Morning Links

Friday, January 14th, 2011

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43 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Dan Hill | 

    The best option for retirement policy is to let people take care of it themselves. Those that don’t are on their own. In prosperous societies the second part isn’t going to happen.

    So as objectionable as a mandatory 401k’s might seem, mandatory PERSONAL retirement accounts are way, way way better than the alternative we currently have – Social Security – a mandatory Ponzi scheme.

  2. #2 |  random guy | 

    Innocent until proven guilty, unless you have something a state bureaucrat wants. If thats the case then you are free to send letters to them while they laugh at you for thinking you have rights.

    I would love to be able to take a police officers wallet until he could prove to me that he obtained it legally.

  3. #3 |  Nick | 

    Though in fairness to Kiplinger, even without ObamaCare as a precedent, Social Security would certainly still be used as the precedent. Hell, I think many of the Republican Privatization plans were similar to this concept (not that Republicans care about personal liberty).

  4. #4 |  tb | 

    Mandatory 401(k)?

    Hey, I’m in the mood to add another contribution-funded entitlement program. How about you all?

  5. #5 |  MassHole | 

    The state would love massive inflation as it will make it nearly impossible to carry out large cash transactions. Once all transactions have to take place electronically, all financial privacy of any sort will be gone.

  6. #6 |  tb | 

    Officers went online pretending to be buzz-hungry Ramapo College students, and ordered three cases of Four Loko at a street value of $335 — %200 more than the retail price.

    Caffeinated beer has a street value – when did it become illegal? What kind of alternate fucking universe is this?

  7. #7 |  dsmallwood | 

    i like the Kiplinger piece because it is shows my favorite attribute of people who “care”; it shows that they don’t actually like the people they “care” about. if they liked them, perhaps they’d want to know about each person’s unique needs and circumstances …. nah, F that.

    these are my winners:
    “There are a slew of 401k reform plans out there, ranging from modest proposals for automatic employee enrollment (but undercut by the employee’s right to opt out)”

    stupid employees. their needs and desires are undercutting my know-bettering.

    and finally, to show that they really do know better:
    “Workers would be required to make a pretax contribution to their account … which would automatically rise … toward 6% or more”

    “Loans and withdrawals before age 65 would not be allowed”

    “the 401k balance would be paid out like an annuity … any remainder would go to an employee’s estate or charity”

    since i know better, i have decided to withold an as yet undetermined portion of the fruits of your labor, in a place of my choosing, where you will have no access to in, until at a time i have arbitrarily chosen, you will be permitted to have some of it trickle back to you. feel free to bow before my magnificence.

    because i care.

    HD Thoreau: “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.”

  8. #8 |  Joe | 

    Kiplinger proposal shows how tyrany can be guised in oh so reasonable ideas. Imagine if Mayor Bloomberg got to control your life? It is like having a second mother.

    Big Mother.

  9. #9 |  jrb | 

    I knew the Four Loco raids were coming. Next up for the SWAT teams: little old ladies who put a dash of Bailey’s in their Sunday afternoon coffee.

  10. #10 |  Highway | 

    So many things to comment on…

    Red Light Cameras – Do they really think they’re going to get a gauge of how they affect traffic by studying the 90-day periods before and after the cameras are removed? We’re probably talking intersections that average 4 *accidents* per year anyway, not exactly a high sample size. And intersections being unprofitable should be lauded! People are following the law and driving safely! Hooray!

    Forcing people to have 401(k)s – Doesn’t everyone have access to a tax-preferred retirement account in the form of IRA’s? Or is it that employers aren’t adding money to them. Whether an employer gives you money directly in your pay rate or defers some of it into a retirement account, it’s about the same to the employer. So it’s likely that if employers were forced to contribute as well as employees, the paychecks of those employees would take a double hit: the amount withheld from their pay, and the amount contributed by the company.

    Driving while on the phone – I don’t think ‘improves’ is really a conclusion to make. At best, the study says that it doesn’t make their driving worse. But, not wanting to give up my pre-conceived notions, I’ll argue that it does make driving worse, but the somewhat worse driving is usually covered for by the rest of the people on the road. The ability of other drivers to compensate for bad drivers near them is something that doesn’t get enough attention, yet is abused frequently. When you see someone doing something stupid, you get away from them, or drive more carefully. Heck, an old woman blithely drives at 65 mph on the wrong side of I-95 in the left hand lane for miles, and the only accidents are two minor fender benders for people getting out of the way.

  11. #11 |  Michael | 

    The Tchachoua seems like a straight 5th Amendment case. Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. $28,000 seems fair for $28,000.

  12. #12 |  nando | 


    Here is a link for all those Mad Men fans:

    It’s pictures of Christina Hendricks (of Mad Men fame) in some SAFE FOR WORK pictures published in Playboy back in 1999.

