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An entertainer worth a few hundred million dollars inadvertently offers a teachable moment while singing the praises of Bernie Sanders:

Someone could call me a liberal, and I’d say, “Thank you.” Someone could call me a socialist, and I’d say, “I wish I was a socialist.” I should get a shirt that says, “Tax me! Tax the fuck out of me!” … That in the richest and the most powerful country in the world we can’t house our own people and we can’t take care of people who have fallen through the cracks and that we don’t have a safety net to look after each other is fucking astounding.

The Treasury Department accepts unconditional “Gifts to the U.S. Government”. Anyone who wants to pay more in taxes may do so.

For someone who enjoys a net worth orders of magnitude greater than that of the median American household to 1) laud the idea of increasing the individual tax burden, 2) refuse to voluntarily increase his own tax burden, and 3) then voice support for using the power of the state to force people at gunpoint who make far less money than he does to do what he refuses to freely do on his own is one hell of a shameless two step.

Parenthetically, that this dated post appears to come out of left field is a consequence of my having forgotten to post it after drafting it four years ago.

 
• Category: Culture/Society, Economics • Tags: Entertainment 
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  1. Dave Matthews is a royal douchebag.

    But taxing rich people until there are no more rich people is the greatest idea since sliced bread.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    Millionaires are usually individuals or families that have worked hard or came up with great ideas and businesses that have been successful. In other words, they have justifiably earned their wealth.

    Billionaires are usually sociopaths who have had to do something dreadful to a child in order to gain entry into the globalist vampire class. The financial sector is the incubator for these bloodsuckers.
  2. AMEN!

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    Just to make it clear, that AMEN was for the great succinct post by A.E., not the usual stupidity in that first obxxxxxx comment. Sure, that's right, you bring the tax rates up to where no one will TRY TO get rich. We'll all be Cubans now, yea!
  3. Speaking of his stupidity regarding what charity is about and people falling through the cracks, Dave Matthews’ band is also known for one of the most blatant pieces of hypocrisy seen out of the world of lefty rock artists. It was 15 years ago when the band’s tour bus dumped 800 lb of raw sewage out the tour bus through the cracks of the grated deck of the Kinzie St. bridge in downtown Chicago. We may have never heard about this enviro-hypocrisy, had not the Chicago’s Little Lady tour boat been cruising under the bridge at the time, with 100 tourists.

    “Do as I sing, not as I do.”

    – Dave Matthews

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fw76FKcEU3k
  4. @Achmed E. Newman
    AMEN!

    Just to make it clear, that AMEN was for the great succinct post by A.E., not the usual stupidity in that first obxxxxxx comment. Sure, that’s right, you bring the tax rates up to where no one will TRY TO get rich. We’ll all be Cubans now, yea!

    • Replies: @silviosilver
    And yet, there are plenty of people trying to get rich in Sweden (and succeeding). Clearly - ie empirically - the point at which the tax burden becomes so great it snuffs out all incentive has not yet been reached.
  5. For someone who enjoys a net worth orders of magnitude greater than that of the median American household to 1) laud the idea of increasing the individual tax burden, 2) refuse to voluntarily increase his own tax burden, and 3) then voice support for using the power of the state to force people at gunpoint who make far less money than he does to do what he refuses to freely do on his own is one hell of a shameless two step.

    I don’t see any contradiction in wanting either everyone, or at least everyone in a given economic class, to pay a higher rate of tax while refusing to voluntarily burden solely myself with that higher tax.

    If I say I want the tax rate to be higher, then I’m clearly implying that as long as everyone else pays that rate, I’m happy to pay it too. But if no one else does, there’s no reason I should.

    • Agree: Rosie
    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
    "If I say I want the tax rate to be higher, then I’m clearly implying that as long as everyone else pays that rate, I’m happy to pay it too. But if no one else does, there’s no reason I should."

    You're being disingenuous. Saying that you want the tax rate to be higher implies a willingness to pay it yourself, period, not that you're willing to pay only on the condition that there is total compliance with the higher rate being levied.

    The point that was made is that Dave Matthews is unwilling to donate money himself, and instead wants to saddle everyone with higher taxes to pay for what he wants to see government do. That is typical of wealthy celebrities who pretend to want to help people less fortunate. What you wrote doesn't invalidate the point.
    , @Audacious Epigone
    Putting the initiation of force as a moral issue aside, as a policy preference, I find it reasonable enough.

    But as a moral imperative? The position is obviously bunk. If you think the government should be entitled to more in taxation, give the government more in taxation. What, that moral imperative doesn't apply unless other people are forced to do it, too?
  6. @Achmed E. Newman
    Just to make it clear, that AMEN was for the great succinct post by A.E., not the usual stupidity in that first obxxxxxx comment. Sure, that's right, you bring the tax rates up to where no one will TRY TO get rich. We'll all be Cubans now, yea!

    And yet, there are plenty of people trying to get rich in Sweden (and succeeding). Clearly – ie empirically – the point at which the tax burden becomes so great it snuffs out all incentive has not yet been reached.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    Hell, I've reached it. I got to a point where all additional extortions from my pay check added to > 40 cents on the dollar. "Nah", why work harder? OTOH, I'll admit that getting rich is not my great goal anyway, but I can see numbers like 50% being very discouraging for an actual wage earner or small businessman.

    You see, Silvio, your examples in Sweden use the same types of loopholes of people all over the world that game the complicated system. It's the small guy who doesn't have the resources (accountants and lawyers and connections) to get through the maze, who is greatly burdened. Some of these guys could have been competitors to the globalist elite Bezo's, Gate's, Zuckerberg's etc. who commenters here rightly deride. But NO, you gotta know someone, in crony capitalism, to get ahead.
    , @Curmudgeon
    People continually point to Sweden without understanding the context. For 30 years Sweden, under Social Democratic Prime Minister Tage Erlender, took Sweden to the highest standard of living in the world with high levels of social programs, while having lower taxes than the US and being second in military spending, only to the US. Sweden had very low rates of immigration and insisted immigrants integrate or be deported. At the time, Sweden's steel was considered better than Germany's, it was a world leader in medical research and medical equipment, inventing, among other things, the pacemaker. It produced its own military equipment, including aircraft. It's autos were world leaders in safety design.
    That all changed when Olaf Palme and the "younger" Social Democrats took over when Erlender and his contemporaries retired. Palme bought into multiculturalism, and started the slow shift Sweden has undergone from its decades of successful armed neutrality. It was Palme and his cadre that jump started Sweden's decline into today's hell, and massively increased taxes to support mass immigration. The irony is, that until recently, there has been no political party that has opposed the insanity.
    Just as in every other Western country, the focus is on "lower taxes", not the reason for taxes being raised. My late uncle, who would be considered a dinosaur conservative, told me more than 40 years ago, that real conservatives understood why full employment was necessary: when people are working, they are less likely to get into trouble, and they pay taxes. The taxes allow public infrastructure to be built, including schools, which in itself, creates jobs. When people have disposable income, they buy houses and manufactured goods, which creates employment. That model was based on the concept that free trade was bad for the economy, and tariffs supported internal industries and kept international trade to levels nearer to necessity than desire.
    It's the globalists, of which Palme was one, who have raised taxes to keep industries from moving out of the country through free trade agreements. We are subsidizing them through income taxes, when tariffs kept foreign products out, or at least made them less attractive. Globalists import poverty. Old Social Democrats like Tage Erlender understood that.
  7. @silviosilver
    And yet, there are plenty of people trying to get rich in Sweden (and succeeding). Clearly - ie empirically - the point at which the tax burden becomes so great it snuffs out all incentive has not yet been reached.

    Hell, I’ve reached it. I got to a point where all additional extortions from my pay check added to > 40 cents on the dollar. “Nah”, why work harder? OTOH, I’ll admit that getting rich is not my great goal anyway, but I can see numbers like 50% being very discouraging for an actual wage earner or small businessman.

    You see, Silvio, your examples in Sweden use the same types of loopholes of people all over the world that game the complicated system. It’s the small guy who doesn’t have the resources (accountants and lawyers and connections) to get through the maze, who is greatly burdened. Some of these guys could have been competitors to the globalist elite Bezo’s, Gate’s, Zuckerberg’s etc. who commenters here rightly deride. But NO, you gotta know someone, in crony capitalism, to get ahead.

    • Replies: @silviosilver

    but I can see numbers like 50% being very discouraging for an actual wage earner or small businessman.
     
    I'm not at all convinced that high taxes are any significant disincentive to wage earners. The "good jobs" are the good jobs no matter what the marginal rate is. Does becoming the foreman, say, or moving from middle management into upper management really require anyone to "work harder"? Or is it more a matter of making the right allies and acquiring the necessary skills? And even if it did require working harder, the increase in status that accompanies promotion is alone sufficient to justify pursuing it.

    With respect to business, the taxation rate can indeed influence investment decisions, which have implications for the broader economy. So I think it's wiser to focus on raising personal income tax rates rather than corporate taxes.

    Some of these guys could have been competitors to the globalist elite Bezo’s, Gate’s, Zuckerberg’s etc. who commenters here rightly deride. But NO, you gotta know someone, in crony capitalism, to get ahead.
     
    Let me get this straight: Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos epitomize entrenched 'old money' establishment interests to you, who only got where they are through their political connections?

    You see, Silvio, your examples in Sweden use the same types of loopholes of people all over the world that game the complicated system.
     
    I don't know what mysterious loopholes you're talking about (and I doubt you do either). All I said about Sweden is that it's possible to get rich there despite their higher taxes. And I didn't really have in mind billionaires when I said that; I simply meant it's possible to start with very little and do quite well for yourself, just as it is in America.
  8. A progressive tax is a good thing.

    The use of state power, including taxation, to ameliorate the harmful effects of our economic structure and policies upon our less capable citizens is a good thing.

    Opposing, on principle, the use of state power in a manner that benefits the whole is a bad thing.

    Objecting to particular policies or actions, especially those that are unfair, arbitrary, corrupt, ineffective or inefficient is fair game.

    • Agree: dfordoom, SunBakedSuburb
  9. I never liked Dave Matthews’ music. Always thought it was boring and uninspired. Now I have another reason not to listen to him.

  10. @silviosilver
    And yet, there are plenty of people trying to get rich in Sweden (and succeeding). Clearly - ie empirically - the point at which the tax burden becomes so great it snuffs out all incentive has not yet been reached.

    People continually point to Sweden without understanding the context. For 30 years Sweden, under Social Democratic Prime Minister Tage Erlender, took Sweden to the highest standard of living in the world with high levels of social programs, while having lower taxes than the US and being second in military spending, only to the US. Sweden had very low rates of immigration and insisted immigrants integrate or be deported. At the time, Sweden’s steel was considered better than Germany’s, it was a world leader in medical research and medical equipment, inventing, among other things, the pacemaker. It produced its own military equipment, including aircraft. It’s autos were world leaders in safety design.
    That all changed when Olaf Palme and the “younger” Social Democrats took over when Erlender and his contemporaries retired. Palme bought into multiculturalism, and started the slow shift Sweden has undergone from its decades of successful armed neutrality. It was Palme and his cadre that jump started Sweden’s decline into today’s hell, and massively increased taxes to support mass immigration. The irony is, that until recently, there has been no political party that has opposed the insanity.
    Just as in every other Western country, the focus is on “lower taxes”, not the reason for taxes being raised. My late uncle, who would be considered a dinosaur conservative, told me more than 40 years ago, that real conservatives understood why full employment was necessary: when people are working, they are less likely to get into trouble, and they pay taxes. The taxes allow public infrastructure to be built, including schools, which in itself, creates jobs. When people have disposable income, they buy houses and manufactured goods, which creates employment. That model was based on the concept that free trade was bad for the economy, and tariffs supported internal industries and kept international trade to levels nearer to necessity than desire.
    It’s the globalists, of which Palme was one, who have raised taxes to keep industries from moving out of the country through free trade agreements. We are subsidizing them through income taxes, when tariffs kept foreign products out, or at least made them less attractive. Globalists import poverty. Old Social Democrats like Tage Erlender understood that.

