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Free Minds & Free Markets

The Base Rhetoric of Mainstream Taxation Talk

From the discussion, you would never know the money in question actually belongs to particular individuals, who obtained it through voluntary exchange or gift.

RICHARD B. LEVINE/NewscomRICHARD B. LEVINE/NewscomLenin reportedly said, "The best way to destroy the capitalist system [is] to debauch the currency." If by "capitalist system"* we mean only what Adam Smith called "the obvious and simple system of natural liberty," we could improve on the quote: the best way to destroy it is to debauch the currency of rational communication, the language. George Orwell of course understood this well and made it the centerpiece of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

In a book on the German liberal social-critic Karl Kraus (Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus's Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry), Thomas Szasz distinguished between noble and base rhetoric and rhetoricians—that is, those who use language to reveal (e.g., Kraus) and those who use it conceal their value judgments (e.g., Freud). Szasz pointed out that the conservative "radical" intellectual Richard Weaver, lamenting the neglect of rhetoric as an academic subject, described what Szasz called "the movement away from the value-laden language of theology, poetry and prose, in short of the 'humanities,' and toward the ostensibly value-neutral languages of the 'sciences.' This attempt to escape from, or to deny, valuation is, for obvious reasons, especially important and dangerous in … the so-called social sciences. Indeed, one could go so far as to say that the specialized languages of these disciplines serve virtually no other purpose than to conceal valuation behind an ostensibly scientific and nonvaluational semantic screen."

Szasz here was referring to scientism, which Kraus despised and attempted to expose in his work. Base rhetoric is what social engineers must engage in or else they would be, in Oscar Wilde's words, "found out."

We can see the base rhetoricians in action whenever they talk about taxation. From the terms of their discussion, you would never know that the money in question actually belongs to particular individuals, who obtained it through voluntary exchange or gift. Rather, the terms suggest that it belongs collectively to society, with the government being its agent of distribution. The only question, then, is: what's the fairest distribution?

How else are we to explain the routine designation of tax cuts and repeals as "tax breaks?" We don't usually call letting someone keep his justly acquired possession a break. And how are we to explain why people are chided about paying their "fair share" without a standard of fairness ever being proffered? And, finally, how else are we to explain the term "tax expenditure," which is attached to any policy that enables people to reduce their tax "liability" by jumping through one legal hoop or another? These hoops are often called "loopholes," though that term can mean both deliberate and inadvertent features of legislation that provide opportunities for people to keep some money out of the government's hands. The concept tax expenditure implies that the government's budget is the entire GDP.

When anyone calls for a new tax or a tax increase, that person wants government personnel to threaten force against others who fails to surrender their money to the state. But almost no one speaks in those terms. If tax advocates did that, their rhetoric at least would be value-laden and honest (and only in that sense noble). Instead, such people engage in base rhetoric. They speak in ostensibly value-neutral language when in fact their meaning is value-laden: they implicitly claim that their plans for the money are superior to the plans of those who now possess it.

Weaver wrote that "language … is … sermonic. We are all of us preachers in private or public capacities. We have no sooner uttered words that we have given impulse to other people to look at the world, or some small part of it, in our way…. Language is intended to be sermonic. Because of its nature and its intimacy with our feelings, it is always preaching." (Szasz got these quotes from R. L. Johannesen, R. Strickland, and R. T. Eubanks's edited volume, Language Is Sermonic: Richard M. Weaver on the Nature of Rhetoric, 1970.)

Taxation may at first appear to be a narrow subject, but of course it is not: everything the government does requires resources. But the government has no resources—what do politicians and bureaucrats produce?—so it must appropriate them to carry out its aims. Thus people who demand that the government do things are at least implicitly demanding that the politicians seize justly held resources.

Consider Jimmy Kimmel's appeal for "free" medical care. No decent person can help feeling sympathy for Kimmel and his ill child. But emotion should not cloud our judgment. When he says that no one should be denied medical care because he or she can't afford it, he means that other people ought to be forced to pay for those services whenever the need is thought—by whom?—great enough. Why not say that openly? There's no common pool of medical services or money to be drawn from. (I'll leave aside the point that real freedom and real competition would produce universal access to goods and services.)

No doubt Kimmel and like-minded people would say they are only asking for action through the democratic process. But that doesn't get them out of the fix, for they have to explain why appropriation of resources is legitimate if approved by 50 percent plus one of the people's so-called representatives and signed by a president. Even if we ignore the dubious nature of democratic representation, we are owed an explanation of how the people collectively may do what they may not do individually or even collectively outside of government. When we dig a little deeper we can see the implicit premise that all resources ultimately belong to society, with the state as the weapon with which to enforce its will. (Even this gives away too much because, clearly, not every member of society has equal access to the state apparatus, as the originators of class analysis, the original liberals, established long ago.)

