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House Committee Cancels Testimony of Gay Economist Who Once Joked About Taxing Gay Sex

His 16-year-old blog posts are completely irrelevant to his testimony on the minimum wage.

YouTube Screenshot via UCI ESSPRIYouTube Screenshot via UCI ESSPRIRepublicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee wanted a San Diego State University economist to testify Wednesday about the effects of raising the minimum wage. But the hearing was cancelled after the committee discovered two ancient blog posts that the economist, Joseph Sabia, had written as a graduate student.

"Members were uncomfortable moving forward on the hearing," Kelley McNabb, communications director for the committee's Republican majority, tells Politico. San Diego State University has condemned "the language and sentiments expressed in" Sabia's posts, and university president Adela de la Torre has said on Twitter that she was "personally appalled" by what Sabia had written.

The posts were produced back in 2002, and Sabia had already deleted both; you have to use the Wayback Machine to access them. Neither has anything to do with the minimum wage. One of them claims that since "homosexual activity has been responsible" for a variety of STDs, the government should tax gay sex. Sabia is gay himself, and the post was clearly satiric. The post even paused to spell out the point:

In all seriousness, the bottom line is this—the government has no business interfering in the lives of smokers, fatties, or gays. In America, each citizen ought to be free to choose the risks he is willing to take and the potential rewards (or costs) he may receive. He should be free to make choices that could lead to heart disease, diabetes, or HIV. And if these bad outcomes materialize, he should not look to the public dole for relief.

The other post argues that feminism has encouraged young women to be promiscuous—or as the young Sabia put it, to be "sluts" and "whores." It's a dumb post. It was also written nearly 20 years ago by a grad student, and it doesn't really tell us anything about how mature the writer is today, let alone about the quality of his research on the minimum wage.

Sabia quickly apologized for his "hurtful and disrespectful language," noting in a statement that his "peer-reviewed professional work" on a variety of issues is "a more accurate representation of my more than 14-year career as an applied microeconomist." It should be obvious that that's true, but apparently it needs to be spelled out.

In the words of Reason's Robby Soave, "It's time to declare an end to the practice of mining people's past social media comments for fire-able offenses." Or in this case, not an offense that will get someone fired, but an offense that will keep legislators from hearing any insights he might have on a policy they might change.

Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot via UCI ESSPRI

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  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    De-platforming is the new firing squads.

  • Dillinger||

    free Brendan Eich.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "It's time to declare an end to the practice of mining people's past social media comments for fire-able offenses."

    Not gonna happen. Otherwise how would we maintain our aura of smug superiority? How else are we supposed to own the libs/cons?

    Appealing to the politically motivated digital mobs for some sense of fairness or reasonableness will get you absolutely nowhere. Want to stop it? Pass a law mandating summary execution of anyone who joins one of the mobs. That'll shut 'er down really quickly. Short of that, no hope. The people that participate have their heads way too far up their own asses to hear anything.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Or just don't give the digital mob any credence. But that would take courage by oue elected leaders who'd rather be lead by the mob.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Another problem is that even the party that is hurt by the practice on a given occasion doesn't want it to stop, because they like to use it too.

    It's similar to the way both parties complain about presidential overreach when the other party is in power, but they never do anything concrete about it. They just look forward to doing their own overreach.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Mining Reason writers' past social media posts for violations of libertarian orthodoxy is what we Reason commenters do, goddamnit. You can't take that away from us.

  • JoeJoetheIdiotCircusBoy||

    Yup, passing a law the makes it a capital offense to associate with certain people will absolutely "shut 'er down." If there is one thing that the 20th century taught us, it is that deterrence is an insanely effective policy. And so far the 21st century is showing us is that deterrence becomes even more effective once you introduce technology and the internet into the equation.

  • DenverJ||

    Yup, deterrence certainly didn't prevent nuclear war between the supper powers.

  • Eddy||

    Where did he get the crazy idea that feminists encourage young women to be sluts?

    "Slutist is a sex positive collective founded in 2013. Called "seriously smart" by Glamour UK, and delivering "the perfect combo of sex, pop culture, and feminism," according to BUST, Slutist aims to amplify the voices of witches, sluts, and feminists while undressing the intersections between sex and feminism in art, pop culture, politics, and the occult."

