Still UnWarrented

by Don Boudreaux on September 29, 2011

in Civil Society, Complexity & Emergence, Cooperation, Myths and Fallacies, Other People's Money, Taxes

Here’s a letter sent yesterday to the Boston Globe:

Jeff Jacoby exposes the flawed presumptions and conclusions in Elizabeth Warren’s insistence that wealthy Americans are morally obliged to pay more taxes because each individual’s success in the market requires the efforts and cooperation of millions of other people (“Professor Warren’s ire,” Sept. 28).

Pop quiz: Who described the term “self-made man” as “an incredibly naive and arrogant expression”?*  Is it someone who, apparently like Prof. Warren, assumes that proponents of limited government fail to understand that each individual in modern society critically and ceaselessly depends upon countless numbers of his or her fellow human beings?

No.  These are the words of economist Thomas Sowell, here referring to the fact that modern prosperity requires a vast system of social cooperation that is, and can only be, coordinated chiefly by market prices.  Insofar as taxes distort these prices and thwart incentives, social cooperation is diminished.

So Prof. Warren’s pointing out correctly that each person (I put it here in the words of Adam Smith) “has constant occasion for the help of his brethren”** is an insufficient justification for raising taxes.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

* Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions (New York: Basic Books, 1980), p. 110.

** Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), Bk. 1, Chapter 2, para. 2.

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{ 124 comments }

morganovich September 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm

“help” is different than “mutually agreed transaction”.

if you make shoes and i buy them, sure, i’m helping you, but you are helping me too just as you helped the guy who made the leather and he helped you as well.

that’s the nature of voluntary exchange.

taxes are not voluntary, thus, there is nothing to keep them mutually beneficial.

if buying or selling shoes no longer benefits either party, they stop.

but if your taxes and there expenditure are a bad deal for you, well, that’s just too bad. if you are in the top 10% on wealth, well, democracy doesn’t help much either. you are always outvoted by those who benefit from your loss, so you wind up paying 70% of the taxes.

there is nothing to stop this involuntary exchange.

Stone Glasgow September 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm

You just don’t understand. You’re socially obligated to pay taxes you greedy bastard! You can’t turn a profit without abusing workers by selling above production cost! You are standing on the shoulders of those selfless men and women who came before you and paid taxes for roads and schools! Gosh you probably hate women and babies too, don’t you!?

Mike September 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Labor theory of value. Yawn.

So the capitalist/entrepreneur/owner-operator/etc. bears no risk when he pays someone to produce something? He/she performs no essential functions? He/she doesn’t direct production towards areas that are most valuable to the consumer?

Seriously.. go look up the labor theory of value, and please understand that it has been completely refuted for over a century.

Ken September 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Umm… Mike, I think Stone was being sarcastic.

Regards,
Ken

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm

LOL!

Chucklehead September 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Happy Birthday: Ludwig von Mises was born on September 29, 1881

morganovich September 30, 2011 at 9:44 am

stone-

of course.

how silly of me.

i will stop making profits and hiring people immediately.

Methinks1776 September 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Sooner if you can, Morganovich. You exploiter of labour!

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Also, happy birthday to my friend Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economics Education, who was also born on September 29th.

The Other Tim September 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm

As I’ve said elsewhere, she’s crafted as sound an argument for anarcho-capitalism as anything else. Yes, everyone needs other people to get ahead. And we contract out to get their services in markets governed by free volition and mutual benefit. If government is providing services without which business couldn’t make any money, then let them sell their services on the market. Obviously, if they’re as necessary to profit as Warren argues they are, businesses will have to grudgingly, but voluntarily pay market price or cease making profits.

Daniel Kuehn September 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I read Warren as saying not that she’s the only one that recognizes the social nature of success – but as saying that we need to recognize the form that that social nature of success. A good portion of that was due to market action, which you describe here. A good portion of that was due to public action. And of course a good portion of that was due to non-market, non-public action. Warren is simply suggesting that we acknowledge all three inputs. I’m not sure why you fail to attribute this point to her, which belies your claim that Warren “assumes that proponents of limit government fail to understand that each individual in modern society critically and ceaselessly depends upon countless numbers of his or her fellow human beings. She assumes nothing of the sort. Her point – which you seem to ignore here – is that dependence is a dependence on public as well as private action.

If Sowell has a good reason for not considering the public action that contributes to success, I’d be interested in hearing it. But the importance of market action hardly invalidates Warren’s claims about public action, Don.

Daniel Kuehn September 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

This is the pattern of a lot of arguments I hear.

