Government Beneficiaries and Other Fairy Tales

Don't believe everything you see on MSNBC.

I admit I’m amused by the unceasing economic and political malarkey that flows from the pundits at MSNBC. Many of these gems come during its promos, which, as viewers of the network know very well, promote not its programs but all-pervasive government.

The two I have in mind today are from Lawrence O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow. Maddow states that “older Americans are doing okay even in these hard times” thanks to Social Security: “It is not a Ponzi scheme. It is not bankrupting us. It is not an outrage. It is working.”

In the other one O’Donnell indignantly defends the post-World War II GI Bill: “The GI Bill put my father through college. He then was able to earn a living to put his five kids through college. It’s the most successful educational program we’ve ever had in this country—and the critics called it . . . welfare.” Now according to Politifact (see link above), no one called the college benefits in the GI Bill “welfare.” (“Yet some fretted that the law’s unemployment compensation element would encourage laziness.”) But we’ll ignore O’Donnell’s untruth.

Where to begin? Starting with Maddow, her claim that Social Security is “working” appears less impressive than she must think when one recalls that it’s only a matter of taking money from one group of people and mailing checks to another group. Whether or not you think that is proper, it’s not rocket science. Yet the government has managed to screw it up, which does make Maddow’s claim look a little odd. Last year the Social Security trustees said the unfunded liability was $21.4 trillion. That’s “the difference between all taxes that will be paid and all benefits received over the lifetimes of everyone in the system now—workers and beneficiaries alike,” USA Today reported. (Medicare, which presumably Maddow also thinks is working, is even deeper in the hole.)

Maddow also misses the point that when Social Security transfers money from younger workers (and their children) to older folks, the recipients benefit at the expense of those who may be much less well off than they are. Does she realize that Social Security operates on a pay-as-you-go basis? This gives the program at least something in common with a Ponzi scheme. (I analyzed that claim here.) Maddow may think all this is just fine (I call it legal plunder), but she should at least give us a sign that she understands it.

O’Donnell’s Turn

What about O’Donnell? Despite the facts, I’ll assume he is correct to claim that the critics of the GI Bill called it “welfare.” Is there something wrong with calling it that? This issue can quickly get caught up in sentiment, since the GI Bill was passed to benefit World War II vets. (Money for college was not the only feature.) O’Donnell is indignant presumably because he regards “welfare” as a term of abuse. That may be because in the political context welfare indicates a forced transfer, arranged by government, from one person or group to another. Whatever you think of the GI Bill, there is no doubt it was a forced transfer. The armed bureaucracy took money from taxpaying wage earners (many of them vets) and gave it to other people. The law was passed in 1944, so the benefits weren’t part of the promised compensation package for (conscripted) members of the armed forces.

Moreover, it is undoubtedly the case that workers who did not go to college were financially worse off because some of their income was transferred to college students. Decide for yourself if that was proper.

Both O’Donnell and Maddow seem to want to pretend that government payouts are free, as though bestowed by Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. Obviously they are not. Rather, they are burdens, and those burdens often fall on individuals who are far less well off than the recipients of government beneficence.

Sheldon Richman is editor of The Freeman, where this article originally appeared.

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  • PaganPriestess||

    First

  • Killazontherun||

    Charting Fun with Krugman, a really good take down using Krug's on numbers.

  • cw||

    [T]he average "output loss" (measured in the units Romer defines in the chart) during recessions from the pre-Fed era was 158.1, while in the post-Fed era it was 356.4.

    I wonder, though, if the author used the mean average to arrive at the latter percentage. The 1929 output loss is surely an outlier, so that would skew the post-Fed results.

    This isn't to say that the Fed has been some kind of great success in mitigating financial crises. Just that sometimes I think Austrians (whom I admire quite a lot) focus a little too much on the woes of monetary policy.

  • Killazontherun||

    Why would you assume it to be an outlier? For statistical proofing you would have to throw out the worst pre-Fed year, 1907, along with 1929, as Murphy touches on, and you are pretty much back where you started.

  • cw||

    Thanks for pointing that out. It's just that the 1929 statistic seemed pretty extreme.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    If you add in the last tow recessions (2001 2007) into the postwar data series you get a worse average result than the pre-fed average.

    That's excluding the whole 1st 30 years of fed's existence.

  • cw||

    Yeah, I was curious about those years. I wonder if Krugman bothered to consider them. If anything, it shows the Fed is at best ineffective at curtailing financial crises. I wonder if that's true for central banking in general (it would be interesting to analyze comparable statistics from other countries).

  • JoshSN||

    How the Fed handled pre-FDR panics was quite distinct from how Thomas Mellon acted during the onset of the Great Depression.

    Krugman isn't saying "The Fed stops widespread panic" he is saying Keynesian policies by the Fed stop widespread panic. The Fed was not using those, pre-1933, so, the Mises guy's outrage is pretty wide of the mark.


    Using Krugman's own source, we find that the establishment of the Fed generated (a) the two worst panics in US history and (b) a string of panics that were on average more than twice as bad as the average panic from the pre-Fed era.
  • Virginian||

    Not only are you wrong, you're thinking of Andrew Mellon.

    The argument for the Fed has always been that it can smooth out the business cycle. Except now it's time for you to move the goalposts.

    You can set your watch by it.

    1. Statists promise that if you pass X, then good result Y will occur.
    2. Critics warn that if X passes, bad result Z will occur.
    3. Statists call their critics fools, liars, racists, etc.
    4. X passes.
    5. Z occurs
    6. Statists insist that Z would have occurred anyway, and that the passage of X in fact saved us from an even worse Z.

    I truly hate people like you. You destroy freedom, you plunder wealth, and you're never ever the least bit repentant. You leave nothing but ashes and misery and move onto your next grand scheme with not even the slightest bit of remorse or reconsideration of your ideology.

  • JoshSN||

    You did not, in any way, point out how I am supposedly wrong, except in the first name of a Treasury Secretary who served 80 years ago.

    Krugman's argument wasn't that the Fed smoothes out the business cycle, it was that Keynesianism does.

    If the first 20 years of the Federal Reserve it didn't act in Keynesian ways, why would Krugman argue it would help? If anything, we know he is a Keynesian (as are top Republican economists, Hubbard and Mankiw).

    As for your ignorant hatred of me, fuck off. I could care less if someone who is so completely uninformed about my political ideology hates me. When I was in the Marine Corps, I had people say they hated me because I was Jewish. These two, poor, kids, one black kid from Alabama, one white kid from Ohio, were both 18, and had never met a Jew. I felt bad for them, because they were so ignorant, just as I feel bad for you.

  • ||

    Krugman's argument wasn't that the Fed smoothes out the business cycle, it was that Keynesianism does.

    Actually his argument was that the Austrians are wrong, but whatever.

  • Ben the Duck||

    Paul Krugman is a gibbering lunatic who openly advocates that government-sponsored scientists should falsely claim we're being invaded by slavering alien hordes, so that we can build more roads and stuff.

    Do I even need to point out the FAIL, here...?

    Next.

  • Virginian||

    Oh really? Tell us more anecdotes about your time in the Corps.

    Color me skeptical ( Blue or Green, your pick.) Sorry, but I know a few Marines, and I don't think any of them are big fans of Paul Krugman. Could be wrong though.

    Grade A troll. Seriously, we needed someone to spice up the threads. I tip my hate to you oh great Devil Dog Concern Troll Krugman Fellating Mastermind of the Internet.

  • Joe R.||

    You missed the best part: you hate Jews. Jew-hater.

  • Pi Guy||

    Maybe being new around here you're not quite fully aware of how much time is spent here debating Austrian and Chicago School economics. You ought take a look at these:

    Fear the Boom and Bust

    Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

  • JoshSN||

    @Pi Guy: Of course that's what you folks are all about. I feel you were trying to be helpful, though. Another name is "Austria's Revenge," revenge for the first World War.

    @Ben the Duck: I suppose because Newton wrote 90% of his work about alchemy, we should throw out physics? Let's take it for granted that no one is right about everything. Henry Ford had good ideas on industrial organization, and bad ideas on Jews. Krugman was simply re-stating the plot of the graphic novel, then theatrical hit, The Watchmen. In the graphic novel, Ozymandias uses a fake alien to unite all Earthlings, the ultimate Straussian con (Strauss wrote that you can only unite people by getting them to hate other people, ironically, he wrote this to the guy who would later craft most of the anti-Jewish laws in Nazi Germany). So, no, even if Krugman was serious (and why would he use Maher's show, and never write about, his bright idea?) it doesn't undermine the rest of his ideas.

