Discussion:
Tax distribution
(too old to reply)
Alan
2006-05-12 19:45:58 UTC
Permalink
Regardless of how you feel about the Bush tax cuts and the like(and I
know how some of you do feel), it's interesting to see what the
distribution is really like.
<http://www.house.gov/jec/publications/109/rr109-36.pdf>

-ajb
Lan Barnes
2006-05-16 20:01:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan
Regardless of how you feel about the Bush tax cuts and the like(and I
know how some of you do feel), it's interesting to see what the
distribution is really like.
<http://www.house.gov/jec/publications/109/rr109-36.pdf>
-ajb
I've submitted this to Paul Krugman in the hopes he might address it.
Considering it comes just from the R chairman, I suspect it's a major
weasel ... not quite a lie, but mind-bending spin.

It does not address the following statements, which I believe are true.
The most recent round of tax cuts returned $20 to a family with an
income of $36,000, and over $400,000 to a family with income over $5
million. So while the income tax may still be progressive, the tax cuts
were viciously progressive.

The cuts also drastically increased the deficit, and the money for
them must be borrowed from foreign creditors, to be paid off by our
children and grandchildren, with interest.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Legatus
2006-05-16 20:19:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
Post by Alan
Regardless of how you feel about the Bush tax cuts and the like(and I
know how some of you do feel), it's interesting to see what the
distribution is really like.
<http://www.house.gov/jec/publications/109/rr109-36.pdf>
-ajb
I've submitted this to Paul Krugman in the hopes he might address it.
Considering it comes just from the R chairman, I suspect it's a major
weasel ... not quite a lie, but mind-bending spin.
It does not address the following statements, which I believe are true.
The most recent round of tax cuts returned $20 to a family with an
income of $36,000, and over $400,000 to a family with income over $5
million. So while the income tax may still be progressive, the tax cuts
were viciously progressive.
The cuts also drastically increased the deficit, and the money for
them must be borrowed from foreign creditors, to be paid off by our
children and grandchildren, with interest.
The question is how what percent of your taxes paid was cut. Just how
much income tax did the average person making 36K pay. My guess is
after child tax credits, and deductions, most paid none. I have no idea
what someone making 5 Mil pays, but I guess it is in the mils. I'm
betting that as a percentage of tax paid the person making less is
getting more back.
Lan Barnes
2006-05-16 20:32:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by Lan Barnes
Post by Alan
Regardless of how you feel about the Bush tax cuts and the like(and I
know how some of you do feel), it's interesting to see what the
distribution is really like.
<http://www.house.gov/jec/publications/109/rr109-36.pdf>
-ajb
I've submitted this to Paul Krugman in the hopes he might address it.
Considering it comes just from the R chairman, I suspect it's a major
weasel ... not quite a lie, but mind-bending spin.
It does not address the following statements, which I believe are true.
The most recent round of tax cuts returned $20 to a family with an
income of $36,000, and over $400,000 to a family with income over $5
million. So while the income tax may still be progressive, the tax cuts
were viciously progressive.
The cuts also drastically increased the deficit, and the money for
them must be borrowed from foreign creditors, to be paid off by our
children and grandchildren, with interest.
The question is how what percent of your taxes paid was cut. Just how
much income tax did the average person making 36K pay. My guess is
after child tax credits, and deductions, most paid none. I have no idea
what someone making 5 Mil pays, but I guess it is in the mils. I'm
betting that as a percentage of tax paid the person making less is
getting more back.
No, that is not even close to the question. The question is, what kind
of a policy is it to mire our country in debt with feckless tax cuts in
time of war that do little if anything for the common man and are big
cash giveaways to wealthy people who have no need of financial
assistance. Answer that, and then we can play percentage games and dance
angels on the head of pins.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Stewart Stremler
2006-05-18 06:55:42 UTC
Permalink
begin quoting Lan Barnes as of Tue, May 16, 2006 at 03:41:19PM -0700:
[snip]
Post by Lan Barnes
No, that is not even close to the question. The question is, what kind
of a policy is it to mire our country in debt with feckless tax cuts in
time of war that do little if anything for the common man and are big
[snip]

Times of war should have tax increases. Special assessments. Spread
the pain around. Let everyone feel as if they're involved.
--
_ |\_
\|
Alan
2006-05-16 21:21:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
The question is how what percent of your taxes paid was cut. Just how
much income tax did the average person making 36K pay. My guess is
after child tax credits, and deductions, most paid none. I have no idea
what someone making 5 Mil pays, but I guess it is in the mils. I'm
betting that as a percentage of tax paid the person making less is
getting more back.
According to the link I posted:
Between 30-40k, the average income tax paid was $1,985
Over 1mil, the average income tax paid was $730,918

The IRS has more statistics than you could ever hope to need.
<http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/index.html>

-ajb
Lan Barnes
2006-05-16 21:26:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan
Post by Legatus
The question is how what percent of your taxes paid was cut. Just how
much income tax did the average person making 36K pay. My guess is
after child tax credits, and deductions, most paid none. I have no idea
what someone making 5 Mil pays, but I guess it is in the mils. I'm
betting that as a percentage of tax paid the person making less is
getting more back.
Between 30-40k, the average income tax paid was $1,985
Over 1mil, the average income tax paid was $730,918
The IRS has more statistics than you could ever hope to need.
<http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/index.html>
-ajb
OK, slowly ... it's not what they paid. It's not the percentage of the
gross receipts they paid. It is (1) the percentage of the tax cuts that
they got when no tax cuts were justified by circumstances (war, soaring
deficits), and (2) the relative fairness of running the government on
the backs of the struggling masses of middle class workers while the
uber wealthy get relief they don't need.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Legatus
2006-05-17 04:07:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
OK, slowly ... it's not what they paid. It's not the percentage of the
gross receipts they paid. It is (1) the percentage of the tax cuts that
they got when no tax cuts were justified by circumstances (war, soaring
deficits), and (2) the relative fairness of running the government on
the backs of the struggling masses of middle class workers while the
uber wealthy get relief they don't need.
A little more slowly.

Tax revenues are up

As posted before over 90% of the taxes are paid by the uber wealthy,
thus not on the backs of the middle class.

A fair tax system cares not of need. A socialist one does. That, I am
certain, is where we will never meet.
boblq
2006-05-17 05:04:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need. A socialist one does. That, I am
certain, is where we will never meet.
What are the purposes of a tax system? Is not helping
the weak one of them?

BobLQ
Stewart Stremler
2006-05-17 05:50:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need. A socialist one does. That, I am
certain, is where we will never meet.
What are the purposes of a tax system? Is not helping
the weak one of them?
Your inner nobility is shining through...

I'd say it depends on historical context. From some points of view,
taxes are to help the strong and rich. :-/

Ideally, a tax system funds an entity that helps the weak. Of course,
that depends on a point of view that _isn't_ interested in keeping
the weak weak.

(Ideally, also, the way to make the weak less weak isn't to make the
strong weak in their stead...)

Nanotech better hurry up and get here with some cornucopia machines.
--
_ |\_
\|
Legatus
2006-05-17 12:59:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need. A socialist one does. That, I am
certain, is where we will never meet.
What are the purposes of a tax system? Is not helping
the weak one of them?
I don't think so. I think it should be purely to operate government. I
think it is my job individually to help the weak, and to align myself
with others who do so as well. Ultimately I think government fails at
nearly everything it tries to do, thus anything that is inherently
government shouldn't be done by the government. My stance on this
weakens as you the governments become more local, but it doesn't go away
completely. An example would be sports stadiums. I am opposed to the
idea of cities building stadiums primarily so a very lucrative private
industry can charge me to enter a public facility. Sports franchises
should be building these things. I feel less strongly on this, than I do
if it were the feds building the stadium, because local governments tend
to think more like those they serve, because their constituents are
their neighbors.
boblq
2006-05-17 15:00:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need. A socialist one does. That, I am
certain, is where we will never meet.
What are the purposes of a tax system? Is not helping
the weak one of them?
I don't think so. I think it should be purely to operate government.
And what do you see as "government?"
Post by Legatus
I think it is my job individually to help the weak, and to align myself
with others who do so as well.
OK. One mode of alignment in a democratic society is politics,
the fight over what happens with tax monies, i.e. over what is
the proper role and function of government.
Post by Legatus
Ultimately I think government fails at
nearly everything it tries to do,
Two reasons among many are:

1) Government attracts people who are incompetent.

2) Government tackles difficult problems. Ones that
business certainly will not tackle and which are
beyond the scale of individual action.

I am not a great fan of government myself. I am also not
enthused by people dying in the streets because they are
weak.

Of course the belief that "government fails at nearly everything
it tries to do" is a powerful argument against going to war. We
certainly are getting a good lesson in what hubris entails as
we bog on in Iraq. Well over $1 Billion/day being spent on the
military is a pretty good sized chunk of government activity.
Is this really the best way to spend this kind of money?
Post by Legatus
thus anything that is inherently
government shouldn't be done by the government.
Did you write here what you intended? It is a bit of an odd
construction. Rather like "We had to destroy the village to save it."

Then if not by the government by who or what? Or not at all?
Let them die in the streets?
Post by Legatus
My stance on this
weakens as you the governments become more local, but it doesn't go away
completely. An example would be sports stadiums. I am opposed to the
idea of cities building stadiums primarily so a very lucrative private
industry can charge me to enter a public facility. Sports franchises
should be building these things. I feel less strongly on this, than I do
if it were the feds building the stadium, because local governments tend
to think more like those they serve, because their constituents are
their neighbors.
This is certainly not an example of government helping the weak,
which was where I began. If you want to bring in examples of how
government is perverted to serve mostly the rich and powerfull then
you won't find much disagreement from me. Perhaps a part of your
critique is that this is the inevitable outcome.

Rather it is a good example of government doing what it seems to
do well, i.e. support the rich and powerful in becoming more so. Do you
not agree that this is an instance of government doing that "job"
well? Not that "Bread and Circuses" is anything new. Except now
it is more circus and less bread.
RBW
2006-05-17 12:39:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by Lan Barnes
OK, slowly ... it's not what they paid. It's not the percentage of the
gross receipts they paid. It is (1) the percentage of the tax cuts that
they got when no tax cuts were justified by circumstances (war, soaring
deficits), and (2) the relative fairness of running the government on
the backs of the struggling masses of middle class workers while the
uber wealthy get relief they don't need.
A little more slowly.
Tax revenues are up
This is the one that vexes liberals the most because it is axiomatic
that money resources left in the economy cause greater revenue and
economic performance at any given tax rate in the long run than removing
the money resources before they are able to circulate in economic activity.
Post by Legatus
As posted before over 90% of the taxes are paid by the uber wealthy,
thus not on the backs of the middle class.
Another anamoly for the left, they want social control just like the
right which is part of what tax policy is all about. I have always
wondered why when they are in power they don't just eliminate the tax
burden on the bottom 50% which pay 4% of the taxes. That 4% could easily
be carried by the top 5 or10 or 20% of income earners. I'm not sure that
I particularly agree with that but the bottom 50% income was just shy of
$30K last I checked. What would be wrong with tax policy that said you
don't pay until you hit >30-40k? What would the electorate look like
after that policy was implemented by the left? (Never going to happen,
they don't want different they want control).
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need. A socialist one does. That, I am
certain, is where we will never meet.
I disagree... just a little...
There is no "fair" tax system. There is simply a socialist end of the
spectrum where you send everything to the central authority first and
they figure out where resources are subsequently needed OR you go to the
other end of the spectrum where you leave everything out in the economy
and you collect revenue after it circulates and generates an increase.
The problem with the first is that there is no set of bureacrats that
actually knows what is actually needed and they will distribute
resources inefficiently and eventially lead to collapse (The Soviet
union). The problem with the second is the accumulation of wealth in the
hands of a few eventually results in an extreme polarization of wealth
in the hands of a few and a resulting decadence in general because this
method doesn't address actual needs either.

I think we are currently of the second type and while cutting taxes
eventually increases tax revenue there are severe consequences to a
polarized economy and the insecure position most people find themselves.

RBW
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 15:24:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by RBW
Post by Legatus
Post by Lan Barnes
OK, slowly ... it's not what they paid. It's not the percentage of the
gross receipts they paid. It is (1) the percentage of the tax cuts that
they got when no tax cuts were justified by circumstances (war, soaring
deficits), and (2) the relative fairness of running the government on
the backs of the struggling masses of middle class workers while the
uber wealthy get relief they don't need.
A little more slowly.
Tax revenues are up
This is the one that vexes liberals the most because it is axiomatic
that money resources left in the economy cause greater revenue and
economic performance at any given tax rate in the long run than removing
the money resources before they are able to circulate in economic activity.
Read a piece by Regan's Treasury guy ... don't have the reference. Mind
you, this is a supply sider. He candidly admitted that the best tax cuts
stimulated the economy to cover only about 2/3 of the revenues lost.

Hell of a way to balance a budget.

Oh, I forgot, Cheney said that "Regan proved that deficits don't
matter." Tell that to Bush I (and Regan, for that matter) who had to
raise taxes to clean up the mess.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 15:20:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by Lan Barnes
OK, slowly ... it's not what they paid. It's not the percentage of the
gross receipts they paid. It is (1) the percentage of the tax cuts that
they got when no tax cuts were justified by circumstances (war, soaring
deficits), and (2) the relative fairness of running the government on
the backs of the struggling masses of middle class workers while the
uber wealthy get relief they don't need.
A little more slowly.
Tax revenues are up
This is a canard. The deficit is growing far faster than revenues. First
rule of holes: When you're in one, stop digging.
Post by Legatus
As posted before over 90% of the taxes are paid by the uber wealthy,
thus not on the backs of the middle class.
1. This ignores that more than 90% of the income goes to the uber
wealthy.

2. It's about fairness of the TAX CUTS.
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need. A socialist one does. That, I am
certain, is where we will never meet.
The first responsibility of any tax system is to cover the government's
expenditures. Fairness is in the eye of the beholder.

I don't give a rat fuck about labels like "socialist." OK, I do, but
it's a red herring here.

BTW, I'm no fan of progressive income tax. The only truly fair tax is on
the value of land ... but that doesn't stand a chance because then
_everybody_ would pay their fair share, and the rich who purchase
government policy don't want to pay anything.

But while we have income tax, we should have the honesty to look at the
effects of government policy on the economy and on the people.

Some day we should sit down for a beer; I'll shut my mouth; and then
you'll explain to me why you so vigorously defend bad policy that
attacks your best interests (unless you're in the top 2% in family
wealth) as much as it does mine.

Who knows, if you're convincing enough, maybe I'll drink some of your
Kool Aid.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Alan
2006-05-17 17:30:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
As posted before over 90% of the taxes are paid by the uber wealthy,
thus not on the backs of the middle class.
I don't know where you got that, but it wasn't from the link I posted.

-ajb
(Unless, of course, you consider someone making $29,020 uberwealthy)
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 18:06:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan
Post by Legatus
As posted before over 90% of the taxes are paid by the uber wealthy,
thus not on the backs of the middle class.
I don't know where you got that, but it wasn't from the link I posted.
-ajb
(Unless, of course, you consider someone making $29,020 uberwealthy)
This just in:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051606M.shtml

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
RBW
2006-05-17 19:00:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
Post by Alan
Post by Legatus
As posted before over 90% of the taxes are paid by the uber wealthy,
thus not on the backs of the middle class.
I don't know where you got that, but it wasn't from the link I posted.
-ajb
(Unless, of course, you consider someone making $29,020 uberwealthy)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051606M.shtml
Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Robert Reich calling the Brookings Institute "non-partisan"?

