Let the Bush Tax Cuts Die.

President Bush speaks about the Tax Cut Plan

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been threatening to give one of our commenters a guest editorial. She wrote something in the comments that just needs to see the light of day. Another commenter on a different blog posted some interesting factoids that you might also find useful:

From Weirdwriter:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/01/ge-exxon-walmart-business-washington-corporate-taxes.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/07/eric-cantor-compromise-tax-cuts-obama_n_780029.html

And now a really good article from 538 Refugees contributor Jean:

How about this solution for a quick and easy way to reduce the current deficit that confronts us?

Deficit reduction can be immediate with the expiration of ALL the disastrous, irresponsible Bush tax cuts which are due to expire at the end of 2010 as the original legislation required. ALL of these Bush tax cuts should expire. Note the emphasis on “ALL” of them. Deficits arise because expenditures are more than income – a simple concept to grasp.

The median income is around $50,000 – the median means half of all earned income is above this figure and half of all earned income is below this figure. The average Bush tax cut on an income of $50,000 is $909 – or $75 per month. All individual income below $50,000 received average tax cuts of less than $909.

The concept of revenue and income to meet expenses has been overlooked long enough. Why is it that complaining about “deficits” goes on endlessly and no attention is paid to Income. Only short-sighted persons demand the lowering of taxes and at the same time bewail the matter of “deficits”. Surely by now it has become clear that deficits are caused by a lack of the income needed to meet the requirements of the complex systems that we have developed over all these many years.

The Deficit-Reduction Commission needs to focus on the concept of “income” and proposing to lower the top tax rate to 23% is not an answer. It is, in fact, a ridiculous proposal.

What we need is a shared symbol of sacrifice – let all the Bush tax cuts expire. Everyone can sacrifice for the common good and to show that we are all in this together.

Review the following numbers and locate where you stand in the follow data and determine the magnitude of your great sacrifice, effective at the end of 2010.

Income Level and Average tax cut received in each group.

Below $10,000. Average tax cut is $52.
$10 – $20,000. Average tax cut is $387.
$20 – $30,000. Average tax cut is $769.
$30 – $40,000. Average tax cut is $894.
$40 – $50,000. Average tax cut is $909.
$50 – $75,000. Average tax cut is $1119.
$75 – $100,000. Average tax cut is $1871.
$100 – $200,000. Average tax cut is $3690.
$200 – $500,000. Average tax cut is $7152.
$500 – $1,000,000. Average tax cut is $17,467.
$1,000,000+. Average tax cut is $103,835.

As you can see the wealthy do rather well, thanks to Bush et al.

The median income is around $50,000 with an average tax cut of $909.00. My tax cut is above this amount and I am willing to give it up for the good of the country. I hope that you are ready to join me in this effort. What will result is income of $4 trillion over the next 10 years. Apply that to the deficit. That would be $400 billion immediately. Not bad, and all we have to do is sit by and let it happen at the end of this year. Simply let the Bush tax cuts end.


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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160 Responses to Let the Bush Tax Cuts Die.

  1. The median income is around $50,000 – the median means half of all earned income is above this figure and half of all earned income is below this figure.

    No, it does not. The median means half of all households earned income above this figure. Wealth concentration in this country pushes the average income to a little over $80,000. Half of all earned income is above this figure, and half below.

    Statistics can be dangerous tools. 😉

  2. Mr. Universe says:

    You are correct. People often confuse Median with Mean. I still get the gist of Jean’s article. And yes, in the wrong hands, stats can be dangerous.

  3. robert verdi says:

    Now that Obama has signaled he is going to continue the Bush policy can we frame the debate as “maintaining the current tax system” or preventing and increase in taxes.

  4. Or not. The status quo is for the tax cuts to expire.

    Either way, the evidence suggests that the current tax rates are doing far more harm than good.

  5. Bart DePalma says:

    Mr. U:

    1) Your chart is missing a comparison column showing how much each income level pays in income taxes. For example, your lowest income category pays no income taxes and the $52 was the 91 Bush welfare payment/rebates. In contrast, your three income rows pay a quarter of all income taxes and their bills are stratospheric.

    2) The last time the Dems raised income taxes to the Clinton levels in 93, we lost about 1% off GDP growth, new revenues were half of what CBO projected and we had nothing close to a balanced budget until Clinton signed off on the Gingrich plan to slow spending growth. If we lose 1% off GDP growth now, we deepen an already awful L recession.

    In short progressives, when in a hole, stop digging.

  6. Gator says:

    Yeah, I agree. Why do some find it offensive to describe HCR as Obamacare and yet feel it is fine to refer to the Bush tax cuts. I will remind everyone that Presidents DO NOT levy taxes, Congress does (the House specifically). And to say “we’re gonna continue to give the wealthy tax breaks” is disingenous. We are not ‘giving’ anything. We are merely ‘taking’ less from someone. You cannot ‘give’ me my own earnings, you can only ‘steal’ less of them.

    And if you find my use of the term ‘steal’ irritating, understand that is how I feel when you say ‘give’ the taxpayers our own money.

  7. Collecting taxes is “stealing” just as collecting fees for service is “stealing.” It’s taking your money as part of a contract for services rendered.

    The difference is that most people are born into the contract of taxes, and thus have to take positive action to escape them. I just find it more than a little ironic that those who don’t wish to pay for the services rendered are similarly unwilling to relocate to avoid them.

  8. The last time the Dems raised income taxes to the Clinton levels in 93, we lost about 1% off GDP growth,

    Compared to what? The year prior? That kind of number literally gets lost in the noise.

    new revenues were half of what CBO projected

    And yet rose significantly anyway, despite that awful damage to the economy you ascribe to the tax increase.

    and we had nothing close to a balanced budget until Clinton signed off on the Gingrich plan to slow spending growth

    Which, in your view, had absolutely nothing to do with the largest economic boom in the nation’s history, brought about by the Internet. Right? It’s always a simple calculus of lower taxes and lower spending equals economic booms, isn’t it?

  9. Gator says:

    I don’t resent taxes as a theoretical necessity. I resent onerous taxes as a reality. I am fine with paying for infrastructure, defense, safety regulation (food, water, product, etc.) and some limited safety nets for the poor and indigent. Being of a libertarian bent, I believe in relatively Draconian limits, however.

  10. Gator says:

    And my use of ‘steal’ was intended to be illustrative of the annoying nomenclature used regularly here. All of the posts are written from a liberal perspective and use perjorative language when referring to conservative ideas. I find that annoying.

    And before you label me as a Republican or a conservative let me list a few of my positions:

    for repeal of DADT (stupid policy)
    pro gay marriage rights
    pro legalization/decriminalization of marijuana
    pro choice (although I abhor the necessity for abortions)

    and as a capper I have voted Rep 3 times and Dem 2 times in the last five Presidential elections.

    Hardly expect Newt and Sarah will be putting me on the ticket.

    I’m not a raving winger. I am someone who wants the lowest level of government involvement in my life possible.

  11. Gator says:

    One final note. You mentioned ‘the services rendered’. I don’t want most of those services. I don’t believe the government should be providing those ‘services rendered’. Why should I have to move and renounce my citizenship because I don’t want to be forced to pay for services which I believe are not, nor should not be within the governments purview to provide? Isn’t that akin to saying ‘if you like socialism and want free medical care, move to Europe’? In other words, small minded and completely dismissive of the reasoning behind a position. “If you don’t like it here, move”. Nice.

  12. filistro says:

    I am rebelling against the “Reply function.” It annoys me. It’s like two people in a corner having a fascinating private conversation that others can only hear part of, and can’t contribute to. I hate missing out on stuff.

    From now on I’m only posting at the bottom of threads… and if necessary I’ll paste in what and whom I’m responding to, just the way we always used to.

    End of rant. Sorry.

  13. Michael Weiss says:

    You sure got wound up over that one. I was talking specifically about your claim that taxation is akin to stealing. Taxation is a fundamental part of our nation’s foundation, as is evidenced by its explicit inclusion in the Constitution.

    When people start talking about the foundation being broken, that’s when I suggest moving elsewhere. That’s no longer about simple changes in the laws; it’s about throwing away the Constitution and starting over.

    But now you say you don’t really believe it’s theft. OK, then, I’m happy to drop that point. I’m not going to suggest that you shouldn’t have the right to complain about specific uses of tax dollars. I will, however, challenge you on many of those in the future.

  14. filistro says:

    Further to my comment just above:

    @Gator: I’m not a raving winger. I am someone who wants the lowest level of government involvement in my life possible.

    Boy, you’re feisty these days! We should never have allowed you to show all those teeth 😉

    I remember being involved in one of those fascinating discussions (well, *I* find them fascinating) 🙂 about what differentiates between the right and the left… and somebody saying that ultimately it all distills down to differences in views on how taxes should be raised and distributed.

    Is that really all that separates right from left?

  15. OK, I’ve changed the setting so it’s not a nested conversation anymore. Let’s try this for a while and see if people still prefer the non-threaded version.

  16. filistro says:

    Thank you Michael. (I’m beginning to think you exist in order to solve all my problems. What a good idea! 😉

  17. Gator says:

    @ MW

    Better flow this way, IMHO. And I look forward to debating you. I used steal to make a point about the way words and labels are used here and elsewhere. That was the reasoning behind putting the word in quotes. Th government has an obligation to raise enough revenue to remain stable and functional. The levels and scope of that functionality are where we disagree. And again, steal was just a little poke in the eye in response to the linguistics at play here.

    @ Fili

    I’ve always been feisty, but I mitigate it with charm and intellect. 😉 And yes, that really is the demarcation point for most people. Taxes and spending. Simplistic and yet amazingly complex.

  18. filistro says:

    @Gator.. I’ve always been feisty, but I mitigate it with charm and intellect.

    Charm and intellect are two of my favorite things. (And when a tiny furry prairie dog engages a gator with GREAT BIG TEETH, charm is a much-appreciated quality… 😉

    As for the issue of taxation being “Simplistic and yet amazingly complex,” that’s one of the most fascinating things about politics…. how these things can be simultaneously so simple and so intractable.

    From our discussion on estate taxes, I get the feeling you don’t object so much about having to pay taxes as you do to having no control over where that money goes… and your conviction that much of the money you earned with your own hard work is wasted on others who are undeserving. Am I right about that?

  19. shiloh says:

    @Fili I am rebelling against the “Reply function.

    Now, you’re a rebel w/out a cause, eh. Thank goodness Bart will have Obama for the next (6) years to rebel against er whine, moan/groan about …

    carry on

  20. filistro says:

    @shiloh… Now, you’re a rebel w/out a cause, eh

    Canadians are notoriously rebellious. Some of us have been known to speak to the driver while the coach is in motion. I myself once cut off one of those tags on pillows that you’re not supposed to remove (don’t tell anybody.) And I knew a guy who occasionally jaywalked… but he was pretty much shunned by everybody.

  21. Gator says:

    @ Fili

    Actually yes and no. I don’t enjoy paying taxes, but I certainly acknowledge the necessity. And I do believe the government has certain responsibilities and obligations to the people. I believe those should be limited to the greatest degree possible.
    I have a different reason for my object hatred of the estate tax. I am automatically and emphatically (a little alliteration never hurt anyone) opposed to things that I feel are unfair. This is one.

