Government Can’t Make Us Happy

Even the staunchest proponents of government intervention to increase happiness admit that there’s no relationship.

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson called the pursuit of happiness an unalienable right. This was a radical idea. For most of history, most people didn’t think much about pursuing happiness. They were too busy just trying to survive.

Then came the liberal revolution based on the idea of individual freedom. Only then did they start thinking that happiness might be possible on earth.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the right to pursue happiness has been perverted into a government-backed entitlement to happiness.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says, “There’s more to life than money. ... It’s time we focus not just on GDP, but GWB -- general well-being.”

Well-being sounds good. But is that something that government programs promote?

Philip Booth, an economist with London’s Institute of Economic Affairs and editor of “... And the Pursuit of Happiness,” says no. He and economist Christopher Coyne of George Mason University, who contributed to that volume, were guests recently on my Fox Business show.

Since the country of Bhutan got all kinds of publicity by using a measure it calls “gross national happiness” instead of gross national product, and The New York Times says it’s a “new measure of well-being from a happy little kingdom,” I asked them if there is anything to it.

“It’s not a model that most Western societies would want to copy,” Booth said.

I didn’t think so. In Bhutan, people can get locked up for criticizing the government. Yet one study ranked the United States 23rd in the list of happy places. Bhutan was higher on the list.

That’s nonsense, said Coyne. It makes more sense to judge a country’s ability to make its citizens happy by whether foreigners want to move there. Clearly, more people want to move to America than to Bhutan. “The way to think about this,” Coyne said, “is the fact that so many people want to come to the United States indicates that they at least perceive there is the opportunity to pursue what makes them happy.”

What does make people happy? People fantasize about leisure and luxury, but the best data show that such things don’t create lasting happiness. What does make for happiness is obtaining work that allows you to move toward goals that you find meaningful. In other words, what’s important is not just employment, but purposeful work. So is having control over your workplace. Chrysler found that if workers have more control on the assembly line, they are happier. The freedom to decide your own goals is crucial.

Other things that make people happy are religion, having family and friends you care about, giving to others (face to face or via charity), and money.

Actually, money makes you happier if you’re miserably poor. But once you have a certain amount—maybe enough that you no longer have to worry about your family’s well-being—more money doesn’t make much difference. Lottery winners report that, a year after their windfall, they were no happier than they were before.

That’s counterintuitive. Instinct tells us that wealth brings happiness. It’s a reason why some people envy the rich and why income inequality causes lots of angst today. One left-wing journalist writes, “Every model shows the most unequal societies are the least happy.”

“There's no evidence that this is true,” Coyne said. “Even the staunchest proponents of government intervention to increase happiness admit that there’s no relationship.”

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  • Radioactive||

    but can certainly ruin your day...

  • Joe M||

    In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson called the pursuit of happiness an unalienable right.

    That was his biggest mistake. He should've said property.

  • o3||

    u mean ownership of property

  • anon||

    I seem to remember a news story that suggests he initially wrote property, but changed it.

  • anon||

    Nevermind, I'm a retard. The news story I was vaguely recalling was about Subjects vs Citizens.

  • ||

    ISTR that TJ originally wanted to write "life, liberty, and happiness" but was persuaded that that was Utopian and settled for "pursuit of".

    But I often recall things wrong.

  • KPres||

    No, I saw the same thing. Jefferson wanted "Life, Liberty and Property". Apparently, it was Adams who got it changed to "pursuit of Happiness"

  • ||

    Yeah, you can see the crossed out part written on the back along with the invisible treasure map.

  • Restoras||

    Well that would be plagiarizing just a little too much from Locke.

  • rather||

    "For most of history, most people didn’t think much about pursuing happiness. They were too busy just trying to survive."


    I'd beat this man with a cliché whip but then as a libertarian he's enjoy it.

    Entertainment, the arts, was present in early man and even Nazi Concentration camp prisoners painted for pleasure; happiness is not an afterthought but a survival tool.

  • anon||

    happiness is not an afterthought but a survival tool.

    No, it's not.

  • rather||

    Proof?

  • anon||

    You made the assertion, you provide the proof. I'm not wasting my time unless you do, troll.

  • anon||

    Also, proving negatives, etc.