Some might be so overwhelmed by the tragedies that befall people who cannot afford medical care that they find such objections insensitive. Two thoughts on this: 1) at no time should we abandon reason and sound economics in particular; and 2) ends do not justify the means, a principle to which most people would say they committed. They would also presumably endorse Locke's maxim that others are not means to our ends but rather are ends in themselves: "Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions…. There cannot be supposed any such subordination among us that may authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another's uses."

Anyone who believes we do not own what we obtain through trade or gift should candidly say so.

* For my reservations about calling the free market capitalism, see my article "Is Capitalism Something Good?" For Smith, the system of natural liberty is what "establishes itself of its own accord" when "all systems either of preference or of restraint [are] completely taken away…. Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man, or order of men." That hardly describes historical capitalism.

This piece was originally published by The Libertarian Institute.

Photo Credit: RICHARD B. LEVINE/Newscom

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  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    People like Kimmel are frustrating because there is only one correct answer, but it labels you as a greedy selfish uncaring bastard. There is no answer which won't make you look like a greedy selfish uncaring bastard. Remember when Letterman blurted out some nonsense about "we should double all teachers' salaries? Why? What singles out teachers as more valuable than the cameraman or morticians or truck drivers?

    Kimmel and his ilk should read and ponder how to share 3 apples among 4 children but they won't.

    It all comes down to coercive government; by definition it interferes in people's lives, and even if government bureaucrats were all noble and pre-hearted and interfere unwillingly, people find ways to make government interfere more and more.

  • ThomasD||

    As Richman points out, per Szasz that's Kimmel using rhetoric to hide his value judgement. Refuse to fall for it.

    My response to his trick is to say that I care deeply about all those individuals that Kimmel wants to put on the hook for providing all that "free" medical care. He does not know their circumstances, not does he care to know their circumstances, he just want them to pony up because it will make him feel better.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    So will you pay for Kimmel's kid's medical bills?

  • Robert||

    I don't understand your complaint about there being "only one correct answer". Kimmel & Letterman are paid to talk. What are they supposed to do, give you other people's answers?

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    What do the article or the conversation have to do with Republicans? Your shtick is really getting tedious.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Dan masturbates to old publicity stills of Reagan in secret.

  • Subpoena'd Woodchipper||

    Me too. We are talking about Nancy right?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I hear it was Ron, in a cowboy outfit.

  • Chili Dogg||

    That image gives new meaning to the term "head shot".

  • MarkLastname||

    I wouldn't mind their criticism of Republicans if every once in a while they would actually criticize Democrats, especially when they're in power. But since they spent all of 2009 to 2013 still going after the GOP they forfeited their credibility.

  • Michael Hihn||

    But since they spent all of 2009 to 2013 still going after the GOP they forfeited their credibility.

    If you actually READ the Times, you wouldn't have destroyed your own credibility. Just like Fox, their opinions are tribal bullshit, but their news is spot on.

    Here's one I saved. the Times is the only one I found that reported how Clinton had pressured banks to make more subprime loans -- then Fannie and Freddie to lower their standards when banks said they were doing all they could within the standards.

    The Times News pages predicted that Clinton's action could create a huge mortgage bailout like the 80s, if the economy went bad. Many Fox viewers never learned this at all. Most, like you, value sneering above learning, in a tribal bubble (just like progs).

    Back in 1997, the Times published lengthy history of conflicts and problems, The Velvet Fist of Fannie Mae Yes, that was the title! It could never have been done on Fox TeeVee.

    If not for the Times. you wouldn't have learned both of those from me! They also reported how the decline in middle-class income is caused by fewer people in it.
    (Neither they nor Fox reported how Democrats destroyed our best UNION jobs.)
    .

  • Michael Hihn||

    What they are not supposed to do is criticize Republicans.

    Kimmel didn't. You've been brainwashed. Tribalism has certain risks.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    No, they should be honest about the answer they're giving.

    In Kimmel's case, he should be plain in saying that he expects everyone else to be forced to pay for his kid's misfortune despite having no responsibility for it.

  • Robert||

    But don't all the listeners who are paying att'n realize that? & if they're not paying att'n, who cares?

    When someone says something should be done, the necessary steps to doing it are understood by the listener. If you say someone should turn on the heat, people realize that involves walking to the switch & flipping it, unless it's wireless remote control. Not explaining all the intermediate steps is not being dishonest.

