Friday, December 02, 2011

CD Trivia: New Record for Comments?

This November 23 CD post "There Is No Money Pile To Be Shared Equally" might have set a new all-time record for the highest number of comments: 601 so far (see graphic above).

328 Comments:

At 12/02/2011 9:20 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Of course taxes have become a lot less progressive.

Not true. The top 10% of income earners pay far more of the total income tax than they did 30 years ago. The bottom 50% pays almost nothing.

-----------/---8---/------/-

That is a classic.

Never mind that the top ten% also earn far more of the total than they did 30 years ago.

Never mind that the bottom 40% control 4% of the wealth.

How progressive the tax code is cannot be determined solely by how much the top 10% pay.

 
At 12/02/2011 10:52 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Huh, I saw this post, then wondered who Vange got in an argument with. ;) Turns out he's found multiple sparring partners in that thread, with Ron pitching in once in awhile. I'm not going to read that thread but Vange and Ron actually understand some economics, so it'd be a much better use of their time to go make some money and do something useful, rather than wasting their time educating those who don't want to learn, and for free! ;)

 
At 12/02/2011 11:19 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Never mind that the bottom 40% control 4% of the wealth"...

Which is 5% more than they're worth...

The question is, why should the tax code be progressive at all?

Why should someone earning $250K/year pay one more penny in taxes than someone making $25K/year?

Progressotard politicos pandering to the parasites for votes...

 
At 12/03/2011 1:49 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

2Sprewell:

Well, maybe if you did read the thread, you would see that the discussion is actually not about economics, but about ethics, morality and fairness.

VangelV is trying to prove that free-markets are absolutely moral, and he's having a very hard time doing so.

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 1:54 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

He's basically trying to prove that free-markets can never, ever, under any circumstances, result in any immoral outcome. To do so, he's been forced to throw in courts, duress, unconscionability, unequal bargaining power and bankruptcy process in the definition of the free market, which makes it one strange definition. Even so, he is having a hard time to articulate which transactions are "unfair" and should be voidable by courts, and which are not.

Maybe if he didn't take such a rigid, absolutist position to begin with, he'd be having much less trouble.

You're welcome to express your thoughts on the matter in the referenced thread.

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 2:23 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Artem, Ah, I see, perhaps I jumped to conclusions, as I wasn't about to go through that mess. ;) Makes more sense why that thread grew so large, if you're arguing such a fundamentally subjective topic like "what's fair?" ;) I skimmed your first 50 comments in the first page of comments and I'd agree with you that the market can be unfair to some extent, had a big argument about that with Ron once.

However, you say about capitalism that "From moral standpoint, the system is absolute crap. From the efficiency standpoint, it's probably the best system in the world." You're welcome to your subjective opinion that the free market sucks at fairness, but I'd counter that it's still the best at fairness, compared to the alternatives since they suck worse. When combined with the fact that more capitalist countries are much richer, presumably the third and most important axis you could use to measure these systems, free markets blow the other systems out of the water. Saying that there's still a fair amount of unfairness, seems like a quibble, particularly when I've pointed out that markets are always improving on that measure. :)

 
At 12/03/2011 2:58 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Sprewell,

It is refreshing to find such a reasonable person on this blog. I try to follow Mark's posts but I've been so disheartened with VangelV's and Ron's dogmatism that I almost gave up on it.

You didn't make a single point that I would disagree with.

However, you say about capitalism that "From moral standpoint, the system is absolute crap. From the efficiency standpoint, it's probably the best system in the world." You're welcome to your subjective opinion that the free market sucks at fairness, but I'd counter that it's still the best at fairness, compared to the alternatives since they suck worse.

I think it is a fairly reasonable statement. I pointed out to VangelV again and again, that it might as well be that free-market is the best known way to minimize immorality and unfairness. I support you completely that the alternative systems tried out so far created even greater unfairness and immorality.

I am just not at all convinced it is the best we can do. Since I am not an expert on the topic, I cannot offer a viable alternative, but I know that a lot of very smart people also think we could do better.

And if I ever see an indisputable proof that it's impossible to do better, all I would do is sigh and admit that we're stuck with absolute crap forever. =)

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 3:01 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

BTW, so that you understand why it grew to >600 posts and why I am so frustrated with them -

they do not try to prove it's impossible to do better
they do not say "it's the best tried so far"

they claim it is ABSOLUTELY FAIR AND MORAL.

Mind-boggling.

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 3:06 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Saying that there's still a fair amount of unfairness, seems like a quibble,

Yes, it's a minor quibble if your compare these systems to historic alternatives - not a very good argument, I agree, especially given your point that in the long run, free-markets might be reducing misery more efficiently.

But it's far from utopia, still. My secret hope is that humanity will find a way to adjust those without scarifying much of free-market's efficiency and performance. It might be challenging, and we should be careful, but we may end up in a better world.

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 3:14 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Also,

I read your post, and I like your idea to associate growing inequality with technological advances, which are temporary, which then levels out as the entry barriers drop.

The argument one could conceivably use against this, is that the pace of technological advance is exponential, and it has been accelerating rapidly. It is hard to say whether today's growing inequality is temporary (as you say, due to large technological changes), or such changes will only accelerate in the future which will bring even more inequality.

It is understood that as new technological advances arrive, old players fall on hard times and new players gain tremendously. But we could (theoretically) still end up in a situation where more and more wealth are concentrated in a small percentage of the population, even if this group itself is constantly changing. Do you see what I mean?

I'm not arguing it will happen, I frankly do not know.

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 3:26 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

BTW, I am not at all bothered with income inequality. Wealth inequality also bothers me only as a proxy to influence inequality, which is not a big issue in a properly functioning democratic society (which we are not, but it's off topic).

I am only bothered by consumption inequality. So, I would support you when you say (in the thread you linked) that you don't really care what % of income goes to 1%.

I think consumption inequality in our society is pretty modest, when it comes to top 1%. Most rich people lead lives not strikingly different from those of middle class. Yes, of course, they are some outliers with 200 hired "help", huge yachts, etc. Society frowns on that though.

But I think the real consumption inequality is in the "poor vs. everybody else" category.

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 4:07 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Hmm...Based on comments on this thread so far, it's pretty easy to see why the Money Pile thread grew so large.

 
At 12/03/2011 4:18 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I am just not at all convinced it is the best we can do. Since I am not an expert on the topic, I cannot offer a viable alternative, but I know that a lot of very smart people also think we could do better."

Such modesty!

You recommended no changes to correct the ills you perceived in a free market capitalist system. Do any of those very smart people recommend changes, and if so, what are they?

 
At 12/03/2011 4:18 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Get lost, Ron.

 
At 12/03/2011 4:20 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/03/2011 4:23 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Why? Go and look up yourself. Why would I describe to you what these smart people who are the experts propose? So that you could twist it around and debate ME on those? Debate them.

 
At 12/03/2011 5:37 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Well, I just wasted almost an hour skimming all of Artem's comments in that mother of all Carpe Diem threads and it looks like I spoke too soon. When I first commented, I had merely scrolled through the names in that thread and saw a lot of Vange and Ron responding to the usual suspects, Zach and Jon and Larry, and then assumed V&R were schooling them in economics, particularly since I wasn't aware of Artem as he appears to be a new commenter here. Turns out it was mostly Artem badgering Vange about what's "fair," with most of it collapsing into semantics, mimicking lawyers burying each other in largely useless paperwork before they ever go to trial. ;) Another example of how 99% of all philosophical discussions are a waste of time. :)

Artem, I thought you had some interesting things to say, for example, I'm not a believer in "natural rights." I believe I'm part of what's called the "consequentialist" school of thinking about free markets. Ron and Vange may be dogmatic sometimes, but when they spend so much time arguing against those trying to disrupt freer markets, I can see how that can harden someone, similar to how you can visibly see Dawkins's face tightening up as he anticipates someone's dumb religious argument. The great qualities of the free market are that it's dynamic, ie extremely prone to change, and that it responds to what customers want, even if their desires are dumb or counter-productive, so if you think it's still woefully unfair, all it would take is for many others to want to lessen such unfairness also, and some entrepreneur in the market would eventually deliver that to you all.

 
At 12/03/2011 5:45 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Of course we can always "do better" than we're doing now: the market is an instrument for change, particularly towards the better. I think you're far too negative on market fairness when you say things like it's "absolute crap," but since we don't know what fairness ideal you espouse, I can't argue against some unknown ideal. Your thread grew to 600+ posts because all of you have lots of time to waste, no other reason. ;) If R&V claim the market is "ABSOLUTELY FAIR AND MORAL," I'm guessing they're making such an extreme statement simply to counter similarly extreme statements from their usual opponents. That doesn't really justify it, but that's life.

You say the market is still "far from utopia," but is it that bad? What great unfairness do you see? The market is always adjusting and changing, but if most people's idea of fairness is different from yours, it might become more "fair" in a manner that you personally may not like, just like many are now protesting income inequality even if it brought greater total wealth.

As for whether inequality will not lessen because technological change is accelerating, I'd separate fundamental technological change from incremental. I don't think you'd argue that there wasn't rapid acceleration between the '30s and '70s, yet the stats I linked showed inequality dropping all throughout that timespan. I suppose you could argue that the US made a big move towards socialism during that time and that's what kept inequality down, but the distinction I would make is that the technological acceleration from the '20s onwards was mostly about incrementally building on the fundamental platform of electricity and mechanization, until the fundamentally new platforms of computing and the internet came along in the '80s and '90s.

 
At 12/03/2011 5:56 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

You could also argue that we'll come up with such fundamentally new platforms, like robotics or biotech, much faster in the future, but I suspect that such fundamental change will always take longer to gestate. We can only speculate about how fast such fundamental change will come and whether inequality will keep falling, but I've pointed out many times on this blog that the evidence is that the current platform of the internet is largely a force against inequality, the long tail and all that. However, it is always theoretically possible that the coming rapid change leads to more and more concentration, but if we're all becoming richer, what do you care?

I have no problem with wealth and influence inequality as people are not equal. The Koch brothers should have a bigger bullhorn than most, :) as they've largely earned it. Why would consumption inequality bother you either? As you finally say, I think your real issue, and that of most who think about fairness, is what to do about the "poor" who cannot even seem to secure the basics that the lower class can, ie simply getting everyone above a minimum threshold. And freer markets, by making the entire society much richer, seem to help even the poor the most, either because it becomes so easy for them to secure the basics- just get a job flipping burgers- or because the rest of us become so rich that we can help them at little cost.

Of course, the problem now is that the "basics" keep getting redefined upwards, so that it is now supposedly the responsibility of those with more money to pay for the "insurance" of those with less money. A nice problem to have in a freer market like the US, until you bankrupt yourself by having the young pay millions to extend the old's life by a year or two.

 
At 12/03/2011 7:48 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Get lost, Ron"...

A sad but inescapable fact is still painfully obvious, artem is long on verbiage and short on substance...

 
At 12/03/2011 8:44 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Why should someone earning $250K/year pay one more penny in taxes than someone making $25K/year?

+++++++++++++++++++++

By that logic, why should someone making $250k pay a penny more than someone making $10 per day?

Even those proposing a flat tax propose a minimum cut off. This amounts to progressivity with one step, so why stop there?

 
At 12/03/2011 8:56 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

am just not at all convinced it is the best we can do.

+++++++++++++++++++++


MY sentiments as well.

Rigid dogmatism or rigid partisanship leaves no possibility for being wrong and no room for improvement.

Given the vast realm of possibilities, odds are that such a position is wrong or will eventually become wrong.

Therefore it is a position that is inherently unfair. This unfairness is manifested in the nature of the arguments they use: circular, evasive, selective, mean spirited, and hypothetical.

 
At 12/03/2011 9:14 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Sprewell: the free market sucks at fairness, but I'd counter that it's still the best at fairness

"Harumph. It has been said that the free market is the suckiest kind of economics except all those other even suckier kinds that have been tried from time to time."

(You might want to clue VangelV in on the inherent limitations of the free market.)

 
At 12/03/2011 9:16 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

think it's still woefully unfair, all it would take is for many others to want to lessen such unfairness also, and some entrepreneur in the market would eventually deliver that to you all.

+++++++++++++++++++++

Maybe it is not that a free market is unfair, but only that it is woefully inadequate, there being so many things that are unpriced and subject to abuse.

Historically it is useless to argue that a free market is perfect, since presumably that is where we started and found it wanting, and the vastly regulated market we have is the result. The fact that it is not perfect yet ( or still) is not surprising.

