Economics

I Got a Letter from the Government the Other Day

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Libertarian heavyweight Robert Higgs is none too happy about those "economic stimulus" checks currently winding their way to our bank accounts:

There is, however, a little catch for you younger people: because the government was already running a deficit, its outlays for the stimulus payments must all be covered by borrowing, which means that the public debt will rise by the full amount of the payments. And guess who will be responsible for servicing that additional debt and paying it off when it matures. If you said "we, the U.S. taxpayers, will be responsible," then give yourself an A in the course. In short, we are getting a check from the government today, but at the same time, we are also being given the privilege of paying that same amount back, with interest, in the future.

Whole thing here.

NEXT: "Death Dealer"?

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  1. Don’t forget the costs of printing the checks, and the two (!) announcement letters, and the postage, and the man-hours by treasury employees to figure out who gets it and when.

    It’s such a total load of shit that it is actually an insult.

  2. As true today as it was in 2001

  3. Talk about stating the obvious.

  4. Yep. I wonder how many people sent them back?
    Show of hands?

  5. Yep. I wonder how many people sent them back?
    Show of hands?

    What sane person would give the government back any money that they stole from him in the first place? Better to take it and buy some hard, portable asset like gold bullion.

  6. Oh, Overlords of Hit N’ Run… Mighty Beings who stand astride this Blog like Shining Gods… please, hear my prayer! Let my poor words creep and fumble into Your Wise Ears!

    I speak of an open thread for predictions of the coming election, to be reposted after that fateful day in November, so that we may jest and jeer o’er the results.

    Grant us this small thing so that your wit and grace may shine forth to all who read your words so that the might be used to smite the unbeliever!

    Oh, sweet Moderators, forgive my Off Topic transgressions!

  7. You want to know what’s really obnoxious? Even if you make too much to qualify for the rebate, they still send you the announcement letter. 😛

  8. I second NutraSweet’s idea. It’ll be nice to be able to browbeat the shit out of wrong predictors. Man, I hope that doesn’t include me.

  9. This criticism makes little sense. Does anyone think they wouldn’t have spent this money anyway?

    In an ideal world, they never would have taken the money in the first place, but criticizing a program to give it back rather than waste it on another gov’t program doesn’t seem helpful to the cause of minarchism.

  10. This criticism makes little sense. Does anyone think they wouldn’t have spent this money anyway?

    They did spend the money anyway. All the rebate money is just put on the nations credit card. It is a COMPLETELY STUPID idea that only the severely retarded fail to recognize as 100% STUPID.

  11. This criticism makes little sense. Does anyone think they wouldn’t have spent this money anyway?

    He’s not so much questioning giving back money to the people as he is criticizing deficit spending, in this case, buying off people to gain a little faith in the shaky economy.
    And of course, it’s a total load of shit. I just spent all my money on getting my step-daughter into a performing arts summer camp.

  12. Cut fucking spending, you cock-hungry pricks!

  13. but criticizing a program to give it back rather than waste it on another gov’t program doesn’t seem helpful to the cause of minarchism

    What program did they cut back to pay for this? Oh wait, none?

    They’re fucking us with our own money and expecting us to smile and raise their abysmal approval ratings. I hope every one of them loses their re-election bids, but of course they won’t.

  14. I second NutraSweet’s idea. It’ll be nice to be able to browbeat the shit out of wrong predictors. Man, I hope that doesn’t include me.

    I suspect, and would personally enjoy, that self despising white skin hating dickless moron’s joe’s description of “the greatest politician of our time” or whatever typical electronic flatuence that was will come back around again. So, I’d vote for the open thread idea.

    As for the “stimulus”, I concur, bullion is the only solution which offers a chance of using it to pay back when the bill comes.

  15. I predict an electoral college tie, with Obama winning the popular vte. Due to how Presidential selection in the House of Representatives works, McCain wins because voting is done by each state delegation having one vote. Also, the state delegations have to be unanimous. Since There are a lot of states with only one, Republican congressman and very few with a 100% Democratic delegation, McCain wins amid protests of another “stolen election”.

    Meanwhile, the Senate selects a Democrat as VP.

  16. Meanwhile, the Senate selects a Democrat as VP.

    Hillary, just to get rid of her?

  17. BTW how I arrived at this:

    McCain picks up NH.

    Obama picks Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico.

    269-269.

