Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on September 26, 2011

in Other People's Money, Politics, Reality Is Not Optional

… is from page 25 of Mark Pennington’s important new book, Robust Political Economy:

From a public choice perspective, the political process externalises costs because people vote for things that will be paid for by others.  Access to benefits provided by the state constitutes an ‘open access’ resource.

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{ 221 comments }

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 10:46 am

This quote makes me consider the modern liberal (or “progressive” if you prefer) mantra that government must protect us from negative externalities. Yet they avoid measuring the negative externalities caused by government when it comes to waste, wars, poor public education, market interference, etc., which seem far more costly in terms of wealth and lives.

Liberals are always more than happy to point to programs they consider successes, but wish to sweep under the carpet the enormous costs of these “successes”. When it comes to government failures (when the acknowledge them at all), they regard these as simple overhead or not having the “right” people in charge. If there were some cosmic scale, I would be willing to weigh the negative externalities caused by the private sector against those created by the public sector and bet my last dollar that the scale would tip heavy and hard towards negative externalities created by overreaching government.

EG September 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Just to play the devil’s advocate for a minute, but the “liberal” will tell you that “sure there are negative externalities to gov action. BUT…who would provide public education were it not for gov? Don’t the benefits outweigh the negative externalities in this case”

So, in my opinion, this is not an argument that you are going to win simply by pointing out to the existence of negative externalities, or even by pointing out to the inefficiencies and failures of a system.

You win the argument by providing alternatives which are better. Most people don’t default to “government” automatically, but do it because they may not see the alternative (this excludes the hardcore leftists)

vikingvista September 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm

The entirety of his contributions to the Cafe shows that SweetLiberty does more to discuss the problems of government intervention than just “pointing out to the existence of negative externalities” of government intervention.

This is a really good comment by SweetLiberty in the context of Don’s post. The negative extenalitities of government solutions to negative extenalities are not considered often enough.

JS September 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

There would be a ready market for private education. What’s your point?

I can rob you and say that it was okay because you would have blown the money on whores. You can’t prove otherwise. That’s your logic. I’m duly impressed. Next?

EG September 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm

In case you didn’t notice, I said “let me play the devil’s advocate for a minute”. The argument I put forth, is one I’ve heard lots of times, and unless we address that argument, talking about externalities is just preaching to the choir.

JS September 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

EG,

Okay, sorry.

The concept of ‘negative externality’ is used by the tyrant as an excuse to legislate people. Our judicial system has/had the capacity to handle those cases as they arose over time, with all due respect to the evolving notions of property. Here is something else to consider though. If our government claims to have the power and responsibility to regulate something, why do we still allow class action suits against private entities in those areas? Let’s take pollution as an example. If a company follows all the governments rules but still pollutes a river, I maintain that they should be legally exempt from liability. If a company followed the SEC laws to the T, but went bankrupt nonetheless, shareholders/investors sould only be able to sue the SEC, since it was the function of the SEC to regulate the industry. The obvious problem that we have is that the government wants to regulate without even taking responsibility for the effectiveness of its regulations.

Public education is a redistributive program. It also allows the government to control to the degree that they can, what the children are taught, which, politically, is mainly that statism is good. Why would the government teach that statism is bad? But it wouldn’t look good for governments to admit why things are the way they are, so they make up other excuses, such as with public education. They float the absurd idea that there wouldn’t be education without the State, or that it wouldn’t be fair, as if there wouldn’t be a multitude of values and ideologies open for study if the markets were free. But governments aren’t interested in education as much as they are in conditioning their subjects. Next to the monopolization of the money supply, controlling education is the first objective of good government that wants to remain in power.

Here is the point: When you enslave someone, if you seek to justify the action, you should be disqualified from using the argument that the slave would have acted wrongly had he been free. That is a fallacy. No one knows how the slave would have acted and it can’t be used as evidence. The arguments regarding externalities fall in this category. Government wants to enslave the private sector before they commit their crimes. Yet they still want the private sector to pay for the lawsuits.

Market Johnson September 26, 2011 at 11:57 pm

You might just be discovering this, EG, but this entire blog and 90% of its comments qualify as “preaching to the choir”. Anyone who isn’t purely libertarian gets attacked relentlessly. Be careful that you qualify when you play devil’s advocate.

Methinks1776 September 27, 2011 at 12:33 am

Oh, sorry, Marketjohnson. I didn’t realize you come here so we can clap like seals over your river of nonsense and offer you candy and gold stars just because you can type. I can’t speak for the others, but I’ll certainly try to be more sensitive to your feeeeeliiings.

vikingvista September 27, 2011 at 1:43 am

Market,

Try making an intelligent point or asking a question respectfully, and watch how the tone changes. Otherwise, it’s hypocritical to complain about getting how you give.

anthonyl September 27, 2011 at 9:24 am

Externalities are just effects that no one has bothered to reconcile into the framework of property rights. There are, in the end, no such things. If kids fall behind in class it is the governments responsibility to deal with them. If schools are “failing” to educate the blame must lay at the feet of those in charge. Parents act in the situation because they feel the stakes are high! They abandon some schools and move to pricier hoods so their offspring attend “good” schools. They still pay through their motgage for the better schools. If the market is always in force no matter how you get the schools built why not let the market do the whole job? Statists need control!

Josh September 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Americans dont want a for profit primary and secondary system. If there are negative economic externalities they are made up for in myriad other ways. Countries without public education are without exeption backwards and poor and stay that way and always will, so I think empirically the majority reason that public education is even good economics.

Methinks1776 September 27, 2011 at 12:36 am

First of all, there’s a difference between public funding of education and to government administration of education. We are awash in empirical evidence of how bad government administration is. Second, I bet you make investment decisions based on hemlines.

Methinks1776 September 27, 2011 at 12:37 am

Oh, and third…who the hell are you to speak for “Americans”?

anthonyl September 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Someone is making profits off the public system.

Tim September 27, 2011 at 10:16 am

We don’t need “public education”, most people can and will pay to educate their children. At most it can be argued that we need to help pay for the education of poor people and subsidize everyone else’s education a little bit because of the positive externalties of an educated populace.

It is certainly not the case that no one would get educated without the government. Private schools only seem more expensive, when in fact many aren’t, because high quality and/or religious education are pretty much the only way to compete with “free” education.

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm

who would provide public education were it not for gov?

This argument is couched improperly. It can be rephrased as Who will force others to provide for my children’s education that I’m not willing to pay for myself? And for this, you are correct – you need government to do that.

I can hear the rebuttal… But what about the poor? Especially the ones who have a lot of children? Certainly you can’t expect them to shoulder any part of the responsibility for their actions! No, of course not. Government must step in to mitigate the consequences of poor planning and personal irresponsibility. Because without government, the poor would have to rely on friends, family, and charity – none of which can be forced to give as much as some might demand. What would the poor (or rich for that matter) do if they had to face the consequences of their own actions? That would just be horrible.

EG September 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Well, you are making this argument to people who are pre-disposed to agree with you (us). Your response, formatted as it is, given to someone who may be neutral on the issue…may not sway them. Its easy to say “public education is just gov. forcing me to pay for other people’s kids”. Its easy to say “let them bear the consequences of their own poor family planning”. You’re not wrong, either. But its not a response that would…in my opinion…impress anyone that isn’t already a “libertarian”.

Why? I don’t know. Maybe because this response isn’t good enough to provide the alternative, or convince others that the alternative exists. Sp if you keep making this argument till you’re blue in the face, and still don’t get anywhere with the majority of people, what does that tell us? That tells us that we’re faced with the problem quoted in the blog post above…and unless you come up with an alternative to THAT, ideological arguments aren’t going to work on anyone who isn’t an ideologue.