The solutions must be to keep working on it and not to dismantle it.

We may not be able to agree on what is fair, but we may be able to agree on ways of measuring fairness.

Then, it might be possible to build feedback loops into the market such that fairness is maximized without destroying its other features.

 
At 12/03/2011 9:22 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

until you bankrupt yourself by having the young pay millions to extend the old's life by a year or two.

++++++++++++++++++++

We need to distinguish between health insurance and death insurance.

BTW, isn't this a fairness issue?

 
At 12/03/2011 9:41 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"By that logic, why should someone making $250k pay a penny more than someone making $10 per day?"...

Exactly hydra, why should that be?

"Even those proposing a flat tax propose a minimum cut off. This amounts to progressivity with one step, so why stop there?"...

Flat tax is nonsense until spending is under control...

Progressive taxation an idea straight from the pages of the Commie manifesto...

 
At 12/03/2011 9:47 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Huh, I saw this post, then wondered who Vange got in an argument with. ;) Turns out he's found multiple sparring partners in that thread, with Ron pitching in once in awhile. I'm not going to read that thread but Vange and Ron actually understand some economics, so it'd be a much better use of their time to go make some money and do something useful, rather than wasting their time educating those who don't want to learn, and for free! ;)

I can't speak for Ron but I have been retired for ten years and have plenty of time to try and teach a few on the left or right about economics and liberty. Most of my postings take place when I am watching the kids doing their homework, listening to my wife play music, or when I am listening to conference calls by companies that I am doing research on.

I do not put much stock on the number of comments because the biggest percentage are short comments by Artem or me on points that we disagree on and are just repetition of the same idea and argument on my part. But that does not mean that the postings are not worthwhile because it does help one to clarify thinking and understand what one has taken for granted. For example, I am amazed how we get people using long discredited lifeboat situations as the basis of their thinking and how people who claim to be knowledgeable do not understand terms and ideas that have been used for decades when rational and knowledgeable individuals have argued the same issues.

The discussion has also helped my 13-year old because he has finally gotten around to looking at the Bastiat, Spooner, and Rothbard reading that I have assigned him and has put We, The Syndic, 1984, and Atlas Shrugged on his reading list.

What amazes me is just how much clearer the kids' thinking is even on the lifeboat scenarios than our friends on the left. I guess that once they understood some of the basic principles the rest was easy. The same would be true of our friends but only if they went back to basic principles and were willing to let go of their narrative if they found that their initial premises were invalid. But somehow I do not see that happening. My son has told me that for him the penny dropped when he was forced to think about the confrontation between Creon and Antigone and realize that there were laws that were above those made by a king or parliament. Once that becomes clear the rest is easy. The problem is that his school does not encourage kids to think that legislative law is often unjust and often creates more problems than it tries to solve. That makes many of his arguments in class hard to sell to the teachers if not the students.

The threads that deal with the topics of liberty and natural rights are the most important ones on this site. It is too bad that most people have so little interest in them but the low interest explains the trouble that we find ourselves in.

 
At 12/03/2011 9:56 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Never mind that the top ten% also earn far more of the total than they did 30 years ago.

We have gone over it before but you refuse to understand. The increase in the share of income for the top 10% was smaller than the increase in their share of income taxes paid.

Never mind that the bottom 40% control 4% of the wealth.

So what? That 'wealth' has already been taxed when it was income and the gains will be taxed when disposed of.

How progressive the tax code is cannot be determined solely by how much the top 10% pay.

Feel free to create your own definition as Artem is so fond of doing. But no matter what you come up with you cannot change the fact that there is a group of tax payers and a group of tax eaters. You have to justify why earnings from the tax payers should be used to feed the tax eaters. And in all of the hundreds of thousands of postings on this site I have yet to read either the Socialists or National Socialists (and you all know who you are) come up with such a justification.

 
At 12/03/2011 11:58 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Exactly hydra, why should that be?

+++++++++++++

Because if you set the tax at a rate someone making $10/ day can pay, you will collect no tax.

Spending control is a separate issue.

 
At 12/03/2011 12:15 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The increase in the share of income for the top 10% was smaller than the increase in their share of income taxes paid

**********************

I don't think that is correct. You have a source?

In the light of the bush tax cuts, how did they get a smaller share and still pay more?

It seems the only way that could happen, would be if a lot more people did not earn enough to pay any taxes. And since those people are only getting 4% of the total anyway, how much relief can you get for the wealthy by taxing the bottom 4%?

 
At 12/03/2011 12:23 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Spending control is a separate issue"...

Now that's funny hydra, no that's hilarious!

Look around on one of those shelves alledgedy filled with history books and see if you can find out how this country's government originally financed itself...

Look at what the government paid for also...

Funny how that sort of spending was pretty much in line with Article One, Section Eight (relative to today's federal largesse) of the Constitution, eh?

 
At 12/03/2011 12:40 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Feel free to create your own definition as Artem is so fond of doing. But no matter what you come up with you cannot change the fact that there is a group of tax payers and a group of tax eaters. You have to justify why earnings from the tax payers should be used to feed the tax eaters.

++++++++++++++++++++++

I have not defined anything. I merely state that based on the amount paid alone, you cannot say anything about progressivity of the tax code.

As for tax feeders and tax eaters, it seems you have a problem understanding property rights. Once you have paid your taxes, whether just or unjust, it is no longer your money, and so it is incorrect to say " I do not want MY. taxes used for ............"

We hear this argument from every direction, and it is equally stupid in every case.

As for raising the minimums, You may be correct, but wtf? On the one hand you claim it is the rich who are making everyone better off, but then you complain when it happens.

From your perspective it seems that any benefit the lower classes get, whether jobs, or inventions, or entitlements comes from the rich and creative, with minimal help from the slugs and drones.

Why not just come out and say we would be better off without them, andsee if we can achieve that?

 
At 12/03/2011 12:59 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Juandos:

It does not matter the source or amount of funding. Spending control is a seperate issue.

Obviously you cannot tax so much as to shut down the economy: that makes things worse - for everyone.

Equally we cannot tax so little as to shut down government.

Somewhere between those two values is the amount we decide to spend for things we want that the market has proven itself incapable of managing.

 
At 12/03/2011 1:09 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I don't see that how the country originally financed itself, or what government originally paid for has much bearing on today's problems.

Alexander Hamilton commissioned Holley Heston to comma d the nations first revenue cutter to prevent smuggling and enforce import tariffs. The early government borrowed from France, as I recall, and Virginia built and maintained its roads by requiring every able body to show up with their own tools and work on the roads for a week each year- conscripted labor. But, at least that was a flat tax.

 
At 12/03/2011 1:56 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Are lower tax rates responsible for the big budget deficits of recent decades? There is no correlation between tax rates and deficits in recent U.S. history.


Are lower tax rates responsible for the big budget deficits of recent decades? There is no correlation between tax rates and deficits in recent U.S. history.

WWW. American.com.
+++++/?++?++?+++++

Spending is a seperate issue from revenues

 
At 12/03/2011 2:08 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Do the rich pay more taxes because they are earning more of the income in America?

Yes. There’s no doubt that the share of total income earned by the wealthy has increased steadily over the past 25 years. Since 1980, the share of income earned by the richest 1 percent has more than doubled, from 9 percent to 19 percent. The share of the income going to the poorest income quintile has declined. Income disparities, in absolute dollars, have grown substantially.

. What has happened to tax rates in America over the last several decades? They’ve fallen. In the early 1960s, the highest marginal income tax rate was a stunning 91 percent. That top rate fe percent after the Kennedy-Johnson tax cuts and remained there until 1981. Then Ronald Reagan slashed it to 50 pe ultimately to 28 percent after the 1986 Tax Reform Act.


WWW.tbeamerican.com

Guess who really pays the taxes.

+++++++++++++?+?++++++++

Your argument is that progressivity is measured by the AMOUNT paid by the wealthy and I argue that progressivity is properly measured by the relative RATES paid.

 
At 12/03/2011 2:43 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Well hydra, as usual you're wrong again with this comment: "Your argument is that progressivity is measured by the AMOUNT paid by the wealthy and I argue that progressivity is properly measured by the relative RATES paid"...

'Relative' is a term used by people trying to rationalize theft, the 'amount' is what's happening in the real world...

Its like 'means testing', yet another sad and sleazy attempt to rationalize theft from those who also were extorted from and promised but will miss out on the delivery if means testing actually goes through...

 
At 12/03/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Government can "tinker at the edges" of "the free market" (e.g. 10% to 20%) for better or worse (e.g. for some people in particular).

However, government can't "fix" the free market, because it has to deal with timeless forces (which are inherently moral) it can't understand.

The free market will reveal how much it'll tolerate from government.

 
At 12/03/2011 3:45 PM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Sprewell,

All very reasonable.

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 4:47 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

he 'amount' is what's happening in the real world.

++++++++++++++++++++/++

A flat tax would charge everyone 18% ( or whatever) and have zero progressivity, even though those that earn more would pay more.

As usual your mode of arguing is to change the subject, plus the usual ad hominem attack.

 
At 12/03/2011 4:51 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Why? Go and look up yourself. Why would I describe to you what these smart people who are the experts propose? So that you could twist it around and debate ME on those? Debate them."

Don't be afraid, little man, I won't hurt you.

You haven't provided any hint of what, or who, I should look up. Please help me narrow my search.

If you believe a free market capitalist system is "unfair" because it allows some to become wealthy, you should at least offer some tiny scrap of a suggestion of what you would change to improve it. Otherwise, you are just whining, as you were in the very beginning when you criticized the Walter Williams column without offering any explanation.

 
At 12/03/2011 4:53 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

n.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_tax A progressive tax is a tax by which the tax rate increases as the taxable base amount increases.

+++++++++++++++++?++?+++

Yep, as usual, wrong again.

 
At 12/03/2011 5:12 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If you believe a free market capitalist system is "unfair" because it allows some to become wealthy.............

++++++++++++++++++

I doubt even the farthest lefties believe that.

But I think most people would have a problem with what happened at Enron, worldcom, tyco, global crossing, adelphia, and Anderson.

And probably at Countrywide.

Just because the concept of fairness is subjective and malleable does not mean that we cannot agree on ways to go about determining what is fair.

Basically, fair is when you could accept being treated the same way you expect to be allowed to treat others. I submit that is something we can measure.

You want safer mines? Just require the executive offices be located close to the mine front.

 
At 12/03/2011 5:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Z: "Harumph. It has been said that the free market is the suckiest kind of economics except all those other even suckier kinds that have been tried from time to time."

Interesting. We are familiar with this saying describing democracy, but we see there's no reason not to use it more widely.

Dusty Miller's life sucks, but it is the best one he is able to provide for himself compared to the even suckier alternatives.

 
At 12/03/2011 5:43 PM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Ron, I am not interested in debating you. You are way too emotional for my intellectual taste.

If you want to debate professor Stiglitz, for example, feel free to challenge him.

I do not have any interest whatsoever in knowing what you think of him and others like him, too.

This will be my last message to you. Goodbye.

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 6:16 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"As for tax feeders and tax eaters, it seems you have a problem understanding property rights. Once you have paid your taxes, whether just or unjust, it is no longer your money, and so it is incorrect to say " I do not want MY. taxes used for ............"

Assuming of course, that theft is actually a transfer of property *rights* and not just the property itself, you're correct. Once the money is stolen from you, it's ridiculous to instruct the thief on how to spend it.

It's really funny to see you instructing others on property rights. Didn't you once claim you owned some number of passenger pigeons?

 
At 12/03/2011 6:34 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Do the rich pay more taxes because they are earning more of the income in America?

Yes. There’s no doubt that the share of total income earned by the wealthy has increased steadily over the past 25 years.
"

Why should one's tax burden be based on their income, at a progressively higher rate, rather than on the relative level of services they receive?

Your answer must include a justification for why you can decide what a persons income should be, rather than they, themselves deciding.

 
At 12/03/2011 6:37 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"As for raising the minimums, You may be correct, but wtf? On the one hand you claim it is the rich who are making everyone better off, but then you complain when it happens. "

Who is complaining when everyone is better off? I missed that one.

 
At 12/03/2011 6:54 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"...and Virginia built and maintained its roads by requiring every able body to show up with their own tools and work on the roads for a week each year- conscripted labor. But, at least that was a flat tax."

You failed to mention that a person could hire someone to perform this duty for him, so we can imagine that no "rich" people actually got their hands blistered, or provided any actual labor. They did, however, provide employment to the poor, something they still do today.

