessarily, but people operating marginal businesses; usually, middle class.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 3, 2012 @ 9:10 pm - December 3, 2012

  5. we live in world that requires governments to build, regulate businesses, care for the poor, protect the state’s interests and educate the populace while dealing with human beings nature.

    Spoken like a true worshipper of the State.

    We need government to build businesses? Show me a business that the government built – like, say, GM or Solyndra – and I’ll show you a failure, a business that can’t stand on its own.

    Now the only thing to do is find ways to do the above cheaply and debt free.

    Good luck with that. (Hint: you won’t.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 3, 2012 @ 9:17 pm - December 3, 2012

  6. (Although the private sector can; for example, private charities which provide the most efficient care for the poor.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 3, 2012 @ 9:57 pm - December 3, 2012

  7. Both sound great with excellent ideals, but unfortunately we live in world that requires governments to build, regulate businesses, care for the poor, protect the state’s interests and educate the populace while dealing with human beings nature.

    No we don’t. ILC has argued in the past that regulation can be performed by private entities such as Underwriters Laboratories, and he’s probably right. There is no reason the government should “care for the poor.” Or “educate the populace.” That can be done with a private education system, and vouchers if necessary.

    You say that libertarians are utopianists, but show me any country that has had a truly libertarian system of government (and don’t say Somalia, because that isn’t one). Well, there hasn’t been one. It’s never been tried, but the “country” that has come the closest is probably Hong Kong. If a quasi-libertarian system can create Hong Kong (or turn Singapore from a country that no-one thought would survive on its own because it is so poor in natural resources to one of the world’s richest countries), I think it is a bit inappropriate to call libertarians “utopianists.”

    Comment by Rattlesnake — December 3, 2012 @ 10:06 pm - December 3, 2012

  8. 2012 Index of Economic Freedom: http://www.heritage.org/index/

    While none of Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada and Chile are all that great from my standpoint, they are all better than the U.S. now… and, not coincidentally, have more vibrant economies. Under Obama, U.S. has moved down to 10th.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 3, 2012 @ 10:26 pm - December 3, 2012

  9. …we live in world that requires governments to build, regulate businesses, care for the poor, protect the state’s interests and educate the populace while dealing with human beings nature.

    Wow. Where to begin? Government doesn’t build, private enterprise does. Government doesn’t even pay for the building; private enterprise and private citizens do with their money allocated as taxes. Government doesn’t care for the poor–private citizens, charities, churches do. And private citizens with their taxes. Businesses need a whole lot less regulation than they get. The state has no interests of its own to protect; government is the employee of the private citizens. Government’s “interests,” such as they are, are its employers’ interests, nothing else. Local communities educate their populace, again government uses private citizens’ taxes. All government does is broker the deals.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 3, 2012 @ 10:27 pm - December 3, 2012

  10. Government doesn’t care for the poor–private citizens, charities, churches do.

    And, generally, charities do a much better job of it; and we don’t have the spectacle of Mayor Bloomberg telling charities to stop feeding the hungry unless they provide nutritionally balanced meals.

    When the Government tries to help the poor, what the end up doing is institutionalizing poverty. Take housing projects for example. They were meant to replace slums. Instead, they became publicly-funded slums. If slums are going to exist anyway, why should the taxpayers pay for them?

    We also have a public education system that exists primarily to provide jobs for teachers and administrators; teaching things to kids is just an afterthought.

    Comment by V the K — December 3, 2012 @ 11:00 pm - December 3, 2012

  11. “I’m not all that sure deflation is a good thing – wages always seem to fall faster than prices. I’d prefer a steady dollar. Deflation, like inflation, can spiral.

    That aside, can we concede that government spending per se isn’t the problem, it’s what money (tax and borrowed) is spent on and the value received for each dollar spent?”

    Thank you for your post.

    Comment by Passing By — December 3, 2012 @ 11:50 pm - December 3, 2012

  12. But “deflation” only means, declining prices. It’s a very good thing. When people have to pay less for food and gas and flat-screen TVs, their living standards have just gone up. [If their wages did not fall to compensate for lower prices]

    And when businesses can pay less for real estate,[but will they get loans, since the value of what is loaned will increase, whilst the value of the asset borrowed against will fall?]

    Such an economy will see more loan defaults; but that, too is a good thing: Irresponsible lenders (and borrowers) are punished by their defaults. [and so will others who used to be able to make their loan payments, but cannot anymore because the real value of their debt has increased as nominal wages have fallen] And responsible lenders (and borrowers) thrive ["responsible" = those who have only the highest valued/least risky returns] …

    [Economists] have scary words for the loan-default cycle also, like “depression” [with unemployment rates > 25%]. But a depression (such as the U.S. Great Depression) only lasts beyond a year or two when, and because, government deliberately gets in the way of economic adjustment …”

    The Great Sag of 1873-96 could be near the top of the list. Its scope was global. It featured cost-cutting and productivity-enhancing technologies. It flummoxed the experts with its persistence, and it resisted attempts by politicians to understand it, let alone reverse it. It delivered a generation’s worth of rising bond prices, as well as the usual losses to unwary creditors via defaults and early calls. Between 1875 and 1896, … prices fell in the United States by 1.7% a year, and in Britain by 0.8% a year”

    Comment by Passing By — December 4, 2012 @ 12:00 am - December 4, 2012

  13. But not all regulation is bad… I’m absolutely certain that there are plenty of businessmen that would dump toxic waste into a storm sewer in a heartbeat if not for potential penalties.

    How about when those beloved and revered regulators engage in human testing?

    Comment by TGC — December 4, 2012 @ 12:03 am - December 4, 2012

  14. The Great Sag of 1873-96

    … is largely a myth, to the extent that left-wingers may try to characterize it as a bad period. The U.S. economy roared ahead with rising production and living standards and lower consumer prices. In the 3 decades 1870-1900, total real GDP rose over 250% and per capita real GDP rose by two-thirds, despite the absorption of giant masses of poor immigrants. http://www.ggdc.net/Maddison/Historical_Statistics/horizontal-file_03-2007.xls

    New York became the world’s first city of skyscrapers, in that time.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 4, 2012 @ 1:44 am - December 4, 2012

  15. ["responsible" = those who have only the highest valued/least risky returns]

    No actually; “responsible” == those who didn’t lie on their loan applications.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 4, 2012 @ 1:48 am - December 4, 2012

  16. ILC –
    *build – sorry that was a typo indeed you and Eric are correct, government shouldn’t be building businesses, should be “build infrastructure”

    Rattlesnake
    “You say that libertarians are utopianists, but show me any country that has had a truly libertarian system of government”

    There hasn’t been any true Communist governments either. Its the way of it. With Utopian ideals they get corrupted almost immediately – and trust me as a person who has spent way too much time in Hong Kong and Singapore, those places are not so free. And let me tell ya, Australia and NZ are super tough places to do business with

    RE – UL as a regulator. UL is a great organization, anyone who has sat through their destructive tests would understand just how safe our everyday appliances are. However they have no real teeth. And any company can simply not use UL, but use some other regulatory body. What gives UL teeth is that the regulator nominates them as the standard. So the vendor is forced by the government to use UL. – Similar to how we regulate life vests. The coast guard says UL is the approver and without an approved life vest, the customer can be fined. So the life vest maker must spend more money on a life vest and pass that cost on down. The coast guard must board your boat and if you don’t have a UL life vest, you are in trouble with the coast guard. The result is a more safe life vest that costs more.

    This is government regulation in Action!

    Comment by mike — December 4, 2012 @ 5:31 am - December 4, 2012

  17. I am amused by the cognitive dissonance required by concern-troll mike, who can in one post go from whining about how Hong Kong and Singapore are not “free”, but then demand a government that has an entire department devoted to weighing, measuring, and testing life jackets, then clambering aboard private boats to count, measure, and put people in jail for not having enough of them.

    Liberals like concern-troll mike have two major problems: they are amoral sociopaths who would dump toxic waste down a sewer, and they are fascists who want to control the lives of others. Thus, they project their own bad feelings onto everyone else and use that as an excuse for imposing laws and regulations on others that they have no intention of following themselves, a la Chicago gun control ordinances.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 4, 2012 @ 8:39 am - December 4, 2012

  18. Government regulation in action?

    Like Bloomberg telling charities to stop feeding the hungry because their meals contain too many carbs.

    Like an oyster farm in California being shut down by bureaucrats in Washington because the environmental extremists want everything returned to a “natural state.”

    Like farmers in California’s central valley being driven out of businesses because regulators want to save a one-inch fish that isn’t even endangered.

    Like spending billions to develop a safe repository for the country’s nuclear waste, then never using it because Harry Reid thinks radioactive waste is icky.

    Like spending billions to create a useless bureaucracy … the TSA … that performs ritual Kabuki theater at airports, gropes and molests air travelers, confiscates toenail clippers to create an illusion of air security, but refuses to arm air crews, which would cost less and be far more effective.

    Mandating school lunch programs that lead to both massive food waste and kids going hungry because the calorie allowances would leave Calista Flockhart wanting more.

    Like forcing people to use mercury-tainted death bulbs and outlawing incandescent bulbs, instead of giving people the choice.

    Government regulation in action.

    Comment by V the K — December 4, 2012 @ 8:44 am - December 4, 2012

  19. I honestly don’t see what the problem would be with letting the private sector compete to design better life vests. I also don’t see why the Government should force people to carry them if they don’t want to.

    But, hey, I guess as long as the Government “stays out of the bedroom,” left-wing fascists are okay with them regulating every other choice.

    Comment by V the K — December 4, 2012 @ 8:46 am - December 4, 2012

  20. And another problem with Government doing all this stupid sh-t it has no business doing is it doesn’t have enough money left to do the things it’s actually supposed to do.

    Comment by V the K — December 4, 2012 @ 8:49 am - December 4, 2012

  21. Government Regulations in Action: School cooks spend more time doing paperwork on the nutritional content of meals than preparing meals.

    Comment by V the K — December 4, 2012 @ 8:59 am - December 4, 2012

  22. Bagus’ example is exaggerated for clarity: the point is that government spending takes resources of all kinds from the private sector (whether natural, financial, human, industrial, real estate, etc.). Even if government doesn’t commandeer the resources – if government generously (or wastefully?) bids top dollar for them on the open market – matters are worse, because businesses and consumers alike are faced with higher costs. Struggling businesses shut down, or are never started. Consumers can only spend on essentials, as food and gas and housing prices are all raised, and as jobs are lost. Sound familiar?

    The big flaw in the example is Tom’s expectation of revenues. It doesn’t change, even though the area where he’s decided to open his business has just undergone a major economic catastrophe. At least a few hundred people lost their jobs when the agency closed down in the name of Ayn Rand, so where is Tom’s customer base?

    I live in Washington DC, and surrounding each and every government agency there exists a nest of strip malls and food courts and hotels and apartment buildings that only exist because of their proximity to said government agency. There is a place in Northern Virginia called the Ballston Commons Mall. This mall sucks – it’s old, it’s ugly, it’s not functional. But it’s right across the street from the National Science Foundation, and if you walk into the food court during lunch on a week day, you can’t find a table. Every seat is filled with a government worker, wearing their NSF lanyard, eating Chik-Fil-A. There are government workers buying underwear in this mall, getting their hair cut, upgrading their phones, buying their Christmas gifts. And you think that all of these business owners and franchisees could assume identical revenues if you shuttered the government agencies in the area? You’re not being realistic.

    Great, government finally did something that had a few benefits. But how wasteful was that spending, along the way? Certainly today, private sector could do space exploration much better – if government got out of the way. And how many other trillions have been wasted, before and after we waited for that one semi-good ‘hit’?

    It’s practically impossible to overstate the importance of the Space Race in the history of our economy. When the government gets its spending priorities in order, it’s not a matter of government spending creating jobs, it’s a matter of government spending transforming the economy. During the Space Race, the government served as the primary investor and a guaranteed customer for the aerospace, computer, telecommunications, and engineering industries, all of which were in their infancy. The government created a goal of landing on the moon, which would require computers that were smaller, more powerful, lighter, and more user-friendly. These computers were unavailable at the time, but the government provided the profit motive for the private sector to get to work on it. Now, every time you get in a car, use a computer, make a phone call, fly in an airplane, you are benefiting directly and indirectly from your government’s investment in space exploration fifty years ago.

    The example I always use is the GPS network. Costs the government $2 billion a year to maintain, but generates $60-$70 billion in sales every year. There’s no way a private sector company could ever hope to maintain a network like GPS at those costs, let alone develop and deploy it. And keep in mind that inventing GPS was not a goal of the Space Program – this is a byproduct. A byproduct of government spending is creating $60-$70 billion of private sector business every year. Take into account that efficiency and cost-control savings that GPS provides to businesses with large fleets and consumers that tend to get lost, and you’ve got even more economic activity.

    The government should have that same focus on energy and climate change. Germany is all over it:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-13/germany-has-built-clean-energy-economy-u-s-rejected-in-80s.html

    I’m not here to see this country’s freighted past, however. I’ve come to learn about what a majority of Germans believe is their future—and perhaps our own. There is no better place to begin this adventure than the Reichstag, rebuilt from near ruins in 1999 and now both a symbol and an example of the revolutionary movement known as the Energiewende. The word translates simply as, “energy change.” But there’s nothing simple about the Energiewende. It calls for an end to the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power and embraces clean, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. The government has set a target of 80 percent renewable power by 2050, but many Germans I spoke with in three weeks traveling across this country believe 100 percent renewable power is achievable by then.

    But Energiewende advocates approach these hurdles with the same mindset they’ve used to clear earlier ones. When I asked Hans-Josef Fell, the chief architect of the Energiewende’s legal framework, about the energy storage problem, he immediately corrected my terminology. “It is not a problem,” he insisted. “It is a task.” By keeping their eyes on the prize of 100 percent renewable power, supporters have achieved more than anyone outside their ranks had thought possible.

    It’s suicidal to not have this kind of attitude. It’s understandable, to a certain extent. We have a lot of advantages in this country, but we have disadvantages, too, and in some cases, they’re the same thing. Our country was founded just at the right moment of western political and technological development, and we find ourselves in the 21st century with this huge country and its abundance of space and resources. The rest of the world, however, doesn’t have nearly as much space as we do, and are more in tune with community issues – things like climate change and energy policy because of it. These other countries are forced by their relative geographic smallness to think about resources and efficiency more seriously. Over here, we worry about whether or not a billion dollar company is going to be able to increase its profits for the 12th straight quarter and allow ourselves to be paralyzed into inaction.

    And that’s the important difference between the Space Race and our current energy/climate situation. There wasn’t a way to make money by standing in the way of the Space Race, but there is money to be made by standing in the way of upgrading our energy infrastructure. Powerful companies that sell gas at inflated prices don’t want to see cars that use less gallons of fuel. We have to be smart enough to recognize that our collective self-interest is more important than some random CEO’s.

    Comment by Levi — December 4, 2012 @ 9:59 am - December 4, 2012

  23. The government should have that same focus on energy and climate change. Germany is all over it

    Facts, again are anethma to Levi.
    No global warming.

    I am for more pebble reactors though. Wonder why the US ‘rejected’ them? OH wait…

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 4, 2012 @ 10:25 am - December 4, 2012

  24. Government Regulation in Action: Obamacare requires Dominos to post 34,000,000 signs in each location.

    Comment by V the K — December 4, 2012 @ 11:35 am - December 4, 2012

  25. There hasn’t been any true Communist governments either. Its the way of it. With Utopian ideals they get corrupted almost immediately

    Compare the countries that were almost communist to those that were almost libertarian. Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge is the most communist place I can think of, and look how that turned out. And, no, Hong Kong and Singapore aren’t perfectly free, but even the degree of freedom (particularly economic freedom) they had was enough to make them among the richest places on Earth with few natural resources.

    However they have no real teeth.

    Sure they do, if consumers want to know that the products they purchase are safe.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — December 4, 2012 @ 12:03 pm - December 4, 2012

  26. Sure they do, if consumers want to know that the products they purchase are safe.

    And this is free market system in action. Buyers being intelligent enough to do research creates a demand for credible agencies to provide that research.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 4, 2012 @ 12:06 pm - December 4, 2012

  27. Leftists think that Government regulation is necessary because corporations want to murder their customers. I don’t see how a business makes a profit that way (except for Planned Parenthood) but that’s what leftists believe.

