Big Government

The Era of Small Government Is Over

Is there any hope to check the growth of the state?


It was a full quarter-century ago when President Bill Clinton delivered one of the few quotable State of the Union addresses in American history.

"The era of big government is over," he proclaimed on January 23, 1996. It was more of a political statement than a policy goal—indeed, Clinton proceeded to spend the next hour outlining a long list of things the federal government ought to do. But it wasn't just a bumper sticker catchphrase. "We know big government does not have all the answers. We know there's not a program for every problem," he explained. "And we have to give the American people [a government] that lives within its means."

That succinct conception of limited government likely would, if expressed today, make any Democrat effectively unelectable—at least on the national stage. For that matter, the idea that Americans would be able to help themselves best if government got out of the way would place Clinton, circa 1996, outside the emerging mainstream consensus of today's Republican Party. Acknowledging the limits of government power to improve people's lives and worrying about the cost of a large and growing government is, it seems, so last century.

In 1996, the federal government spent a grand total of $1.56 trillion—about $2.4 trillion in today's dollars—and ran a deficit of about $106 billion. While tiny by today's standards, both parties saw that shortfall as unacceptably high. Republicans had won control of Congress for the first time in 40 years in 1994 by promising fiscal restraint and with talk of a balanced budget amendment. Heading into his own reelection in the fall, Clinton was meeting his opponents head-on with his 1996 speech. Both parties could play the deficit-hawk game.

This was not an out-of-the-mainstream position among Democrats at the time. Just two months earlier, during an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, a high-ranking Democratic senator also insisted that his party was not about to cede deficit politics to the other side.

"I am one of those Democrats who voted for the constitutional amendment to balance the budget. I have introduced, on four occasions—four occasions—entire plans to balance the budget," he recalled. Referring to the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, the senator made a bold prediction. "I know it did one thing," he said. "It made sure that there was nobody left in the left of my party who said, 'In fact, we don't care about moving the budget toward balance.'"

Twenty-five years later, that senator is now president of the United States. Just weeks after taking office, Joe Biden's first major legislative achievement was the passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the entire cost of which will be added to a budget deficit that was estimated to be $2.3 trillion before the new spending was approved. Although ostensibly a package meant to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the bill contains a large number of government-expanding measures unrelated to fighting the disease, including an expensive new child subsidy entitlement that is likely to become permanent.

Clearly, the prevailing view in Washington of deficit spending and the role of government has changed over the past quarter-century. In fact, there has been a near-complete reversal. Where talk of reducing budgets and ensuring the government lives within its means used to be a bipartisan affair, now the opposite is largely true. Republicans still make occasional noises about the deficit—as they did during the passage of Biden's stimulus bill, which received no GOP votes—but they effectively traded away any serious claim to being fiscal conservatives after overseeing deficit-hiking spending increases and tax cuts that were supposed to pay for themselves but didn't under President Donald Trump.

Now, the new right wing is agitating for more government subsidies for families and workers, deficits be damned. Democrats, meanwhile, view low interest rates as an invitation to turn the printing press up to 11. Beyond the budget ledger, the ballooning deficit has coincided with a massive expansion of government programs.

Being a deficit hawk can be a thankless task, one that requires the fortitude to say "no" while others promise free goodies. Increasingly, it is a lonely job too. Those who worry about record-high deficits and an unsustainable mountain of debt may not have many friends in Washington, but hawks used to be able to count on a political failsafe: Both major parties thought they could gain an electoral edge by highlighting the other party's profligate ways. Now, however, deficit politics have all but vanished on both the right and the left.

Politics are antecedent to policy. In 1996, Biden and other Democrats talked a big game about fiscal responsibility because they feared retribution from voters if they did not. That threat from the ballot box seems to have vanished, and with it any sense of modesty about spending. Until voters demand otherwise, the debt will continue to grow.

Biden's Evolution

As with the party that he now leads, Joe Biden's evolution from deficit hawk to spendthrift didn't happen overnight. But if you had to pick one day that illustrates the transformation, it might be April 9, 2020.

That was the day after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) suspended his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, effectively anointing Biden as the party's standard-bearer. Biden's campaign posted a long statement committing to support a number of Sanders' policy proposals, including student loan forgiveness and lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60. "Senator Sanders and his supporters can take pride in their work in laying the groundwork for these ideas, and I'm proud to adopt them as part of my campaign," Biden said.

It was a significant and even startling shift. Biden had won the Democratic nomination by stubbornly sticking to the center even as most of the other top candidates chased one another toward the party's left flank. Often, that had left him as the only candidate willing to ask practical questions about his opponents' plans to spend huge amounts of money on single-payer health care and other progressive priorities. "How are we going to pay for it?" Biden asked during a memorable September 2019 debate in which he took both Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) to task for their pie-in-the-sky promises. "I want to hear that tonight."

That strategy didn't always look certain to succeed. Although he consistently led in the polls, the former vice president never looked unbeatable. During 2019, his campaign sometimes struggled to raise money. Ugly losses in the first two nominating contests, in Iowa and New Hampshire, threw the race wide open. But then Biden rallied to win South Carolina at the end of February 2020 and a majority of the Super Tuesday states in early March. A month later, as the country was shutting down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition came to an end. The stubborn moderate had prevailed.

Traditionally, the end of a contested presidential primary sees the winning candidate tack away from the extreme edges of his or her political coalition and toward the center. What happened between Biden and Sanders was more of a meeting in the middle. "Joe, he's not going to adopt my platform. I got that," Sanders told CBS late night host Stephen Colbert a few days after dropping out of the race. "But if he can move in that direction, I think people will say this is a guy we should support."

It's true that Biden didn't embrace Sanders' full platform, but he went into the general election with the most progressive and expensive presidential agenda in decades. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that Biden's budget plans, if enacted, would add more than $5.6 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. And that didn't include emergency pandemic spending, like the $1.9 trillion bill he signed in March.

Biden has long been an avatar of the Democratic Party's center of gravity. When the party was getting "tough on crime" and fretting about the deficit in the 1990s, he was part of those efforts. He was there, literally standing behind President Barack Obama, for the signing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. By the end of the 2020 primaries, it was clear that the median view among Democrats had moved to the left, and Biden was adjusting his views to keep in step.

The change had happened gradually. While campaigning for the presidency in 2008, then–Sen. Barack Obama (D–Ill.) routinely called out then–President George W. Bush for adding to the national debt. "We now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back," Obama said during a July 2008 campaign stop in Fargo, North Dakota. "That's $30,000 for every man, woman, and child. That's irresponsible. That's unpatriotic."

Obama's tenure in the White House began in much the same way as Biden's now has: with a major crisis leading to an expensive federal response. But even after inking an $830 billion stimulus package in response to the financial crash, Obama continued to describe the deficit as a serious problem. "As our interest payments rise [and] our obligations come due, confidence in our economy erodes and our children and grandchildren are unable to pursue their dreams because they are saddled with our debts," Obama warned in a 2009 speech. He pledged to cut the deficit in half by 2012.

Despite launching a bipartisan commission to tackle that problem, Obama failed to meet his goal—a fact that received fairly heavy rotation during Republican Mitt Romney's presidential bid that year. But Democrats were still fighting the good fight. "We have got to deal with this big, long-term debt problem," former president Clinton warned in a speech at his party's 2012 convention, "or it will deal with us."

The deficit did decline from a then–record high of $1.4 trillion in 2009 to just over $1 trillion in 2012, and it continued that downward trajectory throughout Obama's second term. By 2015, the government spent only $440 billion more than it raised in tax revenue—about even with where the deficit had been at its pre–Great Recession high.

But those years of falling deficits coincided with a fundamental political shift. Democrats and Republicans had sparred for decades about who could make government live within its means, but both coalitions now chafed over the reality of living under spending caps and sequestrations. Meanwhile, the absence of any major negative consequences after the country had temporarily exceeded the symbolically important $1 trillion deficit threshold taught politicians on both sides of the aisle that they could downplay fears about excessive debt.

On the right, Republicans nuked the caps they'd imposed during the Obama era to clear the way for huge spending hikes and deficit-inflating tax cuts under Trump. On the left, the notion that deficits don't matter at all began to gain traction.

Larry Summers, Clinton's treasury secretary, co-authored an influential paper, published last year, with former Obama economic adviser Jason Furman arguing that deficit concerns had hamstrung the federal government's ability to accomplish big things using boatloads of government spending. They posit that cutting spending or raising taxes—the two basic options for balancing the budget—pose a greater threat to future economic growth than do large deficits built upon low interest rates. As long as the cost of serving the federal debt remains below 2 percent, they argue, policy makers should not be restrained by the "traditional idea of a cyclically balanced budget."

Summers and Furman do not go as far as proponents of some more extreme ideas now emerging on the left—particularly Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), formulated by economist and former Sanders staffer Stephanie Kelton, which recognizes inflation as the only meaningful reason to constrain deficit spending. But while MMT has received more attention, the new middle-of-the-road position within the Democratic Party hews closer to what Summers and Furman have outlined. So naturally, that's where Biden has ended up.

In this view, deficit concerns are merely politically motivated and should not be taken seriously. "We must ignore the phony caterwauling of the deficit chicken hawks," argued Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, in an October op-ed for The Washington Post. Bernstein, now a member of Biden's White House Council of Economic Advisers, argued that the "new dynamics" of debt opened not only economic opportunities but political ones. "If conservatives ignore austerity when they're in power but Democrats embrace it when they take control," he wrote, then Democrats will "consistently fail to meet the needs of their constituents."

For decades, Democrats have wrestled with Republicans over the right way to balance the budget. By pushing plans that require trillions in additional borrowing even when the deficit is at or near record highs, the Biden administration is signaling that it will no longer play a game that Democrats increasingly claim was rigged against them all along.

Republican Lip Service

Republicans have arrived at roughly the same conclusion—that deficits shouldn't constrain policy making—in a way that seems, somehow, to be both more coldly cynical and more haphazard.

As with most of the current dysfunction within Republican politics, Trump plays an outsized role, though the roots of the mess emerged from the George W. Bush administration. Bush entered the White House with the country running a surplus for the first time in a generation—a surplus that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in 2000 estimated would grow to nearly $500 billion within a few years. (Those projections obviously did not account for the post-9/11 recession.) Given the information available to him at the time, Bush made a prudent decision: Send the extra money back to people before Congress could get its grubby hands on it.

After the 2001 tax cuts, however, things got out of control. The 2001 recession, the war on terror, and a major expansion of Medicare to cover prescription drug costs quickly hiked the deficit to a then-record $413 billion by 2004. And that was before the housing crisis.

When a mortgage meltdown metastasized into a national economic crisis in summer 2008, Bush signed a $300 billion emergency spending bill to prop up lenders. When that failed to halt the spiraling fiscal disaster, he approved the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). "I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system," Bush told CNN in December 2008—as if his record to that point had been animated by fidelity to the free market.

Enter Rep. Paul Ryan (R–Wisc.) and the Tea Party movement. The boy-faced legislator from Wisconsin initially made a name for himself as a sort of congressional Cassandra, becoming the face of the right's deficit hawkery during the Obama years. "We are driving our country and our economy off of a cliff," he said on the House floor in 2011. "The reason is that we are spending so much more money than we have. We can't keep spending money we don't have."

Ryan's most lasting contribution to the debate over budget deficits was to champion the 2011 spending caps. Unfortunately, that accomplishment was undone in 2018 by none other than Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who guided the passage of a new federal budget bill that obliterated those spending limits and added an estimated $1.7 trillion to the long-term deficit. He retired the following year.

Clearly, it is not fair to blame Trump alone for the Republican Party's abandonment of deficit politics. But it's impossible to ignore the role he played.

As a presidential candidate, Trump paid occasional lip service to traditional Republican talking points on fiscal policy. Most significantly, he pledged during an April 2016 interview with The Washington Post to pay down the entirety of the U.S. national debt in eight years—something he said could be accomplished by "renegotiating all of our deals." It was widely speculated at the time that Trump had confused the budget deficit (which contributes to the national debt) with the trade deficit (which measures the gap between the total value of a country's exports and imports). In any case, he never provided any serious plan to accomplish this supposed goal. When Trump did speak about fiscal issues, it was usually in the form of a promise not to touch Social Security, which elicited a level of enthusiasm that may have surprised and scared traditional fiscal conservatives.

"Donald Trump got elected by showing that the conservative voter base was much more comfortable with big spending and deficits than conservative leaders in Washington thought they were," says Brian Riedl, a former Senate GOP staffer and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. He points to polls showing that, even prior to Trump's rise, only a slim percentage of Republican voters said they wanted Social Security reforms. In retrospect, Riedl thinks the Tea Party era looks more like a populist revolt against the bailouts and Obamacare than like anything grounded in a broader desire for lower deficits or smaller government.