    You might complain that Kimmel's being vague by not explaining which of a choice of possible mechanisms should be used (taxation, conscripting doctors, whatever), but people are allowed to state vague desiderata, that's not dishonesty. In fact, people do it most of the time. If we all had to explain how we wanted our desiderata achieved, we'd have to be ridiculously verbose. People can set goals w/o detailing how to achieve them, in cases where they're achievable by more than 1 means.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Again, the point of the article is that "Base rhetoric is what social engineers must engage in or else they would be, in Oscar Wilde's words, "found out."
    You're a smart guy and you can calculate the cost. But this type of rhetoric has been the norm for generations and the vast majority of the media and the public have been trained to accept propositions on a purely emotional basis. I don't think Kimmel is being intentionally dishonest or vague. He doesn't mention "taxation, conscripting doctors, whatever" not because he's dishonest but because it hasn't occurred to him that he needs to. Nor has he spent 2 minutes pondering the costs, because he doesn't have to. Based upon the mostly positive response to his emotional appeal he can feel fully justified without ever considering the costs his proposal entails. And anyone who disagrees will have to explain why they want to kill Jimmy's baby.

  • Principal Spittle||

    The dishonesty is inherent within the value judgments. It is starting a conversation from the conclusion. It is asking "when did you stop beating your wife". Yes everyone who is paying attention is aware, those who favor means to an end manipulation are pleased that they have mastered such a powerful tool as language to save the children.
    The thermostat is a good example, unfortunately in newlywed households it often plays out differently than in your description.
    Imagine instead someone in the room states that they're cold and intends that others in the room will understand that the heater should be turned on. This person has dishonesty framed within the statement a judgment dependant on the action of others by including as a necessary step that their comfort be valued above the other actions available. If the other person (poor guy) fails to recognize the correct value order, he has necessarily offended the other and expressed his callous disregard.
    You are correct that people do this all the time but if they like spending time with other they learn to communicate honestly without deliberate manipulation.

  • Principal Spittle||

    This is in part why it can be dangerous to discuss politics even with good friends that communicate well in other areas. When dishonest language and arguments that an individual finds compelling are introduced to a third party possessed of other ideas and having adopted the defensive counter language/arguments the impasse of the left right lies are recreated. Too much verbose exploration of each person's actual values and belief is necessary to repair the insults delivered by brief regulation of ideological sophistry.

  • Michael Hihn||

    The dishonesty is inherent within the value judgments

    Is THAT why Richman lied about Kimmel? .............................. Yeah, value judgment.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    It's also dishonest because a miniscule fraction of health care spending goes to truly sick children. The biggest share goes to old people -- keeping mom's heart beating while her eyes stare vacantly into space because you can't accept that her life is over, paying someone to wipe grandpa's butt and keep him from walking into traffic, etc. Then there's the waste, fraud, and abuse.

  • Robert||

    Did Kimmel say it should be for everyone? Or only for truly sick children? Don't put dishonesty in other people's mouths.

  • MarkLastname||

    He did later say in a follow up segment that no 'family' should be denied care based on inability to pay for it.

  • Michael Hihn||

    He did later say in a follow up segment that no 'family' should be denied care based on inability to pay for it.

    SHOCKING ... like we had in the free market before Medicaid?
    (Is it okay to defend free markets here any more?)

  • Principal Spittle||

    Kimmel IS a dishonest mouth. Very little of the discussion surrounding his "story" relates to his verbatim account but it is undeniably scripted as a vehicle for the "everyone agrees" narrative formulated elsewhere.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Very little of the discussion surrounding his "story" relates to his verbatim account but it is undeniably scripted as a vehicle for the "everyone agrees" narrative formulated elsewhere.

    Yeah, Sheldon Richman's bullshit was downright shameful.

  • josh||

    "keeping mom's heart beating while her eyes stare vacantly into space because you can't accept that her life is over"

    you must've had a wonderful mother's day...

  • CatoTheChipper||

    The Williamson 3-apples/4-children article is great. It also illustrates how effective the left's "base rhetoric" has been.

    Williamson states: "No matter the health-care model you choose — British-style public monopoly, Swiss-style subsidized insurance, pure market capitalism — you end up with rationing: Markets ration through prices, bureaucracies ration through politics."

    And, in doing so, he accepts the left's notion that health care is rationed in a market economy.

    A market economy does not ration goods and services. To "ration" is to apportion a good or service in a manner determined by a coercive authority. Soldiers and sailors receive rations as determined by their officers; during wartime, the government provides ration coupons to restrict consumption by civilians. And obviously those who wield coercive authority fare better than the hoi polloi. Does anybody doubt that the ship's officers eat better than the crew, or that Churchill's ration of Scotch whisky was larger than an Welsh coalminer's? Unless you're in one of the favored classes or in a mafia that can exploit the rationing system for illegal gains, the word "ration" has a negative connotation.

