Government Spending

Takers vs. Makers in Today's America


In the Washingtion Examiner, Glenn Instapundit Reynolds writes about a new book arguing the real divide in today's America is between moochers and producers:

"Fifty thousand for what you didn't plant, for what didn't grow.  That's modern farming -- reap what you don't sow."

That's a line from a song about farm subsidies, "Farming The Government," by the Nebraska Guitar Militia.

But these days it applies to more and more of the U.S. economy, as Charles Sykes points out in his new book, A Nation Of Moochers:  America's Addiction To Getting Something For Nothing.

The problem, Sykes points out, is that you can't run an economy like that.  If you tried to hold a series of potluck dinners where a majority brought nothing to the table, but felt entitled to eat their fill, it would probably work out badly.  Yet that's essentially what we're doing….

And, after a while, people who pay their bills on time start to feel like suckers.  I think we've reached that point now:

* People who pay their mortgages - often at considerable personal sacrifice - see others who didn't bother get special assistance.

* People who took jobs they didn't particularly want just to pay the bills see others who didn't getting extended unemployment benefits.

* People who took risks to build their businesses and succeeded see others, who failed, getting bailouts.  It rankles at all levels.

And an important point of Sykes' book is that moocher-culture isn't limited to farmers or welfare queens.  The moocher-vs-sucker divide isn't between the rich and poor, but between those who support themselves and those nursing at the government teat.

Plenty of the wealthy are doing the latter, and that has its own consequences, which are often worse than those stemming from goodies for the poor.

In a world of bailouts and crony capitalism - which is to say, in the world we live in today - a rational businessperson has to compare the return on investment between improving a product or service, or lobbying the government for goodies….

Read the whole thing.

NEXT: Ron Paul Caucus Goers in Their Own Words

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  1. What, I'm the first one to post a comment?

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  2. That practically never happens.

  3. Anyway, in my opinion, the moral thing to be when production is punished and mooching is rewarded is a scavenger. That way, you're rewarded the same as the moocher, but you are actually doing something useful. Then, when the moochers finally meet their comeuppance and producers start being rewarded again, you can continue to get paid by scavenging from all the stuff productive people throw away for not being useful and profitable enough to them.

    1. It's the people stupid. The American people are the problem. They obey the laws. They respect the rule makers and enforcers. They go on juries and convict people of victimless crimes. In the rare instance of sedition, they regard that person as a loon.

      1. That's why we need more lawlessness and sedition. Yay, anarchy! People having their lives be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short is the greatest freedom of them all!

        1. Yay! Anarchy=Chaos. Straw men from a troll! Can I sign up for your troll letter?

          1. Just to show you what a straw-man-bashing troll this guy is, I've got a historical example of an actual society that lived by the principles of anarchy and didn't end up descending into total chaos, and I'm going to provide the link for it here just as soon as I find it!

          2. anarchy != chaos

            Anarchy means that rules are not enforced with violence.

            That doesn't mean that there are no rules.

            1. For instance, if some sick puppy decides to rape and murder my three-year-old daughter, I'm totally not going to punish him for it, because my anarchic principles forbid me to use violence to enforce the rules against child rape and murder. I'm not allowed to shoot him in the first place if I catch him breaking into her room, because that would be violent. I'm also not allowed to chase him down and kill him afterward, because that would be violent. I'm not even allowed to grab him and restrain him until he can be dragged off to jail, since even that requires violence.

              Of course, maybe I'll just torture and murder him anyway. It's not as if anyone in an anarchic society can enforce the rules against me with violence... Oh wait, maybe they can!

              1. Stupid spoof is stupid.

                1. Stupid anarchist is stupid.

  4. Red State welfare: only for quiet rooms.


    1. which proves next to nothing given that Congress is hardly a single-party monolith. I live in a state that gets less than it puts in; it does not make me morally superior just as the opposite does not make those residents derelicts.

      This argument is frequently trotted out by the left - which actively promotes expansive govt. I guess the liberals think all the goobers in the taker states should just say 'thanks' and vote Dem.

