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  1. The religious fundamentalism of the Leftists will not allow them to see the truth. There is no way to reach those who will not see.

    Comment by Paul — January 4, 2013 @ 6:55 pm - January 4, 2013

  2. Paul, as you would know, they’ve constructed a vast array of theories for why government spending must magically, wonderfully help the economy.

    Their theories ignore the countervailing (harmful) effects of government spending… they just pretend there are none.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 4, 2013 @ 7:36 pm - January 4, 2013

  3. Government spending is necessary because government isn’t always less efficient than the private sector and public safety and fixed public costs that are adequately funded are directly tied to public and business confidence. Also, a government may grow through legal mandate without commensurate growth in the consumption of revenue and vice-versa, although the general trend is what the article is discussing. Also, there is the issue of timing (when to cut programs entirely, when to cut their growth, etc.). As for the examples, Sweden’s cuts to government spending were largely due to the selling of state-owned industries while its cradle-to-grave welfare system remains largely intact. Canada benefited from a free trade agreement with the US, aided by a steady change in its currency valuation. The article also doesn’t make a single mention of our foreign wars, wars which are traditionally “off-budget”. I realize no article can go into every aspect of a very complex subject such as a large, modern economy and I agree with the general principle that ever larger rates of public spending are immoral on most levels but I think articles like this illustrate why it’s the easiest thing in the world to be a leftist and far more difficult to explain why the left is wrong and always has been.

    Comment by Ignatius — January 4, 2013 @ 8:40 pm - January 4, 2013

  4. There’s another reason taxes–all taxes, even those necessary to fund the “optimally sized” government–are harmful. That is that taxes paid are monies not in the hands of those who know best what to do with it: the owners of that money.

    Money retained by us:

    -fuels spending–a significant portion of our economy
    -fuels investments–small, mom and pop business
    -fuels investments via the stock and bond market
    -fuels investments via savings–funds on deposit in financial institutions are loanable funds–to business, mortgage seekers (which is construction), and so on

    All taxes reduce those capabilities. Moreover, the threat of future taxes that ILC has described won’t only affect business decisions of what to do with their stockholders’ funds; private citizens will alter their behavior, as well. They’ll move generally toward saving and away from consumption–but that lower consumption will inhibit production and the need for investment borrowing, and the money will just sit idly. Or, they’ll increase consumption and save less–which will stimulate production efforts which will fail because there’ll be no loanable funds.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — January 4, 2013 @ 8:43 pm - January 4, 2013

  5. …government isn’t always less efficient than the private sector and public safety and fixed public costs that are adequately funded are directly tied to public and business confidence.

    They are far less efficient for a very large reason–the government has no need to meet a budget–it can simply borrow or print more money–those future taxes. The things you name (and wars, generally, without going into which, also belong on that list) are necessary because they’re of a nature that only government can do them–but that does not make the funding of them efficient, only necessary.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — January 4, 2013 @ 8:48 pm - January 4, 2013

  6. government isn’t always less efficient than the private sector

    I disagree: By its nature as an entity which can commandeer (or borrow or print) all the resources it wants, government is necessarily less efficient than the private sector.

    Where I do agree with you is that some government spending is necessary anyway, despite the inefficiency, because there are certain things that the private sector, by its nature, should not attempt to do and cannot do: namely the provision of police, courts and military for the impartial (the private sector is partial, by definition) protection of individual rights to life, liberty and property. The Rahn Curve captures the idea that some government spending is indeed necessary for a working economy.

    Sweden’s cuts to government spending were largely due to the selling of state-owned industries while its cradle-to-grave welfare system remains largely intact.

    Yes, and they’re better off for at least having moved in the right direction. You’re right that they didn’t move to the optimal pro-growth point of the Rahn Curve. Still, they moved to a slightly better point on it, and have better results to show for it.

    Canada benefited from a free trade agreement with the US

    Yes. As previously cited, the benefit of spending cuts (moving to a better point on the Rahn Curve) is maximized “when spending reductions are accompanied by policies such as the liberalization of trade and labor markets…”

    The article also doesn’t make a single mention of our foreign wars, wars which are traditionally “off-budget”.

    I can’t make sense of that. I know of no U.S. war in the last 150 years which was not reflected on government spending budgets.

    all taxes, even those necessary to fund the “optimally sized” government… [are] monies not in the hands of those who know best what to do with it: the owners of that money.

    Eric, agreed. But again, I accept some inefficiency because there are a certain few critical things (impartial protection of citizens’ rights) that only government can do, or should attempt. If you want to discuss alternative (non-tax) financing methods, well OK, that’s a good topic ;-)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 4, 2013 @ 8:58 pm - January 4, 2013

  7. And efficiency isn’t limited to fiscal concerns, roads being an obvious example.

    Comment by Ignatius — January 4, 2013 @ 9:01 pm - January 4, 2013

  8. I accept some inefficiency because there are a certain few critical things…that only government can do, or should attempt.

    As do I–which is why I had my caveat. The harm is real, but it’s a necessary evil. The gain, when government involvement is properly circumscribed, is worth the pain.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — January 4, 2013 @ 9:48 pm - January 4, 2013

  9. I know and admire ILC through his clear understandings of economic forces. One point that ILC would never make is sort of sticking its nose under the tent here and that an inference that “government” ss a monolithic and relatively benign organism.

    Socialism is a growth organism and is the handmaiden of communism.

    The government is chock-a-block full of creatures of opportunity who willingly engage in crony capitalism and quid pro quo favors. Obama’s love affair with unions in general and SEIU in particular is a point in hand.

    Much of what our government has engaged in recently is the manipulation of the free market (which is not actually free) through regulation to meet the demands of the government. Everyone is certainly aware that this current group of power brokers favors “green energy” and is blocking fossil fuel development.

    Economics is no source of comfort to low-information voters, but class envy demagoguing is rocket fuel for low information voters.

    There are tons of jobs locked up in many hard hit states involving the how and when of the recovery of natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation.

    Good stewardship of the environment is extremely important. But, it should come as no surprise, power politics is rarely about anything more than ideology laced with lots of cash.

    Every little snip at reducing “government” will unleash screaming wildcats all claiming to be the victims of torture, rape and dehumanization. And one of the first ports of call will be to engage the mouths of seasoned demagogues serving in government as allies.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 5, 2013 @ 5:33 pm - January 5, 2013

  10. “Well, they’re just wrong [as long as we all follow my assumption set]. …

    - A growing government inherently threatens people with future tax hikes and/or inflation [assuming that said government spending does not lead to increased productivity and GDP, say through infrastructure, other investment, etc]. The threat guts business confidence [if businesses assume government spending is not productive, or if government does not support aggregate demand in recessions];
    - Government does things less efficiently than the private sector [by assumption, as long as such industries are not like health care, etc, as Arrow showed long ago]…
    - Government spending grabs economic resources from the private sector, raising private sector costs over what they would have been [assuming that there are no market failures, e.g., externalities, etc that drive up the marginal social costs of doing business and that government can help rectify through taxation etc, that can then be spent elsewhere]. That drives marginal businesses ‘out of business’ [especially when their marginal social cost of doing business is GREATER than the marginal social benefits of doing business]. ”

    “The religious fundamentalism of [some of] the [Right]ists will not allow them to see the truth. There is no way to reach those who will not see.” [Amen to that, brother!]

    Comment by Passing By — January 5, 2013 @ 9:29 pm - January 5, 2013

  11. Really, passing gas? that’s the best you can do for a refutation?

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — January 5, 2013 @ 10:43 pm - January 5, 2013

  12. A growing government inherently threatens people with future tax hikes and/or inflation [assuming that said government spending does not lead to increased productivity and GDP, say through infrastructure, other investment, etc].

    And it doesn’t.

    San Francisco has paid at least $150,000 for Kenny Walters in the past year. He isn’t employed, has an arrest record as long as his hair, and can often be found passed out in a doorway on Haight Street.

    Kenny Walters’ job is to get drunk.

    And more:

    Pelosi’s video then offered the perspective of those in the welfare line.

    “I’m here tryin’ to get some Obama bucks, that’s what I’m doin’, trying to get some Obama money,” said one man in a Yankees baseball cap.

    “I am here to get some benefits, you know I mean, I’m here to get a check,” said another man as he blew smoke in the air. “Bitch, I wanna check.”

    But of course, why this is encouraged and supported by the Obama Party and by its puppets like Passing By then becomes immediately obvious.

    Everyone featured in the video promised to vote for President Barack Obama.

    “Cause, he gives me stuff,” a woman answered when asked why she likes Obama.

    “Cause he’s black,” said another man.

    One man admitted to not working in a decade. Another explained he cannot work because of his background as a former convict, and another man added that he deserves benefits because of the country’s history of slavery.

    The subjects of Pelosi’s film admitted that they don’t want to work — just a free check.

    Now spin for us, Passing By, and explain how paying people not to work “increases productivity and GDP”.

    Indeed, why don’t you point to the “infrastructure” these checks are going to build?

    And then there was this hilarious lie.

    Government spending grabs economic resources from the private sector, raising private sector costs over what they would have been [assuming that there are no market failures, e.g., externalities, etc that drive up the marginal social costs of doing business and that government can help rectify through taxation etc, that can then be spent elsewhere].

    Yes, indeed, there ARE market failures — created primarily by government.

    LaCalle and Rabin noted that “many studies on frequent ED use have considered the influence of insurance status and have found this patient population to be predominantly covered.”

