Politics

We Pay Them to Lie to Us

The problem with politicians

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When you knowingly pay someone to lie to you, we call the deceiver an illusionist or a magician. When you unwittingly pay someone to do the same thing, I call him a politician.

President Obama insists that health care "reform" not "add a dime" to the budget deficit, which daily grows to ever more frightening levels. So the House-passed bill and the one the Senate now deliberates both claim to cost less than $900 billion. Somehow "$900 billion over 10 years" has been decreed to be a magical figure that will not increase the deficit.

It's amazing how precise government gets when estimating the cost of 10 years of subsidized medical care. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bill was scored not at $850 billion, but $849 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her bill would cost $871 billion.

How do they do that?

The key to magic is misdirection, fooling the audience into looking in the wrong direction.

I happily suspend disbelief when a magician says he'll saw a woman in half. That's entertainment. But when Harry Reid says he'll give 30 million additional people health coverage while cutting the deficit, improving health care and reducing its cost, it's not entertaining. It's incredible.

The politicians have a hat full of tricks to make their schemes look cheaper than they are. The new revenues will pour in during Year One, but health care spending won't begin until Year Three or Four. To this the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner asks, "Wouldn't it be great if you could count a whole month's income, but only two weeks' expenditures in your household budget?"

To be deficit-reducers, the health care bills depend on a $200 billion cut in Medicare. Current law requires cuts in payments to doctors, but let's get real: Those cuts will never happen. The idea that Congress will "save $200 billion" by reducing payments for groups as influential as doctors and retirees is laughable. Since 2003, Congress has suspended those "required" cuts each year.

Our pandering congressmen rarely cut. They just spend. Even as the deficit grows, they vomit up our money onto new pet "green" projects, bailouts for irresponsible industries, gifts for special interests, and guarantees to everyone.

Originally, this year's suspension, "the doc fix," was included in the health care bills, but when it clearly pushed the cost of "reform" over Obama's limit and threatened to hike the deficit, the politicians moved the "doc fix" to a separate bill and pretended it was unrelated to their health care work.

Megan McArdle of The Atlantic reports that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin asked the Congressional Budget Office what the total price would be if the "doc fix" and House health care overhaul were passed together. "The answer, according to the CBO, is that together they'd increase the deficit by $89 billion over 10 years." McArdle explains why the "doc fix" should be included: "They're passing a bill that increases the deficit by $200 billion in order to pass another bill that hopefully reduces it, but by substantially less than $200 billion. That means that passage of this bill is going to increase the deficit."

From the start, Obama has promised to pay for half the "reform" cost by cutting Medicare by half a trillion over 10 years. But, Tanner asks, "how likely is it that those cuts will take place? After all, this is an administration that will pay seniors $250 to make up for the fact that they didn't get a Social Security cost-of-living increase this year (because the cost of living didn't increase). And Congress is in the process of repealing a scheduled increase in Medicare premiums."

Older people vote in great numbers. AARP is the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. Like the cut in doctor's pay, the other cuts will never happen.

I will chew on razor blades when Congress cuts Medicare to keep the deficit from growing.

Medicare is already $37 trillion in the hole. Yet the Democrats proudly cite Medicare when they demand support for the health care overhaul. If a business pulled the accounting tricks the politicians get away with, the owners would be in prison.

John Stossel will soon host Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.

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  1. I will chew on razor blades when Congress cuts Medicare to keep the deficit from growing.

    Careful there John, The One is really serious about cutting the deficit now. He even said so. I mean, he’s gonna create a PANEL!! He wouldn’t lie to us, would he?

  2. He is wrong, but that’s not why.

    AARP bought those cuts outright.

  3. Waste fraud and abuse!

    Once the Congress eliminates those, Medicare will turn a profit.

    1. That would require most of Congress to eliminate themselves.

    2. Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. Once the Raiders fix those, they won’t be a joke.

      1. Haha, well done.

  4. SHIIIIIIIIIIIIT

    My god, my turkey smells good.

    1. Someone else is making a bird this year so I’ve decided to be a good guest and bring mushroom galettes & a pesto bruschetta with pear & gruyere as hors d’oeuvres… The puff pastry will be smelling amazing in that mushroomy, earthy way in an hour or so. Woot.

      1. Mushrooms…yes…

        1. Man, I haven’t had ‘shrooms in ages. Good buzz.

          Oh… not that kind. My bad.

    2. Is that some sort of euphimism?

      1. It’s always euphemisms with Episiarch. He’s Italian.

  5. If a business pulled the accounting tricks the politicians get away with, the owners would be in prison.

    This is one thing that never fails to irritate me. It wouldn’t be so bad if so many politicians weren’t grandstanding pricks who deride “dishonest” businessmen.

    1. If a man kills a man, it’s murder. If a government kills am man, it’s justice.

      It’s just a fucked up world.

      1. OH MY GOD

        JOHN GALT!!!!!!

  6. What are you doing with your turkey, Epi? I’m smoking mine.

    1. I’m just oven roasting it with a stuffing made of beef, pork, turkey liver/heart/kidney, fennel, and cornmeal doused in white wine. My grandmother calls the shots here and that’s the way it’s done. I did manage to change things by using the white wine instead of apple cider for the stuffing, though. But that is merely one course out of 6. In just a little while I can start eating the calamari salad.

      1. You people start eating at 2? No wonder you’re so lardescent.

        1. 1. Calamari salad, shrimp cocktail
          2. Fruit salad
          3. Chicken soup
          4. Manicotti
          5. Turkey, vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, I can’t remember it all
          6. Pumpkin pie, apple pie, sweet potato and chocolate cake, nuts, cookies, etc.

          I’ll probably down a few clementines after all that too.

          No wonder you’re so lardescent.

          Not allowed in my family. But we will be weighing ourselves before and after to see how much food we stuff in our gullets.

        2. The time displayed on threads is East Coast time zone, which means Epi in Seattle posted that before noon …

          1. This was posted in Hawaii before 9 am.

          2. I assume he’s at home in wopland with his wop family.

            1. At the family run water park?

            2. Warty is correct. Woptastic.

      2. Turkey covered with bacon while roasting, stuffed with sausage, mushroom, apple, walnut, breadcrumb stuffing. Cranberry/guava chutney. Corn pudding (wife’s old Virginia specialty). Broccoli with cheese sauce. Few other odds and ends.

        As I write the turkey is about half-way there.

    2. How do you get it in the pipe?

    3. I tried smoking mine, but I couldn’t keep it lit.

  7. Sheeeeeeiiiiit…..

    Well-intentioned liberals looking to change people’s lives? Make a difference? To stand up for the little man, huh?

    They mythology of the (Social) Liberal Crusader is over. This whole administration is a big shake-down, whether it’s clunkers, the slum-lord property in Chicago (for the Olympics bid), cap and tax, or this healthcare behemoth.