  • Ben the Duck||

    even if Krugman was serious

    "But my proposed, I actually have a serious proposal which is that we have to get a bunch of scientists to tell us that we're facing a threatened alien invasion, and in order to be prepared for that alien invasion we have to do things like build high-speed rail. And the, once we've recovered, we can say, “Look, there were no aliens.”

    Troll harder.

  • JoshSN||

    I said "if" Krugman was serious, you still didn't have a point, and you respond by saying he was serious?

    Here's someone else arguing he wasn't.


    While Krugman is obviously using the idea as a provocative thought experiment, there’s a serious argument behind it, which boils down to the government gaining the incentive to raise taxes so it could build war-fighting materials, much like the U.S. did during World War II when tax rates were astronomical


    (emphasis mine)

  • Ben the Duck||

    Virginian was being charitable, handing out that "A" grade. You're worse than easy; you're predictable.

    Bored now.

  • Virginian||

    Oh look, and the link in his handle is to a linguistics site.

    What's the over/under on a "Chomsky really opened my eyes" post from Marine and classicist JoshSN?

  • JoshSN||

    I discussed my ideas a bit with Chomsky, but he only agreed in part. He used the Rwandan genocide as a counter-example, I then spent a week researching and showing that, in fact, it proved my point twice over (both during the genocide and then during the 2nd Congo War), but I guess he had lost interest at that point.

    Oh well.

  • KPres||

    "I discussed my ideas a bit with Chomsky"

    HAHAHAHAHA!

    No you didn't. You wrote him an email, to which he politely, but briefly, responded. Then, after you changed your pants, you wrote back with what was probably some long winded insane diatribe that totally creeped him out, after which he promptly added your email to his spam blocker.

  • JoshSN||

    Wow, you have a real gift for being an asshat, making shit up, and being retarded.

    I'm sure it will serve you well.

  • gulo gulo||

    I think I see your problem here JoshSN, it all started here

    "How the Fed handled pre-FDR panics was quite distinct from how Thomas Mellon acted during the onset of the Great Depression."

    You begin your post by presuming to lecture. Fine, if you have the goods, share, we all appreciate a little knowledge. However, you have a problem. First, your lecture is based on your perception of what Kruggy is trying to say. More importantly, however is the your error, "Thomas" Mellon.

    Why? I'll explain.

    "I am ...wrong, except in(sic) the first name of a Treasury Secretary who served 80 years ago."

    Which you presumed to lecture us about. This demonstrates a lack of intellectual rigor. Were this a simple discussion, with ideas bandied between us, it would pass.

    BUT YOU PRESUME TO LECTURE, THEN MAKE A BASIC FUNDAMENTAL ERROR.

    It is about credibility.

  • gulo gulo||

    (contd)

    Your problem, JoshSN, is that you'll never get anyone who knows anything about Physics to sit fora lecture from someone who keeps saying Fred Newton.

    "Sir Fred Newton wrote treatises on..." makes you look like you have a passing knowledge of the subject instead of expertise.

    Also, your response to Ben the Duck.

    He writes "I actually have a serious proposal..." where the author says it is serious. Your reply?

    "Krugman is obviously using the idea as a provocative thought experiment"

    Some guy saying the author who told us he was serious isn't actually serious.

    I would suggest that if you want other people to give a shit about your perception of, you don't A) lecture them B) make basic errors that someone with the knowledge to lecture would not make, and C) avoid claiming you're right in direct contradiction to what the creator of something says about said creation.

  • JoshSN||

    @gulo gulo

    A) I was speaking, clearly, I didn't think I was lecturing. I was not attempting to inform anyone of anything important that was new, just trying to clarify what Krugman had said for some people who had misunderstood.

    B) It may have been a basic error, but it was a completely unimportant error. I can't think of a good parallel, because there was a Thomas Mellon, and he was the great member of the family, unlike, say, Richard Mellon Scaife.

    C) Here is a link to someone else saying what I was saying, namely, it is a thought experiment, not a serious proposal. Maybe you believe everything you hear from anyone's mouth on the Daily Show? Maher's broadcast is comedy.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.27.12 @ 8:40AM|#
    "A) I was speaking, clearly, I didn't think I was lecturing.'

    Yeah, well, you're an ignoramus, so that's no surprise.
    ------------------------------
    "B) It may have been a basic error, but it was a completely unimportant error."

    Because you say so, right?
    -------------------------------
    "C) Here is a link to someone else saying what I was saying,.."

    Oh, good! There's more than one ignoramus!

  • JoshSN||

    @gulo gulo: The charts in question divide the panics into three sections, pre-Fed, pre-Keynesian Fed, and post-Keynesian Fed.

    I wasn't lecturing, so much as highlighting that fact.

    Thomas Mellon was the great Mellon, you knew that, right? I am passingly familiar with the great entrepreneurs of the Gilded Age (for example, I really enjoy the Frick Museum, which is in Henry Clay Frick's old home). There is no Fred Newton, there is a Thomas Mellon, who was far greater than his Treasury Secretary offspring. By contrast, there is no Fred Newton of any importance.

    So, I wasn't presuming to lecture, so much as point out what Krugman actually did, and Andrew Mellon isn't really a significant character in the history of anything, just as the last of anything (the last pre-Keynesian Fed Bank Chairman, in his case) is usually the weakest.

  • Virginian||

    Except Andrew Mellon was not Chairman of the Fed, he was the Secretary of the Treasury. And he sure as hell was significant. He was the guy mainly responsible for the explosive prosperity of the 1920s, he created the National Gallery of Art, basically put Pittsburgh on the map with his philanthropy. People said that three Presidents served under him. He was a very important figure.

    Jesus Christ, you make these sweeping pronouncements but you keep getting your facts wrong. You could be our greatest troll ever.

  • JoshSN||

    I actually said he was Treasury Secretary a couple times.

    He was hugely significant in the sense that his economic policies seemed to have been in place for the 8+ years before the Great Depression started. He was not a Keynesian.

    It was foolish of the blogger criticizing Krugman to lump together the age of Mellon with the age of Keynes. No one doubts that Krugman is a Keynesian, and generally rejects the theories of Mellon on economics.

    That was my main point, which no one has done anything to address. Well, if you can't win with the facts, focus on the minutae, right?

  • Virginian||

    The Great Depression started when Mellon's advice was ignored and the Hoover/FDR New Deal began. Mellon was excoriated by the socialists, articles of impeachment were introduced, and Mellon resigned and became ambassador to England.

    Hoover and FDR did the exact opposite thing that he recommended in response to the stock market crash. I want to be very clear here: his advice was rejected totally, and as a result the Great Depression occurred.

  • Virginian||

    Oh, and you can call it minutiae. I call it knowing what the fuck you're talking about. What is it with linguistics people thinking they're omniscient sages? Is it all because of Chomsky's fame?

  • Virginian||

    The Great Depression started when Mellon's advice was ignored and the Hoover/FDR New Deal began. Mellon was excoriated by the socialists, articles of impeachment were introduced, and Mellon resigned and became ambassador to England.

    Hoover and FDR did the exact opposite thing that he recommended in response to the stock market crash. I want to be very clear here: his advice was rejected totally, and as a result the Great Depression occurred.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.27.12 @ 8:35AM|#
    "@gulo gulo: The charts in question divide the panics into three sections, pre-Fed, pre-Keynesian Fed, and post-Keynesian Fed.
    I wasn't lecturing, so much as highlighting that fact."

    Keep walking back. Maybe you might cover some of your tracks.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    While Krugman is obviously using the idea as a provocative thought experiment, there’s a serious argument behind it, which boils down to the government gaining the incentive to raise taxes so it could build war-fighting materials, much like the U.S. did during World War II when tax rates were astronomical

    AKA the broken windows fallacy.

    Krugman's version of Keynesianism really does boil down to arguing that breaking windows employs people and is therefor worthwhile.

  • JoshSN||

    @VG Zaytsev

    How big is the galaxy? It's about 100,000 light years to the opposite side.