(PS: Just to clarify. I don’t disagree with you. I just want to hear arguments that could convince the ordinary American, and not the ordinary Ron Paul fan. )

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm

EG,

I do understand what you are saying, and unfortunately I don’t think you can easily de-program the damage decades of socialist indoctrination has done. A majority that goes glassy-eyed over the campaign bumper sticker, “Hope and Change!” isn’t going to understand more profound arguments.

kyle8 September 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Well by all means, I think that any attack on the welfare state should offer market based alternatives. School vouchers is just one of these. But even so, it is an uphill struggle because people are actually predisposed to have the “authorities” take care of them, at least in certain areas of their lives.

In fact I have observed that one of the most difficult things in the world is to convince people that they are better off controlling their own lives.

What always seemed to me to be something I would fight for, I observed that most people do not even want.

Josh September 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm

you are going to have to live with the consequenses of not educating folks well enough, and those negative externalities are going to manifest themselves in the form of you having to live in a dystopia. You pay either way. Use common sense.

anthonyl September 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm

We already live with the consequences of not edumactatin people enough. How does it feel? Not so bad.

Gil September 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

It could be easily argued that no one has to do anything about “negative externalities” and those who can’t hack it can help self-clean humanity’s gene pool.

Ken September 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Gil,

If it’s so easily argued, then argue it. You want to make the claim that the negative externalities “created by overreaching government” “help[s] self-clean humanity’s gene pool”, then make the argument and present the proof.

Regards,
Ken

rhhardin September 26, 2011 at 11:44 am

It’s the tragedy of the commons.

The Other Eric September 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

It’s the tragedy of the commoner.

ChrisN September 26, 2011 at 11:51 am

With about half of people not paying fed income taxes, you immediately have about 50% support on legislation that will spend other people’s money.

House of Cards September 26, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Everybody pays sales taxes, or excise taxes, etc. Why focus on fed income taxes? Poor people pay too much in taxes even though they should not. Have you ever seen a pay stub from a poor person who works at McDonald’s. Their meager income is reduced considerably by all the deductions. Why do librarians hate poor people?

Methinks1776 September 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Why do you libtards love poverty so much?

Fred September 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Because it is romantic.

Living off the land, working with your hands, creating everything you own, a “sustainable” life style, it’s all very romantic.

I’m sure subsistence farmers in Africa would agree.

Don’t you think?

Economic Freedom September 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Because it makes the poor dependent on libtards, and creates a voting bloc almost guaranteed to keep them in political power.

Methinks1776 September 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I know. Too easy. It was almost a rhetorical question, wasn’t it? Lucky for libtards, “poor” can always be redefined. If the “poor” of today could see how the poor of 50 years ago lived, they’d know how rich they are. Although, it’s the middle class doing most of the whining and begging for handouts.

Economic Freedom September 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm

@Methinks1776:

If the “poor” of today could see how the poor of 50 years ago lived . . .

The “poor” of today can certainly do so, and they ought to do so, as it would sober them up to the horrors of their current plight: All they need to do is turn off their 16 GB iPods for a few minutes, remove their padded Sennheiser Noise-Canceling headphones, slip out of their $200 running shoes (Nike, New Balance, Puma, Adidas, etc.) and surf Google, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari on their MacBook Pros or Toshiba PCs and research any of 500,000 Web sites and databases that would carry the relevant historical information.

And as if that back-breaking bit of exploitation weren’t enough, they would then have to save the Web page as an image file, or a PDF, port it over into “Mail”, “Outlook”, “GMail”, “HotMail”, or some other email app, and email it to themselves, where they would receive it on their favorite SmartPhone [NB: I understand from various sociologists in academia that today's "poor" practice their own sly little bit of class warfare: those "poor" with an Apple iPhone 4 are considered the elite -- the equivalent of yesterday's high-ranking political cadre officers and materialist dialecticians; those with Android phones are snubbed as mere "lumpenproletariet"; and those with BlackBerry phones, while tolerated, are viewed with suspicion as possible "revisionists", "western formalists", or just plain enemy agents. Plus ça change . . .].

Then they can email all that consciousness-raising information about their poverty to 12,000 “friends” on Facebook, 6,000 “friends” on MySpace, and 50 “professional connections” on LinkedIn. All 18,000+ can commiserate together about their hard lives as they videotape their grievances on their SmartPhones and upload them to YouTube, where they go viral and are seen by millions of other “poor” people on their laptops and smartphones. While thus protesting the unjustness of it all, they can go back online and order any kind of food, in any range of prices, from Seamless Web, and have it delivered to their door in 20 minutes. No credit card? No problem — PayPal, Debit Card, Electronic Check, or Debit Gift Card (available at Walgreen’s, Duane Read, etc.)

I tell ya’, Methinks1776, just contemplating the horrors of this sort of grinding poverty makes me want to stand up and sing the Internationale.

“Stand up, ye victims of oppression . . . ”
“doo, doo, dah, doo, doo, dee . . . ”
“Throw away, your material possessions . . .”
“doo, doo, dah, doo, doo, dee . . .”

Josh September 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm

And ignorant religious poor people who belive chicago austrian BS are a good voting bloc with billionaires.

simon... September 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Simple. If you declare yourself “champion of the poor”, wouldn’t you be motivated to grow your constituency?

g-dub September 26, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Why do librarians hate poor people?

Good question!

Richard Stands September 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Because they talk so loudly in the stacks?

The Other Tim September 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Uh, there are no deductions on my pay stub besides SS and Medicare. Which are, you know, “investments in my future” or something, so I shouldn’t be complaining about them. Or so Dem’s tell me.

Methinks1776 September 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Oh, that ‘pends, Other Tim. If you want to discuss paying taxes, Libtards consider it a tax. And a regressive one at that! If you’re talking welfare programs, those are not welfare programs but investments in a lockbox… or something. A government retirement program to which you “contribute”. The important thing is that no matter what it is, the Libtards are right.

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Have you ever seen a pay stub from a poor person who works at McDonald’s. Their meager income is reduced considerably by all the deductions.

Yeah! Deduction that libertarians demanded in order to finance critical government programs that… oh, wait, wait… no, that wasn’t libertarians. It was liberals that set up those programs! Wow, you liberals really are tough on poor people. No wonder the poverty rate is increasing with all the government assistance you liberals offer. Heh heh, good thing the “poor” are too dumb to figure out just how much you’re helping them, isn’t it?

Dano September 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

According to the Tax Policy center (a joint venture of the Urban Institute & The Brookings Institutions) considering all forms of federal taxation, the lowest quintile pays an effective tax rate of 1.6% while the top quintile pays an effective rate of 25.5%. Is 1.6% too much in taxes?

How does raising taxes on the rich help poor people?

Josh September 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm

The lowest quintile don’t work. 40 some % of adults don’t, so that probably explains this 50% who don’t pay federal income tax tired talkng point

Ken September 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Josh,

It’s not a tired talking point because those 40% you are talking about receive a check from the government. It’s corrosive to have 40% of adults not working and having a government transfer wealth from the other 60% to the non-working 40%. Taking from the working disincentivizes working. Paying non-workers to not work disincentivizes working.

Get it?

Regards,
Ken

Economic Freedom September 26, 2011 at 11:15 pm

How does raising taxes on the rich help poor people?

Makes the poor feel better about being poor.

Correction. Makes those in political power feel better about the poor being poor.

Richard Stands September 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm

“In fact, Education Department figures show that the average private elementary school tuition in America is less than $2,500. The average tuition for all private schools, elementary and secondary, is $3,116, or less than half of the cost per pupil in the average public school, $6,857.”

http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-025.html

So paying for private providers directly costs half as much as paying through pay stub tax and provisioned by government.