 
At 12/03/2011 6:59 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Equally we cannot tax so little as to shut down government."

Why on Earth not?

"Somewhere between those two values is the amount we decide to spend for things we want that the market has proven itself incapable of managing."

You must have meant hasn't been allowed to manage.

 
At 12/03/2011 7:25 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"A flat tax would charge everyone 18% ( or whatever) and have zero progressivity, even though those that earn more would pay more"...

Well as usual your command of the English language is rather faulty...

There is NO reason one person should have one more penny extorted from him/her regardless of the scheme dreamt up...

Trolling for some sort of rationale from the ever questionable wikipedia is what? Some sort of entertainment?

 
At 12/03/2011 7:31 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"If you want to debate professor Stiglitz, for example, feel free to challenge him"...

Yeah, listening to the neo-commie wind bag is one way to redefine wasting time...

 
At 12/03/2011 7:52 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

So is listening to juandos insult any one and everyone, while adding nothing to the conversation but randomized invective.

 
At 12/03/2011 7:54 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Ron, I am not interested in debating you. You are way too emotional for my intellectual taste.

Yes, we can see that you certainly avoid emotion in your comments.

Artem Sez...

" - This was not the question, god damnit.

- What? WTF was that???

- God-damnit, you're arrogant!!!

- Give me any F***G definition of the word "fair". So far, you gave me none.
"

 
At 12/03/2011 7:59 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"A flat tax would charge everyone 18% ( or whatever) and have zero progressivity, even though those that earn more would pay more"... Well as usual your command of the English language is rather faulty...

++++++??+??++

I cannot tell from your comment what your beef is, since as usual you change topics rather than debate.

Do yo deny that flat tax proposals imply a single rate? Deny that flat tax is not ovrssive, or both?

 
At 12/03/2011 8:09 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

progressive tax Definition A tax system in which those who earn higher incomes pay a higher percentage of their income than those with lower incomes. A graduated tax is one example.

WWW.investorwords.com

++++++++?++++++?+

Juandos is a verbal moron incapable le of understanding the difference between a rationale and a definition.


You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. If You choose to love in a make believe world with make believe definitions and in engendered enemies, knock yourself out.

Just don't expect to convince me of anything with your brand of schizophrenic logic.

 
At 12/03/2011 8:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Just don't expect to convince me of anything with your brand of schizophrenic logic."

No one expects to convince you of anything, Hydra, you're just fun to play with.

 
At 12/03/2011 8:20 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"If you want to debate professor Stiglitz, for example, feel free to challenge him..."

You may have found one of the few people in the world I disagree with more than I do with Paul Krugman.

 
At 12/03/2011 8:23 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Equally we cannot tax so little as to shut down government." Why on Earth not? "Somewhere between thoEqually we cannot tax so little as to shut down government." Why on Earth not?

-----------/--------////

Are you an anarchist?

How would you mange Cree trade without enforceable Contracts?

Sure, everyone with the means could hire their own enforcers, but what would prevent them from turning on you?

What makes You think such a system would be more efficient than having a government, whose job it is to protect persons and property indiscriminately?


And no, I meant has proven itself unable. Read a little history that you have not rewritten sometime.

 
At 12/03/2011 8:27 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

You may have found one of the few people in the world I disagree with more than I do with Paul Krugman.

++++++++/++++++

The fact that You disagree means nothing. It does not mean they are incorrect, and it does not change whatever persuasiveness their arguments may or may not have.

If you think you have a better or more persuasive argument, I can't wait to see it.

 
At 12/03/2011 8:38 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

ou failed to mention that a person could hire someone to perform this duty for him, so we can imagine that no "rich" people actually got their hands blistered, or provided any actual labor.

+++++++++++++++++

Actually, at that time you were required to show up in person. O exceptions. I think it had something to do with the problems encountered in the early settlements where some people thought themselves too good to work.

Later we movedd to a system in which everyone hired someone to do the work for them. As you point out, it was a marked improvement. And, by pooling their investment as taxes, they could negotiate in bulk and set specificatiins for the quality of service.

 
At 12/03/2011 9:01 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Why should one's tax burden be based on their income, at a progressively higher rate, rather than on the relative level of services they receive? Your answer must include a

++++++++++++/++

You are arguing by changing the subject again. I never made any mention if what should be, one way or the other.

Vange claimed The increase in the share of income for the top 10% was smaller than the increase in their share of income taxes paid.


Clearly this is incorrect. If their tax rates declined a d they paid more actual taxes then their income must have incdecreased more than the tax rate decreased.

In particular, that was true in my case, so I am certain it can happen.

As for what you think should be, and what you call stealing, that is another matter, but at least we agree that once the money is gone, it is not yours to complain about.

We have procedures by which we may influence how all the money is spent "ours" and everyone else's as well.

Curiously we will spend millions to influence the procedures or how the money is spent, and the piss and moan over a few thousand as if we had been actually mugged. We will gladly deny the tax money to carry out the procedures we spent millions to put put in place.

 
At 12/03/2011 9:05 PM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Sprewell,

Please forgive me for not properly addressing your detailed and very reasonable comment, you've just reminded me that I indeed don't have that much time to waste. :)

I think your position is reasonable, and though I disagree with some points, I am sure had we continued that discussion, we would certainly come to some mutual conclusion, or at least agree to disagree. As I said earlier, it is refreshing after facing the dogmatism of VangelV and Ron. I think it is insulting to Dawkins, who you mentioned, to be in the same sentence with their names.

I think when we look at the markets from purely moral point of view (leaving efficiency completely behind), it cannot withstand any serious criticism. Misery is extremely non-linear, and the amount of misery one experiences by living below poverty line or going through a healthcare-related bankruptcy, is thousands of times more than a rich person would experience seeing his income tax jump from 40% to 80%.

If we redistribute wealth right now, right this second, the overall amount of misery in our country will be drastically, hugely reduced.

I understand though that the real question is not this - the real question is whether it is sustainable and where it leads. The biggest argument for free markets is that in the long-run it eliminates misery more efficiently than wealth redistribution. Let's assume it is true. Then we face a moral dilemma which is as old as the world itself - should you kill a baby now if you knew he will grow up to kill two innocent people 20 years from now?

The answer to this question is not easy, and we shouldn't pretend it is. If your goal is simply to minimize misery at some point in the future, the answer is "where's the knife?". There must be some balance.

Artem.

 
At 12/03/2011 9:07 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"Do the rich pay more taxes because they are earning more of the income in America? Yes. There’s no doubt that the share of total income earned by the wealthy has increased steadily over the past 25 years."

Why should one'.....

+++++++++++++

That is a simple statement t of fact, and it is nit even my statement.


Why are you arguing with this?
Do you make a habit of arguing by denying reality?

Do you then wonder why you fail to convince?

 
At 12/03/2011 9:35 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

You have assigned him reading? How arrogant of you. Have you assigned him a mix of viewpoints to read, or only the likes of Ayn Rand?

 
At 12/03/2011 9:45 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Didn't You once claim you owned some passenger pigeons?

++++++++++++++++++

You have a problem with either reading comprehension or knowledge retention.

What I said was that technology could not eliminate a shortage of passenger pigeons. I may have claimed that if the passenger pigeons had been owned, they would have been protected. The same argument MP makes for other wild animals.

 
At 12/03/2011 10:52 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I don't think that is correct. You have a source?

The same source I have given dozens of times. Look it up.

In the light of the bush tax cuts, how did they get a smaller share and still pay more?

They do pay more. That is what the data has shown. And Bush has little to do with it. They pay more even than when the marginal rates were more than 70% because in the good old days of the great era of American heroes (I speak of the tax attorneys of course) the productive class had many loopholes and mechanisms to hide income from the IRS.

 
At 12/03/2011 11:39 PM, Blogger ZZMike said...

Artem: "VangelV is trying to prove that free-markets are absolutely moral, and he's having a very hard time doing so."

Not surprising - since nothing is absolutely anything. If he'd argue that free-markets are more moral than any other, I'd sign in.

With the usual caveats: that government carries out its appropriate role of enforcing contract and property law.

The welfare state is by its very nature unfair, and therefore immoral (but not absolutely). Taking from A and giving to B, without A's consent, is immoral.

However, as almost everyone realizes (sooner or later), life stops being fair right after kindergarten. Some people are smarter (not their fault), some people stronger (not their fault), some faster, some work harder, &c.

To the victor go the spoils - but much goes to the runner. To the sitter, nothing.

Which is why he needs government to take from the runners.

 
At 12/03/2011 11:43 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Artem Boytsov says: "If we redistribute wealth right now, right this second, the overall amount of misery in our country will be drastically, hugely reduced."

Redistributing private property has more consequences than you can imagine.

We need to "redistribute" work.

 
At 12/04/2011 12:18 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Redistributing private property has more consequences than you can imagine.

PeakTrader, quoting out of context is a mortal sin.

Here's what I actually said:

"If we redistribute wealth right now, right this second, the overall amount of misery in our country will be drastically, hugely reduced.

I understand though that the real question is not this - the real question is whether it is sustainable and where it leads."

Since you've decided to start the conversation with dishonesty, please don't bother responding.

Regards,
Artem.

 
At 12/04/2011 12:19 AM, Blogger mike k said...

But I think most people would have a problem with what happened at Enron, worldcom, tyco, global crossing, adelphia, and Anderson.-Hydra
I may be missing something, but how does progressive taxation account for the actions of those forementioned?

 
At 12/04/2011 12:25 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Artem Boytsov says: "...the real question is whether it is sustainable and where it leads."

My answer is the same.

 
At 12/04/2011 12:30 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Artem: "VangelV is trying to prove that free-markets are absolutely moral, and he's having a very hard time doing so."

Not surprising - since nothing is absolutely anything.


Precisely.

If he'd argue that free-markets are more moral than any other, I'd sign in.

I think that's also very hard to argue. You could pretty successfully argue that free-markets are more moral than historical alternatives though.

The welfare state is by its very nature unfair, and therefore immoral (but not absolutely). Taking from A and giving to B, without A's consent, is immoral.

Immorality is not absolute and inherently contradictory. Forcibly taking from A and giving to B, if B is a 5 year old starving child, and A is Glenn Beck, is more moral than to let B die and A drink another glass of champagne.
Everybody has their own value hierarchy, most people value human life more than property rights.
But the system is not sum of its parts, so even though it's somewhat easy to judge relative morality in my particular example, the consequences of legitimizing such behavior are a completely different matter.
But you can't just claim moral absolutes like "taking from A.....".

However, as almost everyone realizes (sooner or later), life stops being fair right after kindergarten. Some people are smarter (not their fault), some people stronger (not their fault), some faster, some work harder, &c.

The question is a societal one. Some people are stronger, but we outlawed violence.

Which is why he needs government to take from the runners.

This is a gross oversimplification. Not everyone struggling in the free-market economy are "sitters". There are a lot of "runners", as well.

Artem.

 
At 12/04/2011 12:43 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Are you an anarchist?"

yes, as a matter of fact, I am.

"How would you mange Cree trade without enforceable Contracts?Sure, everyone with the means could hire their own enforcers, but what would prevent them from turning on you?

What makes You think such a system would be more efficient than having a government, whose job it is to protect persons and property indiscriminately?
"

How are you able to find so many things wrong with something you don't understand?

Ask for some reading suggestions, then see if you still want to ask those uninformed questions.

I can't educate you on na blog.

 
At 12/04/2011 12:44 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

If two people work equal hours, and one builds a product that has great value and the other builds a product that has no value, the free market will give one everything and the other nothing.

Is that really fair, moral, or just?

 
At 12/04/2011 12:46 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"So is listening to juandos insult any one and everyone, while adding nothing to the conversation but randomized invective."

That's strange, I don't recall being insulted by juandos.

 
At 12/04/2011 12:55 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

If two people work equal hours, and one builds a product that has great value and the other builds a product that has no value, the free market will give one everything and the other nothing.

Is that really fair, moral, or just?


"fair" have two semantical meanings. One is following the rules (i.e. adhering to a previously made agreement). Let's put it aside for now so that we don't get confused. Let's pretend this other meaning does not exist.

Then, according to how people use this word in everyday life, the answer to your question, provided both people worked equally hard and had equally good faith and intent to create something of value:

No, no and no.

I think it should be obvious. Otherwise by admitting that "life is not fair" you're contradicting yourself.

Artem.