  • rather||

    You responded but ignore the two facts, art present in what could be argues as two extreme examples of man attempting to survive:
    trial & error ignorance, and violent threat of death; why did they draw? Sing? Smile? Laugh? You tell me, Judge

  • anon||

    The "facts" you presented have no relation to your argument that "happiness is a survival tool."

    People painting on walls in nazi camps does not prove that it helped them survive the oven.

  • ||

    Jesus, you moron. Don't talk at it. You get what you deserve when you talk at it.

  • anon||

    I know, but I'm very irritable today, and the asinine statement that "JEWZ USED HAPPINESS TO SURVIVE TEH OVENZZ!!!!" just really fucking struck a nerve.

  • rather||

    You are an emotional case; aren't you

  • rather||

    Warty, you promised not to read me...can you see through grey incif; Warty are you an Tak

  • anon||

    He was reading me you stupid cunt.

  • ||

    FULL IGNORE, dude. FULL IGNORE is the only way.

  • anon||

    If anything, all you've proven is that happiness is a byproduct of idle time.

  • rather||

    FUCK you anon, you fucking gay cocksucker. Those jews were PEOPLE until Hitler killed most of them. Why do you care if they wanted to draw paintings on the walls?

    Can't you see how artwork helped jews live through being gassed!?

    ART IS LIFE!!!

  • rather||

    Honey, you know I would say "art is female"; try to do a better job

  • Sparky||

    rather, if people use happiness as a survival tool why isn't everyone laughing when you're around? And how are you still alive when your life is completely devoid of any kind of joy?

  • rather||

    For those interested is a serious thread:

    "People painting on walls in nazi camps does not prove that it helped them survive the oven."

    I don't think you ken that happiness and survival are not selfsame. To suggest that happiness can prevent death at the hands of anyone, or any danger is a silly boy argument.

    I've known people who were dying, and they were authentically happy. Happiness and survival are not mutually exclusive; my aforesaid point

  • anon||

    Thanks for stating that happiness is NOT a tool of survival. I am now satisfied.

  • rather||

    Not the only

  • anon||

    Name just one situation where one must be happy to sustain life. Just one.

  • rather||

    one situation?
    How odd a question.
    I can do one better; Nick Schuyler survived because he didn't want his mother to experience unhappiness:

    “I kept picturing my family, my mother, particularly,” ... “I just could not picture my mother attending my funeral. That’s by far the worst thing that any mother would have to go through.”

  • anon||

    That's a great suggestion of Pain being a tool for survival, which is already well known.

  • rather||

    He suffered through pain but not for his own survival but for his mother's happiness. Love for her was his catalyst

  • Sam Grove||

    IF it's a relief from boredom.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: rather the conflator,

    Entertainment, the arts, was present in early man and even Nazi Concentration camp prisoners painted for pleasure


    And they were certainly fucking for pleasure, rather, but that is not what "Pursuit of Happiness" necessarily means.

  • rather||

    I don't think men with ASD can understand this concept; there must be a relationship to emotional IQ and happiness that you cannot grasp.

    I wonder if you even know if and when you are happy?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: rather,

    I don't think men with ASD can understand this concept


    Maybe, maybe not. This has nothing to do with your conflating of concepts. Pursuit of happiness means being able to choose your path freely. It does not mean being "happy" at a certain instant in time. A lunatic could feel happy all the time, that does not mean he has the ability or freedom to pursue his interests.

    there must be a relationship to emotional IQ and happiness that you cannot grasp.


    You have no way of knowing this. You're merely speculating or making a meek attempt at an insult. You're not as competent as you fancy yourself being, rather.

  • rather||

    No, I am truly interested in vestigial biology, and I think art is related.  I truly don't intend insults but I don't see someone's nature as anything other than genetic fact 

  • rather||

    ... and here 

  • Old Mexican||

    Rather, that's all interesting but what the hell does that have to do with the pursuit of happiness and being altogether a happy person?

    Considering early humans, the fact that there was a much smaller population indicates that there was very little division of labor, which translates into more work for less returns (compared to today's situation where there is a much bigger population of humans.) That fact precludes a person from being as happy or happier than a person who only has to go to the store to purchase his substinance and does not have to fight predators or famines. Again, discrete instances of happiness does not equate into being happy overall.

  • Brother Grimm||

    All well and good, but the truely important question is... (slowly puts on sunglasses)... were they gamboling?

    YYYEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! DA DU DU DA DE DA! WE DON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN!