    Do you know how long it would take you to get there, if you could accelerate at 1g half way, and decelerate 1g the other half?

    About 15 years.

    I mean, 100,000 years would pass here on Earth, but you can make it in your lifetime (you also need about 40kg of fuel for every 1kg of you, if it were a perfect fuel).

    What is the chance that there is intelligent life in the galaxy? 100% (if you credit Earthlings with intelligence). What is the chance that there is more than one planet with intelligent life? More than 0%.

    So, preparing to fight magma beasts, lurking under the tectonic plates is certainly a waste of time, but investigating the galaxy for possible threats is potentially rewarding.

    By the way, even with time dilation, a person with a normal lifespan can't get farther than the Andromeda Galaxy.

  • JoshSN||

    Sorry, you can ignore that post about trans-galactic travel, near the very end the link says:


    One major problem you would have to solve is the need for shielding. As you approach the speed of light you will be heading into an increasingly energetic and intense bombardment of cosmic rays and other particles. After only a few years of 1g acceleration even the cosmic background radiation is Doppler shifted into a lethal heat bath hot enough to melt all known materials.
  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.27.12 @ 2:40PM|#
    "@VG Zaytsev

    How big is the galaxy? It's about 100,000 light years to the opposite side..."

    Keep digging. No one is going to take your shovel away.

  • Pi Guy||

    I can't ignore it because it's in keeping with what you seem to be doing here over and over: You're just plain wrong with your facts.

    Diameter of thhe Universe is currently accepted to be 46 BILLION light years.

    IOW: you were only off by a factor of *pulls off socks for full aritmetic capabilities*...460,000.

    Do you understand why you keep getting challenged? 460 freaking thousand.

    That's a big Twinkie.

  • JoshSN||

    @Pi Guy

    I said the galaxy, not the universe.

  • Sevo||

    Why not? It's a nice Saturday evening and lefty ignoramuses are such fun to beat upon:

    JoshSN|5.26.12 @ 6:30PM|#
    "@Pi Guy: Of course that's what you folks are all about. I feel you were trying to be helpful, though. Another name is "Austria's Revenge," revenge for the first World War."

    I guess this is intended to, well, I'm not really sure what. Making up 'clever' bumper-sticker copy? Hint for the ignoramus: Austrian econ pre-dates WWI
    --------------------------------
    "@Ben the Duck: I suppose because Newton wrote 90% of his work about alchemy, we should throw out physics.."

    Hey, ignoramus, if Newton's work in physics was as asinine as Krugman's work in econ, we *would* toss it out. It's not like Krugman was examining a separate issue, such as alchemy compared to physics.
    But, since you're an ignoramus, I'll presume your post was ignorant rather than an attempt to pass off a lie.
    Am I wrong?

  • JoshSN||

    @Sevo Mises, Hayek and Friedman were all post-WWI. They were the guys who brought it to America.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.27.12 @ 8:42AM|#
    "@Sevo Mises, Hayek and Friedman were all post-WWI. They were the guys who brought it to America."

    How much is cherry-picking paying these days? Enough to keep an ignoramus in computers, obviously.
    Ever hear of Bohm-Bawerk? Guy named Schumpeter?
    Fail, ignoramus.

  • JoshSN||

    Schumpeter was publishing post WWI, not before, and I have heard of him, of course.

    I have not heard of Bohm-Bawerk, that I can recall, but since you are 0 for however-many now, I'm not even going to bother looking him up.

  • DJK||

    A bit off topic, but Watchmen was a theatrical hit? How so? It grossed $185 million worldwide on its theatrical run. That's on a $130 million budget and $50 million marketing campaign. Distributors and theaters take about half of a film's revenue. So, let's say Warner Bros took $90 million of that $185 million sales figures. That means they lost $90 million on the movie! And I'm sure I'm not accounting for other costs. Hardly what I'd call a hit. Watchmen was actually 2009's first major flop.

  • JoshSN||

    Sorry, DJK. I liked it. It was on a lot of screens. It was, as you point out, definitely not a hit.

  • Sevo||

    "When I was in the Marine Corps, I had people say they hated me because I was Jewish."

    See, they were trying to be kind. They actually hated you because you're an ignoramus.

  • JoshSN||

    They didn't know if I was, or was not, an ignoramus. This was boot camp, no time for idle chit chat.

  • KPres||

    Noam Chomsky figured out you were an ignoramus after one email.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.27.12 @ 8:36AM|#
    "They didn't know if I was, or was not, an ignoramus. This was boot camp, no time for idle chit chat."

    Jeeze, Josh, it was obvious immediately on your posting. How dumb were your buddies?

  • Raistlin||

    Strange. When I went through boot camp, we talked every now and then. Almost like you are full of shit, or something.

  • Killazontherun||

    Good lord, you're dumb. You really think no one read the link but you, and you can just put shit in Krugman's mouth to exonerate his flaws on display here?

  • Sevo||

    Hey, Josh is a lefty ignoramus! Josh gets to claim to know when someone is serious or not if it helps Josh's argument!
    Lefty ignoramuses get special dispensation from other lefties and they expect it here, too.

  • JoshSN||

    Here is a link saying the same thing I said. It was a thought experiment.

    Maher runs a COMEDY show.

  • Sevo||

    "Maher runs a COMEDY show."

    Yeah, except when he claims to be 'serious'.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Maher runs a COMEDY show.

    If it is supposed to be comedy, why isn't it funny?

  • Major Johnson||

    Krugman isn't a Keynesian as I understand Keynes (not that I'm an economist), nor are most liberals. Keynesian spending policies would allow borrowing during bad times, but they also require that debt to be immediately paid down after the crisis. Krugman and liberals insist on deficit spending ALL of the time, with the debt never paid down, much less paid off.

    The republicans are only better in the sense that a pig standing next to a cess pit smells better by comparison.

  • Brandon||

    Wow, pretentious, self-aggrandizing, wrong and unwilling to admit it. Are you sure you're not Tony?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    How the Fed handled pre-FDR panics was quite distinct from how Thomas Mellon acted during the onset of the Great Depression.

    Well, no--Harding refused to deficit-spend back to prosperity, and a sharp post WW1 recession was shortened.

    The Depression happened because Hoover actually ignored Mellon's advice, not because he followed it.

    Krugman's argument wasn't that the Fed smoothes out the business cycle, it was that Keynesianism does.

    And Krugman is question-begging, as usual, because it's called "the business cycle" for a reason. Keynesianism is a relic of a period when European and American politicians actually believed they could engineer reality to fit their whims.

    These two, poor, kids, one black kid from Alabama, one white kid from Ohio, were both 18, and had never met a Jew.

    Sounds like you confirmed every single one of their prejudices.

  • cw||

    [Social Security] is working.

    Maddow's correct. SS is working just as planned: making some people a little poorer, others a little richer.

  • Hyperion||

    I would like to see an opt out. For 50% of what I have paid in, in one lump sum, I opt out now. The goobermint then uses the remaining 50% of everyone who opts out to help pay down the unfunded liability.

    Then we do some serious entitlement reform. Maybe we could change the SS system, so that 75% of what we pay goes into a private saving account, and 25% goes to the fed to pay for the deadbeats in society who never contributed to their own retirement. To be nice, we will call it a safety net. We decide ourselves when we can retire and then have access to our SS accounts.

    On some things, I think the Chinese have it more right than we do. For instance, stop paying people to have babies. Instead, tax them more. That would cut down on entitlement payments a lot, IMO.

  • cw||

    I think some countries have already switched to private saving accounts. Like Chile.

    [S]top paying people to have babies. Instead, tax them more. That would cut down on entitlement payments a lot, IMO.

    This one is tricky. On the one hand, I despise how there's a financial incentive (even though the numbers don't add up, people still have a psychological incentive, as though they are getting more money essentially for "free") to have more children if doing so puts you at some arbitrary percentage above/below the poverty line.

    But at the same time, I don't like the idea of "punishing" children by taking away funds from their parents. I don't really know how to solve that one.

  • Hyperion||

    It may seem harsh, but we have to do something. I mean, do you really want to pay for other people to have kids? We can't afford it, regardless. We don't have to make it retroactive, but we have to stop this insanity.

  • sloopyinca||

    I mean, do you really want to pay for other people to have kids?

