Election 2012

Mitt Romney's Dependency Delusions

Easing the tax burden on those who have the least was not always anathema to conservatives.

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Mitt Romney's unguarded thoughts about the half of America that pays no income taxes—"who are dependent on government, who believe they are victims"—show a notable lack of empathy as well as political savvy. Maybe that's a surprise. But the big surprise is how little he seems to comprehend about the federal budget or the tax system or American politics.

His point, captured on an unauthorized video at a fundraiser, is a familiar one among conservatives: More people are riding in the wagon and fewer people are pulling the wagon, and certain politicians want to keep it that way. The belief is that the federal government is turning more and more Americans into wards of the state who will reliably vote for the party that defends their entitlements—namely the Democrats.

But the lurid picture he draws is largely erroneous. When someone complains about those who "believe the government has a responsibility to care for them," the image that comes to mind is of lazy adults who would rather collect welfare and watch TV than take a job.

For the most part, though, that's no longer an option. Thanks to the 1996 welfare reform bill passed by a Republican Congress and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton, federal income assistance now carries a work requirement. Since then, caseloads have shrunk drastically.

From where has the growth in "dependency" come? Mainly Social Security and Medicare. Since 1990, the number of people getting Social Security benefits has risen by more than a third. That's not because the government has suddenly enlarged the program in an effort to undermine self-reliance. It's because there are more old people.

The advantage of Social Security, for those worried about soul-sapping dependency, is that it rewards work. It's an earned benefit. The alleged moochers worked when younger so they could take it easy in old age. That's how things are supposed to work.

Republicans do not dispute the point. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future," the basis for the budget plan passed this year by the GOP-controlled House, stipulates that it "preserves the existing Social Security program for those 55 or older," who "will receive the benefits they have been promised, and have planned for, during their working years."

What about the other supposed freeloaders? Romney may not realize that one reason many low-income Americans pay no federal income taxes is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which covers some 27 million people, up from 19 million in 2000.

The program does not subsidize sloth but labor, since it's available almost exclusively to adults who are employed, particularly those with children. It was conceived to give the able-bodied poor greater incentives to enter the labor force, and it works.

Easing the tax burden on those who have the least was not always anathema to conservatives. In signing the historic 1986 tax reform, President Ronald Reagan expressed pride that "millions of the working poor will be dropped from the tax rolls altogether."

Besides, low-income workers are subject to federal payroll taxes, which are not trivial. "Most of the people who pay neither federal income tax nor payroll taxes are low-income people who are elderly, unable to work due to a serious disability, or students, most of whom subsequently become taxpayers," says a report from the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Romney is also badly misinformed about the political inclinations of those who get entitlements or avoid paying federal income taxes. The biggest aid recipients are the elderly, so you'd think they would be in the pocket of the Democratic Party. In fact, those over 65 were the only age group that John McCain won in 2008.

Nor are well-paid, high-achieving strivers uniformly conservative in outlook. Four years ago, Barack Obama got a majority among those earning $200,000 a year or more.

Among white voters making less than $50,000 a year, notes pollster Douglas Rivers of the Hoover Institution and Stanford University, McCain had a majority. Whites earning more than that, however, went for Obama. Among blacks, by contrast, income differences did not affect voting patterns: Rich or poor, employed or not, they voted overwhelmingly Democratic.

The video offers an embarrassing show of ignorance from a candidate who sells himself as a hardheaded problem-solver. No one will be shocked to discover that Romney, like the Grinch, has a heart that is "two sizes too small." But who would have guessed it's bigger than his brain?

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  1. So Steve, Reason now loves all of these programs? Since when is Reason support the earned income tax credit? WTF?

    1. His point is that republicans loved these programs when they passed them. Thus mitt Romney is a hypocrite.

      1. Shut up Joe. Why don’t you go back to telling us how Ayn Rand is just like Che Guivera?

        And that doesn’t make Romney a hypocite, it makes him right now. And did I miss when Romney served in Congress and voted for those things?

        1. You missed when he blamed democrats for creating a culture of dependency in that same speech.

          1. Yeah Joe because Democrats never supported welfare. Can Republicans claim credit for the Great Society now? Are you a Republican now?

            1. Re: John,

              Can Republicans claim credit for the Great Society now?

              Uh, actually, they can, John – they voted for it back then.

              1. You guys are missing the point. You come out here and cry foul over the earned income tax credit one day, then talk about how your fair tax wouldn’t kick in until one’s earnings hit the poverty line or whatever. Don’t you see that it’s the same basic idea?

                Moreover, why cry foul when the federal government is actually letting people keep the money that they earned (i.e. lessening the tax burden)? Good for them! It’s fantastic that lower income earners are keeping more of their money. I agree that it would be great if higher income earners could also do so, but I’ll take one happy outcome and be happy about it.

                Let’s be honest. This worry about the 47% (or whatever the number is) is not about any type of principled argument. It’s about being sad that you aren’t getting the same breaks as others, despite the fact that your favored system would still give those breaks.

                1. There are two types of libertarians, really: the Rule of Law types and those like yourself, who think that any minor break from taxes and regulations is preferable, even if it is subject to social engineering and manipulation.

                  1. I assume Randian’s comment was directed at me. Lol. I’m as much a “Rule of Law” type as you can imagine. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted multiple comments on this board alone stating what the best policy preference would be from a “Rule of Law” standpoint.

                    That said, we don’t live in your little demigod Rand’s world where all social institutions proceed only from Rand’s misguided reasoning. We live in a society whose policies are dictated by its institutional history. We live in a society which is not dominated by people who share our particular brand of political thought. We live in a society in which we have to work hard to enact freedom-favoring changes. My premise is that the work, the outrage, the sense of moral certainty should be focused on problems that actually make a fucking difference.

                    This is not out of line with Rand’s basic premise (not rejecting reality) or the Austrian economic principles that so many here hold dear (time preferences).

                    My point is that, instead of bitching about minor things that actually have a somewhat good impact on a large number of people and somewhat advance a basic objective of liberty, why not focus on problems that actually make a fucking difference?

                    But whatever. You can continue to bash me as not being a true Scotsman. I’ll be out there actually advancing liberty in a measurable manner instead of sitting around with my head up Rand’s ass.

