Morning Links

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
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90 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  JoeBlow | 

    Rich boy Ryan, whose job is to keep the 1% like himself happy was being bought the wine by lobbyists. The difference should be obvious.
    Your source for the CBO report twists what they actually said.
    Their are enough things to complain about that don’t require using dubious sources or twisting the facts.

  2. #2 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    That reddit thread is isomorphic to Xeno’s paradox. It’s a modeling error.

  3. #3 |  Radley Balko | 

    Rich boy Ryan, whose job is to keep the 1% like himself happy was being bought the wine by lobbyists.

    Source?

    Your source for the CBO report twists what they actually said.

    How so? Show your work. Seems to me that’s exactly what the CBO is saying.

  4. #4 |  Charlie O | 

    Mr Robinson said: “It makes you feel as though you shouldn’t have reported it in the first place.”

    Obviously a true statement ’round the world. Don’t call the cops in the US, UK or most likely anywhere else. It will only cause you problems and/or violence.

  5. #5 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “•Origins of the food truck craze.”
    For me, it all started with the film “Lunch Wagon Girls.”
    There was a time in America when wide-release films could actually show tits.

  6. #6 |  Al V | 

    Apparently as soon as the media started reporting the case, the laptop was examined and the ban lifted.

    http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Daughter-ban-lifted-dad-downloaded-child-porn/story-15505738-detail/story.html

    The council is still trying to defend it’s position limiting supervision from a parent for reporting something to the police.

  7. #7 |  PoliticalHack | 

    Thanks for the link Al V… I was thinking “how DARE somebody report what could be a crime! If they knew it was a crime, THEY MUST BE INVOLVED!!!”.

  8. #8 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/shun-dont-censor

    A feminist comes out against censoring Limbaugh.

  9. #9 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Rich boy Ryan, whose job is to keep the 1% like himself happy was being bought the wine by lobbyists. The difference should be obvious.

    One forces tax payers to buy the wine?

    Man, this is so not obvious to me.

  10. #10 |  Sam | 

    I think they were upset because Paul Ryan believes that promised benefits shouldn’t be delivered, that taxes should be cut for only his wealthiest friends, and because he is in general hostile to anybody that isn’t fantastically wealthy. It’d so weird how context matters.

  11. #11 |  Deoxy | 

    Here what it looks like to be dealt a full house, and still manage to overplay your hand.

    What’s so funny about this is that the same could be said of Limbaugh – that is, he had an easy target, and he went overboard.

    But the reaction to it by the left was so many orders of magnitude more overplayed as to make them the story now… I’m waiting to see if someone on the right is willing to try to top THAT.

    Not sure how they could, mind you, but I didn’t see feminists wanting to enforce laws about “impugning a woman’s chastity” while comparing Rush to an actual Nazi and simultaneously complaining that he uses the term “feminazi”…

  12. #12 |  Deoxy | 

    Those “promised benefits” literally CAN’T be delivered, and we already know it, so just perhaps we should STOP promising it and lying to even more people in the process. “It’d so weird how context matters.”

    I haven’t followed his tax stuff, but I’m now inclined to think better of it, if it ruffles people like you so much. Think I’ll go check on that now.

  13. #13 |  EBL | 

    The food truck craze is the wave of the future. Bad location, drive to a good one. Crazy regulations, drive somewhere where they are not insane. The overhead is low, you control your own hours, and the food is often delicious. Like any restaurant the work is hard, but most people can make the initial investment and make a decent living. I am all for this.

  14. #14 |  Radley Balko | 

    . . . and because he is in general hostile to anybody that isn’t fantastically wealthy.

    This is partisan nonsense. I don’t agree with some of Ryan’s proposals, either (mostly because they’re too timid). I can also see how some people believe his proposals favor the wealthy and don’t do enough for the poor. But to say that he’s “hostile” to everyone who isn’t wealthy is a ridiculous personal attack. Show me some evidence of evidence of this, please.

    Isn’t it possible–just possible–that Ryan believes the poor would be better off under his policies? You can still disagree with him and think that. I mean, that would prevent you from casting the people you disagree with as black-hearted barons who want to let children starve and freeze in the streets. But give it a shot! It usually leads to a more mature discussion.

  15. #15 |  croaker | 

    This is why you never call the police unless you have no other choice. Bad things happen when those wearing a metal patent of nobility get involved.

  16. #16 |  orangeyouglad | 

    re: Limbaugh article

    I call Godwin!

  17. #17 |  EH | 

    Deoxy:
    …but I’m now inclined to think better of it, if it ruffles people like you so much.

    This is called “ressentiment,” and Nietzsche called it “a ruling principle of the lowest sort.” Surely that’s not what you come to The Agitator to read, or spread, is it?

  18. #18 |  RobZ | 

    “CBO says Obamacare will cost almost twice what the White House claimed as the law was being debated.”

    Almost certainly not. Conditions have not changed that much.

    Perhaps White House value was a projected net cost while Klein’s CBO value is a projected gross cost.

  19. #19 |  Graham Shevlin | 

    Link the author of the original posting has written an update and elaboration…

  20. #20 |  Mattocracy | 

    I think it’s important that people of all political stripes get refresher course in Supply and Demand every once in a while. When you create a greater demand for something, the cost of which will increase unless supply is increased as well. Hence, increasing the demand for healthcare via an insurance mandate is going to make healthcare much more expensive.

  21. #21 |  Frank Hummel | 

    RE: exploding pig poop

    I hope some enterprising hog farmer will now add some kind of mixers in his pit to release the methane, capture it and sell it for profit.

  22. #22 |  Vertov | 

    The basic problem of the Ryan plan is that it basically ends Medicare while grandfathering in most Baby Boomers into the original plan. Oh, and leaves the government with huge deficits since it cuts taxes.

    In other words, the Ryan plan is pretty cynical. Its practically designed to never pass. Libertarians of all people should be sensitive to much lip-service Republicans give to “small government” while giving us the worst of both worlds – raising spending while lowering taxes.

  23. #23 |  Brandon | 

    RobZ, a much more likely explanation is that the White House was willing to lie to get its signature legislation passed. Greater good and all, you know.