    Much of that coverage, however, is provided through Medicare and Medicaid, and frequent ED users are more likely to be enrolled in those programs. “Among those patients who can be characterized as ‘occasional’ users, 36% are publicly insured,” the researchers found, “versus the 60% of frequent users who carry Medicare or Medicaid.”

    One national survey cited by the researchers found that the odds ratio for patients with government insurance being frequent users was 2.1 (P<0.001).

    Laws that expand public insurance coverage — such as the provision loosening Medicaid eligibility requirements included in the recently passed healthcare reform bill — may result in more patients making frequent use of EDs, the authors suggested.

    "Because a frequent user is more likely to be covered by government insurance than to be uninsured, if having public insurance somehow increases ED visits, then [expanding public] insurance may actually increase the number of frequent ED users," they wrote.

    All of this is out there and available. But fundamentalists like Passing By who do not pay taxes and profit from government waste and welfare fraud will never acknowledge their own parasitic behavior.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 5, 2013 @ 11:12 pm - January 5, 2013

  13. “All of this [anecdotal evidence that supports North Dallas Thirty's claim and ignores evidence that doesn't support his claim] is out there and available. [And let us know when you read and understand Arrow's paper, North Dallas Thirty]. But [Rightist] fundamentalists like [North Dallas Thirty] who … profit from government waste and welfare … will never acknowledge their own parasitic behavior.”

    “Really, [Bastiat Fan]? that’s the best you can do for a refutation?”

    Comment by Passing By — January 5, 2013 @ 11:57 pm - January 5, 2013

  14. Passing gas, I can not decipher your convoluted posts full of [asides] and making no points other [than inference by snark] and the [disconnectedness] usually found [when dealing with a] drugged up consciousness.

    You are [apparently welcome] to leak into the comments [even though] you have nothing to say, clever, instructive, opinionated or not. You just show up and fart. What do you get from that?

    Have you ever been accepted in any society of any type as a worthy contributor? Or do you just go around snapping bra straps, floating turds in punch bowls and baying at the moon? How shall we put that on your tombstone?

    Comment by heliotrope — January 6, 2013 @ 8:34 am - January 6, 2013

  15. The reference to stimulus and infrastructure by Progressives is always disarming to me. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act unleashed $682 billion on infrastructure spending with the following pathetic result:

    Stanford University’s John Taylor, for instance, has argued that although much money was spent, very little stimulus money was spent in the form of actual government purchase. In a paper with he co-authored with John Cogan, Taylor finds that, out of the total $682 billion package, federal infrastructure spending was just $0.9 billion in 2009 and $1.5 billion through the first half of 2010—or less than four-tenths of 1 percent.

    A lousy 3% of the ARRA was actually spent on infrastructure. The rest was piddled away on political gifting and grafting.

    $682 billion is an obscene amount of money. How many Katrina’s and Sandy’s could that money bring affected people and communities back from the abyss of the aftermath?

    Even if Obambi and his Rock Candy Mountain gang sent the money out to the worst off of the 47% [how's that for compassion?] the spenders would have only stimulated the local stores of their choice until the money was spent and the local stores would be right back where they were before the dregs dragged in. Or is there some sort of magic connected with pump priming, the economy building from the bottom up and trickle-up economics that I am missing?

    The facts are abundantly clear that $682 billion of ARRA spending did not “trickle down” to jump start the economy and lower unemployment. Why? Easy. It was nothing more than a Ginormous Brinks truck blowing open across the country. It shows us what pouring money into a sinkhole accomplishes. You could liken it to the intergenerational, nearly half century “war on poverty.” Or you could liken it to battling the drug commerce while doing little about consumption and demand. Or you could liken it to making people buy two sodas instead of one to giggle past Bloomberg.

    The law of unintended consequences applies to junk ideas like ARRA and the actual unintended consequences are too embarrassing for honest people to justify.

    There is about $660 billion of the ARRA that drifted away. What a movie that would make.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 6, 2013 @ 9:21 am - January 6, 2013

  16. [...] last, but not least, Gay Patriot points out that spending cuts help the [...]

    Pingback by Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove — January 6, 2013 @ 9:25 am - January 6, 2013

  17. ir·rev·er·ent
    /iˈrev(ə)rənt/
    Adjective
    Showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously.
    Synonyms
    disrespectful – flippant – impious

    Comment by rusty — January 6, 2013 @ 10:42 am - January 6, 2013

  18. ILC. Thanks :)

    Comment by rusty — January 6, 2013 @ 10:42 am - January 6, 2013

  19. Really, passing gas? that’s the best you can do for a refutation?

    You mean the “I know you are but what am I?” ripostes typical of the slower eight-year-olds in the schoolyard? Yes, sadly, that is the pinnacle of Passing Gas’s ability to argue.

    Comment by V the K — January 6, 2013 @ 12:43 pm - January 6, 2013

  20. [Passing Gas] Yes, sadly, that is the pinnacle of [Passing Gas]’s ability to argue.

    [as long as we all follow ILoveCapitalism's limited assumption set, we all end up in austro-libertarian paradise. If not, ...].

    - A growing government inherently threatens people with future tax hikes and/or inflation [assuming that said government spending does not lead to increased productivity and GDP, say through infrastructure, other investment, etc]. The threat guts business confidence [if businesses assume government spending is not productive, or if government does not support aggregate demand in recessions];
    [Heliotroppo's #15 implicitly acknowledges this possibility]
    - Government does things less efficiently than the private sector [by assumption, as long as such industries are not like health care, etc, as Arrow showed long ago]…
    [North Dallas Thirty uses unsystematic anecdotal evidence; ignores Arrow paper & subsequent research]
    - Government spending grabs economic resources from the private sector, raising private sector costs over what they would have been [assuming that there are no market failures, e.g., externalities, etc that drive up the marginal social costs of doing business and that government can help rectify through taxation etc, that can then be spent elsewhere]. That drives marginal businesses ‘out of business’ [especially when their marginal social cost of doing business is GREATER than the marginal social benefits of doing business]. ”
    [Not addressed]

    “The religious fundamentalism of [some of] the [Right]ists will not allow them to [acknowledge other possibilities]. There is no way to reach those who will not see.” [Amen to that, brother!]
    [Still the case]

    Comment by Passing By — January 7, 2013 @ 11:45 am - January 7, 2013

  21. Read the whole thing; they cite more examples of countries who achieved growth through government-cutting measures, like Sweden, or the UK in the 1990s. There are still more examples, which they didn’t cite: the UK in the 1980s (where Thatcher’s spending cuts enabled an economic boom), the U.S. in the early 1920s (where Harding’s spending cuts did likewise), and more.

    Obviously, sometimes government can be too big, and cutting government can produce economic growth. That doesn’t mean it’s the only solution to every economic problem – it should be equally obvious that increased government spending can grow the economy in certain situations. I’ll grant you that I don’t know a whole lot about Canadian economics circa 1990, but I’m willing to wager that their situation was not all that analogous to ours, in which a global recession was triggered by a financial sector run amok.

    Why should that be? Advocates of Big Government – some with Nobel prizes, some in the White House and some on GayPatriot – scream at us that only growth in government (such as “stimulus” measures) can give us a growing economy.

    Nobody makes this argument. Obviously there are many ways to grow the economy, government spending is among them. I recommend increasing spending because it has a proven track record, and here I’ll provide my own examples.

    You talk a lot about shrinking the government being great for the economy. In at least one critical metric, public-sector jobs, Obama’s first term has seen more government shrinking than at any other time in our recent history. As a matter of fact, since 1952 only 2 presidential terms have seen a net public-sector job loss at all – Reagan’s first term in 1980 (0.6% reduction) and Obama’s first term (3.1%). In every other four year period, the economy added government jobs. Source

    That’s around 600,000 jobs. This is an unprecedented amount of public sector job loss, and to hear conservatives explain their economic theories, this by itself should be producing at least some small amount of economic growth. Fewer government workers means less bureaucracy, right? It means fewer regulators to interfere with businesses, right? Government costs go down because they’re not paying people or offering benefits, and the human capital is freed up to be used more efficiently by the private sector, right?

    Well, there’s a reason why there have been only 2 terms in which the public sector shrank – it’s not good for the economy. Take a look at that graph again, noting the positive growth of public sector jobs. The period covered in this chart saw the United States economy become the biggest in the history of the world, and every step of the way, there has been growth in public sector jobs. Do you mean to tell me that if every one of those Presidents presided over 3% cuts in government jobs every year, our economy would be even stronger? That’s just not realistic. (One more thing before I move on – notice that Obama’s first term saw better private sector job creation than Bush’s first term. Notice that Bush’s first term is the only one to lose private sector jobs since Eisenhower. Notice how much the grew public sector grew during both of his terms. Who are you calling socialists?)

    Next graph. I appreciate looking around the world for examples and statistics when you’re talking about economics, and I will be doing that later in this post. But I think it’s even more relevant to look at how our own country pulled out of recessions, and if you take a look at this graph, you’ll notice a theme – recoveries powered by public sector growth. Three Republicans deliberately grew the public sector as a means of economic recovery. The Democrat currently in office inherited a far worse economic situation than any of the other three, and public sector jobs are disappearing. This goes a long way towards explaining why the current recovery barely feels like a recovery at all – Obama’s essentially fighting this fight without one of the most proven and reliable methods of motivating economic growth. It also underscores the blatant hypocrisy of the Republican Party; “Do as we say, not as we do.”

    Finally, one more graph. I’m switching to speculative here, but supposing that we had held the same number of public jobs throughout Obama’s first term, the unemployment rate would likely have been a full point lower last April, at 7.1%. Considering that these job losses aren’t having any kind of impact on the deficit, that many of them were probably early retirement buyouts, and that lots of these newly jobless are collecting unemployment, wouldn’t that have been a better deal? And if the public sector had expanded by just 3% or 4%, which is on the very low end historically, we could be in even better shape!