    Comment by V the K — December 4, 2012 @ 12:08 pm - December 4, 2012

  28. “But “deflation” only means, declining prices. It’s a very good thing. When people have to pay less for food and gas and flat-screen TVs, their living standards have just gone up. [If their wages did not fall to compensate for lower prices]

    And when businesses can pay less for real estate,[but will they get loans, since the value of what is loaned will increase, whilst the value of the asset borrowed against will fall?]

    Such an economy will see more loan defaults; but that, too is a good thing: Irresponsible lenders (and borrowers) are punished by their defaults. [and so will others who used to be able to make their loan payments, but cannot anymore because the real value of their debt has increased as nominal wages have fallen] And responsible lenders (and borrowers) thrive ["responsible" = those who have only the highest valued/least risky returns and "who didn’t lie on their loan applications"] …”

    Comment by Passing By — December 4, 2012 @ 12:09 pm - December 4, 2012

  29. Shorter Passing By, Levi, and mike: “Stupid people need a big Government to take money away from smart people and insulate the stupid people from the consequences of their stupid choices.”

    Comment by V the K — December 4, 2012 @ 12:15 pm - December 4, 2012

  30. It’s practically impossible to overstate the importance of the Space Race in the history of our economy. When the government gets its spending priorities in order, it’s not a matter of government spending creating jobs, it’s a matter of government spending transforming the economy.

    Actually, Levi, there’s an easy way to prove you are an imbecile.

    Take the owner of a small high-tech firm that provides jobs and creates value versus a drunk.

    Your economic model involves three things:

    1) Demonizing the small business owner and screaming “you didn’t build that”

    2) Jacking the small business owner’s taxes to generate hundreds of thousands more in “revenue”

    3) Making “investments” by giving the money to the drunk

    This makes ZERO sense from a financial, actual investment, or private-sector standpoint.

    However, the Obama Party and the malicious pig Levi make perfect sense if you remember this quote from 1984:

    The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

    Levi and the Obama Party seek power. Their means to power is to purchase votes. That’s it in a nutshell.

    This is why the screaming boy can’t point to anything his Obama and his precious government is doing NOW. That’s because he and his fellow fascist liberals aren’t doing anything other than purchasing votes. They aren’t mentally capable of building worthwhile things or actually coming up with ideas; all they’re doing is purchasing votes.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 4, 2012 @ 4:08 pm - December 4, 2012

  31. Such an economy will see more loan defaults; but that, too is a good thing: Irresponsible lenders (and borrowers) are punished by their defaults. [and so will others who used to be able to make their loan payments, but cannot anymore because the real value of their debt has increased as nominal wages have fallen] And responsible lenders (and borrowers) thrive ["responsible" = those who have only the highest valued/least risky returns and "who didn’t lie on their loan applications"] …”

    Comment by Passing By — December 4, 2012 @ 12:09 pm – December 4, 2012

    Notice what upsets Passing By: that people who WERE good with their credit and DIDN’T lie on their loan applications won’t default.

    That shows you how the Obama Party, especially the bigots like Passing By, are really driven by envy and hate. Like V the K put it, they need government to take money from and punish those who do the right thing to hand out to those who don’t.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 4, 2012 @ 4:11 pm - December 4, 2012

  32. The conversation between the leftist/Keynesian and the sane person will be like this, if it goes on long enough (and if the LK can bring themselves to use words honestly).

    Leftist/Keynesian: Economic output is determined by ‘aggregate demand’.
    Sane person: No, it isn’t. Because people always need things. Demand is effectively infinite.
    LK: I meant ‘effective demand’, what people have the money to pay for.
    SP: But that comes from income, i.e. from producing and trading things. Production comes first. Produce a useful good or service; then you can sell it and buy things, which just is how modern people do trade.
    LK: But what if people aren’t producing? What if they are, so to speak, too ‘depressed’ to produce?
    SP: Chances are, that’s your fault. In a free economy, where government impartially protects individual rights to life liberty property and then stops, producing and trading is what people naturally do each day. They like to keep and enjoy what they earn. When they stop producing, is when they know that people like you (leftists/Keynesians) are using the government to rape them.
    LK: No it’s not our fault! It’s not! We can put all the obstacles in the way of production and trade that we want, and if things fall off, it will be because of lack of demand!
    SP: (rolls eyes) We already went over this.
    LK: We can overcome the crazy obstacles that we put in the way of production and trade, by intensifying demand. And we do that, by having government spend more.
    SP: Not if you raise taxes to pay for that spending. You didn’t increase spending, you only moved it around.
    LK: I meant, by having government borrow-and-spend. Borrow the money! No one loses.
    SP: Bullcrap. You still give businesses and consumers higher real costs than they would have otherwise. That ‘depresses’ them. And what about debt service? Today’s debts are only tomorrow’s tax hikes.
    LK: Not if we print the money!
    SP: But now you’re just doing a hidden tax. You’re diluting people’s money, the purchasing power that successful people have stored in their bank accounts and balance sheets. You’re looting the productive, to pay for failures. That further depresses the real economy.
    LK: Actually, that’s just how we want it to work. Successful people have too much (economic) power. We want to suck it out of them. I now re-christen myself a believer in “Modern Monetary Theory” (MMT).
    (LK)MMT: Government is supposed to spend, borrow and print endlessly. Successful people will keep working hard, no matter how much we rape them of their rewards by diluting the currency. Why wouldn’t they keep working? It’s in their genes. They have mysterious genes for success, smarts and hard work that we don’t.
    SP: No, they don’t and they won’t. Work and success are choices. The more you lower their return – the more you prevent successful people from keeping what they earn – the more they’ll give up. They’re not stupid.
    MMT: I don’t hear you! Lalalalallalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 4, 2012 @ 4:26 pm - December 4, 2012

  33. When the government gets its spending priorities in order

    Anthropomorphizing government as the perfect, wonderful Mommy/Daddy that the fascist statist fantasizes will take care of him/her.

    There is no real entity called ‘government’ there it ‘get its spending priorities in order’; only an abstraction, whose agents are supposed to SERVE the People who employ them and pay for them. But EH said it better:

    Wow. Where to begin? Government doesn’t build, private enterprise does. Government doesn’t even pay for the building; private enterprise and private citizens do with their money allocated as taxes. Government doesn’t care for the poor [ed: or go to space] … private citizens [do] with their taxes. Businesses need a whole lot less regulation than they get. The state has no interests of its own to protect; government is the employee of the private citizens. Government’s “interests,” such as they are, are its employers’ interests, nothing else. Local communities educate their populace, again government uses private citizens’ taxes. All government does is broker the deals.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 4, 2012 @ 4:36 pm - December 4, 2012

  34. ILC,

    Put down the Ayn Rand novels. Nobody behaves this way. Producers don’t just stop producing because they have to pay taxes. Where are these producers supposed to go, anyway? Who are these morons that are giving up on life because instead of netting $12.5 million a year, they’re going to start making a measly $10 million a year? You’re telling me that they get so sad about this that they just stop producing?

    Do you know that she was writing fiction novels?

    Comment by Levi — December 4, 2012 @ 4:41 pm - December 4, 2012

  35. Put down the Ayn Rand novels. Nobody behaves this way. Producers don’t just stop producing because they have to pay taxes. Where are these producers supposed to go, anyway? Who are these morons that are giving up on life because instead of netting $12.5 million a year, they’re going to start making a measly $10 million a year? You’re telling me that they get so sad about this that they just stop producing?

    Do you know that she was writing fiction novels?

    Comment by Levi — December 4, 2012 @ 4:41 pm – December 4, 2012

    LOL.

    Welcome to reality, little boy.

    And there’s more of it where that comes from.

    You can’t understand this, of course; that’s because you are not a producer. In order to maintain your fantasy world, moochers and looters like you have to create a slave class, just as your ancestors in the Obama Party bragged that black people liked being your slaves.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 4, 2012 @ 5:21 pm - December 4, 2012

  36. A timely piece from Charles Hugh Smith: Have Tax Revenues Topped Out?

    1. The professional class is often “captured” and cannot move…
    2. What self-employed high earners can do is lower their earnings. If the threshold is $250,000 each, then they will lower their taxable income to $245,000…
    3. The super-wealthy have the means to transfer income and wealth to lower-tax nations and pursue legal loopholes in the U.S. tax code…
    [...]
    Various studies have found that Federal tax revenues top out just above 20% of total household income, regardless of the era or nominal tax rates. Recall that in many high-tax economies, up to 50% of the economic activity occurs in the informal/black market. When tax rates are high, people move their consumption and enterprise into the cash informal economy…

    That’s a precis, but there’s more; RTWT.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 4, 2012 @ 5:24 pm - December 4, 2012

  37. Yes, two-thirds of British millionaires… and more in France, which is deepening its recession as we speak, because of socialist president Hollande’s bad policies.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 4, 2012 @ 5:25 pm - December 4, 2012

  38. Who are these morons that are giving up on life because instead of netting $12.5 million a year, they’re going to start making a measly $10 million a year? You’re telling me that they get so sad about this that they just stop producing?

    How interesting, Levi, that you would call being raped by Big Government by the word, “life”.

    And that you would call people who are noticeably more succesful than you “morons”, and show no comprehension of what makes them tick.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 4, 2012 @ 5:29 pm - December 4, 2012

  39. Levi believes in democracy defined as “four wolves and a sheep voting on who’s dinner.”

    i.e. The wealthy may only keep their earnings until the poor vote to take it away from them.

    Problem is, Democrat taxing policies punish people who actually are earning money. People like John Kerrey, Jay Rockefeller, and the Kennedies… whose wealth is locked up … don’t get touched because they aren’t actually earning anything, just living off the wealth their ancestors or their wive’s husband’s ancestors, hoarded.

    Comment by V the K — December 4, 2012 @ 6:17 pm - December 4, 2012

  40. How interesting, Levi, that you would call being raped by Big Government by the word, “life”.

    And that you would call people who are noticeably more succesful than you “morons”, and show no comprehension of what makes them tick.

    Learn to read. I didn’t call people more successful than myself ‘morons.’ I disputed the existence of your so-called producers who are ‘giving up.’ These people aren’t real, so your invoking them over and over again is a waste of time.

    Comment by Levi — December 4, 2012 @ 6:35 pm - December 4, 2012

  41. Thanks, ILC, for your thoughtful response.

    I tend to laissez faire economics but reality tends to limit my faith in it.

    As we’re dealing with human beings (obligatory reference to the bell curve), reality intrudes (I don’t mean to sound snarky). I completely agree that current government programs foster dependency that are responsible for much societal decay… when people are required to provide for their own basic needs, they have less time to make trouble and they gain the self-respect that comes with independence. I don’t favor subsidies for the irresponsible be they individuals or businesses. There’s a chart from the PA Welfare Dept making its way round showing that a single mother with about $29K of cash income has $57K in effective income after welfare programs. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    The problem comes with people like the Obamaphone lady who, best I can tell, has little in the way of intellect to sell anyone. I’ve no answer for that problem. I just know that these folks aren’t going anywhere and that an increasing GINI coefficient doesn’t foster stability.

    An earlier commenter (can’t remember who) mentioned that outfits like UL can do a good job of regulation. I think PJ O’Rourke made a similar observation in Parliement of Whores suggesting that insurance companies would be far more effective than OSHA enforcing good workplace safety rules (as insurers have skin in the game). I think that would be a great reform (not only OSHA but CPSC and many other agencies I can think of).

    Mark Steyn, in After America writes of the time (just over two years) between the discovery of a process for producing insulin and its availability to diabetics. It wouldn’t be that fast now. Pasteur would’ve never perfected the rabies vaccine in today’s regulatory climate.

    The problem with over-regulation is not over-regulation, but that we’ve come to “need” it. A people capable of self-restraint need and demand far fewer rules. As society has decayed, the need (real and imagined) for more rules explodes. And government, being government, is more than happy to satisfy the “there ought to be a law” demand.

    So we wind up with laws banning texting-while-driving (we need a law to enforce what should be common sense?!) and banking laws attempting to prevent another financial catastrophe precipitated by banksters with no concern for the greater good (and backstopped by gubmint).

    Link to aforementioned welfare chart: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-01/why-americans-have-lost-drive-earn-more

    Comment by SoCalRobert — December 4, 2012 @ 6:36 pm - December 4, 2012

  42. @V

    Actually Levi only supports the Majority when it agrees with him.

    Don’t forget this:

    I’m literally in awe of the people on this website that have repeatedly asserted that the only thing that matters in this country is how many people you can get to vote for something.

    Facts, like Freedom, don’t mean anything to Levi.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 4, 2012 @ 7:34 pm - December 4, 2012

  43. Government spending does help the economy in some cases based on circumstances and time frame. This whole debate about the so-called “fiscal cliff” and why it would hurt the economy if it came to pass is premised on the assumption that the economy would be hurt if government spending is cut via sequestration. Conservatives seem to agree with the answer to that limited question: Yes, the economy might be hurt, in part do to decreased government spending.

    Comment by Mitch — December 4, 2012 @ 10:43 pm - December 4, 2012

  44. Plus we also have to look at what the government is spending money on, not just at the amount of money spent. For example, spending money to build highways obviously helped the economy. Highways connected cities and made trade and transportation easier, helping consumers and businesses and both direct and indirect users.

    Rational forms of regulation help the economy by protecting consumers’ confidence. Here in China, there is much less safety regulation and more food and safety problems. Thus, there are certain foods and other items that I will not purchase because I am not confident about their safety. That hurts the economy.

    Comment by Mitch — December 4, 2012 @ 10:46 pm - December 4, 2012

  45. Finally, I will say that the economy should stay in a balanced state without too much inflation or deflation. Low prices are generally good for consumers, but if prices are falling fast, some people won’t enter business or buy products. The housing market is a great example of when, if housing prices (or “value”) is falling very quickly, people will think, “I should wait until prices bottom out to buy,” thus contributing to what could become a vicious cycle. If oil prices are falling, will new drilling companies calculate that they might not make money building new rigs and equipment? Conversely, when prices are rising, people spend more money, because it is in their best interest to have an item rather than money, when the money will become less valuable and the item will retain it’s value.

    Completely hands-off economic proponents argue that in the long-term these cycles are self-correcting, but the long term takes multiple years, so you will have people facing economic suffering for 5 or 10 years waiting for a cycle to stabilize, only to create another downturn sometime later.

    Comment by Mitch — December 4, 2012 @ 10:54 pm - December 4, 2012

  46. I think spending should be cut, but not for any program I personally benefit from. Also, taxes should be increased, but only on people who make more than I do.

    Comment by Average Democrat — December 4, 2012 @ 11:11 pm - December 4, 2012

  47. I didn’t call people more successful than myself ‘morons.’

    Sure you did, Liar Levi. You said this:

    Who are these morons that are giving up on life because instead of netting $12.5 million a year, they’re going to start making a measly $10 million a year?

    People who make 10-12 million are certainly more successful than you. And you just called them morons who give up on life, if they don’t respond to incentives as you seem to think they should. Hence, my comment. If that was not what you really meant, YOU should learn to write.

    Onto SCR:

    Thanks, ILC, for your thoughtful response.

    But thank you for your thoughtful comments! :-)

    The problem comes with people like the Obamaphone lady who, best I can tell, has little in the way of intellect to sell anyone. I’ve no answer for that problem. I just know that these folks aren’t going anywhere and that an increasing GINI coefficient doesn’t foster stability.

    I question whether bribing them (with Obamaphones, excessive welfare etc.) contributes to stability, or is any kind of answer.

    The problem with over-regulation is not over-regulation, but that we’ve come to “need” it. A people capable of self-restraint need and demand far fewer rules. As society has decayed…

    But it decayed *because of* the over-regulation and over-welfare. Continuing to go in that direction can’t be the answer.

    Onto Mitch:

    Government spending does help the economy in some cases based on circumstances and time frame.

    Do you mean that government spending can help the economy, at least in the short run? I would disagree. At the least, we must define what is meant by it “helping”. The jobs that government spending creates are, almost by definition, economically unsustainable. We are not collectively better off, if there are more of them. If we create a lot of them, we get a Potemkin economy: lots of fake jobs, paid for with borrowed money. Is that really a help? I say it isn’t. Even in the short run, a Potemkin village is a bad thing.

    For example, spending money to build highways obviously helped the economy.

    My view of that line of argument given at #4.

    Rational forms of regulation help the economy by protecting consumers’ confidence.

    Like the SEC, perhaps? The same SEC that abetted Bernie Madoff’s fraud, not intentionally perhaps, but by giving investors a rather false sense of confidence?

    there are certain foods and other items that I will not purchase because I am not confident about their safety. That hurts the economy.