  24. #24 |  RobZ | 

    From the CBO pdf at the link Radley gave:

    “The current estimate of the gross costs of the coverage provisions ($1,496 billion through 2021) is about $50 billion higher than last year’s projection; however, the other budgetary effects of those provisions, which partially offset those gross costs, also have increased in CBO and JCT’s estimates (to $413 billion), leading to the small decrease in the net 10-year tally.”

    So we know that the CBO projected costs did not double in the last year and I don’t recall reading anything about doubled costs in any prior year.

  25. #25 |  RobZ | 

    “The basic problem of the Ryan plan is that it basically ends Medicare while grandfathering in most Baby Boomers into the original plan. Oh, and leaves the government with huge deficits since it cuts taxes.”

    This.

    I suspect that the boomers would eventually find themselves cut off also.

  26. #26 |  Deoxy | 

    Perhaps White House value was a projected net cost while Klein’s CBO value is a projected gross cost.

    Perhaps “White House value” was a bald-faced lie, just like so much else coming out of this administration.

    Deoxy:
    …but I’m now inclined to think better of it, if it ruffles people like you so much.

    This is called “ressentiment,” and Nietzsche called it “a ruling principle of the lowest sort.” Surely that’s not what you come to The Agitator to read, or spread, is it?

    I call it a “shortcut” – that is, if a complete imbecile is for something, odds are good that it’s a bad idea. Oh, it’s not assured (as I said, “inclined”), but until I’ve had a chance to check it myself, that’s the way I’ll bet.

    And, since you are human and therefore unable to check every single thing in the world yourself, you do the same thing every day – making choices based on what other people think is a good idea and how much you trust their judgement.

    Welcome to the human condition.

  27. #27 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    “Here what it looks like to be dealt a full house, and still manage to overplay your hand.”

    Gods. Why does the Left think that Jane “I was either a dupe for the North Vietnamese or a traitor” Fonda has the moral stature to lecture anyone about anything?

  28. #28 |  Sam | 

    Radley,

    He wants to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy with budget cuts to programs that benefit the poor. What more you need to define something as hostility? Does he genuinely believe in the absence of all evidence that charity will make up the difference for what he’s proposing to take out of various welfare programs?

  29. #29 |  picachu | 

    “CBO says Obamacare will cost almost twice what the White House claimed as the law was being debated. That silence you hear is millions of Americans not gasping in shock.”

    No, that silence is Americans not giving a fuck. As long as it doesn’t interupt dancing with the stars, or sports or the government check Americans would be equally content to live under either the Soviet or Nazi governments.

  30. #30 |  Pablo | 

    Who gives a shit what kind of wine Ryan drank as long as it wasnt paid for with public funds? If it was his own money, more power to him. If it was lobbyists footing the bill, then shareholders in the companies who hired the lobbyists can complain if they think it was too much. OTOH what if I as a taxpayer object to how much the White House is spending on wine? What is my remedy?

    Id love to see the entire menu for the dinner. Michelle Obama’s “lets move” campaign notwithstanding, I doubt it will consist of dry chicken breasts, quinoa, and steamed vegetables.

  31. #31 |  Radley Balko | 

    He wants to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy with budget cuts to programs that benefit the poor. What more you need to define something as hostility?

    I also believe in cutting some programs that are purported to benefit the poor. I believe in cutting them because I believe the people they’re supposed to help would be better off without them. Or they’re wasteful. Or loaded with improper incentives. Or there are better ways to accomplish the stated goals.

    I’m sure there are people who disagree with me about my conclusions. It doesn’t mean I hate poor people.

  32. #32 |  mad libertarian guy | 

    @28 Sam

    You don’t “pay” for tax cuts.

    Be interesting to see if those same people get upset about this.

    D o you really think that hearing nothing but crickets will be interesting? Doublethink is a staple of Team politics.

  33. #33 |  Mike T | 

    I suspect that the boomers would eventually find themselves cut off also.

    That is an absolute certainty because Medicare and Social Security have funding trajectories that will exceed the US GDP within the lifetime of most boomers. The only choice the boomers have is how they will bring those programs in line with the actual wealth production. I would recommend starting with pegging them at a permanent percentage of the federal tax receipts, not current obligations, lest Gen X and the Millennials end up taking the debate to the street one day.

  34. #34 |  Mike T | 

    He wants to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy with budget cuts to programs that benefit the poor. What more you need to define something as hostility?

    When will you leftists finally learn that tax revenues operate within a world of hard mathematics? Even if the federal government taxed 100% of the wealth of the top 10% of income earners, that wouldn’t be enough to accommodate the current deficit, let alone the projected expenses.

  35. #35 |  Astra | 

    Rich boy Ryan, whose job is to keep the 1% like himself happy was being bought the wine by lobbyists. The difference should be obvious.

    Ryan in fact paid a share for wine he barely drank to comply with Congressional gift rules Not sure why this was ever an issue.

  36. #36 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @34 – So they shouldn’t be taxed. When will you right wingers stop working for the Feral 1%?

    Done with the idiotic over-dramatisations now, or do you want to keep swapping them?

    @31 – Sure, in many cases it allows them to eat. As is becoming a massive issue in the UK now. Under Ryan, people would to a far greater degree be freezing on the streets. The UK is facing that under a mild version of his “plan”, as homelessness (which was practically wiped out) soars.

    That, sadly, is no dramatisation at all. You’re trying to follow something which has proven a massive failure. The US economy is doing a LOT better than the UK’s slash and burn…

  37. #37 |  StrangeOne | 

    Clearly the only fair system is to begin eating each other via lottery.

    I’m getting tired of taxes, entitlement programs, social security, insurance, medicare, rich people, poor people, the elderly, and, uhm, 2% annual bond yields, I guess?

    Lets go all road warrior for a few years, and then maybe a couple decades later we can all come back to the table and agree that we shouldn’t spend more than we make, no matter who it benefits, and that the government can’t be expected to pay for everything.

    Everybody can’t have everything, that’s grade school level economics. Tax those who can bear the burden and don’t give handouts that bankrupt the system. So long as those two things hold true society won’t collapse and cannibalism, metaphorical or otherwise, wont sound so appealing.

