Examine Inequality’s Causes Before Prescribing Solutions

Fear and loathing of income inequality is both totally understandable and ultimately misplaced.

Fear and loathing of income inequality is both totally understandable and ultimately misplaced.

It’s understandable because everywhere around us it seems as if top income earners—those latter-day kulaks vilified as the “1 Percent” by the Occupy crowd and populist politicians—are gaining while the rest of us seem barely able to hang on to a lower-middle-class standard of living.

It’s misplaced because it glosses over strong evidence that the ability to rise above your starting place—the American Dream, by most accounts—is better than it was 40 years ago.

There is no doubt that the spread between top earners and those below them has grown over time. The share of income earned by the top 1 percent in the United States has doubled since the early 1970s. The top 20 percent’s share  has risen, too, though the increase is much smaller and has leveled off since the 1990s.

Yet it is far from clear that inequality is a bad thing when it’s the result of market forces. Think about it: Do Bill Gates’ billions take bread from your mouth, or have Microsoft products allowed you to put bread in your wallet by making you more productive and the goods and services you buy cheaper?

As important, it’s not clear how to “compress” incomes even if we want to. The same trend toward greater inequality is happening in most advanced economies, across different tax and regulatory systems. Despite spending $1 trillion a year on the poor, federal and state governments report increases in poverty and need. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that President Barack Obama’s proposed tax increases on individuals making over $200,000 and joint filers making over $250,000 would raise just $42 billion in 2013 and $39 billion in 2014. That’s not enough either to strip the wealthy of their booty or lift the poor up—especially given the bad track record that government programs have in boosting the prospects of the least skilled among us.

Which isn’t to say that government policies don’t redistribute income and opportunity. They do in all sorts of ways, but typically in ways that work against leveling opportunity.

For instance, in terms of total compensation (salary plus benefits), federal workers earn 16 percent more on average than private-sector workers with the same experience, education, and responsibilities. They are paid out of your current and future taxes, not corporate profits. In what some have seen as an echo of the setting for The Hunger Games, the growing power of the federal government to dispense favors and direct whole industries has transformed the Washington, D.C., metro area into the nation’s wealthiest, boasting 10 of the top 20 counties for median household income.

Then there is generational inequality, which is also goosed by government policy. The Pew Research Center finds that in 1984, households headed by someone 65 years or older possessed on average10 times the wealth of a household led by someone under 35. By 2010 that gap had widened to 22 times. Part of that disparity is the result of payroll taxes that take about 12.4 percent (half from the worker, half from the employer) of every dollar of earned income up to $110,000 to pay for Social Security (for the past two years, the worker’s share of Social Security taxes has been reduced by 2 percentage points, a break that will expire at year’s end). Another 2.9 percent of all wages—again split between employee and employer—goes to Medicare.

Payroll taxes take a relatively bigger bite out of the paychecks of younger and poorer Americans even as old-age benefits are disbursed generally without regard to need. To add insult to the situation, Social Security will be paying out fewer dollars than new and future retirees will have put into the system. So at the very time when younger Americans have lost ground to their elders, they are compelled to pay into a fund that will shortchange them when they become eligible for it. Given the already unsustainable benefits levels of both Social Security and Medicare—their major trust funds will be exhausted by 2033 and 2024, respectively—it’s likely that those of us retiring in 20 or more years time will face even more sharply curtailed payouts. Would that we could use some of the 15 percent of our income that goes to payroll taxes to build for our futures.

However, all is not darkness, even in the Great Recession. A June study from Pew’s Economic Mobility Project finds that 84 percent of Americans have “higher family incomes than their parents did.” Among people raised in the bottom income quintile, the figure was 93 percent.

These findings are widely accepted. Brookings Institution scholar Scott Winship, who worked on the Pew study, has documented that even as the rungs on the income ladder have spread out, mobility has not diminished since the early 1970s. In fact, he argues that over the past four decades, “upward mobility from poverty to the middle class rose from 51 percent to 57 percent.” As he told me in an interview earlier this year, “You can be concerned that there’s not enough mobility or enough opportunity, but you don’t have to also believe that things are getting worse.”

That is good news, even as Winship and others grant that there is no simple, obvious way to increase mobility, especially for the poorest Americans.

But rather than looking at ways to slice money off the top of the income distribution and funnel it into government programs with spotty records of success, we should address the ways in which government is already stacking the deck against the younger and poorer among us.

This article originally appeared at Reuters.

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  • John||

    http://cjonline.com/news/2012-.....-or-father

    Here is a good social conservative argument for gay marriage and adoption. A guy answers an ad on craig's list from a lesbian couple wanting a sperm donor. So he being a nice guy or just liking to jerk off in cups, gives them the donation. The couple have a baby.

    Well it turns out this is real life and not a Lifetime movie. The lesbians didn't live happily ever after. And the one with the baby winds up being abandoned and on hard times and applies for welfare. The State of Kansas of course wants to know who the father is. The woman, who to her credit tried not to tell, eventually breaks down and fingers the guy from Craigslist. The state is now suing him for child support. The other lesbian, because she was never married and is not biologically related to the child, walks away paying nothing. The poor bastard who answered the Craigslist ad is now fighting to keep from being stuck with child support payments.

    That is bullshit. The other lesbian ought to be paying. But since we don't have any form of gay marriage, she walks away. The cynical side of me thinks that even gay marriage wouldn't get the other lesbian to pay because gay rights groups would get some kind of exception written in to ensure that the rules don't quite apply to them. But that is just me.

  • Marshall Gill||

    What makes you think that the judge would have ruled differently if they had been married?

    Family court is not about justice or what is best for the children, it is an exercise in penis smashing. When two lesbians appear in family court and there are no men to punish, the judge gets confused. "Find me a penis to smash" is clearly what happened in this case.

    Considering what a couple of my friends have had to endure, I wouldn't wish for my worst enemy to come under the jurisdiction of family courts. To those who support gay marriage, I must ask, "Why do you hate teh gays?".

  • John||

    That is just it. Cynically, I would not be surprised at all, that even in states that have gay marriage, I am skeptical that the family court would ever make a gay partner pay when an evil straight male is available. But in an ideal world it should.

    And yes, family courts are evil. And only a nut would want to avail themselves of them let alone make a civil rights campaign out of doing so. But gay marriage is not about marriage or fairness. It is about the culture war and one side trying to stick it to the other.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But gay marriage is not about marriage or fairness. It is about the culture war and one side trying to stick it to the other.

    Yeah, I think that is true and it's the main reason that I flipped from supporting SSM to opposing it.

  • Proprietist||

    Yeah, I think that is true and it's the main reason that I flipped from supporting SSM to opposing it.

    You must be pretty fucking stupid if you shift your political positions based upon your assumptions of disingenuousness by certain advocates of one position.

    It's really amazing to me that anyone finds "I want equal treatment by government" to be more disingenous than "hurr durr they're trying to force their lifestyles on me and turn my kids into faggots or homophiles by getting gay married."

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yeah,

    They lost me when the proponents of SSM started talking about suing churches for not validating their relationships.

    As far as wanting equal treatment from the government, bullshit they want special treatment based on marital status, so they can fuck off.

  • Proprietist||

    Support for ending state-mandated segregation and racial discrimination by government against black people does not inherently equal supporting legal force against racist businesses that don't want to serve black people.

    Likewise support for state SSM licenses does not inherently equal supporting legal force against private churches that don't want to say or condone gay weddings.

    In both cases, the former policy is removing the state's ability to discriminate and to force others to discriminate, and the latter policy is the state interfering with private property and contract rights and the freedom of association. A logical libertarian would accept the former, even if you're a yokeltarian who thinks gays are icky, and not the latter, even if you're a cosmotarian who thinks people and organizations who hate gays are assholes.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    If someone opposes the War On Drugs, and also supports a nationwide gun ban, are you going to start supporting the War On Drugs?

  • ||

    It's really amazing to me that anyone thinks discriminating against 1 less group with regard to marriage represents "equality" and wouldn't want to abolish it as a function of the state

  • Proprietist||

    Did I say I didn't want to abolish it? I'd be glad to abolish it when all marriage-based federal laws are stricken from the books. Until then, every consensual adult seeking equal legal treatment for their gay, polygamist or even incestuous relationship should be able to get marriage licenses for their preferred arrangement.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    You must be pretty fucking stupid if you shift your political positions based upon your assumptions of disingenuousness by certain advocates of one position.

    Well, pretty fucking stupid or a reasonably astute judge of long-term political trends beyond the current issue. If you reasonably suspect you're allying with people with ulterior motives, you'd be foolish not to wonder whether you're simply playing the dupe for those ulterior motives.
    It's really amazing to me that anyone finds "I want equal treatment by government" to be more disingenous than "hurr durr they're trying to force their lifestyles on me and turn my kids into faggots or homophiles by getting gay married."

    Strictly speaking, they currently have equal treatment by the government. They have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. A relationship doesn't have rights, a person does. And in that sense, the assignment of rights is identical.

  • Proprietist||

    Oh fuck off, John. Tell that to all the gays who can't immigrate here to be with their husband or wife because according to federal law they aren't married.

  • Rhywun||

    Yeah, this is pretty much the #1 issue for me. It basically means I won't dare fall for a foreigner again.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They shouldn't have an exception for foreign spouses in the first place.

  • Rhywun||

    There shouldn't be a law requiring an exception to it in the first place.

  • ||

    Because immigration law should definitely have special exemptions carved out for people based on who they like to fuck. HURRRRRRR EQUALITY DURRRRRRRRR.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yep. There's 150M+ members of whichever gender you're interested in here in the US. Why we should bend over backwards because none of them are good enough for you is beyond me.

  • Proprietist||

    Fuck off Tulpa. You must get a lot of enjoyment out of being a total prick.

  • Proprietist||

    You're the one upholding for special exemptions by letting the government decide that only heterosexual partners can attain recognized marriage licenses. I'm calling for no exclusive privileges for anyone - be that through marriage equality or through eliminating marriage altogether.

  • Rhywun||

    So you're for getting rid of immigration law? Because the hue and cry from heterosexuals if the existing special exemption were abolished would be deafening.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    What makes you think that the judge would have ruled differently if they had been married?

    Because in same sex couple the spouse is statutorily assumed to be the father. It's actually quite difficult for a married man to renounce his legal rights and responsibilities to his wife's child even if she admits that there is no possibility of him being the biological father.

  • R C Dean||

    Because in same sex couple the spouse is statutorily assumed to be the father.

    Of course, that's under statutes and whatnot where the spouse of the mother was a man. It varies by state, I'm sure, but if the husband can show that it was biologically impossible for him to have been the father (a vasectomy or the like) he may be able to get out from under. The presumption can be conclusive, though, so its hard to say, but I wouldn't just assume that it carries over to gay marriages.

    Whether that assumption would still hold in a gay marriage, I couldn't say.

    The closest analogy here may be that the kid is the stepchild of the other lesbian. Stepchildren have no claim on a stepparent who does not adopt them.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I'm sure, but if the husband can show that it was biologically impossible for him to have been the father (a vasectomy or the like) he may be able to get out from under.

    It's pretty established case law that the husband's only chance of escaping assumed fatherhood is by filing for divorce as soon as he's aware his wife is pregnant and showing evidence that he could not be the father during the divorce.

    If he supports the child and acts as its father for any period of time then he's fucked. So I'm not sure why that case law wouldn't apply in a case of invitro conception, where both spouses "claimed" the child and supported it. Getting divorce at some point in the future would not eliminate the parental rights of the non custodial spouse.

    So why should it with Same Sex Marriage?
    Something that SSM proponents never address is that marriage is a basket of benefits and obligations on the partners. In this specific case, one of the obligations is to support until 18 any child 'produced' by the marriage. Why should that obligation be eliminated for SSM partners?

  • Drake||

    Unclear if the other lesbian ever legally adopted the child in question. Smart (in a nasty cynical way) if she didn't legally adopt.

    If she did adopt the child, I would think Kansas should be sending her the bills.

  • sloopyinca||

    This looks like a sticky situation.

  • juris imprudent||

    Slippery slope?

  • sloopyinca||

    **Ejaculation of surprise**

  • Copernicus||

    I wonders how long the judge deliberated. Verdict sounds a bit "premature".
    Also, perhaps there's some bias, maybe the judge should have "pulled out"

    /sorry

    However, legally speaking, how can handing someone a cup of your sperm constitute parental responsibility?
    All the power of producing a baby rested with the woman with encouragement from her lady friend. And isn't a woman's right to do what she wishes with her body a fairly sacred thing these days?

    Let's face it, someone(s) has to be pegged with responsibility for the child, the judge just pegged the wrong person.

    Hypothetical: the kid dies through some 3rd party negligence, and there is a $10million court award received from the negligent party. Would the male have a right to claim a piece of the award?

  • sloopyinca||

    However, legally speaking, how can handing someone a cup of your sperm constitute parental responsibility?

    Because fuck you, that's why.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    This isn't really a gay marriage issue. The same thing could happen with an unmarried heterosexual couple where the man is impotent.

    And of course, you're assuming that if gay marriage were available, the lesbians in question would have gotten married.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Actually, it's an argument against donating sperm non-anonymously.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's an argument against donating sperm at all.

    This guy was probably sandbagged because the law was unclear as to his duties. Once make it clear that the "donor" is on the hook for child support, and maybe childless couples (and gays) will start adopting kids who already exist and are in need of adoptive homes.

  • Raven Nation||

    Actually, the article notes that the parties signed a "hold harmless" clause for the guy letting him off the hook for any payments. The State of Kansas argued that the clause was invalid b/c the couple hadn't followed the state-approved method for fertilization even though they told the guy they would.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I suspected that the guy had been sandbagged.

    I didn't comment on Kansas' specific laws, but instead endorsed the idea that sperm-donors be warned that they're on the hook if the kid ends up on welfare. As for fertility clinics, I would support putting them on the hook, as well.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Anyway, the contract didn't bind the kid or the taxpayers, who weren't parties.

  • T o n y||

    Here is a good social conservative argument for gay marriage and adoption.

    Sounds like a mean, cranky old asshole's argument to me. But whatever gets us there.

  • ||

    Considering what a couple of my friends have had to endure, I wouldn't wish for my worst enemy to come under the jurisdiction of family courts. To those who support gay marriage, I must ask, "Why do you hate teh gays?".

    Exactly. To teh gayz, I say: be careful what you wish for.

    It will be interesting to see, once more gays start marrying, getting dovirced, and fighting over custody, how the whole question of alimony and child support will unfold. Will lesbians willingly pay child support, understanding that with new rights come new responsibilities? Or will they demand some sort of turkey-baster exemption be written into the law, going after biological dads?

  • John||

    They are going to demand and get the turkey baster exception. Read the linked article. It barely even mentions the lesbian partner. Where is she? No one seems to have any interest in making her pay. And don't even think for a moment feminist and gay and lesbian groups are going to have any interest in ensuring the law makes people like her pay.

  • ||

    They are going to demand and get the turkey baster exception. Read the linked article. It barely even mentions the lesbian partner. Where is she? No one seems to have any interest in making her pay.

    To be fair, at this point, there's probably no rationale under Kansas law by which the judge could make her pay. He's got a biological father and a biological mother; the other woman doesn't figure into this whole mess in anylegal sense. Which of course is too bad.

    And what of two dads who, through a surrogate mom, have a kid? Will we start going after surrogate moms for support?

    And don't even think for a moment feminist and gay and lesbian groups are going to have any interest in ensuring the law makes people like her pay.

    I don't believe it for a second. But like I said, once these marriages start getting off the ground, producing kids, then ending in divorce, we'll get all sorts of new legislation and case law out of it.

  • John||

    Karl. No one is saying that the law should be changed to make the lesbian pay. They are just debating whether the poor donor should pay.

  • ||

    Apparently the guy should have gotten a legal document signed saying that he is selling sperm to her in exchange for X amounts of dollars, and that as part of this financial transaction the mother waives any right to future child support from him.

  • sloopyinca||

    Having been down the child support road, I can tell you this will not work. The state is acting on behalf of the child, and a contract between mother and (however used) father is not relevant to the state.

    My ex-wife and I signed an agreement determining support and custody prior to our divorce decree. When we went in to finalize the decree, the family court judge said our agreement was void because the child was the party receiving the support and ordered me to pay her ~$20,000 in back support payable immediately and asked if I would be writing a check or paying her cash. I was immediately held in contempt of court for not paying and for challenging her wisdom (vocally) over the matter. Fortunately, she relented on the contempt charge a few moments later when my attorney calmed me down.

    If the state wants him to be, this guy's fucked.

  • JW||

    This bullshit is exactly why I'm punching the marriage clock until the youngest turns 18. Divorce is financial ruin, driven by pinheaded Solomon wanna-bes.

  • SFC B||

    FTA the dude had an agreement w/ the lesbian couple stating exactly that. However, as Sloopy points out below, it doesn't matter because 1. the child is a party to the agreement and wasn't involved in it and 2. in Kansas a "sperm donor" has to be handled through a physician.

    The problem with 2, according to the dude's lawyer, is that sperm banks can, and do, deal directly w/ their clients. So it is entirely possible for a person to purchase sperm from a sperm bank and administer it themselves. There was also a similar case in KS where a male donor sought parental rights for a child he "fathered" with a different lesbian couple. That case held that he had no rights.

    I'm willing to bet though that John will be right on this, the end result will be the "dad" gets screwed. Someone has to pay and he is a perfectly valid "someone".

