"We imagine that punishing the rich will miraculously uplift the poor," Says Washington Post Columnist

class warfareMendenhallEvidently the Democrats hope that flogging the class warfare, uh, the growing inequality meme will enable them to cling to their control of the U.S. Senate and put them in charge of the House of Representatives. Over at the Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson takes on the rhetorical misuse of inequality and makes the entirely sensible point that...

...Economic inequality is usually a consequence of our problems and not a cause.

For starters, the poor are not poor because the rich are rich. The two conditions are generally unrelated. Mostly, the rich got rich by running profitable small businesses (car dealerships, builders), creating big enterprises (Google, Microsoft), being at the top of lucrative occupations (bankers, lawyers, doctors, actors, athletes), managing major companies or inheriting fortunes. By contrast, the very poor often face circumstances that make their lives desperate.

What kind of circumstances? Not graduating from high school and having kids before getting married.

A few weeks back, citing recent Congressional Budget Office data I explained "Why President Obama Is Wrong on Inequality":

Are the rich getting richer? Yes. Are the poor getting poorer? No. In fact, over the past 35 years most Americans got richer. Has income inequality increased in the United States? Yes....

...from 1979 and 2010, the last year for which data are available, the bottom fifth's after-tax income in constant dollars rose by 49 percent. The incomes of households in the second lowest, middle, and fourth quintiles increased by 37 percent, 36 percent, and 45 percent, respectively. The poor and the middle class got richer.

Burtless then divides the households situated in the top fifth of incomes into four groups: those in 90th percentile and below, those in the 91st through 95th percentiles, those in the 96th through 99th percentiles, and the top 1 percent. From 1979 to 2010, incomes for those fortunate households increased by 54 percent, 67 percent, 79 percent, and 202 percent, respectively. The rich got richer too, and they got richer faster.

Samuelson agrees. Parsing the CBO data a bit differently, Samuelson reports:

True, the top 1 percent outdid everyone. From 1980 to 2010, their inflation-adjusted pretax incomes grew a spectacular 190 percent, almost a tripling. But for the poorest fifth of Americans, pretax incomes for these years rose 44 percent. Gains were 31 percent for the second poorest, 29 percent for the middle fifth, 38 percent for the next fifth and 83 percent for the richest fifth, including the top 1 percent. Because our system redistributes income from top to bottom, after-tax gains were larger: 53 percent for the poorest fifth; 41 percent for the second; 41 percent for the middle-fifth; 49 percent for the fourth; and 90 percent for richest.

Samuelson concludes:

Americans in the top 1 percent are convenient scapegoats. They don’t naturally command much sympathy, and their rewards sometimes seem outsized or outlandish. When most people are getting ahead, they don’t worry much about this economic inequality. When progress stalls, they do. There’s a backlash and a tendency to see less economic inequality as a solution to all manner of problems. We create simplistic narratives and imagine that punishing the rich will miraculously uplift the poor. This vents popular resentments, even as it encourages self-deception.

For more background see Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie's excellent column, "Why Obama Can't Solve Inequality" over at The Daily Beast.

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  • sarcasmic||

    I was bored enough to watch the Independents the other night, and one guy made a really good point that totally flummoxed the guest.

    If everyone's wealth doubled, inequality would skyrocket. The super-rich would be double-super-rich.

    Of course the poor would now have twice the wealth as before.

    Why is that bad?

  • ||

    Because it exposes progressive rhetoric as the bullshit it is.

  • Tim||

    2x0=0

  • sarcasmic||

    2 x the clothes on your back = 2 sets of clothes

  • Tim||

    Wouldn't 2x 2 pairs of pants =4 pairs of pants? Must be stimulus math.

  • Killaz||

    2x 1 pair = 2. Set basics.

  • Killaz||

    sarc -- there are days you wins the internet, much appreciate that you allow the rest of us to share the prize.

  • Paul.||

    As a nation becomes wealthier, inequality goes up as a matter of course.

    The bottom of the economic scale will always be zero. As individuals in society increase their wealth, the top of that scale will continuously rise, increasing the gap between the top and the bottom.

    I honestly don't see how it's avoidable.

  • sarcasmic||

    I honestly don't see how it's avoidable.

    It's not.

    Which is why any attempts at forced equality require a totalitarian state and only serve to make everyone poorer.

  • ||

    For statists, that's a feature, not a bug.

  • ||

    Wealth is power. Everyone becoming wealthier disburses power. The only effective way for authoritarians to concentrate power for themselves is to make everyone else poorer.

    Politics is a zero sum game.

  • Tonio||

    Does anyone in this society actually have zero income? Excluding dependent children, of course. Poor people have welfare and food stamps. Many homeless people have regular or intermittent employment.

  • wareagle||

    poor people also have subsidized, if not free, housing plus someone pays the heating bill, and so on. There is a reason why you probably never knew anyone who came off of free lunch in school. Think about that - in 12 years time, that person's parent(s) could not do anything that would have resulted in sufficient income so that society would not be buying the kid's lunch.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    I went back and forth between free, reduced-price, and full-price lunches when I was in school. So did my cousins, and probably several other families in our town. I was in school during the late '70s and early '80s when lay-offs were very common. Usually, kids would get the free lunches when one or both parents were unemployed, and then go back to paying for them when their parents got new jobs.

    I don't have a clear idea of how long kids stay on subsidized school lunches nowadays. Do you know for sure that most stay on them for their entire time in school, or are you just assuming that's the case?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That was Kmele Foster talking to the Communist from Rolling Stone, I believe. The latter didn't understand much of economics.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Why is that bad?"

    I am not fan of inequality per se, and I do not think libertarianism mandates any position on it other than that if you do not like it, solutions involving theft and force are off the table.

    I think inequality can be seen as bad because some people have much more than others, and this particularly seems bad when it involves children who largely inherit the inequality of their parents.

  • kinnath||

    I think inequality can be seen as bad because some people have much more than others

    Bullshit.

    Bill Gates is filthy rich because he makes products that lots of people buy (like me).

    Third-world dictators are filthy rich because they essentially steal everything they can get their hands on.

    Inequality means jack shit.

    Non-aggression means everything.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Do you remember the fable about the ants and the grasshopper? At the end though the grasshopper ends badly few think it wrong because the grasshopper's reward was related to his efforts (or lack thereof), the same with the ant but in reverse.

    With children that does not hold, some will have tremendous advantages over others and that will not be tied in any way to their efforts (or lack thereof). That seems to violate a pretty fundamental and basic understanding of fairness.

  • kinnath||

    Do you remember the fable about the ants and the grasshopper?

    We have become a nation of grasshoppers.

    That seems to violate a pretty fundamental and basic understanding of fairness.

    There was a recent study involving small children. A couple of children were given small toys to play with. When one child broke his/her toy, he/she thought the most fair solution was to break the other child's toy. This is the progressive philosophy in a nutshell.

  • Fluffy||

    With children that does not hold, some will have tremendous advantages over others and that will not be tied in any way to their efforts (or lack thereof). That seems to violate a pretty fundamental and basic understanding of fairness.

    It can only violate fundamental fairness if you consider it fundamentally unfair that people might voluntarily devote a portion of their property to caring for their children.

    "Well, you see, it's OK if some people make money and some people don't," Bo remarked, as he sucked on his corncob pipe, "But the problem is that some of them-there rich people do stuff like buying their kids food, and them-there baby picsher-books, and such wise. That's just not fair, dad gum it!"

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If the fable were rewritten so that instead of the ant working hard to get his surplus, his wealthy uncle ant just left him the surplus, do you think readers would find it more or less fair?

  • Fluffy||

    If the fable were rewritten so that instead of the ant working hard to get his surplus, his wealthy uncle ant just left him the surplus, do you think readers would find it more or less fair?

    Does the grasshopper still act like a dick for the whole first half of the story?

    Because if he does, he can go fuck himself, even if the ant is hanging out spending inherited money on hooker ants and psychedelic ant-fungus.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    his wealthy uncle ant just left him the surplus

    Yes, how dare someone help another member of his family, of which it can be assumed he loved?

    That's why when my daughter is 18, I'm kicking her out of the house with nothing but the clothes on her back.

    Because I care about income inequality.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    A person has the right to favor his family members. Perhaps it is even a morally right thing to do in that instance. But neither of those being true would make the result 'fair.'

    Please note that I certainly do not think that the fairness of it should be allowed to trump, in the form of any restriction, the first two.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "A person has the right to favor his family members. Perhaps it is even a morally right thing to do in that instance. But neither of those being true would make the result 'fair.'

    Says who?

    Fairness is a subjective concept - not an objectively provable fact.

    I say there is nothing unfair about anyone exercising their private property rights in any way they see fit - including helping relatives if they so choose. In fact it would be unfair - as well as unconstitutional -for government to intervene to prevent them from doing so.

    There is nothing fair about requiring every member of every generation to start with zero assets any more than it would be fair to attempt to nuetralize people with superior capabilties - physically, mentally, etc. by handicapping those who stand out to diminish them down to the lowest common denominator.

    I think there was a movie made about such a world attempting to enact such a concept. Those who were physically strong were shackled to heavy weights to diminish their abilty to outdo other, etc.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Says who?"

    I have laid out what my arguments for it.

    "Fairness is a subjective concept - not an objectively provable fact."

    No more or less than 'justice' or 'right.'

    "In fact it would be unfair "

    Well, see, you really do believe in fairness.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "I have laid out what my arguments for it."

    Which means nothing.

    "No more or less than 'justice' or 'right.'

