Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More on Social Security

GMU economist Walter E. Williams discusses Social Security:
 
"During the recent GOP presidential debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that Social Security is a "monstrous lie" and a "Ponzi scheme." More and more people are coming to see that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, but is it a lie, as well? Let's look at it.

Here's what the 1936 government pamphlet on Social Security said: "After the first 3 years — that is to say, beginning in 1940 — you will pay, and your employer will pay, 1.5 cents for each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year. … Beginning in 1943, you will pay 2 cents, and so will your employer, for every dollar you earn for the next 3 years. … And finally, beginning in 1949, twelve years from now, you and your employer will each pay 3 cents on each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year." Here's Congress' lying promise: "That is the most you will ever pay."

Another lie in the Social Security pamphlet is: "Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States government will set up a Social Security account for you. … The checks will come to you as a right." Therefore, Americans were sold on the belief that Social Security is like a retirement account and money placed in it is our property. The fact of the matter is you have no property right whatsoever to your Social Security 'contributions.'"



163 Comments:

At 9/27/2011 3:05 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

yup that cinches it. When a completely middle of the road, objective site like TownHall publishes an article from Walter E. Williams, another author known for his moderate views.. we have the truth from on high.

ha ha ha... I think we're getting desperate here...

more propaganda.. more lies and misrepresentations.

and basically what Williams is saying is that the American public is too lazy to get the basic facts about ANY program OR FUND whether it be SS or their auto insurance or their company-provided defined benefit pension plan.

I wonder how many people were told by private sector companies that their pension plans would never, ever change.. that they were guaranteed benefits no matter what happened and how many actually believed that?

a good number of those folks ended up talking to PBG about their "guaranteed" pension, eh?

ironic, that the govt ends up bailing out the private sector pensions, eh?


and for Insurance, how many were told that certain kinds of damage would be covered by their insurance but did not pay attention to those "riders" than appeared in their annual renewals - which by the way were new contracts and payment meant acceptance of policies with changes?

how many people had hurricane insurance and were told later that it did not include floods...

or they had flood insurance and found out it did not include wind damage?

from the very beginning of SS - the law said that Congress reserved the right to make changes and a subsequent lawsuit made it crystal clear than what the govt originally said about no guarantees was, in fact, the truth.

basically what Williams is saying is that people were sold a bill of goods when, in fact, they chose to not read the actual law.

here's the truth:

RESERVATION OF POWER

SEC. 1104. The right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision of this Act is hereby reserved to the Congress.

http://www.nationalcenter.org/SocialSecurityAct.html

 
At 9/27/2011 3:23 PM, Blogger Eric H said...

What's a pension? Never seen one....except for government employees and unions.

And no insurance company takes 15% of my gross income, enjoys a total monopoly, or forbids me from ending business with them when they change the terms.

 
At 9/27/2011 3:23 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

FDR pretended it was an insurance program in order to sell it to the public; once Congress enacted it, he then told the courts it was not an insurance program but a tax in order to get it upheld (by justices he had successfully intimidated with a court-packing plan). He later admitted that disingenuously portraying the tax as a contribution for earned insurance benefits was “politics all the way through.” The goal was never to make the economics work. As you correctly point out, they don’t work, and FDR was well aware of that fact. The goal was to make sure, as he put it, that “no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.” Fostering a sense of public entitlement, he presciently reasoned, would induce politicians to position themselves as defenders of this entitlement — and never you mind the math.

... the real objective of Social Security was not to set up a retirement insurance program. It was to lay the foundation for a full-blown entitlement state, complete with socialized healthcare. The original plan included a Medicare component, which was abandoned because FDR realized it would jeopardize passage of social security. (The push on Medicare, as I’ve recounted before, was renewed immediately after passage — although it took 30 years, due to deep opposition from the public and the medical profession.) As Gov. Perry points out in his book, while feigning to address a “crisis,” Social Security (like Obamacare) collected the taxes (“contributions”) for several years (from 1935 to 1942) before any benefits were paid out; and the eligibility age was pegged at 62 even though life expectancy was then 60. The goal was not to ensure a decent retirement for “beneficiaries”; it was to erect — in incremental stealth — an entitlement state that the public would never have supported if Progressives had been forthright about their ambitions. Social security was the foot in the door.

National Review

 
At 9/27/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

let's see.. how many countries have such a plan with mandatory payroll taxes that in many cases.. far exceeds our 15.3%.

How about someone list the countries that don't have SS... that you feel on any basis you wish to make the case - are "better" for not having it.

list those countries ... step up.

 
At 9/27/2011 3:51 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I wonder if the GOP is really going to run on the "kill Social Security, kill the minimum wage and don't tax rich people" platform. With the usual creationism, anti-druggers, anti-immigrationists and anti-abortionists tossed in. And a few militaristas and gold nuts. This is a party, or a loony-house?

There is a social theory somewhere that ousted parties return to the base, go extreme, and stage a second, futile run, before moderating.

194=Goldwater
1972=McGovern

Maybe Romney can win this year, but he may not be extreme enough to win the primary.

 
At 9/27/2011 3:54 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

here's what won't happen.

Rick Perry will NOT win - even the GOP primaries - much less the general election by running on a
"Social Security is a monstrous lie/illegal Ponzi Scheme".

nuff said.

 
At 9/27/2011 4:30 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"194=Goldwater
1972=McGovern"

You left out 2008=Obama. Any of the GOP candidates, with the exception of nutbar Ron Paul, is a moderate compared to your socialist boyfriend.

 
At 9/27/2011 4:34 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Larry,

"Rick Perry will NOT win - even the GOP primaries - much less the general election by running on a
"Social Security is a monstrous lie/illegal Ponzi Scheme"."

His downfall has little to do with SS. It has everything to do with he's not a good debater and a snakeoil salesman, like Romney.

 
At 9/27/2011 4:45 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The fact of the matter is you have no property right whatsoever to your Social Security 'contributions.'"

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

That is a convenient way of stating things: if your goal is to eliminate social security, of course you would start by destroying the idea that it is a right.


But even Governor Perry has said that social security is a "sacred promise" made to our currently retired and soon to be retired seniors. No one should suggest that we break that trust, he said.

As to whether it should hange in the future or be modified, partially privatized, etc., to that, he was still open to discussion.

So, if the Governor is willing to change social security, then he is no better than, or different from the bureaucrats that changed social security after saying "this is the most you will ever pay".

 
At 9/27/2011 4:56 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" But even Governor Perry has said that social security is a "sacred promise"

yes.. right after he said it was a monstrous lie/illegal ponzi scheme.

not a good debater?

I dunno...

can you say monstrous lie right before you say sacred promise and still have people love you?

 
At 9/27/2011 5:00 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Hydra,

"..if your goal is to eliminate social security, of course you would start by destroying the idea that it is a right."

Obama did that recently when he threatened Sociali Security checks might not go out unless the GOP capitulated.

"So, if the Governor is willing to change social security, then he is no better than, or different from the bureaucrats that changed social security after saying "this is the most you will ever pay"."

Is that a "gotcha?" So what? I'd say Perry is much better than the bureaucrats if he allows me to at least partially opt out of the program.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:04 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

or forbids me from ending business with them when they change the terms.

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

Great. Just what I need is the right to do without insurance.

Presumably if you end doing business with them, you would then have to go get insurance from someone else (yourself being the most expensive and most risky choice).

My father had a whole life policy he payed on for decades. The company officers bled the reserves dry, then changed their charter to a mutual society, sent back the remaining funds and shut down. Pretty good deal, but it is hard to "take yur money elsewhere after a corporation has already stolen or wasted it.

The ability to adjust the social security plan has always been written into the law, and that law is not being hidden from public view by some progressive conspiracy.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:04 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

would you really trust someone who said "monstrous lie" one day and "sacred promise" the next day?

sounds like a politician to me.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:06 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

or is it more likely that the "sacred promise" stuff he uttered is a ... monstrous lie?

would Rick Perry tell a monstrous lie?

go on now... the man is from Texas...

Bush without brains...

 
At 9/27/2011 5:08 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Although I have the greatest respect for Walter Williams, I do not agree completely with this column.

Twenty-six years after the 1936 pamplet was written, Congress did pass laws raising Social Security taxes above the 3% level which had been promised as the maximum. That does not mean either Congress or the Executive branch lied in 1936. More likely, the 1936 Congress did not foresee either the increases in life expectancy or the increases in real wages which caused benefits to rise much faster than tax receipts.

Williams also seems to be saying that it was a lie when the pamphlet writer said that "the United States government will set up a Social Security account for you." That is not a lie. An account has been set up for each one of us. Perhaps Williams calls this a lie because he disagrees with governemnt (and me) about what is meant by the word "account".

Finally, Williams argues that the government lied when the pamphlet writer wrote that "The checks will come to you as a right." Although we know today that beneficiaries have no legal right to money which had been promised to them, I question whether or not the authors of that pamphlet knew that in 1936. In fact, I wonder whether the elected officals who passed the Social Security legislation actually understood that they were not granting rights to future beneficiaries.

I object to Williams and others calling statements by government workers "lies" unless they know for certain that those workers were intentionally misleading in their statements.

There is no question that Social Security must be changed or replaced or phased out. IMO, we should be working to find a solution. I see nothing constructive in calling as lies statements made 75 years ago by persons who are no longer around to defend their words.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:24 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Obama did that recently when he threatened Sociali Security checks might not go out unless the GOP capitulated.

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

Not exactly. He did not say you have no right to get your checks. He said I may not have the authorization, or the manpower, to send them out, if the Republicans force a government shutdown.

Even if social security was only able to pay 75% of currently authorized benefits out of current SS revenues, the president had no way to pay someone to write the checks.

At best, he would have had to prioritize between using current revenue to write those checks or some other thing like military payroll.

No matter what he threatened to cut, he would have been criticized for it. Was it a political move to say "I may not be able to send out social security checks."? Of course it was, but nowhere did he suggest that people should not get those checks, which is what conservaitves are about.

In principle.

But, even Gov. Perry concedes it is a sacred promise. It is part of the social contract, and no conservative thinks we should abrogate property rights by simply allowing contracts to go unenforced.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:26 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

That does not mean either Congress or the Executive branch lied in 1936.

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

Jet Beagle put his finger on it.


What is a lie is to continually repeat that SS is a Ponzi scheme when it does not meet the usual criteria that describe one.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:27 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Yes, by this standard our Founding Fathers lied when promising that blacks would be counted as three-fifths of a person. They tricked the slave-happy South into joining the Union.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:29 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul-

Obama is a moderate, too much so. I wish eh had pulled out of Iraqistan pronto, eliminated the USDA and Interior Departments, and shut down HUD, and cut Defense-Homeland-VA spending by half.

Instead we get a milky healthcare plan, and more defense coprolite.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:31 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"He said I may not have the authorization, or the manpower, to send them out, if the Republicans force a government shutdown."

Uh, no he didn't. He said he couldn't guarantee granny would get her check unless the GOP rolled over. Hence, he destroyed "...the idea that it is a right."


"Of course it was, but nowhere did he suggest that people should not get those checks, which is what conservaitves are about."

No, he just said he couldn't guarantee those checks would go out, "..destroying the idea that it is a right." And, of course, he was trying to inflame the eldery by holding their checks hostage. Man, it would be awesome to actually, you know, have the money in your own account so smarmy politicians like Barack Obama couldn't toy with your livelihood for political gain.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:38 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"Obama is a moderate, too much so."

Which only goes to prove how full of shit you are when you proclaim to be the ultimate Milton Friedman devotee.
Ultimately, you think his "moderation" *gag* benefits you. And his desire to lay waste to the the wealthy appeals to your envious, petty inner core.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:38 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Is that a "gotcha?" So what? I'd say Perry is much better than the bureaucrats if he allows me to at least partially opt out of the program.

