Economics

What Am I?

Understanding what it means to be a libertarian

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I used to be a Kennedy-style "liberal." Then I wised up. Now I'm a libertarian.

But what does that mean?

When I asked people on the street, half had no clue.

We know that conservatives want government to conserve traditional values. They say they're for limited government, but they're pro-drug war, pro-immigration restriction and anti-abortion, and they often support "nation-building."

And so-called liberals? They tend to be anti-gun and pro-choice on abortion. They favor big, powerful government—they say—to make life kinder for people.

By contrast, libertarians want government to leave people alone—in both the economic and personal spheres. Leave us free to pursue our hopes and dreams, as long as we don't hurt anybody else.

Ironically, that used to be called "liberal," which has the same root as "liberty." Several hundred years ago, liberalism was a reaction against the stifling rules imposed by aristocracy and established religion.

I wish I could call myself "liberal" now. But the word has been turned on its head. It now means health police, high taxes, speech codes, and so forth.

So I can't call myself a "liberal." I'm stuck with "libertarian." If you have a better word, please let me know.

When I first explained libertarianism to my wife, she said: "That's cruel! What about the poor and the weak? Let them starve?"

For my FBN show tonight, I ask some prominent libertarians that question, including Jeffrey Miron, who teaches economics at Harvard.

"It might in some cases be a little cruel," Miron said. "But it means you're not taking from people who've worked hard to earn their income (in order) to give it to people who have not worked hard."

But isn't it wrong for people to suffer in a rich country?

"The number of people who will suffer is likely to be very small. Private charity … will provide support for the vast majority who would be poor in the absence of some kind of support. When government does it, it creates an air of entitlement that leads to more demand for redistribution, till everyone becomes a ward of the state."

Besides, says Wendy McElroy, the founder of ifeminists.com, "government aid doesn't enrich the poor. Government makes them dependent. And the biggest hindrance to the poor … right now is the government. Government should get out of the way. It should allow people to open cottage industries without making them jump through hoops and licenses and taxing them to death. It should open up public lands and do a 20th-century equivalent of 40 acres and a mule. It should get out of the way of people and let them achieve and rise."

David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, took the discussion to a deeper level.

"Instead of asking, 'What should we do about people who are poor in a rich country?' The first question is, 'Why is this a rich country?' …

"Five hundred years ago, there weren't rich countries in the world. There are rich countries now because part of the world is following basically libertarian rules: private property, free markets, individualism."

Boaz makes an important distinction between equality and absolute living standards.

"The most important way that people get out of poverty is economic growth that free markets allow. The second-most important way—maybe it's the first—is family. There are lots of income transfers within families. Third would be self-help and mutual-aid organizations. This was very big before the rise of the welfare state."

This is an important but unappreciated point: Before the New Deal, people of modest means banded together to help themselves. These organizations were crowded out when government co-opted their insurance functions, which included inexpensive medical care.

Boaz indicts the welfare state for the untold harm it's done in the name of the poor.

"What we find is a system that traps people into dependency…. You should be asking advocates of that system, 'Why don't you care about the poor?'"

I agree. It appears that when government sets out to solve a problem, not only does it violate our freedom, it also accomplishes the opposite of what it set out to do.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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  1. Oh John, why do you hate the poor so, you heartless bastard? You obviously are in the pocket of those eeeeeevil rich corporations.

    1. let them eat cake!

      1. Cake? I’m reporting you to the food police.

    2. News flash to Reason staff: It’s not “New at Reason” if you’ve run the same article previously.

      Just. Stop. BS. Already.

  2. Oh boy, get teh geiger counters out. This thread smells nuclear.

    I’ll help: Are evul corporashuns the same as people?

    1. Stossel is libertarianism lite, a wishy-washy, almost apologetic spokesman. I suppose that’s all The American People? can handle, but his dumbing-down of crucial issues is frustrating.

      1. What crucial issues does he dumb down?

        1. Do not taunt the ‘Stache. You will rue the day.

          1. Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks is the only true “Stache”

            RESPECT THE Q-STACHE!

            1. What do libertarians have against apostrophes?

        2. Seriously…Stossel did an episode a few weeks ago on legalizing, drugs, the sale of organs, prostitution and polygamy. I wouldn’t call that wishy-washy. In fact, Stossel’s shows often overlap with Reason.tv videos. Is Nick Gillespie wishy washy too?

          1. Stossels articles IMO tend to outline basic libertarian principles. Stuff I’ve heard about a million times, but would be a new concept to some of my left wing friends.

            1. That’s certainly true. I think Stossel is different than the staff at Reason in that Stossel’s audience is more diverse, including libertarians and those who are simply interested in his small government ideas, but aren’t libertarians themselves. Pretty much everyone here who goes to Reason.com and reads Reason Magazine is already a devote libertarian or I suppose really values libertarian ideas, yet isn’t a libertarian (I know of at least one person like this).

            2. Stossel is in a position to teach a lot of people what libertarians
              are all about (or should be all about). There are a lot of people who really don’t know or don’t understand.

              This is a good thing. But he needs to keep it pretty simple, at least in the beginning.

          2. Maybe I’m hoping for someone with a little more, I don’t know, energy? He seems always to be reciting memorized lines.

      2. Yes indeed.

  3. It should open up public lands and do a 20th-century equivalent of 40 acres and a mule.

    Libertarians ARE Racist

    1. Funny that no one ever asked the mule how he felt about getting 40 acres and a black dude.

      1. That’s funny

      2. That’s funny

        1. Thats funny

      3. I laughed.

      4. Still funny !! Needed a laugh, thanks.

  4. I read the whole racist article and didn’t see one single denunciation of slavery. How can you guys expect blacks to deal with this complicated concept when it is so obvious you are soft on slavery?

    1. DAMN … I wanted to make this observation first!

    2. BAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRFFFFFFFFFF

  5. “It might in some cases be a little cruel,” Miron said. “But it means you’re not taking from people who’ve worked hard to earn their income (in order) to give it to people who have not worked hard.”

    Oh I see. So the poor are only that way because they are lazy and the rich are that way because they work soooo hard. Um-hmm.

    1. Totally! That is exactly what he strawmanwas talking about.

    2. Oh I see. So the poor are only that way because they are lazy and the rich are that way because they work soooo hard. Um-hmm.

      Ask Charlie Samuel.

      You have heard of Charlie Samuel, right ?

    3. Let’s see if we can explain it to you, JLE. See, although *some* “rich” people might have inherited their wealth (which means that dad or granddad or mom or grandmom worked hard for it), there are – believe it or not – many “rich” people who were not always rich, and instead worked very hard for a long time to develop their wealth.

      If we stop using the current system, in which those “rich” people pay most of the taxes and “poor” people pay none, then you would no longer be taking money from people who worked hard for their income and giving it to others. Of course, you also would include some people who did *not* work hard for their income, but if you stop taking away some people’s money to give to others, you will include, in that set of people from whom you are no longer taking money, those who, in fact, did work hard to get it.

      See?

      And there are indeed “poor” people who work hard, yet still remain poor, because they are working hard at shitty jobs and perhaps never got themselves a good education. But just as with those awful rich people, there are some poor people who actually – if you can believe this – sit around on their lazy asses all day, not doing a goddamn thing, other than bitching about rich people. So under this hypothetical system, they would also stop receiving money from those rich people they bitch about – as would those poor people who actually do try to work hard.

      In other words, it would be how it was when my grandparents were children.

      1. one of the reasons the working poor remain poor is that government programs take 22% and more of their wages to pay for medicare, FICA, workers compensation and unemployment insurance — and this is not counting overpriced health insurance or any income taxes. I imagine any number of working poor might be able to better their lot if they had that money to spend/save/invest as they saw fit.

        1. Payroll taxes have grown from less than 9% of the government revenues to almost 40% in the last 40 years. Payroll taxes steal almost as much from the people as income taxes and the growth rates are far greater.

          Federal Revenue History

          NEO-cons love Reagan and Greenspan who doubled payroll tax rates with their bipartisian committee. The growth of the payroll tax is a blatant attack on the working poor.

          1. Oh how I hate those ‘blatant’ attacks!

            1. lol…i guess your right…i wouldn’t feel the need to post that if it was really blatant.

          2. “The growth of the payroll tax is a blatant attack on the working poor.”

            Not if you believe in the viability of Social Security and Medicare. The working poor still have positive projected investment returns from these programs. Further, a large segments of the working poor get their payroll taxes back in the form of earned income tax credits. The rich and the middle class now pay much more into these programs than they will ever get out. If anything, the middle class has been most adversely affected by payroll tax hikes.

            Of course, libertarians know these programs are Ponzi schemes, but progressives are still supposed to love Social Security and Medicare.

            1. “Not if you believe in the viability of Social Security and Medicare. The working poor still have positive projected investment returns from these programs. ”

              LOL ..The working poor die at 65…check out average lifespans for black men with minimum wage jobs.

            2. yeah, “big daddy” government has to take this money from the ignorant working poor because they’re too stupid to use it for their own benefit. If they invested any of it, likely it would be in some ponzi scheme and…
              oh, wait — never mind.

    4. Well, this gets to the heart of the issue really. Working hard/not working hard is all a red herring really. We have a rigged system that is working exactly as it is intended. Enriching those with access to power while exploiting virtually everyone else. Those who got rich merely by virtue of their efforts is a tiny percentage of those who are rich. While the system can and does occasionally reward those who are bright and work hard, that’s really only a side effect. There is certainly no direct correlation between being bright and working hard and getting rich – which is how it should be. We have a system that exploits the middle and lower classes – and welfare is really a means of exploitation – for the benefit of the relative handful with their hands on the levers.

      I hope this doesn’t sound like I am on the side of the “progressives”. I am not. They are part of the corruption. We have gone so far off the tracks that I doubt there is anyway back on. Libertarianism, by which I mean the principle of non-aggression across the board, is the only possible hope for a reasonably just and humane society.

      In a libertarian society goods and wealth would naturally come to be distributed in a vastly more just and humane way. It is hard to get too worked up over “lazy welfare moms” and such (and these people are just as much victims as are we taxpayers who are compelled to give large amounts of our earned income to the state)when we have real gluttons gorging themselves relentlessly at the public trough.

      It is SOP of those in control to pit the powerless against each other. It is a strategy that is employed over and over again by all regimes to deflect people attention away from those who are really screwing them.

      1. Right on dwKarkuff. Those boogeymen in power are really pissing people off!

    5. Not particularly that they didn’t work hard, although that may also be true. But they didn’t make the correct choices – whatever those choices may be.

      There is an old truism that is used in response to complaints that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

      “That’s because the rich keep doing the things that made them rich. Ditto for the poor.”

      1. The rich will always be with us. So will the poor. It’s the middle class that is getting squeezed out between the two of them. Communist nations had their rich and poor. Did they have much of a middle class?

    6. It’s true that systemic injustice/corruption is likely to result in people who are poor despite have done things worthy of better, and people who are rich despite having done things that should have left them destitute. However, most systemic injustice arises precisely because of government intervention into the economy in the first place.

      Markets, while not perfect, are a sort of soft, distributed parallel justice system. People that create value for other people get something of similar value in return. People that don’t do not. That’s fair — and in my opinion, a reasonably free market probably delivers economic justice better than the courts deliver criminal justice.

      It’s no surprise that the people that go on and on about the needs of the poor without concern for the taxpayers who are compelled by law to take on their often self-inflicted burdens, are the same people who feel extreme pity for criminals with terrible childhoods, while ignoring the misery they’ve inflicted on their victims and victim’s families.

      Too much mercy is a dangerous thing, because the emotional benefits go to the merciful one, while some or all of the harm is inflicted on others. True compassion involves self-sacrifice, not sacrificing others.

      1. +15

    7. The cost of government must always be paid by those who labor to create value.

      The price the poor pay is a lower standard of living.

    8. That’s petty much the case for most of them (but obviously not all of them).

      People are (in general) where they are because of decisions they make. Of course, I don’t expect Tony and his ilk to comprehend that.

  6. “do a 20th-century equivalent of 40 acres and a mule.” does this mean the liebrtarians are goign to try and tick the blacks into supporting them with false promises again? I’m sure Stossel is probably a decnet guy, but he needs to be a little clearer so that blacks will understand he isn’t trying to make them slaves again.

    1. does this mean the liebrtarians are goign to try and tick the blacks into supporting them with false promises again?

      It is working for the Democrats.

    2. “the liebrtarians are goign ”

      Great Bumper Sticker there.

    3. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRFFFFFFFFFFFFF

  7. “Private charity … will provide support for the vast majority who would be poor in the absence of some kind of support. ”

    This is complete B.S.
    Ok. who will be the first to donate their money?
    Why aren’t these private charities stepping up to pay for the medically uninsured so they don’t have to depend on government plans?

    1. I’m sure the 65 million or so who voted for Obama would be more than willing to kick in $100. That’s each, not total. Just saying.

      1. $100 is only $6.5 Billion.

        If they kicked in $10,000 per voter, that would be $650 Billion, or almost enough to pay for the increase.

        Come on Tony, Chad, Cosmotarian Overlord, kick in your $10K first…

        1. I already donated my 10 grand. Here is the phone call I made when donating my 10 grand to help prvide needy black children with abortions. See how much I care?

    2. Anthony, the whole point is that the government is already taking your money to pay for others, so 1) you don’t have any money left to donate and 2) you know that somebody else is already taking care of it, so why should you?

