Monday, October 11, 2010

Forced Redistribution of Income vs. Blood

1. Do you support the forced redistribution of income?

2. Do you support the forced redistribution of blood?  After all: a) someone needs blood every two seconds, b) one in seven people entering a hospital need blood, and c) one pint of blood can save up to three lives. 

If your answers to the two questions are not the same, you have a problem on your hands, according to Philip Maymin (fellow finalist for the 2010 Bastiat Prize for Online Journalism). 

59 Comments:

At 10/11/2010 11:19 PM, Blogger Rick said...

few people have > 50% more blood than they need to survive.
many people have more money than they need to survive.
--
When a person dies, do you support making all of a their organs available for the use of those who need them to live.
When a person dies, do you support making all their money available for those who need it to live?
If you answered differently to these answers, how do you justify that?

 
At 10/12/2010 3:40 AM, Blogger randian said...

many people have more money than they need to survive.

Irrelevant. It's as immoral to steal from a rich man as a poor one.

When a person dies, do you support making all of a their organs available for the use of those who need them to live?

Unless the terms of their estate permit it, no.

When a person dies, do you support making all their money available for those who need it to live?

Are "those who need it" the heirs of the deceased? Then yes, otherwise no.

 
At 10/12/2010 5:46 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Unless given willingly, both are robbery.

 
At 10/12/2010 9:57 AM, Blogger Rick C said...

"When a person dies, do you support making all of a their organs available for the use of those who need them to live."

Bear in mind that a legislator in New York (I think) earlier this year proposed a new law making organ donation opt-out. If you didn't say no, the state would be able to break you down for spare parts on death.

 
At 10/12/2010 10:46 AM, Blogger Steve said...

So income taxes = physical slavery?

Fundamentalist libertarians just ask for marginalization and derision.

Perspective - it makes reality easier to deal with.

 
At 10/12/2010 11:38 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

If you believe in reducing government waste, but you support the US military, then you have a problem on your hands.

 
At 10/12/2010 11:48 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

"It's as immoral to steal from a rich man as a poor one."

===============================

Robin Hood is going to be sorry to hear that.

 
At 10/12/2010 12:00 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

For the most part, blood banks get by one donations.

There are probably two reasons for that: the cause is seen as important enough to support altruism, and blood doesn't really cost you anything (the cost is trivial).

If the cost of taxes was trivial, you would hear a lot less complaint.

Anti-tax coplainers make it sound as if 100% of their tax money was being taken from them and used for someone else And they make it sound as if they have no say in the matter as to what is taken or how it is spent, when their voice is equal to every other....

Once you subtract out what you get in return for your taxes, plus a REASONABLE amount of overhead, plus the debt service on things that were bought partly on your behalf by our forbears, plus transfer payments, in which you pay for someone else now and someone else pays for you later, then the amount left to complain about is a lot smaller.

That does not mean we should not fight waste or bloated overhead in government or any of those other things, it only means that most of us are not going to die because the tax man is sucking our blood.

 
At 10/12/2010 12:01 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

For the most part, blood banks get by one donations.

There are probably two reasons for that: the cause is seen as important enough to support altruism, and blood doesn't really cost you anything (the cost is trivial).

If the cost of taxes was trivial, you would hear a lot less complaint.

Anti-tax coplainers make it sound as if 100% of their tax money was being taken from them and used for someone else And they make it sound as if they have no say in the matter as to what is taken or how it is spent, when their voice is equal to every other....

Once you subtract out what you get in return for your taxes, plus a REASONABLE amount of overhead, plus the debt service on things that were bought partly on your behalf by our forbears, plus transfer payments, in which you pay for someone else now and someone else pays for you later, then the amount left to complain about is a lot smaller.

That does not mean we should not fight waste or bloated overhead in government or any of those other things, it only means that most of us are not going to die because the tax man is sucking our blood.

 
At 10/12/2010 12:12 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

So income taxes = physical slavery?

Fundamentalist libertarians just ask for marginalization and derision.

Perspective - it makes reality easier to deal with.

================================

OK, so it is slavery by percentages. I pay tax and some of it comes back to me in goods and services I need anyway: that is not slavery. Some goes for services I don;t use now, but will use someday. what left is some small amount that I pay, don't use, won't use, and don't agree with. And even that part is partially a "fair trade" with those people who feel just the opposite about some other things.

At the end of the day we probably tolerate being 1% slave in exchange for being 99% free. As oppposed to being 100% free and then having to spend a lot of money and time physically defending yourself.

