Lefty Political Framer George Lakoff Presaged Obama/Brown "You Didn't Build That" Theme

Over at the Legal Insurrection blog, William A. Jacobson makes a plausible case that the Barack Obama/Elizabeth Warren line of argument valorizing the collective, government-provided goods that individual achievers should be more grateful for, was definitely pre-rehearsed and possibly influenced by that one-man provider of dubious lefty political "framing," George Lakoff. Here's Lakoff in his 2004 book Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives:

Taxation is paying your dues, paying your membership fee in America. If you join a country club or a community center, you pay fees. Why? You did not build the swimming pool. You have to maintain it. You did not build the basketball court. Someone has to clean it. You may not use the squash court, but you still have to pay your dues. Otherwise it won't be maintained and will fall apart. People who avoid taxes, like corporations that move to Bermuda, are not paying their due to their country. It is patriotic to be a taxpayer. It is traitorous to desert our country and not pay your dues.

Perhaps Bill Gates Sr. said it best. In arguing to keep the inheritance tax, he pointed out that he and Bill Jr. did not invent the Internet. They just used it--to make billions. There is no such thing as a self-made man. Every businessman has used the vast American infrastructure, which the taxpayers paid for, to make his money. He did not make his money alone. He used taxpayer infrastructure. He got rich on what other taxpayers had paid for: the banking system, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and Commerce Departments, and the judicial system, where nine-tenths of cases involve corporate law. These taxpayer investments support companies and wealthy investors. There are no self-made men! They wealthy have gotten rich using what previous taxpayers  have paid for. They owe the taxpayers of this country a great deal and should be paying it back.

Sounds pretty familiar, right? Now consider that that passage was not initially flagged by some lefty-baiting blog, but by the lefty-helping blog, The Daily Kos, where diarist Panacea Paola in March pointed out that "This passage and the argument surrounding it sound extremely similar to something we've been hearing recently and for the first time in a long time." That something? Elizabeth Warren's contention that "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody."

Paola calls this "the winning progressive message," but I suspect that the president's furious backtracking/counterpunching after "You didn't build that" indicates some doubt about that, for one excellent reason: Federal spending has doubled in one decade, and we aren't getting double the quality in services. Spending on that level has ballooned debt service into 6 percent of the federal budget, with trend lines currently predicting that interest payments alone will eclipse the already enormous defense budget before the end of this decade. Meanwhile, all that spending has stubbornly failed to provide the promised-for economic turnaround.

Combining this sorry track record of government spending with an in-your-face accusation of taxpayer ingratitude strikes me as a little less than "winning," but you people go knock yourself out.

Here's Lakoff on video, as flagged by Jacobson:

More Reason on "You didn't build that," from Ira Stoll, J.D. Tuccille, me, Emily Ekins, Tim Cavanaugh, David Harsanyi, me again, Ed Krayewski, Damon W. Root, and Ronald Bailey.

And more Reason on George Lakoff: Jesse Walker (2005), Tim Cavanaugh (2008), and me (2009).

Top link via the Twitter feed of David "Iowahawk" Burge.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Gates' billions came mostly from desktops and enterprise servers, not the Internet.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Applications, that is, not hardware.

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    Yes. And Gates Sr. did not do shit. In fact he wanted Gates Jr. to stay at Harvard, not drop out to build Microsoft into a multi-billion dollar company.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He still refers to Bill as "My disappointing son."

  • ||

    Yes, and they were even late to the game in developing a web browser. That's why there was such an uproar when they tried to shove Netscape out of the market, by bundling the browser into the Windows 98 operating system.

    Arguably, Microsoft's decline coincides with the rise of the internet. They don't even have a smart phone. That's an Apple/Google fight.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Decline is a strong word. They still control the OS market and office applications. Windows 8 will be an interesting test of their ability to leap to devices, though they've failed at that before.

  • ||

    Dedicated "office applications" are becoming increasingly meaningless as almost everything is now done through a browser.

  • ||

    Not at my office.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Not yet. But it's moving in that direction.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, there's change in the air, but MS might be able to stay relevant. For instance, in enterprise cloud computing, the big players right now are Google and Microsoft.

    I think they'll retain relevance in the OS space, too, but I wonder what's going to happen to the Office suite. Many companies--let alone private consumers--don't upgrade to newer versions of Office anymore. My kids' computer at home has the free OpenOffice rather than the MS version.

  • T||

    Apparently, we won't upgrade because the upgrade breaks our lovingly crafted macros that check our engineering documents for formatting. I wonder how many other companies are in the same boat.

  • Killazontherun||

    Gabe Newell, who once worked as an exec at Microsoft before starting his on highly successful company, Valve, and one of the smartest guys in the business is not too keen on Windows 8:

    http://allthingsd.com/20120725.....-and-more/

    "The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don’t realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behavior," says Valve's Gabe Newell as quoted on AllThingsD. "We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It’s a hedging strategy. I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality."

  • ||

    Isn't the Blackberry kind of a Windows operated phone? Or are you saying because it is manufactured by someone other than Microsoft and just runs on Windows?

  • squarooticus||

    Blackberry does not use Windows.

  • Tim||

    Five minutes from now Blackberry won't be making anything.

  • Ice Nine||

    True, making Microsoft's course a worthy exemplar for the unwitting use here by Comrade Lakoff.

  • MJGreen||

    They do have the Windows phone. But it seems like it's already out of commission.

    And I don't know the history that well, but I'm very, very confused as to what Gates Sr. did in regards to the Internet (or Microsoft in general). Or is it of the same idea as the general sentiment, that Jr. couldn't have done anything without his father?