  38. #38 |  strech | 

    CBO says Obamacare will cost almost twice what the White House claimed as the law was being debated. That silence you hear is millions of Americans not gasping in shock.

    Well, sort of. See

    the CBO released new projections from 2013 extending through 2022

    we now have estimates for Obamacare’s first nine years of fullimplementation, rather than the mere six when it was signed into law

    As far as I can tell, the new estimate is for a different time period than the original estimate. You can’t compare them directly because they’re different things. (The cost difference appears to be a mix of that and an increase of cost due to the weaker economy).

    It’s also not a net cost estimate (Medicare Advantage/etc cuts, penalties); CBO notes a lower net cost between 2012-2021 from last year.

    Now, if you wanted to say, CBO confirms that the White House’s backdating of Obamacare’s cost gave it a dishonest talking point by distorting the cost estimate, then that’s a valid point to be made. (If not a partisan one – see Paul Ryan’s even more laughably dishonest Heritage Foundation estimate for his plan. IIRC, there was another republican tax plan that “balanced” the budget by giving people a choice between two tax levels and assumed everyone would pay the higher one, but I can’t find any links for that).

  39. #39 |  RobZ | 

    “That is an absolute certainty because Medicare and Social Security have funding trajectories that will exceed the US GDP within the lifetime of most boomers. ”

    SS is projected to be reasonably close to being solvent in the long term, unless the government bonds aren’t any good. (And if that’s the case, most of the industrialized world, not just USA boomers will be very unhappy.)

    If we assume that medical costs per patient will continue to rise at the current rate, I don’t believe Medicare is sustainable as it is. (Maybe it’ll require death panels.)

  40. #40 |  PogueMahone | 

    I also believe in cutting some programs that are purported to benefit the poor. I believe in cutting them because I believe the people they’re supposed to help would be better off without them. Or they’re wasteful. Or loaded with improper incentives. Or there are better ways to accomplish the stated goals.

    One wonders if the people that these programs that are “purported to benefit” believe the same.

    I’m sure there are people who disagree with me about my conclusions. It doesn’t mean I hate poor people.

    Hostility and hate are not necessarily the same thing. Seeking to dismantle programs that are targeted to help a group of people, whether you believe they do or not, fits the definition of hostility toward that group when the group in question perceives them to be hostile.

    Besides, it is not an apt comparison of an Obama White House entertaining a diplomatic event, and one congressman benefiting from expensive gifts for the sole purpose of currying favor for a particular interest.

    Personally, I could give a shit about both. It is the actions that are consequential that should be held to scrutiny.

    Cheers.

  41. #41 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    RobZ #39: “SS is projected to be reasonably close to being solvent in the long term, unless the government bonds aren’t any good.”

    SS is already cash-flow negative. In 18 years, there will be 2 workers for every beneficiary. Even leftist math cannot make that solvent.

    At some point, the government bonds will be as useful as tits on a bull.

  42. #42 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    Pogue #40: “Seeking to dismantle programs that are targeted to help a group of people, whether you believe they do or not, fits the definition of hostility toward that group when the group in question perceives them to be hostile.”

    Involuntary taxation: hate, hostility or both? Theft or something more dastardly?

  43. #43 |  StrangeOne | 

    Pogue, that’s kind of a perverted understanding of “hostility”. Poor people benefit from government programs that are paid for by taxes taken by threat of government force.

    If seeking to limit, defund, or eliminate those programs is perceived as a “hostility against the poor”, then aren’t the poor’s expectation of receiving those tax dollars just as hostile against those from whom taxes are collected? Taxes are always someone else’s money, so if ending a government handout is a hostile act, then so is requesting one.

    It’s a semantic game rooted in class warfare. It’s also completely beside the point of what the government can be reasonably expected to pay for.

  44. #44 |  World’s Strangest | The Surface Area of Nothing | 

    […] -via The Agitator | Photo: […]

  45. #45 |  Mattocracy | 

    “That, sadly, is no dramatisation at all. You’re trying to follow something which has proven a massive failure. The US economy is doing a LOT better than the UK’s slash and burn…”

    I love it when people just make grand assertions without backing anything up.

    Seriously though, you’re never going to convince libertarians to change their minds with comments like this. It adds nothing of value. Similarly, we’re not going to convince any progressive that they perpetuate policies that are bad for a multitude of reasons. It’s just a time wasting screaming match.

  46. #46 |  Bob Mc | 

    #35 | Astra | March 14th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
    “Rich boy Ryan, whose job is to keep the 1% like himself happy”

    Please cite your source proving Rep Ryan is part of the “1%”.

    Whether the metric is income or net worth, I don’t believe you can make the case that he is.

    IOW, GTFO with your class warfare bullsht.

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/CIDsummary.php?CID=n00004357&year=2010

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/measuring-the-top-1-by-wealth-not-income/

  47. #47 |  RobZ | 

    “SS is already cash-flow negative. In 18 years, there will be 2 workers for every beneficiary. Even leftist math cannot make that solvent.”

    How the hell did you come up with that figure? According to the SSA: “The number of DI beneficiaries per 100 covered workers is projected to grow by more than 40 percent between 2004 and 2030, from 4.8 to 6.8 per 100.”

    “At some point, the government bonds will be as useful as tits on a bull.”

    I’m kind of hoping it won’t happen anytime soon.

  48. #48 |  PogueMahone | 

    StrangeOne,
    Taxes that are collected from one group for the benefit of another is easily interpreted as being hostile toward the group being taxed and favorable for the group who is benefiting. But if one concedes that governments have the power to tax, for the benefit of the polity, then the distribution of the collected monies is what becomes subject, not the source of the taxation.

    You could easily suggest that because those that are taxed are the subjects of hostility, for the benefit of … say … national security, that those that are taxed are hostile toward national security because they are being taxed for that benefit.
    You could argue, as I imagine you would, that national security is a responsibility rightfully bestowed on government, whereas social security is beyond the scope of the responsibilities of a reasonable government. That is a valid argument, but it does not alleviate – when social security is an accepted responsibility of a reasonable government – the fact that the decision to dismantle social security policies amounts to hostility toward those on the receiving end.