  22. filistro says:

    @ Gator… I have a different reason for my object hatred of the estate tax.

    I’ve been thinking about your visceral hatred of the estate tax. I suspect it relates to your personal feelings about hard work and independence. I think (though obviously I don’t know, because we can’t read the minds of others) that you feel you should have total control over the final disposition of money you’ve earned.

    The thing with opposing the estate tax is that people want to keep control from beyond the grave, and that’s impossible. As soon as you die, your control is gone. (That’s pretty much what being dead is all about.) So just as you can’t exert control over your children’s lives after your death by dictating when and whom they should marry, you also can’t dictate control of their finances. And make no mistake.. the second you cash in your chips the money becomes THEIRS… not yours anymore. (As I keep reminding you, you’re DEAD, which greatly diminishes your ability to control anything 😉

    There is one way for you to have total control over where your money goes after you die… and that’s to give it away before you die. But you can’t hang onto your money until death and still hope to control it afterwards as well. You have to choose one or the other.

  23. @Gator,

    Fairness often depends on perspective. The estate tax is one such instance.

  24. Gator says:

    No there are other ways. As I mentioned earlier, trusts control estates for generations. Wills dictate final demands that can also last in perpetuity. There are actually many ways to control the uses and disposition of my money… unless the f***ing government takes it. Then I lose all control over its use and disposition. And THAT is inherently unfair.

    And yes, it also has much to do with hard work and independence. The government is not my daddy, nor my nanny, nor my boss. I have no respect for those that think it is or should be.

  25. Gator says:

    @ Fili

    And why must I give it away before I die for that to be legitimate? Why is giving it away… to my children post mortem not valid, but giving it to a museum pre mortem is? That has no basis in reason. And really, I don’t want to control my money after I’m gone. I want my children to control it. As should be my right to decide.

  26. shiloh says:

    If Gator’s house ever catches fire, or one of his loved ones ever gets killed, his f***ing government local fire/police depts. better stay clear, eh.

    Just tell them your wishes and they won’t invade your privacy ~ not a problem!

    take care

  27. shortchain says:

    Gator,

    Why should you have any right at all to decide who should control the wealth that this instrumentality we have created, namely the USA and all its laws and customs, has allowed you to amass? You do understand, don’t you, that “wealth” is a concept without any reality beyond what our agreement, among ourselves, gives it?

    Explain the benefit to mankind created by allowing you, or anyone, for that matter, to make it a lot easier for your posterity — and only your posterity — to build on your accumulation.

    Because I’m not seeing it.

  28. shiloh says:

    Just like to give a shout out to Bill Gates/Warren Buffett et al who will be giving most of their ginormous personal fortunes to the people who need it most.

    Paul Newman was asked many years ago why he gave so much to his charitable foundations and he answered quite simply: I don’t need it!

    The Egyptian pharaohs took it w/them until the grave diggers dug it up lol ~ to each his own …

  29. @Gator,

    The other side of the fairness question is a societal one. Should the success of the individual, which is highly prized in the US, be determined by one’s ability and hard work, or by the ability and hard work of one’s ancestors? How much do we want to reward the individual’s success, compared to that of ancestry?

  30. shrinkers says:

    Everyone understands objections to programs you disapprove of. But we live in a large country with many people. In a democracy, decisions are made by the people as a whole, not by one individual. Sometimes you won’t get your way. Sometimes you have to pay for something The People want, even if YOU don’t want it.

    Gator, that’s just the price of living in a democracy, rather than in a Gatocracy.

  31. Mainer says:

    It does seem as though there is a growing number of people that see little to no sense in our being an organized society that does things as a whole for the whole. This nation can not and will not survive as a bunch of spoiled individuals each looking out for just themself and their own little tribe. We can see in many areas of the world how poorly tribal and clan structure works or does not work.

    I would be curious to know if some of you see a huge problem coming as we continue to focus the wealth of this nation into fewer and fewer hands? Beyond a means to put money into the government one consideration to things like estate taxes has in the past been to see that all the money does not end up in one place. It may not be the best answer but it was an answer unless one sees no danger in fewer and fewer people in this country having any real economic stake in what now happens. The smaller the middles class becomes as has been happening at an ever increasing pace the fewer people there will be to actually make our economic system work. When even Henry Ford got it one has to wonder when some today will get it. If there is no one left out side of the privlegded few with amassed wealth to buy products, gods and services then there will be little need for those goods and services. How close are we coming to being once again a society that will look much like the middle ages? I would not make a very good serf. Care for some wine me lord, pay no attention to the bitter smell I checked it and it is fine.

  32. Mr. Universe says:

    Mattress Police here. We’re searching for a notoriously mundane Canadian who rips tags off her pillows. 😀

  33. Gator says:

    @ shortchain
    “Why should you have any right at all to decide who should control the wealth that this instrumentality we have created, namely the USA and all its laws and customs, has allowed you to amass?”

    Given this logic (or lack thereof) no one should need my tax dollars because the country will ‘allow’ them to amass their own wealth. So their failure to do so must be a personal failure on their part. And given that it is a personal failure on their part (it must be because the USA will ‘allow’ them to amass wealth) I shouldn’t be responsible for their failure.

    @ Shiloh

    I clearlysaid that the government was responsible to the electorate and that some taxes and expenditures are necessary. Nice strawman though.

    @ MW

    Both. And again a strawman argument. Why should ‘we’ have any say in rewarding or not rewarding success? Who are ‘we’ to determine how I provide for my progeny. That is my business, not the governments and not yours.

    @Shrinks and Mainer

    What up fella’s? Good to ‘see’ you guys again. And yes I know I don’t/won’t always get my way (more’s the pity). The issues you raise are opinions not facts. I have mine (opinions) and you have yours. BTW, a Gatocracy would be nirvana.

  34. Gator says:

    OK Mainer, if a Gatocracy does come about, stay out of my kitchen and my wine cellar!

  35. @Gator,

    Not a strawman at all. It’s the fundamental principle at issue here. Which is more important:
    1) insuring that individual success truly belongs to the individual, or
    2) allowing an individual to have absolute control over the proceeds of an individual’s (or ancestral) success

    Deflecting the discussion isn’t helping.

  36. Gator says:

    I’m not deflecting. How is it your right to ‘insure that individual success truly belongs to the individual,’. How is that judgement yours or the governments to make? Where does your right to judge the worthiness of my children inure? It’s a ridiculous proposition. It is not your right to make that determination.

  37. It’s not so much a question of my right as it is the right of our government, as representatives of “we the people,” to decide which of those two competing principles is more important, and institute policy accordingly.

    I’m not an advocate for either side. I just understand and sympathize with the arguments on both sides.

  38. Gator says:

    And again I say- neither you, nor the government has the right to judge the worthiness of my offspring to receive my wealth> The government does have the right by law to tax my wealth and thereby appropriate it for government use. Some level of that is acceptable. Double taxing me and taking well over half is theft, albeit legal theft. And I have seen nothing in anyone’s arguments above to cause me to disavow that belief.

  39. Gator says:

    And Michael et al

    The fact that you seem to feel that the government has the right to make value and worthiness assessments of individuals is repugnant and frightening to me. The government should never be in the business of deciding who is ‘worthy’ of receiving and inheritance or whether anyone is ‘worthy’.

    The government should build bridges, provide a standing military, provide basic safety regulations and basic poor and indigent assistance.

    The government should NOT be in the moral/value judgement business. The government should not be able to say that the Federal coffers are more worthy of my work effort and assets than are my children. I don’t want a government with that much power.

  40. shiloh says:

    @Gator

    I clearly said that the government was responsible to the electorate and that some taxes and expenditures are necessary. Nice strawman though.
    ~~~~~

    No, was just countering your hyperbole ie f***ing government w/my own hyperbolic sarcasm ie no man is an island.

    take care

  41. @Gator,

    Double taxing me and taking well over half is theft, albeit legal theft.

    The notion of “double taxation” is a fallacy, and part of what I’m referring to in “The Magician’s Assistant.” Money doesn’t get taxed. Either the movement of money is taxed (or, more precisely, the commerce is taxed, and the money is the means by which the value of the commerce is established), or, less often, the property is taxed.

    You are taxed when you receive the money (e.g., taxation on the commerce of you providing labor). Your children are taxed when they receive the money (i.e., taxation on the commerce of inheritance). The money is the magician’s assistant.

    The fact that you seem to feel that the government has the right to make value and worthiness assessments of individuals is repugnant and frightening to me.

    Of course the government has the right to make moral and value assessments of individuals. That’s the entire point of criminal law. Surely you wouldn’t suggest scrapping the criminal justice system, would you? But that’s also entirely separate from the principles behind an inheritance tax.

    Let me boil the inheritance tax question down to its barest essence. Do you believe that someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions?

  42. shortchain says:

    Gator,

    Well, I don’t see a need to pay for the courts, the police, etc, etc, so that your property rights can be protected. Since I have little or no property beyond what I carry in my pockets, you can pay for the protection yourself. Oh, and I see no reason to discourage others from seeing you as anything but an opportunity for pillage, so I’m not interested in enforcing laws against theft.

    If you imagine, somehow, that the concept of “property” is independent of the agreement of society to pretend that one collection of atoms (or, nowadays, one collection of bits in a computer memory somewhere) “belongs” to another collection of atoms, then you are living in a dream world. Why this “belonging” should somehow (by right of what nature beyond custom and societal agreement?) be “inherited” by those you designate is a mystery to me.

    You can’t wave away this philosophical question by claiming you don’t understand it. Stupidity is not a defense against logic except to the person who is stupid.

  43. filistro says:

    @Michael : Let me boil the inheritance tax question down to its barest essence. Do you believe that someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions?

    Bingo! This is the essential conundrum for conservatives. Because the idea that “someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions” is the very cornerstone of conservatism… and yet conservatives fight tooth and claw for the right to give money upon their death to people who haven’t earned it.

    I can only assume the conservative hatred of paying taxes trumps the conservative belief in self-sufficiency.

  44. Mainer says:

    Let me ask this more simply before we get any more deeply burried in a discussion over what we can leave behind us.

    Is it to be beleived that concentrating the wealth of the nation in the hands of a few is dangerous?

    If it is believed to be dangerous would inheritance taxes be but one way to try to keep this in check?

    Oh and Gator…….pay no heed to the bottles in the cellar that look…….well a little watery……must have hic….. been some glitch at the hic…..winery.

  45. GROG says:

    @fili,

    and yet conservatives fight tooth and claw for the right to give money upon their death to people who haven’t earned it.

    How do you know the people haven’t earned it? Shouldn’t it be up to the person who owns the money to determine if the people earned it?

  46. @GROG, your turn to answer…

    Do you believe that someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions?

  47. filistro says:

    @Mainer… pay no heed to the bottles in the cellar that look…….well a little watery……

    LOL… that’s our Mainer… “The Sommelier From Hell”

  48. filistro says:

    @GROG… How do you know the people haven’t earned it?

