Making Life Fair

Wealth disparity is not unfair—if it results from free exchange.

When my wife was a liberal, she complained that libertarian reasoning is coldhearted. Since markets produce winners and losers—and many losers did nothing wrong—market competition is cruel. It must seem so. President Obama used the word “fair” in his last State of the Union address nine times.

We are imprinted to prefer a world that is “fair.” Our close relatives the chimpanzees freak out when one chimp gets more than his fair share, so zookeepers are careful about food portions. Chimps are hardwired to get angry when they think they’ve been cheated—and so are we.

Filmmaker Michael Moore took this notion about fairness to its intuitive conclusion during an interview with Laura Flanders of GRITtv, saying of rich people’s fortunes: “That’s not theirs! That’s a national resource! That’s ours!” As is typical, Moore was confused or disingenuous. In our corporatist economy, some fortunes are indeed made illegitimately though political means. The privileges that produce those fortunes should be abolished. But contrary to Moore, incomes are not “national resources.” If he’s concerned with illegitimate fortunes, he should favor freeing markets.

Fairness is related to justice, the recognition of people’s rights to their own lives.

A free market will create big differences in wealth. That wealth disparity is simply a byproduct of freedom—vastly diverse individuals competing to serve consumers will arrive at vastly diverse outcomes.

That disparity is not unfair—if it results from free exchange.

As I show in my new book, No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails—But Individuals Succeed, the free market (which, sadly, America doesn’t have) is fair. It also produces better outcomes. Even “losers” do pretty well.

A more astute observer than Moore might show how unfair government intervention is. Licenses, taxes, regulations and corporate subsidies make it harder for the average worker to start his own business, to go from being a “little guy” to being an independent owner of means of production. Most new businesses fail, but running your own business is the best route to prosperity and—surveys suggest—happiness, too.

I once opened a dinky business called “The Stossel Store” in Delaware, hawking hats, books and other goodies on the street. It was hard to open this store. I chose Delaware because it’s supposedly the state that makes that easiest—but “easiest” didn’t mean “easy.” I still required help from Fox’s lawyers to get the permits, and the process took more than a week. In my hometown, New York City, it would have taken much longer.

By contrast, in Hong Kong, I started a business in one day. Hong Kong’s limited government makes it easy for people to try things, and that has allowed poor people to prosper. Regular people benefit most from economic freedom.

What makes it hard for people to embrace markets is that anti-market zealots, with their talk of Americans pulling together to take care of one another, remind us of the coziness of village life. Instinct tells us that’s where we’ll find trust—and fairness.

But our intuition fools us when it leads us to think that government models that institutionalize what resembles village life must be good. Assuming that government can foster togetherness better than our own voluntary associations, businesses and private charities leads to coziness of the bad kind: back-room dealings between the well-connected and government.

If we’re going to have a large-scale, modern society, we need relatively simple rules that respect individual rights and that can be applied to all sorts of new situations without having to put global commerce on hold until the hypothetical village elders come up with a plan.

Since most human beings still lived as farmers two centuries ago, the idea of stranger-filled cosmopolitan life outside the small, close-knit village is still novel. It was only around the 18th and 19th centuries that the ideas we now think of as classical liberalism, libertarianism, anarchism and laissez faire began to be articulated. As Westerners became accustomed to living without the rule of kings, aristocrats and village elders, they began, for the first time since the dawn of writing, to imagine living ungoverned lives.

Sure, it’s scary, but surrendering your fate to politicians and bureaucrats is a lot scarier.

John Stossel (read his Reason archive) is the host of Stossel, which airs Thursdays on the FOX Business Network at 9 pm ET and is rebroadcast on Saturdays and Sundays at 9pm & midnight ET. Go here for more info.

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  • ||

    Idea for a new business: setting up a kiosk on Michael Moore's front lawn that sells nothing except books on cognitive dissonance.

  • HawkinsBeulah||

    like Lillian implied I'm stunned that people can profit $8949 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you look at this webpage..AloJob2.notlong.com

  • Mo' $parky||

    That might be a bit too subtle. Moore is used to clubbing people to death with the point he's trying to make.

  • ||

    Well, I suppose one could beat him about the head and neck with the books, were they of sufficient weight...

  • tarran||

    Generally all it takes is a little tap on the nose.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    Good article.

  • T||

    remind us of the coziness of village life

    Anybody who has ever lived in a small town can tell you that, yes, they foster a sense of community and coziness. But fair? Not so much. Be the outsider in the village structure and find out how fair it is. Those chimps will look positively civilized compared to some of the shenanigans people get up to.

  • ||

    I seem to recall hearing somewhere that members of a chimp clan are pretty hard on outsider chimps as well as nonconformists within their group too.

  • sarcasmic||

    They kill them and eat them.

  • perlhaqr||

    So it's kind of like high school?

  • ||

    Small towns are places where you have to life with the same people you went to high school with for the rest of your life.

    That should tell you something.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    It tells me that certain people appreciate the benefits of living in a smaller-scale community and want their children to grow up in the same atmosphere.

    This is really nothing more than a derivative of the same "What's the Matter with Kansas?" theme that's been popular with urban sophisticates for quite some time, and was set into orthodoxy by Sinclair Lewis in Main Street. The same cultural and/or ethnic homogenity of small towns that the residents see as a hallmark of stability is seen by outsiders as a stultifying conformity. The latter fail to understand that this is the whole point, as smaller-scale communities do not have the cultural or economic resources to handle the issues inherent in large, heterogenous populations. A criminal class breaks down neighborly trust bonds, a parasite class places undue stress on economic resources, and a deviant class creates social fissures. These are problems of the city, not the countryside, because the city has the infrastructure to meet those needs, for the most part. Apply these pressures to a small town, and the town would rip itself apart socially and economically in short order.

  • DJK||

    Crime is a problem of the city? Not in California. The Crime Index (number of murders, forcible rapes, aggravated assaults, burglaries per 100,000 population) is only about 1.5 times higher in cities than urban areas (at least in CA). In some area (e.g forcible rape, aggravated assault, and burglary), rural areas are worse than urban ones. Moreover, crime in cities has been falling drastically for years, while rural crime has remained fairly flat.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I said a "criminal class," not that rural areas don't have crime problems.

    And if crime in cities has been falling "drastically," don't you think that implies it was starting at a high level to begin with?

  • DJK||

    Crime is a problem of the city? Not in California. The Crime Index (number of murders, forcible rapes, aggravated assaults, burglaries per 100,000 population) is only about 1.5 times higher in cities than urban areas (at least in CA). In some area (e.g forcible rape, aggravated assault, and burglary), rural areas are worse than urban ones. Moreover, crime in cities has been falling drastically for years, while rural crime has remained fairly flat.

  • sarcasmic||

    Progressives, bringing out our inner chimp.

  • Mo' $parky||

    We are imprinted to prefer a world that is "fair."

    And hopefully one day we'll evolve out of that.

  • ||

    "And hopefully one day we'll evolve out of that."

    That would require us to "thin the herd" of all the whiners.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Nuke an Occutard rally from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  • T||

    I have 5 dogs. They are obsessed with equity and fairness. I like to think I'm brighter than they are and can see past it.