    Instead, a market economy provides a mechanism to direct supply to its highest and best use based upon individual choice rather than by a top-down edict. Who knows? Maybe one of the four kids doesn't like apples, or isn't hungry.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    "Ration" isn't the best word for what NHS and other single-payer systems do either, as it implies an equal distribution or at least equal limits. Even under single payer, there are wide variances in the health care people get.

    I think what Sheldon means is "limiting the amount of a good that you can have", which there isn't really a good word for.

    Instead, a market economy provides a mechanism to direct supply to its highest and best use based upon individual choice rather than by a top-down edict. Who knows? Maybe one of the four kids doesn't like apples, or isn't hungry.

    If you put it that way, the socialists will (correctly) point out that you're begging the question by assuming the kids don't all like apples or aren't all hungry.

    Assuming all the kids are hungry and like apples, you could still solve the situation by auctioning off the apples in exchange for time spent cleaning up their classroom or whatever. Alice and Bob being hungriest and liking apples the most might bid an hour of cleaning time in exchange for an apple each, while Charlie and Doris join together to bid a half hour each to share the third apple, between them because they value their free time more. Nobody gets the "free" apple but everybody gets the best deal they could considering their desires.

  • ThomasD||

    Authorities ration.

    Markets allocate

    Rationing does not necessarily imply equal distribution. Nor does it imply equitable distribution. The only thing it implies is restricted (limited) distribution.

    The NHS most certainly does ration healthcare.

  • Michael Hihn||

    The Williamson 3-apples/4-children article is great.

    Even where totally irrelevant?

    To "ration" is to apportion a good or service in a manner determined by a coercive authority

    None are so ignorant as the anti-gubmint goobers.

  • Chipper Mourning Somali Roadz||

    Why can't you just give each kid 3/4 of an apple?

    Also, that article won't convince anyone. Relying on a limited supply argument is pointless, because it just shifts the discussion to how to increase supply.

  • Qsl||

    But isn't increasing supply a good starting point before even contemplating rationing by what ever means? It seems stupid honestly to even discuss giving each kid an apple when you have the prospect of dividing 7 apples between 4 kids. Different problem entirely.

    I mean we could discuss artificial barriers to entry from number of doctors, increasing licensing requirements (and costs) that haven't improved quality, the clusterfuck that is Big Pharma. Doesn't that seem like a more logical starting point before we institute nationalized healthcare?

    Beyond that, fuck Kimmel. If he is so concerned about the well-being of kids, he can put himself through medical school and see kids at a cut-rate price. All of these care ghouls have a moral depth that only extends to themselves. Oh sure, Kimmel cares about kids after his had a scare. And next week it will be something else with absolutely no sweat devoted towards improvement.

  • Subpoena'd Woodchipper||

    Yes, that's the simplest place to start. If price is steadily increasing, increasing supply of said item/service in the market will lower the price of said good/service without having to change anything "structurally" (taxes, fees, adminstration costs, etc)

    No one wants to talk about this simple topic. If we recognized licensure from other developed countries - start with the G8 and go from there - the best and brightest who can't get paid can come here to make more money. Depleting doctors ranks overseas, crippling their socialist-styled systems.

    Here's how to word it: the AMA is no longer the sole license issuer for medical doctor's in the United States. Doctor's who have been licensed and practiced medicine for X years will receive automatic reciprocity and will have a X month probation period upon beginning work.

    It's pretty simple if you ask me

  • Subpoena'd Woodchipper||

    Yea - do you even economics?

    Supply and price are directly related. The lower the supply, the higher the price. Scarcity drives every market. If you want to charge me more than your neighbor, and he guarantees equivalent quality, I'm going to your neighbor. I have no loyalties beyond my family and bank account (with few exceptions).

    The AMA is the controlling body of all things medicine in the US. They control who is accredited to teach and graduate medical doctor's. There's only 140 or so schools nationwide. There are a few states that don't have a single medical school at all. It shouldn't be shocking that once one group gains control of an entire marketplace, they will hold no punches when the market realizes they've been lied to and deliberately misled into believing they have to pay ever increasing prices for that good. The same good they can't go next door and find a lower price for because there is only one store in town.