    Because they don’t already have it. If they’ve earned the money, they should already have been paid for whatever services they did to earn it.

    Because “You’ll get paid when I die” is not really a fair way to treat people who are performing a worthwhile service for you.

  49. GROG says:

    @shiloh

    Just like to give a shout out to Bill Gates/Warren Buffett et al who will be giving most of their ginormous personal fortunes to the people who need it most.

    Really? They’re giving their ginormous fortunes to the United States Government?

  50. And, to add to Fili’s point, even if they did earn it, why should they be exempt from paying income tax on it?

    @GROG & @gator, still waiting:
    Do you believe that someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions?

  51. GROG says:

    Because they don’t already have it.

    Okay, but neither does the government.

    If they’ve earned the money, they should already have been paid for whatever services they did to earn it.

    Again, how is this different from the government taking your money? Obviously, the government can no longer provide services to a dead person, so the services had already been rendered prior to death.

    Neither does the government.

  52. GROG says:

    Because they don’t already have it.

    Okay, but neither does the government.

    If they’ve earned the money, they should already have been paid for whatever services they did to earn it.

    Again, how is this different from the government accepting your money after you die? Obviously services cannot be rendered to a dead person, so the government had already provided the services.

  53. @GROG,

    Contrary to popular belief, the government doesn’t take the money from the dead person. The government takes the money from the living people who receive the money from the dead person.

    I can provide copious evidence to prove this, if you doubt it.

  54. shrinkers says:

    What up fella’s? Good to ‘see’ you guys again. And yes I know I don’t/won’t always get my way (more’s the pity). The issues you raise are opinions not facts. I have mine (opinions) and you have yours.

    I’m doing well enough, thanks for asking! Good to see you again too, and hope all’s well in Gatorland.

    My point was in response to your statement:

    I am fine with paying for infrastructure, defense, safety regulation (food, water, product, etc.) and some limited safety nets for the poor and indigent. Being of a libertarian bent, I believe in relatively Draconian limits, however.

    The implication (correct me if I’m wrong) is that you don’t mind paying for things you think are worth paying for. And you accept the necessity of taxation to pay for those things. But you object to paying for things you don’t like, and you are unhappy about taxation that goes to programs you disapprove of.

    I suspect almost anyone in any nation would say something similar. But they may have a different list of programs that they like or that they don’t. My point is that if you are going to be part of an actual nation, you’re going to have to compromise, and sometimes pay taxes that fund programs you disapprove of. In turn, the other guy will pay taxes he doesn’t like, and fund things he disapproves of, but that you think are vital.

    Of course, in a democratic nation, you can also campaign for, and vote for, people who will oppose the same taxes you do, support the same programs you do, and otherwise agree with you on various issues. But you won’t always get your way. And if you want to live in a nation around other people, it’s necessary to accept that.

  55. GROG says:

    @MW,

    Do you believe that someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions?

    No, not necessarily. Anyone who has been in business knows you need a lot of luck to be successful. It just depends on what you do with that luck.

    I do know that people will be much less willing to sacrifice, take risks, work their tails off, etc if they know at the end of the day, the government will take all their money. I don’t want a country where everyone sits back and hopes someone else will become financially successful so the government can take their money when they die and then redistribute it.

  56. GROG says:

    MW,
    The government takes the money from the living people who receive the money from the dead person.

    It’s still money the dead person earned. How is that person getting something in return when he’s dead?

  57. Gator says:

    @ Shiloh… fair enough, but local taxes were not relevant to the discussion.

    @ MW … I don’t see how you conflate punishment for criminal behaviour with value judgements on the ‘worthiness’ of someone to inherit an estate. Logic fail. Tax policies should be crafted only on the fairest, least intrusive and harmful way to meet budgetary requirements, not on value judgements about peoples worthiness.

    @ Shortchain… you don’t know me. I would be fine with a law of the jungle scenario. I am more than capable of dealing with unfriendly folk. But again, this has nothing to do with what I was addressing. Like Shiloh, you conflate local and state taxes and services with federal income and inheritance taxes. The two are not the same and nowhere did I comment on the validity of local taxing authorities nor on those services. Strawman. And using philosophical esoterica in place of logic is just silly. Try again.

    @ Fili… you said “I can only assume the conservative hatred of paying taxes trumps the conservative belief in self-sufficiency.”
    If everyone were self sufficient we wouldn’t be having this conversation because the government would not need nearly as much tax revenue. By passing on my wealth I am insuring that the next generation in my family is self sufficient and will need far less government largesse. I’m doing you all a favor. You won’t need to waste resources on my children. They will have their own.

  58. @GROG,

    I do know that people will be much less willing to sacrifice, take risks, work their tails off, etc if they know at the end of the day, the government will take all their money.

    Of course. Nobody was suggesting a tax of 100% on anything, for that very reason. It’s a strawman.

    So, to quote an old joke, “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.” Why should the tax be zero?

  59. Gator says:

    MW said… @GROG & @gator, still waiting:
    Do you believe that someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions?

    Michael I believe that I don’t have the right to determine how someone elses fiscal success is defined or achieved. That is what you don’t seem to get. It isn’t my place or yours to make that determination.

  60. filistro says:

    @GROG… It’s still money the dead person earned. How is that person getting something in return when he’s dead?

    I think we’ve put our finger on the difficulty here. Conservatives just can’t grasp the concept of being DEAD.

    When somebody is DEAD he can’t be taxed, he can’t get anything in rerun, he can’t use services and he can’t give his money away. He’s DEAD.

    D-E-A-D. DEAD.

    There is, however, this pile of mioney which still very much exists. It doesn’t belong to teh dead guy (he’s DEAD.) It doesn’t belong to anybody. It’s just sitting there. We have to decide what to do with it.

    Well… the dead guy wanted these specific people to have it. Okay, we’ll do that. It goes into their hands… hands that have never held this money until now. Because it is passing into fresh hands, it will be taxed in those hands… just as every dollar is taxed when it arrives in a fresh set of hands. Why? Because when it passes into new hands it is INCOME… and we pay taxes on income.

    The difficulty conservatives have is .. they still see it as the dead guy’s money. Its not. (He’s DEAD.) The money now has a brand-new owner. It is taxable in the hands of the new owner.

  61. @Gator,

    I don’t see how you conflate punishment for criminal behaviour with value judgements on the ‘worthiness’ of someone to inherit an estate.

    I don’t. I was rebutting your argument that government has no business making value judgments on people. That is the logic fail. Furthermore, I never said that the government should decide who gets to keep the money. Rather, I posit that it is not unreasonable to consider that there should be friction against that form of transfer of wealth, with no special consideration given for the potential value of the recipient. This is dispassionate, unlike what you imply I’m suggesting.

    Tax policies should be crafted only on the fairest, least intrusive and harmful way to meet budgetary requirements, not on value judgements about peoples worthiness.

    That’s your opinion, and I understand it and its motivation. However, since “fairest” is highly dependent on perspective, taxation is never going to be fair from all perspectives. Furthermore, since taxation is inherently a source of friction in commerce, it is in my view a valuable tool with which to combat forces of commercial instability, such as the Tragedy of the Commons.

    I believe that I don’t have the right to determine how someone elses fiscal success is defined or achieved.

    So you’re OK with how Madoff got his fiscal success?

  62. shortchain says:

    Mainer,

    The concentration of wealth into the hands of a very few has occurred a few times in recent history. The only time the disparity in wealth in the USA reached the current levels was just before the Great Depression.

    As GROG says, what person will be willing to take risks and sacrifice, work their tails off to build a fortune when they can have a secure future by simply living in the pocket of one of the ultra-wealthy? That’s the way it was done in old Europe, and the patronage system gave the world a lot of good things (not a tiny fraction of the good things that the USA developed during the period when the top marginal tax rate was 90 percent, of course). Of course, a lot of the “progress” made in the last few centuries occurred during periods of warfare (Napoleon’s support for research produced a lot, for example), but that’s OK, right?

    And of course, since the left has proposed taking “all their money”, as GROG says, they’re quite right to be frightened. And since their attitude is that they should be able to control “all their money”, as Gator apparently believes, given that Manichean choice, it’s going to be difficult finding a compromise…

  63. @GROG,

    It’s still money the dead person earned.

    No, it’s not. You’re looking at the magician’s assistant again. Watch the magician.

  64. Mr. Universe says:

    I know that it was me being taxed when I received my late Father’s pension, but it sure felt like the Feds were robbing my Dad of money he had already paid taxes on. Just sayin’

  65. shiloh says:

    Watch the magician.

    I’d rather watch the assistant ~ personal preference …

    >

    Really? They’re giving their ginormous fortunes to the United States Government?

    grog, (((trying))) to be funny and failing miserably. Again, all I ask for is consistency. 😉

    btw, conservatives, no matter how hard they try, just aren’t funny! 😀 It’s a DNA problem they aren’t likely to resolve any time soon …

    take care, blessings

  66. Gator says:

    @MW

    When the government prosecutes criminal behaviour, it is not making a value judgement on the worth of the person, it is making an attempt to change damaging behaviour. The prosecution doesn’t say “We don’t think you are a decent person so you must be punished”. That is a value judgement. The prosecution says “You behaved thusly and we can prove this and we will now punish you for that criminal behaviour”. That is punishment and behaviour modification. Value judgements are based on belief systems and arbitrary mutable guidelines. Criminal punishments are based on facts and damages.
    i.e. “I think this is reasonable” – as opposed to – “I can demonstrate and prove this thing”. The first is a value judgement. The second is a fact. They are not the same and your attempt to conflate the two is wrong.

    How did you get from me feeling that I don’t have the right to define someones success to me being OK with criminal activity? I don’t think drug kingpins should get to keep their IGG either. Completely different issues and disingenous of you to throw that flotsam out there.

  67. @Gator,

    How did you get from me feeling that I don’t have the right to define someones success to me being OK with criminal activity?

    From the following:

    I believe that I don’t have the right to determine how someone elses fiscal success is defined or achieved. That is what you don’t seem to get. It isn’t my place or yours to make that determination.

    You don’t believe that you have the right to determine how someone’s fiscal success is achieved. Criminal activity is but one way to achieve fiscal success.

    Or are you, perhaps, saying that you do have the right to make that determination, and that how someone achieves fiscal success is relevant?

    My issue with your comments is that you’re making sweeping statements without thinking about the broader implications of what you’re saying.

  68. shortchain says:

    Gator,

    When you say: “When the government prosecutes criminal behaviour, it is not making a value judgement on the worth of the person, it is making an attempt to change damaging behaviour.” (Spelling errors left in for verisimilitude), you do realize that you are spouting utter BS, right?

    If that were really the case, then drug laws would be drastically different than they are today. And there would be an enormous difference in incarceration for other non-violent crimes. There would be no death penalty. Bestiality would be completely legal, even outside South Carolina (as long as it was your horse).

    It is rather the case that the US criminal justice system is focused almost exclusively on punishment for what are seen as immorality. Rehabilitation is an afterthought.

