Government Spending

Serving in Congress Means Never Having to Buy Your Own Gifts

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The New York Times notes that the spending bill vetoed by President Bush today included a $130,000 earmark for the National First Ladies' Library in Canton, Ohio, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio). Also known as the Mary A. Regula Library, the institution was founded by Rep. Regula's wife and is run by his daughter. "I don't have one earmark in any bill that I am not prepared to go to the mat on and defend to the taxpayer," Regula tells the Times, explaining that the library "tells the story of first ladies and the contributions they have made to the nation." He adds that "earmarks are not an abuse" unless they involve a quid pro quo. If spending $130,000 in taxpayers' money on a present for your wife is not an abuse, I'm not sure what is.

Maybe spending $2 million in taxpayers' money on a present for yourself. The same bill included a $2 million earmark sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to establish the self-aggrandizing Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College:

Representative John Campbell, Republican of California, said Mr. Rangel should be ashamed of using tax dollars to build "a monument to himself."

But Mr. Rangel, who took office in 1971, brushed aside the criticism. "I would have a problem if you did it," he told Mr. Campbell, "because I don't think that you've been around long enough to inspire a building like this."

The fact that such earmarks are small beans in the context of the federal budget makes them all the more contemptible. Given the sums involved, why can't the friends of Mary Regula and Charlie Rangel collect whatever money is needed for these august institutions through private, voluntary contributions? The fact that Reps. Regula and Rangel not only prefer to steal it but are positively proud of doing so speaks volumes about the mentality of the people who wield the power of your purse.

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  1. The fact that Reps. Regula and Rangel not only prefer to steal it but are positively proud of doing so speaks volumes about the mentality of the people who wield the power of your purse.

    And the fact that we let them get away with it speaks volumes about ourselves.
    Let’s hope the veto holds.

  2. I would love for it to be law that you have to be dead to get your name on a road, bridge, building, or other institution paid for by federal money, just like you have to be dead to be on a coin or stamp. Granted, it wouldn’t probably put a dent in actual corruption, but it would make it so much less in-your-face blatant.

  3. …or at least out of office.

  4. Maybe they’ll hammer out a compromise by making them wait till the current session ends.

  5. would love for it to be law that you have to be dead to get your name on a road, bridge, building, or other institution paid for by federal money, just like you have to be dead to be on a coin or stamp.

    Given the egos involved, I wonder if that would be a deterrent. By the way, we all owe Charlie a big thank you for our lovely and talented junior Senator from NY.

  6. I wonder if Regula’s wife has ambitions to be a First Lady someday.

  7. If Paul Westerberg were from New York instead of Minneapolis:

    Here comes a regula.

  8. “I would have a problem if you did it,” he told Mr. Campbell, “because I don’t think that you’ve been around long enough to inspire a building like this.”

    Who is dumb enough to be surprised. Other than joe, we all knew that this shit would continue. I heard a rumor that, due to an act of congress, the 35th state will henceforth be referred to as West Byrdginia. Why bother to hide it? Rangal won’t lose a congressional election, ever. Congressman for life. Ther’s a lot of the bastards, and we keep re-electing them.

    But the Dems are different. Right joe?

  9. Kenny, joe,

    You mean y’all don’t like stuff like this?

    They couldn’t find a worty war hero, I guess.

  10. Aren’t Regulas the kind of fish that gets a free ride by latching on to sharks?

  11. Errr, make that worthy.

  12. I just googled it. It’s Remoras that latch on to sharks. Regulas are bloodworms so despicable that even Klingons find them disgusting.

  13. But the Dems are different. Right joe?

    Yes. In both numbers and dollar amounts, the Democrats’ have cut earmarks by between 1/3 and 1/2 on the appropriations bills they passed.

    So, yes, the Democrats have proven themselves to be better on this issue than the previous Congress. Not perfect. Not pure. Better.

  14. Regulas call out your name.

  15. Since Reason devoted so much coverage to the issue of earmarks under the last Congress, and since reductions in pork and general corruption was one of the reasons so many Reason staffers gave for voting Democratic in the last election, why doesn’t some Reason writer do the research and report back on earmarks in the this year’s spending bills?

    I’ve seen such work done in other publications, such as the Boston Globe, and there appear to be quite a few people who have managed to avoid learning the facts here, so why doesn’t Reason do its readers the service of reporting on this matter?

  16. joe,

    Perhaps they are holding judgement until the farm bill is given a full vote.

