Economics

More Government Means Less Trust

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Writing at Forbes, University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein explains how bigger government undermines the public's trust in government:

Behind the current disquiet lies an implicit marginal calculation that makes good economic sense. Much of the modern rhetoric, especially from the tone-deaf Obama White House, takes this form: "We did well with the previous increases in taxation and regulation, so why worry about the next round?" The answer is that too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. Yet like a bad genie, once released from the bottle, big government is difficult to stuff back in….

And so we can see the connection in the end. As big government gets still bigger, the confidence ordinary people have in its institutions grows weaker. That weakness reflects itself not only in a political resentment to the political parties in power. It also manifests itself in their gradual withdrawal from the market, manifested by a greater unwillingness to consume or to invest. With this skeptical mood, each expansionist move of the Obama administration is like feeding sugar to a diabetic.

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  1. But if we keep eating sugar, we’ll never crash!

  2. If you were to ask me what most influenced me to become a libertarian, I would answer “the government”. Not Mises, not Rothbard, not Rockwell; just the never-ending spectacle of violence and futility.

    Watching a politician trying to solve a problem is like watching a monkey trying to fuck a football.

    1. Entertaining?

      1. If he said “like trying to watch a group of monkeys fuck a doorknob” you’d have a better argument.

    2. 8 sessions working at the state legislature crushed any notions I had that government was competent or necessary.

      Turned me into a near anarch-capitalist.

      1. You know, maybe that should be part of public schooling. Spend one semester taking a “class” in which you watch some lawmaking body in action. How many libertarians would that create?

        1. You would need to have a libertarian providing the commentary and context about what the hell is really going on, otherwise the innocents might believe the version of events being pushed by the politicians.

          1. 501c3? Anyone?

      2. I just made this. Where do you fit in the spectrum?

        Clearly on the “pessimist” side.

        http://www.mycin-discoveries.com/libertarianism.png

  3. “The answer is that too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.”

    Love this phrase. Yes some government is needed. It’s helpful to have good roads, and a strong military. It’s also nice if companies can’t dump waste into the community water supply.

    BUT…

    We’ve gotten past the some government, and are at too much government. It’s time to slim down and simplify.

    1. Yes some government is needed. It’s helpful to have good roads, and a strong military.

      Because no non-government-built roads have ever existed. Because no one has ever hired a private security service to protect against foreigners.

      Got any other examples of things that absolutely require a government to get done?

      1. It’s not a question of is it impossible to get these things done without a government, the question is if the government is the best way to do it.

        I mean really, we don’t need a government to do anything. We could use a system of mob rule and vigilante justice to right any wrongs etc.

        But, government is usually the best way to accomplish some things (usually the types of things that are considered to be a public good like national defense).

        So yes, maybe we could all higher our own private defense forces, but I think it makes more sense to levy taxes and just have one. Similarly I like a national highway system etc.

        1. Similarly some liberals like government-run health care, and if they could, government-run grocery stores (some already got the liquor store part)

          1. Christ almighty! I live in PA, where we are now undergoing the radically dangerous social experiment of selling beer in grocery stores. I hate these fucking idiots.

          2. Let them write a constitutional amendment and get 3/4 consent, then. Roads and a military are part of our social contract (to reclaim a shitty liberal term)

            1. umm, I’m pretty sure providing for the common defense (ie a military) is already in the consitutuion.

              Roads are certainly less so, although I believe one of the orginal reasons they made highways etc was to transport troops in case of an attack.

              Anyway, I’m ok with letting states fund the highways.

              1. Post roads, dude. It’s in there.

              2. K: (I’m agreeing with you)

                1. Ok, cool.

          3. “Similarly some liberals like government-run health care, and if they could, government-run grocery stores (some already got the liquor store part)”

            Which just goes to prove my ORGINAL point.

            Some government is ok/necessary/good. Defense etc. Other government goes to far. Government run liqour stores.

            So what I’m saying is it’s not black and white, we have to use common sense to determine when it’s to far.

        2. I mean really, we don’t need a government to do anything. We could use a system of mob rule and vigilante justice to right any wrongs etc.

          I thought you were going to propose an alternative to government in there somewhere.

      2. Interesting that you choose “private security service” rather than the usual term “mercenaries”. Mercenaries have a bit of a bad reputation, and deservedly so.

        And I’m still not seeing how the interstate highway system gets built without the government being the prime mover.

        1. And I’m still not seeing how the interstate highway system gets built without the government being the prime mover.

          In bits and pieces.

          1. Most bits and pieces of an interstate highway aren’t profitable to build. You need to build large sections to make a profitable toll road, and good luck doing that without eminent domain.

