Government Spending

The Corrupt Company You're Forced to Invest In

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Here's a letter to the editor of today's Washington Post:

The largest employer in the world announced on Dec. 15 that it lost about $450 billion in fiscal 2006. Its auditor found that its financial statements were unreliable and that its controls were inadequate for the 10th straight year. On top of that, the entity's total liabilities and unfunded commitments rose to about $50 trillion, up from $20 trillion in just six years.

The "employer" is of course the federal government. The letter was written by the U.S. comptroller general. And unlike, say, Enron or WorldCom, you have no choice but to patronize it, and to continue to fund its waste. I've always wondered why reaction to private sector accounting scandals tends to be pretty visceral, yet facts like those above tend to illicit little more than a chuckle and a shrug. If anything, government books-cooking ought to enrage us quite a bit more, oughtn't it?

And of course, once the public got wind of the accounting scandals at Enron or WorldCom, the companies were finished. The federal government gets to waste hundreds of billions of dollars, lie about its accounting, and generally defraud the public—then rewards itself by expanding. Consider: The D.C. suburbs are now home to the three wealthiest counties in the country, and four of the top ten. The D.C. metropolitan area has the second highest per capital income in the country, and federal workers not only make twice what their private sector counterparts make , they're also nearly impossible to fire for incompetence.

Hat tip: Don Boudreaux.

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  1. more taxes will solve everything

  2. Since we pay the salaries of everyone in the federal government, and since we “hire” and “fire” the people in charge of it, doesn’t that make us the “largest employer in the world”?

  3. Exactly why TWC advocates giving them as little as possible.

  4. i wonder why the government gets to waste billions of dollars and gets away with it. Anyways how does the government get the billions of dollars? Oh ya taxes right.

    Katie (3rd grade)

  5. Actually, we could make great progress toward solving all of these problems if we could just make it easy to fire government employees for incompetence. This measure alone would cut the size of government at least in half.

  6. [facts] like those above tend to illicit

    Yes they do.

  7. Hey liberterians, want cheese with your whine?
    How is this news to anyone?

  8. “…forced to invest in.”

    And don’t you hate it when the government turns around and “invests” in this, that or the other?

    I dare say pissing money away doesn’t meet most folks’ definition of investing.

  9. Thanks for killin’ my buzz, Radley.

  10. Ahh Federal pay. Bribes sent to as many as possible to get a vote. Defense/security = Republican. Health Care/SS = Democrat.

  11. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to invest in this “company.” If you don’t like it, quit and move to another company that you feel invests its money more wisely.

  12. This is all well and good, but…

    (clears throat)

    …WHY DOESN’T THE LP LAUNCH AN AD CAMPAIGN SHOUTING THIS AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS?

    I have said multiple times that producing and running a 30 minute infomercial stating all the crap we’ve been hearing over the last few years is well within their budget. Cato & ARI-penned Op Eds are all well and good, but if you want grass-roots activism and change to take root you have to carpet-bomb the minds of the public with these facts. Reason, or at least a contingent of Card Carrying Libertarians, should be demanding that the LP actually do something. Kevin Trudeau has over a hundred infomercials under his belt, he produces them on a shoestring and runs them in cheap time slots, and have you seen his numbers lately?. Get some of these high-profile self-proclaimed libertarians like Bill Maher and Penn Jillette to step up and host some propaganda.
    An organization as inert and ineffectual as the LP has no business complaining about the gov’s poor use of capital.

  13. No. This is the sort of thing that’s too big to get a handle on. Far better to select a piece of it that can be reformed concretely.

  14. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to invest in this “company.” If you don’t like it, quit and move to another company that you feel invests its money more wisely.

    Dan T,

    Nice try at reversing a common libertarian argument and refuting a libertarian post with it. But the whole “vote with your feet” thing is redundant when we can, you know, vote the traditional way. A representative republican is funny like that.

    PS, and in case you were referring to Wal-Mart stockholders instead of the federal government: well said.

  15. Hey now, the government isn’t totally incompotent, let’s get some balance here. The government is great at accomplishing certain goals, like torturing and killing. It seems to do those things quite efficiently, I think. Thank God they aren’t more compotent than they are!

  16. For what little it’s worth, I second Jeff P.’s suggestion… an infomercial at our own (Libertarians’) expense. I’m in. Where do I mail my check?

    Cracker’s Boy

  17. “Government is actually the worst failure of civilized man. There has never been a really good one, and even those that are most tolerable are arbitrary, cruel, grasping and unintelligent.”