  • ||

    Really? My dogs are selfish bastards. I have a corgi who will routinely fight the mastiffs in order to snatch any toys they have and run them over to his "corner" where he dumps them all in a pile for guarding.

  • T||

    My dogs, despite my efforts to turn them into proper monocle wearers, are perfect little socialists. If the inequity runs in their favor, that is just and good. If the inequity runs to favor another dog, then it's a crime against nature and the inequity should be immediately addressed and the perpetrator punished.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Sounds kind of like human greed to me.

  • Mo' $parky||

    I've lived with cats all my life and have never noticed them exhibit any thoughts of fairness.

  • Mo' $parky||

    If we’re going to have a large-scale, modern society, we need relatively simple rules that respect individual rights and that can be applied to all sorts of new situations without having to put global commerce on hold until the hypothetical village elders come up with a plan.

    And this is another problem. Progressives seem to think that everything has to be complex. When you're trying to solve a problem you don't grab the whole thing and work it all at once, you break it down and fix the easy parts first. Anyone who has tried to untangle a 50' cord could tell you that.

  • sarcasmic||

    "That's too complex for my wee brain to understand derrr, but they say you're an expert so you must be right!"

  • ||

    I cannot wait for the day that the mob turns on Michael Moore, roasts his fat ass with some pineapples and sage, and confiscates all of his property as the "national resource" he espouses it is.

  • some guy||

    There's ample evidence that Moore is a closet capitalist, playing his audience like a well-tuned violin. I'm waiting for the day he decides to break all their little bleeding hearts by coming out.

  • ||

    You know, the schadenfreude of that would be quite delicious.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    He owns a $2mil mansion in a Michigan county that is 98% white. I say we occupy it.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    It's called the 'Long Con' and my favorite practitioner is Chomsky. Preach the Revolution while raking in the speaker fees, book royalties, intern bjs, and nice big house on the hill where you don't have to see the poor people.

  • Emperor Wears No Clothes||

    That guy in Canada is David Suzuki, our foremost tree-hugger and anti-human.
    He lives in a house that rivals Bill Gates' and circles the globe often enough in search of speaking engagements that he's probably responsible for more global warming than the entire Alberta oilsands.

  • ||

    He would exercise doublethink (in an Orwellian sense) faster one can say "market socialism".

  • ||

    And does anyone parent anymore? Every time my brother or I would whine about something not being fair my dad would turn to us and say "Life's not fair, get used to it. I can always sell you to the gypsies and you'll see how 'unfair' life can really be."

  • Mo' $parky||

    I drum that into my kids' heads every chance I get.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Threatening to sell your kids will result in a visit from CPS nowadays.

  • Flyover Country||

    I had a teacher (a priest)in high school who would respond to any complaint about fairness with the comment: "If you want justice, die."

  • ||

    Nice.

  • Copernicus||

    I sold my kid to the gypsies and after the bubble burst, bought him back at half-price.

    Saved 2 years kid expense and now he can knife fight and breed donkeys.

  • ||

    Impressive

  • TANSTaaFL||

    "I sold my kid to the gypsies and after the bubble burst, bought him back at half-price"

    Maybe OctoMom is onto something. That could be a huge racket.

  • MRK||

    The free market is certainly not fair. The biggest enemies to capitalism are the capitalists.

    In a completely unregulated market; the largest businesses conspire in an attempt to eliminate competition. They are not interested in a fair market, they are interested in stacking the market in their favor.

    For Example:
    If I own all the steel produced in the USA, I can charge whatever price I want for steel and push out anyone that tries to import steel via predatory pricing. This damages the free market, and thus the economy.

    One of the reasons we have so many restrictive regulations in the USA is not a product of government working on its own in order to create a fair environment, but regulations encouraged by private entities. Otherwise know as regulatory capture.

    For example:
    It's easy for a multinational toy company to have every product tested for lead paint. meanwhile a simple toy maker operating out of his basement simply cannot afford the test lab. Thus the multinational toy company has used govt regulation to eliminate the competition. After all, who could possibly oppose testing for lead paint on toys?

  • ||

    There is no such thing as "predatory pricing". If you offer your product at a price low enough to drive away your competition, does that not benefit the consumer the same? After all, they are price-focused.

    And if your product is so shoddy that they would rather pay more for quality, then all the price reductions in the world aren't going to save you, because price isn't the point of contention.

  • MRK||

    I used predatory pricing as a catch-all for any monopolistic behavior. Non-compete contracts, blacklisting, collusion etc.

    Such practices hurt the market and prevent new entrants.

    In other words, good luck selling a better mouse trap if every store and distributor in the country is contractually obligated not do business with you.

  • some guy||

    Can you give me an example where "every store and distributor in the country is contractually obligated not do business with you"?

    A real example, mind you, not one of your poorly conceived hypotheticals.

  • MRK||

    Intel required PC manufacturers to only by Intel CPUs, and contractually prevented PC makers to buy the competing AMD CPU.

  • Sevo||

    MRK|5.17.12 @ 1:21PM|#
    "Intel required PC manufacturers to only by Intel CPUs, and contractually prevented PC makers to buy the competing AMD CPU."

    By what mechanism did Intel 'require' this?
    Oh, and it looks like it didn't work:
    https://kb.wisc.edu/showroom/page.php?id=4927
    Now, reality please.

  • some guy||

    I have continuously owned AMD chips for the past 15+ years. Clearly some stores and distributors were allowed to do business with AMD. Try again.

    Also, this:
    http://techliberation.com/2011.....oly-again/

  • T||

    How'd that work out for them? Apparently not so well, since I can go over to hp.com and pick which processor I want in a new laptop.

  • Sevo||

    "In other words, good luck selling a better mouse trap if every store and distributor in the country is contractually obligated not do business with you."

    Uh, how about dealing with reality rather than some lefty fantasy?

  • MRK||

    I think its funny how anyone who says anything other that "all regulations are bad" is automatically a lefty on this site.

    I'm anything but a lefty. I'm pointing out that you cannot simply close your eyes and expect the market to sort things out. I'd rather not be the guy to find out there is melanine in my milk.

  • Sevo||

    MRK|5.17.12 @ 1:24PM|#
    "I think its funny how anyone who says anything other that "all regulations are bad" is automatically a lefty on this site."

    I think it's funny when brain-dead lefties beat on strawmen rather than address the argument.
    --------------------------------
    "I'm anything but a lefty. I'm pointing out that you cannot simply close your eyes and expect the market to sort things out. I'd rather not be the guy to find out there is melanine in my milk."

    Quack, quack. Looks, walks, etc.

  • ||

    He didn't call you, personally, a lefty. He said your example was a lefty fantasy. Which it is.

    In what world do you think a business can survive by poisoning or killing its consumers?

  • some guy||

    In what world do you think a business can survive by poisoning or killing its consumers?

    China?

    Ha ha ha... I kid...

  • MRK||

    The business won't survive. But do YOU want to be the guy who's death lets everyone know the product is unsafe?

  • ||

    Nobody wants to be THAT guy. But you are basing your argument off of the idea that all businesses are going to do things that aren't in their best interest until someone gets hurt.

  • ||

    Thankfully we've never had any cases of melamine poisoning in the United States where we have a strong regulatory structure in place to keep us safe...