      1. Another favorite straw man from the left is "What about corporate welfare?"

        In fact, if you read the rest of Mr. Reynold's article there, he indicates that's the first thing we should cut, even ahead of general welfare. As much money as the poor parasites are getting from the system, the real threat is from the rich parasites. All those food stamps and so forth come to a few billion wasted dollars. Corporate welfare, on the other hand... well, remember the $700 billion bailout for GM? That's not at all an atypical scale for what the government usually wastes on its corporate cronies. It's time to take an axe to corporate welfare for Michael Moore, George Soros, and Warren Buffett (to name a few).

        1. How do Soros or Buffett get corporate welfare? (any more than the Kochs)

          And the entire TARP bill was $700 billion - GM is on the hook for a small fraction of it.

          1. Buffett's comes in the form of Obama's scotching of the Keystone project, which benefits a certain railroad that does pretty heavy business with the coal industry. Care to guess who owns the railway?

            The point is, recipients are immaterial; it is the system itself that is jacked up. Besides, TARP forced solvent banks to take money so people would not be able to figure out which houses were solid and which were not. Govt actively prevents the natural course of business from occurring.

            1. That is absurd. Burlington Sante Fe is a small part of the giant Berkshire and coal is not being replaced by heavy tar oil in power plants.

              Sounds like something Beck would cook up in his fevered mind.

              Wingnuts in their desperate attempt to sully the reputations of our best MAKERS concoct the weirdest shit.

              Why do you guys hate our top producers/makers so much?

              1. Fuck Soros.

                Buffett is just a willing tool.

                The Kochs aren't evil.

              2. If the pipeline doesn't get built Buffets trains will be used to haul the oil to Texas for refinement. So yes he does stand to profit handsomely.

              3. Pay no attention to the eco-fascist welfare queens behind that curtain! I AM THE MIGHTY PEOPLE'S EMPATHIZER!

              4. coal is not being replaced by heavy tar oil in power plants.

                No dumbshit.

                Buffet's railroad will get contracts to transport the oil.


              5. Wingnuts in their desperate attempt to sully the reputations of our best MAKERS concoct the weirdest shit.

                Why do you guys hate our top producers/makers so much?

                I thought Buffett's whole schtick about how he should be taxed more was based on the fact that he doesn't actually produce anything.

          2. The AIG bailout saved Buffett's ass.

            The foundation of his fortune is insurance and reinsurance. If AIG had failed it would have held the insurance industry down and raped it up the ass, and probably would have utterly smashed the reinsurance industry.

            Buffett absolutely was bailed out. He probably benefited from the bailouts more individually than any other American.

            1. So now Buffett is an indirect beneficiary of corporate welfare from the opposing party in 2008?

              In some way most were then. AIG was the largest insurer in the world. Perhaps. But his enemies are trying to tie him to crony capitalism and fail miserably as I keep pointing out.

              But AIG was the elephant in the room during the meltdown - not GM. AIG received more aid than any other company during 2008.

              1. I can nitpick the argument, thereby totally distracting you from Michael Moore, George Soros, and Warren Buffett being corporate welfare queens and Team Blue being the ones filling the feeder trough by running up annual trillion dollar+ deficits.

                Hey look! A three-headed monkey!

                1. Shrike can never suck enough Buffett cock. His little hero never does any wrong.

            2. Remember Buffet bought Goldman Sach stock at the height of the financial crisis and Goldman Sachs was the largest beneficiary of the bailout of AIG. Buffet made a killing when Goldman Sach's stock recovered.

          3. shrike|2.5.12 @ 12:49PM|#
            "How do Soros or Buffett get corporate welfare? (any more than the Kochs)"

            Hey, dumbshit! Do you subscribe to the magazine?
            If you did, you'd have your answer.

      2. if you are getting screwed compared to red states. It is the progressivist system that North Eastern elites imposed from Henry Clay and onward to eternity. If anything, its just deserts.

        1. Except that Clay represented Kentucky.

        2. If anything, its just deserts.

          RCz law FTW!

          1. The Law of the Conservation of Letters?

          2. I think "just deserts" is what we get when teh Climate Changez!!1 has run its course.

        3. You know what other country is just deserts?

      3. I live in a state that gets less than it puts in ...

        The states don't put anything in ... the taxpayers of the state do that.