        2. We’d probably have our flying cars by now if the interstate highway system wasn’t there.

            1. You may have a reservation for a $200k flying car (delivered no earlier than 2011), but I was referring to a larger set of people.

              Think of it this way, if there wasn’t an already existing way of going long distances for upper and middle class folk, there would have been a lot more attention over the last 60 years to produce a flying car compared to the hobbyists that tried to do so in their spare time. As it happened, there was no incentive for the wealthy (but not super wealthy) to have independent aircraft since they could drive where ever they wanted. So there would have been no transition from the super expensive private planes to a more affordable model.

              Same thing with wired telephones. We’d almost certainly have much better cellular phones by now if the gov’t hadn’t favored wired phones. Cellular telephones are more popular in developing countries because it is easier to set up.

              1. Do you have any idea how much more energy it would require to operate a flying vehicle compared to a ground vehicle?

                There’s a reason why most animals heavier than an insect never bothered evolving flight. It’s damned expensive.

                I’ll take a little government expansion over running out of oil 20 years ago, thank you.

                1. I’ll take a little government expansion rather than letting the terrorists win.

                  I’ll take a little government expansion rather than letting the economy crash.

                  I’ll take a little government expansion rather than letting those poor people go without healthcare.

        3. I was thinking something more along the lines of “security guards” or “a well-regulated militia”. Mercenaries have a bit of a bad reputation in large part from governments hiring them. Though mercenaries do not have as bad a reputation as, say, the Wehrmacht, Stalin’s armies, Pol Pot’s forces, etc.

          1. no one has ever hired a private security service to protect against foreigners.

            I don’t think you were talking about security guards here. And militias routinely got their asses whooped by professional armies — see 1812, War of. aka, the reason we have a standing army after the Founders learnt their lesson.

            But it’s good to see you’ve read the anarcho-free-enterpriser argumentation manual:

            1. Anything that ever went wrong with privatized law enforcement/defense in history is the fault of the nearest government.

            2. Every government is the same thing as the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and the People’s Republic of China.

            3. go to step 1.

            1. I’m going to repost this… Perhaps it would help our discussion if we classified ourselves first.

              http://www.mycin-discoveries.com/libertarianism.png

            2. (1) I can’t think of a way to do something without stealing

              (2) Neither can you

              (3) Therefore stealing is actually OK.

              1. The problem is that that “something” is what makes our way of life possible.

                If you want to live in a society that is free from government coercion, I hear Somalia has a very lax immigration policy.

        4. And I’m still not seeing how the interstate highway system gets built without the government being the prime mover.

          Companies who like to sell things to people far away need something to put their trucks on, don’t they?

          1. They probably would use railroads more. Heck, if trucks were charged user fees proportional to the amount of damage they do to the roads, that would probably be the case even with IHS existing.

            In any case, the barriers to building long-distance roads are far too high to make it practical for businesses to surmount them by themselves.

            1. “In any case, the barriers to building long-distance roads are far too high to make it practical for businesses to surmount them by themselves.”

              Then they can band together with other companies to build them. That’s wah electric utilities ar doing in order to build really long transmission lines:

              http://www.capx2020.com/

        5. It doesn’t. And I want the government to handle such things.

          It is nothing more than a conduit for economic activity.

          I’m not against the state leasing out roads to private companies. In fact in many ways that seems ideal. We don’t eternally pay taxes for upkeep (makes government smaller). The roads stay in much better shape and services like tow trucks or roadside service are part of the deal.

          I drive on private roads when I have the opportunity because they are always in immaculate shape (less wear on car systems likeshocks etc), fewer people travel them (fewer cussing episodes which is good for my health -and also leads to less wear and tear). Having all roads privatized messes up that balance.

          It cannot be said that roads don’t benefit everyone. Even if one never drives in a car on a road, they feel the benefits of roads everyday (unless they never buy/use anything they didn’t make from raw materials on their own land).

          1. “I drive on private roads when I have the opportunity because they are always in immaculate shape ”

            I’ve driven on plenty of private roads that are in horrible shape, sometimes even worse that CA state roads (hard as that is to believe).

  4. And population density decreases affinity. And “diversity” decreases sociability. And education decreases empathy.

    It’s like there’s an idea.

  5. Shorter Epstein:

    Familiarity breeds contempt.

    1. Or the more you do, the less you do well.

  6. http://www.wired.com/threatlev…..r-dollars/

    You to can be a professional copyright thug.