  69. dcpetterson says:

    @filistro
    This is the essential conundrum for conservatives. Because the idea that “someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions” is the very cornerstone of conservatism… and yet conservatives fight tooth and claw for the right to give money upon their death to people who haven’t earned it.

    My opinion here — no facts to back this up, just an hypothesis based on the available evidence and observations:

    I think conservatives have a very, very limited notion of “society.” Their “society” consists of themselves and their immediate relatives, and other families they might marry into. The things that they think should be done for the betterment of “society” are things that help this small group of people. And no one else, for everyone else is in a competing society.

    In the case of inheritance — I earned that money, it’s mine. My family is also mine. So if I want to give my money to them, I should be able to. If someone else (the gubmint) takes it away, then it is stealing from my society to give it to someone else’s.

    The meme about “someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions” applies only to robbing between family groups. You don’t get anything that belongs to my family-society, unless you earn it. But once something has been acquired by my group, it stays here. It’s not considered as being moved anywhere unless some other group takes it — and they better earn it.

    So, inheritance, corporate welfare, or tax breaks given to me or to someone in my group is not welfare — it is something my my group earned, even if it got earned merely by being a member of my group.

    There are a lot of things that are explained by this caste/ clan / family sort of grouping mentality. That they see no contradiction between their ideas “inheritance” and their thought about “welfare” is only the tip of that iceberg. “Inheritance” is unearned money being passed from one member of the in-group to another. “Welfare” is unearned money being passed from an in-group to an out-group. See?

  70. @Mr. U,

    know that it was me being taxed when I received my late Father’s pension, but it sure felt like the Feds were robbing my Dad of money he had already paid tases on.

    Of course. The magician’s assistant is seductive, isn’t she?

  71. Gator says:

    @MW

    My issue with your responses is that you are making huge leaps from the topic we are discussing because you can’t support the narrower issues. You somehow assume that statements I made in specific reference to inheritance tax are universally applicable. They are not. I have different ideas on criminal behaviour. The validity of the tax laws was the topic. You took a statement I made regarding the validity of those laws and applied it as some sort of overarching belief system that I ostensibly have. My statements were in regard to the issue of inheritance. You conflated that with the silly idea that this is my philosophy on life and that I somehow approve of criminal activity. What you also did was run away from the heart of the argument. And it was you. I certainly didn’t bring up criminality. You did. The subject was never about criminal activity. Until you took it there.
    Grab a statement. Imbue it with unintended meaning that is completely off topic. Derail the argument. Well I guess it’s one way to try to prevail.

  72. Gator says:

    dcpetterson said:
    “There are a lot of things that are explained by this caste/ clan / family sort of grouping mentality. That they see no contradiction between their ideas “inheritance” and their thought about “welfare” is only the tip of that iceberg. “Inheritance” is unearned money being passed from one member of the in-group to another. “Welfare” is unearned money being passed from an in-group to an out-group. See?”

    The difference is that an inheritance is being given VOLUNTARILY and to the recipient that I choose. Welfare is being taken from me and given INVOLUNTARILY to someone who I have no say over. I am a better judge of who should receive my accrued assets than the government. And the fact that you believe the government is better suited to make the decision for you than for you to have the right of self determination is pathetic.

  73. @Gator, you’re missing the point. Government does have reason to make value judgments, and does so all the time, despite your earlier claim that they do not. Further, government has always used taxation as a means of affecting behavior in commerce, because it can’t not do so without eliminating taxation altogether.

    Those were two arguments you made against inheritance taxes.

    Regardless of any other side issues, inheritances are income to the recipients, and there’s no reason I can see why that income shouldn’t be taxed accordingly. The argument in favor of higher rates comes from a desire to limit familial wealth accumulation, stemming from a belief in tying one’s fiscal success to one’s own actions. I can see reasons to argue in favor or against that desire, but that’s where it comes from.

    Those who argue that it’s double taxation or taxing the dead are being fooled by the magician’s assistant at best, and disingenuous at worst. The way the tax is determined and assessed clearly points elsewhere.

  74. @Gator,

    I am a better judge of who should receive my accrued assets than the government.

    Really? “Better” using what scale? Measured by whom? Under what circumstances?

    Remember what I said about sweeping claims?

  75. filistro says:

    @DC… your whole post is perceptive, but this part sums it up There are a lot of things that are explained by this caste/ clan / family sort of grouping mentality. That they see no contradiction between their ideas on “inheritance” and their thoughts about “welfare” is only the tip of that iceberg.

    I think we were getting to this back at the old 538 when we talked about the essential difference between conservatives and liberals being the size of their “US” and the size of their “THEM.”

    Remember that conversation? We agreed that liberals have quite a large US… it can include not just “my family” but my town, my state, my country (and in some extreme cases, even the whole planet.)

    For conservatives, their US seems to be “me and mine.” Everybody else is THEM… and “they can damn well look after themselves, same way I’m looking after me and mine.”

    I don’t know how a person’s US can be enlarged. Maybe you just have to be born with a really big US 😉

  76. Gator says:

    MW said… “Really? “Better” using what scale? Measured by whom? Under what circumstances?”

    Measured by the only metric I care about as it regards this subject – me.
    But if you or others feel the need to be led or taken care of by the nanny state, that is your prerogative. I disagree. I neither want or need the help.

    And I know that govt makes value judgements. I just think it should not or it should strive mightily not to.

  77. Gator says:

    And Michael, when you begin arguing semantics and extrapolating unrelated meanings from statements… you’ve lost the argument.

  78. Gator says:

    “Uh, ummm it depends on the definition of is.”

  79. dcpetterson says:

    @Gator
    The difference is that an inheritance is being given VOLUNTARILY and to the recipient that I choose. Welfare is being taken from me and given INVOLUNTARILY to someone who I have no say over.

    I understand that. But are you the final decider over who gets what?

    The answer to that is “No,” and the reason the answer is “No” is that you do not live all by yourself on a remote island somewhere. You are part of a culture, part of a nation. You implicitly accept this fact by taking advantage of may of the benefits of this culture. You drive on our roads, you rely on our police force. If you own a business, then you rely on our consumers, and probably on our infrastructure to create and transport your products.

    You may not pick and choose which benefits you want to take advantage of, and which costs you do not wish to pay. If people could do that, they’d all be takers and no one would pay in. No, it’s all-or-nothing. If you want to be part of this culture, then you must also give back to it in the ways that We The People have decided are acceptable and necessary.

    You won’t always like it. But you are free both to go elsewhere, and to lobby for changes.

    You want to say that our nation should not have the power to decide to tax some of the money that the extremely wealthy leave to their children. (I put it that way, because estate taxes affect less than 2% of Americans.) I beg to differ. Our Constitution provides the right and power to tax, and does not specify which taxes are or are not acceptable. We, as a culture, have decided that taxing extremely large estates serves two important purposes: 1) it is a source of income for the services we feel are needed, and 2) it helps avoid too much concentration of unearned wealth.

    As I said, you are free to disagree, and to push for changes to the law. That is the point of a democracy. But has already been said, you may lose, and have to obey a law you don’t like. That is the point of a just nation; to have laws that apply to everyone.

  80. @Gator,

    Measured by the only metric I care about as it regards this subject – me.

    And therein lies the problem. That’s the path that often leads to the Tragedy of the Commons.

  81. Monotreme says:

    @fili,

    Everytime you type “US” the psychology teacher in me reads “unconditioned stimulus” (e.g. Pavlov’s dogs salivating).

  82. Gator says:

    @ dcpetterson “I understand that. But are you the final decider over who gets what?”

    That is my point. I should be for my personal property and possessions. I should be the “final decider” over my assets.

    @ MW

    That is your opinion. One man’s problem is another man’s enlightenment. You see it as problematic. I do not. Your opinion is no more nor less valid than mine. But it is, when all is said and done, simply your opinion.

  83. dcpetterson says:

    Gator said:
    Measured by the only metric I care about as it regards this subject – me.

    This seems to support my hypothesis about castes and clans and the like, or, as filistro put it, the size of one’s US.

    Gator, not everyone in this nation would agree that the only person we should consider is oneself. Our actions unavoidably affect many other people. If you act, for example, in a hostile and selfish way, then you make the world a more hostile and selfish place. You make other people more likely to treat you in a hostile and selfish way, by making hostility and selfishness more acceptable as social interactions.

    A more enlightened sort of self-interest would be to act in helpful and generous ways, for that is just as likely to change how people react to you as is a tendency to be hostile and selfish, and for the same reasons.

    If you truly cared only about yourself — and if you were truly rational — you would support more altruistic policies, under the knowledge that you are encouraging others to be generous to you.

    For this reason, the selfishness of Ayn Rand is destructive on both a societal and personal level, and is ultimately self-defeating. The instinct for self-preservation that is present in all animals extends to others in their caste or clan for this very reason. And in a world where we all are interlinked, the only rational clan is the planet.

  84. @Gator,

    Am I correct in inferring that you see nothing wrong with the Tragedy of the Commons?

    Also, you said:

    I should be the “final decider” over my assets.

    At what point are they no longer your assets?

  85. dcpetterson says:

    @Gator
    That is my point. I should be for my personal property and possessions. I should be the “final decider” over my assets.

    Then you should live alone in a desert somewhere, where your decisions will not affect those around you. If “what you do with your assets” had no effect on anyone else — and if you had no way of taking advantage of the things provided by others (like police and fire and national defense and public education and the Internet and food grown elsewhere, etc. etc.), then I would agree with you. But since you do actually take advantage of what this society provides, then it is reasonable and rational for society to require your help to provide them.

  86. Gator says:

    @ dcpetterson

    You misconstrue what I have said. I never said that I was the only one I cared about. I said my opinion on this subject is the only one I care about.

    And how do you conflate limitations on the governments power as being in any way hostile or selfish? And I disagree wholeheartedly that the planet is a brotherhood. A little delusional there DC. Have a chat with your kumbaya brothers in the Taliban. Or the Klan. We are all effectively islands and alone from birth ’til death and if you can’t see that you are wearing blinders.

  87. Gator says:

    @dcpetterson said… ” and if you had no way of taking advantage of the things provided by others (like police and fire and national defense and public education and the Internet and food grown elsewhere, etc. etc.), then I would agree with you. But since you do actually take advantage of what this society provides, then it is reasonable and rational for society to require your help to provide them.”

    You say I take advantage of what society provides. Yes and no. I consume some of what society produces but I produce far more than I consume. Ergo the estate that I have to pass along. So in fact society owes me. I produce more than I consume so those who produce less than they consume owe me. But I don’t want their payback… I just want them to leave mine alone.

  88. Gator says:

    @MW “At what point are they no longer your assets?”

    I’ll have to die and see what, if anything, is on the other side, then I’ll get back to you. For now let’s go with eternity.

  89. Gator says:

    @MW
    I think Hardin was wrong.

  90. Mainer says:

    What seems like many years ago I heard some one say that the reason he was a Democrat was because he saw a greater value in the potential of America and its people than he did in money. Maybe that is part of the US fili.

    There is an impending issue coming that could be the real story in all of this tax cut bullshit. We have one major element of the right wing movement in this country for whom the battle that looms is all about god and their evangelical zeal to make this country all but a theocracy. For the socons it is still god guns and gays and they have been willing to use fiscons to get where they want to be.

