The Cuban People's Revolution Has Truly Succeeded…

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…Otherwise, how could an illegitimate soldier's son who barely grew up in the lap of luxury and didn't even manage to wash out of Major League Baseball make it on Forbes' list of the richest world leaders three years in a row? Congratulations, Fidel.

Fair and balanced: Castro, a river to his people, says it's all a crock—he's poor as a churchmouse.

NEXT: The Scene of the Cigarette Conspiracy

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  1. Sounds like Forbes is taking a pot shot without much info. How the hell would anyone know how much Castro is worth?

    JMJ

  2. I read the Forbes list a couple fo days ago. The reason they maintain a seperate list for heads of state is precisely because it is so hard to tell what the leader owns in a dictatorship/monarchy/”communist paradise”.

    You could argue about what they can actually spend while maintaining their dictator status of say, a communist paradise, but the same applies for Bill Gates too. It is physically impossible for him to spend all his money on himself as well.

  3. I miss the Roosevelt marginal rates…

    JMJ

  4. “How the hell would anyone know how much Castro is worth?”

    Indeed, not sure how they can put a $$ value on it. But his net worth is not zero, what a laugh. He has far too many apologists that will come to his side and claim he is the greatest thing since sliced bread so no need for him to sue. LOL

  5. “For another controversial dictator, Fidel Castro, we assume he has economic control over a web of state-owned companies, including El Palacio de Convenciones, a convention center near Havana; Cimex, retail conglomerate; and Medicuba, which sells vaccines and other pharmaceuticals produced in Cuba. Former Cuban officials insist Castro, who travels exclusively in a fleet of black Mercedes, has skimmed profits from these outfits for years. To come up with a net worth figure, we use a discounted cash flow method to value these companies and then assume a portion of that profit stream goes to Castro. To be conservative, we don?t try to estimate any past profits he may have pocketed, though we have heard rumors of large stashes in Swiss bank accounts. Castro, for the record disagrees, insisting his personal net worth is zero.”

    Sounds like a helluva lot of guesswork, but not complete fabrication.

  6. Wow, remind me to never click on a USA Today link again — five or six immediate pop-ups. The Web sites for the MSM newspapers are worse than porn sites.

  7. “I miss the Roosevelt marginal rates…”

    Now I have to dislike you again, Jersey.

  8. I miss the Roosevelt marginal rates…

    Only because I suspect you are not at risk of paying the top marginal rates, Jersey.

    Ah, for the halcyon days of 25% unemployment and hundreds of thousands dying in a world war. That’s what those rates were for, weren’t they, J?

  9. I miss the Roosevelt marginal rates…

    You must hate JFK and LBJ for ending them then.

  10. Castro, for the record disagrees, insisting his personal net worth is zero.

    No doubt, but I expect Forbes was making a financial estimate, not a social or moral one.

  11. On the Roosevelt-style marginal rates, yeah Jersey nothing makes folks want to work hard to grow a company and create jobs more than having all of their money stolen from them by the government.

    I personally work the best when I make $0. But hey in JMJ-land I will have free healthcare, and a guaranteed income, and the rivers will all flow with chocolate. So what do I need money for anyway?

  12. Of course Castro is on the list, he owns his own country! Not even Bill Gates can say that…

    Probably Kim Jong-Il should be on the list, for the same reason, but Forbes was looking for dollar amounts, and there’s probably too little known about North Korea to come up with one.

  13. Right, JMJ, it was so wonderful to penalize success that way… I’m sure that you could come up with much better ways to spend Gates’ billions, couldn’t you?

    It is incredible to me that you would be an apologist for a cold-blooded killer like Castro, and yet have such a hate on for a man who’s earned his wealth by creating whole new markets and being personally responsible for one of the larger economic expansions of this nation’s history.

  14. “Probably Kim Jong-Il should be on the list”

    He’s not on the list because he’s so Roanry.

  15. Hey Clean, to be fair Jersey has not made an apology for him……….yet.

  16. Fine – “defender,” then.

    The Jerk probaby wears Che t-shirts to his job in “international business,” too. Every time I see one of those, it makes me want to buy one of these.

  17. Kim Jong-Il may be missing from the list because of the simple fact that he and his Dear old dad have impoverished their erstwhile nation so much that even someone like Jersey McJones could afford to buy the whole damned thing out of his lunch money.

