Tuesday, November 08, 2011

IRS Data from 1992-2008 on the Top 400 Show Significant Turnover: 73% Last for Only 1 Year

In Table 4 of the IRS bulletin "The 400 Individual Income Tax Returns, 1992-2008," they report the "Frequency of Appearing in the Top 400 Tax Returns for Tax Years 1992-2008." 

Over the 17 tax years between 1992 and 2008, there were a total of 6,800 tax returns analyzed (400 per year), and because some individuals appeared in the top 400 for more than one year, there were 3,672 unique taxpayers.  Here is what the IRS found about the ever-changing group of the top 400 taxpayers:

1. Almost three out of four of those individuals (2,676 or 72.88%) were in the top 400 taxpayer group for only a single year over the 17-year period.

2. Only 439 individuals, or 11.96% of the total, remained in the top 400 for two years.  Therefore, almost 85% (or 3,115 of the 3,672 total) were in the top 400 for only one or two years. 

3. Only 1% of the sample group (37 out of 3,672) stayed in the top 400 for 14 years or more, and only 4 taxpayers (or about 1/10 of 1 percent or 1 in a 1,000) stayed in the group for the entire 17-year period.  

MP: The IRS study of the top 400 taxpayers over a 17-year period provides additional evidence of significant income mobility over time.  Individuals do not remain stuck in the same static income groups, quintiles, percentages or brackets over their careers or lifetimes, but instead move dynamically both up and down through those statistical groups from year to year. 

HT: Peter Parlapiano

205 Comments:

At 11/08/2011 8:32 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Krugman addresses the claim briefly here. Rather than looking at short term mobility, this study addresses how fathers compare to sons. In the US you're more likely to remain in the same income bracket as your parents than in most other modern countries, meaning the US is more oligarchic than is typical.

 
At 11/08/2011 8:45 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon, it could mean a stronger family, and weaker government, means higher income, or a difference in values.

 
At 11/08/2011 9:03 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Well Krugman doesn't disappoint and with his usual panache for saying something clueless: "Look, let me make a public service announcement: if you rely on bought and paid for sources on income inequality, you’re going to embarrass yourself again and again. These people never get it right, because their whole reason for being is to obfuscate"...

Apparently Krugman feels no embarrassment in getting it wrong again...

Maybe Krugman should educate himself with a bit of Edmund Phelps: Dynamic Capitalism

Re: the study alluded to by jon, well to bad Julia Issacs did take a closer look at reality...

Consider the following from Thomas Dolan writing at Barrons: Twelve reasons why there is more inequality in the U.S. are Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Michael Dell, Paul Allen, Steve Balmer, Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey—just a few of the people on the 2007 Forbes 400 list who earned most or all of their money after 1979, and changed our country for the good by doing so well. They created millions of direct and indirect jobs, and paid billions in taxes to all levels of government. The rest of the 1% also did their part, creating smaller businesses or investing in stocks and bonds to make businesses grow...

 
At 11/08/2011 9:17 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Creating $1 of value for society and earning $0.50 does not equal creating zero value for society and taking $0.50.

 
At 11/08/2011 9:20 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Krugman addresses the claim briefly here. Rather than looking at short term mobility, this study addresses how fathers compare to sons. In the US you're more likely to remain in the same income bracket as your parents than in most other modern countries, meaning the US is more oligarchic than is typical.

Mark's point is valid. Most people at the top do not stay there in the US. The study you referenced makes sense given Europe's labour laws. Sons find it much harder to find jobs than their fathers used to. Which is why they are burning buses and cop cars, and throwing fire bombs at the police.

 
At 11/08/2011 9:37 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

jon-

you have trotted out that study before, but i think you misunderstand what it shows.

you seem to think it shows some kind of socio-economic stagnation.

in fact, it shows a meritocracy.

more than ever before, education correlates to big earnings differences.

the single biggest determinant in your educational achievement is your parents views on it.

if your parents worked and studied hard and expected you to do the same and so you did, you are more likely to succeed.

that is pure meriticrtacy.

i fail to see what you think the problem here is.

what is it you think that study shows?

 
At 11/08/2011 9:38 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

also:

that study has a severe flaw in that it does not adjust for household size.

children from big families are more likely to have big families and children from households with multiple breadwinners are more likely to go on to form such households.

that factor alone pretty much makes your data useless in comparing individuals.

 
At 11/08/2011 9:43 AM, Blogger bix1951 said...

I will testify. Our household had one big year and paid a very big tax that year. I expect many in the top 1% are getting a windfall or selling a business or some such.
To be fair we should bring back income averaging. I made it to the 1% once in my life and I paid a big tax!

 
At 11/08/2011 10:03 AM, Blogger rjs said...

"A child born to parents in the bottom fifth has about a 17 percent chance of making it to the top two-fifths, while a child born to parents already in the top two-fifths has a 60 percent chance of staying there."

from here, & elsewhere: http://m.lacrossetribune.com/mobile/article_e4947a8c-0245-11e1-8b65-001cc4c03286.html

 
At 11/08/2011 10:33 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"A child born to parents in the bottom fifth has about a 17 percent chance of making it to the top two-fifths..."...

Yet there's nothing inherent in this nation's normally democratic system of stopping those at the bottom from rising to the top, right?

 
At 11/08/2011 10:34 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

RJS, your article states:

"The ‘success sequence’: finish schooling, get a job, get married, have babies...at the rate they did in the 1970s, the poverty rate would be cut 70 percent."

The failure sequence: Have babies (with multiple partners), get on welfare and drugs, complete a GED, and eventually work at McDonalds.

 
At 11/08/2011 11:35 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/08/2011 1:20 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "Krugman addresses the claim briefly here. Rather than looking at short term mobility, this study addresses how fathers compare to sons. In the US you're more likely to remain in the same income bracket as your parents than in most other modern countries, meaning the US is more oligarchic than is typical."

Perhaps, considering the context, you meant to say that the US is more plutocratic, rather than oligarchic.

While I give little credence to what former Noble prize winning economist, and current political hack Krugman writes, the Isaacs piece is very interesting.

If you are serious about using this article as support for your position, you might want to read the endnotes carefully, especially #3, 4, 8, and 13.

They explain methodology used, differences in data between countries, and imply the conclusion that a country with a smaller range of distribution of incomes, will show higher mobility due to statistical methods used.

Note 3 is particularly interesting,, as it explains how IGE is estimated. Again, due to methods used, we would expect a higher correlation between fathers' and sons' incomes, if the range of bottom to top incomes - greater income inequallity if you wish - is greater.

The report also finds higher correlation between generational income at the low end, meaning that something other than inherited wealth is the cause. Perhaps family influence is stronger in the US than the other countries studied.

Note 8 explains that one of the article's source studies compared apples in the US to oranges in the other countries in the study.

Note 13 explains that correlation in father-son income must be caused by something other than occupation. In other words: "This study doesn't adequately explain the relationship of father-son incomes."

It ends with this tidbit:

"The authors also argue that both
sociologists and economists could benefit from greater study of each other’s approaches to the study of intergenerational mobility."

The fact that fathers teach their sons shouldn't be surprising.

In any case, Jon, What is the point of all this? Do you see a problem? And, what do you recommend be done, if anything?

Should sons of the wealthy and the poor be seperated from their fathers at an early age and raised in special facilities that teach them better economic egalitarian values?

 
At 11/08/2011 1:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

rjs: ""A child born to parents in the bottom fifth has about a 17 percent chance of making it to the top two-fifths, while a child born to parents already in the top two-fifths has a 60 percent chance of staying there.""

And this means...what?

 
At 11/08/2011 2:51 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: What is the point of all this? Do you see a problem?

Mark J. Perry made the claim in the original post that people do not remain stuck in the same income groups. While, there is certainly economic mobility in the U.S., it is less than in many other developed economies, and less than in previous generations.

 
At 11/08/2011 3:03 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

Jon, I would not trust Krugman as far as I can spit upwind in a hurricane. He's made more obvious BS statements and outright lies in his official field of expertise that he can't be trusted if he claimed rain was wet.

If he's either the best contrary source you could find, or someone who's opinion you pay any attention to, then, either way, your position is untenable.

About the only person with less reliability in speaking the Truth is Paul Ehrlich.

 
At 11/08/2011 3:11 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> While, there is certainly economic mobility in the U.S., it is less than in many other developed economies, and less than in previous generations.

This is just such an imbecilically wrong statement as to defy bothering to refute it.

As though people in Germany or the UK had more income mobility than in the USA. The USA has almost no class system at all, and the difference that makes is all the difference in the world. If you are smart enough to learn the affectations of what classes there are, you can readily move into almost any class. While there are some rich assholes who care about how much money your grandparents had, they can keep you out of the Country Club but they can't keep you out of an income class.

 
At 11/08/2011 3:35 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

OBloodyHell: I would not trust Krugman as far as I can spit upwind in a hurricane.

Krugman (quoting CBO): "much of the movement of households involves changes in income that are large enough to push households into different income groups but not large enough to greatly affect the overall distribution of income. "

Yup. He quoted it accurately.

Zachriel: While, there is certainly economic mobility in the U.S., it is less than in many other developed economies, and less than in previous generations.

OBloodyHell: This is just such an imbecilically wrong statement as to defy bothering to refute it.

As you already 'know' the answer, you don't need to look at the data.

http://www.economicmobility.org/assets/pdfs/EMP_InternationalComparisons_ChapterIII.pdf

 
At 11/08/2011 4:29 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"A child born to parents in the bottom fifth has about a 17 percent chance of making it to the top two-fifths, while a child born to parents already in the top two-fifths has a 60 percent chance of staying there."

What is your point exactly?

 
At 11/08/2011 4:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yet there's nothing inherent in this nation's normally democratic system of stopping those at the bottom from rising to the top, right?

Actually, there might be. The government conspires to keep the poor dependent by its welfare programs. If you are born to a poor single mom who is not educated and have a father who has been pushed away by welfare rules it is hard to really get the type of upbringing that will allow you to move up.

The right wing may have a problem with this statement but one of the biggest improvements for the poor came when Clinton pushed through (with the help of the GOP) his welfare reform program. Imagine what can happen when the current cesspool is filled in and people have to start taking responsibility for their own actions without looking for the nanny state that tries to keep them in perpetual poverty.

 
At 11/08/2011 5:18 PM, Blogger Jon said...

i fail to see what you think the problem here is.

what is it you think that study shows?


In a meritocratic society you expect children of deadbeat parents to rise despite having deadbeat parents and kids born with a silver spoon, but who lack talent, falter. That happens less in the US then in EU societies.

In the US your fate is more a function of an accident of birth. Not so in Sweden.

Your point though is that in the US wealthy parents are smarter and naturally their kids are smarter. But that's largely because wealthy parents can afford to educate their kids well. Equality of opportunity is a mirage. The opportunities of wealthy children are different from the opportunities of the poor. In EU societies it's more the case that both poor and wealthy kids get an equal opportunity, which is why the father to son income tracks less.

 
At 11/08/2011 5:24 PM, Blogger Jon said...

If you are serious about using this article as support for your position, you might want to read the endnotes carefully, especially #3, 4, 8, and 13.

Yeah, I saw. These kinds of comparisons are imperfect. It's a bit of apples and oranges. Still, it's not enough to just say there is income mobility, as Perry does. Of course there is income mobility, and much of it is explained by what Krugman offered. I think what's interesting is to look at mobility across different countries. That's a better way to evaluate how meritocratic the US is.

In any case, Jon, What is the point of all this? Do you see a problem? And, what do you recommend be done, if anything?

I think, like the majority of Americans, that the extreme inequality in the US is a problem on many levels. It undermines democracy. The poor just don't have access to the political process. The political process is run by the wealthy. And they like to expand their wealth even further. How do they do it? Not by innovating. That's hard. They figure out ways to redistribute more of the revenue into their own pockets. That's a natural consequence of severe inequality. There are many other negative consequences. Watch a Ted talk on the effects of inequality here.

 
At 11/08/2011 7:28 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon, there's nothing wrong with "extreme inequality" when those at the top are adding "extreme value" to society.

Extreme value benefits everyone (although, some more than others), while no value benefits no one.

 
At 11/08/2011 7:30 PM, Blogger juandos said...

zach says: "Yup. He quoted it accurately"...

O.K. its official, the politically driven CBO and Krugman are singing from the same hymnal...

That's what happened with the health care bill. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin told me, "Congress used CBO to get the score it wanted...

So instead of having to depend on questionable government employees let's consider Richard Epstein instead: Three Cheers for Income Inequality

 
At 11/08/2011 7:43 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon says: "They figure out ways to redistribute more of the revenue into their own pockets."

Are you talking about taxes?

 
At 11/08/2011 7:54 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

juandos (quoting): That's what happened with the health care bill. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin told me, "Congress used CBO to get the score it wanted...

From the same article, "because the CBO doesn't make policy recommendations, and because it has managed to stick to a consistent set of rules and stay above the partisan fray, frequently serving as a check on the rosy estimates offered by White House budgeters, it's become one of the most respected institutions in Washington politics."

Yes, there are problems with some of the assumptions used by CBO, as mandated by Congress, and parties in Congress request analysis based on flawed assumptions, which CBO is expected to provide. Nevertheless, the institution is objective and non-partisan.

 
At 11/08/2011 8:14 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Zachriel, CBO models are limited.

CBO’s score: Cloudy with a chance of bankruptcy
Mar 18, 2010

Uncle Sam has a poor track record of forecasting how much new programs will cost. Medicare’s progenitors, for example, stated in 1967 that the entitlement would cost $12 billion by 1990. Actual Medicare spending in 1990 amounted to $110 billion — nearly 10 times the initial estimate. Oops.

CBO’s deficit-reduction estimates are further divorced from reality because they don’t include as much as $371 billion in new spending to fix reimbursement rates for doctors who treat Medicare patients. Imagine that — health reform legislation that doesn’t include payments to doctors. Only in Washington, DC.

 
At 11/09/2011 2:32 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Mark J. Perry made the claim in the original post that people do not remain stuck in the same income groups. While, there is certainly economic mobility in the U.S., it is less than in many other developed economies, and less than in previous generations."

Heh!

Your roommate Jon has already made this claim using the Julia Isaacs report you favor.

As we suggested to him, carefully read the endnotes to see that the authors actually advise against ascribing any particular meaning to their interesting statistical exercise, for reasons they explain.

Our response to him was rather long, and we don't wish to repeat it now, except to point out that intergenerational comparisons of the incomes of fathers and sons at low income levels as well as high income levels would tend to support the idea that fathers teach their sons. Not a surprising conclusion.

The question you haven't answered, is: Why is this important, and why do you consider it a problem?

 
At 11/09/2011 2:43 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "Your point though is that in the US wealthy parents are smarter and naturally their kids are smarter. But that's largely because wealthy parents can afford to educate their kids well. Equality of opportunity is a mirage. The opportunities of wealthy children are different from the opportunities of the poor. In EU societies it's more the case that both poor and wealthy kids get an equal opportunity, which is why the father to son income tracks less."

But father to son income tracks as well in the lowest quintile. Affordability isn't a factor there. Could it be that fathers teach their sons?

 
At 11/09/2011 3:06 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "Yeah, I saw. These kinds of comparisons are imperfect. It's a bit of apples and oranges. Still, it's not enough to just say there is income mobility, as Perry does. Of course there is income mobility, and much of it is explained by what Krugman offered."

And what's that? His claim that those who offer income mobility as a answer to income inequality are obfuscators?

Krugman is a political hack. Please don't use him as a source if you wish to be taken seriously.

Household income isn't the best way to measure income. Krugman understands that, and so should you. Dr. Perry, in this post, uses individual income data.

"I think what's interesting is to look at mobility across different countries. That's a better way to evaluate how meritocratic the US is."

If you think that's interesting, why did you reference a report that compares apples to oranges?

If you advocate meritocracy, then income inequality would seem to be a good sign that it exists, no?

 
At 11/09/2011 3:12 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Yes, there are problems with some of the assumptions used by CBO, as mandated by Congress, and parties in Congress request analysis based on flawed assumptions, which CBO is expected to provide. Nevertheless, the institution is objective and non-partisan."

As is the President's OMB, no doubt. Honest, but flawed. Not much of a recommendation. Neither can act independently, and both produce the desired result.

 
At 11/09/2011 3:31 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "I think, like the majority of Americans, that the extreme inequality in the US is a problem on many levels."

How do you know what most Americans think?


"It undermines democracy. The poor just don't have access to the political process. The political process is run by the wealthy. And they like to expand their wealth even further. How do they do it? Not by innovating. That's hard. They figure out ways to redistribute more of the revenue into their own pockets. That's a natural consequence of severe inequality."

The problem is the ability of the wealthy to buy political influence, and have taxpayer's money directed their way. The solution is to reduce government, and government power, thus reducing the amount that can be purchased.

"There are many other negative consequences. Watch a Ted talk on the effects of inequality here."

You have presented that before. It's still utter nonsense. Obesity is caused by income inequality? Be serious.

 
At 11/09/2011 7:37 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Here's a line I think the Republicans ought to use in campaigning: "Democrats assure nation's poor that if they ever make it big, they won't be nearly as rich as today's wealthy."

 
At 11/09/2011 8:07 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Peak Trader: CBO models are limited.

Of course they are, but they are based on consistent and objective standards. You then went on, apparently quoting Peter J. Pitts, President and co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

Peter J. Pitts: Medicare’s progenitors, for example, stated in 1967 that the entitlement would cost $12 billion by 1990. Actual Medicare spending in 1990 amounted to $110 billion — nearly 10 times the initial estimate. Oops.

Apples and oranges. The calculation doesn't even account for inflation, or changes to the program over that period. This doesn't bode well for his credibility.

Ron H: As we suggested to him, carefully read the endnotes to see that the authors actually advise against ascribing any particular meaning to their interesting statistical exercise, for reasons they explain.

And we have not ascribed any definitive meaning. Some of the stickiness is certainly due to transmitted values, and the networks of associations that people inherit, though it probably doesn't explain the entire correlation. Rather, our comments concern the facts of economic mobility, and repeated statements that the U.S. is somehow unique in that regard.

Ron H: Why is this important, and why do you consider it a problem?

It's the thread topic. Ask the person who made the original post.

Ron H: Krugman is a political hack.

Krugman is a noted economist, highly respected in his field, with extensive scholarly publications. If you take issue with a particular claim, then please do so based on the merits.

Ron H: Neither can act independently, and both produce the desired result.

When using standard assumptions, it gives a baseline for comparison. The transparency of the process can provide highly useful information.

 
At 11/09/2011 8:21 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

CBO, Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007: "However, much of the movement of households involves changes in income that are large enough to push households into different income groups but not large enough to greatly affect the overall distribution of income. Multiyear income measures also show the same pattern of increasing inequality over time as is observed in annual measures."

Ron H: Household income isn't the best way to measure income.

Adjusted household income. Do you think that CBO's conclusion would differ substantially when using individual income?

 
At 11/09/2011 8:31 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

But father to son income tracks as well in the lowest quintile. Affordability isn't a factor there. Could it be that fathers teach their sons?

The obvious is being missed by the critics. A biological father who is not around cannot teach a child anything of value.

 
At 11/09/2011 8:33 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

How do you know what most Americans think?

Like fascists, the socialists have special ESP that gives them insight into what the masses think dontyaknow.

 
At 11/09/2011 9:12 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Jon: I think, like the majority of Americans, that the extreme inequality in the US is a problem on many levels.

Ron H: How do you know what most Americans think?

VangelV: Like fascists, the socialists have special ESP that gives them insight into what the masses think dontyaknow.

Actually, it's called statistical sampling. Most Americans think income is more equal than it is, but still want more income equality, not less.

Norton & Ariely, Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time, Perspectives on Psychological Science 2011.

 
At 11/09/2011 9:30 AM, Blogger Jon said...

PeadTrader writes:

Jon, there's nothing wrong with "extreme inequality" when those at the top are adding "extreme value" to society.

But are they? The claim is quite dubious. Since the financialization of our economy (deregulation) finance has gone from being a fairly low % of total corporate profits in the US to a shocking 40% more recently. Think about that. 40% of all profits in the US belong to the financial industry. And what has been the result? During the Bretton Woods era do you know how many financial crises occurred? A total of zero world wide. Since then, and since additional deregulatory efforts, we've had repeated crises all over the world. Mexico, Argentina, the East Asians, US S&L, US 2008 mortgage crises, Iceland, Ireland, now Greece. What is the evidence that these financiers that make the bulk of the profits actually bring value?

Want big compensation? Figure out ways to engage in transactions that put the profits in your pocket but impose the risks on the system as a whole. In other words, engage in transactions that produce huge costs that are external to the buyer and seller. That's Wall St.

The 1% are the greatest wealth destroyers the world has ever seen.

 
At 11/09/2011 9:34 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Krugman is a political hack. Please don't use him as a source if you wish to be taken seriously.

I'll stack Paul Krugman's accuracy against Mark Perry any day of the week.

 
At 11/09/2011 9:40 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Actually, it's called statistical sampling. Most Americans think income is more equal than it is, but still want more income equality, not less.

If we stay on the superficial level you may be right when you claim that the average American may have a similar belief system that you hold. But I am not sure that the data really shows it. The outcome on any poll depends on the exact wording of the questions asked. I doubt that many Americans have a problem with the fact that Bill Gates or Warren Buffett make a lot more money than they do. I also doubt that most Americans would waste any significant amount of time thinking about the issue if they were comfortable in their own situations. The reasons they have trouble is because they are poorer than they expected, have more debt that they can handle, and no credible plan to save them. This is just a populist backlash against the failings of the corporatist system that Americans have voted for over most of the past century. Now that the US is following Europe over the economic abyss people are in a panic and susceptible to populist demagoguery that requires that they react emotionally rather than think. Imagine what happens to sentiment when the contraction resumes and the USD is devalued by another 50-80% over the next few years.

 
At 11/09/2011 9:44 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

But are they? The claim is quite dubious.

Not really. There are men and women who get rich by providing goods and services in competitive markets. Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, come to mind. They deserve the money that they earned.

Since the financialization of our economy (deregulation) finance has gone from being a fairly low % of total corporate profits in the US to a shocking 40% more recently.

If you are speaking out against the monopoly system that allows the banking cartel to get rich thanks to barriers against competition, subsidies, and bailouts then I will agree with you. But let me note that it was both the Republicans and Democrats that supported the system that generated this problem. Correct me if I am wrong but I do not believe that you are rejecting the Obama/Bush methods for those in favour of market competition. The last time I checked you did not write like a Ron Paul supporter.

 
At 11/09/2011 9:55 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Think about that. 40% of all profits in the US belong to the financial industry. And what has been the result? During the Bretton Woods era do you know how many financial crises occurred? A total of zero world wide.

That is not true. There were crises elsewhere as countries inflated their money supply and had to devalue. The French introduced the New Franc in 1960. The British Pound was devalued in 1949 and the devaluation continued. Britain had to call in the IMF to bail it out. There were crises in Latin America, Europe, and Asia because Bretton Woods did not impose real discipline in the way that the Classical Gold Standard did.

Since then, and since additional deregulatory efforts, we've had repeated crises all over the world. Mexico, Argentina, the East Asians, US S&L, US 2008 mortgage crises, Iceland, Ireland, now Greece.

"Deregulatory efforts?" You mean closing the gold window and going to a fiat system, don't you? The last time I looked there were more regulators than ever before and more regulations than ever before.

What is the evidence that these financiers that make the bulk of the profits actually bring value?

None. In a planned market where privileged institutions are granted monopoly power there is no evidence of value. Actually, there is no evidence of profit either. The way I see it most of the banks are not profitable and are technically insolvent if proper accounting methods were used to value their holdings. That is why most of them will wind up in receivership/bankruptcy. The only question then will be what path statists like you will support. Will they insist that the banks are 'saved' as Bush/Obama did or will they allow the market to finally do its job and wipe away the lousy investments and the charlatans that made them?

 
At 11/09/2011 9:55 AM, Blogger Jon said...