Ratifying what people like Warren and I already believe about markets is not the same as providing a counter-argument to what we say about government or non-market non-government action.

Anotherphil September 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Ratifying what people like Warren and I already believe about markets is not the same as providing a counter-argument to what we say about government or non-market non-government action.

Why does your belief require a counter argument?

Jameson September 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Public action ought to contribute to individual success in equal proportion–no one individual should be helped above others. Therefore, the only just compensation for this service is taxes in equal proportion. If you want to argue that government provided unequal opportunity to certain individuals, then you should argue to undo this sort of favoritism. Changing the rate of taxation for those individuals is just another attempt to right a wrong with more wrong.

Subhi Andrews September 29, 2011 at 7:04 pm

it shouldn’t even be proportion. If government spent $10,000 per citizen per year, that’s the amount every person should pay – not some proportion of income. Great point anyways.

LowcountryJoe September 30, 2011 at 12:56 am

I agree! Of course, when/if this is ever tried, the demand for what government does [and the money it would need to do these things] would fall dramatically.

Stone Glasgow September 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Daniel,

No one denies that government roads are used in private business. There are two reasons that Warren’s arguments are unreasonable:

1. I would rather the government had not build the road in the first place. I would prefer that a private company build the roads, and that a free market existed in transportation services. I feel the road-building was harmful; without government intervention in road-construction, we may have more planes and trains today.

2. Non-market actions are to be “repaid” in non-market actions. Is it reasonable to claim that I should be forced to pay for what was originally a gift? If I provide gifts for others, should government force them to repay me in dollars?

morganovich September 30, 2011 at 9:43 am

also:

roads are incredibly easy to fund using user pays.

you have tolls. you tax gasoline. you have license fees.

that’s the proper way to pay for roads, not taxing everyone for imagined usage.

my business does not use roads. we do not ship of produce anything physical. why should i pay like i am fed ex?

Ken September 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm

DK,

The reason Warren’s diatribe doesn’t carry weight is because we KNOW she’s not talking about roads, firefighters, police and teachers (teachers should be stricken from the public dole, but that’s another thread entirely). She’s deliberately setting people up for the standard bait and switch. Her pitch is to make others sound greedy for not paying their “fair share” to pay for roads, firefighters, police and teachers. But when it comes to spending those taxes, rather than on the list she ranted about, tens of billions get spent on buying GM, hundreds of millions get spent giving loans to Solyandra, trillions get spent paying of corporate cronies on Wall Street, and trillions get spent on rich Americans in the form of SS and Medicare.

She is lying and everyone knows it. She’s not interested in getting these large sums of money and spending it ALL on roads, firefighters, police, and teachers. It should also be noted that these public services are largely paid for by state and local taxes, not federal taxes, so the insistence on higher federal taxes to be spent on these services is a red herring at best.

Regards,
Ken

Henri Hein September 29, 2011 at 5:57 pm

That is not given. If you listen to the full Warren speech, she started by criticizing the two wars and the medicare prescription drug benefit Bush pushed through. There was a fourth item I don’t remember, maybe it was the Bush tax cut. I agree with her on at least the first three, and I was never a big fan of the Bush cuts. Regardless, she has a point that the government’s finances would have been a lot better sans those items.

Methinks1776 September 29, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Yeah….only the two wars and not the Libyan war. Odd, no? And the prescription drug benefits and not bankrupt medicare, medicaid and SS. Again, odd. You’d think a person who is criticizing government spending would have a little criticism for the glaring Ponzi schemes.

I agree with you on the Bush rate cuts, of course. I always find that the more government takes from me, the more motivated I am to produce. I expect everyone feels the same. Anything for the Federal Family.

Dan H September 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I think that last part went right over his head, methinks.

Ken September 29, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Henri,

Of course it’s a given. Please look at how federal dollars are spent, then tell me what percentage of each dollar is spent on roads (not the DOT, but building and maintaining roads), police (not the DHS and DOJ budgets, but money spent on actual police, not administrators), firefighters (are any federal dollars spent on firefighters?) and teachers (not the DOEd, administrators, and union officials, but teachers).

Right off the top 85-90% of all dollars are spent on SS, Medicare and Medicaid, the military, and interest on the federal debt. Thus, if every remaining dollar was spent on the things that Warren mentions, it makes up AT MOST 10-15% of the federal budget. She mentions spending no one really questions (except for teaching) as the purview of government and passes them off as if they are the typical things on which the federal government spends money. Of course, this is a bald faced lie.