    • Replies: @silviosilver

    People continually point to Sweden without understanding the context.
     
    The context of this discussion is the alleged economic disincentives created by high taxes, regardless of the reasons for those high taxes. I used the example of Sweden to argue that since it's possible to grow rich in that country despite its high taxes, high taxes don't necessarily destroy incentives (as libertarians would have it).
  11. @Achmed E. Newman
    Speaking of his stupidity regarding what charity is about and people falling through the cracks, Dave Matthews' band is also known for one of the most blatant pieces of hypocrisy seen out of the world of lefty rock artists. It was 15 years ago when the band's tour bus dumped 800 lb of raw sewage out the tour bus through the cracks of the grated deck of the Kinzie St. bridge in downtown Chicago. We may have never heard about this enviro-hypocrisy, had not the Chicago's Little Lady tour boat been cruising under the bridge at the time, with 100 tourists.

    "Do as I sing, not as I do."

    - Dave Matthews

    • LOL: Achmed E. Newman
  12. @obwandiyag
    Dave Matthews is a royal douchebag.

    But taxing rich people until there are no more rich people is the greatest idea since sliced bread.

    Millionaires are usually individuals or families that have worked hard or came up with great ideas and businesses that have been successful. In other words, they have justifiably earned their wealth.

    Billionaires are usually sociopaths who have had to do something dreadful to a child in order to gain entry into the globalist vampire class. The financial sector is the incubator for these bloodsuckers.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    You have it about right.

    And you bring up a funny truth. A million dollars isn't much money today. But it still sounds like a lot of money to most people. Hell, it sounds like a lot of money to me. And thus, when you criticize "rich people," they think you're referring to that nice doctor down the street who has a couple million socked away. Trillionaires (I am convinced they exist) are far beyond their innumerate abilities to conceive.
  13. “for using the power of the state to force people at gunpoint”

    Tired libertarian talking point. Here’s an equally tired socialist talking point to counter the libertard: Taxes are the price of civilization. The truth, of course, falls somewhere in-between.

  14. If I say I want the tax rate to be higher, then I’m clearly implying that as long as everyone else pays that rate, I’m happy to pay it too. But if no one else does, there’s no reason I should

    It’s kind of like when someone offers a matching grant. You are willing to pay, but only if you get some benefit out of it, and you’re only going to get that benefit if others pitch in. Otherwise, you’re just throwing your money away.

    That’s kind of how I feel about China and emissions standards. There is no sense in us wrecking our economy for nothing if they aren’t going to stop pumping out pollutants.

    • Replies: @Daniel Williams

    It’s kind of like when someone offers a matching grant. You are willing to pay, but only if you get some benefit out of it, and you’re only going to get that benefit if others pitch in. Otherwise, you’re just throwing your money away.
     
    I dunno. If Dave Matthews believes that the state is using his tax money wisely, then a gift—even an unmatched one—would help. Every little bit helps; or at least I assume Dave Matthews would think so.

    It’s not like he believes that there is some set figure that, if raised, would accomplish some specific goal (“We’re only $90,000 away from smashing poverty once and for all, folks!”). And that if he and his fellow rich people failed to reach the goal, it would all be for naught.

    Also there’s the Kantian imperative: Dave Matthews should act as he wishes everyone else should be compelled to act. Therefore, if he wishes for rich people like himself to give the IRS a greater share of their income, he should get the ball rolling and do so voluntarily.

  15. @silviosilver

    For someone who enjoys a net worth orders of magnitude greater than that of the median American household to 1) laud the idea of increasing the individual tax burden, 2) refuse to voluntarily increase his own tax burden, and 3) then voice support for using the power of the state to force people at gunpoint who make far less money than he does to do what he refuses to freely do on his own is one hell of a shameless two step.
     
    I don't see any contradiction in wanting either everyone, or at least everyone in a given economic class, to pay a higher rate of tax while refusing to voluntarily burden solely myself with that higher tax.

    If I say I want the tax rate to be higher, then I'm clearly implying that as long as everyone else pays that rate, I'm happy to pay it too. But if no one else does, there's no reason I should.

    “If I say I want the tax rate to be higher, then I’m clearly implying that as long as everyone else pays that rate, I’m happy to pay it too. But if no one else does, there’s no reason I should.”

    You’re being disingenuous. Saying that you want the tax rate to be higher implies a willingness to pay it yourself, period, not that you’re willing to pay only on the condition that there is total compliance with the higher rate being levied.

    The point that was made is that Dave Matthews is unwilling to donate money himself, and instead wants to saddle everyone with higher taxes to pay for what he wants to see government do. That is typical of wealthy celebrities who pretend to want to help people less fortunate. What you wrote doesn’t invalidate the point.

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
    Agreed. The guy said "Tax the fuck out of me!", after all. All these celebrity boobs engage in the same exact virtue signaling. Eddie Vedder wears a t-shirt that says "Citizen of the World," but he resides in one of the whitest parts of the US one can afford.

    Further, how many hard up guys has Dave Matthews ever put up at one of his mansions? Is it still zero?

    To paraphrase Zman, these hypocrites talk like the United Way, but live like the KKK.
    , @Rosie

    You’re being disingenuous. Saying that you want the tax rate to be higher implies a willingness to pay it yourself, period, not that you’re willing to pay only on the condition that there is total compliance with the higher rate being levied.
     
    Sorry, but this is not right.

    Suppose I vote yes on a ballot measure to raise taxes for a public park. It fails, so I'm not getting the park. Why should I send my shekels when others will not. (Mike: notice this is not a vote to reduce my standard of living. I'm voting yes precisely to enhance my standard of living.)

    The welfare state in general works in this same way. I am happy to pay for it on condition that others are paying, so it will be there for me when I need it. On the other hand, others not paying means I'd better keep mine, too.

  16. anon[645] • Disclaimer says:

    That in the richest and the most powerful country in the world we can’t house our own people

    There are thousands of men living in tents from Seattle to San Diego. Some nice public housing on the coast, perhaps near Malibu or in Marin County would be a good first step to reduce that problem, Dave. How about you get your rich friends on board, each of you pony up a couple million, do the right thing?

    Never mind what people say, watch what they do.

  17. For someone who enjoys a net worth orders of magnitude greater than that of the median American household to 1) laud the idea of increasing the individual tax burden, 2) refuse to voluntarily increase his own tax burden, and 3) then voice support for using the power of the state to force people at gunpoint who make far less money than he does to do what he refuses to freely do on his own is one hell of a shameless two step.

    I fundamentally disagree with this take.

    If you voluntarily give money to the US government, you are an idiot.

    But perhaps you believe the US government requires more revenue. Obviously you would then support increased taxation.

    Support of increased taxation, even for yourself, doesn’t require you to be a sucker who voluntarily reduces his own standard of living.

    • Agree: Denis
    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
    Supporting an increase in taxation is essentially volunteering to reduce one's own standard of living. You're quibbling over procedure.
  18. @Twodees Partain
    "If I say I want the tax rate to be higher, then I’m clearly implying that as long as everyone else pays that rate, I’m happy to pay it too. But if no one else does, there’s no reason I should."

    You're being disingenuous. Saying that you want the tax rate to be higher implies a willingness to pay it yourself, period, not that you're willing to pay only on the condition that there is total compliance with the higher rate being levied.

    The point that was made is that Dave Matthews is unwilling to donate money himself, and instead wants to saddle everyone with higher taxes to pay for what he wants to see government do. That is typical of wealthy celebrities who pretend to want to help people less fortunate. What you wrote doesn't invalidate the point.

    Agreed. The guy said “Tax the fuck out of me!”, after all. All these celebrity boobs engage in the same exact virtue signaling. Eddie Vedder wears a t-shirt that says “Citizen of the World,” but he resides in one of the whitest parts of the US one can afford.

    Further, how many hard up guys has Dave Matthews ever put up at one of his mansions? Is it still zero?

    To paraphrase Zman, these hypocrites talk like the United Way, but live like the KKK.

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
    It really appears that people like Matthews and Vedder have this unrealistic idea that government can fix anything and everything. They want it to happen but, at the same time, enjoy their wealth while feeling guilty for having it. They apparently don't feel guilty enough to give it away, however.

    At the root of this lies the reality that the entire combined total of both Vedder's and Matthews' personal wealth wouldn't even cover the usual rake-off taken by "administration costs" for a single one of the wasteful programs that are created by any level of government that pretends to be helping the less fortunate while actually only paying the salaries of those holding the do-nothing jobs that politicians hand out as political plums.
  19. @Thorfinnsson


    For someone who enjoys a net worth orders of magnitude greater than that of the median American household to 1) laud the idea of increasing the individual tax burden, 2) refuse to voluntarily increase his own tax burden, and 3) then voice support for using the power of the state to force people at gunpoint who make far less money than he does to do what he refuses to freely do on his own is one hell of a shameless two step.
     
    I fundamentally disagree with this take.

    If you voluntarily give money to the US government, you are an idiot.

    But perhaps you believe the US government requires more revenue. Obviously you would then support increased taxation.

    Support of increased taxation, even for yourself, doesn't require you to be a sucker who voluntarily reduces his own standard of living.

    Supporting an increase in taxation is essentially volunteering to reduce one’s own standard of living. You’re quibbling over procedure.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Supporting an increase in taxation is essentially volunteering to reduce one’s own standard of living.
     
    Maybe those people think that increased taxes will in fact benefit everyone, including themselves. Standard of living defined purely in terms of how much money you have in your pocket is meaningless if you're living in a society with collapsing infrastructure and disintegrating social structure.

    Living in a civilised pleasant society is about more than money in your pocket.
  20. @Twodees Partain
    "If I say I want the tax rate to be higher, then I’m clearly implying that as long as everyone else pays that rate, I’m happy to pay it too. But if no one else does, there’s no reason I should."

    You're being disingenuous. Saying that you want the tax rate to be higher implies a willingness to pay it yourself, period, not that you're willing to pay only on the condition that there is total compliance with the higher rate being levied.

    The point that was made is that Dave Matthews is unwilling to donate money himself, and instead wants to saddle everyone with higher taxes to pay for what he wants to see government do. That is typical of wealthy celebrities who pretend to want to help people less fortunate. What you wrote doesn't invalidate the point.

    You’re being disingenuous. Saying that you want the tax rate to be higher implies a willingness to pay it yourself, period, not that you’re willing to pay only on the condition that there is total compliance with the higher rate being levied.