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

Who said anything about opting out? Even with changes your participation is likely to continue to be mandated.

Partially opt out is the apt expression. It seems unlikely that a system will be set up wherein there is a chance you will be 100% invested in Enron the year you plan to retire.

It is a scam to argue that "we can take care of ourselves better" knowing full well that if you fail, you will land on some kind of public assistance.

So now, we can dispense with the idea of eliminating social security, and argue about to what extent youa can opt out. Right now, you can opt out to the extent of roughly 85%.

You can invest or spend that much any way you like, knowing that the rest is (generally recognized) as safe as it could be anywhere.

Be realistic. Even if you had that 15%, prudence would suggest that it not be invested as aggressively as the money you have invested while knowing ti was backed up by social security (such as it is).

You are already opted out to the tune of 85%: what makes you think that is not the correct percentage?

 
At 9/27/2011 5:41 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

And his desire to lay waste to the the wealthy appeals to your envious, petty inner core.

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

OK. What drives your desire to lay waste to the middle and lower classes?

 
At 9/27/2011 5:44 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Uh, no he didn't. He said he couldn't guarantee granny would get her check ...

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

Was there any untruth in that statement?

Did he say that they should not get their checks or had no right to get them?

Would that have been the first time govt reneged on a promise that people later collected (because it was their right to do so)?

I disagree with your idea that Obama said they had no right to get those checks, just because he said they might not get them.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:47 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"You are already opted out to the tune of 85%: what makes you think that is not the correct percentage?"

85%? Only somebody who thinks the money belongs to the government first would phrase it that way.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:50 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Hydra,

"I disagree with your idea that Obama said they had no right to get those checks, just because he said they might not get them."

Disagree all you like. The fact remains that Obama said they might not get their checks, therefore they had no "right" to them. He could not do such a thing if the money was in their own checking accounts.

"OK. What drives your desire to lay waste to the middle and lower classes?"

I don't have that desire.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:51 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

No, he just said he couldn't guarantee those checks would go out, "..destroying the idea that it is a right."

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

What????

Whether or not a promised social security payment is "a right", not actually getting the check does not does not deny the right exists, or existed, any more than getting the check affirms that the right does exist.


Rights have to be defended by government. If the Republicans in government won't defend the right (by keeping government running), then it is THEY who destroyed (or interrupted) the right.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:53 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Obama said they might not get their checks, therefore they had no "right" to them.

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

No. that does not follow. there is no logical link betweent eh second half and the first.

 
At 9/27/2011 5:56 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"OK. What drives your desire to lay waste to the middle and lower classes?"

I don't have that desire.

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

Fair enough. I concede that point.

How do you think we should cut the budget or raise revenue to cover it?

 
At 9/27/2011 6:00 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

85%? Only somebody who thinks the money belongs to the government first would phrase it that way.

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

UMM, no. The other 15% is still your money. You have the right to it, no?


What you do not have is the right to insist on 100% freedom to blow or invest 100% of your money yourself anyway you please, while saddling someone else with the risk of your failure.

 
At 9/27/2011 7:28 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Hmmm, let's see, one the one side we've got Walter Williams, the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, former chairman of the GM University Economics Department and a well respected author and commentator. On the other, we've got the three stooges - "Benji", "Hyrda" and "Larry". Tough choice. I'm going to have to go with the smart guy and suggest that the stooges are wrong in this, just as they are wrong in most things.

 
At 9/27/2011 8:43 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

actually.. it's pretty pitiful. You have a high high falutin PHD and his argument is that people were too busy/too lazy to really understand what SS was and was not.

and he's jumping on a pamphlet written early on in the program before it started to evolve.

and this is that PHD's "strong" message about the "monstrous lie/illegal ponzi scheme.

I think this shows just how desperate the propaganda peddlers are...these days.

to have a a PHD economist argue on this basis is laughable.

what kind of PHD economist is this guy?

his them is that people "thought" something..???? for what..65 years? two, three generations of people could not be bothered to spend a few minutes understanding something they would depend on in their retirement?

lord.

 
At 9/27/2011 10:29 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Che has not an argument, so he attacks the messenger.

Larry is correct. PhD or not, it is a crummy argument. Let me know when it gets peer reviewed.

 
At 9/27/2011 10:33 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"peer reviewed".. heck that's what I thought they were doing at Town Hall...

isn't that the way that ideologues generally "peer review"?

;-)

 
At 9/27/2011 10:55 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

In the United States right now, the latest numbers suggest there are about six million firms with paid employment. Ninety percent of those are small businesses, which means they have, you know, 20 or fewer employees. Those 90 percent of all firms only make up 20 percent of all jobs. So while there's lot of businesses, there's not a lot of jobs in small business.

Small businesses, firms that are just starting out, a bunch of them succeed, and a bunch of them fail. If we only count the success, which would be the wrong thing to do, we'd say they create an enormous number of jobs. But, it is difficult to start a successful small buscness. They're doing a lot of hiring, but they're also doing a lot of firing as well.

And many small businesses are quite pedestrian. They have neither the intention nor the capabilty to be inventive creators of new jobs. And when they do, it takes 10 to 15 years.

The majority of jobs are provided by only around 15,000 large companies.

The job creators rhetoric is largely a fiction.

 
At 9/27/2011 11:16 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"more propaganda.. more lies and misrepresentations"...

Yeah this coming from someone who doesn't know what he's talking about whereas Walter Williams does his homework...

 
At 9/27/2011 11:21 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

homework?

http://history.nih.gov/research/downloads/1StatL605.pdf

 
At 9/27/2011 11:23 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Che has not an argument, so he attacks the messenger." -- Hydra

All of the arguments have been made before, but you seem incapable of grasping even the simple realities. It's like "Groundhog Day" with you three fools repeating the same nonsense over and over again.

 
At 9/27/2011 11:37 PM, Blogger juandos said...

What's wrong larry g, can't you figure out how to link?

Your 'http://history.nih.gov/research/downloads/1StatL605' gives a 404: FILE NOT FOUND...

 
At 9/28/2011 1:44 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Social Security is a typical example how government programs work.

You pay more and more, and get less and less.

 
At 9/28/2011 3:10 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Hydra: "In the United States right now, the latest numbers suggest there are about six million firms with paid employment. Ninety percent of those are small businesses, which means they have, you know, 20 or fewer employees. Those 90 percent of all firms only make up 20 percent of all jobs. So while there's lot of businesses, there's not a lot of jobs in small business."

If you are going to discuss numbers, you should try to use the right ones. the SBA defines many small businesses as those with 500 or fewer employees but it varies by industry.

You didn't say where you got your other numbers, but they don't look right at first glance. Remember that you are notoriously bad with math.

You might be interested in these numbers from the SBA.

 
At 9/28/2011 3:24 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Che has not an argument, so he attacks the messenger."

But you clowns have no arguments. There's nothing else to attack but the messenger. I'm with Che on this

"Larry is correct. PhD or not, it is a crummy argument. Let me know when it gets peer reviewed."

Weekly internet magazine columns get peer reviewed? Who knew?

 
At 9/28/2011 4:00 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"UMM, no. The other 15% is still your money. You have the right to it, no?"

No. There is no right to SS benefits. See Helvering v. Davis in which the Social Security Administration argued, and the SCOTUS affirmed that SS isn't insurance, and Flemming v. Nestor, in which SSA argued, and the SCOTUS affirmed that there is no right to social security benefits, despite paying FICA taxes for years.


"What you do not have is the right to insist on 100% freedom to blow or invest 100% of your money yourself anyway you please, while saddling someone else with the risk of your failure."

Of course I do. If you don't think so, then you do not believe in property rights.

If my property is mine, then you and three of your thug friends can't steal it from me. If that is true, then it is also true that government can't steal it from me.

If government can tke 15% of my earnings, then it isn't my property at all, but that of the government, and they are allowing me to keep 85%.

If government can take 15%, it can take any amount, up to 100%. This type of arrangement is usually called slavery. Is that what you advocate?

THe "saddling" argument is specious at best, and is a welfare issue, not property rights. I am not asking you to assume any risk for me.

 
At 9/28/2011 4:42 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jet: "Twenty-six years after the 1936 pamplet was written, Congress did pass laws raising Social Security taxes above the 3% level which had been promised as the maximum. That does not mean either Congress or the Executive branch lied in 1936."

The lesson we can take from this is to *never* believe the Congress or President when they promise things beyond the end of their terms, as they can't possibly commit future Congresses of Presidents.

Obviously later officials thought little of the promises made by their predecessors.

"More likely, the 1936 Congress did not foresee either the increases in life expectancy or the increases in real wages which caused benefits to rise much faster than tax receipts."

Whatever they saw, they knew they wouldn't have to deal with it.

"That is not a lie. An account has been set up for each one of us. Perhaps Williams calls this a lie because he disagrees with governemnt (and me) about what is meant by the word "account"."

If you mean that each of our names and numbers are in the system, and an accounting entry has been created, then I agree. If your definition of an account is something with actual assets, or something you have any control over or right to, then you are mistaken.

"In fact, I wonder whether the elected officals who passed the Social Security legislation actually understood that they were not granting rights to future beneficiaries."

One clue might be the fact that the bill was written as several separate titles, that created no real connection between taxes and benefits.

Perhaps the officials in 1936 had to "pass it to find out what's in it". Are you suggesting that they might have been stupid or incompetent, rather than dishonest? Maybe so, but I'm not sure that's much of an improvement.

I suspect they knew exctly what they were doing, and described their creation as a retirement plan, when it bore very little resemblance.

 
At 9/28/2011 4:47 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Hydra

Corrected link:

You might be interested in these numbers from the SBA.

 
At 9/28/2011 5:34 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" three fools repeating the same nonsense over and over again."

"nonsense" being a refusal to swallow the propaganda offal that many CD affectionados seem to prefer to facts when it comes to SS.

you've got a right-wing PHD Economist making the "big hit" on SS which is people are too stupid and lazy to understand a program that is a integral part of their retirement.

but these would be the same folks who also don't know how their other insurance policies and pension plans actually work also.

and a brochure written more than 70 years ago on a new program.

what is illustrated best is that many people don't know the facts and can be influenced by the sound-bite propaganda dished up by folks who oppose SS in concept.

Mr. Williams, as an economist, could chose to make a prima facie against SS but citing countries that do not have it and show how those countries are better off without it which is the core premise of many who oppose SS.

but instead he, like so many others, traffics in the hog swill propagandizing....

 
At 9/28/2011 5:36 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: the 404 "link"...

oops... here is:

http://history.nih.gov/research/downloads/1StatL605.pdf

it basically shows that in terms of the "homework" that Che was talking about was that unlike the link he provided showing a court case against payroll taxes that it turns out that many of the folks who wrote the US Constitution - themselves supported the concept of payroll taxes for the health and welfare of people.

eh?

 
At 9/28/2011 6:36 AM, Blogger cluemeister said...

"You and your employer will each pay 3 cents on each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year. That is the most you will ever pay."

Now let's relate it the latest new lie, that the deficit will go down under Obamacare.

Do the resident liberals here believe that Obamacare will reduce the cost of medical care AND you can have more and better medical care with no evil insurance companies saying no?

Some days it's so painful to watch a country melt down in slow motion, being cheered on by idiot socialists.

 
At 9/28/2011 6:42 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Do the resident liberals here believe that Obamacare will reduce the cost of medical care AND you can have more and better medical care with no evil insurance companies saying no?"

oh.. do you mean there is no way to cut our costs in half and increase our life expectancy in the process?