    Then the solution is to eliminate public schools, which is where the bulk of property taxes go.

  • cw||

    I read an opinion piece in my local paper the other day lamenting that NCLB is flawed because it withholds funding from failing schools (an old critique, really).

    Of course, as usual, these public school defenders never elaborate on what could be done to make these schools better. Just don't cut the funding, I guess. Which would mean, let's allow good money to chase after bad.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'm going to run for city council or school board next year, and my platform will be simple: Whatever funds are spent per student annually in the district (here it's around 30k, I think) are to be given to the parent to use for education. They can use the full amount to send them to the public school, and in that case the money stays with the city. They can also choose to use it for private school tuition, tutoring, homeschooling materials, educational aids such as computers and supplies, educational programs such as music instruction and athletic programs, etc. Vendors can register (for free) to be used and items will be paid by purchase order.

    Imagine the number of charter schools/small programs that would pop up all over the place? And as an added benefit, taxpayers would go ballistic when they realize how much of their money is wasted annually per student in the public system They will, hopefully, demand that amount be cut drastically...especially when they realize what administrators and teachers are making from their tax dollars.

    There's a lot more to the program I would implement, but that's the crux of it (and what will fit in the character limit). It would dramatically increase choice while simultaneously decreasing the tax burden for education because taxpayers would see how much is actually wasted on the broken system currently in place.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Excellent idea by I don't think that it can be implemented at the local level because of state and federal mandates.

  • cw||

    That's the voucher approach, right? If we're going to have taxpayer-funded education, and vouchers work, then they sound like the way to go.

    Good luck running for your local school board! We recently had an election for our school district. One of the candidates I voted for was one who pointed out that the school district gets the most money in our state, and so she was against the proposed mill levy. Sadly, she didn't win. Entrenched public school interests always seem to win those elections.

  • sloopyinca||

    It's a modified voucher approach insomuch as it actually pushes costs down. Currently, the few private schools vie for the exact amount of the voucher. This would push costs down because the parent would be able to spend the balance on supplies/computers/private lessons/ etc. It not only pushes the private schools to be more financially competitive, it challenges them by making the money available for homeschool materials as well.

    It would also establish "homeschool co-op's" where families can band together and form homeschools that share teaching materials and supplies, giving them more money at the end of the day for private tutoring and special programs that the rigid private schools and public schools don't allow with their curriculum.

    Once this is accomplished, the people that spend $20k per year will start complaining that the other $10k should stay in their hands and the other taxpayers will demand lower taxes to push the cost/student down since they are footing the bill to begin with.

    And fighting the entrenched establishment isn't that tough a sell when taxpayers realize they are paying such a high amount per student for poor results. You have a good point about the state and fed mandates, but if one could establish it as a pilot program, that could be overcome.

  • Anacreon||

    In our last school board election there was a bright woman who was presenting some novel ideas on improving quality and reducing costs. It scared the dickens out of the usual suspects, who run on the same platform of "isn't our school system fabulous, let's get it more funding". Not surprisingly, a number of letters-to-the-editor in our local rag appeared (signed with what I am guessing were pseudonyms, they don't fact-check) about the bright woman, saying she was "mean-spirited", "had lowered the debate" and "must hate our kids to want to deprive them of smaller class sizes".

    Of course, she came in a distant last. I truly hope you do better -- and have the armor to deal with the mindless robohacks out there.

  • Keith3D||

    "Of course, as usual, these public school defenders never elaborate on what could be done to make these schools better."

    That's because the answer is so obvious that pointing it out is unnecessary. Simply double down on spending. Then if that doesn't work double down again. Then if that doesn't work...

  • 16th amendment||

    On social security, I think think you're wrong to just want 50%. Your employer also paid 50%, and in effect you paid it by taking a lower salary -- it's as if your salary was higher and you paid 12.4% of your salary in social security taxes. This is what sole proprietors do. So you should ask for 50% of what you put in, as well as a matching 50%.

    I don't think that 75% of your money, or any other amount, can go into a private account. The government has no mandate to require you to save for retirement. It's the individual mandate all over again. It's smart to save, it's smart to buy health insurance, but the government can't force you to do it. If they create a constitutional amendment then they can do it -- but it should be narrowly tailored to only include saving for retirement, not other things.

    The idea of diverting 25% of whatever you put it in to help others who make less is a good idea to make it more palatable. But I wouldn't call them deadbeats. They're just people making less.

    Also, I don't agree with lifting the cap as I want to minimize socialism.

  • Contrarian P||

    Frankly, the government could have every single cent I've put into Social Security during my working lifetime up til now if I got to keep my "contributions" from here on out. I would come out far ahead of what they promised to pay me even assuming a modest rate of return on my investments. It'd be worth it to lose what I've already paid in (who are we kidding, it's already gone).

    Social Security was designed a long time ago by people who didn't bother to consider what would happen if age demographics and advances in medical care shifted reality away from their model. They thought (as all utopians tend to do) that things would continue to be as they were then. Unfortunately, because SS was sold as a retirement plan essentially, people expect to get "their money back". It's going to be a hard cycle to break, frankly.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    That's actually not true.

    They were well aware of the Ponzi nature of SS and thought that it would fall apart in 60-70s. They were bailed out by post war productivity growth and the baby boom.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I like this. I really, really like this. Citation please? I want to use it!

  • Sevo||

    "Johnson [LBJ] submitted the first unified budget to a Democratic Congress for Fiscal Year 1969 scheduled to begin on July 1, 1968. Thus was born the practice of using Social Security Trust Fund surpluses – or "Intra-governmental Holdings of Debt" to hide the size of the overall federal deficit."
    http://www.conservapedia.com/S.....#Criticism
    You could probably mine that factoid for some info.

  • Brutus||

    They wrap themselves in the latter and pretend not to notice the former.

  • fish_remote||

    I really don't know why we even bother discussing this any more.

    TEAM Blue lies, Team RED lies! Anyone who thinks these two (and to be fair, their counterparts on TEAM red newsy outlets too) are even slightly credible is beyond help.

  • Hyperion||

    Although, team red is being infiltrated by liberty candidates. Still 99% liars and theives, but at least they are headed in the right direction. Team blue is hopeless.

  • fish_remote||

    Hopeless and Hopeless Lite!

  • Hyperion||

    pretty accurate fish, lol

  • JoshSN||

    During the Roman Empire, it was TEAM Blue and TEAM Green.

    Fans would dye their hair, blue or green, to show allegiance.

    To me, libertarians always come across as TEAM China. I know you think of yourselves as the opposite of the China team, because they are dictatorship, I just think adopting your policies will immeasurably exacerbate wealth and power inequalities, and when it turns out a tiny few have most of the power, someone will realize they don't need the ballot box anymore, not even for show.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.26.12 @ 2:49PM|#
    "To me, libertarians always come across as TEAM China."

    Yeah, well, you're an ignoramus, so it's not surprising.

  • Virginian||

    You're thinking of the Byzantine Empire, not the Roman Empire.

    God damn, you need to stick around. You are a true dumbass who thinks he's smart. We haven't had a troll like that since MNG vanished.

    It's cute though, that you think wealth and power concentrate in a free market, when in fact it's just the opposite.

  • JoshSN||

    Listen, fuckwit, I was talking about the Roman Empire, not the Byzantine.

    Other than getting Mellon's first name wrong, which had absolutely nothing to do with the argument, anyway, you haven't been right about one thing, yet.

    Here is a whole fucking book on the Greens and the Blues, showing you are ass-up, fucked in the head, and completely out of line speaking from your dark pool of ignorance. Circus Factions: Blues and Greens at Rome and Byzantium by Alan Cameron.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Here is a whole fucking book

    You done SF'd the link, son. The only thing worse that SF'ing the link is trayvonning the link. Get in your shame closet.

  • JoshSN||

    Partially correct. The link works for the actual title of the book, not for the first half of the sentence.

    And if you think I am going to be shamed for that, when a bunch of poor guys like you are running around praising plutocracy to the heavens, well, there's just no question that's never going to happen over a typo.

  • Sevo||

    "when a bunch of poor guys like you are running around praising plutocracy to the heavens"

    Uh, in the lying competition, you're going to really have to push to beat shithead.
    But it's not a bad start.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    when a bunch of poor guys like you are running around praising plutocracy to the heavens

    Pretty sure that word doesn't mean what you think it means. Try harder.