How do you know what most Americans think?

We happen to have really good polling in this country.

The problem is the ability of the wealthy to buy political influence, and have taxpayer's money directed their way. The solution is to reduce government, and government power, thus reducing the amount that can be purchased.

And what happens when the wealthy that are buying influence in Washington don't want that? Since they control Washington with their money and resist reduction in the size of government, how are you going to bring the change you seek about?

It's a balancing act for wealth. On the one hand you want a large government that serves your interest. But you want regular people to think government is bad. Because if government serves them as well that means there's less for you. So you pretend government is evil all the while expanding government for your own benefit. This is Republican politics in a nutshell.

So take Mark Perry. You're going to hear lots of criticism when the government helps the poor and weak. So Social Security is bad, Medicare is bad, progressive taxation is bad, inequality is not a concern, etc. What about war? When was the last time Perry criticized our absurd war expenditures fighting a virtually non-existent threat. Seriously, Islamic terrorism is about as dangerous as the risk of you drowning in your own bathtub. It's actually not even that high. This is huge waste. Perry seems to not notice.

The drug war, banker bail outs, blocking people from buying drugs in Canada (where's the free market now?). Maybe an occasional word or two, but it's not emphasized. The effect is Republican politics. Expanding government in service to wealth. Shrinking government in service to the weak and poor.

 
At 11/09/2011 11:24 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

jon-

"I'll stack Paul Krugman's accuracy against Mark Perry any day of the week."

and you'd lose.

krugman and the keynsians are batting ZERO.

remember the collapse they predicted after ww2? oops.

remember how they thought government spending could get us out of the depression? oops.

remember that stimulus package they trumpeted? oops.

sorry, but if you think the keynsians are doing well, you have not looked at the scoreboard.

 
At 11/09/2011 12:05 PM, Blogger Jon said...

remember the collapse they predicted after ww2? oops.

What?? Was Krugman alive then? Or is he responsible for every prediction made by every Keynsian?

remember that stimulus package they trumpeted? oops.

No, I don't remember that at all. I remember them saying that the stimulus was so small it wasn't enough to offset the reduction in state expenditures, so on net there was no stimulus, though without it we'd have been in really bad shape. With it since it's so small it's still a bad situation. I remember Mark Perry's constant cheerleading, pretending everything is great even now, while Krugman continues to point to problems. I also remember the right wing fearing off to the races inflation. Lots of talk about Zimbabwe. And I remember Krugman talking about what he called a "liquidity trap" which meant inflation would remain low. If that's Krugman losing to Perry what would winning look like?

 
At 11/09/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Study shows Krugman is the top prognosticator, Cal Thoms the worst among 26 pundits analyzed.

 
At 11/09/2011 2:39 PM, Blogger KPres said...

Jon,

According to the study you provided, poor people in the US (and UK) have a harder time moving up, but the percentage of the wealthy who move DOWN was basically the same across the studied countries:

% OF TOP 1/5 THAT REMAIN IN TOP 1/5:
Denmark 36 %
Finland - 35%
Norway - 35%
Sweden - 37%
UK - 30%
USA - 36%

One would expect with a large welfare state, that more poor people will move up, but that doesn't imply that they DESERVE to move up, only that they were given more hand-outs by the state that they didn't earn.

Lower-income people are generally held back by poor cultural values and norms, not a lack of opportunity. Common experience confirms that. Enabling those poor cultural norms by redistributing wealth doesn't advance society, it does the opposite.

 
At 11/09/2011 2:49 PM, Blogger KPres said...

Also, Jon, your link on Krugman's accuracy compares him to JOURNALISTS, not other economists. You might as well pick random people off the street.

Why would you even point to such an obviously meaningless comparison?

 
At 11/09/2011 3:12 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Also, Jon, your link on Krugman's accuracy compares him to JOURNALISTS, not other economists.

That's a fair point. Of course I didn't create the study, so I don't get to pick who is compared. I still think it's a useful data point.

If you'd prefer to compare him to Mark Perry, go ahead. See my link above on "Mark Perry's Accuracy". With Mark and AEI it's errors day in and day out. Krugman tells us why. That's their job.

 
At 11/09/2011 3:20 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We happen to have really good polling in this country.

I would argue that you happen to have good pollsters who can craft questions to get the type of answers they are looking for. If a Gates or Buffett moved into my neighbourhood and skewed the income distribution few of my neighbours would think it a problem. But if I asked the question the right way it will seem that they think it a problem.

And what happens when the wealthy that are buying influence in Washington don't want that? Since they control Washington with their money and resist reduction in the size of government, how are you going to bring the change you seek about?

If the "wealthy" really controlled Washington the income tax would not be progressive and the transfer payments would not be as huge as they are today. And since Washington is the problem why do you lefties keep supporting a bigger and bigger government?

It's a balancing act for wealth. On the one hand you want a large government that serves your interest. But you want regular people to think government is bad. Because if government serves them as well that means there's less for you. So you pretend government is evil all the while expanding government for your own benefit. This is Republican politics in a nutshell.

But government is bad. It robs savers and workers as it protects privileges granted to special interest groups. And the last time I looked there was widespread agreement on the desire for big government among Democrats and Republicans. Neither party has done anything to reduce the size of government or increase personal freedom. Both parties support different versions of National Socialism that resembles the Italian model.

 
At 11/09/2011 3:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

So take Mark Perry. You're going to hear lots of criticism when the government helps the poor and weak. So Social Security is bad, Medicare is bad, progressive taxation is bad, inequality is not a concern, etc. What about war? When was the last time Perry criticized our absurd war expenditures fighting a virtually non-existent threat. Seriously, Islamic terrorism is about as dangerous as the risk of you drowning in your own bathtub. It's actually not even that high. This is huge waste. Perry seems to not notice.

At least Mark is consistent. The left was very anti-war when it was waged by Bush but got tongue tied when it is carried out by Obama. Haven't you noticed that Obama is doing exactly what the neoconservatives were telling Bush to do? Haven't you noticed that both sides have been strong supporters of a large military and meddling around the globe? Is there a difference between the Democratic and Republican platforms on Iran? Or Libya? How about Cuba? Egypt?

So stop being a hypocrite and pretending that your version of National Socialism is better than the other guy's. You are both anti-liberty and pro-state. Admit it and move on.



As I wrote above, you have some serious blind spots if you think that there is much of a difference between the Republicans and Democrats when it comes to defending the individual against meddling by the state. I suggest that you look at things as they are rather than what you hope they are.

 
At 11/09/2011 3:31 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I remember Mark Perry's constant cheerleading, pretending everything is great even now, while Krugman continues to point to problems.

Mark is a statist too. He favours big government as long as it is run by the good guys on the right. Krugman favours big government as long as it is run by the good guys on the left. That said, Mark is a much better economist at this time that Krugman. What will get him in trouble is his blind optimism, which does not allow him to see things as they are. But that is preferable to Krugman's blind pessimism that does not allow him to see anything very clearly.

 
At 11/09/2011 3:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I also remember the right wing fearing off to the races inflation. Lots of talk about Zimbabwe. And I remember Krugman talking about what he called a "liquidity trap" which meant inflation would remain low. If that's Krugman losing to Perry what would winning look like?

I seem to recall that prices for gold and silver are up by more than 100% since Krugman called for deflation. And see inflation raging across the globe. The only people who don't see it in the US are the BLS statisticians who would come up with no inflation if they applied the same methods that they use today to the data from the 1970s.

 
At 11/09/2011 3:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

One would expect with a large welfare state, that more poor people will move up, but that doesn't imply that they DESERVE to move up, only that they were given more hand-outs by the state that they didn't earn.

On that front I read a commentary where, Shikha Dalmia argued that the income inequality is not driven by falling transfer payments because the poor get more money each year than the year before. The reason is the falling proportion of the transfer payments as spending shifted to the elderly, who tend to be wealthier. The sentence of note (thanks Tyler Cowen) is:

It found that in 1979, households in the bottom quintile received more than 50 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, similar households received about 35 percent of transfers."

The commentary is interesting. You may want to take a look at it.

 
At 11/09/2011 3:53 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Haven't you noticed that Obama is doing exactly what the neoconservatives were telling Bush to do? Haven't you noticed that both sides have been strong supporters of a large military and meddling around the globe?

Of course I've noticed. Do you see me defending Obama? Obama has given us expanded war, tax cuts for the rich, tax increases for the poor. Oh sure, there's some Buffett related rhetoric, but look at the actual policies. He's assassinating US citizens with no judicial oversight. Doesn't even charge them with a crime. Just kills them like he's king. He's prosecuting whistle blowers with a vengeance, turning a blind eye to all the Wall St crimes and crimes of the prior administration. He's pressuring prosecutors that go after Wall St to back off.

On health care his first move was to take single payer off the table. In rhetoric he pretended to support a public option, but Tom Daschle informed us that he took that option off the table long before he pretended he was fighting for it. The insurance companies and pharmaceuticals wrote the legislation.

OK, he's different on abortion and gays in the military. So what? He's rolled back environmental protection. He's leaning towards permitting the Keystone pipeline, a project he pretended to oppose before. The guy is pretty much indistinguishable from Bush economically as far as actual policy, though different in rhetoric.

That's what OWS has realized. These politicians serve wealth and power. They are very unresponsive to the public. This is a plutocracy. Both Republicans and Democrats expand government in service to wealth and contract government in service to the weak and poor.

The difference between Krugman and Perry is that Krugman harshly criticizes Obama, whereas Perry has only praise for Republicans, even though they do precisely what the Democrats do.

 
At 11/09/2011 4:15 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon says: "What is the evidence that these financiers that make the bulk of the profits actually bring value?"

We saw enormous value created by "these financiers" from risk-taking, efficiency, and international trade.

The result was one of the greatest eras of U.S. prosperity from 1982-07, where living standards improved substantially.

If it weren't for poor government policies, living standards would be even higher today.

 
At 11/09/2011 4:33 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon says: "The guy (Obama) is pretty much indistinguishable from Bush economically as far as actual policy, though different in rhetoric."

It's the difference between night and day.

People forget Bush inherited the worst stock market crash since the Great Depression (from 2000-02).

Yet, the 2001 recession was so mild, it wasn't a recession based on annual real per capita GDP growth (because of the Greenspan Fed and Bush tax cuts).

After a record 10-year economic expansion in the '90s and a structural bull market from 1982-00, the U.S. had the greatest years of prosperity from 2002-07.

U.S. corporations had a record 20 consecutive quarters of double-digit earnings growth, two million houses a year were built, 16 million autos per year were sold, U.S. real GDP expanded 3% annually, in spite of 6% annual current account deficits (which subtract from GDP).

The U.S. economy was most efficient, while Americans stocked-up on real assets and goods, and capital was built-up.

The Bush Administration was adept at minimizing the recession in 2008, including providing a tax cut in early '08 for the Fed to catch-up easing the money supply, until Lehman failed in Sep '08, which caused the economy to fall off a cliff. However, appropriate policy adjustments were implemented quickly.

If Bush could've been reelected in 2008, we would've had a V-shaped economic recovery, much like the Reagan recovery after the severe recession from 1982-83.

 
At 11/09/2011 5:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Apples and oranges. The calculation doesn't even account for inflation, or changes to the program over that period. This doesn't bode well for his credibility. "

Perhaps not, but the real message may be that government estimates shouldn't be trusted.

Z: "And we have not ascribed any definitive meaning."

That's correct, you have not. Then your statement, supported by a link to a study that compares apples to oranges -

"While, there is certainly economic mobility in the U.S., it is less than in many other developed economies, and less than in previous generations."

- is pointless? You are just being chatty?

"Some of the stickiness is certainly due to transmitted values, and the networks of associations that people inherit, though it probably doesn't explain the entire correlation. "

Interesting musing. Nothing to disagree with there.

"Rather, our comments concern the facts of economic mobility, and repeated statements that the U.S. is somehow unique in that regard."

While we don't recall any claims of US uniqueness, Your comments seem to disagree with the notion that income mobility makes income inequality relatively unimportant.

Have we misunderstood your intended meaning?

Ron H: "Why is this important, and why do you consider it a problem?"

Z: "It's the thread topic. Ask the person who made the original post."

The thread topic is income mobility within the top 400 US income earners. Your comments attempt to address differences in income mobility between the US and various other countries, supported by a report that the authors admit compares different data. We fail to see the relevance to the thread topic.

Ron H: "Krugman is a political hack."

Z: "Krugman is a noted economist, highly respected in his field, with extensive scholarly publications. If you take issue with a particular claim, then please do so based on the merits.:"

That is true of Dr. Krugman, whose earlier work in international trade earned him a Nobel prize, Mr. Krugman, who now writes for the NY Times, is a political hack.

The post at the link we provided takes issue with a particular claim based on the merits, as does this one.

 
At 11/09/2011 5:26 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "When using standard assumptions, it gives a baseline for comparison. The transparency of the process can provide highly useful information."

True, as long as one realizes that input to the process is limited to that provided by the requester, and that the outcome is predetermined.

Z: "CBO, Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007: "However, much of the movement of households involves changes in income that are large enough to push households into different income groups but not large enough to greatly affect the overall distribution of income. Multiyear income measures also show the same pattern of increasing inequality over time as is observed in annual measures."

Ron H: "Household income isn't the best way to measure income."

Z: "Adjusted household income. Do you think that CBO's conclusion would differ substantially when using individual income?"

We have no way of knowing, as CBO wasn't authorized to evaluate or comment on individual income.

 
At 11/09/2011 5:32 PM, Blogger Jon said...

The result was one of the greatest eras of U.S. prosperity from 1982-07, where living standards improved substantially.

That's an odd time selection. Why 1982? What was happening in 1981? What happened in 2008? Yeah, we know. The culmination of the effects of financialization.

Why don't you before and after financialization, as I did here. We're setting records on poverty and severe poverty (see here). Median family working hours are up a shocking 700 hours per year. Median hourly wages are actually down since 1970. Savings have plummeted, revolving debt up (see the former link). It's not just bad in the US. It's bad the world over (see my first link). The two nations that have been the strongest in resisting the effects of financialization by retaining rules that regulate finance are China and India. Their growth leads the world. Take out their growth and the downturn among nations subjected to finance capital is enormous. This is nothing short of a colossal failure. And yet the financiers in fact are rewarded more than anybody.

 
At 11/09/2011 5:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Ron H: "Krugman is a political hack. Please don't use him as a source if you wish to be taken seriously."

Jon: "I'll stack Paul Krugman's accuracy against Mark Perry any day of the week."

What's your point? How does this comparison make Krugman less of a political hack?

Follow some links I provided in earlier comments on this thread for specific issues with Krugman's pronouncements.

 
At 11/09/2011 5:55 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon, you may want to see Dr Perry's posting:

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2008/08/adjusted-for-household-size-real-income.html

Real Median Household Income vs Average Household Size 1967-07.

Also, consumption in China fell from 45% of GDP to 36% of GDP, which indicates living standards didn't rise much compared to GDP growth, because the U.S. captured larger gains-in-trade.

Anyway, you're ignoring the real economy, which is why you believe "the financiers" are overpaid.

 
At 11/09/2011 5:56 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time": "We attempt to insert the desires of “regular” Americans into these debates, by asking a nationally representative online panel to estimate the current distribution of wealth in the United States and to “build a better America” by constructing distributions with their ideal level of inequality."

Too bad, the full report is behind a paywall, but we can see a problem already, from the abstract.

It would be interesting to know the questions asked, but to ask what an ideal level of inequality is, is to assume that there is one.

If the report doesn't get better after that shaky start, we don't see a lot of value in it.

 
At 11/09/2011 6:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "It's a balancing act for wealth. On the one hand you want a large government that serves your interest."

No, I don't. You must not actually read my comments. You make unwarranted assumptions.


"But you want regular people to think government is bad."

"Regular people" know instinctively that government is bad.

"Because if government serves them as well that means there's less for you."

Such nonsense. I don't want any government for anybody. You haven't been paying attention. You have preconceived notions that blind you to what others write.


"So you pretend government is evil..."

but, government IS evil.

"...all the while expanding government for your own benefit."

You have no idea. Get a clue, Jon.

"This is Republican politics in a nutshell."

It's comforting to put everyone and everything into neat little boxes, isn't it Jon?

Do you understand how silly you sound suggesting that there is a shortage of government, therefore I must get as much as I can to keep it away from others?

 
At 11/09/2011 6:49 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

morganovich: remember the collapse they {Keynesians} predicted after ww2? oops.

Was Keynes a Keynesian? Keynes rejected a post-war collapse. There was more than sufficient pent-up demand in terms of money people had saved during the war years when consumer goods were in short supply.

Ron H: Perhaps not, but the real message may be that government estimates shouldn't be trusted.

The 'real message' can't be determined from faulty comparisons.

Ron H: You are just being chatty?

No, we're trying to establish a few basic facts which have been repeatedly misstated on this blog.

Ron H: Your comments seem to disagree with the notion that income mobility makes income inequality relatively unimportant.

Some income inequality is essential for the proper workings of markets.

Ron H: The thread topic is income mobility within the top 400 US income earners.

The original post is much broader than that, and concerns "quintiles, percentages or brackets." Keep in mind that this is also one in a series of related posts.

Don Boudreaux: Mr. Krugman forgets that the more we import the more we either export or receive as investments from foreigners: foreigners don’t ship valuable imports to us in exchange for dollars because these foreigners wish to hoard tiny monochrome portraits of dead American statesmen.

Actually, they do. It's called savings. The other Don Boudreaux comment is even sillier.

Ron H: True, as long as one realizes that input to the process is limited to that provided by the requester, and that the outcome is predetermined.

Well, the outcome is determined by the inputs, yes. That doesn't mean the answers are arbitrary. For instance, when Republicans insisted on dynamic scoring, the results didn't show nearly the increase in revenues they were expecting.

Ron H: We have no way of knowing, as CBO wasn't authorized to evaluate or comment on individual income.

So we can work with the data we do have.

 
At 11/09/2011 6:51 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: It would be interesting to know the questions asked, but to ask what an ideal level of inequality is, is to assume that there is one.

Of course there's income inequality.

 
At 11/09/2011 7:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "No, I don't remember that at all. I remember them saying that the stimulus was so small it wasn't enough to offset the reduction in state expenditures, so on net there was no stimulus, though without it we'd have been in really bad shape. With it since it's so small it's still a bad situation. I remember Mark Perry's constant cheerleading, pretending everything is great even now, while Krugman continues to point to problems. I also remember the right wing fearing off to the races inflation. Lots of talk about Zimbabwe. And I remember Krugman talking about what he called a "liquidity trap" which meant inflation would remain low. If that's Krugman losing to Perry what would winning look like?"

Here's something you might find interesting on the subject of a liquidity trap.

 
At 11/09/2011 7:34 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

KPres: "Also, Jon, your link on Krugman's accuracy compares him to JOURNALISTS, not other economists."

Jon: "That's a fair point. Of course I didn't create the study, so I don't get to pick who is compared. I still think it's a useful data point."

You chose the study, are you saying that if you pick something that isn't good support for your claim that it's not your fault?

"If you'd prefer to compare him to Mark Perry, go ahead. See my link above on "Mark Perry's Accuracy". With Mark and AEI it's errors day in and day out. Krugman tells us why. That's their job."

I would rather compare him to Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, or Donald Boudreaux, just to name a few.

 
At 11/09/2011 8:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Actually, they do. It's called savings. The other Don Boudreaux comment is even sillier."

I believe savings is covered under the "...or receive as investments from foreigners:" part of the quote.

I suppose that Krugman changing his position when he claims he hasn't, and presenting bizarre reasons for fearing one foreign investor but not another, and claiming that incompetent foreign investors are somehow providing the US with a subsidy is great reasoning, and to criticize him is, indeed, silly.

 
At 11/09/2011 9:07 PM, Blogger Jon said...

What's your point? How does this comparison make Krugman less of a political hack?

My assumption is that you wouldn't come on to Perry's blog and repeatedly defend his theses if you regarded him as a hack. So if Perry is not a hack in your mind Krugman is certainly not a hack, since he is much more accurate than Perry.

Such nonsense. I don't want any government for anybody. You haven't been paying attention. You have preconceived notions that blind you to what others write.

Are you being deliberately dense? I don't mean YOU want big government. I mean the people that fund the lobbyists, such as mega corporations, want large government that serves them rather than real people.

So this pretense that we need to shrink government is a non-starter. Power and wealth won't allow that. As long as you allow power and wealth to buy politicians you can forget about shrinking government. Strategically it can't work. The money must come out of the government first. Then we can conceivably shrink government later. And I'll join you in that.

I would rather compare him to Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, or Donald Boudreaux, just to name a few.

Yeah, please do make the comparisons. Let's see the predictive record. I'll take Krugman over any of them. I'll look into this as well.

 
At 11/09/2011 9:47 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Was Keynes a Keynesian? Keynes rejected a post-war collapse. There was more than sufficient pent-up demand in terms of money people had saved during the war years when consumer goods were in short supply. "

Apparently, Keynes was so inconsistent and confused, that even his disciples couldn't follow his reasoning.

"No, we're trying to establish a few basic facts which have been repeatedly misstated on this blog. "

Just for clarity, what are those facts, again? Remember, the Isaacs report isn't good support for much of anything.

"So we can work with the data we do have."

Or we can reject data we have little confidence in, and use another source, such as IRS data, as Dr. Perry did.

"Of course there's income inequality."

Are you being delibrately obtuse, or didn't you really understand the phrase "an ideal level of income inequality"?

We aren't sure there is any such thing, or that when people are asked such a question, their responses have any meaning.

 
At 11/09/2011 9:50 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Was Keynes a Keynesian? Keynes rejected a post-war collapse. There was more than sufficient pent-up demand in terms of money people had saved during the war years when consumer goods were in short supply.

I believe that Keynes changed his mind about the crap that he wrote in General Theory. About a week he died he was reported to have said, "I find myself more and more relying for a solution of our problems on the invisible hand which I tried to eject from economic thinking twenty years ago."

So you may be right. At the end Keynes was not a Keynesian and rejected its muddled thinking and illogical arguments.

 
At 11/09/2011 10:22 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "My assumption is that you wouldn't come on to Perry's blog and repeatedly defend his theses if you regarded him as a hack. So if Perry is not a hack in your mind Krugman is certainly not a hack, since he is much more accurate than Perry."

Wait. How about some logical thinking here. You are assuming things you can't know. Notice that this thread isn't about predictions.

The Krugman Truth Squad seems to have found a lot of problems with Krugnman's pronouncements over the years.

 
At 11/09/2011 10:40 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "Are you being deliberately dense? I don't mean YOU want big government."

When you write "you", you need to be specific as to who you are referring to.


"So this pretense that we need to shrink government is a non-starter. Power and wealth won't allow that. As long as you allow power and wealth to buy politicians you can forget about shrinking government."

You have this backwards. How does one "allow power and wealth to buy politicians"? Or, more to the point, how does one disallow them?

Are you recommending more government to rein in government? If you consider not allowing representatives to listen to those who petition them, you are running up against some Constitutionally protected rights. Why else would there be representatives?

Would you forbid politicians to be dishonest? Oh! Duh.

The more power government has, the more desirable and valuable influence of that power becomes.

What is your solution, Jon?

"Strategically it can't work. The money must come out of the government first. Then we can conceivably shrink government later. And I'll join you in that."

What does that even mean? Lobbying government in your own interest is the very essence of representative government.

 
At 11/10/2011 8:03 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: I believe savings is covered under the "...or receive as investments from foreigners:"

Boudreaux said that foreigners don't "wish to hoard tiny monochrome portraits of dead American statesmen." They do.

Furthermore, increased competitiveness in international markets would lead to increased exports which would create jobs. It's an uncontroversial statement, and even though it is a simplification, the statement doesn't make Krugman a "hack."

Ron H: Apparently, Keynes was so inconsistent and confused, that even his disciples couldn't follow his reasoning.