        This argument is frequently trotted out by the left - which actively promotes expansive govt. I guess the liberals think all the goobers in the taker states should just say 'thanks' and vote Dem.

        Proof that the liberals are math challenged. The reason some state's taxpayers put more in then the state they live in get back is because we largely have a "progressive" income tax. That "progressive" income tax results in taxpayers with higher incomes paying in a disproportionate larger amount. Much of what passes for state aid is distributed based on income. It only makes sense that states with lower personal income will qualify for a larger share of Federally funded state aid and states with higher personal income will fund it. The obvious solution to mitigating this inequity is a flat tax.

        It is ironic that a liberal will argue the progressive tax system is morally right while at the same time argue the results of that progressive tax system is not morally right.

    2. I take this as an argument for dissolution of the national government.

      1. The Judases of the world never see such logic, guys.

    3. Lost that argument against the mercantilist who fought for a system that favored their interest. So, if you got a problem with hos that shit went down and what resulted, take it up with your own sorry ass ancestors.

    4. If every state gets back what it puts in, what's the point of the federal government?

      1. Uh, ... national defense?

        1. Yes thank god they're defending the great states of Iraq and Afghanistan!

          1. What am I, chopped liver?

            1. You will be soon.

    5. With a trillion-dollar-plus deficit, I would think at this point all the states are getting back more than they paid in taxes.

      1. It's amazing any state gets back more than it pays. First, a shitload has to be wasted/stolen. Second, not all Federal expenditures can be attributed to a State. For example, foreign aid won't show up on any State's balance sheet.

  5. People who took jobs they didn't particularly want just to pay the bills see others who didn't getting extended unemployment benefits.

    As someone who was laid off *after* benefits were extended, I just like to think of it as responding to incentives.

    1. My Comcast calls are answered by Mexicans. Don't blame people for not working at jobs that the capitalists sent out of the country.

      1. Capitalism is evil because it takes income from people who won't work for less than minimum wage, and gives it to people who will. How dare those Mexicans not have job-destroying minimum-wage laws like ours!

  6. Any good parasite knows not to kill the host, making progressives dumber than tapeworms.

  7. And, after a while, people who pay their bills on time start to feel like suckers.
    damn right we do. Someone pointed out long ago that when people figured out they could themselves a share of the public treasury, our form of govt would be in trouble. And we have a POTUS who plays on that mentality between bailouts for campaign donors and gimmes for potential voters. Leo Durocher had no idea just how profound he was in proclaiming that nice guys finish last.

  8. This observation is nothing new. Producerism has been a part of American political discourse for a long time.

    1. "Producerism at its core is a conservative, traditionalist, and nationalist critique of free-market capitalism"

      That that doesn't really sound like this at all. The idea that people should be rewarded for contributing to society and punished for taking without contributing is hardly some special, radical political doctrine. I would imagine it has been common across the political spectrum in every healthy society.

      1. "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
        Cicero, 55 BC

        1. That dude Cicero lived at least, what, 100 years ago? Times have changed.

        2. Made up quote. Stop reading those email forwards, dude.

      2. That that doesn't really sound like this at all. The idea that people should be rewarded for contributing to society and punished for taking without contributing is hardly some special, radical political doctrine. I would imagine it has been common across the political spectrum in every healthy society.

        You need to adjust for Wikipedia, "everyone can edit" bias.

    2. That's not actually the same concept.

      "Producerism" is a bias not only against the idle, but against "speculators" and those who provide services.

  9. No Superbowl thread yet? Disappoint.

    1. more like win win win

    2. more like win win win

    3. Pats 35
      Giants 17

    4. What is "the only thing more pointless than Ron Paul attempting to win the Republican nomination"?

      Fucking Republican douchebags.

      1. What is "the only thing more pointless than Ron Paul attempting to win the Republican nomination"?

        Posting about on him every other thread on Hit & Run, that's what!

    5. New York, New York, the city so arrogant they named it twice



      Why should I care about the game?

      1. U mad, bro?

  10. This shit will end when we get away from geographic citizenship and start moving toward something like Neal Stephenson's concept of phyles, distributed "nations" based on culture and values. While it make take a while, I think that we'll be closer to it within the next century or so.