    Well, they’re just wrong. The channels are many, by which growth in government hurts the economy – and conversely, cuts to government are what would help the economy. I can’t touch on all of the channels, here. In brief:

    - A growing government inherently threatens people with future tax hikes and/or inflation (money-printing). (As we see with Obama, today.) The threat guts business confidence (in technical terms, it lowers the NPV; of all investment efforts that don’t service the government). Conversely, under a shrinking government, the threat recedes; confidence is restored.

    Invoking confidence is like invoking religion – both of these things are extremely difficult to quantify. Although I will definitely agree that confidence has a real effect on the economy, it is very hard to know exactly what is contributing to high or low confidence, and it seems to me that you’re being kind of arbitrary in your appraisal. First of all, the recession was triggered by the excesses and bullshitting of the financial industry. If you want to talk about investor confidence, I think you have to start here long before you get to any concerns about federal budget deficit or the general size of government. What happens in the financial world directly affects businesses and markets much more than the long-term debt obligations of the US, and when pension funds are wiped out and stocks plummet and trillions and trillions of dollars disappear virtually overnight because some financial wizards colluded to sell turds as golden nuggets, confidence is going to take a hit. Those are real things that actually happened and force businesses to make adjustments immediately. The same can’t be said of the deficit increasing by another trillion dollars.

    The stock market relies on confidence, and the stock market has done incredibly well since Obama took over. How do you explain that? The tax cuts on the wealthy just expired, shouldn’t that have killed confidence? Shouldn’t we have seen a sharp decline in stocks when taxes went up? Instead we saw a boost! What’s up with that?

    Confidence dovetails really well with supply-side economics in that it says we have to placate the wealthy guys first. And to placate the wealthy guys, we have to give them a sure thing, and we have to give it to them soon. So you equate confidence with tax cuts and deregulation. In return, they’ll grow the economy for everybody. And how did that work out when George Bush tried it? He cut wealthy people’s taxes and he let them do whatever they wanted in the financial sector. These were sure things for the rich guys, but they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain and grow the economy at all. The rest of us are still staggering to our feet while they made out like bandits. Undoubtedly, confidence was boosted during Bush’s term because of those policies, but at huge costs to the economy and our deficit. What’s good for 1% of the population, what makes them confident, is not necessarily good for the rest.

    - Government does things less efficiently than the private sector. As government becomes a larger share of the economy, the economy is inherently less efficient and productive.

    That’s totally bogus. Government does some things better, the private sector does some things better, and the best things are joint enterprises. My go-to: GPS. It’s impossible to imagine how the private sector could develop, deploy, and maintain a GPS network, and private companies are extracting tremendous economic gains from the freely-provided signal. The internet? Highways? The litany of technology and products resulting from the Space Race and early government investment in computers? Government builds the infrastructure that the private sector uses to sell their products and services.

    I mean really, I can’t stress how absurd your statement is. Government is all about efficiency and productivity. Human civilization in Sumeria started because some early proto-government ordered the construction of irrigation canals to improve agricultural yields. Up until that point, every member of a society was singularly focused on finding food sources, irrigation canals made this effort unnecessary by creating an abundance of food. A community could then devote a small percentage of its labor to growing food, creating a lot of free time for others to discover metallurgy, invent writing, and create art. I don’t think the word ‘efficiency’ even begins to describe the impact that government can have on an economy, despite whatever examples of inefficiency you could provide.

    And the private sector hardly has a sterling record on efficiency. Executive pay? Golden parachutes? Executive bonuses paid out to people who steered their industry into an iceberg? The trend over the last half century is for more and more of the wealth to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands – I don’t understand how anyone can consider this to be a symptom of the sector’s efficiency.

    - Government spending grabs economic resources from the private sector, raising private sector costs over what they would have been. That drives marginal businesses ‘out of business’. Conversely, government cuts will release economic resources back to the private sector, lowering costs for everyone and letting new/small businesses thrive.

    This is basically the same as your prior inefficiency argument.

    We all know there is some “optimal size” for government spending, as a percentage of the economy. If it were 0%, we’d have anarchy: no police, no courts, no military (all of which I would rather have). And if it were 70%, 80% or more, we’d have communism, a system that always fails. The optimal size is somewhere, between those extremes. This phenomenon has a name: the Rahn Curve.

    More on the Rahn Curve, perhaps, in a future post. For now, suffice to say that studies show an optimal size of 17-23% (totalling all government at all levels). If we were on the ‘wrong’ side of it, then the more government spends, the slower we are going to grow. Sound familiar? Sound like the story of the last 5-10 years? Indeed, with our government spending now over 40% of GDP, we are far to the ‘wrong’ side of the Rahn curve. The way forward lies in cutting government.

    I agree that there is a sweet spot. But that sweet spot isn’t static and will change from time to time in response to a few factors. Right now, we have stagnant wages for the middle class, we’ve completely given away our edge in education and scientific literacy, we’re saddled with ever-increasing costs of an inefficient healthcare system, climate change is threatening our coasts, peak oil is coming up, etc. We had it fairly easy when we just had to worry about the Soviets and government spending was easily prioritized on defense, but these other problems are much more complicated and don’t have such obvious solutions. It’s time to put the foot on the gas – the deficit is not a pressing issue that needs to be solved yesterday.

    Comment by Levi — January 7, 2013 @ 12:27 pm - January 7, 2013

  22. I’m sure that our resident economic experts will do a much better job of fisking.

    That said, as is indicated in the first link when you get into the study, the reduction of government jobs comes at the state/local level, not at the federal level. i.e. the places that can’t print money. source. Amazingly, the states that are cutting paperwork and government size (to use Ohio, Wisconsin and *gasp* Michigan) as examples where the economy is improving vs the national average.

    In fact, as was pointed out here, Ohio suffered a great deal under a high tax/big government program.

    Yet with the changes, we saw an improvement, but have room to backslide.

    Take it away, gentlemen.

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 7, 2013 @ 1:33 pm - January 7, 2013

  23. - Government does things less efficiently than the private sector [by assumption, as long as such industries are not like health care, etc, as Arrow showed long ago]…
    [North Dallas Thirty uses unsystematic anecdotal evidence; ignores Arrow paper & subsequent research]

    Wrong.

    The pathetic liar Passing By, aka Cas, simply screams and stomps and bloviates because it is actually challenged and called on its perpetual lies and inability to do anything other than repeat Obama talking points.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 7, 2013 @ 2:02 pm - January 7, 2013

  24. And now for Levi.

    From Levi’s source:

    The December jobs figures out today indicate that there were 725,000 more jobs in the private sector than at the end of 2008 — and 697,000 fewer government jobs. That works into a private-sector gain of 0.6 percent, and a government sector decline of 3.1 percent.

    In total, the number of people with jobs is up by 28,000, or 0.02 percent.

    Which means Levi and Barack Obama’s claims that their “stimulus” created three million jobs is completely and totally bogus.

    Next up:

    The stock market relies on confidence, and the stock market has done incredibly well since Obama took over. How do you explain that?

    The same reason that the German stock market did incredibly well during the Weimar Republic; when you devalue the currency, the cost of stocks rises.

    And how do we know the currency has been devalued? Because, Levi, you and your Barack Obama have been bragging about how you intend to avoid paying our debts by devaluing the currency.

    And now we get on to Levi’s usual lies.

    And how did that work out when George Bush tried it? He cut wealthy people’s taxes and he let them do whatever they wanted in the financial sector.

    Actually, Levi, your Obama Party, your party of lies and liars like yourself, was the one who screamed for people to do whatever they wanted in the financial/mortgage sector, especially when their sex partners were benefitting from it.

    Furthermore, Levi, your screaming that Bush only cut taxes on the rich is incompatible with your screaming the past months that the Bush tax rates had to be preserved to protect the “middle class”.

    Your lies become more incoherent because your statements become more incoherent, Levi,. Your grip on reality is slipping, and your spittle-flecked rants make it obvious to everyone that you are mentally incapable of doing anything other than blaming Bush, just as your stupid child Obama cannot do anything other than blame Bush.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 7, 2013 @ 2:15 pm - January 7, 2013

  25. I mean really, I can’t stress how absurd your statement is. Government is all about efficiency and productivity.

    Lie.

    Private credit card companies would not send and continue to fund 19,000 cards sent to nonexistent and unverifiable recipients.

    Private health insurance companies do not havea 10-15% fraudulent payment rate.

    And this:

    Human civilization in Sumeria started because some early proto-government ordered the construction of irrigation canals to improve agricultural yields.

    LOL.

    Because no human being had ever figured out how to build an irrigation canal or that doing so would be a good thing prior to government telling them to do it.

    Ludicrous.

    And the private sector hardly has a sterling record on efficiency. Executive pay? Golden parachutes? Executive bonuses paid out to people who steered their industry into an iceberg?

    Actually, Levi, you screamed and pissed that it was perfectly OK to pay executives who steered their industry into an iceberg provided they were Obama donors at Solyndra.

    And your response to evidence of that overpayment and mismanagement?

    Because a half billion dollar loan to Solyndra got wasted? That sucks, but that amount of money is a pittance in the grand scheme

    Comment by Levi — November 8, 2012 @ 3:10 pm – November 8, 2012

    So Levi, not only can we show that you’re a hypocrite, we can also show a) just how inefficient government is and b) that you and your Obama Party wholly support and endorse government inefficiency when it results in kickbacks to your donors and cronies.