 
At 12/04/2011 1:03 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

If a student earns an "A" and another student earns an "F", I'd be for lowering the "A" to raise the "F", e.g. a "B" and a "D," for the student to pass (school or life).

Except, it's a thousand times harder to get an "A" than an "F" and a hundred times harder to get a "B" than a "D."

And when everyone is getting "Cs," a tremendous amount of effort or value is destroyed, in school or life.

 
At 12/04/2011 1:25 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

If a student earns an "A" and another student earns an "F", I'd be for lowering the "A" to raise the "F", e.g. a "B" and a "D," for the student to pass (school or life).

Except, it's a thousand times harder to get an "A" than an "F" and a hundred times harder to get a "B" than a "D."


There are MANY things wrong with that analogy, but I won't go into details, because the conclusion is correct.

And when everyone is getting "Cs," a tremendous amount of effort or value is destroyed, in school or life.

Yes. The key word here is incentive. If you pay everyone based on their efforts, there will be little incentive to produce results, just efforts. That doesn't make it unfair though, just very inefficient and impractical.

Efforts do not always lead to results, and it will become more and more apparent as technology develops. In science this is particularly obvious. You have to have a certain amount of luck to see what you should put your efforts in. In technology, it's often winner-takes-all, but these losers are also necessary because if it's not for them, there would be no winners at all (you have to try 100 ideas in order for 1 to work).

I would never propose to reward people based on their efforts only, since it's an extreme. The opposite extreme is to reward people based on their results only.

This is precisely why fundamental science struggles to exist in a free-market society. To my knowledge, the majority of big scientific advances of 20th century have been subsidized by the government in one way or another.

So, it might not even be the most efficient way. But we're talking about a moral way.

There's always a trade-off about morality and efficiency, they are not the same. A very fair society where everything is shared equally would probably still be in caves. A very unfair, winner-takes-all-losers-die society might still be most efficient (fear is a good motivator, after all). It's a question of balance.

You could try to equate efficiency with morality by saying that an efficient society will be more effective in eliminating misery in the long-run, but then you run to other moral dilemmas which I pointed out before.

I don't have answers, I'm just here to kick the dogmatism out of people's heads.

Artem.

 
At 12/04/2011 1:54 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Government has a role and there's an optimal size.

If it's less than optimal size, the private sector may take up the slack.

If it's more than optimal size, the private sector may be "crowded-out."

Government that's too big may be more inefficient and immoral than government that's too small.

 
At 12/04/2011 2:52 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"ctually, at that time you were required to show up in person. O exceptions. I think it had something to do with the problems encountered in the early settlements where some people thought themselves too good to work."


"The first legislation also required each man in the colony to work on the roads a given number of days each year, a custom dating at least from the feudal period of the Middle Ages in England, or to pay another to work in his place. This labor law, to remain in effect for more than 250 years, provided the main source of workers for road and bridge construction."

Virginia DOT - "A History of Roads In Virginia"

 
At 12/04/2011 3:09 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You are arguing by changing the subject again. I never made any mention if what should be, one way or the other."

You have frequently defended a progressive income tax, and insisted that the "rich" should pay a higher percentage of their income than the poor. I just asked you why that should be so, if the "rich" don't receive benefits proportional to their tax burden. It's very much the subject being discussed.

 
At 12/04/2011 3:15 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"We have procedures by which we may influence how all the money is spent "ours" and everyone else's as well."

Why should I have any right to tell you how to spend your money?

"Curiously we will spend millions to influence the procedures or how the money is spent, and the piss and moan over a few thousand as if we had been actually mugged. We will gladly deny the tax money to carry out the procedures we spent millions to put put in place."

Who exactly is "we" here?

 
At 12/04/2011 3:20 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Misery is extremely non-linear, and the amount of misery one experiences by living below poverty line or going through a healthcare-related bankruptcy, is thousands of times more than a rich person would experience seeing his income tax jump from 40% to 80%."

Interesting. You can measure misery quantitatively, and have data supporting this x1000s difference?

 
At 12/04/2011 3:24 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"If we redistribute wealth right now, right this second, the overall amount of misery in our country will be drastically, hugely reduced."

So you DO recommend making some changes. reduction of overall, or is that "aggregate" misery, whatever that means, seems like a worthy goal.

 
At 12/04/2011 3:31 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"What I said was that technology could not eliminate a shortage of passenger pigeons. I may have claimed that if the passenger pigeons had been owned, they would have been protected. The same argument MP makes for other wild animals."

My argument would have been that private ownership would protect the animals, if private owners valued them. I recall you arguing just the opposite, that passenger pigeons were a common good, and that somebody had taken your share.

It shouldn't be hard to find. Will you insist that I embarrass you about this?

 
At 12/04/2011 5:31 AM, Blogger Artem Boytsov said...

Ron, this is what I have to say regarding your comments:

Artem, not so long ago: "Ron, I am not interested in debating you."

Artem.

 
At 12/04/2011 8:34 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I have not defined anything. I merely state that based on the amount paid alone, you cannot say anything about progressivity of the tax code.

Sure I can.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/250.html

How long will you ignore the evidence and stay with a narrative that can't be defended by logic?

As for tax feeders and tax eaters, it seems you have a problem understanding property rights. Once you have paid your taxes, whether just or unjust, it is no longer your money, and so it is incorrect to say " I do not want MY. taxes used for ............"

How ironic. You don't notice the theft but argue that once the money is stolen the thief's property rights are to be respected. The problem is not what the thief chooses to do with the stolen money but with the theft itself. Taxation is not voluntary and everything the state does is ultimately enforced at the point of a gun.

We hear this argument from every direction, and it is equally stupid in every case.

An illogical and ignorant person should not be calling anyone else stupid. The fact that you do not believe that the tax system is progressive and that you have no clue what the data shows is good enough to render your argument as worthless opinion. You might try less narrative and more fact based logic.

 
At 12/04/2011 8:37 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Your argument is that progressivity is measured by the AMOUNT paid by the wealthy and I argue that progressivity is properly measured by the relative RATES paid.

The top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers (AGI equal to or greater than $154,643), however, still paid far more than the bottom 95 percent. The top 5 percent earned 31.7 percent of the nation's adjusted gross income, but paid approximately 58.7 percent of federal individual income taxes.

The actual data shows that you have no clue what it is that you are talking about.

 
At 12/04/2011 9:09 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The free market will reveal how much it'll tolerate from government.

The problem is that the US has no free market. It took a path away from it quite a long time ago and each successive generation has accepted more and more meddling by government until we have come to a point where the productive sector of the real economy can no longer support the burdens imposed by the tax eaters and the protected sectors that transfer wealth from the general public to themselves.

 
At 12/04/2011 9:11 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

A flat tax would charge everyone 18% ( or whatever) and have zero progressivity, even though those that earn more would pay more.

They would pay more but get less than they pay out. The poor would get more than they pay out. It still seems unfair.

 
At 12/04/2011 9:22 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

It still seems unfair.

Yes, but the original comment had nothing to do with fairness. It was only about the mistaken idea that progressivity has to do with the amount paid rather than the rate.


All the other comments are red herrings.

My point is ONLY this. Most people u derstand the definition as I cited. If you invent some other definition to promote your agenda, then your argument will fail among reasonable people and they will think you stupid. This is no way to promote your agenda.

Whether it is fair or not.

 
At 12/04/2011 9:31 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

ach successive generation has accepted more and more meddling by government until we have come to a point where the productive sector of the real....
++++++/

I would suggest that each generation has developed less and less tolerance for events like tyco, adelphia, Bhopal and others.

That more and more people are insisting on a fair price being paid for what they consider to be their rights and resources.

They are voluntarily refusing what the " productive class" ( talking about class warfare) sees as a fair trade. The producers are upset that they are being required to pay for things they used to get for " free" , like $4500 shower curtains.

 
At 12/04/2011 9:48 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The actual data shows that you have no clue what it is that you are talking about. 12/04/2011 8:37 AM VangelV said...


++++++++++
Vange, You are an idiot in argumentation. Your quote has nothing to do with the argument I made: progressivity has nothing to do with the amount paid.

If you are suggesting that the data I supplied is wrong, then show how that is so. Otherwise your citation is irrelevant.

More likely, your citation selectively mines the facts in order to make a particular point. It may well be correct as far as it goes, and yet far fall wide of the full objective truth. Whatever that is. I do not claim to know.

In any case your citation has nothing to do with how progressivity is commonly defined, and the argument that progressivity is defined by the dollar amount paid is false.

Incidentally, that claim was also made in the American citation, and also not supported by the data.

I am not denying that the rich paid more#, only that this does not increase progressivity as usually defined.

 
At 12/04/2011 9:57 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

.you cannot say anything about progresivity based on amount paid alone.

Sure I can.

++++++++++++++++

You are free to say anything you like. But if you redefine everything to fit your view of the world, then people who use the commonly a felted definitions wont see things your way. You will never convince them that red is green, and the practical effect in a y world you have not invented in your doddering old age is that you will be wrong.

Go ahead, say anything you like.

 
At 12/04/2011 10:01 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

ow ironic. You don't notice the theft but argue that once the money is stolen the thief's property rights are to be respected. The problem is not

+++++++++++++++++

Another redefinition.

Do you consider all taxes as stealing, or do you recognize some minimum amount of stealing as necessary to support some minimum level of government?

 
At 12/04/2011 10:11 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The top 5 percent earned 31.7 percent of the nation's adjusted gross income, but paid approximately 58.7 percent of federal individual income taxes

The top five percent have a lot more ways to adjust their income. Your argument looks a lot different if you compare gross income. In that case you can easily see that your statement really discloses the fact that the wealthy get a huge benefit from the tax code in that much of their income is excused from taxation by the adjusted gross income invention.

 
At 12/04/2011 10:18 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The fact that you do not believe that the tax system is progressive and that you have no clue what

+++++++++++?+

You are a doddering idiot, vange.

I never said the tax code is not progressive. The tax code is progressive.

Progressivity is not defined by how much is paid, but by the rate at which it is paid.

Those rates have decreased since the 1960s. Therefore the system today is less progressive, not more.

If you wish to argue that it should be less progressive still, I'm with you. Just don't start your argument with the lie that progressivity is determined by the amount paid.

 
At 12/04/2011 10:33 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

. I recall you arguing just the opposite, that passenger pigeons were a common good, and that somebody had taken your share. It shouldn't be hard to find.

+++++++++++++++++

I think you misunderstood, in your zeal to prove me wrong.


If I jade a share of the common good I would have ownership, and it would no longer be a common good. My assertion is that most common goods should have ownership instead. We need more property rights, and more strongly defended in order to make the market more free.

In the past some common goods sere so plentiful they were not worth counting. The passenger pigeon shows the folly of this idea. Large commercial operations can wipe out a resource, which they claim for free or nearly so.

Modern computers and information management make transaction processing possible that was once unthinkable. Today such transactions might put prices on things formerly considered to be subjective.

 
At 12/04/2011 10:45 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

You have frequently defended a progressive income tax, and insisted that the "rich" should pay a higher percentage of their income than the poor. I just asked you why that should be so, if the "rich" don't receive benefits proportional to their tax burden. It's very much the subject being discussed.

+++++++++++++

No it isn't. You just pointed out that you are introducing comments I made in the past.

This discussion is only about how we define progressivity.

If we can get past that, then we can have a discussion a out how much if any is proper. Until we agree how to measure what we are talking about we can't have much of a discussion.

But I will say this, with adequate transaction processing we might find that the wealthy get far more from government than they admit.

Or not, in which case they are overlaying. But we have to keep accurate books to find out, and we have to agree what goes in the books.

 
At 12/04/2011 10:47 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Or to pay another man.....

I stand corrected.

 
At 12/04/2011 12:23 PM, Blogger mike k said...

"Clearly this is incorrect. If their tax rates declined a d they paid more actual taxes then their income must have incdecreased more than the tax rate decreased."-Hydra
Actually, their marginal rate may decline and they may still pay a larger percentage of total taxes relative to income, if those at lower levels of income pay even lower marginal tax rates. I think that is precisely what has happened over the last 10-20 years, top marginal rates have decreased and earners in the top 5% have paid a lesser rate on a larger share, however the overall percentage of taxes collected increased for that top 5% relative to the bottom 95%, and that overall increase in the percentage of total taxes paid was greater than their overall increase in percentage of income.
So, to argue the tax code is now less progressive is ludicrous.