  • MRK||

    If I have a hit squad that shoots anyone who creates a competing product, is that free market too? After all, isn't criminalizing violence a kind of regulation?

  • some guy||

    If I have a hit squad that shoots anyone who creates a competing product, is that free market too? After all, isn't criminalizing violence a kind of regulation?

    Are you serious? That isn't a serious question.

  • MRK||

    Why not? If its legal to knowingly sell unsafe products under the name of a free market. Then why should an individual be prevented from intentionally causing harm at all?

  • MRK||

    My right to swing my fist ends where your face begins, unless my fist has a pricetag on it. :-P

  • Mo' $parky||

    Then why should an individual be prevented from intentionally causing harm at all?

    How long would you expect to keep selling your harmful products? You do realize that people aren't forced to buy them right?

  • Brandon||

    Because as any libertarian will tell you, force and fraud are the only actual crimes. Hit squads fall pretty squarely under the definition of "Force." Any other uncreative strawmen you need to burn, dipshit?

  • ||

    Since when has it been legal to knowingly sell unsafe products? Pretty sure we have tort liability. Pretty sure libertarians support it, too.

  • Copernicus||

    "Are you serious?"

    If it was silly when Pelosi said it....

  • ||

    That's a nice fallacy you got there, be a shame if something were to happen to it.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's a nice fallacy you got there, be a shame if something were to happen to it.

    No it wouldn't.

  • some guy||

    He probably thinks that he can use predatory pricing to eliminate the competition, then drive up the price to make up his losses. He's forgetting that he's assuming a free market where there is no government to prevent new competition from arising as soon as he jacks up the price. In fact, once the price goes up, many of the people who bought at his low prices are going to start selling their supply.

    In a free market, there is no such thing as predatory pricing.

  • some guy||

    For Example:
    If I own all the steel produced in the USA, I can charge whatever price I want for steel and push out anyone that tries to import steel via predatory pricing. This damages the free market, and thus the economy.

    The US produces less than 6% of global crude steel. How are you going to corner the steel market by only controlling 6% of production? In fact, Japan and China together export as much crude steel as the US produces. Also, in a free market, how are you going to "own all the steel produced in the USA"? As soon as you try to drive up prices someone else will start producing. It's a free market, remember?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....by_country

    One of the reasons we have so many restrictive regulations in the USA is not a product of government working on its own in order to create a fair environment, but regulations encouraged by private entities. Otherwise know as regulatory capture.

    If the government does not have the power to regulate, then there will be no regulatory capture. Problem solved.

  • MRK||

    In the early 1900s, US Steel controlled 70% of the steel produced in the USA, and leveraged that power to eliminate the competition.

    What finally ended that monopoly was increased globalization and it because too expensive to hire US labor (thanks to unions).

  • Sevo||

    MRK|5.17.12 @ 1:27PM|#
    "In the early 1900s, US Steel controlled 70% of the steel produced in the USA, and leveraged that power to eliminate the competition."

    And delivered steel at constantly dropping prices.
    Did you have a point?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And delivered steel at constantly dropping prices.

    Not only that, but their market share consistently shrank over time.

  • some guy||

    US Steel absorbed some competition, but never all of it. And the competition is what eventually ruined US Steel's dominance (a feat the Sherman Act failed to do). In other words, the market is what broke your so-called monopoly. And the market in the early 1900's was far from free.

  • ||

    What you are describing isn't a free market. It's exactly what we have now, namely crony capitalism. If you want to reduce "regulatory capture" the solution isn't adding more regulators for business to capture, that's just common sense.

  • Sevo||

    "For example:
    It's easy for a multinational toy company to have every product tested for lead paint. meanwhile a simple toy maker operating out of his basement simply cannot afford the test lab. Thus the multinational toy company has used govt regulation to eliminate the competition. After all, who could possibly oppose testing for lead paint on toys?"

    Yes, you just used the exact opposite of a free market to somehow claim free markets 'aren't fair'.

  • Mykeuva||

    Ahh, "predatory pricing."

    It simply doesn't work. I can't comment due to the 1500 character thing, but here's a quick wiki explanation:

    Critics of laws against predatory pricing may support their case empirically by arguing that there has been no instance where such a practice has actually led to a monopoly. Conversely, they argue that there is much evidence that predatory pricing has failed miserably. For example, Herbert Dow not only found a cheaper way to produce bromine but also defeated a predatory pricing attempt by the government-supported German cartel Bromkonvention, who objected to his selling in Germany at a lower price. Bromkonvention retaliated by flooding the US market with below-cost bromine, at an even lower price than Dow's. But Dow simply instructed his agents to buy up at the very low price, then sell it back in Germany at a profit but still lower than Bromkonvention's price. In the end, the cartel could not keep up selling below cost, and had to give in. This is used as evidence that the free market is a better way to stop predatory pricing than regulations such as anti-trust laws.

    In another example of a successful defense against predatory pricing, a price war emerged between the NYCR and the Erie Railroad. At one point, NYCR charged only a dollar per car for the transport of cattle. While the cattle cars quickly filled up, management were dismayed to find that Erie Railroad had also invested in the cattle-haulage business.

  • T o n y||

    A "free" market does naturally produce vast disparities in wealth. But you can't explain how to prevent such things as monopolies and rent seeking in a free market, you just have this religion that says any outcome in a fantasy free market that has never existed is proper, and for some reason we need to screw over poor people first and eventually, someday, we'll get around to fixing corporatism, somehow. But for now let's just assume that the poor are getting the better end of the deal even as wealth concentrates evermore at the top.

    Libertarianism, especially Stossel's kindergarten version, is rooted in a moral obsession ONLY with the poor getting what they don't deserve--the rich are always assumed to have arrived there legitimately, and the only prescription for vast looting at the top is lip service and empty promises. The fact is you cannot prevent market manipulation by wealthy interests without strong government checks. And now that wealth disparity is at its highest level since at least the Gilded Age, libertarians, who cannot ever change their prescriptions with changing circumstance--since libertarianism is a religion--still think it's the poor who are getting off with the loot.

  • sarcasmic||

    But for now let's just assume that the poor are getting the better end of the deal even as wealth concentrates evermore at the top.

    It's not a zero sum game, you moron.
    In the free market the wealthy don't get that way by taking a bigger share of the pie (and thus leaving less for the poor people), they get wealthy because they bake more pies (which means more for everyone, including poor people).

    Fucking dolt.

  • MRK||

    You cannot group all Libertarians into the category of "people who want a free market with absolutely zero govt intervention" than I could group all Liberals as "tree hugging hippies who want to ban the automobile".

    There are competing philosophies within libertarianism as with any political platform.

    I'm a libertarian, but I still want my food safe to eat and my car safe to drive.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm a libertarian, but I still want my food safe to eat and my car safe to drive.

    I'm a libertarian, and I do not give any credit to government for the fact that my food is safe to eat and my car is safe to drive.

    If the government agencies that police food and car production were to go away, the incentive of producers to not kill their customers would remain.

  • JoshSN||

    There incentive to make a buck would be stronger, though, as an endless parade of historical examples can quite readily show.

  • sarcasmic||

    Companies that kill their customers don't stay in business very long. Not because of government, but because people quit buying their products.