  • JW||

    They do have the Windows phone. But it seems like it's already out of commission.

    Nope. Going strong for a 3rd player in a 2 player dominated market, but it has already surpassed Blackberry in sales (granted not hard to do today) and Windows Phone 8 will be out in the Fall.

  • JW||

    They don't even have a smart phone. That's an Apple/Google fight.

    Yes, yes they do. It's late to the game and doesn't have the numbers that iOS and Android do, but it's growing, albeit slowly. It's actually a very nicely engineered OS. Even the Great and Powerful Woz ikes it and prefers it over Android.

    Microsoft has demonstrated repeatedly that while it doesn't see trends well, at all, it can start late and own the game after a few years.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Oh, and I completely forgot the Xbox.

  • JW||

    MS seems to be focusing their branding around the Xbox.

    I keep thinking about getting a Roku for streaming, but then MS adds new streaming channels to the Xbox, so I keep skipping the Roku.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They've done a pretty good job in gaming.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Yes, and they were even late to the game in developing a web browser.

    And it didn't support tables when they did. The pulsing N did, though.

  • ||

    I still miss the Commodore computer and their early version of the internet, Quantum Link.

  • Drake||

    While Gates, Wozniak, and Jobs were busy stealing the GUI and mouse from Xerox, they failed to notice that Xerox had them connected to a network.

  • Cyto||

    Huh? Windows for Workgroups shipped with netbios networking in the box, as well as drivers for Novell IPX/SPX. TCP/IP stacks were add-ons, but nobody much was using that now-ubiquitous protocol at the time. Prior to that your network adapter would come with drivers for your lan of choice. Same goes for Apple with the Macintosh. The old IIe was easy enough to connect to the network as well, even TCP/IP. Made a decent terminal.

    Of course, there was nothing much to "internetwork" to unless you were at a university prior to the opening up of the internet in the early/mid nineties. Most people got their connectivity via dialup BBS systems, later via Mega-massive BBS systems like Compuserve and Prodigy. "Internetworking" for the unwashed consisted of Fidonet - shuttling email between BBS systems overnight. You could send an email around the globe in only a couple of days! Ahh... good times.

  • Killazontherun||

    They noticed, and Cyto points out the adaptations they made early on. However, they were limited by legal considerations of the ATT federally backed monopoly in what they could do with that networking technology.

  • ||

    I noticed The Obama has come out with a response ad, basically saying "what I reaqlly meant was..." It's kinda desperate.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What he really meant that All Our Base Are Belong to Him.

  • ||

    All Your Business Are Belong to Us

    The new Progressive motto.

  • Mr. Soul||

    Somebody set us up the bomb for sure.

  • ||

    Obama set us up the bomb.

  • o3||

    did u invent the word "desperate"?

  • ||

    Did you invent stupidity?

  • Restoras||

    No, he just lives the lifestyle.

  • Sevo||

    Naah, but o3 has developed it to a high standard.
    All on his own!

  • ||

    I was just trying to figure out who "u" is. Unabomber? Urkel? Usain Bolt?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...was definitely pre-rehearsed and possibly influenced by that one-man provider of dubious lefty political "framing," George Lakoff.

    Considering the epic backfire, I don't think too many Democrats will be taking many more cues from Comrade Lakoff.

  • wareagle||

    oh come on, now. Liberals are not deterred by lousy results.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    You're right. If I recall correctly Lakoff has tossed out backfiring "framing" strategies before. Yet they keep listening to him because he's usually quite good at making liberals feel morally and intellectually superior.

  • NeonCat||

    And thin, judging from the photos.

  • juris imprudent||

    I love the whole "people miss the message for the framing" reason for why most of America pisses on the feet of progressives.

    Yah, keep telling yourselves that.

  • BarryD||

    Lakoff is a disgusting, fat slob, though. Lots of people rant about stuff, especially guys like him. Nobody takes them too seriously.

    Someone in an actual position of power who listens, e.g. BO, should pay a higher price for repeating the rantings of such an obvious piece of shit, than the guy who said the stuff in the first place.

  • gaijin||

    That huge gut you got there Mr Lakoff? Yeah, you built that!

  • Anomalous||

    Not by himself. He used government infrastructure to get to those restaurants.

  • ||

    And the gubmint food pyramid.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    and federally subsidized corn syrup.

  • RPR2||

    the giant dumps he takes don't go away on their own. someone else made that plunger.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    They dont' get plunged. They get squished in between blank pages, and sold as "books".

  • Geoff Nathan||

    Some of us do take George's linguistics seriously. Me for example (see papers here). And many linguists, being social scientists, do agree with his political analyses (you know, Republicans think the government is your father, Democrats think it's your mother--actually referred to in an episode of West Wing a few years ago).
    But his achievement in arguing for the importance of metaphor in how we understand language doesn't make him a political scientist. Although he and I have talked politics some, I don't think he really understands what libertarianism is all about, at least in part because it doesn't fit into his mother/father dichotomy.
    Incidentally, I think government is the bad cop down the street.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Personally, I'd view any government that tried to play the role of either of my parents as deeply and unmistakably creepy.

  • BarryD||

    Which is why I tend to view the government as deeply and unmistakably creepy. Jeffrey Dahmer creepy, not Winona Ryder creepy.

  • BarryD||

    "I don't think he really understands what libertarianism is all about, at least in part because it doesn't fit into his mother/father dichotomy."

    That doesn't make him very smart. It makes him a product of his own simplistic prejudices. That, more than his slovenly personal habits, is what makes him a "disgusting slob", in an intellectual sense.