                    1. Five paragraphs that amount to a childish rant and ad hominems.

                      My point is that, instead of bitching about minor things that actually have a somewhat good impact on a large number of people and somewhat advance a basic objective of liberty, why not focus on problems that actually make a fucking difference?

                      So you being here, bitching about our bitching, is one of those “big things” that will make a great impact?

                      Is your cape made out of a blanket or a Halloween Costume, o Libertarian hero?

              2. OM – that’s partially correct. Republicans were against Medicare 100% in the House committees until it came to a floor vote, then about half fell in line. In the Senate Republicans were more cooperative, with again about half supporting it.

                Republicans and Democrats can both be blamed for the Ingrate Society.

          2. Deluded – Obama wants to preserve and extend the culture of dependency:

            “The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008, then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, ‘you are on your own,'” Obama told a crowd of 200 donors over lunch at the W Hotel.
            “If you get sick, you’re on your own. If you can’t afford college, you’re on your own. If you don’t like that some corporation is polluting your air or the air that your child breathes, then you’re on your own,” he said. “That’s not the America I believe in. It’s not the America you believe in.”

            1. Um actually, provided I can sue the company for polluting my land, that is the America I believe in.

            2. I also like how it’s either the gov’t, or nobody. If gov’t doesn’t do it, you’re on your own. No other entity or organization on earth will help you.

              1. I also like how it’s either the gov’t, or nobody.

                Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

      2. And so is Obama a hypocrite or a liar for objecting to drone strikes, warrentless wiretapping, rendition, targeting Americans, and supporting government transparency only to totally change his mind on all of those issues once he was in office?

        1. He’s both!

          1. In fairness, Bush never whacked an American citizen. So technically Obama never promised not to do that.

      3. Because Romney believes as all Republicans believe?

        That’ll be news to the months of primary coverage.

        1. The socialist left thinks that everyone in a group must think alike and uncritically support ‘the team’ and it’s boss no matter what.

      4. Hey joe, do you wear your Pol Pot shirt when your Che shirt is in the wash? And what’s it like being a dwarf?

        1. I wear my Thomas Jefferson shirt when Che’s in the wash.

          1. I didn’t think a good prog wore a shirt that represented a White Slaveowning Person of Penis.

            1. Yes, people can still respect Thomas Jefferson despite his being a slaver.

              1. Was there any question in 1965 that summary executions were wrong?

                I don’t think so.

    2. Considering EITC was the brainchild of Milton Friedman, it’s not that surprising.

      1. If, and it is a big fucking if, you believe the government should be in the business of transfering wealth from the well-off to the poor, then the EITC is about the cleanest, lowest overhead way of doing it.

        1. It’s also a decent way of implementing a minimum income requirement for paying taxes, a feature which I’d add, is part of the fair tax schemes everyone talks about over here. It may not be the cleanest way – the best way would simply be to not tax low income workers. But let’s not pretend that people not paying taxes is a bad thing.

          Focus on something useful, like cutting government. Don’t waste your time with attempts to make low income people pay more.

    3. Fuck Chapman.

      1. The video opinion piece offers an embarrassing show of ignorance from a candidate writer who sells himself as a libertarian

    4. HURR DURR STEVE CHAPMAN IS REASON.
      – John logic

  2. Hit it again, Reason. Harder this time!

    Still eagerly awaiting multiple posts unpacking the recent article on Obama’s past as a garden-variety Chicago machine politician.

    1. This is what the 20th Post expressing horror over the 47% remark? This is remarkable. Reason puts up about two posts a week normally about the greedy old people and the various parasites on the system. And now they are pearl clutching over this?

      1. We’ve been infiltrated.

      2. Many of Reason’s “editors” are central casting media douches that play act libertarian until they can get a more prestigious gig elsewhere.

        1. Here comes the other half of Dueling Banjos.

          Would some get VG his scratchin’ stick and a can of PBR?

          1. The funny thing is these guys hate the people at LRC, yet they both use the same insults toward the Reason crowd

            1. VG hates LRC? I doubt that. He sounds like another cookie-cutter Yokeltarian.

              1. The HitandRunpublicans tend to hate the LRC because they’re anarchists and extremely critical of US foreign policy

      3. Steve Chapman is not Reason, dude. He is a syndicated writer that also gets published in Reason.

        Reason is not a political party with a unified opinion about everything. Of course people like you aren’t smart enough to understand this and assume that because one or two Reason writers are in the tank for Obama, that all Reason writers are really cocktail-swilling secret liberals sent by the DNC to infiltrate the libertarian ranks and distort what we believe.

        And Chapman’s wrong, just like Napolitano was.

  3. Romney may not realize that one reason many low-income Americans pay no federal income taxes is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which covers some 27 million people, up from 19 million in 2000.

    The program does not subsidize sloth but labor, since it’s available almost exclusively to adults who are employed, particularly those with children. It was conceived to give the able-bodied poor greater incentives to enter the labor force, and it works.

    Why is Chapman arguing in favor of a government subsidy program? The EITC is nothing more than a form of income redistribution–the “Earned Income” moniker is downright Orwellian, since they didn’t actually “earn” that income in any way, shape, or form.

    1. Because he thinks shilling for Obama will help Johnson get more votes. That is my theory.

      1. Steve Chapman is shilling for Obama because he’s a progressive douche. Why Reason publishes his syndicated brain diarrhea I have no idea.

    2. That income? You didn’t earn that.

    3. Earned modifies “Income Tax Credit” not “Income”. It is earned in the sense that one is not eligible for the EITC unless they work a certain number of hours. The EITC was designed by Milton Friedman as a way to provide a system of Negative Income Tax that would be more difficult to gam than a straight up NIT system, but would also allow for incentives to work that are more economically efficient than other welfare systems. As far as safety net programs go, EITC is all the way at the botoom of the list of things that need to go, behind charitable deductions and home interest deduction.

      1. Yup. All these “libertarians” crying foul when the tax burden is being reduced on millions of people. It may not be the best implementation, but it doesn’t give all that bad of results. Considering that there are far worse tax programs out there, I don’t say why there’s such a fury over all of this 47% bullshit.