    "Our March Slut of the Month is pleasure educator and kinky crafter sextraordinaire, Luna Matatas. When she's not rallying folks to Peg the Patriarchy, hosting streaming sex ed classes at O.school, or teaching IRL sex and pleasure classes around the world, she's creating sequined, bejeweled, and pearlized pasties and other erotic accoutrements."

  • Tony||

    How did I know one of the first 10 posts would be an agreement with the idea that feminism encourages promiscuity, and that promiscuity is a bad thing? You people are terrible libertarians.

  • Eddy||

    Still have some Christmas shopping to do? Then consider this:

    The Ethical Slut, Third Edition: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love

    "For 20 years The Ethical Slut has dispelled myths and showed curious readers how to maintain a successful polyamorous lifestyle through open communication, emotional honesty, and safer sex practices. The third edition of this timeless guide to communication and sex has been revised to include interviews with poly millennials (young people who have grown up without the prejudices their elders encountered regarding gender, orientation, sexuality, and relationships), tributes to poly pioneers, and new sidebars on topics such as asexuality, sex workers, and ways polys can connect and thrive. The authors also include new content addressing nontraditional relationships beyond the polyamorous paradigm of "more than two": couples who don't live together, couples who don't have sex with each other, nonparallel arrangements, couples with widely divergent sex styles, power disparities, and cross-orientation relationships, while utilizing nonbinary gender language and new terms that have come into common usage since the last edition."

  • Dillinger||

    three is the magic number.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    And what is the question?

  • Nardz||

    Because he lacks wit, intelligence, and self-respect

  • Dillinger||

    something something ethical slut.

  • Tony||

    If you want to live in a libertarian world, you're going to have to figure out how to be comfortable with other people making different choices about their personal behavior.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Been nice knowing you.

  • Brandybuck||

    Including different economic choices? I'm all up for that, but your posting history hints that you do not.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    LOL for what must be the millionth fucking time:

    Being a libertarian means not interfering with the choices others make about their personal behavior. It doesn't mean you have to approve of said choices. A person can believe that promiscuity is bad and still be libertarian. You can even try to persuade the other person that the choice is bad, so long as no force or fraud is used.

    And Eddy didn't even say anything disapproving. He just observed. Are you arguing that one must be totally oblivious to the world to "qualify" as a libertarian? If so you are far off the mark.

  • Tony||

    I suggest that since most of you are small-minded social conservatives, the impulse to fuck with other people's private lives (which is what it means to be a social conservative) might overcome your intellectual hat-tips to personal liberty.

    My point is that the very mindset of disapproving of what other people do with their genitals is contrary to the mindset required to live in a society of maximum individual liberty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Like anything else, people can do suboptimal things with their genitals. Pointing out to people that some choices have negative outcomes or opportunity costs is not interfering with liberty.

  • Eddy||

    "My point is that the very mindset of disapproving of what other people do with their genitals is contrary to the mindset required to live in a society of maximum individual liberty."

    Really? You'd undermine a free society by saying certain sexual behavior is bad?

    In a free society, people will want to know what to do with their freedom. Tradition, evidence, the advice of trusted friends, etc., are all non-coercive means to shape how one uses one's freedom.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    So, to believe in individual liberty, I must agree with everything everybody does? That is ludicrous.

  • Tony||

    No, but you should probably have more of an open mind than your average Kim Davis.

  • Vernon Depner||

    the very mindset of disapproving of what other people do with their genitals is contrary to the mindset required to live in a society of maximum individual liberty.

    You are absolutely wrong. The "mindset" required for a society of liberty is an understanding of and acquiescence to the fact that other people will make choices you don't approve of, and others will disapprove of yours. Requiring that we all approve of everyone else's behavior would make a society of liberty an impossible dream—it will never happen.

  • RabbitHead||

    Damn, I bet you couldn't buy a clue if you won the lottery.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    you're going to have to figure out how to be comfortable with other people making different choices about their personal behavior.

    And you'll need to figure out how to be comfortable with other people making different choices about their economic behavior.

    These two things are exactly what true libertarians have been saying for years.