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    “Exactly. To teh gayz, I say: be careful what you wish for.”- Karl. H

    i never see you homodiums* telling new yorkers to be careful what they wish for when they fight for the right to sell and buy 17 ounce sodas. you dont say, oh well you think thats a good idea now but youll change your mind when your getting your foot cut off because of diabetes. ill begrudgingly admit that your case against statesanctioned gay marriage does make some sense from a libertarian view, however you seem to go beyond that with these arguments and show your true disdain for homosexuals.

    *im not a fan of the word homophobe because i dont think john and karl are afraid of gays, they just hate them. so i googled latin for hate and odium popped up. conjugation wise it probably doesnt make sense, let me know if you guys like/hate/think its stupid.

  • Thane of Whiterun||

    1. Please learn to write.

    2. New Yorkers already could sell big-ass sodas. Anybody on the path to losing a foot was already on it. The analogy doesn't work.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    1. you mean type?

    2. "The analogy doesn't work." ToW

    i still think it does, your point was kinda irrelevant.

  • ||

    Not regulating an action != regulating an action. Not wanting the state to bless your sexual partner != say, for example, regulating who you may have as a sexual partner, or how much sex you're allowed to have. Your "analogy" doesn't work because A is not analogous to B. It's a non-sequitur.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    they went further than that, saying that the choice to have a sanctioned marriage could lead to negative consequences, as an argument against it, which is not a libertarian reason, it is motivated by their disdain for homosexuals. i already acknowledged that the libertarian argument against state sanctioned SSM is fairly good, but the analogy was in reference to this new argument. so it is still valid imo.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Or will they demand some sort of turkey-baster exemption be written into the law, going after biological dads?

    And, of course, failing that, the next target will be the taxpayers.

    You can add this to my "101 Reasons I'm Not A Libertarian" list. Every social movement that has started out with "It's none of your business what I do with my private life!" has wound up becoming everyone's business, whether they're interested or not.

  • robc||

    ???

    It seems like that would make you MORE of a libertarian, because of libertarians had been in charge, that never would have gone that far.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Are you kidding? I have yet to see a libertarian give a rat's ass about the practical consequences of his demands. They demand open borders, while refusing to respond to the rather obvious consequence that such a condition would produce a population clearly hostile to libertarianism. They demand gay marriage, oblivious to, again, rather obvious consequences like this.

    Somewhere in the libertarian brain, there's a huge, huge, disconnect between what should happen, and what actually does happen. The response to this is usually that the initial solution wasn't libertarian enough, and that even more laws and institutions need to be dismantled in order to achieve success.

    Having heard too many times from the likewise deluded that communism failed because "real" communism has never been tried, I'm not in any hurry to buy the same line from libertarians.

  • robc||

    They demand gay marriage

    You are saying this to me?

    Have you read my millions of posts on gay marriage on here?

    even more laws and institutions need to be dismantled in order to achieve success.

    You need to listen to deontological libertarians. The dismantling of laws and government institutions IS the success.

    Moral means. Ends dont justify means, so do what is right and roll with the results.

  • robc||

    Let me be really clear on this:

    Liberty is its own reward.

    I happen to think that liberty also leads to economic and social and community benefits. But, if Im wrong about that, I dont really care, because the goal is liberty.

    Libertarianism isnt a means to achieve some other sort of success. A free society is the success.

  • SIV||

    Libertarianism isnt a means to achieve some other sort of success. A free society is the success.

    Tell that to the statists consequentialists.

  • sloopyinca||

    They demand open borders, while refusing to respond to the rather obvious consequence that such a condition would produce a population clearly hostile to libertarianism.

    Ooh, goody. Looks like we have another budding xenophobe on the site. What will he come with next? Will it be "English Only" or "Brown Hordes"?

    They demand gay marriage, oblivious to, again, rather obvious consequences like this.

    Nearly all libertarians I know abhor all forms of state-sanctioned marriage and only participate because they are forced to for insurance/survivorship benefit reasons.

    Somewhere in the libertarian brain, there's a huge, huge, disconnect between what should happen, and what actually does happen.

    Somewhere in your brain there's a disconnect in what you would like us to have said and what we actually did say.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Ooh, goody. Looks like we have another budding xenophobe on the site. What will he come with next? Will it be "English Only" or "Brown Hordes"?

    And, again, you resort to an ad hominem attack rather than address that which has actually occurred when your preferred policy has been in effect, de facto if not du jure.

    Nearly all libertarians I know abhor all forms of state-sanctioned marriage and only participate because they are forced to for insurance/survivorship benefit reasons.

    Have I been imagining all of these articles in Reason, the leading libertarian publication, supporting state-sanctioned gay marriage?

    Somewhere in your brain there's a disconnect in what you would like us to have said and what we actually did say.

    Wrong. I'm repeating back exactly what's been said here, in the articles and in the comments. If you can support your statements with any examples, I'll be glad to see them. I can certainly find plenty of examples to support what I've just said. You need only look at robc's response to my comment to find one.

  • robc||

    Have I been imagining all of these articles in Reason, the leading libertarian publication, supporting state-sanctioned gay marriage?

    The vast majority of libertarians dont write for reason. Have you not tread the fucking comments?

    And many do support it, but they also would prefer banning state marriage licensing altogether. I think they are wrong, they are going the wrong way and making things worse supporting gay-marriage, but in libertopia, marriage licensing wouldnt exist.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    robc: The vast majority of libertarians dont write for reason. Have you not tread the fucking comments?

    The vast majority of the time a commenter strongly disagrees with a reason staff contributor they get attacked and few if any come to their defense.

  • ||

    The vast majority of the time a commenter strongly disagrees with a reason staff contributor they get attacked and few if any come to their defense.

    Depends on whether the commenter wrote something libertarian or statist. Why would I come to your defense when you write something statist?

  • sloopyinca||

    And, again, you resort to an ad hominem attack rather than address that which has actually occurred when your preferred policy has been in effect, de facto if not du jure.

    I just took what you said about open borders creating a society hostile to libertarianism and ran with it. First, you know open borders is a figment of your vivid imagination. We have nothing like open borders and those that do make it here are often forced into a shadow economy where their only means of survival is a welfare state, not the ability to market their labor. And assuming hispanics (which is the overwhelming majority of people coming here through our "open" borders) are predisposed to be anti-libertarian sounds pretty racist or xenophobic to me.

    Have I been imagining all of these articles in Reason, the leading libertarian publication, supporting state-sanctioned gay marriage?

    In a sense, yes. The vast majority of them look at it as a lesser of two evils. And besides, look at the numbr of writers on here that support state-sanctioned SSM compared to the number of commentators that want the state out of the business altogether. Compare the numbers. I'm pretty sure my numbers are a lot closer to reality.

    If you can support your statements with any examples, I'll be glad to see them. I can certainly find plenty of examples to support what I've just said.

    Yes, I'll prove my negative just as soon as you list all the cites to your claim of "plenty of examples".

  • Hawk Spitui||

    And assuming hispanics (which is the overwhelming majority of people coming here through our "open" borders) are predisposed to be anti-libertarian sounds pretty racist or xenophobic to me.

    And again you sidestep the issue. Whether the statement is racist or xenophobic is not germane. Whether or not it's correct is. Based on available evidence, is it correct or not? Show your work, please.

    Yes, I'll prove my negative just as soon as you list all the cites to your claim of "plenty of examples".

    As I pointed out in my earlier comment, those examples are available without even leaving this thread. How many more would you like?

  • sloopyinca||

    And again you sidestep the issue. Whether the statement is racist or xenophobic is not germane. Whether or not it's correct is. Based on available evidence, is it correct or not? Show your work, please.

    It is germane because it is clouding your judgement. And I gave you the "evidence." There's no libertarian open borders policy in place, only a restrictive, racist policy that forces immigrants into a shadow economy where they are forced to rely on big government as opposed to their own ability to sell their labor to the market. Your argument can't technically be countered because it's not based in reality.

    As I pointed out in my earlier comment, those examples are available without even leaving this thread. How many more would you like?

    You've offered one mischaracterization of a comment as your evidence. You're gonna need to dig a lot deeper into your pocket than one poor example to convince anybody here. I'll wait patiently, but remember there's a two link max per comment when you go fishing. And I'll need to see the links for context and authenticity, thank you very much.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    It is germane because it is clouding your judgement. And I gave you the "evidence." There's no libertarian open borders policy in place, only a restrictive, racist policy that forces immigrants into a shadow economy where they are forced to rely on big government as opposed to their own ability to sell their labor to the market. Your argument can't technically be countered because it's not based in reality.

    Do I need to point out that there are plenty of Hispanic residents who are here legally, not to mention a rather significant portion are born here natively? What are their voting habits? Keep in mind that only citizens have voting rights, so your excuse of "only a restrictive, racist policy that forces immigrants into a shadow economy where they are forced to rely on big government as opposed to their own ability to sell their labor to the market" is absolutely ridiculous.

    You've offered one mischaracterization of a comment as your evidence.

    I offered no mischaracterization, I quoted it verbatim. If you'd like example #2, kindly re-read your last post.

  • sloopyinca||

    Do I need to point out that there are plenty of Hispanic residents who are here legally, not to mention a rather significant portion are born here natively? What are their voting habits? Keep in mind that only citizens have voting rights, so your excuse of "only a restrictive, racist policy that forces immigrants into a shadow economy where they are forced to rely on big government as opposed to their own ability to sell their labor to the market" is absolutely ridiculous.

    You said it would "produce a population clearly hostile to libertarianism" and are now narrowing it to just voters. Way to move the goalposts. There are a majority of Americans that don't vote. Pigeonholing all hispanics in with the small minority of the population that is hispanic and also votes is pretty bold.

    I offered no mischaracterization, I quoted it verbatim. If you'd like example #2, kindly re-read your last post.

    You quoted them verbatim, but totally out of context and are also assuming what he meant by them in a larger context. One he has refuted, by the way. And your inability to go anywhere else and quote something in context with a link is duly noted. Thanks for playing.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You said it would "produce a population clearly hostile to libertarianism" and are now narrowing it to just voters. Way to move the goalposts.

    Come on, sloopy. It's clear he was referring to the political community in the first remark, ie voters. Nonvoters' attitudes toward libertarianism don't matter much.

  • sloopyinca||

    Here's his quote (emphasis mine): They demand open borders, while refusing to respond to the rather obvious consequence that such a condition would produce a population clearly hostile to libertarianism.

    He never once said shit about voters or a voting part of the population, especially since immigrants are not allowed to vote. He knows what he said and he owns it.

    Now, on to your statement: Nonvoters' attitudes toward libertarianism don't matter much.

    Tat's pretty fucking funny seeing as a large % of libertarians themselves are nonvoters as a matter of principle.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    He's probably assuming amnesty, which now appears likely.

    You don't have to be a xenophobe to note that maintaining liberty requires a certain attitude on the part of the populace. An attitude that, to be fair, has been slowly eroding with each generation for native-born Americans, but is very rare among people in third-world kleptocracies. As corrupt as a person raised in Chicago expects govt to be, it's nowhere near the level of corruption a person from Chihuahua is comfortable with.

    Tat's pretty fucking funny seeing as a large % of libertarians themselves are nonvoters as a matter of principle.

    Yes, I know. And that choice renders them irrelevant to political matters, as I've been reminding you all for over a year now. With a bit less urgency now as I feel pretty irrelevant myself.

  • sloopyinca||

    He wasn't assuming amnesty. He blamed our "libertarian open borders" policies for the ills befalling us. And we all know he means hordes of hispanics since they make up the vast majority of immigrants.

    And his pigeonholing of hispanics into one group is inaccurate anyway. Just take a look at the voting patterns of Cuban-Americans and the feelings of non-voting Cuban immigrants toward strong central governments.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Refugees from totalitarian societies are a different case since they're here precisely because they had the anti-govt attitude that I speak of. But the vast majority of Hispanic immigrants aren't refugees from totalitarianism.

    They're Mexicans or Central Americans who are looking for work (nothing wrong with that) and in some cases anchor babies and welfare goodies (everything wrong with that).

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    anchor babies

    Yes. How dare immigrants have sex!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I'm talking about the immigrants who come here, and stay here, for the express purpose of having American-born children. Not the ones who just happen to be in America 9 months after having sex.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm talking about the immigrants who come here, and stay here, for the express purpose of having American-born children.

    Don't hate the player, hate the game.

  • Numeromancer||

    Don't hate the player, hate the game.

    To be fair, those who try to express hatred for the game here are usually accused of hating the players anyway.

  • sloopyinca||

    Tulpa, when did you become such a rabid nativist? Have I missed something over the past couple of years, or were you always like this?

  • Rhywun||

    What are you, a mind-reader?

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, so those hispanics over there don't count as real hispanics because they are political refugees. But these hispanics over here are representative of all hispanics because they aren't political refugees.

    Christ, I'm glad I anticipated your goalpost-moving routine after I quoted some facts from his link. I limited my rage to a mere head-shaking.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    No, Cuban immigrants are not representative of Hispanic immigrant attitudes because they're a tiny fraction of that group.

  • sloopyinca||

    Are you actually saying that hispanics aren't a homogeneous group that vote the same and share the same outlook toward libertarianism or big government? Thanks for finally coming around. Hopefully our new resident hispanic-hater will see it that way as well.

    And this is for Mary: you were better as "American" and "American Is Back". Troll harder.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I dunno, as "Hawk Spitui", Mary is at least being honest in admitting she's a cum guzzler.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You call people cum guzzlers now?

    You're worse than Mary by far!

    Mary never said anything near as stupid or disgusting as you do every day.

    She just said it more often.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Calling a racist xenophobe a "cum guzzler" is no where as stupid or disgusting as the racial abuse you have throw at me for the crime of disagreeing with you.

    I hope you die from syphilis, you supercilious twat.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Would it make you feel better if he was talking about Mexicans instead of Hispanics?

    I suppose if I said that American men like to see naked women, you'd complain that my argument was invalid because 3% of American men are homosexual and I'm painting with a broad brush.

  • sloopyinca||

    Would it make you feel better if he was talking about Mexicans instead of Hispanics?

    No, because you'd stil be being a xenophobic piece of shit.

    I suppose if I said that American men like to see naked women, you'd complain that my argument was invalid because 3% of American men are homosexual and I'm painting with a broad brush.

    Yeah, because that's exactly the same as saying basically all hispanics vote a certain way and offering a study that says a minority of hispanics (45%) are registered to vote and that a minority of those (49%) are registered Team Blue. Yeah, that's exactly the same, Tulpa.

    I'm convinced. It's jenkem.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yeah, because that's exactly the same as saying basically all hispanics vote a certain way and offering a study that says a minority of hispanics (45%) are registered to vote and that a minority of those (49%) are registered Team Blue.

    You're being completely disingenuous here sloopy. Hispanics have voter consistently voted for democrats in by 60% or more in presidential elections for many decades. Including 1988 a couple of years after Reagan pushed universal immigration reform.

    And the percentage voting democrat has increased over the last four decades as their percentage of the overall population has increased. Furthermore, as a group, they don't vote for small government democrats either.

    It's not a racial thing. It's a cultural and recent immigrant thing. The last large influx of immigrants into the country in the first decades of the 20th century led to electoral success for statism as those immigrants became citizens and their children reached voting age.

    Over time, as their grandchildren and great grandchildren assimilate into the general population their voting patterns may match those of the general population.

    Or they may not. Irish people in MA for example reflexively vote socialist for no reason other than habit.

  • sloopyinca||

    I just took his data and regurgitated it. 45% of hispanics polled said they are registered voters and 49% of those said they register Democrat. How is that being disingenuous?

    If anything, it says that the people polled here are being disingenuous or the people doing the exit polling are being disingenuous.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Registering Democrat and voting Democrat are two different things. One of them actually matters.

  • sloopyinca||

    Take that up with the respondents of the poll. All I did was repeat the results of it. I didn't take the poll or pass it off as mine.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    45% of hispanics polled said they are registered voters and 49% of those said they register Democrat. How is that being disingenuous?

    Because the issue is how hispanic people have actually vote, not their stated registration. And they have consistently voted for statists. In fact, the two republicans that got the largest percentage of the hispanic vote were the statist douchebags Nixon and Bush the lessor.

    The lesson from all of the information is that hispanics as a voting group like big government and have voted for candidates that promised to expand government in the past.

    And acknowledging that historical fact is not racist.

  • robc||

    Not voting is a political action.

    Nonvoters sure as fuck are a part of the political community. At the very least, the nonvoters who could show up and vote but CHOOSE not to.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Voting is a proxy. But if you insist, we can go right to the horses mouth.

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, you mean the minority that are actually registered to vote? Or the minority of registered hispanic voters that are registered Democrat? (See charts 4,5 and 6).

    By the way, that survey is more than 10 years old.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    You sound like a creationist. You have absolutely no evidence in support of your own position, your argument consists of demanding my evidence leaps ever higher and more ridiculous hurdles.

  • sloopyinca||

    Yeah, that's exactly what I'm doing, troll.

    Oh, and I'm still waiting on those other cited examples you said the pages here were full of.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Yeah, that's exactly what I'm doing, troll.

    I'm glad you acknowledge it.

    Oh, and I'm still waiting on those other cited examples you said the pages here were full of.

    And here we have a bonanza! Two comments, back to back, where the commenters assert adherence to libertarian principles trumps any unlibertarian consequences that might result.

    http://reason.com/blog/2006/04.....ent_405187

    Interesting that libertarians are so steadfastly concerned with "unintended consequences" from policies derived from other philosophies, while not only failing to recognize the possibility of the same fallout from their own, but manage to ignore the entirely predictable consequences of them as well!