After Trump's election, Republicans gave up on the pretense of fiscal restraint. Over his first three years in office—that is, even before you factor in any emergency spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic—Trump oversaw a hike in federal expenditures of about $900 billion. That's equal to the amount Obama added to the federal budget baseline, but Trump accomplished it in less than half as much time.

The most damaging budgetary move was the spending hikes enacted in 2018 (and the trashing of the Obama-era budget caps that was needed to pass them). In other ways, however, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might prove to be the more consequential Trump policy. It showed that Republicans were willing to discard deficit concerns to push through their preferred policies.

Unlike with the Bush tax cuts of 16 years earlier, there was no surplus at that time to return to taxpayers. And promises that the cuts would "pay for themselves" by generating higher economic growth did not pan out: They did stimulate the economy, but at nowhere near the levels necessary to make the policy revenue-neutral, as Republicans promised it would be. The tax cuts ultimately added about $1 trillion to the debt. If some of the temporary parts of the 2017 law—like the reductions in individual income tax rates, which expire after 2025—are made permanent, as many experts expect, the long-term addition to the debt could be as high as $2 trillion.

Now that they're in the minority in both chambers of Congress and a Democrat sits in the Oval Office, some Republicans are halfheartedly trying to resurrect concern for debt and deficits. It's the latest iteration of a recurring theme for the GOP: When it comes to spending, do as I say, not as I do.

Aggressive Expansions

Even during the rare periods when the deficit has declined, government has continued to grow in other ways—with the approval of both Democrats and Republicans in the White House and running Congress.

In 1995, the year before Clinton declared the era of big government to be over, there were 1,390 federal subsidy and benefit programs. Today, there are more than 2,200. "The federal government has expanded into many areas that used to be handled by the states, businesses, charities, and individuals," says Chris Edwards, who tracks the number of government programs in his role as director of the Downsizing Government project at the Cato Institute.

More programs generally means more spending, of course. But it also means more people with an incentive to lobby for even more spending. "Each subsidy generates a bureaucracy, spawns lobby groups, and encourages even more people to demand government handouts," Edwards says. "Individuals, businesses, and nonprofit groups that become hooked on subsidies become tools of the state."

There's probably not just one explanation for why deficit worries seem to have died off, but this feedback loop offers a compelling theory. Bigger government begets bigger government.

The demise of deficit politics has consequences that go beyond the immediate question of how much the federal government spends relative to how much tax revenue it collects. The emergency spending bill passed in early March provides a useful example. Although Biden and his fellow Democrats pitched the $1.9 trillion package as a COVID relief measure, much of the spending had little to do with the pandemic—which was already well on its way to being brought under control by vaccines when Biden signed the legislation on March 11. Nevertheless, the bill included another round of direct payments to couples who earned as much as $140,000 in 2020; created a new entitlement for parents that will cost an estimated $143 billion this year; and egregiously bailed out private-sector pension funds run by politically connected labor unions at a cost of $86 billion.

Republicans voted unanimously against the package. In an earlier era—say, more than five years ago—that might have been a dangerous political signal for Democrats. It would have presaged a full court press from the GOP to paint Democrats as wasteful opportunists who used a public health crisis as thin veneer to justify massive, politically motivated spending at taxpayer expense. (And, to be clear, that would be an accurate description of the law.)

"If you look historically, I think one party holding the other party accountable has been hugely important for deficit reduction," says Marc Goldwein, senior vice president and senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "Certainly, that was true under Obama, and to some extent with Bush as well. The two parties holding each other accountable matters a lot."

That political pushback seems unlikely this time around. Polls show that Biden's emergency spending bill is widely popular with voters—though it is fair to question how many of them are aware of the bill's details.

It could be that the pandemic has only temporarily glossed over Americans' usual skepticism of government action. Once COVID-19 is gone and the economy has recovered, Goldwein believes subsequent deficit-hiking spending bills will be more politically difficult for Biden. "It's going to get harder to maintain the moderate Democrats," he says.

That thesis might soon be tested. Less than two weeks after the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was signed into law, Biden outlined plans for a $2.25 trillion package ostensibly aimed at infrastructure spending—though it also includes a $400 billion hike in Medicare spending and several other provisions that seem totally unrelated to any traditional understanding of infrastructure. Biden says the proposal will be fully paid for by raising the corporate income tax to 28 percent from the current rate of 21 percent. But that requires a bit of budgetary gimmickry: The White House plans to use 15 years of higher taxes to offset eight years of increased spending.

At the same time, Republicans have realized their voters are more energized by culture warfare than by deficit politics. As Biden's $1.9 trillion bill was speeding toward final passage, the conservative media was consumed by a publication controversy involving long-dead children's book author Dr. SeussThere is some dark irony in the way that Republicans' fixation with progressive cultural politics helped obscure the passage of a spending bill that grew government and entrenched actual progressive policy goals.

But the real kicker for anyone who supports fiscal conservatism is this: When the next election comes around, what will the average Republican voter be more likely to remember—the "canceling" of Dr. Seuss, or the trillions in new deficit spending?

Freed from the need to seem fiscally sane in order to win votes, some conservatives are already concocting new ways to plow borrowed dollars into their preferred goals. An emergent right-wing progressivism, led by the likes of Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.), sees nothing wrong with expanding federal welfare and entitlement spending. During the negotiations over Biden's COVID relief bill, Hawley teamed up with Sanders to oppose a cost-saving measure that would have allowed direct payments only for the truly needy.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah) has proposed a framework for making the COVID-19 bill's child subsidy permanent. Romney would pay parents an annual total of $4,200 for every child under the age of 6 and $3,000 per child aged 6–17, with the payments phasing out for individuals who earn more than $200,000 annually and couples who earn more than $400,000. It would be a huge expansion of federal entitlements—at a time when existing entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare are facing the prospect of insolvency by the next decade.

This new dynamic suggests that future debates over federal policy will be focused even more on delivering benefits to politically important demographics without regard to the question of who will pay for them. The future taxpayers who will be forced to shoulder the cost of today's borrowing, after all, do not have representatives in Congress.

Already, we're getting some previews of how that will play out. Oren Cass, one of the leading voices of the new progressive right, criticized Romney's plan in the pages of The New York Times for offering benefits to all Americans without work requirements. Notably, however, Cass signaled his support for Romney's big-picture goal. "An aggressive expansion of the nation's social compact backed by a major financial commitment would shore up the economic and cultural foundations on which people build their lives," he wrote.

It's not just spending that suddenly seems to be gaining in popularity, either. Political coalitions on both the left and the right are determined to use government power to break up or regulate powerful tech companies. They agree that Facebook and Amazon are bad and that government is the solution—they merely disagree about what, exactly, should be done. Republicans such as Hawley believe government action is necessary to stop what they see as the censorship of conservative views on some social media platforms. Democrats, meanwhile, are threatening to bring down the hammer unless those same sites engage in more widespread content moderation. The two views are likely impossible to reconcile—and neither is particularly concerned with reducing the role of government in ordinary Americans' lives.

For libertarians, it doesn't seem to matter much whether the right or left wins these debates. Either way, limited government and fiscal restraint lose.

The Bill Will Come Due

The best way to measure the size of a government is to do what Milton Freidman suggested: Look at how much it is spending. Every dollar spent by the government today is a dollar of taxes that must be raised—if not now, then sometime in the future.

Rhetoric and political messaging don't cause budgets to grow or deficits to shrink on their own, but they tell you something about the political zeitgeist. Clinton's declaration that the era of big government was over did not speak a balanced budget into existence, but it signaled that fiscal hawks had, for the time being, won the meta-debate about how budget issues should be framed. Overspending was bad, and politicians caught doing it would be punished by voters.

Polls suggest there is still a constituency for deficit hawkery. According to a Pew Research Center survey from March 2019, 90 percent of Americans felt that "reducing the national debt" was an important priority for elected officials—larger than the share who said politicians should focus on climate change or income inequality.

But neither major political party seems to have much interest in reducing the size of the state—or in making the debt a campaign issue. Twenty-five years after Clinton suggested that "there's not a program for every problem," prominent figures on left and right alike now argue that even families pulling in six-figure incomes are in need of government handouts.

"It's been a major shift. People have gone from being anti-government, to beyond being even neutral on it, to thinking: 'We need the government; it has to help us,'" former Rep. Barney Frank (D–Mass.) told The Washington Post in March. "For the first time in my lifetime, people are saying that the government has done too little rather than doing too much."

It took less than five months for America to rack up a $1 trillion deficit during this fiscal year. Even before the passage of Biden's stimulus bill, the CBO anticipated a $2.3 trillion deficit for 2021; the agency expects the national debt to exceed the size of the entire U.S. economy for every year in the foreseeable future. On its current trajectory, the debt will be twice the size of the economy within the next quarter-century—as near to us now as 1996 is.

But the bill will eventually come due. A large and growing amount of debt will reduce future economic growth and sap Americans' incomes. (The Congressional Budget Office, in its most recent long-term economic outlook report, warned that the debt could cause interest rates to rise and inflation to occur.) It also leaves the federal government with less wiggle room to address the next crisis when it comes.

The new deficit politics say not to worry about overspending as long as the cost to service the debt stays low. Even if that's true, Riedl says it is cause for concern. "We're gambling our whole fiscal future on the hope that interest rates never exceed 3 percent again," he says. If interest rates increase by even a single percentage point, it could add $30 trillion to what will be owed over the next three decades.

And even if nothing truly terrible happens—no interest rate hikes, no runaway inflation, no major catastrophes or recessions demanding that we tap into a nonexistent rainy-day fund—the current projections show that, within a few decades, half of all tax revenue will be used just to pay the interest on the debt. By the time a child born today is old enough to be nostalgic for the 2020s, half of his annual tax burden will go toward paying off the debt—a debt that includes myriad benefits his parents received without paying for.

Maybe his generation will come to care about fiscal respon-sibility. Maybe things will change even sooner than that: Perhaps Biden, once the fog of the pandemic has lifted and the cost of its response becomes clear, will rediscover the importance of balancing budgets. Until then, it's clear that the era of small government is over.

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  1. That ended with the new deal and FDR. BTW, muting has made the comments much better.

    1. I will never see it as anything but irony that libertarians loudly support muting people.

      Stand up to their ideas if you disagree.

      1. Trolls deserve to be muted.

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        2. This entire site is a monument to disaffected misfits, most of them obsolete clingers.

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          2. Take a good look around. The misfits are everywhere.

      2. If only they presented ideas instead of mindless drivel and obscenities.

      3. If I mute someone it does nothing to impede anyone else from reading their comments, no?

        Sounds entirely libertarian.

      4. I’ve only muted people who have no ideas. Kirkland, for example, never contributes anything worthwhile to any discussion.

      5. It appears that you’re confused as to how the mute button works. Or about how libertarianism works. Or both.

    2. “BTW, muting has made the comments much better.”

      Sevo hardest hit

      1. Hardly anyone responded to him anyway. The guy has been coming here for a decade, yelling into the void.

      2. Funny way to spell Sqrlsy and KAR.

        1. How dare you compare me to that senile old rummy Sevo!!!

      3. 🙂

      4. Actually, you fags are hardest hit. You’re the problem, not Sevo.

          1. This, This, This +1000
            Sevo = Solid Points
            Commenters above = [WE] mob/gangster chicken peckers are cool in our alternate reality of ‘gang’ mentality over reason.

            1. Calm down, Jeff. It’s not my fault that everyone likes Sevo.

            2. I get called a bigot for criticizing people who choose to go to a bigoted church, but traitor Mark’s homophobia is fine?

              Fuck you traitor bigots. GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY YOU FILTHY TRASH!

          2. You fascist bigots gotta support eachother.

            Sevo is so old and senile all he can do is type “TDS addled lefty shit” over and over.

            You’re stupid if you think Sevo’s deranged rants are smarter than my truth.

            1. You sound jealous.

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    4. Hell, it ended with Hoover. FDR got all the credit, but Hoover is really the one who kicked it off.

      1. Red, Hoover surely did accelerate the trend, but I put the start of ‘Big Government’ at 1824, Andrew Jackson. He was the first of the big spending Democrats. Under his tenure, federal spending doubled.

        Boehm cracks me up….the ‘libertarian’ Boehm was an ardent supporter of Biden. He has no guiding principles. Because of that, I pillory his work.

        1. I don’t know about ‘ardent’. But :

          Who do you plan to vote for this year? I am currently not registered to vote in Virginia, where I live. If I change that before the election, I will vote for Jo Jorgensen—unless I believe there is a chance that Joe Biden will somehow fail to win Virginia, in which case I will vote strategically and reluctantly for Biden.