  17. Yes. In both numbers and dollar amounts, the Democrats’ have cut earmarks by between 1/3 and 1/2 on the appropriations bills they passed.

    joe, I would like to know if this is really true, so please provide some link evidence.

  18. Hasn’t it been established that earmarks don’t actually add to a bill’s cost, but merely specifically direct where some of it will be spent? If so, this kinda makes the Republican/Democrat pissing match pointless, since the money is still going to be appropriated, just not used to pimp some congressman’s wife.

  19. When the Republican controlled congress was doing this crap, Bush couldn’t find a veto pen to save his ass. Hypocrites one and all.

  20. I was just thinking of how badly our country needs a museum dedicated to the contributions of our first ladies!

  21. sage,

    I’m not seeing a great deal of “withholding judgement” in the earmark posts we keep seeing.

    Episiarch, I saw the story in the Boston Glob’s print edition in September or October. I only get Thursday through Sunday.

    Sorry, that’s the best I can do.

  22. Some funny libertarian neologisms and descriptions from Wilton Alston and contributors at LRC. There are more at LRC. I thought they were hilarious and wanted to share them pass them on to your friends.

    Unhaling: Smoking something without actually, you know, smoking it, e.g., “Clinton is famous for unhaling during his supposed only attempts to spark up the chronic.”

    Greenback Emissions: Slang for the smell rising off the cash people make from the anthropogenic global warming scam, e.g., “As chairman of Generation Investment Management, Al Gore’s financial holdings are starting to give off some substantial greenback emissions!”

    Terraphobiosity: The practice of using the threat of terrorist attacks to keep the sheeple in line, e.g., “Politicians have long been practitioners of terraphobiosity, but this President takes it to high art.”

    Smirkism: One of the banal justifications President Bush gives either before or after one of his (patented) smirks, e.g., “We have to fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.” (The smirkism is the sentence in-between!)

    Chenie (noun): The mythical figure that pops out when a neocon rubs a magic lamp.

    Chenius (noun): One whose dumb ideas are consistently hailed as brilliant.

    Christafarian (noun): A social conservative so detached from reality due to his myopic religious fundamentalism, that one is convinced he’s been smoking something.

    Evangungelist (noun): A person who thinks Jehovah is Hebrew for United States Armed Forces.

    FEMAnist (noun): A person who believes all natural dangers, social ills, and economic problems can be prevented, cured or resolved by the promises of the government and its agencies.

    Ignoronus (noun): A pollster, talking head or radio personality who deliberately omits Ron Paul from any political discourse or dismisses Mr. Paul’s candidacy altogether, e.g., “Stevie Wonder could see that Hannity is a real ignoronus.”

    Imminent Tomain (noun): The reality that with governmental organizations looking after one’s health and welfare it’s only a matter of time until you become sick or poisoned due to their incompetence.

    Incompetense (noun): The stress felt as one waits for the government’s next boneheaded move.

    Neoconsensus (noun): Unity generated by a bogus cry against terror, under a blanket of state-sponsored security, e.g., “The phrase, ‘If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists!’ is intended to drive neoconsensus.”

    Proctician (noun): A cross between a proctologist and politician. Acts obsessively to snoop, sift, and sniff into every nook, cranny and orifice of private citizens. Believes every action and transaction should be subject to taxation and regulation. Feels property may be owned by individuals, given proper permits and other statist whatnottery, but also believes government should dictate how the property may be used.

    Properganda (noun): Information, typically gathered by simply reading press releases, that has been approved for wide distribution to the US public by the mainstream media.

    Rudycule (verb): The use of a derisive remark, intended to cause contemptuous laughter towards anyone suggesting that US foreign intervention and militarism abroad may cause blowback.

    Subcity (noun): An urban hell created by a misguided application of government funds, e.g., “The best way to create a subcity is to pay people for personally negligent behavior.”

  23. I see that my representatives didn’t see fit to include monies for the “Kwix Memorial Automatic Rifle Range” as I requested of them. Maybe it was my suggestion that they use silhouettes of themselves as targets that got it nixed. The world may never know.

  24. Dear DHS snoops. My previous post was a joke. Some might call it sarcasm, other cynicism. Me, I call it downright funny.

  25. We can solve this quite easily…all public works have to be named after the people who PAID for the work. If you want your name on something, pony up the cash. Otherwise, we’ll have a nation full of “The Federal Tax Payer Center For Public Service” buildings.