Ah, there's your confusion. Keynesianism is a economic theory, not a religion. For instance, Paul Samuelson, whom you seem to be referencing obliquely, found orthodox Keynesians to be incomplete and won the Nobel Memorial Prize for his work in economics. In any case, his stated concern was qualified.

The government made large expenditures in the post-war period, including the continued deployment of large military forces, the rebuilding of Europe, the GI Bill, and so on. More importantly, people had saved a lot of money during the war years, which they couldn't spend on consumer goods. Social Security and other government supports meant that people felt more able to spend their savings without inordinate fear. This money supported demand in the immediate post-war period.

But if you wish to argue that Keynes is not a Keynesian.

"I'm no Einstein." — Albert Einstein

Ron H: Just for clarity, what are those facts, again?

There is more income inequality in the U.S. today than in previous generations, and that there is less economic mobility in the U.S. than in many other developed economies.

Ron H: Remember, the Isaacs report isn't good support for much of anything.

Handwaving. Just because the study doesn't deal in the causes of international differences in economic mobility doesn't mean it doesn't provide a measure of economic mobility.

Ron H: Or we can reject data we have little confidence in, and use another source, such as IRS data, as Dr. Perry did.

Except that Mark J. Perry cherry-picked data, ignoring data that might call into question his position.

 
At 11/10/2011 8:49 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon says: "The financiers in fact are rewarded more than anybody."

Who rewarded them and why?

 
At 11/10/2011 1:13 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

zach-

"Boudreaux said that foreigners don't "wish to hoard tiny monochrome portraits of dead American statesmen." They do."

what nonsense. no they don't. they pay for our federal deficit, buy our equities and wind up investing in the US. they are not sitting on some huge vault of physical dollars like scrooge mcduck.

i have no idea where you get these notions.

even if they did hoard dollars, so what?

if we can trade green pieces of paper that will never be redeemed for goods and services, that's an AMAZING deal.

we can make plenty of those.

"Keynesianism is a economic theory, not a religion. "

no. keynsianism is just armchair nonsense unsupported by actual data. it's all based on assumptions about multipliers and "animal spirits" that have no empirical basis and have had numerous high profile failures.

it was tried in the 30's. it failed.

then, they predicted that the end of ww2 would cause economic collapse.

oopsie.

then they claimed that stimulus spending by governments would save japan, the US and numerous other places. it never works.

it's worse than religion. at least religions are open about being based on faith.

"there is less economic mobility in the U.S. than in many other developed economies"

nonsense. the report that you and jon keep referring to has been debunked several times, including on this thread. it's own authors tell you in the footnotes that if you have less spread in wealth then it will overstate mobility. it's based on households, not individuals which further skews the the data. it's meaningless.

it provides nothing like evidence on economic mobility, just a tour of bad statistical handling and political posturing.

 
At 11/10/2011 1:47 PM, Blogger Jon said...

What is your solution, Jon?

It's simple, but not easy. Democracy. I can agree with a lot of what I see from people I argue with here. I actually think Ron Paul is a decent guy. Think about what our policies would be if we had a government that responded to people, not wealth only. No wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, no drug war. We'd trade with Cuba. We wouldn't write Israel blank checks. That would go a long way towards reducing the hatred felt towards us in the Middle East. We'd scale back our absurd prison system. We imprison far and away more than anybody else, including China, Russia, etc. I can provide sources for these opinions.

The reason we don't get this is because we are not a democracy, but a plutocracy. These positions are profitable for some powerful sectors. They make almost no sense if they are implemented for us, the people of the US. But they make perfect sense if they are really intended for the benefit of wealth.

So how to get democracy? We have to start by getting the corporate money out of politics. You can't allow unlimited contributions from corporations, which are nothing but tyrannical institutions of enormous concentrated wealth. When they can do what they want they do what serves their interest first. So you get wars, prisons, Homeland Security and all the rest.

What I see from people here is lots of emphasis on scaling back government that helps poor and that's part of your effort to scale back government in total. Scaling back help to the poor is fine with wealth. What's not fine with wealth is scaling back government that serves them. That's why we hear almost nothing about it from AEI.

If you strengthen democracy and you can conceivably get what you want, because if you can convince people that less government is for the best, and the government responds to the wants of the people, then suddenly you get less government. But if you don't have democracy you can convince the whole country you're right and it won't matter, because the government responsds to wealth only. You have to break that link to have a chance.

 
At 11/10/2011 2:00 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Who rewarded them and why?

They were rewarded by taxpayers and homeowners largely. Homeowners that used to have some wealth in the value of their home, but no longer do. Also pensioners.

See, what GS did is they paid ratings agencies to tell us that their mortgage securities were AAA rated. GS knew that was bogus, but who cares? Pension fund managers can only buy AAA rated products. They have to go low risk by law. So GS tells them it's AAA knowing that it's crap.

Then GS took out insurance policies on the mortgages. But not just 1 necessarily. They'd take out 6 policies on a single mortgage. That's illegal for you and me. You can't have all the neighbors take out a policy on your home, with you doing it as well. If we all have an incentive to see the home burn then guess what will happen? The home will burn down.

GS wanted the homes to burn down. How can this be permitted? Simple. Free market madness. Back in 2000 Brooksley Born tried to bring oversight, but she was shut down by free market cheerleaders like Greenspan, Summers, and Rubin. You can't regulate what we're doing. The market will sort it out.

Sure, the pensioners lose everything, but who cares? They've got 6 insurance policies on the home. The bets were so large they collapsed AIG. With the world's largest insurer going under the entire financial system is now at risk.

So when GS takes out an insurance policy with AIG you might think there's 2 parties involved in the transaction. AIG and GS. But in reality there isn't. There's what economists call externalities. Costs paid by those that are not part of the transaction. That cost was the risk that the whole system would collapse. Who pays that bill if the risk is realized? The taxpayer. There's really 3 parties to these transactions.

Pensioners paid GS. Homeowners that bought homes over priced paid GS. Why? Because they trusted that the prices reflected the underlying reality. But of course they didn't. In a free market system those prices are manipulated for the benefit of wealth. Millions end up homeless while GS collects record bonuses year in and year out.

The financiers are smart and creative. But do they bring value? That's not even a goal. The goal is profits. If that means externalizing the costs, so be it. Does thing bring value? No. But it certainly pays well.

 
At 11/10/2011 2:39 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

morganovich: what nonsense. no they don't. they pay for our federal deficit, buy our equities and wind up investing in the US. they are not sitting on some huge vault of physical dollars like scrooge mcduck.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2188rank.html

morganovich: if we can trade green pieces of paper that will never be redeemed for goods and services, that's an AMAZING deal.

They will be redeemed at some point.

morganovich: we can make plenty of those.

Yes, the U.S. could devalue its currency, but then its cost of imports and borrowing would increase. At the extreme, people could lose confidence in the currency.

morganovich: no. keynsianism is just armchair nonsense unsupported by actual data.

Not only is Keynesianism a valid economic theory, but its modern incarnations have great currency among economists.

morganovich: then, they predicted that the end of ww2 would cause economic collapse.

As explained above, Keynes predicted otherwise, and for good reasons.

The government made large expenditures in the post-war period, including the continued deployment of large military forces, the rebuilding of Europe, the GI Bill, and so on. More importantly, people had saved a lot of money during the war years, which they couldn't spend on consumer goods. Social Security and other government supports meant that people felt more able to spend their savings without inordinate fear. This money supported demand in the immediate post-war period.

 
At 11/10/2011 3:15 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

zach-

you cia link proves my point, not yours. you think they hold that in dollars? no. they hold it in treasuries. that money was then spent again here.

"Yes, the U.S. could devalue its currency, but then its cost of imports and borrowing would increase. At the extreme, people could lose confidence in the currency."

again, no. this is not true at all. you are getting your cases confused.

either they take it and hoard it, which is completely sterile and causes no inflation, or they redeem it for US goods and services, which is what you are claiming they don't do. you can't have it both ways.

"Not only is Keynesianism a valid economic theory, but its modern incarnations have great currency among economists."

lots of parlor games have great currency among academics. keynes is popular with economists and politicians because it lets them wield centralized power. fascism was big with academics too. look how that worked out.

theories are judged by empirical evidence and predictive ability, not population.

celestial spheres were popular once too.

judged on its track record, keynsianism is a dismal failure.

regarding ww2, you are just making up history there.

keynsian theory posits that the rationing of ww2 was great, because bi G made gdp grow.

they also predicted that after the war, the drop in G (and it dropped a ton despite the programs you claim) that we would have high unemployment and recession. instead, we got the biggest boom in modern history.

http://cafehayek.com/2011/07/keynes-vs-reality-2.html

here's a primer for you.

 
At 11/10/2011 4:12 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Boudreaux said that foreigners don't "wish to hoard tiny monochrome portraits of dead American statesmen." They do."

You are being quite literal. We suppose some may stuff those things into their mattresses, but surely you understand that those portraits are claims for goods, services, and assets in the US, and until they are presented in the US for those things, the imports they bought are essentially free.

The best possible action holders of those papers could take, from the point of view of those who traded them for imports, is burning them. Hoarding them is almost as good.

"Furthermore, increased competitiveness in international markets would lead to increased exports which would create jobs."

As would increased imports. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of all economic activity is consumption.

I'm sure that you're aware that imports tend to benefit individual consumers, while exports tend to benefit large corporations and the "rich".

"It's an uncontroversial statement, and even though it is a simplification, the statement doesn't make Krugman a "hack."

We certainly don't consider Krugman a hack based on this one example. There are plenty of others.

Other people also take a dim view of his inaccurate pronouncements.

Z: "Ron H: Apparently, Keynes was so inconsistent and confused, that even his disciples couldn't follow his reasoning."

Z: "Ah, there's your confusion. Keynesianism is a economic theory, not a religion."

Blind adherence to a theory that relies on mathematical models, and is demonstrably false can only be considered a religion.

"For instance, Paul Samuelson, whom you seem to be referencing obliquely, found orthodox Keynesians to be incomplete..."

Should we take this as a literal finding that Keynesians are missing body parts?

"And won the Nobel Memorial Prize for his work in economics."

Yes. The first one.

"The government made large expenditures in the post-war period, including the continued deployment of large military forces, the rebuilding of Europe, the GI Bill, and so on. More importantly, people had saved a lot of money during the war years, which they couldn't spend on consumer goods. Social Security and other government supports meant that people felt more able to spend their savings without inordinate fear. This money supported demand in the immediate post-war period.But if you wish to argue that Keynes is not a Keynesian."

I wish to argue that even important, intelligent people didn't, and don't, understand him, and misinterpreted his theory. This is
understandable, in view of his inconsistent and sometimes contradictory presentation in his "General Theory". Keynes may not have understood it himself.

Ron H: "Just for clarity, what are those facts, again?

Z: "There is more income inequality in the U.S. today than in previous generations, and that there is less economic mobility in the U.S. than in many other developed economies."

And your support for this is...what?

And again, why is this important?

Z: "Handwaving. Just because the study doesn't deal in the causes of international differences in economic mobility doesn't mean it doesn't provide a measure of economic mobility."

The study doesn't deal in causes, because, as the authors point out, none can be inferred from the data. It's just an interesting exercise in statistics. And, as the authors also acknowledge, the comparisons of international economic mobility don't even use comparable data, so it's hard to imagine what measure of economic mobility ca be deduced.

 
At 11/10/2011 4:12 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Ron H: Or we can reject data we have little confidence in, and use another source, such as IRS data, as Dr. Perry did."

Z: "Except that Mark J. Perry cherry-picked data, ignoring data that might call into question his position."

It's not clear how that supports your assertion that we can work with the data we have.

 
At 11/10/2011 4:24 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

morganovich: you think they hold that in dollars? no. they hold it in treasuries.

Sigh. Of course they hold treasuries.

morganovich: either they take it and hoard it, which is completely sterile and causes no inflation, or they redeem it for US goods and services, which is what you are claiming they don't do. you can't have it both ways.

You had suggested the U.S. inflate the money supply saying "we can make plenty of those."

morganovich: keynes is popular with economists and politicians because it lets them wield centralized power.

Handwaving. While economics may have many unresolved problems, to pretend it doesn't exist or is no better than guessing simply isn't the case.

morganovich: they also predicted that after the war

"They"?

Samuelson's position was qualified. Keynes thought otherwise.

morganovich: instead, we got the biggest boom in modern history.

Heh. Led by Keynesians.

 
At 11/10/2011 6:33 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: We suppose some may stuff those things into their mattresses, but surely you understand that those portraits are claims for goods, services, and assets in the US, and until they are presented in the US for those things, the imports they bought are essentially free.

The bank holding a note on your house that is due and payable upon demand is not "essentially free." It's a loan.

Ron H: I'm sure that you're aware that imports tend to benefit individual consumers, while exports tend to benefit large corporations and the "rich".

Low priced imports are a benefit. Not being competitive with exports means that those imports are often paid for with debt. While debt to manage long term investment can be of practical importance, using debt to pay day-to-day expenses in order to maintain a standard of living is economically unsustainable.

Ron H: Blind adherence to a theory that relies on mathematical models, and is demonstrably false can only be considered a religion.

Except it's not blind adherence. We know this because the theory has substantially changed over time as more data and better methods have become available.

Ron H: And your support for this is...what?

We're provided support concerning income inequality and economic mobility, including from the CBO.

Ron H: And again, why is this important?

It's the thread topic.


Ron H: Other people also take a dim view of his inaccurate pronouncements.

What a hoot! That's why we enjoy visiting this blog.

Krugman (March 18, 2003): "Instead we got assertions about a nuclear program that turned out to be based on flawed or faked evidence."

Luskin (March 20, 2003): "No discussion of the Administration’s rebuttal of assertions that its evidence of nuclear programs is “flawed”."

 
At 11/11/2011 3:27 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "The bank holding a note on your house that is due and payable upon demand is not "essentially free." It's a loan."

You are enjoying a word game. the dollars are not hoarded, but are returned to the US in exchange for goods, services, and assets, including government debt.

"Low priced imports are a benefit. Not being competitive with exports means that those imports are often paid for with debt. While debt to manage long term investment can be of practical importance, using debt to pay day-to-day expenses in order to maintain a standard of living is economically unsustainable."

That's funny. While you have at long last stated something that is absolutely true, the reason debt is used to finance consumption, is that the Keynesians in charge of monetary policy encourage debt by holding interest rates artificially low, to create the "aggregate demand" they think is missing.

"We're provided support concerning income inequality and economic mobility, including from the CBO."

Yes, we see that , and we see that your support for international comparisons is the Isaacs report.

"What a hoot! That's why we enjoy visiting this blog."

Wow. Talk about cherry picking! We haven't claimed that P. H. Krugman is always wrong, only wrong too often to be taken seriously. Even a stopped clock...

Did you happen to read the entire Krugman column you quoted to see the several other predictions he made that were wrong?

 
At 11/11/2011 9:03 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The reason we don't get this is because we are not a democracy, but a plutocracy. These positions are profitable for some powerful sectors. They make almost no sense if they are implemented for us, the people of the US. But they make perfect sense if they are really intended for the benefit of wealth.

There is no such thing as the 'people of the US.' There is only a collection of individuals who live in the US. A democracy is a fiction that someone can be 'elected' by getting a majority of the votes cast by the minority that decides to vote who will somehow be able to speak on behalf of all of the people 'fairly.'

Well, that can't happen even in theory. How do you 'help' some people by using the coercive power of government without doing harm to others who are expected to pay for the 'good' that you do?

And who decides what should be done? Certainly not the voters because they have no idea what the candidates positions are on most of the specific issues that they will decide on. And how are the elected 'representatives' ever held in check? Once they get into power they are quite capable of passing laws that will make it easier for them to stay in power. Once they get into power they can use their ability to spend to buy votes from special interest groups that have specific goals.

And what gives the majority the right to do to an individual what each individual is not permitted to do on his/her own? If my neighbour has no right to tax my earnings so that they can build an opera house what gives the politician who is elected by that neighbour that right? If my neighbour has no right to enslave me or kill me because of my race or religion what gives the politician who is elected by that neighbour that right?

Democracy: The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order

When the American Founding Fathers debated the issue they looked at the various options and the lessons in history. When they looked to Athens they saw an unstable Demos that was prone to extremes and great acts of stupidity and violence. It was swayed by populist orators and managed to kill or exile its best and brightest citizens not only for what they did but what they thought. It was no surprise that they chose the competing system of checks and balances that was used by the Spartans. They chose a republic rather than a democracy for good reason.

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

Ron H: ... including government debt.

Yes, including exporting government debt. Exactly.

Ron H: the reason debt is used to finance consumption, is that the Keynesians in charge of monetary policy encourage debt by holding interest rates artificially low, to create the "aggregate demand" they think is missing.

Keynes advocated countercyclical policy, not continuing stimulus. In particular, he thought that ongoing trade deficits were inherently unsustainable, something Britain had struggled with for a generation before the world wars.

Ron H: We haven't claimed that P. H. Krugman is always wrong, only wrong too often to be taken seriously.

You provided the citation. We merely read it, war being the most important of issues.

Luskin: If you’re a conservative, you might choke on the highly questionable premise that begins that paragraph — that there are supra-national “rules” that the Bush administration is bound to play by.

Of course there are international rules! Treaties are enshrined as the supreme law of the land in the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. had a leading hand in devising international law through treaties.

The rest of Luskin's rebuttals are just diversionary.

Krugman: Remember: this administration told Europe to take a hike on global warming,

Luskin: — U.S. repudiation of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming? That happened on Bill Clinton’s watch, not Bush’s, in 1997 when the Senate voted it down 95-zero (and the Republicans did not have a 95-0 majority in the Senate then).

Krugman is referring to the Bush Administration *withdrawing* from the Kyoto accords. You may disagree with the policies of the Kyoto accord and think Bush did the right thing, but that doesn't make Krugman's statement inaccurate, or make Luskin's rebuttal valid.

The Russians were very worried about U.S. missile defense plans, thinking it was destabilizing. Turkey never did allow the U.S. to use their territory as a stage to attack Iraq.

Ron H: Did you happen to read the entire Krugman column you quoted to see the several other predictions he made that were wrong?

Krugman: Of course we'll win on the battlefield, probably with ease. I'm not a military expert, but I can do the numbers: the most recent U.S. military budget was $400 billion, while Iraq spent only $1.4 billion.

Krugman was right, of course.

Krugman: What frightens me is the aftermath -- and I'm not just talking about the problems of postwar occupation. I'm worried about what will happen beyond Iraq -- in the world at large, and here at home.

A reasonable warning.

Krugman: In February 2003, according to Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper, Under Secretary of State John Bolton told Israeli officials that after defeating Iraq the United States would ''deal with'' Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Rather, they diverted so many resources to Iraq, that nearly every other initiative was starved of resources. They alienated the very allies the U.S. needed to rebuild the countries the U.S. invaded or to help with other issues, and refused to consider warnings or advice because they thought it meant disloyalty. Freedom fries!!

 
At 11/11/2011 3:20 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Krugman is referring to the Bush Administration *withdrawing* from the Kyoto accords. You may disagree with the policies of the Kyoto accord and think Bush did the right thing, but that doesn't make Krugman's statement inaccurate, or make Luskin's rebuttal valid. "

More fun word games. Luskin, in this case, points out that it's overly simplistic to claim that Bush told Europe to "take a hike", without any mention of the fact that the treaty had been signed by the previous administration, and never sent to the Senate for ratification, as that body had indicated by unanimous vote that it wouldn't ratify the treaty.

There was no action Bush could have taken, in view of the continuing opposition by the Senate, So he removed that item from his to-do list, and cleared the useless paper from his desk. This is one of the few things Bush did that may have actually saved some taxpayer money.

Political Hack Krugman's strident remark on the subject doesn't so much inform, as it does appeal to emotion.

 
At 11/11/2011 3:22 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

That's what OWS has realized. These politicians serve wealth and power. They are very unresponsive to the public. This is a plutocracy. Both Republicans and Democrats expand government in service to wealth and contract government in service to the weak and poor.

Yet, the vast majority of protestors believe that the solution is even more government.

 
At 11/11/2011 3:52 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Yes, including exporting government debt. Exactly. "

So, you you have abandoned your previous position that foreigners are hoarding USD?

"Keynes advocated countercyclical policy, not continuing stimulus. In particular, he thought that ongoing trade deficits were inherently unsustainable, something Britain had struggled with for a generation before the world wars. "

We wrote "Keynesians". You have previously suggested that Keynes wasn't a Keynesian.

Z: "Krugman: In February 2003, according to Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper, Under Secretary of State John Bolton told Israeli officials that after defeating Iraq the United States would ''deal with'' Iran, Syria and North Korea."

We can only marvel at the amount of political commentary we get from this prize winning economist. Perhaps that's part of the reason for his being labeled "political" hack.

Our attack on P. H. Krugman has apparent struck a nerve with you, judging from the level of defense you have mounted.

 
At 11/11/2011 4:59 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon: "Think about what our policies would be if we had a government that responded to people, not wealth only. "

The problem is that this is demonstrably impossible.

By it's very nature, government must use force against it's own people. Those who are granted power, want more, and work to get it. As Lord Acton said, power corrupts. This is absolutely true, and until there are angels available to govern, we will have the problems you mentioned.

The only way to reduce those problems is to reduce government, and the power it confers on those flawed mortals in office.

Rather than railing against greedy corporations and the wealthy, who are working to use government force in their own interest, we should work to remove as much of that power as possible from their grasp.

"So how to get democracy?"

You really, really don't want democracy. Read VangelV's comments on the subject, on this thread, if you haven't done so.

"We have to start by getting the corporate money out of politics. You can't allow unlimited contributions from corporations, which are nothing but tyrannical institutions of enormous concentrated wealth."

Unless you are advocating throwing out any remaining pretense that we have a Constitution, you can't do that.

There's a thing called the First Amendment: People have a right to free speech, and this includes the right to promote any political candidate or cause they wish. They may spend money to do so. They may also lobby members of Congress in their own interest. People also have a right to peaceably assemble. All the above is acknowledged and guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Corporations are groups of people with a common interest, so to restrict the right of a corporation to spend money in their own political interest, is to deny people the right to free speech when they are assembled.

"When they can do what they want they do what serves their interest first. "

Well, of course they do. That's the nature of all people. That in itself isn't sinister. We all do it. Why else would people join together into a corporation? Corporations serve their own interest by providing goods and services we want, and are willing to pay them for, making us and them better off.

When government force can be enlisted, however, we get rules and regulations that favor a business over their competitors, and things that make no sense to consumers, like ethanol mandates.

"So you get wars, prisons, Homeland Security and all the rest."

Those are all manifestations of government, Jon.

"What I see from people here is lots of emphasis on scaling back government that helps poor and that's part of your effort to scale back government in total."

Helping the poor has been and can be a local private matter. Friends, neighbors, community, and many private charities do a good job of helping those in need.

There is no reason for government, especially federal governmment, to be involved in helping people in need. To begin with, it's not Constitutional. Can you explain why it's OK to force some people to give to those in need?

 
At 11/11/2011 5:04 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: Our attack on P. H. Krugman has apparent struck a nerve with you, judging from the level of defense you have mounted.

No, but we were very interested in reading how Krugman, the hack, was warning about faulty evidence concerning Iraq's nuclear program and possible problems associated with the post-war occupation, while Luskin was defending the Bush Administration. How did that turn out anyway?

 
At 11/11/2011 10:30 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

So how to get democracy? We have to start by getting the corporate money out of politics. You can't allow unlimited contributions from corporations, which are nothing but tyrannical institutions of enormous concentrated wealth. When they can do what they want they do what serves their interest first. So you get wars, prisons, Homeland Security and all the rest.

No, you get that because that is what voters want. The problem is not the money but the process. When your system allows the government to use the power of force to rob some people for the benefit of others you will always get corruption and injustice. The minarchist solution, which I still think is too statist in nature, is to limit government to protecting individual rights. Your solution is to have more government that will eventually lead to an authoritarian state. That is not a good idea.