    Fortunately, the floor has been treated to resist your involuntary urination. Now go run away and change your pants.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 7, 2013 @ 2:27 pm - January 7, 2013

  26. Private health insurance companies do not havea 10-15% fraudulent payment rate.

    I forgot about this in his anti-science tirade.

    Remember this chestnut?

    Healthcare costs are so high right now because of the profit motive – companies make money by not paying for treatments.

    Well as this 2008 data shows
    Medicare the clear winner.

    So maybe Levi can explain why Medicare is “mak[ing] by not paying for treatments.” Since it’s clear he believes that’s the sole explaination.

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 7, 2013 @ 3:13 pm - January 7, 2013

  27. And this:

    Human civilization in Sumeria started because some early proto-government ordered the construction of irrigation canals to improve agricultural yields.

    LOL.

    Because no human being had ever figured out how to build an irrigation canal or that doing so would be a good thing prior to government telling them to do it.

    Ludicrous.

    ND30, I find nothing in your post worth responding to except for this. Certainly, humans had developed rudimentary irrigation systems independently around the world. What was different in Sumeria was the scale – they built a large, complex system of irrigation canals that increased yields exponentially. This establishes the pattern – government-sponsored public works can provide a country with a huge competitive advantage over its neighbors. The Sumerians parlayed this early advantage by developing writing and ceramics and all kinds of other innovations made possible by an empire-wide abundance of food and freed-up labor supply. Again – this is so much more than efficiency, it was transforming the economy and changing the course of human history. Why would individual farmers back then embark upon such a massive undertaking? The point is that they didn’t have the time – everyone was singularly focused on producing enough food for the local community.

    It goes without saying that the canals were probably built with slave labor, but the point remains – government, as despotic and tyrannical as it may have been, got the job done. For the past 8,000 years, human beings have made progress by keeping the good parts and eliminating the bad.

    Comment by Levi — January 7, 2013 @ 3:45 pm - January 7, 2013

  28. ND30, I find nothing in your post worth responding to except for this.

    Facts and your own words were too much for you, huh?

    That’s all right. No one expects your responses to be intelligent. We all know you’re a coward who spews and then runs away to mommy and cries when your lies are exposed.

    Certainly, humans had developed rudimentary irrigation systems independently around the world.

    Yes, they had. So your screaming idiocy and stupidity that no one had ever thought of irrigation canals until government told them to think it was wrong.

    This establishes the pattern – government-sponsored public works can provide a country with a huge competitive advantage over its neighbors.

    Which is irrelevant to the argument, because, as we see, Obama supporters like yourself are not building public works, but are taking trillions of dollars and blowing it on alcohol for drunks, checks for people who won’t work, and cash for strip club visits — with virtually nothing spent on actual infrastructure.

    When you actually start building irrigation canals, Levi, your argument might make sense. But as we know out here in California, idiot Obama supporters like yourself won’t let us use the canals we already have.

    The reason you are so easy to shut down, stupid child, is because you have no grip on reality whatsoever. You are a mindless ideologue, a fascist fundamentalist who screams that government is the cure for everything and that private industry is evil.

    Frankly, this tweet from yesterday describes you to a tee: “Whenever someone gets angry at what you do with YOUR money… It’s because they want YOUR money”

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 7, 2013 @ 5:19 pm - January 7, 2013

  29. ND30, I find nothing in your post worth responding to except for this.

    Levi to English: “This is the only thing I have a shot at spinning to my advantage, since you’re citing facts and those things I’m too much of a coward to reply to.”

    Should be about time for him to redeploy to another thread.

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 7, 2013 @ 6:40 pm - January 7, 2013

  30. Government is all about efficiency and productivity.

    Ignorance and retardation have never been so elegantly combined in one sentence.

    Or, “Levi admits to never having ever visited a post office or the Department of Motor Vehicles.”

    Comment by V the K — January 7, 2013 @ 6:53 pm - January 7, 2013

  31. “The pathetic liar [North Dallas Thirty], simply screams and stomps and bloviates because it is actually challenged and called on its perpetual lies and inability to do anything other than repeat [Republican] talking points.”

    Comment by Passing By — January 7, 2013 @ 10:06 pm - January 7, 2013

  32. Yes, they had. So your screaming idiocy and stupidity that no one had ever thought of irrigation canals until government told them to think it was wrong.

    You’re pretty quick to accuse me of being a coward and running away, but what I’ve quoted above gives me the perfect opportunity to explain why I don’t think it’s worth my time to respond to you.

    I never said ‘no one had ever thought of irrigation canals.’ I said that the first human civilization arose as a result of a government-maintained system of irrigation canals, which lead to massive increases in crop yields and freed up a lot of time and labor for people to invent all kinds of shit. My argument is that throughout recorded history, government has not only increased efficiency, but it has transformed economies in ways that were not even imaginable to the people who initiated the policy in the first place.

    By the looks of your response, you have not even tried to process this idea, which I assure you has extensive archaeological support. Instead, you have chosen to accuse me of being stupid, because I failed to specify something that’s plainly obvious – that farmers had used irrigation prior to the rise of the ancient Sumerian civilization. For some reason, you think that this completely defeats my point, when in actuality it does nothing whatsoever, and holds as much weight, for the purposes of this argument, as saying that the sky is blue. Yes, ND30. The sky is blue. No shit.

    Basically, I presented my case, and you called me a stupid idiot because I failed to specify that the sky is blue.

    To be sure, you aren’t the only one around here that uses this little trick, but you just put that extra, insufferable spin on it. A recent example that comes to mind involved contraception and sex education. I was explaining my support for these policies, which you promptly turned into an accusation that I spend my free time getting teenagers drunk so I can rape them and force them into having an abortion. Mind you, I really couldn’t care less about the insult – I bring this up to demonstrate how absurd you’ve become.

    but hey, everybody loves you for this stuff! I’m supposed to respond to someone whose first instinct is to accuse me of being a rapist, and if I don’t you just strut around pretending like I’m too afraid to talk to you. Believe that if you wish, but it’s a special kind who accuses strangers of being rapists while wondering why nobody takes them seriously. You’ve shown that you want to argue with your hallucinations, so I’ll leave you to it.

    Comment by Levi — January 7, 2013 @ 10:13 pm - January 7, 2013

  33. You’re pretty quick to accuse me of being a coward and running away, but what I’ve quoted above gives me the perfect opportunity to explain why I don’t think it’s worth my time to respond to you.

    In Livewire’s immortal words:

    Levi to English: “This is the only thing I have a shot at spinning to my advantage, since you’re citing facts and those things I’m too much of a coward to reply to.”

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 7, 2013 @ 6:40 pm – January 7, 2013

    Meanwhile, Levi, your attempt to spin out of your moronic statement that no one had ever thought of irrigation canals until government told them to do it is duly noted. It shows nicely how cultists with no intellect like yourself who are desperate to enshrine government as your god think.

    In addition, don’t you remember what you actually said?

    Getting too drunk or forgetting your condoms or allowing yourself to be pressured into it by your horny boyfriend or the kind of everyday, run-of-the-mill bad decisions we all make, like spending 6 dollars on coffee or watching Jersey Shore.

    Comment by Levi — September 24, 2012 @ 1:57 pm – September 24, 2012

    So yes, Levi, you ARE a rapist. You don’t see anything wrong with coercing a woman into sex, you don’t see anything wrong with getting a teenager drunk and forcing them to have sex with you, and you don’t see anything wrong with “forgetting” your condoms and having unprotected sex; all of these, in your twisted little mind, are the same as paying too much for coffee or watching bad reality TV.

    That’s why you run away from me and Livewire. You have never been held accountable for your words before, and your lies, screaming, and tantrums don’t work on us.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 7, 2013 @ 11:29 pm - January 7, 2013

  34. #32: “By the looks of your response, you have not even tried to process this idea, which I assure you has extensive archaeological support.”

    Shorter Levi: Government is all about efficiency and productivity. I just don’t have any evidence to prove it that doesn’t require carbon dating and the vigorous use of a fossil brush.

    Comment by Sean A — January 7, 2013 @ 11:51 pm - January 7, 2013

  35. Shorter Levi: Government is all about efficiency and productivity. I just don’t have any evidence to prove it that doesn’t require carbon dating and the vigorous use of a fossil brush.

    I’ve listed examples many times. There’s the computer industry, the internet, interstates, public transit, water, national parks, and my favorite, the Space Race spin-off technologies and the infrastructure that it left behind. And again, these examples are more than just about efficiency, they’re about changing the way the economy works in ways that benefit everyone, especially the private sector. The argument that government is always less efficient than the private sector, which ILC is making and which I recognize as a fundamental principle of anti-government conservatism, is so completely ass-backwards that I thought it was worth reminding everyone why we don’t still live in huts, making fire by smashing rocks together. This whole civilization thing has its roots in government, and I think that the irrigation canals built by the ancient Sumerians are a fun way of pointing that out.

    Comment by Levi — January 8, 2013 @ 1:02 am - January 8, 2013

  36. Public transit? REally? Amtrak, trains to nowhere, and he’s boasting public transit?

    Amusingly even if we falsely conceed that all of those advances he cites came just from the government (clearly false, but let us continue) They came about as the result of military needs.

    So Levi is now arguing the military, which he despises, is responsible for civilization.

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 8, 2013 @ 8:01 am - January 8, 2013

  37. There’s the computer industry, the internet, interstates, public transit, water, national parks, and my favorite, the Space Race spin-off technologies and the infrastructure that it left behind.