    I’d imagine the politicians would then quietly let the whole thing fade away.

  26. joe, you’re probably correct about the pork numbers in the new congress. If we go back to 1994 would we find the same? IOW, they’re just getting their feet on the ground. Once they realize they won’t be punished by the voters, it’ll be the same ol’, same ol’. Nader wasn’t totally correct but there ARE a lot of similarities in the two major parties. Brinin’ home the bacon is sure one of them.

  27. Given the sums involved, why can’t the friends of Mary Regula and Charlie Rangel collect whatever money is needed for these august institutions through private, voluntary contributions?

    That senile jackass Warren Buffet has been whining about how he doesn’t pay enough taxes, lately; perhaps he’d like to whip out his checkbook and take care of this stuff for us. He can put his name on it, too, for all I care.

  28. Well, I don’t know that I’d call them non-partisan or anything but the CAGW has democrats as their “porkers of the month” for six months of this year, repubs for two of them, and entire commitees or more than one congressperson for the others. Novemeber and December have not had a winner yet.

    Link here.

  29. Got yer earmarking equipment right…

  30. joe,

    I believe your stat is correct, I saw it somewhere before today as well. But this Congress is still a long way away from an Attaboy from me. They came in preaching reform. This is still business as usual. It’s all the same, only the names have been changed.

  31. J sub D,

    That’s entirely plausible, that the improvements are the result of the new Congress’s novelty, not the inherent values of Democrats. As I recall, that was the major reason given by libertarians for believing that a Democratic Congress would reduce pork.

    As far as going forward, I guess we’ll see. Once upon a time, when the Republicans were the party of fiscal conservatism and the Democrats were the party of the Tennessee Valley Authority, it was safe to assume that the Republicans would be better on pork. Now that the Republicans are supply siders who think that “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter” and “starve the beast” Norquistites, while the Democrats are the Clinton-Rubin party, maybe that has changed.

  32. Representative John Campbell, Republican of California, said Mr. Rangel should be ashamed of using tax dollars to build “a monument to himself.”

    Representative John Campbell (R-CA) has obviously been living in a cave for the past thirty five years.

  33. The fact that Reps. Regula and Rangel not only prefer to steal it but are positively proud of doing so speaks volumes about the mentality of the people who wield the power of your purse.

    Say what you want about pork projects but nobody is “stealing” anything in these cases.

  34. sixstring,

    We can debate the merits of incremental progress. On your major point, you are correct, they’ve maybe gone from an F to a C-.

    What is not debateable is that the statements we see insisting that only a deluded partisan could think that things have improved are nonsense. They are the ejaculations of deluded partisans.

  35. nobody is “stealing” anything

    If you don’t think it’s stealing, why don’t you have the balls to get up on your hind legs and come take it from me yourself, you pathetic cunt?

  36. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Bush “again vetoed a bipartisan and fiscally responsible bill that addresses the priorities of the American people: education for our children, assistance in paying skyrocketing energy costs, veterans’ health care, and other urgent health research on cancer and other serious medical problems.”

    Oh, and about 2000 earmarks. She overlooked that part.

  37. Vlad Drac wins.

  38. That’s entirely plausible, that the improvements are the result of the new Congress’s novelty, not the inherent values of Democrats. As I recall, that was the major reason given by libertarians for believing that a Democratic Congress would reduce pork.

    Joe,
    I suspect that man libertarians, myself included, assumed that so long as we had a Republican president and a non-veto proof congress (read less than 66% Dems) that gridlock would be the order of the day. I have to admit, I mis-underestimated the power of pork. That Bush is now considered a Lame Duck by most of his party doesn’t help matters.

  39. Uhh, that should have been “many libertarians”.

  40. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Bush “again vetoed a bipartisan and fiscally responsible bill that addresses the priorities of the American people: education for our children, assistance in paying skyrocketing energy costs, veterans’ health care, and other urgent health research on cancer and other serious medical problems.”

    Translation:

    Mean ol’ Mr. Bush wants children and veterans to be dumb, sick, cancerous, and pay $5 per gallon of gas.

    It’s too bad we didn’t have divided government all 8 years. I would now be well entertained rather than horribly appalled…

  41. Yes. In both numbers and dollar amounts, the Democrats’ have cut earmarks by between 1/3 and 1/2 on the appropriations bills they passed.

    Which is kind of like finding out that the new cashier you hired after firing the last cashier for stealing from the till is also stealing form the till, but he’s only taking 2/3 to 1/2 as much.