  • Tony||

    Since your low-tax, small public-sector scheme reduces individual liberty to make choices in my opinion, I don't think I need to ease up on anything. I'm for a big public sector precisely, and only, because I value individual liberty.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    It doesn't reduce liberty for the moochers off of society, only for the producers in society. I guess your position makes sense relative to this fact.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    It only reduces your individual liberty if your liberty is enabled by robbing those around you. Since you're perfectly fine with economic slavery I understand where you're coming from I just don't think it has any place in a sustainable and respectful society.

  • Tony||

    "Economic slavery." Very helpful. Adds so much to a discussion.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You should read that book, Eddie.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    We are libertarians, not libertines.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm libertine af. I'm not wearing underwear as we speak.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Well, those chairs are going to the incinerator.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    BUCS has a standing desk, probably.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I buy in to that you add a spoonful of wine into a barrelful of sewage, you get sewage. If add a spoonful of sewage to a barrelful of wine, you get sewage.

  • Tony||

    So people who want low taxes and to meddle in other people's private lives?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Are you arguing that my personal finances aren't part of my "private" life?

    Why not just leave people alone in both?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Oh, I'm fully aware.

    He's actually arguing upthread that having a small public sector REDUCES individual liberty. Only the collective can save our freedoms. You know, the freedom to spend other people's money.

  • Tony||

    You wouldn't be able to make fuck-all without a strong public sector to protect your property rights, intellectual property rights, ability to travel, etc., etc. Just because you've heard the argument a lot doesn't make it wrong.

    So it's not all your money. If it's owed to the US Treasury, it's *our* money. Because as we all agree, what belongs to whom is a question only government can answer, unless you prefer the alternative.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    "You didn't build that..."

    a strong public sector to protect your property rights, intellectual property rights, ability to travel, etc., etc.

    If only that were what the discussion was about. What you're describing is likely the fringe of the fringe of federal spending.

  • Tony||

    It's still not your money if you owe it in taxes, and I don't think you'd like to live in a society without taxes, so it turns out we aren't really discussing anything.

  • Tony||

    No I didn't. Sorry if I wasn't clear; nobody is more useless to any conversation as you.

  • RabbitHead||

    Because nobody ever made any money in black markets.

    You probably couldn't, but that doesn't apply to everyone.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Criticizing is not meddling. Equating the two is snowflakery

  • Dillinger||

    both?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    How did I know one of the first 10 posts would be an agreement with the idea that feminism encourages promiscuity, and that promiscuity is a bad thing? You people are terrible libertarians.

    That's old feminism. New feminism decreases promiscuity which is why I want old feminism back.

  • DenverJ||

    For xmas, Imma buy you a dictionary. Meanwhile, please google the difference between "libertarian" and "libertine".
    K thanx

  • NoVaNick||

    Yow! Them is some ugly womynz! No wonder they are slutz because how else would they ever get any?

  • Dillinger||

    please say that on TV Robby. start it for real. fucking retarded a gay man can't make gay man jokes.

    "Republicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee" are stupid cowards.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    This is Joe. Though I assumed Robby at first as well.

  • Dillinger||

    yeah I'm stupid I meant to post this first:

    >>>In the words of Reason's Robby Soave ...

  • Bubba Jones||

    "I turned gay for the jokes".

  • StackOfCoins||

    The worst thing I have on the internet is a Livejournal account where I whined about getting dumped by my highschool girlfriend. Lost the pass and the email years ago; was surprised to learn LJ is still around and so are my dipshit musings on love and loss.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Linkie?

  • Dalben||

    Ridiculous. not like even as if Congress hiring for a job where he could potentially offend people with his views (not that 16 year old satirical posts are a good representation of his current views) they were just going to listen to his analysis of an economic issue one time.

  • Brandybuck||

    The reason that I can never ever hold public office, or able to testify before congress, or even allowed to visit such enlightened enclaves as Berkeley or Santa Monica, is because I'm old enough to have a history of actually existing. Somewhere out there floating in the either is the email where I called my ex girlfriend a bitch back in undergraduate days. Or the ancient post on a D&D forum where I mocked the idea of half-elf trans ninja lesbian character.