    When citizenship is based on freedom of association rather than an accident of birth, the moochers will be excluded from the productive tribes. They'll either band together to act as raiders and pirates, or be abandoned altogether.

    1. Stephenson postulates a world in which flows of money and information could not be traced, leading to the backruptcy of nation states.

      As long as the nation states can follow money and data they can bring their monopoly on plain ol' physical force to bear to prevent non-geographic states from becoming strong.

      You'll also note that the Vickies at least provided a welfare base in the form of free stuff from the MCs. Presumably that was to keep from having to shoot so many mobs of non-aligned types.

      1. Come to think of it....Stross plays a similar game in some of his near future stuff.

      2. Charity isn't the same, really, since the productive members of society control it.

  11. If we just hunted and gathered, people wouldn't gambol with other people's money.


    1. Speaking of WI. He has a column in the opinion section at today.

  12. PS I'm aleady tired of the Stoopid Bowl just from the radio and TV pre-Stoopid Bowl flood, so off tae ride the moorsickle.

    Hope I don't freeze to death. Hope everyone enjoys The Big Game?

    1. The Big Game? is for cheap ass advertisors who refuse to pony up for the use of the word Superbowl?. I would have more respect for them in their fuck you to the NFL if they used some imagination in their commercials to allude to it instead of that worn out trope.

    2. I don't plan on watching. I fear what may happen to my TV when Bloomberg's big gun control commercial comes on. Plus i don't really care about the outcome.

      1. I didn't see the commercial. Probably aired while I was making the chilli. (two pounds of ground pork, two cups of a variety of peppers, one cup of onions, jar of plain salsa, 1/2 cup of mustard, 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Serve over tortilla chips with cheese on top (smoked asiago, but sharp cheddar works too).

    3. I hope Tom Brady and Eli Manning both take helmet-to-helmet hits today.

  13. Ponies for everyone!

  14. No motorcycling for me.

    I'm going to finish the plunger tube staking tool for the 1911, and install the plunger tube.

  15. Why do you guys hate our top producers/makers so much?

    I like you, Shreeeek. You're funny.

  16. Last night my wife wanted to watch 'G.I. Joe'. She likes sci/fi, adventure, shoot-em-ups etc.

    Half way through the movie I got so angry I had to leave. For those of you who havent seen the movie;
    An evil corporation has an insidious plot to take over the world, but we dont have to worry because the good guys from the government save the day. The good guys clearly have billions of tax payer dollars at their disposal and they spend it like water. The ordinary citizens in the movie who are collateral damage from the ongoing battle between the main actors are treated as scenery ( not to worry they are just rabble ).

    She asked me what was wrong, and while I was trying to explain it to her an ad came on ( I think from the people for a better life or some such nonsense from obamites ). The ad was sayiing that americans should no longer stand for intolerance and injustice and started with some woman wearing a rag over her head kneeling down muslim style. Then whole crowds of ordinary looking americans began kneeling.

    I lost it. yeah, I was pretty drunk and pissed, not a pretty sight I am sure.

    The moochers are waging an all out war on America, politically and culturally. I wonder how long before they open up on another front.

    1. Both parties are protective of the "moochers" for self preservation. SS/Medi are the Third Rail and Congress knows it.

      Cutting TANF and HUD would barely dent total federal spending.

      The genius of the GOP is to convince one group of moochers that the others are coming after their loot.

      1. Yet all of these programs were put into place by the party you shill for, Shriek. Not only that, but you continue to defend yet more welfare-state boondoggles in the form if Obamacare, soon to be defended by that same GOP.

        In sum, these programs will sink the US financially. there's no debate about that, really. So how do you square this with your laughable contention that you're a free-market, limited government libertarian?

        1. Medicare Part D was GOP but nice try anyway.

          I know the GOP isn't serious about whacking Medicare because Ryan's plan cowardly postponed cuts until 2021 after the majority of Congress will have left.

          And Obama cut $500 billion in Medicare already (admittedly a misleading number but a campaign talking point anyway).

          Yes, Romney is telling voters Obama cut their Medicare and he wouldn't.

          1. There wouldn't be a Part D if there was no Medicare.

          2. And Obama cut $500 billion in Medicare already

            Obama hasn't cut a single fucking penny from Medicare. Benefits and eligibility are the same, and expenditures are still going up.