    Sorry, but this is not right.

    Suppose I vote yes on a ballot measure to raise taxes for a public park. It fails, so I’m not getting the park. Why should I send my shekels when others will not. (Mike: notice this is not a vote to reduce my standard of living. I’m voting yes precisely to enhance my standard of living.)

    The welfare state in general works in this same way. I am happy to pay for it on condition that others are paying, so it will be there for me when I need it. On the other hand, others not paying means I’d better keep mine, too.

    • Disagree: Twodees Partain
    • Replies: @Heymrguda
    Comparison is irrelevant. Bond issues or other examples of local taxes, voted on by people of moderate means, is not the same as multi millionaires telling others to do pay additional taxes they will not voluntarily pay themselves. Just virtue signaling.
  21. @MikeatMikedotMike
    Supporting an increase in taxation is essentially volunteering to reduce one's own standard of living. You're quibbling over procedure.

    Supporting an increase in taxation is essentially volunteering to reduce one’s own standard of living.

    Maybe those people think that increased taxes will in fact benefit everyone, including themselves. Standard of living defined purely in terms of how much money you have in your pocket is meaningless if you’re living in a society with collapsing infrastructure and disintegrating social structure.

    Living in a civilised pleasant society is about more than money in your pocket.

    • Agree: Rosie
    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
    "Maybe those people think that increased taxes will in fact benefit everyone, including themselves. "

    Those people are either stupid, dishonest, or both.

    "Standard of living defined purely in terms of how much money you have in your pocket is meaningless if you’re living in a society with collapsing infrastructure and disintegrating social structure."

    Ridiculous statement. Guess what: It doesn't matter how much one is taxed either, "if you're living in a society with collapsing infrastructure and disintegrating social structure." Any other nuggets of fortune cookie wisdom you'd like to share?

    Taxation is at an all time high in Illinois and its infrastructure, public services, and education are collapsing faster than they can be fixed. You are dangerously naive and need to get out into the real world. Income taxation doesn't benefit anyone except the people demanding it at gunpoint. You need to grow up.
  22. You’re comparing apples and oranges. There is a difference between a man whose passion is entertaining, and whose work has been well received by the public, and a man who sets out to make a fortune by, let’s say, hostile takeovers, looting pension funds, overcharging rents, corrupting city governments for zoning variances and tax breaks, paying employees a tiny fraction of the profit their labor creates – get it? `

    The elephant in the libertarian living room is the embarrassing reality that capitalist society is organized on the exploitation of one class by another. The inconvenient truth is that the ideals of the Enlightenment – equality, individuality, democracy – must inevitably collapse into institutionalized injustice under the all-pervasive directive of the primacy of the private accumulation of capital over all other concerns.

    • Replies: @Feryl

    You’re comparing apples and oranges. There is a difference between a man whose passion is entertaining, and whose work has been well received by the public, and a man who sets out to make a fortune by, let’s say, hostile takeovers, looting pension funds, overcharging rents, corrupting city governments for zoning variances and tax breaks, paying employees a tiny fraction of the profit their labor creates – get it? `

    The elephant in the libertarian living room is the embarrassing reality that capitalist society is organized on the exploitation of one class by another. The inconvenient truth is that the ideals of the Enlightenment – equality, individuality, democracy – must inevitably collapse into institutionalized injustice under the all-pervasive directive of the primacy of the private accumulation of capital over all other concerns.

     

    This was all understood by most people from the 1930's-early 1970's. Becoming too lenient on the wealthy and powerful feeds into ostensibly "legal" raids and exploitation generally targeted at the vulnerable. That's the populist outlook, when the public hasn't been seduced into believing that the biggest problem in society is taking the "hard-earned" cash of affluent and "honest" businessmen/investors and giving it to "welfare queens".

    We cut the top wealth holders too much slack, and what happens? Monopolies, mergers, and consolidation, which puts people out of work and leads to too much centralized corporate power ("too big to fail", big multi-nationals exerting too much lobbying influence, and fewer alternatives for those who want something different).

    We've also seen massive increases in the perceived value of many things, like stocks, property, and education*. This feeds into elitism; those who have (and often, were born into or married into) lots of wealth and assets can easily attain more of these things, which in turn gives them more money which in turn enables them to buy more. A vicious cycle of perpetuating wealth as long as the owner/investor isn't a total idiot. And typically, once you climb high enough you can pay accountants and advisors to manage your assets decently. The problem is that since circa 1980 the barrier to entry into higher education, home ownership, the stock market etc. keeps getting taller and thicker. This doesn't concern the elite high earners/asset compilers in the least, since after all this sort of inequality and difficulty of mobility is precisely the engine that the neo-liberal economy runs on. Driving down asset prices would in turn hurt the economic fortunes of the elite, after all. Keep in mind also that in a New Deal type "mixed market economy" (e.g. populist quasi socialism from the public and private sector alike), many people rely on job wages/salaries, free or cheap benefits from the private sector, and pensions to give them most of their financial security. So people don't feel as much pressure to engage in the gamble of asset investment; indeed, in the 1970's many elites were disappointing at how the value of many of their assets seemed to be shrinking, at a time when many average workers were paid pretty well and could count on employer provided benefits and pensions.

    *Relative to what these things were valued at in the 1930's-1970's
  23. That in the richest and the most powerful country in the world we can’t house our own people and we can’t take care of people who have fallen through the cracks and that we don’t have a safety net to look after each other is fucking astounding.

    This premise is fundamental to the modern liberal mindset and they take it as fact that it is morally wrong to not correct the inequalities among our citizens (and for most they are thinking in terms of a world citizen). Even if Matthews and other wealthy people gave their mansions and money to the homeless, we would still have homeless people. The modern liberals are correct in their belief that only a common approach using the power of government can correct “the problem.”

    Modern conservatives and libertarians believe that we should stand back and not interfere with “nature’s” thinning of the herd.

    In the Western world, the first group outnumbers the 2nd group hundreds of thousands to one.

    Most of the mechanisms that modern liberals throw at “the problem” are grossly unfair and arbitrary, ineffective, inefficient and usually corrupt.

    Modern conservatives and libertarians do everything possible to monkey wrench the mechanisms, especially the few that actually seem to work.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @anon
    Even if Matthews and other wealthy people gave their mansions and money to the homeless, we would still have homeless people

    I'm all in favor of testing this hypothesis as soon as possible. It would be educational no matter how it turns out.

    But, of course, it won't be done. Because Matthews is a hypocrite and a liar.
  24. @Achmed E. Newman
    Hell, I've reached it. I got to a point where all additional extortions from my pay check added to > 40 cents on the dollar. "Nah", why work harder? OTOH, I'll admit that getting rich is not my great goal anyway, but I can see numbers like 50% being very discouraging for an actual wage earner or small businessman.

    You see, Silvio, your examples in Sweden use the same types of loopholes of people all over the world that game the complicated system. It's the small guy who doesn't have the resources (accountants and lawyers and connections) to get through the maze, who is greatly burdened. Some of these guys could have been competitors to the globalist elite Bezo's, Gate's, Zuckerberg's etc. who commenters here rightly deride. But NO, you gotta know someone, in crony capitalism, to get ahead.

    but I can see numbers like 50% being very discouraging for an actual wage earner or small businessman.

    I’m not at all convinced that high taxes are any significant disincentive to wage earners. The “good jobs” are the good jobs no matter what the marginal rate is. Does becoming the foreman, say, or moving from middle management into upper management really require anyone to “work harder”? Or is it more a matter of making the right allies and acquiring the necessary skills? And even if it did require working harder, the increase in status that accompanies promotion is alone sufficient to justify pursuing it.

    With respect to business, the taxation rate can indeed influence investment decisions, which have implications for the broader economy. So I think it’s wiser to focus on raising personal income tax rates rather than corporate taxes.

    Some of these guys could have been competitors to the globalist elite Bezo’s, Gate’s, Zuckerberg’s etc. who commenters here rightly deride. But NO, you gotta know someone, in crony capitalism, to get ahead.

    Let me get this straight: Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos epitomize entrenched ‘old money’ establishment interests to you, who only got where they are through their political connections?

    You see, Silvio, your examples in Sweden use the same types of loopholes of people all over the world that game the complicated system.

    I don’t know what mysterious loopholes you’re talking about (and I doubt you do either). All I said about Sweden is that it’s possible to get rich there despite their higher taxes. And I didn’t really have in mind billionaires when I said that; I simply meant it’s possible to start with very little and do quite well for yourself, just as it is in America.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    And even if it did require working harder, the increase in status that accompanies promotion is alone sufficient to justify pursuing it.
     
    And whence the assumption that encouraging everyone to work harder and earn more is always best?
    , @Achmed E. Newman
    Can you read your 2nd excerpt of my comment again? I wrote "competitors". That means small entrepreneurial companies that have great ideas, but won't get very far, being squashed by the rules made by the Bezo's, Gate's, etc via government.

    On the 3rd blurb, I meant TAX loopholes. I should have written that. Tax law is extremely complicated, and the very-well off and big corps. have the lawyers and accountants to get out of the high marginal burdens that the small guy/business can't avoid.

    I agree with you and a commenter above about the millionaires vs. billionaires in today's America.
  25. @Curmudgeon
    People continually point to Sweden without understanding the context. For 30 years Sweden, under Social Democratic Prime Minister Tage Erlender, took Sweden to the highest standard of living in the world with high levels of social programs, while having lower taxes than the US and being second in military spending, only to the US. Sweden had very low rates of immigration and insisted immigrants integrate or be deported. At the time, Sweden's steel was considered better than Germany's, it was a world leader in medical research and medical equipment, inventing, among other things, the pacemaker. It produced its own military equipment, including aircraft. It's autos were world leaders in safety design.
    That all changed when Olaf Palme and the "younger" Social Democrats took over when Erlender and his contemporaries retired. Palme bought into multiculturalism, and started the slow shift Sweden has undergone from its decades of successful armed neutrality. It was Palme and his cadre that jump started Sweden's decline into today's hell, and massively increased taxes to support mass immigration. The irony is, that until recently, there has been no political party that has opposed the insanity.
    Just as in every other Western country, the focus is on "lower taxes", not the reason for taxes being raised. My late uncle, who would be considered a dinosaur conservative, told me more than 40 years ago, that real conservatives understood why full employment was necessary: when people are working, they are less likely to get into trouble, and they pay taxes. The taxes allow public infrastructure to be built, including schools, which in itself, creates jobs. When people have disposable income, they buy houses and manufactured goods, which creates employment. That model was based on the concept that free trade was bad for the economy, and tariffs supported internal industries and kept international trade to levels nearer to necessity than desire.
    It's the globalists, of which Palme was one, who have raised taxes to keep industries from moving out of the country through free trade agreements. We are subsidizing them through income taxes, when tariffs kept foreign products out, or at least made them less attractive. Globalists import poverty. Old Social Democrats like Tage Erlender understood that.

    People continually point to Sweden without understanding the context.

    The context of this discussion is the alleged economic disincentives created by high taxes, regardless of the reasons for those high taxes. I used the example of Sweden to argue that since it’s possible to grow rich in that country despite its high taxes, high taxes don’t necessarily destroy incentives (as libertarians would have it).