Regards,
Ken

Regards,
Ken

Henri Hein September 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Ken,

I am not trying to be ignorant here, I am ignorant. I know nothing of Warren except what she said. She seems critical of increased military spending, something I share. She did not mention the programs you mention. Perhaps she wants more block grants. Perhaps she wants more infrastructure stimulus spending. Perhaps she does not want more spending, just a different tax code. You are not doing anyone any favors by putting words in her mouth.

Of course, if you have actual evidence she supports expansion into the areas you mention, that would be different.

Ken September 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Henri,

Fair enough. She’s a standard politician and a staunch “liberal”, so I think it’s good bet that I’m right about the bait and switch. Additionally, you can go to her website, where she claims she wants to “rebuild the middle class”, which is usually means expanding “social” programs. Social programs having nothing to do with roads, police, firefighters, or teachers.

But to put some meat on the bones of my assertion: she chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel for the bank bailouts; she supports Dodd-Frank being named the special adviser to oversea the implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, erecting onerous regulations on banks and adds more federal employees to direct where banks put their money.

Regards,
Ken

Andrew_M_Garland September 29, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Bush’s Medicare Drug Plan

Bush’s Medicare Drug plan was rated by the CBO to cost $198 B over 10 years.

Senate Democrats led by Sen. Bob Graham pushd a proposal to create a more comprehensive, voluntary prescription-drug benefit within Medicare itself, at an estimated cost of $318 billion.

Yes, Bush should not have supported any drug plan, but his plan was cheaper than the Democrats wanted. It was not Bush the Spendthrift VS Democrats the Wise.

Ike September 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Let me give this a shot, Daniel.

If the government builds a road between my house and a hospital, I do indeed stand to benefit from it. As do every other person who lives or works in a place where an ambulance ride might involve that road.

A business owner who locates along that road also benefits. So do other businesses who set up shop there. They are taxpayers, and were paying taxes before the road was ever built.

To come after one for having a successful business MORESO than one with a less-successful business is patently unfair. “You’d never have this business without the road!” the Statists would have you believe. But that is a flawed perspective.

It’s wrong to think of the State as making hedged bets on its citizens, because it’s not the State’s resources being risked in ventures. It would be wrong for a bureaucrat to say “We invested in 20 of you with our schools and our roads, and since you were more successful we’re draining your account.” Citizens are not components of a mutual fund.

The two modes of thought that would lead one to Warren’s position are the Zero-Sum philosophy and the Illusion of Private Property. If you do not subscribe to either, then you can’t look at government spending on infrastructure or education as “investments.”

You might change my mind, of course — there might be a third or fourth way to arrive at Warren’s conclusion. I don’t see how you do that without reducing me from Citizen to Property.

Ike September 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm

My apologies, Daniel.

So much time elapsed from the time I chose to reply until I finished composing, I didn’t realize this had become a dogpile.

David September 29, 2011 at 11:55 pm

What doesn’t make sense to me is that even with a flat tax, the rich would pay more income tax than the non-rich. “The rich” account for most of the tax revenues in the US. Additionally, everyone who BUYS that stuff produced in a factory owned by a rich person also benefits from those things Professor Warren enumerates. Why should they pay less for them?

Dan J September 30, 2011 at 1:26 am

Daniel- this is all on the basis of Warren casting her own values on ‘how things should be’ according to her mind.
She and other govt officials often assume that the nation should be cast in their image and that they simply must make the nation become their ‘value’.
She has declared markets should ‘X’ ……….. and when they do not or are not……….. they must be compulsed by the almighty hand of govt …… or else.

Randy September 30, 2011 at 2:38 am

Daniel: “Her point… is that dependence is a dependence on public as well as private action.”

That may be her point, but its not a good point. Of all the things I pay for, politicians and their so called services would be the first things I would cut from my budget if it were possible to do so. Like a big house, a fancy car, or dinner at fancy restaurant, political services may be nice, but I can’t really afford them.

A continuation of the concept… If paying for political service was voluntary, only the rich and powerful would pay. Think about it for a minute… then tell me, who is really “paying” taxes?

Economiser September 30, 2011 at 9:35 am

> Of all the things I pay for, politicians and their so called services would be the first things I would cut from my budget if it were possible to do so.

Agreed. I pay more in taxes than I do for food, clothing, and shelter put together.

Stone Glasgow September 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm

No no, you just don’t understand! Market prices just concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a greedy few, who hoard and monopolize all of the wealth and natural resources on earth.

Prices and markets must be heavily organized, their operation must not be trusted to the people on the ground, but to extremely bright organizational specialists, who will see the big picture, and lead us to the promised land of an equal share for everyone!