Why do big-government supporters hate poor people? And children?

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Good point. However the info seems a bit dated. Anything more recent?

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Here you go

Private School Tuition: Now More Expensive Than Harvard

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/06/22/private-school-tuition-hits-the-stratosphere-40-000-per-year/

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 6:59 pm

IB,

Don’t know where your article gets its information from, but the most recent data I could find from the National Center for Education Statistics shows and average private school tuition for elementary and secondary combined is $10,045 (Last column, 3rd bold row).

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_063.asp

Quite different from the $21,695 per year stated in your source (which doesn’t mention where he gets his data from). Any idea why there is such a discrepancy?

Justin P September 26, 2011 at 11:44 pm

SL
You know he only Goggled enough to get something to support his position. Is it accurate never enters into the equation.

robert_o September 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

(A general reply to this subthread, and not to anyone in particular)

Average private tuition is about as useful as the average car price . I’m sure the average car price is quite high (especially when I get to define how I compute the average).

Economic Freedom September 26, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Re: Irreversible Backache on private education:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-15061374

In terms of Harvard’s pattern of overall funding, the income from fees was less last year than from research sponsors – with the US federal government representing the biggest share of this.

Translation: Harvard can afford to charge less in “fees” (i.e., tuition) than it ordinarily would because it receives taxpayer money courtesy of federal government largesse.

Wanna guess how much federal funding The Riverdale School (profiled in the article to which you linked) receives? Probably none.

Perhaps that explains why The Riverdale School charges $+40K for tuition, while Harvard can “get away” with charging a mere $33K.

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 8:17 am

None of that is worth arguing because we don’t know what the market price of an education is because education has not had an actual market in over 150 years.

I tried to figure it out one time while pitching an idea for a venture and I figured that the true marginal cost of educating a single secondary school student is around $6,000.

g-dub September 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm

we don’t know what the market price of an education is because education has not had an actual market in over 150 years.

The spew about “teachers are so underpaid” old commie hippy propaganda often shows up a family gatherings around the dinner table. Once again, I want to hurl.

I point out that the there is no effective price system in a near-monopoly system, and everyone looks at me with their blank guvmint skooled stares. wtf?

PS: I was being kind calling it a “near” monopoly. If it was a private business that had that sort of market share, all the commies would be screeching for the government to break it up.

JS September 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Maybe because they don’t return their books on time.

Nobody hates poor people. They just don’t want to support them to the degree that they do.

Don’t you have the intellectual capacity to discern the difference? Only an idiot woyld say that you hate someone if you don’t want to provide life support to them. Do you think we’re all fools here? Your argument might intimidate some pre-teens, but give it a rest on these boards. You sound like Morgan Freeman.

Ken September 26, 2011 at 5:26 pm

HoC,

“Everybody pays sales taxes.”

Guess you’ve never been to Delaware, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, or Hawaii.

But to directly answer your question, much of the damage done to liberty and the economy is done at the federal level, which does NOT collect a sales tax. When states, such as California and New York, confiscate as much as possible from taxpayers, people can easily move to Texas or Wyoming. It’s not that simple when it comes to federal taxes. Simply moving out of the US doesn’t eliminate the requirement of a US citizen to pay all those deductions you are bemoaning. Additionally, no sales tax, nor excise taxes are deducted from anyone’s paycheck. Those would be income and pay roll taxes. Taxes the LEFT, of which you a part, wants to be larger and libertarians want to be smaller.

Regards,
Ken

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm

+1

Josh September 26, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I don’t see Americans swarming to pay lower taxes in Texas. No one wan’ts to live there except the illegal mexicans. You get what you pay for.

Ken September 27, 2011 at 12:56 am

Josh,

Check out the Census Bureau and this map. The reason you’re not seeing “Americans swarming” to Texas is because you’re afraid to look at the data to see that Americans are indeed “swarming” to Texas.

And it must drive you crazy that the education system in Texas performs better than the on in Texas and at far lower cost.

Regards,
Ken

Economic Freedom September 26, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Why do librarians hate poor people?

LOL!!!

The new Marxist slogan:

“Bad spellers of the world: UNTIE!”

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm

LOL!

kyle8 September 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Ok you are on to me, I do hate poor people. I hate them so much that I want less of them, and I want more productive people.

So using my basic understanding of economics I want to reward work and savings and punish sloth, dependency, and petty criminality.

Because you see, you get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax.

Josh September 26, 2011 at 11:18 pm

I think its irrisponsible to call the unemployed slothful or criminal. Dependent, yes, for life in many cases, but investments earlier on in education would have helped with that. When you don’t include whole segments of society from birth, how can you expect them to grow up to be employable patriots? Naive.

vidyohs September 27, 2011 at 8:27 am

Another one of the fools that thinks education is not and has not been there for the poor, unfortunate, minority, drug addled, crack Ho’s, slothful, and criminal.

Josh, march us all into the neighborhood in America that does not have a school within minutes by at least a school bus, find one, just one.

Wisdom of your fathers: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

Wisdom of vidyohs: “You can lead a child to books and teachers; but you can’t make them learn.”

The poor are poor because they made poor decisions, and they will remain poor because they never learn from their poor decisions.

The fact that people grow up ignorant, ignorance so deep, wide, and thick, that it mimics stupidity, is not the fault of their neighbors, at an early age one can put some blame on their parents, but at some point the individual gets to assume his own responsibility and his stupidity he has to claim as his own. (unless your name is Obama, and then you get to blame Bush).

kyle8 September 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Spoken out of pure ignorance. I, unlike you, have actually spent a LOT of time with poor people, I worked in a government program, and in a charity program, and after a while I came to really dislike them.

I got compassion fatigue. They are not poor because of lack of education, that is total crap. All of my Uncles and my mother were uneducated, but they were not pimps, whores, addicts, welfare cheats, petty criminals, or sheer lazy idiots.

Being poor can happen to anyone, but long term poverty is caused by the person, it is a way of life.

g-dub September 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Wisdom of g-dub: “You can lead a horse’s ass to wisdom, but you can’t make him think.”

kyle8 September 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Chris that was one of the failures of the Republican Party, after three instances of tax reform they finally got a majority of the people with no “skin in the game”. They thought they were being fair or even progressive. but they undermined their own natural constituency.

Surfisto September 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

I am not sure if people make this connection. I am in Chile and there has been a serious of protests about the cost of education and it is largely supported by people across spectrums. Hardly anyone I talk to makes the connection that education is not free, but needs to be paid for. True it is paid for “more” by people with money, but even these people support the cause. People just want free stuff without understanding what that means.

vidyohs September 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Perhaps in this nation we could eliminate those who actively protest the death penalty by announcing that it will known in the future as “Free Retro-active Birth and Crime Control.” :-)

House of Cards September 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Your continued existence is crimianl.

vidyohs September 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Eh, dumkoff, vas is dis “crimianl”? Iss dat some kind of looney code?

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Can’t win here, House of Cards. The commenters here think ’1984′ is a how-to manual.

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Yeah, the police state Orwell imagines is exactly the world libertarians fight for! You know us so well IB! And progressives want to abolish all entitlement programs, and black is white, and up is down, and IB is smart, and…

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Perhaps in this nation we could eliminate those who actively protest the death penalty by announcing that it will known in the future as “Free Retro-active Birth and Crime Control.”

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Ah, I see your confusion. The smiley face at the end of Vidyohs comment wasn’t enough to denote his attempt at humor. What icon should he use?

Sam Grove September 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Evidence of cluelessness.

vidyohs September 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Ah, I see your problem, dumkoff. You be tinkink I meant to eliminate the activists by killing them, yah, eh dumkoff?