          Mean tweets bad.

          1. Funny how Boehm as well as most lefty-leaners still struggle to grasp the concept that De-Regulation of Trumps Administration was equivalent to Small Government.

            It’s almost as-if emotional appeal was more important that foundational principles. ((< Just described the entire mentality of the left.. yeah? ))

            1. The only reason I voted for Jorgensen was because Trump had a comfortable 20-ish point lead in Missouri. He was a far better choice for libertarians than Biden.

          2. People didn’t vote for Biden because of Trump’s tweets.

            It was Trump’s ya know TREASON that turned people to Biden.

        2. He was the first of the big spending Democrats. Under his tenure, federal spending doubled.

          That was inevitable because of how fast the country was growing. Like it or not, complex societies still need to be managed, and that requires money. That was a big reason why the nullification crisis came about, because the feds were funded largely through tariffs back then.

          I put the onus on Hoover because it was really under his tenure that the concept of social welfare programs and top-down bureaucratic management ultimately kicked off in this country. Hoover was an engineer, and like a lot of scientifically-oriented people back then (and now, to be fair), thought that human ingenuity could solve any possible problem. I believe Paul Johnson mentioned in “Modern Times” that Hoover kicked off more spending on public works projects in his four years than in the previous thirty, started up the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and signed off on the largest income tax increase in US history to that point in 1932. He was really the first corporatist, believing that that government, business, and unions needed to work in synchronicity with one another.

          And yet there are still ignoramuses who argue that Hoover was a laissez-faire President.

  2. The Era of Small Government Is Over

    Possibly the most ridiculous headline I have ever read here. Well done.

    1. What, you missed the “Libertarian Moment” article?

    2. Well… we did have a good 3 year run of reduced regulations prior to caterwalling over covid.

      1. Mean tweets, General. Don’t forget the mean tweets.

      2. Culminating in trying to reduce regulation about picking government by election. Proved unpopular with people who still care about the constitution and being American. You know, not traitors.

        1. Traitors? You mean, like you?

  3. Now that we Koch / Reason libertarians got the Biden Presidency we wanted, it’s safe to stop pretending “small government” was ever all that important to us.

    Our primary objective has always been making the richest people on the planet — especially our benefactor Charles Koch — even richer. We hated Drumpf because his draconian anti-billionaire policies prevented that. We support Biden, and Democrats in general, because they are now the party more likely to implement our preferred policies, such as unlimited, unrestricted immigration.


    1. Hey OBL, when the money printers go ‘brrrr’ constantly to keep up with the spending, how do you anticipate that will affect our beloved billionaires?

  4. The government is still fairly small, they’re only spending about a third of our GDP. Wait until they’re spending over 100% of our GDP and you’ll remember these days fondly.

    1. But GDP includes government spending. So it can never get to 100%.

      Americans seem willing to pay about 4 trillion a year in taxes. Biden’s up to like 12 trillion in spending now. So the government is spending 300% of its income. He plans to jack taxes up to 6 trillion or so, but people will dodge most of that.

    2. “The government is still fairly small, they’re only spending about a third of our GDP.”

      And this puts us in the lower half of the OECD. Most developed nations have governments that spend over 40% of their GDP. Spending by government in the U.S. is not high by these standards.

      We should be far less concerned with how much money our government is spending in total, and much more concerned with the things upon which our government is spending that money. We should be far less concerned with whether taxes are “too high” or “favor the rich” and be more concerned with whether the tax system is too riddled with loopholes, carve outs, and compliance issues that make it inefficient and distorting of economic incentives. Tax rates can be debated as part of a feedback loop between analyzing the country’s needs, voters’ desires, and the economic realities of the macroeconomic effects of all of this.

      The problem with often see is that these debates end up centering around ideology and partisan goals rather than the “technocratic” aspects of policy. Most voters are quite simply too busy, too ignorant, or just too bored to do the work of thinking about and figuring out the best path forward. And the culture wars have come to dominate politics so much that voters are not choosing leaders that will do that hard work. Instead, they are choosing leaders that make them feel better about themselves.

      1. Hahaha. Who do you think you are talking to around here? You think these morons want to hear about the technical side of policy or tax? Bring up the phrase “balanced budgets” and watch them go into a full McCarthy rage at the speaker of this horrendous and communist phrase. Most of these guys think algebra is a commie plot against them.

        1. You should mute him DOL, so you don’t have to listen.

        2. It’s funny to hear a lying ignorant snake like you trash the people here. When we clearly have far greater knowledge and superior educations compared to you.

  5. The problem here is that cutting spending is hard work and so there is no appetite for making cuts. You mentioned Speaker Paul Ryan and it is worth noting that as a VP candidate he was asked about cutting spending. He supported cutting spending but punted when asked where and said Congress should decide. Cutting spending require leadership and no one wants to stick their head out. Republicans have talked about cutting spending since President Reagan but have cut little. The truth is people on a whole like the government services they receive.

    I will again suggest that we are undertaxed and part of the solution is to tax at an appropriate level to the services that government provides. This will demonstrate the real cost of programs and make people think about whether they are getting the value for their taxes.

    1. And to drive that point home, eliminate all income, business, and sales taxes, and impose a uniform head tax. With $6.6 trillion spent in 2020, that comes to about $20,000 per person.

      Then we can ask people if they are happy with the tax system.

      1. Cool. And for every new trillion dollars in spending plans, their taxes will go up 3K. See who likes it then.

      2. A federal head tax would be constitutional. (The issue over income taxes being “direct” taxes was in regards to income tax on rent and other income derived from land. Since that ‘burdened’ the ownership of the land, it was akin to property taxes that were required to be apportioned by population when imposed by the federal government. It seems to be a misunderstanding that income taxes on wages or salaries were not constitutional until the 16th Amendment.) But would it be a good idea?

        I think that most people would agree with the general principle that the tax burden should be in proportion to a person’s ability to pay the tax. People will likely vary in the degree to which they support progressive taxation, but even a flat tax on income would still be a flat percentage of income. That would mean that people with more income would still pay more money than those with less income. Property taxes are likewise based on the value of the property, so those with more valuable property pay more money than those with less valuable property or no property. And consumption taxes, like sales taxes, a VAT, or other excise taxes are also borne more by those with more money to spend. The only government revenue sources that are the same for every individual are fees for specific services, like getting a driver’s license.

        Any tax that is a single value where all individuals would pay the same amount, not the same percentage, will result in people with less means to pay the tax shouldering a larger burden as a proportion of their means than those with greater wealth. I just don’t see very many Americans accepting this. I know I wouldn’t.

        1. Gah. The “mute user” addition is welcome, but now they really need to add the ability to edit a post for a few minutes, or add a preview function. I hate when I forget to close italics.

          1. To be fair, advocating higher taxation on a libertarian site is essentially trolling.

            1. “To be fair, advocating higher taxation on a libertarian site is essentially trolling.”

              I didn’t advocate for higher taxation. Or do you mean progressive taxation? I’m not clear on what you think I am “trolling” on.

              Besides, if advocating for things that are counter to libertarian ideology counts as trolling, then you are saying that you want Reason to be an echo chamber. Only libertarian ideas can be expressed, or else you are just trying to provoke us by disagreeing with what we believe!

              1. That’s not exactly what I said. Many libertarians believe that taxation is theft. Don’t be shocked that you’re getting a negative response.

        2. I would. Government bloat and waste would disappear overnight. We are not undertaxed. We are over governed. Progressive taxation enables this.

          1. In 2019, all levels of government in the U.S. spent about $7.3 trillion. That works out to about $22,000 per person, in a year prior to COVID. Of course, that includes children, the elderly, and the disabled. Does that sound like something that even half of working people could afford? I think that is your point. If everyone had to pay an even share, those with lower income wouldn’t be able to afford it and would stop demanding so much from government, right? Then the rest of us wouldn’t have to pay for the free-loaders!

        3. “Any tax that is a single value where all individuals would pay the same amount, not the same percentage, will result in people with less means to pay the tax shouldering a larger burden as a proportion of their means than those with greater wealth. I just don’t see very many Americans accepting this. I know I wouldn’t.”

          You might have missed my point. It is far too easy to support (and demand) lots of spending when you think someone else will pay for it. If you would not support paying a head tax to the tune of $20,000, then you should not support an equivalent amount of spending.

          1. “It is far too easy to support (and demand) lots of spending when you think someone else will pay for it.”

            That can certainly be a problem, but I would submit that it is much less of a problem than expecting lower income workers or others with less means to pay the same dollar amount in taxes as people with six-figure salaries, homes worth half a million or more, and so on, let alone people truly wealthy.

            Do you really think that someone pulling in a million or more a year in various forms of income should pay the same ~$20k a year in taxes as someone that is earning hardly any more than that in wages working a full time job? (40 hrs a week @ $15/hr wages would be a gross salary of ~$30k a year.)

        4. “ the tax burden should be in proportion to a person’s ability to pay the tax.”

          You could give it a catchy slogan like: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

      3. “And to drive that point home, eliminate all income, business, and sales taxes…”


        “…and impose a uniform head tax.”

        A tax on simply being alive here that is regressive in effect? No. Try a land value tax to capture the market rental value of land minus improvements, Pigouvian taxes on industrial pollution, and severance taxes on natural resource depletion. We tax and double-tax positive economic activity rather than what we should be taxing, which is the legal privilege to monopolize the commons.

        1. Are you the same land value tax guy who keeps popping in every few months, or are you a new one?

          It’s an interesting concept, but American politicians are firmly hooked on the IRS and the many levers that they can push and pull in the tax code.

          1. You could see it if it has greater efficiencies, but it is essentially going to take some less bloated country to punch above its weight before it goes anywhere.

            As the economist chant “it is the least bad tax”.

    2. “I will again suggest that we are undertaxed”

      I will again, not suggest, but point out, that you’ve geot your head too far up you ass.
      Fuck off and die, slaver.

      1. Oooh, someone to use the new comment feature on! Awesome!

        1. Like you?

            1. Thanks!

    3. Write a check then, if you feel we are so undertaxed:

      1. When he says ‘we’ he really means ‘everyone else.’

    4. People like the govt services they receive when they are paying less than the market cost, or even nothing, for those services.

      1. But I heard that people choosing not to work because it pays more than working is a myth.

        1. You’ve been listening to Jeff and Tony again I see.

        2. Also CNN is going hard to defend the terrible jobs numbers.

          Steve Krakauer
          CNN “economic commentator” Catherine Rampell floats the idea that one “factor” for why the job growth was so slow in the latest report is because people are worried about “the risk of, frankly, getting assaulted at work if you tell a customer to wear a mask.”


          1. So…Trump’s fault. Shocking.

          2. Then don’t tell them they have to wear a mask. In the amount of time they spend arguing with them they have spewed more air then if they just take the money and get them out as fast as possible. Most people will put on a mask if required even if they think it is an empty gesture. Most put them on even when not required. Was at Walmart yesterday, they no longer require masks at this particular branch and I would say 95% of the people still had masks on.

            Watched a video recently of a lady being arrested because she would not wear a mask in a bank. What was the point, any observer could see this lady had mental issues, so just sever her and get her out. Instead the bank manager stopped all service whilst she was in the bank and waited for her to be removed…that really slowed the spread right?

          3. LOL just when I thought I’d heard it all.

            But even if true sounds like a pretty good reason to ditch the masks, as we have a year of data showing they do nothing at all to stop covid.

        3. Poor jobs report due to government spending is keeping people at home. SleepyJoe says the solution is more government spending!

    5. . . . tax at an appropriate level to the services that government provides.

      In other words, we’re over-taxed then.

      Because a ton of government ‘services’ aren’t provided to *me* – but I’m still paying for them. And the ones that are, are of ahite quality.

      Why the fuck would I support raising taxes to cover cowboy poetry festivals? To support more interference in housing by HUD? To pay for other people’s rent checks? For the TSA – I don’t even fly. Mostly because of the TSA.

      Raising taxes to cover expenditures is fine if the expenditures were worthwhile. Mostly they’re not.

      90% of my tax is paid to the federal government. 90% of the government services I receive come from my state and county governments.

      1. States should collect income tax and just pass on 10% to the feds to spend.

        1. That is a good idea. Our tax structure is ass backwards which leads to the high powered federal.

        2. Tried roughly that once with the Articles of Confederation.

      2. You should pay more taxes because the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Private Housing needs more agents to protect squatters that refuse to pay their rent. That’s why.

      3. First I find it hard to believe that you pay 90% of your taxes to the Feds. If you did a honest accounting I suspect that you would find well over 50% is Federal, but a significant amount was state and local. As for services, most are provided not at state level but at the county and city levels. These services are often funded in part or total by Federal money’s. This often comes up because of the question of dependency on Federal funds with many red states taking significant amounts of Federal money to provide services.