    3. How much of your paycheck do you donate, anthony? Just askin’.

      1. Probably nothing. The point of his poast is that most private individuals, regardless of income, don’t donate much money. Certainly not enough to pick up the slack for all the fuck ups.

    4. “Ok. who will be the first to donate their money?”

      I do it all the time. It’s not really all that hard.

    5. New poster, first name handle=troll.

      1. I’m not a troll.

        More of an ogre really.

    6. I donate whenever I can, even under the oppressive and stifling taxes we have now. Imagine if people — gasp! — didn’t have so much of their money being handed to government employees to process so the poor could have a small pittance, and could just give it to the charity or (get this!) the poor themselves?

      1. Oppressive and stifling relative to what? We have the lowest tax rates in a very long time and some of the lowest in the world.

        We also have a lot of fucking problems that aren’t going away because you ignore them or pray to the market. Stop being such a crybaby freeloader and pay your share.

        1. “pay your share”…

          Of WHAT, Tony? All the ridiculously stupid programs, wars and other economic disasters that I’ve spent my entire adult life thus far petitioning against?

          How is it that you have the right to promote and accomplish the most economy-crippling idiocy, and then conscript me to pay for it? Asshole. Pay for that shit yourself and leave me out of it.

          1. +5

        2. Lowest in the world relative to what? And we do not have the lowest tax rates in a very long time, where do you get this stuff?

          How in the hell are you calling us freeloaders? Wanting to keep more of the money WE make, or at least make our own choices to what charities we give to? Your an angry, angry person. Quit praying to government.

        3. Hey Tony, Have you seen the film Urbania? I saw it yesterday. I think you’d like it.

          1. I think he’s in it.

        4. Oh, Tony. Should I even bother with the idiocy you just spewed? Sean and AA pretty much covered everything I would say.

          But tell me something, my brilliant little liberal troll: When’s the last time you gave to charity? How much do you give? And did it actually, genuinely make a bit of difference? Cite your sources, please.

          1. How does one “cite sources” on charitable giving… ? I may disagree with Tony’s premise, but let’s not be stupid here…

            1. Hell, I’ll take one anecdotal story about one person he managed to help out with his personal charity and giving nature. I’m pretty easy to please. Sure, he could lie, but I’ll even throw in the benefit of the doubt.

        5. I, for one, pay well more than my “fair share.” For every taxpayer like me, there are several other individuals who don’t pay any taxes at all, and yet receive more services from the government than I do – or likely ever will.

        6. We also have a lot of fucking problems that aren’t going away because you ignore them or pray to the market.

          Tony, this is a textbook example of your (willfull) failure to understand the basics of libertarianism. Many of what you see as problems which demand governmental (societal) solutions are to libertarians problems of the individual.

          Liberals(tm) like you are focused on outcomes – ensuring equality of income. Libertarians are focused on equality of opportunity.

          BTW, how is it that we still have poverty and ignorance after years of welfare, food stamps, medicare, medicaid, etc? [Cue canned response: if only these programs were fully funded and the right people were in charge].

          Stop being such a crybaby freeloader and pay your share.

          How am I a freeloader? I pay taxes, but use only basic government services (roads, etc). I’ve already paid more than enough taxes to reimburse government for those years of my education that were in public schools, plus keep paying for the “education” (warehousing, babysitting) of other peoples’ kids.

          No, Tony, it’s those people who don’t, and will never, contribute who are free-loaders.

          1. I could ask you how come we haven’t seen any broadly-shared prosperity from the conservative/libertarian tax and service cutting regimes that have been in place for 30 years? How come all we see are booms and busts and a wealth distribution that resembles oligarchy?

            This country was broadly prosperous after social reforms were put in place, reforms that have been undermined ever since, with nothing to show for it except a few extremely rich people and the other 95% who haven’t seen any benefits.

            It’s not a simple moral equation of who works hard and who is lazy. That’s a flimsy lie meant to justify the distributive system that favors the powerful.

            1. “I could ask you how come we haven’t seen any broadly-shared prosperity from the conservative/libertarian tax and service cutting regimes that have been in place for 30 years?”

              Maybe because thats the lie. If it wasn’t the lie, how do you explain the federal government eating up nearly 50% of GDP? Or most states going bankrupt, like California and New York, with some of the highest tax rates? If big government is so great, how come those states are no better than supposed small government states? And I don’t think we have really ever had what you can call a Libertarian style government, so how could it be our fault?

              1. You’re right. We’ve never had a truly libertarian government.

                You know what that means? Any claims about its ability to generate prosperity are pure speculation.

                What we can compare are periods of strong liberalism vs. periods of relative libertarianism. And what we see is that low taxes and no social services lead to obscene wealth inequality and all of the inevitable corruption that comes with it. And the most prosperous time in history? Post WII, the strongest social safety nets and the highest taxes on the rich. The closest things to libertarian societies we’ve seen are the Gilded Age, the age of Reaganomics (which we’re still suffering through), and external examples such as, say Pinochet’s Chile. Getting rid of universal healthcare and other regulations was good for exactly no one unless you are a Typhoid bacterium.

                Every time neoliberal economic reforms are put in place anywhere, it leads to massive suffering. And if your only response is it wasn’t perfect enough, then, again, you suffer from a severe lack of evidence. You have a religion based on apparently false premises.

                1. Suffering through the age of Reagonomics? It sure beats the fuck out of suffering through even the best years of the Soviet Union.

                  Note how you talk more about lack of equality than you do about actual poverty. You aren’t concerned with helping people, you’re just want nobody to be richer than anybody else.

                2. This is why even the Europeans are moving away from socialism in many areas and have no plans to go back, I assume. I don’t see Japan planning to renationalize their transportation system. I don’t see England trying to renationalize coal mines. You are so full of it, it’s coming out of your mouth.

                3. Accept in all of the cases that you mentioned above, median quality of life went up by any metric a moral person could possibly care about.

                4. Wow… I have posited about 100 examples to you over the months, Tony.

                  How you have managed to get a reading of history and economics that is as backwards as the above statement is beyond my comprehension.

                  North vs. South Korea
                  Hong Kong vs. Mainland China
                  Vietname, Taiwan, India, Singapore TODAY vs. their socialist pasts
                  United States vs. Russia
                  Estonia vs. Other former soviet bloc countries that haven’t liberalized their economies
                  Costa Rica, Chile, and other relatively free market economies protecting private property in South America vs. Venezuela
                  Haiti vs. DR
                  Cuba vs. ANYWHERE
                  West vs. East Berlin/Germany

                  Jesus Christ on a fucking stick, Tony, history is FULL of examples of more liberal economies kicking the ever-loving shit out of centrally planned ones.

                  You fail, and fail hard.

                5. yea, Chile is really suffering from all that economic reform being that it has the highest standard of living in latin america…..

            2. Actually that’s not accurate. Studies show products and services now cost people much less than they did in the past for the same hours of work. Cell phones, computers, clothes all require less work per hour from anyone, even at the bottom income brackets to acquire it. Further, to argue our progressive income tax is in anyway libertarian is a joke. Steps in a libertarian direction have unquestionably benefited society. We can look at Reagan’s tax cuts and Clinton’s welfare reform. Believe it or not, Bill Clinton was more free market than George W. Bush and the economy thrived.

              Social reforms haven’t helped anyone. We can look at the New Deal and see how the Great Depression continued for about 10 years before any kind of recovery. The Great Society didn’t seem to prevent Carter’s stagflation years later. In regard to both major social program, Social Security and Medicare, both programs have ballooned in size and we are going broke because of it.

              Finally I literally laughed out loud when i read “distributive system that favors the powerful.” We do have a distributive system now, but that is because of left wingers like you who would rather the government distribute wealth, services and goods instead of letting individuals earn their living, keep their earnings and make their own decisions in the market place. It sounds like what you want is a distributive system.

              To paraphrase Thomas Sowell, wealth isn’t distributed, it is earned.

              1. Thank you Thorbie. And his examples of a Libertarian societies were completely inaccurate. And his claim not having a true libertarian society shows Libertarianism just pure speculation doesn’t mean anything. Gee, lets not try something new because it might just be pure speculation. No wonder our country is in such a mess right now, what with logic like that and all. Of all the time he has spent on this Libertarian site, its embarrassing that he still doesn’t understand what Libertarians believe.

              2. Cell phones, computers, clothes

                Cheap ass shit from China gets cheaper. Services, however, don’t change so much. Too bad the former never really buys much happiness beyond a point which we long ago crossed. Service, however, has almost no practical upper limit.

                1. What the fuck are you on about, Chad?

                  Computers are vastly superior today than they were even 5 years ago, you git, and I don’t know about you but since they save me literally thousands of hours a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars to do what i do for a living, I can’t tell you how much happiness that has brought me over the years. Not because i am in love with the computer, or the dollars I’ve saved, but because I *actually* get to do what I want to do for a living and not starve to death in the process and not have to waste all my time doing other things to get by.

                  1. You really need to reflect on what makes you happy, Sean. Then you might want to read up on the multitude of research into happiness. Once you have a roof over your head and food in your belly, crap doesn’t make you happier. However, having more crap than your neighbor DOES make you happier. Unfortunately the latter is zero sum and is therefore useless from a policy perspective.

                    1. Actually, Chad. What makes me happy is the ability to make my own choices and spend my days doing the things i want to do. What that happens to be is made vastly easier with the help of products which have been created by a competitive marketplace, largely free from any kind of government intervention. The fact that you have no understanding of what brings me joy – and have never remotely earned my respect enough that i would bother to waste my time explaining it to you – is irrelevant.

                      Also, I have read a great deal of research into happiness, and I don’t find that it’s remotely relevant to policy concerns. One of the defining themes is that what makes some people happy has no damn bearing on what makes other people happy and the whole thing is damn near impossible to measure since people wind up fabricating “artificial” happiness even if they don’t get what they thought they wanted in the first place.

                      So there’s really no point in talking about that, and way less of a point in talking about it in such a way that you pretend you can mandate things that make people happy.

                      Mandates and being told what to do, as it turns out don’t make very many people happy, Chad. And you don’t actually know what’s best for everyone. So quit being an authoritarian dick, and leave everyone else alone.

                    2. “Once you have a roof over your head and food in your belly, crap doesn’t make you happier.”

                      Actually, having more stuff makes me happy. A lot happy. But then, I’m not a self-hating Marxist like Chad.

            3. Oh, but Tony, have patience! See, all these geniuses need is another thirty years. Then, you’ll see.

              Well, maybe you’ll see, since sunlight will have been privatized by then.

              1. GOD do our trolls suck. LamelamelamelameLAME.

                Oh well, at least we’re providing a meaningful service to the mentally disabled.

            4. Bullshit. I’m about as poor as it gets, and I’m way better off than my father was in 1981. I’ve never made a lot of money or even owned health insurance, and I have been able to scratch out a living that would have made any of my parents envious. When a more moderate Bill Clinton passed NAFTA and reformed welfare, the poverty rate DECREASED.

              Plus, calling any government that we’ve had even since the founding “libertarian” is quite a steaming pile of bullshit.

            5. I could ask you…

              If you ever develop the cojones to actually do so, I might answer you.

              It’s not a simple moral equation of who works hard and who is lazy. That’s a flimsy lie meant to justify the distributive system that favors the powerful.

              Bullshit. My paternal grandfather was a coal miner in WV. My father escaped the coal fields by joining the USAF. He worked hard and got an education which allowed him to not have to be a coal miner after his discharge. We are not powerful, nor have we been the beneficiaries of any special favors. ESADMF

              Also, it’s not a necessarily a moral equation. Some people are talented but lazy. There are many who are simply untalented – losers in the genetic lottery if you will. As unfortunate as that is, that doesn’t necessitate government intervention to ensure that those people make the same as the best and brightest.

            6. conservative/libertarian tax and service cutting regimes that have been in place for 30 years.

              Please tell me where this is happening so I can move there. thx.

              1. Maybe Houston? You know… one of those cities that actually didn’t get totally hosed in the financial collapse.

                Sure as hell didn’t happen here in Los Angeles, or broadly in the United States over the last 30 years. I have no idea where Tony fabricates his information from, but it’s telling that he doesn’t really like providing links or sources.

            7. “How come all we see are booms and busts and a wealth distribution that resembles oligarchy?”

              Fucking great. I can’t seem to recall what encouraged that last market boom and bust. Must have been those libertarian entitlement cutting schemes, I guess.

              And damn those libertarians, for favoring the crony regulatory regime, that favors wealth distribution to the rich corporate executives who can afford to use the government to snuff out their competition.

            8. Tony, why must you and Chad use “Metrics” to define happiness? I work a shitty job and I don’t make too much money, I don’t have as much as a cell phone. By your metrics I am poor and oppressed and am in urgent need of liberation. By my own standards, though, I am the richest person I know. I have the time and flexibility to do the things I like. I don’t need gadgets to fill my soul so I don’t worry about acquiring them. I have the money I need to provide room, food and entertainment – and no need I have is hard to fill.

              Stop patronizing the poor and filling them with envy of “the rich”and stop worrying about who has “too much”. Make your own life as good as it could be and persuade (rather than force) others to do the same. That will make the world a much better place.

              1. Nobody wants to give you free trinkets. Should you get cancer and can’t afford to pay for treatment, I expect you’ll take all the help you can get, even government help.

            9. “You’re right. We’ve never had a truly libertarian government.