 
At 11/12/2011 12:38 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/12/2011 12:50 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "No, but we were very interested in reading how Krugman, the hack, was warning about faulty evidence concerning Iraq's nuclear program and possible problems associated with the post-war occupation, while Luskin was defending the Bush Administration. How did that turn out anyway?"

We already explained that using the example of the stopped clock. We can't imagine anyone, even Krugman being wrong every time.

We don't defend Lufkin in every case, but only used him as an example of a low opinion of Krugman.

We think Krugman was lucky in his claim that there were no nuclear WMD in Iraq, as it certainly wasn't clear at that early date.

In fact, many of Krugman's fellow liberals and progressives seemed fairly certain that there WERE WMD in the years leading up to the invasion. The joint resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, passed both houses of Congress by a wide margin.

Predicting problems after the US occupation of Iraq was an accomplishment similar to predicting that the ground might be wet after a rain, so we give Krugman no credit for that. Even he could understand there would be problems.

 
At 11/12/2011 9:15 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Jon: Think about what our policies would be if we had a government that responded to people, not wealth only.

Ron H: The problem is that this is demonstrably impossible.

Democratic governments tend to respond to people *and* wealth. Votes matter. So does money.

Ron H: By it's very nature, government must use force against it's own people.

Of course. The trade-off is that the majority make laws, and the minority have constitutional protections. It allows for a city to set up a traffic light and pass a law requiring you to stop when the light is red. It allows someone accused of running a red light due process under the law. We understand you consider this tyranny.

Ron H: Those who are granted power, want more, and work to get it.

Which is why 'theoretical democracy' doesn't work. What works is long-established institutions working at all levels in society in a complex interrelationship of power and accountability.

Ron H: The only way to reduce those problems is to reduce government, and the power it confers on those flawed mortals in office.

Government can't be so large that it will suffocate all the other institutions that make up a modern democratic society.

Ron H: You really, really don't want democracy.

Most people do.

Ron H: There is no reason for government, especially federal governmment, to be involved in helping people in need.

That's a decision for the people to make, working through their elected representatives.

Ron H: Can you explain why it's OK to force some people to give to those in need?

Can you explain why it's okay to force someone to stop at a red light?

Ron H: We already explained that using the example of the stopped clock.

All Luskin's examples are faulty, mangle Krugman's position, and certainly don't show that Krugman is a hack, a person who works solely for mercenary reasons.

Luskin: If you’re a conservative, you might choke on the highly questionable premise that begins that paragraph — that there are supra-national “rules” that the Bush administration is bound to play by.

Of course there are international rules! Treaties are enshrined as the supreme law of the land in the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. had a leading hand in devising international law through treaties.

Ron H: In fact, many of Krugman's fellow liberals and progressives seemed fairly certain that there WERE WMD in the years leading up to the invasion.

That doesn't make Krugman a hack for pointing out the weakness of such claims.

 
At 11/12/2011 9:28 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: There is no such thing as the 'people of the US.'

"We the People of the United States ..."

It's a collective identity. Feel free to exclude yourself.

people, human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest.

people, a body of persons that are united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship, that typically have common language, institutions, and beliefs, and that often constitute a politically organized group.

VangelV: A democracy is a fiction that someone can be 'elected' by getting a majority of the votes cast by the minority that decides to vote who will somehow be able to speak on behalf of all of the people 'fairly.'

You mean majority rule is 'arbitrary,' which is correct, and rarely even used in practice. It's a social contract which replaced the previous monarchic systems, which replaced settling disputes by the sword. Democracy doesn't insure fairness, but it is an improvement over previous systems, and gives people some influence over their government.

VangelV: And how are the elected 'representatives' ever held in check?

As pointed out in the previous comment, a democracy is more than just the parliament, or even the parliament, judiciary and executive. Rather, it is all the institutions that make up a modern society, working at different levels, forming intertwining networks of power. This includes national and local governments, corporations, trade and labor organizations, political parties, interest groups, clubs, individual freedoms, treaties, etc.

VangelV: If my neighbour has no right to tax my earnings so that they can build an opera house what gives the politician who is elected by that neighbour that right?

Living in civilization means to make accommodations to one another.
Anarchistic systems are inherently unstable, and some form of government will fill the vacuum. Most people think it's better that the people control the government, than the other way around.

 
At 11/12/2011 10:26 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Democratic governments tend to respond to people *and* wealth. Votes matter. So does money.

Which is why social democracies fail miserably. The majority of voters try to get someone else to pay for the things that they want. They tend to vilify and punish success and tolerate or commend dependence.

Of course. The trade-off is that the majority make laws, and the minority have constitutional protections. It allows for a city to set up a traffic light and pass a law requiring you to stop when the light is red. It allows someone accused of running a red light due process under the law. We understand you consider this tyranny.

It is tyranny when the laws violate the rights of free individuals. The state reserves the right to put you in jail if you use too much water when you shower or flush your toilet. What part of the Constitution allows it that power? And which voter ever directly approved a law that would regulate the size of your toilet tank?

Men have rights to be left alone and to interact voluntarily with their fellow citizens as long as they do not resort to fraud. No law that violates those rights is legitimate.

Which is why 'theoretical democracy' doesn't work. What works is long-established institutions working at all levels in society in a complex interrelationship of power and accountability.

Institutions are run by individuals who desire power and have the usual human failings. Your approach does not work because men are not ruled by angels.

Government can't be so large that it will suffocate all the other institutions that make up a modern democratic society.

But it does not have to be to do a great deal of harm. Look around you and you see what all of the damage that meddling in the name of progressiveness has done.

Most people do.

So what? Most people want to get free money from rich people. They do not have the right to get it. Most people want to be good looking. They aren't. Most people want their kids to love and respect them. What most people want only matters in a utopian society. In the real world they will always be disappointed.

That's a decision for the people to make, working through their elected representatives.

If I don't have the right to use force to take money from Ron to fund a clinic for gay albinos then neither does my 'representative.' What you desire is still illegitimate and immoral.

 
At 11/12/2011 10:55 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: Which is why social democracies fail miserably.

Depends what you mean by "fail." Modern democracies are characterized by robust markets, plentiful consumer goods, open debate of social issues, and significant freedoms.

Democracy is the worst of all systems, except for all the rest.

VangelV: It is tyranny when the laws violate the rights of free individuals.

Yes, we understand. You find it tyrannical that some local rube can make you stop when the light is red.

VangelV: The state reserves the right to put you in jail if you use too much water when you shower or flush your toilet.

Funny story about that. Scientists discovered that rich people couldn't isolate themselves from water-borne diseases. Hence, municipal water and waste.

VangelV: No law that violates those rights is legitimate.

Yes, as you've said previously. It's not legitimate to make you stop or go when the light is arbitrary colors.

Zachriel: Which is why 'theoretical democracy' doesn't work. What works is long-established institutions working at all levels in society in a complex interrelationship of power and accountability.

VangelV: Institutions are run by individuals who desire power and have the usual human failings. Your approach does not work because men are not ruled by angels.

You seemed to ignore the point. Modern democracies are not designed for angels, but for flawed humans with myopic interests. It's because of the vast intertwined network of private and public institutions that democracies work.

VangelV: Look around you and you see what all of the damage that meddling in the name of progressiveness has done.

Universal education. Universal suffrage. Ending child labor. 40-hour workweek. Social security programs.

Your values are not shared by the vast majority of people who take great pride in helping to select their representatives, from their local mayor to their president. It is one of the aspirations of developing nations to achieve a level of democracy and rule of law found in more developed countries. Indeed, generations have died to protect the rule of law and the rights enshrined therein.

 
At 11/12/2011 3:12 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Working as a Tax reduction specialist, I can tell you very simply why there is so much movement. It has nothing to do with windfalls, or income increasing or decreasing.

It is simply we are procrastinators and when you have your ass handed to you in a huge tax bill, it wakes you up to do something about it.

You go an hire great TAX Attorneys to reduce your taxable exposure. And Tadaa. A much lower tax bill and you are no longer on the 400 list.

Making the assumption that a tax payers gross income drops significantly is dead wrong. Out of hundreds, few of my wealthy clients income shift much at all and usually get larger each year. They just get better at playing by the IRS rules that few CPA's know of and shelter more from taxation.

Their incomes grow larger and larger because they have the confidence to earn without getting killed by taxes.

 
At 11/12/2011 6:24 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"We the People of the United States ..."

It's a collective identity. Feel free to exclude yourself.


How ironic. You use the words in the preamble. I will let others enlighten you why that is important.

My preference is to the words of Jefferson, who was not there for the coup that you seem to celebrate. In case you have forgotten, they go like this:

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, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Americans rebelled against England not for some collective right but because the government of England did not respect their individual rights. Because all men are different and have different goals there cannot ever be a collective identity even in theory. You argue for a government that would speak for the collective. In practical terms that would require that the educated gay professional black woman to identify with the goals of an ignorant white bible-thumper who beats his wife and is collecting welfare. While that may happen in your utopian world of benevolent theory it does not work in the real world. Down here, no 'representative' speaks for all the people at all times on all issues. That is a myth being pushed by authoritarians on both sides of the American political spectrum.

I have to take the kids to their math classes so I am ending this now. I will take this up later.

 
At 11/12/2011 7:13 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

people, human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest.

People join groups of other people who have the same interests. There are thousands of such groups, all with different interests. The idea that there is one group in which all people hold the same interests is a utopian fantasy.

people, a body of persons that are united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship, that typically have common language, institutions, and beliefs, and that often constitute a politically organized group.

Common culture? What does that mean in a country in which the average citizen has no idea about history and about the interests and habits of others who certainly do not share the same beliefs? You live in a make believe world and about as far from reality as you can get.

You mean majority rule is 'arbitrary,' which is correct, and rarely even used in practice. It's a social contract which replaced the previous monarchic systems, which replaced settling disputes by the sword. Democracy doesn't insure fairness, but it is an improvement over previous systems, and gives people some influence over their government.

A tyranny is still a tyranny no matter how you try to dress it up. Theft is still theft. And serfdom is still serfdom.

As pointed out in the previous comment, a democracy is more than just the parliament, or even the parliament, judiciary and executive. Rather, it is all the institutions that make up a modern society, working at different levels, forming intertwining networks of power. This includes national and local governments, corporations, trade and labor organizations, political parties, interest groups, clubs, individual freedoms, treaties, etc.

You are still floundering. And avoiding the issue. The fact is clear. There are no representatives that speak for 'the people' in the interests of 'the people' on any issue. All you have is an arbitrary system where a ruling elite gets to lord it over the citizens as it rewards those that pay it the most for its favours.

Living in civilization means to make accommodations to one another.
Anarchistic systems are inherently unstable, and some form of government will fill the vacuum. Most people think it's better that the people control the government, than the other way around.


Theft is still theft. And you still confuse civilization and society with government. I suggest that you try to figure out the difference if you want anyone to take you seriously.

 
At 11/12/2011 7:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Depends what you mean by "fail." Modern democracies are characterized by robust markets, plentiful consumer goods, open debate of social issues, and significant freedoms.

I mean fail. Low growth. Big government. The encouragement of dependency and mediocrity. Less freedom. The destruction of capital earned during times when there was more economic liberty.

Yes, we understand. You find it tyrannical that some local rube can make you stop when the light is red.

I mean that he can tell me how much water I must use when I shower. Or that he can jail me if my toilet tank holds too much water. Or when a president can kill a man who has never gone to trial and been convicted of anyone. Or when the police can hold someone indefinitely without charges. Or when you can be jailed or killed for refusing to pay taxes that are used to fund wars that you oppose and social activities that you abhor.

I know that some people like you have no problem with being slaves. But there are some that prefer liberty.

 
At 11/12/2011 7:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Funny story about that. Scientists discovered that rich people couldn't isolate themselves from water-borne diseases. Hence, municipal water and waste.

It is a different story. As I pointed out, you can go to jail for flushing too much water down the toilet. Nobody claims that you won't have a toilet or a sewer system without government.

Yes, as you've said previously. It's not legitimate to make you stop or go when the light is arbitrary colors.

Of course it is you moron. I can build a road and if you want to use it you have to obey the rules that are set for all users. There is nothing arbitrary about that. What is arbitrary is when you pass laws that meddle in voluntary activities.

You seemed to ignore the point. Modern democracies are not designed for angels, but for flawed humans with myopic interests. It's because of the vast intertwined network of private and public institutions that democracies work.

I think that it is you who miss the point. The system is designed because it is assumed that it will work if the 'right men' can be found. But in reality it is not the men but the system that is the problem. Which is why it is no surprise that Obama is serving out Bush's third term right now except to idiots like you, who expected a difference.

Universal education.

No. Poor education run by a monopoly that is not responsible to anyone.

Universal suffrage.

Why is it good to give the same say to morons who are lazy and are dependent on transfer payment from the state as you do to producers who are productive, hard working and pay for the transfer programs?

Ending child labor.

Parents end child labour, not the sate.

40-hour workweek.

Is that all you work? Most people that I know work 10 to 20 hours more than that.

Social security programs.

Nonsense. When unfunded liabilities stand at more than 8 times GDP the SS programs are a short-term transfer program from the young to the old.

Your values are not shared by the vast majority of people who take great pride in helping to select their representatives, from their local mayor to their president. It is one of the aspirations of developing nations to achieve a level of democracy and rule of law found in more developed countries. Indeed, generations have died to protect the rule of law and the rights enshrined therein.

I value liberty and personal responsibility. If most people are like you instead you might be right that my values are in the minority for now. But reality has a way of changing people. Eventually they will figure out that there aren't enough rich people around to support them and will either have to stand on their own or sell what is left of their freedom to a tyrant who will give them exactly what they deserve.

 
At 11/13/2011 2:34 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Which is why 'theoretical democracy' doesn't work. What works is long-established institutions working at all levels in society in a complex interrelationship of power and accountability. "

Works? Where do you see it working?

"Government can't be so large that it will suffocate all the other institutions that make up a modern democratic society."

But that is what enevitably happens.

Ron H: "You really, really don't want democracy."

z: "Most people do."

Most people see themselves as members the majority. Those who don't, don't prefer democracy.

"That's a decision for the people to make, working through their elected representatives."

Do you mean to propose a Constitutional amendment?

"Can you explain why it's okay to force someone to stop at a red light?"

It's not okay, that was *your* claim, and you didn't answer the question.

"All Luskin's examples are faulty, mangle Krugman's position, and certainly don't show that Krugman is a hack, a person who works solely for mercenary reasons."

ALL? That's quite a claim. We really DID touch a nerve.

And why *does* P. H. Krugman work?

 
At 11/13/2011 2:50 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Democratic governments tend to respond to people *and* wealth. Votes matter. So does money. "

Perhaps you can explain to Jon how that works. He doesn't believe it any more than we do.

 
At 11/13/2011 4:12 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Funny story about that. Scientists discovered that rich people couldn't isolate themselves from water-borne diseases. Hence, municipal water and waste. "

Rich people also want others to pay for the things they want.

Ron H: "By it's very nature, government must use force against it's own people."

Z: "Of course. The trade-off is that the majority make laws, and the minority have constitutional protections."

Nonesense. Constitutional protections only make it more difficult for the majority to prevail, but a minority has no protection once the majority will becomes law.

You haven't yet explained why it's better to use force against a peaceful individual, than it is to leave them alone.

Z: "Which is why 'theoretical democracy' doesn't work. What works is long-established institutions working at all levels in society in a complex interrelationship of power and accountability."

You are confusing society with state.

"We the People of the United States ..."

Madison presumed to speak for everyone when he wrote that. Such hubris.

Perhaps the style committee convinced him the "We the sovereign individuals of the United States" didn't have the same nice ring to it. Im sure he and the other Founders understood the phrase to mean plural of person; the (people), not (the people).

"It's a collective identity. Feel free to exclude yourself."

Then you reject the principle of self ownership? We are NOT owners of ourselves, our own bodies, and our own wills? We are instead merely parts of a greater collective whole. Neither are we rightful owners of the fruits of our labor, our property, which instead belongs to the collective.

Did we state your view correctly?

Someone else can own us. We thought you abhorred slavery, as we do, put apparently we misunderstood you.

"people, human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest."

"people, a body of persons that are united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship, that typically have common language, institutions, and beliefs, and that often constitute a politically organized group."

That certainly didn't accurately describe all the people living in the US at the time of the founding, and it's an even poorer fit today. It is a really poor fit when used to describe everone in the world.

You should understand that we have no problem applying collective terms to people that choose to join together as a group, for any reason, and from which individuals can freely withdraw if they wish.

Perhaps we will continue to consider the word "people", to mean multiple persons, and nothing more. Otherwise too much nonsense arises.

 
At 11/13/2011 4:37 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: " It is one of the aspirations of developing nations to achieve a level of democracy and rule of law found in more developed countries. Indeed, generations have died to protect the rule of law and the rights enshrined therein."

Nations have aspirations? Who knew? It has been our belief that only people had aspirations.

How would you know of these aspirations?

"Living in civilization means to make accommodations to one another."

Yes. We do that by not initiating force against each other.

"Anarchistic systems are inherently unstable, and some form of government will fill the vacuum."

But if that were true, how has an anarchistic system of 200 countries survived for so long without a world government filling the void?

"Most people think it's better that the people control the government, than the other way around."

But that doesn't seem to work for long. Government inevitably grows bigger, no matter the limits placed on it initially.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:15 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: My preference is to the words of Jefferson, who was not there for the coup that you seem to celebrate.

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of 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."


So, Jefferson believed in governments instituted by "the People." Jefferson was no anarchist.

VangelV: Because all men are different and have different goals there cannot ever be a collective identity even in theory.

That wasn't Jefferson's views. He thought "it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government," even then, not for "light and transient causes." Notably, Jefferson ran for and held the office of President, the chief executive of the rule of law.

Zachriel: As pointed out in the previous comment, a democracy is more than just the parliament, or even the parliament, judiciary and executive. Rather, it is all the institutions that make up a modern society, working at different levels, forming intertwining networks of power. This includes national and local governments, corporations, trade and labor organizations, political parties, interest groups, clubs, individual freedoms, treaties, etc.


VangelV: You are still floundering.

Indeed not. Unless you understand democracy, how can you argue against it. It isn't enough that people have a democratic constitution. They also need the institutions that are the foundations of the rule of law.

VangelV: I can build a road and if you want to use it you have to obey the rules that are set for all users.

Feel free to do so.

As we can see by your comments, foundational values are generally not subject to argumentation. You rail and row, but you raise no argument. Rather, you reject any law which requires you to accommodate yourself to the public, including something as simple as using public funds to build roads with traffic lights. Most people will reject this as they take great pride in being a part of a democratic society, even with all its flaws. Nor does your extreme version of anarchistic libertarianism offer a practical alternative. You live in your own private Idaho.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:42 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Then you reject the principle of self ownership? We are NOT owners of ourselves, our own bodies, and our own wills? We are instead merely parts of a greater collective whole. Neither are we rightful owners of the fruits of our labor, our property, which instead belongs to the collective.

Did we state your view correctly?


Yes you have. His position cannot be justified without the assumption that we belong to a collective and not ourselves. It is the typical argument provided by an authoritarian from the left or the right.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:49 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

So, Jefferson believed in governments instituted by "the People." Jefferson was no anarchist.

True. That is one of his failings. But he was not a believer in the democracy that you support. And he did believe in natural rights of the individual that you want your democracy to trample over.

VangelV: Because all men are different and have different goals there cannot ever be a collective identity even in theory.

Zach: That wasn't Jefferson's views. He thought "it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government," even then, not for "light and transient causes." Notably, Jefferson ran for and held the office of President, the chief executive of the rule of law.


Jefferson never argued for a collective identity. He said that men institute governments to protect the natural rights that they already have, not to pursue some goals that you National Socialists imagine that we all have in common.

Indeed not. Unless you understand democracy, how can you argue against it. It isn't enough that people have a democratic constitution. They also need the institutions that are the foundations of the rule of law.

I understand your version of democracy and how democracy works in the real world. The majority rules over the minority and there are no natural rights that must be protected. There are only the rights that the majority wishes to see protected.

As we can see by your comments, foundational values are generally not subject to argumentation. You rail and row, but you raise no argument. Rather, you reject any law which requires you to accommodate yourself to the public, including something as simple as using public funds to build roads with traffic lights. Most people will reject this as they take great pride in being a part of a democratic society, even with all its flaws. Nor does your extreme version of anarchistic libertarianism offer a practical alternative. You live in your own private Idaho.

I argue based on principles. You imagine a utopia in which men are angels and have no human qualities.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:56 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: Works? Where do you see it working?

Modern democracies are characterized by robust markets, plentiful consumer goods, open debate of social issues, and significant freedoms.

Zachriel: Government can't be so large that it will suffocate all the other institutions that make up a modern democratic society.

Ron H: But that is what enevitably happens.

No, that's a choice people can make. Democracies are capable of peaceful revolutions.

Ron H: Most people see themselves as members the majority. Those who don't, don't prefer democracy.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"

Ron H: Do you mean to propose a Constitutional amendment?

Don't care about your parochial concerns, except insofar as it preserves the rule of law, including fundamental liberties. (A fundamental liberty is not the same as saying you shouldn't have to pay taxes.)

Ron H: Can you explain why it's OK to force some people to give to those in need?

In a democratic republic, taxes are determined by representatives elected by the people. If the people want to use some of these funds to help the poor, then it is their decision.

Now, can you explain whether it's okay to force someone to stop at a red light?

Ron H: Rich people also want others to pay for the things they want.

Rich people have the vote too, and have more political influence than most other people.

Ron H: Constitutional protections only make it more difficult for the majority to prevail, but a minority has no protection once the majority will becomes law.

As pointed out in the previous comment, a democracy is more than just the parliament, or even the parliament, judiciary and executive. Rather, it is all the institutions that make up a modern society, working at different levels, forming intertwining networks of power. This includes national and local governments, corporations, trade and labor organizations, political parties, interest groups, clubs, individual freedoms, treaties, etc.

If your point is that democratic freedoms are tenuous, and have to be constantly protected, then sure. The only threat isn't government, though. Recently, corporations nearly collapsed the global economic system.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:56 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: You haven't yet explained why it's better to use force against a peaceful individual, than it is to leave them alone.

We've explained it repeatedly, but you keep pretending we haven't. In the simplest terms, it's called compromise. People accommodate one another because the alternative is worse.

Zarchiel: Which is why 'theoretical democracy' doesn't work. What works is long-established institutions working at all levels in society in a complex interrelationship of power and accountability.

Ron H: You are confusing society with state.

Indeed not! And it's hard to believe you have been reading with any sense of understanding. We are drawing a very clear distinction between government and society. A democratic society is made up of many institutions, including governmental and private organizations. A democratic government alone is no guarantee of a democratic society.

Ron H: Madison presumed to speak for everyone when he wrote that. Such hubris.

A lot of people signed the document. But yes, they claimed to be representing the people. Keep in mind, the American Revolution didn't establish the institutions of a democratic society. They already existed within the colonies. But representation is always imperfect, of course. African slaves in the early American Republic come to mind.

Ron H: Im sure he and the other Founders understood the phrase to mean plural of person; the (people), not (the people).

Governments are instituted by the people, not by persons. Otherwise, you could say the nobility is government of the people. That's certainly not what the Founders meant. It's "government of the people, by the people, for the people." The people are the wellspring.

Ours has been a quest for a constitution freely adopted by the people of South Africa, reflecting their wishes and their aspirations. — Nelson Mandela

Ron H: Then you reject the principle of self ownership?

Quite the contrary. If you don't consider yourself part of the people, feel free to exclude yourself. You still have to pay taxes, though.

Ron H: But if that were true, how has an anarchistic system of 200 countries survived for so long without a world government filling the void?

The void has been filled with war, though nations have been tentatively moving towards an international system.

 
At 11/13/2011 10:08 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: And he did believe in natural rights of the individual that you want your democracy to trample over.

Gee whiz. He believed in taxes. That means someone with a gun taking your property.

VangelV: Jefferson never argued for a collective identity.