    No, it doesn’t. It just means you’re doing other things with your money. It only hurts certain manufacturers, at a microeconomic level. The money (or what counts, the value) is still there, as you either spend it on something else, or invest it, or leave it at the bank for them to loan or invest.

    if prices are falling fast, some people won’t… buy products… people will think, “I should wait until prices bottom out to buy,”

    I question that. The principle holds on the inflationary side, during a hyperinflation: when people know that cash is trash, they convert it to real assets or goods as soon as they can, which adds to the hyperinflation. But the operative word there would be ‘hyper’, that is, a time of severely abnormal monetary conditions. Short of that, I don’t think people’s buying is influenced by either inflation or deflation. People buy houses, for example, when and because they want to live in them. It’s true that *speculation* in houses – buying a house purely because you think you can hand it off to a ‘greater fool’, at a profit – is dampened by falling home prices, but I call that a good thing.

    hands-off economic proponents argue that in the long-term these cycles are self-correcting, but the long term takes multiple years

    … when government gets in the way. That is, when government is determined to increase its role in the economy (or to maintain said role at a high level). As Hoover and Roosevelt both did in response to the Recession of 1930; or as Obama has done today.

    But when government moves to decrease its role in the economy, markets are free do fix the economy faster and recessions end within a couple of years, followed by strong recoveries. As in Britain and the U.S. during the 1980s, or as in the U.S. after the Depression of 1920. “Small government works.”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 5, 2012 @ 2:21 am - December 5, 2012

  48. “Rational forms of regulation help the economy by protecting consumers’ confidence.”

    Regulations are not there to help the economy. They are there to ensure fairness and safe products. I spend lots of time in China. Nobody trusts the food supply. Everybody hates the air pollution, nobody wants to touch the river water, nobody trusts domestic paint suppliers, there are very few fish in the rivers, nobody wants to give their children domestic milk powder, nobody trusts street food because the vendors miight take the oil from the sewers and on and on and on.

    Its not because of punishment – the government will kill you if you are caught!

    Its because of the lack of regulations and how its nearly impossible to catch someone doing something wrong. If anything China is an example of how wrong Rand is and shows clearly how you need an effective government who can regulate and have a safety net. Because in China there is neither and its everyone in it for him/her self.
    China is communist in name only.

    On the street /business level its dog-eat-dog and its a nightmare!

    Comment by mike — December 5, 2012 @ 4:19 am - December 5, 2012

  49. And yet… the authoritarian Chinese regime is much admired by progressives, especially Thomas Freidman at the NY Times “if only we could be China for a day” and… indeed…. Chairman O admires China greatly.

    Comment by V the K — December 5, 2012 @ 6:27 am - December 5, 2012

  50. Regulations… are there to ensure fairness and safe products.

    mike, I have a bridge in New York that I’d like to sell you some shares in.

    Regulations are there, NEITHER to help the economy nor to ensure fairness and safety. They are there
    (1) to assert/extend government power, or equivalently, to employ bureaucrats and make people bow to them and feel a necessity of bribing them; and
    (2) to protect established companies (or at least, people who do ‘properly’ bribe the politicians and bureaucrats) at the expense of newcomers.

    Of course they don’t tell you that. Of course they will always tell you, “We’re here to help the economy by ensuring fairness and safety.” It’s up to you, to put your thinking cap on.

    China… shows clearly how you need an effective government who can regulate and have a safety net. Because in China there is neither and its everyone in it for him/her self.

    That’s exactly backward.

    In a free market, the consumer is sovereign. Companies profit by serving their customers, not by murdering them. But in a regulated market – say, oh I don’t know, a country under a one-party dictatorship where individual rights to life, liberty and property are only a pretense because they may be taken away at any moment, as you have just described China being – the party/politician/bureaucrat is sovereign. Companies profit by bribing him, not be serving their customers. So your example proves my case, not yours.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 5, 2012 @ 10:26 am - December 5, 2012

  51. Producers don’t just stop producing because they have to pay taxes…. …giving up on life because instead of netting $12.5 million a year, they’re going to start making a measly $10 million a year?

    Who said that? Maybe you’ll quote that person and walk me through your logic from those words to your conclusion.

    What happens is this. Producers (whether men or the agents of groups of men–companies) that see a reduction in the return on their production investments and costs produce less. Lower production means fewer jobs. Fewer jobs means lower demand for goods and services. Lower demand means lower production. This negative feedback loop, though, does not run to zero since the the relationship between lessening demand and lessening production is…less than 1:1. There’s also a lower bound on the demand for necessities that drives a minimal production level for those necessities.

    The outcome is that the decline converges on a new, lower economic equilibrium than previously. The too-high tax rates, the too-much government intrusion into the market, lead to a steady-state level of prosperity for all economic strata that’s lower than is achievable otherwise. Moreover, the redistribution plans–welfare state–that is the object of such a taxing and intrusion régime puts enormous brakes on the upward economic mobility that is a critical result of a free market.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 5, 2012 @ 10:58 am - December 5, 2012

  52. Conservatives seem to agree…Yes, the economy might be hurt, in part do to decreased government spending.

    The rest of the story, though, is that Conservatives also agree that the hurt is short term, and the gain that follows both is long-term and worth that initial pain. It’s also why, for instance, spending cuts are proposed to occur over multiple years, rather than all at once–budgets do need some time to adjust.

    It’s why I advocate in one of my books both block-granting Medicaid funds to the states and then reducing those grants by 10% of the first year (as baseline) over the succeeding 10 years, so the states can adjust their budgets to the cessation of these Federal dollar flows.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 5, 2012 @ 11:10 am - December 5, 2012

  53. Who said that? Maybe you’ll quote that person and walk me through your logic from those words to your conclusion.

    This is a common refrain around here, in this, the era of the conservatives’ Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand obsession. The producers are going to withdraw their productivity if they’re not reassured and catered to and given what they want – lower taxes.

    I just don’t understand how that works, exactly. Successful, productive people are going to become so put out by a tiny little tax increase that they’re going to stop being productive? Wouldn’t that be really stupid of them?

    What happens is this. Producers (whether men or the agents of groups of men–companies) that see a reduction in the return on their production investments and costs produce less. Lower production means fewer jobs. Fewer jobs means lower demand for goods and services. Lower demand means lower production. This negative feedback loop, though, does not run to zero since the the relationship between lessening demand and lessening production is…less than 1:1. There’s also a lower bound on the demand for necessities that drives a minimal production level for those necessities.

    The outcome is that the decline converges on a new, lower economic equilibrium than previously. The too-high tax rates, the too-much government intrusion into the market, lead to a steady-state level of prosperity for all economic strata that’s lower than is achievable otherwise. Moreover, the redistribution plans–welfare state–that is the object of such a taxing and intrusion régime puts enormous brakes on the upward economic mobility that is a critical result of a free market.

    Eric Hines

    Sure, whatever. I can certainly imagine a scenario where taxes are too high, government is too intrusive, and all of the above happens as you describe it. However, with tax rates at historic lows, we’re nowhere near that point. Of course it’s possible for tax rates to be too high, but if they’re too high right now, when will they be low enough? Mitt Romney’s paying like 12%, so when will the conservatives quit beating the drum? Is 10% low enough? Is 5% low enough? I’m sorry, but I just can’t buy this premise that we’re all so horribly over-taxed.

    Comment by Levi — December 5, 2012 @ 1:06 pm - December 5, 2012

  54. Wouldn’t that be really stupid of them?

    Admit it: You really wouldn’t know, would you Levi?

    I can certainly imagine a scenario where taxes are too high, government is too intrusive, and all of the above happens as you describe it.

    I call bullsh*t. Your past comments on GP show that the only such scenario you could ever imagine is, say, government going into your bedroom and taxing you for sexual acts. By which point, of course, it will be much too late to stop government.

    Mitt Romney’s paying like 12%

    … after giving a third of his income to charity. So really, he’s paying “like” 45%.

    Leave it to you, to give a good man none of the credit he deserves.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 5, 2012 @ 1:30 pm - December 5, 2012

  55. Who said that? Maybe you’ll quote that person and walk me through your logic from those words to your conclusion.

    This is a common refrain around here, in this, the era of the conservatives’ Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand obsession.

    Ah–got it. You can’t quote anyone because no one said such a thing–you’re just making it up.

    …when will they be low enough? Mitt Romney’s paying like 12%, so when will the conservatives quit beating the drum? Is 10% low enough? Is 5% low enough?

    Actually, I’ve proposed before a flat tax of 10%, no deductions, loopholes, etc, on all income–wages, dividends, cap gains, gambling, etc that everyone pays. Romney paid 12%? Let’s go with that, arguendo. In 2007, according to Government Accounting Office data, Americans paid an aggregate of $1.15 trillion dollars in taxes on income of $17.8 trillion dollars from all sources (Census Bureau data collected from IRS-aggregated Form 1040 filings) under the varying rates and filing categories (am I repeating myself here?). That works out to a 6.5% rate. Romney paid too much. Notice further, that my 10% tax rate works out to a substantial tax rate increase.

    But there’s a prior discussion that needs to be had that we’re both ignoring: for what does the government need the revenue?

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 5, 2012 @ 1:32 pm - December 5, 2012

  56. What? Levi making stuff up? I’m shocked, shocked to find the serial liar is making stuff up!

    Next you’ll be telling me there’s gambling at Rick’s.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 5, 2012 @ 1:35 pm - December 5, 2012

  57. You can’t quote anyone because no one said such a thing–you’re just making it up.

    You’ve just described the sourcing for *all* of Levi’s assertions about what conservatives think.

    My tax plan… flat 10% on income, flat 10% on consumption. Federal spending cut to align with revenues.

    Comment by V the K — December 5, 2012 @ 1:35 pm - December 5, 2012

  58. Ah–got it. You can’t quote anyone because no one said such a thing–you’re just making it up.

    You’re asking me to prove the sky is blue. It’s a fundamental attitude around here, and yes, ILC was invoking it in comment #32.

    Actually, I’ve proposed before a flat tax of 10%, no deductions, loopholes, etc, on all income–wages, dividends, cap gains, gambling, etc that everyone pays. Romney paid 12%? Let’s go with that, arguendo. In 2007, according to Government Accounting Office data, Americans paid an aggregate of $1.15 trillion dollars in taxes on income of $17.8 trillion dollars from all sources (Census Bureau data collected from IRS-aggregated Form 1040 filings) under the varying rates and filing categories (am I repeating myself here?). That works out to a 6.5% rate. Romney paid too much. Notice further, that my 10% tax rate works out to a substantial tax rate increase.

    But there’s a prior discussion that needs to be had that we’re both ignoring: for what does the government need the revenue?

    Eric Hines

    The government needs revenue to close the deficit. Isn’t that what conservatives are so upset about? The deficit?

    Conservatives just don’t have any credibility here, because they claim that the deficit is the worst thing in the world but refuse to entertain the thought of raising taxes on billionaires by a few points when they’re both making more money and paying less taxes than ever before.

    Also, the flat tax is a terrible idea. Why not suggest returning to the gold standard?

    Comment by Levi — December 5, 2012 @ 1:48 pm - December 5, 2012

  59. FTR, here’s what I said at #32:

    Work and success are choices. The more you lower their return – the more you prevent successful people from keeping what they earn – the more they’ll give up. They’re not stupid.

    My use of “the more… the more” phraseology implies a gradation; something graduated. Not Levi’s straw man, “. Successful, productive people are going to become so put out by a tiny little tax increase that they’re going to stop”. But perhaps Levi can’t read, any more than write?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 5, 2012 @ 2:00 pm - December 5, 2012

  60. Leftist/Keynesian: Economic output is determined by ‘aggregate demand’.
    Sane person: No, it isn’t. Because people always need things. Demand is effectively infinite.
    LK: [‘aggregate demand is] ‘effective demand’, what people [are willing and able to buy].
    SP: But that comes from income [& preferences], i.e. from producing and trading things [that people both want and can afford to buy in exchange for what you want]. Production comes first. Produce a useful good or service [that people are willing and able to have, ah, there is the rub!]; then you can sell it and buy things, which just is how modern people do trade.[as long as people have income to buy what you have or other people have other goods/money that you want in exchange]
    LK: [But what if people aren’t [consuming what other people are] producing? What if they are, so to speak, too ‘depressed’ to [consume what others] produce?
    SP: Chances are, that’s your fault. In a free economy, where government impartially protects individual rights to life liberty property and then stops, producing and trading [and consuming] is what people naturally do each day. They like to keep and enjoy what they earn. [as long as what they produce has people willing and able to buy. But, if they aren’t able to buy, all bets are off].

    [you go completely off the straw man cliff after this point …]

    Comment by Passing By — December 5, 2012 @ 2:06 pm - December 5, 2012

  61. yes, ILC was invoking it in comment #32

    Actually, the premise was offered as an extreme for the clarity of no distractions. Apparently, though, distraction occurred anyway.

    The government needs revenue to close the deficit. Isn’t that what conservatives are so upset about? The deficit?

    Indeed. Although, as the opening clause of Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution says–The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States–there are a couple of other purposes, too.

    But I’m glad you agree with this. When can we expect your posting here of your letter to your state’s congressional delegation advising them to cut all other Federal spending? I can’t speak for Daniel, Bruce, or Nick, but I suspect they’d be able to find space for such a letter.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 5, 2012 @ 2:09 pm - December 5, 2012

  62. PB: Way off. For just one example, aggregate demand by definition does not involve preferences: it is the total demand for all goods and services regardless of which ones people preferred to acquire specifically.

    EH: What lefties keep overlooking, is that spending levels have gone past the point where the deficit can be closed by tax increases.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 5, 2012 @ 2:21 pm - December 5, 2012

  63. Actually, the premise was offered as an extreme for the clarity of no distractions. Apparently, though, distraction occurred anyway.

    As I said, that sentiment is expressed around here frequently enough. This producers vs. moochers stuff was a primary theme of theme of the Romney campaign this year, were you not paying attention?

    Indeed. Although, as the opening clause of Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution says–The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States–there are a couple of other purposes, too.

    Obviously. In this instance, we need to raise taxes to raise revenues, because we need the government spending money to fill the void of a hesitant private sector.

    But I’m glad you agree with this. When can we expect your posting here of your letter to your state’s congressional delegation advising them to cut all other Federal spending? I can’t speak for Daniel, Bruce, or Nick, but I suspect they’d be able to find space for such a letter.

    Eric Hines

    Cutting federal spending for the sake of cutting federal spending makes no sense right now. The pressing issue is the economy and unemployment, problems that won’t be solved and are more likely to be compounded by cutting spending.

    Comment by Levi — December 5, 2012 @ 2:36 pm - December 5, 2012

  64. And again, Levi can’t back up what he says, so he lies.

    He’s called out on it, and he lies again.

    If LEvi’s stupidity didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 5, 2012 @ 3:00 pm - December 5, 2012

  65. [W]e need the government spending money to fill the void of a hesitant private sector.

    Here is part of the problem. Keynesian stimuli don’t work. This has been demonstrated three times in our current history (I’ll elide all the failed examples in other countries): the 1920 depression, extremely brief from the government explicitly staying out of the economy; the Great Depression, prolonged by FDR’s Keynesian implementations (and lamented by his own Treasury Secretary: We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosper. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started. And enormous debt to boot.; and over the last four years, during which the results of the Panic of 2008 have been prolonged by Keynesian spending.

    There are necessary expenditures which government should broker, but they are minimal. All spending, even those few necessary ones, crowd out the private sector; they do not encourage it. It’s just that when those few necessary ones are all of the government’s involvement in the economy, the private sector can prosper. But it’s doing so despite those government spendings, not because of them.

    Getting government out of the way will spur the economy, and this is what will produce jobs. And revenue for the government, even with lower tax rates. That last has been demonstrated by every rate decrease from JFK forward.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 5, 2012 @ 3:24 pm - December 5, 2012

  66. [W]e need the government spending money to fill the void of a hesitant private sector.

    Which, in reality, harms the private sector and makes it even more hesitant: due to the higher costs faced by the private sector, the higher taxes (and/or money printing), distorted prices and many other harmful effects.

    Thus bringing us back to the point of the post: Governement spending hurts the economy.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 5, 2012 @ 3:54 pm - December 5, 2012

  67. Obviously. In this instance, we need to raise taxes to raise revenues, because we need the government spending money to fill the void of a hesitant private sector.

    Which will then have less money to spend because it’s been channeled into government, and since it has less money, will be even MORE hesitant.