              You know what that means? Any claims about its ability to generate prosperity are pure speculation.”

              Bullshit. There are still plenty of examples of the freeish market working out just fine when its allowed to, in areas that aren’t heavily regulated or skewed by subsidies.

          2. You have to pay about $10,000 per year, averaged over your life, to cover “your share” of the federal tax burden. Few people achieve this.

            1. Makes you wonder how exactly people like you believe we can fund even more massive government if “few people achieve” their “share” of expenses.

              Seems like a personal finance 101 fail, doesn’t it Chad?

              1. No need to wonder, Sean: the Reagan/libertarian-induced extreme wealth inequality that we have allows us to solve this little riddle!

                1. “libertarian-induced” what now?

                  What you meant to say was the, corporatist authoritarian douchebag-induced… Of course, that would be… You know… You.

            2. Then we should be thankful to those who not only cover ‘their share’ but many others shares too.

              1. I accept your thanks.

                1. Since you are largely the cause of the problem, and… You know, cause you’re a wannabe dictator and borderline psychopathic asshole… I don’t think I’ll be thanking you for anything, ever, Chad. Now kindly fuck off.

            3. $10,000 dollars every year is a shit ton more than what ought to be a “fair share” of the tax burden, because it is being wasted on a lot of statist fantasy nocturnal discharge.

              There is no fucking wealth inequality. All I see is, working people earning, more or less, a reasonable compensation for what their labor is worth. As long as they were smart with their finances and life decisions, anyone with an income somewhere slightly above minimum wage is making enough to adequately get by. And that is the real wealth, not whether one is “rich” or not.

              1. Amusing note on that point – if you’ve ever played Robert Kiyosaki’s excellent financial literacy educational game (which is also fun), “Cashflow 101″… The people who are poor have an easier time making it out of the rat race a lot of the time simply because their debt burdens are lower than middle class people.

                The principles are sound, so I’m guessing it’s easier in some ways to go from “poor” to “rich” than it is from “middle class” to “rich”.

        7. Tax rates are meaningless compared to government spending.

        8. Chad
          RE: research on “happiness”-

          What a fucking crock of weepy whiny progressive psychologist steaming bullshit.

        9. How about this Tony (although I really shouldn’t feed the trolls): What if I could not pay taxes on the premise that I must donate 30% of my income (what I would have paid in taxes) to accredited charities of my choice? Would my money do more good going to an organization that 98-99% of the money goes directly to the cause at hand than to the government where 50% feeds the bureaucracy, 40% goes to things I don’t want or like and only 10% goes to things I use (roads) or actually benefits the society me? Which would make more difference in the lives of the poor?

        10. By freeloader, do you mean someone who prefers to keep what they own, or someone who expects someone else to pay for them?

    7. There aren’t many organizations that I want to donate to, because many of them are happily intermingled with government bullshit. The government often imposes itself in the ones that aren’t.

    8. They’re called non-profit hospitals, and they have been providing care to the uninsured.

    9. There’s lots of medical charities. And there were even more before government got involved in medicine.

      And if government got uninvolved again, they’d return.

    10. OMG it’s those crazy old men wearing fezes and driving little cars!

      1. For those TLTFTL (thanks, CB!), CoyoteBlue is referring to Shriners’ Childrens’ Hospital. My coworker’s grandson is an amputee. They did his surgery for free, and they give this kid a new leg every six months (he outgrows them that fast), and will continue doing this until he’s 18.

        1. Fuck, those Moroccan hat wearing Joo bastards were too cheap to do the other one? For science sake, let the poor kid have some symmetry.

    11. What the heck are you talking about? There are tons of private charities right now. Look at the homeless relief in your city.. most of the institutions will have the word “Saint” in the title.. Those are called churches or religious affiliates, and they are funded by private donations.

      If people didn’t pay 30% to 50% of their income in various taxes, you can guarantee that donations would increase.

    12. Jewish
      Baptist
      Methodist
      etc etc etc

      All are titles of hospitals is my city. Hmmm….so someone is already stepping up to pay for the medically uninsured.

    13. Here, let me google that for you, asshat.

      Results 1 – 10 of about 7,730,000 for medical charities

    14. Your mother took her teat away for a reason, Anthony. Time to grow up. Once you mature enough to start taking care of yourself, if that ever happens, you’ll be able to understand why what you believed now was so childish.

    15. Why aren’t these private charities stepping up to pay for the medically uninsured so they don’t have to depend on government plans?

      They already are. I’m going to be charitable, and assume you are merely ignorant, and not stupid.

      About half the hospitals in this country are non-profits. My hospital system, a mid-sized outfit in West Texas, gives away medical care costing about $25 million per year. That’s cost. Over the last three years, our margin is slightly negative.

    16. Who says they aren’t? All the sob stats I heard during the HCR debate were regarding how many people didn’t have insurance plans, not how many people were denied treatment because they couldn’t pay.

      I don’t think medical charities are going to give people money to get insurance, they’re just going to fund care directly. So these people will still be uninsured, and that fact will still be used to suggest that our system is terrible.

    17. Uh…. because there ARE government plans? Moron.

    18. In case you didn’t notice there are thousands of privately run charities all over the US that exist to help poor people. There are also a few churches that actually help people too.

  8. That should have been so much better. John’s ‘Aw shucks’ everyman shtick doesn’t fly when you’re talking about something as emotional and nuanced as addressing poverty in a libertarian environment.

  9. I’m glad we have a good understanding that libertarians are kinda mean to the poor. Harvard is always a good place to go to get accurate descriptions of libertarianism.

    1. Looking at the presidents that have graduated from Harvard, I don’t think that Libertarianism is the underlying theme: T. Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy, W. Bush, Obama.

    2. Yes my son, soon, with your help, libertarians will submit to God and become social conservatives just like me.

  10. Are evul corporashuns the same as people?

    Indeed they are; they should be allowed to vote, and marry, and adopt adorable small children in order to put them to work in the family coal mine.

  11. “What about the poor and the weak? Let them starve?”

    Why should it be everyone else’s responsibility?

    1. “Why should it be everyone else’s responsibility?”

      Who else’s would it be, you fucking ghoul?

      1. The parents, themselves, etc. If they were at all likeable, somebody would help them. It’s not charity when you steal the money from another group of people who have earned it.

      2. I don’t know…may their families?

        I’ll help them out, but out of my own choice to help those who can’t help themselves, but fuck anyone who expects me to help just because they think they deserve it.

      3. “Their own responsibility” seems like the most reasonable answer, unless you’re equating the poor with children, pets, and the insane.

        They’re our moral and legal equals, so the responsibility for their well-being first and foremost lies with themselves.

  12. I’m stuck with “libertarian.” If you have a better word, please let me know.

    Sane.

    1. Free.

          1. Sunny-Delightened

            1. Social Conservatism

              1. HAHA It’s good to see the rockewell assholes getting their just desserts.

            2. Does that include vitamin C?

    2. I wish we could just have our word back. Liberal.

      Let them come up with their own term.

      1. I just go ahead and use it. I proclaim that I am a “liberal,” and that most so-called “liberals” today are anything but.

        1. Yeup. Everyone should do this. A little education on the issue is good.

          I also like to replace the Liberal v Conservative dichotomy with Liberal v Authoritarian. The conversations that ensue are interesting, people are so used to stock arguments.. changing things up forces them to look at things in a new way.

        2. Social Technocrats for the elitist varieties, Social Democrats for the populist varieties.

      2. Does that mean Anarchist get libertarian back?

      3. Would you wear someone else’s underwear they had been crapping in?

        Let them have it. Maybe just try not to use it when addressing them. It’s a little late to change Latin root meanings being a dead language, so it reflects badly on all words derived from liber, liberty, libertarian, liberate, and so forth.

        Nothing new going on, as Samuel Adams once said: “How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!”

        There’s just no point in making these things more difficult to understand for those who have problems grasping them as they are.

        1. I like the quote.

        2. Well, we have the advantage of the word “liberal” having the original meaning throughout most of the rest of the world.

          We should demand that socialists clean it up and give it back to us, because that’s what a cosmopolitan who doesn’t think that the US is the center of the world would do, right? I mean, how can we restore our international reputation if we insist on using confusing, backwards political terminology?

          FWIW, I call myself liberal too. The conservatives and socialists are trying to eat away at “libertarian” from both sides, and the existing of an actual LP is about the only thing keeping the meaning intact. And since I’m not really capital-L, that’s cold comfort.

    3. Unencumbered.

    4. Jeffersonian?

    5. Let’s take back “liberal” porchmonkey-style.

    6. “Can’t talk now, chugging corporate cock.”

      1. We know you cockmasters love those subsidies to Big Pharma and the rest, Oral, but this thread is about what to call libertarians.

      2. I had a feeling you would be. Enjoy it!

    7. I’m stuck with “libertarian.” If you have a better word, please let me know.

      Costa Rican.

      1. “I’m stuck with “libertarian.” If you have a better word, please let me know.”

        Supercalafragilisticexpealidocious.

  13. Stossel is a racist!

    I know this because he knows who Boaz is, and he complained about government intrusion upon individual liberty without reference to the injustices of slavery and Jim Crow laws.

    Boaz has argued persuasively that any libertarian who fails to make the proper apologies for past injustices when discussing current government usurpations of libery is a racist, a would-be slavedriver, or worse … in Reason magazine.

    Sadly, then, I must then conclude that Reason magazine is racist also.

    1. Because until Reason writes about prison rape, they have no right to write about anything.

      But I digress.

      I guess my question for the SkepticalTexan is Do we really first have to rattle off some disclaimer in order to discuss current government usurpations of libery? You got anything that will fit on a 3×5 card?

    2. Yes my son, spread the word of Rockwell.

    3. My Gawd, the racist card AGAIN? Give me a freaking break. So, if I don’t apologize for some guy that owned a slave 200 years ago, I’m a racist?

      What a damn fool. Some people are too stupid to breathe on their own.

  14. We are classical liberals, they are Liberals a religion, but that’s a little confusing, especially if not in text.

    Prior to FDR churches did most of the charity. Liberals (cap L) don’t like other religions on their turf. The other way was preferable, if people have to hear the Jesus speech for their soup and cot it gives them a reason to get a job so they won’t have to endure anymore sermons.

    1. BTW, the article was right on the money. For someone who started as a Kennedy Liberal John Stossel certainly turned out well.

      Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising considering Ludwig von Mises, Karl Popper, and many other greats took very similar paths.

    2. The real answer is to stop using the word “liberal” to describe socialists.

      Use a different word.

      1. Been doing that for years, Eric. We’re on the same page.

        Socialist, progressive, statist, Trotskyite, Marxist, useful idiot, there are many, and one or more custom tailored to fit each individual perfectly.

      2. They don’t like Socialist. They proffer “Progressive” these days. That’s ’cause they’re for progress. 🙂 You aren’t against progress, are you?

        1. No, I’m only a moderate, because I’m for progress but against change 😉

          1. Actually, what’s funny, is that sentence could actually be perceived as a coherent political position..

            Our country is becoming insane..

      3. “The real answer is to stop using the word “liberal” to describe socialists. Use a different word.”

        Marxists.

  15. “It should open up public lands and do a 20th-century equivalent of 40 acres and a mule.”

    There weren’t many libertarian aspects about government settlement schemes. The government basically claimed all unclaimed land as federal land, and then controlled settlement by determining where people could settle, and made them pay for it. It was a revenue and planning scheme, not market based. There’s also the whole thing about the previous inhabitants…

    1. Yes but the point is that opening up the vast tracts of federal-controlled land is definitely a move in the libertarian direction provided its allocated by a fair auction, and not given to cronies

      1. “provided its allocated by a fair auction, and not given to cronies”

        Bullseye, it won’t happen, but if it did you know that is what would happen. It’s one of the two reasons most politicians are politicians. 1) Serve cronies 2) Serve self

  16. It’s actually more than just charity. A lot of libertarians make the same mistake as liberals, thinking the poor & unskilled laboring class are helpless morons reliant on supermen. Liberals think almighty government, libertarians think benevolent philanthropists.

    The truth is, the poor and unskilled have remarkable, albeit informal, networks of care & support, even now. Before the rise of the welfare state, those networks were formal and sophisticated. The social safety net was provided by friendly societies, social clubs, and mutual organizations. These weren’t charities; they were the poor and unskilled classes organizing to take care of themselves. Most of these arrangements have been destroyed by government “assistance”, and some are now outright illegal. Bootleggers and Baptists combined to save the poor by professionalizing services for their own good.

    Kevin Carson just published a paper on the history of government interference with health care, namely, how the government has destroyed the healthcare networks that once supported people, cartelizing the industry and raising prices dramatically. Google his blog, scroll to the piece, and read it. It’s tremendous.

    1. “It’s actually more than just charity. A lot of libertarians make the same mistake as liberals, thinking the poor & unskilled laboring class are helpless morons reliant on supermen. Liberals think almighty government, libertarians think benevolent philanthropists.”

      Exactly.

    2. I honestly, firmly believe that the poor can definitely crawl out, because I have seen the informal support of friends and family, combined with hard work, savings and sacrifice get ME out of it.

      Unlike Tony up there, who thinks the government cures all ills and therefore I should happily be assraped by the huge number of taxes both open and hidden, I firmly believe in building those social networks and supporting one another as individuals.

      And man, NO ONE can claim that the overhead isn’t way cheaper that way.