All of Europe and Japan ...Australia, Singapore accomplish this...right?

but I'm open-minded to new, better, even more effective approaches that Obama_Care or Europe/Japan/the rest of the industrialized world ...

you know.. the "replace" part of "repeal and replace".

and no.. I do not think tort reform and "free market principles" is anything more than wishful thinking unless you can show some other countries that has Universal health care, tort reform, and 'free market' principles... at least the best examples that don't take the mandatory payroll tax/UHC path.

 
At 9/28/2011 6:46 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

and in terms of CBO and OMB studies with regard to ObamaCare...

why do we rely on data from those entities for some things but we say that other studies are lies?

For instance, we all accept as truth that when they tell us we have a 14T debt and a 1.5T deficit.

why aren't they lying about that also?

why would you trust them - selectively and suspect them of lying at the same time?

and if you think they ARE lying - then who actually produces credible .. authoritative information - that do not have a biased agenda?

so we don't believe the studies that show Obama_Care will save money but we DO believe the studies from the same entities that show Medicare costs are going up?

 
At 9/28/2011 7:41 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Walter E. Williams: Here's what the 1936 government pamphlet on Social Security said:

Doesn't matter. New laws take precedence over old laws. Social Security has been legislatively revised many times over the years.

Jet Beagle: Finally, Williams argues that the government lied when the pamphlet writer wrote that "The checks will come to you as a right." Although we know today that beneficiaries have no legal right to money which had been promised to them, I question whether or not the authors of that pamphlet knew that in 1936.

That conflates different meanings of the word "right." With Social Security, it means a benefit under law. If the law changes, then the benefit may change. People do not have a contractual right.

Paul: The fact remains that Obama said they might not get their checks, therefore they had no "right" to them.

That is incorrect. It's called a default on a legal obligation.

Ron H: There is no right to SS benefits.

Again, that conflates different meanings of the word "right." Flemming v. Nestor determined there was no contractual right. Legislation determines benefits. If the Congress passes a law that ends Social Security, then you can't sue over the FICA taxes you've paid up to that point.

Ron H: If my property is mine, then you and three of your thug friends can't steal it from me. If that is true, then it is also true that government can't steal it from me.

Oh, that's right. You reject all taxation. The vast majority of people know that government, even government of the people, can't exist without taxation. And that if you don't have government of the people, then some other government will take its place.

 
At 9/28/2011 8:56 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Ron H: "If you mean that each of our names and numbers are in the system, and an accounting entry has been created, then I agree."

That's partially what I mean. The federal government does keep an account of qualified Social Security earnings for each wage earner. Whatever the formula used in later years to determine benefits, it is the accounting of individual earnings which are applied to that formula.

Ron H: "If your definition of an account is something with actual assets, or something you have any control over or right to, then you are mistaken."

That is one definition of the word "account" but it is certainly not the only one. It is not clear to me that anyone in 1936 intended to imply future beneficiaries had any control over any Social Security assets.

You seem to be convinced that the federal government was lying to Americans back in 1936. Why are you so convinced, Ron? Why is it not equally plausible that those elected officials were simply mistaken about the viability of the Social Security program?

 
At 9/28/2011 9:29 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Ron H: "Are you suggesting that they might have been stupid or incompetent, rather than dishonest?"

Why do you insist on using the terms "stupid", "incompetent", and "dishonest"? What is wrong with giving them the benfit of the doubt and saying that they may have been "mistaken"?

Had the life expectancy of Americans not increased so much since 1936, and had future Congresses not increased the maxiumum benefits so much over those years, SS would have remained viable. If that had been true, what difference would it make whether Americans had a contractual right to SS benefits?

I believe the SS Act of 1935 limited monthly benefits to $85. Did the elected officals in 1935 - the ones you suspect to be liars - know that future Congresses would ever raise that maximum level to anywhere near what it is today? Does it make them incompetent if they could not foresee in the middle of the Great Depression how much real wages would have increased and how much inflation would have increased nominal wages?

 
At 9/28/2011 9:31 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"What is a lie is to continually repeat that SS is a Ponzi scheme when it does not meet the usual criteria that describe one."

ss meets every definition of a ponzi sheme.

the only difference in SS and ponzi's effort is that ponzi was not allowed to force you to participate.

had he been, he would have donr just what the government has:

up your required investment, lessen your return, and force you to pay in anyway.

ponzi schemes collapse when the new money in cannot pay for the promises to the initial participants.

that is EXACTLY where SS is. money in cannot cover payouts.

if it were a private scheme, it would collapse.

only coercion keeps it going.

i would not willingly contribute now. my expected return is deeply negative, even before inflation.

only threat of arrest makes me participate.

you are drawing the wrong conclusions hydra. we should not be rejoicing that SS is not a ponzi scheme, it clearly is. we should be grateful that ponzi didn't have a police force.

 
At 9/28/2011 9:32 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Jet Beagle,

They had actuaries and statistics back then. They knew that SS was going to be bankrupt by 1980 and FDR himself was chagrined by this. The only miscalculation was how soon it would go bankrupt (it was failing faster than anticipated).

They knew. The government was lying.

 
At 9/28/2011 9:37 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" ss meets every definition of a ponzi sheme"

ALL US govt trust funds work EXACTLY the same way.

are you saying that ALL govt trust funds are Ponzi Schemes?

" if it were a private scheme, it would collapse."

no it wouldn't ...

no more than any insurance would collapse...

when you see future unfunded liabilities no matter whether it is private sector or public - you have to raise premiums and/or reduce benefits.

it happens ALL the time...

what do you think happened to defined benefit pension plans with huge unfunded liabilities?

did those non-govt entities "keep their promises"?

when we raise the rates on Medicare as we must - do you think that is a "collapse"?

more manure blather from the cheap seats...

 
At 9/28/2011 9:40 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" They had actuaries and statistics back then. They knew that SS was going to be bankrupt by 1980 and FDR himself was chagrined by this. The only miscalculation was how soon it would go bankrupt (it was failing faster than anticipated).

They knew. The government was lying. "

oh... there are no actuaries today?

so the Trustees Report is one big lie ?

when they say there are unfunded liabilities they are lying?

so the ACTUAL number for unfunded liabilities is way different than what the trustees are saying?

why do ya'll believe the govt when they show deficits and debts but you think they are lying when talking about how to fix SS?

 
At 9/28/2011 10:07 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

methinks: "They knew that SS was going to be bankrupt by 1980 and FDR himself was chagrined by this."

I've heard this claim - that "they" knew SS was going to be bankrupt by 1980 - but I've never seen any evidence to support it. You may be able to find a single quote which leads you to believe that a single elected official of that era had some sort of future knowledge about SS viability. But that doesn't mean all 525 members of Congress had that knowledge.

Quite frankly, I do not see how either elected officals or actuaries could have known in 1936 the changes in real earnings and the changes in life expectancy which occurred over the next 45 years.

As I pointed out earlier, the 1935 SS Act specified a maximum monthly benefit of $85. I'm not sure SS would have been bankrupt by 1980 had that maximum benefit not been changed.

I guess what I'm saying is that you and others seem to be using knowledge gained in hindsight and arguing that leaders from 75 years ago should have had that knowledge. I do not believe you are being fair to the elected officials or the government workers of 1935.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:09 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The ongoing argument here is whether SS is a giant lie and a Ponzi scheme. While social security, like many other plans depends on current and new payors to get revenue for current payees that alone is insuffisient for it to meet the usal descriptions of a Ponzi scheme.

As for it being a giant lie, it is hard to see where the lying comes in, when the finances are public and the knowlege that some changes are necessary have been public for years.

As far as this particular tome is concerned, Jet Beagle layed out the problem pretty well. And, as Zachriel points out any law is subject to subsequent legislative changes.

Which points out, as I said before, that there is a fundamental flaw in the logic here. One cannot very well complain about changes that were made to social security without admitting that there is some level of right or expected right involved. Otherwise, there is nothing to complain about concerning the changes.

On the rights aregument, I went around with Paul, arguing that just because Obama said he may not be able to cut the social security checks, it does not logically follw that there is no right to recieve them.

Indeed, even Gov. Perry has said that as far as current and soon to be retirees goe, we have an obligation to the promises made. future retirees may have to accept some changes, because of life expectancy, demographics, etc.

That seems to me to be a reasonable position, and now the issue is what changes should be made and how to go about it. One option is to just abolish social security, but it is hard to argue that counts as an improvement. Besides, now you have to figure out how to unwind it, meaning some people will pay and get nothing, thereby violating, at some point in time what Gov. Perry calls a sacred promise.

That leaves us with reducing benefits, raising the age of retirement, changing the COLA calculations, privitization or partial privatization (which is what we already have).

Sitting back and calling social security a big lie or a ponzi scheme, or simply attacking people like myself and Larry as morons does nothing to advance that discussion about what should and can be done.

At the very least, if you are going to attack SS as a lie and ponzi scheme you should have an argument that is more than posturing and puffery.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:16 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

ss meets every definition of a ponzi sheme.

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

No, actually, it does not. The reasons it does not have been stated in three previous posts, and have not been refuted other than by opinion.

At the very least, there is reasonable disagreement on this point and so it cannot be claimed to be even a general concesus that it is a pozi scheme, let alone a decided issue.

What is going on here is that Ponzi has been picked up as an emotional catch phrase, in the belief that if it is repeated often enough by enough people and dignitaries that it will eventually become to be believed as if it were the truth.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:18 AM, Blogger mike k said...

" if it were a private scheme, it would collapse."

no it wouldn't ...

no more than any insurance would collapse...

when you see future unfunded liabilities no matter whether it is private sector or public - you have to raise premiums and/or reduce benefits.

it happens ALL the time...

You mean like AIG....Why would they need a government bailout if they were able to JUST raise premiums or reduce payouts?

 
At 9/28/2011 10:22 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" You mean like AIG....Why would they need a government bailout if they were able to JUST raise premiums or reduce payouts?"

out of how many insurance companies that all operate pay-as-you-go insurance like SS does and did NOT need a bailout?

in what way is SS comparable to AIG that is not also in common with other insurance companies that would lead you to believe that SS has the same problems that AIG had?

 
At 9/28/2011 10:25 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Che said he preferred the PhD to the three stooges.

In resposnse I put up some remarks similar to ones that I had argued here previously and independently, stating basically that ther is a problem with the argument that reducing taxes and regulation will allow the job creators and small business to expand the economy, generate more government revenue, and create jobs. The problem being namely that only a relative few very large businesses employ more than half the population. Small businesses with employees take a long time to get big enough to hire.

Therefore, a jobs plan that expects to create jobs by cutting taxes and regulation won't produce results any time soon.

Whether a samll businsee is describes as 100 or less or 500 or less does not change that argument.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:27 AM, Blogger mike k said...

No, actually, it does not. The reasons it does not have been stated in three previous posts, and have not been refuted other than by opinion.

1. Whether legally binding or not, there is an implicit moral promise that taxpayers will receive SS benefits in the amount their annual statement estimates (at least).

2. That is promising an "unrealistic return".

3. New investors must continually be found (coerced) to pay these unrealistic returns.

4. There is no underlying asset (other than the force of state) even though generations were led to believe they were building a "trust fund" for their own retirement.

5. No rational investor would join such a scheme unless forced to, so the system isn't allowed to collapse.

It appears to me, at the very least, SS is ponzi-like if not a dictionary perfect representation of the original scheme.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:29 AM, Blogger mike k said...

out of how many insurance companies that all operate pay-as-you-go insurance like SS does and did NOT need a bailout?

Larry, you continuously claim all insurance is pay as you go. Do you not?

 
At 9/28/2011 10:33 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

1. Whether legally binding or not, there is an implicit moral promise that taxpayers will receive SS benefits in the amount their annual statement estimates (at least).

is that the same with pension plans that were converted from defined benefit to defined contribution .. and that is being advocated for State and public sector employees?