    On the contrary it is far less than justice or right. "Fairness" is not codified into law and the Constitution - rights are .

  • Mickey Rat||

    How is the nephew inheriting the Uncle's surplus unfair?

    Who should the Uncle's surplus go to in order to satisfy fairness? Or should it just be destroyed?

    If you do not think fairness should trump, why should anyone care about this question?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    As I have said, because there is no tie between what he got and his performance/effort.

    "If you do not think fairness should trump, why should anyone care about this question?"

    Because it could guide voluntary decisions (like whether I should hire someone who had bad parents, or whether I should donate time or money to something similar).

  • Mickey Rat||

    Altruism does break the tie between reward and effort, but that is the Uncle's decision to be generous to his nephew. I fail to see how it is not "fair".

    Under what possible circumstance would you justify basing a hiring decision upon your judgment of whether the candidate's parents are "bad" rather than the candidate himself?

  • Tonio||

    Bad question. It's a fable. It illustrates a single principle.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Single principles can of course apply to a variety of concrete situations.

  • Restoras||

    Can you define 'fair'? And if you can, why should it be fair? Fair sounds a lot like either 1)everyone should be average, or 2)I want that, give it to me.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think most people's conception of fair in this case, reflected in that time honored fable, involves one's results being tied to one's efforts.

  • Fluffy||

    I think most people's conception of fair in this case, reflected in that time honored fable, involves one's results being tied to one's efforts.

    But the grasshopper has made no effort.

    If we add a third character (a rich ant uncle) and we have two characters who made no effort (one ant and one grasshopper) and one who did (the ant uncle) the fairness of the ant deciding how to dispose of his surplus doesn't decrease one iota.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "But the grasshopper has made no effort."

    That is kind of the point, right? His suffering is OK in most eyes because it is the result for his lack of effort. For the ant who does the same to get something quite different upends the principle.

  • Fluffy||

    For the ant who does the same to get something quite different upends the principle.

    Not if there's an ant who did do something.

    If there's an ant who did do something, that ant should "get something".

    And once he gets something, he wants to give it to his nephew ant.

    There's no way around it. You have to utterly break the connection between earning and possessing in order to favor the grasshopper over either ant.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I am not talking about favoring the ant over the grasshopper.

    I am saying that if the rule is that what is fair has to do with some tie between performance/efforts and results then the ant who happened to be born to his uncle's sister has done nothing to deserve the gift as surely as the grasshopper has done nothing to deserve it. You are conflating the question 'should people be able to give to whoever they want' with 'would the results of that be fair.'

  • Jordan||

    I am saying that if the rule is that what is fair has to do with some tie between performance/efforts and results then the ant who happened to be born to his uncle's sister has done nothing to deserve the gift as surely as the grasshopper has done nothing to deserve it.

    Well, if this is the standard, then really no child has done anything to deserve anything beyond a mud hut and a daily ration of gruel.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You are probably right. I do not, of course, think that the fairness of what any child 'deserves' should necessarily be the guide (and especially not the only one) for those thinking about what to give or not give them.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is not only the grasshopper's lack of effort but his presumption that the ant must be altruistic towards him. The Uncle in your example chose to be altruistic towards his nephew. By saying that is not fair you are making a value judgment on the Uncle's choices that is not really your business.

  • Raven Nation||

    "involves one's results being tied to one's efforts"

    Not sure if you're advocating that or just making the observation. But, it's a problem for a couple of reasons. One is that "effort" is not really measurable. A second is that it is also connected to what you make the effort at. I'm an academic in a humanities field. I work my ass off, but my income right now is $60K & probably won't ever get above $80k. That's fine. I made the choice, and I'm happy with my job.

    Someone who works, to pick a random example, at a mutual find firm puts in about the same effort as I do but will probably make a lot more $$. Using the example you cite, that would not be considered fair. But, there is nothing immoral or illegal about it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm an academic in a humanities field. I work my ass off, but my income right now is $60K & probably won't ever get above $80k.

    That's why you need to look into Higher Ed. administration, like I am. Dean or Provost is a good gig if you can get it.

  • Raven Nation||

    "That's why you need to look into Higher Ed. administration, like I am. Dean or Provost is a good gig if you can get it."

    I think I'd rather take a bullet than do Higher Ed admin. I run our (small-ish) grad program and that's about as much admin as I WANT to do. However, I'll probably have to do a turn as dept. chair.

  • wareagle||

    HM has the right idea; that's where the money is. One huge driver behind the rise in college tuition? The expanding number of administrators, all with the appropriate degrees that have nothing to do with scholarship.

  • ||

    Hey, someone has to decide whether History of Religion in African-American Women's Studies 201 fulfills a diversity requirement.

  • Raven Nation||

    "expanding number of administrators"

    No shit. We had a very competent person running the office connected to funding for research. The admin decided that office needed to be upgraded which they did by creating an Associate Vice-Chancellor position which comes with not only a mid-six figure salary but a number of perks as well. Then you have to add in new support staff, etc. Absurd.

    I read last year that the UC system now has a one:one ratio of faculty to admin.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I read last year that the UC system now has a one:one ratio of faculty to admin.

    That doesn't include adjuncts, does it?

  • Raven Nation||

    "That doesn't include adjuncts, does it"

    Not sure but I'm guessing it doesn't.

  • Tonio||

    So, nothing about ability, eh?

    What about the fable of the poor but borderline retarded ant who worked very hard but never "got ahead" because the value of his labor was never greater than minimum wage and the only advantage he offered over high school students was the ability to work during school hours and at closing time? That's the saddest fable of all.

  • ||

    "Can you define 'fair'? And if you can, why should it be fair? Fair sounds a lot like either 1)everyone should be average, or 2)I want that, give it to me."

    It is almost always 2. The guy saying number one is is just saying number two on other's behalf.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I said immediately that I think most people see it as some kind of a tie between effort/performance and results.

  • ||

    And anytime the grasshopper and the ants comes up: Disney version!

    I owe the world a living
    I owe the world a living
    I've been a fool the whole year long
    But now I'm singing a different song
    You were right
    And I was wrong.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Did life get fair somewhere and I missed it?

    Fuck fair. There is no fair.

    There is only property rights.

    Some are born with a silver spoon up their asses and some people work their asses off for it. REGARDLESS of how it's come by, provided none of it was stolen, no solitary person of the face of this planet has claim to wealth except the owner of said wealth. Any other argument is complete fucking bullshit. PERIOD!

  • Tony||

    There is only property rights.

    Fuck your property rights. Life isn't fair. Who says you get property rights? Who the hell are you to make demands of this unfair world? Lecturing about how life isn't fair then presuming to tax me to pay for the entitlement and enforcement of property rights.

    Let me spell this out for you: property rights undermine all of your premises. They are an artificial, positive, taxpayer-funded entitlement to something that exists because of its purported social utility.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I have to agree with Tony on this narrow point: if you are going to retort that 'life ain't fair' then how to complain about the unfairness of violations of property rights or contract reneging?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I have to agree with Tony on this narrow point: if you are going to retort that 'life ain't fair' then how to complain about the unfairness of violations of property rights or contract reneging?

    Owning property is one of my infinite number of negative rights. Someone else laying claim to it is an initiation of force.

    Fair's got nuthin to do with it.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "number of negative rights"

    Sure, but rights come from somewhere, from some natural law (principle).

  • Tony||

    How is property a negative right? Like, in any possible sense?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    How is property a negative right? Like, in any possible sense?

    That you have the brainpower to continue to draw breaths is asstounding.

    The definition of a negative right is that no one else is required to provide that right to me. It exists without costing anyone else a dime. For me to have the right to own property, requires NOTHING from anyone else.

  • Tony||

    Bullshit. You can claim ownership of something all day long, but if men with guns (i.e., law) don't exist to back it up, then it's not any kind of claim or right at all, it's just finder's keepers. Anyone who comes along and takes your property has exactly the same "negative" right to it as you. Anything else is mystical hogwash. It's perhaps the "positive" right.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Issuer seating balustrade overnight summons.

    Fuck you're stupid.

  • Tony||

    I'll take that as your concession that I'm right and there is no magic.

  • ||

    Fuck you're stupid.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    So you believe in me being able to purchase any weapon I choose to defend my property so that you won't have to pay for any government protection of my property? Great, that is a little progress there Tony.

  • Fluffy||

    Let me spell this out for you: property rights undermine all of your premises.

    No, they don't.

    If we were all dumped into a completely stateless Lord of the Flies situation tomorrow, and some of us put time and effort into growing crops or hunting game or netting fish, that product would be ours by right and we would be completely morally entitled to protect that right, by killing you where you stand if necessary.

    State-protected property rights, with titles and pretty seals and courts and all the rest of it, is institutionalization of this basic idea. And states that undertake such institutionalization will function, and have a chance to be just, and states that don't, will not and do not.

    But the property right comes first. Before the legal elaboration.

  • Tonio||

    ^This.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "
    But the property right comes first. Before the legal elaboration."

    I agree with you Fluffy, but I submit the right is derived from a fundamental idea of what is right and fair itself.

  • Restoras||

    Right. If you work for it and accumulate a surplus it is yours to dispense with as you see fit, up to and including bequething it to you lazy ass nephew, who will no doubt blow the whole thing and thereby enrich others in the process.

  • Tony||

    Nobody would be morally entitled to anything, because moral norms would be written by him with the biggest stick, until someone overthrows him and writes his own norms. It may seem natural and fair that the labor entitles you to the product, but that's not how it's been for most of history, and it's not written in the cosmos or anything.