    – H. L. Mencken

  18. I am also in with Jeff P’s idea.

  19. Not to be the devils advocate or anything; but I often argue of the evils of the federal govt with my socialist nanny statist mother, and her answer to Mr Balko would be something along the lines that the Federal Govt works for us, representative democracy and all. Whereas we don’t vote for Enron excecs.

    It is within the power of the voters to fix the problems and all.

  20. “…is great at accomplishing certain goals, like torturing and killing.”

    The most frightening aspect of what you said, matt, is how it illustrates how simple and easy it is to torture and kill. All it takes to carry out efficiently on a large scale is mass hysteria, and that is what government, really, at bottom, is about… inciting hysteria. So I guess I’d have to say another thing government is efficient at is making mountains out of molehills.

  21. Yea, an infomercial! That’s the ticket! just like Lyndon LaRouche does every presidential election cycle!

    He must be doing it wrong, so let’s do exactly the same thing, except right.

    Don’t forget the details about Ohio not being a State.

    No, wait! I found the solution! The Federal Reserve is illegal fiction so there really is not debt at all, it is just a big typo, similar to the ones that illigeally ratified the Constitutional Amendments that some people don’t like.

    Where should I donate gold dust since our paper money is not real either?

  22. Look how much we benefit from government services from schools and universities to roads and safe water. I don’t mind paying taxes at all, and neither do most Americans. You fucking right-wing fanatics don’t fool anybody but yourselves. Stick you anti-government drivel up your fat asses. Fucking losers.

  23. Merry Christmas, by the way.

  24. Since being named Time’s man of the year for my interneting, I’ve been feeling a bit introspective about my internet activities. And Ted’s post is a great example of blog dandruff that makes an otherwise pleasant conversation tiresome. What is it about anonymity? I bet Ted’s colleagues, friends, family, all think Ted is a swell guy. I bet they would never imagine what a foul-mouthed hateful prick he is on the internet. Or maybe not, maybe Ted’s a prick all the way through.

    Anyway Ted, I don’t mind you paying taxes either. You can pay my share too if you’re that excited about it.

  25. But Ted brings up a good point. Most people still view us as the far right. The most important thing people could take away from the informercial is that we do not reside on the left-right spectrum as most people understand it.

    And Guy is right, it would have to be focus grouped extensively to keep the things that resonate with voters (government waste, corporate welfare) and get rid of the things that are going to come off crazy (federal reserve, free heroin day at the junior high)

  26. “Look how much we benefit from government services”

    A minority is in touch with present reality. A minuscule minority is able to imagine what could be.
    Ted can’t imagine “services” not being delivered by government, because that is the only way he’s experienced them being delivered.

  27. Ruthless

    You’re a minority all right, but you’re not in touch with any reality that extends beyond the bony confines of your own skull.

  28. Pigwiggle

    “an otherwise pleasant conversation”

    You really think you right-wing nutbars masturbatimg each other is a pleasant conversation? Get a life.

  29. I’m going to go and enjoy a Christmas Eve dinner now and thank God that I live in a rational, pragmatic society with a free market that relegates fanatics like you guys and your creepy ideas to the fringe.

  30. Ted,

    Your behavior reminds me of a battered spouse who attacks anyone who criticises her abuser. Get some professional help.

    -jcr

  31. Back to the company we’re forced to invest in:
    That would include the cash stolen (seized) by drug warriors.
    And it would apply to the what if: “Legalize marijuana, then tax the hell out of it.”

  32. Statists are such swell people. You can tell by what comes out of their mouths.

    The propaganda works well for a lot of folks.
    Must be the indoctrination at the hands of government agents, uh, I mean public education that is responsible for that.

  33. Dan T. | December 24, 2006, 2:37pm | #
    No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to invest in this “company.” If you don’t like it, quit and move to another company that you feel invests its money more wisely.
    ======================================

    Well, even if someone holds a gun to your head, you can always try to run. If you don’t, then you, the victim, are entirely responsible for the ensuing assault or robbery, aren’t you? Aren’t you?

    If people have property in this country, and the government morphs into something that coerces them and seizes their property, then is the proper reaction to vote with their feet, i.e., flee?

    I seem to remember something about “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.” Rather than fleeing, that sounds like a call to stand one’s ground and fight. Let’s remember that, if ours is to be a land of the free, we must also be brave here at home.

    Be brave. Next time, vote Libertarian.

  34. People say *we’re* wierd. The nation – ie, the government we’re paying for – is off work today and tomorrow to celebrate the birth of a Middle Eastern Jewish peasant thousands of years ago who people say rose from the dead and is divine.

    Whatever.

  35. Radley Balko, were you drinking as much as I was tonight…at 11:37 A.M.?

    “Here’s a letter to editor”
    “yet rfacts like those above tend to illicit little more than”
    ..and the last sentence there.