  • rather||

    Yes, I agree early man had more of a workload but I don't see the relationship with free time and happiness.
    A cloistered nun whose time is scheduled with prayer, and basic needs could be just as happy as a trust-fund girl who spends her time sunning on a beach.

    How does time dictate happiness?

  • Brother Grimm||

    And we have reached the point where rather no longer remembers what he's agruing for.

  • rather||

    go away, little boy; I'm sure the jerk circle can use another hand

  • Brother Grimm||

    And now we know what an idiot says when he loses his thought track and gets called on his foolish, pseudo-intellectual bullshit.

  • rather||

    I don't think you understand the meaning of words; they are not B&W.

    -another armless sword fight I may not partake it

  • ||

    If you enjoy hunting, fighting, and fucking, it would be fun to be a caveman. The short lifespan is kind of a bummer.

  • ||

    "government allowing people more freedom"

    There's your problem right there. Government doesn't "allow". The people limited their government's power to affect them. And then, it all went to shit.

  • wareagle||

    if govt was the key to happiness, Greece would be the planet's Disney World.

    And while money may not buy happiness, it sure as hell eliminates many of the stresses that come with being poor.

  • Gojira||

    Bingo. Samuel Jackson said, "Anyone who says that money can't buy happiness, never had any."

    It can, and it does. Or rather the freedom from worry that is a byproduct of the money.

  • Paul||

    Bingo. Samuel Jackson said, "Anyone who says that money can't buy happiness, never had any."

    The reverse tends to be true, in my opinion. People who say money can't bring happiness have always had it and don't know or remember why money makes them happy. It's like having the water just run out of the faucet every time you turn it on. It's just 'there'. Take it away for a while and you'll remember why having instant running water makes you happy.

    Or see my post below.

  • Radioactive||

    life is a shit sandwich, the more dough you have the less shit you have to eat...

  • ||

    if govt was the key to happiness, Greece would be the planet's Disney World

    A significant part of the problem is that it was that while the "borrow on the sovereign bond market & blow it on the public service/social programs" party lasted.

  • Heaven is in your mind||

    A gramme is better than a damn.

  • Doctor Whom||

    (takes soma) You don't say so!

  • Sparky||

    worth a damn

  • Rhett Almanian||

    Frankly....I don't give a damn.

  • ||

    I've heard about Bhutan's Gross National Happiness. I bet a lot of American politicians would love to use something like that instead of the more objective (though still manipulated) GDP measures.

  • ||

    They have free and unlimited pot. That might help a little.

  • Michelle Obama||

    It sure enough made me happy bitch!!

  • el Commentariosa||

    Don't be so angry.

  • Michelle Obama||

    We live in an angry mean America. I was never proud of America until it flew me to Spain

  • Tim||

    + uno

  • Almanian||

    ANCHOR BABIES!!

  • illini||

    "Government Can't Make Us Happy". Yes, but it sure can make us UN-Happy! To paraphrase Thomas Paine, it's a necessary evil and therefore should be kept to a minimum.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Clearly, more people want to move to America than to Bhutan.

    It's odd that the people who advance such-and-such statist country as a model for less enlightened countries (read: the USA) to follow so seldom want to emigrate to their paradise on earth themselves.

  • anon||

    This is a fact that frequently goes unnoticed.

  • ||

    For those people, it's not enough to live that life themselves. It's just no fun unless you get to impose it on others by force. Knowing that there are free people somewhere is such a buzzkill!

  • Old Mexican||

    The freedom to decide your own goals is crucial.


    This. It is not just about having some moments of simple pleasures like rather up there was arguing. It is about having the freedom to choose your own path, not having others (or natural forces, in the case of cavemen) choose it for you.

  • ||

    “There's no evidence that this is true,” Coyne said. “Even the staunchest proponents of government intervention to increase happiness admit that there’s no relationship.”

    You obviously haven't tried talking to Tony.

  • Matrix||

    "Government can't make us happy."

    But they'll sure make us miserable trying.

  • Old Mexican||

    Actually, money makes you happier if you’re miserably poor. But once you have a certain amount — maybe enough that you no longer have to worry about your family’s well-being — more money doesn’t make much difference.


    Marginal utiluty - how does that work again?