 
At 12/04/2011 2:32 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

tually, their marginal rate may decline and they may still pay a larger percentage of total taxes relative to income, if those at lower levels of income pay even lower marginal tax rates.

++++++++++++++++++

That is correct, and I said as much in my comments. But the top rate has fallen from 91% to 31%, and I don't think the middle class has seen that kind if a cut.

 
At 12/04/2011 3:07 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Earners in the top 5% have paid a lesser rate on a larger share, however the overall percentage of taxes collected increased for that top 5% relative to the bottom 95%, and that overall increase in the percentage of total taxes paid was greater than their overall increase in percentage of income.

++++++++++++++++++

Ok now you lost me. They pay a smaller percentage on a larger share of the income. They are paying more actual dollars. But yet you claim the percentage of total tax paid has increased more than the total income earned, again, in spite of a decrease in the rate.

How can that be?

1) the brackets have not gone up as fast as the income, so they pay the highest marginal rate on more dollars.

2) the argument t is based on AGI and therefore the real difference in earnings is distorted.

3) the population has increasaed, so there are a lot more people in the 95%, making it appear that their income has increased more than the substantial increases we know have occurred in the top 5%.


I can think of other reasons.


The tax code is progressive. The rates paid by the wealthy are higher. It is less progressive than it once was, when rates were higher. Progressivity is defined by the rates. It has nothing to do with the amounts paid. I did not make the definition.

But let me get this straight. We lowered the rates and the rich wound up paying more, and now they want to lower the rates again?

Why could that possibly be?

Here is a thought. Because it does not matter how much you pay. It matters how much you have left.

The wealthy are paying more on a lower rate because they are earning and keeping much more.

Lets cut the rate so we can pay still more.

 
At 12/04/2011 3:23 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I think it had something to do with the problems encountered in the early settlements where some people thought themselves too good to work."

And this is PRECISELY the problem with the collective systems you prefer. Some find they can benefit whether or not they contribute much. Others who contribute a lot, realize they are subsidizing those who aren't, and they then work less hard.

This redistribution is actually legislated in our current system, but it's not possible to legislate human nature, so calls to "tax the rich" can't work.

When each is responsible for their own well being, everyone is better off. Read the history of the Plymouth Colony in MA for a perfect example of this.

As a commune they nearly starved, but when property was divided among them, they prospered.

 
At 12/04/2011 3:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Do you consider all taxes as stealing, or do you recognize some minimum amount of stealing as necessary to support some minimum level of government?"

Taxation is theft.

 
At 12/04/2011 4:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The top five percent have a lot more ways to adjust their income. Your argument looks a lot different if you compare gross income. In that case you can easily see that your statement really discloses the fact that the wealthy get a huge benefit from the tax code in that much of their income is excused from taxation by the adjusted gross income invention."

That's exactly why increasing taxes in this group causes unintended consequences

Are you suggesting taxing gross income, with no regard to the costs involved in obtaining that income? Should an owner/operator of a truck who grosses $200k be required to pay tax on that amount?

Should a rental property owner pay taxes on gross rent received?

 
At 12/04/2011 4:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I would suggest that each generation has developed less and less tolerance for events like tyco, adelphia, Bhopal and others."

And yet, despite a continual river of additional regulation, such things continue to occur. What's the problem here?

"That more and more people are insisting on a fair price being paid for what they consider to be their rights and resources."

As well they should. A mutually beneficial voluntary agreement is the best we can ask for.

"They are voluntarily refusing what the " productive class" ( talking about class warfare) sees as a fair trade."

This is the essence of a free market. Individuals choosing to exchange or not exchange. Both parties to a voluntary transaction benefit.

"The producers are upset that they are being required to pay for things they used to get for " free" , like $4500 shower curtains."

I don't know what this means.

 
At 12/04/2011 5:11 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"If I jade a share of the common good I would have ownership, and it would no longer be a common good. My assertion is that most common goods should have ownership instead." We need more property rights, and more strongly defended in order to make the market more free."

And, on that point we agree. In fact, I would assert that all property should be private, and that there should be no common goods at all. I understand there are problems with implementation in some cases, and I don't have all the answers.

"In the past some common goods sere so plentiful they were not worth counting. The passenger pigeon shows the folly of this idea. Large commercial operations can wipe out a resource, which they claim for free or nearly so."

The folly is in the concept of common goods. I can't think of a common good that isn't subject to the "tragedy of the commons." It is in the nature of bees and ants to deal with a common, but not people.

"Modern computers and information management make transaction processing possible that was once unthinkable. Today such transactions might put prices on things formerly considered to be subjective."

All value is subjective, and prices regulate supply and demand by signalling to producers whether to produce more or less of a good.

Are you suggesting that someone could decide on an arbitrary price for things that would work better than the market price?

 
At 12/04/2011 5:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"But let me get this straight. We lowered the rates and the rich wound up paying more, and now they want to lower the rates again?

Why could that possibly be?
"

I believe you have already answered this question yourself.

Top earners have the ability to structure their income to their own advantage. If it's cheaper to pay income taxes, they will have more such taxable income, thus a higher amount of tax collected.

Incentives matter.

 
At 12/04/2011 5:37 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"3) the population has increasaed, so there are a lot more people in the 95%, making it appear that their income has increased more than the substantial increases we know have occurred in the top 5%. "

Actually, the population has increased at the same rate for both the top 5% and the bottom 95%.

There are 19 new people in the bottom 95% for each new person in the top 5%.

 
At 12/04/2011 7:27 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"No it isn't. You just pointed out that you are introducing comments I made in the past.

This discussion is only about how we define progressivity
"...

Well hydra if people were handing out style points for being consistently wrong you would definitely have a slew of points...

Everyone knows what 'progressive' is when its applied to taxation, a leftist/liberal attempt to rationalize higher rates of theft from the productive in order that Constitutionally questionable programs that pander to the parasitic can be paid for...

The fact of the matter is why should a person making more money be subject to more government extortion than someone who isn't making as much - pure & simple...

The real question is (actually a rhetorical one since all know the answer) will the person having more extorted from him/her get more of the government largesse such as it is?

 
At 12/04/2011 7:53 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Right. But the ratio of total incomes changes.

Take. 95 people earning $50k a.d 5 people earning $500k. The total ratio is 52.6. Change the population to 116 and 6 and the ratio drops to 51.7. You can hardly blame the tax code for that.

Now the 116 get a 5% raise to 52500. The other six get 400% as much, to 510000. Now the ratio of total income drops again, to 50.2%.


Without saying anything a out the fairness of the initial conditions, it is hard to see how the change.he in population and wage makes it somehow less fair, just because the ratio of total earnings change.

 
At 12/04/2011 8:05 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

You need to sell your ideas individual by individual. Total income matters not to them. What they see is someone else increases their salary 400% more than theirs.

If everyone is better off, so what, you say. Who cares?

About 95% care, so you have a big job ahead.

 
At 12/04/2011 8:16 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I have made here, no attempt to rationalize anything. I merely pointed out that you cannot say anything about progressivity based on the amount paid. Apparently vange does not yet know that progressivity kid defined by increasing rates.


But your position is that a true flat tax should be a flat dollar amount.

So let me ask, how much you think that should be? $500 per person? $5000? $10,000?

 
At 12/04/2011 8:36 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Will the person ha Inc more extorted get more of the largesse?

Good question. Is there any answer you would accept, other than no?

Tell me, why isotope that those wth the most money are willing to pay so much for access?

Do you suppose they know they will get a good return on their investment?

 
At 12/04/2011 8:45 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Top earners have the ability to structure their income to their own advantage. If it's cheaper to pay income taxes, they will have more such taxable income, thus a higher amount of tax collected. Incentives matter.


+++++++++++++++++++

Good example of jabberwhockey.
Mind translating that to English?

 
At 12/04/2011 8:50 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I believe you have already answered this question yourself.

+++++++++++++++

Yes, even though they pay more, they take home a lot more.

So you agree that it is the take home that is the incentive. The actual tax matters little?

 
At 12/04/2011 8:57 PM, Blogger mike k said...

Hydra, I'm only arguing your point that taxes are now LESS progressive. I think the ultimate measure should probably be effective rates and not codified marginal rates. If you look at the total burden by percentile, clearly the top 1%, 5%, 10% are paying as much of that burden as ever. In fact, the bottom 50% are paying almost nothing.
" I merely pointed out that you cannot say anything about progressivity based on the amount paid."
Nonsense, if a higher income earner pays a higher percentage in taxes than a low income worker, the difference in their effective reates is a perfect measure of progressivity.

 
At 12/04/2011 9:06 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I understand there are problems with implementation in some cases, and I don't have all the answrs.

++++++++ we have agreed all along, but you were too busy arguing to listen.

I am suggesting that massive computing power could solve implementation problems that were previously intractable.

I'm not sure you will like the results though. If all property has ownership, the producers will ha e to pay for a lot of things they get free. A 100% property ownership regimen might make the current regulatory regimen look easy.

Eventually the too 10% will own 70% of everything. Most other lifestyles will then more or less depend on charity.

 
At 12/04/2011 9:11 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

the free market will reveal how much it'll tolerate from government.

++++++++++++++++

With unlimited campaign contributions, the market in government will be free.

 
At 12/04/2011 9:17 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

because the rest of us become so rich that we can help them at little cost.

++++++++++++++++++++

How rich would you have to be before you stopped complaining about a culture of dependency, and gratuitously started helping the whole freaking world, because it would be such a small cost to you?

 
At 12/04/2011 9:22 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Taxation is theft.

++++++++

Agreed.

Do you recognize some minimum amount of stealing as necessary to support some minimum level of government?

 
At 12/05/2011 3:45 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I am suggesting that massive computing power could solve implementation problems that were previously intractable."

How would you use massive computer power to the problem of overfishing in the open ocean?

"I'm not sure you will like the results though. If all property has ownership, the producers will ha e to pay for a lot of things they get free."

Nearly all property is already owned, although the notion that we can all own property in common through a government entity seems bizarre. I meant private ownership.

There is nothing free: Who are these producers, and what do they now get free

"A 100% property ownership regimen might make the current regulatory regimen look easy."

I can't imagine how.

Eventually the too 10% will own 70% of everything. Most other lifestyles will then more or less depend on charity.

A property owner can't charge more than a customer is willing or able to pay.

 
At 12/05/2011 3:49 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Do you recognize some minimum amount of stealing as necessary to support some minimum level of government?"

No. There is no such thing as legitimate stealing.

 
At 12/05/2011 4:48 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Hydra, Ron already said he's an anarchist, that means he wants no government and considers all taxation to be stealing, as do I. :) What part of that do you not understand?

As to the subjective notion of what's "fair," I'll note that the definition I would use is a society that allows me to most easily make money and maximize my human potential. By that definition, since I'm likely to be much richer in the US with a GDP PPP per capita of $47k and a ratio of the income of the richest 20% to poorest 20% of 8.4, as opposed to the most "equal" countries of Japan, the Czech Republic, and Finland, where you make $34k, $25k, and $35k on average and who have rich/poor ratios of 3.4, 3.5, and 3.8, respectively. And of course they're likely more equal because they all have heavy govt involvement in their economies, where govt spending ranges from 40-50% of GDP, when by comparison we just hit 40% here in the US and we complain about that level being too high and unprecedented for us. So the govt can make you more "equal," equally poor!

That's because all the govt can do is redistribute income- it sucks at incentivizing innovation and enterprise, which is what makes us rich- and in so doing, it ends up making everybody in your society poorer over the medium-term, particularly when compared to a freer market like the US. So what is more fair? Living in a society where you're all equally poor or living in a society where you get to make much more, because you get to benefit much more from the unshackled Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs and various other US billionaires, regardless of how many more billions they make? I know I'd choose the US and that's what most who leave their country choose, which is why all the "illegals" are clambering across the border here, not anywhere else. It is much more "fair" to let me become rich here than to force me to be poor but a bit more "equal" with those around me in those other countries, all while you keep falling behind the US.

 
At 12/05/2011 7:58 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

that allows me to most easily make money and maximize my human potential.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Thats pretty fair. What about everyone else?

Woud you consider that the system which offers you the highest probability of maximum return is the one that gains the highest total return?

 
At 12/05/2011 8:00 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Hydra, Ron already said he's an anarchist, that means he wants no government and considers all taxation to be stealing, as do I. :) What part of that do you not understand?

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

I never took you seriously before.

Now that I understand you actually mean that crap, I never will again.

 
At 12/05/2011 8:07 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Nearly all property is already owned, although the notion that we can all own property in common through a government entity seems bizarre. I meant private ownership.