    1. That is an ineffectual-looking man.

      1. He looks like a pretty villain out of a bad 1980s teenager movie.

        1. His dad is going to bulldoze our youth center unless I beat him in this skateboarding tournament!

          1. That is perfect. You should work in Hollywood.

            1. White shirt, pink tie, black vest, khaki slacks? He’s all over the place! Seriously who wears khakis with a dark coat or vest?

              1. Who wears a vest? Have I missed it? Did those come back in style?

                1. Vests are awesome, I wear ’em all the time. I cannot say if they are “in style” but I know many more stylish than I who share my affinity.

                  1. You are a chick right? I have heard of the bow tie revolution and the seer sucker revolution. But never the vest revolution.

                  2. Wearing a vest without an undershirt like Jeff Beck on stage in the 70’s is the way to do it.

                2. Vests are perfectly respectable if the rest of the man’s suit is sufficiently squared away, but this is a terrible use of one.

                  1. You mean if you are wearing tails, a top hat and a monocle? That is pretty much, along with the secret decoder ring, the Libertarian uniform, right?

                    1. Don’t forget the sword cane, John.

                    2. Yeah. You do need something to knock the begging orphans out of your way.

              2. White shirt, pink tie, black vest, Cadillac,
                The boy’s a time bomb.

      2. In the comments there are a couple of people claiming to be attorneys from Vegas who say this guy is known as a and I quote “complete douschbag” among legal circles there. Somehow I find that believable.

  7. Britain’s new coalition government has launched a website asking people to nominate some of the “intrusive and unecessary” laws imposed on a luckless nation during the disastrous Blair-Brown years. Good idea. As the Daily Telegraph reports, Deputy PM Nick Clegg (ugly words to write) has asked people to concentrate on three areas:

    Laws that have eroded civil liberties.
    Regulations that stifle the way charities and businesses work.
    Laws that are not required and which are likely to see law-abiding citizens criminalised.

    Sounds good to me; here’s the site. But, as Raedwald reports, there’s a catch:

    The site has been flooded, overwhelmed and filled with folk wanting the smoking ban repealed; this single subject outdoes all others in terms of comments, numbers of votes and the like. But clearly this isn’t the result Cleggy wanted ? so the site’s administrators are doing everything they can to disguise the fact. They’ve hidden ‘smoking’ from the big topic sidebar but included ‘business regulations’ in there. They ‘hide’ posts so that no individual smoking post can attract top numbers, and the search engine is utterly farcical. There are dozens of posts complaining about this distorting admin . . . which have also been well hidden and difficult to find.

    As an example of how a risibly biased and corrupt ‘consultation’ can be manipulated as well by the current government as it was by the last, this web page has no equal.

    Nick Clegg explains the situation here:

    Of course there are other suggestions which aren’t going to be taken up by this government . . . the introduction of the death penalty or changing the smoking ban; but at least the debate is now really alive.

    It’s the “of course” that gets me. That, and the weird introduction of the death penalty into the discussion. Does Clegg think that voters are really that stupid? Oh, wait.

    BWAAAA. Fuck you Clegg.

    http://corner.nationalreview.c…..MzMGI0MGQ=

    1. Wow, a great idea for a website, to bad they don’t really mean it.

    2. John is absolutely right here.

      Chase tried to do a promotion on Facebook where they would give a huge check to whatever nonprofits got the most votes.

      But then a pot legalization group and an anti-abortion group got the most votes.

      So Chase decided to just remove those groups from the contest without saying anything. Because, well, people wouldn’t notice that and get pissed, or anything.

      Institutions really shouldn’t go around bullshitting about how they want to “empower participation” when they don’t really want to empower participation.

      Chase, and Clegg, had in their minds a picture of the feedback they anticipated getting. When they didn’t actually get that feedback, they just…threw the feedback away. That makes them douches. If you just want to make the decision yourself, make the decision yourself, and don’t pull my lariat about how you’re looking for feedback.

      1. It really is hell isn’t it? NOOOOOO.

        This is not the first time this has happened. Back in the 1990s Labor tried the same thing on a radio show on the BBC. The number one suggestion was giving people the right to own a gun and act in self defense of their homes.

      2. I like this story a lot.

      3. When they didn’t actually get that feedback, they just…threw the feedback away. That makes them douches. If you just want to make the decision yourself, make the decision yourself, and don’t pull my lariat about how you’re looking for feedback.

        It’s almost like you’ve never been married.

        “Honey, does this make my butt look big?”

        (muttered) “Ain’t nothing goin’ to make that butt look small.”

        “What?”

        “Oh, no. It looks great!”

        1. Actually, that is an excellent point.

          Nick Clegg is acting like a wife here.