    For the fiscal conservatives it is all about money. The temple they worship at doesn’t hold Sunday services but is open most week days from 9 to 3 or later in some locations so that they can go in private spaces and worship what they see as the end all of human existence the amassing of wealth and they have been content to use the socons to get where they want to be………

    I would love to know just when it will be that the two sides will have to accept that they have each made a pact with the devil. The longer and the more political capital that is expended by the fiscons to preserve their god the more the socons are going to chafe and become less willng to listen and in the reverse the people that just bought this election for the fiscons are not going to tolerate their very high investment being squandered to make evangelical points. The whole tax cut mess has at least 3 major sets of players on the floor already and we have hardly started the game. Too bad no one remembered to hire refs most of the good seats are filled with media hacks and we the people are left on the street dealing with scalpers. High theater coming folks.

  91. Gator says:

    @ MW

    I think Ostrom was correct. Hardin was sloppy and innaccurate. There may be some limited real world cases, but he was wrong overall. Sorry.

  92. GROG says:

    @DC,

    “I think conservatives have a very, very limited notion of “society.” Their “society” consists of themselves and their immediate relatives, and other families they might marry into. The things that they think should be done for the betterment of “society” are things that help this small group of people. And no one else, for everyone else is in a competing society.”

    To some extent, I don’t disagree with your assesment. If everyone worried about themselves and their own family, society as a whole would benefit. (Warning….generalization ahead) Liberals tend to worry about what everyone else is doing. Are they paying enough taxes, or too little taxes? Are they being treated unfairly by others members of society or by their employer? Are they too rich or too poor or just right? What is their carbon footprint? They see taxes going to a government as the best way to make everyone more equitable.

    With that said, conservatives want to give and help others, they just don’t want the government to be the charity of their choice. My church does amazing things in our community to benefit groups around our town, state, country, and the world.

    It’s more about having control of where our charitable contributions go, rather than dumping it into the federal government for a bunch of bureaucrats to decide where it goes.

    Btw, DC. Is your use of the word “gubmint” supposed to be some kind of insult to the intelligence of some group of people? Serious question.

  93. @Gator,

    @MW “At what point are they no longer your assets?”

    I’ll have to die and see what, if anything, is on the other side, then I’ll get back to you. For now let’s go with eternity.

    So if you give something to someone, it’s still yours forever. Do I have that right?

  94. @Gator,

    I think Ostrom was correct. Hardin was sloppy and innaccurate.

    I agree that Hardin didn’t understand it as well as Ostrom. That’s hardly surprising. But that’s not what I meant to ask. I want to know if you see anything wrong with the outcome of these commons tragedies.

  95. @GROG,
    Your turn to answer. Do you feel that there’s anything wrong with the outcome of commons tragedies?

  96. Gator says:

    @ MW said… “I’ll have to die and see what, if anything, is on the other side, then I’ll get back to you. For now let’s go with eternity.

    So if you give something to someone, it’s still yours forever. Do I have that right?”

    A little humor challenged are we Michael? That was facetiousness. Deep breath and lighten up brother.

    MW said… “I agree that Hardin didn’t understand it as well as Ostrom. That’s hardly surprising. But that’s not what I meant to ask. I want to know if you see anything wrong with the outcome of these commons tragedies.”

    No Michael, I don’t see the commons tragedies. It is an erroneous and incorrect theorem of behaviour. Hardin was WRONG. I already said this up thread. You may accept his faulty theorem as correct, but if you do you are wrong. Because he is wrong. It is largely unsubstantiated junk group psychology.

    IMO of course. I could be wrong…. bwaaaahaaaahaaa!
    Sorry couldn’t help myself.

  97. @Gator,

    I don’t see the commons tragedies

    You don’t see that there are no longer cod in Cape Cod? Or you think humans didn’t cause it?

    You don’t see that we are running out of sources of fresh water? Or you think humans didn’t cause it?

    You don’t see that we have traffic jams in every city every day? Or you think humans don’t cause them?

    What, pray tell, causes those things to occur?

    And you didn’t sound like you were being funny about the eternity comment. Flip, yes. But my question had a point. At what point is it no longer yours?

    Would you agree that when it has been given to someone else, it’s not yours anymore?

  98. Gator says:

    @MW

    Nope, done for the night. You dream of Hardin and the impending man-made catastrophes to your hearts content. I’ll rest soundly in my insular, clannish tribal area, whilst keeping the ‘others’ (you know- the unwashed and ignorant masses) at bay and away from my women and treasure. Bon soir for now.

  99. Gator says:

    BTW Michael, if there are no longer cod in Cape Cod, they might want to consider a new moniker. That just seems like false advertising. Just sayin’.

  100. dcpetterson says:

    @Gator
    You misconstrue what I have said. I never said that I was the only one I cared about. I said my opinion on this subject is the only one I care about.

    My point is that if you live in a community, then you DO need to care about other opinions. Because you can’t avoid interacting with them. Your opinions affect them, and theirs affect you.

    And how do you conflate limitations on the governments power as being in any way hostile or selfish?

    I don’t. I do view your unconcern with the opinions of others, and your unconcern with the effect you have on others, as being both hostile and selfish.

    And I disagree wholeheartedly that the planet is a brotherhood.

    I never said “brotherhood.” Re-read my post, please.

    Have a chat with your kumbaya brothers in the Taliban. Or the Klan.

    These are perfect examples of the problems with the attitude you espouse. They are perfect examples of caring about nothing other than themselves. It is precisely that attitude which allows the Taliban and the Klan to exist and to flourish.

    Btw, DC. Is your use of the word “gubmint” supposed to be some kind of insult to the intelligence of some group of people? Serious question.

    And I will give a serious answer. I am parodying the attitude that we should elect “common people.” I am using that spelling as a satire of those who want the President to (at most) be someone who is no smarter than me or you. I am poking fun at the knee-jerk reaction of some conservatives that government is necessarily bad and corrupt — and, specifically, that it is necessarily MORE bad and corrupt than uncontrolled and unregulated business interests. It is not an “insult to the intelligence of some group.” It is to contend against those who WANT stupid people as elected officials, and who commonly show their own contempt for learning and for intellectual curiosity.

    If they want to elect stupid, then we should acknowledge this is their desire, and we should treat their desired government as stupid.

    Sarah Palin, for example, is not stupid. But she elevates the IDEA of stupid. Michele Bachmann also. That there are people who deny science — and who are proud to deny science — is an elevation of Stupid as a public good.

    I am not insulting their intelligence. I am treating their rhetoric as if they mean it.

  101. dcpetterson says:

    @Michael

    I don’t think Gator sees these as “tragedies.” I think he sees them merely as unimportant side-effects of our God-given right to rule the natural world.

    As long as his group has what it wants, who cares that Cape Cod has no cod?

  102. Gator says:

    dcpetterson said…”You misconstrue what I have said. I never said that I was the only one I cared about. I said my opinion on this subject is the only one I care about.

    My point is that if you live in a community, then you DO need to care about other opinions. Because you can’t avoid interacting with them. Your opinions affect them, and theirs affect you.”

    OK one more time. Again you miconstrue what I said. Please LOOK at what I said :
    “I said my opinion on this subject is the only one I care about.”

    My opinion ON THIS SUBJECT.

    So now your second point is foolish as well, because you said:
    “I don’t. I do view your unconcern with the opinions of others, and your unconcern with the effect you have on others, as being both hostile and selfish.”
    Once again this was : my opinion ON THIS SUBJECT.

    Then you said…”It is precisely that attitude which allows the Taliban and the Klan to exist and to flourish.”
    Tell you what, you get the rest of the world to play nice and then we’ll talk. Hell, you get everybody in one small city to play nice and we’ll talk. Until then this is pie in the sky feces. Humans aren’t built that way and your wishes WILL NOT CHANGE THAT.

    As far as the ‘gubmint’ thing I didn’t say that, Grog did. But can’t you be honest and admit you say it to be insulting and demeaning to people who have the temerity to disagree with your ‘enlightenment’.

    If you’re gonna be an asshole, own it. I do.

  103. dcpetterson says:

    @Gator
    Once again this was : my opinion ON THIS SUBJECT.

    And the subject was estate taxes, and what they say about one’s attitude toward the commons and toward one’s responsibility to the larger society in which we live. “This subject” is a large one. A willingness to ignore the vast interconnections is precisely my point.

  104. dcpetterson says:

    @Gator
    As far as the ‘gubmint’ thing I didn’t say that, Grog did. But can’t you be honest and admit you say it to be insulting and demeaning to people who have the temerity to disagree with your ‘enlightenment’.

    I never said you said it.

    But I gave you my reasons. You seem to be implying here that my reasons were something other than what I said. A serious question back to you — Are you claiming my reasons were something other than what I said they were? If you are unwilling to accept my answers, why ask the question?

  105. Jean says:

    Mainer,

    re: I would love to know just when it will be that the two sides will have to accept that they have each made a pact with the devil.

    I think the T E A fiscons are starting to get the picture and, worse, are learning the teavangelical faction is one they won’t be able to control, any more than the Republican party was.

    The usual suspects (fiscons and socons) are throwing punches over at redstate:

    Commenter 1:

    Taxed
    Enough
    Already

    has nothing to do with social engineering. Yea, gov is NOT the means to make society in the way we want it. Government is a LIMITED FUNCTION tool, not a all purpose weapon of ’society’. If society wants a change, let it change and deprive it of the force of government to enforce it.

    And anytime ‘gov’ via legislation or ruling gives individuals MORE control over their lives, it’s good, even when it is bad for THEM. Aaron, you WANT social engineering by government, just a different version than the dems, I want government out of the business of saying what is right or wrong about how I live my life and that goes for salt, transfats, marriage and anything else associated with my person.

    And next time you see rally after rally, state after state, express after express demanding an end to abortion and non-political candidates coming out of the woodwork ON THAT ISSUE, then you have a leg to stand on, until then, the Tea Party was about government getting TOO much into our lives and TOO much into debt to do it.

    And depending on the next 6-8 months, the ‘GOP’ may self inflict a fatal wound if it thinks to even compromise A LITTLE BIT of what it was sent to Washington to do. If it plans on ‘pragmatic’ tweeking of Obama’s agenda, 2012 will see a TEA PARTY that will bring pitchforks and torches to the GOP and Obama. The Tea Party movement is in SPITE of the GOP, not because of it.

    Commenter 2’s reply:

    There were anti abortion rallies going on long before the Tea Party was even a dream, many a candidate have won with this being one of their main platforms, and quite frankly, protecting the life of a human, born or otherwise, is not causing the government to get more into our lives. The whole libertarian approach to abortion is ignorant, stupid, and is not based in reality. Ending abortion would not cause the debt to rise either by the way!

    To be blunt, your take and others takes on the power of the TP has become a joke. While they are a force, they are not the king makers you try to make them out to be. And the moment they start to look like an extension of Ron Paul, like you seem to believe they are. the rest of normal society will reject them like the plague. See the rest of society recognize the fact that most laws are based on morality and always will be. Without morality, you have no law!