You may consider it a quaint view, to the Enlightenment, "the people" was not a monochrome identity, but the natural community of persons.

VangelV: you National Socialists

Do you really think people will take such strawman slurs seriously?

VangelV: I understand your version of democracy and how democracy works in the real world. The majority rules over the minority and there are no natural rights that must be protected.

Sorry. That's simply not true. Democracies certainly do transgress against individual liberties, but strong institutions act as a counterweight to those pressures. You too do not seem to read with understanding.

VangelV: I argue based on principles.

Well, that's the key. If someone disagrees with your principles, such as your black-and-white view of the world, then there is no argument that can be found persuasive.

VangelV: You imagine a utopia in which men are angels and have no human qualities.

That's funny—considering your position is a world essentially without government. The real world, the one made up of people not angels, is one where governments will inevitably exist, so it is far better for people if they control the government rather than the other way around.

 
At 11/13/2011 2:10 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: ""I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"

King quoting Jefferson. He was dreaming of equality, not democracy, as you must know It's not clear why you would use this quote in support of democracy. Equality is more easily accommodated by an anarchy than a democracy.


Z: "Don't care about your parochial concerns, except insofar as it preserves the rule of law, including fundamental liberties. "

Then it appears that you reject the US Constitution as a framework for the rule of law, something most people believe should be followed, and which can only be changed by a difficult amendment process requiring overwhelming concurrence by the majority you hold in high regard. Instead, you seem to believe that rule of law should be whatever the majority says it is, given whatever is popular at the time.

We apologize, if we mistate your position on occasion, but it's sometimes difficult to follow some of the illogic involved in reaching it.

"(A fundamental liberty is not the same as saying you shouldn't have to pay taxes.)"

Then in your view a fundamental liberty is whatever the majority says it is. In our view a fundamental liberty is to be left in peace, to own ourselves and our property without aggression from others. This includes not being robbed, whether by you, you and your friends, or by those who represent you.

And yes, taxation is theft.

It is laughable that you would mischaracterize Jefferson as a collectivist, considering his well known position that "all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights..."

Z: "No, that's a choice people can make. Democracies are capable of peaceful revolutions. "

We are not aware of a peaceful revolution in a democracy which has grown oppressive beyond the limits of tolerence Jefferson spoke of.

History shows us that any government tends to grow, over time, to a size that cannot be supported, at which time it collapses.

 
At 11/13/2011 3:30 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Modern democracies are characterized by robust markets, plentiful consumer goods, open debate of social issues, and significant freedoms.

If you start with a great deal of freedom you can lose a lot of it and still be considered free by authoritarians like you. You can consume a lot of goods as long as you have income, the ability to borrow, or capital that can be sold off. Only the first is a condition for a sustainable economy. As for robust markets, they are anything but robust. Thanks to massive injections of liquidity the markets are very volatile. And thanks to massive speculation (and that volatility) you have many institutions on the verge of bankruptcy. The banks are technically insolvent and are only kept alive by loose accounting rules and Fed activities that are saddling the taxpayers with even more debt. The real economy is dependent on continued and growing injections of liquidity. Many counties are already bankrupt. So are states. Public and some private pension funds are insolvent. There is nothing 'healthy' about what we are seeing in the markets and the economy.

No, that's a choice people can make. Democracies are capable of peaceful revolutions.

Actually, they aren't. We have just seen Barrack Obama continue to serve George Bush's third term. There is very little difference between what he is doing and what Bush did before him. There is very little difference between the big-government Democrats and the big-government Republicans. The fact that you have failed to notice shows just how poor your analytical abilities are.

 
At 11/13/2011 3:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "As we can see by your comments, foundational values are generally not subject to argumentation. You rail and row, but you raise no argument. Rather, you reject any law which requires you to accommodate yourself to the public, including something as simple as using public funds to build roads with traffic lights."

No argument? The argument has been presented numerous times on this blog, and you continue to miss it, perhaps because of its simplicity:

Leave people alone to pursue their own peaceful interests. Everything else develops from that.

Your view of democracy requires thousands of words of explanation and rationalization, in order to to put lipstick on a pig.

"Rather, you reject any law which requires you to accommodate yourself to the public, including something as simple as using public funds to build roads with traffic lights."

You continue to fail to recognize the difference between voluntary accommodation, and being forced to do things against your will.

The public funds have been stolen from some, even if many others would have contributed willingly.

Shared ownership will always be problematic unless that sharing is voluntary. A better understanding of property rights might help you see the difference.

"Modern democracies are characterized by robust markets, plentiful consumer goods, open debate of social issues, and significant freedoms. "

LOL! Those are characteristics of a system that allows people to pursue their own peaceful interests. They occur despite the negative influence of government, whether democratic or otherwise.

Although Jefferson understood the problems involved when he said:

"...let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution:"

He was apparently overly optimistic that a limited government could be kept that way, and only serve the needs of the people, as intended, rather than the other way around.

 
At 11/13/2011 3:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Gee whiz. He believed in taxes. That means someone with a gun taking your property.

Not exactly. There were no income or corporate taxes. There were no capital gains taxes. Dividends were not taxes. And the government stuck to what it was allowed to do in the Constitution. That is not exactly what you are arguing for above.

You may consider it a quaint view, to the Enlightenment, "the people" was not a monochrome identity, but the natural community of persons.

No. There was no natural community with common rights and goals. There were only groups of individuals who all had natural rights in common. There is a big difference between that view of liberty and the authoritarianism that you are trying to support.

VangelV: you National Socialists

Zach: Do you really think people will take such strawman slurs seriously?


How ironic. You create a straw man by quoting out of context and accuse me of coming up with a straw man argument? No wonder nobody with a brain takes you very seriously.

For the record, I wrote:

"And the last time I looked there was widespread agreement on the desire for big government among Democrats and Republicans. Neither party has done anything to reduce the size of government or increase personal freedom. Both parties support different versions of National Socialism that resembles the Italian model."

and

"Jefferson never argued for a collective identity. He said that men institute governments to protect the natural rights that they already have, not to pursue some goals that you National Socialists imagine that we all have in common."

What part of what I wrote do you have a problem with? You argue for the National Socialist platform that would have government regulate and control private industry. You argue for government control of the economy. What do you think that makes you?

 
At 11/13/2011 4:50 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Sorry. That's simply not true. Democracies certainly do transgress against individual liberties, but strong institutions act as a counterweight to those pressures. You too do not seem to read with understanding.

No, they do not. Democracies draft people to fight wars even when they would rather not fight them. They jail people for victimless crimes. They can have people killed even though they have never been charged with a crime in court. They can be held indefinitely without facing charges. They can take away private property without proper compensation. All of these reduce individual liberty, not protect it.

 
At 11/13/2011 4:56 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Well, that's the key. If someone disagrees with your principles, such as your black-and-white view of the world, then there is no argument that can be found persuasive.

Correct. If people argue as you do, that we do not own ourselves and that all our rights come from government there isn't much of an argument or room for compromise. Yours is the morality of slavery and mine is the morality of freedom. There isn't much of an overlap.

 
At 11/13/2011 8:52 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "We've explained it repeatedly, but you keep pretending we haven't. In the simplest terms, it's called compromise. People accommodate one another because the alternative is worse. "

Compromise:

1. To arrive at a settlement by making concessions.

Something done voluntarily.

2. To reduce the quality, value, or degree of something.

One's principles, perhaps.

Accommodate:

1. To do a favor or service for; oblige. See Synonyms at oblige.
2. To provide for; supply with.
3. To hold comfortably without crowding. See Synonyms at contain.
4. To make suitable; adapt. See Synonyms at adapt.
5. To allow for; consider: an economic proposal that accommodates the interests of senior citizens.
6. To settle; reconcile.

Something done voluntarily.

People accommodate one another because the alternative - being imprisoned, killed, and/or having their property confiscated - is worse. Not our normal definition of voluntary action.

"In a democratic republic, taxes are determined by representatives elected by the people. If the people want to use some of these funds to help the poor, then it is their decision."

But once again, those representatives have no authority, at the federal level, to spend money to help the poor, no matter how much "the people" want it.

Please spare us the worn out and erroneous reference to "general welfare", which only applies to the enumerated powers, and not anything and everything those in government might wish to do.

"Now, can you explain whether it's okay to force someone to stop at a red light?"

It's OK if you own the road privately, but a road owned by "everyone" runs into a number of problems, as we have written before.

Ron H: "Rich people also want others to pay for the things they want."

Z: "Rich people have the vote too, and have more political influence than most other people. "

That's certainly true. So, democracy isn't really democratic is it?

Ron H: "Then you reject the principle of self ownership?"

Z: "Quite the contrary. If you don't consider yourself part of the people, feel free to exclude yourself. You still have to pay taxes, though. "

OK, we understand now: We own ourselves, but anything we produce through our own efforts and will isn't our property. Is that your position?

"As pointed out in the previous comment, a democracy is more than just the parliament, or even the parliament, judiciary and executive. Rather, it is all the institutions that make up a modern society, working at different levels, forming intertwining networks of power. This includes national and local governments, corporations, trade and labor organizations, political parties, interest groups, clubs, individual freedoms, treaties, etc."

Other than treaties, which are merely formal agreements between and among political entities, did you notice that all those institutions except national and local government, are voluntary*? As we wrote previously, you seem confused about the difference. We can join or un-join any of those, as we wish, except governments.

"The only only threat isn't government, though. Recently, corporations nearly collapsed the global economic system."

Did you miss the part about the "intertwining networks of power" between corporations and government that allowed corporations to act without consequence? Without the use of government power, corporations have little ability to threaten much of anything.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:16 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: King quoting Jefferson. He was dreaming of equality, not democracy, as you must know It's not clear why you would use this quote in support of democracy. Equality is more easily accommodated by an anarchy than a democracy.

King was advocating for laws barring discrimination in public accommodations. That means the force of law to make people serve people they may not want to serve.

Ron H: Then it appears that you reject the US Constitution as a framework for the rule of law, ...

Not at all. The U.S. Constitution is the bedrock of the rule of law—in the U.S.

Ron H: Instead, you seem to believe that rule of law should be whatever the majority says it is, given whatever is popular at the time.

Still.

No.

Democratic societies are much more than just majorities in the electorate or legislatures. Should we cut and paste it again? Will you read it this time, if we do?

As pointed out in the previous comment, a democracy is more than just the parliament, or even the parliament, judiciary and executive. Rather, it is all the institutions that make up a modern society, working at different levels, forming intertwining networks of power. This includes national and local governments, corporations, trade and labor organizations, political parties, interest groups, clubs, individual freedoms, treaties, etc.

Ron H: In our view a fundamental liberty is to be left in peace, to own ourselves and our property without aggression from others.

Property is one of the most complex areas of the law.

Ron H: It is laughable that you would mischaracterize Jefferson as a collectivist,

Strawman.

Ron H: And yes, taxation is theft.

Raising and spending of money to build roads and schools in a democratic society is not what most people would consider theft. You're not making an argument, but a lament.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:24 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: No argument? The argument has been presented numerous times on this blog, and you continue to miss it, perhaps because of its simplicity: Leave people alone to pursue their own peaceful interests. Everything else develops from that.

There's your confusion. That's not an argument. It's a statement of principle. You believe that the rule of law because it requires you to accommodate yourself to others against your will is tyranny. In order to make an argument, you have to find some common ground from which to build that argument.

Zachriel: Rather, you reject any law which requires you to accommodate yourself to the public, including something as simple as using public funds to build roads with traffic lights.

Ron H: You continue to fail to recognize the difference between voluntary accommodation, and being forced to do things against your will.

Nor does your inability to read constitute an argument. A law is a compulsion. You reject any law to which you don't personally agree. So if the government puts up a signal light, and passes a law that fines or imprisons you for ignoring, you consider that tyranny because you haven't given your personal acquiescence.

The social contract that most people understand is that they have the responsibility to pay taxes and obey the law, but have the right to representation and due process.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:35 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Zachriel: Democracies are capable of peaceful revolutions.

VangelV: Actually, they aren't.

The Civil Rights Movement remade not just the political structure of the United States, but its very cultural foundations.

Zachriel: Gee whiz. {Jefferson} believed in taxes. That means someone with a gun taking your property.

VangelV: Not exactly.

Taxes. That's exactly the term. It means taking money from people under compulsion.

Zachriel: You may consider it a quaint view, to the Enlightenment, "the people" was not a monochrome identity, but the natural community of persons.

VangelV: No. There was no natural community with common rights and goals.

It would help if you would keep track of the exact point so that we wouldn't have to copy the entire conversation. The question concerned how the Founders used the term, not what you think.

VangelV: What part of what I wrote do you have a problem with?

"you National Socialists".

VangelV: You argue for the National Socialist platform that would have government regulate and control private industry. You argue for government control of the economy. What do you think that makes you?

As we said it's a strawman. Not all regulation of private industry is Nazism. A simple example is a law outlawing racial discrimination in public accommodations. Another is outlawing child labor. Even if you think these laws are an overreach by government, advocating them doesn't make one a Nazi.

VangelV: If people argue as you do, that we do not own ourselves and that all our rights come from government there isn't much of an argument or room for compromise. Yours is the morality of slavery and mine is the morality of freedom.

Another grotesque misrepresentation of our position.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Indeed not! And it's hard to believe you have been reading with any sense of understanding."

We do the best we can to follow the tortured gyrations of logic necessary to reach the conclusions you reach. For instance, the following:

"We are drawing a very clear distinction between government and society. A democratic society is made up of many institutions, including governmental and private organizations. A democratic government alone is no guarantee of a democratic society."

Elsewhere you wrote:

"Rather, it is all the institutions that make up a modern society, working at different levels, forming intertwining networks of power". This includes national and local governments, corporations, trade and labor organizations, political parties, interest groups, clubs, individual freedoms, treaties, etc."

Surely you can see why we might be confused by your apparently contradictory statements.

Look, here's the thing: If we each own ourselves, and if we own the property we produce by our labor, then it is theft if you take our property. It is theft if you and a group of friends takes it from us, but you believe that if you and your friends designate a representative to take it from us, our property is really taxes, and we have no just claim to it. That makes our head spin.

To be consistent, you must reject our right to self ownership, our right to property, and claim instead, that we are part of a larger organism. Can you do all that?

 
At 11/13/2011 9:44 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: So, democracy isn't really democratic is it?

There is no perfect democracy for reasons we have repeated several times.

Ron H: OK, we understand now: We own ourselves, but anything we produce through our own efforts and will isn't our property. Is that your position?

Again, that is not our position. The right to property is an important safeguard of all human rights, but it is not an unlimited right. An ancient example is water rights. Just because you own the land upstream does mean you can take all the water and dump all your waste into the river.

Ron H: Other than treaties, which are merely formal agreements between and among political entities, did you notice that all those institutions except national and local government, are voluntary*?

In fact, wars of aggression and genocide are outlawed for everyone whether they sign a treaty or not. However, the international system is still very weak, and wars are still a frequent way of settling disputes.

Ron H: Without the use of government power, corporations have little ability to threaten much of anything.

A simple counterexample is a monopoly of an important resource, such as oil or rail.

 
At 11/13/2011 9:45 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

*Bump*

Ron H: And yes, taxation is theft.

 
At 11/13/2011 10:06 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The Civil Rights Movement remade not just the political structure of the United States, but its very cultural foundations.

The same people were in charge of the country after the Civil Rights Movement had its greatest success at destroying the black family as where in charge before.

Taxes. That's exactly the term. It means taking money from people under compulsion.

Your knowledge is very poor. The nation had few taxes in its early history. Up until 1802, the United States government was supported by taxes on goods like alcohol, refined sugar, tobacco, snuff, corporate bonds, and slaves. By 1817 Congress eliminated all internal taxes and relied on tariffs on imported goods to fund government operations. Income tax was not considered constitutional and the first income tax was introduced during the Lincoln's War of the South. That was dropped and was later deemed unconstitutional.

It would help if you would keep track of the exact point so that we wouldn't have to copy the entire conversation. The question concerned how the Founders used the term, not what you think.

You have already shown yourself to be clueless. Try reading the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. You might learn something.

As we said it's a strawman. Not all regulation of private industry is Nazism. A simple example is a law outlawing racial discrimination in public accommodations. Another is outlawing child labor. Even if you think these laws are an overreach by government, advocating them doesn't make one a Nazi.

You are advocating exactly the same things that the Italian Fascists did. Control of industry by a government bureaucracy and heavy regulations in all aspects of the production process. That may not make you a Nazi in the sense that you are thinking of but it does make you an advocate of National Socialism. That is what common national goals and rule by a political elite that follows those goals means.

VangelV: If people argue as you do, that we do not own ourselves and that all our rights come from government there isn't much of an argument or room for compromise. Yours is the morality of slavery and mine is the morality of freedom.

Zach: Another grotesque misrepresentation of our position.


How does it misrepresent your position. You argue that people do not really own themselves and what they earn belongs to the government. The government decides what they can take home after some is taken to fund some collectivist goals that have been determined by the majority.

 
At 11/14/2011 4:00 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "The social contract that most people understand is that they have the responsibility to pay taxes and obey the law, but have the right to representation and due process."

We're not sure why you didn't understand this when we wrote it before, but there - is - no - social - contract.

""All men are born free; liberty is a gift which they receive from God himself; nor can they alienate the same by consent, though possibly they may forfeit it by crimes. No man . . . can . . . give away the lives and liberties, religion or acquired property of his posterity, who will be born as free as he himself was born, and can never be bound by his wicked and ridiculous bargain." Cato letters

The notion of a social contract is statist device to justify the existence of government.

"A simple counterexample is a monopoly of an important resource, such as oil or rail."

You haven't provided an example of either one, because there aren't any. In fact, we don't believe you can provide an example of any monopoly that isn't maintained by government force.

Just to keep you from getting off track, let's agree that a monopoly must be natural, allow for no competition, and allow for no reasonable substitution.

"In fact, wars of aggression and genocide are outlawed for everyone whether they sign a treaty or not. However, the international system is still very weak, and wars are still a frequent way of settling disputes. "

Hmm...An interesting comment, but off topic. Let us ask again: did you notice that all those institutions except national and local government, are voluntary?

"King was advocating for laws barring discrimination in public accommodations. That means the force of law to make people serve people they may not want to serve.?

King was advocation for the repeal of state laws that made it illegal to serve some people, whether the server wanted to or not.

"Again, that is not our position. The right to property is an important safeguard of all human rights, but it is not an unlimited right. An ancient example is water rights. Just because you own the land upstream does mean you can take all the water and dump all your waste into the river."

Why do statists always drag in these old water rights examples when discussing property? Property rights don't only involve land. Suffice it to say that water rights have been well established since ancient times. Any property rights we otain through exchange, already exist in the current legitimate owner. Only if we are the first humans to homestead that particular piece of land that includes the river will your concern be worth discussing.

We are more concerned with property we acquire by transforming our labor, and perhaps our physical property into something else, a product perhaps. Would you consider that our property? If we exchange it for something else in a mutually agreeable exchange, is that something else now our property? At what point is it legitimate for another person or group of people to steal any part of it?

 
At 11/14/2011 8:21 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: The same people were in charge of the country after the Civil Rights Movement had its greatest success at destroying the black family as where in charge before.

Yes, we know. The Civil Rights Movement was a disaster for black people.

VangelV: The nation had few taxes in its early history.

It wasn't the size of the tea tax that enraged the colonists, but taxation of any sort without representation. If taxation itself is tyranny, then any tax is tyranny.

VangelV: You have already shown yourself to be clueless. Try reading the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. You might learn something.

Not an argument.

VangelV: That may not make you a Nazi in the sense that you are thinking of but it does make you an advocate of National Socialism.

National Socialism subjugated everything to the state, a position explicitly contrary to our oft-repeated position. As we said, you are engaged in black-and-white thinking, attacking strawmen, and using slur by association.

VangelV: You argue that people do not really own themselves and what they earn belongs to the government.

A grotesque mischaracterization of our position.

 
At 11/14/2011 8:21 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Zachriel: The social contract that most people understand is that they have the responsibility to pay taxes and obey the law, but have the right to representation and due process.

Ron H: We're not sure why you didn't understand this when we wrote it before, but there - is - no - social - contract.

We're not sure why you didn't understand this when we wrote it just now, but most people accept a social contract where they have the right to vote and to due process. Most people in democratic societies do see themselves as members of a democratic community, as imperfect as it may be.

Ron H: The notion of a social contract is statist device to justify the existence of government.

The Enlightenment view of the social contract is a fundamental pillar of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which specifically states that "the People" institute governments.

Ron H: You haven't provided an example of either one, because there aren't any.

Of course we did. For instance, by the late 19th century, Standard Oil controlled 90% of the oil in the U.S. They did so by buying up competitors and undercutting those who wouldn't sell.

Ron H: Just to keep you from getting off track, let's agree that a monopoly must be natural, allow for no competition, and allow for no reasonable substitution.

Do you really think in unregulated industrial markets, businesses will never control a crucial commodity? It's their job to win as much market share as possible.

Ron H: Hmm...An interesting comment, but off topic. Let us ask again: did you notice that all those institutions except national and local government, are voluntary?

The comment wasn't off-topic. In any case, international treaties bind not just countries, but individuals. Even you. Nearly all treaties require enabling legislation. Have you personally agreed to abide by the decisions of WHO? Or not to wage war?

Ron H: King was advocation for the repeal of state laws that made it illegal to serve some people, whether the server wanted to or not.

Huh? King advocated for strong federal legislation that forced private businesses to open their doors to blacks. That's a simple fact. You may not like his politics, but they were what they were.

Ron H: Why do statists always drag in these old water rights examples when discussing property?

They are examples that reveal the vacuity of simplistic libertarian notions of government.

Ron H: Property rights don't only involve land.

Of course, but any theory of property rights should be able to account for real property and water rights.

Ron H: Suffice it to say that water rights have been well established since ancient times.

Yes. Quite so. Land and water rights were fundamental to the establishment of the original governments.

Ron H: We are more concerned with property we acquire by transforming our labor, and perhaps our physical property into something else, a product perhaps. Would you consider that our property?

Of course, but again, any theory of property has to be able to account for land and water.

 
At 11/14/2011 8:21 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Zachriel: There's your confusion. That's not an argument.

Perhaps an example from the Declaration of Independence, which is in the form of a syllogism.

1. People have inherent rights.

This is not an argument, but a statement of principle. King George would say that such rights are trumped by their duty to their sovereign king. If you accept this premise, continue. If not, then you can ignore the rest of the argument.

2. People institute governments to protect those rights.

This is not an argument, but a statement of principle. King George III, would disagree, of course, believing rulers are ordained by God. If you accept this premise, continue. If not, then you can ignore the rest of the argument.

3. Prudence, i.e. when it is *reasonable* to overthrow existing governments. This is not an argument, but a statement of principle. It is a matter of balancing. The Founders claimed they were not wild-eyed radicals, but were disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable.

4. A long list of grievances against the King's government.

The Argument and Conclusion: Accepting the premises, and based on the long list of grievances, Independence is justified.

 
At 11/14/2011 8:44 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, we know. The Civil Rights Movement was a disaster for black people.

Along with the Great Society programs of the 1960s the Civil Rights Movement managed to destroy the black family, something that even slavery could not do. That does not mean that many blacks did not do well because those employed by the Civil Rights advocacy industry and the bureaucracy did all right. Most of them got fairly well paying dead-end jobs that required little in the way of skill or judgement or independent thought. They became dependents on the state and should be fine as long as the state does not run into funding problems.

It wasn't the size of the tea tax that enraged the colonists, but taxation of any sort without representation. If taxation itself is tyranny, then any tax is tyranny.

I totally agree. All taxes that are not voluntary are theft. Welcome to the light side.

Not an argument.

Correct. But when you have someone who is ignorant of the facts make the same old arguments over and over again asking that the ignorance is shed is legitimate.

National Socialism subjugated everything to the state, a position explicitly contrary to our oft-repeated position. As we said, you are engaged in black-and-white thinking, attacking strawmen, and using slur by association.