RB"Prejudgemental red flags waving in the wind"W
Andrew Lentvorski
2006-05-17 21:39:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan
Post by Legatus
The question is how what percent of your taxes paid was cut. Just how
much income tax did the average person making 36K pay. My guess is
after child tax credits, and deductions, most paid none. I have no
idea what someone making 5 Mil pays, but I guess it is in the mils.
I'm betting that as a percentage of tax paid the person making less is
getting more back.
Between 30-40k, the average income tax paid was $1,985
Over 1mil, the average income tax paid was $730,918
The IRS has more statistics than you could ever hope to need.
<http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/index.html>
Careful. This is a fairly standard statistical trick. Comparing an
open-ended range with a closed range. Also, note that the ranges aren't
particularly comparable in any meaningful way.

It also neglects Social Security. Once you pass about $80,000 in
income, you do not pay any more Social Security. This is a non-trivial
regressive tax.

Furthermore, the question is what percentage of disposable/discretionary
income are some of these things. $1,985 hurts very much if your total
discretionary income (ie. after rent, food, auto, etc) is only say, $5000.

Taking a $20,000 bite out of someone making $100,000 is very different
from taking a $2000 bite out of someone making $30,000. I saw this a
lot with junior engineers in San Francisco. We would hire them around
$55,000-$60,000 in 1999. Their first raise, about 10-15%, moved them
from working hard to meet the bills (rent, particularly) to suddenly
having some disposable income.

In addition, they compare the "average" at increasingly higher incomes
with the "average" at lower incomes. While the average and median are
likely very close for incomes under $100,000, they begin to diverge
badly above that. On a logarithmic scale, the average gets dominated by
the highest outliers.

Personally, I have some quibble with these numbers. Somehow I,
personally, have *always* paid *much* more in tax than any of these
"average" numbers for the equivalent bracket.

-a
Alan
2006-05-17 22:58:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Careful. This is a fairly standard statistical trick. Comparing an
open-ended range with a closed range. Also, note that the ranges aren't
particularly comparable in any meaningful way.
I make no claim either way.
I was merely reporting the numbers I had available.
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
It also neglects Social Security. Once you pass about $80,000 in
income, you do not pay any more Social Security. This is a non-trivial
regressive tax.
The question was not "how much total tax do you pay", the question was
"Just how much income tax did the average person making 36K pay."
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Taking a $20,000 bite out of someone making $100,000 is very different
from taking a $2000 bite out of someone making $30,000.
No argument. But that was not the question he asked.

-ajb
Alan
2006-05-16 21:07:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
I've submitted this to Paul Krugman in the hopes he might address it.
Considering it comes just from the R chairman, I suspect it's a major
weasel ... not quite a lie, but mind-bending spin.
Well, to be fair, the data come from IRS statistics.
The text that doesn't have numbers in it is almost certainly spin, but
we're all intelligent enough to recognize that.
I make no claim one way or the other about the progressivity of the tax
system, I just found it remarkable that the top half of filers pay over
96% of the income tax.

Do post if Krugman talks about it.

-ajb
Lan Barnes
2006-05-16 21:23:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan
Post by Lan Barnes
I've submitted this to Paul Krugman in the hopes he might address it.
Considering it comes just from the R chairman, I suspect it's a major
weasel ... not quite a lie, but mind-bending spin.
Well, to be fair, the data come from IRS statistics.
The text that doesn't have numbers in it is almost certainly spin, but
we're all intelligent enough to recognize that.
I make no claim one way or the other about the progressivity of the tax
system, I just found it remarkable that the top half of filers pay over
96% of the income tax.
Do post if Krugman talks about it.
-ajb
Fair enough.

I expect and to a certain extent forgive spin. Every person in a
leadership position wants to communicate his view.

But to paraphrase Mark Twain, there is spin, egregious spin, and
barefaced lying.

No party or period has had a monopoly on that.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Gabriel Sechan
2006-05-17 15:31:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan
Between 30-40k, the average income tax paid was $1,985
Over 1mil, the average income tax paid was $730,918
The IRS has more statistics than you could ever hope to need.
<http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/index.html>
THe problem with that number is we only have means, no medians or std
deviations. If Bill gates pays 100M in taxes and 100 Jow Millionaire pays
100K in taxes thats still an average of just about 1 million each, yet most
of them only paid 10% of their salary in taxes (with Billy boy probably even
paying less!). The numbers aren't whats needed to do the analysis to tell
their real share.

Gabe
Alan
2006-05-17 17:26:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
THe problem with that number is we only have means, no medians or std
deviations.
...
The numbers aren't whats needed to do the
Post by Gabriel Sechan
analysis to tell their real share.
No argument, but it's the number I had on hand at the moment.
That's why I included the IRS link for those that want to delve deeper.

-ajb
Gabriel Sechan
2006-05-17 15:36:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need.
You have a warped definition of the word fair.

Gabe
John H. Robinson, IV
2006-05-17 16:01:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need.
You have a warped definition of the word fair.
Actually, he is exactly correct. A fair tax system cares only about land
ownership. Look up ``On Progress and Poverty'' by Henry George sometime.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0911312587/

-john
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 16:05:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need.
You have a warped definition of the word fair.
Actually, he is exactly correct. A fair tax system cares only about land
ownership. Look up ``On Progress and Poverty'' by Henry George sometime.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0911312587/
-john
THANK you!!
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Stewart Stremler
2006-05-17 16:43:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need.
You have a warped definition of the word fair.
Actually, he is exactly correct.
To me "fair" involves everyone finding the situation acceptable, no
matter what role... you slice, I choose, or I slice, you choose.
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
A fair tax system cares only about land
ownership. Look up ``On Progress and Poverty'' by Henry George sometime.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0911312587/
No matter how often I read that stuff about Henry George, it doesn't
make any sense[1]. I'm obviously missing the fundamental insight. If I
had to pay taxes according to land, I'd be unable to own any land.

[1] To me. It obviously makes sense to others. Obviously I haven't
found the right flavor of kool-aide.
--
_ |\_
\|
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 17:04:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stewart Stremler
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need.
You have a warped definition of the word fair.
Actually, he is exactly correct.
To me "fair" involves everyone finding the situation acceptable, no
matter what role... you slice, I choose, or I slice, you choose.
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
A fair tax system cares only about land
ownership. Look up ``On Progress and Poverty'' by Henry George sometime.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0911312587/
No matter how often I read that stuff about Henry George, it doesn't
make any sense[1]. I'm obviously missing the fundamental insight. If I
had to pay taxes according to land, I'd be unable to own any land.
Why do you think that? You already pay taxes on your land _and_ the
house on it (a Georgist tax excludes the value of improvements) _and_ a
mortgage. You also pay income tax, sales taxes, imposts, yadda yadda
yadda, all of which would go away under a Georgist system. Additionally,
the market value of land would adjust to its real desirability, since
land speculators and slum lords would have less incentive to hold onto
land waiting for it to appreciate. So why do you believe you wouldn't be
able to own land?
Post by Stewart Stremler
[1] To me. It obviously makes sense to others. Obviously I haven't
found the right flavor of kool-aide.
Since the kool aid allusion is to delusional belief systems a la
Jonestown, you may have overstepped here. Lots of people don't really
understand relativity or evolution, but they would hardly call it kool
aid.

George was a transcendent genius, and while I find his writing clear (in
a leisurely, 19th Century sort of way), I admit I had to take several
classes to sort out the ideas. Or does taking classes make me a kool aid
drinker? "Contempt prior to examination ..." (a quote George used in
"Progress and Poverty"):

www.silkworth.net/pdf/Survival_of_a_Fitting_Quotation.pdf
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Stewart Stremler
2006-05-18 06:54:08 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by Lan Barnes
Post by Stewart Stremler
No matter how often I read that stuff about Henry George, it doesn't
make any sense[1]. I'm obviously missing the fundamental insight. If I
had to pay taxes according to land, I'd be unable to own any land.
Why do you think that? You already pay taxes on your land _and_ the
house on it (a Georgist tax excludes the value of improvements) _and_ a
mortgage.
I don't count the mortgage as a tax.

I pay taxes on the land as of when I purchased it, not on it's current
value. I couldn't afford to own land in an east-coast metropolis, I
fear, they do not have the artifical constraint on land taxation.

If my land gets more valuable, and the taxes are adjusted to reflect
the "actual worth" of the land, I can see ending up in a situation
where I can't afford the taxes on the family house. Sorry, it's
worth too much, you gotta go!
Post by Lan Barnes
You also pay income tax, sales taxes, imposts, yadda yadda
yadda, all of which would go away under a Georgist system.
And all that yadda yadda money will have to come from somewhere,
which means it'll come out of the property taxes. No retirement
for me, ever! When my income is reduced at retirement, my tax
burden won't be.

There are a lot of interesting ideas in this only-tax-land thing;
I'm just not sure how it would /actually/ work out in practice.
Post by Lan Barnes
Additionally,
the market value of land would adjust to its real desirability, since
land speculators and slum lords would have less incentive to hold onto
land waiting for it to appreciate. So why do you believe you wouldn't be
able to own land?
Because owning a house can be seen... as you point out, I believe,
elsewhere... basically an exercise in land speculation. Every homeowner
is basically a land speculator from a certain point of view, so the
penalties on speculation hit those who just want to own some land to
call their own.
Post by Lan Barnes
Post by Stewart Stremler
[1] To me. It obviously makes sense to others. Obviously I haven't
found the right flavor of kool-aide.
Since the kool aid allusion is to delusional belief systems a la
Jonestown, you may have overstepped here.
It's enticing, almost everyone else is going for it, and there's immense
pressure to conform and go along with something I don't quite understand,
that may be wonderful, or may be terrible.

Yup, kool-aide. :-P

(I actually don't mean to gore any sacred cows here. I see the kool-aide
allusion as one of conformity to charisma, rather than a result of
delusional beliefs.)
Post by Lan Barnes
Lots of people don't really
understand relativity or evolution, but they would hardly call it kool
aid.
Ah, but for them, it doesn't matter. Makes no difference to them if
they understand it or not -- either way, they're no better or worse
off than before. With economic stuff, however, there's a massive
effect... so more understanding is required, as an informed decision
is crucial.
Post by Lan Barnes
George was a transcendent genius, and while I find his writing clear (in
a leisurely, 19th Century sort of way), I admit I had to take several
classes to sort out the ideas. Or does taking classes make me a kool aid
drinker? "Contempt prior to examination ..." (a quote George used in
You're smart. If it takes you several classes to sort out the ideas,
where does that leave people like me, who get stuck in the weeds looking
for the catch?

I've been directed to George a number of times over the years, and each
time I generally take a look, to see if perhaps getting older makes the
concepts more tractable. In general, it's "No, I don't see how you'd be
assured of getting there" each time, and I wander off to read about
something else.

Generally, things that seem too good to be true, are.
Post by Lan Barnes
www.silkworth.net/pdf/Survival_of_a_Fitting_Quotation.pdf
That's a long and rather dry paper over something rather trivial. :)

(Maybe I missed that point too.)
--
_ |\_
\|
Alan
2006-05-18 07:15:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stewart Stremler
Because owning a house can be seen... as you point out, I believe,
elsewhere... basically an exercise in land speculation.
A bad one, if you believe some economists:
<http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/03/shiller_longter.html>

The Amsterdam one is particularly interesting:
<http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/03/news/tulips.php>
Post by Stewart Stremler
I've been directed to George a number of times over the years, and each
time I generally take a look, to see if perhaps getting older makes the
concepts more tractable. In general, it's "No, I don't see how you'd be
assured of getting there" each time, and I wander off to read about
something else.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't see the beauty.

-ajb
Legatus
2006-05-18 12:43:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stewart Stremler
And all that yadda yadda money will have to come from somewhere,
which means it'll come out of the property taxes. No retirement
for me, ever! When my income is reduced at retirement, my tax
burden won't be.
Good point, missed the line of thought when first reading.
Neil Schneider
2006-05-24 21:40:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stewart Stremler
Because owning a house can be seen... as you point out, I believe,
elsewhere... basically an exercise in land speculation. Every
homeowner
is basically a land speculator from a certain point of view, so the
penalties on speculation hit those who just want to own some land to
call their own.
Though this may be true in some markets, it's not true in most of the
U.S. Land doesn not appreciate above the rate of inflation in the
majority of the U.S. Only in high demand, high speculation markets
like San Diego does appreciation exceed inflation.

We tend to think that every market is like ours, but I can assure you
from experience, they are not.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
http://www.paccomp.com
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a
circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already here,
and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are
well trained." - Edward R. Murrow
Stewart Stremler
2006-05-24 21:51:26 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by Stewart Stremler
is basically a land speculator from a certain point of view, so the
penalties on speculation hit those who just want to own some land to
call their own.
Though this may be true in some markets, it's not true in most of the
U.S. Land doesn not appreciate above the rate of inflation in the
majority of the U.S. Only in high demand, high speculation markets
like San Diego does appreciation exceed inflation.
Good point.
Post by Neil Schneider
We tend to think that every market is like ours, but I can assure you
from experience, they are not.
The markets I hear about is pretty close to ours. (Parts of Washington, a few
spots in California, Detroit, ...Vancouver...)

Where are some places where appreciation isn't exceeding inflation, esp.
by a significant amount? Kansas?
--
_ |\_
\|
Andrew Lentvorski
2006-05-24 22:55:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stewart Stremler
Where are some places where appreciation isn't exceeding inflation, esp.
by a significant amount? Kansas?
Anywhere without jobs you would want.

Most of Pennsylvania. Lots of West Virginia and Ohio.

-a
Lan Barnes
2006-05-24 23:25:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Post by Stewart Stremler
Where are some places where appreciation isn't exceeding inflation, esp.
by a significant amount? Kansas?
Anywhere without jobs you would want.
Most of Pennsylvania. Lots of West Virginia and Ohio.
-a
... and Detroit.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Neil Schneider
2006-05-25 18:26:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stewart Stremler
Post by Neil Schneider
We tend to think that every market is like ours, but I can assure you
from experience, they are not.
The markets I hear about is pretty close to ours. (Parts of
Washington, a few
spots in California, Detroit, ...Vancouver...)
Where are some places where appreciation isn't exceeding inflation, esp.
by a significant amount? Kansas?
Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Illinoi except maybe Chicago, almost any
city/state that is not coastal. A trust, that I am a beneficiary of,
just bought a house in Grand Junction, Colorado. I can assure you that
I can expect no more appreciation than the rate of inflation, in that
market. I can improve the property to get more value, but it won't
appreciate much on its own.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
http://www.paccomp.com
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a
circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already here,
and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are
well trained." - Edward R. Murrow
Lan Barnes
2006-05-24 21:55:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by Stewart Stremler
Because owning a house can be seen... as you point out, I believe,
elsewhere... basically an exercise in land speculation. Every homeowner
is basically a land speculator from a certain point of view, so the
penalties on speculation hit those who just want to own some land to
call their own.
Though this may be true in some markets, it's not true in most of the
U.S. Land doesn not appreciate above the rate of inflation in the
majority of the U.S. Only in high demand, high speculation markets
like San Diego does appreciation exceed inflation.
We tend to think that every market is like ours, but I can assure you
from experience, they are not.
In either case, in a Georgist tax system, which I was describing and
which I also advocate, it is quit true that the expected fruits of land
speculation would be taxed away. However, these would be the only fruits
of speculation that would have any taxes. And remember, the value of the
land is separated from the value of capital improvements on it.