  • Sevo||

    "you think"

    Nope, not Josh. Not a chance.

  • JoshSN||

    Sevo, you've impressed me greatly in my limited time here at Reason.com as a complete dipshit.

    Here is just one more example of that.

    The Citationless Virginian says I was wrong, that I was thinking of the Byzantine, and not the Roman Empire, and says I was "thinking" of the wrong Empire, and you chime in that I wasn't thinking at all.

    But it was the Citationless Virginian who wasn't thinking, as was shewn, because it was, in fact, during the Roman Empire.

    Now, either it took you 15 minutes to craft your witless retort, and you hadn't seen my link proving that I was correct and that the Citationless Virginian was wrong, which is likely, considering the speed at which I'm sure your brain works, or you can't even follow a straightforward argument.

    In either case, shit-for-brains, you look twice the ignoramus, now.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.26.12 @ 5:30PM|#
    "Sevo, you've impressed me greatly in my limited time here at Reason.com as a complete dipshit."

    Yeah, well, you're an ignoramus, so that's not surprising.

  • ||

    I just think adopting your policies will immeasurably exacerbate wealth and power inequalities

    Obama and Bush both supported TARP which transferred huge amounts of wealth from the masses to a few elites at wall street.

    If that is not exacerbating wealth and power inequalities then i do not know what is.

  • JoshSN||

    I agree. I didn't really expect better from Bush, but I had expected better from Obama. I was fooled.

  • JoshSN||

    I agree. I didn't really expect better from Bush, but I had expected better from Obama. I was fooled.

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.27.12 @ 8:44AM|#
    "I agree. I didn't really expect better from Bush, but I had expected better from Obama. I was fooled."

    Yeah, well, you're an ignoramus, so that's not surprising.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Red meat isn't bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you.

  • Tulpa the White||

    -- Tom Smothers

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You're not the first fuckleberry who tried to conflate libertarians with communism... Freepers and DemocraticUndergrounders both do the same lame-ass shit, Josh.

    Pack up your rancid cuntmongerings and go the fuck away.

  • Raistlin||

    And don't forget Jason Godesky! God, I miss those bug-eyed, bat shit crazy lectures.

  • Sevo||

    Dunno if it was Godesky, but if not, it was one of Godesky's sycophants.
    Regardless, it was stupid ^nth.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Still trying to forget Godesky, and fucktards like Josh don't help the forgetting process.

  • JoshSN||

    I know libertarians are anti-communist, that's their main anti-, since, in the modern mind, there has never been a more statist society than the Soviet.

    I'm just repeating Montesquieu, the Oracle of the American Republic, who said that you have to keep wealth inequality under check if you want a Republic, and we all know libertarian policies would exacerbate wealth inequality.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'm just repeating Montesquieu, the Oracle of the American Republic, who said that you have to keep wealth inequality under check if you want a Republic

    So...the man never made a misstatement in his life? Cool. I guess we show his climate theories to the GW fanatics it will shut them the fuck up?

    and we all know libertarian policies would exacerbate wealth inequality.

    We do? Thanks for filling us in on what "we all know," asshat.

  • JoshSN||

    There's nothing of his theories on climate in the Constitution, nor, to the best of my recollection, in the debates on the Constitution.

    On the other hand, the 1st Congress of the United States was clearly putting higher tariffs on products consumed by the rich (Spanish madeira) than products consumed by the poor (beer).

    And of course libertarian economic policies were exacerbate wealth inequality. For freedom! All the measures that transfer wealth from the rich to the poor would be eliminated.

  • Sevo||

    "On the other hand, the 1st Congress of the United States was clearly putting higher tariffs on products consumed by the rich (Spanish madeira) than products consumed by the poor (beer)."

    Yes, and?

  • KPres||

    Taxing rich people is kind of like suing big companies. You never sue the little guy...he doesn't have any money!

  • Sevo||

    "I'm just repeating Montesquieu, the Oracle of the American Republic,..."

    Ya know, capitalizing a lie doesn't change anything. It's still a lie.

  • JoshSN||

    What lie are you accusing me of?

  • Sevo||

    JoshSN|5.27.12 @ 2:42PM|#
    "What lie are you accusing me of?"

    Boy, educating ignoramuses is TOUGH!
    Hint: What did you capitalize, ignoramus?

  • JoshSN||

    Last time you doubted that he was generally considered the Oracle of the American Republic I provided three citations from historians stretching across 70 years of time.


    In 1760 a youthful John Adams noted in his diary that he had begin to read The Spirit of Laws and planned to compile comprehensive marginal notes to insure his proper attention to the work. Roughly a decade and a half later, Thomas Jefferson, who was to suceed Adams to the Presidency, devoted no less than twenty-eight pages of his Commonplace Book to extracts from this same work, and in 1792, in an essay on "Spirit of Governments," James Madison compared Montesquieu's role in the science of government to that of Francis Bacon in natural philosophy. According to Madison, Montesquieu "had lifted the veil from the venerable errors which enslaved opinion and pointed the way to those luminous truths of which he had but a glimpse himself."

    -- Preface 1977 UC Press edition

    Donald Lutz put together the most cited works of the 80 or so years from 1760-1840, after the Bible comes Montesquieu. It was something like 39% Bible, 8.9% Montesquieu, 8.3% Blackstone, 2.4% Locke.

    I still think the fact that it is what George Washington studied for the 2nd Constitutional Convention should cut all the mustard.

    You just happen to be a fuckwit.

  • Pi Guy||

    Oracle: I don't think that word means what you think it means.

    Where do Madison or Jefferson mention the word oracle with respect to Montesquieu in your citation? They don't. Know why? Because they knew the definition of oracle. You obviously don't.

  • JoshSN||

    Pi Guy, you are off the "maybe OK" list and now on the "idiot" list.

    I have already provided several citations from historians calling Montesquieu the Oracle.

    Here is a list of them. You'll see they span from 1889 to 1935, so, pretty much before the evil socialist takeover of America which destroyed everything free and made us all slaves, or slavers.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    The State could take every penny from every rich person, and it would be enough to run the government for... what, a few months?

    Yeah, Josh, we know what you're about when you talk about rich people.

  • JoshSN||

    I seriously doubt you have any idea what I'm about under any circumstances.

  • ||

    As opposed to the policies of both Teams which have resulted in your fever dream of wealth inequality?

  • CE||

    ...adopting your policies will immeasurably exacerbate wealth and power inequalities

    If that is true, then there are talented individuals whose potential wealth and power are being unfairly suppressed by current policies.

  • Schu||

    Nothing wrong with the GI Bill. It's akin to a deferred signing bonus or deferred compensation. It's like saying the salaries paid to the military are welfare. Some may dislike the job they perform, but at least they're performing a needed service for their pay.

    (That said, the military needs to be shrunk down to an active duty size just large enough to defend our borders. If you want a war, call up reservists.)

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It's like saying the salaries paid to the military are welfare.

    Your pay is part of the contract. That you signed. Voluntarily and of your own free will, without inducement or coercion. Your drill instructor is happy to remind you of that should you need some encouragement to move your worthless ass.

  • BigT||

    There was a draft in WW2. Coercion. Thus, GI bill justified.

  • cw||

    [...] but at least they're performing a needed service for their pay.

    That's up for debate. Do we need two million soldiers right now to defend the U.S.?

  • Brutus||

    That's a good question, and part of the political debate. I think we need a military, but I don't think it needs to be as big as it is now.

  • CE||

    It's peacetime (or should be.) All we need to defend the US is National Guard troops in all 50 states, ready to be called up if war is imminent. No standing army is supposed to be funded for over 2 years anyway.

  • Hyperion||

    It's like saying the salaries paid to the military are welfare.

    Well according to the thinking of our established political elite class, everything is welfare. Everything belongs to them, and they decide what charity us serfs deserve.

  • Anonymous Coward||

  • Brutus||

    As for the first, from her carpet-munching lips to God's ear.

    As for the second, touche'.

  • cw||

    You know, I think I just had an epiphany. Positive rights, the kind the left espouses, are really just government privileges. Maybe that's why the Tonys of the world conflate the right not to be harmed (i.e., negative rights) with some sort of government grant.

  • Incredulous||

    I started watching the video but then got the urge to blow my brains out and had to stop.