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

So do I.

Fish woulod be an example. With massive computing we could keep track of every fish, or close enough that rather than have a public good,there woulod be a kind of fish corproation in which you could own shares.

Conservationists could choose not to have their shares causght and sold, but they would pay the price for such conservation. This would also be speculatory since it would raise the price. "Their" fish and their progeny would be off limits.

Those whou choose to sell might sell at less than their replacement rate or more. If they overfish "their" stock and run out, then they are done.

 
At 12/05/2011 8:09 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Nearly all property is already owned,


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

How about things like building rights? You buy a property with potential for three lots. Later the setback rules are changed and suddenly you have potential for only one home.


Should the county pay you for the property y0ou bought and then lost?

 
At 12/05/2011 8:18 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

since I'm likely to be much richer in the US with a GDP PPP per capita of $47k and a ratio of the income of the richest 20% to poorest 20% of 8.4, as opposed to the most "equal" countries

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

You are pretty sure of yourself. The actual likeliehood depends only on the pure probability, not the probability modified by what you think about yourself.

You would have to calculate the most probable value, not merely the possibility of becoming very rich. If 95% ofg the population average $50k asnd 5% average $500k, then your most probable value is %72,500. With substantial variation, as well.

 
At 12/05/2011 8:22 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

they all have heavy govt involvement in their economies, where govt spending ranges from 40-50% of GDP, when by comparison we just hit 40% here in the US and we complain about that level being too high and unprecedented for us.

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

Well yes, except a good bit of our spending is on other peoples economies.

A british expat I know points out that he paid more in Britain, but got more for it. To this day his medical insurance plan consists of flying back to Britain if necessary.

 
At 12/05/2011 8:30 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

because you get to benefit much more from the unshackled Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs and various other US billionaires, regardless of how many more billions they make?


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

Steve jobs never made anything I care to own. Hundreds have been killed by vehicles while listening to their Ipods.

I do not doubt this statement is partly true, but if we had that massive computing power we would know where the money goes, and then I suspect we would find the benefit is less than generally given.

What happens when Economics graduates from being a generally descriptive science like botoany in the 1700's to a proscriptive science like molecular biological engineering today?

I have an ide that a lot of quaint ideas like yours will be subsumed.

 
At 12/05/2011 8:30 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

But I think most people would have a problem with what happened at Enron, worldcom, tyco, global crossing, adelphia, and Anderson.

What things? And why did they happen? The Enron problems were well known to anyone who actually bothered to read the 10-K filings carefully. The problems were not uncovered by the government regulatory agencies, which kept looking the other way but by the private investors who were motivated to make money by shorting the overvalued share.

Look at what is happening now. You have technically insolvent banks being kept alive by regulators who allow them to use make believe valuation models instead of reporting the actual market valuation of their assets. You have shale oil and gas companies that are chewing through cash but are allowed to hide their true condition by being allowed to make EUR assumptions that are proven to be too optimistic by the actual production data. And you have the government's own accounting, which allows IOUs to be valued in the same way as marketable securities and does not comply with the same requirements as the accounting methods used by businesses and individuals.

The scams are only possible at the scale at which they take place because government rules and programs add cover for the people who carry them out. When thousands of unprofitable shale gas companies go bust are you going to blame the 'rich people' or the SEC rules that made it all possible? Are you going to blame unscrupulous promoters or the USGS, EIA, IEA, mainstream media, and cheerleaders like Mark because they made possible for so many people in the public to be fooled.

 
At 12/05/2011 8:36 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

A property owner can't charge more than a customer is willing or able to pay.

Come on Ron. These guys are not talking about the real world. They live in their own imaginary construction where such things are possible.

No. There is no such thing as legitimate stealing.

Not in our world but perfectly legitimate in their imaginary one.

 
At 12/05/2011 8:41 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

So what is more fair? Living in a society where you're all equally poor or living in a society where you get to make much more,



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

How about a society where you are equally assured of not being really destitute poor, otherwise there are no shackles on becoming rich?

All upside, no downside. Would not that improve your chances?


Consider, one in three persons are disabled at some point in their working life, as I was for three years. I was fortunate to have enough safety net that I was eventually able to bounce back and earn more than before. But with no safety net i wouod have gone to zero,and starting over would have been much harder. Regaining my former wealth would have been nearly impossible.

What is more fair about a society that allows the healthy to suck everything out of the injured while they are temporarily down?

 
At 12/05/2011 8:43 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The Enron problems were well known to anyone who actually bothered to read the 10-K filings carefully.

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

So it is OK to let bad things happen as long as you print a footnote somewhere in advance?

 
At 12/05/2011 8:48 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The problems were not uncovered by the government regulatory agencies, which kept looking the other way but by the private investors who were motivated to make money by shorting the overvalued share.


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

They were mpotivated to make money, not to prevent the damage.

At the system level, would not they have had a better chance to make money if the system excluded the major failures like those mentioned?

At the system level, would not the system have more net energy, absent the avoidable failures?

Not all failures are avoidable, regulators have had failures. does that mean we cannot work for improvement?

 
At 12/05/2011 10:32 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

anyone who actually bothered to read the 10-K filings carefully

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

Aren't the 10-k filings required by governement?

 
At 12/05/2011 10:37 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Lets suppose someone bothered to read all the NASA engineering documentation and discovered there was an increaed likeliehood of booster failure at low temperatures.

So they go to intrade or some UK bookie who will take bets on anything and make a lot of money on the Challenger failure.

Is that more or less equivalent to reading the Enron 10-ks?

 
At 12/05/2011 10:40 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I can't imagine how.

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

That is because you lack imagination, being stuck in an absolutist dogma.

 
At 12/05/2011 10:44 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

The scams are only possible at the scale at which they take place because government rules and programs add cover for the people who carry them out.

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

Lack of imagination again. there are lots of other ways for such scams to be possible.

I suppose you could argue that without regulation there is no such thing as a scam, since anything is legal.

 
At 12/05/2011 10:51 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I have suggested that there is a limit to how much wealth the top percentage can acquire.


A property owner can't charge more than a customer is willing or able to pay, and that suggests one limitation: when the lower classes have little left to buy with, the rich cannot sell them much.

But if the producers have no need for more workers, they have no incentive to hire them.

Either youlet them expire, or you support them with largess of one kind or another.

 
At 12/05/2011 10:53 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Not in our world but perfectly legitimate in their imaginary one.

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


Whose imaginary world?


There are how many governments in the world?
And how many successful anarchies?

 
At 12/05/2011 2:49 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Take. 95 people earning $50k a.d 5 people earning $500k. The total ratio is 52.6. Change the population to 116 and 6 and the ratio drops to 51.7. You can hardly blame the tax code for that."


No, I can't blame the tax code, I would instead blame Hydra-math.

You have changed the 95% and 5% ratio, so your example is meaningless.

If you plan to object, please show all your work so I can point out your errors.

Hint: the numbers you want are 114 and 6.

 
At 12/05/2011 3:13 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Can't show the work, did it in my head.

 
At 12/05/2011 3:21 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

So it is OK to let bad things happen as long as you print a footnote somewhere in advance?

Bad things? When a company discloses enough information for us to figure out that is a problem we need to sell the shares and look elsewhere. A perfect example at this period of time are the shale gas companies. Most of them are showing huge cash flow problems as the gas they produce is selling for much less than the cost of production. While they are underestimating their losses because they use high EURs their estimates are perfectly 'legal' per the SEC rules and there is more than sufficient information disclosed to show that most companies will wind up with massive write-offs over the next few years as the production data can no longer be ignored. Does this mean that the USGS, which is hyping shale, is guilty of fraud? Does it mean that the CEOs, who do mention funding gaps and financing challenges are lying?

I would argue that the problem is not the companies but the regulatory agencies that provide a false sense of security for naive investors. In the absence of regulators there would be far less hype and investors will want proof of competence in the way of healthy dividend payouts over long periods of time.

 
At 12/05/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

They were mpotivated to make money, not to prevent the damage.

But that is how you prevent damage. Had the regulators not protected the companies the short sellers would have had a much easier time blowing the whistle. People did not believe the analysis because they felt that the regulators were competent and would protect them.

At the system level, would not they have had a better chance to make money if the system excluded the major failures like those mentioned?

No. Short sellers make money when they expose companies that deserve to fail. They benefit when the public is wrong and has bid up prices too high. It is easier for the public to be too optimistic when it has faith in regulators and their ability to protect naive investors.

Not all failures are avoidable, regulators have had failures. does that mean we cannot work for improvement?

The problem is not the failures because the market punishes companies that cannot perform. The problem is the overvaluation that comes when companies are protected from legitimate charges coming from analysts by regulators protecting the members of the club.

 
At 12/05/2011 3:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"About 95% care, so you have a big job ahead."

This is class envy pure & simple. As morganovich has pointed out, studies show that subjects prefer getting $3 if someone else gets $2, rather than $5 if someone else gets $7.

That's not at all rational, and doesn't mean there's some terrible social problem that needs fixing.

 
At 12/05/2011 3:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...


But if the producers have no need for more workers, they have no incentive to hire them.

Either youlet them expire, or you support them with largess of one kind or another.


Let them expire? Why not just let them look after their own interests? Are people who 'work' less than human and too stupid to look after themselves?

 
At 12/05/2011 3:34 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Can't show the work, did it in my head."

That's amazing, but you might consider investing in a calculator.

 
At 12/05/2011 3:51 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"But your position is that a true flat tax should be a flat dollar amount.

So let me ask, how much you think that should be? $500 per person? $5000? $10,000?
"

Better yet, how about providing services on a subscription or premium basis, much as people now pay for homeowner insurance or satallite TV service?

A person could estimate the amount of value they wished to protect, and the risk they were willing to take, and pay accordingly for various service levels of police protection, fire protection, court systems, and every other government service they now pay inequitably for.

A rich person could decide to pay for onsite police and fire protection if they valued them enough.

But, why stop there? Why not eliminate the monopoly government has on those services, and open them to competition from private agencies?

"Voluntary" and "choice" are great concepts, don't you think?.

We might find eventually, that government isn't necessary after all.

 
At 12/05/2011 3:53 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The basic argument still holds, in this example the wealthy 5% get four times the raise and yet their % of the total income goes down.

Measured at the gross level, their percentage of the total income goes down, but their percentage of the total taxes goes up.

By definition, the system is no mpore progressive, because the rates have not changed. Thir taxes are the same percentage of their earnings.

Only by introducing a new variable (what the other 95% earned) do you make the change in the weighted distribution appear to be relevant.

The problem with this argument is just as you pointed out previously: "Who cares what someone else makes, as long as everyone is better off?"

 
At 12/05/2011 4:20 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Good example of jabberwhockey.
Mind translating that to English?
"

Sorry, I guess that could have been clearer.

Wealthy people have the ability to take income in various forms - gains, salary, dividends, etc. They can defer income or take it earlier if it benefits them tax wise. They may even take income in another tax jurisdiction or country where tax rules are more favorable to them. In other words, people take advantage of tax law to pay the least amount of taxes. This is perfectly sensible, and there's nothing dishonest about it, but it may not be in our best interest if decisions are made for tax, rather than business reasons.

If the rate on gains goes up, less income will be taken as gains. In fact, overall, fewer transactions will occur that result in gains, as people act for tax reasons rather than business reasons.

If regular income tax rates are lowered, more income will be reported as regular income. Thus total tax revenue from regular income taxes may be greater at a lower rate, than at a higher rate.

All tax incentives and disincentives are what your "friends" in government have created to favor some special pleading. You call it "regulation", and favor more of it.

Incentives matter.

There are almost always unintended consequences.

 
At 12/05/2011 4:41 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Fish woulod be an example. With massive computing we could keep track of every fish, or close enough that rather than have a public good,there woulod be a kind of fish corproation in which you could own shares."

Oh Wow. Without even addressing the massive computer power idea, let me ask:

- Who is in charge of this corporation, is it a private enterprise?

- Does this call for a world government?

- Will everyone in the world agree, or must billions be forced to join?

- lots more, but that's enough for now.

 
At 12/05/2011 4:54 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"How about things like building rights? You buy a property with potential for three lots. Later the setback rules are changed and suddenly you have potential for only one home."

We've discussed your personal case before.

"Should the county pay you for the property you bought and then lost?"

This is a great example of the tyranny of the majority I believe you favor.