  • Mo' $parky||

    So you just hate it when someone else makes more money than you. You can't stand the fact that in a self-regulating market someone might do better than someone else.

  • Raistlin||

    Now kindly give us those historic examples.

    Much obliged!

  • JoshSN||

    Historic examples?

    Lee Iacocca and the Ford Pinto. In lab tests inside Ford "In crashes over 25 miles per hour, the gas tank always ruptured. To correct it would have required changing and strengthening the design."

    Guess what they did? They hoped not to many people would get in crashes. They killed their customers.

    That's one example, but the Tobacco companies obviously win, hand's down, for being the biggest mass murderers in the history of the world. It's 400,000 a year, nowadays.

  • ||

    Hahahahahaha. Somehow I knew you would get around to using the Tobacco companies as an example.

  • Raistlin||

    OFFS!

  • sarcasmic||

    I suppose I should have said that people quit buying dangerous products if they decide the risk is not worth the reward.
    But that should be their decision, not one the government makes for them.
    In the case of tobacco, as an ex smoker I can tell you that smokers know it's bad for them. But they choose to smoke it anyway.
    In the case of the Pinto, full information was not disclosed. That's different. And when people had full information, they chose to drive something else.
    I guess the risk wasn't worth the reward.
    Funny how that works.

  • Sevo||

    "In the case of the Pinto, full information was not disclosed. That's different. And when people had full information, they chose to drive something else."

    Not really.
    A 25MPH crash is pretty serious business. Most crashes are

  • Sevo||

    And the rest of the post was deleted by the squirrels. FUCK the squirrels!
    Suffice to say, the Pinto wasn't any worse than others.

  • 0x90||

    "Guess what they did? They hoped not to many people would get in crashes. They killed their customers."

    Enjoy.

  • JoshSN||

    @0x90 Good comeback. Milton Friedman asks an interesting "What if?" "What if reality isn't reality?" is a great way to dodge the question.

    @sarcasmic "In the case of the Pinto, full information was not disclosed." Actually, in the case of the Tobacco companies, they used attorney-client privilege to hide the fact that cigarettes cause cancer. Full information was not disclosed there, either.

  • MoreFreedom||

    You say a producer's incentives to make money will lead to them producing products that harm their customers.

    ROFL

    I can see, that I shouldn't be doing business with you, or people who think like you. But then, it also tells me you don't produce anything anyone buys either. Because if you did, you know that just a little publicity of your dangerous products would put you out of business for life. You still might be able to get a job, but then an employer would have to watch you so you don't put him out of business as well.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Have you ever eaten government-made (contracted) food or driven a government-made car?

    Neither of them are safe.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|5.17.12 @ 12:57PM|#
    ..."But you can't explain how to prevent such things as monopolies and rent seeking in a free market,..."

    Just once post without lying, shithead.

  • ||

    $

  • some guy||

    Ok T o n y, give me an example of a monopoly or rent seeking existing in a free market. Then I'll tell you how to prevent it.

  • T||

    The fact is you cannot prevent market manipulation by wealthy interests without strong government checks.

    Refresh my memory. Was it poor people who got bailed out by the government, or Goldman Sachs? Is it poor people getting a pass on their mortgages, or banks getting a pass on robosigning and fraud?

    Those 'strong government checks' seem to be payable to the 1%, Tony.

    On the other hand, you still have internet access, so I guess the public library is doing something for the poor with the money.

  • JoshSN||

    During the Great Depression, FDR stopped foreclosures. It was only corporate hacks like George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama who bail out banks.

  • ||

    During the Great Depression, FDR stopped foreclosures.

    Could you provide some reference for this, please?

  • JoshSN||

    The Home Owner's Loan Corporation.

    They took people who were going to be foreclosed, basically 1 million foreclosures were stopped this way.

    I tried adding a cite, but I got the "Your comment contains a word that is too long" error.

  • ||

    Thank you, I've looked it up on Wikipedia.

    To say that "FDR stopped foreclosures" is is misleading: his administration (and Congress, I guess) created the HOLC which bought up some troubled mortgages and converted them into long-term ones (and then sold them off over time). I'm sure that the borrowers still had to make the loan payments, except under better terms (lower payments). Would be interesting to see how many foreclosures happened by the HOLC.

  • ||

    You say that is if A) there were some sort of dichotomy between the government halting foreclosures on properties and banks receiving capitalization from the government and B) there were anything good about halting foreclosures on properties.

  • JoshSN||

    Well, for "evil person of the morning" you sure win.

    The difference in A is that the foreclosures never stopped when they handed the cash to the banks while FDR stopped a million foreclosures.

    And, as for B, I don't care who you blame for the current financial mess, the teenage kids of the parents being foreclosed on weren't the problems, but they will pay when their parents lose their home.

    If Bush had tried something like FDR had done the banks would have been made whole because the mortgage payments would have kept flowing and the mortgage-backed bonds would have not become worthless.

    The difference is Main St. vs Wall St. Bush and Obama are on the opposite side of that divide than FDR was.

  • MMS||

    I am Libertarian leaning and do not consider Liberterianisum a religion, it is an anti-religion.

  • Brandon||

    It's not really an anti-religion; it allows for religion. It just doesn't allow laws based on religion.

  • ||

    The fact is you cannot prevent market manipulation by wealthy interests without strong government checks.

    You mean, without strong checks on government?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tiny,

    A "free" market does naturally produce vast disparities in wealth.


    "Which is bad because... because... I'm too incompetent to become rich!"

    But you can't explain how to prevent such things as monopolies and rent seeking in a free market,


    You mean before the government creates those things, or after it does?

  • ||

    Rent-seeking, by definition, involves government. Growing the size of the government and the breadth of its scope only leaves more opportunities to seek rent. From whom would one seek rent in a society with little or no regulation?

  • MoreFreedom||

    "you can't explain how to prevent ... monopolies and rent seeking in a free market"

    The only legitimate monopolies in a free market (in the USA anyway), exist for a short period of time, limited by law, and result from the right of an inventor to profit from their inventions. So I exclude these.

    In a free market, government doesn't prevent competition. So anyone can start a business that completes with the alleged monopoly and undercut them if they aren't offering the product at a competitive price.

    Rent-seeking, has nothing to do with a free market, or the voluntary sector of the market. Instead, it has everything to do with the coercive sector of the economy run by government. You want to know how to end rent-seeking? Simply elect politicians who don't give rent-seekers government favors (typically in return for campaign cash). You can tell by their promises for "investment" in some industry (e.g. Obama's call for investment in education and green jobs). And you can also tell by looking from where their campaign cash comes from, and if it's mostly big contributions from corporations or owners of big businesses or small contributions from lots of individuals. For sitting politicians, you can examine their voting records which is much more telling than their rhetoric.

  • JoshSN||

    "Assuming that government can foster togetherness better than our own voluntary associations, businesses and private charities leads to coziness of the bad kind: back-room dealings between the well-connected and government."

    However, it is the only reasonable way to behave, considering actual history.

    Consider 1928. Private charities and government, mostly State run, charities, were near par for total aid to the destitute. A year later and the private charities dried up. Just when they were needed most, self-interested people stopped giving. State agencies for relief not only had more people to deal with, they had less help.