    First, the computer. It’s history is amazingly absent government except for WWII and breaking codes. Of course the government was an eager buyer, but there was no government Manhattan type project or even low-key government funding in the development of the computer. It was an idea whose time had come and all across the planet, academics and engineers developed it. Naturally, NASA became a great customer and influence, but only one of many such influences. Here is a wonderful synopsis of the growth of the computer.

    The internet. Al Gore invented it. You will find him prominently absent from any history of the internet. However, you will find that the Department of Defense was all over the idea for obvious reasons. Certainly DOD contracting was a major source of fuel in developing the internet, but public fund did not drive the development.

    The interstates are indeed a government program. The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways was inspired by Hitler. Since an army moves on its stomach, Eisenhower learned from Adolph that a super highway infrastructure was a critical defense priority. His efforts led to what the Department of Transportation proudly calls “the Greatest Public Works Project in History.”

    Public Transit is a canard. Naturally, government owned and operated transit systems are government entities. But transportation of the public has a long and fascinating history of private ownership reaching back to stage lines, interurban trolleys, railroads, bus companies, airlines, ferries and ships. Just how government influence, prodded, developed public transportation is unclear. However, government did respond to mass transportation with roads, bridges, traffic and safety laws, etc.

    Water. Huh? Cities had to respond to now sewer systems and contaminated wells. It was an overwhelming public health issue. I doubt you begin to know what cistern basements in houses and tenements were in the late 1800′s all across Europe and the United States. Maybe a little history of how Chicago came to grips with water and sewage might be instructive. The Preamble of the Constitution speaks clearly about “the general welfare” and this is one essential responsibility of government. What is remarkable is how long the government avoided doing what the ancient Romans and governors in parts of India did two thousand years ago. We acted out of crisis as pandemics killed citizens right and left. So, what is it that brings essential public health protection up as a genius of government? Millions of people still sink water wells and use septic systems. Is that an issue?

    National Parks are a true blessing, They are the “natural splendoring grounds” as they were originally called. We are plenty big enough both geographically and by wealth to be conservative about our inheritance. However, we have constructed a cloverleaf and overpasses at Old Failthful to accommodate the hordes of day trippers who drop off long enough to post a picture on Facebook and then hot foot it down to the Grand Tetons for B-B-Q and a Motel 6.

    Your favorite NASA spin off argument is the one that holds a lot of water. Miniaturization was not because of NASA, but the flood of NASA dollars put private industry on the trail of getting as many of those dollars as possible.

    We all benefited from it.

    It seems passing strange that thelittlefascist is so impressed with what defense dollars and NASA dollars have done in technological research and development. Obama and the Progressives have gutted NASA and are gradually doing the same in defense.

    When WWII broke out, it was Henry Kaiser who showed up to build Liberty Ships at a rate that was inconceivable. He figured out how to do it on the job and by the seat of his pants. Of course, he did not have to win a contract or be constrained by cost overruns.

    In summation, there is no question that government funding, like any funding spurs research, development and production. But this crazy myth that the government is key to research, development and production is just nuts.

    By and large, solar is dead in the marketplace. That does not mean that private interests do not continue to research better collectors, better batteries and better systems of transmission. Ultimately, it will all boil down to financial feasibility as determined by the consumer.

    Why Russia didn’t just blow the world away with its state sponsored research and development is curious. They had the gold and oil and stranglehold on their society to have made our capitalist system of supposedly greedy sharks look like chumps.

    Maybe thelittlefascist will post something about the great strides made in the socialist countries he so admires. But I would like to hear about what our government has built if you take away defense and space. (Especially Star Wars which was one of the greatest science challenges of all times.)

    Comment by heliotrope — January 8, 2013 @ 12:23 pm - January 8, 2013

  38. First, the computer. It’s history is amazingly absent government except for WWII and breaking codes. Of course the government was an eager buyer, but there was no government Manhattan type project or even low-key government funding in the development of the computer. It was an idea whose time had come and all across the planet, academics and engineers developed it. Naturally, NASA became a great customer and influence, but only one of many such influences. Here is a wonderful synopsis of the growth of the computer.

    Government was there from the outset. The first electronic computer was the ENIAC, and the US Army spent $500,000 to have it built. The two people who engineered the ENIAC later formed their own company and built the UNIVAC, which was the first commercially available computer. The first 6 computers they built were sold to government agencies. This is important stuff. As small as these figures are, the computer industry had to get its start somewhere, and the government undeniably served an important role as an early source of funding and as a customer. I never say that government is completely responsible for these technologies, but stress the cooperation between the private sector and the public sector. The government can tolerate a greater amount of risk than a private business can, and that’s why they’re such a great partner for exploratory and experimental research and development.

    The internet. Al Gore invented it. You will find him prominently absent from any history of the internet. However, you will find that the Department of Defense was all over the idea for obvious reasons. Certainly DOD contracting was a major source of fuel in developing the internet, but public fund did not drive the development.

    Check that last sentence. Public funding (DOD contracting) was fuel in the development of the internet, but public funding did not drive the development of the internet? That doesn’t make any sense.

    The interstates are indeed a government program. The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways was inspired by Hitler. Since an army moves on its stomach, Eisenhower learned from Adolph that a super highway infrastructure was a critical defense priority. His efforts led to what the Department of Transportation proudly calls “the Greatest Public Works Project in History.”

    Yup.

    Public Transit is a canard. Naturally, government owned and operated transit systems are government entities. But transportation of the public has a long and fascinating history of private ownership reaching back to stage lines, interurban trolleys, railroads, bus companies, airlines, ferries and ships. Just how government influence, prodded, developed public transportation is unclear. However, government did respond to mass transportation with roads, bridges, traffic and safety laws, etc.

    Remember, I was listing examples of how government creates efficiency. I’m thinking of something I use every day – the DC Metro. This allows my wife and I to have one car, it means we buy gas less, and we both receive from our employers farecards as a benefit. That’s like $3,000 a year in savings. Not to mention that this city, whose layout was established in the horse and buggy days, would not function if the hundreds of thousands of commuters that use the Metro every day had to drive to work.

    Water. Huh? Cities had to respond to now sewer systems and contaminated wells. It was an overwhelming public health issue. I doubt you begin to know what cistern basements in houses and tenements were in the late 1800′s all across Europe and the United States. Maybe a little history of how Chicago came to grips with water and sewage might be instructive. The Preamble of the Constitution speaks clearly about “the general welfare” and this is one essential responsibility of government. What is remarkable is how long the government avoided doing what the ancient Romans and governors in parts of India did two thousand years ago. We acted out of crisis as pandemics killed citizens right and left. So, what is it that brings essential public health protection up as a genius of government? Millions of people still sink water wells and use septic systems. Is that an issue?

    Glad you agree.

    National Parks are a true blessing, They are the “natural splendoring grounds” as they were originally called. We are plenty big enough both geographically and by wealth to be conservative about our inheritance. However, we have constructed a cloverleaf and overpasses at Old Failthful to accommodate the hordes of day trippers who drop off long enough to post a picture on Facebook and then hot foot it down to the Grand Tetons for B-B-Q and a Motel 6.

    Yup.

    Your favorite NASA spin off argument is the one that holds a lot of water. Miniaturization was not because of NASA, but the flood of NASA dollars put private industry on the trail of getting as many of those dollars as possible.

    We all benefited from it.

    It drives me crazy when people say that the Space Program is a waste of money. I almost have soft spot for Newt Gingrich because I know he’s big on it, too. Again, glad you agree. This is the most reasonable post I’ve seen from you in a long ass time.

    It seems passing strange that thelittlefascist is so impressed with what defense dollars and NASA dollars have done in technological research and development. Obama and the Progressives have gutted NASA and are gradually doing the same in defense.

    Lots of the defense spending is wasteful. Take Romney’s concerns about the number of ships in the Navy during the foreign policy debate. In 1916, naval power was everything. In 2013, even aircraft carriers are becoming obsolete. We don’t need factories cranking out tanks. One area of technology that is rapidly improving since the Iraq War is prosthetics. The government has been investing millions into R&D for the thousands of soldiers who’ve lost limbs in theater and real innovation is taking place. But wouldn’t it be better to just make those investments anyway and save the money that’s wasted fighting a pointless war in the first place?

    The decay of NASA is maddening. Once the Soviets tapped out, I think our politicians figured it wasn’t worth it anymore. And yeah, the shuttle program didn’t go as well as it could have. But I think space exploration is great because it forces us to take problems that have easy solutions on Earth and figure out how to re-solve them with a number of very restrictive constraints. It’s like playing chess with a handicap – if you can reliably beat people without a queen, you’re going to be really effective when you’re playing normal games. The human race will need off-world resources someday. It might not be in our lifetimes, it might not be for a thousand years, but as the Space Race demonstrated, there are benefits to be had every step of the way while we work towards the ultimate goal.

    When WWII broke out, it was Henry Kaiser who showed up to build Liberty Ships at a rate that was inconceivable. He figured out how to do it on the job and by the seat of his pants. Of course, he did not have to win a contract or be constrained by cost overruns.

    In summation, there is no question that government funding, like any funding spurs research, development and production. But this crazy myth that the government is key to research, development and production is just nuts.

    This is the same contradiction you made above about the internet. It spurs research, but it’s not the key to research. You’re just parsing words at this point. Of course there’s a range! Some technology is developed with no government funding, some technology is developed with a little government funding, and some technology is developed primarily with government funding. How is that a crazy myth?