    Now, I've presented quite solid evidence of all of my points, and you have not been able to seriously dispute a single one of them. Until you provide some evidence in support of your own position, which you have thus far not been able to do, I see no reason to continue wasting my weekend googling to support points that are already obvious to anyone honest. Until I see some honest effort on your part to support your own points, I'm going to consider this discussion closed and go enjoy my New Year's weekend.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Now, I've presented quite solid evidence of all of my points,

    HA HA HA! No you haven't, moron.

    I see no reason to continue wasting my weekend googling to support points that are already obvious to anyone honest. Until I see some honest effort on your part to support your own points, I'm going to consider this discussion closed and go enjoy my New Year's weekend.

    De vulpe et uva.

    Fame coacta vulpes alta in vinea
    Uvam appetebat summis saliens viribus;
    Quam tangere ut non potuit, discedens ait:
    Nondum matura est; nolo acerbam sumere.
    5Qui facere quae non possunt verbis elevant,
    Ascribere hoc debebunt exemplum sibi.

  • ||

    And assuming hispanics (which is the overwhelming majority of people coming here through our "open" borders) are predisposed to be anti-libertarian sounds pretty racist or xenophobic to me.

    And again you sidestep the issue. Whether the statement is racist or xenophobic is not germane. Whether or not it's correct is. Based on available evidence, is it correct or not?

    You're assuming brown people, AND their children, will be more anti-libertarian than the populace already here. Maybe the people currently crossing the border are on average more statist, but that depends on where they cross the border. Vietnamese and Cuban and North Korean immigrants fleeing communist regimes are likely to be MORE freedom loving than the average American.

    And to posit that brown skin makes children statist is just racist.

    Apparently you are in favor of an anti-liberty policy ostensibly to preserve liberty, which is a mighty unconvincing argument to me.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And to posit that brown skin makes children statist is just racist.

    The only person that mentioned skin color was you.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Is that Mary, again?

    "They demand open borders, while refusing to respond to the rather obvious consequence that such a condition would produce a population clearly hostile to libertarianism."

    I don't know of any libertarians around here that support a welfare state.

    I would agree that there are a lot of non-libertarians who want a welfare state while refusing to respond to the rather obvious consequence that such a condition out produce in a population that is clearly hostile to libertarianism.

    The solution to people taking advantage of the welfare state is to get rid of the welfare state--not to curtail my freedom to hire whomever I want to babysit my children or mow my lawn.

    If "libertarianism" means it's incumbent on me personally either a) to enforce immigration law or b) to suffer criminal prosecution, then I don't know what "libertarianism" means.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I don't know of any libertarians around here that support a welfare state.

    Really?

    Because I seem to recall you admitting that you opposed prop 187. Which means that you were effectively supporting the expansion of the welfare state.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Because I seem to recall you admitting that you opposed prop 187. Which means that you were effectively supporting the expansion of the welfare state."

    Opposing the government discriminating against people isn't supporting the welfare state.

    Opposing the Republican Party ritually disemboweling itself in California by antagonizing people of Mexican ancestry--with all the long terms consequences of that--wasn't supporting the welfare state either.

    In fact, if anyone has done anything more to support the welfare state in California--more than those who supported Prop 187--which ultimately rendered Republican opposition to the Democrats' fiscal and tax policies irrelevant?

    Then I don' know who it is.

    Regardless, giving the government the power to discriminate against people wasn't the solution to the welfare state then, and it isn't the solution to the welfare state now, either.

    I bear no more ill will towards foreign born freeloaders than I do native born freeloaders, and I wish everybody who thinks being born in the U.S. entitles them to freeload off my paycheck would move to a socialist country like Sweden.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Prop 187 limited welfare to legal residents.

    That's not attacking anyone of a specific nationality or racial heritage, although it was cast that way be socialists in government and the media.

    And yes, if you opposed that initiative you were supporting an expansion of the welfare state.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That's not attacking anyone of a specific nationality or racial heritage, although it was cast that way be socialists in government and the media.

    It was seen that way and continues to be seen that way by Mexican-Americans.

    Regardless, here's some of what it did:

    Key Elements of Prop 187

    6. A public elementary or secondary school shall not admit or permit the attendance of any child until he or she meets the requirements above.

    7. By 1996, each school district shall verify the legal status of each child enrolled within the district and the legal status of each parent or guardian of each child.

    http://tinyurl.com/atdamsj

    Ultimately, you want the government to discriminate against kids going to elementary school becasue they're Mexican.

    Incidentally, being born in America shouldn't entitle you to a free education on my dime either. There is no difference between native born freeloaders and foreign born freeloaders in that regard. Once again, if there's a problem with freeloading, it isn't nationality of the freeloaders.

    The problem is the freeloading.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Actually, unless the Republicans can credibly make the distinction between the problem of freeloading and the problem of Mexicans freeloading--like I just did--then they will never have any say in California politics.

    Actually, the name brand is so tarnished--because of the legacy of Prop 187--that it's probably hopeless. There are tons of people of Mexican ancestry who wouldn't vote for a "Republican" politician any sooner than you'd vote for a politicians running as "Al Qaeda". The brand has been tarnished that badly.

    They should change the name of the Republican Party to something else in California. They should abandon the ugly ass anti-immigration movement, and become "Libertarians".

  • VG Zaytsev||

    So you opposed prop 187 because you thought that its passage would damage the republican brand.

    That's a strange position for a libertarian to take.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    One party rule in California is not good for liberty, so it's a perfectly pragmatic position for a libertarian to take.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Clown Shultz is only a "libertarian" in that he views the liberty movement as a vanguard party in which to infiltrate the Republican party and steer its ideology toward his own pet causes.

    When Clown is confronted with this, his cognitive dissonance is so strong that he will immediately froth at the mouth in anger and hurl invective at you.

    Afterwards, he will congratulate himself on being the voice of civility and inclusivity of the liberty movement.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Clown Shultz is only a "libertarian" in that he views the liberty movement as a vanguard party in which to infiltrate the Republican party and steer its ideology toward his own pet causes."

    Well, there's more to libertarianism than your blind hatred of Muslims the disgusting ad hominem attack you throw around.

    Actually, there isn't anything libertarian about either of those things--and there doesn't seem to be much else (libertarian or otherwise) about you.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    your blind hatred of Muslims

    Fuck you, Ken. Disagreeing with you about the Middle East doesn't make me an Islamophobe, you hysterical ninny.

    the disgusting ad hominem attack you throw around.

    Can you be any less self-aware, you racist piece of shit?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The problem is the freeloading, but making illegal entrants eligible for it compounds the problem by acting as a magnet for freeloaders.

    If you are throwing a party, and restrict entry to people you invited, the problem of people drinking wine without bringing some is annoying but limited.

    If you throw the party and allow anyone who comes to the door into it, your wine problem is going to get much worse.

  • Sevo||

    Hawk Spitui| 12.30.12 @ 10:37AM |#
    ..."I have yet to see a libertarian give a rat's ass about the practical consequences of his demands"...

    The willfully blind shall remain so.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    *YAWN!*

    robc| 12.30.12 @ 10:45AM |#

    Let me be really clear on this:

    Liberty is its own reward.

    I happen to think that liberty also leads to economic and social and community benefits. But, if Im wrong about that, I dont really care, because the goal is liberty.

    Libertarianism isnt a means to achieve some other sort of success. A free society is the success.
  • sloopyinca||

    Quote him all you want, because he's right. And your inability to understand what he was driving at is a big part of your problem.

    We don't live in a society where his dream is even close to being realized, so saying that when things become libertarian they all go to shit is a bogus argument. There has been a constant and nearly unabated march toward a stronger state and weaker individuals for at least 75 years in America. His point is merely theoretical, IMO.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Taking your 75 years as correct (although 223 is probably closer to the truth), why was a libertarian society abandoned if it was such a resounding success?

  • sloopyinca||

    Abandoned? When did we ever have one to abandon?

  • JW||

    Don't feed it, sloop.

  • robc||

    *YAWN!*

    Filter activated. If you arent willing to argue with me from deontological premises, you can go away.

  • An0nB0t||

    Libertarians don't care about "practical consequences" after two and a half centuries of battling emotionalism and warning authoritarians and their unwitting supporters of the "unintended," long-term consequences of their actions?

  • ||

    Oh for Christ sake guys, stop it.

    It's American.

  • seattlesnow||

    this nation overbuilds freeways. Highway building has become the ultimate 'ditch digging' job for just the sake of keeping people working. The Reason Mag crowd thinks its wonderful we live in a nation that builds NASCAR race tracks style freeways. The younger crowd never grew up in the great 'eminent domain era' when freeway building was seen as 'progress' however you exit the off ramps of many of these freeways in urban areas there is very little 'progress' to be seen. Get back on the highway and you'll find in many communities just a strip mall, big box asphalt jungle that in many cities the parking lots are just as dangerous then those same urban areas these highways was needed to flee from. Parking lots got muggers like city street allies. Why do I bring up "Freeways" just due to the fact many states are now going to have to pay for those massive monuments to fossil fuels out of there own pockets. Even if tolled, the toll rates don't even match what the road truly could cost to pay for.You folks don't lack humanity, just a simple grasp of human geography.

  • John||

    I hate to break it to you, but those freeways were built because people wanted them built. Most people like the suburbs and want a house, a yard and some space. They don't want to be hipsters engaged in urban farming and selling artisan mayonnaise.

  • ||

    They don't want to be hipsters engaged in urban farming and selling artisan mayonnaise.

    I lol'd!

  • sloopyinca||

    Good point, John. Except for the last four words, which have nearly caused me to go into a rage stopped only by the cries of a hungry infant.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I hate to break it to you, but those freeways were built because people wanted them built.

    No,no, no
    They were a conspiracy by Big Build to force people to live in an unhealthy way, for profit.

  • sloopyinca||

    They were a conspiracy by Big Build to force people to live in an unhealthy way, for profit.

    B+

    Fit "food deserts" in there and you've got an A.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    You've got to admit that Big Build sounds like something those retards would come up with.

  • sloopyinca||

    I was about to admonish you for not citing them, but I can't figure out how (or am jut too lazy to) find the HTML code for the registered trademark sign.

  • JW||

    Alt+0153

  • JW||

    ™ Alt + 0153.

    Fuckyouspamfilter. Fuckyouspamfilter. Fuckyouspamfilter.

  • Generic Stranger||

    & trade ; with no spaces is the HTML entity. I don't know if the commenting software will let it through or not though. The Squirrels™ like to feed on that sort of thing.

    Hmm...preview says it works. So here goes.

  • Generic Stranger||

    And....IT WORKS! Take that, squirrels!

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Big Build™
    YooHoo!

  • ||

    What is this preeevuuuuuuueeee?

  • John||

    Even if tolled, the toll rates don't even match what the road truly could cost to pay for.You folks don't lack humanity, just a simple grasp of human geography.

    I guess that explains why there are so many privately built toll roads. They don't make any money. People just build them out of spite I guess.

  • ||

    Even if tolled, the toll rates don't even match what the road truly could cost to pay for.You folks don't lack humanity, just a simple grasp of human geography.

    Because if the government sold all roads to private parties, and ended all the taxes currently collected to pay for those roads, no one would drive, despite the roads being cheaper to build and maintain than currently because it would no longer be a monopoly union jobs program financed by a criminal gang stealing money.

    People would just give up cars and watch the economy collapse and everyone start starving.

    /sarcasm

  • Contrarian P||

    What did that screed even mean? What did the article have to do with freeways? And even if it's just a general complaint about Reason and its readers, since when have we been endorsing eminent domain to build freeways? I'm pretty sure just about every article I've read here has been pretty critical of eminent domain in general and urban renewal in particular. In any event, the major bout of interstate highway building in America occurred decades ago, so what's the relevance to our current situation? We do spend a lot of money on the upkeep of those highways, but that's another discussion altogether. Finally, I'm pretty sure highways were built primarily to aid in getting from point to point quickly, not as part of some great conspiracy to get everyone out of the cities. Add in your general lack of ability at grammar, and your post is a rather ugly mess.

  • KPres||

    "And even if it's just a general complaint about Reason and its readers, since when have we been endorsing eminent domain to build freeways?"

    This is what I don't get. I'm constantly berated by the statists for claiming the freeway system, like most government projects, was a massive boondoggle that created more problems than it solved. And Reason magazine is the ONLY publication I know of that consistently attacks eminent domain confiscations.

    Who is this guy trying to kid?

  • robc||

    Not only that, libertarians are regularly attacked for not supporting roads. Now we are in favor of them?

    Apparently ROADZ is a dual-attack.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "What did that screed even mean? What did the article have to do with freeways?"

    A lot of people are just arguing with the imaginary libertarian in their heads.

  • ||

    "A lot of people are just arguing with the imaginary libertarian in their heads."

    No shit Ken. It is almost too much to believe. Crazy cunts.

  • Sevo||

    Contrarian P| 12.30.12 @ 9:18AM |#
    "What did that screed even mean?"

    You'd have to translate it from Watermelon to find out.

  • ||

    "What did that screed even mean?"

    Yeah Contrarian....I was thinking the same thing. WTF is this person talking about?
    As trolls go this one is a stinker.

  • JW||

    What did that screed even mean?

    Proglodyte aphasia rarely means anything. Just enjoy the pretty patterns the words make.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Finally, I'm pretty sure highways were built primarily to aid tanks in getting from point to point quickly

    FTFY. The highway system was more or less a national defense project. They were designed to move troops and equipment quickly, and to serve as emergency landing strips for airplanes.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The Reason Mag crowd thinks its wonderful we live in a nation that builds NASCAR race tracks style freeways.

    The fuck are you talking about?

  • Sevo||

    "massive monuments to fossil fuels out of there own pockets"

    From a tiny diseased mind.
    Get lost, luddite.

  • KPres||

    How about you reject altogether the intrinsically collectivist moral framework that presents "inequality" as a problem at all, since in itself, it doesn't convey any information about anybody's standard of living except that it isn't the same as other peoples'. Genuine poverty (ie, poverty measured by an objective criteria, not relative to median income which is a conceptual farce) might be a problem (it isn't in the west), but hand-wringing over inequality is never anything more than the collectivists' way of expressing their own proclivity toward envy, which itself is just a form of greed.

  • John||

    We are going to have to get over our aversion to inequality. Technology is going to make the world richer and more and more unequal. Think about it. As productivity rises, the top producers are going to produce more and more and the range of productivity in the population is going to get wider and wider. Take a company like Google. It employs very few people but produces hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. The guys who own Google are individually more productive than damn near anyone who has ever lived. And since wages over the long term and in the aggregate equal productivity, they are going to be that much richer for it.

    I don't mind that because we all are richer for it. But I think in the future the gap between the top and the bottom is going to be greater and greater. And while that doesn't bother you or me, it will drive some people insane.

  • KPres||

    Well, for most of human history, inequality meant one person feasted while another starved. Today it means one person has a beach house while another only has a 58" TV.

  • robc||

    An example of what John said:

    Revenue per employee:

    GE 485k
    GOOG 1464k

    Google has almost $1M more revenue per employee than GE. That is old vs new.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Hence, I offer you The Dark Enlightenment".

  • robc||

    I stopped reading when he misinterpreted the book of Samuel.

  • Mike M.||

    Yeah, in a saner and more rational world, more people would grasp the rather obvious fact that the harder a person works and the more productive he is, the more fruits of his labors he is entitled to. But alas, laziness and greed hold far more sway over people these days that rationality.

    The time when there was the least inequality among man was probably back when men were all banging rocks together to stay warm and hunting and fishing for all their meals.

  • sloopyinca||

    banging rocks together to stay warm

    Doesn't sound like a very good plan.

  • JW||

    Technology is going to make the world richer and more and more unequal.

    Well then, we'd better get busy with biting that hand.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    How about you reject altogether the intrinsically collectivist moral framework that presents "inequality" as a problem at all, since in itself, it doesn't convey any information about anybody's standard of living except that it isn't the same as other peoples'. Genuine poverty (ie, poverty measured by an objective criteria, not relative to median income which is a conceptual farce) might be a problem (it isn't in the west), but hand-wringing over inequality is never anything more than the collectivists' way of expressing their own proclivity toward envy, which itself is just a form of greed.

    This.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yep

    Inequality as a problem is a bullshit concept. The left's obsession with it demonstrates the religious nature of their belief system.

    Humans are different for one another, biologically, with different aptitudes and interests. Why is making people more similar seen as desirable?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Humans are different for one another, biologically, with different aptitudes and interests. Why is making people more similar seen as desirable?

    Because the Left (New and Old) has always conflated "equity" with "equality".

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Excellent observation.

    I'm going to borrow it.

  • ||

    "...hand-wringing over inequality is never anything more than the collectivists' way of expressing their own proclivity toward envy, which itself is just a form of greed."

    There it is in a nutshell.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...Winship and others grant that there is no simple, obvious way to increase mobility, especially for the poorest Americans.

    The world needs ditch-diggers, too. And there's nothing wrong with that, really. Relatively speaking, the lowest earners are still doing okay. Granted, some are suffering from bad personal choices, by way of spending what money they earn on the wrong things.

    Unfortunately, class warfare is certain politicians' bread and butter, and they will continue to stoke those fires, that all is unfair, when in fact the one unleveling the playing field is government.

  • ||

    Unfortunately, class warfare is certain politicians' bread and butter, and they will continue to stoke those fires, that all is unfair . . .

    Hell, wouldn't you, if you were a politician? "Your troubles aren't your fault, you're a victim. You deserve to take part in the American dream, and those who won life's lottery have an obligation to help you realize that dream."