    (BTW…there’s no way Omar would stand for Obama. In The Wire Barry would be Stringer Bell).

    1. Dude, comparing String to Obama is kind of insulting to String.

      1. haha…okay, I’ll buy that. You might be right: I actually kind of respected Stringer Bell in some ways.

        Who would Obama be in terms of The Wire? Not Carcetti. Carcetti was fundamentally an idealist who had programs he believed in.

        Clay Davis? Nahh…Clay Davis is too smooth. Blagojovich might be Clay Davis.

        Maybe Obama is Marlo Stanfield? Young boy coming out of nowhere takin’ over corners.

        1. He’s Carcetti all the way, dude. Carcetti didn’t believe in a goddamned thing except Tommy Carcetti.

        2. I agree with the Carcetti assessment by my esteemed colleague Warty. He believes his own bullshit, but it’s really about him.

          1. He believes his own bullshit, but it’s really about him.

            Carcetti or Warty?

            1. Both, obviously.

          2. hmmm…when i remove the blinders of my obama disdain and think clearly, i suspect you’re correct, warty and episiarch.

            my natural inclination was to make obama one of the more reviled characters on the show. i never truly loathed carcetti.

            screw it..anyway you look at it, it’s a dysfunctional city (b’more) and it’s suffered through generations of thieving democrats who believe their myopic B.S. of how to run a government (including a pelosi).

            1. Carcetti was likable enough, but you could see his true colors in Season 5 when he decided to become the Crusader for the Homeless when then “serial killer” is terrorizing the streets. “Homelessness.” And he shakes his head with a faint chuckle. He didn’t give a shit about anyone.

              1. Of course he gave a shit. To say that he didn’t is to miss the whole point.

                The man came in an idealist hoping to change his city for the better, but the city’s institutions were such that incentives were seriously skewed towards rewarding bad behavior. If he were to stand up to the city’s dysfunction, he would be buried by it (e.g., Bunny, McNulty, and to some extent Stringer, who was fighting a different kind of dysfunction at his end of “the game). If electoral politics rewards those who engage in shady bookkeeping, juking the police stats, etc., and if there’s no meaningful reward for standing on principle, then Carcetti is the best you can get.

                In politics, no one is really pure. Even the sainted Ron Paul grabs earmarks for his district, because if he didn’t he’d be quickly sacked for someone who would. It’s all in the game, baby.

        3. Great thread!!! I go with Carcetti as well. Well-meaning, smooth talking, but in the end out for himself.

  8. After all, this is an administration that will pay seniors $250 to make up for the fact that they didn’t get a Social Security cost-of-living increase this year (because the cost of living didn’t increase).

    I know. I keep wondering why Reason never did a story on that. It flew totally under the radar.

    1. I keep wondering why Reason never did a story on that.

      Drink!?

      Speaking of which, this may be the best blog drinking game ever.

      1. Some of my no-good compatriots and I did a Bob Newhart show (the original 70s one) drinking game, years ago.

        For those not familiar, every time someone says “Hi, Bob”, a drink must be consumed.

        This episode had about thirty of those, and man were we ‘faced.

  9. Wow… politicians lie.

    Next bit of breaking news: Water is wet.

  10. Wild Turkey on the rocks.

    1. Ahh, a redneck Thanksgiving.

  11. After all, this is an administration that will pay seniors $250 to make up for the fact that they didn’t get a Social Security cost-of-living increase this year (because the cost of living didn’t increase).

    Because while the cost of living didn’t increase, the cost of Medicare basic coverage went up 15%. $250 about covers that increase for the year.

    1. God forbid that seniors experience economic hardships just like the rest of us.

  12. why is my picture there? I’m not a corrupt guy, I just help the community.

    sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit

    1. Way to screw up the formatting Clay.

  13. You should not point out your prince’s deceptions. He is doing what he must to impose his will on the people.

  14. so?
    Just cut the entitlement program called the military and get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and we’ll have a surplus in our budget the next day!

  15. Look claymore, I’m a liberal but I also take the time to read libertarian stuff, and this is not a good attack on libertarians. They tend to oppose our crazy high interventionist military spending AND this kind of entitlement program. They’re pretty consistent on this kind of thing.

    1. I must say there is a great schism in libertarians now, between the right-leaning (eg Neal Boortz) and the more left-leaning. Folks like Boortz are exactly what claymore was referring to. however, you’re right, there are plenty of libertarians that are anti-interventionalists. Murray Rothbard and his followers come to mind.

      1. Trouble is, far too many people STILL can’t tell the difference between non-interventionism and isolationism.

        I blame public schools and some of the media for the bad info, but it’s ultimately up to the end user to figure out what the terms mean and how to apply them correctly.

        1. Is any libertarian really an “isolationist”, though? I mean, if you believe that people have the right to associate with whomever they wish voluntarily, then this has to be a geographically-neutral issue. I mean… If I can associate with my local grocer voluntarily then I should also be able to associate with the guy in Belize who grows the plantains I like, or the Australian fisherman who gets those relatively tasty & much less expensive lobsters I can afford.

          Meaning: No libertarian with even moderately consistently applied principles would cut off the US from the rest of the world in terms of voluntary individual-to-individual dealings.

          Further, all anti-interventionism really means is just that we don’t use our big guns to meddle in the affairs of other nations. Does any libertarian support such meddling? I don’t think I know a single one.

          But then, I’m the rather hardcore Rothbardian type of guy myself.

          1. We don’t need guns except defensively. Freedom (free markets) will do what guns can never do.

            Which is of course the reason for the bug push to destroy our freedom.

      2. I’m not disputing your point but there is more than just that wrong with Boortz.
        I’ve listened to him off and on since I was 6 y/o (1969 or so).He is not really libertarian at all anymore.Neal Boortz is a major reason libertarianism is relatively popular and understood in GA politics but his lib days are long over.Not just the pro-interventionism either.The decline seemed to start when he switched stations (to Cox-owned WSB) and eventually went syndicated( the libertarianism declined as did his formerly outrageous radio schtick).The fair tax nonsense is far worse than his hawkishness.The last decade his on-air politics has largely moved to establishment Republicanism.Just last week he was arguing the best 2012 candidates are Romney,Newt and the Huckster.Limbaugh is more libertarian than Boortz these days.

    2. But they disproportionately attack social programs; there’s a definite pro-death bias in libertarians’ concern with spending.

      1. Boo, Tony. Not a good job of intellectual honesty. D.

      2. Being opposed to those politicians who want to rob people and thus cause economic deprivation that results in the deaths of some, so those politicians can keep some of their ill-gotten loot and hand the rest over to people in exchange for their votes =/= “pro-death”

        Do you really believe this shit, or are you just a troll?