  • robc||

    Speaking of diminishing returns

  • Double D||

    I know an excellent way to make people happy.
    Leave them the fuck alone.
    Of course, a few helpless losers may flail a bit, until they discover churches, charitable organizations, and other patsies that they can milk instead of taxpayers.

  • Matrix||

    If nannies can't force you to support losers, what good are they? They find happiness in diminishing yours in order to help out losers. You have too much happiness! A fair equal distribution of happiness must be accomplished by our government, or the nannies won't be happy. You wanting to keep your own happiness for yourself is what makes you an evil 1% monocle wearing Republican/Libertarian.

  • Tim||

    Government wants to make us happy? Bullshit!
    Here are some things that make us happy, all of which Government has fucked with/is fucking with/plans to fuck with:

    Alcohol
    Tobacco
    Firearms
    Fireworks
    Pot
    Caffiene (especially in beer)
    Helmet laws
    Sex, all sorts of sex
    religious practice
    speech and expression
    privacy
    making money
    giving money away
    Books, TV, movies and photos of naked people.

  • Matrix||

    You can only be happy in ways of which the nannies approve.

  • Tim||

    gambling ( gamboling!)
    sun tans
    campfires
    pets
    music
    email
    cars
    trucks

  • Matrix||

  • anon||

    Wow, they're actually spending money trying to find a man that "might" have died by living foolishly. Amazing.

  • Almanian||

    I like your list of toys. Can you come out and play?

    I'll bring guns, ammo, Jeeps, motorcycles, a Fender Strat AND a Tele AND a 100w Marshall full stack....ummmm.....food....liqour (for AFTER the guns)...

    Ya in?

  • anon||

    Can I come if I bring hookers & blow?

  • Godfrey||

    In my admittedly idyllic existence, the hookers always bring their own blow.

    Also, none of them have syphilis.

  • Tim||

    Ya I'd forgotten they're raiding guitar factories now.

  • Brett L||

    liqour (for AFTER the guns)

    This is a strict rule at our parties, too. It is also for after axe and knife throwing.

  • Anomalous||

    Just don't bring a Gibson. It's made from wood that did not receive the government's blessing.

  • ||

    How can you be happy knowing that all these things may cause harm to you?
    So say-eth the government

  • CatoTheElder||

    You missed a huge government intrusion upon the right to pursue happiness:

    opiod pain meds for cancer patients and others who live in excruciating pain.

    The DEA is psychotically masochistic in this regard.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Oh, another missing item: lightbulbs.

  • Chris||

    'institute a “maximum-work” law'

    Can anyone find any explanation of this? I looked for a while and couldn't find anything recent on this topic.

  • Trey Bienne||

    I'm sure these folks will be happy to answer your question.

  • Almanian||

    Stop me before I work again more!

  • el Commentariosa||

    Why does reasonable ignore any post with "gambol" in it (including probably this one)?

  • Almanian||

    Also, I keep reading "Bhutan" as "Butane".

    Now we know where all the lighter fluid comes from....

  • Tim||

    Happy Bhutan, the tinpot dictatorship that exiled thousands of ethnic minorities at the point of a bayonet.

  • In other news....||

    Jesus fucking CHRIST, rectal is a stupid, socially inept outcast...

  • sarcasmic||

    What's with that picture anyway?

    Will that be the new POW/MIA once women are allowed in combat?

  • anon||

    It's a statement regarding women's happiness after leaving the kitchen.

  • ||

    But but...I like the kitchen, I also like being barefoot and pregnant. Really.

  • anon||

    A sense of humor; you do not posess it.

  • ||

    lol

  • Paul||

    Lottery winners report that, a year after their windfall, they were no happier than they were before.

    So if asked to give up their winnings? How many readily do so?

    This bullshit trope about money not bringing happiness is bullshit. No, it doesn't bring ultimate happiness, but it sure damned well makes things easier. The problem isn't that having more money didn't make them happy, the problem is that after having money for a while, you forget how happy money made you.

    Take money away from someone and shit-howdy they'll remember real fast exactly what happinesses money used to bring them.

  • anon||

    It's an exercise of marginal utility, as I think someone stated above. Once you get enough to not need/want more, it quits making your life easier, and you're content with your money situation. Depriving the same person of the money reduces the contentment, which makes the person perceive sadness at the loss rather than the happiness of their current situation.

  • anon||

    Of course, trying to explain to half those fools that cry "money can't buy happiness" the concept of "perception" is an exercise in marginal futility.