    Hey man, right on. It’s Sunday, and we should all be imbibing.

    Love ya, Radley Balko!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Ted, I don’t hope you choke on your Christmas dinner because that’s against H&R rules. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you, um, see the light soon.

  36. People say *we’re* wierd. The nation – ie, the government we’re paying for – is off work today and tomorrow to celebrate the birth of a Middle Eastern Jewish peasant thousands of years ago who people say rose from the dead and is divine.

    Whatever.

    There is nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of christ. It is only when government waddles its fat ass into religion – and starts twisting the word of god with the help of other fat asses (Falwell comes to mind) – that its practices become deplorable.

    And Ted – “If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

  37. p.s. GO BRONCOS!!!!!!!!

  38. From the article:

    “The Bureau of Economic Analysis released data this month showing that the average compensation for the 1.8 million federal civilian workers in 2005 was $106,579 — exactly twice the average compensation paid in the U.S. private sector: $53,289.”

    On top of the things mentioned by methodman, Radley seems to be using an awfully broad definition of “counterparts”.

  39. Ted,
    If you love paying your taxes so much and the benefits accrued from the gubmint why don’t you give it ALL your money? Surely they know how to spend it more wisely than you?

  40. What happened to my post?

    Anyway, I just said to Ted:

    What’s so creepy about wanting to keep the fruits of your labour and spend, invest, or give it in the ways that you feel are important.

    What, Ted, if you didn’t have some of your money confiscated by the gov’t to redistribute to folks on welfare, would you not help out those in need on your own?

    What a jerk. 🙂

  41. I have said multiple times that producing and running a 30 minute infomercial stating all the crap we’ve been hearing over the last few years is well within their budget. Cato & ARI-penned Op Eds are all well and good, but if you want grass-roots activism and change to take root you have to carpet-bomb the minds of the public with these facts. Reason, or at least a contingent of Card Carrying Libertarians, should be demanding that the LP actually do something. Kevin Trudeau has over a hundred infomercials under his belt, he produces them on a shoestring and runs them in cheap time slots, and have you seen his numbers lately?. Get some of these high-profile self-proclaimed libertarians like Bill Maher and Penn Jillette to step up and host some propaganda.
    An organization as inert and ineffectual as the LP has no business complaining about the gov’s poor use of capital.

    Bill Maher and Penn Jillette already get their message across through many diffrent platforms, TV, radio, (and the former) books. Why pay money to spead your message, when you can make money?

    One thing I think the LP should do, which could possibly be a horrible idea, is go the PeTA-brainwashing kids route and set up booths at rock festivles like Warp Tour and the shitty fall version of warped tour. Although the success would be a gamble I think

    1. Kids always want to be a part of a rebellious group of counter culture.
    2. It would really piss the vegan freaks in the band Rise Against off, which is a good thing.

  42. Since we pay the salaries of everyone in the federal government, and since we “hire” and “fire” the people in charge of it, doesn’t that make us the “largest employer in the world”?

    Uhh, no, however, according to Time, I’m “person of the year”. But aside from that, there are a whole list of people working for the Federal Government that I’d just love to fire. However, I have no authority to do it… yes, yes, aside from the indirect pathway of “accountability” by my vote toward my local representative which in turn… blah blah blah. Heard it all before. How’s that workin’ out?

  43. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to invest in this “company.” If you don’t like it, quit and move to another company that you feel invests its money more wisely.

    You had to know the jig was up when card-carrying liberals started shouting “America! Love it or leave it!!!”

  44. You had to know the jig was up when card-carrying liberals started shouting “America! Love it or leave it!!!”

    Isn’t it ironic… don’cha think?

    A little too ironic.

    (And, yeah, I really do think.)

  45. Fuck government. Merry Christmas.

  46. Instead of minimum wage laws, how about “maximum wage laws” for federal employees? They would not allowed to make more than a certain amount. I think that most should be paid minimum wage, the President can have an extra 75 cents an hour. Same with five star generals. Senators? Let’s put some numbers up, and take a poll. Let people vote on how much their Senators should get.

  47. Sure, so that way Senators and Presidents would be more willing to take money from special intrests.

  48. douglas westerman,

    You are kidding about the method that you outline in your post, aren’t you?

    Perhaps the maximum is not where you like it, but where it is now already is law.

  49. Libertarians, who support individual freedom and minimalist government are “far right”? Yeah, I’m a fascist. . .just like James Madison was.

  50. methodman | December 24, 2006, 9:06pm
    p.s. GO BRONCOS!!!!!!!!

    Gotta love that taxpayer financed stadium they’ve been using for the past five years.