    And in all seriousness, I have a friend who has been permanently blackballed from his profession for a Facebook post made while he was drunk. Stuff you say or write in public can and will haunt you until the end of your days. As culture we simply have not digested that idea. And modern college students using social media to post their private diary entries indicates they don't understand it either.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    When my son was in high school he got caught up in a kerfuffle involving a classmate making derogatory comments about a teacher on Myspace. The teacher, who apparently had nothing better to do, was reading this shit online and dragged everybody in for a stern warning. A couple of days later he quit Myspace and never went back. He does Facebook but only to post pictures of his kids and other wholesome stuff. He's got a very successful career and is bulletproof in the social media world. More recently my wife worked with a woman in her 30s who called in sick one day and then texted pics from the party she went to to all of her coworkers who found her location and ratted her out to the manager. Needless to say her career took a turn for the worse. If you've got something to confess it might be better to get drunk and bore the bartender that get drunk and post on Twitter.

  • creech||

    "couples who don't have sex with each other, "
    But the institution of marriage has been around for millenia.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    "Take my wife... please"

  • DajjaI||

    Of course it's ridiculous that these satirical posts would disqualify him. But on the other hand it's good that insulting and hurtful language is no longer tolerated in polite company, and people will have to think twice before engaging in it, both in public and in private. This actually is a boon to free speech because many people shut down at the first sign of being bullied.
    OK now call me an 'idiot'. Just promise me you'll let me know how that worked out for you:

  • ||

    This actually is a boon to free speech because many people shut down at the first sign of being bullied.

    Name the person Sabia bullied. Because Seyton, in the middle of defending Sabia's posts, says they're dumb. It's not a boon for free speech. It's a boon for people who like to (hyper)moralize and speak without thinking.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    OK. You're an idiot.

  • DenverJ||

    Hmm. How about "you stupid fuckhead, my posts from 20 years ago are waaaaay past the statute of limitations. "
    Also, First!

  • Longtobefree||

    "Never apologize, Mister. It's a sign of weakness."
    Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles (John Wayne)

  • Mickey Rat||

    Yes, being ostracized for awkwardly phrased, unpopular viewpoints even applies to gay libertarians. Maybe we should not have started playing this game even when it was just targeting people you disapproved of.

  • Vernon Depner||

    White Gay men are no longer considered marginalized.

  • ||

    In America, each citizen ought to be free to choose the risks he is willing to take and the potential rewards (or costs) he may receive. He should be free to make choices that could lead to heart disease, diabetes, or HIV. And if these bad outcomes materialize, he should not look to the public dole for relief.

    "It's a dumb post."

    WTF?

  • StackOfCoins||

    I believe the "dumb post" refers to the one about young girls being inculcated into whoredom.

  • ||

    Either way, it's pretty clear that Seyton doesn't exactly care whether the message is good or well thought out or not as much as if someone says the word 'whore' or 'slut', which is the larger or more basal issue behind the whole "Let's stop digging up old social media posts." sobfest Reason is throwing.

  • Mendelism||

    ^Anyone else think that this part of the post is what really bothered the committee?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I suspect they didn't even get past the first line... "In America, each citizen ought to be free to choose"

    Quick, blacklist this kulak!

  • Mickey Rat||

    I suspect it was and that HnR headline writer is a sensationalist propagandist.

  • Eddy||

    You know, I guess he felt he had to apologize for what he said 16 years ago about feminism encouraging slutty and whorish behavior, but his disavowal doesn't make it less true.

    I skimmed that archived post of his and it made some good points.

  • Eddy||

    My main caveat would be that feminism tries to put a patina of respectability on what was arguably pre-existing behavior.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm going to throw out the caveat as well that Feminism is a wide umbrella of barely related philosophies and moral stances. It's a broad term that leads to confusion every time it's discussed.

  • Eddy||

    OK, certainly, the fact that a group of feminists felt the need to clarify that they're "sex positive" suggests that there may be other strains of feminism they're distancing themselves from.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's like most political labels, it's a vast aggregation over sets of largely orthogonal viewpoints. This is something Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch (Welsh? Too lazy to care) talk about, that I think they're spot on. There is no logical connection between, say, abortion and military spending. We do a vast amount of aggregation for our political associations that cover up a lot of actually meaningful distinctions in beliefs.