=================================

What about the situation in which your government putatively accepts labor in lieu of tax payment, and then sets the tax payment so high you have no real choice but to supply labor?

Is that slavery? This is a real question.

 
At 10/12/2010 12:12 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/12/2010 12:13 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"So income taxes = physical slavery?"...

Well Steve 'if' the money extorted from you by government isn't it voluntary then what would you call it?

From the Freeman: Henry Hazlitt and the Failure of Keynesian Economics

 
At 10/12/2010 12:40 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

There is a difference from being voluntary and being egalitarian. We GIVE the government police powers, which in your view are then used to extort from us.

I suppose, that if you are 100% free,then nyou are a slave only to yourself, but you would have to grant everyone else the same freedom. You would spend a lot of time energy and money (taxes to yourself) in defending your freedom from others who might think they have more than you.

You would have a very high tax rate, indeed. Most civilized people recognize they can get a better deal than that through collective bargaining.

In order to ensure a "free market" in collective bargaining we have invented a little thing called the vote, which we use (often badly) to ensure egalitarian distribution of police powers and the resulting percentage of slavery we endure.

Fundamental Libertarians are fundamentally correct, but practically ridiculous.

 
At 10/12/2010 1:12 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

few people have > 50% more blood than they need to survive.
many people have more money than they need to survive.


So what? Forced redistribution is either moral or it isn't.

When a person dies, do you support making all of a their organs available for the use of those who need them to live.

No. The person has ownership of his own body and has the final choice if his organs are to be donated or not.

When a person dies, do you support making all their money available for those who need it to live?

No. The person has ownership of his own body and ownership of the money earned by that body. As such s/he has the final choice how that money is to be distributed.

If you answered differently to these answers, how do you justify that?

I have no idea why a rational person would justify a different answer. Top have different answers you need to be irrational.

 
At 10/12/2010 1:16 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

So income taxes = physical slavery?

When someone can come in and take what is yours you are not much different than a slave.

Fundamentalist libertarians just ask for marginalization and derision.

Since when are defensible moral positions asking for marginalization? And why are you not saying that it is the advocates of theft that are asking for marginalization and derision? Since when is theft justifiable?

 
At 10/12/2010 1:17 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We GIVE the government police powers, which in your view are then used to extort from us.

Perhaps you did but most people have not given the government any power to extort. I see no document with my signature on it that says that the government can take from me what it wishes without my consent.

 
At 10/12/2010 2:23 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I see no document with my signature on it that says that the government can take from me what it wishes without my consent"...

Not knowing what you've seen or not seen but Constitutional Amendment 16 gave Congress to power to tax...

Now when Congress wants to finance everything that isn't covered Article One, Section 8 of the Constitution isn't that extortion?

 
At 10/12/2010 2:32 PM, Blogger Steve said...

@ juandos: The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows for income taxes, so unless you reject that document and your U.S. citizenship/immigration status as well, then it IS voluntary on your part. You can avoid US income taxes be renouncing your citizenship or otherwise emigrating. If you choose to stay, then you choose to accept the laws of the land you stay in.


@ VangelV: "I see no document with my signature on it that says that the government can take from me what it wishes without my consent."

That's your arguement - really? That you didn't individually sign naturalization or citizenship papers, therefore the government has no legitimate power over you?

Your presence in this country, or citizenship of it, belies that belief.

Don't like it? You can renounce your citizenship and/or leave the country, and be rid of this evil power that is keeping you down.

You have the right to disobey civilly, but that also requires accepting the consequences.

Don't want to? Didn't think so.

 
At 10/12/2010 2:45 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I see no document with my signature on it that says that the government can take from me what it wishes without my consent.

=================================

Probably not. You were too young to put your signature on your birth certificate.

If you vote, your signature is on your voting card. It does not say the government has the power to take from you without your consent. What it does say is that only if you get enough others to go along with you can you take that power away from government.

Of cpourse, if you find enough such people and get agreement among them for what you want done, then you will lose part of your individual freedom in deference to what others want.

Most civilized people have figured this out: they get a better deal and more freedom through collective bargaining than pig- headed indpendence.

 
At 10/12/2010 2:53 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"Extortion, outwresting, and/or exaction is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion.

..............

The term extortion is often used metaphorically to refer to usury or to price-gouging, though neither is legally considered extortion. It is also often used loosely to refer to everyday situations where one person feels indebted against their will, to another, in order to receive an essential service or avoid legal consequences. For example, certain lawsuits, fees for services such as banking, automobile insurance, gasoline prices, and even taxation, have all been labeled "legalized extortion" by people with various social or political beliefs"


Wikipedia


=================================

Labeling something extortion does not make it extortion. the government is not in the "protection" racket, and it does provide valuable goods and services in exchange for the money it gets.