    I think it's morally necessary that nobody in a wealthy society go hungry. Thus, food stamps are just "institutionalization of this basic idea."

    You guys can't get away with this. You want to grab the few taxpayer-funded government programs that you like and declare them the result of absolute moral truth. It's such a con. It's a way for you to win the conversation before it starts.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Guttersnipe monochrome sourball firepower.

  • ||

    Just because the guy with the bigger stick takes your stuff, doesn't mean it was never your stuff to begin with.

    Jesus Christ, how are you even able to breath with that little brain activity?

  • Tony||

    Who says it's my stuff? Jeebus?

  • ||

    If you can own nothing, then slavery is okay.

    Actually, that totally explains your entire worldview.

  • Tony||

    Answer the question.

  • ||

    If it's not self-evident then you really are a complete moron.

    I'm sorry your parents didn't love you enough to make sure you didn't grow up to be one, but life just isn't fair like that.

    (Here's a hint: You do.)

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    No one can own anything without government.

    It is perfectly justified to claim ownership by force.

    /Tony

    (I wish there was a derp font)

  • Tony||

    If it's not self-evident then you really are a complete moron.

    Come on, you might as well be saying "you win." Explain it to me like I'm an idiot. Without law, what makes something your property?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Come on, you might as well be saying "you win." Explain it to me like I'm an idiot. Without law, what makes something your property?"

    Without law what gives you the right to remain alive?

    The fact that the law forbids others from killing you does not mean that your existence is a positive "entitlement" given to you by the government. Your life was not "given" to you by the government.

    The same thing goes for property rights.

  • The Heresiarch||

    "Nobody would be morally entitled to anything, because moral norms would be written by him with the biggest stick, until someone overthrows him and writes his own norms."

    It's very much possible to have moral norms independent of an enforcing body. If country A invades country B and there's nothing anyone in the world can do about it, it won't stop individual observers (inside or outside nations A and B) from passing moral judgment upon it. Similarly, we can imagine the property owner passing moral judgment upon the person taking his property, even if he has no recourse to anyone else.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Over sillabub categorical gnar Petrine trunk configure.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "They are an artificial, positive, taxpayer-funded entitlement to something that exists because of its purported social utility."

    You cannot prove so much as one single word of that claim to be true.

  • JPyrate||

    Fine Tony. Since I believe in voluntary association. I consider it unfair that your taxes provide police protection for my property rights. I'll just hire a private security firm for my needs.

  • JPyrate||

    Oh wait.... I still need to pay police protection money for YOUR property rights. Free rider !!!!

  • ||

    Fuck fair. There is no fair.

    There is only property rights.

    Francisco, this is my new motto. I have never loved you more. At least not since you taught all these boys manners last week.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    *turns bright red*

  • wareagle||

    I have never loved you more.

    maybe being engaged means something other than what I thought it meant. Either that or Epi was right about you all along.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Nikki is going to be Mrs. d'Anconia's newest "sister wife".

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Shut up wareagle, let the nice lady talk.

  • Juice||

    I hope you like your new self contradictory motto.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    derp

  • Killaz||

    Luther and I built a fort out of large blocks to play in. After we are finished building it, Brian skips over to ask us if he can play. Brian didn't help us build it, so we said 'no'. Brian goes crying to the teacher. He then, of course, gets to play.

    The moral of this story, don't bother to build anything.

  • ||

    "The moral of this story, don't bother to build anything"

    Excellent example. When you go to poor, shithole countries you learn very quickly why they are the way they are. The product of any effort is quickly stolen thus no one puts forth any effort.

  • ||

    Fairness? Are you 12?

    Try not to use that word.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I imagine you believe in fairness regularly in your life.

  • ||

    I do not, at all.

    It just occurred to me that that is probable inconceivable to you. I am not saying that to attack you. It is just an observation.

  • Tony||

    Bill Gates has articulately expressed the exact argument Bo is making. He had huge advantages over most other people on earth, and would be nobody if he didn't happen to be born in the place, time, and family he was. He's also a solid liberal who wishes libertarians would stop whoring him out for their plutocratic schemes (he's a good friend of mine).

  • kinnath||

    FUCK OFF TONY

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    He's also a solid liberal who

    is the current scapegoat of teacher's unions everywhere for promoting charter schools through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    If there is any fable Gates is expressing through his wealth guilt, it's the Scorpion and the Frog.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

  • Raven Nation||

    Great take on this here:

    http://www.city-journal.org/20.....iving.html

    Sorman calls it "philanthropy for show." Harvard economist Robert Barro told Sorman "Gates the boss did more for humanity than has Gates the philanthropist."

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Linguist frigate transportational biyearly godhead savin complexity.

  • wareagle||

    do solid liberals frequently try to monopolize markets, do they give away their product to cash-strapped companies, and do they give a shit that a lot of people around software have to re-engineer their product to make it compliant with his latest operating system?

    Even for you, this is obtuse. The only type liberal Gates is is the limousine type.

  • Mike M.||

    (he's a good friend of mine).

    Jesus Christ, I love this. You usually pretend that you're some average dipshit living in Oklahoma, and now you're telling us that freaking Bill Gates is a "good friend" of yours.

    I thought Weigel was a piece of work, but you have him beaten by a mile.

  • kinnath||

    By the way: LEARN SOME BASIC FUCKING HTML.

  • Tonio||

    Yeah, seriously, Bo. It's not rocket science. You only have to learn a couple of HTML tags.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Just as a question, where would HTML have been warranted in my posts supra?

  • kinnath||

    "Why is that bad?"

    Italics or block quotes when you quote text from other posters. It's part of the social contract here at H&R.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Sorry, I do not recalling signing that contract.

  • kinnath||

    Thank you for so clearly stating the libertarian argument against all this progressive "social construct" bullshit.

    Now let's see if you're smart enough to extrapolate that to life in general.

  • Tonio||

    Bo, you're just being a dick. Srsly. And remember that I'm one of the few people here who sticks up for you. Get a life, bro, learn the *&^%$#@! tags. It's not complicated. It will get your stuff read and understood.

    If you are indeed a lawyer, or a law student, this is certainly within your skill set.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Bo, you're just being a dick"

    With all due respect, I would suggest that you are being a pearl clutching nanny over this, and a mighty silly thing to clutch over.

  • kinnath||

    Nope, you're a dick.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Think about how far from normal reality one has come when they call a stranger who politely posts his disagreement on a discussion board inviting such comments a 'd*ck' because he has the temerity to use "" to denote others words instead of HTML. I would suggest some people need to leave their computer worlds for a few hours a day and mingle with real human beings to see how silly that is.

    Interestingly, the only conditions I see here set by the actual hosts and owners of the board, to be civil, is violated routinely by folks here with little or no mention.

  • kinnath||

    Nope, you're a dick because you do not appear to argue in good faith. And then you whine about us not being civil when you clearly behave like a dick. You have graduated to "tony" now. We won't be having any further conversations.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "you do not appear to argue in good faith"

    Are you one of these people who think that anyone who disagrees with you is 'arguing in bad faith?' Otherwise, please explain how I am 'arguing in bad faith' in this particular discussion. I believe what I am saying. I have offered up my reasoning. I have not changed my position throughout. What is this 'bad faith?'

    "We won't be having any further conversations."

    This kind of crying and taking your ball home does not help with the 'pearl clutching nanny' charge.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Bo, your entire argument on this thread has been a lesson in how you like to shit on threads with useless and pointless petty arguments. You want to argue for days on end about fairness and imply that something needs to be done but then quickly point out "WITHIN THE REALSM OF NAP" when someone calls you on your fucking argument.

    Just stop.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Oh, stop your pearl clutching, or at least learn to use what you hear other people say in an appropriate situation.

    Whether one can be a libertarian and have a concern over income inequality seems, from the discussion, to be a pretty fundamental rather than pointless issue. And from the very start I invoked the NAP (see my 3:33 comment). Get your basic facts straight before parroting some nonsense.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    No, you are shitting on this thread by continuing to retread the same thing. Your argument stopped adding anything of substance to this discussion a while ago.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I can not help it if you equate 'I still do not agree with you' with 'you are not adding anything of substance.'

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Please continue to tell us all about fairness. I'm waiting on pins and needles for more of BCE posting comments for the sole purpose of BCE being able to re-read them and marvel at his own writing!

    Because, at this point, that really seems to be all you're doing.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I have done nothing more than respond to those who have responded to me. You do not like what I have had to say, so now you have to parrot something you have heard others say rather than address the substance of what I had to say. I imagine me catching you in a demonstrable misstep (accusing me of brining up the NAP 'suddenly') has left you embarrassed and upset.

  • wareagle||

    Bo,
    the tags make what you are saying easier to follow. I suppose we could just ignore it rather than try to decipher what is quoted from another person and what is you.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I have had this discussion before and the suggested compromise was to put things in "".

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I DIDN'T SIGN NO SOCIAL CONTRACT HERE AT HyR!

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    this particularly seems bad when it involves children who largely inherit the inequality of their parents.

    What someone leaves to their children should be none of our fucking business.

  • sarcasmic||

    That *WHOOSH* noise was the point going right over your head.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You asked how could inequality be seen as a problem if the example involved a doubling of everyone's income and I gave you a specific reason why and how. Perhaps you would explain how I missed your point rather than addressing it?