        1. Sorry, but if we’re going to be over a trillion in debt every year thanks to the massive government bureaucracy already in place, then the lower rungs need to start ponying up. In Eisenhower’s last year, the cost of government was $760 billion, inflation-adjusted, and that was with far higher tax rates and a far less bloated nationwide bureaucratic infrastructure.

          This is how it should work in the adult world–if you don’t want to pay for it, you don’t get it. Progs have spent 100 years infantilizing the population by telling them, “We can pay for it all, but you won’t have to pay for it at all!” That philosophy is now coming home to roost, and we’re at the point where the 47% or whatever the fucking number is are going to have to quit depending on rich white men and Treasury debt to pay for everything.

          This shit costs money. If the lower tiers don’t want to have skin in the game, we’re better off going back to what we had in the Gilded Age–no income taxes, high tarrifs, and a minimized government bureaucracy.

          1. Yet it’s not the EITC or any of the programs which have been mentioned here that have us running trillion dollar deficits. It’s SS, Medicare, and Defense. All other wealth transfer programs are drops in the bucket. The first two are mainly wealth transfer programs to people who are already better off than most of the country, as they’ve had decades to accumulate wealth. Your “adult world” prescription fails right away. Low income workers don’t want to transfer their money to people who have much more than they do. Why should they put skin in the game to do so?

            What are you talking about in the last paragraph? I agree that no income taxes and minimized government bureaucracy would be fantastic. But where do high tariffs come in? How does that help things at all?

            1. Yet it’s not the EITC or any of the programs which have been mentioned here that have us running trillion dollar deficits. It’s SS, Medicare, and Defense. All other wealth transfer programs are drops in the bucket.

              You left out Medicaid and unemployment, which are hardly “drops in the bucket.”

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F…..tegory.jpg

              The first two are mainly wealth transfer programs to people who are already better off than most of the country, as they’ve had decades to accumulate wealth. Your “adult world” prescription fails right away.

              It’s built on the same prog principle–“We don’t want Grandpa and Grandma eating cat food and dying of cold/heat/starvation/lack of annual physicals!!!” If we want it, we have to pay for it.

              Low income workers don’t want to transfer their money to people who have much more than they do. Why should they put skin in the game to do so?

              Then maybe progs need to stop painting these programs in moral terms and stop demanding that the government cover every conceivable need from cradle to grave.

              1. What are you talking about in the last paragraph? I agree that no income taxes and minimized government bureaucracy would be fantastic. But where do high tariffs come in? How does that help things at all?

                A society this complex needs to be managed. The money has to come from somewhere. You’ve been complaining through this whole thread about the Fair Tax (which wasn’t even brought up until you mentioned it), or whatever rebuttal came your way, but don’t seem to have a clue as to where the fucking money is supposed to come from to pay for all this shit.

                1. The Fair Tax idea is simply pointing out that, given that the recently favored policy prescription suffers from the same drawbacks as the EITC (which was brought up in the FIRST comment), what’s the point in ragging on the EITC? Focus on things for which you have a better, workable, politically feasible policy prescription. Medicare and Social Security would be good ones. I hadn’t realized that the mortgage CREDIT (not deduction) ended in 2010.

                  1. Focus on things for which you have a better, workable, politically feasible policy prescription.

                    Not possible in this day and age. If any politician was honest with Americans about what actually needed to be done, he’d be persona non grata and not taken seriously.

                    Ron Paul was probably the closest candidate this year to actually providing anything close to a realistic plan on how American policy needs to be conducted. And as a result, he was completely marginalized.

                    You’re not going to get a “politically feasible” policy prescription because half the damn country, at least, depends on government cheese in some form, whether its SS, Medicare, unemployment, and food stamps, not including subsidies in the form of corporate bailouts, government contractors, and the endless number of government employees at all levels that get their pensions, salaries, and healthcare paid from the private sector. It’s simply impossible to form a broad coalition of support for rolling back our over-scaled bureaucracy with a hurdle like that to overcome.

      2. Mo| 9.20.12 @ 11:26AM |#

        Earned modifies “Income Tax Credit” not “Income”.

        That is incorrect. It’s a tax credit based on earned income. You must have earned income to qualify for the tax credit. “Earned” modifies “income”, not “tax credit”.

    4. It’s based on earned income. The EITC is designed so that you are always better off by working more. The disincentive to work often seen with redistribution schemes is not there. The “Earned Income” is not the money from the tax credit, but the money that must be earned to qualify for it. The scheme essentially subsidizes low paid work.

      As far as redistribution schemes go, there are much more offensive ones out there.

      1. But it isn’t a credit on your taxes.

        At least insofar as it overshoots your due tax bill, it isn’t.

        1. Part of that intent is to cover payroll taxes.

          1. I know, but then that sort of takes the wind out of the sails of those who say that the poor still pay payroll taxes, does it not?

            1. Of the 47% that don’t pay income taxes, 18% don’t pay payroll taxes. Of that, 10% are elderly living off SS and tax advantaged investments, 7% are the working poor/unemployed and 1% other (which includes on duty military and people rolling forward losses).

      2. The EITC is designed so that you are always better off by working more.

        Well, shit, if that was the case, a junior Wall Street stockbroker or Apple engineer that works 80-100 hours a week should be able to claim a hell of a lot more than some sad-sack pizza delivery guy.

        1. Blah blah fucking blah. The fair tax which so many libertarians seem to love also has a low income provision that keeps people under a certain income from paying taxes.

          1. Even worse, it has a fixed prebate. So some people might profit on it if they spend under a certain amount.

            1. Yep. My point is that, given that libertarians’ favored policy point has many of the same drawbacks as the EITC, why is there so much worry about it? Why not talk about dependency programs for which we actually do have a better solution?

          2. Blah blah fucking blah.

            That’s the most intelligent thing you’ve written today.

            1. Feel free to address my point.

              1. Feel free to make a cogent one.

                1. It’s hard to put together three comments which sum things up.

                  “The fair tax which so many libertarians seem to love also has a low income provision that keeps people under a certain income from paying taxes.”

                  “Even worse, it has a fixed prebate. So some people might profit on it if they spend under a certain amount.”

                  “Given that libertarians’ favored policy point has many of the same drawbacks as the EITC, why is there so much worry about it? Why not talk about dependency programs for which we actually do have a better solution?”