    It was amazing — or perhaps not — the way many prominent Republicans in Denver suddenly changed their tune on taxes when it came to financing Sellout Field @ Mile High.

    At least Denver is now a “World Class City,” and the revenue generated has helped the Broncos remain a championship team since John Elway retired, so it was worth it.

  51. “Your behavior reminds me of a battered spouse who attacks anyone who criticises her abuser. Get some professional help.”–John C. Randolph

    Your post reminds me of some fucking scientologist who thinks all non-believers are psychically flawed. How far your moronic anti-government song and dance have gotten in the free market of ideas should tell you something. You’re way beyond professional help , pal.

  52. Fooled again- I thought (hoped) “ted@irateleft” was just a prank; apparently not.

    I have noticed, in my travels, that those who argue mostly stridently for their position seem more concerned with buttressing their own faltering or poorly reasoned notions than laying out a compelling and rational argument designed to sway the opinions of others.

    Of course, some people need “adult supervision” more than others.

    ——

    I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.

    ~H. L. Mencken

  53. P Brooks

    If you were half as cute as you think you are, Matel would market you.

  54. “How far your moronic anti-government song and dance have gotten in the free market of ideas should tell you something.”

    Pointing out that beurocracies are inefficient and wasteful is moronic???? And the idea of small government has done quite well in the “free market of ideas”, actually. Not that it matters, ideas are either good or bad regardless of how many people buy into them.

  55. My own Matel [sic] action figure? Sweet!

    If you need me, I’ll be concocting anti-government slogans with which to poison the minds of little Billys and Mandys. And honing the wickedly curved blade of my magical budget-slashing sabre.

  56. “And the idea of small government has done quite well in the “free market of ideas”, actually.” Steveintheknow

    Is that right? So why is the American government bigger than it has ever been? Oh, sorry, this isn’t the place for facts, is it? You guys make Alce and Wonderland look like a documentary.

  57. C’mon everybody, its Christmas! And we’ve been gifted yet another troll! Let Ted have his fun, he’s just a lost, disaffected member of rotten.com who had his membership revoked. He’s used to arguing with other poeple using coherant sentences about the word fuck; and losing.

    Besides, he does have a point that libertarian models of government haven’t exactly flourished in the United States. About the closest any nation ever came was Hong Kong before its reunification with China.

    But seriously let him have his fun, some people literally have nothing better to do on Christmas than swear at random strangers, because they have no lives Not that I’m ragging on it sometimes I enjoy the same.

    Minor point, but if libertarian “far right wing” views have been so rejected by the general public, lets talk about the liberal view points which not even the Democratic Party will represent anymore. How does it feel to have your liberal rage all stirred up by the powers that be, only to be thrown away like a used cum rag after the election, Ted?

  58. We must be really bored, shut in on X-mas (in fear of that evil bastard robot Santa, right?), feeding the troll like this. 🙂

    Kyle

  59. I’m sorry to intrude on your illusions, guys. It is Christmas. Merry Christmas! We’re all Americans. God bless America (government and all)! Troll-lo-lo-lo…

  60. You’re gonna die, Gonna die, Gonna Die for your Government, Die for your Country, that’s SHIT!!!

  61. Merry Christmas, too.

  62. Oh, Ted, you have made me see the light.

    It was so nice of LBJ to offer to send me on an all expense paid trip to SE Asia in 1966 and so wrong of me to have found a way to not go.

    Oh and all those “contributions” to Social Security. They are sitting safely in my own personal account. It’s not like the money didn’t just go into general revenue to be spent on whatever vote-buying scheme was the politicians in power had at the time.

    Oh, and that deficit spending and growing intrusion into every aspect of citizens’ personal affairs has been ever so constructive. How crass of me to complain.

    In my lifetime I have seen my government go from the active discrimination of Jim Crow to the active discrimination of Affirmative Action. And watched as it has alternately engaged in dubiously prosecuting (not to mention executions) innocent men and cynically releasing dangerous criminals in pursuit of what ever political expediency was in fashion at the time.

    All of the New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society propaganda that I have been subjected to in my lifetime has failed to have the effect that your simple call to reason has had today. Nobody has ever refuted our ideas as effectively as you have. Indeed noone has ever questioned us. And, thus, we have continued on our erroneous path, believing as we do that noone wants the bounteous handouts the politicos promise .

    Thank you ever so much. I will never fall into the error of believing that were are ruled by venial, corrupt, opportunistic criminals.

    How could I have been so wrong?

    From now on I will know that my government only wants to give me what is good for me.

  63. Oh, and Ted, Merry Xmas, and may you get from the government everything that is good for you, good and hard.

  64. Ted, are you really Ezra or one of his fans?

  65. P Brooks | December 25, 2006, 2:03pm
    My own Matel [sic] action figure? Sweet!

    I hear they’re coming out with a new line of Libertarian Party inaction figures.