  • BarryD||

    BTW the "mother/father" thing is something a smart high school student could have come up with for a term paper. I'd bet there's someone out there who did.

  • ||

    I would have thought that "clever high school student term paper thinking" was a little too smart for network TV, but I suppose that's how you win Emmys.

  • juris imprudent||

    (you know, Republicans think the government is your father, Democrats think it's your mother--actually referred to in an episode of West Wing a few years ago).

    I'd rather mentally picture my parents fucking then either one of them being a symbol of the govt.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Maybe that is the mark of a true libertarian.

  • Joe R.||

    The government is Boss Hogg.

  • sarcasmic||

    By that argument, taxes should be 100%, and everyone is given a stipend according to their need.

    Let TOP MEN decide what it shall be.

  • Anomalous||

    And productivity will actually increase, because everyone will want to do the best possible job for the good of the state.

  • o3||

    go back to barter sar and stop using govt-printed money. just say no no no...

  • sarcasmic||

    Because if government doesn't print money, no one will.
    Right?

  • Ed||

    It's a great hustle the statists have. Ban private alternatives to government services and then hail government services as the cornerstone of success.

    I wouldn't need government-printed money if there were free banking. I use government-printed money because "legal tender" laws, not because in the absence of government money I'd have to barter my body for what I need.

  • o3||

    states printing their own currency didnt work...and neither did the articles of confederation

  • wareagle||

    nice straw man, because everyone knows that banks could not come up with a uniform currency on their own. States get that there might be trouble with each having its own system.

  • sarcasmic||

    everyone knows that banks could not come up with a uniform currency on their own

    But then how could the federal government debase the currency if they don't have the monopoly on it?

  • sarcasmic||

    Your ignorance of history is unsurprising.

  • ||

    States didn't print their own currency, regional banks did. And it work for far longer then the Federal Reserve has been in existence. You should learn your history before you go around making such bold statements.

  • Restoras||

    "Printing". Seems to be a recurring problem in history.

  • ||

    We certainly wouldn't resort to using silver and gold.

  • Ska||

    I have a pack of cigarettes here that say you'll be proven wrong. ;)

  • ||

    I have a pack of cigarettes here that say you'll be proven wrong. ;)

    Considering the fact that in o3's ideal world we would probably all be locked up for our beliefs, that pack of smokes might make you a rich man one day.

  • Leonard Rockstein||

    This.

    Everyone is so wrapped up in what Barry's comments mean they miss the simple argument that he's making: B/c people use government infrastructure then they're subject to whatever ridiculous tax rate we feel like and they have no right to bitch.

  • ||

    They REALLY miss the most important argument of all: Failures have the same "access" to infrastructure that successes do.

  • Trespassers W||

    So... Lakoff is arguing that government should follow a fee-for-service model?

  • ||

    That's exactly how I read it.

  • ||

    Well no, cuz... squash courts?

  • juris imprudent||

    Let alone that every club I've ever paid dues to, everyone paid the same amount.

    Lakoff wants a flat tax!

  • Trespassers W||

    Worse. If the fee is the same for everyone in absolute terms, it's a regressive tax.

    For a man called "progressive"....

  • DA||

    Whaddya mean "you people?"

  • John||

    Isn't it enough that Lukin has to make himself into a character out of Orwell? Why does he also feel the need to look like an actual pig from Animal Farm?

  • Drake||

    Some are more equal than others at the buffet.

  • John||

    Well he skipped the salad bar so that put him in front.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    BUFFET = Big Ugly Fat Fuckers Eating Together

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I'm sure it's the evil profit-seeking fast food industry that force fed him into the grotesque fat continent he has become, and I'm sure he didn't enjoy any of it. And by "sure," I mean "sure he would say."

  • Matrix||

    Can't use the country club analogy. You can always quit your country club. People who want to leave our country are labelled traitors by these imbeciles. They want to make it illegal to leave.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Not to mention, sounds like he's proposing a flat tax. But flat as in everyone pays the same exact dollar amount rather than percentage. Lakoff is a regressive!

  • T o n y||

    Or just ex-patriots. If you weren't free to leave, you guys would have a point, but you are.

  • John||

    You mean like all of those liberals who vowed to move to Canada if Bush won?

  • T o n y||

    Have a cup of coffee and get back to me.

  • John||

    Tony when Obama loses, you will be back to claiming the government is illegitimate. Everyone knows that. So shut up with patriotism shit. You care about your team being in charge and nothing else.

  • T o n y||

    Your last sentence is right, but you're no better of course. I don't care about patriotism, I was simply pointing out that anyone is indeed free to leave the country if they don't like the terms of its social contract. But if you stay, you can hardly expect to enjoy the things other people paid for and built without contributing yourself.

  • John||

    Tony I have often defended Obama's drone program much to the ire of this board.

    You have never once defended a program by the other team until after your team decides it is okay. You change your position on things based on who is in charge.

    Stop projecting.

  • T o n y||

    Who's projecting? Stop imposing a set of standard-issue ultra-left beliefs on me that I've never claimed to have. Even during Bush I was no pacifist, I simply thought his lying and warmongering were rather horrific. I only have one major political belief, that is, Republicans are stupid and corrupt and will destroy this country if they ever get the chance. Or, destroy it more than they already have done. I will worry about little baby victims of drone strikes once the Republicans are comfortably decaying on the ash heap of history. Because no matter what horrors Obama commits, any given Republican will just do them too, only more horrifically and in a more poorly managed way.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 10:33AM|#
    "Stop imposing a set of standard-issue ultra-left beliefs on me that I've never claimed to have."

    Lie, shithead.