    Allowing foreign trained doctor's with 5+years of experience into the market, unrestricted, would do wonders for bringing cost down. Anything to increase the number of doctors to take care of the baby boomers is a step in the right direction

  • Let freedom ring||

    Years ago Richman wrote a three part essay for FFF in which he called those who studied the income tax from the POV of Tax Honesty as involved with casuistry, ie legal hair splitting which does not reach the ultimate truth. Why? Because the IRS and the federal government does what it wants, without regard to any law. His prescription for tax reform? Go back to the Articles of Confederation!
    In my blog www.nontaxpayersforronpaul.blogspot.com I refuted his arguments.
    The IRS does follow the law, if you submit the right paperwork! Think of the IRS not as an evil empire, but as the VOLGONS in "A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". They want the paperwork! If they get the right paperwork, they will process it, even if it is a complete refund of all taxes withheld, including payroll taxes, both federal and state!
    Tax Honesty as advocated by Irwin Schiff and others was basically a form of civil disobedience, except that there really is no law to disobey. Unfortunately, the federal judges were more corrupt (or more obedient to CHEVRON) and they bent themselves into logical pretzels to deny due process. Schiff died in a prison hospital. Others were given show trials with crucial legal evidence denied to the jury.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    So, you're a tax protester. Good for you.

  • Shirley Knott||

    'Coercive government' is redundant.
    Base language attempts to conceal that by yammering on and on about 'democracy', ignoring the plain and simple fact that democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep deciding on what's for supper.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    "Coercive government" is indeed redundant, but many people -- even libertarians -- need to be reminded of the fact the coercion is the essence of government.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    1. There is no such government and never has been. During a few happy times there has been something close.

    2. Even a "proper government" can only accomplish its tasks via coercion.

  • Michael Hihn||

    . Even a "proper government" can only accomplish its tasks via coercion.

    Let's consider a membership club, 10 members, voluntary of course.

    1) 6 of them decide to do .... anything. (7 if the bylaws require a 2/3 majority) You're among the no votes. What is your standing on the issue?

    2) Now they vote on increased dues. You're among the no votes, AND you refuse to pay the higher dues, so they expel you. Is THAT the type of coercion you mean? As evil as an after-school club. (gasp)

    If you refuse to accept the will of the members, why stay? Quit.

    See, we have 91% of libertarians REFUSE to call themselves libertarian. Could that be because so many libertarians spout obvious gibberish? And piss on America's founding principles?

    ... they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    If you refuse to accept the will of the members, why stay? Quit.
    Or, like too many libertarians, snarl that the 1% should prevail, which is authoritarian, right?

  • Sevo||

    DanO.|5.14.17 @ 12:49PM|#
    "Adults understand this concept. "Libertarians," not so much."

    Lefty assholes lie about the concept (and believe their lies). Libertarians, not so much.
    Fuck off.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Sevo, Grand Champion Bully!

    Fuck off

    How crazy can he get, Well. at this link he jumped onto the page 3 times .. with 32 personal attacks .. did not start a single thread ... had NOTHING of substance ... just shouting down anyone he disagrees with.

    But he's a libertarian, NOT an authoritarian, right?
    And a triggered snowflake?

    (let the hatred begin!)

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    To be fair, you are universally regarded as a frequently unmedicated schizo troll in these parts. I mean, personally I find you to be delightful and charming. however most of the commentariat here do not share that sentiment.

  • Michael Hihn||

    universally regarded as a frequently unmedicated schizo troll in these parts

    By bullies and aggressors, who NEVER deal with any issues, just throw hissy fits when their brainwashing is challenged, So, in a way, I'm beaming with pride, because the measure of a man (or woman) is the enemies they attract. If they praised me, I'd have to commit suicide, I've been pissing off authoritarians since the student protests of the 60s.

    I find you to be delightful and charming

    Now that is confusing, because w disagreed on once. So you're supposed to HATE me for that ... and stalk me ... like Maklastname has been among my stalkers since last August. He launched a personal attack on what I said about privatizing Social Security, so I jammed it up his ass. Self defense is a criminal act to goobers.

    For Sevo, I decided to note all his personal attacks on a single page, in boldface with a number. 32 "fuck off(s)" on the page. He entered the page three times to do them all, and never made a single comment. Is that SICK, or what? But more to be pitied than scorned

    I note, and admire, your own impatience with bullies and aggressors. I was once paid to to it, as a moderator for the first online libertarian forum, in 1993 at Compuserve. Defending the oppressed can be inherent to many real libertarians (the liberty lovers)

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Pot, meet kettle?

  • Chipper Mourning Somali Roadz||

    Nobody in their right mind believes an objective code of laws is possible. Objective based on who's standard? All values are subjective.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It's also totally irrelevant. "Objective" is never the standard, for the reasons he stated!
    This is where our anti-gummint faction collapses into a pile of dung.
    The vast majority of their "arguments" assume their 1% has something akin to The Divine Right of Kings. At the core, authoritarian.

  • Michael Hihn||

    "Coercive government" is indeed redundant, but many people -- even libertarians -- need to be reminded of the fact the coercion is the essence of government.

    Oh, many libertarians have swallowed that nonsense.