        1. Ah. So, “………provided at the county and city levels…..are often funded… federal moneys.”

          I’m sure there’s no skimming going on as the government parasites pass other people’s money back and forth. Sounds great, mod. Haha.

        2. Fair enough – let me clarify; I pay 90% of my *income* tax to the feds.

        3. These services are often funded in part or total by Federal money’s.

          No, they’re not.

          They’re funded by my money taken by the federal government and then passed back out to the states.

          So . . . why? Why am I giving money to the federal government so that it can then give it to the state? Why not just give it to the state directly?

          This often comes up because of the question of dependency on Federal funds with many red states taking significant amounts of Federal money to provide services.

          Only by those people trying to justify why we in red states should shut the fuck up and do what we are told – or by people looking for a handout for their ‘charity’ in a red state.

          Get rid of federal redistribution. Poor places can still fund police and fire departments but might have to cut back on ‘diversity outreach programs’. How horrible.

      4. “Because a ton of government ‘services’ aren’t provided to *me* – but I’m still paying for them.”

        There never has been, nor never will be a la carte government. You pay for it all, whether you use it all or not. You get a say in what services government provides and how much to pay at the ballot box and that is all. If you don’t like that, the only alternatives are countries where you don’t even get a vote. Well, you could try and corrupt representative government here and seize power for yourself and others like you and impose your will on everyone. Then you certainly wouldn’t have to pay for the programs that other voters want.

    6. Haha. Yeah. That water feature in your city councilman’s office of 50 people, (with a dozen more ‘contracted’ to maintain said water feature,) ain’t gonna pay for itself!

  6. Thank you very much for the nice informative article.
    I truly believe government era has no end especially in crisis like covid 19 but yes, there are pretty good initiatives from gvts as well.
    njmc direct which is a government site where people of nj can have their traffic tickets ready for payment.

  7. It took this many words to say Democrats have no political will to raise taxes to match their expenditures and Republicans have no political will to cut popular programs to achieve balance with their desired low taxes?

    There is no such political will among people to pay taxes or lose services. So we are going to reach the same fate as every other society that has reached that apex.

    1. The problem is if democrats got their raised taxes they would just spend more.

      1. This. I do not care which party it is that is doing the spending – they will always spend more than they bring it. That is inevitable.

        The only proper response is to limit taxation.

        Limiting taxation is the only real limit on the size and reach of any government.

  8. “but they effectively traded away any serious claim to being fiscal conservatives after overseeing deficit-hiking spending increases and tax cuts that were supposed to pay for themselves but didn’t under President Donald Trump.”

    They were paying for themselves if they were allowed to remain. Try again with your tds boehm.

    ” Taxes: Critics of the Trump tax cuts said they would blow a hole in the deficit. Yet individual income taxes climbed 6% in the just-ended fiscal year 2018, as the economy grew faster and created more jobs than expected. The Treasury Department reported this week that individual income tax collections for FY 2018 totaled $1.7 trillion. That’s up $14 billion from fiscal 2017, and an all-time high. And that’s despite the fact that individual income tax rates got a significant cut this year as part of President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan”

    1. “…They were paying for themselves if they were allowed to remain. Try again with your tds boehm…”

      Boehm’s trying to justify his TDS; hoping no one will notice there *is* a difference, regardless of his bullshit.

      1. You saved me the trouble.

    2. Yeah, both sides bad.
      But Biden is way worse, and quantifiably so.

    3. Anyone who asks for tax cuts to be paid for is an idiot and not a libertarian.

      1. Asking for a reduction in government spending is not Libertarian? Asking that the government not add to our debt without some crisis requiring it is idiotic?

        You guys and your war on algebra.

        Jesse, you are not libertarian, or even a classical liberal, or even anything other than a basic garbage authoritarian.

    4. You wrote: “They were paying for themselves if they were allowed to remain.”

      However, the article said:

      “Does that mean Trump’s tax cuts are fully “paying for themselves”? We wouldn’t make that argument. But the faster economic growth is clearly offsetting at least some of their costs — which is precisely what backers said would happen.”

      It seems you didn’t finish reading the article that you linked.

      The idea that tax cuts could ever “pay for themselves” is based on the “Laffer Curve” concept. This article that explains the history and argument of the Laffer Curve and offers criticism of the concept and does at least as good a job as I could, so I’ll suggest that you read it, rather than type up something myself.

      1. Clearly if the tax cuts achieved RECORD FEDERAL INCOME TAX RECEIPTS the problem with the deficit wasn’t tax revenue you dumb schmuck

        1. “Clearly if the tax cuts achieved RECORD FEDERAL INCOME TAX RECEIPTS…”

          You either aren’t thinking through what I am talking about, or you are just ignoring it and repeating what you already said. Once you have shown some understanding of this Laffer Curve concept and the criticisms of it, then we can discuss further.

          1. If they don’t understand one or more words in your comment, they get mad. They also get mad when you tell them you are going to “break it down barney-style” for them. Can’t win.

          2. I give 0 fucks about your strawman Laffer curve. You’re overthinking this because you’re trying to be intellectual like most dumbass lefties.

            Trumps tax cuts led to RECORD TAX RECEIPTS for the fed gov. Do you understand that reality is antithetical to your point that were under taxed you mongoloid? You keep saying we’re under taxed and we need more tax income to provide more services. But reality shows that when taxes and regulations are lowered federal tax receipts increase. Reality also shows deficits are created by over spending not under taxing. You’re just too dumb to connect the dots.

      2. There is no way to ‘say it better’ when the topic is trying to figure out how to get more of other people’s money into the hands of government parasites.

        It’s just ugly all the way through.

  9. A large and growing amount of debt … leaves the federal government with less wiggle room to address the next crisis when it comes.

    Heh. It’s *all* “wiggle room” at this point.

    1. They didn’t have any emergency fund for the last crisis they created. They just printed more.

  10. “Is there any hope to check the growth of the state?”

    Eventually, like a dying star, it will get so big that it will collapse under it’s own weight.

  11. There’s only one solution, prohibit government from initiating force. I suggest a 28th amendment, “Government shall not initiate force.”

    1. Difficulty. All citizen action will be declared white supremecy and right wing terrorism authorizing force.

  12. “Is there any hope to check the growth of the state?”

    Yes, Trump…
    Oh wait, you didn’t like that hope.

    1. Not allowed to point out tax cuts or reduced regulatory state.

    2. How was Trump checking the growth of the state? By setting the previous record for deficits twice? By trying to make elections obsolete?

      1. Deficits are not a measure of the size of the state. It’s a reflection of the financing method. If you buy a $1 million house and I buy a $2 million house, whose house is more expensive? By your logic you can’t tell until you know how they were financed.

      2. “By trying to make elections obsolete?”

        Massive electoral fraud isn’t doing that?

  13. Been listening to libertarians say this shit for decades. Nobody else cares dude.

    1. It’s especially inane coming from faux libertarians who objectively chose. or outright supported Biden over the alternative.

      1. Faux libertarians are the ones demanding fealty to the traitorous, conman supporting, fully delusional, anti liberty party of the GOP.

        1. I truly appreciate the new mute feature. It was obvious who I should mute immediately: SQRLSY and Kirkland. Now I don’t have to read nonsense about plastic flutes and getting things shoved down my throat. As I knew this option would limit the available viewpoints on, I have decided to use it sparingly. Congratulations, DOL, on making the cut! As you add nothing useful to the discussions, I have decided to read your drivel no longer. Consider it a badge of honor that you are now have no more impact than a sandwich board wearing street preacher who I can ignore as easily online as I can when walking down the street. Kudos!

          1. Oh look, another snowflake who can’t tolerate having their carefully constructed delusions challenged. I’m absolutely cut up over here, if you couldn’t tell.

  14. Unless personal responsibility and accountability become more valued among individuals throughout society, then the growth of the state will continue unchecked. No political party or legislative initiative will fix it, whether it comes from the Dems, Republicans, or even the LP.

    Teach your kids, and try not to wade into the bullshit.

  15. Once upon a time, the rallying call for American democracy was “No Taxation Without Representation!”

    Now we desperately need “No Representation Without Taxation!”

    1. I’m fucking sick of this martyr act. Taxpayers ain’t paying for government spending. Your children and grandchildren are.

      1. Yeah, I’m not paying any taxes at all.
        What a pathetic piece of shit…

        1. Not only pathetic, it’s stupid.

          Yes we pay taxes. Most of us are also heirs. Even if we didn’t actually inherit anything, or much of anything, taxes have acted to reduce our potential inheritance, and will further reduce any potential inheritance of our heirs.

          Taxpayers are indeed paying for government spending.

      2. Yes they are. There is no longer enough people or countries to by all our debt. So now we inflate our currency to compensate. Which steadily diluted the value of our dollars. This is just back door taxation, and it takes what we have now.

        1. This is yet more bullshit and nonsense. Libertarians are quickly becoming econ/market ignoramii. We are the reserve currency and there is zero indication that that is changing. When/if short-term T-bonds rollover and rise above an interest rate of 0.1%, THEN and only then is there a possibility that our debt won’t have a market and that taxpayers will have to fund spending. Until then of course, this whole taxpayer victim shit just becomes an excuse to jack up spending as long as it is debt-fueled.

          Further, you clowns either don’t know what inflation is or don’t know what causes it. Because there is a massive correlation between ‘taxpayers’ and ‘people who benefit from inflation because they already own their own homes and retirement savings’. Children and grandchildren are getting doubly screwed by that – the debt and the price of the assets they will need to purchase in future.

          1. Wave them arms, JFree! Shovel that bullshit!

          2. Lol. Can you add MMT to your bullshit?

            1. You are a big fan of MMT too, Jesse. Just as long as no one calls it that. Like a toddler who does not like their vegetables and has to be tricked, you can and do like MMT, as long as the marketing around it is dressed up in nativism and delivered by big, pink white faces.

              Trump was a big, yuge fan of MMT.

              What do you think a big ol’ tax break and addition to the debt was that preceded jobs growth? That is the Keynesian spending multiplier in action, baby! You fucking retards went full Keynes to an 11 on the scale, then called it liberty. But when Obama did 1/2 of that, it was a debt crisis.

              Go ahead, Jesse. Do one of your 5 minute google search expert sessions on “Government spending multiplier”.

              Can you be any more transparent?

              1. Looks like you hit a nerve, Jesse. He just went ad hominem and is now trying to call tax relief “Keynesian”.

          3. There have been moves to make dollars not the reserve currency. Oil sales happening in something other than dollars, for example, would be worrying, and Saudi Arabia already threatened to end petrodollar sales over the NOPEC bill. If or as Saudi Arabia becomes estranged from the US, the likelihood of the petrodollar system falling apart increases.

            (The US dollar being the reserve currency is entirely due to the oil market being denominated in dollars. If that changes, all bets are off).

            1. I agree that the dollar is basically an oil-trade-backed currency. The threat to that is not in the form of a direct threat to oil producers. That – military spending in OPEC areas and on the seas – HAS BEEN the rationale of the US for decades. But the real threat is the replacement of oil by wind and solar. Those don’t require an overloaded military. No one can threaten to take over the sun or monopolize the wind. Our military spending becomes irrelevant – rather than something that will be subsidized by others, via currency demand, because they benefit from it too. It will change everything and we are oblivious.

              The main reason it is the reserve currency is because the US is the only big-enough country that is willing to sacrifice exports in order to continually pump currency into the global market. Basically we are willing to tolerate the massive structural disruptions of a permanent current account deficit. That is arithmetically what produces a reserve currency.

      3. Dumb comment. I’m quite fucking sure I pay a lot in taxes.

      4. Our children and grandchildren won’t be taxpayers?

      5. And I am fucking sick of a “democracy” where close to a majority of voters pay no net federal taxes, but claim the “right” to demand all kinds of material federal benefits.

        1. “And I am fucking sick of a “democracy” where close to a majority of voters pay no net federal taxes…”

          This is along the lines of Mitt Romney’s viral “47%” comment from the 2012 election campaign. The idea comes down to viewing some people as “makers” and others as “takers” when it comes to economics and government spending. We all would like for everyone to contribute their “fair share”, which explains the appeal of this narrative.

          That figure originally came from a 2009 study by the Tax Policy Center. Now, using that year as a source for that kind of analysis is a bit misleading, as it was the peak of the Great Recession when large numbers of people were out of work or working only part time. The TPC did that analysis again in 2013 and found that it had dropped to 44% as the economy improved, and they were projecting that it would continue to drop. See here for their update from 2013.