    By and large, solar is dead in the marketplace. That does not mean that private interests do not continue to research better collectors, better batteries and better systems of transmission. Ultimately, it will all boil down to financial feasibility as determined by the consumer.

    Solar power is one of those things that benefited directly from government investment in the space program. Whatever private or public research that is being carried out in this country is building upon prior research and development that was funded by the government! The government is also standing by as the largest potential consumer of more efficient solar panels, which just like during the dawn of the computer industry, creates an extremely lucrative incentive to get those products to market. Cooperation!

    Why Russia didn’t just blow the world away with its state sponsored research and development is curious. They had the gold and oil and stranglehold on their society to have made our capitalist system of supposedly greedy sharks look like chumps.

    The greedy sharks running things today were not the same as the greedy sharks during the Cold War. It turns out that the Soviets served as a kind of check – the wealthy people knew they were just as susceptible to nuclear incineration as the poor people, and a mix of patriotism and self-preservation prevented the big shots from running the financial industry like mobster’s casino. Without that constant, lingering antagonist, rich people have clearly switched to an every-man-for-himself mentality and are dedicated to siphoning up as much of the country’s wealth as they can, regardless of how much their behavior compromises the long-term stability of the economy.

    The problem is that even though we no longer have a recognizable villain breathing down our necks, there are still problems confronting our country that require the same kind of all-hands, we’re-in-this-together attitude to solve. The problems are a lot more complex and a good number of them are self-inflicted. You could say that we’re in a kind of hangover phase after the Industrial Revolution. All this growth has been really great, but there are consequences, and just because it’s harder to narrow a problem down to a singular root cause doesn’t mean it’s wise to ignore it altogether.

    Anyway, the Soviets lost because capitalism is a better economic system and democracy is a better form of government. What else is new?

    Maybe thelittlefascist will post something about the great strides made in the socialist countries he so admires. But I would like to hear about what our government has built if you take away defense and space. (Especially Star Wars which was one of the greatest science challenges of all times.)

    I mentioned earlier that Germany is committing to using more renewable energy, to which you replied, “So what? Who cares?” I don’t know what kind of response that is, given how you seemingly agree that our economy benefited tremendously from government investment in the Space Race. What if we had sat on our hands and waited for the UK to land on the moon, do you think they could have done it before us? Do you think that we’d still have the technological edge that we earned for ourselves?

    Also, asking me to provide examples of government efficiency, and then retroactively applying qualifiers about what I’m not allowed to use as examples when I do, is total bullshit, you must admit. Not that there aren’t examples, but these are the best ones. Why am I not allowed to use the best examples? That’s like asking you to create the ultimate historical fantasy baseball team, but you can only use hitters with career batting averages under .200 and pitchers with ERA’s over 6. Why would you bother if you can’t put in the best?

    Comment by Levi — January 8, 2013 @ 2:58 pm - January 8, 2013

  39. Remember, I was listing examples of how government creates efficiency. I’m thinking of something I use every day – the DC Metro. This allows my wife and I to have one car, it means we buy gas less, and we both receive from our employers farecards as a benefit. That’s like $3,000 a year in savings. Not to mention that this city, whose layout was established in the horse and buggy days, would not function if the hundreds of thousands of commuters that use the Metro every day had to drive to work.

    Conspicuously absent in that telling:

    A draft of the proposed 2014 budget lays out a $1.65 billion operating budget and $875 million capital budget. The agency is expected to have a $27 million budget deficit, which the District, Maryland and Virginia will be expected to pick up.

    An efficient business creates a profit, not a perpetual deficit.

    Why doesn’t DC Metro turn a profit, Levi?

    Because they could never charge the actual cost of doing business and still have riders, like a PRIVATE company must do.

    But of course you don’t care, because you don’t actually pay the bills; you just send it to someone else.

    Which makes you a freeloader, Levi.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 8, 2013 @ 3:36 pm - January 8, 2013

  40. I was amused that Levi said Public transport was “examples of how government creates efficiency.” Then I got beat to it by NDT.

    (Also note how Levi ignores ignores the history like Heliotrope posted because it undermines his argument. Of course Levi’s good at posting links that undermine his arguments all on his own.)

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 8, 2013 @ 4:16 pm - January 8, 2013

  41. Check that last sentence. Public funding (DOD contracting) was fuel in the development of the internet, but public funding did not drive the development of the internet? That doesn’t make any sense.

    You are entirely correct. Editing myself is not my strong suit. “Public funding” is shorthand for “taxpayer funding.” That sentence would be clearer had I written that “government funding” did not drive the development of the internet.

    Some technology is developed with no government funding, some technology is developed with a little government funding, and some technology is developed primarily with government funding. How is that a crazy myth?

    You really do•not•understand•capitalism. Technology is the son of science. It is the application of science. When the government pees floods of money, capitalists will flock to it and apply technology to meet the demands and make the costs lower in order achieve greater profit while meeting quality standards. So, from your Neanderthal stance, all the government needs to do is take gobs of money from the taxpayers and fire hose pee it at a particular problem and capitalism make it all happen. Sort of like the perpetual motion machine or alchemy is just a failure of government’s dedication to peeing money.

    Let’s skip to your final part of the government funding triade: “some technology is developed primarily with government funding.” Duh!!! Bridge building, road building, defense contracting, and the space program are all examples of capitalism rising to the call of the government peeing nearly limitless sums of other people’s money at a problem.

    But, thelittlefascist ignores the nearly half century of government funded war on poverty in which poverty in America has ………. made poverty look like a board game. How is that government funded war on drugs working out? What we need is more government money, right? How about publicly funded education? A real world standard there. Right? The model of efficiency. Correct? We bring the kids to a publicly funded school, feed them breakfast and lunch, provide a drug free zone and a gun free zone and the little rascals file out to high paying jobs. Right?

    And now, by Juno, we are going to have superior healthcare at little to no cost all because of government efficiency.

    Yeah, I’m impressed with thelittlefascist’s Utopia hallucinations. Just get rid of greedy corporations, greed and selfishness and the good times will flood us with standards of living above all manner of imagination.

    Or not.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 8, 2013 @ 7:50 pm - January 8, 2013

  42. One point that ILC would never make is sort of sticking its nose under the tent here and that [is] an inference that “government” as a monolithic and relatively benign organism.

    heliotrope, that’s right. Limit government to its proper functions, and it is relatively benign – although, even that government is subject to human errors like laziness, stupidity or corruption. Government today has grown well beyond its proper functions. With that kind of growth comes increased stupidity and corruption, as we see all the time nowadays. As government gets larger, it becomes harder and harder to monitor.

    - A growing government inherently threatens people with future tax hikes and/or inflation [assuming that said government spending does not lead to increased productivity and GDP, say through infrastructure

    It’s pathetic, how lefties are always trying to bring up “infrastructure” when that is a tiny percentage of actual government spending, and when even Obama admits that He (and by extension, other lefties) lied about the benefits of infrastructure spending in His Porkulus bill.

    That aside from the case, which could easily be made, that there is no government “infrastructure spending” which the private sector couldn’t do better, if given the chance. But I have a long thread to catch up on; enough Cas.

    there ARE market failures — created primarily by government.

    NDT, agreed. I can’t think of a single alleged “market failure” that progressives point to that does not have, at its root, either (1) government failure to protect individual rights to life, liberty and property or (2) active government violation of such rights, usually taking the form of government intervention to *prevent* markets from working.

    The stock market relies on confidence, and the stock market has done incredibly well since Obama took over. How do you explain that?

    It’s called “Quantitative Easing”, Levi. It’s an artificial boost to Wall Street… at the expense of Main Street… and courtesy of government (Bernanke, and Obama who re-appointed him). It prevents markets from functioning; they are supposed to do an important social function called “price discovery” or setting asset prices accurately, given the available information. QE blocks that, giving us markets disconnected from reality. I’ve written entire posts on how QE is harmful. Here’s one: http://www.gaypatriot.net/2012/09/15/guest-post-fed-says-beatings-to-continue-until-morale-improves/

    Also, what NDT said: The stock market has only moved up in nominal terms, not in real terms. If you print enough dollars (devalue the dollar enough) you will drive the price of everything up, even as your real living standard crashes. Priced in something real like oil or gold or food (and I know that price conversion concepts are WAY beyond your grasp), the stock market been in a downtrend since 2000, and still is.

    Government is all about efficiency and productivity.

    Or so the German Nazis and the Italian fascists claimed. Even with them, though, it wasn’t so.

    But I have a long thread to catch up on; enough Levi. NDT pretty much has it wired anyway.

    transportation of the public has a long and fascinating history of private ownership reaching back to stage lines, interurban trolleys, railroads, bus companies, airlines, ferries and ships.

    Exactly. Public transportation is a great example both of government-Johnny-come-lately (to what the private sector started) and of government inefficiency.

    The reason government is inherently less efficient than the private sector is, again, because it simply commandeers the economic resources it wants; whether directly, or by tax-n-print-spend. Millions of wolves, large and small, descend and make themselves part of the racket: they know a good racket when they see one. It’s rare for government-funded anything to turn a profit, and on the occasions when it does on paper, just scratch the surface and you will still find that government raped the People to make it happen.

    For example, lately we are hearing a lot about how the government supposedly made stock market profits on one of the bailouts – it doesn’t matter which, because the point is, “Nuh-uh.” Not a real economic profit. The government(-chartered Fed) printed trillions in new money for Quantitative Easing, which is a hidden economic tax on Main Street, and shot that money like a fire hose into Wall Street. That created whatever paper profit they got. It was not a real economic profit; it was part of a larger operation which prevents Main Street from seeing an economic recovery.

