Sarah Palin

The Road to Nowhere

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I missed this when it came out a couple of weeks ago. From an Anchorage Daily News article on the "Bridge to Nowhere" flap:

Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone — because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.

So not only did Palin support the BtN before she opposed it, not only did she accept the money for it anyway then divert it to other projects, she also then went ahead and took federal funding for a road that was to connect the bridge, even though the bridge wouldn't be built, rendering the road useless, because unlike the bridge she–ahem–courageously opposed, she couldn't divert the road money to other projects.

Quite the profile in political courage.

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  1. While this is disheartening I don’t see any relevance. Would any of the other three people running have done anything different in her position? Ugh. I think I just bummed myself out even more. Must…..stop…..thinking.

  2. It goes with the territory, kiddies. I think it’s what they call “politics” but I’m not sure.
    Anyone care to help me out?

  3. Maybe I’m just a particuarly lousy bureaucrat, but wouldn’t returning money for a project you don’t want help establish your credibility with the people holding the purse strings, and improve your chances of getting funding for other projects you do want at some later date?

  4. Yes, ed. Politics as usual, precisely.

    I’m sure it was a mavericky road, though.

  5. Speculation:
    If the access road also connects to where the ferry/airport is, then the road is not completely worthless. At the very least, something may be built on that empty beach eventually.

  6. kolohe,

    Sure, but isn’t that placing the cart before the horse a bit? One could say that pretty much any seemingly worthless infrastructure project “might eventually” become useful, due to unforeseen development.

  7. I’m sure it was a mavericky road, though

    Good one. Hell, if it has a boat launch it can’t be all bad.

  8. Like a seal clubbing outpost!!

    I just wanted to type excalamtion points.

  9. joe, the mantra at the Forest Service while fighting fires in ’94 was, “spend as much as possible, or we won’t get as much next year.”

  10. Hmmmmm . . . well . . . you can never have to many roads to drive on in a never ending quest for gasoline in a post-apocalytic land while attempting to outrun The Humungus and his dogs of war. I applaud Palins efforts.

  11. My belief in peaceful protest is fading.

  12. Wait, Naga, are you implying that Palin is Auntie Entity?

  13. Joe’s observation is reasonable, but I can tell in you practice (as an accountant with budget variance responsbilities) even in the private sector you don’t generally get to use next year what you didn’t use last year. I’m sure that Gov. Palin would have done the right thing, however, had she a crystal ball revealing the miraculous tap on the shoulder by McCain.

  14. Oh . . . it does fit. If she somehows puts the apocalypse into motion.

    ” Do you know who I was? Nobody. Except on the day after, I was still alive. This nobody had a chance to be somebody.”

  15. BURN THE WITCH

  16. I’m wondering if someone at the dispensing of largesse level might have noticed that the road was no longer needed. Is there no obligation on the part of the feds to keep an eye on this sort of thing?

  17. joe, the mantra at the Forest Service while fighting fires in ’94 was, “spend as much as possible, or we won’t get as much next year.”

    brotherben, that is the mantra for every government bureaucracy in the free world. Certainly in the U.S. Navy. when I got senior enough to be involved with spending and budgets that train of thought was ubiquitous. Sgt Bilko would have fit right in for some of those meetings. I was once asked, “Can you spend 50K on office computer equip[ment by Friday?” Being a go-getter I responded, “Only 50K? I’ll have it to you by close of business”. I strongly suspect it is true to a lesser extent in the private sector as well.

  18. If you assume there will never be a bridge (publicly or privately funded) then building the road instead of returning the money would be blatantly wasteful.

    However, if the road is built by spending the dollars already allocated, then it becomes easier in the future to get some kind of private investment (full or matching-funds to a public grant) in the project.

    It’s not like the money would go back to the taxpayers if Palin sent it back to D.C.

  19. A few comments:

    First, in response to joe: it’s a maxim at all levels of government that “if you don’t spend everything they give you *and* ask for more, then you’ll get less next year”. Since government managers’ prestige and power are determined by the size of their budgets, it’s in all of their best interests to spend every last penny.

    Second, I’m suprised that Palin doesn’t make an argument similar to Ron Paul’s defense of his earmarks: “I’m just trying to get back what the Federal Govt stole from my constituents.”

  20. rap,

    LMAO! Seriously now. Do you think there is someone actually ACCOUNTABLE for where the money goes?

  21. Maybe I’m just a particuarly lousy bureaucrat, but wouldn’t returning money for a project you don’t want help establish your credibility with the people holding the purse strings, and improve your chances of getting funding for other projects you do want at some later date?

    I think maybe you’re a lousy bureaucrat. That doesn’t at all resemble the thinking that goes on in government budgeting. (I say this as a lowly county-level bureaucrat.) If she had returned the money, it would’ve likely just suggested that she and her agencies didn’t have pressing financial issues and could be comfortably overlooked in future budgeting decisions. It’s unfortunate, but it’s how it works. One of the built-in failures in government decision-making.

  22. Reason

    All Palin! All the Time!

  23. If you’re a politician of course you take the money and build the road. It means jobs for the people who build it and the contractor will probably give you a nice campaign donation.

  24. Second, I’m suprised that Palin doesn’t make an argument similar to Ron Paul’s defense of his earmarks: “I’m just trying to get back what the Federal Govt stole from my constituents.”

    I dunno if this is an argument anyone can make with a straight face for Alaskans.

  25. MAGIC NEGRO WILL DEFEAT THE EVIL WITCH OF THE NORTH.

  26. J sub D, yup. It was a 500 acre fire a hundred miles from nowhere. Grizzly bear and a rare caribou habitat in far north Idaho with a wilderness designation. 750 firefighters, catered meals, semi trailers with hot showers. My favorite was the 6 retardant bombers on standby in Spokane for days while conditions were wrong. They were payed $7,000/hr. each. 8 hour minimum/day. We used them for 1 day when the wind died.

  27. naga –

    For years I’ve worked federal gov’t projects in Canada and was consistently cross-checked and required to justify every penny I spent. Different culture I guess.

  28. “I strongly suspect it is true to a lesser extent in the private sector as well.”

    Yes it is. If I come in significantly under budget, the implication would be that I plan poorly.

  29. Come on, leave Palin alone on this! After all, she has a vagina and drove her kids to hockey practice.

  30. LMNOP-
    You’re right of course.

    But, half the problem with development these days is that they’ve thown stuff up willy-nilly and are only putting the infrastructure now to support it (see for example, Tyson’s Corner, and pretty much all of Farifax county)

    Now, as a McArdle-ish libertarian, I generally support willy-nilly. However, the infrastructure winds up coming out of tax dollars anyway, and after the fact it is of course more expensive (and even more prone to emininent domain abuse). But it will nontheless get built due to political pressure.

    I hypothesize that a more liberatarian solution to development would be to build a bunch of roads (or railroads, or bike paths, or whatever) with no zoning and then do absolutely nothing for 20-30 years (and mandate that absolutely nothing be done wrt additional infrastructure) Then all the new construction would be more ‘organic’, subject to the carrying capacity limitations, and more importantly, less subject to political gaming.