          They also point out in that link that the people that pay no net federal income taxes are not who you think they are. For instance, nearly half of them are actually seniors living primarily on Social Security. And while they may not owe federal income tax, most of the rest are working and paying payroll taxes into Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. There are only a very few that pay no federal taxes on income at all. It was actually part of Reagan’s tax reform that resulted in people below the poverty line not paying any federal income tax.

          You said federal taxes, but there is also the fact that federal taxes on income and wages aren’t the only taxes out there. The federal government also imposes other taxes that people will either pay directly (like gas taxes) or indirectly as the businesses that pay them pass those costs along to consumers (such as with tariffs).

          Far fewer people gain benefits from government (federal or state or local) without paying at least some taxes than you think.

  16. Check your government privilege.

  17. I blame bloated government on people, specifically just the sheer number of people.

    I have long mused about what happens as the number of people that interact in a group increases, the shenanigans people induce increases more rapidly. Any population increase must lead to a corresponding exponential increase in the number of interactions, and the opportunity to fuck with others.

    And nothing promotes fucking with each other like government.

    I also suspect that the f(government) equation must have a time factor. The longer a society exists, the worse the fuckery gets. See Iraq.

    1. I blame bloated people (jeff) for our government.

  18. LiBeRtArIaN mOmEnT!11

    How was it? Did you enjoy it?

    1. “It’s been good for me if it’s been good for you”

  19. The era of small government is over

    That’s be nice, but I have a feeling once these Republican buttholes get back in power they’ll probably start clamoring for war with China or whatever flavor-of-the-month enemy (who always seems to be someone nationalizing an oil well somewhere) they come up with. Not to mention the big $$$ they’ll be spending on their social engineering projects related to abortion restrictions and border walls. Yeah, I’ll be paying plenty for that horseshit too.

    1. So you suggest we end social engineering projects funded by the federal government? I can drink to that.

    2. “…Republican buttholes get back in power they’ll probably start clamoring for war with China or whatever flavor-of-the-month enemy…”

      Asshole here probably missed that we just had an R POTUS, and unlike the prior D POTUS, he didn’t start a single war.
      If steaming piles of lefty shit were required to tell the truth, they wouldn’t speak at all.

      1. Well… one thing I’ve got to give you… at least Trump decreased the military budget to 33.4 billion dollars. I didn’t know that!

    3. Yes. We started so many wars under trump.

  20. Missing from this article is the >700 billion we spend on the military. I can’t figure out where that money goes, really. Breeding right-wing terrorism? Don’t know. Maybe before we bitch about Social Security and Medicare and how we don’t like money going to old people and the poor we should look into how much we spend preparing to bomb the next third world peasant army. I know, I know US hegemony and terror is built into the Constitution so we reasonably can’t— oh, I don’t know— have a fucking Revolution to dismantle this country’s militarism and elitism, but Geesch can’t we have a little heart for someone besides Elon Musk, please?

    1. Always, always, always try to shift it around to some other program.

      If they went after the military you’d be complaining that that some other program wasn’t on the chopping block instead.

      Because you don’t want to shrink government spending and power, you want to increase it.

    2. I agree we should spend less on the military. Close all foreign bases. And then stop spending on social programs. Those are local/individual responsibilities.

      1. Clearly wrong… maybe your first problem is you don’t know how much money is spent on everything.

        Defense spending amounted to $714 billion in FY 2020—and is expected to increase to $733 billion in FY 2021.

        We testified about ways that DOD can better manage defense spending. For instance, DOD could more clearly determine resource needs related to overseas contingency operations. DOD could also strengthen its efforts to avoid payment errors—the agency made about $11.4 billion in payment errors in 2020. DOD should also continue working on its department-wide reforms.

      2. Maybe if you’re off by a factor of ~20 on what exactly the US is spending on defense spending (it’s 3rd largest expenditure) you should really take a hard look and consider the wisdom of posting on a libertarian comment page.

        1. I stand corrected.
          Looking for actual data on what is spent on defense compared to welfare with little success.

      3. BTW, the total of “S/S and Welfare”, “Health” and “Education” already totals 10 times the defense budget, which, you’ll notice is actually 1/20th the size commie kid claims.
        Hey, any number with close to the same number of zeros is close enough for uneducated pieces of shit like this!

    3. The first step might be to convince people that government violence against people who aren’t trying to hurt you is bad.

      1. Everybody is convinced of that. You’re problem is that you believe in the fairy tale that this is a problem in the US.

        1. “Everyone is convinced of that.”
          That’s completely untrue.

          1. Can you give examples of widespread endorsements of “government violence against people who aren’t trying to hurt” other people?

            1. Are you joking?

              Consider almost every sort of victimless crime – from drugs, to prostitution, to the banning of all manner of devices the government thinks you cannot be trusted to posses or use safely.

            2. The entire left, and the pussies in the middle and right who acquiesce to their totalitarianism

      2. Drug prohibition isn’t a problem?

        1. It is a problem. It’s “government violence against people who aren’t trying to hurt you.”

          1. How is “drug prohibition” per se “violence”?

            What definition of “violence” are you using here?

            1. Throwing people in cages for possessing plants you don’t like.

              1. “Throwing people in cages” may or may not be violence, depending on the circumstances, but that is a consequence of drug use, not of drug prohibition.

                1. No, it wouldn’t happen at all without drug prohibition.

                  Unless you think people who carry plants you don’t approve of just end up in cages automatically.

                  What makes you think that laws against possession of unapproved plants have nothing to do with people arrested for possessing unapproved plants?

                  1. First of all, I am for drug legalization. I approve of all plants. What I am saying is that the libertarian focus on this issue is absurd, as are the hysterical rhetoric surrounding it, and you are providing plenty of examples of that.

                    You know what else people can get thrown in prison for? Not paying taxes. And the government forcing me to pay taxes causes me a lot more harm than the government forcing me not to take drugs.

                    Yet, libertarians and Reason obsess about decriminalizing drugs but not decriminalizing tax evasion.

                2. And how do you classify throwing people in cages against their will as non-violence

            2. All law is violence. Otherwise there would be no reason to make it law.

              Willfully obtuse is not a winning rhetorical strategy.

              1. I’m not being “willfully obtuse”, your notion that “all law is violence” is absurd.

                And such absurdity is clearly not a “winning strategy”, given that drugs haven’t been legalized.

                1. And how are laws enforced again, exactly?

                  ThomasD is right, all law is violence.

                  1. If all laws are violence, does that mean you want to abolish all laws? Or do you think some violence is good?

                    And why do you focus on drug legalization instead of legalizing tax evasion? The 50% the government takes from my earnings hurts me a lot more than the prohibition against taking drugs.

                    1. Retaliatory force is justified, ergo, the only legitimate actions of the state are retaliatory. (ie, legitimate law only prohibits violence or its proxies (rights violations), and state action to enforce such a prohibition is justified because its a response to another party initiating force).

                      I wouldn’t say I’m purely focused on drug legalization, but it does seem more realistic than many other avenues, considering the success of marijuana legalization at the state level.

                      As far as tax evasion goes, ideally government would be voluntarily funded, but realistically, some (small) level of taxation is probably necessary for a functioning system. It isn’t perfectly just (what about the real world is), but if the state was limited to otherwise legitimate functions, the level of taxation (and thus the unjustness) would be incredibly small.

                      Just like ‘no covid cases’ is an unrealistic goal in the face of a pandemic, ‘no unjustness’ is an unrealistic goal in the face of reality. Minimizing unjustness should be the goal.

                    2. So, in summary: state action in response to tax evasion is not justified under your moral framework, but to hell with principles, the state needs money!

                      And if you can piggyback on pot smoking socialists successfully agitating for pot legalization, then that’s a victory for libertarianism!

                      And you wonder why people don’t take libertarians seriously.

              2. Correct but there is law requiring initiatory force which is immoral and law requiring retaliatory force which is moral. Drug prohibition is immoral.

                1. So, in your analysis, do laws against tax evasion follow into the moral or the immoral category?

                  1. Taxation is robbery.

        2. The crime and drug use problems in the US will not be solved by legalizing drugs.

          1. No. But it changes drugs from a criminal problem to a social problem. And people caught using will no longer have a criminal record as a result. That affects things like employment. They also will not have their car or house taken as a result. And there will be access to safer drugs. And what someone ingests is none of my business provided I’m not subsidizing that lifestyle.

            1. Even if that were all true, the cost of the war on drugs has been about $1T since 1971; that’s what Biden spends in two weeks. And contrary to what you believe, drug users rarely get punished for just drug use.

              Furthermore, even from a libertarian perspective, you are analyzing the problem incorrectly. The problem isn’t that drugs are illegal, the problem is that government subsidizes the costs of drug use. That’s why people use. And the drug dealers, the people that end up in prison, simply pick some other lucrative criminal activity to make money with.

              I actually do think that drugs should be legalized. But at the same time, I think people like you are naive and ignorant of what’s going on. Drug prohibition is simply not the major issue libertarians make of it. Lifting drug prohibition would change very little. It’s a pointless obsession of libertarians.

              And that’s why libertarianism keeps losing.

              1. The war on drugs has cost a lot more than $1T. You have to account for the lost productivity of a legal drug market in terms of lost jobs and capital investment, and even personal happiness. And the lost productivity from all those people who got thrown in jail (or killed) who could otherwise have lived productive lives, solely for drug-related reasons. (And we still wouldn’t have accounted for all the damage done, since enforcement actions also frequently cause substantial property damage). And then we have to account for the lost returns on whatever that $1T could have been spent on instead. You’re failing to account for the ‘unseen’ – we can see what government spent on it, but not all the lost opportunities that never happened because we chose this path.

                Nor is it true that all drug dealers would become criminals of some other stripe. Criminality is not generally an innate feature of individuals.

                1. You’re failing to account for the ‘unseen’ – we can see what government spent on it, but not all the lost opportunities that never happened because we chose this path.

                  I’m not failing to account for anything since I’m not making an argument for or against drug legalization, you are (FWIW, I favor legalizing drugs.)

                  What I’m saying is that drug legalization is an irrelevant political distraction. Drugs and drug enforcement are not what’s bankrupting this country or driving this country towards authoritarian socialism.

                  And you just proved my point again.

                  1. All the states making pot legal while giving the finger to the feds is a strong counter point to your argument.

                    1. How is winning on an irrelevant issue (where libertarians and socialists happen to agree) while the country is careening off an economic cliff a “counterpoint”?

                      To the contrary, this supports my point: you think you’re scoring big victories because of winning on pot all the while the US is careening off a cliff economically, fiscally, and socially.

                  2. Win the battles you can win, and use them as a demonstration of your principles in action to persuade people that your position is justified.

                    You’re never going to convince enough people that welfare programs are unjustified solely on the basis of your arguments about welfare programs. You need to sell them on the philosophy through policies they can see in action. Drug legalization is a gateway position to libertarianism.

                    1. Drug legalization seems like a bad gateway libertarianism. First of all, you get in bed with the radical left in pushing for it. Furthermore, if you succeed, people are going to blame you for every drug death and drug related problem. Third, you buy into the progressive delusion that all the country needs are the right laws and the right people in charge.

                    2. People blame whites for every black death that doesn’t make it true.

              2. People use drugs because government subsidizes it? Explain further.
                The war on drugs is expensive and turns a victimless activity into a crime. Absolutely in the libertarian lane to address.

                1. People use drugs because government subsidizes it? Explain further.

                  Government subsidizes the consequences of drug use: emergency room treatments, drug treatment, disability, medical care, unemployment insurance, etc. Those subsidies enable long term drug abuse. Without them, drug users would face the choice of either dying or submitting to conditions private charities would impose on continued aid.

                  Absolutely in the libertarian lane to address.

                  I agree, and I’m all for legalizing drugs. But the issue is a distraction and of little interest to mainstream America. So while libertarians have obsessed about such side-issues, the country has turned to authoritarian socialism and economic ruin.

                  In any case, we’re doing a post mortem analysis of the nation and of libertarianism here.

                  1. So without the government subsidies the drug use would be gone (or gone from sight and handled by private charities)?

                    1. Without government intervention, most serious drug users would likely be dead from overdoses and/or starvation, and people would be much more scared of the consequences of drug use. That’s the way free societies are supposed to work: people behave well because they have to fear the consequences and costs of bad behavior.

                      To be clear, I’m not advocating withdrawing government drug treatment programs. I’m simply pointing out that there are two relevant policies associated with drug use: criminalization and government programs. Yet, “libertarians” obsessively focus on one over the other, and focus on it to an absurd degree.

                    2. I’m pretty sure more people OD because of government interference. Which sounds safer, buying drugs on the street that are completely unknown or buying them at Walmart?

                    3. Libertarians don’t advocate against government welfare program that you claim prop up the existence/lifestyle of drug users?