    If government efforts at “investment” do occasionally achieve some specific thing that is halfway good: why not thank the private taxpayer, who really funded it? And who probably paid too much for it, along with funding the other 99.5% of government spending which achieves no such things.

    government funding, like any funding spurs research, development and production

    Well, government spending redirects demand. If the government spends on X, then we get more of X. BUT… (1) only somewhat more; generally far less than we think, because of the efficiency leakage, the waste, the corruption, etc. And (2) since we are getting somewhat more X from demand having been redirected there, by definition we are getting less of Y and Z, what the government is not spending on. And that’s what people don’t see. I mean that literally; since less Y and Z are produced, less Y and Z are there to be seen.

    solar is dead in the marketplace

    Solar will do well (and BTW become a great place to invest; it has been a disaster, up to now) when government gets the hell out of it.

    the DC Metro

    Sorry Levi, the private sector is perfectly capable of running that – and would do a better job.

    You’re displaying a classic fallacy: “I see government doing it, therefore it must be true that only government can do it.” Imagine if the Constitution were written with a requirement that the government provide people with shoes. Then, all this time, shoes would have been a government-chartered monopoly like the Post Office. There would only be 3 crude kinds of shoes, and they would be $1000/pair. Poor people would own only a few pair in their lifetimes. And if I came along and said “But a private shoe industry could be so much better”, you’d freak out.

    When the government pees floods of money, capitalists will flock to it and apply technology to meet the demands and make the costs lower in order achieve greater profit while meeting quality standards.

    Again: government redirected the demand, the economic resources. But did it do so, wisely? 99% of the time, the answer is no. And even during the 1% time, there’s a massive loss of efficiency due to the inertia, sloth and corruption that arise from being able to commandeer resources, rather than having to work your butt off for both your customers and your stockholders.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 9, 2013 @ 12:27 am - January 9, 2013

  43. (continued) Government funding i.e. contracts is one of the things that insulates you (the private actor) from having to work your butt off for your customers and stockholders, and so begins the process of turning you into something as wasteful and slothful and corrupt as most of the government is. Moral hazard – a concept that lefties seem to have no clue about.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 9, 2013 @ 12:33 am - January 9, 2013

  44. P.S. Sorry if I sound very disappointed in our leftie friends, but… I haven’t seen anything new here, from them. It’s always the same errors:

    What if we had sat on our hands and waited for the UK to land on the moon

    Translation: You saw government doing it; therefore (in your mind) only government could do it.

    And it wasn’t a race against the UK, but against the USSR. In other words: the space race was conceived as, and partly was, a defense effort. Some say it cloaked a great deal of defense spending. Which I don’t entirely hate – aren’t I always saying that police, courts and military are the 3 things I’m absolutely sure that government should do? – And which you do hate – aren’t you always saying that you want to cut defense spending? What gives? Someday Levi, you will have to choose between your loyalty to Big Government and your hatred of national defense. And on that day, you will choose your loyalty to Big Government, thus becoming a full-on miltarist and fascist.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 9, 2013 @ 12:50 am - January 9, 2013

  45. I thought I’d gotten NDT’s point about the DC Metro, but on further reflection, I only just now really got it: his point is that the Metro is not efficient, but rather subsidized. Levi enjoys something given to him by taking from someone else (which is basically what a government subsidy is), and mistakes that for efficiency.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 9, 2013 @ 1:06 am - January 9, 2013

  46. @ILC

    As to defense, I’m not sure that the government does it better than the private sector. (Mercinaries after all have a long established tradition) What a government does is keep the defense for everyone (in theory) and keeps the defenders from becoming occupiers. So the government in theory keeps defense safer.

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 9, 2013 @ 9:21 am - January 9, 2013

  47. A little anecdote on how the DC Metro brought new hope to a community.

    As the DC Metro reached into the Maryland suburbs, the DC commuters parked their cars and rode the train to work. Perfect. Meanwhile, in mid-morning the thugs of DC were waking up. They communed on the DC Metro out to the Maryland suburbs and robbed homes. I don’t know if they had welfare tickets or actually paid for their transportation.

    “Government efficiency” is far more of an oxymoron than the Progressive’s point and laugh and favorite oxymoron about “military intelligence” has ever been. In fact, thelittlefascist’s whole theme was a song of praise to defense department and NASA intelligence.

    Comment by heliotrope — January 9, 2013 @ 9:44 am - January 9, 2013

  48. Government is always good vs. government is always bad. Gotta love the Internet.

    Comment by Ignatius — January 9, 2013 @ 12:06 pm - January 9, 2013

  49. Especially when you say “Government is sometimes good”, and people supposedly on your side choose to misunderstand you anyway. ;-)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 9, 2013 @ 12:16 pm - January 9, 2013

  50. You really do•not•understand•capitalism. Technology is the son of science. It is the application of science. When the government pees floods of money, capitalists will flock to it and apply technology to meet the demands and make the costs lower in order achieve greater profit while meeting quality standards. So, from your Neanderthal stance, all the government needs to do is take gobs of money from the taxpayers and fire hose pee it at a particular problem and capitalism make it all happen. Sort of like the perpetual motion machine or alchemy is just a failure of government’s dedication to peeing money.

    Let’s skip to your final part of the government funding triade: “some technology is developed primarily with government funding.” Duh!!! Bridge building, road building, defense contracting, and the space program are all examples of capitalism rising to the call of the government peeing nearly limitless sums of other people’s money at a problem.

    I agree with everything you just said, so in what way am I not understanding capitalism? Government can play the role of investor and consumer, and capitalists can organize around it. How many Fortune 500 companies do you think have dedicated government divisions? Car companies, cell phone companies, and software companies covet government accounts because they’re large, they tend to grow, and the revenue they produce can go towards R&D and infrastructure upgrades that increase margins and lower costs for general consumers using those same products. This set-up has served us pretty well for the past century, has it not?

    But, thelittlefascist ignores the nearly half century of government funded war on poverty in which poverty in America has ………. made poverty look like a board game. How is that government funded war on drugs working out? What we need is more government money, right? How about publicly funded education? A real world standard there. Right? The model of efficiency. Correct? We bring the kids to a publicly funded school, feed them breakfast and lunch, provide a drug free zone and a gun free zone and the little rascals file out to high paying jobs. Right?

    And now, by Juno, we are going to have superior healthcare at little to no cost all because of government efficiency.

    Yeah, I’m impressed with thelittlefascist’s Utopia hallucinations. Just get rid of greedy corporations, greed and selfishness and the good times will flood us with standards of living above all manner of imagination.

    Or not.

    I would argue that in a general sense, government spending creates efficiency and economic opportunities. I strongly disagree with the conservative suggestion that government is inherently problematic and will always fail, and there are countless examples to disprove that assertion. However, government is only as good as its leaders, and we’ve unfortunately had a string of terrible leaders lately.

    The drug war is a terrific example of government creating inefficiency, destroying wealth, and generally suppressing economic activity. But that’s because it’s a misguided policy that ignores human nature and fails to learn from history, not simply because the government is trying to solve a problem. Government, just like any business or church or similar organization that is run by human beings, is corruptible. The people who are responsible for maintaining this policy are not making rational decisions – politicians are terrified of looking like they’re soft on crime, and there are large industries (that donate to their campaigns) who profit tremendously from criminalization. After 3 decades, the results are in. The drug war has done the following:

    1. Grown government spending and size (bad in this situation due to the other deleterious consequences on my list, not because government spending is inherently bad).
    2. Done absolutely nothing to diminish the availability of drugs.
    3. Resulted in the incarceration of millions of our citizens, a metric which we lead the world in.
    4. Empowers criminal enterprise that require further government spending (again – the bad kind).
    5. Killed thousands of people here and abroad as a result of empowering criminal enterprise.
    6. All those people that went to jail? They may have had families, and they may have been the breadwinners. More people on the welfare rolls, more single parent families, etc.
    7. This increases poverty, which you’ll remember is the other big failure you mentioned.
    8. The prison, pharmaceutical, and alcohol companies have directly profited criminalization.

    I’m sure that there are others on the list, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that yes, indeed – this is a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars. The government is maintaining a policy that creates massive amounts of misery for large swaths of the population, but again – the defect is not in government spending, it’s in the stupidity and complacency of the leaders who direct government spending, those corruptible humans that need to exude a certain image for political considerations and who rely on those benefiting industries’ to finance their campaigns.

    To fix this, all we have to do is vote for intelligent people of conscience, not abandon the idea that government can solve problems. It’s our politics that are broken, not our government.

    Comment by Levi — January 9, 2013 @ 12:34 pm - January 9, 2013

  51. I thought I’d gotten NDT’s point about the DC Metro, but on further reflection, I only just now really got it: his point is that the Metro is not efficient, but rather subsidized. Levi enjoys something given to him by taking from someone else (which is basically what a government subsidy is), and mistakes that for efficiency.

    It doesn’t matter that DC Metro doesn’t turn a profit, that’s not the kind of efficiency I’m talking about. The point is that this city could not function without the Metro. The traffic around here is already some of the worst in the country, and the layout of the city streets was planned in the 18th century, so there’s not much flexibility as far as what you can do on the surface. The Metro has enabled a huge amount of economic growth that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

    If I’m ‘taking’ because I ride the Metro to work, than so are all the people who are driving on the highways to get to work, are they not? You’re a taker, too! You didn’t built those roads, did you? If anything, I’m actually doing those drivers a favor, improving their commutes by keeping another set of four wheels off the road, am I not? That’s efficiency.