No no, my little one, I meant dat dey vud go avay because the executions were now “Free retro-active birth/criminal control”.

Even stooped looney lefties be likink de free tinks. :-0

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Many a true word hath been spoken in jest..

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

People just want free stuff without understanding what that means.

No doubt. Many tend to isolate each issue, figuring the little they pay in taxes for each program is worth the collective “free” benefit. Public education? No problem. Nation-building military? No problem. Social Security? No problem. Medicare/Medicaid? No problem. “Green” energy? No problem. [Insert your favorite public cause here]? No problem.

And then, when nations accumulate massive deficits and the citizens scratch their collective heads wondering how things could get so far out of hand, few hold responsible the cumulative expenses of all government programs, preferring again to isolate each issue… If only we could fix Social Security, or Medicare, or Education, or, etc.

Surfisto September 26, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Good point about the accumalted effects. There is an issue I have been hoping to go into, I was hoping to have more background information before I start, but this seems to be as good a entry as any. Chile´s copper rights are owned by the government and the larget copper company Codelco is state owned. The Chilean government has a fund it uses for government spending from the taxes collected from private companies and Codelco. From all that we talk about here in this blog, it seems that the ability to save any money is amazing. I would think the politicians would want to spend this fund, they could possibly dip into it for the education spending. When there is money sitting idle (social security) wouldn´t the government spend it?

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

In general, yes – governments spend what they take in and more. It is possible for private sector growth to outpace government growth leading to rare periods of surplus, but governments almost always make up for these times by introducing new bills and expanding the scope and funding of existing programs. And when private sector growth declines, well you can see how difficult it is to halt let alone retract government growth and spending. Even a token effort to fight a rise in the debt ceiling is met with Armageddon predictions.

Surfisto September 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Chile has been fortunate to have both a high copper prices, for the last couple years and economic growth. It will be interesting to see what happens to the fund if the economy declines for an extended time and how many social programs have been implemented before that, such as the education issue now on the table.

kyle8 September 26, 2011 at 6:27 pm

It depends on the circumstance. Perhaps this fund is being held for emergency, perhaps it is being held to tied over the government funding when the price of copper is too low.

Generally it is not wise for governments to hold a lot of money out of circulation, but if most of your income is derived from a volatile commodity price then it may make sense to keep such a fund.

JS September 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Your society is completely uneducated with regards to the philosophy of Enlightenment classical liberalism, both classical and Austrian economics, natural rights, natural law, individualism, limited government, the rule of law, the implications of the Magna Carta, private property, the Law of Equal Freedom, freedon of exchange, freedom of contract, and libertarian ethics and values.

A few decades ago, a couple of Chicago economists consulted with your government to reign in the expansion of credit and reduce taxes, but that had no affect on the ideoplogical disposition of your people, who remain clueless on matters pertaining to those listed above. It would take generations to re-condition your masses to even question the omnipotence of the State, let alone do something about it.

Other than that, you make some pretty good wines.

g-dub September 26, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Leave out “Chicago economists” and you could be talking about where I live: Northern California.

kyle8 September 26, 2011 at 6:29 pm

You have just described most of the United States as well, and almost all of those who control our government. (except DC does not make any good wine)

JWH September 26, 2011 at 8:37 pm

As info, the Cato Institue’s Economic Freedom of the World Report 2011 has Chile ranked above the US at 7th in the world with the US at 10th. I also note their Social Security reforms from 1981 have been successful, savings rate above 25%, and growth in the 6% range for several years while ours stagnated recently. Not to say all is lovely, just that they have done some things we should take a look at.

Josh September 26, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Borderline racist comment. Glib, paternalistic, arrogant. You know you are making comments about an entire country right?

Ken September 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Josh,

Ah, yes, what would the left be if it didn’t throw out the race card when they have no other recourse?

Regards,
Ken

MWG September 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I find the protests in Chile somewhat perplexing in light of the amazing growth the country has seen from privatizations and free markets. The disconnect is astonishing.

Josh September 26, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Gee, trickle down economics dosen’t make life great for the little guy. Big surprise.

MWG September 27, 2011 at 2:18 am

Chile has the highest standard of living in Latin America along with the highest rates of growth. Go peddle your Naomi Klein bullshit economics somewhere else.

MWG September 27, 2011 at 2:26 am

They also have one of the lowest rates of poverty in Latin America, but you seem smart so I bet you knew that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_percentage_of_population_living_in_poverty

Dan J September 27, 2011 at 2:27 am

Collectivism has been such a raving success. When rationing, starvation, and looming insurgency is inevitable…… Just wipe them out. Worked for Stalin, Mao, etc.,…. If only we had the people who we have been waiting for.

vidyohs September 27, 2011 at 8:35 am

There are two kinds of people in the world and they deal with profit in absolutely opposed ways.

The bright ones take their profit and look to tomorrow through savings and investments.

The stupid ones (the ones trickle down doesn’t help) take their profit and promptly go spend it, being convinced government has their tomorrow covered.

The people you lament, O foolish one, couldn’t be helped with “flood down economics”, they’d still react to it stupidly.

Ken September 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Josh,

Except that trickle down economics does make life better for the little guy. Is it really a surprise that trickle down economics works?

Regards,
Ken

Ken September 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Succinctly put.

ArrowSmith September 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I notice liberals never want to discuss the trillions and societal destruction spent on LBJ’s “Great Society”. Down the memory hole!

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I’m a liberal, I’ll listen. Discuss what you mean. Use numbers.

Fred September 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

“Use numbers.”

Because ideas and concepts, things that require abstract thought, are out of IB’s reach.

In short – he’s a dullard.

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm

zzzzzzz

Dan H September 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm

“use numbers”

How about a chart with numbers?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_poverty_rate_timeline.gif

It seems poverty as trended slightly upward despite expanding welfare and social security in the late 60s via “the Great Society” reforms. Gee, that’s odd.

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm

By your own chart the great society worked until Reagan destroyed it. If you’re going to lie, try not to be so clumsy about it.

Here’s another chart:

http://i.imgur.com/vSbi5.jpg

Social Security and Medicare have done a fantastic job of reducing poverty in the elderly. No need to thank me for helping your mother, you’re welcome.

Dan H September 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

You’ve never helped my mother you arrogant prick. You put a gun to other people’s heads to force them to take care of your own mother.

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Well, you ran out of numbers pretty fast, didn’t you?

Sam Grove September 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm

As a group, the elderly are the wealthiest segment of society.

Methinks1776 September 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Irritable Bowel, I have news for you.

Sitting in your dirty underwear in your parents’ basement trying to figure out how to play World of Warcraft and voting for anyone who promises to rip off Dan H’s mother (who I am willing to be is actually productive) does not help her.

Now, I know you won’t actually understand that just like you don’t understand that you can’t draw such lofty conclusions from your dumb little chart there, but it’s fun for me to point it out anyway.

Ghengis Khak September 27, 2011 at 4:41 am

“By your own chart the great society worked until Reagan destroyed it. If you’re going to lie, try not to be so clumsy about it.
Here’s another chart:”

Sweet. A meaningless and completely out of context graph. Besides being an obfuscated version of a more plain version of the same data (see below), it is quite clear that this stat is fairly meaningless.

But that’s not the best part. I found the original document, which shows that the poverty rate declined slightly under Reagan (mid ’81 to mid 89 in Figure 4):
http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p60-238.pdf

How’s the poverty level been doing under Obama? Oh… right… it’s increasing. I can’t tell which is bigger here, your logic fail or your stats fail.

SaulOhio September 27, 2011 at 5:33 am

Still looks like poverty was coming down in the 1950′s UNTIL Johnson’s Great Society expanded welfare. Then we stagnated.