  • John||

    Even during Bush I was no pacifist, I simply thought his lying and warmongering were rather horrific.

    Until Obama continued all of those wars and started new ones, then it was okay.

    I only have one major political belief, that is, Republicans are stupid and corrupt and will destroy this country if they ever get the chance.

    But I am not the partisan hack here you are John.

    I know it is Thursday and all. But my God Tony you are just astoundingly funny and completely lack self awareness even more than usual today.

  • T o n y||

    I have some issues with how Obama handled Afghanistan, but other than that I really have no complaints. He got bin Laden at practically no cost, and he's contributing to the toppling of dictators without any massive land armies.

    You and I both know this isn't about me not being sufficiently critical of Obama, it's about you needing to feel good about yourself for supporting the corrupt incompetent fool who preceded him.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Notice how he insinuates that we don't "contribute". Like we're all rich politicians with offshore holdings, like Romney and many Democrats.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 10:22AM|#
    "I was simply pointing out that anyone is indeed free to leave the country if they don't like the terms of its social contract."

    No, shithead, it's not "free".

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And, of course, he only blames Team Red for our problems, and never - as he should - both Teams.

    Watch. Now he'll make some specious accusation of some kind.

  • T o n y||

    Just how much do you think the universe owes you, you entitled little whiner?

    I'm sorry you're not born a full free agent in a nation of your own creation. Take it up with biology.

    Libertarians are often compared to myopic self-important teenagers bitching that their parents make them do chores while they live rent-free in their house, but I've never actually met a teenager as delusionally entitled as you guys.

  • aelhues||

    Lessons learned:

    Entitled: A person wishing to be free.
    Government: My parents, who I owe all for raising me and providing me rent free housing.

  • Restoras||

    You're the one that's delusional, shitforbrains. You're the one that thinks government is the progenitor of prosperity and freedom. You're the one that disingenously thinks people here aren't for limited government services - services that could easily be provided with a smal fraction of the money currently taxed, and spent.

    Shitheads eat and sleep in shit.

  • T o n y||

    Having a government is by all evidence necessary, if not sufficient, for people having widespread freedom.

    If all we disagree about is how much to tax and spend, then stop pretending like I believe something evil. I happen to believe Medicare contributes more to freedom than the tax savings in the absence of Medicare would. You are free to disagree. But I come from a standard of individual liberty every bit as much as you do. I just think it takes a little more collective effort to secure maximum individual liberty than you do.

  • Restoras||

    I just think it takes a little more collective effort to secure maximum individual liberty than you do

    Define "little", because your definition of "little" is going to bankrupt the country and place both our definitions of liberty at risk.

    Government provided medical care has absolutley nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with equality of outcomes, which is what collectivist, statist douchebags like you are really interested in.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "If all we disagree about is how much to tax and spend"

    No, that's not "all". Your Team - and theirs - just can't resist trying to regulate and micromanage our lives. That takes more and more government, and it was big and powerful enough a hundred years ago.

    You'll disagree, of course.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 10:42AM|#
    "Just how much do you think the universe owes you, you entitled little whiner?"

    Nothing, shithead. Your strawmen are showing.

  • sarcasmic||

    Libertarians are often compared to myopic self-important teenagers bitching that their parents make them do chores while they live rent-free in their house

    A better analogy would be libertarian view government as a guy who come to your car while you're stuck at an intersection, does a piss poor job of washing your windshield, then demands a hundred dollars at gunpoint.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    A better analogy would be libertarian view government as a guy who come to your car while you're stuck at an intersection, does a piss poor job of washing your windshield, then demands a hundred dollars at gunpoint.

    And then that asshole goes the next town over, does the same thing, murders some who stand in his way, and says it was your fault because you "voted" for him by giving him that stolen money. Next thing you know, an insane victim of his from the town over has raped/murdered your wife and turned your children into cannibal shish-kabob. Apparently, its all your fault.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And Tony says he's not a bigot.

    Wait, he did - he said he's "working on" not being prejudiced against minorities (no word on progress about his hatred for straight people, though).

    Now he's off on a rant. I hope he gets so mad, he buys a gun and shoots a bunch of people.

    Of course, he'd just blame everyone a smidgen to the right-of-center, instead of his lack of self-control.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I pay my bills, shitheel. I have virtually no welfare footprint - I drew unemployment for a few weeks about twenty years ago. That's it.

    I don't hold my hand out for "entitlements". Do you?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I was simply pointing out that anyone is indeed free to leave the country if they don't like the terms of its social contract.

    Let's say I leave. If I make money while living in another country, will I potentially owe income tax to support a system I am not using?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Social Contract = shit that other people decided I, long before I was even born, am obligated to fulfill.

    Fuck you, Tony.

  • aelhues||

    Free to leave to which, more free, first world, country? We kinda want to keep our freedom, not hand it over without a fight to progressive statists like you.

  • T o n y||

    That's kind of the implied point. Find a better society with a more limited government. Can't? Oh, maybe everything you believe is bullshit then.

  • aelhues||

    I don't follow how the relative lack of free societies in human history, due to power grabbing assholes, and their toadies, equals my belief that government should do the minimum necessary, leaving the maximum choice and freedom up to the individual, is bullshit.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I'm beginning to think Tony is a paid agent of the Free State Project.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If so, CN, they're wasting their money. That's like hiring a child molester to talk about internet safety.

  • Matrix||

    That's why the left was screaming bloody murder when several rich people were trying to ex-patriate to avoid taxes.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    They could take all their money and all their assets and they wouldn't have shit other than microscopically reduced debt and new foreign business owners who will think twice when dealing with the U.S.