    Maddow thinks that repeating the phrase "union rights" enough times somehow turns unconstitutional powers into "rights."

  • Brutus||

    I'd like to see what Maddow would think of "viewer rights" that would include the right to show up on her set at random.

  • Hyperion||

    If you don't vote in favor of recalling Scott Walker, the Democrat Party in Wisconsin will disappear

    buh bye

  • Ice Nine||

    Yeah, the Democratic Party in Wisconsin will disappear - just like Jason Voorhees disappears.

  • CockGobbla||

    Those MSNBC promos are incredibly awful.

    I knew that the Left were as bad as the Right's representation on FoxNews, but never in my imagination did I think it was possibly to outdo FoxNews's partisan hackery, but MSNBC succeeded.

    By the way, what does "Lean Forward" even mean, anyway?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    By the way, what does "Lean Forward" even mean, anyway?

    It's usually what Big Bubba says to the new guy after lights out on Cell Block C. MSNBC uses it in the same spirit.

  • Brutus||

    FTW!

  • cw||

    "Lean Forward" is the new progressive catch phrase. Since they're all good and all wise, their policies will move us all FORWARD!

  • CockGobbla||

    Wouldn't "LEAP FORWARD" be more appropriate, then?

  • Nando||

    It didn't test well.

  • Sevo||

    You mean "GREAT LEAP FORWARD", but it may be copyrighted.

  • cw||

    "We are all Trayvon Martin TM (however you type that TM thingy).

  • Sevo||

    You think it's tough in English, try it in Mandarin.

  • cw||

    Do you work with Chinese clients?

  • Bill||

    It means "bend over"

  • CE||

    Progressives want to move forward, so they think by leaning forward that will help. Then they fall flat on their faces, like their policies when implemented.

  • Nando||

    Rachel Maddow is the smartest person on TV.

  • Brutus||

    So why does she say such stupid stuff? Bad writers?

  • Nando||

    It's a low bar.

  • Jesse James Dean||

    zing!

  • CockGobbla||

    I know a Rhodes Scholar. They're not as bright as you might think

  • Ice Nine||

    I'll bet they all know about sampling error.

  • Ben the Duck||

    Rachel Maddow is the smartest person on TV.

    Rachel Maddow wouldn't even rank as "smartest person" on Nickelodeon, or the Cartoon Network.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    No, she's actually quite intelligent (supposedly, I've never met her) which means that she's a fucking liar

  • A Serious Man||

    Yeah, same for Bill Clinton. They are both highly intelligent, which makes their behavior evil rather than helplessly driven by ignorance.

  • ||

    Why would you start your post with "No, she's actually" like you were correcting him, then go on to admit your opinion was sheer speculation?

    That's just douchebaggery.

  • Brutus||

    And while I'm a libertarian, I don't consider the GI Bill as welfare. It's part of the compensation package for military personnel. If they didn't have it, they'd have to offer some other incentive to get qualified people to join.

  • cw||

    If you agree with what Richman wrote, that "[...] in the political context welfare indicates a forced transfer, arranged by government, from one person or group to another," then any government-funded compensation is welfare.

  • CockGobbla||

    Doesn't it depend on the usefulness of the work provided by the government worker?

    If the servicemen added to the country's overall wealth, wasn't the investment, in some sense, worth it, even with the caveat that it was an immoral, forced transfer from one person to another?

    By the way, I can't see how war efforts could add to our wealth, but I'm sure somebody hasn't figured something out.

  • CockGobbla||

    *has

  • cw||

    That usefulness seems pretty subjective, since there's no real pricing system except through government fiat.

    War efforts could add to a country's wealth, through resource acquisition. Can't say I'd morally favor that, though.

  • Sevo||

    "I can't see how war efforts could add to our wealth,..."

    Pure 'broken window'; it not only doesn't help, it hurts.
    If adding wealth is making a certain asset more valuable, imagine a modern fighter plane getting shot down. THERE's taking very valuable assets and turning them into scrap.

  • John||

    NO. It can hurt. Like anything else it depends. For example, the money spent defending Europe and Japan made the US money. In preventing Europe and Europe and Japan from going communist, we ended up making trillions of dollars in trade. Best investment we ever made.

    We would certainly be a hell of a lot poorer today had we let the whole world go Nazi. The same is true of the English investment in their Navy during the 19th Century. Military power properly used brings peace and stability and that brings prosperity.

  • ||

    Interesting take. But are you really arguing that we use out military power "properly"?

  • sloopyinca||

    Best investment we ever made.

    Tell that to the parents, wives and children of the conscripts that were killed at Guadalcanal and The Ardennes.

  • Sevo||

    "For example, the money spent defending Europe and Japan made the US money."

    Well, that's a bit of a stretch.
    In a negative sense, the waste of war prevented the spread of National Socialism (and the 'Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere'). Sorta like the cops 'make money' for the shopkeeper if they interrupt a robbery.
    The econ principle remains: War, by causing premature deaths and turning manufactured goods into scrap is the ultimate activity in removing wealth from society.

  • Brutus||

    I think that's too broad. If the public is getting value for the taxes extracted (reasonable police protection, courts, defense), then compensation provided for them isn't welfare since we wouldn't expect these people to work for free.

    Things like SS, Medicare and Medicaid are definitely welfare.

  • cw||

    Ah, I see you may be a minarchist, like me. Yes, I agree that perhaps the way Sheldon defines the term "welfare" is too broad, but still, it's hard to objectively measure the value of any public good, since compensation for those services is relatively inelastic (because of government fiat). I think that's a critique of minarchism that comes from anarcho-capitalists. And I think it's a good one.

  • Brutus||

    Yeah, it's a valid critique and one that isn't really refutable without pointing to the inevitable force that will have to exist even in an AC society. Ultimately control of that force will necessitate politics, I'm afraid.

    But this is an angel-on-the-head-of-a-pin argument now. ACs and minarchists can agree that we have far, far too much government now.

  • cw||

    Agree on all points.

  • ||

    then any government-funded compensation is welfare.

    So the pay checks soldiers receive for their work is welfare?

    Richman is fucked.

  • Martial Artist||

    cw,

    Not quite so fast! Paying a government employee is not "welfare," nor immoral if (I would tend to add, "and only if") the function which the government employee is a function appropriately delegated to government. Failure to compensate such an employee would amount to fraud (at the minimum) or forced labor (at the maximum).

    Moral: Think a bit before you write.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  • Sevo||

    "It's part of the compensation package for military personnel. If they didn't have it, they'd have to offer some other incentive to get qualified people to join."

    It is now, but it was pure gravy when it passed, and that gravy came from somewhere.

  • Brutus||

    True.

  • ||

    but it was pure gravy when it passed

    I sometimes get bonuses at work for a job well done.

    It may be gravy but it is still compensation for work.

  • sloopyinca||

    When the GI Bill was passed, it was given to men that had not made it a term of their service. Sounds like gravy to me.

    I have no problem with today's GI Bill, or to those that enlisted after its passage, but anyone that was given the benefits of the GI Bill without making it a term of their enlistment (or reinlistment) was getting some gravy.

  • Sevo||

    joshua corning|5.26.12 @ 6:02PM|#
    "but it was pure gravy when it passed

    I sometimes get bonuses at work for a job well done."

    Yeah, and the money used for that wasn't taken at gun-point.

  • 16th amendment||

    True. However, for those workers who signed up before there was the GI Bill, but they passed the GI Bill after these soldiers returned, for these soldiers it might be welfare. But I think no because they were forced to fight -- ie. drafted.

  • Jesse James Dean||

    i.e. ENSLAVED

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brutus,

    I don't consider the GI Bill as welfare. It's part of the compensation package for military personnel.


    It was still a transfer of wealth from people who produced and saved to people who didn't.

  • Brutus||

    Yes, but in exchange for a service performed, i.e. soldiering. It's not just pulling from A's pocket and putting it into B's. We can debate the necessity of the military being as big as it is, but we do need one of some sort.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brutus,

    Yes, but in exchange for a service performed, i.e. soldiering.


    It's still a forced transfer of wealth, B. Soldiering is supposed to be part of your duty as citizen, the goal of successfully defending the country against invasion or attack being its own reward.

    It's not just pulling from A's pocket and putting it into B's.