You might not like the terms offered, or the goods recieved, but the deal you have is not extortion.

You have the right to file a complaint, and your next chance comes early in November.

 
At 10/12/2010 3:23 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Not knowing what you've seen or not seen but Constitutional Amendment 16 gave Congress to power to tax...

I don't see my signature on any Constitution. Do you?

On the subject of the Constitution my sympathies are with Lysander Spooner:

Inasmuch as the Constitution was never signed, nor agreed to, by anybody, as a contract, and therefore never bound anybody, and is now binding upon nobody; and is, moreover, such an one as no people can ever hereafter be expected to consent to, except as they may be forced to do so at the point of the bayonet, it is perhaps of no importance what its true legal meaning, as a contract, is. Nevertheless, the writer thinks it proper to say that, in his opinion, the Constitution is no such instrument as it has generally been assumed to be; but that by false interpretations, and naked usurpations, the government has been made in practice a very widely, and almost wholly, different thing from what the Constitution itself purports to authorize. He has heretofore written much, and could write much more, to prove that such is the truth. But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain--that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

 
At 10/12/2010 3:36 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

That's your arguement - really? That you didn't individually sign naturalization or citizenship papers, therefore the government has no legitimate power over you?

Yes it is. And it is a good argument. A few dead men from the past cannot bind their dependents into serfdom by getting together and signing an agreement. And if the Constitution ever was a contract it died with the men who signed it and applied to those men who signed it.

If your parents are not able to sign away your rights in perpetuity why should strangers from the past have that ability? Your rights are inalienable and cannot legitimately be taken away as you are suggesting.

 
At 10/12/2010 3:39 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Don't like it? You can renounce your citizenship and/or leave the country, and be rid of this evil power that is keeping you down.

There is no need for me to go anywhere. If an outlaw gang moved next door to you and voted itself the power to take away your property I do not think my suggestion that you should move would be a good one because you are not bound to give them anything.

 
At 10/12/2010 3:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

What it does say is that only if you get enough others to go along with you can you take that power away from government.

This is the argument that people have no rights whatsoever and are granted rights by government. Not even the American Founders accepted that idea. They made it clear that men had natural rights and that it is in order to protect those rights that governments are formed among men. Any government that violates those rights is not legitimate.

Most civilized people have figured this out: they get a better deal and more freedom through collective bargaining than pig- headed indpendence.

Civilized? Since when are serfs said to be civilized? Men are born free and have natural rights that cannot be taken away from them unless they directly violate the rights of other free men. The last time I looked the right to steal did not exist.

 
At 10/12/2010 3:54 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I don't see my signature on any Constitution. Do you?"...

Hmmm, it seems like your grasp of history/civics might be a bit spotty in my opinion...

Well you're always free to leave the country or better yet you could stay and try to change the country back to adhere more closely to Constitutional principles...

Spooner seems to have had a questionable grasp of the Constitution but Spooner is neither here there when you get right down to the basics...

 
At 10/12/2010 4:00 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Labeling something extortion does not make it extortion.

And calling something taxation does not mean that it isn't theft.

the government is not in the "protection" racket, and it does provide valuable goods and services in exchange for the money it gets.

On what planet do you live? I do not want 'services' from the government because it isn't very good at doing anything better than private businesses and individuals. Most people want services only when they are 'free' because others have to pay for them. That may be a good arrangement for people who are getting handouts but not for those that are paying for the handouts.

Let me be clear that I have no problem with you purchasing any service that you want from 'government.' I just don't want my money to be used to pay for what you want and would like to see you pay the actual cost of what you are getting. I suspect that if you had to pay the full costs you would no longer believe that the services were such a good thing.

You might not like the terms offered, or the goods recieved, but the deal you have is not extortion.

Of course it is. When I am forced to pay for stuff that I don't want there are no nice words that can be used to cover up the fact that the involuntary transaction is not moral. The fact that some government passed a law to make it legal does not make it right.

 
At 10/12/2010 4:33 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Calling something taxation does not mean that it isn't theft, and it doesn;t mean that it is either. this is an Alice in wonderland coversation. Extortion and theft have different meanings from taxation, if you cannot see or do not accept the difference than you are having a problem with reality. Go ask Alice.

=================================

"I do not want 'services' from the government" but you get them anyway, and everyone else expects you to pay your share.