        1. You know the answer to that.

        2. Yes I believe that you care more about tax money spent on social welfare programs than you do about 10 times more tax money spent on blowing people up in other countries. Not only do you tacitly approve more of warmaking by not attacking it in proportion to the amount of money spent and destruction caused, but you are forcefully against programs proven to save lives and make them better. I don’t know who these poor, dying, deprived people are who are suffering because of taxes, but that wouldn’t happen under any tax scheme I’d approve of.

          1. 10 times more tax money spent

            Man wtf can you not type without lying?

            In 2008 under Bush, DoD spending was 16% of the budget. Social Security was 21%, Medicare/Medicare was 20%. Welfare/Unemployment was 11%. HHS waa 17%. Debt servicing was 10%. etc etc. Military spending is outspent by other spending by more than 6 times.

            FFS check wikipedia for once before you open your trap and make yourself look like a fool and a liar yet again

            1. You mean this link?

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M…..ted_States

              1. That works too. Though it has a lot less detail.

                Idk why the links don’t seem to work anymore but this is what I tried to post

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2…..ral_budget

          2. Good grief Tony,
            Do you read Rockwell, or better yet Raimondo at anti-war.com at all?
            Get a grip…
            There are ‘some’ libertarians who support an interventionist policy, but they are hardly the majority.
            Oh, when Hannity calls himself a libertarian, please realize that he is being obtuse.

          3. Are you saying that I, prolefeed, support the huge federal military expenditures for non-defensive warfare?

            proven to save lives and make them better. I don’t know who these poor, dying, deprived people are who are suffering because of taxes, but that wouldn’t happen under any tax scheme I’d approve of.

            It does happen under the current tax scheme. You are engaging in the classic economic fallacy of focusing on the immediate, obvious effects of government handouts while ignoring the cost and damage done by the money taken to finance these schemes.

            Read Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson for a more detailed explanation of the fallacy you are engaging in:

            http://jim.com/econ/

          4. “proven”?

            Oh, I forgot… Tony’s a liberal.

      3. Tony are you lying or ignorant? I can never tell.

        We don’t like the spending.

        The reality now is that most of the spending that is happening now is left statist in nature.

      4. there’s a definite pro-death bias in libertarians’ concern with spending.

        Jesus talking points on a poop stick. A “pro-death bias” are you serious? That’s straight out of propaganda land. Where did you nab that lil’ gem of a phrase?

        1. stupid name remembering thing, and stupid me combine equals wrong name dumbass.

    3. I’ll let claymore off easy this time since you beat me to the punch;)

  16. I will chew on razor blades when Congress cuts Medicare to keep the deficit from growing.

    Even though your promise is construed as a pre-existing condition, your injuries will be covered.

  17. Thank you very much. I am wonderring if I can share your article in the bookmarks of society,Then more friends can talk about this problem.

  18. How about when you use doantions to knowingly pay right-wing hacks to cherry pick evidence to shore up a market-fundamentalist ideology that no one is buying?

    1. How about when you use tax revenues to pay statist idiots to ignore evidence to shore up interventionist ideology that has failed ever time it’s been implemented?

      1. Edward “Lefiti” Morris has what I consider to be the worst critical thinking skills of anyone in Hit & Run history.

        1. HEY!!

    2. I don’t think anyone has an exaggerated faith in the market. Actually your using the term is just as hyperbolic as anyone doing what you are accusing them of.

      The sad thing is I can come up with far more data showing markets working smoothly w/o interference than markets working smoothly with interference. But hey, we all know they markets didn’t do well under meddling because the meddling didn’t go far enough right? Like the stimulus wasn’t big enough, for the second time. After a while you have to stop predicting what would have happened and look at what did happen.

  19. Don’t hear Stossel complaining about George W. Bush lying us into an illegal war in Iraq that costs upward of $3 trillion. Selective outrage, anyone?

    1. OMG, that meme is so original and fresh. You can imagine that we H&R regulars have never heard anything like it before.

    2. Stossel’s come out against the war in Iraq. I haven’t seen him do a special on it, but then again, he is a consumer affairs reporter primarily.

    3. an illegal war

      How many American wars have been legal (i.e. declared) since WWII? Anyone?

    4. Don’t hear Stossel complaining about George W. Bush lying us into an illegal war in Iraq that costs upward of $3 trillion. Selective outrage, anyone?

      Welcome to the board…Rob. I don’t think very many people here voted for George, supported him, or consider your retort (if one could call it that) to have anything relating to the point.

    5. Stossel has said the Iraq war is wrong and we shouldn’t be there.

      So I’m not sure wtf your talking about.

  20. Further, all anti-interventionism really means is just that we don’t use our big guns to meddle in the affairs of other nations. Does any libertarian support such meddling? I don’t think I know a single one.

    Only if you define “libertarian” as “someone who doesn’t use our military to interfere with the affairs of other nations”, which not only isn’t in accordance with the NIOF principle (where interference is OK when they first aggress against us), but also writes out lots of people who are generally libertarian but a bit too eager to deploy our military (in particular, Objectivists).

    1. Objectivists are warmongers? Examples, please.

      1. Ayn Rand was all for settling the commies’ hash through military action. If she were around today, she’d be thrilled at the prospect of going to war with Iran to kick those “mystics” asses.

        -jcr

      2. Go to the Objectivist website, rebirthofreason.com, and peruse any of the old threads about Iran, Iraq, Muslims, or “pre-emptive war”, and you’ll see.

        1. I don’t get the impression that objectivists are as uncritical about using military force as a typical Republican. But they do lean in that direction.

          It’s a huge inconsistency with the rest of objectivist philosophy though. The very concept of military service should be totally anathema to an objectivist. Dying for your country is about as “altruistic” as it gets.
          It’s no coincidence that socialists often use military service as a metaphor for social duties.

          Not to mention ordering other people to die for YOUR cause. That should be equally abhorrent. Ya know, if you don’t want to live for another man, or ask another man to lvie for you, then you sure as hell should be asking them to die for you.

          1. Er shouldn’t.

          2. Im in the military, and I consider myself an Objectivist. I want to live in a free country, I benefit from it, and I want it to stay that way, which entails having a military, and it isn’t altruistic.

            I would only want to serve with other volunteers, and I wish we would only fight wars in self defense (i.e. not nation building or peacekeeping). Have a declared war, against an objective threat to the US, be fully committed to it, win it as quickly and with as few friendly casualties as possible (which deters future aggression).

  21. BUT MOM!!! HE STARTED IT!!!

    1. (directed at the failed blogger Rob Levine, not prolefeed)

      1. That’s how I read it.

  22. FrBunny – Art-POG – Not big on hypocrisy, are you?

  23. Rob Levine – Not really familiar with libertarian ideas, are you?

    1. Let’s give him a chance. He’s new, he’s fresh, he’s green. He needs time to absorb the concept of limited government. I probably has images of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity flying around in his head when he posts here.