          My wife will ask me where I want to eat, and will make me say the name of every restaurant in town until I get to the one she wants to eat at.

          Because just telling me where she wants to eat makes too much $(%^ing sense.

          1. That or a parent, see below.

            1. John, looks like you’re gonna get another “link in the thread turned into a post hat tip”, unless Reason staff is totally not paying attention here.

              You’re on fire, dude!

              1. And I havent even gotten a reply to my Spice Girls 2 link. 🙁

                1. *blank stare at robc*

                  1. Repeating from the genetics thread:

                    The spice must flow

                    1. *continued blank stare*

                    2. Which is the appropriate response.

          2. Exasperating communication is the price we have to pay for the p*ssy.

            1. Or silently invoking one’s Fifth Amendment rights to selectively not communicate.

              They need to incorporate a version of the Miranda Rights into the wedding vows for men:

              “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can backfire and result in an abrupt halt in your access to pussy until you apologize for being right by alleging she was right. You have the right to an attorney, and if you don’t keep your wits about you, you will need one of the divorce kinds. If you can’t afford an attorney, a damn good one, you will get screwed over. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you, and if so, why the hell aren’t you running far and fast from this chapel while you still can?”

            2. It’s the fucking you get for the fucking you get.

            3. Exasperating communication is the price we have to pay for the p*ssy.

              UR DOIN IT WRONG

          3. I think you have forgotten something, Fluffy.

            Other than that you are absolutely right.

          4. I solved that problem years ago. My default is Taco Bell. You make me choose, we’re going to Taco Bell. You don’t want to eat there, then choose. Nope? Fuck it, we’re going to Taco Bell.
            Of course, it helps if you like Taco Bell and are sort of an asshole.

          5. Wife: *slamming cupboards*

            Husband: Are you mad about something.

            Wife: Well if you don’t know…

            1. PTSD kicking in…

      4. It also shows how statist view people as children. This is the kind of thing you would pull with your kids. “Hey kids, where do you think we should go for vacation this year?” “Dad, I want to go to Somalia because we talked about it in school”. And of course you say no. As a parent you ask them a seemingly open ended question so they think they have a lot of choices when in reality they have two or three choices that you will tolerate. You get them to choose one of the ones that is already determined to be acceptable but still let them think they chose for themselves.

        The same thing is going on here. Clegg is not having a real conversation with people he considers equals. They are in his mind no different than children. They are allowed to make suggestions about how they should live their lives, but only within the realm of things he considers acceptable.

        1. “Dad, I want to go to Somalia because we talked about it in school Chad told me that it’s a libertarian paradise”

        2. I helped my girlfriend look after her five year old nephew earlier this week. The kid is smart, and a little different. He came up with two games for us to play. One that mixed Lego Star Wars with a music machine and strobe lights he called ‘R2D2 Dance Party.’ You put the lego figurines on the music machine and they popped around like brincadors. He had dance offs between the figurines. The first one to fall off the music machine lost. Where the would ceremoniously cry before the judges. Some were allowed to go forward in like a wild card play off.

          The next game involved pretending to be fighter pilots inside his model airplanes, and he called this game ‘TopGun.’ He said, ‘I’m Maverick. Do you want to be Goose.’ I told him, ‘No. Goose dies.’

          ‘You want to be Iceman then?’

          ‘Of course I want to be Iceman.’

          You probably caught on that his mum is single, Top Gun is her favorite movie, and they watch a lot of reality show contest together.

          1. Does your GF’s sister and child live in Florida… cause I’m pretty sure I’ve dated the mother that child.

            There’s a reason she’s single.

        3. To be fair, civil libertarians do the same things all the time. We agree that there should be democratic control of government, but then when people want to do something that restricts speech or the rights of the accused, we say no.

          1. We don’t treat them like children, though. We treat them like the savage, self-interested majoritarian jerk-offs that they, in fact, are. Our only problem with their decision, in short, is that they are taking away others’ decisions, not that we see their decision-making abilities as in and of themselves suspect and manipulable by us.

            In short: why democracy sucks, Vol. XXVI (buy them all for only $19.99!)

      5. Like NASA not naming the space station after Stephen Colbert even though he was hands-down the number 1 vote getter.

        1. Let’s be honest, though, naming a space station after Stephen Colbert is really fucking stupid.

    3. I want a rigorous debate. And then we do it my way.

    4. Remember that Obama web site, where he asked for suggestions for something or other, and the #1 suggestion was legalizing pot? Same thing as Clegg. “I value your opinion. As long as it’s the same as mine.”