                    4. I said that “the crime and drug problem won’t be solved by legalizing drugs”. You seemed to doubt that statement and I simply explained to you why. I’m glad that you seem to have come around to the view that other social programs play a major role in America’s drug and crime problem and that decriminalization won’t fix it.

                      As for what libertarians advocate: they advocate a lot of things. That’s the problem: no focus on what actually matters to voters.

                    5. People OD because addictive drugs become less and less effective, not because they can’t get their drugs at Walmart.

                      I also seriously doubt mainstream businesses would want the liability associated with selling dangerous and addictive substances.

                    6. I agree to end the programs. I’m not convinced they are the driving factor for drug use. Given the current state of unbridled government, not sure any of those are going away anytime soon.
                      This state legalized marijuana and has some libertarian leanings. I’m not sure how legalizing hard drugs would play out. There are methadone clinics and perhaps a similar path could be the way.

                    7. Well, my point remains: it does not matter what libertarians want or don’t want since the US has turned into a progressive welfare state, and a failing one at that.

                      American libertarians could have had both drug legalization and small government if they had played their cards right half a century ago. Instead, the US ended up with neither.

                    8. “I also seriously doubt mainstream businesses would want the liability associated with selling dangerous and addictive substances.”

                      Ever heard of cigarettes and alcohol?

              3. WTF are you talking about? Drugs are the largest criminal enterprise in the country. Almost all the violence is about drugs. It’s a big libertarian issue because it’s the huge violation of liberty.

                1. There are about 2 million prisoners in the US. About 20% are incarcerated for drug-related crimes, that’s 400000 people. The US is a country of 330 million people, so that amounts to 0.13% of the US population. If you go by criminal record rather than current incarceration, about 1% have a drug-related conviction.

                  I’d say that issue shouldn’t be at the top of any political party’s agenda, in particular since it is trivially easy to avoid a criminal conviction for drug use.

                  How about focusing on something that actually matters, like the US government taking half the economic output of the country and squandering it?

                  1. So you don’t have a problem with 400,000 being incarcerated unjustly? You don’t have a problem with 800,000 arrests for cannabis possession every year? You don’t have a problem with the thousands of other drug arrests? The thousands of ODs? The thousands of murders? The sheer immorality, the sheer evil of it is of no concern to you?

                    1. Ironically, you’re pretty much making the same arguments that drug warriors used to make in favor of drug laws: “but think of all the crime associated with drugs, think of the families that are destroyed, think of the overdoses, think of the lost productivity”.

                      In any case, the people in prison for drug related offenses (usually not use but dealing, distribution, smuggling, tax evasion, money laundering, etc.) made a deliberate choice to violate the law and they knew the potential consequences. Often, their actions had horrific consequences for others.

                      “We should legalize drugs so that 400000 repeat drug offenders can be released from prison” just isn’t going to fly politically, it is of dubious utility, and it makes a mockery of law abiding voters who obey all sorts of arbitrary, burdensome, and costly laws every single day. And that’s the hill libertarians die on, over and over again.

                    2. You know who else violated the law? The Founding Fathers. Hiding behind “It’s the law” is for fools and rapscallions.

    4. Half of it goes to Healthcare, housing, and feeding of troops. Then another large percent to troop pay.

      But please campaign on paying troops less.

      1. Well, we could probably have less troops if we didn’t stick our military’s nose into problems half a world away all the time.

        I’m not saying the military is even the first place to cut costs, but there are certainly costs that could be cut.

    5. … is the >700 billion we spend on the military. I can’t figure out where that money goes, really. Breeding right-wing terrorism?

      Nice to see Obama Janet Napolitano checking in.

    6. Don’t know. Maybe before we bitch about Social Security and Medicare and how we don’t like money going to old people and the poor we should look into how much we spend preparing to bomb the next third world peasant army.

      Medicare and Medicaid Services have gone up far more in the last 15 years than defense spending. Outlays for the former were $651 billion in FY05 and $1.79 trillion last fiscal year (against $291 billion in revenues for the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund).

      In the 1950s, defense spending was well over half of ALL federal spending. Now, it’s about 23% and dropping due to price inflation in healthcare spending.

      1. It seems fixing the high cost of health care in this country should be of the highest importance to anyone of any political persuasion. It is both the leading cause of personal bankruptcy and the largest driver of government spending and growth (if you measure it that way).

        1. It’s unquestionably the biggest issue, in my mind. If there’s one thing that could legitimately bankrupt a government that freely prints money, even at rock-bottom interest rates, it’s that.

          I believe the cost of Medicare/Medicaid has gone up about 8% a year for the last 40 years. THAT’S an exponential curve we desperately need to get out of.

    7. When the talk turns to military spending, I always think to the general mismanagement of the DoD’s finances and inventory. Ever since the 90’s, the Government Accountability Office has been sounding the alarm about the Pentagon’s poor accounting and inventory practices, and only in recent years has the whole DoD actually completed an audit. They don’t expect that it will pass a “clean” audit for several years yet as they continue to identify and try and fix the problems that the audits show.

      The military has billions of dollars worth of equipment and items that it simply does not need and keeps ordering more because they don’t know well enough what they already have. And the analyses also show that contractors can be just as bad at this, if not worse. And while I was pleasantly surprised to read that the next stealth bomber program (B-21, which will replace both the B-2 and the B-1 bombers eventually) is more or less on schedule and on budget, that is extremely unusual for a major weapon system. The F-35 has been a fiasco, for instance. It has long gone way over budget and been plagued with major technical problems.

      We really should have listened to Ike.

      1. We really should have listened to Ike.

        Especially this part:

        Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

        People always cite the M-I part of his speech, but they miss the broader point he was trying to make. He’s making an argument against scale and one entity of society gaining too much influence over others to the point that it dominates the national agenda and creates socio-economic dysfunction. That’s why he emphasized the need for “balance” and warned about the implications of rapid technological change on national stability.

        Eisenhower singled out the defense industry because it was the largest government expenditure at the time. That’s not the case anymore, even with all the waste that happens with the DoD. And that part I quoted is just as relevant today as it was back in 1961.

  21. The era of small government was over by the end of WW2 – at the latest.

    You could say it was over once the Great Depression hit.

    Hell, it was over with the Civil War and Reconstruction.

    As always, boil the frog slowly and he doesn’t notice – our esteemed author here is comparing rhetoric from today with rhetoric from yesterday without comparison to rhetoric from 100 years ago.

    1. Small government died much earlier – 1890s-1910.

      That we could even have a President like Woodrow Wilson indicates it must have occurred prior.

  22. As with the party that he now leads, Joe Biden’s evolution from deficit hawk to spendthrift didn’t happen overnight.

    What? Biden has always been pro-government spending. Where do you get the idea that he was a deficit hawk? From campaign speeches? You know – the place where he said he was changing from being a 50 year supporter of the drug war to being anti-cop?

    JFC people.

  23. It also leaves the federal government with less wiggle room to address the next crisis when it comes.

    Good? I mean, you guys have spent the last year bitching about how badly the government handled the Covid pandemic and how botched their response was and the ridiculous things they’re *still* doing.

    So why wouldn’t we want the feds to have less ability to meddle next time something happens?

    You think Katrina was a government success story?

    1. Exactly.

  24. Remember the run up to the November election?
    Because Reason magazine supported Biden!
    The Era of Small Government Is Over Because Biden Is President!
    Way to pickem’ Reason!

    1. It’s almost like they wanted him to win in order to be able to write this sort of article.

      1. You guys are just so used to reading pure propaganda that anything short of fellating Trump is offensive to you now. The solution is to either stop hanging out at partisan sources of “information” entirely, or stop hanging out here entirely.

        The best example of this is how you all deride basically all reputable news organizations as being part of some left wing conspiracy, and cite corrections as proof they are purposefully misreporting. While the real reason none of your preferred right wing sources of “news” hardly issue retractions is that most of them do not do any primary reporting. That’s right. Breitbart and The Federalist are not sending reporters to the news. They are reading CNN and then writing a critical piece. They never gather their own facts; they don’t do the real work. They sit back, bitch, and criticize. Reminds me of another group of people…

        1. This has nothing to do with Trump.

          It has to do with Reason supporting Biden – and then as soon as he’s elected complaining about all the things Biden is doing.

          Even though many of them are the same things Trump was doing.

          1. That’s the point. Reason did not and does not “support Biden”. That is your perception which has been skewed by partisan sources.

    2. “Because Reason magazine supported Biden!”

      They did? I missed the articles endorsing him or singing the praises of his big government proposals. Or do you mean that criticizing Trump counts as having supported Biden?

  25. Which era was that? Back when they only spent 4 trillion a year, like 3 years ago? Trump jacked it up to 6 trillion with all the lockdown “stimulus”. I was worried Biden would use that as the new baseline (as Obama did with the 0.8 trillion TARP Bush spending, which seems quaint these days). Instead he doubled it to 12 trillion, and bumped taxes up enought to cover what Trump was spending, but not all the new trillions to fight the weather and make community college affordable again.

  26. National debt clock check in: 28.26 trillion dollars.
    Not counting the 4 trillion in Biden’s new spending that doesn’t have tax hikes matched to it. So it will soon be 32 trillion or so.

    Deficits and debt don’t matter?
    As recently as 2008 it was only 10.1 trillion.

  27. The last time the US government did anything fiscally responsible was 2005 and the last time we did anything both responsible AND significant was 1995. That was the last time we set up a commission to figure out our military needs and recommended closing bases that no longer met those.

    Constitutionally, that is required every two years – every fucking Congress. During the Cold War, we still managed to do that every five years or so even if it was a bit pretend. Now – crickets. If I were to guess, only the Congressional Black Caucus even pays lip service to controlling the empire’s legions.

    1. and recommended closing bases that no longer met those.

      Of course we didn’t actually close those bases. But we *thought* about it.

  28. The voters figured out that if they keep politicians in who promise Santa Claus all the time, they’ll get more stuff. The voters don’t care that money has to be printed to pay for all this shit and that the money isn’t backed by anything except a vague promise. They will care as inflation eats away their savings and retirement, but by then it’s too late.

    So let the economy crash, let there be some economic pain, and then once the congress is cleaned out with hopefully some convictions to federal prison, then we can start over. That means once and for all ending liberalism and left wing ideology for good.

  29. The era of small government is over.
    Just like the era of healthy weight is over.

  30. Sure it will end: when the money runs out and the economy collapses, which will be sooner rather than later.

    Reason should be proud for having done its (small) part in bringing about bankruptcy and economic collapse and thereby helping the US become just like Somalia!

    1. That “…just like Somalia” canard against libertarianism is one long dead and rotten duck. Somalia does not suffer from a deficit of government but a surfeit of governments. At its original and most basic level a government is just a pol and a cop working together to abuse someone(s) in some area. Somalia’s problem is that every few square miles has an authoritarian government of a “warlord” pol and his goon cops, and having too many governments is just another way of having too much government.

      1. I agree. Therefore: Reason is a fake libertarian magazine helping to bring about bankruptcy and economic collapse in the US similar to that found in Somalia.

        That is, neither Reason nor Somalia are “libertarian”, though various confused people think that either or both are.

        Congratulations, Captain Obvious, for figuring it out!

        1. “Over his first three years in office—that is, even before you factor in any emergency spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic—Trump oversaw a hike in federal expenditures of about $900 billion. That’s equal to the amount Obama added to the federal budget baseline, but Trump accomplished it in less than half as much time.”

          That reads like Reason making a direct and accurate attack against the two POTUSes and their admins that most accelerated toward your “bankruptcy and economic collapse in the US.” Reason is a good limited government libertarian outlet. Would I be happier if they were both harsher in tone and more anarcho-capitalist, yes; but such narrow marketing to the few anarchists would be neither as viable nor as broadly influential for Reason.

          1. Yeah, that’s what people like you actually believe: that quoting two dollar numbers and expressing dislike for two men amounts to an effective economic argument or “attack”, and that it is actually “influential”.

            In reality, the origins of the current failure go back decades, and so do the failures of the libertarian movement to advocate effectively for small government and individual liberty. Instead, it obsessed about issues that are relevant only to a tiny fringe of voters.

            1. Funny how you keep insisting everyone else is looking at the wrong thing, but you have not once told us what the right thing to be concerned about is? Apparently not the drug war, not deficits, not military expenditures….what then?

              1. At this point, what you should be concerned about is making it through the inevitable economic and social turmoil; political advocacy isn’t going to help. It won’t make one iota of a difference who the next president or Congress is.

                Historically, libertarians should have been concerned about teaching personal responsibility and business skills, something that would have made libertarianism and small government actually attractive to future generations.

                1. Mmk. Then why are you here, talking about politics. I sense a bit of too cool for school here.

                  And civilization isn’t going to collapse, even if our current government did. Preppers are just another type of delusional asshole.