  18. What happened? I used to hear about “self-hating/deluded Uncle Tom negroes”, now I hear about “self-hating white peoples”. Lol.

  19. cock-hungry pricks

    A monstrous penis that hunts other penises for food. I will spend the rest of the day trying outline a plot for a feature film.

    Jamie, you are a genius. We are so going to pitch this to Pixer’s new adult division. The hero could a smiley-eyed good penis that is helped track down the evil penis. Think of the tie-ins and toy rights!

    CANNIBAL COCK
    You’ll be consumed… by TERROR!

  20. As long as we’re off the gold standard, why didn’t the federal government just shave off $900 worth of gold from Fort Knox and send it to me?
    It wouldn’t have run up the goddamned deficit, and it would be an investment.
    What if I said that to Congress? What would the reaction be?

  21. I like the Public Enemy reference. Black steel in the hour of chaos right?

  22. CANNIBAL COCK
    You’ll be consumed… by TERROR!

    SCHLONGUS ERUPTUS
    You can’t stop him from coming …

  23. People here are failing to think long term.

    Their tax revenues keep increasing, with the result eventually the same as what we saw a few years ago, a surplus. And as bad as you might think a deficit is, a surplus is even worse. I’ll take that down payment now on that future surplus, thanks, because what guarantee is there that once they build up that pile o’ cash, that we’ll get any of it back?

    Suppose someone hired you for a consulting job. Wouldn’t you prefer to be paid up front and owe them, than vice versa? If you’re not, there’s always the chance they’ll just forget about you after the job is over and never pay you. BTW, I was in that situation recently. I waited for the check to clear before starting the job. Sure enough, the guy who hired me stopped communicating with me after a short time. He’d already been acting flaky, so I was on my guard. That’s how I think about the US gov’t.

  24. CANNIBAL COCK
    You’ll be consumed… by TERROR!

    No, no, no, NutraSweet.

    You’ll be scared…STIFF!

  25. All the rebate money is just put on the nations credit card. It is a COMPLETELY STUPID idea that only the severely retarded fail to recognize as 100% STUPID.

    Gimme gimme gimme, I need I need I need I need!

  26. In brief, it’s better to become a debtor than a creditor.

  27. I’ll take that down payment now on that future surplus

    Robert, both houses of Congress are going to the Democrats in November. And at best, we’ll get a Republican president who knows as much about economics as a dog licking giving a tongue-bath to its own balls.
    So tell me again about this “future surplus”?

  28. I spent mine paying off my car loan. Better to reduce at least one debt, I figure.

  29. joe, you’re officially a brother, now. You took a certain political tack and then got called “self-hating”. Congratulations. (Apparently, you’re now the white, left-leaning equivalent of Larry Elder (!?)).

  30. CANNIBAL COCK
    You’ll be consumed… by TERROR!

    A mild mannered prick who accidentally fell into a vat of radioactive Enzyte?

  31. It’s amazing how a certain sort of black person/white person tries to keep other members of “la raza” “in their place” via pretty much the same arguments. Wait, it’s not amazing.

  32. We are so going to pitch this to Pixer’s new adult division.

    Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen. I saw “The Pixar Story”, a film about the history and development of Pixar, last spring, and one of the editors who works for Pixar was there after the film answering questions. My friend and I asked whether Pixar had ever considered making movies that weren’t “family” movies, but something a little more edgier that would be geared towards adults only. Something that doesn’t have to have safe, comfortable humor in it.

    His (predictable) reply was, “We make movies that everyone can enjoy.” and reiterated that they would continue to make movies that everyone can enjoy, to the delight of the usual suspects in the audience, who applauded his reply. 😛

    Screw that…I wanna see “Cannibal Cock”. That would be tremendous.

  33. “We make movies that everyone can enjoy.”

    I contend that Cannibal Cock is fun for the whole family. I mean, half the population has these jumpropes dangling over their seat in the theater… what’s the big deal about finally giving the demographic the taint-tightening terror it deserves in a summer blockbuster? Are we supposed to be ashamed of our wedding tackle? Are we supposed to pretend not to pack girthy crowd-pleasers?

    Pixer is shortsighted.

  34. Pixer is shortsighted.

    Don’t rag on Pixer. The consistently make the best movies that appear in any given year.

    If I want intelligent, adult-themed entertainment, I’ll watch HBO or Showtime original programming . . . and Cannibal Cock would make a great 16-episode season.