      1. Why’d you have to remind me of that, now I hate him even more again.

  8. Who is he contrasting “ordinary people” with?

    Our masters in the Government-Media-Corporate nexus?

    Death-before-defeat ideologues?

    People who know better than the plebes?

    1. Special people. And little people. And leprechauns, who kind of fall into both categories.

  9. This is easy to explain:

    Pre-big-gov’t: “Look at all these problems! We need more gov’t to fix them! Yay gov’t, remedy to all our ills!”

    Post-big-gov’t: “Wow, all those problems are even worse now! Gov’t sucks!”

  10. What a bunch of nonsense. Maybe constant antigovernment screeching has something to do with it. What kind of people allegedly stop consuming and investing out of a general sense of poutiness? Not people who live paycheck to paycheck, that’s for sure.

    1. It is all screeching Tony. The government’s failure and lying have nothing to do with it. Tony if you cared about what you claim to care about you would hate Obama’s guts. Every time he does something like sell his stimulus as necessary to keep unemployment below 8% and then claims it is a success when unemployment rises to over 10%, he further destroys people’s faith in the government to do anything right.

      Amazingly Tony, people believe their lying eyes before they believes shills like you.

      1. John, I have no reason to believe that we weren’t on the cusp of a depression sans stimulus, and most economists, and even some Republican legislators (in private) acknowledge that it rescued the economy. So they were wrong on the jobless number. Yeah, they needed a bigger stimulus, and a lot of people are arguing that now. You, however, are just taking disingenuous potshots with the stupid implication that the economic conditions are somehow Obama’s fault.

        1. They were wrong on the jobless numbers because the stimulus didn’t do anyone who wasn’t a member of the SEIU any good. Again, you can claim it would have been worse had you not done it. But no one is going to believe you. Their own experience tells them otherwise.

          Obama has done more to discredit government in 18 months than Reason could do in 18 centuries.

          1. It quite obviously would have been worse. Something stopped the jobs from hemorrhaging. What was it, if not the stimulus?

            1. The jobs haven’t stopped hemorrhaging. Jobless claims hit a two year low and then jumped right back up again. Millions of people have lost their jobs and Obama has done nothing about it except steal for the SEIU, play golf, and have date nights with Michelle.

              Liberals will never again be able to claim they care about the poor or the less fortunate. That sound you hear is not just the oil leaking into the gulf, it is you and people like you’s moral capital leaking into the air.

              1. John, really FOX News rots the brain. It is bad for you. Turn it off. I know, I know, you’ve never heard of FOX News.

                1. I don’t write the labor statistics I just read them. I am sure Hoover said the whole thing was all Coolidge’s fault. But it didn’t do him any good. And blaming it on everyone else isn’t going to help Obama.

                  It is funny. You people thought 2008 was 1932 all over again. It turned out you were four years off. Enjoy life in the wilderness suckers.

            2. Something called markets, partially free.

            3. Something stopped the jobs from hemorrhaging. What was it, if not the stimulus?

              Something called markets, purportedly free.

              1. Oh really? Kindly explain how the markets stemmed the rate of job losses that was happening at the end of Bush’s term.

                1. How did all the economic contractions that occurred in the 19th century end, Tony?

                  1. They didn’t. There was no middle class before Roosevelt created it. Before the New Deal there was only the super rich and the exploited poor. It was for the most part one giant, miserable economic downturn.

                    I know liberals who think that. I am not kidding.

                  2. It’s more likely we’d be at 8% if we HADN’T had the government misallocate trillions more dollars.

                    That should have been obvious to anyone not named Keynes or Krugman, but for the slow-witted there’s also now a Harvard study that shows the same.

                    Additional gov’t spending at these levels just crowds out the private sector.

                    1. I mean really: just once, I’d like a leftist to tell me at what gov’t spending as a % of GDP between here and North Korea they think economic growth slows down and reverses. Did these people miss the 20th Century? Even if you’re too young for the Cold War, how could you miss Japan spending the whole 1990s trying to stimulate their way to growth and failing?

                      The proportion of the government spending associated with optimal growth has been calculated as being between 20 and 30%. We haven’t seen that level in decades.

                      http://www.usgovernmentspendin…..chart.html

                      Government does not create economic efficiencies. The more of the economy the gov’t dictates, the less growth you get.

                    2. You’re pulling numbers out of your ass just as much as Tony. It seems likely that a laissez faire approach would have led to a gigantic unemployment spike as the effects of the mortgage meltdown rippled through the economic system. As the Gin Blossoms put it, it’s a long way down when all the knots we’ve tied have come undone.