    It happened again, during the Great Recession:

    http://www.nonprofitquarterly......sItemid=1

    Undoubtedly relying on organized, government run charities results in the incentives to do backroom deals. That's why the GAO, among others, is such an important organization and people like David M. Walker are such powerful voices.

    So, no.

  • sarcasmic||

    Government run charity is not charity, for to be charity it needs to be voluntary.

  • JoshSN||

    At each point except the last I correctly referred to them as state run aid programs, and not charities.

    Now kindly address the simple fact that what John Stossel is saying does not comport with actual history, rather than nitpicking about a word choice in on sentence.

    Much obliged!

  • sarcasmic||

    People took care of each other in destitute times.
    When government becomes the source of aid, people quit taking care of each other.
    Why should they? That's government's job.

  • JoshSN||

    When the Great Depression hit, private charities dried up. And you are saying that the only reason that happened was that because some states had aid programs? And if there had been no aid programs at all (back then they were tiny, and not Federal) then the giving would have continued?

    Color me entirely skeptical.

  • Mo' $parky||

    If you had a family of 4, made $50,000/yr and gave $5,000/yr to charity would you continue to give that much when your income dropped to $30,000/yr? What about if you lost your job and your income went to $0/yr?

  • JoshSN||

    That's exactly what I'm saying. Maintaining a standard of living for oneself and one's family is a higher priority, for the great majority of people, than charitable giving.

    As a consequence, when times get tough, just when the charity is needed most, people clam up.

    History shows this, Mr. Stossel acts like it isn't a factor, and that we can rely on private charities, even when times are tough (exactly when they are needed the most).

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.17.12 @ 2:10PM|#
    "As a consequence, when times get tough, just when the charity is needed most, people clam up."

    Please define an 'acceptable' level of charity and show your claim.

  • sarcasmic||

    When the Great Depression hit, private charities dried up

    Private charities may have dried up, but that's not the only way to measure people helping each other.

    And you are saying that the only reason that happened was that because some states had aid programs?

    Obviously not. But that won't stop you from flogging a straw man.

  • JoshSN||

    When the Great Depression hit, private charities dried up

    Private charities may have dried up, but that's not the only way to measure people helping each other.

    Enlighten me. What Great Depression metric do you have that shows that private charitable activities, overall, actually increased, from 1928 to 1930, or any similar set of years.

  • sarcasmic||

    Like I said, that won't stop you from flogging a straw man.

    c-ya

  • JoshSN||

    Sorry, the quotes didn't work like I thought.

    I simply asked what metric you have that shows that private charities didn't dry up, and, instead, were rerouted, or something.

  • ||

    Not having numbers in front of me, I will assume that donations to charities dry up. That doesn't, however, preclude people from being charitable with other resources (and unfortunately, most things that are tracked are dollars, not time or physical assistance).

  • sarcasmic||

    Charity isn't limited to giving to charitable organizations.
    It's people helping people directly as well.

    Is private charity perfect? No. No one said it is.

    But neither is government assistance.

    The difference is choice.

    Unlike a charity, when government assistance exists more to feed the bureaucracy than to help the poor, you can't choose to stop giving to it. They have the power to lock you in a cage.

    Charitable organizations have an obligation to do what they say they are going to do, because people can choose not to give.

    The fact that free markets are imperfect is a feature, not a bug. It allows for failure.
    In the free market if you fail, you stop.

    When government fails at something, they keep on doing it anyway.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.17.12 @ 2:19PM|#
    "I simply asked what metric you have that shows that private charities didn't dry up, and, instead, were rerouted, or something."
    Uh, YOU made the claim they "dried up". Please define the term and show it is true.

  • ||

    You do realize that government "charities" require taking something from you to give to someone else right? That's not fucking charity by any stretch of the definition.

  • JoshSN||

    At each point except the last I correctly referred to them as state run aid programs, and not charities.

    Now kindly address the simple fact that what John Stossel is saying does not comport with actual history, rather than nitpicking about a word choice in on sentence.

    Much obliged!

  • Mo' $parky||

    So what you're saying is that when the government has to help more people they need to take more money from others to do it. And you can't understand why when the government starts taking more money people start giving less? And you also seem to be mystified by the fact that when the going gets tough people tend to look out for themselves first.

  • JoshSN||

    I'm not mystified by it, it makes perfect sense to me.

    However, the concept seems to have eluded Mr. Stossel.

    He says we should rely solely on public charities.

    People were not being taxed much for aid programs in 1928. The Federal government had none, and most states had very limited programs.

    If argue that nowadays that people are simply stingy, when times get tough, because the government takes their money, then why are they not stingy when times are flush? The government is taking even more of their money, under those circumstances.

    No, instead, this is clearly a free rider problem. Given a choice, people tend to be charitable, but, when times get hard, they hope someone else does the heavy lifting, as they, instead, try to maintain their standard of living.

  • ||

    What is your solution?

  • JoshSN||

    I am in no position to judge how many backroom deals and crony contracts are made available via government charity. Let's assume, for a moment, John is right, and it is prevalent.

    Investigate. Prosecute. Monitor.

    You can't tell me David M. Walker, head of the GAO from 1998-2008, is a tool of the powers that be. We might not always have such (seemingly) respectable people in such offices, but I also think people are pretty lazy about elections nowadays, and that can only hurt.

  • Sevo||

    "Investigate. Prosecute. Monitor."

    Our Top Men aren't "top" enough, right? All we need is better public servants, right?
    You continue to make reference to history and then post howlers like this.

  • JoshSN||

    There will always be, and have always been, crooks.

    There should always be, and hopefully will always be, cops and courts to deal with said crooks.

    I have no idea what sort of cronyistic deals John Stossel is talking about when he says "back-room dealings between the well-connected and government" in terms of aid programs, since he never mentions any, but I'm willing to believe they exist.

    Further, there will always be scam charities, that accept monies and run off.

  • Sevo||

    "I have no idea what sort of cronyistic deals John Stossel is talking about when he says "back-room dealings between the well-connected and government" in terms of aid programs,"

    I'm betting you don't.
    Try ACORN.

  • JoshSN||

    The social services program in America runs over a half trillion dollars a year.

    It's completely f*cking laughable that you point to a program that took less than 5 million dollars a year.

    In percentage terms, that's 0.001%.

    If government were really so great, that one thousandth of one percent were criminally given out, then it is the most efficient system ever devised.

    That's even assuming 100% of the money given to ACORN was misspent.

  • Sevo||

    OK, what percentage has to be 'back-room' dealings?
    How about S/S and the AARP? is that sufficient?

  • JoshSN||

    You are suggesting there is something illegal/unethical/corrupt about the dealings between the Social Security Administration and the American Association of Retired Persons.

    What would that be?

  • Raistlin||

    Now I know this guy must be a parody! Good one, by the way. You had us going as someone who was serious for a while, there.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.17.12 @ 5:10PM|#
    "You are suggesting there is something illegal/unethical/corrupt about the dealings between the Social Security Administration and the American Association of Retired Persons.
    What would that be?"

    Does the term rent-seeking mean anything to you?

  • JoshSN||

    @Raistlin I remain serious.