  • Ron Bailey||

    BCE: Inherit? Not according to the most recent data on income mobility in the U.S.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Mr. Bailey, is the relevant part of that link the following:

    "27 percent of American teenagers who were living in households with incomes in the bottom quintile in 1987 were now in households with incomes above $62,000 (fourth and fifth quintiles) by 2007."

    Because that seems to leave the remaining 73%.

  • Fluffy||

    Because that seems to leave the remaining 73%.

    The statistical point is that the number was similar during all the time periods progressives consider golden ages.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Why would I care what progressives considered a golden age? If anything I bet progressive policies increase inequality in important ways.

  • Almanian!||

    Surely more regulationa and taxing and mandates and force in general will move more of the 73% than..."market incentives" or whatever! Amirite?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Do not make the mistake that because I think inequality can be a bad thing that I think it should be addressed by violations of the NAP. I do not. Not only would such measures be immoral in themselves but they would often do little to help or make things worse.

    There are lots of things I think are bad, wrong or unfair that I do not think government coercion is justified.

  • Ron Bailey||

    BCE: Lots of different ways to look at the income mobility data: "27 percent of the people whose parents were in the bottom quintile in 1987 were still there in 2007, while 10 percent had made it into the top quintile." In other words, 73 percent of the poor had not "inherited" their parents' quintile.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Sure, I think it confers advantages and disadvantages, but not insurmountable ones.

  • Restoras||

    It's a meme that lefties, even ones that are trying hard to leave it behind, love to hold onto becasue it gives them justification for the government to take by force and dispense...as they see fit.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "justification for the government to take by force and dispense...as they see fit."

    I thought you supported the right of a community of voters to organize the community as they see fit, as long as the BoR was not being violated?

  • Restoras||

    Very cute Bo. I guess you missed the post where I acknowledged some of the flaws in my thinking on that subject and acknowledged you as giving me something else to consider?

    Of course, in the same post I also pointed out your penchant for being an insufferable doucebag...which you have proved yet again.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Calm down Restoras, just poking fun.

  • Tonio||

    Learn HTML tags, Bo.

  • Rasilio||

    No, inequality can be bad when the inequality is enforced by legal mandate or outright theft.

    There are several ways this is achieved from outright legal caste systems to excessive grants of patents and occupational licensing laws to a weak law enforcement mechanism that allows criminal enterprises to flourish unpunished. However when the inequality is the inevitable result of a free market system rewarding winners and losers then it is never a bad thing.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Of course. Equality of opportunity is not the same thing as equality of results. Of course, Bo equivocates the two while hoping no one notices his rhetorical flim-flammery.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Bo equivocates the two "

    How so?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, one way is by lumping inheritance in as an example of "income inequality". that Bill Gates came from a privileged background didn't prevent the success of Steve Jobs, whose circumstances were much humbler. Both men had an equal opportunity to become successful entrepreneurs, even though Gates had an easier time starting his company thanks to his father's money and connections.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "even though Gates had an easier time starting his company thanks to his father's money and connections."

    You seem to acknowledge how the two can be related right there. I am not saying anything more than that.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    No, you're not getting it. Gates' family money had absolutely no effect upon Jobs' opportunity to become wealthy. Jobs' success from a working class background is ipse dixit evidence of that fact.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Of course the advantages and disadvantages are not insurmountable, but that does not mean they are not advantages and disadvantages.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Since 73% escape their parents quintile, it suggests that factors other than parental wealth are perhaps more of an issue.

  • JoeSchmoe||

    "I think inequality can be seen as bad because some people have much more than others"

    Outed as non-lawyer and a mental retard.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If only I had not gone on to say more about that...

  • ||

    We create simplistic narratives and imagine that punishing the rich will miraculously uplift the poor. This vents popular resentments, even as it encourages self-deception.

    TEAM BLUE's plank includes populist class warfare? Who knew?

  • Paul.||

    It is my humble opinion that the single greatest cause of rot to a nation and its economy is paying people not to work.

    Part of this internal war that I believe took place in the Democratic party was to become utterly focused this very goal. At some point, paying people not to work became a central tenet in Democratic groupthink.

  • Aloysious||

    It is my humble opinion that the single greatest cause of rot to a nation and its economy is paying people not to work.

    I can't disagree with that at all.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Nonsense. There is only a fixed amount of income to go around, making income distribution a zero-sume game. I know this because progressives tell me so.

  • pan fried wylie||

    and having kids before getting married being financially capable of supporting them.

  • ||

    That's what villages are for.

  • DH||

    According to Melissa Perry.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3qtpdSQox0

  • Tim||

    Villages are for idiots, no?

  • sarcasmic||

    Yours sure is.

  • ||

  • Tim||

    Awesome.

  • Spoonman.||

    These are pretty similar things. Marriage, in general, doubles your household income. That's huge.

  • Rasilio||

    Depends on the earning potential of both parties. If you lower income potential person cannot reasonably expect to earn more than ~150% of the minimum wage (whether it is mandated or effectively established by the market) then child care costs will likely make their working unaffordable in the short term.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Marriage, in general, doubles your household income.

    Since you saying generally - okay, but really it increases your resources. Resources being more abstract like time, energy, capacity to build a life and lifestyle.

  • Spoonman.||

    That is absolutely true. It has a lot of benefits in terms of being able to plan for the future.

  • Aloysious||

    Is there any Leftist out there able to point out at what point in human history there was no income inequality? Within the last ten thousand years?

    I'm going to guess no.

  • sarcasmic||

    They'll likely turn around and ask when a perfect libertarian society has ever existed, followed by PERIOD as if the argument is won.

  • Tim||

    10,000 BC was probably as close as humanity will get to universal libertarianism. As soon as we formed settlements the dream was over.

  • sarcasmic||

    Because 10,000 BC there were property rights, contract enforcement, courts to resolve disputes without resorting to violence, organized defense...

    Ohhhhhh! You mean no government at all! You were trying to be clever!

    You failed.

  • Paul.||

    Right to freedom of speech and bear arms though... it's a tossup!

    lulz

  • Tonio||

    Yeah, written language is a prerequisite to laws and contracts. Also, hard to know exactly what people thought if they didn't leave written records. Artwork only goes so far.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yeah, written language is a prerequisite to laws and contracts

    I'm not sure I by that. Even today, an oral contract is still a legal contract, no?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    *buy

    I was in a pre-literate mode there, just to prove you wrong.

  • Restoras||

    I beleive it is technically, but enforcement can be problematic.

  • Tonio||

    Good point, HM. But with a written contract it's a lot harder for either party to claim that the terms were different than actually agreed upon. Written law prevents the kings men from just making stuff up as they go along.

    IIRC the Stele of Hammurabi was one of the first written documents - Hamm had his code of laws carved in stone and set out in thhe public square.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Written law prevents the kings men from just making stuff up as they go along.

    Yeah, how's that working out for us?

    Still, I get your point, though I believe "prerequisite" is a bit too strong. But the invention of writing was still a very, very important advance in the codification of law/mores (the distinction between the two not always clear cut in the ancient world).

  • Azathoth!!||

    Clay.

    And he had the law set in the clay. Not 'his laws'. There was an elaborate system of law already extant.

    Law came before writing. As did contracts. The 'lawyers' remembered the law. Look into 'brehons'

  • Tim||

    I was thinking along the lines of the first harvest: You harvest 12 baskets of potatoes, I got 5, Episarch got 2. Pretty quickly me and Episarch are going to invent potato redistribution.
    But whatever.

  • Aloysious||

    True. It is the blatant ignorance and hubris that they exhibit that turns my stomach.

  • Jordan||

    Even Cuba - where maximum income is capped by law - and North Korea have inequality. Of course, in those countries it is only the benevolent government masters who are rich. I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

  • pan fried wylie||

    Bob and Gene singing Rise Up Against The Rich on adultswim has been bothering me.

  • Ska||

    Yeah but - Art Crawl. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    We actually know how this works for many progressives: the rich are 'punished' by having a growing part of their wealth taken from them which is then given to the poor, so that is how they see 'punishing the rich' as a remedy to 'helping the poor' even though the former has not caused the latter's situation.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    nor is it really helping the latter's situation

  • Paul.||

    even though the former has not caused the latter's situation.

    I think there's an idea that the richer the rich become, the harder it is for the poor to get by because of... inflation-- one supposes.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think the idea I hear the most is that it is unfair in the sense that the children of very poor people can not effectively compete with the children of very rich people in the 'game of life,' and such results dependent on who people are born to strikes them as unfair. Heck, it strikes me that way.

    To me the issue is, what to do about it? Use force to redistribute? Hamper the children of the rich in some Vonnegut like way? Restrict, via force again, what a wealthy person can bequest of theirs? None of that seems morally tenable to me.

  • kinnath||

    No one stays in poverty unless 1) people in positions of power block them from making money in which ever way they are capable of making money or 2) people in positions of power pay them to stay poor.

  • ||

    Heck, it strikes me that way.

    I think that's an important point. It should strike everyone as "unfair". By definition, it's not "fair".

    But I think a more important point is that it's not only perceived as "unfair", but the imbalance is seen as the top taking advantage of the underclass, either by paying wages which prevent them from improving their station or by gaming the system to secure their position.

    There is some truth to both of those. Wages can be a function of ability, and if you were "unfairly" born stupid, then there's a good chance you will be paid low wages and live on the low end of the scale all your life, even if you are a hard worker. And the elites certainly do work to game the system to their advantage.

    The problem is that both of these things have competing agendas. The stupid desire the social welfare state, but the state empowers the rich. So I still end up coming back to the best gambit being to improve opportunity by working to expand the economy, while limiting the state.