                      Of course, after that spike it’s likely the economy would have started growing again and unemployment would have crept down to normal levels (though that still wouldn’t have dealt with the country’s more fundamental fiscal problems, so there would still be another crash looming).

                    3. We have that spike anyway. Of course, if not for gov’t distortion of the housing market we wouldn’t have had the bubble in the first place.

                      I don’t tink “laizzez faire” descibes any reality in which goverment spending exceeds 30%. Anyways, I linked the number.

                      It’s really pretty simple — the private sector continually creates productivity improvements, government spending only does so up to certain point. Keynesian spending might have made sense in 1930, when gov’t spending was 10% of GDP. Today’s it’s a recipe for stagnation and eventual fiscal disaster.

            4. How convenient for Obama and douches like you that you can NEVER PROVE how many jobs would have been lost if there was no stimulus.

              He claimed X and Y actually happened. That is the only thing that can be proven. He was incorrect in his claims and as a result looks like an idiot (kind of like you).

        2. I have no reason to believe that we weren’t on the cusp of a depression sans stimulus

          So until we anti-governmenters prove that negative, you’re going to trust whatever the people in power say.

          1. I’m gonna trust what everyone was saying over dishonest libertarian hacks who typically have no problem rewriting even very recent history if it contradicts their cherished dogmas.

            1. “Everyone” does not mean what you think it does.

              1. If Republicans, Democrats, and pretty much every economist can agree on something, I’m gonna go with it.

                1. Tell me again, Tony, what is the unemployment rate?

                2. If Republicans, Democrats, and pretty much every economist can agree on something, I’m gonna go with it.

                  Except when you don’t.

        3. Keep polishing that decoder ring, buddy. Go Team Blue!

    2. Take care of THIS.

    3. I used to give government the benefit of the doubt . . . until I started working and paying taxes.

      1. I know OM… you think you deserve to have civilization for free. I’m just not as much of a looting freeloader as you.

        1. Because civilization didn’t exist before liberals came along and created a two trillion dollar government. Just because some government is necessary doesn’t mean all government no matter how large is necessary.

          Tony what you just did there is called sophistry.

          1. OM is a self-described anarchist. But I’m glad at least you agree that we’re both “statists” who merely disagree on which programs we should have.

            1. I think Tony is right. And the next thing I’d like the government to nationalize is the turning gays straight industry. It has an horifically poor success rate, so I have no doubt the government will be able to do a much better job of it.

              1. The bill would be named Greenbacks for Barebacks or Tony’s Law for short.

                1. Gobbler,

                  Your assignment for the day is to make a post that isn’t racist, homophobic, or otherwise boorish. I know you can do it.

                  1. Tony, your assignment for today is to take care of THIS!

                  2. Thanks for you faith in me. here it is, Tony. I would like you to justify this:

                    The House’s overall tab$2.6 million spent on food and beverages for reps and their staffers

                    Congress’ Food Tab: $604,000 for Bottled Water, $152 at Quiznos

                    http://www.aolnews.com/house-m…..g/19541719

                    1. $604,000 for Bottled Water?

                      That’s like 600,000 bottles or 1,380/congress critter.

                      WTF is wrong with tap water?

                    2. Gobbler,

                      I assume you’re approximately 385,000 times as outraged by the money wasted in Iraq as you are by the money spent on Congress eating sandwiches?

                    3. Yes, I am 385,000 times as outraged by the money wasted in Iraq. We had no business going in there.

                  3. I would just like to add that my post was not homophobic. But like all good little progressives, you always play the victim card first.

        2. Sure you are. Who do you think is going to pay for the government programs that we currently have?

        3. I know OM… you think you deserve to have civilization for free.

          Ollie! We missed you!

        4. Re: Tony,

          I know OM… you think you deserve to have civilization for free. I’m just not as much of a looting freeloader as you.

          The ultimate fallacy – thinking that civilization exists because government exists.

          By the way, you twisted the meaning of “looting”: It means taking something that does not belong to you, exactly like what the government does.

          1. Name a civilization that didn’t have a government.

            1. The Icelandic civilization didn’t have an organized government. It lasted several hundred years.

              1. The Icelandic Commonwealth lasted just over 300 years, not several hundred, and in the end it voluntarily submitted to the rule of the Norwegian king. It was not conquered by some eeeeeeevil state. That should tell you something, along with all the castles and fortresses that were built during that era.

                In any case, your fellow anarchists have a critique of Saga Iceland as an example of “successful” anarcho-free-enterprise.

              2. I don’t know if that qualifies either as a civilization or as ungoverned. But a society in which governing positions are sold and inherited as commodities sure sounds libertarian.