Thus under this system, land would be an inappropriate choice for a
retirement investment. Or for an attempt to corner some market. Any
gains would be taxed away.

Because there are so many other valid vehicles for retirement
investment; because inflation would be nonexistent under a Georgist
system; and because land would tend to be more affordable and more
efficiently utilized for private and public housing, business and
agricultural uses, etc, I don't see this as any loss. Just an
adjustment.

People get very attached to the ways of doing things they're used to.
This the progressive income tax and also use of a personal home as an
investment vehicle are defended vigorously without considering the
disadvantages of these approaches and the benefits of giving them up and
going to a different system.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
boblq
2006-05-25 15:36:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
People get very attached to the ways of doing things they're used to
This is certainly true. More than just attached mentally. They often have
large vested interest in the status quo.
Post by Lan Barnes
This the progressive income tax and also use of a personal home as an
investment vehicle are defended vigorously without considering the
disadvantages of these approaches and the benefits of giving them up and
going to a different system.
I am curious. Have the ideas that George advocated ever been implemented
and tested in even a small state, is/was/has there been, a government based
on Georgian principals? Do we have any empirical evidence that his theories
hold water?

BobLQ
Lan Barnes
2006-05-25 16:02:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by boblq
Post by Lan Barnes
People get very attached to the ways of doing things they're used to
This is certainly true. More than just attached mentally. They often have
large vested interest in the status quo.
Post by Lan Barnes
This the progressive income tax and also use of a personal home as an
investment vehicle are defended vigorously without considering the
disadvantages of these approaches and the benefits of giving them up and
going to a different system.
I am curious. Have the ideas that George advocated ever been implemented
and tested in even a small state, is/was/has there been, a government based
on Georgian principals? Do we have any empirical evidence that his theories
hold water?
yes and yes, albeit frequently locally. But almost always with good
effect _until vested interests (you touched on that) undo them_.

Off the top of my head and from memory (I'm actually doing real work for
the people who pay me today, and can't do a lot of research):

- Australian federal district, Canberra
- several Eastern Pennsylvania cities and townships
- there is a county I believe in Mississippi that is a planned community
and has Georgist property taxes
- to a certain extent, California prior to prop 13 (back when we were
the envy of the rest of the country in public education and
infrastructure)
- Denmark in the 1960s

In each of these cases, it was not an accidental event but a conscious
decision to apply Georgist principles. And of course, the reliance on
Georgist taxes in each case is/was partial and usually limited to
applying property tax on the basis of land value alone, rather than on
the capital improvements. A true Georgist system would abolish all other
taxes, imposts, and tariffs, and get all government revenue from the
single tax on land value (and remember, "land" covers such things as
broadcast spectrum, etc, that cannot be created or expanded by labor).

In each case, economists (usually Georgist economists, but hey, no one
else pays attention) who analyzed the situation found local economies
always had significantly higher employment, wages, and price and
business stability than the rest of the nation/world. These benefits
resulted without any government regulation or interference in the free
market economy (other than collecting public revenue through Georgist
taxes). They also found that the extent of the advantage correlated
closely to how deeply the Georgist taxation penetrated that whole tax
base for the region.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Todd Walton
2006-05-26 21:45:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
single tax on land value (and remember, "land" covers such things as
broadcast spectrum, etc, that cannot be created or expanded by labor).
One of the hot stories of the past decade is that broadcast spectrum
*can* be created and expanded by labor.

-todd
Mike Marion
2006-05-26 22:32:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Todd Walton
One of the hot stories of the past decade is that broadcast spectrum
*can* be created and expanded by labor.
Unless you're talking about something way out there.. I assume you
mean things that can pack more data into the same spectrum. CDMA,
OFDM, etc.. which is not the same as creating more spectrum, it's just
more efficient use of what's there.

I don't think anything would agree that if I tore down my house and
built two really close together on the same lot, that it counts as
"more" land.

Now if they invent something like subspace radio.. now there's a "new"
kind of spectrum.
--
Mike Marion-Unix SysAdmin/Staff Engineer-http://www.miguelito.org
Marge: "Homer, sitting that close to the TV can't be good for you."
Homer: "Talking while the TV's on can't be good for you!"
==> Simpsons
Lan Barnes
2006-05-26 23:51:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Marion
Post by Todd Walton
One of the hot stories of the past decade is that broadcast spectrum
*can* be created and expanded by labor.
Unless you're talking about something way out there.. I assume you
mean things that can pack more data into the same spectrum. CDMA,
OFDM, etc.. which is not the same as creating more spectrum, it's just
more efficient use of what's there.
I don't think anything would agree that if I tore down my house and
built two really close together on the same lot, that it counts as
"more" land.
Now if they invent something like subspace radio.. now there's a "new"
kind of spectrum.
yes and no. It's discovering undiscovered land (unless it's
characteristics are that it's boundless, and then, whoopee).

Boundless land. What a concept!

One of the more interesting economic moments was 1492 when the amount of
available land to Europeans more than -- what? -- quadrupled? At the
time, the fact that people already lived in the Americas didn't matter
much because (1) they were heathens (2) they had tinted skin (actually,
everybody does, but they were _different_), and (3) they didn't have
firearms. Really, (3) was the biggie.

Anyway, it was "come on, everybody, free land!" For the 400 years it
took to expand until there was none left, the economies of the New World
boomed. We like to congratulate ourselves on how uniquely wonderful
American can-do spirit is, but really, it was ever expanding access to
cheap land that made this country so rich.

One of the more interesting economic dichotomies was the difference
between wealth development in South and North America over those years.
Two mature European cultures, England and Spain, got a continent apiece
at the same starting time. Three hundred years later, the northern
continent was wealthy and egalitarian and the southern continent was
characterized by repression, revolution, and huge wealth distribution
differences between a tiny aristocracy and an impoverished people.

Why? Superiority in language? In genetics? In political organization?

I've heard the first two answers advanced.

The third answer comes closest but still misses the mark. The difference
was that the Spanish culture imported the European tradition of carving
up the land, including the unexplored areas, into huge estates for a few
favored families, and also importing and raising armies to enforce it.

In the English model, there was less control, no enforcement, and lots
of common law land ownership. If you couldn't find work where you were,
you drifted west and laid claim to a homestead.

The last land rush in the US was in Oklahoma in the 1920s.

BTW, the explanation for the deepening stain of slavery in our country
goes to the same point. If people who don't like the pay that you offer
can just drift west and grab some land for themselves, you can't become
a wealthy planter anywhere near as easily. Well to do, maybe, but only
if you work hard and offer decent wages ... share the wealth. No, to get
rich, you need a cowed labor force that doesn't dare leave.

I'm convinced that the reason black Africans were made slaves was not
because of any cultural inferiority, but because they were easily
visually recognizable, and thus couldn't slip away easily. And that's
why the South so vigorously fought any reforms that would have allowed
any blacks to live among them free. How would they have spotted the
runaways if a black skin didn't mean the man was a slave?

In the North in the 1600s and early 1700s, English (white) prisoners
were shipped to New England as indentured servants .... slaves, really
... but the custom didn't work because they would just run away.

No, the black skin was essential to the slave culture, and slaves were
essential to make holding large estates fabulously profitable in a land
where the common man always had the alternative of starting out for
himself on some available land.

I give out these tidbits of Georgist insight so that all you techie
libertarians can have something to ponder next time your annual raise is
thousands of dollars below last year when you calculate in inflation and
decreased benefits and vacation days. You know who you are ;-)

Used to be a man could at least dream of designing the killer app ...
not as unlikely as winning the Lotto. Now with software patents and
"intellectual property" ...

You guys still sure that old 40 hour week and those 10 vacation days are
so secure? When Ramaganavisna is offering to do your job for 60% of what
you're getting and you're offered the choice between longer hours for
less money, or no job at all, which way you gonna jump?

Just wondering ...
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Todd Walton
2006-05-27 07:50:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
One of the more interesting economic moments was 1492 when the amount of
available land to Europeans more than -- what? -- quadrupled? At the
time, the fact that people already lived in the Americas didn't matter
much because (1) they were heathens (2) they had tinted skin (actually,
everybody does, but they were _different_), and (3) they didn't have
firearms. Really, (3) was the biggie.
In defense of those people, a thought experiment. There are plenty of
tinted skin people with no firearms today, and we don't seem to be
invading their lands in a rush to populate it with gun-wielding white
people. World opinion, the UN, powerful allies, etc, stop most
nations. Conversely, there *are* plenty of tinted skin people who
*do* have guns and it hasn't stopped us from the regime-change
adventure.

Number 1 is probably the closest, in that the "heathens" had lots of
wide open spaces, and didn't seem to be claiming it as property.
Europeans couldn't understand property that wasn't closely and
jealously guarded with fences, deeds, and a gun-wielding white person
standing on it.

That explains the beginning at least.
Post by Lan Barnes
We like to congratulate ourselves on how uniquely wonderful
American can-do spirit is, but really, it was ever expanding access to
cheap land that made this country so rich.
You say that, but then you provide your own counter-argument. The
South of this hemisphere was overrun by Spaniards and they haven't
turned out so rich. You give the reason as their habit of making
large estates. Well, isn't the non-habit part and parcel of a can-do
spirit that rewards those who can? That treats people on a more
individualistic basis instead of by their class? It's hard to be
can-do when the plantation owner can-take it all.
Post by Lan Barnes
In the English model, there was less control, no enforcement, and lots
of common law land ownership. If you couldn't find work where you were,
you drifted west and laid claim to a homestead.
...
Post by Lan Barnes
Used to be a man could at least dream of designing the killer app ...
not as unlikely as winning the Lotto. Now with software patents and
"intellectual property" ...
You guys still sure that old 40 hour week and those 10 vacation days are
so secure? When Ramaganavisna is offering to do your job for 60% of what
you're getting and you're offered the choice between longer hours for
less money, or no job at all, which way you gonna jump?
Across the apparent non-sequitir?

-todd
Lan Barnes
2006-05-27 14:56:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Todd Walton
Post by Lan Barnes
One of the more interesting economic moments was 1492 when the amount of
available land to Europeans more than -- what? -- quadrupled? At the
time, the fact that people already lived in the Americas didn't matter
much because (1) they were heathens (2) they had tinted skin (actually,
everybody does, but they were _different_), and (3) they didn't have
firearms. Really, (3) was the biggie.
In defense of those people, a thought experiment. There are plenty of
tinted skin people with no firearms today, and we don't seem to be
invading their lands in a rush to populate it with gun-wielding white
people. World opinion, the UN, powerful allies, etc, stop most
nations. Conversely, there *are* plenty of tinted skin people who
*do* have guns and it hasn't stopped us from the regime-change
adventure.
Nope. I grant you there are plenty of examples of conflict between
peoples who had equality of arms at the time. However, there are other
examples of conflicts with great disparity of arms, this being one
(obsidian swords -- I mean, _really_), and these always end up with the
technologically inferior side being conquered quickly and easily.

This does not address conflicts in which one side has a superiority in
tactics or strategy. That is another matter, not to be confused.

Want me to cite examples where there was no meaningful disparity of
arms, and one side went into it thinking the heathen/tinted skin thing
meant anything? Like maybe Vietnam (twice stupid, the French and then
us, disparaging the French effort). The Boer War. The American Indian
Wars whenever the Indians were well armed. The Suez Crisis. Yup,
underestimating tinted heathens with good arms is a hell of a wake-up
call ... but evidently not one that wakes everybody up.
Post by Todd Walton
Number 1 is probably the closest, in that the "heathens" had lots of
wide open spaces, and didn't seem to be claiming it as property.
Europeans couldn't understand property that wasn't closely and
jealously guarded with fences, deeds, and a gun-wielding white person
standing on it.
Had the Indians had muskets and the Europeans obsidian swords, not only
would modern America look and think like the indigenous tribes, but
Europe might be a lot different.

The availability of open spaces didn't make Russia any easier for Hitler
or Napoleon to conquer. And heathens always lose because the winner gets
to define what a heathen is.
Post by Todd Walton
That explains the beginning at least.
Post by Lan Barnes
We like to congratulate ourselves on how uniquely wonderful
American can-do spirit is, but really, it was ever expanding access to
cheap land that made this country so rich.
You say that, but then you provide your own counter-argument. The
South of this hemisphere was overrun by Spaniards and they haven't
turned out so rich. You give the reason as their habit of making
large estates. Well, isn't the non-habit part and parcel of a can-do
spirit that rewards those who can? That treats people on a more
individualistic basis instead of by their class? It's hard to be
can-do when the plantation owner can-take it all.
It is the same argument. The southern hemisphere did not have cheap land
because they, through law and naked force, immediately created an
artificial scarcity.
Post by Todd Walton
Post by Lan Barnes
In the English model, there was less control, no enforcement, and lots
of common law land ownership. If you couldn't find work where you were,
you drifted west and laid claim to a homestead.
...
Post by Lan Barnes
Used to be a man could at least dream of designing the killer app ...
not as unlikely as winning the Lotto. Now with software patents and
"intellectual property" ...
You guys still sure that old 40 hour week and those 10 vacation days are
so secure? When Ramaganavisna is offering to do your job for 60% of what
you're getting and you're offered the choice between longer hours for
less money, or no job at all, which way you gonna jump?
Across the apparent non-sequitir?
Apparent to you, perhaps. This thread started with a discussion of
economic implications of various tax models, but it has also included a
discussion of the institutionalized perversion of the labor market.

So here is a thesis to tie it together. Monopoly drives the acquisition
of great wealth. Monopoly can be real, or it can be artificial (patent,
intellectual property, the commercialization of basic science), but in
every case it is permitted, enforced, and often encouraged by
government. Finally, the critical factor in the perversion of the labor
market is the monopoly of land, because this cuts labor off from
developing alternatives to working for the larger interests who keep
salaries down. And the perversion of the labor market is what makes us
all wage slaves.

If you want to see this in action, read a newspaper (even the SD Union).
Here's how it works:

1. corporations and people who profit obscenely when corporations make
obscene profits make hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign
contributions each year, almost (but not quite) exclusively to
Republicans, with the historically correct anticipation that the elected
officials will pass laws encouraging the acquisition of monopoly power

2. such laws are passed after pious pronouncements on how they will
benefit the common man (or just without discussion). hardly even a wink
and a nudge anymore

3. monopolies ensue. the patent office stamps their approval on every
leaf that blows in on their desk (as long as it's from a big
corporation), free trade treaties are actually international
protectionistic schemes criminalizing competition, copyright is extended
infinitely and fair use is criminalized, newspapers and broadcast
stations are deregulated (in return for government-favorable news slants
-- we've outsourced the Ministry of Propaganda); guest workers are
imported from less affluent countries to depress domestic wages; and
economic policies are shaped to keep 4% - 8% of the population
unemployed, just to keep the rest of us from, you know, asking for a
meaningful raise.