  18. I love the John Derbyshire quote that whereever there is a boot on a face, there is a western liberal there to explain how the face has free healthcare and universal education. It definitely pays to own and oppress your own country. It especially if you can do it as a leftist and have an endless stream Hollywood twits coming down to kiss your ass. Kim Jong Ill is probably not on the list either because he is so bizare that no one can even guess at what he worth or that he has managed to run North Korean into the ground to such an extent that he can’t even steal from his own country anymore. My guess would be a combination of the two.

  19. On the Roosevelt-style marginal rates, yeah Jersey nothing makes folks want to work hard to grow a company and create jobs more than having all of their money stolen from them by the government.

    Progressive tax rates allow middle class people take on the jobs rich people don’t really want to do. Like the Mexican immigrants, but at a more managerial strata.

    Roosevelt-related Disclaimers: I like the progressivity of Roosevelt’s tax structure because highly progressive rates make income tax work like a wealth tax, which would be the fairest tax basis for items like defense spending. On the other hand, I am sympathetic to the position that Roosevelt took too many taxes in total and made gov’t bigger than it should have been. He was the original LIHOPper, too.

  20. WTF are you raving about, Dave? Are you actually claiming that financially raping the successful makes others want to become successful???

  21. “Progressive tax rates allow middle class people take on the jobs rich people don’t really want to do. Like the Mexican immigrants, but at a more managerial strata.”

    Here I thought that Castro claiming his net worth was zero was the biggest crock of shit I would read today. That one moves to the front of the line. Congrats Dave!

    OK, let’s pretend it is true. Why the hell is it the government’s job to manipulate mid-level management jobs? Answer: It’s not.

    Did any one you command economy types here ever stop to think how much money is wasted on the administration alone of these shell game manipulation schemes? That maybe if that was left out there that it would have been used to create another job. Naaaaah you’d have had to understand the basics of economics and common sense then.

    You know what? You want to trash Adam Smith all day, and you’re right he didn’t have all the answers and things have changed some since his time. I don’t have a fucking shrine to the man. But his principles work every day in the market as opposed to the Marxist arguements I here over and over again that are now labeled as “progressive”.

    I am a liberal on pretty much all fronts until we come to this type of economic ignorance, and the stupidity STAGGERS the mind. It really is the fault of our education system I guess.

  22. Thank you Dave. I could not have said it better myself!

    As for being an apologist for Castro, my fine libertarian friends, let me say this – remember Batista? Ever heard of “blow back?”

    History doesn’t happen in a vacuum, folks. Castro was the direct result of American (and, prior to that, Spanish) hegemony. Makes you wonder what’s in store for Iraq, huh? 😉

    JMJ

  23. Dave,

    What is your excess wealth threshold? 10M? 100M? 1B?

  24. MP, you don’t need a threshhold. Just the right kind of progressive curve. Ya’ know, math?

    JMJ

  25. Progressive tax rates allow middle class people take on the jobs rich people don’t really want to do. Like the Mexican immigrants, but at a more managerial strata.

    Yeah too bad Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, Sumner Redstone, Gordon Moore, David Geffen, Ross Perot, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Steve Jobs, Craig McCaw etc. weren’t forced to give up their wealth a long time ago. There’d be many more jobs available if they stepped out of the way.

    Cough.

    All of the above have more money than they can spend on themselves. When they keep working they are effectively being taxed at a 100% rate for all future gains they make. And there is no doubt in my mind that when that 100% is spent on others (by definition they can’t spend it on themselves) that they will do a much more effective job of helping the needy than the “generous” government would. In the meantime they are using their wealth to create more and more jobs and more and more wealth to give away at a later time.

    Yeah, too bad we don’t have those Roosevelt marginal rates to stop them befroe they got this far. Those bastards.

  26. You want to trash Adam Smith all day, and you’re right he didn’t have all the answers and things have changed some since his time.

    whoa, whoa, whoa: I am not trashing Adam Smith. Adam Smith recognized the problem of business consolidation very clearly in his writing — much more impressive because he understood this potential problem even though it was a theoretical problem, rather than a real pervasive problem, at the time he was writing. Adam Smith is the godhead and this board is not worthy of him.