You go in a pizza shop with three of your friends, then you say you don't want to pay because you were coerced through peer pressure, asnd the pizza is lousy. But you are still eating the pizza.

Do you actually have three friends? Still?

=================================

"I just don't want my money to be used to pay for what you want ..."

That is a bad assumption because a) you don't know that it is true and b) once the government gets it, it isn't your money. It's like saying I don't want my preacher to spend my money on hookers. The argument appears virtuous, except it isn't my money. it is a false premise and a logical fallacy.

================================
Since when are serfs said to be civilized?

Since when is being civilized a matter of the condition of your servitude?

I'd claim that an example of being uncivilized is claiming that you don't owe anybody anything, and you don't want anyting from anybody.

Good luck with that.

 
At 10/12/2010 4:34 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Spooner seems to have had a questionable grasp of the Constitution but Spooner is neither here there when you get right down to the basics..


Try reading the link that you provided. Both the author of the book and the commentator reviewing the argument agree with me and with Spooner. You are confused because the disagreement is about whether "Spooner is 'arguing against a living Constitution' and for a strict interpretation."

Then there are the implications of the argument. You are suggesting that slavery was perfectly fine because the way you read the Constitution it was compatible with it. In your world you can be born to slavery if some other men agreed that you should be a slave and that your descendants should be slaves in perpetuity unless the descendants of the men who claimed that you should be a slave chose to free them.

 
At 10/12/2010 4:40 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

" When I am forced to pay for stuff that I don't want there are no nice words that can be used to cover up the fact that the involuntary transaction is not moral. "

=================================
That is one reason we have government, so that we have a way to arbitrate what is moral and what is not.


When someone dumps PCB in the river or oil in the sewer, you are going to pay for something you do not want. you may not want to pay for government either, but a rational person will take the better bargain of two bad ones.

Total Cost = Business Cost + External Cost + Government Cost.

What you should want is lowest Total Cost and you are a fool if you think the way you get it is by minimizing the term on the far right = Government Cost.

 
At 10/12/2010 4:51 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Try reading the link that you provided"...

ROFLMAO!

Try rereading it...

 
At 10/12/2010 4:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Extortion and theft have different meanings from taxation, if you cannot see or do not accept the difference than you are having a problem with reality"...

What?!?!

If Uncle Sam (considering that federal government is the main extortionist here) is taking private wealth from citizens in order finance programs other than what are allowed in Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution then its theft/extortion - NOT taxation...

What part of the Constitution mandates the federal government to involve itself in these useless and overly expensive nanny state programs?

Now if you and your fellow travelers want those programs how come you don't pay for them?

Why should everyone be saddled with the costs?

 
At 10/12/2010 5:27 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"The last time I looked the right to steal did not exist."

=================================

Funny, there seems to be an awful lot of stealing going on, and a lot of people and organizations getting away with it. We may not have the right to steal, but neither do we have the ability to stop all theft.

It is one reason we have government and one reason you get to help pay for it.

At the highest levels "playing by the rules" is called "gaming the system", and we pretty much recognize that until something is outlawed, it is legal.

So while ther mey not be a right to steal, there does seem to be a lot of resources going in to refining the idea of what constitutes stealing. In the process we get better and more definitions of what constitutes property rights, and the protection of property rights is the primary job of government.

it is a big complicated job, and it does not get done for free.

 
At 10/12/2010 5:47 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"considering that federal government is the main extortionist here"

================================

Extortion and taxation have different meanings. If you want to make them the same, go read Lewis Carroll.

I don't buy your premise, so the rest is meaningless.


---------------------------------

Lets suppose that there existed some independent third entity that could efficiently aarbitrate what things are worth.

Suppose that agency held, or could prove, that the benefits to you from government are many times what you pay for them, and the reason that was true is because of its enormaous purchasing power.


Would you still be opposed to big government taking $4 from you if it were proven to you that you get $5 back?


If it is a constitutional issue you would still think that is wrong, but it would be irrational to give away a good thing based on a strict interpetation of the constitution.

If your argument is that you are paying too much for stuff then the constitutional thing is a red herring.

If the argument is that you are paying for stuff you don't want or need, well surely there is stuff you do want and don't mind paying for. It is a pretty big claim that YOU are paying for ALL THAT STUFF that other people want and need.

If you like defense, for instance, then all the money you ever paid may have bought about one inch of an aircraft carier, and you ought to be plenty happy with that.

Right now you don't need it, but someday you may be happy for a food stamp or depend on public subsidised transit.