    That shit sells itself.

  • ||

    "The world needs ditch-diggers..."

    You are showing your age. 'Ditch diggers' used to be the quintessential example of low skill, low pay labor back in the day. Nowadays a ditch digger is a heavy eqpt operator who gets paid pretty well.

  • sloopyinca||

    "The world needs ditch-diggers..."

    You are showing your age.

    Hey, anything that makes me think of Judge Smails is A-OK.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The new "ditch-diggers" are migrant farm workers....I guess?

  • Mike M.||

    Absolutely unbelievable. This lowlife piece of shit Block Yomomma is raising all our taxes in about forty hours so that he can give a pay raise to crazy Joe Biden and all the bitch federal government employees who voted for him.

    That's the only God damn thing this motherfucker is good at in life, is rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It's the Chicago Way.

  • waaminn||

    Sometimes dude you jsut gotta roll with teh punches.

    www.its-anon.tk

  • juris imprudent||

    Still stuttering on "just", but adopting the trendy "teh".

    Curious.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Bad news:

    I fear the worst. My dog, who HATES the cold out of general principle, never came home yesterday. I let him out at about 2p yesterday, and he never came back. With bitter cold and snow yesterday afternoon and last night (and nasty wind), there is no good reason why he shouldn't have come home. If he could have come home, he would have. In this kind of weather, his trips outside are as fast as possible. Just long enough to do his business and get back in, not 20 hour saunters through a winter wonderland.

    The only holdout I have is that my wife, who he is partial towards in every way, is not home and perhaps he is just somewhere waiting for her. He has waited outside for her before. At one time for days during a heat wave this past summer. But the cold is different, and during the summer, he never left the front yard. He's nowhere to be found. I spent hours looking for him last night and this morning. There isn't even a hint that he's around.

    There are also no new tracks in the snow that would indicate he was close by either. I've seen every track made in the snow since it fell.

    I'm thinking that there are only 2 possibilities at this point: he's lost or hurt. In this kind of cold, and how skinny his little ass is, neither are good. He has a collar with a tag that has my number. If someone found him and took him in, it seems that I would have gotten a call by now. Hopefully he found himself a barn or someplace warm last night and holed up and is just lost.

  • sloopyinca||

    That sucks, dude. Are you in the country? If so, have hope that he'll be OK. Dogs are pretty resourceful and will crawl into any place they can to stay warm if they're lost. I bet you he's climbing out of a nice nook he found last night and is getting his bearings for his journey home as we speak.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    We are in the country. And he is pretty resourceful. There are barns and outbuildings aplenty. Not to mention whatever brush or hole he could find. I have some hope that he's just lost, trotting around like the dumbass he is. But nothing about this seems right.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    And thanks for the warm thoughts. I appreciate that.

  • robc||

    3rd option, which also isnt pleasant. My sister had a dog that did that, they found it in their woods dead. It had wandered off to die, in that way that animals seem to know.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Dude!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    He's not old enough for that. He's just barely 3. What's far more likely is that he's got himself in to something (car, some other dog, coyote, etc) and wandered in to the woods . . .

    It's not a particularly pleasant thought. But it does seem like one of the more plausible scenarios.

  • sloopyinca||

    If it was as shitty out as you say, it's doubtful he got into any of those things. More likely, he got white-out and couldn't find the scent home. It happens all the time, and it usually lasts a day or so before they can get their bearings and find their way home. Good thing they can go a few days at least without food and with the snow, he's got a good source of water.

    Seriously, I'd be worried as well, but I feel pretty confident you're gonna see him today or tomorrow with his tail tucked because he thinks he let you down.

  • sloopyinca||

    And besides, I'd be more concerned with my wife coming home than the dog. How long has she been gone for? And does she also have a collar so somebody could call if they pick her up?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    She's only been gone since Friday.

    And yes, she has a "collar"; it's called "Find my iPhone."

    LOL

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I was thinking the same thing. That he lost his scent in the snow while he was chasing rabbits or something (which, by the tracks in the back yard, you can tell he was absolutely doing). The sun is out today and since I'm in KY, not SD, I expect that the snow should melt pretty quickly where there isn't shade despite being in the 20s all day.

    Again, I appreciate the positive thoughts. It's been tough with finding excuses for my 5 year old who keeps asking where he is.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When I was a kid, I had a cat that we left with a family out in the woods, while we moved to the west coast for a year. A few days after we left, the cat tore through a screen window and disappeared into the woods--nobody there saw any sign of him. They left food out for him for a while, but none of it was ever eaten.

    More than a year later, after one of the coldest winters in Maryland, we went to go visit the people we left the cat with after church. As soon as we opened the car door, the stupid cat came bounding out of the woods and jumped in our car. Like he'd been waiting for us the whole time.

    Dogs and cats are more resilient than you think. There's still hope.

    "He has a collar with a tag that has my number. If someone found him and took him in, it seems that I would have gotten a call by now."

    Nobody ever went broke overestimating the incompetence of their local animal control department. Working rescue, I've seen acts of incompetence that would astound regular government employees. It's holidays. The people at the pound who usually call owners may be on vacation. Don't wait for them to call you. Go to the pound yourself.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The pound is closed today.

    And I meant a call from someone who might have found him, not the pound. I've received calls before from people who have seen him wandering around. He's pretty skittish, so there's also the chance that no one was able to get close enough to him yet.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The pound being closed might be a good sign. Maybe he's there. Maybe somebody has him, and they just can't take him to the pound yet because it's closed.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed.

    They're better at staying alive in the wild than we are.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    UPDATE:

    It appears sloopy was right. At about 1.40 or so, he came trotting up to the front door like he's only been out for 5 minutes. He seems fine. He's clean and dry which means he found himself a good place to sleep last night, and unhurt.

    The pads of his feet are rubbed a bit raw in a couple of spots, and his belly looks red and irritated. The feet are probably from walking the snow and ice and streets. His belly may be from sleeping on a cold barn floor last night. Who knows?

    But he's home and safe and sound.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate it greatly.

  • robc||

    Cool.

    Its sort of the reverse of a Balko nut punch to end the year.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Its sort of the reverse of a Balko nut punch to end the year.

    I read that in Jack Black's voice from the episode of Tenacious D when he and KG get in a fight over the goth chick.

    "Double Reverse Nut Punch!"

  • sloopyinca||

    That's absolutely wonderful news.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Awesome!

    Woof!

    *three cheers*

  • ||

    Hooray! "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Glad your little guy is back.

  • edcoast||

    That's great madlib. I would be beside myself if my boy disappeared.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "It’s misplaced because it glosses over strong evidence that the ability to rise above your starting place—the American Dream, by most accounts—is better than it was 40 years ago."

    I'm pessimistic about this continuing to be the case.

    It seems like every policy the Obama Administration pursues is an attempt to destroy more opportunities to succeed and replace them with fewer opportunities to fail. That may benefit the few working poor who are lucky enough to find good work, but it hurts the ambitious people on the margins the worst.

    The Obama Administrations polices will have an accumulative effect over time. There is very little reason to think, for instance, that the cumulative effects of the healthcare law won't destroy opportunities for ambitious poor people.

    When I look at these new rules,

    http://professional.wsj.com/ar.....90498.html

    ...and I think about who will be hit the hardest, it's gotta be people like working single mothers, who are also trying to get through community college.

    They'll know that the opportunities never materialized, but most of them will never know why.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    They'll know that the opportunities never materialized, but most of them will never know why.

    The obstructionist republicans, of course.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Maybe the Koch Brothers.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It seems like every policy the Obama Administration pursues is an attempt to destroy more opportunities to succeed and replace them with fewer opportunities to fail.

    Dude,

    The government's been doing that for at leas the last forty years.

    And from my experience the turning point was hit in the early nineties, with the internet bubble and welfare reform of the late 90s offering a temporary reprieve.

    Labor markets have become increasingly immobile in the name of fairness and safety. A lot of businesses have been driven offshore in the name of the same and environmental safety. There simply are not the same levels and types of employment opportunities for the bottom half of the labor market that existed in up through the late 1980s.

    The higher education bubble has been created mostly because of those factors with education credentials becoming the only legally valid pre-employment screening tool.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The government's been doing that for at leas the last forty years."

    Destroy more opportunities to succeed and replacing them with fewer opportunities to fail--the Obama Administration has made a fetish of it.

    I gave one example in their newly revealed ObamaCare regs, but it's been the central force behind almost everything they've done.

    The financial overhaul was about given fewer marginal borrowers the opportunity for a loan and trying to make sure those that already have them cannot fail.

    Maybe other presidents have had that feature, but the Obama Administration has taken it to extremes.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Hundreds of billions of dollars have bee wasted in the last twenty years because of the ADA. With the result that employment for those covered is lower than it was before the act passed.

    We, as a society, have lost sight of the fact that the best labor policy with the most opportunity and "fairness" for all groups is a strong economy with a tight labor market.

    I haven't heard any politician since Kemp actually make that point.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    We, as a society, have lost sight of the fact that the best labor policy with the most opportunity and "fairness" for all groups is a strong economy with a tight labor market in no federal policy outside of some of the very basics.

    FIFY

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The higher education bubble has been created mostly because of those factors with education credentials becoming the only legally valid pre-employment screening tool."

    Yeah, we're moving more towards the European model all the time.

    In the U.S., college kids in the past didn't protest the government if they didn't have a job, but in places like France, that's commonplace.

    When the unemployment rate in France gets too high, the college kids start protesting the government for a job--and the government gives it to them!

    Once the government engenders the expectation that graduating from college entitles you to a job, it becomes remarkably easy for college graduates to expect to be entitled to a government job.

    Hate the art majors, anthropology majors, and hipsters all you want. But we may look back at the days of the poor ass hipster community with nostalgia once they all start becoming government employees.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    A lot of the degrees being created now prepare the holder only for jobs in government bureaucracies.

    Anything ending in 'studies' or 'science' (other than CS) for example.

  • Mike M.||

    The most laughable part of it is, look at who's in the freaking White House! If a guy like this can somehow become a senator and the president, then anyone has a chance to accomplish just about anything.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Sort of.

    So long as that "anything" is in the public sector, then yes.

    I doubt Obama could hold down a legit, no shit corporate job.

  • ||

    Mike, I am not sure what the freak in the white house has done counts as accomplishing anything. He is an excellent affirmative action ladder climber, but as for accomplishments I cant think of any.

    If you need something done or a problem solved in the real world, he isnt your guy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    He doesn't even judge himself by his accomplishments.

    He might tout ObamaCare but other than that?

    He doesn't care whether raising taxes on the wealthy actually accomplishes anything. He just cares about the idea of raising taxes on the wealthy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "We should address the ways in which government is already stacking the deck against the younger and poorer among us."

    The way I came up was by taking a job working for peanuts in a commercial real estate investment firm.

    They were willing to take a chance on one of us panning out because the cost of hiring us was so damn low. Increase the cost, substantially, of giving some kid a big opportunity like that, and those opportunities disappear. If I'm paying big money for employees, I know I want proven talent.

    If I have to pay a wide receiver $150 million over eight years, then I want Calvin Johnson. I'm not giving that job to a rookie.

    It's hard for some people to believe that investment companies treat the money they spend on employees like an investment, but they do. Thank God the cost of hiring me was so low, or I'd probably still be working in the HIM department of a heavily regulated hospital in South Central Los Angeles.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And in addition to the direct costs of employing people the government has created a regulatory and tort mine field that makes employers less willing to give a low skilled person a chance, with the understanding that they'll be canned if they can't make it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Exactly.

    Those new ObamaCare regs I linked about do precisely that.

    They've made it unnecessarily undesirable to keep single women with children on the payroll.

    The likely outcome of that is...

    Feminists should be mad as hell.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It's not just that.

    Most people are not tempermentally suited for every possible job out there. The only way to find what you want to do and what you are good at is through trial and error. But today, people are afraid to hire just anyone because it's so hard to get rid of them if they're not working out. And likewise people are more likely to stay with a job they hate and that they may not be particularly good at because of the difficulty in finding a different one.

    There are studies showing that people entering the workforce during recessions are more risk averse in their job hunting and therefor make less money; than people entering the workforce in boom times. The other way of looking at that is that those people are less productive, because they stick with a sub optimal sure thing.

    Government regulations and tort actions are causing the same effect on a wide scale even when the economy isn't in recession. Which in aggregate causes lower productivity, lower growth and less opportunity for everyone.

  • sloopyinca||

    Slightly OT, but could someone please explain this fucking bullshit to me?

    Man, by day just got shittier than the diaper I just changed.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It was notoriously bad--sometimes so much so, they become notoriously fun to watch. Maybe it was never reissued?

    Is there a nude scene with a young Demi Moore?

    One of the hot actresses in the movie just recently had a sex tape released into the wild?

    Those are my guesses.

    I'd have once paid something like that for a decent copy of "The Angry Breed".

    http://www.thevideobeat.com/be.....-1968.html

  • sloopyinca||

    What the fuck are you talking about? That movie was not notoriously bad. You're confusing it with Hackers or some other shitty film.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I may have been thinking of Solarbabies.

    http://www.amazon.com/Solarbab.....B00000F6LL

    That one's also fetching a nice price, and it's one of the worst movies I ever saw.

    P.S. I'm sure some Gen Y skater kids loved Gleaming, skaters from the generation that wore "Rad" out anyway, and maybe that's what's driving the price.

    Again, I'm speculating here.

    There's gotta be some kind of distribution problem. Maybe the rights to distribute it in the U.S. weren't resold for some reason.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "THE ANGRY BREED 1968
    U.S. film. Hawaii Five-O's "Danno" as a Nazi biker dressed in full SS storm trooper regalia! He rapes a 60s bikini beach babe on Malibu beach—luckily she's saved by a teen hero! Hero gets a break in the movie business then gets the royal shaft from big Hollywood producer! Bizarre semi-nude exotic dancer LSD costume party!

    Wild garage fuzz rock that sounds like Steppenwolf meets the Count V! Bikers, hippies, homos, weirdos, boozers, LSD and rock n roll!"

    Doesn't that sound like the greatest movie ever made!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Bikers, hippies, homos, weirdos, boozers, LSD and rock n roll!"

    It's actually just a typical weekend in Ocean Beach, CA.

  • JW||

    Christian Slater defies market rules. He's a rebel, man!

  • sloopyinca||

    I challenge anybody to find a more insanely overpriced movie on Amazon. I'm gonna start looking right now.

  • JW||

    The pricing certainly is weird. I ended up paying about 20 bucks for a used DVD of Big Trouble in Little China, only to see it re-released as Blu-ray, at half the price, a couple months later.

  • sloopyinca||

    At $20, Big Trouble In Little China is still a bargain.

  • AdamJ||

    Got a used copy at a half priced books for $4.99 three weeks ago. I'm the winner.

  • sloopyinca||

    Sweet. I've had it so long I don't even know how much I paid. I do need to upgrade to Blu-Ray though.

  • sticks||

    I don't know if it is still the case but laser discs of Star Wars used to go for 100 bucks or more. From my point of of view that is more insanely overpriced.

  • Foobarbazoo||

    Ghost in the Shell 2 on Blu-ray is crazy expensive.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Hipster irony.

  • sloopyinca||

    Well I don't appreciate it one bit. I need that movie for my collection. Not for any particular reason, but I need it nonetheless.

    Little known fact: Tony Hawk had a credited role in the movie.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • John||

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-.....es-in-2013

    Looks like Obama is going full retard on gun control. If the GOP can't give you a reason to vote for them, the village idiot will. Maybe I am too optimistic, but even after Newtown the polls all say the majority does not support further gun control. And gun owners absolutely vote and vote on that issue.

  • JW||

    John--Remember that he typically does the exact opposite of what he says that he is doing or will do. He just can't turn off his pathology like *that* [snaps finger].

    Now, if he said that he wasn't going to do anything about guns, then, I'd worry.

  • John||

    This is true. But occasionally he does follow through. He did in Obamacare. Nothing is going to get passed. He is totally incapable of making a deal or in any way subverting the opposition. But what he will succeed in doing is killing a bunch of Congressional Dems in the mid terms.

  • JW||

    It may be that he knows nothing will get passed, so he has nothing to lose by pandering red meat to his base.

    He's pure scum, but he's not an idiot.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    How's this for a conspiracy theory.

    Obama's a team red sleeper agent that is trying his hardest to kill team blue.

    But team red is too stupid and dysfunctional to take full advantage of the opportunities that he provides.

  • sloopyinca||

    He can hope in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first.

    There are too many Team Blue members of the House and Senate that are up for reelection in 2014 that will be eviscerated if they vote for gun control.

    Here are the Dems up for reelection:
    Max Baucus (Montana)
    Mark Begich (Alaska)
    Chris Coons (Delaware)
    Richard Durbin (Illinois)
    Al Franken (Minnesota)
    Kay Hagan (North Carolina)
    Tom Harkin (Iowa)
    Tim Johnson (South Dakota) – Challenger: Mike Rounds
    John Kerry (Massachusetts; Special Election If Confirmed SOS) - Challenger: Ed Markey (D)
    Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
    Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey) – Challenger: Corey Booker
    Carl Levin (Michigan)
    Jeff Merkley (Oregon)
    Mark Pryor (Arkansas)
    Jack Reed (Rhode Island)
    John Rockefeller (West Virginia) – Challenger: Shelley Moore Capito
    Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire)
    Mark Udall (Colorado)
    Tom Udall (New Mexico)
    Mark Warner (Virginia)
    Seat Vacated in Hawaii – Sworn In: Brian Schatz

    At least 10 of them would be committing political suicide if they voted for more gun control. Obama's "hope" is DOA.