  42. Which is kind of like finding out that the new cashier you hired after firing the last cashier for stealing from the till is also stealing form the till, but he’s only taking 2/3 to 1/2 as much.

    Except for the minor fact that government spending is not stealing.

  43. Except for the minor fact that government spending is not stealing.

    All right! This is going to be good…

    *grabs popcorn*

  44. Except for the minor fact that government spending is not stealing.

    Ha ha ha ha – Yeah, and paying the mob not to throw a molotov cocktail through your front window is fire insurance.

  45. You notice no doubt that Our Speaker invoked “our” children. Once again I learn of children I never knew I had. I feel soooo guilty now for abandoning them.

  46. Ha ha ha ha – Yeah, and paying the mob not to throw a molotov cocktail through your front window is fire insurance.

    If I’m a member of a golf club I might not like the decisions that the club makes as to how to spend the money I pay as dues. But that doesn’t mean they’re stealing it if the decision is made via due process.

  47. Except for the minor fact that government spending is not stealing.

    All right! This is going to be good…

    *grabs popcorn*

    I wish, but we already know that depriving a democratically elected respresentative of the people the right to spend tax payer money on any project, no matter how worthless or self-serving is the only thing that keeps us from anarchy and if we don’t like it we can always move to the bottom of the ocean.

  48. OK Dan T you are a FEMAnist(noun): A person who believes all natural dangers, social ills, and economic problems can be prevented, cured or resolved by the promises of the government and its agencies.

  49. If I’m a member of a golf club I might not like the decisions that the club makes as to how to spend the money I pay as dues. But that doesn’t mean they’re stealing it if the decision is made via due process.

    What if one of their members steals the money to buy a fancy club that they then use to bludgeon you to death? Would we, as visitors to this forum, benefit from this service to society?

  50. sage,

    I was thinking of going clubbing tonight.

  51. I was just musing during a cigarette break [gasp!]. If I marry a congresscritter, can I get an earmark to achieve my lifelong dream of opening and operating The Robert J. Barone Bocce Ball Hall of Fame?

  52. Dan T:
    Your analogy is flawed because a Golf Club is a voluntary organization. No one is forcing you to pay dues. The Federal Government is not a voluntary organization and not paying “dues” will get you thrown into jail.

  53. Bingo!! bingo

  54. Dan. T’s whole fucking head is flawed. God must look at him and kick His own ass.
    Everything to Dan T. is one giant “club,” his big “social contract” he keeps yammering on and on about without any ability to define its nature, limits or boundaries.
    Dan T. is a club of one, and thank Jebus I don’t have to join it because I’d ended up burning it to the grouind.

  55. Your analogy is flawed because a Golf Club is a voluntary organization. No one is forcing you to pay dues. The Federal Government is not a voluntary organization and not paying “dues” will get you thrown into jail.

    Bingo, Dan is a troll (albeit a sometimes entertaining one), one for whom a major theme is patently ignoring the difference between voluntary and involuntary. Argue with him if you find it entertaining, but don’t expect rational argument.

  56. I was just musing during a cigarette break [gasp!]. If I marry a congresscritter, can I get an earmark to achieve my lifelong dream of opening and operating The Robert J. Barone Bocce Ball Hall of Fame?

    Absolutely not! Bocce is an Italian sport. The whole thing would end up being run by the Pope!

  57. Absolutely not! Bocce is an Italian sport. The whole thing would end up being run by the Pope!

    Xenophobic, anticatholic, asshole. [grumble, grumble]

  58. J sub D,

    and I thought you were going to link me to that freakishly large Brad Garrett.

  59. If someone stole from me, I’d call the taxpayer-funded police, take him to a taxpayer-funder count, have him thrown in a taxpayer-funded jail, while being protected from foreign invasion by a taxpayer-funded military.

    Taxation is only theft when it does things the smallest imaginable segment of the American body politic dislikes.

  60. joe,

    I’d just go to the fucker’s house and blow his head off with my privately-funded .45, no tax expenditures needed. Rugged individualism is the taxpayer’s best friend.

  61. They are the ejaculations of deluded partisans

    ewwwww!!

  62. Yes. In both numbers and dollar amounts, the Democrats’ have cut earmarks by between 1/3 and 1/2 on the appropriations bills they passed.

    Which is kind of like finding out that the new cashier you hired after firing the last cashier for stealing from the till is also stealing form the till, but he’s only taking 2/3 to 1/2 as much

    so far, because he knows you’re paying more attention than usual, but give him a year or three.