  24. Also, I was unaware that Stossel started the Iraq War.

  25. Yawn. Argue the idea; crying about Stossel for what he didn’t write but you think he should have is a waste of time.

    I’m shocked — shocked! — that your blog failed.

  26. there’s a definite pro-death bias in libertarians’ concern with spending.

    I’d kick in eight bucks to have you whacked, Tony.

  27. Selective outrage, anyone?

    Ooh; incisive!

  28. Wow, isnt it the truth. Lying is what politicians do best, no doubt about it.

    RT
    http://www.be-anonymous.cz.tc

  29. Rob failure Levine, failure you failure should failure probably failure understand failure the failure general failure beliefs failure of failure the failure people failure you’re failure attacking failure. Failure.

    1. Hmm, there seemed to be a rather subtle undercurrent sort of subtext in this. I wonder if Rob will pick up on that?

  30. John Stossell’s article should be more aptly titled, “We Pay Them to Lie to Us:
    The problem with Liberal politicians”, because that’s what it’s all about. He’s not talking about ‘conservative’ politicians, he’s talking about liberals–trying to put on the air of objectivity to a very subjective article. Maybe he should write an article entitled, “We Pay Them to Lie to Us: The problem with Editorial Writers”.

    1. I’m taking it you haven’t spent much time around conservative politicians, to think they are a font of veracity.

      Or are you saying that John Stossel has never attacked conservative politicians for lying to us, while conceding the point that the particular liberals politicians he pointed out in the article are in fact lying to us?

    2. You’re kidding right? Bush never lied?

      “I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system” -GW Bush, may he rot in hell.

  31. Tad’s email is “republicanwatch@douchebag.com” and he’s criticizing Stossel’s objectivity. You can’t make this shit up.

  32. Plus, his name is Tad.

  33. Love the civil tone of debate here. I guess I’m not sure why you call me a failure. Maybe you can elucidate.

    1. Don’t get pissy just because your blog failed, you giant weeping vagina. Lots of successful people failed at everything they tried, dude. Buck up.

  34. You don’t get to change the subject just because your point was shat upon.

    Argue the idea; crying about Stossel for what he didn’t write but you think he should have is a waste of time.

  35. Ok – How in the world is Medicare “$37 trillion in the hole” ??? Stossel is unhinged.

    1. That’s generous. The unfunded liability for medicare is $60 to $75 trillion.

    2. He’s saying Medicare has made promises to pay living people money that will cost an estimated $37 trillion dollars more than the projected Medicare tax revenues from those people.

      If you google this, you find estimates all over the place as to how many tens of trillions of dollars this liability actually is, such as here:

      http://www.google.com/#hl=en&a…..88517031cf

      While the exact figures are slippery and hard to nail down, the fact that Medicare is actuarially insolvent to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars appears to be true.

      Any insurance company that operated like Medicare would be shut down by government regulators.

      1. Curse you and your acquiescence to threaded comments, prolefeed! 🙂

        1. It’s not “acquiescence” if you actively embrace and enjoy them.

          It is, however, acquiescence if you use a threaded comment to decry threaded comments, when you have to choice to do otherwise.

          1. I will give an example below of the correct approach. 🙂

          2. Ah. I have evidently mistaken you for a pal. My apologies.

            1. Crap. And I fail at recognizing dry humor. Thanks!

      2. No it wouldn’t. Any insurance company as big as Medicare would be deemed “too big to fail, and bailed out by the government in exchange for a hefty ownership interest. And guess what? We’d be right back where we started in no time!

    3. Based on bookkeeping rules that the Federal Government demands everyone else adhere to, but they don’t, medicare has liabilities which everyone else but medicare would have to put on their books.

      If for say, XYZ Corporation had to pay retirees, that would be booked as a future liability. Medicare doesn’t book what it has to pay me or you when we retire and enter the program.

  36. Better.

    And Stossel is no more unhinged than the Medicare Trustees.

  37. Once the Congress eliminates those, Medicare will turn a profit.

    Next project: Amtrak.

  38. Government bureaucrats are unable to accurately predict costs of a simple public works project. Ridiculous how they pretend the ability to account for massive, ethereal programs like this down to the nickle.

  39. Where to start cutting the real entitlement programs:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M…..ted_States

  40. The approved, non-threaded approach to cursing threaded comments:

    FrBunny|11.27.09 @ 1:22PM|#

    Curse you and your acquiescence to threaded comments, prolefeed! 🙂

  41. Say claymore, if we cut the defense budget, are you for letting all citizens acquire more arms, so the militia can function as intended? Or do you just imagine that peace will break out and no one would ever threaten us if we unilaterally disarm?

    1. I just want us to have a reasonably sized defense, not a bloated “invade and occupy other countries, pay for other countries’ defense, engage in nation building, buy unnecessary and hideously expensive weapons systems that will never be used because the enemy doesn’t exist anymore” defense.

      I don’t care about how many weapons someone owns.

      If someone wants to have so many weapons that their teeth will have their own tooth guns so that they can be literally armed to the teeth then be my motherfucking guest.

      1. Cool. Then you should say that rather than talk about defense as though it is an entitlement program. That just makes you sound like a moonbat leftie peace-through-appeasement sort. Which is why I expected you to be a gun control freak on top of it all.

        Also, that wiki page is a good example of the weakness of wiki for hard, controversial topics (see the Talk tab).

        Even if we could cut defense spending in half (and pulling out of unnecessary foreign entanglements is a great start), that won’t make a dent in the deficit that the Dems are about to ring up. Nor would they be inclined to actually bank that dough, but use the reduction to justify the expansion of social spending (and control).

        1. “Cool. Then you should say that rather than talk about defense as though it is an entitlement program. ”

          It is an entitlement job program for those unable to find a job in the private sector or who cannot afford to go to college.

          In the US, it provides jobs, education, employment (directly and indirectly), and government-run healthcare based on politics rather than on what’s financially or strategically sound.

          “Even if we could cut defense spending in half (and pulling out of unnecessary foreign entanglements is a great start), that won’t make a dent in the deficit that the Dems are about to ring up.”

          First of all, you’re wrong.
          It will make a huge and significant dent.

          Second of all, all costs savings are good and to think that the military is somehow not a part of the federal government and that our troops are not federal employees and part of the problem is double-think at its worst.

          1. Do you even understand what an entitlement is? You keep using that word… Hint: even on the wiki page it notes that defense spending is discretionary. You do understand that word, right?

            “It will make a huge and significant dent.”

            Depends on which numbers you are using – the actual DoD budget, or the wacky “defense spending” numbers on that wiki page. If the latter, you are not approaching this seriously – and given that you don’t seem to disagree about what would be done with the “savings” (turning it into social spending), I tend to think you aren’t arguing in good faith.