  • sloopyinca||

    Those are the Senate Dems up for reelection. Just five need to flip for the vote not to pass, and I would be surprised if several more on the list would even vote to end debate or get it out of committee since those votes would be brought up in the campaign.

    I'll repeat: DOA.

  • John||

    DOA is right. And that is getting it out of the Senate. How does the idiot plan to get Republicans in the House to vote for it?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Considering the stunt that Montana Libertarians played in 2012 in helping to reelect Tester, I wouldn't be worried if I were Baucus.

  • robc||

    Maybe the Montana GOP should run a libertarian for Senate then.

    Did they learn the proper lesson or not?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Maybe I am too optimistic, but even after Newtown the polls all say the majority does not support further gun control."

    They were against ObamaCare, too.

    Remember that with Democrat voters, the issue is Obama. There is no issue that is more important to them than the Obama issue. Even if they're against what Obama is doing, they're still in favor of Obama.

    The other thing to remember is that Obama isn't running for election anymore, so he doesn't give a rip about the voters. He cares about keeping as many Democrats in Congress as possible, to some extent, but not more than he cares about his own legacy as...

    The Man Who Destroyed Gun "Rights" in America!

  • John||

    If the Republicans had controlled the House and had 45 votes in the Senate, he wouldn't have gotten Obamacare. He only got that because he was able to push it through on a pure partisan vote. He can't do that now. And Republicans are terrified of the NRA and gun owners. As I said above, all he can do is shoot his mouth off and get a bunch of Dems in red states kicked out of office in 2014.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I hope you're right.

  • sloopyinca||

    Look at my list above, Ken. The House doesn't need to take the measure up because it'll die a painful death in the Senate because there are a lot of Team Blue Senators in Team Red states up for reelection in 2014.

    A Democrat voting for expanded gun control in a state like VA, WV, AK, AR, LA or MT would be suicidal on a Todd Akin-like scale.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I have lost my faith in the voters.

    If they banned all semiautos tomorrow, it wouldn't surprise me if the Supremes decided that was just commerce either--because I've also lost faith in the SC to defend our rights.

    I hope you're both right, but I don't trust Republicans to do the right thing (I lost faith in them first), and I don't trust the voters to hold them accountable if they don't do the right thing.

    There are two kinds of people in this world--libertarians and the heathen. I have no faith in the heathen to do what's in their own best interest, and I don't have much faith in them even knowing what's in their own best interests. Until we get more libertarians, nothing the heathen or their heathen representatives in Congress do will surprise me ever again.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    If they banned all semiautos tomorrow, it wouldn't surprise me if the Supremes decided that was just commerce either--because I've also lost faith in the SC to defend our rights.

    Once again an H+R commenter doesn't understand that the Obamacare SCOTUS decision had nothing to do with the bill of rights. It was an enumerated powers issue. AFAIK, the lawyers arguing for striking down OC didn't bring up any bill of rights issues.

    It would not be hard to make an assault weapons ban (or any gun ban for that matter) fit into the commerce clause. The problem for such a ban would be the second amendment, not the enumerated powers doctrine.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Once again an H+R commenter doesn't understand that the Obamacare SCOTUS decision had nothing to do with the bill of rights."

    The commerce clause isn't in the Bill of Rights.

    The Second Amendment is.

    The individual mandate ruling was a complete failure to defend our rights.

    I hope this has been helpful, but I don't understand what you're talking about.

    "It would not be hard to make an assault weapons ban (or any gun ban for that matter) fit into the commerce clause. The problem for such a ban would be the second amendment, not the enumerated powers doctrine."

    When I say that the Supreme Court dropping the ball on defending our Second Amendment rights wouldn't surprise me, what exactly is it that you hear?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    "Dropping the ball" in the way Roberts did in the OC decision is much less of a sin than dropping the ball on Bill of Rights issues would be. The fact that one happened doesn't mean the other one will.

    Recall that Roberts gave us Heller and McDonald.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    but even after Newtown the polls all say the majority does not support further gun control.

    Unfortunately it doesn't look that way.

    A new USA Today/Gallup poll taken shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre shows 58 percent of respondents saying they now favor stricter gun laws, up from 43 percent in October 2011.

    Similarly, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll (also taken right after Sandy Hook) finds 55 percent agreeing that that gun control laws should be made more strict, 13 percent said they should be made less strict, and 27 percent said there should be no change.
  • An0nB0t||

    "taken shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre"

    There's your problem. We've been inundated by the lowest form of discourse on the RKBA for a couple of weeks now, but now that the hysteria is abating and people are processing the event semi-rationally, the "crisis" will die down and the long-term trend toward ownership rights will resume. On the legislative front, most of Congress won't be willing to touch the third rail, and if Obama goes administrative-action-y on dealers or imports, Democrats will suffer in future elections.

    The Fabians had their little tantrum, but Americans generally understand that the world is not a nursery and prepare accordingly.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Do you have more recent poll results confirming this?

    I hope you're right, but the media is keeping this front and center in everyone's mind. The very foolish statement of LaPierre last week is helping them do it.

  • An0nB0t||

    I don't (and haven't looked), but "more recent polls" are still only two weeks removed from the murders. Let's look at the polls in, say, March and see if Americans are still freaking out once the media has moved on to another story and everyone comes to grips with the fact that Obama punted the issue mere days after the massacre occurred.

  • ||

    "And gun owners absolutely vote and vote on that issue."

    I am a single issue voter. If you cant pass the second amendment test with me, you dont get my vote. I dont care if you are the risen christ and will cure all ills and eradicate poverty for all time. No guns, no vote.

    I probably know 50 people who vote the same way.

  • juris imprudent||

    There is an aspect that Nick didn't go into - the proglodytes really aren't interested in improving the lot of the poor/middle-class, they only want to tear down the rich. In fact, raising taxes is their only tool - which can only reduce [after-tax] income (and incentives to earn); it does nothing to increase the income of those at the bottom.

    It is like saying Michael Jordan and I can't have a fair game of basketball, so cut off his legs at the knees to make it more equal. That doesn't do shit to make me better.

  • John||

    They are not even interested in tearing down the rich. They love the rich. They like being rich themselves. Who they hate is the middle class. They hate them because they are self sufficient and hard to control. The rich are easy to control. There are not that many of them, so you can buy them off. But the middle class are difficult. There are too many of them to buy off. So they must be destroyed and turned into dependent poor people. You want to know what society the proglodytes want, look to places like Argentina where you have the super rich and then everyone else totally dependent on government.

  • JW||

    You want to know what society the proglodytes want, look to places like Argentina where you have the super rich and then everyone else totally dependent on government.

    Or Greece, or France...Ironically, Sweden looks to be the saner of the Euorgubmints.

  • sloopyinca||

    They think the Handicapper General in Harrison Bergeron was the good guy.

  • Libertarian||

    Years ago (and I do mean years ago) I asked a good friend of mine, who was borderline communist, if she would prefer a world with everyone poorer as long as they were equal, as opposed to everyone (everyone!) being richer, but that some of the rich would be much more rich. Her answer was that equality trumped wealth. That, my friends, is irrational -- yet I doubt it is uncommon.

  • ||

    Didn't Thatcher bust someone like this in her final speech? Maggie certainly wasn't perfect but she was always good at putting the boot to the socialists

  • Mr Whipple||

    Where are my comments?

  • Mr Whipple||

    Fucking squirrels.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's always the squirrels' fault, isn't it, Whipple?

    A word of advice. Before submitting, highlight your text and copy it to clipboard. That way when reason deems your comment too controversial and swallows it whole, you can always tweet it as revenge.

  • ||

    “The old-line Marxists used to claim that a single modern factory could produce enough shoes to provide for the whole population of the world and that nothing but capitalism prevented it. When they discovered the facts of reality involved, they declared that going barefoot is superior to wearing shoes.” --Ayn Rand

  • A Serious Man||

    French High Court rules Hollande's 75% tax rate unconstitutional because it does not gurantee equality for all taxpayers

    Clearly the judges on that court were heartbroken over the departure of Gerard Depardieu.

  • sloopyinca||

    Note that the "equality" ruling just pointed out a loophole because the law said "individuals" when all income tax in France is calculated by household. Basically, as written it would tax a family at a higher rate if the father made 1.1M Euro than it would if the father made .9M Euro and the wife made the same.

    The ruling will just cause a rewrite to close it and it'll be enforced next year.

  • A Serious Man||

  • Mike M.||

    ROFL. It took Michael Vick all of about a minute to show once again why this is going to be his last game as an Eagle. I just feel sorry for the fans of the next team that's stupid enough to make him their starter next season.

  • AuH2O||

    Observation: 1600 Penn works if you imagine it as as a sequel to Independence Day

  • A Serious Man||

    Saw the previews, they actually made jokes about drones!!!

    Of course the show can't be really edgy and depict POTUS as a black guy with a black first family, no, that would be sacrilege so they went with a Romney look-a-like.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Perhaps the creators and network thought Romney was going to win when that show got greenlit.

  • calzero||

    Hi all - not sure if you folks are interested in discussing the article from a critical perspective, given the *ahem* wide-ranging discussion here, but let me throw this out for you:

    Do any of you care about rent-taking? Because Bill Gates is a great example of making money in a way which is not "free market" at all, but extraction of rent. He used his company's market position to strong-arm pc manufacturers into strong-arming customers to drop 200 bucks on his crappy os. Doesn't sound very free to me...

    'Cause, as libertarians, if you don't care about monopolistic distortion of markets, what makes you anything more than sycophantic shills for the already rich and powerful?

  • sloopyinca||

    I'm sorry, but how did he "force" pc manufacturers or consumers to do anything? Yes, he's a rent-seeker when it comes to supporting government regulation to limit competition, but those pc makers were free to use someone else's os and/or programs if they wanted to.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You are correct in that Gates didn't coerce the computer manufacturers at all. However, one must admit that the OS market lends itself naturally to market power and thus there is a non-libertarian, but pro-market, argument to be made for antitrust in those industries.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Even if we ignore the fact that Android has a exponentially increasing market share, antitrust is, by definition, anti-market. The existence of a de facto monopoly does not preclude someone from innovating and marketing a new product.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    When you have high barriers to entry it does.

    Android is the beneficiary of Google dumping huge sums of money into it with no expectation of direct returns, only to prevent Apple from being able to strongarm them in the future. You can't expect such "angels" to appear in every industry conducive to market power.

  • ||

    I'd argue that it has less to do with preventing Apple from strongarming them and more to do with them trying to sell more and better targeted advertising. Additionally Android is built off of Linux, which has had quite a number of different people contributing for different reasons, such as but not limited to:

    1) outright communists who don't believe in property and don't want to use a commercially-made, non-free as in beer/speech OS
    2) the technically inclined doing it just for kicks from professional to hobbyist
    3) companies who invest in polishing/maintenance in order to sell support contracts to other companies and individuals

    Not to mention other options like the *BSD variants.

  • KPres||

    "You can't expect such "angels" to appear in every industry conducive to market power."

    They're not being Angels, they're making a utility maximizing response to Apple, just like you said. And yes, you can expect such responses by major players in every industry.

  • juris imprudent||

    How do you know how Google isn't going to make money on their investment? If you were a shareholder would you stand for that?

  • sloopyinca||

    Yeah, that antitrust argument doesn't really sound pro-market if it artificially distorts the market with the threat of government guns behind it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The benefits of the free market depend on competition. If the government guns are necessary to have competition, a case can be made that they should be unleashed.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If the government guns are necessary to have competition, a case can be made that they should be unleashed.

    What is this, backwards day? A de facto monopoly is different than a de jure monopoly. In the former, there is nothing preventing competition except the superiority of the product sold.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    A de facto monopoly is different than a de jure monopoly. In the former, there is nothing preventing competition except the superiority of the product sold.

    That is not so. High transaction costs can produce market power regardless of relative quality. See Windows vs Mac/Unix/etc, QWERTY vs Dvorak, etc.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Superiority in a market doesn't always mean quality, it can be cost. Economy cars have a bigger market share than luxury cars, yes?

  • ||

    Tulpa is a Dvorak advocate? I'm shocked, shocked at this revelation.

  • robc||

    Modern tests show that dvorak offers no speed advantages over qwerty.

    Or, at least, inconclusive advantages.

  • ||

    If Dvorak allowed people to type three times faster than QWERTY, then QWERTY would be dust.

    People aren't gonna change for a negligible or non-existent difference, if that change involves the cost of dumping all the existing infrastructure and training.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    People aren't gonna change for a negligible or non-existent difference, if that change involves the cost of dumping all the existing infrastructure and training.

    Yes... that's what we call a "barrier to entry". Which my mulatto friend seems to think doesn't exist.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I'm curious as to how those tests were conducted. Correcting for the fact that nearly everyone who knows how to type learned QWERTY first is going to be extremely hard.

  • ||

    High transaction costs can produce market power regardless of relative quality. See Windows vs Mac/Unix/etc, QWERTY vs Dvorak, etc.

    At least recently, the profits from Mac computers exceeded the profits from all PC manufacturers combined. Selling more units than the competition because you are going after the low end of the market and they are going after the high end of the market is hardly a case for intervention by a monopolist criminal gang.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    At least recently, the profits from Mac computers exceeded the profits from all PC manufacturers combined.

    Link? That's a pretty big claim. And you'd have to count MS's profits also for a fair comparison, since they make the OS.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    And you'd have to count MS's profits also for a fair comparison, since they make the OS.

    No. You don't. That's rigging the game. Microsoft is not the direct competitor of Apple; the hardware manufacturers are.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    When a desktop computer is sold, there's a profit on the hardware and a profit on the OS. When it's a Mac, Apple gets both. When it's a PC, the manu only gets one kind of profit. So you really have to include MS's profits.

  • calzero||

    What about coercive force exercised by private firms?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    What is this, backwards day? A de facto monopoly is different than a de jure monopoly.

    Of course, microsoft's market power derives(d) entirely from de jure monopoly via IP law.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Of course, microsoft's market power derives(d) entirely from de jure monopoly via IP law.

    I'm not sure what you're arguing here. Are you saying Microsoft has a monopoly because they don't allow software piracy?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They do use their IP rights to force licensees not to use other companies' software. But that's not the only source of their market power.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I'm not sure what you're arguing here. Are you saying Microsoft has a monopoly because they don't allow software piracy?

    I'm saying that MS would not have had their market power without the concept of software piracy, or even weaker IP that would have allowed competitors to build on their ideas, as happens in most other industries.

  • ||

    Oh, OK. So now we just need to find angels in the form of kings to govern man and institute the magically perfect balance of injustices piled on injustices until it somehow turns into justice.

  • Redmanfms||

    If only we had the right philosopher king.....

  • sloopyinca||

    The benefits of the free market depend on competition.

    [citation required]

    If the government guns are necessary to have competition, a case can be made that they should be unleashed.

    OK, now I know you're either trolling or have been huffing jenkem. There's no way a sane person who gives a fuck about liberty would ever propose that the government unleash their guns and force competition into a marketplace when there are any number of people (read: anybody with a desire to) that could enter any marketplace they wanted to.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The benefits of the free market depend on competition.

    [citation required]

    And here we go with the sudden embrace of cartesian skepticism of anything contrary to one's position. Every major thinker who argued for the practical benefits of a free market has assumed competition exists.

    there are any number of people (read: anybody with a desire to) that could enter any marketplace they wanted to.

    LOL. Yeah, I'm sure someone could just walk in to the OS market and compete with Windows if they had the desire. The naivete of this attitude is astounding.

  • sloopyinca||

    LOL. Yeah, I'm sure someone could just walk in to the OS market and compete with Windows if they had the desire. The naivete of this attitude is astounding.

    What was stopping them? I never said they were guaranteed success, but anybody was free to enter the market that chose to.

    What's naive about stating a fact, shithead? Or have you completely jumped the shark and now think that equality of outcome is more important than equality of opportunity?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yes, they're free to enter the market and lose all the money they invest when they fail, as they surely will. Because they're certainly not getting any venture capitalist money.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    " A de facto monopoly is different than a de jure monopoly. In the former, there is nothing preventing competition except the superiority of the product sold."-HM

    well id be fine with this de facto monopoly if it existed, i just dont think they exist.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    "Or have you completely jumped the shark and now think that equality of outcome is more important than equality of opportunity?"-sloopy

    thats not even what hes saying, hes saying that monopolistic power can be a hindrance to both outcome and opportunity. that competition is better than no competition.

    sorry if i got it wrong tulpa, thats just what i was seeing in your posts.

  • sloopyinca||

    But his premise was wrong. There is no limit to entry into the market and he knows it. But for some reason, he feels the need to say that it's still unfair because the entrants aren't guaranteed success. Can't you see that?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's not that entrants aren't guaranteed success, it's that they're guaranteed failure. Which is why no competitors looking to make a profit enter the marketplace, just fringe tinkerers like Linux.

  • sloopyinca||

    But Linux didn't fail, so your "guaranteed failure" claim is bullshit. Neither did Apple by the way.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Apple:

    (a) did not enter the market after MS had market power,
    (b) would have gone bankrupt in the late 1990s without financial support from MS, and
    (c) has not succeeded in the market that we're talking about.

    Linux was never intended to compete with Windows and never has.

  • robc||

    Linux was never intended to compete with Windows and never has.

    Its beating windows in servers and mobile devices.

    And dont even look at embedded devices, linux has been destroying everyone forever in those.

    It not only has competed, it has dominated. The fact that you keep referring to desktops is a personal problem. The world of computing is much larger than just desktops.