2. That is promising an "unrealistic return".

opinion for sure...

3. New investors must continually be found (coerced) to pay these unrealistic returns.

no more than any other pay-as-you-go plan - public or private or for that matter health insurance.

4. There is no underlying asset (other than the force of state) even though generations were led to believe they were building a "trust fund" for their own retirement.

same deal with all taxes.. gas taxes.. taxes to fund Medicare and MedicAid.. taxes to fund DOD...

5. No rational investor would join such a scheme unless forced to, so the system isn't allowed to collapse.

how many countries in the world have this? are they all "illegal"?

It appears to me, at the very least, SS is ponzi-like if not a dictionary perfect representation of the original scheme.

how many other countries have very similar plans? Are you saying that ALL countries with mandatory payroll taxes and SS systems are running ponzi schemes?

how about holstering the blather gun?

 
At 9/28/2011 10:36 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" out of how many insurance companies that all operate pay-as-you-go insurance like SS does and did NOT need a bailout?

Larry, you continuously claim all insurance is pay as you go. Do you not? "

I claim that virtually ALL insurance is NOT pre-funded with the sole EXCEPTION of life insurance.

Most every other kind of insurance is pay-as-you-go ....

whether it be auto, health, homeowner, flood, term life, etc...

each year you pay a premium for coverage...

the next year you policy usually expires and you have the opportunity to renew it but the terms often change.

it will cost you more...or they will change coverage or both and they do that based on their past year claims and how they compared to how much they took in - in premiums.

if you think this kind of a plan is a ponzi scheme - then make your argument on THAT basis for ALL insurance.. instead of selecting out one kind as a "ponzi" scheme.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:39 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Larry G,

Thanks for the link on the establishment of marine hospitals. You have made your point on payroll deductions established by remnants of the founding fathers.

The legacy of this legislation persists till this day under the U.S. Public Health Service. The private seaman had been involved in this country's founding, and its defense, in nearly every U.S. war. So, this legislation was both an homage to the seamen and a way to isolate sick ones who might spread disease.

It should be noted that the monies held out in the original act, were to be used in the locale where witheld. Also, only the monies witheld and donations were to be used -- not drawn funds against future revenues.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:42 AM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

I really don't see what the problem is...if the numbers don't work the numbers have to be changed. Premiums up or benefits down...or a combination of the two.

I wasn't around when FDR said this or that but the US goverment clearly states on the SS website that the money collected in premiums is NOT invested in anything...it is paid out as benefits. That's the way it is. Why is everybody so surprised???

From where I'm sitting (Kanuckistan;)) the SS benefit is pretty rich (max 2366/month)...lowering it by a bit would not be the end of the world.

If the the people collecting benefits get up in arms about that the goverment has an easy comeback: They should have had more kids!!! The system is what it is...it's based on young people paying old people.

As a comparison, in Canada retirement benefits is a two part system....Old Age Security (OAS) is similar to SS (young pay for old) but the maximum on that one is about 500 bucks. Part two is the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and it is mandatory (deductions at source). CPP does not pay out contributions, it invests them and distributes the profits. Depending on how long a person has contributed (percentage of income with a maximum in yearly contributions)...the maximum benefit is around 1000/month. At the moment CPP is self funding to 2050.

So Canada = 1500/month...US = 2366/month. The US plan looks pretty "rich".

Just about everybody in Canada realizes that to retire "well" you need to set up a "third leg" to that bar stool...in the form of a private retirement savings plan...that is tax deductible like your 401k (I think).

 
At 9/28/2011 10:45 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: founding fathers...

... DID support the CONCEPT of Mandatory Payroll Taxes...

as a legitimate function of govt.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:46 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

back in 1984 or so.. the Federal Govt told it's employees -

"depending on your age - we're taking away your define benefit pension plan and replacing it with a defined contribution pension plan".

so did the Govt "lie"?

 
At 9/28/2011 10:48 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

mike-

"no it wouldn't ...

no more than any insurance would collapse...

when you see future unfunded liabilities no matter whether it is private sector or public - you have to raise premiums and/or reduce benefits."

that's ridiculous.

when you get life insurance, it is backed by a cast pool of assets.

SS has nothing of the sort.

imagine you come to morganovich life to get a policy.

i tell you, well, we have no actual money, but don't worry, we'll pay you out with the new premiums from folks who join around the time you die. oh, and if there are not enough of them, we'll cut your benefit.

you think morganiovich life wouldn't collapse?

you'd walk out the door laughing and call you broker to borrow shares if i made you that pitch.

SS is not "insurance" anyhow, it's a pension scheme.

imagine i make you the same pitch about a pension instead of life insurance.

that would be called out and out fraud and i'd be jailed for trying it.

if the coercive nature of the program were lifted, SS would fail tomorrow.

i'd drop out instantly. so would any sane individual making over about $30k and under the age of 55.

the system would collapse instantly.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:54 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" when you get life insurance, it is backed by a cast pool of assets"

where do these assets come from?

 
At 9/28/2011 11:09 AM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

Hydra Said:
"Not exactly. He did not say you have no right to get your checks. He said I may not have the authorization, or the manpower, to send them out, if the Republicans force a government shutdown."

Then you misunderstand the definition of a "right". You are born with every right that you or should be guaranteed. It isn't granted or gifted to you by another or by your government.

 
At 9/28/2011 11:40 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

What the actuaries "knew" in 1935 is shown in the estimates provided to FDR:

Year ....... Population 65+

1980 ....... 17,001,000
1990 ....... 19,102,000
2000 ....... 19,338,000

report prepared for Congress by the actuaries of the Committee on Economic Security

What actually happened ( from the Census Bureau website):

Year ....... Population 65+

1980 ....... 25,549,000
1990 ....... 31,083,000
2000 ....... 34,933,000

 
At 9/28/2011 12:04 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Then you misunderstand the definition of a "right". You are born with every right that you or should be guaranteed. It isn't granted or gifted to you by another or by your government.

Exactly the point I was making. Once again, Obama wouldn't be so able to threaten grannie's livelihood if grannie had control of the asset in her own account. Grannie has no actual "right" to the funds if some sleazy politician can just withold it for political purposes. Larry, Hydra, and Zach like to ignore this, skew it, or pretend not to understand.

 
At 9/28/2011 12:47 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Put aside all of the bullshit for a moment and consider the purported purpose of Social Security - to reduce or eliminate poverty among the elderly by providing future income, through forced savings, to workers in their old age. If this is, in fact, what the left is concerned about then they should welcome any change to the system that results in meeting that objective more effectively. Their entire focus would be on the systems soundness and how it provides for the needs of the elderly. They would welcome changes that resulted in a greater protection of individual rights as they relate to private property, respecting a persons right to the fruits of his labor.

After 30 years, it is clear that the Texas system achieves these objectives in a much more effective manner than the current system. And it does so in a way that is much more consistent with individual rights.

- It provides a greater death benefit, survivors' insurance, and a disability benefit.

- It provides greater income security with payments averaging twice those of the current system

- It vests savings in personal accounts and allows workers to pass unused savings on to their heirs.

- Most importantly, the system is solvent with no unfunded future liabilities. Workers are not forced to pay twice for the same benefit.

The only reason that the left resists these changes is because they rightfully see SS and National Health Care (Medicare/Obamacare) as the corner stones of their efforts to move the U.S. towards socialism. The current system destroys the individuals claim to the fruits of his labor and vests that claim in the state, making the individual vulnerable, dependent and pliable. As such the individual becomes more accepting of further incursions on his liberty.

While I do not believe that it is the role of the state to forcibly determine what I do with my money, it is clear that the current SS system is being defended for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with it's purported purpose.

 
At 9/28/2011 12:59 PM, Blogger Jon said...

the purported purpose of Social Security - to reduce or eliminate poverty among the elderly by providing future income, through forced savings, to workers in their old age.

I might be a bit of a newb on this topic, but I'm not sure that's true. As I understand it SS is not a savings plan. When you pay you are not saving anything. What you are doing is paying for presently retired people.

The principle is people that can work should provide for those that can't.

Under normal conditions you save for your own retirement. But sometimes things go really bad. Suppose you save for 30 years and you are about to retire and a Great Depression hits. Your savings are gone. What are you going to do? If you are young you can recover because you can work. If you are old you are screwed.

So SS is a system that provides kind of a minimal amount of income in retirement. By taking the money from existing workers rather than from savings you guarantee the income. Even if the savings dissolves you can still avoid starvation.

 
At 9/28/2011 1:01 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" . If this is, in fact, what the left is concerned about"

no.. you got that part wrong...

it's the left and middle - about 80% of Americans

.. as well as the majority of people in the free world....

NOW you have it right.

;-)

when you guys on the far right convince about 50% of those to YOUR LEFT... you'll be cooking with gas but the only way you can really do that is by propagandizing because once the average person understands how SS actually works.. they're not going to follow your advice....

each of the parts of SS are available in the marketplace.

you can buy pay-as-you-go life and disability insurance.

you can buy pay-as-you-go spouse and child survivor benefits

and you can even buy pay-as-you-go annuities...

and none of them are said to be "ponzi" schemes...

re: "
While I do not believe that it is the role of the state to forcibly determine what I do with my money"

roger that...

go find a country that does not do that...

good luck.. don't let the door whack you on the way out.

 
At 9/28/2011 1:11 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Again, that conflates different meanings of the word "right." Flemming v. Nestor determined there was no contractual right. Legislation determines benefits. If the Congress passes a law that ends Social Security, then you can't sue over the FICA taxes you've paid up to that point. "

Do we have to explain to you that "contractual right" is the clear meaning in this case, as is evident in the context of the court opinion?

"Oh, that's right. You reject all taxation. The vast majority of people know that government, even government of the people, can't exist without taxation. And that if you don't have government of the people, then some other government will take its place."

As appeal to popularity isn't a problem for you, let us suggest in return, that the vast majority of people believed what they read in a government pamphlet that promises a right to benefits, and that there is a maximum they will ever have to pay, and that there is an account set up for them, that they are allowed to believe has actual assets in it.

And, while the author of the pamphlet may not have understood the new program, unless one believes that elected officials were much less intelligent in the 1930s than they are now, it is clear from the structure and language of the actual legislation that they knew exactly what they were doing, and allowed the use of deceptive language to describe the new Ponzi scheme. Language normally used to describe a pension plan is still used to describe what is essentially a separate tax and welfare benefit.

 
At 9/28/2011 1:12 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"roger that ... go find a country that does not do that..." Larry

That's why the founders wrote the Second Amendment. At some point left-wing shitbags, like you, will have overstepped and then it will be you who gets "whacked".

 
At 9/28/2011 1:14 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" That's why the founders wrote the Second Amendment. At some point left-wing shitbags, like you, will have overstepped and then it will be you who gets "whacked".

the same founding fathers enacted mandatory payroll taxes though...

does that mean they were shitbags too?

 
At 9/28/2011 1:38 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"when we raise the rates on Medicare as we must - do you think that is a "collapse"?

more manure blather from the cheap seats...
"...

People who were forced (assuming there was some) to cover any part of your education costs deserve at least some of their money back...

How Private Insurance Works: A Primer

Raising rates for Medicare is an unalloyed admittance that the government program is a failure...

Private Insurance Is More Efficient than Medicare–By Far

 
At 9/28/2011 1:41 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jet: "You seem to be convinced that the federal government was lying to Americans back in 1936. Why are you so convinced, Ron? Why is it not equally plausible that those elected officials were simply mistaken about the viability of the Social Security program?"

I have a low opinion of elected officials in general, and federal officials in particular. While I concede that they could have been well-intentioned but short sighted bumblers in 1936, I don't think human nature has changed much in the 65 years since.

The structure and language of the SS legislation, among other things, leads me to believe that, then as now, short term political considerations trumped all else.