    Beyond the fact that Feminism covers everyone from John Stewart Mill and Zora Neale Hurston, to Gail Dines, or more of the Marxist style (I admit to not knowing their names, this is ignorance on my part).

  • Eddy||

    I suppose if you boil it down to the "women are people" bumper sticker, then everyone except psycho serial killers is a feminist.

    Let me check online Merriam-Webster for their definition of feminism:

    1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
    2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

    These two definitions seem broad (no pun intended) enough to cover the major factions without making everyone a feminist.

    Of course, a "dick-tionary" is male-centric so it may be unreliable.

  • ||

    I'm going to throw out the caveat as well that Feminism is a wide umbrella of barely related philosophies and moral stances. It's a broad term that leads to confusion every time it's discussed.

    Which is the first key point of the post originally made 16 yrs. ago that Seyton declares to be 'dumb'.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I wonder what Joe is doing. Reason has a tendency to concede a point to make another point. That is, this is dumb, but even then it shouldn't lead to such consequence.

    This is a very Robby-esque action. The need to declare both sides at some level of fault. When really all it is getting focused on the language used to avoid arguing the actual point being made. Mistaking the presentation with the argument.

  • DenverJ||

    Yeah. Lots of words to say "signaling".

  • Hank Phillips||

    The upside of prohibitionist and politically communistic character assassination posses is that unusual people are prompted to start their own companies and compete with the cowardly corporations that blacklisted them. Plus it makes it easier to round up libertarian spoiler votes with which to clout back.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Missing from the discussion is the obvious point - Sabia's proposed "gay sex tax" is an entirely apt parallel to the sorts of taxes he's criticizing. In both cases, some public health downside can be, at the least, correlated with the activity. And he's simply proposing a tax comparable to the other public disincentives that levied in the name of public health. Really, if one is intellectually consistent, the fact that he is gay should no more matter to the legitimacy of his argument than the fact that he has blond hair or is shown wearing a stripped tie.

    And, if you consider his comparison "insulting and hurtful language", my guess is that what you find hurtful or insulting is having the evasions you employ to cover for your own hypocrisy made explicit.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    Look, smoking being correlated to higher rates of cancer and therefore deserving of higher taxes to pay for the treatment is totally different from gay sex being correlated to higher rates of STDs and that unspecified difference is why gay sex cannot be taxed to pay for the increased treatment costs to society.

    Somehow getting the government out of financing these decisions (and thus having any say whatsever) is the only objectionable thing in the whole discussion.

  • Tony||

    How the fuck do you tax fucking?

    Sure, all of these things can and should be studied as social problems by social institutions. But each one requires a different approach. You tax smoking to encourage less smoking. People aren't going to stop fucking, so you have to rely on other means.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You start by taxing all forms of birth control.

  • Tony||

    Seems like that would be an inefficient approach that would only cause more problems.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Look, you asked how, I'm just problem solving by pretending I'm a government official who believes any problem can be solved with policy tweaks.

  • Mickey Rat||

    That is what the two way telescreens are for.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I take it he wasn't going to say the right things about minimum wage policy effects.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Good Lord, you're not suggesting that we should tax ... gay thingy?

  • Vernon Depner||

    "sluts" and "whores."

    Sluts and whores are opposites. A slut suffers from the delusion that sex between a man and a woman is an even exchange. A whore wisely recognizes that the woman always puts more on the table than the man and demands more compensation than just a few minutes of dick. Misguided feminists, with their concept of literal equality of men and women, celebrate the slut and denigrate the whore. Whores, recognizing the real differences between men and women and demanding practical equality, are the real feminists.

  • DenverJ||

    +1

  • Ecoli||

    The government should do a massive, deep dive investigation of every person on Earth to determine the purest, most innocent person alive. This should include a full genomic sequence to look for genetic anomalies.

    When this perfect person is found, she (it can't be a man, you shitlords) should be made emperor of the Universe and installed in a magnificent mansion with an army of servants to satisfy all of her personal needs and desires. All accolades will her hers, blessed be her name.

    Those who are found to be less deserving will be consigned to various levels of hell commensurate with their failings.

    In the interim, until Hillary is determined to be the one, Hillary Clinton will fill the post with Huma as her maid servant and pleasure maven. It is her (Hillary's) turn, damn it!

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