Anotherphil September 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Prices and markets must be heavily organized, their operation must not be trusted to the people on the ground, but to extremely bright organizational specialists, who will see the big picture, and lead us to the promised land of an equal share for everyone!

Steven Chu, perhaps?

Stone Glasgow September 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Except he would be talking about CO2.

Methinks1776 September 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Oh, I thought you were talking about the stock market.

muirgeo September 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

“Prices and markets must be heavily organized, their operation must not be trusted to the people on the ground….”

Well except for history is what it is and people on the ground have been there and done that over and over and people on the ground DO NOT WANT what you want because they ARE smart and realize markets left to themselves is not such a good way to organize society or an economy regaurdless of what you’ve convinced yuorself to believe in.

I really support that we make an Israel like state and send all the poor libertarians there to have their own land…. I am so sick of hearing them bitch and whine… But of course why should the government have to do it for you. If your so sure of how successful your country would be why haven’t you gotten together and formed it? Does the fact that it exist nowhere every give you a second thought????

Ken September 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm

“because they ARE smart ”

Just not smart enough to spend their own money, though, right?

“realize markets left to themselves”

Do you even understand what a market is? It’s the meeting place of those “people on the ground” to trade their wares and services. The “people on the ground” ARE the market. Is your claim really that people left to themselves are too stupid to live their lives?

“I really support that we make an Israel like state and send all the poor libertarians there to have their own land”

The US all ready has a couple places like that. The main one is called Texas. Tell me, how has Texas and Texans fared over the last four years compared to California and Californians?

Regards,
Ken

Gil September 30, 2011 at 12:01 am

Don’t forget New Hampshire. (The place no one would have heard of if it weren’t for Libertarians.)

Methinks1776 September 29, 2011 at 5:37 pm

“People on the ground”

Is that different from politicians in the heavens?

Anotherphil September 29, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I really support that we make an Israel like state and send all the poor libertarians there to have their own land…. I am so sick of hearing them bitch and whine…

If the objective is reducing bitching and whining, it’s the left and their itinerant fixations that must go.

Stone Glasgow September 29, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Well, no. The politicians are the voice of God; he speaks through them and our only way to know the true path to salvation is via faithful adherence and tribute.

Methinks1776 September 30, 2011 at 8:07 am

Ah. Priests.

Dan H September 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm

“I really support that we make an Israel like state and send all the poor libertarians there to have their own land”

I would LOVE nothing more than to have our own island to start over.

And we’re already trying that. It’s called seasteading. Don’t you think it’s so pathetic that just because we want to be left alone, we’re willing to spend millions on man-made islands to get away from you envious creeps?

Patri and Peter, if you guys are reading this, HURRY UP!

Fred September 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Seasteading is a really stupid idea.

Once free people start to create wealth, progressives will come to steal it.
So unless the seasteads have some serious firepower, they will only exist long enough to be plundered.

Stone Glasgow September 29, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Yep. Many examples of this in recent history.

Stone Glasgow September 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Not just progressive — statists in general.

Dan H September 30, 2011 at 7:52 am

Sadly, I agree with you. To me, it’s all about the principle. Where on earth do we go? Where can we go to get away of the statists? Or are we that screwed?

Methinks1776 September 30, 2011 at 8:09 am

Dan H, you can’t get away from them. You have to outsmart them.

vikingvista September 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm

From what I’ve heard, Soviet citizens became quite adept at that.

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm

You have to outsmart them.

And out fight them, Methinks1776.

muirgeo September 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Oh I just love it when you guys actually start trying to put your stupid shit ideas to practice. Once you start actually thinking through what it is you believe all sort of stupid-shittedness comes falling out….

See Fred…already realizing the need for massive firepower….

Planet Money did a podcast on the Porcupine Freedom Festival where a bunch of libertarians are trying to establish New Hampshire as a libertarian state. Just watching the podcast shows these idiots for what they are. Their little society quickly runs into all sorts of problems on the tiniest of details.

http://dailyanarchist.com/wp-content/uploads/npr-libertarian-summer-camp.mp3

ChrisN September 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm

“Oh I just love it when you guys actually start trying to put your stupid shit ideas to practice. Once you start actually thinking through what it is you believe all sort of stupid-shittedness comes falling out”

Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, War on Poverty, public education…how are those master chess moves working, MuirMadoff?

Fred September 30, 2011 at 2:25 pm

See Fred…already realizing the need for massive firepower….

Yes. To protect my property from you and your thugs.