  • Rhywun||

    (b) would have gone bankrupt in the late 1990s without financial support from MS

    This is a common misbelief. MS gave them a token $150 million or so to prop up Office on Mac - that's all. What is more likely is they would have gone bankrupt if Jobs hadn't returned - which happened around the same time.

  • ||

    Linux hasn't exactly swept the market for desktop usage, despite being more than sufficient for most use cases, I'll give you that. But ~60% server market share is hardly "fringe".

  • robc||

    I'm sure someone could just walk in to the OS market and compete with Windows if they had the desire.

    Like, for instance, a finnish grad student?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Linux market share in the desktop PC market is about 1%. It's not serious competition for Windows.

  • sloopyinca||

    So now it's not about competition, but "serious" competition?

    LOOK OUT, PEOPLE!!!!!! GOALPOSTS COMING THROUGH! GOALPOSTS COMING THROUGH!

  • robc||

    Who the fuck buys desktops any more?

    I bought a hell of a lot more servers and mobile devices than desktops in the last decade. All the servers have run linux, none required buying a windows OS, because I didnt use those companies.

    And counting "all" computing devices, Android (linux, unless Mary wants to pop on and argue idiotically again) is right up there with Windows, per that graph from that article the other day.

  • ||

    Why measure competitiveness with just market share instead of considering the utility of the product?

    Additionally, with 95% of everything being done through a browser nowadays, the manifold idiosyncrasies of open-source OSes for desktop use are much less obnoxious to the casual user. See also: Chromebooks.

    And, finally, the "desktop" market doesn't mean what it used to with so many more people using their phones/tablets to do the same things. And the mobile-focused OS market is anything but ossified right now.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The desktop market was important for a long time and MS held market power over it.

    The fact that railroads aren't as important anymore doesn't mean the late 1800s railroad trusts are not an example of market power, for instance.

  • juris imprudent||

    The desktop market was important for a long time and MS held market power over it.

    And so were buggy whips you moron.

  • KPres||

    Linux market share in the desktop PC market is about 1%. It's not serious competition for Windows.

    That doesn't matter, Tulpa. It's not the existence of competition that clears markets, the the threat of competition. Microsoft can't abuse it's market share without losing customers to Linux. Haven't you noticed the price of Windows falling like a rock of the past 10 years?

  • ||

    Just like to note that Microsoft's bungling attempts at the mobile OS market--RT and the various Windows Phone iterations--are all godawful compared to the Android/iOS equivalents.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That's not the only explanation for the price decreases. And you'd expect to see Linux adoption increasing if it were a genuine treat for Windows.

  • KPres||

    "And you'd expect to see Linux adoption increasing if it were a genuine treat for Windows."

    No you wouldn't. You'd expect to see Microsoft's price falling and quality increasing. Which is exactly what you see.

    Again....market share market power.

  • KPres||

    "Again....market share market power."

    Dammit Reason, that's supposed to say "market share doesn't equal market power."

  • robc||

    60% in servers, a majority, I think, in mobile devices.

    It is fucking serious competition for windows, in that it is kicking its ass in the big money areas.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Which is not the market we're talking about.

    Desktop PCs were the big money areas in the 1990s and early 200s and MS had unassailable marketp owr.

  • robc||

    Which is not the market we're talking about.

    Yes it is. We are talking about the fucking OS market, which included desktops, servers, mobile devices, embedded devices, etc. The whole fucking computer industry.

    Desktop PCs were the big money areas in the 1990s

    More true than today, but it still trailed behind servers. But, especially in early to mid 90s, UNIX ruled that market, split many ways between AIX and Solaris and HPUX and etc. Linux eventually made them irrelevant. IBM started encouraging their clients to run linux on big IBM iron instead of paying them for AIX.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    We are talking about the fucking OS market, which included desktops, servers, mobile devices, embedded devices, etc.

    That would be a silly conversation, since Android isn't competing with Windows 7, etc. It would be like treating Hamburger Helper as a competitor for Buffalo Wild Wings since they both involve food.

  • sloopyinca||

    since Android isn't competing with Windows 7, etc.

    Tell that to anybody with a chromebook or a tablet with a keyboard attachment.

  • ||

    The benefits of the free market depend on competition. If the government guns are necessary to have competition, a case can be made that they should be unleashed.

    So you're saying that a monopolist criminal gang threatening force (government) is necessary to have a non-monopolist free market not based on force?

    Do you think before you type?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Market power isn't force. I never claimed it was.

  • ||

    You're claiming that if some company has a large but non-monopolistic share of a narrowly defined segment of the overall computing market, it may be necessary to unleash the force of a monopolistic criminal gang to change these entirely non-problematic outcomes.

    Oh, and I typed this statement on my iMac computer, so Bill Gates didn't exactly succeed in forcing me to purchase his crappy OS.

  • juris imprudent||

    Uh, yeah, that was exactly what you claimed.

  • robc||

    OS market lends itself naturally to market power

    As someone who has used linux as virtually* my only OS, both personally and professionally, for the last dozen years, Im confused by this statement.

    *and the others with other *nixes.

  • ||

    With the incredible power of modern computers it's totally trivial to run multiple virtual machines as well. When it comes to choice in OSes there has never been a better time in history.

  • calzero||

    For a long time, there was no customer choice of Windows for consumers. In some cases, you could specially request a Linux build, but many retailers would still force you to pay the "Windows tax"...this was the result of behind-the-scenes strong-arming by Microsoft of all major PC makers...

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    this was the result of behind-the-scenes strong-arming by Microsoft of all major PC makers

    Serious question: Can you go into more detail about this strong-arming? Did Microsoft send thugs with Brooklyn accents over to the PC manufacturers? Did they look around the warehouses while twirling a tire jack and saying "Noice bidness ya got here, a shame if sumthin' woid happen to it..." ?

    Or was it more like Microsoft saying to PC manufacturers, "if you use a competitors product, we'd be less inclined to do business with you"?

  • calzero||

    Microsoft used market position to force manufacturers (eg Dell) into exclusive contracts, and to bundle their product in all new PCs.

    But Microsoft is only one example. The theory of economic rent applies to many different fields, from oil to land.

    The question I'm trying to ask is whether folks acknowledge the existence of non-governmental coercion...

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The question I'm trying to ask is whether folks acknowledge the existence of non-governmental coercion...

    Coercion is force and aggression. Market equity is not market equality. Unless Microsoft threatened Dell with violence, you can't say they "forced" them to do anything.

  • robc||

    And I avoided paying this MS "tax" by not buying from Dell.

    Sometimes. I did buy one Dell desktop a few years back.

  • sloopyinca||

    For a long time, there was no customer choice of Windows for consumers.

    By "for a long time" don't you mean "never"?

    In some cases, you could specially request a Linux build, but many retailers would still force you to pay the "Windows tax"

    "Some". "Many". Doesn't sound like a monopoly to me.

    ...this was the result of behind-the-scenes strong-arming by Microsoft of all major PC makers...

    OK. Bit it didn't prevent anybody in the world from competing. Actually, the main barriers to the marketplace were imposed by the government in granting Microsoft sweeping IP protections they really didn't deserve. IOW, the government helped Microsoft capture marketshare, thus limiting the free market.

    Thanks for playing.

  • calzero||

    A monopoly means *effective* domination of the market, not *absolute* domination.

    See my comment below, if you require absolute domination to believe that coercion exists, then the existence of escaped slaves could be used to show that slaves are free...

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    While I'm mostly agreeing with you on this topic, there's a big difference between market power and coercion, calzero.

  • calzero||

    And I appreciate your comments on the subject...

    but what would you call the way that Microsoft used its market power on PC makers, if not coercion?

    To use another example, if I monopolize the sources of food in a given area and (therefore) use that monopoly power to force people to do things (eg pay a lot for food), how is that not coercive?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    To use another example, if I monopolize the sources of food in a given area and (therefore) use that monopoly power to force people to do things (eg pay a lot for food), how is that not coercive?

    It would only be coercive if you used threat of violence to prevent me from growing my own food.

  • calzero||

    What if there was just no arable land to farm?

    It doesn't even have to be that broad of a monopoly. This is the calculation: you buy my food because setting up your own farm is sufficiently difficult, and you'd have to transport the food fairly far, than I can extort anything less than the "threshold" price.

    I'm not saying monopoly power has to be unlimited, just that it exists.

    The libertarian hypothesis (that free markets undermine rent-taking) requires at the very least a relatively low threshold value of this type.

    This is why "price of entry" is important. If I can't build my own railroad, does the existence of walking really give me a "free" choice?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    calzero, you're confusing market power with coercion. While both involve getting people to do what they don't want to do, they are not the same thing.

  • ||

    It would also not be coercive if anybody who owned or rented or borrowed a truck could buy food elsewhere and ship it in, and you couldn't use force to stop them from doing so, and could only stop them by lowering your prices for food.

  • sloopyinca||

    I don't think you understand the definition of "coercion," since there are multiple oS options available to computer buyers and there always have been. Just because one company markets its products very well and offers incentives to manufacturers doesn't mean they have a monopoly.

    But just for you, I'm gonna put this here (emphasis mine):

    mo·nop·o·ly
    /məˈnäpəlē/
    Noun
    The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.
    The exclusive possession, control, or exercise of something: "men don't have a monopoly on unrequited love"

    Again, thanks for playing.

  • calzero||

    Again, how don't escaped slaves put slaves outside your tortured definition of "exclusive possession or control"...?

  • sloopyinca||

    A slave, by the libertarian definition, has been kept against his will. And since we value personal liberty, that "escaped" slave would be free.

    Human rights start with liberty, therefore your slave analogy is impossible in a libertarian society. If you had even a cursory knowledge of libertarianism, you'd know this.

  • calzero||

    I don't think you're understanding my analogy.

    Think of this situation - let's say the biggest manufacturer of a given product forced all retailers which it dealt with it to only display their product. Many customers may prefer the product, enough that the retailer may be force to drop other lines or lose those customers.

    You're torturing the definition of a "free" market if you regard this type of transaction as legitimate.

  • sloopyinca||

    I don't think you're understanding my analogy.

    Oh, I understand your analogy. It's just not pertinent here. A slave is a human being, not a commodity.

    Think of this situation - let's say the biggest manufacturer of a given product forced all retailers which it dealt with it to only display their product. Many customers may prefer the product, enough that the retailer may be force to drop other lines or lose those customers.

    Again, how is he "forcing" the retailer to do something? The retailer is free to tell the manufacturer to go fuck himself. What his customers "prefer" may impact his decision, but it's still a decision he is free to make. That's not coercion.

    You're torturing the definition of a "free" market if you regard this type of transaction as legitimate.

    How? Is he under threat of violence to make the decision? Is he compelled to do so, or is he free to say no? Remember, he's in no way entitled to the manufacturers goods.

  • calzero||

    See my comment below - if violence is your only definition of coercion, you're not a libertarian, you're a pacifist...

  • sloopyinca||

    Again, words have meanings. I'll use the accepted definition of "coercion" rather than your convoluted (and incorrect) one.

    coercion
    Web definitions
    the act of compelling by force of authority.
    wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    Every other definition I could find lists force as a factor. Can you find one that doesn't?*

    *No BalloonJuice or HuffPo dictionary entries, please.

  • calzero||

    Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coerce

    2: to compel to an act or choice

  • sloopyinca||

    Here's the entire entry:

    co·ercedco·erc·ing

    Definition of COERCE

    1: to restrain or dominate by force
    2: to compel to an act or choice
    3: to achieve by force or threat

    and here's the definition for the key word in the one you cherry-picked:

    com·pel transitive verb \kəm-ˈpel\
    com·pelledcom·pel·ling

    Definition of COMPEL

    1: to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly
    2: to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure
    3archaic : to drive together

    What part of force don't you understand? Without force, there is no compulsion. None of those people were compelled by MS to do anything. They chose to.

    Jesus Christ, but you're a dense one.

  • robc||

    Think of this situation - let's say the biggest manufacturer of a given product forced all retailers which it dealt with it to only display their product. Many customers may prefer the product, enough that the retailer may be force to drop other lines or lose those customers.

    This was common, prepro, in the beer industry. After prohibition, most states prevent tied houses, so it didnt happen anymore.

    However, my hometown is shows how those laws werent necessary, the market could fix it.

    All the big brewers in Louisville combined to form one. Between them they controlled the contracts on virtually all the retailers. And those they didnt have via tied house contracts had no options but to pay their, now, higher prices.

    So what happened? The few remaining independent saloons and the grocery stores got together and formed a (originally) co-op brewery. A year or so later, the big guy tried to buy them out. They refused. Within a decade, the new guy was the big guy in town. Eventually the other went away, in fact (prohibition may have killed them off for good, not sure). Falls City, who was this former co-op brewery, survived prohibition and ruled Louisville brewing until the 70s when they eventually sold out like most of the regional breweries did. But not before inflicting Billy Beer on the world.

  • ||

    So... don't buy from a major PC maker?

  • ||

    You're ignoring the manufacturers who don't charge you "Windows tax" for bare metal/Linux builds. Most people want Windows, but if you don't there are definitely options available.

    I can understand why you didn't bother to discover this, though, because it might dilute the smugness dripping off this comment.

  • calzero||

    I'm flattered that you're imagining how I'm feeling, but for most consumers Windows was the only option.

    Being able, in some difficult way, to wrestle an alternative out of the system is not the same thing as "free competition"...using this logic, you could say that the existence of escaped slaves justifies the institution of slavery...see what I mean?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Being able, in some difficult way, to wrestle an alternative out of the system is not the same thing as "free competition"...using this logic, you could say that the existence of escaped slaves justifies the institution of slavery

    Uh, no.

    If I operate a business, I am under no compulsion to make it easier for you to buy my competitor's product. If I have a large market share and you perceive it "difficult" to purchase my competitor's product, that is due to their poor marketing and distribution, which is as much a part of successful entrepreneurship as much as having a good product.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    If I have a large market share and you perceive it "difficult" to purchase my competitor's product, that is due to their poor marketing and distribution, which is as much a part of successful entrepreneurship as much as having a good product.

    Again, wrong. Apple could have had the best marketing and distribution in the history of mankind in the 1990s, and they would still not have been able to make a dent in Windows' market share. The transaction costs of going Mac for businesses were just humongous.

  • ||

    Apple could have had the best marketing and distribution in the history of mankind in the 1990s, and they would still not have been able to make a dent in Windows' market share.

    Are you seriously saying that if Apple computer had done a better job of marketing and distributing their computers, they would not have gained any market share?

    The problem in the early 1990s was that Steve Jobs was not running Apple -- things took off after he retook the helm. From Wikipedia:

    "After a power struggle with the board of directors in 1985, Jobs left Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets. In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm, which was spun off as Pixar.[11] He was credited in Toy Story (1995) as an executive producer. He served as CEO and majority shareholder until Disney's purchase of Pixar in 2006.[12] In 1996, after Apple had failed to deliver its operating system, Copland, Gil Amelio turned to NeXT Computer, and the NeXTSTEP platform became the foundation for the Mac OS X.[13] Jobs returned to Apple as an advisor, and took control of the company as an interim CEO. Jobs brought Apple from near bankruptcy to profitability by 1998."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Apple didn't "take off" immediately after Jobs came back. They didn't become a force again until the iPod. And they were still being subsidized by MS for the first few years he was back.

  • calzero||

    So, the 19th century railroad trusts were OK, because it was simply due to the competitors poor marketing of carrying sh!t on your back?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Those Gilded Age railroad trusts only existed with the full cooperation of government cronies to give them those land grants.

    You know better, son!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And competitors didn't appear in the decades after the land grants stopped.... why?

    Could it be..... "high barriers to entry"?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The 19th century railroad trusts were themselves built on government subsidies. They were not the result of free market evolution.

  • calzero||

    Do you consider anything not done by government to be coercion?

    'Cause if that's the case, you're not a libertarian, just anti-government...

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Coercion is the act or threat of harming a person's body or damaging or taking a person's property.

    It's not merely getting someone to do something they don't want to do.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Do you consider anything not done by government to be coercion?

    Of course. If a mugger threatens me with violence and takes my wallet, that's a coercive economic transaction between two private individuals.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Sure, fraud, theft, extortion.

    You're right, I'm more anti-government than libertarian - although there's probably an 80% overlap in beliefs.

    Also, I'm not reflexively opposed to government action to remedy the distortion caused by preceding government actions the way that most libertarians are.

    In the case of railroads in the 19th century, government action in the form of land grants and direct subsidies created defacto transportation monopolies in areas with a great discrepancy between the power of the railroads and their customers. At which point, regulation was preferable to the status quo. The true believing libertarian will oppose that regulation even though it became necessary as a result of preceding government intervention.

  • calzero||

    I think fraud and theft are good examples.

    Coercion is not strictly derived from violence, just an ability to force an undesirable outcome on somebody by making their alternative even worse.

    So, for instance, preventing the formation of unions (as voluntary political organizations) by the threat of firing is coercive.

    Depending on how you parse the issue, a "yellow-dog contract" (where the employee agrees as a condition of employment not to join a union), may or may not make a difference.

    And, of course, unions which compel all employees of a given employer to join are exercising coercive force...

  • Xenocles||

    If I decide that agreeing with my politics is an important part of the job, I have the right to insist on it in the people I hire. It's probably not a very good decision since I'm likely to leave a lot of talent on the table, but it's mine to make.

  • sloopyinca||

    Coercion is not strictly derived from violence, just an ability to force an undesirable outcome on somebody by making their alternative even worse.