    This is what makes the cultists like Levi and Passing By even more hilarious: they insist that lack of spending due to lack of money is what creates our problems, and then propose to solve it by taking more money away from people by hiking tax rates.

    Poison as food, poison as antidote. Always poison. Levi screams about working people, then demands that taxes be hiked higher and higher and higher on them.

    Why? So that Michelle Obama can blow $4 milllion on a taxpayer-funded Hawaiian vacation, Nancy Pelosi can have a private airliner at her beck and call, and so rich Obama donors can make millions on Solyndra while sending taxpayers the bill.

    What this boils down to is very simple: Levi and the Barack Obama Party that he represents want all private wealth confiscated for government use, just like in Cuba and China. Levi then intends that he will live as do the party apparatchiks in Cuba and China, meaning he can have the Bentley, the luxury apartment, the gourmet meals, and the unlimited food as long as he screams the proper cants to Chairman Maobama in public.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 5, 2012 @ 4:02 pm - December 5, 2012

  68. I argue against the entire phony notion that spending is what drives the economy forwrd. But even if I were to accept the notion, for sake of argument: It is astounding that Levi is either not honest enough to admit, or perhaps not smart enough to realize, that if you reduce people’s incomes via higher taxes and have the government spend that money instead, you have NOT added any net spending to the total economy.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 5, 2012 @ 4:20 pm - December 5, 2012

  69. [W]e need the government spending money to fill the void of a hesitant private sector.

    Here is part of the problem. Keynesian stimuli don’t work. This has been demonstrated three times in our current history (I’ll elide all the failed examples in other countries): the 1920 depression, extremely brief from the government explicitly staying out of the economy; the Great Depression, prolonged by FDR’s Keynesian implementations (and lamented by his own Treasury Secretary: We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosper. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started. And enormous debt to boot.; and over the last four years, during which the results of the Panic of 2008 have been prolonged by Keynesian spending.

    There are necessary expenditures which government should broker, but they are minimal. All spending, even those few necessary ones, crowd out the private sector; they do not encourage it. It’s just that when those few necessary ones are all of the government’s involvement in the economy, the private sector can prosper. But it’s doing so despite those government spendings, not because of them.

    Getting government out of the way will spur the economy, and this is what will produce jobs. And revenue for the government, even with lower tax rates. That last has been demonstrated by every rate decrease from JFK forward.

    Eric Hines

    The government is not in the way. AGAIN, when you are talking about record-setting profits for corporations and the lowest tax rates in decades for the wealthiest people in the country, you can’t just wave your hands and say that the government is ‘in the way,’ whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.

    I’m going to re-use my first example in this thread, which addressed the ludicrous argument made in the initial post about how closing a government agency down would create all of these fantastic opportunities for economic growth. I happen to live in a place where lots of government agencies are headquartered, and I’ve noticed a pattern – there are gobs and gobs of private sector companies and businesses surrounding most of these agencies! And it’s not all Starbucks and McDonald’s, there are little mom-and-pop delis and food trucks and barbershops and retailers, and these people are in business because of their close proximity to these government agencies.

    More from my earlier example – suppose we just eliminated the National Science Foundation. We’ll also close down the DC Metro, because, you know, government spending doesn’t do anything productive. What’s your message for the hundreds of small business owners that relied on the daily influx of government workers to buy their products? Who is going to live in all of the high-rises in the neighborhood that just went up? According to the thinking of conservatives, which was outlined in ILC’s original post, the elimination of all of this government spending is going to make their rent lower, their bills lower, their employment costs lower, but their revenue will stay the same!

    Yeah right. In 3 months it would look like a bomb went off.

    Like it or not, there is a HUGE amount of private sector economic activity that is made possible merely by the existence of government facilities and employees in close proximity. Businesses large and small eagerly pay premiums in rent and real estate to have access to the thousands of government workers that commute to their agency. You start closing down these agencies, not only are you putting those government employees out of work, you’re shattering local economies. And for what? The vague promise that something might move in? Oh that’s brilliant.

    The private and public sector are buddies. There is nothing nearly as antagonistic in that relationship as conservatives would have you believe.

    Comment by Levi — December 5, 2012 @ 4:49 pm - December 5, 2012

  70. 1. “But “deflation” only means, declining prices. It’s a very good thing. When people have to pay less for food and gas and flat-screen TVs, their living standards have just gone up. [If their wages did not fall to compensate for lower prices]

    And when businesses can pay less for real estate,[but will they get loans, since the value of what is loaned will increase, whilst the value of the asset borrowed against will fall?]

    Such an economy will see more loan defaults; but that, too is a good thing: Irresponsible lenders (and borrowers) are punished by their defaults. [and so will others who used to be able to make their loan payments, but cannot anymore because the real value of their debt has increased as nominal wages have fallen] And responsible lenders (and borrowers) thrive ["responsible" = those who have only the highest valued/least risky returns and "who didn’t lie on their loan applications"] …”

    2. SP: But that comes from income [& preferences], i.e. from producing and trading things [that people both want and can afford to buy in exchange for what you want]. Production comes first. Produce a useful good or service [that people are willing and able to have, ah, there is the rub!]; then you can sell it and buy things, which just is how modern people do trade.[as long as people have income to buy what you have or other people have other goods/money that you want in exchange]
    LK: [But what if people aren’t [consuming what other people are] producing? What if they are, so to speak, too ‘depressed’ to [consume what others] produce?
    SP: Chances are, that’s your fault. In a free economy, where government impartially protects individual rights to life liberty property and then stops, producing and trading [and consuming] is what people naturally do each day. They like to keep and enjoy what they earn. [as long as what they produce has people willing and able to buy. But, if they aren’t able to buy, all bets are off].

    [you go completely off the straw man cliff after this point …]

    Way off.”

    Comment by Passing By — December 5, 2012 @ 4:49 pm - December 5, 2012

  71. Government as a jobs welfare program. There’s a concept. Money the government spends competes with private money for the same goods and services, driving up prices. Money the government takes in taxes leaves less money in the hands of private citizens to pay those elevated prices.

    All those government employees in the closed down agencies? They can find work in the private sector. They’ll still spend their paychecks, and all those mom and pops–and large corporations–dependent on those government workers’ expenditures for their own livelihood will find themselves serving the same folks, only now on privately earned paychecks instead of tax-funded paychecks.

    Of course there will be dislocation while the adjustments are made. But two things: it’s why the adjustments–the cuts to government spending–would need to be made over the course of a few years instead of in just one. Also, the current size of our government exacerbates that adjustment magnitude. But that puts a premium on getting started now rather than later, or never.

    We’ve been getting by on the current tax rates, or just a little higher? Does that mean we can’t do better with a different régime?

    Separately, but related: what is the rich class’ fair share of the income tax burden (eliding all other taxes; I’ll let income taxes stand for all in this thought experiment)?

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 5, 2012 @ 5:41 pm - December 5, 2012

  72. The government is not in the way. AGAIN, when you are talking about record-setting profits for corporations and the lowest tax rates in decades for the wealthiest people in the country, you can’t just wave your hands and say that the government is ‘in the way,’ whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.

    Actually, Levi’s just lying again. Which is typical for him. No links, just screaming and pissing all over himself trying to pretend that his delusions are real.

    And this was hilarious.

    Like it or not, there is a HUGE amount of private sector economic activity that is made possible merely by the existence of government facilities and employees in close proximity. Businesses large and small eagerly pay premiums in rent and real estate to have access to the thousands of government workers that commute to their agency. You start closing down these agencies, not only are you putting those government employees out of work, you’re shattering local economies.

    LOL.

    Then let those “local economies” pay the full price of having those government workers.

    In fact, I rather like that idea. Since Levi screams and pisses himself about the necessity of keeping government offices open to power his local economy, why not just raise taxes in the District of Columbia to pay for all these government workers?

    How long do you think that will last, Levi? No answer? Why don’t you want to pay your fair share for government services, especially since you directly profit from government’s presence?

    Run away now, spam boy. You can’t answer.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 5, 2012 @ 5:50 pm - December 5, 2012

  73. The government is not in the way.

    Clue: Obamacare, which has created massive uncertainty and driven employers to hire part-time workers, instead of full-time.

    Clue: Same with Dodd-Frank and all the other sources of unpredictable, but onerous new regulations that have been pouring out of Washington by the library-full, and will continue to.

    Clue: Obama’s $1T annual deficits, which are in effect a promise of tax hikes and/or money-printing, both of which severely undermine the economy.

    Clue: Energy companies which have been forced to cut back jobs, because of Obama policies.

    That’s just a sampling; there are many more clues out there. Levi, it is clear that you understand NOTHING about business, or personal success, or economics.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 5, 2012 @ 5:58 pm - December 5, 2012

  74. Clue: Obamacare, which has created massive uncertainty and driven employers to hire part-time workers, instead of full-time.

    Clue: Same with Dodd-Frank and all the other sources of unpredictable, but onerous new regulations that have been pouring out of Washington by the library-full, and will continue to.

    Clue: Obama’s $1T annual deficits, which are in effect a promise of tax hikes and/or money-printing, both of which severely undermine the economy.

    Clue: Energy companies which have been forced to cut back jobs, because of Obama policies.

    That’s just a sampling; there are many more clues out there. Levi, it is clear that you understand NOTHING about business, or personal success, or economics.

    Uncertainty…. right. You think that businesses or people should never, ever, under any circumstances, even when we’re invading countries and reeling from the collapse of the financial industry, be expected to consider that their taxes might increase or that they might have new regulations to comply with.

    This is what I would call entitlement. Nobody in this country is being taxed too much, least of all the wealthy people throwing a fit about their ‘uncertainty.’ You know, if we’re supposed to be looking to these guys for inspiration as business leaders and financial successes, they’re kind of undermining their legend with all this bitching. Since when is business supposed to be a sure thing? Shouldn’t a good business person be seeking out new, unconventional investment opportunities at a time like this, instead of crying over the possibility that their taxes might go up a few percentage points?

    Whatever. The conservative movement and Republican Party are about one thing and one thing only: lowering taxes for wealthy. This is the one thing they’ve been able to achieve in the past 12 years, and it’s still all they can talk about.

    Comment by Levi — December 5, 2012 @ 6:51 pm - December 5, 2012

  75. The government is not in the way.

    Tell that to Gibson guitars, the Keystone pipeline, and the coal industry.

    Comment by V the K — December 5, 2012 @ 6:54 pm - December 5, 2012

  76. Government as a jobs welfare program. There’s a concept. Money the government spends competes with private money for the same goods and services, driving up prices. Money the government takes in taxes leaves less money in the hands of private citizens to pay those elevated prices.

    It’s not a welfare program, but it most definitely is an example of how government spending creates jobs. If increasing prices were a concern, the opposite should be true – government agencies ought to loom on the horizon like monoliths with no retailers and restaurants for miles. But that doesn’t happen, does it? Again, business people are more than happy to pay real estate/rent premiums just to be close to the busy government worker bees on their lunch breaks. This is good free market stuff, wouldn’t you agree?

    All those government employees in the closed down agencies? They can find work in the private sector. They’ll still spend their paychecks, and all those mom and pops–and large corporations–dependent on those government workers’ expenditures for their own livelihood will find themselves serving the same folks, only now on privately earned paychecks instead of tax-funded paychecks.

    Are you living in the present? Nobody can find work in the private sector.

    Of course there will be dislocation while the adjustments are made. But two things: it’s why the adjustments–the cuts to government spending–would need to be made over the course of a few years instead of in just one. Also, the current size of our government exacerbates that adjustment magnitude. But that puts a premium on getting started now rather than later, or never.

    We’ve been getting by on the current tax rates, or just a little higher? Does that mean we can’t do better with a different régime?

    I’m all for streamlining and eliminating government waste. However, when you’re trying to find solutions to an unemployment problem, trying to lay off entire agencies and departments is counter-productive, even if you do it in stages.

    Separately, but related: what is the rich class’ fair share of the income tax burden (eliding all other taxes; I’ll let income taxes stand for all in this thought experiment)?

    Eric Hines

    Yup, I know this trick. Conservatives like to point out that the wealthiest percentiles pay most of the taxes, so the rest of us should stop complaining, right? My tax bill is only a few thousand dollars while these other people are paying millions! If the system is unfair, it’s favoring me and hurting them, isn’t it?

    Of course not. What matters is what percentage of an individual’s income they pay in taxes. That’s the only meaningful way to use the term ‘tax burden.’ The collective tax burden of wealthy people is irrelevant, it’s just a non-argument that relies on big numbers and tricky language to try and shut down the debate. People living paycheck to paycheck are giving up a greater percentage of their take home pay than billionaires.

    Comment by Levi — December 5, 2012 @ 7:25 pm - December 5, 2012

  77. People living paycheck to paycheck are giving up a greater percentage of their take home pay than billionaires.

    6.5% is bigger than 12%. There’s that Progressive Math, again.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 5, 2012 @ 7:54 pm - December 5, 2012

  78. You think that businesses or people should never, ever, under any circumstances, even when we’re invading countries and reeling from the collapse of the financial industry, be expected to consider that their taxes might increase or that they might have new regulations to comply with.

    Nope. Not what I said at all. But it doesn’t matter, as you have long demonstrated, Levi, that you can neither read nor speak (write) accurately; and know nothing about business, or personal success, or economics.

    government spending creates jobs

    Nope. As already explained, government spending that creates jobs Over Here, necessarily depletes jobs Over There. By several mechanisms. None of which you care about, for reasons just stated. You’re just here to keep repeating the same lies, to justify your worship of Big Government.

    Nobody can find work in the private sector.

    Wrong again. As I said not long ago:

    I know a guy whose middle-class family gave him $0 in financial assets, who worked his whole life to be smarter and better at whatever he was doing. He spent years educating himself. He spent decades busting his butt at work. He also saved his money (he didn’t choose to just go out and blow it, like so many do), and maintained his health. All of that speaks to his initiative and self-discipline. Last year, he said “Time for some early retirement” and quit his job. He did NOT depend on the government: he carefully provided for himself. After quitting, the company begged him to come back – for an hourly wage that he would not want me to quote.

    I know another guy, much younger, whose middle-class family gave him $0 in financial assets. He’s not briliant; he was lucky to finish high school. But he did. He is sensible and hard-working. Supposedly, no one in his area could get jobs. He got one. They love him. It’s only $10/hour but he is bursting with pride that the money he earns lets him take his girlfriend out.

    I know another guy, again young, who got into drugs and alcohol in a bad way and committed felony vandalism. Faced with jail, he straightened himself up by joining the Marines. They gave him a path, they gave him a lot of encouragement – but HE cleaned himself up. Guess what? He is also the type of young man that always has a job in his pocket.

    Moral of the story: even in a terrible economy, employable people are employable people, and find jobs. Because of their discipline, their honesty, their initiative… in short, their work ethic.

    By the way:

    What matters is what percentage of an individual’s income they pay in taxes.

    When I pointed out that Romney pays “like” 45%, I left out MA state taxes. Including those, Romney probably pays more like 55-60%.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 5, 2012 @ 8:06 pm - December 5, 2012

  79. Count down to Levi fleeing this thread after being spanked again…

    Levi, stimulate the local economy. There’s a thriving D/s community in DC. Help stimulate the local economy by hiring a Dom to spank you rather than coming here for free.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 5, 2012 @ 8:37 pm - December 5, 2012

  80. Levi and Aaron seem to think that making money beyond $200K requires no more effort than making money under that amount. Not so. For most, it is a lot of work, a lot of hours, a lot of sacrifice. There’s a reason upper income people make more than Levi; they work a helluva lot harder.

    And if that money’s just going to be confiscated to buy Obamaphones and African peepee washing lessons… many may decide not to bother.

    Comment by V the K — December 5, 2012 @ 9:45 pm - December 5, 2012

  81. “In a free market, the consumer is sovereign.”

    My god you live in an Utopian fantasy world. Just like communism, Sounds Great! but totally impracticable.

    “…China being – the party/politician/bureaucrat is sovereign. Companies profit by bribing him, not be serving their customers.”

    ILC – Its clear you have never done significant amount of business in China. Almost everyone who does, admires how its a free market paradise – especially on the small local level – and most folks appreciate their government’s food safety / pollution laws and regulations when they return.