Dan J September 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Warren and others of her ilk has repeatedly insinuated and often tried to legislate the assertion that govt is needed at any and all exchanges to counter inequities (inequities that they prescribe as being). My life would be just fine without the holiness of govt regulations.
Sowell is great….. .as is Williams. One can only hope to gain such wisdom, and only wish that one can do it without need of several lifetimes.

muirgeo September 29, 2011 at 5:19 pm

” My life would be just fine without the holiness of govt regulations.”

haiti and Somalia await you… tuff guy.

Ken September 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Next will be an emo “Leave Elizabeth ALOOOOOOONE!!!!11!” video.

Methinks1776 September 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm

He’ll spell it “aloan”.

vikingvista September 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Yep. Government was REALLY good to both Haiti and Somalia. LOL.

Economic Freedom September 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm

haiti and Somalia await you… tuff guy.

Haiti and Somalia are your idea of limited-government republics with laissez faire capitalist economies . . . dumb guy?

Dan J September 30, 2011 at 1:16 am

Thank God, the all powerful and knowing elected officials saved us from ………. gasp!!……….. dare I say it……….. Incandescent lightbulbs!!!!! ……… the horror!!!!! I must rest now.

I am still worried, though. I fear that I may walk into a Home Depot or worse…….. a friends house and find………….. incandescent lighbulbs…………. What do I do? is there an emergence line to call………… OMG!!!!!! sssssshhhhhh……. I think I Just found one in my house……. call the police…….. hhhhheeeeellllllllppppppp!!!!!!!

IDIOTS!!!!!

we SIMPLY MUST HAVE legislation on ‘unemployed discrimination’.
Do you know how many people’s lives have been utterly destroyed by ‘unemployed discrimination’. Please…. Lord Obama…… save us!!!!!!! It immora!!!! its unethical!!!! Call VAlerie Jarret……… she knows that govt responsibility is to “provide for the livelyhood of people so that they can provide for their families”. Spoken like a savior. May Karl be upon her.

What we really need is to suspend the congressional elections- Dem gov perdue
or to have Congress releived of their gridlock by reducing Democracy and set up panels or ‘commissions’.- Peter Orszag

There is nothing I like more than the absolute wisdom and benevolence of the Great Political Philosopher, Mao Zedong.- Antia Dunn

Maybe Thomas Friedman can enlighten us with how we really need a day or two of Chinese style authoritarianism. We could really get things done, then. Thanks Thomas Friedman. Your a genius. ALL IN FAVOR OF A DAY TO 1000 YRS OF AUTHORITARIANISM TO ‘GET THINGS DONE’………… SAY ‘AYE’.

These are Muirgeos people. FILTH!!!!!!

Dan J September 30, 2011 at 1:17 am

edit button please…… proofreading before posting is a nuisance.

brotio October 1, 2011 at 12:25 am

True. You didn’t misspell enough words for it to be an accurate Yasafi impersonation :P

Dan J September 30, 2011 at 1:19 am

Somebody call Van Jones………

Dan J September 30, 2011 at 1:33 am

Ya know what?……..
I am calling on my Congressman to pass legislation that requires websites to have an edit button.
It is in the best interest of everyone. Clearly, we need one and the lack of one is having a disparate impact upon some.

Prof. Roberts and Prof. Boudreaux must comply or face penalties and public scorn of discrimination against the non-self proofreaders. Some may have come from less affluent school districts and did not receive the kind of education or parental guidance that would be needed to understand the concept of ‘proofreading’. It is a travesty.

Clearly, some particular groups in society are being victimized by the lack of ‘edit buttons’.

Im a victim……. your a victim…. shes a victim.. wouldn’t you like to be a victim, too………. ooooohhh, a victim….. be a victim……… oooooooh, a victim……. gotta be a victim……

T Rich September 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Dan J, one word: decaf!

vikingvista October 1, 2011 at 4:45 am

I probably wouldn’t even use an edit button anymore. Editing has become such a hassle since I switched to a tablet, that I usually don’t even edit when I see a typo prior to posting.

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Excellent post, Dan J! I loved the part about the incandescent light bulb. Our government can’t efficiently, and in many cases can’t effectively, perform the limited responsibilities that it was delegated under the Constitution. But, it can protect us from the horrors of the incandescent light bulb. I’d be LMAO, but I am paying for the folly of these self-appointed elites like Elizabeth Warren. She fits right into the club of ugly, controlling women that you usually find among the regressives and libtards.

muirgeo September 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm

“…here referring to the fact that modern prosperity requires a vast system of social cooperation that is, and can only be, coordinated chiefly by market prices. Insofar as taxes distort these prices and thwart incentives, social cooperation is diminished…”

That’s such a belligerently ignorant statement that has no basis in reality. It’s pathetic.