  • Joe R.||

    Are ex-patriots like pre-Madonnas?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well even more, I can opt not to join a country club in the first place. Does Lakoff think I should be able to have no government?

  • T o n y||

    You are not free to choose where you're born; that much is true. If you find the fact oppressive that humans are born under the custodianship of parents, because they are incapable of so much as walking or feeding themselves, take it up with nature.

    In theory you are free to have no government. I'm sure there are tracts of Antarctica or the Sahara nobody would be bothered by you claiming as your personal duchy.

    Because after all, among 6 billion people, you are the one this planet was built for. You are that special.

  • Restoras||

    Your arguements have nothing to do with the point made.

    Make a counter arguement, your go away, shit for brains.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 10:28AM|#
    "Because after all, among 6 billion people, you are the one this planet was built for. You are that special."

    You look good in sanctimony, shithead; it's your natural color.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "If you find the fact oppressive that humans are born under the custodianship of parents..."
    Well, I noted previously that the notion of government as parent is deeply and unmistakably creepy and here comes Tony as exhibit A. Am I the only one who finds his call for self-negation ("Because after all...") a little pathetic?
    Aside from that, Tony's argument doesn't really refute much. Whether I want to have no government or not, I have no choice as to whether I consume it or not (rest assured if I opt to reside in Antarctica or the Sahara, I will almost certainly come under regulation if nothing else for environmental concerns). Thus, Tony's little tantrum aside, the country club analogy falls flat on its face.

  • JD the elder||

    I hate the freaking country club analogy because it shows such a willful ignorance of what government is actually about. Apparently to Lakoff, government is just a happy bunch of people who provide you services on a voluntary basis. We should ask Lakoff what he thinks happens if you resign from your country club and start your own. Somehow I doubt Fragrant Pines Golf Course and Driving Range will send armed men onto your back nine to kill you and take your property.

  • ||

    Not to mention that a country club is owned by people. Does the government own this country? Or do we the people own it?

  • ||

    Hell forget about quitting you could have not joined the country club in the first place, also not an option for taxation.

  • Bee Tagger||

    They wealthy have gotten rich using what previous taxpayers have paid for. They owe the taxpayers of this country a great deal and should be paying it back.

    It's astounding that this statement is so close, in proximity, to his country club analogy since it undercuts it. That would mean that you pay higher dues if you use both the swimming pool and the tennis courts and would mean super high dues if you became a professional tennis player.

  • R C Dean||

    They wealthy taxpayers have gotten rich the money to pay their taxes using what they and previous taxpayers have paid for. They owe the taxpayers of this country themselves a great deal and should be paying it back.

    Nope, even translated into Realitish it doesn't make sense.

  • Trespassers W||

    Wait, or is he saying that we should all pay country club dues whether we golf or not? I'm so confused.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Dues go up as your handicap drops. Gives a whole new meaning to sandbagging.

  • ||

    I think Lakoff is the one that's confused. How can anyone be blamed for not understanding him?

  • Tim||

    He's saying that if the country club wants to buy and hand out golf clubs to non members then we should pay for that. Because universal access to Golf is a human right.

  • ||

    He got rich on what other taxpayers had paid for: the banking system, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and Commerce Departments, and the judicial system, where nine-tenths of cases involve corporate law. These taxpayer investments support companies and wealthy investors.

    What are these taxpayer investments -- 5% of the federal budget?

    So the maximum tax a rich person should pay is 5% of what he pays now, maybe a 2% marginal rate?

    Is that your argument Mr. Lakoff?

  • Tim||

    It's a good argument, but it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. You didn't build that liquor store, Gubmint issued EBT cards that allow poor people to buy lotto tickets, smokes and booze did. The same government that spends other tax dollars trying to stop people from smoking, drinking and gambling.

  • RPR2||

    no one got obese on their own.

  • BakedPenguin||

    A Spoonerism of his name is 'Large Geokoff'

  • John||

    Funny how guys like this clown and Francis Fox Piven are showered with aclaim and tenured track positions right up until someone outside the Prog club reads them and starts taking their views seriously and imputing them onto liberals in public. Then progs go into full "how dare you pick on some unknown college professor" mode.

  • ||

    A total of $840,000 was awarded to 96 victims of Minnesota's now-disbanded multi-jurisdiction Metro Gang Strike Force, which illegally broke into people's homes, stole property and injured innocent people. No officer has yet been charged with a crime

    I thought all fat people were fair game. Or am I running afoul of the anti-bullying movement?

  • ||

    Then progs go into full "how dare you pick on some unknown college professor" mode.

    I thought all fat people were fair game. Or am I running afoul of the anti-bullying movement?

    (Damn Copy Paste Squirrels!)

  • John||

    The beard and the round glasses are his way of saying "I was there in the 60s".

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure the beard is an attempt to hide his multiple chins.

  • John||

    It is a duel purpose beard.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Geeze, and here I was thinking he was going for the "Comic Book Store Guy from the Simpsons" look.

  • Drake||

    So Obama's teleprompter plagiarized this fat lefty?

  • Drake||

    All their stupid arguments break down when we stop talking about the ultra rich and focus on normal people.

    When a farmer or small business owner dies and kids owe half the value of the property - the business, the family, and lives are destroyed.

  • Restoras||

    Omelette, eggs.

  • MJGreen||

    Now now, that's the rare exception. There are far more super billionaires analogous to Bill Gates or the Waltons than there are these "small business owners."

  • Drake||

    Oddly, Gates and Buffet don't seem too anxious to leave half their wealth to Uncle Sam. They bequeathed much of their wealth to charity rather than government.