  27. Yeah too bad Bill Gates

    Okay, you mentioned Gates. Here are the jobs* he has taken:

    The person who would otherwise run the 5th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 6th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 7th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 8th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 9th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 10th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 11th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 12th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 13th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 14th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 15th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 16th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 17th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 18th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 19th most successful OS maker.
    The person who would otherwise run the 20th most successful OS maker.
    (List ends — world doesn’t need more than 20 OS operating systems for personal computers).

    And it is too bad because Windows really sucks, and the 11th most successful operating system (that never existed) would have been much better for all of us. Then again, it is hard to weep for the children one has never had.

    FOOTNOTE
    * No pun intended.

  28. thank you dave!!!!

    JMJ

  29. Jersey, I just love your pre-emptive apologist position for the butchers of al Qaeda in Iraq now. Fucking lovely.

    Of course Castro would have been a perfectly peaceful, fun-loving baseball player if only we EEVIL Yanqis hadn’t backed Batista. And of course Zarqawi would still be praying quietly in a mosque somewhere if only we had not bullied Iraq into giving up its 19th province.

    Everything is the fault of the American Imperialists, and all other players on the board are assumed to have nothing but the purest of motives, right?

    Fucking dumbass.

  30. Progressive tax rates allow middle class people take on the jobs rich people don’t really want to do.

    Now I’m completely lost. If we raise taxes on rich people, how exactly does that create jobs for middle class people?

  31. Hey, Dave — WHO THE FUCK DECIDES? Who decides what the 5th through 20th most successful OS makers would have been? Who decides that we only need 20?

    The market has spoken — Windows, and DOS before it, were good enough to build an entire economy around. Are they the elixir of electronic life, the zenith of coded creation? No — but they didn’t need to be, either.

    If we waited for the perfect solution, we’d still be banging rocks together in a cave.

  32. “As for being an apologist for Castro, my fine libertarian friends, let me say this – remember Batista? Ever heard of “blow back?”

    History doesn’t happen in a vacuum, folks. Castro was the direct result of American (and, prior to that, Spanish) hegemony. Makes you wonder what’s in store for Iraq, huh? ;)”

    Yes I remember Batista, I also remember that the CIA gave money to Castro as well to hedge it’s bets.

    I have no problem with your blow back theories JMJ, I happen to agree with them. You still are too fucking stupid to realise that most libertarians are anti-war and anti-foreign entanglement, and you persist on making such comments. Give you another 10 years and you might have a light bulb go off and go “libertarians are not conservative Republicans!!!” But I sidetrack myself.

    I think American foreign policy in years gone by is to blame for Castro coming to power (not all as you seem to suggest, but a considerable amount). We will have to deal with the failures of our policies in Iraq in the same way in years to come. It will not be fun to say the least.

    The Cuban Revolution had most of it’s support from the middle and upper classes who had grown tired of Batista’s bullshit and fell for Castro’s centrist rhetoric and promises of Constitutional restoration and return to democratic elections. That support died against a bloody brick wall with the likes of Che giving the hand signal. It ceased to be a “blow back” at that point.

    Having said all this, why Castro is thought of as a fine leader on “the left” deserves some ponderance. It seems that “free” healthcare and education and some good fist shaking at the “evil empire” are all it takes to wash away all other human rights abuses and lack of democracy for the far left.

    I know that 80% of the left does not have the warm and fuzzies for Castro, and I am assuming you are in that 80% until you tell me otherwise.

  33. you don’t need a threshhold. Just the right kind of progressive curve. Ya’ know, math?

    Jersey, I didn’t ask you, because I know you have zero problem stealing from anybody who makes more than you do. Dave, on the other hand, has a particular problem with very large wealth accumulation, so I was curious as to his threshold for when accumulated wealth becomes dangerous in his eyes.

  34. “Adam Smith is the godhead and this board is not worthy of him.” Indeed, but your suggestions on this board make you not worthy of him either.

  35. Lurker,

    Its not just Castro. This is from a review in the NY Book Review of a biography of Robespierre.

    “In her lively and well-written book, “Fatal Purity,” Ruth Scurr, a historian and literary critic, confesses her sympathy for Robespierre, admitting that she has given him “the benefit of any rational doubt” and has “tried to be his friend and to see things from his point of view.” While conscious of his defects and mistakes, she reminds readers of Robespierre’s “passionate commitment to democracy,” of “the depth of his commitment to the poor,” of his advanced ideas on education, minorities and taxation, and of his consistent identification “with the victims of injustice.”