    @Sevo Rent-seeking means something to me, but John Stossel was talking about corrupt practices, and so I asked about corrupt practices. You came up with the allegation that there is something corrupt about the dealings between the AARP and the SSA. You haven't said what, so I can hardly even begin to investigate your allegation.

    And, so far, Sevo, you've come across as really beneath contempt, so, f*ck off.

  • ||

    The links says it can't find that page.

    So your argument is that when times get tough people stop giving to charity, right? Well maybe that's because the everyday person is just trying to survive and can't afford to give anymore, or has to give less.

    The problem, as I see it at least, is that you say, "Private charity isn't able to make enough to help those in need. We need the government to take over these things." Well okay, but pretty soon people just expect the government to continue those programs, even when things have gotten better. If my taxes in good AND bad times are being used on aid, I don't really have an incentive to give more, now do I?

  • JoshSN||

    Strange, about the link. I'll try again.

    http://www.nonprofitquarterly......sItemid=1

    If that doesn't work, it's the first result if you google:

    charitable giving falls again site:nonprofitquarterly.org

    I completely agree with your assessment of why private charities dry up when times get tough. Charity almost always comes from disposable income, and when times are tough, people have less of that.

    As for your second point, it's partially right, partially wrong. Sometimes aid continues, even when times get better, but you are ignoring Clinton's TANF program. Half his cabinet quit on him because they thought it was too cruel to reduce federal welfare by so much. Considering the times, it was appropriate.

    By the way, giving personally is somewhat inefficient anyway. There are people who study where the best use of aid is, and when you hand a random dollar to a random charitable organization, or directly to a person in need, you don't have the sort of resources to check whether the charity gets much bang for its buck, or that the person in need isn't buying drugs.

    Government charities do attempt to control for such things.

  • ||

    It doesn't matter what that person I give the dollar to does with it, once I give it to him it's his to do as he wants.

    And I'm sorry, but I'm not going to trust "Top Men" to decide where best my charity money should be spent.

  • JoshSN||

    Well, government aid programs, like food stamps, and housing assistance, are more targeted than your idea. A lot of people agree with that.

    As for "Top Men," (I bet there are a lot of women involved, too), I'd just say that I'm generally going to trust someone who has devoted their career to understanding a topic. It doesn't mean I'd never ask for a second opinion, though.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.17.12 @ 3:26PM|#
    Well, government aid programs, like food stamps, and housing assistance, are more targeted than your idea."
    Yeah, "targeted" to whatever rent-seeker can deliver the votes. Screw 'em if they can't do that.

    "A lot of people agree with that."
    You shouldn't have posted that.

  • Sevo||

    "I'd just say that I'm generally going to trust someone who has devoted their career to understanding a topic."

    Uh, FAIL! Epic FAIL!

  • JoshSN||

    I'm sure you use the internet and your own wisdom to treat the illnesses you and your family encounter, and not a professional doctor.

    And you root for the amateurs, and not the professional baseball players, at Yankee Stadium.

    And I'm sure your money is held in "Regular Guy Joe's Bank" rather than a full time lending institution.

    The division of labor is epic, alright.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.17.12 @ 3:52PM|#
    "I'm sure you use the internet and your own wisdom to treat the illnesses you and your family encounter, and not a professional doctor."

    STRAWMAN ALERT! All strawmen, head for the shelters!
    Hey, don't stop now! Here's another shovel just in case that one breaks.

  • pagoda||

    That article states that giving was down by 3.8% in 2010 during a time when incomes dropped significantly more. And local giving was actually up compared to the year before.

    People actually give more as a percentage of income during tough times, ACCORDING TO YOUR DATA, and there is absolutely nothing in that article that implies giving "dries up" as you put it.

    The plain truths is people and business are not as selfish as welfare proponents want us to believe.

  • JoshSN||

    Well, 3.8% reduction at a time of increased need is consistent with what I was saying, although I'll grant that saying that constitutes "drying up" certainly is a stretch.

    One quote you might have missed "So with more groups (and churches) also eligible for tax deductible charitable deductions to support, that reduction in charitable giving is larger than it looks."

    However, looking at the chart, it does seem that giving goes up and down with recessions. The 1960s had regular increases in giving, the oil shock reduced it. The 1990s economic boom saw great increases in giving, and the 2001 recession saw three years of declining giving.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.17.12 @ 3:50PM|#
    "Well, 3.8% reduction at a time of increased need is consistent with what I was saying,.."

    No it isn't. You claimed it had "dried up".

  • Sevo||

    "ACCORDING TO YOUR DATA, and there is absolutely nothing in that article that implies giving "dries up" as you put it."

    Thank you. The claim "dried up" was tossed around long enough to red-line my BS meter.
    Put another way, during Roosevelt's economy, a lot of people didn't make a lot of money and those on the dole (of whatever sort) also had to suffer for his ignorance.

  • JoshSN||

    During Roosevelt's economy? The unemployment rate reached 25% by the time he was elected, and the economy grew 10% a year after he was elected (except 1937, when he was forced to roll back some New Deal programs, but returned to 10% growth after).

    Your economics knowledge and knowledge of history is very poor.

  • ||

    Your knowledge of economics is very poor if you think that GDP growth (which includes government spending) is a good indicator of how the economy is doing.

    If GDP and unemployment are really that important, why not draft everyone into public service and pay them $100/hour? 0% unemployment and a skyrocketing GDP would result. We'd all be better off, right?

  • Sevo||

    "The unemployment rate reached 25% by the time he was elected,"
    Yes, and he managed to keep it above 15% until war production finally pushed it down. Quite a guy.

    "and the economy grew 10% a year after he was elected (except 1937, when he was forced to roll back some New Deal programs, but returned to 10% growth after)."
    It was 1943 before the GNP returned to 1929 levels. Sleazy cheery-picking on your part.

  • ||

    You are a retard if you think the New Deal is what brought us out of the Depression.

  • JoshSN||

    @DesigNate It was 10% economic growth per year, 7 out of 8 years, and the only year it wasn't that high was the year the New Deal was put, to some degree, on hold.

    @Sevo: 10% growth per year is simply a fact. And you are wrong. The unemployment rate did drop below 15%, then there was the rollback of the New Deal and it jumped up again. It was also below 15% in 1940.

    @Arcaster: My knowledge of economics is adequate. GDP is widely used as a measure of economic growth. As for your absurd example, the Soviet Union managed to last for about 75 years with (effectively) 100% taxation and 100% state run employment. They were never stupid enough to pay everyone the same amount, though. They had abolished unemployment. There are, of course, some pretty serious consequences for such absolutist programs. I like to say that the U.S. Congress is fairly mediocre, and the last couple Presidents, too, and imagine how much worse things would be if they were also running Microsoft, Ford, and your local supermarket.

  • ||

    Excellent job of making my point for me. Thanks.

  • Sevo||

    "@DesigNate It was 10% economic growth per year, 7 out of 8 years, and the only year it wasn't that high was the year the New Deal was put, to some degree, on hold."
    @JoshSN. That's cherry-picking.

  • Sevo||

    "They had abolished unemployment."
    They did nothing of the sort.

  • JoshSN||

    There was no unemployment in the Soviet Union.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....lass#Wages

    I guess economic history isn't your strong suit.