      1. The overhead would be cheaper, which means more money to help, or save.

      2. It’s not even about crawling out. No one is assigned to a job, but the garbage will have to be picked up and the check-out line manned. Neither of those jobs will ever pay well.

        The point is not that these alternative arrangements are a path out of poverty. They’re not. What they are is a way for the poor & unskilled to purchase basic services at reasonable prices. That is, for the poor to provide for themselves without having to rely on the supermen of government or philanthropy.

        1. No one is assigned to a job, but the garbage will have to be picked up and the check-out line manned. Neither of those jobs will ever pay well.

          Didn’t you see the post a few days ago? $71,000/year for being a waste disposal technician garbage man.

      3. You are most likely sincere, honest, and willing to humble yourself, Steff. If you weren’t you’d not had friends or family or been willing to work hard.

        We don’t ask for our families, so some don’t have that, but there’s no excuse for not having friends, someone who doesn’t needs to look at themselves to blame.

        Been there too, Steff.

    3. A lot of libertarians make the same mistake as liberals, thinking the poor & unskilled laboring class are helpless morons reliant on supermen. Liberals think almighty government, libertarians think benevolent philanthropists.

      I tend to disagree. Liberals/statists seek to create a perpetual structure of “aid” to the “poor” based on the unspoken assumption that there is and always will be a perpetual underclass of helpless morons always in need of oversight and assistance from technocratic supermen.

      The charitable/philanthropic model makes no such assumption, and I would expect that most who support it do so based on the assumption, often explicit, that any aid is temporary until the recipient “gets back on his feet”.

      1. You missed my point. My point isn’t that charities and state welfare are identical models. Of course they aren’t. My point is that, when asked how the poor can obtain services in a free market, libertarians reflexively answer “charity”. The underlying assumption is the same as the liberal assumption: they can’t provide for themselves.

        But that assumption is wrong, because they can, they have, and they do. Liberal professional technocracy and old-fashioned crony capitalism, the bestest of friends, have shut off the avenues by which the poor once cared for themselves. And they did so without the ridiculous overhead and dehumanizing officiousness of the welfare state.

    4. Good point. This was the original purpose of organization like the Free Masons, Shriners, Elks, Odd Fellows, and all the other fraternal organizations. they were kind of like insurance coops. Everyone paid dues and if there was a death or an illness or a birth, the organization would cover the expenses.

  17. “There weren’t many libertarian aspects about government settlement schemes.”

    As far as the real west is concerned I completely disagree. Those who could make it out here could claim property and work it as they saw fit. Government stayed out of the picture. Unfortunately, little of the land was occupied when the progressive era began, government took the rest of the land and still holds it. Government and RR who got sweetheart land deals. Sad thing is the vast majority of the nation’s resources are out here. And guess what, we can’t touch them. It’s often even the case if those resources are located on your own land.

  18. When asked why the European socialist democracies, who have the largest welfare programs in history, also have far lower unemployment than the US, and have done so since the 70s Libertarians remain silent.

    What a surprise 😉

    Many of these democracies also have a higher median income than the US, longer life expectancy and higher literacy rates.

    They are superior in every way except one: their rich people are not quite AS rich as the rich people in America.

    Well boo hoo.

    1. We’ll see how well they do once we become a social democracy like them — when we no longer can buy their products, when we can no longer guarantee their defense. When we no longer innovate and when they no longer can feed off our innovation.

    2. far lower unemployment than the US, and have done so since the 70s

      [citation needed]

      Many of these democracies also have a higher median income than the US… and higher literacy rates.

      [citation needed]

      1. Like. Too many people making claims without backing it up. Good call on the request for verification!

      2. When asked why the European socialist democracies, who have the largest welfare programs in history, also have far lower unemployment than the US, and have done so since the 70s Libertarians remain silent.

        You’re probably right, but only because they’re astounded at the incredible ignorance or brazen deceit of the speaker.

        Here’s a citation for you:

        http://www.bls.gov/fls/flscomp…..m#table1_2

        The US actually compares favorably on unemployment rates with all nations on the list except for Japan, especially since the mid-1980s.

    3. andrew,

      Let me guess, you have never lived or visited a socialist paradise, Take a look at the laws reguarding personnal freedom in places like sweden, denmark or norway. I would rather personal freedom than social welfare anyday.

      Also europeans have a differnt view on life than we have here, thats why most of us live here and left europe

      1. Yup. Lived in Germany for a year and a half. Definitely not a paradise, or something we should copy.

        1. Except for Oktoberfest.

          1. Never got to go to Oktoberfest. But that may be one exception.

    4. longer life expectancy

      Life expectancy is a terrible metric to compare countries with because it is heavily influenced by non-healthcare related factors such as smoking, obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, violent crime, car accidents, teenage pregnancy, etc.

    5. [Citation Needed]

      30 seconds on the Google gives the lie to most of your claims, so either back it up or STFU, mmkay?

    6. Sorry Andrew you are full of $hit.

      Median Income
      http://super-economy.blogspot……an-in.html

      Unemployment – last 10 years
      http://www.google.com/publicda…..p;dl=en_US

      Now go away to Daily Kos and other reality-free hangouts

    7. You’re welcome to move there.

    8. Even Krugman admitted that Europe has substantially higher unemployment and lower productivity across the board.

      Seriously… KRUGMAN.

      That puts the hackery of the Andrew’s comment above somewhere way up into outer-orbit levels.

  19. I can see why John believes what he does. I would too if I accepted all of his totally wrongheaded premises.

    1. I guess your head’s too full of your own wrongheaded premises.

    2. Troll harder Tony, you can do it!

    3. Orel probably has some extra corporate cocks for you…just sayin’.

  20. When asked why the European socialist democracies, who have the largest welfare programs in history, also have far lower unemployment than the US, and have done so since the 70s Libertarians remain silent.

    Really? This libertarian leaning conservative would simply ask, “do you have any more of what ever you are on?”

    European Socialist Democracies have lower unemployment than the US since the 70’s? I would say “name one” but the premise is so absurd I will instead ask “you are being sarcastic, right?”

    1. I’ll name three:

      Narnia, Hogwarts, Pandora.

      1. Also Wonderland and Oz.

    2. The statement also assumes that the US since the ’70s is not a “Socialist Democracy,” but some kind of representation for Libertarianism.

      1. Also true… Though I do like to keep the caveat that we at least have *a bit* more in the way of liberties thanks to the Bill of Rights. Not that those amendments haven’t been torn to shreds, but at least it’s better than most places get.

        1. Right, this past year has been a reminder of how important the court system is in defending liberty in this country.

          1. I agree. In that regard, I think Bush was infinitely better than Obama. While a disaster on policy, appointing Alito and Roberts are truly worthy accomplishments. (Thomas is still the best though)

      2. Little Timmy climbing on the furniture knocks a lamp on the floor causing it to shatter.

        Father: Timmy, you were climbing on the furniture like you warned not to weren’t you?

        Timmy: No

        Father: Is that so. Would you mind explaining how the lamp came to be broken?

        Timmy: You broke it!

        It usually ends somewhere around puberty. If your child is still doing it past his twenties it indicates some form of marxistic disorder is stunting his mental maturity.

  21. It all comes down to where you fit in on a scale from ‘make all decisions yourself’ (freedom) to ‘make no decisions yourself’ (slavery).

  22. I do appreciate what Stossel is doing, but his stuff is sort of like “Libertarianism for Dummies”.

    He should be publishing it in USA Today or some other place that non-libertarians will read it.

    Either that or move on past 101 material.

    1. My opinion: He should keep doing what he’s doing, he’s good at it, and the people who for some reason can’t figure it out on their own need ‘101 An Introduction to Libertarianism.’

      Take a look at the videos of his show over on YouTube, check the comments and ratings. A lot of people who never got it are getting it. Especially young people, the toughest audience.

      You aren’t who I worry about Hazel, you know what’s going on, it’s all those who don’t have a clue that give me concern. They’ve been conditioned in Pavlovian fashion from a young age to respond to certain words and suggestions with hate and hostility, it’s not easy to reach these people. John Stossel has a gift for it.

      Assets should be employed where they are most effective, Stossel should continue doing what he’s doing.

      1. freeing one mind at a time

      2. I wish he wasn’t Fox business, but on the actual Fox News Channel like O’Reilly and Hannity.

  23. It appears that when government sets out to solve a problem, not only does it violate our freedom, it also accomplishes the opposite of what it set out to do.

    Why the surprise Mr Stossel?
    Consequences of legislation and government programs are not proof that they don’t work, they are proof that we just need more legislation and more programs.
    It’s like when the doctor prescribes you a drug that has side effects. Then you get another drug for the side effects which has side effects that need another drug, and so on and so on until you are taking a handful of pills every morning, noon and night.
    The people who make the pills see this as a good thing, as do the people who write laws and administer government programs.

  24. I just want to take a second to make some observations. First, why do libertarians and conservatives all make the assumption that the poor are lazy or don’t work hard? That assumption is based on stereotypes and is not true. The fact is the poor are poor because as this article stated, “The second-most important way?maybe it’s the first?is family. There are lots of income transfers within families.” That statement is true but it makes it hard for an individual to move through the social classes. America is one of the worst countries for social mobility-moving from one Socioeconomic class to another.

    Someone who is poor, who has a poor education, poor living environment, and no real support system (in a lot of cases) is not going to have the same opportunities as someone who is from the middle class and up. The government has done things to move individuals-usually single mothers w/kids-off of welfare, which is what welfare reform was. It helped people get a job and so on. But, you still have those who can’t get a job for whatever reason.

    “The number of people who will suffer is likely to be very small. Private charity … will provide support for the vast majority who would be poor in the absence of some kind of support….”

    1. It cut me off. This is the end of my comment.

      “The number of people who will suffer is likely to be very small. Private charity … will provide support for the vast majority who would be poor in the absence of some kind of support….”

    2. Question: Have you ever been poor?
      How do you know what kinds of support networks or opportunites the poor have?

      Perhaps that is your middle-class priviledged bias coming through. You assume that poorer people have fewer opportunities to advance themselves, without ever having been in that position or observing what opportunities are actually available first hand.

      It’s an elitist viewpoint which takes the position that poor people are incapable of helping themselves and need special assistance from the government to do so. And not only that, but it is a viewpoint which reinforces the negative internal assessments that many impoverished people have of themselves, which are part of the syndrome of poverty.

      1. Hazel, I grew up in what was the poorest county in my very-economically-depressed home state, and my family still resides there. I know plenty of poor people…and when I say poor, I mean “Didn’t have running water until a few years ago” poor. Some of these people worker harder before 10am than most people work all day.

        Yes, Hazel, they do need help. They don’t have the knowledge, power, money, or connections to escape the trap they are in, or help their children out of it. You can pretend otherwise, but it is the simple truth.

        1. Interesting Chad, who grew up in one of the poorest areas of an economically depressed state is now a PhD candidate who aced every class he ever took.

          1. 1: I didn’t say MY family was poor. They are middle-class, which back home, means we are rich. My father and several of my aunts and uncles have college degrees. My family generally consists of good people, stable marriages, and good relations.

            2: I was lucky enough to be born with good health and an IQ more than three standard deviations above the norm.

            This is precisely what I mean by luck.

            Btw, I didn’t say that I aced all my classes: just all three econ classes, all six of my 300+ level math classes, including stats and graduate level quantum mechanics. There were more, but those are the fun ones I like to mention. I was a slacker my first two years, though, and didn’t ace as many as I should have. It took me a couple years to figure out how to ace college classes without working hard, basically.

            1. I’d retake that IQ test, if I were you.

              1. Why bother? My SATs, GREs, etc all confirmed it.

                I’d rather spend my time playing with you.

                1. Id retake the Econ class. Aced all of mine too. Its telling that you have to brag about it on a reason thread, not the first time I’ve heard you mention it.

              2. “I was lucky enough to be born with good health and an IQ more than three standard deviations above the norm.”

                You never tire of tooting your own horn, do you Chad? I have never read anyone in these Reason threads who is more of an elitist than you.

                1. Which is strange given his comments on happiness above…

                  1. He also mentioned his difficult in resisting the allure of a donut even after he’s just eaten, in another thread.

                    I think he’s got a raging inferiority complex about something.

                    1. I think your right.

                      But how is expressing that on a Libertarian site going to help? As if any of us will be impressed, especially if you mention it every other thread.

            2. IQ… SAT… PHD… All awesome indicators of usefulness.

              1. Yeah. With all that talent, you’d think he would have something better to do than taunt libertarians at the Reason Comments pages.

                It’s pretty pathetic.

            3. If junior colleges are so suck for getting decent degrees and jobs as Chav says, then why are all the big university academians bitching about junior colleges getting higher accreditation statuses and gaining popularity? They feeling threatened by losing market share and authority to inferior educational institutions?

              1. Damn junior colleges offering a superior product for a lower price! The poor don’t need an education. Why encourage them or teach them to take care of themselves and be independent, happy, self actualizing citizens when we can just get government to steal from others and give it to them? Damn you free market! Damn you to hell!

            4. “…I was lucky enough to be born with … an IQ more than three standard deviations above the norm….”

              A good mind wasted, it would seem.

        2. That’s funny, because I know several folks from that exact same situation who got out of it. You know who helped them? No one. They did it themselves.

          It’s amazing what someone can do when they decide they want better and don’t expect someone to come riding up on a white horse to make it happen.