            1. Defense spending isn’t what I think of an entitlement, but it is a formof transfer payment (you tax A to give a contract to B to make tanks and C to fight wars). And it has often been seen as a “stimulant” pump priming program. In some ways as a liberal I have less problems with defense spending for this reason, it’s an amazing jobs program for hundreds of thousands (not just active force but military contracting and manufacturing jobs). Yeah, it would be nice for that money to go into programs creating more social justice than you get for your average military dollar, but where are you going to get that kind of bi-partisan support for a colossal jobs/transfer program?

              1. Hey, I’m certainly not saying there isn’t a LOT of stupid in defense spending. Having military reps in 100+ countries, beyond where we are actively shooting is up near the top. Trust me, you don’t EVEN want to get me started on how hopelessly FUBAR’ed the acquisition process is. I’ve spent the last seven years in the effort to get a new radio to the military that solves a problem they have had from the late 80s on.

                But saying you want to cut that spending, so you can do even bigger stupid in other govt departments is not my idea of a great argument.

                1. But as a person with some level of moral perspective, you can agree that whatever money is wasted on warmaking is better spent on something that actually helps people live, right?

                  1. How about…

                    Whatever money is wasted on warmaking is better left in the hands of those who earned it, right?

                    There’s a moral perspective that rejects theft.

                  2. How about…

                    Whatever money is wasted on warmaking is better left in the hands of those who earned it, right?

                    There’s a moral perspective that rejects theft.

                    1. damn too-much-coffee-double-twitchy-mouse-finger again

                    2. Taxes aren’t the same thing as theft and if you believe that you’re an anarchist. How many times do we have to go over this? It can’t be theft only when it funds things you don’t like!

                    3. It’s theft when it funds things I DO like. The question isn’t whether taxes are good (non-theft) or bad (theft), but “how much of that evil will you tolerate as necessary?” Or more pertinent to the current situation, “how much will you excuse, even though you know it to be UN-necessary?”

                      As a libertarian, I see government as a necessary EVIL. Because it is necessary, I tolerate it. But because it is EVIL, I want the least amount of it that is conducive to an orderly society that provides the honest opportunity for prosperity and the individual’s pursuit of happiness. We are so far away from that ideal now that it is no longer funny. The fact that other places in the world might be even further away than we are is no excuse. We must do better.

                    4. It can’t be theft only when it funds things you don’t like!

                      Whether you (or I) like it or not has nothing to do with whether it’s theft or not.

                      Taxes aren’t the same thing as theft and if you believe that you’re an anarchist.

                      Wrong. A government supported by voluntarily contribution is still a government.

                      But you should be aware there are a lot of anarcho-capitalists out there that would just as soon be done with any monopoly on the use of firce altogether.

                2. And your argument is:

                  Government is the problem, not the solution, so cut spending.

                  Except for the parts of Government I like and that gives ME, ME, ME a job (entitlement/welfare by any other name.)

                  A selfish and stupid argument, but this is Reason a.k.a ‘Ayn Rand country” after all.

                  1. Ooh, ooh, good strawman.

                  2. Funny how some dumbass liberals can howl so indignantly at how the govt cannot run defense efficiently or effectively and then turn around and assume that all spending on social purposes is flawless.

                    1. Actually for all it’s worth the military runs better than civilian government.

                      Since securing protection for citizens is one of governments charges, I’m not opposed to having the best military. However, sending them off to BFE everytime some asshole with stick up his ass decides the US sucks in hopes of making everyone free is bullshit. They want freedom let them fight for it and earn it. We have a beef with someone like the taliban we have entire regiments and groups designed to go kill specific people. If it’s determined that someone needs killin, lets kill the people that need killin’ and go the fuck home.

                      All money saved should be spent on pie. And whip cream. The good stuff. Homemade or if need be in the tub.

                    2. I’m not a liberal and I just don’t want my money to be given to undeserving idiots, especially those wearing military garb.

                      The average military grunt is a stupid fuck living off our tax dollars and insisting that we thank him for “defending” us by playing Halo3:ODST in a military base located in Buttfuck, Texas.

                      At least other welfare queens have the decency to not ask us to salute them for their “service” to their country.

                    3. The average military grunt is a stupid fuck living off our tax dollars and insisting that we thank him for “defending” us by playing

                      Wow, it’s refreshing when the true elitism of the statists comes through.

                      Your average serviceman earns about 2k/mo and risks their live for the privilege.

                      At least other welfare queens have the decency to not ask us to salute them for their “service” to their country.

                      You have not earned the privilege to salute me. And I don’t want your ‘thanks’ I didn’t do it for you.

                      No serviceman ever asked you to salute them.

                      But you’re right, how dare anyone who is willing to earn their keep possibly be as ‘decent’ as some ingrate who lives by of the effort of others.

                    4. Not to speak for all liberals, but I think it can run defense effectively (although an efficient war machine is a bit of an oxymoron).

                      I believe government can do things effectively, but it certainly won’t if the people running it hold as an absolute article of faith that it can’t.

                      The hypocrites are the ones who argue this but then conveniently forget that the armed forces are composed entirely of government bureaucrats.

                    5. I believe government can do things effectively, but it certainly won’t if the people running it hold as an absolute article of faith that it can’t.

                      As opposed to those who hold it as an article of faith that they CAN do everything better than the private sector.

                      obviously, the power of faith helps a lto in running government. Just BELIEVE that everyone can have free healthcare forever. if you believe it hard enough, ot will become true!

                  3. The problem with entitlement programs is that they are “off-budget”. The payments are automatically rolled out, every year, without explicit congressional authorization, partly because they are supposed to be self-sustaining – payments into social security are supposed to used to pay pensioners down the line. (i.e. the supposed trust fund).

                    Hence, they aren’t counted in many of the numbers you see each year on government spending. But they represent about 50% of all spending.

                    However, given the lifetime contributions many people have made into SS, outlays are about to start exceeding the payroll taxes paid into the system. That means the government is going to have to start borrowing money. The so-called “trust fund” is an accounting fiction. The money was invested in treasury bonds, which are counted as income to the general budget, and spent. There IS NO money in the trust fund. The government owes tens of trillions of dollars to itself that it has been hiding. Future obligations to retirees based on their lifetime contributions to Social Security.

                    Think about it this way: If a corporation invested it’s workers pension fund in company bonds, and then spent the money raised by those bonds, without counting the debt to it’s own pension fund on it’s balance sheet, they would be imprisoned for fraud. What the US government is doing to it’s citizens is 10 times worse than what Enron did to it’s employees.

                  4. Except for the parts of Government I like and that gives ME, ME, ME a job

                    Show me a libertarian that ever said that.

                    Lol you’re the new King of Moronrovia. Sorry Tony, you’ve been usurped.

  42. Any insurance company that operated like Medicare would be shut down by government regulators.

    Any insurance company (without the ability to print its own money)that operated like Medicare would go broke in no time flat.