Instead of extortion, thnk of it like a casino. In the end, you KNOW you ae going to lose. Does that mean you want a casino with no rules and no management?

 
At 10/12/2010 5:50 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Juandos,

Thanks for the link, I've been meaning to sign up for a couple of those FSA loans.

 
At 10/12/2010 6:37 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You go in a pizza shop with three of your friends, then you say you don't want to pay because you were coerced through peer pressure, asnd the pizza is lousy. But you are still eating the pizza.

That is a silly example. My friends do not force me to pay for pizza that they eat on their own and I have no interest in eating.

If I, as an individual, am not permitted to steal money from others, then the government (which is made up of individuals) should not be permitted to steal money from people, even when they name it taxation.

Do you actually have three friends? Still?

It is not your business, even though as a busybody you might pretend that it is.

That is a bad assumption because a) you don't know that it is true and b) once the government gets it, it isn't your money. It's like saying I don't want my preacher to spend my money on hookers. The argument appears virtuous, except it isn't my money. it is a false premise and a logical fallacy.

You are right to point out that when a thief takes my money it is no longer mine. But you are wrong to say that it is identical to not wanting "my preacher to spend my money on hookers." The money given to the preacher is voluntary so he is free to do with it as he sees fit. The government does not collect money in the same way and uses force to extort it from individuals and businesses.

I'd claim that an example of being uncivilized is claiming that you don't owe anybody anything, and you don't want anyting from anybody.

I owe many people many things. I owe my parents and family. I owe my friends and teachers. I owe the organizations and institutions that I joined voluntarily. I just don't owe the government anything. And that is what this is about. It isn't about voluntary associations with other like minded individuals, which you and everyone else should be free to join as you choose. It is about funding the state that uses our earnings to fight wars that we do not want, finance programs that we oppose, or do all kinds of things in our name that we would never choose to do ourselves.

 
At 10/12/2010 6:57 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

That is one reason we have government, so that we have a way to arbitrate what is moral and what is not.

Really? On what planet would that be true? Your government decided to overthrow legitimately elected governments in the Middle East and by doing so created the huge mess that we find ourselves in. Your government sold poison gas to Saddam Hussein, anti-aircraft weapons to the Mujaheddin, armed, trained, and funded Ossama bin Laden, led a boycott that was responsible for the deaths of half a million Arab children. And it did all those things in your name.

Do you honestly believe that it arbitrated what is moral and what is not? Do you really believe that when the government forces people to buy more expensive electricity that it is looking after the interests of the people or companies like GE, which support all of those green initiatives that will make its shareholders wealthier? Was your government moral when it infected black men with syphilis so that it could study the effect of the disease?

Your arguments are intellectually bankrupt and without any merit. As most authoritarians on the left or the right what you do is support statism.

When someone dumps PCB in the river or oil in the sewer, you are going to pay for something you do not want.

When someone does damage they should pay to the people that suffered harm, not to government bureaucrats that have no real standing because they were not harmed and who will use the proceeds from any judgment as they see fit.

you may not want to pay for government either, but a rational person will take the better bargain of two bad ones.

What bad bargain? Government steals from individuals and does things that many voters would never choose to support. Theft is never a good bargain.

Total Cost = Business Cost + External Cost + Government Cost.

What you should want is lowest Total Cost and you are a fool if you think the way you get it is by minimizing the term on the far right = Government Cost.


Really? This comes from a person who is looking at total government debt and unfunded liabilities for its SS at ten times GDP and at the looming destruction of the general economy and the currency. How exactly does this fit into your mindless defense of government?

 
At 10/12/2010 7:45 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Try rereading it...

I did read it. Try going past the first sentence and see where it leads. Patrick Krey is not exactly the statist like many on this thread and has a lot more time for Spooner than you realize. His big problem was with the argument that Spooner provides against the Constitution.

Spooner’s argument that the Constitution was not binding on African-Americans is actually much stronger but if you follow this line of thinking to its logical end, then you must conclude that the Constitution is not binding on anyone who wasn’t alive at the time of the ratification. And that’s actually what Spooner eventually argued.

Although Krey, who has a lot of time for the people at mises.org and publishes articles that criticize the legitimacy of the state at www.lewrockwell.com he is not willing to go as far as Spooner or Rockwell that the state is illegitimate and the Constitution is not binding. And as much as he wrote that he disagreed with Bean he did not argue against the main point that was made when Bean wrote, "While you may disagree, his argument is actually an extremely _strict_ interpretation of the law as a) protecting individual rights well-accepted in Anglo-American law; and b) contracts must be consensual: by tracing the history of American charters and constitutions, he shows that blacks never “signed over” their rights to the Government and submitted to slavery. And they had no right to hand over their children. There was no legal basis for man-stealing. It happened over time AND THEN it was codified... There is no way to argue against that point, which is why I suspect that Krey recommended Bean's great book, which I also recommend along with Bean's other great book, Big Government and Affirmative Action.