  • sarcasmic||

    There was a saying in the Soviet Union.

    "We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us."

  • sarcasmic||

    "They had abolished unemployment."
    They did nothing of the sort.

    They made unemployment illegal.

    As you know from our War on Drug Users, making something illegal makes it go away because laws are magic.

  • NeonCat||

    If one is going to give government credit for helping people in the Great Depression, one ought to look at how much government (and crony capitalism) was to blame for the Great Depression, its depth and length, as well.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: JohnSN,

    A year later and the private charities dried up. Just when they were needed most, self-interested people stopped giving.


    Yes, those greedy bastards. Just because they ran out of money gives them no excuse not to fork over the dole!

  • JoshSN||

    Did they run out of money, you old, ignorant gasbag?

    No one said that.

    They attempted to maintain their standard of living in times of declining incomes.

  • MoreFreedom||

    How is it you think "back-room dealings between the well connected and government" "is the only reasonable way to behave"?

    Do you think this is done to help the poor? ROFL It's done for the politicians to get campaign cash while the well-connected get government favors. Sometimes with some chump change kicked in for the poor to make it look good. While the guy running the government supported charity makes $400,000 like the leader of United Way.

    If you want to help the poor, go do it, but don't use force (or support the use of force) to take money from others for that purpose. Your charity isn't charity, when it's funded at the end of a gun, it's theft. And it's often theft that benefits well to do politicians and their friends well-connected to them, in the name of the poor. Milton Friedman said government charity doesn't help the poor (and I'd hope people realize the lesson from the War on Poverty, is that government can't eliminate it, but free enterprise in a country helps prevent it - I'd rather be poor here than rich in Nigeria, not only will I be better off, I'll have more opportunity as well).

    The only moral, responsible and "reasonable" charity, are actions by those who use their own resources to help others.

    And those who advocate government force against producers to benefit those who don't take care of themselves, not only promote irresponsibility, they cause more use of force in the world, and actually harm those they say they care about.

  • DapperDan33||

    Once again Stossel is right on. It is scary to live ungoverned and having to figure things out for yourself sometimes. I'm 28 years old and at least once a week a peer or coworker asks me how do to something. When I tell them how I occasionally get asked how I knew that. I always respond (to astonished faces) that I figured it out myself. My father taught me to listen and think first, then ask questions....that skill has been sadly lost. Not EVERYONE needs to be babysat through life.

  • Mo' $parky||

    I know that feeling Dan, I get it at work too. When someone asks for help with something my first question to them is "what have you tried so far?"

  • sarcasmic||

    My usual answer is RTFM (read the fucking manual).

  • MoreFreedom||

    I much prefer Read The Fine Manual.

  • CE||

    Wealth disparity is the surest sign of fairness.

  • ||

    This is one of the best Stossel pieces in quite a long time, that I have seen.

    The left likes to talk a lot about social justice, but what is just about subsidies and regulations that favor some market participants over others?

    The free market's appeal is that it IS fair. Everyone is equal. Everyone has to live by the same rules. The rules are equally enforced. And let the chips fall where they may. That is fairness. Not the system that the left want where the government is constantly tweaking the rules and adjusting the score to make things come out even. All that does is give interest groups a change to sway the government to tweak the rules in their favor.

  • JoshSN||

    I'm going to disagree.

    I am a pretty firm believer, at least in the general outlines, to the theories of government put forward by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu et la Brede.

    His "Spirit of Laws" was what George Washington studied before he chaired the 2nd Constitutional Convention. It was a work much admired by Jefferson, Adams, Madison, John Jay, and others. It was the most cited work in the Federalist Papers.

    Montesquieu says that immoderate wealth is detrimental to a Republic, and almost any wealth inequality is inconsistent with what is now known as a "direct democracy" (what he called a Democratic Republic).

    Montesquieu called our kind of Republic, with elections, an Aristocratic Republic, or an Aristocracy. He goes into detail about wealth moderation here:

    http://www.constitution.org/cm/sol_05.htm#008

  • triclops||

    Explain something to me Josh,

    You acknowledge that charitable giving goes down in a poor economy, as those making money have less disposable income.
    Then you conclude that gov. must step in to fill the void.
    Where, pray tell, will that gov. money come from? From the people whose disposable income is down? From the small cabal of greedy hoarding rich? How many people belong to that cabal? Will that ever be enough?
    How about the people who are doing pretty well today, but want to sock a lot of money away for tomorrow because they aren't sure what the future holds? Should those people have to give govt aid?
    You will give glib answers because you don't really care. All you care about is that your guilt assuaged, and your ego stroked because forcing others to pay for gov aid makes you feel like you actually did something.

  • Raistlin||

    "Where, pray tell, will that gov. money come from? From the people whose disposable income is down? From the small cabal of greedy hoarding rich? How many people belong to that cabal? Will that ever be enough?"

    Hey, that's the beauty of having a monitary system based on faith and trust. If we can't confiscate it from those greedy rich people, we can just print it. What could go wrong with flooding the nation with more fake money?

  • JoshSN||

    The people could, on an individual basis, choose to go into debt to continue their charitable giving, but they don't.

    The government did choose to go into debt to maintain and establish aid programs.

    And don't tell me I don't f*cking care. You obviously don't know much of anything about me, or the political philosophy of the Founding Fathers or Montesquieu, and I feel it is my duty, out of kindness and gentleness, to point out to you that your rank ignorance is on public display.

  • ||

    Nice way to not answer the question.

    I'd say fuck off slaver but I'm feeling civil today so I'll just say adieu.

  • JoshSN||

    That was exactly the answer to the question.

    I was asked where will the money come from and I said deficit spending.

    F*ck off, indeed, ya ignoramus.

  • ||

    You think deficit spending is okay and I'm the ignoramus?

    And I wasn't saying fuck off, that's why I said adieu. But thanks for the stimulating conversation.

  • JoshSN||

    What you said wasn't even veiled.

    "I'd call you an asshat, but I'm feeling civil today."

    I do think deficit spending can be OK, and so have most of the economists of the last 75 years. You are free to disagree.

  • Sevo||

    "I do think deficit spending can be OK, and so have most of the economists of the last 75 years. You are free to disagree."
    You might ask whoever is pretending to be the government of Greece this week.

  • ||

    And don't tell me I don't f*cking care. You obviously don't know much of anything about me...

    I know you obviously don't care enough about people to not hold a gun to their head and take their stuff. I'd say that's enough, but your inability to understand that everything has a cost tells me just how little you understand about basic economics. Are you by chance pursuing a career in government?

  • JoshSN||

    I guess this is some sort of Soviet gulag, where nobody is allowed to leave?

    Don't like the taxes, get the f*ck out, but don't tell me there's a gun to your head, because it doesn't exist.

    Taxation is the price of liberty. Montesquieu knew it, Washington knew it, Jefferson knew it, Madison knew it, Hamilton knew it, the first USSC Chief Justice knew it, but I think the concept is over your head.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.17.12 @ 6:14PM|#
    "Don't like the taxes, get the f*ck out, but don't tell me there's a gun to your head, because it doesn't exist."
    You're a flat out liar or an abysmal ignoramus. Try not paying taxes, asshole.

    "Taxation is the price of liberty."
    Bullshit.