        2. “Well, shit, if that was the case, a junior Wall Street stockbroker or Apple engineer that works 80-100 hours a week should be able to claim a hell of a lot more than some sad-sack pizza delivery guy.”

          I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about.

          The EITC phases out as income increases. There’s a “sweet spot” that maximizes the EITC, because it’s a way to subsidize poor workers.

          Specifically, people who work but are still poor.

          Got that? We’re talking about people who get up and go to a job everyday but for whatever reason aren’t able to earn that much money.

          The credit is specifically designed so that nobody will turn down a pay raise or take a better paying job because it would make them worse off due to the EITC.

          It is a unique government program in that it suffers from few unintended consequences, actually works as designed, and does not disincentivize economic activity.

      3. The scheme essentially subsidizes low paid work.

        As far as redistribution schemes go, there are much more offensive ones out there.

        Sorry, but those two statements are a complete contradiction. If their work was worth what they were getting back in EITC returns, that’s what they would be paid in the first place.

        1. Policies don’t operate in a vacuum. Minimum wage laws exist and have made it impossible for low-skilled workers to be paid at market rates. If you want to talk about policies which distort things most, this would be the one to attack. EITC is a pittance in comparison and a waste of breath.

          Jesus Christ! The number of high income people getting all pissy about the poor taking the EITC as they take their mortgage credits, etc. It’s fucking infuriating!

          1. The number of high income people getting all pissy about the poor taking the EITC as they take their mortgage credits, etc. It’s fucking infuriating!

            Just for reference, I oppose both. It seems that you oppose one but not the other.

            I oppose child tax credits too.

            1. Federal Income Tax form:

              Gross Income * N% = tax due.

              Preferably N is zero, and the feds are funded by more appropriate means.

              But an income tax system should be just that and not a means of social engineering.

              1. So a flat tax now. I thought that had fallen out of favor with the commentariat.

                1. I’m not addressing my comments to people who consistently oppose both of these programs, but to the people who Romney addressed in his speech and to the people who Chapman rightly calls out in this article.

                  1. I’m not addressing my comments to people who consistently oppose both of these programs

                    Yes you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be “fucking infuriated” at people who take the home mortgage deduction.

                    You are all over the map. You’re either happy that the poor get to keep more money but wish the rich could too, then you’re agitated about the home interest deduction, but not really, then you’re allegedly not directing your remarks at those who oppose both programs, while only defending one and being mad about the other.

                    Next time, buy a good knee wrap. It helps the jerking.

                    1. “Jesus Christ! The number of high income people getting all pissy about the poor taking the EITC as they take their mortgage credits, etc. It’s fucking infuriating!”

                      Go ahead and read my full comment again. I’m calling out people who are like the group Romney addressed and who Chapman talks about (you know, the comments are generally about the article).

                2. So a flat tax now. I thought that had fallen out of favor with the commentariat.

                  I guess that’s what you get for swooping into the thread to chide the entire H and R “community” and using a big-ass paintbrush to do so.

                  1. So sorry. It’s so very hard to keep up with what’s happening in Libertopia. First it’s no income tax, then it’s income tax but only if it’s a fixed percentage, then it’s a fair tax.

                    For what it’s worth, I don’t just swoop in and paint the H and R community. I’ve been a frequent reader and semi-frequent contributor for years. So I’m intimately aware of the debates that are occurring on these boards.

                    1. We’re so very sorry for you that you lack the intellectual capacity to keep up. Perhaphs the federal government can provide an assistent to help keep you on track.

                    2. Kinnath, I actually do have the intellectual capacity to keep up and realize that the only policy prescription consistent with the premises you claim is the complete abolition of the income tax. The other policy prescriptions mentioned here go from inconsistent but somewhat decent given current institutions (fair tax) to inconsistent and patently absurd (flat tax).

                    3. squirrels be gone!

          2. Jesus Christ! The number of high income people getting all pissy about the poor taking the EITC as they take their mortgage credits, etc. It’s fucking infuriating!

            Well, I don’t own a house, I have no kids, and the only deduction besides the standard ones I’ve taken over the years was the student loan interest deduction–and since I paid those off in less than ten years, I won’t be taking that this year either. So I’m curious as to where this red herring about rich people is coming from.

  4. This is a disaster of a column. I understand if you were enamored with Obama in 2008, Steve, but to be such a rank sycophant in 2012 is embarrassing.

  5. Shorter Chapman: Barack Hussein Obama, mmm mmm mmm!

  6. Thanks to the 1996 welfare reform bill passed by a Republican Congress and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton, federal income assistance now carries a work requirement. Since then, caseloads have shrunk drastically.

    I thought that it was a fact that Sebelius authorized the states via an illegal ‘waiver option’ to eliminate the work requirement.

    1. You thought wrong.

        1. He can’t without lying or obfuscating, because you thought right.

          Speaking of Sebelius, she was found in violation of the Hatch Act, yet still somehow has a job.

    2. That is not a fact.

      http://www.factcheck.org/2012/…..re-reform/

      1. Yes it is Joe. See the CRS report. Food stamp enrollment doubled because they dropped the work requirement.

        http://blog.heritage.org/2012/…..quirement/

        And even your “fact check” just amounts to “well it just says they could not that they have or would”

        Try again Joe.

      2. Hey joe do you use a stool to reach the keyboard?

      3. I said that there was a waiver option to get around the workfare requirement.

        From your own link:

        Under the new policy, states can now seek a federal waiver from work-participation rules that, among other things, require welfare recipients to engage in one of 12 specific “work activities,” such as job training. But, in exchange, states must develop a plan that would provide a “more efficient or effective means to promote employment,” which may or may not include some or all of the same work activities. States also must submit an “evaluation plan” that includes “performance measures” that must be met ? or the waiver could be revoked.

        Now, the problem is that the “plan” and its metrics and monitoring are total cake and bogus. You can get credit for one hour of bullshit per week and evade the federal requirement for work.

        1. You said there was an illegal waiver that eliminated the work requirement, which is doubly false.

          1. No, both of those are true.

            HHS says that you can perform one hour of a “job workshop” in lieu of the workfare requirements.

            Workfare requires that those who are able to do so meet a 12-point definition of “work”; HHS illegally offered ‘waivers’ to those requirements.

            1. No, it required they do one of 12 work related activities. The waiver only expands those activities to allow states to innovate.