    Or maybe I’ve be playing Sim City too much.

  31. This doesn’t bother me that much. Building that road is like welfare for people who actually work.

  32. conjugation are hard.

  33. “Spend it now or we won’t get it next year” is not a mantra reserved only for government bureaucrats. I’ve worked in banking the majority of my adult life and I vividly remember a rush to hire someone before the new budgets were calculated or corporate might figure out the department doesn’t need this expense.

  34. Vice President Sarah Palin. Get used to it!

  35. Bill has a good point. One of the hoards of media swamping Alaska needs to find out who that road contractor is and what politicians get that contractor’s loot.

    And I wonder how the contract was awarded. “Bids are solicited for a road to nowhere, even though they’re not gonna build that bridge to nowhere, because we need to somehow spend this money on a useless road to an isolated beach on an island…”

  36. In my business, we are expected to come in +/- 5%. Underspending big-time is a serious problem. It means we prevented the company from making an investment in the future on some other program. No one gets promoted for being way under budget year after year.

  37. I was picturing a road going off into the water where the bridge would have been. Apparently, the road will still have some use. At the end of the article it says, the road project was already under way last year when Palin stopped the bridge, and she noted that it would provide benefits of opening up new territory for development.

    FWIW, Palin’s story is that near the end of her gubernatorial campaign, she was already walking back her support of the bridge and talking about looking into low cost alternatives. Originally, the bridge was supposed to cost 223 million, but when Palin finally dropped all support of the project, cost projections were 400 million. Cost of the road: 25 million.

  38. Sorry rap. Just a bit cynical I suppose.

  39. But… but… he called her a pig..

  40. even though the bridge wouldn’t be built, rendering the road useless, because unlike the bridge she-ahem-courageously opposed, she couldn’t divert the road money to other projects.

    Wrong, they built a $2M ferry in place of the bridge. The road will connect to the ferry.

  41. All this “yeah but” whining is pretty pathetic.

    She cancelled a $400M bridge… yeah but she still built a $25 road!

    She cut the budget 10%… but Alaska still spends more per capita!

    She fired the governor’s private chef and put the governor’s jet on Ebay… yeah but she still took per diem expenses!

    Meanwhile, on the other side, we have Obama/Biden, who as far as anyone can tell never met an earmark they didn’t like, and proudly plan to expand government even more.

  42. How much corruption do y’all think was involed with this road? Old time Sunshine Staters, how much was it needed at the time it was built?

  43. next all you liburtarians will be saying what a waste of $ the LHC is; sheesh…

  44. The Alaska Democrats blamed Palin for killing the bridge when “costing Alaska half a billion dollars in federal funds” sounded like a good campaign issue.

    Mysteriously, that item disappeared from their Web site this week.

  45. Second, I’m suprised that Palin doesn’t make an argument similar to Ron Paul’s defense of his earmarks: “I’m just trying to get back what the Federal Govt stole from my constituents.”

    Alaska would have to start taking a whole helluva lot less than it does now to reach “one dollar in, one dollar out” parity.

    I hypothesize that a more liberatarian solution to development would be to build a bunch of roads (or railroads, or bike paths, or whatever) with no zoning and then do absolutely nothing for 20-30 years (and mandate that absolutely nothing be done wrt additional infrastructure) Then all the new construction would be more ‘organic’, subject to the carrying capacity limitations, and more importantly, less subject to political gaming.

    Or maybe I’ve be playing Sim City too much.

    An interesting notion. The only problem I see with it is that it is using present tax dollars explicitly to benefit theoretical future residents, which seems especially naughty from the “taxation is theft!!!11!1eleventy-one!” crowd.

    And you can never play too much Sim City.

  46. next all you liburtarians will be saying what a waste of $ the LHC is; sheesh…

    Yep! I’m against welfare for physicists. As much as I love the photos, the knowlege gained and questions raised, Hubble should never have been paid for by the taxpayers who, by and large, don’t give a damn about that egghead impractical stuff.

  47. I hypothesize that a more liberatarian solution to development would be to build a bunch of roads (or railroads, or bike paths, or whatever) with no zoning and then do absolutely nothing for 20-30 years (and mandate that absolutely nothing be done wrt additional infrastructure) Then all the new construction would be more ‘organic’, subject to the carrying capacity limitations, and more importantly, less subject to political gaming.

    Lots of cities currently have growth policies that provide some variation on this theme – having “Urban Service Areas,” “Priority Investment Areas,” etc… wherein local ordinances prevent growth outside of priority zones that already have infrastructure in place, or at least phased plans for infrastructure. In Maryland, Florida and (most stringently) Oregon, it’s encouraged statewide. In some ways it makes a lot of sense (try retrofitting a rural sprawl community for central sewer when it boomed when everyone was going on septic) but in other ways it involves restricting people’s use of their property in ways that don’t have clear justifications. This is my job!

  48. Hmmm… a $25 million road+ferry in lieu of a $400 million bridge.

    Who gives a shit what she said when, that’s a cost-benefit savings of $375 million.

    I say install her as queen.

  49. Come on, leave Palin alone on this! After all, she has a vagina

    but she doesn’t share it near enough.

  50. Honestly-

    Good post. It’s like she got 1400 on her boards and getting criticized because she didn’t get a perfect score.

    At least she made tremendous progress.

  51. “taxation is theft!!!11!1eleventy-one!” crowd

    Very funny. Perhaps you care to explain why it’s not theft (sans, of course, the government sanctioned part).

  52. How much corruption do y’all think was involed with this road?

    J Sub D-
    That’s the toledo mud hens compared to the New York Yankees of road boondogles. Which held the title until recently eclipsed by Boston (literally).

  53. I hypothesize that a more liberatarian solution to development would be to build a bunch of roads (or railroads, or bike paths, or whatever) with no zoning and then do absolutely nothing for 20-30 years

    [Unless you were trying to type liberaltarian]…A better solution would be to build nothing – no roads, no railroads, no bikepaths, nothing – and also have no zoning, and see what happens.

  54. [Unless you were trying to type liberaltarian]…A better solution would be to build nothing – no roads, no railroads, no bikepaths, nothing – and also have no zoning, and see what happens.

    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=shantytown&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

  55. hotsauce,

    Don’t be too hard on Ele. He’s still having trouble with the full implications of property rights. We should support him through these rough times. It kicks in at different times for everyone. Sometimes the first paycheck (Who the fuck is FICA?), sometimes the first property tax blow (I get to pay for the privilege of living in my own fucking home?) and sometimes it happens the first item you can’t buy something because you forgot to figure in the sales tax.

    Besides, it is a poor formulation. A much better one is: “Excessive taxation is theft.”

  56. Besides, it is a poor formulation. A much better one is: “Excessive taxation is theft.”

    No, it’s a true formulation. Income tax is theft. You can argue that usage taxes/sales taxes are not theft because you only get hit with them when you use/buy something. But income tax is theft, plain and simple.