    It IS just that. Only because you subjectively added a moral value to giving things to soldiers is why you want to see it as more than it is.

  • Jesse James Dean||

    not when so many were conscripted (enslaved) during WW2 and Vietnam. I would call that reparations for slavery for the benefits that went directly to those guys

  • Brutus||

    I'd disagree, I think soldiers add value in much the same way as police do. It's largely an avoidence of negative consequences, but that a necessary evil that has to be dealt with.

  • ||

    It was still a transfer of wealth from people who produced and saved to people who didn't.

    Call it fucked but do not call it welfare.

  • T o n y||

    You need to calculate the dollar value of the stable society you enjoy and its armed defense, police, universal education, transportation infrastructure, and energy subsidies, and pay back what you've personally looted, then move to an unclaimed piece of land, on this planet if you can find it, or another planet if not. Otherwise how can you possibly live with the moral outrage of profiting from so much wealth transferring?

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|5.26.12 @ 7:02PM|#
    ..."and pay back what you've personally looted..."

    Shithead, just once post without lying or your patented logical shenanigans.
    Just once.

  • ||

    Now would be a good time to mention the Rhan curve:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj6lRFXC5rA

    Government spending can promote economic growth if money is used for core "public goods" such as rule of law and property rights. But the burden of government spending in the United States and other industrialized nations is far higher than needed to finance such activities.

  • Brutus||

    I think PJ O'Rourke put it well when he said that politicians today are like groundskeepers who have confused themselves with the guy who carries the ball.

  • CE||

    I haven't personally looted anything. I've enjoyed some benefits of government activities, even though I didn't request them, but I have paid far more over the years in taxes than I would freely pay for any of them.

    When do I get my refund?

  • 16th amendment||

    OK, what about the one where Rachel Maddow is in a hard hat where they built a dam, praising how government can do all these big things. Of course, in those days, government employees were paid less (in a time when public workers were public servants, whereas now they are public masters or looters of other people's money). Nowdays it costs $1B per mile of train track in San Francisco, so I just don't think government can do it. Besides, a lot of people lost their land, and received less than FMV. And with the right regulations and bidding process, I'm sure private companies could do it better and cheaper.

    Another is Chris Matthews saying how people criticized Obama, and now he's our first black president. I hope Romney is elected as I want to create an ad that has a Chris Matthews look-alike saying critics insulted him (and show clips like O'Donnel dissing Mormons), etc, and look where he is now.

  • Brutus||

    One of the reasons government doesn't do all that groovy shit anymore is because it's spending all its money on hip replacements and Hover-Rounds.

  • John||

    Yup. It just shows how liberals don't really believe in liberalism anymore. You can't go out and use government to save the world if all of the money government has is being spent on one or two programs and public employee pensions. If liberals actually believed in the transformative power of government rather than just power and patronage, they would be leading the charge to tame entitlements and public sector pensions.

  • Brutus||

    They believe in power. Making people dependent and then erecting an enormous bureaucracy to service them builds a coalition big enough to make that happen.

  • CockGobbla||

    All of them are pretty bad, but my favorite is the Hoover Dam one. It's plain weird how these people get off to government infrastructure. I like titties and pussies myself, but to each their own.

  • cw||

    Yeah, she seems unaware, too, that many workers died constructing that thing. And I think it doesn't even provide very much in terms of value today, other than as a tourist attraction.

  • CockGobbla||

    What do we know about conscripted labor in the construction of 1930s era infrastructure?

    I assume it's possible some piece of legislation was passed back in the day that forced certain people to take part in the New Deal public works projects, but I could be wrong.

  • Ben the Duck||

    It's plain weird how these people get off to government infrastructure

    E.g., the Jerry Brown/Joe Biden-ish fetishizing of publicly funded choo-choo trains.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    What makes that commercial hilarious is that the government didn't build the Hoover Dam. The government contracted the site and job to the Six Companies consortium, who brought the project to completion on time and $4 million under-budget. The Six Companies broke up at least two union-agitated strikes and required a 10-hour day, and 7-day work week. The Six Companies then sold the dam to the government for $49 million.

  • John||

    +100 If they tried to build that dam today, Rachel Madow would be doing a special report on how evil it is.

  • Hyperion||

    Exactly. The sustainability wack-os are now trying to stop the construction of a new dam on the Xingu river in Brazil, I think it is in the state of Amazonas. The eco nazis are not going to win this one, but they keep trying to kill progress anywhere that they can. Because we don't need any stinking electricity. Let's all go back to living in mud huts.

  • Hyperion||

    Which brings the question, If the government decided to replace this project with wind and solar power which required cutting down half of the trees in the region, would the eco freakos have to support that? I mean, it would create green jobs!

  • Brutus||

    You'd think that your last sentence would provoke eye rolls all around amongst the eco-left. Perhaps in some corners, but hardly all:

    "The United States symbolises the worst ideologies in the world: growth and freedom."

    Pentti Linkola, writer and environmentalist

  • John||

    Linkola is a real piece of work isn't he? The guy openly advocates for the murder of 90% of the world's population.

  • Hyperion||

    I was just talking to someone about the Agenda 21, or now so called sustainability movement, and people like Maurice Strong who actually believe in crazy ideas like that. These people are worse than Hitler. Killing off 7.5 billion people, by whatever means, seems like a really benevolent thing to them.

  • John||

    Even Pot only killed 1/4 of the population.

  • Hyperion||

    And only in little Cambodia, not the entire globe. Well, at least it wouldn't be genocide, we will all be killed equally. So I guess that makes it better.

  • Brutus||

    The guy openly advocates for the murder of 90% of the world's population.

    93%, and through the use of nuclear and biological agents. People buy his books and invite him to speak at their conferences.

    Be afraid.

  • Hyperion||

    Make no mistake, if these people continue unabated, while probably not 93% of the population, they are going to get a lot of people killed, including themselves. But the themselves part, while good, is not going to be much consolation for the innnocents that die because of these evil bastards.

    What really annoys me is that most people still think this is all just conspiracy theory stuff, even though it is right there in print for them to read.

  • Brutus||

    Make no mistake, if these people continue unabated, while probably not 93% of the population, they are going to get a lot of people killed, including themselves.

    Make no mistake, they already are, it's just on the shadowy side of the genocidal equation. The methods today are all about denying poor nations without the power to prevent such actions things like DDT, GM crops and access to the bounty of other technological innovations. Other programs exist below the radar, too, like sterilization efforts.

    Unchecked, these will likely become more aggressive in nature.

  • Hyperion||

    So he is not any different than any other leftist despot of the past or present. Of course the lefties in universities want to hear him speak. They believe in everything that he says. Mao and other murderous tyrants are their heros. There is no surprise here.

  • Ben the Duck||

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Linkola hates humanity for being a plague on Mother Gaia, thinks humans should return to the huts and fishing villages, and that the UN should launch nuclear and biological weapons on cities.

    However, he loves education and wants universities to be fully funded, no matter the cost. Because subsistence farmers can really afford to maintain a university.

  • Brutus||

    Because subsistence farmers can really afford to maintain a university.

    I've been following Khmer Rouge U's football program for a while now. I think they have a shot at the BCS this year. Literally.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Nothing says liberalism like "Six Companies consortium."

  • KPres||

    Or the fact that it, much like the highway system, was an environmental disaster (which is exactly why nobody suggests hydroelectric power anymore).

  • KPres||

    "+100 If they tried to build that dam today, Rachel Madow would be doing a special report on how evil it is."

    Pretty sure that depends on who's team was in the White House when it was contracted, no?

  • Jesse James Dean||

    they still paid someone to build it. If the federal government financed it, it was still a Big Government program. A few people died building that think, too

  • Killazontherun||

    I have about as much use for the modern collectivist feminist movement as I do for those Real Men Don't Eat Quiche type books that were popular in the 80's. The exact same level of tripe.

  • Killazontherun||

    Squirrels!

  • Brutus||

    There was one called "The Manly Handbook" that was hilarious. "A manly day at the beach" had a picture of two dudes staked out in the sand, awaiting the incoming tide.

  • Killazontherun||

    Yeah, there were a few things to chuckle at as I remember. Still tripe, but at least not as fun as a brain tumor like collectivist feminism.