And then there's land. The broadcast spectrum, which used to be
considered a public trust to be licensed and regulated, is auctioned off
like the family silver for what it can get (one time ... now it's
"property" forever, never to produce another dime of public funds), and
the physical-dirt land is falling into fewer and fewer hands, while the
remaining family farmers and the shrinking middle class desperately
cling to the small percentage of (highly mortgaged) land that they
control. Hey, about half my income goes to my rather modest mortgage;
when I was a young man, it was more like 30%; my father's generation
would have been shocked at anyone paying more than 25% of their income
for rent or mortgage. That's percentage of income and has nothing to do
with inflation.

Do you wonder why I take time out from my long weekend to write these
long posts, Todd? Do you imagine that I'm so obsessed with proving I'm
right or smart or something that I would willing give up my spare time?
Not so. I post this stuff because I'm scared about the future, and I'm
trying to do what little I can to prevent disaster. For me, for my
children, for you, for everybody in the world.

For at least 35 years, Americans have very gradually been seduced into
voting for and supporting a destructive and dangerous cabal, no, an
ideology promoted by a cabal. None of this shit, from withdrawing from
the Kyoto treaty, to the shameful disaster in Iraq, to the nurses guest
worker program, is isolated or accidental. We have been watching an
orchestrated and largely successful campaign to turn the United States
from a free country based on the rule of law and economic freedom and
competition into a fascist (corporatist) state with only the illusion of
democracy.

I'm not belting this stuff out for Neil and the others who I know
already substantively agree with me. I'd rather be out having my
weekend.

I take the time to post these things because I figure if I can open the
eyes of just a few people who are presently going along to get along, or
who buy the whole package and think everything's great, then maybe we
can all get out of this alive and free without having to take to the
streets. And I'm not optimistic, Todd. I read the posts that come back
from you, Mike Marion, Alan, Legatus, sometimes Tracy (just a few
examples, and not meant to disparage or embarrass anyone); I *KNOW*
you're all intelligent and well intentioned. And I'm baffled as to why
you can, for example, accept that it's OK for the government to import
cheap foreign labor to keep your salary artificially depressed at a time
when they are proclaiming that we have to close our borders to aliens.
Do you not see that this is the case? Why doesn't it piss you off?
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Todd Walton
2006-05-27 17:44:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
Post by Todd Walton
Across the apparent non-sequitir?
Apparent to you, perhaps.
Who else?
Post by Lan Barnes
Monopoly can be real, or it can be artificial (patent, intellectual property, the
commercialization of basic science)
No. You either have a monopoly or you don't. The more useful
distinction is whether the monopoly is gained forcibly or through
voluntary means.
Post by Lan Barnes
in every case it is permitted, enforced, and often encouraged by
government.
It's not. There are natural market mechanisms that can lead to
monopoly. It does not necessarily take government to create monopoly.
This is an important point.
Post by Lan Barnes
Do you wonder why I take time out from my long weekend to write these
long posts, Todd?
No.
Post by Lan Barnes
Do you imagine that I'm so obsessed with proving I'm
right or smart or something that I would willing give up my spare time?
No, I don't. I imagine that this *is* your spare time.
Post by Lan Barnes
For at least 35 years, Americans have very gradually been seduced into
voting for and supporting a destructive and dangerous cabal, no, an
ideology promoted by a cabal. None of this shit, from withdrawing from
the Kyoto treaty, to the shameful disaster in Iraq, to the nurses guest
worker program, is isolated or accidental. We have been watching an
orchestrated and largely successful campaign to turn the United States
from a free country based on the rule of law and economic freedom and
competition into a fascist (corporatist) state with only the illusion of
democracy.
I completely agree. You think that you're battling the forces of evil
here on kooler, but the fact is that none of us are stupid. The
average IQ level of kooler-frequenters is probably significantly above
average, and I imagine that quite a few of us have systematically
studied politics and economics. I have, and I just disagree with your
views. I'm not uneducated. I've put a *lot* of time (for a
non-professional) into studying this very subject. I can't claim to
have the definitive answer to the problem you outlined above, but I do
have hard-won opinions and they are not the ones you have.
Post by Lan Barnes
I take the time to post these things because I figure if I can open the
eyes of just a few people who are presently going along to get along, or
who buy the whole package and think everything's great, then maybe we
can all get out of this alive and free without having to take to the
streets.
you're all intelligent and well intentioned. And I'm baffled as to why
you can, for example, accept that it's OK for the government to import
cheap foreign labor to keep your salary artificially depressed at a time
when they are proclaiming that we have to close our borders to aliens.
Do you not see that this is the case? Why doesn't it piss you off?
I see that this is the case, and it does piss me off. But I don't
think the answer is to close our borders. I don't think the
government has a legitimate say in who can work in America and who
can't. It's not proper for the government to keep workers out, any
more than it is for it to ship them in. Instead of selectively
opening up quotas for some classes of people and telling other classes
to shove it, we should let any peaceful person come into this country
for any peaceful reason. It is not right for government to be
manipulating the economy at all.

And I think Henry George would agree. In _Protection or Free Trade:
An Examination of the Tariff Question With Especial Regard to the
Interests of Labor_, he says:

"Protectionists contend that to secure the highest prosperity of each
nation it should produce for itself everything it is capable of
producing, and that to this end its home industries should be
protected against the competition of foreign industries. They also
contend (in the United States at least) that to enable workmen to
obtain as high wages as possible they should be protected by tariff
duties against the competition of goods produced in countries where
wages are lower."

... and is defining protectionism as:

"Protection, as the word has come to be used to denote a scheme of
national policy, signifies the levying of duties on the importation of
commodities (as a means) in order (as an end) to encourage domestic
industry."

If protectionism worked, he says, then:

"...the localities where [man] was most isolated would show the first
advances of man. The natural protection to home industry afforded by
rugged mountain?chains, by burning deserts, or by seas too wide and
tempestuous for the frail bark of the early mariner, would have given
us the first glimmerings of civilization and shown its most rapid
growth. But, in fact, it is where trade could be best carried on that
we find wealth first accumulating and civilization beginning. It is on
accessible harbors, by navigable rivers and much traveled highways
that we find cities arising and the arts and sciences developing."

"To admit that labor needs protection is to acknowledge its inferiority."

And gives this resounding affirmation of liberty: "It is as natural
for men to trade as it is for blood to circulate. Man is by nature a
trading animal, impelled to trade by persistent desires, placed in a
world where everything shows that he was intended to trade, and
finding in trade the possibility of social advance."

In light of a mixed border policy, Lan, you're advocating closing them
up altogether, with labor at least. And I'm saying that they should
be thrown wide open. Closing borders for the purpose of keeping your
wages up is wrong.

Protection of Free Trade, by Henry George:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0911312838/

-todd
Stewart Stremler
2006-05-27 22:35:37 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by Todd Walton
Post by Lan Barnes
in every case it is permitted, enforced, and often encouraged by
government.
It's not. There are natural market mechanisms that can lead to
monopoly. It does not necessarily take government to create monopoly.
This is an important point.
It takes collusion of the government to _keep_ a monopoly. Even
extremely high barriers to entry can be surmounted... unless the
entrenched interests send around their private police force.

[snip]
Post by Todd Walton
And gives this resounding affirmation of liberty: "It is as natural
for men to trade as it is for blood to circulate. Man is by nature a
trading animal, impelled to trade by persistent desires, placed in a
world where everything shows that he was intended to trade, and
finding in trade the possibility of social advance."
[snip]

It's these sorts of overgeneralizations that cause me to shy away from
such visionaries. All the world is like their little model; the real
world is often messier than that. People may be simple automata, but
they aren't _all_ cast from the same mold.
--
_ |\_
\|
Lan Barnes
2006-05-26 23:13:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Todd Walton
Post by Lan Barnes
single tax on land value (and remember, "land" covers such things as
broadcast spectrum, etc, that cannot be created or expanded by labor).
One of the hot stories of the past decade is that broadcast spectrum
*can* be created and expanded by labor.
No, it cannot. Technology makes it possible to get more signal on a
given wave band, but it does not increase the spectrum available. This
is like saying that better seeds, plowing and fertilizing techniques
have made Kansas larger. It's nonsense.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Gabriel Sechan
2006-05-17 17:22:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need.
You have a warped definition of the word fair.
Actually, he is exactly correct. A fair tax system cares only about land
ownership. Look up ``On Progress and Poverty'' by Henry George sometime.
Nope. A fair tax distribution is based on 1 thing- an individual's ability
to pay. THe more they have, the greater a percent they can afford to pay
and still have a decent lifestyle. THe less they have, the more they need
their money to live. This is the only way to make taxes fair.

Gabe
Alan
2006-05-17 17:27:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Nope. A fair tax distribution is based on 1 thing- an individual's
ability to pay. THe more they have, the greater a percent they can
afford to pay and still have a decent lifestyle. THe less they have,
the more they need their money to live. This is the only way to make
taxes fair.
Gabe
There can be no absolutely "fair" tax distribution.
Only one that's "fair enough."

-ajb
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 18:05:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Nope. A fair tax distribution is based on 1 thing- an individual's
ability to pay. THe more they have, the greater a percent they can
afford to pay and still have a decent lifestyle. THe less they have,
the more they need their money to live. This is the only way to make
taxes fair.
Gabe
There can be no absolutely "fair" tax distribution.
Only one that's "fair enough."
Again, I disagree. It is eminently fair for people to be taxed on the
basis of the value of the un-creatable resources that they control --
land, broadcast spectrum, and non-capital natural resources (e.g. a tree
that grows in the forest as opposed to a tree cultivated on a Christmas
tree farm). Because whether or not the land owner builds a pleasure
palace or maintains a virgin forest for his enjoyment, or uses the land
productively to make money, he is preventing other people from using
it, and thus should pay a reasonable "rent" to the nation. They should
also be taxed on the artificial scarcities that they enjoy: patent,
copyright, restriction of trade through professional licensing, etc.
These are all licenses to make inordinate amounts of money, and if
they're granted by the people (through the government) then they should
be paid for on an on-going basis.

This does not mean that there would be no land ownership. No farmer
would plant nor developer build unless he could be sure that he would
still control the product of his labor when it was ripe.

This does not mean that there would be no rich people. People with
special talents, energy, ideas, or just plain luck, would still be
wealthy. They just wouldn't be able to extort the life blood out of
everyone else by controlling the land that rising entrepreneurs need to
strike out on their own, and perverting the tax law by purchasing favor
from the politicians.

This _might_ mean that there would be no more poverty -- or boom-n-bust
business cycles. George made a compelling case for that. I won't try to
repeat it here.

But it does mean that everyone, home owners, developers, farmers,
landlords, manufacturing companies, vacation home owners,
banks/investment companies, and foreign holders of American land, would
pay a tax on the land they hold based on the value of that land.

Nor does it mean that people who chose not to own land will not pay
their fair tax share -- they will. For the landlord will pass part of
the cost of his tax bill to the renter, and the manufacturer and
extractor will pass part of his tax burden to the consumer. And this
would replace sales tax, which should be abolished (terribly regressive
and unfair, and a burden on the economy). But the landlord and the
manufacturer would be limited in how much of this cost they could pass
on because of competitive market forces. And the landlord and
manufacturer would be encouraged to improve their capital (better
apartments, better goods) not just by market forces, but by not being
taxed for their capital improvements, only for the value of the land
they use.

A fair tax. A much simpler tax. A tax that is almost impossible to cheat
on. A tax that neither discourages nor rewards foreign ownership of
American land.

What's unfair about that?

Progressive income tax has a long history of being abused and perverted
by politicians in the pocket of the wealthy. It's hardly a model of
fairness. Even when it's "reformed" it's still a viper's nest of
loopholes, special sweetheart deals, and misguided social engineering.
It is NOT a fair or an effective system, and just because it has a long
history (mostly of abuse and failure), it is not the only or natural way
to do things.

Of course, most of the alternatives being proposed by pundits and
politicians right now (like the "flat tax") are are trojans for making
the rich even richer. So while the progressive income tax is a lousy
system, I can't support changing it to go to a worse one.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Legatus
2006-05-17 18:22:06 UTC
Permalink
<snipped the plan, read the whole post to get it>
Post by Lan Barnes
A fair tax. A much simpler tax. A tax that is almost impossible to cheat
on. A tax that neither discourages nor rewards foreign ownership of
American land.
What's unfair about that?
Not a bad plan, whether I agree with your philosophy behind it or not.
Much more fair, but it lacks the tools for the politicians to leverage
to gain votes, thus it will not happen. I like the fact that without
income tax, then I could freely use my home for profit making, and know
that the money I make will be mine. I would also be able to budget for
my taxes from year to year. Once budgeted, I wouldn't have to think
about it every time someone writes me a check.

I also like the fact, that if I wanted to drop out of society, I
wouldn't carry a burden of taxes with me, they are absorbed in the price
of the goods I purchase. I could work for what I need, and then get back
on the bike and move on. A week with a lawn service, cash, and back to
the woods for some alone time.

All the reasons below are why. The politicians enjoy those things. The
problem that can occur, is who assesses the value of the property. There
is a lot of room for continually raising the appraisal to garner more
tax revenue, even when there has been little or no price appreciation,
and there is no incentive to lower the appraisal if the value of
property depreciates for some reason (urban blight, natural disaster,
thermal nuclear explosion, etc)
Post by Lan Barnes
Progressive income tax has a long history of being abused and perverted
by politicians in the pocket of the wealthy. It's hardly a model of
fairness. Even when it's "reformed" it's still a viper's nest of
loopholes, special sweetheart deals, and misguided social engineering.
It is NOT a fair or an effective system, and just because it has a long
history (mostly of abuse and failure), it is not the only or natural way
to do things.
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 19:11:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
<snipped the plan, read the whole post to get it>
Post by Lan Barnes
A fair tax. A much simpler tax. A tax that is almost impossible to cheat
on. A tax that neither discourages nor rewards foreign ownership of
American land.
What's unfair about that?
Not a bad plan, whether I agree with your philosophy behind it or not.
Much more fair, but it lacks the tools for the politicians to leverage
to gain votes, thus it will not happen. I like the fact that without
income tax, then I could freely use my home for profit making, and know
that the money I make will be mine. I would also be able to budget for
my taxes from year to year. Once budgeted, I wouldn't have to think
about it every time someone writes me a check.
Well, there would still be zoning, but mostly, yup. If you want to grow
corn on land with oil under it, go ahead. Your land, your choice. Of
course, your tax bill would reflect the value of the land, so corn might
not pay the way ...