              And no state is guaranteed a waiver. And the waivers aren’t illegal.

              1. No, it required they do one of 12 work related activities. The waiver only expands those activities to allow states to innovate.

                What? Can you cite to that?

                And the suggestion by HHS that one hour spent researching child care options = work is called “gutting” in my book. That isn’t work.

                And the waivers aren’t illegal.

                The statutory language is pretty clear that it is.

              2. The waivers are illegal because they were not authorized by the original law, nor has the original law been amended by Congress to allow waivers.

      4. Work requirements are not simply being “dropped.” States may now change the requirements ? revising, adding or eliminating them ? as part of a federally approved state-specific plan to increase job placement.

        Under the new policy, states can now seek a federal waiver from work-participation rules that, among other things, require welfare recipients to engage in one of 12 specific “work activities,” such as job training.

        Government 101 for Joe and Tony: Leaving such wide berth to state bureaucrats means that the “requirements” can mean welfare recipients will never have to step inside an office or factory to do a fuck-honest productive job.

        So, in essence, the work requirement in the Welfare law is gutted for all intents and purposes.

        1. Yes, the HHS published a memo that suggested that researching alternative child care would be a good option for workfare.

          *facepalm*

          HHS suggests, for example, that states adopt “a comprehensive universal engagement system in lieu of certain participation rate requirements.” Universal engagement means that everybody is doing something constructive with their time “for at least one hour per week,” even if that’s as simple as “researching child care options” or “a job readiness workshop,” as a 2008 HHS document put it. So everybody can spend an hour looking into day care instead of?”in lieu of”?the work that 30% to 40% are supposed to be doing.

        2. From the fact check.

          The law never required all welfare recipients to work. Only 29 percent of those receiving cash assistance met the work requirement by the time President Obama took office.

          1. That is lazy fact-checking. First of all, no one said “all”. Mitt Romney said, “you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job.” Given the HHS’s memorandum on “in lieu of” requirements, that is largely true. To focus on the fact that “all” wasn’t even said is a non-sequitur.

            Second of all, the fact that only 29% of TANF consumers met the workfare requirements does not demonstrate that is a desired target goal.

        3. Government 101 for Joe and Tony: Leaving such wide berth to state bureaucrats means that the “requirements” can mean welfare recipients will never have to step inside an office or factory to do a fuck-honest productive job.

          Sounds like something similar to what Joe and Nice Guy Eddie set up for Mr. Blonde.

  7. Can we all just agree that Romney putting a percentage to the moochers disqualifies him from the presidency and move on?

  8. There isn’t a dead horse that can be beaten enough for some folk.

  9. The advantage of Social Security, for those worried about soul-sapping dependency, is that it rewards work. It’s an earned benefit. The alleged moochers worked when younger so they could take it easy in old age. That’s how things are supposed to work.

    Except as we all now know, outlays are rapidly outstripping income. If Social Security worked as everyone thought it worked, that would be one thing, but it’s a direct transfer program.

    1. Not to mention the line, It’s an earned benefit. isn’t even accurate. It’s a tax–nothing more than younger generations paying taxes to provide people over a certain age with a certain amount of income.

      Now, the way the system works, it seems like an earned benefit because you’re paid based upon your income over your working lifetime. But you’re not entitled to receive one penny of that money, as Flemming vs. Nestor established. That’s because it’s not actually an entitlement or “earned benefit,” it’s just a simple tax.

      1. To wit:

        2. A PERSON COVERED BY THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT HAS NOT SUCH A RIGHT IN OLD-AGE BENEFIT PAYMENTS AS WOULD MAKE EVERY DEFEASANCE OF “ACCRUED” INTERESTS VIOLATIVE OF THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE FIFTH AMENDMENT. PP. 608-611…

        (B) TO ENGRAFT UPON THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM A CONCEPT OF “ACCRUED PROPERTY RIGHTS” WOULD DEPRIVE IT OF THE FLEXIBILITY AND BOLDNESS IN ADJUSTMENT TO EVER-CHANGING CONDITIONS WHICH IT DEMANDS AND WHICH CONGRESS PROBABLY HAD IN MIND WHEN IT EXPRESSLY RESERVED THE RIGHT TO ALTER, AMEND OR REPEAL ANY PROVISION OF THE ACT. PP. 610-611.

        In modern times, various propogandists have ignored that last part especially. Congress specifically enacted a hedge in SS to alter payments at will based on economic conditions. If taxes will cover inflation-adjusted obligations, the payments can go up; if not enough money is coming in, payments can go down.

        People in these cases always forget one of the Iron Laws: “That which can’t be paid, won’t be paid.”

  10. Did I take a wrong turn and end up at Slate or somewhere?

    “a notable lack of empathy”? Seriously WTF? Since when does Reason think empathy should drive policy?

    1. No shit. Can I please have the heartless capitalist bastard Romney that is portrayed in this article? He sounds a lot better than the Massachusetts liberal the Romney is normally seen as.

    2. Reason writers don’t all have the same opinions about everything, dude. Steve Chapman mostly exists here to provoke discussion.

      1. “Reason writers don’t all have the same opinions about everything, dude”

        Yeah, but all people affiliated with a political party act just like any member of the party before them. About 50% of the content here makes this argument to invalidate something a candidate says, so it’s fair game to turn the table.

        1. Au contraire, when Reason writers and commenters bash Teaming, they aren’t bashing every member of the Republicans or Democrats – they are bashing hyporcrites who say one thing and do another, or who change opinions based upon what their team tells them to believe, or who vote for someone completely contradictory to their purported beliefs because Team.

          The fact that reason has a mixture of Lefties, Righties, anarchists and moderates is the opposite of conformity – they aren’t asking their writers to fall in line with some strict libertarian dogma.

          1. “they are bashing hyporcrites who say one thing and do another”

            A hypocrite isn’t one until they have actually done something other than what they’ve said. I can show you 100 comments from articles that ASSUME hypocrisy. That is not the same thing as actually having evidence of it.

            1. We assume inherent hypocrisy because the GOP and their sycophants consistently claim to be the party of limited government yet consistently prove they are liars – unless they are out of power. When they come with hat in hand to beg us to vote them back in to power, we’ve seen enough to not be fooled.