    Fixed.

  63. That’ll teach JasonC to tap his foot in the stall.

  64. Hey joe, since you love to blame the fact that the Democrats have not ended the war on the fact that Republicans could filibuster it, can we credit the Republicans with the decrease in earmarks? After all, they could vote agaisnt it with enough force to make a veto stick.

  65. When the Republican controlled congress was doing this crap, Bush couldn’t find a veto pen to save his ass. Hypocrites one and all.

    Yes. All the more reason to vote for divided government.

    Nothing is better than something.

  66. Vermont Gun Owner,

    Heh, good one. I’ll have to copy and paste that one into the next thread where joe gets lippy (since we all know he’s not coming back to this one).

  67. Taxation is only theft when it does things the smallest imaginable segment of the American body politic dislikes.

    But the individual – a minority of one – is the smallest imaginable segment of the body politic who has to pay that tax.

  68. joe, Episiarch, etc.,

    CAGW tracks pork on a yearly basis, I’ve summarized some info below. They define a pork project (middle column) as a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures (they define some criteria on their website). The last column is the total $ amount in billions spent on these projects.

    http://www.cagw.org

    1992: 892 $2.6
    1993: 1712 $6.6
    1994: 1318 $7.8
    1995: 1439 $10
    1996: 958 $12.5
    1997: 1596 $14.5
    1998: 2143 $13.2
    1999: 2838 $12
    2000: 4326 $17.7
    2001: 6333 $18.5
    2002: 8341 $20.1
    2003: 9362 $22.5
    2004: 10656 $22.9
    2005: 13997 $27.3
    2006: 9963 $29

    I agree the GOP has lost all credibility on this issue. Outside of 1998-99, there’s been a steady increase since 1992.

  69. there’s been a steady increase since 1992.

    From $2.6 billion to $29 billion? That’s obscene!!!

  70. Dan T:
    Your analogy is flawed because a Golf Club is a voluntary organization. No one is forcing you to pay dues. The Federal Government is not a voluntary organization and not paying “dues” will get you thrown into jail.

    Billions of people who voluntarly choose to live places other than the United States don’t pay taxes to the US government and yet aren’t thrown in jail for it.

  71. “voluntarly choose to live places other than…”

    um, DanT…. You have obviously never dealt with visa authorities. Even in the EU, moving from one country to another is very very difficult. Then you need the work permit, good luck getting that.

    It’s a flawed analogy. Probably no more flawed than, but just as silly as, the “taxation is theft”. And if that was your goal – to show up a silly analogy with another silly analogy, it seems as though they’re missing it.

    /kicks pebble.

  72. Its really hard to buy into the Dan T. social contract shit and pay taxes with open arms when they spend it on crap like this and millions of other reasons.

    Think how many Dan T.’s are out there and their vote counts just as much as yours. Since we keep sending up the same shitheads to govern us all they must have exceeded rational thinkers in sheer numbers long ago.

    I have always said once the number of people who actually think the Feds can give them more if they can take more from you outnumber those that don’t we are fucked.

    The time has come we are officially fucked.

  73. um, DanT…. You have obviously never dealt with visa authorities. Even in the EU, moving from one country to another is very very difficult. Then you need the work permit, good luck getting that.

    My point is simply that if you don’t want to live in the United States, then you are free to leave.


    It’s a flawed analogy. Probably no more flawed than, but just as silly as, the “taxation is theft”. And if that was your goal – to show up a silly analogy with another silly analogy, it seems as though they’re missing it.

    All analogies are flawed because they break down eventually – after all, an analogy points out the simularities in two different things. I’m not saying the US is exactly the same as a golf club, what I’m saying is that taxes are the cost of being a citizen of the US just like dues are the cost of being a member of a club.

    And I think that when people here say that “taxation is theft” they mean it literally.

  74. Its really hard to buy into the Dan T. social contract shit and pay taxes with open arms when they spend it on crap like this and millions of other reasons.

    Listen, I won’t deny that in a perfect system tax revenue would only be spent on worthwhile and necessary functions of government. But there is no perfect system, and there is no way to remove human nature from politics.

    In other words, pork is a cost of doing business when you have a representative government and when people have the freedom to influence that government.