  43. Look – the $37 trillion number is fantastic, as in, un-credible. We all know what happens with unsustainable trends – they are not sustained. Versus the $3 trillion thrown down the rat hole in Iraq. Any money spent on health care, conversely, at least provides medical care to Americans.

    1. Calling Iraq a rat-hole is an insult towards the proud rat architects of the world.

      I’d go with describing Iraq as “The Sand People district of Mos Eisley” myself.

    2. You’re right it won’t be sustained. By that, you are admitting that Medicare is unsustainable. I agree.

    3. Look – the $37 trillion number is fantastic, as in, un-credible. We all know what happens with unsustainable trends – they are not sustained.

      So, are you saying that a $2 trillion or so annual budget deficit isn’t real because the numbers are so large?

      $37 trillion divided by 300 million people equals about $100K per person of promised deficit spending over the entire lifetime of those people IF (pay close attention here) all the current Medicare provisions and trends remained intact and unchanged over those lifetimes.

      What this all means, of course, is that either reality will set in and Medicare will change, or go bankrupt, or the underlying trends will change due to the stupidity of this program, or massive printing of money will make those monetary promises worthless — or maybe a bit of both.

      Just because something is incredibly, massively stupid doesn’t mean Congress won’t do it.

  44. Rob, which Iraq War supporter are you arguing with in your false dichotomy? I haven’t seen one here yet, including Stossel.

    We all know what happens with unsustainable trends – they are not sustained.

    Well then. I guess we’ll just wait for this to clear up on its own.

    1. So we should “let it be”, to use a familiar term?

  45. Hey Rob, why did your blog fail? Warty didn’t explain that part clearly enough, and I can’t be bothered to read your tripe.

  46. Here’s the dichotomy: Stossel complains about politicians lying, then creates a fictitious figure of money allegedly to be spent in the future. He doesn’t mention the real lies that led to $3 trillion in REAL money wasted in Iraq. My point is that Stossel is crying crocodile tears in his concern for lying and mis-spending when he talks about medicare and the future, versus real money being wasted by a president telling deadly lies.

    1. But John Stossel is concerned!

      His mustache is wet from his tears of concern!

      And soon it will become an icicle forest where fiscal restraint froze to death!

      Have you no heart, sir?

    2. FYI: Stossel was against the war in Iraq and described the justifications as bogus plenty of times.

      Why on earth should it be necessary for him to mention his opposition to the Iraq war in every single article he writes?

  47. We were one of the first successful bloggers/aggregators. We lasted for 10 years, but eventually ran out of money and steam. Liberals don’t support media like the conservatives do, including the ones that support Reason.

    1. As a libertarian I thank you for providing easy target practice, making this site more fun to visit, providing easy intellectual victories for liberty over statism, and ultimately expanding exposure to the philosophies of freedom.

  48. Liberals don’t support media like the conservatives do, including the ones that support Reason.

    Maybe you could get a government grant? They love supporting failed programs.

    1. ..or maybe a grant from Scaife, Koch, Richardson, Olin, etc., like Reason.

      1. Joyce has been known to dump money into doomed-to-fail liberal projects. Soros too.

      2. Government grants use MY money to support things I don’t. I don’t give a damn what Scaife, Koch, Richardson, Olin, etc. do with THEIR money.

      3. I call and raise you a Rockefeller, Soros, and Gates.

        But thanks for looking like an idiot trying to compare the amount of money donated to libertarian causes to the amount of money donated to statist causes.

  49. Matt Welsh claimed that “something like 90% of our money comes from individuals who simply like what we do”, so clearly getting grants from foundations that could influence their articles and policies is out of the question.

  50. Liberals don’t support media like the conservatives do…

    Which explains the stunning lack of support for NPR.

    1. NPR is unlike conservative media. The other day on Talk of the Nation they did an hour on Palin with the only guest being that guy from the Weekly Standard who wrote the fawning “The Persecution of Sarah.” I listen to NPR quite a bit (it’s on at work) and they have amazing balance. Jonah Goldberg practically lives there.

      I’ll admit their hosts seem to lean left (meaning they are very liberal but make an effort to be fair, because they’d like to think of themselves as “journalists”), but they do a bang up job of including many conservative voices.

      1. I mean, Dianne Rehms is not the liberal version of Hannity. If you want to see what that would be like check out Olberman or Maddow. Then compare them to the hosts of Talk of the Nation, Fresh Air, and other major NPR shows. You can’t with a straight face say they are equivalent.

      2. Jonah Goldberg practically lives there.

        Yet another reason not to listen to NPR.

      3. I listen to NPR .. and they have amazing balance.

        You can’t be serious.

        They ‘balance’ immigration reform heartstring stories with health care reform heartstring stories.

        They ‘balance”reasonable’ sounding left statists like Reich and Krugman with ‘extreme’ sounding right statists like David Frumm.

        Left Right and Center should be called left, more left and fascist.

  51. NPR? Nice Polite Republicans?

    1. LOL

      Okay, good sockpuppeting. You get the seal of approval. Stick around.

    2. Hell, I like you, Failure. You can come over to my house and fuck my sister.

      1. +1

    3. National Proletariat Radio

  52. OK, now you’re just fucking with us. I’ve got turkey to eat.

  53. Who is this Rob Levine and why is he so angry?

    (I must, however, admit that I liked the cheap shot about Koch. I don’t much like the Kochs. On the other hand, calling NPR – which I quite like – Nice Polite Republicans is just silly. It’s rather like calling CNN the Communist News Network or FNC the Fascist News Channel.)

  54. Just for the record – I really do think NPR is awful. Never listen to it. Can’t go fifteen minutes without hearing some conservative ideologue from Heritage or AEI or some such.

    1. I hear you.
      I wish that NPR would be clearer in telling the listeners who those people are and where their political sympathies lie, whether it be to the left or to the right.

    2. You must be listening to the version of NPR that gets played in bizarro world.

      1. M. Night Shyamalan twist-They actually are.

  55. TagTeamTrollery!

    1. Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’,
      Keep them comments rollin’…

  56. MNG, I didn’t say they were hysterical idiots, I said they were liberal.

    I doubt the idea of the government not doing something about a social issue would even cross the minds of the journos and producers at NPR.

  57. I’ve got turkey to eat.

    They give those turkeys growth hormones, you know. That might explain the beard.

    1. God forbid that scientific knowledge be applied to the production of better food.

  58. The beard comes from a permanent gorilla mask (s)he received in high school.

    1. Joke’s on you again, Epi! I never passed eighth grade! LOOSER!

  59. God forbid that scientific knowledge be applied to the production of better food.

    Hazel, next thing you’ll be telling me is that GM crops aren’t the end of the world. They’re Frankenfoods, I tells ya. FRANKENFOODS!

    1. Damn, I suck at faux-trolling.

      1. I’m worse at it.

        1. Your sentence is to watch Food, Inc. every evening for a week.

  60. If someone wants to have so many weapons that their teeth will have their own tooth guns so that they can be literally armed to the teeth then be my motherfucking guest.