    For example:
    Small restaurants dump their used oil in the sewer because its cheaper.
    Guys go around and use skimmers to take this sewer oil and sell it to a restaurant who buys it because it can maximize their profits.
    The food you eat gets prepared in this sewer oil.
    It causes sickness / cancer and death.
    Yet its untraceable / unaccountable. The consumer has no idea if the restaurant uses this oil – some advertise they don’t but its unknown.

    Another example, a paper mill dumps their waste water in the river only at night because people won’t see the pollution it causes. It all rolls down the river so its a different citiy’s problem. – true story I saw it happen.

    These guys don’t bribe the government officials, they just don’t care about the regulations because the odds are they won’t get caught. – And most of the time, they don’t.
    The consumer can’t do anything about this because they will never know and there is no way to inform them or prove who is at fault. Therefore its the government job / duty / authority to regulate the hell out of those guys, go on site and demand to see their paperwork / receipts and proof and if not shut those sites down or the fine them them up the wazoo.
    Doesn’t happen in China, only happens in a country with a government who has the resources from tax dollars who can monitor and regulate business.

    Comment by mike — December 5, 2012 @ 11:44 pm - December 5, 2012

  82. Shorter mike: “Consumers are stupid and need a nanny state to protect them from their stupidity.”

    I think Democrats get that idea because they are surrounded by other Democrats, and assume everyone is just that stupid.

    Comment by V the K — December 6, 2012 @ 6:06 am - December 6, 2012

  83. Tell that to Gibson guitars, the Keystone pipeline, and the coal industry.

    Oh please, could someone go over the conservatives’ complaints about the Gibson raids? It really demonstrates how wrong conservatives are wrong about everything, but before I get started, I’d love to hear a conservative’s description of the problem, replete with your conspiracy theories about Obama hating Gibson because it’s in Tennessee or because the CEO is a Republican.

    So please V to the K, how is the government getting in the way of Gibson guitars?

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 7:24 am - December 6, 2012

  84. As always facts are anethma to fascists like Levi.

    Interesting note in the second link. Gibson’s chief compeditor is an Obama supporter, using the same wood, and yet is not being persecuted by the Government. Coincidence?

    Now hush Levi, the adults are talking.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 6, 2012 @ 7:52 am - December 6, 2012

  85. an Utopian fantasy world

    You’re projecting again, mike. You live in such a world. You seriously think that government regulators are here to help. They aren’t. Your own comments state that almost explicitly, yet still you shut your eyes.

    For an example of the difference between free and government-run markets, one only need look at medicine. The free-market parts of it, like LASIK, are the parts where consumers are served well and at the same time, costs keep dropping. LASIK providers know that murdering their customers is not an effective profit plan.

    China… a free market paradise

    … where the government routinely jails dissidents, extorts bribes, and generally SETS ASIDE individual rights to life, liberty and property at the drop of the hat. A dictatorship known for its Rule of Men, as opposed to Rule of Laws. Thus violating the fundamental conditions for a country to be free; violating the crucial and proper role of government that I have talked about over and over.

    Show me such a country, and I will show you a country full of hostility and short-sightedness. But you want to smear free markets, by calling it “free market”. Sorry mike, no sale today.

    These guys don’t bribe the government officials.

    LOL – and you would know that because…. ?

    And what if they really don’t? Maybe they don’t need to. Because you give the answer in your next clause: “they won’t get caught”. In other words, THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, WHOSE NUMBERS IN CHINA ARE VAST, ARE NOT, IN FACT, THERE TO HELP. And, since China suppresses dissent, and is a “Rule of Men” country, neither are the courts there to deal with torts honestly or consistently. But hey, you’re determined to bash free markets no matter what, so you’ll say whatever you want.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 8:35 am - December 6, 2012

  86. In short: A free-market country must, first and above all, be a free country. China isn’t. What goes wrong in China discredits dictatorship, not freedom.

    Did you know that government owns all land in China, giving people who think they “own” it the status of mere tenants? Even a controversial 2007 reform law “… does not change the system of land tenure by which the state owns all land… individuals can [only] possess a land-use right, which is defined in Chapter 10 of the law.”. So much for effective property rights, in China.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 8:57 am - December 6, 2012

  87. Sorry, still not quite over this: that your idea of a so-called “free market paradise”, mike, is a bureaucratic one-party dictatorship that barely has a civil code. That’s just bizarre.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 10:20 am - December 6, 2012

  88. ILC, you’re missing the point. Everyone knows that China is a dictatorship, but there are still parts of its economy where there are no rules, no inspections, no oversight, and no punishments from the government. mike’s example with food is perfect – when you go to parts of China and eat in a restaurant, you are experiencing the thrill of the free market! It’s just you, the restaurant owner, and whatever he wants to give you for whatever price you’re willing to pay. Nobody is driving up his costs by inspecting his restaurant or by grading his meat. Free market heaven, right? Isn’t that just so much better than the way American restaurants work? Show of hands, who would prefer to eat in Chinese restaurants versus American restaurants for the rest of their lives? Are you more or less reassured when you know that health inspectors have been through and signed off on the place that you’re eating?

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 10:30 am - December 6, 2012

  89. ILC, you’re missing the point

    No Levi, you are. Will it help if I say it again?

    A free-market country must, first and above all, be a free country.

    If it isn’t, then it’s not. I have said over and over that capitalism requires police, courts and military dedicated impartially to the protection of individual rights to life, liberty and property, including honest enforcements of torts as well as contracts and criminal law.

    Is the penny dropping yet, Levi? Almost ready to join the grownup discussion?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 10:45 am - December 6, 2012

  90. (And free speech, for the spread of consumer information.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 10:47 am - December 6, 2012

  91. As a smart man once said:

    It is characteristic of the enemies of capitalism that they denounce it for evils which are, in fact, not the result of capitalism but of statism…

    In China’s case:

    1) A communist dictatorship has wished to avoid the fate of the Soviet Union and has recognized that free markets are more productive, and so it has sought to compromise with capitalism; and yet it remains constitutionally a communist dictatorship which denies its people the effective rights of property, free speech, and redress of grievances under the rule of law, which are capitalism’s essential foundation.
    2) Evils result.
    3) Two haters of capitalism (or equivalently, lovers of Big Government) are here to make sure capitalism gets blamed, rather than dictatorship.

    Those who have eyes, are seeing now.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 11:05 am - December 6, 2012

  92. As for Gibson. The law that Gibson got rung up on was passed in 2008 with bipartisan support and the signature of George W. Bush. The law was enthusiastically supported by the American logging industry, who claim that illegal logging activities cost domestic logging companies $500 million a year.

    The guitar industry was also on board. Guitars are precision instruments, and the quality of the materials that goes into them matters a great deal. There is a great variety of materials that you can make a guitar out of, but some wood is better than others. As it so happens, some kinds of wood come from very rare trees that only exist in certain parts of the world. In the past, Brazilian rosewood was heavily sought after by guitar makers, but it’s no longer available because harvesting that wood is now illegal.

    Forward-thinking guitar makers, Gibson included, learned a lesson from this, and took steps to understand their supply chain and make sure that the wood they were using was coming from sustainable sources. It’s not motivated by some love-the-earth/protect the trees attitude, but by sound business strategy. You cut down all the trees and you can’t make those guitars anymore, but if you allow the trees to recover, you can continue making those guitars for generations!

    There’s also a moral component. Madagascar’s economy doesn’t have a lot going for its economy, but it does have these special trees. Unfortunately, there are smugglers who are willing to cut down the trees, and the government there is not equipped to deal with them. Once those trees are gone, they aren’t coming back. And of course, when you’re dealing with an entire tree species being wiped out, you have to worry about the rest of the food chain and how it could affect insects, birds, soil quality, erosion, etc. Needless to say, these are problems that Madagascar wants to avoid. They can’t hope to stop illegal logging all on their own, and really need help protecting their economy by trying to get people to stop buying their illegally harvested wood.

    So the Madagascan government and American industry share a similar problem. But there’s a solution! This law is passed that protects American business and helps Madagascar combat the illegal logging trade. There’s a benefit for everyone, loggers, guitar manufacturers, the governments of both countries. Wins all around!

    EXCEPT for the company that decided they would continue buying the illegal wood. And this is how conservatives define ‘government getting in the way of business.’ Certainly, the government got in the way of ONE business, but it’s because they were in violation of the law. Gibson was trying to gain a competitive advantage by securing wood that their competitors didn’t have access to. They were cheating, and they got caught. Catching cheaters is government’s job.

    Of course, conservatives are very small-minded and very easily manipulated, and the Republican CEO of Gibson must be well aware of this, because he’s woven this into the legend of Obama the Business-Crusher that conservatives depend on to live. Conservatives would like to think that this is all politically motivated, and that Obama personally directed these raids to intimidate conservative business people. Because that makes so much sense, right? Obama wants to crush conservative businessmen, and he decided to start with the CEO of Gibson guitar. Not Donald Trump, not the Koch Brothers, not Rupert Murdoch, but the CEO of Gibson. Does this make sense? Why is Obama bypassing all of those huge targets, people who are actively insulting him and campaigning against him on a daily basis, just so he could hand out a small fine to Gibson? Are you people high?

    Another thing to note about this – we’re frequently told by conservatives that you don’t need regulations and you don’t need government oversight because the private sector will police itself. Businesses that do wrong will suffer the consequences of the free market, because people will stop doing business with them, isn’t that the thrust of the argument? However, if a company is willing to flaunt laws when they are in place, as Gibson did repeatedly, wouldn’t they be more willing to take shortcuts and cut corners? Take away this law and the customs inspections and international environmental treaties, and a good number of people will try to exploit those resources. If they’re willing to do it when they face penalties, why wouldn’t they be willing to do it when there aren’t any?

    Finally, if the free market ideal is predicated on businesses being scorned by consumers for being cheaters, then the throngs of conservatives who rushed to Gibson’s defense dispels that little myth as well. Of course, there can be no accountability when you have this group of conservative non-thinkers that can be lead around and told to reflexively fear ‘government getting in the way of business.’ Again, American industry supports this law, and one company decided to defy it – that’s not government getting in the way, it’s government protecting the interests of business in a way that the businesses can’t do for themselves. But instead of recognizing this, all conservatives can do is flail around about how silly it is for the government to have laws about wood and dream up conspiracy theories about how Obama is trying to take over the economy by persecuting conservatives in business…. If people are this stupid even when there’s proof of wrongdoing, why should we expect them to figure this stuff out when government is forbidden from setting these rules in the first place?

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 11:08 am - December 6, 2012

  93. The law that Gibson got rung up on was passed in 2008 with bipartisan support and the signature of George W. Bush

    … which shows that Bush was a Big Government guy who did a lot wrong, as I have long been saying.

    You miss the point as usual, Levi: Whether or not the law was supported by a special interest (the logging industry),

    1) It’s a clear example of Obama harming American jobs; the more so because
    2) Obama’s enforcement was entirely selective. Martin committed the same violations as Gibson and were not nailed. The difference? Martin donated to Obama. Gibson didn’t.

    Oh wait, I keep forgetting that you love arbitrary enforcement, if it favors the Left.

    There is a great variety of materials that you can make a guitar out of, but some wood is better than others.

    That should be the consumer’s decision.

    Oh wait, I keep forgetting you’re opposed to that.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 11:14 am - December 6, 2012

  94. No Levi, you are. Will it help if I say it again?

    A free-market country must, first and above all, be a free country.

    If it isn’t, then it’s not. I have said over and over that capitalism requires police, courts and military dedicated impartially to the protection of individual rights to life, liberty and property, including honest enforcements of torts as well as contracts and criminal law.

    Is the penny dropping yet, Levi? Almost ready to join the grownup discussion?

    Despite your protests, this is still a relevant point. Certainly you can agree that there are industries in this country that are closer to the free market ideal than other industries, can’t you? The nuclear waste disposal industry is probably more heavily regulated than the entertainment industry, for example.

    Well, the same holds true for Chinese industries. Some things are completely controlled by the state, and other things are left, more or less, to the free market. If you just compared the American and Chinese restaurant industries, you couldn’t argue that America’s system was closer to the free market ideal than China’s. And as mike pointed out, in China people are basically selling each other their own turds as soup. Yes, of course, the government controls much of what happens in China, but this is one area where they completely leave it up to the people. It’s a self-organizing free market, and instead of flourishing with profits and productivity, people are selling and buying turd soup.

    You can dismiss the example all you want, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t valuable information we can learn about the efficacy of free market systems.

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 11:24 am - December 6, 2012

  95. The funny part about concern-troll mike and Levi screaming about “regulations” and the necessity of enforcement is how often they oppose actually doing it.

    Ohio Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown was more than four months delinquent in paying taxes on his Washington, D.C., apartment and had to pay a penalty and interest last week.

    This was not the first time, records show.

    Brown also was delinquent in 2006 and 2007 and paid penalties and interest, according to tax records from the District of Columbia.

    But again, Sherrod Brown is a good Obamunist and Party stalwart, so according to Levi and mike, he should be excused from having to pay taxes and follow regulations.

    Quite a bit, actually.

    Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill admitted Monday that she had failed to pay about $287,000 in back taxes and will sell a private plane that has created considerable controversy as she prepares to run for a second term in 2012…..

    The tax revelations are the only the latest problem for McCaskill involving the plane,however.

    In the wake of a Politico report that had billed the government for her travel on the aircraft, she quickly reimbursed taxpayers for the trips, hoping to avoid a protracted political problem.

    But, it was then revealed that she had billed taxpayers for a purely political trip — deepening her potential exposure on the issue.

    Again, McCaskill is a good Obamunist and Party ideologue, so Levi and mike think it’s only right and correct that she should be able to ignore regulations, not pay taxes, and on top of that, use taxpayer dollars for her fancy cars and plane.

    Last, but certainly not least:

    Now, back taxes have been a problem for the Obama-Biden administration. You may recall early on that Tom Daschle was the president’s top pick to run the Health and Human Services Department. But it turned out the former Democratic senator, who was un-elected from South Dakota in 2004, owed something like $120,000 to the IRS for things from his subsequent benefactor that he just forgot to pay taxes on. You know how that is. $120G’s here or there. So he dropped out.

    And then we learned this guy Timothy Geithner owed something like $42,000 in back taxes and penalties to the IRS, which is one of the agencies that he’d be in charge of as secretary of the Treasury. The fine fellow who’s supposed to know about handling everyone else’s money. In the end this was excused by Washington’s bipartisan CYA culture as one of those inadvertent accidental oversights that somehow never seem to happen on the side of paying too much taxes.

    And under Geithner’s expert guidance the U.S. economy has been, well, wow! Just look at it.

    Privacy laws prevent release of individual tax delinquents’ names. But we do know that as of the end of 2009, 41 people inside Obama’s very own White House owe the government they’re allegedly running a total of $831,055 in back taxes. That would cover a lot of special chocolate desserts in the White House Mess.

    Again. Daschle, Geithner, and all these Obama staffers are good Party ideologues; therefore, according to Levi and mike, they should be allowed to ignore the regulations and not pay taxes.

    But then when you have enemies of the Obamunists, such as Mitt Romney, Levi and concern-troll mike scream and shriek that these people need to be punished with audits and public smears to prove they are paying their taxes.

    That’s why Levi and concern-troll mike are clearly such malicious liars. The only reason Levi and concern-troll mike support “regulation” is as a weapon to punish their political enemies. As these examples and numerous others show, Obamunists like Levi and concern-troll mike show, Obamunists and others who swear allegiance to Obama and who make “contributions” to Barack Obama do not have to follow the rules or the laws, and in fact can do whatever they like.

    In Levi’s restaurant example, the answer is very straightforward. When the restaurant owner makes a contribution to Obama and swears allegiance to the Obama Party, he or she receives exemption from inspection and other laws. For an additional fee, the Obamunist leaders will focus on his or her competitor, slander them publicly, claim they cheat on their inspection forms, and then harass them.

    How do we know? We saw it with Mitt Romney. Barack Obama lied about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, ordered Harry Reid to lie about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, and then ordered the IRS to attempt to leak Mitt Romney’s tax returns — all while Obama’s staff, supporters, and fellow Obama Party members enjoyed the ability to ignore the tax laws, not pay their taxes, and double-dip from the government’s funds to pay for their luxurious and extravagant lifestyles.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 6, 2012 @ 11:25 am - December 6, 2012

  96. NDT, I love the screaming about regulation. It works as entertainment, on several levels. You’ve noted some; another is the implicit admission of defeat on the main topic (that government SPENDING hurts the economy).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 11:36 am - December 6, 2012

  97. If you just compared the American and Chinese restaurant industries, you couldn’t argue that America’s system was closer to the free market ideal than China’s. And as mike pointed out, in China people are basically selling each other their own turds as soup. Yes, of course, the government controls much of what happens in China, but this is one area where they completely leave it up to the people. It’s a self-organizing free market, and instead of flourishing with profits and productivity, people are selling and buying turd soup.