    Should go swell with the C-SPAN studio playset.

  66. “I hear they’re coming out with a new line of Libertarian Party inaction figures.

    Should go swell with the C-SPAN studio playset.”

    Ooo! I hope they have a Stan Jones figure, Lord knows we need a blue man to round out the set.

  67. He needs to have his property siezed as a result of some drug dealer accusing (falsely) him of being one of his connections.
    That might change his tune.

  68. Teddy Bear,

    In the words of the current mantra of the Left* “dissent is the highest form of patriotism”… So why doesn’t it apply when you don’t like the for of dissent? Or is it not patriotism if you can say “fuck” to it?

    * Not the words of TJ, despite all claims that he would have said anything so idiotic.

  69. err, ?the form of dissent?

  70. The twin premises of this post are:

    1. Nobody gets upset about fiscal irresponsibility by the federal government,(huh?) and

    2. Gee, why doesn’t the government collapse and disappear like a private-sector company?

    Pretty underwhelming. Starting early with the Bailey’s in the coffee, Mr. Balko?

  71. joe,
    Cut Balko some slack. It’s the holidays, and, at least, it was about government breaking and entering.

    And, hey, Isaac Bartram,
    Your post got me wondering how many of us here became thoroughly disillusioned with government thanks to our Vietnam experience.
    To me, it was about the only good thing to come out of it.

  72. yet facts like those above tend to illicit little more than a

    I just love how some people can convert qualified statements into absolute statements.
    Hence the TENDENCY that Radley points out is converted by Joe into “Nobody”…an absolute.

  73. in the time in which i worked for government (though not federal) and my wife’s time as a public school teacher – perhaps the biggest complaint i heard from public employees is that fools can’t be let go for their incompentencies.

    i’ve met some fantastically bright people in govt. and some incredible dullards.

    however, there are some incredibly lazy fools in the private sector as well. consequently, i think the presence of waste and incompetence is more a function of the size of the organization than its public/private nature. a big company or unit of government just has more places for incompetence to hide and quietly make a living where smaller business or government settings are more capable of exposing such deficiencies & waste.

  74. Rabbi Chanina the deputy High Priest said, “Pray for the welfare of the government, for without the fear of it, man would swallow his fellow alive.” Ethics of the Fathers 3:2

  75. joe | December 26, 2006, 10:19am
    1. Nobody gets upset about fiscal irresponsibility by the federal government

    Yes I do.

  76. “was about government breaking and entering.”

    I meant to say “wasn’t.”

  77. Does anyone else see the irony in Ted going on and on about free markets and the marketplace of ideas, when meanwhile, he can’t seem to wrap is head around private sector provision–free market provision, if you will–of schools and clean water?

    I’d say the fact that someone like Ted says he’s proud to live in a free market society where we–the defenders of free markets–are marginalized is pretty good evidence that we aren’t really very marginalized at all.

    Ted, you’re too adorable for words. Why don’t you check the logo up top, where it says “Free Minds, Free Markets.”

  78. You self-styled “defenders of free markets” are government-hating fanatics who probably wouldn’t last five minutes in the libertopia you envision. You’re not a political movement; you’re a cult.

  79. You self-styled “defenders of free markets” are government-hating fanatics who probably wouldn’t last five minutes in the libertopia you envision. You’re not a political movement; you’re a cult.

    Ted,
    At least try to be constructive with your criticism. Why are free markets bad?

  80. Actually, Ted is the cult member, he raves just like any devout follower reacting quite hostily to any criticism of his cult. Are there any cult memebers who acknowledge that they are part of a cult?

    He must not know any libertarians to think they are cultists. Cults are a form of social group and any thoughtful observer of libertarians would realize that they are least likely to participate in something like a cult.

    All hail the cult of the omnipotent state!

  81. Let’s face it, when Ted says we’re not a political movement, that’s a pretty nice compliment. He just didn’t know that.

  82. “No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to invest in this “company”.

    Oh, really? Well, Dan, try refusing to pay your taxes and see just how long it takes for someone to ‘hold a gun to your head’.

  83. “Actually, Ted is the cult member, he raves just like any devout follower reacting quite hostily to any criticism of his cult.”

    uncle sam,
    I guess we’d have to wait too long for another pass by the comet Hale-Bopp? Ted would be the just the candidate to try to get on board.

  84. http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2006/dec/26/mobile-home-taxes-rise-as-values-fall/

    Mobile home taxes rise as values fall
    Climbing assessments hit less-affluent home owners

    By Ryan Morgan (Contact)
    Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    Property tax bills for Boulder County’s mobile home owners have been going up, but some officials wonder if it makes sense to tax some of the community’s lowest-income residents at all.