    Pass the popcorn, Mainer. High theatre, indeed.

  106. dcpetterson says:

    I apologize.

    I confused GROG’s comment with Gator’s. I did not read carefully enough, and I misattributed who said what. I deeply and sincerely apologize.

    I can blame some of it on the painkillers I’m on, but that doesn’t excuse it. I am truly sorry. My error, totally.

  107. Gator says:

    No, your point is that you have no reason or logic to back up your statements, so you conflate a very narrow and specific subject with a worldview. You feel you can then criticize that worldview in large general terms. And not have to defend an indefensable pile of foolishness. Logic and reason have failed you. Deal with it.

    You delude yourself if you believe that you have a comprehensive understanding of my worldview based on a blog discussion concerning estate taxes. You either have a ridiculously overinflated sense of your own perceptiveness, or you’re not very bright. Might I ask which it is?

  108. filistro says:

    Jean, Mainer…

    And here is the response today from Jim Robinson, owner of Freeperville and organizer of several Tea Party groups, to the suggestion by a poster at Free Republic that the Tea Party should not be involving itself in social issues:

    As a conservative site, Free Republic is pro-God, pro-life, pro-family, pro-Constitution, pro-Bill of Rights, pro-gun, pro-limited government, pro-private property rights, pro-limited taxes, pro-capitalism, pro-national defense, pro-freedom, and-pro America. We oppose all forms of liberalism, socialism, fascism, pacifism, totalitarianism, anarchism, government enforced atheism, abortionism, feminism, homosexualism, racism, wacko environmentalism, judicial activism, etc. We also oppose the United Nations or any other world government body that may attempt to impose its will or rule over our sovereign nation and sovereign people. We believe in defending our BORDERS, our constitution and our national sovereignty. Those who cannot live with that should simply stay away!! (saves wear and tear on my zot button) – bitterly clinging redneck… TeaPartyExpress TeaPartyRebellion … Jim

  109. dcpetterson says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Gator. You’re welcome to your opinions.

    Do you have answers to Michael’s questions about the commons, since you’re clearly not “done for the night” as you claimed? Do you think those situations he mentioned are positive or negative developments — or perhaps not positive nor negative? Do you, or do you not, view them as being manmade? Does it matter to you that they happened? Do you disagree with Michael’s opinion of what caused them to happen?

  110. Gator says:

    dcpetterson said…”But I gave you my reasons. You seem to be implying here that my reasons were something other than what I said. A serious question back to you — Are you claiming my reasons were something other than what I said they were? If you are unwilling to accept my answers, why ask the question?”

    I stated specifically what I think your reasons are. To demean and denigrate those who don’t agree with you. I believe that you may not be willing to admit, even to yourself, your true motive. But if you have any semblance of intelligence, you cannot believe that sort of discourse and language is in any way helpful or productive. And if it is not, and you are aware of that fact, then you are doing it for negative reasons. The most likely of those is simply your own animus to people of differing beliefs. So essentially you are lying about your reasons, probably even to yourself. You couldn’t face the blow to your self image if you admitted that you are just an opinionated partisan.

  111. Gator says:

    No. I was done for the night with that argument. I see no reason to address faulty theories other than to point out that they are faulty. I’ve done that.

  112. shiloh says:

    @Gator

    Have a chat with your kumbaya brothers in the Taliban. Or the Klan. We are all effectively islands and alone from birth ’til death and if you can’t see that you are wearing blinders.
    ~~~~~

    As someone who erroneously accused me of a straw man argument, your above nonsense is classic straw man lol, also quite a deflection.

    Just like sayin’ liberals and conservatives don’t agree on much either, so what ie a total red herring.

    Again, you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem!

    btw, most people have opinions and many of them are wrong and I won’t waste time expounding on the bogus, hypocritical, conservative ideology of self-reliance after cheney/bush bailed out Wall St. recently and Bush41 bailed out the savings and loan industry etc. etc. as special interest $$$ basically controls both major political parties, especially the Republicans in 2010 who were funded by high finance billionaires who want to maintain their control on politicians taking care of corporate America.

    Oh the irony of chicken hawk conservatives who would never join the military ie (5) deferment cheney, etc. As faux patriotic Republicans er cheney/bush eat their freedom fries and send soldiers to their death in a bogus/misbegotten Iraq War.

    Personal freedom my ass !!!

    No I won’t waste time.

    >

    If you’re gonna be an asshole, own it. I do.

    Indeed you do and are as it’s quite apparent … and the truth shall set you free!

    carry on

  113. dcpetterson says:

    @Gator
    I see no reason to address faulty theories other than to point out that they are faulty.

    In what way are they faulty? You didn’t say. Do you disagree that the situations Michael described are undesirable? Or do you disagree that they were manmade? Or do you disagree with the stated mechanism by which they came about? Or do you simply not like the implications if Hardin’s argument is valid, and so you decline to consider that possibility?

  114. shiloh says:

    You either have a ridiculously overinflated sense of your own perceptiveness, or you’re not very bright. Might I ask which it is?

    Classic Gator projection lol

    narrow worldview notwithstanding 😉

    ‘nuf said!

  115. I see no reason to address faulty theories other than to point out that they are faulty. I’ve done that.

    In other words: “I’ll claim it’s false and won’t bother to explain how or why.” Nice.

  116. Gator says:

    Michael I did explain why. It’s junk psychology. And I’m not going to argue junk psychology with you no matter how hard you stomp your feet. I do enjoy the back and forth, though. I’ve missed it.

  117. Gator says:

    Ah, same old Shiloh (old being the operative word).

    Not nearly as clever as you think you are.

    Not nearly as funny as you think you are

    But, but, but still using the same tired pathetic foolishness.

    Alas, in the end nothing but a bitter old reprobate just waiting on deaths sweet release. Good luck on that one.

  118. shiloh says:

    Damn gator, took you (30) minutes to come up w/that pathetic, ad hominem reply ~ Congrats! 😉

    Repeating (((in way over his head, as per usual))) gator’s quote word for word:

    If you’re gonna be an asshole, own it. I do.

    one for the road …

    If you’re gonna be an asshole, own it. I do.

    Oops!

    take care, blessings

  119. Jean says:

    fili,

    The catfight has begun in ernest. Here’s another teavangelical group weighing in.

    Concerned Women for America is first out of the gate with a response to GOProud’s attempts to get the Republicans to ignore the Religious Right’s social issues agenda.

    Not surprisingly, they have a different take on the matter. Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, in response to the GOProud letter to the Republican majority:

    “Social issues should be at the very top of the list of priorities for the new Congress, along with sensible fiscal policies. Americans voted overwhelmingly for both social and fiscal conservatives, and it would be unwise to throw social policies to the wayside and snub the voters who sent a strong message to the new Congress that they want both pro-life and fiscally conservative policies. In our post-election poll, when asked to name the biggest issue facing future generations, 62 percent of voters said it is the moral decline of our nation.

    “Concerned Women for America sent a memo to Republican leaders last week outlining three specific priorities the new Congress must address in the wake of the first pro-life majority since Roe v. Wade. I’d like to know which one — support for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, eliminating taxpayer dollars from funding embryonic stem cell research, or defunding Planned Parenthood — the signers of the GOProud letter have a problem with.”

    “There was a net 52-seat pro-life gain in the House of Representatives, an unprecedented statement that voters reject taxpayer-funded abortion and want a more conservative, pro-life legislature moving forward. Now is not the time for Republicans to back away from their own party’s foundational social issues.”

    I wonder when Bart will realize that his beloved tea party has been hijacked.

  120. shiloh says:

    btw gator, I too enjoy the back and forth 😀

  121. Gator says:

    OK Michael I was bored so here’s your refutation:

    And before we get started I must ask- you are aware that Hardins thesis is used as justification for privatization of public property, right? For transferring land owned by the collective, whatever that may be, and privatizing it.

    The tragedy of the commons is based on a paper published by Garrett Hardin in 1968 in Science magazine. It is essentially this…

    The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently, and solely and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen.

    Hardin’s essay has been widely criticized. Public policy experts have argued that Hardin’s account of the breakdown of common grazing land was inaccurate, and that such commons were effectively managed to prevent overgrazing. Referring to Hardin’s crucial passage on page 1244,17 Partha Dasgupta, for example, comments that ‘it is difficult to find a passage of comparable length and fame that contains so many errors as the one quoted’.

    Some of this controversy stems from disagreement over whether individuals will always behave in the selfish fashion posited by Hardin. Others have argued that even self-interested individuals will often find ways to cooperate, because collective restraint serves both the collective and individual interests. Hardin’s piece has also been criticised as promoting the interests of Western economic ideology. G. N. Appell, an anthropologist, states: “Hardin’s claim has been embraced as a sacred text by scholars and professionals in the practice of designing futures for others and imposing their own economic and environmental rationality on other social systems of which they have incomplete understanding and knowledge.”

    Hardin’s advocacy of clearly defined property rights has frequently been used as an argument for privatization, or private property, per se. The opposite situation to a tragedy of the commons is sometimes referred to as a tragedy of the anticommons: a situation in which rational individuals (acting separately) collectively waste a given resource by under-utilizing it
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

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

    The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons
    August 30, 2008 9:16 AM Subscribe
    The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons.
    `The author of “The Tragedy of the Commons” was Garrett Hardin, a University of California professor who until then was best known as the author of a biology textbook that argued for “control of breeding” of “genetically defective” people (Hardin 1966: 707). In his 1968 essay he argued that communities that share resources inevitably pave the way for their own destruction; instead of wealth for all, there is wealth for none….Given the subsequent influence of Hardin’s essay, it’s shocking to realize that he provided no evidence at all to support his sweeping conclusions. He claimed that the “tragedy” was inevitable — but he didn’t show that it had happened even once. Hardin simply ignored what actually happens in a real commons: self-regulation by the communities involved.`

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

    Debunking the Tragedy of the Commons
    By Tom OconellShare
    The fallacies of the “tragedy of the commons” argument have been made many times since biologist Garrett Hardin made them in 1968. But given the persistence of the metaphor as a justification for privatization, it is always worth revisiting the issue. A recent critique of the “tragedy” myth, by Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism, appears in The Bullet, an e-bulletin of the Socialist Project, an organization based in Toronto.

    Angus notes that Hardin offers no empirical evidence that herders actually overgraze their cattle on shared plots of land, let alone that this is the general rule for shared resources. He also notes that Hardin provides no evidence that private ownership necessarily manages a resource more responsibly; indeed, the “tragedy of the market” is a well-documented phenomenon. Angus also reviews briefly the political usefulness of the tragedy thesis, and its continued misuse in contemporary economics and policy.

    http://onthecommons.org/debunking-tragedy-commons

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

    Fallacy of the Commons
    Like Jon Mandle, I was repulsed by Garrett Hardin’s 1974 article Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor The idea that large sections of humanity were doomed and should be abandoned forthwith was quite popular at the time. The Paddock brothers prominently advocated a policy of “triage”, cutting off aid immediately to countries like India which were, they argued, doomed to starvation in any case. Judging by this 1996 interview, Hardin (who died last year) didn’t change his views much over time.