  • PapayaSF||

    The different birth circumstances of children is #1 on the Why Life Itself Is Not Fair list. Nothing can be done about it.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    But things can be done about it, and things well within the NAP. I know people who hire people not because they are necessarily the best for the job of for pressing economic need, but because they feel for the person's circumstance. I know people who give their money and time to charities for the same reasons.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Yeah and that is fine. At this point you seem to be moving the goal posts a bit. Nobody is arguing that people shouldn't be able to give their money to anyone they like.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Not moving the goalposts, all along I have been arguing that one can find inequality a problem and be a libertarian living by the NAP.

  • Restoras||

    Who someone hires and for what reason is the employers prerogative. What others do with thier money in terms of charity is theirs as well.

  • ||

    The children of the very ugly cannot compete with the children of the very beautiful. The children of the very intelligent cannot complete with the children of the retarded. The children of short people cannot compete with the children of tall people.

    My grandmother taught me a really simple answer to all these problems when I was about four: life isn't fair.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "life isn't fair."

    Is it then OK to tell people who they can leave their money to, because I think that is unfair.

  • Restoras||

    What is unfair about it.

  • Almanian!||

    No - it's my money, not yours. Therefore, fuck off, slaver.

    Next stupid question.

  • ||

    No wonder people pick on you.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I guess I could aim for the eloquence and substance of your comments here...

  • ||

    What is unfair about ME deciding how MY money is used?

    Would you say it's unfair for me to leave all my estate to five different charities instead of my children?

    Sorry not all of my comments have eloquence (why does that matter on a comment section?) or substance (not that most peoples do either but whatevs). I'll try real hard to make them more better.

  • ||

    The children of the very ugly cannot compete with the children of the very beautiful. The children of the very intelligent cannot complete with the children of the retarded. The children of short people cannot compete with the children of tall people.

    Wait, I thought the left wanted us to celebrate diversity.

  • Fluffy||

    Nononononononono.

    You are shooting yourself in the foot as soon as you concede that this is somehow "not fair".

    This is something that I notice a lot: that sports have corrupted people's notions of what is and what is not "fair".

    Sports competition is specifically set up to provide an extremely artificial set of circumstances to set one competitor against another in achieving a contrived goal or measurement.

    Sports "fairness" has nothing to do with justice. It's about game play. It's tautologically about sportsmanship.

    It's not "fair" to have an accomplished runner from a family of accomplished Kenyan runners engage in a race with a fat kid who flunked out of the Special Olympics.

    But it's entirely "fair" for me to hire and pay the runner as a messenger, and not hire the fat disabled guy.

    Because it's fair for the guy who will deliver the package quickly to get my business. He's the one actually delivering the value. It's unfortunate for the fat disabled guy, but it's not unfair. There's a difference.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "But it's entirely "fair" for me to hire and pay the runner as a messenger, and not hire the fat disabled guy."

    Can you not see that you are actually endorsing the tying of results to performance and/or effort I mentioned above?

  • Fluffy||

    Can you not see that you are actually endorsing the tying of results to performance and/or effort I mentioned above?

    Perhaps, but I don't care where the performance comes from.

    Your argument requires that it not be fair if part of the reason some people perform better than others is due to greater preparation by parents or family members.

    I have never accepted that, because it's based on an entirely contrived vision of what constitutes "competition". (As I said above, I firmly believe that this at least partially comes from sports.)

    I don't care if the reason one programmer is better than another is because one of them "got genetically lucky". I also don't care if it's because one of them had parents who sent them to math camp. It's just not relevant. Those things aren't fair or unfair; they're utterly outside the realm of fairness. All that matters is the product. If you produce the product, you deserve the economic exchange value of that product. If you don't, you don't. Sob stories about your childhood don't make the trains run on time.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "Sob stories about your childhood don't make the trains run on time."

    Might I suggest that 'making the trains run on time' is not the best or only moral criteria we might have for determining fairness?

  • ||

    Sob stories about your childhood don't make the trains run on time.

    Sure, but that's exactly my point--everyone has the same sob story there.

  • ||

    The unfairness, Fluffy, all happens at once: when you're born.

  • Paul.||

    Unfortunately, the notion that "life isn't fair" actually steels the progressive mind demanding a government solution. To the Democratic party, this is the primary focus of government: To provide monies and programs to provide wedge to those who can't compete.

  • Almanian!||

    PS All those children can, in fact, "compete" with the others. They may or may not even "win" sometimes.

    But on the average....

    And of course Grandma is right :)

  • Tonio||

    Tell that to Handicapper General Glampers, Nikki.

  • Tonio||

    And, contra proggie mythology, it's not just "the rich" that are having their wealth confiscated.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Is this another manifestation of the Bezos transformations of WP?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    If by transformation you mean that he has removed the muzzles from those that are not overtly Democratic Party apparatchiks, then maybe.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Leftists need to get their head out of their asses about economics. They need to stop viewing free(er) markets as about some sort of "trickle-down" fallacy and understand it's about increasing the overall size of the pie and ensuring long-term growth in the size of that pie. If the pie is large enough and grows fast enough, we will all feast, even if some of us get a whole lot more pie than others.

    That happens in a very distorted way right now, which is why much of our poor aren't poor in absolute terms, but it would happen in a much better way if government interference--often for political and/or outright corrupt motives--were kept to a minimum.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Good luck, these are the same Cassandras who think we're all going to starve because there are too many people. Even if they thought the pie could get large enough, it would be at the expense of Mother Gaia.

  • Irish||

    Good luck, these are the same Cassandras who think we're all going to starve because there are too many people.

    They're not Cassandras. Cassandra was right and the tragedy was that nobody believed her.

    Progressives are wrong and the tragedy is that people take them seriously.

    They're like anti-Cassandras.

  • ||

    Is there a good mythological figure that illustrates this?

  • Almanian!||

    Epi's mom

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The closest I could think of was Eris.

  • Gadianton||

    Not mythological, but the boy who cried wolf comes to mind.

    The problem with the analogy is that village seems to be comprised of idiots (not the John Cleese variety -- h/t Epi) who never catch on that the boy is a liar.

  • ||

    Why would they? They don't care about economics or "increasing the pie". They are fueled by envy and hatred. People like that are consumed with the idea of bringing down those they hate, and damn the consequences. And guess what? You're seeing the consequences right now, and it's stone cold proof they don't give a shit as long as they can war against their enemies.

  • sarcasmic||

    Talking with my father a little while back I told him about Live From Daryl's House. If you haven't heard about it, Daryl Hall has guests and they play music and eat well.
    Anyway, I mentioned that you'd never guess the guy's age by looking at him, and my father derisively said "Probably all the money."
    Envy. Hate. It's the leftist way.

  • ||

    And it's unbelievably poisonous.

  • Restoras||

    Like you have so eloquently pointed out many times here, it's all about feelings. The more hateful and destructive the better.

    BTW - when I saw Joe Walsh on that show he looked AWFUL.

  • Almanian!||

    he looked AWFUL

    Probably all the money.

    Ohhhhh, SNAP!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, um, they'd have more money to make movies and spread the word about their hatred?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

  • Pro Libertate||

    Exactly.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    And no more pepperoni :-(

  • Pro Libertate||

    The pepperoni represents the flying cars and moonbases with purple-haired employees.

  • Ted S.||

    True leftist thinking wrecks the pizza by making it deep-dish.

  • Tonio||

    PL, the reason leftists can get away with lying about and misrepresenting economics is because it is working out well for them. They will only be motivated to change when that stops working for them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "It" being elections, kinda sorta. They lost control of Congress about as quickly as possible, and are likely to lose the Senate this year.

    But, stepping away from that, they along with the rest of us are going to lose our shirts as the economy continues to behave in this coma-like manner. Yes, the leadership doesn't give a shit so long as they're rich and in office, but the voters can only delude themselves so long.

  • Cytotoxic||

    'He's richer than you!' won't cut it when it hits the fan next recession cycle. The Dems and the broader left have blown their load since 2008 and now they own the mess.

    Economic freedom has had a lot of victories actually, especially in trade. Taxes are way lower than they used to be.

  • Paul.||

    Leftists need to get their head out of their asses about economics.

    Personally, I've been waiting for this since 1979.

    They need to stop viewing free(er) markets as about some sort of "trickle-down" fallacy and understand it's about increasing the overall size of the pie and ensuring long-term growth in the size of that pie.

    They only believe in trickle-down economics when the government is giving scads of money to Solyndra.

  • Doctor Whom||

    They only believe in trickle-down economics when the government is giving scads of money to Solyndra.

    Or to developers for urban "renewal" in the state's most politically favored city.

  • kinnath||

    Team blue institutions aren't designed to produce profits, but they still must grow to ensure their own future. So these institutions need an ever growing body of poor people to justify their ever growing funding streams. So a key part of the team blue philosophy is to pay poor women to make babies that will grow up to be the next generation of poor people.

    Lifting people out of poverty runs counter to the long term goals of team blue institutions.

  • Tonio||

    But you'll never get them to admit that.

  • Matrix||

    Proglodytes remind me of those people who are always angry or depressed. The fact that others are happy and well adjusted just pisses them right off. And they won't be content unless they make everyone else around them just as miserable as they are. So in their view, if a person has more money than them, a great injustice has caused this to happen.

    Instead of someone of us being rich, some of us doing well (but not rich), some of us on the margins (not quite poor), and some of us doing pretty cruddy, we need to even it all out. Which will end up with a very few doing extremely well (the inner Party members), a few more doing okay (enforcers), and the rest of us doing really cruddy.