  35. Meanwhile, the Senate selects a Democrat as VP.

    Hillary, just to get rid of her?

    How would that get rid of her? The VP presides over the Senate.

  36. On the plus side, the US government gets a better interest rate than I ever could.

  37. OMG! The naked molerat!

    Pixar is shortsighted.

    That’s what my friend and I were saying. There are only so many cutesy, eye-rolling movies you can make. We were trying to tell them they need to step it up a notch. Full frontal nudity. BAM!

  38. The naked molerat!

    That’s what my ex-girlfriend used to call it too. But never with the exclamation point. 🙁

  39. Funny, his argument also applies to tax cuts. A libertarian heavyweight is essentially arguing against tax cuts if there happens to be a deficit. “A tax cut is the privilege of paying that same amount back, with interest, in the future!”

    I think the rebate is a bone-headed idea, but just for a different reason.

  40. Brandybuck,

    A libertarian heavyweight is essentially arguing against tax cuts if there happens to be a deficit.

    Depends which side of the Laffer curve we are on.

  41. Depends which side of the Laffer curve we are on.

    I don’t believe in the Laffer curve as the rationale for tax cuts. That was the big mistake conservatives made. The Laffer curve implies that you should raise taxes if you’re on the wrong side of the curve. But since you never know what side of the curve you’re on, you can use it to justify any tax hike!

    The best argument for cutting taxes is that it is theft. If that theft is necessary, then it must be kept to the bare minimum.

  42. Man, all that Laffer curve talk is besides the point. This isn’t a systematic tax cut, it’s a one-time stunt that won’t be paid for. Like a previous poster, I’m spending it on my kids’ behalf, since it’s essentially borrowed money from him anyway.

  43. I speak of an open thread for predictions of the coming election,

    There has been an open political thread every friday for the last umpteenth weeks.

    Are you people not entertained?

  44. I was just suggesting a dedicated thread. You don’t have to throw a phone at me.

  45. Brandybuck,

    The Laffer curve implies that you should raise taxes if you’re on the wrong side of the curve.

    No, it doesnt. Not even close. There is no requirement to maximize tax revenue. Its just stupid to tax past that point – that hurts the economy without government revenue.

    BTW, the low side of the laffer curve is called the right side, not the wrong side. 🙂

  46. SugarFree,

    If its dedicated, it isnt open.

    I will throw whatever communications devices I want.

  47. Dedicated in the sense that it is not an open thread, but a thread about predictions for the fall. [phtttttt]

    How’s the muggy up there? It’s pretty bad down here.

  48. “It is a COMPLETELY STUPID idea that only the severely retarded fail to recognize as 100% STUPID”

    cALL ME RETARD, BUT i LIVE IN THE INNER=CITY AND MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS (A COUPLE WITH 2 KIDS) WILL GET $1,800.00. tO THEM, THAT’S A STUNNING AMOUNT OF SUDDEN CAPITAL. i AM SPENDING MY $600 ON A CLASS ENTITLED “cAPS lOCK FOR RETARDS”

  49. This criticism makes little sense. Does anyone think they wouldn’t have spent this money anyway?

    Does it help if you think of it as criticism of the decision to spend this money, not a criticism of the money itself?

  50. No, it doesnt. Not even close.

    The curve itself doesn’t, but many of its “fans” do. When you’re argument is about maximizing revenues, then you are arguing for raising taxes if they are too low.

    I’ve been in rooms where the “conservative” speaker gleefully told us that cutting taxes would raise revenues. They rarely if ever talk about the immorality of taxation, about how my money is my property, about how government spending is out of control. Instead they droned on and on about increasing revenues.

  51. Robert Higgs writes regularly for the Independent Institute blog in case anyone’s interested:

    http://www.independent.org/blog/

  52. COMPLETELY STUPID idea that only the severely retarded fail to recognize as 100% STUPID.

    It is never retarded to take a retroactive tax cut. And only the severely retarded hold on to the fantasy that somehow if we just give them enough tax revenue all will be well.

    HOT TIP: The presses are cranking and 100 billion one way or another has little effect on anything. The government will ALWAYS spend more than it gets in revenue and then some. Any opportunity to deprive them of tax revenue should be exercised.

  53. I don’t know about your letter, but

    I opened and read it,
    it said they were suckers.

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