    Yeah, you can guiotine 1000s and lay down the template of the modern totalitarian show trial, but if you have a “committment to the poor” eventhing is A okay.

  36. Jersey gave substtantially the correct answer, the function should be sufficiently continuous so that we avoid threshold and cutoff problems.

    My only gloss is that the curve does not need to be continous in the calculytic (or mathematical) sense because that definition of continuity would exclude minor, acceptable step functionality and could also legitimize curves that are mathematically continuous, but work like an ungranulated step function in practice.

    Moving to the real issue:

    Don’t have a full answer on how-progressive-is-progressive enuf. A bit more to say, tho. Two variables that impact how progressive the rate should be are:

    1. Social budget versus defense/war budget: The more the budget is tilted to social spending, the flatter the rate should be. Poor people benefit from social spending and they should share in the costs more proportionately. For example, if we have Social Security at all, it should be funded by a fairly flat tax (and I think it is). As the balance tilts to anti-terrorism and defense spending: that benefits rich people and they should be the ones that pay.

    2. Lobbying: The easier we make it for rich people to get politicians to follow their rich-people-preferences, the more progressive the tax structure should be. As far as I am concerned, if Merck and ADM are funding the legislature, then their shareholders can pay for the legislation. On the other hand, if we erecta cone of isolation around the legislature to make sure they don’t talk to, eat with or gof with private sector rich people, then I am comfortable with a flatter tax. In the current system I think the tax rates are way too flat given how much lobbying goes on. I say cut the lobbying or else make the tax structure steeper. For example, I want Halliburton’s major shareholders to be the ones paying for all the foreign policy misadventures. Otherwise we overinvest in that kind of thing. :7(

  37. Yeah, you can guiotine 1000s and lay down the template of the modern totalitarian show trial, but if you have a “committment to the poor” eventhing is A okay.

    Oh sure, now I bet you are going to say that just because we have spent trillions on redistribution in the US since 1973, and achieved absolutely zero progress in reducing the poverty rate, that well-intentioned attempts to help the poor are worse than doing nothing.

    Oh wait a minute…imagine what would have happened to the poverty rate if the government had gotten out of the way and allowed the downward slope of American-definition poverty to continue to fall naturally instead via gainful employment rather than government mandated thumb twiddling.

  38. I know it’s not just Castro. Of course the right has had it’s apologists for the likes of Pinochet and The Contras so there is equal hypocracy.

    I guess at some level I hold the left to a higher standard since they constantly preach all this line about human rights, etc. (One that I happen to toe myself) It is a bit more glaring I think.

    I can write off a cold warrior who brushes over Latin American dead in the wake of right wing anti-communists because they never claimed they were not ok with people dying for their world view.

    But with the left they make loftier claims in this area, so I guess I give them a harder time.

  39. “As far as I am concerned, if Merck and ADM are funding the legislature, then their shareholders can pay for the legislation.”

    Dave you know, I don’t agree with you on the whole but you say some interesting things that I can dig.

  40. Social budget versus defense/war budget: The more the budget is tilted to social spending, the flatter the rate should be. Poor people benefit from social spending and they should share in the costs more proportionately

    You can’t be serious. You actually think it makes sense for the government to tax the poor so that the government can give them their own money back? Minus the extensive handling costs of course.

  41. Ooooh, he invoked Halliburton — so he MUST be on the side of the angels!

    What horsepucky.

    Dave, do you have any private retirement savings? Got those in mutual funds? Hey, have a look in the mirror, then — you’re one of those evil shareholders, and you should be PUNISHED.

    (Of course, if your heart is pure, and you’re counting solely on Social Security for your retirement income, you’ll get your natural punishment in due course…)

  42. “Social budget versus defense/war budget: The more the budget is tilted to social spending, the flatter the rate should be. Poor people benefit from social spending and they should share in the costs more proportionately”

    Of course Dave, then you say stupid shit such as this. You are kind of like a TV with rabbit ears where I get a good picture every now and then, but there is a massive amount of snow and fuzz.

    I think happyj pointed out the falicy well enough that I don’t need to comment further on it.