    The more miserable, the better!

  • ||

    If inequality is growing, but social mobility is remaining constant, what could be the cause? It can't really be that there are fewer economic opportunities, or that it's harder to "get ahead", because those numbers would show up in social mobility.

    What seems to me is that there is *increased* economic opportunity, but that only a small group of people is taking advantage of it. The most likely scenario is that the dot.com era allowed a small number of talented people from all walks of life to get absurdly rich very quickly.(and let's face, it we all know this is a fact.) Those people largely being people who could learn to code.
    We're talking about a technological shift that made it possible for a particular talent to suddenly become extremely valuable. Plus there's the effect of being the first in the gold rush. So the people who got involved in the development of personal computers and the internet in the 80s and 90s got really wealthy.

    I don't think there is anything that could have been done to predict this though, and it may just be a perfectly natural, and self-correcting, phenomenon. Now that the high premium placed on the ability to write code is apparent, more and more people are learning those skills. At some point the technology will plateau and there will be a larger number of people with the skills to take advantage of it. Hence, lower profits, a wider distribution of gains, and less inequality.

  • PapayaSF||

    That's part of it. I'd put it this way: we have gotten better, as a society, at knowing how to get rich and enabling people to do so. At the same time, social fragmentation means that people at the bottom no longer live in quite the same culture. They are encouraged (within their subculture) to "do their own thing," be "authentic," not "act white," use Uncle Sam to pay for their housing and groceries and kids, don't get married, don't get a low-paying job and try to work your way up, etc.

    Plus, the entire set of welfare mechanisms not only trap people in poverty, they act as a drag on the economic system, making it harder to create jobs.

    And then, of course, we let in tens of millions of Third World peasants which has the inevitable effect of depressing wages at the bottom. Supply and demand, how does it work?

  • Paul.||

    "We imagine that punishing the rich will miraculously uplift the poor,"

    I'm assuming this quote is by Samuelson in the original piece. Who's the 'we' in this instance?

  • ||

    Heard David Henderson on NPR last week as the conservative guest on some two-economists segment where they were talking about inequality. And I knew as soon as I heard he was on that he would be killer. But when the interviewer asked if he thought inequality was a problem and he just said, "No," I was like YES MOTHERFUCKERS! IN YO FACE! And the other economist was like...I can't believe he just said that...

    Anyway it was awesome.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Your assumptions are invalid."

  • Paul.||

    I imagine it was a bit like talking to Peter Schiff.

    Interviewer: What should the government be doing about this problem?

    Schiff: Nothing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What? But, how else can a problem the government helped to cause be solved if the government isn't the solution for solving problems they can't be solved without the government which solves problems. . .Norman coordinate.

  • kinnath||

    People seem to think that if Fred is 10% smarter than Bob, then Fred will eventually have about 10% more than Bob.

    This ignores the reality that when Fred and Bob play poker on Saturday, Fred goes home with all of Bob's money.

  • Raston Bot||

    transcript:

    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/201.....ity-debate

    Wouldn't you agree that not everyone has access to the same kind of education and economic opportunity across the country?

    HENDERSON: Oh, sure. And what I would like to do is get rid of all the government barriers that are in the way of that, and you have a huge number of barriers. You have 800 occupations in which people can't practice those occupations without government permission, and government permission is usually expensive and often impossible to get. So I'd like to blow away those barriers and let people have more chances.

    So, for example, where I live, there's a taxicab monopoly. I can't just - or someone can't just put his little sign on his car and run a taxicab, and I think they should be able to.

  • lap83||

    This isn't about the poor. This is about the hapless innocent politicians who will be out on the streets if you cruel glibertarians won't let them use class warfare to buy votes. What did they ever do to you?

  • Tony||

    Taxing a rich person isn't a punishment.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How is taxation enforced?

  • Tony||

    Same way your property rights are.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Except for my property rights to be enforced, you would have to initiate force. Taxation, on the other hand, is in itself an initiation of force.

  • Tony||

    My how the world turns on this little nugget of semantic bullshit.

    You were born into a society with an existing infrastructure of stuff that needs to be paid for and that you begin using from birth. Taxation is the universally accepted way to handle this reality. The only crime would be if you used it and refused to pay.

  • Cytotoxic||

    You were born into a society with an existing infrastructure of stuff that needs to be paid for

    And that I never agreed to and probably won't.

    Taxation is the universally accepted way to handle this reality.

    So why are we arguing about something universally accepted?

  • Tony||

    Because libertarians--along among all the peoples of the earth--are afflicted by a rare and extremely annoying sense of entitlement that gives them the impression that they get to enjoy the fruits of the labors of generations past and present not contribute anything for the upkeep.

  • Cytotoxic||

    There's a payment mechanism for upkeep called 'user fess'. It is the only real and legitimate payment mechanism. The rest are to be dodged and minimized by all means.

  • Tony||

    So... no public defenders I take it?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You were born into a society

    Yes, you were born into the Untouchable caste! Due to the sins of your previous life and karmic pollution you must not even look at a Brahmin!

  • lap83||

    "You were born into a society with an existing infrastructure of stuff that needs to be paid for and that you begin using from birth."

    My birth-given invisible knapsack was full of white privilege. No room for infrastructure.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Taxation is enforced by tort? I get it, you're from Bizarro Earth where everything is different!

  • The Last American Hero||

    Technically you are right. It's threatening a rich person with punishment unless they pay.

  • Tony||

    How else do you propose dealing with thieves?

    Why do libertarians think civilization is free?

  • Jordan||

    If someone washes my car without my permission and I refuse to pay, I haven't stolen anything.

  • Tony||

    So you don't have to pay taxes because you didn't ask for civilization? Pardon me if I believe that you're actually rather grateful not to be living in a state of hellish anarchy, and that you're just a whiny little bitch who doesn't want to pay his part of the upkeep. I mean, I could be wrong, maybe you curse every day having to live in pretty much the most comfort and safety of any human who has ever lived. Past generations are terribly sorry for your inconvenience.

  • Cytotoxic||

    You don't understand what 'civilization' is.

  • Jordan||

    Fallacy count:

    False dilemma: 1
    Ad hominem: 1
    Mind-reading: 1
    Non-sequitur: 1

    Well done. You're really stepping up your game.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • PapayaSF||

    Well, it ain't a reward now, is it?

  • Tony||

    It's a bill for services rendered.

  • PapayaSF||

    Oh, really? The government provides thousands of times more services to a rich person than a poor person? Because a rich person can easily pay thousands of times more in taxes.

  • Tony||

    While the rich certainly (by definition) have benefited more from their civilization, the moral calculation with taxes is traditionally that we should tax enough to pay for the civilization we want without burdening anyone's life with taxes. You can take a lot more from the rich before they feel any burden. Take a pittance from a poor person and his life could be ruined.

    Those are the efficiency and happiness arguments for progressive taxation. But I presume you only care about the justice argument. You presume people deserve their incomes. But they don't. And the reason is the very thing you guys point to all the time as an argument against helping the poor: we are a much wealthier society than we used to be. It's not the case that a poor person in the US works a lot harder than a poor person in Bangladesh (the opposite is probably true). It's that he benefits from generations of setting up institutions that provide for more wealth. Nobody is morally entitled to his income, so taxation can be as progressive as we need it to be.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Again bitbutter absolutely destroyed this nonsense.

    I am grateful to the owner of Tony for allowing us to practice arguing against these arguments by real people who actually believe that dangerous nonsense.

  • Tony||

    "Private roads do exist you know."

    Well I'm convinced.

    "Being the owner of a thing gives you the right to make rules about it."

    Who says? "It's just so!" I gather? Just because "homesteading" is nicer than "bullying" to you doesn't mean it's written in the cosmos that the former is the path to ownership and the latter isn't. Bullies do exist, and they make claims too.

    I loved the bit about how since we killed most of the Indians, we're entitled to appropriate their former land, as it is now "abandoned." How convenient.

    Not convincing at all. Just a couple first principles about what should constitute ownership and no explanation for how that regime is maintained.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I loved the bit about how since we killed most of the Indians, we're entitled to appropriate their former land, as it is now "abandoned."

    That's not what the video said at all. Watch it again you mendacious twit.

  • GILMORE||

    So, what = you're saying is we still owe King George *A WHOLE LOTTA MONEY*?

  • ||

    You can traditionally refuse service which you didn't ask for and pay for the ones you did.

  • Irish||

    Right on cue, Tony shows up and starts spouting stupid shit.

  • Tonio||

    It works better if you just ignore it, Irish.

  • ||

    I always think your posts are Tony's for a second. "Why isn't Tony being a dips...oh. "-io".

  • Almanian!||

    haha! ditto.

    "OH - io...."

    And if I do that a couple times in a row, it's "The Time" doing "Jungle Love!"

    "OH! - io -io...."

    /goes back to sleep

  • Tonio||

    I've thought about changing the handle, but I was here before him, dammit.

  • wareagle||

    don't ever change Tonio.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That would be giving in to terrorism.

  • waffles||

    "Why should I change? He's the one who sucks!"

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    His first 2 posts have been great examples of his ignorance. Much more where that came from, that is for sure.

  • Restoras||

    It is an infinite source of stupid. It is a black hole of stupid spewing its stupidness into the the universe from its polar jets of stupid.

  • Almanian!||

    More proof, as if it were needed, that Peak Derp is a mythological perception of the infinite...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the rich are 'punished' by having a growing part of their wealth taken from them which is then given to the poor, so that is how they see 'punishing the rich' as a remedy to 'helping the poor' even though the former has not caused the latter's situation.