    "Montesquieu knew it, Washington knew it, Jefferson knew it, Madison knew it, Hamilton knew it, the first USSC Chief Justice knew it, but I think the concept is over your head."
    No, lies like that are beneath contempt, not over anyone's head.

  • sarcasmic||

    Taxes, like death, are just an unavoidable part of life.

    Eliminate government and you will immediately have gangs of thugs competing for the privilege of offering you "protection". Protection from them if you don't pay up, that is.

    The winner calls itself government, and the extorted monies are called taxes.

    That is all government is. Nothing more.

  • ||

    "Pay up for get the fuck out. But hey, there's no gun to your head or anything!"

    Seriously? In what part of your mind was this in any way a refutation of the post to which you were replying? You can change the apparatus in the analogy from a firearm to a boot in the ass, but it doesn't change the fact that you're using the threat of force to extract something from someone else.

    Also, in point of fact, no, you are not allowed to leave this country to flee the long arm of the tax man. Even if you renounce your citizenship you are required to pay whatever taxes you are told you owe before you are free to go seek out another place in the world. "Pay up for get the fuck out. But hey, there's no gun to your head or anything!"

    Seriously? In what part of your mind was this in any way a refutation of the post to which you were replying? You can change the apparatus in the analogy from a firearm to a boot in the ass, but it doesn't change the fact that you're using the threat of force to extract something from someone else.

    Also, in point of fact, no, you are not allowed to leave this country to flee the long arm of the tax man. Even if you renounce your citizenship you are required to pay whatever taxes you are told you owe before you are free to go seek out another place in the world. See also: the multiplicity of headlines on that tax-dodging rat bastard Eduardo Saverin. A stupid example, made irrelevant by reality. Good to see you haven't lost your touch.

  • ||

    Not really sure what happened there. Take it from the second "Pay up for get the fuck out. But hey, there's no gun to your head or anything"

  • JoshSN||

    You can also stop earning money, PM, and become homeless.

    In your case, I suggest it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Government debt is simply taxes that have not yet been collected.

  • ||

    Disagree all you want. The truth is right in front of your eyes (Hint: It's the fucking crapitalism we have right now).

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: JohnSN,

    Montesquieu says that immoderate wealth is detrimental to a Republic, and almost any wealth inequality is inconsistent with what is now known as a "direct democracy" (what he called a Democratic Republic).


    What Montesquieu says makes sense except for the part where anybody gives a fuck about "direct democracy."

  • Sevo||

    "Montesquieu says that immoderate wealth is detrimental to a Republic, and almost any wealth inequality is inconsistent with what is now known as a "direct democracy" (what he called a Democratic Republic)."

    You found a proto-lefty who agrees with you. So what?
    Oh, and calling 'direct democracy' a 'democratic republic' still leaves the dog with 4 legs.

  • JoshSN||

    A proto-lefty who agrees with me?

    I think I found the man widely considered to be the Oracle of the American Republic with whom all the major Founding Fathers agreed with.

  • Sevo||

    "I think I found the man widely considered to be the Oracle of the American Republic with whom all the major Founding Fathers agreed with."

    Cite missing.

  • JoshSN||

    "They had for their oracle of political philosophy the treatise of Montesquieu on the spirit of laws, which, published anonymously at Geneva forty years before, had won its way to an immense authority on both sides of the ocean. Montesquieu, contrasting the private as well as public liberties of Englishmen with the despotism of continental Europe, had taken the Constitution of England as his model system, and had ascribed its merits to the division of legislative, executive, and judicial functions which he discovered in it, and to the system of checks and balances whereby its equilibrium seemed to be preserved. No general principle of politics laid such hold on the constitution-makers and statesmen of America as the dogma that the separation of these three functions is essential to freedom. It had already been made the groundwork of several state constitutions. It is always reappearing in their writings; it was never absent from their thoughts." James Bryce, American Commonwealth, vol. 1 (New York: Macmillan Company, 1911), 29.

    "The oracles usually consulted were Blackstone and Montesquieu. The 'Spirit of Laws' was studied by Washington as part of his preparation for the work of the convention," Hannis Taylor, The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, vol. 1 (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1889), 60.

    "Montesquieu is accepted as the oracle of political theory for that time," Ames and Montgomery, "The Influence of Rome on the American Constitution," CJ 30 (1935): 27.

  • JoshSN||

    And with that, you terrible *sshat, I bid you adieu, at least for the night.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, look! Guy found three people who used the word "oracle"! My goodness; all bow!
    And with that, asshole, you should get lost.

  • JoshSN||

    @Sevo You asked for a citation, and I provided three. You said they were from "people," but they are from three reasonably eminent historians. I didn't ask for a bow, I would ask for you not to keep acting like I didn't just shove your little complaints down your throat.

    F*ck off and die you miserable piece of sh*t.

  • triclops||

    Let's go slowly.
    Josh, who pays for deficit spending?

  • triclops||

    I will give you a hint.

    It is not the people who have large investment portfolios that hedge against inflation.

  • SadlyOrwellian||

    The whole "fairness" issue reminds me of an old Kurt Vonnegut Jr science fiction story entitled Harrison Bergeron.

    Fairness for all, Prosperity for none.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Uh-oh, I turn on to Pat Buchanan talking about ethnicity and homosexuality.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Any opinion the Left holds is considered settled and off the table.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Pat gets applause on the quip on Obama's Nobel Prize.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Even when Pat's making sense, he comes across as a racist.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I think I pinpointed where Wilders made his criminal mistake. He took on Muslims while being European.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The hockey playoffs sign isn't talking smack about Nawfolk government.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The city should take his property so they can get the sign taken down.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Obscure academic research is the bread and butter of so much of academia today. Little practical application concern.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    OH FUCKING SNAP.

    The racist white fired Brainstorm blogger's husband is black.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Riley readily recognizes her firing wasn't a 1st Amendment issue. So that's good.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "We're ranked first in self-esteem."

    I SHOULD HOPE SO.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Impressive beard for an 18-year-old.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Free speech doesn't mean freedom from consequence.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You can't argue libertarian positions to anyone from a victim class.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm all for laying out the douche who pied an 86-year-old.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The ginger in the front row looked psycho. But I repeat myself.

  • CougarFlirts_Com||

    Experienced Cougar Ladies seeking and dating younger Men Toy Boys.(please check CougarFlirts.C⊙M !! out).Every_sexy_cougar_is_welcome_here !if_you_ interested_in_meeting_Younger_Men !

  • Mr. FIFY||

    “That!s not theirs! That's a national resource! That’s ours!"

    Typical collectivist bullshit.

    Hey, Laura Flanders... the contents of your refrigerator are "ours". Fork over the sammich materials, bitch.

  • hgsmells||

    What's not fair is that not all nations have equal resources. The market at least gives people with unlucky geography a chance to earn their necessities. I doubt a government controlling all of America's "national resources" would keep food importing nations alive for more than a decade, especially if it were run by Michael Moore. (And that's just as much a criticism of socialism in one country as it is a joke about him personally eating all the food produced in America.)

  • MoreFreedom||

    How much can we believe those protesting for more government welfare, when they so obviously lie showing a sign that says "I can't afford an actual sign"?

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