        2. As long as I can nitpick about Team Red's support for Medicare Part D, I don't have to defend Team Blue's support for massively more wasteful and intrusive programs like 0bamacare!

          Hey, look! A three-headed monkey!

      2. The funny part is, shrike tries so hard to defend the status quo. He's such a good dog.

        Seriously, the status quo doesn't need you, shrike.

        1. Joe Scarborough blasted Mitt Romney for claiming that he would protect Medicare if elected president and that President Obama had cut $500 billion from the entitlement program. On Tuesday's "Morning Joe," the MSNBC host alleged that Romney was trying to scare senior citizens.

          Scarborough was referring to a campaign event where Romney told senior citizens that he "will never go after Medicare or Social Security," and alleged that President Obama cut Medicare to fund "Obamacare." The tactic outraged Scarborough, who said that Medicare would bankrupt the country and called the GOP candidate's attempt to appeal to seniors "pathetic."

          (there is your GOP nominee -- attacking Obama for Medicare cuts)

          1. Hey, look! A three-headed monkey!

          2. If there's a point to that comment, Shrike, it would probably be more valid at some site where there wwere a non-trivial number of Romney supporters; or GOP supporters for that matter.

    2. Honestly, though big displays of affectations are annoying, whether it is Olivia Wilde in the Jason Bateman movie waving a pair of tickets and speaking oddly, or many aspects of black vernacular, or the public display you describe above, what could be more culturally American than showing support for a lady's right to pray to her deity?

      1. Perhaps in my inebriation I misunderstood what I was seeing. When I see the ad again I will have clearer vision.

      2. Recognizing that you can do that without praying to the same deity? Understanding the difference between tolerance and submission? Granted, I'm just relying on a drunken viewer's description of the commercial. Netflix doesn't have ads.

        1. If it is by the Foundation for a Better Life, the commercial isn't on their website yet. The closest I could find was an ad that suggests the secret to world peace is doughnuts.

        2. As pointed out, I can relate to what you are saying, and given that it is a PSA there is a one hundred percent chance I would have hated the ad as well. But from your discription, it was likely something else about it than the offense to American cultural tradition, something deeper, as cynical pointed out, it sounds like it involved an underlying message of submission probably is getting close to the heart of the matter.

    3. The Foundation for a Better Life is an evangelical organization.

    4. You had more endurance than me. I turned it off after about 20 mins in when they introduce the evil bad guy "contractors." In the original show the A-Team were mercenaries. It said it in the opening sequence. (I won't even get into how military contractors don't conduct offensive actions.)

      Of course we can't have an evil private army be our heroes. The stupid proles might get it in their head in government isn't the be all end all.

  17. Almost everyone understands that this situation is bad and wrong. Almost no one understands how to fix it.

    All left and right wingers propose government solutions to this government-created situation. It is only the libertarians who understand that you must eliminate government's power to take and give in the first place. No one else gets it.

    1. Honestly, we are trying to pretend we understand enough to get that 10% of potential voters who are solidly libertarian, but then a juicy bit of warfare pork, like a shiny new air to surface missile hitting a defense ministry building in Libya, distracts us and we can't help ourselves but to bark at the moon and croon for the wonders of big government.

    2. How many votes hath the Libertarian Party?

      1. Imagine an atheist party in the middle ages. That is the libertarian party in america today.

        Also, surrounded by as many wrong-thinking fools as atheists in the middle ages were. SOrry Shrike. You are the equivalent of a middle ages christian.

        1. Perfect, Californian.

        2. Considering that atheists are fools, yes, I suppose the atheists of the Middle Ages (all five of them) were surrounded by fools. Of course, every one of those fools lived in the same plague-ridden house with them...

          1. mommy, someone's being mean to jesus on teh internets!

            1. Mommy, somebody just ripped nihilism a new one in the internet!

  18. At what point do we move Atlas Shrugged out of the fiction section?

    1. Shrugs

      I don't know.

  19. This stuff is exactly what got people out in the streets fir the Tea Parties. Rob from those who try to play buy the rules to reward those that do not.