  57. Why did everyone start caring about facts two weeks ago? My wife was in tears when she watched her acceptance speech. No longer a fence sitter. What else matters?

  58. Very funny.

    Not nearly as funny as what our economy would be like without subsidized infrastructure and services.

    Perhaps you care to explain why it’s not theft (sans, of course, the government sanctioned part).

    Because people (collectively) participate in a political process which holds ultimate (if not oft used) power over those who would pass and execute legislation that levies a tax. If people, collectively, wanted lower taxes, they could vote into office those that would do so. If they wanted *no* taxes, voters could achieve that too.

    Now, one might argue that since any one individual does not have the power to deny a levied tax, they are being stolen from. However, since one individual generally also does not have the capacity to build highways and hospitals, which they almost certainly avail themselves of, the argument is at best academic and at worst stupid, since they themselves are *stealing* by making use of common property that they themselves would not otherwise have the capacity to procure.

    Show me a guy, anywhere, that is not at least an indirect beneficiary of spent tax dollars, and we can talk. Good luck with that, BTW.

  59. A valid argument about income tax. It’s pooling effect and remove from usage tax structures does make it more likely to be abused. But even income tax could be made fair to me if applied in a flat manner, not used for any social engineering purposes, and collected for only libertarian-approved governmental activities.

  60. Probably every time we have this conversation somebody should point this out: eliminating every earmark on the books would be a tiny drop in the bucket of our national budget. What we really need to do is curtail Social Security, Medicare, and the military. Everything else is deck chairs.

  61. Because people (collectively) participate in a political process which holds ultimate (if not oft used) power over those who would pass and execute legislation that levies a tax.

    If a slim 50.000000000001 % of the country passed a law saying you should be beaten within an inch of your life for no reason, would you be OK with that?

    When democracy infringes on individual rights, it in validates itself. Or, more succinctly, democracy is two wolves and sheep deciding what to have for dinner.

  62. My apologies. I called the road on Gravina Island “useless,” and apparently there are 50? residents & possibly a few real estate developers. Please forgive me. I’m sure taxpayers should undertake road projects of this importance all the time, and I’m sorry for not fully checking my facts.

  63. “Holy dropped articles, Batman!”

    So much for doing three things at once.

  64. “No, it’s a true formulation. Income tax is theft. You can argue that usage taxes/sales taxes are not theft because you only get hit with them when you use/buy something. But income tax is theft, plain and simple.”

    “Theft” is, in many cases, a specific act defined by statute. And since an income tax is perfectly allowed under the U.S. Constitution it can’t, “plain and simple”, be theft.

  65. All forms of taxation — which are inherently coercive — are theft. Why should a group of people calling themselves government have anything to do with my employment relationship, my home ownership, or my purchase of a cup of coffee?

    Or, what SugarFree said.

  66. “If a slim 50.000000000001 % of the country passed a law saying you should be beaten within an inch of your life for no reason, would you be OK with that?”

    Bill of attainders are against the law.

  67. gmatts,

    So is theft, until you define it not to be.

  68. “Why should a group of people calling themselves government have anything to do with my employment relationship, my home ownership, or my purchase of a cup of coffee?”

    Because the document that establishes the government you speak of gives them broad power to tax things. It’s all right there in the Constitution. You seem to be coming to this argument as if you came into this world as a blank slate upon which the gov’t can do nothing to. While there may be many restraints that are placed upon the gov’t you live under, not taxing you is plainly not one of them.

  69. Way to use your critical thinking abilities gmatt. It’s legalized or government sanctioned theft, as I and many others have pointed out before. Somehow I doubt if the Constitution or any other law allowed me (in person) to take 25% of your income you wouldn’t call it theft. Just substitute the following:

    me = a collection of people calling themselves government

    in person = automatic payroll deduction

  70. lmnop,

    The road also provides an opportunity to build a private toll bridge, if someone wants to.

    Ferry, bridge, giant catapult. The road to the spot **might** be useful.

  71. Because the document that establishes the government you speak of gives them broad power to tax things. It’s all right there in the Constitution. You seem to be coming to this argument as if you came into this world as a blank slate upon which the gov’t can do nothing to. While there may be many restraints that are placed upon the gov’t you live under, not taxing you is plainly not one of them.

    Circular reasoning at its finest.

    When and where did I agree to be bound and subject to the constitution?

    (Hint: read Lysander Spooner.)

  72. giant catapult

    An underutilized technology in every state. Shuts up the “Where’s my flying car?” gadflies, too.

  73. Exactly sugarfree. But income tax is not defined as theft. So, therefore income tax is not theft. This is not a difficult concept.
    In some future time, maybe income tax may be defined as theft. However, in this country, at this time, it is readily apparent that income tax is not theft. But I guess if you close your eyes and wish real hard then the gov’t will leave your paycheck alone and, if they don’t, will be prosecuted as the thieves that you say they are.
    Let me know how it works out, okay?

  74. right, and the manhattan project and the f’ing internet, etc.

  75. mathematics | September 10, 2008, 3:25pm | #
    Hmmm… a $25 million road+ferry in lieu of a $400 million bridge.

    Who gives a shit what she said when, that’s a cost-benefit savings of $375 million.

    I say install her as queen.

    This ignores the fact that she kept all the money she saved and spent it on something else.

    But you know that.

  76. All taxes are income taxes.

    How else do you pay for taxes except through what you make regardless of how you make it(capital gains, employment, sales through business, etc.)?
    Everything else is just arguing over timing, structure and how much.

  77. Maybe I’m just a particuarly lousy bureaucrat, but wouldn’t returning money for a project you don’t want help establish your credibility with the people holding the purse strings, and improve your chances of getting funding for other projects you do want at some later date?

    I doubt it. By returning the money, you would have (a) embarassed them and (b) created more work for them. Besides, political money isn’t distributed on the basis of credibility, or by people with long memories. Its distributed on the basis of leverage and one-hand-washing-the-other.

    So, yes, joe, you would be a lousy bureaucrat. Wear that badge with pride.

  78. This ignores the fact that she kept all the money she saved and spent it on something else.

    So, what else did she spend it on? Was it on something worse than the bridge? If it was on something better, does she get partial credit?

    (Semi-serious) question for the class: Does a governor owe any duties to taxpayers not located in her state? Would a governor who turns away tax money from the federal government violate her duty to her constituents?

  79. gmatts,

    Income tax wasn’t always legal. It was a later amendment to the Constitution. Once it was theft and now it isn’t. Step off the circular logic wheel.

    The notions of theft and murder and assault and most other non-consensual violations of a person exist outside a government making them illegal. The government doesn’t grant us rights, they exist before and exclusive of a government. A governmental imprateur of a taking of a right doesn’t mean that a right has not been taken.

    But, you know, be sarcastic some more. That’s totally going to work with me.