    Having reacted against this piece by Hardin, I was glad to discover that his more famous contribution to the environment debate, the Tragedy of the Commons was, in historical terms, a load of tripe.

    The most famous paragraph in Hardin’s piece is his summary of an 1833 article by a British clergyman, William Lloyd
    Picture a pasture open to all. It is to be expected that each herdsman will try to keep as many cattle as possible on the commons. Such an arrangement may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribal wars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beast well below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comes the day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal of social stability be comes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic of the commons remorselessly generates tragedy.
    I vividly remember Partha Dasgupta saying (I quote from memory),
    There can be few passages in the literature on the environment so brief and well-known that contain as many errors as this one
    . He has a more measured statement of the case here.
    Prior to hearing this, I’d written a Masters thesis in which, among other things, I’d trawled through the historical literature on how common property systems actually worked, showing that they were never “open to all”, and that all members of the group of common owners had tightly-specifed (and, in a feudal system, highly unequal) rights1. As soon as grazing pressure built up, common grazing land was “stinted” (numbers of cattle were limited) a practice that was almost universal by the late Middle Ages. Common property systems were neither the anarchy pictured by Hardin nor the utopia imagined by some romantic socialists (the Diggers were a rare example of a group who tried to put a utopian vision of common property into practice).

    http://www.johnquiggin.com/archives/001679.html

    So alrighty then. You might want to rethink Hardin as your go to answer Michael.

  122. Gator says:

    @ Shiloh

    Blog comments… for when your pacemaker just isn’t cutting it!

  123. Gator says:

    Well I’m shocked. It’s gotten really quiet in here since I showed that the “Tragedy of the Commons” was a steaming pile of offal and it’s author was an even larger steaming pile of offal. And pay close attention to the sources. Both libertarian and socialist refutation of this foolishness.

    You didn’t want to leave it alone and so this is what you get. Been fun playin’ though.

  124. @Gator,
    I was busy elsewhere (I do have a life besides this site). I am aware of the criticisms, but they are criticisms not of the cause, but rather of the remedies.

    You may recall that I said earlier today that Ostrum understood the situation better. She has better thought out remedies. But she does not dispute the cause.

    Good stewardship combats the tragedies. But the real tragedy to me is the frequency with with good stewardship is eschewed in favor of individualism to the point of making everyone worse off.

  125. Gator says:

    This theory was garbage perptrated by garbage and is indefensible. You quote a repudiated paper by a reprehensible human being. You challenge me on my assertion that it was crap. I prove that it is crap and your response is to backpedal and throw out platitudes. Sad really.

  126. Gator says:

    perpetrated, dammit! Where is edit? arrghh

  127. The point is that the paper may have had false premises as part of it, but that doesn’t make everything he wrote incorrect.

    Those who counter the fundamentals point out that there are many cases where people are capable of working together to counter the overuse of the resource. When that happens, it is, in effect, a localized form of socialism.

    Such collaborations can work well, provided the affected group is relatively small. The larger the group becomes, the harder it is to maintain the organization organically. As you get into the range of a couple hundred people, the social forces start to break down, due to the shift toward anonymity that occurs in larger groups.

  128. DCPetterson says:

    Quite so, Michael. Hardin outlined a problem. I also disagree heartily with his suggested solution. The instances pointed out by others in which solutions were actually found provide instances of effective socialism.

    Rampant and uncontrolled capitalism, when applied to a commons, can lead to the problems Hardin described. We see that every day in situations such as what you listed earlier, Michael (traffic problems, over-fishing of Cape Cod Bay, etc.) We see it also with things like global climate disruption, where no single corporation or nation has control of the commons (the air), and therefore is not subject to the immediate and negative effects of polluting it.

    When, however, the commons is actually held in common, and managed in common, for the long-term good of all participants, that is near to the classical definition of socialism. That is a far better solution than Hardin’s suggestion that the commons be divided up into areas of private ownership. Hardin’s remedy carries many hidden dangers — for example, that some areas of the commons may inherently be more productive than others, and the owners of that area, therefore, may become more successful, leading to rivalries and possibly wars.

    The true solution is to have the entire commons “owned” by a single entity that manages and restricts and regulates its use. This is essentially what takes place in every one of the “self-regulating” examples Hardin’s critics describe. The entity that “owns” the commons is the regulatory body, as formal or informal as that may be.

    Over-use happens when the benefits are privatized but the risks are public. This is the tragedy of the commons. It can be avoided by proper regulation of both risk and benefit. That is basic socialism.

  129. Gator says:

    OK you guys are funny. I prove that the paper you cite is garbage. I prove that the guy who wrote it is garbage. I show you expositions on the many ways it is garbage. You acknowledge that:
    ” yeah, everything we said is based on junk science, everything we said is essentially a load of crap, but hey we’re still right because… because… well just because dammit.”

    Logic fail, citation fail… you FAILED! You are WRONG! Man up and admit it. Have you no self-respect?

  130. Gator says:

    Killing you that someone you identify as a ‘rightie’ kicked your mental asses, huh? Well sharpen those mental rapiers fellas, you’re going to need them… because I’ll be doing that on a regular basis.

  131. DCPetterson says:

    @Gator
    I prove that the paper you cite is garbage.

    No, you quoted a bunch of people who claimed his paper was wrong. You provided no actual evidence, just a collection of opinions. So you “proved” nothing. Let me know when you have some actual data, instead of a mere anthology of negative verbiage.

    I prove that the guy who wrote it is garbage.

    Again, no. But irrelevant in any case, since someone’s personal quirks have nothing to do with the quality of their work.

  132. Bart DePalma says:

    This is the essential conundrum for conservatives. Because the idea that “someone’s fiscal success should be entirely dependent upon his or her own actions” is the very cornerstone of conservatism… and yet conservatives fight tooth and claw for the right to give money upon their death to people who haven’t earned it.

    Not at all. Two points…

    1) The person who earned the money has every right to give it to who he or she pleases.

    2) The beneficiary to whom the bequest is given is at least as worthy as the government who seeks to take it. Neither the bureaucrats or the government dependents a death tax would reward have earned the money either.

    The only purpose of the death tax is to redistribute money from folks after they die and can no longer object.

  133. Gator says:

    No, you know what dcpetterson YOU PROVE THE THEORY IS CORRECT. If you throw out a theory, then it is encumbent upon you to prove its validity. I have already demonstrated with citations from numerous sources (and Michael acknowledged) that this theory is crap. You just aren’t man enough to admit you were wrong. I said it was crap and showed numerous citations backing me up. You guys quoted the theory and have shown NOTHING to back it up.

    You are wrong and too weak to admit it. Pathetic. Or maybe you can blame your ‘confusion’ on your meds. LMAO!

  134. dcpetterson says:

    @Bart
    The beneficiary to whom the bequest is given is at least as worthy as the government who seeks to take it.

    It’s not a question of the “worth” of a “government” (or of the inheritors, for that matter). You seem to believe that the “government” merely seizes tax money for its own benefit and does nothing with it.

    Funds paid in taxes do not merely disappear into some government mattress. Other than interest payments, all of that money is either immediately reinvested in the economy through various contracts or salaries (infrastructure, government employees, etc.) or set aside for future benefits and payments to individuals (Social Security, Medicare, etc.). And those interest payments I mentioned go to banks and bond holders, and are also immediately reinvested in the economy.

    Conservatives seem to have this notion that tax money merely disappears. It doesn’t. The money is used to perform the functions that We the People have decided the nation must do. And all of it circulates back into the economy.

    So it’s not a matter of “worth.” Your “worthiness” argument is a total red herring.

    As for your first argument:

    The person who earned the money has every right to give it to who he or she pleases.

    This is a reasonably enough opinion. But it is only your opinion. It is not the only possible opinion. Certainly America’s founding fathers disagreed with you, since they were very suspicious of inherited wealth, and did not want to see the development of an aristocracy within the United States. We don’t need an idle ruling class here.

  135. Mainer says:

    Fili, Jean……I think we are the only ones looking at this (saw it last night but was kind of enthralled with the Monday night football game) but this is amazing that we can have a large web site that is this burried in venom and might be the most hypocritical and contradictory group I have seen in my life time. I have comments burried in the text and don’t do some ot the html stuff so it may not be very readable. Here goes any way:

    As a conservative site, Free Republic is pro-God,(as long as it is god as they see it, I don’t even want to get into the whole Muslim vs. Christian thing but consider that we had a serious dust up here at one point becaue we had children coming to school and proclaiming that our Catholic students were not christians) pro-life,(really???? let the mother die before allowing an abortion, lets go to war and kill,kill,kill, most likely to supportt he death penalty??????) pro-family,(ok, but who isn’t? I do not see any side having a lock on this. Because I am a progressive I am not for my family?????) pro-Constitution,(as has been shown on here many times only if they can read into the constitution wht they want to say) pro-Bill of Rights,(yes aren’t we all but only again if they are allowed to read to favor their own positions) pro-gun,(I find this put in an intersting way. So now in their world view guns have rights.I have guns, I have many guns, I have been licensed to sell guns. I feel no need to think my right to have them or use them is threatened. I see no need for people to have unlimited access to assault weapons even though I might have them. This is so blatently used to stir up the uninformed that I feel bad for those that have fought long and hard to protect legit gun ownership and use.) pro-limited government,(by whose definition??You want in my bedroom and call that limited? You are all for government spying to sort of protect you from boogeymen but you want it limited?) pro-private property rights,(most people do. But we have things like planning boards so one can’t start a pig farm next to housing subdivision or vice versa, just more of the same I I am living in the 1800’s and no one has the right to tell me what I can do) pro-limited taxes,( god forbid they should have to pay some thing to live here. With federal taxes at the lowest rates of my lifetime this is so so bullshit. Let the tax cuts die and get us out of debt…..all of the cuts) pro-capitalism,(yup it works as long as it has guidelines to follow without them it is nothing more than economic anarchy) pro-national defense,(fine but do we need to spend what we are spending to acheive it?) pro-freedom,(I would ask for whom but this isn’t some thing that counts as a sound bite…….well apparently it is for some. I on the right and I believe in freedom but if you are on the left you don’t?????bullshit) and-pro America.(yeah and theywill be jingoistic to the max to prove it. I am a progressive my family has fought in just about every armed engagement since well before we were a country and will continue to do so but I am a progressive so I must be less pro America) We oppose all forms of liberalism, socialism, fascism, pacifism, totalitarianism, anarchism, government enforced atheism, abortionism, feminism, homosexualism, racism, wacko environmentalism, judicial activism, etc. We also oppose the United Nations or any other world government body that may attempt to impose its will or rule over our sovereign nation and sovereign people.(beware the black helicopters. Just more be afraid be very afraid of some thing any thing. But more of the same narrow US THEM divide) We believe in defending our BORDERS, (me too did it for years but short of shooting any one getting near it we have some work to do)our constitution and our national sovereignty. Those who cannot live with that should simply stay away!! (saves wear and tear on my zot button) (I may have to test his zot button as most of this just pisses me off and if we are willing to put up with Bart then they should be forced to endure me) – bitterly clinging redneck… TeaPartyExpress TeaPartyRebellion … Jim (yeah don’t come here and try to inject any level or form of opposition to our pity party. We do not want any disenting voices because we reject any thing that isn’t US……..damn THEM are not real Americans anyway for Sarah and the conservative choir hath spake.