 
At 10/12/2010 7:53 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

What part of the Constitution mandates the federal government to involve itself in these useless and overly expensive nanny state programs

Now if you and your fellow travelers want those programs how come you don't pay for them?

Why should everyone be saddled with the costs?


Because that is what the Supremes have ruled. You can't argue that the Constitution is legitimate and then pout when the courts rule that government can do what it wishes without limit. Whether you like it or not, there is no middle way.

 
At 10/12/2010 8:03 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Funny, there seems to be an awful lot of stealing going on, and a lot of people and organizations getting away with it. We may not have the right to steal, but neither do we have the ability to stop all theft.

Actually, if you steal my bicycle or my TV there are courts to make sure that I get my stuff back and am compensated for my trouble. A lot of the stealing that you see takes place because the laws allow it. That would not be the case in a free society.

It is one reason we have government and one reason you get to help pay for it.

Is this the same government that ignored the Enron and Madoff scandals for as long as it could before the private individuals that kept pushing it to do something blew the whistle? By pretending that it is doing something to protect investors it made them complacent and led to billions of losses.

Of course, this pales in comparison to the losses that were created when the government pushed easy money policies and providing mortgages to people who could not pay them off. Or the trillions lost when the government decided to enrich the military-industrial complex by fighting unnecessary wars that never seem to end.

At the highest levels "playing by the rules" is called "gaming the system", and we pretty much recognize that until something is outlawed, it is legal.

You are confused. Any voluntary transactions between competent individuals that do not involve fraud should be legal. Why should governments declare victimless activities criminal?

So while ther mey not be a right to steal, there does seem to be a lot of resources going in to refining the idea of what constitutes stealing. In the process we get better and more definitions of what constitutes property rights, and the protection of property rights is the primary job of government.

Staling is prohibited in a free society. What you are missing is the fact that the government is permitted to steal as it wishes.

it is a big complicated job, and it does not get done for free.

Who said anything about free, other than the statist freeloaders who expect others to pay?

 
At 10/12/2010 8:16 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Lets suppose that there existed some independent third entity that could efficiently aarbitrate what things are worth.

Let me get this straight. I go to the market and want to trade my wheat for your fish. Why exactly do we need a third party to tell us the exchange rate? And how does such a party add to the transactional efficiency?

Would you still be opposed to big government taking $4 from you if it were proven to you that you get $5 back?

You are a Utopian. While there could be something that government could do cheaper in theory there that does not justify it doing all of the things that it chooses to do and to impose costs on people that have no interest in what the government is providing.

If it is a constitutional issue you would still think that is wrong, but it would be irrational to give away a good thing based on a strict interpetation of the constitution.

Evil is evil no matter how you write it down. When a government agresses against individuals it is no different than a criminal who does the same thing.

If your argument is that you are paying too much for stuff then the constitutional thing is a red herring.

It isn't. The argument was that the government does not do what it is authorized to do by the Constitution.

If the argument is that you are paying for stuff you don't want or need, well surely there is stuff you do want and don't mind paying for. It is a pretty big claim that YOU are paying for ALL THAT STUFF that other people want and need.

Other people can pay for what ever they want. The problem comes when others are forced to pay for things that they do not want. If the Conservatives love wars so much then they should pay for them out of their own pockets. And if the Liberals love welfare programs then they should also pay for them out of their pockets.

If you like defense, for instance, then all the money you ever paid may have bought about one inch of an aircraft carier, and you ought to be plenty happy with that.

But he may have no interest in buying an aircraft carrier to project power across the globe and make enemies. If you want that then go ahead and make donations to an offense fund.

Right now you don't need it, but someday you may be happy for a food stamp or depend on public subsidised transit.

But he does not want it now. And he should not be forced to pay for it. There is no need for public transit because affordable mass transit is possible without the state.

Instead of extortion, thnk of it like a casino. In the end, you KNOW you ae going to lose. Does that mean you want a casino with no rules and no management?

Another stupid example. One can always avoid a casino that has no rules or if one knows the odds and does not wish to play the game. What you are advocating is forcing everyone to go to the casino and soothing them by telling them that your rules are not too bad.