    So if a company offers an OS to a manufacturer and says "if you use our competitors OS, we won't let you bundle our other software because it won't work with their OS", you think that's coercion? The alternative outcome is technically worse for the manufacturer. Why would the OS maker have to offer equal outcomes for whether somebody uses their product or an alternative? Doing so would be idiotic from a marketing standpoint.

    So, for instance, preventing the formation of unions (as voluntary political organizations) by the threat of firing is coercive.

    In what way? That employee is still free to seek employment elsewhere.

    Depending on how you parse the issue, a "yellow-dog contract" (where the employee agrees as a condition of employment not to join a union), may or may not make a difference.

    In what way is setting terms of employment coercive? Those prospects are free to work somewhere where they negotiate a contract they find agreeable. Nobody is entitled to work for a certain employer without agreeing to terms both find reasonable.

    And, of course, unions which compel all employees of a given employer to join are exercising coercive force...

    Perhaps, unless the employer has made joining that union a requirement of the job.

  • calzero||

    Well, I appreciate that you're consistent enough to give union-shop contracts the benefit of the doubt :)

    But you do realize that you significantly differ from the standard economic argument made by libertarians?

    If the only definition of coercion you'll accept is threat of violence, you're more of a pacifist than anything else...

  • sloopyinca||

    But you do realize that you significantly differ from the standard economic argument made by libertarians?

    There is no "standard economic argument made by libertarians".

    If the only definition of coercion you'll accept is threat of violence, you're more of a pacifist than anything else...

    I'm anything but a pacifist. I just prefer the true definition of a word as opposed to the one co-opted by people that don't know what they're talking about.

    I feel the same about the money the government steals through taxation being called "revenue."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Coercion is not strictly derived from violence, just an ability to force an undesirable outcome on somebody by making their alternative even worse.

    This is not what the word means. Coercion necessarily requires either lack of consent for a transaction or pseudo-consent obtained by deceit or threats of violence.

  • robc||

    The mafia is a perfect example of non-government coercion.

    But very few businesses operate in that manner. And microsoft, especially in their early, pre-lobbying days wasnt one of them.

  • MJGreen||

    For fuck's sake... So call both violent and nonviolent compulsion 'coercion.' There is still a difference between compelling another person through force, and 'compelling' another person by exercising your property and contract rights. We think the former should be called coercion but not the latter, especially since the latter (defined by you as "forcing an undesirable outcome") is so broad as to include almost all human interaction. How many times in your life do you have to settle for an outcome you find undesirable? Are all of them violations of libertarian principles?

    If your spouse says, "Stop commenting online and clean the house, or no sex for a week!", is he/she a libertarian villain?

  • calzero||

    I don't consider myself a libertarian, b/c I regard many forms of coercion as not only compatible with, but necessary to preserve, human liberty.

    I'm trying to draw attention to what I regard as a gaping flaw in the reasoning of libertarians. I'm pointing out that if you ignore the monopolistic tendencies of private firms, you are vulnerable to becoming a pawn in the hands of a system which can be as despotic as any government, despite being privately run.

    In fact, I think that the privately administered despotism of great wealth plays a more important role in constricting liberty than does government per se.

  • sloopyinca||

    I don't consider myself a libertarian,

    I don't consider you one either.

    I regard many forms of coercion as not only compatible with, but necessary to preserve, human liberty.

    Liberty through compulsion! Liberty through force! Liberty through regulation!

    I'm pointing out that if you ignore the monopolistic tendencies of private firms, you are vulnerable to becoming a pawn in the hands of a system which can be as despotic as any government, despite being privately run.

    All successful companies use monopolistic "tendencies" when compared to the less successful companies they compete with.

    In fact, I think that the privately administered despotism of great wealth plays a more important role in constricting liberty than does government per se.

    And the ratio of private companies being despotic vs governments being despotic in the history of mankind is what, exactly? I guess companies are always trying to be despots because that's the greatest way to keep customers coming back, right?

    Come back when you're in the real world, freshman.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The real world where market power is impossible unless you have a product lightyears better than your competitors?

  • sloopyinca||

    Right, because nobody has ever entered a market where there was existing competition and been successful unless they had a product lightyears better than their competitors.

    Ever heard of McDonalds? How about General Electric? Or Coca-Cola?

  • ||

    Are you serious Tulpa? I mean this other guy is obviously an abject retard since he can't grasp the simple concept of coercion. But fuck me running, you know better than that.

  • ||

    Your first sentence says you're "not sure if you folks are interested in discussing the article from a critical perspective" and your last accuses us of being "sycophantic shills for the already rich and powerful". I don't need to imagine because you directly told me yourself.

    Intellectual honesty is hard, let's go shopping!

  • calzero||

    That's called "bait"...gotta draw a little blood if you want any interest :)

  • ||

    He doesn't want any "interest", he's dismissing you, you're just too stupid to realize.

  • Xenocles||

    ...for most consumers Windows was the only option.

    For most consumers Windows was and continues to be the best option for several reasons:

    -Most consumers have price as their biggest decision driver, eliminating Mac OS products (which you still have to replace every couple of years anyway due to obsolescence).
    -Most consumers don't want to mess around with choosing every aspect of their computer, so whatever is offered as a default is what they want.
    -Most consumers just want their computer to work with the software they plan to buy for it without having to learn command-line inputs or dealing with a new GUI.

    MS's market share helps a lot with the second, since the network effect allows their product to become the default. But you have to remember as well that they didn't just have market share handed to them - they earned at least some of it. The bottom line is that most people don't care what OS they have, they just want what most other people have. That leads to a huge market share for one guy, but it's not the same as a monopoly.

  • robc||

    For most consumers Windows was and continues to be the best option for several reasons:

    I would change that to:

    For most consumers Windows was the best option and now shares that position with Android, depending on which type of computing they are doing.

  • Xenocles||

    I can accept that, though I was mostly concerned with the more traditional types of computer.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Whether they earned their original market share is irrelevant to the fact that they're limiting choice to the consumer. And people want what most other people have for precisely Reason #3, which is unique to the software industry and a few others like it.

  • Xenocles||

    But they aren't limiting the consumer's choice, no more than that choice would be limited if a car dealer decided to stop offering a certain color. Any consumer who cares enough about the OS options has those options, with all the advantages and disadvantages they come with. But most don't care, so they aren't really missing out on anything.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    He used his company's market position to strong-arm pc manufacturers into strong-arming customers to drop 200 bucks on his crappy os.

    Can't tell if he's just Apple fanboy or if he thinks people shouldn't be able to use a PC unless they take the time to learn DOS command lines.

  • calzero||

    I've always used PCs running windows, I'm just not too happy about it. Because they have a half-competitive model (competitive on manufacturers, not on OS) the prices are always vastly better than Apple's. Plus Apple sucks balls. (That may just be a personal opinion, though...)

  • tarran||

    It's irritating to read this crap to this day...

    Anybody who cared to could buy a system with a different OS. There was OS 2 Warp (which BTW I completely fell in love with when I inherited system admin duties over a few of them at work), the QNX (IIRC), early versions of Linux, and I think even an Open VMS port to X86.

    People bought MS stuff, because it was relatively cheap, easy to set up and had lots of apps. And, the harder they worked to block competitors from entering the marketplace, the better the competitors became.

    I think Linux (full disclosure my main workstation for my consulting biz and home use is a Linux one) is now better than Windows on the ease of use/availability of apps front, primarily because of people who were frustrated enough with the annoyances of dealing with MS that developing for Linux was worth their while.

    Frankly, the prosecution of MS is right up there with the silliness of going after Alcoa or Standard Oil - their dominance depended on keeping potential trading partners happy, and when they stopped, people shifter to alternatives that sprang up fairly quickly.

  • DWC||

    I didn't see any mention of the way the notion of "intellectual property" has skewed wealth distribution and no one can argue that it hasn't played a massive role. I have little doubt that in a pure free market, a market that is not rife with protections for established enterprises and barriers to entry - the disparity in wealth would shrink markedly. And while, yes, most of us live much better than our ancestors, we are still dependent on the crumbs that fall from the adults table and most of us are one job away from destitution. The market is so grotesquely skewed by government involvement that we can't possibly know how things would fall out if everything was governed purely by market forces. Wealth gravitates toward wealth, which is natural, but we have system where, in many cases, it is funneled toward wealth by forces which are not natural and that is primary role that governments play - whether it's funneling money into Halliburton's pockets or into the pockets of billionaire bankers and football team owners. The issue isn't the disparity itself, but how it gets there and would it get there at all if not for the government shoveling it into the pockets of its cronies.

  • calzero||

    I question - strongly - the belief that government is the primary force which limits competition.

    My primary contention is that monopolistic firms play a larger role in limiting competition than government.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    My primary contention is that monopolistic firms play a larger role in limiting competition than government.

    Your two examples, Microsoft and 19th century railroads, are both examples of businesses enriched by government subsidies and monopolies.

  • calzero||

    I'm not saying they never used government, just that government was not necessary, or indeed the source of their power...

    It's interesting to me that most self-professed libertarians have a huge blind-spot for malfeasance, as long as it's done by private firms...

    Government is a fact for business, so you could always show *some* way in which government was implicated in a monopoly, but that's not the same thing as postulating that government is the only force which can create monopoly.

    Walmart is another example, btw, which springs to mind...

  • sloopyinca||

    Walmart is another example

    Those bastards! How dare they offer items consumers want at prices they are willing to pay.

    I can only hope the professor you have in Econ102 is different than the guy you had this past semester in your intro class.

  • calzero||

    Somalian Road Corporation - here's your chance to jump in...smugness alert! :)

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Government is a fact for business...

    Slightly off topic but.

    A major mistake that people frequently make is equating pro market with pro business. The two are not equivalent. Businesses exist to make a profit and one of the easiest ways to do so is by using government to limit their competition.

  • calzero||

    I agree that it's a frequent mistake - even by people who think they are pro-market! The point about monopoly is that, if you are pro-market and not just pro-business (I would even say, pro-big-business), you have to seriously consider the ways in which monopolists build anti-competitive practices through private exercise of power.

    A blind spot for corporate power transforms the would-be libertarian into a simple sycophant, and a whiny one at that...

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The irony there is that corporations are creations of the state and therefor do not have rights in the same way that individuals do.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    cal i like your conclusions, however i have to admit i think the slavery and other analogies youve made arent the best ones. also coercion has different meanings to different ppl, here it only means threat of violence.

    you might find agreement from utilitarian minded libertarians like tulpa, but the deontological ones dont care if antitrust laws improve competition and economic prosperity.

  • calzero||

    Thanks, Zack, for the useful clarification.

  • sloopyinca||

    Or, you could have just consulted a dictionary and found that every single definition for coercion requires force of some kind to back it up.

    You didn't need a clarification as much as you needed someone to rub lotion on your butthurt.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Most of MS's dominance in the late 80s and 90s did not come from using its IP. It came from being the first company to get a large market share when business computing had become ubiquitous, and then the barriers to entry took over.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The market is so grotesquely skewed by government involvement that we can't possibly know how things would fall out if everything was governed purely by market forces.

    Just like the USSR, PRC, DPRK, etc wasn't really communism, so you can't conclude communism doesn't work?

    The OS market had very little regulation involved until the 1990s, yet market power appeared in spades. Likewise with mobile phone carriers until the present day.

  • sloopyinca||

    The OS market had very little regulation involved until the 1990s, yet market power appeared in spades.

    You mean the OS market that hardly existed until the 90's, when the major players MS and Apple reduced their prices dramatically and PC manufacture became ultracompetitive with the (unforced by government) entry of competition into the hardware markets?

    Likewise with mobile phone carriers until the present day.

    Not sure where you're going with this, as there is a robust and competitive market for mobile phones in America, both for the hardware and service.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I should have specified the "late" 1990s, when govt first started the antitrust battle with MS. By that point MS had 80% or more of the market locked up.

    I specifically said "carriers" wrt mobile phones. There are four intercity mobile phone carriers in the US, would have been 3 if antitrust hadn't been enforced against AT&T.

  • sloopyinca||

    There are four intercity mobile phone carriers in the US, would have been 3 if antitrust hadn't been enforced against AT&T.

    OK. Whatever you say, Tulpa.

    FTA (emphasis mine): This is a list of United States wireless communications service providers. According to the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA), there are over 180 facilities-based wireless service providers in the United States.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Service providers != carriers.

    Every intercity wireless provider uses one of the Big 4's networks.

  • sloopyinca||

    And that affects you in what manner? Your choices aren't limited to four.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Even if I choose a different end provider, I'm indirectly paying one of the Big 4. Plus, if the Big 4 decide they don't want an end provider to exist, all they have to do is boot them off or refuse to allow them on the network.

  • sloopyinca||

    Even if I choose a different end provider, I'm indirectly paying one of the Big 4.

    And nobody is forcing you to use a mobile phone service.

    Plus, if the Big 4 decide they don't want an end provider to exist, all they have to do is boot them off or refuse to allow them on the network.

    Fucking contracts, how do they work?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And nobody is forcing you to use a mobile phone service.

    Yes, that's the difference between coercion and makret power.

    Fucking contracts, how do they work?

    They usually have expiration dates and early termination clauses. The latter are likely to be favorable to the network owner due to the fact there are only 4 of them.

  • ||

    The market is also heavily distorted by the FCC and the federal government sitting on massive tracts of idle land that one could otherwise plunk cell towers upon.

  • sloopyinca||

    They usually have expiration dates and early termination clauses. The latter are likely to be favorable to the network owner due to the fact there are only 4 of them.

    You mean the people that invested money to build the infrastructure have more power when negotiating the use of their property?* Color me shocked.

    *The government has created many more barriers to entry by way of FCC regulations, EPA regulations and local ordinances on what people can use their private property for than any the private entities ever created.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Every intercity wireless provider uses one of the Big 4's networks.

    Stick to your area of expertise Tulpa.

    Smaller carriers may contract with larger carriers to expand coverage for their subscribers but they most definately operate their own networks. Not all small carriers are MVNOs by a long shot.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They would be unable to compete without access to the big 4 network.

  • sloopyinca||

    Another goalpost shift? Jesus, are you on steroids?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    No, bozoinca. Read what I wrote before.

    You guys scream "goalpost shift" every time a dissenter answers a different criticism. It's really annoying.

  • sloopyinca||

    Sure. You make a claim. The claim is refuted. You start another comment that shifts your initial argument rather than admitting you were wrong. That's goalpost-shifting, dude.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    He didn't refute shit. I said small carriers with intercity service use the big 4 networks. He said that they also have their own networks. Show me the refutation there.

  • sloopyinca||

    First you claimed there were only 4 carriers. I pointed out that there are over 180. You shifted to "they all have to contract with the big 4". That was proven untrue because it's not necessary, but most choose to do so. Now you're saying they have to if they want to compete.

    Sorry, but your argument reminds me of what these two guys got stuck in.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    4 intercity carriers. The others you mention either have no carrier networks or isolated small carrier networks, not intercity.

    And they do have to contract with one of the big 4, because otherwise they would be out of business. Nobody wants cell phone service with 1 sq mi of coverage.

    And the larger issue is that you're ignoring the main point of my argument and fixating on semantics and technicalities. The same shit people falsely accuse me of, btw.

  • sloopyinca||

    You fail to recognize the big 4 carriers wouldn't be shit without the local and regional carriers either because they would have had to build considerably more infrastructure than they did.

    Also, your introduction of the word "intercity" came after your "only 4" claim was shit upon.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    http://www.uscellular.com/cove.....-maps.html

    Click on licensed markets. More than 1 city or 1 sq mile.

  • sloopyinca||

    Hell, take a look at AT&T's coverage map. There's areas all over it with "partner" coverage. Those aren't AT&T's towers there, Tulpa.

    Also, I didn't see your comment, Cdr Lytton, before I basically made the same argument. Sorry if it looks like I tried to steal your thunder.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Whatever. No matter what I say you'll slander me, which I can't sue you for because I'm a pubic figure.

    I hope Banjos teaches you how to talk to people someday.

  • sloopyinca||

    Slander? Showing a coverage map for AT&T is slander now? I guess I'm glad I didn't use Sprint's. You may have accused me of anally violating you.

  • tarran||

    So sloopy, what did we learn about the futility/utility of attempting to debate something with Tulpa tonight?

  • sloopyinca||

    Well, we learned that calling someone out on their bullshit and linking to maps of wireless carriers is akin to calling them a child rapist.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You flatten yourself.

  • sloopyinca||

    I notice you conspicuously refused to acknowledge Cdr Lytton or my map and admit you were wrong, choosing to accuse me of slander instead.

    It has been noted.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Your map doesn't support what you're saying. There's no indication of "partner coverage". I'm writing you up for counterslander slander.

  • sloopyinca||

    Just click anywhere to zoom in a bit and you'll see the legend change and show huge chunks of the US in the "partner" zone.

    But you already knew that, didn't you?

  • Cdr Lytton||

    The part where the big 4 snap their fingers and the little ones disappear.

    In reality the network issue is far more symbiotic. Smaller carriers often operate in areas where the bigs boys don't, either for historical reasons or they find it uneconomical to build out their own infrastructure. Those nationwide coverage maps would be a lot more open if the big 4 didnt have their partners on it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • The Late P Brooks||

    When you have high barriers to entry it does.

    Like when I used my brand new Toshiba Windows 7 laptop to download and burn discs of Linux distros, and then wiped out Win7?

    This "rent-seeking monopolist" argument doesn't hold much water unless you can show how Gates connived with the government to make it unlawful to replace his OS with another.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You do realize you paid Microsoft for the copy of Windows that you destroyed, right?