Without trying to reference it, I believe there is documentation available of things said by officials in the 1930s that makes it clear they knew that they were creating a Ponzi scheme, labelled as a retirement plan, even if the demographic bubble wasn't foreseen.

Prior to 1936, the US population and the workforce had grown consistently over time,, and officials at that time had no reason to believe it wouldn't continue well beyond their terms of office, but reliance on an ever increasing workforce tells you what you need to know.

 
At 9/28/2011 2:04 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jet,

One indication of intent to deceive by the authors of SS is the intentional obscuring of the true tax rate by splitting it between employee and employer. Obviously both parts are a cost of labor, and are paid by the employee, as are all other costs of labor.

 
At 9/28/2011 2:07 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Hydra, you're wrong about taxes and jobs of small businesses.

1. "80 percent of America's businesses are sole proprietorships."

2. "Sole proprietors pay taxes on business income on their personal tax returns."

3. "Small businesses generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years."

 
At 9/28/2011 2:15 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Ron H: "Prior to 1936, the US population and the workforce had grown consistently over time,, and officials at that time had no reason to believe it wouldn't continue well beyond their terms of office, but reliance on an ever increasing workforce tells you what you need to know."

Perhaps you did not read my 11:40 comment. The data I provided shows that actuaries in 1935 had no clue the senior population would grow anywhere as fast as it has grown. If the actuaries were that far off - off by a factor of 2 - the elected officials who relied on them would also have underestimated the demands on the SS system.

 
At 9/28/2011 2:20 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Ron H: " While I concede that they could have been well-intentioned but short sighted bumblers in 1936"

Why call them bumblers, Ron? Yes, they made mistakes. Not only did they underestimate growth of the senior population, but they also underestimated the extent to which future Congresses would expand the program. In 2011, you can easily see that every federal program grows far beyond its original scope. But that was simply not known in 1935.

Ron, both you and Walter Williams are judging the actions of elected officials based on knowledge you have but which they did not. I think that's terribly unfair.

 
At 9/28/2011 2:20 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/28/2011 2:32 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jet Beagle says: "Actuaries in 1935 had no clue the senior population would grow anywhere as fast as it has grown...have underestimated the demands on the SS system.

People are young before they're old. So, although demand increased, so did supply.

 
At 9/28/2011 2:33 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Ron H: "Obviously both parts are a cost of labor, and are paid by the employee, as are all other costs of labor."

Do you think this was obvious to the members of Congress in 1935? I'm not familiar with their educational backgrounds, but I think that economics as an academic discipline was in its infancy when most of these guys were of college age.

 
At 9/28/2011 2:42 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hey jet, I think FDR knew that his socialist security plan was a failure in the making...

It was all about the politics not the economics....

Chris Westley writing in the Mises Daily: Why Are People So Forgiving of Government Failure?

Roosevelt knew that Social Security was primarily a political triumph.[4] In a story related by historian Arthur Schlesinger, Roosevelt told a visitor warning about the program's economic inconsistencies,

'I guess you're right on the economics, but those taxes were never a problem of economics. They were politics all the way through. We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes, no damn politician can ever scrap my Social Security program'....

 
At 9/28/2011 3:24 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon

Che: "the purported purpose of Social Security - to reduce or eliminate poverty among the elderly by providing future income, through forced savings, to workers in their old age."

Jon: "I might be a bit of a newb on this topic, but I'm not sure that's true. As I understand it SS is not a savings plan. When you pay you are not saving anything. What you are doing is paying for presently retired people."

Jon, it's possible that you have missed a phenomenal amount of discussion on this subject, but you probably haven't missed much.

You are correct that SS is not a savings plan, nor is it insurance, nor is it a pension plan, although the official language used to describe it could lead a reasonable person to believe it is any or all of those things.

Please note that Che is describing the *purported purpose* of SS. It's not really what it's purported to be.

Jon: "The principle is people that can work should provide for those that can't."

Let me reword that slightly, and see if it doesn't better fit your intended meaning:

"The principle is people that can work should be forced to provide for those that can't.

Is that better?

 
At 9/28/2011 3:24 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Peak Trader: "People are young before they're old. So, although demand increased, so did supply."

The people who would make up the over-65 population in 1980 and in 1990 were already born in 1935. Yet the actuaries in 1935 still grossly under-projected the retiree populations for both years. The problem was two-fold: underestimating life expectancy and underestimating immigration.

Even if actuaries had been able to accurately predict the growth of the senior population, there is no way they could have predicted the baby bust after 1965. The decline in births was caused by the birth control pill. Preliminary research on these hormonal contraceptives had not even started when the SS Act of 1935 was passed.

 
At 9/28/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: Do we have to explain to you that "contractual right" is the clear meaning in this case, as is evident in the context of the court opinion?

Obviously not as we drew the distinction.

Zachriel: Oh, that's right. You reject all taxation. The vast majority of people know that government, even government of the people, can't exist without taxation. And that if you don't have government of the people, then some other government will take its place.

Ron H: As appeal to popularity isn't a problem for you, let us suggest in return, ...

It's not an argument ad populum, but an appeal to the individual reader's knowledge. If a reader understands that government, including government of the people, require taxation, and that if you don't have government of the people, then some other government will take its place, then taxation with representation is the best alternative—at least in the real world.

 
At 9/28/2011 3:30 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Juandos: "Hey jet, I think FDR knew that his socialist security plan was a failure in the making..."

I think you are reading a lot more into that FDR quote than is there.

FDR may have known that SS taxes would have to be raised at some point in the future. But I do not believe he could have known about the demographic changes which actually took place from 1935 to 1990. The data I provided above clearly shows his actuaries did not know.

I disagree that the quote you provided shows that FDR knew that SS was a "failure in the making".

You know, I'm actually getting bored with this discussion. So I'll let any of you guys have the last word or words.

 
At 9/28/2011 3:30 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" How Private Insurance Works: A Primer

Raising rates for Medicare is an unalloyed admittance that the government program is a failure...

Private Insurance Is More Efficient than Medicare–By Far "

more lies and propaganda from right wing idiots?

no thanks.. peddle it elsewhere

 
At 9/28/2011 3:36 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Even if actuaries had been able to accurately predict the growth of the senior population..."

the law ....required annual trustee reports that included actuarial projections...

so the folks in the 30's could not have known about the future baby boom but they were smart enough to know that future demographics played a role and need to be monitored and unlike most private sector plans - they use a 75-year horizon...

the fact that all the industrialized and most of the developing countries in the world - totally more than 100 all use mandatory payroll taxes to fund similar type systems...

AND the fact that the fore fathers of this country ALSO supported mandatory payroll taxes ...

totally undercuts the "anti" folks basic premise...

unless of course they want to claim that SS is a world-wide evil conspiracy.. which.. I'd kinda like them to make that case...

;-)

 
At 9/28/2011 3:37 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

T or C: "I wasn't around when FDR said this or that but the US goverment clearly states on the SS website that the money collected in premiums is NOT invested in anything...it is paid out as benefits. That's the way it is. Why is everybody so surprised???"

Few are surprised, but many are upset by the deceptive advertising used by SSA to promote the idea that SS is an insurance program or a pension plan, when it clearly is neither.

Your comment is a perfect example of this, when you use the word "premium" to describe a tax on income.

 
At 9/28/2011 3:38 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

@Zachriel

you're a tolerant fellow and I totally admire your "soft" approach but you know.. you're dealing with cretins.. here...

and if you don't call them shithead.. they don't respect you.

 
At 9/28/2011 3:57 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

hydra - "The problem being namely that only a relative few very large businesses employ more than half the population. Small businesses with employees take a long time to get big enough to hire.

Think about that for a moment. What does it take for business to "get big"? Is "more employees" any part of it?

"Therefore, a jobs plan that expects to create jobs by cutting taxes and regulation won't produce results any time soon."

Do you really believe that making it easier to do business by reducing regulations has no effect? Or that leaving more money in the hands of businesses rather than the hands of government isn't a good idea if you want to create jobs?

Government can't create jobs, except by getting out of the way of those who can.

 
At 9/28/2011 4:00 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Larry,

"..more lies and propaganda from right wing idiots?"

Ooh, devastating, point-by-point refutation!

 
At 9/28/2011 4:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"That's why the founders wrote the Second Amendment. At some point left-wing shitbags, like you, will have overstepped and then it will be you who gets "whacked"."

*like*

 
At 9/28/2011 4:02 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Ooh, devastating, point-by-point refutation!

batter up... I'm ready

;-)

 
At 9/28/2011 4:04 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

more lies and propaganda from right wing idiots?

no thanks.. peddle it elsewhere

I don't follow the links that juanos supplies because the URL shortner he uses - utilizes active scripting...

I'd be glad to refute his usually offal .. if he provides direct links or goggle shortened ..links.

otherwise.. no dice.

 
At 9/28/2011 4:06 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" "That's why the founders wrote the Second Amendment. At some point left-wing shitbags, like you, will have overstepped and then it will be you who gets "whacked"."

which would be the SAME founders who enacted mandatory payroll taxes...also..

*LIKE*

 
At 9/28/2011 4:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jet: "Perhaps you did not read my 11:40 comment. The data I provided shows that actuaries in 1935 had no clue the senior population would grow anywhere as fast as it has grown. If the actuaries were that far off - off by a factor of 2 - the elected officials who relied on them would also have underestimated the demands on the SS system."

No, I didn't see your later comment before posting my own. Sorry. Thanks for the link. Fascinating info.

OK, I'll concede the incompetent part. They couldn't have predicted the rate of growth of population and workforce, but no matter what the rate, as long as workforce was increasing, the ratio of workers to retirees wouldn't change much over a short period of time.

The program includes provisions for adjusting for life expectancy, and inflation as an ongoing government monetary tool was a fairly new concept.

Does the deceptive advertising, at least, count as dishonest? :)

 
At 9/28/2011 5:31 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Obviously not as we drew the distinction."

You suggested conflation of meanings. If you weren't confused, and the meaning was obvious from context, there would be no need to draw the distinction, would there?

But, OK, we will make a note. In the future we will be specific, as we must be with the word "inflation".

Are there any other words or phrases you would like us to qualify that precisely?

Ron H: As appeal to popularity isn't a problem for you, let us suggest in return, ...

Z: "It's not an argument ad populum, but an appeal to the individual reader's knowledge."

But you suggest that "a vast majority of people know", something, when you can't possibly know that to be so.

In any case, I will accept that you have no objection to my claim that a vast number of people believe something they have been told about SS, that just isn't so.

 
At 9/28/2011 5:45 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Larry,

"..and if you don't call them shithead.. they don't respect you."

Aww, Larry, we don't respect you because you're an idiot. Name-calling has nothing to do with it.

 
At 9/28/2011 7:24 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Aww, Larry, we don't respect you because you're an idiot. Name-calling has nothing to do with it"

geeze.. that hurts guy..

ouch...

shithead....

is that better now?

 
At 9/28/2011 9:21 PM, Blogger mike k said...

1. Whether legally binding or not, there is an implicit moral promise that taxpayers will receive SS benefits in the amount their annual statement estimates (at least).

is that the same with pension plans that were converted from defined benefit to defined contribution .. and that is being advocated for State and public sector employees?

I'm not forced to participate in any other pension plans.

2. That is promising an "unrealistic return".

opinion for sure...

As is the Trustees report.

3. New investors must continually be found (coerced) to pay these unrealistic returns.

no more than any other pay-as-you-go plan - public or private or for that matter health insurance.

Huh? Are you talking about spreading the risk? Your comment makes no sense.

4. There is no underlying asset (other than the force of state) even though generations were led to believe they were building a "trust fund" for their own retirement.

same deal with all taxes.. gas taxes.. taxes to fund Medicare and MedicAid.. taxes to fund DOD...