What we are seeing here is an unreasonable near cult like belief confronted by reality and thus the hair-on-fire response from Conservatives, Republicans and Libertarians to Ms. Warren’s brilliantly made statement. Cognitive dissonance …real time.

Ken September 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm

And you didn’t refute — or even address — a single word of it.

You didn’t even try. But I can see the spittle hitting your monitor from here.

You mad, bro?

Dan J September 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm

That’s not a mad muirgeo….. we had seen that a few weeks ago.. he went off on a diatribe of f-bombs and name calling.

Muirgeo- when you go off on a Somalia/Haiti as representative of knocking govt back down to its intended purpose as those who wrote it had in mind…….. All I can say for what you espouse and some kind of ‘good’ govt is…….. Russia, Venezuela, Argentina, China, Greece, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Cuba, etc., etc., etc., etc.,…………

Ken September 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm

muirgeo,

“That’s such a belligerently ignorant statement that has no basis in reality.”

So the complete collapse of ALL economies that were not largely based on prices generated from free markets during the last century didn’t occur? Or that these examples aren’t proof that politicians and bureaucrats don’t have enough knowledge to provide even basic services and products to citizens?

Regards,
Ken

The Other Tim September 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I do not believe the word “belligerently” can ever modify the word “ignorant.” That seems to make about as much sense as saying something can be belligerently fat or belligerently orange. Adverbs and the adjectives they modify need to have some kind of conceptual connection. It seems you’re just spouting big nasty sounding words because, as one said above, you don’t seem to be able to address the ideas you want people to hate.

muirgeo September 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Oh those words definitely should not be seen together but unfortunately they actually describe the tripe Sowell wrote…

I didn’t think being belligerently ignorant was possible but prof Sowell did it… he should be in the World Book of Records.

g-dub September 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm

“I didn’t think being belligerently ignorant was possible but prof Sowell did it…”

Racist hater

Ken September 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm

+1

I think we should denounce him to Attaaaaaaaack Waaaaaaatch.

Dan J September 30, 2011 at 1:04 am

Really?!?!? use of word tripe against Dr. Sowell? We all know what that ‘code’ word is meant to imply.
The racism from you is disgusting.

muirgeo September 30, 2011 at 2:09 am

Yeah if Sowell were Irish using tripe might be racist…. DA’s.

brotio October 2, 2011 at 2:28 am

Yeah if Sowell were Irish using tripe might be racist

That would be the Scots, actually. The Micks were too drunk to get all the way to the tripe.

maximus October 2, 2011 at 2:47 am

“That would be the Scots, actually. The Micks were too drunk to get all the way to the tripe.”

As a American Scot, I think I’ve been insulted. To insinuate the Irish are bigger drunks is fightin’ words…We do have haggis..

Anotherphil September 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm

What we are seeing here is an unreasonable near cult like belief unconfronted by reality and thus the hair-on-fire response from statists, socialists and “progressives” to Ms. Warren’s inane rant.

James N September 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Hi, my name James. HI JAMES…

I have a guilty pleasure and feel the need to unburden myself. I throughly enjoy coming to this blog and reading the comments made by most of the individuals here. But, what I find most enjoyable is watching muirgeo get repeatedly slapped around by those commentators whose intelligence exceeds his by an immeasurable magnitude. The only thing more curious, than why I derive such pleasure from this act, is figuring out why he continues to offer his inane opinions. It’s obvious that anonymity is his greatest asset.

Methinks1776 September 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm

It’s not a fair fight. The gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe exceeds his intelligence by an immeasurable magnitude. He keeps coming back because he’s dumb enough to think he’s brilliant. He’s been coming here to “learn” since 2006. See his progress?

Anotherphil September 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm

“The only thing more curious, than why I derive such pleasure from this act”

The Germans have a word, “schadenfreude” (spelling?)

For some reason, the feeling intensifies when the misery is self-inflicted and by geometric orders of magnitude, when it persists long after an easy escape was the only logical option.

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm

What we are seeing here is an unreasonable near cult like belief confronted by reality and thus the hair-on-fire response from Conservatives, Republicans and Libertarians to Ms. Warren’s brilliantly made statement. Cognitive dissonance …real time.

Nah. What you are seeing with Elizabeth Warren’s tirade is the typical ranting of a controlling, overly emotional regressive libtard who wants to wants to steal from others to reward her political cronies.