  • Old Mexican||

    Moreover, it is undoubtedly the case that workers who did not go to college were financially worse off because some of their income was transferred to college students. Decide for yourself if that was proper.


    Broken windows fallacy, anyone?

  • T o n y||

    In other words, however successful these programs may be, since they're transfers to poor and old people they're not morally defensible, unlike transfers to defense contractors and oil companies.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|5.26.12 @ 6:59PM|#
    "In other words, however successful these programs may be, since they're transfers to poor and old people they're not morally defensible, unlike transfers to defense contractors and oil companies."

    Shithead, just once post without lying or your patented logical shenanigans.
    Just once.

  • sloopyinca||

    I truly hope you do better -- and have the armor to deal with the mindless robohacks out there.

    HR has prepared me for most anything. That said, I hope calling the mendacious assholes I face mendacious assholes is received by the public in a positive light.

  • sloopyinca||

    This was in response to a comment upthread. Sorry.

  • sloopyinca||

    In other words, however successful these programs may be, since they're transfers to poor and old people they're not morally defensible, unlike transfers to defense contractors and oil companies.

    I dare you to find three people on here not named Tulpa or John that support transfers to defense contractors and/or oil companies. I fucking double-dare you.

    And I'd ask you for a citation on any of the programs being successful, but I know you'll just trot out some bullshit manufactured statistic not based in reality, so I'm not gonna do that.

    Jesus Tapdancin' Christ. I knew there was a reason I should have stayed away today. I fucking knew some shitheel cocksucker assclown would come on here and disrupt the thread with ad hominems and strawmen arguments just to counter the fact-based narrative of the failure of these programs. I just fucking knew it.

  • ||

    I dare you to find three people on here not named Tulpa or John that support transfers to defense contractors and/or oil companies. I fucking double-dare you.

    I support the US having a military...and having a military involves defense contractors.

    Note: having a military and having a military as overly large as we have now is not the same thing.

  • Sevo||

    "I support the US having a military...and having a military involves defense contractors."

    You'll notice that the lying shithead (as per the norm) didn't use the term 'purchase' regarding the acquisition of weapons. The lying shithead used the term "transfers" as if the money was simply handed over to someone with no return, such as the programs the lying shithead supports.
    The lying shithead is a lying shithead.

  • sloopyinca||

    There are loads of transfers to oil companies and defense contractors. They happen with no-bid contracting and the purchase of unnecessary weapons because contractors happen to be located in the congressional districts of influential congresscritters.

    If asshole thinks we condone that, he's even more fucking retarded than I thought he was.

  • Sevo||

    sloopyinca|5.27.12 @ 12:33AM|#
    "There are loads of transfers to oil companies and defense contractors. They happen with no-bid contracting and the purchase of unnecessary weapons because contractors happen to be located in the congressional districts of influential congresscritters."

    I certainly don't support paying more than we should for defense, but that's a bad contract, not a "transfer".

  • T o n y||

    Paying defense contractors is to "pick winners and losers" is it not?

    Your pet government tasks are not morally distinct from anyone else's.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|5.27.12 @ 12:22PM|#
    Paying defense contractors is to "pick winners and losers" is it not?"
    Oh, how.................
    stupid.
    Lying shithead try sophistry!

    "Your pet government tasks are not morally distinct from anyone else's."
    Whose "pet", shithead?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    He keeps bringing "moral" into these discussions. That word doesn't belong.

  • Brutus||

    They're morally indefensible because:

    A) they are unconstitutional
    B) the public derives no benefit from them

    They simply take collars from person A and give them to person B. There isn't even a pretense of a public benefit.

  • T o n y||

    What does the constitution have to do with moral norms?

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|5.27.12 @ 12:22PM|#
    "What does the constitution have to do with moral norms?"

    If the government is involved in any activity, the constitution has everything to do with it, shithead.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    More to the point, Tony... what does the government have to do with moral norms?

    Answer: It shouldn't.

  • KPres||

    "What does the constitution have to do with moral norms?"

    Well, you told me 50,000 times that morals are social constructs, so the constitution is really just a codification of all that, at least in your eyes.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I smell man-cunt.

    Oh, it's Tony.

  • ||

    $

  • CE||

    ...they're transfers to poor and old people...

    Nice try, conflating poor and old... as a group, older americans have a much higher net worth than the working young who pay their benefits.

  • Tulpa the White||

    The good news is that MSNBC is sandwiched between the Eskimo Hiphop channel and the basket weaving channel on my cable system, so I never pass it by accident.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Krugman... he is saying Keynesian policies by the Fed stop widespread panic"

    And there's the problem right there, Josh... Krugman's full of shit.

    And so was Keynes.

    And... so is anyone who believes either of them.

  • BMFPitt||

    The armed bureaucracy took money from taxpaying wage earners (many of them vets) and gave it to other people. The law was passed in 1944, so the benefits weren’t part of the promised compensation package for (conscripted) members of the armed forces.

    As far as welfare goes, giving college tuition to people who you sent off to fight a war because their number got pulled out of a lottery machine is not the most egregious thing you could be doing. The argument would be better if not for the whole conscription thing.

  • Sevo||

    "As far as welfare goes, giving college tuition to people who you sent off to fight a war because their number got pulled out of a lottery machine is not the most egregious thing you could be doing. The argument would be better if not for the whole conscription thing."

    Don't think you'll get a lot of argument on the draft, but 'two wrongs' and all that.

  • BMFPitt||

    Is it wrong for the government to compensate people it has wronged?

  • sloopyinca||

    Maybe. But they could have held a bake sale or sold bonds specifically for funding a GI Bill for the soldiers who were drafted. Especially for the ones that were already in the service when the GI Bill was passed into law.

  • Raistlin||

    Nope, 'fraid not. Bake sales are banned.

  • BMFPitt||

    sold bonds specifically for funding a GI Bill

    So who pays off the bonds, then? Do you just need a layer of indirection to make yourself feel better about it?

    Especially for the ones that were already in the service when the GI Bill was passed into law.

    I know where you think you're going with this, but it just doesn't make sense when thought out logically. I don't know of many employers who give out benefits to only newly hired people. It's bad for retention. (Ignoring, of course, the fact that many of these people were not there of their own free will in the first place.)

    In the post-draft world, I think the GI Bill has actually done a great job of motivating people with some ambition to join the military, where simply adding the cost of it as cash would motivate less desirable types.

  • Sevo||

    BMFPitt|5.27.12 @ 8:28AM|#
    "Is it wrong for the government to compensate people it has wronged?"

    Maybe not, but where is 'the government' going to get the money?

  • BMFPitt||

    From the people who elected them to do the wronging.

  • Sevo||

    Not gonna go for that.
    It means if 50.0000000000000000001% of the voters think it's OK, it is.
    A5; 'takings'.

  • BMFPitt||

    So you're saying that 50.0000000000000000001% are able to vote to take away the property of someone(i.e. their freedom to not go fight a war), but giving them something for it to compensate them for this is an unlawful taking?

    I consider it a disincentive to enslaving people into military service, but that's just me.

    Your version sounds like an awesome stance for encouraging emminent domain abuse.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Is it wrong for the government to compensate people it has wronged?

    Regardless of the question of morality in reparations, the money has to come from somewhere.

  • BMFPitt||

    See my post above. Having to pay for the wrongs done by people you elected is a feature, not a bug.

  • Martial Artist||

    Maddow's assessment of SS is comprehensively ignorant.

    Facts: On Sunday, 1/8/86, or 1/15/86 (likely the former) the WaPo had an article on J. Douglas Brown, one of FDR's "experts" who crafted SSS in 1934.

    In it, Brown admitted that all members of the Committee knew it would go bankrupt. He stated they'd estimated its financial collapse would occur circa 2050. They went ahead because "by that time we'd all be dead and buried, and no one would be able to do anything to us." He also said "the only mistake we made was in underestimating the rate of change at which life expectancy would increase."

    I tried to obtain a reprint without success. I suspect that one would have to go to DC to obtain a copy from their morgue, but have neither time nor funds to do so. But I do personally remember the article because of its brazenness. The quotations are from memory and are at least very close paraphrases

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  • jason||

    This education system is really a well planned by the government and it will continue in upcoming time.

  • zamoracarl711||

    what Mike implied I'm amazed that you can profit $6543 in one month on the internet. have you read this webpage makecash16Com

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