  75. “My point is simply that if you don’t want to live in the United States, then you are free to leave. ”

    no you can’t – that’s the problem. That’s just a retarded argument. Look – you’re good at poking holes in the bullshit “magical free market”, but this one misses the mark all the way. Granted, it’s no more absurd than some of the arguments others bring forth to cause you to trot this one out, but beyond that…

    “All analogies are flawed because they break down eventually ”

    duh.

    I know what you were saying, and I’m saying it’s not a good comparison at the broadest of levels.

    And the “taxation is theft” is even more stoopider when taken literally.

    “In other words, pork is a cost of doing business when you have a representative government and when people have the freedom to influence that government.”

    when people have the freedom to influence, and the regulations are set up to enforce this type of system.

    “”All analogies are flawed because they break down eventually “”

    just have to repeat that one, because… wow. um. speechless. wow.

  76. If someone stole from me, I’d call the taxpayer-funded police, take him to a taxpayer-funder count, have him thrown in a taxpayer-funded jail, while being protected from foreign invasion by a taxpayer-funded military.

    Taxation is only theft when it does things the smallest imaginable segment of the American body politic dislikes.

    I expect this from Dan T., but not you joe. You’re begging the question. Whether something qualifies as “theft” has nothing to do with how you respond to it or how that money is spent. Rather, it has everything to do with the means by which the money was taken (forcibly, coerced, voluntarily, etc.).


  77. no you can’t – that’s the problem. That’s just a retarded argument. Look – you’re good at poking holes in the bullshit “magical free market”, but this one misses the mark all the way. Granted, it’s no more absurd than some of the arguments others bring forth to cause you to trot this one out, but beyond that…

    Really? So the US government would physically stop me if I tried to leave?

  78. Rather, it has everything to do with the means by which the money was taken (forcibly, coerced, voluntarily, etc.).

    So let’s say I eat a meal at a resturant and then when the bill comes I decide I don’t want to pay it. Is it theft if the resturant coerces me to pay?

  79. Sorry about the double misspelling of restaurant…

  80. no – you’d be stopped from going elsewhere. There would be barriers to entry in a new country. like I originally said, you’ve obviously had no experience with visa and work permit authorities elsewhere.

    (although there’s a whole bunch of people I’d like to see leaving, but that’s another story)

    But the blatant absurdity of your “just leave” point really does counteract the myriad of blatantly absurd things we read hier.

    But for your 11:12 post – give it up. You’re pissing up a rope trying to get around the ‘taxation is theft’ bit. (Still trying to grasp that, too) – and the situations you’re coming up with miss the mark. I’m saying this as someone who agrees with you that the “t. is theft” is absurd.

  81. no – you’d be stopped from going elsewhere. There would be barriers to entry in a new country. like I originally said, you’ve obviously had no experience with visa and work permit authorities elsewhere.

    You’re correct that I’ve never tried to emigrate from the US but I’m reasonably sure that people move from country to country all the time.


    But the blatant absurdity of your “just leave” point really does counteract the myriad of blatantly absurd things we read hier.

    What’s absurd is your notion that we’re all prisoners of the United States, unable to leave and forced to endure whatever the government decides to burden us with.


    But for your 11:12 post – give it up. You’re pissing up a rope trying to get around the ‘taxation is theft’ bit. (Still trying to grasp that, too) – and the situations you’re coming up with miss the mark. I’m saying this as someone who agrees with you that the “t. is theft” is absurd.

    Well, xy made the point that theft is when somebody coerces or forces you to pay them money. I just presented a scenario where I might be forced to pay someone money that generally would not be considered theft.

  82. “What’s absurd is your notion that we’re all prisoners of the United States, unable to leave and forced to endure whatever the government decides to burden us with.”

    completely correct. totally agree.

    “I just presented a scenario where I might be forced to pay someone money that generally would not be considered theft.”

    which they probably won’t get.

    “You’re correct that I’ve never tried to emigrate from the US but I’m reasonably sure that people move from country to country all the time.”

    and it’s a very difficult process. and it does make one wonder: is the cost of that process greater than the cost of being forced to ante up your taxes. When will the burden of taxation outweigh the burden of moving? Any volunteers?

  83. IIRC the Beatles left England for the US once they hit the 99% (or something very high like that) tax bracket.

  84. and silly us, we took them in!

    OMG!OMG!OMG! taxation! you’re stealing from moi. OMG!OMG!OMG!

    DEMAND KURV!!!!!!!!!!

  85. Really? So the US government would physically stop me if I tried to leave?

    I don’t know about the government, but I would attempt to speed you on your way.

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