    Speak English, you dumbass.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Some people are born rich, and become even richer by leveraging their advantages to become productive members of society; other people are born rich and squander their ill-gotten loot, winding up as junkies or worse.

    "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most unfairest of them all?"

  • GILMORE||

  • Irish||

    I think that since the poorest Americans are still richer than 80% of the planet, we should take money from anyone making over $20,000 a year and send it to Zimbabwe.

    Do you think progressives would agree with me if I argued that position? I'm actually trying to make the world even 'fairer' than they are, so they should agree with me, right?

    Except they wouldn't agree with me. The reason for this is because progressives don't actually give a shit about equality or fairness...they use those words as an excuse to steal for themselves. Since sending money to Zimbabwe wouldn't allow the progressives to dip their hands in and steal for themselves, they wouldn't be in favor of such a policy.

    Progs always have some pet policy that takes money from the public coffers and confers it to themselves. They might be students trying to get the government to pay off their loans, bureaucrats looking for a raise, or crony capitalists. Regardless, virtually all of them have some policy that would take money and put it in their own pockets.

    Can we please stop pretending they even care about inequality when they're just looking for rationalizations to justify their own theft? I don't think I should take a criminals word for it when he claims that he's going to give my wallet to a bunch of poor orphans.

  • Tony||

    I think you should stop being such slavish apologists for the plutocrat class and go live your lives.

  • wareagle||

    be a lot easier to live our lives if proggies were not intent on dictating how we do that.

  • ||

    Strawman.

    There's been many articles by Reason explicitly ripping apart those who gained their wealth by using the government to prevent competition and barriers to entry. It's like you have this strawman about Libertarians in your mind and come to argue with us without ever really knowing what we are actually about.

  • Tony||

    Uh huh. That's so believable every time I hear it.

  • ||

    I met a lot of Progressives and for the most part, while I think they are wrong, at the very least they try to learn what my position is and try to understand my point of view. You on the other hand is a troll who have absolutely no interest in debating and lob bombs for the sake of lobbing without contributing anything meaningful. You build these straw men in your mind, move the goal posts, and throw around ad hominems because you can't counter our arguments.

    Basically, you're an ass and you make other progressives who may be misguided look like idiots.

  • Tony||

    Well I've been here a long time, and I know a lot about libertarian economic policy ideas. Not a single one of them would result in transferring wealth from the rich to the poor, even by accident, and not a single one of them punishes current rich beneficiaries of rent seeking for their behavior. The inequalities that exist as a result of abuses by the rich will remain in place, and generations hence the unfairness will go unaddressed. The only injustice they seem to care about rectifying is some poor person, somewhere, getting something he doesn't deserve.

  • GILMORE||

    ""The inequalities that exist as a result of abuses by the rich...""

    OMG

    Since you know so much about this sort of thing, Tony...

    ...please explain how Bill Gates and Larry Ellison committed 'abuses' in their creation of 'inequality' between themselves and you.

    I mean, so they've got bajillions, and you don't. Who got hurt again?

  • Tony||

    We'll just ignore Ellison's insider trading thing for a second... I'm speaking about hypothetical abuse of government by the rich that you guys constantly tell me you're just as vigilant about combating as the abuses of the poor.

  • GILMORE||

    WHO GOT HURT BY THEIR BILLIONS?

    You say their wealth CREATES 'inequalities' = how is this in any way true other than saying, "you don't have billions"

    Either validate your own statements or shut the fuck up.

  • montana mike||

    And I think you should swallow 50 pounds of lead pellets and jump into the nearest body of water.

  • The Heresiarch||

    I don't think that answers his point. If it is just to tax rich persons in the U.S. to equalize inequities of birth beyond the control of children, why should we overlook birth in a particular nation as one of those inequities? A Zimbabwe child didn't choose his nation, any more than the American one. Why should there not be a forced distribution of wealth from America to Zimbabwe to balance out that unfairness?

  • #||

    Notice that Tony who cares about income equality isn't willing to give up 80% of his income to give to starving 3rd world residents.

  • Tonio||

    First they came for the plutocrats and I didn't speak up because I didn't have a mansion or a yacht. Then they came for the people with Bentleys and I didn't speak up because my Volvo was ten years old. Then they came for the people with second homes and I didn't speak up because I only have a timeshare. When they came for me because my house was too big there was nobody left to speak up for me.

    Shorter: Plutocrats are real people with real rights.

  • Tony||

    Just not the right not to be taxed. Nobody has ever had that right.

  • Mickey Rat||

    There is a difference between a right not be taxed and a right not to be taxed more to satisfy the envy of the morally stunted.

  • Tony||

    We have the right to be taxed to pay for giant penis sculptures on Mars, if that's what we want. Because unlike the system you want to impose, we have freedoms in ours.

  • sarcasmic||

    Liberty is tyranny that can only be imposed upon society by forcing those who initiate force to stop initiating force!

    Whatever will we do without those who initiate force requiring that we ask permission and obey orders?

    How can there be freedom without organized theft and violence?

    How can we be free if we are allowed to do with our property as we wish?

    We can only be free when our property is forcefully taken from us under threat of violence!

    Force is freedom!

    Theft is freedom!

    Violence is freedom!

  • Mickey Rat||

    Who is "we"? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? When "we" are free, you and I are not. Though I understand you do not want to be free and hate those who do.

    Your little rant has scant connection to the moral turpitude of progressive taxation. I presume you actually did not have a retort.

    Now go lick your chains as a grateful slave should.

  • Tony||

    If you want to escape your connections with other members of your society, then you really need to find a place that isn't in the governed jurisdiction we share. Otherwise you're mooching off of everyone else and claiming you're a free agent, like some kind of little bitch.

    Humans do collective things, whether it's ensure property rights or build penis sculptures on Mars. You, being the insufferable egocentric little bitches you are, want to tell us that we can't do many of those things--we can only do the things you approve of, because... hey look over there!

  • Tony||

    And for the love of Christ, you are seriously godwinning this... rich people being taxed are like Jews in Nazi Germany. And I'm ridiculed for daring to suggest that you're a bunch of slavish apologists for the plutocrat class? Am I on a reality show or something?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    THE GRASSHOPPER IS NOT THE FUCKING HERO OF THE STORY.

  • kinnath||

    He would be on HBO. And HBO would glorify the violence in the finale where the grasshopper slaughters all the ants and steals their reserves.

    I should submit that idea to my agent.

  • waffles||

    A Bug's Life 3, Occupy Hive Street

  • ||

    “Collectivism doesn't work because it's based on a faulty economic premise. There is no such thing as a person's fair share of wealth. The gross national product is not a pizza that must be carefully divided because if I get too many slices, you have to eat the box. The economy is expandable and, in any practical sense, limitless.”
    ― P.J. O'Rourke

  • ||

    I am not rich by any definition. But someone being wealthy does not affect me at all. For me to stew in envy and have anger against people who somehow someway have more then me is counterproductive. Even if I did believe in redistribution, I know that the government would take money from those who have a lot and give it to their friends...who by coincidence are also wealthy.

  • waffles||

    Someone else being rich can actually help me at least feed myself. There are tons of economic activities that wouldn't exist without the investment and excess of the wealthy. I cannot imagine how the wealthy can make me poorer though. Government can make me poorer.

    These arguments are all very confusing when you don't don't feel envy towards the wealthy and don't feel like the world owes you something. We are all special snowflakes, which means none of us are. Get over it.

  • ||

    I feel for those who are born into poverty because of their parent's poor decision making skills. The reason why a lot of them stay in poverty because of the shitty schools they are forced to attend (thanks government) and having parent's who are the way they are because of perverse government incentives.

  • waffles||

    If your parents suck, your life might suck. I guess that's the real unfairness. Some people get awesome parents. What kind of law could we pass to fix this?

  • Tony||

    We've already figured out how to at least mitigate the natural disparity: a social safety net that guarantees that the children are fed, educated, given healthcare, and protected from abuse. It would be impossible to eliminate the advantage rich children have, but ignoring it is to admit that you don't care about capitalism having anything to do with meritocracy. A social safety net makes capitalism more meritocratic--isn't that a good thing?

  • GILMORE||

    "Tony|2.3.14 @ 5:19PM|#

    We've already figured out how to at least mitigate the natural disparity: a social safety net that guarantees that the children are fed, educated, given healthcare, and protected from abuse"

    Wow.

    You really figured all that shit out? Amazing. So, I guess the poorest kids in America are getting wonderful value for their...

    http://nypost.com/2014/01/12/n.....lementary/

    ...oh, wait.

  • Tony||

    By we I mean modern civilization. The US, plagued as it is by idiot neoconfederate simpletons with a cultish obsession with "small government," isn't particularly good at administering these concepts.

  • GILMORE||

    "Tony|2.3.14 @ 5:25PM|#

    By we I mean modern civilization..."

    What, no TOP MEN??

    I think you've been playing Sim City too long there hoss. Greece was considered modern civilization at one point. Maybe you should head over there and update yourself on the wonders of the Public-Funded 'Safety Net'

  • ||

    Dude you have no idea what you are talking about. I grew up on the Southside of Chicago and seen firsthand how the welfare state in it's current form destroyed poor black's incentives to make a better life for themselves. If two people wanted to get married, they didn't because the government would take away their benefits. If someone wanted to get two jobs or get a job that paid a little higher, then they would lose their benefits.