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 11:24 am – December 6, 2012

    Actually, Levi, they’re quite similar. Obamunists like yourself buy their way into government jobs, then use your positions to solicit bribes in exchange for ignoring regulations.

    Two former San Francisco restaurant health inspectors have been charged with multiple counts of bribery for allegedly selling food safety certifications to hundreds of restaurants, according to the AP.

    These particular health inspection shenanigans allegedly date back to an 18-month period in 2007 and 2008, and the two city employees — Ajamu Stewart and Clifton Sanders — reportedly went to nearly 350 restaurants and solicited bribes, often in the $100-$200 range.

    Again and again.

    Koll is a retired city health inspector, prosecutors said.

    In the scheme, restaurant, grocery and other food-service workers paid between $300 and $400 to obtain the state or city certificates, prosecutors said. Between 1995 and 2007, Koll had state authorization to teach state-mandated food sanitation courses and give exams to people seeking certification as food-service sanitation managers.

    Between 2004 and 2007, using her home-based company, Kollmar Food Safety Institute, Koll fraudulently obtained certificates for people who bribed her so they would not have to take the required classes, prosecutors said.

    Oh, but there’s even more from the Obama-controlled, Obama-dominated, and completely Obamunist Windy City, where the only people who can get government jobs must swear allegiance to and make contributions to Barack Obama.

    Okoro issued a ticket for about $500 worth of fines but, Izquierdo said, she changed her tone when she learned that he suffers from back problems.

    “Right away she stopped screaming, she stopped everything, you know, she stopped the inspection,” he told city officials. He said she assured him she could “fix you up.”

    The very next day Okoro was back. But this time as a vitamin saleswoman.

    Izquierdo bought $391 worth of Nutrilite vitamins, according to records. “I was a little intimidated,” Izquierdo recalled. “This was the inspector selling them.”

    Izquierdo and his wife, Julie, said that after the sale was complete the inspector told them the date of their upcoming reinspection and assured them that everything would be fine. When Okoro arrived on the promised date, she didn’t come into the kitchen but issued them a passing grade nonetheless, said Julie Izquierdo.

    The Tribune found three other Rogers Park restaurants where owners say Okoro peddled her vitamins. Yet neither the Izquierdos nor any of those owners complained to the city’s Department of Public Health.

    Finally, in November, after much deliberation and loss of sleep, Julie Izquierdo decided to report the incident — along with supporting documents — to an administrative law judge when she went to contest the fines. The administrative judge reversed the fines against Taste of Peru, and a city investigation then led to Okoro’s resignation.

    It’s a sequence of events that lays plain the difficult relationship between the city’s restaurants and its regulators. The city says it welcomes complaints from restaurant owners, whom a Health Department spokeswoman called “our eyes and ears.”

    But in the course of its investigation, the city did not reach out to any of the restaurants where Okoro tried to sell her vitamins. Meanwhile, some restaurant owners said they assume any concerns they express to the city are likely to fall on deaf ears or, worse, be used against them.

    “There is (an assumption) in food business that they will suffer terrible consequences if they step forward,” said Logan Square Kitchen owner Zina Murray, who launched a petition last summer to change Health Department policies but said few restaurants would sign it for fear of angering the city.

    Inspectors, in particular, hold great power in the restaurant world because a bad report or temporary shutdown can cost owners thousands of dollars and jeopardize business.

    What’s even more amazing: according to Levi and concern-troll mike, these restaurant owners are all evil people who, in the absence of inspection, would be deliberately poisoning their customers to make a quick buck — however, it doesn’t look like any of them did.

    So that’s really what we see here. When Levi and concern-troll mike scream about “regulations”, what they’re really doing is trying to set up a bribe structure to enrich themselves and their fellow Obama supporters — and demonizing honest business owners who are then preyed upon by Levi, concern-troll mike, and their fellow Obamunists.

    We know this because Levi and concern-troll mike insist that government and government workers are always right and businesses are always wrong and evil. Therefore, Levi and concern-troll mike consider bribes and personal enrichment by government employees to be all right, but insist that business owners are all evil and must be punished by government.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 6, 2012 @ 11:45 am - December 6, 2012

  98. 3 great lies:
    - The check is in the mail
    - I won’t **** in you
    - We regulators are here to help.

    It’s a self-organizing free market

    No, it isn’t. Because it’s freaking CHINA, so consumers don’t have consistent (thus effective) rights to free speech or to redress of grievances under the rule of law. Again:

    A free-market country must, first and above all, be a free country.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 12:10 pm - December 6, 2012

  99. What idiots like Levi and lower case concern troll don’t seem to know is that there is a broad spectrum of policy choices between sewer water and Mayor Bloomberg telling everybody how much soda they’re allowed to drink.

    I, personally, think health codes could be more effectively administered by a private consortium than a lazy, corrupt, inept Government bureaucracy. But, if we’re to have health codes and an enforcement of same, let’s limit it to a reasonable level and stop way short of a Government Food Gestapo mandating portion sizes and sending food criminals to prison.

    It’s not one or the other, and only a complete idiot would think so.

    Comment by V the K — December 6, 2012 @ 12:10 pm - December 6, 2012

  100. The funny part about concern-troll mike and Levi screaming about “regulations” and the necessity of enforcement is how often they oppose actually doing it.

    You mean, like the way leftists scream when a legislature tries to pass a law subjecting abortion mills to the same medical standards as other medical facilities? All of a sudden, they start screaming about how the regulations will drive abortion mill operators out of business.

    Yeah, the left knows regulations are bad for businesses; but in their view, it’s a feature, not a bug.

    Comment by V the K — December 6, 2012 @ 12:15 pm - December 6, 2012

  101. Is anyone truly surprised that Levi can’t help but love a totalitarian state that imprisons anyone who disagrees with them?

    Of course the little fascist tries to claim the events were in 2008 when in fact they were in August of 2011. Also this was India, not Madagascar (The 2009 ‘raid’ was over different wood). These also were ‘infractions’ that India didn’t feel rose to criminal activity. So you have US officials, persecuting US citizens under Indian laws India didn’t feel were violated.

    (Also from above, Pascal Vieillard, relied on Government Bureaucrats to make sure his Pianos were compliant. 17,500 (and legal fees) later, he’s a criminal, for trying to comply).

    ALso, surprise, Levi doesn’t have an issue with stealing other people’s policy w/o any due process.

    Now hush Levi, the adults are talking.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 6, 2012 @ 12:18 pm - December 6, 2012

  102. TL: Right, it was India. Levi wasn’t even talking about what V was.

    Here is what I was talking about:

    [Memphis Daily News] The company stated it assumes the raid stems from an alleged violation of the U.S. Lacey Act, legislation that requires anyone coming into the U.S. to declare with unambiguous specificity the nature of materials being brought into the country.

    According to Gibson: “The U.S. Lacey Act does not directly address conservation issues but is about obeying all laws of the countries from which wood products are procured. This law reads that you are guilty if you did not observe a law even though you had no knowledge of that law in a foreign country. The U.S. Lacey Act is only applicable when a foreign law has been violated.”

    [Powerline:] America is a trivial importer of rosewood from Madagascar and India. Ninety-five percent of it goes to China [ed: !!!], where it is used to make luxury items like $800,000 beds. So putting Gibson out of business isn’t going to do a whole lot for the forests of Madagascar.

    It has come out that Juszkiewicz is a Republican donor, while the CEO of one of his principal competitors, C.F. Martin & Company, is a Democratic donor. Martin reportedly uses the same wood, but DOJ hasn’t raided them…

    Oh, one more thing: if Gibson has violated the Lacey Act, so, perhaps, has Michelle Obama, who gave French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar with a rosewood fret. Maybe, when the time comes, she can share a cell with Mr. Juszkiewicz.

    If nothing else, this incident illustrates the misguided priorities of the Obama administration. Harassing American businesses on frivolous grounds is not exactly what our economy needs at the moment. But the anti-business Obama administration just can’t help itself.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 12:36 pm - December 6, 2012

  103. … which shows that Bush was a Big Government guy who did a lot wrong, as I have long been saying.

    You miss the point as usual, Levi: Whether or not the law was supported by a special interest (the logging industry),

    1) It’s a clear example of Obama harming American jobs; the more so because

    Holy shit, ain’t that something? The government prosecuting somebody for violating a law is ‘a clear example of Obama harming American jobs.’

    Let me try again to explain why that’s bullshit. This wood from Madagascar is extremely rare, it only grows there. It’s also endangered, which means that any industry that relies on this wood is threatened by its impending extinction. This concerns a lot of parties, including the Madagascan government and companies like Martin and Gibson. There is a certification process in place which allows companies to buy the wood so long as the trees were grown and harvested in a sustainable way. This ensures that the Madagascan government maintains one of their few natural resources, and allows guitar manufacturers to have access to this rare wood without risk of over-harvesting.

    This protects American jobs. Martin and Gibson have a better awareness of their supply line and can feel confident that they’ll be able to make guitars out of this wood for years to come. They’ll be able to hire workers to build the guitars, and they’ll also be able to charge premiums for guitars made of the rare wood, increasing profit margins and allowing for further reinvestment into their labor force or whatever else.

    But then Gibson decides that they’ll just sneak in a little bit of the illegally harvested wood. Gibson is willing to undermine the sustainability and the durability of their industry to gain a competitive advantage. If anyone in this scenario can be said to be harming American jobs, it’s Gibson. By contributing to the illegal logging trade, they are helping this tree become extinct, which means losses for themselves and their competitors in the near and short term. I already mentioned the adverse impact of illegal logging on our own logging industry, so that’s another way they’re harming American jobs.

    And our government caught them and punished them for it. Yes, it will probably hit Gibson’s bottom line, but it’s not too bad. It’s a $300,000 fine and they’ll lose the cost of their illegally-obtained wood, but we’re talking about maybe $1-$1.5 million total for them to learn this little lesson. If the CEO decides to make that up by firing people, that’s his decision, but he still has the responsibility for taking such a stupid, short-sighted risk. This is a bad manager, and bad managers tend to cause people to lose their jobs. But it’s not the government’s fault, and indeed, the government is actually doing far more to save and protect American jobs by enforcing this law.

    ILC, I know you tend to believe that businesses will regulate themselves, and you might even be right to suggest that the private companies that make guitars would have hammered out an agreement on their own to ensure the sustainability of this rare wood. But if a company is willing to take the chance of breaking the law when there are confiscations and fines to worry about if you get caught, then what’s keeping them from reneging on their agreement with the other companies when there are absolutely no penalties?

    2) Obama’s enforcement was entirely selective. Martin committed the same violations as Gibson and were not nailed. The difference? Martin donated to Obama. Gibson didn’t.

    Oh wait, I keep forgetting that you love arbitrary enforcement, if it favors the Left.

    Martin did not commit the same violations. Like I said, it’s still possible to get this wood, it’s just a matter of how it’s obtained. Gibson was buying from smugglers and ‘mistakenly’ (yeah right) mislabeling the wood on their customs forms.

    And again, I have to point out the ridiculousness of suggesting that this is some kind of Obama power play. This is just like Benghazi – why would Obama do this? What does he gain from it? I can’t even begin to imagine why he’d be singling out a company like this. How do you think it went down? Maybe Obama overheard that the CEO of Gibson was a Republican, and he just ordered someone to destroy him? He’s not even doing anything anyway, it’s a little fine – shouldn’t he be taking the company over or something? And aren’t there about a thousand higher-profile Republican CEO’s that Obama could go after if he were so inclined? People like Donald Trump and the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove have spent years and millions campaigning against Obama – wouldn’t he be better served by attacking those people first?

    One more time, an incomprehensible conspiracy theory about Obama’s sinister motivations does not pass the plausibility test.

    That should be the consumer’s decision.

    Oh wait, I keep forgetting you’re opposed to that.

    What does that have to do with anything? Consumers aren’t being affected here. Do you think it should be a consumer’s decision to eat the very last California condor?

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 12:53 pm - December 6, 2012

  104. 3 great lies:
    - The check is in the mail
    - I won’t **** in you
    - We regulators are here to help.
    It’s a self-organizing free market

    No, it isn’t. Because it’s freaking CHINA, so consumers don’t have consistent (thus effective) rights to free speech or to redress of grievances under the rule of law. Again:

    A free-market country must, first and above all, be a free country.

    Okay, whatever, I get it. You’re shutting it down. China is just off limits for me, because you said so. Even when we can point to a particular aspect of their economy and demonstrate how free market forces are in effect, you just get to ignore the point because CHINA.

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 1:02 pm - December 6, 2012

  105. It must be a very comforting delusion to believe that Government and Dear Leader can do no wrong.

    Comment by V the K — December 6, 2012 @ 1:03 pm - December 6, 2012

  106. You mean, like the way leftists scream when a legislature tries to pass a law subjecting abortion mills to the same medical standards as other medical facilities? All of a sudden, they start screaming about how the regulations will drive abortion mill operators out of business.

    Yeah, the left knows regulations are bad for businesses; but in their view, it’s a feature, not a bug.

    And here you have a perfect example of government over-regulating, and wouldn’t you know? It’s being done at the hands of the Republicans.

    Abortion is legal. Capturing government and passing a bunch of regulations that make legal abortion difficult to obtain is precisely the kind of government waste, bureaucracy, and over-regulation that conservatives claim to be so concerned about.

    Guess what? You’re a hypocrite.

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 1:10 pm - December 6, 2012

  107. Hmmm…. so leftists are so afraid that people might drink a 20 oz. soda that they think it’s right and proper for Government to ban them in the interest of public health.

    But it’s perfectly fine for women to get abortions in filthy, unsanitary clinics, because that’s none of the Government’s business.

    Yeah, that makes total sense.

    Comment by V the K — December 6, 2012 @ 1:14 pm - December 6, 2012

  108. And Levi continues to lie. Surprise.

    For the 2009 case, “Gibson relied on the fact that T.N.(the German supplier) was an established, FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) chain of custody certified supplier. ”

    So Gibson, using a certified legal supplier, is punished for actions beyond their control. Plus, it was 2 years before charges were brought after the seizue. Hmmm, So much for a speedy trial.

    “We felt compelled to settle as the costs of proving our case at trial would have cost millions of dollars and taken a very long time to resolve. This allows us to get back to the business of making guitars. An important part of the settlement is that we are getting back the materials seized in a second armed raid on our factories and we have formal acknowledgement that we can continue to source rosewood and ebony fingerboards from India, as we have done for many decades.”

    At least Levi is consistent. When faced with the truth, shout the lie louder.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 6, 2012 @ 1:19 pm - December 6, 2012

  109. V the K,

    It’s typical Levi. He doesn’t want honesty, or decency or safety. He wants only what he wants, and a pox on anyone who disagrees with him.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 6, 2012 @ 1:24 pm - December 6, 2012

  110. Hmmm…. so leftists are so afraid that people might drink a 20 oz. soda that they think it’s right and proper for Government to ban them in the interest of public health.

    I understand Bloomberg’s perspective, that doesn’t mean I support it. I think we should be trying different things to improve American health. Not sure if this is the best way, but it’s hardly a big deal. One municipality banning large sodas is not exactly a threat to freedom in any meaningful way.

    Hey, did you know that George Bush was illegally wiretapping thousands of Americans? But you’ll only get out of bed for the soda size freedoms, got it.

    Now if you want to talk about REAL threats to peoples’ freedom….

    But it’s perfectly fine for women to get abortions in filthy, unsanitary clinics, because that’s none of the Government’s business.

    Yeah, that makes total sense.

    … here you are! Of course, the clinics in Virginia are neither filthy or unsanitary. It’s just that, since abortion is legal in this country, you can’t exactly pass a law that says “Abortion is illegal in Virginia!” because it would get thrown out. So abortion opponents construct a pretense about building codes and safety concerns, and try to pretend like they’re doing it as a public health issue. But everyone knows the real score – Republicans pass stuff like this to make it harder to procure an abortion. Please, save yourself some dignity, drop the filthy/unsanitary stuff, and get real if you’re going to talk about this law.

    And really, it does show you how little conservatives actually care about all their ‘small government’ crap. As advocates for small, limited government, you’d think that conservatives wouldn’t do this kind of thing. Even if you hate abortion, aren’t you betraying your principles by using government bureaucracy and regulators to address the problem? You do realize that you need inspectors and inspections in order for this law to be enforced, don’t you?