    Threadwinner!

    1. nah, close but he punted by explaining himself.

  61. I just want us to have a reasonably sized defense, not a bloated buy unnecessary and hideously expensive weapons systems that will never be used because the enemy doesn’t exist anymore” defense.

    Actually “hideously expensive weapons systems that will never be used” are the best kind of weapons systems. It is called an ‘effective deterrent’. Millions of lives have been saved by these weapons systems.
    It’s the weapons systems that get used for basic defense that are killing all of the people around the world.

    AND, I voted for Bush. Twice. And I am really starting to miss him…

    1. “Actually “hideously expensive weapons systems that will never be used” are the best kind of weapons systems. It is called an ‘effective deterrent’. Millions of lives have been saved by these weapons systems.”

      Sure they did.
      And I have a rock that repels tigers.

      1. This from a person who believes we can spend our way out of debt.

  62. Do you know ?My name?

  63. what is the Impression of China?

    1. They put pee-pee in my Coke?

  64. Sorry, I don’t do impressions.

  65. Thank you for your sharing. Supposed to attack these head-on and you will find a

    deep sense of gratification that will fuel your happiness.

  66. Has anyone asked Mr. Stossel what wax he uses for his mustache twirling after pondering nefarious free market and smaller government deeds?

  67. stossel
    takes one to know one….

  68. I’m not a liberal and I just don’t want my money to be given to undeserving idiots, especially those wearing military garb.

    The average military grunt is a stupid fuck living off our tax dollars and insisting that we thank him for “defending” us by playing Halo3:ODST in a military base located in Buttfuck, Texas.

    At least other welfare queens have the decency to not ask us to salute them for their “service” to their country.

    Get a fucking clue, dude. In the military these days, particularly in the Army and Marine Corps, you’re practically guaranteed to deploy in support of OEF or OIF. And if you think spending a year in Iraq or Afghanistan is a cakewalk, odds are you’ve never been to either of those places. Also, most veterans get uncomfortable when strangers thank them for their service.
    Describing the troops as “dumbfucks” is ignorant, too. I’ve been in logistical support units during my time in, but I’ve had the benefit of knowing a lot of combat arms troops. Yeah, you got some dummies, but some of the brightest people I’ve ever known were combat arms.
    Since you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about, or otherwise you’re too prejudiced to make a rational assesment of the American servicemember, I advise you to STFU.

    1. Government is the problem, not the solution.

      That includes the military.

      The “Some of the brightest people I’ve ever known were combat arms” quote only proves that you’re probably not the brightest yourself.

      Male, poor, uneducated, religious, obeying orders blindly, believes in life after death, and immature.

      US soldier or suicide bomber?

      At least the suicide bomber doesn’t whine and demand free government healthcare.

      1. Male, poor, uneducated, religious, obeying orders blindly, believes in life after death, and immature

        Stereotype much?

        Also, you’re right: the government has no business running a military. Wait…you’re full of shit.

        Also, you have no business insulting my intelligence. I’m no genius, but judging by your posts here I have no cause to be intimidated by your intellect.

        1. Defense, yes.
          Entitlement program for welfare queens, no.

          And why the fuck should the troops be entitled to free government healthcare for the rest of their lives?

          They can get their own healthcare insurance, just like everyone else.

          We don’t take kindly to your kind of uniformed socialism around here.

          1. They can get their own healthcare insurance, just like everyone else.

            We don’t take kindly to your kind of uniformed socialism around here.

            To point one, fair enough. Your second point doesn’t even deserve a response.

          2. 1. In the military, it’s commonplace to work 12+ hours a day, on a ship in the navy you could work 18-20hrs/day. “Entitlement”?! FAIL

            2. Servicemembers only get free healthcare for life if they RETIRE from the military. FAIL

      2. I don’t think I can put this more eloquently and even if I could I wouldn’t, so here it is.

        You, claymore, need to drown in a pool of rancid camel sperm.

        1. Support our Troops! 9/11! Nevar Forget!

          1. ::Yawn:::

            1. If I’m boring you, feel free to leave the site. I guarantee nobody will miss you.

              1. How terribly clever. Of course, you could imitate me forever like some sort of 6th-grader. But the comments are time-stamped. You lost the arguments, claymore-troll.

  69. The above rant was directed at ‘claymore’.

  70. Tony|11.26.09 @ 11:47PM|#

    But they disproportionately attack social programs; there’s a definite pro-death bias in libertarians’ concern with spending.

    ***

    Yeah, we want people to die. It makes us happy. Oh, the sweet, tasty tears of the mourners…

    Are you that fucking stupid, Tony? Are you that ate up with the liberal bias and talking points?

    1. I definitely think it’s more the latter than the former.

      1. There’s a difference between being stupid and being unintelligent, Art. People like Tony may have high IQs, yet still be easily-led simpletons.

        IMO, it’s a combination of both stupidity and gullibility, in varying amounts.

        1. True. Tony’s “plight” is sobering to me. I mean, it encourages me to try not to let my own confirmation biases get the best of me.

          1. The truly sobering part is, there are untold thousands of Tonys among us.

            Either that, or it makes one want to refrain from sobriety.

            1. Yeah. I’m so glad (alcohol) prohibition was repealed!

              1. But… but… rich people suck! They don’t deserve to keep ten percent of their filthy, ill-gotten gains!

                Unless they’re Democrats.

                1. Nice try. Actually my argument is that taxation is the universally accepted means of paying for civilization. And it’s certainly not a punishment for the rich. They wouldn’t BE rich without the civilization they happened to be born into. They are preserving their own wealth by funding the society that made it possible. We should all be glad to pay taxes because without them most of us, if not all of us, would be fucked by nature. You guys bash liberals as people who want handouts, but it’s YOU who want the free lunch… all the wealth your civilization lets you have, and then like a spoiled child you pretend that you earned it all and don’t have to pay anything back.

                    1. Your premises are odd, Tony. This is indeed a disturbing universe. I agree that taxation is the standard method of funding public services, but after that you lose me in what I think might be reification.

                    2. What’s YOUR welfare footprint, Tony?

                  1. Government = Civilization?

                    OK, I’ll buy it …

                    Tony = Fascist

                  2. They wouldn’t BE rich without the civilization they happened to be born into.

                    It’s interesting that you say that because it’s nearly true. But not for the reasons you think and it’s not because of civilization, it’s because of government.

                    Income disparity is the result of government intervention into markets. Without a government to create and enforce cartels, monopolies, and monopsonies resources would not be shifted to the powerful. Without government you are free to vote with your wallet or feet. The powerful cannot have that.

                    You wouldn’t like socialism, but regardless that’s not what you are supporting.

                    You’re supporting corporatism/crony capitalism.