        2. “Here’s a look at average GDP growth rates under the last six U.S. presidents:

          Jimmy Carter (D): 3.25%
          Ronald Reagan (R): 3.48%
          George H.W. Bush (R): 2.25%
          Bill Clinton (D): 3.88%
          George W. Bush (R): 2.2%
          Barack Obama (D): 1.62%
          Donald Trump (R): 0.95%

          In his first four years in office, Trump has had by far the lowest average U.S. GDP growth rate of any of the last seven U.S. presidents.”

          And GDP growth’s rapid shrinkage under those two clowns compared to all modern ones shows just how heavy footed was their acceleration toward your “bankruptcy and economic collapse in the US.”

          1. Trump’s last year in office included many states almost completely shuttering their economies.
            Real DGP growth prior to 2020:
            2017 was 2.3%
            2018 was 3%
            2019 was 2.2%

            1. ““Here’s a look at average GDP growth rates under the last six U.S. presidents:”

              Whenever you see that look at the name of the commenter and recognize that they are probably a troll being paid to spam that everywhere they can.

              1. If you need it written more ways from more sources, similar comparisons of Trump’s horrible complete economic record are easy to find”

                “President Donald Trump still can’t accept the numbers measuring his loss to Joe Biden: more than 7 million popular votes and 74 electoral votes.
                But another set of numbers adds insult to his psychological injury. They show that — notwithstanding lies as promiscuous as the ones he tells about election fraud — Trump will leave office in January with a historically bad record on the economy.
                That sounds discordant since many Americans believe the economic fable that Trump has repeated relentlessly throughout his term. But placing his bottom-line results alongside those of his predecessors paints a deeply unflattering portrait.

                Alone among the 13 presidents since World War Two, Trump will exit the White House with fewer Americans employed than when he started. He will have overseen punier growth in economic output than any of the previous 12 presidents.”


                1. It was disingenuous to omit the impact of COVID lockdowns in 2020. Continuing to post won’t change that.

                  1. No, you omitting Trump’s total failed economic record is disingenuous; but as the same article notes, if you had just followed the link, even with your preferred edits even Trump’s partial record is one of blunder leading to his greater blunder in total.

                    “‘Trump’s economic record ranks near or at the bottom compared with other presidents,’ concludes Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi, who compared the economic results of all presidents from the last 70 years. ‘The economy under his watch has performed very poorly.’
                    To be sure, the deadliest public health pandemic in a century has devastated economic activity during this last year of the President’s term. But responding to unexpected catastrophe — from hurricanes to terrorist attacks to civil unrest to financial crises — represents a big part of the job. And, as Zandi notes, Trump’s bungled coronavirus response has exacerbated and extended damage to jobs and output. Trump’s record offered little legitimate grounds for boasting before the pandemic.”

                    1. Of course his record is one blunder after another, that was his leadership style. You have to be delusional to think otherwise, which is why delusions are a requirement for GOP membership now.

                    2. You already posted it. If you can’t read what you posted just before I’m not sure how to help you. It was your choice to omit it in your blathering was disingenuous.
                      Those other events have not resulted in a nation-wide shuttering of the economy for a year plus.
                      What specifically would you have liked Trump to have done that did not occur? I recall the early travel restrictions to and from places seeing the leading edge was met with opposition by the press and the current POTIS with allegations of racism.

            2. You’re responding to a senile poster who has regressed to toddler level emotional maturity

            3. ” I am the most fabulous whiner…. I’m a whiner and I keep whining and whining…” Donald J. Trump

              I’m sure that each POTUS would love to have their worst economic year per term memory holed, but only the one termer with the worst economic record in modern history and his followers are pathetic enough of whiners to “… keep whining and whining…” about it. No one is rewriting history for Trump, no matter how much you or he whines. Trump presided over by far the worst economic growth of the last seven Presidents, and he and the next worse Obama initiated unprecedented growth of government that mirrored the decline in GDP growth.

              Trump was Obama’s third term but with much more whining.

              1. You seem to be mistaking me for a Trump supporter. I didn’t vote and I doubt I will vote in the US ever again. I’m mostly concerned now with protecting my investments and having a good exit strategy when the the SHTF.

                I’m just doing a post-mortem. And the obvious problem in the US is that it is filled with people like you, holding the kinds of absurd beliefs that US media feed you (including Reason).

                1. Key here is that you mistook a reply to Chumby for a reply to you.

                  1. You made a lengthy response about growth rates under different presidents to my original message, then Chumby chimed in as well, and I responded to the end of that thread.

                    As I was saying: the fundamental problem in this country isn’t Trump or Obama or other politicians, it’s voters like you. That’s why the US is doomed.

              2. So if that tinfoil Yellowstone volcano erupts and wipes out the economies of the western states indefinitely you’ll blame the economic downturn on the POTUS?

            4. This is like noticing all the good stuff George W. Bush did if you just ignore the economic collapse.

              The pandemic might not have happened if Trump hadn’t petulantly booted out CDC from Wuhan. He’s potentially responsible for a million American deaths and all the deaths around the world. Or maybe not, who gives a shit, he’s a lunatic, and you should know that.

              1. If we had sucked it up and done the hard but right thing for a month or so back in Jan-Feb of 2020, this thing would have hardly been a blip for us. But no, we had to bitch, whine, moan, and demonstrate how pathetically pampered and selfish some Americans are, and got ourselves a goddam 18 month time out.

                Look at Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, Korea, Japan, hell even China. They all did much, much better than us. And they demonstrated far better discipline and selflessness that citizens should in times of crisis. I’m thoroughly disgusted and far less proud of my country from this last episode.

                1. There is no meaningful correlation between what you call “discipline” and COVID deaths, not among US states and not globally. You’re simply projecting your collectivist, authoritarian preferences on whatever issue you see before you.

                  1. We need to be collectivist during a pandemic. Viruses never heard of Adam fucking Smith.

                  2. I just named half a dozen countries off the top of my head who did prevent deaths through discipline. Your “nah uh” level response is noted, thanks.

                2. Man, if only we had welded people into their apartments….

            5. 2017 was 2.3%
              2018 was 3%
              2019 was 2.2%

              Not impressed given the massive deficit spending Trump caused.

              And that idiot called it the “greatest economy of all time”. Trump is a craven liar.

              1. I don’t agree with what you claimed he said. So the government should deficit spend? Can we agree on that?

          2. And GDP growth’s rapid shrinkage under those two clowns compared to all modern ones shows just how heavy footed was their acceleration toward your “bankruptcy and economic collapse in the US.”

            Yeah, and clowns like you actually believe that the economic problems of the US can be explained by the economic policies of the last two presidents.

            Obama, Trump, and Biden have just been playing out an endgame; the decisions that have brought us here were made decades ago, and by the early 2000’s, it was already too late to turn things around.

            1. Are you misunderstanding my complaint about acceleration for an all encompassing origin story; or are you just a statist, as long as it is your favorite brand of statism, annoyed because you got caught on your dead duck Somalia canard? Your intensity hints at the latter. Either your MAGA hat or your tinfoil hat is too tight.

              1. I’m not “misunderstanding” you at all: you pointed to GDP growth under Obama and Trump as if it actually meant anything. In reality, the US economy is dominated by a series of bad decisions that were made from 1980-2000. Trump’s and Obama’s policies were both irrelevant. In saying that, I’m not making an excuse for either of them.

                You’re the state worshiping imbecile here who thinks that there are still meaningful political options open in the US. In reality, the only options Americans have at this point is to choose between a lingering economic death or an epic crash, followed by a massively lowered standard of living.

                1. Try starting in the 1930s…

                  1. Sure, bad policy originated back then. But until the 1980s, those bad policies would still have been fairly easy to reverse.

          3. Jimmy Carter (D): 3.25%
            Ronald Reagan (R): 3.48%
            George H.W. Bush (R): 2.25%
            Bill Clinton (D): 3.88%
            George W. Bush (R): 2.2%
            Barack Obama (D): 1.62%
            Donald Trump (R): 0.95%

            Peanuts hate to be reminded of Trump’s economic record.

            I’ve posted the same data and they trip overthemselves yelling NOT FAIR! NOT FAIR! TRUMP HAD THE FLU RECESSION TO DEAL WITH!!!!!

            Like Trump Lung was the only recession in history.

            1. Did you agree with the stimulus checks, “free” vaccines, “free” testing and enhanced unemployment benefits?

      2. So you’re saying the world would be better if there were only one world government?

        With no competition between nations?

    2. If the US crashes the whole world crashes.

  31. Haven’t we learned yet that the train has left the barn on this bullshit? Republicans will openly admit to you that their rhetoric about the federal deficit was not only plainly a lie given how they consistently explode it, it was always a lie in service of dishonest ends they couldn’t admit directly or else lose elections.

    The fantasy that the government needs to “balance its books” is a lie meant to convince us that we have no choice but to cut Social Security and Medicare. They peddle this lie because they are too cowardly to cut them on principle alone, what with them being so popular. How is this not obvious to everyone? Is it obvious to everyone, and you’re so steeped in the bullshit that you think it’s reality?

    1. Get that straw man! Get him!

    2. The biggest lie is that government power is being wielded for you be aide you walk into a booth and pulled a lever once every couple of years.

      1. It’s being wielded disproportionately for political donors, a situation caused by “small government” types pushing policy through the courts.

        The mistake in this “small government” business is the childish fantasy that power tolerates a vacuum. But it’s worse than that, since your every move has been to empower just the sorts of people and institutions that would happily fill the vacuum.

        I don’t know what’s worse, the policy or all the endless lying it takes to get there.

        1. I’m sorry: can you explain the “power vacuum theory” of society?

          Is this something study by experts, or just a way for scared monkeys to try sounding smart?

          The power government rests on their ability, and the societal normalization, of their use of violence against otherwise peaceful people.

          Discouraging the use of violence against peaceful people doesn’t create a “power vacuum” (whatever that is). It created a more respectful and just society.

          I don’t see why we should stay in the political policies of Neanderthals just because you’re scared of treating people decently.

          1. It’s the definition of a government to have a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. The reason they were invented is because the alternative is unelected gangs and militias deciding who gets to use violence (them). Look anywhere on the world with a weak central government. What do you see? Terrorists, everywhere.

            You describe what the hell you’re talking about, how about, since I’m the one simply defending the existence of the only form of social order that has ever worked on earth. Is it small government like Alabama? Or Somalia? I’m still waiting to hear about the one that’s not a complete dying shithole.

            I don’t think you even know what you mean when you say you want to reduce the power of the federal government. Lower income taxes is a policy choice, and you can submit that to the democratic process like everything else, thank you very much.

            1. You’ve described the incubator for our current government perfectly.

              If the only thing that’s keeping society from devolving into terrorists and warlords is a strong central government, then you’re making my point for me: that sounds bad, and also like a bunch of competing, primitive governments. In fact, all you need is the different groups of warlords to internally vote on who the lead warlord is, and you even have democracy. Add some serfs who have to feed the military or die, and you have the first taxes. Change the scale and the complexity, give it a few hundred years, and you have all governments in the world.

              What I’m proposing is: that’s an incredibly ridiculous situation. Real progress for the human race would look like growing up and stop needing the modern equivalent of the big strong warlord man to threaten everyone into treating each other decently.

              But the problem is, you don’t even try. If 51% want something the other 49% don’t, you consider it a human rights violation if the 49% are allowed to go their own way, when you don’t even need them for the 51% to do what they want. The violent threats start and the conversation is skipped before it even starts. And if anyone suggests a conversation or tolerance, you start screaming about democracy. It’s like a society of a million screaming Karens, all pretending to have the manager’s ear when, really, the manager doesn’t even know you exist.

              In short, the reason you need a strong central government to keep us from devolving into warlords is mainly because you don’t know how to even start trying to stop being assholes. I’m suggesting what we make progress on that. And from the looks of it, I’m one of the last true progressives left.

              1. “What I’m proposing is: that’s an incredibly ridiculous situation. Real progress for the human race would look like growing up and stop needing the modern equivalent of the big strong warlord man to threaten everyone into treating each other decently.”

                The mommy-craving lefty shits like Tony are not about to accept the concept of personal responsibility and and adulthood.

              2. You are welcome to attempt to convince humans to stop being assholes. I think we’ve actually made good progress here. Think about the world wars. What was going on? People with 19th century brains and 20th century technology decided to act in their accustomed way. Oopsie.

                But we learned. It takes a generation, but progress happens. Nuclear war between nation-states is all but unthinkable (absent the psychotic escapades of a fascist strongman, apparently the human condition). We have wars, but they are smaller wars, and the people are more acutely aware of their horrors than before.