  • Sevo||

    In an amazing bit of oversight, the local lefty rag ran on op ed regarding "free" health care (link is long gone)
    An economist Dad told his kid's class a story about having 6 bandaids and having 6 people who needed them, but one needed all 6. What should be done?
    From the start, not one kid would accept that you simply couldn't get more bandaids.
    So let me introduce you to Jimmy Kimmel and lefty twits world wide; they're all still in the 3rd grade.

  • Robert||

    Not one kid would accept that you simply couldn't get more? Why couldn't you? No drug stores open? They stop making them? Seems like a silly question to ask. And besides, there's a lot of close substitutes.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    "Eight year olds, dude."

    In the world they're familiar with, there are always plenty of band-aids. The capacity for abstract hypothetical thought doesn't develop until years later, so this thought experiment was a really bad idea considering the audience.

  • Robert||

    Abstract hypothetic thought? You mean the ability to ask silly Qs? If you're going to present a hypothetic situation, it'd better be a realistic one, or the answer isn't going to be realistic either. What kind of world is it where you can't get Band-Aids? If you've altered the world magically so there are only these 6 Band-Aids in it, then the respondent can suppose other magic changes as well.

  • Sevo||

    Robert|5.14.17 @ 1:35PM|#
    "Abstract hypothetic thought? You mean the ability to ask silly Qs? "

    Thank you, Mr. Pedantic asshole.
    WOOSH!
    Next time, stand up. The point might not go over your head.

  • Chipper Mourning Somali Roadz||

    Robert has a good point. This line of argumentation is stupid. If the argument against free healthcare is that there aren't enough doctors, the leftie will just respond with "then let's work on getting more doctors."

  • Michael Hihn||

    The doctor shortage, so beloved by too many libertarians, is bullshit.
    There's more likely a surplus. Doctors have lobbied and connived to provide excessive treatment to the current client base, I'm on Medicare and I see the wasteful referrals, especially since they found cancer. I've seen 7 different specialists in the past week, only 3 will be treating me. PLUS Obamacare mandated an annual "Wellness visit" -- which is NOT a physical -- on top of the annual physical. It's a talk and review of records. My doc -- center-left who came from an inner-city clinic (NOT Ron Paul!) - tells me it's virtually useless, except perhaps very advanced age where they often stop talking care of themselves.

    The biggest waste, by far, is "end-of-life" care. Even Obama said it was a "problem" that his grandmother got a costly hip transplant when she was already terminal cancer, and died a few months later. Nearly half of ALL our healthcare spending is in the final 2 years of life, which has been known since Hillarycare.

    Now add the fairly new Physician Assistants -- like a super RN. They can be increased a lot faster than doctors -- it's a 2-year degree.

    The shortage is a crock, part of the GOP Medicaid cuts.

  • Let freedom ring||

    But in 2003 a libertarian in Michigan named Pete Hendrickson discovered the IRS will process educated tax returns if you use the proper forms. There are over twelve million dollars in refunds processed in testimonials on his website www.losthorizons.com. Tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of these returns are processed every year for complete refunds. Hendrickson showed that the mainstream, libertarian/conservative view of the income tax is wrong. There are myths about the tax, the actual statutes, regulations and above all history of the tax that people like Richman and the libertarian establishment simply do not understand.
    There are only two kinds of tax in the constitution-direct and indirect. The 16th Amendment did not create a new tax, as even Richman concedes. The income tax is an indirect excise tax, not an un-apportioned direct tax. Excise taxes are on privileges and transactions, not on property. The income tax began in 1862, not 1913. It is a tax on the exploitation of a federal privilege, not on property. Income only measures the amount of the privilege that is exploited. etc. etc. LEARN THE TRUTH, LIBERTARIANS, and stop printing this type of out of date article by Richman!

  • Robert||

    The 16th Amendment didn't create any tax, as it purported only to convey a power to Congress to do so, but that was only a clarif'n. Nothing previously said the US couldn't lay an indirect, unapportioned tax on incomes, or on most of the things it figures as incomes.

  • Sevo||

    Robert|5.14.17 @ 1:32PM|#
    "...Nothing previously said the US couldn't lay an indirect, unapportioned tax on incomes, or on most of the things it figures as incomes."

    The person using "Robert" as a handle actually posted that.
    That level of stupidity is not common.
    Hint: Nothing previously said the government couldn't arbitrarily open fire on the population, either.

  • Michael Hihn||

    The 1862 income tax ended in 1896, when SCOTUS declared it a direct tax, which is why they had to amend the Constitution permitting .... what the 16th Amendment says ... a direct tax without apportionment. And skip the bullshit about it applying only certain types of income.

    Learn what a direct tax is. Filing your own tax return should confirm it,

  • Elias Fakaname||

    This Pete Hendrickson?