    I suppose that is more noble than the Kennedy's who simply shipped their wealth offshore and said "fuck you" to the IRS.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Yeah, and its not like guys like Gates or the Waltons or Buffet have access to extremely sophisticated estate planning and tend to have a greater tilt toward liquid assets in their portfolios.

  • Mike M.||

    Paola calls this "the winning progressive message," but I suspect that the president's furious backtracking/counterpunching after "You didn't build that" indicates some doubt about that, for one excellent reason: Federal spending has doubled in one decade, and we aren't getting double the quality in services.

    So much this. I will gladly concede that the Golden Gate Bridge is pretty damn useful. The problem is that Solyndra != the Golden Gate Bridge.

    And most Americans are smart enough to understand this, no matter how stupid the so-called "progressives" think everyone is.

  • aelhues||

    It is frustrating how many times I hear the "roads" response to objections to government spending. I object to federal spending on a wide variety of things, but to some, because I like and use interstate highways, I have to support all of it? Serious stupidity.

  • Mike M.||

    And the fact that they think people would actually buy such an idiotic argument shows how much contempt they really have for us.

  • Raven Nation||

    The entire way the argument is framed makes it sound as if "the rich" contribute no taxes at all. When Warren says "roads the rest of us built" it seems to imply that the business owner didn't contribute to road construction. Since most roads are state or local, and since most local roads are built from property taxes, it seems an odd dichotomy.

  • PapayaSF||

  • ||

    However, contrary to the article quoted in that link, it was built by union labor, the major one being the ironworkers.

    Google "golden gate bridge union labor" for more if you want it. I'm afraid that everything there is blocked for me at this time.

  • ||

    Also, of course the Golden Gate Bridge is somewhat analagous to the country club in that every one who wants to drive over it pays his six bucks as his "share" of the upkeep of it and anyone who chooses not to use it doesn't have to pay a dime.

  • aelhues||

    Would people build wealth if there was no government infrastructure? Yes, of course they would.

    Pretty much everything we do is supported or made easier, to some degree, by others. Does that automatically mean that the individual should never be rewarded for their risk, hard work, innovation, etc? Really?

    So even admitting that in a sense, no one succeeds in a vacuum, we all had help, that is no reason at all to say that our success is mostly, due to government, society or others. It certainly isn't valid justification for taking excessive amounts of money from the successful. That is, unless you're an idiot.

  • T o n y||

    Nobody's talking about taking excessive amounts. All anyone's talking about is Clinton-era rates. Was that a time of boots-on-neck oppression for the wealthy? (Because their welfare is most important to look out for...)

  • Mike M.||

    You do know that Bill Clinton is on the record as saying he believes that ALL of the current tax rates should be extended for at least one more year, right?

  • John||

    Because clearly the way to success is ruthlessly punishing anyone who achieves it.

    So the government should never be concerned about rich people Tony? Even though they vote and pay nearly all of the taxes. If you are rich you get no representation? So basically the price of success in Tony world is complete disenfranchisement from the political process.

  • T o n y||

    The rich will always be overrepresented in government John. Wealth is power, and wealth is influence. Furthermore it is logically impossible for the wealthy to be more oppressed than the poor; to be wealthy is to be privileged, and to be privileged by government.

    Taxes are not punishment. They are the user fee for civilization. If the rich don't want to participate in civilization they can go be grass skirt wearing island dwellers and stop making money off of a wealthy, educated, and mobile customer base. But I don't think they want that, do you?

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 10:36AM|#
    "The rich will always be overrepresented in government John. Wealth is power, and wealth is influence"

    Which is exactly why the government should have limited powers, shithead.

  • John||

    The price of civilization is a government that eats up 50% of the wealth of the richest civilization in history and is still going bankrupt.

    Stop it Tony. I can't laugh this hard before noon.

  • Mike M.||

    Hey asshole, are you going to address what Clinton said about all the current tax rates?

  • T o n y||

    It's a legitimate opinion, but he only holds it because it's a weak economy. People advocating raising taxes on the rich are doing so because others are claiming that the deficit is the country's biggest problem. That's the most painless way of beginning to address that problem. To the extent that our large deficits have harmful economic effects, it's logically the first step. Clinton seems to think we can afford higher deficits for a time in order to maximize demand. I don't happen to think tax rates on the wealthy have a significant effect on that.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 10:53AM|#
    "I don't happen to think tax rates on the wealthy have a significant effect on that."

    Fuck you, shithead.

  • aelhues||

    It is excessive, unless the wealthy do all kinds of completely legal, tricky shit to lower their tax burden.

    You liberal type's are always referring to their fair share. If you want it fair, why not a flat tax? How are progressive tax rates fair? How is having a convoluted tax code that favors those who can afford to hire an accountant, to do all kinds of tricky shit, to pay less? It's all a bunch of bull shit, and you know it.

  • SugarFree||

    Flat tax isn't fair either. I should pay no more or less taxes in absolute dollars than everyone else.

    Success has nothing to do with it. If pens and paper were all is took to write a novel, everyone would have done so by now.

  • aelhues||

    I agree that the flat tax isn't really fair either. However, I hear so often that the rich don't pay their fair share. I have so far completely failed at figuring out what progressives think is their fair share.

  • SugarFree||

    Tax them until they are no longer "rich." That's the end result of redistributionism. That's why they are so convinced that individual effort has nothing to do with being successful--that is just luck or birth lottery.

    Since the collective and some blind and random force of the universe made you rich, it's OK to steal everything from you.

    Price of government divided by number of citizens is the fair tax. It is still bloated and wrong and completely out of control, but no one should be made to pay more than its putative cost.