  • Paul||

    I understand the marginal utility argument and agree with it. I'm just talking about the broad idea of having money vs not having money.

    Compared to someone who's dirt poor, I'm quite well off. But John Stossel for instance, probably wouldn't trade his money for mine. Even though Mr. Stossel may be in the place where he's readily report that more money wouldn't make him happier.

    So in regards to my point about the lottery winners... if more doesn't make you happy, would those same lottery winners give that more money back. But I'll bet few do, meaning that yes, even more money can make you happy, you just don't remember why.

    I think that's why Hip Hop stars rap so much about their money. Many of those guys were hard-times poor growing up. So yes, another million does make them happy. Because they remember...

  • anon||

    Yeah, I'm not disagreeing here. I grew up piss broke. Literally in a homeless shelter with my mother at one point.

    Money may or may not buy happiness; I don't care, I'm happy not being broke.

    alt-text: He who says money can't buy happiness has never bought hookers & blow.

  • Paul||

    alt-text: He who says money can't buy happiness has never bought hookers & blow.

    I've never bought hookers and blow, and I'm not happy... because I can't afford hookers and blow.

    That requires a cush public sector job managing the fund for your slain fellow officers.

    Subtext: cops, they don't even protect their own anymore.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've never bought hookers and blow

    Don't feel bad. It's overrated.

    Actually it's not.

    Ha!

  • Paul||

    Case in point: People who say it's overrated don't remember not having hookers and blow.

    Invite a brother over sometime!

  • sarcasmic||

    In a past life. Now I'm married with children.
    *sigh*

  • anon||

    Ted Bundy? Is that you!?

  • sarcasmic||

    I think you're confused.
    He was a serial killer, and I'm just a cereal killer.

  • anon||

    Shit, meant Al Bundy. All is lost now.

  • ||

    Even the marginal utility argument is little more than a thought experiment, since there is no way to measure or quantify happiness to compare across time, or across people.

  • Paul||

    Shorter: Saying "money doesn't make you happy" is a way for rich white folks to allay some of their guilt.

    Poor kid looking at Ferrari: Wow, Mr, you sure do have a lot of money!

    Ferrari owner: Yes, but alas, money doesn't bring one happiness.

    Kid: Then can I have some of it?

    Ferrari owner: It would only sully your character and bring upon your soul more troubles... I can't bring myself to do it. I will, however, give a small amount to a benevolent community organization which will spend it on your behalf!

    kid: Awesome!

  • Zeb||

    To put it another way: the fact that rich people can be (and often are) unhappy does not mean that money cannot make one happier.

  • Radioactive||

    Money may not make you happy, but it will keep you warm and fed until you can figure out what the fuck does

  • Tony||

    The mainstream media claim that the way to make people happy is to have government protect them from misfortune and give them stuff.

    Cite?

    You need about $75,000/year to be free enough to pursue happiness. Beyond that are diminishing returns. This suggests that Stossel has everything backward. A public safety net can go very far to increase happiness. Unlimited wealth accumulation is what is fruitless, and not something that should necessarily be celebrated as the highest virtue in society.

  • Paul||

    You need about $75,000/year to be free enough to pursue happiness.

    Cite?

  • Tony||

  • Paul||

    From your link:

    That doesn’t mean wealthy and ultrawealthy are equally happy. More money does boost people’s life assessment, all the way up the income ladder. People who earned $160,000 a year, for instance, reported more overall satisfaction than people earning $120,000, and so on.

    “Giving people more income beyond 75K is not going to do much for their daily mood … but it is going to make them feel they have a better life,” Mr. Deaton told the Associated Press.

  • ||

    Sometimes they should keep the stupid people away from keyboards.

    That doesn’t mean wealthy and ultrawealthy are equally happy. More money does boost people’s life assessment, all the way up the income ladder. People who earned $160,000 a year, for instance, reported more overall satisfaction than people earning $120,000, and so on.

    Doesn't this completely undermine the 75K argument?

    “Giving people more income beyond 75K is not going to do much for their daily mood … but it is going to make them feel they have a better life,” Mr. Deaton told the Associated Press.

    How about this?

    What idiot can write 'mood' and 'feel' and think they are wholly seperate ideas?

  • protefeed||

    You need about $75,000/year to be free enough to pursue happiness.