    • Replies: @Twodees Partain
    High taxes not only remove incentives for increased investment by those with the money to invest, but they also remove the means for new business startups of the less than wealthy who would like to start new businesses.

    Taxes are legalized theft. Call me whatever you will for saying so.
    , @Mark G.
    Taxes are high in Sweden but the average working class Swede pays much more in taxes than the average working class American so there is not as much income redistribution from rich to poor as you might think when you hear the word "socialist" applied to Sweden. Sweden did go through a period of soak the rich taxes. This happened back in the seventies when you were hearing about Swedish director Ingmar Bergman being arrested for income tax invasion, the author of the Pippi Longstocking stories complaining about her 102% tax rate, and the founder of IKEA fleeing the country to escape high taxes. Taxes were reduced at the top levels and the current system was put in place. Things were better after that but you still had sluggish economic growth. Forty seven of the fifty largest companies in Sweden were started before 1970. Now you have the Swedish welfare state, combined with loose border controls, acting as a magnet drawing in third worlders wanting to hop on the welfare state gravy train.
  26. Lets run an experiment to see what ‘taxation’ actually is.

    Suppose all taxes were voluntary and one could pay for specific proposals or not as they deemed appropriate. Would that system work? I would think not. It is the threat of force that makes taxation function.

    Now, let’s rephrase the question.
    Suppose we had a free market where people could purchase a good or service or not as they deemed appropriate. Would that system work. I would say absolutely.

    Therefore, taxation is theft. Prove me wrong.

  27. @MikeatMikedotMike
    Agreed. The guy said "Tax the fuck out of me!", after all. All these celebrity boobs engage in the same exact virtue signaling. Eddie Vedder wears a t-shirt that says "Citizen of the World," but he resides in one of the whitest parts of the US one can afford.

    Further, how many hard up guys has Dave Matthews ever put up at one of his mansions? Is it still zero?

    To paraphrase Zman, these hypocrites talk like the United Way, but live like the KKK.

    It really appears that people like Matthews and Vedder have this unrealistic idea that government can fix anything and everything. They want it to happen but, at the same time, enjoy their wealth while feeling guilty for having it. They apparently don’t feel guilty enough to give it away, however.

    At the root of this lies the reality that the entire combined total of both Vedder’s and Matthews’ personal wealth wouldn’t even cover the usual rake-off taken by “administration costs” for a single one of the wasteful programs that are created by any level of government that pretends to be helping the less fortunate while actually only paying the salaries of those holding the do-nothing jobs that politicians hand out as political plums.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    At the root of this lies the reality that the entire combined total of both Vedder’s and Matthews’ personal wealth wouldn’t even cover the usual rake-off taken by “administration costs” for a single one of the wasteful programs that are created by any level of government that pretends to be helping the less fortunate while actually only paying the salaries of those holding the do-nothing jobs that politicians hand out as political plums.
     
    This is one of the better arguments against taxation I have heard, though my own observations don't bear it out. From what I understand, national health services provide very cost-effective health care.
  28. @silviosilver

    People continually point to Sweden without understanding the context.
     
    The context of this discussion is the alleged economic disincentives created by high taxes, regardless of the reasons for those high taxes. I used the example of Sweden to argue that since it's possible to grow rich in that country despite its high taxes, high taxes don't necessarily destroy incentives (as libertarians would have it).

    High taxes not only remove incentives for increased investment by those with the money to invest, but they also remove the means for new business startups of the less than wealthy who would like to start new businesses.

    Taxes are legalized theft. Call me whatever you will for saying so.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @silviosilver

    High taxes not only remove incentives for increased investment by those with the money to invest, but they also remove the means for new business startups of the less than wealthy who would like to start new businesses.
     
    And yet somehow investments keep getting made and new business keep starting up, despite the alleged lack of incentives.

    Taxes are legalized theft.
     
    So I take it you're not opposed to merely "high" taxes, you're opposed to any taxes.

    Call me whatever you will for saying so.
     
    I guess "ideologue" seems appropriate.
  29. @Rosie

    If I say I want the tax rate to be higher, then I’m clearly implying that as long as everyone else pays that rate, I’m happy to pay it too. But if no one else does, there’s no reason I should
     
    It's kind of like when someone offers a matching grant. You are willing to pay, but only if you get some benefit out of it, and you're only going to get that benefit if others pitch in. Otherwise, you're just throwing your money away.

    That's kind of how I feel about China and emissions standards. There is no sense in us wrecking our economy for nothing if they aren't going to stop pumping out pollutants.

    It’s kind of like when someone offers a matching grant. You are willing to pay, but only if you get some benefit out of it, and you’re only going to get that benefit if others pitch in. Otherwise, you’re just throwing your money away.

    I dunno. If Dave Matthews believes that the state is using his tax money wisely, then a gift—even an unmatched one—would help. Every little bit helps; or at least I assume Dave Matthews would think so.

    It’s not like he believes that there is some set figure that, if raised, would accomplish some specific goal (“We’re only $90,000 away from smashing poverty once and for all, folks!”). And that if he and his fellow rich people failed to reach the goal, it would all be for naught.

    Also there’s the Kantian imperative: Dave Matthews should act as he wishes everyone else should be compelled to act. Therefore, if he wishes for rich people like himself to give the IRS a greater share of their income, he should get the ball rolling and do so voluntarily.

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @Rosie

    Also there’s the Kantian imperative: Dave Matthews should act as he wishes everyone else should be compelled to act. Therefore, if he wishes for rich people like himself to give the IRS a greater share of their income, he should get the ball rolling and do so voluntarily
     
    This is nothing more than a silencing tactic: an ad hominem. Rather than talking about whether taxes are too high, too low, or just right, you want to talk about whether Dave Matthews is a hypocrite. Suppose he is. How does that resolve the issue?
  30. @silviosilver

    but I can see numbers like 50% being very discouraging for an actual wage earner or small businessman.
     
    I'm not at all convinced that high taxes are any significant disincentive to wage earners. The "good jobs" are the good jobs no matter what the marginal rate is. Does becoming the foreman, say, or moving from middle management into upper management really require anyone to "work harder"? Or is it more a matter of making the right allies and acquiring the necessary skills? And even if it did require working harder, the increase in status that accompanies promotion is alone sufficient to justify pursuing it.

    With respect to business, the taxation rate can indeed influence investment decisions, which have implications for the broader economy. So I think it's wiser to focus on raising personal income tax rates rather than corporate taxes.

    Some of these guys could have been competitors to the globalist elite Bezo’s, Gate’s, Zuckerberg’s etc. who commenters here rightly deride. But NO, you gotta know someone, in crony capitalism, to get ahead.
     
    Let me get this straight: Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos epitomize entrenched 'old money' establishment interests to you, who only got where they are through their political connections?

    You see, Silvio, your examples in Sweden use the same types of loopholes of people all over the world that game the complicated system.
     
    I don't know what mysterious loopholes you're talking about (and I doubt you do either). All I said about Sweden is that it's possible to get rich there despite their higher taxes. And I didn't really have in mind billionaires when I said that; I simply meant it's possible to start with very little and do quite well for yourself, just as it is in America.

    And even if it did require working harder, the increase in status that accompanies promotion is alone sufficient to justify pursuing it.

    And whence the assumption that encouraging everyone to work harder and earn more is always best?

  31. @Daniel Williams

    It’s kind of like when someone offers a matching grant. You are willing to pay, but only if you get some benefit out of it, and you’re only going to get that benefit if others pitch in. Otherwise, you’re just throwing your money away.
     
    I dunno. If Dave Matthews believes that the state is using his tax money wisely, then a gift—even an unmatched one—would help. Every little bit helps; or at least I assume Dave Matthews would think so.

    It’s not like he believes that there is some set figure that, if raised, would accomplish some specific goal (“We’re only $90,000 away from smashing poverty once and for all, folks!”). And that if he and his fellow rich people failed to reach the goal, it would all be for naught.

    Also there’s the Kantian imperative: Dave Matthews should act as he wishes everyone else should be compelled to act. Therefore, if he wishes for rich people like himself to give the IRS a greater share of their income, he should get the ball rolling and do so voluntarily.

    Also there’s the Kantian imperative: Dave Matthews should act as he wishes everyone else should be compelled to act. Therefore, if he wishes for rich people like himself to give the IRS a greater share of their income, he should get the ball rolling and do so voluntarily

    This is nothing more than a silencing tactic: an ad hominem. Rather than talking about whether taxes are too high, too low, or just right, you want to talk about whether Dave Matthews is a hypocrite. Suppose he is. How does that resolve the issue?

    • Replies: @Daniel Williams

    Rather than talking about whether taxes are too high, too low, or just right, you want to talk about whether Dave Matthews is a hypocrite. Suppose he is. How does that resolve the issue?
     
    It doesn’t. It wasn’t meant to.

    My response to your comment was to say that I don’t think Dave Matthews—or any other rich person who advocates for higher taxes but fails to voluntarily support the programs that he believes those taxes would fund—probably doesn’t justify his inaction in the way you suggested he might.

    I don’t think Dave Matthews even has an opinion about whether taxes are too high, too low, or just right. I think it is good for his career to publicly advocate for whichever stance is in vogue among potential fans.

    , @MikeatMikedotMike
    I don't know Rosie, how does your advocacy of higher taxation solve the issue? The topic of discussion is Matthew's silly and yes, hypocritical comment, and that is what Daniel Williams is addressing, You are the one deflecting the issue.

    The people who publicly advocate for higher taxes should then do so. Not hide behind some bullshit excuse like "Oh - I'm just waiting for the G to force everyone to do it, because why should I actually put my money where my mouth is?"

    People like that should be tarred and feathered.

  32. @Twodees Partain
    It really appears that people like Matthews and Vedder have this unrealistic idea that government can fix anything and everything. They want it to happen but, at the same time, enjoy their wealth while feeling guilty for having it. They apparently don't feel guilty enough to give it away, however.

    At the root of this lies the reality that the entire combined total of both Vedder's and Matthews' personal wealth wouldn't even cover the usual rake-off taken by "administration costs" for a single one of the wasteful programs that are created by any level of government that pretends to be helping the less fortunate while actually only paying the salaries of those holding the do-nothing jobs that politicians hand out as political plums.

    At the root of this lies the reality that the entire combined total of both Vedder’s and Matthews’ personal wealth wouldn’t even cover the usual rake-off taken by “administration costs” for a single one of the wasteful programs that are created by any level of government that pretends to be helping the less fortunate while actually only paying the salaries of those holding the do-nothing jobs that politicians hand out as political plums.

    This is one of the better arguments against taxation I have heard, though my own observations don’t bear it out. From what I understand, national health services provide very cost-effective health care.

    • Replies: @Feryl
    When you look at how ludicrously expensive healthcare is in post-2000 America, you could argue that the American healthcare system since the GW Bush era is the worst healthcare system ever devised, relative to people getting what they paid for. It's a big racket*. Deep pocketed people get excellent health care, while many middle to lower class people try to limit their use of medical services to avoid incurring large medical bills. And this during a time when so many Americans have jobs that pay relatively little (adjusted for living costs) and offer fewer and fewer benefits.