  • T o n y||

    Trying to figure out a fair way to tax is a bit of a fool's errand. Everyone wants to minimize his tax burden and maximize his take from society. It's only natural. Better to talk in terms of efficiency.

    The heirs to the Walton fortune have as much wealth as the bottom 40% of the country. Tell me that isn't pure random luck. You can say they are entitled to every cent of that because blind chance should rule our lives, but that opinion has no more moral a basis than any other. Generational privilege (and generational poverty) are not in anyone's definition of fairness--it's the sort of thing this country was founded to push back against.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 11:00AM|#
    "The heirs to the Walton fortune have as much wealth as the bottom 40% of the country. Tell me that isn't pure random luck."

    It isn't pure, random luck, shithead.

  • T o n y||

    Even if Sam Walton was a pure capitalist hero who took nothing from society whatsoever and built his fortune entirely on his own, the sperm he contributed to the production of his offspring were, actually, selected at random, more or less.

  • ||

    Randomly selected from his own sperm pool though, not randomly selected from some sperm studio audience.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 11:14AM|#
    "Even if Sam Walton was a pure capitalist hero who took nothing from society whatsoever and built his fortune entirely on his own, the sperm he contributed to the production of his offspring were, actually, selected at random, more or less."

    Yes, shithead, and those folks had every opportunity to pour that dough down a rat-hole. They didn't; they made the company better.
    Some 'random', shithead.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Giving your own children more of your own money -- or affection, attention, whateva' -- is unfair!

  • ||

    Can you explain why the government deserves the money that the Waltons inherited more than they do? I only ever hear the "the heirs didn't EARN it!" part, I never hear why the government is entitled to it instead. Does it have to do with roads?

  • T o n y||

    If you don't think we should pay for government then I am more entitled to that fortune as they are, provided I have a bigger arsenal at my disposal.

    Isn't your premise a sort of work ethic? If not, it's just finders keepers?

  • aelhues||

    He didn't say anything about not paying for government, just that government has no justification for having a right to take a large portion of any inheritance.

  • ||

    Do strawmen have straw jaws Tony? If so you probably only have to punch it once.

  • ||

    Did I just refer to it by name like it's a real person? Damn I must be really tired.

  • aelhues||

    If I make a shit ton of money during my life time, and I like my kids, I feel that it is completely fair, and right that I am able to give them that money. I don't think it's fair at all that the government take it from me. Especially considering that I've already paid taxes on all of that money.

    I especially don't think it's fair at all that an individual would owe potentially $500k on a hand-me-down business, that the IRS values at $1mil. If the individual receiving the business doesn't sell it for that much, how do they pay the taxes without completely ruining their business, for likely years to come?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "Trying to figure out a fair way to tax is a bit of a fool's errand.... Better to talk in terms of efficiency."
    versus
    "Generational privilege (and generational poverty) are not in anyone's definition of fairness..."

    Tony contradicts himself in only 4 sentences. Is that some kind of record?

  • ||

    No.

  • aelhues||

    If what the feds provided was protection from invasion, management of trade between states and the rest of the world, and some basic standards for the country for those things that the states want them to manage, that would work great. However, I'd prefer that the feds collected funds from each state, not from individuals.

    Of course considering currently, ignoring debt and state spending, your yearly tax bill would be just about $32k, that might be a bit much....

  • SugarFree||

    your yearly tax bill would be just about $32k, that might be a bit much....

    Yes, but think of the cuts in spending that would have to take place from all the people you can't collect that from? (Of course, only if we don't let them borrow.)

    Here's a figure to beat people down with: The federal government spends about $112,000 per second. The money hole is starving and demands to be fed.

    It's going to take a revolution to fix taxes at this point, something few people can stomach.

  • aelhues||

    If people were given a clear, concise statement how much money they paid in taxes, like is required from businesses, everyone but a few idiot ultra rich progressives, would be clamoring for tax cuts, and spending cuts.

  • Sevo||

    aelhues|7.26.12 @ 11:19AM|#
    "If people were given a clear, concise statement how much money they paid in taxes, like is required from businesses, everyone but a few idiot ultra rich progressives, would be clamoring for tax cuts, and spending cuts."

    If government were held to the same legal standards as business, the jails wouldn't be big enough to hold the politicians.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Fair share" is whatever tax increase the progs are trotting out this month. It is not an objective, definabl amount or percentage or anything rational. It is merely a talking point.

  • Restoras||

    How about we get back to Clinton-era spending first, you disingenous shithead?

  • T o n y||

    Once we fix the Bush recession we could do that.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 10:37AM|#
    "Once we fix the Bush recession we could do that."

    Too bad, shithead, we really need to start with FDRs socialism.

  • John||

    What about the obama recession that is coming this fall?

    Don't worry Tony. Come next January your team will be completely out of power and you can go back to blaming all of the world's problems on them.

  • Restoras||

    Why wait, shitforbrains? Afraid of something?

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 10:15AM|#
    "Nobody's talking about taking excessive amounts."

    Define "excessive", shithead.

  • SugarFree||

    Why are you feeding the troll, Sevo? What has brought you to this low state?

  • John||

    And this thread proves Tony is one of the regulars trolling us. No one is this stupid.

  • SugarFree||

    No one trolls alone. It is a collective effort. Tony trying to ruin this thread -- he didn't build that.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Taking five more cents on the dollar won't get us out of trillions in debt, Tony.

    It's a symbolic tax hike. Nothing more.

    Of course, you and your ilk will turn your pockets inside-out, with that hang-dog "I spent all my allowance, I need more money" look teenagers used to give their parents.

    Hell, taking 99 cents on the dollar won't cure our ills. We're deep in an abyss dug by your Team and theirs.