    Cold fact: Governments tax. For the benefit of some at the hostility of others; or, at the hostility of some, for the benefit of others.

    Jesus… I sound like my old Political Theory professor. And I hated that guy. ;)

    Cheers.

  49. #49 |  RobZ | 

    “That, sadly, is no dramatisation at all. You’re trying to follow something which has proven a massive failure. The US economy is doing a LOT better than the UK’s slash and burn…”

    “I love it when people just make grand assertions without backing anything up.”

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/gdp-growth
    vs http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/gdp-growth

    UK-Last quarter -.02%
    USA-Last quarter 3.0%

    Austerity doesn’t seem to be working out so well for the UK, at least.

  50. #50 |  jdb79 | 

    As much fun as it may be to point out the immorality of theft and aggression to our lefty friends, it’s disconcerting how little attention we’re paying to Shaye or Obama’s continuing assault against human rights.

    Dozier and the AP reported on the existence of Obama-sanctioned black sites and continuing torture in Afghanistan a year ago, and the world responded with a collective yawn. It’s difficult to understand why more self-styled libertarians and anarchists don’t make popular calls for this demagogue’s head on a platter, but instead spend our time bandying words with authoritarians who will never understand why their positions are immoral.

  51. #51 |  Matt | 

    @Pogue

    So, if I can get this straight – a program that forcibly extracts money from poor people and may or may not give it back to them later is “helping” these individuals? Is promising these people financial stability in such a way that you cannot possibly hope to deliver “helping” them? When the house of cards finally collapses and the checks these people rely on don’t come I’m sure your assurances on how excellent your intentions were will placate their fear and anger.

  52. #52 |  PogueMahone | 

    So, if I can get this straight – a program that forcibly extracts money from poor people and may or may not give it back to them later is “helping” these individuals?

    What program are you talking about? The Social Security Act of 1935 and its subsequent amendments? Because I don’t mean to suggest any one particular program. I’m discussing social security in general – food stamps, housing assistance, medic-aid, etc.
    Also, it is not my intent to discuss the merits of any one program. Just the idea of a social security “net” that has become ingrained in our politics and society.

    But while we’re at it… If you want to discuss the immorality of robbing Peter to pay Paul in the context of general social security, then where would you stop? IOW, if it is immoral to take money through forced taxation from someone with the purpose of giving it to someone else, then ANY state run welfare as we know it would be immoral.
    “The homeless, the hungry, the sick… fuck you. You don’t take from me.”

    If, however, you think that the state has any obligation to seek to remedy those in dire need, then your objection is not one of principle, but of degree.

    Right?

  53. #53 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    @#47 RobZ

    DI is disability insurance; incidentally, DI will go broke this decade so no need to worry about 2030 ratios:

    http://brucekrasting.blogspot.com/2012/03/on-politics-social-security-and-spine.html

    OAS is the Old Age and Survivors Insurance. This is the piece wherein two workers will fund one beneficiary by the end of the next decade.

    Straight from the horse’s mouth on page 54 (pdf warning):

    http://www.fms.treas.gov/fr/05frusg/05frusg.pdf

  54. #54 |  supercat | 

    #40 | PogueMahone | “One wonders if the people that these programs that are “purported to benefit” believe the same.”

    A major and predictable effect of many wealth redistribution programs is to create dependency. People who are addicted to such programs will be able to immediately feel short-term hardship if such programs are cut, but will generally be blind to what their lives could have been had they (or their parents) not become dependent upon the government, or what their lives could be if they could wean themselves. That people’s addiction blinds them to the destruction such programs are wreaking on their lives does not mean that they would not, in the majority of cases, benefit greatly from being weaned off them.

    Further, while there are some rich parasites who use the government to help them leech off the populace, the poor owe almost everything they have to those members of “evil” 1% who are not so politically connected. Many people who are rich, are rich in significant measure because they invest their time and money in things that generate wealth (businesses, factories, etc.) They invest in these things because they expect to profit personally, but their investments also provide goods, services, and jobs for countless other people.

    Also, consider the following technologies: electric lighting; central heating; indoor plumbing; telephone service; automobiles; washing machines. All of those things existed 100 years ago, but would have been regarded as extreme luxuries available only to a wealthy few. Today, all of them are available to the average person, and are practically regarded as necessities. Were it not for the fact the existence of wealthy people that could afford them in past decades, none of those technologies would exist today.

    There’s a common pattern that occurs with many new technologies. Initially, a new technology will be too expensive for many people to afford it, but enough people will be able to afford it–even at a high price–to make it profitable to develop. The high prices paid by early adopters in turn go to fund research and development which, in time, make the technologies cheaper and cheaper, to the point that many people can afford them. Early adopters are willing to pay big bucks for new technology, in exchange for being able to use it before everyone else. Covetous people may not like the fact that those who are willing to spend more get things before everyone else, but it’s the willingness of early adopters to pay for their priority that makes it possible to develop technologies in the first place.

  55. #55 |  Matt | 

    What program are you talking about? The Social Security Act of 1935 and its subsequent amendments? Because I don’t mean to suggest any one particular program.

    I forgot the part of my post where any particular program was mentioned.

    Also, it is not my intent to discuss the merits of any one program.

    I never mentioned “any one program”.

    Just the idea of a social security “net” that has become ingrained in our politics and society.

    Wasn’t that what I was talking about?

    But while we’re at it… If you want to discuss the immorality of robbing Peter to pay Paul in the context of general social security, then where would you stop? IOW, if it is immoral to take money through forced taxation from someone with the purpose of giving it to someone else, then ANY state run welfare as we know it would be immoral.

    Now we’re getting somewhere. Although it isn’t only welfare that is immoral, as every government program (be it corporate welfare, military industrial complex, etc) is essentially extracting money from Peter under the threat of kidnapping, rape and murder. Any argument you put forward in support of paying Paul (whoever that Paul may be) is a direct threat against the well-being of Peter. You are essentially saying “I don’t care if armed psychopaths come to your house and drag you away to a rape room, you are merely a walking wallet that I may take from as I choose.”

    Right?

  56. #56 |  supercat | 

    #50 | PogueMahone | “… then ANY state run welfare as we know it would be immoral.”