    Boulder County Treasurer Bob Hullinghorst said the results of a recent tax lien sale say it all.

    The county offered to sell 100 liens on mobile homes whose buyers hadn’t paid their tax bills. Buyers are allowed to take possession of the mobile homes if the lien isn’t paid within a year.

    But Hullinghorst said he found only 19 buyers for those liens, most of which were well under $100.

    “That’s mostly because they believe that the other 81 weren’t even worth it,” he said. “It wouldn’t even be worth taking title to the trailer, because it’s such a piece of junk.”

    Hullinghorst said it doesn’t make sense that mobile home owners’ assessments are on the rise when their properties obviously aren’t rising in value. And that’s especially true considering people who live in mobile homes aren’t the county’s most affluent residents, he said.

    Fifty-five percent of the 3,700 mobile home owners in Boulder County saw their assessments rise in 2005. For those homeowners, the average hike in their tax bill was 60 percent, and dozens saw their bills double or even triple.

  85. I’ve always wondered why reaction to private sector accounting scandals tends to be pretty visceral, yet facts like those above tend to illicit little more than a chuckle and a shrug. If anything, government books-cooking ought to enrage us quite a bit more, oughtn’t it?

    The answer, I think, has something to do with the paradox at the heart of modern politics.

  86. Pat

    Okay, I’ll be constructive. You claim to love the free market and despise the government. You have ample opportunity in the free market of ideas to push your ideology, but it hasn’t gotten anywhere. The government keeps growing. Americans love the free market AND the government. Americans want the government to promote free markets and step in when the market falters. Most Americans don’t want the minimal government and unfettered market that you preach. In a very unamerican and upragmatic way, you keep flogging the dsame old dead horse. You’re marginal, and that suits me–and apprarently you–just fine. I love the free market because it ultimately responds to common sense and sweeps the rest away. In many ways, you’re like yesteryear’s commies–patheic, wrong, and smugly self-satisfied.

  87. “Americans love the free market AND the government.” Americans are stupid.

    “Americans want the government to promote free markets and step in when the market (appears to – CB) falter(s).” Americans are stupid.

    “Most Americans don’t want the minimal government and unfettered market that you preach.” Americans are stupid.

    “I love the free market because it ultimately responds to common sense and sweeps the rest away.” You, however, are smarter than most Americans.

    Now. What do we do about it?

    Cracker’s Boy

  88. I think the talking heads had something to say on this topic…

    “I see the clouds that move across the sky
    I see the wind that moves the clouds away
    It moves the clouds over by the building
    I pick the building that I want to live in

    I smell the pine trees and the peaches in the woods
    I see the pinecones that fall by the highway
    Thats the highway that goes to the building
    I pick the building that I want to live in

    Its over there, its over there
    My building has every convenience
    Its gonna make life easy for me
    Its gonna be easy to get things done
    I will relax alone with my loved ones

    Loved ones, loved ones visit the building,
    Take the highway, park and come up and see me
    Ill be working, working but if you come visit
    Ill put down what Im doing, my friends are important

    Dont you worry bout me
    I wouldnt worry about me
    Dont you worry bout me
    Dont you worry bout me

    I see the states, across this big nation
    I see the laws made in washington, d.c.
    I think of the ones I consider my favorites
    I think of the people that are working for me

    Some civil servants are just like my loved ones
    They work so hard and they try to be strong
    Im a lucky guy to live in my building
    They own the buildings to help them along

    Its over there, its over there
    My building has every convenience
    Its gonna make life easy for me
    Its gonna be easy to get things done
    I will relax along with my loved ones

    Loved ones, loved ones visit the building
    Take the highway, park and come up and see me
    Ill be working, working but if you come visit
    Ill put down what Im doing, my friends are important

    I wouldnt worry bout
    I wouldnt worry about me
    Dont you worry bout me
    Dont you worry bout me……….”

  89. Ted,
    The idea that Government “promotes” free market through regulation is simply ludicrous. That is akin to “promoting” free speech by legislating a speech code.

  90. Pat

    The idea that anybody can be saved except by accepting Jesus is ludicrous. Sound like fundamentalist shit? Listen to yourself. Same shit. Things are simply more complicated that your simple-minded ideology can account for.

  91. Ted,
    You missed my point completely. Passing laws that control behavior in order to “promote” freedom is oxymoronic and counter-productive.