Your property rights shouldn't change due to a majority of your neighbors wanting a change. Their remedy is to buy your property and then ask for rezoning, or ask for rezoning to set the rules for future buyers of their property, while leaving your property rights as-is.

It shouldn't be the county, but the beneficiaries of the zoning changes that pay you for your potential loss. The best way to do that would be for them to buy your property.

Notice my extensive use of the word "shouldn't."

 
At 12/05/2011 4:59 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"A british expat I know points out that he paid more in Britain, but got more for it. To this day his medical insurance plan consists of flying back to Britain if necessary."

I can't help but point out at this time, that it's deregulation of the airlines that makes this an affordable option for him.

 
At 12/05/2011 5:24 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Steve jobs never made anything I care to own."

This doesn't help your argument. You understand you are a small minority, right? Besides, that Droid you struggle with may not have come to be without the iPhone. You can thank Jobs for your Droid.

"Hundreds have been killed by vehicles while listening to their Ipods."

Millions have been killed by their vehicles without any help from iPods. Vehicles are a much more serious threat to humanity than iPods. What's your point?

"I do not doubt this statement is partly true, but if we had that massive computing power we would know where the money goes, and then I suspect we would find the benefit is less than generally given."

Do you really want strangers to have detailed knowledge of your personal life and finances?

"What happens when Economics graduates from being a generally descriptive science like botoany in the 1700's to a proscriptive science like molecular biological engineering today?"

Molecular biology is proscriptive? Who Knew? Economics is a study of human actions, nothing more.

"I have an ide that a lot of quaint ideas like yours will be subsumed."

Do you mean included in a larger classification? Maybe that's not the fancy word you intended to use.

 
At 12/05/2011 5:43 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Consider, one in three persons are disabled at some point in their working life, as I was for three years. I was fortunate to have enough safety net that I was eventually able to bounce back and earn more than before. But with no safety net i wouod have gone to zero,and starting over would have been much harder. Regaining my former wealth would have been nearly impossible."

Safety nets are a great idea. Everyone should provide one for themselves, or perhaps rely on charity, which is abundantly available.

Do you prefer they steal money from others to provide for their needs?

"What is more fair about a society that allows the healthy to suck everything out of the injured while they are temporarily down?"

What is more fair about a society that allows thieves to steal from the healthy for the benefit of those who suffer misfortune that's nobody's fault?

It is fortunate that you were able to regain your former wealth and level of earnings, but is it something you "deserved"?

Will you now repay those who financed your recovery if they were unwilling taxpayers?

 
At 12/05/2011 6:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Lack of imagination again. there are lots of other ways for such scams to be possible.

I suppose you could argue that without regulation there is no such thing as a scam, since anything is legal.


Not at all. But in the absence of a false sense of security bubbles are much harder to create and maintain for long periods of time. Without regulation Enron stock would never have become as expensive as it became because the insiders who knew would have shorted it.

 
At 12/05/2011 6:14 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Me: "No. There is no such thing as legitimate stealing."

V: "Not in our world but perfectly legitimate in their imaginary one."

There are extreme cases, since that seems to be a common subject lately, where stealing might be permissible, for instance to save ones life by breaking into an unoccupied mountain cabin for food and shelter, but it would still be stealing, and I would expect restitution to be made later.

I don't think the property owner would object in such a case.

 
At 12/05/2011 6:22 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"So it is OK to let bad things happen as long as you print a footnote somewhere in advance?"

You cannot prevent bad things from happening, no matter how much you wish for it, unless you forbid all action. You can only punish after the fact. Fraud and theft are, and always have been, impermissible, and punishments exist. Adding layers of regulation to forbid every possible individual wrongdoing isn't effective, as Madoff showed us.

 
At 12/05/2011 6:31 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Aren't the 10-k filings required by governement?"

They are, but absent such requirements, companies seeking investors would provide something similar to show investors they were worthy of investment.

"Trust us, you should buy our stock." isn't a common financing strategy.

 
At 12/05/2011 6:37 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"They were mpotivated to make money, not to prevent the damage."

And we should thank them for that. When you, as an investor, see lots of shorts, you might want to consider the future of that particular investment. Shorts are your red flag that something is going South. They help adjust the price downward quickly, thus minimizing damage to other investors.

 
At 12/05/2011 6:49 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"So they go to intrade or some UK bookie who will take bets on anything and make a lot of money on the Challenger failure."

That was an Enron type failure. The problem was known, or at least suspected within NASA, but ignored.

Would lot's of additional regulation have prevented it?

No, there were already procedures in place, that weren't followed.

If you have trouble understanding the information you should have to invest wisely, pay a stockbroker to do it for you. That's their job.

The Intrade idea is a good one. If you can't get anyone else to listen, at least benefit yourself from your knowledge.

 
At 12/05/2011 6:54 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"A property owner can't charge more than a customer is willing or able to pay, and that suggests one limitation: when the lower classes have little left to buy with, the rich cannot sell them much."

Which is, as I said, the reason the best interest of the rich is served by the poor having more income and wealth. One person owning everything, makes his holdings worthless.

 
At 12/05/2011 7:05 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Hydra, let me begin by agreeing with you that the massive cheap computing power that is entering the marketplace today will fundamentally remake the market and all our lives in the coming years, particularly when combined with the ability to easily disperse that information over the fiber optic lines and cellular networks that make up the internet. However, your fish example is ill-chosen because computing power cannot tell you how much fish there are, you need lots of measurement for that, not computation. You can cover the whole planet with computers but you wouldn't know how many fish there are without taking repeated measurements. This is the same problem with the global warming alarmists, who don't have enough data to make their case so they try to make up for it with computational models (they do have a lot of data, but not nearly enough to properly account for how a gigantically complex system like the Earth's atmosphere evolves over time).

Feynman has a great quote in his Physics lectures- which I now see that Bill Gates made available online in video form two years ago, provided you have Silverlight. Wow, a US billionaire benefiting me again, how apt for this thread :) - where he says that even if you know the initial position and speed of every molecule in a small puddle of water, within seconds you have no idea where everything has moved, because it is just computationally impossible to calculate where everything goes, even with our much more powerful computers these days. Instead, you need lots of measurement, as Mark shows with the BPP MIT data he keeps linking to these days. In order to really track the fish, you'd have to place sonar sensor networks all over the ocean or somehow place implantable sensors inside all the fish, neither of which will be practical for many decades. So yes, computers and the internet are radically remaking the marketplace, but some things are still outside their grasp, like counting all the fish in the sea. ;)

 
At 12/06/2011 9:39 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

In order to really track the fish, you'd have to place sonar sensor networks all over the ocean or somehow place implantable sensors inside all the fish, neither of which will be practical for many decades. So yes, computers and the internet are radically remaking the marketplace, but some things are still outside their grasp, like counting all the fish in the sea. ;)

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

Yes but fish are fungible, nothing says you have to own any particular fish. But suppose everyone has an allotment of fish. Anyone could go catch a fish, but they would need a purchase order from someone, bcause they are catching someones fish. You can catch your own fish, up to your allotment (or up to your own replacement rate, so you don't run out), but after that you need purchase orders to equal the fish you caught.

Purchase orders could be bought and sold at on-line auctions. Arab bedouins might sell their fish allotment cheap, but othrs might think the fish are more dear.

 
At 12/06/2011 9:43 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Which is, as I said, the reason the best interest of the rich is served by the poor having more income and wealth.

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

Which is what I was getting at when I suggested that the current trend of the wealthy getting increasingly more of the pie cannot continue. Either they will do what is in their best interest or government will do it for them, and send them the bill.

 
At 12/06/2011 10:16 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

even if you know the initial position and speed of every molecule in a small puddle of water, within seconds you have no idea where everything has moved, because it is just computationally impossible to calculate where everything goes, even with our much more powerful computers these days.

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

That's right, it is the same as the many body problem: you can calculate the postion of the electon in a helium atom axactly ( the Bohr atom), but as soon as you get electrons that interact, you can only solve the problem statistically.

Same with economics: you can often predict the actions of one or two people in a constrainded market, but when everyone is interacting, there is no telling what will happen, which is why perfect central planning fails.

But, many problems cans still be solved at the macro or statisticsal level with enough certainty to be useful. We can tell the speed of the molecules in the puddle by measuring the temperature, from that we can tell how long before the puddle will be gone.

It is your opinion that the global wrming folks do not have enough evidence yet. I would point out that while we may not be able to agree on global warming, we ought to be able to agree on how much evidence would be sufficient.

But, usually when I ask someone how much evidence it would take to convince them, the answer comes back as nonsense: an infinite amount, when the ice cps have completely melted, or some such thing, usually followed by guffaws.

What this tells me is that it is not an issue of science or measurement, but of belief, and the argument that thers is not enough evidence is false.

One does not need a perfect answer to have a useful answer. I don;lt think that a hypothetically perct free market gives us a useful answer anymore than I believe a hypothetically perfect central planning agency gives us a useful answer.

At present, we cannot agree on where we are, let alone where we are going, let alone where we should be going.

Like the puddle we can let all the molecules be free to bang around any way they choose, in the belief that this always produces the best result for the puddle. Or, we can set beleifs aside and consider the puddle, whether it is getting bigger or smaller, dirtier or cleaner, hotter of colder.


But, like the global warming issue, a lot of people have made up their mind, so no serious conversation is possible.

 
At 12/06/2011 1:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Yes but fish are fungible, nothing says you have to own any particular fish. But suppose everyone has an allotment of fish. Anyone could go catch a fish, but they would need a purchase order from someone, bcause they are catching someones fish. You can catch your own fish, up to your allotment (or up to your own replacement rate, so you don't run out), but after that you need purchase orders to equal the fish you caught.

Purchase orders could be bought and sold at on-line auctions. Arab bedouins might sell their fish allotment cheap, but othrs might think the fish are more dear.
"

Things are so simple for a collectivist.

It appears your knowledge of oceans and fish - and people - is insufficient to allow you to suggest meaningful solutions.

You are still dealing with a commons. Your solution won't work in a commons. Your complex allocation and trading system isn't likely to work any better than the trading system for carbon credits has worked.

You may not think of it this way, but you already own fish. You just haven't paid for them and taken delivery yet. As soon as you ask for your fish and make the arrangements, you will have them.

The purchase orders you already have are more flexible than the ones you have suggested, as they can also be used to buy other things besides fish. Everyone is already trading in this fish market you envision, without realizing it. Your suggestion is nothing more than an additional, unnecessary, and may I say unworkable level of purchase orders.

Nagging questions still remain unanswered:

How do you get "everyone" to agree? Who is in charge of this scheme, and who enforces it?

What is a fair allotment of fish if the sustainable rate is unknown due to our lack of knowledge of the fish world - which of course, is the case?

How will those Bedouins know there's an internet on which to trade their fish dollars, whatever dollars are? Do you think they will like your idea?

How do you suppose indigenous people will accept you and your wacky ideas when you tell them they can no longer fish as they have done for thousands of years, but must now accept allotments and money and internet? Do you understand "eff you" in Inuit?

You may have noticed that ownership of land animals involves restricting their movements, otherwise ownership is meaningless. Can you do that on a global scale with fish?

 
At 12/06/2011 1:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Either they will do what is in their best interest or government will do it for them, and send them the bill."

But government can't possibly "know" what the correct amount of the bill should be. Do you doubt that people will do what's in their best interest?

I thought that was one of your complaints, and that government was necessary to keep that from happening?

 
At 12/06/2011 2:23 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"It is your opinion that the global wrming folks do not have enough evidence *yet*.

*yet* suggests that the conclusion is foregone. Do you really want to take that position?

How about evidence that man made CO2 will drive global temperatures - a hard to measure and questionable statistic in any case - to levels that will cause catastrophe, there being no natural negative feedback mechanism to adequately mitigate the effect.

How about evidence that current minor increases in atmospheric CO2 are, in fact, causing the observed minor temperature increase.

Please note:

- Models aren't evidence.

- A description of the "greenhouse effect" of CO2 isn't called for at this time, as that isn't in question.

- The slight temperature increase observed in the last century or so is less than the margin of error for the temperature data, but that some amount of warming has occurred, isn't being questioned, so you need not defend it.

- The entire AGW meme is far more political than scientific.

- The suggested remedies aren't possible without returning the world to the level of poverty and misery present before the industrial revolution.

 
At 12/06/2011 3:46 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

It appears your knowledge of oceans and fish - and people - is insufficient to allow you to suggest meaningful solutions.