            2. Stop being so unrealistic everybody. What civilization has ever gotten rid of slavery for more than a few hundred years? It is just a natural part of the human condition, and you need to learn to accept it. The US and most of Western Europe surrendered voluntarily to our SEIU Over Lords. We were not conquered by some eeeeeeevil state..

              1. Wait, so I’m going to live 300 more years? Maybe Ron Bailey & the Transhumans are onto something!

      2. OM, I can’t read your posts without thinking of you as something like this. Tony just fucked with the wrong Mexican.

    4. What kind of people allegedly stop consuming and investing out of a general sense of poutiness? Not people who live paycheck to paycheck, that’s for sure.

      You’re right, they don’t.

      Good luck building your economic recovery on that basis.

      But people with actual capital and actual acumen might, just might, hesitate to invest it if they don’t know what new nonsense the state will spring on them tomorrow.

      And since you’re so big on just accepting the word of “economic authorities”, it is generally acknowledged by mainstream economists that one aspect of the New Deal that unambiguously harmed recovery that time was the sense of uncertainty created by the pace of change in government policy. I see no reason not to believe the same thing could happen now.

      1. Note that investing less because of uncertainty = pouting. Tony’s choice of words is instructive.

      2. Fluffy is exactly right.

        And don’t forget to the aggregate effect of small behaviors by millions of people. The person who chooses not to work a second job because of the marginal tax rates, the wife who chooses to stay home and keep house because of the high marginal tax rates imposed on her salary. Taxes and hours worked have a pretty solid inverse correlation. Those individual decisions when taken in the aggregate across the entire economy make a huge difference.

        1. the wife who chooses to stay home and keep house because of the high marginal tax rates imposed on her salary

          The word is “spouse”, not “wife”. But, yeah, having 2/3 of your marginal pay siphoned off in taxes before you even take into account expenses kinda hurts the motivation to get a paying job versus doing productive work around the house.

          1. “The word is “spouse”, not “wife”.”

            I don’t have a spouse. I have a wife. I hate gender neutral language.

            1. +1. Just as I have girlfriend. She is a girl, and we have sex which definitely makes her my friend.

              1. You guys are pigs. You should be more sensitive to gender neutrality issues.

                That’s why I only refer to the women in my life as “fuckbuddies”.

      3. I’m all in favor of government being as clear and transparent as possible about its goals for the purpose of easing any transitions that have to be made, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to be made for the long-term health of the economy.

        1. If that’s true, Tony, and you truly want transparent government… why the fuck did you vote Democrat in 2008?

    5. What a bunch of nonsense. Maybe constant antigovernment screeching has something to do with it.

      Translato-meter: *buss*click*

      If you’d just lay back and enjoy it, it would be much easier.

    6. What about constant PRO-government screeching, Tony?

      Hintity-hint hint.

  11. Hmm. What was it they called this back when I was taking econ? Law of Diminishing Returns, wasn’t it?

  12. Tulpa|7.23.10 @ 3:56PM|#

    They probably would use railroads more. Heck, if trucks were charged user fees proportional to the amount of damage they do to the roads, that would probably be the case even with IHS existing.

    In any case, the barriers to building long-distance roads are far too high to make it practical for businesses to surmount them by themselves.

    In terms of negotiation why would you as a libertarian be starting at that point? You meet Mr. Progressive across a table, and let him make that argument.

    As a Libertarian, if you start off with, ‘I don’t think we need government for anything.’

    Progressive come back with, ‘That’s crazy! Are you mad? We need government to have the legal authority to create right aways where they do not currently exist to create an interlocking system of roads, blah, blah, blah, blah.’

    At the end of the day, you can concede, and say, ‘fine. Have your damn paved roads from here to Argentina. See if I care.’

    However, if you concede at the start, he will just use that time to argue for high speed passenger rail instead of something more basic.

    1. At the end of the day, I still don’t concede, because I’ve driven on private roads. Beautifully maintained and landscaped private roads that put public roadways to shame.

      1. What incentive would ever exist in the natural market to connect those roads nation-wide in an efficient way?

        1. Re: Tony,

          What incentive would ever exist in the natural market to connect those roads nation-wide in an efficient way?

          We will never know now, would be? However, the market DID connect the country with railways, rail being much, much more efficient (and more environmentally sound) to move bulk cargo across land than trucks.

          But we had to get the Interstate highways. More razzle-dazzle than choo-choos.

          1. Railways required government intervention too. In the East they used eminent domain to get right of ways, and in the West they killed natives who weren’t happy about their land being used to expand white settlement.