    Why the hell should I work when the government can give me more for not working? It's honestly a logical conclusion. I can deal with having somewhat of a safety net but when it takes away the incentive to do for yourself and your offspring, it creates a cycle of poverty and apathy.

    Taking money from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet wouldn't do shit to help the less fortunate in areas like Chicago.

  • GILMORE||

    Oh, ed = that's because RETHUGLICANS get in the way of the wonderful TEAM BLUE plans to help the poors! It will work as soon as they get Total Control. Like Greece! REAL CIVILIZATION

  • ||

    If you look at all the regulatory/taxation acrobatics along with the shitty school system in Chicago, it hurts the poor blacks more then anyone else. If any black person want to start a business or expand, they will have to jump through a crap load of hoops and probably give a little bribe to the inspectors and enforcers. And my gawd, don't not get me started on the taxes and fees that is required to run a business.

  • GILMORE||

    "PS 106 is allocated $2.9 million to serve a low-income population with 98 percent of its students eligible for free lunches.

    As a Title 1 school, it gets extra federal funds, but community members say they’ve never seen a budget tracking the income and spending."

    ...
    About 40 kindergartners have no room in the three-story brick building. They sit all day in dilapidated trailers that reek of “animal urine,” a parent said; rats and squirrels noisily scamper in the walls and ceiling...

    And the principal — Marcella Sills, who joined PS 106 nine years ago — is a frequent no-show, sources say
    ...

    Department of Education spokesman said Sills was required to report her absences and tardiness to District 27 Superintendent Michelle Lloyd-Bey but would not say whether Sills did so last week.

    Lloyd-Bey did not return a call. Sills hung up on a reporter.

    When she is out, an assistant principal is left in charge. Yet Sills, who gets a $128,207 salary, also pockets overtime pay — $2,900 for 83 hours in 2011, the latest available records show"

    SMELL THAT SAFETY NET.

  • waffles||

  • GILMORE||

    Oh, but don't worry! Tony's TOP MEN are now aware of this 'less than ideal-performing institution, and are getting RIGHT ON IT!

    Investigation!

    "“She’s evil,” former PS 106 teacher Patricia Walsh said. “She finds pleasure in ruining people’s lives.”

    “She’s been getting away with it for years,” said Silaka Cox, an NYU freshman who graduated from PS 106 on Sills’ watch.

    After reading The Post’s report on the school, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Sunday announced an investigation into what she called “deeply troubling” revelations.

    Fariña said she is sending her second-in-command, Deputy Chancellor Dorita Gibson, to the school Monday morning “to review the situation at PS 106 and determine what is going on there.”

    Wow, with such an awesome public-education 'safety net' like this, I can't wait to see how they manage poor-people's HEALTHCARE! The awesome successes of the progressive state have simply not been appreciated in full yet!

  • GILMORE||

    ""Teachers begged city officials to investigate “School of No” Principal Marcella Sills soon after she started in 2005 — citing her constant tardiness, harassment of staff and extravagant spending on parties while the school lacked books, pencils and paper.

    “Get rid of her before it’s too late,” a 2007 letter urged District 27 Superintendent Michelle Lloyd-Bey, who oversees Queens principals.

    Letters describe Sills as a tyrant and “rude lunatic administrator” who spurred an exodus of excellent teachers and failed to provide basic student supplies and services while handsomely furnishing her own office and squandering funds on catering and decorations.

    “You need to examine Ms. Sills’ inability to lead,” says a 2006 letter from a “concerned teacher” to top Department of Education officials, including Carmen Fariña — now the city’s newly installed chancellor ....“Teacher morale is at an all-time low.”

    Fariña sent a deputy to inspect the school last week but has not publicly acknowledged any specific problems, citing only “significant room for organizational improvement.”

    I BLAME REPUBLICANS

    ALSO MEDICAID IS AWESOME TOO

  • GILMORE||

    "The teachers also showed more than two dozen letters and e-mails to reps at the United Federation of Teachers, including then-President Randi Weingarten, now a national union president, but said even she could not help."

    Whats important is that we get MOAR FUNDS FOR FAILING SCHOOLS, AND END CHARTER PROGRAMS.

    Because NYC! Shows why progressive ideas are the bestest.

  • GILMORE||

    "Some people get awesome parents. What kind of law could we pass to fix this?"

    They already have that.

    its called, 'force kids to attend public schools'

  • ||

    I was born into a single mother household and while it sucked and times were hard, my Mother never once took a dime from the government through the proxy of welfare. So many people were perplexed at why she wouldn't take advantage of the public aid system in Illinois but she believed that as long as her hands worked and her legs were mobile, she would not take money from the government. She rightfully believed that anything the government gave you, they can also take away.

    She had discipline with her money and made sure that she drilled into me and my sibling's head's that if you want anything in life, go work for it and have goals. Because no one in this life sure as fuck owes you anything and the money you start depending on people and the government, they have control over your life.

  • ||

    Money should be moment*

  • waffles||

    You had an awesome Mom. You don't need money to be an awesome parent. Poverty is cultural. This is why raising the minimum wage will, at best, have no effect on the state of poverty in America.

  • ||

    Whenever I hear a Progressive use the term, "fair share", I grill them by asking them how much exactly, if the there were no "loopholes" in the tax code, would the wealthy need to give the government in order for their idea of equality to be achieved?

    Till this day, never got a straight answer.

  • ||

    100%

    It's always 100% (as long as the vile people that think like Tony have a say).

  • ||

    I had someone say seventy-five percent after making a million dollars. I asked why did you think that the government deserved seventy-five percent of a person's wealth after a million and her answer was that it just wasn't fair. That was one of the few times I was baffled into silence.

    She got her BA in Economics and Masters in public policy.

  • ||

    Now THAT is scary.

  • ||

    She just came back from the Peace Corp and will probably in the near future be a government bureaucrat. These sorts scare me because of all the power they gain.

  • Mickey Rat||

    You have met the Enemy, and they are credentialed.

  • sarcasmic||

    I asked why did you think that the government deserved seventy-five percent of a person's wealth after a million and her answer was that it just wasn't fair.

    The government is the people and the people are the government.

    So that 75% is not being taken by the government, it's being taken by the people.

    Except that the government is controlled by the corporations. But that's only because it doesn't have enough power.

    More power to the government means it can control the corporations that control it, bringing power back to the people!

    And if giving more power to the government doesn't wrest control from the corporations and back to the people, that only means it needs more power!

    And if giving more power to the government doesn't wrest control from the corporations and back to the people, that only means it needs more power!

    And if giving more power to the government doesn't wrest control from the corporations and back to the people, that only means it needs more power!

    And if giving more power to the government doesn't wrest control from the corporations and back to the people, that only means it needs more power!

    And if giving more power to the government doesn't wrest control from the corporations and back to the people, that only means it needs more power!

    Thinking Emoting like a liberal makes my head hurt.

  • sarcasmic||

    Till this day, never got a straight answer.

    How can a rich person (rich being defined as "more than me") have paid their fair share and still be rich (have more stuff than me, that's not fair!)?

  • Tony||

    However much we need to pay for the things we have bought.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    It would be impossible to eliminate the advantage rich children have,


    Nor should anybody try.

    but ignoring it is to admit that you don't care about capitalism having anything to do with meritocracy.


    Purposefully ignoring it means that one is at least familiar with the most basic of economics, just like ignoring Zeus means one is familiar with how and why lighting happens.

    Capitalism has nothing to do with meritocracy or any other form of ruling system. It has to do, instead, with production and savings accumulation.

    A social safety net makes capitalism more meritocratic--isn't that a good thing?


    It should have been obvious by now the fallacy in your assertion - again, capitalism has NOTHING to do with a meritocracy or any other "-cracy," but with production and savings accumulation. If you want to apply moralistic arguments when discussing economics, go right ahead; you will be the only one looking foolish.

  • GILMORE||

    What is so appalling about the bullshit tossed around by morons like Tony is their utter shamelessness with which they leap to using the plight of 'the poor' as the selling point for their shitty and ineffective social-engineering concepts, BUT = when then presented with the utter failure of these programs to deliver even a modicum of their promise, and in fact in most cases serve to often MAKE THINGS WORSE than they would otherwise be, they will suddenly either disappear, plead ignorance, clam up, or desperately cast around to find some boogeyman bad-actors to blame, ANYTHING but acknowledge their dumb fucking Big Government, Top Down, 'Safety Net' programs are a bleeding wound that do nearly ZERO net good despite sucking trillions into the Money Hole. No = the problem was most likely NOT ENOUGH MONEY.

    And they'll continue to shamelessly tell themselves and each other how *wonderful* they all are for their moral egalitarianism and how Racist those dastardly capitalists are for thinking that things like 'lower taxes and greater economic growth' could actually ever do anything to 'solve poverty'.

    These 'social justice' crusaders also seem to never actually live in the slums of NY, Chicago, or Detroit. No, they seem to thrive on *college campuses*, as far as possible from the reality they claim to care so much about.

  • sarcasmic||

    They feel that they are right.

    No amount of reason or logic can change what they feel.

  • PapayaSF||

    Plus, Tony seems to think "civilization" and "society" and "government" are the same things. So, if a rich person benefitted from living in the USA, he owes everything to the government. Bullocks.

  • Tony||

    Restart that rich person's life in Burundi, and we'll compare and contrast how different the outcomes are in his life.

    Nobody said government does it all. But the individual doesn't do it all either.

  • Tony||

    But I thought the poor were doing great in our country.

    Or does it just depend on what side of your face is talking?

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