  43. So the Washington Senators story isn’t true. Serves me right for taking a line from a Ken Burns documentary at face value.

  44. Alright, Dave W., I am going to ask why you think defense spending favors the rich. Because if a city gets nuked a rich guy loses a mansion and a poor guy only loses a shack? Or because all the defense spending goes into Daddy Warbuck’ pockets? (Daddy Warbucks has robots building those stealth fighters and Bradley APCs, after all.) Some might suggest that defense spending helps everyone equally, because we all have one life to lose.

    As for lobbying, I wonder what percentage of lobbying is really done by rich corporations, or maybe I should say what percentage of effective lobbying. I think some of the more effective lobbying is done on behalf of people of median or low income; the NRA, for example, and all the pro-abortion and anti-abortion groups. I bet most people who hunt or shoot as a hobby, who want an abortion, or who are strongly against abortion, are not “rich.”

  45. You can’t be serious. You actually think it makes sense for the government to tax the poor so that the government can give them their own money back? Minus the extensive handling costs of course.

    This is the flipside of the problem with Halliburton running the country. If the poorer people don’t pay enuf share for their own goodies then they will work too hard at demanding government goodies and develop an out of control sense of entitlement.

    I am certainly not suggesting tax regressivity or charging anybody taxes on a basis other than income or wealth, so if you are implying that you are barking up the wrong tree.

    My dream scenario is that first they figure out how “progressive” the expenditures will be, and then back calculate the progressivity of the tax rate based on the annual progressivity of the tax expenditures. that way when Halliburton gets its war then its major shareholders automatically get soaked. If the big thing next year is a chocolate river, then the tax structure would automatically go flatter as rich and poor bathed together in that brown molten vector of pure deliciousness.

    ps: frustrating when one is being criticized and the server won’t let me respond!

    pps: I invoked Halliburton because they are paying the vice president and the vice president used his power and influence to advocate for an unneccessary war that benefitted Halliburton. It don’t get much clearer than that.

  46. Dave,

    If I understand you, you don’t agree with a progressive tax structure from a general policy perspective, but you won’t complain about its existence as long as we’re in a situation where the fat cats disproportionately drive public policy, correct?

  47. …benefitted, as in caused them to lose money?

    I suppose that if the next VP used to work for Hershey, you’ll be cursing at the skies about your chocolate rivers being supplied by that evil nemesis of freedom, Hershey?

  48. “I know it’s not just Castro. Of course the right has had it’s apologists for the likes of Pinochet and The Contras so there is equal hypocracy”

    My view of Pinochet is that yes he was a jerk but he was the best of bad alternatives. Had the U.S. not supported him, Chile would have ended up like Cuba. Further, a lot of the people he killed would have turned Chile into Cuba or worse had they not been stopped. Not that that makes Pinochet an ideal leader, but if the only alternative was the communists, you go with the lesser of the two evils.

  49. How many people does it take to loudly shout down Jersey McJones?

    I realize his ideas are a little bit crackpot sometimes, but whenever one of his posts gets ten “omfg u loser”-type responses (albeit in better prose), it approaches the idiocy of all the morons who nasty-messaged Nick Gillespie after he was on the O Rly? Factor.

    It only takes one or two responses, people. No need to pile on.

  50. If I understand you, you don’t agree with a progressive tax structure from a general policy perspective, but you won’t complain about its existence as long as we’re in a situation where the fat cats disproportionately drive public policy, correct?

    I don’t have any philosophical objection to progressive income tax rates. Under the right kind of control, futzing with the progressivity can be an expedient way of making an income tax behave as though it is a wealth tax. Roosevelt used progressivity in exactly this way during WWII, and I would have complained a lot less about the Iraq War if Bush had used a similar approach for that one.

    On the other hand, if Roosevelt had done the more rigorous thing of paying for WWII with a wealth tax, it is possible that the precedent of paying for war with wealth taxes would have caught on to everybody’s great benefit.

    For one thing, the Cold War might have been a lot less cold with 99% marginals. The Iraq War simply wouldn’t have happened and we would probably be having him help out now against the Iranians and the terrorists with Saudi Arabian money.

  51. Alright, Dave W., I am going to ask why you think defense spending favors the rich.

    The rich pay with their money to protect their investments.

    The poor people pay with their sons to protect their lives.

    That is how it should work.