    Any “assistance” program which is run in such a way that a person who endeavors not to need it will be worse off than someone who is not so motivated, will promote dependency and should be regarded as immoral. If a government welfare program were run in such a way that nobody would accept welfare unless they had absolutely positively no other option, such a program might not be immoral, but leftists instead prefer to make their dependency programs “comfortable” for their addicts.

  57. #57 |  OGRE | 

    From where does the state’s moral obligation to “seek to remedy those in dire need” come? Is said proposition some universal objective truth?

    Lets take that proposition for a given. Then what actions can the state morally take in order to “remedy those in dire need.” Taxation through force? But just money? Property as well? Is forced labor okay? Conscription to build schools and homeless shelters and to work in soup kitchens, is that okay? Drafting people to shoot other people seems okay to most people, so why not forced labor?

    What about forced organ donations? Is the state morally obligated–or even morally justified–to take your kidney to give to someone else? You’ve got two, and some people don’t have even one. Don’t be selfish. Your spare kidney is a lot more important to the guy getting it than it is to you. And its a lot more important than giving him cash each month (I mean, without the cash he might eventually starve, but without the kidney he definitely will die.) Oh and the president needs a heart transplant…hes a lot more important than you, so tough luck.

    So then really, what actions should the state be taking to remedy all the wrongs in the world? What actions should the state not take? What wrongs should the state be seeking to rectify? What wrongs MUST the state seek to rectify? Why those and not others? Does this obligation extend to the whole world or just to those within the state’s geographic bounds? Just to citizens or to anybody within the state’s territory? Why?

    What penalties are appropriate for the state to impose on someone who doesn’t comply with these moral imperatives? Fines? Imprisonment? Torture? Death?

    Now if the state is morally obligated to remedy the wrongs in the world, what about other entities? Individuals? Corporations? Lets say I set up an organization to feed homeless people, and you won’t give me the money I think you should to help feed homeless people. Can I shoot you? Why not? Can I confiscate your house or car or paycheck? The state can, how come I can’t? What about Apple or Walmart if they try to do some good in this world? What can they do to people who are too selfish to help out?

    I’m so confused.

  58. #58 |  PogueMahone | 

    Wasn’t that what I was talking about?

    You’re asking me, Matt? You stated that,
    “So, if I can get this straight – a program that forcibly extracts money from poor people and may or may not give it back to them later is “helping” these individuals?”
    There is only one program that I know of that takes money from poor people to give it back to them later.
    “You are essentially saying “I don’t care if armed psychopaths come to your house and drag you away to a rape room, you are merely a walking wallet that I may take from as I choose.”

    Right?”

    Wrong. I’m saying no such thing. Where did I say that “I don’t care if armed psychopaths” do anything? You’re projecting. I’m not the statist bogeyman you might think I am.
    What I’m doing is asking a question that “true” libertarians are generally uncomfortable with. What do you do with the members of society, a society that you both are a part of and benefit from, who have fallen to the wayside – whether by their fault or not? Do you rely solely on private charity, and if so, what do you do if that fails? Leave them on the side of the road and say “oh well, I guess you’re shit out of luck,” or do you think that the state has not only an obligation to the unfortunate, but also an obligation to the rest of society to assist the unfortunate?

    If you think that the state does have an obligation to care for these individuals, then it is logical to assume that the state must do so at the expense of others.
    If you believe that the state does not have an obligation to do that, then you must assume that a significant portion of our society WILL fall to the wayside and solely rely on private charity, a prospect subject to failure. If you do not assume that a significant portion of our society will fall, and you assume that government welfare arrests ALL unfortunate members of society, then you are being naive.

    If you, and OGRE and others, can flat out suggest that the state has no obligation, moral or otherwise, to assist those in need, then bully for you. You then must face a proposed reality of those who have, and those who have not. And that you would be willing to step over the hungry, the homeless, the sick, and everyone else because they are … shit out of luck.

    So which is it? Does the state have an obligation to assist those in need? Or is it every man for themselves?

  59. #59 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @45 – Then why do you do it?

    The UK economy IS crashing and burning, and the US economy IS doing much better.

    I’m technically an anarchist for flip sake, and I want to trim back many government functions. I’d almost certainly agree with the vast majority of your views on the military, for example, and want the state out of marriage.

    You just fixate on “he’s a left winger and hence the enemy”. Oh, and on dreams rather than practical steps. The whole concept of an outright revolution doing anything but spraying blood around…

    @51 – Sure. Many of them would be dead, although there would be a lot more overall, since they’d need kids to provide in their old age, like other primitive countries. Your theory about dribble down is rubbish. It’s the formation of a middle class which lifts nations out of poverty, not the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. You are historically ignorant…

  60. #60 |  Matt | 

    There is only one program that I know of that takes money from poor people to give it back to them later.

    I can think of three off the top of my head – SS, Medicare, and Medicade. And there are more than that.

    Wrong. I’m saying no such thing. Where did I say that “I don’t care if armed psychopaths” do anything? You’re projecting. I’m not the statist bogeyman you might think I am.

    Do you think that taxes should be forcibly collected from the population? It seems based on your post that you do. Right now, if you don’t pay your taxes, armed psychopaths come to your door, kidnap you, and drag you off to a rape room. If you lift a finger to defend yourself they’ll shoot you and brag about the fortnight vacation on a cop forum. If you support taxation and the state this is what you support, is it not? I have not heard a peep from you in the vein of “I don’t support taxation and the state”, so I can only assume this be true.

    If you believe that the state does not have an obligation to do that, then you must assume that a significant portion of our society WILL fall to the wayside and solely rely on private charity, a prospect subject to failure.

    Why is private charity subject to failure any more than public charity is? Seems like you have things backwards, actually. If a private charity fails there are many programs who can take their place. Who’s going to take the place of the largest “charity”, with $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities? Maybe you can explain to those dependents how good your intentions were when the government fails.

  61. #61 |  OGRE | 

    “Does the state have an obligation to assist those in need?”

    I don’t know. Does it? You suggest that it does. Why?

  62. #62 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @57 – So you want millions more to go without coverage, and for starving elderly people lying in the street. That’s what it’s come down to.