  80. Oh, believe me, I understand how spending your budget works, but this isn’t about a budget. It’s about a one-time earmark.

    I think bill’s got it up there. She’s not a bureaucrat, she’s a politician. Bureaucrats’ constituency is other bureaucrats, while politicians’ constituency includes the contractors.

    Oh, and let me add “Beatings and Theft! THEFT! Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!”

  81. “Somehow I doubt if the Constitution or any other law allowed me (in person) to take 25% of your income you wouldn’t call it theft.”

    I could call it unfair, wrong, or many other things. But, again, theft is a specific act defined by statute. So I can’t say that it’s theft.
    Here’s an excercise for you if you’re so convinced income tax is “theft”: Sue the federal gov’t for theft when you recieve your next paycheck. If it’s so plain and simple that it’s theft, surely a judge on some level of our court system will see things your way.

    (Although since you didn’t agree to be bound and subject by the Constitution, maybe they’ll throw your case out on a technicality)

  82. So, what else did she spend it on? Was it on something worse than the bridge? If it was on something better, does she get partial credit?

    She said…

    I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress – I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that Bridge to Nowhere. ‘If our state wanted a bridge’, I said, ‘we’d build it ourselves’.”

    So, no, she does not get partial credit.

  83. If by declining the money, she got an automatic rebate for the taxpayers of Alaska, or even a rebate for Americans as a whole, I could maybe see the problem here. But that wasn’t the case. If she returns the money, it just gets spent on some other equally stupid project in the lower 48. A ferry (the less expensive option they seem to be mulling) needs a road just as much as a bridge. Ideally they could just build a launch at the end of the road and people could bring their own boats to get over. But whatever they do a road would seem to be pretty useful, or at least as useful as any other public works project.

  84. Why not give the money back to the federal government? They get more money than they give.

  85. brotherben | September 10, 2008, 2:29pm | #

    joe, the mantra at the Forest Service while fighting fires in ’94 was, “spend as much as possible, or we won’t get as much next year.”

    Isn’t that how it works in every part of a larger organization (this includes private companies as well as governmental organizations)? That is, if you are a middle manager at IBM or the FBI, doesn’t matter, and your particular department is given a budget of $10 million dollars to spend more or less however you want to, but you only spend $8 million, chances are you will only get $8 million next year-and you might actually need the full $10 million next year. So, if you are a manager who doesn’t want his department to get screwed in the future, you will try to spend the full ten million. Maybe you replace equipment that possibly could have lasted another year, maybe you buy stuff slightly fancier than you really need, maybe you buy a year’s worth of office supplies in a month. This is equally true at IBM as it is the FBI. It’s just how the world works, and it’s equally true in a large business as in a large government agency.

  86. You can call it legalized theft, as I have and continue to do. IOW, taxes have all the elements of theft, less the government prohibition. The point is to highlight its immoral nature, which you evidently concede.

  87. Sarah Palin will go down in history as the Obama killer. The Democratic party is finished.

  88. Eat a big one, joe (voluntarily of course).

  89. Why not give the money back to the federal government?

    But why should they? How does that benefit anyone other than whatever group grabs that money as it goes back out the door?

  90. Gmatts-

    Taxation is theft. All day long. Always.

  91. In an attempt to break up the ALL PALIN ALL THE TIME mood…I read this in the WSJ…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122083244190708517.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

    Thoughts?

  92. right, and the manhattan project and the f’ing internet, etc.

    The Manhattan project was defense spending, not research, more akin to developing aircraft carriers than the LHC. The internet would have happened without government involvemnt at all. In fact, today, government involvement is what’s hindering the internet from reaching its full potential.

    But you knoew all that.

  93. R C Dean | September 10, 2008, 5:15pm | #
    Why not give the money back to the federal government?

    But why should they? How does that benefit anyone other than whatever group grabs that money as it goes back out the door?

    This was not some cash payment, it was a budget line-item.

    I am actually curious how she could spend it on projects other than the bridge. What authority would she have to spend federal money in ways other than how it was budgeted?

  94. Some of our soldiers just murdered Pakistani villagers. Some people may shout and scream that the murderers are heroes and that the taking of a life by an american soldier is not murder. Of course this is nonsense and argument by tautology-America is righteous and its soldiers are heroes trying to defend our “freedomds” so any person that dies at the hands of our soldiers is not murder victims.

    This self serving crapola in turn is based, to some extent, on the so called Just War thoery. Essetnially, its just a way for aggressive imeprialistic minded murderers to justify murder. Its proponents will shroud it in the language of self defense-a reality applicable to individuals, not nation states or political sub-divisions.

    Same thing with theft. Theft is theft and whether theft is defined as such by a particular gang with guns does not control whether a particular act is indeed a theft. To suggest otherwise, is loony tunes.

  95. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122083244190708517.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

    Thoughts?
    Neu, I’ve no problem with sound management of government holdings. Hell, I encourage it. At first glance, that is what this appears to be.

    That same attitude leads me to say open the ANWR for exploitation.

  96. libertymike,

    I believe your argument is subsumed under

    Now, one might argue that since any one individual does not have the power to deny a levied tax, they are being stolen from. However, since one individual generally also does not have the capacity to build highways and hospitals, which they almost certainly avail themselves of, the argument is at best academic and at worst stupid, since they themselves are *stealing* by making use of common property that they themselves would not otherwise have the capacity to procure.

    Show me a guy, anywhere, that is not at least an indirect beneficiary of spent tax dollars, and we can talk. Good luck with that, BTW.

    Show me the error in logic…

  97. JsubD,

    That echoes my thoughts.

    Strangely, we come to opposite conclusions about ANWR based on the same premise of sound management.

  98. Neu,

    You’ll notice I deftly turned the conversation back to Alaska and, by extension, its governor. 🙂

  99. JsubD,

    Palin’s position on ANWR

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/3614429/Palin-ANWR

    doesn’t seem too sophisticated to me.

  100. Strangely, we come to opposite conclusions about ANWR based on the same premise of sound management.

    Reasonable people can disagree. Fact buttressed arguments are ways to debate an issue. Or we can throw internet poo at each other. I’m well versed in both debate techniques.

  101. NM, it doesn’t seem wrong to me. Her letter to Reid is basically* “more domestic oil is good for the country. There’s some right here”.

    * I just scanned the letter. If she penned any untruths I didn’t catch ’em.

  102. JsubD,

    Reasonable people can disagree.

    I know.
    Strange.

    Palin: 2000 arce footprint

    Some alternate analysis

    http://www.nrdc.org/land/wilderness/artech/farc2000.asp

  103. JsubD,

    it doesn’t seem wrong to me

    I said not too sophisticated.

    She thinks it is as simple as “”more domestic oil is good for the country. There’s some right here”.

    But the argument can be made that there are better ways to spend the money.

    http://www.oilendgame.com/ExecutiveSummary.html

    it will cost less to displace all of the oil that the United States now uses than it will cost to buy that oil.

    Drilling in ANWR is simply a variation of “buy.”