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 1:33 pm - December 6, 2012

  111. Ah watch Levi spin.

    I understand Bloomberg’s perspective, that doesn’t mean I support it. I think we should be trying different things to improve American health. Not sure if this is the best way, but it’s hardly a big deal. One municipality banning large sodas is not exactly a threat to freedom in any meaningful way.

    Then again, Levi also endorces keeping businesses from producing products consumers want.

    But dare to argue even one abortion clinic shows a need to hold them to the same standard as any other medical facility and he goes off.

    So remember, the Government should send Ronald McDonald to Gitmo, but not terrorists. Wendy’s should be watched intently to make sure no child eats a kids meal, but ripping a child out of its mother is something that can be done in any backroom.

    Now hush Levi, the adults are talking.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 6, 2012 @ 1:54 pm - December 6, 2012

  112. Okay, whatever, I get it. You’re shutting it down. China is just off limits for me, because you said so. Even when we can point to a particular aspect of their economy and demonstrate how free market forces are in effect, you just get to ignore the point because CHINA.

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 1:02 pm – December 6, 2012

    Actually, Levi, it’s because nowhere in your statements are there any facts, links, references, or actually-researched information.

    Meanwhile, you ignore clear facts, links, references, and researched information showing how you unequivocally endorse and support the Obama Party and Obama supporters ignoring regulations, abusing governmental positions, and refusing to pay taxes.

    You have made it clear, Levi, that food inspection and restaurant inspection isn’t necessary; Obama supporters should simply use those jobs as a means of extorting and collecting bribes from businesses, and should punish businesses that complain.

    The reason you’re screaming and throwing your usual tantrum is because we have exposed you as a total hypocrite and liar. You support and endorse ignoring regulations. You support and endorse corrupt government officials. You support and endorse government intimidating business owners. You support and endorse Obama Party officials breaking the law, taking bribes, and refusing to pay their taxes.

    Don’t point at China and criticize their problems when you openly endorse and support the same in Chicago.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 6, 2012 @ 2:31 pm - December 6, 2012

  113. The obvious pattern in what Levi supports or opposes is pretty much “punish your opponents, reward your cronies;” which is exactly what his cult teaches.

    Comment by V the K — December 6, 2012 @ 2:36 pm - December 6, 2012

  114. … here you are! Of course, the clinics in Virginia are neither filthy or unsanitary.

    Comment by Levi — December 6, 2012 @ 1:33 pm – December 6, 2012

    Of course they are, Levi.

    Why?

    Because there aren’t regulations to keep them from being that way.

    As you have repeatedly stated, without regulations, business owners will cut corners and do bad things to maximize profits. You have stated that, without regulations and inspections, business owners will not keep their establishments safe and clean.

    Therefore, since there are no regulations mandating that they be, the abortion clinics in Virginia are filthy and unsanitary.

    And, since you have stated that the government’s position must always be to protect public health, the government must pass regulations to ensure that abortion clinics are operated in a safe and sanitary manner; after all, as you insist, without regulations, people will die.

    Furthermore, the expense does not matter; according to you, businesses that complain about the cost of regulations are engaging in criminal activity, since complying with regulations does not cost any additional money.

    In short, Levi, you just contradicted every single ounce of your own logic by insisting that abortion clinics do not need to be regulated, and proved that you don’t care about women’s safety or health by your refusal to regulate abortion clinics.

    You lose, boy. Now go spam another thread.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 6, 2012 @ 2:39 pm - December 6, 2012

  115. The other interesting thing, V the K; Levi screams that the abortion clinics (plural) in Virginia are not filthy or unsanitary.

    Which means he’s been in several of them.

    No surprise; after all, he defends coercing women into sex, having sex when you’re drunk, and unprotected sex, that he actually pressures women into sex without condoms, and that he is reluctant to use condoms at all.

    In short, Levi is going to know a lot about abortion clinics. That’s where he and his family fix their “problems”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 6, 2012 @ 2:45 pm - December 6, 2012

  116. Levi expects to throw out key foundations of free markets, then say “why isn’t it producing perfection?”

    The question answers itself, if you state it properly.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 4:10 pm - December 6, 2012

  117. Actually, ILC, it’s even simpler than that; Levi is a communist, who believes that any failure within his fascist system can be traced to “contamination” with “free market” and “capitalist” ideas.

    Hence, it’s not that communism has failed in China; it’s that they’ve allowed it to be tainted with capitalism. If they just imposed total state control, as Levi advocates, they wouldn’t have any problem.

    Levi doesn’t disagree with Nazism. He just thinks Hitler was incompetent at administering it.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 6, 2012 @ 5:09 pm - December 6, 2012

  118. Thing is, my position is that regulation should be light and minimal on everything. Levi thinks all enterprises should be regulated to the max, except for those operated by Democrat Special Interests, which should be completely left alone.

    Who’s the hypocrite in this situation?

    Comment by V the K — December 6, 2012 @ 7:05 pm - December 6, 2012

  119. “ILC, you’re missing the point”

    This is because he is a utopianist. These folks – god bless them – live in a world of a “ought to be” Not the way it actually is.
    They redefine things, paraphrase your point into a strawman, and move goalposts away from any real conversation about the world unless the discussion fits inside their parameters.

    Its what all ideologues, and utopianists do – on both sides of the political spectrum.

    Livewire – the government often restricts business from giving products to consumers – for example cigarettes, alcohol, trucks, cocaine, guns, pain killers, teeth fillings, electrical outlets, refrigerators, air conditioners, cars, computers, toothpicks, tooth paste, junction boxes, phones, radios and on and on and on.

    Its what the government does. They do this for “the greater good.” I am NOT saying I agree with it. But it is the way the world is. Does Bloomberg go to far? – Maybe, but I’ll leave that to the voters of NYC. This is the great thing about the USA. If the regulations become too onerous, the consumer can vote the regulators out.

    Comment by mike — December 6, 2012 @ 9:12 pm - December 6, 2012

  120. This is because he is a utopianist. These folks – god bless them – live in a world of a “ought to be” Not the way it actually is.
    They redefine things, paraphrase your point into a strawman, and move goalposts away from any real conversation about the world unless the discussion fits inside their parameters.

    Comment by mike — December 6, 2012 @ 9:12 pm – December 6, 2012

    Actually, no.

    ILC, myself, V the K, and Livewire have provided example after example of linked, referenceable facts taken directly from the real world.

    You and your fellow ideologue and utopianist Levi have done nothing but desperately run away from those facts. Indeed, you’ve not posted a single link, a single reference, or a single fact; you’ve simply made up stories and spun fantasies and strawmen.

    But that’s really typical of liberals like yourself. Liberals simply don’t live in reality; they live in a faculty-lounge version of society, where reality and work are kept out and diktats are created. Any facts that are contrary to their beliefs are automatically ignored and the person who brings it to their attention called names, just as you did with ILC.

    If you and Levi were intelligent people, you would be able to respond to the facts that have been presented to you. But you can’t. You are both incapable of criticizing your fellow Obamunists and also unwilling to give up your own belief that Leopold-you and your little Loeb Levi should be beyond such petty concerns as laws and regulations because you espouse the correct Obamunist Party ideology.

    This is why you amuse us so when you criticize China, because China is the utopianist society that your Obamunist Party wants: all dissent is suppressed, the government controls what you will eat, where you will live,and how you will work, and those who, like yourself, espouse the correct Party ideology may live luxuriously at government expense while you exhort everyone else to “sacrifice”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 6, 2012 @ 9:36 pm - December 6, 2012

  121. NDT, indeed. No biggie but I happened to notice that there isn’t a single comment in this thread, up to now, where I mention mike’s name only to speak ‘about’ him without addressing his arguments, as mike did with me (#119). Up to this comment, I’ve been mentioning his name only to speak ‘to’ him and address his arguments, like he might be a person worth addressing. Perhaps he’s not?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 6, 2012 @ 10:25 pm - December 6, 2012

  122. I wrote:
    “They [utopianists] redefine things, paraphrase your point into a strawman, and move goalposts away from any real conversation about the world unless the discussion fits inside their parameters.

    Its what all ideologues, and utopianists do – on both sides of the political spectrum.”

    NTD wrote:

    “This is why you amuse us so when you criticize China, because China is the utopianist society that your Obamunist Party wants: all dissent is suppressed, the government controls what you will eat, where you will live,and how you will work, and those who, like yourself, espouse the correct Party ideology may live luxuriously at government expense while you exhort everyone else to “sacrifice”.”

    An Ideologue creates a strawman, and then beats the crap out it.

    Thank you for highlighting my point.

    (Who is “us” by the way? Are you like the Borg?)

    ILC – Your arguments did nothing to counter the likelihood that China is possibly the freest economy in the world on the local street level and their poor environment / food safety is a product of that free economy.
    An argument you could have made is China put billions if not trillions of dollars into the Macro economy but of course you wouldn’t make that argument because I have seen others make the argument that China is proof of the benefits of Macro State Spending as they say China has lifted more people out of poverty than any government in the world. (I would not make this argument as I have seen the drawbacks this state directed spend has caused)
    – However this does not change the fact that on the local level, China’s economy is amazingly Laissez-faire and we can see its negative ramifications.

    Comment by mike — December 7, 2012 @ 12:06 am - December 7, 2012

  123. Thank you for highlighting my point.

    Comment by mike — December 7, 2012 @ 12:06 am – December 7, 2012

    Indeed I did, mike.

    Which was, “I, concern-troll mike and my fellow Obamunist Levi, can use strawmen all we want while simultaneously whining and decrying everyone else’s arguments as one.”

    You’re a hypocrite who accuses others of what you yourself are doing. We already knew that.

    So let’s go to this:

    ILC – Your arguments did nothing to counter the likelihood that China is possibly the freest economy in the world on the local street level and their poor environment / food safety is a product of that free economy.

    But, since you provide no facts, no links, no references, and no checkable information, your statement has no evidence in the first place.

    There is nothing to counter because you have never provided facts or evidence in the first place. You simply spouted something and demanded that we prove you wrong.

    Meanwhile, here are the facts: liberals like yourself and Levi openly endorse, support, and elect high government officials ignoring regulations, cheating on taxes, and strong-arming bribes.

    So what that means is very simple: one, you don’t care about tax evasion or violation of regulations; two, you support people of the correct ideology violating the law and taking bribes in exchange for allowing the law to be violated; and three, that you will not apply any of your “fixes” for the problems that you have conjured up if they in any way would affect a member of or income source for your Obamunist Party, such as yours and Levi’s adamant opposition to inspection or regulation of abortion centers.

    What it boils down to is this: as ILC aptly put it, you’re out to bash capitalism and free markets and push state control and government regulation of others. Never yourself.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 7, 2012 @ 2:11 am - December 7, 2012

  124. ILoveCapitalism, you are wrong about regulation, specifically your post #50.

    You said that regulation doesn’t help protect consumers. I and another commenter used the example of China to show what happens when regulations are lax. If you buy milk powder from a Chinese company, for example, your baby might die from poisons intentionally laced in the product in order to increase its protein content.

    That might be an extreme example, but there are millions of less extreme examples that can still cause sickness and health problems, such as street vendors reusing oil.

    IF there was a regulator that looked at food and produce, then perhaps those babies would be alive, because the milk wasn’t poisoned. So obviously regulation can help consumers.

    There’s not some kind of bribery going on in China between peddlers on the street, who engage in the same kind of unethical and harmful tactics, and officials. Talk about the pirated goods market in China: They have a whole market in Shanghai filled with people selling fake luxury brand clothing. Everyone knows it, and it is talked about openly among residents. When the police come, the merchants shut their shop doors and pretend to be closed. I’ve been there when the police were there, and they have curtains over their warehouse doors, and some one comes up to you and asks if you want to buy, then they wait till the police aren’t looking, and they open the door a bit and rush you in under the curtain. Anyone knows what is going on, but I guess the police don’t have a warrant or something. Even China has this kind of law apparently.

    Your answer to lax regulation that can result in deadly products is that people should be left on their own potentially risking their lives or at the least wasting money. The problem is that consumers would be better off if they were guaranteed a minimum level of safety and reliability from products. It would make everyone’s lives better at no cost. (If the only products that are affected are dangerous and defective products, then they aren’t being denied anything. Does the EPA and other regulations sometimes go overboard? Yes. But my first comment advanced the idea of “rational” regulation.) People create governments specifically to carry out functions that they can’t carry out on their own in order to make their lives better. It’s the same reason that people support the government creating police departments, even though they could be allowed to act on their own and shoot criminals with concealed carry weapons.

    Anyway, consumers don’t have the expertise about so many products to know if a product is good or not. Consumers aren’t electrical engineers or chemists, and they have no way of knowing if an electrical product will cause fires or if an airplane will crash and kill them in flight.

    Your point suffers further when talking about items in the public space, such as air and water. As noted, China’s air is relatively polluted. To a certain degree, that is part of a trade off with development, and development is more important in general than trying to keep all pollutants out of the air. But there are some kinds of unnecessary pollution that occurs in the disposal of waste into water sources that could be done without while still promoting development.

    Let’s presume there is a company that disposes of waste in an unprotected fashion that causes public health consequences such as in Love Canal. Your solution is for consumers to simply not purchase the goods of the company that pollutes. That doesn’t work, because if a company pollutes that public resources, then it will affect everyone, regardless of whether they made a private choice to do so.

    Comment by Mitch — December 7, 2012 @ 2:46 am - December 7, 2012

  125. A few other responses to ILoveCapitalism:
    He says that economic self-correcting trends won’t take a long time “if the government gets out of the way,” but in the 1800′s, when the government’s scope and impact on the economy was much less than it is today, there were also lots of boom and bust cycles taking multiple years to correct.

    He did concede in his #4 response that yes, some small amount of government spending (that spent on roads, infrastructure) can help businesses, but he said it was very small, maybe “1%” of government spending. I do agree that the government spends too much money on wasteful crap such as Obamaphones and ObamaMedicaid and Obama”GreenEnergyJobs”, but I guess I was simply stating that SOME government spending does help the economy, which is a point that we both apparently agree on.

    Finally, government spending on most programs does help the economy by some amount in the short term even if the program isn’t a good idea. The money goes to people, being spent once, then is spent again by them, and is spent a few other times maybe, so that would help some in the short term, as argued by both Keynes, the Congressional Budget Office, and Congressional Republicans, who argue that if sequestration takes place as part of the so-called “fiscal cliff”, the economy will be hurt next year.

    Comment by Mitch — December 7, 2012 @ 2:57 am - December 7, 2012

  126. ILoveCapitalism:
    You also said that there shouldn’t be regulation, because sometimes regulation doesn’t work (Bernie Madoff). So you think something should work 100% of the time or else it is bad? In that case the private sector sucks because sometimes bad things happen.

    If the SEC not catching Madoff earlier reflects a fundamental problem that the SEC isn’t strong enough, then the answer is that it should be strengthen. Weakening the SEC would make it even HARDER for them to catch the next Madoff. But since he’s going to get punished for his crimes, I would argue that people would be discouraged from doing more Ponzi schemes. As long as there is a law against Ponzi schemes, there needs to be someone to enforce the law. Basically the police are a form of regulation, as they are enforcing laws, and regulators are enforcing rules that have the force of law.

    On 9/11, we were attacked and had 3,000 people killed. Bush responded by increasing terrorist surveilence measures and taking the fight to al-Qaeda via military action. His use of wiretapping and other measures has prevented multiple attacks. But, if we follow your logic, the 9/11 attack proves that anti-terrorism measures don’t work and we should cut down on anti-terrorism measures.

    Comment by Mitch — December 7, 2012 @ 3:13 am - December 7, 2012

  127. Mitch, why do statists like yourself constantly blather on about how we need more regulations when you support and endorse those who break them and you use the ones we have for extortion?

    And why do you insist that one incident proves that all businesses want to poison babies, while multiple incidents of regulatory failure and corruption don’t mean all regulations are bad?

    Answer: Because you are a statist. Your goal is to diminish the individual and expand the power of the state with regulations that you and your fellow cronies have no intention of following yourself.

    Facts do not support this as a good idea. That’s why you rant on and on with your “one time at band camp in China” stories, because you simply refuse to acknowledge all the facts concerning regulatory abuse, government abuse, and unnecessary costs that you have been shown in numerous factual references.