    You can’t reverse a policy like that without causing mass deaths. No state support in people’s old age means they need more kids. Lots more kids. That’s your lead time on that one.

    Your rant against any taxation and society in general is telling though.

    “If a private charity fails there are many programs who can take their place. ”

    Maybe. For some people. Hope you didn’t move away from your community. Or you’re not an “undesirable”. Or you don’t have someone who dislikes you in the charity. Or… the state, at least theoretically, is supposed to be even-handed. Private charities don’t.

    And “when” the government falls, I see. So, 50% or 60% death rates in the process?

  63. #63 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Leon,

    I find it aggravating when people throw out the same talking points over and over again knowing darn good and well what libertarians are going to respond with. We hear the same shit about how awesome gov’t programs save the plight of the poor and seriously doubt and libertarian has done an about face because of it. So it add nothing constructive whatsoever.

    Also, the US economy isn’t doing that great. Stating that cutting expenses by the UK Gov is causing the economy to flounder fails to take into account a whole host of other factors that effect the economy. Your statement is more subjective than anything else.

  64. #64 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    @ Leon: “I’m technically an anarchist” ….. “And “when” the government falls, I see. So, 50% or 60% death rates in the process?”

    So you’re a Hobbesian Anarchist? Or an Anarchist Hobbesian?

    “the state, at least theoretically, is supposed to be even-handed.”

    If you replace “even-handed” with “double-fisted,” (as in “The double-fisted revenue agent will gladly take two handfuls of my property”) I would be inclined to agree with you.

  65. #65 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    @#47 RobZ:
    “How the hell did you come up with that figure? According to the SSA: “The number of DI beneficiaries…”

    DI is disability insurance; incidentally, DI will go broke this decade so no need to worry about 2030 ratios.

    OAS is the Old Age and Survivors Insurance. This is the piece wherein two workers will fund one beneficiary by the end of the next decade.

    Straight from the horse’s mouth on page 54 (pdf warning):

    http://www.fms.treas.gov/fr/05frusg/05frusg.pdf

  66. #66 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    Here are the rosy prospects for the disability insurance portion of SS:

    http://brucekrasting.blogspot.com/2012/03/on-politics-social-security-and-spine.html

  67. #67 |  PogueMahone | 

    If a private charity fails there are many programs who can take their place. Who’s going to take the place of the largest “charity”, with $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities?

    According to your logic, if government charities fail, then private charities would pick up the slack.
    You don’t seriously believe that if there were no state welfare, then private charities would be adequate, do you? If you do, history would not be on your side.

  68. #68 |  Matt | 

    According to your logic, if government charities fail, then private charities would pick up the slack.

    What “if”? There is no “if” involved in government charities failing. The word you are searching for is “when”. Anyone with a calculator can verify that these programs will eventually go bankrupt, and D-day is fast approaching.

    You don’t seriously believe that if there were no state welfare, then private charities would be adequate, do you? If you do, history would not be on your side.

    Why? That’s how things used to happen. People weren’t starving in the streets before these programs started. Hell, FDR had elaborate plans in place to burn people’s crops because he thought part of the reason the great depression started was that food was too cheap. Now that incomes have risen vastly we have even more disposable income to post towards charitable causes.

    Your logic also goes against the basic tenets of democracy, which I assume you believe in. Now I’m not a statist so I don’t care about democracy, but I imagine you do. In order for these programs to pass they will have to have the support of the majority of the population, right? Well if the majority of the population cares enough to campaign and vote on these issues and voluntarily offer to surrender their income for these causes than it follows that the majority of the population in a free society would want these things to happen, correct? If they are already OK with surrendering their income to the state why would they not voluntarily surrender their income to charity?

  69. #69 |  supercat | 

    #58 | PogueMahone | “What do you do with the members of society, a society that you both are a part of and benefit from, who have fallen to the wayside – whether by their fault or not?”

    First and foremost, one should ensure that people will do whatever they can to minimize their need for assistance. No matter what society does, there will be some people who fall by the wayside, but efforts to make falling by the wayside less harmful will almost invariably make people fear it less, and will often consequently end up increasing the total harm. Welfare programs are bad in part because they take money from people who would otherwise be prone to use it in ways which would be more beneficial to society, but they’re bad mainly because they make dependency more comfortable than independence. Society would be better off if the money that had gone into entitlement programs had instead been dumped into a black hole. Taking from the rich and giving to the poor doesn’t end proverty–it promotes it. People who are inclined to live beyond their means will always be poor no matter how much they are given; rewarding such people by giving them more money will simply promote more reckless spending.

  70. #70 |  Mike T | 

    Mattrocracy,

    Also, the US economy isn’t doing that great. Stating that cutting expenses by the UK Gov is causing the economy to flounder fails to take into account a whole host of other factors that effect the economy. Your statement is more subjective than anything else.

    This is what the leftists don’t understand. Government deficit spending is one of the components of GDP. When the federal government deficit spends $1.5T, it “adds” that to the GDP. The US actually has a real GDP below $14T, not $15T+ now. What the UK did was it began to cut spending to come in line with the tax receipts, which pulled more of the rug out from underneath the economy. However, the UK did so on its terms rather than on the terms of external parties which is what Greece is facing now.

    These liberal idiots cannot grasp the simple fact that this is unsustainable. Our economy is doing better for the same reason an athlete who heavily uses steroids performs better. In another few years at the current rate of deficit spending, our national debt will be around 150-160% GDP; it’s already technically at about 110% GDP if you use the real GDP, not “real GDP + deficit spending” which the Demothuglicans are using to keep the public from realizing Romney and Obama are both death sentences for our economy.

  71. #71 |  Mike T | 

    You don’t seriously believe that if there were no state welfare, then private charities would be adequate, do you? If you do, history would not be on your side.

    That depends on how you define adequacy. From our perspective, private charity was always sufficiently adequate because we reject the idea that just because you’re suffering and have your hand out you should receive assistance. Unlike liberals, libertarians and conservatives believe that suffering is a natural consequence to choosing self-destructive or immoral ways of living which one is free to choose. Thus, we may readily agree with you that an out of work worker down on his luck needs a break, but from our perspective, there is nothing immoral about denying public assistance to drunkards, drug addicts, chain smokers, the morbidly obese, he promiscuous, etc.