                So I applaud your desire to see a new order of thinking, and I think it’s entirely possible. Yet I beg for refutation of my old dogmas. What can replace consent of the governed? Your wise autocracy?

                Since you can’t replace democracy, democracy means the people, by majority vote, get whatever they fucking ask for. Because that’s what freedom is.

                1. “We’ve made a lot of progress” is something you can’t say in today’s discussion. You wouldn’t say that in a thread about race, because your tribe won’t tolerate it, even though it’s completely true. People 20 years ago weren’t wringing their hands nervously over how unconsciously racist they might be, yet they expect us to think this country is just as racist as a southern plantation in 1802. Freedom!

                  I’m merely suggesting that people ask their government to stop being freedom-hating assholes on their behalf.

                  It’s really not that controversial.

                  Democracy itself is largely the fantasy that hundreds of millions of people can combine their minds into one mind that, given a strong central government, thinks good enough for everyone.

                  The same fat people who think fat people are ugly. The same people who apparently would be terrorists and warlords if given the chance. The same people who thought Hitler had some great ideas (still alive, mind you). Put the together and you get: freedom! If we define “freedom” to mean “putting them together!” How circular.

                  If we’re going to fantasize about the hive mind being freedom, then we should better think of some good things for the hive mind. “Go ahead and hate people who don’t want to live like you do” isn’t a good approach, but it’s what our political discussion has devolved into, because it riles up the bases.

                  And it kinda of makes sense, if you assume government is all about using violence against peaceful people. People, to their credit, usually have a hard time using violence against people they don’t fear or hate. So our politicians encourage us to fear and hate more and more despite all progress.

                  That’s the big lie: “we’ve made no progress as people, you’re surrounded by people who hate you and scare you, and you’re only hope is to give us power to make the decisions for everyone, more and more, year after year. And, oh, make my free car big, black, and shiny.”

                  In grateful we have the freedom of a system with a stable status quo that embraces enough liberty for a decent life, but we need to be thinking past the big lie.

                  At least those of us progressive enough should.

        2. And bling your systemic government issues on libertarians is weak sauce and you know it.

          You might as well blame global warming on people breathing too much.

  32. “Is there any hope to check the growth of the state?”

    The only hope is a much, much broader recognition that state originated as theft and that its evolution has and can only ever be toward a perfection of theft. From the time a poor and lazy hunter caveman with a big club (the first policeman) stole the most successful hunter’s game, as soon as he had cleaned and skinned it, at the urging of the big-mouthed caveman too fat to himself hunt (the first politician and together with that policeman the first state) the state has been nothing but theft to support a parasite class.

  33. The state is made up of national, state, county, and city governments, which run many independent programs. Nearly all programs destroy government revenue and also destroy private time or money, and generate no value. We can’t change agencies’ actions in the long run by sometimes freezing or reducing their spending, we can only change their actions by wholesale eliminating agencies—by executively not executing agency operations, and by legislatively repealing agencies’ enabling statutes. To get these actions done, we need to elect representatives who use their constitutional powers to limit others in government. And the limits these people provide need to be much more than just blocking ongoing expansion—the main focus has to be demolishing whole agencies that were created by others in government in the past, and that get kept running by others in government now. To get this demolishing done, we need to elect people who will use their constitutional powers against others in government. Below are addresses of an article that explains how a president can and should use his powers to do triage, and a link to info on, and previews of, two books that explain how designing and building a good major party can change everything.
    rconstitution .us/the-first-1461-days-of-a-constitutionalist-president/
    jamesanthony .us/

    1. Yea, “elections” will totes fix everything

  34. “It was more of a political statement than a policy goal”

    It was actually more of a deliberate lie – – – – – – – – – –

  35. Just declare bankruptcy and abolish social security and medicare – the primary contributors to the national debt. (And yes slash defense too.) Yes you will have to take care of your grandparents. Boo hoo. Ironically a single Chinese supports all four grandparents (due to the one child policy) and they fund our deficit – so that we can pay for ours. Clearly we have room for improvement.

    1. How does the United States declare bankruptcy?

      You’re saying the United States needs to invent a new concept whereby it deliberately defaults on its own debt to itself, and then uses that nonsensical action as the excuse to force poor people into choosing between feeding their children and feeding their parents.

      I can practically smell the freedom.

      1. Yes we should default on our debt. Food is cheap and most people can afford to feed themselves. If not, charity will help. However rich people will fund paradise for those willing to embrace God’s law.

        Watch SNL tonight for clues as to how that will happen. Elon Musk is hosting and he has a penchant for ambitious agendas.

        1. It’s like herding fucking cats trying to get humanity to stop falling for charismatic guys with bright ideas. And he’s not even charismatic, he’s like autistic.

      2. False choice. Keep it up Tony.

      3. the excuse to force poor people into choosing between feeding their children and feeding their parents.

        Actually feeding both groups would be very inexpensive. SNAP (food stamps) costs $75 billion/yr and 50 million people are on the program. Double it then. It’s still cheap.

        Then get rid of Medicare/Medicaid which are over $700 billion.

        Everyone fed! Spending goes way down!

        Most of the Medi-xxxx programs are waste.

        1. Healthcare as a basic human right is just one of those things civilization decided to do in the 20th century. America can catch up or continue as the embarrassing backward yokel state with nukes and plaything of China.

          Trump killed Republican lip service to small government. Neither party is interested. Only the politicians who exist to serve the Koch brother. And disloyal allies usually lose their heads right alongside the rest of us.

          1. Hey look, Tony thinks he has a right to other people’s labor. Color me shocked.

            1. I have a right to whatever the piece of paper says I have a right to, and how I know that is the legions of firearms in US military hands paid for with infinite money.

              You are demanding a right to my roadz and schools without having to pay for them. You are the only thief here.

      4. Countries don’t declare bankruptcy. They amass more debt than they can pay the interest on and quit paying that interest. That is default. At that point no one will buy that government’s debt. There are then two choices total economic collapse and issuing new currency, accept the collapse and spend only what you can tax. The other is to print money, causing hyperinflation, which will also lead to economic collapse. Again no one is buying your debt, so you can only spend what you collect in taxes. You issue new currency and either learn to budget correctly or end up repeating the same mistakes and watching your nation and citizens suffer.

        Russia (Soviet Union) that collapsed in the 80’s learned it lesson.
        “As for Russia, in 2017, its debt was at 84 percent of GDP with 81.5 percent of it being commercial (or privately-owned) debt or, in per capita terms, $897 per person,” says Gaidar Gasanov, expert at the International Financial Center in Moscow. “Russia’s reserves have exceeded $500 billion for the first time this year, which means that the economy can ensure the stability of its national currency in case of new potential risks of sanctions in the future.”

        Our national debt $28 trillion means is $85,327 per person. This nation is in real trouble economically.

      5. Countries don’t declare bankruptcy. They amass more debt than they can pay the interest on and unable to pay that interest. That is default. At that point no one will buy that government’s debt. There are then two choices total economic collapse and issuing new currency, accept the collapse and spend only what you can tax. The other is to print money, causing hyperinflation, which will also lead to economic collapse. Again no one is buying your debt, so you can only spend what you collect in taxes. You issue new currency and either learn to budget correctly or end up repeating the same mistakes and watching your nation and citizens suffer.

        Russia (Soviet Union) that collapsed in the 80’s learned it lesson.
        “As for Russia, in 2017, its debt was at 84 percent of GDP with 81.5 percent of it being commercial (or privately-owned) debt or, in per capita terms, $897 per person,” says Gaidar Gasanov, expert at the International Financial Center in Moscow. “Russia’s reserves have exceeded $500 billion for the first time this year, which means that the economy can ensure the stability of its national currency in case of new potential risks of sanctions in the future.”

        Our national debt $28 trillion means is $85,327 per person. This nation is in real trouble economically.

    2. Everyone should get a check for their SS contribution.

      1. Everyone should get a bill for their part of the $30 trillion debt.

        1. Just don’t call it taxes.

          1. Fuck off and die, shit stain.

            1. Ask Tony where gasoline comes from, or food in supermarkets. His answers might amuse you.

      2. Yup. With 7% compounded.

        Did a back of the envelope calculation.

        If I got that I would be sitting at the beach bar drinking rum and coke, eating chilled shrimp and watching the pretty scenery walking by. Right now.


    They’re showing up with block cars, baby strollers, vests, PC’s and guns and blocking traffic. If someone tries to drive through they’ll shoot and claim self defense. They’re illegally detaining people and the cops do nothing. Looks like they’re winning.
    Remember, the Proud Boys and some other groups used to show up and fight with the ANTIFA and BLM types. Well they started getting charged with crimes and quit showing up. These shit bags get their cases tossed and released. They are winning.

    1. This post is not the complete non sequitur to an article titled “The Era of Small Government is Over” that it first appears. It illustrates that far too much of our politics has devolved into Trumpy activists for bigger government versus Anti-Trumpy activists for bigger government, and with both tribes fighting for the same ways for the same bigger government it’s right “They are winning.”

      1. The biggest problem in the US is people like you, people who think that they are oh-so-reasonable if only those dumb other voters would come to your reasonable centrist position. And, of course, your own positions are nothing but a grab bag of irrelevant hot button political issues served up to you by think tanks and corporate media.

        1. Hey, I’m happy to chant “Taxation is theft.” with you if that’s what you want; but “Where we go one, we go all.” is both too collectivist and too crazy for me, and in that you are on your own.

          1. I don’t want you to chant anything. I’m simply pointing out how we got here: because liberals, libertarians, and conservatives dropped the ball.

            And I’m not sure where this “where we go one, we go all” comes from. I came here as an immigrant. I’m angry at what Americans have done to this country over the last half century. And I sure as hell don’t intend to stick around for the final act.

            I recommend you find an exit strategy as well.

          2. “Hey, I’m happy to chant “Taxation is theft.” with you if that’s what you want; but “Where we go one, we go all.” is both too collectivist and too crazy for me, and in that you are on your own.”

            Hey, steaming pile of TDS addled lefty shit, how about you admit you and your assholic buds are the cause of what we got?
            Hey, assholic pile of TDS-addeled shit, how about an admission that you’re a pathetic piece of lefty shit who should fuck off and die?

    2. “They are winning.”

      The era of small milkshakes is over!

    3. Remember, the Proud Boys and some other groups used to show up and fight with the ANTIFA and BLM types. Well they started getting charged with crimes and quit showing up. These shit bags get their cases tossed and released. They are winning.

      In deep blue shitholes, yes. When they try bringing that outside their safe zones, they get their asses kicked out of town.

      That’s why it’s important to 1) not live in deep blue shitholes; 2) get to know your neighbors, 3) get involved in politics at the local level in order to make left-wing entryists feel as unwelcome as possible, and 4) don’t expect government force agents to have your back.

    4. If you want to take it as a loss in the culture war that society tolerates teenagers protesting for civil rights, but not fat douchebags trying to overthrow the government in service of the narcissistic delusions of a madman, then you can take it as a loss.

      1. God you’re stupid

    5. Big cities, Plano is a suburb of Austin which is libtardia.

      But that shit doesn’t fly in the country


    1. Nearly 100% voter turnout in ages 65-80 in Antrim County [graphic]

  38. Not even a little, and there hasn’t been since Ron Paul got shut out of the 2012 race.

    Luckily now the smart people from that era are all rich from BTC and no longer give a fuck what the idiots in DC do.

  39. Estimated fraudulent payments from Federal Gov. agencies was $151,000 billion in 2018. By 2019 it was up to $175,000 billion. In CA, the unemployment fraud numbers are estimated at over 100,000 billion. If you look at Federal, State, and local, the numbers are so huge, it is hard to estimate. The bigger it gets, the more fraud you have, and percentage of fraud that is actually caught and prosecuted goes down. This does not include legal expenditures such as Tom Brady and his wife getting loans to help their businesses survive COVID. Private businesses struggle with it too, but they have an incentive to control, and generally speaking, do better. The FBI could have just sent two agents to Guliani’s house, and let the other three go after fraud.

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    1. Canada is in complete shambles. Hyper panicked. Country should be placed under trusteeship.

      1. So you’re saying that now isn’t a good time to take off to the Great White North?

    2. “Incitement to Christian worship”, now a serious offense in Canada.

  42. Soooo no libertarian moment?

    It’s worse than that…..a medical tyranny has joined to party.

  43. Deficit spending is the only acceptable mechanism by which we tax the middle and lower classes. Through wage stagnation. Aka inflation.

    I have grown to accept this.

    1. “Deficit spending is the only acceptable mechanism by which we tax the middle and lower classes.”

      What, payroll taxes, sales taxes, the gas tax, taxes on utilities and telecommunication services aren’t “acceptable” taxes on the middle and lower classes?

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