This point is lost on the statists. They lack the knowledge but are confident enough to assume that they can still make plans to control the economy. It is not their ignorance that is the issue but the fact that they don't know that they don't know enough.

 
At 12/06/2011 3:52 PM, Blogger VangelV said...


- A description of the "greenhouse effect" of CO2 isn't called for at this time, as that isn't in question.


But even on this point there is a huge problem for the warmers. They are looking at an effect that works by limiting convection and assuming that it also means that it works the same when it cannot limit convection. The whole downwelling radiation issue is a huge problem that will show up in the literature over the next few years because it makes no sense and has never been applied in any field other than climate science. If the physicists have rejected it why do you think that the rejects in the climate science fields are on to something legitimate?

 
At 12/06/2011 5:25 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

But even on this point there is a huge problem for the warmers.

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

Vange is making my point. He has adopted a position and is arguing for his position, right or wrong.

If I thought I would get an answer, I would ask him how much evidence or what events would have to occur in order for you to abanson your Chosen position?

We can argue one position or the other and never get anywhere, or we can decide, without giving up our position, what it would take to surrender.

Since neither side has to give up its (current) position, deciding the tipping point should be a lot easier.

Then we can decide how much resources to apply to collecting the information needed to achieve a consensus, one way or the other.

Right now, neither side wants concesnsus, they want to win, whether they turn out to be right or not.

 
At 12/06/2011 5:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

*yet* suggests that the conclusion is foregone. Do you really want to take that position?

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

Not at all. In this case yet signifies benefit of the doubt. I am assuming that those who deny global warming are claiming ther is not enough evidence yet. I am not assuming that there position is that there is not now and never could be enough evidence.

That would make them sound unreasonable and unmoveable on this topic, when I actually believe that they would change their opinion under the weight of overwheming evidence or catastrophic events on the ground.

 
At 12/06/2011 5:42 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Do you doubt that people will do what's in their best interest?

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

Yes. I don't see any evidence they are any better at this than government is.

I believe they will do what they THINK is in their best interest, that they will do whatever they can rationalizee as being in their best interest, and sometimes they will even be the same thing.

When there is a fire in the theatre people will be trampled and burned stampeding the exit and competing wildly for their self interest.

Clearly, better results are available, through different choices, better observation of your surroundings, or government regulation and enforcement, but yet we see this story over and over.

 
At 12/06/2011 5:51 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Nagging questions still remain unanswered:


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

I agree, although I would not characterize them as nagging. They are just questions after all and you answer them as best you can, and you put error bounds on them, then you word to reduce the boundaries.

We do not know how much damage atmospheric sulfuric acid causes, ut we know it isn't zero, and we know it isn't our biggest problem either. Somewhere between spending every cent we have to reduce ASO2 and spending nothing, there is a lowest cost solution.

We cannot find that solution if we do not look for it.

 
At 12/06/2011 5:54 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

it may not be in our best interest if decisions are made for tax, rather than business reasons.

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

Agreed.

Teh constant bally hoo about lower taxes (or higher ones) being needed is missing the point, which is how to find out what is best, rather than endlessly arguing a point.

 
At 12/06/2011 7:27 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

VangelV: But even on this point there is a huge problem for the warmers. They are looking at an effect that works by limiting convection and assuming that it also means that it works the same when it cannot limit convection.

The Greenhouse Effect does not depend on limiting convection. You are confused because the term was coined "greenhouse." A gardener's greenhouse works primarily by limiting convection. The atmospheric Greenhouse Effect is due to the re-radiation of heat in the atmosphere.

There is no doubt that the Greenhouse Effect is a real phenomena. Without the Greenhouse Effect, thermodynamic calculations show that the average surface temperature of the Earth (with an albedo of about 30%) would be −18°C, instead of the balmy +15°C that it is.

VangelV: If the physicists have rejected it why do you think that the rejects in the climate science fields are on to something legitimate?

Can you provide a citation to the scientific literature indicating that physicists reject the Greenhouse Effect?

 
At 12/06/2011 10:27 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Vange is making my point. He has adopted a position and is arguing for his position, right or wrong.

What is wrong with arguing for a right position again? There is no consensus. Even the loudest of warmers have said that the hockey stick study was crap and that Man was an arrogant fool who did not understand statistics.

If I thought I would get an answer, I would ask him how much evidence or what events would have to occur in order for you to abanson your Chosen position?

I would like empirical evidence but see none that supports the AGW myth. You can only pretend that there is consensus or that consensus has anything to do with science for so long before someone asks for the actual empirical evidence.

Where is it?

 
At 12/06/2011 10:28 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I am assuming that those who deny global warming are claiming ther is not enough evidence yet. I am not assuming that there position is that there is not now and never could be enough evidence.

Those denying global warming? Who would that be?

The issue is not warming because it is easy to show either warming or cooling by simply picking the starting point. The issue is the emission of CO2 by human beings and its effect on temperature trends. On that front you have no empirical evidence to support the claims made by the AGW promoters.

 
At 12/06/2011 10:31 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Clearly, better results are available, through different choices, better observation of your surroundings, or government regulation and enforcement, but yet we see this story over and over.

But this is never true. No idiot bureaucrat driven by political goals is more capable of regulating behaviour and getting a better result than individuals looking after their own interest. Government is not more efficient or effective than the market. It never has been and can never be even in theory.

 
At 12/06/2011 10:39 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The Greenhouse Effect does not depend on limiting convection. You are confused because the term was coined "greenhouse." A gardener's greenhouse works primarily by limiting convection. The atmospheric Greenhouse Effect is due to the re-radiation of heat in the atmosphere.

In no other area of science does heat travel from cold to hot. A review of the literature shows that, "in NO OTHER field in science where any such mechanism like "back" or "downwelling" radiation is permitted."

And as I pointed out before, even if we accept the theory, there is no empirical evidence that emissions by humans have a material impact on temperature trends or that warming would do harm to life on the planet. History certainly shows that the planet has been much warmer over most of the past 10,000 years and that changes in CO2 levels have followed changes in temperature trends with a lag of 800 years or so.

The AGW hypothesis is a scam being pushed by the UN in the hope that governments will be allowed to tax carbon and fund redistribution schemes. The problem is that most of the people who have been pushing the scam are now discredited and the leaks coming from their latest assessment shows them throwing in the towel and admitting that the natural factors that they were ignoring can explain most of the observations on their own.

 
At 12/06/2011 11:01 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

There is no doubt that the Greenhouse Effect is a real phenomena. Without the Greenhouse Effect, thermodynamic calculations show that the average surface temperature of the Earth (with an albedo of about 30%) would be −18°C, instead of the balmy +15°C that it is.

But even the greenhouse theory attributes most of the warming due to the first few molecules in the atmosphere. And even the frauds at the IPCC admit that the direct effect of a doubling of CO2 would be around 1.4 C or so and are counting on feedback to add another 1 C or so. We have warmed much more than that since the depths of the Little Ice Age, which took place around the time of the Maunder Minimum. The warming was beneficial, not harmful.

For the AGW theory to be correct you need EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that shows that HUMAN EMISSIONS of CO2 are a material driver of temperature change. I have seen no such evidence presented by you or anyone else. And following that you have to show that the warming is harmful to life on the planet. Of course, that is after you define what you really mean by warming in the first place. As the AGW promoters' e-mails show they had a hard time figuring out how to determine the anomaly in a valid (or meaningful) way. Why are higher lows a bad thing? Particularly when they are more evident during the cold winters at high latitudes? Why is the temperature in 1979 considered optimum when a decade previously some of the same group of warmers was suggesting that the temperature in 1970 was too cold and that we were in danger of moving to an ice age?

Why should we ignore the effects of changes in solar activity, natural variations in ocean current phases, ENSO conditions, changes in volcanic activity, changes in cloud cover, etc.? And if the alarmists are calling the Hockey Stick papers embarrassments and examples of cherry picking and bad math why are we supposed to accept it? Or anything else that they are promoting?

 
At 12/06/2011 11:32 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

There are extreme cases, since that seems to be a common subject lately, where stealing might be permissible, for instance to save ones life by breaking into an unoccupied mountain cabin for food and shelter, but it would still be stealing, and I would expect restitution to be made later.

I don't think the property owner would object in such a case.


A friend of mine was a judge. He often pointed out that some time the wisest question was, what should the restitution be? In many cases an act could not be justified but the 'punishment' was quite clear and usually acceptable to the person being judged. In the case above it would be expected that the door was fixed and the food replaced. And there would be no need for anyone other than the two parties to be involved.

But our statist friends miss this entirely. They believe men evil of acting on their own but somehow capable of ruling others over whom they are given power. To them no authoritarian system is unacceptable as long as there are angels to run it.

 
At 12/06/2011 11:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

They are, but absent such requirements, companies seeking investors would provide something similar to show investors they were worthy of investment.

It would be more than that. They would have to offer a record of dividend payouts because nobody would trust the reports on their own. Under a system where you look after yourself everyone is from Missouri.

 
At 12/06/2011 11:58 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

But this is never true. No idiot bureaucrat driven by political goals is more capable of regulating behaviour and getting a better result than individuals looking after their own interest. Government is not more efficient or effective than the market. It never has been and can never be even in theory. 12/06/2011 10:31 PM
++++++++++?++??+?+??+???


You are an idiot and a liar. This so obviously and demonstrated ly not true that it needs no response.


You be retreated into your imaginary world.


My poin stands. It is possible to have better results than mass stampede and fire deaths which are the results of an every man for himself competition to reach the exit.

Some methods involve heightened personal awareness and responsibility, and some involve other means ..

 
At 12/07/2011 12:15 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

What is the total social wealth if it is not the sum of the individual wealths? Some believe the greatest total wealth is arrived at by allowing individuals to do what is their best interests.

Some think that is the only way t achieve the highest social value.


But we have organizations because they can do things individuals cannot.


I am willing to admit to the idea that some kind of organization, might be able to improve the total social wealth through cooperative effort.

I do not know how that might be, but vange works from the position that this is impossible.

 
At 12/07/2011 12:24 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

You guys are proving my point by arguing global warming from one position, instead of trying to establish a benchmark that all can agree on.

If we establish that benchmark and events fall on one side or the other EVERYONE would have to agree that the nature of the problem is known.

 
At 12/07/2011 12:59 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

n of CO2 by human beings and its effect on temperature trends. On that front you have no empirical evidence to support the claims made by the......


+++++++++?+++++++

You missed the point.

It is unhelpful to say you have no e identified e for your theory.

Especially when the counter theory suffers a similar lack.

What would be helpful would be to say: this is the evidence I would accept.

 
At 12/07/2011 3:58 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Vange is making my point. He has adopted a position and is arguing for his position, right or wrong."

Do you understand what he is referring to that he says is a problem for warmers?

 
At 12/07/2011 4:06 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I believe they will do what they THINK is in their best interest, that they will do whatever they can rationalizee as being in their best interest, and sometimes they will even be the same thing."

And what else is there? Do you, or some other really smart person know better than they do what is in the best interest of others?

 
At 12/07/2011 4:09 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I agree, although I would not characterize them as nagging. They are just questions after all and you answer them as best you can, and you put error bounds on them, then you word to reduce the boundaries."

But, what about the fish?

 
At 12/07/2011 4:13 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

V: "If the physicists have rejected it why do you think that the rejects in the climate science fields are on to something legitimate?"

Well, I don't but there are plenty who do. :)

 
At 12/07/2011 4:47 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"My poin stands. It is possible to have better results than mass stampede and fire deaths which are the results of an every man for himself competition to reach the exit.

Some methods involve heightened personal awareness and responsibility, and some involve other means ..


Yes, other means might include federal regulations forbidding panic in theaters, mandated walking speeds toward exits in case of fire, and repeated audio warnings to "be considerate of one another".

 
At 12/07/2011 4:49 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I am willing to admit to the idea that some kind of organization, might be able to improve the total social wealth through cooperative effort."

Yes, voluntary organizations are a great benefit to society.

 
At 12/07/2011 4:53 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You guys are proving my point by arguing global warming from one position, instead of trying to establish a benchmark that all can agree on.

If we establish that benchmark and events fall on one side or the other EVERYONE would have to agree that the nature of the problem is known.
"

What nonsense. What benchmark could be established, that "everyone" would agree proved or disproved catastrophic AGW? The "events" would have to occur over a time period none of us will see the end of.

 
At 12/07/2011 4:56 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"It is unhelpful to say you have no e identified e for your theory."

Please help. I've tried, really I have, but it just doesn't make sense.

 

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