    Liberty has consequences.

  72. #72 |  PogueMahone | 

    People weren’t starving in the streets before these programs started.

    Really, Matt!? You’re surely joking, right?

    In order for these programs to pass they will have to have the support of the majority of the population, right?

    Wrong. The programs (any program, really) merely need a minority who do want them and a majority who does not care. Welcome to the United States.

    If they are already OK with surrendering their income to the state why would they not voluntarily surrender their income to charity?

    We don’t have an a la carte tax system whereby you can choose which policies you want to be taxed over. There is no system that you can decide that your tax dollars are specifically to go to this but not to that. It simply doesn’t work like that.
    For example, I have no problem with my tax dollars going to support programs like food stamps. 20 years ago I was down on my luck and food stamps helped me out immeasurably. Today, I own my own business. (don’t worry, I’m not foolish enough to believe that this happens to everyone – and there is merit to the welfare “trap” argument… anyhoo…) I don’t, however, want my tax dollars to go to dropping bombs in hell hole X. But I don’t get to choose that. The best I can do is vote for the best representative that chooses to support the policies that I support.

    That’s the system we live in. Governments tax and spend. If you can’t accept that, then there is no point in discussing any particular policy of tax or spend. We’d have to begin by discussing why there is this newfangled concept called society and government.

    Cheers.

  73. #73 |  PogueMahone | 

    Mike T,
    That depends on how you define adequacy.

    Thus, we may readily agree with you that an out of work worker down on his luck needs a break, but from our perspective, there is nothing immoral about denying public assistance to drunkards, drug addicts, chain smokers, the morbidly obese, he promiscuous, etc.

    That’s a good point. As you stated, there’s a difference between someone who is down on his luck, and someone who is a drunk. So, is it moral, and necessary, to supply adequate welfare for the former but not the latter? That there is something immoral about taking from Peter, the stand-up guy, to give to Paul, the town drunk? It would be hard to argue against that.

    However, (now that we’ve established that it is not immoral to take from Peter, the stand-up guy, to give to Paul, the temporarily-down-on-his-luck guy) we’ve gone beyond the principle that states that it is always immoral for governments to take from Peter to give to Paul, and have now moved on to it being a matter of degree.

    Now we’re getting somewhere…

    Cheers.

  74. #74 |  Ben | 

    “If they are already OK with surrendering their income to the state why would they not voluntarily surrender their income to charity?”

    For the same reason that the majority of people over-withhold their income taxes so that they get a bigger refund in the spring. Because even if people know that they SHOULD save, they tend not to unless they set up a situation in which they do it involuntarily.

  75. #75 |  Mike T | 

    #73,

    Welfare ultimately comes down to a prudential consideration, something which most liberals fail to recognize because they refuse to acknowledge that the welfare state as it actually exists behaves at odds with their goals. Unlike most conservatives, I don’t believe the average liberal on the street likes welfare dependency, but merely refuses to acknowledge it as a byproduct because it calls into question their beliefs and accomplishments. The fact of the matter is that social welfare spending as we do it causes substantial risks of dependency and has a variety of destructive side effects including altering family dynamics.

    As a prudential consideration, it might be reasonable for the state (not federal government) to intervene to help a community that got hit hard by an employer that left town. For example, the state could offer a certain amount of unemployment benefits, retraining at a public university or community college at public expense and provide tax incentives to banks to provide 0% interest loans to entrepreneurs in the affected community to either start new businesses or consolidate existing loans to reduce costs.

    When the state pays for a bigger legal system, it gets more people in prison and on probation. When it pays for a much bigger military than it needs, it feels free to wage war. When the state provides welfare freely and reliably, it encourages many irresponsible people to not think before they act.

  76. #76 |  Mike T | 

    Additionally, the point about the guy who is just down on his luck that liberals often seem to miss is that except during the Great Depression, there have always been far fewer of them than people whose misery is the product of their own making. Private charities that are able to get to know would-be recipients of aid are generally capable of handling the guys who are just down on their luck without many problems.

    As a society, we actually need the drunkards, drug addicts, the promiscuous, etc. to be denied welfare so as to serve as a warning to others of why those behaviors ought to be avoided by personal choice. If people see single mothers getting fatter checks as they have more babies, drug addicts getting top quality health care, etc. there are a lot of people who end up taking home the wrong message about personal choices. In a sociological sense, it’s like a market distortion of the same degree and similar kind as the bailouts of the financial sector.

  77. #77 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    So much oofda in this thread.

  78. #78 |  RobZ | 

    Johnny Clamboat

    “DI is disability insurance; incidentally, DI will go broke this decade so no need to worry about 2030 ratios.”

    I should have caught that. Thanks for the correction.

    Returning to the original topic:

    Robert Reich has pointed out that in 1983, the SS cap was set so that 90% of household income was taxed. Now, it’s dropped to 84%. Raise the cap to 90% as it was in 1983 and the SS problem goes away for the foreseeable future.

    In any event, Medicare is in much much worse shape and there don’t appear to be any relatively easy fixes for it.

  79. #79 |  Ben | 

    “Private charities that are able to get to know would-be recipients of aid are generally capable of handling the guys who are just down on their luck without many problems.”

    Private charities are generally either 1. church based, 2. dedicated to people who are suffering from some specific medical ailment or 3. dedicated to a specific subset of aggrieved people, such as battered women, etc. I don’t know of too many secular private charities that just have a general fund to help random poor people out with their rent. So if you’re atheist and don’t fall into either of the other charities, you’d be truly fucked.

    “As a society, we actually need the drunkards, drug addicts, the promiscuous, etc. to be denied welfare so as to serve as a warning to others of why those behaviors ought to be avoided by personal choice.”

    In other words, fuck ‘em. Just step over the bodies.

  80. #80 |  Graham Shevlin | 

    “As a society, we actually need the drunkards, drug addicts, the promiscuous, etc. to be denied welfare so as to serve as a warning to others of why those behaviors ought to be avoided by personal choice.”