  136. filistro says:

    Mainer, you had better stay away from Free Republic. Truly, they’ve gotten so awful lately, your blood pressure couldn’t stand it… and we need you alive and kicking and full of beans.

  137. Gator says:

    @Mainer

    Got to agree with Fili. You get out on the fringes and it’s really ugly. Why subject yourself to that? It’s like staring at a turd.

  138. filistro says:

    Gator… I spend a a lot of time over there (I’m researching the impact of social conservatives on American politics)… and it’s always like a breath of fresh air to come back here and talk to conservatives like you who are right-wing but still reasonable, balanced and funny.

    It restores my faith in my fellow man.

    (That doesn’t mean you’re not a blockhead, of course. It’ just that, unlike the Freepers, you are a likeable blockhead 😛

  139. @Gator,

    I prove that the paper you cite is garbage.

    First of all, you proved nothing. You provided citations of others who disagreed with his example and conclusions, conclusions with which I, too, disagree. Second, I didn’t cite the paper. I cited the term, as shorthand for the problem, not as a proposal for the solution. That you chose to take my reference and turn it into a full-blown endorsement of his entire paper is all on you.

    I have long been aware that the specific example of the grazing on the common was a poor example. A poor example doesn’t mean that the theory is wrong in all instances. Overfishing, overuse of freshwater, and traffic patterns are all good examples. You are certainly free to explain how those scenarios occurred via some other theory. I’d be interested to hear it.

    Furthermore, you said

    I think Ostrom was correct.

    Ostrom agreed with the problem, and thus so do you, apparently. And I was quick to agree with you that Ostrom had a better handle on the overall situation than did Hardin. For you to go on with your later diatribes, then, is disingenuous.

    It appears from where I sit that your goal is to debate for the sake of debating, rather than having a serious discussion of the problems facing our nation and potential solutions to them.

  140. @Gator,

    No, you know what dcpetterson YOU PROVE THE THEORY IS CORRECT.

    No, you know what Gator…you don’t have a clue about scientific theories if you make a statement like “prove the theory is correct.” That’s a dodge used by the anti-science crowd when trying to discredit science because they can’t ever prove anything.

    Science isn’t about proof. It’s about evidence.

  141. Gator says:

    @ MW

    Blah blah blah. You lost the debate- deal with it. You still have not shown any citation supporting anything you’ve said, just spewed more of your personal opinion. Good luck with that.

    Man, I really got under you and dcpettersons skin, huh? Little testy when you’re made to look foolish? Sorry for yourselves! Bwaaahaaahaaa!

    Have a lovely day. I’m off to the golf course. And Michael, despite your deficits as a debater as evidenced on this thread, you did a nice job on the site.

  142. Gator says:

    @ Fili

    “(That doesn’t mean you’re not a blockhead, of course. It’ just that, unlike the Freepers, you are a likeable blockhead ”

    Bet Michael and DC don’t think so! LMAO!

    @MW you said…”It appears from where I sit that your goal is to debate for the sake of debating, rather than having a serious discussion of the problems facing our nation and potential solutions to them.”

    Sort of. I like to tweak self-important pedants and watch their tiny little brains boil. And I don’t take much seriously. So now you get to decipher and/or demonstrate whether in fact you are one of those I referred to (self-important pedants), or someone who can acknowledge when they are wrong and someone with a sense of humor. I’m betting on the former. You’ve failed to prove me wrong in the debate… now is your chance to prove me wrong in my assessment of you. Or not. Either way you cannot now, nor will you ever best me. Accept that and you will be at peace.

  143. dcpetterson says:

    There’s not much one can do when someone unable to support his position simply declares victory and withdraws. Gator, I salute you for your decision to declare victory. Your trophy sits next to President Nixon’s.

  144. @Gator,

    I like to tweak self-important pedants and watch their tiny little brains boil.

    I apologize for taking you seriously. I won’t make that mistake again.

  145. shortchain says:

    Gator,

    If you think you “won”, you are delusional.

  146. shiloh says:

    @gatordad

    Killing you that someone you identify as a ‘rightie’ kicked your mental asses, huh?

    Blah blah blah. You lost the debate- deal with it.
    ~~~~~

    At the old 538, gatordad was the copy/paste king ie in his myopic world view, everything he cited was the gospel er scientifictruth, end of story and as has been correctly stated above, one can copy/paste until the cows come home, but opinion is still opinion and biased/incorrect opinion is still biased/incorrect opinion.

    Unlike Bartles, who gets proven wrong repeatedly and still stays, gd will eventually get tired of being made to look like a complete and total idiot and will quietly leave after he has used up all of his (((childish ad hominems))).

    >

    It’s his m.o. ie a lot of pent up, conservative anger that eventually explodes and the real gd is revealed! At the old blog it took a couple mos. At 538 Refugees it took a couple days lol.

  147. Gator says:

    @ Shiloh

    For a 80 year old guy with an IQ of 70 you sure talk a lot. As I remember, you and you elderly friend DCoward were afraid to even mention me by name at 538 because I would have hunted down your geriatric crony and whipped his ass. We can take a look at those old threads if ya’ want. Or we can ask Mr U. I’m sure he’ll remember. In fact he admonished me once for being to hard on you and DCoward. And you take a lot of shots at other people for a guy who has NEVER posted anything that even resembles a fact.

    As far as copy and paste… yeah pretty ridiculous of me to post articles with citations supporting my position, especially since no one arguing with me bothered to post anything but their opinion. And I was done with the argument until I was challenged to provide evidence for my position. In case you morons don’t get it, you don’t prevail in a debate by posting your opinion when the othe guy is posting supporting documentation. But if spewing stupidity and claiming the upper hand make ya’ happy, feel free to revel in your stupidity. Oh wait, you already do.

    And I don’t know where you got the idea I would leave. I never left 538 even after the move. And I wasn’t the pu**y that was afraid to say my name. You want to dispute this, I’ve got some of those old threads saved. You want to deny it, do it. Then not only will you look like a fool (ya’ already do) but I’ll show you to be a liar and a coward as well. And as I said above, other people on here were there and will remember exactly how it was. So deny it. I dare you, you old POS. I’d like nothing better than to show you for the lying sack of sh** you are.

    And this is why I have been offline since yesterday. I had to have my bullmastiff put to sleep yesterday. I went out in the morning and he had taken a bad turn for the worse. I will be offline for several more days because of this, but I could not let your BS go without response. This is from an email I sent to my friends yesterday afternoon:

    I just wanted to let everyone know… today I lost my best friend.

    My dog, my brother, my best friend Sumo died today.

    He had cancer and the pain had gotten overwhelming.

    My heart is broken. I love him more than any pet I’ve ever had. I love him more than almost all the people I have ever known. He was the sweetest, gentlest giant with the biggest heart. My world will never be the same. I trust that he will be waiting for me in whatever lies beyond this world.

    As someone once said: “If dogs don’t go to Heaven, then I don’t want to either. I want to go wherever dogs go.”

    RIP my brother. I love you now and always.

  148. Monotreme says:

    @Gator:

    I’m sorry to hear about Sumo’s death. I know your pain well, and I share it with you.

  149. Gator says:

    Shiloh I don’t much care if you believe me or not, but I had to put my dog down yesterday. He had osteosarcoma cancer and the pain meds (tramadol) had quit working. He was 10 years old and my best buddy.

  150. shiloh says:

    gator, hopefully calling someone a lot of childish names on the internet makes you feel better …

  151. Realist says:

    @shiloh,

    Obviously, none of us can know for sure whether it’s true or not, but in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I find it exceptionally unclassy that you would respond in such a callous fashion. That was truly uncalled for.

  152. shiloh says:

    btw, for the record, gator called everyone who easily slammed/negated his feeble copy/paste argument (2) days ago a moron: In case you morons don’t get it

    ‘nuf said!

  153. shiloh says:

    @Realist

    That was truly uncalled for.
    ~~~~~

    Please reread gator’s post and if you want to discuss unclassy further, let me know.

  154. filistro says:

    Gator,so sorry to hear about Sumo.

    I’ve been thinking about this lately, and I’ve decided dogs have an immortal soul just like we do. There’s too much unique individualism there.. too much personality and sense of self, for it all to just end.

    Besides, dogs are capable of such great love, and love is the one thing that will endure when everything else in this physical world is gone.

    So yes… you’ll see him again.

  155. Gator says:

    Fili

    I have had many dogs, but my big boy was different. I’ve never been this profoundly sad after losing a pet. I had to take him in and have him put to sleep because the tramadol quit working, then we tried Tylenol 4s and they didn’t work. He was in pain and I loved him so much, too much to let him suffer. But now I can barely breathe. I hurt more than I thought possible. God, I hope you’re right about something beyond. I have only been this bereft once before in my life. The last 36 hours feel like a nightmare.

    To anyone else raeding this… sorry about the downer and please no condolences. Words don’t heal grief, time does.

  156. filistro says:

    Gator… you did the right thing for him.

    And you’re right… it just takes time. Nothing else helps at all.

  157. Monotreme says:

    @Gator:

    Not a condolence, exactly, but I do want you to know I share your pain. I have lived with dogs as my companions for over 25 years. In that time, I’ve had to put all but the two we have now to sleep. Each one is different. I grieve for each one in a different way.

    In dogs, we have an expression: our “heart dog”. I don’t love my current two any less, but Annie, who suffered from canine cognitive dysfunction (dog Alzheimer’s) was my heart dog. She was born March 22, 1993 and died January 19, 2008. She almost made it to 16, but at 15 years 10 months her mental anguish was so great I had no choice but to release her. She and I were partners and constant companions for all that time, and even though we didn’t always get along, I loved her more than anything. I still miss her.

    We have, in our house, small “shrines” set up for each of our dogs. We have an urn with their ashes, their collar, and a few things that represent them. This is how we honor and respect their memories.

  158. Gator says:

    Treme

    He was my heart dog. What a beautiful way to say it. I have spent more time with him for the last ten years than with anyone else. He was my daily companion. I was blessed to have had this amazing creature in my world for as long as I did. OK now I can’t type crying too hard. Thanks for heart dog. That is what he was.

  159. DC Petterson says:

    Gator, I’m truly sorry to hear about your dog. I’ve been there. It’s a great loss, and you have my sympathy.

  160. Gator says:

    @ DC Petterson

    Thank you. It’s amazing how dogs touch peoples lives and hearts. I agree with Fili… they must have souls. A friend sent me this and I am trying to heed the words(it didn’t work, just made me start crying all over again):

    Grieve not,
    nor speak of me with tears,
    but laugh and talk of me
    as if I were beside you.
    I loved you so
    t’was heaven here with you.

    — Isla Paschal Richardson

    Thank you to everyone who has posted their kind words and thoughts. I will be back on here arguing with you soon.

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