 
At 10/12/2010 10:15 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

How do you avoid a country which has no rules, which is more or less what you advocate?

 
At 10/12/2010 10:18 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If the issue is constitutional then cost/value makes no difference?

 
At 10/12/2010 10:25 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

But he does not want it now, so a fair trade only exists if it is immediate?

Winston and Shirley have calculated that absent public subsidy and waste we would have about 2% of the current level of transit.

 
At 10/12/2010 10:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Because that is what the Supremes have ruled. You can't argue that the Constitution is legitimate and then pout when the courts rule that government can do what it wishes without limit. Whether you like it or not, there is no middle way."

There is another authority. The states and the people may ultimately judge what is constitutional. A branch of the central government can't be relied on as the final judge of the limits of power of the central government, or there are no limits.

 
At 10/12/2010 11:02 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Aircraft carriers. I said " if". It was an example. The point is that government is huge and does many things. It is not credible for you to complain that YOUR money is being wasted on thousands of things you consider to be worthless (now).

 
At 10/12/2010 11:15 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If the conservatives love wars........etc.

------------------

I agree, but money is fungible. How do you know who pays for what? User fees for everything? Transaction costs would kill you.

I say put a simplified budget on the back if your tax form and use it to indicate where your money should go. Make the average results binding on the legislature, within some limits. +/- 15% or something. Greater variation takes a super majority.

Obama wants more voter initiatives, this might be a good one.

 
At 10/12/2010 11:22 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Evil is evil no matter...

Suppose the government manages to do something PE cannot do, and it is a good deal, saving far more than it costs. No matter what it is worth we should not do it because it infringes on SOMEONE?

 
At 10/12/2010 11:22 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Evil is evil no matter...

Suppose the government manages to do something PE cannot do, and it is a good deal, saving far more than it costs. No matter what it is worth we should not do it because it infringes on SOMEONE?

 
At 10/13/2010 6:57 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Because that is what the Supremes have ruled"...

Well at one time the said Supremes ruled that slavery was legal...

"You can't argue that the Constitution is legitimate and then pout when the courts rule that government can do what it wishes without limit"...

Exactly! Thank you for making my argument re: Spooner...

 
At 10/13/2010 7:01 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows for income taxes, so unless you reject that document and your U.S. citizenship/immigration status as well, then it IS voluntary on your part"...

Well Steve I never said the 16 Amendment said different and where you come up with all this other verbiage is beyond me...

Now let me repost for you what I actually commented on earlier in this very thread: 'If Uncle Sam (considering that federal government is the main extortionist here) is taking private wealth from citizens in order finance programs other than what are allowed in Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution then its theft/extortion - NOT taxation'...

 
At 10/13/2010 7:19 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Here's a simple explanation of why our present 'federal' taxation system is at best constitutionally questionable: The Income Tax and Sovereignty

 
At 10/13/2010 1:08 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

How do you avoid a country which has no rules, which is more or less what you advocate?

Where have I ever advocated no rules. I have no trouble with law. I have trouble with a monopoly in law that allows governments to steal. I can already settle a dispute that I may have with another company without ever stepping into a government court by choosing to go to arbitration. Many companies in the US and Canada already do that because they are not satisfied with the courts, which don't have to care about competence, quality, timeliness and cost because they have monopoly privileges.

You may be interested in David Freedman's great work, The Machinery of Freedom, where he goes on to explain why you don't need the system that you love to defend so much.

 
At 10/13/2010 1:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

But he does not want it now, so a fair trade only exists if it is immediate?

Winston and Shirley have calculated that absent public subsidy and waste we would have about 2% of the current level of transit.


You are talking about public transit, not mass transit. There is a difference.

In the absence of public transit monopolies private companies would fight to establish transportation solutions to meet the market demand. If you want a perfect example to to China some time and look at how many private operators are involved in transit and how much of a variety there is to satisfy all kinds of customers. If I wanted to go from the city to some tourist site I could pay very little as long as I were willing to wait until the bus was filled or pay a bit more for a bus that had a regular route that took off at a given time, or a lot more with a bus that had a regular departure time plus better seats, video monitors, etc.

Private companies had no trouble moving people long before they were taken over by local or state governments. They will do the same thing again if those governments get out of the way and if they are allowed to charge market prices for particular routes. Keep in mind that given their monopoly status public transit systems are not going bankrupt and in need of such subsidies not only because of their very expensive and inefficient workforce. They are going bankrupt because politicians also force them to keep routes that have no hope of ever braking even. This is why my condominium corporation was able to run a private bus service using three vehicles at a lower per passenger mile cost than the Toronto Transit Commission, which had economy of scale advantages that would have cut our costs in half. We manages well and did not run too many routes with empty seats. The TTC, which had some very profitable routes was forced to run buses and streetcars that were empty most of the time.