  52. Because everyone knows that the rich don’t have lives that are at risk in wars, and the poor have no investments?

  53. (And there is nothing in between “poor” and “rich.”)

  54. “Progressive tax rates allow middle class people take on the jobs rich people don’t really want to do. Like the Mexican immigrants, but at a more managerial strata.”

    I feel so silly. I assumed that that was a JOKE. It would have been so funny.

    Now, the Wealth Tax- that’s funny.

    By the way; is Castro richer than Mugabe? I haven’t read the you-know-what-kind-of-you-know-whaticle.

  55. “Progressive tax rates allow middle class people take on the jobs rich people don’t really want to do. Like the Mexican immigrants, but at a more managerial strata.”

    I feel so silly. I assumed that that was a JOKE. It would have been so funny.

    Now, the Wealth Tax- that’s funny.

    By the way; is Castro richer than Mugabe? I haven’t read the you-know-what-kind-of-you-know-whaticle.

  56. Okay, you mentioned Gates. Here are the jobs* he has taken:

    And it is too bad because Windows really sucks, and the 11th most successful operating system (that never existed) would have been much better for all of us. Then again, it is hard to weep for the children one has never had.

    It’s far too difficult to disentangle all the factors that went into Windows’ success and say that the world would be better with another dominant OS. The model that Microsoft adopted of maintaining backward compatibility at any cost is what the market wanted, and is probably what has driven the large expansion in the computer business. Is Windows perfect? Far from it. But it’s been good enough, and Bill Gates, whatever his flaws (and they are legion), is largely responsible for its success.

    Note that I say this as a Linux user. I think that Linux, with all its flaws, is a superior operating system. But I’m pretty sure that, without Windows, I would not today be able to buy a computer for less than a thousand dollars that would have any chance of running an OS as good as Linux. It is Microsoft and its focus on giving the customer what they want that have made computers what they are today. Now we just have to continue to provide them competition so they continue to bring the cost of computers down. 🙂

  57. Another comment: the consolidation of operating systems has probably actually been a net gain for consumers. There’s a strong network effect at work with computers, and if there were twenty operating systems out there (which there are, even today), most of them would be almost useless to most people. It takes a lot of effort to program for more than one platform, and most companies don’t do it even now when there are only three or four major OSs. What would they do if there were twenty?

    With one major OS to write for, the programs can be bigger and more complicated (therefore more capable), because the investment in writing the program can be spread over a larger user base. Again, whatever its flaws, Windows has contributed to making people expect more of computers, even with all its instability and security flaws. Without Windows and Bill Gates (or something like them) the world would be a poorer place today.

  58. Dave,

    Taxes should never be used to drive social policy, because their distorting effects and unintended consequences are too difficult to predict and/or manage. No matter how you try and spin it, progressive taxation is simply a wealth redistribution mechanism.

  59. Taxes should never be used to drive social policy, because their distorting effects and unintended consequences are too difficult to predict and/or manage. No matter how you try and spin it, progressive taxation is simply a wealth redistribution mechanism.

    Then a flat tax on wealth (instead of income) will do fine. The income tax is a redistribution of paying for protection of wealth mechanism.

  60. Doubt it: al those OS’s that never existed would have required hardware, too : maybe even more!

    Dave,

    You may know patent law, but this statement shows that you don’t know dick about OSes.

  61. Grylliade,

    Windows is the 90% sollution that works on everything. It is easy to use and everyone knows it. That is why it was so successful. Had Apple not been so greedy and unwilling to license its OS, it could have been standard rather than microsoft. The people who whine that Apple makes a better product are only half right. Yeah, they make a better OS but still managed to fuck it up and loose the competition with microsoft. It is a pretty good trick to have a better product but still manage to get your ass handed to you in the market. Apple managed that through sheer arrogance and greed.

    The bottomline is that MS products work for what most people want in a computer, which is really not much. It drives computer geeks crazy because they know it could be better and it doesn’t work well for the crazy things they want to do. Linux does work better but at least until very recently it was not particularly user friendly. In the end I think that the original lack of user friendliness had a lot to do with Linux appeal to hard core computer users. They hated the fact that average dopes had enterered their sacred domain of computer use.