    *The medical industrial complex, and the high-ed racket, are two of the most obvious indicators of life in a decaying political and economic system in which about 1/5 of the population is sucking so much out of the host that they are threatening to kill the host.
  33. @Rosie

    Also there’s the Kantian imperative: Dave Matthews should act as he wishes everyone else should be compelled to act. Therefore, if he wishes for rich people like himself to give the IRS a greater share of their income, he should get the ball rolling and do so voluntarily
     
    This is nothing more than a silencing tactic: an ad hominem. Rather than talking about whether taxes are too high, too low, or just right, you want to talk about whether Dave Matthews is a hypocrite. Suppose he is. How does that resolve the issue?

    Rather than talking about whether taxes are too high, too low, or just right, you want to talk about whether Dave Matthews is a hypocrite. Suppose he is. How does that resolve the issue?

    It doesn’t. It wasn’t meant to.

    My response to your comment was to say that I don’t think Dave Matthews—or any other rich person who advocates for higher taxes but fails to voluntarily support the programs that he believes those taxes would fund—probably doesn’t justify his inaction in the way you suggested he might.

    I don’t think Dave Matthews even has an opinion about whether taxes are too high, too low, or just right. I think it is good for his career to publicly advocate for whichever stance is in vogue among potential fans.

  34. @SunBakedSuburb
    Millionaires are usually individuals or families that have worked hard or came up with great ideas and businesses that have been successful. In other words, they have justifiably earned their wealth.

    Billionaires are usually sociopaths who have had to do something dreadful to a child in order to gain entry into the globalist vampire class. The financial sector is the incubator for these bloodsuckers.

    You have it about right.

    And you bring up a funny truth. A million dollars isn’t much money today. But it still sounds like a lot of money to most people. Hell, it sounds like a lot of money to me. And thus, when you criticize “rich people,” they think you’re referring to that nice doctor down the street who has a couple million socked away. Trillionaires (I am convinced they exist) are far beyond their innumerate abilities to conceive.

  35. @silviosilver

    but I can see numbers like 50% being very discouraging for an actual wage earner or small businessman.
     
    I'm not at all convinced that high taxes are any significant disincentive to wage earners. The "good jobs" are the good jobs no matter what the marginal rate is. Does becoming the foreman, say, or moving from middle management into upper management really require anyone to "work harder"? Or is it more a matter of making the right allies and acquiring the necessary skills? And even if it did require working harder, the increase in status that accompanies promotion is alone sufficient to justify pursuing it.

    With respect to business, the taxation rate can indeed influence investment decisions, which have implications for the broader economy. So I think it's wiser to focus on raising personal income tax rates rather than corporate taxes.

    Some of these guys could have been competitors to the globalist elite Bezo’s, Gate’s, Zuckerberg’s etc. who commenters here rightly deride. But NO, you gotta know someone, in crony capitalism, to get ahead.
     
    Let me get this straight: Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos epitomize entrenched 'old money' establishment interests to you, who only got where they are through their political connections?

    You see, Silvio, your examples in Sweden use the same types of loopholes of people all over the world that game the complicated system.
     
    I don't know what mysterious loopholes you're talking about (and I doubt you do either). All I said about Sweden is that it's possible to get rich there despite their higher taxes. And I didn't really have in mind billionaires when I said that; I simply meant it's possible to start with very little and do quite well for yourself, just as it is in America.

    Can you read your 2nd excerpt of my comment again? I wrote “competitors”. That means small entrepreneurial companies that have great ideas, but won’t get very far, being squashed by the rules made by the Bezo’s, Gate’s, etc via government.

    On the 3rd blurb, I meant TAX loopholes. I should have written that. Tax law is extremely complicated, and the very-well off and big corps. have the lawyers and accountants to get out of the high marginal burdens that the small guy/business can’t avoid.

    I agree with you and a commenter above about the millionaires vs. billionaires in today’s America.

  36. @Twodees Partain
    High taxes not only remove incentives for increased investment by those with the money to invest, but they also remove the means for new business startups of the less than wealthy who would like to start new businesses.

    Taxes are legalized theft. Call me whatever you will for saying so.

    High taxes not only remove incentives for increased investment by those with the money to invest, but they also remove the means for new business startups of the less than wealthy who would like to start new businesses.

    And yet somehow investments keep getting made and new business keep starting up, despite the alleged lack of incentives.

    Taxes are legalized theft.

    So I take it you’re not opposed to merely “high” taxes, you’re opposed to any taxes.

    Call me whatever you will for saying so.

    I guess “ideologue” seems appropriate.

    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
    "And yet somehow investments keep getting made and new business keep starting up, despite the alleged lack of incentives. "

    You need to quantify this statement. In retail, small businesses are closing up at a higher rate than they are starting as big boxes price them out of existence. Immigrant and minority startups don't count as they are subsidized by the G. Investments are less than they would be otherwise.

    "So I take it you’re not opposed to merely “high” taxes, you’re opposed to any taxes."

    Income tax is theft. Transportation tax is debatable. Sales tax is also. I'm actually not opposed to a vice tax, and am willing to hear both sides. Protective tariffs used to be ample in generating revenue for paying for government services, which were minimal. Funny how we mostly got rid of those and instead submit our citizens to unlawful seizure.

    "I guess “ideologue” seems appropriate."

    From a guy who doesn't seem to realize how much of his tax money goes right into the pockets of makework bureaucrats, ideologue is a step up from fool.
  37. @silviosilver

    People continually point to Sweden without understanding the context.
     
    The context of this discussion is the alleged economic disincentives created by high taxes, regardless of the reasons for those high taxes. I used the example of Sweden to argue that since it's possible to grow rich in that country despite its high taxes, high taxes don't necessarily destroy incentives (as libertarians would have it).

    Taxes are high in Sweden but the average working class Swede pays much more in taxes than the average working class American so there is not as much income redistribution from rich to poor as you might think when you hear the word “socialist” applied to Sweden. Sweden did go through a period of soak the rich taxes. This happened back in the seventies when you were hearing about Swedish director Ingmar Bergman being arrested for income tax invasion, the author of the Pippi Longstocking stories complaining about her 102% tax rate, and the founder of IKEA fleeing the country to escape high taxes. Taxes were reduced at the top levels and the current system was put in place. Things were better after that but you still had sluggish economic growth. Forty seven of the fifty largest companies in Sweden were started before 1970. Now you have the Swedish welfare state, combined with loose border controls, acting as a magnet drawing in third worlders wanting to hop on the welfare state gravy train.

  38. Let me state the evil of high taxation another way. Most people don’t like their jobs enough to do them for free. Most of those don’t like them, period, and they do it because they need the income.

    The time spent working at any job that is not just so wonderful that it’d be your hobby anyway (lucky for those people!) is time taken off your life. It adds up, wouldn’t you say? When you lay taxes on a man’s labor, you are taking away a part of his life.

    If he’s taxed at 35%, say, which is not at all unreasonable* even for someone who is considered lower middle class, you are taking 35% of the time of his working life. Realistically, with commuting, and allowing for some overtime, or extra hours for a salaried worker, that could be 50 hours weekly. That means the government(s) are taking 17.5 hours weekly x 50 = 875 hours per year and will end up taking away 3 years of his life over a 30-year career!

    Dave Matthews doesn’t have that kind of job, or really, any job, so it doesn’t bother him. It doesn’t bother him to push for the taking of more of men’s labor and significant portions of their lives on this Earth. Fuck Dave Matthews and his sewage!

    .

    * Yeah, I’m counting SS and Medicare, because, as far as I’m concerned, that money is gone.

  39. @dfordoom

    Supporting an increase in taxation is essentially volunteering to reduce one’s own standard of living.
     
    Maybe those people think that increased taxes will in fact benefit everyone, including themselves. Standard of living defined purely in terms of how much money you have in your pocket is meaningless if you're living in a society with collapsing infrastructure and disintegrating social structure.

    Living in a civilised pleasant society is about more than money in your pocket.

    “Maybe those people think that increased taxes will in fact benefit everyone, including themselves. ”

    Those people are either stupid, dishonest, or both.

    “Standard of living defined purely in terms of how much money you have in your pocket is meaningless if you’re living in a society with collapsing infrastructure and disintegrating social structure.”

    Ridiculous statement. Guess what: It doesn’t matter how much one is taxed either, “if you’re living in a society with collapsing infrastructure and disintegrating social structure.” Any other nuggets of fortune cookie wisdom you’d like to share?

    Taxation is at an all time high in Illinois and its infrastructure, public services, and education are collapsing faster than they can be fixed. You are dangerously naive and need to get out into the real world. Income taxation doesn’t benefit anyone except the people demanding it at gunpoint. You need to grow up.

  40. @Rosie

    Also there’s the Kantian imperative: Dave Matthews should act as he wishes everyone else should be compelled to act. Therefore, if he wishes for rich people like himself to give the IRS a greater share of their income, he should get the ball rolling and do so voluntarily
     
    This is nothing more than a silencing tactic: an ad hominem. Rather than talking about whether taxes are too high, too low, or just right, you want to talk about whether Dave Matthews is a hypocrite. Suppose he is. How does that resolve the issue?

    I don’t know Rosie, how does your advocacy of higher taxation solve the issue? The topic of discussion is Matthew’s silly and yes, hypocritical comment, and that is what Daniel Williams is addressing, You are the one deflecting the issue.

    The people who publicly advocate for higher taxes should then do so. Not hide behind some bullshit excuse like “Oh – I’m just waiting for the G to force everyone to do it, because why should I actually put my money where my mouth is?”

    People like that should be tarred and feathered.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    I don’t know Rosie, how does your advocacy of higher taxation solve the issue?
     
    Mike, I'm not advocating for higher taxes. I'm advocating for Dave Matthews' legitimate moral standing to advocate for higher taxes.

    I am not any sort of scholar on the question of whether current taxes are or are not sufficient. My guess is that they are more than sufficient, and to any extent they are not, that is because of wars of choice that (at best) have nothing to do with our self-interest.

    It seems to me the wealthy will be criticized for advocating for higher taxes (hypocrite!) and for advocating lower taxes, too (greedy!) At the end of the day, none of that is relevant to the question of whether taxes should or should not be raised. Are they entitled to have an opinion at all?
  41. @silviosilver

    High taxes not only remove incentives for increased investment by those with the money to invest, but they also remove the means for new business startups of the less than wealthy who would like to start new businesses.
     
    And yet somehow investments keep getting made and new business keep starting up, despite the alleged lack of incentives.

    Taxes are legalized theft.
     
    So I take it you're not opposed to merely "high" taxes, you're opposed to any taxes.

    Call me whatever you will for saying so.
     
    I guess "ideologue" seems appropriate.

    “And yet somehow investments keep getting made and new business keep starting up, despite the alleged lack of incentives. ”

    You need to quantify this statement. In retail, small businesses are closing up at a higher rate than they are starting as big boxes price them out of existence. Immigrant and minority startups don’t count as they are subsidized by the G. Investments are less than they would be otherwise.

    “So I take it you’re not opposed to merely “high” taxes, you’re opposed to any taxes.”

    Income tax is theft. Transportation tax is debatable. Sales tax is also. I’m actually not opposed to a vice tax, and am willing to hear both sides. Protective tariffs used to be ample in generating revenue for paying for government services, which were minimal. Funny how we mostly got rid of those and instead submit our citizens to unlawful seizure.