 
At 10/13/2010 1:32 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

There is another authority. The states and the people may ultimately judge what is constitutional. A branch of the central government can't be relied on as the final judge of the limits of power of the central government, or there are no limits.

You may be right but I doubt that the states will do the right thing any time soon. If they do, the action will take place after the United States economy has been wrecked and the USD loses most of what is left of its declining purchasing power.

While many have been very optimistic with the rise of the Tea Party and the so-called quest for smaller government a more sober assessment would show that the optimism is misplaced.

If the assessment above is not troubling enough for you, here is another one.

 
At 10/13/2010 1:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Aircraft carriers. I said " if". It was an example. The point is that government is huge and does many things. It is not credible for you to complain that YOUR money is being wasted on thousands of things you consider to be worthless (now).

But I consider most of the things that government does with my money to be worthless. I do not want the military-industrial complex to be a huge part of the economy and to have my dollars feed its needs as the government wages wars that makes me less safe that I otherwise would be. I do not want my money to be wasted on a monopoly system in education that cannot deliver the performance that I want. I do not want my money to be wasted on public transit systems that run mostly empty and mostly move people north to south when riders are mostly moving east to west.

As I said, I have no problem you choosing to pay for things that I do not want or use. I just don't want to pay for them because you think that they are worthwhile because you are not paying the full cost.

 
At 10/13/2010 1:52 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I agree, but money is fungible. How do you know who pays for what? User fees for everything? Transaction costs would kill you.

No they would not. I buy my food at the grocery store without worrying about transaction fees making my food more expensive than it would be in a government run store. The same is true of my gym membership, the books that I buy, my kids' guitar, swimming, tennis, math, English, piano, and boxing lessons. I pay for all of them without worry that transaction costs would be too high because the providers make certain that they are competitive enough to entice me to give them my money in return for their time and facilities.

I say put a simplified budget on the back if your tax form and use it to indicate where your money should go. Make the average results binding on the legislature, within some limits. +/- 15% or something. Greater variation takes a super majority.

No. Just stop funding programs that people are not willing to fund voluntarily. There is no virtue in using other people's money to support causes that you think are worthwhile. It is only virtuous when you use your own money for the things that you believe in.

Obama wants more voter initiatives, this might be a good one.

Obama is just as big of an idiot as his predecessor and is still driving the economy towards the abyss. Unless voters stop him your economy and your currency will be destroyed and the only people who will really benefit are those of us who bet on Bush/Obama being able to destroy the purchasing power of the USD.

 
At 10/13/2010 2:05 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Suppose the government manages to do something PE cannot do, and it is a good deal, saving far more than it costs. No matter what it is worth we should not do it because it infringes on SOMEONE?

We live in the real world, not the make believe world of Socialists or National Socialists. In the real world the use of force and interference in the voluntary social or economic transactions (that do not involve fraud) between competent people cannot be justified.

If I want to buy a TV from Lin Bo I should be able to. If I want to hire Rajan Tajinder and not John Smith I should be able to. If I want to drink Kentucky Bourbon and have a Cuban cigar at Joe's Cafe I should be free to do so as long as Joe is willing to let me spend my money there. If I want to send my kids to Local School A I should not be forced to send them to Local School B. And Local School A and B should not be run by a government granted monopoly. The only legitimate monopoly is the one that is granted by the market.

People are not idiots and are quite capable of coming up with solutions as long as there is an incentive to do so. If you look around you will find that most of the things that make our lives so great came from individual entrepreneurs and private commercial interests, not the government.

 
At 10/13/2010 2:08 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Well at one time the said Supremes ruled that slavery was legal...

Yes they did. And it remained legal until Congress changed the laws, even though the argument against slavery being constitutional was valid and it should have been abolished much sooner.

Exactly! Thank you for making my argument re: Spooner...

Spooner never thought that the Constitution was legitimate or that the Supremes were capable of determining the law of the land.

 
At 10/13/2010 2:31 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Here's a simple explanation of why our present 'federal' taxation system is at best constitutionally questionable: The Income Tax and Sovereignty.

It is not legitimate at all. The US was never intended to have an income tax and a redistribution scheme where a small portion of the population paid for the goods and services consumed by the bottom 50% or a system of government which granted established interests protection from competition and forced consumers to pay far more than they should for protected products.

 

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