But you could sell or lease the mineral rights (as people do today), pay
the tax on corn-growing farm land of that fertility and productivity,
and let Mobil pay the oil rights tax on their part.
Post by Legatus
I also like the fact, that if I wanted to drop out of society, I
wouldn't carry a burden of taxes with me, they are absorbed in the price
of the goods I purchase. I could work for what I need, and then get back
on the bike and move on. A week with a lawn service, cash, and back to
the woods for some alone time.
Yup. In a truly free society, we should all be able to disappear and
reinvent ourselves. Of course, if we did something evil and are on the
lam, that's a criminal issue. But nowadays if you decide you'd be
happier living in an Airstream in the Mojave, you make someone's watch
list I'm sure.
Post by Legatus
All the reasons below are why. The politicians enjoy those things. The
problem that can occur, is who assesses the value of the property. There
is a lot of room for continually raising the appraisal to garner more
tax revenue, even when there has been little or no price appreciation,
and there is no incentive to lower the appraisal if the value of
property depreciates for some reason (urban blight, natural disaster,
thermal nuclear explosion, etc)
People are still people. We'd still need an IRS to keep tabs on that
kind of thing. But I will point out that there is a thriving industry
right now of professionals who appraise land values (as separate from
the capital improvements thereon), complete with standards of practice.

There would be some tricky issues and adjustments. For example, some
capital improvements become permanent characteristics of the land, like
draining a swamp to make more useful land (and environmental law would
still be there, so this may be a poor example). Compare that, for
example, to a system of dikes or levies that must be maintained in
perpetuity to make the land more valuable. The one-time capital
improvement would probably have to be amortized, so the person who paid
for it would have swamp taxes for, say, 20 years, farm land taxes in,
say, 80 years and after, and a sliding percentage in between.

The person with perpetual maintenance would have lower taxes because
part of that land's value would be due to constant capital expenditure.
And even that would depend on the value of the land protected -- more
taxes on downtown New Orleans than on rural areas of the Sacramento
Valley.

Urban blight would be a self-correcting problem. Just as happens now to
a smaller extent, there would be terrific economic pressures encouraging
inner city homesteading. Likewise, just as happens now but more so, there
would be incentives on businesses to leave the super-expensive business
districts of the great cities and diversify their operations to small
towns and rural areas, revitalizing their employment structure.

This system would create an equilibrium between land use, resulting land
values, and taxes realized. It would also end the problem of poverty
caused by absentee ownership (Kentucky, West Virginia) by apportioning
the total land tax for any area by percentage to the federal government,
the states, and the local counties or cities.

I would also have government pay taxes on the land it uses for
administrative buildings, libraries, police stations, and parks. Nothing
would prevent government abuse of eminent domain like having to account
for their choices of where to put things.

Of course, there would still have to be tax exemptions, but I would hope
that they could be discussed and awarded rationally. For example, some
churches that are really national monuments, like Trinity Church at Wall
and Broadway in New York, would be destroyed without relief. But I'm a
complete secularist, so I'd have to insist that these buildings have
non-sectarian historical tours as a condition. I think everyone could
live with that.

One final adjustment I would suggest. In our present system, house
ownership, especially for the middle class, has become one of the
primary vehicles for saving for retirement. It's really a scam in ways.
The mortgage companies milk you for 30 years (how would they feel about
paying the taxes on the property for the percentage they still own at
any given time?) and your pay off depends on the ever increasing cost of
housing caused by the monopolization of land. But it's still the bulk of
a lot of the savings of middle-aged people.

I would address that, if we were to convert to a Georgist tax, by having
the government pay a one-time buy out to every home owner upon the sale
of a primary residence if the home was purchased prior to enactment of
the new tax. In general land prices would decline to more reasonable
levels under this system, because people would be motivated to sell the
second land became unprofitable to them. And it's just not fair to
change the rules and take away a generation's savings.

There would have to be a formula based on the years the house was held
and how long before retirement you sold it. But I wouldn't
discriminate on the basis of income. Let the rich man selling his $20
million house have the same break. The overall cost would be far less
than the cost of continuing on the self-destructive course we're on. And
it would be a one-time pay out.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Alan
2006-05-17 18:37:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
Again, I disagree. It is eminently fair for people to be taxed on the
basis of the value of the un-creatable resources that they control --
land, broadcast spectrum, and non-capital natural resources (e.g. a tree
that grows in the forest as opposed to a tree cultivated on a Christmas
tree farm). Because whether or not the land owner builds a pleasure
palace or maintains a virgin forest for his enjoyment, or uses the land
productively to make money, he is preventing other people from using
it, and thus should pay a reasonable "rent" to the nation.
...
Post by Lan Barnes
But it does mean that everyone, home owners, developers, farmers,
landlords, manufacturing companies, vacation home owners,
banks/investment companies, and foreign holders of American land, would
pay a tax on the land they hold based on the value of that land.
...
Post by Lan Barnes
A fair tax. A much simpler tax. A tax that is almost impossible to cheat
on. A tax that neither discourages nor rewards foreign ownership of
American land.
What's unfair about that?
Who decides the value?
If the value is arbitrary then it will become unfair.

If I and my neighbor each own one acre of land.
However I, being a simple living type, only work a small corner of my
land, while my neighbor, who wants a bigger TV, works the entire acre.
So now, we have 1 acre(minus a little) of my wetland prairie, and 1 acre
of farmland.
Which one is worth more?

My reading of your first sentence, "people to be taxed on...un-creatable
resources...e.g. a tree that grows in the forest as opposed to a tree
cultivated on a Christmas tree farm" would say that _I__ get taxed more,
even though _he_ is making the profit.
But maybe I've got it wrong.

I'd also note that such a tax on land would devastate the lumber
industry (and thus my county and surrounding counties) due to the fact
that they are predicated on holding land until the trees get cut.

It would also put a serious hurt on the Nature Conservancy and other
charitable institutions whose sole purpose is to hold land in non-use.
Post by Lan Barnes
Progressive income tax has a long history of being abused and perverted
by politicians in the pocket of the wealthy. It's hardly a model of
fairness.
I don't disagree.

-ajb
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 19:18:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan
Post by Lan Barnes
Again, I disagree. It is eminently fair for people to be taxed on the
basis of the value of the un-creatable resources that they control --
land, broadcast spectrum, and non-capital natural resources (e.g. a tree
that grows in the forest as opposed to a tree cultivated on a Christmas
tree farm). Because whether or not the land owner builds a pleasure
palace or maintains a virgin forest for his enjoyment, or uses the land
productively to make money, he is preventing other people from using
it, and thus should pay a reasonable "rent" to the nation.
...
Post by Lan Barnes
But it does mean that everyone, home owners, developers, farmers,
landlords, manufacturing companies, vacation home owners,
banks/investment companies, and foreign holders of American land, would
pay a tax on the land they hold based on the value of that land.
...
Post by Lan Barnes
A fair tax. A much simpler tax. A tax that is almost impossible to cheat
on. A tax that neither discourages nor rewards foreign ownership of
American land.
What's unfair about that?
Who decides the value?
If the value is arbitrary then it will become unfair.
If I and my neighbor each own one acre of land.
However I, being a simple living type, only work a small corner of my
land, while my neighbor, who wants a bigger TV, works the entire acre.
So now, we have 1 acre(minus a little) of my wetland prairie, and 1 acre
of farmland.
Which one is worth more?
My reading of your first sentence, "people to be taxed on...un-creatable
resources...e.g. a tree that grows in the forest as opposed to a tree
cultivated on a Christmas tree farm" would say that _I__ get taxed more,
even though _he_ is making the profit.
But maybe I've got it wrong.
Why shouldn't the Christmas tree farmer make a profit? He worked,
planed, bought seedlings, fertilizer, farm equipment. What did you do to
deserve ownership of the tree you cut down, presumably to profit from in
some way? You didn't plant it, cultivate it, invest capital in nurturing
it. Can't we say something like God grew the tree and you just poached
it?
Post by Alan
I'd also note that such a tax on land would devastate the lumber
industry (and thus my county and surrounding counties) due to the fact
that they are predicated on holding land until the trees get cut.
No it wouldn't. They'd just have to pay a fair price for the trees that
actually belong to all of us. And we would have to pay a more reasonable
price for lumber instead of fecklessly squandering our national treasure
in one quick generation.

It is not the function of the United States government to guarantee the
profits of any particular business model, and whenever they do that, it
is wrong.
Post by Alan
It would also put a serious hurt on the Nature Conservancy and other
charitable institutions whose sole purpose is to hold land in non-use.
See my other post on tax exemptions.
Post by Alan
Post by Lan Barnes
Progressive income tax has a long history of being abused and perverted
by politicians in the pocket of the wealthy. It's hardly a model of
fairness.
I don't disagree.
-ajb
--
http://www.kernel-panic.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/kplug-kooler
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Alan
2006-05-17 19:39:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
Why shouldn't the Christmas tree farmer make a profit?
Umm..I said no such thing.
And you didn't answer my question.
Post by Lan Barnes
No it wouldn't. They'd just have to pay a fair price for the trees that
actually belong to all of us. And we would have to pay a more reasonable
price for lumber instead of fecklessly squandering our national treasure
in one quick generation.
Yes, it would. The lumber industry is predicated on owning large tracts
of land.
Land that, under your system, would be taxed on the potential value of
the wood thereupon, regardless of the time frame in which that value
might be realized.
That is, if I am a lumber company that owns 1 million acres of
forestland, you would tax me on that 1 million acres, even if I can only
harvest 50,000 acres a year.
That is an unsustainable burden for an industry already suffering.
Post by Lan Barnes
It is not the function of the United States government to guarantee the
profits of any particular business model, and whenever they do that, it
is wrong.
Never said it was, only pointing out that such a change could have large
negative consequences, some that are perhaps unforeseen.
Post by Lan Barnes
Post by Alan
It would also put a serious hurt on the Nature Conservancy and other
charitable institutions whose sole purpose is to hold land in non-use.
See my other post on tax exemptions.
Which would lead to many large estates becoming "charities" overnight.
Which means the system needs to be adjusted to account for that, and if
it's adjusted for that, it'll be adjusted for thousands of other
"special" cases, which means in 50 years, we're right back where we started.


-ajb
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 20:35:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan
Post by Lan Barnes
Why shouldn't the Christmas tree farmer make a profit?
Umm..I said no such thing.
And you didn't answer my question.
Post by Lan Barnes
No it wouldn't. They'd just have to pay a fair price for the trees that
actually belong to all of us. And we would have to pay a more reasonable
price for lumber instead of fecklessly squandering our national treasure
in one quick generation.
Yes, it would. The lumber industry is predicated on owning large tracts
of land.
Land that, under your system, would be taxed on the potential value of
the wood thereupon, regardless of the time frame in which that value
might be realized.
That is, if I am a lumber company that owns 1 million acres of
forestland, you would tax me on that 1 million acres, even if I can only
harvest 50,000 acres a year.
That is an unsustainable burden for an industry already suffering.
I'm sorry but you are both misinformed and do not understand.

The lumber companies do not own the land they pillage. They lease the
right to pillage the public lands from an acquiescent bought-n-sold
government. The trees grew there naturally over generations and belong
to all of us. The pittance that we actually get reflects the cozy
profiteering arrangement the lumber companies depend on for their
obscene profits.

They do not plant the trees. They do not wait for them to grow. They cut
full grown naturally occurring trees from the public land.

Some companies like the New York Times (a vertical empire that makes its
own paper) actually do have tree farms on which they grow and harvest
fast-growing, high pulp trees developed just for them. And under a
Georgist system (not "my" system, although I would have been proud to
have originated it), those trees would rightfully be treated as capital
and not taxed. But the land they were grown on would. Not much in the
whole scheme of things ... agricultural and forest land aren't anywhere
near as valuable as, say, commercial real estate (say on Wall Street or
Rodeo Drive). But taxed appropriately for the land's value.

I really don't give a rat's ass if the lumber companies go out of
business tomorrow. They're stripping our land of oxygen producing,
watershed protecting trees as fast as they can and shipping them off to
Japan for processing (because that's where the money is), not creating
or protecting a single damned American's job, and running weepy-green
spotted owl self-promotion ads on Sunday TV to fool anyone gullible
enough to buy their crock of shit. Be damned with them!

But that's just one guy's opinion ...

Anyway, a Georgist distinction between capital crops and naturally
growing resources would soon restructure their greedy little corporate
attitudes.
Post by Alan
Post by Lan Barnes
It is not the function of the United States government to guarantee the
profits of any particular business model, and whenever they do that, it
is wrong.
Never said it was, only pointing out that such a change could have large
negative consequences, some that are perhaps unforeseen.
Post by Lan Barnes
Post by Alan
It would also put a serious hurt on the Nature Conservancy and other
charitable institutions whose sole purpose is to hold land in non-use.
See my other post on tax exemptions.
Which would lead to many large estates becoming "charities" overnight.
Which means the system needs to be adjusted to account for that, and if
it's adjusted for that, it'll be adjusted for thousands of other
"special" cases, which means in 50 years, we're right back where we started.
Like San Simeon?
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Alan
2006-05-17 22:47:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lan Barnes
I'm sorry but you are both misinformed and do not understand.
Really? And here I was thinking it was you that doesn't know a damn
thing about the timber industry.
Post by Lan Barnes
The lumber companies do not own the land they pillage. They lease the
right to pillage the public lands from an acquiescent bought-n-sold
government.
Huh. That'd come as a shock to Plum Creek Timber, and International
Paper, and Weyerhaeuser. Probably comes as a shock to Georgia-Pacific as
well, although I think they've sold off their timberland to a TIMO.
You do know that almost 3/4 of timberland in the U.S. is privately
owned, right?

The trees grew there naturally over generations and belong
Post by Lan Barnes
to all of us. The pittance that we actually get reflects the cozy
profiteering arrangement the lumber companies depend on for their
obscene profits.
On public land, I agree with you.
Hell, you could even make the case that the sell-off of land to the
forest industries was a great miscarriage of land stewardship, and I
wouldn't disagree with you.
Were it my decision, I'd stop all logging on all public land tomorrow.
However, as things stand now, the timber industry owns most of the land
they log, and under your system, would suffer for it.
Post by Lan Barnes
They do not plant the trees. They do not wait for them to grow. They cut
full grown naturally occurring trees from the public land.
So, that tree farm down the street just naturally sprung up?
And I guess the nursery across town selling re-plantation seedlings is
just my imagination? And the annual battle over helicopter
spraying(keeps the weeds down, helps the trees grow) on the hills is not
really happening?

(not "my" system, although I would have been proud to
Post by Lan Barnes
have originated it),
I know, when I say "your system" I mean, "the system that you are
advocating in this discussion".
"your" is shorter. heh.

those trees would rightfully be treated as capital
Post by Lan Barnes
and not taxed. But the land they were grown on would. Not much in the
whole scheme of things ...
What if the land is fallow, waiting for a rebound in prices for a
particular crop? Does it get taxed at a lesser rate because it's
potential profit is less?
Or does it get taxed the same regardless of market conditions?
I guess I'm not really grasping how this helps anyone.
As I said here:

If I and my neighbor each own one acre of land.
However I, being a simple living type, only work a small corner of my
land, while my neighbor, who wants a bigger TV, works the entire acre.
So now, we have 1 acre(minus a little) of my wetland prairie, and 1 acre
of farmland.
Which one is worth more?