    “I guess “ideologue” seems appropriate.”

    From a guy who doesn’t seem to realize how much of his tax money goes right into the pockets of makework bureaucrats, ideologue is a step up from fool.

    • Replies: @Feryl

    You need to quantify this statement. In retail, small businesses are closing up at a higher rate than they are starting as big boxes price them out of existence. Immigrant and minority startups don’t count as they are subsidized by the G. Investments are less than they would be otherwise.
     
    Mega multi-nationals (or large mono-national corporations) are the unquestioned big winners of the last 40 or so years of the government "de-regulating" the market, e.g. largely doing away with anti-trust enforcement as well as looking the other way at various irresponsible financial practices that encourage fraud and massive speculation booms, leading to massive busts from time to time. Disney keeps buying up more and more media entities in order to own more and more characters; the consumer has been robbed of choice. He has to go see a Disney product if he wants to see a modern movie involving Star Wars, Marvel, etc*. The government has allowed Disney to own more creative works, and keeps sustaining copyright protections on creative works often for the specific sake of Disney. This is neo-liberal cronyism in action; excessive and growing size and power is rewarded to please a relatively small number of elite investors, while overall output is stagnant and tired (or exploitive), to the displeasure of the masses.

    And "too big to fail" results when very large companies can devise various measures for cutting costs and attracting business, which in turn leads to competing companies closing up shop which in turn makes the mega-business even bigger. End result being that more and more consumers are reliant on the big guy, with all that implies for the quality and integrity of monopolistic large businesses (e.g., Jeff Bezos now relies on government largesse, worker exploitation, and an enslaved consumer base to run Amazon as profitably as possible; when Amazon was smaller, it had less lobbying power, attracted less corporate welfare, and was less able to dodge accusations of unethical business practices).

    *Disney, which increasingly is political in both publicly stated ideology and the tone of it's content, is proving that massive "private" sector entities are as capable of insulting and deceiving consumers as true blue communist entities are. Hey, the BS coming from the mouths of individuals acting in either a strictly personal sense or acting on behalf of private sector entities is quite overwhelming these days. Contrary to what the anti-socialists claim, you certainly don't need "big government" to instigate absurd and society wrecking non-sense. On the contrary, during a a time of discord, corruption, tyranny, bad faith etc., were the government not to do these bad things than private actors would do it instead. WRT thought policing, that's what's played out. Western Europe initiates public prosecutions of though criminals, while in the good old US of A private sector entities in finance, communication technology, and the media can be relied on to deny people their right to free thought and right to make a living. Or the right to support a particular candidate, or the right to bake a cake, or whatever. Sometimes you don't even need big companies; lone individual zealots, at the behest of no powerful entitiy in either the public or private sector, can decide on their own to viciously attack law abiding people.

    The Boomers need to get off their anti-New Deal high horse and acknowledge that evil, corruption, treachery, etc. are inherent elements of the human condition and will exist to varying degrees in the presence or absence of "big government"; indeed, the quality of any institution or individual is dependent entirely on the moral character of the people involved. But the delusional Reaganites always say: "get the damn government out of everything", as if "the private sector" always magically works (fun fact: Stefan Molyneux always, always says that government interference is responsible for prolonging inept or corrupt companies, yet he has nothing to say about media and tech companies without any government pressure deciding on their own to ruin people's lives; was it "big government" that created the "hands up don't shoot" non-sense? People like Molyneux also need to level with the reality that an unethical or ignorant slice of the public drives entities, public or private, in a destructive direction. So ultimately it's too convenient to blame big government or big business for some nasty trends. We need to look in the mirror.
  42. Here’s a good article that sums up the contradictory nature of those who would have us believe that taxation allows us to help those in need:

    https://www.theburningplatform.com/2019/10/06/the-vampire-effect/#more-205200

  43. @MikeatMikedotMike
    I don't know Rosie, how does your advocacy of higher taxation solve the issue? The topic of discussion is Matthew's silly and yes, hypocritical comment, and that is what Daniel Williams is addressing, You are the one deflecting the issue.

    The people who publicly advocate for higher taxes should then do so. Not hide behind some bullshit excuse like "Oh - I'm just waiting for the G to force everyone to do it, because why should I actually put my money where my mouth is?"

    People like that should be tarred and feathered.

    I don’t know Rosie, how does your advocacy of higher taxation solve the issue?

    Mike, I’m not advocating for higher taxes. I’m advocating for Dave Matthews’ legitimate moral standing to advocate for higher taxes.

    I am not any sort of scholar on the question of whether current taxes are or are not sufficient. My guess is that they are more than sufficient, and to any extent they are not, that is because of wars of choice that (at best) have nothing to do with our self-interest.

    It seems to me the wealthy will be criticized for advocating for higher taxes (hypocrite!) and for advocating lower taxes, too (greedy!) At the end of the day, none of that is relevant to the question of whether taxes should or should not be raised. Are they entitled to have an opinion at all?

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    Advocating for it from a policy perspective is one thing.

    Acting as though it is some moral imperative--and he is more moral for so doing--is another. The latter is despicable.
  44. Another of the rich celebs who advocated this recently was warren Buffett, who said “tax me more” but only if others were taxed commensurately more. It seems to me someone of Buffett’s or Matthew’s wealth would have the means to put their money where their mouths are,rather than making excuses.

  45. @Rosie

    You’re being disingenuous. Saying that you want the tax rate to be higher implies a willingness to pay it yourself, period, not that you’re willing to pay only on the condition that there is total compliance with the higher rate being levied.
     
    Sorry, but this is not right.

    Suppose I vote yes on a ballot measure to raise taxes for a public park. It fails, so I'm not getting the park. Why should I send my shekels when others will not. (Mike: notice this is not a vote to reduce my standard of living. I'm voting yes precisely to enhance my standard of living.)

    The welfare state in general works in this same way. I am happy to pay for it on condition that others are paying, so it will be there for me when I need it. On the other hand, others not paying means I'd better keep mine, too.

    Comparison is irrelevant. Bond issues or other examples of local taxes, voted on by people of moderate means, is not the same as multi millionaires telling others to do pay additional taxes they will not voluntarily pay themselves. Just virtue signaling.

    • Replies: @Rosie

    Comparison is irrelevant. Bond issues or other examples of local taxes, voted on by people of moderate means, is not the same as multi millionaires telling others to do pay additional taxes they will not voluntarily pay themselves. Just virtue signaling.
     

    You just admitted that taxation is legitimate. If so, would it not be legitimate for Dave Matthews to encourage the public to support candidates who will raise taxes? Did he do more than that? I don't think he is denying that people should have the right to vote their wallet if they so choose.

    And FWIW, the evil Warren Buffett on progressive taxation:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/25/warren-buffett-and-bill-gates-the-rich-should-pay-higher-taxes.html

    If that's what elite hypocrisy looks like, can we get some more of it, please?

  46. anon[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @iffen
    That in the richest and the most powerful country in the world we can’t house our own people and we can’t take care of people who have fallen through the cracks and that we don’t have a safety net to look after each other is fucking astounding.

    This premise is fundamental to the modern liberal mindset and they take it as fact that it is morally wrong to not correct the inequalities among our citizens (and for most they are thinking in terms of a world citizen). Even if Matthews and other wealthy people gave their mansions and money to the homeless, we would still have homeless people. The modern liberals are correct in their belief that only a common approach using the power of government can correct "the problem."

    Modern conservatives and libertarians believe that we should stand back and not interfere with "nature's" thinning of the herd.

    In the Western world, the first group outnumbers the 2nd group hundreds of thousands to one.

    Most of the mechanisms that modern liberals throw at "the problem" are grossly unfair and arbitrary, ineffective, inefficient and usually corrupt.

    Modern conservatives and libertarians do everything possible to monkey wrench the mechanisms, especially the few that actually seem to work.

    Even if Matthews and other wealthy people gave their mansions and money to the homeless, we would still have homeless people

    I’m all in favor of testing this hypothesis as soon as possible. It would be educational no matter how it turns out.

    But, of course, it won’t be done. Because Matthews is a hypocrite and a liar.

  47. @Heymrguda
    Comparison is irrelevant. Bond issues or other examples of local taxes, voted on by people of moderate means, is not the same as multi millionaires telling others to do pay additional taxes they will not voluntarily pay themselves. Just virtue signaling.

    Comparison is irrelevant. Bond issues or other examples of local taxes, voted on by people of moderate means, is not the same as multi millionaires telling others to do pay additional taxes they will not voluntarily pay themselves. Just virtue signaling.

    You just admitted that taxation is legitimate. If so, would it not be legitimate for Dave Matthews to encourage the public to support candidates who will raise taxes? Did he do more than that? I don’t think he is denying that people should have the right to vote their wallet if they so choose.

    And FWIW, the evil Warren Buffett on progressive taxation:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/25/warren-buffett-and-bill-gates-the-rich-should-pay-higher-taxes.html

    If that’s what elite hypocrisy looks like, can we get some more of it, please?

  48. @silviosilver

    For someone who enjoys a net worth orders of magnitude greater than that of the median American household to 1) laud the idea of increasing the individual tax burden, 2) refuse to voluntarily increase his own tax burden, and 3) then voice support for using the power of the state to force people at gunpoint who make far less money than he does to do what he refuses to freely do on his own is one hell of a shameless two step.
     
    I don't see any contradiction in wanting either everyone, or at least everyone in a given economic class, to pay a higher rate of tax while refusing to voluntarily burden solely myself with that higher tax.

    If I say I want the tax rate to be higher, then I'm clearly implying that as long as everyone else pays that rate, I'm happy to pay it too. But if no one else does, there's no reason I should.

    Putting the initiation of force as a moral issue aside, as a policy preference, I find it reasonable enough.

    But as a moral imperative? The position is obviously bunk. If you think the government should be entitled to more in taxation, give the government more in taxation. What, that moral imperative doesn’t apply unless other people are forced to do it, too?

    • Replies: @iffen
    But as a moral imperative? The position is obviously bunk.

    It is moral for the group to use force against individuals for the benefit of the group. It's actually part of the definition of morality.
  49. @Rosie

    At the root of this lies the reality that the entire combined total of both Vedder’s and Matthews’ personal wealth wouldn’t even cover the usual rake-off taken by “administration costs” for a single one of the wasteful programs that are created by any level of government that pretends to be helping the less fortunate while actually only paying the salaries of those holding the do-nothing jobs that politicians hand out as political plums.
     
    This is one of the better arguments against taxation I have heard, though my own observations don't bear it out. From what I understand, national health services provide very cost-effective health care.

    When you look at how ludicrously expensive healthcare is in post-2000 America, you could argue that the American healthcare system since the GW Bush era is the worst healthcare system ever devised, relative to people getting what they paid for. It’s a big racket*. Deep pocketed people get excellent health care, while many middle to lower class people try to limit their use of medical services to avoid incurring large medical bills. And this during a time when so many Americans have jobs that pay relatively little (adjusted for living costs) and offer fewer and fewer benefits.

    *The medical industrial complex, and the high-ed racket, are two of the most obvious indicators of life in a decaying political and economic system in which about 1/5 of the population is sucking so much out of the host that they are threatening to kill the host.