  104. Income tax is theft.

    I think most of America would disagree. Sure, they pay, and they bitch and moan, but they truly believe that by “voluntarily” paying the income tax they will be protected from alien invasions and their roads will be driveable and all the traffic lights will work and the sewers won’t back up and their cable monopoly will effortlessly deliver reliably crappy programming on schedule and their mobile phones will continue to relay pointless text messages in a timely manner and if they go to bed and the electricity is still on when they wake up, then the Mysterious Powers That Be will have done their jobs. That’s all they want. That, and everlasting life. But that’s another topic.

  105. Neu-

    The higher the ends the higher must be the means. If you think that your highway, bridge or war is so important and morally defensible, persuade people to contribute, voluntarily. If they do not want to, too bad. Try harder.

    Those that use the highways pay excise taxes to their city or town just for the “privilege” of owning a car. In Massachusetts, it is called the automobile excise tax. It is $25.00 per thousand dollars of vehicle value. Those that use the highways pay gasoline excise taxes. People who buy automobiles pay sales taxes to the state. People who use highways pay toll charges. The owners of real estate pay real proeprty taxes.

    Thus, those that do not want their income touched are not “stealing” common property. Furthermore, roads do not have to be built and maintained by the gvt. There are private roads. Hospitals? I do not know what percentage are private, but I suspect that a significant percentage are private and wer built with private money and are maintained with private money.

  106. Ed-

    I have been in enough arguments, discussions and screaming mathces on this topic to know that you are probably right. I would hasten to add, however, that if they woke up tomorrow and found that there was no more income tax, most americans would get along just fine and they would not be writing leters and e-mailing their congreesman demanding the reimposition of the income tax.

  107. The higher the ends the higher must be the means. If you think that your highway, bridge or war is so important and morally defensible, persuade people to contribute, voluntarily. If they do not want to, too bad. Try harder.

    If you don’t want the community to spend the money, convince them.

    It works both ways.

    Free-loading is theft and free-riders are thieves just as surely as taxation is theft.

    Now, I am on record as saying the best way to tax is through variations on “fee for service,” but some services are utilized just by living in a community.

  108. Neu-

    Yes, there is a distinction between an incomne tax and user taxes. Of course, I could deal with/tolerate the user taxes if there was no income tax-life would be a lot healthier and much more peaceful and prosperous.

  109. Reasonable people can disagree.

    I know.
    Strange.

    Get a room, you two. We’re trying to throw poo, here!

  110. NM,

    This ignores the fact that she kept all the money she saved and spent it on something else.

    She solved two problems with one check. The island got the transportation they needed (if not what they wanted) and something else got built too. Maybe many something elses. It isnt perfect, but its an improvement over spending the money on just 1 bridge.

  111. Who is freeloading?

    If A is a freeloader, does that give B the right to steal from C?

    No, it doesn’t work both ways. The one who wants to take another’s money should be bound by a higher calling-i.e., the hihger moral calling or standard-peacefully convince another to dig into his wallet. The burden is not upon the person to convince a thief that the thief should not take from him.

    I think that by invoking the concept of a citizen who does not want to pay income taxes as being a “freeloader”, you are arguing facts not in evidence. This hypothetical “freeloader”-has he never had a Job? Has he never bought a car or rented a Car? Has he never paid for gas? IMO, in reality, these hypothetical “freeloaders” are illusory, whereas the income tax and its horror stories are not.

  112. geotpf,

    At many a well run company, if your department is budgeted $10 million and you only spend $8 million, you find a nice bonus check waiting for you at the end of the year, as does other members of your department.

  113. um, i’d rather not debate specious counterfactuals, but the point (if it was lost) that free marketeers never seem to grasp is most ppl don’t have a problem with gov’t per se, it’s when gov’t isn’t functioning _well_ — hence the topic of this thread…

    [a corollary would be that the free market mantra is too often confused (on purpose?) with _efficient_ markets; sometimes they just aren’t the best solution re: public goods and of course wrt market failures, viz. externalities & imperfect/asymmetrical info, etc.]

  114. Neu-

    Define the freeloaders of whom you speak. Once one has bought gas, a car, rented a car, bought a house or employed people, one, by definition, can’t be a freeloader. If you cross the GWB just once, you have now contributed, what, 8-10 bucks. Did your crossing of the bridge cost the rest of us $10? Of course not.

    Let us further examine the concept of “paying” for one’s use of a road or bridge. Part of the cost of building the bridge or road was the kickback, the bribe and other corruption part and parcel of almost every public works project. If you deny that this is not part and parcel of every single public works project, then you do not want to have a serious discussion. Anyway, given that some percentage of the cost and maintenance of the road is attributable to corruption, why should one be bound to pay for that? The stealing comes from the rent seeking contractor and the slimy public officials getting the payola. Who is really the freeloader?

  115. http://www.oilendgame.com/ExecutiveSummary.html

    it will cost less to displace all of the oil that the United States now uses than it will cost to buy that oil.

    Neu, pie in the sky and magic ponies are cool too.

    The facts are

    We are going to be using (burning) oil for quite some time.

    Better ways to power our society undoubtably exist but will not be brought online in the not merely simplistic, but idiotic bordering on the delusional, time frame of ten years a certain former VP proposed.

    When other methods of energy are edeveloped to supply the world’s transportation, industrial and domestic (in the home and entertainment sense) energy needs (that rquirement is increasing much faster than population) become economically superior to fossil fuels, they will supplant them.

    As the price of oil increases, and it will, other energy sources and methods of transportation are going to be more competitive on price.

    It is better that the money goes into US government company and worker coffers than overseas. This is a value judgement not a fact, feel free to disagree.

    The oil can be profitably extracted (to both the government and the evil oil companies) without destroying the arctic wilderness. As I mentioned in an energy policy thread yesterday, all energy production methods will have an effect on the environment. I recognize and accept that reality.

  116. I think that by invoking the concept of a citizen who does not want to pay income taxes as being a “freeloader”, you are arguing facts not in evidence. This hypothetical “freeloader”-has he never had a Job? Has he never bought a car or rented a Car? Has he never paid for gas? IMO, in reality, these hypothetical “freeloaders” are illusory, whereas the income tax and its horror stories are not.

    I am afraid you lost me here.

    If some voluntary income taxes pay for, let’s say, police and national defense…those that benefit from those services that choose not to pay are freeloaders.

    The fix that most societies have come up with for that is to make the tax mandatory…forcing you to pay your share.

    You call that theft, but the rules were put in place to prevent theft.

    See…6 of one, half dozen of another.

  117. libertmike,

    What is the monetary value you place on freedom?

  118. JsubD,

    We are going to be using (burning) oil for quite some time.

    Agreed.

    Better ways to power our society undoubtably exist but will not be brought online in the not merely simplistic, but idiotic bordering on the delusional, time frame of ten years a certain former VP proposed.

    That is a non-sequitor…are we throwing poo and magical ponies around?