DOD hasn't made promises to supposed future beneficiaries. No one expects gas taxes to pay for anything but roads (oh and other liberal government largesse). Where is the the implicit promise?

5. No rational investor would join such a scheme unless forced to, so the system isn't allowed to collapse.

how many countries in the world have this? are they all "illegal"?

Who said it is illegal? How many of these countries have such programs that are optional? How are these programs working out in Greece? Spain? Italy? France?

It appears to me, at the very least, SS is ponzi-like if not a dictionary perfect representation of the original scheme.

how many other countries have very similar plans? Are you saying that ALL countries with mandatory payroll taxes and SS systems are running ponzi schemes?

I notice you don't dispute any of the aspects of this ponzi scheme. I don't know about other countries, but our system can't keep the promises it has made.

 
At 9/28/2011 9:53 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

1. Whether legally binding or not, there is an implicit moral promise that taxpayers will receive SS benefits in the amount their annual statement estimates (at least).

is that the same with pension plans that were converted from defined benefit to defined contribution .. and that is being advocated for State and public sector employees?

I'm not forced to participate in any other pension plans.

many are though.. like Government employees who had the plan change on them... and we have a ton of people advocating that teachers be switched to different pension plans..right?


2. That is promising an "unrealistic return".

opinion for sure...

As is the Trustees report.

I think not. Material misrepresentations have consequences for them but not folks like you.


3. New investors must continually be found (coerced) to pay these unrealistic returns.

no more than any other pay-as-you-go plan - public or private or for that matter health insurance.

Huh? Are you talking about spreading the risk? Your comment makes no sense.

I was not clear.. agreed.
I really don't have a comment here.


4. There is no underlying asset (other than the force of state) even though generations were led to believe they were building a "trust fund" for their own retirement.

same deal with all taxes.. gas taxes.. taxes to fund Medicare and MedicAid.. taxes to fund DOD...

DOD hasn't made promises to supposed future beneficiaries. No one expects gas taxes to pay for anything but roads (oh and other liberal government largesse). Where is the the implicit promise?

the only promises are benefits.. with the proviso that they can change.. and in some cases like Medicare likely will..


5. No rational investor would join such a scheme unless forced to, so the system isn't allowed to collapse.

how many countries in the world have this? are they all "illegal"?

Who said it is illegal? How many of these countries have such programs that are optional? How are these programs working out in Greece? Spain? Italy? France?

the vast majority of more than 100 countries are NOT "in trouble" though.

there is nothing inherently unsustainable about payroll taxes as long as benefits don't exceed revenues.

It appears to me, at the very least, SS is ponzi-like if not a dictionary perfect representation of the original scheme.

only in your own mind.

you're basically saying all programs LIKE SS ARE Ponzi Schemes - worldwide..

how many other countries have very similar plans? Are you saying that ALL countries with mandatory payroll taxes and SS systems are running ponzi schemes?

I notice you don't dispute any of the aspects of this ponzi scheme. I don't know about other countries, but our system can't keep the promises it has made.

well you ought to know about other countries before you make such statements.

Most mandatory payroll tax countries - are doing fine...

some countries are not but it's not due to payroll taxes... or taxes in general but too much spending no matter the source of funds.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:53 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Quite frankly, I do not see how either elected officals or actuaries could have known in 1936 the changes in real earnings and the changes in life expectancy which occurred over the next 45 years.

Based on the projections made in the 1930's, it was clear the program would be bankrupt by 1980.

Once again, the demographic changes hastened its progress to bankruptcy.

You are under the mistaken impression that if their projections were more accurate, SS would have remained solvent.

 
At 9/28/2011 10:56 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Incidentally, Jet, I provided a much more damning FDR quote on Cafe Hayek. He definitely knew it was unsustainable. If he knew, congress knew as they had access to the same projections. I also refer you to Amity Shlea's "Forgotten Man".

 
At 9/29/2011 1:22 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Methinks

"Incidentally, Jet, I provided a much more damning FDR quote on Cafe Hayek. He definitely knew it was unsustainable. If he knew, congress knew as they had access to the same projections. I also refer you to Amity Shlea's "Forgotten Man"."

I couldn't easily find that your comment @ cafe Hayek. Would you happen to have a link to the FDR quote?

Yes, It's time I read "The Forgotten Man" again.

 
At 9/29/2011 8:44 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

methinks: "You are under the mistaken impression that if their projections were more accurate, SS would have remained solvent."

Where did I write anything like this, methinks?

I said I was not going to comment further, but I didn't expect someone I respect greatly to try and put words in my mouth.

I only brought up the issue of inaccurate projections to show you and others that many of the elected officials did not have knowledge that SS was unsustainable - and so they may not have been lying as so many of you are convinced.

 
At 9/29/2011 8:49 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

methinks: "I provided a much more damning FDR quote on Cafe Hayek. He definitely knew it was unsustainable."

Based on the quotes I have seen and the excerpt I have read from "The Forgotten Man", I do believe that FDR at some point believed SS taxes would have to be raised slightly for the system to remain sustainable. I do not believe those to be damning quotes, and I do not believe those quotes are proof he knew that SS was not sustainable.

Also, the quotes you refer to are hearsay, and likely taken out of the context in which FDR spoke them. I would be much more convinced if anyone could produce written words of FDR which show he believed SS to be unsustainable. Or perhaps words from a public speech.

 
At 9/29/2011 8:51 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Methinks: "Based on the projections made in the 1930's, it was clear the program would be bankrupt by 1980."

I do not think that is true. It was the increases in benefits made after the original act which would have made the program unsustainable. As I pointed out before, the original SS act capped monthly benefits at $85.

 
At 9/29/2011 8:51 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

@jet - you're catching on to what the game here is....

and it's not about being honest and truthful in looking at history or representing current status...

it's only a matter of time before you will be anointed as a "stooge".

;-)

 
At 9/29/2011 9:16 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Larry G,

I have a lot of respect for Ron H and for methinks. While they will disagree with me, I don't expect either of them to ever call me a "stooge".

I think that many people try to judge the actions of persons long dead based on knowledge and insights which were unavailable decades ago. That's unfortunate.

 
At 9/29/2011 9:20 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" I think that many people try to judge the actions of persons long dead based on knowledge and insights which were unavailable decades ago. That's unfortunate"

indeed....

what would people you "respect" do something like that to start with?

sorry I don't share a respect of that kind of "analysis" - even if it is coming from people who say they know their stuff.

 
At 9/29/2011 9:23 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Ron H:"Does the deceptive advertising, at least, count as dishonest?"

I agree the advertising was deceptive. But I'm not in a position to know that those who either wrote or approved the advertising knew it was wrong. After all, as the quote provided by methinks shows, even FDR may have believed that future beneficiaries had a legal right to their benefits:

"We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions ..."

As I said earlier, I don't know the context within which this statement was made, and it is hearsay rather than a direct quote. But if it is true, FDR was trying to provide a legal right to benefits.

 
At 9/29/2011 9:29 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: wrong advertising

Medicare was done in the 60's..

I'm quite sure if you go read about what the proponents were saying in the 60's about what Medicare would do and not do - that the world has also changed there also...

so .. programs...evolve...

that's not "lying".. that's adapting to realities....

 
At 9/29/2011 12:58 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Hydra, you're wrong about taxes and jobs of small businesses.

1. "80 percent of America's businesses are sole proprietorships."

Yes and a lot of those have one employee, it is years before many of these businesses progress from the zero to ten category to the ten to 99 category.

I think that something like only 17,000 businesses hire half the employees. The 80% of businsess you mention hire almost no employees. Since many of those busineses fail, they lay off a lot of employees, too.

The remaining small businesses are actually pretty large, but many of them are in pedestrian occupations, with little interest or ability to become innovators and hire millions of people.

Now I have made all of these comments independently previously, but the notes above were reproduced without attribution from a professor at Wharton.

I just wanted to see if the three stooges could distinguish between my writing and that of an eminent PhD.

 
At 9/29/2011 1:00 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"The principle is people that can work should be forced to provide for those that can't.

Is that better?

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

How about if we just force people who cannot work to work anyway. That should be really cost effective and make us all better off.

 
At 9/29/2011 1:04 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"Then you misunderstand the definition of a "right". You are born with every right that you or should be guaranteed. It isn't granted or gifted to you by another or by your government.

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

Precisely. If you have a right it cannot be taken away by government or obama.

Those people still have the right to the money or a "sacred promise" that they will get it as Gov. Perry said.

They may not get the money, and still have the right to it. In this case, had they not gotent he money, it would have been because republicans refused to protect their rights and denied access to the money.

 
At 9/29/2011 1:05 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If my property is mine, then you and three of your thug friends can't steal it from me. If that is true, then it is also true that government can't steal it from me.

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

No, we can steal it, but you still have the right to it. Two different things,

 
At 9/29/2011 2:06 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Hydra: "I just wanted to see if the three stooges could distinguish between my writing and that of an eminent PhD."

Hydra, I earned an MBA from Wharton years ago. Based on my experience then, I would say that Wharton professors, like everyone else, have ideological biases which significantly affect their thinking. I wouldn't refer to any of them - or to you - as a stooge. But I wouldn't place absolute faith in what they write or say.

 
At 9/29/2011 3:03 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Based on my experience then, I would say that Wharton professors, like everyone else, have ideological biases which significantly affect their thinking. I wouldn't refer to any of them - or to you - as a stooge. But I wouldn't place absolute faith in what they write or say.

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

Like most everyone else, anyway. I believe that pure thought yields pure results: good thinking will eventually show the falsehood of bad ideology.

Where the real mistake is in starting with an ideology and then trying to think up ways to support it.

I admit to a certain satisfaction on hearing the professors words, because they so closely matched ideas I had previously come up with myself.

Here is the problem. let's say we have an ideology, and we believe that following the ideology will produce the best, or at least better results, for everyone, even people who disagree with our ideology.

If that is the case, it is the result that matters, not the ideology. But some people get so wrapped up in the ideology, that when a bad result occurs, they dispute the result, rather than alter the ideology to fit the known facts.

We have even seen people flat out invent results in order to support an ideology.

How do people get so distracted by an ideology that they are willing to ignore facts, escape reality, or invent a new one, rather than admit to an ideological fault? It is because they are attracted to other people with the same ideology, just as I was pleased to hear the professors words, and if you attract enough people, you have power.


With enough power you can force people to accept your policy and its results, at which point you could care less about the fact of whether those results are good or bad.

 
At 9/29/2011 10:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"How about if we just force people who cannot work to work anyway. That should be really cost effective and make us all better off."

How about if we just don't use force at all, and allow those who can, and wish to help others, do so? There is plenty of help available, unless the available resources are taken by government, and distributed by bureaucrats, who are unable to determine real need in any case.

 
At 9/30/2011 12:37 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Hydra: "Precisely. If you have a right it cannot be taken away by government or obama.

Those people still have the right to the money or a "sacred promise" that they will get it as Gov. Perry said.rights
"

You have just demonstrated that you really don't understand rights.

Free2Choose is referring to those natural or inalienable right each of us possesses, as sovereign individuals, because of our humanity. Granted by our creator, if you like. They include life, liberty, and property, and the right to defend same. We are born with them.

Through contract, we can grant property rights to others, and they to us. If you rent me a house you own, I have a "right" to use it as specified in our agreement.

One legitimate function of government is to enforce that contract.

The "right" to a SS benefit check doesn't exist. Government takes money from workers and gives it to designated retirees. That is forced income redistribution through legislation, not "rights". Your "right" to SS benefit checks requires that money be taken from others whether they consent or not.

Your right to an annuity payment from a private insurance company is a matter of contract, entered into voluntarily. A very different arrangement.