  92. But, Pat, a law against crying “fire!” in a crowded theater is a restriction of free speech that no one onjects to. Libel laws reestrict free speech to the extent that they allow one to receive compensation for damage to one’s reputation. Similarly, some laws regulating the market–food safty laws, anti-monopoly laws–protect consumers and ultimately the freedom of the market. Unfettered, the market can lead to its own destruction by creating so much inequality that it engenders anti-market movements. None of this complex dynamic makes it onto the radar screens of simplistic ideologies, which, thankfully, means they don’t do very well in the free market of ideas, where comsumers are a lot smarter than the ideological eveangelists imagine. The genius of American capitalism is its woderful pragmatism and ability to ignore you. Long live the free market!

  93. Touched a nerve did I, Teddie? It’s so cute how predictably snotty you knee-jerkers get when someone declines to worship your mommy state.

    -jcr

  94. But, Pat, a law against crying “fire!” in a crowded theater is a restriction of free speech that no one onjects to.

    I object to it. A person who irresponsibly causes such a panic can already be held liable in civil court for damages.

    Libel laws reestrict free speech to the extent that they allow one to receive compensation for damage to one’s reputation.

    Murray Rothbard has an excellent take on libel and slander…

    “In the law of torts, “harm” is generally treated as physical invasion of person or property. The outlawing of defamation (libel and slander) has always been a glaring anomaly in tort law. Words and opinions are not physical invasions. Analogous to the loss of property value from a better product or a shift in consumer demand, no one has a property right in his “reputation.” Reputation is strictly a function of the subjective opinions of other minds, and they have the absolute right to their own opinions whatever they may be. Hence, outlawing defamation is itself a gross invasion of the defamer’s right of freedom of speech, which is a subset of his property right in his own person.”

    Similarly, some laws regulating the market–food safty laws, anti-monopoly laws–protect consumers and ultimately the freedom of the market.

    Monopolies are only possible in markets where subsidies, tarrifs, taxes, laws, zoning regulations, minimum wage mandates, and other such Government interference create an unfair advantage for big businesses at the expense of competition. For example…

    Price Fixed Milk

    eBay is one of the most unregulated free markets the world has ever seen yet we have yet to see a monopoly rise to power and take over the eBay world. Why is that?

    Unfettered, the market can lead to its own destruction by creating so much inequality that it engenders anti-market movements.

    How so? For example?

    …where comsumers are a lot smarter than the ideological eveangelists imagine.

    Yet they have to rely on the Government to tell them which food is safe to eat, whether or not their workplace is safe, and what constitutes a competitive mortgage rate. You folks need to pick a side and stick with it. Are they smart enough to see through the “Libertarian conspiracy” of the benefits of an unregulated free market or are they so stupid that they can’t be allowed to wipe their own ass unless Government has approved their choice of toilet paper? At least have the courtesy to be consistently ignorant.

  95. The concentration of the tax burden (the top 50% of income earners pay 96% of the federal income taxes) means that that fewer people care how wastefull and corrupt the federal government is because a large number of people are not paying the freight for any of it.

    Furthermore, a lot of those folks are also getting government freebies of one sort or another paid for by those top 50% income people, so there is a built in incentive for them to want the government to keep on the way it’s going.

  96. Ah, Pat, you’ve demonstrated wonderfully why your gibberish will never sell well in a free market. How may votes did the LP get in the last election?

  97. Why do human beings insist on organizing things in ways that the more intelligent and industrious ones get a bigger piece of the pie? What is it about our species that makes hierarchy of some sort a constant feature of human culture. How can we get humankind to stop organizning governments to regulate human affairs? Why do the powerful always seem to get more powerful until they’re overthrown by the smarter and/or stronger and more violent? How is it that American capitalism and political democracy have produced so much benefit for so many? How did Americans manage to avoid buying into the utopian nonsense that most of the world has succumbed to? Why can’t loser ideologies gain more adherents here? Why are libertarian zombies so lacking in natural curiosity that they never ask themselves these hard questions? Because they’re not very bright but do have an unshakable faith? That’s my guess.

  98. So, Ted, anyone who thinks that some government programs might be wasteful is a “government-hating fanatic”, eh?

    And are you trying to say that the U.S. comptroller general is a “fucking right-wing fanatic”?

    Is there anything you would have a problem with the government doing? Or does anything go as long as the majority is for it?

  99. I have to ask, Ted, why is it you’re so concerned about what we discuss here?

    I mean to say, are you afraid we’re going to take over and and drill for oil in schoolyards while we light our cigars with the benjamins from the Social Security Trust Fund?

    Seriously, you sound so angry. Frightened, even.

  100. Isaac

    I’m just bored and wastimng time. I really couldn’t care less what you discuss. The whole point of my posts is that you’re patheticaly irrelevant. Your willingness to waste your time responding to me reinforces my impression of you–not you personally, Isaac, but the whole lot of you–as hopeless losers with more time than brains. But, hey, I started it.