Dan H September 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Furthermore, food is massively cheaper now than in the 1960s. Given that food prices are the main input to calculating the poverty line, it makes sense that the poverty threshhold has not increased as fast as median income. So if increases in median income have outpaced the increase in the poverty thresshold, why is poverty essentially the same now (and by some measure higher than it was) when the “Great Society” reforms were passed?

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Reagan, Bush and Bush. Don’t play dumb.

Dan H September 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I don’t care about Reaganbushbush. Answer my question.

The facts are, median income has increased at a rate significantly faster than the increase in the poverty threshhold thanks to the declining price of basic necessities like food. So why is the povetry rate essentially the same (higher for 18-64 year olds, according to your chart) as it was when LBJ got his reforms passed?

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Beef, chuck ground, .59/lb:
what cost $.59 in 1961 would cost $4.25 in 2010.

food is massively cheaper now than in the 1960s.

Potatoes, baking, .39/5 lbs:
What cost $.39 in 1961 would cost $2.81 in 2010.

Apples, Golden Delicious, .19/lb:
What cost $.19 in 1961 would cost $1.37 in 2010.

Crackers, Nabisco, Premium saltine, .27:
What cost $.27 in 1961 would cost $1.95 in 2010.

Ice cream, Farmdale, .50:
What cost $.50 in 1961 would cost $3.60 in 2010.

If you’re going to tell lies, don’t tell such easily checked ones

Dan H September 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

And what cost $1 in 1961 would cost $7.21 in 2010. You – or someone else – just took those numbers and put them into an inflation adjuster. I know how to see a pattern.

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I’m chagrined it took me 3 posts to spot you as a loony.

Dan H September 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Even if the numbers you give for highly specific products hold true (and I question their validity… it’s kind of odd that EVERY product you list increased by a factor of 7.21) it still doesn’t answer my question:

Median income in 1964 in 2010 dollars: $41,716.23
Median income in 2010 in 2010 dollars: $50,046.00

Poverty threshold (single person) in 1964 in 2010 dollars: $11,471
Poverty threhold in (single person) 2010 in 2010 dollars: $10,956

Income increased 19.97%, and the poverty threshold DECREASED by 4.49%.

So why is poverty essentially the same as it was in 1964?

Dan H September 26, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Furthermore, I suspect that when the poverty threshold is adjusted to reflect the sharp jump in food prices over the last year and a half, you’ll see a significant jump in the poverty rate.

Methinks1776 September 26, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Eh, Irritable Bowel, A.) I’m pretty sure your prices are completely wrong, but I don’t find interactions with you worth the effort to find out and B.) you can easily lower food prices if you get your buddies to stop printing money like they can’t figure out where the “off” switch is, stop using corn to fuel cars, and get rid of tariffs.

You libtards set the house on fire and the scream “RAY-GUN”!!!!

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Methinks, you are correct – IB’s numbers are bogus. My original comment has been held up for “moderation” because of the links I provided, but IB gets his numbers straight from an inflation calculator (which I linked to). Ground chuck, the first item on his list, today averages $2.97 a pound, not $4.25 (again, I provided a link).

Hey Invisible Backhand! Care to retract your data? Or do you shamelessly stand by misinformation?

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 6:57 pm

It’s like you dim bulbs have never heard of google. Since I’m going to have to toddler walk you through this:

The prices come from here:

http://www.gti.net/mocolib1//prices/1961.html#thanksgiving

Then plug then into an inflation calculator (I can’t put the link because it will be held for moderation but the words westegg and inflation are in the url)

This gives you the inflation since 1961 and now you can use your own brain! to decide if food was “massively cheaper now than in the 1960′s”. I mean, damn, if you don’t know what food prices are today you pal around with the turkeys that drown if they open their mouths in the rain.

Still think it’s bogus, Sweet Liberty? While you are here try to explain inflation to Dan ‘I don’t care about Reaganbushbush’ H. if you can.

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 7:15 pm

IB,

You are truly a crazy loon. You use an inflation calculator to dispute Dan H’s assertion that “food is massively cheaper now than in the 1960′s”. Just stating the price of an item in 1961 and showing what an equivalent price for that item adjusted for inflation would be today is not an argument without demonstrating that today’s price is indeed higher than the inflation adjusted price! I’m not going to check every item on your little list, but the first item – ground chuck – is demonstrably less expensive than what it would be if the price of ground chuck kept pace with inflation, thus backing up Dan H’s position that food is cheaper today than in the 1960′s!

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

So you went from “massively cheaper” to “indeed higher”? That’s called moving the goalposts and like I said before:

If you’re going to tell lies, don’t tell such easily checked ones

Ken September 26, 2011 at 7:54 pm

IB,

“Beef, chuck ground, .59/lb:
what cost $.59 in 1961 would cost $4.25 in 2010.”

What SL is trying to explain to you is that the only way your claim that food is more expensive today than is 1961 is to show that today’s prices are higher than the inflation adjusted 1961 prices. This means that for a claim that ground chuck is more expensive today than in 1961, then in today’s prices, the price of ground chuck needs to be higher than $4.25/lbs

Actual cost of one pound of ground chuck in 2010: $2.06. In other words, in support of Dan H’s claim that food prices are “massively cheaper” today than in 1961, the price of ground chuck is 48.4% CHEAPER today than in 1961.

As for your claim that SL is moving goal posts with by changing “massively cheaper” to “indeed higher” is just a reading comprehension fail on your part. Dan H claimed that food prices are “massively cheaper” today than they were in the ’60′s. You can clearly see that ground chuck is “massively cheaper” today than in the ’60′s with a 48.4% DROP in price. SL said that for you to show that prices are “indeed higher” today, you have to show that today’s prices are higher than the inflation adjusted prices of 1961.

You only look like a fool when you say people are lying because you don’t comprehend what you are reading.

Regards,
Ken

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Since you love to cherry pick
Cost of a dozen eggs: $0.57 2010: $4.11
Cost of a gallon of Milk: $0.49 2010: $3.53

Dan H claimed that food prices are “massively cheaper” today than they were in the ’60′s. You can clearly see that eggs and milk are MORE expensive. Like I keep telling you:

If you’re going to tell lies, don’t tell such easily checked ones

http://www.1960sflashback.com/1961/economy.asp

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Thank you, Ken, but I’m afraid IB is hopeless. Attempting to hold his hand and walk him through a logical argument is an exercise in frustration. He slithers like an eel, changing topics whenever his fallacies are uncovered. However, anyone reading the comments on this blog who is still on the fence may benefit from exposing IB’s inane drivel, so perhaps it is worth it in that regard.

Ken September 26, 2011 at 9:18 pm

IB,

You keep digging yourself deeper and deeper. The cost of a dozen eggs in 2010: $1.99, more than 50% cheaper than in 1961.

The cost of a gallon of milk in 2010: $2.80, 21% cheaper than in 1961.

You can CLEARLY see that eggs and milk are cheaper today than in 1961.

Regards,
Ken

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Since you love to cherry pick
Cost of a dozen eggs: $0.57 2010: $4.11
Cost of a gallon of Milk: $0.49 2010: $3.53

Oh. My. God! He really doesn’t get it! He is still just using the inflation calculator and insisting those are the exact prices people pay for eggs and milk in 2010!

IB, it is more and more apparent you need pity, not ridicule. I’m sorry.

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Psych.

Ken September 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm

“Psych”

IB translation: I’ve been caught in my own idiocy and have nothing left to say.

Regards,
Ken

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Oh my god you still don’t get it!

I’m not sure I can dumb it down any more. I’ll try. Let’s take just the eggs.

It is 1961. You walk into a store and buy a dozen eggs for 57 cents. Life is good.