          1. Of course some people get out of it. But the odds are very slim, and almost always require a good bit of luck and a hell of a lot of talent or gusto to escape.

            1. Actually, it didn’t take any luck, and as I said, it was several folks, not just one or two. They enlisted in the military, or took junior college classes at night while flipping burgers during the day. They did what it took to get ahead. Was it easy for them? Hell no. But they achieved it. Are they rich? Depends on the definition, but I wouldn’t say so. They’re definitely in the middle class though, and pushing towards the upper.

              “Luck” is often cited for instances when the real reason is “determination”. If you keep reaching for better, “luck” will take care of itself.

              1. They “got out” through a jc? Out to where? A $12/h job at the local mechanics?

                Few get out, and few get very far if they do. Almost none get as far as they would have if they had been born in a wealthy or professional family.

                Life is an equal mixture of luck and skill. There is no reason to respect the outcome of a lottery.

                1. You learn to be a mechanical at a vocational school around here. Junior colleges are for two year college degrees. They got their grades up for scholarships and such. And upper 5 figure incomes are well above $12 per hour. Is that all you think someone can make on their own?

                  As for respecting the outcome of a lottery, that’s fine. But you’re showing a lack of respect for hard work.

                  1. Few people with jc degrees are making high five figures. Most jc jobs are more consistent with 25-40k.

                    Yes, a few lucky and/or skilled people escape. Most don’t. Why can’t you just admit it?

                    1. Because, as he pointed out, he’s seen lots of people escale, not though luck, but through skill and persistence and a willingness to make a few short-term sacrifices.

                      Why should anyone “admit” anything that just isn’t true?

                2. “They “got out” through a jc?”

                  Once again the elitist, Chad. Why in heavens name are you slumming around here with the great unwashed of libertarianism? Need the self provided strokes?

                3. Life is an equal mixture of luck and skill. There is no reason to respect the outcome of a lottery.

                  There’s no reason to disrespect one either – except dog-in-the-manger jealousy and envy.

        3. My family both sides came here with nothing. When I was born we were still in poverty. Chad, you need to explain to me how you became so pathetic calling yourself “poor” and no one in my large family has including me.

          You don’t know “poor” not even close. You were here and have had the same chances to pull yourself up as anyone else. Because you were here IN THIS COUNTRY you were damn lucky.

          Unhappy? Quit looking for the cause everywhere but where it is YOU.

          Quit copping out, humble yourself, and get over your fixation on materialism and you might see things a little clearer.

          1. I spent my first three years living in a trailer…and we were pretty well off for people living where I grew up.

            You are right, though. We are rich compared to billions of people around the world. It must be their own damned fault.

            1. There’s a difference between saying it’s their fault, and not believing that making them wards of the state is going to change anything.

      2. I have been poor and knew people most of you would consider poor. I didn’t drop out of high school like so many (inner city) kids do today. I graduated, joined the Marines and worked hard to rise thru the ranks. I got out in 4 years as a Staff Sargent.

        I went to school on the GI Bill, while working full time as an office machine repairman, married with a child. I eventually worked for a large multi-national company as a computer tech, then as a first level and finally second level manager. I am retired now with a substantial financial portfolio, drive a Mercedes roadster and own a fairly nice sailboat.

        How did all that happen? My parents, although fairly poor by many people’s standards, believed in working hard and instilled the concept of self reliance in me. The Marine Corp reinforced that concept.

        Also, my parents eventualy rose above their poor circumstances to become fairly well off themselves. They would have been ashamed to ask for a handout.

        Today we have an entire class of people that EXPECT a handout. They will never rise above their situation, except for a very few lucky individuals that want more out of life.

  25. Tony: I could ask you how come we haven’t seen any broadly-shared prosperity from the conservative/libertarian tax and service cutting regimes that have been in place for 30 years?

    Try looking at the statistics — the country is much wealthier now than it was 30 years ago, for every quintile of the populace, despite the best efforts of statists to stifle the somewhat free market that produced this prosperity.

  26. Here is my full comment it keep cutting me off.

    I just want to take a second to make some observations. First, why do libertarians and conservatives all make the assumption that the poor are lazy or don’t work hard? That assumption is based on stereotypes and is not true. The fact is the poor are poor because as this article stated, “The second-most important way?maybe it’s the first?is family. There are lots of income transfers within families.” That statement is true but it makes it hard for an individual to move through the social classes. America is one of the worst countries for social mobility-moving from one Socioeconomic class to another.

    Someone who is poor, who has a poor education, poor living environment, and no real support system (in a lot of cases) is not going to have the same opportunities as someone who is from the middle class and up. The government has done things to move individuals-usually single mothers w/kids-off of welfare, which is what welfare reform was. It helped people get a job and so on. But, you still have those who can’t get a job for whatever reason.

    “The number of people who will suffer is likely to be very small. Private charity … will provide support for the vast majority who would be poor in the absence of some kind of support….” If this was the case we would have no poverty in the US but 17% of our population lives in poverty. Don’t you think government intervention and charity both working towards helping the poor would alleviate this problem? Imagine if we didn’t have government programs for the poor-we would have higher poverty levels, spend more on health care since they would simply go to the ER and the bill will get passed onto tax payers, and so on.

    Libertarians seem to have this cowboy fantasy where ever one is self sufficient. Imagine if we didn’t have Social Security or Medicare for the old. With no income they would be laying out on the street. With no health insurance they would be going to the ER and passing the bill (even more than now) onto the tax payers.

    It is not about having no or smaller government. It is about having an efficient government that is not entrenched by corporate interest. Once you get the corporation out of the pockets of our government it will work better for the people.

    1. “America is one of the worst countries for social mobility-moving from one Socioeconomic class to another.”

      This is called a “just-so” argument and it’s dead wrong.

      1. It’s bullshit. I have one aunt that is a millionaire, and another that is dirt poor. My family tree spans the socioeconomic ladder from top to bottom.

        1. How many times harder does (or did) your rich aunt work than your pauper aunt? Hundreds? Thousands?

          1. No idea.
            Just pointing out the the socio-economic spectrum is not divided into special classes of rich people – who are all interrelated, and poor – who are all interrelated.

            The fact that one family tree contains both wealthy and poor is evidence right there that the kind of “class” structure that Europe had when Marx was around simply doesn’t exist in America.

            There is no heriditary nobility here.

            1. There is no heriditary nobility here.

              None except for government employees.

          2. It’s not really about working harder than everyone else. It’s about the decisions you make.

    2. “Someone who is poor… is not going to have the same opportunities as someone who is from the middle class and up. ”

      My Fiancee’s Family came here from Sudan with nothing, now she makes more than I do. Try again.

      1. Anecdotes aren’t evidence, which a lot of people on this thread should learn. We’re talking about macroeconomic realities.

        1. Actually, it’s an anecdotal response to an anecdotal statement “someone who…”

          Hopefully someday the “people on this thread” will achieve the level of positivism and evidence building of the great Tony.

          1. +9

        2. Yes – realities which support our case in virtually every measurement imaginable.

          STFU Tony.

        3. There is an immigrant Vietnamese family down at the end of my street who could buy and sell my family several time over. He has an auto glass company and I believe the wife has a nail salon or 2.

          The world is replete with rags-to-riches stories. Either you want to do better in life or you don’t. No one is holding you back except, you know, that guy in the mirror.

          1. So… do we live in an oppressive welfare state that prevents individual success or do we live in a capitalist paradise?

            Maybe rags-to-riches stories are possible because nobody is in rags to begin with. They’re not struggling to survive so they can work on prospering. That’s all I want.

            1. We live in the former with some aspects of free markets left, about 40%ish. Even 30% free market West Germany demolished 0.1% East Germany. The wealth disparity is still obvious. If you want to talk about income inequality, that is a good example. Free markets vs. social democracies.

              Rags-to-riches stories are almost unheard of in social democracies, well, save gov’t bureaucrats.

            2. You’re missing the point, as always, Tony. These things work on a gradient. We absolutely live in an oppressive welfare state at the moment, but that is only more and more recently the case – and it’s still not as bad as other places. The problem is you look at it like a light-switch, and that just isn’t how it works.

              We live in a once mostly-capitalist country (note that unlike you, I don’t subscribe to utopian idiocy and thus don’t believe in a unified concept of “paradise”) which produced an immense amount of wealth for citizens of all social strata. Did you never stop to ask why people from all over the world came here in droves? Are you now asking why immigrants are going back home?

              At any rate, the point is that freedom in the United States produced the prosperity you patently take for granted. And you’re replacing what created ever increasing standards of living with it’s opposite. So while we haven’t been destroyed by your brand of stupidity *yet*, we are well on our way.

              Unfortunately, you tend to be just a wee bit too stupid to understand what’s going on here and my guess is you will continue to push for policies which harm everyone in the long run until it’s absolutely too late.

              1. You’re just woefully ignorant of history Sean. Read a book.

                1. Ya Sean, try reading real historians like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. God.

                2. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHahahahahahaHAHAHAHa….

                  OMG… Ohh… Lord. Thanks for that, Tony.

                  You made my night, man. Thanks 🙂

                3. I wonder who writes Tony’s comments? I don’t think he is smart enough to write them himself.

                  Uh… I’m not refering to content, but the actual act of typing words in a half way coherent sentence.

    3. “Don’t you think government intervention and charity both working towards helping the poor would alleviate this problem?”

      Hmmm, let’s see. Oh look at that, we have all this welfare, but, as you say, 17% of our population lives in poverty. The current situation proves you liberals wrong, not us.

      “Imagine if we didn’t have Social Security or Medicare for the old. With no income they would be laying out on the street.”

      Yeah I can’t imagine what life would be like without SS and Medicare. It’s good those horrible dark ages of American history were lost in the annals of time…

      “With no health insurance they would be going to the ER and passing the bill (even more than now) onto the tax payers.”

      Reality check: We the Taxpayers are already paying for them under your system.

      Good luck with all that, retard.

      1. Yeah I can’t imagine what life would be like without SS and Medicare. It’s good those horrible dark ages of American history were lost in the annals of time…

        Heh! Thanks for bringing that up. One of my favorite rhetorical tactics is implying that a certain time or place was horrible because of the lack of favorite-govt-program-of-the-target, and then when the target enthusiastically agrees, pointing out a counterexample, like “1964” or “London” or whatever, and asking them how hellish they think that was. It’s like rope-a-dope for nanny-statists.

    4. There is nothing in your statement that is true. It’s all emotional fantasy; you want so desperately to believe it that it must be true, facts aside.

    5. “Libertarians seem to have this cowboy fantasy where ever one is self sufficient. Imagine if we didn’t have Social Security or Medicare for the old. With no income they would be laying out on the street.”

      I’m pretty sure thats the fantasy. Glad you think people are really that evil and government force is the only thing that can make us altruistic, or save us.

    6. America is one of the worst countries for social mobility-moving from one Socioeconomic class to another.

      Absolutely untrue. Thomas Sowell pointed out that in the 1980’s, IIRC, fully one fifth of those who started the decade in the bottom fifth of income earners actually ended the decade among the top fifth of income earners.

      The idea that the poor can not make it in America is a shit-bag socialist lie.

      Sam Walton, the first or second richest American, at the time of his death, borrowed $500 to start Wal-Mart.

      True, the government does all that it can to suppress socioeconomic mobility through onerous taxation and extensive welfare benefits, but it is still very possible.

    7. why do libertarians and conservatives all make the assumption that the poor are lazy or don’t work hard?

      I don’t, therefore not “all” do. Your theory has been falsified.

      May I suggest starting over from scratch, this time without the generalizations and the prejudice that’s preventing clarity.

      If you are going to tell people what they think and what their views are you are implying you are those people in addition to yourself, and there isn’t much point in asking yourself questions since you already have the answers, now is there.

    8. “Imagine if we didn’t have Social Security or Medicare for the old. With no income they would be laying out on the street.”

      Right – before Social Security and Medicare life in America was like a holocaust for old people. Uncaring children just let their broke parents starve to death out on the streets. No children ever knew who their grandparents and great-grandparents for almost 200+ years, and in every era before that. Thank God these eternally solvent programs will be here forever so my own great-grandchildren can know who I am 70 years from now.

  27. Please cite one society in human history that taxed itself to prosperity. In any case, the Tonys of the world have always existed. They cannot understand how the greediest country on Earth gives more charity than any other. They can’t understand how Americans give more charity than their own government. It’s like my German social democrat acquaintance admitted, if taxes didn’t exist, he wouldn’t give to charity. This is telling, because he is assuming everyone else is like himself, which makes sense. It is why progressives are the most stingy, uncharitable people the Earth has seen. They won’t donate their own money to a cause. They need a subsidy, a tax, a distributive system.

    Tony can only attribute wealth to government programs, because that is all he understands. Of course, he has to ignore the facts: Soviet Union, stagnant European social democracies, etc. All are proof that his programs will fail. That is comfortable to know unless you are paying an arm and a leg for them and can never rise up.