              Yet some here still believe that “this time it will be different” or believe the delusion that Romney is the difference between life and death of the country, and fall in line behind candidates that will never shrink government or debt even if they shrink the rate of spending growth.

              And it’s unfortunate because there is a credible limited government candidate on the ballot, but they are so quick to jump on their team’s bandwagon and write him off as unwinnable or consider him a threat to their Team’s chances.

              All these concepts can be equally inversed for the Democrats on civil liberties and peace.

              1. “We assume inherent hypocrisy because…”

                Because you’re too lazy to investigate any REAL hypocrisy? Ron Paul is a Republican. Do you assume he’s a hypocrite because of a label?

                “When they come with hat in hand to beg us to vote them back in to power, we’ve seen enough to not be fooled.”

                Asked this question about 5 times with no answer. When did it occur that libertarians were fooled into electing someone from the GOP because they claimed to be the party of limited government?

                1. “Because you’re too lazy to investigate any REAL hypocrisy? Ron Paul is a Republican. Do you assume he’s a hypocrite because of a label?”

                  Did you miss the part about how we aren’t bashing people for having a Team label, but for their willingness to blindly follow their team down dissonant paths that destroy their own purported values? There are several Republicans I respect, like Ron Paul or Mike Lee, who don’t just go along to get along. I can even respect those I disagree with, like Dennis Kucinich, who spurn their party when the party is being hypocritical.

                  “When did it occur that libertarians were fooled into electing someone from the GOP…”

                  You really need proof when you hang around on these boards? Plenty of purported libertarians here voting Romney because he’s purportedly more limited government than Obama, a premise I sincerely question.

                  1. “You really need proof when you hang around on these boards? Plenty of purported libertarians here voting Romney”

                    I guess I didn’t ask the question you wanted to answer. When did it occur, meaning, something that happened in the past, when you were fooled.

                2. Humans engage in abstraction and categorization as a means of survival. We developed it to be able to quickly determine whether something is a threat, food, potential mate, etc. It’s a way of being able to make snap decisions and it’s pretty damned effective. I watched as nearly 100% of GOP’ers (and Dems, for that matter) authorized the PATRIOT Act and NDAA. I immediately generalize that GOP’ers don’t give a fuck about civil liberties. Does that mean I’ll be right on this issue about every GOP’er I meet? No! But the chances are pretty damned good and that’s about all the information I generally need most of the time. If a GOP’er actually has any pertinence in my life, I’ll inform myself better. For instance, I can learn about Ron Paul’s policies and figure out that he actually isn’t like GOP’ers in this respect. And I might do that because I could have actually voted for him. Would I do the same thing for a random GOP governor of some state I’ll never live in or even visit? No. So I can be content with this categorization instinct, suspecting, but not needing to invest the time to search further, that he probably doesn’t share my political interests.

                  1. I watched as nearly 100% of GOP’ers (and Dems, for that matter) authorized the PATRIOT Act and NDAA. I immediately generalize that GOP’ers don’t give a fuck about civil liberties.

                    But you don’t make that same generalization about Dems….funny, innit?

    3. Since when does Reason think empathy should drive policy?

      Reason magazine probably doesn’t, the progressive douche nozzle who wrote this piece of shit, IOW Steve Chapman, apparently does. As I stated above, I can’t figure out why Reason, a libertarian magazine, published this asshat’s tripe.

      1. Yet the beloved fair tax would give low income earners a tax break. Isn’t that empathy? What the fuck is so bad about empathy and why is it anathema to so many self-avowed libertarians?

        1. You should probably go hang out your shingle on the FairTax website where anybody might actually give a flying fuck about what you have to say, or where it would at least be relevant to their interests.

          Suffice it to say, prebates in the FairTax system seem to me anyway to be more about political practicality than about empathy. Empathy is a quality that should be reflected in individuals – not government.

  11. “No one will be shocked to discover that Romney, like the Grinch, has a heart that is ‘two sizes too small.'”

    Pathetic

    1. Seriously, that is tragic.

      1. You read this article and it is almost like the Republicans nominated Ron Paul or something.

    2. I hope he’s elected and we find that he has no heart at all. I hated that “Compassionate Conservative” shit Bush was spewing in 2000 and now Chapman is apparently advocating.

  12. For a magazine called “Reason”…

    1. This article would have never gotten past Postrel.

      Have a double.

  13. excellent. after a thorough investigation (see arbitrator report), Ofc’s NICE and HUMPHREY’s two week suspensions have been overturned

    ironically, in this case, reasons for discipline stemmed from allegations the officers did not properly recognize decedent Chasse’s condition as possible Excited Delirium, and act with accordant caution and per manualrequirements. ED is often criticized as a fake syndrome officers use to make excuses fir deaths, but here it was FAILURE to recohgnize possible ED and act accordingly that was the issue

    regardless, back pay etc. ordered and discipline voided

    http://media.oregonlive.com/po…..phreys.pdf

    arbitrator report

    http://www.oregonlive.com/port…..pline.html

    article

    JUSTICE!!!!!

    1. You’re going in the filter you rude sack of shit.

    2. From the report:

      Officer Humphreys described Mr. Chasse this way:

      It appeared to me that the way he was standing when we
      pulled up at 13th and Everett ? or saw him at 13th
      and Everett was that it looked like he was urinating. He was
      hunched. He was either urinating or possibly- I mean, one
      of the things I’ve seen before is – from a hunched gait, is
      that he was using narcotics. (Tr 551)

      A violent Chase ensued. Chasse was cuffed and brought in.

      Oregon State Medical Examiner Karen Gunson, M.D., performed
      the autopsy and concluded that his cause of death was blunt
      force chest injuries (J 12, p 275). She told Bureau detectives
      that Mr. Chasse’s bones were very brittle and like those of a
      50, 60 or 70 year old woman (J 13, p 40).
      Mr. Chasse had 14 fractured ribs including 27 separate
      fractures, 17 of which were attributed to the struggle with the
      officers on NW 13th and Everett and 10 which were CPR related (E
      26, p 5). Dr. Gunson opined that when Mr. Chasse was being
      moved from place to place the rib fractures from the physical
      altercation between Chasse and the officers likely caused a
      dislocated rib to perforate the lung, causing substantial
      internal bleeding (J 13, p 43). No drugs were found in his
      system.