It is 2011. You walk into a store and buy a dozen eggs for about $1.50 (that’s roughly what they cost where I live)

Now, how do you calculate what you would pay for the eggs in 1961 using 2011 dollars? Get help if you want.

Ken September 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm

IB,

“It is 2011. You walk into a store and buy a dozen eggs for about $1.50 (that’s roughly what they cost where I live)

Now, how do you calculate what you would pay for the eggs in 1961 using 2011 dollars?”

The cost in 2010 that $.57 in 1961 is $4.11, so by YOUR OWN CALCULATIONS, eggs are 63.5% CHEAPER in 2010 than in 1961. For eggs to be equivalently priced in 1961 compared to that $1.50 in 2010, eggs should be priced at $.21 in 1961. Since eggs are %.57 in 1961, they are 271% MORE EXPENSIVE in 1961 than in 2010.

If eggs cost the same in 2010 as they did in 1961, you could only buy 4.4 eggs for $1.50 in 2010, rather than a dozen. Please tell me what you are not getting about this. I really don’t understand where your misunderstanding comes from.

Regards,
Ken

Ken September 26, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Edit: $.57 in 1961, they are 271% MORE EXPENSIVE in 1961 than in 2010.

Stone Glasgow September 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm

And… no response.

It’s hard to believe that half the world thinks like IB.

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Stone? Ken just figured it out and agrees with me now. Try to keep up.

Ken September 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm

IB,

You said that “[y]ou can clearly see that eggs and milk are MORE expensive” in reply to Dan H’s claim that “food is massively cheaper now than in the 1960s”.

I agree with Dan H, not you. I’m not sure how you can claim that I
“[agree] with [you] now”, when I proved you wrong. Particularly, when I clearly stated “that eggs and milk are cheaper today than in 1961.”

Please tell me where you think I agree with your claim that eggs and milk are more expensive today than in the ’60′s.

Regards,
Ken

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Ken, when it comes to providing material for my blog, you are the gift that keeps on giving:

http://i.imgur.com/c4nXz.png

Ken September 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm

IB,

Yes, it’s funny how the math works out .21/.57 = 0.368 and .57/.21 = 2.71. Since the price of eggs in 2010 are only 36.8% the cost of eggs in 1961 shows that the eggs in 2010 are 63.15% (not 63.5; I accidentally transposed the 1 and 5) cheaper than in 1961.

Since the cost of eggs 63.1% cheaper in 2010 compared to 1963, this also means that eggs were 271% more expensive in 1961 compared to 2010. Since is because .57/.21 = 2.71 and .21/.57 = .368. In other words, they are multiplicative inverses of each other.

It’s like you don’t understand third grade arithmetic and english or something. Your feeble attempt at trying to show how I keep “providing material for [your] blog” really just shows your own innumeracy and inability to understand statistics.

Regards,
Ken

Sam Grove September 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Pitifully, IB does not appear to have the slightest grasp of inflation.

In 1961, a most coins contained silver. A Franklin half dollar is currently worth a little over $10

Invisible Backhand September 27, 2011 at 12:05 am

Ken, you are so easy to manipulate.

Ken September 27, 2011 at 12:10 am

IB,

“you are so easy to manipulate.”

Ah, yes, more IB speak. This one translates to: “I’m a dumbass and you proved me a dumbass beyond doubt, so now I’m going to try some distraction to see if anyone is actually distracted away from my stupidity”.

Let me assure you, your stupidity stands for all to see without distraction.

Regards,
Ken

Stone Glasgow September 27, 2011 at 12:51 am

It’s a rare person that can type reasonably full sentences with a room-temperature IQ.

Ghengis Khak September 27, 2011 at 4:55 am

Pretty sure IB simply has god-like trolling abilities. This whole thing where he claims that 1/(1-0.63) isn’t 2.7 is just too over the top.

Fred September 27, 2011 at 8:55 am

“Pretty sure IB simply has god-like trolling abilities.”

Ken has a pathological need to get the last word.

Invisible Backhand September 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

I was going to let him off the hook when I said “psych”, but he just couldn’t shut up and kept coming back for more. He’s really a Dwight Schrute in world of Jim Halperts.

The Other Tim September 27, 2011 at 11:33 am

IB, Your screenshot was captioned with the line “some idiot claimed food was ‘massively cheaper’ in the 1960′s.”

Dan wrote that food is massively cheaper *than* in the 1960′s. In other words, the exact opposite of what you said he said.

Ken September 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm

IB,

I love that you think your letting me “off the hook”. The sentences from my comments you underlined say in your screenshot are:

“…so by YOUR OWN CALCULATIONS, eggs are 63.5% CHEAPER in 2010…”

and

“…they are 271% MORE EXPENSIVE in 1961…”

From Dan H’s comment “food is massively cheaper now than in the 1960s”.

All of the above prove beyond a doubt that food is cheaper now than in the 1960′s. But you keep wanting to claim that Dan H and I are incorrect, yet everything you bring forth only provides more evidence that food is cheaper today than in the 1960′s.

It’s like you can’t read or something. Do you think these statements contradict each other? Are you really too stupid to see that these statements are entirely in agreement with each other?

Regards,
Ken

Ken September 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm

“Ken has a pathological need to get the last word.”

Don’t forget to step on that lower lip, Fred, while stomping your foot.

Regards,
Ken

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I don’t mind that Ken tries to get the last word. He knows that stupidity should never go unchecked, else you get despotic government.

Furthermore, IB still ahs not refuted the absolute fact I laid out: adjusted for inflation, we are 20% wealthier than in 1964. Adjusted for inflation, the poverty threshold is 4.5% lower than in 1964. So we are richer, and basic necessities (which is how the poverty threshold is determined) are cheaper. So why has the poverty rate stayed essentially the same, and even increased for those 0-64 years old?

Invisible Backhand September 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Both Ken and Dan H are looking at it upside down, which leads to their confusion. This will make it obvious:

http://i.imgur.com/60uOv.png

Ken September 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm

IB,

Still an empty suit I see. Better luck next time. Hopefully for you there won’t be any of the bad old math or english grammar involved the next time you try to make an argument.

Regards,
Ken

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

IB,

Did you go to public school? Just curious.

Invisible Backhand September 27, 2011 at 1:26 pm

So are you guys still claiming food was “massively” cheaper or massively more expensive? Is 5% “massive”?

http://i.imgur.com/S6v5u.png

Can I interest you in some three card monte later? Think it’s terribly bright not to do your own research now?

The Other Tim September 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm

IB, no one in this discourse ever suggested that food was cheaper in 1960. The sentence you seem to have a problem with, which you’ve quoted several times, reads: “food is massively cheaper now than in the 1960s.” This is the opposite of what you said they said. It seems you had a reading comprehension issue the first several times you saw this. That’s fine, humans are fallible. What isn’t fine is for you to continue to suggest that Dan and Ken et. al. weren’t perfectly clear in their meanings from the beginning. In someone’s words, if you’re going to tell lies, don’t tell such easily checked ones.

Ken September 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm

IB,

Finally, you present something that could actually be considered factual support of your claim. However, it isn’t.

Clearpictureonline doesn’t really show a clear picture. But the The Economist does. Again, food prices are massively cheaper today than they were in the 1960′s.

The $11K from clearpictureonline isn’t broken down at all. While it’s possible that Americans spend just as much today as in the 1960′s on food, what’s left unremarked on is what is actually bought. If it’s the same food items, them clearly Americans are simply buying MORE food today than in the 1960′s. But what’s probably happening is that Americans are buying better and higher quality foods since the price of food is massively cheaper now than in the 1960′s, allowing Americans to buy foods that previously they couldn’t afford.

That Americans may be spending the same on food says nothing about the increase or decrease of food prices.