    What’s more, I figure my wife and I are pocketing $3,000 a year by taking the Metro to work, money that we can spend on vacations or to pay down debt or invest in stocks or whatever else. Multiply that figure by a few hundred thousand riders and you’ll begin to understand what I’m talking about when I say efficiency. That’s well worth whatever operational deficit the system may run.

    They’re actually adding another line out to Dulles airport that’s going to open up later this year. That means increased property value along the route, and there will undoubtedly be a lot of profitable coffee shops and newstands and shopping centers and restaurants springing up near all the stations. There is an outdoor amphitheater called Wolftrap along the route, too. It won’t have its own station to start, but they’re leaving open the possibility of adding it as a fill-in station in the future. Want to bet that when it happens, they’ll start seeing increased attendance and ticket sales?

    There’s more. I’d estimate that about 25% of people are using some kind of portable electronic device on the Metro, and more people are doing it everyday. Hell, I carry almost a thousand dollars worth of electronics between my smartphone and tablet to pass the time. People are listening to music, people are playing games, people are reading e-books – all of this stuff costs money. There’s no doubt that many riders’ time spent commuting factored into their buying decision for these expensive gadgets. And companies know it, too – there are ads for Apple iPods and Google’s Play Store plastered all over the place. If you want to go low-tech, you’re also taken care of. In the morning, at every stop, there is somebody handing out free, advertisement-supported, daily newspapers. Somebody’s making money off that, too.

    That’s a shitload of economic activity, isn’t it? Again, efficiency doesn’t really do justice to the effect that the DC Metro has on the regional economy.

    Comment by Levi — January 9, 2013 @ 1:11 pm - January 9, 2013

  52. Sorry Levi, the private sector is perfectly capable of running that – and would do a better job.

    You’re displaying a classic fallacy: “I see government doing it, therefore it must be true that only government can do it.” Imagine if the Constitution were written with a requirement that the government provide people with shoes. Then, all this time, shoes would have been a government-chartered monopoly like the Post Office. There would only be 3 crude kinds of shoes, and they would be $1000/pair. Poor people would own only a few pair in their lifetimes. And if I came along and said “But a private shoe industry could be so much better”, you’d freak out.

    That’s a terrible comparison. Making shoes is not the same as a decades-spanning, citywide engineering project. The DC Metro cost billions of dollars and took nearly 20 years of planning and construction before there was a product to offer the public – how many private companies could have taken on that kind of risk in the 1960′s? How would this private company have raised the capital? Who is going to buy stock in a company that’s taking on massive debts with no hopes of even beginning to generate revenues for twenty years?

    You can put this to the test, if you like. The city of Cincinnati began digging a subway system back in the 20′s (maybe even earlier, can’t remember exactly), but they couldn’t finish it because of the Great Depression and the war. The city government toyed with the idea of finishing the system at various points, but there’s never been a good time for it. So…. why doesn’t a private company descend upon Cincinnati and finish this sucker up? I mean if it’s as easy as you say it is, shouldn’t there already be a branded, nationwide private company that builds and maintains subway systems in cities like Cincinnati?

    Shoes are a problem for private companies to solve. Congestion and population growth are problems for the government to solve.

    Comment by Levi — January 9, 2013 @ 4:06 pm - January 9, 2013

  53. Especially when you say “Government is sometimes good”…

    This coming from someone who considers Ayn Rand to have no philosophical equals. Yes, Ayn Rand, who advocated that our national defense budget should be funded via voluntary contribution. It’s rational to be suspicious of government and the motives of those who work in it. It’s something else to make sweeping generalizations about the role of government without any qualification, qualification that makes such discussions actually useful. I’m not on the side of anyone who cannot recognize the necessary efficiency of government and national defense.

    Comment by Ignatius — January 9, 2013 @ 4:22 pm - January 9, 2013

  54. Translation: You saw government doing it; therefore (in your mind) only government could do it.

    Explained above in my response to your shoe analogy. Some problems are too big/not profitable enough for private enterprise to be effective at solving them.

    And it wasn’t a race against the UK, but against the USSR.

    I know that. Do you think I don’t know that?

    This kind of cherry-picking is a problem around here. That was a sentence in a paragraph, and you clipped out all of the context. Here’s what I said in full:

    I mentioned earlier that Germany is committing to using more renewable energy, to which you replied, “So what? Who cares?” I don’t know what kind of response that is, given how you seemingly agree that our economy benefited tremendously from government investment in the Space Race. What if we had sat on our hands and waited for the UK to land on the moon, do you think they could have done it before us? Do you think that we’d still have the technological edge that we earned for ourselves?

    With the full context, you can understand that I was referring to an earlier conversation I had with heliotrope. But if you clip all of that and focus on one half of one sentence in order to accuse me of being too stupid to know who we were racing against in the Space Race, than you’re just wasting time and creating distractions. I was clearly offering a hypothetical, and you’re trying to pretend like a didn’t know an elementary historical fact.

    In other words: the space race was conceived as, and partly was, a defense effort. Some say it cloaked a great deal of defense spending. Which I don’t entirely hate – aren’t I always saying that police, courts and military are the 3 things I’m absolutely sure that government should do? – And which you do hate – aren’t you always saying that you want to cut defense spending? What gives? Someday Levi, you will have to choose between your loyalty to Big Government and your hatred of national defense. And on that day, you will choose your loyalty to Big Government, thus becoming a full-on miltarist and fascist.

    There’s no denying the defense element of the Space Race. But it was also a battle for people’s imaginations. We wanted to put our best foot forward and demonstrate to the world that capitalism was a better system than communism. We wanted to take a seemingly impossible problem and solve it in front of friend and foe alike. That’s the sentiment behind Kennedy’s famous line “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Hearts and minds, city on the hill and all that.

    I’m all for defense spending that makes sense. Lots of defense spending doesn’t make sense, and most certainly should be cut. Once again, Mitt Romney went on national TV and complained that we didn’t have as many ships in the Navy today as we did a hundred years ago. The implication there is obvious – President Mitt Romney would have thought that building more ships was a wise investment of taxpayer dollars. That’s pretty stupid. Defense at the beginning of the 20th century required lots of ships, defense at the beginning of the 21st century does not. The same is true of tanks. Tanks are for fighting tanks, and who are we going to fight that has tanks? We have plenty already, and we keep buying more. Why should we even be considering cutting social security benefits when we’re buying tanks we’re never going to use?

    Comment by Levi — January 9, 2013 @ 4:44 pm - January 9, 2013

  55. Levi you can’t honestly say we’re never going to use all these tanks we’re buying up. A couple of decades from now, a country we’ve been selling our old crappy tanks will do something we don’t like. When we invade, our fancy new tanks will be superior on the battlefield, and we will win! Then the cycle can repeat itself.

    Comment by Aaron — January 9, 2013 @ 5:07 pm - January 9, 2013

  56. This coming from someone who considers Ayn Rand to have no philosophical equals.

    You sound annoyed. I’m OK with it; it’s sort of the ‘bitchy Iggy’ that I remember.

    I’m not on the side of anyone who cannot recognize the necessary efficiency of government and national defense.

    How fortunate for me, that I have stated the positive necessity of government defense spending (while still also noting its inefficiency; the two characteristics are not exclusive; it’s a false choice to pretend that they are) in several comments, including my original post, as well as comment #6 where I explicitly stated my agreement with you, on the matter of its necessity.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 9, 2013 @ 6:33 pm - January 9, 2013

  57. I’m not annoyed at all (but if it flatters you to think I am, so be it); I’m just pointing out something humorous you stated some time ago. And I am also pointing out the necessary efficiency of government financing of national defense, not presenting a false choice. There are some areas about which we have no choice.

    Comment by Ignatius — January 9, 2013 @ 7:33 pm - January 9, 2013

  58. Actually I’ll just toss a Wikipedia link about the doomed subway Levi mentions.

    Funny thing… “Why has no private business swooped in and finished it?”

    Meier’s Wine Cellars Inc. wanted to use the subway tunnels to store wine, as well as install a bottling operation to draw tourists, but it fell through due to a lack of proper building codes.

    Yup, that’s government efficiency for you. Oh, but wait!

    In 2002 the subway tunnels were proposed as a route for a regional light rail system that would cost $2.6 billion and take thirty years to build.

    What happened here? Surely Government will save us!

    The plan was voted down by more than a 2-to-1 ratio.

    Curse those groundlings and them believing they can spend their money better!

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 9, 2013 @ 7:45 pm - January 9, 2013

  59. Well Iggy, just so you know: Rand’s position on something (even when you manage to state it accurately, which is far from certain) will never impress me, unless I happen to agree with the position after using my own mind. I don’t get into authority games. Her view may often make a useful and interesting starting point, because she was a great and original synthetic thinker. But there have been others.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 9, 2013 @ 11:09 pm - January 9, 2013

  60. Ignatius,

    I’d argue it’s not a matter of efficiency, but of loyalty. In theory, I hire a guy to protect me, he’s going to protect me. I hire a guy to protect the community, he’s going to protect me, and the community. Snopes aside, the US military pledges its’ oath to the Constitution (and of course each other in combat.) David Drake wrote about the later. That essay helped me understand, despite being best friends, despite being the godfather to his kids, my ‘little brother’ had experiences I’d never had, nor want, that put him closer to his fellow vets in some ways than me.

    A national defense works, in theory, because the people in harm’s way come from all over. Ohio vs. Michigan rivalries pale between “Us” and “Them”.

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 10, 2013 @ 10:54 am - January 10, 2013

  61. sock reset

    Comment by V the K — January 10, 2013 @ 5:40 pm - January 10, 2013

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