    Why are the poor remaining poor? Could it be because of monetary policy? Could booms and busts come from easy money that the FED creates out of thin air to fund the massive social state? Even when Reagan was president, spending went up. Even progressives criticize him for this. How can progressives criticize him for growing gov’t and limiting it at the same time? That doesn’t even make sense. It is typical duplicitous thinking and mental diarrhea. Booms and busts don’t come from private markets, they are private markets’ response to easy money FED policies and massive gov’t redistributive programs. You see, the British figured out a long time ago that you can’t raise taxes on people directly, so the FED and national banks are a good way of raising taxes without anyone noticing by printing more dollars. That is the irony of progressivism. It needs mythical banking mechanisms to fund itself. Wonder why the dollar keeps falling? Wonder why the Euro is losing value constantly? We are so used to rising prices that we cannot comprehend eras with falling prices. And idiotic progressives believe falling prices are a bad thing because they have the economic sense of a sheep. BAAA!!!! Gimme, gimme, gimme more of other people’s money.

    Reagan was no libertarian. He was CONSERVATIVE. Get that through your dense progressive, muddled excuse for a head. Conservatives and liberals are both progressives. Sure, we’ll never know what pure libertarianism is, but how can we with sheep like Tony, Chad, etc. voting for hope (that the bureaucrats plan it right this time) and change (a few spare pieces of change left over for the groveling masses).

    1. Cite one nation? Denmark is prosperous by any definition.

      Boy, that wasn’t hard at all. Please try again.

      1. You might want to reread that statement:

        Please cite one society in human history that taxed itself to prosperity.

        Your analysis is a tad lacking.

        1. His reading comprehension skills are almost equal his reasoning abilities.

        2. Denmark is prosperous, and has high taxes. Indeed, this is the case for many European nations. What more analysis do you need?

          The correlation between tax rates and GDP is very very weak.

          1. Today I woke up on the left side of the bed and it rained. What more analysis do you need?

          2. Hmm, my friend is Danish, and he hates the oppressive regime, because it is causing stagnation, much like ours and any other social democracy. He even wants to move to America, because it’s so bad. But I’m sure he’s just an exception to the utopia. Plus, all of the Nordic countries are stagnating. Taxes gradually drag the economy down as the free market disappears, which is how Sweden got rich in the first place, Germany, too. It wasn’t until the social state kicked in that these countries slipped into stagnation. Der Wirtschaftswunder ist vorbei.

            Norway would be a better example for you, Chad, but it depends highly on gas wealth, which I know you hate.

      2. Dude, I can cite one nation too!!

        Uzbekistan

        See? I rock at naming random countries too, Chad!

        Wait… What was the point of that again?

    2. “Conservatives and liberals are both progressives.”

      Like usual, I beg to defer. Neither are “progressives” by the economic definition. Conservatives tend to be corporatist sycophants and liberals are as regressive as it can get, as all their emotionalist policies are self-defeating and not based in real world economics. Neither party supports a meritocratic system. Libertarianism is the most progressive political movement, because only in a libertarian society would the poor be able to start a business with nothing more than a chair and a pair of scissors, or a truck and some homemade sandwiches. Only in a libertarian society would governments and their corporate backers never have the power to blight entire communities and seize the hard-earned property of the poor. Only in a libertarian society would the poor be free from artificial government-created price inflation resulting from debt that makes it harder to purchase the things they need in their daily lives. Only in a libertarian society would small businesses not be forced to pay for the subsidies to their larger, more politically connected competitors via taxes. Only in a libertarian society would there not be a government so condescending to believe children need bureaucrats for parents, the poor need bureaucrats to save them from their poverty and the elderly need bureaucrats to save them from starvation. Only in a libertarian society would poor minorities not be disproportionately harassed and jailed for the exact same recreational decisions that wealthy suburban whites almost always get away with.

      Politicians are as elitist as it gets, and they use poor people as props to get reelected – they don’t give a shit about the actual outcomes of their policies. If you think politicians ever have the interests of the voiceless at heart and government programs are the route to prosperity (at least for the poor), you obviously aren’t paying attention.

      1. Of course, but I was accepting their definition tongue in cheek.

  28. Premise: large economic inequality inevitably leads to large amounts of corruption. When wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, they can own government and make it work in their favor (socialism for the rich), and similarly manipulate the market.

    Any system with great wealth disparity will be an oligarchy. I don’t see how you can prevent it, especially when you also want government to be less of a watchdog for corruption.

    The question thus becomes, do lower taxes and fewer social services lead to corruption-fueling wealth disparity? I think the answer is obvious.

    Libertarianism is the platitudinous justification for large income inequality and thus oligarchy. You’ve done a heckuva job providing the plutocrats–Republicans–with the philosophical backbone to their policies, which have done exactly what I’ve said: moved us more toward Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality and consequent corruption.

    The idea that you’re poor or rich because you deserve it–a moral argument, thus arbitrary–is not only nonsense but beside the point. We know how corrupt a society becomes when 5% own 90% of the weatlh. We’re living it. That is a situation to be avoided regardless of whether you think someone deserves everything they get their grubby hands on, and those without deserve to starve in the streets for the crime of being poor.

    1. This is typical progressive thinking. You recognize that gov’t is part of the problem, but your only solution is more of it. There is a way to keep market manipulations from happening, eliminate the manipulation mechanism, aka gov’t. If there is no one to stamp out competition, then competition would properly destroy the corporations you detest so much. Competition is the worst form of punishment for them, not more gov’t.

      Wealth inequality has always existed. It is the state of nature. The ironic thing about your position is you have progressive programs all over the place, and yet, the income inequality continues. How is this possible? It’s called the FED and central banking, the backbone of the liberal progressive and conservative progressive (your red-headed stepbrother) spending sprees and big brother gov’t. Why do you detest spy programs on US citizens and wars abroad but are completely okay with intrusions in private economic matters? Reverse that and you have a conservative Republican. These are all “services” of the same market-manipulating, massive state organism you have created. That poor people still exist despite the massive wealth confiscation and redistribution system shows your system is a massive lie. You are a corporatist hack, defending massive corporations and a massive state, and you’re so dumb, you can’t even see it. Who’s the real conservative? Isn’t it ironic that you are defending the state against attacks from people much more liberal than yourself?

      The irony is that you can’t destroy wealth inequality without creating more of it and destroying nature itself.

      1. Crime in being poor? There is no crime in that. The only crime is defending a system of social democratic wealth distribution that keeps people poor and makes everyone poorer. We want everyone to be richer.

        1. And all evidence suggests that everyone gets richer, i.e., the broad prosperity I described above, with a strong middle class and less wealth extremes. That doesn’t happen by magic, and the unregulated market leads in the opposite direction.

          1. No it doesn’t. The middle classes did not grow up in a regulated market.

            Look at Mexico. It was more economically stratified before deregulation. The middle class grew up because of free trade and liberalizaton of the economy.

            Historically, the elites HATED the middle classes, because they were people who got rich through dirty dirty trade, instead of inheriting their wealth. Where do you think the term “new money” comes from?

          2. Actually… Wrong again, dumbass!

            (I’m sorry everyone, I just really like calling Tony names in addition to pointing out why he’s so stupid. It’s gratifying in some way.)

            It’s the ever-increasing regulation that allows politically connected citizens to manipulate the system in ways that produce more economic stratification.

            I swear I’ve tried to explain this to you a billion times already, Tony, but absent government intervention, markets push towards what economists call “equilibrium”.

            This means that supply & demand are always driving towards each other, which means that prices are always coming down until demand for a certain product has been met by producers. What prevents this from happening – and thus makes life harder for poor & middle class folks are artificial restrictions on supply, barriers to entry for competitors and various controls on prices & wages. Add to this various corporatist joys like subsidies and punitive tariffs and you have a situation where increasing regulation almost always leads to a class of politically favored businesses who grow bigger and fatter at the tax-payer’s expense, and rich people who get all the access to newly printed money while poorer, less connected individuals and businesses are left to fight over scraps.

            So yeah… You’re very, very, VERY confused. But then, you’ve said exactly 0 correct things about economics since I first read one of your idiotic posts ages ago.

        2. Tony does not understand that if a politician were truly concerned about the plight of “the working man” he or she would not support the imposition of income taxes upon the wages of “the working man” including payroll and social security taxes.

          Tony just does not understand that the working stiff who grosses $50,000.00 per annum but takes home $35,000.00 can ill afford the “benefits” of the warfare/welfare state.

          Tony and his ilk would rather that “the working man” for whom they profess such deep concern be dependent on the state than be independent and self-suffcient.

          1. Working stiffs making 50k do not pay 15k in taxes, or even close.

            1. Working stiffs making 50k do not pay 15k in taxes, or even close.

              Actually they pay a hell of a lot more than that when one takes into account employment taxes like FICA and Medicare, then state and local income and sales taxes. After that there are all the various “hidden” taxes that are passed on to the consumer in the prices of goods and services one buys – where do you think companies get the money to pay corporate taxes, licensing and permit fees, etc.?

              For someone who is supposed to be so bright and well-educated you seem to be utterly ignorant about taxes. Have you ever even had to do your own income tax return? Ever filled out a Form 1040 – the long form – as a self-employed or sole proprietor? I’d bet not.

          2. The idea they have concern for “the working man” is a complete crock. For most of the work I do the feds take a dollar from me for every dollar I give the employee. They rob me, a working man, and my employees who are a lot more deserving of that dollar than anyone else. The only thing they’ve managed to do is cause me to restructure the whole way I do things. There won’t be employees now, I’m going to be working by myself and intentionally bringing in no more than I need to get by. I’m not going through all the crap and extra risk just to have it taken by those who already threw every obstacle they can in my way. Where’s my incentive? There isn’t any, it was risky enough as it was, it’s not worth all the extra headache and do it for nothing.

      2. I didn’t say anything about government except that libertarians want to hobble it while giving all the wealth to a select group.

        How is a weak government supposed to deal with the inevitable corruption that comes from that much concentrated wealth?

        How are monopolies supposed to be averted without government intervention?

        I know, I know, government creates monopolies, and a government corrupted by wealthy influence just means we should have less government to corrupt, or something like that. Blahblahblah. Makes no sense whatsoever but that seems to be OK with you.

        Of course wealth inequality will always exist. That’s okay with me. It’s just the extreme inequality that we have today and that we had in the gilded age that bother me, because it literally means less democracy. Wealth IS power, and power corrupts. Extreme inequality leads inexorably to extreme corruption. It has to be prevented, however you do it.

        Your post is mind-numbingly confused. Where our social welfare state is robust, things are okay. But it leaves out the rapidly disappearing middle class. Adding more misery to theirs by taking away social services for the poor and elderly doesn’t solve anything.

        1. “How is a weak government supposed to deal with the inevitable corruption that comes from that much concentrated wealth?”

          I’ll take a corrupted weak government over a corrupted strong government any day.

        2. So, wealth concentration in the hands of a few is a bad thing, right? Yet, your system concentrates wealth in even less hands, either to a gov’t elite (Soviet Union) or to a gov’t/corporations mix (US/EU). History shows that you cannot trust either to do whatever you believe is right. I know, this time it will work. Just trust us.

          What you don’t get is that your social programs are the very thing that make poor people poor (FED, central banking, inflation, booms and busts, taxes, permanent unemployment, regulatory schemes to kill competition). They have no chance against your system.

          Monopolies cannot be sustained without gov’t intervention. Second, you cannot prove that monopolies are even a bad thing. They either lower prices for consumers or drive out inefficient competition. If they raise prices, then they invite competition back in, UNLESS they have a legal monopoly granted by your precious state. Last, you can’t even define a monopoly.

          You still run into the same problem: how does creating an even bigger monopoly (gov’t) make any logical sense when you are against monopolies?

          These confused ideas you have result from a protectionist-minded society. You favor producers at the expense of consumers. This is all gov’t regulation does. (Think about your positions on free trade, foreign investment here, unionization, all of which harm the consumer at the expense of the producer). Somehow, though, you believe you are protecting consumers. This is a logical pretzel.

          By the way, visit Russia or China. I have. See your utopia at work, or at least the shattered ruins thereof.

          1. Monopolies cannot be sustained without gov’t intervention.

            You SERIOUSLY believe this? Seriously?

            Have fun arguing with the Austrians against the textbook and common sense.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_monopoly

            I just love how libertarians automatically assume that any failure in a market MUST be the fault of some government somewhere somehow. It is a totally un-testable hypothesis, yet you believe it with a fervor hardly matched by the most whacky Jesus-freak.

            le sigh

            1. Let me help you understand this Chad.

              There are natural monopolies – that doesn’t make all monopolies inherently bad or inherently what *most* people conceive of as “monopolies”.

              The town I grew up in had but one grocery store. 100% of the local market was controlled by only one business… ZOMG!!! MONOPOLY!

              Guess what though. They maintained that position by offering people what they wanted, in general, at prices they were willing to pay.

              There was no government stopping anyone from opening a competing store – there just weren’t prices or profit margins (thus informing possible competitors of higher demand) to justify it. And everyone was fine with the situation.

              NOW… Alternatively, by the time I left college, there was only 1 movie theatre company downtown in a town 20 miles over from that first one I described.

              That theatre was overpriced, and there was consistent demand for 2nd run and art-house movies. However… Those competitors had been kicked out of the business by the monopoly company convincing city planners to restrict theater building in that area in a way that favored only their multiplex at the expense of anyone else.

              That is a BAD monopoly, and it’s the type that everyone fears.

              The problem with you Chad, is that you’re not only incapable of understanding the difference between the two concepts, your understanding of economics and the Austrian school in particular is so fucking poor, you are happy to create strawmen instead of real arguments.

              Thanks for playing.

              1. The town I grew up in had but one grocery store. 100% of the local market was controlled by only one business… ZOMG!!! MONOPOLY!