  13. #13 |  Cyto | 

    I’m with Radley on the story about the asset forfeiture. It really is amazing that the press doesn’t even bat an eye at the baseless taking of $28,000. They don’t even pretend that they have a good reason – just “he has lots of money and we smell pot.” The reaction seems to be “oh, ok…. he has an opportunity to prove where he got the money, so no harm…”

    Where else in life is this ok? Would they do a story about your bank taking $28k out of your account and simply note that you had an opportunity to show that they should let you keep the money? Why the deference to the state?

  14. #14 |  Gary | 

    Radley, he’s not justifying mandatory 401k contributions by saying that it’s okay because there’s already mandatory health insurance.

    He’s justifying BOTH of them with the same underlying reason, i.e. that it’s okay to force someone to prepare to take of themselves so that they don’t burden others in the future.

    I don’t agree with his argument, but it’s still important to characterize it correctly, less we become the same thing you accuse Balloon Juice of becoming.

  15. #15 |  Mattocracy | 

    Mandatory 401(k). Why do so many liberals discount the slippery slope arguement? History proves it every fucking day.

  16. #16 |  Joe | 

    If the cops think you are drinking Four Loko in your house or apartment, can they break the door down without a warrant?

  17. #17 |  ktc2 | 


    The cops can break your door down anytime they please, then make up whatever story they need to afterwards. Then every cop who wasn’t even there will swear they were there and saw whatever the lie is. Then when it goes to court the judge and the prosecutor will both full well know it’s a lie but prosecute and convict you anyway.

    You been living under a rock?

  18. #18 |  PW | 

    Can someone tell me again exactly why we should give a rat’s ass about the pedophile-infested third world Islamic rape dumpster known as Afghanistan?

  19. #19 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Increasing numbers of political types are looking at the huge mass of money in personal retirement accounts and trying to figure out how to seize that for the government. I think Mandatory 401(k) accounts are a step toward that. Once everyone has one and contributes to it, you can start ginning up resentment about how the other guy got a way better return on his, and its not fair they get a better retirement then you because they lucked out on the stock market lottery.

  20. #20 |  Brandon | 

    How many people died from Four Loko when it was legal? How many more will die now that it is banned?

  21. #21 |  LibertarianBlue | 

    Off topic but still important news about the Patriot Act

    For us this is no surprise, expect Paul and Kucinich to be the few votes for liberty

  22. #22 |  SJE | 

    In other news, police settle with Sal Culosi’s family for $2million

  23. #23 |  random guy | 

    #6 tb –
    Since no one answered you: Caffeinated beer was made illegal by the FDA last year. The justification was that a few accidents nationwide had been attributed to the drinks. The reality is that in every case the drinks were associated with other substances were also being used, most commonly it was ordinary irresponsible alcohol abuse.

    Of course if banning caffeinated beer could prevent accidents related to it, one has too ask why they didn’t also just ban other sources of caffeine and alcohol. It could be that drinks like Four Loko are a niche market enjoyed by poor urban youths, and thus an easy way to harass a favorite social pariah. It could be that as niche drinks there is no substantial vested interests in them to object to the FDA’s arbitrary ban. But it most likely has to do with the fact that the FDA is an unelected organization of hacks and shills whose job is to create protectionist markets for Government Approved Substances.

    Looking for a rationale beyond reckless and pointless abuse of government authority is a Fool’s errand.

  24. #24 |  random guy | 

    uh, Radley is there a reason that

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    New policy or am I just special? (joking)

  25. #25 |  GregS | 

    Mandatory 401(k)s? So let me get this straight. The federal government forces everyone to contribute to a retirement system (social security). But they’ve screwed that system up. So Kiplinger’s answer to this is that everyone should be forced to contribute to a second retirement system, to be forced to pay into two retirement systems?

    The arrogance of statists is astounding. They claim to be concerned with human welfare but are actually completely indifferent to the actual circumstances of actual individual human beings. So they see nothing wrong with forcing the single mom with three kids who can barely put food on the table and pay rent to divert part of her meager income into a retirement plan or to expensive health insurance.

    This proposal would also destroy the 401(k) retirement account system. Because it is inevitable that if they become mandatory, the government will start to regulate them much more closely. If 401(k)s become an official, government retirement system, then Washington will feel that it needs to ensure that money in 401(k)s be invested in wise, safe, investments. So gradually they’ll regulate them into uselessness.

  26. #26 |  ktc2 | 

    Crowd sourcing justice. Interesting idea.

  27. #27 |  Charlie O | 

    Michael F. Vecchione sounds like a real scumbag amongst scumbags.

  28. #28 |  ric_in_or | 

    Re: Seizing the cash –

    Usually associated is a government representative making a statement that “no one needs that much cash.”

    Go to a police auction and attempt to purchase something – I’ll bet you find you are required to pay in /cash/.

    List an government auction –
    grab all the would be purchasers,
    sieze their cash,
    keep the property you were going to sell,

  29. #29 |  Marty | 

    #18- ‘Can someone tell me again exactly why we should give a rat’s ass about the pedophile-infested third world Islamic rape dumpster known as Afghanistan?’