  101. Ted,
    What humans discuss is irrelevant to the remainder of Earth’s biomass. All of humanity is insigificant by comparison.
    Yet, aren’t humans the only carbon-base life form that has some of the answers as to what’s going down on Earth?
    Okay, now think of Reasonoids as the similar small percent of humans in relation to the remainder of human non-thinkers.
    You’re not a non-thinker are you?

  102. Dear Ted (wherever you may be)-

    If you walked into a Starbucks and ordered a four dollar frothy coffee, and they served you a bag of shit and charged you ten bucks (and threatened to beat it out of you if you said you wouldn’t pay), would you be happy about it?

  103. P Brooks

    You’re a fucking moron, comparing what you get in return for the taxes you pay to a bag of shit. You can rile up only your fellow morons by bellowing about it, and there aren’t enough of them to make a living from it even if your were charging $10 a moronic idea. Americans are too smart for you, asswipe. Always have been and always will be. What a great country. Best economic system and best government on earth.

  104. Ruthless

    Incoherence will get you nowhere. Oh, I guess you’re already there.

  105. Trivia question

    What would have gone belly up long ago if it weren’t the money it gets from faithful cultists to keep it afloat?

    Libertarian Presidential Tickets
    1972: John Hospers and Theodora Nathan
    2,691 popular votes (0.003%); 1 electoral vote;
    1976: Roger MacBride and David Bergland
    173,011 popular votes (0.21%)
    1980: Ed Clark and David Koch
    921,299 popular votes (1.1%)
    1984: David Bergland and James A. Lewis
    228,705 popular votes (0.25%)
    1988: Ron Paul and Andre Marrou
    432,179 popular votes (0.47%)
    1992: Andre Marrou and Nancy Lord
    291,627 popular votes (0.28%)
    1996: Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen
    485,798 popular votes (0.50%)
    2000: Harry Browne and Art Olivier
    384,431 popular votes (0.36%)
    2004: Michael Badnarik and Richard Campagna
    397,367 popular votes (0.34%)

  106. “…comparing what you get in return for the taxes you pay to a bag of shit.”

    True enough, Ted (or would you prefer Senator Kennedy?); a bag of shit is vastly more useful.

  107. Oh, I thought you meant Wal-Mart.

  108. Indeed, the bag of shit is at least capable of promoting growth.

    So, Teddie… Perhaps you should go and lie down in a garden somewhere. Even you can be useful.

    -jcr

  109. In the market place of ideas, right-wing libertarianism is a bag of shit.

  110. Thanks for keeping it real Ted.

    Seriously, who the fuck listened to a wing nut libertarian like me? Me and Adam Smith got totally hosed in the “free-market of ideas”.

  111. Dear Dr Locke:

    Look what these airheads have made of your ideas:
    Libertarian Presidential Tickets
    1972: John Hospers and Theodora Nathan
    2,691 popular votes (0.003%); 1 electoral vote;
    1976: Roger MacBride and David Bergland
    173,011 popular votes (0.21%)
    1980: Ed Clark and David Koch
    921,299 popular votes (1.1%)
    1984: David Bergland and James A. Lewis
    228,705 popular votes (0.25%)
    1988: Ron Paul and Andre Marrou
    432,179 popular votes (0.47%)
    1992: Andre Marrou and Nancy Lord
    291,627 popular votes (0.28%)
    1996: Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen
    485,798 popular votes (0.50%)
    2000: Harry Browne and Art Olivier
    384,431 popular votes (0.36%)
    2004: Michael Badnarik and Richard Campagna
    397,367 popular votes (0.34%)

  112. Eugene V.Debs ran for president on the Socialist party tcket in the 1920 election while in prison in Atlanta, Georgia at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. He received 913,664 votes (3.4%), the most ever for a Socialist Party presidential candidate in the U.S. and slightly more than he had won in 1912, when he obtained six percent of the vote, MORE THAN ANY LIBERTAIRAN PARTY CANDIDATE CAN EVER HOPE TO GET.

  113. Ted, I really don’t see what your point is about Debs. He was a big fan of Marx’s idea punitive taxation to deter success in business, and back in the 1920s a few people fell for that “soak the rich” rhetoric. Of course, since that time both wings of the Ruling Party have enthusiastically adopted every plank in in his platform. (except for the “soak the rich” part. The Kerrys, like many other rich people, only pay out about 10% of their income in taxes.)

    So, is it your contention that because 3.4% of the voters were fooled by Debs, that no one today should even try to roll back the usurpations he advocated?

    -jcr

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