It seems like you are saying if I own a resource (be it trees, or
prairie, or oil), if I _could_ sell it, but don't, I get taxed the same
as someone who does sell their resource?
So in the scenario above, say in my town, one acre of land is taxed at
$10/acre.
So, my neighbor and I each pay $10 in taxes for the land itself.
However, since he chose to sell crops, he makes a profit(which is not
taxed).
I, who prefer prairie to corn, do not plow over my land, and thus do not
make a profit. But I do have more "non-capital natural resources" so I
get taxed more, say $.10/tree.
At the end of the tax year, he's paid $10 and I've paid $12.
So basically, I get penalized for _not_ exploiting my land.

I must be missing something.
Post by Lan Barnes
I really don't give a rat's ass if the lumber companies go out of
business tomorrow.
You would when the price of lumber doubles, causing a corresponding jump
in housing prices, with the subsequent drop in housing starts, leading
to a bust of the housing boom, which is the only thing keeping our
economy propped up.
Post by Lan Barnes
Like San Simeon?
I was thinking more like Mar-A-Lago Club. Open the gates once a year to
a charity, call it a historical site, and viola, no more taxes.

-ajb
Lan Barnes
2006-05-17 17:33:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need.
You have a warped definition of the word fair.
Actually, he is exactly correct. A fair tax system cares only about land
ownership. Look up ``On Progress and Poverty'' by Henry George sometime.
Nope. A fair tax distribution is based on 1 thing- an individual's
ability to pay. THe more they have, the greater a percent they can afford
to pay and still have a decent lifestyle. THe less they have, the more
they need their money to live. This is the only way to make taxes fair.
Gabe
I'm forced to disagree with you. You are describing "leveling," which is
an odious form of tax tyranny. And tax tyranny can come from the common
man as well as from the ultra wealthy.

"If I steal a dollar from a rich man, it is no less theft than if I
steal it from the poor." Rough quote from Henry George.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
Legatus
2006-05-17 17:52:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need.
You have a warped definition of the word fair.
Actually, he is exactly correct. A fair tax system cares only about land
ownership. Look up ``On Progress and Poverty'' by Henry George sometime.
Nope. A fair tax distribution is based on 1 thing- an individual's
ability to pay. THe more they have, the greater a percent they can
afford to pay and still have a decent lifestyle. THe less they have,
the more they need their money to live. This is the only way to make
taxes fair.
So in that line of thought, at exactly what point has someone made
enough, and you start taxing further income at 100%, and who makes that
decision?
boblq
2006-05-18 05:57:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Legatus
A fair tax system cares not of need.
You have a warped definition of the word fair.
Actually, he is exactly correct. A fair tax system cares only about land
ownership. Look up ``On Progress and Poverty'' by Henry George sometime.
Nope. A fair tax distribution is based on 1 thing- an individual's
ability to pay. THe more they have, the greater a percent they can
afford to pay and still have a decent lifestyle. THe less they have,
the more they need their money to live. This is the only way to make
taxes fair.
So in that line of thought, at exactly what point has someone made
enough, and you start taxing further income at 100%, and who makes that
decision?
Hello Legatus,

Two replies to others but mine neglected ... so again I call to you.
Why do you ignore me?
Post by Legatus
Post by Gabriel Sechan
What are the purposes of a tax system? Is not helping
the weak one of them?
I don't think so. I think it should be purely to operate government.
And what do you see as "government?"
Post by Legatus
I think it is my job individually to help the weak, and to align myself
with others who do so as well.
OK. One mode of alignment in a democratic society is politics,
the fight over what happens with tax monies, i.e. over what is
the proper role and function of government.
Post by Legatus
Ultimately I think government fails at
nearly everything it tries to do,
Two reasons among many are:

1) Government attracts people who are incompetent.

2) Government tackles difficult problems. Ones that
business certainly will not tackle and which are
beyond the scale of individual action.

I am not a great fan of government myself. I am also not
enthused by people dying in the streets because they are
weak.

Of course the belief that "government fails at nearly everything
it tries to do" is a powerful argument against going to war. We
certainly are getting a good lesson in what hubris entails as
we bog on in Iraq. Well over $1 Billion/day being spent on the
military is a pretty good sized chunk of government activity.
Is this really the best way to spend this kind of money?
Post by Legatus
thus anything that is inherently
government shouldn't be done by the government.
Did you write here what you intended? It is a bit of an odd
construction. Rather like "We had to destroy the village to save it."

Then if not by the government by who or what? Or not at all?

Let them die in the streets?
Post by Legatus
My stance on this
weakens as you the governments become more local, but it doesn't go away
completely. An example would be sports stadiums. I am opposed to the
idea of cities building stadiums primarily so a very lucrative private
industry can charge me to enter a public facility. Sports franchises
should be building these things. I feel less strongly on this, than I do
if it were the feds building the stadium, because local governments tend
to think more like those they serve, because their constituents are
their neighbors.
This is certainly not an example of government helping the weak,
which was where I began. If you want to bring in examples of how
government is perverted to serve mostly the rich and powerfull then
you won't find much disagreement from me. Perhaps a part of your
critique is that this is the inevitable outcome.

Rather it is a good example of government doing what it seems to
do well, i.e. support the rich and powerful in becoming more so. Do you
not agree that this is an instance of government doing that "job"
well? Not that "Bread and Circuses" is anything new. Except now
it is more circus and less bread.

Regards,

BobLQ
Stewart Stremler
2006-05-18 06:17:34 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Ultimately I think government fails at
nearly everything it tries to do,
1) Government attracts people who are incompetent.
2) Government tackles difficult problems. Ones that
business certainly will not tackle and which are
beyond the scale of individual action.
I am not a great fan of government myself. I am also not
enthused by people dying in the streets because they are
weak.
[snip]

Here I find myself nodding and murmuring "what he said".

I suppose one way to describe the purpose of government is that it
"attempts to tackle the problems too difficult for an individual
and not appropriate or profitable for anyone else".
--
_ |\_
\|
Legatus
2006-05-18 12:31:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
So in that line of thought, at exactly what point has someone made
enough, and you start taxing further income at 100%, and who makes that
decision?
Hello Legatus,
Two replies to others but mine neglected ... so again I call to you.
Why do you ignore me?
Not intentional, just depends on how busy I was when I read your post.
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
I don't think so. I think it should be purely to operate government.
And what do you see as "government?"
First and foremost protection. Interstate commerce issues.
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
I think it is my job individually to help the weak, and to align myself
with others who do so as well.
OK. One mode of alignment in a democratic society is politics,
the fight over what happens with tax monies, i.e. over what is
the proper role and function of government.
I find that government programs are too impersonal. It ignores too much
about the person. It also will only feed you for the day. The government
gives a man fish, so he can eat today, but never teaches him how to
fish. Churches, and other community organizations do a much better job
of taking care of the person's emotional, training, spiritual, and other
needs. Sometimes the biggest thing a person needs when they are in dire
straits is a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to talk to. You are not
going to find a friend in government.
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Ultimately I think government fails at
nearly everything it tries to do,
1) Government attracts people who are incompetent.
Some, but I mostly think the bureaucracy makes people ineffective and
apathetic towards their jobs. I work in government, and find that most
of the people are very qualified, or were when they came, but often get
beaten down by the politics of the bureaucracy.
Post by boblq
2) Government tackles difficult problems. Ones that
business certainly will not tackle and which are
beyond the scale of individual action.
They do. I just think some of them don't need to be tackled on the scale
that they do it on. Again working in government, I see that some of the
waste is necessary, but doesn't mean I have to like it, nor that I
shouldn't try to change things for the better.
Post by boblq
I am not a great fan of government myself. I am also not
enthused by people dying in the streets because they are
weak.
I am not a fan of people remaining weak, and few government programs do
anything to change the state of the person it helps. It maintains the
status quo, and often puts obstacles in the way of people becoming self
sustaining once they are using governments help.
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
thus anything that is inherently
government shouldn't be done by the government.
Did you write here what you intended? It is a bit of an odd
construction. Rather like "We had to destroy the village to save it."
Then if not by the government by who or what? Or not at all?
Let them die in the streets?
No it should have read anything that is inherently government should be
done by government, and there should be an effort to move anything else
out of government, or at the very least push it down to smaller
governments like states, counties, municipalities. They understand the
problems of their communities much better, and the waste tends to become
smaller as the bureaucracies get smaller. If the feds collected less
monies, then the the states, counties, etc could collect more these
tasks. The overall cost is would be less.
boblq
2006-05-18 17:31:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
And what do you see as "government?"
First and foremost protection. Interstate commerce issues.
OK. Protection is an ill defined term but I will take it that you
likely mean it in a narrow sense as in "protection from foreign
enemies" not in the broad sense of "protection of health and welfare."

I am going to start using a big G for the federal Government,
which is what you seem to be referring to. We can use a little
g for the rest of the governments, i.e. state, county, city, etc.
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
I think it is my job individually to help the weak, and to align myself
with others who do so as well.
OK. One mode of alignment in a democratic society is politics,
the fight over what happens with tax monies, i.e. over what is
the proper role and function of government.
I find that government programs are too impersonal. It ignores too much
about the person. It also will only feed you for the day. The government
gives a man fish, so he can eat today, but never teaches him how to
fish.
Surely Government programs that fund education are doing more
than "giving a man a fish." But then so would government programs.

Surely government programs that fund advanced medical research are
"teaching us how to fish." I am not at all certain government programs
would do this nearly so well.

Do you object to Government doing such things because they are not
in the narrow sense "protection" or "interstate commerce?"

Or do you object to these on grounds of efficiency?
Post by Legatus
Churches, and other community organizations do a much better job
of taking care of the person's emotional, training, spiritual, and other
needs. Sometimes the biggest thing a person needs when they are in dire
straits is a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to talk to. You are not
going to find a friend in government.
He, he, you don't believe the line, "I'm from the government and
I'm your friend."
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Ultimately I think government fails at
nearly everything it tries to do,
1) Government attracts people who are incompetent.
Some, but I mostly think the bureaucracy makes people ineffective and
apathetic towards their jobs. I work in government, and find that most
of the people are very qualified, or were when they came, but often get
beaten down by the politics of the bureaucracy.
So in your opinion the problem is primarily scale. i.e. a federal government
and attendant bureaucracies that are simply too large to function well. The
bureaucracy takes on a life of its own and its internal politics comes to be
the dominate activity.
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
2) Government tackles difficult problems. Ones that
business certainly will not tackle and which are
beyond the scale of individual action.
They do. I just think some of them don't need to be tackled on the scale
that they do it on. Again working in government, I see that some of the
waste is necessary, but doesn't mean I have to like it, nor that I
shouldn't try to change things for the better.
Scale brings both efficiencies and inefficiencies. Presumably if the
government brought its massive buying power to bear on the
problem it could drive down the cost of prescription drugs.

Walmart certainly seems to have found a way to combine efficiency
with size. With 312 Billion dollars in sales for 2005 Walmart is damn
near as big as the Department of Defense. It would be interesting
to compare the two.

So do you believe that huge bureaucracy is inevitable in Government?
(Note capital G)
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
I am not a great fan of government myself. I am also not
enthused by people dying in the streets because they are
weak.
I am not a fan of people remaining weak, and few government programs do
anything to change the state of the person it helps. It maintains the
status quo, and often puts obstacles in the way of people becoming self
sustaining once they are using governments help.
I suppose our focus is different. You see probably accurately the Government
doing many things that perpetuate problems. I agree. I think much of our
current approach to defense and statecraft does just that. I also see the
Government _not_ doing many things it could do i.e. funding serious advances
in alternative energy technology, supporting decent healthcare for everyone,
etc.

As an example the Government expenditures on energy R&D amount to about
3 Billion dollars/year and the amount in real dollars has been declining since the
80's. We spend this on the DOD in about 3 days.
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/09/26_energy.shtml

Moreover the core programs in renewable energy technology are a tiny
fraction of all this, perhaps $100 Million/year ... and they are receiving less
funding.
http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=23074

In summary, it makes no sense to be on a collision course with China
over oil resources when we could be the world leader in the next
generations of energy technology. Should we really be spending
over a Billion dollars a day on military resources and 100 Million dollars
a year on our energy futures? The alternative energy R&D budget is
burned in a few hours of military spending. IMHO this is insane.

Similar criticisms hold in every sector. The USA spends more on health
per capita then any other country yet lags far behind the rest of the
developed world in outcomes. Government policies are at the heart
of this discrepancy.
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
thus anything that is inherently
government shouldn't be done by the government.
Did you write here what you intended? It is a bit of an odd
construction. Rather like "We had to destroy the village to save it."
Then if not by the government by who or what? Or not at all?
Let them die in the streets?
No it should have read anything that is inherently government should be
done by government, and there should be an effort to move anything else
out of government, or at the very least push it down to smaller
governments like states, counties, municipalities. They understand the
problems of their communities much better, and the waste tends to become
smaller as the bureaucracies get smaller. If the feds collected less
monies, then the the states, counties, etc could collect more these
tasks. The overall cost is would be less.
OK. Government should get smaller and devolve to government.

As to the "move everything else out" a question is left. Who shall
fund. Does the Government fund and private sector do?

Or does government fund and private sector do?

Example social work. Before the modern welfare state care for
the infirm, the insane, all of the truly weak and unfortunate was
the sole responsibility of the family, religious organizations
and charities. One would be hard pressed to argue that the
recipients of support were as a class better off. Mexico, for
instance, has few of such systems and as a consequence
the streets of Mexico are full of such unfortunates, literally
dying in those streets, and with their last gasp asking for alms
from a stranger. Do you advocate the return to such a reality?

I don't.

BobLQ
boblq
2006-05-18 17:48:09 UTC
Permalink
Surely Government programs that fund advanced medical research are
"teaching us how to fish." I am not at all certain government programs
would do this nearly so well.
Correction Big G in first Government.

i.e. There are advantages of scale and coordination in medical research
as well as many other forms of research.