    Of course, I'm not qualified to talk about such things, because I'm stoopid and didn't go to college. Dur.

    /sarcasm, if you didn't notice.

  • T o n y||

    To meaningfully reduce the deficit middle class taxes will have to go up too. Everyone's gotten a reduced-price lunch over the past few years.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    You'd think Lakoff would favor reduced-price lunches.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.26.12 @ 10:47AM|#
    'Everyone's gotten *bloated government* over the past few years.'

    FIFY, shithead.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Bullshit. You and your Team have done nothing but bitch about the five-cents-on-the-dollar tax cut "the rich" got. Now you're claiming the middle class is to blame for our debt and deficits.

    Which is it, shitheel?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Thanks for the FIFY assist, Sevo.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Then again, neither of us did it alone... if it weren't for government, we wouldn't even exist.

  • R C Dean||

    I can "meaningfully reduce" the deficit without anyone's taxes going up.

    Why is it that whenever the topic turns to deficit reduction, lefty progs can see only the revenue side of the income statement, and not the expense side?

  • RPR2||

    Taxation is paying your dues, paying your membership fee in America.

    says the fat boy whose university pays zero in taxes. are you gonna eat that?

  • R C Dean||

    That's a funny analogy, since we tax you extra if you try to resign your membership in the club.

  • Sevo||

    You know who else charged money to leave the country.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So, theoretically, the more taxes you pay... the more patriotic you are?

  • Restoras||

    That fat. You didn't build that. You had help - a leg up along the way. Society made you fat, not you, your fork, and your pie-hole.

    If you are to DIAF, I hope the last thing you hear is the sound of your own fat sizzling, and the laughter of everyone watching.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody."

    All your ideas are belong to us.

  • BlockadeRunnerX||

    When I first started my business, I relied on companies to provide cheap, quick lunches so I could focus on work.

    I don't recall the executives at Chipotle constantly demanding that I kiss their ass and "give back" more to them because they helped me do so well.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    No. But the Cosa Nostra would have.

    It's what you commonly see from these guys - government as a mafia organization.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    He ate Saul Alinsky! Bastard!

  • Mike M.||

    Awesome.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Does Lakoff mention who gets the blame and pays the bills if the business fails?

  • Trespassers W||

    Are there any country clubs that make you figure out your own dues every year, and then steal your wallet and lock you in the tool shed if you get it wrong?

    I guess I'm still struggling with this analogy.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Yeah.

    Or let 50% of their members not pay any dues at all and tell the other 50% that they should consider it a "priviledge" to pay for the other half's share as well as their own.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Everyone wants to minimize his tax burden and maximize his take from society.

    Of course by "everyone" you mean "I".

  • R C Dean||

    Interesting, isn't it, how he sees fortunes built on voluntary exchange as "taking" from "society".

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I think I saw Lakoff and Michael Moore facing off in a sumo wrestling match once.

  • fish_remote||

    Winner eats the loser!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Let us read from The Book of Barack:

    1 In the beginning Govt created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the economy was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the ATMs, and the Spirit of Govt was hovering over the land.

    3 And Govt said, “Let there be spending,” and there was spending. 4 Govt saw that the spending was good, and that it separated the light from the darkness. 5 Govt called the spending Investments, and this he did in the first day.

    More here:

    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/io.....-that.html

    [apologies if it's been posted before now]

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Taxation is paying your dues, paying your membership fee in America. If you join a country club or a community center, you pay fees."

    Of course, a country club or a community center has to attract members, so their fees cannot be too high with regards to the quality of service. Club cannot say the members are bad or unpatriotic if the members are dissatisfied with the cost and structure of the fees and poor service. At least, not if they want to have any members.

    What Lakoff is describing is more like the scam where a bum washes your windshield while you are stuck at a light with dirty water and a filthy rag and is indignant when you don't want to pay him.

  • CapitalistRunningDog||

    OK, so if success is just because the government built this wonderful system, which we are all part of . . . Why is not everyone rich?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    If you join a country club or a community center, you pay fees. Why? You did not build the swimming pool. You have to maintain it. You did not build the basketball court. Someone has to clean it. You may not use the squash court, but you still have to pay your dues.


    Pharaoh, Egypt, 1500 B.C., justifying higher taxes on the rich:

    You did not build that forty cubit gold statue of me. You still have to pay dues.

  • Killazontherun||

    He's a linguist who decided to dabble in economics and he got it stunningly wrong. He likely has never heard of the division of labor at least as it means in relation to standard economic theory, so he invents his version out of his ass and gets an important concept wrong. It did not originate from governments but by the necessity of people meeting their own needs.

  • Sam Grove||

    What is it with progressives?
    On the one hand they argue that we owe it to future generations to "invest" in education and infrastructure, on the other hand, when the future generation gets here they owe us for our investment.

    Oh, yeah. They don't grok economics, they grok political power.

  • Sam Grove||

    In markets, you pay what you agree to pay for what you get. With government, we owe what they say we owe for what they decide to give us.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Did not farmers in ancient Egypt pay taxes to Pharaoh for the privilege of farming in his kingdom? Why does not a similar principle apply here?

  • Adam330||

    I'm not aware of any country club charges a guy who makes a million a years $300,000 and then pays the guy who makes $20,000 a year. If this is the level of thinking for the guy framing the progressive debate side, then progressives better be worried.

  • dinfeee||

    This makes a ll kinds of sense dude.

    www.Anon-Rules.tk

  • Jim Treacher||

    Let's not have any more rude comments about Lakoff's body, you guys.

    He didn't build that.

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