    When other methods of energy are developed to supply the world’s transportation, industrial and domestic (in the home and entertainment sense) energy needs (that requirement is increasing much faster than population) become economically superior to fossil fuels, they will supplant them.

    You are discounting market inertia and barriers to entry in the market, externalities, etc…changes because people/societies actively pursue them.

    As the price of oil increases, and it will, other energy sources and methods of transportation are going to be more competitive on price.

    That is the point. They already are. Oil is already that expensive. T.Boone gets it. RMI gets it. The drill now crowd doesn’t. We can spend the resources and energy on supplanting the oil industry or on propping it up. The cheaper strategy in the long run is to supplant the oil industry. You get better bang for you buck in the long run by not drilling in ANWR.

    It is better that the money goes into US government company and worker coffers than overseas. This is a value judgement not a fact, feel free to disagree.

    It is better for the US, sure, but not as good as developing the industry that will replace oil and selling to the rest of the world down the road.

    The oil can be profitably extracted (to both the government and the evil oil companies) without destroying the arctic wilderness.

    Depends upon your definition of destroy, I guess.

    As I mentioned in an energy policy thread yesterday, all energy production methods will have an effect on the environment. I recognize and accept that reality.

    So do I. Some are necessary, some are not. The damage done to ANWR by drilling is not currently necessary nor, in my view, wise resource management. We have better ways to spend our time, energy, and money.

    Also, the ANWR is more valuable than the oil under it, but that is a whole nuther argument.

  119. changes because

    should read

    “change happens because”

  120. J sub D-

    Can you please contextualize? I do not mean to be flip-I am just asking you to clarify.

  121. “My favorite was the 6 retardant special needs bombers on standby in Spokane”

    Fixed it for you, brotherben.

  122. Eliminating American oil use by the 2040s costs
    $15 per barrel-one-fifth its 2006 price

    http://www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Energy/E06-08_GettingOffOil_World2007.pdf

  123. Neu-

    Let’s take Joe Taxpayer. He is 41 years old. He has paid well over $150,000.00 in income taxes during his life. He and his wife own two cars. Therefore, they have paid auto excise taxes on those two cars. They have also paid thousands of dollars in gasoline excise taxes. Joe and his wife own a home on which they pay real estate taxes. They also paid a capital gains tax on the sale of a beach house that Joe inherited from his parents in addition to some death taxes Joe and his siblings paid after their father had passed away, who had survived Joe’s mother by 7 years.

    One of Joe’s friends suggests that he read about Irwin Schiff and Joe Bannister and Bill Evans. Soon, Joe Tazpayer becomes Joe Taxprotester. He decides that he will not be held up by the IRS anymore. So, he says no mas to the IRS. Since he owns a car and needs to drive, Joe still pays gasoline excise taxes, tolls and the auot excise tax.

    Is Joe a freeloader? He has already paid many multiiples of the value of what he “used”. Most people in the private sector subsidize those who work for the gvt., those who depend upon gvt. for some welfare benefit or those who have gvt. contracts. They are the freeloaders.

  124. J sub D-

    Are you suggesting that as a citizen of the USA, that whatever one pays in taxes, income or otherwise, it must be considered in light of the fact that here in the USA, one has freedom?

  125. Libertymike,

    He has already paid many multiiples of the value of what he “used”.

    That is quite an assumption.

    Most people in the private sector subsidize those who work for the gvt., those who depend upon gvt. for some welfare benefit or those who have gvt. contracts. They are the freeloaders.

    So doing work for the government and getting paid for that work makes you a freeloader?

    Using a service provided by your tax dollars is freeloading?

    Contracting the the government to provide a service for a fee is freeloading?

  126. Contracting the the government

    with the government

    Damn.

  127. The life of Joe Taxpayer.

    He earns money in the context of a stable society that provides him with opportunities and a stable economic framework for trading his labor and it products with others. His community provides him with security via a legal framework and law enforcement infrastructure. His business thrives using the transportation infrastructure provided by his community and the larger society. He uses energy produces procured and protected by a large national security infrastructure that protects his societies interests even outside its own borders. He benefits from stable trade relations with distant business relationships facilitated by an international framework of laws.

    And yet, he has paid many times the value of these services (and more)?

    This is just off the cuff.

    The value of being part of a community is often (always) underestimated.

    Joe Taxpayer has been fooled by selfish delusional idealist who believe in myth of the rugged individual forging his way by the sweat of his brow. Sorry, but the smallest of our accomplishments rest on the shoulders of others.

  128. Neu-

    Ansering your questions, yes.

    You have not defined the freeloading of which you speak. Furthermore, you have not even begun to address valuation issues. You are assuming that one who no longer wishes to pay income taxes is a freeloader. You are assuming that everybody desires and benefits from having certain gvt. programs and services. Those are not good assumptions. They are not based in reality.

    Let’s take a real like example. Leona Helmsley. She paid 57 million dollars in income taxes for the year in which she was prosecuted and convicted. Her problems stemmed from deducting purely personal expenses as a business expense. Are you going to say that she was a freeloader? Suppose she decided to stop paying income taxes the year after she had paid 57 million in income taxes. Would she be a freeloader?

  129. Neu-

    I note that you have not addressed the built in corruption cost to all government activity. Ditto for the built in inefficiency and sloth that are part of all gvt programs and services. Then add in the exorbitant “prevailing wage” costs the gvt imposes-in league with the public employee unions. All of these realities are part of the cost of every gvt. program/project.

    Your conception of things is such that one who does not want to contribute to such corruption is a freeloader. Ultimately, you are okay with the gvt and its goons incarcerating or killing those freeloaders who do not agree to contribute to the corruption.

  130. You are assuming that everybody desires and benefits from having certain gvt. programs and services. Those are not good assumptions. They are not based in reality.

    Not everyone desires every service.
    Some services provide benefit whether or not they are desired.

    My assumptions are as good as yours…and, I believe, more reality based.

    Are you going to hold up Leona Helmsley as an example of the typical tax-payer? FWIW, she is not a freeloader, just a cheat… based on your description.

    Issues of what counts as “your fair share” are different than the basic assertion you have made that “income tax is theft. Full stop.”

  131. libertymike, your freedom is the results of efforts of millions of others who do not work for free.

    If you are unwilling to help defray the costs of that then I assume you place no value on freedom or that you think being a freeloader is somehow justifiable.

    So how much are you willing to pay for cops and soldiers, courts and prisons that allow you to live a relatively free life? If others aren’t willing to pay for freedom, should we, as a society, stop delivering it?

    If you are an anarchist this discussion is pointless.

  132. Your conception of things is such that one who does not want to contribute to such corruption is a freeloader. Ultimately, you are okay with the gvt and its goons incarcerating or killing those freeloaders who do not agree to contribute to the corruption.

    This is tangential to an argument about whether or not taxes are inherently theft.

    Government corruption is not “built in” by any means, but a risk that needs to be guarded against. Private enterprise runs the same risks of corruption and also guards against it.