JWH September 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I need someone to explain the error of my thoughts. The public services mentioned by her are tranposrtation, police, fire, and education. Roads are paid for where I live by user fees largely. Property tax and city sales tax pays for fire and police. Property tax and state income tax pay for education. Thus they are genrerally funded by local taxes and users. I get my share of service from the entities mentioned, I drive, have educated my kids, have fire protection, too much police protection without confiscating 30% of Bill Gates fortune. It seems to me those who favor confiscatory taxes at the federal level use state local services to justify their policies.

The Other Tim September 29, 2011 at 7:37 pm

You’re perfectly right of course.

But in the collectivist mindset, there is no distinction between the national, the state, the county, or the municipal governments. It’s all just one big “us.”

Itchy September 30, 2011 at 11:27 am

I’ve made a similar argument to people. I sounds like Warren was making the case for lower taxes? If we expect the greedy producers to pay for schools, roads, and protection, a marginal tax rate of 39%+ seems too high.

T Rich September 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm

You make an excellent point here. I am trying to think it through in real time, so my apologies if it doesn’t come out straight.

When I was at NSF some time back, it was clear that the federal government used a strategy of “last dollar of funding” in order to influence what schools and colleges did. In short, they recognized that only 7% of the funding to schools came from the fed; however, they were able to have immense influence because the schools didn’t see how they could have lived without that 7%. So, they would do what the 7% contributor asked because they wanted that money, and bending to the fed will would not endanger receipt of the other 93%.

I think that the federales may be doing the same thing across the board. In other words, Georgia funds their highways through a gasoline tax and from federal DOT money. The state money is cordoned off and can’t be used for anything except roads. However, the GADOT depends on the feds for 10% of their budget. So, when the feds (and I think R. Reagan sadly started this nonsense) call up and say, “your state’s legal drinking age should be raised to 21.” then the state has to acquiesce. So the feds used just a small contribution to the state’s coffers in order to have outsized influence.

In other words, “that’s a nice 9th and 10th amendment you’ve got. It would be a shame if something happened to it!”

EG September 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm

If the argument is to…increase…taxes, then she’s got nothing to stand on. It just doesn’t add up mathematically or logically that this is a reason for a greater % of taxes on “the rich”

If the argument, however, is paying taxes to pay for such services, than thats different.

Seth September 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm

From each according to my envy, to each according to my cronies. Vote for me.

Ken September 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm

+1

Methinks1776 September 29, 2011 at 5:39 pm

That. Is. Brilliant.

I’m stealing it. Thanks, Seth.

Ken September 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Collect your complete set of Internets in the lobby, Seth. Make sure you get a receipt, for tax purposes.

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Hear, hear! Very well said!

Richard Stands October 1, 2011 at 2:03 am

*Like*

Spot September 29, 2011 at 5:45 pm

All businesses, whether or not successful, use these resources. So Warren’s rationale is a really reason to increase the taxes of all businesses, whether or not successful.

vidyohs September 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm

If Elizalooney Warren is correct that no one can possibly can make it alone, and that all success is the results of the efforts of the collective, then it is obvious that we should all be equally likely to achieve great success in our life times because it is all there and is not the result of our own actions or motivations……..so why are so damn many so damn poor and useless?

Could it be, could it just be, that there is a difference between individuals and though the past actions of people makes the future actions of individuals somewhat easier, nothing gets done unless the individual acts.

Another thought and question. Did the people who wanted the roads I drive on built because they knew I would want them, even though I wasn’t born yet? Or, did they build them because they wanted them, and I, as a future possibility, was not even in their equation? Do I thank them for a road they built out of selfish personal motivations? The roads are there, we all pay for them and their maintenance through fuel taxes and other auto related taxes. The interstate system was not built for business, business use is a by-product. The interstate road system was President Ike’s response to the fear of a possible invasion of the continental USA and was built to facilitate troop movements; and, convoys of military vehicles still have priority over movement of civilian traffic.

I don’t believe it is possible to find loonier people than dedicated lefties, not only totally looney but dedicated liars as well.

Why would a government be so evil as to educate a child to become a good employee, to do a job? If government was good it would be teaching children about business and being a business owner.

Ken September 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Why? Because the public primary/secondary education system is built on the “progressive” Prussian industrial model, and it doesn’t get a whole lot more collectivist than that.

vidyohs September 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Actually, Ken, it was a rhetorical question. But I think you answered the more of the how, less of the why.

House of Cards September 30, 2011 at 7:51 pm

“I don’t believe it is possible to find loonier people than dedicated lefties, not only totally looney but dedicated liars as well.”