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Peter_Hendrickson

    I don't think his tax plan worked out so well. Nor do I suggest anyone follow his advice.

  • Robert||

    We don't usually call letting someone keep his justly acquired possession a break.


    Sure we do. A gang robbing people could have its leader tell them to give one a break. They could be beatijng people up, and similarly in the middle of a beating an instruction might come to give the target a break. "Break" is very commonly used to mean an interruption in something bad, as in a break in the rain, although it can be used as an interruption in anything. But it's also used to mean a reduction in a price, and since taxes are payments, "tax break" & "price break" are understood similarly.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Sheldon Richman left out the most egregious of all "base rhetoric" involving taxes, and the most significant to most taxpayers as well.

    When I first went to work, I looked at my paystub and saw that my net pay was lower than my promised pay due to deductions for FICA. So I asked, what the hell is FICA? Nobody knew; they just knew that it was a tax that they had to pay to the federal government.

    FICA is, of course, the tax deducted for Social Security and Medicare. But it's also an acronym of brilliant "base rhetoric": Federal Insurance Contributions Act. However, a wage earners coerced payments to Social Security and Medicare are coerced and are not contributions. The US Supreme Court has also ruled these "entitlements" are not really insurance. Nor are they really entitlements since taxpayers have no contractual right to either Social Security or Medicare: the US Supreme Court has ruled that these programs can terminated by any future Congress. Despite it's name, FICA isn't insurance and the deductions are involuntary exactions rather than contributions.

  • Robert||

    Contribution isn't always voluntary or even intentional. Think of the various contributions people make to spreading infectious diseases. Taxes are contributions just as anything that feeds into anything is.

  • Sevo||

    Robert|5.14.17 @ 1:50PM|#
    "Contribution isn't always voluntary or even intentional. Think of the various contributions people make to spreading infectious diseases. Taxes are contributions just as anything that feeds into anything is."

    Are you here to prove how many stupid comments someone can make it one day? Tony holds the record, but I can see you're giving him a run for it.
    Hint: Someone catching a contagious illness for you is NOT you 'making a contribution.

  • simpledon||

    This article is a perfect example of what the article pretends to decry, manipulation of the language to support a point of view.

    Yes, everyone earns money as "his justly acquired possession" and it is "the money in question actually belongs to particular individuals, who obtained it through voluntary exchange or gift." But calling taxation thievery, that is, "to threaten force against (those who fail) to surrender their money to the state," because "the government has no resources—what do politicians and bureaucrats produce?" is manipulating the language to substitute emotion to obscure the reality. It is saying that government provides no value that taxes pay for, which is an absurd position.

    It is and it has always been the government that defines the economy and that determines the distribution of the income in the economy. From the first time that a tribal chief decided who would hunt and how the product of the hunt would be divided, this has been the case. The two main reasons that we have always had a government and that we have a government today is to provide security from internal and external threats and to define and to regulate the economy.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    A lot of government terminology is orwellian, hiding the true meaning of things. Social security (forced government-run pension system). Affirmative action (enforced racial quotas). Patriot act (loosened protection from surveillance). Patient protection and affordable care act (federally-mandated compulsory medical insurance and subsidy of some enrollees). War on terror (loosened oversight of military power). Quantitative easing (artificial increase of money supply). Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (advantageous loan/subsidy to selected companies). Pork (redistribution of resources to selected districts). Stimulus spending (artificial spending in one industry or area). Federal reserve board (pseudo central bank). Welfare (subsidy of the poor). Civil rights (removal of freedom of association from private transactions). Eminent domain (state confiscation of private property). Civil war (war against states' secession). Secret Service (presidential bodyguards and anti counterfeiting watchdog). I'm sure there are many more examples.

  • Michael Hihn||

    How else are we to explain the routine designation of tax cuts and repeals as "tax breaks?"

    The phrase mostly means tax cuts for a a privileged class, i.e. crony capitalism. Gubmint haters love anything that cuts gubmint,
    .
    Government haters are like a hammer and everything looks like a nail. Liberty lovers, by definition, look to expand individual liberty -- which means policy solutions. Destroyers vs creators.

    Consider Jimmy Kimmel's appeal for "free" medical care.

    Putting "free" in quotes makes you full of shit. as proven at your own link! Hysteria-monger.

    If you had a clue about markets and people, instead of anti-gubmint rage, you'd know we had universal treatment for the needy, pre-Medicaid, through charity hospitals and private charity. Thus, "repeal don't replace" shows contempt for free-market outcomes.

    Anyone who believes we do not own what we obtain through trade or gift should candidly say so.

    Anyone who rejects "consent of the governed" should say so honestly.

    is legitimate if approved by 50 percent plus one of the people's so-called representatives and signed by a president.

    MINORITY RULE!