  • ||

    And now he won't give any more money to Microsoft. Go Microsoft!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Speaking of torrential smug self gratification, go read the NYT editorial about "tax reform". I'm not going to link, but find it if you dare.

    Reader's Digest Version:

    Rich people are hoarding all the money, and must be punished. Income disparity is evil, and can only be rectified by taking lots and lots of money from rich people and giving it to government bureaucrats.

    Spending cuts (even of the draconian scale the President has reluctantly offered) cannot save us.

    We should incentivise saving; the way to accomplish this, naturally, is by taxing investment and accumulated wealth.

  • ||

    The left has never understood that wealth is created. They figure if Peter has more than Paul the only thing to do is steal it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    You do realize you paid Microsoft for the copy of Windows that you destroyed, right?

    Yes. So what? There are other features of this computer I have never used. It was worth it to me to replace it with an OS I paid nothing for.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    monopolistic firms play a larger role in limiting competition than government.

    Like when that guy from Gimbel's threatened to beat the shit out of you when he saw you going into Macy's. I'll bet you watched a show on the History Channel, and now you know everything about the history of capitalism.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Gimbel's wasn't a monopoly.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    not sure if you folks are interested in discussing the article from a critical perspective, given the *ahem* wide-ranging discussion here

    DRINK!

  • calzero||

    Sure - you buying?

  • ||

    I am always shocked at the general level of tax acceptance. Why we tolerate a two party system in which the big tax debate is whether or not to raise the taxes on people making more than $250K or $1 million is beyond me.

    Hey: wanna make housing more affordable? If someone works for an average salary of approximately $50K a year, and pays 15% in payroll taxes, then, working for 40 years, they'll pay the government $300K, i.e., enough money to buy two average houses. It's more money than the typical family puts aside for retirement. Maybe it would be easier to buy a home than going into massive debt over the course of our lives if we didn't have to give the government two houses worth of taxes.

    And, what's the big political debate? Inconsequential taxes on the rich and spending cuts, debt ceilings, and whether or not to ban guns. We have protests begging for student loan forgiveness. Pathetic.

    I wish we could just openly admit that we tolerate a pretty crappy system for no other reason than we're stupid sheep and we tolerate abuse as long as it doesn't go too far, since we expect shit from the ruling class and mob rule democracy. That would be better than pretending some patriotic bullshit in-this-togetherness, and how awesome our system is, just because we have a constitution, and people vote.

  • Mike M.||

    Agree totally! A lot of stuff I see at Reason makes me shake my head, but nothing disgusts me more than when so-called libertarians advocate raising taxes.

    Low taxes is the my personal #1 freedom litmus test. If you're advicating raising taxes, you're an enabler of bigger and bigger government, and you're a liberal, not a libertarian.

  • Proprietist||

    Sorry, I disagree. I would never, ever have voted for the spending that has put us in debt like this, but since not having enough revenue is obviously not a deterrent to politicians spending money that hasn't been earned yet, I'd rather American taxpayers be punished good and hard for the fucktards they have elected and the debt said fucktards have racked up, while simultaneously slicing 10% across the government board.

    We always knew pain would come for our shitty spendthrift ways. The time is here, and it's going to suck but far better now than later when the debt will be even bigger. I'd rather be taxed today than billed with interest tomorrow.

  • T o n y||

    Since borrowing money is nearly free, it's actually the best possible time to borrow. But it is progress when libertarians acknowledge that paying for things means paying for things.

  • Proprietist||

    No, Tony, it's not the best possible time to borrow when we already owe all creditors one year of complete economic output. If American signed our total paychecks over to the Chinese and survive solely on previously earned savings if available - or otherwise live homeless, subsisting on ramen noodles for a whole year - we could pay off our current debt. Since that is unrealistic, the fiscal cliff is a pragmatic first step. If not for spendthrifts like yourself and both major parties, we would have no need for painful fiscal austerity or higher taxes on anyone.

    If government were already reduced to minimum legitimate functions and tax revenues are temporarily cut as "stimulus" in a recession, I'd be ok with taking on more debt temporarily, provided in good years taxes are raised to pay off the previously incurred debt and generate a surplus lockbox that can't be opened until the next downturn or emergency.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The federal government does not borrow money in any conventional sense of that term.

  • ||

    I might agree with you, if I thought that sovereign debt was legitimate, and that it was legitimate to hold tax payers responsible for it. Which, it's not.

  • Proprietist||

    Well, unfortunately taxpayers would be responsible for paying for the cost of defending ourselves from the war China and Japan would launch in miraculous alliance if we ever reneged on our sovereign debt. And I'd take higher taxes today over future currency devaluation any day of any week.

  • ||

    I seriously doubt the Japanese and the Chinese would ever go to war with us over debt. I don't think that would be a rational economic decision. Starting WW3 would be a pretty expensive proposition, and not likely to recoup any bad debt or investment.

    If your choices are between higher and higher taxes, or more and more devalued currency, then you're resigned yourself to eating shit, and now you're just arguing over the flavor. I can't get past the first part, so choosing creme de la horse over cherry cowpie doesn't really concern me.

  • Proprietist||

    Agree it's unlikely since our economies are so intertwined, but in my opinion canceling $1.1T for each in sovereign debt is a provocative act that justifies them declaring war, sanctions and seeking arrest of our elected officials for fraud.

    And while I agree with cutting government size and spending anyday of the week, we've been forced to eat shit by our politicians, so I'll take the shit that tastes worse so people decide they want to stop being made to eat shit. Devaluing the currency is like injecting shit straignt into your bloodstream with an IV so you don't have to taste it, but it's just as fatal.

  • robc||

    Re: Monopolies, oligopolies, barriers to entry, etc.

    The new field Im entering has a clear oligopoly.

    The top player in the US market had 46.9% share in 2011.
    #2 had 28.4%. That is over 75% between them.

    Entry into the field isnt cheap. It isnt outrageous either, but it would be to try to compete with the big 2.

    But, fortunately, Im not trying to compete with the Big 2*. If I get .01% of the market, I will make a very nice living. If I can get .1% of the market, I will be rolling in money. As an example, a company that had slightly over .1% of the market was recently bought out by #1 for about $40 million dollars.

    *well, technically, I will be, but the point is, not in a way they would even notice.

  • robc||

    Math is hard.

    I was off by a factor of 2, confusing the amount #1 produced with amount industry produced.

    So, that company that sold out for $40M, yeah, they were about .06% of the market, not .1%.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    But that means you're not the kind of entrant that would keep the Big 2 under control.

  • sloopyinca||

    So fucking what? First you said there was no competition. Then you changed it to no "serious" competition. Now you're talking about keeping the major players "under control."

    You have outdone yourself today, Tulpa.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They're synonyms/clarifications. I like to spice things up and not use the same words all the time. My argument is the same.

  • sloopyinca||

    I guess I didn't know that:

    competition
    serious competition
    keep under control

    were synonyms. I'm glad I came online today so you could educate me. Usually I have to go to a circus to see contortions like this. You've saved me some money.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I didn't think clowns had to pay to get in to the circus.

  • sloopyinca||

    Some of us do.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Clown Shultz does.

    That shit is as embarrassing as Underzog.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    His Mystirium cover is better.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That's not in the Christmas spirit, HM.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Underzog playing and singing a Christmas carol....?

    I don't know what to believe anymore. Everything I knew was lies!

    Damn you, Tulpa!

  • ||

    They're synonyms/clarifications. I like to spice things up and not use the same words all the time.

    "I moved the goalposts because I got my ass whupped" uses fewer words.

    My argument is the same.

    "I refuse to admit I was wrong" has the advantage of clarity if not brevity.

  • robc||

    And yet, entrants like me are making them radically change their product line.

    I dont know exactly what you mean by "keep under control" either.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You need to get your story straight.

    But, fortunately, Im not trying to compete with the Big 2*.

    *well, technically, I will be, but the point is, not in a way they would even notice.
  • robc||

    Huh?

    Which part is causing the problem for you.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They're radically changing their product line due to competitors they don't even notice?

  • robc||

    They dont/wont notice me.

    The 2000 of us that have about 6% of the market and growing double digits every year, that they have noticed.

    And radically was an exaggeration on my part, most of their product line isnt changing at all. Well, the best sellers arent. If you look at the set of products, its a radical change, if you weigh by volume sold, not so much.

  • ||

    But that means you're not the kind of entrant that would keep the Big 2 under control.

    I believe that was the same thing some airlines said about Southwest Airlines back when it was a tiny player.

  • sloopyinca||

    OT: I wonder if Auric Demonocles is trying to unload his cruise tickets since it's likely his Patriots are gonna end up with the #2 seed and he's gonna have a home playoff game in 2 weeks.

    I hope he really gets laid if he can't move the cruise.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    and Bears fans everywhere hope the Vikings win.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    dammit lose

  • sloopyinca||

    I know you're just confused. Probably waiting on the Rough Riders vs Roughriders matchup in the summer.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    This Bears fan hopes the Vikings win, since it means Lovie might get fired.

    If the Vikings win, it means another embarrassing loss at SF followed by a few years of Lovie's mealy mouthed mediocrity.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The second sentence should be "vikings lose"

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    You know who else didn't commit suicide at the end of WWII?

  • sloopyinca||

    I've always looked skeptically at the suicide in the bunker accounts. Read Albert Speer's take on Hitler. The man was terrified of death and would have done anything to escape it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    He probably had a good guess as to what the Soviets would have done to him if they captured him.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    TBH, he probably should have moved to Hamburg if he wanted to escape death for a while.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    We know what happened - he moved to Brazil and they Saved His Brain.

  • sloopyinca||

    Or he went to Antarctica and eventually met up with Jake Busey.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Oh, Antarctica - what untold horrors *can't* be found there?

  • tarran||

    Dude, Hitler was a huge crystal meth addict,taking many doses every day. People who do huge quantities of crank see their decision making get increasingly erratic and irrational.

  • sloopyinca||

    That would at least explain why he went to Argentina instead of Brazil.

  • Xenocles||

    Harry Truman?

    My grandfathers?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Good. Hopefully Blair Walsh just got Lovie Smith fired.

  • Proprietist||

    Can the Reason IT people get with the fucking program? Multiple times this week I have gotten logged off right in the middle of commenting. It's always the ones I put time and thought into. To add insult to injury, these popups are inexcusible.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You have to check the "remember me" box when you log in.

  • JeremyR||

    Hmmm, I've been logged in since they went to registered commenting.

  • Proprietist||

    Libertarians should approach inequality with nuance. Inequality resulting from a free market with equal rights protection is good and promotes individual advancement, entrepreneurship, creativity and economic progress and mobility. It would be bad if the teenage dishwasher and the middle-aged rocket scientist earned the same wage, as the teenage dishwasher would have no reason to strive to be a rocket scientist.

    Inequality resulting from historical or current policies by government is unnatural inequality and thus should be opposed by libertarians. The government has been the primary instigator of cyclical poverty and promoter of cronyism/corporatism by violating free market principles, devaluing the currency, socializing corporate risk and violating individual rights. Unfortunately, it becomes difficult to distinguish what is "natural", good inequality from competition, experience and creativity, and what is state-created, bad inequality.

    The fact that the Left oversimplifies inequality as a "bad thing" doesn't mean we have to oversimplify inequality as a "good thing" to show our faith in markets. Like the environment and corporate malfeasance, libertarians jump too quickly into dichotomies that only exist due to a simplistic understanding of the issues.

  • T o n y||

    Yeah you don't get to claim it's a free market when convenient. In fact it seems totally implausible that in a world in which people can game the government for favors that the poor are getting away with the real loot. Libertarians have no problem with changes in policy to rectify the alleged unfair taking on the part of the poor, but rarely if ever endorse any policy to rectify looting by the rich--which, of course, doesn't need to be done through subsistence programs, but is done in the tax code. That subsistence programs exist for an actual reason, while massive tax cuts and blind eyes toward tax avoidance exist just for the sake of greed and corruption, is a not irrelevant underlying conversation.

  • ||

    Maybe that's because not taking more of someone/a company's money via tax cuts does not equal giving them more money.

    It's like you don't even try anymore Tony with spaces.

  • Proprietist||

    That's bullshit, and you know it, Tony. Libertarians have been on the frontlines opposing corporate subsidies, the cronyism-riddled regulatory state, the currency devaluation that disproportionately impacts the poor, eminent domain that benefits the rich developers at the expense of poor communities, the rent-seeking of business blocking competitors of lower means from entering into markets and starting businesses, the competition killing policies that all the too-big-to-fail corporations love for growing their market share, etc. etc. etc. Some of us even go further and say that corporate owners should be personally liable for the debts and actions of their property and that capitalism is corrupt when it involves state socialization of corporate risk.

    The fact that you have hung around here enough and still claim libertarians "rarely if ever endorse any policy to rectify looting by the rich" indicates you are either very stupid and lacking in reading comprehension or very dishonest. I've always assumed the latter. But maybe you really are dumb enough to think raising tax rates on millionaires from 36% to 39% will really stave off economic inequality.

  • ||

    Toady's the master of projection.

    he constantly claims that it's the libertarians that are supporting all the things his gang implemented.

    Those things being the one's you listed, "corporate subsidies, the cronyism-riddled regulatory state...etc".

    Find any one of the things on the list and chances are they were originally proposed by liberal democrats.

  • T o n y||

    So name a single economic policy proposal libertarians differ from Republicans on. I have never, ever read a libertarian calling for a tax increase. You may say that's just the nature of libertarianism, but if so then it's a useless dogmatic con game.

    You do not support eliminating cronyism by wealthy interests. You just say you do in the abstract. But every single economic policy you support, i.e., laissez-faire, is an expansion of the liberty of wealthy interests to influence policy in their favor. The outcomes of your beliefs matter so much more than the alleged intentions--that should be obvious.

  • ||

    Because a) raising taxes litterally won't do dick to fix the problems we are facing, b) any extra money the government brings in via increased taxes goes straight to spending and not debt service (see Regan in the early 80's), and c) in order to get any meaningful bump in revenue, you have to raise taxes on middles class and poor people. Why do you hate the poor Tony?

    Never minding the fact that plenty of posters here have offered you policy ideas that were less than the libertarian ideal, but you are such a mendacious little twat of a sockpuppet you kick and scream and run away like the spoiled fucking turd gobbler you, and the rest of your team blue jack offs, are.

  • Proprietist||

    "name a single economic policy proposal libertarians differ from Republicans on"

    - ending corporate welfare
    - ending state limited liability protections
    - stopping use of eminent domain for the natural gas pipeline from Canada
    - ending the devaluation of the dollar (unless Ron Paul = "Republicans" in Tonyland)
    - actually cutting spending and government (lip service does not = policy proposal)

    Pretty much the only place Republicans and Libertarians completely agree is on cutting taxes, and I tend to disagree with the consumption or flat/regressive income tax proposals they usually support.

  • Proprietist||

    Except in the cases of people who physically or mentally are unable to work or survive, welfare is an extremely regressive concept, giving able-bodied people enough to survive on to discourage self-improvement through education and hard work while maintaining a perpetual underclass for the politicians to exploit with class warfare rhetoric and disingenous fearmongering about how those who oppose perpetual state dependency are trying to put them out on the streets. And then, when these same people are stuck in loops of poverty thanks to both the welfare state and the effects of living in poor communities and being educated in shitty schools, you decry that it must be about those greedy rich people taking home a few percentage points more of their income. Really?

  • T o n y||

    You have absolutely nothing to offer the poor and uneducated except cut 'em off, that'll motivate them (because those types of people are lazy with no ambition, naturally). If welfare is so generous that it messes with incentives on a wide scale, fine, but that's probably not the case. It's actually the case that people, even those who educate themselves and are willing to work hard, can't find jobs that don't exist. And that's not the fault of the social welfare state, but actually the irresponsibility and misdeeds of the very wealthy.

  • XM||

    Welfare in America is generous enough where you have serious incentive not to work. I've known legal secretaries coasting on their unemployment.

    Businesses aren't job distribution centers that exist for the benefit of mankind. They have to make money. And being wealthy does not burden you with any social obligation to hire someone.

    Unless the long lines at the Apple store and crowded malls during the holidays are all Republicans, leftists are pretty much guilty of adding to the wealth of the 1%. They don't control the wealth, you give it to them.

  • ||

    In former Soviet Union, UKRAINE LOOMS LARGE! (I mixed memes. See what I did there?-D)

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  • Paul Revere||

    Obama is a Marxist and ALL Marxists believe the following:

    Government, not free markets, is best at picking life's winners and losers.

    Obama picked the 2% as the losers and the 47% as the winners.
    Obama picked coal as the loser and Green Energy as the winner.
    Obama picked the GM unions as the winner and GM bondholders as the loser.

    Multiply this by one thousand winners and losers that Obama has picked in 4 years and you arrive at Obamaville; the Marxist paradise.

    Marxism ALWAYS fails whenever and wherever it is tried - so will Obamaville fail...............

  • MoreFreedom||

    Gillespie has a fine idea in exposing how government causes inequality. But he barely scratches the surface of how it does exactly that. He also points out how programs to reduce/eliminate poverty don't work, but again he barely scratches the surface. Given the limitations of the size of an article, his scratching the surface is understandable. It'd take at least 2 books to cover the subject.

    Nor does Gillespie mention that it's immoral to forcibly take from someone only to give it to another. Doesn't government exist to protect our liberties, rather than exist to take (money and liberty) from some and give it to others?

    Government doesn't exist to make our incomes equal, it exists to protect our liberty, and must treat us equally before the law to do so. It no longer treats us equally.

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