    OK, so then we need to make sure that a significant percentage of corporate leaders, politicians, showbiz people and other wealthy individuals should not be able to claim any government benefits. That’ll teach them…
    Oh, wait a minute…
    I have a better idea. How about preventing anybody who says a single perjorative word about “government handouts” and “entitlements” from claiming any form of government assistance, like subsidies, tax concessions etc?

  81. #81 |  Mike T | 

    In other words, fuck ‘em. Just step over the bodies.

    As a matter of public policy, yes. Once again: Liberty has consequences [if you choose to abuse it]. Let private charity choose to minister to them.

    I have a better idea. How about preventing anybody who says a single perjorative word about “government handouts” and “entitlements” from claiming any form of government assistance, like subsidies, tax concessions etc?

    How about we do the same to anyone who says a single pejorative word about police powers from claiming police protection while we’re at it? Oh wait…

  82. #82 |  RobZ | 

    “As a society, we actually need the drunkards, drug addicts, the promiscuous, etc. to be denied welfare so as to serve as a warning to others of why those behaviors ought to be avoided by personal choice.”

    Who gets to decide who falls into the “denied welfare so as to serve as a warning to others” category? Would these decisions be made locally?

  83. #83 |  Darwin | 

    Do a little research instead of believing whatever wingnut central tells you to think.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/101741/cbo-obamacare-cost-deficit-lie-double-price-fox

  84. #84 |  Mike T | 

    Who gets to decide who falls into the “denied welfare so as to serve as a warning to others” category? Would these decisions be made locally?

    That’s what I alluded to when I said that it’s a state matter working through the particularly needy communities such as communities that were rocked by financial devastation beyond their reasonable control (ex being the big employer outsourcing their jobs). As a prudential consideration, welfare should be a policy that is used sparingly to target particular situations, not a blanket policy that is always there.

  85. #85 |  DPirate | 

    Reddit, the best thing about: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/qxu0r/the_tsa_stole_my_pocket_knife_out_of_my_checked/c41dp34

  86. #86 |  supercat | 

    #73 | PogueMahone | “… and have now moved on to it being a matter of degree. ”

    Unexpected charity or support can be beneficial to the recipient, but expectations of charity or undeserved support are highly toxic. It may not be possible to provide even emergency support for people without creating some expectation, and having some of that expectation create need which would not otherwise exist, but it’s imperative that the new need created be a small fraction of the support given.

    If one measures efficiency as one minus the quantity of new need created per support dollar spent, aid will be 90% efficient if each dollar of support creates $0.10 of new need, 50% efficient if each support dollar creates $0.50 of new need, or 10% if each support dollar creates $0.90 of new need, etc. There may be room for judgment in deciding whether it is worthwhile to give support in a manner which is 50% efficient. On the other hand, if each dollar of support generates more than a dollar of new need, efficiency will go negative. It makes no sense to spend *any* money in a way which yields negative efficiency.

  87. #87 |  Matt | 

    @72

    Really, Matt!? You’re surely joking, right?

    Why would I be joking? You have presented zero evidence that there was mass starvation before the advent of government-based welfare programs.

    Wrong. The programs (any program, really) merely need a minority who do want them and a majority who does not care. Welcome to the United States.

    Sounds like private charity would work just fine then, right? A majority support is not needed for private charity to function.

    We don’t have an a la carte tax system whereby you can choose which policies you want to be taxed over. There is no system that you can decide that your tax dollars are specifically to go to this but not to that. It simply doesn’t work like that.

    For example, I …

    This entire set of paragraphs seems to be making my argument for me. Yes, you can’t choose where your taxes go. You would like your money to go to those who need it and not to various warmongers/corporate welfare/etc. So why do you denigrate the system that would allow you to do this (voluntarism) and support the system that does the opposite of what you want (statism/collectivism)? This confuses me.

    That’s the system we live in. Governments tax and spend. If you can’t accept that, then there is no point in discussing any particular policy of tax or spend. We’d have to begin by discussing why there is this newfangled concept called society and government.

    Why are you trying to counter my normative statements with positive ones? Yes, governments tax and spend. They do a shitty job of it. This has nothing to do with whether or not governments should exist, something you haven’t tackled yet.

  88. #88 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @64 – Hobbsian? No, that’s the people calling for the government to be dissolved.

    @69 – Sure, let the poor starve and you no longer have the poor. Congratulations, you’ve solved poverty!

    @76 – The untouchables, the lower class, blacks, Jews… making things morally conditional has a storied history.

  89. #89 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @87 – No, why would I bother providing evidence when a basic reading of history shows that even “developed” countries have only in the last century generally stopped significant numbers of their own citizens from suffering starvation and malnutrition.

    And again, private charity is great as long as you’re the “right sort”. Social Darwinism, in other words. There should be no NEED for the *basics* to be covered by people spending their private time. This is what a state is FOR.

    But back in reality, some of us actually want a system which allows people to thrive and fosters individualism. The closest thing to that which we have…is the Nordic Model.

    The closest thing to yours? Somalia. Tribalism.

  90. #90 |  supercat | 

    #88 | Leon Wolfeson | “The untouchables, the lower class, blacks, Jews… making things morally conditional has a storied history.”

    Today’s lower classes are harmed far more by programs which tell them they will be supported regardless of the life decisions they make, than they would be if they were told they’d have to live with the consequences of bad decisions. If someone who would rather spend money on a 50″ television than on food complains of hunger, rewarding such complains with charity will simply encourage other people to get 50″ televisions, since their choices aren’t just “food and no television” or “television and no food”, but they can also get “television and food as well”.

    If someone decides he’ll be happy spending half as much on food as some other people, if he can spend the balance toward getting a fancy television, that should be his right. If he is in fact satisfied with the reduced food budget, his decision may be a good one. If, however, he ends up being unacceptably hungry as a result, it is not a judgment call for others to say his decision should not be rewarded. Either he is genuinely unsatisfied with his food budget, in which case he would have been better off spending less on television and more on food, making his decision a bad one which should not be rewarded, or else he is exaggerating his hunger, which should also not be rewarded.

    Society can only function when people have incentives to minimize their needs. Rewarding those who maximize their needs is a recipe for disaster.

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