    Large systems always have to guard against inefficiencies. This is true whether they are government or private. You confuse the features of large systems with “features inherent to government.”

    It seems.

  133. JsubD,

    Well said.

  134. Neu-

    Joe Taxpayer earns his money in the context of his hard work, his smarts, his ability to communicate and please his customers by delivering a service or product that they desire.

    Society does not provide him with the opportunity. That is pure fiction. “Stable ecomonic framework”? You can’t be serious?

    Local communities do not provide security through a legal framework. Human beings are traders and have traded throughout human history. Trade does not depend upon the existence of a warfare/welfare state-though the reverse is true.

    Trade is going to happen with or wiithout police forces. American police department are not a pre-requisite to a business flourishing.

  135. The first invention of anarchy?

    Government.

    It’ll happen every time.

    Government is an action not an agent.

  136. libertymike,

    I believe you are incorrect in your assumptions.

    Since it seems at this point we will not agree on any of the axioms we are using to make our arguments, we are unlikely to convince each other.

    Reality is, however, on my side.
    Stable successful societies flourish in the context of systems of government. Anarchistic societies always develop a system of government over time. If you believe in some version of the invisible hand, then it is folly to fail to recognize that the free market will invent regulatory mechanism through its very functioning. All complex adaptive systems feature both bottom-up and top-down processes. The market is no different. And neither are any real-world cultures/societies that we have knowledge of.

  137. J sub D-

    Have you heard of inalienable rights? Freedom is a birthright.

    You seem to suffer from the delusion that cops, soldiers, courts and prisons produce freedom. They do not. they exist to perpetuate themselves, impose their will on others and to fatten their wallets. That is the reality. That is the human animal and it is why the framers sought to keep gvt. small and relatively powerless.

  138. Neu-

    Anarchy literally means without rulers. What is so bad about that?

  139. NM,

    The core point of theft is that it is a transfer of possession without the consent of one of the impacted parties. In the case where public goods are funded by only voluntary contributions, those who agree to contribute have consented to having their money used for the good and those who haven’t will presumably consent to benefiting from the good without paying – everybody consents so it is all legit. Relying on voluntary contributions raises a collective action problem, but it defintely doesn’t involve unconsented transfers of possession.

  140. You seem to suffer from the delusion that cops, soldiers, courts and prisons produce freedom.

    Protect does not equal produce?

    Or does protecting your freedom create your freedom?

    If you do not have the power to protect yourself from the mob, are you free?

    If you form you own mob to protect yourself from another mob, does the formation of that mob create or protect your freedom?

    Rights to freedom is not the same thing as “freedom.” The framers set up a system of government to maximize your freedom, because you have an inalienable right to that freedom. But that freedom will be taken away from you if you are forced to fend for yourself as an individual.

  141. Neu, drilling in ANWR will do far less damage than timber harvesting did in Michigan in the 19th century. You know, that veritable wasteland surrounded by the great lakes.

    If the market doesn’t drive the switch to other energy sources, politicians with noble and base intentions alike will surely fuck it up. Then we will be told to conserve our way to prosperity.

    I’ll sign up for a global carbon tax contingent on governments representing 80% of the world’s population signing up as well. Any other attempts to mandate energy decisions are bound to end up on the scrap heap of history with the other planned economies.

    I really meant Gore’s 100% of U.S. electicity CO2 free in ten years was iudiotic bordering on the delusional. I don’t see how any other conclusion is possible. If you want to go after what really matters most environmentally, coal fired electric plants needs to be your target. This has to be done while increasing world production of electric power. Those 3 billion energy deprived people are tired of waiting and their governments are starting to listen. They will get power. The first world is not going to disadvantage itself economically while Chiona, India, and sub-saharan Africa start firing up thoise cheap coal plants, externalities like CO2 be damned.

  142. Anarchy literally means without rulers. What is so bad about that?

    It is a meaningless platitude?

    Perhaps.

    Government will happen.
    A constitutional democracy/republic is the best method of governing, imho.

    This is because the “rulers” in a democracy are the people being ruled and the constitutional protections provide a framework to limit mob decisions that harm the minority/individual.

    Anarchy does not provide protections against the mob rule.

  143. The more stable, successful societies are those that have kept its totalitarian impulses relatively in check.

    You conflate built in corruption in public works projects with private sector inefficiecies. One is not forced to pay for the inefficiencies of the private sector project, whereas one is forced to pick up the tab for the corruption involved in all public sector projects.

    The point is why should anybody have to pay for the corruption involved in gvt. projets? The corruption costs are a stupendous misallocation of resources. Hardly a necessity for a stable society.

  144. We know that our constituional republic does not, in fact, protect against mob rule or tyranny.

  145. Reading over some of the previous posts I’m inclined to lash out inappropriately aswell.

    BURN OBAMA, HIS WIFE, HIS RACIST CHURCH, YOURSELVES, YOUR HOUSES, YOUR LIPSTICK, AND YOUR PHONY OUTRAGE

  146. JsubD,

    I really meant Gore’s 100% of U.S. electicity CO2 free in ten years was iudiotic bordering on the delusional. I don’t see how any other conclusion is possible.

    I know you did, but it has little or nothing to do with ANWR since we don’t generate electricity from oil for the most part.

    If you want to go after what really matters most environmentally, coal fired electric plants needs to be your target.

    On this we agree.

    Those 3 billion energy deprived people are tired of waiting and their governments are starting to listen. They will get power. The first world is not going to disadvantage itself economically while Chiona, India, and sub-saharan Africa start firing up thoise cheap coal plants, externalities like CO2 be damned.

    Of course this ignores the fact that China is investing heavily in developing non-coal alternatives to coal. Sure they are also building new coal fired plants, but the recognize the long-term will involve something else. We are in a better position than China to get that solution off the ground and sell it to them…but they will leap-frog us if we sit back. I would rather sell them the non-coal technology than buy it from them.

  147. We know that our constituional republic does not, in fact, PERFECTLY protect against mob rule or tyranny.

    fixed for ya.

    But you know that…cuz ya said this…

    The more stable, successful societies are those that have kept its totalitarian impulses relatively in check.

    I don’t by the way…

    conflate built in corruption in public works projects with private sector inefficiecies.

    They are corruption and inefficiency are different issues in either system whether government or private.

  148. J sub D-

    THey do not “protect” freedom and you know it. Let’s take guns. If a cop was truly concerned about protecting your freedom, he would not arrest you for possessing a firearm without a license. If the courts were truly concerned about protecting your right to keep and bear arms, then they would not uphold gun control legtislation. In Massachusetts, one must get the permission of one’s local police chief in order to posses/carry a gun. The courts have held that a police chief can deny the issuance of a license to carry on the basis of hearsay contained in a police report. Is this “protecting freedom”?

  149. The corruption costs are a stupendous misallocation of resources. Hardly a necessity for a stable society.

    Again, not sure how this relates to the assertion that “taxation is theft, full stop.”