BobLQ
Legatus
2006-05-18 18:45:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
And what do you see as "government?"
First and foremost protection. Interstate commerce issues.
OK. Protection is an ill defined term but I will take it that you
likely mean it in a narrow sense as in "protection from foreign
enemies" not in the broad sense of "protection of health and welfare."
I am going to start using a big G for the federal Government,
which is what you seem to be referring to. We can use a little
g for the rest of the governments, i.e. state, county, city, etc.
I meant it a little more general, but no I didn't mean health and
welfare. Military is one. Protection of rights from each other is another.
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
I find that government programs are too impersonal. It ignores too much
about the person. It also will only feed you for the day. The government
gives a man fish, so he can eat today, but never teaches him how to
fish.
Surely Government programs that fund education are doing more
than "giving a man a fish." But then so would government programs.
I think education should be something handled by the other governments,
not Government
Post by boblq
Surely government programs that fund advanced medical research are
"teaching us how to fish." I am not at all certain government programs
would do this nearly so well.
I am opposed to Government being involved here. Too much of this money
is tied up in politics. There are a whole list of other ways to handle
this. Getting funds would be harder, and thus there would have to be
more accountability in the systems that dole out the funds.
Post by boblq
Do you object to Government doing such things because they are not
in the narrow sense "protection" or "interstate commerce?"
Or do you object to these on grounds of efficiency?
Efficiency is at the root of a lot of the arguments. The other is
proximity to the voter. Government just simply isn't close enough to the
voter for most issues. What is good for CA is not good for NY is not
good for TX. Let alone the mass of less populated states.
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Churches, and other community organizations do a much better job
of taking care of the person's emotional, training, spiritual, and other
needs. Sometimes the biggest thing a person needs when they are in dire
straits is a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to talk to. You are not
going to find a friend in government.
He, he, you don't believe the line, "I'm from the government and
I'm your friend."
I work for the Government, I know better.
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Ultimately I think government fails at
nearly everything it tries to do,
1) Government attracts people who are incompetent.
Some, but I mostly think the bureaucracy makes people ineffective and
apathetic towards their jobs. I work in government, and find that most
of the people are very qualified, or were when they came, but often get
beaten down by the politics of the bureaucracy.
So in your opinion the problem is primarily scale. i.e. a federal government
and attendant bureaucracies that are simply too large to function well. The
bureaucracy takes on a life of its own and its internal politics comes to be
the dominate activity.
Bingo, and I know there are ways to mitigate this some, but it wouldn't
ever be applied on a large scale. One is service agencies having to
compete for business. This is how my agency functions. We don't make a
profit, but for us to justify our staff and resources, we have to get
other agencies to pay us for work. Its all funny money, but it makes us
have to compete with private industry, and other means of providing the
services.
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
2) Government tackles difficult problems. Ones that
business certainly will not tackle and which are
beyond the scale of individual action.
They do. I just think some of them don't need to be tackled on the scale
that they do it on. Again working in government, I see that some of the
waste is necessary, but doesn't mean I have to like it, nor that I
shouldn't try to change things for the better.
Scale brings both efficiencies and inefficiencies. Presumably if the
government brought its massive buying power to bear on the
problem it could drive down the cost of prescription drugs.
I think our Government tends to be have become to large to benefit from
the efficiencies of scale. In an econ class I took years ago, the prof
should a chart with two pyramids stacked point to point. He was
explaining that there is a point that the economies of scale are
balanced, so that you gain the most benefit, when you compare overhead
to savings. I think Government usually is beyond that point, and
overhead costs out weigh the savings.
Post by boblq
Walmart certainly seems to have found a way to combine efficiency
with size. With 312 Billion dollars in sales for 2005 Walmart is damn
near as big as the Department of Defense. It would be interesting
to compare the two.
Fewer people have a say in what happens. The politics is smaller, though
the revenue may be close.
Post by boblq
So do you believe that huge bureaucracy is inevitable in Government?
(Note capital G)
Its the natural state of Government
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
I am not a great fan of government myself. I am also not
enthused by people dying in the streets because they are
weak.
I am not a fan of people remaining weak, and few government programs do
anything to change the state of the person it helps. It maintains the
status quo, and often puts obstacles in the way of people becoming self
sustaining once they are using governments help.
I suppose our focus is different. You see probably accurately the Government
doing many things that perpetuate problems. I agree. I think much of our
current approach to defense and statecraft does just that. I also see the
Government _not_ doing many things it could do i.e. funding serious advances
in alternative energy technology, supporting decent healthcare for everyone,
etc.
I think the best thing Government can do in many areas, is get out of
the way.
Post by boblq
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
Let them die in the streets?
No it should have read anything that is inherently government should be
done by government, and there should be an effort to move anything else
out of government, or at the very least push it down to smaller
governments like states, counties, municipalities. They understand the
problems of their communities much better, and the waste tends to become
smaller as the bureaucracies get smaller. If the feds collected less
monies, then the the states, counties, etc could collect more these
tasks. The overall cost is would be less.
OK. Government should get smaller and devolve to government.
As to the "move everything else out" a question is left. Who shall
fund. Does the Government fund and private sector do?
Or does government fund and private sector do?
Example social work. Before the modern welfare state care for
the infirm, the insane, all of the truly weak and unfortunate was
the sole responsibility of the family, religious organizations
and charities. One would be hard pressed to argue that the
recipients of support were as a class better off. Mexico, for
instance, has few of such systems and as a consequence
the streets of Mexico are full of such unfortunates, literally
dying in those streets, and with their last gasp asking for alms
from a stranger. Do you advocate the return to such a reality?
For all of the above, I think a blending is needed. An example of a
system that is working would be the KS foster care system. The foster
parents are recruited by private agencies, who have contracts with the
state. These agencies can decide how to manage that money. Some do
little, and pass most of the money on. These are the ones that support
mostly rural populations where consolidating efforts tend to put
additional burden on the foster parents. In urban areas, the stipend is
less, but they are able to provide services that would have cost a lot
more, including continuing education that is expensive to put on, or
providing child safety seats for cars. The state social worker now can
manage more cases. The agency can divide the work that has to be done to
non social worker types, and let the social workers in the agency do
social work. Something the bureaucracy did not allow. Everyone now can
get their job done. Its still high pressure and stressful, but fewer
cases every year fall through the cracks.
RBW
2006-05-18 18:48:04 UTC
Permalink
boblq wrote:

[Snip]
Post by boblq
As an example the Government expenditures on energy R&D amount to about
3 Billion dollars/year and the amount in real dollars has been declining since the
80's. We spend this on the DOD in about 3 days.
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/09/26_energy.shtml
Moreover the core programs in renewable energy technology are a tiny
fraction of all this, perhaps $100 Million/year ... and they are receiving less
funding.
http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=23074
In summary, it makes no sense to be on a collision course with China
over oil resources when we could be the world leader in the next
generations of energy technology. Should we really be spending
over a Billion dollars a day on military resources and 100 Million dollars
a year on our energy futures? The alternative energy R&D budget is
burned in a few hours of military spending. IMHO this is insane.
This is a good way to put the basic "rational" view of the way out of
this ever darkening tunnel... However...

I was provoked to think something different reading this crystal clear
piece of sanity above...
If we had had a push to energy independence after the first Gulf war,
and using only the dolars we've the dollars spent in the middle east
since the first gulf war, we would be there by now (Ironically a 10 year
plan would have ended in 2001). So really, why not? Of course we could
condemn the people in charge during that time but maybe they really are
just acting out the typical "irrational" view that power has taken
throughout recorded time (please remember that we still have about/a
little under 10 years before WWI is 100 years old... In living memory... ).

Perhaps it is a combination of not only securing the energy that is
cheapest to use in today's world AND the age old idea of 'if I am
standing on top of it, you can't also be standing on top of it'. While I
completely agree with you Bob, reality is that cathartic and violent
fleshing out of resource management issues are a kind of DNA of world
governments. I don't have much hope that any of the players are capable
of changing their DNA nor do I think they will willingly submit to a
sort of gene therapy that would allow them to change their behavior.

I'm with you Bob but there are other players on the field beyond
rationality.

[Snip]
Post by boblq
BobLQ
rbw
Gabriel Sechan
2006-05-18 16:10:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
I find that government programs are too impersonal. It ignores too much
about the person. It also will only feed you for the day. The government
gives a man fish, so he can eat today, but never teaches him how to fish.
Churches, and other community organizations do a much better job of taking
care of the person's emotional, training, spiritual, and other needs.
Sometimes the biggest thing a person needs when they are in dire straits is
a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to talk to. You are not going to find a
friend in government.
Churches are the absolute worst. They don't give any help to anyone without
strings of their damn religion tied to it. Give me government any day of
the week.

The reason why governments focus on the physical needs is twofold.

1)Its simpler. Emotional and other needs require a hell of a lot more
manpower, and its hard to get funding for what we do now.

2)Given limited funding, it takes priority. If we feed them, they can have
the rest taken care of later. Its better to feed 100 but do no more than
completely help 2 people but let the other 98 die.

THat said, I would love to see welfare and other programs focus more on job
training and education, and giving detox to the homeless who are there for
reasons of drugs/alcohol. If we stopped the war and spent the money on that
instead, I think it'd pay for it.
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
1) Government attracts people who are incompetent.
Some, but I mostly think the bureaucracy makes people ineffective and
apathetic towards their jobs. I work in government, and find that most of
the people are very qualified, or were when they came, but often get beaten
down by the politics of the bureaucracy.
And you think the rest of the world is different? Hell, 4 years of working
at a corporation did that to me. I think it actually happened in year 2.
Post by Legatus
Post by boblq
2) Government tackles difficult problems. Ones that
business certainly will not tackle and which are
beyond the scale of individual action.
They do. I just think some of them don't need to be tackled on the scale
that they do it on. Again working in government, I see that some of the
waste is necessary, but doesn't mean I have to like it, nor that I
shouldn't try to change things for the better.
But they do. Quite frankly if we leave things like welfare, feeding the
homeless, etc to charities it just doesn't get done. They don't have the
resources. Its nice to say that people will be generous and donate to
charity and it can all get fixed. In reality, the rich didn't get rich by
giving away money. We tried the private charity things for millenia. But
there were poor and starving in ancient Rome, there were poor and starving
in middle ages, there were poor and starving in the Industrial age. Now we
use the government to collect money and provide welfare and other help.
Well, there's still poor now, but the only one starving are those who refuse
help. Thats an improvement. We aren't perfect yet, but you don't see
people dieing in the streets like you could at the turn of the century.

Gabe
boblq
2006-05-18 17:45:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Quite frankly if we leave things like welfare, feeding the
homeless, etc to charities it just doesn't get done. They don't have the
resources. Its nice to say that people will be generous and donate to
charity and it can all get fixed. In reality, the rich didn't get rich by
giving away money. We tried the private charity things for millenia. But
there were poor and starving in ancient Rome, there were poor and starving
in middle ages, there were poor and starving in the Industrial age. Now we
use the government to collect money and provide welfare and other help.
Well, there's still poor now, but the only one starving are those who
refuse help. Thats an improvement. We aren't perfect yet, but you don't
see people dieing in the streets like you could at the turn of the century.
Gabe
What he says. The old way don't work. It never worked. To look at it
up close just go to Tijuana. If you want I can take you there and
show you a person who will die in those streets TODAY.

BTW, I love Mexico, which IMHO is a country where a person with
some money is far freer than they are in the USA but it is not a
place to be seriously down on your luck.

BobLQ
Legatus
2006-05-18 17:50:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
But they do. Quite frankly if we leave things like welfare, feeding the
homeless, etc to charities it just doesn't get done. They don't have
the resources. Its nice to say that people will be generous and donate
to charity and it can all get fixed. In reality, the rich didn't get
rich by giving away money. We tried the private charity things for
millenia. But there were poor and starving in ancient Rome, there were
poor and starving in middle ages, there were poor and starving in the
Industrial age. Now we use the government to collect money and provide
welfare and other help. Well, there's still poor now, but the only one
starving are those who refuse help. Thats an improvement. We aren't
perfect yet, but you don't see people dieing in the streets like you
could at the turn of the century.
And you think the source of the help has more to do with that than the
massive production and crop technology advancements in the last 150
years or so.
Neil Schneider
2006-05-25 18:21:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by Gabriel Sechan
But they do. Quite frankly if we leave things like welfare, feeding the
homeless, etc to charities it just doesn't get done. They don't have
the resources. Its nice to say that people will be generous and donate
to charity and it can all get fixed. In reality, the rich didn't get
rich by giving away money. We tried the private charity things for
millenia. But there were poor and starving in ancient Rome, there were
poor and starving in middle ages, there were poor and starving in the
Industrial age. Now we use the government to collect money and provide
welfare and other help. Well, there's still poor now, but the only one
starving are those who refuse help. Thats an improvement. We aren't
perfect yet, but you don't see people dieing in the streets like you
could at the turn of the century.
And you think the source of the help has more to do with that than the
massive production and crop technology advancements in the last 150
years or so.
One has nothing to do with the other. There was no shortage of crops
in the 19th century U.S. yet the old and infirm were starving and
dying in the streets without the support of families and churches. The
"welfare state" has eliminated that cause of death.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
http://www.paccomp.com
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a
circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already here,
and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are
well trained." - Edward R. Murrow
Legatus
2006-05-25 18:27:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by Legatus
And you think the source of the help has more to do with that than the
massive production and crop technology advancements in the last 150
years or so.
One has nothing to do with the other. There was no shortage of crops
in the 19th century U.S. yet the old and infirm were starving and
dying in the streets without the support of families and churches. The
"welfare state" has eliminated that cause of death.
They are very much entwined. Production, transportation, and
preservation, of food all play a role in price and ability to larger
groups of people. There may have been no crop shortages, though there
were in areas of the us, and without the ability to move the food long
distances, and that food stay healthy to eat while it gets there, the
welfare state would not have changed much.
Neil Schneider
2006-05-25 18:37:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by Legatus
And you think the source of the help has more to do with that than the
massive production and crop technology advancements in the last 150
years or so.
One has nothing to do with the other. There was no shortage of crops
in the 19th century U.S. yet the old and infirm were starving and
dying in the streets without the support of families and churches. The
"welfare state" has eliminated that cause of death.
They are very much entwined. Production, transportation, and
preservation, of food all play a role in price and ability to larger
groups of people. There may have been no crop shortages, though there
were in areas of the us, and without the ability to move the food long
distances, and that food stay healthy to eat while it gets there, the
welfare state would not have changed much.
Your statements about production and transportation are true, they are
irrelevant. Peopls starved because they were poor, not because there
was a scarcity of resources to feed them. Poor people don't die from
poverty since the creation of the "Welfare state". Your statements are
true, your conclusions are wrong.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
http://www.paccomp.com
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a
circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already here,
and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are
well trained." - Edward R. Murrow
Lan Barnes
2006-05-25 19:06:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by Legatus
And you think the source of the help has more to do with that than the
massive production and crop technology advancements in the last 150
years or so.
One has nothing to do with the other. There was no shortage of crops
in the 19th century U.S. yet the old and infirm were starving and
dying in the streets without the support of families and churches. The
"welfare state" has eliminated that cause of death.
They are very much entwined. Production, transportation, and
preservation, of food all play a role in price and ability to larger
groups of people. There may have been no crop shortages, though there
were in areas of the us, and without the ability to move the food long
distances, and that food stay healthy to eat while it gets there, the
welfare state would not have changed much.
Farmers in the 19th century in this country suffered terribly because of
a variety of economic woes, mostly resulting from government/corporate
collusion. These included soaring cost of credit and extortionist fees
for rail transport of their goods. In the cities, most people who had
jobs worked 12 hour shifts 7 days a week for poverty wages under
horrific conditions. It was not a pretty time for the common man.

Nevertheless, American agricultural production had never been higher,
and there was plenty. Indeed, this contributed to the farm problem by
depressing prices.

Several historic movements came out of this, including the Grange
movement, the Populist Revolt and bi-metalism, labor unions (they were
illegal in the good old days, and troops and city police would fire on
strikers quite willingly), the Molly Maguires, the IWW. It also resulted
in many reforms such as the right to unionize (and from that, the 40
hour week, paid vacation, retirement and medical benefits, all the stuff
we take for granted), child labor laws, and (yes) progressive income
tax.

The monied establishment fought all of these things without quarter.
Each little step was assailed as the final invasion of evil socialism,
the welfare state incarnate.

To bring this down to the smaller point that you two are discussing, one
of the economic mysteries that Henry George was willing to address was
why, in the midst of such plenty, there was such abject poverty. Thus
the name of his seminal blockbuster (and almost everyone in the US and
Europe had heard of it if not read it), "Progress and Poverty."