    Because our taxes are funding the pimps of these boys…

  30. #30 |  Marty | 

    it only took a month for the 4 loko black market stories to show up…

  31. #31 |  sigh | 

    Making 401(k) contributions mandatory goes hand in hand with requiring funds in the account to take the form of a treasury bond. That’s a ~$20 trillion piggy bank that they’re just itching to bash open.

  32. #32 |  Jeff Goldman | 

    I have long advocated making 401(k) accounts mandatory. I wouldn’t expect too many people on a libertarian blog to support that position, but I don’t understand how the precedent of the health care law was necessary to make this position constitutional. If Social Security is constitutional–and you are free to argue that it is not, but making the assumption that it is as the courts have held–then I don’t understand why Congress wouldn’t have the same powers to make contributions to 401(k) mandatory. If the complication is that with 401(k) you are buying into a private company rather than paying a tax, then technically the government could collect the 401(k) contributions as a tax and invest them for you.

    I also think that the last paragraph makes an excellent argument: we are not going to allow senior citizens to starve to death anyways, so it is much fairer to set up a system that forces people to save for retirement. From a libertarian perspective, if we don’t do something similar, then eventually impoverished old people will have enough political power to force direct transfers of funds to themselves from active workers. I would think that that is an outcome that libertarians would like even less.

  33. #33 |  Brandon | 

    Jeff, what the fuck is the point of social security?

  34. #34 |  Adam W. | 

    Radley, to be fair, it was Redflex which ended the contract.

  35. #35 |  c andrew | 

    There is never a government program, be it ever so egregious a failure, that will not find someone willing to defend and expand it.

    I stopped by subscription to Money magazine when they advocated for Hillary Care back in the day. I only wish I subscribed to Kiplinger so I could do the same for that rat bastard.

  36. #36 |  c andrew | 

    that should by MY subscription to Money

  37. #37 |  c andrew | 

    I’m glad that the Culosi family got the settlement. What would warm the cockles of my heart is if the shooter, the SWAT team and the person that authorized their dispatch were all convicted of being accessories to 2nd degree murder.

    Aah, fantasy.

  38. #38 |  Jeff Goldman | 

    Brandon, thanks for your thoughtful, well-worded question. The point of Social Security is to provide income for individuals of an advanced age, after which it becomes a frequent occurrence that humans are not capable of being productive due to declining physical stamina, diminished mental capabilities, or health problems.

  39. #39 |  luvzbob | 

    People should note the dramatically improved statistics for crashes over the last 30 years. This result – which has made us all safer, wealthier and healthier – is largely due to the NTSB and its actions that have made both roads and cars dramatically safer with little downside.

  40. #40 |  luvzbob | 

    Social security has been hugely beneficial to this country: just ONE example is that it largely freed people from having to provide for their aging parents – this gave young people a significantly increased degree of mobility that allowed more efficient use of their talents and expanded both personal productivity and the economy. Young people became free to follow the jobs!

  41. #41 |  Mattocracy | 

    #40 | luvzbob |

    Young people got better jobs and social mobility because our economy left intensive labor agriculture and moved toward service sector economy. Had people been allowed to invest their social security contributions in the market, they’d have 10 times that amount to retire on.

  42. #42 |  c andrew | 


    Exactly right. What most people miss is that Social Security takes the essence of the agrarian model for old age provision; that of having enough children to provide excess agricultural productivity to provide for you in your declining years, and freezes it in concrete. So when birthrates fall as they inevitably do in industrial societies, where children are an economic cost rather than an asset, the agrarian approach fails. Social security even takes the agrarian approach for distribution; agricultural goods are only storeable for a limited time so we have to get that food out to the consumers now. This is essentially what Social Security is doing; taking from current producers and gifting it to current consumers. The “trust fund” was always a lie as was the notion that it was “old age insurance.” Any insurance company that acted as actuarially insane as did Congress would have been out of business a long time ago and probably prosecuted into the bargain.

    Social Security is and always has been an attempt to impose an agrarian solution on an industrial society.

  43. #43 |  Big A | 

    #32 Jeff Goldman- You managed to sneak a word of truth into your post.
    “…it is much fairer to set up a system that *forces* people to save for retirement” (emphasis added).

    I must have missed that part of the Consitution that allows the government to force people to do things. There’s nothing fair about forcing someone to do something- even if it seems like it would be beneficial to the person being forced. There are lots of things I think are good ideas- 8+ hours of sleep a night, yoga at 5 am, walking around the back of your car before reversing, replacing my toothbrush every 3 months. But just because I think they’re a good idea doesn’t mean I can force you to do them. Even if I find some schmuck in government to pass a law making it so- does not mean it right.

    When government eventually forces you to do something that you aren’t in favor of, I hope you realize that your current ideas allowed it to happen.