      Chasse was killed. Killed for taking a pis in public.

      How, HOW, can anyone be OK with that??

  14. Someone posts something factual and critical of a Republican, and there seems to be no end to the butthurt. How completely not surprising.

    1. “No one will be shocked to discover that Romney, like the Grinch, has a heart that is ‘two sizes too small.'”

      TRUEFACT

    2. The butthurt isn’t due to Romney being criticized per se. The problem is that TEAM GOLD bought the right-wing mythology of the lazy poor voting for Democrats so they could live in luxury and ease on the taxpayers’ dime. It’s the attack on that mythology that upsets TEAM GOLD, not really Romney.

      1. No, it’s the fact-free contention that 1) our welfare programs have been successful and that 2) one must be heartless and lack empathy to criticize the current state of affairs vis a vis said programs.

      2. Right, because the platform of Team Blue isn’t almost entirely built on a foundation of GIMMEDATs.

        Why the hell do you think intellectually stultified prigs like Thomas Frank are always crying that rural and poor heartland whites don’t vote for Dems more often? It’s all centered around the idea that their vote can be bought.

  15. What the fuck does any of this have to do with “dependency”?

    The point that needs making is that there are people clamoring to further tax the wealth creators to pay for out of control government spending, while NEARLY HALF of America pays no federal income tax. And those clamoring the most have the audacity to claim the wealth creators aren’t paying their “fair share”, despite the fact the wealthiest 25% pay 87% of the FITs.

    Numbers

    Fuck, Chapman, stay on target!

    1. the wealthiest 25% pay 87% of the FITs.

      The top 25% also control 87% of the wealth in the country. (The top 1% control 42%.) And the federal income tax isn’t the only tax people pay.

      The light tax burden on the nonrich is not the result of some dependency scheme, but Republican tax cuts.

      If it’s wrong to complain about people not paying their fair share in taxes, then isn’t it both wrong and cruel to say the exact same thing about the poor?

      1. No developed country in the world relies on so few people to pay its taxes. The US is more progressive in that regard than Sweden. It is insanity.

        1. To the extent that’s true, it’s only because the US has such comparatively massive wealth and income disparities. Although these comparisons are problematic, scholars have demonstrated that the US today is less equitable than the Roman Empire and during the Colonial era when slavery existed.

          I agree with Mitt Romney. We need more income at the middle and bottom so we have more taxpayers. Of course Mitt Romney’s economic policies won’t achieve that, but he’s got the sentiment right.

          1. Good grief. Who is stupid enough to think that “inequality” (presumably *income* inequality, but why bother being specific) in the Roman Empire can be quantitatively compared to the modern US in any meaningful way?

            Oh wait…

          2. Weissman urges caution, noting that such a study of the “thinly recorded past” necessarily involves “lots of conjecture” as authors use sources like old tax lists, occupational directories, census documents and early scholarship. “They’re not so much taking a snapshot of what life was like as they are making a messy collage,” he notes.

            At least read what you link, dummy.

            1. I used the word “problematic” for a reason.

              The real blindspot is you guys not even considering income and wealth inequality a problem to think about. At some point it becomes so large that there is no value in discussing things like “earning” and “fair” as all the risks of capitalism, part of its supposed virtue, are borne by the nonrich, and none by the rich.

              1. It’s not “problematic”, it’s fucking incoherent. There is nothing meaningful to be attained by comparing the income inequality a 90+% agricultural economy with that of a post-industrial one, even if the data for both periods were reliable.

              2. So, Tony, explain to me, in economic terms, exactly how “wealth inequality” negatively impacts the economy?

                1. In order for our current society to mirror the level of distribution of the 1970s, the average worker should be making around $90,000. Look at any chart that shows where the wealth has been going over the last 30 years and you’ll see stagnation for everyone not at the higher levels. Productivity has not decreased, only the amount of income the bottom percentiles have managed to earn from it. The system is rigged to funnel money upward.

                  How does this negatively impact the economy? Imagine how much more economically productive we could be if the average income were $90,000. A few guys at the top making a gazillion bucks can’t possibly contribute enough to economic activity to make up for the lack of wealth everywhere else. Not to mention the additional tax revenue we’d be able to generate.

                  1. Imagine how much more economically productive we could be if the average income were $90,000.

                    Imagine how more economically productive we could be if deflation were actually allowed to occur. Then we wouldn’t have to depend on exponentially increasing salaries of a debased dollar to sustain our shopping mall economic model.

                    The productivity increases coupled with income stagnation is mostly due to technology advances that can’t be put back in the bottle short of an infrastructural collapse. No factory owner is going to hire 10,000 workers and be responsible for their healthcare, pensions, and other benefits when he can hire 1,000 workers and install 100 machines to do the work of the rest.

              3. I used the word “problematic” for a reason

                Yeah, because it completely undermined the point you were trying to make.

                “Conjecture” isn’t fact.

                1. And gee, I can’t imagine that a crop of academics steeped in decades of de facto cultural marxism would have any sort of agenda with these studies at all.

                  This kind of shit is Bellesiles-level hackery.

                  1. So what is an objectively historically high level of wealth inequality is to be brushed under the rug, because Marxism?

                    1. So what is an objectively historically high level of wealth inequality is to be brushed under the rug

                      “Conjecture” isn’t fact, Tony. And I’ll always consider the source when it comes to studies by supposedly “objective” (lol) academics.

      2. You are a fucking immoral moron.

        Would you argue a rich person should pay more for a gallon of milk than a poor person? Why are government services different?

        I never said it was “wrong to complain about people not paying their fair share”, you disingenuous fuck. What is WRONG is your definition of the word “fair.”

        1. What is disingenuous is you pretending the federal income tax is the only tax there is. What’s immoral is the social darwinism you peddle.

          “Fair” in this context means “in accordance to the standards of modern civilization.” It is absurd–almost to the point of immorality, but I’m not an obnoxious self-important Ayn Rand loving halfwit running around making moral judgments of people for their political beliefs–to claim that the poor are getting away with something unfair while the rich are overburdened. Absolutely, inescapably logically impossible. To be rich is to be privileged, to have extra government access and hence favors, to be less subject to the risks of capitalism.