    1. And then the Tea Parties turned out to be nothing more than shills for Team Red.

      1. I wonder if it was a problem of co-opting people, or co-opting a brand -- i.e., did the original Tea Partiers sell out, or did an influx of posers dilute the label?

        1. Most only joined to movement to bash Obama. Mention cutting miltary spending and they would go into conniption fits. It was all about Obama. Which is why they are meekly backing big gub'ment MittNewt.

          1. BS. The rallies I attended were about big govt, not Obama.

            The bigger and more powerful the national government is, the more prone it is to corruption and interest-group domination.

  20. How kickass would the US be if rugby was our national sport? Seriously, imagine Brian Urlacher as a prop.

    1. Okay, I think I can figure out at least the pack:

      Props: Patrick Willis, Urlacher
      Locks: Julius Peppers, Osi Can't spell his last name
      Flankers: Adrian Wilson, Michael Girffin
      8 man: Darelle Revis
      Scrummy: Michael Vick

      1. I would think some of those big athletic TEs could be good flankers. Plus wouldn't Vick be better further out in the backline where you could get him the ball in space more often and he wouldn't get dragged into all the forward shit?

    2. League, not Union though. Fuck Rugby Union.

    3. I want Urlacher to play Gunther in the movie adaptation to Dues Ex. Perfect physical fit.

  21. How long before Atlas shrugs?

  22. Says the English Lit PhD.

    Leave the economics writing to the economists, kay?

    1. Paulie, I worship you! Take off your clothes; I wish to copulate.

  23. Much of Atlas is protected by the government, so it won't shrug. Atlas as a grassroots movement of producers who feel like suckers could shrug if some states secede and they then have a place to go. I don't see any other possible ending. Governments don't willingly shrink, they have to be overthrown or abandoned. The question is: where is Galt's Gulch going to be located?

    1. Unfortunately Rand didn't have an answer for how to shrug out of society. She had to resort to the deus ex machina of Galt's high technology stealth field and free energy devices. Without an alternate place to provide a home for creativity and productivity apart from society at large it becomes very hard to shrug. People who actively want to create and produce need an outlet. Galt provided that outlet in a safe haven. Sadly in this world there is no such thing outside of the remore chance of successful seasteading or a viable private space colony.

      1. This is not true if you are willing to think a bit smaller scale. I have a bolthole....20 sq miles with a good variety of resources, located deep in rural America. The closest town with at least 1000 people in it is 35 miles away.

        1. And that 35 miles means absolutely nothing to the tax agencies that use satellite imagery to discover and assess new unauthorized construction. Do you think the IRS will just let you drop off the grid? Galt's gulch only worked because it was literally invisible to the takers.

        2. Holy crap, Kant. You've got 20 sections squirreled away? I am impress. Even here in West Texas, where land is cheap because water is rare, that would run (let's see, carry the 1) probably $8mm, more with year-round surface water. Without much in the way of mineral rights, of course.

      2. Actually there is a kind of alternative.

        The cash economy. Labor trades. 1099 Contracting. Barter. Low level marijuana dealing. Drugs as currency.

        You can kind of function with a combination of those at a low level. A lot of hipsters, hippies and so on survive just around the poverty line in a floating network of labor trade/barter/cash/drug exchanges.

  24. "The question is: where is Galt's Gulch going to be located?"

    Hows about Cawker City, KS. Home of the world's largest ball of twine.

  25. Do moochers constantly beg for donations because not enough people will pay for the shit they put out to pay the hacks who write it?

    1. Yes.

    2. Max,
      Try English if you'd like to be understood.

  26. Oh, please, please, please donate now! Help us bring the TRUTH zu die masses (masses of individuals, naturlich). Der Fuhrer can't do it on his own. Herr Paul needs us and vee need you, ja? Don't be stoopid, be a smarty come and join...

    1. the reason i'm so bitter is that dr. paul touched my penis once.

      i liked it.

      but he never did it again.

  27. Moochers are too pure to rape the earth and exploit the poor by making money. It's the greedy Producers who are evil for trying to be rich. It's not enough to take their money, you have to hate them too.

  28. You have to admit the dude makes a lot of sense.

  29. This is what happens when people feel they can have a government that both protects their right to private property, and gives them a claim to the private property of others.

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