But when you subjugate economic liberty to the state what makes you think that you have any real liberty to be free? You have already argued that men are not free and that they get their rights from the state. That a majority can trample on those rights simply because it is a majority. That it can engage in theft by taxing whatever the majority wishes to tax to pay for whatever the majority wishes to fund, even if what is funding is something that the person paying the taxes wishes to see abolished. You are the one who is advocating some national collectivist goals that the individual must obey. Sorry but even you have to realize that you can't get closer to National Socialism than that.

A grotesque mischaracterization of our position.

Not at all. That is your position when you argue for collectivist goals and desires that are funded by taxing the labour of individuals that make up the collective. If men are free and own their own bodies than no majority has the right to take from them what is earned by those bodies by coercive means. They would be free to join any group or collective that forms naturally and free to leave when the goals of those groups or collectives no longer serve their needs. Activities would be voluntary, not coercive as you would have them be.

If you are going to advocate a totalitarian position at least be man enough and honest enough to examine the implications of your principles because they do matter in the real world in which we all live.

 
At 11/14/2011 8:51 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

We're not sure why you didn't understand this when we wrote it just now, but most people accept a social contract where they have the right to vote and to due process. Most people in democratic societies do see themselves as members of a democratic community, as imperfect as it may be.

If most people accept the idea that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole or the ideas that Jews are a danger to society that does not mean that all rational individuals in society should accept the ideas. Where exactly is the social contract that binds me or you to the collective? Show me the signatures that prove that I agreed to this contract.

The Enlightenment view of the social contract is a fundamental pillar of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which specifically states that "the People" institute governments.

Again you have no clue what you are talking about. Nobody can speak for 'the people' because there is no 'the people' except when referring to their humanity and their rights. And even on the last point those that said that they spoke for 'the people' forgot blacks, women, Jews, Muslims, and many other groups that did not belong to the "majority".

 
At 11/14/2011 10:58 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: Along with the Great Society programs of the 1960s the Civil Rights Movement managed to destroy the black family, something that even slavery could not do.

"An’ dey sole my ole man, an’ took him away, an’ dey begin to sell my chil’en an’ take dem away, an’ I begin to cry"
http://www.pbs.org/marktwain/learnmore/writings.html

VangelV: But when you subjugate economic liberty to the state what makes you think that you have any real liberty to be free?

Everything in the world is not black and white. Just because the U.S. government, in a bill signed by George Washington, imposed a tariff in 1789 doesn't make them Nazis.

VangelV: You have already argued that men are not free and that they get their rights from the state.

That is not our position. People are endowed with rights.

Zachriel: The Enlightenment view of the social contract is a fundamental pillar of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which specifically states that "the People" institute governments.

VangelV: Again you have no clue what you are talking about.

Note: Our statement concerned the Enlightenment view, so your disputation should concern how those thinkers used the term.

VangelV: Nobody can speak for 'the people' because there is no 'the people' except when referring to their humanity and their rights.

Our statement concerned the Enlightenment view, which is necessary to understanding how they used the term in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

Now, your point seems to be that the Founders didn't represent "the People," even though they were, for the large part, elected representatives of their respective communities. Yes, representative governance is an imperfect reflection of the population's views. As we mentioned above, African slaves come to mind.

 
At 11/14/2011 1:38 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangelV: Along with the Great Society programs of the 1960s the Civil Rights Movement managed to destroy the black family, something that even slavery could not do.

Zach: "An’ dey sole my ole man, an’ took him away, an’ dey begin to sell my chil’en an’ take dem away, an’ I begin to cry"
http://www.pbs.org/marktwain/learnmore/writings.html


I prefer sticking to the facts rather than telling stories. Funny how we have had this argument before, you were given the facts that destroyed your claims but you have drifted back to the same arguments again. In case you have a problem with your short term memory, here are the references again:

Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980

The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925

Everything in the world is not black and white. Just because the U.S. government, in a bill signed by George Washington, imposed a tariff in 1789 doesn't make them Nazis.

I never said that it did. While Washington was clearly a statist his beliefs are very different from the typical National Socialist. Unlike you, Washington never tried to argue for a collective goal or claimed that men are owned by their governments.

That is not our position. People are endowed with rights.

But if they are then they have every right to ignore the wishes of your imagined collective. People who do not want war will be able to refuse to serve. People who dislike drinking will not be able to impose restrictions on those who do. Once you recognize natural rights it is a very slippery slope for you and your justification of your national collective.

Note: Our statement concerned the Enlightenment view, so your disputation should concern how those thinkers used the term.

I understood what you wrote. You still have no idea what you are talking about because what you think you know is not so. The Decleration was largely built on the ideas that came from the Levellers. They began to be spread by men like John Lilburne and were further developed and advanced by John Locke, who was a major influence on the American founders. John Locke advocated natural rights of the individual. It was Rousseau, whose ideas the founders rightfully dismissed, advocated collective rights. As I said, you might try to get an education before you make claims that are not supported by the evidence.

Our statement concerned the Enlightenment view, which is necessary to understanding how they used the term in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.

Your ignorance is showing yet again. There is no single view. And as is typical, you picked up the wrong one. The founders rejected Rousseau. They agreed with Locke.

Please open up a book or two on the subject before you embarrass yourself yet again.

 
At 11/14/2011 1:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Now, your point seems to be that the Founders didn't represent "the People," even though they were, for the large part, elected representatives of their respective communities. Yes, representative governance is an imperfect reflection of the population's views. As we mentioned above, African slaves come to mind.

That is not the main point. My point was that the founders rejected the notion of collectivist rights in favour of individual rights. If you had read the Declaration you would have noticed the references to Locke and the rejection of Rousseau.

 
At 11/14/2011 3:32 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: I prefer sticking to the facts rather than telling stories. Funny how we have had this argument before, you were given the facts that destroyed your claims but you have drifted back to the same arguments again.

You didn't provide facts. You did wave your hands at a book, but did not support your contention. Some families remained intact through slavery. Others did not. And some families remained intact even during the upheaval following the end of Jim Crow. Turns out that Aunt Rachel reunited with Henry near the end of the Civil War.

VangelV: Unlike you, Washington never tried to argue for a collective goal or claimed that men are owned by their governments.

We corrected you several times on this. Are we to assume you have no intention of carrying on a rational discussion?

According to your previous statements, taxation is tyranny. Control of corporations to any degree is Nazism. Hence, it follows that Washington is a Nazi.

VangelV: The founders rejected Rousseau. They agreed with Locke.

They overthrew one government and instituted a new one.

VangelV: My point was that the founders rejected the notion of collectivist rights in favour of individual rights.

Don't know what you mean by "collectivist rights," but they did create a system where the representatives could create legislation and tax within certain limits.

 
At 11/14/2011 7:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Of course we did. For instance, by the late 19th century, Standard Oil controlled 90% of the oil in the U.S. They did so by buying up competitors and undercutting those who wouldn't sell."

You statists are so predictable! How did we guess you would use that example?

Your problem seems to be a poor understanding of what constitutes a monopoly. Even given guidelines, you have described the term incorrectly.

You have described successfully gaining market share through aggressive competition and shrewd business practices as monopolistic. You fail to take the following into account.

- Even with 90% of market share, there were hundreds of other oil producers and refiners in the industry, including Sun Oil, a major player, and many large international firms.

- Between 1869 and 1885 the price of refined oil dropped from $0.30.gal to $0.08/gal, while quality improved, and waste was greatly reduced as profitable new products were developed from it, including gasoline. Hardly what you would expect from a monopoly, unless you believe allowing customers to pay less is in some way unfair.

- There were few, if any barriers to entry in the business, except, of course, the stiff competition.

That seems to describe a healthy, robust market, not a monopoly,

Ron H: "Just to keep you from getting off track, let's agree that a monopoly must be natural, allow for no competition, and allow for no reasonable substitution."

Z: "Do you really think in unregulated industrial markets, businesses will never control a crucial commodity? It's their job to win as much market share as possible."

While it's possible, we know of no examples that don't involve government regulation. It is the job of EVERY player in a market to win as much market share as possible. That behavior is known as competition, not monopoly. One would have to wonder what advantage a single player would have, unless government regulations favor that player over its competition, forbids competition, or sets prices.

Z: "The comment wasn't off-topic. In any case, international treaties bind not just countries, but individuals. Even you. Nearly all treaties require enabling legislation. Have you personally agreed to abide by the decisions of WHO? Or not to wage war?"

That's certainly interesting, but we were asking if you noticed the voluntary nature of all the non-government institutions you mentioned.


Z: "They are examples that reveal the vacuity of simplistic libertarian notions of government."

They actually show that you familiar with the common statist arguments, but are unfamiliar with the principle of first ownership, which we alluded to in our comment. The fact is, that whatever rights, conditions, and restrictions exist now, due to prior agreements and transfers of various property rights, are what we will acquire when we acquire title to the property through exchange. We will have no right to use all the water or put our waste into the river, unless the current owner has those rights, or we are the first owner.

Ron H: "Property rights don't only involve land."

Z: "Of course, but any theory of property rights should be able to account for real property and water rights."

And the libertatian principles of first ownership and property rights as logical extensions of self ownership, do just that.

We weren't excluding land ownership, just marveling at the predictible statist leap to land ownership, when we were discussing other property rights.

 
At 11/14/2011 7:37 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Don't know what you mean by "collectivist rights," but they did create a system where the representatives could create legislation and tax within certain limits."

He may have meant those "collective rights" conferred by a "social contract".

 
At 11/14/2011 10:48 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You didn't provide facts. You did wave your hands at a book, but did not support your contention. Some families remained intact through slavery. Others did not. And some families remained intact even during the upheaval following the end of Jim Crow. Turns out that Aunt Rachel reunited with Henry near the end of the Civil War.

As I showed in the link that I provided to to a previous discussion I have provided the facts and given you references before.

The data clearly shows that black family formation collapsed after the Great Society programs that were supposed to help blacks were enacted. As Herbert Gutman showed in his great book, the Daniel Patrick Moynihan argument about black families was wrong. In the Charles Murray book (see Chapter 9) you see further confirmation. If you want to see specific trends look at Figure 9.1, the Charles Westoff quote, this table, Figure 9.3, and in many other places.

As I wrote before, your ignorance keeps showing over and over again. All you have for support for your positions is your faith and your old twisted narratives. And no matter how many times people point you to them, you refuse to look at the facts.

 
At 11/14/2011 11:14 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We corrected you several times on this. Are we to assume you have no intention of carrying on a rational discussion?

I do, but it is hard to have a rational discussion with someone who is ignorant, stupid, or both. It is very clear that you have no idea about what you are talking about. You refuse the individualist ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment, which were the foundation of the Declaration with Rousseau's collectivist mysticism.

And it is hard to argue with someone who does not understand or think about the difference between government and the State. I have time for the argument given by light-statists that claim that the intention of government is social and that it is based on the ideas of natural rights and interests of sovereign individuals. Government secures those natural rights by negative intervention. A clear line is drawn and its limit is respected. As Nock pointed out, the State is extremely anti-social. It does not agree that rights are natural and acquired by one's humanity. It only argues that rights are conferred by the State and only temporary. The police are not interested in justice and the legal system is very difficult and expensive to deal with. The state holds itself above justice and its agents are granted immunity when they harm individuals.

According to your previous statements, taxation is tyranny. Control of corporations to any degree is Nazism. Hence, it follows that Washington is a Nazi.

I said that taxation is theft. And there are many types of tyranny. The one that you prefer seems to be the Italian version of National Socialism.

 
At 11/14/2011 11:20 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

They overthrew one government and instituted a new one.

There is a difference between men creating a government to protect their natural rights and the State, which does not respect those rights. You are confused and believe them to be the same thing.

Don't know what you mean by "collectivist rights," but they did create a system where the representatives could create legislation and tax within certain limits.

I mean what you mean when you talk about a collective identity. I am saying that there isn't any. I am saying that the founders rejected the collectivist mysticism of Rousseau in favour of the natural right ideas and arguments that came from the Scottish Enlightenment.

Your ignorance of your own history and of political theory is your problem, not mine.

 
At 11/14/2011 11:27 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

He may have meant those "collective rights" conferred by a "social contract".

And the collective rights that must arise out of a collective identity. Our friend uses the words but does not wish to admit what they mean.

But our friend is also very useful here because he has to illustrate even to the hardened conservative or even minarchist that the only real logical and moral position is the anarchocapitalism that was advocated by people like Rothbard.

 
At 11/15/2011 5:18 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

V: "But our friend is also very useful here because he has to illustrate even to the hardened conservative or even minarchist that the only real logical and moral position is the anarchocapitalism that was advocated by people like Rothbard."

He has also done me the favor of directing me to reread some Rothbard, as it's been a long time, and some of it had became less clear under the constant daily barrage of collectivist ideas.

 
At 11/15/2011 6:08 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: Perhaps an example from the Declaration of Independence, which is in the form of a syllogism.

1. People have inherent rights.

This is not an argument, but a statement of principle. King George would say that such rights are trumped by their duty to their sovereign king. If you accept this premise, continue. If not, then you can ignore the rest of the argument.
"

We appreciate this excellent, and beautifully logical structure you have built. We can see that it will be immediately useful to us, in making a point.

If you don't mind, we will reword it slightly. Let us know what you think.

1. People have inalienable* rights.

This is not an argument, but a statement of principle. Zachriel would say that such rights are trumped by their duty to their social contract. If you accept this premise, continue. If not, then you can ignore the rest of the argument.

* although "inherent " is certainly correct, we prefer "inalienable", as the term connotes a greater permanence and inseperablity.

We can continue with this series of premises later if you wish.

In rereading some comments, we found the following.

Z: "A simple counterexample is a monopoly of an important resource, such as oil or rail.

We responded to your oil monopoly example, but not rail. Did you have a specific example of a rail monopoly you would like us to refute?

And this:

Ron H: "It is laughable that you would mischaracterize Jefferson as a collectivist,

Z: "Strawman."

Isn't it you who insists that Jefferson refered to The People as a group with common attributes and common wishes? "The People institute governments", or something like that?

 
At 11/15/2011 7:37 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron: - Even with 90% of market share, there were hundreds of other oil producers and refiners in the industry, including Sun Oil, a major player, and many large international firms.

The U.S. courts determined, and the Supreme Court upheld that Standard Oil was a monopoly. Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States.

Ron H: It is the job of EVERY player in a market to win as much market share as possible.

That's right.

Ron H: That behavior is known as competition, not monopoly.

Unless or until someone wins.

Ron H: That's certainly interesting, but we were asking if you noticed the voluntary nature of all the non-government institutions you mentioned.

It's not voluntary if your government makes agreements with other nations against your express permission.

Ron H: We will have no right to use all the water or put our waste into the river, unless the current owner has those rights, or we are the first owner.

In other words, you will continue to sidestep one of the most fundamental issues in property rights.

 
At 11/15/2011 7:56 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: As I showed in the link that I provided to to a previous discussion I have provided the facts and given you references before.

Yes, you provided a reference, and it doesn't provide the data you say it does.

VangelV: The data clearly shows that black family formation collapsed after the Great Society programs that were supposed to help blacks were enacted.

Not all black families collapsed. At most, only 25% of childbearing women were on welfare. Many, if not most, social scientists rejected Murray's research for his muddled use of data. Your own links to specific data shows only correlation, not causation.

Furthermore, though families often maintained ties during slavery, to compare that in any sense to the breakup of families in the modern world is ridiculous.

The Narrative of Bethany Veney,
A Slave Woman: The excitement of the last days - the fasting and the fear - had completely cowed and broken whatever of manhood, or even of brute courage, a slave might by any possibility be presumed at any time to be possessed of, and the last remains of these qualities in poor Jerry were gone. He mutely obeyed; and when, with an oath, McCoy commanded him to mount the horse behind him, he mutely seated himself there. McCoy then called to me to go to the house and bring Jerry's clothes. "Never," - I screamed back to him, - "never, not to save your miserable life." But Jerry said: "O Betty, 'tis no use. We can't help it." I knew this was so. I stifled my anger and my grief, brought his little bundle, into which I tucked a testament and catechism some one had given me, and shook hands "good-by" with him. So we parted forever, in this world.

VangelV: I said that taxation is theft.

So George Washington was a thief.

VangelV: There is a difference between men creating a government to protect their natural rights and the State, which does not respect those rights. You are confused and believe them to be the same thing.

You seem to be using a special definition of "the State." While a State is not just the government, but the entire political community, it doesn't necessarily imply not respecting rights. There are a number of states within the United States, for instance.

VangelV: I am saying that the founders rejected the collectivist mysticism of Rousseau in favour of the natural right ideas and arguments that came from the Scottish Enlightenment.

Yes, many rights are individual. Other rights are inherent in the People, such as the right of the People to peaceable assemble. However, regardless of that, the Founders still favored government that raised taxes, armies, passed laws, etc.

 
At 11/15/2011 8:01 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: This is not an argument, but a statement of principle. Zachriel would say that such rights are trumped by their duty to their social contract.

No, we would not. However, rights are not unlimited; for instance, yelling fire in a crowded building.

Ron H: although "inherent " is certainly correct, we prefer "inalienable", as the term connotes a greater permanence and inseperablity.

We chose "inherent" to comport with endowment and the Laws of Nature.

Ron H: "The People institute governments"

"whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government"

 
At 11/15/2011 8:51 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, you provided a reference, and it doesn't provide the data you say it does.

Of course it does. The Murray book is full of easily accessible charts and tables that give you the exact source of all of the data. The Gutman book uses data to destroy the arguments given by people like Moynihan, who relied on narrative and never seem to have attempted to actually look at the data. What is interesting is that you are doing exactly the same thing; you ignore the data because it exposes your ignorance and argues against your faith based positions. The cure for ignorance is study and an open mind. You seem to fail on both counts.

Not all black families collapsed. At most, only 25% of childbearing women were on welfare. Many, if not most, social scientists rejected Murray's research for his muddled use of data. Your own links to specific data shows only correlation, not causation.

No kidding Sherlock. Murray used data to show that the narratives coming from the 'social scientists' were not supported by any of the facts. When family households in which both parents were present dropped by 13% in 12 years and when around 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers and the number of illegitimate births has exploded there is a problem with your story.

And we can certainly see the trends before and after the Great Society programs. They clearly show a very distinct change that needs to be explained by something more than claiming that it is coincidence. By the way, it is not just blacks who were harmed. Low income whites were given exactly the same type of incentives and behaved just as poorly.

Furthermore, though families often maintained ties during slavery, to compare that in any sense to the breakup of families in the modern world is ridiculous.

Why? Slave owners did not care too much about black marriage or family formation. Yet, they could not do as much harm to the black family as the Great Society programs pushed by the progressives.

So George Washington was a thief.

All politicians who support taxation are thieves. And frankly, I have no idea why so many Americans are enamored by Washington. He was a pompous ass who was a very poor general with aristocratic tendencies and tried to Prussianize the American army. He wound up losing most of the battles that he ever led. He owned slaves. He took advantage of Jefferson's absence to lead the Federalist forces into the quite coup that did away with the Articles of Confederation and made the present State possible. If Americans need heroes there are much better examples than Washington.

You seem to be using a special definition of "the State." While a State is not just the government, but the entire political community, it doesn't necessarily imply not respecting rights. There are a number of states within the United States, for instance.

I use it as most libertarians would use it. Being ignorant of the term is not a problem because many of us do not know many things and can easily learn. The problem for you is your unwillingness or inability to learn very much. Try reading more carefully. And try reading more.

Yes, many rights are individual. Other rights are inherent in the People, such as the right of the People to peaceable assemble. However, regardless of that, the Founders still favored government that raised taxes, armies, passed laws, etc.

First, try reading about the Articles of Confederation. Second, the idea was to establish a government that would respect individual rights. That is not what you have. This is where the distinction between the State and government comes into play. And since you are confused, when we do talk about the American government in the present time, we do mean the State, not the American people, and certainly not the American individual.

 
At 11/15/2011 8:57 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

No, we would not. However, rights are not unlimited; for instance, yelling fire in a crowded building.

Of course you idiot. You can't yell fire in a theater because that is a violation of the property rights of the owner and his customers. (It has nothing to do with speech, which is also based on property rights.) You have no right to come into my home or my business and yell fire if there isn't one because you do not have permission from me, the owner of that property, to bother my family or my customers.

If you are going to try to argue, try to make a point that is logical.

"whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government"

Which ENDS you moron? If a government violates or fails to protect individual rights than the people can alter or abolish it. This does not mean that you should alter and abolish government TO VIOLATE those natural rights.

Will you ever learn how to read carefully? Or how to think logically? If you can't put together a more logical argument than my thirteen your old why should you ever have the right to vote when he doesn't have that right?

 
At 11/15/2011 9:18 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/15/2011 9:24 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/15/2011 9:25 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: The Murray book is full of easily accessible charts and tables that give you the exact source of all of the data.

Yes, the book has lots of data, but it doesn't address causation. There are multiple reasons for the breakup of the nuclear family. Though it affected black families disproportionately, it affected all families. Similarly, the extended family broke up earlier in the twentieth century.

VangelV: Murray used data to show that the narratives coming from the 'social scientists' were not supported by any of the facts.

Over the intervening years, Murray's book has not gained currency within his peer community. Indeed, it seems to only be popular within the libertarian and right-wing political communities.

VangelV: And we can certainly see the trends before and after the Great Society programs.

Yes, as your chart shows, the breakup of the family far exceeds the reach of welfare. Keep in mind, also, that being a single mother doesn't mean the father isn't there in some capacity, or that there isn't an extended family. Matriarchal ties remained strong during that period, and fathers were often involved.

VangelV: Yet, they could not do as much harm to the black family as the Great Society programs pushed by the progressives.

Yes, that's what you keep saying. Even if we ignore the Africans' arrival in America, children were sold from their mothers, and grandfathers were sold down river to be worked to death. It is certainly true that the slow pace of agrarian life meant that people could stay within communities for long periods of time. However, as the pace of events increased, that hold became more and more tenuous.

Nothing you have provided gives us any sense of the proportions involved. It ignores the role of men in the lives of single women, and ignores the terrible events that broke up families during the slave years.

 
At 11/15/2011 9:26 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: All politicians who support taxation are thieves.

Most people, then and now, consider Washington the father of the country.

VangelV: And frankly, I have no idea why so many Americans are enamored by Washington.

Because he surrendered power to a corrupt and self-involved legislature with the power to tax and enact legislation. Cincinnatus.

VangelV: I use it as most libertarians would use it.

But not most librarians. If you don't use a word with its standard meaning, you should define your usage and use scare-quotes.

VangelV: You can't yell fire in a theater because that is a violation of the property rights of the owner and his customers.

Maybe someone just likes to yell "Fire!" It's not his fault everyone runs in a panic.

VangelV: If you are going to try to argue, try to make a point that is logical.

Heh. It's a rather orthodox example.

You take a position that is on one of the most extreme wings of political thought. That's okay, but then you act as if it is a surprise that people disagree with you. They must be illogical, or ignorant, or a moron.

VangelV: Which ENDS ...?

As the Declaration says, to secure "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

VangelV: This does not mean that you should alter and abolish government TO VIOLATE those natural rights.

Of course not. But it does say government, and government requires taxes, if only to pay the janitor in the capitol building.

 
At 11/15/2011 10:59 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, the book has lots of data, but it doesn't address causation. There are multiple reasons for the breakup of the nuclear family. Though it affected black families disproportionately, it affected all families. Similarly, the extended family broke up earlier in the twentieth century.

But that is not what the data shows. It shows that American blacks are very different from other groups. For example, the Princeton study by Westoff makes it clear that, "To pit it in a dramatic perspective, the 1980 teenage fertility rate for U.S. blacks is the highest of all 32 populations examined here, at is is 37 percent higher than the next higher rate, for Arab Israelis. Even more vivid is a comparison of fertility rates for women under 18 years of age in 1979/1980, whereas the highest rate in the remaining popluations is 103 births per 1,000 (in Hungary)."