          Whatever “fair” is, it is certainly not giving the rich more and the poor less, as there can be no possibility of the poor being too favored, as they are by definition the least favored by whatever system they are in.

          1. What is disingenuous is you pretending the federal income tax is the only tax there is.

            That is the dumbest retort I’ve ever heard. The wealthy pay those “other taxes” too.

            Tony thinks it’s moral to take by force that which is earned and give it to those who haven’t earned it.

            Yes, I will judge people who act immorally and I WILL call them such. And you, are an immoral pig. You openly condone theft. You have no sense of right/wrong. And your system will ultimately decimate our economy.

            1. So is a sales tax an equally immoral taking of that which is earned? If we eliminated the federal income tax, then we’d just be left with a bunch of regressive state and local taxes. The poorer you are, not only would you be supporting the government more, your livelihood would be substantially more burdened.

              If we’re going to have taxes at all, then we shouldn’t consider fairness as a percentage or a flat number, but as a measure of how much it burdens individuals’ abilities to live their lives. The rich can afford more without having any change in lifestyle. That’s a perfectly moral approach to taxation, and what informs tax policy in modern civilization everywhere.

              If you want to blather endlessly about people taking what’s not theirs, why is it always the poor you go after first? They by definition are not benefiting from the system the most. The rich can be looters too, and are much better at it. But there is this inherent assumption around here that a rich person’s wealth was earned no matter how it was acquired. What you fail to appreciate is that they don’t need direct handouts, they can just get favorable tax policy and such.

              1. You really are retarded aren’t you?

                ANY tax that isn’t 100% equitable (meaning EVERYONE pays the EXACT SAME dollar amount, for the EXACT SAME services) is theft. You are providing someone with something they didn’t earn at the expense of someone who did.

                Are you so immoral you cannot even see the injustice in that? It makes you a vile person.

                Everyone wants the poor to prosper, but I WILL not support immorality that supposedly “helps” them (or anyone). Ends do not justify the means. You can help the poor without stealing from the rich, but a lot of greedy, envious, vile creatures, like yourself, enjoy taking advantage of the sucessful.

      3. Re: Tony,

        The top 25% also control 87% of the wealth in the country. (The top 1% control 42%.) And the federal income tax isn’t the only tax people pay.

        And if I can’t control more of the wealth, then no one can! Bwa ha ha ha!

        [pinky on mouth]

        The light tax burden on the nonrich is not the result of some dependency scheme, but Republican tax cuts.

        It is part of a dependency scheme. Most of the taxes I pay are to pay for the moochers that happen to be much older than I am, or for people that claim disability while still playing racketball.

        1. Interesting that you should bring up SS and Medicare…pretty sure that’s not what Romney was talking about in his 47% comment. You’ve basically made Chapman’s point for him.

  16. Sometimes dude you jsut have to roll with it.

    http://www.PrivacyPros.tk

  17. My favorite new meme is: “This gaffe is going to cost Romney the election, but for some reason the polls still don’t show it.” The Atlantic had an article that said more or less exactly that, but I can’t find it now.

    1. That’s because the majority of Americans actually agree with him on this point, despite what they are being told to think by the media.

      I would make this the cornerstone of my campaign. I would own it and pound it home every time I got in front of a microphone. This isn’t a loser, it’s a winner.

      1. It would be very powerful if Romney could cite the average (or median) incomes of those 47% who pay no fed taxes, or for the 49% who get some government largesse. I’ll bet it’s above $30k. I’d bet that 1/3 of those folks earn $50k. That approach would put into context that some middle class folks are paying for other middle class folks, many of them earning more money.

    2. Obama is over 50 percent. Romney needs a big win in the next six weeks to turn things around. Instead, people will be talking about this. This gaffe is going to ensure Romney cannot clinch the lead.

      1. No he is not. Today he is Up by one in Gallup, up by one in the AP, up by two in USA Today, and down by one in Rasmussen.

        None of those polls have him at 50%. In fact almost no poll has had him above 50% this entire campaign. Right now Pew is the only poll that has him above 50% and it is clearly an outlier

        http://www.realclearpolitics.c…..-1171.html

        Tony is just stupid. But you are just a lying sack of shit. Every word you have ever written here has been a lie including the ampersands if Reason still allowed those.

        1. The polls indicate a stubbornly static race to a slight improvement for Obama. The problem for Romney is that he hasn’t led Obama since sometime in 2011. It’s even worse when you consider electoral college pathways.

  18. Obama is over 50 percent.

    [citation needed].

    Last I saw (umm, yesterday), the daily tracking polls had him under 50%.

  19. ROMNEY BAD

    WELFARE GOOD

  20. Isn’t this the left’s ready made “people on welfare aren’t lazy bums and sloth” response to any kind of observation or criticism on the nation’s sense of entitlements?

    The “image” of those dependent welfare in our minds is someone who has less incentive to seek work because they’re on welfare. The standards are lax and fraud isn’t unusual. Whether that’s a slob who watches TV all day or a an active crowd who hits the beach all the day maybe looking for work online is incidental.

    Not paying income tax is not paying income tax. Americans don’t pay 6,7 bucks a gallon of oil, don’t pay separate taxes on education or healthcare, don’t pay VAT, etc etc. Most poor / middle class Americans pay less for what they receive compared to “Socialist” Europe, a point made by Veronique de Rugy a while back.

    Romney was selective, but in essence, he was mostly right.

  21. You know, this thing can go either way at this point if Obama gets in we’re screwed very soon and if Romney gets in we’re screwed over time….either way we get screwed. We are arguing over symantics. The truth is the system is headed for a hard landing and we only have ourselves to blame for it. This country has to return to its core or its over. It doesn’t take a Phd. to read the constitution and UNDERSTAND it. It was written in English. We need to grow up and force the politicians to adhere to their oath of office.Some of these assholes need to go to prison, for what they’ve done to this country for their own self interests.

    1. You understand things far better than most commenters on here that just blindly support whatever fascist the Republicans nominate.

  22. He’s a raging hypocrite since he doesn’t pay income taxes. He lobbied for his income being called “carried “interest” and being taxed at 15%. Shoot I pay more in payroll taxes than Romney pays in carried interest tax.

  23. Thank you very much
    .,.,

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