Gov Perry can call it a "sacred promise", or a "chicken salad sandwich" - it makes no difference. It is not a right.

There are no rights that require someone else be forced to provide something for you.

You have no "right" to an abortion. You have a right to seek one, but you cannot force anyone to give you one against their will.

You have no "right" to food, or housing, or a job, or medical care, or anything else that requires force against someone else.

 
At 9/30/2011 12:42 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"No, we can steal it, but you still have the right to it. Two different things,"

Please add the word "legitimate" to my previous comment where it is needed, to make it correct.

 
At 9/30/2011 12:46 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jet: "I agree the advertising was deceptive. But I'm not in a position to know that those who either wrote or approved the advertising knew it was wrong. After all, as the quote provided by methinks shows, even FDR may have believed that future beneficiaries had a legal right to their benefits:"

OK, I will bend as far as "indeterminate" or "unknowable", is that good enough? I'm not sure I can ever get to "innocent". :)

 
At 9/30/2011 1:09 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Stooge Larry: "@jet - you're catching on to what the game here is....

and it's not about being honest and truthful in looking at history or representing current status...

it's only a matter of time before you will be anointed as a "stooge".
"

You are missing something important here, and that is that many who post here at CD can have respectful, adult discussions about a variety of subjects, while remaining civil.

Few, if any, agree on everything, and those disagreements are part of what makes this a very interesting blog.

JetBeagle writes some of the most thoughtful, well supported comments of anyone here, and they are always a pleasure to read, even when I don't agree with him.

You, on the other hand, are an idiot, and there's a consensus of opinion on that, reached eventually by everyone who responds to your comments. You shouldn't conclude from that, however, that there is much agreement on anything else.

 
At 9/30/2011 1:31 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Like most everyone else, anyway. I believe that pure thought yields pure results: good thinking will eventually show the falsehood of bad ideology."

Wow. And, who do you believe is having those pure thoughts, and reaching absolute truth??


"I admit to a certain satisfaction on hearing the professors words, because they so closely matched ideas I had previously come up with myself."

Can you say "confirmation bias"?

"Here is the problem. let's say we have an ideology, and we believe that following the ideology will produce the best, or at least better results, for everyone, even people who disagree with our ideology."

If that ideology includes letting people choose for themselves, then it probably will produce better results.

"How do people get so distracted by an ideology that they are willing to ignore facts, escape reality, or invent a new one, rather than admit to an ideological fault? It is because they are attracted to other people with the same ideology, just as I was pleased to hear the professors words, and if you attract enough people, you have power."

Yes. Hitler understood this completely. I'm not sure the results were what people really anticipated, though.

"With enough power you can force people to accept your policy and its results, at which point you could care less about the fact of whether those results are good or bad."

Yes. That's exactly why your fascist notion that if you just force people to do the right thing, everyone will be better off, is so dangerous.

 
At 9/30/2011 5:21 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

"You are missing something important here, and that is that many who post here at CD can have respectful, adult discussions about a variety of subjects, while remaining civil."

coming from you and Van and Juanos...


bhahahaaaahahahha

you about as civil and respectful as cretin... and then of course you have the problem that lying and propaganda whoring is a "good" thing in your world.

your mama.. poor woman..she did try but you turned out bad...it happens.

 
At 9/30/2011 5:41 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

and FYI - for others reading this.

I did not start the name calling - but I learned a long time ago when others do - it's a bullying tactic... and in this case tag-teamed by Ron and Van..

if they don't like what you say ..then they are "forced" to call you an idiot, a moron, a stooge...a prick.. etc, etc..

the record here shows clearly where the name calling came from and yet Ron represents himself as civil and respectful.

that's not true if he disagrees and that's what I was advising Jet and others.. only a matter of time..before these guys start throwing the moron word around if they disagree with you.

in other words..they are not respectful and civil at all...

they're your basic run of the mill - cretins.... and I have a simple strategy for dealing with bullies like Ron .. you go right at them.

 
At 9/30/2011 6:58 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: They include life, liberty, and property, and the right to defend same. We are born with them.

According to the Declaration of Independence, "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed". Under any plausible theory of government, governments require taxes; while the Constitution declares that "We the People" form a government, including the power to tax. When you reject the ability of the people to join together to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty", then you are rejecting democratic republicanism.

Ron H: The "right" to a SS benefit check doesn't exist.

It's not considered a natural right. Nor is it a contractual right. But it is a legal right under current law. Some consider it a moral right as people have paid into the system. In a democracy, this consideration will have to be accounted in any reform.

Ron H: That is forced income redistribution through legislation, not "rights".

All taxes are redistributive. They can take your money to build a road somewhere else. They can borrow money and leave it to the future to pay. They can regulate commerce in ways you may not like. They can establish a post office, even if you don't send letters. They can inflate the currency, making your money worth less. They can declare war for purposes you may strenuously disagree with. They can even draft your children to fight those wars.

Perhaps in your mind you have an idea of how a society could exist without governments, or governments without taxation, but you haven't proposed any such political theory. It's easy enough to rail against taxes, but it's quite another to address the real problems of the human condition with your rarified philosophy.

 
At 9/30/2011 6:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "It's not considered a natural right. Nor is it a contractual right. But it is a legal right under current law."

That's what we wrote. You are agreeing with us.

Z: "Some consider it a moral right as people have paid into the system. In a democracy, this consideration will have to be accounted in any reform. "

If some consider it a moral right, they should be willing to voluntarily contribute to those they believe have that moral right. Otherwise, they are advocating continued theft from those who don't agree.

We're sure most recipients believe they have a moral right to benefits, and we don't disagree. How those benefits should now be paid without stealing from others is a big problem. Are there enough volunteers?

"According to the Declaration of Independence, "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"."

Yes, we are familiar with the D of I.

"Under any plausible theory of government, governments require taxes...:"

Without quibbling over the definition of "plausible", you might be interested in this collection, edited by David Beito.

"While the Constitution declares that "We the People" form a government, including the power to tax."

Government, as an agent of the States, supported by taxes in the form of user fees and small tariffs, as envisioned by the Founders, is a far cry from government directly taking property by force, as is the case today. Direct taxation, in fact, was forbidden except as apportioned, and was never intended in the form we are familiar with today.

Today, in the US, there is a level of government that requires 40% of every dollar of GDP. It's hard to imagine that such a level of government is necessary.

"When you reject the ability of the people to join together to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty", then you are rejecting democratic republicanism."

But, we don't reject the ability of the people to do those things, only to theft of private property by government.

"All taxes are redistributive. They can take your money to build a road somewhere else. They can borrow money and leave it to the future to pay. They can regulate commerce in ways you may not like. They can establish a post office, even if you don't send letters. They can inflate the currency, making your money worth less. They can declare war for purposes you may strenuously disagree with. They can even draft your children to fight those wars."

The fact that they can do all those things by use of force doesn't make them legitimate powers of government. Most of what the US Federal government does these days is outside its Constitutional authority.

 
At 10/01/2011 8:06 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: If some consider it a moral right, they should be willing to voluntarily contribute to those they believe have that moral right.

There's a reason why there are laws.

Ron H: Government, as an agent of the States, supported by taxes in the form of user fees and small tariffs, as envisioned by the Founders, is a far cry from government directly taking property by force, as is the case today.

Tariffs are no more than "raiding caravans" along the silk trail. Oh yes. You're paying for 'protection.'

Ron H: Direct taxation, in fact, was forbidden except as apportioned, and was never intended in the form we are familiar with today.

As was pointed out above, there was a payroll tax applied very early in the Republic. Direct taxes are allowable under the original Constitution as long as they are apportioned, meaning per capita—counting slaves as three-fifths.

Ron H: Today, in the US, there is a level of government that requires 40% of every dollar of GDP. It's hard to imagine that such a level of government is necessary.

Your position is that taxation is tyranny, and that the only just tax is 0%.

Ron H: But, we don't reject the ability of the people to do those things, only to theft of private property by government.

That is your belief. As we said, the vast majority of our readers know that government is necessary to human civilization, and that taxes are necessary to government.

Ron H: The fact that they can do all those things by use of force doesn't make them legitimate powers of government. Most of what the US Federal government does these days is outside its Constitutional authority.

All those instances provided above are directly mentioned in the Constitution.

 
At 10/01/2011 4:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Your position is that taxation is tyranny, and that the only just tax is 0%. "

That is indeed our position, and one you appear to agree with. Taxation is theft, as you admitted with your reference to raiding caravans along the silk route. Unless , that is, you wish to consider tariffs as someting completely unrelated to taxes.

Z: "There's a reason why there are laws."

Absolutely. In the case of SS, it is to force compliance through theft from those who don't agree.

Z: "As was pointed out above, there was a payroll tax applied very early in the Republic..."

That's a sad reminder of how soon the original intent of the Constitution was subverted by the influence of special interests, in this case, the shipping industry.

That process continues to this day, and government we have now bears little resemblance to its intended form.

Z: "...Direct taxes are allowable under the original Constitution as long as they are apportioned, meaning per capita..."

That's what we wrote.

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution was necessary to overcome this requirement, so that taxes based on income could be imposed.

Z: "—counting slaves as three-fifths.

Your reason for adding the three-fifths reference is a mystery. Surely you are aware that this irrelevant addition to your comment applied to representation, not taxation, and was a compromise between Northern and Southern States, in the interest of forming a Union. Without that compromise, the Union and Confederacy would likely have formed at the time of the founding, rather than later.

Native Americans weren't counted for any reason, and couldn't vote, although they certainly met the definition of "citizen".

Z: "All those instances provided above are directly mentioned in the Constitution."

We are curious as to how you can twist reason to support some of these claims. Perhaps you can elaborate.

While some, such as post offices and post roads are directly mandated, There is no provision for their financing, other than "necessary and proper", which doesn't mean "any way Congress sees fit", and it doesn't mean they can "take my money" to do it.

Draft our children? No. There is no provision for that. Neither "common defence" nor "raise armies" includes involuntary servitude, and proposed legislation enacting a draft was regularly defeated until the Morthern War of Aggression.

Inflate the currency? We assume you're refering to *monetary* inflation, If not, please clarify.

Certainly Congress could change the value of the currency by the same authority they had to set the value of weights and measures. But, there was certainly no intent that inflation* be used to finance large scale military operations, as is common today.

*monetary

As gold and silver were commonly used as money, manipulation of currency had less effect than it does today, with a pure fiat currency. Continental Dollars are a good example of the disruptions caused by creating money out of thin air.

Borrow money and leave it to the future to pay? Yes, but only for those specific purposes outlined in the Constitution, not for everything and anything Congress can imagine a need for, and certainly not at the current level of debt that will require the equivalent of a full years pay from each person in the US to repay it.

Our *representatives* can declare war, which means that if we object, we can work to replace those representative with others that also object.

We are helpless against Presidential military adventures that our Representatives seem unwilling to confront.

By the way, this replacement of those who don't represent us well with others that will, may be in the works as we speak. There appears to be a growing discontent with the size and direction of government in the US.

 
At 10/01/2011 5:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

While our view is that no government, and no taxation would be ideal, as human nature includes a propensity for violence against others, we recognize that individuals often see benefit in joining together for a common interest.

We are unaware of examples of very large groups of people, such as the entire US population, successfully joining together for mutual benefit, without any form of government structure, so some minimum amount, as a necessary evil, could be tolerated, if not desired.

The Constitutional Republic created by the Founders comes much closer to our ideal than any other form we have seen. It should be understood that the Constitution is restrictive, not permissive.

If the original form were still in place, as intended, we would have few complaints, but as hard as the Founders tried, it has not been possible to "chain them down".

It may be inevitable that any government, no matter how well intentioned, will ultimately grow to be oppressive.