Regards,
Ken

Invisible Backhand September 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm

The Other Tim, I normally adhere to “the trick is told when the trick is sold”, but I don’t want to let this teachable moment pass by. This calls back to a thread from a few days ago when certain people on this board were bragging about their street smarts.

What’s the capital of Kentucky, Lexington or Bowling Green? Neither, it’s Frankfort.

Now you know what a forced answer is.

Ponder this thread. Did it matter what they claimed as long as I claimed the opposite? There you go. Later we’ll get ice cream.

Fred September 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Just watch. Ken will post another reply proving that he has a pathological need to get the last word.

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm

IB,

You botched the joke. It goes, “How do pronounce the capital of Kentucky? Is it pronounced ‘Lou-eee-vill’ or ‘Louis-vill’?” and when the person answers you say “Gotcha! It’s Frankfort!”.

g-dub September 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

fred> Just watch. Ken will post another reply proving that he has a pathological need to get the last word.

I don’t know you, Ken, or any relevent history. Someone might guess you got spanked.

The Other Tim September 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I have no idea what any of that is supposed to mean, IB. What I do know is that an inability to admit you made a dumb mistake, coupled with recalcitrant arrogance when called on it, makes you a troll.

kyle8 September 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Ok, how about appx 9 trillion spent an the rate of poverty is basically unchanged at 13%. Those figures from Cato Institute.

Even if you disagree with those numbers to some extent, any way you measure it it has been a complete, and abysmal failure.

Remember that all of that tax money over time has opportunity costs, where might our economic growth and prosperity be if we had not wasted so much?

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

http://i.imgur.com/vSbi5.jpg

Like I tell everyone else:

If you’re going to tell lies, don’t tell such easily checked ones

Dan H September 26, 2011 at 8:22 pm

And you should learn how to read a frickin chart. The poverty rates for the under 18 and 18-64 categories is slightly HIGHER now than when the “War on Poverty” began (1965-68).

Invisible Backhand September 26, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Because of Reagan, Bush and Bush. You must have heard of them.

g-dub September 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Because of Reagan, Bush and Bush.

There are likely a lot of people on this board that would agree with your contention of democracy having its problems. Your context is idiotic, though.

kyle8 September 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm

well you ought to know, you have never peddled anything but a lie.

Gil September 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm

On another day Libertarians argue there’s no poverty in the U.S.A. just because people are complaining they can’t afford a blu-ray player while watching a DVD movie.

Ken September 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Gil,

The point is that BY YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF POVERTY your programs have failed and cost trillions of dollars.

Regards,
Ken

Gil September 26, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Why you use “regards” is beyond me.

“My”? Some definitions of poverty seem to be of the “relative” kind or some others seem to equate poor with the bottom 20% of the population. Then again it’s doubtful you’d have much of a definition of poor other than eating enough to live.

Ken September 27, 2011 at 12:07 am

Gil,

Of course you would ask “My?” wouldn’t you. After all, “it could easily be argued” or “some definitions” leave you enough wiggle room to claim you didn’t make a false or inflammatory statement, right? “It” and “some” are making all those false and inflammatory statements, right?

I’m mean, YOU’RE not making an argument or defining anything. You’re just doing what exactly?

Regards,
Ken

Gil September 27, 2011 at 9:19 am

“Libertarians would say/do . . .” isn’t a fallacy when Libertarians have no problems with arguing that “Liberals/Progressive would say/do . . .”

Ken September 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

Still dodging, Gil? Still nothing to say? Not surprising.

Regards,
Ken

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm

The poverty line is $10,695 for a single person with no children. That’s working about 30 hours per week at a minimum wage job AFTER taxes. If you’re too damn lazy to work 40 hours a week to get out of poverty, then you’re just frickin lazy. You literally have to be LAZY to be in poverty in America.

The should call it the Lazy Line instead of the poverty line.

Josh September 27, 2011 at 12:47 am

counterfactual. How do you prove it wouldn’t have been worse otherwise? You can’t.

Josh September 27, 2011 at 12:51 am

Yes, poverty is relative in the 1st world, not absolute. It’s arbitrary. I just think every kid has potential and that we do ourselves and our future tax base a disservice to not invest at the right time. I think every kid should have some small chance to be a sucess, maybe go to college, when they grow up, regardless of wether they were planned or provided for by their progenitors.

Methinks1776 September 27, 2011 at 6:49 am

Josh, isn’t it marvelous that you think that? How swell. So, how much of your time and money have you devoted investing in other people’s children’s potential? My bet is you want the credit for dreaming big and “believing in” the little tykes as long as it’s at someone else’s expense.

Josh September 27, 2011 at 11:39 am

Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are with me. Hell, Perry surprised me with the whole Mexican children getting in state tuition thing. Maybe you texans aren’t as evil as I thought.

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

Not many people on here like Romney or Perry… but nice try.

kyle8 September 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I like Perry a little bit, because he launched seven different lawsuits against the encroaching power of Federal agencies.

Stone Glasgow September 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Josh, should we have public supermarkets too?

PS This is not a republican blog.

Purpendicular September 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I really must get this book, but on this point the author is almost completely wrong. If you compare the tables on pages 31 and 97 in Tanzi and Schuknecht, “Public Spending in the 20th Century” you see that subsidies and taxation amounted to on average 23.2 percent of GDP in 1995. For my native Sweden, it was 35.7 percent.

The result of this was that the “Income share of bottom 40% of households” went from 16.8 to 19.1 percent (in the mid 1980s, for a somewhat different selection of countries, but the results do not vary much). 1/10 redistribution, 9/10 back to the same people. In Sweden 2.5 percent was given to the 40% “poor”, i.e. about 7 percent.

Hayek said that the art of taxation has always been to trick people into believing that they get more back than they pay in.

The real purpose of 90 percent of the 23.2 percent of redistribution is to make people believe they depend on the state. As far as I can tell, this is highly successful. Proud Americans think it is “extreme” to abolish (phase out) food stamps, medicare, medicaid, the retirement age and the government’s involvement in health care.

Doc Merlin September 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Yes.
I will take it one step further. The state itself is a market failure.

Doc Merlin September 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Does this mean we should tax the government, a la Pigou?

Doc Merlin September 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm

/sarcasm

vidyohs September 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm

“because people vote for things that will be paid for by others.”

I think that is too broad. Some people vote for things that will be paid for by others, and some of us do not.

SweetLiberty September 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

True. Unfortunately, when “some” become the “majority”, the system collapses.

vikingvista September 26, 2011 at 8:04 pm

They don’t even need to be the majority. A small minority enthusiastic and united around a single idea, particularly when well funded, is enough to get the government to loot from the larger majority. The remainder of votes are diluted across a great many different interests.

Democracy is SO much less than people think.

g-dub September 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I’ve heard “we are the government” so much I want to vomit.

vikingvista September 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Other false or nonsensical phrases from the collectivist archive:

will of the people
the people have chosen
consent of the governed
we get what we deserve
of the people, by the people, for the people
we the people

It is unfortunate that collectivist hogwash evokes some of the strongest emotions, and underlies some people’s most fundamental principles.

g-dub September 26, 2011 at 9:49 pm

“if society chooses”
“we as a people”
“general will” (Rousseau)

Thinking of Rousseau (and Keynes himself), Keynes did say one thing that was certainly correct :

Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas.

People are so indoctrinated with the mystical general will — in its various forms, and what I call the we-meme — they cannot even comprehend why someone would question their mysticism (animism). It is akin to a religious belief. The god they see is obvious to them.

vikingvista September 27, 2011 at 2:07 am

Yes. In spite of the quite obvious falsehood of it, claims of some sort of social contract have been made by some of the giants of the Enlightenment. Whether because they so desperately wanted something to be true, or simply wanted to bridge a chasm in their social theory, some sort of collectivist tripe always seems to be the ticket. And since an appeal to authority is a particularly persuasive bit of nonsense, the tripe infects posterity, including a good many libertarian-minded folk.