                And based on this information, I can assume that you overpaid, and the store-owner was over-compensated. This transfer of wealth from him to you had precisely ZERO to do with anyone “earning” anything. It was, in fact, much closer to robbery.

                I certainly do not support the government in any attempt to maintain or create monopolies. However, I am merely asserting that it is patently obvious that monopolies arise in the absence of government.

                1. The town has 3000 people in it, dumbass.

                  And thanks for missing the point. The prices were a little higher than the major chain grocery stores (cause… you know… mom & pop, situation), but not by more than 5-10% on average and easily within the realm of what people were willing to pay.

                  I already asserted that monopolies arise in the absence of government – so your red herring is a waste of my time. What I’m pointing out is that without government help, all “natural” monopolies can be challenged and destroyed relatively easily by competitors – which would have happened in the grocery store example had the store owner been unreasonably over-charging or ignoring his customers. Fact is, it’s a small town and the market could only bear one store. So what, Chad?

                  It doesn’t have any bearing on what people are actually talking about – which is government created monopolies that have captive customers (not unlike the insurance industry is about to have) who are restricted by law and forced into using their products.

                  In the “natural” monopoly situation, supply & demand and all the market forces of profits & losses are still in play – thus information about people’s values is still available. In the case of the government created monopoly, all that information is destroyed.

                  This is what gets us rolling blackouts and the “customer service” of public utilities, and/or, the ever-increasing prices of the industries with a heavy government hand in them.

                  1. Sean, the fact that your rural store charged a higher price due to its small size and rural location has nothing to do with anything we are discussing. These premiums are completely fair and market-based. However, if the store was a monopoly, it would charge an additional premium beyond this. This is a market failure. Is it really hard for you to admit it?

                    Not all natural monopolies are easily assailable – Microsoft handily proves that contention. Another good example is distributors. Even when not protected by legal monopolies, they are protected by natural ones. It just doesn’t make economic sense for a competitor to attempt to steal one of these markets, as he cannot undercut the incumbent’s price unless he can quickly capture the entire market. Starting small won’t work, as the economies of scale are tremendous (btw, I used to work for a distributor and understand the business pretty well).

                    1. “However, if the store was a monopoly, it would charge an additional premium beyond this. This is a market failure. Is it really hard for you to admit it?”

                      The store IS a monopoly! There’s only one of its kind in its serviceable market. Natural monopolies are just as subject to consumer demand as any other business – Sure they charge higher prices than they would with additional competition, but the prices they are charging are still subject to market forces. Consumers who are unhappy will find alternatives, or create them if none exists, and THAT, Chad… Is the whole point!

                      In a market absent government intervention, people are free to explore *or create* alternatives, and that by itself keeps most of the natural-type monopolies entirely in check just from the start.

                      You reference Microsoft, but they aren’t a monopoly. They have a high level of market share, sure – but so does Linux, Unix, Mac OS, and even a few smaller options out there if you so choose. Economies of scale can, have been and always will be overcome if the alternative is a bad product at a price people are unwilling to pay.

                      There is almost never a case where – again, in the absence of government force backing up a company’s position – companies can obtain, much less hold on to a monopoly position unless they are actively meeting consumer demands at prices that average consumers deem to be “fair”.

                      Also, perhaps now is the time to point out that what you call “fair” is completely irrelevant. It’s what the consumers of actual products find to be a good trade that matters… And no, there’s no “market failure” in that.

                      How many times do we have to cover the fact that outcomes you don’t happen to like and “market failure” aren’t the same thing?

            2. Natural monopolies are bullshit. Even in the case of large centralized utilities like telephone companies, competition exists in decentralized products such as cellular phones, satellite services, and microwave transmission. There might have been more incentive for these products sooner, if the “natural monopolies” hadn’t been subsidized and regulated to keep prices artificially low, and keep consumers captive. Maybe solar energy collection would have been more common in response to the natural monopoly electric companies, had their market share not been enforced by massive government interference.

              1. By their very nature, any monopoly created through subsidies and special government provisions aren’t “natural” in the sense that we might mean with respect to economics.

                But you are right – and that’s sort of my point. Monopolies are intrinsically very unstable one way or another, and they tend to require drastic action by the state to be maintained for any amount of time, unless there just isn’t much demand or customer dissatisfaction with the products offered.

                And of course, if there isn’t any dissatisfaction with the product or the price, then I struggle to see how the monopoly is a bad thing… Especially when the very instant it does something “harmful”, like over-charge in the eyes of their consumers, a competitor is free to challenge.

            3. Notice key word “sustain,” thus implying the possibility of existence. My point is that you can’t even define a monopoly or show why it’s a bad thing. You can’t show how Johnny Cochran is not a monopoly. Your definition of a monopoly is just a company that is too big for Chad’s liking. Natural monopolies have no logical basis in rational thought.

              Just an exercise. Give me 5 reasons monopolies are bad for consumers and producers.

          2. So, wealth concentration in the hands of a few is a bad thing, right?

            Yes. It leads to rule by the few rather than democracy.

            You still run into the same problem: how does creating an even bigger monopoly (gov’t) make any logical sense when you are against monopolies?

            Some monopolies are good and necessary. But as they are monopolies and thus not subject to competition, they need to be accountable to the people, and that happens via government. A monopoly on the legitimate use of force is a good thing. Government not having that is what we call a failed state. Governments can also have monopolies on certain services, because the market won’t provide them universally. Again, it has to be highly accountable. Monopolies are bad in the marketplace because they drive away all competition (by definition) and thus there is no incentive to innovate or improve, there is no mechanism by which the market supposedly does all the magical things attributed to it.

            Interesting that you bring up Russia. See, I’m no communist, so neither the USSR nor China are anything like my utopia. But Russia suffered greatly post-communism because its new economy was built by free-market absolutists like Jeffrey Sachs. GDP declined 50% in 5 years. Essentially what happened was the elites grabbed all the assets and left the country with no infrastructure or effective law enforcement or regulation. Postcommunist Russia was a libertarian paradise, which is to say it was miserable. And just as has happened in many other places where free marketeers imposed their grand ideas, it has started tilting back toward totalitarianism.

            1. Postcommunist Russia was a libertarian paradise, which is to say it was miserable.

              Fail. Postcommunist Russia was textbook crony capitalism.

              1. Not even that.
                As many have pointed out, markets rely on contract enforcement and private property rights. In post-Communist Russia, most land and business was still held in state hands (and still is), and there was pretty much no mechanism for enforcing contracts or property rights. The court system simply wasn’t set up for it.

                I’d argue that Russia’s problem was that it never really privatized in the first place.

              2. There is no difference. Why can’t you see that?

              3. Exactly. How does a weak government better prevent cronyism and corruption than a strong one (i.e., one with the power to prevent cronyism and corruption!)

                1. Tony:

                  A weak government doesn’t prevent cronyism and corruption better. Freedom and competition protect it better. Government getting out of the way makes thing work better.

                2. How does a weak government better prevent cronyism and corruption than a strong one

                  How about “Power corrupts”?
                  Seriously. If you give the cops lots of stupid laws to enforce, the cops will start demanding bribes to look the other way. If you give regulators lots of stupid laws to enforce, why do you think that would be different.

                  The more bullshit reasons there are for petty bureaucrats to interfere in people’s business, the more corrupt those bureaucrats will become.

                  It’s absurd to expect that a “strong” government with lots of regulatiosn would be anything *other* than corrupt.

                3. Any weak government still contains the Judiciary, which has the power to enforce contracts and as such can combat corruption.

            2. Fail, FAIL, FAIL Tony!

              God…. Damn. Fail.

            3. The economy of post-communist Russia was ruled by former Soviet apparatchiks who believed that their whims still controlled reality. There was no State to cover their necks after the fall and reality kicked them in the teeth.

              1. Look. There are good things and bad things. Totalitarian assholes are bad things. Universal access to healthcare is a good thing. You guys think government is always bad all the time. I just think government should be on the side of the good, since I know it’s gonna exist anyway.

                You can’t shrug off the influence of free market ideology in Russia. Nobody failed to implement it. This is what you get with it. Elites stealing all the loot and mafiosi being the main enforcement agency.

                1. Sorry buddy, you don’t get to point to an institution where property rights aren’t enforced and say that’s a free market, since enforcement of property rights is a defining feature of a free market.

                  1. Massive fail on Soviet and Post-Soviet Russian history. The former communists took all of the resources, though the Constitution itself barely changed. 12 m were still allotted to everyone. This was a classic textbook example of crony capitalism or corporatism. Of course, such chaos happens when the bureaucrats openly steal the country’s resources. That is exactly what Soviet Russia did.

                2. Shorter Tony:

                  Looting is inevitiable. So at least I should get some of it.

                3. Fuck me… You’re still on about Russia Tony?

                  I’ve BEEN to Russia. There is nothing “free market” about it! You see, maybe you’ve missed this in the 5,000,000 times I’ve explained this to you buddy, but free markets actually requires private property. That means that basic property rights are respected, and thus theft isn’t tolerated – which is the opposite of true in Russia.

                  Additionally, people need to be free to do with their property what they want – rather than having to go through 10 miles of red tape to accomplish anything – always at the discretion of some corrupt public official… Also, you know… Not the case in Russia.

                  The influence of (not “free”) market ideology saved Russia from utter ruin, and they all basically realize that – just as the Chinese do. There is no pretense that it’s anything but state capitalism, run by people who really have no clue how markets work and who really don’t care too much about private property anyway.

                  What you’re talking about is just further evidence of your lack of understanding of something that we’ve all spent untold hours trying to hammer through your leaden skull.

                  1. I lived there two years and speak Russian fluently. No matter what you say, Chad won’t believe it, because he read it in some leftist skewed view of it. Nevermind that Bill Clinton introduced shock therapy. If he had lived there, he would know it is anything but free markets. It was the absence of free markets that destroyed and corrupted that country, which is rich in resources and human capital, not the other way around. You are right that no one pretends it is really a free market economy. In Russian, if someone says no, you ask how much. The whole society is one big black market forced underground by corrupt bureaucrats who profit off of official legislation through unofficial payment.

                  2. Tony and Chad seem to be excessively ‘thick’ today…

            4. The only monopoly that is not subject to competition is the government. All other monopolies are subject to private market forces. Even socialist economists admit that. The only objection you and Chad have is how big a company is. The law is so absurd and typical of leftist rationale:

              1) if you charge too much, you are a monopoly. (monopoly price)

              2) if you charge too little, you are a monopoly. (cutthroat capitalism)

              3) if you charge the same as other companies, you are a monopoly. (collusion)

              With this kind of incredibly dumb logic, how can anyone even know what you mean? It leaves too much discretion to legislators to destroy their cronies’ competition. I don’t know how you can’t understand such a simple concept but fail to see the problems with your own logic.

              1. Walter Block made a sad but kind of amusing joke about that very thing… Point being, when the law can be used to chop down any business – no matter what their behavior, it’s no longer a legal principle that is legitimate and is merely a pretense to give the ruling class discretionary authority to do whatever the hell they want. As you said, leaves legislators in a position where they can simply destroy competition if their buddies want them to.

        3. “It’s just the extreme inequality that we have today and that we had in the gilded age that bother me, because it literally means less democracy.”

          What inequality? There are a few rich people out there. They have little impact on my desire to earn what I need to live comfortably. Much, much less influence than the statists telling me what to do with my life and property. Democracy- right there is the real inequality.

          “Where our social welfare state is robust, things are okay. But it leaves out the rapidly disappearing middle class.”

          Yeah, things are just fucking great under the welfare state. If the middle class is disappearing [citation needed by the way], it is because they have been sucked up by entitlement schemes. Either by directly taking advantage of it (things like government issue easy credit, great idea that was), or involuntarily by having their livelihoods and income fucked by it.

        4. “I didn’t say anything about government except that libertarians want to hobble it …”

          I’ll just stop you right there and say that I agree with you. Sorta. I’d prefer government be eliminated. But why quibble when we’re so close?

      3. Libertarianism is not the philosophical backbone of Republicans. They talk a good game on free market economics, but most have no clue what they are saying or how to best implement free market reforms. Neo-conservatives are just progressives in red clothing. I find it quite funny, and ironical when I hear left-progressives people trying to bash neo-con policies and compare them to Libertarianism. Again, you have no clue what Libertarianism is or how competition improves everybody life. Your superstitions about wealth concentration are just that, superstitions.

        1. Don’t be so modest. Libertarianism has enjoyed fabulous success. True, it’s been bastardized for the purposes of a corrupt few, but then again nobody would ever have heard of libertarianism in the first place of those same corrupt few hadn’t needed a philosophy to justify their looting.

          1. It’s official. Tony is a brain dead, flatlining fascist/corporatist apologist.

          2. Possibly.

            But maybe the way people heard about Libertarianism that you suggest is the reason that REAL Libertarian policy hasn’t been realized. Libertarianism may be mildly popular within the populace, but it does not have any real influence on government, thats for sure.

            1. You will never admit to “real” libertarian ideas being implemented because you never want to have to admit they’re bad when they inevitably fail. Libertarianism especially on these boards thrives on its own victimhood.

              But the reality is libertarian free market fundamentalist principles have been implemented all over the world and in this country. Pretty much always with disastrous outcomes. A rational person would look at the evidence and reject the false ideas. But you guys just maintain that it’s not really real libertarianism, after all there’s some government program to blame.

              1. Bullshit Tony, and you know it.

                You guys have fought hard to make sure that the socialist policies of the early 20th century were never really rolled back anywhere.