            But it’s good to know that anarcho-free-enterprisers have the same answer to their opponents’ questions as Obamacare supporters did: pass it and then we’ll find out how it works.

            1. You keep forgetting about the Great Northern Pacific Railroad.

        2. The profit motive.

          1. The profit motive only incentivizes things that are profitable. Building roads hundreds of miles long — especially without eminent domain to expedite acquisition of the property the road is going to be on — is not going to be profitable.

            The private roads you guys are talking up are either (a) little culdesacs in gated communities, which are irrelevant, or (b) toll roads, which were BUILT BY GOVERNMENTS and then handed over to a private interest.

    2. In terms of negotiation why would you as a libertarian be starting at that point?

      Yeah, I’m not much of a businessman, so you make good points. When there’s actually a place at the bargaining table for libertarians, we should make sure to put you there.

      1. The individualist element would do us all in if any of us were at the bargaining table. I’m afraid I would give everything away for a life time supply of free Pringles.

  13. Would private roads have EVENTUALLY connected the country, maybe. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile for the citizens to get together and decide to do it earlier.

    Still Alan, I see your point, perhaps, I’m giving away too much of the argument at the start, lol.

    Then again, mainly I’m aruging with other libertarians here, so I mine as well go for the gusto.

    I think free highways are a right !

    1. This did just give me an idea. We likely are all imagining the highway system of yesteryear to be more primitive than it was in fact. I have a set of travel post cards from an ancestor from the years just before WWI. I could dig them up to get an idea of the travel times involved. The routes would include Maryland, Florida, New Orleans, parts of Texas and the Mississippi river states. Supposing for the sake of argument, he left Baltimore on a Thursday and arrived in Tampa Saturday. How much would the current system shave off of the average travel time? If it is anything less than fifty percent or a similar figure should we not consider that a systemic failure given the hundred year technological interval?

      1. I’ve personally driven from Washington to New Orleans in less than a day, so Baltimore to Tampa in four days wouldn’t be impressive in the least. Considering that little if any of the highways would have been limited-access back in those days, I seriously doubt the travel times would be comparable. Nowadays you only have to stop to get gas and pee, and the rest of the time you’re doing 70 MPH.

        1. Not if one is inclined to take more secondary routes which provide better visuals along with opportunities to stop and light up with some privacy.

          1. A drive through the Deep South in August is not one you want to extend. Plus, I have no interest in mind-altering drugs, as rage gets me off a lot quicker, cheaper, and entails far lower chances of unfortunate incidents with LEOs.

    2. Would private roads have EVENTUALLY connected the country, maybe. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile for the citizens to get together and decide to do it earlier.

      If nothing else, the government was justified in building a network of roads to facilitate transport of military cargo.

  14. LOL I love how the “progressives” shriek that without government we wouldn’t have all these fine roads!

    Then, a few minutes later on another thread they shriek “it’s so awful that everybody in our country insists on driving cars instead of taking trains!”

    Then, a few minutes later on another thread they shriek “why the fuck isn’t everybody supporting the UAW by going out and buying a car?”

    1. Roads are just an example of something government does better than the unfettered marketplace. In retrospect, we shouldn’t have made so much of the country reliant on cars (but that’s due in large part to the fact that the car and petro industries were/are so powerful).

      1. Better how? I don’t see how we’ve been better served by the government’s habit of building roads willy-nilly based on which state has the most powerful senator on the transportation committee, or governor with ties to contractors, etc. etc.

        Now, you can argue that the roads are getting used, and I would say that’s right (at least for the areas where I’ve lived). But that’s just a case of people adapting to what the government has done, because they’ve no other choice. That doesn’t prove that the government’s solution was the best.

        1. The Interstate Highway System was extremely popular when it was first proposed. So to claim that people just accommodated themselves to the will of government is ridiculous.

          1. Tony’s right. Obama should just ban all privately-owned transportation, except for government employees. Walking’s good enough for the peasantry, after all.

      2. In retrospect, we shouldn’t have made so much of the country reliant on cars (but that’s due in large part to the fact that the car and petro industries were/are so powerful).

        Why not?

        1. Wonder how many libs are secretly frothing at the mouth over bailing out the auto companies…

          “We had a perfectly good opportunity to save the pla- oh, hell, the union jobs lost if Chrysler and GM fold up tents. Fuckity fuck fuck, we gotta bail ’em out. But that’s the ONLY good reason.”

  15. “Roads are just an example of something government does better than the unfettered marketplace”

    Hey dipshit, the government doesn’t build roads, contractors do.

    1. In that case, the market doesn’t do anything either.

  16. A big problem with big government is that it becomes a special interest in its own right.

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