Lumping people together and calling them crazy, and liars, etc. repeatedly really means that you are crazy and a liar. I would sum you up in one word “garbage.” The sooner you have your cancer and your heart attack the sooner your wife can put you out with the weekly trash pickup. I’m sure 911 (a government program to save lives) will hang up on you if they get a whiff of you.

Dan H September 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Except that A) 911 is a purely local function of government, and B) I actually pay the people that come save my life. I can show you the bill for the EMT service that came and took me to the hospital after an accident last year.

And I’m pretty damn sure that 911 could be privatized. It’s already headed that way: OnStar, ADT, Life Call, etc.

Andrew_M_Garland September 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Warren’s position is similar to a French King. The King looks out for the peasants, so any peasant with anything worth taking is obliged to give it all up to the King. It is somewhat like saying “I saved your life back there, so give me your house and car.”

What reconciles these two positions of government:

(1) Government provides you help when you most need it, so it is only fair that in gratitude you remit to government most of what you earn.

(2) During an emergency, it is unfair for private companies to charge more for supplies and services than they would outside the emergency. They do not deserve any additional income from the aid they supply to people who need that aid.

Ken September 29, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Because shut up, kulak, that’s why. :)

Economiser September 30, 2011 at 9:42 am

Because government is motivated by good intentions, not that evil ‘profit’ motive that drives private companies.

muirgeo September 30, 2011 at 2:18 am

Ms Warren has defined the battle for our future. Her message polls from 70-80% with most Americans. Yet she has raised $800K dollars while her Wall Street funded opponent has $10,000,000 million dollars.

Rachel Maddow nails it;

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#44725387

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Rachel Maddow? George, you cite an overly emotional hater like Rachel Maddow to support your point? LMAO! And, if she agrees with your position, then you are clearly wrong.

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 3:49 pm

George, you said that “[Elizabeth Warren's] message polls from 70-80% with most Americans.” And, Barack Obama said that 80% of Americans want a tax increase. Why do regressives and libtards lie so much? Have you no shame!

Ken September 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Greg,

muirgeo and Obama surround themselves with people who think like them. Since 80-90% of the people they know wants (insert whatever policy claim you want), then this must mean 80-90% of everyone else wants (insert whatever policy claim you want).

Classic fallacy of composition.

Regards,
Ken

muirgeo September 30, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Ken September 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm
Greg,

muirgeo and Obama surround themselves with people who think like them….”

Yeah that’s why I blog on a libertarian blog… to surround myself with others who think like me… why are you here Ken?

Itchy September 30, 2011 at 8:43 am

Do people like Elizabeth Warren ever stop to think that State and Local governments might have built those roads and police forces and schools (what the hell is a fire force) in order to attract businesses and citizens to their locality?

Methinks1776 September 30, 2011 at 9:06 am

Or even private business organizations. No government involvement is ever necessary to build infrastructure.

Itchy September 30, 2011 at 11:06 am

I think Alex Tabarrok’s post on MR about Gurgaon India shows that there can be some pitfalls when infrastructure is completely left to private entities.

But, I’d certainly like to live in a place where private businesses were at least given a chance to provide things that are traditionally seen as “public” goods

Methinks1776 September 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I missed that post, Itchy. My question is “are the drawbacks greater than than those of government built roads?”

Ron H September 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Warren’s message is collectivist bullshit, pure and simple, and we shouldn’t let the obfuscating details get in the way of understanding it.

The message is, that we are all in this together, and must share, and share alike. If any of us should accumulate more than others, because others willingly give us some of theirs for something we have produced that they want, we must redistribute it back to them.

It’s not fair to have more than others, even though they valued what we provided more than what they exchanged for it.

The blather about roads and police is just a distraction from the core message.

Fred September 30, 2011 at 1:06 pm

we are all in this together

What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.

ArrowSmith September 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Exactly! Warren is a socialist, pure and simple.

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Elizabeth Warren is an intellectually-dishonest thief. Socialism is just a defunct ideology that these thieves use as a cover for their theft.

Methinks1776 September 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm

She’s a witch, pure and simple.

Greg Webb September 30, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Close! You are only one letter off…:)

Methinks1776 September 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Greg, you always seem to know what I’m really trying to say :)

muirgeo September 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm

You put her message up to the libertarian message and it will be a blow out EVERY TIME….

ArrowSmith September 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Warren’s bile boils down to “business better pay up the extra extortion fee, or we’ll kneecap you”.

T Rich September 30, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Hold it, I thought we were talking about the government. This sounds like something that the mafia would do. Oh wait, never mind. You were right.

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