    • Replies: @Mark G.
    The American healthcare system does seem devised to cost the most money while doing the least to increase average life expectancies. Other countries spend less on medical care for the very elderly while more on preventive care for younger people. The U.S. spends little to prevent people from getting sick or on maintaining their health and then huge amounts after they become old and have developed multiple health problems from lack of previous medical care. The result is that other countries end up with overall longer average life expectancies because of money more wisely spent. There has been some talk of extending Medicare to younger people but we really need to rethink the whole health care system. We could have a less expensive system and wouldn't need to have discussions about whether and how much to increase taxes because we could use the money saved from reforming the current system to provide more care, especially preventive care, to younger people.
  50. @Rosie

    I don’t know Rosie, how does your advocacy of higher taxation solve the issue?
     
    Mike, I'm not advocating for higher taxes. I'm advocating for Dave Matthews' legitimate moral standing to advocate for higher taxes.

    I am not any sort of scholar on the question of whether current taxes are or are not sufficient. My guess is that they are more than sufficient, and to any extent they are not, that is because of wars of choice that (at best) have nothing to do with our self-interest.

    It seems to me the wealthy will be criticized for advocating for higher taxes (hypocrite!) and for advocating lower taxes, too (greedy!) At the end of the day, none of that is relevant to the question of whether taxes should or should not be raised. Are they entitled to have an opinion at all?

    Advocating for it from a policy perspective is one thing.

    Acting as though it is some moral imperative–and he is more moral for so doing–is another. The latter is despicable.

  51. @Observator
    You’re comparing apples and oranges. There is a difference between a man whose passion is entertaining, and whose work has been well received by the public, and a man who sets out to make a fortune by, let’s say, hostile takeovers, looting pension funds, overcharging rents, corrupting city governments for zoning variances and tax breaks, paying employees a tiny fraction of the profit their labor creates – get it? `

    The elephant in the libertarian living room is the embarrassing reality that capitalist society is organized on the exploitation of one class by another. The inconvenient truth is that the ideals of the Enlightenment – equality, individuality, democracy – must inevitably collapse into institutionalized injustice under the all-pervasive directive of the primacy of the private accumulation of capital over all other concerns.

    You’re comparing apples and oranges. There is a difference between a man whose passion is entertaining, and whose work has been well received by the public, and a man who sets out to make a fortune by, let’s say, hostile takeovers, looting pension funds, overcharging rents, corrupting city governments for zoning variances and tax breaks, paying employees a tiny fraction of the profit their labor creates – get it? `

    The elephant in the libertarian living room is the embarrassing reality that capitalist society is organized on the exploitation of one class by another. The inconvenient truth is that the ideals of the Enlightenment – equality, individuality, democracy – must inevitably collapse into institutionalized injustice under the all-pervasive directive of the primacy of the private accumulation of capital over all other concerns.

    This was all understood by most people from the 1930’s-early 1970’s. Becoming too lenient on the wealthy and powerful feeds into ostensibly “legal” raids and exploitation generally targeted at the vulnerable. That’s the populist outlook, when the public hasn’t been seduced into believing that the biggest problem in society is taking the “hard-earned” cash of affluent and “honest” businessmen/investors and giving it to “welfare queens”.

    We cut the top wealth holders too much slack, and what happens? Monopolies, mergers, and consolidation, which puts people out of work and leads to too much centralized corporate power (“too big to fail”, big multi-nationals exerting too much lobbying influence, and fewer alternatives for those who want something different).

    We’ve also seen massive increases in the perceived value of many things, like stocks, property, and education*. This feeds into elitism; those who have (and often, were born into or married into) lots of wealth and assets can easily attain more of these things, which in turn gives them more money which in turn enables them to buy more. A vicious cycle of perpetuating wealth as long as the owner/investor isn’t a total idiot. And typically, once you climb high enough you can pay accountants and advisors to manage your assets decently. The problem is that since circa 1980 the barrier to entry into higher education, home ownership, the stock market etc. keeps getting taller and thicker. This doesn’t concern the elite high earners/asset compilers in the least, since after all this sort of inequality and difficulty of mobility is precisely the engine that the neo-liberal economy runs on. Driving down asset prices would in turn hurt the economic fortunes of the elite, after all. Keep in mind also that in a New Deal type “mixed market economy” (e.g. populist quasi socialism from the public and private sector alike), many people rely on job wages/salaries, free or cheap benefits from the private sector, and pensions to give them most of their financial security. So people don’t feel as much pressure to engage in the gamble of asset investment; indeed, in the 1970’s many elites were disappointing at how the value of many of their assets seemed to be shrinking, at a time when many average workers were paid pretty well and could count on employer provided benefits and pensions.

    *Relative to what these things were valued at in the 1930’s-1970’s

  52. @MikeatMikedotMike
    "And yet somehow investments keep getting made and new business keep starting up, despite the alleged lack of incentives. "

    You need to quantify this statement. In retail, small businesses are closing up at a higher rate than they are starting as big boxes price them out of existence. Immigrant and minority startups don't count as they are subsidized by the G. Investments are less than they would be otherwise.

    "So I take it you’re not opposed to merely “high” taxes, you’re opposed to any taxes."

    Income tax is theft. Transportation tax is debatable. Sales tax is also. I'm actually not opposed to a vice tax, and am willing to hear both sides. Protective tariffs used to be ample in generating revenue for paying for government services, which were minimal. Funny how we mostly got rid of those and instead submit our citizens to unlawful seizure.

    "I guess “ideologue” seems appropriate."

    From a guy who doesn't seem to realize how much of his tax money goes right into the pockets of makework bureaucrats, ideologue is a step up from fool.

    You need to quantify this statement. In retail, small businesses are closing up at a higher rate than they are starting as big boxes price them out of existence. Immigrant and minority startups don’t count as they are subsidized by the G. Investments are less than they would be otherwise.

    Mega multi-nationals (or large mono-national corporations) are the unquestioned big winners of the last 40 or so years of the government “de-regulating” the market, e.g. largely doing away with anti-trust enforcement as well as looking the other way at various irresponsible financial practices that encourage fraud and massive speculation booms, leading to massive busts from time to time. Disney keeps buying up more and more media entities in order to own more and more characters; the consumer has been robbed of choice. He has to go see a Disney product if he wants to see a modern movie involving Star Wars, Marvel, etc*. The government has allowed Disney to own more creative works, and keeps sustaining copyright protections on creative works often for the specific sake of Disney. This is neo-liberal cronyism in action; excessive and growing size and power is rewarded to please a relatively small number of elite investors, while overall output is stagnant and tired (or exploitive), to the displeasure of the masses.

    And “too big to fail” results when very large companies can devise various measures for cutting costs and attracting business, which in turn leads to competing companies closing up shop which in turn makes the mega-business even bigger. End result being that more and more consumers are reliant on the big guy, with all that implies for the quality and integrity of monopolistic large businesses (e.g., Jeff Bezos now relies on government largesse, worker exploitation, and an enslaved consumer base to run Amazon as profitably as possible; when Amazon was smaller, it had less lobbying power, attracted less corporate welfare, and was less able to dodge accusations of unethical business practices).

    *Disney, which increasingly is political in both publicly stated ideology and the tone of it’s content, is proving that massive “private” sector entities are as capable of insulting and deceiving consumers as true blue communist entities are. Hey, the BS coming from the mouths of individuals acting in either a strictly personal sense or acting on behalf of private sector entities is quite overwhelming these days. Contrary to what the anti-socialists claim, you certainly don’t need “big government” to instigate absurd and society wrecking non-sense. On the contrary, during a a time of discord, corruption, tyranny, bad faith etc., were the government not to do these bad things than private actors would do it instead. WRT thought policing, that’s what’s played out. Western Europe initiates public prosecutions of though criminals, while in the good old US of A private sector entities in finance, communication technology, and the media can be relied on to deny people their right to free thought and right to make a living. Or the right to support a particular candidate, or the right to bake a cake, or whatever. Sometimes you don’t even need big companies; lone individual zealots, at the behest of no powerful entitiy in either the public or private sector, can decide on their own to viciously attack law abiding people.

    The Boomers need to get off their anti-New Deal high horse and acknowledge that evil, corruption, treachery, etc. are inherent elements of the human condition and will exist to varying degrees in the presence or absence of “big government”; indeed, the quality of any institution or individual is dependent entirely on the moral character of the people involved. But the delusional Reaganites always say: “get the damn government out of everything”, as if “the private sector” always magically works (fun fact: Stefan Molyneux always, always says that government interference is responsible for prolonging inept or corrupt companies, yet he has nothing to say about media and tech companies without any government pressure deciding on their own to ruin people’s lives; was it “big government” that created the “hands up don’t shoot” non-sense? People like Molyneux also need to level with the reality that an unethical or ignorant slice of the public drives entities, public or private, in a destructive direction. So ultimately it’s too convenient to blame big government or big business for some nasty trends. We need to look in the mirror.

  53. @Audacious Epigone
    Putting the initiation of force as a moral issue aside, as a policy preference, I find it reasonable enough.

    But as a moral imperative? The position is obviously bunk. If you think the government should be entitled to more in taxation, give the government more in taxation. What, that moral imperative doesn't apply unless other people are forced to do it, too?

    But as a moral imperative? The position is obviously bunk.

    It is moral for the group to use force against individuals for the benefit of the group. It’s actually part of the definition of morality.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    It is moral for the group to use force against individuals for the benefit of the group. It’s actually part of the definition of morality.
     
    Collectivism is more moral than individualism. Individualism is by definition anti-social.
  54. @Feryl
    When you look at how ludicrously expensive healthcare is in post-2000 America, you could argue that the American healthcare system since the GW Bush era is the worst healthcare system ever devised, relative to people getting what they paid for. It's a big racket*. Deep pocketed people get excellent health care, while many middle to lower class people try to limit their use of medical services to avoid incurring large medical bills. And this during a time when so many Americans have jobs that pay relatively little (adjusted for living costs) and offer fewer and fewer benefits.

    *The medical industrial complex, and the high-ed racket, are two of the most obvious indicators of life in a decaying political and economic system in which about 1/5 of the population is sucking so much out of the host that they are threatening to kill the host.

    The American healthcare system does seem devised to cost the most money while doing the least to increase average life expectancies. Other countries spend less on medical care for the very elderly while more on preventive care for younger people. The U.S. spends little to prevent people from getting sick or on maintaining their health and then huge amounts after they become old and have developed multiple health problems from lack of previous medical care. The result is that other countries end up with overall longer average life expectancies because of money more wisely spent. There has been some talk of extending Medicare to younger people but we really need to rethink the whole health care system. We could have a less expensive system and wouldn’t need to have discussions about whether and how much to increase taxes because we could use the money saved from reforming the current system to provide more care, especially preventive care, to younger people.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational

    The U.S. spends little to prevent people from getting sick or on maintaining their health and then huge amounts after they become old and have developed multiple health problems from lack of previous medical care.
     
    You can't really compare the USA to any European country with socialized health care.  The populations are far too different.  Africans have a host of inherent problems such as tendency to diabetes and complications of sickle cell such as kidney disease, plus awful habits leading to gross obesity with all kinds of ensuing medical issues (indios and mestizos also).  It's much easier to keep a population healthy without such troubles baked-in.

    The result is that other countries end up with overall longer average life expectancies because of money more wisely spent.
     