As Murray pointed out, once you account for marital status the numbers get much much worse because the second place group consists of mostly married young women. The table I cited, which used data from DHHS Pub. No. (PHS)82-1100, showed an 80% decline in the fertility of teenaged married black women it showed a 14% increase for single black women.

The data shows a material pivot point that affected the poor. That point took place in the 1660s at the time that the Great Society programs began to be implemented. It is no surprise that once young women found out that they could get money if the fathers of their kids were not around they chose to have them leave. And it is no surprise that once young men were told that they no longer had responsibility for the children they helped bring into this world they were happy to let the government take over.

Over the intervening years, Murray's book has not gained currency within his peer community. Indeed, it seems to only be popular within the libertarian and right-wing political communities.

But that is not true. First, Murray used government data to support his arguments. He did not make it up or use questionable sources. Second, I would expect those who get paid to spread the narrative and need government funding to stick to the official story. But Clinton certainly was paying attention when he was pushing his welfare reforms. He certainly gave plenty of speeches in which he brought up many of the same arguments that Murray gave without crediting someone who the professional advocacy community hated.

And I have yet to see any data that contradicts Gutman's conclusions about the black family during slavery. It clearly shows that the black family was a more widespread institution under slavery than it is now.

 
At 11/15/2011 11:02 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, as your chart shows, the breakup of the family far exceeds the reach of welfare.

I have no clue what this means. I doubt that you do either. Try to think and write more clearly. We all make errors due to sloppiness or haste but you seem to do it all the time. I suspect that it has to do with your inability to think clearly and your ignorance of much of the data that you need to discuss the subject in a reasonable manner.

Keep in mind, also, that being a single mother doesn't mean the father isn't there in some capacity, or that there isn't an extended family.

LOL. When a woman has four kids by four different men or when one man has 18 kids by 18 different women it is safe to assume that is what it means. Unmarried people who live together and share responsibility are counted as a family unit and do not get the benefits given to single mothers.

Matriarchal ties remained strong during that period, and fathers were often involved.

Not in that community. Fathers are usually not involved much, if at all. They are usually in trouble with the law, or very undependable due to poor education, poor work habits, low skills, and lousy personal choices. Antonio Cromartie had nine children with eight different women. Evander Holyfield wound up having eleven kids by a number of different women. Travis Henry wound up having eleven kids with ten women. Shawn Kemp officially has seven children with six different women but there are rumours of many more. The list goes on and on.

The fact is that young black men in some ways have the sexual habits of rock stars. They have many partners and have no regard with how many children they bring into this world because they don't have to look after those children because the government does. In fact, the government insists that they go away because it mostly pays single women who do not have a man bringing in cash to support their children.

Yes, that's what you keep saying. Even if we ignore the Africans' arrival in America, children were sold from their mothers, and grandfathers were sold down river to be worked to death. It is certainly true that the slow pace of agrarian life meant that people could stay within communities for long periods of time. However, as the pace of events increased, that hold became more and more tenuous.

I am not arguing in favour of slavery here. I simply point out that even under its harsh conditions the black family was a healthy institution. Men stayed with their wives and looked after their children. That is no longer the case because the Great Society managed to do what slavery could not; destroy the black family.

Nothing you have provided gives us any sense of the proportions involved. It ignores the role of men in the lives of single women, and ignores the terrible events that broke up families during the slave years.

Of course it does. That is what x out of 1,000 means. It is a proportion. Your ignorance is showing again.

 
At 11/15/2011 11:20 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Most people, then and now, consider Washington the father of the country.

That is what government schools and court historians do. They perpetuate the mythology that supports the state. But history tells us otherwise. Washington was not nearly the man that children are taught. He did lie. He was a vindictive and jealous SOB who was not a very competent general and an elitist who loved aristocratic pomp. His greatest success came when the Continental Army fought using guerrilla tactics instead of as the regular army as he wished it to fight.

Because he surrendered power to a corrupt and self-involved legislature with the power to tax and enact legislation. Cincinnatus.

Another myth. Americans would not have permitted Washington to try and become king. He did not surrender power. By doing away with the Articles of Confederation when Jefferson was away and others were not paying attention he orchestrated a coup that has created an office that has far more power than a king ever could have.

But not most librarians. If you don't use a word with its standard meaning, you should define your usage and use scare-quotes.

Actually, most educated people know what is meant by the term. The fact that you have no clue and cannot follow anything but the most superficial argument is not surprising because you have yet to show any knowledge of the things that we discuss and any ability to think clearly.

Maybe someone just likes to yell "Fire!" It's not his fault everyone runs in a panic.

Actually, yes it is. You cannot violate the property rights of the owner just because you like to yell.

Heh. It's a rather orthodox example.

But it isn't a good example. As I pointed out, yelling fire has nothing to do with the right to free speech because you have no such right on other people's property without their permission. My refutation is not novel or original. It is common knowledge by educated people who understand the issue. The fact that you are not familiar with the argument simply tells us that you have yet to get an education that would allow you the ability to have sound judgment.

You take a position that is on one of the most extreme wings of political thought. That's okay, but then you act as if it is a surprise that people disagree with you. They must be illogical, or ignorant, or a moron.

There is nothing extreme about favouring liberty to serfdom. In fact, most people agree on most of my specific positions. Where they go wrong is the need for government to plan and run society. But given their poor education I don't blame them for not having the knowledge they need to see the world as it is.

As the Declaration says, to secure "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Correct. You have government to protect those rights. But you argue for government that violates those rights. See your problem?

Of course not. But it does say government, and government requires taxes, if only to pay the janitor in the capitol building.

There are many ways to have people pay for government voluntarily. An income tax is not one of them. Neither is a capital gains tax. An inheritance tax. A tax on dividends. Etc. Etc. Etc. Remember that when the founders spoke of government they did not mean the State, which is what you mean by government.

Read the Anti-Federalist/Federalist debates and learn. Your position is definitely as far away from either side as you can get. Mine isn't.

 
At 11/15/2011 1:43 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: It shows that American blacks are very different from other groups.

Actually, the data you provided shows that black out-of-wedlock births were already multiples of other groups, and that they all increased during the period. Yes, African American out-of-wedlock births skyrocketed during the period, but this doesn't show causation. Various studies have shown that people who have lower educational and job aspirations and expectations are more likely to get pregnant before marriage.

VangelV: It clearly shows that the black family was a more widespread institution under slavery than it is now.

Do you mean marriage? Because there are plenty of black families. Even single mothers with children are still families. Single mothers with a father who visits on weekends and a grandmother who helps is a family.

Zachriel: Yes, as your chart shows, the breakup of the family far exceeds the reach of welfare.

VangelV: I have no clue what this means.

We've mentioned it several times. At its peak, only 25% of black women of childbearing age were on welfare. Government supports may arguably be a contributing cause of the 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate, but can't be the only explanation.

VangelV: Unmarried people who live together and share responsibility are counted as a family unit and do not get the benefits given to single mothers.

Of the 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate, some were couples living together unmarried, some fathers were living apart, but still a part of their children's lives, some were single mothers but with support of their extended families, still others were single mothers subsisting on welfare with no outside support.

 
At 11/15/2011 1:43 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Zachriel: Matriarchal ties remained strong during that period, and fathers were often involved.

VangelV: Not in that community.

Gross overgeneralization. Have you ever even met a black person before?

VangelV: Evander Holyfield

Yes, Holyfield had lots of children because of LBJ.

VangelV: The fact is that young black men in some ways have the sexual habits of rock stars.

Sigh.

VangelV: I am not arguing in favour of slavery here. I simply point out that even under its harsh conditions the black family was a healthy institution.

"So we parted forever, in this world."

VangelV: Washington was not nearly the man that children are taught. He did lie. He was a vindictive and jealous SOB who was not a very competent general and an elitist who loved aristocratic pomp.

So? That's not nearly as bad as being a slaveowner—which he was.

VangelV: {Washington} did not surrender power.

Of course he did. More than once Washington had reasonable opportunity to seize power.

VangelV: Actually, most educated people know what is meant by the term.

Merriam Webster: a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory.

Concise Oxford: an organised political community, living under a government.

Britannica: political organization of society, or the body politic, or, more narrowly, the institutions of government.

The term does imply a body of laws that make up civil society. It doesn't imply the trampling of what most people would consider their rights.

VangelV: There is nothing extreme about favouring liberty to serfdom.

Black and white thinking.

VangelV: You have government to protect those rights. But you argue for government that violates those rights.

The U.S. Constitution.

VangelV: You cannot violate the property rights of the owner just because you like to yell.

Presumably, everyone signs the "Do no yell 'Fire!' unless there's a fire" pledge when they buy a theater ticket. The situation is the same for a crowded capitol building. Or are there no public spaces whatsoever?

 
At 11/15/2011 3:36 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Heh. It's a rather orthodox example."

Yes, it's the orthodox example used by statists to show that rights, in this case speech, are not unlimited, but as has been explained to you, it isn't a speech issue, but a property rights issue. If you are unclear on this, please ask, and we will provide references.

"The U.S. courts determined, and the Supreme Court upheld that Standard Oil was a monopoly. Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States. "

Oh my! As we suspected, you have been unable to support your position without invoking government. "It's a monopoly because we say it is."

The fact that competitors, not customers of Standard oil were the ones complaining, should tell you what you need to know about this.

You shouldn't be surprised that the SCOTUS has reached many incorrect decisions, based on political considerations rather than correct interpretation of the law. This is to be expected when the court isn't truly independent.

Two of the more glaring examples would be Gonzales v Raich, and Wickard v Filburn.

Of note is that both of these rely on tortured misreading of the much overworked Commerce Clause being used to invade the rights of individuals engaged on private activity on their own property.

In any case, Standard Oil in no way acted as one would expect of a monopoly, except for having a large market share. Standard never had the ability to impose higher prices, something we would expect of a true monopoly, without threat of greater competition from rivals.

It is of note that from a small beginning, Standard Oil was a major destroyer of the US whaling industry, and has thereby done more to save the whales than Greenpeace can ever hope to do.

 
At 11/15/2011 4:10 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Ron H: "That behavior is known as competition, not monopoly."

"Unless or until someone wins."

What At which point you would be correct, if you mean by winning that the one firm had the ability control the entire market, and to raise prices to any level without attracting competition.

In your example, however, that was not the case.

"Over the intervening years, Murray's book has not gained currency within his peer community."

Reference please.

"Indeed, it seems to only be popular within the libertarian and right-wing political communities. "

Well, it's certainly understandable that it wouldn't be popular with progressives, who would have to admit that one of their major accomplishments had been a total disaster.

Have you, in fact, read Murrays book so that we know your judgments are valid?

 
At 11/15/2011 4:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Actually, the data you provided shows that black out-of-wedlock births were already multiples of other groups, and that they all increased during the period. Yes, African American out-of-wedlock births skyrocketed during the period, but this doesn't show causation. Various studies have shown that people who have lower educational and job aspirations and expectations are more likely to get pregnant before marriage.

You are looking at the wrong data. The graph that I cited only looks at illegitimate rates between blacks and whites. It shows that black illegitimate rates exploded after the Welfare legislation was passed until it got to 70% of all births, which is close to where we are now. But the fertility data that I provided came from the Westoff study at Princeton, which looked at 32 populations in the developed world. It showed that American blacks were at an extreme unrivaled by any group. And that included young women in other countries who typically married young.

 
At 11/15/2011 4:22 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Do you mean marriage? Because there are plenty of black families. Even single mothers with children are still families. Single mothers with a father who visits on weekends and a grandmother who helps is a family.

Yes. I mean families with both parents being with the kids. There is no way to spin the tragedy in the black community. Below is Walter Williams' view on the issue. He also uses Gutman as a source.

"What about the decline of the black family? In 1960, only 28 percent of black females between the ages of 15 and 44 were never married. Today, it's 56 percent. In 1940, the illegitimacy rate among blacks was 19 percent, in 1960, 22 percent, and today, it's 70 percent. Some argue that the state of the black family is the result of the legacy of slavery, discrimination and poverty. That has to be nonsense. A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of black families were nuclear families, comprised of two parents and children. In New York City in 1925, 85 percent of kin-related black households had two parents. In fact, according to Herbert Gutman in "The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom: 1750-1925," "Five in six children under the age of 6 lived with both parents." Therefore, if one argues that what we see today is a result of a legacy of slavery, discrimination and poverty, what's the explanation for stronger black families at a time much closer to slavery — a time of much greater discrimination and of much greater poverty? I think that a good part of the answer is there were no welfare and Great Society programs."

 
At 11/15/2011 4:36 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We've mentioned it several times. At its peak, only 25% of black women of childbearing age were on welfare. Government supports may arguably be a contributing cause of the 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate, but can't be the only explanation.

First, since I showed my references please provide yours.

Second, it is very possible that black women on welfare have many more kids than black women not on welfare. The data that I provided showed a major decline in the fertility rate of married black women while the fertility rate of single women exploded.

Third, given the fact that one in seven Americans get food stamps I doubt that you are looking at all of the data that shows how much support single black women get from the sate.

Forth, you might want to look at other places. On that front Sweden comes to mind because more than 50% of kids are illegitimate thanks to the state taking over the role of provider for children.

 
At 11/15/2011 7:01 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: The graph that I cited only looks at illegitimate rates between blacks and whites.

Yes, and it shows that black illegitimacy rates were multiples of whites, then both increased rapidly over the period, following the same curve, though blacks starting and ending higher.

We've mentioned it several times. At its peak, only 25% of black women of childbearing age were on welfare. Government supports may arguably be a contributing cause of the 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate, but can't be the only explanation.

 
At 11/15/2011 7:08 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: As we suspected, you have been unable to support your position without invoking government. "It's a monopoly because we say it is."

That's funny. Yes, the courts can be wrong. They're people too.

As we mentioned above it is impossible to argue fundamental values. You have a position that puts you in a tiny minority, because the vast majority of people realize that if your views were put into effect, they would be disastrous.

 
At 11/15/2011 7:18 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Zachriel: We've mentioned it several times. At its peak, only 25% of black women of childbearing age were on welfare. Government supports may arguably be a contributing cause of the 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate, but can't be the only explanation.

VangelV: First, since I showed my references please provide yours. Second, it is very possible that black women on welfare have many more kids than black women not on welfare.

"About 1 in 4 Black mothers of childbearing ages (1.5 million) were AFDC recipients, higher than the 7 percent of corresponding White mothers (2.1 million). Despite these differences in recipiency rates, Black AFDC mothers did not have significantly more children than their White counterparts."
http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/statbriefs/sb2-95.html

VangelV: Second, it is very possible that black women on welfare have many more kids than black women not on welfare.

Some.

"Mothers on AFDC had an average of 2.6 children each; non-AFDC mothers averaged 2.1."
http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/statbriefs/sb2-95.html

 
At 11/15/2011 9:46 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Of the 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate, some were couples living together unmarried, some fathers were living apart, but still a part of their children's lives, some were single mothers but with support of their extended families, still others were single mothers subsisting on welfare with no outside support.

You are making up a narrative that runs counter to the data. Many women have so many partners that they do not know who the parent of their child is. Many who do know have problems because the fathers are violent, undependable, or in jail. The government certainly does not want them around because it cuts off aid for women whose partners stick around.

Gross overgeneralization. Have you ever even met a black person before?

Yes I have. And I have looked at the literature. The real world is a lot closer to what I have described than to what you are talking about. When young men have sex with many different women and get more than one of them pregnant they do not hang around to look after the kids.

Yes, Holyfield had lots of children because of LBJ.

No. The women he got pregnant did so because they did not have to have a husband around to look after their kids. The role of daddy has gone to the Welfare State.

VangelV: I am not arguing in favour of slavery here. I simply point out that even under its harsh conditions the black family was a healthy institution.

Zach: "So we parted forever, in this world."


You still resort to anecdote but can't deal with the data. Gutman showed that a higher proportion of black children lived with both parents under slavery and just after slavery than they do now. Not exactly a big victory for the Great Society.

 
At 11/15/2011 10:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

So? That's not nearly as bad as being a slaveowner—which he was.

Yes he was.

Of course he did. More than once Washington had reasonable opportunity to seize power.

That is not true. The army was made up of volunteers and even Washington and Steuben could not Prussianize the army quickly enough to allow him to take power. As is typical in any state, there are a lot of myths about the leaders to keep the little people worshiping them. The myths about Washington are no different.

Merriam Webster: a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory.

I prefer a better and comprehensive definition. As Rothbard wrote, "Let me say from the beginning that I define the state as that institution which possesses one or both (almost always both) of the following properties: (1) it acquires its income by the physical coercion known as "taxation"; and (2) it asserts and usually obtains a coerced monopoly of the provision of defense service (police and courts) over a given territorial area."

Using this more complete definition we see that the modern US fits the definition perfectly. So does every other nation on the planet that imposes taxes by the use of force and has a monopoly on the courts and protection services.

This is distinguished from a voluntary system in which people form an unobtrusive government to protect their rights, there is no monopoly over the courts and protection, and taxation is voluntary.

Black and white thinking.

No. Freedom versus serfdom.

The U.S. Constitution.

That is not an answer. Even as flawed as the Constitution is when compared to the Articles of Confederation it still was worded clearly enough to ensure that rights are protected. But you support a government that treats the Constitution as just a piece of paper and tramples on the rights of individuals as it pursues collectivist goals.

Presumably, everyone signs the "Do no yell 'Fire!' unless there's a fire" pledge when they buy a theater ticket. The situation is the same for a crowded capitol building. Or are there no public spaces whatsoever?

Not at all. What they are not permitted to do is infinite and there is no contract that could cover all of the obligations that customers have to the owners and other customers. As I said, you have no right to enter a private business or private property of any kind and do what you want unless you have permission from the owners.

Even someone as ignorant as you should be able to see that.

 
At 11/15/2011 10:13 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Have you, in fact, read Murrays book so that we know your judgments are valid?

His postings made it clear that he hadn't. He was unaware that Murray used real data rather than narrative and that he covered his concerns in Chapter 9 of his book.

 
At 11/15/2011 10:15 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, and it shows that black illegitimacy rates were multiples of whites, then both increased rapidly over the period, following the same curve, though blacks starting and ending higher.

When incentive is provided to get paid by having kids both poor whites and poor blacks take advantage of it. And when the subsidies and transfer payments are high enough the middle class blacks and whites also change their behaviour.

To see that this is not just a black issue and a welfare state issue look at Swedish women.

We've mentioned it several times. At its peak, only 25% of black women of childbearing age were on welfare. Government supports may arguably be a contributing cause of the 70% out-of-wedlock birthrate, but can't be the only explanation.

It is the primary explanation. A decline in the role of the church in society helps but without the incentives the behaviour would not change.

 
At 11/16/2011 7:55 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: It is the primary explanation.

Perhaps, but you haven't explained how a 25% welfare rate translates into a 70% illegitimacy rate.

As we pointed out to Ron H., you have a position of black-and-white thinking on the far extreme of most people. You hold certain precepts that are rejected by the vast majority. There is no arguing fundamental values. The best you can do is show the implications of those values.

 
At 11/16/2011 9:25 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Perhaps, but you haven't explained how a 25% welfare rate translates into a 70% illegitimacy rate.

You have yet to show that the 25% does not account for far more than 25% of the illegitimacy rate. And you have yet to show that your 25% figure is accurate when it comes to other free services that are provided by government. For example, how many of the 70% of illegitimate kids do not have access to food stamps, free school lunch programs, free health care, etc.

All you do is grasp at straws by making one claim that you have yet to support with a citation to actual data. That is not the case with my argument. I provided you with enough information and links to the original data issued by the US government. If you actually read carefully you will even be able to find the pages and tables that the data came from in the original government publication. That is very different than making an unsupported claim that can't be traced to the original data.

 
At 11/16/2011 9:29 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

As we pointed out to Ron H., you have a position of black-and-white thinking on the far extreme of most people. You hold certain precepts that are rejected by the vast majority. There is no arguing fundamental values. The best you can do is show the implications of those values.

There is nothing about supporting freedom that is extreme. People gave their lives so that individual liberty would be protected. I see no way that a compromise that leads to slavery is a good idea because that compromise would betray their principles and ours. Of course we know that someone like you, whose principles are anti-individual and pro-collective cannot understand why someone would not compromise so that you can reach your ideal society where the State runs every aspect of our lives and there is no individual liberty permitted unless one acts in line to the prescribed goals of the collective.

 
At 11/16/2011 10:47 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: You have yet to show that the 25% does not account for far more than 25% of the illegitimacy rate.

You're the one making the claim. Our position is that correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation, and there is sufficient difference between 25% and 70% to suggest multiple causes.

As for slavery. When slaves were first brought to America, tribes and families were immediately broken up. It wasn't until the 18th century that slaves even consituted a self-renewing population, as most died before having children, or without ever forming basic family units.

A confusion on your part is your understanding of the family unit, which is colored by modern notions of the nuclear family. While most slave families included a man and woman, the man was not necessarily the father of the woman's children. Even when coupled (marriage was for the most part not legally recognized), men often lived apart from their wives, and economic necessities were primarily provided by the slaveowner, not the father. Children were often raised communally.

Even after slavery, the black family was often under great stress. In 1910, black mothers with children were three times more likely to be single. On the other hand, grandmother relationships tend to be stronger, consistent with the traditional extended family.

"Family Structures," Encyclopedia of American Social History

VangelV: For example, how many of the 70% of illegitimate kids do not have access to food stamps, free school lunch programs, free health care, etc.

Those programs don't incentivize single motherhood, and are available to couples.

VangelV: There is nothing about supporting freedom that is extreme.

When your concept of "supporting freedom" means that any taxation is theft, it means that democratic republics, i.e. taxation with representation, even with safeguards for individual rights, are tyrannical. When you say that such governments are variations of Nazism, that is a position on the extreme edge of human discourse.

VangelV: Of course we know that someone like you, whose principles are anti-individual and pro-collective cannot understand why someone would not compromise so that you can reach your ideal society where the State runs every aspect of our lives and there is no individual liberty permitted unless one acts in line to the prescribed goals of the collective.

Of course, you have to finish with a misrepresentation of our position. We find that liberty is best preserved by a careful balance between individual liberties and public necessities. Such a balancing can be unstable, and there is no doubt that freedom is not guaranteed, but there is no freedom in the extremes.

 
At 11/16/2011 3:30 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You're the one making the claim. Our position is that correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation, and there is sufficient difference between 25% and 70% to suggest multiple causes.

Actually, you are the one who claims the 25% without providing any support for the number. Please cite the data that shows how much support single black female mothers get to raise their kids. Include direct welfare payments, free lunch programs, food stamps, Medicare, and other support programs. I imagine that if you looked you will find that your 25% is much higher.

My claim is actually very simple. I claim that the data shows that the illegitimacy rates exploded after the Great Society programs became law. I claim that Gutman shows that the Welfare State did what slavery could not; destroy the black family unit as an institution.

I do not claim that this is a 'black thing.' Poor whites who were freed of the responsibility of providing after their children also took part in the illegitimate baby boom. I am not even saying that it is a poor American thing because as I have pointed out above, Sweden has the same problem thanks to its replacement of the father by the state.

And I also claim that when the state takes over the role of the father some of the social stigma that used to keep unmarried teen pregnancies under control goes away because the community and extended family is no longer burdened by having to do what the father could not.

 
At 11/16/2011 3:49 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: Actually, you are the one who claims the 25% without providing any support for the number.

We cited the U.S. Census. Notably, you ignored the rest of our argument.

 
At 11/16/2011 3:56 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

As for slavery. When slaves were first brought to America, tribes and families were immediately broken up. It wasn't until the 18th century that slaves even consituted a self-renewing population, as most died before having children, or without ever forming basic family units.