    We get it. You worship government as your god and want government to punish those who work hard and make more than you. That’s why you smear capitalism, attack businesses, and insist that all business owners want to poison babies and dump toxic waste.

    And then you support tax cheats because they spout your Obamunists doctrine.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 7, 2012 @ 9:02 am - December 7, 2012

  128. Oh, and statist Mitch: since you insist that government spending, even of its wasteful, is always better than allowing people to spend their own money, will you start signing 100% of your wealth over to the government?

    And if you won’t, why don’t you care about the public good?

    Also, will you state that the only thing that keeps you from poisoning babies and dumping toxic waste are the threat of punishment from government regulations, and that if they weren’t there, you’d immediately start doing both?

    What we’re going to see very quickly, I predict, is the blubbering response of the statist: “No! I didn’t mean that I should have to follow the rules! I’m an Obamunist! Party ideologues and donor don’t have to follow our rules, only you do!”

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 7, 2012 @ 9:16 am - December 7, 2012

  129. ILC – Your arguments did nothing to counter blah blah blah

    No mike; they did. You just prefer not to deal with it.

    on the local level, China’s economy is amazingly Laissez-faire

    … as dissidents are hauled off to jail and courts and media are manipulated by Party officials, which means the consumer is not actually sovereign (can’t much speak out, for example). A part of my argument that you simply choose to ignore, as if I haven’t said it. Good luck.

    Mitch:

    You said that regulation doesn’t help protect consumers.

    No, I didn’t say that. I can see how you got that, but what I really said is that protecting consumers is not its main purpose (the reason it comes about and the main thing it achieves), only its supposed purpose (the reason that its advocates offer for it). Having said that, I can grant that regulation may achieve its supposed purpose on an occasional/random type of basis.

    If you buy milk powder from a Chinese company, for example, your baby might die from poisons intentionally laced in the product in order to increase its protein content.

    “Intentionally laced”? Please provide the cite, so we can examine the case together.

    IF there was a regulator that looked at food and produce, then perhaps those babies would be alive

    That’s a stretch, perhaps a fantasy. If China is as bad a country as you yourself say, there is no reason to suppose their regulators would achieve much.

    It comes down to this: China is a screwed-up place, period. To the extent that they have adopted capitalism/freedom in the last 30 years, their life is better than it was in the Great Cultural Revolution. But it doesn’t heal the Cultural Revolution or make the place perfect overnight; the more so because, in reality, China has NOT adopted some of the most crucial pieces of capitalism/freedom. So no, you don’t get to point their problems and say “That’s because of capitalism/freedom”; at least not around here.

    There’s not some kind of bribery going on in China between peddlers on the street, who engage in the same kind of unethical and harmful tactics, and officials.

    As I said to mike: How would you really know? BUT, the larger point is that there doesn’t have to be. The larger point is that ‘people doing the right thing’ is a culture whose development requires time and the impartial protection of individual rights to life, liberty and property, something that China still lacks. China still doesn’t even have a real concept of land ownership, for cryin’ out loud.

    the pirated goods market in China: They have a whole market in Shanghai filled with people selling fake luxury brand clothing. Everyone knows it

    Translation: CHINA DOES NOT PROTECT RIGHTS TO LIFE, LIBERTY OR PROPERTY… including intellectual property.

    Am I not saying this often enough? Am I not making it clear?

    When the police come, the merchants shut their shop doors and pretend to be closed. I’ve been there when the police were there, and they have curtains over their warehouse doors, and some one comes up to you and asks if you want to buy, then they wait till the police aren’t looking, and they open the door a bit and rush you in under the curtain.

    Translation: REGULATION DOESN’T WORK. The economic regulator, in this case the policeman, has little real power to stop people from doing what they’re going to do. At best, he’s a showpiece who gives some people a false sense of confidence, like the SEC did with Bernie Madoff’s victims. That’s the fact, but somehow you can’t see it, even though your own comments depict it clearly.

    Your answer to lax regulation that can result in deadly products is that people should be left on their own

    No, only that the solution need not be governmental. Sorry Mitch, but you’re engaged in the typical straw man tactics of the Big Government brainwash-ee (or worshipper). You think it’s either a governmental solution, or doom. It’s not. In a free country, a country which protects individual rights to life liberty and property impartially, consumers and do can band together to accomplish all sorts of things and spread all sorts of helpful information.

    The problem is that consumers would be better off if they were guaranteed a minimum level of safety and reliability from products.

    No, they wouldn’t. Because it’s an impossibility, something that GOVERNMENT IS NOT ABLE TO GUARANTEE, a false guarantee. Furthermore, in making the effort, government becomes an actual violator of individuals’ rights to life liberty and property.

    People create governments specifically to carry out functions that they can’t carry out on their own in order to make their lives better.

    Morally speaking, the created entity can have no more rights than the people creating it, and what they have delegated to it. Example: If I don’t have the right to silence your speech (and morally, indeed I don’t), then neither can the government. If I don’t have the moral right to re-distribute your income for supposed “fairness”, neither can the government. And so on. If I don’t have the moral right to stop you from setting up a hair-braiding business or impose 10,993 requirements on you before you do so, neither can the government. What I can morally do, though, is (1) refuse to go to your hair-braiding business, and/or (2) spread the word about it, if something bad is going on there.

    I’m running short on time. I would like to address the rest of your arguments in detail, but there isn’t enough time. They’re all in pretty much the same vein, though, and my comments collectively have laid out general principles which would fully answer your points, if applied correctly.

    Just a couple more things:

    in the 1800′s, when the government’s scope and impact on the economy was much less than it is today, there were also lots of boom and bust cycles taking multiple years to correct.

    The most important price in the economy, the one of which the government’s manipulation will have the greatest effect in causing the boom-bust cycle, is the interest rate. And unfortunately, the U.S. has never been free from government efforts to manipulate interest rates (or equivalently, money supply). In the 19th century, for example, they had the Bank of the United States, the printing of greenbacks in the Civil War which caused huge inflation that later had to be purged when returning to a gold standard, etc.

    Having said that: The supposed badness of the 19th-century economy is a fallacy spread commonly, on the Left. Overall, it gave us the greatest advances in human living standards yet seen. They called it a “depression” if the U.S. real economy only grew by 40% in a decade, instead of the 50% or 60% they were used to. See cite provided at comment #14.

    I was simply stating that SOME government spending does help the economy, which is a point that we both apparently agree on.

    Maybe, we’ll see. Here’s the thing. Government spending is necessarily wasteful and inefficient, compared to private sector spending. That is a big part of why “Government Spending Hurts the Economy”, the point of this post.

    What that means is, we should avoid it whenever possible. The function of government, the thing that the private sector simply cannot do because otherwise the result would be civil war, is: physical protection of individual rights to life, liberty and property. So we put up with government spending there, even though said spending is still necessarily and inherently going to be inefficient.

    So, yes: I support minimal spending on government’s legitimate functions, even though that spending will still be rife with waste, will cause higher expenses in (thus damage to) the private sector, etc. But whether we should include road-building in those functions is a debatable question. We can debate it another time. Suffice to say that at least half of what government spends on today, and probably two-thirds, is not things which government has any business trying to do.

    government spending on most programs does help the economy by some amount in the short term even if the program isn’t a good idea. The money goes to people, being spent once, then is spent again by them, and is spent a few other times maybe

    Already answered by many of my comments. First, you’re indulging the Keynesian “spending drives the economy” theory, which is false.

    Second, even if we were to accept that theory, you’re still ignoring the counter-acting effects which undermine the Keynesian multiplier, such as: increased inefficieny and malinvestment, loss of demand/spending due to higher taxes (if taxes are raised to pay for the government spending), loss of demand/spending due to higher debt service (if government borrows), loss of demand/spending due to higher consumer and commodity prices (if government prints money, to salve the impact of its borrowing), and higher private sector costs generally. It’s as if you have not read my post which started this discussion, “Why Government Spending Hurts the Economy.”

    You also said that there shouldn’t be regulation, because sometimes regulation doesn’t work (Bernie Madoff).

    Again, that’s not actually my argument. But I just don’t have all day, sorry.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 7, 2012 @ 9:38 am - December 7, 2012

  130. And why do you insist that one incident proves that all businesses want to poison babies, while multiple incidents of regulatory failure and corruption don’t mean all regulations are bad?

    Excellent question. (Though, again and to make it clear for Mitch, NOT my own most important argument against regulation.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 7, 2012 @ 9:45 am - December 7, 2012

  131. “one time at band camp in China” stories

    Heh :-)

    [is it the case,] that the only thing that keeps you from poisoning babies and dumping toxic waste are the threat of punishment from government regulations, and that if they weren’t there, you’d immediately start doing both?

    Another great question.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 7, 2012 @ 9:47 am - December 7, 2012

  132. So, does any statist (or advocate of Big Government) have points to make which haven’t already been answered? “Going, going, …”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 7, 2012 @ 12:41 pm - December 7, 2012

  133. Already answered by many of my comments. First, you’re indulging the Keynesian “spending drives the economy” theory, which is false.

    Second, even if we were to accept that theory, you’re still ignoring the counter-acting effects which undermine the Keynesian multiplier, such as: increased inefficieny and malinvestment, loss of demand/spending due to higher taxes (if taxes are raised to pay for the government spending), loss of demand/spending due to higher debt service (if government borrows), loss of demand/spending due to higher consumer and commodity prices (if government prints money, to salve the impact of its borrowing), and higher private sector costs generally.

    Perhaps I can assist by phrasing it this way, ILC.

    Keynesians believe in the all-powerful and all-goodness nature of government spending, insisting that government spending is always better than private-sector and individual spending.

    We see this attitude from Mitch above:

    Finally, government spending on most programs does help the economy by some amount in the short term even if the program isn’t a good idea. The money goes to people, being spent once, then is spent again by them, and is spent a few other times maybe, so that would help some in the short term, as argued by both Keynes, the Congressional Budget Office, and Congressional Republicans, who argue that if sequestration takes place as part of the so-called “fiscal cliff”, the economy will be hurt next year.

    Comment by Mitch — December 7, 2012 @ 2:57 am – December 7, 2012

    To put that into a real-world example, Mitch is stating that it is better for the economy that the government raise taxes on (and thus channel money away from) working people so that it can provide unlimited free health care to drunks. Mitch is stating that drunks spend money more effectively and in a fashion better for the economy than the people who earn it.

    Again, I repeat myself. That drunk is spending the equivalent of $7,500 in taxes per year from twenty working taxpayers. Mitch is stating that the drunk spending that money on alcohol, drinking himself into a stupor, and then requiring paramedic and police attention is spending that money better than every single one of those twenty working taxpayers could ever do.

    Seriously. Putting that money in a savings account? Nope, worse for the economy than the drunk. Spending it on your kid’s education? Worse for the economy than the drunk. Paying down the mortgage or other bills? Worse for the economy than the drunk.

    You can repeat this ad infinitum. Mitch and his Obamunist/Keynesian ilk believe it is better for the economy for working taxpayers to give money to adult babies to pay for “nurses” than to pay for their own parents’ home health aide. Mitch and his Obamunist/Keynesian ilk believe it is better for the economy for working taxpayers to subsidize rent for four Manhattan apartments for a multi-millionaire Congressman than to use it to pay their own rent or mortgage on their single home.

    This is the fiction of Obamunism. Mitch and his ilk preach that even wasteful government spending is better than private spending in every single respect.

    Why?

    Because that is the only way they can rationalize taking money from others for their own uses. They are moochers and looters who use every excuse and trick in the book to scream that you don’t deserve your money, you didn’t build that, hand it over or you’re an evil racist bigot who wants to kill all gays, push the elderly off cliffs, and leave women to die on the floor.

    It is the tantrum of a child. Mitch, concern-troll mike, Levi, Barack Obama, and their entire Party are nothing more than malevolent and malicious children who are trying to use on everyone else the games they played on their spineless, incompetent parents.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 7, 2012 @ 12:51 pm - December 7, 2012

  134. Mitch and his ilk preach that even wasteful government spending is better than private spending

    In effect, yes. I couldn’t say if Mitch personally believes (or is) all that you ascribe to statists/leftists as a group. But you’ve correctly understood the implications of his words in favor of the (incorrect) Keynesian multiplier theory, his use of the “Government regulation or DOOM!” false dichotomy, his/mike’s/Levi’s efforts to blame capitalism for the bad actions of some market actors in Communist China, etc.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 7, 2012 @ 1:00 pm - December 7, 2012

  135. And I can take this one even farther.

    Remember, Mitch says the following:

    Finally, government spending on most programs does help the economy by some amount in the short term even if the program isn’t a good idea.

    Comment by Mitch — December 7, 2012 @ 2:57 am – December 7, 2012

    So Mitch says it is better for the economy for taxpayers, rather than buying plane tickets for their business trip, to buy private airliners stocked with gourmet food and liquor for insider-trading multimillionaires.

    So Mitch says it is better for the economy for taxpayers, rather than throwing a party for their own family and friends, to fund massive Hollywood affairs for Michelle Obama and her friends to prance around in costume.

    So Mitch says it is better for the economy for taxpayers, rather than taking their own families on a Las Vegas vacation, to pay for Washington DC bureaucrats to have a lavish “over the top” conference.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 7, 2012 @ 1:10 pm - December 7, 2012

  136. Oh, but there’s even better examples.

    From above, we have Obama and the Obamunist administration haranguing corporations and taxpayers that “you can’t take a trip to Las Vegas on the taxpayer’s dime” and “you don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college” – while planning, approving, and carrying out multiple lavish Las Vegas vacations, fundraising trips, and government bureaucrat conferences, all on the taxpayer’s dime.

    We have Obama and the Obamunist Party shrieking about “global warming” and telling Americans that they can’t drive their SUVs and eat as much as they want and keep their homes on 72 degrees at all times – and then driving around in their fleets of black SUVs from their private jets to dinners featuring Wagyu beef in rooms they have hiked up to hothouse temperatures.

    Again, according to Mitch, this is not waste, because it’s government spending — even if the government in the form of Dear Leader Obama is haranguing people that it IS waste.

    This brings into stark relief the philosophy behind Mitch’s statement here:

    People create governments specifically to carry out functions that they can’t carry out on their own in order to make their lives better.

    And from what we see Mitch supporting and endorsing, he and his fellow Obamunists have created government with the functional goal to be to take money from people who have earned it to give to them — and to make sure that people who are not in the government “elite” are harangued and punished into not doing the things that the elite are doing at taxpayer expense.

    In short, Mitch creates government to enable theft for the benefit of himself and other Obamunist elites.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 7, 2012 @ 1:23 pm - December 7, 2012

  137. The statement:

    People create governments specifically to carry out functions that they can’t carry out on their own in order to make their lives better.

    …is rather two-edged. I tried to put on it (and thus to assert) a correct interpretation: that people delegate a part of their right of self-defense to government in order to avoid civil war, and that government must be limited because it can’t possibly be right for government to exceed the limited rights which have been delegated to it.

    But Mitch’s original is less carefully phrased. It does lend itself to Levi’s beliefs about government, namely, that government exists so Levi can impose his wishes on people (“drag them kicking and screaming into the future”, Levi’s words), which of course Levi would normally be unable to do.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 7, 2012 @ 1:39 pm - December 7, 2012

  138. Keynesians believe in the all-powerful and all-goodness nature of government spending, insisting that government spending is always better than private-sector and individual spending.”

    Comment by Passing By — December 7, 2012 @ 9:11 pm - December 7, 2012

  139. Too bad your Obama lies and hypocrisy were already pointed out, Passing By.

    But we should expect that. Obama supporters like yourself are nothing more than brain-dead Nazis, dependent on welfare checks and looking to government to facilitate the murder of everyone you hate.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 9, 2012 @ 11:52 am - December 9, 2012

  140. “Too bad your [Choose Republican of your choice] lies and hypocrisy were already pointed out, [North Dallas Thirty].

    But we should expect that. [Choose Republican of your choice] supporters like yourself are nothing more than brain-dead Nazis, dependent on [corporate] welfare checks and looking to government[subsidies and tax expenditures] to facilitate the murder of everyone you hate.”

    Comment by Passing By — December 9, 2012 @ 10:19 pm - December 9, 2012

Leave a comment

Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

**Note: Your first comment is held for moderation. Avoid profanity, avoid personal attacks on fellow commenters, and avoid complaining about personal attacks (even on you). Feel free to disagree with anyone, but focus on their ideas; give us the information that you think they overlooked.**


Live preview of comment

Close this window.

0.936 Powered by Wordpress