    Some of that has to be chalked up to starting with better genetics.
  55. @Mark G.
    The American healthcare system does seem devised to cost the most money while doing the least to increase average life expectancies. Other countries spend less on medical care for the very elderly while more on preventive care for younger people. The U.S. spends little to prevent people from getting sick or on maintaining their health and then huge amounts after they become old and have developed multiple health problems from lack of previous medical care. The result is that other countries end up with overall longer average life expectancies because of money more wisely spent. There has been some talk of extending Medicare to younger people but we really need to rethink the whole health care system. We could have a less expensive system and wouldn't need to have discussions about whether and how much to increase taxes because we could use the money saved from reforming the current system to provide more care, especially preventive care, to younger people.

    The U.S. spends little to prevent people from getting sick or on maintaining their health and then huge amounts after they become old and have developed multiple health problems from lack of previous medical care.

    You can’t really compare the USA to any European country with socialized health care.  The populations are far too different.  Africans have a host of inherent problems such as tendency to diabetes and complications of sickle cell such as kidney disease, plus awful habits leading to gross obesity with all kinds of ensuing medical issues (indios and mestizos also).  It’s much easier to keep a population healthy without such troubles baked-in.

    The result is that other countries end up with overall longer average life expectancies because of money more wisely spent.

    Some of that has to be chalked up to starting with better genetics.

    • Replies: @Mark G.
    The United States does have more nonwhites, who usually have lower life expectancies, than European countries which partly explains our overall lower life expectancies. When they compared Europeans to Americans of European descent, though, they still found that Europeans live longer overall. Surprisingly, they found that Americans at age 65 have a slightly longer remaining life expectancy than Europeans at age 65. The U.S. spends much more to keep the elderly alive a few more years than Europe. It is the younger age groups where Europeans live longer. Part of this can be attributed to the American fast food diet and the opioid and alcoholism epidemics among Americans but it also appears healthcare money is better spent among European populations. When you consider that America went from eighth in the world in life expectancy in 1950 to number thirty today while tripling medical spending from five to fifteen percent of GDP there appears to be something definitely wrong with the American medical system.
  56. @Mr. Rational

    The U.S. spends little to prevent people from getting sick or on maintaining their health and then huge amounts after they become old and have developed multiple health problems from lack of previous medical care.
     
    You can't really compare the USA to any European country with socialized health care.  The populations are far too different.  Africans have a host of inherent problems such as tendency to diabetes and complications of sickle cell such as kidney disease, plus awful habits leading to gross obesity with all kinds of ensuing medical issues (indios and mestizos also).  It's much easier to keep a population healthy without such troubles baked-in.

    The result is that other countries end up with overall longer average life expectancies because of money more wisely spent.
     
    Some of that has to be chalked up to starting with better genetics.

    The United States does have more nonwhites, who usually have lower life expectancies, than European countries which partly explains our overall lower life expectancies. When they compared Europeans to Americans of European descent, though, they still found that Europeans live longer overall. Surprisingly, they found that Americans at age 65 have a slightly longer remaining life expectancy than Europeans at age 65. The U.S. spends much more to keep the elderly alive a few more years than Europe. It is the younger age groups where Europeans live longer. Part of this can be attributed to the American fast food diet and the opioid and alcoholism epidemics among Americans but it also appears healthcare money is better spent among European populations. When you consider that America went from eighth in the world in life expectancy in 1950 to number thirty today while tripling medical spending from five to fifteen percent of GDP there appears to be something definitely wrong with the American medical system.

    • Agree: Mr. Rational
    • Replies: @Mr. Rational

    When you consider that America went from eighth in the world in life expectancy in 1950 to number thirty today while tripling medical spending from five to fifteen percent of GDP there appears to be something definitely wrong with the American medical system.
     
    That is because it's become part of the looting system that is sucking all the wealth out of the country.  Case in point:

    https://gab.com/system/media_attachments/files/009/768/727/original/6ae975b230a4f2cd.jpeg?1570662924
    , @Feryl

    Part of this can be attributed to the American fast food diet and the opioid and alcoholism epidemics among Americans but it also appears healthcare money is better spent among European populations
     
    I think sugar, growing portion sizes (in the roaring 1990's, everything got really big), declining time spent outdoors, and changes in hormonal factors worsened the obesity epidemic. A study showed that 1980's Americans were skinnier even when they had a exercise and diet profile similar to their 2010's counterparts; I'm guessing that Americans have changed on some measures of basic physiology, with hormonal changes in particular being important; note that I'm assuming they made comparisons within the same race, if they didn't then they really screwed up. Looking back at the 70's and 80's, a lot of Americans ate dog shit back then and many didn't necessarily exercise all that much; indeed American's born in the 1960's ended up being shorter than those born in the 1940's and 50's, which suggests that the 70's were an awful time for American eating habits. However, males in particular had higher testosterone levels in the 70's and 80's than they did in subsequent decades. And falling testosterone levels have coincided with rising obesity levels. Hmmm. Higher levels of "male" hormones will build muscle and bone, while reducing fat levels to some degree. Men in the 1970's did look, on average, a lot "harder" than the weak chinned and saggy pected "men" that one often sees these days.

    Women I don't understand as much, however, it could be that both genders are negatively affected by sheer emotional stress. Perhaps emotional stress compromises the bodies ability to process food intake effectively. In impoverished food scarce environments, this can reinforce emaciation. However, in food rich environments, emotional and thus physical stress may still prevent optimal health and we won't burn calories fast enough, or won't use calories to the fullest effect for building muscle and bone rather than fat.

    Peter Turchin says that each generation of Americans got taller as you from those born in the 1920's to those born in the 1940's. Then height stagnated with those born in the 50's, then those born in the 60's were a bit shorter. Whites and blacks born in the 70's-present are a bit taller than 1960's births, however, American whites and blacks are still shorter than the men of some European countries. According to Turchin, Americans since the 1960's have been under growing levels of psychological and political stress, neither of which is conducive to well-being and probably hurts physical health. It's safe to say that "food poverty" is quite uncommon for most modern young Americans, so we are taller than we were in the Dickensian climate of circa 1900. However, other factors beyond food scarcity are still negatively affecting our health.
  57. @Mark G.
    The United States does have more nonwhites, who usually have lower life expectancies, than European countries which partly explains our overall lower life expectancies. When they compared Europeans to Americans of European descent, though, they still found that Europeans live longer overall. Surprisingly, they found that Americans at age 65 have a slightly longer remaining life expectancy than Europeans at age 65. The U.S. spends much more to keep the elderly alive a few more years than Europe. It is the younger age groups where Europeans live longer. Part of this can be attributed to the American fast food diet and the opioid and alcoholism epidemics among Americans but it also appears healthcare money is better spent among European populations. When you consider that America went from eighth in the world in life expectancy in 1950 to number thirty today while tripling medical spending from five to fifteen percent of GDP there appears to be something definitely wrong with the American medical system.

    When you consider that America went from eighth in the world in life expectancy in 1950 to number thirty today while tripling medical spending from five to fifteen percent of GDP there appears to be something definitely wrong with the American medical system.

    That is because it’s become part of the looting system that is sucking all the wealth out of the country.  Case in point:

  58. The U.S. spends much more to keep the elderly alive a few more years than Europe.

    In all Western countries those born in the 1920’s-1950’s have way more money than younger generations. But in America, greed has less of a stigma than it does in Europe. +America is more “privatized”. This results in modern American health care prioritizing the richest generations for obvious reasons (they can afford lots of treatments to prolong life in old age, whereas people born since 1960 often can’t afford practically any regular medical treatment).

    The graying of wealth is a very important topic that is going to end up smacking the now elderly generations in the face, the more they caterwaul about younger generations being brats who support “socialism” and ignorant hostility toward the rich. People who came of age in the 1940’s-1970’s raked in lots of dough by getting their foot in the door when America was a middle class paradise, then this generation saw to it that later generations would be denied a similar experience.

  59. @Mark G.
    The United States does have more nonwhites, who usually have lower life expectancies, than European countries which partly explains our overall lower life expectancies. When they compared Europeans to Americans of European descent, though, they still found that Europeans live longer overall. Surprisingly, they found that Americans at age 65 have a slightly longer remaining life expectancy than Europeans at age 65. The U.S. spends much more to keep the elderly alive a few more years than Europe. It is the younger age groups where Europeans live longer. Part of this can be attributed to the American fast food diet and the opioid and alcoholism epidemics among Americans but it also appears healthcare money is better spent among European populations. When you consider that America went from eighth in the world in life expectancy in 1950 to number thirty today while tripling medical spending from five to fifteen percent of GDP there appears to be something definitely wrong with the American medical system.

    Part of this can be attributed to the American fast food diet and the opioid and alcoholism epidemics among Americans but it also appears healthcare money is better spent among European populations

    I think sugar, growing portion sizes (in the roaring 1990’s, everything got really big), declining time spent outdoors, and changes in hormonal factors worsened the obesity epidemic. A study showed that 1980’s Americans were skinnier even when they had a exercise and diet profile similar to their 2010’s counterparts; I’m guessing that Americans have changed on some measures of basic physiology, with hormonal changes in particular being important; note that I’m assuming they made comparisons within the same race, if they didn’t then they really screwed up. Looking back at the 70’s and 80’s, a lot of Americans ate dog shit back then and many didn’t necessarily exercise all that much; indeed American’s born in the 1960’s ended up being shorter than those born in the 1940’s and 50’s, which suggests that the 70’s were an awful time for American eating habits. However, males in particular had higher testosterone levels in the 70’s and 80’s than they did in subsequent decades. And falling testosterone levels have coincided with rising obesity levels. Hmmm. Higher levels of “male” hormones will build muscle and bone, while reducing fat levels to some degree. Men in the 1970’s did look, on average, a lot “harder” than the weak chinned and saggy pected “men” that one often sees these days.

    Women I don’t understand as much, however, it could be that both genders are negatively affected by sheer emotional stress. Perhaps emotional stress compromises the bodies ability to process food intake effectively. In impoverished food scarce environments, this can reinforce emaciation. However, in food rich environments, emotional and thus physical stress may still prevent optimal health and we won’t burn calories fast enough, or won’t use calories to the fullest effect for building muscle and bone rather than fat.

    Peter Turchin says that each generation of Americans got taller as you from those born in the 1920’s to those born in the 1940’s. Then height stagnated with those born in the 50’s, then those born in the 60’s were a bit shorter. Whites and blacks born in the 70’s-present are a bit taller than 1960’s births, however, American whites and blacks are still shorter than the men of some European countries. According to Turchin, Americans since the 1960’s have been under growing levels of psychological and political stress, neither of which is conducive to well-being and probably hurts physical health. It’s safe to say that “food poverty” is quite uncommon for most modern young Americans, so we are taller than we were in the Dickensian climate of circa 1900. However, other factors beyond food scarcity are still negatively affecting our health.

  60. @iffen
    But as a moral imperative? The position is obviously bunk.

    It is moral for the group to use force against individuals for the benefit of the group. It's actually part of the definition of morality.

    It is moral for the group to use force against individuals for the benefit of the group. It’s actually part of the definition of morality.

    Collectivism is more moral than individualism. Individualism is by definition anti-social.

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