Josh September 27, 2011 at 12:38 am

ie the tea party

libertarianism and democracy are incompatible. You know which one I think is better.

Dan J September 27, 2011 at 2:22 am

Democracy and liberty are incompatible. You know which one I think is better.

Methinks1776 September 27, 2011 at 6:51 am

You know which one I think is better.

Obviously, mob rule.

vidyohs September 27, 2011 at 8:42 am

“You know which one I think is better.”

Objection, no facts in evidence to support those words. Also lack of foundation, and predicate.

Show us evidence that you think.

Socialism/regressive/democrat/communist/liberal/looneyleft, no matter the label is all opposed to freedom, liberty.

Josh, like the muirhuahua/muirduck/, you’re a tool.

Stone Glasgow September 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm

If 51% of the nation votes to literally enslave the rest, is that a moral society?

J. W. September 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm

SG: I already asked Josh essentially the same question and he refused to answer.

http://cafehayek.com/2011/09/two-sides-to-those-political-transactions.html#comment-250999

As of yet, he has no argument, just assertion. He seems to think that if he can get together enough people to enslave you, then he’s justified.

JS September 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Reading DanH’s and Invisible backhand’s posts remind me of the question..what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Our problems are either based on too much freedom, or too little. IB says too much and Dan says too little.

To solve the riddle, we must seach for economies that have either more or less freedom. Since they’re aren’t any or just few with more freedom, we must study the economies with less freedom, and they are all poorer. IB would probably be happy in Europe, which is going broke as we speak. Like Obama, he wants us to be Europe and to go broke just like them.

If IB can point to countries with greater political repression and redistribution that also have a higher standard of living, we don’t need numbers, pal, just names will suffice.

Okay, let’s be prepared for him to send us data on some tiny countries without millions in minority populations trying to assimilate into a foreign culture, but even then the data he sends will be phony, such as would be with the favorite fall back positions that the socialists always used–some scandinavian countries where they all wear the same drab clothes, drive the same Obama cars, eat the same food, screw the same prostitutes, and smoke the same dope, since they are all equal.

kyle8 September 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm

You don’t even have to compare us with nearly bankrupt European governments, just compare California with Texas.

Both large states, both border states with a lot of immigration, both with many natural resources including oil.

Texas is producing nearly all of the new wealth in the nation and California is a basket case. So the comparison could not be appropriate.

kyle8 September 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm

More appropriate

Josh September 27, 2011 at 12:54 am

why did the sillicon valley not appear next to Houston then? Education perhaps?

Ken September 27, 2011 at 1:00 am

Josh,

Because it moved to Austin. Californians and the high tech sector swarmed to Austin, TX over the last two decades because the cost of living is cheaper, job opportunities are better, and the education system is better (for much less cost as well) than in California.

Regards,
Ken

kyle8 September 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

What silicon valley? You mean that ghost town in California?

When it was started the business climate in California was pretty good, but there is nothing that you progressives cant screw up.

Methinks1776 September 27, 2011 at 5:33 am

But, JS, they U-ropeons have freeeeeeeee health caaaaare!!

Josh September 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

Canada, Scadanavia, Germany, the Netherlands, UK, France, tiny little countries like that

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 11:35 am

The standard of living in those countries is not on par with the US.

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_by_country.jsp

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

and Scandinavia is not a country… or did you not get the memo?

kyle8 September 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Besides, last time I looked all of those nations were slashing taxes, and cutting back on social welfare.

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm

And thanks to those countries, I made a good deal of money to put towards my wedding fund thanks to the short position I took on the Euro.

Future Mrs. Dan H really likes her engagement ring.

But that’s what I don’t get. People who think like me (i.e. understand basic economics) are able to make lots of money trading commodities and currency. So if my economics is so flawed, why am I making money?

jorod September 26, 2011 at 9:12 pm

In other words, the politicians use taxpayer money to buy votes.

Josh September 26, 2011 at 11:49 pm

How has a politician ever lost an election then?

Ken September 26, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Yes. The taxpayers whose money the politicians use to buy votes get irritated. Ask the recently out of work democrats from the senate and house.

Regards,
Ken

Josh September 27, 2011 at 12:39 am

So then vote buying isn’t effective overall.

Methinks1776 September 27, 2011 at 5:52 am

No, of course vote buying isn’t “effective overall”, Josh. That’s why we don’t have problems associated with vote buying like bankrupt entitlement programs, crony capitalism and corporate welfare

Ken September 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Josh,

No, it “isn’t effective overall.” But don’t worry. All ready 60% of Americans are on the public dole and almost 50% don’t pay any federal income tax. Your plan to purchase the votes of the leech class at the expense of the productive class is close to complete. Hopefully, we in the productive class can roll back your leeching.

Luckily, even the leeches are horrified by Europe in general and Greece specifically. So maybe the leeching class can succeed in toning down its greed in the name of self interest.

Regards,
Ken

g-dub September 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

So then vote buying isn’t effective overall.

What? You mean there is no difference between “no chance of winning” by not promising goodies, and “a chance of winning” by promising goodies?

Stupid troll.

Chucklehead September 27, 2011 at 3:34 am

They tweet their wieners.

Dan H September 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

^+1000000…. Chucklehead ftw!!!!!

But next time you’re going to write something that will make me laugh, please warn me so I don’t sip my coffee beforehand… Now I have to clean off my keyboard and get a new shirt.

Libt September 27, 2011 at 6:10 am

Funny, how Invisible Backhand asks for numbers, somebody shows them to him, then he quickly proves to everyone is complete lack of understanding the numbers.

Justin P September 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm

+1

kyle8 September 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

pretty much standard operating procedure for him. Or else he posts some stupid link no one wants to look at and some cryptic comment and thinks he has made such a great point.

Lawrence L. September 27, 2011 at 8:10 am

Interesting comment….
Particularly in light of the fact that the ECON 201 course I am TA-ing for is just going over externalities, and particularly expressing the idea that governments attempt to INTERNALIZE external costs through regulation and taxation (of course, with no comment as to the success of that practice).

Justin P September 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Back to the book. Everyone should go to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and request the book be available to Kindle or Nook (which ever platform you prefer).

Tim Singstock September 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I’m coming in at the tail end of this but think I have a “public education” alternative that could be sold to the average voter. It should be implemented at the state level.
Of the $10,000 or so per public school student in government funding, about half comes from the state and half from the municipality. (Though the Feds are full of mandates only a sliver comes from.)
Allow parents to “opt out” of their assigned cookie cutter school and take some portion of the state’s funding (70%-100%) as a “grant” (cannot say voucher- that’s a bad word) for a different school which could be: (a) a different public school; (b) a charter school; (c) a private school.
Mom and dad are empowered to find and fund the best education for their child. However, by default kids still go to the assigned school based on their street address and zip code. So, if the public schools are just so fantastic, then nothing happens at all. No change is forced on anyone but those who opt for change. But if there’s parental demand for a different education solution, the market will supply that demand.
“But wait, your ‘grant’ takes money away from struggling public schools.” How true, but it also takes away students. For each whole student removed, >50% of the funding for that student is lost. So in effect, the funding per pupil actually increases in the public school.
Incidentally, government entities care just as much about money as evil profit hungry corporations, so they will compete for those students. Competition makes things better, cheaper and more available.
This is the classic school choice argument which I ran on (and lost) as a school board candidate a few years ago. But I think it could be pitched state-wide with the right wording and implementation.
– BigTim

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