Nice narrative except for the fact that the data shows that more black children were born with both parents being in the household (and married) under slavery than today. As Walter Williams wrote in the article cited above, "if one argues that what we see today is a result of a legacy of slavery, discrimination and poverty, what's the explanation for stronger black families at a time much closer to slavery — a time of much greater discrimination and of much greater poverty? I think that a good part of the answer is there were no welfare and Great Society programs."

A confusion on your part is your understanding of the family unit, which is colored by modern notions of the nuclear family. While most slave families included a man and woman, the man was not necessarily the father of the woman's children. Even when coupled (marriage was for the most part not legally recognized), men often lived apart from their wives, and economic necessities were primarily provided by the slaveowner, not the father. Children were often raised communally.

There you go again. I give you the data and you try to spin a narrative by telling stories. In Herbert Gutman's book, "The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom: 1750-1925," we find that "Five in six children under the age of 6 lived with both parents." If you look at the data today you find that during the past few decades that number has fallen to two in six children.

Even after slavery, the black family was often under great stress. In 1910, black mothers with children were three times more likely to be single. On the other hand, grandmother relationships tend to be stronger, consistent with the traditional extended family.

That is not what the data shows. I cite Williams again who goes to the data to find the real answers as opposed to the narrative. He wrote, "In 1960, only 28 percent of black females between the ages of 15 and 44 were never married. Today, it's 56 percent. In 1940, the illegitimacy rate among blacks was 19 percent, in 1960, 22 percent, and today, it's 70 percent. Some argue that the state of the black family is the result of the legacy of slavery, discrimination and poverty. That has to be nonsense. A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of black families were nuclear families, comprised of two parents and children. In New York City in 1925, 85 percent of kin-related black households had two parents. In fact, according to Herbert Gutman in "The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom: 1750-1925," "Five in six children under the age of 6 lived with both parents." Therefore, if one argues that what we see today is a result of a legacy of slavery, discrimination and poverty, what's the explanation for stronger black families at a time much closer to slavery — a time of much greater discrimination and of much greater poverty? I think that a good part of the answer is there were no welfare and Great Society programs."

Again you ignore the data and try to spin stories to support your faith based beliefs.

 
At 11/16/2011 4:11 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Those programs don't incentivize single motherhood, and are available to couples.

All programs that help you raise children without a father add to the probability of having more single mothers raising kids. Look to Sweden as a great example of how this works.

When your concept of "supporting freedom" means that any taxation is theft, it means that democratic republics, i.e. taxation with representation, even with safeguards for individual rights, are tyrannical. When you say that such governments are variations of Nazism, that is a position on the extreme edge of human discourse.

On this topic I prefer to let the great Lysander Spooner make the argument for me by quoting sections of his great book, No Treason. Spooner writes:

"No middle ground is possible on this subject. Either "taxation without consent is robbery," or it is not. If it is not, then any number of men, who choose, may at any time associate; call themselves a government; assume absolute authority over all weaker than themselves; plunder them at will; and kill them if they resist. If, on the other hand, taxation without consent is robbery, it necessarily follows that every man who has not consented to be taxed, has the same natural right to defend his property against a taxgatherer, that he has to defend it against a highwayman.

Not bad but it gets a lot better as Spooner points out how bad the government really is.

"What substitute for their consent is offered to the weaker party, whose rights are thus annihilated, struck out of existence, [*16] by the stronger? Only this: Their consent is presumed! That is, these usurpers condescendingly and graciously presume that those whom they enslave, consent to surrender their all of life, liberty, and property into the hands of those who thus usurp dominion over them! And it is pretended that this presumption of their consent --- when no actual consent has been given --- is sufficient to save the rights of the victims, and to justify the usurpers! As well might the highwayman pretend to justify himself by presuming that the traveller consents to part with his money. As well might the assassin justify himself by simply presuming that his victim consents to part with his life. As well the holder of chattel slaves to himself by presuming that they consent to his authority, and to the whips and the robbery which he practises upon them. The presumption is simply a presumption that the weaker party consent to be slaves.

Such is the presumption on which alone our government relies to justify the power it maintains over its unwilling subjects. And it was to establish that presumption as the inexorable and perpetual law of this country, that so much money and blood have been expended."


I left out my favourite Spooner missive against taxation. Due to space constraints you can find that in the next posting below.

 
At 11/16/2011 4:16 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

When your concept of "supporting freedom" means that any taxation is theft, it means that democratic republics, i.e. taxation with representation, even with safeguards for individual rights, are tyrannical. When you say that such governments are variations of Nazism, that is a position on the extreme edge of human discourse.

Continued...

Things are not as you claim them to be. The best arguments are still those of Lysander Spooner, particularly in his text, No Treason.

"The payment of taxes, being compulsory, of course furnishes no evidence that any one voluntarily supports the Constitution.

1. It is true that the theory of our Constitution is, that all taxes are paid voluntarily; that our government is a mutual insurance company, voluntarily entered into by the people with each other; that that each man makes a free and purely voluntary contract with all others who are parties to the Constitution, to pay so much money for so much protection, the same as he does with any other insurance company; and that he is just as free not to be protected, and not to pay tax, as he is to pay a tax, and be protected.

But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: Your money, or your life." And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol [*13] to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a "protector," and that he takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to "protect" those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords you. He does not keep "protecting" you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

The proceedings of those robbers and murderers, who call themselves "the government," are directly the opposite of these of the single highwayman."


Whatever happened to Americans? How was it that they managed to transform themselves from hard-working, freedom-loving individualists to lazy and disinterested serfs? How is it that we get cowardly people like you to shamelessly proclaim that they support tyranny and serfdom and argue that those that stand for freedom are extremists?

 
At 11/16/2011 4:23 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Of course, you have to finish with a misrepresentation of our position. We find that liberty is best preserved by a careful balance between individual liberties and public necessities.

Back to Spooner again. As he pointed out, "Either "taxation without consent is robbery," or it is not." You point out that it clearly cannot be theft. That means that any group of men can get together and form the government. they can use the monopoly power of the state to plunder the minority who are not in power and kill them if necessary.

Does this mean that taxation might be theft but it is justified theft? Because if you do make that claim then one can, as Spooner does, argue that men would have the right to take up arms and protect themselves and their property from the looters who try to steal from them.

Such a balancing can be unstable, and there is no doubt that freedom is not guaranteed, but there is no freedom in the extremes.

No. What is unstable is not believing in principles and blowing with the wind depending on what a majority or the looters who are in power want. Rational and brave men have to stand on principle many times. Cowards like you are in no position to call them extremists because they reject your relativism.

 
At 11/16/2011 4:57 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: Nice narrative except for the fact that the data shows that more black children were born with both parents being in the household (and married) under slavery than today.

Can't imagine you could have missed the point so completely.

VangelV: I give you the data and you try to spin a narrative by telling stories.

We cited the Encyclopedia of American Social History.

VangelV: I cite Williams again who goes to the data to find the real answers as opposed to the narrative.

None of which calls into question the statistic we cited.

VangelV: All programs that help you raise children without a father add to the probability of having more single mothers raising kids.

Slaveowners provided the necessities, not fathers. There's obviously something wrong with your analysis.

VangelV: Either "taxation without consent is robbery," or it is not.

False premise, and a clear case black-and-white thinking. Taxation may be robbery in some circumstances, and not in others. The foundation of republican government is taxation with representation.

 
At 11/16/2011 9:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We cited the U.S. Census. Notably, you ignored the rest of our argument.

Did you? Please provide the supporting data as I have done.

I seem to be looking at reports that cast doubt on your claims.

Nearly six of 10 children living with only their mother were near (or below) the poverty line. About 45 percent of children raised by divorced mothers and 69 percent of those raised by never-married mothers lived in or near poverty. If six out of ten kids living only with their mom were near or below the poverty line you can bet that once you take out white single women that number goes up much higher. Those women are eligible for many programs including food stamps, TANF, Medicaid, WIC, and various housing programs. I am not even counting child care payments, state housing allowance, local and state child care services, etc.

I think that once you found yourself in a bind facing data that showed that your view had little merit you came up with a number that conveniently is too narrow to show just how wrong your position is.

 
At 11/16/2011 9:48 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Can't imagine you could have missed the point so completely.

The point is very clear. The Great Society programs did what slavery and racism could not; destroy the black family as a sound institution.

We cited the Encyclopedia of American Social History.

You did not cite any data. There are many claims made by many people. They don't mean much unless the numbers support them.

Slaveowners provided the necessities, not fathers. There's obviously something wrong with your analysis.

Nonsense. Fathers earned what their families were given. Slave owners did not provide charity.

False premise, and a clear case black-and-white thinking. Taxation may be robbery in some circumstances, and not in others. The foundation of republican government is taxation with representation.

Nonsense on stilts again. Just when is taxation via coercion robbery and when is it not?

 
At 11/16/2011 10:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "That's funny. Yes, the courts can be wrong. They're people too."

But you invoked the courts as support for your monopoly argument. If they are wrong, you must be wrong also. Are you conceding our point?

"As we mentioned above it is impossible to argue fundamental values. You have a position that puts you in a tiny minority, because the vast majority of people realize that if your views were put into effect, they would be disastrous."

Well, that should be good enough, you can wave away several unanswered questions and our positions on monopoly, self ownership and the property rights that flow from that ownership, including the principal of first owner, and whether some people have a right to use aggressive force on others. All you need do is marginalize our position by claiming to speak for "the vast majority of people", as if you had any idea what a vast majority of people think or realize.

We think you are out of gas.

 
At 11/16/2011 10:19 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Taxation may be robbery in some circumstances, and not in others."

Oh, My! Now we really are confused about your meaning. Well, we suppose that's a step in the right direction for you.

From none to some.

Perhaps you could explain when taxation would be theft in your view.

 
At 11/17/2011 8:09 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Zachriel: We cited the U.S. Census. Notably, you ignored the rest of our argument.

VangelV: Did you?

Many times, on this and on previous threads.

VangelV: Please provide the supporting data as I have done.

Census on AFDC by race.
http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/statbriefs/sb2-95.html

VangelV: I think that once you found yourself in a bind facing data that showed that your view had little merit you came up with a number that conveniently is too narrow to show just how wrong your position is.

As we provided this census data weeks ago, that is clearly not the case. You are attempting to show causation between Great Society programs and single motherhood.

Your unwillingness to give others the benefit of the doubt leads to constantly and repeatedly misunderstand and misstate our position. We have not denied that such a connection could exist. What we have stated is that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. Also, that the difference between the 25% and 70% suggests other factors are involved. Food stamps and child healthcare do not incentivize single motherhood as they are available to couples. Furthermore, they would undermine all races, not just blacks. Other factors were clearly involved.

Zachriel: As for slavery. When slaves were first brought to America, tribes and families were immediately broken up. It wasn't until the 18th century that slaves even consituted a self-renewing population, as most died before having children, or without ever forming basic family units.

VangelV: The point is very clear. The Great Society programs did what slavery and racism could not; destroy the black family as a sound institution.

But the point you were responding to had nothing to do with the twentieth century.

VangelV: Fathers earned what their families were given. Slave owners did not provide charity.

Forgot that slave women didn't work.

VangelV: Just when is taxation via coercion robbery and when is it not?

Taxation with and without representation. In any case, it's still a false dichotomy.

Ron H: But you invoked the courts as support for your monopoly argument. If they are wrong, you must be wrong also.

No. Rather, you reject any authority that is contrary to your position. This is currently a common problem on the right. Typically, the reaction is to impune the motives or independence of the authority, as you did. It's funny, that's all.

 
At 11/17/2011 8:57 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangelV: Please provide the supporting data as I have done.

Census on AFDC by race.
http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/statbriefs/sb2-95.html


Thank you. Did you miss the comment, "Many mothers also participated in other programs designed to assist families needing economic support to provide basic nutrition for themselves and their children. About 5.3 million received food stamps; 2.4 million received support from the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Additional Briefs about these mothers will be issued later this year."

Due to number of character restrictions I will continue on my next posting below.

 
At 11/17/2011 8:57 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

As we provided this census data weeks ago, that is clearly not the case. You are attempting to show causation between Great Society programs and single motherhood.

Your unwillingness to give others the benefit of the doubt leads to constantly and repeatedly misunderstand and misstate our position. We have not denied that such a connection could exist. What we have stated is that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. Also, that the difference between the 25% and 70% suggests other factors are involved. Food stamps and child healthcare do not incentivize single motherhood as they are available to couples. Furthermore, they would undermine all races, not just blacks. Other factors were clearly involved.


Three things.

First, as I said before, you have used too narrow a definition that does not capture all of the benefits that go to single moms. From what I can tell, you have missed food stamps, housing programs, WIC payments, and other programs that I have noted several times above.

Second, the fact that child care benefits are also available to poor two parent families does not mean that it does not lead to much higher single parent families. I would argue as many do that without these programs single women would not be able to raise children alone.

Third we have the statement, "About 1 in 4 Black mothers of childbearing ages (1.5 million) were AFDC recipients, higher than the 7 percent of corresponding White mothers (2.1 million). Despite these differences in recipiency rates, Black AFDC mothers did not have significantly more children than their White counterparts." How does this support your claim? It doesn't. The important data point is the 70% of black kids live in a single parent household. Let us note that about half of black women never marry so you can't point to divorce as the primary cause of that statistic. Let me note here that I do not expect many of the African American women who eventually marry to show up in the data. That is about half of all black women. I also would not expect many 15 to 17 year old black girls to wind up in the data. That probably makes up around 10%-15% of the total in the childbearing age category (15 to 45 years old.

To do anything but a superficial analysis you actually need a bit more than a link to a summary that is carefully worded to ensure that it is politically correct. Show me a link to the actual raw numbers which is what I did. You can actually go to a specific table in a specific government publication to find the data points that Murray used. The Gutman data similarly relies on archived state information that can be examined in detail. The same is true of the references that I provided to other literature.

 
At 11/17/2011 9:04 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

But the point you were responding to had nothing to do with the twentieth century.

All of my points relate to the 20th century. I provided data that showed that the black family unit was healthier in the 19th century and in the early to mid 20th century. The problem for the black family came after the Great Society programs were implemented.

Note that I have clearly stated that this is not just a black problem. White illegitimacy also increased sharply as did illegitimacy in countries like Sweden where the state took over the role of provider and made the father less relevant.

Forgot that slave women didn't work.

Everyone worked. As I pointed out, support by the slave owner was not a matter of charity. Even the old slaves, who were given little to do had earned the care they received when they were not productive.

VangelV: Just when is taxation via coercion robbery and when is it not?

Zach: Taxation with and without representation. In any case, it's still a false dichotomy.


You avoided the question. How is coercion supposed to be representation? If you force me to give you my money even you can't be stupid enough to claim that you are 'representing' me. Answer the question please.

 
At 11/17/2011 10:20 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: Did you miss the comment, "Many mothers also participated in other programs designed to assist families needing economic support to provide basic nutrition for themselves and their children.

No. Did you miss the response that those programs are available to couples, and don't appear to incentivize single motherhood? By the way, one in four black Americans received food stamps in 2007.

VangelV: I would argue as many do that without these programs single women would not be able to raise children alone.

Perhaps. But that doesn't mean they couldn't do it better with a man around. You can make an argument that AFDC incentivized single motherhood, but it's hard to justify that food stamps do.

VangelV: How does this support your claim?

What claim is that?

VangelV: Show me a link to the actual raw numbers which is what I did.

Dude, scroll down to the link at the bottom of the page. It's the U.S. Census Bureau. They have a plenitude of data.

VangelV: All of my points relate to the 20th century. I provided data that showed that the black family unit was healthier in the 19th century and in the early to mid 20th century.

You made broad generalizations about slavery. We responded by pointing out some aspects of the history of slavery in North America, in particular slavery before the 18th century. You responded to that point by talking about the Great Society. In other words, you didn't bother to read what was written.

VangelV: You avoided the question.

We answered.

VangelV: How is coercion supposed to be representation?

All taxes are coercive, by definition. We were responding to the false dichotomy that taxation is robbery or it is not. Consent is provided through democratic representation. You reject representation, even if you have the vote.

Again, you can't argue fundamental values. If you consider taxes raised through open democratic processes to be "theft," then there is no argument that will convince you otherwise. The American Founders clearly thought representative government was the foundation of liberty, as did their Parliamentary forebearers in Britain. The rest of the world has striven towards the rule of law and representative government. You are free to believe what you want, but most people reject your extreme position.

Not sure whom you intend to convince. Most of our readers have certainly abandoned the thread.

 
At 11/17/2011 3:24 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

No. Did you miss the response that those programs are available to couples, and don't appear to incentivize single motherhood? By the way, one in four black Americans received food stamps in 2007.

Of course they "incentivize single motherhood". When you offer payments to young women who don't have the fathers of their children around they do not have to worry about supporting those children. As I said, you missed other support programs and the fact that your out of context 25% claim supports my side of the argument rather than yours. And as someone pointed out on a previous thread, when you have a 35 year grandma collect payments for her kids plus the illegitimate children of her own illegitimate children the counter moves up by one. This is why you need to get to the guts of the data to see what is really going on. Right now the most significant data point is the one that shows that only 3 out of 10 black kids live in a household with both parents at home.

Perhaps. But that doesn't mean they couldn't do it better with a man around. You can make an argument that AFDC incentivized single motherhood, but it's hard to justify that food stamps do.

It comes down to money. Having a 'man' around only helps if that 'man' is willing to take responsibility for his actions and work to raise the children. But in many cases the 'man' is just another child who lives with his mamma and is supported by welfare payments himself. Or violent/addicted to alcohol or drugs. Or in jail.

I think that you need to actually get a bit closer to the actual situation by looking at the reality rather than the PC summaries put out by bureaucrats who only look at and report on a tiny portion of the big picture.

Dude, scroll down to the link at the bottom of the page. It's the U.S. Census Bureau. They have a plenitude of data.

Translation; I have not looked at the data. I only have the summary. Well those of us who took the other side of this argument had no problem to point you to the exact tables and pages on the government reports that our conclusions were based on. We actually looked at the data. The fact that you haven't shows that once again you play in the shallow end of the pool and have little knowledge of the issue that you are debating.

 
At 11/17/2011 3:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You made broad generalizations about slavery. We responded by pointing out some aspects of the history of slavery in North America, in particular slavery before the 18th century. You responded to that point by talking about the Great Society. In other words, you didn't bother to read what was written.

I did not make my statements lightly and they certainly were not a 'generalization.' They were in response on the actual narrative based approach that you are selling. The real data shows that the failure of black family unit cannot be blamed on slavery because there was a higher rate of family formation during slavery and in the early part of the 20th century. The family unit suffered greatly after the passage of the Great Society programs.

We answered.

No, you did not. When is taxation theft? When isn't it theft?

All taxes are coercive, by definition.

No they are not. In a cooperative society taxes can be voluntary. They are just called fees.

If you buy a condominium you have a schedule that lays out how much of the budget you are responsible for. When you make the purchase you agree to pay your share.

A water company can decide to bring a clean supply to a town. Anyone who hooks up to that supply agrees to pay the scheduled rate for the water for a specified period of time. If I want my house to be protected from fire I have to pay a fee to the local fire department.

Of course my examples work for a voluntary society, not one that is dominated by a coercive state that uses force to extract payments.

We were responding to the false dichotomy that taxation is robbery or it is not.

How is it false? You can answer yes or no. Or you could say yes, when... or no, when.... And that would be the basis for an honest discussion. But you refuse to answer, which means that you are not comfortable with the answer because there is moral basis for your belief and you don't like where the practical basis leads. My thirteen year old, who is somewhat amused by this debate but thinks my language is too harsh, thinks that you need to read Antigone or see the Judgment At Nuremberg.

Consent is provided through democratic representation.

But consent isn't provided. Few Catholic voters would consent to have their taxes go to fund abortion because they think it to be a sin. Pacifists do not support military interventionism.

You reject representation, even if you have the vote.

I don't believe that I or any voter has any 'representation' on most of the issues because none of us voted on the specifics of the laws and regulations that are being passed. The representation argument is a sham.

But it gets worse than that because I have no moral authority to force anyone to do or pay for anything that they would reject on their own. Auberon Herbert makes the point better than I could so I will quote him on the subject.

"Why should either two men live at the discretion of three, or three at the discretion of two. Both propositions are absurd from a reasonable point of view. If being a slave and owning a slave are both wrong relations, what different does it make whether there are a million slave owners and one slave, or one slave owner and a million slaves? Do robbery and murder cease to be what they are if done by ninety-nine percent of the population?"

 
At 11/17/2011 4:06 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I am not arguing against freedom. I do not excuse theft or murder if it is done by the majority. It is you who do that by saying that the majority is right in whatever it may choose to do.

If you consider taxes raised through open democratic processes to be "theft," then there is no argument that will convince you otherwise.

How about this? You could have just as easily written, "If you consider the killing of people approved through open democratic processes to be "murder," then there is no argument that will convince you otherwise."

What you are saying is that the majority is always right when it chooses to do something, even if that something violates the natural laws that the government was supposedly formed to protect.

The American Founders clearly thought representative government was the foundation of liberty, as did their Parliamentary forebearers in Britain.

Your ignorance is showing. They did not want a democracy with unlimited power to violate individual rights. They created a limited government whose only duty was to protect individual rights.

The rest of the world has striven towards the rule of law and representative government. You are free to believe what you want, but most people reject your extreme position.

Actually they don't. Most people are the products of a poor education system that never taught them history. They read texts written by court historians and apologists for the state and usually buy into the propaganda until things do not turn out for them as expected and start to protest the injustice created by their 'representatives'.

Not sure whom you intend to convince. Most of our readers have certainly abandoned the thread.

I agree. I find this useful because you are making me understand why the minarchist or Classical Liberal positions are not adequate and why property based anarchism is the only moral position. I think that Ron is coming to that conclusion as well. Try as we might to rehabilitate the general libertarian position there are still too many weaknesses that lead to the type of tyrannical system that you support.

 
At 11/17/2011 5:26 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: When you offer payments to young women who don't have the fathers of their children around they do not have to worry about supporting those children.

The mother could have the man around or not and still receive the food stamps.

Zachriel: Dude, scroll down to the link at the bottom of the page.

VangelV: Translation; I have not looked at the data.

Dude, scroll down to the link at the bottom of the page. In 1993, there were 1.47 million black mothers on AFDC out of 5.7 million black mothers total. That's about one in four.

VangelV: They were in response on the actual narrative based approach that you are selling.

Heh. We made a statement about slavery before the 18th century, and you repeated your boilerplate about the Great Society. You don't listen.

VangelV: In a cooperative society taxes can be voluntary. They are just called fees.

Yes, they're called fees to distinguish them from taxes.

VangelV: Or you could say yes, when... or no, when.... And that would be the basis for an honest discussion.

Which we already did. Taxation with representation is not.

VangelV: But consent isn't provided.

Well, you don't give your personal consent. That's fine. Move to an island somewhere. Most people agree to disagree and rely upon the democratic process to find some middle ground.

VangelV: What you are saying is that the majority is always right when it chooses to do something, even if that something violates the natural laws that the government was supposedly formed to protect.

No, we didn't say that. We said quite the contrary. The majority isn't always right. They are often wrong. In addition, modern democracies are far more than just a simple majoritarian system, but interlocking centers of power that are mutually self-constraining.

We've repeated this several times. No reason to think you might listen this time.

VangelV: {The American Founders} did not want a democracy with unlimited power to violate individual rights.

Nor did we say that they did. They were quite wary of ochlocracy. They did, however, envision taxation with representation. We've repeated this several times, too.

 
At 11/17/2011 5:31 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: Try as we might to rehabilitate the general libertarian position there are still too many weaknesses that lead to the type of tyrannical system that you support.

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

 
At 11/17/2011 7:11 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Typically, the reaction is to impune the motives or independence of the authority, as you did. It's funny, that's all."

The SCOTUS? Yes, we question its independence and motives. Surely you don't believe the SCOTUS is truly independent and free of political influence.

We provided two other examples of court decisions that can't be called correct by any stretch of the imagination. We are correct to question the Court's motives in those cases, and in the Standard Oil case, which you used as support for your claim.

 

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