    Corruption costs occur after the taxes have been paid or not paid. They are a red herring.

    Government agents are just as accountable to their costumers as private companies…even if the mechanisms of accountability are different.

  150. Neu-

    I don’t have to pay $500 for a ticket between the 40s at Gillete Stadium. There were cost overruns and some contractual problems between the Patriots and some of the contractors who did were involved in the project. I don’t know if those inefficiencies had/have any impact on the cost of the tickets, beer, hot dogs, parking, etc.-but if they did, I am not forced to go and shell out.

    That is not the case with the bridges to nowhere-hey, that is what government is-A Bridege to Nowhere.

  151. If a cop was truly concerned about protecting your freedom, he would not arrest you for possessing a firearm without a license. If the courts were truly concerned about protecting your right to keep and bear arms, then they would not uphold gun control legtislation. In Massachusetts, one must get the permission of one’s local police chief in order to posses/carry a gun. The courts have held that a police chief can deny the issuance of a license to carry on the basis of hearsay contained in a police report. Is this “protecting freedom”?

    There are mechanisms in place to correct these procedural problems. You conflate the imperfect product with the intent of the system.

  152. I am not forced to go and shell out.

    Inapt analogy. Sorry.

    Taxes are a mechanism to pay for something that you do use, whether you acknowledge that use or not. Indirect benefits, yadda yadda.

    I will end this with this concession…taxation without representation is theft.

  153. Neu-

    Not a red herring. Those corruption costs are very real. Whether you like the bridges to nowhere or not, you have to pay for all of the corruption associated with building them.

    This relates to the taxation is theft point because you called people who do not want to pay taxes freeloaders and I countered that nobody, freeloaders or otherwise, should have to pay for corruption costs and that one’s refusal to pay corruption costs does not render one a freeloader.

  154. Neu-

    So its the intent of the system? Have you read The Tyranny of Good Intentions?

  155. This relates to the taxation is theft point because you called people who do not want to pay taxes freeloaders and I countered that nobody, freeloaders or otherwise, should have to pay for corruption costs and that one’s refusal to pay corruption costs does not render one a freeloader.

    I called people who benefit from the products and services that are provided by taxes and yet refuse to pay for them freeloaders. I did not say that people should have to pay for corruption costs. The mechanisms of accountability that are put in place to prevent this will never be 100% efficient, but pointing to the existence of corruption costs as a way to excuse freeloading is a red herring.

  156. Neu-

    J sub D made the assertion that cops, courts, etc, “protect” my freedoms. You say, its the intent of the system, not some of the lousy by product. I think you are changing the goal posts.

    BTW, government actors and bodies are not held to any where near the same degree of accountability as private actors. Ever hear of sovereign immunity? How about absolute immunity? How about good faith immunity? Available to the public sector and its employees-but not to private actors.

  157. “Hell is full of good intentions or desires.”
    Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)

    Your point?

  158. J sub D made the assertion that cops, courts, etc, “protect” my freedoms.

    And they do whether you recognize it or not.

    BTW, government actors and bodies are not held to any where near the same degree of accountability as private actors.

    Same level of accountability, different mechanisms of accountability.

    Ever hear of sovereign immunity? How about absolute immunity? How about good faith immunity?

    Yes. There are mechanisms to remove any of these that you feel are inappropriate.

    Available to the public sector and its employees-but not to private actors.

    Having worked in both public and private arena’s I can safely say that the actions of government agents are far more regulated than those of private actors. By many orders of magnitude. This additional accountability, btw, is one of the sources of inefficiency in many government enterprises.

  159. Government agents are accountable to all citizens.

    Private agents are accountable to customers.

    Again, taxation without representation is theft.

    Taxation with representation is fee for service.

  160. Neu-8:24

    Okay, glad you made that distinction. I have no doubt that there are some unprincipled types that would use the corruption argument to justify their position. You should note that I purposely named Irwin Schiff, Joe Bannister and Bill Benson upthread because they would not be examples of unprinicpled types using the corruption argument to justify their position.

    In other words, a guy who decides that he doesn’t want to give Uncle any more of his income because he thinks he can “get away with it” is on far different footing than a sincere tax protester.

  161. Neu-

    If a judge decides to violate your constitutional rights, you can not sue him or her. The judge, acting as a judge, is absolutely immune. Period. He can’t be sued. How is he accountable if he gets to evade justice?

    The framers recognized that in order to have any measure of accountability, governmetn agents should face ruinous damages for messing with a citizen’s rights. Therefore, the framers did not give Congress or the courts the right to create a two tier accountability system. Courts and Congress have created the immunities.

  162. Neu-8:26

    The book by Paul Craig Roberts.

  163. In other words, a guy who decides that he doesn’t want to give Uncle any more of his income because he thinks he can “get away with it” is on far different footing than a sincere tax protester.

    Agreed. He is just greedy, but recognizes the benefits that are provided by being part of the community.

    The typical (not all, granted) tax protester either

    1) Recognizes those benefits, but has a specific action of the government in mind that they feel they can not sanction…(often aggressive wars), and therefore uses the tax protest to highlight their dissatisfaction. This kind of civil disobedience is not freeloading. It should be paired with efforts to stop the specific action the government is taking, it seems to me.

    2) Does not recognize the benefits they gain from being part of the community and does not recognize the economic gains and opportunities that are afforded to them by that community (see your own comment at 7:37). Because they are unaware of these benefits they are able to build an argument on principles that it is unfair for them to have to pay taxes that they don’t want to pay (g.g., that taxes are theft). Because they do not recognize the benefits they receive, they are both principled tax protesters and freeloaders.

    I am off to eat.

    I am sure this will continue at some point in the future.

  164. It is simply untrue that I benefit, directly or indirectly, from the taxes coercively taken from me. There are thousands of very localized pork projects funded with my federal tax dollars. All you need to prove this point is to look at a state’s* intake of federal dollars vs. that state’s tax revenues sent to the fed.

    *By state, I mean the collection of individuals living in a given state.

  165. Palin has turned out to be a quite the rock star for the republicans. Didn’t take McCain long to flip flop on rock star politicians.

  166. hotsauce,

    It is simply untrue that I benefit, directly or indirectly, from the taxes coercively taken from me.

    Nothing is “simply untrue” or “plainly true” when we are talking about value and indirect benefits provided to you by the larger society in which you live.

    Sorry.

  167. Public roads can be good because they reduce barriers to commerce.

    The devil is in the details, but I don’t get my panties in a bunch when the gubment actually does something useful.

  168. Stable successful societies flourish in the context of systems of government.

    As a minarchist, I can agree with that, but it begs the hard question – what kinds of government systems, and what counts as a successful society?

    Because government systems are also associated with unstable, unsuccessful societies.

    A “government system” that includes confiscatory taxation, high levels of rent-seeking, and systematic control of people’s economic and personal lives will not be associated, in my mind, with a “successful” society, because in my mind a successful society is one that includes a large measure of personal freedom.

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