Therefore: "...That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

In our case, a return to the original restrictive Constitution would be as close to ideal as may be possible, human nature being what it is.

To suggest, as you appear to do, that any reasonable reading of the Constitution permits government vague unnamed powers, in the name of some "social contract" is clearly ridiculous, considering the great care the Founders took to limit the power of government.

They had just recently thrown off, at great cost, a tyrannical and oppressive government, and were clearly determined to avoid creating another one, even though it now seems their best efforts haven't been enough.

 
At 10/02/2011 9:11 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: That is indeed our position, and one you appear to agree with. Taxation is theft, as you admitted with your reference to raiding caravans along the silk route.

It was obvious hyperbole. In any case, you reject tariffs, even though they are specifically allowed in the U.S. Constitution, as well allowed in just about every other democratic government.

Ron H: Your reason for adding the three-fifths reference is a mystery. Surely you are aware that this irrelevant addition to your comment applied to representation, not taxation, and was a compromise between Northern and Southern States, in the interest of forming a Union. Without that compromise, the Union and Confederacy would likely have formed at the time of the founding, rather than later.

Article I, Section 2: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States ..." The three-fifths rule applied to the apportionment of taxes, as well as representation. It was a compromise to protect the so-called property of the South.

Ron H: There is no provision for their financing,

Article I, Section 8: "To borrow Money on the credit of the United States ..." allows the government to borrow money and bind future taxpayers.

In any case, you have admitted to rejecting all taxation, and that is all that is necessary for most readers to understand that your position is without foundation. You seem to try to clarify that aspect of your position in your next comment.

 
At 10/02/2011 9:11 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: We are unaware of examples of very large groups of people, such as the entire US population, successfully joining together for mutual benefit, without any form of government structure, so some minimum amount, as a necessary evil, could be tolerated, if not desired.

Okay. Some people do see government as aspirational, that is, they see government as one of the highest ideals capable of forming "a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty." Certainly, one should be skeptical of government, especially big government, but skepticism is not the same as cynicism.

Ron H: It may be inevitable that any government, no matter how well intentioned, will ultimately grow to be oppressive.

Perhaps, but you seemly reject even a limited government.

Ron H: In our case, a return to the original restrictive Constitution would be as close to ideal as may be possible, human nature being what it is.

Well, the original Constitution allowed slavery and lacked equal protection.

Ron H: To suggest, as you appear to do, that any reasonable reading of the Constitution permits government vague unnamed powers, in the name of some "social contract" is clearly ridiculous, considering the great care the Founders took to limit the power of government.

Well, no. Our point was that you rejected even a limited form of government as original envisioned by the Founders. You reject the idea that any government can take from you, a tariff or other tax, as granted in Article I.

Your latest comment allows for a minimal government, but you seem to contradict your previous position. Least evil, yes, but you would still consider any tax to be an unjust taking of your property, and you have also denied that you accept membership in any such government, unless you have personally signed on. You're moving in the right direction, but your position still seems to lack a reasonable foundation.

 
At 10/02/2011 2:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "It was obvious hyperbole. In any case, you reject tariffs, even though they are specifically allowed in the U.S. Constitution..."

The Constitution, as written,was not perfect - it also allowed slavery, as you have pointed out - just much better than any other form of government. As we wrote, a Constitution forbidding slavery would not have included all of the 13 original states. Compromises were made.

Recognizing its imperfections, the founders provided an amendment process, by which the Constitution can be corrected and changed as needed

"...as well allowed in just about every other democratic government. "

Irrelevant.

"Okay. Some people do see government as aspirational, that is, they see government as one of the highest ideals capable of forming "a more perfect Union, establish Justice, etc, etc, etc,..."

Others see no government as aspirational. That doesn't require a belief that it exists, or is even attainable, but only a desire to strive for it.

To see government as aspirational requires the belief that others must be forced to comply with one's own views. People who believe that, see themselves as deserving of more than they have, and includes people unwilling to take responsibility for themselves, thieves, and those who believe they can somehow make better choices for others, than they can make for themselves. A truly bizarre notion.

You must explain why it is better to force a peaceful person against their will, rather than leave them alone.

"Article I, Section 2: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States ..." The three-fifths rule applied to the apportionment of taxes, as well as representation."

We stand corrected. That section does indeed address taxation as well as representation. Thank you for pointing out our error.

Note that the taxes and representation are apportioned to the states, based on state population, and are not direct taxes on individuals. State delegates are agreeing to these provisions, which will later be ratified by state legislatures. They are creating an agent, and delegating to that agent, certain powers they judge to be better exercised in common, than individually as separate states.

In other words, they are agreeing on an equitable way to pay for the services with which they task their agent.

"It was a compromise to protect the so-called property of the South."

Yes. As the South had lower populations of eligible voters than the North, it was a compromise between counting all slaves for representation as favored by the South, and counting no slaves as favored by the North. With less representation the South feared the tyranny of the majority. Without that compromise, there would have been no Southern States in the union.

"Your latest comment allows for a minimal government, but you seem to contradict your previous position. Least evil, yes, but you would still consider any tax to be an unjust taking of your property..."

We do consider any direct tax on an individual to be theft of property.

 
At 10/02/2011 2:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Our apparently unsuccessful attempt to clarify our position is not inconsistent with previous statements. Tolerating and approving are not the same thing. A concept that may be difficult for a collectivist, who finds government aspirational, to understand.

We prefer sunny days, but will tolerate the rain.

Z: "...and you have also denied that you accept membership in any such government, unless you have personally signed on."

That's correct. Inclusion without consent is tyranny.

"You're moving in the right direction, but your position still seems to lack a reasonable foundation."

Our position hasn't changed, only your limited understanding of it. This is often a problem for collectivists who have trouble understanding the concept of terms like "liberty" and "individual" and "voluntary".

 
At 10/02/2011 2:59 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: This is often a problem for collectivists who have trouble understanding the concept of terms like "liberty" and "individual" and "voluntary".

Oh, gee whiz.

In any case, as nearly all our readers know, government is necessary, and taxes are necessary to government. Government of the people is preferable to other forms of government, and if people don't form governments, then other forms of government will rise to fill the vacuum. Indeed, people will band together to form more perfect unions, and accomplish great things thereby. Nothing you have said changes this. You offer no alternative, just contrariness.

 
At 10/03/2011 4:15 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Indeed, people will band together to form more perfect unions, and accomplish great things thereby."

Should we understand this "band together" thingy to be a voluntary action?

 
At 10/03/2011 8:05 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: Should we understand this "band together" thingy to be a voluntary action?

It's called democracy.

 
At 10/03/2011 12:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "It's called democracy."

We understand democracy to be a form or system wherein the majority prevails over the minority - whereas, band together implies an action individuals might take voluntarily. Is this not a correct interpretation?

 
At 10/03/2011 1:05 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/03/2011 1:12 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "You're moving in the right direction, but your position still seems to lack a reasonable foundation."

We believe, as did John Locke, that: "every man has a Property in his own Person."

And that each sovereign individual "...has a right to decide what would become of himself and what he would do, and as having a right to reap the benefits of what he did."

In addition: "We hold these truths to be self-evident."

That we have inalienable rights, including "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"

Nothing further is required.

What, exactly is the foundation of your position that tyranny of the majority is morally sound?

Our readers are anxious to know.

Somehow, "If you don't agree that WE can use force against you, then someone less pleasant will likely do it anyway." doesn't seem adequate.

 
At 10/03/2011 1:33 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: We understand democracy to be a form or system wherein the majority prevails over the minority - whereas, band together implies an action individuals might take voluntarily. Is this not a correct interpretation?

Requiring unanimity before any sort of action is a recipe for inaction. The key to representative democracy is that everyone is guaranteed to have their say, then to abide by the consensus. And yes, it's the worst of all systems.

Ron H: In addition: "We hold these truths to be self-evident." That we have inalienable rights, including "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" Nothing further is required.

Wonder why Jefferson kept on writing, then, about instituting governments and whatnot. Maybe he was being paid by the word.

 
At 10/03/2011 6:04 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/04/2011 2:09 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/04/2011 2:17 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Requiring unanimity before any sort of action is a recipe for inaction. The key to representative democracy is that everyone is guaranteed to have their say, then to abide by the consensus. And yes, it's the worst of all systems."

But unanimity isn't necessary. Those who wish to "band together", can do so to promote a common interest, while those who don't wish to, need not do so, and forgo any benefit realized by those who band together.

We expect to see a "free rider objection at this point, but in our judgement, the potential harm from free riders is less than the harm from forced inclusion to prevent them.

"Wonder why Jefferson kept on writing, then, about instituting governments and whatnot. Maybe he was being paid by the word.""

We can speculate on Jefferson's reasons for continuing to write, and he may have needed the money due to his large debts, but we doubt he was paid by the word, or the D of I might look like a modern political document that runs to hundreds of pages.

As to instituting government, Jefferson did envision people "laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

This clearly leaves the form of government up to The People, and could include no government at all.

In any case, we have addressed your concern about foundation.

You have failed to explain how your position that force against others through tyranny of the majority is morally sound.

 
At 10/04/2011 6:26 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: We expect to see a "free rider objection at this point, but in our judgement, the potential harm from free riders is less than the harm from forced inclusion to prevent them.

The harm from "free riders" is that they undermine any coordinated action. Consider a very simple example, voluntary street lights. (And no, you don't have to personally sign up to the street light law in order to be bound by street light laws.)

Ron H: This clearly leaves the form of government up to The People, and could include no government at all.

Um, that's not what Jefferson wrote. "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." You may disagree with Jefferson, but he certainly considered government necessary, nor did he believe that unanimity was required to institute government.

Ron H: You have failed to explain how your position that force against others through tyranny of the majority is morally sound.

Certainly we have, the very same argument made by Jefferson.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that 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"

 
At 10/04/2011 7:47 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: ... tyranny of the majority ...

Of course, our previous comment ignored the strawman of supposing that any accommodation to the majority is tyranny. There are sufficient protections in most democratic systems for minority rights.

 
At 10/04/2011 8:15 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: tyranny of the majority

that defines our system whether it be local, state or Federal elected as well as appointed bodies such as the SCOTUS.

when SCOTUS makes decisions is that "tyranny"?

would we prefer unelected people making decisions instead?

 
At 10/04/2011 11:48 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "The harm from "free riders" is that they undermine any coordinated action. Consider a very simple example, voluntary street lights. (And no, you don't have to personally sign up to the street light law in order to be bound by street light laws.)"

Nonsense. It's not clear from this whether you mean street lighting devices or traffic control devices, but it doesn't matter. Groups of private property owners regularly "band together" to provide for their common benefit.

"Of course, our previous comment ignored the strawman of supposing that any accommodation to the majority is tyranny."

And we didn't suggest that. Your original position was that theft of property was moral if the majority sopported it.

 
At 10/04/2011 5:56 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: It's not clear from this whether you mean street lighting devices or traffic control devices, but it doesn't matter. Groups of private property owners regularly "band together" to provide for their common benefit.

Do you think that some bureaucrat can tell you when to stop (red light) and when to go (green light)?

 
At 10/05/2011 6:41 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Do you think that some bureaucrat should be able to tell you when to stop (red light) and when to go (green light)?"

What is your real point here?

 
At 10/06/2011 7:05 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: What is your real point here?

It's pretty obvious. You've essentially disclaimed representative democracy without your personal acquiescence. Indeed, you've called taxes levied by an elected legislature tyranny.

Making people stop at a red light, telling people when they can stop and when they can go is a typical accommodation people make to society. If someone doesn't want to stop at a red light because he says it's tyranny and intrusive, is it just that he be punished? What gives the bureaucrat to right to determine the rules for stopping and going for someone who hasn't agreed to it?

 

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