    Even if we ignore the dubious nature of democratic representation,

    MINORITY RULE, by a self-righteous 1%. How are libertarian fundamentalists any better than Christian or Islamic ones?

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    Anyone who believes we do not own what we obtain through trade or gift should candidly say so.

    "Anyone who rejects "consent of the governed" should say so honestly.

    is legitimate if approved by 50 percent plus one of the people's so-called representatives and signed by a president.

    MINORITY RULE!

    Even if we ignore the dubious nature of democratic representation,

    MINORITY RULE, by a self-righteous 1%. How are libertarian fundamentalists any better than Christian or Islamic ones?"

    How are lefties so dense? We live in a constitutional democracy, meaning that 50%+1 don't get to trample on the rights of the 50%-1, just because it is popular. We can't all decide to take the Koch Brothers property (wealth) and distribute amongst ourselves, any more than a majority of one race cannot decide to take the property and liberty of another and enslave them. After all, slavery was decided by majority rule... would you like to go back to that model?

    Much like the majority of posters here can't decide to eliminate your right to post on this website. I'm pretty sure you would have lost that election long ago.

  • Michael Hihn||

    We live in a constitutional democracy,

    Umm, constitutional republic,

    meaning that 50%+1 don't get to trample on the rights of the 50%-1, just because it is popular.

    It would have to be constitutional. You seem VERY weak on rights.

    We can't all decide to take the Koch Brothers property (wealth) and distribute amongst ourselves,

    Actually, we could. And the rich already subsidize half the entire income tax burden of the core middle class ($40-100k) The libertarians establishment hasn't figured that out, so proggies get a free ride,

    After all, slavery was decided by majority rule... would you like to go back to that model?

    Slavery existed for all of human history, was brought here by Europeans, and we repealed it in less than 80 years. You and your proggies want us to feel guilt for that? Nope.

    Now that we've settled democracy, are you aware that humans are NOT infallible. (gasp)
    Too bad you have no alternative.

    majority of posters here can't decide to eliminate your right to post on this website.

    You're also weak on property rights. Reason's in this case.
    And what's your fascination with minority rule?

  • J Ortega y Gasset||

    And libertarians wonder why they can't get elected.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Quite a few don't even want to "conspire with statists"
    A free society will arise from the mists, simultaneously, and the OTHER 99% of Americans will feel the rapture.

    Then we have the Nolan libertarians -- 60%+ of Americans who self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. But 91% of THEM refuse to be called libertarian.

    On the odds, 50-60,000 of them are in elected local office, active in their communities, winning tax revolts (like I did). expanding efficient government and individual liberty. Several have moved up to state legislatures, as Democrats or Republicans (to get elected) Another 150-250,000 are supporting activists, with varying degrees of activism. And that raises a question,

    We know there is increasing support for purportedly libertarian values. Who's helping to cause it?.
    Perhaps a quarter-million Nolan libertarians, actively engaged in their communities?
    Fewer than 6% of Americans, almost none of which run campaigns to win and actually do something?
    Tough question?

  • Jay Dubya||

    Excellent article.

  • Tankboy||

    Taxation is slavery. Even if the government only takes 25% of your wages, that just means you're only a slave a quarter of the time, but you're still a slave. And no, the ends never justify the means. It's time to abolish slavery - again.

  • Michael Hihn||

    babble, babble, babble

  • Lester224||

    Well, dead bodies floating in the rivers and lying in the streets are kind of unsanitary. More sick people spreading more contagion around might be a general problem too. Keeping more of the populace healthy used to be thought a common good. Or maybe only swift sanitation and more crematoriums should be funded by tax dollars.

  • jerbigge||

    We could also argue that the US taxpayer doesn't get much in return for his or her taxes either. Our imperial ambitions cost us about a trillion dollars a year (when everything is considered) and so far have only been successful in making us more and more hated there in the Middle East. The Crusades (against Islam) all eventually failed, and the same is likely to be true here in the 21st Century. Then we spend taxpayer money doing things that make things worse instead of better. The "War on Drugs" has a cost of about a hundred billion dollars a year, more if we consider the long term consequences of our actions. What about civil forfeiture? That's just "legal theft" under a different name.

    Then we could add up the cost of government regulation that makes almost everything more expensive. The duplication of state and federal agencies eats up a lot of tax money on both the state and federal levels. Look on your cable bill for the "franchise fee" that is part of the bill. You are being charged for bribing your local government to give the cable company a legal monopoly. The enforcement of prescription laws (that make medicine more expensive). That's a "tax". The law forbidding you from buying medicine outside the US? That's another "tax", just under a different name. Any government regulation that does nothing but stake our a "preserve" for some group or occupation is also a "tax".

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