Because George saw that the two had been inextricably linked throughout
history. Simple communities and civilizations, while not as wealthy as
modern industrial nations, had little if any poverty. And if anyone was
hungry, it was because there was famine and everyone was hungry. But as
soon as complex civilizations made productivity gains that should have
fed everyone easily, abject poverty and hunger occurred.

Likewise, the effect was not just temporal but also geographical. In
small towns and agricultural communities, especially on marginal land,
no one is particularly rich, but everybody can get by. However in the
same country, maybe only 100 miles away in a wealthy city, people are
unable to fine employment and are ground into the streets as homeless
garbage.

George took it upon himself to explore why this was so. I think he got
it, and got it right. The problem could be traced to the very value of
the land itself, because value is a reflection of the land's
desirability, and results from the potential that land has to produce a
profit. And when, through law and custom, a ever smaller minority is
allowed to monopolize that land, the result is that the great majority
are squeezed out and forced to become economic wage slaves.

People in the streets didn't starve then, and don't starve today,
because they were intrinsically worthless as human beings. Take the same
people and magically transport them to an uninhabited Pacific atoll, and
they would, without training or education, be better able to support
themselves and their families just by collecting coconuts and fishing.
The reason they starve in New York City (but not, perhaps, in Empire,
Michigan) is because they have no access to any of the resources that
would allow them to shift for themselves if no one in the landholding
establishment deigns to hire them.

In 19th Century New York you could get fresh fruit and vegetables from
the Midwest, prime meat from the prairie states, and fish from the
Atlantic Coast. It's just that ordinary people couldn't buy any of it on
the slave wages they had to accept, if they had any job at all, because
the landholders were extracting every penny they could from the people
forced to come to them for employment.

It's good to take a clear-eyed look at this phenomenon. It's happening
again.
--
Lan Barnes ***@falleagle.net
Linux Guy, SCM Specialist 858-354-0616
Tcl/Tk Enthusiast
RBW
2006-05-18 18:55:44 UTC
Permalink
Gabriel Sechan wrote:

[Snip}
Post by Gabriel Sechan
But they do. Quite frankly if we leave things like welfare, feeding
the homeless, etc to charities it just doesn't get done. They don't
have the resources. Its nice to say that people will be generous and
donate to charity and it can all get fixed. In reality, the rich
didn't get rich by giving away money. We tried the private charity
things for millenia. But there were poor and starving in ancient
Rome, there were poor and starving in middle ages, there were poor and
starving in the Industrial age. Now we use the government to collect
money and provide welfare and other help. Well, there's still poor
now, but the only one starving are those who refuse help. Thats an
improvement. We aren't perfect yet, but you don't see people dieing
in the streets like you could at the turn of the century.
Gabe
It's too bad it took 400-500 years after "state" enlightenment to join
in with the welfare and feeding of the homeless that the charities, have
as you put it, been doing for "millenia".

Lets blame those that did the hard work of service to the poor to the
extent they could while the resources of the state were squandered on
self aggrandizement and naked greed and perversions for most of the
past. Nice...

rbw
Gabriel Sechan
2006-05-18 18:03:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Legatus
Post by Gabriel Sechan
But they do. Quite frankly if we leave things like welfare, feeding the
homeless, etc to charities it just doesn't get done. They don't have the
resources. Its nice to say that people will be generous and donate to
charity and it can all get fixed. In reality, the rich didn't get rich by
giving away money. We tried the private charity things for millenia. But
there were poor and starving in ancient Rome, there were poor and starving
in middle ages, there were poor and starving in the Industrial age. Now
we use the government to collect money and provide welfare and other help.
Well, there's still poor now, but the only one starving are those who
refuse help. Thats an improvement. We aren't perfect yet, but you don't
see people dieing in the streets like you could at the turn of the
century.
And you think the source of the help has more to do with that than the
massive production and crop technology advancements in the last 150 years
or so.
Not the source of help, the scale of help. Help previously was piecemeal,
usually family based and occassionally community and charity based. It was
enough to help some, but more people fell through the cracks than were
actually helped. If you didn't have a family, you had low chance of getting
more than the occassional alms. Even if the existing organizations knew you
needed help, they couldn't afford to help everyone.

Now instead of a patchwork of unorganized, poorly funded efforts we have an
organized decently funded effort. We now have the scale and funding to be
able to help pretty much everyone who needs it, at least to a minimal
degree. QUite frankly that wouldn't be possible without the government-
even if you organized all the small efforts (difficult, but possible) they
wouldn't have had the cash to do it. The government does.

Gabe
Alan
2006-05-18 18:12:49 UTC
Permalink
Gabriel Sechan wrote:
even if you organized all the small efforts (difficult, but
possible) they wouldn't have had the cash to do it. The government does.
No. It doesn't.
It likes to pretend it does.
It'll print some more cash to preserve the illusion that it does.
It'll play silly buggers with the books to appear like it does.
But it doesn't.

-ajb
boblq
2006-05-18 18:47:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
even if you organized all the small efforts (difficult, but
possible) they wouldn't have had the cash to do it. The government does.
No. It doesn't.
It likes to pretend it does.
It'll print some more cash to preserve the illusion that it does.
It'll play silly buggers with the books to appear like it does.
But it doesn't.
-ajb
So ajb are you suggesting that the current system is a hoax?
Do you predict its collapse?

BobLQ
Alan
2006-05-18 19:31:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by boblq
So ajb are you suggesting that the current system is a hoax?
Do you predict its collapse?
BobLQ
I'm predicting a slow decline into irrelevancy.
See also, the British Empire.

-ajb
Gabriel Sechan
2006-05-18 19:30:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
But they do. Quite frankly if we leave things like welfare, feeding the
homeless, etc to charities it just doesn't get done. They don't have the
resources. Its nice to say that people will be generous and donate to
charity and it can all get fixed. In reality, the rich didn't get rich by
giving away money. We tried the private charity things for millenia. But
there were poor and starving in ancient Rome, there were poor and starving
in middle ages, there were poor and starving in the Industrial age. Now
we use the government to collect money and provide welfare and other help.
Well, there's still poor now, but the only one starving are those who
refuse help. Thats an improvement. We aren't perfect yet, but you don't
see people dieing in the streets like you could at the turn of the
century.
Gabe
It's too bad it took 400-500 years after "state" enlightenment to join in
with the welfare and feeding of the homeless that the charities, have as
you put it, been doing for "millenia".
Lets blame those that did the hard work of service to the poor to the
extent they could while the resources of the state were squandered on self
aggrandizement and naked greed and perversions for most of the past.
Nice...
Wow you're reading things into that. I see noone blamed there. They did
the best they could, it just wasn't enough. It would never be enough- they
didn't have the manpower, coordination and funding. And they never will-
the people who have the resources to make it happen just don't give a shit.
Thats why the government is necessary for it to work- they force the rich
to pay their share. Instead of helping only a small percentage of those
that need it, we can now help nearly everyone.

Gabe
Andrew Lentvorski
2006-05-18 19:43:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Wow you're reading things into that. I see noone blamed there. They
did the best they could, it just wasn't enough. It would never be
enough- they didn't have the manpower, coordination and funding. And
they never will- the people who have the resources to make it happen
just don't give a shit. Thats why the government is necessary for it to
work- they force the rich to pay their share. Instead of helping only
a small percentage of those that need it, we can now help nearly everyone.
Generally, the government should step in to situations in which there is
delayed risk/delayed reward.

Humans are particularly poor at judging future risk/reward accurately.

For example, flu shots. Most people avoid flu shots until we get a flu
that is actually bad. By then, it is too late for market forces to
adjust. The easiest way around this dilemma would be for the government
to buy flu shots for everyone, every year.

Obviously, you can't do this for every scenario that exists. But
governments can make judgments about which particular risks should be
addressed.

-a
Stewart Stremler
2006-05-18 20:17:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Wow you're reading things into that. I see noone blamed there. They
did the best they could, it just wasn't enough. It would never be
enough- they didn't have the manpower, coordination and funding. And
they never will- the people who have the resources to make it happen
just don't give a shit. Thats why the government is necessary for it to
work- they force the rich to pay their share. Instead of helping only
a small percentage of those that need it, we can now help nearly everyone.
Generally, the government should step in to situations in which there is
delayed risk/delayed reward.
Manage the commons, maintain a monopoly on sanctioned violence, enforce
fairness in commerce (weights & measures), see the big picture, and
think in the long term.
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Humans are particularly poor at judging future risk/reward accurately.
For example, flu shots. Most people avoid flu shots until we get a flu
that is actually bad. By then, it is too late for market forces to
adjust. The easiest way around this dilemma would be for the government
to buy flu shots for everyone, every year.
It's not _efficient_ to do it that way... but it's *better*.

(When I think about market-forces vs government, I think of fire
departments and police.)
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Obviously, you can't do this for every scenario that exists. But
governments can make judgments about which particular risks should be
addressed.
Schneier talks about movie-plot threats... people *love* movie-plot
threats. Hopefully, the government isn't so gullible... but I'm not
so sure that's the case.
--
_ |\_
\|
RBW
2006-05-18 22:14:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by RBW
Post by Gabriel Sechan
But they do. Quite frankly if we leave things like welfare, feeding
the homeless, etc to charities it just doesn't get done. They don't
have the resources. Its nice to say that people will be generous
and donate to charity and it can all get fixed. In reality, the
rich didn't get rich by giving away money. We tried the private
charity things for millenia. But there were poor and starving in
ancient Rome, there were poor and starving in middle ages, there
were poor and starving in the Industrial age. Now we use the
government to collect money and provide welfare and other help.
Well, there's still poor now, but the only one starving are those
who refuse help. Thats an improvement. We aren't perfect yet, but
you don't see people dieing in the streets like you could at the
turn of the century.
Gabe
It's too bad it took 400-500 years after "state" enlightenment to
join in with the welfare and feeding of the homeless that the
charities, have as you put it, been doing for "millenia".
Lets blame those that did the hard work of service to the poor to the
extent they could while the resources of the state were squandered on
self aggrandizement and naked greed and perversions for most of the
past. Nice...
Wow you're reading things into that. I see noone blamed there. They
did the best they could, it just wasn't enough. It would never be
enough- they didn't have the manpower, coordination and funding. And
they never will- the people who have the resources to make it happen
just don't give a shit. Thats why the government is necessary for it
to work- they force the rich to pay their share. Instead of helping
only a small percentage of those that need it, we can now help nearly
everyone.
Gabe
From: Legatus
"I find that government programs are too impersonal. It ignores too much
about the person. It also will only feed you for the day. The government
gives a man fish, so he can eat today, but never teaches him how to
fish. Churches, and other community organizations do a much better job
of taking care of the person's emotional, training, spiritual, and other
needs. Sometimes the biggest thing a person needs when they are in dire
straits is a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to talk to. You are not
going to find a friend in government."

Gabriel Sechan wrote:
"Churches are the absolute worst. They don't give any help to anyone
without strings of their damn religion tied to it. Give me government
any day of the week."

Reading in? I thought you were pretty explicit ; >)
Like I said the vaunted government as welfare player arrived at the
party way, way late in the game and in fact it has as much history of
genocide in the last century as a means of dealing with populations
while those "absolute worst" types just keep plugging along waiting for
that fulfillment of true creed that liberal democracies claim to have.

RBW
Gabriel Sechan
2006-05-25 16:54:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Though this may be true in some markets, it's not true in most of the
U.S. Land doesn not appreciate above the rate of inflation in the
majority of the U.S. Only in high demand, high speculation markets
like San Diego does appreciation exceed inflation.
We tend to think that every market is like ours, but I can assure you
from experience, they are not.
Land is slightly above inflation throughout the US. However, real estate is
all about location. So in places people want to live (like big cities, or
places with economic booms) it goes up faster. In places people don't want
to move to or build on, it doesn't- such as the middle of Kansas. Unless
you think people are suddenly going to abandon an area, buying in a city is
a safe long term investment (short term drops may occur).

Gabe
Gabriel Sechan
2006-05-28 02:27:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stewart Stremler
It takes collusion of the government to _keep_ a monopoly. Even
extremely high barriers to entry can be surmounted... unless the
entrenched interests send around their private police force.
No it doesn't. Standard Oil did fine without government help. So did the
railroads. So is MS. The barriers can, and will be raised to high. One
simple way- force your customers to sign exclusive contracts. ANother way
is just to use economies of scale and your bankroll and price the competitor
out of the market, then raise prices again.

Gabe
Alan
2006-05-28 03:54:02 UTC
Permalink
Gabriel Sechan wrote:
So did
the railroads.
Well, Eminent Domain and sweetheart financing made it a lot easier...

-ajb
Stewart Stremler
2006-05-28 15:12:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Stewart Stremler
It takes collusion of the government to _keep_ a monopoly. Even
extremely high barriers to entry can be surmounted... unless the
entrenched interests send around their private police force.
No it doesn't. Standard Oil did fine without government help.
Didn't keep the monopoly, did they?
Post by Gabriel Sechan
So did the
railroads.
Railroads had government help. Lots of it.
Post by Gabriel Sechan
So is MS.
From my point of view, MS is all over government collusion.
The barriers can, and will be raised to high. One
simple way- force your customers to sign exclusive contracts. ANother way
Which are then enforced by the government. Often, such contracts are
deemed "unenforcable" by (honest?!) courts.
Post by Gabriel Sechan
is just to use economies of scale and your bankroll and price the
competitor out of the market, then raise prices again.
That's a self-limiting strategy, for as soon as you raise your prices to
recoup your losses, you open up the possibilities for a new market. Your
customers will *eventually* get wise to the yoyoing of prices.

I'm not saying that it's not possible to _form_ a monopoly, or even
run one for awhile. The higher the barrier to entry, the longer it'll
take for someone to make a successful run at it (perhaps an end-run).
--
_ |\_
\|
Gabriel Sechan
2006-05-28 15:56:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stewart Stremler
Post by Gabriel Sechan
Post by Stewart Stremler
It takes collusion of the government to _keep_ a monopoly. Even
extremely high barriers to entry can be surmounted... unless the
entrenched interests send around their private police force.
No it doesn't. Standard Oil did fine without government help.
Didn't keep the monopoly, did they?
Yes, they did. The government broke Standard Oil up. If they hadn't, I'd
be willing to put money on them being around until today. Hell, every major
US oil company except BP is one of the companies Standard got broken into.
Post by Stewart Stremler
Post by Gabriel Sechan
So is MS.
From my point of view, MS is all over government collusion.
The barriers can, and will be raised to high. One
simple way- force your customers to sign exclusive contracts. ANother
way
Which are then enforced by the government. Often, such contracts are
deemed "unenforcable" by (honest?!) courts.
Not very often. On occasion,. but by and large they are enforcable, so long
as they have a reasonable length of time on them.
Post by Stewart Stremler
Post by Gabriel Sechan
is just to use economies of scale and your bankroll and price the
competitor out of the market, then raise prices again.
That's a self-limiting strategy, for as soon as you raise your prices to
recoup your losses, you open up the possibilities for a new market. Your
customers will *eventually* get wise to the yoyoing of prices.
You overestimate the intelligence of the average person. The average person
shops at wllmart because of its prices.

Its not very self limiting at all- you just need to make it obvious enough
that no sane investor would want to compete with you. Competing with big
buisness takes big money.


Gabe

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