    So if you're making $70K a year, have a job you love, a car to drive, a roof over your head, enough food to eat, are young and healthy and have a hot-looking sexual partner who knows how to fuck, you're not really free and can't be happy?

    Talk about a stupid ass statement.

  • Jack the Reaper||

    What's this "you" shit and who are you to tell me how much I need to make to be free enough to pursue happiness?

    If I only made $75K per year, there'd be some belt tightening going on...

  • Zeb||

    And if I made $75k a year, I'd feel pretty rich. And I feel reasonably well off now.

  • Paul||

    If I made $75k a year, I'd fucking retire.

  • Matrix||

    If I made $75/k year, I would be able to buy my own place and keep my current spending habits.

  • Paul||

    If I made $75k a year, I'd be buying hookers and blow. Then I'd be happy. Shit... Tony's got a point!

  • Jack the Reaper||

    Good for you. Seriously. And I hope that someday you make more. And I wish you continued well being.

    But to put a number on it is a broad brush to use for all people.

    Some people are happy doing simpler things (cheaper). Me, I like to travel a lot and I have some expensive hobbies that I enjoy. I would have to do less of them if I made $75K and I didn't do most of them when I did make under $75K.

    Am I happier now that I get to do more in my life that I enjoy doing? Gotta be a yes answer to that.

  • Paul||

    But since you asked:

    On Denmark, where people are happy, even with a 70 percent tax rate

    "We often think about happiness as trying to increase our joy, but it's also about decreasing our worry. So what you get for paying those high taxes is if you're a parent thinking about putting your child through school, you don't have to worry about it, because all education through college is free. In fact, college students ... draw a salary.
    "And sure enough, this is a place where the three [major ethnic groups] are all put on a level playing field in that Lee Kuan Yew made English the lingua franca back in the 1960s, even though he had lots of pressure from China to make Chinese the lingua franca. Actually, the dominant ethnicity are Han Chinese there. But he put everybody on the same footing, and there's all kinds of laws in place to make sure that people mix with each other.

    On how Singapore offers tax incentives that make people happy[...]

    Moar:

    On how the happiest place in the U.S. — San Luis Obispo, Calif. — got so happy


    "So my job is to start with the statistics. These people are saying they're happier than anyplace else, and I tried to answer why. And I traced it to a professor at the nearby university named Ken Schwartz who became mayor.

    "When he came in as mayor, he kind of galvanized the City Council to focus.

    Amazing. At every turn, somewhere the government was responsible for all this persistent happiness.

    Oh, and was it the link I got these from where you come up with your mystical $75,000 a year happiness requisite?

    http://www.npr.org/2011/10/19/.....ve-happily

    I think often in America, we think that if we work really hard and make a lot of money, we will be happier. But $75,000 [for a family of four] seems to be the ceiling when it comes to day-to-day experienced happiness. So it makes no sense to spend a lot of time working beyond that $75,000 level."
  • Matrix||

    What's the point of a college education if every other mother ****er out there has one as well? Why should I got to school for 16 years and still make the equivilent of $10/hr?

    Know what? you want that Utopia for yourself? move to ****ing Denmark!

  • The Pointer-Outer||

    So, you're saying the maximum wage should be $75K?

    I surmised as much.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Stick around... Tony only gets worse.

  • Matrix||

    We'd probably also be happier if we only had 1 brand of milk, 1 brand of cheese, 1 brand of bread, 1 brand of anything we wanted... no electronics, only 1 type of car, truck, or SUV. We'd be happier with an allotted amount of electricity, water, gas, and fuel. We'd be happier with state approved reading, music, and television.

    Only those chosen for us (not by us) to lead us will be allotted more than the rest of us mere peasants.

  • Paul||

    We'd probably also be happier if we only had 1 brand of milk, 1 brand of cheese, 1 brand of bread, 1 brand of anything we wanted... no electronics, only 1 type of car, truck, or SUV.

    Years ago I came across a critique of Austrian Economics that essentially suggested that this is the way things should be.

    The core of the argument was that two types of bread, two types of cars etc., would represent duplication of effort, and therefore result in inefficiencies.

  • Tony||

    I'm saying the economy shouldn't necessarily be structured to reward egregious amounts of wealth accumulated in the hands of a few hundred people while everyone else slips into poverty. There shouldn't be a maximum wage; but income should have some correlation to sanity. It's way more important, not to mention economically healthy, for a person at the bottom of the ladder to have his basic needs met, than it is for a billionaire to be able to make an extra hundred million dollars or so.