                    You will never get the communist idyl you think you want. They know what you want and they know how to use you to perpetuate their power. They have been doing it for a century.

                    They own the government.

                    Not you.

                    You think Obama is on your side?

                    Rube.

                    but it’s YOU who want the free lunch… all the wealth your civilization lets you have

                    No, it’s the wealth they let me keep which is much less than any of would have otherwise.

                    You live in the world of disney economics, where they take resources, use it for their own ends, sprinkle fairy dust on what’s left, toss it into the air, and we’re somehow better off.

                    The rich are stealing from you, and their tool is the government. It has always been the government.

                    You misunderstand the myth of Robin Hood. He was ‘stealing’ from the rich, the government, who got that way taxing/stealing from the people.

                    You’re on the wrong side.

                    You’re on the side of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

  71. Crap. And I fail at recognizing dry humor. Thanks!

    Whoa, you’re not good at recognizing dry humor? Have you ever been to England?

  72. all the wealth your civilization lets you have,

    I love that one!

    1. Yeah, I’m just fartin’ through silk.

      Funny, he left out “privileged old white men” from his usual anti-capitalist mini-screed above. He hardly ever turns down an opportunity to make it racial AND wealth-envious.

  73. Also, most veterans get uncomfortable when strangers thank them for their service.

    That one has always made me want to shake my head. It’s about as clueless as making a point of addressing a waiter or waitress you’ve never by their first name on their uniform, despite a complete dearth of encouragement on their part to take such liberties.

    Or, among the people who know I was diagnosed with cancer a few years back, gripping me by the arm and with sad eyes saying, “And HOW are you DOING?”

    It’s so tempting to say, ummmmm, I was doing just fine until you dredged up all those memories.

  74. Actually my argument is that taxation is the universally accepted means of paying for civilization.

    Really? Every single person believes that crap?

    I would estimate millions of people in the U.S. alone do not agree with that statement.

    Or do you mean, every single government believes that their theft is laudable? Imagine that — both the oppressors, and the beneficiaries of their theft, have rationalized their theft as being justified.

  75. We should all be glad to pay taxes because without them most of us, if not all of us, would be fucked by nature.

    1. Y’all should all be glad ahm takin’ such good care of you slaves, because without that most of y’all, if not all y’all, would be fucked by nature.

      1. Nothing’s preventing you from leaving a country if you feel that the taxes are too high.
        If you don’t want to pay the rent, then move.

        1. That’s how we got a lot of British writers and musicians living stateside.

            1. If I’m boring you, feel free to leave the site. I guarantee nobody will miss you.

  76. The yammering jackasses are talking about the White House “gatecrashers”.

    It amusing to see them honestly display how much they fear and despise the Little People.

    1. Dude, they’re aspiring “reality TV stars”. The Secret Service should’ve killed them just for that.

      1. But seriously, I thought the concerns were because people who hadn’t been properly cleared by the Secret Service posed an unacceptable security risk.

        Joe Hallenback would not abide that sort of breach.

  77. I wonder what scares the “Washington Elite”-ists more: the thought of that blonde leaping over a table and gouging out the Presidential Suit’s eye with a grapefruit spoon, or the thought that some smelly commoner could lean in and whisper in his ear, “Ur doin it rong!”

  78. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/po…..&ty=st

    RACISTS!!! (in another country)

    1. Man, that is just irrational. Banned minarets, wow.

  79. Tony’s arguments against taxation being theft suffer from two fallacies, which can be illustrated by a simple analogy.

    Imagine the father of a girl scout who can’t quite convince you to buy tasty thin mint girl scout cookies. Now imagine that that father decides to cram those delicious morsels down your throat. Is he entitled now to demand compensation of any size he sees fit, and are you obligated to give it to him?

    Maybe, but to make that argument requires two points be addressed. One that somehow you consented to eating the cookies or would consent if you were perfectly informed and rational, and the other that you actually benefited from eating the cookies and the “tax” charged is less than or equal to the benefits you received.

    Tony wants to avoid those questions, and conflate the benefits and justification of aspects of the night watchman state with those of the bureaucratic welfare state. Either that or he conflates living in a society with living under a particular form of government. For example it is pretty clear that everyone benefits from a military for the purposes of self defense, and that given the free rider problem it is likely most would consent to paying for it if there wasn’t such an incentive to cheat. It’s also clear that I benefit from living around and trading with free and civil people, something that is not inherently dependent on whether or not some of them have access to food stamps.

    It’s harder to make that kind of argument about affordable housing loans, auto industry bailouts, middle class entitlements, the public school monopoly (as opposed to vouchers/transfers for poor kids) and nation building experiments (although I doubt Tony agrees with those, because social engineering is only 100% effective at home).

    So by equating welfare with having a national defense or just living in society, Tony does not have to argue why people would or did consent to paying higher taxes for welfare; nor does he have to quantify the benefits that accrue merely from having welfare and assess taxes accordingly such that no one at least is made worse off while justifying virtually any level of taxation he deems necessary by implying that without his specific form of government we would be overrun by mounties or living like Robinson Crusoe. I’m not an anarchist, but their arguments suggest at least that the government does not have an infinite claim on individual’s resources merely for providing a military; by means of providing a reasonable if not optimal alternative.

    It’s not a choice between Paul Krugman government and a Thomas Hobbs state of nature, with the quite Hobbsian implication that we should tolerate just about anything from Krugman since it’s better than the alternative.

    To conclude, taxation is theft to the extent that it is not consensual and to the extent that the level of taxation exceeds certainly the benefits, if not costs of providing public goods. After all, most of us seem to have a problem when a monopoly uses it’s market power to to raise prices well above the competitive equilibrium, but somehow it is ok for the government to use it’s coercive power to extract all the consumer surplus from living “in civilization” to pay for welfare programs of dubious benefit? This explains why it seems that taxation is only theft when it funds something libertarians disagree with, because that statement is true; but our critics are missing the point, that the burden is on them to prove the consensual nature of their programs and how EACH PROGRAM benefits THE PERSON BEING TAXED.

  80. Every administration since at least Nixon, regardless of party, has done the exact same thing to us. They make up some plausible-sounding lies to explain how they’re going to cut the deficit, and then continue spending more than they take in.

    So what do we do about it? Voting Republican sure isn’t an answer. They overspend just as much, no matter what they claim as part of their platform.

    1. Lol Nixon was a babe in swaddling. Let’s talk FDR.

  81. A broad based tax used to raise general revenues, or a narrow tax used to raise revenues for specific programs utilized by the taxed is not theft. Using the tax code toeffect social change to lower incomes or discourage otherwise legal behavior the political class disapproves of is theft and creates perverse incentives in the market that have bad practical effects.

    The tax code is beeing used for purposes it was never meant to do, and should not be doing.

  82. Well said, MJ.

  83. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets.

  84. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight.

  85. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight.

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