  62. Dave, yer not listening.

    ANY tax policy designed primarily with social goals in mind, rather than their primary purpose – raising revenue for the State – is illegitimate, and is doomed to all sorts of unintended consequences.

  63. I sort of agree with Dave. Taxing income is far more evil than taxing wealth, especially if that wealth is taxed at death. Income from labor requires time; that is, the laborer must spend some of their finite life to earn their income. Inherited wealth is unearned; it comes from winning the lottery of life. REDUCE income taxes on labor and proportionately INCREASE taxes on inherited wealth. I agree that the GOP is evil. Their attempts to eliminate inheritance taxes are proof. The Dems are evil as well, in that their policies make all of us slaves to the state.

  64. For those concerned with negative effects of inheritance taxes: Reducing income taxes on labor should increase productivity. I know that it would increase mine. Late in the year, when I’m paying 40+% in state and federal income taxes and self-employment tax, I tend to slack off. If my basic needs are satisfied, working for less than 60% of my hourly just isn’t worth it.

  65. Real Bill, some people are strongly motivated by the thought of leaving a substantial inheritance for their kids; reducing or eliminating their ability to pass along that inheritance will greatly reduce their productivity.

    Taxes of any sort, as a coercive activity, are inherently evil. The ideal is to make them as small an evil as possible, so that they limit the choices and motivations of the taxed as little as possible.

    May I suggest the Fair Tax?

  66. Dave W,

    “For one thing, the Cold War might have been a lot less cold with 99% marginals.”

    Less cold? As in, hotter? Hotter, as in G.I. Joe and Tommy Atkins in hand to hand combat with Ivan in the ruins of Berlin and Paris? That doesn’t sound so good to me.

    If by “less cold” you mean less violent, why do you think crushing taxes in the U.S. would have prevented the North Koreans from invading South Korea or the North Vietnamese from invading South Vietnam or the Soviets from invading Afghanistan?

  67. Would Americans have been better off if this guy’s father hadn’t been able to shelter this company from inheritance taxes?

    Are we better off today because many fathers were unable to do so?

    The inheritance tax discourages entreprenuers from working hard to expand their businesses so they can give it to their kids someday. Thus it hurts future employment for the masses.

    I’d rather have a so-called progressive income tax than an inheritance tax. We’d have a more vibrant labor market. In fact, income taxes are probably the least stupid taxes out there, other than pollution taxes.

    No I am not wealthy, not that it should matter.

  68. Less cold? As in, hotter?

    as in cheaper, as in the taxpayer’s pocketbook.

  69. You may know patent law, but this statement shows that you don’t know dick about OSes.

    In this dream I had, I invented and patented a single PC that could run 20 different OSes and cheap too. It was sort of like that time Jobs dropped acid and invented APPLE.

    I know it was a dream cause there’s not really 20 OSes!

  70. Dave W,

    Why couldn’t Jobs until this year, make his machines run both Windows and Mac OSes? The MAC is the best computer you can buy, but if you have any kind of specialized program from work, chances it are its a windows based program and you can’t run it on MAC. Now that MAC will run windows, I don’t see any reason not to buy one.

  71. 1. I can’t believe the blurb on Castro doesn’t mention his enormous interests in bauxite and nickel. With the recent spike in materials prices, his position has strengthened and he has final sealed some deals with the Chinese.

    2. WILL YOU PEOPLE PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE LD BEARS? You aren’t going to change their minds and they OBVIOUSLY do it to get a rise out of all of you. Ignore them and they’ll go away.

  72. Why couldn’t Jobs until this year, make his machines run both Windows and Mac OSes?

    See OSes #5-20, above. These operating systems never existed because the market in OSes was largely (but not entirely) cornered by Microsoft and because this was allowed to happen by the Bush I and Clinton admin DoJ’s.

    If you cut down the competitors to 4 or 5 (really 2, when you exclude free projects and low marketshare OSes like the IBM ones), then you will generally have to wait a lot longer for innovations like the one you are asking about.

    When 20 companies are competing, these things happen sooner because one or more of the 20 competitors will get desparate enuf to be conceptually bold. If it is just Apple versus Microsoft, then Apple can afford to take its time and choose its opportunities. Not to knock Apple, because I think they have done conceptually bold things (most recently making music available online for legal download), but one company with a 10% marketshare is no substiture for 15 separate companies with an aggregate 60%, say, share.

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