    The problem with the libertarian approach to all this is that it's based on a set of deontological premises that don't account for anything remotely important to physical human beings. That it all leads to a pattern of using government to protect the luxuries of the wealthy, while ignoring the needs of the poor, suggests that there is no actual ethic underlying it all, it's just the philosophical excuse for keeping concentrated wealth exactly where it is, and increasing it.

  • Paul||

    That it all leads to a pattern of using government to protect the luxuries of the wealthy,

    Right, like when we were screaming at the top of our lungs to let the financial institutions and their wealthy patrons fail, and fail hard, and Team Bush/Obama was using the government to protect the luxuries of the wealthy...

    Like we screamed at the top of our lungs while trying to stand athward eminent domain takings orchestrated by government trying to hand land over to wealthy patrons while Team Obama stepped all over the poor assuring everyone that it was for a public purpose...

    No, Tony, what libertarians want is for government to get out of the way as much as possible. But government should very much remain in the way when someone threatens our right to speak, our right to remain armed, our right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, our right to marry who we want, our right to due process. There is a pattern to our thinking. Unfortunately, by using the distortions of language and meaning, that pattern is labeled "extremism".

  • Mercurus||

    "There shouldn't be a maximum wage; but income should have some correlation to sanity."

    You're trying to have it both ways: "...correlation to sanity" implies that you know what's sane and what isn't...and that you know that there in fact *is* some correlation between sanity and income. Maybe there is, but if I had my choice I'd rather be paid according to my abilities related to my chosen profession and my negotiating skills, not someone's subjective evaluation of my employers sanity.

  • Mercurus||

    ...was replying to what's-his-nuts above you...

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    "egregious amounts of wealth"

    Fkn Marxist co.cksmoker.
    If I made $75K a year I'd put a $74K bounty on stupid fkn Marxists.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Told you Tony only gets worse.

  • ||

    OT: FBN has cancelled Freedom Watch today. Betcha Stossel won't be far behind!

  • protefeed||

    Actually, money makes you happier if you’re miserably poor. But once you have a certain amount—maybe enough that you no longer have to worry about your family’s well-being—more money doesn’t make much difference. Lottery winners report that, a year after their windfall, they were no happier than they were before.

    Ummm, people who win the lottery are a tiny, non-representative subset of the population. Them winning the lottery, and the subsequent changes in their happiness, doesn't mean much in predicting how much happiness the vast majority of other people derive from having more money.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It all so said the truth is out there. Optimisim on transparency beyond reason.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Luntz!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Maybe they're going to give the Judge's spot to Stossel's teleprompter.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Why do we eat it up? Because we're idiots. Fat and hungry idiots.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Cato needs to cut Mitchell's tie.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Snooki has a great tan? Stoss needs to adjust the picture on his TV.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stossel tells me the media lies. But Stossel is part of the media. Is he lying when he says the media is lying? My brain grapes are hurting.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Goldberg's book is fifteen years old?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Dan Rather's the kind of friend I want, one don't have to talk to for fifteen years.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stossel can't understand why the left doesn't want to debate. That's the left, they see it as easier to control the conversation that engage in it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ha! Stossel nailed Bellow on his father Saul and nepotism.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Obama giving a speech on Skype from his basement?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    People hate Lomborg because of that constant smirk, not because of his AGW break. Also, he's European, and even Europe can't stand Europeans.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Obama wants to adjust to rising sea levels by spending tax dollars and grabbing power. It's simply easier than moving back the beach a little bit.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "We tend to spend more money on the people who shout the loudest."

    If that was the case, FoxBiz wouldn't have cancelled the Judge.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Geez, Stossel, you just said earlier in the show the news media can't be trusted. Of course they're in on the conspiracy.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Everyone thinks 9/11 was orchestrated by Rube Goldberg?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Did he just say Princess Diana was killed in a Kabbalah conspiracy? What am I asking you for? You didn't even watch the show.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    John Stossel: Grammar Liar

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stossel re-education camps.

  • taobaoagent||

  • buy3buy.com||

    ugg

  • Daniel||

    Spot on John! Government can't make us anything except poorer, dumber and more helpless.

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