                If libertarian policies were actually tried, we certainly wouldn’t have social security and medicare.

                You’re just swallowing your own propaganda. Naomi Klein’s malicious smear campaign on hbehalf of her Marxist cause.

              2. This would explain why any country with a relatively free market vastly outperforms countries with strong central governments. Hell, even Euros are envious of our economy, and it’s not even close to being free market anymore. We didn’t get rich off of a strong central gov’t.

  29. But it means you’re not taking from people who’ve worked hard to earn their income (in order) to give it to people who have not worked hard

    Maybe. Or maybe not. As often as not, you are taking from those who are lucky and giving to those who weren’t. And the more progressive your system, the more this is the case, as the ultra-rich are almost universally hard-working AND lucky, and the ultra-poor both lazy AND unlucky.

    It’s always odd to see how libertarians simply assume that what you “earn” comes largely from “working hard”, when five minutes of looking at reality leads one to realize that the correlation is very, very loose.

    1. What difference does it make whether one is lucky or one works hard? It isn’t a “sin” to be lucky – why do you want to penalize those who are?

    2. “As often as not, you are taking from those who are lucky and giving to those who weren’t….It’s always odd to see how libertarians simply assume that what you “earn” comes largely from “working hard”, when five minutes of looking at reality leads one to realize that the correlation is very, very loose.”

      But it’s never surprising (to me, anyway) how Marxists attribute the other guy’s wealth to “luck” and his own self-hating loserdom to the free-market boogerman.

  30. We know how corrupt a society becomes when 5% own 90% of the weatlh. We’re living it.

    Well then, maybe liberals shouldn’t have been the running dogs for big business for the last century, including a recent 3/4 trillion dollar bailout of Wall Street.

    1. Maybe dems could stop enriching the military industrial complex now…Lockheed Martin has never had it this good, BP, Shell, Goldman Sachs…ditto. Tony is so brainwashed by the left-right WWF act that he really thinks “his side” is fighting against the CEO’s of these companies. I wish you could meet some of these people…they are 0 for all the big government programs that Tony likes…you are a useful idiot for the people you think you hate Tony.

  31. It’s always odd to see how libertarians simply assume that what you “earn” comes largely from “working hard”, when five minutes of looking at reality leads one to realize that the correlation is very, very loose.

    This is called “projection”. Since Chad realizes that he is massively over-paid and has never “earned” a penny of his pay he assumes it of everyone. Such an ass-hat.

    1. If you base your position that people shouldn’t be taxed on the moral premise that they earned their money, then do you also favor 100% taxation for all inherited wealth? That wasn’t earned. Or do you also tack on an Old Testament hereditary scheme to your moral system?

      Pesky thing, morals. They tend to be arbitrary.

      1. If somebody gave it to them voluntarily, then they earned it.

      2. Are you saying that you’re immoral?

        1. No I have morals, and I acknowledge their arbitrariness. It’s not etched in any stone that societies should provide collective security and protections. But maximizing life liberty and the pursuit of happiness isn’t the worst moral system anyone’s come up with to justify government.

          1. I guess that it all depends on what REALLY maximizes Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

          2. And yet, Tony, you seem perfectly content imposing those arbitrary morals on everyone else – rather than recognizing that everyone should have the right to decide for themselves what their values are and pursue their own goals free from meddlesome authoritarians like you, always helping yourself to the contents of other people’s pocketbooks while demanding that they do what you want – often “for their own good”.

            1. If I’m an authoritarian than you are more of one. You want to impose YOUR preferred state on everyone else, and your preferred state is much less popular than mine.

              People have the right to govern themselves however they see fit.

              1. Waaaa! Everyone wants a pony! Meanie!

              2. Have I mentioned that you’re an idiot Tony?

                The essence of my position is that every individual has the right to do with their lives what they want – as long as it doesn’t involve stealing or violating the rights of others to do the same. I’m sorry that theft is so popular. It doesn’t make me “more of an authoritarian” than you to point it out though.

                Again, try learning what words & ideas are all about before posting idiocy.

                1. every individual has the right to do with their lives what they want – as long as it doesn’t involve stealing or violating the rights of others to do the same.

                  I agree with this 100%. I just don’t count democracy as equivalent to violating the rights of others.

                  1. “Democracy” doesn’t = “violating the rights of others” inherently… No one but you said it did.

                    But that doesn’t have any bearing on the discussion anyway… Because it’s just as easy to violate the rights of others within a democracy as it is in any other political system. In some ways, it’s even easier than some governmental systems – consider that in a Monarchy, the King actually has to be prudent with the state’s wealth because he will be passing it on to his children and of course, they’re often risking beheading a la Louie XV if they don’t.

                    (PS: Not advocating monarchy… just saying it’s not a clear breakdown.)

                    This is a massive fail on your part though, Tony.

                    You think “Democracy” legitimizes tyranny, and somehow have interpreted this to mean that if something is done via a democratic process, it by definition can’t be a violation of liberty – and that is patently not true. This bit of stupidity underlies a LOT of your ideas on this kind of stuff, and it comes up repeatedly in your posts around here.

                    It’s also self-evidently wrong, as once upon a time in the United States (and virtually everywhere else), you could easily have found a majority of people, even a supermajority for that matter, who believed slavery is ok.

                    By your logic, slavery was morally right and “not a violation of liberty” in the pre-19th Century because most people thought so, and it’s only because a democratic majority believes it’s not ok today that you view it as morally wrong.

                    But slavery wasn’t ok then, and it’s not ok now – and that has no relevance to how many people believe in or agree with that statement.

                    THAT is what you always seem to fail to grasp dude… Democracy has absolutely no causal link to whether or not people are free. Yet you cling to it as if it is a shield that protects you from misdeed, even though it’s been used to justify immense atrocities all over the world backed by “the will of the people”.

                    You’re just a useful fool who can’t see it for what it is.

  32. I believe we already have one of the largest sectors of private charity in the world. We still have crazy poverty.

    If you don’t set the bar at some reasonable point you’ll drop to the floor. This is true of the economy and of the environment.

    Two examples.

    Before environmental regulations Lake Erie was on fire and dioxins and mercury were building up in America’s largest collection of fresh water: the Great Lakes. Things are better now but we’re still fighting to get the water clean again.

    Before the New Deal we had people living in shanty towns and plenty of workers willing to work for peanuts and starve. Now we still have the shanty towns but people in the US largely aren’t going hungry because of food stamps and the like.

    If you don’t set the low point at some reasonable level, we’ll fall below it. That would be a moral failing for the country with the largest nominal GDP.

    1. Institutionalizing people in poverty guarantees those people stay in poverty and more will be joining them. It’s like a big ‘welfare-roach motel’ they check in, but they don’t check out. Transforming a large segment of the population into a envious jealous hate-filled sub-species comprised of individuals incapable of survival on their own certainly seems a steep price to pay just so ego maniacal politicians who fancy themselves rulers and royalty can get their jollies.

    2. Activities that carry environmental impact that affects the quality of life of others is called an externality, and is one of the two legitimate types of market failures. That’s why we regulate it (though admittedly we do a heavy-handed job).

    3. Btw… I totally let this slip by earlier – but the United States doesn’t have anything anyone could remotely describe as “crazy poverty”. Some 99% of our citizens live in houses and own TVs.

      Huge numbers of people barely have homes, no electricity, no running water, no food… That just isn’t the case on anything approaching a wide scale in the United States. So… Really… I’m not sure what you’re talking about. You’re basically just regurgitating the classic “race to the bottom” concept Marxists like to yap about all the time, and it’s simply not true.

  33. “I didn’t say anything about government except that libertarians want to hobble it while giving all the wealth to a select group.”

    Tony, you are so full of shit is isn’t even funny. You never address anyone’s arguments when respond to you in an effort to have constructive dialogue. You’re obviously nothing more than a troll who gets pleasure out of turning people into straw men and watching
    us squirm as we are forced to defend ourselves from things we don’t believe. Until you are willing to act like an adult, I shan’t be giving you the pleasure of my attention anymore.

    1. Incidentally… I’ve come to the conclusion that Tony isn’t deliberately a troll… He’s just retarded. I feel kinda sorry for him, but mostly I think he sometimes serves a moderately valuable purpose as an intellectual whipping boy.

    2. That’s nothing like everyone assuming I’m a communist or that I want bureaucrats controlling every aspect of everyone’s lives. There’s plenty of straw to go around. But the comment you quoted wasn’t a straw man. The inevitable consequence of your economic beliefs is that wealth gets heavily concentrated in the hands of elites. And do you deny you want to loosen regulation of the economy?

      1. the elites with the most political control use promises of socialism and “everybody will be more equal” to fool the public into giving them more control so they can keep out competition…what you have is the elite using the lower class to help control the competition they fear from the middle or upper middle class…understand how that works Tony? that is why all the dumb people are tryign to find out where the free obamacare is ….when all obama did was hand over the keys to the 8 biggest insurance companies and the biggest pharmaceautical companies. Monopolies are enforced by the government…this is what the dems and repubs are talking about when they says ?public/private cooperation…it means the government and the politically powerful gang up to fuck the middle/upper middle/lower middle…the poor get to be domesticated animals in return for playing along.

  34. The simple-mindedness of the agrarian worldview so prevalent 200 years or so ago. Our world is too interdependent and complex for this type of philosophy.

  35. Wait, 500 years ago there were no rich countries? On what planet?

  36. I’ve come to have a great deal of respect for the true “liberalism” that Libertarian thought brings to the table. I wish it were that easy to just let “Laisser Faire” rule society. But, history has shown that Libertarian regimes/societies rapidly decompose into Anarchy and often Feudalism emerges with the rich and powerful protecting their interests with the rest of us stuck trying to scrape by. To me this is no better than the false utopia promised by Communism. Which history has also shown to decomposes into Totalitarianism. Of course, I’d love to be a Communist dictator or Feudal lord. I’m sure it is just a good as being a captain of Capitalism. It’s the rest of humanity, the majority of you average-wage middle-class suckers that only deserve the 1% of the wealth to share amongst yourselves. I’ll keep my well-inherited 99% of wealth. Maybe your offspring won’t be losers like you and work their way up. But, I will be damned before I let that happen. Due to my wealth, I can bring to bear more resources against your efforts in a single minute than any of you piss-ants will be able to muster in an entire life time. After all, it is only fair that the weak perish while the strong survive. And thrive!

  37. Better rebuttal to the “But people will starve!” claim is that, since human beings realize that no-one starves in a just society, voluntary philanthropy will support those unable to provide for themselves and will do a better job than government – charities can teach people how to work; government is faceless.

  38. Stossel falls right into the classic trap when he pits Libertarians against the needy recipients of government aid. That is a stupid, fallacious, and self-sabotaging juxtaposition. The Right-wing Republicans have a hammer-lock on jeremiads against welfare queens, and Libertarians won’t make any headway trying to cut into their market share.

    A few simple points for him and other Libertarians who want to be taken seriously on poverty questions:

    1) A reasonable Libertarian government would not totally abolish aid to the needy any more than it would totally abolish the police, or the army, or the highway department, or the courts. Public assistance has been a core government function for centuries, even millenia. It is long-recognized as a practical necessity for a moral public peace and order, and no reasonable Libertarian would suggest that the police power over property rights should be exercised so as to maintain deprivation of basic necessities against an “underclass” cohort of the citizenry in order to enforce some radical-utopian vision of self-sufficiency.

    2) Just as the military would continue to exist, but for defense of the nation, not for elective global imperial wars; just as the police would continue to exist, but only to stop murders and thefts and the like, not for “wars” on drugs and vice; so with public assistance under Libertarian government — but it would be a means-tested, work-centered program for the truly needy, not a vast spiderweb of transfer payments to artificially support affluent middle-class lifestyles for politically-connected constituencies like corn farmers, trade unionists, and elderly pensioners.

    3) An efficient program of aid to the truly needy would be a very minor outlay compared to the bloated network of middle-class entitlements that currently makes up the large bulk of the American welfare state, and it could easily be accomodated within a Libertarian-sized government.

    1. Second.

      The “the needy do it to themselves” crap to often peddled around by self-proclaimed Libertarians is why Libertarianism is perceived by most as the political expression of selfishness and nothing more.

      1. So I’m selfish because I want to keep what I earn and am willing to let others do the same (for good or ill consequence to all of us), but YOU’RE the humanist/philosopher king because you want the government to steal my money to fund your sacred cows?
        I’ve got a better idea: Convert all your assets into rolls of 20s, then walk around your downtown area handing them out to poor people.
        You’ll be mitigating your Marxist angst and there might be fewer people devoting their energies to gaming the government for more of my money.

  39. What is wrong with letting the poor starve?

  40. I think that a lot of what is said in the article is empirically false. When is the last time that you went door to door to make sure that the children living on your street were adequately fed and sent to school? Surely you do not seriously rely on government to perform such a function, because you do not believe government ever does a competent job.

  41. It’s the rest of humanity, the majority of you average-wage middle-class suckers that only deserve the 1% of the wealth to share amongst yourselves. I’ll keep my well-inherited 99% of wealth.

  42. Beer and wine kisumu 2 possess a small amount of methyl alcohol, also known as fuel line antifreeze along with cook oven fuel. It is just a harmless quantity in ale and wine beverage but when distilled atmbt sapatu the wrong temp a dangerous amount of methyl alchol can be done.

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